Category Archives: Personal

2014 Schedule — I am unable to attend Mayfest and Paseo.

UPDATE: With permission from the Director of the Lawton Art Festival, I am able to to skip Friday and show up on Saturday!

For the past few years, you have been pretty much guaranteed to find me at these events in Oklahoma:

  • Stillwater Art Festival
  • Edmond Art Festival
  • Lawton Art Festival
  • Tulsa Mayfest
  • Paseo Art Festival

Last year

I skipped the Lawton Art Festival for several reasons: The travel costs are high and sales are mediocre, but due to a reassignment at my day job in the summer of 2012, it puts a lot of pressure on my department if anybody requests a lot of consecutive Fridays off:

My department only has seven people, and when one of us leave, the others have to take up the slack. If one of us takes a Friday, the others are urged not to — because it would leave only five of us to do the work of seven people, on a day when we all would prefer to leave early.

Edmond, Lawton, Tulsa, Paseo were the first four Fridays. The next two weeks were very joyfully spent on a trip with friends to Sorrento, Italy. (This was also why I did not attend the Mulvane Art Festival in Topeka, and was unable to apply for the Smoky Hill Festival in Salina.)

This year

My friends are planning another trip to Italy. We’re heading to Tuscany (my favorite region of Italy), so it has the potential to be even more impressive than the already awesome trip last year. The schedule conflicts with my usual schedule: it takes place May 15-31 — right over the top of both Mayfest and Paseo (two of my most profitable events). The good part: Photos from Tuscany have the potential to make my existing portfolio look very outdated.

Since I requested to be out of work on seven consecutive Fridays:

  • April 18 (Stillwater)
  • April 25 (OKC)*
  • May 2 (Edmond)
  • May 9 (Lawton)**
  • May 16-23-30 (Italy)
  • (UPDATE: Mulvane and Smoky Hill tuned me down)

* I am on the waiting list for the (utterly gigantic) Oklahoma City Festival of the Arts. I will do what I can to get in that show. If it means I have to camp out the day before, so be it.

** I can do Lawton if I arrive late on Friday… really late. like Midnight.

Dear Suddenlink, Please Reconnect This Cable (resolved!)

Dear Suddenlink,

Thank you for offering stellar internet service in my area. I have been a paying customer since you purchased the entire cox.net customer base in this area nearly a decade ago.

I have lived at my current address for over a year, and the close proximity of your pole to my second-floor bedroom window offers me ample opportunity to photograph the magnificent array of connections you have:

August 2011

In the center of the view (on the middle line) is your junction box, and three connections coming in to the bottom of it. Two of them belong to my neighbors, and one of them is mine. Together, we are happily enjoying your service!

Earlier this year, I took another photo.
(One of the side-effects of having a photographer live so close to a utility pole is that it becomes an easy test subject.)

January 2012

Everything is still fine. The trees have gone dormant for the winter, but we paying customers are happily enjoying our Suddenlink television and high-speed internet service!

Over the past few months, I realized that I was using far more of my internet connection than the television service, so on August 1, I called to disable my television package.

On September 7, I went through my usual morning routine, part of which involves checking email and getting caught up on news around the world. The internet has not only replaced my television, but also the morning paper. At around noon, I returned to grab a quick lunch and partake of some internet media, but no! My cable modem couldn’t find a connection!

Maybe it was a city-wide outage, these things happen. So at 11:30 that morning, I called your tech support number. Not only was I not getting a signal, but your tech support personnel couldn’t connect to me at all. If this was a problem with my modem, the person on the other end of the phone should have received a weak signal, but they had zero signal. They found this highly unusual. My house was now an island completely separate from the rest of the internet world. Maybe a squirrel chewed through the cable, maybe some lawn people came by with hedge trimmers and severed the cable (which happened to me at a previous location across town).

I scheduled a technician to arrive that afternoon between 4:00pm and 6:00pm.

I called again (at 1:30pm) to verify my appointment at 4:00pm.

I left work at 5:00pm and called again at 5:15pm to see if the technician had arrived. Another problem — I no longer had an appointment for 4-6pm today. My appointment had been mysteriously moved to Sept 14 — A WEEK LATER. Nobody left any reason why it was changed.

Thanks to my proximity to the pole, and my 200mm lens, I think I can help you diagnose the problem:

September 8, 2012 — This Morning.

That loose cable is my internet connection dangling in the breeze, shooting internet packets out into the ether while my modem tries in vain to ping some device which will never answer.

Is this such a complex solution that it takes you a week to figure it out? Are your techs so swamped that everybody in town is having to wait a week for new service?

You know what? If you could send someone up that pole and plug that cable back in, and not have to make me wait an entire week for you to do it, I won’t have to tell the whole world how you made me wait an entire week for you to plug a simple cable back in.

Thank you,
– Paying Customer.


UPDATE: Monday September 10 – Resolved!

Around 9:30 this morning, I received an automated phone call that I had an appointment for between 1-5:00pm. I called to verify, and even asked in-person at the local office. Sure enough 1-5:00pm, it is.

I head home for lunch at around noon, and lo and behold:

Different port just to mix things up, I guess :)

Somebody fixed it before the appointment time — AND plugged me into a different port, just to make sure. Well, thank you mystery person!

