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Showing posts from 2011

Movie: New Years Eve (2011)

As this will be my last post on this blog for 2011 I thought I'd write something about the appropriately titled movie New Years Eve which I saw at the cinema yesterday.

As always this won't be a review but more a commentary of my thoughts. If you haven't seen this film and don't like potentially having the film spoiled then stop reading now - come back when you've seen it. Though having said that, there are no major spoilers below.

The movie is pretty much a formula ensemble piece of intertwined 'relationship' stories. For me the best of this kind of film is Love Actually (mostly for Bill Nighy's performance).

In the case of New Year's Eve the entire story happens over the course of the day leading up to the New Year and is focused around events linked to the New York City, Time Square, Ball Drop (a world famous New Years event but somewhat over rated unless you're actually at Time Square I suspect).

Ensemble films with plenty of big stars (and…

What to Write? The Problem of Being More Productive

I recently discovered WeekPlan, an online, weekly planner site that I wrote about in my Art Time Productions, Business Advice blog with the post, Time and Project Management for One. The planner is inspired by the book, "Seven Habits of Highly-Effective People" by S. Covey and, at week four of using it, is proving to be very good at increasing my daily productivity.

I'm maintaining a weekly schedule of writing one article for each of my three blogs and still having plenty of time to devote to other projects as part of my daily plan.
The trouble is, writing for this blog (which has always been my main blog), is proving to be quite difficult to find subject matter for on a weekly basis. I've always only written for this blog when inspiration hit or if I was enthusiastic about writing. So trying to maintain a regular schedule of writing for this blog when inspiration isn't knocking is something of a challenge.
I can't write about what I do most of at the moment …

Christmas Sales Lower Than Expected - Retailers

Every year at about this time news reports focus on shopping. In particular, shopping in the central city (in my case that is Adelaide, South Australia). Every year sales are reported as lower than expected - at least I don't ever recall any report saying sales were higher than expected.

What this does is give the impression that retailers are doing it tough when in fact they're probably doing perfectly fine. Sales are still up, with more people buying during the festive season, it's just not as high as they expected.

It's almost become a traditional pre-Christmas whinge.

As you may know I sell my own original art and prints of my art through this website and Redbubble. I even sell Christmas cards featuring my art. For me Christmas sales so far are exactly as I expected - Zero.

It's not as if I don't promote what I sell or let people know my work would make a great Christmas gift. It's also not as if I don't have plenty of people telling me they enjoy …

Let It Be Beatles Show in Gawler

Last weekend I went along to see the Let It Be Beatles show at a local hotel as a tag along guest at my partner's work Christmas function. I wouldn't say I'm a fanatical fan of Beatles music but I do enjoy most of their hits - though my preference is for their later work, when they were able to really explore their musical creativity.

Personally I was a little disappointed by the show, not because of the band or the performance but because it was just too loud for the room. Don't get me wrong, I like my live music loud but I was having a hard time making out what the band members were  saying even just speaking into the microphones between songs.

Granted we were seated near the front, so you'd expect it to be louder but we were still at the opposite side of the dance floor to the band and there was a table (it was dinner and a show) of people in front of us. I'm sure it sounded great to the people up the back, down the elevator and in the ground floor dining r…

Why Do You Do Art?

I was recently asked the question 'Why do you do Art?'. You'd think after forty plus years of doing art I'd know the answer to this question but I actually had to stop and think about it.


I'm aware many people create their art as a relaxation or escape from stress. I suspect many artists in this category are those that get their inspiration from painting their surroundings - such as landscape, still-life and portrait painters.

Just from my observations those artists, once they've developed their skills and are confident in their techniques they can afford to relax and enjoy the experience of creating their art without stressing too much about whether their final artwork will be successful... chances are it will be.

I'm not one of those people.

Creating my art certainly isn't a stressful experience by any stretch but I can't say my mind is relaxed during the process. If anything, it's more active than ever as I have to bring my idea out into a vi…

Keeping Up with TET on your Mobile Device

Mobile internet and devices have become a lot more popular since smart phones and tablets have really taken off. Especially with the launch of iphones, ipads and their Android equivalents. With so many different screen sizes to cater for my web site isn't always that easy to browse on mobile devices.

