Mark Norman Francis

Internet Boffin

A day in the life

Published on February 04, 2007.

So, a few months ago I stumbled across Project 365 on Flickr and was intrigued by the idea. I started trying to do it unofficially (wasn’t posting the results up) and quickly figured out that I’m not big on the idea. Or rather, the idea is not big on me.

I suppose in part it is the idea of having to one photo a day. Very quickly I found myself not taking photos and instead waiting for “the photo”. A flaw in myself, not in the 365 idea. Then I swung to the other extreme and started taking photos of just about everything. Then I found I didn’t have enough time each day to sift through them to find "the photo". Within a few days, the passion for 365 left me.

But not the sense of intrigue. In my subconscious I rolled the idea around and obviously found a way to fit it to my habits. Rather than take one photo each day as a photolog of the year, why not take a whole bunch of photos to document a “normal” day in my life.

I loved the idea and the more I thought about it, the more I wanted to do it. I started thinking practically and I knew I would get distracted. I had to find a way to prompt myself to keep taking photos. Well, I sync parts of my calendar from my Mac to my phone so as to get alarms and be reminded. So, I just set a bunch of reminders in my phone. More about how I did that later.

Then, last Tuesday, I woke up and immediately started getting hassled by my phone to take photos. Mostly, I achieved it, too.

The idea was to take at least one photo every ten minutes throughout the day. In the fifteen hours (approximately) that I was doing this, I took over 130 photos, discarded some duplications and utterly rubbish photos, leaving me with 107, which I think works out at one photo every 8 and a half minutes. Result!

More about the photos

Many of the photos have a short description on them on Flickr. But here’s an executive summary.

It starts far too early. I get insulted by some graffiti in the toilet (don’t worry, it’s supposed to be there). I grab t-shirt to wear and then set off for work (I was wearing more than just the t-shirt).

I cross the main road carefully, walk past the pub and get a train to Waterloo, then take the tube to Leicester Square and leave the Underground.

I tend to wander around London like a tourist, not like a Londoner. I don’t stare at the floor and walk as fast as possible, I tend to look up and admire the wonderful scenery. But all to quickly I get to the very empty office and settle down at my desk. A little while later, Tim arrives and we set off in search of crumpets. Having duly consumed said crumpets, I get to work. Only to be disturbed by another alarm to take a photo. Now, I’m going to be spending most of the day at my desk, so this could be tricky. Fortunately, I have some toys and other random things on my desk, so I can always take photos of them close-up for filler if nothing else is happening.

Later, wandering around, I walk past some post-its and snigger to myself, then head into the wilderness.

Back at my desk, I get some wise words from Mr T (Quit your jibber- jabber!) and get on with some work, which I endeavour to document for our project manager. My computer also bugs me to get stuff done.

Taking a trip to the printer I am reminded of our recycling programme and consider chucking in a can of disappointment without even drinking it first. The whiteboard and excessive number of printouts catch my eye, as does my pirate sword. Then Tamsin, of weatherpixie fame stops by to prove she really does wear a dress occasionally, and even high heels.

Tuesdays and Thursdays are when we have our (not so) super-secret meetings at work, so I have to go out early to grab a sandwich or miss out on lunch. I snap a crafty image of the building work going on, on my way to the sandwich shop on the corner of Neal Street. Returning, I find that one of the lifts has broken again and that we’re still out of Diet Coke. I need to compare some stuff side-by- side and so I plug in my external monitor for a bit more elbow room, but then it’s time to head off for the meeting. I consume my sparkling lemon beverage and eat my sandwich as we talk. I’m not the only one with a sandwich fortunately. Steve and Neil provide unwitting poses for my camera until we’re done and return to web development.

Later, we all get a bit grumpy at the lack of Mac support in our video player, and I spend a fair bit of time with Steve working on a new site, and so have to resort to bothering him with my camera to remain on track.

Chris Kaminski provides some much-needed quality diet Coke, and I take a quick loo break (safe for work). I then queue up some music to listen to, and photograph another desk ornament.

Later, I bother Tim by shoving my camera right at his work and Brad brings us chocolate (he’s awesome) and I notice a Rorschach Test on an old printout. The battle between good and evil continues, and I keep up the Steve bothering as The Broom comes by to make sure everyone’s busy working. Kerin drops off my new Xbox 360 media remote with it’s curious warning signs and I still keep up Steve bothering.

Of course, the downside of having my reminders for taking photos in my phone is that it’s then much easier to take my photos with the phone and not with a proper camera. So I end up with many botched photos. More on the sheer frustration I had using my phone as a camera later.

I wander off to the cafeteria for some food, past some boxes and get myself some seriously expensive fruit. As I consume the grapes, I sit back and admire my handiwork with tape. But the pressure to wash the grapes down with something that isn’t Coke Zero becomes overwhelming and I head out in our mirrored lifts to the local newsagent. I get nearly run down by the emergency services, and then get tempted to buy some CDs but resist.

I head back up and consume something nicer than Coke Zero. Murray returns to his desk for just moments and I get told I’m working too hard so I stare out of the window for a bit. All of this diet Coke becomes too much and I again visit the loo (still work safe). There’s just time for a visit from Mike, some quick Tim bothering, a snap of ouch on Neil’s desk before we head off, leaving Chris expressing his displeasure over Coke Zero (“do not want!”).

Heading out, Steve grabs a last drink (he’s not bothered by the lack of Diet Coke, he’s a Sprite drinker) and we wander past some places and landmarks to get to Waterloo.

I am briefly amused by some incorrect signage on the train before it pulls out. We stop at Queenstown Road on the way to Wandsworth Town. Walking to the local shops I get annoyed by some government propoganda (“less is more, war is peace”), cross a busy road safely and then mooch past a string of cheap takeaway places to get to the newsagents for, yes, more Diet Coke.

As I near home I think I spot my cat. I whistle to him, and he comes running over, rubs my ankles a bit then leads the way to home where he jumps up onto the garden wall rather than come into the house. I leave him there, come inside and slip into something more comfortable. And remember to take my ID card off too.

Settling into my bean bag, I’ve missed The Simpsons but get to watch a bit of Babylon 5 instead. Supper is on the way, and I have to taste- test the sauce before returning to the beanbag and Babylon 5.

I grab a couple of snaps of cans and other stuff on the sofa, check some software and download some files really quickly. Then the laptop goes away for supper, and we watch some TV via the computer. Satiated, I relax and watch the show, then lastly play a few games of Wii Tennis before bed.

That’s just a normal work day in the life of Norm. Any comments, please leave them on the photoset itself.