I bought this little guy in my monster fascination phase when I was about 7 years old. The fellow was equipped with a parachute and wound up on the roof of our house - sadly, as a punishment, he was nailed to our roof following a broken window incident when I tried to save him. One of my treasures now.
As a small child I adopted 13 as my lucky number - I felt sad for him as it seemed everyone had abandoned him. In my early teens of the 80's we lived in an apartment block where I found this brass tag on an electrical meter. I cleaned off the white paint and it has remained on my keychain for over 30 years.
For many years this small slip of paper from 1967 was the only item that allowed me to live in this great country. It was stapled in my passport for a long time until I finally became a Canadian Citizen in 2005 - even now, all these years later, it still holds a lot of importance to me.
In 1979 my father gave me this amazing kit that he had originally owned. A leather covered wooden box, with a sneaky rod-driven opener, containing an assortment of compass tools. It still contains a dinner ticket from the English school I attended in Kent.
I have had some sort of pocket knife on my person since I was 8 years old. This lovely limited edition version was given to me by my awesome wife about 20 years ago. It has a companion St. Christopher medallion that was a gift from my mum. Days are tough if I forget this at home!
So, I don't even like Labatt's beer. I have no recollection of where this item came from but I have had it since I was 13 - and together we have opened many drinks! In the past, when I have needed to open a bottle and it has gone missing (usually the damn kids) I go into a state of panic - sad, I know.
Well, these are pretty basic wooden chopsticks - nothing very special other than I have been using them (regularly) for over 30 years. There was a year there when I ate all my meals with only chopsticks and these slender pieces of wood are the only ones for me - even after all these years!
The best for last, my granddad bought this silver bracelet for my Nanny in Africa in the 50's. When she passed (love you Nan) about 20 years ago I was able to select this item for myself - and since then it has never come off my wrist... not even in an MRI session or at airport security.
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!
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.
Special thanks to Nicholas Felton for his inspiration.
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
The gladness of Christmas give you hope,
The warmth of Christmas grant you love.”
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!
Many years have seen Christmas styled songs make it while others have seen
non-Christmas or gimmick songs work their way to the top:
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!
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
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!
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...
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!
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.
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!
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!
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:
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!
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 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.
So now I have a 1959 VBA in my possession waiting to be restored!