Monday, December 29, 2008

Ch-Ch-Cha-Check IT!!!

I just found out today that the lead singer (Josh Robinson) of the band I play in (Sunday Morning Drive: name drop #1) has a bunch of videos of his songs (and others he's covered) on YouTube under the name Ninety Percent Normal!  Go J-man, get down with the 21st century!

Josh has been playing guitar, singing and writing songs for many years now and is incredibly talented.  I count it a true blessing to hear his songs let alone play in his band. 

You definitely need to check these videos out - Josh is always worth the listen!

And if you want to hear Josh live (as well as his band, Sunday Morning Drive) we're playing Wednesday, New Years Eve, at a house party in central Phoenix.  Check out our MySpace page for more info: www.myspace.com/smdband

Here's a teaser of Mr. Josh Robinson with his song "The Wolf Man" - hilarious and awesome!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas!

 
This was our Christmas card this year so I thought I'd share it with all of you!  And yes, this was drawn by yours truly.

Have a great Christmas!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Seth Godin Explains Viral Marketing

Seth Godin, 21st-century-marketing genius, explains what viral marketing really is (and really isn't) in his latest blog post.

My favorite quote from the article:

"Viral marketing only works well when you plan for it, when you build it in, when you organize your offering to be spreadable, interesting and to work better for everyone involved when it spreads. If I don't benefit from spreading it, why should I spread it? I won't." - Seth Godin

On a side note you can download a free PDF copy of his book on the subject of viral marketing here: http://sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/files/2000Ideavirus.pdf

So next time you're about to post that stupid-funny video on YouTube, hoping to reel in the bucks for your company, remember the words of Seth Godin: "Something being viral is not, in an of itself, viral marketing."

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Art and Photography Meets Science

I stumbled on Tim Knowles' artwork a few weeks ago and was thoroughly impressed by his unique mix of art/photography and scientific experimentation. Many of his projects take a very scientific approach in order to capture or create the artwork. For example, one project has him attaching pens to the branches of a weeping willow tree and placing a large canvas under the pens. As the wind blows the branches they scratch out their movements on the canvas, which Tim later shows at a gallery along with other similar works from other trees. Very creative!

Check out his website at www.timknowles.co.uk to see more of his work.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Monsters, Monsters, Monsters!!!!

Sweet Monsters are Everywhere!  Well at least at The Daily Monster they are.  Stefan Bucher is a very talented illustrator and designer who is awesome to share his gift of drawing crazy pen and ink monsters with the rest of us!  Check him out!

Here's a little teaser just to get you excited!

Ode to the Bearded

"He that hath a beard is more than a youth, and he that hath no beard is less than a man."
-William Shakespeare

Join the club and get your own facial hair shirt!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Time, Productivity and the Internet

A great designer, typographer and writer, Elliot Jay Stocks, has written and excellent argument on why the first hour of each work day should be set aside for catching up on email, RSS feeds, commenting on blog posts we follow, and general work-related internet surfing. Check it out here. And then you can read my response to his post.

My Response:

While I agree with Elliot I do believe that having the constraint of a time limit, such as an hour or 30 minutes, is very important. It is far too easy for me to let the "design-related" internet research I do (such as following and commenting on fellow designers' blogs, finding design inspiration and checking out other designers' projects and websites) consume far more time than I originally intended and even become an excuse to not work on the project(s) that the original research was intended for. The internet and its vast seas of information can be a great inspirational and educational tool but can easily drown my productivity if I'm not careful. It's all about balance and perspective - the time on the internet in the name of research should help support the time I actually spend in the creative process.

While Elliot's post was specific to designers and creatives at work (and I relate most on this level to his post) I think that much of his argument and my response can be applied to just about any time we spend on the internet whether for professional or personal reasons. If the time spent is not supporting some greater pursuit (maybe things like: building true and deep relationships, creating awareness of a cause I am passionate about or even finding a good deal on that paint the wall behind my desk needs). If its just mindless surfing or knowledge for the sake of knowledge, there is probably a greater use of time elsewhere.

