Posts Tagged ‘Dispatches’

Dispatch: Death to the Unregistered

Friday, April 15th, 2011
PE Warrior

He signs his stamp... in BLOOD

I design things that get built.

Buildings. Pipes. Stuff like that.

I have a stamp, a special stamp, that shows I am licensed to do just this. All Engineer’s in my industry need to get this stamp.

There are many like it, but this one is mine.

This is all a matter of public record, and in fact, that is the point. I took a test (a rather difficult test, mind you), and my performance indicated to the great State of California that I can indeed design things, and that it is ok for people to build the things I design. I know enough that it probably won’t break.

So… I stamp my, uh, stamp on drawings when they are all done, just before they are sent out to a bunch of Contractors, who will all bid for the privilege of building the things I design.

Somehow, with all this jumbling in my head, I ended up drawing this little guy, fully licensed to engineer mayhem.

Engineer's Stamp

His stamp is cooler than mine, he is registered under the “Warrior” discipline, while I am registered under the “Mechanical” discipline. He seems to be registered in the State of Despair, while I am registered in the State of California.

In reality, there are no swords involved with my job, and would probably get fired if I tried to involve them in some way. Or at least, I’d get a stern warning, like when I showed up to work with a green Mohawk (it was Halloween). A sword, like my Mohawk, wouldn’t be welcome back in the office the next Monday.

Regardless, I have this doodle, which I painstakingly posted here for you to peruse.

Also, it is nice to know, in this day of electronic this and that, that my stamp is actually still an honest-to-goodness press-it-against-an-inkpad-then-press-it-against-paper stamp, like back in the good old days.

Dispatch: Screw this, I’m going to the desert

Saturday, May 29th, 2010
Utah Desert

I'll be somewhere around here

Working too much can do strange things to a mind.

In my case, it made me think that driving to the middle of nowhere (aka “the desert”) for a week was a good idea.

I still think it is a good idea. I made a quick pit stop with the family in Southern California today, and tomorrow I’m driving the Invinci-Truck out to Utah. I’ve got food, a sleeping bag, a couple sketch books, and my freshly cut mohawk. That should be enough.

The plan is… well, I don’t really know what the plan is. I’m driving to Zion tomorrow, and I’ll stay there a day or two, then move on to Canyonlands.

It will be me, the desert, and my thoughts. I need a reset. My mind has been cluttered with stuff, and I need to let it go and start fresh.

I really have no idea what I’m doing.

Somehow, however, I know this is the right thing to do.

Talk to y’all in a week, maybe I’ll have more to say about it then.

Comments are open, but I won’t be able to reply till I get back in early June.


Dave wants a debrief. You can find out what happened on this trip here:

Dispatch: Watched By Monsters

Wednesday, May 12th, 2010
Velociworker pencil drawing

Velociworker is behind you

Sometimes work is a big monster, right behind me, ready to tear me to shreds. I was busy and productive yesterday, I worked until I couldn’t focus anymore. By the end of the day I would read a paragraph only to stop at the end and realize I didn’t actually comprehend a word I just read.

Focus will tear your mind to shreds.

I had half an hour this morning to draw, and this came out. What a nice quick pencil drawing, yes? I have no idea what exactly it means or why this came to mind, but it made sense somehow.

Who knows. Work today made me think of drawing something much more vulgare, maybe I’ll get to it tonight.

Dispatch: The Living Deadline and The Sea Of Lonely

Friday, April 23rd, 2010
Lonely Desk

A lonely desk. Ink Drawing.

I had some time to doodle a bit in my sketch book when I got home from work last night.

Work’s been on my mind quite a bit lately. I am working under 3 deadlines for 3 different projects, I’m running at about 12 hour days. There isn’t room for much else in my mind other than work.

The Sea of Lonely

When I have deadlines like this, which isn’t often, my head goes to a certain space. Many things run on autopilot, and I just devote my brain energy to churning out the work. I know there is a lot to do, so it is a slow burn of mental energy.

Anyhow, these are last night’s doodles. When I have time, I draw for an hour or so after I get home from work. Work –> home –> draw –> sleep.

This sequence becomes an isolated process, and that was the inspiration for the drawing on the right. When I am in the office at 8pm, after everyone has left, I am in a sea of stuff, but none of it is relevant, except what is in front of me at the time. It’s a sea of loneliness, and I float through it as I work.

Focus is lonely.

