Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Get a Condo - Kiaraville (Mont' Kiara)


Located on one of the highest points of Mont' Kiara, imposing a breathtaking panorama of Kuala Lumpur's expanding cityscape, a Unexampled Way of looking in opulence condo is being shaped. Sit on a 6.74 acres of stately land, it proffer residents modish architecture and ingenious layouts. There are 404 units entirety, contained by 5 blocks of high and low rises, with its airy 404 units differing from 1,600 sq ft to 6,000 sq ft.

This introductory project is developed by Binaderas Sdn Bhd (Binaderas), in joint effort with CapitaLand Financial Limited and OCBC Bank. The major backer of Binaderas are Legacy Essence Sdn Bhd, a solely owned company headed by Mr Lai Siew Wah, who is also the Group Managing Director of Ireka Corporation Berhad, a company listed in Bursa Malaysia. The other company is CapitaLand Financial Limited, a 100% owned subsidiary of CapitaLand, Singapore. CapitaLand Singapore is one of the largest listed developer in Asia.

This development has been created around a central landscaped plaza to facilitate boasts plenteous water features, and towards the Southern boundary, a jungle recreational area immensely planted with tropical trees, which offers denizens a total sumptuousness surroundings and tranquility. A portly private in-house garden occupied by manifold swimming pools, timber sundecks, pavilions, grassplot and other recreational areas all enveloped surrounded by a pleasant-sounding combination of lush greenery, trees, water features and waterway.

In terms of locality, it has exceptional set of connections of roads and highways whereby it is effortlessly easy to get to via Penchala Link Expressway (Sprint Highway), New Klang Valley Expressway (NKVE) and the DUKE highway(open recently) which will link up Mont'Kiara to the Jalan Duta area across the North Klang Valley Expressway (the new Jalan Duta Kiara). Make available a new channel route to the area.

The five blocks of Kiaraville are, Tower A(33 storeys), Tower B(28 storeys), Tower C(18 storeys), Tower D(10 storeys) and Tower E(13 storeys). Most of the higher units are in Towers A, B and C and it have an unobstructed view of the Kuala Lumpur city centre, specifically the Twin Towers and KL Tower.

Tower E only has two units per floor and two lifts be good enough to served. The two penthouses have the private swimming pools. Each unit in Tower A, B and C, comes with lanai and of course it can be extended as a larger living room.

The parking bays are located at the lower levels of the landscaped deck and connected to the five tower blocks.

The units are fitted with built-in wardrobes, kitchen cabinets, air conditioners, and water heaters(in all bathrooms). The bathrooms also outfitted with imported sanitary fittings. The units are created to capture natural daylight and cross ventilation, therefore you will come across a full-height windows and the 10ft ceiling height in the condos.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Ansel Adams - The Realist Photographer of the Stunning Mother Nature!

Ansel Adams or Ansel Easton Adams, an American commercial photographer and an environmentalist, is famous for his black-and-white photographs of the American West, especially Yosemite. He was a visionary figure in nature photography and wilderness preservation. He combined his passions for natural landscape and scrupulous artisanship, as a printmaker to his medium. Eventually, Ansel Adams was celebrated as the most exhibited and the successful photographer of his generation.

The existence of an eternal world in Ansel's photograph is the result of his constant selection of transcendent moments. The theme of his photographs complied with his legendary technical brilliance. This rare and unique combination transformed everyday scenes into radiant, priceless moments.

The only child to relatively elderly parents, Ansel was born in San Francisco California, on February 20, 1902, to a rich businessperson, Charles Adams and mom, Olive Bray. Naturally shy and conscious about his crooked nose, which disfigured due to a fall in an earthquake when he was four, he always had problems adjusting into his schools. In addition, his hyperactivity and inattentiveness, eventually forced Charles Adams to withdraw Ansel from school in 1915. At the age of twelve, Ansel self learnt piano and later on substituted his formal schooling with it. He excelled in piano and by 1920; he decided to keep it as his profession. Ultimately, he gave up music for photography, but it was his piano lessons that brought substance, discipline, and structure to his volatile and erratic youth.

If Ansel's love for nature began at Golden Gate, his life was, in his own words, "colored and modulated by the great earth gestures" of Yosemite Sierra. This place transfixed and transformed him to appreciate nature in a different aspect. In 1919, he joined the Sierra Club, where he expanded himself socially and emotionally. Here at Yosemite, Ansel met Virginia Best, whom he married in 1928. The year 1927 was a pivotal year for Adams, as he made his first fully visualized photograph, "Monolith, the Face of Half Dome" (1927). Albert. M. Bender, a San Francisco insurance magnate and a patron of arts and artists, helped in publishing Adams' first portfolio, Parmelian Prints of the High Sierras. After this, he went on to become a successful commercial photographer and the rest is history.

1929-1942 was the phase when Adams created the best of his works. During this period, he also strengthened his friend circle by clicking well with the likes of Stieglitz, Georgia O'Keeffe, John Marin, and Paul Strand. In 1931, he held his much-commended first solo museum exhibition at the Smithsonian Institution. In 1953, Ansel Adams collaborated with Dorothea Lange for a lifetime commission, for a photo essay on the Mormons in Utah. In 1962, Adams moved to Carmel, California. Later on, in 1967, he was involved in the foundation of the Friends of Photography. Ansel founded the Group f/64 in association with his friends and fellow photographers, Edward Weston and Imogen Cunningham. The group led to the opening of the Museum Of Modern Arts' department of photography. He also developed the zone system of photography to calculate the exposure degree of photographs.

Notable photographs clicked by Ansel Adams include but are not limited to "Rose and Driftwood (1932)"; "Moonrise, Hernandez, New Mexico (1941)"; "Winter Morning, Sierra Nevada from Lone Pine (1944)." Ansel Adams was recognized with many awards during his lifetime and posthumously. There were also a few accolades named after him such as Presidential Medal of Freedom (1980); Doctor of Arts from Yale University and Harvard University; Mount Ansel Adams (1985), and Ansel Adam Wilderness (1985), to name a few.

His lasting ambition and legacy was to elevate photography to an art form at par with painting and music. Adams also has some books such as "Making a Photograph (1932)," "The Camera," and "The Negative," to his credit. On April 22, 1984, Ansel Adams succumbed to a heart failure.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Performance Management in a Heavily Outsourced Environment (Are Our IT Systems Up to the Task?)

Let's face it, competitive outsourcing is here to stay. We don't have to agree with it politically, emotionally, or theoretically...it's just a fact of life in today's business environment.... which begs the question whether our performance management process and systems are up to the task.

For all that has been written about the practice of outsourcing (and there's no shortage of writings in this space), precious little has been said about if and how our PM processes and systems will need to change in a heavily outsourced environment. Perhaps this is because many companies still see an outsourcing relationship as just another vendor to be managed- a key vendor or strategic partner perhaps, but a vendor relationship nonetheless. But is it really that simple? To answer this question, it's worth looking at a couple of key aspects of performance management that has shaped this landscape in recent years.

On one hand, there is the reality of outsourcing, and the overwhelming complexity of dealing with an overextended network of information flows, many of which will ultimately exist outside of your corporate information portfolio. On the other hand, we've had the significant growth of ERP and other corporate wide reporting systems- a IT "wave" that is replacing our legacy mainframes with the latest and greatest in enterprise reporting technology. The operative word here is "enterprise"- and what that word really means to the future of performance management.

While the wave of ERP systems has driven some well needed perspective and improvements to our performance reporting environment, it has also created a level of "structure" that may be difficult to maintain in tomorrow's business environment. The reality is that hundreds of millions of dollars has been spent in this transformation, an investment that could soon end up in our museum of IT history if we are not careful. Outsourcing poses the biggest risk in this arena, as it will quickly challenge the very structure that these latest and greatest corporate applications set out to achieve.

Let's look at a typical outsourcing context.Take a function like facilities management...stuff like corporate security, catering, janitorial services, equipment maintenance and the like- a function that was once one of many departments that make up our internal organization. Only now, this function has become heavily outsourced because of the scale and unit cost efficiencies achieved by shifting these services to a best-in-breed provider (an obvious end state for all "non core" function like this).

On the surface, the outsourcing of a function like this appears to be a significant
"win-win". That is until the company tries to roll the management of this function into the corporate IT fold. What was once a simple task of rolling up accounting and HR data from internal systems, is now a task that may involve up to 10 different vendors. If the complexity of capturing the costs from this many points of service doesn't kill you, the process of understanding and normalizing for the differences in data reporting and accounting practices certainly will.

And that's not the worst of it. The "zinger" in all of this is that you've just spent 80 million dollars as a company to develop your "integrated" reporting framework, which, at a minimum will have to be re-tooled to integrate with the myriad of relationships that are now reflected inside of one single outsourced process. That assumes of course, that all of these vendors and partners "play ball" your way- an unlikely reality, to say the least.

If you're an IT director responsible for the implementation of one of these integrated reporting systems, this is the proverbial train wreck waiting to happen. But don't jump off that bridge quite yet, because there is a silver lining. That is, if you are willing to challenge the conventional way information is managed.
The answer lies in embracing what some refer to as an "inside out" versus a "top down" information management framework.

So what do we mean by an "inside out" information framework? Let's start from a different place. Imagine a world where an enterprise is really a large collection of many businesses, all of which can be viewed as independent competitive entities- entities that are assembled in a way that is strategically connected to the vision, mission, and objectives of the corporation.

That's right...everything from the security guards on the first floor, to the investor relations department on the thirty-fifth. Instead of each of these businesses being given a budget, they are given a clear set of KPI's, a list of competitors, and a performance contract with clear incentives and accountabilities. They (with some coaching if necessary) determine what information they need to manage their business and achieve their outcomes. They may be given some tools of the trade to manage this information, but the information is their's to manage.

Conversely, at the portfolio level, leadership defines the outcomes that each of these businesses are to achieve. The portfolio level can be a very small team of individuals, each of whom are accountable for defining what they need, how much of it they need, and the competitive price they're willing to pay. They have their own dashboards and KPI's to manage, but they are a lot more focused on outcomes and less on the operational indicators (the "how's of how the business is managed rather that "what's" of what they must achieve in terms of outcomes). The operational side of the business (the how's) is managed in a highly decentralized manner, often by the providers of these services themselves, who are in many cases external vendors and suppliers. Performance Management has become a highly decentralized portfolio management game- a world where the integration of the provider network becomes far more important than achieving that perfect "top to bottom" architecture and warehouse of corporate information.

There are lots of ways to describe a model like this. Some refer to this model as an "Asset Management" orientation where assets are managed separately from the services that construct, maintain, and service them. Others call it a management philosophy of "universal contestability". Others call it a framework for simply rationalizing and outsourcing services. But whatever you choose to call it, it poses a dramatically different challenge us- one that if not met head on sets up our huge IT investments for failure.

So what specifically needs changing?

For starters, the information needs in the outsourcing context are markedly different, and need to be identified as such. Today, the information needed to guide the outcomes, and run these competitive businesses may not even exist in our legacy systems, and in turn are not likely to even end up in the ERPs themselves. To continue with the Facilities Management example, try comparing a performance report (assuming there is one) of a internal corporate security department with the likes of say Pinkerton (a competitive provider of security services nation wide). They are dramatically different in both design and content.

Next comes the challenge of managing one of these entities, when and if they become outsourced. How much of that information will be needed from the vendor? How much will come from your systems? How will you blend the two when necessary under the likely scenario the data sharing protocols are different?

This is the challenge of integration is far more important than the challenge of aggregation which is often the foundation for most of our corporate systems. We are fixated to some degree on terms like the "cascading scorecard" which by definition sets us up to manage each of these functions down to the work-face level rather than a logical network of relationships between the corporation and its nodal-style network of strategic suppliers and providers.

By applying a more decentralized/ portfolio managed construct to our information needs, we begin to more accurately paint the picture of how our organizations will function in the future, enabling our ERP's to function effectively at the result or outcome level.

As you implement your PM reporting systems, think small and grow outward. Develop systems to meet the needs of each discrete business-individually at first. It doesn't mean you can't use the same software or measurement frameworks and ultimately replicate and link to other business processes and functions over time. It doesn't mean that you can't connect these businesses strategically.

In the performance management world, smaller is better, at least to start with. It's easy to build on successes and link things together over time, as long as you keep the framework flexible and adaptable. Avoid the tendency to have the perfect system, one that looks great on paper but won't come close to surviving the challenges posed to it over time. The complexity you eliminate will go a long way towards delivering superior information at a fraction of today's cost.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Incredible Tour Options to Explore India

Tours of India are presented with a wide range of tour packages like South India tour; North India tours, and Hill Stations tours that complete all the needs and desires of a variety of globally travelers.

The tourists can enjoy wildlife safaris like elephant safari, camel safari, jeep safari and trekking in opaque forests. They can see and reach the top of snow-kissed mountains, eat mouth-watering cuisines and many more. The most famous tourist destinations of Northern regions of the country are Delhi, Jaipur, Agra, Khajuraho,Varanasi, Orchha, Srinagar, Shimla, Kullu, Manali, Amritsar, etc. The tour allows you to discover the untouched beauty of the majestic Himalayas and see the magnificent temples, forts and palaces of North India.

No other country in the world is as unbelievable as India. The reason is that India has all kinds of climate available at any time of the year. This offers a unique feature to its travelers whom they cannot find it anywhere all over the globe. A tourist may be nature lover, leisure vacationer, adventure lover or wildlife enthusiast and can spend his holidays accordingly.

The north side of India has snow-capped and freezing Himalaya; south side has tranquil, palm-fringed & leafy beaches, backwaters and scenic hill station; in the eastern side, it has heaven of heavy rain Meghalaya and pearl beaches and in the west, sandy beaches, unique curving caves and wildlife, etc. It is a perfect recipe for a fascinating India tour. Every tourist can experience its majestic beauty like the diverse landscape, religion, age-old legacy, physical diversity, music, dances, cuisines, fairs and festivals of the country. Many tours of India are the world famous and are available at cost-effective prices.

A tour to Rajasthan is well customized tour package, which takes tourists to the land of the great Raja/Maharajas (kings). It is the fascinating land where you can find magnificent palaces, majestic forts and splendid havelis. The traditions and culture of Rajasthan are very amazing. The desert landscapes add to the royal legacy of Rajasthan.

India's never-ending charm of multicultural heritage is the main attraction of north India. It is a fascinating land. The Indian calendar is full of fair and festivals. Travelers from across the world prefer North India for its amazing beauty of this far-fetched region of the country.

Kerala is included in the top 20 ranked destinations of the world for tourism. It is proven by the large number of travelers that have traveled to Kerala. The beauty of Kerala is unmatched, and that is why it is called the God's Own Country. The charming beaches and backwaters are most renowned attractions of Kerala. A tour to Kerala is an enchanting tour.

One of the most famous tours of India is the Golden Triangle. It is the most fascinating and preferred tour packages that cover India's most popular and historical destination of Delhi, Jaipur and Agra. You will see many UNESCO World Heritages sites, including Qutub Minar, Humayun's Tomb, Red Fort, Taj Mahal, Agra Fort, Fatehpur Sikri, Jantar Mantar et cetera on your Golden Triangle Tour.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Luxury Ski Holidays in Chamonix

In all the world there are, of course, a number of luxury ski holidays to be found but for the most discerning skiers it is ski holidays in Europe, and specifically French ski holidays, that offer the premier skiing experience. Within this for a truly spectacular experience you should visit Chamonix, the 'Capital of the Alps'.
And the beauty of the area is not only apparent in the day time. The celestial canvas at night is a dazzling array of sparkling pinpricks, each flickering dot combining to illuminate the magnificent peaks of the Aiguille du Midi and looming Mont Blanc in a monochrome mountain masterpiece.
The same effect inspired Vincent Van Gogh to paint his famous depiction of the night sky of Saint Remy in 1889.
luxury ski holidays
If you are looking for a luxury ski chalet in a top class ski resort then you will find such accommodation in Chamonix, offering the very best amenities to be found in French ski chalets anywhere.
Chamonix represents a perfect blend of quiet location, easy accessibility and modern luxurious facilities, whether it is for a winter ski holiday, a summer activity break or an autumnal artistic retreat.

Chamonix offers the choice on the one hand to shut out the stresses of life, re-charge your batteries and experience your own retreat in one of the most re-energising locations anywhere; or, on the other hand, you can ratchet up the energy flow and spend the daylight hours 'working out' in one of the world's most extreme and picturesque 'gyms' before strolling down to Barrd'Up or MBC to party the night away!

Chamonix is particularly suitable for:
* Families looking for room for their youngsters, yet requiring accessible restaurants and slopes
* Corporate groups wanting space to focus, yet also not wanting to miss out on the party
* Groups of friends needing somewhere to chill out before re-engaging with the frenzy of action
The town of Chamonix actually owes a lot to Art. Science may have motivated its first Alpine visitors, but it was the artistic renditions through word or canvas that inspired the urbane citizens of London, Geneva and Paris to make their pilgrimage to the austere and intimidating peaks of Chamonix.
For most this involved simply marveling at the majesty of the mountains and musing in awe on both the natural and (more eerily) the supernatural - the dragons said to inhabit the ice caves above. The more adventurous dared to venture out onto the Mer de Glace, accompanied by their local 'pirates' - the nautical title the glacier guides had given themselves - and witness the waves of ice in person.

The scientists may have been fascinated, but it was the stories they brought back, tales of immense glaciers and stunning landscapes, that mesmerized the artists. As the melodrama of the Romantic age bit deep, Chamonix became a natural wonder that had to be beheld. Lord Byron and Percy Shelley came here and were intensely affected by the grandeur they saw. Mary Shelley sent her monster-incarnate hero out onto the Chamonix glacier at the end of Frankenstein. As the literary reports and landscape paintings such luminaries sent back home captured the imagination of the British public, so Chamonix became a key fixture on the European Grand Tour and the Alpine tourist industry was borne.

With a tourist legacy stretching back over 250 years, Chamonix is arguably 'the capital' of the Alps. It still attracts swathes of visitors each year and does so the whole year-round. In keeping with its status, it remains a very cosmopolitan place. People from all points of the globe converge on the town and from varieties of life. Here you will see students on the tightest of budget camping underneath the boulders they will spend all day climbing or the 'high society' from Geneva sipping on Champagne at the opening of a local artist's exhibition. Yet the goal is common - to soak up and draw energy from the most stunning and extreme scenery in Europe. Frequented by the rich and famous, poor and infamous, and every tier in-between, it is no wonder why Chamonix is one of the most re-visited places on the planet.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

The Immortal Itinerants (Peredvizhniki) Part II

In the 1870-80's historical painting for the first time seemed to reveal all answers to relevant questions addressed by the past. Popular revolts, acts of terrorism, execution, heroic deeds, sacrifice, suffering, betrayal, faithfulness to ideas and treachery are the concepts dominating the society of that time. Some artists approached these problems via religious subjects, very familiar and clear to Russian people. Nikolai Ghe, was one of them. His work, The Last Supper, lacked mystery and sacred meaning. Like-minded people had become enemies. Judas, who thought of the salvation of his people, did not grasp the great idea of Christ providing salvation for the whole of mankind. The philosophic disagreement, but not the betrayal of a greedy man, became the subject of the painting. (Note there are only 11 Apostles depicted in the painting and that Judas looks like a winged Angel of Death.) His works, Calvary and Crucifixion, were dedicated to humanity, at a time when spiritual strength and faithfulness to ideas overcome physical suffering.

Ivan Kramskoi, also painted religious subjects. In his work, Christ in a Desert, he shows the hero at the moment of making a choice of his life's way. This feeling of choice was familiar to many people: whether to remain faithful to destiny or to yield to temptation and retreat, having foreseen terrible consequences of remaining steadfast. All his life Kramskoi was devoted to a large painting called, Christ before the people, where he interpreted the subject of sacrifice and suffering for a people that did not understand.

Vasiliy Surikov's, most famous work is his trilogy painted in the 1880s. Each of these three paintings is devoted to a specific epic collision of paramount significance: The Morning of the Execution of the Streltsi, represents the nation in history. Menshikov in Berezovo, depicts a hero in history. Finally, the Boyarynya Morozova, is an example of a hero and the people. Surikov approached the most dramatic points of Russian history: reformation of the church in the mid 17th century, Peter the Great's reforms of the 18th century, etc. In Surikov's own time, the late 19th century, there were numerous flashbacks of those events in Russia. The nation found itself on the threshold of major changes once again. Incidentally, Surikov in his Morning, showed for the first time how an historical inevitability can divide a single nation, turning fellow countrymen against each other. In the painting, one of Peter's soldiers is carefully supporting a strelets (a member of Ivan the Terrible's elite corps) while leading him to scaffold. These two Russians are not enemies, only a historical coincidence has turned one of them into a hangman and the other into his victim. Could Surikov have foreseen that twenty years later Russia would be flooded with blood once again, and brother would turn against brother in a civil war? He looked to the past for answers about Russia's future.

Surikov neither passed judgment nor took sides in his paintings, and his characters were neither saints nor criminals. Each of them was convinced he was doing the right thing, but in the eyes of history, "right" is synonymous with "imperative." It is the inevitable collision of historical interest entailing the death of one of the parties that the artist rendered with disturbing vividness. Relying on his creative imagination, the artist craftily conjured up pictures of the past, encouraging the viewer to ponder traumatic historical collisions that had once shaken the nation, compelling every person then living to make his choice. His task was to make his characters convincing and historically credible, to make the viewer believe in the image before his eyes. In later years, Surikov abandoned his preoccupation with dramatic turning points in history in favor of glorifying Russia's heroic past. In spite of this he remained true to himself: the Russian people were still the main character of his works, and courage and daring were the artist's principal subject-matter. In his paintings, Surikov always focused on fine portraiture. His female images are particularly elaborate and masterful. He appreciated and knew how to depict the beauty of a Russian woman; he understood her contradictory personality, her tenderness, kindness, compassion, cordiality, quiet resignation, and readiness to sacrifice herself, and he recognized that sometimes, her courage, strong will, devil-may-care attitude, and her strong convictions bordered on fanaticism.

During that epoch - the heyday of portrait genre in Russian art - many artists tended to emphasize their characters' personalities in their historical and genre painting. Itinerants made a particularly notable contribution to portraiture. For the first time in Russian art, portraiture stopped being merely the art of painting family members and stopped serving exclusively the sentimental needs and vanity of individuals and families. As a result of the itinerants, the very word portrait acquires new understanding. The reason for the above we find in the definition of reconsidered art that achieved vivid social status. Portraits became very regulated such as the portraits of contemporary heroes, public figures, common people, peasants, and workers. Art changed much. Now it served more for exhibition purposes rather than purely as private commissions.

The name of Pavel Tretyakov, is closely connected with establishment of this new art destination. He was a Moscow merchant who had decided to set up a gallery of the national modern art. He started buying itinerants' work, not only at the exhibitions, but also unfinished works while they were in an artist's studio. Tretyakov attended artists' workshops and often paid money to an artist in order for him to complete the work. Moreover, he commissioned different artists to make portraits of writers, musicians, actors, and other artists in order to leave a cultural heritage for the generations to come. His life and the life of his family were very modest as most of his money was spent for paintings. Being so interested in portraiture, he got other artists interested in this genre. Among the artists working in portrait genre there are several outstanding masters whose names are worthy of mention.

Vasiliy Perov was the first who featured mostly in psychological portrait the complicated inner world of the person and his soul. His portraits of Feodor Dostoevskiy and of Alexei Ostrovskiy are considered to be his best and most famous portraits. The portrait of Dostoevskiy, a great Russian writer who tried to penetrate the darkest parts of a human soul, is of special value. Kramskoi used this painting to reflect his own understanding of duty and honor of Russian intelligence. He strove to reveal the versatile personality of the writer.

Ivan Kramskoi, being a very talented portraitist, was a prominent public figure and art was not the only domain of his activity. Kramskoi was the head of the Society of Traveling Art Exhibitions from the time it was established. His particular understanding of art as a way of educating people dictated his individual choice of the model and interpretation of his portrait image. He chose those whom he considered to be an ideal subject and who shared his views on the exclusive educational mission of art. His views coincided with general trends and objectives in art - a search of the identifiable person. The resulting form of the above social significance of a model was of particular importance for Kramskoi. A fine example of this approach is the portrait of L.Tolstoy. The ascetic simplicity of the writer's image and feeling of serious, dramatic thought that dominated Tolstoy was reflected in Kramskoi's opinion on the writer's destiny.

After the death of Kramskoi, Nikolai Yaroshenko, who was called "the conscience of the Itinerants" for his integrity and adherence to principles, headed the itinerants' society. Yaroshenko created his own portrait type, and his representation of a specific model became the basis for his generalized image of the representation of the different layers of society. Girl Student, is typical of Yaroshenko. His Portrait of Pelageya Strepetova, a Russian tragical actress, is a very good example of his work. She specialized in the roles of the poor and humiliated, exhausted by life women, and these roles left their mark on this portrait. Looking at the clenched hands of this fine, young, but not pretty woman, we can feel her inner strength and the emotional strain in her image. This image probably reminded contemporaries of young girls exiled to the mines for expressing their ideas. One critic noted the resemblance of bracelets on her wrists to fetters.

As has been mentioned, the most famous among the portraitists was Ilya Repin. He saw the souls of every person who posed for him, and he destroyed all conventional rules adhered to by other portraitists. He was unsurpassed as a master of any form of portrait from bedchamber to state portraits. He worked both in painting and drawing. The backgrounds for his portraits could be a house interior or landscapes. Using particular composition, color schemes, lines, and strokes, he underlined unique individual features of the model. The German poet, Rilke, said: "Repin has the nature of an artist. With a glance, he inspects everyone he meets, studies him and assigns him to remote corners of his soul and doesn't let him move away until Rapin is finished." Repin models came from all types of society to include peasants as well as the aristocracy. He painted men, women, old people, children, friends and relatives. The fine portraiture of Repin gives us an integral, profound, all-embracing, general presentation of 19th Century society and lively individual images of its representatives. Many admire the works of Repin. Especially fine paintings include Fall Bouquet, Portrait of artist's daughter, Portrait of M. Musorgsky, and the Portrait of Ivan Kramskoi... The list of works is endless. In the history of Russian art, the portraiture genre is one of the oldest and most traditional genres. First introduced at the time of Peter the Great, it was developed by different generations of artists, but it was the itinerants that made a particularly notable contribution to portraiture. They were also great innovators in Landscape genre.

Another important concept of the specific national character of Russia, the peculiarity of Russian nature, was done for the first time by Itinerants. Works by Alexei Savrasov, Ivan Shishkin, Vasiliy Polenov, Arkhip Kuinji, and Isaak Levitan were wildly received by the public. These masters showed the highest importance of ordinary motifs, scenes, and seasons of the year Country sights were approached by artists much more often than urban motifs, thus emphasizing peasant themes. But it was not based purely on social problems. The whole gamut was captured on canvas. Green plain expanses, fallowed fields in the rain, endless travel-worn roads, narrow paths that stretched from different parts of the vast land, dense forests, impassable thickets, small lakes like blue saucers, hidden copses, and the beauty of the big Russian river Volga were all acceptable subjects for these Russian immortals.

The concept of nature, for Russian Itinerant artists and since, has always been closely connected with a man being painted in his natural environment. Concerns about people and their thoughts and the Russian character were very much affected by landscape. The narrations about Russian nature indeed involved the telling of the life story of human beings living in nature. One of the first among itinerant landscape artists was Alexei Savrasov. His painting, Rooks Are Back Again, was exhibited for the first time at the exhibition of 1871 and it amazed viewers. For the first time they saw a plain native landscape far removed from the flourishing Italian beauty typical of classical and romantic artists. A feeling of nature awakening after winter, as a tree with its bared branches is depicted standing in the distance, soft light coming from the blue sky, a bustle of the first birds, all combined to evoke a feeling of something dear to one's heart.. a familiar scene dating back to childhood. This sentimental landscape gained high significance in this genre.

Each painter approached similar motifs in his own artistic manner. Ivan Shishkin in his works glorified the heroic spirit of the Russian land. He liked to emphasize the might and grandeur of Russian nature. Depicting mostly fields and forests, he was given an artistic name of "singer of fields and forests.'' His selfless love of nature made him not only an artist, but a botanist as well. He refused to be inaccurate depicting tree or blade. Numerous studies and sketches that survived till today offer testimony concerning his great care in studying nature.

Although Shishkin was often criticized for his naturalism and his unreasonable standards in his representation of nature, the careful work at the details of his paintings can't be called "naturalism." Naturalism in painting means blind imitation of a natural view without a well thought-out composition and without the correlation of common details and a particular selection of the items painted. At first sight, Shishkin's landscapes look so trustworthy that one can get the wrong impression of the artist's work. The artist desires the viewer to believe in the reality of such an existing view.

In this connection, his painting, The Rye, is very typical. The artist selected the typical natural motives of a central Russian landscape: the field of rye, the road, and mighty oaks. Next he thought about the composition, trying to get the right correlation between the sky and the earth, the fore and background, as well as the right light combination. All these details create mighty images that affect the feelings of the viewer. In this painting the artist truly glorifies the true beauty and grandeur of Russian nature.

One must give credit to the Itinerants for the creation of the genre of "plein air" painting. Two of the best were Polenov and Levitan. Polenov's artistic manner was much different from that of Shishkin. In his paintings Moscow Courtyard and Grandmother's Garden, he acts as a delicate lyric, entertaining storyteller. For the first time in these paintings he demonstrated the principles of so-called "plain-air painting." However, the greatest "plein air" landscape painter in Russian art was Levitan. Considering the power and might of his talent and his contribution to the landscape genre he can be compared with Repin. His huge creative legacy gives an idea about the broad scope of his interests in the landscape field. Some of his works are full of delicate lyrics while others have epic and broad generalizations.

Issak Levitan had a very profound understanding of nature. Nature in his opinion holds onto its inner content. He said, "Can anything be more tragic than to feel the endless beauty of surroundings, the concealed secrets of nature, to see the Lord in everything and have no possibility to express such deep emotions?" These words reveal the modesty of the artist who has created real masterpieces but was not satisfied with himself and who worried about his inability to achieve perfection. Levitan confirmed once again that Russian landscape art demands to be considered as an object of the highest ideals of art. Many of his paintings contain a reflection on people's destiny and the meaning of their life. His paintings are full of literary associations and philosophical ideas such as Over Eternal Peace, and Eternal Chime. In an entirely different manner he created landscapes in natural beauty, illustrating the waking up of nature March and the fading of nature in Golden Autumn. Levitan painted typical Russian landscapes, reproducing different states of nature correlating with human emotions.

The pictorial freedom of Levitan's creative manner made him different from other landscape painters of his time. His last painting, Russia, was not finished. He dreamed of creating the common artistic image of his homeland in this painting. Levitan fell deeply in love with the Motherland as did all of the Itinerants. They dreamed and believed that their art would give people happiness and hope and recognition of the need to develop a high moral ideal in Russia. The Itinerants held sway over Russian art until the first ten years of the 20th Century. For me they will always be the best that Russian art has to offer. They painted in many styles, but they depicted life as they believed it was. They did this at great risk to themselves, and it is hoped that finally Russia stands on the golden threshold of freedom that they envisioned for her so many years ago.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

The Landscape of Lifelong Learning

The Landscape of Lifelong Learning; What's Current, New and Hot In Continuing Education, Workforce Development And Community Education Across the Country

Executive Summary
Are Educational Program Planners still doing the same thing? Are the familiar stand-bys still driving enrollment? Or, is there a definitive change in lifelong learning trends at both the community college and university? What makes for successful (enrollment and revenue) continuing education and workforce development training deliverables as we close out the first decade of the 21st century?

Are we on top of our game tracking employment trends of the 21st century? Do we know what is needed for working professionals in our service area to stay current in their field? What new careers are coming down the pike that Divisions of Workforce Development must prepare students for to be ahead of the curve? What must Divisions of Corporate Education do to sustain and ensure the viability of companies in the face of the global financial and accountability meltdown?

Are we in "synch" with the diversity of lifestyles, cultures and interests in our service area to know what kinds of course offerings the community wants? What about age differences? Are Gen X and Gen Y driving new courses? Are we delivering instruction across The Great Technological Divide? Are we offering the same things in different formats?

Continuing Education Program Planners and Workforce Development Training Managers are challenged like never before... challenged by the New Economy; multiple generations at work; new career tracks; new technologies to deliver learning; reduced funding; an adequate supply of well-qualified trainers-to name just a few concerns-if they want their programs to meet customer expectations and satisfy their institution's demands to function without operational subsidies.

Where is continuing education evolving as universities and colleges program for the second decade of the new millennia? What is the right formula for a sound framework of solid, stable programs blended with the right amount-and kind-of innovative subjects?

Hold onto your hats!

The panoramic snapshot is amazing. Catch a glimpse of the landscape of lifelong learning based upon a random survey of institutions of higher education across the country. Note the "hottest" occupations according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Consider what other programmers are trying. Finally, take note of what has become both our greatest nemesis in terms of competition in educational training delivery as well as our best source for both customers and marketing outreach-the Internet. In addition to the growth of proprietary schools, independent providers-both consultants and trainers-are also increasing in number and delivering many interesting opportunities for lifelong learning. They are doing so in person and across the worldwide web. Their programs, prices and curriculum can be extraordinarily competitive.

Today's landscape of continuing education is not what it was yesterday. Neither is it likely to be a close reflection of what it will need to look like tomorrow. The Information Age is happening at warp speed. If we, as providers, are to be successful at staying in the game, it might be wise to embrace the words of the infamous Captain Kirk as he led his crew into places where "no man has gone before..." With everyone at attention, he states quite clearly, "engage."

Programmers won't be successful unless we are (1) fully engaged with the needs and wants for information by the learners we serve, (2) fully engaged with our institution's technology capabilities to deliver instruction and (3) fully engaged with faculty and staff to keep us on point for what's coming around the next corner.

To innovate and collaborate must be Mission Critical. A forward-thinking captain leads the way.

I. Workforce Development (Job Skills Training) - Some of the "Hotties" (in Technology)

According to monster.com, (reference: Hot Tech Careers for the 21st Century by Sacha Cohen), the key Buzz Work Word is technology-anything. This is not to say that there are other job training skills that Workforce Developers should consider less important - of course not. But, it is a prime example of the need for a major redirect to adequately prepare tomorrow's job force. Think Henry Ford and the invention of the automobile back in the 20th... before it was invented, who knew how to build them? The analogy holds true today. However, the reality is that the training we provide for today's tech jobs may not suffice for newer jobs that are sure to quickly follow in response to the rapid pace of technological advancements. Today, trained workforce is needed to fill jobs like these:

1. Network Experts -Also known as "Global Network Architects," they will need to be knowledgeable in Internet, voice, data and cable.

2. Information Architect - IAs are responsible for learning how users find information in a site by defining the site's organization, navigation and labeling systems.

3. Web Site/Database Integrator - Web site/database integrators will need to know standard Web site languages (HTML, PERL, C, JAVA, etc.), database languages (DB2, Oracle, SQL, etc.) and, in the case of legacy systems, some back-end knowledge of accounting packages, financial systems and inventory systems. This job also requires the ability to hook the database(s) to an Internet site or an intranet.

4. Web Programmers and Developers - These Internet "Mechanics" need to be well versed in a variety of programming languages including Java, Cold Fusion, C++ and PERL.

5. Information Broker/Infomediary - These are third-party agents who broker client information to vendors in exchange for goods and services for the consumer.

6. Information Security Specialists - A.K.A Internet "Cops," these are the folks that (web) hackers hate; kind of like what FBI counterfeit specialists are to banks.

7. Web "Medics" - Loosely translated, these are "doctors" of internet "medicine;" they fix viruses and immunize against e-illnesses like Trojan Horses, spam, and Phishers; they build protective firewalls and create "vaccines" (programs) against internet espionage and infiltration.

Find the right instructors to design curriculum and teach people how to do these kinds of jobs and you are well on your way to program success-if your employment sector supports the need. If your institution exists deep in the heartland of agriculture or areas where new technologies are not key economic drivers, don't abandon sound programs for the sake of what's popular. Where you are, who lives there and what happens in the community should shape your programs, first. If your college is knee-deep in cows and corn, cyber security is probably not going to be as necessary as agri-technicians and biofuel mechanics. Remember who you are-not what you think you should be (or would like to be!)

Workforce training still needs to make sense in relation to where it is geographically located. It also should continue to provide programs to specific, industry-driven skills as mandated by those with jobs for hire-regardless.

What are the projected trends in workforce development? According to the Occupational Outlook Handbook, edition 2008-09, almost three-quarters of the job growth will come from three main groups of professional occupations. These occupational projections are good indicators for program planners to keep in mind when deciding what subject-matter areas should be considered for a current and relevant product mix:

1. Computer and Mathematical occupations
Emphasis on software publishing, Internet publishing and broadcasting, and wireless telecommunication services

2. Healthcare practitioners and technical occupations
Emphasis on nursing, home health care aides

3. Education, training, and library occupations
Teachers, Human Resource Specialists, information providers; the need exists today and shows no signs of market saturation anytime, soon.

Other noted areas where employment is projected to grow includes:
Administrative support
Waste management (water and sewage)
Remediation services
Motion picture production
Newspaper, periodical, book, and directory publishing
Leisure (arts, entertainment, and recreation
Hospitality (accommodations and food services)
Truck transportation
Warehousing& Storage
Automotive repair and maintenance (one of the largest growth sectors)
Construction, specifically road, bridge, and tunnel construction
Pharmaceutical and medicine manufacturing

source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Office of Occupational Statistics and Employment Projections

Take a look at what your service area will support as well as what is anticipated by your region's economic developers to determine what works best for your institution. Whatever direction you choose to take, expand, overhaul or improve, be sure the curriculum meets today's standards for instruction for a particular field, has clearly identified core competencies the learner can expect to gain, and is delivered in such a way (or ways) that technology is well-integrated into both teaching and learning.

