Reflections on a “teaching philosophy” from a true inspiration


In recent reading regarding managing academics, I came across an inspiring statement regarding the philosphy of teaching in a statement by Dr. Randy Pausch in his book – The Last Lecture:

“I’d compare paying college tuition to paying for a personal trainer at an athletic club. We professors play the roles of trainers, giving people access to the equipment (books, labs, and our expertise) and after that, it is our job to be demanding. We need to make sure our students are exerting themselves. We need to praise them when they deserve it and to tell them honestly when they have it in them to work harder. Most importantly, we need to let them know how to judge for themselves how they are coming along. The great thing about working out at a gym is that if you put in the effort, you get obvious results. The same should be true of college. A professor’s job is to teach students how to see their minds growing in the same way they can see their muscles grow when they look in a mirror.”

Dr. Randy Pausch, was a charismatic young college professor who chronicled his battle with pancreatic cancer in a remarkable speech widely-known as the “Last Lecture,” He died at the age of 47.

Dr. Pausch concluded his lecture with words of wisdom from his lessons learned, summarized as follows:

  • Loyalty is a two-way street.

  • Never give up.

  • You get people to help you by telling the truth. Being earnest. I’ll take an earnest person over a hip person every day, because hip is short term. Earnest is long term.

  • Apologize when you screw up and focus on other people, not on yourself.

  • Get a feedback loop and listen to it. … Anybody can get chewed out. It’s the rare person who says, oh my god, you were right. … When people give you feedback, cherish it and use it.

  • Show gratitude.

  • Don’t complain. Just work harder.

  • Be good at something, it makes you valuable.

  • Work hard.

  • Find the best in everybody. … No one is all evil. Everybody has a good side; just keep waiting, it will come out.

  • And be prepared. Luck is truly where preparation meets opportunity.

SOURCE: Pausch R Summary of the Adventure Accessed October 7, 2015 Available at

Unconditional Love Dearly Missed


People discuss the importance of unconditional love and support. It becomes very interesting when you actually see and experience it.

Yesterday, “Aunty Joy” passed away. Someone near and dear to me and my family. She made some memorable impressions over the years growing up and experiencing touchpoints in life with her and her partner Pat. She was present at many important functions our family had and witnessed the birth of my two children, various professions of mine and was a huge advocate in my political career.

I vividly remember example of her principled dedication and loyalty to people she loved. After going through a tumultuous re-election campaign, Joy submitted an amazing Letter to the Editor in support of me and my campaign. It distinguished the differences of me and my opponent. My opponent Ed McCabe stated that Joy was not a real person because she was not found in the phone book. To his demise, he met Joy at the polling station on election night. She proudly walked up to him and told him in her “colorful” language that she WAS a real person and she was casting her vote happily for me. She was a trooper in many ways.

She also dearly loved my children. Constantly saying when Nicole my oldest was born, that “She is the most beautiful child”. Her and Pat always gave gifts on special days even when struggling with expenses and illnesses. “Aunty Joy” was a true joy and an example of unconditional loyalty to special people around her. Her grit and determination was amazing to observe and she will be missed dearly.

Time to Recommit

Serena Williams of the U.S. celebrates after defeating Russia's Vera Zvonareva in their women's singles tennis match at the All England Lawn Tennis Club during the London 2012 Olympic Games August 1, 2012.    REUTERS/Sergio Moraes (BRITAIN  - Tags: OLYMPICS SPORT TENNIS TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY)
Serena Williams of the U.S. celebrates after defeating Russia’s Vera Zvonareva in their women’s singles tennis match at the All England Lawn Tennis Club during the London 2012 Olympic Games August 1, 2012. REUTERS/Sergio Moraes (BRITAIN – Tags: OLYMPICS SPORT TENNIS TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY)

Recommit defined as “make the conscious decision that you will take the daily actions necessary to realize your goal”. I woke up this morning and recommitted for the last 4 weeks as I approach my show. These last couple weeks have been a difficult balance of work stress, work out stress, prep stress, and general fatigue.

So today I made that decision to refocus harder. I awoke to crystalize a clear mission, purpose, and goal and reach down to again bring out my inner desire. I watched the Serena Williams You Tube video “Rise” and was inspired more. The more real and visible to goal, the better focus I find.

Albert E. N. Gray, who wrote The Common Denominator of Success said, “The single thing that determines success and failure is that successful people develop the habit of doing the things that unsuccessful people won’t do.” In other words, successful people are willing to do the daily actions necessary to realize their goal.

So I have prepared my month ahead schedule and “turned up the heat” in my training. The final 10lbs of weight needs to be shred for the show date, getting posing down strong and confident stage attitude needs to be attained. I am hell bent on reaching this.

The world famous concert pianist of the early twentieth century Ignace Paderewski once told an interviewer, “If I fail to practice for one day, I hear the difference. If I fail to practice for three days, my friends can tell the difference. If I fail to practice for one week, the whole world knows it.” Paderewski knew the importance and value of daily commitment to practice and action steps to achieve his goals.

Now putting it into action! Off to the gym….

Source: Leadership ManagementP ®P International, Inc.

5 Personal Keys to Transformation

2009 22015

So, many have reached out to congratulate and discuss my physical transformation as I prepare for the Natural Bodybuilding BC Championships in October. A number of people have asked advice and/or how I did it. I thought, as I inspire my blog more, that I would share what I feel are 5 key qualities to such transformation.

First, it must be Inherent in your heart. Going through the motions just won’t cut it. You need to feel the fire in the belly (no pun intended) to start the transformation. Tony Robbins always said “Change comes from Inspiration or Desperation” I believe that. You either lose weight to look “hotter” in clothes or you just can’t fit in them anymore. You need to crash to the bottom to become determined to rise to the top each and every day.

Second, Gotta do it! Can’t just say it but need to do it. Workout, food, supplements, sleep, everything. Many times I said going start and eat well for 3,4,5 days then crashed again. Consistency is the key. Have to live it and be able to love it! Many of times I feel like crap but still drag myself to get the work in at the gym.

Third, Eating needs to become a machine. The only way to transform your thoughts on food is to look at it as a purpose not a pleasure. It becomes like a car filling gas. Putting in proper fuel to have it run better and drive nicer. Too many people give their vehicles better fuel and treatment than their bodies. I look at each meal now as “feeding time” and a process to keep the body running. This also provides focus.

Fourth, Celebrate the achievements. There is nothing better than enjoying and complimenting yourself for the steps of the ladder that you accomplished. I prided myself in dedication and appreciation of myself as I transformed. Your body and mind need to understand and process positive thankfulness of your work. This provided me the encouragement to continue. Similar to a baby who is happy on their first steps and want to keep walking. Be good to yourself.

Lastly, Fortitude! That is my word. I have lived it, done it and continue to do it. You need to walk through fire and continue to walk as you burn. No excuses. It’s tough, days are good and bad but fortitude to get through and compartmentalize the dynamics in your life are crucial. I was dealing with numerous dynamics in my life as I continued my transformation. I focused to make training a “stable” routine in my unpredictable life. It is amazing what your body can achieve when your mind is relentless.

I look to keep writing about numerous topics now as I am including this activity in my lifestyle. I appreciate all the comments, thoughts and reflections on my social media pages and communication. Remember #GetFortitude

Deconstruction of Self


As the 8 month date approaches concerning my start of my new position and move to the west coast, I thought I would signify my personal and professional journey and discuss my deconstruction and change of myself. I enjoy thoroughly my return to academia and the evolution to the technology world. It is a fascinating and ever-changing arena. Seattle itself, is an awesome city and which embodies a culture of acceptance, reinvention and transformation in its people and its society. It’s very welcoming.

With that said, I have reflected a great deal in the discussions these last few days. More than anything I have seen the humanistic side of life in many ways. As a broken man, I apologize to those who I have hurt and have privately had my discussions with family and friends awhile ago.

Several years ago, I see how difficult the time was in my life with my father dying of cancer, marriage difficulties, busy re-election, natural disasters to deal with and more. My unhealthy approaches were detrimental. This being no excuse, I have dedicated my life now to be the best person I can be.

It has been interesting to rediscover the core competencies of myself. I’m reminded by my new anthem in my life at the moment “Masterpiece” by Jessie J, “I got a road and I walk it alone. I’m perfectly incomplete I’m still working on my masterpiece”. Rebuilding myself physically, emotionally, spiritually, and holistically has been an evolution. Still work ahead…

I am indebted to my friends and family for their support. Our conversations are treasured and such great experiences and quality. I feel amazing love through logistical distance.

I look at my time in elected office as a blessing and learned a great deal. Even when hit with erroneous allegations peddled, I still feel it helped me frame my perspective of life going forward. The opportunity was an experience and enlightenment, but politics is in the rear view mirror.

The biggest trait I learned was “not to judge others”. I met with people at Town Hall who were wealthy, poor, educated and not, problems and no problems, etc. I made it a point that all who came to see me, their issue was important. I also didn’t feel my elected position held no higher class than others. I drove same beat up car, my street last worked on, and my children got no preferences. Even my mother couldn’t get her tree taken down by the tree warden. I had no problem working with highway crew in middle of night during storm or throwing trash at landfill. It was a pleasure to work with the staff.

I’m proud of the many accomplishments and improvements throughout the town including new streetscape projects, new employers, new infrastructure and working to keep the town livable and affordable for residents and businesses. Also, dealt several natural disasters that hit the area during my tenure. In any event they are long forgotten.

So I look forward to peacefully moving on with my family. I look to continue my career in academia, train for my first contest, pursue my continued dreams and have the chance to enjoy my family. I am proud of my perseverance and strength through everything. As Robert Louis Stevenson stated “Keep your fears to yourself, but share your courage with others”. I look forward to continue my thoughts, insight and reflections from my experiences.

