Thursday, January 27, 2011

It's not me, it's you

Yesterday was a victorious day, although it did not feel as such.

I finished my group project. From hell. Yeah, I said it. The following is a collection of my venting and ranting. You've been warned. It's more for my own benefit to get it off my chest than to entertain anyone.

Considering not one person in my group came to help me set up, it was a underwhelming finale, but a finale all the same. Was I surprised no one showed up? No. Did it still raise my already alarmingly-high irritability levels? Yes.

People, I was the grumpiest of grouches this week. If I was a cartoon character, I would have had a menacing, gray raincloud looming over my head. A storm cloud with extra scribbles made in extra-dark ink. There was lightning and thunder, fuming and growling. It was an all out Emily storm.

Apparently my group checked the forecast, and decided it was better to stay indoors.

I went into this group project with the best of intentions. We started on the cluster project, an interdisciplinary project with all of the design disciplines, last Wednesday, and I went in with a positive attitude. I was nervous, but hopeful. I spent extra time picking out my outfit because I was going to be meeting my group that day.

I met my group. One member seemed ditsy, one offered a stream of complaints for half an hour without stopping. One was an hour and a half late. My group wanted to name themselves Cluster8Create. They also didn't notice my wincing and twitching whenever the name was mentioned. My group wasn't the best and brightest of the bunch, but I still had hope. We plan to meet on Saturday to nail down a plan.

Thursday rolls around. I begin hearing of other groups that met in the morning. Some groups met in the afternoon. Some where meeting that night. I send an email out - can we please meet Friday? I don't want to get behind.

One member was working, and the one who was late previously, just didn't come. That left three of us to brainstorm, and three of us to make a plan. We had a shaky plan, nothing groundbreaking, but we had a plan. And I still held onto that hope.

Saturday. One of the girls in my group brings another girl with her to our team meeting. I consider asking if it's her sister, but then I figure it's a roommate or something. My habitually late team member is late, again. He is the only guy in our group, and a real chad in Kellie terms-basically a cocky d-bag (so much harsh language in my blog today) and a common sight on ASU campus. He is an architect major. We sit down to discuss our plan of action. The three of us summarize our plan so far and then architect chad says, "sounds great, bye."

He left some promises on the table, and we sat and stared at them for a while. Well, three of us. The fourth was staring deeply into her sister/roommate/friend's eyes. And then there was more than staring. I maintained composure and kept the bug eyes from popping out. I felt relief at not asking if they were sisters. I also felt disdain that she was not hearing anything our group was saying because she was involved elsewhere. Ditsy girl turned out to be really funny, chill and funny, just how I like it. Complaining girl complained some more, but we became friends. The trio of us did more planning, now as friends.

Our plan was to design an urban community as a solution to the water crisis. We tried to make the community as sufficient as possible, so that the least amount of water was wasted. I learned new terms that I had never heard before, like greywater and blackwater, and I learned the difference between site maps and rending sections, Revit and AutoCad, and a key and keyframe (which are actually the same, architects just like to add frame onto the end cause they're important like that).

By the end of the meeting, my hope was feeling a bit frayed. Can we really pull this off? We planned to meet again Sunday, so I held onto architect chad's promises of production. Meanwhile, I work and work as much as I can on my end of the deal.

Another sunrise and sunset, and we find ourselves again in College of Design South, room 326. Architect chad sends a text that he is still working, and he can work faster on his home computer than his laptop, so he isn't coming. Complaining girl calls his bluff. Formerly ditsy girl shrugs it off and remains positive. Other girl brought her not-sister/roommate/friend again.

Without architect chad's finished work, we're at a standstill. We facebook stalk architect chad and see that he checked into ASU headlining party apartment complex, The Vue, last night and he also has a status about ASU being the greatest place ever. We leave our meeting without much more done, except now my graphic design classmates are pissed at other girl's PDA in our studio. Other girl is just happy we finished before the big football games.

My hope has gone from freshwater to greywater. It's dirty and dingy, but still can be used for irrigation and the toilet. I try to filter the hope and save it, because I know we still three days left to get this product done and I'd rather not put my hope straight in the toilet. An annoying cloud of scribbles has appeared overhead and doesn't seem to want to leave.

