Friday, August 5, 2016

Cloudgazing

I saw a really cool cloud outside my window at work yesterday. It looked like a duck about to eat a breadcrumb.


Meeting Doodles 1

I was having a really, really hard time paying attention in a meeting at work today until I started doodling on my notepad. That doesn't always work as a concentration strategy for me, but it definitely helped today.

Here's what I drew:


Friday, April 29, 2016

Fresh Paint

Hey, friends! So my sister just got a cool new computer- a Dell Inspiron 13. It has a touch screen and it folds all the way back to become a tablet. My sister downloaded an app called Fresh Paint, which is an art app. She likes navigating around the interwebs with a pink Bamboo stylus that her super awesome older sister got her.

So tonight my sister volunteered to play a farming-type game on my phone for me. That worked out fine for me; that game can go suck someone else's life away for a while. But while she was doing that, she let me try out her laptop, and I doodled around with the Fresh Paint app.

It seems pretty cool. I've never used an art program that let me draw right on the screen with a stylus before. My Bamboo tablet doesn't have its own screen, so this was a bit of a new experience. Fresh Paint has a nice little variety of tools. I haven't had a chance to test out all the tools yet, but it seems like a great program for making really great casual art. I would have to ask a better artist about using it for serious art projects. I really liked the watercolor tools, though- they look and act like digital watercolor brushes should.

Here's a little doodle I did! My sister has this "Cardio Queen" tank top that really makes me laugh, so I drew it.


Saturday, February 6, 2016

Whistle While You Work

I am extremely easily distracted. It tends to get in the way of my life.

Example: At my fancy new government contracting job, I have to read through a lot of long documents with ridiculously long and complex sentences, technical jargon, often a lot of comma splices, acronym after acronym, complicated engineering concepts, hey, look at that spot on the wall. It kind of looks like a dragon. I'm going to name it Arthur.

My brain is not always very cooperative when it comes to working productively. It feels like I'm at war with myself. One part of my brain shouting "LISTEN. LISTEN, WE NEED TO GET TO WORK. WE HAVE TO WORK NOW. THIS ISN'T A HARD JOB. JUST DO IT. WE NEED TO GET IT DONE OR WE'RE GOING TO GET FIRED. FIRED. LET'S GET A MOVE ON!!!"

Meanwhile, the other part of my brain is whining. "But it's boooring! It's not fun! I want to be on the Internet! Somebody probably posted something new on Tumblr! Hey, haven't you ever wondered about the history of candy? Hey, let's look and see what kind of reviews that movie got!"

I find that I can often concentrate better if I can do something to entertain the whiny part of my mind while I work. It's difficult to achieve this balance; no method works the same way twice, and different methods don't all work with the same task. When I'm reading something for content, it sometimes helps to tap my feet or toss a small stuffed animal from hand to hand. It almost always helps to highlight and annotate the text with fun pens.

When I'm reading for formatting or making graphics, I like to listen to music. As long as I can find the right music, I can entertain the whiny part of my brain, which leaves the working part free to work like a boss. The right type of music depends on the day, though.

Type 1: Classical Music.
Some of my favorites: Mozart, Tchaikovsky, Hooked on Classics (it counts!)

Pros: This music is gorgeous and makes me feel happy to be alive. The Hooked on Classics versions give me a taste of all the greatest songs with the bonus of a bouncy beat. They're mostly instrumentals, which is great for me because it gets harder for me to concentrate when there are people singing. I can't tune out the lyrics. Depending on the song, the music can make me feel calm, happy, or even powerful.

Cons: Sometimes I'm too familiar with the music and I sing along with it in my mind instead of concentrating on my work. It's hard to resist making the cannon sounds in the 1812 Overture. Sometimes the music gets too emotional, which makes me emotional and unfocused.

Examples:


 

Type 2: Video Game Soundtracks
Some of my favorites: Legend of Zelda games, Super Mario Bros.

Pros: Video game soundtracks are perfect for long work sessions! The background music is designed to make the gameplay more interesting, adding atmosphere and mood, but to not distract the player from the task at hand. The music is often gorgeous- as video game graphics improve, so do video game soundtracks. Music from fighting scenes often has a driving beat that's good to work to.

Cons: A lot of video games include cutscenes- scenes in which the player loses control of the playable character and watches a scene in which characters interact with each other or important events happen. These scenes are like short movies, and the background music takes a step up and demands your attention instead of trying not to distract you. These scenes often have dramatic, swelling, loud, beautiful, sad music, and sometimes it's hard to focus on work with all these emotions, especially if you know the story and- I'M NOT CRYING, YOU'RE CRYING.

Examples: 

(the Skyward Sword soundtrack is amazing and I love it, but many people who have played through the game might have a miniature panic attack at 3:17:37 in this video. those Guardians, man...)
Type 3: Electronic Music
Some of my favorites: Almost anything that comes up on a "Daft Punk" station on Pandora.
Pros: This music is exciting! It's got a driving beat, and it'll push you to the end of the project you're working on. Even if you don't typically listen to electronic music, this is good music for plugging away at a long task. I've run into a lot of upbeat remixes of video game music, which gives me two types of working music for the price of one.

