the ink tub

Minneapolis

October 8, 2010 10:35 pm

Well, another UCDA conference is wrapped up. I broke down my usual “inside kid” tendencies and met, had dinner, talked, and befriended many new design folk. The general and break-out sessions were generally good and I took a bunch of good tips and points back with me.

As I mentioned in my last post, I was able to go to the University of Minnesota day workshop on Saturday. It was split up into three parts: 1). The Goldstein Museum of Design Graphic Design collection 2). A hands-on letterpress workshop and 3). A hands-on screen printing workshop. I thought I would enjoy the letterpress part of the day the best, but our time was short and we only had time to set 2 lines of type per person. This is a collection of self-published, self-initiated magazines from the 1930s to the 1990s which was quite interesting and inspiring. The screen printing workshop was last, but I thought it was the best part. I, obviously have a thing for screen printing (shedpress.com), so this part of the day was icing on the cake. Our instructor for the class is a professor at U of MN, specializing in screen printing. I could tell he really had a passion for hands-on print making and it made that part of the day that more enjoyable. He had a sampling of Minneapolis-centric imagery already set up and on the screens. I tried a few experimental things, but held back a bit on some others, which I think I liked the outcome of the later. Here are my prints from the day: one, two, and three.

Along with picking up some new ideas and tactics, I got to get around the surrounding Minneapolis area a bit.  As you may know, I am directionally challenged so I did, of course, get lost many of times, but eventually got to where I needed/wanted to be. When I could, I got out of my hotel room and walked around town to take some pictures. Here are a few links to some photos from around town and the general area around city center MPLS: LINK one & LINK two

After the conference was over, I grabbed a cab (short stop at a liquor store to pick up some Surly Furious and Fest, cab driver smashed into the side of a parked van, yelled at the driver) and headed over to the Aesthetic Apparatus shop. I was greeted with a warm handshake from Dan, Michael, and Jonathan. They were just finishing up some printing and Dan was nice enough to show me around the shop. I asked them if they minded me taking some photos. Little did they know I am a spaz and took pictures of every square inch of their shop (LINK). As the guys finished out their days, I asked a bunch of questions (read: annoyed the piss out of them), picked out some merch, and drank a few beers. I was very impressed with their down-to-earth attitude and demeanor. As reflected on their website or in any of the articles written about them, they are regular dudes who have a passion for really good design and screen printing. Meeting my design/screen printing heroes definitely recharged my “business batteries” and made me want to keep the shedpress doors open. I’m not sure if it was the two Furious beers I nervously gulped down or me being a total idiot, but I realized after the guys left and locked up the shop and pedaled home that I had left everything I bought IN the shop. *facepalm. Thankfully, they are not going to take my money, call me a moron, and keep their fine merch. They’re going to ship it to me within the week…at least that’s what they told me. Aesthetic Apparatus gets two giant thumbs up. Thanks again guys for letting me stop by.

The next day was my travel day back to VA. From the Minneapolis St.Paul International Airport to Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport to Piedmont Triad International Airport, then a 2-hour drive home. I came up to the stairs to see a naked Benji and a fully-clothed Holly, both greeting me with big smiles! Boy, did I miss those turkeys. I must have forgotten how much Benji is talking now. He was gabbing away until he fell asleep.

That pretty much wraps up the Minneapolis trip. I’l be keeping busy the next few weeks with some business planning, school work, and general everyday stuff.

Time for some sleep. Night.

I’m baaaaaaaack!

October 1, 2010 8:25 pm

Well, well, well…I have returned to you, blogosphere. Oh, how I have missed you.

A few things have changed since I last posted. One of them being I’m an official Hokie. I’m taking a class in the School of Visual Arts dept at Virginia Tech. I’ll be taking a class, one at time, to work towards a Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) degree.  So far, the class I am currently taking, Intro to Graphic Design II, is going very well. It’s not as easy as I expected simply because the thought process behind some of the project is different from what I have done in the past, through freelance project and professionally as a graphic designer. I think the future classes will also be a challenge and am excited to be working towards bettering my education and design skills.

Benji is getting big. If you haven’t seen my updates on my Facebook page or Flickr, he’s learning something new every day it seems, showing off his personality, which is really fun to watch develop. His current favorite thing to do is watch himself and videos of himself on our TV. While thinking of a way to get the Tech football game on our tv (internet broadcast), I thought it would be neat to have Benji check himself out on the big screen. Oh, was I right. We are starting to think that he’s going to be quite narcissistic, but hope that changes. We think he just likes to see his own movements and expressions at a larger scale.  He also had his 2nd birthday a few weeks ago. He had a good time if sharing wasn’t involved. A few of his little friends were over at his party and they had a hard time sharing some of the toys. A Spider Man 4-wheeler and a stroller were two of the most-wanted items. Oh well, such are the terrible twos.

