Choosing the Focal Length

The idea of choosing a focal length is an odd metaphor for anything but photography. It may feel completely disconnected, and you may be right, but if you read on I’ll try to show you the parallel that’s been revealed for me. Choosing the focal length for a camera isn’t something the average person who's not involved in photography or video typically thinks about, so allow me to explain a few basics.

Focal length is the factor in photography which chooses what you focus on. It’s the “zooming” part of the lens (if your lens has that). The basic principle you need to understand is that it helps you define what you are able to capture within the confines of the viewable space in your shot. It not only allows you to focus on what is most important, but also removes what is seemingly not as important.

To cite a few examples of various lenses for context let’s say a 50mm lens is depicting real life as we see it. Theoretically it’s exactly what our eyes see. (For all of you smarty pants kids out there who right now are thinking “that’s not what a 50mm does” I realize this is not entirely accurate but for the purpose of example, work with me here.)

Let’s then say that a 500mm zoom lens, or maybe a macro lens (pick your favorite) allows you to zoom into the very small detail of something. It allows you to get so close to something that you are able to see the individual hairs on a fly’s leg. Or it lets you zoom across the street to see what your neighbor in the building across the street is reading on his iPad at the breakfast table (weird example, sorry).

Lastly, imagine you have a like a 14mm fisheye lens that lets you see almost 180° both vertically and horizontally. While it allows you to see more things than maybe your human eyes could actually see, in order for it to give you this magical gift of more, it has to distort reality to fit it all into this confined space. While it’s useful in some applications, it’s not always a “more is better” situation.

My goodness, I can’t believe you are still reading this mind rant. Thanks for sticking around, I promise this has a point.

So we as designers, as artists, as creatives, are tasked with the choice of choosing the lens for our audience or clients. They all have a camera, and we are to choose what they see. What we want them to focus on. We are supposed to decide when they need to see the big picture (14mm fisheye), they can just see it as it is (50mm) or when they need to have laser focus on a minute detail (macro/zoom). We don’t just do this to be control freaks (although some see that as the goal) but we do this to help provide clarity and context. To bring understanding, and to help people know their part in something.

So how do we know when to use which focal length?

What if we all we did was show people what we saw? What if we just gave them the 50mm view. It would feel like our point and shoot 50mm lens family photos that everyone takes but no one really wants to go back and look at. It’s just a “oh that’s nice ” but it really brings no intrigue, no mystery. It doesn’t inform or delight. It’s just “normal” and not intriguing. So much around us is “normal” so why would we choose more of that?

We want to be engaged in something that captures us, not just whatever is in front of us.

If we were to always use the macro/zoom lens, even though it provides lots of detail and helps bring understanding of a small part, it can be very confusing because it lacks context. We wouldn’t know how this small part relates to the bigger whole because it’s possibly too intricate. If you only saw the fly’s leg hair, you’d have no idea it was a fly’s leg hair and not just the leg hair off your Uncle Remus in his glory days of high school when the roads weren’t paved. Does that make sense?

Knowing the details of something, while maybe fun to look at, is pointless if you have no context for what you’re looking at.

Lastly, in the same way by only using the fisheye lens, while giving you a view of a lot more stuff and showing you context for where things are, it has to distort the image to do so. It has to take everything that you wouldn’t normally see, and bring it into a view where there’s more information than is needed. This effect is usually used to assure that “nothing that could be seen is missed” but it’s typically not necessary for normal use. It brings in more information, but because it distorts so much, it starts to feel overwhelming, like it’s too much at once. Though the fisheye has a way of bringing in more information, it doesn’t help bring any understanding other than being able to see everything, but removes the ability to differentiate from what doesn’t matter and what does.

In a situation where clarity is key, showing someone too many things clouds what you truly want them to foucs on.