Cons: Some of the music includes little robot voices, which can be distracting at times. Also, this music might make you dance too much.

Examples: 

 

Saturday, December 19, 2015

A little poem

Roses are red.
Violets are blue.
This is a poem
That I wrote for you.

This is a blog
Where I can write
Sometimes in day,
Most often at night.

This is a poem
You're on the 'Net.
These are some words.
Are you bored yet?

Soil is brown.
Earthworms are pink.
They never get poems.
Why, do you think?

I'm on my phone
And on a couch.
What rhymes with couch?
Crouch, grouch, and ouch.

That last rhyme scheme
Does not really fit,
But this is my blog.
I do what I want.

I have a foot.
I have some hair.
I am a human.
No surprise there.

What is today?
Friday, I think.
Tonight I prob'ly
Won't sleep a wink.

I kinda cheated
By short'ning a word.
I did it again,
But nobody heard.

Nobody heard that
Because it's just text
And not read out loud
(But I'll do that next).

Is this a talent?
You bet your behind.
Poetry's hard,
So please be kind.

How is it going?
Hey, what's up, doc?
How 'bout this weather?
I hate small talk.

I'm out of random
Things I can say.
This poem is over.
Have a nice day.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Step Into My Office

I have completed my first week at my new job.

I'd just like to talk for a moment about my office. As mundane as it might seem, I've never had my own office before. Now I do, and it's pretty awesome.

My supervisor seemed a bit apologetic when she showed me on my first day, saying that my office was a temporary one and that I'd have a real one with a window sometime in February when the building's construction is finished.

I couldn't really understand what was wrong with the one I have now.

I have two desks, and a spinning chair so I can switch between them easily. I have a work laptop with TWO additional computer screens attached to it. The desktop switches between gorgeous landscapes. I have a handful of nice pens, highlighters, and sticky notes from the supply room. I have an extra chair so people can come sit down and chat with me when they're passing through the hallway. I have a door that goes directly to the conference room, so I'll never be late for a meeting. And now I have a sign with my name on it outside my door so everyone will know where to find me.

I have some extra space in my office that I don't know what to do with yet. I might need some sort of artificial tree.

A lot of my coworkers have decorated their office doors for the holidays. I'm going to do that as well, and I've got some ideas I'd like to try out if I can, but I drew a little picture of a Christmas tree on a sticky note and put it on my door for the time being. It works well as a sort of minimalistic decoration. 

I'm thinking of all the nerdy things I can bring to decorate and liven up my office. I'm also trying to gauge whether I can bring a blanket to work without getting spoken to. Most importantly, I'm trying to decide on a method of organization for all the various papers I have floating around.

If you're on the fence about getting a desk job, you should definitely listen to your heart and do what you think is right. But it's really cool to have your own office. I'm just saying.






Saturday, December 5, 2015

The Chronicles of Ticket Pony

Once upon a time, a small child visited a space museum and lost a toy pony in its depths. An employee turned the toy in to the Lost and Found at the ticket desk.

For days, the pony hoped that her owner would come back to rescue her, but the child never returned. She waited under the ticket desk with the other lost, unclaimed items and watched the hustle and bustle of the cashiers selling tickets and memberships to excited museum patrons.

One day, the ticket desk staff took pity on the pony. They adopted her as their own and taught her how to ring up ticket transactions, void coupons, staple receipts to maps, and organize the office supplies. The pony was a bit small to take on such big tasks, but she tried her hardest because she enjoyed having work to do and being able to help people. The ticket desk staff took photos of her and shared them with each other to remind themselves what hard work looks like and to brighten each other's spirits.


We on the Guest Services team have seen a lot of Lost and Found items come and go. One time there was a gigantic Spider-Man action figure that looked like Iron Man from a distance. Once there was a single sandal with a child's love note tucked inside it. Once there was a selfie stick that became a remarkably good lightsaber when it was extended.

And then there was the pony.

The pony is supposed to be the character Rarity from the My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic TV show, but we nicknamed her "Ticket Pony."

 
http://mylittlepony.hasbro.com/en-us/ponies/rarity/

We had some very slow days at the museum in between the Fall Break and Thanksgiving crowds. To stop ourselves from going insane from boredom, we would sometimes arrange Ticket Pony on the desk to make her look like she was helping out or just commenting on life at the ticket desk. We would take photos of her and upload them to our Snapchat stories so that our friends who weren't working could see what Ticket Pony was up to each day. It didn't affect our ability to help museum guests, and it quickly became a running joke.

Since I'm leaving the museum to start a new job, I decided that I would hire Ticket Pony to be my honorary replacement. So I took her home one day, used an old doll hairbrush to clean up her mangled hair, and made her a lanyard so she could fit in with the rest of the team.


(Please don't use mobile devices while driving. It's very dangerous.)



I'll be looking forward to seeing the continuing adventures of Ticket Pony when I move on to my next job.