Long time no write!
Here’s just a little of what I’ve been up to since my last post. First, let me rewind.
In early 2010, Bell Canada advertised web hosting service packages. By February of that year, I had signed up with Bell Web Hosting for the Economy Plan which included 300 MB of web disk space, 10 GB monthly transfer, 24/7 technical support, 8 e-mailboxes with 1 GB storage and more. My website was launched with the domain http://www.modesofflight.com, as established in the Registration Confirmation e-mail of Tuesday February 23, 2010, 3:57 PM (I have retained this and many other related documents since then).
I was set up with a Bell sympatico.ca e-mail address but the Bell representative on the phone fully understood my need to maintain my branding efforts as an artist, and agreed that it was far more appropriate for me to use a business address that doesn’t end with sympatico.ca. He helped me to establish the business email account, that some of you know is connected to this blog, so that I could ignore the Sympatico address. In all of these years, I haven’t used the sympatico.ca address. It still exists, somewhere out there in the grand electronic universe but all e-mail in or out of Modes of Flight have been channeled through my official business e-mail address, and I’ve always used it with e-mail client software on my computer. I’m not interested in any less secure online e-mail programs like Hotmail, Yahoo, G-mail, etc. Yes, I do have some of those accounts for special circumstances but they are almost never accessed.
Everything had been working perfectly for years until I purchased a brand-new desktop computer with Windows 10 Pro OS in late May of 2016. At that time, I needed all of my web hosting and e-mail services migrated to the new computer. Between May and September (4 months), I wound up talking to countless Bell operators and technicians who outright failed to re-establish my e-mail, and connect me to Bell’s server so that I could manage the files for my website. Bear in mind that I was paying for these services that I didn’t have access to for all of those months.
The issues had to be escalated to a much higher ranking officer in Bell’s corporation before someone could be found to adequately complete the service migration. It was a tremendous inconvenience. I won’t bother going into those details. Seeing red, I nearly jumped from Bell to one of their competitors.
Unfortunately, throughout much of 2016 and especially during the latter half, my wife Kim and I saw multiple family deaths and others becoming quite ill. Even the pastor for one of the memorial services noted that 2016 had been a most unusually tough year for my wife’s family in this regards. Even now, although we are getting past much of it, these issues have been extremely distressing, and contending with them as they mounted became top priority. They even drew me away from my affairs in MOF for months. Kim’s father was the last death to have occurred a few days before Christmas. We were emotionally and socially drained.
Since the very start of 2017, I began to return to my MOF responsibilities, to find that I could neither send nor receive e-mail. I found out when I tried to log into my MOF Twitter account. My inactivity resulted in me being locked out, and I was notified with the following message that popped up on the screen . . .
“In order to protect your account from suspicious activity, we’ve sent a confirmation code to [ e-mail address ] Enter it below to sign in.
Confirmation code Confirmation code: [ . . . ]”
So, I opened my e-mail client and lo and behold, there was nothing sent from Twitter. I saw that the last e-mail received was November 9, 2016, and I knew that many others had tried to send me e-mail right up to the end of the year. Of course, I immediately contacted my service provider.
I was routed between Bell Tech Expert, Bell Web Hosting, Bell Internet Tech department, Bell Hosting Team, Bell DNS Team and Bell Tech Support none of whom could help me to get reestablished. That’s right; here I go again!
I mean, Bell Canada is a major national telecommunications and media corporation. They also have satellite offices in many other countries around the world. They’re highly resourceful. If NASA can launch and remotely control two exploration rovers on Mars, 54.6 million kilometers (33.9 million miles) away, then why can’t Bell get my e-mail up and running?
Eventually, I was told that I had been locked out of my e-mail due to it not being used for so long which makes no sense at all since I had not been notified in any way about this, and I had been paying for the service the whole time.
I unexpectedly also found out that my domain, and all of its files on Bell’s server did not exist. That’s right, my entire website had been removed from the Internet without anyone consulting me.
I was told that no one at Bell had any trace or record of my website, which is the equivalent of me paying monthly for services that never existed since 2010; which amounts to grand theft. I even have my old bills to prove it.
In fact, I was asked a few times by different people at Bell if I was actually paying them for these services. They honestly thought I was someone with psychological issues mistaking their massive conglomerate for another. There’s no way that their records or lack thereof could be wrong, right?
What does all of this have to do with my art? Well, it’s like this. Anybody who has a fine art career in the 21st century knows that one absolutely must establish an Internet following by having a website, blog and social media management platforms (SMMP’s). In this day and age if you approach a gallery for representation, a collector takes interest in your work or someone becomes interested in potentially collaborating with you on some project the very first thing they’re going to do is look you up on the Internet.
