Shannon Fennell's Blog

My life, art, travel, make-up, cooking and the occasional rant!

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Day 225 (of the Pandemic)

This has been a long seven and a half months and the second wave is surging. I’m guessing next spring before we will know if we’ll be able to start resuming old activities. I know I’m in no rush.

Areas around me are having to roll back to previous restrictions due to the increase in confirmed cases. And watching the numbers around the world the wave seems to be more of a tidal wave – in Belgium for instance with over 10,000 new cases per day.

I have two classes on campus and today we were informed that as of this Thursday if we are to be on campus we have to do an online assessment to get permission to access. We have to do it every single day we have to go on campus, permission is for only that day. Three standard “self screening” questions. Are you sick? Have you travelled? Have you been in contact with a case? Then they send you an email giving you permission to enter – which you have to show to gain access.

I’m perturbed as I don’t use a smart phone and resources to print off emails daily aren’t readily available – so how am I supposed to show this permission? I’ve sent off an inquiry.

Latest art projects are progressing. Prepped 21 more canvases with the base colours for my thesis project over the last couple of weeks. Last week I started working on the subjects. I’ve finished 13 of the total 35 planned works.

First batch are all 8 x 10″, and the second has 4 x 12″, 6 x 6″ and 5 x 7″.

Did a prototype for my Fabrication project, sort of. It showed me my original idea wasn’t going to work, so I switched gears. This is a 6 x 10″ shadow box with a white rhino I made with glass seed beads. The final project is going to be 24 x 24″ and not a rhino and will use found objects. I only used the beads I had available so the contrast of the shading on the body isn’t as striking as it could be – silver outline and detail with gold fill. I quite like how it turned out.

I also did some art on leaves for one of my online classes – it was a sustainable theme so I created a surface out of dried leaves and non-toxic materials to do my illustrations. I made four “leaf paper sheets” but only used two.

I can peel off the white – it was child safe non-toxic paint, and the leaves can be used for something else. And I know it will peel off as it started doing so while I was drawing!

Halloween this year is so quiet. Very strange for me as for over 20 years it was such a big deal working flat out doing make-up for clients and events for most of the autumn, and particularly the two weeks leading up to the big day. With the virus things are very low key everywhere.

Just as a throwback – here is one of my many favourite Halloween make-ups done on a client.

Have a nice Halloween, whatever you end up doing or not doing! And stay safe.

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Day 209 (of the Pandemic)

This week has been a technology induced headache for me. I’ll go through this in point form, it’s easier to not go off on tangents that way!

