The Changing Face of 2d Art


There are some amazing artists out there.  Some people and their art become famous and recognized around the world. Other people and their art never make it past the drawing board (so to speak).  Comicons are my favorite place to find one of a kind pieces and purchase from artists who may become the next Stan Lee or DaVinci.  Art is all about personal taste.  But once in a while, something just grabs you and you need to own it.

I was wandering around Calgary Comic and Entertainment Expo before the doors opened looking at all the artwork.  One artist caught my eye, so I stopped to check it out.  As I was about to leave, one of the staff came rushing up with a few people and was all excited telling her companions that they needed to check out the art & the artist’s computer tablet as well.  This intrigued me, so I stayed for a moment longer, and I’m glad I did.

Not only was his art really good- but the artist himself created an app that brings the art to life when you looked through your screen at it.  The artist is utilizing augmented reality and it brings his art to life.  Fantastic selling feature!  It’s bringing how people view art into a whole new genre.  I have seen others try it a few times over the past couple of years; but never to the detail and care as this.  

Check out their website for more info at DPI Studios.  I hope to see more of Jaysin’s art as well as more artists adopting this idea.  

To quote Monty Python, “I may not know much about art, but I know what I like.”

Sleeping in

Sometimes you just have to sleep in.  It’s a great way to recharge after a long week. The comfort of your bed, the silence surrounding you, the knowledge that there is nothing pressing needing your attention.  The only time I don’t sleep in, even when I fully am able, is in a hotel room.  


There is so much to do and see in a town that isn’t your own.  My excitement and energy gets me up early.  For some reason, I also have a great night’s sleep when in a strange place.  Even if I don’t have anything planned until the afternoon, I’ll wake up early and lounge around in our room.  Then it’s a mad rush to get out the door.

I can’t wait until a trip is over, hit my own bed, and pass out.  I’ll wake up at the crack of noon.  Until that time, I’ll be an early riser.

I live in Beautiful BC.


I don’t think I’ll ever move from my home.  We live about 35 minutes away from Vancouver, BC.  Our home is older, but has character.  We have a large yard and lots of trees for privacy, yet we know all of our neighbors.  There are local farms that sell fresh fruits and vegetables within walking distance.  My wife and I have years of plans laid out for our home and property.  We are here for life.


The rest of BC has so much to offer in the way of sightseeing as well.  Recently, I explorered some of Golden, BC- about a seven hour drive from our home that sits close to the Alberta border.  Our previous visits to this town had us rushing through without ever taking a second look.  This time- I’m glad we stopped.  As we walked around the small town we read the plaques giving us tidbits of history and enjoyed the close up views of the mountains and the Kicking Horse River.

Golden,BC


My advice when you travel: Take a few moments in an unknown town to see what the locals know all along about what makes their town special.

Years to come

As I have eluded, nay, outright stated- I’m on this planet to enjoy my life.  I’ve come to a conclusion that there is more to life than what I’ve experienced so far.  Some people call it a bucket list, I’m going to call it my “Sure, Why Not?” List. And this list keeps growing.  Sometimes I find myself doing something unique or new, then adding it to the list afterwards just so I can cross it off.

The road to a better life.


I also don’t have many regrets about my life up to this point.  Maybe a few moments of “what if?” but that’s about it.  Any time I’ve screwed up- I’ve accepted the outcome.  Any time something good has happened- I have tried to share the wealth (so to speak).  I don’t try and gloat about my accomplishments, although I’m sure it may appear that way, but I’d rather focus on the positive in my life than the negative.  There is no need to be a Negative Nancy when there is so much good in this world.  
Purposely portraying positivity is more than just alliteration, it’s a challenge.

Corporate promotion…

Last week, I was inspired to write today’s post by two talented bloggers that I follow:

First there is a friend of mine for many years who writes themattharding.  He shared an older post of his titled “The Missing Piece of the Puzzle.”

The other is Looking for the Good.  She discovered my blog when I started out a few months back.  I have since enjoyed her positive outlook on life and often look to her blog as a compliment to the style I am trying to portray in my own writings.  Last week she wrote “Happiness Is a Risk.”

Here’s my story about my journey in the work force post-secondary school:

Dude advice.


