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Extra Curricular Activity

I’ll be honest, this post has two intentions: one serves me, and my wife, mostly (hey! it’s better to be honest) and the other is for everybody.

Chicago is cold, so the weekends are a safe time to stay at home and do… well, everybody does something different with their free time. I design and code away, while my wife paints. We decided to put both of these idiosyncracies to work and that’s how we came up with our latest project: Parallel Motions, a space for our photographs, paintings and attempts at writing. It’s a project that has been in the works for a few months now (and has put Speak Up’s revision on hold,) but we are finally done.

Which brings me to the second intention of this post: what do you do when you are not designing or programming? As creative folk we are bound to be creative in our free time. In most occasions these efforts go unnoticed. Not here.

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PUBLISHED ON Feb.17.2003 BY Armin
Damien’s comment is:

Well - personally, I find that paying bills and doing laundry to be a very creative way to spend my free time...

No - thats not true. My girlfriend and I moved to San Francisco recently and don't have a car yet, so every second week, we rent one. Then we plan to spend most of the weekend outside, and usually drive over the Golden Gate and spend our time, walking, planning, brainstorming, helping, hiking, running, biking, drinking, eating, shopping, browsing, meeting, chatting, planning, thanking, returning and then sleeping.

Other than that - reading, drawing lessons or watching.

On Feb.17.2003 at 09:41 AM
Max’s comment is:

I create comics, or in the case of this snowed-in weekend, I organized my comic collection and cleaned my office from the piles of comics that I use for refererence (aka - distractions).

Other than that, I am constantly reading (books, comics, newspapers, online) for enjoyment. I run a few miles every other day, smoke the occasional cigar.

My wife and I are working on redecorating in our spare time, so I am sketching these crazy room ideas at night lately. Remember when you sketched out forts and treehouses as a kid? It has been the same amount of fun.

I also tool around on my own website for fun (although not as much as I would like, but when you work on sites all day, its hard to do it at home, too).

On Feb.17.2003 at 10:36 AM
Darrel’s comment is:

I had a child. No more free time.

On Feb.17.2003 at 10:43 AM
Steven’s comment is:

AMEN DARREL! What I wouldn't give for some peace and quiet time to do some extra curricular activities at home. But, then again she wouldn't be around. Ah, the paradox of being a parent and working in an industry where you need to do a lot of learning outside of work.

I haven't even finished my website and resume package so I can go out job searching.

On Feb.17.2003 at 12:13 PM
Corey’s comment is:

My children completely rule my life, particularly the weekends.

Ahh, but after they go to bed, the secret life emerges... and I read. Phew, it's crazy, I know!

Sometimes I play video games, they are a wonderful mind purge. I find that by the weekend my mind is so cluttered that it is hard to form a coherent thought - a couple hours of videogames later, and I have voided quite a bit of it. It's like some weird zen focusing exercise or something.

Also, I have insomnia, so I do a lot of personal stuff during the waking/sleep time. I write, read, research, etc. Sometimes I just lay there for hours looking at the ceiling and actively try to clean out my mind.

Does anyone else have a problem with brain clutter? It's become much worse in recent years.

On Feb.17.2003 at 01:11 PM
Armin’s comment is:

>Sometimes I play video games, they are a wonderful mind purge.

Yes. I play a lot of NBA Live, actually, that's the only game I play. It is such a great way to stop thinking about anything else for half an hour. I'll play a game before going to bed every now and then, mainly to stop the brain clutter like you said Corey.

Just as men are supposed to think about sex every 5 seconds, I think about design. Whether I'm reading, taking a shower, waiting for the train to come. I'm constantly thinking about solutions to problems I have, and even coming up with new problems. It's a beautiful thing.

On Feb.17.2003 at 01:22 PM
Corey’s comment is:

Armin, I completely agree with you.

I think that's the first time you hear design calling you - it's late at night and you can't get a particular album cover out of your head, or you wonder how did they make all those little symbols on the transit map. I would literally lie awake at night turning them around trying to figure out how they could make sense with so little information.

The video games I like are puzzle games like Mario or Zelda. You fall into a world of pattern recognition, where something imperceptable is amiss, you realize that a wall panel is slightly discolored, therefore something must be done to it. That's kind of how I see design. What doesn't fit the pattern, what is amiss, and how do I make sense of all the problems, to make a pattern emerge.

That's an overly simplistic view, but it's Monday and I have a cold; it's the best I can do at the moment.

Re: men thinking about sex every 5 mins -vs.- design every 5 mins: I may reveal too much about myself here, but I think about sexy design every 5 mins (give or take).

On Feb.17.2003 at 01:47 PM
Dave’s comment is:

the parallel motions site is nice work.

i think it was penn jillette that said:

"art is something that we do when the chores are done"

so, when i finish my saturday chores i head over to the basement. Its really downstairs and i have been setting up a silkscreen studio there. Getting close to printing on a regular basis. Before I started on the space's working-area, I built this exposure box for burning screens. hopefully it will still be cold when i go from doing dishes to print screens.

if you live in chicago, the canal street market or the swap-o-rama are fun on a frigid sunday morning. you can really feel the cold walking down canal st.

On Feb.17.2003 at 02:37 PM
magnus’s comment is:

>I had a child. No more free time.

all my fonts are designed after my kids were born. they give me inspiration and they force me to organize my time more carefully. (although i must admit i'm staying up too late almost every night.)

