Friday, May 23, 2008

Where I work

So. I was thinking that I've been spending a lot of time lately in my digital darkroom, or DDR as my BIL christened it several years ago, and you all have no idea what that looks like. It's not really a room so much as a cabinet, or armoire if you want to be hoity toity, stuffed in the corner of our family room.

It's stuffed in the corner, and it's got all my stuff stuffed in it. If you look carefully you'll see not just one giant printer up there next to my monitor, but two more smaller ones crammed below it. One for small prints (4x6) and one for general printing (maps off the web, e-receipts and the like). Because, you know, everyone should have at least three printers.

Sitting on top the big photo printer is, as usual, a pile o' crap. Well, it's not all crap currently. Right now there is a small stack of prints from a project I've been working on, and two spent 2200 print cartridges in recycle envelopes that I just haven't walked out to the mailbox yet. Plus the giganto cartridge from the 4x6 printer (how does the smaller printer take larger cartridges than the big printer? it's a veritable photographic anomaly.) that doesn't fit in the recycle envelopes and which I haven't figured out what to do with yet. I abhor throwing things in the regular garbage now.

Up there on the the top shelf there's a variety of things. Lots of different kinds of photo papers filed there on the left with my portfolio and the coffee mug I got at ICP in NYC, right next to the giant "2008 Statements" binder that holds all sorts of fun things like paycheck stubs, account statements, utility bills, etc. The three bins hold a variety of things, including bill-paying implements (calculator, envelopes, stamps, checkbook and register), notecards, CDs, x-acto knives and spare blades, and a bunch of other junk that gets tossed in there when I'm trying to clean things up. To the right of the bins are all my old negative binders. Don't use negs anymore, but they're like a security blanket now and I like having them near me when I work. Even though I went digital (aka The Dark Side) a few years ago.

Right there to the left of my keyboard is a pile o' crap, which is what usually winds up there because it happens to stick out furthest from the cabinet and therefore is where I can toss things as I'm running by, usually in a panic to get the house straightened up. The pile currently contains receipts, a renewal form for one of M's car mags, and a disposable camera from the 99 Cameras project that I really need to shoot something with and pass along.

The corkboard on the back of the cabinet holds spare printer cartridges for the 2200, the little card telling me what sort of cartridges the general all-purpose printer requires, an ad for mat board from my favorite mat supplier here in the Lou, and some cherished fortunes from fortune cookies ("Opportunities abound to enhance your career. Choose wisely!" and "You communicate a sense of harmony to others." and "You are going to have a very comfortable retirement."). It's also got my little George Washington plaque that states, "Labor to keep alive in your breast that little spark of fire called Conscience." George rocks. Lots of other little pieces of ephemera abound back there (including the Ansel postcard Stef sent me a few years ago...Ansel - and Stef - rocks like George), but I won't bore you with the whole litany. Although, come to think of it, I probably have already.

There on the floor in front of the cabinet you see some of the sources of my frustration with this set-up. Wires, wires everywhere. I hate wires snaking everywhere. Yes, I realize they are vital to the existence of my digital darkroom. Yes, I understand I need to have them. My question is, do I need to have them everywhere, right in front?

One of the biggest wires is the giant one from the giant power supply/surge protector that M installed a few months ago. For some reason he had to re-route wires and stuff (I think it was when he was hooking up my long-requested back-up drive...thank you for that again, sweetie!) and he decided that really, a giant wire coming out the front of the cabinet, thereby rendering closing of the actual cabinet doors impossible, was acceptable. He was wrong.

All the other smaller wires are for my myriad of printers and card readers and such. I've run out of spots on the power strip, so the 4x6 printer must plug into the wall socket that's four feet away from the cabinet. And the beloved Mac G5, great as it is, has only one USB port on the front. #$%&. This is incredibly frustrating as it means that I must constantly plug and unplug various things in order to use them. Grrrr. I do not like playing electrician when I am trying to create.

In an effort to "creative up" my workspace, I've plastered the inside doors of the cabinet with images and things that inspire me. It's good stuff...take a peek the next time you're over.

So, that's it for today. A virtual tour of my little workspace. This may seem unimportant now, but stay tuned. Change is in the air.

Sidenote: Went to a gallery talk at the St. Louis Art Museum today on the new Gordon Parks exhibit. Fantastic images. You should go. Really. Call me if you want someone to go with. I'll prolly go a few times before it leaves. Dang it. I'm trying to stick a link here for the exhibit but the SLAM site seems to be down. Connection keeps timing out. I'll try again tomorrow. Or you can google it yourself if I don't get to it. [Editor's note: Finally got around to re-trying this today, Wednesday, and the site is back up. So I've inserted the link. Go visit. It's cool.]

Hooo. Look at this. I'm just getting this post in under the wire for today. I'm tired. Sorry for the rambling.


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