Monday, January 15, 2007

He is tall and thin. His long white beard is as long as his mane of white hair that hangs long out the back of his beanie stocking cap. He comes here often. Almost everyday. I know this because I do the same. Today I saw him sleeping in his car. It looked cold and uncomfortable. Now I know why he comes here so often.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

It's not you, it's business

tick tick tick
The sound of heated metal. It goes tick, tick, tick. Usually at 2am—when my apartment drops a few degrees and the thermostat kicks on those damned baseboard heaters. It is this very sound that awoke me from a deep sleep this morning. A long deep sleep at that. It's not uncommon for me to sleep for long periods of time after being emotionally drained. I passed out around 7:30pm last night. I slept a full 12 hours through the night, only to wake up this morning still fired up about my week. I can't shake it off.
Growing up, I remember finding myself in lots of childish fights with my younger brother. No matter the situation, he would not let up. I would storm out of the room, slamming the door behind me and he would open the door and slam it again—stealing my thunder. I always thought that as I grew older, this would not happen. I would have my thunder and those around me would admit their defeat. One thing I have learned is that some people can not see when they are wrong. Their blurry eyes see the world in a tunnel where they are always correct. If something goes wrong, there is always someone they can blame.
For the last few months, I have been working part time at a design studio. Every morning I went to work at the studio until noon and then went to my other design job in the afternoon. Although I was a graphic designer at both of my jobs, I had a completely different experience at both. The studio job was a very controlled micromanaged environment in which I was given very few responsibilities and no independence. Then in the afternoons I was basically my own boss. I had complete responsibility and total freedom. I was trusted and respected and worked on a large variety of projects. Although both jobs were like night and day, I really enjoyed the variety. I felt I was doing well at both and doing so much made me feel like superwoman. I like to conquer challenges and feel invincible. Plus I felt I was learning so much.
My mornings where usually very tedious. I spent my time dropping copy into a template another designer had designed. Then I would go through the copy and make adjustments. Superscript the ®'s, the %'s, and the TM's. Kern that lower case "l". Italicize where needed. Change dashes to em or en dashes as needed. Find and replace extra spaces at the beginning of a sentence. Apply the appropriate styles to the text. Remove widows and hanging words. Read through it one last time. Hit print. I would then take the print to my boss and he would look it over. He always found mistakes no matter how hard I tried to make it perfect. It actually seemed like the harder I tried to make it perfect, the more mistakes he found. There were other projects as well as the copy heavy books. I really enjoyed working on print samples and flash animations. Somehow I always found myself anticipating the moment I could leave. Leave to go be free and do what I love.
So this week I was faced with a decision. My afternoon job offered me a full time position. This meant I would have to quit my morning job. I was hoping to continue at both positions for another 6 months or so. I wanted to have that studio experience under my belt and I still had not proved myself there. I didn't want to leave until I had proven my talents. So the next day I went into my morning job to discuss this with my boss. He offered me a full time job. I was a little shocked by this offer because I was under the impression that he didn't really like my work. So I told him that I would think about it.
At some point during my last semester in college, I went to speak to one of my instructors. I wanted some advice to help me decide what I was going to do with the rest of my life. At the time I was working as an intern at the job that is currently my afternoon job (in house designer). She asked me what I wanted to do as a designer. I told her I didn't know. I remember she looked back at me a little surprised and said, "I think you do know, because I think your already doing it." I thought about this while I was deciding between these two jobs. I have always loved my afternoon job. Although they could not pay me as much, its a better environment for me and I promised myself I would never make decisions based off money—as long as I was paying rent and not living on the streets. Suddenly the choice was easy.
The next day I went into my morning job and told my boss my decision. I told him I would finish all my projects and work until the end of the month. He told me that he understood my decision. Then he asked if I knew anyone who would want that job. Then something unexpected happened. He sat down and looked at me through the corner of his eye. Then he said,"I want someone with experience, at least three years."
I cocked my head to the side a little surprised— in my head I counted back the nearly three years of experience I have had.
He continued,"Your just too inexperienced. I have to watch everything you do. You don't know what to look for."
I starred blankly back at him, unsure how to respond to this attack, It was only a day ago that he told me he liked my work and offered me a full time position. So I just said "okay..." . Then I turned around and went to my desk. Still stunned, I watched as he called his partner into his office and closed the door behind him. I could hear his voice was angry and I knew I was the focus of the conversation. The office was old, long and narrow. I pretended to print something and walked down the hallway to the very back where the printer was located. I leaned my body against the printer and starred out the window. Tears began to form in my eyes. I felt as though I had failed. I wondered if I had it in me to be a designer. My boss has ten times the experience that I have had and he had just told me I didn't have it in me.
I left the office sad and defeated. I went to my afternoon job and my mood was obvious. Everyone was concerned about me and I couldn't even talk without my quivering voice and teary eyes getting in the way. I felt like I had just been kicked out of a bad episode of the twilight zone. I talked to my afternoon boss and she reassured me. I began to feel better and found comfort in the good experiences I have had as a designer.
Then I did something amazing.
The next morning I got up and went to my morning office. I walked up the stairs and straight into my boss's office. I told him I wanted to talk. Then I said:
"I really admire the work you do here, and the opportunity you have given me. When I took this job, I was so excited. I wanted to work with other designers and learn as much as I could. I think that it turned out a little different than what I expected. I was always top of my class and I have always done very well with everything I have done. I am a good designer. What you said to me yesterday was uncalled for. The only thing I did wrong was not having enough confidence in myself to tell you to let me do my job."
My eyes were turning red and my voice was shaky at this point. He disagreed with what I said and told me again that he thought I was inexperience and had an inability to work with deadlines.
I then told him I had no reason to finish off the month and I went to get my things off my desk—only to remember that the only thing I had brought was my umbrella. I grabbed my umbrella and turned around and faced him. Then he said, "It's not you, it's business. You'll be fine." I turned around and walked out the door.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

