2014 was a year with new challenges and experiences. After Terminal Reality shut it’s doors at the end of 2013 it left lots of questions for me and Denise. It was also a time to think about change and adjustment. This year taught me a lot about myself and the people around me. There was a shift in many things in my life but in the end some were needed and some will be missed. Although I did not work towards shipping any games this year for the first time in many many years I started teaching how to ship games at The Guildhall at SMU and the experience of passing my knowledge of being in the gaming industry for so many years was a very fulfilling experience. I was able to travel more than years past thanks to some friends and having the time to do so with Denise as we have been wanting to do more of that. With less stress on me I was able to have a bit more of a clear mind for a few things I’ve wanted to do but couldn’t find the time like do more writing and work toward a short film. Meeting some people and having encouraging friends around me got me to write a script for short film which I hope to film in 2015. I got in better shape….until breaking my wrist in the summer which got me to lose traction on the fitness and was a big challenge. As an artist and not having use of my dominate hand for months was a tough deal. Having to fight the frustrations was very difficult but thanks to my family and Denise I came out strong, like the metal inside my arm now. As I miss my friends from Terminal Reality and other day to day operations of being at a game studio being a freelance artist from home was a change but a good one. Not saying I wouldn’t’ go back to a studio in the Dallas area someday it was a good feeling being able to accomplish a lot in various fields from photography, video editing, 3D modeling, writing, freelance video game work and teaching. It was a busy year but with a clearer mind it was a good year.
Yeah so I can be a bit of a workaholic but hey, if you love what you are doing then why wouldn’t put in the hours for what you love. Sometimes you’d like to roll a hard 20 but sometimes you roll a 7 but you have to keep rolling. You won’t get that 20 every time but the more you roll the better your chances than not rolling at all. So….let’s review 2014 with pictures
With a nice holiday ending 2013 Denise and family headed out to check out the Chinese Lantern Festival down at Fair Park in Dallas. It was something we had been wanting to see for sometime but never got around to it. It was really nice and wasn’t too cold that night but was really nice seeing all the lights and people. Such an amazing transformation of the downtown area made it feel like we were not in Texas for the night
Anther things I wish I could have made more time for in the past was more board gaming. A little while back I was able to back the Kickstarter for Chronicles of the Void which was a table top role playing game created by my friends Doug and Wedge. I was asked if I would take part of their game as they were getting ready to create more characters for the book and I had not played any table top games in a very long time. It was time to end that streak and it was cool to have a Friday night dedicated to stuff we did back in the day. Sadly we would not be able to finish an entire game but we were able to play for a almost two months. It was a blast every Friday night and I’m happy to have been apart of it. I would love to do it again
The character I was playing in Chronicles of the Void was a human Javelin pilot and was a Migathon Elite. My character name was Ando Dosan. A human in a a mech type suit. In being excited to play and wanting to stay on top of my modeling skills I decided to create a 3D character version of my game character. With awesome timing my buddy Angel in Florida offered to print this model if I set it up. I didn’t have enough time to finish it in time before we finished our Friday night game and after moving on to other freelance projects. I want to come back to this guy this year and finish him up with maybe a paint job to go along with it.
Working from home at at the start of the year had the advantages of exploring the city for lunch for when waiting for client feedback. On this day I wanted to do some sketches away from the home office so Denise and I headed out to Klyde Warren Park in downtown Dallas. In the past many people would say that Dallas has nothing to offer and it is bland. Well Dallas has been on a huge mission to make any thought of that a thing of the past. Dallas is becoming more and more vibrant and interesting every year. The park had been open for a year but we had not had a chance to head down to check it out. From free games to a reading station along with lots and lots of food trucks. The park is also set up for live music or viewing live events such as the World Cup games. Not far from there was the Truck Yard which is a place that houses lots of food trucks and a nice little hang out. I’ve been here since 1996 and I love it more every year.
