Friday, November 30, 2007


A less than quiet day today, at least at first. We met with William's teacher this morning. He is second in his class with his reading, behind his friend Teagan of course as she is reading at a grade 3 level, and his comprehension is high (I attribute this to the fact that we've never spoken baby talk to him and Margaret loves to define even the most grad-school-esque words to him in the middle of supper, and we wonder why it takes so long to eat around here). This afternoon I met with Mauricio who asked if I'd be on his committee if he is accepted into our grad program and, as I am familiar with his talent and dedication, I had no problem committing. A series of meetings with Chrystene and others finally resolved a dilemma that arose regarding funding for her Sisu project (perhaps she'll outline it in her blog sometime), and then a talk by Sean Whalley was, as always, enjoyable. He takes wood that is being thrown away and makes really cool sculptures out of it, he's now on faculty at the University of Regina. I've got some important reading I've got to get through in the next week, so Margaret let me have some much needed silence and spent the evening with William over at Teagan's family's house, leaving me to get ahead and even get started on some new "Modern" videos - WOW, the 2.6Ghz processor sure makes a difference with that stuff!!!


I went to the office for the first time this week, it's really really cold. I'm sure glad I'm not one of the striking CUPE workers out there on the picket line. The strike has been funny, the CUPE reps don't seem to be getting quoted very much, all I see is clean, clear press release statements from the universities and passionate and/or annoyed comments from students. There were 3 articles in the newspaper today and only one cites a CUPE rep and in it he just comments on how their people do 80-100 per cent of the work towards getting final exams together. I think they've chosen their rep poorly as I'm certain that there are more pressing issues and more dire/realistic situations that our attention should be on than photocopying. So anyway, while I was at the university I was trying to get a dvd of the conference made but I starting getting a sample rate error, which means that something was wrong with the sound. However, I started to export the video in portions, as there are 6 sections that make up the 2.5 hours, and each section exported fine until the last. I was then able to export it one piece at a time until I found one shot that was corrupted. I wasn't able to solve it before I had to leave so I deleted it and I'll re-insert it on the next draft. This evening I installed all of my software in my new computer so I can start doing something with it tomorrow.

Thursday, November 29, 2007


Lately I've been writing this blog late at night (the posting time is off by at least 2 hours) so I have begun to forget what I even did with my day and really just want to post and go to bed. Tonight I'm at my new Dell but since this was one of my rare days to wear my contacts (actually I was only wearing my right contact as the left one makes my eyesight worse) and since I just took it out, I'm feeling a bit blurry. It's Wednesday so "Life"was on, the only show Margaret and I watch together these days since it is the only one I felt strong enough about to convince her to try. We look forward to it every week, it never disappoints. I finally let go of my old computer, I removed all the components I wanted and dropped off the remainder, the shell with motherboard and 390Mb of 1999 RAM, at PC Place. They sell old bits and pieces, so he didn't turn down a free toy. It was the Duncan computer that I did a lot of stuff on for about 6 years, and I always have trouble parting with things that I develop attachments to. However, I put it in my entrance way where I had to struggle around it to get on my boots, so it seemed a relief to get it out of the way. Then I bought a bottle of shampoo.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007


I put my new Dell computer together today. The big screen is killer. William helped by plugging things in while I was out of the room, or should I say "helped"? It's really cold out, so I'm happy to be able to stay home, but I'm dying to start some creative project as this furniture moving and computer assembling is driving me nuts. I still haven't installed my various programs, so I'm in for another couple hours tomorrow.
The other day Margaret and I were listening to old radio mysteries on cd from the library, including some Nero Wolfe staring Sidney Greenstreet from the early 50s. I was disappointed to find that they told you the title of the next episode but then didn't include it, so I looked on line to see if I could buy a complete set. Instead, I found all of the episodes to listed to off the web for free.


I finally moved William's bedroom today, it's been five days of shifting things around to prepare the move and the new office and today was about 12 hours to get things into place so of course William would rather be back in the old room. Perhaps I would be too. I had a small bedroom when I was a teenager and it always made me feel secure. I don't know why I do things sometimes.

Monday, November 26, 2007


The Rider seem to have won. Good for them, a team ought to come out on top at least once ever twenty years. I missed the game. I had intended on watching the last half hour or so but ended up reading to William instead. When I found out they'd won, I called up to William to tell him (as he was making noises and was not even close to asleep) and he replied "I'm not so interested in that". Neither am I, obviously, but I did enjoy watching the last half hour of the game in 1989 when the Riders last won. I was in BC at the time and sitting around without much to do and hit upon it by chance. For those keeping track, I also watched about a half hour of overtime Stanley Cup hockey in 1997 or 1998.

