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Friday, May 17, 2013

On Repeat

Mmmhmmm, gorgeous.


"So lead me back
Turn south from that place
And close my eyes to my recent disgrace
Cause you know my call
And we'll share my all
And our children come, they will hear me roar
So give me hope in the darkness that I will see the light"

I've converted The Mother into a fan, and I think they are going to be one of those bands that you just love forever.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Card Making: Part II

Yeah yeah, I know I said it was likely a thing that would only get tried once, but The Father wanted some cards to use for certain business associates (joke), and, well - cool robot paper.

I'm not quite sure how the people who make these components decide on categories, because:
Robot/spaceship/dinosaur/car is definitely not a set I would have put together.  Its almost like finding a bull in your foam dinosaur collection, only this one is so random it almost becomes acceptable regardless.

Paper craft is surprisingly...enjoyable.  And coming up with cards that are not hideous - is actually quite hard (you know you've seen the ugly ones for sale by old ladies at craft fairs/farmers' markets).

Once again I am going to close with the claim of this as the most likely-last time I dabble in card making.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Birthdays & Bernina Aurora Embroidery

It's that (broad)time of year when several pretty cool people (The Ickle Brother, The Authoress, The Crazy One, The Dynamic Personality One, The BigSib and 5 other extended family members...) have their yearly gift-and-cake fest.

Last Friday it was the Maternal Grandmother's and she turned a whoppingly....young, 82.
The Mother has recently gotten her Embroidery module working (ahem) and we used it to first do test pieces:

Oh yes, that is a handkerchief saying "this is a snot rag" - you ask me to set something up, you have to suffer the consequences.

This was not an easy process.  Mum's computer was running 32 bit and the sewing machine itself only interacts with a 64.  Of course, no where is this stated.  So there was a lot of...fuss and bother.  I was trying to install (slightly rubbish) software, off instructions written by some person with very little computer knowledge, several years out of date and containing a whole lot of extraneous steps - which we had been told we must follow.  Eventually I chucked it out and just did what I thought was logical.  To completely skim over the frustrated-tears/dark episodes (Mums) section of the tale: the story ended with Mum ordering a new computer and everything proceeding as "normal".

Once everything was set up on my computer, we used it to make The Grandmother's pressies, my half of which looked like this:

The work flow involves designing your piece on some licensed software (do I have to say the 'slightly rubbish' thing again?) and then sending it to an interface program (language-free; who thought that would be a good idea?) which then sends the stitch instructions to the sewing machine.  The machine chugs along, prompting you via pictorial instructions to raise/lower the foot/snip threads/change thread colours etc etc.

From having a cross stitch project running 2+ years now, I can definitely appreciate the instantaneous results of this set-up.  Of course, you also lose some essence of the 'hand made'...

Definitely a machine which is going to get used.  Can you imagine the possibilities?!  Framed art - beautiful embroidered bad words...

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Matamata Wins (Hobbiton)

The Mother & The Father have a business in Matamata (they lived there for a year or so, a while back) which calls for their presence every now and again.

They brought back a local magazine which showed conceptual drawings for the redesign of the information centre once, which caught my eye, lying on the bench.  Turns out - it was very old, and the building does, already, look like this:
 Yes, yes I was giggling whilst standing alongside the tourists to take photos.
I salute their commitment to the biggest thing (and most significant money-maker) to happen to their wee township in many a decade.

(The inside of the building is a let-down: not even any cool stuff to buy.  Sad).

Monday, May 13, 2013

Everyone's a Critic: Iron Man 3

Wheeeeeeeee!  Loved it!  Saw Iron Man 3 over a week ago but haven't found a moment to finish up the draft, but hey! American Idol is on the TV - time to scram and seek shelter with my tech (Ooooo just wait for the update...).  The Married One saw it & loved it too, so I'm in good company.

That out of the way - I don't actually want to write much.  The SPOILER-giving potential is tremendous and I would hate to ruin it for anyone.

Broadly - I loved how they managed to give Tony and Peppers relationship a bit of screen time, and showing Tony vulnerable was a nice change for the unreally-confident hero.  There is a completely sublime bit where Tony is dancing up on his Iron-Man-Assemble! stage that made me want to spontaneously clap.  RDJ is all kinds of amazing.  I doubt anyone else could lend such √©lan to a metallic suit.

There are some brill one-liners.  "...kiss the mouth slit?" and some epic opportunities for Pepper, though they are short lived and not utilised to what could be her full potential.  She does end up *SPOILER* saving Tony's butt at the end, which was brilliant, but then he goes ahead and takes away what could have been the beginning of her own superpower (speaking of - if what makes Tony a Super Hero is his intelligence and subsequent ability to build the suit - why didn't he ever whip up one for Pepper?!  Give her some of those snazzy bracelets he used in Avengers, and have her safer that way.  Give/teach a man a/to fish type of thing, yeah?!

