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Greetings & Salutations

These are random thoughts & musings from the zenX13 collective. This interupted discourse is presented on an infrequent basis - please return semi-often to view the new-ish ramblings.

Who / What / Why??

zenX13 is a digital personification of myself - Sean Smith. This site has been constructed as a hub to connect to my social networking sites and as a conduit for my thoughts and passions. More...

You Want to do it the Right Way?

My mind started to spin… I heard myself mentally asking: “Really? Do you want to mess this project up by doing it the right way?”
My mind started to spin… I heard myself mentally asking: “Really? Do you want to mess this project up by doing it the right way?”

Saturday - October 18, 2014 (1:32 pm)

Over the years I’ve had many initial project meetings with clients where we talk about the requirements for their new website.

Most times the client provides me with some basic information about them, a business card and some vague instructions – from there we have to spin our magic and make something out of nothing. This isn't always the case but with smaller projects it usually is.

It's not the best solution but it seems to be what clients expect and as far as they want to contribute.

So a couple of weeks ago I found myself in a similar situation with a new client. The initial meeting was coming to a close and I started to explain that we would be moving onto the design phase next. They looked confused… “I think we are getting ahead of ourselves.” they said.

You don’t know us – how can you start the design process? We need to have a visioning session to determine what is needed and for you to understand who we are.

My mind started to spin… I heard myself mentally asking: “Really? Do you want to mess this project up by doing it the right way?”

They then said to forget about the budget and just bill an hourly amount on figuring this out before we start the project.

I was confused, this was so refreshing! Why can’t all projects be like this? I quickly adjusted and pressed on excitedly!

A couple of days later it hit me: Am I so used to this not happening I don’t give it a chance? Have I been doing a disservice to my clients by expecting less and not trying for a greater start to a project?

The Take Away

I have re-assessed the goals of our initial client meetings and am now going to try as hard as possible to drive the project to a larger requirements gathering / visioning agendas.

The Big Picture

This event has also opened my eyes to look out for other forms of stagnation in all aspects of life. We get so used to our same ways to accomplish tasks and how we do things that we can lose sight of the real goal and just go through the same motions.

Pay attention - it is time to break free.
Let’s get social:

The Learning Process Never Sleeps...

If you are reading this article you are viewing the newest version of this website. I have had a personal website since 1995 and like anything that gets old it needs to be maintained. There have been many versions over the years in many formats.
If you are reading this article you are viewing the newest version of this website. I have had a personal website since 1995 and like anything that gets old it needs to be maintained. There have been many versions over the years in many formats.

Monday - August 4, 2014 (1:55 pm)

After a couple of months of work the latest version of zenX13 is now live!

If you are reading this article you are viewing the newest version of this website. I have had a personal website since 1995 and like anything that gets old it needs to be maintained. There have been many versions over the years in many formats.

This version takes advantage of a responsive grid system providing the user with an “easy-to-use” experience across all platforms: monitor, tablet or smart-phone. The layout of the site will self-adjust based on the size of your screen.

Life is a learning process...

Over the last while I have been reading, testing and learning this newer format of HTML/web construction. Learning is good. It keeps you on your toes and reminds you to not stall and remain the same.

Over the years I have often used the zenX13 site as a learning ground for industry trends to aid in my profession - this version is no different.

So, I present to you the latest installment of this adventure - until we meet again!

When the Dog Bites. When the Bee Stings...

Ok, I admit that I am a bit of a hoarder and I am working on that issue, but I have some very special items that I'd find it hard to be without.
Ok, I admit that I am a bit of a hoarder and I am working on that issue, but I have some very special items that I'd find it hard to be without.

Wednesday - June 18, 2014 (7:15 pm)

Ok, I admit that I am a bit of a hoarder and I am working on that issue, but I have some very special items that I'd find it hard to be without.

I have collected many items in a number of assorted collections: vinyl records, scooters, vintage cameras, Viewmasters, comics, Bettie Page / Pin-Up ephemera, Soda Pop memorabilia... the list goes on.

All that aside, there are a certain number of very special items I have gathered over the years that I would find it very difficult not to have.

So like the song says: these are a few of my favourite things...


Closing thoughts...

Is it ok to feel so connected to some random physical objects? I'm not sure, I know with each one it is more than the object but rather all the good thoughts and feelings they evoke. At the end of the day it isn't too hard to hold onto these small items, at least one of them isn't something huge like a vintage boat anchor!

So, what are your favourite things?

Until next time...