I’ve mentioned this in posts past that I am a fan of 1310AM The Ticket. Every year they put on Ticketstock which is an event for their fans to come watch live broadcasts and other things you see. This year was the 20th anniversary of station being on the air so I figured I’ve give look. The Ticket is apart of my every day routine so you can say I’m a P1 as I’ve been listening since my days working at the print shop which made those days much better than listening to top 40 music. They were also a big inspiration for how I approached the Hijinks Ensue Podcast from back in the day.
Another event that is becoming a yearly trip is the ZestFest in Dallas. A place for small and some larger vendors to bring their hot sauces and spices for people to try and buy. As it comes right before the spring and a time to hit up the grill this has been a really fun event. With Denise studying her craft more and more every year this is a nice combo for us both.
Some fun shots with Mila in a winter photo shoot
Yet another advantage of having my own schedule I was able to help out friends when needed. My very good friends Greg and Stacie of Bean Pot Toiz were coming into town for some of the Dallas cons. The Dallas Sci-Fi Expo was in early February and I offered my hands to help set up their booth. This also allowed me access the next day to the show. The Dallas convention scene has exploded but in someway not in the best of ways. There was a bit of dilution from what I noticed and maybe we had too many shows this year but Expo was a good start even in the cold rainy weather. Good times with Greggo and Stacie
Many exciting and new adventures for not only Denise and I but for our close friends as well. This year we’d bring in a kick ass duke to take reins of the Flores name in our near future. We have been excited for Alex and Donna’s arrival of baby Zac. As tradition a baby shower was had with Jenna and Denise helping put it all together. Hosted at Blake and Jenna’s Denise made the outstanding food and Nikki made the amazing cake for the happy family. Of the many things I document with photos it is these types of images that I’m so happy to capture. We’ll look back with Zac in 16 years from now
I am lucky to have so many talented people around me and in the Dallas area. As I mentioned the area is becoming more attractive with things like good food and the arts. ATAMA is a local art venue that started with vinyl toys but has grown to much more. One of the highlights of ATAMA is the frequent art shows showing off local artists. Jason Chalker is one of those artist. A many of many talents this one night in February showcased Jason and his FINK tribute art.
As mentioned there has been a large influx of conventions. My friends of Bean Pot Toiz would head up again to Dallas for another con but this time things didn’t go as well but any chance to see my friends will never have me complaining. I offered our home for a place for our friends to stay because we were walking distance to the convention with a walk across the street. The thing we did not expect was below teen temperatures and a really slow show in the vendor room. I love these conventions with the chance to meet new people and enjoy good company but this show just seems very thin. Some like this small group setting but for vendors this was not ideal. With the very cold weather it just made for a so so show. For the selfish side of me it was nice to offer our home to our friends and enjoy their company.
Documenting more of the year and family I spent an evening in early March at the Forney High School to see my brother at his annual percussion showcase. It was his last as assistant band director as the follow week he would take on the role of Director of Fine Arts for the Forney School District. A long road to this point in his career and I’ve been fortunate to see that happen near by in the Dallas area. My words can’t describe all the pride we as a family have for him. It was an emotional night for everyone but I was thankful to be able to be there and watch this end and new beginning.
Over the years my photography turned from a hobby to service I can now offer with the confidence of giving people the types of images I would want from a photographer. My brother and I have taken on jobs together of shooting weddings or various events. I enjoy doing weddings because you get the knots in your stomach to have to perform and be on your game but also giving people live long memories of this special day. This was a fun shoot as the couple had a very small and fun wedding at a small church.
As home new home owners and with cooks in the family something we wanted to do this year was create a backyard garden. If you’ve been following my blog you know we did this in the past with movable pots and earth boxes but with this being our home we wanted to do it right. I drew out a sketch of how I would like the entire backyard to be but one thing at a time. We went with what we thought would be the most cost effective and we quickly learned that living in Richardson had lots of pluses. We marked out our backyard and got to work. We found someone in our neighborhood with some scrap wood we would use to build our raised beds for the garden. We got a good deal for mulch and bought bulk soil from a local vendor. We were happy with our results but we did start a bit late and didn’t get a full crop like we would have hoped for but we are happy we have it ready for next year.
