• Business Cards and Transition, Part I

    January 7, 2019

    Business Cards of Yore The other day I made the acquaintance of a fellow who designs board games, and was caught off-guard when he asked me for my business card. No one has asked me for one in YEARS, so I was completely unprepared. I’m also not particularly thrilled with my current business card, which I designed as a 2014 daily challenge:

    Old Business Card Overall I like the simplicity of the card, and for the time my use of my face as recognizable element made sense for my combined professional/online presence in 2014. Five years later, I’m unexpectedly working-through a gender identity transition; I don’t like handing-out pictures of myself that are incongruent with my sense of self (gender dysphoria).

    I need a new solution that works with me in-transition, despite not knowing what I’ll look like in the next few years. Like it or not, my face is the first thing people encounter when meeting me in-person and I’d hate to deprive myself of such a useful memory hook. Besides, I’m ALWAYS going to “look like me”, no matter what surgeries and hormonal changes I possibly undergo. Despite my grouchiness, I think the healthy attitude is to accept my appearance and learn how to make positive aesthetic changes! So that’s my strategy for now; I might as well work with what I have and make adjustments as I go.

    First Mockup: Resizing the Old Card

    As I was looking at my 2014 business card, I figured I should tuck one in my FlipSide 2X wallet, only to discover that it doesn’t fit. Business cards in the US are 3.5×2.0 inches, and my particular version of the FlipSide is designed to hold credit cards. Credit cards use the ID-1 standard, ​3.75×2.125 inches. I quickly mocked-up an ID-1 sized version of my old card:

    Old Cards, Resized It also turns out that specialty printer MOO has a MOO size format that is very close to ID-1. This opens up the possibility of putting unique images on every card, something I last did back in 2006 when they only had the mini cards. They were awesome then; why not revisit them in 2018?

    Second Mockup: Image Updates

    I was originally thinking of putting an image on the back of the card, and getting a new photo of myself for the front. I don’t have a white seamless background here, so I just shot myself against my KALLAX room divider to give my photography buddy Sid an idea of what I was thinking.

    The exercise of shooting the reference photo got me thinking about how evolution of myself could be captured in the photo itself, suggesting a new approach.

    • In my old card / branding imagery, I always had a yellow Lamy Safari fountain pen. This was one of the props I always carried with me, though I fell out of the habit some years ago.
    • I have a newer special edition Lamy Al-Star pen that not only is a vibrant fuschia, but also writes in the same color! This is my favorite pen, so I can just do an upgrade of it for continuity.
    • I also have taken to wearing a bowler hat in the past year, as I am yet to find a really nice non-binary/femme hat that suits my face. The bowler hat is pretty awesome, now that I’ve gotten over the fear that I look like an idiot. So, why not add that to the brand imagery?

    I grabbed a selfie-stick and mucked around with some angles. I accidentally shot the REVERSE version of the photo, being unaccustomed to the Way of the Selfie. This lead to some new thoughts:

    • Reversing the angle subtly telegraphs a more significant change when thinking about my business card version as framing in a film.
    • I tried adding my self-appointed nickname “Sri” to the name, since I’ve been using it everywhere. It’s a name I use playing online games, coincidentally also from around the 2014 timeframe.
    • Showing the background office where I work is actually a nice tie-in to the livestreaming I’ve been doing. I’ve been slowly improving my so-called Living Room Cafe so I could do my physical coworking with my friends at home, and it’s my background set too for video. Why not include it in the card? The MOO cards can take photographs on both sides.

    Incorporating all these elements leads to this mockup:

    Mockup 2 I like the direct gaze into the camera. It’s a little less wistful and dreamy than the 2014 image, and to my eye it conveys a relaxed surety that I didn’t have back then. If I can still be approachable, that might work. Also, I like the idea of periodically updating my business card images by going with very small runs with MOO; for $20 I can get 50 really nice cards. I don’t think I’ve ever passed out more than 50 cards from ANY print run; even 250 cards is way too many.

    Conclusion for Now

    So that’s where I am right now. I’ll let the idea percolate for a while, talk to Sid, and see where it goes!

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  • GHDR Weekly Review 10.2 Bonus: A Welcome Season of Slothfulness

    January 4, 2019

    Christmas and New Year’s Day have come and gone, and though I’m not officially doing any goal tracking yet I feel like writing-up a review.

    From December 12 to January 1st, I was pretty much in vacation mode, though I only decided to call it that on December 31 :-)

    I haven’t been doing billable work or tracking time AT ALL, confining my activities to (1) eating things and (2) pursuing comfort. A productive side-effect of pursuing comfort was cleaning up my living room to make it MORE pleasurable to be in. Behold my cleaned-up workspace!

