Archive for January 2007
I went to Red Rock Canyon National Park today for some fresh air and some photography. The canyon is part of the Mojave Desert, located just outside of Las Vegas.
Last July, a fire hit the desert and burned many acres of Torrey Yucca and other cacti across a large part of the canyon. These photos include many images of the plants in the wake of the fire.
In contrast, I took several shots of live Torrey Yucca, so that you can compare how they look. I also have several pictures of the amazingly beautiful Calico Hills, the queens of Red Rock Canyon.
Wild Burros live in Red Rock, but they are so accustomed to people that you can approach them and touch them, they don’t seem to mind.
Here are some of my favorite images. Click link at bottom of this blog for the full Flickr set.
Click here for whole Flickr set.
Currently listening to Sumday by Grandaddy
So, after four months of searching for a graphic design job without getting one, I have had a meeting with my Future Self and with my Life Planner and we have come up with a new plan for how I’m going to make my way here in Las Vegas.
I am going to start my own business. To hell with all those other bastard design companies that won’t hire me. Truth is, what I really want to do is start my own design studio. A lot of the places around here in town have some great advertisting, but none of them really do the kind of design that I love.
I’ve been thinking about starting my own business anyway, it’s just that I thought I would benefit from a few year’s experience at an advertising firm. But fuck it, if they’re not going to hire me, I’m going to have to push forward and just make my own thing happen.
And since I’ve sort of come up with that decision, I’ve had an amazing amount of freelance work pouring in. I have been doing little projects here and there on the side for the past year or so, but I have to say, since I’ve made my decision, I’m inundated with tons of projects. And it’s great! (Let’s hope it keeps up)
I don’t have enough clients to quite start my business full time yet, so in the mean time I thought I’d just get another job, any job, one that will get me by and won’t cramp my little freelance stuff on the side.
So, after working for my temp agency for three months, they finally offered me a job that may go permanent. Which is such a blessing, because I’ve been doing a lot of jobs that last two or three days, and those were starting to wear me down. Just when I got used to the place or the people or the work—bam! I was shipped off to somewhere else. That was getting old.
Anyway, so, now, getting back to the picture at the top of this entry: I now work at the Venetian Hotel. It’s a gorgeous hotel. I work for a construction company inside the building that is constructing a new Palazzo addition to the hotel. Working on the Las Vegas strip is quite a great place to be. There’s so much to look at, and there are so many great places I can walk to on my lunch break. The only real problem is that getting in and out of the Strip is crazy business. The traffic is insane, and it takes me forever to get home during rush hour. Once I figure a way around that, then everything will be rosy.
It doesn’t pay all that great, and I don’t think that I could really live on my own on the pay, but supplemented by my freelance projects, along with a little streamlining of my budget, and I think I could may make it work. Plus there’s always the hope that I could eventually advance a little in the construction company and perhaps get a little more money.
The thought of having my own graphic design/illustration is infinitely exciting. But the thought of the road to that place, where I have my own studio and enough clients to let me pay a mortgage, is terrifying. I have to basically make 10x per month what I’m making in freelance projects now to be able to do it full time. I will have to really have to meet a lot of new people and advertise like crazy to be able to attract enough people to bring in money like that. Getting all those people to want me to make stuff for them sounds really hard. And being able to achieve it feels kinda iffy.
My goal is to go full-time graphic design in 2 years or less. I will be 29. Until then, I’ll probably have to eat hot dogs and ramen and live in a dungeon or something. But, I suppose two years isn’t much time, in the long run. Wish me luck.
Anyway, this post really started off with me being grateful that I finally am employed at a place that will most likely turn into a permanent thing if I play my cards right. Although it would be really nice to make enough money to move out on my own, I’m honestly just glad that I won’t have to worry about coming up with money to pay my bills while I’m living with Suzanne.
And I get to wear a hard hat for part of the day. I think it’s kinda cool.
Some more pictures of the Venetian:
Currently listening to Tortoise
I got not one, but TWO packages in the mail today! What an excellent day! One I was expecting, but the other one, contents shown above, came as a total surprise. My good friend Angel, whom I met in Boston, and now lives in Melbourne, Australia, sent this. It contained 2 post cards, with little letters, a novel of hers I’d been admiring a while ago, 2 boxes of Tim Tam cookies, one latte, one original, and a can of Vegemite.
Vegemite! I hear it’s kind of like peanut butter. Not in taste, but in purpose. And it’s only made in Australia. It’s concentrated yeast extract, which sounds absolutely disgusting. I haven’t tried it yet. I think I’ve decided to do a video blog for my first tasting, so I can get my reaction on video and send it back to Angel for her amusement.
Also, she sent me a book of hers that I had been admiring a year or so ago, when were still living in the same time zone. I miss Angel! I’m hoping to save up enough money to go visit her before she moves somewhere else. She’s in India as we speak, living the wild life. I just have to live vicariously through her, India is one place I’ve always wanted to visit!
