Aggregate \Ag"gre*gate\, a. [L. aggregatus, p. p.]

Formed by a collection of particulars into a whole mass or sum; collective. To bring together. Syn: To heap up; accumulate; pile; collect.


Monday, November 29, 2010

Homage Monday - Nicole Maas

Nickie is a certain kinda someone - like a legend. She works and plays fields traditionally dominated by men and, well, dominates :) She is pretty awesome! Usually I will use selected portions of what an artist sends for this article but with Nickie there is sooooo much and it is all soooo good! Inside industry information, espionage, babies,'s all here for the reading, thanks Nickie:

Ok, so... bio. Present to past? Past to present?
Past to present...

 I slogged away in design school at Emily Carr for 5 years and graduated from the Graphic Design dept. Took a co-op role with Electronic Arts in 1996 and fell in love with the video game industry. After a year at EA I went back to Emily Carr and finished my program in 1997, and then took at job at Radical Entertainment. Worked as the studio front end (interface design) lead for 3 years and left in 2000 to delve into the up and coming world of web design in Austin, TX. In 2001 the dot com crash hit hard and I found myself pining away for games again. Headed back to Vancouver and fell back into a spot as the interface design lead for NHL on the PC. Worked on the NHL franchise from 2002 to 2006 before moving over to work on a little known console called the Nintendo Revolution. The Revolution is now commonly know as the Wii and I helped to create Madden 07, a launch title for the Wii. It was the number three rated Wii game that year.

During Madden Wii I was hungry to move into art direction, territory previously un-touched by interface designers within EA. I worked my way through the position of Art Lead (which was overseeing and directing all aspects of game art; concept, animation, environments, characters, effects and front end) for a couple of Nintendo DS titles, and got a shot at art directing a short-cycle title called FIFA Street 3 for the Nintendo DS. After FS3 I led Celebrity Sports Showdown for the Wii, which was a fantastic but little known title that fell victim to poor timing and no marketing dollars for launch, so we found ourselves prey to the dust bunnies on the bottom shelves of the game stores :( . Coincidentally Nintendo - who gets a behind the scenes look at all the Wii games in production across the globe - came out with a game called Wii Sports Resort which was virtually identical to our game, but much better marketed and featured the Nintendo Miis (instead of obscure celebrities like Keith Urban and Kristy Yamaguchi) canoeing and flying little jet planes on an island sports resort. Hmmm... coincidence? Anyway, I left near the end of that title to have my brilliant baby. After a year I came back from mat leave to mixed titles including EA Sports Active and FIFA Online. I'm now currently art directing two undisclosed FIFA titles that will ship in late 2011.

Amidst all that I purchased a small dog daycare business in 2004 which I worked with my husband to turn into Pup Culture Dog Daycare, which he proudly continues to operate.

Over the past 5 years I have worked with my vizsla, Zuzu, in competition obedience and agility as well as tracking, field and conformation. This past summer we competed at the 2010 Canadian National Agility Championships and she recently earned her Master Agility Dog of Canada title. I also have a beagle whom I trial at Masters level in agility. In addition I have been providing obedience training through the daycare in my (ha ha) spare time. I've played Ultimate (frisbee) recreationally and competitively for the past 14 years (US Regionals 2001, World Ultimate Club Championships 2002, Canadian Nationals 2004) and continue to captain and participate in rec leagues to get my weekly cardio. 
I am a mother (now single) who also bakes, draws, reads, writes, cooks, and most of all... LEARNS. I love to be challenged and I'm inspired by passion. Passion for pretty much anything turns my crank. I am addicted to "busy", and I am fired by gorgeous and innovative design.

My role models have been many, but most importantly, my mother who always said "Only boring people are bored." and taught me that we are responsible for our own happiness, and when we feel our spark burning out we need to "do something constructive!" And so, I go, I do, I love, I learn. That's me. :)

Friday, November 19, 2010

Doggy in the Window

The other day my Facebook status read as follows:

ag.gray.gate ‎(Alicia) wishes I didn't wear my slippers outside and step in dookie. In other news... Free: one Velma. I'd say to a good home but we're not picky.

No offers. Not one.

Later that afternoon Jack and Isla were commiserating about their strong desire for a cat. Previous conversations with me about this impending arrival have alluded to the demise of one of the dogs. As in another animal entering our home requires the exit of a current resident beast, either Velma the Griffon or Tobias the Chihuahua.

"But I will be so sad if Velma goes away," says Jack. Then he continues "and Mommy and Daddy will be so sad if Toby dies.".

Burn. It's gonna be a long time till we get that cat.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Again with the Hair?

I have this little precious vial of cream. As you may remember I am having an ongoing facial acne crisis where my zits think I am 16 and my wrinkles think I am 70. Awesomesauce. A fugly, humiliating combination. But there are people starving so get some perspective right?! Ughhhhhhhh....
Just so you know who we are dealing with here.
Anyhoo this precious little vial has silver in it. Whatever that means. So every night I have been putting the concoction onto my face and it seems to be helping. Or I respond well to sugar pills. I am easily persuaded and have a penchant for carpet baggers and psychosomatic tendencies.

I digress, the silver potion is working. That is, it was working until my almost three year old daughter found it and squeezed the entire contents of the precious little vial into her hair. My only precious little vial. That was a gift. So its not like I can just run out and grab another. It has to be shipped from Never-Never Land.

After having a ridiculous ugly-cry overreaction to the situation I snuggled my gross, cream-covered, sticky-headed little Bean till she slept. And in the morning I brushed her dry, matted little mess. I could have washed it out I suppose, but I brushed it anyway. And it felt good.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Somethings Gotta Give...