  1. My internet connection sucks. The wifi, cable tv, utilities, etc. are all included in my rent. Every time I’ve complained about the loss of connection (which is constant) they tell me they checked my connection from their end and everything looks fine.
    I’ve resorted to keeping a log to give them the next time I complain and so far it is five pages long. There are two networks available so if I lose one, I can connect to the other, but many times neither is working. Sometimes it is totally dead so I just turn off the computer and go do something else. Other times I hop between connections for 10 minutes until one of them connects again.
    When in virtual classes, Zoom meetings, etc. I get constant “low bandwidth” warnings… I friend told me to turn off the camera as that uses up bandwidth. Thing is that some of my classes required me to be on camera to show things I’ve been working on to the professor.
    I’ve lost the connection while in an online class or webinar several times now. Sometimes, in Zoom for example, it will automatically reconnect me into the meeting when the signal comes back, in other platforms I have to try to log back in.
    I was uploading files to my Dropbox the other day… the speed of the transfer was UNDER 500 KB/s for a lot of the time. High Speed Internet??? Ha!
  2. My home computer, which I purchased in 2011 or 2012 I believe, is a gamer – large full keyboard with number pad, large screen – huge memory and excellent graphics capability. My work is visual so I wanted the graphics capability and storage.
    I’ve been having the odd little thing happen with it over the last couple of months – opening images for example – doesn’t open when I click, but if I close, and try again it will. That’s become a normal process. So I was getting worried that it may be starting to have issues.
  3. On Tuesday, while in virtual class, the computer completely crashed. Total black-out, but still running, the cursor was visible on screen but neither the mouse nor the touchpad would move it, I did all the troubleshooting I knew how to do – Ctrl-Alt-Del, etc. but nothing was happening. Took around 20 minutes – resorted to removing the battery pack – to get it to reboot.
    I got back into the class to finish, then went to work.
  4. I have a ClickFree external back-up. Bought in 2012. So… hook it up (My last back-up was in August – I do it pretty regularly.) It gets 35% saved then it crashes!!!! Get a message that says it was disconnected so is shutting down? WTF?
    As it encrypts I can’t tell what was saved and what was not. So I try again… gets to 43% and crashes again. Fine, be that way.
  5. By the way… I had over 55,000 images on my hard drive…
  6. Okay, options? I have OneDrive and the Abobe Creative Cloud – have never used – but they are there. I have another laptop for school (less than 2 years old, just doesn’t have the huge capacity of my main one) so my cunning plan was – copy the two folders I HAVE to save (Documents and Pictures) to one of them, then download onto the other computer. I needed to cull files but that could wait as I was worried about losing things.
    So I get out the other computer. I log into Adobe on both. Copy my folders into the Adobe Creative Cloud folder on my main computer. However… the other computer can’t access, doesn’t see them. I even emailed the tech at the college, but I’d already tried everything he suggested.
    So then I tried OneDrive… same issue. I can put the files IN the folder, but the other computer isn’t accessing. Messages were about “network” so maybe just being on the internet doesn’t work?
    So, in desperation I tried to put essential files in Dropbox… That didn’t work. I exceeded capacity on my free account, and all that transferred over was empty file folders, no data. And as all I wanted to do was transfer essential files to another computer, not store them, I wasn’t paying for more space.
  7. So I moved a couple of items (one being my current year school folder) into Dropbox.
  8. I then spent three days (so far!) culling files on my old computer – there was a lot of duplication. I would copy images into other folders when working on projects – so I wouldn’t accidentally edit or lose the originals. Also old stuff… I had documents from 2004. I would update, but kept the old files, so I would have 15 versions of the same document saved. I also would save ALL the photos from a shoot, even the crappy ones that I would never use. And items I will never use again – like scans of old insurance paperwork, etc.
    So, that was very time consuming – many photos I had to check dates and file sizes to make sure I was saving originals and/or highest resolution. And then visually examine to make sure that the photo was a keeper.
    That is an exhausting process. I’ve got folders containing literally hundreds of photos for one event – the production of CATS I was Make-up Director for and Les Miserables are the two shows with massive files. I honestly don’t need all of that – but it essentially is my scrapbook of my work as I don’t have physical records anymore.
    So far I’ve removed 17,340 files/images and shredded them in McAfee.
  9. Then, I thought I’d try the back-up again, I will be buying a new external back-up asap, but in the meantime need to get this stuff SOMEWHERE for security.
    As I’ve been using this ClickFree drive for 8 years… and I had around 70,000 files of my own data, plus all the systems/programs… maybe it was full? It had a factory reset option… so, I held my breath and reset it – cleared it off completely.
    Then ran a back-up – it was “your first back-up may take a long time as we are backing up your entire computer” I left it running when I left for class. Success! It saved all of it.

I also had to buy two new mice this summer. My main one died (it was probably 10-15 years old!) so I grabbed the little cheaper one I used with my school laptop. Then I dropped it… right button no longer worked so I was doing a half mouse/half touchpad thing to navigate. Not a lot of fun but workable. Got new ones which is so much better! Had to relearn how to right click! LOL

I don’t want to have to buy another large capacity computer… it is not in my budget. But the little laptop I bought for school just doesn’t have the storage capacity for what I have – I’ll check into upgrading it, but I also find it uncomfortable to work on. I am used to the large keyboard and number pad – a lifetime of typing and using printing calculators, starting on manual machines has conditioned me to that.

So that’s my week so far. Today I will continue to cull and do homework at some point too.