2009 HOW Design Conference Highlights

Ξ June 30th, 2009 | → 0 Comments | ∇ travel, Graphic Design |


The 2009 HOW Design Conference has come and gone (and so quickly, I might add!). Stefan and I had the honor of speaking this year, and I think all in all it went pretty well. I’m not exactly at my most comfortable state when speaking in front of a whole bunch of people, but hey, if Jeff Fisher can do it with a clown nose, anything is possible! Stef and I gave our workshop attendees a couple of exercises to work on, and some of the stuff they came up with was pretty darn cool. Check out my Flickr photo set with pictures from our workshop.

2009 HOW Workshop

The session I think I got the most from was Von Glitschka’s “Living a Creatively Curious Life” presentation. I could tell he had taken a lot of time in the design and gathering of his resources for his session. It was so much fun and creatively inspiring…I couldn’t wait to get home to start designing stuff. Right after his session I had to zip down to the resource center for our book signing. In case you’ve missed it, Stefan and I have two books out right now: Caffeine for the Creative Mind and Caffeine for the Creative Team. Due to a lovely mention in Von’s session, we had a couple of people come down and buy our books. Then Von came down to sign his books, Crumble, Crackle, Burn and Drip, Drop, Swirl. He couldn’t start, however, until he’d had a makeout session with Stefan.

HOW Authors

Later that evening the HOW folks were nice enough to host a dinner for the HOW speakers/authors. We met at a fantastic Mexican place called Chuys. What a great eating place for designers! Full of random curious and wooden fish. The margaritas were flowing, and Andy Epstein ordered a burrito the size of his head! I took the picture specifically to accompany my “holy cow, this cookie is as big as my head” picture. It was great chatting with everyone and discussing the evil that is papyrus.

Other notes worth mentioning:

  • I felt like I was fresh out of the stone age. I did not own an iPhone or a Powerbook. While everyone else was bumping and tweeting, I was sitting in the corner with my prehistoric Razor, texting with a non-qwerty keypad.
  • Margaritas are awesome.
  • Did anyone notice how hard it was to figure out what someone’s name was? Badges always seem to face blank side up when you’re at that awkward introductory time and knowing someone’s name is important.
  • Friday morning seemed impossible for me to get water. Hotel room’s water: $4.50. Yeah, right. Java Jive downstairs: line going out the door. Resource center breakfast: none left. Vending machines: none left. Sheesh, I was dying! Finally found a water cooler upstairs. A big thank you to whomever arranged that.
  • What’s with the people first to arrive at a session that sit right at the end of the row? Now you have to feel bad by inconveniencing them and asking them to let you through so that you can sit in the other available seats in the middle.
  • Margaritas are awesome.
  • Austin has some really friggin’ neat grungey textures.
  • Jak Prints’ booth wins my vote for best HOW Resource center vendor soley because they were handing out business-size cards with the sentence “Death of Papyrus” on them.
  • Margaritas are awesome.

Thank you all for a wonderful conference! Hopefully I’ll see you in Denver next year.

Original post by melktart



Ξ April 2nd, 2008 | → 0 Comments | ∇ travel, Food, Graphic Design |

Japan came and went in a flash. We did so much in two days. I would go into detail, but 1. I’m too jetlagged and lazy to write a blog right now and 2. I wrote a lot in my Japan Flickr set. You can check it out here.

Original post by melktart


Japan in Four Days!

Ξ March 25th, 2008 | → 0 Comments | ∇ Life, travel |

It has finally hit me: I leave for Japan in four days! Sean has been there since last week training with Japanese ninjas, and I’m joining him after the training so that we can tour around Tokyo together. I got in touch with an old friend from 7th grade who now lives in Tokyo, so we’re going to hang out with her on Saturday. Then, we’re going to see my best friend, Miki, on Sunday. I met Miki in high school in Greece, and she is one of the few people in life that “gets” me. She invited me to her wedding in Kyoto a few years ago, but I couldn’t go due to finances and lack of vacation time. So, I’m very excited to see her!

