Thursday, February 21, 2008

I love Michel Gondry. I really enjoyed Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and I thought that The Science of Sleep was ALMOST a masterpiece... so I've been anxiously awaiting his new film, Be Kind Rewind. In the movie, Jack Black somehow becomes magnetized and erases all of the videos at the video store he works at. He and Mos Def proceed to recreate the movies one by one in a process Gondre calls 'Sweding'. Now, he's sweded his own trailer to the movie...

Monday, February 18, 2008

thanks Lisa

Thanks to Lisa for mentioning that I redesigned her blog. If you're interested in your own redesign work you can reach me here. I'm working on getting a new portfolio site up, but if you'd like to see my portfolio, it's here. Now to get to work on, amid other things, contest winner Nicole's site. I'd really like to have things finished for her before it becomes 'Five' and Counting. Sorry for the delay, Nicole.


man, it's been quite a while since I've had one of those nights where I work until some ungodly hour, go take a nap for a couple of hours while my computer processes and then get up and work some more... only to take another nap after the project is finished.

Back in the late nineties or early oughts (heh. now that I'm thirty I can talk about the 'good ol' days') I tried to start a business with a guy I used to hang out with. He was a musician (who later turned out to be the music playing pot head cliche) and business major, and had an idea for an interactive CD-ROM that would teach people about the music business. If we had done this a couple of years later we would have just made a DVD, but DVDs were still kind of bleeding edge and it just wasn't possible to easily make a DVD.

Anyway, we decided that we were going to do it in a combination of Director and Flash, only Flash really didn't have any sort of video support in it yet. It was a mess from the first day we started. We each borrowed money from our parents to start the biz ($2,500 apiece) and we worked pretty much every night. I was going to school and working full time so we couldn't work on it during the day... so around 8:00 every night, Jeff would come over and we'd work in shifts. We'd work until we collapsed, then we'd take a nap and get up after an hour or so and work a couple of more hours before having to take another nap. We did that for a couple of months getting ready for SXSW. We'd paid to have a booth in the tradeshow and we really wanted to be able to show off something.

The redeeming side of the story is that it's how I initially fell in love with Austin. We holed up in the guest bedroom at my friend Lisa's house (the friend whose blog, incidentally, launched today) and had a pretty amazing time.

Post SXSW, my partner started smoking pot and kind of fell off the face of the earth. The Macromedia Lingo we needed to use for the Director project was beyond my scope, and most of the programming ended up getting farmed out to a friend of mine. They made up CDs but I don't know that they any of them ever really sold.

I found this e-mail in the archives of this mailing list I'm on. It tells the rest of the story.

The other little thing I've been dealing with is the finishing off of this past business venture I made with a guy to design a Multimedia project. We had kind of a bitter break and he continued with the business with the understanding that he was going to pay me off my share of the investment because he wanted to retain rights to the product. A year passed and none of the $2500 investment had come back yet, I had written a clause in saying that if at the end of the payment period the balance had not been paid off, then there would be retroactive and accruing interest on the whole thing. That time is just about here, so I needed to sit down with Jeff to get this stuff figured out.

I didn't ever think I'd get the money, and he works at the apple store, so I thought I could make him a settlment offer, 'get me an iMac DVD-R and we'll call it even'. He sent an e-mail back saying that we could definitely talk along those lines and we set a time to meet for lunch.

We meet for lunch (after waiting a 1/2 hour for him) and start to hash things out. He has a lot of debt, he can't pay anything, doesn't have any money, etc. I just tell him that I don't want to do anything that is going to hurt him. I'm very emphatic about this. I propose a big cut in the total $2300 he owes me, to like $1000 and a payment plan, and he says he doesn't want any extra payments and that all he can really offer me is his Apple Store discount. Then, after talking about dropping the amount of money even more, he says that he's selling his Chet Atkins SST on ebay and that I could have the money from that. We both think that's a good idea and after praying and both thanking each other for getting together and sorting some of these issues so that we could build a new friendship we take off our seperate ways. Everything seems really great. I'm actualyl pretty excited about building a new friendship....

the guitar sells for like $900. I think that I would really be able to put that money to use trying to get a Laptop so that I could take it to South Padre, and life still seems pretty good. I don't hear from Jeff though. For whatever reason a week passes, then today, I get an e-mail.