It was bad enough that I had lost people that I cared about last year, I had also lost the business foothold that I painstakingly gained since 2010. Bell helped to flush it all straight down the toilet while their services are supposed to help their customers advance.
I could barely contain my fury. I was again ever so close to jumping to a competitor. I again escalated my problem to a corporate officer, this time to one who is said to be quite close to Bell’s CEO. I’m calling her Wonder Woman.
It took a couple days of investigation but Wonder Woman was able to find out that someone arbitrarily wiped out my e-mail and domain as part of some effort to clean their servers or something. I probably wasn’t the only Bell customer to have faced this major inconvenience. Wonder Woman basically told people to smarten up and get me back online. After a few more days, it was done.
Thank you so much Wonder Woman, you know who you are (Kim and I want to send her flowers but Wonder Woman can’t accept them)!
Now I must begin reestablishing the gains of MOF I have lost. I have new art to create, new blog posts to write – some old ones even stand to be new again, I have to breathe more life into the Hammer Home Street Photography project blog, get caught up on e-mail, I have a lot of networking to do, SMMP’s to work with, exhibitions to plan and join, and a website to hopefully redesign before the end of 2017.
For those who have followed my blogs and social media accounts, I seemed to have dropped out of existence approximately midway through 2016. I was also on quite an art exhibition circuit but that too came to a screeching halt. This is because my wife and I were emotionally overwhelmed. Although we were able to travel a bit, and I was able to continue with certain projects, much of the year was spent with our lives and thoughts being painfully impacted by the deaths of a number of people. Many others that we know and are acquainted with happened to have the same experience. It really seems like 2016 had an unusually high rate of mortality all around the world.
In response to these trials, I’d like to say that the MOF resolution for 2017 is to create more art that celebrates life but I’d be kidding myself. The art of MOF has always been about exploring and celebrating life; real life, fictional life, near, distant, familiar, unfamiliar, joyful and even saddening aspects of life. So, I wouldn’t be breaking any new ground here.
Once again, I have a tonne of e-mail to get caught up on. I won’t be able to get to all of them. I’m afraid that I’ll have to delete most of them, and accept the loss where I stood to make considerable gain from some of them. I just want to thank everyone; nevertheless, for sticking with MOF and wishing my wife and I the best all this time, and let everybody who follows MOF know that I’m still around. I’m still creating, planning and hoping to use art to enrich your lives as well as my own.
The only real changes are that I aim to push my comfort zone in terms of artistic expression and marketing. Maybe I’ll push others too with these modifications.
I had better get on with it because, after all, each of us only has one fleeting life to live.
This is how I’ve taken to composing city skyline images in recent years. I used to shoot them by positioning my camera from a fair distance and at an average terrain elevation to try and capture virtually everything. Through my learning curve I had to face the reality that pretty much everybody shoots skylines this way. I began to take on a different approach.
I’m still open to doing things the usual way but so that such urban landscapes wouldn’t become too static, I decided to move closer and start shooting smaller sections of cities from various angles, including aerials.
I’m always impressed by the power of nature, and trees often inspire me to think of things that really don’t matter to the average person especially when I’m out in the woods.
At any given point on the Earth’s surface the atmosphere, which is approximately 100 kilometers thick at sea level, exerts an incredible downward weight of 4,526,851,852,600,000 metric tonnes (4,990,000,000,000,000 tons). The tiniest blades of grass and the loftiest trees withstand this. Our own bodies withstand it most impressively.
That is, until a good strong lateral wind is able to knock a mighty tree down, uprooting its foundation and all.
Pardon the pun but that just blows my mind!
So, the latest photography challenge by Paula Borkovic over at Lost in Translation is meant to get photographers thinking about using diagonal elements and aesthetics in composition. This prompted me to post a shot from my Hammer Home Street Photography Project.
Locke Street South is a popular, trendy, business and residential district in the city of Hamilton. It has an interesting history that goes back to a couple decades before Canada became a nation. The look and sounds of this area are a welcome blend of that which is classic with the contemporary. Deceptively, it appears as though this little spot is completely self-sufficient from its surrounding neighborhood and metropolis.
I wanted to make a landscape of Locke South that would convey that proud sense of independence. The best way for me to do it was as an aerial with the district running from the lower left corner to the upper right, and having the lush suburban canopy flanking the street towards the opposite corners.
My overall aim was to show just how cozy and tight-knit this community appears to be in a single shot.
I have lived my entire life in and around this biome. Some of my fondest childhood memories are of playing in these forests alone and with friends; coming across a myriad of beasts, and fantasizing about mythical ones.
The taiga is still one of the places I retreat to when I need a breather from everyone and everything in the rat race.
A gentle tropical breeze blowing through the fronds of coconut palms makes an extraordinarily tranquil sound.
2D visual artist specializing in illustration, photography and graphic design.