I’ve always wanted to go to Japan, and Sean’s bujinkan trip seemed like the perfect excuse. I’m only going to be there for four days, but I think they’re going to be four fun-filled, adventure-packed days! We’re planning to visit the fish market (akihabra), the shibuya shopping district, some sort of Japanese tea garden, Asakusa (a temple/shrine), and, of course, the shinjuku red light district! I plan on purchasing a teapot and random Japanese candy. I was going to take my 10-D with me, but since that is now not an option, my little Canon SD-1000 will have to do. Oh how I miss my 28mm macro lens…

Original post by melktart


From the land of the rising sun, Post 4.

Ξ March 23rd, 2008 | → 0 Comments | ∇ travel, blog, ninja, japan |

Japan, Day 3

I went to sleep at 8:30 last night, I was so tired. Slept fine until 4am, then woke up every half hour until 7am. I didn’t have time to eat anything this morning, so I just grabbed some juice on the way to the hombu.

The first class today was with Nagato-sensei .  He emphasized using the body, instead of your strength when doing techniques, something I need to pay more attention to.  If a technique isn’t working for me, I have a tendency to just try to muscle through it. It’s much easier if I start out using my body to do the technique. Trying to muscle it is usually what messes it up in the first place.  There wasn’t a lot of room in the hombu today, because Soke’s class was right after. It ended up being a good thing, because the lack of room reinforced how little space you really need, if you use your taijutsu. Usually, when we train we’re making these huge movements, deep kamaes, gigantic parries, etc. Ron says it all the time; a punch can miss you by a foot or by a quarter of an inch, it’s still a miss. Training with all those people around really reinforces it.

Soke’s class was 15 minutes after Nagato-sensei’s, and even more people were there for that .I know I’ve said it before, but Soke’s movements are amazing. They’re so subtle, so its very hard to catch everything he’s doing. I really appreciate Ron training with Ashley and I today. He’s a very patient teacher with the both of us, and I know he’d love to be training at a higher level. It means a lot to me that he’s taking the time with us to say things like “no, put your hand here,” and not just throwing his hands up in disgust with us. Both Soke and Nagato-sensei seemed to reinforce being very light with your movements today. I saw two advantages to this: 1) it’s very easy. You don’t get tired when you’re doing it this way. 2) It’s a lot harder to read someone when they’re just laying two fingers on the inside of your wrist, rather than grabbing you with all their strength. We did some seated things today, from fudoza. One was from a grab from behind, a punch to the head from the side, and a punch to the head from another seated person.

When Soke’s class was over, we went to Naguchi-sensei’s class where I watched people film some of the stuff they learned to day in class. I made a fool of myself when Naguchi-sensei leaned out his window and said “Konichiwa!” to me, because I had no idea who he was. I had no idea his dojo was right next door to his house. I was offered the chance to get on film as well, but I was a little too unsure of myself to do that. Turns out I could’ve just let Ron beat up on me, and been fine.

Finally, Lunch time! Surprisingly, I wasn’t all that hungry. I’ve discovered a wonderful citrusy juice/soda drink, but I can’t remember the name of it. We had Chinese food. Kind of bland. Meh.

We went to a park in Shimizu-koen after lunch. It’s the site of that obstacle course thing in the ninjutsu episode of Human Weapon. It’s not a “secret ninja training compound” like they said it was. It’s in the middle of a huge public park, owned by one of the Kikkoman families. There were a bunch of youngsters running a race there! We didn’t get a chance to run through it, but Robin mentioned it might not be a great idea anyway, since the water’s likely freezing cold this time of year. Maybe if we come back during summertime. Before we got to the obstacle course, we happened on a very nice old Japanese man, watching 3 little girls playing in the water, trying to catch some carp in a little stream/pond they have there.  Everyone here always surprises me with how well they speak English. Baka gaijin! I feel like such a jerk whenever I can’t say something in Japanese.  We walked around the park for a long time, until it was konbanwa time.  It’s such a beautiful place, I took lots of pictures. Even some with me in them! Way to ruin the beauty, eh?

