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Thursday, November 29, 2012

IPad - Paper 53

one of the fascinating aps available on ipad is 'paper 53'

with it you can do pencil sketches and ink washes

watercolor and colored ink or felt pen (wide or narrow) - with a 'resist'.

and any mix of them all that you choose 

 the main difference between them is the texture and density   of the 'stroke', and that some are transparent and some are not.  the watercolor brush will also 'lift color in a way similar to a dry brush on wet paper, but it's much more (disappointingly) controlled and uniform than the real thing

the ap doesn't have the subtlety of real artists' washes and pen / pencil strokes, or the precision, or any of the lovely  and miraculous surprises, but it does have one very attractive feature, which they call 'rewind'.  with this you can remove the last stroke(s) or wash(es) or erasures you've done, without altering the picture. you just get what you had before you put the new bit in... then, if you decide you liked them better than you thought, you can change your mind again and put them back.  there's no damage to the 'paper' no matter how many times you go over things, and it's very hard to make things muddy. no worries about whether the paper is wet or dry - which also, sadly, means there's no way (that i've discovered so far, at least) to paint wet-on-wet. 

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

what's an 'ap'?

i have a lot of time on my hands lately.  sleeping seems to take up a fair chunk of it.  i guess i must need it.   i happened to hear Rick Mercer do a Remembrance Day rant about the Canadian Government's treatment of our war veterans.  he's a very funny man; a brilliant satirist.  in his rant, he mentions that veterans of 80+ years are told they can download an ap for their iphones, to help them contact the gov't Veteran's Affairs branch for various reasons.  how many folks of 80+ do you know, who have an iphone and are all over the 'aps' thing?  

But when i'd stopped howling with laughter, i got thinking.... i do have an ipad.... a Mother's Day gift from the kids....  and so far the only aps i've used are email and ibooks.... a calculator, the weather network and skype.... i've taken a few pictures and learned how to enter people in the contacts ap..... downloaded a few maps....  so, as i couldn't sleep last night, i went to the ap store.    i found all sorts of lovely things that are free!  of course, they just have enough contained in them to get you wanting more, but what fun!  i now have a real time piano i can play by touch-screen (Real Piano HD), a build in microphone and recording software (MicPro), a touch screen drum kid (BeatPad), acres of on-screen sheet music (VSheetMusic) and the coolest set of finger paints ever(BambooPaper)           

here's a sample of what Bamboo Paper doodled up for me.. all done with my fingers on the ipad screen
way too much fun
i may have to learn some self restraint though.  @ 3 a.m. (just as i was beginning to really get the hang of BeatPad) my granddaughter told me to be quiet and go to sleep

Thursday, November 15, 2012

What do these three things have in common?

Elderly Canadians proudly wearing the red maple leaf as they enjoy a winter holiday

Royal Canadian Air Force 
touring the world and performing death defying maneuvers as they roar overhead close to the speed of sound

A cute little Dark - eyed Junco with a white tummy and dark uppers - fluffed against the cold

Friday, November 9, 2012

"making something magical takes time as well as fearlessness. I have to allow myself to make mistakes  and  be willing to start over from a blank page. With so many things in life we don't have that luxury but at least we could work on the theory the best course of action is to begin again from wherever we are right now - considering lessons learned of course."  ... from Susan @ Phantasythat

to begin again from where i am.... to recognize mistakes and start again from a blank page... 
it's been a very long day, fraught with highs and lows.... mainly lows. it's been a many kleenex day, if the truth be told.  when starting from a low place, any direction is uphill, and very hard, discouraging work.  
... but the view from the top just might be a big improvement over the one down below, if we can just get there.  
Sometimes magic is the result of really hard work.  perhaps more often than not.  certainly, it's difficult, if not impossible to make joy without it.