Saturday, November 24, 2007


This afternoon was a Dunlop opening (Sherwood Village) where three young artists where shown. Most interesting was Griffon Baker who sculpts giant (7-12 foot high) plastic bottles out of bottle lids. Apparently we rarely recycle the lids of our bottles (type 2 plastic) because it is a bit more difficult. He collects them and creates amazing replicas. He has what looks like a giant evian bottle, although it has the name spelled backwards: naive. Along with Twyla Exner, who disassembles old telephone wire into its thin inner strands then braids it and then weaves those braided cords into sculptures, they create very powerful statements using recycled materials and a strong commitment to handcraft, labour, and precisions work. The third artist also created work from recycled materials, although her working philosophy was quite dissimilar as she was exploring the idea of minimum effort with her rickety sculptures, complete with open electrical circuit that shouldn't be touched, that barely stand on its own (physically and aesthetically).

Friday, November 23, 2007


William got his report card today, he did well. There were no surprises. He continues to get very average grades in music, as he did all last year, and we still have never met the person (or people) who teach music, but it is funny to me as William has a fair ear (as evidenced by the fact he cannot tolerate me singing more than one verse of a song unless he is trying to learn lyrics from me) and he has an amazing memory for song lyrics and will sing songs obsessively - including songs that he may have last heard over a year ago. While I am by no means claiming he is a prodigy, he is genuinely more gifted than either of his parents.
I bought a video MP3 player, Coby brand, 2Gb, from Canadian Tire today for 47 bucks (less the 20 in Canadian Tire money I'd accumulated). It's now charged up and I'm going to figure out how it works and what works bet on it, or perhaps I'll just listen to books on tape.


After some morning work on the End of Life conference (the final chapter on respect) I spent the afternoon and evening concentrating on the new computer. I've not opened the boxes yet, I'm still setting the stage. I had to clear more of the junk out of the current office, preparing for it to become William's bedroom. Since our new office will be William's old bedroom, a much smaller space, I've had to find new homes for much of the stuff we have. These homes include the attic (where I moved things and resorted the space yesterday) and the basement edit room which has been a dumping ground for a few years now. In the basement, I deposited the short filing cabinet and combined it with another cabinet and some discarded shelf boards to create a table onto which I could put the abundant boxes of Christmas decorations. The previous home of the decorations, a crummy bench with screw on legs, was disassembled to be put into William's fort (the area under his tree house) in the spring. Other similarly complicated moving followed including the reformatting of the hard drive of the computer I stopped using last year but has been sitting in my dumping ground since then but that I need to get rid of. Tomorrow I'll probably disassemble the old desk and build the new one, then I'll be close to opening those boxes.

Thursday, November 22, 2007


I edited another section of the End of Life conference this morning, the end of the first cut in near. This afternoon we went to Agribition, which is a huge farm trade show with lots of machines, gadgets, and most importantly, livestock. The first thing we did there was sit down and watch timed sessions of sheep dogs navigating sheep into gates and corrals. There was also a small but interesting display set up by the UofS Agriculture department with a student rep and a person from the dean's office there showing a fiberglass covered sheep stomach and a microscope with example so fibres that could be used to replace plastics. I'm tired and feeling dizzy now, so will cut this short. Sleep, wonderful sleep.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007


I committed this morning to getting rid of my virus by reformatting the C drive and reinstalling the operating system. However, while I had the software on hand and all necessary files backed up, I just couldn't figure out how to do it. I put a call in to Paul and while he was looking into what my problem might be, I followed a different path and went to a virus protection software site ("stopzilla" or something like that) suggested through some "nerd" site and did what I swore I'd never do - I gave credit card info for a download that I know nothing about. While it cost more than I thought (the "on-line rebate" was actually a mail in rebate, so we'll have to see if I get my 20 beans back) but it worked! Virus free for the first time in weeks!!!
And then the doorbell rang and my new Dell computer arrived. I spent the rest of the day moving things around to start the process of moving William's bedroom so that I can set up this new computer. I will need to move my filing cabinet and you would be shocked by how much paper I save. I have two more filing cabinets at work, so this one isn't as full as it could be.
I listed to the first disc of one of the "Series of Unfortunate Events" books while sorting papers, then we took a break and watched the movie. The film seems highly compressed. It looked good and was basically satisfying, but I think some more inventing and chewing was in order to really connect us with the characters. I love the Snicket voice over, although it also distances us from the characters, a balance is difficult and a series of films would work better - perhaps a tv mini-series?

