Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Speed Networking Event | Culture FX

If you've come looking for me since the event last week, you've found the right person!

Special thanks go to Culture FX for hosting the event at the W hotel in downtown Austin, and especially to the speaker Gayle Reaume, CEO and Founder of Moola U, a company specializing in teaching young people about managing their finances. Gayle presented passionately about networking, what it is, and how it can be most valuable. For being credited by others as a good listener and open-minded person in my personal life, I admit I was closed-minded at first, assuming I'd heard it all before -- valid material but unnecessary for me to hear. But it set the tone for us all to be more open to each other and hear what people were really passionate about, and pull from our own experiences and networks to try to help one another. This wasn't entirely evident until the speed networking part of the event actually started, and it became clear that this was one of the best, most open-minded, supporting networking experiences I have ever witnessed. Tremendously talented, driven people and a great event.

If you met me at the event, I welcome you to stay in touch so that we may continue to support each other in our endeavors.


Saturday, February 21, 2015

Healthy Baked Veggie Farro

A lot of people ask me to share my recipes... but frankly I'm pretty terrible at recipes. I really like to try different flavors and textures, and make things up as I go along. This is probably why I think of myself as a cook more than a baker! I love the fresh and savory, and this is a great mix of both. The main ingredient is Italian Farro, which is a wheat grain relative, so I apologize to my gluten-free friends -- this one is not for you. However, if you can tolerate wheat grain, you can try this dish a multitude of ways. If you are vegetarian, you can use vegetable stock instead of chicken stock. If you are dairy-free, skip the feta or goat cheese. If you are allergic to nuts, skip the walnuts. But if you are lucky like me and do not have any known food allergies, this is just delicious.

To give you a little background on farro, it is a complex carbohydrate packed with protein. I had never even heard of farro until a few years ago when a friend of mine told me about it and shared a recipe very similar to this one, which I have since lost, but this has to be close to what it was! I remembered the key vegetables were Brussels sprouts, sweet potato, and red onion, but I know I have also tried it with other similarly-colored veggies like broccoli and butternut squash. I've also tried both goat cheese and feta cheese and I cannot decide which I like more! Goat cheese is far creamier, but feta holds up longer if you were to leave it out for a party or store some leftovers in the fridge.

Also, the recipe I was told originally called for thyme, which I love to use fresh from the garden or supermarket, but dry works too. In this case, for the #doterracookingchallenge I decided to use the Thyme Essential Oil to carry the flavor even further!

So, without further ado, this is the best guess at a recipe I can write out for you all...

Healthy Baked Veggie Farro with walnuts, goat cheese, & doTERRA™ Thyme Essential Oil

Italian Farro (1 1/2 cups)
Low Sodium Chicken Stock (2 1/4 cups)
1 cup chopped walnuts
doTerra Thyme essential oil (3 drops)
Con' Olio Roasted Pumpkinseed oil (1/2 TB)
crumbled feta or goat cheese (1 1/2 cups)

Vegetable Mix
1 large sweet potato, diced into dime sized pieces (2 cups)
1 bag brussel sprouts, washed and halved (2 cups)
1/2 red onion, cut into dime sized pieces (3/4 cup)
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/2 TB fresh cracked black pepper
1/2 TB garlic salt
1/4 TB crushed red pepper (optional)
1/2 TB thyme (dry or fresh)

Preheat oven to 370 F. Toss vegetable mix ingredients together in a large mixing bowl to thoroughly coat vegetables with seasoning. Line a large baking sheet with aluminum foil and pour out all the veggies in a single layer. Sprinkle the chopped walnuts on top throughout the sheet. Place the sheet in the oven.

Put the farro and chicken stock into a 4 QT pot and put over high heat until a rapid boil gets going. Then cover and turn down to medium-low heat and set your timer for 10 minutes.

After 10 minutes of YOU time, turn off that timer and check on the farro, stirring it with a spoon. If the bottom of the pot is dry, it's done. If there is still a tiny bit of water left, leave it on the heat while you remove the veggies from the oven - they should have a touch of brown on the edges. When most of the water is cooked off the bottom of the farro pan, kill the heat for both the oven and the stove. Carefully pour the veggies into the pot and drop in the 1/2 TB of Roasted Pumpkinseed oil as well as the 3 drops of Thyme essential oil. Stir thoroughly to mix. Add the crumbled feta or goat cheese and toss together with the veggies and farro. Serve in a bowl; yields 5-6 servings.

Hope you enjoy!!!


Wednesday, February 18, 2015

DANNY AND THE WILD BUNCH - Short Film Released!

It's official - I can finally share some of my work as an animation supervisor!

For your consideration...
Please enjoy!

DANNY AND THE WILD BUNCH - Short Film from robert rugan on Vimeo.

A children’s book author is told that her new manuscript needs to be “darker”, but when her revisions piss off the characters in the book, they come back to make some changes of their own.

