Saturday, August 29, 2009

Dumb Dog

This is Seymore. He's a dumb dog, but we love him.

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Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Creating Child-Like Text

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I do a lot of work that is nostalgic for childhood or intended for children (That probably reflects my current stage of development as a creative animator!).  One thing I like to do, is create text as if a child had written it, using the text as a graphic in the overall design of a piece.  Everyone usually just prints with their weaker hand to get 'scraggily writing', but even when I do I can still see some of the 'adult' peeking through.  I figured out that what makes children's writing so 'cute' is their inexperience at forming the strokes for the letters.  It's not just the weakness in their fine motor skills.  So, in order to 'stoop to their level' so to speak, I had to think of an 'unfamiliar' way to print the letters.

After a few tests and experiments, I figured out I could get that feeling of inexperience by writing the letters backwards.  I don't mean printing them so you can read them in a mirror, but creating the strokes of the letter in a backwards order.  Here you can see a sample line from a primer, showing how children are taught to make their letters.  If I reversed the stroke steps, I got the result I was looking for.

Here's a sample video, showing the process of stroking the letters backwards.

Happy Designing!

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Saturday, August 8, 2009

Forgiveness - 'Nothing is Wasted' #tls09

The following is my 'take away' from the presentation given by Wess Stafford at the Willow Creek Leadership Summit 2009


Pain can be the catalyst for everything. How does a person use pain and hurt for good?  

Look at your life as a beautiful tapestry.  So many of us spend our time looking at the wrong side!  Stop looking at the back with all the knots and the loose threads - the 'mess' of it’s making – look at the other side. There you can see the beautiful work that God is doing with your life, using the things you’ve been through to create an image of his kingdom here on earth.

Terrible things can happen when children are set at the lowest priority.  I’ve certainly experience that in my own life.  But there is tremendous power that is released when you forgive.  Just get it out, push it out of your heart.  Release the ‘junk’.  Say to those that hurt you ‘You took yesterday – you can’t have tomorrow.  I choose to forgive you.’

Remember, no experience is wasted.  God takes everything you have, takes all the junk and all the pain all the craziness, and orchestrates it into something BEAUTIFUL for the kingdom.  Nothing is wasted, EVERTHING can be redeemed.

Reading recommendation: ‘To Small to Ignore’ by Wess Stafford

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Changing the Conversation - 'Trade - not Aid' for Africa #tls09

The following is my 'take away' from the presentation given by Andrew Rugasira at the Willow Creek Leadership Summit 2009


The perspective of Africa as a poor, desperate country needs to be replaced with a more positive outlook if any true change is to come about.  We need to deconstruct our negative view of the country and it’s inhabitants.  Ask yourself the question; what type of person does it take to live on $1 a day?  The answer is - Entrepreneurs.

What if we were to paint a picture of the country with the same brush strokes we use to create a marketing demographic map here in the U.S.?  Imagine how different Africa would appear to business owners and investors if is was viewed not as an impoverished nation full of people needing aid, but a nation teeming with consumer possibilities, fantastic natural resources, and individuals with such great economic skills that they make $1 a day sustain them and their families.

Right now, there is an imbalance of the import and export of goods.  The current economy is based on the export of raw materials.  The regions don’t process any of the raw materials, and therefore miss out on a piece of the production ‘pie’.

Conversely, the people don’t consume what they produce.  The must import what they need, which creates in economic imbalance.  One solution is to create local companies that process goods for global AND local sale.  The other side of the coin is to encourage companies to come to Africa – and bring with them jobs, financial investment, and opportunities.  With the help of the media, we can start changing the image of the pitiful African into one of a thriving competitor and consumer. 

The problem with the aid that we’re sending is that it has a tendency to undermine accountability, and to create chronic dependency.  People that have to survive on aid are removed of their dignity – they are made to feel less by those giving them assistance.  In some occasions, the aid only comes with the promise of control – ‘if you do this, we’ll give you money’.   All these things perpetuate the chronic poverty in the region. 

