It had to happen eventually I suppose. Monday rolled in, I pulled up my chair, dusted off the laptop, cracked my knuckles, and dove straight into my inbox. Hey, holidays don’t last forever you know.
That said, I can’t say that I didn’t have a great December holiday, having enjoyed a good 3 week long break from work. The first week was spent on family gatherings, Christmas time, and an inordinate amount of Xbox One playtime, the second was spent holidaying with family in the Mossel Bay region, and the third week was spent enjoying a bit of time off from the kids, seeing as both Emily and Jessica started school before I needed to go back to work.
All in all, lots of food was eaten, lots of drinks drunk, lots of sights seen, lots of fun had, and lots of video games played. Also, nary a keyboard in sight.
Unfortunately for me, I had foreseen the start of what would eventually be sure to come, and as it so happens, last week I was finally forced to send out this particular e-mail to my Gordon’s Bay Funakoshi Karate International South Africa sensei, Birgitt Smit:
Hi Sensei Birgitt and Gert
Unfortunately, as much as it pains me to do so, I need to step back from karate for the foreseeable future, as the time constraints brought about by Chantelle’s evening shift work, her Cookies and Cakes venture and of course looking after young Jessica are simply making it impossible to grab any free time whatsoever in order to attend karate classes.
Please know that I greatly enjoyed my time training and learning under the two of you (I’ve been with you guys since February 2009 – didn’t realise it had been so long already!), and will most certainly miss training with my Gordon’s Bay karate family.
Hopefully things ease up in the future, perhaps when Chantelle falls pregnant and needs to stay home again, then can I revive my karate career, but for now there just doesn’t seem to be any alternative other than going on a karate hiatus for now.
My apologies on taking so long to write this e-mail to you, but it has been a difficult decision to make – though I believe in the end, the correct one. At the end of the day, I need to make the necessary sacrifices that are in the best interest of my family.
Thank you both for the time and effort that you put in for the people who choose to train with you, and best of luck for the future.
And that is that. Once again I have fallen short in earning my black belt in any form of martial art that I have tried my hand at, meaning that it remains one of those elusive achievements which always seems to fall just short of my grasp.
Stopping karate for now is sad and unfortunate (I’m going to miss the physical exertion, the camaraderie of the karate family and of course the constant learning and challenging of oneself), but like I said in the e-mail, a man has to do what a man has to do – and in this case someone has to be at home to look after Jessie while Mommy is busy with work…
So Chantelle’s Chantelle’s Cookies & Cakes baking business venture has been running for more than a couple of months now, and pleasingly it is going quite well, especially after we discovered the world of food markets through which to sell her produce. (No more wasted effort in printing flyers and trudging from postbox to postbox in the wee hours of the morning in the hopes of drumming up business for this old horse any more!)
Of course, this really is no surprise considering just how HUGELY talented Chantelle is when it comes to food, baking and of course decorating!
Unfortunately we’re not making a huge amount of profit just yet, certainly not enough for her to quit her day job and move into baking full-time (the ultimate goal of this plan), but the profit that we are making is most definitely a very welcome (and desperately needed!) added income stream for the Lotter’s monthly budget.
Like I mentioned above, at the moment our primary sales come through the stall at the Willowbridge Slow Food Market which is held every Saturday at the open air Willowbridge Mall, with trading from 09:00 in the morning to 14:00 in the afternoon.
Because of Chantelle’s shift work at the guest house, she can currently do a market every second weekend, which means that for two weeks of every month, Chantelle is faced with the daunting task of working pretty much 15 hour days for five days of the week, mixing the baking and packaging in with her regular work at the guest house.
So not to beat around the bush here, but quite frankly she needs a helping hand (and because we need the money, we can’t just quit this, and do in fact need to be able to service more markets), meaning that I have decided to don my hitherto untested salesman’s cap, roll up my sleeves and dive in head first to assist my wife in making her baking venture a success!
As it turned out, last weekend was my first taste of Cookies & Cakes life as I squeezed myself into the kitchen on Friday night, working alongside Chantelle in packaging and getting everything ready for Saturday morning’s early departure.
Of course, Chantelle won’t let me behind the oven just yet, but based on how impressed she was with my assistance on the night, I can’t see how she’ll manage to keep me away from the actual baking for too long! ;)
That of course meant that Saturday was my trial by fire, and half-way through the day’s trading, I pitched up in Bellville with Jessica, dropped her off with Monty and Rob for safekeeping, and then proceeded to Willowbridge where I relieved Cheryl and tagged in next to my wife, knocking the socks off both Cheryl and Chantelle as I exhibited my previously repressed natural charm and ability to sell, making an absolute killing at the table in the process!
Needless to say, after doing such a fabulous job and selling a hell of a lot of cake, I got the job, which means that tomorrow if you happen to be hanging around Willowbridge between 09:00 and 14:00, you’ll find yours truly (along with Cheryl), manning the fabulous Chantelle’s Cookies & Cakes stall.
And yes. It really is the perfect little gift to pick up for Mother’s Day come Sunday! ;)
So hey, I woke up this morning and realized that I’m 32 now. Seriously old in other words, and completely befuddled as to how time appears to be racing past me quicker than a baby grabbing at a bottle of milk.
Needless to say, looking after and playing Daddy to Jessica, combined with work and now Chantelle’s Cookies and Cakes venture, is pretty much absorbing all of my time these days, so absolutely none of the things I thought I might take steps towards achieving even sneaked onto the radar during the past 365 days, but hey, as per usual I’m pretty happy with life as it stands, and nothing really heavy lurks over my head, so no complaints in other words.
