Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Four more years.

The picture above was posted on the official Facebook page for Barack Obama this evening with the simple caption "Four more years." I am very happy about the outcome of the presidential election this evening. Given the choices I think his was the better vision again for our future. Congrats Mr. President.

California disappointed on the other hand and shot down two propositions that I cared very deeply about. The first would have ended the Death Penalty in California (Prop 34) and the second would have required specific labeling on food that has been genetically modified (Prop 37).

When all is said and done I am just happy this is all over. I've been extremely disappointed to see my friends and family say such ugly and hateful things over the last 6 months on Facebook. The internet and social media in particular entices people to say things they would probably think twice about saying in person. It's a shame to see people I respect get so nasty over something as petty as opinions and politics. I wish we could all agree and disagree in a more civil manner. I'm reminded of Ephesians 4:29 which says "Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen."

Please pray for our country and our leaders. Please pray for rich and poor alike. Please be kind to one another and love others just as Christ has loved us.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Kirby's Dream Collection Special Edition Soundtrack Cover Art

I recently picked up this game to play and to introduce my kids to basic gameplay. The set comes with a 45 track soundtrack to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the classic video game character. I imported it into iTunes but there is no cover art available online to use with it so I found an image and created one. Since I couldn't find any others online I figured I would share the one I created. Feel free to use the image above for yourself and enjoy!

Monday, March 12, 2012

This little chap who follows me...

A careful man I must always be;
A little fellow follows me.
I know I dare not go astray
For fear he’ll go the self same way.

I cannot once escape his eyes,
Whate’er he sees me do, he tries.
Like me he says he’s going to be;
This little chap who follows me.

He thinks that I am good and fine,
Believes in every word of mine.
The base in me he must not see;
This little chap who follows me.

I must be careful as I go
Through summer’s sun and winter’s snow,
Because I am building for the years to be;
This little chap who follows me.
- John Wooden

Monday, October 31, 2011

Josh Garrels: Farther Along

A friend introduced this song to me this weekend and I wasn't immediately keen on it, but as I listened to it more it's true power really struck me. I think it's the honesty of the lyrics and the raw emotion of the performance that really connects with me.

"Farther Along"
by Josh Garrels
From the album Love & War & The Sea In Between

Farther along we’ll know all about it
Farther along we’ll understand why
Cheer up my brothers, live in the sunshine
We’ll understand this, all by and by

Tempted and tried, I wondered why
The good man died, the bad man thrives
And Jesus cries because he loves em’ both
We’re all cast-aways in need of ropes
Hangin’ on by the last threads of our hope
In a house of mirrors full of smoke
Confusing illusions I’ve seen

Where did I go wrong, I sang along
To every chorus of the song
That the devil wrote like a piper at the gates
Leading mice and men down to their fates
But some will courageously escape
The seductive voice with a heart of faith
While walkin’ that line back home

So much more to life than we’ve been told
It’s full of beauty that will unfold
And shine like you struck gold my wayward son
That deadweight burden weighs a ton
Go down into the river and let it run
And wash away all the things you’ve done
Forgiveness alright

Farther along we’ll know all about it
Farther along we’ll understand why
Cheer up my brothers, live in the sunshine
We’ll understand this, all by and by

Still I get hard pressed on every side
Between the rock and a compromise
Like the truth and pack of lies fightin’ for my soul
And I’ve got no place left go
Cause I got changed by what I’ve been shown
More glory than the world has known
Keeps me ramblin’ on

Skipping like a calf loosed from its stall
I’m free to love once and for all
And even when I fall I’ll get back up
For the joy that overflows my cup
Heaven filled me with more than enough
Broke down my levee and my bluff
Let the flood wash me

And one day when the sky rolls back on us
Some rejoice and the others fuss
Cause every knee must bow and tongue confess
That the son of god is forever blessed
His is the kingdom, we’re the guests
So put your voice up to the test
Sing Lord, come soon

Farther along we’ll know all about it
Farther along we’ll understand why
Cheer up my brothers, live in the sunshine
We’ll understand this, all by and by

Thursday, October 27, 2011

I got my first Mondo poster!

