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Plastic Lenses

Posted 2011.06.25 9.19 in Family/Friends, Photography by Stephanie

I took my plastic Holga camera out on the Summer Solstace last week. We were having a family get-together and it seemed like a good excuse to expose some old B&W film.

The Holga is a cheaply-made plastic camera with a plastic lens, a fixed aperture (roughly f/11) and a fixed exposure (roughly 1/100th). It’s known for light leaks and double exposures. Mine requires a rubber-band to ensure the back doesn’t fall off unexpectedly.

I say cheaply-made as opposed to just cheap, because the Lomographic Society International will happily sell you a Holga for at least 3x what it’s probably worth. I have mixed feelings about the LSI – I do enjoy shooting film (they’re all about analogue photography) and I can & do appreciate the joy of the occasional unexpected serendipidous results… Where I take exception is that they seem to be making a fortune selling junky cameras at insane prices.

Anyways, this wasn’t supposed to turn into a rant against Lomography… just a brief intro or explanation about the culture of embracing crappy pictures as their own artform. Which is what Lomography means, sort of.

Back to the pics – there are two pics from the summer solstace and two pics from the winter. Same Holga, same brand of film (expired Chinese black&white) but different processing results.

About processing – I still develop my own black & white film at home. The roll I did in the winter got contaminated or something. When it came out, it was covered in these little speckles.

I haven’t shot colour in a while because I think it’s too expensive to process at the labs and I haven’t found any reasonable sources of chemistry for processing at home. Yet…

My Summer Stay-cation, Epilogue

Posted 2007.07.21 0.00 in Uncategorized by Stephanie

The whole summer stay-cation thread kind of fizzled out last week, last Friday actually. I went to work but I was beat and ended up not working very hard or very long. Pissed off home early and then basicaly spent the next 4 or 5 days slacking off around the house – sleeping, napping, relaxing, and resting.

Basically I just shuffled my time-off back a week, so instead of the week of July 9th, I was off the week of July 16th. Thing is, I didn’t exactly go out of my way to tell anyone, nor did I remember to change my voice-mail message or leave a vacation notice on my email. So what people saw was that I was out of town / hard to find through the week of the 9th, then just vanished the week of the 16th.

Anyhow, back to this past Thursday.. went in for the morning to take care of a few minor crisises and that’s when it hit me.

I don’t like my work any more. It’s not fun any more.

I haven’t felt like this in about 7 years. This week off has helped in a way, helped me recharge / keep my sanity / whatever. But it’s also harmed slightly in the sense that… this is what I want to do right now, at least for the short term. Just screw around the house, and not worry about shit.

Now it’s Saturday and I have to return to the rock pile on Monday, I’ll have a zillion voice-mails, emails, faxes, and stuff all waiting for me, people will be all panicky and upset due to my absense and I’ll have a bunch of fires to put out. And the prospect of all that, in less than 48 hours, has made me feel very depressed right now.

I wanna be retired.

Shades of Doubt

My Summer Vacation – Days 3 and 4

Posted 2007.07.12 0.00 in Work by Stephanie

As expected / feared / dreaded, my presence was required in Ottawa to do the other installation. So Wednesday morning found me on a 5-hour drive to the nation’s capitol. Most of which went quite smoothly, thanks to the highway system.

Things changed abruptly on arrival though. In the Toronto area, we always whine and bitch about the traffic and the endless construction. Well either Ottawa is way, way worse than Toronto for traffic and construction, or I was working in Ottawa’s Construction District.

At one point I had to get from the customer’s location to a Staples, and back again. What should have been a 20 minute trip ended up taking an hour, because the roads kept closing. Some closed for construction, others closed for no observable reason. And when they close these roads, they don’t just put up a temporary sign in the road – they actually bolt signs to the light posts that say the road’s closed, and then add those red and green “New” signs next to them. Like, it’s not an inconvenience – it’s a feature! Isn’t this wonderful and exciting and novell – we’ve closed another road! Whee!

The traffic was a bit crazy ontop of all this. I don’t mean, there was more traffic – what I mean is that what traffic was there, seemed a bit crazy. Maybe they were just jumpy from having so many roads closed, like you never know when you set out to work in the morning, if you’ll be able to get home. They might close some roads behind you and leave you stranded.

Other than the navigational excitement, work went fairly smoothly and steadily. It still took time of course, but since I learned how to do it on Tuesday, the assembly / installation on Wednesday wasn’t too bad. Afterwards, I had some dinner at the hotel, did a bit of work via my laptop, and got to sleep early.

Day four started off pretty good in fact. I woke early but didn’t feel too tired, so I had breakfast in the hotel. I wasn’t expecting much so it was quite a surprise when the breakfast proved to be fabulous. The best Eggs Benedict I’ve ever had, were had in the little cafe in the basement of a Best Western hotel in Ottawa. Go figure.