Number-a-Day, My New 365 Project

I have found a great way to harness this inspirational force: daily drawing projects. I started my third “drawing-a-day” project this year and having an output for this energy makes life easier and more fulfilling. This year it is a drawn number for each day of the year, starting at 1 on New Year’s Day right through to 365 on next New Year’s Eve. Even my brother-in-law was inspired by this new adventure and is also partaking on his own number-a-day project.
I have found a great way to harness this inspirational force: daily drawing projects. I started my third “drawing-a-day” project this year and having an output for this energy makes life easier and more fulfilling. This year it is a drawn number for each day of the year, starting at 1 on New Year’s Day right through to 365 on next New Year’s Eve. Even my brother-in-law was inspired by this new adventure and is also partaking on his own number-a-day project.

Sunday - March 16, 2014 (3:11 pm)

A couple of years ago I stopped apologising for who I am. I know that sounds bad but hear me out.

For my whole life I have been inspired / obsessed with a multitude of ideas and passions. The majority of them are of an artistic nature but the drive also spills over into many other areas. It’s hard to explain but a vision come into my consciousness as a small flickering flame and starts to grow... in a short time it is a full inferno and it has to be released!

I’m sure you creative types out there can understand me. Many others cannot.

I have friends who can’t see why I would spend hours hunched over a desk drawing or working with silver or pouring through old records. Like I said – it’s hard to explain but I have found if I am not true to these passions I am not a good person. Withholding the creative energy, not allowing it to surface and grow makes me frustrated and darkens all my dealings with life in general.

I have found a great way to harness this inspirational force: daily drawing projects. I started my third “drawing-a-day” project this year and having an output for this energy makes life easier and more fulfilling. This year it is a drawn number for each day of the year, starting at 1 on New Year’s Day right through to 365 on next New Year’s Eve. Even my brother-in-law was inspired by this new adventure and is also partaking on his own number-a-day project.

You can view the daily progress on: Flickr or Instagram!

The downside to this type of obsessive nature is the spill over. I have found I like to count, gather and track things. I tend to test myself and see how long I can continue doing certain tasks. Some examples are:

  • The Nite Club Pirate Radio show I host on most Friday nights – this is the 3rd year of broadcasting and we are nearing 100 shows!
  • Over the last 8 years I have gone for a scooter ride at least once in every month of the year – including all winter months! -24 C is the coldest I have ridden in!
  • I have worked at the same creative studio for almost 18 years.
  • I keep detailed records of how many days I ride my scooter to work and on the weekends, constantly trying to reach new yearly totals.
  • Let’s not even get started talking about all the vintage cameras, radios, View-Masters and other assorted I items I collect!
So, like I said at the beginning – I stopped apologizing for who I am. As long as I am not hurting anyone I have to be me... to deny this is to not be true to myself, and I kinda like being me.

From the Back to the Front in One Easy Step!

Sunday - January 12, 2014 (9:13 pm)

I like a lot of varied bands.

My wife’s musical tastes are usually not in sync with mine and that is ok although there are a couple of specific crossroads where we do intersect.

One of our areas of agreement is with the seminal Canadian band Blue Rodeo. In my opinion these guys are a true Canadian treasure. Their catalogue of songs is amazing, they have always stuck to their sound and not altered to attract an American audience.

One of our areas of agreement is with the seminal Canadian band Blue Rodeo. In my opinion these guys are a true Canadian treasure. Their catalogue of songs is amazing, they have always stuck to their sound and not altered to attract an American audience.
One of our areas of agreement is with the seminal Canadian band Blue Rodeo. In my opinion these guys are a true Canadian treasure. Their catalogue of songs is amazing, they have always stuck to their sound and not altered to attract an American audience.
Their previous album “The Things we Left Behind” a double LP from 2009 is a master craft of music - in my opinion it is the band’s “Petsounds”. We have both enjoyed their music for many years and have seen them a number of times.

So late last year I wasn’t paying attention and missed the notice that Blue Rodeo was coming to town. I wanted to obtain some tickets for my lovely wife as a Christmas gift and decided to go ahead even though we were at the back of the auditorium.

We went to the show last night and watched the first half of the concert form the back of the room. Towards the end of the first set (their new album: In Our Nature) Greg Keelor, of the band, commented that there were two sets of empty seats in the front row – maybe they were watching the flames lose he joked.

Well, I have been to a lot of concerts over the years, around 300, and have had many interesting experiences. If there were empty seats at the front we were going to sit in them! I scoped the layout and we headed down at intermission, low and behold we located the seats - traded with the people next to us to give them the better view (they were there first after all) and proceeded to enjoy the show from the front!

After the show finished we hung around at the front for a couple of minutes, when opportunity presented itself I asked a member of the road crew if they could get me a set list. These guys are very busy and you don’t want to bother them – I always ask with I know you are busy, if you get a minute at some point could you... The roadie was super nice and snagged me a copy with a big smile, another one for the collection (the set list, I don’t collect smiles... they’re free).
After the show finished we hung around at the front for a couple of minutes, when opportunity presented itself I asked a member of the road crew if they could get me a set list. These guys are very busy and you don’t want to bother them – I always ask with I know you are busy, if you get a minute at some point could you... The roadie was super nice and snagged me a copy with a big smile, another one for the collection (the set list, I don’t collect smiles... they’re free).
They didn’t let us down - a superb performance. So many great songs and both Cuddy and Keelor have amazing voices and song writing abilities. If you haven’t seen the band I highly recommend them.