Since we last spoke I talked with a lawyer about our quandary. The first thing we agreed on was it seemed unfair for me to pay back your initial investment when we both went into this endeavor under the same pretenses. Secondly, that it would be ridiculous for me to dip into my own personal "debt" to pay you off, considering I made no money on Music Made Simple.

The problem wasn't the original contract; it was the amendment you made minutes before we both signed. It was a hostile separation and my attitude was basically, "sign it- fine whatever, just sign it." I DID NOT have a clear understanding of the hand written appendage or the words you muttered under your breath.

The fact that neither of us initialed the amendment proves that we had NOT reached a mutual understanding. Furthermore, from a legal standpoint when a contract is revised or changed in any way it must be initialed by both parties to be admissible in court.

Technically the only part of the contract that is enforceable is the typed portion. And I still plan to honor that portion of the contract. In addition to that, if you want to access my personal Apple discount- you are more than welcome to. That is something I can feasibly do.

Thanks for understanding my frustration.


I just don't understand it. It's not like this is $20,000. I really prayed that I would say the right things when I was with Jeff, and that we could work this out. So why this? It's kind of frustrating, and at the end of the day, I'm left more bewildered than anything else. Your prayers about the whole deal would be appreciated. To change COMPLETELY from our lunch meeting to this, just seems really drastic. It's $900, it's not all the money in the world, and for just being $900, all the legal stuff seems really petty.

'Jeff' worked at the Apple Store for a couple more years. He reconnected with a friend who landed him a gig touring with a major female Christian musician. I never found out whether his pot habit disappeared. He's a worship pastor now so I hope so. Things turned out better than they could have. BTW, I did end up getting that iMac, but not how I thought I would.

When the lamp iMacs came out, my friend Terry stumbled into one at a Microcenter. Being that they were rare and quite popular (the wii of their time!), he decided to buy it so that he could sell it on Ebay. I convinced him that it was much more beneficial to sell it to me and, for some reason, he agreed.

I thought that I'd end up using it for freelance... I thought that I'd end up using the little 400mhz iMac DV that I had before that for freelance... and I eventually WAS able to make it pay for itself with freelance work but it took longer than I thought it would. Isn't that the way life is though? BTW, that trip to South Padre that I mentioned in that e-mail? On the way to South Padre Island, we stopped in Austin for the night. My friend Matt and I headed out to this coffee shop he likes on Town Lake and we talked about how the plans I had been making to move to Austin were on hold. I mentioned that I had met this girl and that I thought it was something I needed to pursue.

I wouldn't trade any of that extra time in Austin for Angela. I'm glad that I held off. Several years later, we're still talking about Austin. This time we're in a much better position to be able to make the move. I HAVE a career now. I like to think that I'm a pretty good designer who has marketable skills. If I had moved then, I'm not sure how things would have progressed. I'd like to think that God gives us the desires of our hearts though, and looking back at all of this, He has. Someday I'll tell the story of how Angela and I met. In the mean time, I need to get back to work. I've got a bunch of projects to get done today.

More later.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

an update

... as I struggle back from not really having any real excuse for why I haven't blogged besides being busy. I turned thirty a little over a week ago. I thought it was going to be lousy back a couple of years ago when I first started rolling the concept around in my head but it's actually been alright. Link

What's bugged me though is how easy it is to slip into old patterns. How easy it is to start eating the way I was eating before the fast... how easy it is to get out of doing a little devotional every morning... how easy it is to focus on freelance work over working out. It's kind of depressing realizing just what a shallow, simple creature I am.

I mean, I'm happy that I HAVE freelance work to do. It's, in theory, going to help us get out of debt (as soon as it's going for that and not going towards catching up on another kind of debt; with taxes). Here's one of the things I've been working on, a redesign of a friends blog. I'm hoping that it launches today. I think it's just about ready.

Anyway, off to the normal job. My coworker is out this morning and she only found someone to fill in for half of her duties this morning which means that I get to pick up an extra service. It's fine but it's still annoying when I've get to do more work... silly really, when you think about it. It's not like this aspect of my job is that hard, yet I find a way to complain about it anyway.

More later. I want to run through a design synopsis of that new site and do a simple photoshop tutorial for how to create the appearance of a logo siting behind ice... you can be my guinea pigs and let me know if it's something I could try and post at