Another shooting. This time at a high school in my hometown. It was Valentine’s day. Really don’t know how much closer to home it could hit. We’re talking a margin of literally a few miles.
It’s disturbing not being surprised that this happened. Of course it did. It’s a part of our culture now. Likely only to get worse. If Sandy Hook happened and we’re still here doing this, then there appears to be no last straw, even though the camel’s back is already broken.
My shock is that this happened where I grew up. Where my parents and brother still live. If we had lived just a few miles one direction or the other, I would’ve gone to that high school. My wife graduated from there. She did the morning announcements.
I grew up in a great place to grow up. In a great home. I look back fondly on my younger and teen years there. It feels weird to have this piece of your heart tarnished. Don’t get me wrong, there were plenty of pitfalls growing up. I’ve seen more than a few fall into drugs. But these are traps found everywhere. Navigating them is just part of getting taller.
Anyways. This one was different for me. Though, I said the same thing the last time I shared my thoughts on gun violence. Thoughts and prayers are useless, unless the thoughts are about solutions.
Though we got married in September, we held off on our honeymoon until December. We did lounge about Palm Springs for a few days and nights right after the wedding, but we wouldn’t call that our honeymoon. More of a quick getaway.
We decided on Belize. It was tropical, english speaking, and the travel was nothing too brutal. Especially since we were already coming from New Orleans instead of Los Angeles. Above all else though, it’s a place that just suited our personalities well I think. It was a home run.
Made a little edit of our week there. Unfortunately, we have no pictures or footage from the more adventurous parts of the trip. Fortunately, those parts are usually the most memorable on their own. Guess that’ll happen when you treat a new camera like a newborn baby. It was a great end to a great year with my love by my side.
First comes love, then comes marriage they say, but there’s usually a bachelor party somewhere in between there. From left to right, Drew, Ryan, Giov, Michael, Jesse, Duncan, Jon Kim, Giancarlo, me, Mike, Levi, Ricky (George and Charlie not pictured here). We were a pretty big group. Fourteen strong, coming from all over the country. We chose to party in Denver, Colorado. Most of us hadn’t been before, and It was pretty close to meeting in the middle geographically. It felt right.
We did a lot over 4 days and 3 nights. Usually it’s your best man who puts these things together. My best man was my brother, but planning really isn’t in his wheelhouse. My friend Drew offered to take up reins and get it all figured. He’s a good guy to know to say the least.
By leaps and bounds, the closest to stage I’ve ever been at the Hollywood Bowl. For perspective, there were over 17,000 people behind us. Daughter, Local Natives, and The National. Three bands I’d easily see play on their own, shared the stage to make one of the most memorable nights of my life, and I got to share with some of my best people. All thanks to this guy
Past Lives by Local Natives
My older brother would listen to Tom Petty all the time when we were growing up, because he’s got good taste in music. I listened because all younger brothers aspire to be as cool as their big brothers. Sad to see him go, thankful he was here.
Free Fallin’ by Tom Petty
We did it. We’re married! Don’t want to say too much right now, going to save the whole story for when we get all our pictures back from our photographer and do it right. Just wanted to share this one.
To think I’d ever be able to share such an image in this place, with the exact person I always wanted to end up with, just blows my mind. Don’t think many people really understand how far back it all goes but here’s a glimpse. Really, I am the luckiest person I know.
That’s it for now, more to come.
Ten years ago, I wrote the code and made the very first doodles for Six Foot Giraffe. It was done over two weeks on my college winter break, sitting in my old bedroom of my parents South Florida home.
Just like anyone else, I connect particular songs and albums to particular moments or periods of my time, and that specific period ten years ago connects to Continuum by John Mayer. The album was on loop as I worked through the day and night.
I’m the type that plays a song or album on repeat until I can hardly stand it anymore. The years have tested and proved Continuum to be one of my favorite albums. It was a funny feeling seeing him live a few weeks ago. I guess ten years ago, working in that bedroom and playing those songs on repeat, I wouldn’t have thought I’d hear them live, in California, next to my Fiancé, and later writing about it on Six Foot Giraffe.
