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Tuesday, December 30, 2008

more videos

I'm not going to get my 52 videos for the year done, the fall just got too busy. I also didn't want to post/count the little test videos or the Lego videos I made with William. I did work on more of the stuff I shot this summer and put them on Youtube, this one that references Norman McLaren's Pas de Deux worked nicely, even though the Youtube compression really devastated it.
Today I stayed home as William had his friend Rowan over for a while and Margaret went shopping. This evening Margaret went to work, having accepted a 5:00 shift at 4:35. I took William swimming, he had a great and brave time going off the diving board into the deep end.

Monday, December 29, 2008

I had a real vacation day today, I hung with William, watched Jonny Quest cartoons from 1964 (he loves them, as I hoped he would - they are adventure stories full of science and bits of magic and a great deal of suspending disbelief, akin to Tintin). I also sat for a few hours in front of my computer trying to work the footage Eric and I shot this summer to mimic some of Norman McLaren's optical printer films. Here are two new videos I posted: 1 + 2.

the knack

I finished watching "All Night Long" this evening, which I found on tv a couple weeks ago. It is a 1961 British film, loosely adapting Othello into the contemporary jazz culture/community. It was filled by many cameos from real jazz players. The Iago character (called Johnny) was played by Patrick McGoohan (Secret Agent and the Prisoner). The oddest part of it was the ending where everyone lives and the truth is revealed allowing the status quo to be regained. When I taped it, also also taped the vaguely familiar title "The Knack and How to get it" which was on after it. Surprisingly, it is not only another early 60s British film about angry/confused young men, but is one of Richard Lester's first films. It's got this very cool opening sequence with hundreds of beautiful women lined up on a stairway, moving up to a room with a man one at a time. Plot is thin but style dominates every moment.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Eartha Kitt

Eartha Kitt died the other day. We've been listening to "Santa Baby" once or twice per day all month, so this seems all the more tragic. She's also the Catwoman in season 3 of the Adam West Batman series, but William and I haven't watched those ones yet. I a mistaken impression that Cab Calloway was still alive and celebrating his 101st birthday on Christmas day, but this was not so. We don't listen to very many living singers at Christmastime, and the number is getting smaller and smaller.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Christmas day

I was up late last night setting clues out for hidden presents. I got to sleep for a couple of hours but then woke up and read and watched some tv until William woke up and asked if it was morning. It was 3:30, so I told him it wasn't and I shut off the tv and slept. The audio clip of William reading that I posted yesterday was in William's new clock radio/cd player this morning and woke him when it really was morning. Actually, it just confused him as he though it must be coming from some place else; he'd failed to notice the introduction of new electronics two feet from where he was sleeping. We opened presents; William got some more Lego including two large sets from Santa, and a large set from me, (this on top of two large sets, one from Paul, one from Omi) last night. I got some movies that I'd picked for myself, as well as a nice little camera case I'd not expected and was really happy to get. Later at Grandma's, William scored more Lego and a really great looking telescope from my sister Lori. We tobogganed for a while then went for supper at Lori's where William finally got to play some Lego Batman on a Playstation 3. He's hooked; I'll be hearing a lot more about this in the months to come.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Santa was rushed?

Christmas eve, William woke up excited and stayed excited all day. This evening we went to Margaret's mother's for the traditional goose and to open presents after desert. William got some great Lego including robotic dino lego from Omi and a brand new 2009 pirate set from Paul. When we got home we encountered a mystery; Santa had left packages but had not looked at the letter William wrote, nor had he eaten the cookies or taken the carrots for the reindeer! Well, it's early to bed at William's insistence, even though it's well past 10. More opening and more Lego in the morning. Here is William reading the night before Christmas to his doll/son before bed (audio only - it's five minutes long):

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

others successes

William had a great long play date at some play centre with Daniel this afternoon, allowing us to get a few last things done and for me to finish a new video for William's blog about Gadunka, the Lego Bionicle monster he built yesterday.
Margaret is in the new issue of Prairie Dog with her music picks; a Christmas theme of course, since that's pretty much the only music we buy anymore. Check it out.
We received a mysterious Batmobile today, chopped by the Joker (who got away as he should in this season). We've not yet tracked down the joker(to thank you of course), but you know who you are .

working?

I suppose today was a work day. William is home from school and I didn't actually leave the house, but Chrystene came over and we discussed her film for a few hours. It was mostly me catching up on stuff she's been doing, there's still lots of process left to juggle. William and I built Bionicles all evening while listening to podcasts of Stewart McLean Vinyl Cafe stories. William biuilt Gadunka almost entirely by himself. After Margaret got home from work, William decided he wanted to learn to do cartwheels. Margaret told him he had to eat his apple and go to bed, so he combined the events and did cartwheels while eating his apple. I'm not sure exactly what happened except a cry of anquish (not a scream of pain) and William coming to tell me about a sore tooth. He went to show it to Margaret, wiggled it, and pulled it out! First tooth to be lost in many months. He wrote a long letter to the tooth fairy, taking until at least 10:30. After he was in bed, we wrapped and built Bionicles.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

the noise, the noise, the noise

Do we ever consider how right the Grinch was, the noise really is too much sometimes. William went to a birthday party at Chucky Cheese today, they pipe their obnoxious music everywhere and keep it loud. It is so uncomfortable to adults to be there that I can't understand how they stay it business (...perhaps it's their fine food or affordable prices...?).

Saturday, December 20, 2008

like it was 1999

William had his party today, 6 boys (sounded like 60) for 6 hours, with a volume level that rattled my nerves after 15 minutes. Still feeling wrecked, even though the house clean up was relatively easy. Wrapping a few presents tonght.

party on

I spent the day mostly at home, doing the must needed clean up before people came over. William wanted to have a party but everyone on his list couldn't come the same day, so we are mostly having people over today and tomorrow. William got out of school at 2:30 so is on vacation now. I baked three different cookies this morning, but am not thrilled about any of them. A lace cookie i had done before didn't work as well because I used walnuts instead of pecans. I think it would actually work better with peanuts, it would become something like peanut brittle, perhaps next time. After the kids left, Paul, William and I sorted Lego and put all the people back together, which sounds like an easy job until you see how many dozens of people he has and how picky he can be about what combinations of heads to bodies to legs to hands to hair/helmet he has. In the morning he'll likely pull half of them apart.

Friday, December 19, 2008

finishing

I went to the Filmpool today, spent all day searching film bins for clips of an old film that was accidentally cut for found footage. Had lunch with Kevin in the mall, walked over in sandals from the Filmpool through the walkways; the winter is no wonderland this week. Got my grading in this evening; couldn't let myself feel like I'm on vacation until that was done. I baked another batch of William's coconut cookies. Margaret and I finished watching season one of the Extras, bloody great stuff, except the part that it took us until 2 am to finish and now we're going to be totally messed up in the morning. Good night.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

is it clear?

I was writing some memo-like documents yesterday and got thinking about transparency. This is the "new" word to use as your demand to know everyone else s secrets. If you want to know how much the budget is for other units in your business/organization or the reason one person was hired and another wasn't, or how much your boss spends on lunch, you say that the information must be shared in the interest of transparency. No boss dares to say that they don't want transparency, since it is supposed to be good and democratic, but I doubt that one in a hundred bosses really do want transparency, except in cases where they can use it as a tool. Everyone says that they want transparecy because the opposite of it is is believed to be blindness and ignorance. However, once the floodgates of transparency are opened, then each person has the responsibiltiy of actively studying and assiting with all of the information they are given. With great information comes great amount of responsing. Transparency is intellectual nudism.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

fear the poor

Margaret just found out that the rumor of Calgary library cards having an annual fee is true. I think the root of this comes from two directions, a resentment that someone might get something for free that property owners put a dollar per month towards, and a fear that poor people will be unable to contain their animalistic ways and must be excluded from public places such as libraries where people who can afford free books want to read peacefully. Putting such a levy in place was probably easy, taking it away will evoke all of these fears so might never happen.

Monday, December 15, 2008

rock my night away

This evening was William's Christmas concert, he was in the back row. Margaret heard from his teacher today that he demonstrated that he knew the words at the rehearsal today for the first time; previously he stood mute, not even pretending. I figure he was saving it for the big performance, or for when the camera was on.

balmy

If we lived on Pluto, it would be downright balmy out today. I'd be saying "William, take off your plasma suit, the nitrogen is in gaseous form today!", and we'd laugh and laugh and laugh and laugh.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

rewind

Super cold today, took William to an old friend of his from last year who is going to a different school now. William really misses him, they were closest friends. I did some shopping, the stores were nearly empty as no one in their right mind went out. This afternoon Margaret worked so I took William to the Royal Saskatchewan Museum Christmas party. Again, almost empty. We got to have cider and sit anywhere. We had supper with Patrick Lowe, the Winnipeg animator and old friend of mine, today. I had to apologize for letting William play on the rewinds and disturbing his materials during the Filmpool Christmas party the other night. Instead of asking how I'd heard about the issue, Patrick just said it was no big deal (not what I heard) and immediately went on to explain how he was more concerned about how late he worked last night and how he's not finished his project, etc. His ramble derailed my intention to scold him for leaving elements out in the first place, since I've been letting William use that rewind table since he could stand. I never got back to the topic. We came home early (Patrick was very tired and William was melting down from having lots of root beer and very little curry for supper) and we decorated the tree a bit. More grading not; I can't seem to quite get it done.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

cookies

William and I went to Allan Dotson's house to decorate cookies today. My best one was a collaboration which began with William doing a Frankenstein, but it kept braking so I started gluing it back together with icing.
We also got our tree today, seems like a good one. While it is only about 7 feet high, the trunk is very thick, leading us to wonder if they lop the top off of the larger trees from logging. This is the first tree that has been able to stand up in a sturdy way, held only by the stand at the bottom, without additional cords and wires.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Filmpool Christmas Party

I stayed home all day grading (didn't finish yet, even though I'd hoped to) and this evening we went to the Filmpool Christmas party. We worked on Christmas cards when we got home, that is until I checked my email. I'm thinking that email servers should all me shut down on Friday at 5 and rebooted on Monday morning. No good comes of checking email on the weekend, since email never contains anything to make you relax or feel better about life. It generally contains reminders and complaints; I know since that's pretty much all I use it for. In any case, my email has me all in a knot and unable to pass on holiday cheer in my letters. All that's left for me is Blog griping.

In Medicine Hat a few weeks ago, we saw some guys demoing remote control cars in the mall. They came with rechargable batteries and a charger, a value of $35 they claimed, and the car and batteries was on sale, two days only, down from $120 to only 70, of which half was the value of the batteries. I noticed that the unit was made in China and had a warning not to overcharge the batteries (I've never encountered that before, so it worried me). Anyways, Margaret found one of these cars, sans batteries, at Office Depot today fore $10. William raced it around the party this evening, it was lots of fun.

review

Today all three grad students I co-supervise did their end of term reviews. All went well.
Paul brought over Iron Man this evening; neither he nor Margaret had seen it, it was good a second time, although now it's late and it's time for bed.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

sweet

We went to the MacKenzie Art Gallery Christmas party this afternoon. Lee Henderson's new installation was open, he'd modified a WII game player to be a paint brush that triggered layers of audio when you brushed. The sound was a bit dense and difficult to discern the layers, I didn't use it long enough to figure out if it gets much denser than it was. I wish there was some sort of reset switch so you can start with a "fresh slate". Maybe there was, I missed his talk so might have been overlooking such details. Santa was there with Mrs. Claus, William got to sit on his knee. His letter went off to the north pole yesterday, so Santa hasn't received it yet.
Coffeed with Kevin this evening, it'd been a month and we had lots to catch up on. The coffee shop you usually frequent was closed for a staff meeting so we ended up at Tim Horton's. Cheaper but less comfortable. I was too sugared up from the MacKenzie party to want to eat any of their skanky donuts. Kevin bought a new SUV.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

007

This evening, based on the excitement over the Agent line of Lego and the Spy Fox computer game, we showed William a James Bond movie, Moonraker with Roger Moore from 1979. Big collars, scenarios that are less believable than ever, and a rather wooden "super"villain. However, it did have the second appearance of Jaws and his metal teeth, William liked that.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Saskatoon

I drove up to Saskatoon with Angelina today to present our workshop video for Saskatchewan Cancer Research Day conference; it went well. We got only a couple of comments but useful ones. I have lots of notes, primarily audio fixes. The roads were icy, we drove back right after we were done.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

classes done

My last class was today. I am still waiting for some material. Amongst the assignments was a project of found footage videos that would ultimately be posted on youtube. Not all of them are done yet, but a few are up there. Take a look.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

William's performance

Meetings and stuff at work all day - was cold and windy so I was glad to stay there for lunch. One nice event: I thought I'd have to go through a bunch of process to switch fourth year "directing the experimental film"course from being a temporary selected topics course to being a permanent catalogued course. I'd submitted all the paperwork while I was on sabbatical but was told it hadn't been done. However, I hadn't double checked because, in fact, it had gone through and I narrowly missed having to do all the paperwork and process again. Next fall I will be teaching the newly named Film 412, rather than the awkward Film 486AD.
This evening began with William's last day of acting class as the Globe Theatre. See clip below:

Later we stopped in at a Christmas party thing. The internet seems sluggish and I've been having a hard time sending a photo to Mauricio for him to use in the authoring of the End of Life workshop dvd that I need for Saskatoon on Friday.

last week of classes

Today I taught the last day of my directing course. It went pretty well, they all (but two) showed the edited versions of the in-class exercises they shot a few weeks ago. They each had a page or two from a script I wrote back in grad school. No one went too crazy stylistically, but it was surprising how different in tone each was. The changes in actors and direction, compounded by the fact that the students didn't have a clear idea of the overall arc of the story, led to radical differences such as the primary character being lazy/lethargic in one, then manic in the next, then nearly insane in others.
The Filmpool had it's steak night fundraiser tonight. I bought tickets without thinking that I couldn't go. Margaret went with a friend, Paul stayed with William (it was a no minors event).

Monday, December 1, 2008

Surrealims in Cagary

Over the past few days I was in Calgary, "Professor Delusia" was showing for all three nights at the Surrealism Film Festival run through CSIF - I divided the videos into three portions so portions of it were shown in each of the three programs. I missed Thursday as I was teaching, but we drove out with Margaret's dad's truck on Friday. The Thursday and Friday screenings were at the "Sofa Cinema", which is their in-house space. It only holds a few dozen people but is very cool, a 5x10m space filled with old couches and recliners. They have apparently been holding consistent programming so have developed a regular audience, even though the space is difficult to find, being on the converted military base space. The last night was at a real theatre with about 150 people, a great show. Lots of good work.
We brought the truck so we could shop, shop, shop!

We got William a new carpet from Ikea.
... and of course, lots of Lego - although much of it is hidden away for Christmas.


My little sister is enjoying her retirement a bit too much.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

still in a fog

I missed my regular meeting with Janine this morning, mainly due to the fact that I'm in a fog and can't seem to snap out of it. I have some lucid moments, fortunately one came after I got her email saying that she'd given up waiting for me and sent me the documents she needed me to read and I then promptly read them and gave my comments. Hopefully that will make up for my absence a bit. I've finished one of my three syllabi, two more to go. William has retro-70s day tomorrow, so of course it lands on me to find stuff. I have a great peace sign and my basketball jacket from the 78-79 year (we were city champs, no thanks to me). I'll post a photo tomorrow.

school

William went to school this afternoon. He said he felt "fine" and that he wanted to go, but reports are that he was in a bad mood, "not 100%" . I guess he's still sick. Margaret has thoughts about keeping him out of school tomorrow. I have opinions that I'm beginning to doubt. I appreciate a upper case Sick, like the ear infection the other day, or the chicken pox, or plague or whatever. If William was upper-case Sick, then we could watch tv all day long in the spirit of resting. When he's just-a-bit-out-of-sorts-lower-case sick, then it's more questionable how much fun staying home should be.
I was teaching tonight, second last week of term has begun. I'm sick (lower case) and could barely hold myself upright most of the day. My thermos of quadruple espresso pulled me out of that, as usual.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

New Lego posting

This morning William slept in and we were going to rush him to school as he said he felt up to it. Margaret called ahead and found out that the students were mostly in the gym all morning watching movies while teachers met with their students individually regarding goal setting. This seemed a low priority for rushing so we took it easy, ate some breakfast, had a freaking wonderful cookie I made last night which is basically a merange and Belgium chocolate cookie, and we built a bit of Lego. I need to work on my syllubi now, but first I posted the Sherlock Holmes Lego onto William's blog.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

revised Dr. Who

I revised the Dr. Who Lego video that I put on William's blog yesterday and threw it up on Youtube with a much more satisfying background. It's also shorter.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

repeats

Today William and I watched some Dr. Who, which was a repeat for me of course as I need to pick and choose from episodes to find ones that won't upset him too much (many of the new episodes are quite frightening). We watched the two part season ender to the first season where Rose is disintegrated in the game show but in actuality is teleported to the Dalek ship. The Doctor rescues her and sends her back home so to make a last stand against the Daleks but she realizes that she is the Bad Wolf and returns to save everyone, except the doctor who is killed and regenerates. Some thrills, but also a key episode for showing parts of the mythology. Then we made cookies, repeating the same recipe from last week. William is getting better quickly, now that he has drugs from the doctor (not Dr. Who, a real doctor) yesterday. I finally picked the video on Lego Tardis back up and am trying to finish it. For a 36 second clip for William's blog, I've killed much too much time on it. I'm trying a bunch of things I've never tried before in trying to construct the background, although I'm still far from satisfied.

Friday, November 21, 2008

strange

William has an ear infection and stayed home all day. Margaret was at a workshop for work all day, so I stayed home. Not feeling great myself, so it was good to have a rest. William was wondering about Dr. Strange's mentor and we have to question who names their baby "the Ancient One"?

it's who you know

I conducted a grant assessment/jury workshop in class today, something I've done twice before. Each of the students writes a short grant application and I copy them without the student's names on them and they all read them and discuss whether they should fund them. This year I mixed three old ones in, two which received positive feedback and one less popular one. Even though back four years ago when they were written the same conditions applied, the reaction to these was significantly different. The students somehow didn't trust these additions, doubting the ability of the filmmakers. It's quite ironic in that they doubted the feasibility of a project that ended up being completed on even less resources than listed in the application they read.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

even sicker

I'd hoped William would be better today but he was worse. He complained of an ear ache which eventually became a headache. I had to work (met with Mauricio and gave him notes on next changes to workshop video, amongst other things) so Margaret was home all day with him. This evening he missed his much loved acting class. Margaret and I both had commitments so luckily Margaret's mother came and watched him.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

home sick

William stayed home sick today, which tied me home in the afternoon as well. We listened to some audio plays off the computer but I refused to put any tv on; being home just-a-bit-sick must not seem too pleasurable, else he'll have ailments more often. Taught tonight. Some Sherlock Holmes (on right now) with Margaret while we munch on naniamo bars, yum.

Monday, November 17, 2008

meetings

This afternoon the screening of the workshop video to the elders went well. I stopped at the Filmpool on my way home to review my notes with Gordon regarding the Filmpool five year plan as I couldn't attend the meeting this evening. I wanted to get William to sleep early so I had him in the shower at 6:15 when the Filmpool called, unable to get quarum for the Board, I conferenced called for 2 hours. Bed is now finally made after big milk spill in it this morning, so I think I'll use it.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

cookies


William wanted to experiment with baking today, so we made cookies. I made suggestions as to ingredients, beginning with the idea that cookies are made of sugar, flour, egg, and butter. Proportions and specific ingredients after that were mostly his own. here it is:
William’s Crazy Chocolate Coconut cookies

½ cup butter, softened
½ cup white sugar (heaping)
2 eggs
½ cup coconut, shredded and sweetened
1 cup flour, heaping
1 tbsp baking powder
2 tbsp cocoa powder
1 tsp vanilla
½ cup mini m&ms

Turn on your oven, so it can pre-heat to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

Using your stand mixer, cream the sugar and butter together really well.
Add the eggs, and vanilla. Mix some more.

Add remaining ingredients and mix well.

Now, spoon a blob of batter into your hands, and roll it into an eye-ball sized sphere, and place onto your cookie sheet. Keep your blobs about 2 inches apart, to allow the cookie to spread.

Once your sheet is covered in blobs, you can place it into the 375 degree oven, and bake for 9 minutes.

Do some lego while you wait.

When the cookies are done, take your cookie sheet out of the oven, and let the cookies cool for 5 minutes before you try to move them onto cooling racks.

They turned out great.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

annoying artifact

Last night we caught up on "Life", Margaret and my favorite show these days. We were behind because I missed an episode when they moved to Wednesday. Luckily Paul had recorded it on his computer. Less luckily, the episode title: "Jackpot", which was in the opening shot of the recording, remained burned in to the image for the entire hour. It often seemed appropriate as the word situated itself on top of various people in the frame, often people who had won jackpots.

annoying artifact

Last night we caught up on "Life", Margaret and my favorite show these days. We were behind because I missed an episode when they moved to Wednesday. Luckily Paul had recorded it on his computer. Less luckily, the episode title: "Jackpot", which was in the opening shot of the recording, remained burned in to the image for the entire hour. It often seemed appropriate as the word situated itself on top of various people in the frame, often people who had won jackpots.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Art openings

Two big gallery events today: Loretta's reception following her MFA defense at the MacKenzie preceded the African video show curated by Sheila Petty at the Dunlop. Margaret had to work so William and I swooped past both of them and chatted a bit, but didn't stay long. We watched Curious George when we got home, even though he's not really interested in cartoons most days. They were watching episodes of the new Curious George tv show while the class was being tested for reading levels individually outside of the classroom, so he'd developed a fondness for it. He's never read the books and, even though I have one in the house somewhere, I don't think I read itto him more than once.

it's not thursday unless...

Met with Mauricio this morning and we worked together to get some last minute changes to the End of Life workshop video before we show it to the elders next week. Half hour after Mauricio left town I noticed that one of the title we discussed was overlooked, so I'll have to get to that later. I showed Carl Bessai's Out of Orbit McLuhan documentary in class today. Interesting to see a slightly younger Elizabeth McLuhan in there; I'd not watched it in a couple of years - since before I'd met her. Was going to bake this evening but built Lego for first time in a month instead. Put two of the Mars Mission sets together that have been in pieces for about a year.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Baking

I baked a cheesecake for Margaret to take to work tomorrow. I never take baking to my work.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Rememberance Day

Caught up on a few letters and put my three year binder of academic support material together today, as well as made Naniamo bars (see blog this time last year) from my mom's recipe. William had friends over and I slipped out and did some shopping.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Christmas baking

I made cookies today while working on a report from home. Roads were really icy so I didn't go out until the afternoon. Does it count as Christmas baking if there is no snow on the ground and I wasn't listening to Christmas music? I did draw the recipe from my really great "Christmas Cookies" book. We went to the MacKenzie Art Gallery this afternoon and saw Loretta Paoli's MFA show. It fit into Margaret's obsession about time travel, I think she's becoming disconnected from the time/space continuum these days. Yesterday she wanted to turn a block before our turn, think we were 20 seconds in the future. What is next?!?

Lazy Sunday

I was the first to get dressed in our household at 2:30pm when I went to visit Donovan's film set as he shoots his Film 400 project. William put on pants when we were required to go to Margaret's parents house at 6pm, after the sun was down. I baked biscotti and worked on my Midsummer Nights Dream screen adaptation."The smallest biscotti".

Saturday, November 8, 2008

busy Saturday

William and I spent our morning in pajamas watching (most of) Return of the King. This afternoon we went swimming - he forgot his goggles and was really grumpy about it so Margaret went and got them and then he had a great time. After supper we went to a house warming party that William didn't want to go to but then met kids of an economics professor there and didn't want to leave. We had to go early as we had tickets, complements of Margaret's mom, for the symphony. Just as I have found that I see films through William's eyes, I heard this symphony (Tchaikovsky's fifth) through his ears. He was restless and couldn't wait for it to end. When does that symphony end? It keeps promising to end, but then just keeps going and going like the damn rabbit. William played with Ed Willet's daughter during intermission and after the show so he ended up enjoying the evening after all.

Sherlock Holmes

Last night I presented some films at the "Re-Examining Arthur Conan Doyle: An International Symposium" a the University of Regina. Here is what I said.

Friday, November 7, 2008

New student video site

This evening was the One Take Super 8 Event. It went well. William stayed for the whole thing for the first time. luckily he has no school tomorrow as it didn't end until 10:30. My film was in focus, although a couple of the mirror shots were too dark. It went well.

i've set up a new youtube site where my students are required to post the assignment i gave them, which was to draw images from the public domain internet.org site and make a found footage video. They are also required to give an image back to the world, uploading it to the same site. the videos they made will be HERE.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Watson presentaton

I finished writing a draft of my presentation on Holmes and Watson I'm reading on Friday night. I'll have to time it, am getting worried that I'm too wordy and I think they are just there to watch a movie. I have clips selected (except for a Rathbone episode which I can't face right now). Tomorrow I'll need to collect the clips onto one disc and test the disc, then I'll be ready.
William's friend Rowan was sick this evening so William went to acting class alone. Actually, it wasn't acting but theatre: they spent the hour doing paper mache, creating a set piece for their end of term project (a huge flower, William made four petals). William's new teacher is Daniel Maslany who was a student of mine a couple years ago. The world turns.

Dr. Watson I presume

I'm almost ready for my Sherlock Holmes presentation on Friday night, but still wanting to watch a couple of more things. My talk is half written. I'll still need to copy the clips onto one dvd for convenience, otherwise I'll be cuing up disc after disc and will get all off track. Presenting to Phd's is making me nervous.
I taught all evening so didn't turn on the US election at all. Glad, would rather just read about it in the morning once votes are actually all in.

Monday, November 3, 2008

cable guy

The cable guy was on time today. Last night i called because I lost the internet, even though the tv was still working. He replaced a few of the connectors and the modem, it's working great now. I realized last night as I was forced to use the phone to get my internet fixed that I'd gladly give up the phone and use only the internet.
Yesterday we cleaned up the yard, got the garage mostly empty so we can use it, and put stuff away for the winter. Today, as predicted, was rainy.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Áll Saint's Day

It's Thomas and Veronica's last day in town and we converged on Paul's house for an intro game of Agricola, which was pretty interesting. Mike was in town too. William played Lego and watched Attack of the Clones. At 5:00 everything crashed as Margaret was finished work but I wanted to finish the game (was on second last round) and William suddenly crashed from lack of good food. He had to hold out until my parents' church fowl supper at 6:30, after which he was good again and we hit a little party at Terry and Rudy's followed by a drop in at our next door neighbors' Halloween bash in their garage (two bands). William was almost begging to go to bed.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Halloween

William dressed up as Professor Delusia Jr. I ran a loop of Professor Delusia but due to the dimness of the image, my head was nearly invisible making it "the ghost of Professor Delusia". Ran it for 3 hours.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

public domain

I uploaded some clips of Roger Ing and some Regina cityscapes that I shot back around 1993, up onto the archive website. I've declared it to be public domain, thus giving these images to the world.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

homework

William had a heck of a day today; he stayed at school for lunch then went to Rowan's after school and went with them to acting class, not returning home until seven. A quick supper, then two hours of homework then an hour of reading (finishing his 7th or 8th Animorphs book), then sleep. All the while I thought I had a busy day since I had a couple of meetings and had to work through some more of the pedagogy document.

high

Feeling great. Got home from class. Was so thirsty today that I drank nothing but my watered down juice and not my espresso. At home, I gulped down the quadruple espresso with a bit of milk, then Margaret and I started sipping wine. Usually it makes me sleepy, but obviously not tonight. Then the chocolate came out - wow, the chemicals in my body are all firing and I regret it being 1:30 am - could go like this for three more hours. Imagine I'll pay for it when William awakes wanting to read the Garfield cartoon in a few hours....

Monday, October 27, 2008

focused, at least a bit

Last night Chrystene and I agreed to cancel meeting today, neither of us has material ready for the other. So I stayed home in the morning and got most of my grading done. This afternoon I met with one of my students for an hour and a half and worked through his script, I think we made good progress. This evening Margaret went to work and William and I put up lights on the front doorstep (squirrels ate the old ones) and carved a pumpkin. I think I finished a video based on footage from the archive to put on line along with my student's assignment of the same sort. More on that later in the week.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

skipped some days

It's been a few days since I blogged. Not sure why, perhaps because it's getting cold and I'd prefer to just shut off the computer instead of sitting up those extra minutes. I think it did start with Friday night when the power went out at 11pm for an hour and a half. Not much to do but curl up in bed and when the power returned, I was half asleep. Missing a second night was easier. I'm a creature of habit and not doing things is a habit too. The power outage was pretty cool, I don't know how wide spread it was, but I think it was big. Looking out the window, there was almost no light but for an occasional car.
I've been a bit out of focus lately, not really paying attention to anything for more than a couple of minutes. Perhaps a bit like an attention disorder. As a result, I've not taken only any big things all week. I'm behind on my grading. I worked on my "Midsummer Nights Dream" for a while but didn't get too deep in. I've done lots of email, it only requires short bursts of thought. Back when I was department head, I would have so many emails to reply to that by the time I was at the bottom of the list, the first ones had responded to me and I would start again from the top. I could spend half the day doing this, being so active and exhausted that I got thinking that I must have been accomplishing something. Facebook gives people this sort of sense of purpose as well. It is, of course, a plot to keep everyone so busy that they miss out on what is really going on.....

Thursday, October 23, 2008

breaking stuff

I dropped my thermis on way to class, dented it.
I knocked over a 150w arri fresnel light in class, blew the (expensive) bulb.

This evening I went to the MacKenzie Art Gallery where Carmen Robertson was presenting a German western from the 70s and discussing the European take on "the German Indian vs the Hollywood Indian". She suggested that the American western is a construction but the Euro-western is a construction of a construction. It was interesting to observe that (in the movies) the Apache are always noble and the Comanche are always bad.

my homework

This evening I started work on my homework. I told my Film 400 class that I would also do the found footage project I assigned to them which requires creating a work based on footage from this on -archive. Coincidentally, I heard an interview with Rick Prelinger on CBC today. I met once in Toronto. He's an archivist and collector of old training and informational films and his archive is now part of this same on-line archive.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

muffins

Margaret made muffins this afternoon, it was a command baking. William got a whiff of muffins this morning and came home for lunch with an almost raving obsession with having a muffin. There were none, but he could not be sated. I was at work until 10 so now I'm home to enjoy one myself. Blueberry and peach with a hint of cinnamon.

catch up

I worked at home this afternoon, finished an article on Ian Toews which is expanded from the program notes I wrote a few months ago. He was over here two nights ago, we had a wine and talked about video and stuff for a while. This evening we had a Filmpool meeting. William went a played Lego at Paul's for a while since Margaret was also at work.

I watched recent episode of Clone Wars with William. It is targeted at 6-10 year old boys but they play it on CTV at 9pm Sundays after Desperate Housewives?!? For the third episode in a row it has a strong message that the clones are people too, they have individuality and feelings and that there is a strong interest in protecting them. I was wondering if the storm troopers are the clones, just a bit older, or if they are regular people drafted into service? I'd like to think they are the old clones and I came up with a new ending to "Return of the Jedi".

GEORGE LUCAS, ARE YOU LISTENING, YOU COULD GO PUT THIS SCENE IN FOR THE BLUE RAY RELEASE...

I think the storm troopers are like the flying monkeys in Oz.
When the Emperor is finally killed and Vader dies, Luke should look behind him and see that 5000 storm troopers have come up behind him. Luke would be weak from the fight but he struggles to his feet and sparks up his light saber to face the mob. Instead of shooting at him, the storm troopers, for the first time, all remove their helmets. Luke walks through them as they applaud in that all-at-once clapping like in military or prison scenes ("hooray for Dorothy, the wicked witch is dead").

Monday, October 20, 2008

me?

I had coffee with my friend Kevin this evening and he outlined a list of my mannerisms that even I didn't know I had. Not only that, he also deconstructed them, outlining the psychological use for each of them. Oh, that doesn't make me feel self conscious...

Saturday, October 18, 2008

the next generation

Today I shot my One Take Super 8 film for the 8th annual event. This is my 8th entry, I don't know how many others have entered every time, maybe Shawn Fulton and Rob Pytlyk but definitely not many. This year's entry is "Professor Delusia Jr.".

Friday, October 17, 2008

birthday party (with pictures added)

We held a party for Margaret's 40th this evening. Chrystene and Raul came, Leesa, Kenneth and Daniel, Linda, Sean, Jake, and Coen, Leslea, Leif, Brianna, and Teagan, Gerry Ann and Steve, Carle, Edward and Rowen, Paul, plus the three of us. That makes 22 in total. Good time. We ate both of the cakes I made on Wednesday. With seven of this total being kids under 10, the party began at 7 and most everybody leaving by 11. Not like the old days.
 This answers my question of where I got this projector. I suspected but the party was great and I drank a bit so the long term memory of it never really took hold. (note from 2013)








Thursday, October 16, 2008

thief revealed!

Today is Margaret's birthday. I managed to get to the chocolate store before the first Filmpool interview this morning (searching for new executive director). After work I brought home a big Western Pizza, Paul came over, we all went out to the Art Gallery of Regina where a new show curated by David Garneau opened. Ran into Les, an old installer from the Dunlop, who is in from Winnipeg with a friend who's in the show. He hasn't been here since around 2000. So eight years ago, I had my film "Life is Like Lint" (about which was written "it is appropriately ironic that the greatest work of postmodern cinema was not completed until four years after the movement was declared a fraud") on exhibition on a vhs to view on a tv in the Mackenzie Art Gallery. During the run, three of the vhs tapes were stolen. The second and third ones were actually replaced by blank tapes, making them premeditated thefts. Tonight Les revealed to me that he was with filmmaker Kika Thorne when she "borrowed" one of these tapes with the claim that she was going to return it the next day.
Can I now say that my work is "in the collection of Kika Thorne"?

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

baking

I baked two cheese cakes. One is shaped like a heart. The other isn't. Yet.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

casting

It was raining and cold today. i spent all day hunting for actors for my class for this evening. why is that so difficult some days? the election was on, now it is over. i never really understand the results. well, i understand, but i just don't understand people sometimes. even in my worst days trying to cast a film would i have made some of the picks we made as a nation today.

Monday, October 13, 2008

the drive home

This morning I stopped at Nick's on the way out of Winnipeg for a very quick, very filling breakfast. I had assumed that I'd stop for a bathroom and lunch break in Brandon, but decided that the music was enough to sustain me so I skipped it, and skipped Verdon, since we got a ticket there the other day and don't want to leave them any more of our money, then just drove on to Indian Head where I was forced to stop for gas, then home. Thanksgiving dinner with my parents, then home to discover I don't have all the actors in place for tomorrow's class after all, so it's back to work and wigging out about it. Not much I can do right now except wait for replies from various messages.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Winnipeg

I hosted a screening of films by Jean Oser at the WNDX festival in Winnipeg this evening. It went well, the crowd was small but good. Dr. Elizabeth McLuhen came with her husband, he'd taken a course from Jean in the mid 70s. Brett Kashmere and his parents were there, as was Alex Rogalski. Patrick Lowe sent his regrets. There was a number of others as well. Later we went to the 3rd Winnipeg One Take Super 8 Event, it has a big space and is very popular. It closed with a rather fascinating piece about food being thrown onto rapidly jiggling naked breasts. Three women were involved. It was well lit and in focus. Another of my picks was one that seemed to be a shot of light coming out of a projector. There was dust and some distortions as the lens was moved or removed. Uncertain exactly what was happening, but Alex, probably with instructions from the filmmaker, turned on his microphone and aimed it at the projector itself, amplifying the projector noise.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

deja vu

What is the opposite of deja vu, you know, that feeling that something hasn't happened before?

