Friday, June 28, 2013

Flashback Friday #20 - Disney

Flashback Fridays are back! After a little break from blogging I am back and will be posting some more photos and stories. This week we take a look at Disney! Last week I was in the Orlando area staying at my Uncle's house for a few days and while there I was able to visit Downtown Disney with my good friend Stephanie. We had a great time exploring the stores and themed restaurants, but it was during all that when I realized the last time I had been to any of the Disney parks was way back in 2008 (when these photos were taken at The Magic Kindom) and the last time I had been to Epcot, The Animal Kingdom, or Hollywood Studios was back in the 1990's! Heck, the last time I was at Hollywood Studios it was still called MGM Studios! I have been on a Universal Islands of Adventure binge recently, having been 4 times in the past 3 years. Stephanie and I both had gone to the Disney parks loads of times as kids and we decided that it was high time for me to go again, especially after all the new stuff they have added in the past few years. New things like the new FantasyLand at The Magic Kingdom, which I hear is most awesome. And then I have also been missing out on the Star Wars weekends. Man, I need to get back on that Disney train. My good friend Thomas has even been to Disney parks in three different countries now so I have no excuses! haha. Disney, here I come - you know - when my schedule allows it. Keep it REAL everyone!

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Photowork at the Anastasia Island Branch Library

Just yesterday I hung up some photowork at the Anastasia Island Branch Library out near St. Augustine, FL. I now have work at two public libraries at the same time! The works I decided to hang at Anastasia are from my Great Connectors and Travel Archive series. I am excited for the chance to share these images once again and I hope that the library patrons enjoy them. The show will be up for the rest of June and through July so if you are in the area be sure to stop by the library. The people are very friendly and my good friend Stephanie works there even! I got more projects on the way so be on the look out for more photos and stories. And, as always, Keep it REAL!

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Photowork at the Bartram Trail Branch Library

Earlier this week I was able to hang some photowork at the Bartram Trail Public Library. I decided to show pieces from my Monumental Architecture series that I shot in Savannah, GA on 4x5 Large Format film. The pieces will be up for the month of June so if you are in the area drop on by and take a look for yourself. They are also for sale if you are at all interested. Keep it REAL!

Post #200!

Hello readers. This is post number 200! I wanted to mark this special milestone by saying thank you to all of you who keep reading this blog. It is all of you who continue to put up with my babbling and ranting and weird stories and this blog would never have gone as far as it has if I knew there was no one reading it. So, thank you. Please feel free to share, comment, and ask questions. Also you can suggest topics for future posts if you feel so inclined. I just might take them into consideration! But, as always - Keep it REAL! PHOTO REAL that is. Thanks again! Now on to the next 200...

Friday, May 31, 2013

Flashback Friday #19 - Big Sister

If you don't know my big sister Allison - then you are seriously missing out on life! She is one of the most fun, inspiring, intelligent, and beautiful people I have the pleasure of knowing in this life and I will always be proud to call her my sister. Earlier this month Allison graduated from the Teachers College at Columbia University in New York City with a Master's Degree in Education. She now has two degrees from two very well respected schools and did it all with a smile on her face (but only when she was not giving me the stink eye for doing something foolish...) She is the first one in our family to graduate from an Ivy League school and we could not be more happy for her and her future. She has already come a long way from her first degree from ELON University in North Carolina. After that milestone in 2008 she moved to New York and started working as a ParaPro at the Rebecca School in Manhattan, which specializes in education for students with learning disabilities. It was there that she discovered a passion for education through working with an AWESOME young student named Nick. She soon realized that she wanted to teach for a living and work with autistic children. She sought out higher education right in her backyard at Columbia University and is now a certified Master of Education! Go Allison! You Rock! We Love You! And remember to Keep it REAL! (Also, check out this link and try not to smile - I dare you...)

Friday, May 24, 2013

Flashback Friday #18 - Jacksonville, FL

Last night I attended a special event at the MOSH (Museum of Science and History) in downtown Jacksonville. It was called Jacksonville by Design and was a panel discussion led by architects and urban planners about the future of Jacksonville as a city. Lots of topics were discussed that I researched during my thesis project last year such as creating more pedestrian friendly areas, installing better street lighting, making better public transportation, creating more events at night and on the weekends, and basically giving people a reason to come downtown. One really good part of the discussion begged the question that instead of looking to the bad examples of design in order to learn what not to do, we should in fact look to the good examples of design and start to celebrate those pieces of planning. If we look too much at the bad examples they will become road blocks and designers, as well as the general public, will get too hung up on them and start to resist change. But if we get excited about the good examples then we can start to advance and make better choices. Jacksonville has a lot of potential and I hope that the future will help make it into a leading example of city design and planning. The main problem at this juncture though is that there are so many ideas on the table but none are being used. One thing that was said at the discussion last night was that there are no "wrong" answers to any of Jacksonville's design questions. That may be true to an extent, but the problem with that is that no one wants to pick the "right" answer. Not every choice is going to be perfect or well received by everyone, but remaining static as Jacksonville has for the most part is certainly the wrong answer. The table of ideas has become the road block and we need to start clearing it. Take notice Jacksonville, keep looking to the future, and start taking action - and, as always, Keep it REAL!

