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Thursday, June 3rd, 2010
9:42 pm - alive?
I guess I'm still sort of alive.

At least enough to have released a prototype of my book

http://issuu.com/petesaunders/docs/masters

I'm making a book. The end result will be available for sale in November.

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Sunday, October 11th, 2009
12:02 pm - Why it's time for a sneaky update.
A few things have happened recently.
A catalogue I helped design (as well as organised the fundraising, sponsorship and generally drove the whole project) won a Silver PICA award for best Book design. I don't know who beat us, but that was up against all the major Tasmanian design firms, and this was a student project, so not a bad outcome.
The film I made a couple of months ago has been nominated for a 2009 ATOM Award for Best Tertiary Experimental video. I'm the only individual from our state nominated, and up against 4 other entries from around the country. If you haven't seen it, the video is here http://www.vimeo.com/4894253
Awards are on the 23rd of October, so by all accounts that night is going to be massive.
My first solo publication is nearly finished, and will be available for free on my other website, http://www.aredesignersethical.com
If you think anyone will be interested, please pass the link on.
I have two weeks left before the end of my first year of Masters, with one to go. I'm hoping my score will go up, as I need to increase it by about 10% to qualify (hopefully) for a scholarship, should I choose to continue my education.
I also signed, sealed and delivered my Visa paperwork, so I will be back in the land of the Free Fat ... Back in America on the 5th of November for four months. I am very, very excited for my trip back, I miss Jackson.

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Wednesday, August 26th, 2009
10:37 pm - Why I can write seriously...Sometimes...
This is an article that I am proposing for the new issue of Togatus. The magazine is trying to promote discussion and debate, but with its current structure, this can only happen retroactively.
By posting this article online now, I welcome any and all feedback over the next week. Any legitimate responses may be used in the magazine.
---

VSU: Where Student Life Goes to Die.

Few people would have heard the recent announcement that any plans to abolish Voluntary Student Unionism (VSU) have been sandbagged by the Opposition, in the form of the forward-thinking and student-loving Coalition. In fact, ask most first year students what the Student Union is and you would be met with blank stares like you’d just requested they explain thermonuclear fusion or asked them to put the square box in the round hole. Conversely, ask most post-grad students and graduates of their memories of Societies, and you’ll be met with wry smiles, laughs and stories of random misadventures spent with people who were fast becoming good mates. To most current students, Societies Day is an excuse to double fist Cascade cans and hit on first year students wearing fluoro headbands. That is all well and good, but Societies Day once served a higher purpose. In between all those jelly shots and goon bag laybacks, Societies were increasing their membership, resulting in more funding and more opportunities that would ultimately benefit students in extra-curricular activities. The endless BBQs, barrels, cocktail parties, public talks and sports events were all funded by our Services and Amenities Fee and organised by the dedicated few who saw more to University life than simply getting that piece of paper.
The current problem is that most students don’t know what it was like when the Union was behind them. Yes, one function of the system was to help run big events and parties or send a sports team interstate, but it was another (much more important) function that provided students with legal advice, disability and health assistance and careers advice. It was a system that we all made use of — often unknowingly — and it is a travesty that it is left in its dilapidated state.
There is still a strong group of students fighting to keep Societies alive, endlessly filling out paperwork and begging the University administration for a hundred dollars here and two hundred dollars there. It is a completely thankless task, and a majority of the student body assumes that these events “just happen”. These students do it because they see the value in extending student life beyond the classroom — and this is ultimately reflected on the resume, as potential employers see the value in taking on the task of running a society. Some students have proven that it is possible to gain employment solely on the back of extra-curricular University jobs, whilst their deferred course fees are still at genuine 1997 prices.
Watching the effect of VSU at the Hunter St. art school has been like taking a walk through Belgium in 1940. You get the impression that things were once pretty good, but what stands before you is being utterly destroyed. A bookshop intended to provide students with discounted products relevant to their degrees is now on par with, or more expensive than other places in town; a cafeteria designed to provide varied food and drink now struggles to provide a variation of anything; there are pretty much no society gatherings, no barrels, nothing outside of the odd art exhibition. This is not a slight against the staff who work there — they do a fantastic job, but they are simply given no financial support whatsoever to do what they were meant to do: help students. In the past couple of years, events have been held, but the amount of paperwork, rules to adhere to and a simple lack of funds meant that students ended up pitching in their own cash to provide entertainment for others. Altruistic, maybe; stupid, definitely.
Unfortunately, it is difficult to convince new students that they should give up 250 dollars of their hard-earned cash at the beginning of the year, without resorting to a post-1975 Americanism ‘you don’t know man, you weren’t there’. The benefits of the Union are difficult to see if you have never been a part of it.
So how do we best illustrate the downfall of student life over the past few years?
A pretty obvious starting point is the decline of O-Week. Societies Day was a mere cog in an entire week devoted to guaranteeing that students started the year backwards and upside down, with no clue if they were studying computer science or life drawing. Every night, something big was happening and it all concluded with a massive concert with some big name acts. Wallets barely suffered because everything was subsidised and hangovers lasted some time until Dis-O Week started (or until Monday night). Now, O-Week goes by with barely a blip on the radar. The sheer number of restrictions and the lack of support and sponsorship for Societies Day — something more fundamental to a year of uni than textbooks — has resulted in people trying to make the most of the three minute RSA window by shot-gunning beers faster than Mel Gibson at a stop sign, rather than bringing together a group of like-minded students to pursue similar interests. Gone are the days when the Dance Music Society would bring down some of the biggest DJs in the world to play at the UniBar, with after parties going until Sunday afternoon; no longer can the masses of the Rafting or the Ski/Snowboard club head into the middle of nowhere for a few days and throw themselves into the elements (this is now only for the select few who can afford to buy all their own gear). To the outside observer, getting involved in all the politics, all the rules, all the regulations on behalf of your fellow students holds about as much appeal as a Dragonball Z POG swap meet.
But the reality is quite different. Being able to help shape the University experience not just for yourself but also for your fellow students is one of the more rewarding aspects of University life. It costs some time and hard work and takes a while to learn the system, but the system is ultimately in place to help students. If we don’t make the most of it, it will eventually die out. Students can shape their own uni life more than they probably realise, they just have to sack up, get involved and actually do something to help a struggling cornerstone of University culture. Sometimes it takes a few risks to reap any rewards, but in this case, they are certainly worth it.

