Year End Thanks for 2011

Whew! Have you ever had a moment that REALLY kicked your ass? Has that moment ever lasted an entire year? 2011 seems to have been that year for a lot of folks I know. I can’t recall a time (including 2008) where every aspect of my life simultaneously became a stress point. If 2011 is the year that tested us, then 2012 promises to be the reward for facing those challenges head on.

The year had its highs & lows, and I wanted to take a moment to recognize some folks who have helped me so that I can be there to help you:

J Schuh – you may know him as The Texas Animator, I know him as my best friend & partner in all things creative. Despite his incredible reputation, he deserves even more recognition for his talent & humanity. Look for me to rock out some cool stuff with J in 2012.

Glyn Dewis – my best mate who I haven’t seen since we met at Photoshop World eons ago. You might say we’re 21st century “pen pals”. He might be across the pond, but he’s been a far truer friend than folks I know right here in town.

TipSquirrel – the only person who has ever promoted everything I do without so much as a poke from me. If I were seeking a manager, he would be my guy. He’s been a constant source of support, asked or not. Coming from someone who spends a lot of time helping other people it’s nice to be on the receiving end.

Kevin Ames – my only regret is we didn’t become friends sooner. Kevin is a great mentor, confidant, and truly an inspiration behind a camera. I’m a better person knowing him.

John Pozadzides – to be successful you need to emulate successful people. I’m sure a lot of people think they can do what John “P” does, but truly they wouldn’t be as successful. A chance meeting in Vegas at Photoshop World led to some good conversations, and a whole lot of education on my part. John’s been a great friend to my family, generously lending his time & resources as I’ve built my podcast.

Darryl Briggs – the man behind the DFW Photography Club knows you can’t have a successful video podcast without a place to host the show. Darryl believed in my YouTube channel before I ever recorded an episode. He helped get the show started and was a huge support this past year keeping the episodes on schedule for you. When I was running on empty Darryl was always there.

Justin SeeleyI wrote it in a comment on Justin’s blog a few weeks ago, and I’ll say it again — Justin is the reason I have a YouTube channel today. Justin’s the same great guy I met at Photoshop World several years ago, minus a few pounds. He understands that building community stems from a commitment to the needs of others more than yourself.

Dee Sadler – was one of the first to recognize my contributions to the Adobe community. One of the most intelligent ladies I know, she’s the force behind the D2WC conference.

Zig Baird – the man behind this site, Zig is The WP Guy. Sure, I’m technically inclined, but the challenge of growing your business is keeping up with all the growth. Zig has been HUGE part of keeping AJWOOD.COM running, and he’ll continue to roll out improvements in 2012.

Brian Sullivan – I enjoy the fact that Brian believes I’m cooler than I actually am. He’s been a great motivator, a tremendous support and he opened the door to new opportunities this year. The face of Big(D)esign, I’m thankful that he saw things in me I had forgotten about.

Giovanni Gallucci – the first person to say my show sucked when everyone else said it was awesome, and I’ve got a better show because of that.

Dave Curlee – you can’t see the stuff Dave does, but it’s evident every time I upload a new episode of I Create Content. He is my go-to guy for video, podcasting & other AV knowledge. This year he was also my rock of Faith.

John Hays – a former student who has become a good friend & colleague, John is someone who looks to change the world one personal connection at a time. He reminds me of Tom Cruise in Cocktail as his passion for personal development extends beyond his own needs, and he generously gives his time to others. He’s been a sounding board for ideas, and is a class act.

Gene McCullagh – a top Lightroom expert, the leader of the DFWAUG, Gene has been one of my longest supporters in Dallas. Many in his position could have seen me as a threat, but he embraced me as a colleague & friend. He consistently promotes the fact that I do actually get paid to teach, and has helped keep my talents in front of people who needed them.

David Ziser – David’s work inspired me long before we became friends. I admire his business savvy, and the longevity of his wedding photography is as much a testament to that as is his talent. His wife LaDawn is such a gracious lady, and I’ve appreciated her encouragement in my endeavors.

Thanks to Paul Goodman for allowing me the use of his photos from the Photo Pro Network Summer event this past July.

I’m blessed to know so many wonderful people, and I’m thankful to call them friends. I know there are others who are not as fortunate to have a support system, or fail to recognize the one they have.

In 2012 I’ll be spotlighting folks who not only inspire me, but those I think will serve as creative inspiration for you my loyal readers. If I’ve learned anything from this year it’s that you should live every moment possible AND you should have folks to share in those moments.