I love Texas but I cannot say I’m a huge fan of some of our weather especially during the tornado season. Only one year did tornados hit inside the Dallas city limits and ran through downtown Fort Worth. Now that we are home owners warnings and things have a different feel to them. These storms show how powerful and beautiful nature can be. It was a cool March evening with large clouds forming to the west I grabbed my camera with hopes of catching something before heading inside and getting everyone boxed up and into the closet for safety. Nothing but some major winds and rain on this night and luck for us most of the spring would be that way.
Another wedding happened this year and that was of our good friends Crane and Nick. I was asked to take their photos by Nick a month before the wedding and I was honored to be invited but even more honored to document the weekend. The wedding was going to take place on a ship in Galveston so we would spend the weekend in Galveston enjoying our time with friends. We left early morning Saturday and traveled for a afternoon boat tour seeing the bay. We followed that up with dinner and a night adventure to grab some pictures of the shore for Nick and Crane. The next day was the wedding and it was so unique and fun. I did not want to disappoint my friends and wanted to capture as much as I could but seeing how happy my friend were this day made it all that much easier. With friends around all of us it was a great day and left a lasting memory of how happy our friends will be for years to come
Bluebonnets are all over Texas after the spring storms feed them. The tradition of snapping photos of children in bluebonnets in Texas is as traditional as apple pie on Thanksgiving. As Coen gets bigger it becomes more of a challenge but a challenge I love doing. Watching him grow in photos is special for the Apigo family so I’m happy to do it. Although he made it tricky this year we got some good ones.
Texas Frightmare Weekend is hands down top 3 things of the year for me. Sure cause of the horror movies but honestly it’s the passionate fans who love the films. Most are movie nerds but have a love of horror. What can I saw that I have not said years past. The biggest thing for me this year was meeting some of the folks after watching the short films this year. It was awesome to meet Jill Sixx Gevargizian and Jerry Pyle who had entries Friday night. I also got to see the film by Kurando Mitsutake. Talking with them all inspired me to write a short film about 48 hours after the convention ended. I pushed it out to a few folks for review but the who weekend got my brain juices firing on all pistons. The goal is to film next year so we’ll see but until then I’m gonna keep writing…
Last year I was honored and happy to help my friend Rick Johnson last year with the start of their company and technology CastAR. I was also happy to have met Jerri Ellsworth and consider her a friend now. So when they asked me to join them at Maker Faire San Francisco I couldn’t say no. They were going to make their last big public viewing of CastAR before putting their heads down for some serious crunch time and getting their Kickstarter fulfillments sent out. This was the first time I had seen the tech in months and it was really far along. My job for the weekend was to demo and also to help manage the line. It was a huge line When I was not working my shift I had some time to walk around and check out the sites of the fair. It was nice to meet the rest of the team and send some time back in San Fransisco. I also had the chance to have lunch with Justin Miller and catch up since he had moved to Cali to work on Call of Duty. Was a great time for the long weekend
One of my happiest moments this year was when Denise was promoted to Chef de Cuisine at The Sundown at The Granada. In a short amount of time she has done a lot and this is due to hard work and dedication to what she loves to do. She came home one day in May with her jacket and I was reminded why I married her.