What do you think?

Friday, October 31, 2008

Dems to blame as much as Republicans

Yep. Our country is in a world of hurt - banks failing, $700 billion bailouts, a shot credit market, housing prices diving left and right, and hundreds of thousands of foreclosures nation-wide in one single month. And while we all share a slice of the blame-pie it's been discouraging to see so many Democrats in our government, and Obama in particular, use these hard-times to dump on the Republicans when they are just as much to blame for this crisis as their counterparts on the other side of the aisle.

This video has some pretty damning words for Obama and his Democrats over their own culpability in this mess. Give it watch, it's worth it.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Just some light drumming

sweet vid from the drummer from MuteMath!  Very creative idea for some old light bulbs.  I love what some of these newer bands are doing with the internet, allowing fans to get content so easily that would never have been possible 20 or even 10 years ago.

Sweet Gig Posters

Music Gig + Design + Poster = Sweet goodness for my eyes!  I love everything about a great gig poster - the artwork, the music, and the fact that it's live!  So here's a whole slew of gig posters collected on Andrew Lidstrom's web design blog, WellMedicated.com.  Have fun!

"50 Amazing Gig Posters Sure to Inspire" collected by Andrew Lidstrom

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Motion Typography

Some awesome motion typography treatments found via YouTube:























Josh Robinson of Sunday Morning Drive: Open Mic Nights

So the lead singer from my band Sunday Morning Drive, Mr. Josh Robinson, has been playing twice a week at various open mic nights around Tempe, Arizona. His stated goal is to play 300 total songs without repeating any with a rough goal of playing one original song for every 2 cover songs. Go Josh!!!

Here's a couple vids from recent shows:
Rula Bula 9/2/08


Final Round 9/11/08


If you want to check out the rest of the videos or any of the rest of our music check out our myspace page at www.myspace.com/smdband

Amazed and Confounded

While perusing my favorite social news site, digg.com I stumbled upon this article by Simon Dumenco about the sad state of the music industry and it's increasingly idiotic moves to shut down online avenues of new music awareness. A good read once you get past the "hipster" band name-dropping in the first few paragraphs (who the heck are The Virgins any way?).

In the midst of the article the author states these simple facts about revenue sharing in the music industry that blew me away:

"the federal government, prompted by the music industry, doubled the 'performance-royalty' rate that internet radio stations must pay (to record companies) to stream music -- twice as much as satellite radio. Traditional terrestrial radio stations, mind you, don't have to pay performance royalties: They pay only publishing royalties to songwriters. The new internet-radio royalty rates kicked in as of July, and they threaten to kill not just Pandora but the rest of the fledgling internet-radio market. "

Whoa.

And I thought the financial industry was messed up (lately). So, start pulling out your old car radio and 6-disc CD player because the RIAA and much of the rest of the corporate music industry appears to want to transport us back to 1990 (or at least pre-1999 - thank you Napster!). I'm no huge internet radio fan (mostly because I have an iPod that will play for me pretty much anywhere - with only the music I want to hear, mind you) but I do believe that within the music world and much of the retail consumer markets, the more easily-accessible choices available, the happier the consumers will be (which is really what we all want - happy consumers). All of which would mean internet radio and online distributors of digital music makes serious cents, er...sense to us as consumers. Unfortunately this isn't good enough for the corporate giants of the music industry who want the golden days of the 80's and early 90's back - when everyone still bought whole albums and they could drain every drop of cold, hard cash from every band they could possibly sign. But the times, they are a-changin' and the RIAA and it's pals need to get with the program, quick, or they are only going to miss out.

Already bands are doing just fine without ever signing over a cent of their revenue to a record label. Dispatch made it their entire existence without ever signing a deal with a record label (corporate giant or tiny indie) thanks to the the original Napster and LimeWire applications. Mute Math went label-less with their first album and toured for an entire 12+ months, selling albums online and at shows only before ironing out a distribution-only deal with Warner Bros. Last I checked they sold over 10,000 copies in the first month of their album-release tour. (10,000 @ $10 (min.) per copy = $100,000 and that was just in the 1st month of touring and before the eventual deal with Warner Bros to distribute their album to major record stores.)

