Year in Review 2017

In the past I have done a review of my year in photos and 2016 was the first time a long while I had not done my review. In 2016 we lost my longtime family friend Kurby on December 1, 2016 and it destroyed me. My buddy had been in my life for so many challenging years while I was working on building my career. He was there through good and bad and when Denise came in to my life Kurby had his reservations but in the end he was ok with it :-)


I shut myself down for the last month of 2016 but I knew my buddy would have wanted me to have the best 2017 I could and I have to say it really was a good year. The year wasn’t great because lots of money was made or huge accolades but it was good because we had good health, positive attitudes and focused on being creative and helping spread creativity. I had an opportunity to work with a great group of people at Balanced Media in which our goals were larger than just making games. I then shifted myself to teaching and spent the last half of the year teaching at The Guildhall. I had a few moments in the year that made me reflect on a larger picture of life and make the most of opportunities. I finally filmed a short film and I am in the process of editing it with the hopes of it being done by May of 2018. I had a chance to spend time with friends with continued movie nights and other creative projects. I started a VHS swap meet for Dallas folks and I hope to really do more with that in 2018.

The biggest event for Denise and I was our trip to Japan. This trip would be my biggest adventure for me personally and I was excited to feel being a place that I had no ties to and how I would react to that feeling. This was a big step for me and I love every minute of it. I will remember all the memories Denise and I had while there and when things get tough I will always think of those times to help me recenter and focus.

It was still a busy year for me and most of my free time was spent either working or working towards finishing my degree. When I was able to take photos this year they were often for the Alamo Drafthouse and I enjoyed doing that work. It was a challenge not knowing what many events would be like but mostly because I wanted to capture the moment that makes the Alamo a great place for movies and community.

I do not make resolutions but I do remind myself to continue to work to improve myself as a person and in my crafts. Here are some highlights from the year.






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Alamo Wonder Woman DFW (10 of 58) Alamo Wonder Woman DFW (41 of 58) Hope_Summers_Cosplay--33 Hope_Summers_Cosplay--10 robotboots_21980418_1431399436956553_5455682568521252864_n robotboots_21107475_458469074538690_744578317868335104_n robotboots_18948252_1683553045282112_4722939969339916288_n The Thing-Mondo QA (46 of 51)

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2015 in Photos

2015 was the year of staying busy, I was kept busy with work, teaching and working on earning my bachelor’s degree along with day to day life. Busy is good but I usually have my camera by my side but this year it just became a bit more of a challenge. I also spent a lot of time studying and working so having a camera by my side would mostly be images of my desk. It was a good year but if I could change anything it would have been to have seen more friends when I had the chance. Denise also had lots of changes with work and leveling up in her craft of the culinary arts.

Though I didn’t have my camera by my side, I did have my phone at all times so much of this year was documented via camera phone. This is probably going to be a more common thing but I will make an effort to explore DFW more in 2016. We have such a large and great area here and there is much to explore but it requires us to get up out of our seats and do it. This year showed me a lot about what is possible and I got to work on some great fun projects along the way. I hope to make time for the new projects and adventures in 2016. I hope to add you to the review of 2016



We did start the new year trying new food with friends. With Alex and Donna’s new kiddo on the way and little Zac growing up fast we had a chance to see our friends the Flores’ at a local Dallas burger dive. They would move later in the year to become locals to Richardson and we are happy to have them closer to us. Hope to see more of them in the new year!



In February we celebrate Josh’s birthday and on this night we got together to chow down and watch bad movies. On this night, we watched Deathbed: The Bed that Eats. It was as glorious as the name makes it sound.



We also had a visitor in February but I don’t necessarily mean this little guy, I mean the fleas that came with him. This guy was out in front of our house one afternoon which was odd during the day. He was picked up by animal control and released. A few days later we ended up with having fleas on all our guys inside so we had to deal with that for the first time as homeowners.


In March we got some serious weather and snow to come with it. Dallas doesn’t often get snow but when we do we get it all at once. Our snow fall was some of the most we’ve ever had in one night. It was our own little Hoth for two days.




Because of our constant changing weather in the area we ended up with the most rain on record for Texas in a very long time. We decided to invest in our garden with a rain barrel and a little plastic owl to help keep the birds out from the garden.



From December of last year I was working on a fun game called Evil Robot Traffic Jam. I was making various pieces of art and working on helping build the website. While working on that the Richardson public library, which is across the street for us, got a 3D printer for public use. It was great to have quick access to printing so I took some of the models I worked on and a few others to give the printer a test run. I hope to get my own soon






An upside of being a contract artist working from home is how I use my time. For lunch breaks instead of eating right at noon I would take bike rides around my area which is a good 12 mile or so ride. Last year after getting in my wreck on my bike and surgery I wanted to get back on the trail again. I had to take my bike back into the shop for repairs as it had some damage from the wreck but once she was up and running I was back to lunch time rides. I did that for as long as I could until I took a onsite freelance job.


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Many people are quick to judge Dallas for being a place that folks just carry guns and yell “yeehaw” shoot’n in the air. Well turns out we have lots of things including a great art culture that is getting bigger every year. ATAMA is one of those places awareness to many that we have lots to offer. They have various art shows and sell great art along with vinyl pieces. It is an inspiring place for artists of all types to visit and on this night Alex and I went to check out one of those art shows.





One of the many jobs I do over the year is teaching at SMU. I really enjoy teaching and the rewarding feeling I get from teaching students more than just the tools but the skills needed to be a person in a creative field. In an interview with Kathleen Kennedy, she noted that maybe the most important skill in the field of creativity is communication. I do my best to teach that working together and working to find solutions to difficult problems is how you can succeed in the industry. Talent and an eye for creativity rise up when communication and obstacles are cleared from the way of making art. On this day in May, we got to see our students show off their work after 16 weeks of making a Capture the Flag game.



With my freelance jobs, teaching and working on my degree, my trips to conventions was very limited this year. There is a great amount of local conventions but the one that really is my go-to is Texas Frightmare Weekend. Nothing new to those who read this blog every year but TFW is the midpoint of the year for me. I get to see friends, meet new people and get inspired by those around me. So many film nerds and this year was no exception. This year I had the opportunity to meet a few directors while at TFW. I thought as a way to continue to push me to do my short films at some point I asked these amazing women to sign my script to inspire me. It was such a great experience and I think this 10th anniversary of Texas Frightmare Weekend was one of my favorites.

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Our friend Emily this joined a Roller Derby league up in Denton which is pretty rad. I did learn a little about the sport a while back but with a friend tearing it up on the track it was awesome to see her kick some ass on the track. A group of us made it out to her first track appearance and she did not let anyone down as she really made a name for herself this evening.

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Things slowed down for a touch as the summer started and while I had plenty to do why not add a little more to my plate. Alex and I had been talking about starting a project here in Dallas. We needed a place to do it and people willing to join up. We teamed up with A Galaxy Called Dallas to start an artist Zine called Warp 11. It’s been a lot of fun and a good deal of work but in the end it’s totally worth it. We have had a great group of folks and it is always fun to sit and chat about pop culture and draw which I do not do enough of as it is currently. We are 8 issues in as the writing of this blog!






Things really started to pick up and I was headed out to the Silicon Valley to work with the CastAR group on getting some content built for them on a fast turn around. I was in California for a little over a week working on some great stuff with some great folks. The extra bonus part was the 30th anniversary of the Amiga event taking place the weekend I was there. I was about 10 years old when I got to play with a friend’s Amiga. This event was really inspiring and amazing as a culture like the Amiga clubs is not like anything we’ve seen in a long time. We may never see a period with technology like this again. Hearing all the stories from the developers was a once in a lifetime experience. Along with late nights watching horror movies and an entire season of American Horror Story with Rick made this job a lot of fun.












As soon as I returned from California I was on to my next freelance gig. This job was with local Dallas studio ReelFX and would be my toughest project since Star Wars Kinect. The project for the November release of Hunger Games. This project took most of my time for the rest of the year. I was lucky to work with such a talented team and be apart of such a huge marketing push for such a big movie image

August came and went quick but not without a stop from Kevin Smith. I have always enjoyed his films but I think I enjoy listening to his podcasts and thoughts on pop culture. He is also an inspiring person to listen to as much of what he talks about is very relatable both as a creative person and just a person living day to day. If you ever have an opportunity to hear him speak live I highly recommend it.




As October arrived I was able to get back to doing some things for myself. We had some great events going on in the area including Back to the Future Day and Garage passing through town on their 20th-anniversary tour. Seeing that I did not get a chance to attend my 20th high school reunion, seeing Garbage live was a nice makeup.







There was a new addition to the group this year. Alex and Donna gave everyone a new gang member, Anthony Flores. Welcome to the world little guy


After a busy end of the year it was nice to celebrate my 39th birthday with friends at our annual stay-cation far up north. Rick came down and we enjoyed movies, board games and nice weather staying by the lake. It was nice to keep the tradition up for the 6th year in a row. It is always a nice time to reflect on things and prepare to end out the year.



Austin Cline, an old former co-worker, got married and we had a little bit of a Terminal Reality reunion that evening. It was great seeing a chunk of the old team. After all this time everyone is doing well and still looking out for each other. It is these relationships that the game industry creates that is often not mentoined in articles about the business. It was a great wedding and a great time has had by all.




We ended the year by making a quick vacation trip to New York City. Denise has been wanting to go and things worked out that we were able to do a quick weekday trip and catch the city a week before Christmas. It was all booked and minus a few hiccups at the airport we had a great time while in city. We stayed in the lower east side. It was a great area and the trip was just awesome. Eating great food and taking in all the culture of the city really makes you understand how one can fall in love with that city. You get a real sense of what our country is all about in a city full of people from all around the world who call themsevles Americans. I really look forward to going back.


















2015 went by faster than most but in a good way for me. I hope to document more in 2016 but I also hope to be as busy as I was in 2015. I will make an effort to take more photos but I will also make a real effort to get my short film made. Looking forward to seeing you guys there!

Game I worked on this year!

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Year in Review 2014

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

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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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Some fun shots with Mila in a winter photo shoot

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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




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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 :-)

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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.

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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.





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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.

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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

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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.

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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…

Doug Bradley (aka Pinhead) from Hellraiser movies

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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

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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

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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.

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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…

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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.

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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

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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.

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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

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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 :-)

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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.

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The Final Edit was done by Alex himself and it came out solid

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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

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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.




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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… go make memories in 2015

……bonus pictures :-)

We went to the Alamo Drafthouse maybe like one or two times this year….


































Our garden…







Movie nights with friends…






Food and drink…
































My family….see ya in 2015


Year in Review 2013

What a year 2013 ended up being.  This was a great year to have my camera by my side.  The year had me travel more than I have in some time and meet some amazing folks along the way.  I entered a film festival 24 hour race.  I was able to mark off “zombie game” from the list of games I’d like to work on and lots of other fun things……oh yeah and we bought a house :-)

Much like last year I’ve decided to add iPhone pics because a few times the wife and I would be out during a fun event and the best way to document it is to grab the old phone.  The year was exciting in many ways but unfortunately ended with Terminal Reality shutting down it’s doors after almost 20 years in business.  Although this leaves some obviously doubt and unhappiness with me, what I have learned over the years is to be happy for the things around me.  My wife, family, friends and good health along with a positive attitude towards the world are the things that keep my ticker going.  This blog is a culmination of those principals and how I live my life.  I look forward to the new year and the challenges and adventure it will bring

….here we go

The first big convention of the year was the Dallas Sci-Fi Expo.  I really enjoying going out to these cons every year because of the cool Cosplay that is going on .  I also get to see my good friends Grego, Stacie and Kaylah who run Bean Pot Toiz, Jason Chalker and his wife Lisa and both their art tables and Noel along with Jennifer and Chris who help run Piranha Toys.  All of these great guys along with others make it a fun outing.  This year I did more networking with Cosplayers and even though my work schedule didn’t give me too much time I did get to photograph a Cosplayer this year.  I’ve been wanting to do this for some time and not working with a person one on one in a while had me worried about the rust.  Luckily I met Anne who had some great Cosplay and is a great person to work with.  We’ll see those pictures later but she found my pictures on Flickr and from there we worked out the rest.