Our audiences are asking us to choose their lens for them whether they realize it or not. We can’t ask them what they want, because most of the time they don’t know. We are here to help them. To assist, to bring clarity, to surprise, to delight, to bring focus, to remove distraction. We do this so that what truly matters can be at the forefront in a memorable and inspiring way.

These are all extreme cases, and somewhere in all of this you have to find the happy place for your project, whatever it may be. Choosing the focal length is a big responsibility. It takes understanding your audience, honing your skills, and it’s something that isn't just “figured out” and then you’re done. It’s a tension to be managed. It will forever require extra thought and empathy. There is no formula, there are no rules. But when you get it right you will know it, and when you get it wrong, everyone will miss what matters. No pressure.

Learn through processes, learn from experience, learn from failures (lots of them), learn from people more wise and seasoned than you, learn by accident, learn by research, learn by doing, learn from teaching someone else what you are learning. Bottom line, keep learning how to choose the right focal length for your project and for those who are depending on you to show them what matters.

Goodbye LinkedIn

So I finally pulled the trigger on something I’ve been putting off for a long time, searching for a reason to talk myself out of it.

I closed my useless LinkedIn account.

It just wasn’t doing anything for me, so I finally took the leap and got rid of it. I couldn’t get past the fact that it was not only doing absolutely nothing for me besides sending me e-mail and giving me another annoying distraction. I never got a lead from it, there was no one I was only connected to via LinkedIn (Most everyone was either someone I was already connected with in real life, Facebook, or Twitter), and there was nothing on there that you couldn’t find just by googling my name. I was having to put more work into it than I was (ever going to be) getting out of it.

LinkedIn never became what it promised to be, and frankly other sites like Zerply, Dribbble, & Flickr offer a much better solution. I can’t lie, I liked the idea of LinkedIn when it first came onto the scene. The idea of “professionals connecting with professionals” made it feel like you were getting in a secret club with the people you wished you hung out with in college.

However, like college, those people had their own circles wherein you were not. So there my profile sat, needing maintenance and attention, but not necessarily offering me anything more than my sweet myspace account. Saying all this, I realize there are lots of people who may have a plethora of mighty fine experiences with LinkedIn, but it just wasn’t for me.

So long LinkedIn, we had a good run.

Ira Glass on "Fighting Your Way Through"

I hope I never get out of this phase, I hope I never "arrive". I want to always be reaching for something beyond me, because only then will I know that I am forever growing and learning. I realize that no matter how much I know, there will always be more that I don't know. I love learning, and ever trying to close the gap between what I can create and what I want to be creating.

Walt Disney on Leadership

I think what I admire most about Walt Disney is his incredible desire to experiment and his eagerness to innovate. Wanting to do what has never been done is an ambitious task. Anything ambitious will inevitably fail at some point, but failing is only failure if you don't learn from it. Taking another step after failing is moving forward with experience. Risk taking is important, nothing new happens without it. A leader takes risks and learns from failure, a manager merely maintains what is while it slowly and steadily backslides to the irrelevant state of "what was."

What Replenishes Me

I was asked yesterday what replenishes me, what builds me up, where I discover the most. I had to give it a bit of thought, because I could think of a list of things that filled me up when I felt empty, gave me that extra push when I couldn't get motivated, things that brought more out of me than I thought was in me, etc, but needed to find out what all those had in common. I love getting stretched, critiqued, pushed, and even when it's no fun I realize that it's important and for my best interest. But what was it that they all required for me to get to that place?

I realize, that the common denominator was this: I love being around people who are better than me. It doesn't have to be some particular thing that they are better at, just anything. I could be equally inpsired by someone who's incredible talented at working on cars, or a brilliant creative thinker, someone whose walk with God spurs me towards Christ, an unfathomable problem solver, a gifted designer, an incredible cook, or even someone who can make a perfectly straight photocopy everytime. I love being shown there's a new way to do something that is beyond my knowledge. I love having my mind blown, my faith increased, my desire for attention to detail increased, and being shown how things can just be all around better than they are.