Tuesday, November 20, 2007


So I made some calls this morning and figured out why I don't have my work email anymore - Access Communications has blocked it because of that virus I have. Apparently they mailed me a letter but I still don't have it. On the phone they said I should go to "housecall", virus scanning thing that they trust - this is of course the big problem in that you don't really know what to trust and what might just add to the problem -- so I did so and spent 5 hours getting this thing to scan the computer and determine I have 74 problems and then to get the updates to windows to take care of them. Finally, at the end of it all, the virus is still there. It seems that Access also knows it as they have just taken my email away again (I had it for a few hours today). So what else did I do today? I found Margaret some scissors (not the same name brand, but they are spring type so that's good) and went to the Filmpool Board meeting (that I'd forgotten about until this afternoon when I got a phone call about it at the exact moment I was reading the reminder email. I read a bit about lens theory (including a bit or two I didn't already know) and did not mail all the letters I've got sitting here. I didn't sleep well last night and spent the day tired and convinced that the world is conspiring to ensure I don't have big enough hard drives.

Sunday, November 18, 2007


The Santa Day parade was very cold where we were standing. Margaret was at work and I took William on my own. We were beyond cold from the wind when the Santa float was still a couple of blocks away so we gave up and jumped into the car to go for a hot chocolate at Chapters. I can only claim it was a brain freeze that prevented me from realizing that the parade ends in the Southland Mall parking lot and cuts right in front of Chapters, so I basically put myself into a grid lock that forced us to re-watch the about 10 floats then the last number of them including, ironically, Santa. Then we spent the rest of the afternoon trying to find Fiskars scissors with spring action for Margaret like the ones she's misplaced.


We watched Shrek 3 with William this morning. We'd not seen it before, primarily because William has a hate on for Shrek, having seen the first two once each and refused to ever watch them again, even though a year had passed, so luring him into watching it was a bit tricky. I wanted to see it and basically liked it. William now wants to make his own Shrek movie. I forgot to bring a video camera home, but he has started to do drawings and we recorded a couple minutes of improvised dialogue in which I say things like "I'm an ogre, I think I'll sit in the mud, should I splash mud on you little cat" to which William would reply "meow, nro, rawr". It won't be deep.

We seem to have done a sophos update that claims to have detected and deleted the virus on my desktop, but it still seems to be there. Grrrr. At least it rebooted in normal time.

Watched Spiderman 3 and built Lego this evening. Both were satisfying. Spiderman 3 took a lot of flack. I didn't read the reviews, and I'm certain it doesn't have the emotional punch of the second one, but it had some pretty good themes of redemption that tied it together, and I have to admit I was surprised but at least one well played plot point.

Friday, November 16, 2007


I finally got a dvd made for Tanya of the single camera documentation of her dance (as opposed to the edited version that I cut a few weeks back). I figured it would only take me a few minutes as I already had Michele Sereda's footage in the computer and all, but it proved difficult. Maybe because it was from a digital 8 camera, but the file just wouldn't be accepted by the Adobe dvd software. I tried out the Sorenson software and it will be really useful -- it is for turning one kind of media file into another. However, I still couldn't get it to burn with the Adobe Encore, but then I realized that with the file converted to the Mpeg, I could use the DVDit software, which is pretty easy and I know it quite well. Thus, the disc is done. I'll mail it tomorrow.
I got into the other edit room (as soon as the strike is over, we'll be putting all the edit rooms together, which will be very useful on days like today) and I reviewed the conference material I did yesterday then cut the fourth section which is only 9 minutes long. I should be able to finish cutting the first draft after one more session.
Power shopping on way home: I picked up Frank Sinatra's Christmas album today, some Webkins for William's cousins, 6 cans of espresso, gas and a lottery ticket, and a $5 Three Stooges dvd set.
This evening there was an opening at the Dunlop, Miss Canadiana did a photo session at the Canadiana Barber Shop, then an opening with some nice bannock with jam and maple syrup.

Thursday, November 15, 2007


I think computers should have gas pedals. Some way to push them harder, make them speed up, even at risk of them blowing up. Every day they get slower, even the new ones at work are driving me to drink (so the gas pedal would make me feel all the more comfortable). I'd be in the shop if I had to restart my car in between city and highway driving, so why do we just shrug our shoulders when the glitchiness of computers forces us to reboot between applications?

I got an assembly of part three of the conference today - research approaches - the longest part at about 48 minutes. I'll have to cut it in half at least. I only went to the edit room in the afternoon since William was sick this morning, I stayed home with him and we read his encyclopedia of monsters book (it has Mothra).


