Monday, October 31, 2011

Tea Social Networking

I just joined (check out my profile here: It is a super awesome site, basically Facebook for tea drinkers. It's really funny that this exists and I really like it. They have a "virtual cupboard" which is hilarious and I just really love the design of the site. Great forum too that helped me on my search for a tea kettle last night.

Anyhoo I've started to post some "tea reviews" on there so I thought I'd copy one over here too. Good times. :)

Lapsang Souchong by Twinings

This was my first foray into Lapsang Souchong and it is pretty tasty… and pretty, pretty, prettttyyy weird. I heard that Winston Churchill liked this tea and that makes sense, it tastes more like a fine bourbon than a tea. :) It’s awfully unusual so don’t serve it to distinguished guests who have only ever drank PG Tips. This is more like a punch in the face than a tea, so be careful. But it definitely has it’s time and place.

Note that it has a very distinctive odor. Put less politely, it STINKS. So if you put it in your tea cupboard, it will spread it’s smell around like an unwanted college roommate. I had mine in the Twinings Box and it couldn’t contain this power house. I had to eventually chuck out the box and just put the tea bags in their sachets into a ziplock bag. That seems to have roughly done the trick so that everything in my tea cupboard doesn’t also taste like Lapsang Souchong. What a crazy tea!

Anyway with all this yapping it’s still a great tea. Seems like probably some people have gone nuts and made a much stronger version of this tea so I suspect despite it’s insanity that this tea is actually “tame” as far as Lapsang’s actually go. I am keen to experiment some more though. It’s very weird, but it’s a fun and interesting tea. Never had anything like it before and it’s an acquired taste, which I quickly acquired. 

Have fun and be careful. Your Grandma (unless she is super awesome) will probably hate this.

Hilarious iPad halloween costume

Oh, this is so brilliant. Nice job. Hilarious!!!!!

Wrapping up my TEDx prep

With TEDx now only 3 weeks away I've been keen to get to a point of "content lock".

Looking at this as a software product (yep, I'm a huge computer nerd, this is exactly how I think), the draft in April was just a prototype - most of which has been thrown out or re-imagined since then, but the initial spirit is still intact. About 3 months ago I wrote a few "Alpha" versions, improving and changing things with broader strokes as I went. I'd say the first "Beta" release of the talk was about a month ago, with the structure starting to take shape and major decisions being made. I even had a few "stub methods" in there, slides with a big red "TEMP" across them, awaiting their proper implementation as I gained approval from Pixar PR and PR at my work to include actual production stills from Wall-E and other films.

Beta 1 and Beta 2 moved pretty quickly, as I gained feedback from key players and trusted advisers. Those comments led to a couple of high priority bugs that I needed to change before "ship date". :) In the final sprint towards Beta 3 and now Candidate Gold, I've done some last major tightening of the bolts and ensuring that everything fits together as I had originally intended.

Now of course I've only been talking about the content (speech and slides), not the actual *talk* itself. The presentation is probably the biggest unsung hero of the whole thing, and it only gets one moment to shine on the day-of. There is this large element - I might even say the key element - of showmanship and stage presence that truly cannot be replicated. That (thank goodness) for me is the easy part. Given my absurdly high level of extroversion, I will be so enthused and motivated and excited by the presence of the big audience that the day of is going to be much, much, much, much, much better than any of the demos I've given to people in advance. Feeding off an audience's energy and trying to make a personal connection to the whole crowd at once is one of the absolute most exciting parts about public speaking in all it's forms, and I'm so excited for the day-of. The practice sessions that are the closest to the final product are more similar to my private practicing on my own, just in front of my own computer screen. This allows me to imagine the audience and all their energy, and picture how I'll respond to it on the day of.

I have only demo'd the talk for a couple of people and it's funny, it was more like a read-through and an explanation of different sections than it was of an actual run-through. It's kinda funny. The only person who knows how it's truly going to be said on the day-of is me, and only as I'll be saying it. Very funny. This is like a hyper-well-prepared version of any of my old student council speeches. For those, it was: have a general thing you need to get across. write out a story in point form only. say it through once or twice to myself. go up on stage and try to get the crowd out of their seats and raising the roof. This talk is similar in the execution, but the preparation is not just one afternoon of point-form writing - rather more like several months of hashing and re-hashing my exact points over and over again until they are whittled down to the true core message that I want to give. It's been really exciting to get to this point. But even more exciting will be actually presenting it.

