stuff i got

life is change

Tuesday, May 29th, 2007

today i got some news that is very likely going to sound a lot more out of the blue to you than it does to me, but that’s just because the situation has been so weird and wishy washy that it hasn’t seemed worth writing about it.

now here it is, though, and no sense beating around the bush: my job is ending in two weeks.

as my supervisor was kind enough to state very clearly, this decision is not at all a reflection upon my performance over the last few months. it just turns out that shifting the design culture of a large company from the inside out requires quite a bit of a political maneuvering, we hit a few snags that were a bit larger than anticipated at this stage of the game, and, well, i’m the temporary contractor who wasn’t really planning to stay with the company that long anyway, so it makes sense that i’m the first (and hopefully only) casualty of budgeting rearrangements.

honestly, a lot of me feels relieved. i first heard that this might be possible about a month ago, but it was always at some unknown future point and it was never clear how real the threat was and it was impossible to really do anything with the news other than use it as ulcer fuel or ignore it, and so i did my darndest to do the latter as much as possible. but it still took its toll, as there is only so much patience i can muster for showing up at work and not really knowing if there is anything to do other than watch meetings be postponed and stretch simple tasks out over several days to fill the time. especially when i can think of lots of other things i want to be doing.

which leads well into the next reason i am not devastated by the development.

one of the major questions that i hoped to answer by taking this job was that of whether i am in a headspace for longterm full-time employment right now, and the past three months have provided quite a bit of useful data that has begun to suggest an answer quite a bit earlier than i anticipated. i have learned that there is a lot to be excited about in the professional design world right now, and i enjoy being a part of the conversation about where things are going. at the same time, however, i have learned that i still basically think of myself as a student, that i have Lots of stuff i want to work on for my own reasons that have nothing to do with any company that i know of at the moment, that the travel bug has not left my system, and that i am increasingly convinced of the merits of finding ways to work for myself.

with all that crystallizing in my head, i was honestly starting to get a bit antsy, and once it became clear that it was possible the job might not last the full 9 months after all? well, let’s just say i had no difficulty coming up with ideas of what i might like to do.

the anxiety, as usual, will hinge on money. the last month of my travels and the first month of my move and transition to employment put me once again in the red, and i had been employing a strategic approach to paying that back over time because i thought that my income was assured for a while. so it’s frustrating to have to deal with that. but not unmanageable. and i am hereby stamped as genius for adhering to my policy of sinking money into camping gear instead of furniture in an attempt to limit the number of things i will have to store, sell, or give away before i am able to uproot myself again.

on that note, look at what else i did today!

My tent in my house!

those wheels are tiffanie’s bike, which she lent me, and which i will now perhaps return. the thing that should jump out at you about the fact that you see those wheels is not really the bike, however, it is the fact that my new tent? it’s like one big window. this is nice in circumstances such as the present where it is pitched inside where there is little crosswind and you are still inside a sleeping bag for some reason. it is also nice, however, when it is inside your backpack weighing securely under 5 lbs. even with the rainfly and footprint, or when it is pitched outside in the summer and you want to separate yourself from bugs but not from breeze or scenery. and summer is the season which is about to be upon us. and did i mention that i might have more free time?

so yeah. options abound. and it is somewhat symbolic to me that i decided (and it was a somewhat spontaneous decision as well) to go ahead and buy the tent today of all days, with timing such that i was actually in the process of erecting the last major component of my bare bones self-sufficiency kit right when my phone rang with news to suggest that i might not want to buy the few pieces of furniture that i had decided to splurge for after all. i might have hesitated tomorrow, and i have many days ahead of me to decide if i want to trade it in for the other tent i was considering that is a fair bit cheaper. but today? today i just kept clicking the poles into place. i felt the metal bend, watched the fabric billow and tighten, listened to the silence on the phone and the buzz of the world out the window, and said: “oh. ok. how much time do i have?”

so here come an interesting two weeks, folks. on we go.

in case you don’t know what i mean by “my glitter shoes”

