Learning art pains

I studied art back in high school and continued to explore through sketching occasionally for a few years before it was lost to me. Whilst art did feature in my work life through web and print design, it was not the same as that I had once explored.

Back in high school I had explored painting but had never really had much confidence in the area. I was not the Monet in the class, I had some ability but I’d not make a living from it; though most impressionists never did come to think of it. For me art was always about enjoyment, trying to capture or replicate something, to see if it could come close.

With the purchase of ProCreate app on my iPad Pro, winner of an Apple Design Award in 2017, I have once more been able to explore painting and sketching. I have been attempting replication of Monet and an Israeli artist, Leonid Afremov, whose art is stunning in its use of vibrant colour. Posting my attempts to Instagram (cgarnettlaw) I have been buoyed by the likes and comments received.

I was particularly chuffed by my replica of Monet’s Sunflowers:

With each painting it acts as a learning experience as I attempt to learn how I need to go about achieving the end result, having to think about layering so as to avoid edging.

Sadly, I am faced with limiting myself each day due to my arm injury otherwise the pain becomes real, another learning experience.


Burning candles at both ends

As we neared end of the work year I grew more anxious for it to end and holidays to begin. It has been a year marked with losing another three family members, after losing three in 2016; the final loss in 2017, that of my little brother to suicide was certainly the most difficult to deal with.

I think also working full-time and then providing out-of-hours support to one of the schools has led to my burning the candle at both ends. Come November I was really starting to feel exhausted, plus this month was also my brother’s birthday – it was hitting home the fact I couldn’t text, call or email to celebrate his birthday, nor would we have a get together.

Physically, mentally and emotionally exhausted my end-of-year annual leave had finally arrived, three glorious weeks that would commence with our office Christmas party. It was great to have a nice sit down buffet meal at the nearby resort, we had a great time. Before leaving our Director handed out the staff awards, two joint awards nominated by Schools and then the award nominated by our staff, I was so surprised when my own name was called out.

Ironically this would be the only Christmas celebrations I’d get to partake in this year. The following afternoon I would get ill and not recover enough to attend our family’s early Christmas celebrations at Burswood’s Atrium restaurant. By mid-week I was starting to feel somewhat better and headed out to wrap up present buying.

I had been invited by my other brother to his place for Christmas and had purchased a few items to take on the day. One week after I’d gotten sick “WHAM!” I was struck with

stomach flu and Norovirus; I had never experienced diarrhoea as I did over this weekend, over 30 bouts causing me to get a little dehydrated despite trying to keep fluids up.

Sadly, I was again nowhere near well enough come Christmas Day to join, instead was sleeping or laying on the couch. I honestly wonder what part my being exhausted contributed to being ill and missing family events, or was it just bad luck? At least in 2018 the level of out-of-hours I’ll work will be reduced, so hopefully I will not find myself in the same boat. I look forward to a better 2018, preferably death free as I’ve had my fill of that frankly. Good riddance 2017!

AncestryDNA: Awaiting results

Growing up we’ve never known a great deal about either side of the family.

On my mother’s side of the family her paternal grandfather had been given away by his father at around one year old, not an adoption, but to a family known to his own, I believe that was the case. They changed his birth name and moved away from Port Pirie to Melbourne before finally settling in the western suburbs of Sydney.

At some point he discovered he’d been given up by his birth family, he would insist that his own family not seek out the birth family until he had passed away, which was respected. It would take quite some years for the family to discover anything about his birth family given little was known, but eventually my Aunt Lynne and her cousin would manage locate his sister and the pieces would come together.

Through Aunt Lynne’s tenacity we would discover Great-Grandpa’s birth name, where his parents had come from, Switzerland and the Croatian island of Lopud. More recently they discovered his father was an Italian-speaking Croatian, this via census records on Ancestry’s website.

My father has also spent some time tracing our own side of the family. We’re rather a small bunch, and as my grandparents had died by the time I was very young I never got to know much and Dad never spoke much or never knew much to be able to speak of it. I guess this is one of the reasons I have been somewhat fascinated by AncestryDNA.

Almost two years ago now I watched an AncestryDNA video and my interest was peaked about how you could learn about where your family came from. A friend at work completed this earlier this year originating from Malaysia, it was interesting to see she had quite a high European contribution to her DNA make-up.

I recently purchased my own AncestryDNA kit as it was at a decent discount. The kit arrived in the mail earlier this week and first involves activating the kit via the Ancestry website; then filling the test tube with saliva, then cap the tube which includes a stabilising solution which gets sharked for 5 seconds; then place in the postal kit and send. I sent on Thursday, so. now is a 6-8 week wait for results of my DNA to see where we come from, I look forward to seeing what comes back.

iPhone X arrives

My new silver 256GB iPhone X arrived today after a 5 week wait.