Here is Noel making the toughest sale of the day :-)

February would be the month we shut down The Walking Dead and start to relax from a year of production. It was a cold month and this weekend day I was cleaning up and sketching while watching Jeff Tweedy on TV. Turns out Mr. Socks was a fan….who knew

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We would not be the only ones shipping a game this year locally, Gearbox finished up Aliens and who knew we would duke it out for Worst Game of the Year….the trolls knew. Josh invited us out to the release party at the Granada and since the Walking Dead didn’t have a release party this one would work for me. This was also a time to catch up with old friends and celebrate the hard work it takes to make games. It is very easy for video game sites, YouTube reviewers and everyone to spew negative conjure but these folks forget about the family and friends of game developers who have to sacrifice their time and energy to this craft. No one in the industry wants to make a bad game but sometimes you work with what you got as that is how the world turns sometimes. This party had some double sided  tape to it as Denise had just started working at The Sundown which is the restaurant next door to the historic Granada so the food we were eating was prepped by her and it was delicous. It was a nice night with friends

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My wife is awesome and let me tell you yet another reason why this is. If you know me you know I love movies and the movie going experience. For Valentines day this year we watched the latest in the Die Hard series….A Good Day to Die Hard. Was it the best in the series? Hey whatever right?!? We drove down to the Studio Movie Grill (ONLY BECAUSE THE ALAMO DRAFTHOUSE WAS NOT OPEN I SWEAR IT WAS JUST THAT ONE TIME) and enjoyed some food and drinks

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Another “convention” is TicketStock. I’m a fan of  this Sports Radio station and not because I’m a die hard sports fan but this station really does bring something to the table I enjoy. I won’t try to explain it because you have to listen to it to get it but they do treat their listeners well and throw a once a year gathering. There are booths and other vendors showing off local stuff along with a live broadcast on Friday and Saturday. This year it was at the same event center as most of the conventions I would attend this year so it was familiar grounds for me. One would say I’m a marginal P1-P2….it’s a radio thing…..






It’s always cool to see stuff you work on in the public’s eye. One night as we had dinner at the GameStop next door I saw this guy standing up so I pre-ordered a copy for a cool key chain. I dig The Walking Dead so I have to say it was pretty cool working on this IP

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On a late Saturday night before I would take my vacation trip to Seattle the gang headed down to Dallas for some late night adventure. Jeff pointed out that a pop up kitchen was going to serve Ramen at the Ten Bells Tavern. So on that cold night we went to Jeff’s hood. The gang of Roger, Cynthia, Jeff, Josh and myself went to check it out. It was some tasty ramen and the bar was a great little dive. Got to meet the owner cause Jeff is connected with everyone where he likes to eat. It was a nice little send off as I would be gone the entire following week.

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The Great North West….Land of Sasquatch
In fall of 2012 my friend Rick Johnson asked if I would help him out with a top secret project. At the time Rick was working at Valve Software and from what he told me about this project it sounded exciting. I knew I would have some time off now that The Walking Dead was in submission and I enjoy hanging out with my good buddy Rick. We share our love for movie nights, fried foods and all things nerd. Little did I know that this trip would be a once in a life time type of event.

As this trip came close to the date my friend Rick would lose his job at Valve in what was a pretty publicized story in the gaming community. This all happened about two weeks before my trip so I didn’t know really what was in store but after talking with Rick he explained that everything is still cool and that I would get a debrief when I arrived. My concern was with Rick and his co-worker Jeri as I have been through something similar and I wanted to make sure they would be ok. Well not only would they be ok but they would turn into a super engine on warp drive. Never in my life have I seen two people determined and focused to build something as quickly as possible and do it with a tremendous amount of passion and emotion behind it.

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I arrived that afternoon and on the way to Rick’s house we talked about what we would be doing. We were going to have a Game Jam for the week…..yeah I spent my vacation working the entire week long hours…….what of it? It’s what I like to do :-)

I got the lay of the land from Rick (which was basically just his living room turned into an office) and off we went. The goal was to create a game using the prototype CastAR. That was the goal but with all the things happening around Rick and Jeri they had to do a lot of business and take care of a bunch of things during this time but you roll with the punches. We would be making a pirate ship game using some art I created and some voxel terrain. It ended up being tough trying to get the game done as Rick and Jeri and to focus on so many other things and with limited tools for them it was tricky but I was able to put on my HBO GO and knock out some stuff to play with. I can say that I had a ton of fun playing with the prototype and really was amazed by the technology they had come up with. I was also luck enough to be around to say I was there when Technical Illusions was born as they decided on that name for the company while I was there. A day consisted up getting up at 8AM ( I was stuck on Central Time all week) and we worked all day until about midnight or so and then watch either Police Academy or Sledgehammer (80’s TV show) and that was our week. Now during that week there was one night we had dinner with a special guest that wanted to meet Jeri in person. That person was no other than Felicia Day….you know she owns the internet. She was in town for Emerald City Con that weekend but had wanted to meet Jeri so we had a great dinner at a fancy dive in a part of Seattle that I’m not familiar with (honestly I don’t know Seattle). She was really nice and down to earth which made the experience great. We all talked about games, food, nerds, experiences and our cats. She was really interested in the CastAR but since it was still in a prototype phase and not at all mobile she would have to catch it another time. Very cool. We worked on through the week and our reward was a trip Saturday to Emerald City Con which turned out to be super awesome. Met some of Rick’s cool friends who joined us for the day. The venue is HUGE and it was filled with all types of folks. The Cosplay presence was massive. I wish I could have taken more pictures but at the end of the week I really wanted to enjoy the con and just check things out.

The week in Settle was an awesome experience and being able to help out in a small way with CastAR at the beginning was amazing. Jeri Ellsworth’s is one of the most intense and talented people I’ve been around. The only way to describe her is as a female Tony Stark with all her equipment and a house full of gadgets and things she’s created with other pieces of hardware is pretty incredible. If Jeri is a Tony Stark then my friend Rick Johnson is Gandalf conjuring magic with his code and creative ideas. It was great to work with him again on a focused project. They have created CastAR and I think they are going to make huge waves in the industry in which I enjoy being apart of. This was a great way to kick off the rest of the year and I would be joining them a few more times throughout the year :-)






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My brother is an assistant band director here in the area. We all grew up in band and were in percussion all 4 years of high school and with us being 3 years apart from each other the school had to put up with a Luna percussionist for almost a decade and the youngest of course would be the best of the bunch. We are super proud of him and the huge impact he is making with students as they all excel to huge achievements every year. He’s been teaching for over a decade now and I’m happy he lives in the area. On this night he was having his percussion concert much like what we had to do back in the day. They would preform their solos or ensembles from the year and they were on top of their game.


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So after the percussion concert I was able to truck my way down I-30 to my movie night buddy Noel. I met Noel during his time with Texas Frightmare Weekend and we just got to talking. Turns out we had much in common when it came to hosting movie nights of films of our youth and just fun and interesting films. We are both movie lovers and he also has a great projector set up in his home. I headed his way under the threat of local tornado warnings (I didn’t know about those until I arrived). It was a double feature of Big Trouble in China and The Thing. Great night but was a long trip home in the crazy weather conditions

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Back at the Dallas Sci-Fi Expo I took a picture of a Cosplayer as Arwen from Lord of the Rings. She was Cosplayed by Anna who found me on Flickr. We chatted and decided we should do a photoshoot together. So on a windy cool March Sunday we met up at a local studio so she could feature her Cosplay and I could knock off some rust of not being in a studio for some time. The studio was great and we had a lot of fun coming up with a few ideas. Time really few by due to some minor technical issues (batteries) and a costume change. She brought her Arwen from Lord of the Rings and Ramona Flowers from Scott Pilgrim. I had hoped to do a lot more studio shooting or work with Cosplayers but as you’ll see in the rest of this blog my year filled up really fast….


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One of your fun events this past year was Geek Trivia at the Allen Wickers in Plano. Rachel is a great Quiz Master and loves Tim Tebow. We’ve had lots of fun and come in first a very few times along with winner a beer or two along the way. We’d like to do it more but you know how life gets in the way….stupid life

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Our free beer ticket
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All the hard work and long hours of making a game is more than just about making games. It is the friendships and creative energy you put into something, hell it could be anything so long as you are putting your best efforts in it then it is something you’ll love. The Walking Dead may not have been received which huge praise but it wasn’t because of me not caring about what I was doing. We all worked hard and did our best with the time frame and budget given. For the very first times in my career of making games I got a copy before it hit stores from the publisher. I was proud to display this and show my friends. I still play it very now and then which is pretty rare when you work on a game as you are usually sick of it by the project’s end.

We also got a signed copy by Norman Reedus and in return we sent him a Project Cobalt (our internal code name) t-shirt signed by the team.


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Later in that week leading up to the release of the Walking Dead we did a QA online via Vine in which we could take questions on Twitter and answer them via Vine. We had all the questions projected up in the company theatre and anyone who wanted to answer could volunteer. Prior to this Norman Reedus was also answering questions via Twitter which basically broke his Twitter account with the flood of questions. We had a lot of fun doing it and doing stuff for the community is always fun

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As I was enjoying the time before the release of the game there was some catching up with friends to do. One thing we like to do with friends is play some boardgames so drinks and games it was. On this night we played Carcassonne for the first time. We had a lot of fun and it was good to see our friends Roger and Cynthia as they were getting read to have their addition to their family.

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Being home meant more time in my office at home. I had a great set up and I started to think up of something my buddy Alex challenged me to do….”Hey we should enter that 24 hour video race”. I started to write down as many ideas as I could while I caught up on some shows and played Xbox. This was an ok set up but it would get better when we would move into our new house a few months later :-)

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I grew up watching boxing with my uncle’s back in the 80’s. We’d watch Sugar Ray Leonard, Marvelous Marvin Hagler and Roberto Duran just to name a few but over the years boxing has not been the same sport it use to be. In 1993 the Ultimate Fighting Championship started up and it was everything a kid like me wanted. It was real life BloodSport which game it a bad name over the years. I lost interest since it was only on pay-per-view but now that you can catch it on regular television and in sports bars I have really gotten back into it. On this night we went to sports bar around the corner to watch the evenings card and we caught Johny “Bigg Rigg” Hendricks who trains out of Dallas. Looking up his story and reading about the guy I became a big fan and we with beards stick together. It’s always good to catch a UFC fight and grab a beer

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Walking Dead: Survival Instinct is released to the world and I went to get my midnight copy. It was cool to walk into my local GameStop and ask for my game with other folks doing the same. It came with my ear keychain and a kiss from my wife telling me congrats. Unfortunally there wasn’t much the company could do as far as a release party or anything so I put together a little release party for the team at the Kung Fu Saloon in Dallas (thanks to Jennifer Jennifer Pinney for grabbing pictures at the Kung Fu Saloon). They let us use the karaoke room to set up our game and the other karaoke at no charge. We had a nice little crowd show up and we all lifted our glasses for another game under the belt. It would be my 12th. We also has a little gift for our Producer and Creative Lead on the project to close the project. One of our artists Glenn used his 3D printer to make a zombie head caddie for their copy of the game. Sadly this would also be the last time as a whole team we would be together. Many folks began to leave the company or were laid off not long after the game but I can say that the team we had and the momentum we had going for us would have been good going into our next game if one had been lined up. The team of Project Cobalt was one of my favorites

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Who doesn’t love a good surprise every now and then. Well to our surprise our good buddy Nick had completed his Masters degree which was a surprise to us because we didn’t know he was even in school?!? His fiancee asked us to meet them at Al-Amir which is Nick’s favorite. The gang would meet there and we really did surprise him. Turns out the place is has belly dancing on Friday and seeing that it was a Friday, go team. Food was delicious and the company was great. It was great to celebrate Nick’s hard work

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I have always said this about Dallas and I’ll say it here again, there are some really cool things here but you have to go out and find them. Well on this night we went to a place that actually made me feel like we were not in Dallas at all. Jeff wanted Denise and I to meet him at Mr. Max which is a small, and when I saw small I mean holds about 25 maximum, authentic Japanese hole in the wall in Irving. Denise and Jeff have both been to Japan so I looked at them for their approval. It was amazing food and the atmosphere was great however everything was in Japanese so we had to ask for translation of what we were going to eat. You would never know this place was here as it doesn’t have any type of flashy signs or big “hey look over here” type of store front but its reputation is what keeps it going.

