As I've spent the last year driving around the United States, I've slowly grown and refined what items I travel with to keep me safe, prepared, and having fun. This is a comprehensive list of what I pack for adventure trips, along with what I carry day to day.Read More
"What camera do you use?" "What lens is that?" "What does your setup look like?"
Here's the latest photography setup in what I'm traveling around with. Gear and bag list with purchase links at the bottom, below the sample image.Read More
Do you perform better or learn easier when having a reason to do so? I sure do.
Typography has long taunted me as a beautiful and expression form of communication, and being that I'm a designer, artist, illustrator, and photographer, it seems only fitting that I should make an effort to learn it. So I created a project for myself to do exactly that.
My good friend, Lisa Shufro put together the world class speaker line up for this year's Life is Beautiful festival.Read More
The next Jeep mod was doing a full vehicle tint. I took it to the group at Las Vegas Auto Tint & Graphics, and they did an incredible job. Gordon is a long time film veteran who did all of the precise cutting with just a freestyle hand, and made strong stylistic suggestions that I couldn't help but agree with. Maggie and Brandi also did a great job helping Gordon with some of the more tricky spots.
We ended up putting 18% over the back half, on top of the factory tint, so it matches closely to the 5% limo tint we did to the front half. We also put a thick 5% strip across the windshield for more light/heat protection.
Pretty happy with how it turned out! Now to just remember to keep my Optometrist's note in the car in case I get hassled for being darker than legal...
Now the next test is taking it out at night. I'm not going to lie, it's really dark from the inside.
Check out some of the process shots of Gordon applying the tint film
Recently I packed up my Pacific Northwest life and moved down to the foot of Red Rock Canyon, in Las Vegas. It's been pretty amazing getting to go venture outside daily with my Jeep, dog, and cameras.
Just wanted to share a few photos of my trips out there, and there will certainly be more.
You can view them scattered throughout the main gallery, but here is all of them together. Cheers!
Recently I added some LEDs behind the grill pieces on the Jeep. They were wired in with the main lights, so anytime they are active, the lights are on.
Allen, a mechanic at Midas was able to do the electrical, then I did the drilling and mounting:
I used a piece of aluminum to mount to the plastic piece on the hood to give it a big enough lip to attach the LEDs
Painted the aluminum piece black, attached the LED cubes, taped up the wires in the back
Lastly, I added a cut strip of kitchen light paneling to help disperse the light, and to protect the LED cubes from wind/rain/dirt. This is the one area I'm not sure how well it'll hold up, but it works for now!
I went to Sin City Dips for a full black satin blackout Plasti-Dip on the rims, emblems, trim, grill pieces, and rails. The dip helps protect and looks good for super cheap. Highly recommend!
Before / After
Process shots of Levi at Sin City Dips
Looking to my future dent - Photo by
I spent the last week in Sun Valley at the Steve Jobs legacy conference -
- an innovation retreat for people who make a difference, or it's like a summer camp for smart people (who don't pick you last in a softball game)
(great descriptions by
Here is what I took away on how to create a dent in the future, and
Visualize the most exciting future and see the impact of the dent you wish to create.
Give an effort to mapping backwards to where you're currently standing.
With as much or as little clarity that comes from mapping, leap forward towards it without hesitation.
Trust your gut as your guide and navigate to what sparks a feeling of joy and inspiration.
Identify that self-doubt and impostor syndrome is normal.
Surround yourself only with people and an environment that "fills your cup" and reinforces your strengths and worthiness -- but also who are real enough to respectfully challenge you and provide perspective.
Mercilessly (but tactfully) separate yourself from people or environments that are a vacuum of energy and "take from your cup".
Create accountability by building a network of support and report progress regularly.
Build the network up enough to allow you to put all of your energy and focus on clearing the bar, not on how the landing may feel.
Seek feedback regularly and help where needed.
Find complimentary and motivated people to work with. Delegate where you can.
Listen, create and communicate to build momentum.
Keep trying. Fail forward. Celebrate each little success.
Be human and connect with other humans. Go outside. Pay attention to your physical/emotional/spiritual health.
Enjoy the journey, for it's what is YOUR reward. The destination and impact you create is the WORLD'S reward.
As I reached over for some TP, I was greeted by a cardboard tube. Usually at this point, I panic. However this time I immediately got excited, given that I had just seen Evan Spiridellis's (JibJab / Storybots) freak'n awesome TP roll sculptures, both of General George Washington (with horse!), and a selfie. How could I not get inspired? I'll never throw away another tube again.