To help make your browsing experience easier I've enabled Blogger's mobile view on all my blogs. This view essentially strips back all the sidebars and leaves you with just the articles, which scale nicely to fit whatever size screen you're using.

Download my Apps...

However if you want to keep up with everything I upload to my three blogs, two YouTube channels, My Facebook Page, Flickr, Ebay and more (so many sites that I can't even name them all off the top of my head) then I'd recommend installing my Mippin Mobile Application.

The application works as an installable app on iphones/ipads and Android devices. On all other mobile devices it gives an 'app like&#…

Software Stylus for Tablet Drawing

I own an Android Tablet that has available to it many great drawing applications.  The trouble is, drawing on a touchscreen with  your finger is like trying to sketch with jumbo crayons.  As is trying to draw with most stylus pens which are only a marginal improvement over using your finger.

 Precision drawing on your average touchscreen seems like wishful thinking.

 However I've had this idea for a software stylus that acts like an extension of your finger and allows drawing with greater precision.  See my rough diagram below.  Essentially it's a pointer that follows your finger around the screen. Its angle can be adjusted so that from your vantage point it looks like the tip of  your finger is coming to a point.


 You simply move the pointer around and the line is drawn from the point of the stylus instead of somewhere under your finger, where you can't see it.

 Obviously I haven't worked out all the details - such  as how the pointer tells the difference between pos…

Pt5. Three Cat Tails Painting by TET

Day five of my video diary (embeded below) following the creation of my latest series of paintings, Three Cat Tails.View Part one, Part twoPart 3 and Part 4 if you haven't seen them yet.

In the final episode of this series I get to paint the black and white layers that I thought I'd be painting on day 4 but delayed in exchange for adding more purple and green shadow.
The black and white layers take the artworks through to completion. Then I finish each panel off with a dark blue border around the edge (to cover up the paint marks on the sides).
Whilst I do continue to talk about what I'm doing as I paint this episode does contain a few quite moments of just me painting away because there isn't really a lot to say about the white and black layer. However I hope you'll stick with it to the end just the same.
The series of artworks are available to buy so if you're interested contact me to find out if I'm still looking for a buyer.

Occupy Wall Street - Movement for Change of... Something?

I've been kind of following the Occupy Wall Street 'movement' from my position of apathetic denial of what's actually happening in the real world - that you can see if you pull back the curtain or disconnect from the Matrix.

In particular I've watched vlogs of the Melbourne, Australia, Occupy Movement through the eyes and camera of You-tuber Sean Beadlam. Sean is quite a hard hitting comedian whose humor is topical, political and often based on the injustices faced by the oppressed. He also focuses on the media and how they'll beat up a story to get their 'angle' rather than provide balanced reporting of the whole story.

Although not one of his comedy routines this video below from Occupy Melbourne is a good example of Sean's work with several juxtaposes of the Occupy movement with media and Sean's use of technology.



Although Sean isn't the only source of my information, you would think that a guy like him would have more to say about the m…

Pt4. Three Cat Tails Painting by TET

Day four of my video diary (embeded below) following the creation of my latest series of paintings, Three Cat Tails. View Part onePart two and Part 3 if you haven't seen them yet.

Yesterday I said that I would begin on adding my black and white final layers today. However after looking at the paintings a few times over night I decided the cats could really use more shadow to give them just a little more three dimensional form.
I had a strong feeling that adding purple and green shadows was what the images really needed. Especially the two larger images needed the purple shading on the background behind the cats to connect them with it - since those two particular images actually make more sense if you get the feeling that you're looking at the cats, laying on a blue floor, from above.
At this point I pretty certain I'm ready for my final black and white detail layers - which I'll get onto on day 5.


Continue to part 5.

Pt3. Three Cat Tails Painting by TET

Day three of my video diary (embeded below) following the creation of my latest series of paintings, Three Cat Tails. View Part one and Part two if you haven't seen them yet.