Back at the customer’s place, should have been a very short morning – just install the data file, do a training session, then hit the road. The data install went fast, the training was pretty quick, then we hit a snag. The data wasn’t right. A further hour of frustration ensued, plugging away on my laptop to try and clean up the data file. It was eventually sorted out and re-installed, and things appeared to be good.

So, about noon, I was able to hit the road and ‘enjoy’ another 5-hour drive.

For the last day of my summer holidays, I expect to have to go into the office and deal with whatever emergencies and crisises have developed over the past three days of being incommunicado due to these customer installations.

My Summer Staycation – Day Two

Posted 2007.07.10 0.00 in Work by Stephanie

An extra-early roll-out this morning – off to the warehouse first to load up the vehicle with customer hardware, then down to Mississauga to begin work on the installation! Oh, but wait! The last missing pieces, the ones that were to have been delivered yesterday but went to the wrong address, the ones that were definately picked up yesterday afternoon and definately were there so I could get going bright and early – thos pieces? Weren’t there.

Shit. So they got screwed up again in transit but definately positively absolutely they’ll be dropped directly to the customer’s location first thing this morning. Honest. In the mean time, I get to work putting together what I do have – after all, the store’s open to the public today at noon.

You know, the company that created the POS systems, suggests that most clients will want to install the systems a week in advance of the store opening. That allows time to set things up, time for the store staff to get familiar with the systems, and time to get all the store’s products and inventory entered. Generally speaking, a week in order to get up to speed on the new gear.

So, y’know, basically what they Don’t suggest, is that you start trying to install the system for the very first time, without any prior experience, and while missing some incidental things like CASH DRAWERS and BARCODE SCANNERS with exactly 3 hours to go before the grand re-opening to the public.

And if, on top of all that, you have never set up a POS system before in your entire life, have never used a POS system, and generally speaking, you just plain don’t know much about the retail industry… well the suggestion has been floated, that someone needs to maybe go and have their sanity checked. Maybe a drug test, too.

So anyways. The last missing parts do indeed turn up, but more fun and excitement – the network cables already in place and left over from the recently departed former hardware, the network cables I was going to use – are now in use. The computer and network faeries arrived and installed some equipment that’s using those cables. Noone knows for sure what this equipment is for, if it’s needed, or what it’s doing. But what we do know for sure is, no, we may not use the extra network cables.

Wow! Super-fun-happy time! I get to make an emergency excursion to the nearest Staples and run up $250 on my credit card, to set up a router and a bunch of cables so we can get the Point of Sale system running. By noon!

The fun, it never ends. You know this is coming right? The cash drawers don’t work. Seems they sent us cash drawer cables for those printers, but they sent us these printers, and it’s not compatible.

You know, the whole situation has been going in this direction. There’s a word that describes it and that word is… our Word Of The Day: Clusterfuck!

I could even go on typing because it doesn’t end there. It just keeps going on, and on, and on some more. But I’m tired. It’s been a long day and I’ve been working really hard and having lots of stress about trying to get this up and running for them. Now I just need to rest a while.

You can probably figure out the rest of the story anyhow. It ends with the new POS system installed and more or less working (except the cash drawers) and the customer deciding not to use it right away because there’s a few things yet to be tweaked and it’s not 100% perfect.

As vacations go, so far this one bites. Goodnight.

Train Wreck
A completely unrelated photo that has nothing to do with the current situation.

My Summer Staycation – Day One

Posted 2007.07.09 0.00 in Work by Stephanie

So, summer holidays! Yeah! I’m not too interested in traveling to wild exotic places, mostly I like to use my holidays to catch up around the house on my sleeping, resting, relaxing, and (time permitting) housework. So, staycation instead of vacation. Right?

In actual fact I had intended to take my staycation last week, right on the heels of Canada Day. However, last week was to have been the wrap-up week for a fairly involved project for a new customer, so I delayed my holidays back a week to allow us to get things wrapped up.

So, first day, holidays, how did I spend my day?

Well, I left the house at about 10 minutes to 8 this morning, would have gone straight to work but last-thing Friday my UPS (Uninteruptable Power Supply / battery backup) on my workstation died, so I had to stop at Staples first and pick up a new one. $110.00 later and I got into the office at about 20 minutes after 8. I spent the morning reading status reports, writing status reports, and chasing down missing customer hardware. Then I went over to the warehouse and spent an hour or two there, inspecting customer hardware and reading documentation. Then back to my office to try and organize the rest of the week, to figure out when I’d be doing the hardware installation at the customer’s Mississauga store, and finding out if I’d have to drive to Ottawa to do the hardware installation at that store too.

What I found out was, the Mississauga store is opening at 12:00 noon tomorrow; I’ll be doing the hardware installation at 9:00 am. Then the Ottawa store opens some time on Thursday of this week; odds are that I’m driving to Ottawa on Wednesday to do the installation there, before the Thursday opening. Then driving back home. So, looks like a very busy, stressful week in store for me.

Hey… wait a minute!

This doesn’t feel like a vacation at all…this feels like…this feels like normal work! Shit!

You know… I don’t think I’m on vacation at all. Damnit.

Chained to the desk.