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Archive Page 2


weak week

So, last week was the week from hell.  It was overwhelming, stressful and painful lesson teaching.

Monday was actually not too bad.  The previous week, I had been placed on a somewhat high-profile project — in other words, one that might actually see the public light of day — and had spent the afternoon designing potential packaging…which I had to scrap entirely on Monday because we decided to go with a display rather than a box, so the day was spent discussing and designing said display.  This, I did not mind.  It is part of the design process and I enjoyed actually working with other people and bouncing ideas around, and I was relatively excited about working on a real project.

My first warning, on Tuesday morning was squishing my finger quite painfully between my travel mug and the door of my car.  I don’t know how I accomplished said accident, but any pondering of personal clumsiness was interrupted almost immediately by my car utterly refusing to start, regardless of threats, promises or begging.  So, I got to be an utter jerk and wake up Briggs a good while before his accustomed rising time to ask him for a ride to work.  My day at work included the surprising news that I would be doing  pretty much all the start-to-finish design on the previously mentioned Big Project, and on my woefully under-powered work computer.  My mid-afternoon brought me news of a friend doing something rather feeling-hurting (not with any malice or intention, I am sure, but it still bummed me out) and then, while walking to the gym, I fell down (because I do that sometimes.  Walking is hard.) and skinned up my knee and elbow.  In front of many people on their way home from work.

The rest of the week went in much the same fashion.

Wednesday I called out of work and got my car towed to the closest mechanic that had an opening before the next Rapture, and got to experience first hand the ‘she’s a woman so we can take advantage of her’ syndrome, getting a quote that was, I have been assured by the more mechanically savvy, about three times what I should have been paying.  And was told I wouldn’t get it back before Friday.

Thursday, I had to get a ride again and was then yelled at by my boss for not having the project done yet (after 3 days) when, every time I tried to work on the large files in Illustrator, the program would crash.

Friday I had to be at my new apartment so that the gas could be turned on, which meant getting dropped off in a mostly empty space with no food and hanging out all day, as I still didn’t have my car back.  One of my coworkers did drop by to keep me company (and brought me a sandwich!  Oh sweet nectar of the gods!) but by that point I had heard from the mechanic — my car WOULDN’T be ready because they found something else wrong with it…or at least that’s what they claimed (working theory is that they either snowed me or forgot to check that at all in the first place, because they were so busy doing possibly unnecessary repairs to my electrical system) and that it would cost another $200.  After a few hours of pondering and venting to a few friends, I grudgingly agreed to the additional repair…and was informed that they had to order the part and it wouldn’t be in until some time this week.

(at the moment, I still have no car.)

However, with the weekend came some sort of relief from constantly getting kicked in the jewels by life — Briggs and I packed up all my big and heavy stuff in a trailer.  Then we ran errands and I found a couple things I need for my apartment (like an over-toilet shelf thingy).  And a perfect love seat at Goodwill for $15.  And then we watched Doctor Who, which generally makes a day better.

On Sunday, Briggs’ sister Burgandy, her husband Barry, our friend Dan, Briggs and I took the trailer to the new apartment and, in less than an hour, had EVERYTHING inside.  Even the couch, which was a close thing.  Everything is still piled everywhere, but it is IN the apartment, so THIS Friday, when I wait for the internet guy to show up, at least I won’t be in a barren, chair-less wasteland.  Perhaps I’ll even remember to bring some food or some caffeine or something.


Far away, far away…I wanna go far away

Despite my artsy and adventurous nature, there is one thing that a large percentage of people my age have done that I have not.

I have not left the continuous United States.

Well, when I was about 3, I think my family visited friends in San Diego and we all drove down to Tijuana for the day. But I haven’t, as a self-aware, globally curious person, traveled to another country.  Or even any parts of this country that are separated from the rest by considerable amounts of land or water.

Early this year, my BFF and I had an excited conversation in which we discussed the fact that, for her 30th birthday, the two of us need to go…somewhere in Western Europe.  We hadn’t reached the official part of planning, but we knew we wanted to go to somewhere like Great Britain or Italy or Germany or France.  There would be no boyfriends, just two friends exploring cities — not going clubbing every night as we might have desired when younger, but going to museums and wandering old city streets.

She turns 29 this month, and based upon our current situations, I don’t see our plans as likely to bear fruit.  She is between jobs at the moment, stressed out by trying to find a new one in our bad economy.  I just started my first design job a few months ago, and plan to stay at least a year, and just signed a year lease on my apartment — and actually the timing on those two things works out pretty well for a late September trip.  But my first design job pays first design job wages — enough to (hopefully) cover my rent and bills with a little left over for (theoretically) fun stuff (but probably to cover emergency car repair, finally getting to the dentist, getting new glasses, taking kitties to the vet, buying furniture for my apartment and other similar fun things.)

I have occasionally expressed my jealousy to people who have been or are traveling, and the response I get is, 9 time out of 10 “If you want to travel, you just have to go do it.  Just go.”

And I wonder if it’s really that easy.  I could just pack a bag and turn my feet towards the setting sun.  I mean, I have certainly had dreams of doing so before.  Just…striking out.  Going somewhere new.  Seeing new things, perhaps living in an apartment with a window seat over a cobbled street, with baskets of flowers hanging off lamp posts…Or just, wandering the world like Julia Roberts’ annoying, self-centered character in Eat Pray Love.  I could do that, right?

Then I wonder…

What world do these people live in?

First of all, even buying a TICKET to some other country costs more spare money than I have, and once you get there, there’s the issue of hotels, food…and I know that there are guides on how to travel ____ country on $0.25 per day, but I think I’m past the point in my life when staying in a youth hostel, awake all night with my arms wrapped around my bag for fear that someone will steal my laptop in the middle of the night, is appealing.  Ditto for hiking through the streets of  Hamburg crusted in two weeks of my own sweat.  And I kind of like the idea of seeing the occasional museum.

