Mark Bult Design: San Francisco, CA, Established 1988

Web design and development for small and large business, e-commerce, b2b, b2c, SAAS, and community websites. User experience design and usability testing.


Thursday, June 04, 2009

What I’ve been doing (May 2009)

Previous:
list #1
list #2
list #3
list #4
list #5
list #6
list #7

List #8, started May 1:
  • Had Jason and Phu over for dinner. After, we all went to Cafe Gratitude for dessert.
  • Did more laundry.
  • Updated a couple of my posts:
  • Scanned three book covers for the guy who makes high-quality reproductions of pre-1970 first edition jackets.
  • Went to Walgreens with Velma. I’ve decided that the one at 23rd and Mission is small, with a lousy selection, and is organized poorly. Meh.
  • Moved some stuff around in the kitchen and made a new place for a box to collect Tetra Pak containers for recycling.
  • Read the Wikipedia page on space elevators
  • Tried again to get a pound of kona coffee from the Park Bench Cafe. Closed again. At 3pm. With the Open sign on in the window again. WTF, damn place is always closed!
  • Had coffee and caught up with Mike from Whiskey Media.
  • Watched some videos on Flash Catalyst and Flex at Adobe Labs.
  • Talked with a recruiter from a talent agency that works exclusively with creatives, ArtisanCreative.com.
  • Underwent an excessively long interview (4.5 hours) at a company. Had to do a lot of advance preparation too. More about that another time.
  • Went to the South Bay with Velma to take my mom out for brunch for Mothers’ Day (went to Flea St. Café, which is great), and run some errands. Also picked up a bunch of old SF pulps for a steal of a price, considering their excellent condition.
  • Watered the garden.
  • Washed lots of dishes.
  • Scanned a bunch of old prints and added as much meta data to them as I could, including asking a couple people if they knew the names of people in some of the pictures.
  • Read a bunch of articles on design, UX, technology, etc.
  • Cleaned mold out of the coffee maker since someone forgot to take the filter and used grounds out of it last time it was put away, several months ago (we normally use a single-cup funnel, generally only breaking out the bigger machine when we have party or the like).
  • Wrote a brief list of recommended improvements for CNET Download.com’s new email newsletter design (since they asked for feedback).
  • Made some more photo illustrations.
  • Went through, with Velma, our camping stuff, in preparation for a short trip.
  • Wrote out a first draft of categories, tags, and media types for one of my many side projects.
  • Researched a lot of companies for my job search.
  • Perused design patterns and trends at Elements of Design.
  • Updated my Apple ID and me.com account and credit card settings.
  • Designed a new home page for OzarkHandspun.com. Will probably start developing it in a month or so.
  • Updated my Technorati profile.
  • Read the online version of Getting Real, the product development book from 37 Signals.
  • Listened to Mayor Peter Drekmeier’s State of the City Address.
  • Collected more quotes for Ozark Handspun ads.
  • Went to see Ben Folds with Velma at the Fox Theater in Oakland. Damn good show.
  • Started a one-page design for another side project.
  • Did more laundry. And dishes.
  • Ate alpine strawberries from our garden.
  • Took some pictures of things we were giving away, recycling, or throwing away, which I wanted to kind of have a visual memory of.
  • Pre-ordered a bunch of new UK Hitchhiker’s editions and related books and audiobooks.
  • Organized some more files on my computer.
  • Watched Zia McCabe shaking her ass, and eat an apple, via live webcam feed while she was in the studio while DJing at W+K Radio.
  • Went on a five-day trip with Velma and Bob Merritt to Sequoia & Kings Canyon, with a 2.5-day backpacking/camping trip (a moderate one to test out whether I could carry a full backpack a year-plus after my broken clavicle).
  • Downloaded some podcasts of radio shows I’d missed.
  • Reviewed wireframes, did some industry research, and sketched some logo ideas for a potential new client project.
  • Put our DVDs back in order after someone mixed them all up.
  • Went to a meeting with a former co-worker who wanted some design help.
  • Had coffee with former co-worker Anne M.
  • Had lunch with Peter Drekmeier.
  • Went to a meeting with another former co-worker about a project.
  • Went to see Star Trek at an early show on a weekday.
  • Gave some quick design advice to a former co-worker on a postcard she designed for her business.
  • Took my mom, with Velma, out to dinner for her birthday, at the Beach Chalet in San Francisco.
  • Made another web design for a side project.
  • Kept this list, added links to it, and posted it.

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Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Updated a couple posts

I updated these two popular posts yesterday. Just thought I’d drop a reminder here in case anyone’s on the lookout for these sort of resources.

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Wednesday, May 06, 2009

What I’ve been doing (Apr 2009)

Previous:
list #1
list #2
list #3
list #4
list #5
list #6

List #7, started April 1:
  • Sorted and organized a bunch of my portfolio stuff to take photos of it, prioritized piles, and started taking more pictures. Doing studio photography with jury-rigged equipment on my kitchen table is not ideal, but it gets the job done. It also gives me a back ache (table’s too low!).
  • Added more projects to the new portfolio. Made a bunch of code changes.
  • Did more work on my latest contract job for Fitbit. They posted a couple of the screens on their blog. I didn’t devise their logo or the original design of the site, I’m just iterating off it and adding UI and functions.
  • Hung out with Jenny and Aaron for a while one afternoon talking art and stuff.
  • Drove Jenny back to the farm in Petaluma, just in time for dinner. Picked Velma up on my way home, after her meeting.
  • Completed some more case studies for the portfolio.
  • Encountered a problem with my old G4 tower that required me to open up the patient and reset its PMU switch.
  • Paid bills.
  • Wrote a letter (by hand) to Olya in Australia.
  • Applied for a few jobs.
  • Revised an ad for Ozark Handspun, sent it off to the publisher.
  • Cleaned the cat box.
  • Sliced and prepped Fitbit design assets for production before leaving town.
  • Updated my PowerBook’s OS X software and backed up my email.
  • Contacted an old HS friend who lives in Kansas City to see if she’d be anywhere near the middle of the state while Velma and I were in town.
  • Published post-dated Thursday Top 5s for the time I’d be out of town.
  • Packed for our trip.
  • Bought Ben Folds tickets.
  • Went to Missouri for a week. Did lots of stuff there. I’ll have to make a separate entry later for that list.
  • Lost my keys somewhere between SF and Missouri.
  • Fixed a few things around the house: Glued a broken coffee mug and watering wand, plied out Velma’s pepperspray holder that she’d jammed in the wrong way.
  • Did laundry.
  • Called and/or emailed about nine different agencies and locations in two cities/states (airport police, BART lost and found, TSA lost and found, airlines, et al) to see if anyone had turned in my keys.
  • Made a Google Profile.
  • Called my domain registrar to sort out an issue with four expired domains and get them back (with a hefty fee tacked on by the bastards at the .com über-registrar Verisign).
  • Cancelled our VOIP land line.
  • Did some weeding in the garden.
  • Researched databases again.
  • Applied for a few jobs, did a few phone interviews.
  • Put together some samples of my work (of things that aren’t in my portfolio yet) to send to potential employers.
  • Finally made some Moo cards.
  • Reorganized some of my books, records, and stuff.
  • Had dinner with and talked for a while with our friend Scott, who we put up for a couple nights while he was in town for a nonprofit technology conference.
  • Re-sent a notification to an advertiser who neglected to download the ad I sent before the download link expired.
  • Took some quick photos of a few books I have that may have been interesting to a guy who restores/produces first edition book jacket reproductions. Bought a few from him too.
  • Tried once again to get a pound of kona coffee from the one nearby cafe that carries it. They are closed more than half the times I go there, even in the middle of the day, often with the “Open” sign still on in the window. This time they were open, but out of kona again `,: /
  • Deposited checks at the credit union.
  • Kept this list, added links to it, and posted it.