Another car show season has wrapped up after the latest show, H2O International in Ocean City, MD. It was great to see long-time friends, as well as meet some new ones. We had some issues with the space we purchased at the show both days, but all-in-all, I had a fantastic time. Two of my friend’s volvo’s broke while we were there, so maybe that’s a hint from the vw and audi gods to stay away, you meatball-eating race car drivers! This ain’t the Indianapolis 500! The end of this show season will mark a transformation in the way I run shedpress. I have been wearing many hats lately; design manager, student, husband, father, homeowner, one-man business owner, printer, designer…and the list goes on. I need some sort of break and the only thing that I can change right now is the business and how I run it. I’m going to step back and take a look at how I can change some processes and still keep sane with everything else going on. I’ve also thought about shutting the business down completely and calling it quits. If it comes down to it, I will, but I’m entertaining the thought of keeping it going, just running it a bit different. The past few years, specifically this past year has really worn me down and made me really bitter. So, it’s time for things to change or go away completely. Updates to come after I figure all of this madness out.

I am currently on my way to a UCDA Conference in Minneapolis, MN and I plan on documenting this trip pretty heavily. I hope this trip will jumpstart my regular writing/documenting habit.

The morning started pretty early as I was shooting to get to the gate 2 hours before the flight departed. I kissed Holly and Benji bye since they were still sleeping and I was on my way to Greensboro, NC to Piedmont Triad International Airport. Got there, went through security, the security checkpoint workers were eyeing up my Mediocre Show brass knuckle keychain, but let it pass, thank goodness. Turns out the flight to Atlanta got a little screwed up and is going to be about an hour later than originally scheduled. I figured that would be fine…I’ll just hop on my laptop and geek out for a while. No such luck. No free wi-fi in the airport., at least in this area. Bunch of rubes. *eyeroll

On to the conference and Minneapolis in general. I went to the UCDA conference 2 years ago in Savannah, GA, which was really nice. It was the first conference I was able to go to and made me really want to go again. Last year, I wasn’t able to because of our department’s budget, or lack there of. I met a guy, Dave Yakley, from Malone University while I was in Savannah who won a professional scholarship, which paid for either a partial or full conference registration fee. I thought I’d give it a shot this year. I had to fill out some forms and write why I deserved to receive this award. A month pasted and I got an e-mail from UCDA saying that I had won one of the scholarships this year. Sweet, so I told my bosses and they were very proud of me. *pats own back. So I take a look at the conference options and one pre-conference workshop really catches my eye. It’s a hands-on letterpress/screen printing workshop. Right up my alley and boy am I excited.

Something else came to me while I was taking a look at the conference mailer. My favorite design/screen printing shop, Aesthetic Apparatus (AA), is based in Minneapolis…I wonder if I could meet up with them. Here’s a little back story: I contacted Dan and Michael at AA years ago before I started shedpress asking for some advice. To my surprise, they returned my email with some really good advice. They basically said pull the trigger and start your business, so I did. So, I regularly checked out their posters and other merch on a regular basis, picking up my favorites as the years past. I decided to contact them again for a chance to meet the guys behind AA in person. Sure enough, I received a reply within 2 days setting up a time and date for me to come over. I asked if it would be cool for me to bring some beers over for them (and me), and they couldn’t say no. Dan recommended a good, local beer, Surly Furious, which I will search out and am sure to enjoy. The AA boys happen to be doing design work for Surly this year, which so far, is impressive to say the least. I could go on and on how excited I am to meet the guys who continue to be one of my biggest inspirations for my business and design work, but that will be very boring and redundant. I will be sure to update this after my meeting with them.

Here is a set of travel photos taken today: HERE.

For now, I need to feed my belly with beer and food before I start to get angry…and you wouldn’t like to see me when I’m angry.

Night.

mustache, sweet mustache

January 13, 2010 10:31 pm
To my dearest moustache,

I’m sorry that our relationship took a abrupt, violent end. It was a magnificent two weeks we had together. It was wonderful to see you grow into a superb, bewhiskered upper lip decoration. But as they say, all good things must come to an end. I hope that our lives will cross paths again soon so my love for you can flourish into a robust bond. Maybe I’ll introduce you to my other friend sideburns and we can make a glorious beard together.

There, I have said it. I can rest now. And as I dream, I will dream of you.
-Brian

month 7-15

January 4, 2010 12:14 am

First, I’d like to apologize to the blogosphere for my absence the past 9+ months. Second, I’d like to apologize to my billions of fans. I’m sure you all were lost without my semi-monthly ramblings. One of the main reasons I have been absent from the ink tub has been because I’ve discovered the social networking site, Facebook. To me, it’s like a constant blog of daily, if not hourly happenings. I think with the addition Facebook in my life, after this one, my blog posts will be a bit more brief than in the past. I’ll try my best to sum up the past 9 months of my life without boring you to death.

Me: I’ve been keeping busy at work and home, both in a good way. I feel full on both, but I don’t feel overwhelmed or overstressed, which is a very good thing. I got promoted to Graphic Design Manager at work. I oversee the 2 full-time graphic designers, the student graphic designer, and a work study student. Being a manager is humbling and challenging, but I’ve learned a lot so far and continue to learn new things daily.

Holly: She’s exhausted and is getting sick pretty often because she’s so wiped out. Benji doesn’t allow her to sleep very well since he is still sleeping in our bed. I hope that we can get Benji on a more rigid schedule so Holly can get some more sleep and be able to take control of her life.