One solution is ‘Trade – not aid’.   No country in history was developed through ‘hand outs’.  Trade is the most powerful way to transform an economy.  Through trade you help the people by training them to get out of poverty.   By painting a picture of a continent of consumers, by changing our perspective of the country from ‘poor people’ to ‘viable consumers’, suddenly we can imagine ways to invest in and to capitalize on the resources they have to offer.  If we can stop seeing Africa as a ‘problem’ and start seeing it as an ‘opportunity’, then the REAL change can be born.

(If you give a man a fish, he’ll eat for a day.  But teach him to fish, and he’ll eat for a lifetime.)

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Thursday, August 6, 2009

Seymore #whippet



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Being the older brother #tls09

Do you think God 'owes you' because you are a religious person?

 How do you handle critisism gives a clue to where your definition of 'self' rests. If your self image is based on your own definition, or a world based definition, you will respond passionalty in defense or in self abasement to critisism. If your self image is based in God's eyes, then your response will be appropriate.

 You can't stay angry at a person unles you think you're better than them! The older brother was so angry at the younger brother, that he wouldn't come into the banquet. It's a way that we say 'these are all the ways that I'm better than these people. God, you owe me!"

 Until you look at the things your doing 'right' (to have control over people), you can't have true repentence. You think you're doing God a 'favor' by following him. True repentence is deeper than just acknowledgment of sin.

 People go into ministry for their own salvation - in order to do 'great works' so that all know how good they are. And then, God OWES them their salvation.

 It cost the father 1/2 of his estate when the younger son left - everything given to the younger brother when he returned was actually owed to the older brother. And the older brother was so bitter about it. He wasn't a TRUE older brother - who's responsibility is to keep the family together no matter what. He was selfish and had inflated opinions of his importance, his 'goodness'.

 Actually, Jesus is what the older brother should be!! A true brother to be our advocate, to save us at the cost of his life.

Sent from my iPhone

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Firing People #tls09

Candor and feedback so critical when there's a problem with a staff member. Always, the truth is the kindest policy.

 Retrain, reposition, then only retire. Retrain - maybe the don't have the right skill set for that job. Reposition - maybe their skill set is best used on another area. Then, if all options have been explored, only the consider retiring.

 Regular performance reviews are another critical step. You have to give people feedback about how they are working on the job. Give them the opportunity to either change or move on.

 Conflic avoidence is very common in organizations. No one wants to be the bad guy. But a true leader will stand up and do what needs to be done.

 Not removing bad people demotivates your good achievers. It communicates the message that good performance is not rewarded.

 Of course, clear communication of the process is important to be kind to people if something has to happen. Also, having relationships with your employees is necessary. Don't let the first time you talk to someone to be when you are firing them!!

 Sent from my iPhone

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Conflicts in board meetings #tls09

Conflicts are not 'spontaneous'. It takes past mistakes to create large 'explosive' conversations. Counter productive to meetings is managing everyone's behavior. A board is a 'team' - which must go through steps before they can function together. 1forming 2norming 3storming and then 4performing. If you blow past any of those, you will never have good performing. It's important to take steps to maintain the 'team' dynamic.

 It's also important keep a regular turn over for fresh blood, but also to give people time to REST. Sent from my iPhone

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Cultural match important to new hires #tls09

The way an organization works the way the people get along can't be under valued in an interview.

 It's important that the culture isn't hidden or diminished. People who are attracted to your culture will make them naturally 'good' hires.

 That and over explain the job description. If people know exactly what they're getting into, if you keep it factual - you set exectations LOW, which in time causes job satisfaction increase.

 Sent from my iPhone

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At #tls09

Pretty cool so far, of course. Wish I was actually there in Chicago. Maybe next year I'll just go 'to the source' so to speak.

 Don't know what kind of 'leader' i am. Guess we'll have to see how things turn out. I like to think that I'm a leader, but I wonder if that's just vanity talking.

 Production quality is pretty good. Was a bit shakey on the camerawork at first. Wonder who's directing - would like to know what they've done before. Loved the intro video, good quality but I could see what seemed like a bit of a green screen glow. Probably no one else would notice - just someone looking for something, like me!


 Sent from my iPhone

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