THREW Mikes EyEz

Original Writings, Images, Video and Artworks of Mike Hartley

Holy drafts folder Batman

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I just looked at my draft folder and saw 254 posts started and never completed. Yes, some will be completed. I draw on some ideas or finish some thoughts I’ve started but I’m guessing there are some things in that pile that is dying to see the trash can.

But there are a few gems in there also that aren’t ready to see the light of day yet but someday soon. My first thought was a bit of guilt over that mess. But then I thought about just doing something and then doing something more and on and on. That is how I keep going now, opportunity by opportunity. Thought by thought. Image by image. Day by day.

Some days I might start 2-3 posts before I get on a roll. Sometimes I’ll start something and then be editing photos and find something that spurs a thought in a completely different direction. Like today’s post.

Yeah, I know a lot of days aren’t my best work. But I don’t feel like I can stop because losing momentum is deadly. That is why I look forward to days ahead where I can devote more time to pulling something special together more often both here and other areas of art I’m interested in.

Every office needs a character. I’m like that one chair that is out of the norm.
Photo by Mike Hartley

The Farm – I’m torn on how I feel about cube farming. You know, how is your companies space is used. I’ve seen and worked in so many variations of office and production spaces and I’ve liked very few of them.

Most of the time you can’t personalize space at the office as you would really like. And with shared spaces now even putting up a family photo seems strange. I’ve worked in totally open spaces in both production and office settings. In offices, I’m just not into it. Even when private spaces/rooms are provided it just doesn’t do it for me. A simple example and maybe this is an old man effect but when I’m alone and at the keyboard, I’m a wiz. Put someone behind me or in view and my klutz impulses just overtake the normal eye-hand coordination. I don’t know if that is just paranoia or not.

I guess the best offices I’ve had were three different roles in my newspaper career. The first was in an old (1970’s) production job. Engraving and Pressroom areas. The office was on your feet and at the various equipment.

You might be crawling through what looked like a giant jungle gym that was very dangerous when running and only slightly less when not. When the presses stopped and you had 2 minutes to catch your breath and your office chair was a skid of bundled papers that you laid on as a forklift moved them and you to the loading dock area before you got up and did a roll change. The quiet room was the darkroom, with the exception of someone yelling out from another room if it was a halftone or line shot and the exposure time and a pound on the wall when he/she had the enlargement or reduction set so you could load the film and make the exposure, develop and run it out into the light for a quality check. You see this camera was almost 15 feet long. Of course, by quiet I mean it had a few thin walls separating it from the roar of the press. I remember doing a lot of yelling at that job but it wasn’t in anger.

Or that 15-20 second rest you could take while burning plates by laying over the plate burner to take the pressure off your back of being on your feet 15-20 hours a day. And it was a great warm-up in the wintertime because when you work in an old building, it gets COLD.

Those were long hard days. Some of the most physically demanding work I’ve ever done for the longest time durations ever only broken up by a lunch break at the 8 Mile House or the Bloody Bucket or Judges Bench. There only was one office and it was shared by the production manager and foreman. And when you got invited in for a drink or beer after a 30+ hour day it was the most relaxing moment of work because you would go over all the difficulties of cramming 2-3 days of work into one and have a few laughs. That job had no office but it was one of the best because where ever you sat for a minute, be it the floor or a pile of papers or over a roll of paper yet to be printed, it felt good.

The second most enjoyable office was one where I had 4-5 offices at the same time. And by offices I mean a table in a computer room or space in a conference room or a spare desk loaded with old computers in the tech services area and one home cubical at mission control. Basically one at each plant and data center that I would cover as a UNIX admin. It was great, different locations, different people, different feels, different chairs. The travel wasn’t the greatest being it was in and around the DC/MD/VA area but on a nice day, it was great taking a different route in or home.

The next one was one of my shortest stints but it was a huge departure from previous environments. It’s when two partners and I started our own newspapers. All of a sudden my office was mainly outside. Photography, sales calls, events, and circulation landed me in the elements every day of the week. When it was nice weather, you can’t beat it. When it’s not you try to survive. But getting that fresh air. Meeting new people constantly. Getting to know your community was cool.

My last one has always been my favorite. My home office. Comfort, convenience, feeling, temperature control, peak creative space, control of inputs be it people or things. You control the sound inputs and outputs. You’re always on time when you get there and when you leave it, it’s a perfect time. It’s the easiest commute you will ever have. It’s no problem to go to the office late. And while all this is true and much more about the home office I wouldn’t trade it for all the gold in the world for all the good friends I’ve met at the many offices/cubes I’ve had.

Random Thoughts of the Day

  • As I watch a Hawk hunt from the trees and sky behind my house I’m reminded of a shark.
  • I wonder if I put more things on my to-do list if that would increase what I’m able to get done because it seems I finish only half of it every day no matter what.
  • I’m worn out by all the contentious people who seem to get an undue amount of attention.

Author: Mike Hartley

With a lifetime and a half in the Newspaper industry I'm preparing for my retirement career as an Artist, Writer, Photographer and Video content provider. I'm a proud father of two wonderful children and I'm still married to the first girl I fell in love with and probably only one that would have me.

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