About twenty years ago, I thought that I needed to prove my worth in society by climbing a corporate ladder.  I had very little in the way of post secondary education and was holding down dead end minimum wage jobs.  I worked hard to prove my value to the companies I was employed at.  But pride in my work only made me a good employee.  The spring of 1999, I applied for a job at a multiplex theater that was about to open.  I made the “maybe pile” and not the 110 pile (110 was the No pile, just throw a slash between the one’s to understand). I was a second round pick, but worked my butt off to prove my worth.  I became a projectionist fairly quickly (after the union dispute was resolved).  I loved working at the movie theater and wanted to become a manager.  It appeared that it wasn’t going to happen after nearly five years working there.  A couple years later, I got a second part-time job.  This time at The Home Depot in the seasonal department for the summer.  In the fall of that year, my hours got cut back at HD & I was moved from the seasonal department to the windows and doors.  Because my hours were cut, I needed to find yet another job.

Perfect timing that a new Chuck E Cheese’s was opening near our home and I got a job doing early mornings Monday to Friday repairing the arcade games.  I was now working three part time jobs, putting in about 70-80 hours/week.  I saved all the money I could and my wife and I put a down payment on our first house.  By spring I decided to quit working at the movie theater.  I left there being the highest paid part-time employee.  I knew they would continue to give me piddly little raises to try and keep me, but there was no advancement opportunities in the near future, so I had to leave.  I still had two other jobs.  Not only was Home Depot a great employer that was closer to my new home, but I was learning how to “adult” and home renovations were becoming my new hobby.

Within a few months of hiring on at Chuck E. Cheese’s, an opportunity came to become a manager at that location, so I took it.  I had to quit the Home Depot, but I was finally getting a salary and benefits.  $28,500/yr & no bonuses.  I was putting in 50hr work weeks still, but I had two little girls at home under the age of two and they loved my job.

I stayed as a manager for nearly five years there.  But again, no promotional opportunities, and the pay wasn’t meeting my needs as we just had our third child and we needed a bigger house.  I was chasing a goal I thought I needed which I knew couldn’t be achieved in a short time.  I began passing my résumé around and was mastering the “Art of the Job Interview”.  To me it was a becoming a game- say what they wanted to hear and they almost always offered me the job.  But it all came down to pay and promotion advancements.  I turned down almost every job.  It felt good to be able to do that, but it wasn’t getting me where I wanted to be.

Summer of 2007, the other assistant manager at CEC got himself a job at a railroad.  Because we had become such great friends- he notified me of a job fair that was coming up.  I took the chance and went in, passing the exams and the interview with ease.  I got a call back within a couple of weeks asking if I could start ASAP in the training, otherwise I’d have to wait a few months for the next round of training.  I asked what the pay was.  To start in training, my pay was 2.5x the salary I was currently making.  After training, the money got even better.

I was now a laborer.  I did the job expected of me and I went home.  But of course, in my mindset of how my parents lived, I thought that I needed to still chase management opportunities.  So, a couple of years after being hired at the railroad, I applied for a management position.  However, during the interview I realized that I didn’t want it.  More hours, more stress, be more of an a-hole to the people I had become friends with; all for a bit more money.  I realized at that point I wasn’t wanting to work extra hours and that my family and friends had become my priority. The job I am doing pays me well enough and I had more time to be with my family than I ever expected.

Balance

As life has goes on, opportunity comes in many forms.  It may take a new direction or a change of pace to make you realize the path you need to be on.

Life is what you make it.  I’m trying to make mine fun.

J-Pop

I’ve always loved anime as can be read here: Akira. We’ve introduced it to our children since they were young.  There are certain storylines that I have really enjoyed.  I even debate “Subbed” vs “Dubbed” with people depending on the show (Subtitles whenever possible in my opinion).

Yesterday was a rainy day, so in the morning I played around with my android box and Kodi.  For those that don’t know, Kodi is a program that allows streaming of videos and music from around the world.  I was able to self-teach myself how to navigate it through my iPhone via an app.  It didn’t take long to set up and learn.  As I was browsing the music stations, I discovered Vocaloid Radio.  Essentially it was electronic dance music sung in Japanese.  After playing some J-Pop music through the house, my two youngest children came to me and asked to build their models they purchased last month at one of the conventions we were at.

Group selfie time

 


It seems that hearing the anime music inspired them to want to build their Gundam model bears.  I find it fascinating that music can bring forth ideas of where the music is from.  Japanese J-Pop brought my children thoughts of anime, mech robots and sushi.  If I played classical chamber music (personal favorite btw) throughout my home, it brings me thoughts of elegance and royalty.  If I play techno or disco, I am brought back to the nightclubs of my youth.