I have some fantastic news...wait for it...wait for it... I am officially enrolled in the Self-Employment Program here in Rossland (well, Greater Trail I guess)! Now I have kept fairly mum on this whole subject but with this latest development the cat is out of the bag. This is the news we have been waiting for!
Both my husband and myself have long dreamt of owning our own business, we just never knew what that was going to look like. Then just over six months ago, in the few days between putting an offer on a house here in town, but before listing/selling our Vancouver home, we decided to start a brewery in Rossland. Then we packed up our old life in Vancouver and began our new life here.

Here is how the idyllic dream looks: We (me funded through Community Futures and Michael as my unpaid man servant) establish Rossland's first brewery since prohibition put the Le Roi Brewery out of business at the turn of the century. Then we are on our own. We have a smallish store-front, on-site craft-brewing, retail and tasting room on Columbia (Main Street). Our little Company begins to support and sponsor all the fabulous events that the wonderful people of Rossland create, host and attend. Investors come out of the woodwork to throw money at such a fabulous idea enabling us to grow and prosper. We build an entirely green, zero waste, incredibly efficient brewery which truly reflects Rossland and our communal values. We even employ some local farmers to grow our hops which is mutually beneficial. The Brewery garnishes heaps of local support, and because it is easily one of the best beers anyone has tasted word spreads like wildfire and our Brewery becomes a tourist attraction as well. From there it is all up.

Currently I find myself writing, researching and developing a business plan under the tutelage of the Program. Michael is in Vancouver again this week, (hopefully he'll have and audition and book a another part before Christmas!) which means in addition to business planning I am the sole parent here for a week. YAY! Sarcasm, that was sarcasm. Which brings me to the point where I ask your understanding and allegiance. Please bear with me if I miss a day here and there over the next few months, keep coming back - I will not be going anywhere!

Thank you all so much for your love and support, for your readership and comments. Oh, and if you have a half million kicking around, I know just the place for you to invest it :)

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Kettle Corn...Sort of.

It has been four years since there was a microwave in our home and surprisingly it really was not a very difficult adjustment to make. In fact the only thing I found myself missing was the popcorn.

I dug out the air popper that we had been given for our wedding. Air popped corn can be delicious, it is low in fat, has a fraction of the salt and none of the chemicals that are put into microwave popcorn. But it lacks that je ne sais quoi of its microwavable cousin.
It was only recently that I discovered just how remarkable popcorn over the stove can be. I have two wonderful girlfriends whose wonderful husbands make incredible popcorn over the stove. It is far quieter than air popped (which is important after putting poppets to bed)and I find it is in fact easier as well. And my house smells like a movie theatre.

Here is my recipe for Kettle Corn...sort of:

-In a large pot over high-ish heat melt 3-4 Tbls. Coconut Oil (high flashpoint and heaps of good for you stuff). 
-After a minute or two add 1/2 cup kernels. 
-K, so here for an optional treat, I will add 1/4 cup of sugar for more of a "kettle corn" kinda feel. 
-Stir well and cover. 
-Lower heat a titch. 
-Shake often until popping stops. 
-Dump into a large bowl, or leave it in the pot and just protect the surface where the pot will sit. 
-If sugar has been added, salt to taste.  If no sugar has been added I will add 1tsp. now as well as a few Tbls. melted butter. Sometimes.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010


As an actor I volunteered to play the rejection game. I'm sadistic that way I guess. I walk into an audition room full of the knowledge that the people on the other side of the desk have made up their mind before I have even hit my mark. These are my choices and my experiences as an adult, so it is completely different to watch my children experience the rejection of not being chosen.
I know this is a life lesson and that it will serve a child well in the future. There will be teams Jack and Isla won't make,  or friends who do not want to play with them. She might not get a speaking part in the school play and his poem might not be picked for publication. Then again, they might.

We started making trips to Science World beginning when Jack was just a baby. It really is a great place to wile away a rainy day in Van. The kids love the familiarity of the static exhibits, anticipate things like Lego or Body World coming to town, and always there is the excitement of 'making' things work. My little scientists.

Anyhoo, in the four years we had been going, Jack had never been chosen to be a helper on the Science Stage at a live show. Granted for the first year he was a spitty lump, then I guess he was still pretty little for a while to play with Hydrogen and such - but he didn't know that. Jack always wanted to be picked and every time he was not, he was crest fallen. I tried my best to use these moments as empathetic teaching tools. "Maybe that little girl had never been picked either", "They were using big kids today", "It will be your turn one day, it just wasn't today". But still, baby Jack really had no frame of reference.

Too soon it seemed, our final trip to Science World arrived. In between experiments and tactile experience I tried to impress upon Jack and Isla both that this was our last visit before we moved to Rossland. We went to a Science Show, it was great as always, except that you-know-who never got to go up on stage. Still, we stayed for many hours, and then it was time for the last show of the day.

It was a weekday, so after about 2pm all the school kids had gone. As we sat down, there were maybe 5 or 6 other audience members. Isla was sleeping in her stroller. I had a good feeling in the pit of my stomach. "Jack," I said "I think that you are going to get picked today! Make sure you hold your hand up high." He held his little hand up so high and this wonderful staff member called Jack onto the stage! After what seemed a lifetime of waiting to a little person, he was finally chosen.
I could not have been more proud. Afterward I approached my new favourite staff member and explained Jack's circumstances. He told me I could always come and make a special request, but somehow that would have felt like cheating. Jack had made a wish with his whole heart and that day the lesson he learned was that dreams do come true...and he has the video to prove it!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...