Call Center Whiteboards: Now in Color

Shortly after starting to doodle to while away the available time and relieve some stress and frustrations, I decided that not only should I add color to my illustrations, but also get myself a larger board, useful for many different things, larger illustrations being among them. Unfortunately, many of the larger illustrations have been wiped away or damaged, but since they were mainly constructive venting in whiteboard form, I am not too terrible distraught at their loss. Perhaps I’ll fire up Painter to recreate them for a future post. The end of this week saw many drawings made, as my co-workers have seen them at the desk of others and heard me talk about doing them being a pleasant experience and wanted to have one of their own done. Today’s offerings were for my own desk, though I did a few that I’ll work on photographing for sometime next week. The hardest part thus far is reducing the amount of overhead lighting glare that is caught by the camera.

So, without further ado, I present “Le Cheeseburger” and “Queen Bee” :

“A Burger Good Enough to Eat”

"Le Cheeseburger" / 2016 / Marker on Whiteboard
“Le Cheeseburger” / 2016 / Marker on Whiteboard

Ah, the simple cheeseburger, loved by people all over the world. Shortly after moving desks as part of a personnel realignment, I was whittling a period of especially long available time away trying to decide what was going to be on the board that everyone sees when they walk behind me. Since my drawing of Mr. Krabs stewing in a soup bowl had been damaged in the move, a new doodle was needed. Not having anything immediately come to mind, a simple cheeseburger would have to do, preferably with a side of french fries and a mandatory tasty beverage to accompany them.

As I didn’t have a lighter brown to make the bun and felt it would have been too much to make the patty both black and brown, the unfortunate slab of protein that is the patty was relegated to resembling a burnt block of ramen. I wonder if Copic or any other art supply company makes dry erase marker sets with more colors? Preliminary searches have yielded no results as of yet. None of my concerns seem to have much effect on what the sight of this depiction of a cheeseburger does to many a passersby, though. Often I have been informed that this sandwich looks good enough to eat and others have come back from lunch with a sack from a burger joint, some of whom have blamed my cheeseburger as the source of their craving. I have not been immune to the Call of the Cheeseburger, which makes the fact that a Wendy’s is but a short walk from my desk.

The Queen Bee

"Queen Bee" / 2016 / Marker on Whiteboard
“Queen Bee” / 2016 / Marker on Whiteboard

It’s no secret that one of the secrets to making a queen bee involves copious amounts of royal jellythe sticky white substance secreted by worker bees and fed to all larvae, but those who are destined for the crown will be receive nothing but royal jelly for the entirety of their development. Though those who use it in cosmetics and supplements would have you believe its use has health and aesthetic benefits, conclusions are iffy at best, which leads me to think that it is better used to make more queens to make the honey that I like so very much instead of leading insecure people to believe that it will help avoid the inevitable wrinkles that occur with time and environment exposure.

I don’t have much to say about this one, other than it was originally just a study in not only the effects of using inadvertently mixed colors, in this case yellow and black, to see what kind of effects I could achieve, but also in layered texturing, with the short strokes meant to represent the fuzz of the bee, layered to give the body depth and assist in achieving that round look to indicate a very well-fed bee who will soon be popping out a generation or so of future bees.

Oh, What a Whiteboard Can Do!

Working in a call-center with a clean policy can be tough for someone who likes to doodle as I often do, especially to relieve stress after a difficult or long interaction, which tends to tax me mentally, since outside of my job I tend to be a rather quiet person by nature unless sparked or goaded by something that is going on in my immediate surroundings. Fortunately, whiteboards are provided which, albeit small in stature, provide a creative outlet for breaks and during lunch. While they were originally provided to be used for taking notes, I have found that they are almost the perfect size for either quick or small doodles, with extended periods of downtime used to make more elaborate drawings. The following are black and white due to media limitations – I only had one marker at the time, which came with the board – and were done either for my own desk or those who requested them. I have since moved onto using color markers with a steady measure of success, with more and more of my coworkers asking for them as time goes on. I don’t mind drawing them at all, as it is a steady outlet for post-call stress and I enjoy seeing the smiles they bring not only once finished, but of passer-bys when I have enough time to look up from my desk. The future promises not only bigger boards (I have an 18×24″ I do not only drawings but other tidbits of information currently) but also more colors to start with, as my current palette of nine makes me just want for a wider variety of colors.

Pictures and descriptions after the break!

The Rest of the Story…

Stranger Things: Came for the Music, Stayed for the Weirdness

So, as the title suggests, I initially started watching Netflix’s Stranger Things because I happened upon a posting in one of the Facebook groups I belong to, Synth Wave Emotions! which is dedicated to the increasingly popular trend of synthwave, inspired by the synth-heavy soundtracks of 80’s films. Embedded in the post was the intro screen for the series and the dark, ominous synth lines that have become so notable of the darker tidings of the series. Fortunately, Stranger Things is more than just a platform for the soundtrack, as great as it may be; it draws upon the eeriness of the same cinematic era as its soundtrack, when movies may have been kind of campy but unsettling as well and jump scares were in the minority and used to great effect unlike Hollywood’s more recent offerings, which are more jump and less eerie atmosphere as a whole. I suppose that in the interest of mainstream horror films, my experiences and imagination are better conjurors of spook and fright than what Hollywood is prepared to shove down the throats of audiences as a whole nowadays.

