Archive for the ‘work’ Category

I’m supposed to be brainstorming ideas for [big photo client]’s new storefront design. It’s gonna be shit no matter how great of an idea I bring, so I just can’t be bothered. The world of corporate design is a sad, sad place… especially for those who love it, live it and breath it.

I worked with someone like this recently, albeit briefly. I nicknamed her The Wisdom Cube, because she had this awesome habit of weaving in her irrelevant stories into any conversation. Oh yeah, and if you had to get her to do something for work, there was no getting around the fact that she was gonna disagree with how you think it should be done and try to get you to let it do it HER way. Now even if you’d tell her that her way is impossible for some reason, she’d still insist that you hear her out.

Man, I’m glad that bitch got fired. That shit was annoying.

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The Benefits of Piracy

Hat tip to mrlk for this article entitled Piracy is Good? I highly recommend reading it for an elaboration on how exactly Bit Torrent and other distribution models will end Hollywood’s stranglehold over what goes into the minds of most Americans. This isn’t to diss Hollywood and their high-falutin’ liberal morals, the point is that in the coming media landscape there will be NO centralized location for those who wish to produce entertainment. It can happen anywhere.

But this topic touced upon something much more personal to me than downloading tv shows and movies, namely my entire career and how software piracy allowed me to elevate my economic status and enter the job force with exceptionally marketable skills. You see, my family was lower middle class, mostly due to the fact that daddy drank, and while we were moderately comfortable getting by through out my younger years, there wasn’t shit saved up for college.

Somehow, I managed to get a decent score on my ACT and also pulled off a modest theater scholarship to attend (wait for it) YOUNGSTOWN STATE UNIVERSITY. Yes, YSU Theater, $3,000/year YSU, the stage that brought you the likes of of Ed O’Neill and no one else. So I’m barely squeaking by carrying my school work, working at the mall, getting in the mandatory stage craft hours, and trying to have a little fun. Since money was thin, I spent a lot of time browsing the Internets.

Then one day my buddy showed me that I could make my own web page with an AOL account. The part that jazzed me out was the fact that I could figure out HTML just by going around to any site and viewing the source. This of course was probably my introduction to the idea of “open source”, though I wouldn’t hear about the term until years later. Anyways, so I learn HTML and before long I get my hands on a pirated copy of Photoshop and figured out how to make shiny glowing buttons.

Luckily all of my design work from the early days has been expunged. But it was good enough to land me a job doing HTML coding part time for a local ISP/web design firm. It wasn’t long before I had to deal with the fact that I was a failing student. Half-way into my sophomore year and I barely had a 1.9 GPA, and I certainly had no delusions about how far a degree from You Suck University would take me in the world, and a theater degree at that. So I dropped out and went full time with the HTML thing and never looked back.

I don’t know if I’ve opened my self up to litigation or not, but there’s no proof that I’m not lying so fuck em. But the only way I’ve been able to grow into a successful interactive designer is through the use of pirated software. The money I spent on college was wasted. If I’d have had no access to the tools that elevated my career, I’d probably still be living in Youngstown wishing I’d had a life half as interesting as Ted Bundy in Married with Children.

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Downtime Thoughts

With the wonders that will be “Web 2.0” or “Superband” (or whatever non-creative term gets applied to the next evolution of the internet), will come the creep of advertisers into the youtubesphere. Adult Swim’s online success will be the model, and the folks who brought us MTV are already gearing up for their “me too”, under the guise of Next New Network. I had an opportunity get a job there as a new media designer not too long ago. All I had to do was send out a DVD of my portfolio. For various reasons I never got around to it, and after a certain point I figured that if I really wanted to do it, I’d have made damn sure that my portfolio was in the right hands promptly.

For now, I’m a little more comfortable paying attention to what they are doing from afar. It just didn’t seem like something worth potentially committing to more time in NYC. Besides, I’m learning far more about the whole market of blogging and broadband video simply by doing my own thing round these parts. Which thankfully is something I can continue doing when I finally get my ass out to Chicago this spring.

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Tom Robbins once wrote “Success can eliminate as many options as failure.” To me that’s a roundabout way of saying that it’s neither the destination or the path that are important, it’s your attitude towards whatever the fuck life throws at you. It’s also another way of saying, “becareful what you wish for, you may just get it.”

I feel this is an extremely apt phrase to keep in mind as I transcribe this journal entry from June 28th, 2001. I was working at DigitalDay at the time, a web design firm in north eastern Ohio now resurrected as DigitalDay Creative Group (Happy, Mark?). It was after the dot-com bubble started to burst, and I had survived one of what would eventually become three waves of layoffs at the company.

Total Urgent Waste

The day was as any, full of the routines of work and the maintenance of living. Work drew out like listening to a toddler trying to spell “disenchantment.” Approaching my job now as I used to, my various “drinking” jobs of college years, I am submerged in routine. Arriving somewhere between 10:15 and 10:30, over an hour-and-a-half past the expected time. Since, as we all know, the corporate machine’s black heart begins to pump its viscous, oil strewn, flipper-baby blood at 9:00 am sharp.

I drop my bag at the foot of my chair, sit down, pop open the email program to make certain that no one has spent the last ninety minutes frantically trying to reach me for whatever not-really-important-well-not-really-that-important-in-the-grand-scheme-of-all-things-non-related reason.

Once I’m certain my absence has not been noticed, it’s time for a stroll on down to the kitchen for some post-sunrise gasoline. Two sugars and a splash of cream and I make my way back to my desk, slowly, as to keep careful eye on the vaccum-breathed conversationalist vipers that lurk these greyish-grey corridors. Safely back at my desk, I sit and drink my coffee. Looking around at the dusty ol’ ‘net for something interesting to read, if i don’t find anything, there’s always The Onion.

Now I’m tired of romantizing the drudgery I must endure. See you tomorrow.

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