Original post by logikal


From the land of the rising sun, Post 2.

Ξ March 23rd, 2008 | → 0 Comments | ∇ travel, blog, ninja, japan |


So, day 2 in Japan started early, with a traditional japanese breakfast of cooked whole fish (it still had eyes!), raw egg, rice, pickled veggies, miso soup, seaweed, and some dark squiggly stuff. I tried everything, except the fish. I couldn’t quite pull it off. Raw egg on rice was alright, but probably not something I’ll ever order again.

We headed to the store, where Ron grabbed this shopping cart. A little different, eh? Then we split up for the day.

Getting cash out of an ATM machine in Japan can only be done in one place, the post office. Had I known this, I wouldnt have gone on a 2 hour trek, that had 2 very wonderful Japanese people walking Ashley and I around town. Now I know though.

Oh, my Engrish phrase for the day: “Luck is Smilling” Seen on a T-shirt in a department store today.

Noodle Bowls here are amazing.

We visited a local graveyard in Noda, then went to Atago Shrine yesterday before class. We had dinner at a place called Seiziriya (I think) surprisingly good pizza (there’s not a lot of japanese food there, but you get a really good value). We headed to the Hombu, and trained with Soke.

Soke has a presence about him that I’m not able to explain. I could tell when he had walked into the dojo, even though there were 120 people in the way. Crazy. Training with him is hard, he goes so fast.

We came back to Kashiwa after class, and tried to figure out how Ashley was going to get to Nagoya on Saturday. We looked around on the internet for a bit then just decided to go to the station and try to get her a ticket. We ran into a musician named Kazuya, and listened to him for a while. He got told to leave by the authorities, and then helped us with trying to get Ashley’s ticket (which we couldn’t, it was too late). He spoke pretty good English, just limited vocabulary. Ashley got his number. We might hang out with him Saturday.

Then I came home at about midnight and got some much deserved sleep.

Original post by logikal


To the land of the Rising Sun

Ξ March 14th, 2008 | → 0 Comments | ∇ travel, blog, ninja |

I leave for Japan on the 19th, and I totally am not prepared for it. Mentally, at least. My fear is that I’ll commit some huge error, and people will ask Ron why the hell I’m a 4th kyu. Once I get over that, I think I’ll be fine.

I’ll be staying in Kashiwa while I’m training, until the 27th. Then I will haul my sorry, broken ass to Tokyo, where Wendy will meet me on the 28th. Then its 4 days of fun and recuperation before I come home on the 31st.

Tasks for the trip: Find the mysterious Chuhai, learn to like sushi, have some awesome street vendor yakitori, and at some point run into a crowd yelling “Godzilla!” I think it’ll be a spectacular time.

Original post by logikal


the obligatory seasonal update

Ξ October 16th, 2007 | → 0 Comments | ∇ travel, blog, ninja |

Been a while, mostly since I was trying to keep the last post at the top so that I could reference its date.

This weekend should be really neato. Friday, camping with Wendy and some people. Hurray camping! It’s been too long, because of that stupid hot daystar thing. I got a neato headlamp that I actually need to go pick up, and the footprint for my tent. Plus, I got these awesome fold up dishes that are about the coolest things ever. I got the set you can see here for a whopping $15. So neat.

Saturday, we’re going to the Magic Castle. I’ve never been, but everyone I know who’s gone has said that it’s ridiculously awesome. And hey, who doesn’t love magic. Only zombies don’t like magic. You’re not a zombie, are you? Good. If you were I’d have to beat you in the face with a bat or something. Really, that’s just too much work.

I skipped a rank in Bujinkan! I’m now a 5th kyu budoka (how we refer to people who take bujinkan)! Hurray me!

I’ve been playing a ton less WoW… like, I’m not sure I can still be considered to be playing it. I still dunno how I feel about that. I miss the playing with people, but I do like all the other stuff I’m doing instead. Meh, probably just another couple-month break.

