Jun 222017

Yesterday, we ventured to the nearby village of Erding. A small town, but much of the family have lived there. We popped into the Erding museum to get a little history on the town. Most of the displays do not feature english, but Danielle and Miriam helped me through with any questions I had. Once the museum closed, we settled down at a quiet cafe tucked away in a corner of the town for a beer and some snacks.

Today we set out early for the mountains. It wasn’t too long of a drive before we arrived at our first destination- Eibsee. A beautiful, clear, mountain lake that sits at the bottom of Zugspitze, the highest peak in Germany. We rented a pair of paddle boats and set out into the lake. We navigated to a quiet shallow and shared a picnic meal of meatballs, bread, and cheese. Then we splashed in for a swim. I don’t think a regular pool is going to cut it for me any more. Once we came in from the lake, we paused at an ice cream stand on the shore before changing and heading up towards the mountains. We took a gondola ride up to the peak of Alpspitze, where we took many, many pictures and had a beer at the cafe. It’s wild to see these mountains in comparison to what we have back home. I’ll let the photos below speak for themselves.

 Posted by at 4:54 pm on June 22, 2017
Jun 202017
Nymphenburg Palace

I haven’t been as diligent in cataloging this trip as I was in Japan, but it’s been a much more leisurely beginning. This time around I’m travelling with friends- Danielle and her mother Robin. We flew out of Dulles International in the evening and an overnight flight brought us to Munich. The flight was uneventful, which is all anyone can ask of an Economy trip. United did not impress me as much as ANA, but they got us here so I can’t complain. We arrived in the early morning on Sunday, where we were picked up early by Robin and Danielles extended family- aunt Gaby and Meriam. They brought us home and we settled in, met more family, and unpacked while waiting on cousin Kim to arrive. Once she did, we had a lovely brunch in the backyard featuring weisswurst and pretzel-breads. I could do that for breakfast any day of the week! No doubt. While drawing at the table, I made my new best friend in Sophia, Meriam’s 6 year old daughter. We sat for a long while to draw together. Afterward Kim and Roland took us to the city center to tour around a bit. Admittedly, I was a bit of a jet-lag zombie so I didn’t take too many photos as we went along, and only absorbed a portion of the trip. Still, it was a good time. We took a brief break in a quiet beer garden and toured around a bit more before I ruined the fun with a bit of dizziness from lack of sleep. We came back in and I quickly caught some Zs.

Monday was a leisurely day. A light breakfast, coffee and bread, before packing up and heading to Echinger See, a nearby lake for swimming and sunbathing. Being that it was during the week, it wasn’t terribly crowded- Mostly parents with young children. We had a swim- The water was only cold enough to make the initial adjustment a bit torturous, but was otherwise fine.I brought my ukulele down and it brought some dancing to the feet of a few children and some smiles to the adults. All in all, a very nice afternoon. Once home, we had Gaby’s homemade spaghetti (delicious!) and rested for the evening. I still wasn’t 100% adjusted, and the swimming with that had worn me out for the day.

Today, we got up early and headed to Nymphenburg palace- a 1600′s complex used as a summer residence by Bavarian royalty. The building’s exterior was impressive, but the interior is truly impressive. Ornate, gilded carvings, countless paintings, exotic and finely crafted furniture- It all really demonstrates the wealth and reach that the rulers here had. The gardens and grounds of the complex were also beautiful. We took a long walk around to see other buildings in the complex, all just as impressive as the palace proper. Then we visited the carriage museum, which housed carriages used by those who called the palace their own. These were no less impressive and ornate as the palace itself. Finally, we went upstairs to the porcelain museum- A collection of fine porcelain figures and art. All well crafted and beautiful, but not really my style. Once we returned, we spent the evening outside chatting and planning tomorrows fun.

I’ll keep you posted as we continue!

 Posted by at 6:56 pm on June 20, 2017
Sep 292013

Here’s my new demo reel! It’s mostly motion graphics since that’s what I’ve been doing for the past 5 years. I’m good with that, though. I have fun flying logos about!

 Posted by at 5:54 pm on September 29, 2013
Apr 092013

Today was day one of touring Okinawa with Evan and Rachel as my guides.