Living Deadline

zombie worker drawing

Night of the Living Deadline, Ink Drawing

As I mentioned, I am working under a few deadlines. Most of my mental energy goes towards meeting these deadlines, except for the few bits I keep in reserve for drawing and typing out these posts.

After a bit of time, I feel like my mind has been sapped, my awareness is down, and I am just lumbering through life, working to meet this deadline.

I started this drawing, not intending any zombie reference, just attempting to capture the worn out look of someone burning on both ends to meet the deadline. It ended up looking fairly zombie-like, and the “living deadline” title presented itself. I was feeling a bit like a zombie when I drew this, it was late and I was tired. I was home from my 4th 12-hour day in a row. The lines are crooked, it’s kind of jacked up. It was drawn by a zombie.

A deadline zombie.

The zombie outbreak is real, and it has been going on for decades. It is the turning of white collar workers into mindless zombies, hell-bent on one task, finishing the project to meet the deadline.

We are all zombies now.


I like this idea, I might flesh this one out.

Ha! Flesh. As in zombie flesh. Get it?

Never mind.

Dispatch: Coloring Ductwork And Understanding Problems

Wednesday, April 21st, 2010

I got to work this morning and found this on my desk:

engineering drawings

Ductwork Layout in a building, color coded for clarity

Turns out I made this the day before. By the time I was finishing this, around hour 12, I wasn’t taking a bird’s-eye view of what I had done.

I got to work, saw it all laid out in front of me and thought it looked kinda neat. After all, it is kinda neat. My supervisor walked by this morning and said, “Ooooh, pretty”.

It’s ductwork. Pretty ductwork. Green and blue are supply ducts, Red is return and exhaust ducts.

The color coding helps me wrap my head around what is what. I’m retrofitting an existing building, and what I need to design depends on what is already there. It’s a lot to keep track of, color-coding helps me keep track of it. What you see above is one floor on one half of the building. It’s a big job. Sometimes it feels bigger than my mind.

I get sucked into this type of work. I can do it for hours on end.

It is soothing, in its own way. Each new duct I color in adds to my understanding. I assembled this puzzle in my mind throughout the day, adding piece after piece, until I understood how all the pieces fit together. I know what each piece does, and how the new pieces that I have been tasked with adding have to fit into this overall system.

Understanding calms me down. It helps me focus, and once I have understanding, I know how to proceed to complete the task.

Most problems have simple solutions, once you know what the problem is.

The tricky part, the part that may require days of coloring in ductwork, is fully understanding the problem.

Dispatches from the Spice Mines

Monday, April 19th, 2010
pencil sketch of cubicles

Pencil Sketch, dispatched from the Spice Mines

The best laid paths cannot pass through a brick wall in the way.

I had a path set out for myself. I spent the first weekend in January planning 2010. A painting every week! A new woodblock edition every month!

I had an assumption built into those plans, I would not be too busy at the Spice Mines in 2010. I would be just busy enough to keep on working, but not so busy that I would have to commit an extra amount of focus to the job.

Those plans have flown out the window as this year progressed. The Spice Mines have gotten spicier and spicier over the last few months, and now, after already working plenty of nights and weekends, I see myself spending even more time in Chateau Spice.

I’ve been fighting it and fighting it, regular readers have seen my posts about being behind at work or how to focus after a long day of work.

I’ve been fighting it, trying to figure out how to work hard all day, then come home, shift gears, and make beautiful art at night.

Luckily I have good friends, friends who not only help me sort this stuff out, but that prompt me to sort it out for myself as well. My buddy Dave teaches people stuff, how to blog being what he is publicly known for. He teaches other stuff too, like how to get your head right, but that tends to be in our private conversations.

Yesterday Dave called, “what you up to today?” and I had no idea. My plans had fallen so far behind, that once I got a goodness gracious free day to work on art, I didn’t know what to do with it. He told me to come over later in the day, and we’d set stuff straight. He bought me tacos too, and I very much appreciate those as well.

As I did laundry, cleaned my apartment, read some comics, and took a nap, I got to thinking about my situation, cuz I knew Dave and I would be hashing it out later. Big revelation, fighting my situation is the hardest part. I realized a little emotional jujitsu may be in order, and instead of trying to work against my need to double down on the DayJob, I should use that as the fuel.

I’ll probably do that. You’re probably gonna see a lot of art and drawings about being at work and stuff for the next few months. You probably won’t see much promotion or sales stuff here either. I figured out I have time to make art, or I have time to sell art.

Not both.

I’m opting to make art.