Friday, May 17, 2013

Star Trek - We'll Beam You Up!

This one is just for fun. I grabbed an image of the U.S.S. Enterprise and slapped the enterprise car rental logo on it. Pick enterprise - We'll Beam You Up! hahaha - I crack myself up. Keep it REAL!

Flashback Friday Special - Star Trek

Hello readers! Today I will be seeing the new Star Trek movie in IMAX 3D and I wanted to give a Flashback Friday Special shout-out to The Wrath of Khan (1982). I just recently watched Khan for the first time and now I finally understand why Trek fans praise it as the best movie in the franchise. It has a good revenge story, some clever tactics from both sides, and one of the best villains of any movie. Khan, played by Ricardo Montalban, has some of the most quotable lines of any movie character and he is merciless in his chase of captain Kirk and the crew of the Enterprise. I have already heard lots of good about the new movie Into Darkness and after reading a short review in the newspaper I have learned that it takes inspiration from The Wrath of Khan. Here is hoping that the villain (this time played by Benedict Cumberbatch) will be just as good because, as we all know, a hero is only as good as his villain. "He tasks me. He tasks me and I shall have him! I'll chase him 'round the moons of Nibia and 'round the Antares Maelstrom and 'round Perdition's flames before I give him up!" "To the last, I will grapple with thee... from Hell's heart, I stab at thee! For hate's sake, I spit my last breath at thee!" - Khan. - Keep it REAL readers and go see Star Trek Into Darkness!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

My Ideal Musicshelf

Keeping with the current theme I decided to make my Ideal Musicshelf as well. This is my current list of music that I would not want to live without. Take a look and see if you know any of my picks and let me know what you would pick yourself in the comments. Keep it REAL!

Monday, May 13, 2013

My Ideal Movieshelf

After making my Ideal Bookshelf (see previous post) I wanted to extend the idea to my love of movies as well. Here is my Ideal Movieshelf. Each of these lists are subject to change over time but for now they are without a doubt the top choices I would make if I was forced to decide. What movies would you pick? Let me know in the comments. Keep it REAL!

My Ideal Bookshelf

I was just recently informed by a friend of a super cool book called My Ideal Bookshelf that contains illustrations of people's book collections they could not live without. I thought it was a super great idea and decided to make my own shelf! Take a look and see if you would include some of the same ones I picked out or if you would make a totally different shelf. Keep it REAL!

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Rickie Fowler - Story of an Autograph

So, besides seeing golfers and taking in the amazing landscape that is the Stadium Course, I got to witness some dreams come true! Such was the case for this lucky little guy right here. This young fan was entirely decked out in all Rickie Fowler gear including the now near iconic Puma ball-cap. He positioned himself on his Dad's shoulders and went about grabbing an autograph. I noticed the Fowler-ite before Rickie started signing autographs and was silently routing him on. I was really excited when Rickie got to him and signed his hat. Thankfully I had the foresight to capture the reaction too - how great is that! You can watch the full story un-fold in this short animation! Keep it REAL!

The Players - TPC - #17

If you read my previous post about my favorite spot at the TPC then you have an idea of what some of the more secluded and hidden viewing spots on the course look like. But lets get serious, you can't talk about the TPC without talking about the par 3 #17 Island Green. It is quite possibly the most famous hole in all of golf. Think about that! No really, think about it. If you follow golf at all you probably know about The Masters, which is played at Augusta National in Georgia and is one of the most prestigious courses in the sport. You probably even know about the Old Course at St. Andrews in Scotland, which is one of the oldest golf courses in the world. But can you distinctly describe a single hole from either of those famous courses? No, you can't - but you can describe #17 at the Stadium Course in Sawgrass. "It's an island!" Just take a look at the photo above. This photo shows why this course is called the "Stadium Course." Every year this area of the course that includes the green of par 5 #16 off to the far left and the #17 Island Green transforms into a regular Colosseum of Golf! The amazing thing about the photo above is that there is barely anyone there in the stands or on the grass slopes. This will not be the case from Thursday to Sunday as the only green you will be able to see is the grass of the actual green as everything else will be covered by fans and marshals. It is easily the most populated area on the whole course and offers some of the most dynamic views of golf action as well as unpredictable events. This hole has bested some of the greatest golfers ever with most going in the water, but even if you land on the green with your first shot you still might not be safe. Balls have been known to roll off the green after landing safely as well as being picked up by curious wildlife only to be dropped in the drink upon inspection. Lots of memories and dreams have been made at this hole with just as many being swallowed up. It will be interesting to see how the players handle it this year. Be sure to watch on the Golf Channel and continue to Keep it REAL!