Benji: He’s doing great. 23 lbs., running around, learning new things daily. He loves stars, bubbles, owws (cats), and giving kisses to “Mama” and “Dada”. He has recently shown an interest in “drawing”. We got him some bath crayons and a magnadoodle, which he seems to love. Right now, he has some more teeth (has 16 now) coming in, and is fussy because of it. He’s been going to daycare now since March or April (I think) and seems to really like it. On the other hand, we don’t like how he’s constantly getting sick. He’s had at least 7 ear infections since he started at daycare. We will be contacting the ears, noes, and throat doctor this week to see when we can get an appointment to see what they say about ear tubes. We’re hoping they will help and fix his permasickness.

House: We moved in to our new place in April and got settled soon after. It’s really nice having something to call your own. We have yet to get everything in place and 100% set up yet, but we are getting there. If you need our new address, send me an email (brian@shedpress.com).

Cars: I’m still rocking my 03 A4 avant and Holly is still driving her 07 Rabbit. They’ve been treating us pretty good the past few months. I had to replace the clutch and flywheel on the avant over the summer. I also picked up 6 mk1 (first generation) vws; 5 being Rabbits and one being a Caddy (rabbit pickup truck). I had intentions of fixing up the caddy, but it proved to be too rusty for it’s own good, so I recently have started to turn it into a trailer. I picked up another caddy over the summer in Atlanta. It’s a 1983 VW Caddy with a 2L bottom end, 1.8 GTI head, a single counter flow carb setup, 5-speed manual trans, and maroon in color. I hope to get it started soon so I can start on pulling the engine and trans so I can rework some things in the engine bay and in the interior. There was some interesting (read: stupid) things that previous owners had done to it that question their abilities, or lack there of. Anyways, it should be a fun little truck once it’s together and running.

Cat: Well, our dear little Selena has made her way back to our house. Holly’s mom had kept her for about a year since she needed to be given medication 3 times per day and we weren’t able to do that since we we work. She seems to be doing well now, although does not appreciate Mr. Benji chasing after her, pulling her tail, and laying on her. I’m pretty sure that’s how she will die. Death by Benji. Seriously though, he really loves her. He’ll wake up and the first thing out of his mouth is “Owwww?”, because he wants to know where she is.

Shedpress: I vended at two shows this past season (Volksfest and H2Oi) and went to one day of Waterfest as a spectator. It was weird not vending at WF this year, but I still hadn’t come up with new designs yet and didn’t have the time to design and print all new shirts. I did manage to get some time after Waterfest to come up with nine new designs, which I have yet to put up on my website (wow, I suck). The new designs sold pretty well, so I was pretty pleased about that. I’m currently working re-designing the website. It will be a brand new look which should make ordering (for the customers) and updating (for me) easier. I’ll also be designing some new shirts to replace some of the older designs that will be retired. I’m just sick of looking at them, so they must go away. Over the summer, I filled out the proper forms and got shedpress incorporated and got a business bank account as well. Look for some (hopefully big) changes for shedpress in 2010.

Misc.: Holly’s mom is moving closer to us. She recently sold her current house and bought a house in Floyd, VA, which is much closer than her current location. It will be nice to have her close by in case we need a hand with Benji. I’m sure Holly’s boss will also appreciate it too since she stayed home from work with Benji when he was sick.

I’ve maxed out my Picasa account, so I moved on to Flickr. From my research, it looks like Flickr is a bit more flexible than Picasa and allows hotlinking, which I use often in the online forums I frequent. Here are links to both to see what I’ve been up to:
Picasa
Flickr

Well, I think I’m going to get some sleep now. Like I said earlier in this post, I hope to check in more often with more brief posts. Night.

month 6+ and another move…

March 15, 2009 11:06 am

Another month+ has gone by…dang, time has been flying. All of us are just getting over our respective colds. Holly and Ben have gotten over theirs, but I think I’m about half-way through mine, which really sucks.

