Just my stuff

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A fun thing to do every month


Some folks like arts and crafts. Others, like myself, enjoy fiddling away on the computer, trying out new freeware and pushing it to the max. I find it not only relaxing but plain, simple fun.

Here’s a calendar I made for the month of May. I used Pically’s free online calendar creator.


Pically makes white borders a little larger than I’d like, so I loaded the finished product (a pdf file) into Photoshop Elements (which can read pdf files) and cropped the white edges out before sending to Staples.ca for a good, inexpensive laser printing.

Actually, it was a bit more complicated than that.

Because I wanted to get the entire photo in the calendar, I simply loaded a blank (no image) calendar template into PS Elements. Then I pasted the tulips into the blank area, adjusting that image’s ratio so as to fit just the way I wanted. Add a little text at the top right, and you’ve got a lovely little 8.5 x 11 inch calendar.

The reason I started doing this is because I usually get my Mom two calendars for Christmas. One, a store-bought calendar. The other, a free calendar from my local parish. But this year I didn’t see any calendars at my parish. Either they were all snapped up before I got to them, or the Church is cutting costs. Not sure. But my Mom likes to have one for events (she’s like a medieval chronicler … been writing in her calendars for decades) and one just to keep track.

So feeling a bit guilty that I didn’t get her her second Christmas calendar, I began searching online for the best calendar maker, where I wouldn’t have to download a whole bunch of stuff that might slow down my computer (which I keep mean and lean for music production).

The result… Pically. It seems the best free online calendar maker to me. Try it!



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Belly Dancing for Life

Took my Mom to the park last night for a walk. We stumbled upon this gala event!

Image via Tumblr

Image via Tumblr

I took a lot more pics of the crowd to demonstrate Toronto’s amazing multiculturalism, but one person gave me a bit of a dirty look, and it got me thinking. I’d love to post them but don’t want someone to sue me for putting their face online. This is an issue that, I think, most photographers must consider.


drifting cowboy

image via Tumblr

I got out of the city yesterday, stopped here at Tim Hortons for some eats and coffee. Really nice spot, out in the middle of nowhere. Listened to Hank Williams Sr. for the entire trip…

For those outside of Canada, that’s a Canadian Tire gas station outside, lights mingling with those inside.

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back to nature (?)

Image via Tumblr

Irony intended. Every time I go to this park, really a ravine that runs thru the city, I laugh (or grimace, depending on the day) at all the signs! Not only that, the park workers have color coded their spray paints and ribbons, I guess indicating what type of work has to be done. So what could be a casual walk in nature usually feels more like a stroll thru a construction site. Yesterday, rocks by the river were all spray painted pink! And it wasn’t about gay pride.

All for the best, I suppose. When the work is done, the park will hopefully be nicer and not just some overly manicured future-world like we find in the suburbs.

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the first step

Image via Tumblr

I was in the park today. Took this photo and later realized that I had more on the left than the right. I could have cropped it but liked the shadows and greenery. So I got creative and added the right sidebar to try to balance it. That didn’t work, so I loaded it into another program, which automatically added the left panel. I sort of like it. Balance achieved. And quite unexpectedly!

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thru the forest

Image via Tumblr

An experimental shot as I’m ascending the west side of the ravine. The view of the city is Leslie Street north of Eglinton. Sort of an upper-east location. I was having a ball by this time. It was getting dark and I was alone in the woods. A bit scared maybe, but also feeling protected by the spirit. I was actually making jokes to myself while darkness fell… “and now I’ll call this photo… Mike Gets Mugged.” Luckily that photo never happened! Gotta be a little mad in life. Otherwise it’s just too dull.

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Evening Star and Sunset

Evening Star (via Tumblr)

Sunset – I could have cropped this to get the sun exactly centered but I like the wave patterns… anyhow, who says it always has to be centered! (via Tumblr)

I got another chance to get out of the city last night. A beautiful sunset and star-rise. Is that a word?

This is one of my favorite getaways because I can get there and back home within a few hours and, as you can see, almost nobody is there. Especially at this time of year. A very peaceful trip. I usually take time out of the city to catch up on some feelings that can get buried in the fast pace of urban living. I don’t know what I’d do if I couldn’t escape from the city every now and then. I know some folks who are city-bound. People who work in the supermarkets, and so on. They don’t have a lot of cash so rarely leave the city. I guess one adapts. I hope I never have to adapt to that!