Tag Archives: Magic Piano

Winding Down

I thought I might paint this week, but, alas, I did not manage to do that. I think I’m still winding down from the Florida Folk Festival. I’ll have to wind back up tomorrow, so I hope I get this wind-down thing right before then. We ordered blanks last week and tomorrow, our package arrives. Then we will have to get busy dyeing again. We have special orders to fill and we have to replace as many as possible of the things we sold at the Florida Folk Festival. We are thankful for the special orders. Without them, we might be tempted to put off the dyeing, since we don’t have any other events on our calendar right now.

I hoped winding down might include painting but, apparently, it includes shopping and playing lots of iPad games. Oh, and watching movies about painting. I watched “Big Eyes” and I watched “Mr. Turner” and I watched part of “Georgia O’Keeffe.” I’ve seen that last one over and over, so I didn’t need to watch the whole thing. I get too angry at Stieglitz after a while and I have to turn it off.

I used to wonder about Georgia O’Keeffe. The artist, not the movie. I had seen her work in books and I wasn’t sure if her fame was due to her work or due to the ardent promotion by Stieglitz. Seeing small reproductions, I couldn’t see the value of the work. It just didn’t move me. Then our local museum hosted an exhibit of her work and I got to see it in person. Little photographs in books do not do it justice.

In person, you can see the depth and beauty of the colors. You can feel the emotion that went into the work. Once I had seen the actual paintings, I understood that she earned her fame herself. Stieglitz was a genius at promotion, sure, but O’Keeffe was a genius at painting. I saw the paintings and I knew.

That’s one reason my personal bucket list contains so many museums. Real paintings are full of life and spirit that reproductions can’t capture. I want to visit the National Gallery. I want to visit the Musee d’Orsay. I want to visit the Van Gogh Museum. I want to visit the Louvre. Again. Yes, I visited the Louvre once. I did. I was on tour with the FJC Chorale and the Louvre was on our list. The first time the bus dropped us off there, the museum was closed. You’d think a tour bus driver would know which days the Louvre is closed but that was not the case. We sang on the steps (this was 1973; there was no I.M. Pei pyramid there yet) until the bus came back for us. The bus brought us back another day and dropped us off again – an hour before closing time.

I had one hour to see all I could see of the Louvre. I remember the Winged Victory of Samothrace. I remember the Raft of the Medusa. I remember jumping up and down to try and see the Mona Lisa over the heads of the other tourists. I remember being out of breath from running and wanting to weep for all the things I didn’t have time to see.

The world is full of beauty. I want to see as much of it as I can. I want to create some of it, too. I do, but this week I was busy winding down. That doesn’t mean I didn’t accomplish anything.




Color Magic

Another week has passed and it’s time to come up with a blog post. It sure would be nice if I had a new painting to talk about, but I don’t. Sad but true. I wanted it to happen. I thought it would happen. It just didn’t happen. There was a tie-dye inventory taking up a lot of my time. There was Easter. I spent that at a family gathering seventy miles from home, so I didn’t have any painting time that day. There was visiting time and eating time and walking time, but no painting time. No regrets there. I love our family gatherings.

Okay, but there were seven whole days in that week. Surely I could have squeezed in some painting time somewhere, right? One would think so. One would definitely think so, unless one happened to be a fan of an app game called “Magic Piano.” Is anyone out there such a fan? If you are, you know what Magic Piano did this week. For my readers who are not fans, I will explain.

Magic Piano is a game that lets you play real pieces of music by tapping dots on the screen. You earn game currency, called “smoola,” by watching ads. When you have enough smoola, you use it to buy a song. The song rolls down the screen as a series of dots. When the dots reach a certain line on the screen, you tap them. If you see one dot, you tap that with one finger. It it’s two dots, you need to use two fingers. Three dots, three fingers and four dots, four fingers. Easy peasy, right?

Actually, it’s pretty challenging. Not real piano challenging, but still challenging. When I first started playing, the single notes were all green and all the notes in chords were yellow. It was pretty easy to get mixed up and tap the wrong number, but the game was so addictive, I kept trying for perfection on every song. Some songs are easy, like “A Tisket, a Tasket.” Then there are the difficult songs, like Bach’s “Fugue in D Minor.” Yes, they do have the Toccata as well, but the Fugue is so long, the Toccata is a whole separate song, costing a whole separate amount of smoola.