Slow Dancing In A Burning Room by John Mayer.
One day my friend Drew told me he wanted to move into a new place with his girlfriend Kelsie. They really hadn’t been dating very long at all, and the new place was a pricey two year lease. There was never a thing not to like about Kelsie, but I still owed it to one of my best friends to warn him he might be rushing into something here. He agreed he was rushing in, but rushing into the right thing, so why wait. I remember thinking it to be pretty bold.
Turns out, they just signed a lifetime lease, and tied the knot. They married near Palm Springs on April Fools, because well, it’s Drew and Kelsie we’re talking about here. It was a beautiful Saturday.
The ceremony and reception took place at the Lautner Compound near Palm Springs. There are only four rooms on the property, and Alexis and I were offered one. Had to be the most stunning room I’ve ever stayed in. It felt so open but at the same time totally private. Couldn’t help but feel pretty cool even just standing in it, and the entire grounds followed suit. Was really a sight.
The bride and groom have a lot of gravity in my life, and it meant a lot to me to stand up with them on their day. It’s the only wedding I’ve ever been in. Another first they’ve given me. They do that a lot. During the ceremony, I remember watching them, and watching Alexis, and wondering to myself, just how in the hell I got here. How did I get so lucky to have this family. It was a weird feeling. Like a wealth of time and memories, all converging to a single point. I don’t know that I’m explaining it right, but I do know I couldn’t stop smiling. Really, my face was starting to hurt a little.
We set their union in stone the best way we know how. By partying. We danced, we drank, and we laughed the night away. I can’t imagine they could’ve wanted anything more. It was a great day and they’re gonna do great things together. I’d wish them all the good things there are to wish on their journey, but they don’t need anything besides each other, and they’ve already got that.
Family Portrait. Alexis, her brother Tony, his Fiancé Olivia, and me (Not pictured: Gnarly). Taken in Downtown LA at Clifton’s.
Tony and Olivia moved here to Los Angeles from Brooklyn, just over a year ago. A few weeks ago though, the circumstances of life ended up pulling them back out to New York.
Sad to see them go, but glad for the time we had. I got to know them while they were here as family, not in-laws. Wouldn’t have been possible any other way.
I didn’t really grow up around my cousins, and my brother is five years older than me, which really doesn’t seem like much, but it’s a difference when you’re kids. And now, I’m a good few thousand miles from any blood relatives. What I’m really getting at here, is it was nice to have some family that you just wanna, you know… hang out with.
Not even going to get into how much we miss
our godson Gnarly.
Drew E. Cohen, the leader of the pack, had a bachelor party and it was one for the books. Twelve of us shared a cabin in North Lake Tahoe. There was poker, a hot tub, alcohol, billiards, a personal chef, monster trucks, karaoke, and eight feet of snow. As alcohol often does, it led to some heart felt speeches and even some tears. Though, none of mine of course.
I designed some t-shirts for the weekend gang, and Michael wrangled getting them printed. The design was just an oversized image of Drew’s face staring dead at you. We wore them the whole time. Some folks in town were asking who the mystery man was on our shirts. Was he that MMA fighter they wondered? Why were we so many of us wearing it? Were we going to see him tonight? They were a hit, and if we’re being honest here, I still wear mine every few weeks.
There were plans to do this that and the other while we were up there, but the weather was so severe, that we couldn’t really wander too far from the cabin. Setting record snowfall for the month of January will tend to have that effect. It was so severe, that we decided to abandon ship and leave the cabin a day early to avoid getting stuck as things worsened.
We made our way back to Sacramento, where most of us flew in and would be flying out of, to continue the party for our last night. Not having Sacramento in the original plan, we scrambled for a minute on what to do. By the grace of God, there was a Monster Truck Jam event going on. It was awesome, and I felt like I was twelve years old again, only I was many inches taller, and fairly intoxicated.
Karaoke followed, but that’s where my account of things start to get a little fuzzy, as I started traveling through space and time. All in all though, it was a great time, with great company, celebrating the next chapter of our great friend’s life. Cheers and godspeed.
