Saturday, January 09, 2010

The litter is too deep

I don't usually make New Year's resolutions, because I work on the principal that if something needs doing, it should be started promptly. However, this year a resolution has sort of crept up on me, as follows.

One of my tasks over the holiday break was to tidy up my study, and I did make a start, but there is a long way to go. Now my study is not a big room - it's actually rather small, and resembles pretty much what Rands in Repose calls a Nerd Cave. My cave is green, not red, but otherwise, pretty similar. One wall is fitted bookshelves with cupboards underneath. One wall is mostly windows (heavily curtained against the afternoon sun). One wall is my desk and a small unit which holds my scanner and printer. One wall is almost entirely filled with a set of bi-fold doors, and the last wall has a large Ikea drawer unit on wheels, which is filled with a mix of craft materials and computer parts. Yes, five walls.

The trouble is that every surface is full, often full to over flowing. Books, journals, boxes of CDs, piles of paper, stray tools, odd cables and various knick knacks. Such as the foam Linux penguin, the Matchbox Mercedes car that my husband bought me while we were still courting, and stuff like that.

The books need to be weeded, and the stuff that I don't need frequently relocated to shelves upstairs. Tools and cables need to be sorted, and either stored in the attic or the garage. The CDs are mostly software, and mostly ancient, and mostly heading for the bin. The real problem is the paper. I have a bad habit of saving bits of paper: cuttings, recipes, cartoons, quotes, all things that I might want to refer to again. The trouble is, it would take me weeks to find the one I want, even if I remember that I have it. I have therefore decided that the entire collection has to be converted to digital format. I went through a great pile of yellowing newsprint over the new year break, and was delighted to find that many articles were still on line. What I couldn't find, I scanned. I'm dumping everything to EagleFiler databases, tagging as I go. I think our paper recycling bin will be overloaded next week, and there is still a very long way to go, but it is getting better.

I've also had a mammoth business card scanning session, and every last business card that has been lying around on a desk either at home or in the office is now in the address book on my Mac, nicely synced via MobileMe.

Cartoons have proved to be the greatest challenge. Do you remember the days before email? I do. Today, if someone comes across something funny, chances are that they email it to a few dozen friends. But in those long ago days, funny things circulated via fax machine. Person A would photocopy something amusing, and fax it to Person B, who would fax it to their friends, who would fax it to their friends, and so on and so on, the image losing quality each time it passed through a fax machine. Sometimes someone would get a pen and manually darken the images before sending it on to someone else, so you would get a combination of lossy transfer and amateur graphics.

Cartoons are hard to Google without some attribution information. I've found a few, where I could identify the cartoonist, but some are very old, and have zero citation data, so that I cannot find the originals. So I'm going to post a few here, and see if anyone can provide a reference, or an artist's name.

I've known cats like this.

The style is familiar, but I can't place this one.

OK, I have a low sense of humour.

Clues, anyone?


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