I love most of the songs, but the ones I find particularly irresistible are the themes from video games. They have Dragon Warrior and Zelda and Mario. I play those a lot, but the ones that I can’t resist are the Battle Music Medley and Boss Music Medley from the Final Fantasy games. I love those medleys, and I became a little obsessed with them. I had been trying for weeks (maybe months; I tend to lose all track of time when I’m playing Magic Piano) to break 20,000 points on the Battle Music Medley.

Until recently, my best score was 19,991. I tried and tried and tried to break 20,000, but I just couldn’t do it. This week, Magic Piano did an update and a wonderful miracle occurred. They changed the dot colors from just two to four. There is now a different color for each possible number of dots. This makes a huge difference.

Screen Shot

Screen Shot

See, I did accomplish something this week.

Who in the World is Prim Fritter?

I believe I may have mentioned that I’m a tad obsessed with iPad games. I blame my older daughter. She put Magic Piano on my iPad mini while my back was turned. Now I have to check it every day to see what the new song is. Then I have to play the new song. There’s a new free song every day. How can I resist that? Of course, there are also plenty of songs that cost game currency, which one can earn by watching ads. I’ll admit it; I have watched a few ads. Okay, a lot of ads. I needed the Smoola to get more songs. One can also spend real money, but I have resisted that temptation. So far.

My daughter also introduced me to hidden object games. I have five of them now. I found a couple of them on my own. Yes, they were advertised on Magic Piano. My daughter set me up with the best one, Mirrors of Albion. She became my friend on that game and she showed me how to make other friends. I now have one hundred and fourteen friends. She has over two hundred. She is the only one of my friends I actually know personally. It doesn’t matter. We all give each other gifts. We can give fifty gifts each day. Why would you need two hundred friends if you can only give fifty gifts a day? Sometimes, your friends go to sleep. It means they haven’t played in a while. If they’re asleep, you can’t exchange gifts with them. Gift-giving is fun and it helps you move the game along without spending real money, so it’s good to have plenty of back-up friends.

Then there’s My Singing Monsters. This is an adorable game. It’s hard to explain the appeal. It has islands and it has monsters that sing and the monsters are all really cute. Each kind of monster sings a different part of each island’s song. The more different monsters you add to your island, the more complex the song becomes. My daughter has actually spent a little bit of real money on this game, but I’m still resisting. For now, anyway.

I’m a word junkie (can you tell?) so I have to play Words With Friends. My daughter and I have several games going at the moment. I can always tell when my daughter wants to send me a message on my iPad. First, she’ll take her turn on Words With Friends to get my attention. Once I take my turn, she knows I’m looking at the iPad and she sends me her message. I don’t have a smart phone, so this is as close as I get to texting.

My daughter also got me hooked on My Little Pony. An evil pony has destroyed Ponyville and we need to rebuild it. We add ponies. We add shops. We put the ponies to work in the shops and collect game currency (bits) so we can buy more ponies and shops. There are mini-games within the game and one of them involves dancing ponies. You get more points if you have other ponies dancing with you and that’s why my daughter signed me up. She had a game on her iPad under one character name and a game on her iPhone under another character name, but that only gave her one other pony to dance with, and the game will let you dance with two other ponies. She needed another pony, and now she has Releaf 60.

That’s me, in the world of ponies, except for a little while yesterday. They had an update of the pony game and added a new Leaderboards feature where you can see where you stand among all the other folks playing the game. There’s a button that says, “Find Me” and I pressed it. It highlighted a line that it seemed to think was me, except that the pony listed was named, “Prim Fritter.”

I am not Prim Fritter. I do not know anyone named Prim Fritter. Today I’m Releaf 60 again, but I’m still curious about Prim Fritter. Do I have an alter-ego? A doppelganger? Who is this Prim Fritter and why was she taking my place on the Leaderboard? It’s a pony-sounding name, so I suspect it may be a placeholder of some kind, but I don’t really want to know.

I’d rather enjoy the mystery.

Back to Painting

My regular followers might be wondering if I’m ever going to paint again. It’s my goal for this blog year to paint fifty paintings. I got a good start and kept up a fairly steady pace until the Orange incident. I didn’t think I would let that discourage me from painting, but somehow, I’ve let six weeks go by and I haven’t opened up a tube of paint.

