May 13, 2012 4 Comments
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Thoughts in progress…
March 26, 2012 Leave a comment
So I commissioned the awesome Amanda Drake to create me in a cartoon form. The reason? Well, for one it’s going on the back of my Consumer Camp business cards. For another, I thought it would be pretty cool to have an animated version of me. But the question you’re probably thinking is why did I choose *this* particular look (me wearing a Consumer Camp T-Shirt, listening to music with a backpack on) as the image that represents me as the Director of Consumer Camp?
Well, let me first state that I feel in order to be a good leader, you have to be a good follower. In order to be an effective teacher, you also have to be an effective student. With all that I do with Consumer Camp and teaching people about the benefits of technology, I’m always learning, too. Whether it’s from the people who do the presentations or the attendees with their questions, I always come away knowing something new and different. Therefore, the person you see in this artwork could be someone who’s going off to learn, to better himself, to fill his brain with information — information that he could, then, pass on and share with others.
Then you could also see this character as someone who’s going off to do the teaching. That backpack could be filled with demo tech, USB plugs and more. I could be listening to podcasts (but really I’m listening to Justin Beiber). I’m on my way to represent Consumer Camp at another event, ready to enhance people’s lives and empower them. And hell, in graduate school this *is* pretty much how you saw me on campus.
On a personal level, this character represents me at the beginning of the Consumer Camp journey. What I’ve packed in that bag is a big idea and a dream. I’ve traveled through a road that has taken me past 12 events, shown me signs for 2 more on the horizon and yet I can still see there’s plenty of road ahead. Anyone who knows me knows that music plays a big part in my life, so naturally I had to be listening to music. But more importantly I wanted a character that is cool, calm, ready, and eager…
To learn. To teach.
Again, I want to thank Amanda for the absolutely awesome job she did, taking a description that I had and turning it into a reality.
Oh, did I mention I’m now using this image as the wallpaper on my Windows Phone start screen? Yes, I am.
March 21, 2012 1 Comment
I’m writing this as a fellow artist; as someone who has spent years creating music, performing other works, and interpreting other individual’s creative visions. This whole thing with BioWare is silly. A few gamers who didn’t like an ending to a game have caused an entire company to ‘re-evaluate’ the presentation.
I could only imagine being on a stage, performing what I feel is one of the great jazz compositions I’ve ever written. I get through a hot solo, fantastic melody, cooking beat and the song ends brilliantly. Then someone in the crowd stands up and says “You know, I didn’t like the way you all hit that last note. Can you take it again from the last 8 bars!?”
Um, no. Sit the fuck down.
If I were to let that audience member dictate how songs should be, then why not just go row by row, person by person and ask each individual what they want to hear and how they want to hear it. You know what half those folks will just shrug at me. Some of them will even say “It’s your fucking show. Shouldn’t you already know what you want to play!?”
Yes, that’s the point!
BioWare has spent years agonizing and laboring over a universe that we’ve all grown to know and appreciate. It’s gotta be difficult to not only craft a story that we can all feel emotionally involved with, but to span that over 3 games should be commended. I’m sure they even labored over the ending: How should it end? Would it make sense? They went with what they thought was best.
Insert the waambulance!
A group of folks suddenly felt that BioWare did them wrong and they demand satisfaction. These must be the same people who scream for a free year of Xbox Live when it goes down for 2 hours; you know because Microsoft is their slave and should grant their wishes at every snap of a finger. No, ladies and gentlemen, you didn’t find Aladdin’s lamp.
But BioWare, as a company who wants to make their public happy, is going to re-evaluate their ending and create one that might make a few more people happy. It’s nice to see a company willing to listen to their public, but I don’t think the response should be about pleasing a few. It should be sticking to your guns, your creative vision and feeling content with the product that you’ve produced.
I don’t sit in front of a piano, crafting a jazz piece thinking “I hope that people don’t complain about this chord progression.” You know what I’m thinking? I’m saying to myself “I wrote a fantastic freaking song. This is going to cook when I get it, in front of the guys.” You know who does have the freedom to suggest changes? The band that I’m working with. You know why? Because they’re musicians just like me and they probably have an intricate idea of what could make the song that much better.
You, in the audience. You come listen to the song. You may not like the song, but don’t go writing me to change it. There’s been some crap music released, but I’m not on some Andy Dufrense style writing campaign calling upon these artists to change their music. You know why? Because they have that creative freedom to create what they envision. I can accept it or not.
Want a parallel? Michael Bay is helming a reboot of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, except he’s making the Turtles aliens instead of mutants. We can all sit and complain about that, but I don’t think many of us are going to write to Michael Bay asking him to change them back to mutants. For all intents and purposes, this is Bay’s vision, his budget, actors, greenlight and license to do with this franchise as he sees fit.
For all we know, the movie could actually be good. While we probably won’t like the changes made, one thing will be for certain. It will cause us to think over again about the Turtles history and lexicon. It will force us to rethink how we see that franchise.
For all of these people who complain about an ending to a game they should remember that games are a great escape from the world, but they are also there to give us a new perspective on the world. Not all endings should be cookie-cutter and aim to please the 100%. What makes being an artist so fantastic, is that you have the ability to change perceptions, make people use their brains, force folks to interpret and then reinterpret what they’ve seen and heard.
It’s a beautiful gift that artists have and that shouldn’t be squandered over the outcries of some.
Hey, BioWare. From a fellow artist to another. Understand this. Next year, around this time, people won’t even remember that they were playing Mass Effect 3. They’ll be on to some new shiny nickel, with it’s own set of problems and reasons to bitch. The internet and social media has given rise and a vehicle for a group to voice their displeasures loudly and frequently. I even take to my social pages to vent my frustrations with services and products.
But you created what your heart told you to. You have justified to yourself why it was the way to go. A group of folks may not like that, but there’s a group of us who do. Do not start the slippery slope and create a Pandora’s Box by which people can now feel they can just change anything and dictate to people what they’re creative visions *should* be.
Cause once we do that, then there’s no such thing as creative vision. And that makes me a sad panda.
March 7, 2012 1 Comment
So, I wanted to take a break from the Consumer Camp writing stuff to create a favorites list. I’ve recently began watching Twilight Zone episodes again, thanks to Netflix and it got me to wondering which five episodes could I not live without. It goes without saying that Twilight Zone has produced some of the best television I’ve ever seen: thought-provoking, wonderful acting, great storytelling. Through 5 seasons, you’d think it would be difficult to choose just 5.
It is. Yet, I gave myself that challenge and here are the five that I came up with:
5. The Obsolete Man – I was always engaged in this story. The idea that books have become useless and a totalitarian government decides who should stay and go is very engaging. I also dug it for the kick-ass ending, which if you haven’t seen already I won’t spoil. Burgess Meredith is also wonderful in his role and you can feel his emotional rollercoaster throughout.
4. The Hunt – This one might surprise people, as it’s not one of the more known episodes, but I enjoy it because it’s such a heartwarming story. Essentially, an old hunter dives in to save his dog and they both end up deceased. On their path, they encounter the devil who won’t let the man’s dog into the gates. Ultimately the message here of loyalty shouldn’t be missed. This was also probably the first Twilight Zone episode I shed a tear during.
3. A Stop at Willoughby – If you’ve watched enough Twilight Zone, like I have, then I know you’re familiar with this story. An ad exec is basically on his last rope in dealing with this boss and a wife that doesn’t understand him. He uses his train rides home to drift off to a place called Willoughby that’s very carefree and happy. The end of this one is quite sad, but it definitely ties the entire story together very nicely.
2. Valley of the Shadow – This was during the 4th season, when Twilight Zone had one-hour episodes. I always thought the story was well done and frankly, I wouldn’t mind living in a town like this. But, as Twilight Zone always had a deeper meaning to their story, I can believe — especially given how our government is now — that if we had special power we’d more try to use it destroy others than build up our own people.
1. The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street -Surprised by this choice? Don’t be. Of all the episodes I watch, and even boast about, this is the one I could go back to again and again. Frankly because I’m sure we’ve experienced this kind of thing in our own lives. It’s amazing how quick we can be to turn on each other without any real rhyme, reason or evidence. It would make one think that people weren’t really on our side in the first place and was just looking for some mundane reason to turn against us. This is just an awesome episode.
So there’s my top 5 favorite Twilight Zone episodes. Yes, you could definitely argue for others like “Time Enough At Last”, or “Will The Real Martian Please Stand Up”, but these are the 5 that always stick out in my mind. Luckily, I’ll never have to worry about being with only these 5 shows as I’m able to access the entire series run whenever I want.
February 6, 2012 2 Comments
Put Madonna’s show against past halftime shows and it’s not that bad. Put the show up against the fact that it’s 2012 and you understand why music is becoming quite comical. Music has become no better than Hollywood. This reliance on retreading old ideas, old characters, and old music is frankly, old.
Now, I actually enjoyed Madonna’s show. I love her music, even today. And I understand the whole ‘music is timeless’ aspect, but being timeless doesn’t equate to going to that well all the time. I think the show was well crafted and featured some awesome visuals, but how much of Madonna’s music is relevant in 2012? Sure, she included some artists who are finding success today, but that begs the question why they weren’t the halftime show, themselves? Ok, LMFAO was just an element and I’m glad of that. Cee Lo apparently forgot to turn his autotune on. Nicki Minaj was having so much fun I’m surprised she didn’t just push Madonna out of the way and conclude the show herself.
And hell, I was kinda half expecting Lil Mama to run in after the show was done and pose on the 50 yard line. Yeah, I still think that moment was funny.
But it makes me wonder why we aren’t relying more on current artists to do these halftime shows? As the years progress we should be celebrating the music of that current generation. So by this pattern, the 2015 halftime show will be a reunion of Nu Shooz, Bananarama and Animotion.
Ok, that I could actually live with.
But why aren’t we using artists of today more? I would’ve loved a swing retrospect that used today’s artists like Adele and Bruno Mars. If you’re gonna reunite a group, bring in Big Bad Voodoo Daddy and play clips from the movie “Swingers.”
It just continues to show that today’s music scene continues to be more about autotune and sex appeal than actual talent. No slight against Madonna, but I shouldn’t have to be reminded of my age when watching the show. This would be like the NFL announcing that the starting quarterbacks will be Joe Montana and Troy Aikman. You know, for old time’s sake.
Using Madonna tonight was not a re-introduction of her to a new audience. It was a re-affirmation that we need a bigger infusion of actual talented people in today’s music.
Mark my words, people: 2013 Halftime Show Performer… The Bangles!