The Players - TPC - #11

Today is the first round of play at the TPC at Sawgrass. It is one of the biggest golf championships in the sport and it is quite literally in my own backyard! It is held at the Stadium Course at Sawgrass Players Club (where I live) and is in it's 40th year. I have lived here since 1998 and have gone to the tournament almost every year since 1999, when local boy David Duval won. I have greatly enjoyed this golfing event and with any famous location you will always have your favorite spot. My favorite spot is on the sloping bank overlooking the green of the #11 par 5. This hole is wonderfully dramatic in it's design with a mean looking wrap-around sand trap and a small slice of water guarding the green from player's second approach shot. More daring competitors will go for it in two, giving them a chance for eagle (2 under par). But more conservative players will layup short and land on the green after 3 shots. This spot is great because you can see the players coming from far away on the fairway after their tee shot, and you get a front row seat for the action on and around the green. It is also one of the few places on the course that is almost never over crowded during play, and it does not make use of hospitality tents or ugly bleachers. It lets the landscape become the grandstands and is quite beautiful for it. I was able to take the above photo during one of the practice rounds on Tuesday, but later this week that bank in the foreground will be filled with golf fans of all nations and if I am lucky enough to score another ticket I will be one of them! Thanks for reading and Keep it REAL!

Friday, May 3, 2013

Flashback Friday Special - Three Sisters

Hello readers! Happy Friday. Today my folks and I will be playing host to some important guests for the weekend. My Grandmother and my two Aunts will be staying with us, which means that the three sisters will be together again! My mother is the middle of two sisters and she is pictured on the far right in the photo above. Her younger sister Sally who lives all the way out in Portland, OR is on the far left, and Betsy, the oldest, is in the middle and lives in Atlanta - where my Grandmother also lives. This photo was taken around 1976 and is one of many "three sisters" photos I have collected over the years. Thanks for reading, have a great weekend, and Keep it REAL!

Sunday, April 28, 2013

SCAD Sidewalk Arts Festival 2013

Hello all! Yesterday was the Sidewalk Arts Festival in Savannah and I had a blast as usual chalking it up with my friends and fellow alumni/students. This year I decided to do something a bit different and took inspiration for a very abstracted photo I took of a glass building in Jacksonville, FL. I laid out the grid work first and then realized that it would be very hard to generate all the different blues and blue-greens I needed for the glass so I simply picked out all the cool colors in my chalk pack and went to town making a plaid-like pattern. I am very happy with how it turned out and I had a lot of nice comments from people who walked by. A few people were even brave enough to come up and ask me what I graduated with from SCAD. A few thought graphic design was my major, but I don't think they were fully surprised when I said architecture. I hope you enjoy my square and be on the look out for more photos soon. Keep it REAL!

Friday, April 26, 2013

Flashback Friday #17 - Sidewalk Arts Festival

This weekend I will be attending the 32nd annual Sidewalk Arts Festival hosted by my now alma mater SCAD! I have participated in it every year for the past 4 and have had a wonderful time drawing with my fellow artists. This year I will be attending as an alumni and will get to draw my 5th square! Looking back on my past squares I started to see a pattern. My first square was themed around one of my favorite artists, M. C. Escher, and I used some of the lizards and fish that constantly cropped up in his geometric and mind-bending artwork. The next year I decided to do an Italian themed square since that following summer I was going on an academic trip to Italy with SCAD. It rained that year so I was able to literally paint the chalk onto the sidewalk and that is why the colors look so vivid. My third year I decided to use my favorite animal, the turtle, as my inspiration and came up with a graphic four-leaf turtle clover design. Several people thought it looked like a flower, which was cool because it is interesting to know what other people see in geometric or abstract art. With that being said my fourth year I took inspiration from a photograph I made of the Pantheon in Rome while on that academic trip with SCAD. So far that square has been my most successful since almost everyone who walked by stopped to look at it or photograph it. I even had the president of SCAD, Paula Wallace, stop and ask questions about it. It was also successful because the people who walked by had very different ideas about what it was. Some people thought it was a floor pattern, or perhaps a sun-burst, or an endless tunnel - one person even thought it was the Hadron Collider at CERN! That's pretty cool too! Needless to say I enjoyed making all of these squares and the unintentional pattern that I mentioned earlier goes - Geometric Reptile - Italy - Geometric Reptile - Italy. So, what will I do this year? Will I continue the pattern or will I throw myself a crazy chalk art curve ball? I guess you will just have to come out to the festival and see for yourself (or just wait till next week for my next blog post!). To read my posts about last year's Festival you can click Here, Here and.... Here! Keep it REAL!

Monday, April 22, 2013

Happy 2 Year Anniversary!

This month marks 2 whole years for this blog! 185 Posts, 200+ Photos and stories, and over 13,000 views from you - my faithful readers! Thank you so much for reading! I hope you have enjoyed my recent posts as well as my ongoing Flashback Friday series. I look forward to making even more new and exciting material to share. Please feel free to comment and ask questions any time and, as always, Keep it REAL!