Until tonight. I knew I had to get back on that horse and I knew today was blog day. I thought it would be nice to be able to blog about a new painting. I started looking around for something to paint. I went through all the photographs on my iPad. That would have been more helpful if there were no games on my iPad. I’ve lost count of the number of “Words With Friends” games I am playing with my daughter, but I seem to want to stare at every single one of them until I figure out how to make the perfect seven-or-eight letter word on a Triple Word space. This has only really happened once, but that doesn’t stop me from trying.

I made some good words, I worked on rebuilding Springfield on the Simpson’s game, “Tapped Out,” I hatched some cute monsters on “My Singing Monsters,” I picked up some coins on “My Little Pony,” and I found dozens of hidden objects on six or seven different games. I tried out the new song on “Magic Piano,” too. I did a lot of things, but I did not find a photograph that appealed to me as a painting reference. The only one that ever did had already led to the aforementioned Orange incident.

I gave up looking at photographs. For a while, I gave up thinking about painting and started trying to come up with something else as a subject for my weekly blog post. I ran possibilities through my mind as I was cooking supper. Then I set something on a kitchen counter and saw that my husband had harvested a few of his habanero peppers. They were small. They were cute. They were…

Orange. I picked one up anyway. I took it to my painting space (otherwise known as the dining room table) and I put it on a piece of bright turquoise cloth. I took out a tiny canvas and I painted. I didn’t prepare. I didn’t sketch. I just painted.

Hot Little Pepper

Hot Little Pepper

It’s itty bitty, but it’s a painting. It counts.

Dyeing Again

I want the big refrigerator back. My husband is a home brewer and acquired a commercial refrigerator when a restaurant was getting rid of it. It didn’t work when he got it, but he had a friend who knew how to repair such things and was willing to work for beer, so it was soon repaired. Then he started stashing kegs in it. If you poll home brewers about when the activity really became fun, they will tell you it was when they stopped trying to bottle it and started putting it in kegs. This refrigerator held several small kegs with no problem and there were two shelves above the kegs. My husband kept one for bottled beer and let me have one for dyes.

The dyes we use in our tie-dye business are sensitive to heat. Once we mix the powders with water and chemicals, they won’t keep longer than a week without refrigeration. That shelf in the big refrigerator has been a lifesaver since we started storing dyes there. The thing ran fine for years but recently we started having trouble with it. A couple of weeks ago, it stopped cooling completely. My husband had to clean out all the beer and I had to clean out all the dyes. I wasn’t dyeing then because of the weather and other concerns, so there was no way I could use up all the dye that was on that shelf.

Everything had to go. At least I got a completely fresh start when I was ready to dye again. We haven’t been able to get the big refrigerator repaired yet, so I am trying to use a mini-fridge to keep me going until I can finish some long overdue special orders. A mini-fridge does not hold much dye. On that one shelf in the big refrigerator, I could store two caddies with twenty-two eight-ounce bottles of dye in each one, plus a dozen or more quart or half-gallon containers. The mini-fridge holds one caddy and a couple of spare bottles. I might be able to fit a quart container or two in the door, but I can’t get a single half-gallon container in there. This is seriously cramping my style.

It takes about ten minutes to mix up an eight-ounce bottle of dye. In that same ten minutes, I can mix up a half-gallon of dye in a blender. Obviously, it makes sense to do that when I know I can use up a half-gallon before it goes bad. I don’t even have quart containers for the colors that make up our rainbow. I always mix a half-gallon at a time. Now I have to do careful math before I mix anything, to make sure I don’t mix up more than I can use.

Still, it feels good to finally be dyeing again. I finished the first of two special orders this morning and I hope to be able to finish the other one tomorrow. It’s not just a matter of dyeing the items that were ordered. We also have to dye enough other things in each color palette to make a full load when it’s time to rinse and wash these things. Three items in three color palettes add up to three full loads of tie-dye.

And no Zelda. I can’t just play a little bit of Zelda. If I pick it up for a minute, I’ll be lost in it for hours, so I have to quit cold turkey until the dyeing is done. I try to tell myself that iPad games are different, but they’re not. Not for me. I learned something this week and I’ll pass it along: if you tend to get obsessed with video games and you love music and someone offers to download a game called “Magic Piano” to your phone or tablet, you should JUST SAY NO.