In this video I mix a dark brown colour to add some shadow and stripes to my cats. You'll see how the brown tones the orange down quite a bit to make the colouring of the cats a little more believable.
I also mix a light cream colour to fill in the transitions between the orange and white area of the cats fur. You'll see in a later episode more clearly what I mean once I add the white back in. Note how, when I add the cream, it initially goes on too thick and I have to wipe it back with a cloth and water it down to make it more translucent. The perils of mixing colours with white paint!
Finally I finish up by adding in a few small details like paw pads and noses.
It doesn't actually seem like I did that much today. Ordinarily I'd probably keep painting but I'm trying to pace this out so I…

Pt2. Three Cat Tails Painting by TET

Day two and part two of my video diary (embeded below) following the creation of my latest series of paintings, Three Cat Tails. View Part one if you haven't seen it yet.

After painting my initial base painting using the three primary colours, in this episode I demonstrate blocking in my backgrounds and the base colour for the three cats.

This episode is a little longer than the last but hopefully is still interesting to watch. All the painting you see is in real time but obviously edited down quite a lot to show the 'highlights' and I explain what I'm doing as I go.

I realize these videos aren't as exciting to watch as the more common 'speed painting' style videos but if your the kind of person that likes to watch over the shoulder of a real live artist at work then these might just be up your alley.



Continue to Part 3.

Pt1. Three Cat Tails Painting by TET

Determined to start painting more frequently I decided this morning to start a new artwork. However the only canvases I had to hand were a pack of three square canvases of three different sizes that I received as a gift.

I generally don't paint on canvases smaller than 30 x 40 centimetres in size so rather than not use the two smaller canvases I decided to create a series that I could paint across the three panels at the same time.

As much as I enjoy painting I also need my art to sell. My cat paintings nearly always sell so it was a no brainer to do a series of cats. Cat themed paintings are what I would call my 'Bread and Butter' art. i.e. art that pays the bills.

There's no shame in that. It's not selling out. All professional artists have particular themes that sell well which they continue to return to for both the fun of painting and the financial return. In between those paintings they experiment with other themes. People who are familiar with my art always…

Casper, Gizzy and Oscar - Talking Cats and Dogs

I don't think I've ever chosen a pet dog or cat for myself. Of all the pets in my life, as far as I remember, they were always chosen by someone else. I wouldn't call myself a 'dog' or a 'cat' kind of person not because I don't like them but because I like them a little too much - if that makes sense?

They're not just 'pets', they're companions and friends. At least that is how I view my relationship with our cat Casper who recently passed away (and our dog, Oscar for that matter). I like to spend time with them, often at the expense of my own productivity.

Casper and Gizzy

I first met Casper about eleven years ago when I became a part of his family. Back then he had a younger  friend called Gizzy. Gizzy wasn't exactly attention seeking but she was more vocal and generally upstaged Casper for attention when she needed it. Casper was happy to let her. I think it saved him from having to get our attention because he knew whatever Gizzy …

Timeline - Finally a Reason to Use Facebook

I got caught up watching the F8 Keynote speech this morning on Mashable. Which is unusual in its self because I'm not that much of a Facebook user but with the introduction of Google+ I was interested to see if Facebook would do anything that would leap it far ahead of its new rival. With Timeline I think they've delivered something special. See the short video below.



Before I continue, just a quick comment on the F8 speech, which went for 1 hour and 40 minutes. The opening joke by SNL's Andy Samberg impersonating CEO Mark Zuckerberg, whilst funny to begin with, kind of stretched into something weird to the point where I was just glad to see him get off the stage. I was definitely with Mark when he jokingly said "Don't start doing impressions".

The rest of the keynote was delivered in Mark's somewhat awkward but still very listenable style. I felt he really did explain the changes well. The highlight for me though was when Chris Cox, FB Vice President of…

Frog Van, Right Spanner - Part 5

The Frog Van is all back in one piece but it seems having the right spanner just wasn't enough. After cleaning off a year's worth of dust and cob webs from the exterior I took it for a test drive.