Thank you Angel for the package!
Also, the mail brought me this today. It’s from my father. It’s a Kodak Brownie Junior camera. It was made somewhere between 1934-42. It looks like it may still be in working condition. My dad got it from eBay. I really like its Art Deco face plate. I had some trouble getting it open and accidentally ripped the leather strap off the top. I was kind of angry at myself that I did that, but it was ancient leather, and brittle as well. It doesn’t affect the functionality of the camera or anything, I am just pissed I worsened the condition. However, other than that, it’s in remarkable condition. It’s a neat little camera.
Here’s a detail from the face plate. I like it. Thanks, Dad! I am hoping to maybe try to take some pictures with it eventually.
Currently listening to Good News for People Who Love Bad News, by Modest Mouse
Now that I’ve had a little time to catch up after the start of the new year, I wanted to take a look back over the past year and assess the happenings of 2006. Over the last few months, I’ve been complaining about how out of control my life is. It’s made me depressed in some ways, and in others, it’s really made me evaluate how I feel about my decision to move to Las Vegas. Not being able to get a steady job right away put a negative spin on how I have viewed the quality of my life. But today, after being inspired by a friend’s wrap-up of his year, followed by a perusal of photos I had taken over the past year with my new digital camera, I came to the conclusion that 2006 was an amazing year. “Amazing” doesn’t even really describe it. Is there a word that is a combination of incredible, fantastic, eye-opening and life-altering? I suppose if there is, that would be the word I would use to describe this year.
2006 had some of the most significant life-changning moments that I could ever hope to experience. And, I have to say, most of them were purely positive. With that in mind, I would like to make a little list of things that I’ve been really, really grateful to experience over the past 12 months, in no particular order:
Mom in the North End of Boston, in front of a famous pastry place
My Mom came to visit me in Boston. I had been waiting for her to visit for 2 years. I was so excited that she was coming. We had a great time together, despite that it rained most of the time she was there.
Justin & Me on My Last Day at Kennard Design
One day, after two years of working for Kennard Design, my boss told me this poster I had just designed was excellent. As tough a critic as he was, that was an amazing ego boost! I said goodbye to Justin a few months later when I left for Las Vegas.
I enjoy taking artsy photos–This is of my friend Bonny at the Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum, with Buddy Segal
I got a new digital camera, something I had been wanting for a long time! My life significantly improved, as I was able to take photos of and share way more of my life with others than before.
(Still waiting to get these photos developed–this part was before I had my digital, and I used film. I have been lazy about developing the pictures!)
Went to and hosted many happy parties, including one my friend and roommate Ariana an almost-impossible surprise party in the dead of winter. I had to carry a huge cake and a piñata, among other things, on the subway through a blizzard to Chinatown. Interesting! But worth it. We had dim sum and busted the piñata. The candy fell into the snow and we lost most of it, but we had a great time nonetheless.
Jason signs autographs after the show. You can see my drawing on his guitar case in the background.
Drove with a buddy to New York City to witness a small, humble, but amazingly wonderful and emotional (for me) concert of Jason Lytle peforming acoustic songs of of the last Grandaddy album to ever be recorded. I gave him a drawing I did of his band, and he gave me a hug in return. Plus, somewhere, it’s all on film.
(still waiting to develop photos..if I even have any!)Said goodbye to my dear, dear friend Angeline as she left Massachusetts to attend school in Australia.
(no pictures of this…top secret!)Got a temporary job designing albums for the Japanese mafia, that was holed up in a little converted baptist church in Allston.
Curtis, Me, Danny and Daniel at Arnie’s in Tulsa
Reconciled with Danny after months of some strange tension and a little bitterness, and we finally were able to become friends again. Shortly before he left Boston to move back to Oklahoma, we spent a day together where we went to the Zoo in Providence, Rhode Island. Even though the zoo was kind of sad and small, something about being outside or at zoos always did bring out the best in Danny and I’s friendship.
Said goodbye to my exciting life, my good job, my dear friends and my lovely apartment to embark upon a journey across the entire country. Was able to spend quality time with some old friends and family along the way, including spending part of my trip with Maggie, seeing Leah, seeing my brother and his wife, their kids, my aunt, uncle, and counsins, my dear parents, Logan, Aisha, Ryan, Danny, Daniel, Curtis, Jason, Vinessa, Debbie, Beth, her husband and their kids, Ivy and her family, and finally, one of my favorite people in the whole world, my sister, and her husband and kids.
Me, Hugo, Ariana and Andrea in the Boston Subway, Prudential Stop
Andrea came to visit me in Boston: That was such a fun time! I am always so excited to be able to show people around the city, it’s so amazing and full of history that I could spend days showing folks around. We had a fun time.