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Wednesday, April 01, 2009

What I've been doing (Mar 2009)

Previous:
list #1
list #2
list #3
list #4
list #5

List #6, started March 1:
  • Updated some posts:
  • Organized some more of my fonts. It’s an ongoing thing. I have lots and lots of fonts.
  • Scanned some old photos and uploaded them to Facebook, tagged people.
  • Met with a former coworker about doing some design work for his new company.
  • Went downtown and had coffee with Jason, took some photos in Yerba Buena Park during a break in the rain.
  • Moved some stuff in the garage/basement up off the floor and onto styrofoam, since the floor got wet from heavy rains.
  • Re-set up our land line, to try it out for two months and see if we still want one.
  • Took photos and scanned more stuff for the new portfolio. Since I don’t have proper studio equipment for product photography, there’s a lot of color-correction necessary in Photoshop.
  • Added a dozen or so people to my list of co-conspirators (the friends list in the sidebar of every journal entry).
  • Listened to the audio on Denis Leary’s website while I researched symbols in a book.
  • Read some Wikipedia pages:
  • Edited a couple Wikipedia pages for quick corrections/additions.
  • Gathered a lot of research and assets for data visualization, for a client project I was starting.
  • Spent 61 minutes on the phone with a PG&E rep who was actually helpful and listened to me (instead of interrupting me or telling me to hurry up, like the assholes at PG&E’s Credit Dept.). At the end of the call, I asked to talk with her supervisor so I could tell him/her what a good job she did, and then my call got cut off during transfer. Do’h! I even called back, but of course got a totally different rep, who explained they have multiple call centers and there was no way to figure out who the other rep was, even by looking at my account for her notes. *sigh* I tried.
  • Sent another letter to my local supervisor, urging passage of the Do Not Mail Resolution in San Francisco.
  • Perused a recent copy of my high school’s student newspaper. Fascinating to see that the more things change, the more things stay the same. But it's definitely cool that they have a pretty good website and full PDF downloads of each print issue.
  • Sprayed some WD40 on a couple squeeky doors around the flat.
  • Did laundry.
  • Let the cat in and out. A lot.
  • Made some digital illustrations.
  • Made a desktop image with my new logo.
  • Did a lot of work on a new client project.
  • Went with Velma to Flora Grubb Gardens, the pricey but lovely nursery, bought some plants, and put them in the ground.
  • Updated system software, iLife 09, and practically everything in the Adobe CS4 suite.
  • Finally, finally, finally found an old copy (from 1999!) of DiskDoubler (OS 9) on an old backup CD-ROM that I could install on my old G4 (which thankfully I kept, because it still runs OS 9, whereas my Intel Mac Pro does not), so I can finally unarchive hundreds of old files I’ve been trying to open for several years. Posted an archive of it on my website for the other people out there who are in the same boat I was in (I’ve been searching, periodically, on obscure Mac forums for a solution to this for about three years, and I’ve seen other people looking for the same thing).
  • Moved 75% of my office furniture around one night.
  • Designed a quick banner for the Silicon Valley Water Conservation Awards, plus a black and white version of the logo for laser engraving on the plaques.
  • Reorganized a small bit of stuff each day in my office. I’m a big fan of the “Chip away at it” principle.
  • Washed a lot of dishes.
  • Set to work on the time-consuming task of cleaning up me and Velma’s iTunes library. Not done yet, but tasks include:
  • Move the library and all associated files to my Mac Pro, since trying to fix it on the Mac Mini would take a lifetime.
  • Trick iTunes on my MacPro into using the other library (easy to do with aliases).
  • Consolidate music files from several HDs.
  • Try out some de-duping apps, fix broken songs and ID tags, find missing album art, etc.
  • Split music into separate libraries over two drives (maybe).
  • Run CoverScout to find missing album artwork. Try some other similar apps or scripts.
  • Ripped some more CDs to my iTunes. Also imported about 10,000 songs I hadn’t added yet.
  • Stayed awake for 32 hours to try to reset my sleep clock. Then crashed for about 15 hours. Now I’m kinda back where I started : \ meh. My body thinks it lives on a planet with a 26-hour day, which really fucks me up.
  • Looked into some iPod/iPhone stereos since Velma wants something that’ll play CDs, radio, and MP3s in the kitchen.
  • Met with Diane for an hour so she could give me some newly prepped files for her website.
  • Made a quick page on a friend’s website so she could make an announcement using an embedded video.
  • Created Facebook friends groups so I could keep track of people easier, and filter my Home activity stream for easier reading.
  • Made a list of all my hobby projects. 38 and counting, yikes!
  • Reviewed Laura Stec’s book on Amazon.
  • Revised my résumé and LinkedIn profile.
  • Walked to Pancho Villa for a burrito, taking photos on the way, during the best time of day for photography.
  • Sent thank you emails to two SF supervisors for passing the country’s first resolution supporting a national Do Not Mail Registry.
  • Helped Velma by starting dinner a couple times before she got home, so she could rush off to some meeting or another right after dinner. I’m really not a very skilled cook, so she had to email me directions : )
  • Went with Velma to a new (to us) Thai place in our neighborhood: Dusit Thai. Very good soups, but the main dishes were less flavorful than I had hoped for.
  • Had a quick Chocolate Chip Cookie Meeting with Velma.
  • Ate cookies.
  • Kept this list, added links to it, and posted it.

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Wednesday, March 11, 2009

What I’ve been doing (Feb 2009)

If you missed the previous ones and you want to bore yourself to tears, here’s list #1, list #2, list #3, and list #4.

List #5, started January 31:
  • Uploaded some more screenshots of cool web designs to Flickr.
  • Designed a logo for the SIlicon Valley Water Conservation Awards.
  • Gave Jenny and Chris a ride back to the farm they’re working at in Petaluma, and stayed for dinner.
  • Worked a ton more on my portfolio, including going through many years’ worth of designs done while at Download.com and Webshots.com.
  • Spent a couple hours exploring Coraline.com.
  • Collected quotes about Ozark Handspun from the web.
  • Designed two new Ozark Handspun print ads.
  • Gave some input to Scott L., who was looking for feedback on a logo design.
  • Made some tweaks to my logo for the Silicon Valley Water Conservation Awards.
  • Tried for a third time to find a solution to Blogger’s broken feeds on my blog. Finally fixed it.
  • Researched how/where to best recycle my old mobile phone, did a hard reset to make sure all the data was wiped, removed the SIM and memory cards, and printed a shipping label to send it to Environmental Media Association’s fundraising program which utilizes Electronic Recyclers International.
  • Downloaded and tried out a couple new Mac diagnostic, repair, and optimization apps: CheckUp and SpeedTools Utilities.
  • Ordered 8 GB of RAM to put in my four empty slots. I’ve been running this computer on far too little RAM (less than a third of its’ max!) for far too long, and the latest versions of Firefox and Photoshop have been incredibly sluggish, so it was time for a relatively inexpensive upgrade ($185 at Other World Computing is a lot cheaper than a whole new computer).
  • Also ordered and installed a 1 GB module for Velma’s iBook.
  • Spent a lot of time perusing the website of a company I’d really like to work for.
  • Deleted 125 stores from Ozark Handspun’s retail page, and added 10 new ones.
  • Spent a few hours playing with iPhoto’s new capabilities.
  • Tried numerous things to fix Velma’s iPhoto, which keeps crashing.
  • Cleaned the cat box.
  • Vacuumed a bit.
  • Coded a lot.
  • Thought a lot, and tried to remember to make notes on most of it.
  • Went briefly to a Chinese Hew Year party at a neighbors’ house. We didn’t really know anyone but the neighbors, who we don’t know that well either, but I really wanted to see the inside of their awesome house. It’s a brilliantly done modern remodel. Made me want to move again/more.
  • Bought Velma the three-in-one-volume version of an antique book she’d wanted (I got her the cookbook volume before, but because of a miscommunication I didn’t know she wanted all three).
  • Went to Markleyville for a long weekend, to play in the snow with Velma, Christine, and Anthony. And two dogs and a cat.
  • Made a cool template in Photoshop that allows me to make photo-realistic pictures of documents as if they were spread open on a tabletop. Using in the portfolio.
  • Went to Stacey’s Books before they closed, then went to see Coraline in RealD with Velma.
  • Made some digital illustrations.
  • Went to Compostmodern 09.
  • Organized all the hard-copy notes that I’ve made over the past 4.5 years, planning my website’s redesign. I cut them all into logical pieces, since there were often random bits on all sorts of scraps of paper, and taped them into a notebook in a more usable order, where I can continue making more notes.
  • Sent a list of software title ideas to my friend Jason who edits the Download Dispatch Mac newsletter for CNET.
  • Did some research online.
  • Voted in the AIGA board elections.
  • Did a quick edit of some sheep and goat photos Velma took, for someone who was writing an article about Ozark Handspun.