I need to be pushed, and the way I that I do that is by surrounding myself with people that have passion, vision, and a like-minded desire of progress in whatever they are doing. It doesn't matter what you're doing, but if you're amazing me while you're doing it, I am thankful for you. You inspire me to get beyond who I am into who God calls me to be.

Who Am I?

Who Am I? It's not this fuzzy, but sometimes it feels that way…

I love learning about myself. I love discovering who I am and why I do the things that I do. That likely sounds self-centered, but trust me that's not my motivation. Self-awareness of who I am has allowed me to know where I have the potential to be most effective for a purpose that is much bigger than myself. I am a person who is never content with what is in the sense that I am always finding ways to do things better. I am not exempt from that. I realize there are things that I need to do (or need to stop doing) that will allow me to be more efficient and effective.

Discipline is sometimes looked upon as a negative thing. It's lumped in with concepts like predicable, boring, and routine. But what if your discipline is to always be trying something new? What if you have decided that you always want to be on the front of the curve and help others around you wade through the sea of options and potential to help find a solution that works best for a given set of variables? My decision making is often the culmination of everything I've learned, and therefore in order to continually be making effective decisions I must constantly be learning.

Constantly learning does not just happen. It's something I have to choose, and choose daily. Assuming there's always a better way means you never arrive, you're always on the journey toward success. Ever improving. Learning keeps my trajectory heading upward and it keeps the world from labeling me and telling me who I am. Labeling limits me. I can only learn by _______, I am a person who can't ________, I will never be able to accomplish something as large as ________. Why sell yourself so short? What if you can?

On the other side of that, there are rarely things that people are bad at, there's just things that they're not good at yet. There's things that I choose not to do, because someone else can already do them much better, and it's wiser of me to let them do that, so that I can fulfill my piece of the pie. It allows me to focus on my part, my role, my contribution, my growth. Doing everything leads to doing nothing. I have to constantly be evalutating what I should not do, so I can focus on what I should do.

I love focusing on what is to come, because it requires vision, hope, and passion. Focusing on what is (maintaining) is also focusing on what is about to be irrelevant. Having a vision for what is to come gives me a purpose for what I am doing now because I know that it is part of the bigger goal that I get to be a part of accomplishing. If I have no goal, no vision, no challenge, no hurdle, what is the point of doing what I'm doing and how will I know when I'm done?

Anyways, to wrap up this mindstream, I realize that I am built for greatness in the eyes of God, and learning more about who He has made me allows me to get the parts of me out of the way that stifle Him, and offer the parts of me that He can use most effectively. Self-awareness makes better by showing me what I need to improve on. I love critique because it makes things more refined. I love being critiqued because I know I always need refining.


Window Management in OS X

"Window Management" (the organization of multiple application windows on your desktop) can become a definite chore in OS X given the fact that it doesn't really have anything built in to help you do so. However, creativity thrives where void and necessity meet head on so of course there are a plethora of third party apps that meet this need. We all know that the little green button at the top of all your windows is an erratic joke that never acts the same in any two apps, but we'll just excuse that shortcoming for the time being. Now, here is where my method is a little ridiculous but I have yet to find a better solution. I wish I was telling you about the perfect app, but I haven't discovered it, so instead I will tell you about the 3 (yes, three) that I use to manage windows each having their varying strong suite. The three I will talk about are Divvy, Cinch, & SizeWell.


NewImage.jpgDivvy, by Mizage, is a great app that uses a combination of the keyboard and mouse. According to their Website Divvy is an entirely new way of managing your workspace. It allows you to quickly and efficiently "divvy up" your screen into exact portions. I use this one mostly on my MacPro with the two 27" displays, simply because something like cinch which can only split or full screen the windows is a bit ridiculous. I mean, I like looking at a Web site super wide, but that's also a lie.