Friday, October 10, 2008

William and the storyteller

I woke up in the middle of the night last night and couldn't sleep for about 3-4 hours, meaning that I was a basket case all day today. I took William over to Leslea's house where our friend Linda had arranged a CBC tv segment around a storyteller, Kevin MacKenzie (http://www.storiesbykevin.com/) to be shot with kids at the fireplace. I'm certain he never got to the end of a story, the kids interrupted each story with their own tellings of it. Leslea and I were almost on the floor in the next room, listening in on it all.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

I knew it was too big...

I got notes from the research office explaining about 10 things to consider changing on my SSHRC application. I don't want to do any of them, although there was one technical thing that needs to be corrected. I have one week. These things grow out of control...

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

using recovery as an excuse

I am glad to have made it over some hurdles, so I guess I took it easy today partially to give myself a break from the work I've been doing. Actually, I think I accomplished so little today because I was up half the night trying to copy the dvd for the End of Life workshop but it had a bad sector and just wouldn't copy. I had a big meeting with the group today and wanted to give some copies to be reviewed but couldn't. Instead, I tried to pay attention with only four hours sleep under my belt. The rest of the day was on email, moving information but not doing anything real. I still need three male actors for next week's class and have had no response. Stressing on that. Margaret was at work this evening, even though she's still pretty sick. Had a great chat with Charity Marsh out on the sidewalk this afternoon, first time I've run into here in about a year, even though she lives a block away.

is anything finished yet...?

I met with Philippe and he should have dropped the last signed forms off at the research office today, so I guess my SSHRC is in. I wish I'd been able to drop that off myself, then I could say that I absolutely knew it was done, I'd have a bit of closure. Oh well.
I also have a dvd of the End of Life workshop video in my hands. I hired Mauricio to fine tune it and he got me this disc this evening. I've not had time to watch it again, but I'll give some preview copies to the team tomorrow anyways. Again, not feeling like I completed it since I wasn't able to micromanage as much as I like. Oh well.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

that grant, now it's done.... or....

I delivered my SSHRC grant application to the office of research today. Complete! ... except for the page that requires the co-applicant's signature - I'll get it in the morning.

Margaret ran across this scan of a brochure about the Winnipeg flood. My dad was there piling sandbags (in real life, but not in this brochure).

Sunday, October 5, 2008

even closer to finished now

I got my support material dvd created for my grant, now it is done, well not really, but closer yet again. Tomorrow I need to print it all off (I'm out of paper at home and forgot to buy more; I can't very well send in my grant on orange paper with three holes punch in it, can I?). I am not worried about it as I have created pdfs of all the pages so formatting won't get in my way. I've also sent to myself the project that I'm assigning my students on Tuesday, travel authorization forms to go to Winnipeg next week, and information about other stuff I'm juggling. Last night I took a breather break and watched The Trouble with Harry. Lots of fun, although I did start dozing in the middle. The mix of stage and exteriors has never felt stranger; Hitchcock didn't like shooting outside but this film had a lot of outdoor scenes. A stage was used for the site where the body is buried repeatedly and at times I just couldn't buy it. One anomaly, it is a film in with the artist character is neither a villain nor an eccentric but rather, he is the most observant and reasonable person in the story.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

grant ap done... well almost

Margaret took William out to have fun in the sun and try to fly a kite in the wind that was too strong for the little kite we have. Meanwhile I buckled down and got my SSHRC grant done, with all the attachments, forms, justifications, and so on. I just need to put together the support dvd (I'm missing one clip that I need to pick up from my office tomorrow) and get some of the forms signed by people on Monday, then it's off and I'm free to do the other mountain of work that stands before me. There isn't a chance I can get my weekly video done on time, it will likely be two or three weeks late. Tomorrow I have class prep and grading to do. I was able to relax a bit this evening and read with William (although he's capable of reading them now, I've continued to read the Bionicle books to him so we can share the stories).

Friday, October 3, 2008

grant writing

I worked on my SSHRC grant most of the day, but for a break to run some errands, go to the doctor, pay bills, buy a Bionicle, get groceries, picked up a video camera from work, and filled a prescription. Doctor says that even though my triglycerides are cut in half, my bilirubin is still as high as it was (around 60 when normal is below 10). The SSHRC grant is equally frustrating as I have a final draft of the important stuff but am now faced with eight more attachments I've not considered yet. Due Monday. Need to get some grading done too.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Debates

The Canadian federal debate rocked! I stayed awake for the whole thing, which is a miracle since I conked out a few minutes after it ended. Just woke from nap, going to bed now, still sicker than I thought.
Saw a few clips of American VP debate, they were just standing pontificating. Yawn.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

deadline scare

In mid afternoon, I got an email from my department head reminding me that my SSHRC grant application is due today and that she had her notes for me! As I'm still about 6-10 hours of work away from completing the application, this was a bit of a shock. Upon reviewing the emails, I found that it said the "standard SSHRC" deadline was today and in consultation with the research office, I found out that I have until Monday. Better get to work on it.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Games

Today I took a break from planning my lecture to attend a talk by Jeff Trzeciak of McMaster on to the topic of "Games, Virtual Worlds, and Simulation: the role of the library in the 21st century". What it ended up being was 15 minutes of Trzeciak saying how he got to be a librarian and how he got to where he is today, 10 minutes about the state of the McMaster library when he arrived, then 10 minutes about his changes he instigated. Then, when I thought he'd actually talk about his topic (all he'd mentioned up to this point was what level he was playing at in World of Warcraft) but instead he filled the remaining 25 mintues with data about students (non) use of the reference desk, the Ithaker Report (which I suppose the librarians in the room understood), and a mention that students only own tvs so they can play games on them. Apparently 20% of seniors in Canada use social networking such as Facebook. McMaster now has a gaming librarian as well as a huge Hardy Boys collection. I feel he stole an hour of my life.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

another birthday party

The morning was lazy, did some grading and painted chocolate onto the biscotte I baked yesterday. This afternoon we went to Linda's and celebrated Jake's 6th birthday, stayed over there for supper and were joined by Gerri-Ann and Steve. Got Jake a toboggan and William and I assembled the bionicles that we bought the two boys last month. Coffee'd with Kevin this evening; we got talking about a story that involved zombie frogs. I'm reminded of a script I was writing a couple years ago that I'm intent on returning to. I'll add it to my list.

screwball

This evening we watched "Leatherheads", primarily because Margaret heard that it was a failed screwball comedy. Well the first thing that disproves that is that "Leatherheads" wasn't even a comedy. While it did have a number of funny scenes, it really wasn't designed to be a comedy but rather it was a heartfelt period piece about football, honesty, friendship, and mud. It was okay, although we were in the mood for a comedy.
I baked biscotti today.

Friday, September 26, 2008

CFMDC screening

I went to the screening of films that the Canadian Filmmakers Distribution Centre is touring this evening. Poorly attended. The promo stuff was national and didn't have dates on it. Promoting screenings is going to be a priority for me in my new grant application, I used to do fairly well but it is time consuming. The films were hit and miss; they got 7 filmmakers (criteria unknown) to pick films from the collection (also criteria unknown) and create a response to them. Some were clever, some not so much. Glad I went though, any day you have a chance to see a good colour print of Joyce Wieland's "Rat Life and Diet in Norrth America" is a good day.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

film processing

Today I got my class to divide into group, spend an hour shooting rolls of 16mm film, then I took them to the darkroom and workshopped them on hand processing. The first two rolls worked perfectly. Then after we brought the second set of rolls in from the outside where they were being exposed to sunlight to reverse them to a positive image, I was momentarily distracted when one of the students asked, from behind me, "is this the developer". I turned to see that he's put the film back into the bleach. "NO!!!" was my reply. It was in the bleach about 15 seconds before we got it into water then into the correct developer. The image seemed intact, although I warned him that the blacks might be gray. Too much longer in the bleach at that point and the film would have been clear. The actual result, visible only once we got it on the screen, was that the blacks shimmered and crackled while the whites and grays looked fine. Amazing.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

eyes shuttin

Sleep is taking over. Stayed hope today, Janine canceled due to children being sick all last night and keeping her awake. I feel same way. Just dozed off a moment while writing this, not even 11 pm yet. Went to Art Gallery of Regina opening for Wendy Pert tonight, she built diaramas using animal toys, was fun. William played with little William. I knocked out a new draft of my notes about Ian Toews to turn into a Splice Magazine article.

short review of Cloverfield

Talked about super heroes, melodrama, and camp in class today, throat held out fairly well. Came home, no voice left for conversation so we watched Cloverfield. My review? It's better than Blair Witch.

Monday, September 22, 2008

walking with plague

Still sick today but lacking the common sense to stay home.
Chrystene and I canceled our regular Monday meeting but I still had one other student to meet with, so I did. That went fine, as did the two hour Filmpool meeting I had this evening. However, as soon as I left the Filmpool I walked outside and the cold hit my throat and I was in pain again. I finally have one thing figured out, I've got to keep my throat warm. Traditionally, I've enjoyed cold drinks as well as hot to sooth my soar throats, but not this one.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

bog a log

While I'm still pretty sick today, William and I ventured out to the Bio-Boxes show at Mysteria Gallery on 13th. For me and William, it was what he calls "Bog-a-log theatre". Bogalog is a word he made up when he was about 2 and eventually came to mean going into a small place such as under a blanket or, preferably, under someones shirt. This show was made up of 'theatres' that were about 2 feet wide with one chair surrounded by sheets. The one performer put their head through a hole in the stage and does a monologue while moving a variety of objects around (papers, toys, other objects.) It was incredibly intimate and wonderful. There were six stages, each performed in a choice between English or another language and could change mid way through their 10 minute performances (one was French, one German, one Cantenese, one Italian, one Crotatian, and one Japanese). Today was the last day in Regina.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

still sick

My cold got worse today. I'd intended to go to the farm and help harvest potatoes and perhaps put some paint onto the "cottage". However, the wind was mighty cold and I wasn't up to it. William's a bit sick too. He went out on a play date with the boy who already had this cold and I stayed home with a hot water bottle and the first half of Kill Bill Part 2 which I'd not got around to seeing before. Later when William came home we finished watching Fellowship of the Ring and also watched the 2007 animated Dr. Strange movie (was okay) and a bit of Batman before settling down to more Bionicle reading. Margaret worked the Dunlop opening this evening so I just finished Kill Bill 2 (she'd not have liked it, except perhaps the last show down with Bill). Basically a wasted day.

Friday, September 19, 2008

cold

It's warm out but I have a cold. Last night I could barely breath. Today seemed better during the day but as night comes I'm miserable again.
The Bob Boyer opening at the MacKenzie was huge, everyone was there.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

vacation

When I got home from work, William was having a vacation in the basement and was waiting for room service.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

acting... I mean ACTING

William started an acting course at the Globe Theatre today. He's there for an hour per week with his friend Rowan. There was lots of space and they seemed to have fun and use lots of energy. Teacher's name was Peter, I spoke to him for a minute but didn't ask his background. There's at least a dozen in class, ages 6-8. It gave Margaret and I a whole hour to just wander around downtown, alone, with no agenda. That just didn't seem right...?

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

fame

Another famous moment for me, or my back, in today's Regina Leader Post, page A7 or A11 (the second last page of the first section, our copy is already in the recycle bin and from there, was stolen by a neighbor).

Monday, September 15, 2008

Tony Merchant

I attended a pretty swank function hosted by the Saskatchewan Arts Board this afternoon to announce/celebrate/thank lawyer Tony Merchant for his donation of a large number of paintings to the permanent collection. Three full, open bars. I couldn't get his old political radio jingle out of my head that they played a million times one year when I was a kid and he was campaigning "Tony Merchant, working for you, and Saskatchewan", repeat.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

lots of coffee today

William went to Daniel's birthday party this afternoon, giving me two quiet hours that I made pretty good use of to get momentum on my SSHRC grant application. I have a first draft! Early! This is the fourth of these that I've written, so I shouldn't get my hopes up, but it's impossible to spend so much time writing about ideas you'd like to accomplish and NOT care. The wisest thing to do is to finish the application, ship it off, and forget you ever wrote it. They take months to adjudicate them; last time it was well over 6 months.
The lamp I wired last night isn't quite right. I didn't replace the switch and I think I should have. Will have to take it apart again. Grrrr.

avoidance

I got some fair work done on my grant application today, but spent a lot of time avoiding it as well. Someone tagged our garage door a few days ago ("Some 43" or "Sume 43") and it wouldn't clean off so I repainted the whole door this morning. I ran around to garage sales this afternoon, got a lamp for $2 that I just finished spending $21 on parts re-wiring. I also posted a new Delusia video, one of the best ones I think, on Youtube.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

early night

Last night the entire household went to sleep around 10 or 10:30. I woke up around 2 and considered getting up and blogging, but figured that would just lead to me staying up doing nothing all night and then being tired again this morning, so I just went back to bed. Yesterday Jemma Gilboy did a presentation of her BA honours paper in film studies about Bruce Lee and stardom. It was pretty interesting, some clever observations about the zoom. Anyway, this is Saturday morning so I'll watch some tv with William and hopefully get working on my grant application. I'd like to have a draft of it for Monday so show to Dr. Philippe Mather as I think we might work together on the book portion of the project. New challenges, new opportunities.

Friday, September 12, 2008

High Noon

Busy day, taught my first Film 400 class of the term, had a Filmpool meeting to discuss Felipe's resignation as he is moving to Ottawa, and then sorted receipts in front of High Noon, which I'd assumed I'd seen at some point but found that I hadn't. It was great.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

tired

Feeling very cold and worried I'm getting sick, so going to bed early. Maybe will watch some John Ford before sleeping. One should always fall back on John Ford.
I've posted more photos and videos under William's Lego blog.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

twisted teaching

Due to the odd twist of the schedule, I taught my second Film 411 class this evening but still have not taught my first Film 400 class of the term.
Margaret finished the puppets for my Sock-vlle video series today. There were four characters that never had puppets previously. Otherwise, I'm re-using the others from 1994. I still haven't recorded the voices and I still need the buildings made or drawn, and then all the animation and stuff, but still I feel good about there being progress. Now it's time to dig into old photos to give Chrystene some ideas for what the characters in my version of A Midsummer Nights Dream should look like. I thought it might be fun to have some of them modeled after people I know, but now I'm wondering if that is only going to taint my perception of those characters? Oh well, I'll certainly be happier than if I just had them all look the same.

Monday, September 8, 2008

too many projects

I met with Chrystene today as I have hired her to help me on a project or two over the next month or three. Once I laid out the six or seven projects I have on the go, we quickly realized that if she gets beyond helping on the first one, it would be a miracle. I guess I am just waking up to the fact that I cannot possibly do everything I dream of doing, even in a Gerald-Saul-esque slipshod way. Oh well, at least she'll help me get one thing done right. Of course instead of working on my projects tonight, I hung around with William reading books. He finished his 180 page Anamorphs book and regaled me with questions about how it all worked. I hope he never finds out it was a tv show, else I'll need to hunt it down for him.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

little hut on the prairie

Remember 10 weeks ago I said I bought a grain bin on Margaret's dad's farm? Well today it was finally moved to the scenic new resting place so I can get to work renovating it into our "cottage". Here is a video William shot:

The video is even more chaotic than expected from William (or me for that matter) because I mistakenly left the camera in telephoto when I handed it to him.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Good art day

Two great show today, one was a one day event, the other is up for a while.
Along Lorne Avenue by the downtown library, the block was taken over by the collective who did the garage art show last year. They did stuff in the parking spots and called the shot "In Stalled". They had a nicely printed pass book that looked like parking tickets so you could get each station's mark on your book from the artist. The other show I went to was a new set of twisted miniatures by Chad Jacklin and Sylvia Ziemann at the Mysteria Gallery on 13th Ave. William and I loved it. There was an old area heater re-fit to have a bunch of little people being roasted in hell. William literally cackled over that one for 10 minutes, seemingly taking satin as his new role model. There was also an old radio that was refit to be a workplace for small stuffed bunnies. A must see!

Friday, September 5, 2008

working at home

I worked on my SSHRC grant application most of the day. It's a difficult one, but I'm able to borrow heavily from my last application, so that helps. I suppose I should worry that the last application was unsuccessful, so should I really be quoting heavily from it? Unfortunately, my ideas of what I want to do have not changed too much. I think some of my support material will be better, since I've been putting my theories into practice this past year.
Margaret's brother George came to town today, helping with the harvest.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

soda pop

So the tests are in: since cutting out pop (or 90 per cent of it) in April, my triglycerides have dropped from 3.20 to 1.6. It is supposed to be below 1.7, so now it is just a matter of finding out how it affects my liver.
It's Paul's birthday today. I gave him gummy bacon strips (do not fry), an old hard drive and a screwdriver and I baked him a Terry's Chocolate Orange cheesecake that turned out quite well.

more meetings

Met with Chrystene this morning and we watched the current cut of Sisu from start to finish (Finnish). It's getting really good. It probably needs a new set of eyes soon as I've become pretty familiar with it and thus stop being able to see potential changes. It's good to have a few people look at a film along the way, but to be confident enough to only take the advice that helps the project (seems obvious but it isn't as it's happening).
Other meetings about department issues this afternoon. I'm now the chair of our production committee for a year, will have a lot of work to do on the revision of the lengthy production pedagogy document to do.
Yesterday I sent a package containing the three Youtube projects (each packaged into singular videos) to Winnipeg for distribution. I'm curious, and hopeful, about what will happen with them.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

first class

Tonight I taught my first undergrad class since returning from sabbatical. Now I am starting to question what to say in this blog. Classes and students are going to take up a lot of my time and thought, but I am hesitant to talk about them here. For example, I am happy with how class went this evening. However, I also have to admit that approached the class a bit oddly, going over past histories, discussing my own history with the course, and rambling more than occasionally. By saying this was a good class, am I saying this is the best I can do? I really don't want to open up discussions about how I conduct my lectures within this blog or facebook or whatever.
So... what else did I do today. I got ready for class and I had conversations that I also cannot write about. Good to be done teaching for the day, with no more lectures this week (due to university celebration on Thursday) I can finally get back to reading Girl Genius.

