Friday, February 13, 2009

Confessions of a Comic Con Virgin

This past Friday I had the immense joy of attending the first of many Comic Cons in NY. Escorted by the much talented and esteemed colorists of DC Comics: Patricia Mulvihill, Tanya and Richard Horie. In this photo, Trish is on the left, then me, Tanya, and another DC freelancer (eep! can't remember his name).

:insert screaming here: OMG I HAD SO MUCH FUN! 

There were statues, t-shirts, books, figurines, stickers, puppets (don't ask) and all manner of goodness from BSG, B5, Star Trek, Buffy, Watchmen (which I can't wait to see), and so on. 

Thanks to Richard, I scored the new Thor in hard back (I devoured it on a flight back from Austin just the other day--all the other passengers stared), along with a signed copy of Neil Gaiman's Sandman stories, volume 1 (Preludes & Nocturnes). To cap the evening off, they took me into their inner sanctum to the DC Comics party where this photo was shot. All in all, I can't remember another day that I've been filled with such glee. I can't wait for the next one!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

My fantasy road race team

I'm so unbelievably A.D.D. I can get distracted in the blink of an eye. Today one of my (many) distractions -- while I should've been writing a big honkin' column that's due Friday -- was to form a fantasy road race team. 

My team, "Lesa's Hotties" are pictured above. I'm a little miffed that Lorenzo appears above Rossi in the grid though but I couldn't figure out how to modify that without starting over. Frak.

If this sounds like a distraction you *yourself* might be interested in, trot on over to Your Bike Life for more details on forming your own team (you can even race against mine). Basically you pick two riders each from MotoGP, World Superbike, and British Super Bike. You can pay for the riders with a 10 million pound budget. You score points according to how well your riders do in their respective races. It's even possible to win a a real bike! Let the fun -- and distractions! -- begin :)

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Starting 2009 off right!

Looking back, I'm truly saddened to see the date of my last travel blog post. I even had some amazing trips in 2008, including a one month stay in the Mediterranean and Italian countryside! However, the biggest trip I took was that of writing my first book. It's called Photoshop CS4: The Missing Manual and weighs in at a hefty 800+ pages. This endeavor consumed five months of my life, kept me off my beloved F800ST (aka Saphira), and away from most every human I love. 

What is worth it, you might ask? Folks say it will be, though it just hit the shelves last week. Admittedly I get a huge sense of accomplishment as I look at its telephone-book size footprint on the coffee table. Wow. Did I really write all that?!? Holy Thor.

Nevertheless, I started 2009 off right: By trolling the Int'l. Motorcycle Show in New York and straddling each two-wheeled beauty that caught my eye. The winner is the new Yamaha R1 with Valentino Rossi tank/decal kit (pictured below). She'd make a perfect track bike, and I even met the good folks at Vanson's Leathers who are ready to outfit me with racing gear. Oh the temptation! Did I mentioned I also trekked to Tavulia, Italy to join Rossi's official fan club? That was big, big fun :)

So yeah, I need those book royalties to start pouring in. If you want to give 'em a nudge, click here to learn more about the book and to get a 40% discount. It's a great buy and I'm really proud of how it turned out. It's the only Photoshop book written in plain English that's filled with beautiful imagery of motorcycles, armadillos, cowboys, and belly dancers. You can't go wrong with a combo like that.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Finding Friends in Santa Fe

Last week I taught a super intensive beginner's Photoshop course at the esteemed Santa Fe Photographic Workshops. I'd never been to Santa Fe before so I didn't really know what to expect. I mean, I had always heard how amazing the light is, how cool the Adobe houses look, how affordable the jewelry is if you buy it direct from the Indians in the plaza, and so on... but nobody every really said anything about the PEOPLE of Santa Fe.

I travel a lot. A hell of a lot. Never have I randomly met more interesting and friendly people as I did this past week. The 12 folks who took my class just stole my heart. Sure we had some frustrating moments as I crammed ten tons of information into their brains but they were all REALLY nice people (a few of whom I've made plans to meet up with later in the year!). However, before I stepped foot in the class on Monday morning, I met some people whom I hope to remain friends with for the rest of my life.