Linky Love aka Social Net 2.0

Dear readers, I’m posting a blog entry for the second night in a row. OMG! WTF! CYFBLI? Before we begin, let me just say that I’ve already thought about the conversation with my daughter, you know, the one where I tell her she shouldn’t text the Lord’s name in vain. Wait for it…


Yesterday I threw up a post about the Bloggers I linked to in a previous domain. Today, I’m throwin’ up some mad links for new folks. In no particular order, here goes some link love:

Bernskiold Media – I have a feeling that if I had any idea what I was doing when I was younger, I would have been Erik. His website easily surpasses anything I ever did with, and it’s much more relevant to the times. Make his blog a daily read, and buy his photographs.

Design by Firgs – This site is a few days old, in its infancy and already has 119 subscribers. That tells you something about the power of Twitter, and the appeal of content. And really, who doesn’t love free stuff for Photoshop? You better hurry up and comment before she starts chargin’ for the party.

Pursuing Photoshop – Mitzs reminds me why I love teaching Photoshop so much. No matter how many times I demonstrate the same features over AND over again, for beginners each lesson is a creative discovery. Tell me Mitzs, do I dazzle you?

Janinealogy – Just discovered the blog via Twitter, but I’ve seen Janine’s work at Landailyn R&R. Just across the way in Ft. Worth, I’m always happy to promote local Photoshop services around the metroplex.

Sage Family Studios – Lisa just hopped on Twitter today, which is groovy because more people need to know about her excellent portfolio.

If you checkout the Photoshop User website you can see the NAPP Portfolios of Erik, Firgs, Mitzs, Janine & Lisa. You’re sure to be impressed, and certainly inspired.

UPDATE – I missed a couple of sites. Color Me Badd. That’s what happens when I blog two nights in a row.

My Home Sweet Home – I missed Dawn at Photoshop World this past September, which was funny given she was twittering about the event just like me. Dawn recently debuted her first screencast on her blog. Be sure to check it out and give her some feedback.

Antique Mommy – Dawn’s friend Tina writes some good stuff on her blog, and I was especially fond of her Bailout entries. This is a blog I read, and hope to read more often.

Bloggers I Linked, Where Are They Now?

Good afternoon dear readers. I hope this blog post finds you doing well, and enjoying your day. Recently, I dug up some old pages from with the idea that I might incorporate them here on the new blog. I was going through an old blogger links page, and was curious to see if any sites were still around. Here are some of the entries from that 2002 list, with updated comments from your truly:

Acidman – I don’t picture Rob sitting around repeating daily affirmations to himself. Nor do I think his blog is textbook example of macheesemo. No, the Acidman is quite possibly the last of a dying breed, from a time when masculine actually meant something other than chauvinist. Today’s generation could learn something from the man whose self respect is in his values not his bionic dick.
2008 Update – It’s appropriate to kick off this list with a blogger who was such an influence that his site lives on even after he passed away in 2006. I only had a few brief exchanges with him, mainly through his site comments, and enjoyed his brash bold style.

AZCrew – This was my original online adventure. In the beginning there were a group friends hangin’ out at Michigan State. Inevitably, I was convinced to make the trek to Phoenix, AZ for a permanent hiatus from Michigan. Thank Chris for providing us an escape plan and a means to keep our sanity.
2008 Update – The homepage has boasted the same message for years. “We’re living in the real world now.” but I’m happy to report I’ve recently reconnected with some of the crew via Facebook.

Big Pink Cookie – Technically superior to anything I could do here. One of the first blogs I came across that allowed the viewer to change the layout on the fly. Christine’s site inspires me to become a well-rounded web designer. Someone who knows both the aesthetics & the backend mechanics to create a web masterpiece.
2008 Update – Still runs a better website than me, and an accomplished photographer to boot. You can follow her on Twitter now too.

Da Goddess – With Dawn Olsen in blog purgatory, I railed through her comments looking for other places to stimulate my brain. Not to disappoint there is solid content to be found on Joan’s site. She also uses on-the-fly layout changes a technique I have yet to master on this site. Be sure to add this on your list of daily reads.
2008 Update – Unlike a number of heyday bloggers I linked to, Joan is still going strong and shows no signs of blogger post droppage.

Davezilla – You want content? How about cartoons, essays, manly tips and a ton of daily blog humor. Visit this site to exercise your funny bone.
2008 Update – Talk about a site that hasn’t changed. I didn’t even have to update the links I posted the first time around.

High Acuity – What is with this young people today? A thirty-something, I don’t know how I’ll get a leg up on this generation of computer savvy designers. Aidan has been doing his thing since age 17 and he’s already been published. But wait, I’m supposed to mention his blog. There’s some good movie reviews and he throws in tech tips when he has a chance.
2008 Update – Now a successful web entrepreneur, nice to see the blog still lives.

Hose Monster – Everything my writing could be, only better. I swear he grabbed this post about reader comments straight from my brain, then filtered out all the small words, sprinkled in some vocabulary and actually made a coherent & interesting blog entry. Of course, I had already decided to link him after reading this post (about idiotic people) and this one (about receiving a sobriety test).
2008 Update – There haven’t been any posts since 2005, and I’m a sad blogger because of it. He was one of my blog heroes and perhaps he’s online around the `net somewhere. – A web-designer from Toronto, Stephanie has some of the best online layouts I have seen for a website. Each design surpasses its predecessor and it’s a refreshing touch to stop by a site and see a completely new look. She provides a fine example of how to properly and effectively use style sheets and her website has a lot of quality content for you to browse through including photos & her design portfolio. (A quick nod to Stephanie for enlightening me on how to properly put my comedian pop-ups together).
2008 Update – Stephanie’s site now points to a new blog. Her old site was up & down over the years, but it looks like she’s got the Internet itch again. Will have to checkout her Flickr page for new inspiration.

Moxie – I have to wonder why the Mox is still single. I’m beginning to think it’s all just a ruse to keep readers enthralled with her site. Her writing will entice you more than her marital status as her reviews of Reality TV are more entertaining than the shows themselves. Of course, there’s plenty of other things she has to write about so sit back and exercise your brain some. Oh and she uses Gallery for her photo albums.
2008 Update – Still around, swinging her righteous flair, taking on the liberals and probably a bigger Internet celebrity.

Mr. Helpful – This site is worth visiting simply on the merits of the “Shatner Chronicles” alone, but add to that “The Adventures of the Bionic Dick” and Mr. Helpful’s list of best entries and you could very well lose a weekend. This site gets a double-thumbs up for content originality.
2008 Update – If you read his blog then you know his son’s in a band. If you read his blog then you know why I linked him in the first place.

Paul Katcher – The first comment I have to make about this site is the design. Paul has such a content driven site that the ease of navigating all his categories & entries was HUGE. I’ll leave it to Paul to describe his blog entries which “read like a quick bar conversation”. Most of his entries are short and to the point, a perfect formula for Internet reading. Did I mention this is a content heavy site? You’ll find Interviews (hot chicks people), Reviews (books, movies, etc.), Photo Albums, hell his site definitely requires the Search feature provided by Movable Type.
2008 Update – I still have my t-shirt… uhm, which the wife wears of course.

Rabbit Blog – I find myself fiending for “Dear Rabbit” letters if I’m away from the `Net too long. Sometimes I pretend I am the rabbit… then I write myself a letter and stop short of answering it `cause that would be too weird… (Oh, and I enjoyed her published articles on as well)
2008 Update – Can you tell I linked A LOT of blogs that I don’t get to read anymore?

Raymi the Minx – Raymi reminds me of an ex-girlfriend. Amidst the nostalgia I’m reminded that fiercely independent women should be admired from a distance.
2008 Update – Still NSFW, still crazy.

Ryan McGee – Not since the Hose Monster have I come across a blog for the first time where I spent a good 30 minutes reading through different entries. Ryan knows how to woo his readers as each entry teases you with a hyperlink to the entire post (wait for it… wait for it… NOW). He uses big words like “juxtaposition” without sounding like he grabbed a thesaurus just to use a fancy word. The most powerful thing about Ryan’s blog is the personal frame of reference it conjures up with each entry. Insightful as it is inspiring, I’m just jealous that it’s not me. Jennifer Garner has no idea what she’s missing.
2008 Update – I still read his blog, and he’s currently linked. I would consider Ryan a blogger success, as his new site Boob Tube Dude is hot stuff.

Sean Johnson – I found Sean’s blog to be refreshing in its content because he articulates his questions, beliefs and faith in a manner that is compelling as well as though provoking. I could spend hours in conversation with him and probably learn a helluva lot.
2008 Update – I picked up quite a bit of SEO/Marketing material from Sean early on before anyone was using the terms SEO. He’s still around, and doing quite well.

TonyPierce – He’s older than you, dates more women that you and has enough content to keep the masses entertained every waking moment they’re on the Internet. A great photo blog and inescapable reading material.
2008 Update – Tony rocks, `nuf said.

Uptonia – Lauren made her presence known through my comments. It’s nice when new people pop in to say “Hey!” without bombarding you for linkage or solicitations for the latest in hair products. Lauren has some neat art you should check out (and ask her why she hasn’t posted any new stuff). Also I envy anyone who has traveled to Europe before I’ve had a chance to.
2008 Update – Website is still around, and she’s doing all the things she talked about doing in her blog.

Looking through those old links, I’m reminded that you should learn from your past not live in it. Like a highschool reunion it’s nice to reminisce about the good old days, but if you’re not moving forward, you’re not living.

Here’s hoping my life continues to move forward.