Food? Not quite. More like snacks for thought.

Some things I noticed on my drive to work today:

-The extreme creepiness of abandoned cars on the side of the road. Where are the owners of these cars? Are these cars broken-down, their owners walking down the side of the highway to find the nearest gas station? Or are they just for sale? If this is a selling technique, who really whips out a pen and paper or their phone hoping to buy a car while whipping by at 70 mph? Especially when you think that in order to be seeing this car on the side of the highway, they have to be in a car themselves driving by. Curious.

-The prevalence of ads on cars lately. Not vans or semis, but entirely normal, seemingly innocuous SUVs and four-door sedans. Has anyone else noticed this, or  is this special to the Happy Valley area? Most of these ads are websites for florists or party hosts, my guess the owner of said start-up is the ambitious gal behind the steering wheel who just cut me off before running that red light (In this case, is this really the best association to make with your brand- that you’re rude and a bad driver?)

-There sure are a lot of jalopies out there. Is this a sign? Are there recessionomics at play here? Because people seem to not be taking care of their cars as well, driving them longer, and in general opting to ride out the economic crisis (haha) before investing in an upgrade. Judging from my car, Big Blue, you’d think this recession began in 2003.

-And finally, a word problem:

Erin drives her car to and from work everyday. The drive takes 25 minutes, and it takes about $30 to fill up her gas tank, which she does every 2 weeks.

Erin and Jesse with their ride.

Erin and Jesse with their ride.

If Erin were to ride the MAX to work, it would take about an hour, cost $86 for an all-zone pass, and still require her to drive to the nearest park and ride.

Green Means Go!

Green Means Go!

What are the pros and cons of driving versus riding Max? (and yes, I know what is more environmentally friendly. I’m looking more for the hard numbers, and need your help.  I never was too good at math…)

In other news, Amber and I have a new blog in the works- name and specific content to come soon. We’re forming focus groups, drafting logos and in general having flurries of brainstorming sessions. Expect big things!

Hi Jordan!

I Can’t Believe This Post Starts with a Jessica Simpson Quotation.

“On my first day of Jr. High I was in Geography class, and the teacher asked us if anybody knew the names of the continents. And I was sooo excited. I was like, Damnit! It’s my first day of 7th grade, Im in jr high and i know this answer. So i raised my hand I was the first one and I said A-E-I-O-U!” -Jessica Simpson

I’ve been having a lot of First Days lately. The nature of COLABORATORY was such that in the course of one six-week internship, I had essentially 4 First Days: One with each of the 3 agencies I visited: Pop Art, Ascentium and Grady Britton, and one with the intern agency I help create, Wet Paint.  I also just started a new internship with the media buying office for RPA.

Not to toot my own horn or anything, but all these in such a short time period have led to a kind of First Day learning curve. This doesn’t mean I’ve mastered this process- far from it. Actually, I’ve found myself to be so consistently inept that I thought others may be able to benefit from my problems.

With this in mind, I’ve accumulated a few First Day Tips to help you make the most of it, and try to avoid the awkwardness that generally surrounds me on such days.

First Day Tip #1: Ask a lot of questions. I don’t mean questions like “where’s the bathroom?” or “so when do I get paid?” I mean the questions that show you’re paying attention and are interested enough to learn more. Plus, you only have a short period of time in which you can ask introductory questions of projects, people or processes. As time goes on, you will feel more timid about this because you’ll assume you should already know the answers. Welp, relish in the not knowing and ride out this golden age.

First Day Tip #2: Remember names. This seems simple, and for many of you it is. Not me. I have to actually remind myself every time I go in for the handshake that I should pay attention while the other person is introducing his or herself. I get so caught up in what I’m going to say that I forget to pay attention to what the other person has just said. My trick? Handy little diagrams. Because most offices have permanent seating arrangements and you more often than not see the person at this location, I find it easy to write a diagram of who sits where and then associate that name with the person in this way. Below is my example for The Office (which premieres this week and I’m so excited to have my favorite prime time shows back!):

The Office reconstructed to the best of my memory.

The Office reconstructed to the best of my memory.

A note of caution with this tip: Do not leave this lying around, it might seem like you’re plotting your escape route or something. Also, do NOT assign names with embarrassing or rude mnemonic devices­- you will invariably slip up and use the nickname to the person’s face.

First Day Tip #3: Dress a little better than you expect to on an everyday basis. You can never be sure what the particular company culture demands when it comes to dress code, but as an intern you need to be a little extra formal in order to not appear totally wet behind the ears. It doesn’t matter that we’ve graduated from college and are supposed to be “adults”–in a professional workspace, we tend to look like babies.

First Day Tip #4: Do not bring lunch from home. This isn’t to say don’t eat, just be sure to ask around and see where other people go to eat, maybe tag along with some coworkers. Eating together can be a good way to get to know people, and get to know the area where you’ll be spending your 9-5 hours.

Overall, first days are really opportunities to make the right first impression and capitalize on that short period of time when expectations aren’t set and there is no such thing as a dumb question.

Given these tips, why do I still feel painfully awkward at this?

Because it’s human nature. I’m trying to get better.

A Typographic Affair

Hello, my name is Erin and I’m a Typoholic.

Hello, Erin.

In all seriousness, I have a long-standing obsession over typography. Serifs, sans serifs, stroke, ligature, I try to take in all aspects of the lettering. Part of this fascination comes from being a writer and knowing that the way the word looks can often convey just as much meaning as the word itself.

That being said, I tend to collect typefaces. Here’s the pretty piece of typographic eye candy that I’ve become fixated on lately:

Lubalin.

I discovered this font while visiting the Portland Street of Dreams in the Pearl. The main thing I really love about this font is the “R” and how it doesn’t quite connect back to the stem. I also love the little serif boots on each letter. It’s light and airy like my much beloved Helvetica, but has the panache of the old western slab serifs.

Taken in the Street of Dreams Hoyt Building

This is how cool I am. Amidst the PDX skyline and beautiful interior design, I take pictures of the wall.

In tribute to my musings on typography, I’ve changed my blog header image to a compilation of photos I took in the Portland area. Each of these images are hand painted (or chiseled) lettering- truly an art form.