Monday, September 1, 2008

a day off...

I spent the morning sorting my notes for tomorrow's class and Margaret wanted us to go do something in the afternoon so we drove to Lumsden, missed the duck derby but saw a bit of the craft show, then drove the opposite way to Indian Head where they have redressed the town to be the set for Little Mosque on the Prairie. Got some pictures. William isn't trying to be rude here, he is trying to catch raindrops on his tongue.
I posted a new Professor Delusia video.

late night working

I've been tired but not sleeping well the last couple of nights, so I've been watching a few films that I might refer to in my class next week. Margaret's cousin Carl sent me his zombie feature "Severed" so I watched it last night. Mostly my eyes are to the acting styles, it partially supports my thoughts about a specific style of acting for horror, although it has scenes that deviate from it. May have to rethink. I've been sitting at the computer tinkering on "Bonnie's Indescribable Predicament", making a pseudo-colour version that looks keen. Eric re-transferred it to video the other day and it looks much sharper. I think I'll include both the black and white as well as this colour version on the dvd.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Last day for assistants

Today Eric and I spent the morning searching for prints of Jean Oser films at the Filmpool for a screening I'm curating this fall in Winnipeg. They have not been well labeled so some of the prints have found their way into odd nooks and crannies around the space. I found all but one of the important films, but I didn't get around to searching the storage room downstairs. This was Eric's last day being paid by me, although I'm certain we'll still work together in the future.
It was also the last day that Trudy is working on the End of Life series, although she says she'll be coming in next week to finish a couple of details.
I'll be missing working with them both.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

William goes to school

William started grade 2 today with a new teacher to the school. He enjoyed his day.
I shot a few hundred feet of grasshoppers with a macro lens on the way to work then Eric and I solarized the footage, although much of it messed up. This is done by turning on some light mid way through the processing stage of the film. The last roll I did, I covered the wet will film grains of wheat before flashing it. I think this had some interesting affects. I've not watched any of it yet since I had to rush to a meeting as soon as the film was dry, then home to see how William's school day was.
I posted a new Delusia video, although admittedly this one was much better in colour.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

finished teaching ... for the week

Summer term is over, so now I've got one week to prepare for the next semester. Two of my three AVI files would not open in the Avid at work, so I couldn't get my web videos onto broadcast quality videotape for distribution. Another set back.

Monday, August 25, 2008

lots of nothing

I think I worked really hard at twiddling my thumbs today. I sat at my computer making 60 dvd copies for distribution and deleted emails, answering occasional ones, and reading a couple of Hellboy comics. This evening we watched Harold and Kumar escape from Guantanamo Bay, which wasn't bad as I did laugh a bunch of times and it shows that America is beginning to be able to make fun of itself again, and even the president can be a sympathetic character.

relaxing a bit

Finally we relaxed a bit today, hung out at home and read. We still had lots of dishes to wash and stuff to put away from the party yesterday, and of course lots of Lego to build. On the way home last night I promised William he could do Lego tomorrow, which begins at midnight. William read until 11:57 came into our room to tell us how his book ended, waking Margaret up of course. I didn't tell him it was midnight since I'd already let him play Lego before bed, so getting up to do more seemed ridiculous. The moment he woke up this morning he called out "Why didn't you wake me up at midnight", at which point I told him that he was awake at midnight. This evening Kevin, Nicole, and Paul came over so we played 6 person Carcassonne for the first time. William won.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

last day of William's birthweek

Saturday, today we had the big kids party for William, went to the park, had a bug hunt, played, had cupcakes that I baked yesterday and Margaret decorated this morning, broke the wasp-shaped pinata that Margaret made over the past couple of days (the secret is to make it out of tissue paper, not newspaper, so it is possible for a kid to break). Supper at my parents house, then attending "The Extras" theatrical performance from Curtain Razors in front of city hall, then home to make the people and sharks with frickin' laser beans on their heads out of Lego. Oof. I need a day of just going to work, the social calendar is killing me.

Friday, August 22, 2008

boy and dad day

William and I spent the day together while Margaret had a morning at work and an afternoon meeting. The quite and solitude was good and inadvertent as it seems I left the phone off the hook all day so no one could reach us, including Margaret wanting a ride home. William and I watched some Batman, finished building the new Lego castle, read a bit of a Bionicle book, and baked cupcakes. This evening the quiet ended as our families came over to celebrate William's birthday (I baked a lemon cheesecake after last night's guests departed) and my niece Nicole came to town for the weekend.

too many rooms

Worked with Eric most of the day, we kinescoped some material and tried to do ray-o-gram titles for my film (one inch out of 50 feet worked out, which is not enough to brag about), and we processed a few rolls of black and white film. It occurred to me that I have stuff spread over five rooms in the department that I need to clean up, so I got my stuff out of the optical printing room, the large classroom with the green wall, and the equipment room. That leaves me a couple more for next week.
We had a few people over this evening, including Jason and Marla Childs who are friends of friend June. Jason is with the economics department. We had a fire and some super-8 in the back yard.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

William's birthday

Today is William's 7th birthday. I took the day off to do stuff with him. We took him and his cousin Quinn and friends Daniel and Rowan to the noon show of "Star Wars: Clone Wars" animated feature. I've been trying to figure out my opinion of it all day. It's not the sort of film I'm interested in seeing multiple times, but it generally worked on a couple of levels. It introduces a new apprentice for Annikan Skywalker (takes place between movies 2 and 3) and she gives some freshness to the old debates about responsibility and rash behavior. I heard that it is a set up to a new series for this fall, don't know if that is true, but the essential problem of the next film remains. There is only limited growth that the characters can have since we know what happens next. If George Lucas and the filmmakers were brave, they would have made a series that takes place after the 6th chapter with new characters and an open future. Then they might have a chance at developing new legends. Now they are just trapped. Also, I had been hoping for some new insights into Jabba the Hut. I looked at the opening page of the novel of this movie and it contained a conversation between Jabba and his son. However, not only is that scene this not in the movie, but the son is too young to even talk and he does not appear to communicate with his father at all. Conclusion, it was exciting to the kids, inoffensive yet forgettable to me as an adult, and ultimately lacking in bravery.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

summer courses

Summer courses are almost done. I met with both of my grad students today, fantastic progress leaves me inspired to get back to full time teaching this fall, just wish fall was further away than two weeks. William raided his piggy bank and went halfers on the biggest Lego castle set with his Ommi today - William gets the recycling money when he helps so he easily coughed up the sixty beans. His birthday is hours away.

Monday, August 18, 2008

got some sleep and developed some film

Felt pretty good today, got a whole 8 hours sleep last night somehow (not all in a row of course) and we developed a 100'roll of 35mm film using new colour developer and new colour bleach/fix, it turned out okay although not very colourful. The other colour rolls I did looked generally dim and brown, but I made up for it with 3 rolls of perfect black and white. I had a Filmpool planning session at 5:30 so we cut out early. Planning was good. William and finished his Ferrari Lego when we got home, I'll be posting a video on his blog later tonight.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

movies

We like to celebrate birthdays for an entire week, so William's birthweek started today. We watched "George and the Dragon" in bed, then played some Lego. I slipped away to the Bay and found him a gift I was told I could find there, then home for pancakes and some Batman. It was hot so this evening I went to "Hellboy II" while Margaret took William to "Prince Caspian". I'm back to putting together my list of English language words for "snow". How many do you think there are?

Saturday, August 16, 2008

in a pickle

We canned apple sauce and pickled pickles all day today, even though it was really hot out and the process required the stove being on for about six hours. I have my years worth of apple sauce and Margaret has her pickles (I don't know if she has enough or not). The sunset here in Regina was great, and probably will be for the next few nights, for those of you looking out for such things.

