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Week 203

Posted by Keela on December 08, 2011


5:10pm. Standing guard.

This week…

Well, we got a new coffee maker. I broke the old one. It had it coming anyway, always dripping coffee everywhere when I try to pour a cup. The new one is shiny and brews a mean cup. I’m the only one who uses it…so happy early Christmas to me.

I’ve switched to the drip coffee maker from our regular nespresso machine. I attribute this to the volume of work. Large projects, big tasks and up-hill climbs call for a big pot of coffee, refilled every 40 minutes or so. It’s especially needed when editing. A proper cup of drip coffee is a must when editing a long paper, or Re:Vision Toolkit for that matter. Read a sentence, take a sip, read a paragraph…hold the cup and ponder. Coffee in one hand, pen in the other,  can’t edit a paper drinking espresso … you’d be wired with ink everywhere .… not red of course. I’ve learned that writers don’t really like red pen all over their work. It makes sense, I just never really thought about it being offensive. I use a green fine-tip sharpie…sometimes blue, although they do go through the page which is a drag.

Did you hear about the word of the year…it’s occupy, well so says Geoff Nunberg.

“The occupiers were romantics, holy fools, anarchists. Or they were an incoherent mob of dirty hippies — and with iPads, moreover. I make “dirty hippie” a strong candidate for comeback word of the year. It would have vanished from the language years ago if it hadn’t been kept on life support on South Park.” I’m right there with you Geoff, Dirty Hippie…comeback word.

Because it’s my last weeknote of 2011, I’d like to switch it up a bit. The end of the year is about reflection of the past 350 days or so, big events, milestones hit, new additions. So, I’d like to end with my Central highlights for 2011…

Best of List for Central 2011

1. Studio arrangement-We finally cracked how to arrange the studio, and it only took 5 NORDEN dining room tables and 7 EXPEDIT shelves.

2. Interns-We had two outstanding interns, Emma and Kathleen for our incubating client Re:Vision and now we have one of our very own, Maria, stellar researcher and all around smart cookie.

3. Squiggle T’s-flying off the shelves like hot cakes…well really given away like hotcakes in our attempt to establish some sort of Squiggle army. You all know who you are.

4. Linda the studio ninja-always 3 steps ahead of you, always smiling, always has cookies…sometimes the German ginger ones.

5. Our obsession with Tinkering Monkey and the new foam core rails that were installed yesterday. Now our 4’x8’ foam cores are 100% usable space, up from a measly 66%.

6. Cute Kitten Project Management-(compliments of Damien) in development. Let’s just say you better be pretty accurate with your projections or someone…or thing might get hurt.*

7. Alabamboo-2500 miles on a hand-made bamboo bike…we were just glad to be a part of their journey.

8. The Central Chicken compliments of Tom, our hot-blooded contractor.

9. Weightshift…and the “how fast can you launch a website project” see current website, or Central V1 or V2 for their past work.

10. Damien announcing he was giving up espresso…both times.

11. The Re:Vision Toolkit, always talked about never revealed…until now. It’s still in development, but things are coming along…thanks to the Cute Kitten Project Management tool. Coming soon to a Central shop near you.

Happy holidays to you all. See you in 2012.

*No animals were hurt in the writing of this post.


Week 199

Posted by linda on November 10, 2011

I love this time of year, for me it’s birthday, anniversary and holiday season neatly wrapped up into three months.  It also means wearing layers to go anywhere.  We live in such a unique place, the mornings are cold enough to wear gloves but by 2pm you’re down to short sleeves and the fans are turned on.  I really love the colder moments of the day – it’s a good excuse to make hot cocoa.  Once I find the base to our Nespresso milk frother I can get a little fancier with my chocolate hazelnut cocoa concoctions.

I’m a year older this week and feeling quite disconnected with this new number assigned to me.  In celebration there was a weekend long Vespa repair session.  Media blasting, sanding, bondo and welding, almost 30 hours of work.  Next year I want a party. Next year I want a pony.

At work it’s been 24/7 toolkit.  It’s more heads down and less outwardly frantic then it was with the design challenge however the blinders are on and everyone is focused.  I’ve been doing a considerable amount of grant research for our client.  It’s amazing how many foundations there are; the work is in making sure the non-profit aligns with the foundations mission or issue areas.  The Foundation Center is an amazing resource for finding applicable grants and for the novice a great starting point.  If you are starting to search for grants I highly recommend starting with the Foundation Center.

We’re also working on a few internal processes to kick off in 2012.  One of them is a Studio Manager’s Guide.  You might be asking yourself why is there a need for a guide if I’m here?  Well if for some reason I disappeared, or if I’m hit by a MAC truck, I would want someone able to jump in, find things, understand what I do, umm did, and do all of that quickly.  There are a lot of moving pieces and it’s beneficial when explaining this role to a new comer to offer a visual supplement.

Before I go back to sketching I want to say Happy Veterans Day and thank you to all that have served and continue to do so.  Morning Golden Gate Bridge commuters should keep an eye out for a parade of veterans, give them a supportive honk, thumbs up, or join them.

Week 194

Posted by Keela on October 06, 2011

It’s Fleet Week. Probably one of my favorite weeks of the year. I am anxiously awaiting the Blue Angels to arrive in the Bay and do their “survey flight” for the weekend show. This marks the 30th anniversary of Fleet Week in San Francisco but my first here, so I am quite excited. I just hope the rain…holds…off.

Here at the studio…

The toolkit is coming along. We’ve started to pin up sections for review. If you turn a 4’ x 8’ foamcore board horizontal, you can fit about 10 11×17 sheets of paper for review. This is great for layout review, except that the benches we were setting the boards on were too low and you had to bend down to review. Not so good for the client. So, we called on our good friends at Tinkering Monkey to build us some wall rails that can hold foam core at eye level. Everything is completely customizable, the kind of wood, how many boards to hold, etc. They’re going to start building and then hopefully coming in a few weeks to install. I’m very excited, once everything is in place, we could essentially have 80 spreads to review at once, which is a lot, but not quite the entire toolkit which is currently at 130 pages (1 spread per).

The toolkit itself, which we are creating with our incubating client, explores a different approach to designing a space that looks at the entire area as a holistic system in order to take into account all the issues, transportation, community, energy, etc. I ran across this project called Making Room which deals with the family and community aspect of housing and space and how the guidelines for development of housing hasn’t really changed since post WWII, when houses were built for the nuclear family. Interestingly: did you know that per New York code, it’s illegal for 3 or more unrelated adults to live together in one place?

Other things…

We’re continuing our work to support the making of a feature film about the life of Alan Turing and his role in modern technology. This project is especially pertinent and topical today considering the news of Steve Jobs. Ben Horowitz said it nicely in an online NYT article:  “This is a tragic day for humankind. Like the loss of Thomas Edison, Albert Einstein, and Alan Turing, Mr. Jobs will be badly missed but never replaced.” I think it’s only fitting that Steve Jobs is placed among these greats.

That’s it. Now I wait for the sonic booms.