Archive for the ‘A Day In My Life’ Category

Focus

Focus (Photo credit: Unhindered by Talent)

Every day, I spent endless amounts of energy noticing things in my life that aren’t yet where I want them, or things that I’d like to do that I’m not currently doing. The more I’m stopping to listen to my thoughts, the more I’m noticing just how much space some of them are taking up. Thoughts that could be focused on getting the results I want rather than simply thinking about the fact that I’m not there yet.

I posted on Facebook on March 1st that my focus for the month would be only on things I want more of in my life. As I thought about it, I remembered the last 100 Day Challenge I did. I didn’t use exclamation points for 100 days. It forced me to find different means of showing excitement, through more words, different characters, getting creative with emoticons, etc. And so, stretching my focus for March into another 100 day challenge seemed like an interesting experiment. What happens when I only think about things I want or things I want more for an extended period of time?

Today marks Day 3. Let me tell you, I feel like I’m training a little puppy. My brain is off and running with its usual thoughts, and I’ve been having to make it sit still for a few moments. Which is so hard! It just wants to bounce around from here to there and everywhere. But the cool thing about checking in with my thoughts more often is that I can start to see small changes I can make. For instance, yesterday, while I was only focusing on things I wanted, I really, really, really wanted a chocolate chip cookie. I questioned myself on whether that was

what I actually wanted or whether my brain was trying to trick me. Total brain trick! What I really want is for my jeans to fit again. A year of cocktails, eating amazing food and not taking the proper time for rest and exercise has not done me any favours by the way of still feeling fabulous.

Out goes the focus on the chocolate chip cookie. In comes the focus on getting what I really want.

I suspect I’ll have a few more of these over the course of the 100 days. Moments where I catch myself thinking I want something when really it’s not something that supports where I’m headed, rather supports keeping me in one place. There are also plenty of things I simply want more of. I have no doubt I’ll discover those too. Like more massages!

Stay tuned! I’m sure I’ll have plenty of observations and lessons to share along the way!

Scavenger hunts have always been an amusing way to spend a day (I even did one at my sixth birthday party). But with the advent of social media, they’re taking on an entirely new twist. Even Pearl Jam hopped on the hunt train. I’m not sure we hit 5.9 Million tweets globally, but we certainly took over Twitter today in Calgary as participants in Tweets For Eats YYC tweeted in photos, took good-natured jabs at one another online and raised the profile for a Calgary charity as we descended upon the city. It’s yet another avenue of online successfully meeting offline… and all participants and spectators having a blast in the mean time. Today was, without a doubt, the most fun I’ve had at a fundraising event in a long time.

Let me start out with a little run down of the day. I was on a team with Margot from The Costume Shoppe and her friend Karen. We met for a morning picker upper at Chiasso and then headed on over to Melrose to join the couple dozen people already stationed outside waiting for the doors to open and check-in to begin (not to mention the free breakfast sandwiches, yogurt and fruit Melrose had waiting to fuel us up). The hunt didn’t start until 11, but at 945 the doors opened wide and we rushed in to get our forms all filled in and wait for the much-anticipated hunt list.

We ride bareback on Team Silvester

At 11 on the nose, the list was handed out. There were over 200 items consisting of sponsored items recognizing the hunt sponsors, physical items (as in we had to bring these back with us), photograph items (send in a picture) and unique items (only one team could win each one!). Most teams were out the door lickety-split. Not us. We took our time and perused the entire list, sorting out what we wanted to find and splitting it up by neighbourhood or location. From there, we hopped in the car and off we went!

The hunt could take you from just a block or two from the start point all the way out to Elbow Falls. We concentrated on covering as many items as possible in as small an area as possible. This meant restraining ourselves to downtown, Inglewood and… where else but The Costume Shoppe!

I had no idea the day was going to go by so quickly! Part of that was thanks to my awesome teammates, I couldn’t have asked for two better ladies to spend the day with. We had a hoot and had a similar approach to the hunt! The other, well, there were just so many places to try to visit and items to get. We got a little creative with a couple of the clues, like having our team crawl underneath a truck bed instead of a real bed and finding a paper clip in place of a “trombone” (Hint: it’s the French word for paperclip). I was also introduced to a couple of places in the city I wouldn’t have known about otherwise, like this garage filled and decorated with bottle caps!

We didn't do it... I swear!

The day ended at 400pm back at Melrose to tally points, have some much-needed food and drink, listen to some tunes and await the winner of the grand prize of 4 iPads! Three recounts later, we had our winners. The Four Pink Ladies!

Check out the #t4e stream to read all the Twitter updates and photos from the day.

Congrats John S, Mike B, Mike and Ally S on a hunt well done. Can’t wait for next year!

The more I’m out there exploring Calgary, the more interesting things I find to do and fascinating people I meet. Our city is full of talent that so many of us were (and still are) unaware of. I’ve been mulling over how best to go about talking about everything I’m discovering. I contemplated starting another blog, as this one has been primarily about web, technology and social media. But the hell with it, part of outing my inner geek is finding other ways to geek out. It’s at the very least a weekly occurrence for me, and so I bring you a different take on my blog – A Day In My life.