Friday, April 19, 2013

Flashback Friday #16 - Comic Books

I have been in Lake Helen, FL for the past few days, but I felt I could still get a blog post out this week. The Flashback part of this Friday has to do with Comic Books! Some of you may know that over the past couple of years I have begun to inherit a large comic book collection. The books I have received have been all across the map and have been as old as 1960's/1970's and as new as 2013. Sometimes I even get the books on my doorstep before they are in stores (or just after)! It all started in 2007 when I befriended one of my dorm neighbors freshman year at college. Her name was Lauren and little did I know at the time but her father Bruno was an avid collector of comic books and had been collecting for many years. One day Bruno asked his daughter if there was anyone of her friends at school who might want some comic books. This seemed like a great idea since she went to an art school and quite a few people there were actually studying comic book art (sequential art). So she gave him some names and found some addresses and he sent out a few boxes of comics. A little while later Lauren decided to put my name in the mix and I received a box one summer day in 2008. I had no idea it was coming and I had no idea what to expect when I opened it, but inside were about 50 books! I quickly sat down and wrote Bruno a note thanking him for the great and unexpected gift I had just had the pleasure of opening. Very soon after that I started to receive box after box after box of comic books for it seemed no one else had taken the time to write Bruno back about the books. To me it was the only natural way of accepting the books and by doing so I must have cemented my place as main comic book recipient. Over the next few years I amassed a huge collection of books that I have greatly enjoyed. In recent years I too started to give some out to my friends as gifts just like Bruno did for me. I have even mailed some to friends who live elsewhere and have sent some as far away as Hong Kong! I still get excited every time a box arrives as I get to sort through whatever new titles Bruno has sent me. But that first box was still the best and I remember the day I got it like it was yesterday. The generosity of some people will always amaze me, and it also goes to show you the power of a simple thank you. It goes a lot farther than one might think - about 3,000+ comic books far! Thanks for reading and Keep it REAL!

Friday, April 12, 2013

Flashback Friday #15 - Utah

Happy Flashback Friday everyone! #15! As I promised last week I am going to talk about my church trip to Utah way back in the summer of 2005. It was one part mission trip, one part pilgrimage, and all parts fun. The journey started off much like any other, with a trip to the airport, but when we all arrived at our gate we were faced with a dilemma - our flight was 4 hours delayed! There was some pretty nasty weather were our first flight was supposed to land in Newark, NJ so we had to wait it out. But with the delay we missed our connecting flight in Newark and were stuck for an entire day with no bags in New Jersey. First of all, I have no idea why air traffic would have us fly from Florida to New Jersey and then to Utah, (...weird...) but second we got to have an unexpected adventure in New York City. The church I went on the trip with (Christ Episcopal Church) had a connection at the time with Trinity Church in New York so we called them up and they invited us over. We got to tour Trinity Church as well as St. Paul's and also got to see ground zero before any of the memorial construction had started. It was the first time I had ever been to New York so the experience was quite fantastic and powerful. The next day we made it to Utah and went about the mission part of our trip, which was to help clean, paint, and repair parts of a local town. That part was also a very meaningful experience because for the first time I witnessed poverty in the United States. It's not like I did not know it was present, but I have been lucky enough in my life to have lived in some pretty wealthy communities and being in that small town was very eyeopening to see how rough some parts of the US really are. I remember my specific job was to help paint street curbs because the town did not have the proper funds for road maintenance. It was actually pretty tough work since it was the summer in Utah (hot, hot hot!), but it felt good to help out. After that we started our pilgrimage part which was a river rafting tour on the Colorado River. We spent a few days and nights on the river on these pontoon type of river rafts that took about 10 people each. We had special guides with us the whole time who were really fun and liked to joke with each other by starting water fights or diving off rocks into the river. Every evening we camped out on the river bank and had the most amazing views of the ancient cliffs formed over thousands of years by the river. We also had fun playing a huge game of battleship on the beach one night with big pieces of driftwood as the ships and one of our guides told us a funny story about a French group they took down the river that they fed french toast too one morning - the French folk asked "What is this egg bread..?" We all thought that was hilarious. And every night our church leaders lead us in prayer as we marveled at the wonder of the creation that surrounded us in that place. I believe the trip touched everyone in a different way, but for me it was one of the only times I have ever felt as calm and at peace with the world. I hope to one day venture back there and experience it again. Until next time readers - Keep it REAL!

Friday, April 5, 2013

Flashback Friday Special - Utah

Friday kinda sneaked up on my this week so I will have to give you a preview of the regular flashback I have planned for next week! What we have here is a photo I took during a church trip way back in the summer of 2005. On this trip we went on a river rafting tour on the Colorado River and camped out every night on the river bank. It was certainly an amazing and unforgettable experience and this photo shows the view I had from my sleeping bag the first night we camped out. I had a natural famed view of the stars all during the night. It was magnificent. Stay tuned readers and Keep it REAL!

Friday, March 29, 2013

Flashback Friday Special - Easter

Easter is this weekend and I thought it appropriate to share these priceless family photos of my mom when she was a kid and her two sisters. They were taken in the mid 1960's in my grandmother's backyard that, to this day, still looks very much the same. These are just a few family artifacts that I have been collecting for that past couple of years and with any good artifact they only get better with age. I hope you have a wonderful Easter weekend readers and Keep it REAL!

Monday, March 25, 2013

Tolkien Reading Day Summary

For my day of Tolkien reading I picked a somewhat unconventional book called The Magical Worlds of The Lord of The Rings, written in 2002 by David Colbert. I say unconventional because it was not written by Tolkien himself, but I think he would have approved since he himself was famous (as I learned from this book) for reading and researching things when he really should have been doing something else. He even wrote down the iconic first line of The Hobbit when he was supposed to be grading a student's exam booklet! Regardless I thought it a fantastic read and I literally devoured the entire book in one day. It is basically a collection of short essays based on certain popular questions about the wonders of Middle-earth. Questions such as 'Why do Dwarves and Elves dislike each other?' - 'What's the Origin of the word Hobbit?' - 'How many Languages did Tolkien invent?' - and - "Why are there so many Towers?' Each of these questions were answered by referencing the historical legends and tales that inspired Tolkien to create his epic works. There were even some stories from Tolkien's childhood that helped shed light on certain artistic choices such as the fact that Shelob (the giant spider that attacks Frodo and Sam in LOTR) is Tolkien's manifestation of a giant tarantula that attacked him when he was just a young boy. I would recommend this book to any and all Tolkien fans or fantasy fans in general. Keep it REAL!