I find it sad that these record labels are so short-sighted, though from a consumer standpoint we'll always get what we want in the long-run. I just hate to see an entire industry refuse to catch up with the rest of the 21st Century because they of an unwillingness to lessen their profit margin and invest in new technologies or even develop their own, and in turn cheat consumers out of great music. (sidenote: I find it interesting that iTunes - created by a computer and software manufacturing company - is increasingly driving the sales for the music industry. I hate to see a whole generation of artists miss out on great opportunities to reach the people that might actually enjoy their music because their label is unwilling to change the way they do business. Come on record labels - get your heads in the game!!!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Goodbye Canon PowerShot SD110

Today is a sad day for me. My hard-working and ever-faithful Canon PowerShot SD110 died. I went to take a texture shot of a curtain that hangs in the doorway to the laundry room at our new place and the screen freaked out. I took the shot anyway but all I got was this:

Now the LCD screen of my camera just shows blips and flashes when I'm in the camera mode. It still shows the menu and pics I've already taken just fine. It seems to me that the image sensor blew up or something.

The little guy has been great since I got him back in 2003 when I was working at Best Buy - small, cheap, versatile, and durable. It's been a great point-and-shoot camera for me.

Anyways, now I have to do some Google Shopping and I have to decide between something like this or something more like this. I'd really like to get a nice digital SLR but my wallet might dictate otherwise.

Take a moment of silence in memory of my good old PowerShot... and then let me know what you think I should get to replace it.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Bon Iver is Gonna Be HOTTT!!!

Yep, that's right, Bon Iver is the next BIG THANG! Or so the hipsters would want you to think. But seriously, these guys are pretty fantastic (in a somber, wintry bone-chilling, heart-clenching kind of way). I stumbled on their music the other night by way of this post from Seth Godin's (marketing guru) blog. I as blown away - 1 part Iron & Wine, 1 part Belle & Sebastian, 1 part acoustic Coldplay (don't let this part dissuade you, all you indie lovers), and 1 part long, cold winter.

From what I've gathered, the lead singer (and writer of the music), Justin Vernon, retreated to the woods of Northwestern Wisconsin after the break-up of his band and the split between himself and his then girlfriend. There he spent 3 cold winter months in an isolated cabin, splitting his short days and long nights between chopping wood and writing beautiful music. His album, "For Emma, Forever Ago," is the culmination of that long and lonely winter. (Bon Iver is a purposed misspelling of "bon hiver", French for "good winter.")

It is a wondrous album that chills the bones while warming the soul, reminiscent of the fire that warmed Vernon's cabin through the bitter and cold nights of a Wisconsin winter. This is the kind of album that makes me want to write and write and write my heart out. A singer/songwriter of the finest kind.

If you are so inclined please check them out, and then buy their album.

SideNote: I have become a firm proponent for BUYING music and not just for moral reasons - what better way to show your appreciation for the makers of music than to purchase their music? I think we would all benefit from a paradigm shift - bands shouldn't just make music so you can buy it and money is merely the transaction that enables the trade - we should view paying for music as a means of gratitude towards artists that truly are producing great art. And if the music is not great (and thus you aren't paying for it and instead stealing it) - why are you listening to it at all?!

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Easy Reading the Hard Way

"For my own part, I tend to find the doctrinal books often more helpful in devotion than the devotional books, and I rather suspect that the same experience may await many others. I believe that many who find that 'nothing happens' when they sit down, or kneel down, to a book of devotion, would find that the heart sings unbidden while they are working their way through a tough bit of theology with a pipe in their teeth and a pencil in their hand"

C.S. Lewis, "On the Reading of Old Books" from God in the Dock

Swallowing up our failed dream(s)

"Sometimes what we need from the Bible is not the fulfillment of our dream, but the swallowing up of our failed dream in the all-satisfying glory of Christ. We do not always know the path of deepest joy. But all Scripture is inspired by God to take us there. Therefore Scripture is worth more than all this world can offer."