2015 AIE graduation


AIE Graduation 2015

On June 18, Academy of Interactive Entertainment in Seattle (AIE) recognized the accomplishments of its graduates for the 2014-15 academic year at a graduation ceremony in Seattle Center Armory. 27 students received diplomas as the 3rd accredited graduating class for the school

Mitch Gitelman; Co-CEO of Harebrained Schemes was the commencement speaker. Gitelman, a dynamic leader who inspires teams to deliver high-quality, innovative entertainment products, started in the paper RPG business then made the leap to video games around 1995. He worked at FASA Interactive as a Producer/Designer. He and Jordan Weisman collaborated on “Corsairs” which eventually became Crimson Skies. After working on “MechCommander”, they moved to Seattle when Microsoft acquired FASA Interactive. He stayed at Microsoft for about a dozen years before co-founding Harebrained Schemes.

Gitelman has been a first mover in connected entertainment. He is a graduate of Columbia College Chicago and has been a tremendous supporter and lecturer at AIE .  Gitelman expressed the importance to pursue your dreams and the growth of the video game industry.

Joining Gitelman at the podium was several students honored for their academic achievements in Game Programming, Game Art & VFX. Attendees also viewed the premier of “Terminal” short film created by graduating VFX students Nathan Camp and Katrina LaMont.

It was an honor to officiate the event and discussed the growth of the college and significant milestones. Every Commencement is a landmark in the lives of the graduates and their families, but this is a very special milestone in mine, yours and AIE in graduating its first nationally accredited class. It was my great pleasure applauding the success, and praising the accomplishments. Photos of the graduation are on the AIE website and the graduation was also live streamed on Periscope.

Reflections Going Forward


The sixth month anniversary since I relocated to Seattle is coming up in a couple weeks for me. I have adjusted and worked hard to find my way in my new career and lifestyle. I have enhanced my communication presence as a result of career change and communicating with family. I look forward to enhancing my blog and being more open with my thoughts, perspective, and feelings. Whether it be in business, philosophy, self-improvement, or my career in education or passion of my endeavor in natural bodybuilding. I ask my friends and fans to keep watch on my blog as I look to dedicate to sharing my perspective of life and knowledge and I “move forward” in life. Thank you


The Washington State Skills Center Experience

The Washington State Skills Center concept is a terrific program. I had the pleasure of visiting several skills centers this year. Our college, Academy of Interactive Entertainment (AIE) hosts a game programming & game art skills center at West Seattle High School. It has been a very successful program and an alternative vehicle for students to learn an important craft.

Washington State Skills Centers are an integral part of the education K-12 system, operating as an extension of the high schools within a local region. The primary purpose of Skills Centers is to give students the academic and work skills to successfully enter the job market or advanced education and training. Skills Centers provide cost-effective, quality job training in programs that would be too expensive to offer at every high school. (

I feel this would be an excellent program to replicate in the nation. Many students are talented in tech and career skills but may not have the ambition and/or desire to pursue traditional higher education avenues. This opportunity has provided an amazing opportunities to Washington students and has provided excellent students for AIE. I applaud the efforts of the Washington State School Districts on this initiative.

The Passion of AIE


As I begin my new journey as Head of School; Seattle Campus at Academy of Interactive Entertainment, I am thoroughly amazed by the type of students we educate.

Since my arrival, I have toured the classrooms assimilating myself to the undergraduates. This has allowed me to learn the culture of our classrooms and see the interaction with the curriculum. Passion, conscientiousness and strive for perfection is so apparent. Rigor and creatively fill the classroom and is illustrated in the work that is produced. Many traditional college settings I have worked in, find the students dragging themselves into a class and dreaming of when the day will end. At AIE, the day ends at 6pm and students have to be requested to leave. They are focused in their work and portfolio trying to achieve that perfect shading, art stroke, or code that makes their creation flawless.

On a larger scale the industry reflects this passion, personality and perseverance. Many indie games and digital films strive for that innovative, ultimate creation. As Andy Serkis (better known as Gollum in Lord of the Rings) states, “Every age has its storytelling form, and video gaming is a huge part of our culture. You can ignore or embrace video games and imbue them with the best artistic quality. People are enthralled with video games in the same way as other people love the cinema or theatre”. It is invigorating and exciting to work with instructors and students who radiate the passion of creativity and strive for perfection in their craft.

Shop Local this Year


In the news recently, difficulties in our local economy are re-emerging. Several local establishments have closed, a number of layoffs have occurred and housing difficulties/foreclosures are restarting. Many local families are undergoing some difficult economic conditions.

On top of all this, it is the holiday season. This is a time when many individuals reach into their pockets and pull out money to extend a bit of happiness to others. Many individuals and families shop for that perfect gift for others. This holiday season, make it a point to shop local first.

It may be more important than ever to shop local first. Local retail businesses seem to suffer the most during a recession because everyone flocks to the major department stores for their shopping needs. But without our local retail businesses, our community would not thrive. Our storefronts would be vacant, and our tax revenue would keep decreasing. Our retail businesses give to the community in so many ways; it is only right to give back to them by giving them our business.

Make it a point to shop locally this holiday season, even if it cost a few more pennies — and a little more of your precious time: there is no better way to ensure the stability and entrepreneurship in our community. I wish all of you a wonderful Thanksgiving, Happy Holidays and a prosperous and healthy 2015.