Monday, March 5th, 2007


quality purchases

Monday, March 5th, 2007

my early days in portland are going to be characterized by a fair bit of acquisition, seeing as i moved here with a suitcase and a backpack, am starting a job that will require clothing other than my glitter shoes and sheep pajamas, and they are paying me more for this job than for anything else i have ever done in my life. the first two are really corollaries of the last, i suppose, and it’s not like i’m complaining. i will do my best not to go overboard and decide that i need a new yacht.

in that spirit, i was overjoyed to learn that my dear friend josh was visiting his parents in portland this past weekend, which means that i got to see him for the first time in over a year, and he got to take me to places that i would still have a hard time finding on my own, like the goodwill where they sell things by the pound.

i actually managed to find a pair of slacks and a jacket that will probably work as work clothes, as well as some good things for nights and weekends, a funny highschool-woodshop wine rack, and an old cardboard bucket with amusing advertising on it that i might use for a hamper.

but the most exciting purchases by far are these:

Sweet, sweet goodwill goodness

that’s a nearly new leatheresque suitcase that will work as my business travel carry-on and make me way snazzier than eddie bauer, a pair of bowling shoes that are pretty beat up and need a bit of lovin’ but fit and will make for some fun dancing companions, and, are you ready for this?, a champagne case. totally serious. it looks like it’s for a ukulele or something? but inside? it’s for a bottle of champagne. josh found this and i nearly offered to trade him all of my discoveries as well as rights on my firstborn child so that i could have it, but in the end he caved because i let him have the supersoft tshirt that i accidentally picked up out of the bin where my suitcase was. talk about a bargain.

i also managed to win rights to the awareness wheel, which will surely be a helpful addition to my decor as i embark upon my self-directed doctoral program, about which i will speak more soon.

The Awareness Wheel

first though, i have to tackle many errands before we leave on the longest business trip ever, which begins tomorrow and ends on friday the 16th. i am proud of myself because i am going to finalize the deal on my new apartment before we leave, which officially makes this the least stressful housing hunt ever. i got a studio about 10 blocks from tiffanie with a friendly landlord, a gas range, and free internet. and it was the cheapest one on the list.

so far i like portland.

i got a new cell phone!

Monday, August 21st, 2006

because i needed a watch and an alarm clock, and it seemed silly to buy such things when i would probably also want a phone soon, so that people can get in touch with me when i’m looking for jobs.

so i have a pay-as-you-go plan, and a little nokia number that is a lot like the one erik just got.  so now i have a flashlight, too!  woohoo!

it’s actually cheaper for me to call the us than it is for me to call within the uk, because i got an international-oriented sim card.

so that’s kind of funny.

it’s still more expensive than the internet, so i plan to limit my use, but email me if you want the number, and i’ll send you an application.  ;)

thanks, gimpshop!

Thursday, August 10th, 2006

man, that title looks kind of inflammatory to the average eye, eh?

anyway, i’m just here to say that i updated my masthead again (just in time to leave for a new place!), and that i did so with the help of gimpshop, which is a hack of the gimp, which is an open source image manipulation program, which means that i didn’t have to steal from adobe or sell my car in order to do things like play with gradients and drop shadows.

that’s a nice feeling.

as i was saying…

Monday, June 12th, 2006

this morning tiffanie and i were chatting, and it went like this:

2:07 PM
me: i am pissed at itunes because it’s going to make me want an ipod just because it’s easier than dealing with my current mp3 player
2:08 PM
Tiffanie: bacon!
me: and i don’t like feeling forced like that
Tiffanie: that is annoying

we were also talking about what we want to make for brunch this evening, so that bacon comment wasn’t actually as random as it seems.
but it sure is funny as hell out of context, ain’t it?