After the show finished we hung around at the front for a couple of minutes, when opportunity presented itself I asked a member of the road crew if they could get me a set list. These guys are very busy and you don’t want to bother them – I always ask with “I know you are busy, if you get a minute at some point could you...”. The roadie was super nice and snagged me a copy with a big smile, another one for the collection (the set list, I don’t collect smiles... they’re free).

Such a fun night out with my favourite person, enjoying a band we both like, sneaking around to the front row - at the end of the day I guess I’m still that 16 year old kid hanging out at concerts.

My New Year’s Resolution: 2014 X 768

Did you ever wonder why we make New Year’s resolutions?
Did you ever wonder why we make New Year’s resolutions?

Sunday - January 1, 2014 (4:03 pm)

Did you ever wonder why we make New Year’s resolutions?

I did and it seems it dates back as far as 4,000 years ago to the Babylonians who made New Year’s promises to the gods with aspirations of favour in the future.

In 46 B.C. Julius Caesar moved the first day of the New Year to January 1 in honour of the Roman God of beginnings – Janus to whom the Romans made their New Year’s promises to (Janus not Caesar).

Today it is estimated about 40% of us will make resolutions with only 8-12% achieving the goals we set for ourselves.

But why do we still do it?

Some say it is a way to erase our errors of the past, to begin anew, with a clean slate. Regardless of the reasons make sure you set resolutions that are attainable, specific, measurable and fun.

For what it’s worth – these are mine:
  1. Spend more quality time with my lovely wife
  2. Exercise (not “more” like most people, just “any” as I’m currently not!)
  3. Make time for studying Taoism & Zen meditation
  4. Try harder at work
  5. Partake in another “one-a-day” project
  6. Look into the feasibility of a quarterly, independent, printed mini-magazine
Ok – a little ambitious? We’ll, I have often said: “you need to shoot for the stars to reach the moon”.

Here’s to all of you and to 2014!

Cheers!
Sean
END 2013 - scroll down for more...

Hi - My Name is Sean Smith and I am Blog Deficient.

I work in the digital world but I never update my blog...
I work in the digital world but I never update my blog...

Saturday - November 30, 2013 (12:47 pm)

I work in the digital world but I never update my blog...

I guess it is from a form of “Cobblers Children Syndrome” but this poor blog receives very little love from me. How did I go nearly a year without a post? A lot certainly happened!

I flew to Las Vegas to see the Who, the Specials in Vancouver, attended many scooter rallies, met my new nephew & niece, made some amazing new friends, lost a loved one, weathered a major flood, saw my youngest son leave for his 2nd year of University, saw my oldest flourish at his chosen profession, bought a very rare vintage Lambretta scooter... the list goes on but it didn’t inspire me enough to post any of it.

I started this new blog a couple of years ago as a way to speak out about trends, interests and to document elements / events in my life – it doesn’t look like I do or say very much.

Regardless, the interwebs tell me that you can cure this syndrome, and the 1st step, like any other problem, is to admit you have a problem... so,

Hi - my name is Sean Smith and I am blog deficient.

The source tells me I need to recognize and resolve the problem then let go of past regret – this is my attempt at this next step. I am taking time out of my busy schedule (why do we all have such busy schedules?) and posting something.

Their 7 Step Plan has me doing a number of things making me feel like I just signed up to AA, but I guess all problems share similar paths.

So let’s start fresh and see how I do. I have things to say. I just need to be more focussed and take the time, for in the end, time is all we really have.
END 2012 - scroll down for more...

Welcome to the Jetset...

Man, did we see some great concerts this year!
Man, did we see some great concerts this year!

Sunday - December 30, 2012 (6:13 pm)

Man, did we see some great concerts this year!

So I got a little carried away this year but in my defence I had no option. The Who was performing Quadrophenia in Toronto, Roger Waters playing The Wall in Vancouver and sir Paul McCarntey (first time touring Canada in a long time) was in Edmonton… what would you do?

My son, Connor, and I were very fortunate to jetset across the country and check out the Who & Roger Waters and my oldest, Stefan, my wife and I ventured north in a winter’s storm to see Sir Macca!

The Who... my favourite band. Quadrophenia... my all-time favourite album, by any artist, period.

This was the concert to see this year! Tickets went on sale when I was on holidays in Newfoundland early in the summer. My amazingly understanding wife patiently waited to head to the airport while I logged in to buy some great seats through my Who fan club membership!

