Saturday, January 31, 2009

lots of William time

William had yesterday off from school, Margaret worked the afternoon so I stayed home and worked here for a while. The weather was great so we went tobogganing, but there were a bunch of other kids there and we ended up leaving almost immediately, washing the car, picking up some lumber for a project I'm going to try to do tomorrow, and some other errands. Last night I went to the artist talk by Wyn Gelenyse at the MacKenzie Art Gallery. There was a reception afterword and we talked a bit, really interesting and nice guy.
Today was Saturday, I watched cartoons all morning and took William swimming in the afternoon. I got barbeque pork buns from the Chinese bakery, they only do buns on the weekend and they always sell out. I got in there and the line was to the back of the store. It took at least 10 minutes to get to my turn. No one came in behind me, I was the only customers. Had I come in 10 minutes later, I'd have had no wait at all. groan.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

tired and obsessed

Every day I have continued my commitment to watch an hour of animation. I find much of the early stuff such as Disney Silly Symphonies too exhausting to watch (I won't say boring, it's just a combination of sound, colour, movement and so on without a clearly defined narrative that makes them more akin to lullabies than entertainment). Anyways, last week I bought The Black Donnellys tv show and I opened it up a few nights ago to watch a few minutes. Mistake. I get so caught up in it that it would keep me up all night if I let it. I've now watched the first 7 episodes, the ones that were originally on the air. I now have six more, none of which I've seen before. The show has these really great characters that are so agravating that no one could have written them except for the fact that someone (Paul Haggis) did write them.

Monday, January 26, 2009

report turned in

After fiddling with it all weekend, I finally have my 3 year information report in to the department head. As of last night, I was done but for one dvd that I was missing. I found a copy in my office this morning. Now I'm free to get ready for class. I am hoping to have a guest in to talk about rotoscoping, but even if that falls through, I have a fair amount of information on the topic. This is when live action images are traced for use as animated images. The Fleischers did it back in the 1920s, patenting some devices for doing it. They created Kodo the clown in the Out of the Inkwell series. Most recently, "Waking Life" used a computer interface to assist in doing basically the same thing.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

another Friday

For the past few Fridays I've been trying to complete my annual information package and my three year report on my activities. I hoped to get it done today but William had a dentist appointment in the morning and I ended up taking him to that and a few errands. This afternoon, instead of just building utilitarian dvds for my work, I started getting fancy with multiple sub-menus and so on. As a result, I still am not finished, even though I have two nicely done discs. My "Modern" disc even has multiple channels so you can select between two different musical scores.
This evening there was an opening at the Dunlop. Margaret was working it and had to get there a couple of hours ahead of the public. William and I dropped her off and, instead of going home, William suggested we drive around for a bit and see what was happening. He was pretty convinced that it was the middle of the night since it was dark, even though it was only 6pm. Anyway, I figured he really meant that he wanted to go Lego shopping so I took him to Toys R Us. They've rearranged the story and the Lego section is what you hit first. The new line of gladiator Bionicles were on sale for nine bucks each so we bought two of them, then went to the Robin's on south Albert where I used to hang out 22 years ago and had a pretty good boy/dad evening.

Thursday, January 22, 2009


We decided that if you laugh your head off and your head really comes off, then that's not funny.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

catch up day

Wednesdays are working better as my catch up day between teaching days now. I book ended my day with meetings, neither of which went too long this week. I think must have sat doing nothing but email and web searches most of the five hours in between, so far as I remember. I stroked a bunch of stuff off my list but, having rushed out of the house without my thermos of espresso, was too caffeine deprived to get any reading done.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

different tuesday

William is seven and a half today. He brought cupcakes for everyone in his class.
Janine came to my class to talk about her project and her own experiences with interviewing family members, an assignment I've given to this class. Her new material on her aunt is very powerful.
When I got home, Margaret and William were roasting hot dogs over the fire pit in the back yard!

Monday, January 19, 2009

cool new computer monitor

Adrian Dean, who finished in our program a couple of years ago, came to my class today and showed the animation approach he's been doing and brought along his very cool 21' tablet monitor that you can just write directly on instead of using a mouse or the separate tablet.
I met with Mauricio for a while. He is working on a new partically animated project that looks pretty cool. Here is a link to it. He also mentioned that his students from last term have their work on a website: here it is.

Sunday, January 18, 2009


I'm feeling better today, pneumonia is staved off another day. We tobogganed and swam, perhaps William is tiring of the diving board as he only went off about 10 times rather than the usual 20. Weather is great, the snow in the back yard finally got sticky enough to shape (see below) and we barb-be-qued some steak, yum.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

is it work?