On Feb.17.2003 at 03:01 PM
BGP’s comment is:

well corey, what can I say, the queen of brain clutter is on the other side of your screen. I am one of those lucky individuals whos' brain who can hear tugging and chugging all day long, and unfortunately all night long. It seems to me that there is no moment when I am not coming up with a new painting, or what I would like to try with my camera, or how to solve a specific issue at work that has been driving me nuts for a couple of days.

So far, I have not been very successful in finding something to distract my brain or put my ideas to rest for a while. The closest thing has been knitting, one of those things for which my husband will be for ever grateful since it does manage to keep my still instead of bouncing of the walls for a while.

Any other suggestions? I am sure Armin would be grateful for any ideas that will give him some peace and quiet.

On Feb.17.2003 at 04:48 PM
Armin’s comment is:

!?wife: and unfortunately all night long.

Ya'll should talk to each other at those damned hours of the night.

>all my fonts are designed after my kids were born.

Magnus, that is interesting. Type design is so time consuming. I can't imagine doing it with kids. Well... I guess it's like any other job.

I guess I can't complain about my cats then.

On Feb.17.2003 at 05:46 PM
brook’s comment is:

ah, i spend my time collecting materials and making little books that i'll never have time to write or draw in myself (the irony!) When I'm 23 and my eyes already feel like they are bleeding every minute I'm looking at a monitor, I tend to go for the analog things after work. i'm reading more (yet another treat for the eyes), playing soccer, hiking, watching hockey and drinking beer. and video games, yes, keep a person from thinking about anything else. and that can be very refreshing.

but it's the art that keeps me going, because that's all i ever wanted to do anyway.

and the site looks great, armin. finish mine for me?

On Feb.17.2003 at 09:29 PM
Marcus Webb’s comment is:

I have no spare time, but in the time that I should be sleeping I make art and write things.



On Feb.18.2003 at 01:06 AM
magnus’s comment is:

>Magnus, that is interesting. Type design is so time consuming. I can't imagine doing it with kids. Well... I guess it's like any other job.

armin - for me fontdesign is not like any other job. it's more like a hobby. i do it in my spare time. during the day i'm doing all the boring stuff most of us have to do to stay alive. since typedesign is extremely timeconsuming as you point out it gets expensive and very few clients are willing pay for it. at least that's the case here in norway. when i am my own client i have no deadlines and total freedom. on the other hand i have no difficult client to blame if it doesn't work out...

On Feb.18.2003 at 04:39 AM
Armin’s comment is:

> finish mine for me?

Ha! I gotta finish this one first.

On Feb.18.2003 at 08:43 AM
Kiran Max Weber’s comment is:

I spend my little free time working on my scrapbooks,

playing and watching hockey, going to the gym, listening to music, reading books and magazines, or watching DVD's from Netflix.

Hopefully this spring I will start to spin records, return to moutain biking, and begin to paint.

On Feb.18.2003 at 10:22 AM
pnk ’s comment is:

When not working/playing with my kids/attempting to maintain real relationships with my wife and friends:

Get outside, breathe.

Play acoustic guitar (so analog and simple!)

Read magazines (Atlantic Monthly, mostly)

Play Xbox Live

Photography (recently lomo-stylee, which is great!)

Collage, a la Hannah Hoch/Winston Smith,

(Honestly, this is so rare these days it barely rates a mention. It is, however my favorite fantasy and the reason I collect so many random magazines/books)

ps to Damien: I live in the Bay Area and have been exploring on the weekends for about 10 years now, so if you want any tips let me know!

On Feb.18.2003 at 10:44 AM
graham’s comment is:

PNK (off-topic): lomo forever.

On Feb.18.2003 at 03:23 PM
anthony’s comment is:

Nods to all the parents, once the kids, come extra time becomes precious. Now days any extra time I have goes towards house work, which is creative I think, remodeling and fixing our downstairs into a rental unit, after that quality time with the fam, and anything after that goes to the GameCube, the old Zelda at the moment :)

On Feb.19.2003 at 12:28 AM
steve’s comment is:

between sending out resumes and freelancing i find quality time to spend with friends, family and my girlfriend. a lot of time to get out from behind the computer and get my hands dirty with interesting and new experiences, whether it be a muesum, a concert, or discussing our country's safety with a cab driver.

On Feb.19.2003 at 11:52 PM
Jeff’s comment is:


I enjoyed your project. I am in the middle of creating The Can a collaborative art novel.

I also enjoy viewing artist websites and online portfolios.

On Feb.24.2003 at 09:47 AM
Armin’s comment is:

>lomo forever.

And ever.

How about TV, are there any couch potatos here? I'll have to admit, I'm a big one. I love to watch TV, not so much because it's easy and I go brain death, but I'm just amazed by American pop culture and the effect it has on everybody's every day life. It certainly has had an effect on me, I would probably speak half the english I do if it weren't for the Simpsons and Seinfeld. But everything about the shows is quite entertaining and just sociologically interesting. I guess I don't need to say anything besides this: Joe Millionaire.

Only in America.

On Feb.24.2003 at 06:32 PM
Damien’s comment is:

As Armin admitted to watching TV, I have to put a plug in for a program on BBC America - The Office.

Its an incredibly cringeworthy look at life in a deadbeat office, in a deadbeat part of England. Most of the humour easily translates.

Apart from knowing someone who stars in it, I still rate this as one of the best new comedy in a long time. I was fortunate to catch up with it in the UK last year.

On Feb.25.2003 at 12:00 PM