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Friday, January 30, 2009

Sabbatical update, and what I've been doing, part 4

As my ten loyal readers will no doubt know, I have been “on sabbatical” for the last year. That’s really just a nice way of saying unemployed, of course, but in my case it was by choice.

It hardly seems a year has passed since I left CNET Networks. It’s been a few months longer than originally intended, but so far that isn’t really a problem. I had a couple freelance gigs from September through December, and they’ve helped pay the bills, and Velma and I are financially pretty stable. We’re pretty frugal too.

But the plan was to take nine months or so to do my side projects and take some time off, and to be looking for full-time work by December at the latest. Now it’s January and a whole bunch of delays (some good ones, some merely annoying) in the past six weeks meant I still haven’t finished my portfolio.

I’ve been working hard at it, at the same time trying to take care of all the other little things that life throws at you, like doing laundry and taking the cat to the vet. And yeah, being just too brain-dead some days to get very much accomplished.

But I’ve been making a lot of progress on it, and I hope to be out interviewing in the next month or so (some of that depends on how the job hunt itself goes; I hear it’s a little tough out there these days, y’know?).

Anyway, my ten, dear, wonderful loyal readers will also know that I’ve been keeping track of what I've been doing every day for the past year, and I’ve posted long lists here for Jenny to read (she’s the only one who reads them all the way through, I’m convinced). This one only covers December and January, so it’s not so bad.

If you missed the previous ones and you want to bore yourself to tears, here’s list #1, list #2, and list #3.

List #4, started December 7:
  • Billed clients.
  • Completed documentation for my September–December client project.
  • Made a list of things to do and prioritize in order to accomplish the enews.org site redesign.
  • Optimized images for the new portfolio pages.
  • Started taking notes on things like HTML/CSS, naming conventions, and stuff like that, so I can later write a case study about upgrading my entire site for the first time in years.
  • Ate pie.
  • Drank lots of tea to try to stay warm in our frigid flat.
  • Regularly downed several daily tablespoons of a vile liquid Velma made from garlic, vinegar, honey, and glycerine, which she says is supposed to keep me from getting sick. Of course, she already is sick, so I’m just trying to avoid getting what she’s got (again). Last time sucked donkey balls.
  • Registered three new domains relevant to a side project I’ve been working on for about a year.
  • Dealt with landlord yet again, this time over an electrical issue.
  • Posted plenty of distractions for my adoring public.
  • Went to REI to buy down-lined bootie-slipper things that Velma suggested would keep my feet warm in our frigid flat. They work!
  • Ordered a book online from 1913 that Velma told me she wanted. Turned out it was a set of three (she only told me about one of them), and she wanted the whole set |: /
  • Went downtown with Velma to the AT&T store to merge our mobile accounts and then upgrade to iPhones. Then over to the Apple store for protective silicone sleeves and matte touchscreen covers. Also bought a new keyboard. Then spent the evening downloading apps from the AppStore.
  • Spent many, many days coding pages of my new portfolio design.
  • Tried out some more jQuery stuff for interactions on the enews.org redesign.
  • Sent a quick email to my local District Supervisor urging him to support the Do Not Mail Resolution in San Francisco.
  • Added a lot of movies to my Netflix queue.
  • Installed Silverlight and watched my first streaming movie from Netflix.
  • Bought some Pixar DVDs and some books from Amazon that I’ve been wanting for a long time.
  • Generated six (slightly) different PDFs for a client who had lots of typos and changes.
  • Downloaded some free Photoshop brushes.
  • Updated some journal entries:
  • Downloaded more This American Life podcasts.
  • Installed a few new Firefox extensions.
  • Sent a second email to a clothing company asking them for washing instructions for a shirt I got with no tags. Still got no response. Bastards.
  • Registered our car’s new tires (useful in case of recall). Big O’s website actually has some really good basic information on tire maintenance, etc.
  • Burned DVDs of wedding photos for friends.
  • Went through a ridiculously convoluted uninstall/install process to get my Canon LiDE 50 scanner working again on Mac OS X Leopard, since Canon is terrible at keeping its older drivers up to date and their software totally sucks.
  • Made a page on Facebook for Ozark Handspun.
  • Uploaded some photos to Facebook.
  • Did a little brushing up on history, reading the Wikipedia pages about:
  • Decided, with Velma, which nonprofits we wanted to support with year-end contributions, wrote letters and checks. Also wrote a lengthy entry about them that took about two days to compile.
  • Designed and coded Mark & Velma’s 2008 Holiday Gift for Our Friends & Family mini-website.
  • Organized the files on my Desktop. Twice.
  • Went through some old hard drives preparing to donate them, making sure I wasn’t getting rid of old files I needed.
  • Watched Lemmy videos on YouTube. Jason’s fault.
  • Watched a bunch of movies using Netflix’s new streaming for Macs.
  • Added some books to my Amazon Seller’s Account.
  • Removed about 60,000 junk mail and spam messages from my old email account. Looked into some apps and scripts that will hopefully help me convert ten years of emails and address book entries in Eudora into shiny-new and useful mailboxes in Mail.app and the Mac’s Address Book. We’ll see. Haven’t had time to try them yet.
  • Went out in the cold on New Year’s Day eve, to talk with the cops and EMTs who showed up after a fight broke out in front of our flat, and somebody busted a neighbor’s window (and his hand).
  • Went to Stacey’s to get a couple books for my mom.
  • Went to The Container Store with Velma to get some things to protect opened bags of chips, crackers, and cereal from ants.
  • Went to the new(ish) Amber India restaurant in SF with Velma for New Year’s Eve.
  • Went to my mom’s to celebrate New Year’s Day (and xmas, I suppose, since she’s the only reason I even acknowledge that holiday).
  • Made the foolish mistake of trying to appeal to the logical side of a rude PG&E representative.
  • Checked up on three of my all-time favorite illustrators: Chris Bishop, Michael LaLonde, and Colleen Coover. Sadly, none of them has been incredibly prolific in the year or so since the last time I checked their respective websites.
  • Drew a new caricature of Velma.
  • Watched the MacWorld 2009 Keynote.
  • Went to MacWorld for one afternoon, looked at a lot of stuff, bought a couple small things.
  • Bought a La Cie rugged drive for off-site backup and backed up Velma’s computer.
  • Did some loads of laundry.
  • Made moodboards for photography style for my portfolio.
  • Wasted a lot of time trying to either A) get my old Mac IIci or 7100 running, or B) find some OS X software that will actually decompress the ancient Disk Doubler algorithm. I was so far unsuccessful. And this is the third time I’ve tried to solve this problem in the past two years. Trying one last option: Ordered a $15 USB floppy drive and I’m hoping I can get at old files that way.
  • Culled 15- to 20-year-old data from floppy disks.
  • Went to the AIGA studio tour at Factor Design.
  • Wrote a hand-written letter to go in a package sent to Olya in Australia.
  • Organized some Ozzy CDs.
  • Read some comics.
  • Underwent a lengthy analysis of all my blog archives since 2003 to better inform the design criteria for my new templates. In other words, I looked at all the types of posts (quotations, tiny snippets, off-site links, videos, photos, reviews, poems, Top 5s, how-to articles, miscellany, et al) in order to ensure that my new template design would be flexible enough and have typography and design styles for each of these kinds of posts.
  • Created a new design for the footer of my new site.
  • Hung out with Jason and Phu and Will for a little while on a sunny winter afternoon.
  • Met with a potential new client in the Marina.
  • Checked out Comix Experience on Divisadero that I’ve ben wanting to go to for a long time.
  • Cleaned a lot of cat hair off cloth-covered chair seats. Three times. Damn cat.
  • Played with the cat every day.
  • Transplanted plants after the cat broke a pot during an overzealous leap for the cat toy. Damn cat.
  • Wasted a couple full days trying to get two conflicting JavaScripts to work together.
  • Coded new pages for my site’s redesign.
  • Went to Cicero’s Pizza with Velma and mom.
  • Spent an afternoon with Velma walking around some of my old haunts in Saratoga, where I grew up. Drove by my dad’s house (remarkably, it’s still there, not replaced by a mcmansion yet), visited the creek I used to play in, walked around my elementary/grade school, and went to the library where I used to hang out after school.
  • Went to Jason and Phu’s games party.
  • Took a short hike at Picchetti Ranch in Cupertino with Velma.
  • Dispatched another book sold on my Amazon store.
  • Took Orson to the vet for his regular shots and check-up.
  • Went to a fancy dinner with Velma at Zuni Café, to use a gift certificate that was generously given to us by her boss last year, and to celebrate my one-year “sabbatical.”
  • Caught up on FreakAngels.