Tolkien Reading Day

Today is Tolkien Reading Day! An official Tolkien Society Day since 2003 (this year marking the 10th anniversary!). It's purpose is to help spark interest in the masterful literary works of J.R.R. Tolkien by reading and talking about all the wonders of Middle Earth and beyond. The date of March 25th is significant because it marks the day of the downfall of Sauron at the conclusion of the 'War of the Ring' in The Lord of the Rings Trilogy. According to the Tolkien Society website "the topic (this year) is "Tolkien's Landscapes". From the homely feeling of the Shire, to the dramatic Misty Mountains or the plains of Rohan, the landscapes of Middle-earth are a significant part of the appeal of Tolkien's work to many readers. Discuss the real-world inspiration for your favorite areas, the many wonderful artists who've portrayed Tolkien's world or where you'd most like to live." So, read on faithful readers and dig into a Tolkien book today and be sure to catch The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey on DVD and Blu-Ray! Keep it REAL!

Friday, March 22, 2013

Flashback Friday #14 - The Met

For the past 4 years I was always able to make it up to New York City to spend my spring break with my sister. This year I had to break that streak, but in honor of that wonderful tradition I wanted to talk about New York in this week's flashback. The photos above were taken in 2009, the first year of my spring break travels to the big city, and they show some of the most humorous construction fencing I have ever seen. These great photos were placed outside the Metropolitan Museum of Art as the usual "pardon our mess during construction" fencing and depict museum patrons posed with some of the famous artwork and artifacts housed inside. The rest of the fencing said in simple text "It's Time We MET." Such a clever slogan for the Museum, which is more commonly called The Met. I really like the lightheartedness of the display and it really made me want to enter the building! But alas the entire front entry was undergoing a facelift and my visit would have to be postponed. Actually, now that I think of it, I STILL have yet to go to The Met! I had 4 years to do it and I let it slip by! I guess with a city as big as New York your list of things to do never ends and that is one that I have yet to check off. But never fear, I have no doubt that I will get my chance and I do believe it is high time that we Met! - Keep it REAL readers!

Friday, March 15, 2013

Flashback Friday #13 - Broken

I may not have many personal accident stories like some other people, what with their multiple broken arms, noses, and possible fingers thrown in for good measure - but the one story I do have usually takes the cake when dishing out injury exploits. Eight years ago, almost exactly to the day, I broke my right femur while competing in a high school track & field meet. I was a sophomore at EHS and it was my second year on the varsity track team. My first year I played it safe and only competed in a few short distance running events, but at the start of my second year I had the brilliant idea to try out for the long jump event. At first it was pretty fun to run down a short track and jump into a pit of sand while looking like a bird who just had its wings clipped, and it also was a nice break from running practice twice a week, but it all went sour on Thursday, March 17th, 2005. It was the first home meet of the season and it was the first time I was going to be allowed to compete in the long jump event. I was very excited all that day during school and when I finally found myself staring down the short piece of rubberized track at my sandy pit of a destination I was still in a state of tense energy. I was given the all clear and started my run. I got to the end of the track, jumped, and.....CRACK! I was totally confused. What just happened? Did I break the sand box? Did it break me? I had a mouth full of sand, no feeling in either of my legs, about 100 questions, and 20 people hovering around me with no answers. After a moment I did start to realize what had happened, that I had indeed broken my leg. It must have been the adrenaline but I swear I was not feeling any pain. Maybe some uncomfort because I had started to gain some feeling in only my left leg while my right was as useless as a an empty hose, but not pain (that came later). I was even carrying on somewhat regular conversations with the EMTs once they arrived and gave my fellow teammates the thumbs up as they wheeled me to the ambulance. I think they all thought that was quite funny later. Once in the ambulance I was greeted by a fumbling male nurse who had a terrible time finding my vein for the IV. He made the horrid mistake of telling me it was his first day! I! I have no words. Someone finally took over for him and we were on our way and I was soaking up two full doses of morphine! Also, my mother, who was probably more frantic than anyone at this point, had to run to her car and literally chase down the ambulance since no one told her what hospital they were going too! I mean red lights and everything - Go MOM! Once at the hospital we had to wait for a real room after I had x-rays (shown above) and that's when the pain hit. It was probably the most pain I have ever felt in my life and I hope that will remain true. The x-rays revealed that I had snapped my right femur in half and thank God it was clean break too. And thanks to modern medicine and science the doctors had a plan! They wanted to stick a titanium rod in my leg and secure it with cross pins at my knee and hip (shown above). I was gonna be the bionic man....for REAL! I was in surgery the very next day (Friday) and I was able to go home Sunday morning. The next week was spring break so I was lucky to not miss any school (yes, I said lucky to NOT miss school, I was a weird kid). I went back to school on crutches and had people sign them because I had no cast. I still have them hanging on my wall above my window with the rod. But to wrap things up I was on crutches for a couple of months and had the rod in for a full year. I was even able to run with it during the following track & field season. No long jump that year though. I eventually had the rod taken out and had to go back on the crutches for about a month since my bone was hallow and regrowing the marrow (the human body is amazing). This saga in my life is certainly one of the most memorable and life-changing. There are more stories that spin off of it but I think I will leave those for another day. The photos above show the before and after x-rays (the after ones showing the rod in place), me doing my homework while on crutches (my shirt says I do all my own stunts!), and the rod and pins (no I did not choose a purple rod but it is one of my favorite colors so I was ok with it). The strangest thing in all of this was that I never set off any metal detectors while I had the metal in me. I wonder how that worked....Anyway, I hope you enjoyed this journey with me. Keep it REAL!

