The Wednesday Outlook: June 10th

Keith is about to come out with his first book of collected Nowhere Band comic strips (numbers 1-56).  This is the rejected author photo… He went with something else even more hilarious than him looking through our cat door. The one he chose involves a bathrobe, which is all I can say.

He’s been working hard on formatting everything for the book (which will be available in both color and black and white), doing all that stuff he does on his computer and in Photoshop. I admit my ignorance of the process but I love the results. This is not something that he would ever make a point of telling people, but he taught himself to draw over the course of the last 3 or 4 years. He got into comics, which I think inspired him to learn to draw, took a couple classes and developed his own comic. That’s what I admire about him – that he’ll just take something on, get off his ass and do it. Which is how you need to tackle any art or hobby that requires a lot of practice.

He’s really disciplined with the work schedule, too. Every morning he doesn’t have dog walking duty he’s at his drawing table, drawing until it’s time to get ready for work. He often puts time in at night too and double time on the weekend. You have to love the DIY spirit – it’s not about the money, folks. I know it’s part of what inspired me to finally quit procrastinating a few weeks ago and get up every morning to spend an hour writing before work. I used to think that an hour a day could never possibly be enough or wouldn’t show enough commitment to my projects. But I’m a stupid perfectionist. OK, I’m a Recovering Perfectionist. I already have 40 pages done on one project! Type, type, type.

The mind works in strange ways. I’ll wake up, make tea and think, “I don’t want to fucking write! I want to sit on the couch and watch Al Roker make a fool out of himself on Today.” But then I’ll sit down in my desk chair, start in and the time will be up and I’ll think, “No, just ten more minutes!”

Sometimes I read The Onion and think, “Wow, they’re running out of good material,” or “They don’t have the edge they used to.” But then they come out with something that makes me giggle for days. I currently have this article about J.D. Salinger loving the new Terminator movie tacked up in my office. My absolute favorite part is:

“Although the sole film made from Salinger’s work, My Foolish Heart, based on his short story “Uncle Wiggily In Connecticut,” was considered by Salinger to be such a bastardization of his prose that he never agreed to another adaptation, he now states that “if McG wants to do any of my stuff—’A Perfect Day For Bananafish’; Raise High The Roof Beam, Carpenters; hell, all of Nine Stories—he has my complete permission. Anything. Anything he wants.

When asked what he thought of today’s novelists, and whether he had plans to publish any new work, Salinger replied that he loved it when the helicopter crashes and John Connor gets grabbed by that terminator that’s only half a torso, and then he blows it away with the mounted machine gun.”

I’ve also been reading quite a bit about “The Future of Work.” Work is, you know, where I and a lot of other people spend a lot of time, so I think it’s good to have some idea what might lie ahead. Besides, I’ve experienced many antiquated ideas about how to work lately. There are people, perhaps you’ve encountered some, with crazy ideas about how to run things. They still believe it’s a good it’s good practice to use the “top down” model. People my age and a lot younger just don’t do that structure, except if they’re in the military. The Internet and now social media has made us accustomed to getting information when we want it and need it. To have people in managerial positions trying to keep workers from having information or being in on decision making is old world thinking. So is dictating how many hours one must sit at a desk to earn a paycheck. Even a lot of managers you’d think would be more with it, people in their late 30s or early 40s, are guilty of this. What I think happens is that when people finally get up the hill of hierarchy they experience a “blood lust” for “being in charge.” It’s their turn, damn it, and didn’t they have to pay their dues?

Well, I’ll gladly pass on my turn if we can all make work more manageable and in tune with how we live now. For example, do we all really need to report to a building everyday to sit in a specific chair? No! And it saves companies money if we don’t. They don’t have to maintain space for us, heat it, cool it, etc. We would be working when we need to work and not working when we don’t. Of course, this means that managers and bosses would have to stop viewing employees as children who need a hall passes to move around the building or a note to go to the dentist. It would mean accepting that we’re all responsible adults and can handle our work loads on our own time. If you proved otherwise by taking unfair advantage of the system or not completing projects, you would be fired and someone better able to handle the responsibility would fill your slot.

Besides, studies point out that productivity often goes up when employees are given freedom. A Time Magazine article about women managers that appeared in the April 2009 issue, pointed out that women are more likely to focus on results than on time spent in the office (probably because women so often experience that pull between wanting to be a productive employee and a mother to their children). The article eferences a system implemented by Best Buy called ROWE (results-only work environment) that found that “productivity, in some cases, shot up 40%,” when the system was put into place. Why? Because if people are told, “Get your work done and you can go do other things, like be with your kids or take your dog for a walk,” people have incentive. It raises moral. One might think, “Hey, I don’t have to sit here until 5:00! I can write my report, go to that meeting, send some e-mails and call it a day. Then tomorrow I’ll come in early, work on the copy, make some calls and go to lunch and to my son’s soccer game.” Or maybe it’s, “I really don’t need to go into the office on Tuesday. I’ll write that copy at home and send it off to Jane to edit.”

But maybe that’s all just a little too… adult. Still, expect people in their 20s to operate this way. They’ve always had cell phones and the Internet. They’d rather e-mail you than talk to you face-to-face; they’d rather text you than e-mail you. I used to think this was a negative thing but now I see the efficiency in it if it leads to more meaningful time and interactions outside work.

After all, many times work is overrated, no matter what people say about “do what you love.” What about, do what you are good at and can get paid to do and then build a creative or fulfilling life outside of work? Obviously, it would be great if work and your hobbies all blended together. Or would it? That’s another debate…

What I’m Reading
Just started in on The Women by T.C. Boyle. It’s a fictionalized account of Frank Lloyd Wright’s life as told by his wives and lovers. So far, 25 pages in, I’m not feeling it. I recognize that it’s good writing; I think it’s just me and my mood. It might turn out to be one of those books I have to come back to. But I usually don’t allow myself to make that kind of decision until I’m 50 pages in to a book.

What I’m Watching
STILL watching the first season of In Treatment . I think it’s also becoming a slog. What the hell is wrong with me? I have the attention span of a mosquito, or what? I feel as if I should keep going because now I’m invested but I find myself fantasizing about quitting treatment. Watching other people talk about their problems, even if it’s fiction, is not an uplifting experience. I’ll watch an entire disc in one sitting and then feel like getting into bed with a carton of ice cream. This can’t be good for me.

What’s Going On
Tomorrow night, June 11th, there’s a screenprinting workshop in the Sculpture Garden at The Walker. Here’s the lowdown:
Screenprinting with Calpurnia Peach

Give T-shirts, pants, tote bags, and pillowcases a fresh new life through the magic of screenprinting. Kandler and Wokasch use hand-drawn prints and elaborate stories to create their Calpurnia Peach clothing. Focusing on geometric shapes from the Walker’s architecture as inspiration, participants will work with the designers to create unique patterns and prints to transfer on items salvaged from the recycling pile.

If you can’t make that one, they have several others going on in the coming weeks too – another screenprinting one this month, one focused on remaking old clothing and then one on making misfit toys… Guess which one I’m pumped about? Dr. Oliver Cuddles needs a buddy!

I was just sitting her typing and two little girls biked by the house. One said to the other, “That was strange.” And the other replied, “Yes, very strange.” They spoke in such adult voices. I only wish I knew what they were commenting on. What was strange???!!!

In Closing
And if none of the stuff in this post floats your boat, this will surely rock it!

4 thoughts on “The Wednesday Outlook: June 10th

  1. The “man” blocked the David Lee Roth site. OHHHHHHHHH, the humanity!

  2. I like your comments about work. Something really does need to change in our society.

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