I jumped up quick to get started my own TP selfie... not entirely sure if I ever got around to finding a new roll. @_@
Head: Green foam for head, 1/8" foam for eyes and mouth, 1/4" craft foam ears and nose, faux fur for hair, gesso and acrylic
Body: TP roll, felt for the pocket and hoodie, string for pull strings, wire and tape for arms, gesso and acrylic, extra large popsicle sticks for pants and feet, light + socket
2 late nights
2 hot glue gun mishaps resulting in melting and bubbling flesh
The light works and is wired into the sculpture
The "selfie" is loosely based off of my Freak'n Genius illustration:
For 11 years I've been wanting to turn my 'intricadoodle' style of characters into a puzzle. At the time, I couldn't wrap my head around the production process. But now with having access to a laser, I gave it a shot as a gift for JibJab's CEO, Gregg Spiredellis.
Making it vector in Illustrator:
Under the laser:
Mounting the back:
So much to post that it's been crippling me. In the meantime, I've found a moment to doodle. In fact, it's the first time in far far too long!
I just sent my final email as a tentacle of the Squid to the community in which I've been able to start my life as an entrepreneur.
Giant Thinkwell has been one of the biggest puzzle pieces of my life and it's been an incredible ride with a handful of really fun stories created along the way. Some of my favorites are the scantily clad Seattle Met recap, being voted Seattle's Best Startup Designer over the people I look up to, the larger than life War Rooms and getting to do a commercial with Sir Mix-A-Lot… oh right, can't forget about the stairway battles!
I have felt fortunate every single day to be a part of the Founders/TechStars family in Seattle and have enjoyed learning, growing, creating and being inspired in a way that I have never experienced before. That community is truly unique and special and I hope to find other ways to be a part of it.
If I could leave behind two things from this experience, they would be that you should be proactive in creating an environment and culture in which you thrive, and also the importance and value of brand, design and storytelling. I would argue that it is equally as important as a technology that functions, sometimes more valuable if you want to test assertions or even raise money without having the fully functioning technology, traction or data points.
Had a pretty emotional moment yesterday when Andy Sack, Director of Founders Co-Op/TechStars made the announcement to the 2 dozen startups hacking away on this floor.
Huge thanks to T.A. for his insight and time given to the DeathMath team during Startup Weekend Edu! Over the course of TechStars and various startup events, I've heard hundreds of talks with incredible brain dollops of wisdom, yet am still inspired and educated when people like T.A. just continue to dish the good stuff. You can't be around these people and not understand why they are successful in life.
Oh yeah, watch this and get inspired! (Shot by the one and only Mike Folden)
Fun new series? Why not!
More to come!
This weekend was my 9th Startup Weekend and it never fails to re-energize! I was invited to mentor teams in helping them get the most out of the weekend, which can only be learned from experience. (It is indeed where Giant Thinkwell was birthed!)
Shortly after coming in on Saturday, I sat down to hear a pitch and was instantly visualizing its potential. Getting kids to learn through compelling gameplay. They called their app "DeathMath", where you go head to head with another player, represented as figures of history, and you kick each others asses through quickly solving math equations. The idea was intended to reach the kids that would rather engage in fun video games and not through boring academic content.
The story and aesthetic wrapper that was told around the initial prototype was one of battle and violence. It was clear that this was an idea that would make some people uneasy, which I happen to favor myself. They had a super talented team too that understood mobile, gaming, fun and education (what more could you ask for?!) A great designer from Ubermind, working on mobile experiences for large brands, as well as a developer from the Microsoft X-Box team, another developer from Teachstreet and of course the man with the idea and business guy, also from Teachstreet. The only thing I felt they were lacking was some flavorful avatars to represent the historical figures and especially in their brutalized state. I saw an opportunity to help them out and make some noise.
Check out the weekend demo at www.DeathMath.com - we'll definitely polish it up and get it native to the iPad with more avatars, more violence, and more academic development.
Oh, did I mention it was posted to Reddit, and within a couple of hours made the front page with almost 2,000 upvotes and 200 comments? Tons of great feedback and tons of great hating! (told you there'd be uneasiness...)
Here are some screenshots: (Design is Joe Shoop / Avatars by me)
Here was our awesome team:
And lastly, this is an extra little something to say thanks to Mike Arrington for not only coming out to support and judge Startup Weekend EDU, which meant a lot to the Seattle community, but also a thank-you from team DeathMath for showing enthusiasm and support during the demo. Thanks Mike!
I just picked up a Canon 60D, my first DSLR. I also just added a new section to my site - Photography - so you can follow along in my growth and exploration!
I'll update the blog with a select few of my favorites, but will keep most of the activity in that section of the site.
I recently picked up a Wacom Cintiq 21UX, which came just in time to crank out a handful of assets for Giant Thinkwell's latest game with Sir Mix-A-Lot. It consisted of about 4 dozen topical rounds where you get a chance to get to know Sir Mix-A-Lot and your friends a little bit better. The content was hilarious and needed a suitable visual to capture each round. I've used a Cintiq a bit in the past, but having this tool has easily increased my productivity by a good 300%, not to mention is faaarrr more enjoyable and awesome than even a normal Wacom Intuos tablet. If you are a digital artist or run a shop of creatives, do yourselves all a favor and invest. The productivity, quality and quality of life is worth a few extra pennies.