    Dining Area I converted my dining area to my home office back in July. I used to have the office in the living area behind the white KALLAX dividers, but I wanted to have that space be more for socializing / coworking. I have a long-term house guest at the moment too, and he needed a place where he could get out of the guest room to work. A perfect test of the LIVING ROOM CAFE concept!

    Anyway, back in the office area is my gaming PC (left corner), which is now connected to a roomscale Oculus Rift setup. My primary work computer is the old Macbook Pro which lives on a wheeled cart loaded with A/V gear for doing podcasts and livestreams. A major change I did was hanging the cables that formally lived in a rubber floor conduit, so it’s much easier to wheel the cart from the dining area to the living area.

    Now that it’s January, I wanted to reflect on what I’m looking forward to for the year. My slothful December did have one major benefit: I’m REALLY ANTSY about getting moving again on my projects. I think last year’s Groundhog Day Resolutions ended really well, and the refined processes from November will help keep me going. That’s what I hope, anyway…I think I might have a handle on the minimum effective discipline I need to feel like I’m making regular progress without anxiety. So let’s do a quick review of the week and see if that feeling is legitimate or not! (more…)

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  • 2019 Updates for Calendars and Trackers!

    December 29, 2018

    ETP and Calendar Updates Hey everyone! Time for some updates!

    • I’ve updated the $12 ETP Almanac! Of course, you can always download the free version of the Emergent Task Planner and fill it out yourself; the Almanac version is just a convenient package for people who like to print out their planner all at once. Grab the ETP 365 Day Almanac from my Shopify store for US$12. Remember, it’s a PDF that you have to print-out and bind yourself. It comes in two sizes, black+white and color, and this year includes a more “booklet printing friendly” version of the half-size format.

    • I’ve also updated the Word Counting Calendar, which is very similar to the popular calendar I make for Nanowrimo every November. It provides 50,000 words of tracking for every month. The 2019 Word Counting Calendar $12 download ) is available on my Shopify store.

    • The 2018-2019 Compact Calendar is still up-to-date, and you can also change the year easily in the Excel file; I’ll update the package soon with PDFs. Grab it from the Compact Calendar Page


    If you are following me on via my Patreon Page, I’ve already released copies of the Almanac and Word Counting Calendar as perks! Go there and download them! Thanks for your support!

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  • GHDR Weekly Review 10.1 Bonus – Uninvited Stresses

    December 16, 2018

    Unanticipated Problems I know I said that last week’s review was the “last official review” of the year, but I feel like doing an unofficial one today. The holiday madness is in FULL SWING and I haven’t quite switched gears from work, so I’ll use this review to try to gather my thoughts.

    My attention was split last week between tasks that I found more draining than expected:

    • writing the final Groundhog Day Resolutions Report of the year
    • reviewing finances and raising issues with the accountant, unsure of whether I wanted to continue using her services.
    • spending more money than I wanted to
    • dealing with technical blocks and managerial issues on top of that
    • clearing up a major issue with my corrective vision prescription which may date back several years, and having to communicate this with the eye doctor’s staff.
    • finalizing plans with family for Christmas (which are still not finalizing)
    • car inspection and expensive unexpected repairs, feeling irked by the poor quality of work by my former long-time mechanic.
    • arranging for major appliance repairs.
    • maintaining my calm in the face of this, and also trying to be helpful to close friends who are also going through high stress times.

    Now that I’ve written this all out, I can see why I am feeling so out-of-balance: I’ve been dealing with a lot of worry and stress across multiple unrelated domains. None of these tasks are “business as usual”, and so it was difficult to get into the groove. They have loomed uninvited over me like this orange cat occupying the dish drying mat on my kitchen counter. Sigh.

    I’m going to try constructing a counter strategy to reclaim my balance for the coming week. Let’s blow through the review template and see where we end up.


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  • 2018 Goals Review 10: A Great Close to the Year!

    December 13, 2018

    Phosphophyllite and Unicorn It’s time for the last Groundhog Day Resolutions Review of the year! I’m now officially on hiatus from “official” goal tracking until February 2nd, but I will do a 2018 review on January 1st after I’ve had some time to think about what I’d like to do next year.

    The goals I set last month (which are broadly related to the kickoff goals in February) were:

    • Make progress on Javascript Development work
    • Make progress on Stationery Business work for December 1, and update Amazon listings
    • Continue to get comfortable with gender identity, and develop a compatible winter wardrobe
    • Run the Discord Coworking Chat
    • Keep Writing and Making Stuff to Share
    • Stay Open to Possibilities and Act on Them when I Can

    I think this past month went pretty well! Let’s get into it. (more…)

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