When I need to have a half-a-dozen or so windows organized neatly, this is what I go to to quickly handle them all at once. You can setup keyboard location shortcuts (similar to those of SizeWell) but they're not the most intuitive on setting up so I rarely use them. But when I've got a lot of various windows to organize all at once, I first turn to Divvy. You can see a demo video of it in action: here.

Available on the Mac App Store for $14 (but if you wait around the web for a while while you test out the trial, sites like AppSumo at times tend to run it as a special for around $6, just sayin'.



Cinch is quick little app by Irradiated Software who clearly found their inspiration from a little window management bit added to Windows 7. Cinch is described on their Web site as a simple, mouse-driven window management by defining the left, right, and top edges of your screen as 'hot zones'.

So, basically you just drag a window until the mouse cursor enters one of these zones then drop the window to have it cinch into place. It's not the most advanced window management tool ever and is much less useful on a multi-screen setup, but for a laptop or anytime you need to view to items side by side, it's perfect. You can see a quick demo of it's simple but incredibly handy functionality: here.

I love supporting little apps like these because you know that Apple will soak up their idea into the next iteration of OS X, so thank them for the hours of time trying to get the exact half of your screen for that window with your mouse by buying their app on the Mac App Store for $7.


NewImage.jpgSizeWell is a little bit different than the other two I've mentioned because it addresses the uselessness of the "little green button" in OS X. Now it's able to do that system wide by acting as a SIMBL plugin rather than being a standalone app. It is one I probably use the most since it is riddled with a laundry list of helpful keyboard commands for many common locations for windows. It also can handle zooming and the scaling of windows as well, and it's one you definitely need to see in action to have a full grasp of it's potential. Check out the demo: here.

Here's the best part, this one's free. It's technically in Beta but has been in Beta for months and months now without many bugs or much revision either, so until they quit draggin' their feet, enjoy! You can of course donate to their cause via PayPal on their promo page so be sure to help them out if you dig it.

So that's my strategy for window management in OS X, and while I am intrigued by Window Magnet and Moom, I'll have to check those out at another time. What do you use? Do you use any of these? Would love to know how you handle your many windows for optimal productivity.

Learning Ruby on Rails

Ruby on Rails

If I am really honest with myself I don't know what I'm doing just yet, but I cannot wait to be able to have some understanding of how to use this language and framework. I have had the privilege to of meeting a talented and active Rails developer named Andrew Thorp who has been willing to come along side my good man Clay and me as we are going through the process of creating a new website solution for The Ridge. His knowledge makes me jealous (and makes me feel like a simpleton, which I suppose is a good thing seeing as how I need to learn from him) but his patience and willingness to teach us has been awesome.

Clay, having a bit of an advantage over me in the coding experience world, albeit self-taught, is chomping at the bit to get rolling. Meanwhile, I am bringing up the rear on the knowledge train, but even getting to be a part of this project and getting my feet wet in the process has been a blast. Typically with projects like this I'd just provide some Photoshop documents to be coded into HTML/CSS, but it's looking like this time around I have a chance at being a more active part.

Andrew pointed us in the direction of which has been a great resource for getting my brain wrapped around the MVC Framework and also brought me some rather surface level learning of OS X Terminal, git, heroku, mysql, and of course ruby. So much of this in my experience has been self-taught by scouring google for fixing things I've broken or don't know how to do, so it will be somewhat nice to have a solid foundation proper syntax, good development practice, and most valuably to have Andrew help steer us along the way. I am only through the first bit of the book, but I know it's going to get more complex and more fun from here.

I look forward to what lies ahead in this process, and I have to say it's nice to be excited about a project that has the potential for big impact at The Ridge. More to come I'm sure.

Writing More Requires Trusting More

I often have to convince myself to come up with something profound before I begin the writing process for this blog. I jot down a thought in Evernote, or put a line or two in a stickie note. Often I'll find myself adding something to my Instapaper that I'd like to read and then write about more but eventually come to the conclusion that "they wrote it better, so I won't bother".