-John Piper, "When I Don't Desire God"

I am not a victim of my circumstances

More great inspiration from John Piper and company:

"...it is the cross of Christ alone that can kill the joy-killers in our lives."

-John Piper, 'When I Don't Desire God'

"The main art in the matter of spiritual living is to know how to handle yourself. You have to take yourself in hand, you have to address yourself, preach to yourself, question yourself...You must turn on yourself, upbraid yourself, condemn yourself, exhort yourself, and say to yourself: 'Hope thou in God' - instead of muttering in this depressed, unhappy way, and then you must go on to remind yourself of God, Who God is, and...what God has done, and what God has pledged Himself to do. Then having done that, end on this great note: defy yourself, and defy other people, and defy the devil and the whole world, and say with this man: 'I shall yet praise Him for the help of His countenance, who is also the health of my countenance and my God.'"
-Martin Lloyd-Jones, 'Spiritual Depression: Its Causes and Cures'

11 Resolutions

I have been reading John Piper's When I Don't Desire God: How to Fight for Joy. It has been a source of constant inspiration, reflection, and conviction to me as I progress through the book. Piper frequently quotes Christian authors and thinkers, past and present, who have impacted him and his walk with Jesus. One such quote was from Clyde Kilby, one of Piper's teachers when he studied at Wheaton College. The following quote is a list of eleven resolutions Kilby encouraged the Christian to live by in order to make wonders of the ordinary.

"1. At least once every day I shall look steadily up at the sky and remember that I, a consciousness with a conscience, am on a planet traveling in space with wonderfully mysterious things above me and about me.

2. Instead of the accustomed idea of a mindless and endless evolutionary change to which we can neither add nor subtract, I shall suppose the universe guided by an Intelligence which, as Aristotle said of Greek drama, requires a beginning, a middle and an end. I think this will save me from the cynicism expressed by Bertrand Russel before his death, when he said: 'There is darkness without and when I die there will be darkness within. There is no splendor, no vastness anywhere, only triviality for a moment, and then nothing.'

3. I shall not fall into the falsehood that this day, or any day, is merely another ambiguous and plodding twenty-four hours, but rather a unique event filled, if I so wish, with worthy potentialities. I shall not be fool enough to suppose that trouble and pain are wholly evil parentheses in my existence but just as likely ladders to be climbed toward moral and spiritual manhood.

4. I shall not turn my life into a thin straight line which prefers abstractions to reality. I shall know what I am doing when I abstract, which of course I shall often have to do.

5. I shall not demean my own uniqueness by envy of others. I shall stop boring into myself to discover what psychological or social categories I might belong to. Mostly I shall simply forget about myself and do my work.

6. I shall open my eyes and ears. Once every day I shall simply stare at a tree, a flower, a cloud, or a person. I shall not then be concerned at all to ask what they are but simply be glad that they are. I shall joyfully allow them the mystery of what [C.S.] Lewis calls their 'divine, magical, terrifying and ecstatic' existence.

7. I shall sometimes look back at the freshness of vision I had in childhood and try, at least for a little while, to be, in the words of Lewis Carroll, the 'child of the pure unclouded brow, and dreaming eyes of wonder.'

8. I shall follow Darwin's advice and turn frequently to imaginative things such as good literature and good music, preferably, as Lewis suggest, an old book and timeless music.

9. I shall not allow the devilish onrush of this century to usurp all my energies but will instead, as Charles Williams suggested, 'fulfill the moment as the moment.' I shall try to live well just now because the only time that exists is just now.

10. If for nothing more than the sake of a change of view, I shall assume my ancestry to be from the heavens rather than from the caves.

11. Even if I turn out to be wrong, I shall bet my life in the assumption that this world is not idiotic, neither run by an absentee landlord, but that today, this very day, some stroke is being added to the cosmic canvas that in due course I shall understand with joy as a stroke made by the architect who calls Himself Alpha and Omega."