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Recent Illustration Work

Painting and drawing has been a favorite pasttime of mine for years.  Now that I have three years of Adobe Photoshop under my belt, I am attempting to take all the techniques I’ve honed over the use and translate them into the digital world.  This is a work in progress, but I’m very excited with what I’ve produced so far!  Eventually, I hope to branch out into art series as well as create character models to be used in future stories or other educational settings.  Also, I’ve begun recording my processes for my fledgling YouTube channel.  Right now, I have speedpaints but eventually I want to create free painting tutorials for beginner digital artists.

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Justify wins the Triple Crown

Disclaimer: I’m really into horse racing.  The Triple Crown Classics series is to me what the Superbowl and the World Series are to other sports fans.  Three years ago, I was thrilled to witness the first Triple Crown sweep in 37 years after 20 years of personal disappointments and near misses.  That American Pharoah was only the 12th Triple Crown champion in almost a century highlights the difficulty in achieving this momentous title.

This past weekend, Justify, an undefeated and inexperienced three-year-old colt, twice descendent of Secretariat, once descendent of Seattle Slew, and a distant progeny of the great Man o’ War, proved yet again that the Triple Crown, though reserved only for the greatest of horses, can indeed be won.

And so it was in the 150th edition of the final leg of the Triple Crown that the son of Scat Daddy, already deemed a prodigy, became racing’s newest living legend. At the end of a five-week odyssey logic says should have taxed his chestnut frame to detrimental levels and highlighted the foundation that was poured in at an accelerated rate, he managed to redefine what those of his ilk can achieve.

Read more here.

Justify wins the Triple Crown slideshow

Annie’s Senior Photoshoot

My sister Annie (fifth in the family lineup) just graduated from high school and will be starting at Wake Tech this summer.  She is the lone extrovert in an extended family of introverts and keeps us continually in stitches with her witty observations of life.  A talented writer, she’s been involved in a local drama club and ASL community for the past several years.

Here are the best photographs from her senior picture photoshoot.


Goodbye, Wake Tech

Today is the last day I will be at Wake Tech as a graphic design student. This weekend, I will officially graduate with an Associates of Applied Science in Advertising & Graphic Design. Looking forward, I will be expanding upon this degree at Meredith College with the expectation of graduating with my Bachelor’s in approximately three years.

If anyone had told me three years ago that I would be standing here with my first degree, actual work experience, networking opportunities, and the ability to further my degree and career in a reputable school, I would have laughed myself sick. At this time three years ago, I was recovering from a horrible breakup, I had just lost one of my childhood best friends, and my entire music career had collapsed.  Depressed and anxious for the future, I chose to go back to school, and picked my career almost at random. Graphic design was a complete shot in the dark and I had no money or connections.  Even worse, going to community college seemed like the end of the world. I wouldn’t have a four year degree, and there wasn’t any prestige attached to what I would be getting.  Though I firmly told myself otherwise, there was a part of me that thought, “I’m here because my 20’s were such a train wreck.”

What I didn’t know was that I had signed myself up for a program fully competitive and on par with top senior institutions in the state. My only goal was to graduate and find a job; landing a spot in one of the best private colleges in the state thanks to my hard work and grades wasn’t even on the table! And, to everyone’s surprise (mine most of all!), graphic design became another extension of my artistic self in the way that both writing and music had been in my 20s. Through the graphic design program, I rediscovered my love of drawing, polished my amateur photography skills, learned how to use Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator, and figured out that I was actually capable of talking to strangers. My teachers were tough but fair, and through their instruction, I learned a little something about advocating for myself, and discovered that I was a strong person after all.

Today, I have a professional quality portfolio, actual work experience, and the opportunity to expand my education at a senior institution. Some of this I earned through my hard work and good grades, but most of this is a gift from an institution designed to help struggling individuals, and the teachers willing to work here. Now that I am finishing strong, I can only say that I have become a firm believer in the community college experience. Whatever I become going forward, I know that I will become it because I started here first. Wake Tech is more than just a community college; it is my gateway into the future.

“Be glad, O children of Zion,
and rejoice in the LORD your God,
for he has given the early rain for your vindication;
he has poured down for you abundant rain,
the early and the latter rain, as before.

“The threshing floors shall be full of grain;
the vats shall overflow with wine and oil.
I will restore to you the years
that the swarming locust has eaten,
the hopper, the destroyer, and the cutter,
my great army, which I sent among you.

“You shall eat in plenty and be satisfied,
and praise the name of the LORD your God,
who has dealt wondrously with you.
And my people shall never again be put to shame.
You shall know that I am in the midst of Israel,
and that I am the LORD your God and there is none else.
And my people shall never again be put to shame.”

Joel 2:23-27 ESV


Interview with an SM Content Creator

Welcome to the wonderful and limitless world of Minecraft, where adults and children alike spend hours creating amazing structures.  I have been a serious Minecraft player (read “building designer”) for about four years now, and it’s been my privilege to occasionally bump into other players who take their game time and share it with the rest of us via social media.  Rockerbuck is one of these content creators; he regularly uploads videos to Youtube reviewing texture packs, custom build maps, game updates, and building/structure reviews, among other things.  A major plus to his social media presence is that his content is family friendly and appropriate for adults and children.

For this blog post, Rockerbuck has graciously agreed to answer a few interview questions regarding his social media content.

What social media channels do you use related to your field of interest?

Facebook and Twitter.

How much time do you spend per week marketing your content?

If you include the time involved with rendering and finalizing a video (which is, for me, about 1 hour per video,) plus the uploading the video to YouTube (around 1.5 – 2 hour each), plus posting on Facebook, I’d say around 8-10 hours. Without all that preparation, it would be more like 1-2 hours total.

How do you engage your visitors to participate and share their content?

To be honest, for what I do, it’s more of just a “See what I have for you” approach. Although I will admit, this is a great question, and may just end up becoming part of my videos. People are taking the time to watch mine, I should ask them to send me a link to one of theirs (if they post them) and offer to watch and comment on it. Thank you for this question!

How does your social media engagement benefit you?

Oh my, plenty of answers here! In a way it helps me stay connected to my youth because I am “playing.” Especially with Minecraft, which has an aspect of building and creating. For other adults, I often equate Minecraft to Legos on a screen, in a way….so there’s that. When I graduated high school and thought about college, the area of broadcast media interested me. Sadly, that was a path not taken, but in doing YouTube videos I can tap into that a little bit. And so I so don’t make this TOO long, lastly I’ll say because it gives me great pleasure to entertain others, even if it is for a few short minutes. A perfect example would be some of Miss Spangler’s comments to my video’s. It makes me feel good when I see her reactions and I know that if she enjoyed my content, then mission is accomplished.

How does your social media engagement benefit your audience?

Hopefully it shows them that even at age 44, you can still “play” a little. As a large part of my audience is children / young adults, I’d also like them to see that while adults and children often have trouble connecting for many reasons, in Minecraft and the right settings (such as the family friendly servers I play and record my content on) there are places where the term “adult” and “child” almost vanish and where everyone just plays and has a good time.

For those of you who are interested, here is one of my favorite Rockerbuck videos: