Office goodbyes and crowd control in photography

Dear folks,

Sixteen of March was one of those days. I had a MRI scan in the morning, then the vet was coming to see the cat and in the afternoon we had a goodbye meet-up at the office for one of our colleagues – Anita. Add unruly bus drivers, traffic jams and packed public transport to the mix. I had left the house at 8 am, came back at 14:00 for an hour and was out again until 18:00 pm. When I came back I was hungry, tired and incredibly stressed.

Me and Anita - photo by Sunny

But two weeks have passed and I hardly remember the bad moments. What I do remember is the fantastic good-bye we held for our Fraud Manager and one of the most kind-hearted persons we had a pleasure to work with.

Anita and Zsuzi - photo by Mal

Few days before the meet-up, I have found a wonderful card in a confectionary. It was huge, had a big “Sorry you are leaving” sign and a big white box that was shaped like an envelope to match it. I have brought it to the office and went from department to department so people could sign it. Usually it is tough to get a card signed, less alone A2 format, but believe me this time around the card was nearly filled up in an hour.  Let this fact alone serve as an explanation how praised and liked Anita was among our staff.

Anita, our Fraud Manager - test photo by Malicia

Anita wasn’t just switching jobs. She was leaving the island for good. I have asked her what she wanted for a good bye gift and she remarked that she wanted a photo with the people she worked for over 2 years. So here’s a tip for you photographers out there. It’s relatively easy to command a large group of camera shy people who use computers and other office equipment to hide from you. You simply do not inform them that you will be taking photos.

Anita and Sunny - photo by Malicia

I like to call it a Rambo tactic. You enter the room and shout “May I have your attention please” or “Parish announcements” (that always works for me) and everybody looks up at you. You put the camera in the air and continue “Pictures people. In 5 minutes in X spot”. If somebody tries to run away, you point a finger at them and say “You too”.

Everybody say `cheese` - photo by Malicia

As you can see from uploaded photos crowd control is easy. Once they are grouped you may want to remind them not to do silly faces as it is extremely hard to remove in Photoshop 😉 And then you just press the shutter.

I am looking at the photos now and I see a group of people who try their best at detecting fraud in all shapes and sizes. In the middle of them is Anita, who always was there to answer even most peculiar questions and who knew this business inside out. A certain era has ended with hers and Delphine`s departure. I know nothing last forever but … It is funny how you come day after day for 8-9 hours and you take the people for granted, like they will be always there to work with you. But they are not.

I don’t know about you folks, but I always had troubles with saying good byes. I’m too sentimental.

The crowd under control - photo by Mal

Anyway, there are always the good memories and the photos will remind me of tons of great days I have spent working with some really amazing people like Anita, Delphine and many others. I guess I need to bring my heavy Canon to the office more frequently.

Hey Anita, if you read this, have a great time back home and kick some asses for us. You are missed, but you know that already.

Malicia

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SPCA visit

Evening good people,

SPCA banner - photo by Malicia

At the beginning of December 2011, I and my office colleagues decided to pay a visit to a local SPCA shelter in Malta and see if there was something we could help with. You know, it is always good to leave your desk and stretch lazy bones. Doing something voluntary is also a bonus. It simply makes you feel good.

SPCA logo

Office decor - photo by Malicia

Shelter opening hours - photo by Malicia

There was a whole bunch of us going that Saturday morning, but those who couldn’t attend pooled in to buy some food for the animals. Thanks to their generosity we got three big bags of cat food. The bags were so heavy to carry that I nearly missed the taxi (by now it became a party classic as apparently I was handling running, shouting at the driver and carrying the bags quite well, dignity aside ^_^).

Office decor - photo by Malicia

Shelter view - photo by Malicia

Once we arrived in Floriana, we were given a briefing by the staff and each of us was assigned a dog (or two depending on your strength) to walk. Believe me, the dogs there were just beyond cute and adorable. I ended up having quite a shy and detail orientated furry beauty named Suzie. She had proved herself to be a dog for a risk analyst. During the walk she stopped a million times to observe, smell and familiarize herself with any given object. She was also quite a strong lady. After some 45 minutes, my hands were aching as Suzie pulled me hard and dictated where we were about to go.

Before the walk - photo by Malicia

My Suzie - photo by Malicia

Lisa and her companion right before the walk - photo by Malicia

Jamie and dogs share a moment - photo by Malicia

Afraid at first, she ended up jumping on me and being extremely friendly. I so wish I could adopt her but it was impossible at that time. Some years ago I have already homed a cat named Sami. But if you are in a need of pet extraordinaire, please consider coming to Floriana to see if you are able to give one of their animals a loving home.

Luke posing - photo by Malicia

Candid shot - photo by Malicia

Born models -photo by Malicia

I think I love you- photo by Malicia

I must say the walk with Suzie was fantastic. Other had as much fun as I did. I had my camera with me, so at the end of the walk I was snapping pictures of everybody. As you can see, some dogs were born models, while some others were more interested in sumo wrestling their new human friends.

New best friends - photo by Malicia

Tired by happy - photo by Malicia

Anita - photo by Malicia

I have also spent a considerable amount of time in the “Cat’s Room” (and ended up with a lot of scratches as the felines decided to play rough with me). During that time, I have been told that SPCA planned to get a heater to keep cats warm during the winter. Immediately, the idea was born. I consulted with my colleagues: Jamie, Anita and Luke and we agreed that we would take SPCA collection box and would try to raise the amount needed in the office. Needles to say, money required for a new heater were raised in a week and a half. Our office folks simply kick ass 🙂

Collection box for the heater - photo by Malicia

The group shot - photo by Malicia

Before we departed, I managed to take few shots of the surrounding area (legendary pot holes in the road!). St some point it began to rain and we all got wet and a bit cold but nobody really paid attention as we were  too occupied telling each other what our dogs did.

Rain, rain go away - photo by Malicia

Floriana legendary potholes - photo by Malicia

All in all, it was an amazing experience and definitely brought some Christmas spirit to the season that people tend to spend in the shopping malls ad in front of the TV.

Office decoration - photo by Malicia

I for one, given the opportunity, would that again.

[Edit: 12/03/2012] Wow, 76 hits in one day. Must be a new blog record^^. I was asked to run through the photos and see if there were some other images that I haven’t shared. Among those that were duplicates or simply bad takes, I have managed to findthree more and I am adding them below as a bonus to the post above.

They document each of us choosing a leash before walking the dogs (a good leash is essential!) and some of us having more fun with the dogs. Sometimes it’s a dog that strikes a funny face in the photo. Also you can see that my two colleagues had a struggle with the animals after the walk (they didn’t know that the dogs were Olympic champions in sumo wresting).

Choosing a leash - photo by Malicia

Dog strikes a funny face - phoot by Malicia

Chaos, panic and disorder - photo by Malicia

Thats all folks, Hope you had fun reading this (and looking at the photos).

Laters,

Malicia

The Engagement post

Can I have the attention please? 🙂

Photo by Rita

I was planning to make this post two weeks ago, but life got in between. So since I had a day off today, I decided to make some announcements. As you know, February, besides being the shortest month of the year, is also considered to be the most romantic one. Many people start making plans and somehow the jewellery purchases are on the rise too. Those two facts are linked together as well. You probably know by now, where this entry is going (maybe except for the Couple as they have no clue about this post and will be reading it along with everybody else).

I want you to meet them:

Photo by Malicia

Rita: painter, events organizer, hell raiser and my twin sister. Zodiacal Scorpio and a proud redhead. Avid gamer, Star Wars enthusiast and all round pop-culture specialist. Huge fan of Death and Better than Ezra (among million of other acts).

Photo by Malicia

Matt: comic artist by night and IT specialist by day, archer and enthusiast of RPG`s. Also a nerd and a gamer. He is secretly a metal head enjoying acts such as Machine Head. Relaxed and optimistic chap who is friendly and always eager to help.

Photo by Mal

Photo by Malicia

Those two met years ago on Dead or Alive forums, both being fans of the series, and as they say, the rest is history. This February 14th, the critters decided to make a big step in their relationship and went official.  They are happily engaged and the whole clan is ecstatic. We can’t wait for the (wedding) party 😉

Last year in April, Matt and Rita were holidaying in Malta and I took some (compromising) photos. I decided that this is a good occasion to share some of them with our readers and hopefully, they will tell you more about the Couple, than I would ever be able.

You see Matt and Rita do a lot of things together.

They go fishing together. They go ballroom dancing together. They are environmentally friendly and feed stray animals, even those really big and scary ones. I have it all on record below:

Photo by Malicia

Photo by Malicia

Photo by Mal

photo by Malicia

They also attend social events together and generally look like a nice couple should look like. Jokes asides, I am proud of them both and wish them all the best, as they are one of the most hard working and genuine folks I have ever encountered. They kick ass (mine for example) too.

Arent they looking good together?

Matt and Rita at a party

So if you two read this (before you will go after my sorry behind), know that I am really, really happy to have you both in my family and you should have done that a while ago anyway  😛

And here is a tune for you both. Congratulations.


Love and kisses
Malicia
(on her way into hiding).

Good food, bath bombs and vintage chicken – its Easter time

Note from Rita:

Just to let you folks know that we are still alive, just slightly overworked (what was my name again?). We realize that the blog took a back seat for the moment but we are back with a vengeance.

Mal is gonna upload some new entries tomorrow and hopefully we’ll be able to keep regular updates without running around like headless chickens and wishing our day had 148 hours.

Design and photo by Rita

And speaking of chickens, eggs and bunny rabbits. It’s Easter. Time of the year when we celebrate spring, good food and a new circle of Life.

We at Vanadian Avenue would like to wish you all the best. For this occasion, we have three new digital Polaroids. As every year I am responsible for preparation of traditional Easter hamper (a small basket with food such as eggs, bread, sausages, ham, sweets and spices that is taken to the Church to be blessed and then shared on Easter Sunday over breakfast. It is a very old Polish custom). So, two of the Polaroids are also designed by moi.

Photo by Rita

One is actual hamper that I decorated for the family and the other is a vintage chicken with egg shells that have been decorated by hand. The eggs and chicken are in our family for many years and we do not remember from where we got them, but they have character.

Third Polaroid, shows gorgeous bath bombs prepared by Charlene of Soap Café. They are fully vegan and made of natural substances to make you feel prefect for spring. Recently we have been attending a workshop by Charlene and we will write about it really soon.

Photo by Mal, bombs by Soap Cafe

So there you are and hopefully you all have a splendid time.

XXX`s and OOO`s

Rita D.

April Fools

Hey All,

We are in the middle of our Spring break. So updates will resume after April 7th. But there is something we would like to share with you. We pulled a perfect joke on people we know on 1st of April. I took Rita to the office and we switched roles. So everybody thought that Rita was Mal and vice versa. It was hilarious to shake hands with colleagues with whom I work for 2 years and see them introduce themselves. Plus everybody thought they were seeing double.  

Just for the record, if you do not believe that we are identical twins here’s a photo taken two days before the event:

Photo by Matt Griffiths

If you can pull a better one on April Fools, I’ll buy you a lunch.

 We got a nice bunch of chocolate eggs for those who got fooled. This is our official April 1st 2011 Polaroid.

Digital polaroid by Malicia

I am off to bed because tomorrow we are having a picnic and a dinner at Hard Rock Café.

Sleep tight,

 Mal

A bit of luxury on Women`s Day

Hey,

This will be a short update. We really had a tiring day. But it was worth it.

As you know, 8th of March is an International Women`s Day. This year it was a double celebration as Fat Tuesday (Mardi Gras) happened on the same day.

Photo by Mal

So to honour these two important occassions, we did some crazy and sweet stuff. First of all, a big thank you goes to Charlene of Soap Cafe. She really helped us to prepare some magnificent gifts for our female friends. And luxurious at that. Heart shaped body lotions with glitter. Hand made, vegan and 100% organic. Named “Diva”. Beautifully packed with a gift card. We were able to suprise our friends and they loved the gifts to pieces.

Hey, after all what are friends for? To be spoiled (a little bit). 🙂      

If you are unsure where to go if you need to get an unique present, seriously Soap Cafe is the best place. And we do not say that because we had our works showcased there. We say that, because we can always count on Charlene and her amazing skills.

Charlene will be participating in the Patches Market on 13th of March in Valletta so if you feel like meeting her and seeing what she has to offer, we encourage you to do so.

Here`s how the gifts looked like:

Photo by Mal, product by Soap Cafe

Another gorgeous thing done today: we got a big bag of assorted sweets to the office and delivered it on all three floors. Everthing was eaten by the end of the day and everyone was content. A perfect farewell to the Carnival season. As usual we had a blast, nothing cheers you up on a cold (and windy day) like chocolate. Tested and approved.

In the end we want to send our warm wishes to all the girls, women, ladies and grannies out there. You are splendid, all of you, you make half of the world`s population and seeing how many of you went out today to demand what is rightfully yours, made us so proud to be females. This small polaroid below  is for you.

Digital polaroid by Mal

 

Happy Women`s Day wherever and whoever you are.

 

Love
Mal+ Rita

Of Valentines and cyber punk

Another day, another update at the blog.

Today we want to share two series of digital polaroids with you. One was created for an office party. The other is not yet finished, it will be growing a bit in the coming days but we want to present it anyway. The series is called Attica.

Both Rita and I hate boredom. The routine is creative minds` biggest enemy. Thats why, we are always trying to change our surroundings, we look for something new, we don`t wait for things to come our way – we make them happen. It is maybe unusual but believe us, life is so much better that way. It is the good time and good memories that count.

Photo by Mal

Disturbing office life in a posivite manner is one of the things that we do. Mal works for Igaming company, people come to the same place everyday, spend their nine hours there and head home. Nothing wrong with that but it doesn`t take that much to actually have a really wonderful atmosphere at the workplace. You need a proof? On Chinese New Year, Mal brought real dumplings and shared with her colleagues. She made them with a help of her friend Lily. Just a small plate of dumplings and suddenly everybody felt different. Sometime later another colleague came with home made pancakes while somebody else bought pizzas for everybody on the shift.

Photo by Mal

This Valentine`s Mal decided to bring a party to the office. After all it is really sad to be working on such an important day. Plus in February two years have passed since Mal joined the company. So there was a reason to celebrate.

To have a real tea party, we needed teas and cakes. And good ones! Thankfully, we know exactly where to get the most amazing sweets on the island. Busy Bee in Msida is known as one of the oldest coffe houses in Malta and they produce quality cakes, sweets, chocolates. So we visited the shop and agreed that we would get two gateaux: almond cake with amaretto and pavlova and dark chocolate with profiterols. Sounds heavenly? We told you that Busy Bee produces amazing things and they taste just as they look. We couldnt help ourselves and we took a shot of each cake as a memento. They now illustrate this blog entry.

Photo by Mal

 

To go with the cakes, we needed a good selection of teas. Things got a little complicated here because tastes are diifferent. We did a brainstorming session and settled on fair trade herbal teas. We decided to have three different types: Jasmine/Green Tea, Bluberry and Oolong and White Tea with Pomegranate.

Impressive menu one must admit. Mal took the cakes to the office on 14th of February and watched her colleagues amazement. Obviously the cakes got eaten immediately, while teas lasted for a while. The day ended on a really nice note with people joking, recalling stories of their past Valentines and being simply happy. Many people actually mentioned that it was the best Valentines Day they had in a while. And Mal agrees. It was just perfect.

Photo by Mal

And as any artist Mal celebrated Valentines preparing a digital polaroid for the ocassion.

***

We know how to party, but our usual day is not cakes and suprises. It`s rather hard work on two fronts. We both have our day time jobs and we try to balance it with our creative projects. Sometimes you have so little time for working on something artistic that you keep the ideas written in a notebook and you can only do some partial illustration to it.

 
 

Photo by Mal, concept by Rita

 

This is a case with Attica. Memorial Attica is a building and a very important place in a large universe that Rita and I created some ten years ago. It is a classical cyber punk environment set in the years 2050 – 2090 in Tokyo. We have so many plots inside this universe that it would be impossible to mention them all here. Hopefully with time we will be able to close this saga and perhaps release it in a form of books or online comics.

Photo by Mal, concept by Rita

Within the cyber punk universe,  Memorial Attica is the control center run by Peter Boyle – very influencial and resourceful business man/politician/innovator. It is a fortress that holds both offices for Boyle`s Research Network Foundation and his living quarters. It towers over the Tokyo skyline.

Photo by Mal, concept by Rita

If we have a spare while, we return to this universe and try to close the loop holes. Recently Mal realized that she had taken many shots of the Portomaso Tower and tried turn them into polaroids. Just to visualize how Memorial Attica would look like. It was the best choice for reference, as we dont have that many modern skyscrappers. For those who dont know, Portomaso Tower is based in St. Julians in Malta and is the highest building on the island at 22 floors. Memorial Attica as we see it, would be much taller with some 120 floors (yes it is in the far future and it is a part of a futuristic metropolis) but we did those polaroids to see how Attica`s character would be. We think Portomaso Tower did a great job at pretending to be something its not. But please judge for yourself.

Photo by Mal, concept by Rita

Attica series is in progress so in the future we may return to it to present some more reference/character ideas. But so far we are quite content. Those polaroids are both dark and futuristic. They have this sense of danger and fear and mystery about them. And that is exactly what cyber punk is all about.

We`ll see you later.

Mal+R.