Author Archives: coffeehouse junkie

Cube bookshelf installed

Received a request for a cube bookshelf to fit under a living room window. The plan was to create two, matching cube bookshelves. The first cube bookshelf was completed back in July. I posted about it here.

The second shelf took longer to complete…

Now the bookshelves are installed.

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The next project is to design and make two vertical cube bookshelves to bookend these.

The final page

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The final page of a sketchbook is a peculiar geography. It is the end of one continent of ideas and sketches. Familiar paths mapped with notes and drawings and paintings and sketches and receipts from coffee houses and beer coasters from bars and other odd ephemera. Some pages contain recipes and calendar appointments and mailing addresses and other personal notes.

This book spans a decade. And ends with a sketch of a piano and violin concert at the Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist. The first pages is a crude Sharpie® marker sketch of a bus station in North Carolina.

Good design is subtractive

“Design that communicates efficiently is typically more subtractive than additive.”[1][2][3]

NOTES:
[1] Maybe I should have retitled this post, “Good design is subtractive. Or why I insist on footnoting blog posts.”
[2] On April 9, 2014 I discovered the clever design quote (see above) via @sheepmeetswolf on twitter, https://twitter.com/#!/sheepmeetswolf/status/174587072189964288.
As a practice, I placed the quote as a draft in WordPress to review later.  Sometimes, I notice intriguing internet sparkly thingies and think these items may be of interest to readers of this blog. Rather than posting the quote, comment or idea immediately, I usually wait awhile and see if it is still relevant after a week, month or longer. Sometimes much longer. As you may have noticed already, the @sheepmeetswolf twitter link leads to  a deleted or missing account. Such is the case with a lot of web links. Source material disappears from the internet for one reason or another. So, a few years ago I began the habit of footnoting referenced material with a source citation and hyperlink. That way, if a blog disappears from the face of the blogosphere or a twitter account is deleted from the twitterverse, there is still a record that at some point in time and space I accessed the information and shared it with you. For example, the following source is for you to enjoy as it loosely relates to the @sheepmeetswolf quote.
[3] Maria Popova, “Austin Kleon on 10 Things Every Creator Should Remember But We Often Forget,” Brain Pickings, accessed August 9, 2016, http://www.brainpickings.org/index.php/2012/03/08/steal-like-an-artist-austin-kleon-book/

Singular possessive or plural possessive

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Do people still diagram sentences?[1] Is writing still important in business?[2] [3] [4] These thoughts came to mind after a colleague asked about a client’s ad copy. She read a sentence to me, and I listened.

“Does that sound correct?” she asked.

“Depends,” I answered. “Is the word singular possessive or plural possessive?”

She showed me the ad copy on her screen. The sentence went something like this:

The insurer provides health care for the company’s and employee’s best interest.

The conversation went on for a bit on the topic of whether or not the client intended that the word “employee’s” be singular possessive. It made sense to us that a company would be singular. But would a company have a single employee? A quick survey of other colleagues revealed that they didn’t know what we were talking about. In fairness to the other colleagues, it was a very busy day at the office and they may have politely feigned ignorance as to return to their tasks.

The challenge of the ad copy provoked other thoughts on the necessity of good writing skills in a business and professional setting. Think before you write. Write well and your thoughts will effectively communicate your message.

NOTES:
[1] JUANA SUMMERS, “A Picture Of Language: The Fading Art Of Diagramming Sentences,” NPR, August 22, 20147:18 AM, accessed July 28, 2016, http://www.npr.org/sections/ed/2014/08/22/341898975/a-picture-of-language-the-fading-art-of-diagramming-sentences
[2] Carolyn O’Hara, “How to Improve Your Business Writing,” Harvard Business Review, NOVEMBER 20, 2014, accessed July 28, 2016, https://hbr.org/2014/11/how-to-improve-your-business-writing.
[3] Joyce E.A. Russell, “Career Coach: Are writing skills necessary anymore?,” Washington Post, May 22, 2011, accessed July 28, 2016, https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/capitalbusiness/career-coach-are-writing-skills-necessary-anymore/2011/05/18/AFJLUF9G_story.html
[4] Susan Adams, “8 Keys To Better Business Writing,” Forbes, JAN 18, 2013 @ 10:08 AM, accessed July 28, 2016, http://www.forbes.com/sites/susanadams/2013/01/18/8-keys-to-better-business-writing/#402ba4f415de
[BONUS] Annie Holmquist, “Almost 1 in 3 Americans Didn’t Read a Book Last Year,” Intellectual Takeout, October 19, 2015, accessed July 28, 2016, http://www.intellectualtakeout.org/blog/almost-1-3-americans-didn%E2%80%99t-read-book-last-year

Afternoon walk

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Somedays a walk to the river is a remedy. Amid the ruckus of urban construction projects, the drone of downtown automobile traffic, and the labor of knowledge work[1], small urban spaces provide much needed havens. I grab a sketchbook, a cup of coffee[2] and 30-minutes beside the river after an afternoon walk.

NOTES:
[1] The first time I read the term knowledge worker was in a book by Tom Peters. He may have acquired the term from Peter Drucker.
[2] There is a great coffeeshop, Colectivo, in the Third Ward near the Public Market that I like to visit.

Quote: The ancient Celts distinguished the poet…

“The ancient Celts… distinguished the poet, who was originally a priest and judge as well and whose person was sacrosanct, from the mere gleeman. He was in Irish called fili, a seer, which is Welsh derwydd, or oak-seer, which is the probable derivation of Druid. Even kings came under his moral tutelage.”

–Robert Graves

Solitude and leadership and you

Being a leader does not always mean your job title is CEO or office manager or creative director. Leading from within is as affective if not more than leading from the top of the corporate structure. Based on William Deresiewicz’s essay/lecture (which I quoted portions of back in April, but for a refresher, read the article here: Solitude and Leadership), how would you apply some of the principles he suggests in “Solitude and Leadership”?

Maybe your work life is something like this. You have a full, eight-hour day work load of project management tasks (that you are trying to squeeze into ten hours), production items and internal and external clients to assist. Shortly after you sit down at your desk and take a sip of coffee, your email inbox audibly notifies you of an email from your supervisor. You do not respond to the email immediately because you are processing files from yesterday for today’s activities. These are files the supervisor needs by 10 a.m. That allows you one hour to complete the task. Within a few minutes you receive a Skype message from the supervisor asking if you saw the email. When you do not reply to the Skype message immediately, you receive a text message on my personal mobile device asking if you saw the Skype message about the email. Does this sound familiar? How do you handle such distraction and meet your supervisors requests and requirements?

This may be a mundane example, but it is more accessible to most readers than that of a Wall Street broker. So, how would you apply some of the principles Deresiewicz suggests in “Solitude and Leadership”?

Are you part of the one percent?

Is the Myers–Briggs Type Indicator an accurate assessment of your personality type? Or just an extension of Jung’s four main archetypes?

Have you completed one of those online personality tests to determine your career path?

Here’s Memorado’s personality type: link.

What is your personality type? And how has this helped your career? Life?

Quote: Most people believe that technology is a staunch friend

“. . . most people believe that technology is a staunch friend. There are two reasons for this. First, technology is a friend. It makes life easier, cleaner, and longer. Can anyone ask more of a friend? Second, because of its lengthy, intimate, and inevitable relationship with culture, technology does not invite a close examination of its own consequences. It is the kind of friend that asks for trust and obedience, which most people are inclined to give because its gifts are truly bountiful. But, of course, there is a dark side to this friend. Its gifts are not without a heavy cost.”

–Neil Postman