II. Continuing Professional Education Trends

The staples-Project Management, Fiscal Management, Executive Leadership Development, Supervisory Training, Staff Development, Business Communication, profession-specific certification and licensure renewal courses and "Lean" themes (doing more with less)-continue to be well-represented at many institutions of higher education, large and small, university or community college. To keep current and to appear fresh, savvy programmers are tossing into the mix a variety of new and re-tooled products with a little different "edge." Call it visionary, creative thinking or responsive, these "eye-openers" call attention to themselves either because the titles are "catchy," relevant and/or very, very targeted to a specific customer.

The following list is a "sneak peek" of some of the more inventive, interesting and very cool topics designed for today's professional workforce:

Ergonomic Interventions; The Fine Art of "Desking" and Preventing Workplace Disorders

Technical Communication in the Workplace; Protocols, Style, Skills and Techniques

Digital Literacy in the 21st Century Workplace
Email, Websites & Content, Document Sharing, File Transfer, List Serves and Blogs ... Oh My!

21st Century Communication Tools; Optimizing and Integrating Your PDA, Laptop and Cell

The New Economy; Managing Projects across Cultures and Geographies... and Technologies

The New Ecology; Going Green at the Office

Challenging the Script; Mindsets, Expectations and Corporate Culture for Gen X and Y

Building Company Accountability," an executive workshop, designed specifically for Presidents, CEOs and Business Owners (a.k.a. Corporate Corruption, White-Collar Crime)

Squishers, Squashers and Soothers: The Role of Emotional Intelligence in the Workplace

Weapons of Mass Instruction: Preparing Teachers for Tomorrow's Learners

III. The Changing Face of Community Education

Community Education and personal enrichment continue to serve the general public with a multitude of course offerings which are enjoyable, offer social opportunities and enhance our sense of self through music, art, dance, theatre, books, travel, sport, recreation and hobby. That being said, the landscape is also beginning to include many more serious topics that reflect some of the most challenging issues faced by today's families. Subjects that were previously either unaddressed, altogether, or primarily spoken about within the context of a particular degree program (i.e., sociology, psychology, medicine) are evolving and transforming into non-credit course offerings targeted for the lay person who wants to know more about a particular subject-matter area without necessarily becoming a degreed professional.

Name a particular problem within a given community, define it within the context of age (Gen X, Y, Boomers), orientation (gender), role (parent, child, teacher, doctor), race, religion, culture or political persuasion, find respected, well-educated people who can speak to that topic and voilá, a course is born and with it, the opportunity for engaging new learners. In addition to pursuing an interest for the sake of pure enjoyment, people want to know about all kinds of topics, even if they are controversial (stem cell research,), scary (Internet predators), personal (child alcoholism, work/family balance, eldercare, end-of-life choices, plastic surgery), or challenging (reading for comprehension, writing well, speaking in public, debt management, weight management, goal management).

Community Education programs (in juxtaposition to Continuing Professional Education, Corporate Education and Workforce Development job preparation training classes) do not typically expect participants to meet performance standards; showing up and participating are generally the only "requirements.' This puts a very different spin on things and offers the Program Planner a completely different arena for learning opportunities, fun or serious.

What follows are some Community Ed program areas that reflect new and growing concerns of the day as well as some re-named titles for topics that seem to transcend time and remain "constants."

Anything and EVERYTHING to do with Personal Health and Well-Being
MED-Speak; Understanding Your Diagnosis
Prescription Wars; What You Need to Know Before Swallowing
Alternative Medical Theories and Approaches; Myth, Magic or Misaligned?
Acupuncture, Acupressure; Does It Hurt and Will it Work?
Beauty & the Beast: Wrinkle-Free, Whiter Teeth, and More Hair; A Consumer's Guide

Cognitive Strategies for a Healthy Memory

Coming of Age

Now That You Are 20

Now That You Are 30

Now That You Are 40... and so one

Managing Chain-Yankers; Saying "No" When You Think You Should Say "Yes"

Personal Finances: Money, Money, Money
Getting There; A Consumer's Guide to Purchasing a Hybrid
The New Economy; Recession Investment Protection
Starting Over, Starting Sooner; Recovering from Recession
Behind The Walls and Under the Dirt; Buying Your Next Home

Personal Relations
U-Tube, FACE Book, My Space and More; What Parents Need to Know - and Do
Parenting Your Parents: What Children Need to Know
The Warning Signs of Dementia and Senility

It's Your Life; Are You Prepared?
Preparing for Children
Preparing for College
Preparing for Your Profession
Preparing for Marriage
Preparing for Separation and Divorce
Preparing for Retirement
Preparing for Death

Lions, Tigers and Bears; Making Your Way Through the Dating Jungle

Take a look at what's out there. Ask your counterparts what's working, what's not, what's old, what's "hot." Ask your companies where they might go for employee training if you weren't there-and then go see what "they" are doing. Ask your community what they would like to take-if they had more time, more money, more energy; is there a way to meet their needs? Ask your faculty and trainers what they are hearing that's up and coming in their field of expertise. What's out there on the Internet; who's doing it and for how much and when? The sky IS the limit. And while you cannot be all things to all people at any given point in time, you can and should broaden your program deliverables to reflect some of the newest trends in continuing and professional education, corporate education, workforce development and lifelong learning. Manage to stay fresh, creative and interesting without foregoing existing program stability.

Captain Kirk was still going strong after several decades at the helm... are you?