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Since 2008 Denise and I have taken time in the Spring to get a garden set up. We do this because Denise loves to cook with fresh ingredients when she can but also because this is very therapeutic especially for me. This is my disconnect from technology and just doing something that allows you to turn it all off and watch these plants do their then given the right attention and care. We have been successful with some things and had a tough time with other during the Texas summers but this garden did well even after they were transported to our new home months later.

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2013 was two years of marriage and I was lucky to find someone who enjoys the nerdy and dorky things in life that I do. We celebrate what marriage means but we also like to change it up and not always be the most traditional. I’m sure with age we’ll do more traditional things (Don’t worry Denise I promise all the anniversaries will be like this) but for this April 1st we headed down to the Granada to watch the showing of Spaceballs on the rooftop of where Denise works. We also did our annual pay out of “Piggy” and cashed that in. We had dinner, laughed enjoyed some drinks and watched Spaceballs…the movie. I could not have asked for a better partner in crime to spend the rest of my days with. I love you Denise

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Dallas has a wide range of artists from and one of my favorites is the Vinyl scene that has built up over the past few years. The biggest group making the push is Cody Phillips and Shelby Miller. They run Vinyl Thoughts here in Dallas. They grab artists to create custom Vinyl toys for an art show sometimes twice a year. This time around they had a show at ATAMA at Mockingbird Station. Good to have some drinks and see some old friends. They had a blind box show with art by local artists and I was luck to pick one created by Jason Chalker

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One of my favorite things about the Spring is the great Texas weather we have here. I enjoy getting a small fire going and grab a drink and just hang out. I also love to watch movies outside under the stars just like when I was growing up at the drive-in back home. This night was our first and last outside movie night we did at our rental house in Richardson. We really loved that house and the backyard could not be more perfect for having friends over. On this night we did an Edgar Wright double feature of Scott Pilgrim and Hot Fuzz.

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I was asked by a former student of my brothers who is attending the University of North Texas if I would be a guest on their local school television show. When I was first asked I thought it was for a radio show but a few days leading up to the show I was informed that it was for a television show that aired on Time Warner Cable. This was part of their Radio/Television department at the university which is a good program from what I’ve read. I arrived at the university and was met by a production assistant and she brought me to the campus coffee shop which was the backdrop for the show. I was really impressed how well everything was run and I did nervous for a minute when I realized that there would be a live audience. The show was put on like a late night talk show with a host and co-host. It was a lot of fun and when it was my time to be up it was really fun and felt like a live podcast. We talked a little about my career and played some Walking Dead. Funny thing was the hosts seemed more nervous than me and afterwards they said I was the most fun they had all year because I didn’t have a script and just played it ad-libbed the whole thing. Unfortunately the show is not online

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My nephew is only two years old (and only one and a half in these pictures) but on a Sunday Spring morning we took him out for some pictures with the Texas Blue Bonnets. I was really happy how these came out as taking pictures of kids are usually next to impossible to capture but he was very cooperative and the day was just right.

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May would be the start of being really really busy but in a good way. Every May is Texas Frightmare Month and as I’ve blogged about before in the past it is hands down my favorite convention of the year. I’ve meet so many good people and enjoyed lots of good times every year. It is our little vacation in our backyard. This year as no different and with both Denise and I able to get most of the weekend off we took advantage of heading over on Friday early to catch some of our favorite movie stars and check out some of the booths a little early. We also got a bonus when we saw that our friend Grego and Stacie were helping with a friend’s booth. We got to have a great breakfast with them Sunday morning This also gave me a chance to get Danny Trejo’s autography on A MACHETE!! How cool is that. On Saturday night we went to special screening area that was showing classic horror movies and Denise and I took the evening to enjoy while having some snacks. The Shining ,it so turns out, is pretty creepy when you watch it at a hotel late at night in a dark room with just little red ambient light for mood…..

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The Killers rolled through town and Denise loves them and probably has them in her top 10 favorite bands. This was a great concert but it was also when I was getting ready to enter a 24 hour video race at the end of the week so my mind was kinda all over the place. Once they hit the stage and blew the doors off the venue and with beer in hand it was a night for rocking out

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For some time I’ve wanted to give making a film making a try but it was always one thing or another that would come up to block this. If you know me then you know how much I enjoy cinema and just the overall concept of filmmaking. When I got my 5D Mark II it was not only because it is a great camera for taking pictures but I knew that would lead to hoping to get something created on film. There was a day that Alex and I were chatting on IM and he mentioned that we should enter the Dallas 24 Hour Video Race this year. Almost without hesitation I said “Sure why the hell not, worst thing that could happen is we fall flat on our face but that is really the only way to learn”. Part of the rules outside of being done in 24 hours is to use props that won’t be given until midnight of the start of the race. We thought a concept like a movie trailer would fit for us because we could just roll in the items they gave us and since it’s a trailer it could be short and easy to cut right?…..right? Easy?

This was a brainstorming session that took a few hours to figure out a story line that we would fill in once we knew our props.

From this point we would be off to enter the contest….well hang on just one sec. There were a few things from the start that didn’t go off well and from the outset Josh and I thought we were doomed. Our audio mic turns out wasn’t not going to work directly with the camera so we ran down to Guitar Center with hopes of finding an adapter which turned into a rabbit hole and we ran from one Guitar Center to the next and ended up dead in the water on 635 in traffic. We decided to bail on that but in a last attempt for help Joel offered his Zoom for the day which would work perfect….if he didn’t live almost an hour north of were we needed to be when the contest kicked off. We were also getting news from Alex that he had gotten sick from something he may have eaten and was unable to help out. On top of that Josh’s battery was about to die so us splitting up was maybe not a good idea but luckily I had my back up charger in my bag so I began to drive up north as Josh stayed at the theatre to get instructions of the of the contest and what we needed to put in our short film. I met up with Joel to get his Zoom which worked perfectly and Josh got the information. In the end we spent the next 5 hours to planning and working on a shot list and order. The props we had to use were

A phone book
The BG letters that are around Dallas
A theme of Recycling
The lines “Ask not what your country can do for you but what you can do for your country”

Our cast consisted of our friends and we filmed almost everything at Jeff and Josh’s home which had the most to offer as far as looks go. The two locations we had to shoot outside of the house really killed our time. Outside of that the day could not have gone better except for not having an onsite editor to assemble while we filmed which doomed us as for the amount of production value we tried putting into our short there was no way we could finish in 24 hours.

I cannot tell you how happy I was how dedicated everyone was helping us make this and putting their trust in us as shooting out of order probably put doubt in what we were doing. Josh and I also didn’t know how any of this was going to turn out in the end. Thanks to Evan Gill for taking pictures to document the day

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So even though we didn’t finish in time we were allowed to still turn in our submission so we could watch it on the big screen a few days later at the Angelika. I headed back to Josh’s on Sunday and we finished the edit about 2am. It turned out the editing curse was not over because only a few hours after Josh finished the edit he ended up with a kidney stone and had to head to the emergency room early that morning. Josh ended up being ok later that evening so we headed over to check up on him and pick up the film so we could take it to the theatre for submission. Later that week I did something I had been dreaming about for many years, a film (although a short one) on the big screen in front of my friends and other participants. We were shown in the “out of competition” portion but after our showing that evening we had a lot of folks coming up to us telling us we had a great submission and it’s too bad we didn’t make it in time because they felt we had a chance to win. In the end it wasn’t about winning and more about going through the process. It was a ton of fun and it was because of my friends and family that I was able to get a chance to actually do this. Many thanks to Denise, Josh, Jeff, Alex, Nikki, Kris, Jen, Maya, John, Eric, Evan, Stacy and everyone who helped out along the way. Thank you all so much

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So while all this things above were happening Denise and I were spending all the time in between looking up properties online and with our realtor. We wanted to stay in the Richardson area because we felt it was a great area not too far from Dallas and close enough to being up north that it worked well for our job travel. After many options and looking and looking and looking we found a place that Denise really liked. In order to lock up the house we had to make an offer without me getting to see the house as our realtor and her saw it during the weekday while I was at work. With other possible offers being put on the house we made ours and ours was taken. When I finally did see the house it turns out she made the perfect choice. Great kitchen, big backyard, an office for me and a nice living area. We got the keys a month before our lease was up and Denise’s birthday but it gave us lots of time to make our move. We love our house and look forward to creating many memories here.

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After all the running around and and closing on our house I ran down to the Dallas Comic con to see some friends and snap some pics of the day. It was another big event at maximum capacity. Got to see my good friends from Bean Pot Toiz along with others and Alex and I got to meet some of the contestants from one of our favorite shows FaceOff on SyFy. Heather Henry is a Dallas artist and had a booth along with Eric Zapata. We got to meet them and Alex bought her Eraserhead baby thing she made which was pretty accurate. We got to chat for a little bit and they were some cool customers. It was a great show and some fun pictures









Usually when the summer roles around it gets hard to get out and do stuff even if it is indoors. This year I made it a point to join my friends in various events and stop being such a homebody and when you look around for events they just show up. On a June afternoon I got to watch Doug Benson do a live podcast recording of Doug Loves Movies which is a great podcast. I had to quickly put together a sign for the podcast which I showed him afterwards and he thought my name was Mormon….he was pretty high. This would also be the last time I would see by buddy Dave McGarry for a while as he took a job in Chicago a few afterwards

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Archer is one of our favorite shows on television and when we heard that Archer Live was coming into town we jumped on board even though we had no idea what the hell Archer Live was actually going to be. Turns out it was the cast, or most of the cast anyways, sitting around telling stories about the show and reading live segments from the show while drinking. This lead to them firing t-shirts into the audience with an air cannon and playing Danger Zone every time they did it.

I have never really been a car person which doesn’t mean I don’t like cars it just means I don’t know the ins and outs of older cars. I’m no grease monkey or would know what to do with an older car. I would say that most of our family is that way but doesn’t mean we can’t learn with time. My brother bought a 1965 Mustang a few years ago and he’s been working with a friend of his to fix it up. In that he’s been learning about cars with a goal of taking his car out to some car shows. He invited me out to Frisco to a huge car show in which his car would be shown. It was really cool to see all the different type of cars and a lot of the classics. Turned out to be a lot more fun than I thought it would be.







