"The brick walls are not there to keep us out. The brick walls are there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something. Because the brick walls are there to stop the people who don’t want it badly enough."
I love that quote from Randy Pausch and it really speaks to Brad's (and Anette's) last 18 months. While working 40+ hours a week at BioWare, Brad spent another 30+ hours a week as a student of Animation Mentor; an on-line school for students around the world taught by animators working in some of the top studios.
Randy Pausch - The Last Lecture
Last weekend, Roger and I flew to San Francisco to be with Brad and Anette as Brad graduated from the program. And what a weekend it was....
Before attending the Animation Mentor Career Fair, Brad was invited to tour Pixar and have lunch with Andrew Gordon, a Pixar animator. That was a great experience for him, and the studio sounded amazing. Meanwhile, Roger was busy back at the hotel working on a bid, and Anette and I set off on what was a fabulous 3-1/2 hour walking Chocolate tour of San Francisco!
Together with 9 other ladies and a very knowledgeable guide, we went to 7 different chocolate stores - all the while sampling different types of chocolates and learning as much about chocolate as we have while going on wine tours. Who knew you could infuse chocolate with peppers, blue cheese, and yes --- bacon! I'll never look at a Snickers bar the same again...
Below: You're not kidding.....
Below: This was one of my favourite places on the Embarcadero -- their dark chocolate with red chilli peppers was right up my alley!
The packaging and displays were incredible. I bought one of the chocolates with bacon, but haven't quite got up the nerve to try it....is it considered a breakfast food??
Below: There is something for everyone.
Anette and I enjoyed every minute of the day --- I just kept thanking my lucky stars that she's in our family! After the tour, we hopped on a cable car and rode it until we got to Lombard Street.
We walked down the very steep and curvy Lombard Street and then climbed back up!
We all stayed at the Galeria Park Hotel - a wonderful 100 year old boutique hotel in the Financial District. Each evening they had a wine tasting in the lobby which was a great place to meet and talk about our day.
The Animation Mentor graduation was incredibly entertaining and it was inspiring seeing so many talented students who traveled from the U.K., Australia, Greece, Brazil, Canada, Russia, Italy, and Poland to be at the ceremony.
Below: Brad and Bobby Beck (Pixar animator and co-founder of Animation Mentor). You can see by Brad's smile that this was a huge moment for him.
At the reception afterward, we met many of Brad's peers who he had only seen during the on-line classes. One of the important concepts of AM is that not only do mentors critique student's works, but students critique and learn from each other. I was blown away by Brad and others saying they liked and learned the most from the mentors who critiqued the hardest. You can check out Brad's final project and reel on his website.
Brad has always loved Day of the Dead art. Believe me, it's not for everyone, but fortunately on our recent trip to Guanajuato, Mexico we found a statue that reminded us of his Bandito that he animated in his film. Not a typical graduation gift, but he loves it.
For our celebration dinner, we went to Mayes Oyster Bar and had ourselves a feast...
Brad liked the Kamikaze shooters (raw oysters with sake and ginger) so much that we all ordered a round!
Poor Roger finally succumbed to a sinus infection and spent Sunday morning at the hotel. Brad, Anette and I explored the Golden Gate Park and loved walking around the Japanese Gardens.
Below: Brad tried to teach Anette and me how to make funny faces....
Roger joined us for lunch at Fisherman's Wharf, and while Brad and Roger toured an old sailing ship, Anette and I walked around Ghiradelli Square - sipping hot chocolate from the famous chocolate maker!
Below: A store for the Californian dog that wants everything....
The sales clerk couldn't believe my dogs wouldn't want a fancy leash, let alone having their own fur coat, nail polish or other froo-froo things. Feo and Negro wouldn't be able to hold their heads up in Hermosillo wearing such silly clothes!
Roger and I are so proud of Brad, and grateful to Anette for her support of Brad's dreams. Their future is bright and it will be exciting to see what the next few years holds for them.
As Buzz Lightyear once said, "To infinity and beyond"!