Most of them are pictured in this photo, taken at our class dinner at the SantaCafe last Tuesday night. From left to right it's me, Jennifer, Lynn, then on the bottom row yet another Jennifer, and Robin. What fun ladies! The first Jennifer is a successful web developer, Lynn is a bartender at the Inn of the Anasazi (what a place!) plus she's embarking on an amazing new business venture with her friend David Schwartz (who somehow missed out on the photo opp). Jennifer on the first row owns a PR firm and she actually set up the entire dinner for me. The owner made a special place for us at the patio and we got extra special treatment. Last but not least, Robin owns her own clothing line.

I met up with them on Sunday when I rolled into town and had a few hours to spare before I could check into my casita. I mosied up to the bar and quite honestly, eavesdropped on these ladies as they were chatting about the party Lynn threw the night before and what they were going to do that night. I happened to say "I want to come!" and that was it--we chatted the rest of the afternoon (through 2 glasses of some fantastic old vine zinfandel and a slab-o-salmon), and made plans for them to come to my dinner on Tuesday night. (The men in my class were oh so pleased to see these young attractive women at our table!)

After our dinner, we went to a spanish bar where tango was the dance of the evening, after which we ended up at another bar which had a metal band playing live! And it wasn't just any metal band... it was comprised of CHICKS! The band is called Cockpit and they're out of LA. Whee!

I was toiling seriously long hours in between all of this. Class started at 8:30 am every day, went to 5:00, and then lab hours were from 6:00-9:30 but I still managed to meet up with Lynn, David, and Jennifer (various combinations thereof) throughout the remainder of the week for brunch, lunch, cocktails, partying on a real live train, and for tooling around the plaza. Crazy! (My class and I also hiked up to the top of the Tent Rocks monument--see the King Family Flickr feed for pics.)

I also bonded with a world-class photographer named Tony Corbell, whom I dragged out with me to meet up with David and these ladies almost every evening. Funny thing is, Tony and David had another friend in common who is involved in the workshops! What a small planet we live on. Speaking of coincidence, my favorite restaurant in the states is Tra Vigne in St. Helena, CA. It just so happens that both Tony and David have similar affection for the very same restaurant! David was also kind enough to give me a bottle of cabernet from his very own vineyard, Davelly, which I am enjoying AT THIS MOMENT.

Anyway, I had just to write about these amazing people and tell them just how much I miss them (terribly, you guys!!!). I hope we always stay in touch and I can't wait to see y'all again :)

Monday, June 2, 2008

10 Mile Hike near Lake Louise

After teaching two graphic design classes to a lovely group of folks at a small business marketing conference up in Canmore, Alberta, I was treated to a 10 mile hike up to Plains of the Six Glaciers with my friend (and Your Mac Life listener) Maurice Shevalier. (Click here to see the Flickr picture gallery.)

The hike was scary in places as we had to cross ice fields that were really steep! I was so proud of myself for making it all the way up (and back down again). How often can you say you had a sandwich at 10,000 ft. while watching avalanches off a honkin' big glacier?!

The Alexander Keith's I had back down at the Chateau was The Best Beer Ever.

Now let's hope I'm not too sore to make it to the airport. Thank you Maurice for an amazing day!

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Graphic fun

Though I didn't go riding this weekend, I did create an El Coolio graphic for a Photoshop training video I'm recording this week. The technique is selective blurring and fading one image into another. I think it turned out rather well :)

Monday, March 10, 2008

Back in the saddle

Finally got to go riding this past Sunday and though I feel a bit like the Michelin Tire Woman all bunched up with heated gear (hate that), it was nice to be back in "Saphira's" saddle. Since I had my camera with me, I fired off this shot after hanging my helmet on the handlebar.

Speaking of the helmet, I picked up this new Arai last week, as my trusty Schuberth was looking really shabby (and you just can't find those things here in the US!). If I could have waited for the BMW rally in July, I probably would have bought another one, but this Arai is SUPER light and airy (a bit *too* airy for this cold weather!). Plus the Dallas Cowboy-ish graphics are way cool and the tinted visor makes me feel mysterious :)