Wednesday, September 26, 2007

8 Things about LA (so far)

  1. The weather.
    How come nobody told me it would be beautiful every day? The down side: when will I get to wear my collection of fur hats that I accumulated while living in San Francisco?

  2. The smart people.
    In addition to their general goodlookingness most of the people here are also interesting, hilarious and, yes, smart. They are also engaged, ambitious, and fun.

  3. The stupid people.
    And then some of them are not very smart. There is some level of stupidity that just isn't tolerated in San Francisco. You're not required to be smart to live in the bay area, but there are so many smart people competing for the jobs/friends/mates/etc that stupid people just don't like it and eventually wander off. Not so in LA -- stupid people can live and thrive here indefinitely. But ugly people eventually leave.

  4. The coffee.
    Lucky for me there is finally a good coffee shop in LA. Yesterday I rolled into Intelligentsia around noon for a coffee and the barista said "hey, you're here early." I said "no, you just work the afternoon shift and usually miss my whole morning visit." If I'm not a recognized regular at a coffee shop I feel empty inside.

  5. The driving.
    You have to drive everywhere. I've even found myself doing the Caravan, where three people each have their own cars and drive somewhere together and talk to each other on cell phones. It is the LA equivalent of walking down the street chatting with a friend.

  6. The art.
    Sorry San Francisco, the art here is better. I like the artists in SF more than anything, and I love being there for the process of creation, but the product here is incredible.

  7. The love for San Francisco.
    That there is an intense rivalry between SF and LA, but only San Franciscans know about it. Everyone here loves San Francisco, but the standard habits that people have here really are the things that make them hated up there. I'm talking about driving aggressively, not bussing your table, dressing well, and ignoring people who bore you.

  8. The velvet ropes.
    San Francisco is all about trying to convince people to come to your party. LA is all about trying to get your friends to come to your party while keeping out the thousands, thousands of people who will show up, drink your free beer, sleazily hit on your friends, and try to spot movie stars and ask them for a job. Sad but true: every event I've been to that didn't have a guest list totally sucked and we left immediately.

Monday, September 17, 2007

8 Things I might do next

  1. Move to Los Angeles
    Actually this isn't so much a "might" as it is a "when." Los Angeles has many repellent things and many attractive things, but it pretty much comes down to one issue for me. If you've met her I'm sure you understand. San Francisco has given me 7 good years, and I'll probably come back at some point, but for now I'm outta here.

  2. Have a giant send off party
    The party will be epic, and you are invited. I just need to figure out where to have it and when and how.

  3. Launch version 3.0 of Rubyred Labs
    Version 1 was what most people think of as Rubyred; Thor, Amy, and myself running a design/development consultancy with a bunch of side projects like Valleyschwag, Cereal Bar, cowboy parties, etc. Version 2 started when we spun off the best side project, Satisfaction, and I kept Rubyred running as a boutique consultancy. I can share details if people are interested, but basically Amy and Thor (and Lane) wanted to build a product company, take funding, and stick with it for the years that it takes to make that sort of thing work. I wanted to slack off, take my dog for walks, and hang out with my girlfriend in LA. So I kept my shares in Satisfaction and took on an adviser role, but spend the bulk of my time working with clients and other agencies to design and build mobile/web applications. So that's been Rubyred 2.0, which is fun, lucrative, and low pressure. I'm not sure what v3.0 will be like, but I'm thinking it will look a lot like v2.0 with some entertainment industry stuff thrown into the mix because, you know, it's LA. Or maybe I'll get the fire in the belly to hire a staff and build a new product. Any ideas?

  4. Write a sitcom
    When you change your address at the Los Angeles DMV you have to show them your screenplay, so I'm getting started on that. You're supposed to write what you know, so mine is about a designer who hangs out at a hip coffee shop with his dog and is best friends with the homeless guy who bums change out front.

  5. Have an art show
    I haven't done one in a while, and I need to make some new stuff. I'm working on some pieces that aren't stuffed animals, returning to my roots of rusty metal glued to old pieces of wood. Maybe my big party can be at Flora's store and double as an art opening.