I think the real problem with run-throughs for me is not that I don't want to practice - in fact I've been practicing 2 or 3 times a day for the last couple of weeks. It's more that the emotion is not genuine during a practice. My talk is so emotionally intensive and I'm not a good enough actor to feign emotion - it has to be genuine. And for me the only time the speech will be truly genuine is if I'm giving it to myself, or the one single time I get to give it to the audience. I don't know if this is a common thing with presenters, but for me it's definitely the case. I've really got to read the Steve Jobs documentary. His talks were so well prepared but you could always tell when he really felt the emotional impact of something he was about to say, and that he wanted the audience to feel it too. It was brilliant to watch and you could see how well he'd prepared his speeches, but also how he got to a point where he'd just go for it and feed off the energy of the audience, ad-libbing wherever he felt like it. I love that experience, and I'm so excited to have it so soon.

Whew, anyway that was a lot of words. :) The speech is now at a point where I am ready to "content lock". I made a couple bigger switches a few days ago and a few very minor changes again yesterday but now I think it's finally all fallen into place. (Not that I am at all comparing this to a Pixar movie, but...) John Lasseter always says that his movies are never "done", they are just "released." There is some great truth in there, that you can always tweak and re-tweak a creative endeavor that you really care about or is really personal, but eventually it gets to a point where the slides are due or the movie has to come out and you just have to stop and say, "This is as far as I am gonna take it. From here it will need to speak for itself." I'm really happy to say I think I've reached that point (haha, I'm still not talking in absolutes!!!) but it's basically getting to the point where I need to memorize the order of the slides so I just can't change them or swap anything around anymore. I'm very happy with where it's ended up and I think the central message comes out so loud and clear, and I really hope people will like it (and, more importantly, find some part of my message useful to apply to their own lives). The goal of TED is "ideas worth sharing", and I'm ready to give my central life philosophy and message to the crowd and the world. It's not jaw-droppingly out of the box or something that no one has ever thought of - I wouldn't call this a "ground-breaking" idea. But I think it (enthusiasm) is something that society has undervalued, especially in the current day but definitely when I was a kid as well. I feel like I surrounded myself with a lot of like-minded kids when I was back in high school (through ASG, Student Council and especially OSSSA), and that definitely helped shape my world view a whole heck of a lot. Last I heard OSSSA had folded and that is a huge shame and a major loss for the world, honestly. I benefited so much from the extreme positivity of the fellow attendees there and if I can impart forwards even a little portion of that OSSSA-style pure, unbridled passion for life to this crowd and the YouTube viewers around the world, then I'll really have successfully given my "idea worth sharing."

I don't know the time I'll be on stage yet, but note that it will be streamed live on on Friday Nov 18th. For those close friends and family who are coming to watch me in person, thank you so much for your support on the day-of, but especially for your encouragement throughout all the years to get to this point.

This is gonna be fun.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Tea Time

As most of you know I am a crazy tea fiend, which is why I've been up for the past 3 hours researching electric tea kettles with temperature gauges which you can set for different boil temperatures. Something I learned tonight is that when people say they don't like Green Tea cause it's "too bitter" or "too strong", that often means the tea has been "overcooked" as boiling hot water (212F or so) has been poured on it, and it doesn't react all that well to such hot water. Boiling water is meant for Black teas and Herbal, but for Green (and even more so for White tea), a lower temperature of 175-185F is better. Super interesting. I've never really been all that careful in the past with water temperature and I bet it does make a huge difference - especially if you start buying proper loose-leaf fancy teas and not just $2 boxes at the store.

