ENJOY THE RIDE

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My office is a carousel. This is not to say that my days are mundane, that the ups and downs of my office work are cyclical and expected. It is not to say that the hours spent at my desk are gentle, and that I sit back and allow the rest of the world to rotate around me, spinning, spinning, spinning.

No.

My office is a carousel in that we are the mechanics, the aching and grinding wheels. We rotate and spin, always in the same direction: forward. Forward and onward, pivoting on deadlines. "Always meet the deadline. Always meet the deadline," our mantra. "Add as much value as you can in the time that you are given."

They ride above us, the legislators. They circle us, hawk-like. We grind and push to move them forward, push them up. They gallop above us, grinding our spirits at times. And yet we push them, gently guide them around and through the legislative session, through drafts, introduced bills, printed bills, motions, amendments. It's the same. Every year, the same. A pattern, spinning, spinning, spinning through documents.

Oppressive organ music is replaced by a cacophony of voices: "We need it by 5:00." "We need it by noon." "We need it by 9:00." Ideas, deadlines, cites. It spews from every direction, both inside and outside our office. "Do you have House Bill No. 1010?" "Can you rush print this?" "I think they're logging something." "What's our count?"

There is no definite end, only forward motion. 

For months, we edited preliminary drafts. We worked on grammar, brevity, the spotlighting of bad cites. Our vision was the same all those months: add value to each document we push through. While on a carousel, your focus is similar; you pick a spot, a dot on the horizon, and you fixate. You stare and you admire each leaf of that tree, each golden hair on the head of a stranger, each billowing cloud. You stare and stare and crane your neck as you turn, turn your gaze and stretch before you cannot gaze anymore, it makes you dizzy.

You snap forward. A new vision, a new focus.

"We're done with preliminary drafts. We're working on introductory bills now."

We shift. Onward. The music teases us with its repetition, yet we accept it. It is the background noise of our office rotation. Soon, we once again find ourselves facing that same tree, those preliminary drafts. True, the drafts this year focus on issues not addressed in the previous General Assembly. The minute details are different. So instead of fixating on that same leafy tree, we focus on the golden-haired stranger, one of many who stand just outside the carousel's bounds. They shout and wave. And they wait anxiously, waiting for the spinning to cease. Riding out the experience as a spectator. As a citizen.

Spinning, spinning, spinning. Trees. Grass. Sky. Ground. People. Legislators. Bills. Session. Season. Spinning.

It's a carousel.

Sometimes we're in over our heads, yes. There were times when our proofing bin is packed tight with unedited documents. We come in early, we work late. We work six days a week. We drown in documents with deadlines of 15 minutes or less. We pluck reams of paper from the printers and rush them, still warm in our hands, to the Statehouse. There's always something to read, always something to catch up on, always something to learn. A thousand documents to which we add value before pushing it forward. Sometimes we're below the water. But we don't sink, we just hold on.

Hold on and enjoy the ride.

A SOFTER WORLD


One of my regular haunts is A Softer World, a web comic that specializes in irony and harsh truth.

Started in 2003 by Joey and Emily, A Softer World is "...in the tradition of George Simenon's 'romans durs' (or 'hard novels') and not in the lesser traditions of comics like Peanuts or anything else not French." Emily (whom you can follow on Twitter or Flickr), takes the photos and designs the comics. Joey (whom you can also find on Twitter), writes the comics.

Each "comic" is a three-paneled image with scattered words. Sometimes I get lost in the archives because I find that I am drowning in honesty, secrets, and quiet jokes. Furthermore, the steady presentation of each comic allows one to focus on the poetry of the few words that are used. What's more, the "punchline" of each comic is hidden in a subtle rollover; for example, "I have known many people in the biblical sense. I think. I haven't actually read it," rolls to "I did play the NES game at that Christian store in the mall."











 




If the goal is artistic genuis, I think they've found it.

THE NEW LOOK

... What do you think? 

I had been concocting a blog redesign for several months, and I knew I sought something cleaner. Something less distracting. Something with fine, thin lines. I'll admit that I'm somewhat of a minimalist, so I was very drawn to white backgrounds and subtle borders. Less clutter, have you. 

And so I found Blog Milk. Ana, the creator behind the site, is a designer who offers themes to both Blogger and Wordpress users. Her designs have precisely what I crave--space, neatness, and approachability. The theme I selected has, to me, the perfect amount of minimalism. However, it also leaves room for me to make a change here and there—a different font, a change in color. In other words, it’s a versatile design that allows for modest, personal changes. 