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Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Job boards for designers and web developers

List updated May 12, 2009

I’ve been collecting this list for a while, in anticipation of having to use it one day. That day’s fast approaching here, so I thought I’d publish the list.

Here are all the job search sites I know of that cater primarily to the creative and design communities, plus the tech / online media sector. There are a few other job-related services thrown in too, toward the bottom of the list.

As an aside: I was rather disappointed that the hiring reps at a former employer (in the tech industry), were not aware of most of these. When I was looking to hire seasoned design talent and was getting utter shite filtered to me from HR, I had to give them most of these so I’d have some decent portfolios coming in.

Coroflot
http://www.coroflot.com/

37Signals Job Board
http://jobs.37signals.com/

Authentic Jobs
http://www.authenticjobs.com/

Crunchboard
http://www.crunchboard.com/

Krop
http://www.krop.com/

Fresh Web Jobs
http://www.freshwebjobs.com/

Just Creative Jobs
http://www.justcreativejobs.com/

Metafilter Job Board
http://jobs.metafilter.com/

Slashdot Job Board
http://jobs.slashdot.org/

AIGA Design Jobs
http://www.aigadesignjobs.org/public/default.asp
From the AIGA / American Institute of Graphic Arts.

Elance
http://www.elance.com/

AlleyInsider Job Board
http://jobs.alleyinsider.com/

ArtyPapers Jobpile
http://artypapers.com/jobpile/

Boxes And Arrows Job Board
http://jobs.boxesandarrows.com/jobs

CSS Beauty Job Board
http://cssbeauty.com/jobs/

Hire an Illustrator
http://hireanillustrator.com/v2/

Djobber
http://djobber.com/
[thanks to commenter mick]

Web Developer Jobs UK
http://www.webdeveloper-jobs.co.uk/
[thanks to commenter matthew]

Job Thread
Offers posting your job openings to multiple sites.
http://www.jobthread.com/

JobCoin
Publishers can get paid for hosting job boards.
http://www.jobcoin.com/

Emurse
Resume hosting service.
http://www.emurse.com/

Jobamatic
Job board implementation for online publishers.
http://www.jobamatic.com/a/jbb-static/home

JobBazaar
Hosting service.
http://www.jobazaar.com/

OpenSourceStaffing NEW
http://www.open-source-staffing.com/
Developers and programmers: Apache, Drupal, Joomla, LAMP, Linux, MySQL, Perl, PHP, Plone, Python, Ruby on Rails, Samba, and iPhone apps, among other technologies.

TwitterJobSearch NEW
http://www.twitterjobsearch.com

Style Apple Job Board NEW
http://www.styleapple.com/public/jobboard.php

Ars Technica Jobs NEW
http://jobs.arstechnica.com/

Sitepoint’s “Looking To Hire” Marketplace NEW
http://marketplace.sitepoint.com/categories/looking-to-hire
Looks like mostly freelance and junior- to mid-level positions. No surprising, since that seems appropriate to Sitepoint’s target audience.

Read/WriteWeb Job Board NEW
http://jobs.readwriteweb.com/
Mostly developer/programmer listings.

Ajaxian Job Board NEW
http://jobs.ajaxian.com/

SearchWebJobs NEW
http://www.searchwebjobs.com/

Freelanceswitch NEW
http://jobs.freelanceswitch.com/
Mostly freelance jobs, obviously.

Smashing Magazine Job Board NEW
http://jobs.smashingmagazine.com/

CreativeHeads.net NEW
http://www.creativeheads.net/search.aspx

CreativePool UK NEW
http://www.creativepool.co.uk/employee/jobboard.php
For UK jobs.

devBistro Tech Jobs NEW
http://www.devbistro.com/jobs
Lots of IT and developer listings, sometimes a few design postings.

Evolt Job Board NEW
http://evolt.org/jobs
Not a very easy to use site.

indeed NEW
http://www.indeed.com/q-web-design-jobs.html
Aggregated search results for jobs from Monster, 37Signals, Dice, and many others.

Think Vitamin Job Board NEW
http://thinkvitamin.com/jobs/?job=69

jobs.wordpress.net NEW
http://jobs.wordpress.net/
Just WordPress-related jobs.

Web Designer Wall job board NEW
http://jobs.webdesignerwall.com/

DesignM.ag job board NEW
http://designm.ag/jobs/

Wired job board NEW
http://jobs.wired.com/

Mashable job board NEW
http://mashable.jobamatic.com/a/jbb/find-jobs

Programmer Meet Designer NEW
http://programmermeetdesigner.com/
Looks like mostly freelance gigs.

Behance Network job list NEW
http://www.behance.net/Job_List

Design:Related job board NEW
http://www.designrelated.com/jobs

Creative Hotlist NEW
http://www.creativehotlist.com/

FWA (Favorite Website Awards) job list NEW
http://www.thefwa.com/?app=aboutus&id=30
Unfortunately, since the site is all Flash-based, in-page keyword searching via your browser is impossible.

The Designers Network job board NEW
http://jobs.designers-network.com/
International jobs.

Web Freelancers NEW
http://www.webfreelancers.com.au/
For Australia and New Zealand.

Web Directions Jobs NEW
http://jobs.webdirections.org/
For Australia and New Zealand.



Agencies

Creative Circle
http://creativecircle.com
[thanks to Kim and Velma]

Accolo
http://www.accolo.com

24seven
http://24seveninc.com

Filter Talent
http://www.filtertalent.com

Creative Group
http://www.creativegroup.com

Aquent
http://www.aquent.com

Artisan Creative NEW
http://www.artisancreative.com
They work mainly with creatives.

Emerging Blue NEW
http://www.emergingblue.com

The Talent Factor NEW
http://www.thetalentfactor.net
Agency with a focus on technology companies.



Suggestions?
Know of any I missed? Leave a comment and I’ll update the list.

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Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Terrible news: Stacey’s Bookstore in SF to close in March

SFGate reports that the 85-year-old store on Market near 2nd has taken a severe hit with the latest plunge in the economy, on top of a 50% drop in sales since 2001.

I’m very sad about this. I used to shop almost every week at the Stacey’s in Cupertino when I lived in the South Bay, and I was bummed when they had to close that location years ago. I shopped all the time at the SF location once I moved up here, in part because it was only a few blocks from where I worked, but also because they have a great selection of magazines and design books, the two things I buy most of.

I buy a lot of stuff from Amazon, so some might call me a hypocrite. But I buy a lot of books and a lot of my magazines at independent local bookstores. And anyone who’s been to my house knows I have a lot of books.

Here are my top local (San Francisco) fave bookstores, in no particular order:

Stacey’s Bookstore
581 Market Street, near 2nd
Great selection of magazines and design books, plus one of the best selections of computer/technical books. Stacey’s is large, clean, and well organized, and I will miss it a great deal.

Alexander Book Co.
50 2nd Street, near Market
It’s easy to miss this store if you don’t know it’s there, but they have a fantastic selection of graphic design books, maybe the best in the Bay Area, probably because they cater to students at the nearby Academy of Art University. Design books are pricey, typically being $35 to $55. I try not to go here too often ; )

Borderlands Books
866 Valencia Street, near 20th Street
This place only has sci-fi, fantasy, horror etc., with some graphic novels and a small selection of DVDs. I buy a lot of science fiction here and sometimes get really good recommendations from the staff. They carry some used but mostly new.

Modern Times
888 Valencia Street, near 20th Street
Full of leftist propaganda and I love it for that. Modern Times has a brilliant selection of progressive books on everything you can imagine, and it’s my go-to place to get the Slingshot organizer for Olya.