Fast-forward a number of months – Connor and I fly out to YYZ for a quick weekend with the Who!

The show was completely amazing – one I thought I might never have the chance to see. Too young for the original in 1973, out of work and strapped financially for the 1996 tour. This one made up for it! Watching them roar through the complete album was a lifetime memory for me... a life-goal now checked off.

Their encore was equally brilliant: Who Are You, Behind Blue Eyes, Pinball Wizard, Baba O’Riley, Won’t Get Fooled Again, and Tea & Theatre (from their latest studio album - 2006’s Endless Wire).

We stayed at the Hôtel Le Germain Maple Leaf Square directly connected to the Air Canada Centre but foolishly hung out backstage in the freezing cold for over an hour with hopes we would see the band. No luck there but I did meet a fellow fan who knew the guitar tech and gave me one of Pete’s guitar picks! Such a highlight!



Roger Water’s the Wall probably deserves a whole article to itself. It was a truly amazing theatrical event and I was so happy to experience it with my son.

Sir Paul was also an entertaining show and another highlight of the year – having the opportunity to see him perform Wonderful Christmas Time was such a treat! In 1979 we were living in England and were out driving around in the back country and came across his castle. We could hear them recording the song – the festive music drifting over the fields – magical.



So, I am older now, more established and completely aware of how fortunate I am to be able to see such incredible talent across such a large country... welcome to the jetset.

A Passion for Vinyl...

A Passion for Vinyl...
A Passion for Vinyl...

Sunday - March 20, 2012 (10:48 pm)

I’ve been collecting records since I was a kid.

I slowed down for a while about 15 years ago but found myself missing the tactile element of the medium and returned about 5 years ago. This reborn passion has lead to a new interest in my life… DJ-ing.

My loving wife, who usually knows me better than myself, saw this emerging and hooked me up with turntables and a mixing system for a kick-ass gift. So I became the house DJ – spinning vinyl whenever I had the chance and whenever anyone came over! This became my training ground.

Well, me being me, I wanted to push it further and try something new. I figured out how to broadcast the vinyl records over the internet and started a live Friday night radio show! So each Friday the Nite Club fires up at 9 PM and offers Northern Soul, Soul, MOD, Brit Pop, Garage, Ska, 2 Tone, Rock Steady, Motown & Reggae.

The radio show is gaining support and has quite a few members listening in! I try to organize a produced show with cool tunes and some insightful information about the music, the bands, and the different eras.

Again, one thing always leads to another. Last week I was in a local record shop and was asked if I wanted to DJ a live event. The Radio Show broadcasts to invisible digital people whereas this would be playing to a room full of real human bodies! Still, regardless of the concern, I had to say yes!

Two days later I found myself in front of a filled venue with over 30 people from the crowd dancing to the Soul sounds I was spinnin’!



The event ran from 11:30PM till 5:00AM the next day! I DJ-ed around the two bands that played and was fortunate to spend some time with the headline act “The Ballantynes” who had an amazing show! A number of the members are associated with the East Van Soul Club where they hold awesome Soul nights each month! They really appreciated what I was playing... all-in-all it was a brilliant night!

So, where to now?
The Radio Show continues next Friday.

After that?
Well, with my first Northern Soul “all-nighter” under my belt the sky’s the limit!

Keep the Faith!
END 2011 - scroll down for more...

iRoBoT365...

iRoBoT365...
iRoBoT365...

Saturday - December 31, 2011 (3:32 pm)

iRoBoT365 - a drawing a day...

What a long, strange trip it’s been...

On January 1st 2011 I set off to draw a comic strip each day based on an interesting little robot character I created.

Previously in 2010 I had drawn a skull a day for a year but this project was quite different. It was more of a story, a tale of what this poor little lost soul encountered on his abrupt visit to our world.

Some days were exciting with much to say – others were boring and hard to create something new. I found that many times the daily entry was more like a journal of my life than a witty look at the world.

Regardless I was steadfast in my resolve & diligent in my delivery.

My poor creation found love, compassion, ignorance, rejection and many of the emotions we all face on our daily struggles. He tried to understand our life but in honesty, I don’t think we get it half the time!

I am so very happy for developing this project! I had incredible support from my family – stealing time away from them each day to draw and publish each comic strip. I am extremely thankful to them for allowing me that space.

I also had amazing support from online-friends who were always encouraging with their comments. Thanks - [rich], Noah Scalin, fillzees, Zook, ashwinishetty94, farmerkern, BumbleB2na, Albinal, Dr. Strangebot, Talbotics, Tinkerbots, qismet_99, Gusztáv-történetek, litus1980.

So now onto 2012 – I am taking this next year off with regards to a drawing-a-day project. I have many creative ideas in mind and am looking forward to developing as many as I can!

