Miscellaneous

THAT'S A WRAP for the Main Street Electrical Parade 2019!

I’ve been a part of plenty of different parade shows at the Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, CA. However, this particular parade has a special place in my heart. I’ve gotten lucky enough to “become great friends” w/ some of Disney’s iconic beloved characters; Mr. Smee and Dopey for this recent run.

I believe that being a part of this iconic show, shows that life becomes more meaningful when you realize the simple fact that you’ll never get the same moment twice. So it was an amazing experience to “become great friends” w/ these iconic Disney characters.

Can’t wait for it to come back (maybe in 2022) for it’s 50th anniversary!

-AG

Emotions are chemical levels in your brain and your body.

Emotions are chemical levels in your brain and your body is constantly trying to maintain equilibrium. If one emotion sky rockets, that chemical becomes flagged and signals the tear duct to open as an exit to release that emotion packaged neatly within a tear. It’s why we feel more stable after crying, as if whatever emotion we were feeling had been released and we were refreshed. This is also why tears from different emotions look different under an electron microscope. They’re literally made up of different things. 

According to Joseph Stromberg of the Smithsonian’s College of Arts and Sciences, happy tears are structurally different than sad tears than angry tears than overwhelmed tears etc. Different types of tears have distinct molecules. Emotional tears have protein-based hormones including the neurotransmitter leucine enkephalin, which is a natural painkiller that is released when we are stressed.

-AG

Creating the Genuine Connections We Long For

We all long for genuine human connections, and even in a busy life with lots of people around us, these genuine connections can be hard to find.

In the last year or two, I’ve made it a point to have fewer friendships, but with deeper connections … while also being open to the miracle of a random encounter with another human being. This philosophy has paid off in more genuine connections with my family and friends, but less busy-ness.

Today I’ll share a few reasons for creating genuine connections, and my strategies for creating them.

Why Genuine Connections Are Important

There are many reasons, but these are the ones that strike me as important:

  1. We need it to be happy and fulfilled. All the money in the world, and the best job in the world, and all the material possessions in the world … won’t matter much if you’re alone and have no genuine human connections. We have a human need for this kind of connection, and there’s no doubt that it makes us happier, even if it complicates our lives a bit.

  2. It boosts creativity. I find that working in solitude is the best way to create, and having some time for solitude is important for reflecting on ideas … but having a genuine discussion with someone is really important for expanding on those ideas. When I get together with a friend, or with a family I inevitably walk away with several new (or reinvigorated) ideas that excite me.

Life is better when you make genuine connections. You are happier, less isolated, more creative, with new opportunities.

Let’s look at how to make these important connections.

LOCATION: Huntington Beach, CA

How to Make Genuine Connections

Here’s the thing … you can’t just force a connection to be what you want it to be. Many people make this mistake in different ways: they try to create a connection with someone who doesn’t want it, or hope the person responds in a certain way, or want the other person to be something they’re not, and so on. The key to an unforced, genuine connection is openness.

So here’s what works for me:

  1. Be open to random connections. While I accept fewer invitations these days than I did a couple years ago, when I randomly meet someone, I try not to be closed to them. This means opening up, wondering who they are and setting aside any prejudgements that happen, sharing who I am openly and with a smile. I don’t know if this will be a connection to last a lifetime, but it can be one to brighten a moment.

  2. Make time for the important relationships. While work is important, it’s important to me to make time each day for them. Even just reading a book, or taking a walk, or sitting down and talking about something — if the relationship is important, I’ll make time most days for it. But it also extends to a small circle of friends who I might not see every day, or even every week — if I can, I’ll make time for them.

  3. Be open to who they are. Try to notice your expectations of the other person, and let them go. Don’t pigeon-hole them, don’t try to make them someone they’re not … just explore who they are without knowing what you’ll find. Be curious. You’ll find the real them this way, and it’s much better than finding what you hoped to find.

  4. Be open to what happens. Many people go into a meeting with someone else with an agenda, and try to get that done. Like it’s a task that needs to be accomplished. But it’s not — a connection with someone else isn’t about productivity or goals. It’s about connection. It’s two very different human beings spending time together and merging their random personality traits into one experience. That’s true even if it’s a business meeting. Let your personality come out, and allow theirs to come out, and see what happens. It could be talking about a project, but it could be random topics and ideas, it could be a discussion of what’s been going on in your lives and what you have in common, it could be helping one or the other of you with a problem that you have, it could be a debate of ideas, and so on. Don’t try to force it.

  5. Be open about yourself. Often we try to present a certain good side of ourselves. We try to come across as competent, knowledgeable, interesting, accomplished, funny, smart, etc. But that’s a front. It’s only a part of who we are — the good part. If it’s true at all. Why bother trying to connect with someone when we’re just going to give them a false identity, just a façade? Might as well stay home. Much better is to open yourself up, to show the real you. This is scary. It means being vulnerable, and being willing to be embarrassed. That’s a huge amount of trust to put into a human being, especially if it’s not someone you know well. But it’s totally worth it. When you become vulnerable, you risk a lot, but you also get much, much more. You get trust from the other person. You get a deeper connection. You get a better friendship. They open up more too. And when you’ve done this a few times, you realize — there isn’t that much risk, because it never really ends up in a bad way. It’s pretty much all upside.

Guidelines for Making Friends

In my experience, people (generally) want to be friends with other people who follow these general guidelines:

  • Be positive, not negative. While it’s OK to share your struggles with people (I recommend it), if you’re complaining all the time, and are generally negative about other people and life in general, then people get tired of the complaining and negativity. We have enough trouble in life without having friends who are negative all the time. That said, a good friend will always listen when you’re in need, so don’t take this as “never complain.” Instead, just generally try to be a positive person, and if you have struggles, also try to show how you’re tackling those struggles with a positive outlook.

  • Be interested & a good listener. Be interested in other people! Don’t make the mistake of only wanting to talk about your stuff, and being bored and unimpressed with what other people are doing. I try to find the interesting in everyone, even if they lead a relatively uneventful life, there’s something fascinating about them. When someone wants to talk, listen. If they only talk about themselves all day and don’t want to hear your stuff, then they probably aren’t going to be a great friend, but still give them a chance and be interested for as long as you can.

  • Be excited about life, have energy. We generally don’t want a friend who is bored all the time. Someone who is excited about life, interested in things, has good energy … that’s someone you’d by hyped to be around. Not super hyper, necessarily, but just containing a positive energy.

  • Do interesting things. If you’re excited about life, you manifest that by doing new things, learning, creating, exploring, trying out new experiences, meeting new people. If you are this kind of person, you’ll be interesting. If you shut out life, people might not be as interested.

  • Tell good stories. No one wants to listen to someone who tells long boring stories. After the first two such stories, people generally start tuning you out. So try to keep your stories shorter, unless you can tell people are interested. Find something interesting to hook their curiosity, and then draw them in with that curiosity until you satisfy it with a good ending. Practice your storytelling when you meet people, and try to get better at it. It’s not one of my strong points, to be honest, but I recognize that and am trying to be better.

  • Smile. I’m not saying you should have a fake smile, but a smile puts you in a friendly mood, versus frowning at someone. Don’t smile all the time, or at inappropriate times. Just generally have a smiling disposition, as it signals that you like the person (also try to genuinely like the person, moving away from tendencies to judge them or complain about them).

  • Put yourself out there, be willing to try things. Sing in public even if that scares you. Try new food, new experiences, new ideas. This open-mindedness attracts others who are looking to get the most out of life.

  • Be calm, not overly dramatic. While it’s great to have a lot of energy, people who are overly dramatic about little things can be a turn-off. So learn to react to most problems as if they’re not a big deal (because they usually aren’t), and handle them with calmness instead of overreacting.