Benji has been adding some new skills to his bag of tricks this past month. He now rolls over with ease and seems to like to be on his stomach for more than a minute. He’s continuing eating “solid” foods (rice cereal mixed with either banana or peaches) and has started drinking juice from a bottle. In turn, he keeps getting bigger (20 lbs now). He’s working on pushing some teeth out, too. He has 2 bottom teeth that are looking to pop at any moment. Benji’s also been working on his speech (“Da” and “ba”). He does say “da da,” but he doesn’t always say it when I’m around, so I’m pretty sure he doesn’t know the meaning quite yet. I will continue to coach him in hopes of “da da” to be his first word. We switched his infant car carrier over to a convertible-style baby car seat. We went with the Recaro Signo. It got a lot of really good reviews and was comparable to the Britax seats, which have a very good reputation. The build quality of this seat is really impressive and well-thought out. We felt some of the other convertible seats in Target and they seemed like they were rock hard compared to the Recaro, which is rather plush. Benji went on his first play-date a few weeks ago (2/21) with our friend’s Emily and Tim’s daughter, Reese. She was born 4 days after Ben was, so it was his first interaction with another baby so close to his age. They were very cute together and Holly joked that they were going to get married. Here is the link to the photo set. Holly recieved a call to have him participate in a study yesterday (3/13) that measured eye movement in 6 month-old babies. The first part was a video that showed moving shapes and a clip of a woman saying “ba” and “da” over and over again. They had a camera that was watching where he was looking. Their computer crashed mid-way through this part of the test (go figure…it was a PC, not a MAC!) and Benji started to fuss once the second time around…so no data for that one. He settled down enough to do the second part of the study. He had to sit in front of a special monitor that had infared sensors on the bottom that measured where his eyes were focusing and where he was tracking. Since I was holding him, I had to close my eyes or the data would have been skewed. It was pretty interesting. I think he would have cooperated better if it would have been a little earlier in the day. Here are some photos I took of Benji over the past month and a half. Here’s a link to the full Picasa gallery.
2/14/09 - ben on bed 2/21/09 - Ben and Reese 2/21/09 - Ben eating Reese's foot 2/21/09 - Ben and Reese 2/23/09 - Benji eating cereal 2/23/09 - Benji eating cereal & smiling 2/23/09 - Benji eating cereal and screaming 3/1/09 - Benji lounging 3/2/09 - Benji relaxing 3/2/09 - Benji sleeping

In other exciting news, Holly and I have been shopping around for houses for the past few months and have made a decision. We’ll be closing on a house in Christiansburg on April 3rd. We had an inside track on this one since it is currently owned by our landlord’s Lance and Julie. It’s a split-foyer style that was built in 1972. 2400 sq. ft., .4 acre lot, brick exterior, 4 bedrooms, 2 baths, 1 bath roughed-in, and a 2-car garage. Eventhough this will be my 7th move in the past 5 years, we are extatic to say the least. We started packing boxes a few weeks ago, but I’m expecting this move to be the least amount of trouble, seeing that it is less than 10 miles away from our current rented house. We are very fortunate to have plenty of friends and family that have volunteered to help us with the move. I’m extra excited since I’ll finally have a place to set up my press again.

Speaking of the press (and the business), I have been thinking about a plan for the upcoming show season. I think what I’ll end up doing is selling off my current stock of shirts, retiring most of them, and come up with all new designs to replace the old ones. I’ll most likely go to the four shows that I normally have gone to in the past. Volksfest in PA, Waterfest in NJ, VAGfair in PA, and H2O in MD. There are plenty others that I could go to, but the distance to travel and the size of the shows doesn’t always make sense to make the trip. I have also been slowly working on the redesign of my shedpress website. I’m just going to have to make time to get it done. Afterall, it’s not going to magically build itself no matter how I wish it would.

Well, I’m going to wrap this post up. I’m on Benji-man duty and he looks like he could use a nap. Until next time…

month 5+

February 15, 2009 10:23 pm

Apparently I suck at writing monthly posts…haha. As always, things around here have been rather busy. Here’s what we’ve been up to.

Ben’s been developing really well. It seems as if he’s doing something new on a daily basis. Putting his toes in his mouth, grabbing his feet and anything else within range, full-on laughing, rolling over, sitting up by himself, screeching, bearing weight on his legs, and more. The little turkey has been busy. He weighs about 19 lbs. now and seems to be growing in height just as fast. He’s continuing to eat very well and has even started eating some solid (soft) foods. Tonight, he ate the most rice cereal/milk combo he’s eaten in the past 3 attempts. He lunges towards the spoon, so feeding seems to be a breeze so far. We are hoping it stays that way. Here are some of my favorite photos from the past month and a half

(here is a link to my Picasa gallery):
1_1_09_benjibear 1_3_09_benjibumbo 1_4_09_benjisleeping 1_12_09_benjiwithash 1_17_09_bensleeping 1_23_09_benjiyoga 1_24_09_benjimustache 1_31_09_benjiandmommy 2_1_09_benjiinexersaucer 2_4_09_benjiwithmimi 2_7_09_benjianddaddy 2_8_09_benjisittingupjpg

On January 9, our friend Ashley came to stay with us for a few weeks all the way from Japan. She had a conference to go to in the states along with some odds and ends that needed to be done here in VA. Seeing that we haven’t seen her since this past summer, it was very good to spend some quality time with her. It was the first time she has seen Benji in person, so he got to finally meet his ‘Auntie Ash.’ Here is the link to the gallery.

Holly, Benji, Holly’s mom, and I took a weekend trip to Tennessee (1/23-1/25) to take some instruments to a well-known guitar shop in downtown Nashville. Unfortunately, we didn’t get out to see any/many of the sights, but it seemed like a pretty cool town to visit again, so we will have to make it back there soon. The trip took about 7+ hours with stops and Benji rode like a champ. Mimi kept him company in the back seat most of the time. I did manage to get out and walk down West End Ave/Broadway to snag some photos. Here is a link to the galleries (1/24 & 1/25) and here are some of my favorites:
nashville_1 nashville_2 nashville_3 nashville_4 nashville_5 nashville_6 nashville_7

Brother Greg, Becky, and kids came the following weekend (1/31-2/2) to visit us. The weather was a little cold, but clear. We went on some hikes and spent a good amount of time entertaining Benji. Nathan and Rachel really seemed to get a kick out of him. Here are the links to the galleries (1/31 & 2/1) from the weekend. Even though it had only been a month since we saw them last, it seemed as if both kids had grown and changed a lot. I’m sure they thought the same about Ben.