By brother is a big Texas Rangers fan. I’m a fan as well as we grew up watching Nolan Ryan and Ruben Sierra back in the day so any chance to head out to the ballpark does bring back some good memories. My brother had an extra ticket and it was a nice way to lead into the July 4th weekend. We had great seats in the shade in almost perfect weather for Texas in June.

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Happy Birthday America and in Texas that means BBQ. On our days off from work we went out looking for some delicious BBQ before fireworks with the family. I enjoy fireworks and getting a chance to photograph them is also fun. I’m never sure how they will come out as shooting them is tricky but I was really happy with my results. The next day was movie night with Josh and Jeff along with snow cones to cool us off from the heat.

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One of the things I was super excited about this year was the opening of the Alamo Drafthouse here in Richardson. Having only been to a Drafthouse once before one would think I was a weirdo for supporting something so much before it was even opened. From my one experience and everything I’ve read about Tim League and what he thinks the movie going experience should be this is something I wish I could have been around from the start and someone be involved with the ground roots of it in Austin. From the type of events they put on to the unique movies they show during the year it is like the movie nights I’ve hosted for years now only on a much larger screen and around more people who feel the same way I do about movies. So during the month of July leading up to the grand opening the Drafthouse hosted the Rolling Road Show in the future parking lot of the Drafthouse. It made me so happy because since we had just moved into our new house we didn’t have our backyard and setup ready to host our movie nights so this was the next best thing (and obviously better). These were free screening and only required you to bring a chair or find a spot on the floor. We invited friends and went almost every weekend. I hope they bring back the Rolling Roadshow to the area









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Since we spent so much time house hunting in the spring and leading up to Denise’s birthday I promised that we would take a vacation for her birthday this year to make up for not doing anything for her actual birthday. We also wanted to take a real vacation outside of Texas for a change. Since it was Denise’s 30th this year I gave her the choice of New York or California and the choice was San Francisco. We found a time that would work for both our schedules and we made planned the trip. We got a room near city hall and only got a rental for one day when we could cross the Golden Gate and head north to see the Red Wood Forest or as some would call it Endor. We had an amazing trip with such good food the entire time. On our first day it turned out that a farmers market went up just down the street from our hotel. We got some delicious snacks for the day and headed out for our adventures. We also caught up with an old friend of Denise’s who happened to live not very far from our hotel. Denise had not seen her since they childhood days in the Philippines so it was awesome being their for their reunion since then. She showed us some local bars and tacos joints that were very excellent. On the day we had a rental we headed up north to Sausalito to catch up with an old friend who I use to work with at Gearbox. She now works at 2K and it was great to see her and have lunch with an amazing view of the ocean. We headed up north to the Red Woods which was mind blowing to see in person but for me the real treat was set up by my friend Joel. He got me in touch with Fon Davis who has his model shop further north of the red woods near Skywalker Ranch. Fon Davis was someone who I was familiar with but didn’t put two and two together until I got to meet him in person. We got a personal tour of his studio and saw models on the wall from films like Starship Troopers and Star Wars: Attack of the Clones. It was so cool to just chat and see some very cool movie history. It also happen to turn out that my brother was training near Oakland and was staying with my cousin whom I had not seen in years. After a long day of adventure we headed up to his place and caught up with them for a bit. On our last day we were lucky that a food festival was happening in which blocks and blocks of street neighborhoods were set up with some of the best food I’ve tasted in years. The entire trip was a perfect get away for Denise and I and we could have not have planned anything better. We still love Dallas but for those few days it was nice to get some of that West Coast flavor

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As the summers come to a close in Texas it usually comes with even hotter temperatures as one would think that it would start to cool down. My parents made a trip up to visit my brother and I. My brother was starting back up at a school and on a Saturday he mentioned he was headed southeast to a small town that was holding a car show that he was going to bring his Mustang for show. Little did I know that it was a small municipal airport and there were going to be World War II aircraft. It was a really really hot day but it was worth it to check out all the cool stuff. There was also a Helicopter out of Denton that was similar to what my father few in during Vietnam. All Veterans of foreign wars were signing it on the inside so it was cool to be there to see my father sign it with all those other names on there. It was a very special moment I was glad I could capture on film.

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Sgt. RV Burgin World War II Veteran
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Once September starts to roll around we all prepare for things like Halloween and cooler weather. There always seems to be a creative feel in the air and getting to go out and see some art only adds fuel to that fire. It was time for another Vinyl Thoughts and as usual it didn’t disappoint. Great art and free drinks…who could ask for more

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Throughout the year I kept in touch with Rick and Jeri as they were working on CastAR. They made a stop by Texas for Gearbox Community Days which shows off Gearbox games and lets the community talk with the developers. On short notice they boxed up their equipment and flew down and this made for a good test run for two weeks later. Rick and Jeri asked me to fly up to New York and help document the showing of CastAR at Makers Faire in Queens. I was super stocked to help as this would be part of the finishing touches before they would launch their Kickstarter to the world. I was going to be filming people play CastAR and get some interviews of first impressions after using it. I had never been to New York before so I was really excited to check it out. Even though we didn’t really venture out and really just worked the entire time it was still really awesome. Saturday night after the show we met up with some folks at a hotel bar and had a few things. Being surrounded by so many hardware hackers was pretty interesting and made me feel like a little speck on the radar being a software guy myself. It was such on honor to help out with the CastAR video and I think their video came out great…along with a bunch of other folks as it raised over 1 million dollars on Kickstarter. Check out the video to see some of my handy work at Makers Faire

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October means my favorite time of the year with cooler weather and lots of changes in the air. This also for the most part is the end of the large sized convention season with Dallas Fan Days. So many great costumes and speakers and this year I had a little time to talk with RJ Haddy from FaceOff. He was a super cool guy and snapped some great pics as the costumes were really at a high level this year. Maybe getting ready for Halloween or maybe just a year’s worth of work being shown.

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The month also has birthdays of now two of my favorite people. Alex and Coen share a birthday month and one was in a bounce house and the other was in a chicken house. One had a super awesome cake and the other had….well also a super awesome cake. Just another check mark on why October is awesome.

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Is it obvious that I love Halloween? Maybe it has something to do with that fact that I was a week just past being born on Halloween or maybe it has something to do with movies. What I know part of it is the cooler air, the colors in the trees, the fun costumes and seeing friends. Since Halloween isn’t a real holiday it is like the best of Thanksgiving and Christmas without all the travel. We decorate the house up real good and invite friends over for scary movies every weekend leading up to the big day. This was our first year in the new house so we were not sure how to decorate up the house and we hoped the neighborhood would jump in as well. It took a little time but they did and we had a pretty decent turnout of kids on Halloween night. We also got in some really good scares with our jumping spider and Denise’s costume. This all lead up to my birthday weekend

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I am very lucky to have a strong group of friends and family around me to support me and everything I do. The year was a good one as you can see from my blog above but from a work standpoint it really wasn’t. That said I am so grateful for so many things I have in life. I have worked hard and I will continue to work hard everyday and I have put people around me who do the same. My amazing wife and friends are important to me so at when birthday comes around it is almost as much about them than it is about me.

For the past few years we have rented a cabin, or cabin like place, near a lake and just turn everything off to the outside world for a little bit and soak it all in. Enjoy life because you only get one. This year as time grew close and we had not locked in anything we were going to pass this year but we found a lake house near lake Lewisville for about the same cost so we figured we should do it. It would be nice to have the place to ourselves and not have to worry about a gated community like the other places we had stayed before. Even though at first impressions it looked like a place from a horror movie it turned out to be really nice and the weather could not have been better. We did this the day after Halloween so the mood was great. We stayed the weekend but that Friday night we got to hang with Nick and Crane at their Halloween party which was a ton of fun. Everyone came by the next day and just relaxed and took it all in. My sister-in-law made the most amazing birthday cake to date. I hate sharks but I love the movie Jaws so her cake was pretty much perfect. As the evening came upon us we got a fire going and I set up a mobile screen and brought the projector so we could watch movies with the lake as our backdrop. With it being my birthday we watched one feature from Drafthouse Films which was just a series of awesome trailers called Trailer Wars and that was followed up with Birdemic 2. Sure not ground breaking Oscar worthy films but being with my friends laughing and drinking puts all things in perspective… matter what happens in life and no matter what curve balls are thrown by the world you keep swinging. It is those moments and all the ones I’ve documented above why I live and why I’m here.

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So for my actual birthday on November 7th my long time good friend Alex bought Denise and I a ticket for a showing of Wes Anderson’s Bottle Rocket. This was also a night of tribute as the film was played in honor of Kumar Pallana who passed away in October. I’m a big fan of Wes Anderson and a really big fan of Bottle Rocket which was filmed in Dallas. There was a QA with the author of the book “The Wes Anderson Collection” Matt Zoller Seitz. Robert Wilonsky was the host of the evening with a screening of the original Bottle Rocket short film and a message from Wes Anderson about the life of Kumar Pallana. Afterwards we headed out for a drink to start year 37 of my time here on planet earth. Thanks buddy….

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Thanksgiving was a pleasant surprise of flying home to see my folks. It was not really expected but Donna and her magic touch at Southwest got me a ticket home so I could see my parents and eat some turkey at their home. Thanksgiving as you know is all about football….I mean turkey…..ok who are we kidding it’s about football. We ate some delicious food and watched a lot of football so much so that the day after Thanksgiving we drove up to Corpus Christi to watch one of the high school teams were my parents live play in their playoff game. It was a pretty cold night but the road trip and time with the parents is all that really mattered. It was a lot of fun and I was glad to be home since it had been a few years since I’ve been home. Love you mom and dad

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As Christmas approached we got hit with the coldest storm in some time and much earlier than usual in Texas. We got hit by some serious ice and temperatures below freezing for 4 days and since the infrastructure is not set up for us here for that type of situation we got it bad. We got ready and that night the ice came it was about 18 degrees and at about 3am I heard the first of many tree limbs falling in our neighborhood and unfortunately for the neighbor his vehicle took the brunt of it. As the night went on it was only getting worse. Our house lost power while we were sleeping because the by morning we were starting to feel the cold in our house. We thought we would be able to hold out but by the afternoon it was about 38 degrees inside the house. Our friends Roger and Cynthia offered up space for us and the cats to stay as what we were being told was that power would be back on Sunday. We packed up and headed slowly over to their warm home for warm drinks and board games. The following day I came by the house as there was a possibility that the power was back on but it was not. It dropped to about 35 degrees in the house by then and outside it was about 15 degrees. I have never been that cold in the state of Texas before in my life and good thing for me I have my Russian, yes it was bought in Kiev, as it really did help. The power was restored by Sunday and we were able to come back home with very little damage considering. Having only lost some of the tree and some of our food in the fridge we felt very lucky. The neighborhood really got behind each other offering places for people to stay with children or older people. Days after some people volunteered their time to help with branch removal as it was pretty bad on our street. Even the Alamo Drafthouse open their doors to those without power and offered free soup and hot drinks along with kid movies all at no charge for those who were getting cabin fever. What this really showed Denise and I was that the neighborhood and city was picked for our home was the best choice we could have ever have made

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As the year ended we enjoyed a holiday meal of lechón which is delicious pig Filipino style for Christmas as my in-laws. It was so good and having good company around make for a fun evening of opening presents and being around loving people. This also made the 2 year old super happy as he was flooded with gifts and picture taking :-)

We finished out the year with our annual Win, Lose or Draw night at the new house. We had so many people and even thought I didn’t take a whole lot of pictures that night, cause I was enjoying the night, it was the perfect way to ring in the New Year. I also got to see the commercial I filmed over a year ago for the first time in front of all my friends which was pretty hilarious

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….Well that is it…that was my year in pictures. I don’t think there is anything else to say that I have not already said in words or in pictures. I would say “I wish you all a good year” but instead I’m going to say…..Go out and make a good year. Take it and grab it and do the best you can. Sometimes you’ll fall and you’ll need to kick off a little dirty and say “let’s try that again” but just keep doing it. Keep good people around you and remember to make memories for you and your loved ones.