At the end we see Tony implement 'clean slate' which basically blows up every single suit he had secretly made in his sub-sub-basement...that we never knew about.  A whole bunch of suits that can intelligently fight and self-pilot without Tony controlling them, but can still be worn as suits...I suspect either some massive advancement in AI, or Tony was supposedly controlling them all and ended up with the migraine to spawn all migraines.

Anyway - this whole explode-everything thing sucks, especially when he goes ahead with his new-found knowledge and fixes his little shrapnel problem as well.  So - Tony Stark no longer has a heart?!  (since Pepper made the trophy in the first movie...ok, never mind).

Despite these potentially heartbreaking hints towards an Iron Man-less future, the movie closes out with Tony proclaiming "I am Iron Man", so there is hope.

There are some sublime twists and heaps of stuff that was never hinted at in the trailers - which is a super welcome change.  Its always a letdown when all the good bits are known before you even go into the theatre.

The little cookie-scene after the credits was very cute.  Poor Bruce; "I'm not that sort of Doctor".  Actually - an apt illustration of each of their personalities in that wee scene alone.  I'd like to think that Bruce did indeed spend some time fiddling about in Tony's labs 'after New York'.

4.9 out of 5 (where: 1=actively burning it, 2=waste of time, 3=don't regret having seen it, but... 4=good movie, recommended, 5=blewmymindwhyhaven'tyouseenityetI'vegottoseeitagaintalktoyoulater).

I just so hesitant to give full marks to anything these days, I can think of ways it could be improved, but I also definitely will pay to see it again at the cinema...

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Change Is As Good

As a holiday.

I've recently invested in a graphic drawing tablet (from here at the general-internet-advice of Madeleine) which was gloriously cheap, considering the inflated prices of Wacom and the like.  It also has a massive drawing surface, bigger than what I could have afforded on my non-existent budget at any rate.  I've been saving the cash notes my Nana pops in my Birthday cards for the last couple years, and finally decided to liberate them from my jewellery box.

Further, at a random asking of my Father if they might have any spare monitors kicking about at work, he came home last week with a beautiful big flat screen, brand new, especially for me.

Amazing.

And now look!  My tech is all best friends and happy:
Note my photo manipulation in an attempt to hide the mass of detritus all over my desk.

After only half a week I am not sure how I managed to do anything with only one screen, let alone my wee laptop screen.  Being able to have both photo manipulation and document design software up and visible is amazing.  And then both word doc and internet browser for various fact-checking.  Brilliant.

I am trying to restrain my impressed-ness, I promise.

I've been dabbling in various projects these last couple of weeks, amongst other life distractions, one of which is several concept designs for The BigSib's wedding invitations for her to choose from/give further direction.  The theme is 'Vintage' and the colours blue and cream, and I don't think I would have chosen any differently had it been me choosing.  'Vintage' weddings are very much 'in' at the moment and there is a wealth of inspiration on line.  I am also a big fan of high quality card stock, lace/ribbon/floral fabric and am definitely going to be incorporating my-designed wax seals and paper embossing.

So.  Much.  Fun.

And there is not only the invitations but place settings, thank you cards etc etc.  Ooooooooooooo...

On a side note, she asked me to be a bridesmaid, which I'm also pleased about, sure

Amongst this design work I started fiddling with some of my own stuff and decided it was ripe time for a web redesign.  Three and a ~half years is long enough, I reckon - my skills have certainly evolved a heck of a lot in that period.  Clean, white space is pleasing me at the mo.  What do you think?

Mother

Me'mam is pretty brilliant.  Even when she is getting shitty at me for her sewing machine not working.

No photos
BigSib being rude.  How shocking.  One of my favourite photos.

Happy Mother's Day, Mum.
Happy Mother's Day, world.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

On Repeat

Completely in love with the song Free, by Rudimental.  Their album 'Home' came out at the end of April, and most of it I am loving.  Fair warning for all of you haters - they are an 'English drum and bass quartet' trying to squeeze more soul into the genre, though this song is very gentle, and completely lovely.

I can't find it on YouTube yet, but you can listen to it here.


C'est la vie, maybe some thing's wrong with me but oh at least, I am free.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

The Woes of Property Management

Urgh.

So I own a house in a city where I no longer reside and have the property tenanted and managed by a company, seemingly your only option should you wish to retain the investment from a distance.

Even the best company of property managers are conniving bastards.

They charge you for automatic processes, send you your statements from bulk-copy, take sometimes months to get back to you, sneaky back-scratch with tradies, never carry out inspections as often as they promise and charge you for bullshit things with the impetus on you to refuse them post-automatic rent-extraction.

They do no significant work and get paid for it.

The whole property industry is corrupt and hideous.


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This disillusionment post is brought to you by a lack of tea and money.