And of course, I couldn’t just….GO, even if I were financially able.  Someone would have to be requisitioned to take charge of the detritus of my life in my absence.  Mail.  PETS.

Then there is the job issue.  I’m a bottom level designer in a position that isn’t strictly necessary for my company’s continued welfare, AND in a field flooded with hungry young designers that would love to take my position.  Even if, say, 12 months from now, I decided to take my year of experience and find a different design job, that certainly doesn’t seem like it would be a responsible time to jet off to another country.  That is a time in which to save money and hope to find a new job before ending up kicked out on the street with three kitties.

The thing is….people DO it.  People I KNOW do it.  One of my friends spent a spring working in Italy.  The ex is planning a work abroad thingy in New Zealand this coming  year.   One of my other friends regularly travels to either England or Germany in the summer or fall, and often coerces other friends in our group to go too.

I just don’t understand HOW.

Money, I guess, can be saved (though at my pay rate and level of expenses, unless I lived on ramen for a year and never left the house but for work in between, I certainly couldn’t do an annual vacation).  House sitter is not to difficult….but how do you convince your place of employment to let you just…NOT GO TO WORK for a week or more?  I mean, I can only imagine that, were I to make such a request, I’d be told that I might as well just take my stuff with me now so I didn’t have to worry about packing it up on my return. Which would leave me, once again, spending my vacation looking for a new job and spending vacation funds on keeping my power on — not looking at monuments.

How do you just…GO?


Waiting for Lightning to Strike

A very hyperbolic and overblown title to describe the fact that I’m procrastinating package design for a few minutes while I let my brain try to find inspiration for random sports equipment.

What’s new world?

Well, you’ll just have to let me know in the comments down below.

What’s new with me?  This and that.

I was notified by my soon to be apartment managers that I can actually move in early if I want, so I am going to get all official a week before my planned move in, so that by the weekend of the 23rd I might actually have power and internet…plus I have plans to measure, and to paint at least one wall — I’m gonna have an accent wall!  It’ll be groovy!

I’ve been itching to art.  Unfortunately, during the week, that means an hour at lunch time — and even less on days like yesterday when I was fruitlessly trying to contact the Humane Society to learn what I need to do to get my stray half cat neutered and vaccinated so he can move with me.  After yesterday’s thirty minutes on hold, however, today I will endevor to finish up the little pinup I am playing with and just go into town on Friday to find out what I need to.

I was planning on going into town on Friday anyway, as my friend Jim has insisted that I attend an art opening thingy.  He has this idea that now that I’m single I need to go do stuff.  Or maybe it’s now that I’m no longer in school, and the singleness just coincides.  Either way, I’m getting dragged to a fancy(?) event where there will be cool(?) people, and…I have no idea what to wear.  Damnit, Jim!  I’m a geek, not a socialite!  (You see what I did there?  Yeah.)

On Saturday, I will do another social-ish thing, but much more of the geeky variety, in giving in and attending the Pittsburgh Ren Faire again.  Though it lacks historical accuracy and that will drive me nuts, it is a Faire, and though there is another Faire in PA that is supposedly pretty decent…it is about 5 hours away, and my friends have deemed that a little too far of a drive.  Even after I explained that I used to travel 8 hours to work Faire every weekend in high school.  I don’t know what to wear to Faire, either.  I DID try on my old garb, and it still totally fits and looks totally sweet…however, I feel silly attending a faire I’m not working in garb.  I kind of wanted to wear something bust-tastic, but I think I will settle on the excellent halter top I picked up recently.  Either way, there will likely be men in kilts, which is really what I care about.

Until next time, muchachos…work awaits.


A Monday Morning

It is Monday.

It is early.

It is a day on which I had to remind myself that I really do love my job, when my alarm went off a few minutes before 4am.

Now, I’m at work and mulling over packing designs for strange and random products, looking at art blogs and packaging blogs to get my creative juices flowing.

Unfortunately, it worked a little too well, and now I want to go away and work on my own stuff.  Which is, on the one hand, awesome — I had a few days of not really feeling the creativity bug, which is always frustrating, not to mention, the spark is a little less sparkly after a full work week creating.  But this morning, looking at the super cute and sexy pin-up art of  Bill Pressing, I just want to curl up with a sketchpad.  Not just due to his adorably curvy ladies, but also ’cause of his wonderful use of color and value and composition.  But, I’m gonna rein it in and work on making some packaging.  Then at lunch, I can peck away a little more at my ongoing personal piece that is taking a year and a day, since I have mostly just been working on it on my lunch break.  (Almost there, though!)

Other art-related stuff…a few days ago, there was an internet artistic community uproar regarding a website selling art nabbed off of DeviantArt and another site (and for $200-$300 per print, no less, and of course, original artist getting nothing.)  I dutifully added my voice to the tumult putting out the word that artists should check if their art was being sold without their knowledge or consent.  The site was down within about a day — good job, internet.  And usually, the story ends there for me.  But this morning, a fellow DeviantArt user sent me a message informing me that one of my pieces (that they knew of) had been on the site.  It was taken down before I saw it, but I am…slightly flattered, to be honest.  I mean, no, they shouldn’t be selling people’s art…it’s horrible and I don’t understand how they think that is okay, but the site is down, so…the internet prevails.  But, while it was up, they thought my art was good enough to sell for a horrible mark up.   I always kind of felt like, if my art was good enough for people to want to steal it, then I would know I had ‘made it’.  Forget having a graphic design job, and doing professional illustration freelance on the side.  It’s all about illegal use of my work.

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