What a waste of learning opportunity. I often limit myself to writing for the purpose (or hope) that someone else will read it, but in doing so I subject myself to the fear of "well then it better be worth reading". And due to the fact that everything I don't write isn't worth reading (or capable of being read), then in a sense I am a defeatist. I realize that whatever I write will inevitably be a failure, even before I write it. Lame.

So honestly, who cares if anyone reads what I write. Sure there may be times when something I write has some sort of knowledge bestowment or insight in it, but most of the time what I (would) write would just simply be me sorting through my own thoughts of something, or helping me think linearly through the process of forming an opinion or viewpoint. All this to say, I go through hills and valleys of writing consistency, but it's always been under this raincloud of fear and inadequacy.

I too realize that I have had a slight fear of expressing my inner thoughts. I don't have cower in a corner or act awkward in social situations, rather I'll just find lots of ways to talk about what you're doing rather than what's happening in me. It seems this stems from people close to me who I would have assumed I could trust, and yet have been burned by. Things that, in and of themselves weren't necessarily secrets or bad things that needed to stay hidden, but just "here's the reality of what's happening within me". Not long after, someone who barely knows me but knows the person I've confided in is candidly bringing up "said thing" in conversation. Burned. Or I'll discover that someone like my fifth grade teacher knows things they would have no way of knowing unless a certain person would have opened their big mouth about what we had talked about in confidence. Burned. So because of those things, my default has been "don't share anything, because even if it's harmless, they'll find a twisted way to use it against you". For years I let no one in, no one. I had been burned too much to let myself repeat the mistake of trusting again.

Yet here I am, writing this out against my every inner thought that says "well someone will find a way to use this against you now that it's on the internet". Yet, I also know in me that I have the desire to trust again. I have become a part of a community of people many of whom I can trust, and do confide in now. Even my Mia's trust and confidence is irreplaceable and I am so thankful for because it allows me to be the real me with her, and not who I think she would want me to appear to be. Trust has been a huge missing part of life, and sadly but thankfully I am just now learning that it can exist over the last few months. There are still people I am very hesitant to trust because they've ruined my confidence way too many times, but I'll get there again I'm sure with time.

With that said, I shall be writing more, even just to think outloud, on what I am learning and for it to be somewhat of a chronicle of my life, here we go.

We're Getting Married

We're Engaged!

On June 3, 2011 in Washington D.C., Maria Brebner & I were engaged to be married.

I am not quite sure why it has taken me a whole week to get to sharing this news on my blog. My only speculation would be that I didn't know how to type on a keyboard while jumping up and down in a fit of glee. I can't wait to spend the rest of my life with my love and best friend Mia, and I'm stoked to start this next chapter of life together.

Over the next few days and weeks, we will of course be making plans for our marriage and all the other festivities involved. When you need to know details you'll know.

Thanks for loving us. We are so blessed.

Wedgefield 600

This post is short and sweet, but I just wanted to share that today I scored a Wedgefield 600 Electric Typewriter. It's hard to think of why I've wanted one for quite some time now, but when I came upon it for only $10 in perfect working condition I just couldn't pass it up. After typing on it for a little under and hour so far today it certainly isn't the most ergonomically comfortable machine ever designed an it has also revealed the ugly reality of how many mistakes I make when typing. All in all, I think it's going to be fun to see how I can work it into projects and eventually using it to write "personal" notes to people. Here she is:

10 Things I've Learned About Learning

1. Learning is not equal to school.

I didn't really care too much for "liberal arts" school. I went because I got to see my friends mostly, and I enjoyed doing my best to get adequate marks, but I was never excited about it early on. Once I got into college and started learning design and things that I truly cared about, was passionate about, and truly wanted to learn more of, I loved school. I loved school because I was learning. Sure even in college I had the "jump through these hoops" classes that I endured only because I had to, but I longed for the classes I wanted to learn the subject in. In no other part of your life are you able to be a full-time learner. Don't miss the chance, especially when it's something you want to potentially spend the rest of your life doing.