The Rest of the Story…

Shooting: Less Pewpew, More Snapsnap

One of the many enjoyable aspects of my previous line of work was not only the access to a wide array of firearms but also my role in photographing said firearms for various reasons, one of which was for auction on Gunbroker. Fortunately, I saved a number of the guns that turned out the best and will be posting them here in the upcoming days. While many of them will have been featured on Gunbroker or Instagram, others are exclusive to this location that weren’t included for various reasons.  The Rest of the Story…

Work: The One & Hopefully Only Post on the Subject

  • Glock 17 Generation 4

The notice of resignation was dropped today, the anticipation and bracing for impact all for naught. No scenes caused, no need to flip the panic mode to the “on” position. For my current position, my last day is Saturday. As an avid firearm enthusiast, I will miss the behind-the-scenes aspects of working in a gun store, aside from the endless paperwork and documentation that comes with being a licensed dealer in all things pewpew related. Unless I become a frequent visitor to my local gun ranges, I shall become slightly deficient in what has become an almost daily inoculation of the technical, conspiratorial, dysfunctional and often times downright confusing world of those who tend to gravitate towards avid gun ownership.

I can’t say that I’ll miss a lot of the darker side, with some leaning heavily towards a thinly veiled “Christian Army Intent of Establishing a Caucasian Jeebus Theocracy” mindset.  Others are more content with calling the PotUS every derogatory name in the book of ethnic slurs at every available opportunity, looking at me as though I’m supposed to find all of it among the pinnacle of hilarity. What I will miss are the more helpful customers, who in addition to learning something from me while browsing the selection, imparted their own wisdom or tidbit of information on the particulars of a certain variety of firearm. That, and those who liked to talk about what kind of shooting they liked to do, such as those who compete in the various organizations, leagues and such. While these two groups of people are often one and the same, they’re two aspects of the retail firearms trade I’ll miss the most, as in my opinion, they represent the best the hobby has to offer in terms of overall image.

Access to a wide variety of interesting firearms in the interest of photographing them is another aspect of that job I’ll miss, maybe even more than the people of interest. I learned quite a lot about the world of product photography while taking photos for Gunbroker listings, much of which I was fortunate enough to be able to apply to make the photos better, and others which served to only frustrate me as the provided setup caused more frustration than inspiration. Still, the experience I gain from these frustrations has only served to make my own photography that much better. Still, it was nice to have access to firearms and other items that I had never even heard of before, much less had physical access to on a regular basis. Not only to photograph, but also be able to hold them, examine them from many different angles and take in everything that made them special and desirable to collectors and casual observers alike.

Current job aside, what is to be expected from my upcoming position? I don’t really know, aside from what I have seen in my brief time at the location in which I will be gainfully employed as of this coming Monday. What I have seen is an environment that is not at all like the call centers I have seen depicted in various mediums throughout my life; everyone appears to be reasonably happy and carefree, but still dedicated to what it is they do. For the first 8-12 weeks, though, I won’t be among them, as I’ll be going through roughly 480 hours of instruction, about unknown aspects of supporting the product/service/suite the company is contracted to do. I appreciate that it is a vastly more technically challenging field that what I was doing until this coming Saturday. I can appreciate the fact that the potential for growth and promotion is far greater than my current work environment allows, as promotion in a company of five is usually only accomplished upon retirement, death or striking out on one’s own, legitimately or by means that are less than savory. I also look forward to having more co-workers than the current number of one, who really wasn’t much of a coworker at all, given his status as a feathered fellow, foul-tempered and prone to biting as he was. He was most likely a much better gun salesman than I ever could be, so the fact that he remains is a good sign for the company.

Last, but most importantly, no more country music. I don’t particularly enjoy the modern brand of country music that has arisen over the last thirty years, find it to be too sappy for my tastes. I never again want to hear it when I’m trying to do calculus or anything else more complex than simple arithmetic, its presence being invasive even then.
While I don’t know what the future holds, I can say that I am looking forward to seeing where this new path in life takes me and the ship that is my family. Allons-y!