……Vámonos, amigos,” he whispered, and threw the busted leather flintcraw over the loose weave of the saddlecock. And they rode on in the friscalating dusklight.

(bonus pictures from the year…I hope they speak for themselves)

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Year in Review 2012

Time to recap my year using photos once again. I have done this for a few years now more for me than anything else because it’s important to reflect. I make it a point to grab my camera during events throughout the year to document the memories we make all year (they get harder to remember as my increase in age). This year I’m including pictures from my iPhone because that was by my side for a large part of the year and now that mobile pictures are so much better than the past….why not.

This year saw the end of a 3 year project that was the most challenging in my career and the start of a new project that would be a challenge in its own right. We reached our first year of marriage and met new friends along the way. It was really important to document this year because the past three years were really taken up by work and it was time to make up for memories that were not made during that time. I saw my vehicle of 8 years, which meant a lot to me, be updated with a new vehicle and I did something that only a few years ago I would never have seen myself doing.

I am thankful for my friends and family as they mean very much to me. This blog is for you as much as it is for me to show my gratitude

Let’s see what 2012 had to say…

We started the year by seeing old friends and finding a new place to eat burgers :-)

One weekend in a nice brisk January night we met up with our friends Bryan and Vanessa for a little birthday get together for Bryan. We met up at a beer garden and ate some delicious food and beer. I also wanted to break out the new 5D



On a cold Saturday morning we went down to Irving to check out ZestFest and seeing how we are fans of “the con” we thought we’d give this a try. We found some great items and got to see some interesting folks who brought their best to burn our taste buds




In February, about the time we were trying to wrap up Kinect Star Wars, I took a break on Saturday to head once again to the Irving Convention Center to check out Dallas Comic Con. The DCC has really grown from the small little con it was only a few years ago. It has moved from Richardson to Irving in one of the bigger convention centers in the DFW. Although it started out really rough with bad organization of lines, guest tables and a few other items, they cleaned up their act by the end of the year. I’m looking forward to future cons and hope to see more cosplayers





As 2011 was a rough one, my awesome sister-in-law and her boyfriend got Denise and I a night at the Gaylord hotel. It was really awesome and even though I had to go to work the next day it was a fun night. We had some great food and conversation. Later that night we went over to the Glass Cactus which was connected to the hotel and it was…..interesting. The Glass Cactus is what you would call a cougar den. The band was a cover band playing “the hits”. It was a much needed night to relax even if it was just for a few hours



The week we got certified for Kinect Star Wars, I was able to take a night to enjoy my love for vinyl toys and I got to see my friends Cody, Grego and his daughter Kaylah. Vinyl Thoughts is a show co-run by Cody Phillips. They had an awesome theme of video games this year. There was some really great work. I would also make friends the next night with the uber talented Jason Chalker and his wife Lisa. We enjoyed a nice night at their house exchanging stories, talking horror movies and just enjoying the company






On Sunday April 1st we celebrated our one year wedding anniversary. With work and everything we kept it simple but that is how Denise and I like it sometimes. My sister-in-law bought us a little piggy bank for our wedding and since then we had been filling it up with change. As a little tradition we decided to take our piggy to the bank and we decided to do this every year. We ended up with a nice little pot that paid for a nice dinner. After dinner we headed home to watch the season premier of Game of Thrones with our friends Doug and Patricia. It was nice to celebrate our one year anniversary with them as they would watch the entire season with us, and the season ended a week before their wedding. We enjoyed our little one year anniversary cake and it was a perfect night for us.





On April 3, Kinect Star Wars hit shelves world wide. It was the end of the toughest project in my career but it made it and I was proud of my team and thankful for all the support around me from co-workers, friends and family. We had a get-together at a local Game Stop in Lewisville in the evening after a day of work but that wouldn’t happen without a little side story. About 5 that afternoon our area was hit with a tornado and also brought a massive hail storm. Both Denise and I work in the same area but our office got hit harder than her area. Thankfully her car was not damaged but my Mini took over 2500 dollars in damage that afternoon. It was intense and had many of us worried about repairs and dealing with insurance but once we arrived at the Game Stop we were treated to friends, fans and some of the 501st. The night was a lot of fun and really was a nice finish to this project.









This year my goal was to take more pictures than I did last year. I took on a few more jobs than I did in the past and I really enjoyed the time. This year Mario and I photographed a wedding in Athens, TX at an awesome winery. It was a challenge, as most wedding are, but we got some really good pictures and the bride and groom were really happy with our work. It fun to do this with my brother and I look forward to hopefully doing more down the road.





As the month continued we had lots of folks interested in Kinect Star Wars and we had lots of great folks support us. The 501st is a cosplay group that is very well organized and not only share their love of Star Wars with folks but their efforts go to charities or helping raise awareness for various groups. I’ve met a couple of people involved with them and respect the art they create in their costumes. They swung by the office to grab some pictures and play a little bit of the game. It was fun to talk with them while they were in the office.






If you have read my blog before you know my love for movies — horror movies and all things in between. Texas Frightmare Weekend is one of my favorite events for many reasons. Now that our wedding anniversary is around the time of this convention, it makes this time of the year even better. This event inspires me to someday make a short film as many of the folks here are doing that at this event. Sure these are mostly horror movies and would turn people off because of the genre but it’s still hard work and requires a desire to want to make something because of their love of film. This year the event was at the DFW airport instead of a hotel near the airport. This meant there was no zombie walk which I loved to photograph but instead they had a Prom party in honor of Carrie. This would end up being a ton of fun for Denise and I on Friday night and I was so happy to capture the video recorded :-). It was cool to see Michael Rooker and Norman Reedus talk about the Walking Dead. At this point we had not yet announced that we were working on a game based on the show but it was a nice preview of things to come. Throughout the weekend we met lots of folks from all over the country and hope to see them again next year. (This is the first time I will use a video in my blog but now that my camera can do that we may see more in the future)









May brought Dallas Comic Con back to Irving. This weekend my brother and newphews drove up to join me. Sadly Denise could not see one of her favorite man crushes, and one of mine also, due to work but Sir Patrick Stewart (aka Captain Jean Luc Picard) was attending and doing a talk. This was also when I really got to talk a little more with Noel Gross who runs Piranha Toys. I’ve known Noel through Texas Frightmare Weekend and we’ve communicated through the interwebs but Noel is a good guy and we learned of our shared love of movie nights with friends so we would later combine our powers. The con was not very organized but this would give the organizers a lot of feedback which they addressed for future events that worked out much better. It was a good time and we bought a few things including geek xmas ornaments for December.





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The 501st made a few visits with us and on this day they come by the studio when we signed games, posters and consoles of Kinect Star Wars. We really appreciated them taking time to swing by the studio making this game special for all the tough times we had during production of the game.




In taking new photography jobs this year we were asked to take photos of a house. The goal was to take photos to help sell the house for use in commercial, photography or television use. It was an interesting challenge because the images have to show the space and how it could be used. That means these pictures had to be practical but also have to look visually striking. We spent a few hours setting up and waiting on the sun to be right but in the end it worked out. These are just a few that I really liked. The owners were really cool and the house was amazing with an incredible view of Dallas



One of the best moments of the year was seeing our friends Doug and Patricia get married in Red Rocks, Colorado. Not only were we attending but Mario and I would photograph the wedding. This added to the excitement but also added the stress of making sure our friends got great pictures that they would have for the rest of their lives. It was a perfect weekend as the weather was great and the city was very very much our style. This was also Denise’s birthday weekend so we got to all spend time together. We got in on a Thursday for the rehearsal that went well and helped us look at the lighting conditions. We were just about dead on our feet as our flight out of Dallas was very early in the morning. Friday was the wedding and it was such an amazing ceremony and it was great seeing our friends so happy. With Denise and I just reaching our one year anniversary it brought back a flood of memories. Doug and Patricia are music instructors so they had a custom drum made for the wedding. We were honored to be there and honored to be asked to photograph the day. On Saturday night we got to head down to an awesome arcade bar in downtown Denver. We got to check out the Red Rocks amphitheater and some of the city. Thank you guys for sharing your special day with us. It really was all perfect.













My sister-in-law is a talented person. She has been making cool pastries and one weekend she created us some awesome Game of Thrones cupcakes. We did a little photo shoot with them and our board game version of Game of Thrones. She continues to make awesome and delicious goodies :-)





Part of the reason I told myself I would use mobile phone pictures this year was because of the random moments when I don’t have my DSLR around. On a hot summer night I was meeting up with my brother to give him a thumb drive with photos. We decided to meet at a Wal-Mart off central expressway. As I was waiting for him I noticed something going on next door. There was a Dallas Cowboy car club get together with BBQ. It was….interesting but hey that is what this blog is about. The interesting things I saw all year. This is Cowboy country and nothing is bigger than the Dallas Cowboys in this city.

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This year also saw the return of the Hijinks Ensue Podcast. The podcast was always a blast to do but with the Kinect project at full steam for the better part of three years it really made it difficult to do. With Josh and myself really dug in on our respective projects this made it impossible for Joel to schedule. I missed doing this and I missed my friends but Joel had a good idea to pre-record some shows for a fall release. It was good to get back in front of the mic and I hope we can do more in the new year.



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Over the years I have been lucky to make new friends. What is nice is that these are friends outside of the industry that I am in and that is a good thing. It is good to have friends to talk with about regular things and not just industry issues or work items. Nick has become one of those friends and his company is always fun. For a Saturday afternoon in the summer, a surprise party was set up for him at the Dallas Aquarium. It was my first time and it was a lot of fun. I wasn’t able to make it for the surprise but I watched the video later and they got him pretty good.






This year the 4th of July fell on a Wednesday which always makes it difficult to plan for much. Denise happened to have the weekend off which is very rare these days so we thought we should take advantage of the time. After work on a Friday night we packed up and headed to Austin for the weekend. With our schedules not alined much anymore it was important to make use of our time with a little adventure even if that was just 3 hours away in Austin. Our trip down on Friday night include Denise’s first attempt at the 6 degrees to Kevin Bacon game and Doug Benson podcasts. We rolled in about midnight and hit what would be our Austin BBQ tour of 2012. Our first trip was to a little dive my buddy Eladio took me to a few years back. You could say the place looked “shady” but the food was delicious. The next day we would head to Franklin’s which is hands down the best BBQ I’ve had in my life even though we had to wait in line for 2 hours. It was well worth the wait. The weekend would be our first time to an Alamo Drafthouse and a new love would be formed. We caught up with our friends Allison and Jim which made the trip all the more fun. It was a relaxing weekend as when I returned we would begin our heavy push for the Walking Dead towards the end of the year. This trip was exactly with Denise and I needed.













