Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Stand Up But Don't Rock The Boat…

I like boats, I like big boats and I like small boats. Big boats are powerful machines manned by many to help and assist in every detail so that the boat can run smoothly. Small boats can be run by as little as one person. Both boats, however, require the persons to be capable of their given duty and to excel in that task. If someone fails it means more work of others until that job is fulfilled and stability once again maintained. While alone you face the responsibility of performing all duties and it can get exhausting, but as a team that stability is a dream and even allows for a rest when the burden of the task overtakes us.

Many of the "boats" I've been a part of have had great values and strive for excellence as they sail the seas. As a passionate person, I also strive to be the best I can be and to find ways that will make the stormy sea a more pleasant journey; not only for myself, but for the rest of the crew as well. I've been encouraged to stand up, ask questions, and seek to find better means to an end. Sometimes the captain will show me a better way while changing my viewpoint and other times my dreams have come to fruition as I imagined they would.

Sadly too often, while on one hand being told to stand up, I am simply told to sit back down, not to agitate the issue, remain seated, and don't rock the boat. The view on the boat is great but it continues to rock even while under clear skies. I understand that the captain has a lot on his plate and other commanders to report to who oversee many ships, but how many times can the waves crash? How many pirates can plunder? How many icebergs can one hit? How many times can other crew members slouch on their duties, before standing up does no good? When one constantly gets told to stand up and express better ways only to be told to not rock the boat, it becomes hard to be efficient and it becomes hard to be passionate in performing your own task and stability wanes.

While finding an image for this post, the linked site (found HERE) had the following poem and since they lead with it, I find it fitting to end with it…

“A Dream Deferred”

What happens to a dream deferred?
Does it dry up like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore—and then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over—like a syrupy sweet?
Maybe it just sags like a heavy load.
Or does it explode?

~ Langston Hughes

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Mascot Mashup: 2014 World Series

So I finally got around to creating the combo logo for this year's World Series against the San Francisco Giants and the Kansas City Royals. Once again I tried really hard to combine the two available logos with a nice balance, and since the series is currently tied 1-1 it's fitting as it could be anybody's ball game at this point. When I first began looking into the logos, I was sad to see so many only used the initials and it was going to be a very basic mashup. However as I started to do more research I found a variety of more detailed ones that could add some more depth to the process. I've included the original references below so you can see how well I did; let me know what you think…

Thursday, July 10, 2014

How Losing My Camera Opened My Eyes…

6 years ago I finished a study-abroad program in Switzerland where I lived, studied, toured and photographed the life and design of the culture for 3 weeks. Due to the fact that a large portion of the curriculum was photography I brought along my Canon DSLR camera to take some breathtaking photos of this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Needless to say that during the final week my camera was lost along with many photos I had taken of the last couple of days. Rather than share the story of how it happened, let's fast forward to what I've learned to appreciate since.

At the end of the 3 weeks we were allowed 10 days of traveling freedom to anywhere of our choosing and my wife and I took advantage of this opportunity to celebrate our anniversary by taking a train to Paris, which includes another exciting story for another day. But because I lost my fancy camera I was forced to dedicate my time to my wife and the many museums and other tourist attractions surrounding us. Luckily we still had a point and shoot camera so we still came home with a recorded memory, but I didn't waste all day setting up for the perfect shot, getting the lighting just right, and taking pictures of the Eiffel Tower and Arc de Triomphe from multiple angles. Looking back it was one of the best worst-case scenarios to happen. The loss of a camera opened my eyes to enjoying the moment and partaking of it.

There is a popular trend with cellphone pictures and the urge to post everything we do to social media sites. Although not as high-tech as the SLR cameras and lenses, camera phones are still distracting us from missing out on the joys of living life completely. How many selfies does one have to take to get the perfect picture that they can share on Instagram or Facebook so they can fill their "Like" bucket for the day? How many plates of food need to be photographed and uploaded before actually smelling the aromas and eating a bite? How many simple acts of talking with friends and family at an event until you get distracted with your nose in a digital device to see what other people are doing?

I recently went to a dance club the other night where Elijah Wood was to appear as the headlining DJ. As someone who loves to dance and embrace the different people and cultures of those in attendance, I was disappointed to see that most came only to take a picture of DJ Frodo. The crowd had pushed their way to the front and spent their entire evening taking different shots of the star so they could brag to their friends that they saw him, but were in fact watching him on a small screen as if he was in a self-contained music video. I beckoned for the phones to be put away and dance, but the crowd was insistent on filling their digital storage. I eventually made my way to the main stage and found a small group willing to open some space and shake their bodies till the end of the night.

Then just this past week I took my daughter to watch the fireworks show at a local park to celebrate the 4th of July. Due to the traffic and large crowds I had to walk quite a distance to reach our destination. Both directions, to and from the car, I saw multiple people with their phones out and recording the many fireworks on display. Once again, as if they had never seen a firework explode, they were taking multiple shots so they could either remember this moment forever or share it with their friends. But upon hiding behind the phone, they missed out on the real deal. It was comparable to buying tickets to a sports event and watching it on the small screen. You might as well have stayed home and got a close-up play by play on the big screen.

