jamm session 2017

Every year I do something I call ‘jamm week.’ Simply put, it’s a several days devoted to working my personal projects, such as artwork or some entrepreneurial business projects. I wake up just as early (or earlier) than normal and I work into the night. I’ve found that by having this concentrated time, it dramatically increases my productivity and output of results. In businesses and organizations, they’re usually called ‘offsides’ or ‘retreats.’ The trick here is to make it all about your personal goals and making huge gains on them.

This year I decided to focus on several business ideas, from making a podcast to opening a coffee shop to creating a newsletter. Below is the agenda and which ones I actually accomplished.

Here are a few rules and tips:

  • You must make a plan before you start – And I’m not talking the morning of Day 1. I’m talking about a month ahead of time as you start mentally preparing for your jamm week, start jotting down notes as they occur to you what you want to accomplish. As time gets closer, arrange all those thoughts into an actual agenda or schedule. This will keep you on track and not stagnated.
  • No interruptions! – This is an important time for you and you’ve taken the time to do this, so do it right. Limit the cell phone interruptions and social media checking. Use only your breaks to keep up with the news and emails. Absolutely no app games!
  • Tell people you’re doing this. – Your friends are awesome and they’ll check in with you to see how it’s going. That’ll keep you accountable to come through in what you said you’d do.
  • Go somewhere to jamm – Don’t just do it at home, unless you have a nice office and used to producing at home. Instead, go to a coffee shop, bookstore, or library to gain extra energy or inspiration from the new stimulus of a different environment.

“Ignoring the small stuff isn’t an option, but living in a state of continuous partial attention won’t cut it either.” – Cal Newport (Computer Science professor at Georgetown University and the author of Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World)

This year’s jamm session, for me, had better than anticipated side effects. Not only did I make significant headway, I enjoyed a “productivity high” for several days later that I carried into other parts of life. Great!

So, try it out for yourself, and if you, send me a note on how it went for you. Good luck!

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entire life

the inspiration for this new comic strip really came from just observing how lately life seems to be happening all around me, and so fast.  there’s been friends getting pregnant, colleagues passing away, and just people coming down with life changing events.  life just happens but because we’re living in the moment, it’s hard to grasp or even steer our own life.  i’ve been told recently my comics are getting really depressing, so that wasn’t the intent for this!  it might be late in life, but it does get better for our main character.  so, if you happen to be feeling that too, i have to believe it’s never too late to be happy.

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Johnny’s top movies of 2016!

like my friend @AkaDimiX, i enjoy the year end list of top whatevers.  the only one i care about really are the top movies, so without further a du…

  1. Arrival – great story and visuals.  i’ve seen a lot of sci-fi movies and this movie managed to give me something different.
  2. Hell or High Water – dubbed a modern western, i thought it hit all the marks of a western really well and transported me to that lifestyle for a moment in time.
  3. Rogue One – despite all the hype and an origin story i wasn’t all too thrilled about, the movie definitely delivers.
  4. The Accountant – the premise is a bit hokey but Ben Affleck gives a great performance that mixes in humor just at the right moments.
  5. Captain America: Civil War, Deadpool, Doctor Strange, Batman V. Superman – i’ll go ahead and lump all these movies together – fun and entertaining, but ultimately forgettable.
  6. Star Trek Beyond – even with my bias for all things Star Trek, this movie barely makes it on the list.  still, it was fun seeing characters get to interact despite two previous movies where they didn’t.
  7. Eddie the Eagle – it’s my feel good movie of the year!  starring my fav actor Hugh Jackman, it’s based on a true story and good for a light night in all the seriousness of the world.

biggest disappointments for me this year, and there are lots:

  1. X-Men Apocalypse
  2. Independence Day: Resurgence
  3. Sausage Party
  4. Green Room
  5. Keanu

honorable mentions, especially as rentals:

  1. Nerve
  2. Zootopia
  3. Midnight Special
  4. Jungle Book
  5. The Nice Guys

movies i haven’t seen yet that may make it on this list:

  1. Moonlight
  2. Manchester by the Sea
  3. Jackie
  4. La La Land
  5. Live By Night
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Johnny’s top movies of 2015!

for those of you that care, here’s my top picks for movies in 2015!