anyway, then i go to work and google tells me to read this article about how how norway is squabbling with apple about this very issue, and other european countries may follow suit (no pun intended, but that interpretaion is true, too)

this makes me feel somewhat redeemed, and yet it also compels me to ponder on what i really think about the matter.
my kneejerk reaction to itunes has so far been that it is annoying in some ways and brilliant in others, which makes it pretty much balance out and i don’t think about it much.
i don’t really use it, but that’s just my choice. i don’t mind other people using and loving it, and i never really thought of their preferential treatment of the ipod as something on par with bundling IE into Windows… i really just thought of the proprietary format business as a hassle, and a hassle born of the larger IP debate more than anything else. itunes has done a lot to bring a lot of music to people at a good price and in a way that kicks back to artists, so if they feel like they have to make their own file format to keep that going right now?
pick your battles.

but then i think about the deathgrip that ipods have on the mp3 player (or m4p player, as the case may be?) market, and i wonder…

when i say that they shouldn’t be bitches about their proprietary format, is that a “you shouldn’t tease your sister about her haircut” kind of shouldn’t, or a “you shouldn’t stab people in the eye with forks” kind of shouldn’t?

really, of course, it’s neither.
it’s a “you shouldn’t cramp information’s style” kind of shouldn’t, and the problem is that people disagree about where on the shouldn’t spectrum that particular transgression lies.

i, for one, think it’s pretty damn bad.
so should that change my relationship with apple?

we’ll have to wait until next time for the dramatic conclusion to this moral quandary, because i need to go make a quiche. but i thought i’d drop in and post the thought nonetheless.
i’ve been away for too long, and josh is encouraging me to blog about my switch, which is a grand idea, and thoughts on itunes at least get me into the general vicinity of that goal.

and yes, in case you were going to say something snide, i do realize that i said that tif and i were chatting “this morning” despite the fact that the timestamp on the chat itself suggests otherwise.
but i am also having brunch at 7 PM, you see?

welcome to my summer.

here comes the switch…

Thursday, June 1st, 2006

“wait til june,” i’ve been telling myself, as all the stuff that lies in wait for me this summer kept attempting to snatch my attention from the work at hand.

“focus on your capstone. everything else in its time.”

and it was a good mantra.
i believe it served me well.

now, however, the floodgates have been opened, and while i did plan to start knocking things off the list, i must admit that i didn’t Quite expect to be telling you, on this lovely june the 1st afternoon, that i will soon be the proud owner of a 12″ ibook g4.
not that i really Mind making the announcement…
i’m just sayin’ – i kinda thought there’d be a bit bigger buffer, ya know?

but no.


oh, the funny… it hurts me so!

Monday, May 8th, 2006

tiffanie got a keeper at the bonfire on saturday:

i like the contrast between erik, all stylishly pensive in the background, and me, with chipmunk cheeks and marshmallow on my shirt…

and by “i like,” i mean: “i consciously elect to reject mortification and embrace the potential for humor instead.”

speaking of flickr, i just took the plunge and went pro.
so all my montreal pics are back (some of them had gone away)
and i expect i’ll be taking advantage of some setmaking power here pretty soon.

now i just have to fix my camera…
* pout *

out with the old, in with the new

Friday, April 14th, 2006

my wireless router started crapping out this past sunday, though i didn’t know that it was really it’s fault until tuesday or so.
due to the unique circumstances of my current living arrangement, the router actually lives in the other half of my duplex, so i can’t just go fiddle with it at any time, which is kind of annoying, but it hasn’t really been an issue until now.
ever since we figured out those first issues with the phone line, the router has behaved perfectly, and though the dsl goes down every once in a while, i can reset it by talking to the router directly in my browser, and that has solved 95% of our problems.
this time, however, the router just stopped broadcasting altogether, so i had to go talk to it in person. i went and looked at it on monday and it took a while to figure out, because it seemed to be working just fine. i did notice, however, that when i picked it up, the lights went out, and when i shook it around, the lights came on and went out and came on and went out…

i jiggled all the cords to make sure they weren’t loose, set and reset the security settings, and basically just fiddled with one thing after another until it worked again.
and then i crossed my fingers.
it had already broken again by tuesday morning, so i decided to classify it as “technology” a là strongbad and just buy another one, because the first one had been on sale anyway so i wasn’t in very deep at all on the wireless front so far, and my work habits were completely flummoxed by having no reliable internet connection at home.