Dog Eared Books
900 Valencia Street, at 20th Street
I occasionally buy a used book here, but mostly I like Dog Eared’s selection of graphic novels and their terrific variety of outsider art books.

Aardvark Books
227 Church Street, near Market
I don’t get to this place very often but when I’m in the Castro I try to drop in here for a look through their big, round table in the front of the store featuring a ton of used graphic novels, comics, and art books. Most are in very good condition.

Adobe Books
3166 16th Street, near Valencia
I like this funky used bookstore but it’s really hard to find anything worthwhile in the mess of unorganized stacks of books. I usually take a quick look in the two or three sections I regularly peruse (art, photo, and sci-fi) when I’m waiting for my Pakwan takeout order to be ready. One of the coolest things I saw in 2004 was when a local artist was allowed to rearrange all the books by color for a couple months.

Please go support your local independent bookstore!

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Saturday, January 03, 2009

2008 charitable giving

In 2007, Velma and I supported worthy causes with a little over 2% of our annual income (here’s the list of charities we supported in 2007). We made a goal of trying to increase that over the next few years to 5%.

Although I took off most of 2008 from paid work, we decided we didn’t want to slacken our efforts to donate to charity. After all, we’re financially pretty stable, we don’t have any debt except for Velma’s student loans, and most importantly, the necessary work done by charitable organizations doesn’t stop just because our income lessened this year.

Since we haven’t done our taxes yet, I’m not sure how much we increased our giving this year, but considering we’re giving to 18 of the organizations we gave to last year, plus we’ve added 16 new ones, I think we’re probably a lot closer to our 5% goal.

An experiment: Our do-not-mail policy
Fed up with the amount of solicitations we were receiving every month, in 2007 we sent letters along with most of our donations, asking charities to stop sending us mail. We spelled out exactly what was allowable and what wasn’t, and we made it clear our continued financial support was riding on their compliance. We decided to keep all the mail we’d receive throughout the year, and see who followed our instruction and who didn’t.

We are happy to report that the majority or our chosen nonprofits sent us no mail whatsoever, or only sent us what we asked for (we made exceptions for a few newsletters we wished to receive).

In December, we tallied up the results and assigned grades to each charity, based on their compliance (note: these grades have nothing to do with performance relating to their organizational missions; we considered that separately).

2008 scorecard
These are the organizations we supported in 2007 and 2008. Most of them received a letter with our check, thanking them for following our request and explaining that our continued support is conditional on them sending us no mail in 2009. We made a few exceptions for some of the orgs whose newsletters we like to receive, and we tell them all they can send us one (but not numerous) renewal notice when our membership expires.

Here are the orgs and their 2008 grades:



American Civil Liberties Union
The ACLU fights to protect the freedoms guaranteed by our Bill of Rights, a document that's in more peril seemingly every year. They are campaigning to close Guantánamo, working against HIV/AIDS discrimination, to reform discriminatory drug laws, and more.

Grade: The ACLU got a C because they sent us more mail than we’d asked for in 2008. We considered dropping them from our ongoing support, but instead decided to give them another chance and sent them a donation with a new letter, again explicitly asking them to send us no mail. Update: On December 31, while I was compiling this list, an ACLU canvasser showed up at our door. Even after I told her three times we’d just sent them a nice, fat check, she kept pushing for a donation. After that, I had to fight the inclination to give them an even lower score. Sheesh.



Amnesty International USA
Most people know a little about Amnesty International, but did you know how broad their focus really is, and how many worthwhile campaigns they have? Human rights violations in China, protection of refugees, corporate accountability, prisoners of conscience, and the crisis in Darfur are among their many campaigns.

Grade: AI got an A+ in 2008 for not sending us even a single piece of mail.



Committee for Green Foothills
CGF is one of our favorite environmental organizations, in part because Velma used to work there and because Mark designed their logo and website. But mostly it’s because they have a 40+ year history of successful grassroots citizen campaigning to keep the farmlands, open space, and hills of San Mateo and Santa Clara counties from being over-developed. If it hadn’t been for CGF’s work over the past four decades, the South Bay and Peninsula would look more like the LA basin today.

Grade: CGF didn’t get scored this year because we never sent them our do-not-mail letter in 2007. However, they got one this December, and we’ll be watching them to see how they fare.



Earth First! Journal
Mario Savio, on the steps of Sproul Hall, said, “There comes a time when the operation of the machine becomes so odious, makes you so sick at heart, that you can’t take part, you can't even passively take part, and you’ve got to put your bodies upon the gears and upon the wheels, upon all the apparatus, and you’ve got to make it stop. And you’ve got to indicate to the people who run it, the people who own it, that unless you’re free the machine will be prevented from working at all.”

When the law won’t fix the problem, Earth First!ers put their bodies on the line to stop the destruction. Some of the Earth First!ers I’ve met were the bravest, most noble people I’ve ever known.

Grade: The EF! Journal got a B+ this year for only sending us one plea for a donation when their funds had run dangerously low.



Earthjustice
Earthjustice began as the Sierra Club Legal Defense Fund and has provided legal assistance on environmental issues for almost 40 years, representing citizens groups, nonprofits, scientists, and others. “Environmental litigation has been key to preserving threatened natural resources and protecting people’s environmental rights. Lawsuits have protected millions of acres of wilderness and hundreds of endangered species. They have helped improve air and water quality and have forced polluting companies to clean up their discharges.” And I love their slogan: “Because the earth needs a good lawyer.”

Grade: Earthjustice got an A+ in 2008 for not sending us even a single piece of mail.



Electronic Frontier Foundation
The EFF uses advocacy and lawsuits to preserve free speech rights in the context of today’s digital age. Among its many activities, EFF has participated in lawsuits in support of the college students who published information about the major security flaws in Diebold Election Systems, and against corporate and government infringement of the First Amendment rights of individuals, artists, journalists, bloggers, and others.

Grade: EFF got an A+ in 2008 for not sending us even a single piece of mail.



Environmental Protection Information Center
The Environmental Protection Information Center has fought for the North Coast in the courts for years. Headwaters Grove probably wouldn't be standing today if it hadn't been for organizations like EPIC.

Grade: EPIC got an A+ in 2008 for not sending us even a single piece of mail.



Good magazine
Good is a magazine, a website, and a collaboration of people, nonprofits, and businesses who give a damn. I enjoy its’ focus and coverage a lot, and I even love looking at it, as it’s very well designed.

Update: When you subscribe, Good lets you choose a nonprofit to support, and that nonprofit gets 100% of your subscription fee. Last year I chose 826 National, which is the umbrella for 826 Valencia (also known as the Pirate Store) in my neighborhood. Many people who have been to the Pirate Store don’t realize it’s actually a nonprofit that teaches students creative writing skills.

Grade: Good got an A+ in 2008. We received the magazine of course, but no solicitations other than the normal renewal statements.



A Permanent Mark (and Film Arts Foundation)
A Permanent Mark is a documentary film being made by our friend Holly Million about the effects of Agent Orange on Americans and Vietnamese who were exposed during and since the Vietnam War. The Film Arts Foundation is an independent media arts training facility and acts as Holly’s fiduciary agent for contributions to the documentary.

Grade: We didn’t assign a score here because we never sent Holly or Film Arts our do-not-mail letter.



KQED
We donated quite a bit to KQED in 2006, 2007, and 2008, so we were pretty disappointed that they didn’t follow our do-not-mail request. Especially since we listen to KQED FM every day, and we love the programming a lot.

We love KQED so much that we decided to give them a chance to redeem themselves. In December we sent a letter to KQED’s development director, explaining that our request was ignored and asking for a personal note assuring us that it would be followed in 2009, in return for which we would gladly send them a check. To bolster our point, we enclosed all the mail they sent us in 2008. It’s only been a few days since I sent the letter, but I’ll post an update here if we get a response.

Grade: KQED failed with a D. Of the three organizations that utterly failed to follow our do-not-mail policy, KQED was the second worst offender, sending us many renewal notices and multiple requests for upgrade donations.