2. Never stop.

This sounds stupid, but I learned more out of college than I learned in college regarding creative work and design. At my alma mater's design program you couldn't walk into the program as a blank slate and walk out as a graphics professional, you had to work your butt off and go above and beyond the call of the assignments. I had to learn a lot outside of class, not necessarily to fulfill the lowball assignment, but to become a good designer. I read countless books on principle, layout, grids, proportion, color theory, etc all of which helped shaped my lenses of design. I still do this today, I am ever evolving as a designer and I look at work I did a year ago, 6 months ago, even 2 months ago, and I see where I could have improved it. Some of it I'm too embarrassed to even show on this site. I'm continually learning, expanding, and gleaning knowledge from those who have gone before me. All the things you learn are placed ever so gently in your mind's quiver to be summoned when the proper problem arises. Keep learning, don't ever stop.

3. Stretch yourself.

I'm almost never bored. I say almost because there have definitely been projects that are boring, but regarding my free time, I am never bored. I love seeing what others are creating on sites like Dribbble, Forrst, Flickr, FFFFound, Designspiration, and learning how their work can help shape mine. I've even taken pieces I've seen, whether just abstracts, typesettings, or interfaces and tried to recreate them just to learn how they work and attempting their style.

Go through tutorials, learn abilities, continually learn design principles, study user experience, think through the eyes of the laziest person you know and ask "Would I want to look at this piece? Would I want to use this software?" If the answer is no, you've got more to learn and you need to be stretched. No one is going to do it for you, be self-motivated. Learn, this is YOUR LIFE, make something of it because no one is going to do it for you.

Take criticism from people that will tell you the truth. This sucks, but nothing makes you better more quickly than hearing what to do from someone who has been where you are and has excelled past it. Ask for feedback all the time and not just at the end of project, but throughout the process.

4. Learning is not like riding a bike.

I used to be decent at Algebra, I used to tear up some geometry, I knew a lot about biology, I even used to know a lot of spanish. However, other than the occasional algebra and geometry for layout design, I don't use any of that now other than when I catch an episode of Jeopardy on TV. It's out of my mind. I'm sure if I had to re-pick it back up I could relearn it quicker this time, but google even has made me lazy and if I can't figure it out in 10 or so seconds, to google I go.

Keep using the skills you've acquired overtime. Apply them to things, projects, side projects, doodles, something. Else, you'll lose them.

5. Principles are more valuable than technique (at first).

Let me explain. You can learn how to play chopsticks on the piano and if you play it over and over and over again you'll get really good at it. Heck you could do the same with The Entertainer, or Flight of the Bumblebee. You would get great at that one thing. But, if you learned all the interworkings of how music works, how notes relate to one another, the various measurements of timing and what they represent, and understood the why of how those songs work, you could essentially learn to play any song simply by understanding music, instead of just memorizing a song.

Bowlers are good at one thing: knocking down 10 pins over and over and over again. On the other hand Jazz musicians are good because they know their instrument so well, they can play anything, and it can be different overtime and still sound incredible. They know the theory and principles of music, not just a technique.

Be a jazz musician, don't just be a bowler.

6. Don't cut corners.

This one is simple, if you skip steps in the learning process you're only cheating yourself. Learn the why of how things work, understand each step and why it's necessary. Don't be lazy and say "that'll do" when really it is something you'll have to apologize for. Be excellent, give your very best, and then try to outdo yourself. In design work it never returns void. Even if people don't understand why something is better necessarily, they'll be able to feel that it is. Jim Collins said "Good is the enemy of Great". Don't let good enough keep you from achieving greatness, do great work.