so i went to best buy on wednesday and bought a new router. last time, i had gone with netgear, and even though the early fizzling may well have been a fluke, and it behaved quite well otherwise, i decided to protest and try something different this time. i helped a random guy in the aisle figure out which 4 of the 1323 options actually contained “that thing you can get that you plug into the internet and then you can get on with your laptop without wires?” and i subtly coached him towards linksys, which he seemed to be leaning towards anyway because they made his wireless card.

i, however, was feeling somewhat rebellious, and spontaneously decided to go with belkin, because it was smaller, lighter, cheaper, and i liked the box – it had things like an estimated distance range, a simple illustration of the port layout, and happy people doing the setup process in 3 minutes while they sipped their chai.
the setup Was rather easy, i admit, but the post-setup administrative interface is actually Less approachable overall than the netgear version that i just abandoned, making it even easier to bring yet another completely unsecured wireless network into the world without a second thought.

this issue is the focus of amanda’s capstone project, so i look forward to hearing what she has to say.

in the meantime, i will enjoy my new wireless connection, and stow the old router under my bed until i decide to fiddle with it some more or someone offers me $20 for it, whichever comes first.
any takers?

infatuation, procrastination, jubilation

Sunday, January 29th, 2006

A picture of my new camera, taken in the mirror.
if you’ve seen me sometime in the past few days, you have probably already heard this announcement, since i’m certain that i have been thoroughly annoying about it.
it has been hard to contain myself. i apologize.
if you haven’t seen me, here’s the news: i finally caved and bought the digital camera that i have been coveting for several months now, and i have barely parted with it all weekend.
so far, i am in love.

the short story of my covetousness is something like this: i have been feeling the pull of inevitability regarding a pocketable digital camera for a couple of years now. i watched my friends all acquire them. i watched “who has a camera?” go from a shot in the dark (akin to “who has a needle and thread?” – it would be useful, and not that bizarre, but it’s not really something you expect everyone to produce on a moment’s notice) to a statement of confident expectation (Someone Has to have one).
i started to see more snapshots of my friends’ (and strangers’) lives on a daily basis, as they did daily kinds of things.
and i saw that it was good.
i wanted in on the game.

i was hesitant, however, because my old film student self thought that she wanted something with a few tricks up its sleeves. i was worried that i would be frustrated with not being able to manually fiddle with things sometimes, even though i don’t really know all that much about what i’m doing and will probably end up relying on the presets most of the time. i wanted a camera i could grow with a little, play with, and use in a variety of moods. but i also became increasingly convinced that i wanted a camera that i could fit in my pocket, despite the fact that this tended to limit my options when it came to manual adjustability. i thought that i should be able to get a starter home with a few bells and whistles for no more than $400, and preferably for no more than $300.
it turned out to be a pretty tall order, and i was slightly discouraged.

then i read this cnet review, and was intrigued. i poked around a bit more and found nothing to discourage me, so i added the camera to my christmas list even though i knew there were other things above it, and i started keeping an eye on ebay.
last week, i won this auction, and thursday night there was a package on my porch when i got home from work.
ebay is awesome.
but that’s another post.

the fates could not have conspired to create a more perfect weekend to test out my new camera.
friday night was the PRIDE Film Fest and Dance Party at the Buskirk Chumley, which I am happy to support, and which presented me with grand opportunities to test out the low-light and filtering options. there was a disco ball, and a dancing man covered in chocolate, and casablanca projected on gauze. my friend amy was also deejaying the event, so i got ambience and portraiture practice all rolled into one. rock on.

then saturday was the day that all planet infoheads have already heard about: lunar new year. mad scientists. cover bands.
i also hopped over to my friend kelly’s 26th birthday party, took pictures of her (and karen’s lamp), and hit myself on the head with boomwhackers, which are possibly my new favorite thing in all the world.

except my camera, of course.
(i’m not That fickle with my affections!! ;)

dance party pics
lunar new year pics
mad scientist pics
kelly’s birthday pics
fester’s pics