Admittedly, I was quite hesitant to spend money on a new design. Most designs I see average $150, an amount I was not willing to sacrifice. But suddenly, as I said before, there was Blog Milk—a store with designs that were far more affordable. Designs that I knew would not disappoint. All the same, a blog theme isn’t necessarily something a young woman should purchase when she’s worrying over whether or not she can make her $500-a-month student loan payments. Yet I “justified” my purchase with Christmas money and the fact that I had wanted to redesign my page for at least half a year. That didn’t stop Hans from teasing me, however. 

“Dawwwwwwwn,” he drolled in the background. “You can do it yourseeeeeeelf.”

I sighed. “No, see, that’s the thing. I CAN’T. I don’t WANT to do any of the coding.”

“But you know some code!”

“I know some basic HTML, not CSS! No.” I shook my head, clicking away and typing in information. “I’m getting this.” I dropped my voice to a Smeagol-like cadence. “I wants it.” 

That said, however, I shouldn’t have begun my redesign so late in the evening. I was tired from work, sleep-deprived. When my automatic download didn’t begin, I shot Ana an email. 

“Well, did you get it installed?” Hans asked as I stood up from my computer chair, stretching. 

“No,” I yawned, my fingers just scraping the ceiling of our basement apartment. “The download didn’t start. I don’t know what happened. So I shot the girl an email and will just wait to hear back from her. It’ll be fine; I’m not worried.”

“Good. Now how much did it cost?”

I avoided a direct answer. “More than what you would’ve wanted to pay.”

“I wouldn’t have wanted to pay anything.”

“I know, I know. But I really, really like this one. I couldn’t have done it myself. I can’t wait to actually get it installed and set up.” 

By the next day, I had heard from Ana, who informed me that—instead of purchasing a theme—I had purchased an installation. After I read her email, I sat there, stared blankly at my screen, and told myself, YOU ARE A MORON. (In other words, I had paid Ana to install a theme I never purchased in the first place.) 

The wonderful thing about Ana, however, is that she explained my mistake to me kindly and lightheartedly. She was exceedingly prompt about providing a refund as well. I, not being as much of a sleep-deprived dolt as I was the night before, repeated the purchasing process, thanking her profusely. 

 “I’ll send you a link when it’s finished,” I promised. 

And so, here it is. A clean, fresh, new look for Candidly Clyde. Happily enough, this layout allows for bigger photos. I’ve also added a header and navigation bar. For those of you who would like to know more about me—or who have wondered from where my blog title originates—there is an extended about page. I have also added a search bar. Feel free to browse previous posts by means of “Indianapolis,” “hoarding grandma,” “things my mother never should’ve told me,” or “CATS.” 

Overall, I am very, very fond of this design. It was incredibly easy to install, and I enjoyed picking out fonts and colors. (One of my favorite inclusions is Sue Ellen Francisco, a font whose handwritten look I enjoy.) A big thanks goes to Ana for creating and sharing such a theme. If you are interested in redesigning your own blog, and are considering purchasing a pre-made creation, I encourage you to check out Blog Milk

I do hope you enjoy the new look. Let me know anything and everything about what you think. 

seven days a week


Okay, that's not actually true--I only used this photo because it has words. Lots of them. In fact, if you were to put my love of words and books into ratio form, it would like something like this: Me:words-on-words as most of the male population:girl-on-girl.

Honestly, though, I have been quite busy. Right now, I'm working seven days a week.Typically, our office finishes anywhere between 20 to 60 documents a day. Last week, however, we ended up sending 120 things to the printer. The amount of thinking that went into creating that many reams of paper was exhausting. And yet, we still have around 400 documents to finish before the General Assembly convenes next week. Busy, busy, busy indeed.

Earlier this evening, I went to the state library and met with the founder of Historic Indianapolis, a website for which I will be contributing starting later this month! I'll share with you later the photos and information I find but, for now, know that I had an excellent day: I handled both microfilm and card catalogs (a satisfying thing to do, especially since I just finished rereading "The Historian").

And, of course, the other things: the purchasing of a film camera (finally, if I can decide on which one), the redesigning of the blog. Things I need to share with you--my job, my 2012. A possibility of a monthly feature that mimics the activities of the two cities I both call "home"--Indy and Omaha. The keeping up with friends. The hanging of photos in my apartment, the cooking of new meals. Walks in the neighborhood. Brewery tours with the fiance and one of his oldest friends. Weekends planned with mine. Late night phone calls and Skype dates. 

Sometimes, friends, you just need to choose laughter and coincidences over this webbed world.


I'll see you soon.
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