21 March 2009

making stuff, including but not limited to coffee

A few days ago, I alluded to setting up the conditions properly for me to make stuff. One thing I'll be making is coffee. I mean, more than I already do (a half press a day, no more). I'll be making it at Intelligentsia, at their soon-to-be-opened Venice shop.

My introduction to Intelligentsia was with my friend Beth, from Chicago but visiting from Brooklyn, who insisted we drive 15 miles out of our way for it. I didn't understand. She picked up four pounds of beans alongside her brewed coffee (for friends). When I finished my cup, I picked up two pounds (f0r me, me mememmeme ME). Sean Bonner put it well when he said "[...] Intelligentsia will change your entire perspective on what coffee should taste like." Yep. Here's why:

" ... We adhere to the philosophy that the compassionate treatment of people and the environment inevitably yields higher quality. So whether you are enjoying a cup in our store, in your favorite cafĂ© or restaurant, or in the peaceful confines of your home, we are certain that you will taste the difference that care makes." — Doug Zell, Emily Mange, and Geoff Watts (from the Intelligentsia website)

That's, like, one-thousandth of the Intelligentsia story. But it's the pith. So when I heard they were hiring, back in November, I applied with a quickness. I was too late for that round, but they had some delays. When things got moving again, they still had my resume. YOW.

Us future baristas will go through a rigorous, weeks-long training period at their roasting facilities in Glassell Park. They will teach us all there is to konw about coffee such that we care the hell out of it (more than we already do) so that we care the hell out of preparing it. I'm excited about how much I'll learn and the great people with whom I'll work. And they're doing some REALLY interesting things with interior & industrial design for the joint. Did they start this venture just for me? I think so.

"What the Yirgacheffe, Kate. What about all those years in design & advertising? Are you throwing that all away?" Of course not. I'm used to working 50-, 60-, 70-hour weeks, first at Cook+Fox, then in WK12, then at 72andSunny. I never worked these hours on anyone's urging but my own. I just ... really ... like working a lot, and I tend to choose jobs that reward that. (I come by it honestly; my parents both work hard because they love what they do.) And, I'm one of those freakpots that sleeps 4 or 5 hours a night. I'm going to have a lot more time than I'm used to, and a lot of creative energy, just kinda lying around. I have about six projects lined up.

It sounds like it's going to be pretty great. I will be working very hard (and I know this — I'm not taking the job lightly) for a company I respect and admire. And I'll be making my own stuff, which will also be hard, especially as some of the ideas I have require learning new skills. But I thrive on that momentum. And I can't wait to start.

14 March 2009

new old bike

Also, take a look at this shit-hot Nishiki mixte fixed-gear bike I just got.

Just kidding. I've had it for five years. And I "fixed" it back in January. Swapped in faster wheels (700x23, fixed hub), put on a racing saddle (Brooks, Team Professional), stripped of all the extraneous things I don't need or want (derailleurs, fenders). One more thing to strip, which is the double-chainring crankset. I'm keeping both brakes, as it's a nice Dia Compe set of which I'm quite fond, and I don't want to break up the pair. This is not a trick bike, anyway; it's an old-timey/new-timey crosstown/distance/racing/funbike.

And I love it. My first bike is my perfect bike. And it feels new to me.

[I'll swap the photo for a chainside-out one as soon as ... well, as soon as I take a good one.]

two months

And nothing written here. I apologize to all my regular readers — both of you. I've been busy.

I revised the chart. I added usage.

Then I sent it around (with cover letters and resumes) to all the agencies I didn't apply to before.

Which was, like, every agency in town, turns out. (I applied for in-house positions and to individual projects before, with some overtures to agencies but not many.)

The next logical step for me after 72 was more agency work, but I avoided it. I applied to any job that wasn't advertising that used my skills. (It was interesting, the gigs I got, and I have some good stories.) And, I moodled around and made some things.

Probably the best compliment I ever got was when WK12 director Jelly Helm called me an impressive weirdo. I've got some smarts and talents, skills and ideas. If I have it, I spend a lot of time planning, making charts, writing stories, fleshing them out, drawing stuff, editing everything, then putting it all down. Then picking it back up. Some advice I got from this same creative director was follow what you do when no one's looking. Which is write/draw/think/plan/edit/put it down/pick it up.

So I'm doing that.

I have a plan for how to realistically do this. I won't talk about the specifics until things are nailed down, but let it be known that you will think I'm fucking nuts. I know this. And I might be. But I might also be happy. And that's important.

Meanwhile, enjoy the chart.