    1. Ex Machina – what a concept!  great acting all around plus great visuals
    2. Star Wars: The Force Awakens – JJ does it again with a solid all around movie, but he better watch out for duplicating past plots too much (i.e. Star Wars Into Darkness and Wrath of Kahn)
    3. Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation – i love the MI franchise and Tom Cruise doesn’t disappoint.  i hope the addition of Ferguson in the next installment doesn’t ruin the dynamic.
    4. Mad Max: Fury Road – that guitar guy sealed the deal for me
    5. Everest – speaking to the adventurist in me, i enjoyed the grittiness and true story aspect
    6. The Martian – fun humor with a fun cast
    7. Furious 7 – the action is so ridic you have to respect that
    8. The Gift – a surprisingly dark movie that has perhaps ruined Jason Bateman for me
    9. Kingsman: The Secret Service – a breakout role for the male lead and i enjoyed all those British actors in one place
    10. Southpaw – i’m a sucker for boxing movies

biggest disappointments for me this year have been:

    1. Spectre – weak plot and action sequences that made no sense
    2. Ant-Man – despite Paul Rudd and an excellent entourage, perhaps i was expecting too much but this was way too predictable and that romance doesn’t feel organic
    3. The Avengers: Age of Ultron – i hear it’s better upon second viewing but it got too convoluted for me

good, but perhaps overhyped:

    1. Sicario

made more enjoyable because the friends i was with:

    1. Straight Outta Compton

movies i haven’t seen yet that may make it on this list:

    1. Macbeth
    2. Creed
    3. Revenant
    4. The Big Short
    5. The Walk
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new comic… that’s fill-in-the-blank!

it’s been awhile but here’s a comic strip i drew recently.  a bit rusty, but boy did it feel good to have all them drawing tools in my hands again!  it was something i did for my day job, but i’ve taken out the text so you can fill it in yourself with whatever!  enjoy!


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criticizing my own art


so, what went wrong with the left image? I didn’t see how off it was until I was done with the face, when it just looked wrong. the jaw looked off, the chin seems too narrow, and the combination of the eyebrows and eyes made him looks Asian (which I did not intend this time!).

so, I did what always takes courage for me and erased it. when I drew it again, using a photo reference of myself, I realized I needed more “stress” in the jaw. I mean, if he’s opening his mouth wide, there should be more stretch in the skin and therefore show more cheek bones (I think). in any case, the one of the right looks much better. plus, I wanted to make it not just photo-real but more bounce, like a cartoon.

my last comment, do yourself a favor and look up the artist Eric Canete. he’s fantastic. and when he draws, he’ll draw and redraw the image until he gets it right. like a master sculptor bringing the image out of the paper. he gives me inspiration to not give up. thanks.

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well, friends, this is it.  the final Finn comic strip.  i’d like to say thanks to everyone for reading and visiting the site.  i’ve been drawing Finn and crafting relationships for him for over 5 years now.  i started this web comic with the simple goal of keeping me drawing regularly and to challenge my artistic skills.  Finn’s friends were created from the various moods i have, and letting them play off of my predominant characteristic, ala Finn.  looking back on my comic strips, i do notice a growth in my style and comfort in drawing emotions thru body expressions.  i’ve decided to stop the series now because i want to challenge myself in different art endeavors.  what that means is that my goal is to get this site active in a few months with all new stories and characters.  i hope you’ll come back then and see what new adventure i can drum up!  thanks!

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here we are, second to the last Finn comic strip for the foreseeable future.  and here we have Finn making amends with a lost friendship a while back in the comic’s history.  i think the concept of closure is overplayed many times in tv shows and movies, but there’s something to it as well.  i’m not sure how much time you spend dwelling on it as opposed to leaving something unresolved.  in the end, it’s just a matter of can you go on with your life with or without that closure.  the other point here with Finn is having the emotional maturity to accept a personal failing and owning up to it.  that’s something i find rarely happens, and maybe that’s just because personal growth doesn’t happen all that often.

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