iPhone 4S, Camera+

I Just Solved Brunswick’s Grocery Problem

I am one of the roughly 6,000 folks that lives in the small town of Brunswick, Maryland. I can see the Potomac River and hear the purr of the diesel locomotives from my front porch. The C&O Canal Towpath Trail is a mile from my house. The people here are friendly and creative and interesting. I love being a part of this community.

A while ago our local grocery store Super Fresh announced that it would be closing it’s Brunswick location. The Brunswick store was acquired by Natural Markets Food Group and the store was re-branded as Fresh & Green’s. The new owners promised to improve the store. After a short time history repeated itself as it sometimes does. Natural Markets Food Group announced that it would be closing it’s Brunswick location. This time there was no buyer. Fresh & Green’s closed, a dozen or so folks lost their jobs and Brunswick was without a grocery store. Like the rest of Brunswick, I am now driving 20+ minutes to Frederick (or elsewhere) to get my groceries.

I set out to do what any red-blooded 21st century American would do in this situation…complain about it on Facebook. As it turns out Facebook is the perfect venue for complaining about stuff. I soon discovered that I wasn’t the only one complaining. The (lack of a) grocery store in Brunswick became the topic of the year over at the Brunswick MD Facebook Group. Ideas were shared. Folks argued over which grocery store was the best fit for Brunswick. Folks criticized and mocked each other’s choices and ideas. At one point I even took to mocking the people that were mocking people.

Well as it turns out complaining about stuff and talking smack does absolutely nothing to solve a problem.

Meanwhile across the Potomac River in Lovettsville something interesting is happening. Some folks in our sister community started the Lovettsville Cooperative Market. I resisted joining for a few reasons. For one, they didn’t have a store yet. The second reason was…well, it cost money.

As the months, the drives to Frederick for groceries and the Facebook hate-a-thon dragged on I couldn’t shake the feeling that if I could channel this energy in the right direction then I could actually contribute to solving the problem. Sure, the co-op was a dream…but if enough people dreamed together then it would actually happen. So I changed my mind. I am now a member of the Lovettsville Cooperative Market.

If you want to continue complaining please do so on Facebook and in the comments section below. If you are interested in solving Brunswick’s grocery problem and investing in our community then click here to learn more.


Advanced Animation by Preston Blair

Big thanks to my friend and fellow illustrator Sherene for introducing me to Advanced Animation by Preston Blair. I’m running through some of the exercises and am having fun. You can grab a copy here.



Preston Blair Studies – Page 2
Art Rage 4 + Cintiq

Make Art, Not Chatter

I’ve decided to take a break from the endless chatter of social media. Here is what I shared with my 300+ Facebook friends…

On The Wall



Making Madness

Here’s my story/plan for bringing Morning Madness from concept to the people of earth.

Initial Concept

The idea for Morning Madness came to me one day during the mad rush to get lunches made, get the kid ready for school and get myself ready to head to the office. On the train ride to work I scribbled some drawings and some rules onto a piece of paper. I picked up a pack of index cards for the train ride home and by the time disembarked I had a few dozen cards and the first version of the game ready to play. I played the first game with my son Domenico. He loved it. He and I spent the next few weeks coming up with ideas for cards. Soon after I played a few more games with family and friends. Everyone that played the game was having fun. Perhaps I was onto something.

Refine, Rinse, Repeat

Each new iteration of Morning Madness took between a week and a month to produce. After the new deck of cards was ready I would round up some play testers and play the game. During these play sessions I would pay attention to how people interacted with the game and how people interacted with each other. With each iteration ideas for improving the game were recorded. Cards were added, modified or removed. Rules were changed. Here are three examples of how the game was improved…

At one point I observed that when a player would “lose a turn” they would become bored as their opponent played two turns in a row. I replaced “lose a turn” with “steal a card” and the game became more engaging.

Players wanted to play a second Calamity Card when the first one was blocked by an Item Card. I changed the rules to allow players to do just that. This change made for a richer, more engaging play experience.

Play testers wanted their Characters to be able to wear Clothing Cards from either gender. I changed the rules to allow it. People laughed more during these gender stereotype-free play sessions. The games were faster and more interactive.

Make It Look Awesome


At the time of publishing this post I am focusing on making Morning Madness look amazing. I anticipate that it will take a the next six months (or more!) to finish all one hundred and eleven cards.

Packaging, Beta Release

Once I have the game looking great it will be time to iron out my marketing strategy. This will involve designing the packaging, getting some test runs printed and sent off to reviewers.

The Rest

Marketing, funding, getting the game into people’s hands…all very important steps. I have a rough sketch for all of that and will be sharing it when the time is right (and when the sketch is a bit less rough).

Pancake Mistake

Artwork 2

Pancake Mistake

Daft Punk, Beck

Minecraft_Skins_Pro_-_Skins_by_dviggles 2 Minecraft_Skins_Pro_-_Skins_by_dviggles

Daft Punk, Beck
by Domenico

Test Post From WordPress Mobile App

Mic check.


The Play Testers

After more than a bit of head-scratching, doodling, printing, thinking and lots of other stuff Morning Madness is at a point where it plays beautifully. This would not be possible without the play testers…friends and family who have played countless rounds of the game in it’s various states of incompleteness. Thanks be to the following folk…

Gary & Jenny Carpineta
Jonathan Cook (who also has a game in the works)
Lisa Cook
Everett & Louis Dean
Al, Grace and Moira Everett
Mandy Justice
Andrew Looney (The co-honcho over at Looney Labs and creator of Fluxx)
Jessica & Patrick Sharp
Antonette & Clément Vasseur
Domenico Vigliotti & Annabella Cook (Morning Madness expert-level play testers)
Anna-Marie, Chip, Rona and Nessa York (aka the The Steampunk Family)