Bluegrass Kind of Mood

Lately with my banjo playing and looking forward to spending more time outside,  I’ve been in a Bluegrass kind of mood.

Image via here.

Image of Old Crow Medicine Show via here.

This bluegrass festival takes place practically in my own back yard.

Image taken by me in Eugene

The Davis kids.

My family is very musically talented (except for me- I struggle). We’ve grown up on bluegrass music, and own and play almost any instrument associated with it; guitar,  mandolin,  banjo, fiddle, the cello. The Davis house is often filled with the loud twangy noises that we call bluegrass.

I’m A Typoholic (UPDATE!)

So I thought maybe my last post would have gotten the type bug out of my system, but look at what I bought this weekend (on sale at Urban Outfitters at 2 for $12!):

The letters “e” and “d”. (That’s also the banjo I’ve been fiddling around with. Get it? Because it’s not a fiddle at all! Oh, bluegrass jokes….) I decided that the D was a little plain- and let’s be honest, not exactly my favorite letter to begin with. I’d prefer an R, but I can’t help that my initials are ED and not ER. So I fancied up the D with some pretty teal yarn:

And now I think I like these letters too much. I’m considering putting them on a chain and blinging myself out and going by “Eazy E” and hanging out with Flava Flave. Anyway, this is how they look on my shelf, which is where they will most likely stay:

Though I’m not sure about the gnome.

I’m a Typoholic.

Recently I’ve arrived at a truth. Typography is to the written word what a voice actor is to the spoken word. It’s the expression, the feelings conveyed. You can say one thing and mean another- it’s all in the delivery.

I am a Typoholic. I mean that in the sense that I love typography, not that I binge on typos- but how funny would it be if I imbibed in sentences such as ” Jack adn I went too the store”? I guess a better term may be “typophile.” But I digress….

I’ve had a thing for the ways words are written for as long as I can remember being able to read and write them. I’ve done some posts in the past about loving certain typefaces and wanting some antique letter blocks. I routinely take pictures of signs just so I can remember a font for later. My header for this blog is a compilation of hand-drawn typography found in the Portland area during- yes- a typographic tour. Nerdy? Maybe. Rivaling my love of Geordy La Forge in nerdiness? Probably not.

Anyway, I’ve been organizing and clearing out my photos today, and these are some of the top images of type:

I’ve also been playing a lot lately with painting and drawing using type. Here’s an example water color I did, playing with color and wax resistant:

And I’m contemplating taking up a photography project that I underwent in high school- back when the camera wasn’t digital, which meant we actually rolled FILM into a canister and then literally SHOOK BY HAND the assorted liquids to develop this film. I tried explaining this once to my 12 year old brother, who still couldn’t get past the fact that you actually looked through a hole in the camera instead of at a screen. Crazy sauce. Anyway, in high school I made this:

and it’s since faded over time, and because it was real film I no longer have the originals. I’d like to spend time in Portland exploring letters with my Digital SLR.

If you’d like to learn  more about typography or look at some yummy type eye candy, check out these awesome blogs: Typostruction, Daily Drop Cap, 300&65 Ampersands, and New Type York.

So that’s what’s been on my mind lately- a few projects, some nerdy references, and a lot of rambling. Thank you, as always, for reading!

What makes for satisfying work?

This image doesn't relate to the post. It just makes me smile.

Today is a strange sort of day. It is my first day of true unemployment since graduating. After a wonderful summer with Portland’s COLABORATORY program and six months interning with a local media buying department of a really great advertising agency, I am planning and exploring my next steps.

The strange part is that I find myself waking up at 7:00, like always, and not sure how my day progresses from there.

Part of me is thrilled about this uncertainty.

The remaining parts of me are nervous, excited, anxious to hit the pavement and start proving myself worthy.

One thing I’ve been thinking about a lot in relation to this whole “employment” thing is the book Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell. This is a book which deals with success- where it comes from, and how we can break it down to have it make sense. In some ways, this is a book about luck and serendipity. It seems the cosmos align to allow certain individuals to succeed in life by offering these amazing opportunities at just the right time.  On the other side, Gladwell shows the importance of devotion and hard work, how it takes roughly 10,000 hours to become truly proficient at something. A combination of kismet and dedication leads to success.

Gladwell also creates a set of criterion for what makes a job satisfying.

In order to have what Gladwell calls “meaningful work,”  a person must have these things:

Autonomy, or the position empowers the individual.

Effort Equals Reward, or this work is worth doing in exchange for the time of this individual.

Complexity, or this work is changing and challenging to the individual.

I agree with Gladwell on each of these points. A person will feel most happy and effective at what they do if they are empowered within their position to make a difference and be recognized for their hard work. I also believe that this list overlooks the difference setting can make on a working environment (hello, thesis!). Working with people  you get along with in an environment conducive to the type of job you do can make all the difference. I believe that work should be challenging and demand your best effort to be put forth, but I also believe in a communal work environment where employees are comfortable and part of a bigger picture.

To hear more about the book in the works of Gladwell himself, check out his interview on Charlie Rose. To hear more about his idea of “meaningful work”, skip ahead to 25:55. I think it’s interesting that Charlie Rose relates the same basic principles to being a leader.

Putting these thoughts together, I hope to take these points with me as I consider what it is I will do next. Speaking of which, I will be interviewing and applying and making myself available to discuss projects and open positions in the upcoming weeks!  I plan to pursue every available opportunity. Any new developments will be posted here.

What else am I doing with my time? Learning to geocache. Playing with alphabets. Thinking about the banjo.

You know, the usual stuff.

Ignite Portland 8

My notes from the speakers at Ignite Portland 8:

Well done, everyone! My favorites? Friend and smart guy Max Radi spoke on the benefits of being unemployed. A grown man  managed to go to (what I have decided to term) adult-sized space camp. A lesson in hyperbolic geometry actually had me missing Cosmology with Professor Schombert. Can’t wait to see what the next round of speakers come up with in September- though it does get me wondering….
What would you say?