Update Dec. 31: We received a very prompt, hand-addressed letter from KQED’s chief development officer, to whom we addressed our letter. She was very good about explaining what steps would be followed to complete our request: They would “code your account in our computer system to just send you one renewal request and the occasional invitation to an event” (which is exactly what we asked for), and “merge your two accounts...so the renewal request you receive in the future (next year) will be addressed to both of you” (since Velma and I apparently had separate accounts in KQED’s system). She also included a few facts about KQED’s efforts toward sustainability (she said they have been carbon-neutral for two years and recently installed solar panels on their building), and, of course, she apologized for the confusion. I was very satisfied with her response and we were happy to send their check in the next day’s mail. If all goes well in 2009, KQED should get high marks next December/January.



National Public Radio
Even though we support three local radio stations around the U.S., I love NPR’s programming enough to send them a separate donation. Shows like “All Things Considered,” “Car Talk,” “Fresh Air,” “Marketplace,” “Talk of the Nation,” and “Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me!” keep Velma and I both stimulated and entertained.

I just wish they had a better T-shirt so I could get one for our donation : )

Grade: NPR got an A+ in 2008 for not sending us even a single piece of mail.



Northcoast Environmental Center
I really love the NEC and try to visit when I go to Humboldt County. They do fantastic education and grassroots work on all sorts of environmental issues, from species, watershed, and forestry advocacy to organizing the local Coastal Clean-Up events. Plus they present a local radio show, the “Econews Report,” and publish one of my favorite monthly newspapers, the Econews.

Grade: The NEC got a B- for two reasons: They sent a bit more mail than I’d prefer, but more importantly, they messed up our names on all our mailing labels last year and it took them several reminders before they got it right.



Pachamama Alliance
Pachamama Alliance works with the Achuar, an indigenous group living in the Amazon basin of Ecuador, to develop a sustainability and economic plan that will protect and manage the two million acres of their tropical rainforest territory.

Grade: Pachamama Alliance got an A+ in 2008 for not sending us even a single piece of mail.



Planned Parenthood
Planned Parenthood is a vital resource in a country that’s incredibly backward about sexuality and where most people are hopelessly uninformed and misinformed about health and reproductive issues. They provide health and sexuality info to teens, women, and men, contraception, HIV/STD tests, pregnancy tests, and much more.

Grade: Sadly, Planned Parenthood got an F for sending us too much unwanted mail in 2008. Velma decided they didn’t get a second chance. We sent their development director a letter explaining the reason why, and telling them we were switching our support to NOW for 2009. Let’s hope it makes an impression and starts some internal discussion about donor requests.



Save the Redwoods League
Velma may work there, but that doesn’t stop us from giving them money. Save the Redwoods League was founded 90 years ago to acquire and protect what’s left of the redwoods. You probably think there are a lot of redwoods left. If it hadn’t been for SRL’s work over the last 90 years, there wouldn’t be any. Most of the redwoods in state and federal parks were originally bought by SRL and transferred to public ownership.

Grade: We didn’t assign SRL a score, since we never sent them our do-not-mail letter. They have an interesting policy, however, of not sending mail to any of their staff.



Trees Foundation
Trees is an umbrella support group for scores of small and medium regional groups in Mendocino and Humboldt Counties. They offer centralized support services for their member organizations, including GIS, marketing, fundraising, computer repair and tech support, web development, and graphic design. Our pal Scott Lamorte works there.

Grade: Trees got an A+ in 2008 for not sending us even a single piece of mail.



WBEZ Chicago Public Radio and “This American Life”
This has been my absolute favorite radio program for years now, and I hate missing even one episode. While we listen to it on KQED, I feel strongly enough about the show to support it with a direct donation each year.

Grade: WBEZ and “This American Life” got an A+ in 2008 for not sending us even a single piece of mail.



WNYC and “On The Media”
“On The Media” is my other favorite radio program, airing Sundays on KQED. Like NPR, WNYC creates a bunch of other great programming (“Radio Lab,” “Soundcheck,” and “Studio 360”) and I feel strongly enough about those shows and especially “On The Media” to send them a direct donation each year.

Grade: WNYC got a D grade as one of the worst offenders in 2008, sending us multiple donation requests and other such junk. Like KQED, they got a letter explaining that our prior do-not-mail request was ignored and asking for a personal note assuring us that it would be followed in 2009, in return for which we would gladly send them each a check. We also enclosed all the mail they sent us in 2008. We have yet to receive a response.



Wikimedia Foundation
Wikipedia is truly one of the world’s greatest resources, and truly one of the world’s greatest ideas. I use it almost every day, and even though the slogan is “free knowledge for everyone,” last year I decided we should pay for the privilege with a donation to the Wikimedia Foundation.

Grade: Wikimedia got an A+ in 2008 for not sending us even a single piece of mail.


Conclusions
Our do-not-mail request may seem somewhat pretentious to some: How dare we expect nonprofits to cater to our whims? They’re not set up for special cases, their systems and databases just spit out automated lists and mailing labels.

True enough, too few nonprofits are set up to make exceptions for donors who ask for “special treatment.” However, I suggest that there are several strong reasons why more nonprofits should take the few small, easy steps to allow for such donor requests as our do-not-mail policy. And before the harrumphs start coming from the gallery, let me remind you that Velma and I speak from a position of significant experience in how nonprofit fundraising works. Velma was development director for a nonprofit for 2.5 years, and I was a board member for another nonprofit, including a year as chair of the development committee and several years as one of the the primary liaisons between the organization and its members.

Now, let us address some of the reasons why nonprofits should take seriously special requests such as ours...

It’s not rocket science, and we’re paying them to do it
Nonprofits aren’t stupid, they send out a lot of appeals because it works: It gets them donations. However, most nonprofits know that taking care of their donors also yields results too. Just like a for-profit corporation can build brand loyalty with consumers, a nonprofit that really listens to the requests of its members can count on that donor probably giving continually, and probably increasing their donations over time.

Velma and I communicate this to the nonprofits we support. Our year-end letters, sent with our checks, explicitly praised those organizations that followed our request of the previous year, explaining that was part of the reason we were sending another check. And in most cases, each of those nonprofits got more from us this year than last year. Those that didn’t follow our instructions got an explanation as well, with the hope that it would serve as impetus for a change in the organizations’ behavior, or at least would elicit some internal discussion.

When I worked at Acterra and served on the board, we used a Filemaker Pro database for our donor/membership list. In it we had fields for all kinds of information about each individual or family, like which of our programs they liked to support, how long they’d been members, who their contacts were on the board and staff, and many more. We also had checkboxes for “No mail,” “No newsletter,” “No phone calls,” and “No email.” Hundreds of members preferred to get their news from us via email, so the only time we would mail those people would be once a year, to tell them their membership was expiring.

Let’s face it, any organization can add a new field to their database. And if they can’t or won’t, I’m not inclined to send money to the lazy or incompetent. And just to be clear, it’s not piddling change we’re sending these nonprofits. All of the orgs Velma and I support yearly get between $50 and $500 from us, with most of them above $100. If an organization thinks our $50 or $100 isn’t worth a half-hour of their time to make a minor change to their database, I’m of the opinion that organization’s staff is overpaid already, and they obviously no longer need our money.

It’s better for the environment, and it saves them money
Many of the worst offenders sending out tons of junk mail are environmental organizations. I have declined to support the Sierra Club for years because they send so much junk mail. And worse yet, their mailings always contain things that are difficult or downright impossible to recycle! How many of those static stickers can I use? I like a lot of things about the Sierra Club, but I detest the hypocrisy displayed by their membership department.

Let’s consider the cradle-to-cradle cost of a typical year’s worth of mailings: First, paper must be made, so that’s forests cut down. Even if it’s partly recycled content, it’s never 100% recycled, and therefore some virgin pulp must be manufactured (BAA and Acterra were the only organizations I’ve ever known to have a policy of always using 100% recycled or tree-free paper for their mailings; and guess who urged the boards to pass those policies?).

Then there’s the bleaching of the paper (highly toxic and highly polluting to air and water). Then it must be trucked from a mill halfway across the country to a city. Then it’s trucked from the paper distributor to the printing company (diesel fumes are highly toxic). Then there’s the printing of the letters, calendars, newsletters, envelopes, etc. (the printing industry uses many toxic solvents et al).