The highlight of course, was George winning a bet…
10 years ago on this day I made my first post on Six Foot Giraffe. A doodle of a giraffe standing on a rocket blasting off through the stars. A bit of low-hanging fruit symbolizing the launch of my student portfolio site. I was twenty years old, and had no idea or expectation that my little website and modest doodles would end up largely shaping the course of my life and identity.
The past 10 years of Six Foot Giraffe have largely been a chronicle of my twenties. My achievements, failures, adventures, loves, and losses. It’s all here. Some written out in plain english, and others requiring a bit of reading between the lines. Memories the years might have stolen from me had I never stopped to reflect and share.
It’s also been my main outlet to fulfill my thirst to create. A place to make good art, bad art, and everything in-between. Somewhere to satisfy curiosities. It’s been fun and luminating for me to see how I’ve grown and changed artistically over the years.
What I’ve been doing here over the past 10 years has brought me joy, clarity and on occasion even resonates with others enough to inspire. Looking ahead, I have no doubt that this space will continue to grow and evolve. In to what, I can’t say. I do know that I’m just as in love with making art as I’ve ever been. I know that I’ll never stop.
To those who have supported and encouraged me all along the way, thank you. So much.
Good riddance. It’s been a difficult year, to say the least. Maybe the hardest of my life. Despite it all though, there were still some pretty bright spots that burned in the dark.
Two good friends got engaged. Another two got married. Moved into a new apartment. Visited Ireland, New York City, Chicago, Seattle, Palms Springs, Tahoe, Solvang and St. Petersburg. Got to know my future brother in-law. Went spelunking for the first time. Made some art that I’m proud of. And above all else, I got engaged to the woman I love.
It’s enough to think 2016 would’ve been one of my best. But like I said, It’s been a hard one, and I’m ready for a fresh start.
I recently started playing with a new software tool called Octane Render. Pretty unbelievable what it can allow you to create.
The impact on my career and day to day workflow is hard to quantify. Simply put, something that might’ve taken me an hour to render, might now take only a minute or two, and look much better. I’m in the business of making things look good, as fast as possible, so this is a great thing.
That said, I’m going to try and make it a point to create things in this medium as often as I can for the time being. At least until I feel like I have some control over it. They say practice makes perfect. I say perfect makes money.
Besides, it’s just plain fun for me.
One of my best buds turns 33 today. Figured I’d get a little something started for his headstone, since he’s getting so old and all. I’ve said before he’s like a holiday, and by that I mean he tends to bring everyone together. If you know him, you know this to be true.
Cheers my friend.
Levi and Ashley tied the knot. Yes, what I drew is supposed to be a rope being knotted, not links of sausage.
They exchanged vows on a warm Saturday, in Odessa Florida. It was a beautiful day. Felt really lucky to have witnessed it, and to have helped celebrate it. Was a little concerned my dance moves might get me ejected from the reception, but there was no harm done.
A couple days before the wedding, Alexis and I came to St. Petersburg to spend some time with my parents. Hurricane Matthew had other plans though. They had to hang back and secure their house in South Florida, so we didn’t see them this time. We made the best of it though.
Our friends Mike and Christina stayed in our extra room, and we spent the time with them instead. We walked around town a bit, checked out the Dali Museum, and paid the bars a visit. We stumbled upon a lip-sync karaoke contest. Mike won it. Not officially, but in our hearts we know. The next morning, before we headed up to Odessa for the wedding, we stopped to see Alexis’ Mom, and took her out for an early birthday lunch.
The 24 hours or so that led up to the wedding entailed logging hours in the hot tub, intervening a car accident, and talking politics. The 24 hours or so that followed entailed, sunburn, late night life talks, and literally sprinting through the Dallas Airport to make a connecting flight.
It was a great trip, filled with great people. Congrats guys.
I asked the girl I’ve been crazy about (and driven crazy by) since the day I met her, to marry me. How we got from there to here is a long story. One that I’ll save for another time. But today, I want to tell you about the best day of my life.