Music strikes emotional responses in everyone.  It’s one of the universal languages that everyone understands.  I don’t speak Japanese, Korean, German, French or any other language for that matter.  But I love listening to music, both modern and traditional, from around the world.  It brings me to these places without leaving the comfort of my home.

Today, I enjoyed some 80’s party mix radio and Depeche Mode radio.  I plan on exploring more radio stations throughout the summer.  First, I’m going to install some more speakers in my backyard so that I can enjoy gardening at the same time.

Until then, I’m off to discover some K-Pop, Reggae and Bossonva.

Back in my day…

When I was a child, I remember hearing adults say, “back in my day…”  I used to jokingly say it from time to time as I entered adulthood.  Now I have caught myself saying it more often and meaning it.


Society changes as a collective.  Our standards of how we want to live evolve.  Ten years ago, most people had no idea what a smartphone was.  Twenty years ago, most people weren’t connected to the Internet.  Thirty years ago, people used VCRs to record and watch shows.  Forty years ago, people used rotary phones with no caller ID or answering service or call waiting.  I’m pointing out technology because that seems to be the way our society judges its advancements. The latest and greatest tech gadget, now readily available for your two year old to use.

More often than not, when I’m talking about “back in my day…” I’m talking about how I experienced life.  We didn’t grow up with helicopter parents and bubble wrapped children (those that did that were the odd ones).  My parents let me walk out of the house, jump on my bike without a helmet and wander the neighborhood.  Sometimes I’d meet friends or other kids, sometimes I’d be exploring on my own.  My friends and I would wander up to the corner store and buy lotto tickets at the age of eight.  I could buy cigarettes by age fourteen for my father and no one asked for ID.  This never got my parents in trouble with the law for not being overly protective.  I could go on public transit with my younger sister and the bus driver never asked where our parents where.

If we made mistakes in life, it was a learning experience.  My parents never blamed other people for me being a dumbass.  It wasn’t my teacher’s fault or the people I hung out with.  I owned it & either I learned from it or I did something stupid again until I learned from it.

Now to get to my point- I am a parent of three children.  My oldest is a teenager and her siblings are close behind.  As much as I want to blame people for any mistakes my children make, I know that it is ultimately their own choices that they are making.  I try to give them freedom to discover the world around them and who they are as people.  Planning “play dates” or ensuring that the movies they watch at a friend’s house are PG isn’t offering freedom.  I know that if they want to go out and rebel that they will.  No amount of spyware or GPS will prevent that.  I’m worried that today’s society is overly protective and controlling.  The courts are forcing parents to be glued to their children until they are adults.


So, to my children- get out there and have fun. I’m not going to interfere in every choice you make.  But I will be watching- because “back in my day” I did the same stupid stuff that you are likely to do.

The Early Bird

I love where I live- the outskirts of the suburbs on the fringe of the farming community.  It’s peaceful and somewhat secluded, but still close enough to society that we can get where we need to go.  Trees and animals are everywhere.  Every other home has a large dog and we all greet each other as we walk around the neighborhood.  It’s peaceful and serene.

Home amongst the trees.

Today, I was called for an early morning shift at work.  Saturday mornings are doubly quiet in my neck of the woods.  There was a fresh rainfall over night and the world was glistening with water droplets.  The only sounds I could hear were the chirping of the birds as they awoke.  Their songs echoed a serenade that I have enjoyed many times before.

In my later years as a teenager, nearly every night in the summer, we gathered together and enjoyed bonfires.  We would head to a beach, or a campground or our favorite place that we called “The Dunes”.  A procession of cars would be lined up down a dead end road and about twenty or more of us would cross the train tracks and hike up the sand hills.  Armed with folding chairs, cases of beers, some firewood, & things to smoke- summer never felt like it was going to end.  Most nights we would leave around 01:00am or so, but occasionally we would pull all nighters.  On those nights, we would watch the sun rise and hear the sounds of the birds as they began to sing.  I vividly remember my friend saying, “Just listen to mother nature’s orchestra.”  

A bird in the hand…

Last year, a hummingbird
flew into our house and got trapped by the skylight.  With some effort and help from my wife, I was able to carefully capture the bird and release it back outside.  I held her gently in my hands and felt her heart racing against my palms.  It was a surreal moment, feeling like I belonged in a Disney movie, as I opened my hands and the hummingbird took a moment to realize that she was being set free.  I was one with nature at that moment.