And it's for a movie that I genuinely love! First let me step back for a second here and explain what a Mondo poster is. Mondo is a company that has affiliated itself with the Alamo Drafthouse in Austin, Texas. They commission and screen print original artwork to serve as posters for screenings at the Alamo Drafthouse. These posters are screen printed in very limited quantities and often sell out in minutes online. The New York Times wrote an article recently discussing the popularity and attention these posters are getting. The article entitled Hand-Drawn Homage to Classic Films begins with this...
THE movie poster is dead. Long live the movie poster. Gone are the days of hand-drawn studio posters that possessed a creativity and artistry matching that of the films themselves. Think of “King Kong,”with its harrowing illustrations, or Saul Bass’s Minimalist design for“Vertigo.” The contemporary studio poster is often a literal, less adventurous affair, like the vision of Julia Roberts on the back of Tom Hanks’s scooter in the poster for “Larry Crowne,” a typical example of today’s photography-driven advertisements.
But an outfit far from Hollywood has sought to recapture the vintage hand-drawn spirit while injecting some contemporary flair. The company is Mondo, an offshoot of the Austin, Tex., theater chain Alamo Drafthouse. It commissions artists to design alternative versions of posters for films considered cult or genre pictures. The styles range from multi-tiered, character-packed collage (like Tyler Stout’s fanboy-friendly work for “The Empire Strikes Back”) to subdued prints that express a movie’s mood more than anything else (like the simple smoking gun forming Clint Eastwood’s profile inOlly Moss’s “Dirty Harry”).
The posters have become so popular and revered that The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences have begun archiving them among their vast collection of artifacts, film prints, and posters from cinema history. All of this is to say that I first came across them a little over a year ago and immediately caught the fever to get one of these like everyone else. At the beginning of the this year I told my wife I was determined to get one this year. My wife almost secured the Pan's Labyrinth one earlier this year, but it sold out while she had it in her cart and was checking out. I popped on at one point and was able to add the Sucker Punch poster to my cart, but I decided against getting it because I had no interest in the movie. I have tried on and off all year to get one. I even considered getting one on eBay at the inflated prices they are going for there. But my patience paid off today. I was brushing my teeth this morning when it dawned on me that this poster was going on sale today. I resisted the urge to stop what I was doing and run over to the computer to see if it had gone on sale yet. (They go on sale at an unspecified time.) I figured I would finish what I was doing and go check to see if it had gone on sale yet before going about the rest of my morning routine. I logged on and they hadn't gone on sale yet. I open a new tab in my browser and checked my email. Before turning off the computer I clicked back over to the Mondo site and reloaded the page. The new Jurassic Park posters were not only up for sale already they hadn't sold out yet. I panicked! I frantically added it to my cart and hunted for my wallet. I tried setting up an account but I was bounced to a page that said my email was already associated with an account. I forgot I had set up an account previously to try to speed up the process in the event that one day I would be able to get one. I couldn't remember the password I had used!! It felt as those the poster was slipping through my hands. I tried 3 different passwords and the third one worked! I made it through and was able to pay and complete my check out before they sold out! I know it seems ridiculous but it felt like a huge victory. Tiny in the grand scheme of things for sure, but I'm excited to finally get one and see it hung on a wall.

Friday, October 07, 2011


I want to start off by saying that I didn't even know that "Retrogaming" has become a verb. I was trying to make "Retro Gaming" the title of this post and Googled it for spelling errors. Lo and behold I had spelled it correctly, but upon confirming it I noticed the the first response Google returned was a Wikipedia article called Retrogaming. I clicked through and began reading. It turns out that what I was planning on writing about is more common than I thought!

Shortly after I bought our Wii in 2007 I bought two Virtual Console games mostly for the pure novelty of it. I bought Super Mario World and The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past. Both of these games were originally released for the Super Nintendo in the early 90's. I logged countless hours on both of these game during my childhood. I didn't, however, finish the games. I played bits of both after repurchasing these for the Wii and then they sat dormant for the most part. With the announcement last year of The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword for the Wii I became eager to play another Zelda game in the meantime. I decided to fire up A Link to the Past and try to complete it. And complete it I did. It's a fantastic game and playing it lead to a desire to play more games that are generally considered classic. This lead me to a SNES game called Chrono Trigger.

I have never liked Role Playing Games (RPGs). Even as a kid I was annoyed by the random nature of the battles and menu driven combat system.While visiting with my cousin this summer he mentioned that he had recently played through a Final Fantasy game and really enjoyed it. This got me thinking that maybe I should give the genre another chance. Maybe my tastes have changed as I have grown up. Around the time I finished a Link to the Past there was a lot of hubbub on the internet about Chrono Trigger finally being released on the Virtual Console. The game has a reputation as one of the best RPGs of all time. So I put two and two together and decided I would give Chrono Trigger a try. I'm currently about 5 hours into the game and I can say at this point that I like it, but I don't love it. The story is fantastic and I am really enjoying the story mechanics and how the game is developing. On the flip side though, I am still struggling to enjoy the gameplay. I like the idea of leveling up a character through the course of the game, but what I'm still wrestling with is the menu driven combat system. It's fun to try something new though and I'm looking forward to trying out many more old, but new to me, games. On my wishlist to play is Final Fantasy III (SNES), Secret of Mana (SNES), Pikmin (GameCube), and The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask (N64). That's a lot of  hours of gameplay, but I'm hoping our kids will join me on some of these quests.

One last thing. I have been hoping for a while now to get my hands on the controller pictured above. It's essentially an exact replica of a Super Nintendo controller that connects to the Wii remote to play Virtual Console games. Will it make the games any better? Will it make much of a different while playing the games versus playing the the current Classic Controller Pro? The answer to both of these is of course no, but it's still really fun and it doesn't make me want one any less. Nintendo of Japan, Europe, and Australia have all released this as a Club Nintendo reward. Nintendo of America has not made any mention of it whatsoever. I was hoping they were saving it to celebrate the 20th Anniversary of the SNES, but that date has come and gone. Hopefully it gets released in the US soon!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

My first attempt at Pixel Art

Here is my first attempt at Pixel Art. It's been something that I have been interested in for a while and decided I would give it a shot last night. I'll call it a self portrait. I'm looking forward to exploring this style more!

Here are the two tutorials that I used to get started with:

Monday, July 18, 2011

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2

Time flies! It seems like yesterday I was writing about seeing part one of the epic ending to the Harry Potter saga. We saw the finale over the weekend, along with everyone else in the world it seems, and it was a blast! A wonderful fitting end to the saga. I was very pleased with the end result. I have my nitpicky opinions about a few things, but I will keep them to myself for now and say that we really enjoyed the movie. I'm really interested to see how WB keeps things alive for the franchise over the next few years. Honestly I think in about 10-20 years they'll retell the story either through film again or television. Just my guess. Whatever they end up doing I am very excited to start reading the books with my own kids. We've got the Potter saga, the Narnia saga, and eventually the Lord of the Rings saga on the reading list in our household. That's a lot of reading to do, we'd better get to it...