18 Years, and Counting

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Today I celebrate 18 years of marriage with my wife Julie. 18 years of memories:

In 1996, we made a promise

In 1997, we were blessed with the best gift we never knew we wanted. Joseph Paul

In 1998, I graduated from CCS, Julie was changing lives

In 1999, we took a chance and moved to Atlanta, GA

In 2000, our reward for that chance was a beautiful little girl we named Rebekah Louise

In 2001, we took a chance and moved to the state of New York

In 2002, our reward for that chance was a beautiful little boy we named Aaron John

In 2003, we were regulars at the Strong National Museum of Play

In 2004, we cultivated our garden

In 2005, we spent many days in Maryland with Joanne

In 2006, we saw RENT in NYC

In 2007, we welcomed my brother and his family to spend Christmas in NY

In 2008, we traveled to OZ

In 2009, we saw my mother get remarried

In 2010, we spent lots of time in Disney thanks to our generous parents

In 2011, we bought a home

In 2012, we took a chance to forge our own path with Brandtatorship

In 2013, we left the country to celebrate a retirement (read: freedom)

In 2014, we started the college tours for the best gift we never knew we wanted

In 2015…

 

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My Own Personal Time Machine

To know me is to know I have a sketch book with me almost at all times. These books are filled with many notes, thoughts and personal expressions that document my creativity in the time in which it was used. There are thumbnail sketches and quick gestures. There are detailed perspectives of planes that I draw to pass the time of a 1, 2 or 3 hour flight, and notes that i write to myself so I don’t forget. This may sound crazy but these sketch books become an extension of my memory. A paper hard drive that stores a short stints worth of “good times and potato salad”.

The latest sketchbook is particularly hard to retire. It spans a year that has seen so much. Starting with a trip to NYC, followed closely by an American Advertising Federation(AAF) Conference in Orlando that was the first of 3 trips to Florida for me. This trip introduced me to new friends, opportunities and was the catalyst for me changing careers. There were family trips to Baltimore and Disney, work sketches, WTG float drawings, logo designs, cartoons and jokes. The book ends with another AAF trip, this time to San Diego followed closely by the “mushroom drawings” for the Golisano Children’s Hospital Gala happening this Fall.

For me, this book is a time machine. Flipping through the pages takes me instantly back to the time when I drew each picture, sketched the thumbnail, or penned the note. A time machine that brings me back to the family and friends that share the history of each picture. Move over Einstein… I have a time machine in my hands.

Powerful stuff.

There is only a dozen or so pages left in the book now. It needs to be retired, but I’m not ready yet. I need to draw just a couple sketches more before it’s filed away on the shelf. Just a couple more sketches to help my brain remember when i pick the book up 6 months later. Just a couple more sketches to fuel the time machine to take me back to places that i enjoyed so dearly.

Then I can say “hello” to the new book. I’ll say, “Nice to meet you, please pay your respects to your predecessor as you pass by the hall. You have big shoes… er pages, to fill.”

Disney 1.0.2

In the 80’s, entertainment in long car rides for me and my brothers consisted of looking outside at the scenery, listening to music on our tape deck Walkman radios, searching for license plates, and sleeping. Sleeping is the closest I ever got to owning my own personal time machine. Nothing makes a 3 hour car ride to Lexington, MI disappear faster than a good long nap. Today, my kids have a lot more options. Namely the portable gaming systems that allow them to play against each other. It’s a great way to kill time, and unfortunately a great way to miss out on the scenery… and those time machine naps. 12 song cassettes are traded for ipods with a 22 hour playlist spanning multiple musical genres. Artists like G. Love & Special Sauce, Abba, Lady Gaga, MC Lars, They Might Be Giants, Keith Urban, Jonas Brothers and Madonna. Naturally, we started each leg of the trip with Linday Buckingham’s Holiday Road. A song made famous from the National Lampoon movies. All five of us singing away… damn, I should of had the camera rolling longer on that for sure.