Friday, March 8, 2013

Flashback Friday Special - MARS

This is NOT Mars. Kinda hard to believe though, right? It's red and sandy and rocky, all things that Mars has which has helped it earn its nick-name the Red Planet. But sadly no, this is not Mars. This is a Lava Butte in Bend Oregon. The reason I brought it up is because I'm mad that the Mars Rover Curiosity has been put on the media back-burner lately. I never see any big news about it anymore. I mean we put a car sized piece of super tech on MARS people! A whole other planet that is hundreds of millions of miles away from us! That should be like front page news for like.....EVER! Yes, I do know that it was a big deal when it actually landed back in August 2012, and it did make a big media frenzy for what seemed like a long time - but was really only about a week. A WEEK! Come on people! This deserves more than just a week in the limelight! I can't be the only one who thinks this. After Curiosity landed I wanted the hype to continue, I wanted front page stories about new discoveries that I was actually interested in reading, I wanted that guy with the mohawk at NASA Mars Rover mission control on the cover of magazines! And you know what, I still want that because I still think it's awesome and I believe people are starting to forget we even have a high-tech rover up there. Lets get excited about it again people. We deserve to get excited about it and continue to be excited. Reach for the stars and Keep it REAL readers! - also visit their facebook page!

Friday, March 1, 2013

Flashback Friday #12 - RUF at SCAD

This week I have been thinking about SCAD again. Many of you know that while I was at SCAD I attended a community group called RUF (Reformed University Fellowship). It was a great place to come together every Wednesday night, take a break from all the stressful school work, and learn about the word of The Lord. But besides all that, RUF was really about all the people who made it happen and how much those people end up leaving such a positive impact on your life. It was THE place at SCAD to make the relationships that would eventually lead to life-long friendships. During the time I attended RUF the campus leader was Michael Gordon, who actually started leading at SCAD the same time I started attending, and the reason I am writing about this today is because he took a position as a senior pastor in Lincoln, Nebraska and will be moving there soon. This past Wednesday was his last RUF and I was fortunate enough to make it up for the event and see him off. He will be missed dearly but his inspiration, teachings, and love will remain. I wish him and his family all the best in their new chapter in life and want them to know that they will always have a home in Savannah within the hearts and minds of the students they cared for and taught. Keep it REAL Gordon Family!

Sunday, February 17, 2013

New Wheels!

Just a few weeks ago I put new tires and new wheels on my MINI. My Dad had purchased the wheels from a friend a while back and we had been waiting to put them on and since I needed new tires it seemed the appropriate time. The old wheels were the factory standard for this make and model car (MINI Clubman '09) and were pretty cool in their own right - but the new wheels are a John Cooper Works special and are an inch bigger! Plus with the new tires my ride is lookin pretty mean right now! My hope now is to sell the old wheels because they still look brand new and deserve some more road time. Keep Motoring and Keep it REAL!

Playlist Anthology

Hello folks! Do you remember a few months back when I posted about a graphic novel anthology that some of my good friends were working on...? Well, they are at it again, and this time they have a brand new theme! Now each story is themed around music and the text has to come from song lyrics. It is a very interesting idea for a project and I am very excited to see what songs will be used as well as how the music will sound when reading the story along with it! The great thing about this project is that YOU can get involved too! They have set up a very slick kickstarter page in order to help fund the project (i.e. the printing of the books). There are certain awards being offered at different levels of funding such as your very own copy of the anthology, a pdf digital copy, your name in the acknowledgments section, and special art commissions by the individual artists. But this is not just about the comic artists! No, it is also about the bands who have provided the lyrical inspiration for the stories. By supporting this project you are also supporting these musical artists so it is a win-win situation! Another awesome fact is that one of the bands being featured is local Jacksonville, FL band Four Families! I have been following their musical adventures for some time now, usually with camera in hand, and they are a very talented group of young musicians. If you are a lover of music or of graphic novels, or both, this book will make a wonderful addition to any collection. Be sure to check out the sample images of the artists work right here and become a project backer by visiting their kickstarter page (link above). Keep it REAL!

Friday, February 15, 2013

Flashback Friday Special - Family Matters

You wish this was your family - go on - admit it. Such a classic. Hint, hint, that's my mom on the left in the red dress back in 1965 when she was about 12. Man, if pre-teen looks could kill those would be doing some damage right now. Until next time - Keep it REAL!

