What is and what should never be

so, after a hectic year, i’ve hit a slow day and have a chance to ponder. What I’m pondering today is the horror of designing a powerpoint slide. As a designer, a powerpoint slide really shouldn’t prove too challenging, however, for some reason, it can be one of the most frustrating tasks ever allocated to you, to design a powerpoint template. I haven’t quite figured out the reason for this. Perhaps it’s just that the word ‘powerpoint’ results in a wall going up around the creative in my brain. This isn’t just any wall though. it’s a 12 foot high stone wall, complete with a 20 foot wide moat around the bottom (a la 12th century british castles), and something electrified around the top (a la 21st century joburg), resulting in very little getting in or out, for some time. As far as I’m concerned, powerpoint = death to creativity. I know it’s an important tool for those people who actually have to give presentations but that’s irrelevant. If you Wiki Death by powerpoint the article begins like this:

“Death by PowerPoint” is a criticism of slide-based presentations referring to a state of boredom and fatigue induced by information overload during presentations such as those created by the Microsoft application PowerPoint.

“Powerpoint hell” is another term used in the Wiki article. Granted, this article refers to the horrors of sitting through boring presentations, but I still think the terms are pretty relevant.

Anyway, enough of my bitching about the small and inconsequential irritation of today and on to something to make you smile – gotta love Google, and motivationals :)

the wonders of 'The Google'

All That You Can’t Leave Behind

Right! so, after a fairly pertinent comment from my aunt this afternoon, I’ve decided to shift my sarcastic self-deprecating blog a little distance from proclamations of greatness that are my CV and portfolio – I see now that the contrasts may have been confusing for the no doubt, hundreds of potential employers who spent hours trawling through my site… however, this being my first blog effort I felt far too guilty (and horrified at what a waste of time it would have been) to just delete the humble beginnings of my little blog. Which is why the first 4 posts are now appended to the bottom of this one. So, for those of you who read, and commented on the previous blog – thanks a mill – keep reading and I’ll keep talking rubbish :)

One Million Billionth of a Millisecond on a Sunday Morning

Posted at 09:50 PM on January 31, 2010

ok, so it took me longer than a million billionth of a millisecond (try saying that ten times fast) just to type that out and it’s not exactly Sunday morning anymore but hey, it works for me! It’s been a busy day and everytime I think I need to get onto this site and start writing again I get distracted by another twitter list of great design blogs, or a freelancing site with pages of useful information, most of which probably hasn’t been retained particularly well in my now-chocolate-haze-filled head – so much for the clarity of morning yoga.

My main mission for today was to make a start at creating myself a great logo for my new freelance venture. A freelance designer kinda needs to have something great as their first point of contact – more so than any other business as this is pretty much what you have to offer. If you can’t put together a show stopping logo for yourself then what do you really have to offer anybody else! Well. You know how they say doctors make the worst patients? Well I’m glad no one else is having to deal with my back and forth and indecision on which font (yes that’s as far as I’ve gotten and it’s 10pm) coz I fear I am the only one who could put up with me at the moment! So I’ve narrowed the choices down to about 10 (yes, I know!!) and will just have to start playing with them and decide which ones work best before I make a final decision. At least the extra bits ad pieces that I decide against will add to my portfolio I guess. It’s just as well I have a fair amount of free time at the moment to get this off the ground. If it was an after hours project it might never get done!

Well, the chocolate high is starting to wear off into a slightly green-tinged haze (knew I shouldn’t have finished the slab…) and am nodding off on my exercise ball (nope I don’t have a chair at my desk, I have a white, 65cm diameter exercise ball, in the desperate hope that in all my sitting and (mostly blank) staring at my computer screen, that maybe some muscles might be engaging. Based on the way my back is feeling right now, this might not have been the wisest place to start – what is it they say about building up core strength… lack of foundations yada yada yada…) and if my eyes to close all the way I’ll roll off and probably smack my elbow on something as that seems to be the theme for today (and usually ever second day or so but that’s not the point).

so enough rambling for now – when the logo has made some progress I’ll be back, and hopefully more coherent!