It seemed okay at first but the engine power and acceleration was definitely sluggish compared to how I remember it. I managed to get to a service station before running out of fuel (the petrol tank has been sitting on empty for some time after semi regular start ups just to make sure the van still worked).

From there I took it to the other side of town - only a five minute drive at most - but the backfiring problem was back and getting worse. I headed back for home with the backfiring finally getting so bad that it stalled the engine. Fortunately I was at a point where it was easy to pull over.

At this point I was pretty much at a loss for what to do. The backfiring seemed to get worse as the engine got warmer so I decided to remain parked for a while to let the van's engine co…

Frog Van, Right Spanner - Part 4

After a couple of days delay waiting for the right manifold gasket I was able to start putting the Frog Van's engine back together. (Note: if you have a picture of the gasket you want but not the part number, show it to the person who is ordering the part - even if they say they don't need it  - that way you should get the right part first time).

Before I could get started I had to drill out a bolt that had snapped inside the inlet manifold. After a bit of research on Youtube for the best way to do this I discovered you could get a special drill bit just for the job.

Fortunately I was able to improvise with a regular drill bit and a precision sanding drill bit head (I'm not exactly sure of the drill bit's proper name but essentially it's a drill bit with a metal coarse grain head in the shape of a cylinder slightly wider than the drill bit its self).

If you've never had to remove a broken bolt before the technique I used was to centre punch the end of the broke…

Frog Van, Right Spanner - Part 3

Continuing my work on fixing the Frog Van, today I've removed both the inlet and exhaust manifolds to reveal the damage to the gasket (see image below).


From the image above, the circular holes are for the inlet manifold whilst the square holes are for the exhaust manifold. Around the square hole on the far right, the top of the gasket was severely damaged with an obvious leak.
Having never seen a new version of this gasket I'm not sure if it is simply a metal gasket or a metal gasket with a black coating on each side? I've since watched a few Youtube videos on changing a manifold gasket where all the gaskets are metal only. Leading me to believe that possibly, the person who installed this gasket, coated it with a product called 'gasket goo' on both sides. 
Which may have been fine except, with all the overheating trouble the Frog Van has had in the past, the heat may have been more than the product can take and the 'goo' has burned away. However I won't …

Frog Van, Right Spanner - Part 2

I don't buy spanner's that often so the price of quality spanners tends to be a minor shock to the system. I needed a 10mm fixed head spanner in order to continue work on fixing the Frog Van that I started yesterday.

Looking at the range of spanners in my local auto shop I could either get a high quality, single spanner in just the size I needed or, for two dollars less, get a pack of six cheaper spanners that includes the one I need. No brainer, right? (I bought the cheaper spanner pack).

Rather than go into a long blog post about disconnecting a few wires and pipes and undoing four bolts with my trusty new 10mm spanner I thought I'd just post a before and after picture...


Before (above): This photo is looking from above directly into the top of the carburetor (air filter removed). Notice all the pipes and wires around the top. I'm sure a skilled mechanic wouldn't be daunted but this is me and, as I said in my previous post, I'm not a natural mechanic. I know w…

Frog Van and the Right Spanner

I haven't written about my Frog Van for some time because it's been sitting under our back veranda waiting for some much needed repairs. The last time I pulled bits of the engine apart was to remove the radiator, which I had reconditioned then reattached.

Since then, apart from a dead battery stranding my sister and I in Kapunda, the van had been running particularly well. Well enough for me to trust it driving all over the place and know that it wouldn't break down. It still had problems with running on and backfiring but at least it worked.

When Enigma and I moved house in September of 2010 we used the Frog Van to move all of our furniture to our new home. It took a few trips over a few days but I reckon we probably saved quite a bit by not hiring a moving company (which we did price to see what kind of cost was involved).

Unfortunately on the van's very last trip between houses it died after progressively getting harder and harder to start and keep going. It turned …

Aliens Are Watching Us!

Aliens are definitely watching us. To illustrate, this is going to require some background on my last few trips to the doctor...

