Death By Pixels, PHP and 13 point Georgia

Posted: October 19th, 2010

Photo by Tim Barton (Flickr)

Photo by Tim Barton (Flickr)

RSS readers watch out. The Freelance Rant is back from a raging vacation. Alright, I mean I have time to write now.

I had an interesting conversation with a colleague and good friend of mine after a while of not seeing each other due to our busy schedules. Typically, our conversations are about the usual… work. I vomit up leftovers of programming drivel and he burps up the latest of the 24 column 960 pixel standard layout standard.

Not that we mean to bore each other or that we are sick of each other. We work a lot. We work hard.

We just may be a little too drunk in our work for our own good though.

It therefore surprised me that my friend didn’t as much mention CSS, pixels or anything related to the digitized world for that matter.

He couldn’t stop talking about his new hobby, Legos.

I was actually quite fascinated by this. I remember having a huge Lego collection as a kid and pondered why I didn’t have any today. They are obviously still around and there is no shame in mature adults toying around with them.

Or in more appropriate words, as my friend put it, “I needed to escape from the pixels.”

After picturing these giant, scary pixel monsters chasing my friend around and having a laugh, reality set in. They chase me around, too, along with the PHP and CSS ghosts. Those bastards! No wonder how some of my precious sleep has been lost to dreaming about work at night.

Hell, I’m not going to cave in to them like Scrooge. I’m making a beeline to the other side, also known as getting my ass up from my desk and doing something else that doesn’t involve rearranging zeros and ones.

Checked the Wikipedia and looks like the word hobby isn’t extinct yet. Strike one against those monsters.

Backtracking a bit, in my own work, I usually find myself enduring periods of what I like to refer as “manic depressive.” In one month, everything clicks, a lot of works get done and I manage to grow my business some. Then in another month, I go through the motions and get the work done caring less about what I do.

You can call it cycles of motivation with burnout here but there seems to be one common element in all this: the computer and the fact I rarely leave it to do anything else.

Hey, I’m passionate about my work but, if ghosts are chasing me around in my sleep, then that can’t be healthy for me. I’m pretty sure, though, that I’m not the only one being chased by the ghosts of web dev hell (or writing hell, graphic design hell… you get the picture).

So see you later. Off to the store now for my own set of Legos.

More on the author, Johnny Spence
Johnny is the founder of The Freelance Rant and a freelance web programmer with 8 years in the business. Have a visit at his company Oscarrr!web or see what he's up to on Twitter.

4 Comments. Join In!

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    October 19th, 2010 at 11:45 pm

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  • Tyler

    October 20th, 2010 at 4:31 am

    I still remember my first dream about Photoshop. It is kinda scary when you wake up and it feels like you just spent 8 hours at the computer. And most the time when it happens you want to go see the layout you just made, except it doesn’t exist.

  • Johnny

    October 21st, 2010 at 6:49 pm

    I oddly figure out PHP code that I have trouble with in my sleep. While I appreciate this helps me out on occasion, I’d rather leave work to the daytime and counting sheep for sleepy time.

  • Rick Otero

    November 3rd, 2010 at 6:49 pm

    My kid loves the lego men more than the legos. When we buy him a lego he will only buy one that has a lego man.