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Saturday, August 15th, 2009
10:35 am - Why Pete want go Crushinator.
After that last entry, I got my wish. I was given the task of the impossible.
A while ago, one of my clients asked if I could make up a couple of brochures. Nothing exciting and I had a couple of weeks to do them once they gave me the information.
Then, at 3pm on Wednesday, I was called and told that they had the information ready for me and I said I'd come pick it up. What I was given was 12 A4 pages of writing (to fit onto essentially A4 pages) — still unfinished and needing editing — as well as a cd of 51 images, all unlabeled. I was told that this what I had to work with.
I happily informed them that there was no way in hell that much information could be fit onto a standard brochure and we worked out what to do. What came out was one of the more "innovative" brochure layouts, technically quite difficult, but with a potentially amazing result. I'd never done anything like this before and I was already worried. Then the bomb was dropped: I had to have it ready to go to print by Friday. 36 hours.
I asked a couple of design friends and they all told me it was impossible, and I had very strong thoughts of the same myself. I know I'm a pretty quick and relatively competent designer, who tries to take on the impossible at all times, but even for me this seemed unmanageable. But I took it on anyway.
I worked for most of Wednesday, I worked all of Thursday and by 9am Friday, I had given them a pretty well laid out, good looking and interesting brochure design. We were on track to pull off the impossible. I gave them specific time frames, that all corrections had to be back to me by 10:30 so we could do a second proof and have it to the printers by 1pm.
By about 1:30, I got the corrections back, and then a call 15 minutes later to ask where the new proof was. Nice.
Then at about 2:30, I was given a call and told that unfortunately, I would not be receiving any approval until some time on Monday. Monday. Basically, it was now impossible to have it back from the printers on time.

I realise it wasn't my fault, that I did everything right and blah blah blah. I checked with the printers to make sure I had the specs right, I designed everything to be about mm perfect, I sent things back and forth on time, every time. Only to be fucked out of it all at the end. You can look at this and think "but it doesn't matter, it'll get done eventually, it's their fault for not getting it done in time." And whilst yes that is true, it's not the point. The only way I can feel any joy about what I do is to see the finished product, to pick it up, to flick through it, to hold it. To drop everything and pull off an utter miracle only to have that feeling denied by someone else is the biggest slap in the face I can imagine. Yeah, I take this shit hard — too hard — but it's because I care about what I do and I am passionate about it.
So I spent the afternoon beyond angry. I was empty, I was disappointed, I was just...aghast. Most of all, I was just spent. I had nothing left. I wanted to get really drunk and even that I couldn't do. So I ended up having a really fitful nights sleep and still feel annoyed this morning.