Friday, August 15, 2008

less inspired today

I think all week I've been feeling uninspired. I've met with Eric three times and we've not done anything, I just think up reasons that we cannot proceed on a project and we go for coffee and talk about less practical things like a new superhero film. Perhaps I do need a vacation, but I've got too many things to do and only two weeks left. Getting stressed.
I wonder if it shows. Today, for the second day in a row, the cashier at Safeway has asked me if I need help taking my groceries to the car. Today I had two bags that I effortlessly carried with one arm. Why would they ask this?
George left town today. Before they left, the girls were over watersliding in our back yard. We then bar-be-qued some bison and Margaret's parent's house, took George and the girls to the airport, then went for second supper with my parents, who found William two new Bionicles at a garage sale that are older and no longer available. William also got to swim in their next door neighbor's pool.
I put up a new Professor Delusia video.
Margaret got stung by a wasp and her leg is all swollen, she's lounging and I should join her.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Apples and pie but not apple pie.

Day began with the George's girls waking up and me jumping out of bed to feed them, but not myself. I zoomed off to get some blood work done to test my tri-glycerides again (remember my liver tests six months ago). I've kept with my near-pop-free diet for 4.5 months so we'll see how that worked. My new hard drive finished formatting at about 8 am, about 10 hours. At work I met with Janine (who couldn't make it Tuesday). Gave her a copy of Marian McMahon's article "Nursing History" which may be important to Janine's thesis project which involves studying her family history using photographs as her guide. Email was down all day at the university, making it a calmer environment. Met with Eric for a while and primarily talked about a superhero idea we initiated yesterday. It's based on an idea he pitched years ago to Incredible Story Studio and was accepted but then never made for reasons unknown. Of course our version will be a bit more twisted, but he's been doing the most work on it. Went home early, stopping at Safeway. Why do people try to back up into diagonal parking spots? They constrict the lane as they do it, then when they leave (supposedly easier) they are facing the wrong way down the row so are idiots twice with that one action. Is it that hard to back out of a spot? At home I moved all the dvds into my new shelf. Finally back in order (alphabetized by director except box sets and animation/superhero). I picked all the apples from our tree in time for my parents, Margaret's parents, George and the girls back from the farm, and Paul and Mike to arrive for desert. Margaret made pies. After everyone left, I processed all the apples and made apple sauce.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

living roommadness

The new shelf/entertainment unit arrived at 8 am this morning. We needed to move almost every piece of furniture we owned to get it in. Later, when Margaret's brother arrived, we moved the old 7 foot long shelving unit up the stairs to William's room, narrowly missing destroying out chandelier in the staircase. I met with Eric for a while, we went to the library where it was a literal whose who of the art community, then watched a bunch of Wrik Mead shorts and called it a day. All evening I've continued to put the house together. George's two daughters are spending the night, so while they watch tv, I cannot do any more work down there. I'm formatting the terabyte drive I bought the other day (will 2 terabytes be enough for my home computer?).

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

more storage

This morning I woke up early in William's bed because he was in mine and I couldn't sleep so I got up at 5 and made a few espressos to begin my day. I worked my way to the end of act 4 of A Midsummer Nights Dream, then at 8 started feeling very tired again. I met with Chrystene later this morning, her animation is looking great. She's been working on Kalevala sequences - Finish folklore - that are interspersed throughout her film "Sisu". Janine had to postpone this afternoon so I went Saskatoon berry picking then went to the store and bought a terabyte external drive for $160 (the two 500gb drives that I have in my 8 month old Dell computer are almost full and $160 seems cheaper than taking the time to thin out what I no longer need on them). That's 16 cents per gig, like Kool-ade - pennies a glass.

Monday, August 11, 2008

New Professor Delusia the Nocturnalist

New Professor Delusia.
Posted that this morning and spent the rest of the morning working on a rather frustrating, although easy, on-line cv for a grant application (finally got my part done, on time but two weeks later than requested). This afternoon Eric came by with the equipment from the screening (he attended an after-after-party until 8am, so much for quitting early). He recruited one of the professional musicians to play piano so he got to play host, it was often packed although there wasn't as much traffic in the side rooms on night three. We recorded the music he'd been playing so the dvd can be updated. Then home for some Jackie Chan (the Tuxedo).

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Party on farm

Today Margaret's brother came to town to help celebrate their mother's 50th anniversary of her coming to Canada. We had a big party on the farm, so I spent all day preparing and helping and attending and talking and all that. The rain threatened all day and finally started coming down about 30 minutes before sundown. The sky to the west was clear and so when the sun was setting, we got these amazing rainbows.You can't really see from the photo, but there was even a second rainbow outside of the first.
I just spoke to Eric, he's preparing to do the film screenings again at midnight, but might not go as late as the other nights (3:00 am).

kids party

Spent today getting stuff ready for a party tomorrow for Margaret's mom and attending a kid's party with William. I had some great conversations about art and the desire to never take a break, I wish I had the strength to create all day long and actually catch up with all the thoughts running through my head. Tired. Didn't go to the afterparty, hope Eric did well without me (we agreed that he could claim all the credit while I'm not there).

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Eric rocks 'em

After a somewhat fruitless day of going to work but forgetting just enough details to prevent me from finishing anything, I came home and was asked where the propane I bought this morning was and I realized I'd bought it and forgot to take it with me from the gas station. Anyway, they still had it so I did some bar-be-que and at midnight went to the Folk Festival after party where Eric played piano 10 times to the film we made, "Bonnie's Indescribable Predicament". We only had 8 chairs but played to a full house every time. Some screenings we crammed 20 people into our booth. Eric's fingers were bleeding. Tanya and Carle both made it, hope that Rob Bos comes tomorrow or Sunday.

Friday, August 8, 2008

a thursday

View from Ferris wheel on the weekend.
I always seem to have too much to do on Thursdays. I'm finding that working during William's camp to be too confining as 3.5 hours just leaves me rushing. I got some film developed using the seven step reversal process, which is even more painful than it sounds, and I don't even know if it worked out well. I left Eric to dry it and I'll spool through it tomorrow.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

summer arts school

William started summer arts camp at the university yesterday. It was very last minute, he agreed to it in the morning and we registered him at 1:00 for the 1:00 session. Today was his second day, saw Kevin's older daughter there but he won't be in her group (not sure if he is in the younger daughter's group, she's a year younger than William). They used to play together at the east end play centre, but the kids out grow those places pretty quick. Did I mention that William finished all of the "Magic Tree House" books a few days ago. He read book 6 up to book 39 all by himself. I sure wasn't reading that much at his age (or 2 or 3 years later either). Today he started a new series; "MAXimum Boy", a super hero sort of thing. He got pretty excited about some plot to flush Manhattan into the ocean like a toilet (Max saved the day by breaking the propeller into two and then it stopped working).
Eric and I processed the kinescope of the film from yesterday. It will show on Friday at midnight at the Folk Festival after party.
I also posted a fifth Professor Delusia this morning.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Summer end in sight

Meeting with students puts a lot of perspective on my week. They go off and do things that are not the same things I am doing so when I see them, time has passed. It often seems like I am running on the spot, always making things but never getting in sight of the finish line. I just posted a new Professor Delusia to youtube. Eric and I also connected and did the kinescope of Bonnie's Indescribable Predicament, which we'll need to process tomorrow and screen at midnight on Friday.

Monday, August 4, 2008

I must be wicked

I can't every feel rested. I'm barely able to hold my eyes open as I wait for this dvd of the Guy Maddin-esque video that Eric and I made over the past week to burn so I can spend my lunch hour tomorrow with Eric kinescoping, in between my classes with my two grad students. I felt pretty alert while driving home the other day from Prince Albert, I credit the three espressos I had that day, and almost no food. I'm noticing that food makes me very tired.
So last week we went to Prince Albert. Paul came with us, so the car was full. In Saskatoon we had a Fudruckers burger and I got the new Douglas Copeland book, the Gum Thief, from the McNally and Robinson book store on 8th. We visited with Judy McNaughton and Michel Boutan in PA, seeing their studios and so on. There was a parade that was rained on by the bucket but we were able to hide out in the art centre. Day two was really William's day. We spent some time in downtown PA, in a used book store I found "The President Vanishes" by Rex Stout, one of the few of his books we don't have yet. We got some Lego on sale at the Zellers, went to the water slide for a few hours, then A&W for supper and back on the road to Waskasiu. William and Margaret went into the rooftop hot tub while I tried to shoot some film. The sunset on the pier was incredible. The next morning we discovered that the bakery nearby was pretty good and quite cheap, so we survived on pastry half the time. William got to start his Lego and we started each morning with Adam West Batman episodes on the laptop. The battery belt stopped working and wouldn't charge, so I couldn't shoot time exposures. I shot a lot of other footage instead, mostly beach stuff, and I sat down in the lobby for two hours and wrote out the soundtrack to one of the four Grain films, I'm pretty happy about that. I dropped my still camera and now the lens doesn't retract and it doesn't take pictures. I replaced it yesterday. I just discovered that the videos the new one shoots are not recognized by After Effects, grrrr. The next day was our last. We went on a hike and I shot more film, 16mm, super-8, and video (with a video camera rather than my still camera). Unlike the way up, I did all the driving back. Felt very in the moment most of the way. Not bad trip, everyone had fun. Best of all, no one insisted that I should wear shorts the entire trip!