You are what you keep, so this little diddy is all about some of the unique items that W21ers surround themselves with at work.
You won’t see Pamela in this post because her minimalist lifestyle means she has almost nothing on her desk. And you won’t see Yopp in this post because we’re pretty sure everything on her desk is stuff she hasn’t thrown away/recycled yet.
But other people have desk items that we walk past every day with some stories we hadn’t heard before. So we’re shining a light on a handful of the objects that reflect our people, maybe more than we realized.
Jordan | Phone Socks
Once upon a flight back from the Big Apple, Dave and I got carried away with a small startup business (most likely) called “Teubsocks.” To be fair, I’m not sure Dave ever planned on using a sock for his phone—just like every single person reading this. But he knows a good investment opportunity when he sees one. After brainstorming prototypes, slogans, and a national broadcast spot—he funded the capital investment deal and we were off and running. I now have around 25 phone socks in my desk. Or beanies if you put them on head first. Not to mention the support of a globally recognized sock blogger.
Jake | Non-lethal riot-stopping rounds
It’s not every day you’re in prison or learn about non-lethal weapons. However that all changed when Jordan and I were shooting a video for the Wyoming Dept of Corrections at the Penitentiary in Rawlins, Wyoming. There we got to know the Correctional Emergency Response Team or CERT, which is the equivalent to a SWAT team for prisons. The CERT team moves in when prisoners become unruly or worse — riot! Unlike SWAT teams, CERT teams are armed with non-lethal weapons. Some of these weapons are bean bags, rubber bullets, and my favorite the wooden baton. On our last day the CERT team gave these pieces to me as a memento for our work shooting the video.
Emily | Mockette
This was something I did for fun in the last couple of weeks before I graduated college. It’s a maquette (sketching for sculptors) and took roughly 2 – 3 hours from start to finish. I was happy enough with how the sculpt turned out; the lines and concept came out. But what makes this piece one of my favorites is due to what happened when it was fired in the kiln. Whether there was something in the clay or how it was positioned during the firing process I’ll never know for sure, but it came out looking almost burned on the top and fading into the normal bisqued color. It was indeed a happy accident! The color transition from the dark to light enhanced the lines of the sculpt and emphasized the focal point in a way I hadn’t considered when I was sculpting it but definitely something I hope to be able to recreate should I ever make a finished version of this.
Brandon | Mayan statue
In the early aughts, my wife and I took a trip to Mexico. After spending a day touring the ancient ruins at Tulum, we stopped into a little shop in Cozumel, and a small Mayan statue caught my eye. The young shopkeeper approached me and seeing me wearing a St. Louis Cardinals hat said, “I like your hat.” I replied, “I like that statue.” So, we traded. The hat was old, and I just got a new one when I returned, but whenever I see the statue, I like to think of the Mayan and Cardinals nations exchanging cultures.
Keith | The box from when I lived in my car
Yeah, yeah sooooo I’ve kept a box of stuff in my desk drawer since I started at W21. At the time I was living out of my 4Runner, doing a lot of traveling and photo stuff when I wasn’t in the office. It was my personal lock box with a rotating inventory but normally filled with things like my passport, a spare key to my car, a little camera tool kit, my favorite flannel shirt, and an endless amount of rotating outdoor equipment. Sometimes it was climbing shoes, other times it was camera gear I didn’t need… I even stored my hair clippers in there. Ya know… when you just gave yourself a fresh cut and don’t need them for awhile.
Now that I’m back to being an adult and have my own place again, space isn’t as limited and the box tends to have a bit more room in it. But ya know when you find a good spot to store all your random stuff it’s hard to let that go.
Nick | Pixar Guide to Life
This book is a collection of quotes from Pixar movies. They have created some of my favorite movies: Toy Story, Up, WALL E, etc. Pixar has an innate ability to tell stories and push the limits of technology through animation.
Brooklyn | Octopus Sketch
During law school, I decided that an octopus was my spirit animal — they have 8 arms and can multi-task like a mother fucker. And that’s me. (Yes, Aaron, multitasking is real).
I had a good friend in law school who was an artist pursuing a legal career helping other artists. In her home, she had this beautiful drawing of an Octopus holding a super tiny little lifeless teddy bear under water. I loved it… something about a big, strong, scary, underwater beast being sensitive enough to carry around their childhood teddy bear. She knew I loved the drawing so one year she drew me my own octopus (this one).
After law school, I got a half sleeve tattoo of an octopus holding a teddy bear. I’ve had the drawing and tattoo for over ten years now (damn, I am getting old) and both are meaningful to me because they represent beautiful contradiction.
Jase | Piston out of my old car
Every time I look at this piece of scrap metal it reminds of me of college days! I was inspired by an article I read and purchased an Aztec Green Integra from a guy in Denver who had hydrolocked the engine. Several months and many a late night were spent pulling and replacing parts and finally at close to 2am on a Saturday morning after doing a full engine tear down, rebuild and install (that night) it turned over for the first time, reborn as a forged internal, turbo ready engine. This piston is from that hydrolocked engine.
One thing led to another and that car ended up being sold. There is some regret in that but between that vehicle and a handful that my friends had at the time, we spent all our spare time wrenching on each other’s projects and enjoying our joint passion. The engine is on a stand in my garage and a pile of parts are on the shelf awaiting it’s next rendition!