The one silver lining of this, though, is that it made me forget that one underlying problem from last weekend. That one thing that I had left in my head that I wanted to get rid of. And I remembered why I don't trust anyone, why I stop myself from feeling anything for anyone (except for my mates, obviously...I'll be loyal to them until the day I die). I remember why I tuck myself into a hole and be a hateful, work obsessed person. Every time I do anything different, I get fucked over. And unlike kicking a retarded puppy, I don't intend to come back.

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Tuesday, August 11th, 2009
8:46 am - Why contemplation hurts the mind, the head and the brain
So I went pretty big this weekend, again.
I've started to dabble in a world I thought I had left behind a couple of years ago. I think the motivation for doing it is the same, but the reasons for that motivation are the polar opposite. Some time ago, I wanted escapism in any way possible. I didn't want to be myself, I wanted to be the person that all these things made me. It was a crazy few months, not necessarily what I should have done (in retrospect), but I am a firm believer in not having regrets over such things. Like I've said before, the negatives of our lives help shape us more than the positives ever will.
Instead now, I am working so hard, that occasionally I just need to have a break, to let my brain drip out of my ears for a day or two. And I did that, and then some.
Do I look back and think things should/could have gone differently? Sure. When you paint a picture in your head, you're always disappointed when the result is some kind of complete abstraction that only Kandinsky could interpret for you. Having said that, I achieved my goal and lost myself for a couple of days. Often the reason I do this is to try and find something out of it all; in between the rubble and the pieces.
I didn't sleep on Saturday or Sunday night, for various reasons. I may have been able to drift off for an hour or so, but not anything near real sleep. Because of this, last night, I was out cold. I don't think I moved once, and woke up to my alarm some nine hours later. And I was in the middle of the most hyper realistic and convincing dream I've had in a long time. It took me nearly fifteen minutes to find my bearings at home and get ready to go to uni. For a while, I wanted to stay in that dream, to be part of what was going on there. And I wanted that because it seemed so much simpler. There wasn't any stress, it was easy, it was my brain illustrating to me the polar opposite of my current life. So I wanted that.
But I made it to Uni, had myself a giant coffee and looked down at all the things I have ignored over the past couple of days. The little jobs I have to do, the catalogues and books I have to create, all the things I've tried to learn how to do over the past four years. And I've realised that I want that more. What use is the simple life? Would it make me feel proud to be a bum, a non-contributing member of society? No. That's not how I'm wired. So I have to sit down and do what I do best, and work my ass off to get what I want. I feel as though I need to take this feeling and push to do even more work than I do normally. I want to go to the very edges of what I am capable of and see what happens. I used to push myself to consume more and more of everything around me. I cannot change that part of me — it is what I am hardwired to do. But now I need to find another outlet for that. People worry about me for this very reason, that I am incapable of stopping and saying no. And maybe they should worry about me; I worry about myself. But I think I'm made of sterner stuff than I give myself credit for, and I've realised recently that a lot of other people see it in me, I'm just the one that is blind.
I'm also pretty sure if I reread this in a day or a week or a month, it would make absolutely no sense. But it's there for posterity's sake, for me to reflect on down the track and laugh at where my brain is.

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Thursday, August 6th, 2009
7:14 pm - Why things don't often fall into place
I got offered another job today. It was a job that, if I'm honest, I've been wanting since the beginning of the year. I thought it would be something that I'd have lined up upon my return from America. I recommended a friend for the position.
It creates a strange sensation to me... By the very nature of what I do, it is my job to impress those people around me. I will never be happy with myself for the amount of work I do, the quality of work I do or the amount of knowledge I have. I can always work harder, work faster, work better, learn more. But at the end of the day, my job is to please the clients. If they are happy, I get paid and I get more work, simple. Clearly, I have been doing that recently. I am working for three sizable organisations doing a variety of different work. Annual reports, posters, catalogues, online magazines. Everything. And I am currently so successful at what I am doing, that I am taking more and more work away from the major design agencies in this town. From people who have been in the industry for decades. On top of that, I am overseeing productions in a couple of unpaid positions, I am helping and trying to mentor some graduating students and I'm generally doing everything I can to meet and impress the right people in the right industries so I can be successful in the future. So this positive impression has lead me to a position where I am offered work that I really want. But I have to turn it down. Why?
I have to work nearly 50 hours a week to stay afloat of all the client work I currently have. 50 hours a week is a pittance, I knock that out in under 4 days. But that is on the side of my Masters degree and a second undergrad major. Three jobs, two degrees. For some unknown reason, I have landed myself in a position where I work so hard, I am having to go to the doctor for stress related problems. I sleep surprisingly well, considering my track record, but never for very long. Maybe 5 hours a night, give or take. I have upward of 10 - 15 major projects on the go on any one time, yet I am ahead of schedule in all of them. I haven't had a proper break since the beginning of the year, and I am running that fine line between constantly producing the goods and burning out. I've given myself two weeks in New Zealand to ski at the beginning of September, and even then I fear I will be inundated with work. All of this work, all of the positive feedback I generate and yet I still feel as though I let people down when I have to refuse work. Especially work I really want. I ask myself why can't I fit in those extra two or three days of work? Why am I not able to juggle the extra job, the extra hours, the extra projects. And the real answer is that I don't think it's fair. It's not fair on myself to expect to be able to do so much. It is not fair on the clients to take on so much work that it will eventually end in tears (mine) and blood (someone elses). I am actually very happy with where I stand right now...I earn pretty decent money per hour, I am getting very positive feedback from the people I work for (compared to three years of undergrad, where seemingly the job of the teacher was to shit all over whatever you did) and I am involved in a lot of positions that will serve me very well in the future. My social life is relatively good, despite my inability to form any kind of meaningful relationship with anyone. But that's another issue for another bottle of scotch.
So why do I feel this strange sense of melancholy. Should I be disappointed with myself that I'm not in a position to take on this new work? Or should I be elated with myself because I've worked so hard that I am in a position to be able to decline the offer of work?
Or maybe, what I really need to do, is stop thinking for a while; get out of my own head.

This rant has been bought to you by the colour eight and the polar coordinates F U.

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Monday, July 6th, 2009
9:11 am - Why I'm different
What I'm going to do here is describe my weekend and pose a series of questions. A little quiz, if you will, to see how similar you are (or are not) to me.

It's a Thursday afternoon, you have friends in town and you know a lot of drinks will be had and shit is going to get out of control. You have barely eaten all day. Do you:
a) Prepare a meal right away, knowing that it is best to line your stomach with food ASAP.
b) Crack a beer, push the thought of food to the back of your mind, to consider it later.

You're about six or seven beers deep, and a few scotchs. Sure, you've only been drinking for less than two hours but it's probably time to head out. You still haven't eaten. Do you:
a) Drop everything and cook that meal, because you know it will be important.
b) Decide to "drink through it".

You're right, things do get out of control. You have an awesome time but are entirely drunk by point of returning home. One of your friends is vomiting on the carpet. Do you:
a) Make sure she's ok and that the carpet isn't getting too messed up.
b) Stand there, pointing and laughing.

You wake up in the morning and know things were a little out of hand last night. You seem to find a few bruises on you. Do you:
a) Know exactly where they came from, they were a by-product of helping your friend last night.
b) Have no idea where they came from, since you were so blacked out, you don't remember pointing and laughing at your friend, then fell off the couch and fell up the stairs.

You don't feel too crash hot after such a big night, but at least you've eaten. It just kicks over to midday. Do you:
a) Stay on the couch, it's the only thing that will help.
b) Crack into a bottle of Canadian Club. After all, it's there.

So you're drinking for the second day in a row and getting people to come round to continue the party. It gets to about 5pm. Are you:
a) A couple of sneaky drinks in, entertaining new people in the house, not a care in the world.
b) Passed out upstairs because you drank the whole bottle of CC, and someone puts meatspin on your computer.

You awake to find everybody gone, but the football is on television. After everything you've had to drink, you are entirely annihilated. It's half time. Do you:
a) Continue lying there, feeling sorry for yourself.
b) Throw caution to the wind, shirt up and head out.

You're out somehow, but a little cautious of bartenders and security since you know how drunk you are, but they don't (yet). Do you:
a) Play it subtle, keep it on the down low.
b) Buy pints, drunkenly (and loudly) ask for more money out of your account and proceed to try and consume the world until 4am.

It's Saturday. Are you:
a) Dead.
b) Wishing to anyone who will listen that not only should you be dead, but you deserve to be dead.



If you answered a) to all of these questions, you are a very smart person and in no way like me whatsoever. If you answered a) and b) to these questions, you show signs of being like me, but can probably save yourself. If you answered b) to all of these questions you are insane and should expect to still feel average on Monday. Also, note to self: You're no longer indestructible, maybe consider that for a second.
Good times.

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Saturday, May 30th, 2009
2:09 pm - Why it is interesting to look back
Often, those stupid quizzes that people spread around like AIDS in the 80s include questions about where you see yourself in 5/10/600 years. Seemingly pointless for what they are, I guess in a way they are an interesting device to try and plan out your goals for the next few years. But then how often do we reflect back and see if we were where we wanted to be. Surely, the answer would be no, meaning we either set unrealistic goals or we've managed to outshine our own expectations. This rambling has a point somewhere. Not sure where.
I went for a walk today and contemplated where I was five years ago and if I was in the place I thought I'd be. I think I've written about this before, but I have an alcohol addled brain and therefore forget which way is up and what colour is north.
So, going back a little more than five years, we start around Christmas 2003/2004. I was in Airlie Beach, working on Daydream Island. Even now, over all the years of partying and destruction, that was probably the height of my varied consumption. It was dangerous, it was excessive, it was constant and I pushed it into addiction for some time. On a relative scale, the only thing that outweighed the highs were the lows and they were often and harsh. None more so than when I moved and spent a couple of months living in Brisbane. That was probably the lowest point for some time and it was a mix of depression, withdraws and the horrible realisation that not only are you not contributing to society, you're actually a burden on it. Not fun.
But I can't look back on that time without a rye smile. Without bottoming out, I would never have decided to go away skiing with my parents. I wouldn't have had my love for skiing reinstated and I wouldn't have headed back to Hotham. Without making that decision, I never would have become qualified as a ski instructor and made my way to Canada. There again, my consumption of alcohol above all else was just out of control, but I learned a lot about myself. More so than anything, the whole experience set me on the path that would eventually lead me back to education, to get my degree.
Up to that point, I knew I was going to University. I'm (as of six months ago) the only one in my family without a doctorate, so education is in my blood. But I didn't know what I wanted to do and that left me in limbo for some time. But I found myself doing a degree in graphic design. For two years, I fought it. I hated so much of what was happening in that degree. But for some reason, I tried to push my University experience as far as it would go, to get as much out of it as I could. That didn't necessarily mean studying my ass off, it meant getting involved with the culture inherent in higher education institutions. To taking on new challenges and trying to separate myself from the pack. I doubt I would have been able to do that without those three years of outer-world experiences before me. And I say outer-world in the sense that I believe the lifestyle I lead ran in a parallel dimension to reality. We existed as part of the same area as everyone else, yet we lived in a totally different way.
All of this came together in a flurry last year and suddenly I had set myself on a path that I never realised would happen: I was working in a field I actually enjoyed, I was living a life on two sides of the world that seemed to run completely at odds with each other, yet existed in perfect harmony. I exceeded both everyone else's expectations and my own (to a lesser extent) by graduating at the top of my degree and being accepted to study a Masters project. Now, as I finish my first semester and have to soon submit my initial research, I am trying to do a project that is gaining international interest, has never been done before at our institute (or any other from what I have seen), I am playing with media I never thought I would, I have met people I never thought I would, I currently have five separate clients that I work for concurrently (more than ever before, in bigger, more expensive projects) and I am trying to get my first solo publication in a position to be distributed nationally.

If I look back at all the things that define who I am today, I think it was the bad that has had a more profound influence on me than the good. If someone went through their life experiencing only the good, they would have no character, no depth, no desire (see: trust fund babies). It is the bad that changes your course, often for the better.
So, am I where I thought I'd be five years ago? Absolutely not. Far from it. But I think I have exceeded where I thought I would be, and I think I have exceeded where most people thought I would be. Although I have a generally negative view of the work I do and have done, I think occasionally I should allow myself the time to be proud of what I've achieved.

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Monday, April 27th, 2009
9:26 pm - Why sometimes surprises are good
I got word today that I have been short listed for one of (if not the) biggest student design award in the country. I'm also the only person from my state.
There are three awards overall, and they have short listed 60 people, meaning I'm probably in the top 20–30 submissions for 2D (print) based work. Very, very surprised, considering I entered on a whim on the last day because it was free and I figured, "eh, why not".
Awards are announced during our conference next week. Although I guess I have as much chance as any one else, I don't consider my work worthy of such an award. That award being an all expenses paid two week placement at a design studio of my choice from those provided. In my case, Pentagram. In New York.

Still, it is nice to be short listed, especially when there were probably a couple of thousand entries.

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Thursday, March 12th, 2009
10:11 am - Why sometimes I just get jacked over
It's not often I develop any real feelings for someone.
Anyone who knows me knows that I go from 0 to 100 and back to 0 in the space of a day, so they never really take my like of people seriously. Occasionally, just occasionally, I fall a little deeper and my process of 0 to 100 to 0 could take anywhere from a week to ten days.
This time though, I dunno. I guess the concept of 'absence makes the heart grow fonder' is definitely a relevant issue. Rambling? You know it.
I just found out that the girl I like in the states is fucking one of my best mates. An interesting turn of events, to be sure. I mean it's hard to commentate on the situation from where I am, spending eight months of my life in another country. But there's a difference between just a random person and a good friend. I'm not sure how to feel in this situation.
I know that there was (probably) no malice involved, but I also feel like I would be a relevant party in this situation and at least expect to be told from not an outside source. It's not really the most pleasant thing to experience.
But then in reality, what was I expecting to happen? For NOTHING to happen for eight months and then suddenly BOOM, Thunderbirds are go? That's just fucking Bridget Jones Diary style Hollywood shit that never happens in reality. Especially not to someone like me.

Like always, I'll get over it. Years ago, this would have sent me into a spiral of manic depression for months. I'd like to think I've progressed from that. I'm tempted to go and get drunk, but I'm 12 days in to a month of sobriety and not looking to break that any time soon.
Maybe this is a blessing in disguise? Maybe it will help me focus on my life in Hobart, without living half here and half there.
I need to understand and know that whilst I have an emotional attachment to Jackson itself, and I have work lined up there, it isn't until November. And November isn't March. I'd be dumb to continue trying to predict what could or should happen and glorify a situation that doesn't even exist.
I guess I'd just like someone to man up and tell me.
But hey, at least they waited until the day I left to hook up!

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Wednesday, February 25th, 2009
9:44 pm - Why I'm not where I thought I would be
For the last couple of days, I have been considering where I am right now, compared to where I thought I wanted to be a year ago.
A year ago, I was on my way home from Jackson, after an incredible winter. It was a winter of change for me in many ways, but it was clear to me that I had found a new home and that I would be back there as soon as possible. I was dreading going back to University. I had no care to be there, I just wanted to finish my degree and leave. Of course, being the competitive person I am, I wanted to be better than everyone else, I just wasn't intent on putting in the effort.

I had applied for a year long visa, intending to spend a winter and summer in Jackson and basically see what happened. Throw the line into the sea and wait for something to bite.

Then something clicked in my head. My mindset changed, my attitude towards what I do completely shifted, almost a total 180, and I have basically ended up in a completely different spot. Did I ever think I would be doing my Masters degree 12 months ago? Maybe, but only in the sense that I occasionally felt forced to go into Post-grad, being the only one in my family without a PhD. But when it came down to decision time, it was my decision to start my Masters degree, because not only did I want to, but I felt like it would provide me with the best possible path towards a successful future.

As an aside, the concept of 'successful' is a very personal one. For some people it is money, for others it is fame. I think I would like to consider myself a successful person/designer, if I have a positive influence on at least one person's developing career. If at some point in the future, an aspiring designer can use my work as the basis for their project. That would be my definition of success.


So I imagine what things would have been like if I had that 12 month visa. Perhaps I'd be with the girl I fell for because I would still be in Jackson? Perhaps I would be a ski instructor with uncertainty in the future due to the economic crisis? Perhaps I simply wouldn't have anything to be really proud of associated with my name.
Instead, yeah I miss Jackson and I especially miss that girl. But I think what I am trying to do, what I am trying to achieve (not to mention what I have already achieved) far outweighs where I thought I'd be a year ago. Where I was, where I thought I'd be and where I am are three totally different places. And of the three, I'm sitting on the top.

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Saturday, February 14th, 2009
6:49 am - Why I love what I do
That last entry was a while ago. It was also very negative. That would cast the wrong view on the time I just spent in Jackson Hole.
Firstly, I love that place. More so than anywhere else on the planet. The people, the lifestyle, the attitudes, the sport. It is incredible. It is a small town that thrives on its relationship with the environment around it. Brilliant.
Secondly, the filming. I filmed so much awesome stuff that I have every hope this video project I am doing will be the first of its kind to reach a wide audience. I need to sit down, to plan, to organise and to create. I need to do something special. I owe it to myself and to all of those who are interested in seeing what I come up with.
Thirdly, I have been offered a skiing sponsorship. Basically in return for some design work, I can get all my ski gear for free. That's thousands of dollars of equipment for work that looks bad ass on my resume. It is win win in the truest definition of the term.

The last ten weeks have been the greatest of my life. I stumbled a little over new years, but came back stronger and stronger. Once again, I have more of an idea of the sort of person I am. I was never anything but myself in Jackson and it paid dividends. For the first time, I was able to combine my ability to be an alcoholic asshole and an overly motivated graphic designer. People saw pretty much every side of me and it was so well received, I am still shocked.
My only regret is falling for someone right before I left. But that seems to be the standard MO for me. Still, I see a future sometime down the track, so fingers crossed I won't get hung up and let it ruin my focus.

My Masters degree starts in just over a week. I already have about six projects on the go.

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Friday, January 2nd, 2009
1:59 pm - Why NYE happened
Just out of control.
So I tried to kiss the girl I really like. Failed.
I hate this feeling of in between-ness.
Otherwise I love being back here, this place is incredible.

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Sunday, December 28th, 2008
4:19 pm - Why I respect nature
There were two large avalanches today in bounds.
It cost the life of a guy who lives right across the road from me.
He was 31 and happily married for two years. He was discovered ten minutes after the slide, under eight feet of debris. His friend was found, buried up to his neck in snow but survived without injury.

At the time, it was reported to be an instructor with a group. I was at the ranch helping supervise, so it was the most intense couple of hours trying to make sure everybody was accounted for.
Despite everything, every precaution that the highly trained ski patrollers go through here, these dangers exist. Especially when it snows five feet in as many days.

In brighter news, we have a big NYE event and I'm going with a very cool, very nice and very cute girl from New Zealand. Let's see myself fuck that one up.

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Tuesday, December 16th, 2008
6:49 am - Why I am back in my northern home
I've been back in Jackson, Wyoming for two weeks now.
I still love it here. Currently living in Wilson with three other people and two dogs. The dogs are awesome, but fucking out of control when you walk them together.
So two nights ago apparently I nearly got arrested. I got totally black out drunk and on the walk home, a cop pulled me and a friend over. Allegedly they were just making sure we were on our way home, but the cop wanted to bust my ass for public intoxication. Oops.
So yeah, I pretty much don't want to do that again.

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Tuesday, November 25th, 2008
8:20 pm - Why I'm not always a complete mess
A massive part of my Masters project is trying to get a scholarship. There is only one available to me and it is a good one. Single cash payment, tax free, of $10,000.
People often look at me and see two things: 1) an alcoholic, randomly abusive fuck up or 2) hyper-motivated and way too hard on myself.
I have relied way too heavily on number one for a long time and I spent the last few months focusing on number two. I will find out on Friday if that paid dividends when I get my marks.
Mostly though, people wonder why it is I want to do a Masters project and what on earth would it be about? This is what I submitted for my scholarship and also course application:

----

For my Masters degree in Visual Communication, I want to focus on the ethics of a graphic designer. There has been a trend towards green design (reducing carbon footprints by using recycled materials) but there is still a lack of thought into who the actual client is and what we are promoting.
Through a combination of research and coursework, I would like to study those corporations who promote products that ultimately endanger or harm the consumer. A massive part of this focus is on the practices of pharmaceutical corporations and their promotion of prescription medications that have long-term negative effects (most notably anti-depressants and cancer treatments).
The aim of the project is to provide a way to educate designers so that they understand their position as the middleman between corporations and consumers; that we can make choices, as designers, about who we work for, what products we promote and what message we try to convey.
I would also like to work with other designers and artists who have similar approaches towards their craft. By expanding on existing relationships in the Hobart design community, I would like to be able to set myself up to be able to work for a company (or companies) that have a strong ethical background.
I would also like to be able to teach my peers more about the programs that we use, how we approach design projects and hopefully be able to support and promote the graphic design studio both within the School of Art and to a wider Hobart design audience.

----

That's what I'm going to spend the next two and a half years on.

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Friday, October 31st, 2008
7:35 am - Why today is good
I handed all my work in yesterday.
I've finished my degree.
I'm going to go and have a few drinks...


www.petesaunders.com

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Friday, October 17th, 2008
10:59 pm - Why I can see the end
I have now finished all my undergraduate classes for my Bachelor of Visual Communication.
I'm considering where I stand within my classes thus far. One class, I am currently at the top of. Another, very near. Graphic design, I have raised and run a 14,000 dollar project from scratch ON TOP of my usual work requirements. This project has changed the entire face of the School of Art. I had the head of the school state to me "in the seven years I have been here, I have always wanted this project to happen and this is the first time it has. So thank you, and well done." Awesome. The main thing though, is that no one really understands or appreciates the effort I have put in to that project. I could write a lot about why I view it as so important and why I jumped through all the hoops to make it happen, but no one really cares. I am happy in my own knowledge that no one else had the guts to stand up and make that project happen. And it is going to blow people away. But that stems from the sheer ability of the people contained within, it was just my job to put it all together.
I have finished two subjects, and will finish the third over the weekend. That allows me a little over a week to properly prepare my final portfolio/submission.

Come the 31st of October, I am going to get drunk. Properly drunk. I have a mate coming down to mix me my BRAND NEW, ALL ORIGINAL PETE'S SPECIAL DRINK: The "Maggotini". He will be mixing it at 9am for me and anyone else who wants to try it. That is epic. Then it's a champagne breakfast, where champagne = tequila. Like I said to Jordan, I intend to be chasing parked cars by midday. It will be messy. And I've fucking earned it.
Then I'm going to hit on the girl I like and fail. And it will provide amusement for everybody.

Then, I will contemplate next year and start writing my proposals. I have only just begun.

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Wednesday, October 8th, 2008
10:25 pm - Why I seem to piss people off
So I've documented my troubles with admin at length. No one really cares. Suffice to say, I won.
But then I get emails like this one from companies around here:
--

Pete
I'm aware that you are unhappy that this business has not chosen to participate in your sponsorship initiative. This business provides substantial sponsorship in a number of areas. Your proposal did not meet our criteria for sponsorship at this time. However, you will note that we have provided significant ongoing sponsorship for several years in the form of reduced printing rates and time.
As a courtesy, regardless of whether you advise students to attend this business or not, I trust you will observe these points in your discussions with them.
Regards

--

So it looks like I struck a chord with someone in a big way. What I don't get though is that I was being accused of something I haven't actually done.
In reply, I sent this:

--

I had no problems with you not accepting our proposal. Many other businesses chose to do the same. When people questioned me over involvement of ANY business with our catalogue (whether yours or others), I answered truthfully. I had no reason to state otherwise. I did NOT at any point say that I recommended going elsewhere for prints.
Why would I? You've always helped us out where possible. If my name has come up as someone speaking against your business, then it is wrong. I have had discussions with people who have been unhappy with prints received from your office, but they were concerns voiced by others, not me.
I may have been disappointed that you rejected our offer, but I am not vindictive and it would be petty of me to do what I think you're claiming I am doing. This goes for you and any other businesses that we approached.
Thanks,
Pete.

--

The thing is though, in discussions of our group at uni, they generally go along the lines of "where should we go and get prints", "oh this place has fucked up a lot of things here and here and here" (repeated) "and they didn't give us any sponsorship" (often not said by me) and so it goes.
If I'm going to take the blame for a bunch of disgruntled students, then so be it. It would not be the first time, and it will not be the last.
What really bugs me about this situation is that it means someone in our class, or at least near to it, has gone to an employee and pointed me out as being the instigator of this. This could very well mean that it is one of my friends who has pushed this. From beginning to end, there are at least four points of contact, and not one of those people thought to ask ME about what I said. Instead, I get a pissed off email from a director at a company that I am CLEARLY not going to have a decent working relationship with anymore.
So it has gone me -> x -> employee -> boss.
I know the employee and have spoken at lengths with her to clear the air. Whether or not she believes me is really not a problem nor a concern of mine. I stated my case, I cannot do more than that. She took the information she had and passed it onto her boss, as she thought it was the right thing to do. I will NEVER fault someone for doing what they think is right, so my fight is not with her. It is with an ill-advised boss who has a happy email trigger finger, and a couple of people probably in one of my closer circles of friends who has pulled a Judas on me.
Way to go, friends.

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Monday, October 6th, 2008
5:08 pm - Why I win
Hi Peter,
My apologies for the delay in responding. I'm fully aware of the anxiety this matter has caused you.

Since our last contact, I've been in correspondence with Bill Hart and the Associate Dean, Dr Heather Monkhouse, about your situation. The matter has now been resolved in your favour with the Associate
Dean approving the 2 recommended electives to be substituted with FSE250 + FSE256.

You will graduate with BVC subject to passing your sem 2 2008 enrolment in FSE353 + FSG312 + FST317.

kind regards
Penny.


My troubles seem to pale in comparison to a couple of other people (in LJ land and otherwise). My thoughts go out to them.

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