Today I spent the day in the edit room, got an assembly of the first two parts of the End of Life conference (22 minutes and 30 minutes), then got a chance to look at some of Sisu with Chrystene. It looks very nice, the scenes of the ship frame that I missed in real life (late August I think it was) were hypnotic.
I read that it only requires the energy of light to reduce 4 particles of silver halide to silver for the entire crystal of the silver halide salt to become an exposed piece of the grain of a photo. The bigger the crystal, the greater the chance to be reduced, but also the bigger the grain. Ain't books wonderful?
I took a workshop on how to make Bernard Callebaut truffles this evening. It was unsatisfyingly easy as they had the materials prepared and all we had to do was roll the stuff into balls, but they gave us the instructions on how to prepare the base so I'll give it a try sometime. I stopped and bought a kilo of Callebaut dark and 390 grams of white chocolate, so it'll be party time at our place.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007


Margaret posted her first extensive interview since her radio show was canceled. It is with Alex Rogalski and me about 10 days ago, after the One Take Super-8 Event when I showed "Cake". It is 40 minutes long. You may have to click the button that says "if you are having trouble playing this file, click here" or something like that. I have been hearing it play in super fast forward for some reason.

Monday, November 12, 2007


William and I watched disc 4 of the new Looney Tunes collection this morning, the theme of which was "early works", which is of course code for all black and white. Over the past few months, William has started to declare that he's not interested in black and white shows, even though he often enjoys them when he sees them (he used to love Betty Boop and we've recently been watching Popeye), but this weekend he begrudgingly watched some, probably because he was too tired to get off the couch. Today he told me that he really likes the black and white cartoons.
I continued to be frustrated with this "sulimo.dat" trojan virus I have. Paul came over and took a look after we had birthday cake with Margaret's mom (she made her own famous black forest cake, I made ginger snap cookies, all baking turned out better than average today). Paul set up the parameters of my virus software better, but I don't think anything is really resolved with that actual virus yet as it is still sitting there on my hard drive.


Remembrance Day - most of day at home, low energy, playing with the machines and watching tv (recordings, no live war show, just couldn't) and reading. I spent a couple of hours trying to get rid of some sort of Trojan virus that got into my desktop computer. I started reading section two of "The Chemistry of Photography" in which it describes the best gelatin for film emulsion comes from specially fed calf ears. Big playoff football game today, I hear that Saskatchewan won, didn't pay much attention. Had supper at Margaret's parent's house as her brother George came into town surprisingly yesterday. Had a couple of rousing games of Old Maid afterwards.

Saturday, November 10, 2007


Patrick Lowe was back in town today. He came by for a couple of hours to look at some films (not videos). First up was the test footage he shot last week end, primarily lighting tests on the animation stand, but it also included some really effective rotating spirals and other surrealistic images. These will be developed into fantasies of a character who is inexplicably unable to get off of the bathroom floor in Patrick's new, 15 minute film. We also watched a few NFB shorts including "Sky" which no longer looked like a colour film as it had faded down to a monochromatic red and white film, and "Toys" about children looking through a toy store window at an array of GI Joes as they begin to come to life and engage in serious, no-holds-barred warfare. We showed to William as his Remembrance Day film.

Friday, November 9, 2007


Friday today but it felt much too much like a weekend as William had the day off of school and woke up really early (initially 6:30am due to his "dream tree" being off, then he was woken by the cat at 7:30, probably since the cat was attracted to the 10" high fibre-optic tree aglow beside his bed) so I got up with him at 7:40 and watched Looney Tunes cartoons until close to noon. William had no appetite and must be ailing in some way as he did something he has never done before, he told us that he was tired and he went up to bed after lunch. I spent part of the afternoon trying to figure out what went wrong with the laptop, comparing it to the identical unit at the lab. Finally Kalyn realized that we could just swap the hard drives, so here I am with a different computer but all of my data, happy as a clam.

Thursday, November 8, 2007


I meant to get back to the blog last night to beef it up a bit, but closed up the laptop while watching "Father Ted" with Margaret and when I came back to it, the laptop began acting up; the screen either isn't getting a video signal or it isn't being told to turn back on when the lid is opened. This morning I am still at a loss so will have to get it looked at.
It snowed a bit last night but probably won't last much into the afternoon. William is off school today so we went out and made THIS........!

First of the season.