My parents came to visit this weekend (2/13-2/15). They watched Benji while we went out for dinner to a local “fancy” restaurant for Valentine’s Day. Our dinner was pretty expensive for what we got. The food was just ok, but the appetizer, beer, and dessert was really good. The beer I ordered was Allagash White Ale. Their website says it’s their “interpretation of a traditional Belgian wheat beer, Allagash White is unique and truly refreshing. Brewed with a generous portion of wheat and our own special blend of spices, this beer is light and slightly cloudy in appearance, with a spicy aroma. Overall, it is a beer that is very drinkable and smooth any time of the year.” I have had something very similar to this beer before; possibly Ommegang Witte Ale as Greg K. suggested. It was good to see them and they enjoyed little Benji.

It’s getting late and I don’t have much more to say, so I’ll end it here. Night.

month 3 and 4 (almost)

December 28, 2008 9:00 pm

I fell a little behind on my post from last month, so I’ll try to catch up without making this too long. Two bigger holidays have passed. Many great meals were had. Time was spent with lots of family and friends. All was good. Now, for some specifics…

Ben has been growing like a weed. He’s now about 17 lbs. and about 26″ long. He’s eating and sleeping well and has started to “talk.” He makes the funniest sounds sometimes. He has also discovered his feet just this past week and has started to grab objects in front of him. His eyes have yet to make the full transformation. There have been 2 big brown specks in his right eye for about 2 months now, but they are still mostly dark slate blue. Here are some of the latest photos:
11/23/08-Ben and his booger 11/23/08-Ben sleeping in the Baby Bjorn 12/20/08-Ben with Holly 12/20/08-Ben wearing his fly "Santa is my Homeboy" onesie 12/22/08-Ben sleeping at Greg and Krista's 12/22/08-Ben sleeping at Greg and Krista's 12/25/08-Ben drooling 12/25/08-Ben wearing his Christmas outfit 12/25/08-Ben making a funny face

I got a ticket to go to the Duke/VT football game (11/22) with some friends of mine. It was around 20˚ F outside, with some wind, so the pre-game festivities were a must. Jackson, Derek, and 2 other friends of Jackson’s started out at their parking spot. Jackson used his MacGyver-like skills to light a fire in their firepit (read: dump a box of matches on the fire logs) the rest of us enjoyed some food and drinks while watching Captain Outdoors work his fire magic. Derek and I ventured out to visit with our friends Mac, Michelle, and some of their friends. After that, we went to visit our other friends Katie and Brian. She’s been telling me about their “Big Beer Game” that they play every home game, and that I needed to play it. Well, I lost (2nd to last) and ended up with a big can of what appeared to be rotten cough syrup called Four Loko Fruit Punch.  The game was fun, we had great seats, I ate a turkey leg, and Tech won. It was a successful night.

Our friends Mac and Michelle stopped over the next day to see Ben. We hadn’t seem them since their wedding, which was 4 days before Ben was born. Here are a few photos of their visit:
Michelle and Ben Mac and Ben

We hosted Thanksgiving at our house for the second year in a row. Our friend, Bryan J. joined Mama G, Holly, and me. Holly and Mom prepared a wonderful spread.
11/27/08-Thanksgiving_1 11/27/08-Thanksgiving_2 11/27/08-Thanksgiving_3

About 2.5 weeks ago, our cat, Smokey, went missing. We would let him outside since he liked it out there. He had a habit of coming right away if you called for him, but not this time. I had a soft spot in my heart for him since I picked him out at the animal shelter. He would visit me when I would go to the bathroom and lie on my chest when my alarm would go off in the morning because he wanted me to get up to feed him. Holly saw some unfamiliar dogs outside the house around the same time he disappeared and one of our neighbors said she saw a coyote around lately, too. We’re not sure what happened to him, but I’m sure he’s up in kitty heaven weaving in and out of people’s legs. I miss you Smokey.
11/23/08-smokey_1 11/23/08-smokey_2 11/24/08-smokey_1

I found some time to clean up the Univega bike I picked up last month. It cleaned up pretty good for being a 20-year-old bike. I got some tubes and tires for it and will use it for cruising around when I need some more flexible gearing which I don’t have with the fixie. I ended up pulling the original front wheel from the Raleigh since the front wheel on the Univega had some bearing play. Here are some photos:
12/7/08-Univega 12/7/08-Univega front lug detail 12/7/08-Univega rear lug detail

I also got the fixie bike back! It took a long time to get all of the right parts, but it’s finally done. I rode it right after I picked it up from the bike shop and I’m really pleased with it. I didn’t have the head badge at the time I took the first round of photos, but I snapped a photo of it on the bike. I also am waiting on some leather straps for the toe clips, then it will be 100% finished. I can’t wait for some nice days so I can ride it. Today was promising, but I ran out of daylight. It looks like there are some nice days early next week that I might be able to get out and ride. Here are some pics:
12/13/08-fixie_1 121308-fixie_2 12/13/08-fixie_3 12/27/08-fixie_headbadge

We had a few Christmas celebrations this year, and one more today (12/28) when Mama G. comes to visit. The first was at my Mom & Dad’s place with our family, Greg & his family, and Mom & Dad (12/20). We all had fun and was great hanging out with our family. Here’s a link to some of the photos from the day.

