Monday, May 26, 2008

Weekend in Los Angeles

Well, maybe more like a weekend traveling across the desert Southwest…
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Saturday evening Lindsay and I took the Sunset Limited train from Tucson to L.A. through Phoenix, Yuma and Palm Springs. We spent the evening in downtown Tucson and headed over to the little depot in Tucson around 11:30 for the 12:00 midnight trip. We needed a little weekend adventure and this fit the bill nicely. One of the best things we got to see was the Salton Sea just southeast of Palm Springs. It's a huge salt lake out in the middle of the desert and we approached it right around dawn on Sunday morning. On our numerous travels to San Diego, you can see this lake from the mountain pass on your way into town, but never have be been able to see it in this way. Usually, it is just a bright streak on the horizon around the bend.

This shot is through the observation car while traveling across the desert.

As we headed into Palm Springs, we encountered the windmill farm. There are hundereds of windmills out here that stretch from one horizon to the other and up into the snow capped mountains. It is always breezy out here and this seems like a great use of that natural resource. I do kind of wish they were painted a little less conspicuously; maybe earth tones?

Many windmills just outside of Palm Springs. They seem to go on for miles.

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As we rolled into Los Angeles, Lindsay and I decided to explore the downtown on foot. What a mistake. There is nothing to do on a Sunday in downtown L.A. Everything was closed and the museum we planned on seeing was nowhere to be found. We ended up settling in at a Starbucks to have a bit of rest and some coffee. The weather was quite nice though, so walked over to a Mexican Festival in the middle of a park downtown. We then headed over to the "Gateway to L.A. Chinatown."

Downtown L.A. There were numerous beautiful
purple trees all over the place.

Entrance to the L.A. Chinatown.

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As we headed back to Union Station for the journey home, I couldn't help shooting this beautiful sign. I'm a sucker for a well done script typeface and had never seen such a nicely done Post Office. We settled in for our travel back to Tucson and spent the rest of the day sitting in the observation car on the ride home. There were a few delays due to freight traffic and we were about 1.5 hours late into town and ultimately arrived at 2:00 a.m.

I really liked this beautiful sign on the Post Office.
Usually you just see some simple Trade Gothic or Helvetica,
but this scrip was nicely done!

A clock in Union Station in L.A.

A little visitor. These guys were flying all
over the place inside of Union Station.

A beautiful fountain in the courtyard at Union Station.
It reminded me of home in the desert and all the myriad snakes out here.

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I definitely recommend train travel for anyone who wants to travel in a different way. It's fun to see the countryside without having to worry about driving and it's a chance to let things happen on someone else's schedule. It makes you sit back and just enjoy the world.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

A little bit personal…

A few years ago, I think it was 2003, I was transferred in my company to Nogales, Arizona. It was supposed to have been a 6-month deal, where I got the design department moving quickly forward. Fast forward a year and a half and I tell them, "either I get transferred back to Tucson, or I go on my own," and I wound up at my current employer, who I love working for.

Long story short, I ended up quite depressed down in Nogales. A serious feeling of futility and a feeling like I was stuck there forever. In that process I gained quite a bit of weight - about 40 some odd lbs. Today, I feel like I am finally ready to say enough is enough. So, I thought by posting this I could hold myself to a little higher degree and get serious about getting in shape.

So, that's it in a nutshell. I have a few goals right now and I'll try and post any good low cal/fat recipes that I come up with. First to edit is my carrot cake, followed very shortly by a green chicken pozole.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Illustration Freelance

Hello everyone. As many of you know, about a month ago, I discovered an ad on for an illustrator for hire to illustrate a children's book. I took a chance and applied for the work and after a few weeks, some rough pencil sketches and a couple of meetings, I got the job! The author is a Music Therapist here in Tucson, Pamela Ott and the book is titled "Going On a Train." I am working the illustrations out in pencil on paper and then translate that to the computer and do the color and line work in Adobe Illustrator and PhotoShop. I am doing a pastel chalk look and here are a few examples of the way the book is coming.

This is the pencil sketch for the first couple of pages.

This is an unfinished color sample of the above sketch. I still plan on adding in more detail to both the foreground and the background, as well as a walkway up to the train. I also have a bit of a perspective issue that I am addressing which will be done in the final rendering.

Anyway, I'd love to get people's feedback as I move forward with this book.