After all, I have a loving wife, a cute as a button daughter, a comfortable home and a nice beard. What more could I possibly need at this point?
So, happy birthday to me then I guess! ;)
One of the reasons for my little scanner not getting as much action over the course of this year as what I might have liked it to was the fact that no Linux drivers were available for it, meaning that it would only work on my Windows XP laptop, the machine most seldom used in my house.
However, thanks to the instructions I have lovingly saved up on CodeUnit for future reference, the little fighter is now operating at full speed, having already allowed us to publish the little ink footprints of Jessica for the world to see.
Related Link: http://www.codeunit.co.za/2010/12/19/ubuntu-and-the-canon-lide-100-scanner-fix/
My delivery from Take 2 arrived two days ago and I am now a proud owner of a beautiful black Canon LiDE 100 standalone scanner.
I mentioned the reasons for wanting a scanner previously in these pages and now that I have one, I can made the jump backwards of returning to producing my art on paper and then transferring it to the digital world instead of working completely digitally from step 1. Needless to say, this should bring some more natural lines to the table and I’m excited to be putting pen to paper once again!
And now on to the scanner itself.
It is actually quite a sexy piece of hardware you know, light, slim and sleek in it’s black finish, though it does suffer a bit from those horrible looking grey plastic buttons they went and planted on the front of the thing.
On the performance front, the Canon LiDE 100 is one of the cheaper models available so it won’t exactly knock your socks off in terms of speed, but it delivers solid and relatively fine grain scanning with numerous quality options available to you through the bundled application.
It can handle 2400x4800dpi resolution with 48-bit colour and the four cheesily named “EZ” buttons allow you to copy, scan, email or PDF at the touch of a button. The scanning lid is one of those Z-lid contraptions that allows you to deal with thicker document scans, though it probably wouldn’t handle something hefty like War & Peace of course.
As for my favourite part of the whole device, the scanner runs off a standalone Hi-Speed USB connection, meaning that it transfers data through and draws power from a single USB cable – no extra power cables lying around to trip over on the floor then!
So in short, I’m very happy with this purchase that works well and looks rather nice on my desk. The only qualm I do have is the fact that Canon has released no Linux drivers for the scanner and because they keep the driver code proprietary, no third party has yet been able to reproduce a usable driver for the Canon LiDE 100 under Linux – which of course means that is bye bye Ubuntu box and hello Windows laptop for all my scanning now. :(
The reason is pretty simple. A while back I moved to the straight digital path after laying my hands on a drawing tablet to use at home for my own purposes. Doing everything via the digital route definitely has its advantages in terms of speed for time to completion, but in the process I’ve noticed that what I produce is well… diminished in quality to say the least.
The problem of course lies rooted in a couple of factors, so I’ll try and lay them out here. First off is the whole breaking of the visual from the hand movements thing that comes with using a tablet, followed by the fair inability to naturally change hand orientation at will. Now of course, these could be circumvented by using a tablet system like an Apple iPad or even shelling out for a Wacom Cintiq product, but seeing as this is completely a free time hobby which I don’t pay all that much attention to, shelling out that kind of cash just doesn’t seem justifiable to me or my wife! After those two biggies, next comes the feel of the whole affair (nothing really beats pencil on paper), as well as to an extent the joy of seeing your work right in front of you, no matter where you may be.
Sure there are some great software and hardware solutions to tackle all of these, but like I said, I’m not really willing to spend a lot of money on this hobby of mine, so those are pretty much out of the question.
So the solution is of course to go back to pencil and paper, sketch out the drawing and then scan it in, before finally switching to the good old tablet to handle “inking”, colouring and of course lettering.
A slower process, but one which should definitely make the resulting pencils look a whole lot less stiff.
But here’s my bugbear then. Why in the world are standalone scanners so expensive?!? They’ve definitely gone up in price since the last time I purchased one (which was way back when admittedly), and are actually more expensive to buy in the standalone format than as part of an all-in-one scanner/fax/printer combo!
I’ve already got a printer, I don’t need another. All I want is a scanner you know…
I like commuting into work via train. No traffic to sit in, no searching for parking space, a hell of a lot cheaper, fairly reliable and less wear-and-tear on my car. I’ve been doing it for a couple of years now and honestly I cant really complain about it.
The thing is, left to their own devices, Metrorail would be running a fairly decent and reliable service. The problem, as it always is, lies without outside elements. This morning the trains were horribly delayed, resulting in packed carriages and just a general unpleasant trip. The reason for the delays? Some jerks decided to line their pockets by stealing Metrorail cabling.
A major inconvenience for its customers and a massive headache for the company. These cable thieves are ruthless, targeting any thing that looks even the slightest bit valuable that they can rip out of the ground undetected. Even your prize-winning petunias might not be safe.
Which leads me nicely into the title of this mini-rant. I admire Muslim states that deal with things like theft in a very succinct manor – once found guilty they simply remove the source of the problem by parting the thiefs hand from him. Chopping the root of evil out so to speak.
Now I like this idea. It doesnt matter how poor, uneducated or illiterate you might be, the thought of losing your hand would scare anyone off stealing something. And we could scale it depending on the level of offence. For instance, stealing someones knickers or a candy bar might lose you a bit of a finger. Stealing food might leave you short a few fingers whilst, bigger items will lose you a hand. Needless to safe, repeat offenders probably wouldnt be back more than two times – its difficult to crack a safe with no hands.
Of course, using this logic, it stands to reason that the buggers behind the Fidentia and LeisureNet scandals (don’t even ask about Enron) would probably have earned the nickname of stumpy by now.