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I have an amazing wife. She is amazing for many reason but in the top 10 reason is because she really gets my weird likes. For our one year anniversary of paper she bought us two tickets to see Tenacious D. Let me tell you right now friends, if you find someone who does that for you both, you make sure to take her as your partner in crime for all your days. The concert was a blast and it was Denise’s first time seeing the D live. It rocked our socks off and all I thought about was how awesome it was for my wife to do this for us to celebrate a one year anniversary



I am a marching band nerd. I was in marching band and it is in our blood. My brother is an assistant band director and my mom still follows marching bands back home. In Dallas during the summer is the Lake Highlands marching festival which showcases the best of the Drum Corp International band in the country. DCI is basically what you could consider professional marching for kids who want to further their music careers after high school. The skill and music is of a high caliber and if you have never seen DCI you should look it up. To me attending this festival usually means the summer is coming to a close. This year was no different and I always enjoy going





After years of hard work and long nights including giving up all his summers, my brother earned his Masters degree in music. I can’t put in words how proud I am of my brother. My brother moved to Dallas a year after I moved here to go to art school and he lived with me for about a year. We had some tough times trying to scrape enough to make it every day but I would never change how it was back then. We learned to survive and we became closer as brothers. Years later I would see him walk the stage after becoming a highly respected teacher, musician and person. Seeing him walk across that stage gave me such pride to call him my brother

(I added his graduation picture he used in his invitations. I took them in my house and wanted to show my old co-workers I still remember how to take these pictures :-p)






In September we hit a major milestone with our project and that same weekend Gearbox would celebrate the release of Borderlands 2. I have made some really good friends in the industry and many of them are at Gearbox. During my almost 8 years there I would become friends with Josh Jeffcoat who would one day be my best man at my wedding. I know how hard everyone works in the industry so being able to see my friends put another project out for the public to enjoy is a big accomplishment for all of them. I look forward to our day next year. Our friend Daniy drove down from Austin to attend the release party and she stayed with Denise and I for the weekend. It was great catching up and having her company along with seeing all our friends that night.



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In trying to get as much practice with my camera as I could I was looking for any opportunity to work with models. A meet up group in the area was holding a workshop for shooting subjects in bright day time lighting. I already had some practice with this but the session included working with a model for a low price so I took advantage of the deal. Our model was great and I snapped some shots I was really happy with. I hope to get work with models next year as it would be great to get more of that in my portfolio






After my photo shoot I headed down to the Fan Days convention back in Irving. This con is really a follow up to the Comic Con from the summer but it is a really nice way to end out the year. The con also showed that the organizers of the Comic Con took all the feedback and fixed many of the issues that people were experiencing. Since our photo shoot took longer than expected I didn’t see as much as I would like to have seen but it was a good show with a chunk of the Firefly cast in attendance. I hope to spend more time next year and capture all the great cosplayers






My favorite month is October. If you know me you know this to be true. We love to decorate and watching scary movies and the weather gets nice out. I’ll just stick to the pictures on this one :-) So many kids came by for candy this year and our scary movie nights were so much fun. Here is a list of what we watched:

Cabin in the Woods

Dead Set

Red State

Monster Brawl


Dawn of the Dead (1978)


Paranormal Activity 2: Tokyo Night

Mutant Girls Squad

Fright Night (2011)

The Ring (on Halloween night)








Moblie pics 2012

Moblie pics 2012

My birthday was around the corner and what more could someone ask for then for their car to break down. My 2004 Mini was my favorite car for many reasons. It the car I rewarded myself with after Brothers In Arms: Road to Hill 30. I took great care of her but sadly with 150,00 miles it was time we parted ways. Her power steering went out but there was more work that she needed that would have added up. Denise and I decided to make our first major purchase as a married couple and bought a new vehicle. We love our new Mini


Last year Denise and Rick came up with the idea of celebrating my birthday at a lake. They put the plan together and last year was a blast. It was so much fun that we decided to do it again and Rick signed up for a second year of flying down to Dallas and visiting us for the weekend. We changed the venue but we had just as much fun as the cabin/manufactured home was the exact same layout as the one last year. The fun thing about this year was the extreme high winds we would have to deal with 😐 The weather would not stop us as we had a blast playing games, eating like college kids and enjoyed the company of my close friends. Making memories to me is the most important thing we can do in our lives and this weekend was one of those times. I am grateful for the friends that have come across my path in this life and I appreciate their friendship. Thanks guys for such a great weekend







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In Novemeber the Alamo Drafthouse hosted a “Welcome to the neighborhood” night in Richardson by bringing their Rolling Road Show. Denise and I are very excited for the Drafthouse to open next spring and on this night they proved to us that our excitement is justified. On this night they showed The Burbs staring Tom Hanks for free with food trucks lined up and a parking lot with plenty of space. The parking lot was in front of the future location of the Dafthouse which is down the street from our house and all we needed to do was bring our own chairs. We had a chance to meet the COO of the Drafthouse who was a nice guy and is looking to make Richardson an even better place for all of us. See you next year at the Drafthouse









My parents came up to visit us in October for a weekend. It was a quick trip but it was nice to see them. In this trip my mom gave Denise the secrets of making the Mexican traditional holiday food known as…Tamales. They shared notes and it would be Denise’s goal to try and make these special treats for holiday gifts and for our mouths. I hope this is a tradition we can carry on for years to come as my parents and their parents did years ago. I remember being a small Eli and being on the line to help make tamales. Yes it was an assembly line because making tamales requires a good amount of work to put together. After getting her notes together and all the things we needed it was time to assemble. We had fun and when we started full production we started our own little tradition of watching UFC and Futurama while making tamales. Some of you guys may be lucky enough to try some :-)









As December rolled around after Thanksgiving it was time to prepare for the year’s end. We would start to shut down our project at work, getting the house cleaned up for the new year, got the holiday decorations out and bought a tree. Within all this I had received an email from a buddy and wanted to know if I wanted to be involved in a commercial. I thought “hey great, I would like to know what it’s like on a set” but what he was asking was if I wanted to be IN a commercial. It would be for eye glasses. I said “sure why the hell not” thinking “why the hell does anyone want this mug on camera”. Well after some text messaging back and forth the deal was done. I thought to myself on that day of the shoot “finally my beard has paid off for something.” It was an interesting day seeing other actors sitting around talking about the business as I was the outsider looking in. A cool experience indeed so be on the lookout on your television sets because you may see my mug

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Terminal Reality had a White Elephant day at the office. We all bought a few gifts, wrapped them up and tossed them in a pile. Let the games begin. It was fun followed up by a potluck to help end the year. I walked away with a shirt that is seen below. It was a fun time and we would soon shut down the office for the year. We head into the year excited to share the Walking Dead video game with the world. Congrats on such a great year to everyone at Terminal Reality.






I didn’t want to end my blog this way but this blog means a lot to me and hopefully people read it and walk away from it with something. Denise was in a car accident one Sunday afternoon in December on her way home from work. For whatever reason I almost knew something was wrong when she called. My brother was here at the house with me when the call came in and we jumped in the car and we were there in no time. My heart sank because I had no idea how bad or to what degree I was going to show up and see. It was the first time we had something like this happen since we got married and I wasn’t sure if I knew how I would react. In the end we were lucky because Denise was not hurt at all and I am very thankful of that.

So why would I end my blog with this? I did it because I want everyone to know how thankful I am for what I have and that you never know what could happen on any given day and because of this make sure you make the most of everyday. Denise’s accident could have been so much worse but it wasn’t. I’m not trying minimize what other people may have gone through but with this also being the same week when someone took the lives of many children in Connecticut it really hit me. This blog represents some of the events in my life so I can remember them as and share them with everyone hoping that they do the same, maybe not a blog but take the time to remember the year. Take the time to look around at the friends and family around you and tell them what they mean to you.

I look forward to a new year and I look forward to making new memories that I will share again with everyone this time next year.

Year in Review 2011

The year has come to an end and it was a life-changing year indeed. As I look back I wish I had taken more photos but it was a very very busy year, from getting married to being at work for many long hours but it was a year I will not forget. I have many fond memories of the year and I look forward to making new ones with my wife by my side for many years to come. We settled into a home we are renting for our first year of marriage and I saw my brother leave for Afghanistan to serve our country. Although I did not have much personal time to see friends this year, when I was able to see them it was always an enjoyable time. This year I will have a few photos I didn’t take and that’s mostly because I couldn’t take my own photos at my wedding. My wedding photos were taken by the very talented Hal Samples. Well….let’s get to it

We ended last year moving into our home and it was a mad dash to do so. The lease was signed and our timeframe to move in was short. Trying to organize a move during the winter isn’t so bad in Texas since we don’t get into freezing temperatures usually. We got settled in just in time for the holidays last year but in January we had a chance to start to enjoy it. We were not the only ones to really dig the house. All of our guys found different spots in the house they would call theirs and Scooter found his next to the fireplace


With the wedding coming early in the year Denise had a lot of various projects outside of getting the wedding up and running. She had her class projects, which was no small task, and she took on a few other side projects to sharpen her skills. I took a few photos for her reference but was really proud of her work. Her dedication is one of the many reasons I married her.




As the wedding was getting closer my folks wanted to throw a wedding party for us back home where I grew up. This was for my side of the family that would not be able to make the drive up to Dallas for our wedding. It sounded like a small event but my folks had a big surprise for us when we arrived. It was a great time and Denise got to witness what down home Rio Grande Valley home cooking is all about. It was a great time and in the end was about as big as a wedding with all the food and dancing. It was a really great time.




I was able to attend a few conventions but not many this year. A few years back I found out about All-Con here in Dallas and it was an enjoyable event. This year I attended due to the fact that Denise was having her bachelorette party that night. It was a single guys night with going to the con and then having a few beers with my friends from Bean Pot Toiz. Later I watched the UFC fights with a few other friends. Overall a good day and night.




A few weeks after Denise had her party Josh was able to unleash his plans for my party. Being my best man I honestly wasn’t sure what we were going to be doing. It was a good plan and he hit a home run with dinner and shitty movies. The proof is in the pictures. It was my last supper as a single man…




Everything I have done and worked for has lead up to this point in my life. I found someone who I could be with that understand me and I understand her. Our wedding day was April 1st 2011 and it was a great day. The weather was just right and all our friends and family were there to share the day with us. The wedding was just like we hoped with very few hiccups thanks to our friends and family who helped set up the day. It was like a party more than a wedding and from our guests we heard that everyone had fun. The food was great the drinks were flowing and the music was kicking. I was relaxed once Denise started her walk down the aisle and we got to be the goofballs and real people who we are. Something I will never forget. Our song was Queen’s “You’re my best friend” This was on the back of our program:

We are all a little weird and life’s a little weird, and when we find someone whose weirdness is compatible with ours, we join up with them and fall in mutual weirdness and call it love
– Dr. Seuss

Photos by Hal Samples











After a day to recover from our wedding day we jumped on our flight to Las Vegas. It was the first time for us both and it was really to go sightseeing and enjoy the food. We are not big gambling folk so we did very little of that. The little I did play I did come out in front and that was mostly by accident. We enjoyed some delicious food and took in the Lion King show. We had a lot of fun as the weather was perfect and the few days there were pretty great overall. What a strange but a fun town.









After the wedding and honeymoon we felt like we were on top of the world but the world is still a complicated and sometimes hard place to live. Coming back to a very busy job I also had to see my brother and sister-in-law off to Afghanistan to serve our country. This was tough because of all the unknowns about that part of the world and the dangers currently happening. I was happy and lucky that my brother was in country to witness our wedding with everyone. I can’t put in enough words in this blog how proud I am to have a brother serving our country as my father did many years ago. With my brother being in the National Guard the send-off was a little different than how the standard military is sent off. The people leaving who are in the Guard are also people the local communities see every day such as lawyers, chefs, teachers and all kinds of people who contribute. The community gave them a send off with all the support they could give. It was a sad day but a proud day. As of writing this he has a little over 90 days left in Afghanistan.






Knowing the summer would be a long one at work I thought about trying to get in as much as we could before the craziness started. I thought it would be fun to take Denise to her first minor league game just north of our place. It was a nice night and the summer heat had not kicked in just yet. It was fun for a Friday night. I’m not a huge sports fan but you really don’t have to be to sit outside and enjoy the sounds and sights. Trips like this are more about creating memories of things around us.