So the tea kettle thing is still undetermined. There is a nice looking one from Cuisinart:
Cuisinart Stainless Steel
It's "variable temperature" which means it has a sensor in it to test the temperature of the water, pretty cool. Kinda pricey at $80 but looks pretty solid. Adagio Teas has one for $49 called UtiliTEA. Then there is one from Chef's Choice, PINO and Aroma that I looked at too. The Aroma one looks cool cause it changes colour as it gets hotter :) Kindof amazing, but probably just a gimmick. The problem is, none of these (even the Cuisinart) came off scott-free in the reviews on Amazon. Some people talked about plasticy taste, some people talked about leakage or rusting or the fact that the "expected temperature" was never actually correct, it was more like a rough ballpark. So a ton of reading and I still don't know which to get. Chef's Choice sound more annoying than anything else, I don't know much about PINO, and enough people ripped on the Aroma that I probably won't get that one. So it's down to UtiliTEA vs Cuisinart probably - price difference of approx $30 but the Cuisinart does have more features - like a "keep warm" button, kinda cool.

I've also been looking at new tea to buy online. My friend Rachel likes Adagio, and they seem pretty good. I'm in love with LUPICIA Fresh Tea, and their Green Rooibos was probably the most awesome thing ever. Though no need to order them online as they have a store here in San Francisco. The Republic of Tea is another local one and I've had their Melon White Tea before and it was pretty darn fantastic. Reasonably cheap and they have really nice tins too, so I think I might try a few of those. Finally, some friends at work just recommended Upton Tea Imports in Massachusetts. While their website desperately needs some better design, apparently their product is above and beyond any competition. So I'll have to try them out too. (Aside: TWG Tea from Singapore is so awesome but I was never able to find it here in San Francisco area. Looks like TWG is sold at Dean & DeLuca in New York City, but they have a St. Helena store in Napa Valley too, and see to sell TWG so I'll have to check that out next time in the north bay).

I have always been a tea fiend but I think I'd like to start drinking more tea at work. I usually defer to coffee cause it's so easy and quick and really I should rock some tea more often, especially fancy tea at work cause that would be fun. I have no idea why I haven't taken in some of my tea choices from home into work! Crazy!!!!

Finally, I never knew about this but should have suspected it - there is a tea social network called Steepster!!! hahaha. I should join and rate my favourite teas. Hilarious. Someone on there gave the Singapore Breakfast tea from TWG Singapore a good rating - well deserved. That tea shop was SO FRIGGIN GOOD. If I ever end up back in Singapore I am gonna drop like $100 at the TWG tea shop before heading back. :)

On that note, tea time! Actually I better go to sleep, why am I up so late about something so unnecessarily stealing my focus away from sleep!??! Oh right, cause this is exciting and when there is exciting stuff going on, I never go to sleep at a reasonable time. Oy. :) Anyway, a "bonny day" to you all, and happy steeping (and/or sleeping).

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Apple party

Awesome night tonight. Party with Apple peeps at the California Academy of Sciences!! Awesome times.

Diver in fish tank
Lamb Chops
Dessert table

More dessert!!!!

Me and Finkel
Official photo
On the Red Carpet!!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

I love this song

This has been playing in my head all day. I love this song.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Fate Under Fire - On The Water music video

Congrats to Sean and Charles on this epic video they directed for the band Fate Under Fire. Amazing! Awesome song. Frank, Jess and I are somewhere in the crowd during the night shots!!

Friday, October 21, 2011

TEDx Interview by Rob Sniderman

A couple of weeks ago I was interviewed by a super-motivated young guy named Rob Sniderman for the TEDxIB@York 2011 conference. Rob's fantastic write-up has been posted and Rob - I really appreciate your kind words. Great job! It's really awesome to see yourself through someone else's eyes, and I'm super impressed that Rob managed to pull so many details out of our short conversation. This was really fun to read. Rob, I'm gonna send this to my parents, they'll be proud. :)

Check it out here (scroll down on TEDx news feed):
Interview of Mike Jutan by Grade 12 Student Rob Sniderman

Mike Jutan's EPIC Hair Cut: Pantene Beautiful Lengths hair donation

As promised here's the final cut of the whole hair-cutting event!

On Oct 16th, 2011 I cut off all my hair to donate to the Pantene Beautiful Lengths charity to support women struggling with cancer.