Thanks for your support!

Cheers!
Sean

END 2010 - scroll down for more...

2010 Personal Annual Report...

2010 Personal Annual Report...
2010 Personal Annual Report...

Thursday - December 30, 2010 (5:15 pm)

ZenX13 2010 Annual Report


Well it’s not January…

It was my goal to have this Annual Report for 2010 launched in January of this year – guess I missed the deadline a little. Well, that certainly seems to sum up this year – I know I have felt way too busy and many others I have spoken to feel the same way.

Regardless, I have tried to eke out some time here and there and am now finally finished!

This year’s version was quite a departure from last year’s – A new design, and for the geeks out there, not an image but complete HTML/CSS.

I probably spend way too much time on these (over 100 hours this year) but I do enjoy creating them and look forward to viewing them many years from now!

So here you go – if you have a minute please take a look and feel free to leave a comment.

Cheers!
Sean

Special thanks to Nicholas Felton for his inspiration.

My Christmas Miracle...

My Christmas Miracle...
My Christmas Miracle...

Sunday - December 26, 2010 (8:39 pm)

Your father is in the hospital...


Not the words you want to hear across the phone.


My dad started getting extremely bad chest pains about 2 weeks ago. My mother rushed him to their small town’s hospital upon which they sent him to our city via ambulance.

He was really sick...


The next week was a wash of questions & emotions... how bad is he, how much should we be worried, I’m afraid, is he going to be ok, I’m so tired, when will the results be back, when can he eat... endless.


I haven’t had to deal with a sick family member in the hospital before - that was indeed an experience. On top of all this, my brother arrived from overseas for a long awaited visit - all on the day this happened. It was so painful for me to greet him at the airport, break the news to him - and then drive straight to the hospital.


It was one of the longest weeks of my life...


Well, I am happy to say this sad story does have a happy ending... Dad was released from the hospital four days before Christmas with a clean bill of health! Our Christmas plans may have been interrupted with worry and a lot of hospital waiting but in the end it didn’t really matter if we missed time to shop for that right gift or stock up on food... dad was ok, he was home, my brother was back for Christmas and the family was all together!


Half way through this ordeal our oldest son tried to put a positive spin on the events. He said if you look at what ’s going on (father is sick, son arrives form afar etc.) we are making a Christmas movie and that he would have to be out for Christmas!


So now I ask of each of you... stop for a minute... think about your loved ones. Give them a hug, or a phone call. Remember how lucky we are to have them in our lives for they really are our Christmas miracles!

“May the spirit of Christmas bring you peace,
The gladness of Christmas give you hope,
The warmth of Christmas grant you love.”

~Author Unknown


As a point of note, the Cardio staff at the Peter Lougheed Hospital in Calgary all deserve a medal for their amazing compassion and care. Many people complain about our Health Care System... after this last few weeks I really find it hard to see that opinion. I also need to thank my kind boss and amazing co-workers who allowed me to miss so much time at work to be with my father... I am in your debt.


HAPPY CHRISTMAS TO ALL!

Christmas Tradition...

Christmas Tradition...
Christmas Tradition...

Monday - December 6, 2010 (10:32 pm)

One of my favourite Christmas traditions has always been following the British Pop Charts to see what the number 1 song is at Christmas.

This is a pretty big deal in Britain and dates back to the 1950’s. The 2003 film “Love Actually” excellently depicted this tradition with Bill Nighy’s character, Billy Mack, gunning for the coveted #1 slot.

British Pop Charts have always been a mishmash of musical styles and genres making it a completely diverse blend of music. Christmas is no exception.

Many years have seen Christmas styled songs make it while others have seen non-Christmas or gimmick songs work their way to the top:

  • 1957 - Harry Belafonte: “Mary’s Boy Child
  • 1963 - The Beatles: “I Want to Hold Your Hand
  • 1973 - Slade: “Merry Xmas Everybody
  • 1979 - Pink Floyd: “Another Brick in the Wall (Part 2)
  • 1984 - Band Aid: “Do They Know It’s Christmas?
  • 2000 - Bob The Builder: “Can We Fix It?


In recent years Simon Cowell’s UK talent show, X Factor, has ruled the chart with Number 1 placements in 2005, 2006, 2007 & 2008. But last year we saw a Facebook petition site manage to place Rage Against the Machine’s “Killing in the Name” at the top spot, dethroning the X Factor royalty!

So far this year there are a number of interesting entries and the charts have started to gain momentum!

