Archives for the month of: November, 2012

Now we have a real problem: I suspect Harvey of cheating! Can I say this so bluntly? I’ll tell you the story and ask for your opinion.

Yesterday I bumped into an old friend, I will call him Mr XL here.  Of course I told Mr XL about the ‘Super Dede 2012’ competition and asked whether he has voted. Unfortunately I mentioned the poor loser Harvey, the rabbit with a gambling problem who doesn’t have any supporters at all. At the time I really felt sorry for Harvey, the poor little sod. I explained to my friend that Harvey got his name from a 1950s movie starring James Stewart, called ‘My friend Harvey’. In the film Harvey is actually a pooka, in the shape of a human sized rabbit who can only be seen by a Mr Elwood P Dowd. No, I didn’t see the film when it was first released! However,  Mr XL was very surprised he had never heard of the film even though he could have seen it then.

Strangely enough in the afternoon the votes for Harvey started to rise. He is now – would you believe it – number four! Being a pooka and a gambler I have my suspicions that Harvey went to see Mr XL after I’d left and made a deal with my friend. Knowing Mr XL, who is a real sucker for the underdog, I wouldn’t be surprised if he’d agreed to skew the votes in Harvey‘s favour for a couple of beers on Friday night in the RSA or the pub. Ah, it is Friday today… Unfortunately I have a prior engagement tonight, but if anybody spots Harvey and Mr XL in the pub together tonight, I will disqualify Harvey on the spot.

What do you think?

In the meantime, here is the voting form again…

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Mouse is unusually quiet at the moment. I know her well enough to know she is extremely hurt by Smug Little Devil’s comment she might have done something unethical. She is very proud of trying to see everybody’s point of view and doing the hard yards to get the best possible outcome for everybody. Sometimes I wonder where this little thing gets her energy from. She must run on some very special batteries. At the moment she behaves very much out of character: While she still does all her other chores, she has asked me to take over the poll. She doesn’t want to go near it.

After a good night sleep – with initially a bit more sobbing – Mouse resigned as administrator of the poll first thing yesterday  morning. It was a really good move, as there was a big surprise yesterday… While Mouse was fifth at the end of the first day… she is now level heading with Cash Cow in first place. It looks to me as if the readers are supporting Mouse and don’t have too much of a problem with her gaffe. My personal inkling is that it must have been an honest oversight.

We had an even bigger surprise… Push Push, the elephant who isn’t on list of candidates – got a vote with two exclamation marks!! So she must have one really strong supporter out there. It is even more astounding as her mug shot is also missing from the ‘Character’ page….What an oversight on my part! Thanks to the person who voted for her it came to light and I will fix it as soon as possible.

Understandably Push Push is dancing around the living room. Have you ever had an elephant doing a jig in your house? That is certainly something you don’t want to experience… I am worried the walls are coming down, but I can’t really ask her to stop…  I would do the same, if I were her.

To be honest I personally wondered why Push Push wasn’t on the list of candidates in the first place. She is such an accomplished performer and without doubt has much more of a presence than, let’s say, Harvey, the depressed gambler (who by the way still doesn’t have a single supporter).

Voting closes on Saturday, so we are half way through….

If you haven’t voted yet – Here is your chance: (The Dedes are getting more and more excited :)

I found Mouse crying in the kitchen last night. The floor was littered with used hankies. My first thought was: Oh dear, the poll isn’t going so well. Of course I had to ask her what the matter was.

“No, that’s not it, the poll’s going well” she sobbed. “We already have a distinct pattern.” She showed me the results of the first day.  Cash Cow has taken the lead, but it is still early days. Mouse‘s idea is to add the poll to every post this week, to make it easier for readers to vote.

Mouse continued: “I really appreciate the effort of our readers. Dianne for example, you know, Dianne Gray, the writer from Australia, it was her birthday and she just quit her day job and moved to the country side. She really has her hands full, but she still voted. Isn’t that great!”

“This is just wonderful, Mouse” I confirmed and gave her a hi-five “What a good job you did with setting up the poll!” Unexpectedly my words set her off again.  Looking at the results bamboozled me even more: At this stage Mouse ranks fifth together with Monkey, well ahead of Harvey or Snippedy. These two didn’t get any votes at all. How disheartening this must be. No vote from anybody.

“I honestly don’t get it” I said to her “you should be over the moon!”

She blew her nose and said as clearly as she could manage: “I overheard Smug Little Devil saying we are a bunch of amateurs”

I rolled my eyes “Don’t listen to him!” I advised, “He is just like that. He doesn’t mean it. ”

“Unfortunately he has a point” she started sniffling again “he said I shouldn’t be a candidate and in charge of the poll at the same time…. He said that is so, so, so.. bana….. ”  I couldn’t understand the rest of what she was saying. Her words merged seamlessly into a spasmodic sob attack.

Right!

I cuddled her and said she should go to bed, we would deal with it later. For now I will put the poll up as is. We have to find out who deals with these issues. There might not even be an official complaint yet.

In case you haven’t voted yet… Here are the candidates for the ‘Super Dede 2012’ competition again. If you would like to see the result, click on the ‘View Result’ text link below the ‘Vote’ button.

A very biiiiiiiiiig thanks to everybody who has voted already…. It really is anonymous.

Okay, I’ve got the list of candidates for the big ‘Super Dede’ competition. I was asked to take a group photo. But I’ll tell you what, this was more difficult than herding a flock of flees! Some of the Dedes were so hyped up that it was virtually impossible to get a good one. And of course afterwards everybody wanted to see the result and they couldn’t agree on which one was the best. Predictability they all looked at themselves, not the overall impression of the group.  Ah well, I am doing all this on a voluntary basis and I have to have it done before I go to work… So they’ll have to live with what I’ve put up now!

Just a quick reminder of who’s who. In the back row you see from left to right: Cash Cow, Monkey, Harvey, L’Artiste Dede and Foxy Lady. In the front row: Snippedy the clown, Socialite, Mouse, Pig (lying down) and Scardy Pants. Don’t ask me how the last one got on the list. I reserve judgement about the selection. I have no idea how and why they became candidates.

We now have to find five finalists that will compete for the ‘Super Dede 2012’ title.

Mouse set up a Polldaddy form (below) to get feed back from our readers. The five highest ranking puppets will become the finalists. I am a bit skeptical that it works, I am not into all this stuff, but I will keep my promise and hold back. Mouse explained that the readers can vote for as many puppets as they like and their vote is anonymous. Right… but I had to laugh when she said the free version of Polldaddy only allows 200 responses. What is she expecting? Furthermore, Mouse said all those who don’t want to fill out a poll (and she winked at me) can instead put forward any Dede (look them up on the Character page) by just typing the name into a comment. Mouse will keep track of the manual votes and will tally it all up in the end… I had to remind her she shouldn’t expect too much. I know how easily Mouse is hurt when she puts so much effort into something and it doesn’t work out.

Devil and Detail, the organisers, requested the poll should close this Saturday. This will give them enough time to finalise the format. The preliminary format is as follows:

1. The candidates have to introduce themselves

2. They have to answer 3 questions

3. They have to perform (anything of their choice)

Happy voting!

The Dedes are keen to go ahead with some sort of competition and have  been busy yesterday trying to nut out a format. Devil and Detail have just been to see me. They are very excited while I am still half asleep this morning. So I just let them tell me what they have come up with.

They spent all afternoon and the evening consulting everyone about what the competition should be and in the end they discarded the original idea of a ‘Ms Dede’ in favour for a ‘Super Dede’ competition, so not to discriminate against the men who want to take part. First on the agenda is to find their candidates. And here they realised that not everybody is equally keen. When the idea first was aired it sounded as if they were all in. This was a total misconception of course, because the noise level went up with all the cheering and clapping and the ones that quietly shook their heads in disbelief couldn’t be heard.

So today Devil and Detail will be canvassing for candidates. There are some that have already agreed to be candidates, like Cash Cow, who is so broke she could do with the prize money… She doesn’t know yet that there is no prize money. Monkey on the other hand is a comedian and he sees it as his chance to pull in a big crowd and get his break.

Then there are others who don’t want to put themselves out there, but would like to watch the other Dedes making fools of themselves, like Smug Little Devil. He is such an armchair critic. He watches and comments on what they should have done differently. Of course he would do it much better.

Then there is a big crowd that isn’t interested, but thinks if the others believe it is fun they should go ahead – without them. But there are also a few who would like to spoil it for everybody else because it is so brainless, or the ones who would like to take part but are not confident enough. I don’t envy Devil and Detail finding their candidates.

They asked me how many candidates would be an appropriate number and I suggested they should audition 10 and narrow it down to 5 candidates.

We then agreed the Dedes will canvas who wants to take part and then make a preliminary decision. They will put forward ten candidates with a photograph, from which everybody is invited to select their favourites.

What the candidates will actually have to do, Devil and Detail haven’t revealed yet. But they promised, cross my heart, it won’t be singing. We all know the Dedes are crap at that!