Collecting it from the post office this morning I headed off to Dôme for breakfast where their wifi network proved a blessing in disguise, my old iPhone needed this to receive text messages as I set up my new phone and Apple and other services checked was me. Initially I setup as a new iPhone rather than restore, a smart move as the iPhone was needing a software update at around 2.6GB.

Using 4G i downloaded 1Password which hooked into Face ID straight away. Same for Facebook. I have to credit Apple with Face ID just how easy it was to set up and use, it is really quite quick to recognise me and unlock or authenticate me within an app.

The OLED screen is just gorgeous, what is interesting however is if you angle it the colours take on a blue tinge. Thus far I have only found myself reaching for a home button once, I love that the phone is buttonless.

I got myself an Anker wireless charger, however it didn’t seem to charge the phone connecting via my car’s USB port. I’m hoping I did something wrong, or maybe it’s the case interfering. Really wanting this in the car for ease of drop and charge rather than having to plug something in as it plays around with music and directions playback. Fingers crossed.


Have you seen Querkles? It ‘is a different play on paint by numbers. An art piece is segmented by overlapping circles of varying sizes and then 5 shades of colour determined, 1 darkest and 5 lightest.

A friend of mine had bought herself and adult colouring book based upon this a year or so ago, posting the results to Facebook. When looking for a colouring book app for my iPad Pro I stumbled upon Querkles and decided I’d give it a go, it was so addictive.

Hooked, I paid for the 40 pack at $5.99, I’m sure it will keep me busy for some time. Each drawing takes about 1.5 hours minimum to complete when using the Fill tool, were I to use the pen mode instead that might extend to a day or so as there’s much to colour in. The end result is so effective and amazing when you think at the method of construction.

Email marketing platforms

At work we run a weekly newsletter for staff and research students. Since before I joined the office the newsletter had been run via a basic Listserv, it was a very manual process.

When our marketing coordinator headed to Europe I took the initiative to move us into an email marketing platform. It had been decided we’d go with MailChimp, not my preferred platform, but was already being used by another area for the same purpose.

Our newsletter’s design was a very simple single-column design with an image atop the text, thus we could use a pre-defined template. Setting up user sign-up was nice and easy and on Monday we were off and running.

The first few newsletters were sent without any problems, at least no one reported any whilst I was sending. Then, after our marketing coordinator returned and took over things we started getting reports from Outlook users that the email were arriving blank, yet strangely not for all Outlook users; the issue never affected other email platforms.

Eventually we gave up and resorted to using Outlook to send the newsletter; we had just deleted the Listserv the week before preventing a return to old tried and true. Our desire to move to a mail marketing platform was not shelved however, just awaiting funds to either pay for support with Mail Chimp, or swap to my preferred Campaign Monitor platform.

Initially, maybe 2- 3 days, we paid for MailChimp to see if they could resolve our issue, sadly they said they were aware of issues related to Outlook 2016 but had no resolution just yet. We now needed to convince management to stump up the extra for Campaign Monitor. The sell came in the form of merging separate newsletters into one account and leveraging the benefits, one fee instead of multiple with the other newsletter somewhat critical in relationship building. Another assist with the sell was a major issue seeming to affect the MailChimp platform in late November, suddenly image assets were not loading or were disappearing as well the site had availability issues.

I spent part of the day redesigning their other newsletter as it was poorly designed, tight text on black, a readability issue. They were open to change and improving things for their readers which is great.

Looking forward to our launching via Campaign Monitor, I used it several years ago and never had issues with it. The testing tools ensure you pick up any likely errors before you send your campaign avoiding those issues we experienced with MailChimp.

Hey Siri, send a text … please wait resetting (again, and again)

I awoke this morning to my iPhone buzzing every so often, surely I wasn’t getting that many emails come in.. what might be the reason?

My first hope was a text from Vodafone of course to notify the iphone X was finally shipping, too much to ask I know. As I started using the phone the “I’m doing shit” spinner appeared briefly before the phone asked for my pass code / touch ID, weird. I pressed Finger and all okay, then 30 or so seconds later it happened again, and again.

I hit the Whirlpool forums to see if it was just me or were others getting this as well, several others were reporting the same issue. Some had tried factory reseting their devices and restoring without any luck.

It is interesting that this has occurred on that will be 1 December in the USA. A similar bug occurred in the past when the mouth changed, I forget when, and Apple was forced to quickly push something out. Meanwhile we are stuck with iPhones in constant reset loop due to poor coders, just as we saw the other day with the macOS root no password stuff up and then the and introduced a sharing problem. Oh to resurrect Jobs.