From i to R

If I were superstitious or fatalistic I'd say that after my last post praising the glories of downtown Minneapolis, it was inevitable that something bad would happen to restore the balance. Turns out everything was waiting for me--including a bold thief who stole my iPad from my 10th floor cubicle while there were people working in the office, and I was downstairs getting a haircut.

I was sad. But it felt wrong to dwell on my loss. It's just an iPad after all--it's not like someone died. And I really did love that iPad, but my life revolved around it to perhaps an unhealthy extent. Maybe it's for the best.

Anyway forget that old thing because a week after the robbery I got a new toy! The Roland R-05 portable audio recorder is my new digital friend, and it is going to help me make podcasts. More to follow!

Where all the lights are bright

Even though I'm pleased as punch about my new job, one thing I was not excited about--at least at first--was working in downtown Minneapolis. It's just so far. Turns out, I've been having a lot of fun!

I park in Chaska and ride the Southwest Metro Transit express bus. These buses have wifi, comfy seats, even overhead compartments. I can nap. I can check emails. I can even read a book! It's half an hour to do whatever I want, which is an almost unimaginable luxury.

Before lunch I take a short walk around the skyways. It's fun to explore and it smells great. I realized during one of these walks that a lot of things I loved about living in Japan weren't magical and unique (although some of them were); they were just standard features of a vibrant, active city. I can't do anything about the commute time, but working downtown is now one of my favorite perks.

Everything's waiting for you

How I Got the Job

Hi everybody! I was laid off in January, so I've been busy figuring out what to do with my life. This week I started my new job as an Event Manager! And it's all thanks to the 6 step program at Wooddale Church (plus a lot of hard work and a little luck).

I started with cold calls off their networking list, just contacting everybody with events in their past, present, or future. That led me to a meeting with the Events Director at Target Field.* He mentioned an event was coming up there that weekend, and introduced me to my new boss. I volunteered to help and worked with the team all weekend. On Sunday night they invited me for an interview and two weeks later they offered me the job!

The key is that the position was never posted publicly, so if I hadn't done all of those steps (calling, networking, volunteering) at the right time, then not only would I not have gotten the job... I wouldn't have even known that the opportunity existed. That's 21st century job hunting in a nutshell.

*(plus dozens of other face-to-face meetings)

Pratfalls of Parenting, the podcast

I was on another podcast this month! Pratfalls of Parenting episode 83 is now available for your listening pleasure. I enjoyed speaking with Levi about the pressures, anxieties, and joys of parenting while doing creative work.

Please have a listen and let me know what you think!

Hourly Comics Day

The official Hourly Comics Day is on February 1. That worked out nicely for my resolution to illustrate one day per month throughout 2014. Here's my day in comics!
Natalie made her own comics with a little help from me. We sat side by side on the couch with our sketchbooks and worked together for about an hour, and that was the best part of my day (even though somehow it didn't show up in my comics).
It was fun to see her get so excited about drawing and telling stories with pictures. If she keeps it up, she could be a better artist than me in a few years!

Two Years of Hourly Comics

I took the end of the year off from work to spend time with my family and also, as is traditional, to play a lot of video games. I greatly enjoyed playing X-Com every morning and Fire Emblem: Awakening... pretty much all the rest of the time (except when I was playing SolForge).

But even I have my limits and after consuming media non-stop for ten days I needed to create something before returning to work. So I used the last two days of vacation to draw hourly comics. That's one comic strip, per hour, all day long. Now you can vicariously experience a day in my life.

Well, to be precise, two days. New Year's Eve 2013 and New Year's Day 2014.

Natalie kept asking me to read the strips back to her throughout the day, and Jenna grabbed my sketchbook whenever I completed a few more hours. It was a collaborative process. Natalie even illustrated one hour on her own! I'm posting it here as bonus content since I hit Flickr's image limit.

2013 Postmortem

Let's put this one to bed.
2013 was a huge year. I continued my MBA studies, our craft fair business, and working at ReconRobotics. There were opportunities to take another crack at things I love, like public speaking. It was also a year for trying new things, like getting my art into a gallery show and judging a cooking competition. I hurt my back real bad. And of course the days are just packed with little adventures like mushroom hunting, catching bugs, and spotting wild animals in our yard.

Here are the highlights:
Random notes and trends: 2013 was my least-bloggingest year so far at Dad by Dawn. I only posted 50 times, down from a career high of 121 in 2011. But I also started a Tumblr (technically two, but only one is still active) so if you include that activity then I'm still sharing a lot online. 
I made a goal to pursue opportunities that came my way, especially artistically. I was already tracking on events and open calls for art via Twitter, so I had plenty to choose from. This paid off in free food, an Ignite speaking gig, and my first acceptance in a juried exhibition.
Mostly in 2014 I want to keep making connections and exploring new possibilities. Who knows what exciting opportunities the new year will bring?