I love em —

I may be new to all of this, but I do know this is a battle every designer faces. We go to school, earn fancy degrees, become amazingly talented—and for what? Maybe it's fame, fortune, passion... blah blah blah. I just want to add a little beauty to our world. I want to cut down the number of ugly ads and billboards and make art out of them. I want to create stunning works that not only get noticed— but also work with their surroundings to make our world a little nicer. For some reason, unbeknownst to me, I want to change the world. Maybe this is why I am always so dissatisfied.
I feel confused. As a designer, I should be creating pieces that work for my client. I should make them happy. On the flip side—I am the one with the design education. Where is the line between simply doing a task and providing a service and being a skilled intelligent professional who already knows what works best for the client. This might be something that comes with time. I'm not sure. I am unhappy with a lot of my current work. I don't think it was designed as well as it could have been. However, I was told to do what the client asked— I felt my hands were tied.
Should I have thrown myself on the fire?
Should I have refused and said, "No, I will not stand for this!"?

So now I face an imaginary fork in the road. It's imaginary because it may not be my choice to make.

Sure when one door closes, a window opens... is that how that goes?

We'll anyways. I have two appointments with destiny tomorrow.

For some reason, I feel this may determine the course of my entire career.

—However, I have been know to exaggerate

Sunday, January 07, 2007

communication norms of the future...

Our society is evolving into a strange socially awkward existence. I can see it in my own behaviors. I would much rather email or text message than have an actual conversation on the phone. It's not that I don't like to talk to people— it's that I don't like to initiate conversations in the real world. Don't ask me why, I don't know.
In this very coffee shop there are at least 20 people with their eyes glued to their computers. I am sitting here among all these interesting (and yes, real life) people— all of which I ignore because I would rather talk to my friends on messenger.
I have heard that there have been cases of people born without tonsils or wisdom teeth because they are no longer needed. It's a form of evolution. Is it possible that in the future there will be babies born without vocal cords for this very reason? Maybe the children of the future will also develop long fingers and highly toned thumb muscles to better operate these new forms of communication and entertainment. I suppose time can only tell...

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Al Gore

what do you think?
everyone here cannot stop talking about it-
Al Gore

Friday, January 05, 2007


I was sitting in my car.
Waiting for the light to turn green.
I looked ahead of me and felt a tinge of panic when I saw the car on the other side of the intersection. I looked around fearful that I was either on the wrong side or going the wrong way down a one way street. The driver of the other car appeared to panic as well. I felt relieved when I realized it wasn't me. The other car was going the wrong way down the one way street.
Then I wondered...
...what will happen when the light turns green?

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

hello there 2007

I can't believe it.
I'm not one to endorse new years resolutions. I think that we should always be trying to better ourselves year round. However, this year I have many. None of which I will share with the world, but I must say– I am very excited about this new year. It started with a bang and I can feel all the pieces coming together and they are going to make something amazing.
Happy New Year!