For more information about how to donate your own hair, check out

Monday, October 17, 2011

EPIC Hair Cut: Trailer

Here's the trailer to my upcoming film. Coming soon! Enjoy :)

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Cutting off all my hair for Pantene Beautiful Lenghts

Matt is visiting and we went to the hairdresser today along with Alex to chop off all my big, curly locks. I had also grown my beard for the grand cinematic effect of shaving that at the same time and thereby jumping back to looking like a 22 year old all in about 30 min. :)

The purpose of this event was to donate my hair to Pantene Beautiful Lenghts, a charity which provides free human-hair wigs to women cancer patients. This is in honour of Kim Lausch.

The hair cutting went epically well and my hairdresser Andrea was just hilarious and totally into the whole event. I also have a video which I am editing and will post soon. Thanks to Matt and Alex for coming along, supporting the event, and for filming and putting up with my humour for extended periods of time. :)

Anyone who has long hair now and is considering donating it, check out Pantene Beautiful Lengths at It was a very straightforward process and it's a great opportunity to help someone in their time of need. Consider doing it! It was really fun and a great cause to support.

Pre-game lunch of daily grilled cheese at the Ferry Bldg
Getting my hair ready and discussing technique
Looking worried about the cut
Back view
Side view
Andrea, my hair dresser getting into it
Here comes the razor!
Cleaning up the sides
No longer beardin' it up
Almost there...
Done!!!! Amazing job, thanks Andrea!
Posing with my new cut
Excited for my new hair
And we're done!!!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

"It gets better" project: Lucasfilm edition

Congratulations colleagues and friends! I wholeheartedly agree - the diversity is what makes our company so great. I am very glad you are comfortable and able to freely spread your message. Well done!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

TEDx progress

Yep, 3:36am, again :)

With the talk just under 6 weeks away, I kicked into high gear about 2 weeks ago. Previously I had been thinking about the talk and researching/reading/planning mostly on weekends, but starting a couple weeks ago I switched to pretty much every night.

Get home from work, make a healthy dinner, watch a few episodes of Raising Hope (I love that show) to clear my head from a busy work day, get a cup of tea, and then get energized by the work and work from 9 or 10pm straight through to 3 or 4am. Been doing that almost every night!

I'm surprised I'm not losing momentum, but the work really is self-motivating now. I am so excited about the progress and some stuff just takes a while but is so epically fun like sorting through old photos and scanning the ones you like.

Last weekend I trimmed the 2nd draft twice so now I guess I'm at the 4th draft? Anyway I had my (pretty much) final notes ready on Sunday as well as scanning a bunch of photos. Today I spent several hours working on the Keynote slides. It took a while to get started tonight, but I just did 1/2 my slides in one sitting. I'm happy with my choice of font and Keynote theme, it looks badass. Also very glad that I laboured over the decision for a week. :) The "photo" borders look really sharp and I'm VERY happy with my progress tonight. This is really shaping up.

I'm not going too heavy on the transitions and silly animations in Keynote but actually even the silly ones (sparkle, fire) are really well implemented and look great. I may use a few of them for comedic effect. The ones where the letters twist off and fall off the screen is really hilarious and I think I have a funny self-deprecating joke that matches that transition perfectly.

Once the slides are done and I've determined whether or not I'll have Presentation Mode pointing at me during the talk, I'm going to write up the "Speaker Notes" if necessary and then start practicing and possibly cutting out a few smaller pieces if the time is running too long. I want to practice enough to get the flow and timing expectations roughly planned out, but I don't want to overpractice and negatively affect the smooth, conversational, ad-lib vibe I want to have on-stage. I've done so much research, development, writing and slide prep, I don't need to overdo it on practicing. :)

Well I'm about to fall asleep on my keyboard. Oh yes - and for anyone interested in coming feel free to send me an email and I can send you details about how to get tickets. It will also be simulcast during the event and YouTubed after the event. Once I know when I'll be speaking I'll post that for your interest.

Ok time for bed.
Mike :)

Sunday, October 09, 2011

Weight loss: This IS HAPPENING

About 1 month ago I finally got serious about weight loss. It's been something that has never had priority for me and it's way overdue that I get very serious about making some major changes. My first goal is 30 lbs, which will take me back to a weight I was in Grade 12 or Grade 13, before even going to Australia. I am VERY excited to get back there. This WILL HAPPEN.

