Thursday, July 20, 2006


My guardian angel decided to give my brain a little nudge with a personal visit. My thoughts on a visual language to condense the mismash of flowcharts into a more understandable symbology have been suspended like bits of fruit in green jello, so to speak. After dropping Doug off at school I drove around looking for somewhere I could get a cappucino and a muffin to kill some time. I was to pick Doug up in a little less than two hours for his driving test at the DMV. I passed on several places in Santa Monica and Brentwood eventually settling on a Starbucks on Main in Venice. The seats were all taken except for one next to a guy who looked like a street person. I took it. His table was covered with colored markers and stacks of paper organized in manila folders. What looked like architectural renderings of floorplans turned out to be abstractions of words. He turned to me, held one up, and cackled. I could only do a Keanu Reeves, "whoa." He told me that for the last four months he was driven to draw words. He was a drifter in his mid-fifties living on the streets but with a new sense of purpose, to express the feelings inside of him through drawings of words. He said he didn't understand where this was all originating from or leading to but felt a compulsion to let it out through words like, Zuma, very nice, July (which looked like it was made of glass shards and lightning), art (which looked like a Calder mobile) all pretty random stuff. He sold some at a nominal price, others he gave away. He said he was suddenly getting more attention. The Starbucks we were in had contracted him to decorate the whole place with his word drawings. He had a feral look in his eyes but was lucid and a good listener. He looked me straight in the eye and said our meeting was no accident. He gave me a picture that is his interpretation of "world."

Doug passed.

Friday, July 14, 2006

The Stupid Lego Smile

Going through my lego junkyard of loose bricks and bodyparts I began to see a need for a broader range of expressions on the Lego faces. Come on, does a cutlass wielding pirate hovering over a hapless lego victim sport a psychotic little how-can-I-help-you smile on his face? And does the guy about to get sent back to loose piece heaven sport an identical cute smile on his face? No, of course not. But all it takes is the edge of a pocketknife and a sharpie to change all that. My vision is not that great anymore so my effort to put a menacing face on this dumb pompous manager who can't take a joke about his stupid little management hat isn't as good as it could be but you get the point, right?

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Shifting into Lego Thought

I've been wondering how to get away from describing processes in our tech world in terms of those damned flowcharts. So, I asked my director for $100, chipped in some of my own money and sent the bright, fresh, Berkeley intern to the Lego store in Downtown Disney to get an assortment of generic pieces. We are brainstorming on new ways to describe how things get done around here. Perry had some extra bucks leftover so I had him get a box of people. I didn't realize until I began putting them together that(correct me if I'm wrong)- ALL Lego people are yellow skinned! Whoa! I know, some of you are thinking, "What about gear shift head?" Well, he's masked, ok? And do you want to claim a Lego pinhead as one of your own? Be my guest. Anyway, the people that come in the box are unlike those I have scavenged from previous sets. They're regular working class stiffs in suits and uniforms fitting their jobs - construction, medicine, hospitality, even skaters and scuba divers with removeable fins. No pirates or spacemen with ray guns. It's hard to resist breaking away from building engineering process blocks and setting up a gang war between the uppity asian medical staff and blue suited asian lesbos. Sorry, but mixing and matching are what Legos are all about.