Then all those mailings get sent out in all directions, to probably tens of thousands of households all over the country. That’s a lot of planes, trains, and US Postal Service trucks trundling around (more fuel consumption, more air pollution) to deliver little individual pieces of junk mail to various mailboxes.

And what happens to it all? Over 95% goes in the recycling bin, or more likely the trash.

Of course, the alternative is a lot less wasteful of oil, energy, and natural resources: By checking a little box in their database entry for Mark & Velma, all those nonprofits can prevent a lot of waste and pollution, and they even save the cost of printing and postage!




New charities
Along with the above charities which we decided to continue supporting from 2007 through 2008, we decided to support a few new ones last year. Below are the new causes we supported in 2008. They also received a letter instructing them to not send us mail in 2009. I’ll be sure to write an update about how our continuing experiment goes at the end of 2009.



American Institute of Graphic Arts
The AIGA is America’s premier organization advocating for the rights of artists, participating in critical analysis, and advancing education and ethical practices. I decided this year to renew my long lapsed membership.

California Academy of Sciences
The old Cal Academy was one of the coolest places we’d go on field trips back in elementary school. Early in 2008 Velma acquired a family membership for us and we were among those members who got a sneak peek the week before the new facility opened in September. While I was disappointed that the two-headed snake has long since expired, nothing else disappointed. Quite the opposite.

Clean Water Action
Clean Water Action is a national organization that utilizes policy research, political advocacy, and grassroots organizing to enact environmental protections and hold elected officials accountable to the public.

Courage Campaign
The Courage Campaign is one of two nonprofits we chose to support because of our outrage over California’s unconscionable assault on marriage equality.

Democratic National Committee
When a canvasser came to the door early in the campaign season, I was reluctant to give anything to the DNC. I’m not a Democrat or a Republican, and frankly I think both parties screw up pretty bad often enough. Plus I was still pissed about how poorly the DNC handled the 2004 election. Velma, however, gave the canvasser some money. I told him I’d think about donating to the DNC after I’d done some research. Many months later, I surprised myself by being impressed enough to support the DNC.

Environment California
I was impressed enough with this canvasser to give them some money.

Equality California
Equality California is the other nonprofit we chose to support because of Prop 8.

Global Lives Project
This nonprofit was founded by former BAA Schools Group member David Evan Harris. It’s an interesting video and art project that will bring viewers in contact with a taste of the diversity of the globe.

MoveOn.org
Velma donated to get me a Barack Obama T-shirt as a gift. I approve of MoveOn, especially some of their video/commercial campaigns, but I’m a little sick of getting so many emails.

National Organization for Women
Velma Decided we should switch out support to NOW since Planned Parenthood sent us so much unwanted mail in 2008 and we still wanted to contribute to a charity that works on reproductive rights.

Obama campaign
What else can we say? Barack got a few more bucks for his campaign, Velma got a T-shirt.

PlayPumps International
Kids play, water pumps! If you saw our Holiday 2008 Gift for Friends & Family, you already know about this innovative organization working to bring clean water to over 4,000 villages in Africa.

San Francisco Women Against Rape
SFWAR provides resources, support, advocacy, and education to strengthen the work of all individuals and communities in San Francisco that are responding to, healing from, and struggling to end sexual violence.

Slow Food USA
Slow Food USA envisions a world in which all people can eat food that is good for them, good for the people who grow it, and good for the planet.

Tuolumne River Trust
The Tuolumne River Trust promotes the stewardship of the Tuolumne River and its tributaries. Most people don’t realize that much of our water in the Bay Area comes from the Tuolumne. Our pal Peter Drekmeier works at this org.

Women’s Temple
Women’s Temple is a place where women believe in the healing powers of coming together and sharing the wisdom of their embodied spirits with each other. Velma was one of the organizers who took Women’s Temple to Burning Man in 2004.

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Sunday, December 07, 2008

What I’ve been doing, part 3

Early this year, when I decided to take a few months off, I started getting questions from friends and former co-workder like, “So what are you doing with all your time?” Obviously these people didn’t know me well enough to realize how many side projects I always have simmering on back burners.

The prospect of six or seven months off did not, in fact, present me with a quandary over how to fill my time. I had so many things on my want-to-do list that I knew there was simply no way I’d be able to accomplish all of them. And of course, Life always feels the need to rear its ugly head and present you with plenty of vexing obligations and a healthy helping of unexpected obstructions you have to deal with (like breaking your clavicle, for example).

I started keeping a list of what I do each day or week, just to illustrate all the little things one has to deal with and work on, even if one doesn’t go to a 9-to-5 each day. Here’s list #1, and list #2.