Winner "Best Short Film" - Las Vegas Film Festival
Winner "Best Animation" - Catalina Film Festival
Winner "Best Animation" - Asheville Film Festival
Winner "Honorable Mention" - LA Underground Film Festival
Official Selection - Bahamas International Film Festival
Official Selection - Golden Door Film Festival
Official Selection - Asheville Cinema Festival
Official Selection - Catalina Film Festival
Official Selection - Las Vegas Film Festival
Official Selection - Cucalorus Film Festival
Official Selection - Indie Memphis Film Festival
Official Selection - Atlanta Shorts Fest
Official Selection - LA Underground Film Festival
Official Selection - Cinequest Film Festival
Official Selection - Sedona International Film Festival
Official Selection - Cleveland International Film Festival
Official Selection - Beverly Hills Shorts Festival

I am proud to say I was a part of this team. On the animation side, we all worked remotely with director Robert J. Rugan, III. I acted as animation supervisor and coordinated the cg production for this award-winning blend of live action and cg characters.

Congratulations everyone, and special thanks to all those involved in our virtual team.

Robert J. Rugan, III

Laura Skowronski Nattam

David Thomlison

Angel Negron 
Chris Covelli 

Laura Skowronski Nattam

Frank Patterson

Frank Patterson
David Alonso
Laura Skowronski Nattam
Nick Martinelli
David Dam
Eric Lampi
Chris Covelli 
Dave Thomilson

Chris Covelli 

Chris Covelli 
Angel Negron
David Alonso
David Thomlison

Chris Covelli 
Angel Negron
David Alonso
David Thomlison
Angel Negron
Chris Covelli 

David Thomlison
Todd Alan Peleg
Patrick Arrington
Tinizsi Gadegbeku
Nick Martinelli
Chris Covelli 

Angel Negron
David Thomlison

Angel Negron
David Alonso
Chris Covelli 

Domel Libid
Brandi DiMino

Softimage XSI
Exocortex Species

Nicolas Burtnyk and the team at Redshift
Chris Covelli and the team at Exocortex

For full cast and additional information list please visit: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt3696774

Sunday, February 08, 2015

Meeting Dr. Temple Grandin

Surreal and invoking to meet one of my all-time heroes. Dr. Temple Grandin spoke with passion, humor, indignation, conviction, and good common sense at the Paramount tonight. I consider myself very lucky to have been in her company.

Temple on stage at the Paramount

Photographed at the book signing behind her with the white hair is Duncan Strauss, who provided an engaging interview.

Without words, about to meet one of my all-time living heroes.

Temple asks who to write the book out to, notices I have her old book (not the one she was selling tonight).

The moment in which she told me to "Teach your craft."


She says I should teach. Well, OK then!

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Miracle League Wins 2013 SayThanksAustin Campaign!

See all my photos here: Facebook

Celebration is at hand as the Miracle League takes home the winning $10,000 prize from the Recognize Good "Say Thanks Austin" 2013 Campaign, after closing ceremonies took place this morning on a beautiful, sunny, 70-degree day in February at Austin's City Hall.


Although many well-deserving Austinites were present today, there could only be one winner, and that was the Miracle League. Led by the superlative Steve and Tracey Brown and upheld by dozens of high-caliber volunteers, this organization helps children and young adults with special needs realize their true physical and social potential by offering them the chance to excel at outdoor team sports to the best of their abilities. I am proud to know these people and to have been a part of their organization for the past year as a field marshal. The kids that run, walk, stumble, or even wheel out onto the Miracle League's specially designed field can do much more than give their best efforts in softball and kickball; they give us all pause and reason to be thankful, to find joy in the little things, to connect in meaningful ways with those around us, and to love one another and lift each other up to the highest capacity for greatness in our lives. 

The Miracle League is first and foremost about the children it serves, and their families, but an important secondary effect is the life-changing impact made on the buddies and volunteers who make it possible. Every moment on the field is special, and every person is there with a passion to be good. It is a heartwarming and joyous place where no matter what happens off the field, all struggles can be surmounted and put into positive perspective, especially when we work together. This message is not only important to the differently-abled children and families who struggle with their hardships, but also to the everyday people who give their time and energy to realize just what's possible when we all lend a helping hand and extend ourselves for one another.

It is my honor to wish the Brown family and the Miracle League my utmost compliments and congratulations for their success in this campaign. I know that the funding will be used wisely to accomplish even more greatness, and the commnity recognition will put a legacy stamp on the level of good that comes from this organization. My heartfelt thanks go to Recognize Good for being there to support the best people Austin has to offer, and I also fervently wish to thank my friends, family, colleagues, and social media connections for the profound support you contributed by ardent daily voting. Every one of you made a difference. This was a record-breaking year for the campaign with over 62,000 votes, many of which I know came from you. Thank you all, from the bottom of my heart, for being there to support this very deserving cause.

See all my photos here: Facebook Album

For more information, please see the following: