- Work Smarter: Maximize Your Efficiency In The Office [Infographic]
- Pop Culture Art Inspired By Michelangelo's "The Creation Of Adam"
- DIY Vertical Lego Building Area On The Wall & Ceiling
Posted: 03 Jun 2012 12:00 PM PDT
Does the logic follow that if we can learn how to maximize our efficiency at work, we will be able to work less hours? It makes sense, but is there a real connection there, or do we just work long hours because it's expected of us, and not because our work demands it? I remember reading an article on Mashable a few months ago called Sheryl Sandberg Leaves Work at 5:30 Every Day – And You Should Too. It was an article about how Ms. Sandberg, who is the Facebook COO and former Google executive, leaves work every day at 5:30 so she can be home to eat dinner with her family by 6:00.
I remember reading that article and having all kinds of feelings. First, I thought that she must not be getting all of her work done (which is not true of course, it was just my first gut reaction), or she probably has a handful of assistants (which may or may not be true). Next, I felt a little bit jealous because the last time I stopped working at 5:30 was the last time I was on vacation. And finally, I felt like I needed to learn more about this. It's crazy to me that I had such a wide gamut of emotions when I read that article. It shows that the topic is a relevant and sensitive one, at least to me.
I was very inspired when I read about Ms. Sandberg, and how she has chosen to organize her schedule. It takes a lot of guts to do that and go against those social stigmas, especially since she's a woman in a position of power. I've been reading more and more about employees who are putting their foot down when it comes to the, "you work until 8:00pm or you are a slacker" mentality. This infographic, created by Best Masters Degrees, called Work Smarter – Not Harder gives us some simple tricks we can do to improve our efficiency at the office so we might not have to stay quite as long.
I work from home, and I start every day working on my laptop while sitting in bed before the sun comes up, and I end every day doing the same thing, again when it's dark outside. After thinking about this more, although I work a ridiculous number of hours, I don't know if I would want to change that, even if I could. It is a little nuts though, I'll admit that. I guess that is one of the main differences between being an employee and being an entrepreneur. Entrepreneurs are grateful to live in a country where they are allowed to bust their asses on their passion all day and all night, and employees (unless they are blessed to have a job that they're passionate about) often want to work less.
However, with that being said, that's not to imply that there is a right or wrong to this. Everybody has their own circumstances to deal with in their lives. Some people have large families, others work a job during the day and work their own business at night, and some people have other obligations and higher priorities that fit into this equation. You have to ask yourself, "Do I work to live or live to work." It's not as straight forward as it may seem. At the end of the day, it's a personal decision about what works best for you, your happiness and your overall life. I don't want people at my funeral to say, "We tried to get her to spend time with us, but all she really wanted to do was work." Regardless of all the tough decisions we make regarding this, and whether we are an employee or an entrepreneur, I think both groups of people could use a little more efficiency, don't you agree? I definitely could.
Other than the fact that there are no women in this infographic (WTF?), I really like it. I think the best one on here is "Don't allow your communication methods to dictate what you get done in a day." We've all fallen victim to that at some point, right? Learning how to log off Twitter, Facebook and email without feeling antsy is half the battle, or at least it is to me.
Posted: 03 Jun 2012 11:00 AM PDT
There are few people who won't immediately recognize The Creation of Adam, the most famous of nine frescos painted on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel by Renaissance master, Michelangelo. The Sistine Chapel is a Papal Chapel built within the Vatican between 1477 and 1480 by Pope Sixtus IV. It was painted in 1511 and was originally commissioned by Pop Julius II. The ceiling of the Sistine Chapel has gone through a series on very long and very tedious renovation efforts that went on between 1980 and 1999.
"The Creation of Adam" is the fourth in a chronological collection of panels depicting moments from the Hebrew Bible's Book of Genesis. In the upper right, God is depicted as an old long-bearded man, while Adam, on the lower left, is fully nude. God's right arm extends to Adam, his hand offering the spark of life to Adam's hand, "whose left arm is extended in a pose mirroring God's, a reminder that man is created in the image and likeness of God (Gen 1:26)." (Wikipedia)
Like any famous works of times past, they will be homaged and parodied in following generations. Sometimes the references will have a sub-context, and other times they will just mirror the composition of the masterpiece. Below I present you six works inspired by "The Creation of Adam," but these are only a few examples of the many still out there, and many still to come.
I'm going to start off by presenting a movie poster that is the most iconic retro reference to Michelangelo's "The Creation of Adam" immediately recognizable to any kid of the 80′s. Steven Spielberg's movie about an alien getting stranded on earth, later to be found by a young boy, is one of those hallmark films the define the 1980s scifi cinema.
The John Alvin promotional movie poster makes a direct reference to the "spark of life." Whereas, the fingers of God and Adam don't quite touch–a detail specifically intended to create visual tension–the fingers of E.T. and Elliot actually depict the "spark." The religious parallels of life, death, and resurrection, are also relevant to the film. This homage can't be coincidental, this is an example of great subtext.
"Touched by His Noodly Appendage" was originally created in August 2005 by the Swedish designer Niklas Jansson. It features the Flying Spaghetti Monster, a controversial parody creation of Bob Henderson.
If you're unfamiliar with the origins of this internet troupe, here's the short of it from Wikipedia: The "Flying Spaghetti Monster" was first described in a satirical open letter written by Bobby Henderson in 2005, protesting the decision by the Kansas State Board of Education to permit the teaching of intelligent design as an alternative to evolution in public school science classes."
I encourage you to read about this topic. It's intriguing how quickly it's gained popularity thanks to the internet. It even has its own Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster!
"The Creation of Muppet" by the ever brilliant retro parody artist, James Hance, features Jim Henson surrounded by his muppet creations as he reaches out to the Muppet mascot, Kermit the Frog. A thematically relevant lily pad covers Kermit's private parts.
Jim Henson has entertained generations of kids (and adults) for decades. Most of his creations are featured in TV and films, the most famous being The Muppets and Sesame Street, but other properties remain equally unforgettable: Fraggle Rock, Labyrinth, The Storyteller, and The Dark Crystal. If there could ever be a meta-level comparison between God and Man and Puppeteer and Puppet, there's no one today who can compete with Jim Henson for the title!
Shigeru Miyamoto is best known for his prolific work for Nintendo. He is the creator of many famous game properties: Mario, Donkey Kong, Legend of Zelda, and Star Fox just to name a few. Not a bad lineup, huh?
The Creation of Mario by TsaoShin is an homage piece that tries to capture Miyamoto's considerable influence on Nintendo's portfolio, and on the gaming industry as a whole. The raccoon-morphing leaf covering Mario's private parts is an amusing touch.
Here are Beavis and Butt-Head, the controversial 90s dumbass duo that had teens in highschool chuckling with a "huh huh" every time they heard someone say words that had sexual connotation, even in the most limited of forms.
These socially awkward metal fanatics spent most of their days skipping school and watching music videos. I'm not entirely sure what the subtext of this parody is by depicting Butt-Head as God, but I can't help but think there really is none. Well, except to setup Beavis saying something like, "Hey Butt-Head, huh huh, pull my finger, huh."
That's all I got.
Michelangelo's masterpiece even gets referenced within the pages of a comic book from the early 80s. In the concluding chapter of The Great Darkness Saga story arc, written by Paul Levitz with art by Keith Giffen, within the pages of The Legion of Superheroes #294 (published in 1982), across a double-page spread, we see Darkseid attacking the Legion members, Shadow Lass and Light Lass.
In my opinion, this is a case where, again, there really is no subtext to the homage. I wish there were. I think homages are more powerful as symbolic sub-layers to the narrative when there is something deeper to be said for those who are aware of the original piece of work being referenced. It's not as if Darkseid created Shadow Lass… it's not as if the scene portrays the creation of superpowered mortals… If someone else, who's more in "the know" about this story arc wants to chime in, please comment below. Enlighten me!
Posted: 03 Jun 2012 10:00 AM PDT
We recently got an email at Bit Rebels about a homegrown bio computer which is a computer built from donated computer parts which houses a soil container system that has wheatgrass planted in it. The heat from the PC heats the soil, which helps with the germination and growth of the wheatgrass. I went over to Total Geekdom to check it out as a possible article to feature on Bit Rebels. When I got there, I saw the bio computer, and it's a beauty, but I saw something else that caught my attention even more.
Mike Schropp, Mr. Geekdom himself, built the most incredible custom Lego wall in his basement. Mike, like many of us, loves to build with Lego. If you do that too, you know that when you are finished, you have to clean up all Lego bricks scattered around on the floor, right? Sadly, we also have to take apart our builds many times too. We might spend an hour on an inspiring build, and then rip it apart in five seconds when we are cleaning up. I've been known to store my builds on top of my refrigerator or wherever I can find extra space, but sometimes they just have to be taken apart. It's really the only downside to playing with Lego.
Mike wanted to come up with a solution to solve that dilemma and make building with Lego all about the building and less about the disassembling and cleaning up. After brainstorming about all kinds of different options, he finally decided to use the extra space in a corner on his wall and ceiling. He created a vertical, permanent Lego building area. This is super fabulous in every geeky way. You can click over to Lego Wall and Ceiling Build Area to get all the juicy details for how exactly he did this (and to see more pictures). It's brilliant! Now when he builds something, it can just stay up there, on the wall or ceiling, out of the way. He can come back at any time and add a piece if he wants. It opens up the door to creating even more with a bucket of Lego. I wonder if I could make the entire ceiling of my bedroom a Lego building area. Hmm…
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