My personal favorite game to play on long trips is the license plate game. While the plates may have changed the game is still very much the same. License plates are embedded in our culture and history. Some are bold in design. Colorful, simple, and yes sometimes gaudy. It is not surprising to me that as an art director I am drawn to them (similar to the flags I talked about in an earlier blog post). For me license plates create an immediate and natural attraction. I am glad to say that during our 76+ hour drive to and from Disney we found many of them. Even the coveted Hawaii. We broke it up into two sections…cars (like us) and tractor trailers. Click on the maps to the left and take a look at just how many plates we found. We even found some of the Canadian provinces. The map with the cars reminds me of the electoral map during the 1984 landslide victory of Mondale vs Regan. The truck one seems like the AT&T coverage map… a little more sparse.

What my kids hopefully realized is that by looking outside for plates meant they were looking outside, and not at portable gaming systems. Because, if we were going to drive 3800 miles across this vast country, we should enjoy it.

And enjoy it we did.

The video link below is a cut down version of our ride from Rochester, NY to Orlando, FL posted to Vimeo.  Many thanks to the music talents of Linsday Buckingham, The Travelling Wilburys, and The Foo Fighters, who music I use to help tell this story.

Disney 1.0.1


Where to begin… this family vacation took us to many places, we saw so much. A 76 hour car ride spanning over 3800 miles really can’t be encapsulated in one long blog post. In fact, half of this trip took us to many places not even associated to Disney. So, I will break them up into smaller posts. The first of which will be the trip itself. I was looking forward to Disney and this road trip just as much as Julie and the kids albeit for different reasons. This was the first time ever I took two weeks off from my job as an Associate Creative Director of Jay Advertising. That’s a big deal. I had two weeks of their undivided attention and they had mine. The bantor, the questions, the hugs, the “are we there yet’s” never got old. I am happy to say no one got sick, and there was no food eaten or DVD’s played in the van. The kids did have DS games to play. They slept, looked outside and found license plates (which i’ll leave for another post). The drive went something like this… (see the map to the left) Rochester, NY to Baltimore, MD to pick up Joanne… Baltimore, MD to Savannah GA… Savannah, GA to Orlando FL… Orlando, FL to Cape Canaveral and back… Orlando, FL to Atlanta, GA… Atlanta, GA to Baltimore, MD to drop off Joanne… Our trip then was diverted from Washington D.C. to Detroit MI where we were able to see my good pal Chuck his wife Jen and their beautiful 8 month old little girl Lily. We then left Michigan, crossed into Canada and returned to our home in Rochester, NY. 76 Hours—3800 miles. I actually have callouses on my hand where I held the steering wheel. Funny, one usually goes on vacation to clear the visual marks of a hard days work on the hands, not get them.

We spent seven days in Florida, only once leaving Disney. We went to Cape Canaveral and toured NASA for a day. A tour which I recommend if you can swing it. Soon the shuttles will be retired, and the launch sites dismantled. It’s not going to be there very much longer which is a shame, well at least in it’s current form.

We hit all the major parks and rides and saw a bunch, yet it’s crazy to think of all the stuff we did not get to see. I now understand why people return there. I am not sure if you could ever see everything.

For our last ride before we left Disney we went back to Soarin’. A mind trick ride that gives you the feeling of soaring over the tree tops, waters and countryside. If ever you wanted to be a bird, or feel the sensation of flight, this ride is it. I sat there is the harness next to my daughter Rebekah as the realization of the Disney trip was coming to a close. Our trip was relaxing, magical, fun, and long. And I would do it all again, the drive, the hours, the memories. I couldn’t help but get emotional while we flew during the ride. It seemed a fitting end to Disney 1.0 with Soarin’ as the last ride, because after this trip, I was already on cloud 9.

The Year of the Mouse

2010 is the year of the tiger in the Chinese calender, well move over tiger, cause for the Mayerniks it’s the year of the mouse. Shortly, we leave for Disney 1.0. The first of two trips that we’ll be making to the Magic Kingdom this year. These trips will be spoken about, remembered, belabored, and cherished by my children at every holiday dinner table for years to come. Okay, maybe even Julie and me.

Trip 1.0 consists of over 44 hours in the car. Spanning 16 days. 8 states. 6 big cities and one sweet Droid to document the whole trip. I plan to update with sketches, photos and insights as we go, but who knows… I may not get to posting them until I get back. I think, the lure of the Orlando pools and its lazy rivers will be way to strong. In the meantime subscribe to the blog in the upper corner to receive all the updates as soon as I post them.

Oh, first thing to note about the trip… after we check in our first lunch at the park will be eating at Epcot in the country of… drum roll please… China.

Move over tiger.