Elmwood: Day Six

Jesus Christ. That weekend disappeared quickly.

Monday did not get off to a good start. I woke up at half past five, did some work and jumped in the car at 7am. Only to find a funny looking thing stuck to my windscreen. Oh fantastic, a parking ticket! A parking ticket that was issued at 06:17 this morning. What kind of nocturnal parking attendant goes round at that time in the morning? The frustrating thing is, I was told when I moved into my apartment that I was allowed to use the car back at the back, as long as I didn't park there during office hours, which last I checked were usually 9-5. Even if the staff in the offices underneath our building work longer than 9-5 hours, my car is always gone by 7am, and doesn't return until about 7pm, and I'm almost always the only car there, so it's not like I'm taking up valuable parking spaces! Anyway, rant over. I'll have to ask my landlord about it, as it was them who told me I could park there.

So, feeling somewhat disgruntled, I made my way up the glorious M1 from junction 34 to junction 43. I'm so fed up of commuting now that it's gotten to that stage where I'm trying anything I can to make my journey more interesting. According to Wikipedia, there are seven 'notable sights' visible from the M1 on my way to work, so I thought I'd see how many of them I could spot:

  • Meadhowhall shopping centre - Yep, spotted that one, hard to miss really.

  • Former site of the Blackburn Meadows Power Station - Not too excited by that one personally, but I have indeed spotted it on my way out of Sheffield.

  • Wentworth Castle - Not found that one yet, will definitely be looking out for it tomorrow though.

  • Barnsley Town Hall - If the rest of Barnsley's architecture is anything to go by, they're really scrapping the bottom of the landmark barrel with that one.

  • Emley Moor mast - Yep, it's a big mast.

  • Ferrybridge Power Station - Can't say I've noticed that one, but then it's only visible Southbound apparently.

  • Bridgewater Place - Leeds tallest building, also known as 'The Dalek', definitely spotted that one.

  • So, I've spotted four out of the seven potentially 'interesting' sights on my way to work. I feel quite proud of myself. Anyway, enough of that. This is supposed to be a blog about my experiences at a big design company, not about how I keep myself amused on the M1.

    Today was ok at Elmwood. When I arrived I found that Alex wasn't in, and wouldn't be until lunchtime, so I'd have to wait to show him my animation. In the mean time I thought I'd have to keep myself busy by getting on with some work. However, I wasn't entirely sure what to do, so I tried to just use my initiative as much as possible, and keep developing the animation in the direction I thought was best. I was sat at my usual desk in the corner, where I've been since day three, and all was going well, until someone came up to me and said "Hello, I think I'm sharing your desk today". Well, that came as a surprise. Turns out the guy talking to me was a freelance designer / art director who has been brought in to help Elmwood with the packaging for a BIG client that I'm obviously not allowed to name. Even though I'd been there first, I felt a bit awkward, like I'd stolen his space. Apparently the desk I'd been using was the desk typically reserved for freelancers to work at. So, we did indeed share the desk for a while, which was a bit weird, but he seemed like a nice guy and actually made conversation with me. However, there were only two plug sockets available at the desk, and he needed both of them to power his machine, so when my MacBook ran out of battery, I had to find somewhere else to sit.

    Time for musical chairs again.

    In the end I was positioned opposite Mr. Grumpy, in the grumpy corner of the office. That's not his real name of course, that would be unfortunate, he just looked thoroughly miserable. He definitely didn't take the least bit of interest in me. Didn't even look up when I came to sit on the desk opposite him, and didn't speak a word to me the entire time I was there. Wow, what a way to make me feel welcome. However, I soon discovered that it wasn't just me who got this treatment. Almost everyone who came and talked to him (although I should say, "came to ask him something", as no one really came over just to talk to him and have a nice chat), got the grumpy treatment. Lots of one word answers and other non-pleasantries. One woman who works there even had the coat stand fall on her, right next to his desk, but despite making a joke about it, he still didn't grant her a response. Needless to say, it wasn't exactly a conversation filled afternoon. (Disclaimer: Maybe I'm being overly critical of this guy. I suppose he could have just been having a really bad day. We all get those sometimes. If I'm sat opposite him again tomorrow I'll be able to tell whether it was a one off or whether he's stuck in permanent grumpy mode).

    When Alex got in, I showed him the work I'd done so far, including the 1st draft of the animation that I'd thrown together on Friday. And, hurrah! He liked it! He said the animation was coming together nicely, and had some constructive criticism about some of the timings, saying it needed to be a bit faster, (but I was going to tweak that anyway). I also asked him about my concerns that the animation I'm making doesn't fit in with the new brand identity, for the primary reason that the new identity hasn't been decided on yet. However, Alex gave me a slightly reassuring answer, and made me feel a bit better about the whole thing. He basically pointed out that the work I'm doing is as much about creating a great concept as it is about a great execution, and so even if the typography or the style of illustration needs to be altered to fit in with the brand identity, it's not a major problem because they'll still be able to use the same concept, and the same narrative techniques that I've come up with.

    This afternoon was spent working on the animation, and not talking to Mr. Grumpy in front of me. I tried experimenting again with putting photographs in the background, and it turns out I'm actually liking the look of it a lot more today. And that was pretty much it. The afternoon went really quickly, and before I knew it, it was time to pop back down the M1 past all those exciting landmarks again.


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