7. Be passionate.

Now you're probably asking yourself "Why would I want to put in all that extra work for that little extra bit of return"? To that I say, "You don't get it". You need to be passionate to put in that extra 11% to take something from good to great. It won't just happen, it won't come easy, you'll never have enough time, and there will always be something that goes wrong at first. Push through, keep the goal and vision in mind as you strive towards the finish of your project with excellence. You'll be so glad you did.

8. Experiment. A lot.

This is something that I thought I didn't need to do independently. I use to think "Oh I'll try this new idea in this project and see what happens as I go along". BAD IDEA. Most of the time you don't know what you're doing, you're in uncharted water, and you'll waste a lot of time on something that could have taken you a tenth of the time but you wanted to "try something new". Experiment outside of projects for pay or for grades. Experiment on things that don't matter, or in personal projects. Once you've done that and worked out the kinks, then apply what you've learned in a project, don't learn in projects, because it will backfire, I promise.

9. Share what you learn.

If someone can replicate your idea exactly if you distribute it, it probably wasn't the most original idea anyway. Share your knowledge, be transparent, share your mistakes, and contribute to a design community. We're all learning together on this one, and giving away your ideas at it's very minimum is motivation to continually come up with new ones to stay ahead. I'm sure you've benefitted from some resource that some others have given away, give back.

10. Stop reading about doing and do.

This one is a bonus, and as the last one it is a challenge. Stop reading about what you should do and just go do something. Find some junk and make a hokey sculpture, go through some tutorials on the Envato Network. Go copy a shot of Dribbble just to see if you can do it and then see if you can improve on it. Learn forever, and start now.

[box]Well that's all I have for now, but what have I forgotten? What would you add to this list? What have you learned about learning? (Now is your chance to exercise #9).[/box]


Finding My Place

Screen shot 2011-04-20 at 12.13.22 AM.png

Often times I've felt like a square peg trying to fit into a round hole. We each have our own personalities and demeanor that make us very different from the person next to us. I believe these this unique and individual differences naturally shapes our own specific point of view and perspective on things, on our lives.So why do some of us seem to be able to fit or squeeze into that round hole better than others? I wish I knew the answer of that question, I really do.

I often feel I don't fit in well. Not just because of my excessive stature, but just my place in life. I long for forward thinking, for trying what seems scary, for change not for the sake of change,but for calculated risks in the name of progress. However, more often than not people just like things they way they are. That's not necessarily a bad thing, a lot of things just work the way they are. But many things are needing to be in a constant state of improvement to maintain relevance. The design and creative world is ever changing, and I think the fact that it's never done, over, or completed is a huge portion of why I love it. It's ongoing, it's a lifestyle. I love to live in the ever-changing waters of progress and innovation, and it's hard to explain that mindset to someone who is content with 'what is' let alone try to introduce them to that world (often kicking and screaming).

So where is the balance? Where is there space for 'the repetitive same' and a state of constant innovation? I think this is where I find myself in a constant state of quandary. Half my job is to come up with "solutions" and the other half of my job is to never allow for a boring mundane routine. The constant tension to be managed is wading through which principle applies to which project, and discovering what is most important given all the variables.

I don't have the answers, but I think I'm learning what questions to ask. Sometimes being the one who wants to sojourn ahead means you're out there alone while everyone else waits to see if you succeed or fail, but is living a life only trying to avoid failure really a life at all? Experiments, risk, and exploration of this incredible world God has given to us is the essence of who we are. We are here to explore what God has shown us, to ultimately discover His incredible creativity that he allows us to experience which ultimately brings Him the highest glory.

I don't mind being the scapegoat, or the one who gets hung out to dry once failure has reared it's ugly head. I'm not saying it's easy, but if I can give someone the gift of going second and teach them what I've been able to learn along the way, I'm in. I guess that's where the feeling of not fitting in comes in. I don't know how to help people see the vision that I see, and communicate the value that I can see in the future, I'm willing to carry the torch ahead, but it's tough when you feel like no one cares to acknowledge the fact that they could benefit from your desire for progress. In some cases I've had some become annoyed, mad, and have told me to just be quiet and content with what is.