  • Be authentic, don’t try to show off. All of the above recommendations might seem like I’m recommending that you be someone you’re not. I’m not recommending that at all. Instead, I want you to be an authentic version of yourself (there are lots of versions of ourselves) — but choose the version that is more in the directions recommended above, in general. If there is a positive and negative version of you, generally choose the positive version. But most importantly, don’t try to impress people all the time — if you’re confident in yourself, you don’t need to impress. Instead, be a genuine person, not just the “best you.” When this recommendation is in conflict with any of the above recommendations, choose this one.

  • Be happy with yourself & confident. This is just something that’s good to do for yourself. Be happy with who you are, even the flaws. If you are, you can be confident that you’re good enough when you meet someone else. People generally don’t respect someone who is constantly harsh on themselves. How can you learn to be happy with yourself? That’s a whole other post, but in general, become aware of any tendency to be harsh and critical of yourself, and don’t let yourself stew in those kinds of thoughts. Start to see the good in yourself, the genuine heart and caring nature, and let that be the story you tell yourself about yourself.

-AG

Malibu Creek Rock Pool Hike

I decided to take my little sister, and my little cousin to this incredible creek pool in Malibu. The hike was moderate and it’s an amazing place, really peaceful and also wasn't as bad as the other hikes that we have gone through from the past. 

Overall, I rate this hike a 7/10! 

ENJOY THE JOURNEY! 

-AG

PRINCIPLES OF DESIGN: WHAT'S THE STORY?

As a creative, there are more things into a design than just a pretty picture or a pretty t-shirt… There are actually “principles” to create a long lasting graphic that will hopefully last for generations to come. I just feel like if you create a design, you would want to “tap into the consumer’s emotions.”

Here are the Principles of Design:

Balance: is the distribution of the visual weight of objects, colors, texture, and space. If the design was a scale, these elements should be balanced to make a design feel stable. (In symmetrical balance, the elements used on one side of the design are similar to those on the other side; in asymmetrical balance, the sides are different but still look balanced. In radial balance, the elements are arranged around a central point and may be similar.)

Emphasis: is the part of the design that catches the viewer’s attention. Usually the artist will make one area stand out by contrasting it with other areas. The area could be different in size, color, texture, shape, etc.

Movement: is the path the viewer’s eye takes through the work of art, often to focal areas. Such movement can be directed along lines, edges, shape, and color within the work of art. 

Pattern: is the repeating of an object or symbol all over the work of art.

Repetition: works with pattern to make the work of art seem active. The repetition of elements of design creates unity within the work of art.

Proportion: is the feeling of unity created when all parts (sizes, amounts, or number) relate well with each other. When drawing the human figure, proportion can refer to the size of the head compared to the rest of the body.

Rhythm: is created when one or more elements of design are used repeatedly to create a feeling of organized movement. Rhythm creates a mood like music dancing. To keep rhythm exciting and active, variety is essential.

Variety: is the use of several elements of design to hold the viewer’s attention and to guide the viewer’s eye through and around the work of art.

Unity: is the feeling of harmony between all parts of the work of art, which create a sense of completeness.

-AG

What Would You Do If You Only Had a Short Time to Live?

A teary Isaac Luna (my uncle) while watching the casket of his mother being cleaned up before going to the burial ground.

“Love is the only sane and satisfactory answer to the problem of human existence.”

– Eric Fromm

The recent death of my uncle’s mother Auntie Jackie put me in a state of mind that I think we all go through at different times in our lives: the feeling of utter isolation, of complete loneliness.

There are times when we feel that even if we are surrounded by other people in our lives, we are alone. We must go through this difficult journey called “life” by ourselves, no matter if we’re married or if we have children or close friends. And that’s a very lonesome prospect.

How do we overcome these feelings of loneliness and despair? While common, these feelings can be dangerous if we let them go too far — they can lead to depression, suicidal thoughts, or just a slump in our lives.

The answer is in connecting with other human beings.

When we connect with other humans, we are no longer alone. We share our suffering, our experiences, our common trials. The misery we face is no longer insurmountable when we have someone to face it with us.

“Love one another and you will be happy. It’s as simple and as difficult as that.”