This weekend found me at the Calgary Comic and Entertainment Expo (CCEE). The expo is in its fifth year, but I’ve never had occasion to go. My brother was the one into comic books growing up. I think my mom still has a box of his comics, all carefully stowed away in their respective plastic coverings. My best friend was a huge Star Trek fan when we were kids. Everyday after we came home from school, we’d watch Next Generation at her place. She even had a Star Trek themed birthday once. I can’t say that going to a convention with her ever crossed my mind as something I’d be into. Only since cutting off my cable a couple of years ago have I started to explore a few movies already in my collection (namely Batman, Spiderman and the X-men).

In the days leading up to the Expo, I inquired amongst my various groups of friends who would be attending. My frisbee team, not a single one. In fact, I got a funny look for even posing the question. Many of my social media friends, however, y’all were there to partake in the “full frontal NERDity” as Steve Hodges is so fond of putting it.

Three days of manning a booth, being surrounded by hundreds of fans from sci-fi to gamers to comic lovers gave me a glimpse into a world that many of you have been passionate about for years. It feels a bit odd approaching it as an adult. For so many of you, the nostalgia of childhood favourites has just as much of an allure as seeing your favourite characters from a modern-day series. I don’t really have either (although I would have been admittedly excited to see anyone there from Firefly). But I thoroughly enjoyed my immersion into your world and I’ve uncovered a couple of different topics, festivals and activities that I’d like to pursue.

Theatre – What’s theatre doing at a comic convention you ask? I would’ve asked the same thing too, except that it was a promotion for Swallow-a-Bicycle Theatre’s current production, i-Robot. Considering the promo in Mark Hopkins‘ newsletter was written in binary, it didn’t seem so out-of-place. Mark is the king of knowing the ins and outs of events on the Calgary Arts scene, or at least having a fantastic list about them once a month. If ever you’ve been one to think there’s nothing to do in Calgary, Mark’s e-newsletter is a pretty solid place to start. How can you get on such an awesome sauce mailing list? Why, email him!

Anime – I spent my weekend next to a table for Otafest. Beyond episodes of Astroboy, I had never had much exposure to the world of anime. I first came across Otafest as I was digging for festivals in Calgary before Christmas. From their website, it was a bit difficult to glean what the festival was all about. However, the thundersticks they were giving away all weekend and the ongoing music from Nyan Cat (it’s the only music I heard for 3 days) made me pay closer attention. It seems I missed this year’s festival, held May 20-22. But it’s already on my calendar to check out next year. It’s back from May 18-20, 2012.

Drawing/Animation – When I was in high school, the words “quick draw” had an altogether different meaning than what the table to my left was promoting. The Quickdraw Animation Society had a still animation demo setup. You’d draw a few lines and take a picture with a camera attached to a Mac, draw a few more, take another picture. And repeat until your drawing was finished. Then hit play. Your drawing now drew itself! You could do the same thing with comic book characters they had cut out from some old comic books. It was fun to watch the different scenes people came up with throughout the weekend. A banner at the back of their booth was promoting a Giraf festival. Actually, it’s Giraf7. My first thought was a fundraiser with the zoo? Shows you how much I know about it, it’s really an animation festival in November. The Giant Incandescent Resonating Animation Festival (Giraf). Say what now? Don’t worry, I still don’t know what it means either. But the stills were intriguing. Did you know that it takes 24 frames to make up 1 second of animation? For real! Imagine how long it takes to do a film? That’s a lot of time and energy–anyone willing to put that much work into a project is worth checking out in my books.

Still on the animation front, there was an artist up from San Francisco in the booth behind mine (does that mean it’s on the animation “back” rather than the front?). Fabian Molina is a young (I say young only because he’s younger than I) animator who once worked at Banana Republic. Importance? None in the context of animating. He worked there for 6 years before he mustered up the courage to quit and pursue animation full-on. In that sense, it’s an important lesson. If you’re nowhere near an industry that allows you to do what you love, the sooner you get out, the better off you’ll be. He let me read through a bit of his book, Animating in the Nude (anything goes at CCEE). All I could think was: “A book? How does this kid have a book already?” Naw, that’s not really what I thought. Instead, it gave me some good insight into what goes into making animations, 2D or 3D. There’s plenty of work to be done from concept to finish, and so much more before pen or pencil even touches paper in terms of character development and the likes. He also just joined Twitter.

I was attempting to embed the promo video for the book, but it appears WordPress isn’t enjoying it so much. Please do have a boo at it over here.

Next to Fabian was Mark McDonnell, whom I didn’t get nearly as much chance to talk to, but would say hello whenever I poked my head through the curtain between our rows. He does something called gesture drawing. Is it in any way related to Fabian’s guide to animating? No clue. If you know more about the field than I, I’ll let you be the judge. At any rate, he describes his book as having a strong focus on storytelling. We all know connecting with anyone–friends and family, strangers, an audience, companies, customers, etc–is much easier to do over a story. I’m curious to see how story-telling through animation might relate well to social media.

It was Mark’s 3rd visit to Calgary. Now that I know who he is, I’ll be looking for him next year, not to mention keeping an eye on his blog from time to time.

I was also pleasantly surprised to see Tony Johanson wandering by. Did you know he’s in on a comic book? I’ll let him spill the details when he’s ready, but would you have ever guessed? Me neither! The things you learn about people…

Not bad for experiencing CCEE from my table, hey? I learned a lot and I’m looking forward to seeing what lessons each of these organizations, people and industries can teach me as I continue to broaden my geekdom.

The Calgary Comic and Entertainment Expo returns April 27-29, 2012. See you there!