I understand the need to record and share memories with others or for future retrieval, and I still hope to get some money to replace my lost camera, set up a tripod, and record some beautiful imagery myself. But the best memories I have are those experiences share intimately with those in my company as we take in the moment with our eyes and the other human senses. I have had many small wonders in my life amplified by embracing the moment and recording it in my mind. Those times are more special to me than any "Like" could compensate for and I hope to continue to discover and learn more ways that life itself can be more fulfilling…

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Holding to the Rod With Love…

I wrote a comment on Facebook today and as I pondered whether I should post it, my wife urged me to refrain from doing so. "If you are second guessing it, you probably shouldn't" she said. So being the type of guy I am, I clicked submit then quickly retracted my statement and deleted it. So do I believe what I wrote? Absolutely, but I am usually one that leaves my comments too ambiguous for people to either understand or when they do understand they get offended so I felt it should be fleshed out into blog form. This was the comment:

"Mormons should hold to the rod, rather than build bridges to large buildings…"

I live in Salt Lake City and today was the Utah Pride Parade for gay rights activists, so the comment was referring to a grassroots organization called Mormons Building Bridges that took part to show their support and outpouring of love to family members and friends that either struggle with being gay or have chosen to live such a lifestyle. While the basis of their agenda is great, as we should show love to all we come in contact with regardless of their beliefs, and many of their posters and signs were cute and witty, the underlying issue I had was WHERE and WHEN they were showing support. By supporting them at a gay event, they encourage those feelings rather than helping them overcome them. They also place themselves in a position where they are violating one or two of the temple recommend questions leaving themselves open to other temptations.

Which brings me here talking about that issue. Let it be known that I try really hard to understand why so many faithful LDS members are speaking out in support of gay marriage. Although I haven't had to deal with a personal relationship of a gay family member or LDS friend, I do have gay friends and friends with siblings that are living with same-sex attraction. So when I first thought about how wrong it COULD be to support groups that believe differently, I eventually came to one of my favorite Book of Mormon stories, the famous Tree of Life vision. 

To keep it brief, the Tree of Life is the Love of God and eternal life which one receives after living the commandments as we hold to the iron rod (the scriptures) which leads to the tree. Those that fall away through temptation and sin get lost and eventually end up in a Large and Spacious Building (the world) and with prideful hearts mock and laugh at those that are holding to the rod. You can read more about the whole vision HERE and explanation HERE (1 Nephi: 8, 11-14).

So as I was struggling to understand and relate I said to myself 'Bridges don't have to be one way as they allow those that sin to come to the other side as well. So building bridges can be a good thing, right?' But knowing they are not one way also means the righteous can be led away. Then it occurred to me what Lehi did in the vision. Rather than stray from his beliefs, he seeked out his family and desired that they would also partake. Rather than let go of the rod or step away from righteousness he beckoned unto them with a loud voice to come unto him. Rather than build a bridge, he pleaded with them to correct their path. He loved his family so much that he wanted what was best for them, but he wasn't willing to sacrifice his own salvation by lowering the standards of what God had put forth.

So I'll walk with you, I'll talk with you, I'll show my love for you, but if my shepherd goes somewhere else I'll be there holding to the rod with love and inviting you to come unto Him…

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Superbowl XLVIII Mascot Mashup

The game is over already and we know that Denver got destroyed 43–8 by Seattle, but I wanted to post this on my personal blog and let others see the creation I made shortly before the game started. I'm not a big sports fan, but I enjoy getting together and having a good time. Since my profession is in graphic design I quickly put this together because I was inspired while looking at the two team's logos. I think I'll continue this trend and make them for each year of the two competing teams for the Superbowl, NBA Finals and someday the World Series. It's a good design exercise and fun for others to see. Anyway I tried to capture both the Broncos and Seahawks with equal attention and it reminded me of a phoenix. I hope you enjoy it no matter what team you rooted for…

Monday, October 7, 2013

OMG, Stop Taking the Lord's Name in Vain…

Words have meanings and I love to know them and use them in the proper context. Sometimes people will take important words and twist them to be vulgar or offensive. Sometimes words themselves can become symbols and illustrations with multiple meanings. I use words as they were intended and often times get rebuked for doing so. Retard, Midget, Queer, Nigger are offensive to many people and are treaded upon lightly by those associated with those qualities.

Retard means slow and I ,and most likely you, have said it multiple times in the past unless in the presence of one. To say it to their face would be rude and inconsiderate. You can't even say mentally disabled any more because that is also offensive. The politically correct form is "person with Down syndrome." Midget means small and we've all said it, but to be politically correct you would say "little person." There are many words throughout history that have once been acceptable but since deemed derogatory because the way they were used, but I want to talk about another word(s) used that most people gloss over.


Like many words, you hear "God Dammit" on occasion. You hear "Jesus Christ" exclaimed out of disgust and "Oh my God" has become so widely used and taken out of context that it's been abbreviated to OMG in your text messages and chatroom social settings. Well guess what? Taking the Lord's name in vain is offensive to me and many others in the world. There are a lot of things I fight against but I've let this one slide by for too long. Recently however, it's come to my attention that so many people are sensitive to some words even when used in the proper context that I've decided to speak out on my beliefs as well. Please respect my beliefs, my feelings and my faith in someone I love deeply and refrain from using it improperly and I'll try my best respectively.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Hiding Truth For the Honest Seeker…

It's come to my attention while speaking to many friends, family, and most recently co-workers that as much as people claim to want to hear the truth or listen to an honest man, they still seem to judge you for it and in the end have no desire to hear it.

Since I still want my friends and want to be a respected team member at work, I've decided to resurrect this blog and voice my opinion in a virtual public arena rather than giving it in casual conversation. There is a lot that goes on inside this chaotic mind of mine and I still need a platform to express it. So for those that have ears to hear, let them hear. Otherwise stop asking for my advice, opinion, and overall desire for humankind while face to face…