The next day (12/21) was our yearly “Yohn Christmas” which was traditionally at Nan Yohn’s house, but has moved to either my parent’s house or my Aunt Denise and Uncle Marlin’s house. This year, my parents hosted it and we had a full house…25 to be exact. We had a special visit from Santa Claus, lots of presents and got to catch up with some relatives we only see a few times a year. Here’s a link to some of the photos from the day.

We left my parents’ house around 4:30 on Sunday (12/21) and stopped in Maryland on our way back home. We stayed with our friends Greg and Krista, and stopped by Holly’s Granny’s house. We also met up with some other MD friends while we were in town. Here are some photos from the visit with Granny:
Judy and Benji Judy, Granny, and Benji Granny and Benji Margaret and Benji

Then, on Christmas Day, Holly, Ben, and I opened up gifts from each other and Santa. We all got some very special gifts. While looking at a poster and print blog (OMGposters!) I stumbled on an artist named Jason Sho Green who ran into some bad luck and was selling some of his original art. I really liked his style, thought it would be cool to start a collection of original art for Ben, so I picked 2 pieces up from him (one for Ben and one for Holly). I surprised Holly with a piece I personally designed on Christmas Eve. Here’s a link to the piece and here’s a link to some of the photos from the day.

Today, Mama G. stopped by for a belated Christmas dinner. The ladies sure outdid themselves with another great meal. Standing rib roast, potatoes, green beans, macaroni & cheese, rolls, and some cannoli cake for dessert. It was great to see her and spend an evening with her since we haven’t seen her in a while. She brought our other cat with her, so we are no longer kittyless. Here’s a link to some photos of the gift exchange.

We also got a very special gift from the guys at Fender. They sent a very touching letter along with a Custom Danny Gatton Signature Telecaster for Ben’s first Christmas. Here are a few photos of this beautiful guitar:
Ben's DG custom Tele_1 Ben's DG custom Tele_2

Lastly, I found some free time to do some design work. I contribute to an art/design/photo blog along with a few friends of mine. As you can see by the name of the blog, it really has fallen by the wayside. I try to make time to do some design projects for myself, and this is where I showcase that work: fallenbythewayside.

I think that’s all I have. I know that was much longer than I expected, but I had to catch up on quite a bit. I’m sure there won’t be too much to write about in the next few days, so have a very happy 2009. I wish you all the best. Take care and goodnight.

month 2

November 11, 2008 12:56 am

It’s been about a month since I wrote last, so time to fill you all in to what’s been going on.

I’ll start things out with a Ben update. He’s grown a lot in the past month! Homeboy weighs 14.5lbs. He’s “coo-ing” now (which is hilarious) and his hair has fallen out and is now starting to come in quite nicely. He’s been feeding pretty regularly, and sleeping pretty good too most of the time. Ben’s mouth has also managed to find his thumb sucessfully one time. He seems like he enjoys sucking his thumb, which really calms him down. The blocked tear duct seems to have unclogged itself…it’s not longer goopy. His diaper rash has disappeared too! Here are some progress pictures:

We drove up to my parent’s place in PA the weekend of Oct. 18-19th. We drove up to Mama G’s Friday night in order to split our trip up a bit on the way up. Mom Y. had set up a “visiting session” for most of my relatives to visit and meet Ben for the first time.  He seemed to do really well eventhough there were tons of people around. My cousin Brad’s son, Simon, my niece Rachel, and nephew Nathan, really seemed to enjoy meeting him. Here are some photos from the day:

My friend, Derek, asked me to join his flag football team, so I said I would. We have had a few practices and a few games, but no victories yet. We have our first (and possibly last) playoff game this Wednesday (11/12). We did better last game, but we had too many mistakes. I caught 2 long passes last game for some positive yardage. It’s been fun so far, which is cool and all, but it would be nice to at least score once…we were shut out both games! Haha.

It was Holly’s 29th birthday on 10/24 and our 2nd wedding anniversary on 10/28. We went to Red Robin for Holly’s birthday, which was the first time the three of us went out to dinner. Ben was fine up until our food was brought out! Haha. I ate real quick and walked him around the restaurant a few times, which worked out perfectly since I tracked down our waitress and told her it was Holly’s birthday. Holly wasn’t so amused, but it was all in good fun. Holly started having mastitis pains on the Sunday after her birthday (10/26), so Mama G came into town to help her out around the house. She whipped up a really tasty dinner of stuffed cabbage, mashed potatoes, and cornbread. It was nice for both of us to be “off duty” when it came to cooking dinner.