The weight all started when I got to Waterloo and the stress was very high. The tasty carbo-heavy cafeteria choices I made were not ideal either - poutine and chicken fingers at 11pm Calculus homework sessions sure were tasty in the cold Canadian winter, but they didn't help keep that Freshman 20 (lbs) from showing up within 8 months. After that my continued super dedication to the work, my general unhealthy lack of sleep and continued student pizza-eating patterns continued the downward (or, shall I say, upward) trend of weight gain. By the time University was done I was up at least 25 or 30 lbs. Terrible.

After much pestering for years, whatever was necessary has finally clicked and I am turning up the heat on this chubby briznass. I like the "jolly" vibe people get from me, but rest assured it has nothing to do with me needing to lose 30lbs. I will still be as Jolly, I'm just cashing in this fat keg for a friggin' dirrrtty six-pack. Holler back!!!

Why the recent change in focus? Lots of things, but the big trip to Peru is a big help for sure. I will not enjoy the glorious Inca Trail if I have to carry all this extra weight. And I am not paying this much money for an amazing world trip just to arrive and be a tired whiney jerk about it when I arrive. Frank and Jess are doing amazingly well at their weight loss and my sister is doing amazingly so that's very motivating too. MattP is also doing it so we're all being good influences on each other which definitely helps keep us all on track.

I'm extremely happy to announce that the first month has been a HUGE success. I'm down 8lbs, an average of 2lbs a week. I have been aiming to lose at 1 lb/week but I've made enough major changes that it's going more quickly, which is nice. The main culprit was evening snacking. I must have been eating a crazy amount of extra calories in evening post-dinner snacking food - it's generally healthy stuff, but the quantities add up quickly. Those tiny yoghurt cups are like 180 calories each. So I've dropped this horrible habit completely. I have a proper dinner with more dense foods like Quinoa and more protein and it gets me not to be hungry later which is good. Also if I get hungry I have a small handful of unsalted roasted almonds and a huge cup of herbal tea. It's working very well. I also stopped buying any junk food. I find if I have amazing tasty stuff in my house like candy or ice cream or pudding cups or anything epic like that, I WILL EAT IT ALL IN ONE SITTING. Every time. So I just can't buy it. I just can't. I'll keep that stuff for special occasions only now. I don't have any truly idiotic bad habits like drinking soda all day (or even juice, actually) and I don't put sugar in my tea or coffee, so I didn't have some huge obvious thing to change. It turns out the biggest issue was the evening snacking, and now that this has stopped it's really showing on the weekly weigh-ins.

I'm using MyFitnessPal which is pretty awesome and easy-to-use. I thought it might be too much "paperwork" to do this but it's pretty fast and easy. I'm finding that I'm learning a lot about how much calories are in stuff and that helps inform my decisions too. Sadly Pizza really IS that bad for you. I can't even imagine how many calories it is when buddies and I share an entire large Pizza (or extra-large?!?!) oh man. That should basically never happen. Maybe once a year, and I can't eat anything else that day.

MyFitnessPal - Free Calorie Counter

Something interesting I just found out if you edit your "goals" on this site. It will re-set your calorie count to be based off your CURRENT weight, not your start weight. So that means as you lose more weight, you have to eat less/exercise more to continue losing at the same rate. Makes sense I guess but funny to see it in numbers. So this means the reason I'm finding it "easier" than expected to lose weight is that it IS easier to lose at higher weights. You don't have to work as hard at it and you lose lots. The trick is going to be to rather than keep my effort constant, to INCREASE my effort as my weight continues to drop. Continually improve the healthy food choices, and crank up the exercising much more. Currently I'm only biking to work maybe twice a week, and maybe I'll walk one-way once a week too. Prob not enough. Also I considered joining the gym at work or the Y but the biking is quite a lot of exertion. So I will prob need to re-think my exercise plan as the weight loss progresses and naturally slows down. At that point I'll need to add in exercise to the mix to continually push it rather than attacking the problem mostly from the food angle like I'm doing right now.

AWESOME times. So psyched to finally be making a real, proper, long-lasting change. This has been a loooonnng time coming. It's good to be prioritizing myself a little higher than everything else for a change, usually many other things (work, finances, socializing, education!) all go much higher than fitness on the list. That's all good stuff too, but it's been very unbalanced for a while. Let's DO THIS THING!!!!!!!!!