And here’s list #3, started June 1:
  • Made minor updates to my résumé.
  • Thought a lot about TICs in a marathon three-day last-minute option to buy into one. It didn't happen after all.
  • Went to see two of the flats in the above-mentioned TIC a couple times, and measured their floor plans completely.
  • Went to Muir Woods to be in a photo shoot for Save the Redwoods League.
  • Listened to and reviewed some CDs.
  • Went to the SFMOMA with Jenny.
  • Bought a new (used) coat for $18 at a thrift store.
  • Waited around while our landlord and some guy installed a new water heater for the upstairs neighbors’ flat (the heaters are in our back hallway).
  • Did some laundry.
  • Watered the garden regularly. And ate strawberries.
  • Downloaded a lot of live bootlegs and other MP3s.
  • Did some photo manipulations.
  • Scanned some more old prints.
  • Made several more iterations of the seemingly decades-long redesign of enews.org.
  • Gave the cat a bath (with Velma).
  • Posted a Thursday Top 5 every week.
  • Met with Diane Choplin to discuss updating her website, which I’ve been hosting for years but which neither of us has had time to work on.
  • Evaluated several kinds of photo gallery software for Diane Choplin’s website redesign.
  • Went to a one-year-old’s birthday party. Ate marmite.
  • Went to see Denice and Alex’s house in the Oakland hills.
  • Read about the new Apple stuff announced at the WWDC.
  • Went to the coast for a long weekend to celebrate Velma’s and my birthdays.
  • Backed up my laptop, and finally upgraded it to Leopard.
  • Watched the very long WWDC keynote video.
  • Spent a lot of time looking for the cat when he escaped.
  • Cut down the 4-foot stump next to the fence that we thought Orson was using to get out of the yard.
  • Updated some blog posts.
  • Backed up my entire personal photo library (70 GB of digital pictures I’ve taken since 2000, plus a smattering of pre-digital pics from 1974 through 1999 that I’ve scanned). It took two full afternoons and 15 DVDs.
  • Went to Walgreens for some stuff.
  • Got a burrito with Olya and Jenny and then went to free beer hour at the Double Dutch.
  • Went to Scoma’s restaurant with my mom and Velma to celebrate our birthdays.
  • Washed the kitchen and bathroom rugs.
  • Installed MAMP and WordPress 2.5.1 on my computer.
  • Downloaded the Yahoo! Design Stencils.
  • Transplanted my Japanese maple into an oak barrel.
  • Pruned several plants that weren’t doing too well.
  • Pulled weeds and cut back more ivy in the garden.
  • Made berms around some plants whose water was flowing away.
  • Trained and trimmed the four kinds of vines we’ve planed on the fence lines.
  • Picked the rotten fruit off the ground in the garden, and the two dog poops, so the flies would fuck off.
  • Remained polite while the landlord changed perfectly fine batteries in the three smoke alarms in our apartment. *rolls eyes*
  • Packed for our New England trip, gathered addresses so we could send postcards to people.
  • Transfered a bunch of photos to the iPod so we could take it to New England and run slideshows on people’s TVs.
  • Went through my dad’s old family slides to take some along to New England.
  • Sent a lot of postcards from New England.
  • Did a little historical research into my mom’s side of the family.
  • Sketched out an idea for a photo gallery called 10 States.
  • When we got back from New England, made an initial design of the 10 States gallery.
  • Met with a new client about possibly working with them.
  • Met with Save the Redwoods League about a small print project.
  • Spent an afternoon and evening showing my friend Dave W. around our neighborhood, taking him to the best burrito joint in SF, and going through my collection of Ozzy memorabilia. (We became friends in the 7th grade and he introduced me to heavy metal. So now you know who to blame.)
  • Watched a bunch of funny cat videos.
  • Went to see Ringo Starr & His All Starr Band for Velma’s birthday.
  • Watched a bunch of videos on Current_tv, aka Current.com.
  • Cleaned a bunch of stuff of my desk.
  • Looked at the Flickr pool for the Unclutterer blog.
  • Had lunch with my former boss to seek his advice on a project.
  • Accepted a reference-check call regarding a former co-worker.
  • Organized a bunch more digital files.
  • Picked up Jason and Phu from the airport after Continental screwed up their flight and moved their arrival from San Jose to San Francisco.
  • Color-corrected and posted some more old photos to the BAA Flickr group.
  • Talked on the phone with Aaron N. about an advertising-related project he’s working on.
  • Updated Olya's research website with a few new photos and text changes for the 2008–2009 year.
  • Made an appointment to take the car in for service.
  • Deleted a bunch of ancient useless files from my webserver.
  • Added a bunch of new stores to Ozark Handspun’s Where to Buy page, including two new countries: Sweden and Japan.
  • Had dinner with my mom and showed her pictures from our New England trip.
  • Designed a new logo for myself.
  • Had lunch with some CNETers and dropped in for a brief look through the Academy of Art gallery on New Montgomery.
  • Created new presentation templates for Save the Redwoods League, based on their new visual identity system.
  • Made a little widget of a bunch of logos I’ve designed.
  • Went to Susan and Cedric’s third wedding. Third to each other. Yep.
  • Took a lot of paperwork to our tax accountant.
  • Met with a new client, signed a contract to start work on their product.
  • Had coffee with Anne and saw her new workplace at Pier 38.
  • Had lunch with Jason to celebrate his one-year anniversary at CNET Networks (now CBS Interactive).
  • Saw Toad the Wet Sprocket and the Bodeans at the Mountain Winery.
  • Went to the San Francisco Conservatory of Flowers and took a lot of pictures.
  • Made a new ad for Ozark Handspun.
  • Transfered some domain names I registered years ago for friends, as presents.
  • Finally got a new pair of shoes. Keens.
  • Turned down more job offers. I usually average one or two a month, but there have been quite a few the last couple months. I have no idea why there’s been an increase.
  • Observed two user testing sessions on a design prototype.
  • Dealt with a state agency whose form was unclear (what a surprise), causing some confusion with my records.
  • Went to the DMV to renew my license. Got out in a little over an hour. Zow!
  • Shipped two more books people bought through my Amazon store.
  • Downloaded trial versions of LightRoom and SlideShow Pro to evaluate for DianeChoplin.com.
  • Made some color schemes using Adobe’s Kuler.
  • Researched and created four large moodboards for a client project.
  • Weeded the garden some more.
  • Went back and forth to the Presidio a bunch of times for meetings.
  • Took some product shots for OzHa, including some significant post-processing.
  • Went with Velma to the member preview day at the new California Academy of Sciences.
  • Went to Humboldt County for the big three-day annual meeting that Velma organizes for Save the Redwoods League, and took lots of photos for them.
  • Finally updated my desktop machine to Leopard.
  • Ran Cocktail to tune things up.
  • Updated software where needed:
  • Went through a big stack of mail.
  • Ordered ballcap washers. Yeah, the sort of things you’d see in one of those lame catalogs with “As Seen on TV!” next to it. Verdict: They don’t work for shit.
  • Paid the DMV car registration renewal.
  • Created three design directions for the e-commerce website I’m working on.
  • Read the very long Wikipedia entry on Lenin.
  • Endured, for over a week, and with increasing fury at the landlord, being woken up each morning at 8:30 by workmen pounding and sawing on the wall outside my bedroom. It was supposed to last “a couple days.” Which ultimately meant seven, I think. And did I mention that they punched a bunch of holes in our bathroom interior wall, knocked all kinds of shit down, and generally made a mess of the garden?
  • Went on a long weekend trip to Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks with Velma.
  • Sorted about 10 years worth of miscellaneous digital files into more logical groupings.
  • Finally got the last few re-calculations to our tax accountant.
  • Updated my credit card info on a bunch of auto-bill-pay websites.
  • Picked up some packages at the post office which I missed when we were out of town.
  • Showed the pest control guy around, thereby learning way more than I ever needed to know about mice, rats, and traps. What is it about tradesmen that they have to tell you their life story?
  • Showed the landlord and pest control guy around again.
  • Drove around the city for 3.5 hours to get our taxes to the post office on time. Got it to the post office with 11 minutes to spare.
  • Went to lots of meetings for a project that I thought was supposed to be a lot simpler.
  • Renewed some of my domains.
  • Put together an icon set.
  • Answered the questions of Velma and two classmates from her permaculture class, because their class project included designing a new plan for our garden.
  • Bought and installed two new 1.5 TB Seagate hard drives, and moved files to them. The two 750 GB drives I removed will be used for off-site backups.
  • Bought some supplies at OfficeMax.
  • Listened to a lot of KQED, NPR podcasts, and WOXY Vintage.
  • Went to the Alternative Press Expo with Ynnej.
  • Updated my journal entry titled Green Design: Designers, studios, and ad agencies that work with environmental groups and green companies.
  • Met with Diane to finalize designs for her website.
  • Purchased and installed SlideShowPro for Lightroom, to use for a client project. Also sent SlideShowPro a suggestion to improve one of their support articles which omitted a somewhat important step.
  • Designed, coded, and launched DianeChoplin.com.
  • Checked the mousetraps every few days.
  • Renewed my lapsed membership to AIGA (American Institute of Graphic Arts).
  • Made some contributions to nonprofits.
  • Voted!
  • Drank tea.
  • Worked many many hours on the e-commerce client project, including enduring numerous days with the creative director sitting with me at me desk while I worked (yeah, because working with someone looking over your shoulder and having to explain every simple thing you do makes for a great work experience and doesn’t slow down the productivity at all).
  • With Velma, bought a new sleeper couch, matching chair, and two new large bookcases from Ikea; moved two smaller bookcases (and all contents) into my office to make way for the two larger ones (which Velma put together while I worked).
  • Reorganized some stuff in my office to get it off the floor.
  • Searched for the cat when he got attacked by the neighbors’ dogs and went missing for 24 hours.
  • Worked on a new design for my photoblog.
  • Added some movies to my Netflix queue [RSS] by creating a third person on our account.
  • Attended a half-day workshop about the new features in CS4 at Adobe’s SF office.
  • Helped Velma assemble and put covers on our new couch and chair, and hauled the old ones out to the curb, where some neighbors wanted them immediately.
  • Finally put up a bulletin board near my desk so I can have some things easily at hand.
  • Had coffee with Carlos from Scrapblog while he was in town for the Adobe MAX Awards (they won two!).
  • Changed a flat tire on the Hondog. Then took it the next day to get four new tires and wheel alignment.
  • Had a really terrible cold for two weeks, and was a grumpy bastard.
  • Drank lots of juice.
  • Uploaded and organized all the photos I’ve taken at various Save the Redwoods League (SRL) events over the past two years.
  • Designed another internal document for SRL.
  • Worked on an idea I had for a holiday gift.
  • Sketched out some poster designs.
  • Picked up an old army footlocker at the thrift store.
  • Started trying to organize the roughly 3,000 fonts I've accumulated over the past 20 years.
  • Removed a useless patch of bricks from the yard to make way for a new bed.
  • Created a new format for listing the movies and books I’ve been consuming.
  • Went to the hardware store for a bunch of things.
  • Picked up Velma’s dad Dave at the airport, drove him to some appointments at yarn shops in Half Moon Bay and San Francisco.
  • Spent a couple days gardening with Velma and Dave, making a new herb spiral and planting bed, pulling up bricks, and having a party and backyard fire with a bunch of neighbors and local friends.
  • Went to the SF Conservatory of Flowers with Velma and Dave, and the gardening store with Dave.
  • Took Dave back to the airport.
  • Dispatched another book sold through my Amazon store.
  • Uploaded several months’ of cool web designs to Flickr.
  • Started catching up on two years of Sinfest comics.
  • Put a nifty red banner in the corner of my site : )
  • Started coding my new site design.
  • Updated this post from 2005 about the toilet plume.
  • Edited and posted my friend Dave’s concert review.
  • Kept this list, added links to if, and posted it.

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