The Job AMA Thread! - current AMA@ChickieD through 11/16 at 11:30 PM PST

The other AMA on the board being about the empty nothing that awaits us after death, I wonder if people would be interested in sharing info about their jobs with each other… or asking about each other’s jobs for that matter.

Might be a good conversation. Might be a fart at a funeral.

Willing victims so far. (FCFS):
I added dates - ChickieD - thougth we’d try a 5 day stretch

  1. @nungesser: AMA open through 9/19 CLOSED Thank you!

  2. @katherine AMA begins 9/20, ends 9/25 CLOSED Thank you!

  3. @Lucy_Gothro AMA begins 9/26, ends 10/1 CLOSED Thank you!

  4. @enso AMA begins 10/2, ends 10/7 CLOSED Thanks!

  5. @nothingfuture AMA begins 10/8, ends 10/13 CLOSED

  6. @William_George AMA begins 10/14, ends 10/18 CLOSED

  7. @SteampunkBanana begins 10/19, ends 10/23. OPEN

  8. @enceladus begins 11/06, ends 11/10.

  9. @ChickieD begins 11/11, ends 11/16

  10. @mdh_AcerPlatanoides begins 11/17, ends 11/22

ALL AMAers, please answer these questions: (this post is wiki; feel free to add others)

  1. What is one skill (other than the actual skill you get paid for) that is indispensable to your work?
  2. What is your favorite perk from work?

It’s a cool idea! My job has involved a lot of interesting situations and anecdotes over the years, for sure.


I could be a professional funeral-fartist. AMA.


I like this idea. What do you do for a living?

Also, feel free to AMA about my work.


Let’s start with @nungesser.

Q: What is your job?


I am a graphic designer who has worked with Nintendo, Procter & Gamble, Crisco, Nine Inch Nails, Aretha Franklin, and the prog rock band Yes. AMA.


Serious Question: What is your favorite tool?

Unserious Question: what’s been the coolest perk from a client?


My favorite physical tool is my Wacom tablet. I can’t imagine doing delicate Photoshop work without it. Well, I can, because I used to try, and it was awful.

My favorite software tool is Adobe Acrobat (or just PDFs). I started work in the days when the only way to show clients work was to either fax it or FedEx a proof, and working with printers meant elaborate comps, rubylith, letraset, and lots of crossing your fingers. Having a fairly universal file format that I can email to clients as well as printers makes design a thousand times less hassle and guesswork.

When I worked with Nintendo on the N64 launch, a guy came into the office with an N64 in a suitcase handcuffed to his wrist and a pre-release version of GoldenEye superglued into it, and we got the first outside-of-Nintendo chance to play it (as the guy sat there with it handcuffed to him). That was pretty cool.


@nungesser Tell us about your computer setup


These days I’m a freelancer who works from home, so my computer is not fancy. I’m using a 2008-model MacPro which is still a wonderful machine and so easy to upgrade; I’ve no idea what to replace it with if it ever dies. Four drive bays with multiple automated backups every night, dual monitors, trackball, tablet.


Tell me about Aretha Franklin. Does she glow with the light of a thousand high notes?


I could write a book about Aretha. In the year or so I worked with her she certainly made life interesting. She’s the Queen and expects to be treated as such.

Ms Franklin (as she asks to be called) has no secretary, no computer, no cell phone, just a fax machine. On a typical project, she’d call me up and just say “I want to play this theater in Philadelphia and need ads. July 14. 8pm.” She’d expect me to call the theater, tell them she wanted to play there, set up the contract, call the paper, arrange the ad placement, design the ad, fax it to her, etc. And when I invoiced her, her check bounced.

One time she called me up needing an ad for a performance in NYC and told me to fax it to the front desk. “But this is very important. Do not put my name on the fax. Use my traveling name: Tabitha Queen. If you use my name, my fans will find me. So please, I’m anonymous.” I told her I understood. “But when you send it, under Tabitha Queen put ‘aka Aretha Franklin’ so the front desk will know it’s me.” Absolutely, Ms Franklin, whatever you say.

Another time she had me do an ad and told me to fax it to her lawyer so she could pick it up while she was out. I did so. A few hours later she called me, furious. “HOW DARE YOU!! I trusted you, and the minute my back’s turned, you’re sending faxes to my lawyer? Are you trying to destroy me? You never. Ever. Speak to my lawyer. You speak to ME. IS THAT CLEAR???” she yelled, hitting a glorious high note. I stammered that she had told me to fax her lawyer and was trying to explain when I heard her sobbing. “I’m sorry… so sorry… I had a bad day and I’m taking it out on you… sob … forgive me…” and she hung up. The next time we talked, she was back to being chipper.

Aretha is regal and a force of nature, and also a special kind of crazy.


On one hand, yikes!

On the other hand… she made Otis Redding look like an amateur with his own song, so lifetime pass.


Before I took her on as a client, I was warned that she doesn’t really… pay people.

In all the time I worked with her, one single check cleared, for about $300, accompanied by a very nice handwritten note. My friends thought I was nuts for dealing with her, but… honestly… a big fat paycheck isn’t worth as much as my collection of bounced Aretha Franklin checks and a years’ worth of wacky stories. And I had Aretha on auto-dial. That’s awesome.


I guess now we should turn to Yes. My mental image is a bunch of guys who talk a lot about chord progressions and UFOs.


If you could have just had her do your phone answering machine message, it would have really been like getting one of those checks cleared.


Nearly all of my work with Yes has been with Jon Anderson, their singer. He’s a truly lovely person but he does tend to talk quite a lot about fairies and the planes of existence and the holiness of the sun’s rays and that sort of thing. I’ve done quite a lot of work for his solo albums, his various tours, and now with Yes.

The trouble with Yes is that they’ve been around for 50 years and things get a bit litigious and strange. Right now there’s two bands legally called Yes that are both on tour. One of them, with Jon Anderson (and Trevor Rabin & Rick Wakeman) doesn’t own the rights to the old logo, so I had to design a new logo for the band as well as their posters, tour merchandise, ads, and even a new stage design (which couldn’t be constructed in time).

I haven’t spoken to the other half of Yes, but Rick Wakeman is a blast. When the band was inducted into the Rock Hall of Fame he got up and told a bunch of dirty jokes.


I like to imagine that Rick Wakeman even wears a cape to Starbucks.


Except for that one time when he was in Australia and couldn’t find a cape so he wore a wedding dress instead because it was sort of like a cape!


What thought process goes into creating a logo? I always used Blambot’s free fonts when I was making webcomics.