Made wonderful trips to three states in New England:
Five Islands near Old Georgetown Island, Maine
Maine is one of those places, that as soon as I enter it, I never want to leave. It is enchanting in a way not many other places only aspire to be. I spent a blissful weekend there with Ariana, Hugo and Christine.
“Live Free or Die”, the New Hampshire sate motto
Went to New Hampshire with friends to go on a canoeing trip down the rive. My first canoeing trip in 15 years. Fantastic to be away from the city and in the water.
Fires along the canal in Providence
Drove to Providence, Rhode Island to see the RISD production of WaterFire, the amazing outdoor summer production of a series of planned bonfires on the river. Beautiful.
Early morning, Andrea, Nicky and I were doing some rock climbing at Atlatl Rock in the Valley of Fire
I got to hike in Red Rock Canyon, and camp in the Valley of Fire, both in Nevada, and truly two of the most beautiful places I have ever seen.
My Morning Jacket plays with the Boston Pops in Symphony Hall
I was able to see some amazing shows: Broadway, NY–The Jersey Boys; Las Vegas, NV–The Scintas and Burn the Floor; Boston, MA–Boston Pops with My Morning Jacket (spectacular!) and Shakespeare in the Park, Taming of the Shrew
Andrea, with her dog Jack, Christmastime
I was reunited with Andrea, a dear friend from college, whom I now live near and hang out with all the time, who has been a super, super friend in times of happiness, sadness and doubt.
Wow, when I really think about it, it’s been a super-active and fun filled year! I am truly grateful for everything I was able to experience. It’s been wonderful. Even with it’s problems, 2006 was so monumental and good in so many ways. It’s been good for me to review this, it helps me feel better about my joblessness now.
AND……For a slide show of more highlights from 2006, click here.
Currently listening to, the fax machine.
1. Put your music player on shuffle.
2. Press forward for each question.
3. Use the song title as the answer to the question
What does this year have in store for me?
“Bananas and Blow” – Ween
What does your love life look like?
“Helter Skelter” – The Beatles
What do I say when life gets hard?
“The Same Deep Water As You” – The Cure
What do I think of when I get up in the morning
“Comatose” – Depeche Mode
What song will I dance to at my wedding?
“Couldn’t Cause Me Harm” – Beth Orton
What do you want as a career?
“San Tropez” – Pink Floyd
Your favourite saying?
“Deep” – Pearl Jam
“Mouth’s Cradle” – Bjork
What do you think of your parents?
“You Won’t See Me” – The Beatles
Where would you go on a first date?
“Know Your Rights” – The Clash
Drug of choice?
“Surrender” – Elvis
“Parallel Crossing” – Badmarsh & Shri
What is the thing I like doing most?
“Goodbye?” – Grandaddy
The song that best describes the president?
“Turn this Car Around” – Tom Petty
How will I die?
“Perfect Disguise” – Modest Mouse
The song that will be played at your funeral?
“Get Me Away From Here, I’m Dying” – Belle & Sebastian
(I SWEAR, that was totally random!)
The song you’ll put as the subject?
“Venus De Milo” – Miles Davis
I got a new desk today. And a chair! Plus it was delivered to my door. All of this for the humble price of $35. I woke up this morning, thinking that I was happy to have a steady stream of freelance graphic design jobs, but thinking that I was dreading having to spend another 4-5 hour session sitting on a floor pillow, legs indian-style, unorganized and uncomfortable.
So I got onto Craigslist, the website of many pleasures, be it new furniture, a new job, or a new date. I found this little gem and it was sitting in my room mere hours later. It’s a little run down, but it’s perfect for me, and my non-cramped legs are really thanking me now. I really think it’s going to help my productivity.
It’s these things you take for granted, like a desk or a plunger, that you may not think you need until you really, really need them. I’m thankful I had the money to pay for it too, because finances have been a little funny lately.
I will, say, however, that I made it through the Xmas holiday season while still managing to get presents for almost everyone I wanted to. I was really concerned that that may not happen this year, what with me not having a job and all.
I’ve still been doing some temp jobs lately; I worked at the Andre Agassi Charitable Foundation for a day before New Years and I worked 2 days last week for a law firm downtown last week doing data-entry.
Thank god for these freelance jobs I’ve been doing, they’ve really helped me get through the tight times. I just did a series of ads for the CS Monitor, which were amazingly fun to design. I’m not sure if they’re live on the site, Salon.com, yet, so I won’t post them here until I am for sure. And this new desk is going to make freelancing so much better.
Thank you, desk. Now, if I could just get a dresser, things would be great!
Here is a picture of my old one. It was nice and sturdy, I suppose, but, damn, there is only so long you can sit on a wood floor before you start getting really, really agitated.
Currently listening to Origin of Symmetry by Muse