  6. Keep getting rid of stuff
    When I'm giving design critiques I always tell people to remove half the things on the page, then remove half the things on the page again. (Incidentally, my formula for time estimates is to make your best guess, double it, then double it again.) The design with the least stuff is usually the best one. I already got rid of half my things, so now I'm working on doing it again. The second round is way harder, but the stuff I give away this time will be twice as good.

  7. Watch more TV
    Now that I'm going to be a superstar screenwriter I have an excuse to watch TV all the time. I also have an excuse to be on the internet all the time since I'm still a designer, and I'm working on a system for doing both at once.

  8. Get a tiny apartment
    This is going to be hard, but I'm planning on moving into a significantly smaller & cheaper place when I go to LA. I've never had anything smaller than a big one bedroom, and I'm actually excited about the prospect of a tiny studio with a nice porch.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

8 Steps 1000 Perfect Things

I have too many things, and as of today I've implementing a plan to reduce the number to 1000 by my 30th birthday. It's not that I don't like things -- I love things -- but I think they make me less happy, so I'm going to set up a structure that will keep stuff from piling up. Much of the inspiration for this comes from the "Power of 10" section of Sean Kelly's satirical inspirational seminar, Power Up.
Here are the preliminary steps and rules.
  1. Empty my storage unit. (DONE)
    I couldn't have done this without the gentle but firm hand of KP2, who opted to spend days driving around in a truck with me and getting whistled at by gross guys at the dump.

  2. Do the stomach test on everything I own. (1/2 done)
    This sounds kinda hippie but it totally works. I pick up each thing I own and if it makes me feel good I keep it, if it makes me feel bad I get rid of it. Some things make seem like they should make me feel good because they came from someone I like, cost a lot of money, or were purchased with a grand plan in mind. Often these are the ones that actually make me feel the worst in my stomach because, if they ended up in storage, they represent some sort of disappointment. Prime example: a PDA that I bought about 7 years ago that never quite worked right and cost a lot of money. I kept it around because it was still working and in perfect shape (since I didn't use it much because it sucked) with a loose plan of selling it on ebay. The most joy I've ever gotten from the PDA was giving it to someone on the street today as I piled up boxes of free stuff.

  3. Photograph and count everything I own.
    Since I'm interested in stats I need to know where I'm starting. I also know that it it psychologically easier to get rid of something once it's been photographed and cataloged. I won't really know how many things I want until I do this step, so 1000 may be way too high or too low. A wild guess is that I have 5000-1000 things right now, most of it in the "art supplies" category.

  4. Decide on rules for what counts as one thing.
    - Most things count as one thing, such as furniture, clothing, electronics, a toothbrush, etc.
    - Sets of things usually count as one thing, like a set of silverware or a ream of printer paper.
    - Living things don't count at all, such as plants or animals. This is mostly because I want to get more plants.
    - Food doesn't count.
    - Each piece of clothing counts as one thing, though a three piece suit or a pair of socks only counts as one.
    - Each book counts as one thing. This one will be especially hard since I have hundreds of books. CD's count as one thing if they're in individual cases, but a book of CD's only counts as one thing. Not that I use CD's much anyway.
    - Art counts as a thing, but a set of 3 prints just counts as one.

  5. Purge the easy stuff.
    Put the totally lame stuff out on the street or give it to the thrift store.

  6. Spread the good stuff around.
    I'm going to make nice stickers or labels for stuff that I thing has some value (monetary or aesthetic) but that I don't want. I'll then give the labeled things to my friends who will love them, and every time I visit someone I'll see something that used to be mine and feel warm inside because they're actually using it and it isn't cluttering up my house.

  7. Decide what I actually want to keep.
    This process will be a combination of deciding on invidudual items and setting rough goals for the percentage of things I want in each category. For example, I might want 10% clothes, 20% art supplies, 10% books, 5% pieces of technology, etc.

  8. One in, one out.
    Like a super exclusive nightclub full of douche bags, I'll have to get rid of one undesirable thing each time a more desirable thing wants in. When it's time to buy my private helicopter that's fine, as long as I get rid of my old broken toaster that has a frayed asbestos cord and stays on indefinitely when the bread gets stuck in it.

    When I can't find anything that I want badly enough to get rid of an existing thing I will know I've reached my goal of owning 1000 perfect things.