Last night we had an impromptu party. Every Dede and their dog was there. It just happened. Such a typical New Zealand thing. They brought their own drinks and mixed and mingled with everyone. It was really, really pleasant. I had some refreshingly good conversations. Of course there was also criticism. I mentioned that I am finally working on the proposal for the new exhibition and I am nearly finished. I want to have it done and dusted before the silly season starts. All the puppets standing around me at the time were rolling their eyes and Devil said: “It is all about you again. Isn’t it?”

“What do you mean?” I asked “you will be there too.”

“Yes, you will be showing us off!” replied Mouse

“I thought you liked to be on show?”

“Yep, but we are on show and have to do all the hard work, then you get the accolades!” added Sunny. It was obvious they had an axe to grind with me.

In the meantime the noise level had dropped and everyone was listening to our conversation. Suddenly we were  in the centre of a circle and all Dedes were standing around us.

“We would like to do something that is for us, and only for us…” Devil demanded and everybody clapped and cheered.

“You mean without me?” I was a taken aback and was nearly going to say… Give it a go and you will realise it won’t work, but Devil explained further: “No, not without you of course, we know we need you… But something largely run by us and you hold back a bit!”

“Look at the blog” Professor said “people are not interested in your stories. Whenever you feature – sorry, I have to spell this fact out to you – our ‘Likes’ drop!”

“Hang on, when I had my photographs up, we got far more ‘Likes’ than you guys ever got!”

“Shush! Just look at the name of the blog? Your pictures have nothing to do with it. Don’t even go there!”

“Okay what do you want to do then?” I asked.

There was a long silence.

“What about a beauty contest?” Pirate, the entrepreneur, piped up. A beauty contest! – I nearly burst out laughing, but bit my tongue.

But everybody else got quite excited and a big discussion ensued: “Why not? Maybe not a beauty pageant, maybe a talent quest: Dedes got talent or something!”

“We can include our readers….” someone else said and everybody thought it was a brilliant suggestion.

Listening to them I started to warm to the idea. After all, these are very popular formulas. I told them they should work out what they want to do, and let me know. I will see to it that it happens.

What do you think?

 

Nobody came forward with any ideas about how to stop Smug Little Devil undermining my decision making. …Truth be told, I can’t really act on it yet, as I have only heard the accusations through the grapevine. So I will have to leave it for now. It’s hard though, not to do anything. I have to confess his behaviour irks me greatly. I am confident the Dedes’ allegiance is still with me for now, but for how much longer? I will prick my ears up… and if he should be so silly to give me half a reason I will pounce on him and take him to task. That is the plan! But I know he is a cunning little weasel. He doesn’t trip up easily. I have to be very, very patient.

In my defense, (and this is now an explanation for all the Dedes, who feel they should have been selected for the gallery trip), the idea was to send five puppets who have absolutely nothing in common. They were supposed to be online friends, not real ones. When we tested it for a few weeks in the living room it worked very well. They communicated very nicely via their modems and didn’t look at each other. Instead they looked out into the big wide space before them, but had no idea who they were connected to. Unfortunately in the gallery they managed to turn their heads round and they saw who was on the other end of each modem. I believe that was when the real trouble started. When Ms SM suddenly realised she had opened her heart to a pimply teenage Boy and Smug Little Devil was not chasing that young hot fox, but middle aged Liar. Alien just thought it was a big, big joke and wanted to party!

I apologise, I didn’t think it through… I just acted on my great artistic ideas and ignored the personal pain I might have caused the participants. But then…. get real! When you find yourself on a deserted island, you have to learn to overcome your differences and cherish what you have in common. After all, you are all Dedes, aren’t you!

Phew, now I really worked myself up :), but I feel much better!

I have noticed the Dedes who were at the gallery are somehow different from the home crowd. The ones at home are a lively bunch. The travelers seem somewhat sedated in comparison. I expected them to be brimming with new ideas and stories.

Far from it!  Boy, Liar and Ms SM sleep all day (and night). Alien – who needs no sleep – sits in the middle of the lawn speaking to his people at home, where ever this might be. He doesn’t even need a phone. He just sits there and smiles and from time to time laughs out loud. Watching him, I get the feeling he is terribly homesick.

That leaves Smug Little Devil to bath in the attention of the home crowd. Of course everybody wants to hear some stories and he is the only one who likes to talk about it. I heard through the grapevine that he loves to tell everyone how terribly I failed in selecting the best team for the excursion. He could have done a much better job.

He uses a silly little trick… He schmoozes each Dede by telling them they definitely should have been chosen for the trip and he would have so much preferred to have stayed with them for six weeks than with the other losers he had to go with (… the ones I had selected). I am not entirely sure what he is trying to achieve….except unsettling everyone.

Help! What shall I do now? If I don’t nip this in the bud right now, I will have another riot on my hands.

When I left work last night, it looked as if I had got all my files back. It took eight hours to transfer the recovered files to a different hard drive. I will have to have a close look at them today. The Dedes were noticeably relieved about the news and they were all very compassionate about my mishap and said nice words. Except for Smug Little Devil  (one of he puppets that just came back from the exhibition).  I had forgotten about his irritating habit of laughing out loud at other people’s mistakes. As if I had deleted the data deliberately. Who would do that? But as if his devilish, and rather arrogant guffaw wasn’t enough, he adds insult to injury by telling you what you should have done in the first place. He always knows and he always knows best.

In the beginning I thought he is quite a nice little puppet, but now, I just want him to shut up. Of course he told me I should set up a back up system that doesn’t take long and doesn’t cost the earth. As if I didn’t know this myself.

Gee, was I happy it was Wednesday and sports night. So I could excuse myself swiftly. When I left I heard him say to the others “You know all she needs is a back up system”

“Let it go!” I heard in various voices.

May I introduce: Dipstick! The new puppet, that’s me – I admit it!… For all my second language readers: no need to look the word up in the dictionary,  once you have read the post you will know what it means.

It was one of those days yesterday – you know what I am talking about – absolutely nothing goes right. Okay, this is not entirely true as “those days” don’t really exist. There are just days, when the negative is unfairly pronounced while the positive fades into the background. I call “those days” puppet days now. The first client set me off…. Never a good start to the day. And it continued until seven at night, when it was time to go home. As it was such a frustrating day, I decided to take some work home… Doh…, How is that for punishment? No really, I wanted to take home one of the projects  where I have free reign creatively. For me that is the best way to relax.

And here the story starts: To take work home I needed to transfer a few files onto – I am a bit of a fossil – a memory stick. The only one I could find had a fault. It still could be read and as the info on it was unimportant I thought I would quickly format it… That will do the trick.

Format… Done!

Oh, You haven’t….!

Yes, I have…

I have formatted my 300 odd Gigabyte external hard drive on which I keep all my personal art projects. It is  a virtual studio and as big a creative mess as the physical one, oh dear! You might not believe me but that is a real account of what happened. I was so exhausted from the day that I didn’t even have the energy to explode – what use would this be anyway?

So, phone call to good mate: “How do I get my files back on a formatted hard drive?”

“You can’t”

“Yes I can, it only renders the FAT unreadable” Thanks to my elephant memory (usually more of a curse than a blessing ), this info was stored away somewhere in the grey matter…

Phone call to hubby: “Dinner will be late!”

So I go on the Internet and luckily find a program on the first try.

Ha, ha – Note! Luck on a puppet day! I have to point this out so not to despair.

So I download and start the program. It takes over 3 hours to collate the information. I let it run, go home, cook dinner, watch a bit of brainless TV, go back to work. Program is just finishing collecting the info. Six more minutes, I can wait for that…

Then it needs to build the file tree and tells me it can take hours. Luckily it is finished in under ten minutes….  All I need to do now is click the “Restore” button. But what does the program tell me after I have done that? “Yes there are files, but the free version of the software can only recover 100 MB.” That’s laughable…100 MB is not even one of my high res layered photoshop files.

So basically it works. I see the file names on screen, but I have to download the full version. 100 NZ$ is a small price to pay for being a Dipstick. So I obtain a code to continue. Shouldn’t take long… Wait for the email…. Code arrives….Copy into box on screen.

Code doesn’t work. The instructions say it can take a few minutes before it is active. So wait….

I try again… It still doesn’t work… Wait…. Try again… Still doesn’t work… Wait…. Try again…. You get the picture. I feel like Homer S – Doooh!

I find a few spelling mistakes in the program while I wait. This doesn’t bode well. Spelling mistakes, in my opinion, are a sign of sloppiness. I hope they took more care of the coding, but now I have paid my $100 can’t do much about it! In the end I download the program again via a link from the code email. Copy the code in here – it works – but it has to re-read the entire hard drive. It tells me this will take over 3 hours. Sounds familiar… I am at Square 1.

I haven’t been in to work yet. I write my posts before breakfast. If you hear a scream in an hour or so, that would be me!

Should any of my students read this post: Yes, guys it happens to me too :)

Needless to say the puppets kept a low profile. They are masters in reading my moods!