I know God has a place and role for me, and I think finding what that place is may depend on me first acknowledging where my role isn't. Scaling back, simplifying, and focusing on what I can truly contribute to in an effective way for His glory an not my own and not try to contribute to too much. Boundaries.

Maybe then I'll find my true place, but I trust God for where I am now and continually learning what He has for me as I take each step.

Tron Legacy R3C0NF1GUR3D

Tron R3CONF1GUR3D Artwork.jpg

I first heard the original movie soundtrack to "Tron" by Daft Punk and after getting beyond simply basking in the sonic delight I immediately fell in love. Now a few months later they've turned the whole project over to a handful of some amazing electronic artists who have taken some of these songs to the next level and rereleased them with their own personal flare.

Enter Tron Legacy R3CONF1GUR3D. They've pulled in some of the big names like Moby, Com Truise, Paul Oakenfold, M83, The Crystal Method, The Glitch Mob, Boys Noize, Avicci, and others who are standouts in the genre of Electronic and Dubstep.

You cannot regret buying this album (and while you're there check out their amazing site just for the album). Here is one of my favorite tracks for your listening pleasure:

The Glitch Mob - Derezzed

Where I Am


If you would have told me back when I was growing up and foreseeing my future in all it's utopian potential that I would be living in a semi-small town in Central Virginia call Lynchburg, I would have had to laugh in your seemingly lying, time-traveling, future-knowing face. Alas, here I am and have been for going on seven years now (that's one year in dog years).

I don't think I would have ever chosen this place, but the people I have met and come to love, the experiences and sights, and the space to explore the person God has created me to be has been invaluable. I got my education here and assumed I'd be leaving post-haste upon graduation, and yet God had other plans and I've been working full-time at Blue Ridge Community Church for almost 3 years. It's been a wild ride, living in many different places with a plethora of roommates, road trips to here or there, a handful of jobs, but somehow in all of it there is purpose. There is a plan for me.

I have spent time on the internet researching other areas like New York City, Austin, Oklahoma City, Dallas, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle, and so on. In doing so I've tried to peer into what God may have ahead for me, trying to look around the proverbial corner. I at time covet the creative communities like NYC and Austin. I read on twitter about the meetups with fellow creatives, cowork spaces, big design firms doing incredible work, the never ending lists of arts shows and galleries to explore, and yet here I am in Lynchburg, Virginia all the way from California. Here I am.

Am I missing out? Am I just treading water when I could be climbing to the diving board? Did I settle? Did I miss my true calling? Am I wasting my life and slowly becoming irrelevant in a non-stimulating town? Questions like this could flood my mind, if I didn't have this one thing: peace from God. Call it what you want, but I know that for right now I am here for some purpose, and whether or not I know what that is or not doesn't matter, because here I am. And for what it's worth, I want to make the most of it while I'm here. This doesn't mean I'm stuck, it just reminds me that though the grass may seem greener on the other side, there's more I can do to water, nurture, prune, and better the grass I have between my toes right here where I am.

I wouldn't be me if I wasn't where I am now, but I hope I can look back on "here" someday and say I am not the person I was then. I want to always be growing, not just getting better at doing the same thing over and over again, but growing. Moving ahead, failing at times, taking risks, putting it all on the line, but being able to look back and say I did my best for a purpose bigger than just me.

I could make the excuses that I'm not stimulated here or that I am not going to reach the potential of being the designer and creative that I hope to be in a place like this, because I don't have the right people to push me, or I am not always surrounded by creative people that 'get' me. That's crap. All that is just excuses. Anything worth doing takes effort, and nothing is entitled to me. I have to chase down the dream and have passion. I can't wait, so I won't. Starting now.

I will make the most of everyday, create, and press forward. I will fight through resistance that will always do everything in it's power to restrain us all from moving forward in life. Let's do this.