Sunday, September 24, 2006

Fileapalooza 2006

I crave order and simplicity. Without it I feel unsettled and scattered. I’m compelled to make order out of chaos, which is one of the reasons I’m often tagged for project management duties. I whip things into shape. It’s what I do. I derive so much emotional energy from putting things right that I even considered changing careers to professional organizing at one time.

However, working and going to school and managing a household and a rental property and taking care of Kimbo while my husband is deployed to Iraq means I sometimes let the paperwork and projects stack up at home. That leads to added tension and, apparently, teeth grinding according to my dentist.

So, in order to maintain my mental and dental health, I have commenced “Fileapalooza 2006” during my fall break from school. The heavy-duty file cabinets I had delivered three weeks ago have been unpacked and put in place in my office. Three hundred manila folders and extra label cartridges are at the ready. Now, after a trip to the chiropractor to get me physically prepared, it’s time to buckle down and get it done.

In two days I’ve already waded through three flimsy file cabinets worth of stuff, filled up a trash bag with old manuals (Windows NT, a broken toaster, etc.), created a huge “to-be-shredded” pile and used up one label cartridge and half a box of folders. I still have a long way to go – I haven’t even started on the enormous mountain that is my in-box – but I can already feel the kinks in my neck and shoulders starting to loosen.

And seeing those rows of neatly labeled files standing at attention in their shiny new cabinets...well that my friends is a Good Thing.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

in my library

I love books. When I was a kid, I was at the library so often the librarian had my card pulled and waiting for me by the time I got back to her desk with my latest stack. These day I don’t have much time for reading, but I still find myself craving the experience of cracking open a fresh page and burying myself in a new world.

If I had the room I’d create my own library complete with those little ladders that you wheel around from shelf to shelf. Some day, I’m going to make it happen. But for now, I keep my collection pared down to the essentials. Most are references that focus on design, languages, travel and business but I also keep well-worn copies of my favorite fiction and autobiographies.

Today I started cataloging my library online at LibraryThing (using my opiliones moniker), a new site for book lovers. From their website:
LibraryThing helps you create a library-quality catalog of your books. You can do all of them or just what you're reading now. And because everyone catalogs online, they also catalog together. LibraryThing connects people based on the books they share.

Pretty cool concept. Thanks to suttonhoo for sharing the link!

on my wish list

MoMA is selling this brilliant and ultra-hip Layered Bag featuring interchangeable pouches by Sakurako Kaneko.

I’ve said it before but it begs repeating: bags + function + organization = must have. Just thought I’d mention it in case, you know, anyone was in the market for a graduation, Christmas or Birthday present for me ; )

Monday, September 11, 2006

coffee break

Whenever I run across something funny, disturbing, or otherwise interesting I send an email to my friends with the subject line "coffee break" as an enticement/warning. So my friends, this is today's coffee break:

After reading about nutella panini from Cream Puffs in Venice, I’ve determined that I simply MUST have a panini press. So, as I always do when I need information quickly, I googled for reviews. Maybe it's the late hour, but this one for the George Foreman Grill had me laughing out loud.

That’s it. Just wanted to share. I figure we could all use a little more levity in our lives right about now. I’m off to explore more reviews from janteloven and have a few more laughs before I fall into bed.

check one off the list

For the last week I’ve been chained to my drafting table, finishing up a mess ‘o drawings for my senior project which I have to present to a jury in about a week and a half. I found myself procrastinating on some of the details:

Three weeks ago:
Me: I LOVE this graphic print for the office chairs, it will really add a pop to the room!
Classmates: Oooh…very nice, you should definitely use that.
Me: You think?
Classmates: Oh yeah – you HAVE to use it.

Two weeks ago:
Me: Hmmm…how am I going to render that fabric? Maybe I’ll just work on this other drawing first until I get inspired.
Classmates: Hey, what’s with those big white chairs in the middle of your drawing?

One week ago:
Me: ARGH!…why did I include those chairs in my perspective?
Classmates: Man, that really sucks. Glad I don’t have to render it.
Me: Wonder if anyone will notice if I just tape the fabric to the drawing?

Anyway, yesterday I finally buckled down and put marker to vellum to finish up all those nagging details. I’ve included a few section and elevation close ups (um, chair fabric from above not included) for those of you that are interested in these kinds of things.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

maintaining the continuum

One of the things I appreciate most about my husband is his sense of humor. He’s quick-witted and has the enviable ability to spin a good yarn on a moments notice. It’s mostly innate talent, but he honed his skills over many years as a semi-professional pun-meister.

He doesn’t labor over the puns - they come to him quickly and without struggle. It’s just the way his warped brain works. When we first started dating, he *punned* me constantly. It got to the point that I could see a pun coming from the first twinkle in his eye. I enjoyed, then put up with, then finally threatened physical harm if I heard one more of them. Now we live happily in a relatively pun-free household and he saves that part of his wit for friends and coworkers who don’t know him well enough to recognize when they’re about to be had.

Which brings me in a round about way to the purpose of this posting. Yesterday at work, I received an email from my beloved that gave me a good laugh when I really needed one so, with his permission, I’m passing it on to you. His caveat - "I know nothing about computers which makes the fact that I was asked to get involved with a computer problem all the more ludicrous." And now, on to the email:

We had some problems with our computers today. Files on the server mysteriously disappeared, but in no random pattern. Documents out of certain files were gone. Very mysterious. They searched for malicious code and found nothing. My boss was stressing (fiscal year end this month and 0 room for error). He asked me to get PERSONALLY involved (neither of us trust our IT guy).

I talked to the Help Desk and they were puzzled for about an hour and then found a very simple problem (it was not the server, but the viewing rights. Stuff was there, just not visible; 5 minute fix). So I told the boss all was fixed and OK. He was thrilled. He'd been thinking we were going to have to install the backups. He asked me what they did and I told him the "flux capacitors were failing and they replaced them with an ion drive; now the continuum is rebalanced." He looked at me and asked (quite seriously) "do you really understand that computer stuff?" I instantly knew by his question that he did not.

do the math

8:30 to 5:00. That’s the window of time I was given by my office supply store to wait for the delivery of my new file cabinets.

Um, can you narrow that down a bit? If you could just give me a probability curve of delivery times based on where I fall in the order of deliveries, that would be swell. A simple bell curve would be fine.

Is that asking too much? I don’t think so.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

time well spent

Raggedy Ann
Originally uploaded by Opiliones.

A long time ago in a bedroom far, far away, I spent the summer of my 17th year working on a drawing of my beloved Raggedy Ann. I propped her up in a chair facing my window and, for a couple of hours most every afternoon, sprawled out on my burnt orange carpet and carefully recorded with my No. 2 pencil every flower on her dress, the lace on her bloomers and grain of wood on her chair. I was so absorbed in my study, the shifting light was my only indication that time had passed.

Drawing is one of the few ways I truly find myself lost in the moment. Many of my design classmates look at rendering as a chore and often comment on how much effort I put into my work. What they don’t understand is that I actually enjoy that part of the process. While I can’t take the time to detail to the extent that I did with my old Raggedy Ann, I always try to spend enough to do a respectably thorough job. Seeing my design vision come to life in a perspective drawing is what finally brings it all together for me.

And rendering with markers takes me back to being a kid with my well-worn box of crayons (btw, the mixed bag banner pic is my box of 48 from the 4th grade). What’s not to love about that?