Next Level Fitness: A Bathroom Review

Location: Next Level Fitness, #### S. Woodland Blvd, Deland, FL

Men’s/Women’s/Unisex: Men’s (Currently seeking applicants to review the often better-decorated ladies’ restrooms)

One of the many places I usually find myself is at the gym, for a variety of reasons, mainly health/vanity related. While there, I would say that a reasonable amount of time is spent in this very bathroom, so I know it quite well. As far as gym restroom go, it is pretty middle of the road, having an adequate level of accommodations, but nothing fancy. Two shower stalls, sinks and stalls accompany the one urinal and eighteen daily-use lockers provided, many of which have been in use by the same patron for some time now, the usage limit, if any, being rarely enforced. I do have to hand it to the staff, though; that they keep is pretty clean, much cleaner than I’d expect for such a low monthly rate. Color scheme and decor leaves much to be desired, as the pumpkin/goldenrod/grey palette and generic inspirational posters don’t do much for hyping one up for pushing themselves to their physical limits.

Pros: Cleanliness, which is more than be said of other gyms, which often get overlooked and results in restrooms that smell of feet, body odor and other unmentionable smells that make one want to gag. The shower stalls are clean and available all-day, as opposed to during staffed periods as stated on the sign on the door. The toilet/urinal is always clean and supplied with toilet paper and plunger in case things get out of hand. Trash can is rarely full and emptied regularly.

Cons: Aside from that earlier mentioned, my only real gripes with this restroom is the single-ply toilet paper and the lack of soap in the showers. The soap is honestly not that much of a concern, as it was never the best quality and the money is definitely being used for much better things. However, I cannot concede on the single-ply toilet paper. In 2016, such sub-par toilet paper should be a thing of the past, not a fixture in so many establishments.

The Final Wipe: If you’re in the gym and need to go, do not hesitate to use this restroom, just don’t expect a second wind of inspiration to come from the surroundings. Also, if you’re prone to being affected by high protein intake or other gastrointestinal problems, it is recommended that you bring your own paper for maximum effectiveness.

NLF Bathroom

Rating: 4/5

Relaunching Saylock.com

College is over for the time being, the books are stowed, the gears of knowledge creep at and ever slowing rate, rust gathering as slowly as it did last time I stopped going to school. Creak…creak…creeeeak… wait, what? Why does learning have to stop? Did it ever stop? Unlikely it ever will.

After letting the site lapse (again) into deletion due to financial hardships and lack of time, it is time to start anew! With more time and fewer x and y variables, I am free to do more with this and other online things. When I thought of doing this again, I thought to myself: what do I like doing? The best places to visit are places that are ultimately useful to someone other than the author. Someone else has to have the possibility to benefit in order for the ordeal that comes with site ownership to be worth more than a nickel or dime.

So what’s planned?

Photography: Though I have never made much off of photography, I still enjoy doing it some ten years later. Currently, the only commercial usage of my photo compositions have been firearm related, since I am currently employed in the retail part of the industry. Mainly, my photos have been featured on Gunbroker and as of recent, Instagram, all for the betterment of my place of employment. I enjoy capturing these devices with a camera in a strangely beautiful light, which especially recently, has not been the case in mainstream society at large.

Painting/Drawing: In addition to photography and digital media, I still create works using physical materials. One day soon, I’d really like to try my hand at oils, but due to having a rambunctious toddler and naughty cat, for now it is an item on the “to do” list. Acrylics and pastels seem to be safe materials to use, with the tot contributing regularly when the mood strikes her.

Bathroom Reviews: “Why would you honestly want to review the places where people defecate, urinate and do untold number of other things? Isn’t there already a place that does that?” Yes, but it isn’t my work, so I want to do it my way. Originally, it started as a project for a freshman college composition class which went well enough, despite the requirement of entering and writing about every bathroom I came across and trying to photograph them with no one else there. Once the project ended, I thought that was that and nothing more.

Sadly, nothing could be farther from the truth. Everywhere I go now, I find myself mentally rating it by cleanliness, decor if any, smells, sounds and other identifying characteristics. So if I still do it without really realizing it, why not write about it?

Firearms: It would not be a convincing online presence if it failed to cover one of the tenets of my life currently: shooting. Not people, as I rather never have to do that, but targets of paper and cardboard. Compared to the number of some of my regulars, I have but a few, but I like them quite a bit, but not to the point that I love them, as that’d be a bit weird. Like politics, I’ll be keeping the firearms posts mainly about my own experiences with them and do my best to stay away from one side or the other, as the discussion can become quite heated very quickly. Mainly, I’ll be talking about new guns I’ve read about, found at a local gun store, mainly work, or have personally bought. Since I compete from time to time, I’ll probably take some time to reflect on my results and the stages in what is hopefully an entertaining way.

Gaming: Not that I have a terrible lot of time to do so these days, but I do enjoy playing video games from time to time. With the arrival of the tot, I have limited it mainly to PC, as it usually doesn’t require expensive peripherals that are oh-so-attractive to munchkins with small, sticky hands. Someday, I will return to owning a modern console, but today is not that day. New games, mods, utilities and wanted games shall dominate this section.

Other Stuff of Interest: While the main subjects are listed above, other things that catch my interest shall have a home here, provided I can make a description of the topic entertaining to someone other than myself.

Categories are subject to amendment, deletion, abandonment and modification at any time.