We started off the day with breakfast in. Pancakes, eggs, and some good ol’ crispy bacon. A pleasing change, to be sure. Afterwards, we headed out and got an extended pass so I can continue to be on base, then we hit the road. Along the way we passed

Our first stop for the day was the Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium, which is nestled in a larger park complex. Most of the tanks in the beginning of the aquarium were the usual fare- colorful fish and corals endemic to the area. Some of the notable critters: a coconut crab, garden eels, a rather active spotted moray eel, a pair of mantis shrimp, and some moon jellyfish. Next up was the main tank, 7,500 cubic meters referred to as the Kuroshio Sea. This beautiful open ocean tank holds some huge fish, including tuna and sharks. There were also some manta rays in the tank, which are amazingly huge. Especially when you’re used to the little ones that can be found in touch-tanks back in the States. Then there were the ones I really wanted to see- whale sharks. There were three of the huge fish swimming in the tank, and the only thing that’d be better would be to get up close and personal with them. Unfortunately, I’ll have to settle for viewing them through the aquariums 27 x 74 foot viewing window, which is a gorgeous view and totally acceptable. We headed down to the cafe and grabbed a table by the tank so we could watch and relax. I snagged an iced chai. From there, we went through the deep sea tanks, where they had some pretty cool critters. The most exciting for me to see was the Japanese spider crab, largest of the crabs. From there, we left through the gift shop (of course) and headed out to the outdoor tanks. They had a few manatee which were gifted to the park by Mexico, various sea turtles, and a series of dolphin tanks, with a handful of different species. We stuck around for a dolphin show, which did not disappoint. Some flying sea mammals, and what probably would have been an informative speech had I understood a word of it. After the show, we headed out. More to see!

Our next stop was the Nakijin Castle ruins. The huge stone walls are about the only thing left of the castle, and very little restoration has been done to the area. That said, they were still mightily impressive. We walked along the paths through the castle grounds, and there were some maintained gardens that were quite lovely. The most striking thing, however, came at the top of the hill, where there were gorgeous views of the surrounding area. A beautiful gorge was on one side, and you could look down the valley and see the sea down the way. You can definitely see why they had built where they did.

From there, we headed out to Nago Pineapple Park. The attraction fits ‘tourist trap’ to a T, and features an automated cart ride through a garden of pineapples and tropical plants. The tour was conducted in understandable but slightly broken English, which was charming. I think the most informative it got was letting us know that the term pineapple came from ‘pine’ because they resemble pinecones, and ‘apple’ because of the sweet taste. After the tour, we passed through a gift shop and were able to get a taste of fresh pineapple from the park. Next we stopped at the small restaurant, which had stopped serving lunch, but we were able to order a gorgeously prepared pineapple ice cream sundae. I assure you it tasted as good as it looked! From there, we walked through a seashell museum, which had some really cool shells. There was also a collection of crab shells, which was pretty awesome to see. Beyond that, there was the pineapple winery, where we were able to taste the wines and juices, and further along, baked goods and sweets, all for sale of course.

After we finished up at the park, we headed back towards base. We made a quick stop at the hardware store so Evan could pick up a couple things, then we stopped for dinner at a sushi-go-round. It was certainly a novel experience. Free green tea to drink, the process of grabbing plates of whatever looks good was fun. I mostly played it safe on my sushi choices. I can’t say I’m terribly adventurous. I decided I had to at least step away from my safe zone and grabbed what was a slice of tentacle. I’m not sure if it was squid or octopus. It didn’t taste much of anything, but it was terribly chewy. I can’t say it was something I’d go after again. I was particularly impressed with the check-out process. They scan the color-coded plates with a scanner, double check that it counted them all, and it totals the cost automatically. They then scan it to an electronic card, which is placed on the counter at the register and provides your bill to the computer there. Fancy and efficient!

After dinner, we headed back to base. Tomorrow, I’m not entirely sure what’s going on. I’m sure I’ll find out, though!

 Posted by at 10:57 am on April 9, 2013
Jan 182012

My new sketchbook cover has been put together. I wanted to try something new, so I set out to make something that lights up. I had never worked with LEDs or circuits before, except for a high school robot kit, which was all soldering and no real info. I wired up a battery and LED, and decided to use fiber optics to make little points of light rather than have one big light. The whole thing is powered by a coin cell battery that can be changed from inside the cover. To make the lights work, there are two buttons on the cover. Two because I wanted it to be less likely to unintentionally turn on. The rest of the cover was done with my slowly evolving process of hot glue, miscellaneous small objects, joint compound, and acrylic paints. New to the process, which I like a lot, I used gloss medium to give the book a wet appearance.

The biggest problem I’ve run into was that my fibers were too fine. They conduct the light just fine, but their visibility is low. Pushing them into place was a pain, as I had to place each one, one by one, into a template made out of poster board. The other problem was that I had bundled and glued together all the fibers BEFORE doing so. It made it harder to get them into place properly. Next time, they should be put into place first.

Next time, I want to try a different method of lighting. Perhaps see if I can etch into plexi and get that to glow. I need a better way to get a lot of lighting out of a single LED. Perhaps I’ll build a small project in order to try this out.