This is the rear side of the building where I work on campus, the Mathematical Sciences Building, though I am no mathematical scientist myself. My window is one of those ones up on the top there, and I’ve surprisingly never drawn the building from this angle before, though I have drawn from those windows a few times. I was walking back from the vending machine in the next building over one lunchtime (the drink machine in our building is a bit temperamental when it comes to actually accepting your card payment; you tap the card, it gives it the whole “authorizing payment” wait, and then on some days it says yes, and on others it says nope, we’re not doing that today, cash only and good luck with that, what’s ‘cash’, why not write a check, why not barter some oxen, caveman”) (I always imagine the drink machine talking in a very stroppy voice, or being like Barry from High Fidelity). Anyway I was walking back that way and decided that this was a good angle to stop and sketch, with the bins in the front, and the sky was looking interesting. We’ve actually had rain lately, and now the weather is cooler, like you’d expect for November, but this has been an unusually hot year in the west. The big return to campus this Fall has been successful, although a good number of staff are still working partially remotely, a situation that looks like it will continue, but the students and faculty are back and all learning in-person again, and it seems to be going well. Hopefully it stays that way. I couldn’t go back to fully remote myself, I would need a better desk for one thing. And a better chair. I should probably get a new chair for work anyway. I’ve had my current office chair for sixteen years, and it was my predecessors’ chair, back in the long long ago, so it has seen some mileage, or whatever the sedentary non-moving version of mileage is, just “age” I guess. The wheels are coming off the chair a little bit but it still works. Some other people in our department are getting new chairs now and the prices have really gone up since before the pandemic, the guys who bring the chairs told me, it’s incredible. Same with a lot of things I guess. That’s 2021 for you. And it’s nearly over, this 2021, this strange successor to 2020, and then we will have 2022, the grandchild of 2020, with whatever fun that brings. I should probably get a new chair.
And so, September started and wow, it’s already dragged us into the middle of the month like an angry bouncer, knocking over all the drinks and startling the cats in the alley. The times move quickly. Right now at the UC Davis campus we are preparing for the Big Return of All The Students. We are going back in In-Person Teaching next week – next week! – after being totally remote since March 2020. The staff are returning – partially working from home for the most part – as are the faculty, although there have been people working on campus the whole time (including myself, going in a couple of days a week or so) but now the campus is about to start Getting Busy again. The bikes will be back everywhere, and yeah, it’ll be different. Not sure what to expect. Not sure how everyone will feel being around lots of people again. For many, it will be fine, for many it will be uncomfortable. We’ll see what happens. This is the building where I work, the Mathematical Sciences Building, I have drawn it a few times before. One Saturday morning I had left my iPod in my office the day before, so I cycled down to get it and decided to take advantage of the direction of the light and start drawing the building again. And then it got a bit hot and I thought, actually let’s do the rest later. So I drew as much of the middle bit, and outlined the rest, and added colour to the sign, and went home, where I added in all the foliage and the colours. There’s not a lot of shade on the other side of the street so when that hot sun comes out it gets pretty uncomfy. I like it inside though, nice and cool in my office. I have been spending a lot of time this summer trying to rearrange office spaces getting them ready for new people, an ongoing task this week even. I’ve been trying to personalize my office a bit more, added in a couple of colourful classic World Cup posters, nice for a bit of Zoom background (we will still have many remote meetings), getting rid of some bulky storage, and shredding a whole bunch of old papers. I could probably use a new chair, I’ve had my current one for over 15 years now, but not a priority until the wheels fall off of it. This week is the last one to get all those things done I wanted out of the way before Summer ended, but Fall is already crashing into us and it will be Christmas before we know it. Lots to do! I’ve been putting up all the signage reminding people to wear the masks inside, getting the hand sanitizer and wipes in the offices. But here is the building, before all the people come back, nice and peaceful. The big Turkeys are still coming by in the mornings, pooing all over the benches, digging up the plants and menacing those who dare pass by. They’ve ruled this part of campus for a while, but the Humans and their Bikes are coming back.
Yarr, this be the ol’ Mathematical Sciences Buildin’, yaaarrr, this be where I be workin’ each day. Click on the ol’ picture to see it bigger, yarr, or be usin’ a telescope, me old shipmate. So aye, yarr, ye lily-livered-landlubbers, I be drawin’ this oh I can’t keep this up. Talking like a pirate is not easy you know. When I went to the Swashbuckler’s Ball a couple of yarrs ago (did you see what I did there? Did you see that?) someone said I did a really good pirate voice, but I wasn’t doing one, I be just talkin’ normally. Anyway, if for some reason you were unable to translate my piratespeak (and if you weren’t, shame on you. Like the old saying goes, “fail to translate my piratespeak once, shame on me. Fail to translate my piratespeak twice, er, er, I won’t get fooled again.”) Ok, where was I? Ok, so, this is the building where I work. It’s called the Mathematical Sciences Building, or “Math” Sciences Building, as some people call it. Or “Maths Sciences Building” as I sometimes call it. Ok so for those who don’t know, in America they say “Math” but in Britain we say “Maths”. We also say “Mathematics”, and so do Americans, and let me tell you they don’t like it when pretend to assume they say “Mathematic”. They definitely don’t say “Mathematic”. “Mathsematic” is right out, don’t ever say that. Anyway…this is where I work, it was built almost ten years ago and I’ve worked there for most of that time. It’s a nice building, though the elevators are very slow. I drew this to use for work (I like to have a few sketches of the building to use for various things) and I will do a colour version to, but I wanted to highlight our brand new sign which was installed a month or so ago. On either side is a different symbol, one for Mathematics and one for Statistics. It’s been years in the making so it’s very exciting. Many UC Davis buildings have been getting modern new signs, as part of the campus branding process, which has been (for me) very exciting to watch develop over the past decade. So anyway, I haven’t drawn the MSB (that’s what I really call it) for a few years so here we are.