The Patented Micro-Break!

I think I’ve come as close to the feeling of giving birth as I’m going to get.

Why hasn’t this site been updated in eons? Well, here’s the reason. You see, due to some rather bizarre circumstances, I was given exactly 7 days to get this puppy out the door. All 150+ pages of it. All 300+ custom made graphics for it. Up until Tuesday this past week, I didn’t think I was going to make it. By Thursday, I knew I could make it… but it depended on how many brain cells I was willing to sacrifice. By the time it was launched at Friday 8am, I felt completely drained.

Over those seven days, I averaged about 15 hours a day on this project. I never really took a break. More like micro breaks. Know what they are?

The MicroBreak™. I’ve I’ve perfected the art of the “micro break”. These breaks are so miniscule, I don’t even leave the computer. How do they work? It’s a simple process, actually. You see, I always run my email in the background. When the little bell goes off, time for a micro break! Switch from Photoshop and / or Homesite over to Eudora, and find out who’s pissed off, who’s happy, who wants something from me at this moment in space and time. 3 minutes later, the email(s) are digested, possibly answered, and back to work I go.

Another micro break I take is opening up Agent and scoping out the half dozen newsgroups I regularly read and contribute to. My fave these days is the coffee newsgroups (natch), since my previous faves, van.general and van.forsale (no, not VANS for sale, it’s VANCouver.forsale and general) are full of a lot of trolls and just plain demented people these days. My killfiles are so massive, it takes a noticeable time for Agent to process them everytime I download headers for that group.

Other microbreak activities include stuff like switching from editing a client’s picture(s) to editing one of my own snapped on the digital camera. Or playing minesweeper for a round. Or that addictive marbles game that came with Plus98. Or surfing eBay for a few goodies. eBay? Didn’t I hate that site?

I also take minibreaks. I didn’t really create these, so I can’t trademark them. Minibreaks are not full fledged breaks, but any break where I get up from my computer. Most of my minibreaks are taken when I’m working on my notebook computer in the kitchen nook… a lot more distractions than my office. After all, the espresso machine is only a few feet away. The outdoors right next to me. The telly over in the other room might have the last five minutes of a show I wanted to watch. All mini break potentials.

But no real breaks. I’m going nuts. Wanna know how bad? Well on Wednesday, one of my clients sent me an email that got corrupted. Here’s an excerpt of what I got:

UUnnssoolliicciitteedd bbuullkk eemmaaiill iiss NNOOTT iilllleeggaall.. IItt iiss,, hhoowweevveerr,, ffrroowwnneedd uuppoonn bbyy mmaannyy IInntteerrnneett cciittiizzeennss.. YYoouu mmaayy hhaavvee hheeaarrdd tthhiiss pprraaccttiiccee ooff sseennddiinngg uunnssoolliicciitteedd bbuullkk

eemmaaiill rreeffeerrrreedd ttoo aass “”ssppaammmmiinngg..”” ((YYeess,, tthhee nnaammee ccoommeess ffrroomm tthhee ffaammoouuss ccoommeeddyy sskkiitt “”SSppaamm!! SSppaamm!! SSppaamm!!”” bbyy MMoonnttyy PPyytthhoonn..)) IInn tthhee oonnlliinnee wwoorrlldd,, ssppaammmmiinngg mmeeaannss sseennddiinngg uunnssoolliicciitteedd eemmaaiill ddiirreeccttllyy ttoo aa lliisstt ooff uunnssuussppeeccttiinngg eemmaaiill aaddddrreesssseess oorr nneewwssggrroouuppss..

Freaky eh? I think by the time Friday 4am rolled around, as I was doing the final preps for an 8 am launch, my brain was thinking in that manner.

New Dog

We got a second dog. Teddy. A maltese / poodle cross, 11 years old, suffering from a collapsed trachea, shakey, and looking very sad at the SPCA. We figure (along with our vet) this little guy only has a few years left in him, but we also figured he’d be a lot more happy with us in our home than in anyone else’s. And because we adopted him, he won’t be put down, cuz it isn’t his time yet anyway. You can check out little Teddy on my Daily Pics page. And yeah, Mitzy’s coping (as you can see).

Holdonasec… did I mention eBay above? Didn’t I hate eBay? Well, I still do actually, but I found out that the absolute coolest antique and kitchy coffee stuff is sold there. I’ve already bought a fair amount of items, which has lead to Canada Customs at Pt. Roberts becoming mighty happy with me and my GST payments. I’ve bought a couple of 1940s Sunbeam CoffeeMasters (a very cool brewing device), a campfire espresso machine with a milk steamer, and the best thing, by far, is I finally got myself a wood backgammon set!

Those of you who have read my Tunsia story, elsewhere on this site might know of my love for traditional backgammon. In North Africa and the Mediterranean, people take backgammon seriously, and I really missed that. Part of that atmosphere was the board itself – all wood, with intricate patterns. None of this felt, “faux” briefcase look that seems so prevalent in North America.

I searched for years in Vancouver for a decent all wood backgammon set. The only one I found suitable to what I wanted was prohibitively expensive – close to $200. A criminal rate, considering that you could buy the identical board at the street markets in Morocco for $3. Someone was making a ton of money, and it wasn’t the original person who hand crafted the boards!

So a few weeks ago, I saw my dream board at eBay, bid on it, and won. It’s the most amazingly detailed board I’ve ever seen. I’m a happy puppy now. In fact, Jean helps me on my mini breaks by playing a quick game with me from time to time. I just love the sound of the dice hitting the wood, clackity clack.

And on that note… till next time… thanks for stopping by!

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