I wanted to share one of my favourite Christmas traditions with you - I’ll first list some of my favourites and then a fuller list of other possibilities after. As the race develops I’ll update this page with the new information – Merry Christmas all!


zenX13 Favourites


Xander Rawlins - “1000 Miles Apart
A Captain in the 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards, Xander has this moving song for his Christmas offering:



The Pogues & Kirsty McColl - “Fairytale Of New York
A Christmas favourite! Already in the charts and here’s hoping it will finally make it to number 1! Nollaig Shona Duit:



George Michael - “December Song
George released this song on Christmas day last year as a gift - it is now poised to take on #1! It is a really sentimental song with an amazing animated video.
 - Click here to listen/view


Little Red Ambulance - “Maybe This Christmas!
Originally recorded in camp Bastian by two of the band members on active duty. They have re-recorded it or this Christmas.
 - Click here to listen/view


Other Possibilities

  • Coldplay - “Christmas Lights” - listen/view
  • Mariah Carey - “All I Want For Christmas Is You” - listen/view
  • Mariah Carey - “Oh Santa!” - listen/view
  • Michael Jackson - “Hold My Hand” - listen/view
  • Ellie Goulding - “Your Song” - listen/view
  • Harry Hill - “I Want a Baby” - listen/view
  • Shane MacGowan and The Priests - “The Little Drummer Boy” - listen/view
  • Bryn Terfel and Bing Crosby - “White Christmas” - listen/view
  • A Taste Of Quo - “I Can’t Wait For Christmas Day” - listen/view
  • Train - “Shake Up Christmas” - listen/view

Due to last year’s Facebook success there are a large number of Facebook fan sites promoting everything from 4 minutes of silence to a “Rick-rolled” Rick Astley Christmas!

Be Water, my Friend...

Be Water, my Friend...
Be Water, my Friend...

Sunday - November 21, 2010 (7:42 pm)

Winter comes. Snow arrives. I complain...


This is my usual ritual after the autumn. Well this year we had a poor summer (worst on record in a long while) but... our fall was amazing, and long!


So when October ended and there was no snow I was happy. Then when it was 2 weeks into November and no snow yet I found myself thinking...


“This has been a great fall - and yes the snow arrives tomorrow and I can’t change that. So I can accept it and move on or not accept it and start complaining.”


Well for once I got it right! I accepted that the snow & cold was arriving soon and I’ve found this first very cold and snowy week easy to live with. My mind was in the right space to go with what I couldn’t change.

“You cannot control what happens to you, but you can control your attitude toward what happens to you, and in that, you will be mastering change rather than allowing it to master you.”

- Brian Tracy


So, I am feeling pretty good about this. It makes me remember why I enjoyed Taoist beliefs and wonder why I don’t try to follow them more. Go with it, don’t let it get to you - change what you can.


As many of you know I am a contributor to the social media site: Momentile - it’s a photo-a-day site where you express your life’s events by uploading a photograph from each of your days. Well, I have consecutively uploaded a photo for almost 600 days and last Friday the site’s service provider turned off the website due to a misunderstanding. I was unable to upload my daily photo... the first time in over a year and a half.


Those of you who know me know I am a creature of habit and a little OCD, so this type of event would normally render me paralytic! Well with my new “go-with-the-flow” attitude I was able to deal with this event I could not change and work around it.


I am learning to change what I can, to accept what I can’t and to change my thinking to work around the unchangeable... am I growing?

“Empty your mind, be formless, shapeless - like water. Now you put water into a cup, it becomes the cup, you put water into a bottle, it becomes the bottle, you put it in a teapot, it becomes the teapot. Now water can flow or it can crash. Be water, my friend.”

- Bruce Lee


Be water, my friend...

What Really Matters...

What Really Matters...
What Really Matters...

Wednesday - October 13, 2010 (9:31 pm)

The last trapped Chilean miner was brought up to safety about an hour ago. He was trapped half a mile under the ground for over 60 days and he was finally lifted to safety.


His first act - a big hug to his son.


I get to (and do) hug my boys every day but I must admit I have taken it for granted.


I can’t imagine a world where I wouldn’t get that hug - it’s certainly a world I wouldn’t want to be part of.


Chile has been thrust into the world’s limelight and we have all watched them cry, work, pray and succeed in rescuing their lost. They have come through at the critical time and have given us something to be a small part of.


This has been a time of anticipation and in the end happiness & exhilaration. As I write this the last rescue worker is on his way to the surface. I feel emotional from these events. I think this is one of those times when you feel a re-calibration occur within and you look at things a little differently.


Don’t take life for granted... love those around you...


I am looking forward to giving my boys a hug tonight!

skull3sixfive Project...

skull3sixfive Project...
skull3sixfive Project...

Saturday - June 5, 2010 (6:31 pm)

>>View the skull3sixfive project on flickr


In the fall 2009 I decided to pick up my very dusty watercolours and create a paintings for my wife and two sons as Christmas presents.


They turned out really well and I was very inspired to return to some tactile artistic endeavours. My profession as a Creative Director allows me to develop many digital projects but it was very rewarding to create something more tangible and real!