Denise and I wanted to make a goal of doing a little more traveling if possible in 2014. We had a weekend free up in the summer and ran down to Austin to see our friends and my brother. It was a short trip but the goal was to eat food and come back. Our friend Daniy’s was kind enough to loan us her awesome room for the night as she was out of town. We eat at various places around Austin including a food truck yard and of course at my brother and sister-in-law’s new venture. We caught a baseball game and just had time to relax. Always good to visit Austin
I love to photography everything and fireworks is always fun. The 4th of July is always a good half way point for me since I don’t wear a watch or pay much attention to the calendar. I’m usually focused on work and the focus of those timelines. Big events like the 4th are good for me and remind me of how much I enjoy the summer with cooking outside, movie nights and friends
Over the summer my friend and old co-worker Bobby was having a birthday party at his place but he wanted to have a little something for everyone. He asked me to do a little photo booth set up for his Speakeasy Party. It was a lot of fun and we grabbed some great pics. Good to see old friends whom I had not seen in some time.
With a little more free time to move around my goal was to really explore and use my camera more often then years past. During the summer break at school I was looking forward to getting some time in to do lots of photo shoots and just exploring downtown and other areas in the Dallas area. Well on a warm August afternoon on my way to the gym on my bike while avoiding some traffic I had a pretty bad spill. Bad enough that I broke my wrist on the fall. First time I had broken a bone, well I guess breaking my tailbone counts which I did at 17, but this was a bit different. Luck for me it my old neighbor was not too far from the spill and got me home so I could and then the ER. For me this was a big turning point for the year because as a creative person who is right handed this was a huge problem. I could not do much, even reading a book and trying to get comfortable was a challenge. Eating and not able to exercise or sleep in a normal position was just making me go crazy. With my family and Denise with me the whole time they made this something I could overcome. I had surgery to have a metal plate put in my wrist and I quickly started to work on making it stronger than before. I would not let this get the better of me. During this time I also set up my computer for left handed use and decided to do some video editing to occupy some of my time since I could not draw or do much 3D work since it required more complex use of the mouse. I was worried at first but I made myself mentally tough and made the best of the situation. I know set off metal detectors at the airport but hey I have a cool scar now…
Earlier in the year my brother asked if I would be interested in going a trip with him to Washington state. The trip was to see the Dave Matthews Band play at the Gorge amphitheater. I spent my early years in Dallas learning how to play guitar by listening and learning from Dave Matthews songs sing they were heavy acoustic guitar so there has been a special place for them with me although I don’t listen to the most current stuff. My brother ended up making it a brother’s weekend trip. It would be the first time all 3 of us would be on a trip just having some brother time. It was just for the long Labor Day weekend but it was nice to get away and spend some time with my brothers. This is not something we have ever done. We’ve been a busy family and since finishing high school it was one thing and on to the next and between we’d keep busy with other things be it family, school, work and more work. It was so very cool for my youngest brother arrange all this to feel like a young kid again as we made summer vacation trips with our parents. We had a chance to visit the Flight Museum and then spent the rest of the time at the festival. It was in a part of Washington I have never seen. This area seem so strange to me as it is not what I imagine when I think Washington. The whole trip was fun and it was a highlight of the year…
Although I was working through my troubles with my wrist I was able to get enough strength to do some photo work. Chase Whale was someone I had followed on the fast world of the internets. I found his posts and movie reviews interesting and being internet friends lead us to meet in person. He asked if I could do some photo work for him at a screening of The Guest. It was a great event and being able to meet some of the cast was great. It was a fun night but the bonus was the movie was a lot of fun.
I always had a dream of owning a comic book shop when I was in my mid-20’s. I was a frequent visitor of the comic shop while at Gearbox but after the crash of 2008 I thought that comic shops would go the way of the dinosaur. Well they didn’t and have made a big come back with the help of table top board games. One new comic show in Dallas was A Galaxy called Dallas. It is run by James Pickering who has a touching story of his comic shop. I always support small business when I can and this one for sure will be on the list. I have to admit that I didn’t make it out much this year as the end of the year really picked up for me but I will more next year. You can read about his story here . They had a grand opening and I was able to swing by for a little bit. I got to play a game of X-wing Miniatures and see a few folks having fun. I with them long success
My older brother would retire from military service this year. He had served for over 20 years in the military and sadly the ceremony for him was unable to be put on by the Army. When my younger brother found out about this he emailed the Texas Rangers because they have a program honoring military men and women past and present. He got a response and they agreed to add him to the month of September’s list of military people being honored. With this he was given a lunch, a chance to see the player’s area, some money to use the day of the event and two tickets to Washington DC. He was unable to make the tire to DC but they did allow him to transfer the tickets to my dad and mom for the Memorial Day weekend. It is an awesome thing the Texas Rangers put on and I am thankful for my brother setting this up and the Texas Rangers for selecting him.
