The dumpster in our driveway is gone. We filled it with all of the concrete from the front walkway, all of the remaining hedges, bags of yard debris from the woodpile and behind the garage, the doctor’s desk from the attic, the old porch railings, and all sorts of other crap I can’t remember. We filled it to the edge. I hunted high and low to find more stuff to get rid of, and I’m sure I’ll trip over something in a week’s time that I should have chucked in there. The process of cleansing is a liberating feeling. Now I turn my attention to the piles of stuff I have on my desk, around my office, and on the shelves. It’s time for a cleansing of gear as well.
Now, to the next project: Our landscaper recommended we take the silver maple in the backyard down, as the trunk is being eaten by bugs, before we get started in the front yard. And then he pointed to the maple on the west side property line, which is actually in worse shape than the silver maple. The logic here is that if we spend a summer and a bag of cash fixing the front yard, we won’t be able to get a crane truck out back to deal with the trees after that’s done. The good news is that they can do them both at the same time, our neighbor is willing to let us use his driveway for access, and he’s willing to split the cost. They’re going to take the roots down as far as they will go, and I’ll have them leave the wood for me to split and stack. And all of that sun will help the oak tree next to it spread and grow taller.
So, the trees will come down and our parade party will be curtailed to the bare minimum (and the front yard) this year. Which isn’t so bad, really.
I switched back to the old headline font on the site here, because the other one just didn’t look good. This one (Museo Slab) isn’t my first choice but it’s not as heavy and blocky as Chunk, its replacement.
That’s Jane Goodall introducing AFR100, the African Forest Landscape Restoration Initiative, which is working to restore 100 million hectares of degraded and deforested landscapes by 2030. That logo is something I put together in the leadup to COP21 last month. I came up with the solution during the initial kickoff meeting, and fooled with it for a couple of weeks until I had the right balance of positive and negative spaces.
I love how excited Finn gets for Halloween every year, and I hope she continues to enjoy it for as long as possible. We’ve got a nice tradition of joining some friends in Arbutus, who feed us and take us with them through their quiet little neighborhood, and we look forward to sharing it with them every year. This year Arbutus wasn’t as into the spirit as they have been in years past, but we still enjoyed ourselves, and the girls had a great time together. Finn was on her best behavior, and her careful “Thank-Yous” and “Happy Halloweens” were rewarded by several people, which made her dad super proud.
After a couple of weeks and several Craigslist repostings, the Xerox Phaser we had sitting in the home office has left the building. Ever since I got the new job, and sold the huge HP to my last employers, this one wasn’t getting any usage at all, so I cleaned it up, took some photos, and put it on the market. A nice man came on Sunday with a friend and a truck, looked at some test prints, and carted it away. This is good, because our trusty B/W printer died a few weeks ago without warning. The Wirecutter says Samsung makes a good B/W printer that will do duplex for about $100 with a per print cost of around $.02. So I’ll wait to get paid tomorrow and order that sucker right up.
Now that the sewer line has been fixed, we have no more gray water in the basement, which is a nice change. The gray water left a lot of yuck behind, though, so I picked up some bleach cleaner, a pole-mount scrub brush, and some mop heads, and got to work disinfecting the basement floor. When I was done with that, I started re-organizing stuff to go back on the shelves and off the floor, cleaned off the workbench, and made the space usable again. At some point this winter I’m going to upgrade the lighting to overhead fluorescents that come on with the switch, because there are whole sections that have no lighting at all.
What didn’t get done: Any work on the walkway, as Sunday started rainy and only cleared up after noon. There was no brewing, because I ran out of time. And the yard is still a mess; I’ll have to call my bro to come and rake some leaves.
This week I had the opportunity to attend An Event Apart, a top-level design conference for people who work on the web. The founders are two people I still look up to after almost 20 years in the business, Jeffrey Zeldman and Eric Meyer. The speakers talked on a wide range of topics. Zeldman did the keynote, which was an overview of and advice about working in the business. There were speakers on accessibility, site testing, new tools and techniques, and design philosophies. (It’s somewhat heartening to see that nobody has yet been able to figure out how to move away from the 3-designs-5-sizes-and-a-million-comps model two years after I left the biz).
Monday night we were treated to craft beer at Caboose, a new microbrewery featuring the former brewmaster from Heavy Seas, courtesy of Facebook. Somewhat apprehensive about mingling, I drove to the venue and found my way inside, and after dropping my name in a hat and grabbing a beer (a delicious IPA), I found some folks to talk to and wound up having a very good time. Here’s to getting out of the comfort zone. And it just so happened that I won my very first door prize after 20 years: a set of very nice brush pens, a calligraphy set, and a book.
I told Jen it was the kind of focused experience I really could have used in 2011 or so to re-energize; One speaker alone shared knowledge about current features of HTML5 to alter the way I approach design and building, and another shared 5 new tools for building and testing I might never have known about. Overall, there was enough knowledge to make the conference more than worthwhile even though I’m not directly involved in the business anymore; my job demands that I stay current, and this was a good way to check back in.
I’m about 4 days behind at work (a combination of the conference and one of my designers being on vacation) so it’s hard not to feel some guilt for going, but I’m very grateful for the experience, and conferences like this are something I’ll be pushing for in future years for my staff and I.