This planted a seed in my brain... around the same time I stumbled upon a website:

skull-a-day where Noah Scalin created an artistic skull each day of the year. This  became my inspiration to create a small art-piece each day with the focus on skulls.


When I was younger I often drew skulls and have always had a fascination with them and the human form/condition. By removing the "what should I draw" element it became much simpler to just create something new each day.


So on January 1st, 2010 I embarked on my skull-a-day voyage! I am nearing the half-way point and have successfully stayed true to the theme!

Is it challenging?


Yes... some days it feels a bit like a chore and the quality is reflected in the product. I have also found my distal interphalangeal joint in my index finger (last joint nearest the finger nail) has become very sore. Stands to reason - I have never drawn a picture every day for over 150 days straight! I have been trying to compensate by holding the pen/pencil etc. differently.


Other days it is exhilarating and extremely rewarding!


I have been posting the drawings to a flickr account since its inception - usually placing new ones up on the weekend. Through this process I have connected with others around the world with similar projects. One individual in England started the same day as I for the same reasons as I - he was also inspired by the skull-a-day site! We had never spoken before - just met traveling down the same digital highway!


Well the project goes on - I look forward to the completed book, 365 different drawings, sketches, paintings - all of skulls... one years worth... a day at a time.

2009 Personal Annual Report...

2009 Personal Annual Report...
2009 Personal Annual Report...

Sunday - January 3, 2010 (7:01 pm)

ZenX13 2009 Annual Report


About 6 months ago I stumbled upon the Datum website and started to use the statistical site. As I looked into it more I found Nicholas Felton’s amazing annual reports.


I was very inspired by his work and decided to create my own Personal Annual Report!

This started with design work and the decision to display it in a web format Whereas Nicholas’ version has been published as a book!


Next was the gathering of data - an arduous task! Of course, going into it, I didn’t recognize the scope of it!

Slowly, over time, the site came together and really has become a great medium for a overview of 2009 from my perspective. I estimate about 60 hours of work went into the development of this report/project.


It will be a great tool for my reminiscing but I hope you also find it interesting!

END 2009 - scroll down for more...

Youtego Self-Visualization...

Youtego Self-Visualization...
Youtego Self-Visualization...

Monday - December 28, 2009 (4:24 pm)

Testing out a new Social Media site called Youtego - it is an interesting graphical format info-display site.


In their words: Youtego is a new visual tool for self-visualization in the net. We believe in the concept of “recognize yourself to recognize the world around you”.


I am finding it interesting and obviously am drawn to the graphical interface!

Eternally Thankful...

Eternally Thankful...
Eternally Thankful...

Saturday - November 14, 2009 (12:31 pm)

The modern day World Wide Web(WWW) that we know was created by Tim Berners-Lee in 1989 while working at CERN. He is an MIT professor, the director of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3S), a knight of the British empire, listed as Time Magazine’s 100 Most Important People of the 20th Century, also listed as one of the Telegraph’s 100 greatest geniuses... the list goes on. [more on wikipedia ]


About three weeks ago this very busy man took a couple of minutes out of his day to send me an email.

October 21 - another hectic day at the office - I was completing our October Newsletter and checking some facts. This mission lead me to a site about Mr. Berners-Lee, a person who I have always been familiar with and had the utmost respect for.


Now, it has always been a philosophy of mine that you should show your appreciation to people for what they have done, especially if it has touched you directly, profoundly. But in a pleasant manner so as not to bother them! With this sentiment I foolishly sent a thank you letter to a very busy man... I never expected him to receive it or read it - here is what I said:


Mr. Berners-Lee,

I am sorry to bother you as I know you are a very busy man. I just wanted to say I am eternally thankful for your work and vision in creating what we know as the World Wide Web.

I am a creative director for an Internet Design Firm (a position I have had for over 13 years). I started creating websites in 1994 - migrating from a basic graphics background. I have an established and rewarding career and it is you who I owe my success to.

Once again - thank you!

Cheers!
Sean Smith, LGDC


So, I went about my business with a good feeling that I took time out to say thanks... well the next day this arrived in my inbox:

I will remember this small act for the rest of my life.

I will remember this small act for the rest of my life.

I was frozen. I looked at the sender’s name over and over... I couldn’t believe an important man, a busy man, a man with no connection to me, took time out of his day to reply to my message! In my book this is a mark of a true man.


I will remember this small act for the rest of my life.


So I challenge all of us to remember this story, and to find time in our own busy lives to give to others, whether it be small or large. You never know what that time may mean to someone else.

Barn Find? Pit Find? - ’59 Vespa VBA...

Barn Find? Pit Find? - ’59 Vespa VBA...
Barn Find? Pit Find? - ’59 Vespa VBA...

