18 February, 2013

It's So Lonely Being Me

I mentioned here that “I am the sole creative individual in an office of logicians.” As a writer of business documents, and somewhat of a graphic designer (though I’m better with the words), I make sure everything reads well and looks good.

I recently was charged with designing a new template for a document that goes to a particular entity who declared that ours are “hard to read” and “boring” and “too technical”. They wished we would use one picture more often than the thousand words.

Yes, these are boring documents.

Yes, they are technical.

I’ve been working within previously delineated parameters since I arrived, but now I could break FREE!

*[insert sound of knuckles cracking]*

I turned it landscape. I imported a generic image to fade as the background of some of the pages. I …had to include staffing… hmm… 

Have you ever done something like, oh, say...Grant writing? Similar deal. Pages and pages of writing the stuff they NEED to know, to know that you can do what you say you will do. They want to see who is in charge and why they can be trusted.

WELL… Every time I tried to search for generic images pertinent to the job, Google asked if I was searching for a particular movie star with a similar name. SO I used his image as the image for the head guy on this project. What the hey, it’s just a template!

One of our other guys has a popular name, so I searched by name, and came up with another movie star! This was getting very cute!

The other names didn’t have movie stars leaping at me, so I just pulled up a headshot of a Stormtrooper from Star Wars. HAHA! I laughed out loud so hard over that. 

I had also incorporated images of famous places/things to show our “experience”, so it was a totally fictitious template, but showed where images would work or not. Like saying “Our guy is so awesome, he singlehandedly designed Stone Henge!”

I love it. It’s awesome. It's creative. It was fun. I couldn’t wait to demonstrate it to my superiors. That happened Thursday.


Such a focused bunch.  Did they not recognize the movie stars? Surely they recognized a stormtrooper! No questions. Just about how that page would be used in an actual document, where this element would go, etc.

Sometimes it’s so lonely being me. Nobody inside the business finds it funny, because they’re all so straight-laced. Nobody outside would get its brilliance.

Still – at least I am appreciated for my “unique skill set” – honest-to-God Quote.

I really do love my work. I can't wait to find a creative outlet and make friends who will laugh with me at this stuff. Maybe one of my sisters...

10 February, 2013

Love and February

For the first time ever, I am in love, in February. No matter how many times a day Brett and I say "I love you", I still think Valentine's Day is a crock.I'm reposting what I wrote last year on the subject, because aside from the "being single" part, I still feel the same way.

Some of you may not have seen this post from last year anyway, so I don't feel bad about a re-post.

I give you: February 13, 2012...

I’m not a fan of Valentine’s Day and it has nothing to do with being “alone” which is my choice, or being “reminded that I don’t have anyone” or anything like that. I don’t wear black in protest, or mourning, or whatever that’s supposed to signify.

Here’s my deal: It’s NOT ROMANTIC, homies! St. Valentine was a martyr! While incarcerated he wrote notes to the jail-keeper’s daughter and signed them “your” – as was common even in Jane Austen’s day – which gave us the phrase “your Valentine”. …at least that’s the popular one of many saints Valentine. February 14 celebrates the date of his burial. Happy Valentine’s Day, ya’ll!

Besides, if you love someone, do you really need a special day to tell them? Haven’t you already told them? Don’t you show them in myriad ways? If not, shame on you. Doing something special on Valentine’s Day is a cop-out. How much nicer when it’s a surprise for no reason!

So okay, a lot of people might appreciate a “gimme” holiday that basically tells you what to do and how to celebrate. Fine. But really? Named after - and celebrated on -  the day a MARTYR was BURIED? Let’s call it what it is: Happy “Hallmark Totally Made This Up” Day. Or, my personal favorite: Happy “Anniversary of the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre” Day. Heehee. Did I mention I used to live in Chicago?

I’m wracking my brain, and I don’t think I’ve actually been in a relationship on the fake holiday. But then, if I was involved with someone who decided to “do something special” on that day, I would probably get up and walk out of the restaurant, or otherwise ruin all the careful planning. Because really, if we’re together, you KNOW this about me. You KNOW I find this holiday trite and phony and a waste of time and money. So if you have made the colossal mistake of attempting “romance” (key point: I’m not romantic, either - at least not in a traditional way) then you MUST be hinting that it’s time for our relationship to end.

I actually have a commitment – not romantic, and not one-on-one – tomorrow night, so it’s a non-issue for me. But when I get home? Sweats and the movie “Some Like It Hot” which opens in Chicago and includes reference to the massacre in question.

And maybe pizza.
And a beer.
Ah, romance!

To all those who also are not celebrating this martyr: You're welcome for the logical excuse.

04 February, 2013

A Winter's Tale, or "Everyone Has a Story"

On Thursday of this week, there was a snowstorm. Big surprise, it's winter: This is the Midwest.

On Thursday of this week, there was a major pile-up on a major interstate, due to the storm.

On Thursday of this week, it took me over two hours to get home from work - a drive that usually takes 45-50 minutes. 

I know, everyone has their story of the big storm from "that" winter. And to be honest, the thing that makes one of these stories any good is if you were there. This is not a story like that. I've been in worse storms, if I want to tell a storm story!

But during my massive drive home, which included Interstate, State highway through a business district, State highway through the country, and backroads in the hills, there was just one incident that sort of reminded me that everyone is in the same boat.

It was in the hilly section. I'd been driving long, and probably about 5 minutes from home. I was ready to feel the relief!

The second to last street before home is hilly. I make a left turn, down two small hills, down a longer slope with an even longer rise at the end before it almost levels and I make the final left turn onto the street to home.

(with me so far? It's a straight road, but for the vertical curves including one steep descent with a steeper rise.)

I turn onto this road, and see a car with flashers pulled to the side just before the steep hill, and see the reflections on the trees indicating more such lights at the base of the steep hill.

Upon asking, the woman in the first car says she's fine, but isn't sure what's happening at the base of the hill and wants to be sure the TWO cars down there can go before she continues. Since I was out of my car already, I just started walking toward the hill to find out. A guy met me at the top of the slope, walking up from the (what I assumed was an) accident.

This guy recognized me as living in the area. (who knew!) He said that it wasn't an accident, and asked if I have 4WD. I do not. He said, "Well, without it I don't think anyone will make it up that hill" (on the steeper side).

Turns out, his girlfriend's car couldn't make it up the hill, so he brought his 4WD pick-up out to try to push her up the slope, but her wheels wouldn't grab and she ended up pushing them both back to the bottom of the hill. But everyone was fine, and they were working on it.

I don't know why I love this. The woman with her flashers, waiting patiently in the snow to see what's up with the icy hill. The guy who went out in the storm to try to push his girlfriend's car up the icy hill. The fact that the hill was so icy that my normal route was impassable, the camaraderie with people whose names I don't even know ...maybe it's just the fact that it had been such a long drive and I was so close to home ...

All these hilly roads connect up. I was able to back up and go around another way and get home 15 minutes later.

But I do think that next time I meet people in these types of situations, I will introduce myself. It would be nice to know the names of these neighbors I don't know!

What's your "winter storm story?"