Earlier in the year Southwest had a special on flights and looking over the list I had an idea. Denise and I had talked about doing a little traveling and one place Denise had not visited was New Orleans. On this sale with Southwest we could buy a ticket to travel the short hop to New Orleans and spend the day there with the goal of having breakfast, lunch and dinner. I really wanted to go to places that Denise could try the food and see the culture of the town. New Orleans also has lots of character and I had not been there since a teenager. We got up early and too the hop to the Big Easy. We ate lots of great food and had time to visit the D-Day museum which I’m glad we saw. Even though it was an emotional visit to the history of World War II veterans it was important to see and contribute to it’s cause. We ended the evening with dinner and jumped on our flight back home and slept in our own beds. It was a fun trip
Our nephew is growing up fast. This year he turned 3 and had a Wreck-It Ralph birthday party. Nikki made an awesome cake and Denise made some tasty food. Coen’s gang was ready to have fun and lots of energy spent that day
I love October as it is my favorite month of the year. This year being as busy towards the end as Denise and I were we got a late jump to our annual traditions. A new tradition that my good friends Alex and Donna asked me to help out with was a annual Halloween family picture with the new addition. The secret plan was to set up a photo shoot in outfit. The challenge…the little guy playing along. The mission was a success. I had a lot of fun doing this and looking forward to helping out with this as often as possible.
The Final Edit was done by Alex himself and it came out solid
This year I turned 38 and part of this blog is to show in picture my life as it is seen through a camera lens. I had not planned on doing much for my birthday and wanted to keep thing quiet. Not for any reason other than being busy and trying to meet deadlines on jobs I was working on. We had a tradition of going out to the lake, any lake, and spending the weekend away from the house and with friends. This wasn’t the plan this year but Denise and her kind heart wanted to make sure a tradition wasn’t broken as she knows how much a creature of nature I am. With about two weeks out we were lucky that there was one cabin on the lake available to rent so what the hell why not. It is always fun to seen everyone, get a fire going and walking around the camp grounds as a mini stay-cation about 40 minutes from the house. I’m glad we did it. We enjoyed local beers, watching The Raid 2 and Point Break and some awesome and strange movie Josh brought. Next year we’ll do it up better
This year we wanted to have a Thanksgiving dinner at our home. It was the first time we would have a nice sit down type of meal like this in our house. It was just Denise and I and it was nice. For my birthday my awesome family bought me a Little Green Egg so I figured there was no better time to put it to use than Thanksgiving with smoked turkey. Denise made homemade everything else and I loved seeing her in her element making all this delicious food. I am looking forward to making lots of things in my green egg and working with Denise on making food in our home.
December went fast and most of what Denise and I did was make tamales. Lots of work but much how a lot of our year went it was a good way to end it with lots of work. Doing it together was fun and we think we may have a tradition on our hands but we’ll see
….and that’s my year. I hope you enjoyed my adventures. I hope everyone had a year they could chalk up good memories in. Not every year can be “the best year” but you take the good and the bad and with a positive attitude you make memories. Memories last forever so make the effort to burn in as many as you can. I hope this inspires you that even some of the small things can make memories for you to take with you for years to come. I am thankful for my friends, family and most of all Denise. Thanks for reading…..now go make memories in 2015
We went to the Alamo Drafthouse maybe like one or two times this year….
Movie nights with friends…
Food and drink…
My family….see ya in 2015