Sketchy Bits

A Blog of Code, Art, and General Doodlings



Designing an Emotional Rollercoaster

16 Dec 2014

You’ve probably been thinking to yourself lately:

“Man, you know what I feel like my life is suddenly lacking?: Unimportant observations and stick figures.”

This train of thought may have then led you through a series of websites, yearning to fill that hole. Sure, you’d hit Twitter and get the observations. Then assumedly you jumped over to XKCD to get the quality stick figures. But deep down, your gut was still thinking “Yeah, these are nice …. but I was really hoping for less quality…”

The darkest hour is over. I am in the very odd situation in that I have spent the last two months writing posts… just actually posting none.

So, in the traditional spirit of AP and Honors students everywhere- I am posting each with the date well before their completion.

Those of you following the RSS feed may receive conflicting updates in the next few days as I release these stories into the wild. Those of you stumbling upon this site and reading through archived posts- please disregard. All dates indicated here are true and actual times that the posts were submitted.

Let’s begin this avalanche of updates with one that actually took place today:

The Actual Post:

Some months ago, I found a competition to be an Imagineer for Disney. Imagineering is pretty much my thing. Technical knowledge + creative freedom? Sign me up. (The most important part to keep in mind for the duration of this post is that the company will fly the top 8 finalist teams out to their studios for final presentations. This became the primary goal.) Make Finals.

I put together a rag-tag group of fellow engineers, and we patiently waited for the October registration date. After several months, the day came, and signalled the first of many red flag moments.

**Flag 1**

The brief contest topic preview posted on the site all summer - as it turns out - was the full amount of information we would be given. (Design a transport system for a major city) Teams from Carnegie Mellon, Yale, Stanford, had been diligently working on their designs for months. The Tennessee Tech Team? …had not even all officially met in the same room to discuss anything.

This was surmountable. So what if we had only three weeks to brainstorm, plan, design, mock-up, and present our revolutionary transport system? We were Team 16EK34. Our hopes remained undashed.

**Flag 2**

Then we got the disqualification email.

We had not yet turned in the digital documents that weren’t due for another week. This prompted an email announcing our team’s disqualification, and Disney’s condolances that we had not completed everything.

After a frantic and argumentative email over the documents’ actual due dates, we received a reply indicating that the disqualification was technically only a temporary disqualification. Our team could still compete. This event should probably have alerted me to organizational issues… but I am nothing if not oblivious. We plowed ahead.

**Flag 3**

3 weeks, 2 group meetings and 1 trip to Nashville later: we almost had an idea of what would go in the Powerpoint’s 8 allowed slides. There were two days left until the physical flash drive had to arrive at the company headquarters in California. (Yes. Physical Flash Drive. No emailing of the 7mb file allowed. Red flag #3…)

After two all-nighters, and enough caffeine to send Buddy the Elf into a light coma, the presentation was in a Fed-Ex envelope, headed on a $39.89 plane trip to Burbank before 8am the next morning. We could breathe again. Even more easily after the next day, when we received emails alerting us that the presentation had been received.

**Flashing Neon Banner**

2 weeks later

Last week, we got the email announcing our team as semifinalists in the competition. This meant we had passed the first round of elimination, and the next news we would hear would be that of our possible placement among the finalists! Today (Dec. 15th) was the day we were told to expect the news.

Samantha and I spent the weekend sending reassurances in text. “Worst case scenario: we only made semifinalist. That’s still fantastic and worth bragging about” This is when I decided never again to evaluate worst case scenarios.

The email we received was short, to-the-point, and felt incredibly impersonal for such crushing news. But in a few short sentences, we were curtly informed that the previous week’s email had been a mistake. Our team had been eliminated during round one. We never advanced to semifinals. No discussion would be had on why.

We were confused. My emotional state was all messed up. I had prepared myself for two possible levels of news, and had been blindsided with a much lower, basement level.

In my mix of confusion/sad/mad/upset/frankly-quite-amused-at-the-level-of-incompetence-involved-in-making-such-a-mistake, I drew the following:

It's not copyright infringement if the character is poorly drawn enough

In the 30 minutes of drawing that, I unknowingly received another email.

This one simply apologized for the previous correction email, instructed me to disregard whatever it may have said, and await further notification.

Just keep falling and I'll let you know sometime soonish!

As of this point, we have received nothing more.

Anyone who says Disney isn’t capable of roller coaster design… my emotional state would like to have a word with you.


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