Before the hustle and bustle of the daily grind- take a few moments one early morning (or really late night) and enjoy the sounds.  Hearing the birds in perfect unison, calling out to each other in stereophonic sound is fascinating to say the least.  Spring is in the air and summer soon to follow.  Take a deep breath and remember that there’s more to life than just work.

Deep Fry My Heart

Eating healthy is a great idea at my age.  Then why do I find joy in using my deep fat fryer?  I love all the amazing foods I can make at home that the pub will charge me a small fortune for. Denny’s has got nothing on me.

  
Deep frying food goes way back for me.  My father got a T-Fal deep fryer back in the mid eighties.  I was ten years old when I found out we could make fries like a fast food restaurant in our own home.  It became a staple of our weekend dinners.  My father mastered the art of deep fried potatoes.  His only attempt at being adventurous was when he made fresh mini donuts once- only once- and they were amazing.

When I was about sixteen or seventeen, I would borrow the deep fryer for parties at my friend’s houses.  They loved the spicy curly fries I would make.  That deep fryer ended up being passed on to me when my father passed away.  I used it nearly every weekend until it finally died a few years later.  

I was without a deep fryer for only a couple of months after that.  I shopped around for the biggest home fryer I could find.  The DeLonghi deep fryer met all my needs.  It was large, clean, and had a deep basket.  I have abused the hell out of this machine!

I have gone way past my father’s attempts at deep frying.  Sure, I deep fry French fries and potatoes like my dad used to make, only better.  My friends look forward to coming over to my house for a party because I will serve deep fried shrimp and deep fried pita bread (an excellent pairing for spinach dip).  But you don’t know living until you’ve deep fried a Mars Bar or gourmet bacon.  Pickles, zucchini, cauliflower, mushrooms & sweet potatos taste so much better when battered and tossed in the deep fryer. This past week alone I have enjoyed shoestring French fries, onion rings, mozzarella sticks & jalapeño poppers.

  
I still don’t have the courage to try and make deep fried donuts.  That was something my father made.  I don’t want to sully my memory of the look of joy on his face as he bit into his first home made donut from scratch.  I know that they would taste delicious, but I also know that if I made them, they’d taste better than what he made.

Yes, that sounds cocky.  But I’ve made it a goal in my life to improve on all of my father’s recipes.  I have succeeded.  Learning to cook properly has made me who I am in the kitchen.  Funny thing is, as much as I love my deep fried goodies, I also enjoy the vegetarian meals we make.  I’m pretty sure my deep fryer will take a break this summer as fresh fruit and vegetables will be hitting our table.

But until then, I’m going to see if there’s any more ranch dressing left for me to dip my mozza sticks into.

Separation anxiety…

This weekend, our oldest daughter will be going away with her school concert band to perform.  She requested that my wife and I do not chaperone.  It makes me sad that she is at the age now that she doesn’t want anything to do with mom & dad.  I knew it was coming and could already sense that she is embarrassed by her parents (like most teenagers).  I dropped her off at school this morning, helped unload the suitcase from the trunk and offered to take it inside for her.  She refused my assistance and decided she could take everything herself.

She had her backpack on, her flute and music in one hand, & a suitcase in the other hand and was ready to head into the school.  I stood at the back of the car and as she turned to leave, I stole a hug.  At first she squirmed and tried to wrangle free.  But I held her a bit longer than usual.  I could feel her embarrassment slip away and she let me have a moment because no one was looking.  This phase in her life will eventually pass.  I know she cares about her family.  I remember acting in a similar fashion towards my mother at her age.

 

Father/daughter time.

 
Next weekend, my wife and I are taking our two youngest on another road trip.  Our oldest daughter will remain behind with her Oma & Opa.  With the end of the school year closing in, my wife & I knew that we couldn’t take her away from her studies.  Again, I feel that our family dynamic is changing, & my little girl is growing up (and apart from us).  I am saddened by this turn of events, but knew this day would come.  It will also make me sad when our other two children reach this stage in their lives.

I hate to admit this, but a little part of my wife and I are relieved to be traveling without our oldest.  Becoming a teen, our eldest child has made life for her siblings a tad annoying.  There is always a fight going on, bossiness taking over, mumbling under the breath, or a sarcastic answer being given.

The hardest part about parenting is letting your children grow up.  I love my kids and hope they understand why we do what we do as parents.  They need to explore the world and expand their horizons.  I just wish it didn’t come with the bad attitude.