Jiro Dreams of Sushi

Jiro Dreams of Sushi isn’t really a documentary about sushi. It’s a documentary about pursuing your passion. Jiro’s passion just happens to be sushi.

Watching the film, I couldn’t help but note striking similarities between Jiro’s approach to his craft, and Steven Pressfield’s concept of the professional mindset in “The War of Art“.

I’ve often discouraged myself from creating personal art projects with the defeatist attitude of “what’s the point?”. There really is no “point” to sushi. Why does Jiro care so much? What drives him? It’s not money or fame. It’s the relentless pursuit of perfecting his craft, or as he words it, his chosen profession. By honing his craft, he not only brings joy to his patrons who rave about his sushi, but he surrounds himself with like-minded experts that he works with — the seafood merchants, the rice merchant. Jiro’s sushi is so good, his rice guy will only sell his best rice to Jiro because “what’s the point of selling good rice to someone who doesn’t know how to cook it?”. Yes, rice.  Continue reading “Jiro Dreams of Sushi”

Razer Nostromo Programmable Keypad Review: Great Photoshop Accessory for Digital Artists

The Razer Nostromo Gaming Keypad is my new favorite Photoshop tool/gadget/accessory besides the Wacom Intuos4 graphics tablet. If you’re a keyboard junkie like me (and even if you aren’t), you’re going to love this little gadget.

Initially I was going to get a more traditional programmable keypad, but my artist friend and fellow digital art gadget geek Ray Frenden had recently picked up a Nostromo and loved it. When he told me there were per-app key configurations, that sold me.

Continue reading “Razer Nostromo Programmable Keypad Review: Great Photoshop Accessory for Digital Artists”

Argo

Ben Affleck’s “Argo” really surprised me. I was not all that interested in seeing it until a friend invited me to see it. I’m glad I did.

One of the things I loved most about the film was the restraint. Characters acted like real people. The drama arose from the circumstances, not from hyperinflated Hollywood dialogue designed to make scenes feel dramatic. There was no overacting and the characters were believable. Restraint in the cinematography was also well done. The film was able to maintain that “movie feel” without ever drawing attention to gimmicky camera sweeps or angles. The same can be said for the 1970s period clothes, props and environment — not once did you feel you were being hit over the head with bell-bottoms and sideburns with a wink-wink-nudge-nudge that they are doing a period piece.  Continue reading “Argo”

Sol: Sun Clock App

I caught some great sunset photos last week and got the bug to shoot more. I vaguely knew about “magic hour” (a.k.a. “golden hour”) for photos and wanted a want to remind myself of when that time was coming up. But it’s a bit tricky since it’s not at the same time every day. But I found a perfect app that solves the problem in a stylish way.

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Minecraft: Zen and the Craft of Mining

Minecraft.

Minecraft is like a mix of the original NES Legend of Zelda, the Atari 2600 game “Adventure”, extruded into a 3D LEGO-style world using a DOOM-esque first-person game engine with Tetris-style addiction. Throw the TV show “Lost” in there and you’re starting to get the idea.

At first glance, the graphics stand out like a sore thumb in this world of 1080p high-def pixel and polygon phantasmagorias seen in most modern games. It could be for the custom-generated infinite landscapes which are created for each new game, but I think it’s also an aesthetic choice by the developer. What at first seems basic or rudimentary soon becomes minimalist and clever, especially considering the mechanics of the gameplay: digging and building. The modular look of the cube world ensures you’re never jolted out of it while playing.

Most reviews or tutorial videos I have seen on Minecraft overlook one of the most compelling aspects of the game for me: the first night. The video tutorials—while fun and entertaining—can be dry in that they just give steps of how to build your first shelter. But in some ways I think this overlooks some of the coolest things about Minecraft: the experiential self-discovery of how things work in Minecraft. Although you’ll be relying on the Minecraft Wiki pretty heavily as well. Continue reading “Minecraft: Zen and the Craft of Mining”

Xtrail: Slick New GPS Health/Fitness Tracker App

Xtrail - The GPS-enabled Fitness App

Xtrail is a clever new GPS fitness and exercise tracking app that is quickly growing on me. It has a clean, easy-to-read interface and design that I’ve come to expect from the developer, Sophiestication.

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MotionX-Sleep: Clever Sleep Tracker & GPS Pedometer App

MotionX® | MotionX-Sleep Overview

MotionX Sleep is an interesting pedometer and sleep tracking app that I’ve recently become a big fan of. I’ve picked up the new habit of daily walks for simple exercise, and have also discovered that proper sleep is another healthy goal to aim for, so this app covers both in a nice little package.

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Drafts: Idea Inbox

Drafts is an “idea Inbox”. Launch the app, type your text, and then decide where it needs to go or be used. You can send it in an email or a text message, post to Twitter or update your Facebook status. Send the text off as a new note in Evernote or save it as a text file to Dropbox. You can hand it off to the clipboard or other writing apps, and it’s the fastest way you’ve ever entered a new event in the calendar app.

Drafts launches fast so you get the idea down first, and then decide what to do with it. After you use it about three times, you’ll wonder how long before Apple will buy the developer out and add it to iOS.

Check out my tips for using Drafts.