So my favorite con of the year is hands down Texas Frightmare Weekend. If you’ve read this blog you know this and have seen plenty of photos to go along with that statement. This year was no different. This year I spent a little more money so we could stay at the hotel of the event to attend the late night events and just be around the great vibe. One event was the cast of the first SAW movie doing a QA which was fun and of course the annual Zombie Walk. Hopefully my pictures serve this convention justice.











Another proud moment for me was watching Denise head up one of her class projects. She had to create a dinner menu of a region of the world. Her task was to make an Australian meal. It is safe to guess that we have not been to Australia and doubt we will make a trip there soon. After lots of work at home of testing flavors and various ideas the day came for her to execute. These meals are served to the public and they are graded by their chef and by public comments. It was a lot of hard work but she came through and aced it. Only a few weeks later she did an internship with the Four Seasons for a week-long event which turned into her full time job. Denise is now a cook at the Four Seasons in the Dallas area. I am so proud of my wife.








Another fun convention was the Dallas Comic Con and this year the guest of honor was Leonard Nimoy. There is no way that Denise would allow for this to go by without being able to get a chance to see her sci-fi hero. It was the first year in a new location and had some issues but overall it was fun. The talk by Nimoy was very interesting and very inspiring.







There was a pretty big gap in my photos this year as work had me traveling or working long hours. It also didn’t help that Texas had the worst summer in years in regards to the temperature. It was usually 100+ for the majority of the summer so it was best to stay indoors. The next trip would not happen until September but it was a good trip as my brother and sister-in law took leave to visit family. We took a tour of the giant Cowboy stadium as the family (most of the family) watches the Dallas Cowboys during the football season. It was an interesting tour as the place is crazy filled with the world’s biggest just about everything





Halloween/Fall for me is my favorite time of the year as it brings back many childhood memories. Being in a house this year we got to dress up the house and give out lots of candy to the neighborhood kids. The temperature finally dropped to something much more comfortable and we tried to have friends over as many weekends as possible to watch scary movies. These were some of my favorite photos of the year.










This year we were introduced to a new member of the Apigo side of the family. He is the first kiddo on their side of the family. He’s a big guy.


This year I turned 35 years of age. My wife and friend Rick had talked a while back about doing something for my birthday and the idea they had was spending a weekend on a lake. Lake Grapevine was the backdrop and we great time was had all weekend. Rick flew into town and friends came over for food, cake, camp fire and rifftrax. My sister-in-law made a kick ass cake for me. This was such a great time that we are talking about going to the lake again sometime in 2012. I cannot express enough of how great it was to have everyone there and enjoyed the night sky and good times.







For the holiday season my gift was a Canon 5D Mark II. I will have that camera to use for 2012 and I’m excited to use it for the blog next year. We spent the last month of the year pretty quietly as we both were pretty busy with work. We had a few friends over but we spent most of the time trying to finally get the house in order after the year living here. We still have a few boxes unpacked and my office is still not the way I would like it but hopefully I can get that in order soon.




As we head into 2012 there will be challenges and obstacles to overcome but that is what makes life special. The sense of accomplishment makes you feel alive. There will also be adventure and new memories to be made as a married couple. This was a year I will not forget as it had its own challenges but there were some victories and more to come. I hope my blog inspires you to go out and make your own memories to share with those around you.

Picture Year in Review 2010

Well hello there…..

It is time to summarize this 2010 year in photos I have taken all year. It was a big year and a busy one!! I think I had a much fewer number of photos this year because work at Terminal Reality was intense and took some long hours to tackle. The biggest and best news of the year was that Denise and I are engaged to be married April of next year. We are both very excited and maybe next year we will do this blog together as a married couple. So with all that said it was still a great year filled with good times and lots of memories that Denise and I will not soon forget. So let’s get to it….

I have become friends with Greg of Bean Pot Toyz out of San Antonio. He’s a great guy and has inspired me to start a photo project of my collection of vinyl toys. I started the year with some of the toys in my collection and have worked in very small chunks through the year. It was not a ton of progress but enough to get me excited about have a project like that in my back pocket.



If it is not obvious enough and if you are reading this blog you know I’m a geek and making video games only puts the gold seal on that fact. So when the phrase “comic con” are said I will make an effort to be there. That phrase has been said for a few years now and I’m there to be among my people. I love searching for things that remind me of my childhood and there is always a chance to catch some shitty movies that I could add to the collection. It’s like at a garage sale run by people who are dressed as the toys being sold at said garage sale!! These pictures are from the Dallas Comic Con which happens twice a year so this was the Winter edition.



February rolled around this past year and no one in Texas expected the 3 feet of snow that fell in one night!! We were about to head to a wedding in Colorado at the end of the month and thought we would be in for a lot of snow. There was enough snow to shut down work and build a six foot tall snowman which was lots of fun. Winter went long this past year and looks like we might have another one this year as well.

feb snow 11 - 1

feb 11 snow

The Ticket is a radio station here in Dallas that was one of the first sports stations in the country. I never though that talk radio would be my thing but the format used by these guys is great and something I have now been listening to since 1998. I listened to them during art school when the Dallas Stars won a championship and even during the events of September 11. It’s hard to explain unless you listen but they are very much a staple in my life now. Simple guys who work well together and since I do a Podcast with my friends there is a lot to learn with The Ticket. Every year they do Ticketstock which is a large “con” if you will in which fans of the station come to watch live show, try food and hang out basically. The great snow storm was melting away and Ticketstock was being held within 5 minutes of the house so I had to check it out

ticketstock 2010 - 1

ticketstock 2010

With snow melting away and work busy as usual, on one Sunday night Denise made some delicious spaghetti and the reason I remember that night was that in about a week I would ask her to marry me. Obviously she didn’t know it but I remember sitting there eating awesome foods and thinking about us and our future together. I took a few photos for her food blog and this one was for us.


Denise and I flew out to attend the wedding of our friends Roger and Cynthia in Steamboat, Colorado this past February. We have been friends for a good while now and I was happy that they asked me to photograph the wedding. Honestly I was pretty nervous even though I had worked weddings before but since these are friends who we care about, it was important to capture the moments that will be there forever of that day. The other thing running through my head was the fact that the next day I would ask Denise to be my wife and I had not really decided how I was going to do that. I had the ring but no grand plan of how I would do it so the next day when we went skiing and since we have never gone skiing we had some issues with our boots and other equipment. Denise was having some issues with her boots so I got down on my knee to have a look and……well I hit the button to engage and there you have it. The only person who knew I was going to do this was Roger so when it went down a few folks with us who saw this didn’t see the box and were yelling “Hey what’s the hold up!! You proposing or what!?!” I replied with “Well….actually….”



One of the places I learned to work on my photo skills over the past few years is at the Dallas Auto Show. You have great subjects and lots of shapes and colors to work with. It was on a Saturday and my brother and I headed own to the convention center for the event. Not a ton of cool new stuff but lots of vehicles that are good on gas and things to help cut costs to family during the tough economic times. It was cool to see some old classics as well to let people know that even if we are hurting in the pockets that there is some great art to be seen in our country’s history of cars



So I enjoy going to Cons, period. They just have a good vibe because it’s a place that geeks and nerds can feel safe. They can be themselves and have a beer to go along with all that. All-Con in Dallas is great because they pretty much said “The hell with it, let’s just combine all these things together and have Star Wars, Star Trek and whomever else feeling like joining us”. It’s great to meet interesting folks and artists who build costumes with great care (sometimes not such great care but that’s ok too) because folks at cons really enjoy having their picture taken. The other great thing is all the toys and discussion panels at cons so All-Con is no exception to this. A few great costumes at All-Con this year…enjoy






So there are lots of great things in the Dallas area but sometimes you have to get out and look for them. I tell this to people all the time who complain about how Dallas isn’t cool because it’s not someplace else other than Dallas. I like it here and I like that there is lots to do which hopefully this blog is showing. Something new I got to check out this year was roller derby thanks to Austin whom I work with. His girlfriend plays with the Suicide Shifters and it is a lot of fun to check out. Grab a beer and some pizza and check out some chicks kick some ass on the rink. This is the real deal and the ladies on the rink went balls out and really showed the crowd that roller derby is a real sport. I guess it got a lot of attention because of that movie Whip It but if you have a team in your area you should check it out and support them.

durby april 17

durby april 17 - 2

So right near the mid-point of every year is one of my favorite events, Texas Frightmare Weekend. It’s maybe the best run Con in the Dallas area and there are so many cool people there. I love movies of all genres and I have that special place for horror movies since I was a kid. The con is a weekend event and this year Denise and I decided to get a room near the con so we could spend the weekend there as our little vacation after a busy first part of the year for both of us. TFW starts with a Zombie Walk and tons of great guests and panels. We really enjoyed this year with our hotel room and being able to come and go as we pleased. I know that some people think it’s a bit of a waste to get a hotel room when we live near by (30 minutes near by) but it was a lot of fun and we really look forward to next year.






This past summer was a long one and a hot one. We took a break one night to enjoy Video Games Live. Music is one of my loves as my entire family has been involved with it in some shape and form. From being a percussionist, mom and dad in band booster and my brother teaching percussion at Forney High School. With me as I create video games I love to listen to music and I love when the music for the game I work on comes online it really ties everything together. Video Games Live celebrates the music of video games over the years. It’s a lot of fun and got to hear music from pac-man to Halo and since I worked on Halo for the PC it was awesome knowing I was a part of that. If you have not been to Video Games Live you should check it out when it comes to your town.



We really enjoyed roller derby this year that we went to two different bouts this summer. Lots of great action shots to be had at these events and again beer on hot nights always helps makes things better. I really liked the shots I was able to capture and hope to get some more next year

June 19 durby

June 19 durby - 2

June 19 durby - 3

Alex is the art director at the Dallas Observer and every now and then he sends me out to do some photo assignments for stories around the Dallas area. This time Alex needed me for a little more than just the random assignment, this time he needed a shoot for a cover. Time was tight so we were able to work together quickly to get what he was needing for the week’s edition. The story had to do with a local vendor who sold items that were maybe a little bit on the strange side to some as they were items that some could consider superstitious. The business was being forced out of the community so it could be replaced with something more cool and trendy. We had some of the items from the store and the goal was to photograph them as if it was in a medicine cabinet and Alex would do his magic from there. It was about a 3 hour shoot but was fun and I’m glad I was able to help out with the fast turn around



The fall version of the Dallas Comic Con was interesting indeed because Edward James Olmos was in attendance and with many of us fans of the Admiral in Battlestar, we looked forward to this con. There were lots of great costumes and toys to be seen but maybe the best part was the Q&A with Olmos. It was much like watching a sermon to the world as Mr. Olmos had lots of opinions of the state of the world and the issues with race in our country. He believes that there is only one true race, the human race!! He also talked about saved Los Angles during the riots in ’92 by being a clean person who cleaned the streets with a broom. It was a lot of fun and I got his autograph to add to the collection of great Admirals of our time, Admiral Adama and Admiral Ackbar.






Denise spent this past year working on making a career move to being a chef. She took some cooking classes at the community college but also took some cake decorating classes outside of school. This also came along with an internship at a bakery, and she used those skills to bake a cake for our friend Emily and decorate it as well. I was making sure to photograph her creations for her portfolio and here is a small sample. If you were wondering, yes the cake was delicious


This Halloween was a time to relax and have some fun. I was getting to the end of a crunch period at work and Denise was on a roll at school making some delicious food so for the first time in some time we played dress up for Halloween and made some treats. With The Walking Dead making it’s way to television on Halloween night we decided to go as survivors of the zombie apocalypse. Parts of that is a weapon that is high powered and a weapon that doesn’t require ammo to use. It was a lot of fun that night and again the treats that Denise and Nikki made were great.