Friday, February 8, 2013

Flashback Friday #11 - Mag. Ave.

Happy Flashback Friday readers! Lets talk music. For several years now I have loved going to concerts and events with live music, but the vast majority I have attended feature local bands. I can't actually remember the last time I went to see a well known music artist - I guess I just like supporting my friends' bands more (it's also easier on the wallet). The above photos are of a band called Magazine Avenue (Mag. Ave. for short). This band roamed the streets of Savannah and high-fived anyone cool enough from 2009 till 2011. It's rockin' members consisted of Sam Pelgrift (guitar, vocals), David "Dave" Wardell (uke, keys, vocals), Justin Monnier (sax, harmonica), Schuyler "Sky" Burks (bass, glockenspiel, vocals), and Charles "Chuck" Cronkrite (drums). They were one of the most talented and fun to watch bands I have had the pleasure of following. They started out playing mostly covers, but then started to introduce their own original work that had equal amount of worth as well as a dash of wit. They played the SCAD talent show in 2010 and rocked the house down by grabbing the first place prize! They know what....I'm talking too much. You can see all their live performances over on their youtube channel that I helped set up, and you can also listen and purchase their music on their bandcamp page. In the words of Chuck - enjoy the "greatest high five the world has ever known!" Keep it REAL!

Friday, February 1, 2013

Flashback Friday #10 - Savannah: Side B

Wow! It is already Flashback Friday #10! Thanks for reading everyone - and if you are just joining us - where have you been, you're missing all the fun! Today I wanted to look back at Savannah again because I will be traveling there later this evening. I'm heading up there for the SCAD Scholarship Gala on Saturday night. My parents have gone every year and this will be the first year I will get to go. In the past I was always tied up with school when it was scheduled so I am looking forward to finally seeing what all the fuss is about. But in terms of photos I have for us today some unusual views of Savannah - or what I like to call Savannah: Side B. During my urban explorations in and around the city I came across lots of interesting items and structures. The above are some of my favorites and all of them were taken with color film so they have a certain nostalgic tone to them. I for one love all the textures you can find in Savannah. A city with so much history has so many historic layers that get exposed over time and it is great to discover them. But it is also a modern city with new buildings and new technology being instituted all the time and this clash of the old and new makes for a very interesting mixture. This is made even more evident with all the different people you can find there. This aspect is directly influenced by SCAD since the school draws from so many countries. It gives Savannah yet another unexpected layer that I came to love while I was in school there. It's not every day you get to walk down the streets of one of the oldest cities in America and see Civil War Reenactors in full period dress standing guard outside fully preserved period buildings, tourists enjoying their nice air conditioning in their annoyingly slow trollies, a group of twenty-somethings playing bicycle polo in an abandoned parking lot, carefree hippies with dreadlocks like play-doh dolls frolicking barefoot through Forsyth park, a possy of hardcore kids with full sleeves of ink and more metal in their mouths and head than the Eiffel Tower, and of course the bumbling freshman art student clumsily trying to carry home their recent purchase of oversized foamcore board. Quite a diversity in such a small city and it all contributes to the many layers and textures of Savannah. I hope to be able to explore other cities like I have been able to explore Savannah - but only time will tell. Until then - Keep it REAL!

Friday, January 25, 2013

Flashback Friday #9 - Happening

Hooray for Flashback Friday! Gonna be going back a few years for this one - way back to the year 2006! To give you some context I was a senior in high school then and one of the things I was most passionate about at that time was Happening. "What is Happening you ask?" - well Happening is a weekend retreat put on for teenagers by teenagers that takes place about 2 to 3 times per year at a place called Camp Weed in Live Oak, FL. (Yes, I know, we got a lot of grief for the name of the camp - it was named after a Bishop who's last name was Weed). The retreat serves as a kind of spiritual awakening for the candidates (first time Happeners) where the Bible and the Word are presented in a fun and comfortable setting by your peers. After you have been as a candidate you can return as a team member and help organize the next retreat for the next batch of candidates. My sister Allison was very involved before I was the correct age to attend my first Happening. She was even Rector for one weekend, who is the person elected to organize the entirety of one weekend retreat. Soon my parents got involved too and even attended a weekend as well. There is always a small Geritol Group made entirely of adults along with several small groups between the ages of 14-18. The photos above are from Happening #105, which was my 6th and last Happening. I was a candidate at Happening #99 and worked team for #100-103 and lastly #105, which was probably the most fun of all the Happenings I attended because I was the Head of Music for that weekend (endearingly referred to as HOM Boy). That position is part of the core team, being right under both the Rector and the Head Gofer. The Head Gofer is basically the second in command and the person working behind the scenes while the Rector has to be in the spotlight the entire time. I was actually Head Gofer for #103, but that is a story for another time. For #105 Karis Needham was the Rector and Teal Patterson was the Head Gofer and we made a very tight team. Between the three of us we spent the most time planning that particular weekend and had to work on it while balancing our high school work, all at the tender age of 17. I don't know about you but I don't think I was very balanced at 17, but somehow we pulled it off and put on a great weekend. Karis and Teal deserve the most thanks for that too since my only job was organizing the music - but I tackled that beast like no one's business. My music team (pictured above) was composed of Courtney Asker (guitar), Grace Richardson (guitar), James Seadale (bass), Me (electric guitar), and Ray Brown (drums). We organized, selected, and lead all the music that needed to be played that weekend, including arranging the theme song. The theme was More Awesome Than I Know and the song was Enough by Jeremy Camp. We must have played that song like a dozen times before the weekend was over and it was awesome every time. My music team and I were even able to mimic the guitar riff that plays at the start and end of the song and that became like a mini theme song in itself and I heard some candidates humming it throughout the weekend. Besides the music the weekend consisted of team building events, discussions on the Bible, group meals, camp fire stories, dance parties, and just an overwhelming sense of community in the Spirit. All in all it was a great experience and I will always have fond memories of my time spent at Camp Weed with all those crazy kids (and adults). What made me think of it today was that my friend and fellow Happener got married last Saturday at Camp Weed (see previous post) and it was my first time being back there in over 5 years. I could not help thinking back on all the times I spent at that camp and it felt only natural to put them into words. I hope you have enjoyed reading - and remember to Keep it REAL!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Ben & Rachel Getting Married

