I think I’ve mentioned before the kitten in a tutu I use as my avatar on most forums I visit?
[album 128913 FutureCat.jpg]
I originally found it in the default avatar set of a now-defunct forum, and assumed it must be public domain, so kept a copy and have used it ever since. I’ve wondered a few times where it originally came from, but have never bothered to try and find out. Until yesterday, that is, when in an idle moment I did a bit of googling, and discovered the artist’s website, and that I had been breaching her copyright all this time. I suppose I could have just kept using the picture anyway, safe in the knowledge that the internet is a vast place and the chances of me being caught were pretty small, but after a bit of soul-searching I decided to come clean. I wrote her an email explaining where I’d found the picture and what I’d used it for, apologised, and asked her permission to carry on using it. It was a bit of a risk, because she might have said no, or even worse, sued me or something, but I knew if I didn’t ask my conscience wouldn’t let me keep using the picture, and I’m rather attached to my dancing kitten.
And the risk paid off. I got this email this morning:
Thanks for your kind words. I’m glad that you enjoy my work.
Yes, you may continue to use a picture of “Cat Dancing” as your avatar, with my blessings. I’m glad that you like it.
And yeah, a lot of places don’t understand copyright, and think that if they’re not getting money from it, copying an image is “Free Use.” That’s not the meaning of “free,” though, in the context of copyright.
But it’s a common error, and just an error, and of course I don’t hold it against you, especially since you corrected it as soon as you were aware of it.
I really appreciate that.
Just please do mention that it’s mine, and you have permission to use it, if there’s a place for it. (Perhaps in your profile, if there’s room, or something.)
Have a wonderful day, and thanks again for contacting me.
So I’m now legally (and more importantly, morally) ok to keep using “Cat Dancing” (© Robin Wood, used with permission!). And I’ve bought myself a print of it from her site. The original picture is even nicer than the tiny avatar version, too – you can see it here.
For the last few weeks, I’ve been walking to work as well as walking home. I found a slightly quicker route, so it only takes me about 45 minutes to walk, which is not bad considering that the bus takes about 20 minutes (it takes a very circuitous route with lots of stops), plus of course when I take the bus I never know exactly when it will turn up, so I’ve got to be at the stop 10 minutes before just in case it’s early. And after a walk I get to work feeling a lot more ready to start the day than when I get off the bus. It does mean getting up 20 minutes earlier, of course, but that hasn’t been too much of a hardship now that it’s light earlier – I may have second thoughts in a couple of weeks when daylight savings starts!
Anyway, walking that distance (and back!) every day finally made me realise I needed a decent pair of gym shoes. My cheap canvas “commando” gymmies are fine for general mucking around, but they’re definitely not up to longer walks – my feet would start to ache about half way home. So this morning I bit the bullet and went and bought myself a good pair of walking shoes. And amazingly, it was a pleasant experience! MrPloppy and I went to Riccarton and went into the first sports shoe shop we came across, The Athelete’s Foot. We stood looking in bewilderment at the vast range of shoes, and almost immediately a friendly and efficient sales assistant came up and offered help. He asked intelligent questions about what I needed the shoes for, how much walking I did, what sort of surfaces I was walking on, where my feet had been hurting from my normal shoes… and then rather than just asking what size I was actually measured my feet properly and got me to stand on a pressure plate that showed where I needed support and cushioning. He seemed to really know what he was talking about, not just be giving a sales pitch, and when I told him what price range I wanted to go to he didn’t try to talk me up or anything. I was seriously impressed.
So many shops nowadays, especially the big chains, seem to forget how important that kind of service is for building customer loyalty. They employ kids who know nothing, give them the minimum of training, and concentrate more on selling the customer the highest priced item instead of worrying about what the customer actually needs. It was so nice to actually be served by someone who understood the product he was selling and was able to recommend me the right shoe straight away: it was a perfect fit and supported my foot exactly right. And well within the budget I’d given him. And that sort of service counts for so much. I probably could have found the same shoe elsewhere cheaper, and normally I’d have shopped around a bit. But because the service was so good I just handed over my credit card without a quibble. And I’ll be recommending them to everyone I know.
Of course, because the shoe shopping experience hadn’t involved price comparisons and shopping around, we had plenty of time to kill before the Bookcrossing meetup we had planned for lunchtime. So we made the mistake of looking in a few bookshops… we did manage to avoid the temptation that is Borders, but Whitcoulls had one of their lethal “5 for $20” sales tables (so of course you can’t just buy one or two books, because that would be a waste…). And then we went to the new St Christopher’s shop (St Christopher’s is the church that runs the big second-hand bookshop at the bottom of Riccarton Road with the famous 20c table. They’ve just opened a second branch closer to the mall which sells better quality books, but still very cheaply). We both ended up with an armful of books there too…
So even before I got to the meetup, I’d already acquired quite a few books:
- Milk Glass Moon by Adriana Trigiani
- Dressing Up for the Carnival by Carol Shields (I had a copy of this ages ago which I released unread, but when I read the journal entries others wrote about it I wished I’d read it first, so this time I will)
- Dragonflight by Anne McCaffrey
- Dragonquest by Anne McCaffrey (I’ve been wanting to re-read the Pern books again for ages, so I’m slowing collecting them together)
- Losing Face: A Memoir of Lost Identity and Self-Discovery by Kathy Torpie (a NZ book by a woman whose face was badly damaged in a car accident, about the psychological effects she experienced)
- Year of Wonders by Geraldine Brooks
- Samurai William: The Adventurer Who Unlocked Japan by Giles Milton
- Fuzzy Thinking: The New Science of Fuzzy Logic by Bart Kosko
That lot should keep me going for a wee while (like Mt TBR wasn’t overflowing as it is…)
Considering my moaning the other day about attendance levels at meetups, the meetup was surprisingly well attended:
me, MrPloppy, lytteltonwitch, TheLetterB, awhina and meerkitten, and gwilk, Mrs gwilk and gwilk jr. The three books I’d brought along (Legends edited by Robert Silv
erberg, The Reader by Bernard Schlink, and Artemis Fowl: The Arctic Incident by Eoin Colfer) were quickly snatched up, and I picked up Cat by Freya North (not really my kind of book, but I couldn’t resist the title :-)) and was given The Lecherous Academician and Other Tales by Ling Mengchu (to release at the university sometime) and a Spanish/English dictionary by lytteltonwitch. A very enjoyable meetup, and great to see so many there!
The flowering cherry in our front yard has burst into bloom in the last few days, and is putting on a fantastic display. Its flowering always coincides with the start of nor’wester season, so the blossoms don’t last long before being blown away, but for a few days at least it is a solid mass of flowers:
Currently reading: Blade Runner 2: The Edge of Human by KW Jeter