– Michael Leunig

It’s hard, from within the storm of every day life, to see things with real perspective, to know what’s important and what’s simply pressing on our consciousness right now, demanding attention.

We have people emailing us for information and requesting action, we have phone calls and visitors and a long to-do list and a million chores and errands to run and all of the slings and arrows of our daily reality … and yet, what is important?

Ask yourself this: if you suddenly found out you only had 6 months to live (for whatever reason), would the thing in front of you matter to you?

Would those 20 emails waiting for a response matter? Would the paperwork waiting to be processed matter? Would the work you’re doing matter? Would the meetings you’re supposed to have matter? Would a big car and nice house and high-paying job and cool computer and mobile device and nice shoes and clothes matter?

I’m not saying they wouldn’t matter … but it’s important to ask yourself if they would.

What would matter to you?

For many of us, it’s the loved ones in our lives. If we don’t have loved ones … maybe it’s time we started figuring out why, and addressing that. Maybe we haven’t made time for others, for getting out and meeting others and helping others and being compassionate and passionate about others. Maybe we have shut ourselves in somehow. Or maybe we do have loved ones in our lives, but we don’t seem to have the time we want to spend with them.

When was the last time you told your loved ones you loved them? Spent good quality time with them, being in the moment?

For many of us, doing work that matters … would matter. That might mean helping others, or making a vital contribution to society, or creating something brilliant and inspiring, or expressing ourselves somehow. It’s not the money that matters, but the impact of the work. Are you doing work that matters?

For many of us, experiencing life would matter — really being in the moment, finding passion in our lives, seeing the world and traveling, or just seeing the world that’s around us right now, being with great people, doing amazing things, eating amazing food, playing.

These are just a few ideas … but what would matter to you?

I highly recommend that you spend at least a little time now, and regularly, thinking about this question … figuring out what really matters … and living a life that shows this.

How do you live a life that puts a great emphasis on what matters? Start by figuring out what matters, and what doesn’t. Then eliminate as much as you can of the stuff that doesn’t matter, or at least minimize it to the extent possible. Make room for what does matter.

Make the time for what does matter … today. Put it on your schedule, and don’t miss that appointment. Make those tough decisions — because choosing to live a life that is filled with the important stuff means making choices, and they’re not always easy choices. But it matters.

Spend time with your significant other, show them how important they are. Take the time to cuddle with your child, to read with her, to play with her, to have good conversations with her, to take walks with her. Take time to be in nature, to appreciate the beauty of the world around us. Take time to savor the little pleasures in life.

Because while you might not have only 6 months to live, I’m here to break the news to you: you really do only have a short time to live. Whether that’s 6 months, 6 years or 60 … it’s but the blink of an eye.

The life you have left is a gift, so enjoy the present. Cherish it. Enjoy it now, to the fullest. Do what matters, now.

-AG

64th Birthday of Disneyland, 30 years of Splashin' guests, and Mickey's Soundsational Parade closing

It’s always great to be a part of history once in a while. I got to spend my Wednesday afternoon celebrating Disneyland’s 64th Birthday, alongside Splash Mountain’s 30th Anniversary as well.

Other than being a creative and designing for different brands outside of Disney, I actually work for the Disney Live Entertainment department and became a part of the Mickey Soundsational Parade this year and also back in 2017. Today was also the last day of the parade… It’s a bittersweet moment, but it was a great show and I got to work with a lot of different amazing folks from it.

SUPER BLESSED!

-AG

THE LIFE YUNG LB FT. LIL NACCASSO, GBLUE & SANGA LOCCO

My Toko YUNG LB is killing the rap/cannabis game right now. Go check out his shiiiiiiiit and see what he’s been up to lately, and RUNTZ YO LIFE UP P!

LB and I linked up back in 2013’ish through a mutual friend and ever since then he’s been on the grind to success. (Video below) is the first video I cameo’d from one of his music videos, and now he’s on tour with Playboi Carti, Lil Baby, Berner (Cookies Clothing) and more!

-AG