Original post by logikal



Ξ April 24th, 2007 | → 0 Comments | ∇ travel, blog |

Scotland / Switzerland was awesome. I’ll write about it sometime, I promise. For now, this:

Pic of us in Switzerland Yes, this is a picture of us in Switzerland (ocs is behind the camera =/). That’s a ski run in front of us. The house behind us to the right is our little house(!). Wonderful.

Then I went to Joshua Tree again last weekend. We took maker with us, and had a good time. We’re going again for sure 5/18-5/20. You should come.

I miss my ipod. I added all my music into winamp for the first time in a long time tonight, and there’s a ton of stuff I’d love to listen to in my car, but hate switching out CDs.

I’m having my wisdom teeth taken out this Friday, 4/27. Not looking forward to that, especially since:
1) I owed Uncle Sam a ton of money (my fault)
2) I hate dental work
3)I scheduled this right before a bunch of friends’ birthdays, like a noob. Go me.

I got to see blah today! We hadn’t seen each other in a long time. Claim Jumper == good times.

Work sucks when crap randomly stops working. Want new servers. Going to attempt to premake everything in a VM this week so there’s less set-up time when we do get new hardware, since I assume it will be ordered something like October 15. Also, fiber should be in this week. Hurray!

04.21.2007 Topicon #teamslack by spiney: nuklear’s birthday! nuklear is now 2

Original post by logikal


Joshua Tree, 3/07

Ξ March 9th, 2007 | → Comments Off | ∇ travel |

I’m going out to Joshua tree for the weekend. The weather’s supposed to be really nice this weekend, and the bees hopefully will be, too.
Last time we went, the place burned for a few days. I swear we had nothing to do with it.

here’s a picture, just for you.

joshua tree fire.


I made it back alive. was a bummer that troy and greg couldnt go, but still had a good time.


13 days to scotland

Ξ March 7th, 2007 | → Comments Off | ∇ travel |

yes, only 13 days left to the grand European odyssey.


  • snowboard bag purchased
  • flights purchased
  • train travel purchased


  • backpack or other found
  • talked with doc about altitude meds
  • figured out cash
  • upped alcohol tolerance

I’m leaving on a Jet Plane.

Ξ February 13th, 2007 | → Comments Off | ∇ travel |

I’m leaving the country:

I leave March 18th for places across the pond. I’m going to Scotland to visit Duncan, and then going to Switzerland to znowboard in Zermatt. Here’s the schedule:

  • March 18, 0900: Cavity Search by TSA employees after suspicious Skittles found in back pocket.
  • March 18, 0915: Swat team called in. Accidentally packed 3.25″ knife in check-on luggage.
  • March 18, 1200: Board plane. Ass is sore.
  • March 18, 1320: master_d is mistaken for VC war criminal midflight. Ends up chained to commode for remainder of flight to Atlanta.
  • March 18, 1900: Debark from plane. Convince officials master_d is not VC.
  • March 18, 2100: Board plane to Europe.
  • March 18, 2102: logikal^ silences crying baby. Mother begins wailing.
  • March 18, 2103: logikal^ silences wailing mother. Plane becomes quiet.
  • March 19, 0835: logikal arrives in the fatherland
  • March 19, 0845: duncan picks up travelers
  • March 19, 0900: Breakfast and beer
  • March 19, 1230: travellers pass out
  • March 19, 2045: Drinking begins
  • March 21, 1700: Pub crawl begins. group too pissed to get to first pub
  • March 21, 2100: logikal has sex with a sheep to comemmorate his birthday
  • March 22, 0900: Board train to Zurich; logikal^ wonders why his ass is sore.
  • March 22, 1800: Attempt to find little house in Zermatt
  • March 22, 2030: Incredibly lost. build igloo
  • March 23, 0800: Find house. Pass out
  • March 23, 0900: Snowboard Zermatt
  • March 23, 0930: logikal^ hurts ankle. cannot board.
  • March 23, 1000: logikal^ finds swedish massage. accepts fortune cookie as “happy ending”
  • March 23, 1900: logikal^ finds hot swedish twins. Celebrates “birthday” with them
  • March 23, 1600: Drinking resumes

You get the idea.


  • Rumours and Lies