recognize this guy? 
......  the governator back in his Terminator days.  just before lunch today, my boss played the role of Terminator. i was the 
yep, they fired me
there was this incident.... a new employee was hired.  a very highly paid, and, if logic applies, therefore a very highly skilled employee.  i know this stuff because i do payroll.  i only suspected the high pay rate at the time because he's a senior engineer.  pay rate was, in fact the issue in question.  it's problematic for the person doing payroll to pay an employee if they don't know what that employee's rate of pay is.  so... with cutoff past and hours tallied, everything was ready to send off for processing and payment.... everything except the precise rate of pay for this new, quite likely highly paid employee.  
the company hires out human resources stuff to an HR contractor. a 'specialist', also very highly paid. i know this because i also did payables. to complicate things further,  it wasn't just matter of asking someone in the office how much to pay him.  the HR 'specialist' and the employee in question both work in a branch office,  half the length of the province from the main office, where i work .... um, worked.  after trying, unsuccessfully,  for a week or so, to contact this HR  person - after leaving voice messages and sending emails to her and her staff requesting the info,  with not so much as a reply from her, and only  'i'll get the info to you as soon as i have it' from her staff, it was after 2 pm  on friday. i had till 5 pm that day to get this done and i still hadn't heard anything.  So i called the branch manager, asking if perhaps he could forward the info. he didn't have it, but he must have contacted the HR contractor, because, magically, she called me only minutes after i spoke to him....  she was more than a bit huffy because she's a very busy, very important person who can't be chasing stuff like this around.  she cancelled a client meeting  in order to get the info to me in time.   so everybody got paid .  
But we had to have a phone meeting to discuss this issue, and find out what the problem was.   so she scheduled  a conference call.  in the course of the ensuing discussion, i explained to her and her employee, the problem was that the payroll clerk didn't have the payroll info that someone had been sitting on for 2 weeks,  and the person who had the info wouldn't answer my calls or emails.  there followed a long explanation about how blameless she was, and how terribly busy, and how inappropriate it was for me to have bothered the branch manager about this.  so, what, i wondered aloud, would have been appropriate?  perhaps not paying the employee would have been appropriate?  no sooner  had i finished the sentence, than there was the sound of her vehicle making its 'open door' reminder sound.  "excuse me", she said, i'm just filling up the car on the way to taking my sweetie to the airport".   
(that's appropriate)
there followed more self-important explanations of how she didn't have time for this sort of thing and how it wasn't even really her job - she was just doing the boss (my employer, and, incidentally, hers) a favour.  what then, i wondered (with my inside voice this time) WAS her job? the 'busy' thing rankled. i was impertinent enough to suggest that we were all very busy, and there wouldn't have been a problem if the info had been sent to me in the first place.  it was a stalemate. though she was adamant that she wasn't trying to blame anyone, she was extremely  displeased that i wouldn't concede that i was the party in the wrong. 
so, early this week, when my immediate supervisor called (also the boss' wife), and wanted to discuss the issue, i knew i'd  been 'reported'.  i could only explain that  the person i was told to get the info from,  after numerous attempts to make contact, would not so much as reply. it had, at the time, seemed imperative to look elsewhere for the info if the new employee was to receive a paycheck.  my supervisor clearly did not believe me. "well, i never have any trouble getting in touch with her," i was told.  "that," my mouth replied before my brain had a chance to edit, "is because you're not a minion".  i could tell by the long, pregnant pause the words invoked on the other end or the line, that this was not well received. 

 when they called me in to the boss' office this morning to fire me, i asked if this had anything to do with this HR person's displeasure with me. the boss pretended not to know anything about it, but his eyes got very shifty and nervous - he couldn't look at me - when he said that no, he didn't know what i was referring to; i reasonably certain he was lying.  "it just doesn't seem to be a good fit," he said.  
it was the word of a minion against the word of someone much more important. i must be a trouble maker, so i had to go.  

after i got home and had a good cry, i couldn't help but notice that the sky hadn't fallen in, and the world was much the same as it had been before this calamity happened, so i had to concede that, surprisingly, it isn't the end of the world.  when my daughter come home to find me there hours before i should have got off work, i swallowed my humiliation and told her i'd been fired.  her look of disbelief was worth the humiliation it cost to speak the awful words.  when i told her i thought it was about the payroll thing (which i'd ranted to her about the day it happened) she said, "that wasn't the right job for you anyway".  

and she's right. the structure and hierarchy of big biz is not a good place for me.  they were right.  it wasn't a good fit,  for reasons they didn't even comprehend.  with 2 mortgages to pay, being unemployed scares the hell out of me; i've already applied for unemployment insurance.  i'm doing my best to believe that this is the beginning of something better.   when i began this job i was very close to a complete mental breakdown from the previous job. i went from one very stressful job to another very stressful job. i don't think i deserved to be fired, but, on some weird level, it feels a bit like a blessing.  i CAN do a 9 - 5 desk job, but it takes a very big toll on me. perhaps this isn't a crisis at all, but an opportunity.  with any luck i'll be able to get unemployment insurance long enough to have a bit of a rest (while looking for another job).... a rest that already was badly needed 6 months ago, when there was no opportunity to take it.  

" I have to allow myself to make mistakes  and  be willing to start over from a blank page. With so many things in life we don't have that luxury but at least we could work on the theory the best course of action is to begin again from wherever we are right now - considering lessons learned of course."

there has been very little joy on the dipstick of my life for a very long time.... lately, just barely enough to get a reading..... i'm reminded of the importance of magic, and that magic is closely linked to joy. i'm pulling up to the pumps now.  fill 'er up! 

many thanks, Susan

would you let me know if you hear of any job openings for a smart-mouthed fiddle player?