Technical Difficulties. (Edit: problem solved!)

If you ordered a custom print from me and still haven’t received it, that’s because I am behind. At first, there was a delay in getting canvas, and now — thanks to Epson & Apple’s confusing relationship, there’s a hole in my workflow. I’m preoccupied with stuff that will affect every print I make from now on.

Shipping
I usually order paper and canvas from a vendor in Tulsa, but they were out of stock as of May 30. They redirected the order to a branch office in Denver, but their two-day shipping turned into week-long shipping. (They didn’t actually use “Two Day” shipping, they used Ground because “it’s cheaper and usually gets there in two days.” Welp.)

Printing
My friend Dave (who owns the printer and helps with my printing and framing), had to upgrade his Mac OS from Snow Leopard (v10.6) to Lion (v10.7). It wasn’t because the previous version was slow or anything — it was just because MobileMe, which he uses for his business email, is being replace with iCloud, which only runs on Lion. (That’s a silly restriction because I can use iCloud on Windows 7, which Apple says is light years behind any Mac OS.) If he didn’t upgrade by June 30, he would lose his email account.

Things get weird when we’re under pressure.

I’m his part-time tech support guy, so I helped him with the OS upgrade. This is Ronco-easy on a Mac — “just set it and forget it!” We had Lion up and running 37 minutes later, and spent the rest of the evening making sure everything still worked. Email migrated just fine, Photoshop and Lightroom still worked, but now Epson’s printer driver is on the fritz. If the print driver doesn’t work, I don’t have prints.

It turns out that Epson hasn’t really upgraded their Mac drivers since 2007, but they kinda still do since Apple includes them in the OS, and each subsequent OS upgrade seems to fiddle with one little feature after another. We looked over the options in the print driver, and everything looked fine except we couldn’t print in black and white. Yes, the little selection box that says “Advanced Black & White” is grayed-out, and it’s not recommended to print a B&W photo in color because it will come out blue (or yellow, or green, depending on the phase of the moon.) We checked the manual, and by “manual” I mean a PDF file on epson.com dated August 2007, and it implies that feature is supposed to “just work.” Well, it did work up until this OS upgrade. Dave called Epson the next morning, and the solution they gave him was uncomfortable — they told him to enable “Color Managed by Printer” (which you should never ever EVER do, because it will do unpredictable fiddly stuff to the color after it leaves the software; I don’t even know why it’s an option), then go through a song and dance with “Epson Color Controls” to make the “Black and White” box appear. Sure enough, there it is.

He gave me the news last night over the phone, and now I am itching to run a test print. I don’t feel comfortable with the solution that Epson offered us, but even though it’s a slightly different process, I will make sure the print quality isn’t adversely affected.

If you placed a custom order, please give me a couple more days.

—–

UPDATE: June 13, 2012

Epson’s solution actually works, but I gotta get used to it. (It feels icky.)

My big concern: With OS 10.6 I had to use a different paper profile when printing in B&W because the Moab Entrada ICC profile that I used for all my color images made my B&W images look flat and lifeless. Just for kicks I tried the Epson Enhanced Matte profile, and the B&W images came back to life.

When I found that 10.7 wouldn’t let me use a color profile when printing in B&W, I had a little panic. Epson tech support said that the “Advanced Black & White” (ABW) setting has always bypassed the ICC profile setting, and this subtle change in the interface was made to reflect that. But that doesn’t explain why my B&W photos (with 10.6) looked like crap with the Moab profile and looked great with the Epson profile.

Oh, well.. Now I have to remember to either switch back and forth between “Printer Manages Color” and “Photoshop Manages Color” when printing B&W and color (respectively), or get into the otherwise unusual habit of using “Printer Manages Color” from now on. (gah.. that just seems wrong..)

The prints look just as good as they always have, and that’s all that matters.

Blog Post #47

Yes, I’m behind.

  • Still reeling from insane sales from Mayfest and Paseo
  • Got commissioned to do more stone working / real estate photos (for one of the competitors to the first company I worked for!)
  • Had a nasty bug infestation at my apartment, which delayed my shipping of several special orders to customers from Paseo. (Let me know if you haven’t received what you ordered!)

And now I’m on my way to Kansas to not only take more photos of Kansas, but deliver photos to family members who bought stuff at the Kansas show (which I still haven’t done a writeup for! Yay!)

2011 Area Art Studio Tour – come see my “studio!”

If you would like to see how I work, and even see other artists in my community. Well, look no further…

Fourteen artists (myself included) are opening our studios to the public for a weekend!

Saturday March 26 – 9:00am-5:00pm
Sunday March 27 – 1:00pm – 5:00pm

http://stillwaterartguild.org/area-art-studio-tour/

What to do:

  1. Get a map. ($5.00 each) The map will serve as your ‘ticket’ to all of the studios. Maps are available at several locations:
    • Flourishes, 715 S. Main (downtown Stillwater)
    • (the day of the tour) Exhibit One Gallery, 102 N. Main
  2. Using the map, you may tour each location at your own leisure.
  3. Each artist studio will have refreshments, and a host to help guide visitors around.

My “studio” is basically the living room of my apartment, but it’s where all the magic happens. See you there!