I also had a little scare that same week. I was in the shower on Sunday (10/27), I saw a black speck on my knee. I looked closer and it was a deer tick that was in my knee. I dried off really quick and attempted to rip it’s mouth parts out of my skin. I pulled everything else off except it’s mouth parts. I called the family doctor the next day and was able to get an appointment the same day. The doctor numbed up the area around where the tick was, then dug the mouth parts out with a razor. He gave me a 1-time prescription that was supposed to take care of any infection that may occur.

I got a call from the powder coating guy the week of the 26th that my Raleigh bike frame was done and could be picked up at any time. I went the following Saturday (11/1) to pick it up. I ended up going with dark green. It turned out great. I swung by the bike shop on the way home to drop off the frame, wheel set, crank, and pedals. I was told that all the rest of the parts would be in and the bike would just about be ready. Once everything is on, he can measure what size stem I will need. I also need to figure out what saddle I would like. I heard back from the guy at the shop…he said the thread on the headset has an uncommon threading to it, so it he should have the proper parts by Thursday of this week (11/13). I’m really anxious to have it all come together. In other bike-related news, I picked up a bike trainer locally from craigslist on Halloween night. It was in ok condition, but for $50, it wasn’t bad at all. I took it apart, sanded the pieces down, and painted it dark gray. As usual, I’m too impatient and some of the paint scratched. I threw the Nashbar TT bike on there since it seems impossible to find a replacement front tire for that thing. I was down in our crawlspace and happened to find a 10-speed Univega road bike that belonged to our landlord. I asked him if I could ride it, and possibly buy it. He said sure, so I took it out, cleaned it up a little bit, pumped up the tires, and road it around the yard a bit. It’s a 1985 Univega Maxima Uno; 10-speed, lugged frame, and 27″ wheels, so there shouldn’t be a huge problem finding tires if I would need to.

I dropped the avant off to get the windows tinted last week (11/3). I was referred to a shop in Salem, VA, which is about a 20 minute drive away. It appears that they did a pretty good job. I just detailed both of the cars and took some pictures:

That’s all for right now. Until next time…

month 1

October 12, 2008 9:51 pm

I didn’t know exactly what it would be like, but I have to say, it’s a great feeling. The lack of sleep is the only thing I’m not liking too much. I know Holly is grumbling under her breath after reading the previous sentence. Haha. She’s doing really well other than not sleeping too well. She really does need to start sleep when Ben’s sleeeping. He has grown so much in a month’s time. His cheeks and legs have filled in pretty well (read: chubby). It appears he is able to focus his eyes now compared to the previous weeks. It also looks like his eyes seem to be turning from a dark blue to a tint of bluish-brown. We have been showing Ben off to our neighbors, family, friends, and strangers. Everyone seems to agree that he’s so cute…we think so too. Here are some photos from the past few weeks. Some are not very good quality shots, but I still like them:

I went to H2Ointernational (vw/audi car show) in Ocean City, MD a few weeks ago (9/27-9/28). I left the Friday before and came back the Monday after. I really didn’t want to leave Holly and Ben, but we always do well at this show, so it was a must that I go. A few friends of mine helped me at my tent and I ended up doing pretty darn well. As always, it was a blast hanging out with friends I see a few times per year.

I also went to a conference with a colleague of mine for work in Savannah, GA this past weekend/week (10/4-10/7). It was the UCDA’s (University and College Design Association) annual conference. It was my first conference and it was a really positive experience. It was comforting to hear from other designers in a very similar professional position as I am, and to hear what they go through at their schools. I found it interesting to hear how different the experiences are for designers who work at smaller schools compared to me, who works for Virginia Tech (probably 30,000+ students). I met a lot of really nice people and hope to stay in contact with them in the future. I also hope that I will be able to go to next year’s conference which is in Seattle, WA. I was very anxious to get home by the end of the conference. Holly’s mom came down and stayed with Holly and Ben while I was away. Here are 2 links to the photos I took through out my time in Savannah: Page 1 and Page 2.

Holly, myself, some friends, and co-workers just went to Mountain Lake’s Oktoberfest this past Friday (10/10). The food was fantastic, the beer was great (Spaten Oktoberfest), and a great time was had by all. My parents and Nan Y. came up to watch Ben while we went out. They, of course, didn’t mind at all!

I dropped my Raleigh frame and fork off at the powder coating shop. It should be done this week at some point. The guy at the shop called me last Tuesday and said he was waiting on the powder still. Apparently, the dark green that I specified was out at the first 2 vendors I picked. I will be sure to post photos of the frame when I get it back. I can’t wait to see it come together. On other bike related news, my Nashbar TT bike is still at the bike shop. The wrong size tire was ordered, some measurements were taken and the correct tire and tube will be ordered and shipped soon (I hope).

Holly, Ben, and I will be making a trip up to PA this coming weekend to show Ben off to the rest of the family (in the Central PA area) that hasn’t seen him yet. Everyone is anxious to meet him in person for the first time.

Well, I think that’s it for now. Night.

wow…I’m a dad!

September 12, 2008 12:49 pm

Well, I’m not going to fill you in on what I’ve been doing the past 3+ months. We’ve been busy though. The two main things are we had fall opening at work and we’ve been getting ready for the baby to come.