Late 2010 I was getting chest pains but couldn't see a specialist until February 2011 who promptly hooked me up to an ECG, sent me off for an ultrasound of my heart and had me do a heart stress test (which involves being wired to a machine and walking very quickly on a treadmill). Results were 'nothing'. Everything normal. I'm fit - apparently.

Since they found nothing I'm thinking, maybe the aliens have got to me with some kind of undetectable implant that's causing chest pains every time it broadcasts back to the mother ship? Don't believe me? Well, I'll continue...

Recently I've been getting cramps in the lower left side of my abdomen that have varied in intensity. Not excruciatingly painful but enough to raise some alarm bells and get me off to the doctor.

After doing the obligatory urine test - which came out normal -…

Ridley Scott Revisiting 'Blade Runner'

It is both with interest and trepidation that the news, Ridley Scott to Direct New 'Blade Runner' Installment for Alcon Entertainment, finds me. It's great that Ridley is back on board, as this definitely gives me some confidence. Especially after reading How Ridley Scott came to Direct the New 'Blade Runner'.

Although I didn't get to see the original in theaters, I've been a fan of this movie since it was first released on VHS video back in the early nineteen eighties. I'm also one of the minority (it seems) that likes the original theatrical release with Harrison's voice over. I also like the subsequent cuts of the film and own a copy of the Final Cut but I felt the narration made it feel much more like a detective story than an action/sci-fi film.

It's interesting that the producers are hoping to come up with something new and fresh but without Harrison Ford I'm not too sure. He was such an important part of the original film. That said I…

Bert and Ernie - Officially not Gay...

...or anything for that matter. Sesame Street Workshop recently made a statement saying that Bert and Ernie were just  'Best Friends' and outing them as not having a sexual orientation as they are 'puppets'. The full statement, which can be found on their Facebook page reads as follows:
Bert and Ernie are best friends. They were created to teach preschoolers that people can be good friends with those who are very different from themselves. Even though they are identified as male characters and possess many human traits and characteristics (as most Sesame Street Muppets™ do), they remain puppets, and do not have a sexual orientation.The statement is a response to a recent online petition and Facebook page requesting that Bert and Ernie be allowed to get married on Sesame Street as a way of supporting LBGT teens. The petition’s creator, Lair Scott, was inspired by the “It Gets Better” series of videos launched by columnist Dan Savage.

That's the history of this lates…

Jac Cat is Back - Art by TET

Jac's Back is my latest artwork and my first in just over a year away from painting (more than two years if you exclude the single horse painting I did in 2010).

At 30x40cm it's a small artwork but after so long not painting I didn't want to start anything too ambitious. Which was also the reason I chose to paint yet another version of Jac making one of his crazy flutterby leaps. Start with what you know.

If you're not familiar with my cat paintings you can see quite a few in my RedBubble Gallery where you can buy prints of my various artworks.

Jac himself is not really any one particular cat but these days refers to a style of orange and black stripe cat that I've painted many times. The name Jac is actually an abbreviation for Just A Cat and was given to the very first official Jac artwork, Happy Cat Jac, by the person who bought it.

Whilst painting Jac's Back I set up my video camera and filmed some of the process - which you can see in the video below.

Cons…

RoboCop Reboot: The Return of Social Satire

RoboCop is one of the all time great Sci-fi creations. A reboot has been talked about for years and, as of writing this, it looks like it's back on again according to this report on Den of Geek, What to expect from the RoboCop reboot.

I think the time is right for a reboot as I'll explain further below along with my ideas for how it might be approached. First let's start with what inspired this post and some thoughts on the first three films.

RoboCop 1, 2 and 3

I recently purchased the RoboCop Trilogy as a three disk DVD set. I can't say I'm a huge RoboCop fan but I do remember the first movie being released in 1987 and it was considered quite ground breaking for its time. I'm a Sci-Fi fan with an interest in any movie about robots and cyborgs so I wanted to add RoboCop to my collection.

After watching all three films (I've only ever seen the first previously) it's easy to see why the three movies were being sold in the one DVD case for half the price of…

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