Hanging by a moment

Posted at 05:03 AM on January 26, 2010

Why is it that when you leave 5 minutes late to go somewhere, you WILL get stuck in traffic – a robot’s out, and accident’s just happened taking up 4 and a half of the 5 lanes of the highway (do we even have 5 lane highways? Anyway, that’s not the point) or something will happen to your car. But when you leave just on time, you breeze through all the robots, there’s not an accident in sight and you end up getting to where you were going at least 20 minutes early (sometimes even 45)? I just can’t win!

Trying to gauge the traffic in joburg is about as easy as resisting the chocolate brownies that are sitting in the tub on top of the fridge (i can actually hear them calling out to me…), so basically the only thing to do is to leave with an extra half an hour to spare, just in case, and keep a book in your car so that when you arrive 40 minutes early, as i did to an interview in Midrand last week, you actually something to keep you busy other than the sights and sounds of the tractor in the parking lot next door (this is midrand after all).

Anyway, I’ve just come home from a second interview at a really great advertising company and am now waiting with baited breath to hear back from them as to whether they are going to offer me the job. This isn’t stressful at all! Everytime my phone bleeps I’ve checked it before it’s even finished bleeping – argh, just an invite to movies with Jinx (not that that isn’t exciting in itself, but you can understand my disappointment…), so, Hanging by a Moment indeed!

I’m wide awake, it’s morning

Posted at 10:33 AM on January 21, 2010

So, as promised, more about the previous blog…

Having found myself recently unemployed and with more time on my hands than anyone could wish for (whoever started that saying “be careful what you wish for” (and then taught it to my parents) while being very astute, should be shot) I have been actively on the job hunt, sending out my CV to hundreds, nay, thousands, of companies, agencies, anonymous addresses, basically anything that doesn’t bounce back. In between all this activity (a couple of minutes every hour or so) I have been drawn into the land of series, watching one episode after another while my brain slowly turns to mush!

This of course led me, indirectly, to my situation yesterday. Having not had too many responses to all my applications, I hadn’t thought too far ahead in the direction of my portfolio (the last one I put together being when I left Rhodes, 3 years ago, and being a giant A2 folder that was almost too heavy to carry, let alone comfortably turn the pages at an actual interview).

Naturally, when i was informed yesterday at about 10am that I had an interview at 9 this morning, chaos ensued. I ran around town, dressed in too warm clothes for the muggy weather of yesterday’s joburg, trying to find paper/card that would feed through my (slightly less than high quality) HP printer, a portfolio folder that wouldn’t strain my (i’ll admit, small) biceps, plastic sleeves that weren’t going to cost me R20 each (didn’t manage to find any), craft knife, cutting board, metal ruler and all the other bits an pieces required for the creation of “The Portfolio”.

By the time I got home from that endeavour it was 4.30pm. Not a whole lot of hours left between then and the interview.

So, of course, and who wouldn’t, I procrastinated for at least an hour!

There really are so many things to keep you entertained online and you don’t even have to look that hard. One of my procrastinations was starting this blog – but that was in the middle of the process. i like to think of it as “just taking a break”.

So, with reference to the title of the previous blog entry, “the places I have come to fear the most” (which is actually a dashboard confessional tune) are not that point at about 2am, when, even though for the first 3 weeks of the year you’ve managed to all but give up everything bad for you and get to the gym etc, all you want to do is eat a slab of chocolate, smoke a box of cigarettes, and drink a bottle (or two) of wine, and not necessarily in that order. The place isn’t even the point where you ‘re tempted to put your head down on your cutting board, next to the extremely sharp craft knife (it actually took slivers off my metal ruler) and close your eyes for just a minute. Nope that place, was at about 3am, when against all proffered advice, tips, guidelines and my better judgment, all i wanted to do was use stikki stuff (ok, ok, I’m from Zim – you guys call it Prestik) to put all the bits and pieces of painstakingly designed and printed, and pedantically cut out art work onto the black mounting card and shove it into the plastic sleeves coz i couldn’t keep my eyes open far enough to start measuring centres of pages and fighting with double sided tape (which does not unstick, once stuck!). Did I give in? Well, perhaps it would be wiser not to say, just in case…

so now, with the first interview over and nothing more pressing to do for the rest of today (until i realise something vital that should be done, at the last minute), I reckon i’m gonna put my PJs back on, and get back into bed!

The places you have come to fear the most

Posted at 02:49 PM on January 20, 2010

a word of advice for anyone who leaves putting together a new portfolio till the day/night before …


more on this when it’s done!