Still working away!

My Holiday break was great - saw lots of family, ate lots of food. But now is time to keep working hard on the first short film at MOONBOT Studios, so I'll be pecking away and blogging a little less in the next couple weeks. I'll post what I can, and say hi as much as possible... but for now, it's back to work!


Louisiana Happiness?

I moved from New York to Louisiana, indefinitely, over 4 months ago. I was working freelance for about 4 months here, temporarily before that (puts me at about 8-9 months in this sunny state). Now if you know me, you know that I quickly and unexpectedly fell in love with New York city. I lived in New York for 3 years and it really feels like my true home. But why am I more productive here? Why am I being told that I seem happier with my work and my time here? Why do I have a more positive outlook here? There are surely a LOT of factors involved, and I have some theories... but apparently a big fancy-pants scientific, economic, and psychological study has revealed that I moved from this year's most UNHAPPY state to the MOST happy state:

Southern States Are the Happiest

6 of the Top 10 States in a Happiness Study Are in the South

Dec. 17, 2009 -- There may be something to be said for southern hospitality and sunshine. A new study shows that Southern states are the happiest while coastal rivals New York and California are at the bottom of the list.

Researchers ranked the happiest states (plus the District of Columbia) on self-reported measures of happiness as well as objective measures like sunshine, congestion, and housing affordability and found six out of the top 10 happiest states were in the South.

Louisiana topped the list, followed by Hawaii, Florida, Tennessee, and Arizona rounding out the top five.

New York ranked dead last at number 51 and California fared only slightly better at number 46.

"We have been asked a lot whether we expected that states like New York and California would do so badly in the happiness ranking," says researcher Andrew Oswald of the University of Warwick in Coventry, England, in a news release. "Many people think these states would be marvellous places to live in. The problem is that if too many individuals think that way, they move into those states, and the resulting congestion and house prices make it a non-fulfilling prophecy."

In the study, published in Science, researchers took a different approach in ranking the happiest states. Rather than relying solely on surveys that ask people how happy they are or economists' measures of quality-of-life data, researchers decided to combine the two and compare how the states measured up.

They used information from a 2005-2008 nationwide life satisfaction survey of 1.3 million Americans and a 2003 study with objective happiness indicators for each state, such as how much rain and sunshine each state received, number of hazardous waste sites, commuting time, violent crime, air quality, spending on education and highways, and cost of living.

When they compared the tables side by side, they found a very close correlation between how happy people said they were and objective quality-of-life measures.

"We wanted to study whether people's feelings of satisfaction with their own lives are reliable, that is, whether they match up to reality -- of sunshine hours, congestion, air quality, etc -- in their own state. And they do match," says Oswald. "When human beings give you an answer on a numerical scale about how satisfied they are with their lives, it is best to pay attention. Their answers are reliable. This suggests that life-satisfaction survey data might be very useful for governments to use in the design of economic and social policies."


I know, I know... "poo on that, Joe... Us bitter awesome and badass New Yorkers can take on anything, especially those Republican redneck southerners, so whatever... we LIKE misery!" Hey... I FEEL you. I'm there. It's a bit of a surprise to me as well, but it comes at a time when I can understand and sympathize with these results. It is more of a personal (and frankly, coincidental) situation that makes me feel this way, but nonetheless I can't help but point it towards some other issues that are bothering me...

more (continued) on my LiveJournal blog...



New Year, NPR interview

Here's a little peek at an illustration for our Moonbot company holidays card... I'll reveal the entire image once the card is out.

We were also interviewed by Red River Radio NPR correspondent and reporter Alexander Kent! Here is our local NPR interview, from last week...


Salvador Dali warmup sketch

This was about 45 minutes this morning in Photoshop.

I was contemplating his mustache and decided to omit it from this sketch. I like the mystery of it... the humanity, rather than a 'character' that he always put on. He was so eccentric and character-like, and a large part of that was his 'costume', props, poses, expressions and his trademark mustache. I liked the idea of showing the human. Not hiding the expression though. He's so pensive, surely, while painting, I didn't want it to be mistaken for an 'artist' pose. This is somewhere in between, and I enjoy the simplicity of taking away his mustache.

This could almost be a death mask.