It's Monday, and we meet during our normal studio time. Architect chad graces us with his presence, but it's a fleeting visit because he still hasn't finished his renderings so he goes to the computer lab to finish. A few more promises are pushed on the table, but this time they mock me. Other girl was given jobs on Saturday to do, but still hasn't done them. She leaves to work on them. It's the trio again. Complaining girl is even more mad that no one has gotten anything done, but I'm appalled because she really has yet to do anything but complain about other's lack of work. Ironic how that goes.

One of the frustrating things about this project was our deliverables. We had to have a 2ft x 6 ft poster (my job to put it all together and make it look nice) and some other form of media. I volunteer to do a brochure to advertise our new community to potential buyers, but that pesky little thing called hope was still there and led me to believe someone else could do a physical model or a 3D walkthrough of the rendering. We have 2 landscape architects and 1 architect, so it would make sense, right? That's something they have all have experience in.

Complaining girl said flat out, I don't want to do a model. It's takes too much time and I'm not losing sleep over this project. And that's to my teacher's face. I guess she missed the bags under my eyes. And the cloud rumbling above my head.

This is where I slip into a dark, dark grumpiness. If my thoughts had a color, they were a deep, charcoal gray. I wore a perma frown like nobody's business, and it stayed the rest of the project. If anything makes me grumpy, it's having to work last minute to get our crap together because everyone else slacked and procrastinated. I will be mature and say I acted immaturely. I am in charge of my own attitude, and I was a poor boss of it.

During this group session, I was trying to put our 2'x6' board together (which is all designed digitally, no cutting and gluing on thankfully) but couldn't do much with the nothing that I had. I still showed my teacher my board, but began to fall apart as I realized more and more how behind we were. My board was big, white and empty; other groups were sending theirs to be printed.

The tears began coming after I got in the stairwell, and I was a mess by the time I made it to the car. Jason patiently waited for me to cry it out and pull it together, he listened as I explained the utter loss of hope I suffered, and then dutifully offered to kick some design student butts.What a peach.

I prayed and gave myself a pep talk. I was still extremely grumpy, but I was facing this, and I was going to finish. I worked on everything as much as I could, waiting to get the finished renderings.

I got a text from architect chad that said "Hey Em I'm just waiting for the last rendering to finish then ill upload em via googledocs." This is verbatim. Considering I just met architect chad mere days ago, I was surprised by his jump into this new level of friendship, so I consequently bragged to formerly ditsy that chad and I were on a nickname basis now. She was jealous, naturally. I texted architect chad back, telling him I understood why they use indesign and not illustrator for making their boards because the renderings were bogging down illustrator (forgive the design school jargon, but the context is necessary). His reply, "Yeee get it girl." Architect chad, I can safely say, that was the most entertaining moment I had all week. So, thank you.

That earlier text was sent at 9:48 pm. His googledocs appeared at 1:04 am. I did a hallelujah dance, but still couldn't add them to the poster because someone else in my group still had to photoshop a garden onto 3 of the 4 renderings. I finally went to bed. Pretty sure I slept with perma frown still on.

From here, everything just went downhill and I'll spare you the messy details. But basically, I was in charge of everything (unwillingly so) and everyone went to me with their problems. My grumpy meter continued to sky rocket into once unknown territories.

You already know the end of the story. No one showed; I begged everyone, someone to come; and then I collapsed in a big, grumpy, grouchy, angry mess. The grumpiness is still wearing off, but relief came quickly and happiness is slowly moving back in. Oh yeah, and each person in my group still owes me money for printing. I laugh in the face of the hope of ever getting it.

And that my friends, was my grumpy Emily storm. I will leave you not with parting words, but instead with a picture I snapped of our final exhibit space. Be warned of residual thunder and lightning, forecasters predict they should clear up in the next 24 hours.

And the logo I designed, which I did have fun with. The overall project was focused on water, so I used water droplets, but because our group built a garden community, I used the water droplets to make a flower. Wa la!

Converting it to jpg turns it fuzzy, so you'll have to trust me that it's not. I need to learn better image conversion... Also, as you can see, I slowly and gently eased my group away from Cluster8Create. We were team 8 and they wanted to use an 8 so were became HYDR8 (best said with jazz hands).

PS Good grief - could this be any longer? Like I said, it's for my own benefit. And I do feel better now. The emotions are out, and I can now leave them in this post for good.

1 comment:

  1. I like Hydr8. You should be team captain. Kudos to Jason for volunteering to beat them up. also group projects always suck.