A few days earlier we started to plot our weekend, and talked about spending the day together. No friends, no family, just us. The weather was shaping up to be nice, so I suggested we go downtown to layout at Grand Park. I knew this is where I wanted to propose.
There’s been plenty of opportunities to propose in more exotic, adventurous or even stereotypically romantic places, but Los Angeles is where it was meant to be. It’s always been the backdrop to our story. It’s where we found each other. It’s where we fell in love. I also knew how much this city means to her as an individual. She moved around a lot growing up, and Los Angeles is the first place she’s ever called home and truly meant it. I figured what better place to propose than in the heart of LA, in a sprawling park overlooked by one of the city’s most iconic buildings.
I usually have a hard time getting out of bed, but on this particular day you’d have thought I spent a lifetime in the military. I left Alexis in bed and got breakfast started for us straight away. I had some time sensitive plans in place, and I wanted to get ahead of the day. Thank God she still wanted to go to the park.
We got ready, packed a bag and headed over. When we got there, we found a blaring children’s dance festival of some sort taking place. It was loud and it was weird. Not exactly what I expected. Thankfully, it’s a big park and where we were headed was on the opposite end. It was a hot day, really hot, but we found some shade under a tree to lay our blanket across. We sat down and talked a bit while I doodled the iconic LA City Hall building across the park. I gave up after a few minutes and told her I was going to just draw her instead.
I repositioned myself so she couldn’t see what I was drawing. I lifted my eyes from the page every few minutes to examine her features, all the while she was doodling too. After a few minutes, I said I was done. My heart was racing and was hoping she couldn’t hear it in my voice. With a worried face, I warned her not to be mad, since the portrait didn’t really turn out that great, and didn’t quite look like her. When I spun my sketchbook around, she found the words “Will you Marry me?”
Her eyes lit up and moved from the page to me, back to the page and back to me again. As she stared at me with wide watery eyes, I took the ring from my pocket and offered it to her. I told her I loved her, that I always had, and that I wanted to spend the rest of my days with her. We kissed and held each other. After a few beats… I had to remind her she still had to give me an answer. It was a strong yes, and I finally put the ring where it’s always belonged.
Once our nerves settled, I pointed to a man that was hiding out behind some bushes. His name is Archi, and I hired him to photograph the moment. He’d been there the whole time. We all finally made eye contact and laughed. Honestly, I didn’t even know where he was for a while. True mark of a pro. We spent the next half hour or so taking some photos with him. Some in the park, and some across the street in front of the LA City Hall building. It’s was just too beautiful a building to pass up with a professional photographer on hand. As we were walking up to City Hall, I joked to Alexis that I was really just trying to fast track this thing, and get the papers today.
Inspired by our move to a new apartment.
There was a time I had no more than two plates, two bowls, a mug, and just a few forks, knifes and spoons. Only a few glasses too, most of which were just old pickles jars. Occasionally had to offer a drink served in measuring cup.
It was a much simpler and much lonelier time. Thankfully, we all grow up.
Dug through some old drives and found some of my student projects. This was for my Adobe Illustrator class. The assignment was to redraw a photographic image using only vectors, while trying to make it as realistic as possible.
Of course I knew the result wasn’t realistic, but it was the best I could do at the time, and I was pretty proud of it. Ten years later, thought it’d be fun to recreate it.
The image on the left was made over the course of about 2-3 weeks. The one on the right was made in a little under two hours. Still not quite photorealistic, but everybody’s gotta start somewhere.
Maybe I’ll give it another go in another ten.
Hell, did that take a long time.
Six Foot Giraffe last saw a major redesign almost 5 years ago. It’s been long overdue to say the least.
I’ve made a lot of work over the years, and now I have tools in place that can help people (and myself) find things they’ve forgotten, or just plain never seen. Posts can have a lot more depth now too. I can write and show more, in higher detail.
A lot has changed and a lot hasn’t. There’s a lot of nuances, and there’s still work to do, but in the meantime, I’m getting back to the art.
Hope you like it.