Saturday, October 08, 2011

A few website updates

A few website updates, mostly to the "work" section. I added in some photos visually displaying my journey from Waterloo to Alias to Pixar to ILM. Fun stuff and it was cool to go through some old pics too.

Also renamed my resume page to Resume (CV). It is getting to be quite long and is becoming a list of varied accomplishments, so it's starting to feel like a CV. Anyhow renamed that as well as updating my resume/cv with some resent conference announcements and the work I've been doing lately.

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Personal business cards

For TED I didn't want to give out only business cards from work because they have my work email and phone number on it, and they also don't have my email, website, or blog on them. In general it seems like a good idea to have some personal business cards for random people you meet, people you might want to keep in touch with but you'd rather they email you at home rather than call you at work :)

Anyhoo after some research I decided to keep it simple and go with A friend showed me their "MiniCards" a while back and they were really effective. I went with the normal-sized ones, but opted to upload my own images - an assortment of photos I've taken on trips (from the "best of" album I chose for my new website.) It'll be nice to have these for the conference and beyond.

Confirmed: TEDx speech in Keynote

Was hoping to use Keynote over PowerPoint for my TEDx in 6 weeks but wasn't sure about the technical requirements. Also, this will be the first time I'm giving a non-technical presentation with Keynote - usually it's a technical audience that doesn't mind me standing behind a podium and occasionally half-turning to read what's being projected onto the slides!

Not here of course! Just had a thought last night that... oh... right... I'm going to have some sort of monitor pointing back at me with the slides on it. Maybe even the Keynote "presenter mode" where I can have extra point-form notes visible which will help me keep on track and not miss any key points I want to say, but don't want to project. That's a very powerful feature and I didn't remember that this was possible - I always just have detailed slides with lots of technical stuff on them. But this is not that kind of talk. Exciting stuff!

I'm speaking at AU 2011 at the end of November and even though that's a more technical talk, I am going to make good use out of Presenter Mode this time as well. I really like it, it's got a lot of potential. Seeing the current AND the next slide is also very useful.

The crazy ones

Thank you Steve for leading Pixar to astounding success, and encouraging a young kid in cold, snowy London, Ontario to keep following his dreams to work in California at a company you built into a household name. Thanks for giving me the opportunity to make my mark, and for starting me on my way in the industry I've always wanted to be a part of.


Great article. Broad market is now finally starting to sing the same tune that Bill Bonner has been singing for years:

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Sunday, October 02, 2011

Gabe's Star Wars Movie

A 5-year old's Stop Motion Lego Star Wars Movie. "It's great being on my speeder bike!" haha. AWESOME. Gabe - you are awesome. Keeping making movies, little buddy!

My dream jacket

Dear amazing Arc'Teryx jacket, one day - not now, but someday soon - you will be mine. I need to save like a madman and earn you. But one day, we will be together. And I'll take you on a trip to South America where you will shelter me from the rain outside. I love you.

OMG this is amazing.

I am hiking the Inca Trail in Peru next May and starting to look for new gear now. I am going to get a smaller pack for the trek itself, and use my larger pack (80 litres) as checked baggage instead. I'm also looking for newer hiking shoes, I have some solid Gore-Tex Merrell's with that solid Vibram sole but I need a taller shoe with more ankle support. Dad and I are gonna go shopping at REI in December.

But my real "dream item"? This Arc'Teryx jacket. OMG it is awesome. This is the Alpha LT, their top-of-the-line GoreTex ProShell and maaaaaaaaaan is it awesome. I heard that some of their lower-end jackets are now made somewhere else? But anyway this one is still made in Canada, the glorious great white north homeland of mine. :) That's what I'm talkin' about. It is a pricey beast but on the other hand IT COMES IN THIS AMAZING PURPLE COLOUR. holy craaaaaaaaaaaaaap.

I am gonna keep a look out for a sale and go to REI to get fitted and choose a size so I'll be ready to pounce the second I see a sale. $499 is a bit rough, though I am absolutely sure this jacket is worth every penny. :)

To quote Napoleon Dynamite: "I wannnnt thaaat"

Saturday, October 01, 2011

TEDx prep: My notes, from above

Tonight I started organizing all the notes I'd scribbled, stuff I'd copied from TED talk transcripts, emails I'd sent myself/others and my previous drafts of this speech.