On with the big news. Holly’s water broke last night (9/9/08) at around 8:30pm, she called the birthing center and got the ok to come in, so we got our stuff into the car and ready to roll. The first thing I did was do some dishes, sweep the floor, pack my belongings, and shaved my head. Isn’t that what every expecting dad does? I had been meaning to get to the barber for the past couple weeks, but I always seem to be at work later than they are open. So I took matters into my own hands…with a pair of clippers. We got everything else packed up and into the car (including a new car seat that Holly had ordered from Target which came that same day). We finally left our house at 11:00pm and got to the birthing center at 11:15pm.

They got us in to a temporary room, asked lots of questions, and did some tests. At that point, they confirmed that Holly’s water did break while we were at home and moved us into our room for the duration. She got settled in and I brought the rest of our things into the room. Holly didn’t get any sleep unfortunately, but I was able to get some sleep because that’s how I do. My parents arrived at around 7:45am on 9/10/08 wielding a bag of breakfast food which was very appreciated. Around 8:00am, they had hooked Holly up to an I.V. bag and some Petocin to start induction. I drove home really fast, ate my food, fed the cats, took a quick shower, and got back to the hospital. Holly and I decided to go with the epidural. She had to wait until the bag of fluid had drained, then the anesthesiologist came in and started the epidural catheter, which part of it is a giant needle. The drugs took about 45 minutes to fully work itself into her system. After that, Holly’s pain seemed to depreciate greatly, which was a huge relief for her.

The nurses kept checking his and her vitals and everything was progressing really well. She was 1cm when she came in, 3cm at 8:00am the next morning, 6cm at 1:00pm, 9cm at 3:30pm, and 10cm at around 4:45pm. The nurse checked her at 5:00pm and she felt the head within 3 inches of the opening! The nurse said she felt some hair, too! Things started to get going at 5:35pm. Holly’s contractions started to come on and it was go time. She did a great job of pushing. Benjamin Daniel was out at 6:02pm and the doctor had me cut the cord. He weighed 7lbs. 3oz. and was 19.5 inches long. The whole experience was truly amazing. Ben stayed in our room through the night and he only fussed one time. The nurse came in every 3 hours to wake Holly up to feed Ben. He must be really tired because mid-way through most of his feedings, he will fall asleep. I hope he will keep liking the boob. There has been lots of research saying how important breast milk is. We are anxious to get him home and have him in his room. We got the nursery finished up last week, thank goodness! I will have to take some pictures of it when we get home. It turned out pretty cool.One thing that needed to get stored was my press room and everything in it. That means I’ll be putting the shirt biz on hold until we move into another house. I might build a temporary 1-station, 1-color press in the corner of the upstairs so if I would need to, I could still print a shirt or two. We can’t wait to start our little family. It’s going to be fun and very rewarding. On with the pictures:

I also have a bike project going on right now. I bought an 80′s Nashbar time trial bike in mid-July. I picked it up for $75 on craigslist with intentions of converting it to a fixed gear. I attempted to adjust the extreme rake by replacing the stock fork and 24″ front wheel with a standard size fork and a 700c wheel. It didn’t work as I had hoped unfortunately. I then had the stock fork back on and ordered a 24″ tire and tube with hopes of either selling it, or having it to cruise around on.

A few weeks later, I noticed an old Raleigh road bike beside our friend’s apartment. I looked into it and found out the bike had been given to our friend, Ashley, by Holly’s co-worker, Pat. I asked Pat how much she wanted for it and she said nothing and was happy that I wanted to fix it up and ride it. So, I would using this bike frame as the basis of a fixed gear conversion. I found out that the bike is a 1972 Raleigh Grand Prix, I talked with a friend of mine who runs a small bike shop in Blacksburg, and my wheels started spinning (PUN! LOL!) I started out doing lots of research and seeing what was out there in the way of fixies. I have learned a lot in the past few months. I started ordering parts last week and quickly realized that only thing that will be used from the original bike is the frame and fork. So I will have a brand new updated and custom vintange bike when I’m done. I will be getting the frame and fork sandblasted and powdercoated. I am going to stick with a dark green. Per Holly’s suggestion, I have dubbed this bike “Project Cicada” because of the color combination I’ve got going on. Here is the parts breakdown:

  • Soma Urban Pursuit handle bars (shotpeen black)
  • Soma Urban Pursuit brake lever (black)
  • Soma Forged Seatpost (black)
  • Shimano 105 long-reach front brake caliper
  • Pake 165mm 46t Crankset (matte black)
  • Weinmann Deep V wheelset (black with gold hubs)
  • MKS Sylvan Track Pedals (gold)
  • new headset
  • new stem
  • new bottom bracket
  • new tires and tubes
  • new chain
  • new rear cog

Here are some progress pics of the Raleigh: Here is the bike when I got it (8/25/08):

Here is the biked pulled apart to get ready for the powder coater (9/7/08):

Here is the bike semi-mocked up:

That’s it for now. I am taking at least a week off from work to help Holly with the transition home. Ben is sucking on my finger as I type one-handed, so I am going to wrap this up. Bye for now.