I’ve been so proud of Denise as she has taken the leap into the world of culinary arts. Anyone who has made the decision to chase your dream knows how scary that can be especially when you know that the field is very competitive and many people are out there trying to compete for the same dream. Well Denise is living that dream and working hard. On this day I was lucky to be invited to enjoy the class project which was making awesome food and presenting it to family and friends. Denise’s team had the best food that day and not just because we are getting married do I have to say that, it really was the best. So if you want to help the cause then come over some time for dinner and find out for yourself :-)





The year ended with the company party and rocking out that night with some Rock Band and tasty food. Free gifts and fun all around. After the paty we had a chance to catch up with some old friends from my Gearbox days and it was so great to catch up and have a drink and talk about old times. I really miss those guys but it is also nice to build a new relationship with the artists at Terminal Reality and I look forward to years ahead with them.



So what a year it was. Lots of things happened around the area like the Rangers making the World Series and Denise and I starting up a garden in the backyward which produced some vegetables for us. We got to ski for the first time ever and make a few trips to the drive-in to watch movies over clear skies. The Hijinks Ensue Podcast kicked up again and we are in the process of moving into a new house that will be our home as we start our marriage this year. I will be shipping a game this upcoming year and best of all I will be getting MARRIED!! So many smaller things that happened this past year but this blog is just an overview of it. I was happy to see so many friends and made new ones and I miss those whom I have not seen enough. This will be a great 2011 so let’s get it started and I look forward to it and seeing all of you there.

Picture Year in Review 2009

The year/decade has come to a close.  I would say this was a difficult year but to be honest it really wasn’t.  There was considerable change in my life as after almost 8 years at Gearbox I would no longer be there at the start of the year.  It allowed me to think about things and at the same time make some new friends and try some new things in life.  I did a fair amount of work for the Dallas Observer and also did some work in a photo studio.  I still headed out to comic cons and took part in events throughout the year.  The year ended with me moving over to Terminal Reality and excited about working on a very awesome project.  I really enjoy doing this blog as I get to reflect on the year past.  This year is no different and I am already looking forward to what next year’s photos could be.  Happy Holidays everyone…
and here…we……go

Every year for the past couple of years we start with shitty movie night and win, lose or draw.  We had a few folks over the a much smaller apartment this year but the fun was still the same.  We started the year with Starship Troopers 3


One of the first things I did was some promo shots for my good friends of Preston Grey.  We wanted to find some kind of location around Dallas and it took us a little bit to figure out where we would like to do this.  After shooting we went out for beer and of course that is when we found the spot we liked the best.  You can always count on Lee Harvey’s for good drinks and a good location for promo shots

I was visiting my brother in late January who lives in Killeen.  On my way back home off of Interstate 35 outside of Dallas was this place I stopped for gas.  There was a a shell of what appeared to be and old hang out which would be awesome if it was still around.  In a year that brought back Star Trek to geeks around the world..this seemed like such a sad picture

On a mild Saturday afternoon I was asked to head down to Dallas to photograph a band for an article in the Observer.  Dem Southern Folkz were an awesome group of guys who are military veterans who met while in service in Iraq.  They were really nice guys and rock’d out.

Denise and I decided to head down to White Rock Lake on a weekend and take in the nice weather and practice a little.  It is very peaceful down there and we should make more trips there.

The exciting part of being a photographer is meeting new people and going to places you normally would not go to.  I headed down to south Dallas to meet up with Richie Witt for a story he was doing for the Observer.  This kid was a former Olympic boxer who would go professional two weeks later after this photo.  He was a really nice kid with an interesting story.  It was one of many great experiences behind the camera this year.

During some down time of working on my portfolio I decided to basically go down the street to the Plano Convention Center.  TicketStock is a gathering of the fans of the sports radio station 1310AM The Ticket.  I am a big fan of the station not so much because I follow sports but because of how they make talk radio interesting.  They are good at making you feel like you belong to the conversation and I have learned a lot from them that I try to bring to the Hijinks Ensue Podcast.  It was fun to see these guys do their craft and the avid followers who make the station complete.

In early February we made a trip to the down town McKinney area.  Just kinda wanted to walk around and explore since I had not been down there before.  Found some interesting little spots and ran into a nice man who was upgrading a building he bought to start his business.  It was an old bank which had a locked up safe that had not been opened since the 50’s.  What I found interesting on the wall was a world map from the Cold War era.

It’s just Mr. Sakai.  He was there and I took a photo.  Not a great photo but can’t be a year end blog without a picture of a cat

Spent a Saturday at the Diverge workshop here in Plano.  It is a workshop of 3D artists in the industry who do some tutorial exercises.  There was a large group of people this past year including Paul Richards and Shawn Spetch.

My brother is the percussion instructor at Forney High School and keeps his kids busy through out the year.  Part of that schedule is the indoor drum competition here in the DFW area.  I was a percussionist along with all my other brothers and I enjoy seeing corps do their thing.  They took place at this festival

On another photo assignment for the Observer, I went up a city to Allen to photograph for an article about the Special Olympics and a team from Dallas.  It was a really cool event seeing all these kids playing hard and all the support in the stands from family and friends.  I was running around different schools to catch all the events but was lots of fun to do.

Denise’s sister has been studying Krav Maga for a little bit now.  One weekend we headed down to watch them practice for a belt test.  It was my first time seeing this up close and I was pretty impressed how intense these guys where.  I snagged a pick of a friend during her sparring session.

Spring is a time when baseball starts to fire up for the summer.  I can’t say I watch much baseball these days but I did grow up watching it and spending lots of summers on vacation wanting to pitch like a major leaguer.  I remember seeing Nolan Ryan on HSN (the Home Sports Network) while listening to Norm Hitzges call the games.  It is something I remember about my childhood in great detail so when I was asked to head down to the Ballpark in Arlington to take photos for an article I was as happy as my fat cat eating salmon.  I got to stand on the field at home plate for a press conference and was just a few feet away from The Express (Nolan Ryan).  It was also awesome to be in the presence of Chuck Morgan.  The best part was over hearing Mr. Morgan talk about how people every now and then pepper him with “….and please kids….don’t jar”.  If you listen to The Ticket then all that just made sense… any case it was an awesome experience

All-Con is a great event every Spring.  I am a nerd and I am proud of that fact.  We found out about it about 3 years ago and have had a blast every time there.  This past year was no exception and I look forward to going again this year.

On a Tuesday Alex had a super emergency in which I needed to get some shots turned around the same day.  The paper was going to press later that night and he needed those right away.  This quick turn of events turned out to be an awesome shoot.  Thse were some of my favorite photos of the year and the food was outstanding French cuisine.  When I talked to the chef on the phone to set up the shoot he kinda sounded like the chef from Ratatouille and turns out he kinda looked like him also.  He invited me back for a dinner and I can’t tell you how awesome the food was.

Another trip to a Krav Maga session.  I liked this shot and thought I’d put it in.  This was during the yellow belt test for Denise’s sister which she passed with flying colors.

April 15th was a busy one for me.  I had two photo assignments and the two could not be further apart.  Alex and I went down to city hall for what was called a Tea Party.  Without getting into all the politics of it all let’s just say when things said over the PA were “yes we are racists because we are a part of the human race”, you can get tense not being someone who believes what is being said and has a camera on top of that.  It was an experience for sure.  Right after that I had to head down to the WFAA studio to photograph The Mentalist.  Basically this guy came off as GOB Bluth to me but he was still nice and we got what we needed from each other and went our separate ways.  It was an odd night indeed.

Dallas has a comic con that takes place a few times a year.  I try to take in as many cons as I can in the area as possible because I feel very at home.  The trend I am finding is that when I go to these cons I seem to grab photos that shoot up my number of views on Flickr and have landed me on the front page of Digg.  This photo did not land me on the front page of Digg but was one of the most viewed on my Flickr account this year

Spring in Texas is color.  You just have to find it

I am a member of the Plano Photography Club and they had a Spring Model shoot.  This would turn out to be great practice for working in a studio in the summer.  I had a great time and it turned out to be something I would like to do more further down the road.

It really seemed like I started doing a lot of head shots this year which I am totally cool with.  I would like to do more to be honest and I had a fun quick shoot with my good friend Jackie.  The set up was quick but the results were great.

Maybe the best con of the year was the Texas Frightmare Weekend in Irving.  It was well organized and had great guests.  The con started early with a charity Zombie Walk which was awesome but having to keep in front of zombies for an entire mile is harder than you think.  We were lucky that the rain stayed away until the walk was over.  It was a fun day.

One of the largest cons in the Dallas area is AKon.  It is the anime con but covers many areas outside of that.  This year was no different and the smells of non-showered kids and loud singing of strange Japanese songs could be found at Akon this year.

A cool event that happens to bring in the summer is the Dragon Boat races and Kite Festival in Irving.  It is an Asian Festival with lots of food and things of the various Asian culture.  After walking around and seeing the sights we walked over to see the local area.  Las Colinas neighbors Irving and we got to the some of the art in the area.

I had another shoot for a restaurant in the Dallas area.  This one had me way out near Flower Mound.  I had to make two runs to this place and the food was not bad however the article in the paper thought otherwise.  This would be the last assignment for a little bit as I started the studio job a week later.

Something I did a little bit more this year was meet up with friends who are not in the business that neither Denise or I am in involved in.  Some of those friends are Doug and Patrica who live across the street from us.  They are both private music instructors and to help Doug out I did a few head shots for him.  In return we got an awesome Mexican dinner as a trade for the pictures.

Denise had been looking around for things to do on weekends and a great one she found was the Worldwide Photowalk.  Basically large groups timed up when a walk around certain cities in the United States and Europe.  Our group was in McKinney and we had lots of fun.  We quickly fell stray from the group but still got a good collection of photos.

Another comic con and another photo that got lots of hits on my Flickr account.  It was cool to listen to Dean Stockwell talk about his years in cinema.  This con was much bigger than the one earlier in the year.

While going to all these cons I have seen some familiar faces.  Once of those faces is Greg Hernandez who runs Bean Pot Toiz and sells Kid Robot dunnies.  He’s a really nice guy and donated a Dunny to me which in return I wanted to give him photos he could use for his website.  After thinking about it I thought I could make a project out of this at the home studio.  This is the start of what I hope to finish later this year.

One of the last photo assignments of the year was at AnimeFest.  To be honest I had not heard of this con but it turns out it was a really well put together con.  Much like Akon, this thing was huge and smelled of non-showered kids.  There were some great cosplayers and good times.  This was a two day event for me as I came back to photograph the Cosplay Costume Contest which included skits and had probably about 500 people in attendance.   I look forward to going to this con next year.

The last con of the year was Star Wars Fan Days at the Plano Convention Center.  It is a part of the Dallas Comic Con series and was the last con of the year.  It has been getting bigger since the first year and this year had a good sized crowd.  To me it appeared to be a sign of good things for the economy of geeks and nerds spending money on things they enjoy and having a good time.  This was the last story I covered for the Observer this year and was the end of the year for taking pictures for the most part.  A year I will not forget anytime soon.  It was a year filled with uncertainty but more hope and happiness that anyone would have expect.  It was a tough time for the entire country but we all pulled through the tough times.  This blog just shows a small glimpse of my life through the lens of my camera.  This year looks to be a very busy year but it will be important to keep my personal life in order as well.  Denise has been great by my side during this difficult time along with my friends and family.  I look forward to doing next years photo blog and I hope you look forward to seeing it.