I've been kicking my prep into major high gear over the past month or so and I'm very happy with the progress. My thesis is solid and almost completely ready, I think. (This stuff can always use more re-hashing in my humble opinion) :)

My ENTJ-ness is helpful with this kind of research/idea gathering/preparation. The "N" (Intuitive) and "J" (Judging) help me tear apart my previous ideas. The "E" (Extrovert) helps me not feel too worked up if I think some of my previous ideas sucked. No need to internalize these thoughts, just chuck 'em out and move on. :) What I have to watch out for is the "T" (Thinking). I will definitely have a tendency to over-think and waaaaaaayyy (over) analyze stuff. I could have written the entire talk from start to finish several weeks ago but it's not ready yet. I've written chunks here and there but I really need to make sure all pieces are in place and completely solid. Then the speech "writing" part will be very quick. It's basically just going to be an amalgamation of all the organized thoughts - I'm not going to be reading it off a paper anyway during the talk, it needs to have a more ad-lib kind of vibe anyway. So the exact wording does not need to be perfect, because this is not an essay - it's a speech. It has to be more conversational by nature or I'm gonna put people to sleep. :)

So anyhow to (over) analyze this paragraph, I don't think I'm over analyzing the importance of getting the speech plan, structure, and flow correct. Once the entire plan is up to my standards, that is essentially the speech. If I had cue cards, that what I'd write on them. At that point (hopefully next weekend) I will actually write out a whole version of the speech just so I have it and so I can tweak some of the jokes. Apparently writing cues only is how Larry David works (not that I'm 1/100th as brilliant as he is, of course) - he has an idea for a scene in Curb Your Enthusiasm and he writes out only an outline. He then writes out a few key jokes or points that the characters must say or must hit upon during the scene. Then they start and let the creative freedom fly as the actors take the ideas and improvise them in "real-time". I think that's a really cool technique and should work pretty well. In my bazillion high school student council speeches, I often worked this way, typing out only point-form cues to myself, which helped me stay on-point and on-topic but also gave me the freedom to just "chat" with the audience. I do have a tendency for rambling though so I need to practice a lot to make sure I stay in the required time limit.

Anyway, enough yapping. Back to work, Mike :)

I've got all my notes together now and I am gonna start typing up the flow/outline/structure formally now. I'm aiming to finish that by the end of the weekend, exciting times!

Notes so far, from above. Bad ideas in the trash :)

I'm speaking at Autodesk University 2011

Exciting news, I've been chosen to be a speaker at Autodesk University 2011 in Las Vegas this November. I will be speaking during the Autodesk Media & Entertainment API Conference.

This is very exciting and I am very much looking forward to it. This is only a week after my TEDx talk in Toronto, so November is truly conference month this year! I am really excited to be among my peers across the entertainment industry and to learn and share ideas with brilliant minds from all over the globe. Can't wait.

My topic will be "Tips & Tricks for using Nested Referencing in Maya", based on some recent work at ILM. More details to follow in the upcoming weeks. I'll post the outline/bio from the AU site once they put it all up there.

Thank you Autodesk for this fantastic opportunity!

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Ol' school Ryan Gosling reppin' Cornwalllll!

Wow, this is totally awesome. Ryan Gosling, the legendary actor and complete badass from some of my favourite movies (Lars and the Real Girl, Blue Valentine) was born in my hometown of London, Ontario. A buddy at work saw this video and passed it along cause it is SO epically Canadian. This is something I guess from when he was on Mickey Mouse Club? Pretty crazy that a bazillion really talented celebrities today started on that show. Didn't realize he grew up in Cornwall, a fair ways from London, but the vibe in this video is like an exact replica of a London Ontario summer break from school :)

The hockey playing in the driveway is awesome and I love his description about why he loves hockey. Oh man, soooo Canadian.

Way to represent your roots, bro!

[Aside:This reminds me that I should really get the show "Freaks and Geeks" from Netflix. That show looks like it launched the careers of most of my favourite comedians, I should really check it out.]