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.

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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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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Blogger anne said...

ok, dude, you have been busy. and i am honored i made the list. :-)

12/12/2008 01:50:00 PM

Blogger fwegan said...

I can't believe I read these things all the way through every damn time.

How exhausting.

12/21/2008 04:28:00 PM


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