This weekend I had the distinct pleasure of photographing one of the most beautiful weddings I have ever attended. The lucky couple - my long time friend Rachel Register and her new husband (and my new friend) Benjamin Guyer. The place - Mandi's Chapel in Live Oak, FL. The weather - could not have been more perfect! For me as the photographer it was an all day event, but never did it feel like I was doing any actual work (probably because I have not yet started the long task of editing...). On the day of I arrived early so I could get some photos of the grounds and chapel and I was fortunate in the fact that I was very familiar with the area. In fact, back in high school, Rachel and I would often attend retreats there with our church groups so it holds a special place in our hearts and minds. Especially Mandi's Chapel. This wonderful little building is built entirely out of wood and all the structure is exposed making it simple yet complex at the same time. It was also just recently ranked by the Florida Chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) in the top 5 of the top 100 buildings of Florida. Every church retreat Rachel and I attended would end with a ceremony held in Mandi's Chapel, and every time we left we would eagerly await our next visit. In this case it was to celebrate the marriage of two very important and loving individuals. I am so happy for my newly married friends and for what I'm sure will be a most wonderful and beautiful life together. I know they will look back on their wedding day with glorious memories and I am very honored to have been the one tasked with capturing those memories. I wish them both the very best and want them to know that the photos will be done soon and if they need anything - all they have to do is ask. In the mean time - Keep it REAL!

Friday, January 18, 2013

Flashback Friday #8 - Savannah Signs

It's Friday - time for another flash back, and since I just recently received my diploma from SCAD lets talk some about Savannah. While in school there I did a lot of urban exploration in the city and surrounding areas and discovered a lot of interesting items. Some of the most priceless ones happened to be funny and unique signs. A lot of odd things jump to mind when looking at these signs. I mean would you like a FREE Home! I know I sure would. I knew the housing market has been pretty bad over the past couple of years but I had no idea they were giving away homes! Where can I get mine? Then, in a city such as Savannah with a lot of old churches it is only a matter of time before you see some very creative weekly worship postings. This one sounds like the tag line for a new Steven Seagal movie - I can hear it now - Steven Seagal in - THE BIBLE! Read It, Believe It, OBEY IT! or, better yet, This Summer Steven Seagal is - THE BIBLE in a film by Quentin Tarantino - He will be Obeyed. And lastly, have you ever wanted a place where you could cash your checks and get an ice cream and/or sub at the same time? Well this is the place for you! Or do they mean ice cream-subs? Hmmmm, that might be even better than an ice cream sandwich! Hahaha, hope you enjoyed this little trip down memory lane. Shooting a wedding this weekend so be sure to check back for photos of that real soon. Keep it REAL!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Master of Architecture

Something very big came in the mail today (I love getting exciting mail - don't you?). My Professional Master of Architecture diploma finally arrived safe and sound and is now encased in the portfolio case I received at graduation. That makes two diplomas in my pocket and two life goals accomplished. Also, I'll have you know, the Architecture program at SCAD is currently ranked 20th in the nation! Very exciting! But, anyway, it's time to close that chapter of my life and crack open the crisp, clean pages of a brand new one. Also, with my current internship at ELM studio in San Marco coming to a close, the official job search has begun! Stay tuned for more up-dates and remember to Keep it REAL!

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Graphic Design

Hello readers! Sorry for the long absence - had a very busy Holiday season. I hope you had a great Christmas and a great start to your new year! Happy 2013! I have a lot of exciting things coming this year and I will be sure to share them with you. To start off I have begun to post some of my graphic design projects on my portfolio site. The gallery as it stands now is full of personal work and a few commissioned projects. I will continue to add to it so be sure to add my Behance page to your favorites so you can check back for more. The interesting thing about my style when it comes to graphic design is I am not afraid to use old fashioned methods to reach my end result. Take for example the logo I have presented here that I designed for an Interior Design business. It was drawn by hand and then slightly enhanced using photoshop. Instead of making it entirely in the computer I made sure to keep that handmade feel because that is what the client wanted to communicate to her clients through their brand. I feel it gets the message across quite beautifully. I hope you agree and that you enjoy viewing my other design projects. And, as always - Keep it REAL!