Election day here, Saskatchewan Party took over and it seems that for the first time in my life I am older than the provincial premiere.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007


Margaret had a short shift at the Sherwood Dunlop today, which would mean that if I wanted to go to the university I'd have to drive to the opposites side of town twice, on top of being home to give William lunch, so instead I opted to work at home on some details of a couple of projects. However, I actually spent most of my day selecting digital photos to print. It's not that I'm overly picky or take a long time making decisions, I don't. These are just my everyday snapshots I'm talking about, it's just that instead of making my selections about every month, I've left these since March and therefore had to comb through 2885 photos I've taken in that time and it looks like I'll be printing 3-400 of them - thus the use of much of my day. Here is a family photo we took a couple of months ago, I like the colours. There are elements of long exposure showing (see in particular the transparency on the edges of William's head), although the red-eye makes it obvious that a flash was used. All I remember is that William had put the camera on a tripod while Chrystene and Raul were over and we all had strange pictures of ourselves taken.


Monday, November 5, 2007


I edited all day on End of Life, hope to finish the first pass by the end of the week.
We went for supper with Patrick Lowe this evening. He's been shooting animation tests for his new film, traditional work on the Filmpool's Oxberry animation stand. I looked at some of the artwork, very vibrant, the colours really pop.
Monday is tv night. I've changed my mind about Journeyman, I had become bored and disappointed with it, but now I'm increasingly engaged with it. It is becoming more and more about the precarious nature of relationships and the strength of love, his marriage and family are more and more important and those parts of the story are becoming fun, in fact they are becoming more interesting that the weekly plot lines. Of course, this show doesn't hold a candle to "Life" (no, not the game of, the Wednesday night show). It is the only one I would be upset by missing.

Sunday, November 4, 2007


Sunday; today I put in the storm windows (much later than usual, but we've had a nice fall) then we all went to "Wintergreen" which is a craft show taking place every year at the Centre of the Arts. I bought a glass candy cane Christmas decoration from Jackie Berting of Cupar. I put all four of the newscasts from CBC regarding Margaret's radio show onto a web/blog site today. I think I might be able to use this site for new recordings and interviews the Margaret does.

Saturday, November 3, 2007


Today was William's last swimming lesson of the term, we'll sign him up to continue after Christmas. After the lesson I took the screening fee I received from the One Take Film, which I certainly have to share with William, and bought some Lego. There is a good deal on the Creative Box, 480 pieces of general Lego in a plastic bin, at the Bay for $13.60. I bought a couple.

This afternoon I ordered a new computer from Dell. I've been frustrated for too long with my last one, and it also seems that William's computer won't run a game I just got for him, so it's time for upgrades all around (he'll get my old one). I didn't see a time frame on delivery, but I assume I'll have it by December when I intend to spend more time at home working on it.

Friday, November 2, 2007


I wrote about Tyler Banadyga's film "Toast" from the One Take Super-8 Event in my experimental film review blog. Later in the morning, Alex Rogolski came by the house and Margaret, he, and I spoke for a half hour on tape about the super-8 event. Margaret is moving on with her thoughts on recording and will be more actively collecting interviews with artists. It was pretty relaxed, I think talking in the kitchen might be a better way to go sometimes than going to a studio.
CUPE is on strike so the facilities for our department are shut down. I slipped into the darkroom to do an experiment while it was not in use. Following instructions I found on line from Roger Bunting, I successfully developed a piece of movie film using Maxwell House instant coffee and washing soda. Coincidentally, I received the book "The Chemistry of Photography" by Bunting today. I've just read the first page, the instructions I used were just from the website. I used regular film fix rather than his alternative, sea water, due to my current shortage of sea water and to wanting to test one method at a time.

The shadow on the left side of this sample frame is actually the result of the scanner and my lack of necessary holders for scanning 16mm film frames. It looks better than this. I developed it as a negative. I followed the 25 minute suggestion but I think I over developed by a few minutes, I might be able to do this hi-con film stock in about 15 minutes.

Thursday, November 1, 2007


Margaret and Tanya were on CBC radio this morning, a total of four times as far as I've heard. I've put one of the broadcasts onto Margaret's blog, it's only a couple of minutes, check it out.

Patrick Lowe is in town for the next few days shooting his new film on the Oxberry stand at the Filmpool. He stopped in and we chatted and ate candy for a while.

Tonight was the One Take Super-8 Event at the RPL, free. I'm showed a new film I made with William called "Cake". Two other films that grabbed me were also father/son films, one by Tyler Banadyga in which his one year old exhibits amazing expressions while eating toast, and another by Sean Fulton in which Sean makes faces at the camera to the amusement of his son. Both were simple yet riveting.