2011-0802 Tuesday

2011-0802 Tuesday

Foremost on my mind this morning: Desktop Wallpaper Design! Client Meeting at 10AM!

I awoke at 600AM, snoozed a bit past 615AM, then ate leftovers for breakfast (chicken). The leftover rice was a bad idea; I feel the Carb Muddle in my head (it feels like a hazy fog in the front of my head). By 630AM I was ready to go to Starbucks, but then I remembered I had to put my laundry in the dryer first. To while away the time without using the computer (I caught myself turning it on), I looked at some paper mail and started putting together the IKEA table I got last weekend. Rather, I opened up the packages, realized I needed to charge up my drill driver. I also looked at a Motorola Razr phone that a friend had sent me so I could test out T-Mobile in my area before committing to it, and looked at the signature design for a possible Emergent Task Planner journal.

It’s now almost 8AM, which is a little later than I expected to start, but the day is still pretty clear. I have about 90 minutes to do some work before I get on the road.

The first thing on my mind, of course, is the Desktop Wallpaper Design. I’ve been thinking about how to tackle this. As I’d mentioned in another post recently, the pure creative, more open-ended work is most difficult for me because I like to know how things will come out before I start them. Doing creative work usually is the opposite of that, if I’m doing it right :)

I think I must doodle for 15 minutes, at least. That would fulfill my quota. Let’s see what happens. To make it interesting, I will try doodling in Adobe Illustrator.

0800 to 0845: Drew a couple variations of a flower shape. Used the Illustrator Blend tool for the first time in a long time. Results were amateurish. Also, Illustrator CS4 rotate tool is really, really terrible for rotating in fixed calculated increments. There is so much to dislike about Illustrator’s handling of CAD-like operations.

I am pretty displeased at this point with the way this is going, and frustrated. I’m a little mad at how difficult this is proving to be. Taking a clear assessment of my illustration abilities, I can tell that this is going to be a hard-fought battle because I am trying to do too many things at once: define a personal illustration style that’s different from what I currently do, and deliver a high-concept idea that isn’t quite clear in my mind yet. I don’t like the directions I’ve been going in to now…they seem trite, to use one of my least favorite words to describe anything.

At this point, I probably should consider getting off the computer and working on paper, because the computer tools (particularly Illustrator, which I have never liked) are grating. So let me try to illustrate the concept on paper first. It’s currently 0900.

0900 to 0915: Check email, reply to blog comments, fix CSS in Cleanr theme.
0915 to 0930: Radio Shack, buy $10 T-Mobile plan.
0930 to 1000: on road to client meeting.

Had a nice client 30 minute client meeting at a different Starbucks. He’d been following my blog “for years”…awesome!

Afterwards, I picked up a $9.99 “T-Mobile Pre-Paid Activation Kit” and activated the loaner phone I had. I tested reception everywhere in Nashua that I usually go…seemed to work fine, even in my house. My other phone service through Sprint is a little spotty. All I have to do now is transfer the phone # to T-Mobile at a T-Mobile store, and I will be set to give this experiment a try.

I stopped by Michael’s, the art supply store, to see if they happened to carry drafting tables. No go.

By now it was 1130, so I decided to head to the studio and catch some social time with Sid. I then ran a few errands with him, hanging out until around 1:45PM before heading over to Starbucks for my $2.00 Frappuccino. The goal: sketch something for the desktop wallpaper, to see if drawing on paper would work better than working directly on the computer. From 2:15 to 2:45, I sketched 3 or 4 ideas, so yeah…thinking on paper is much better than thinking on the computer. For one thing, it’s easier for me to draw something that looks like something on paper than with Illustrator, which fights you in many small ways.

After that, I decided to go home and spend some time puttering around the house. I finished putting together the standing table from the IKEA parts we’d gotten over the weekend. For $80, I got a nice veneer particle board top and 4 adjustable-height legs. My drill/driver was fully charged by now, so this made screwing the legs into the tabletop a snap. I was happy to see that the tabletop had pilot holes pre-drilled to make alignment very fast and easy. The resulting table is slightly wobbly, but serviceable. I set it up in the living room at first, but this looked ridiculous so I moved it downstairs next to my wall of planning; this is a great place for it. Add my Ergotron laptop stand, and BAM! A very useful and clean secondary work area.

From 4:45 to 5:15, I grabbed keyboards, power strips, and USB hubs to create a good docking solution for the laptop, and mounted stuff to the bottom of the tabletop. This keeps cord clutter to a minimum, and makes it easy to plug in new power and USB connections. I did the dishes and also started up some rice, just a small amount, for the leftover curry.

It’s been a fairly productive day. Tomorrow I will be ready to start up on the desktop wall paper concepts, though I may do one tonight because I want to see if the general idea will work. It should be easy to test. In the meantime, I bushed…I just caught myself falling asleep in front of the big computer. Want to vacuum and tidy the downstairs a bit while dinner is cooking.

1715 to 1730: napped!
1730 to 1745: tidying downstairs
1745 to 1815: ate leftover curry rice
1815 to 2130: played Star Trek Online, outfitting new ship (a Galaxy class cruiser!) and doing some general tweaking of the new abilities. 2130 to 2215: wind down, get ready for bed.

TOMORROW: Finalize, I hope, the wallpaper, and jump back on programming WordPress theme stuff.