Full-blown cowboy at the RMHC Austin 26th Annual Bandana Ball

Saturday night, Kristin and I attended the 26th Annual Bandana Ball, and I got a chance to wear my grandfather’s cowboy hat. It was fun and for a charity that helps families in times of need. We also won a chair in the silent auction that will be a nice addition to the home decor, once we actually arrange to have it delivered.

Also they had a photobooth on site with props!
Thanks to Mark & Courtney for the invite!

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Angry Dad Gamer in Austin recap, a note on acting & the Moontower Festival

I tweeted about this earlier in the week, but this past Monday, I was on Victor’s show, Angry Dad Gamer, playing Halo The Master Chief Collection and chatting. We also announced my bid for the Presidency of The United States of America, but no one submitted the episode to reddit yet, nor has the $5000 been raised yet, nor have I filled out any of the forms to make it official. So, we only have a few days left in the 15 from announcement to get all that filed. Get to work internet!

In any case, in case you didn’t tune in the other night, here’s the video:

Check it out.

It was fun, but then Tuesday through Thursday of this week, I had to do actual acting, as I was playing the part of Chaotic Moon CEO, Ben Lamm, for some comic shorts that will play at the Moontower Festival. This was on one hand fun, and should result in some great funny skits for the show starring yours truly, but man, would I hate to be a professional actor. It’s all high energy followed by boredom followed by high energy followed by boredom, in little 10-30 second loops, and it is exhausting. After we wrapped shooting Thursday morning, I ended up leaving work early, because I was so tired. By the time I got home, I was feeling hot and found that I was running a 102.5 F fever that knocked me out of commission for the rest of the week.

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Making music

I’ve been playing around with music again. For my birthday, I ordered Teenage Engineering’s Factory OP-16 synth, which has been fun to tinker with. Here’s a quick series of patterns I slammed together into a track on it:

I’ve been trying to get it to play nicely with my Kaossilator 2, but they don’t sync, so it’s all upon my impeccable timing to get them totally aligned, which is a little difficult. In addition to this little bit of tinkering fun, a few weeks back, some coworkers and myself rented out some studio space and jammed for 3 hours. It was so much fun, we’re doing it again this Thursday night. I went and got a short in my guitar fixed today at Guitar Center and also got it restrung. The guy working on it was like “ooooh, this is a 78? Nice.” Sometimes I forget I have a really nice, somewhat rare guitar. I was looking at amps, because I need a new one, and walking around and suddenly I heard *my guitar*. I was sort of surprised that I recognized it’s tone across the way once the tech fixed it, but I totally did. Anyway, fun stuff.

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TUAW and Engadget #tuaw4ever

The saddest news about Aol. shutting down TUAW today is that TUAW has finally lost the battle against Engadget.

Don’t get me wrong. Engadget is great. Weblogs, Inc. was built upon the success of Engadget. Engadget was a blogging machine built by Brian Alvey, Jason Calacanis, and Peter Rojas after Jason successfully persuaded Peter to jump ship from Gizmodo and build a better Gizmodo. The audience followed Peter’s star power as an established gadget and technology blogger, Engadget started out-scooping Gizmodo, and it was a success. Weblogs, Inc was a machine of blogs built to feed off and grow the traffic that was contained by Engadget. Engadget linking to all the other sites legitimized those sites in Google’s eyes at the time and those sites all linking back to Engadget made Engadget even more relevant to Google and it started regularly beating Gizmodo and other tech sites in searches for keywords. “Sony released a new Vaio, let me research buying it before I go to Circuit City and pick it up.” User goes to Google, searches for “new Sony Vaio” and Engadget started becoming the first result. That structure, combined with a pack of some of the hardest working people I’ve ever known, is a very brief summary of what made Weblogs, Inc a success and an acquisition target in AOL’s eyes.

TUAW (and Joystiq, in a different way) was different. It was a site that at any moment could become irrelevant and absorbed into Engadget because it was another tech blog and a percentage of its posts were duplicative of posts on Engadget. However, (like Joystiq), TUAW was differentiated by a separate audience. A fanatical audience. People who liked to not think differently, but to think different. It was also not a professional blogging machine. It wasn’t just another tech blog. It was attitude. It was it’s own voice.

It was also farm league for Engadget. Barb was leaving TUAW in 2005 and on her way out, Jason, Judith, and Barb brought me in. As all of you know who know me: I am all attitude. I am opinionated. I am blunt. I am also playful. And so was TUAW. We weren’t chasing the pro-blogger thing. We were the other, slightly less loved kid, who often acted out.

That was unique. That’s what Aol. is killing today. #tuaw4ever

At least that’s my take. Take it for what it’s worth.

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Ditched my Cintiq Companion and upgraded my Surface Pro 3

So yesterday, I went to the Microsoft Store at the Domain, and traded in my just under a month old i5 128GB Surface Pro 3 for the top of the line i7 500GB model. I did this with funds I made from selling my Cintiq Companion this past week on Amazon Marketplace for ~$78 more net profit than I originally paid for it (thanks to getting it this summer when Wacom was running a summer ~$500 off sale + Cintiq Companion’s being hard to come by currently while everyone awaits the release of the newly announced Cintiq Companion 2). Aside: If you want to sell old gear fast at reasonable prices, you should really investigate using Amazon. Everything I’ve listed there has sold at asking price in under a week. This time it was just 2 days. The process of setting up the new computer has been rather seamless. I had to transfer some files that I hadn’t already backed up to OneDrive while in the store, but once I got home, all I had to do was reinstall the apps that I hadn’t purchased via the Microsoft Store. Everything else was already syncing automagically via OneDrive.

So the reason for all this, besides having a separate personal machine from my work machine, which has been great, is because for all the things I’m really interested in doing right now, like working on Bosh and Bill and crafting children’s books with Jackson, the Surface is great. Not only that, but as a digital drawing device, it’s good enough to get the job done and to help me not obsess about everything being perfect. I need to become more fluid in my cartooning and relax. 256 levels of pressure is better for that than the 2K+ of the Cintiq Companion. That being said, I totally will eventually want a Companion 2 when they come out, as the screen resolution increase + the ability to use it just as a Cintiq when attached to another computer are both really cool and I do *love* Cintiqs. But that doesn’t change the fact that I need to be doing more doodling on actual paper and quick digital cleanup work rather than obsessing over the tech and the Surface is right-sized for me doodling more everywhere digitally.

Also, the difference in price between the Surface Pro 3 upgrade and the money I made from selling my Companion results in some extra money to go towards a nice large format scanner and some non-digital art supplies.

Added bonus: I no longer feel cramped on my Surface in terms of hard drive space, so I’m actually free to move more of my photos to my OneDrive archive via Lightroom than I had to date. I’ll eventually be able to stop carrying around the 2TB Seagate drive I’ve been using for keeping my photo library portable, and rely on a combination of OneDrive, plus the internal drive on this Surface, with the Seagate becoming a true external backup solution rather than a “my hard drive isn’t big enough solution.”

Aside from all this, I’m working on a big blog post about software development and engineering that I think many of you may like once I actually finish it./

Posted in Art, Cintiq Companion, comics, doodling, Gadgets, My Gear, Personal, sketching, Surface Pro 3 | Comments Off on Ditched my Cintiq Companion and upgraded my Surface Pro 3