Tuesday - October 06, 2009 (11:45 pm)

In the scooter world you often hear of a really awesome bike found in a deserted barn and purchased for mere pennies - this has been coined the "barn find". This entry is my barn find tale now known as the "pit find".

I was returning from a client meeting yesterday and stopped on the hill by the Elks golf course to take a pic of my scooter with my portfolio attached… I thought it looked interesting and might be a good momentile photo!

This old gent (Frank) pulls up in a car and starts to talk to me – he was knowledgeable on Vespas and very excited about my bike. Turns out he owned an Allstate 125 in the early/mid 50’s then bought a ’59 VBA in the early 60’s (he was the second owner). He rode it for awhile then had some engine work to be done – he had the cylinder re-bored then needed to have the new piston honed. The piston work never happened and the bike sat for 40+ years next to his house then in the “pit” of his garage.

So now, years later, he has realized that he has too many projects and is getting too old (he is in his 70’s) and will not get around to it. He almost took it off to the dump last weekend as he couldn’t find anyone to take it. I immediately showed my interest and we arranged for me to head over and pick up the engine today as the rest was buried too deep to get out!

We started to realize she would be coming home with us!
We started to realize she would be coming home with us!
Well Stef (my oldest son - thanks for the help buddy!) joined me and we headed to Frank’s - we quickly found he had been working hard and the bike was uncovered and visible in the pit! That’s when we started to realize she would be coming home with us! We also received a large wooden crate with the engine(s?) and spare parts within - the wooden chest requires an inventory. Frank is going to dig out the speedo, new piston & rings and give me a call to pick up soon.

We rode off with our new found treasures and didn’t even exchange any $’s – he just wanted someone who understands the true essence of the scooter to take over and give her a good home!


So now I have a 1959 VBA in my possession waiting to be restored!

Stay tuned!

Social Networks... Social Slaves or Social Masters?

Social Networks... Social Slaves or Social Masters?
Social Networks... Social Slaves or Social Masters?

Saturday - September 19, 2009 (10:45 am)

Lately I find myself defending / extolling the benefits of "social network" websites.

My common mantra is "make them your slave... don’t become their slave". Like anything in life you must receive some sort of benefit for your actions and not feel the effort is only a task.

Over the last year I have been immersing myself in many of the social networks - do I think they will all remain in my circle of influence? No. Right now I am experimenting with many to find the ones I feel fit into my world and psyche. 

I truly believe the future will have us all much more connected than ever imagined - these infant sites are the start of this and I feel it is better to help them grow up than meet them when they are adults.

So, what benefits have I perceived?  Well...

Twitter has given me a broadcast mechanism to easily send out thoughts / feelings / announcements to a specified group very quickly. It has also enabled me to see some a deeper background into others’ lives.

Momentile (one of my current favourites) has allowed me to actually glimpse into the daily lives of others through the photographic medium. I too can share my life with others - 1 photo at a time. I am currently viewing many local friends but also people in the US (Denver, Portland, New York etc.) as well as New Zealand, Australia, Germany, and Turkey. It helps broaden our understanding of how we all interact in this broad world of ours.

Facebook has allowed me to locate and connect with old friends and even the cliché: long lost relative - hi Victoria! It keeps me in touch with friends and events but again, moderate it and don’t become a slave to it.

I feel that these tools allow us to document ourselves, preserving us in a digital mechanism. It is the modern scrapbook or photo album. It is interactive and growing, similar to our real lives... but it is never meant as a replacement - only an enhancement.

5,4,3,2,1 - Ignition...... We Have Lift Off...

5,4,3,2,1 - Ignition...... We Have Lift Off...
5,4,3,2,1 - Ignition...... We Have Lift Off...

Monday - September 7, 2009 (2:14 am)

Well, here she is! zenX13 is now live and on the interweb!

An identity of old, used many times as my userID, has become a site of its own!

It was another night around 1:00 am only a couple of days ago when I realized this site was something I had to do. I got out of bed and registered the domain - panicking with fear that it was already taken... but alas, it was meant to be!

My original plan was to re-build Lab 13 with a new focus - one that I feel is closer to the new direction of the net: a connecting site, used as a hub to all the available social network sites we use. It becomes your virtual identity. I had a moment of clarity when I realized my beloved Lab 13 should remain the think tank and zenX13 was to be my virtual identity - simple, but most good ideas are.

Ok - I’m an old dog... I have been constructing sites for over 15 years and like and old dog I don’t learn new tricks well! So it is with a feeling of accomplishment that I have constructed this site with full CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) layout and not the traditional HTML tables route. The web is changing and finally I am too.

So come along my friends on a new ride... there are exciting changes afoot... let us explore these new developing worlds and like explorers of old we will make our mark on the new frontiers.
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