How to take workplace safety into your own hands

When you commit to the evolution of an idea, leave your ego at the door. The best self-editing, whether in writing or design, usually involves taking what you thought was shear mind-blowing brilliance, and tossing it straight out the window. Creative problem solving is all about trial and error, either performed mentally, or, as in this case, getting your hands dirty in real world testing.

This polymath has no Medici patron. As I explore Blank Canvas Living and work within the medium to develop a new way to tell a story using Story Thread Posts, I earn my creative freedom in a rather bizarre, yet beautifully brain preserving, way – rolling paper. Literally. I spend my 9-5s rolling epic seismic printouts, and when occasion calls for it, folding them. When our new set of wide-format printers came online, I went rollin…’ rollin…’ rollin’… along as usual, but when I stopped my palms and fingertips were black with toner! Sure, my version of coal dust is (probably? hopefully?) only vaguely toxic, but I couldn’t believe the engineers had overlooked the long term health of everyone using their products. The fact that these are the same minds currently slaving away on artificial intelligence is even more horrifying. ‘Slaving’ being the operative word. But anyways…

Protective Glove Criteria:
-full barrier (most critical at rolling contact points)
-easy on and off
-breathable
-dexterous grip
-replaceable and/or washable

Latex was instant clammy hell. Garden gloves compromised dexterity. Everything was either too thick or too porous, or made my skin react. Cheap knit gloves worked best, but were still too porous at the contact points. I tried doubling them up, which worked at first, but made my fingers stiff with strain (a very odd sensation). I used a strip of tape to block the most stretched palm pores, then I had the exquisite, genius idea to impregnate the contact points with white glue. This proved effective, but was bulky and its texture rubbed off even more toner.

So, grudgingly, I chucked the genius and went for taped fingers (open at the back) and a T shaped palm covering. The solution is easily replaceable (to prevent the fibers from collecting too much toner dust), easy on and off, and doesn’t compromise my grip or dexterity. Is it the best solution? Ask my doctor in fifty years. But by then A.I. will have taken over and we’ll have some new version of coal dust to panic about – you’ll find my opinion (in pink) about that directly below.

How to choose the right header image for your blog

The visual ingredients for your blog’s best/perfect/ideal header image may be right in front of you, literally. Essentially, a great header should communicate your viewpoint and give atmosphere to your blog, while giving you the freedom to explore a wide variety of subjects and moods below the banner. A blog is an online reflection of its author, and there’s a good chance you’ve already created your perfect header on the ‘real-world’ side of the mirror. Where else in your life do you “explore a wide variety of subjects and moods”?

I looked up from my desk and saw my ideal header staring back at me. My wall at work is a collage of inspirational pictures/drawings/quotes, bits of my brain playfully arranged as an external representation of my creative process. After previous indulgences (involving a rather humiliating self-photoshoot in a Saturday morning park in front of curious children and their visibly concerned parents) it was a relief to find that most of the work had already been done.


This time it was my coworkers’ turn to be curious, and visibly concerned, when they found me perched precariously atop a stepladder shooting a composite collage to fit the proportions of my chosen blog theme template. After cropping, and some minor photoshopping, Blank Canvas living had its personalized header.


Note: Besides my office wall, my sketchbook sacrificed many of its pages for this project. Tragically, Aristotle’s creepy stone eyes prevented him from making the cut. Another missing player was the quote from a rescued Al-Qaeda prisoner: “When you know you’re going to die, it’s different from wondering whether or not you might die.” I can’t quite explain why, but I’ve always found this quote particularly inspirational.