I am supposed to be reading Chrystene's paper but got distracted (no, I'm not procrastinating, I really do want to read her paper) by a blog I was just directed to by the great animator John Kricfalusi (Ren and Stimpy). Funny and informative and highly opinionated.

Friday, January 16, 2009

a calm Friday

I worked at home today, even though I wasn't avoiding the cold, it was suddenly nice out! I have a bit of chest congestion so thought it best to stay in. I have some planning done on some guests to my classes over the next couple of weeks, putting my mind to rest on that. I also got more work done on my annual information report. It should only take me one or two days to finish it now, but I only work on it one day per week and it's due in two weeks, so I guess I'm on time. My in box tells me that I've got Chrystene's first draft of her thesis paper to read this weekend. I also started a new character development visualization project that will probably be fun and distracting but unfortunately not a professional priority.

tax time?

I had a conversation with the tax department today that I'd rather not have had. They'll be sending me my bad news very soon, will probably be costly.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009


What can I say, I had meetings today. After supper we played Monopoly Jr, Margaret lost and William and I tied at $45 each.

Batmobile lost a wheel...

Mystery solved! Eric Hill sent the Batmobile with a missing wheel! I'd thought of him as a possibility but given up the thought for some reason. Very cool surprise. Eric missed the Daniel Barrow performance at the Dunlop tonight because, ironically, he lost a wheel of his own (or it went flat anyway). The performance involved live movement of transparencies on an overhead projector, incredibly well planned and conceived.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009


Animation class today, the topic was the irony of animating the human body. We went into the studio and did some jumping (which never works as well as you'd like) and some shooting from the ceiling and pretending the floor is a wall - always works better than you'd expect.
William has a bit of a stomach flu maybe.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

snow, water, movies

I turned the computer back on today after not using it yesterday (quite a relief). Yesterday I traded in a movie to HMV that we got a double of for Christmas and put it towards "Terry Pratchett's Discworld: Soul Music and The Wyrd Sisters". They were animated, made for BBC tv and of that British animated style I'm not particularly fond of, with very flat and unemotional characters within a partialy CG world. However, the story was quite good and after an hour I'd basically forgotten the style. Yesterday and today were both nice weather so we tobogganed and went swimming. While this should have physically exhausted William, he continues to stay up until 11pm. Tonight I went to see Transporter 3 with Kevin, a lark basically. I didn't mind the movie, it moved fast enough and the action scenes were well done, although a bit repetitive by the end. The love interest woman was well acted but exceedingly poorly written. Her actions are highly inconsistent throughout the film, basically doing things to ensure that they continue to get into trouble, which he foolishly finds endearing since we are suposed to believe he falls in love with her. Oh well, cheap theatre, at least four bucks worth of chuckles.

Friday, January 9, 2009

shopping still sucks

Mostly I worked at home today but did venture out to BestBuy to try to get the dual layer dvds they have in today's flyer. Driving was hell, the sun was out but there was too much snow everywhere and everyone went decided to go out at once. BestBuy was a zoo and the guy in the department didn't know the product then answered his phone in mid conversation. Once I found the flier and tried to show it to him, he ignored me and I eventually left. Driving home was just as bad. I got a good portion of my annual report on my university activities done, although there were elements at the office that I'll need to comb through to verify a few things. That's 3 weeks early.

new students

Today was the first day for my Film 200 class. I'm glad to get the Thursday section, I've always found them to be the most eclectic bunch. I have good feelings about them. Class was at 9:30 am, which is the first early class I've taught in at least 6 or 7 years. It requires that I get more prepared the day before, I have no time to do anything put pick up my notes and discs and just get there on the day.
Margaret put a display of Artist Trading Cards at the Glen Elm library the other day on the theme of "heroes and villains". She included the Cat in the Hat. Is he a hero or villain?

Wednesday, January 7, 2009


I've been catching up on my backlog of animation this past week, watching an hour or so per day. I've got the third Popeye collection, taking him to the end of the Fleischer era during WWII. I have the new Looney Tunes collection, again covering war years. I have the last Donald Duck collection, which I've not opened yet since it has no war in it. And I've been watching "The Animation Show" collection I bought a year or two ago but only sampled from and never watched all the way through. It has work by Don Hertzfeldt, whom my students named as one of their current favorites.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

work aint so bad

Film 401 started today. Lots of chatting off topic, but it was all on topic in one way or another. I had 5 or 6 lecture items prepared but we only hit a couple of them. There's always time to get to them later when we don't have anything really interesting to say.
William got very little sleep last night since he stayed up so late waiting for the tooth fairy. He stayed at school for lunch again today and walked there by himself this morning. However, Margaret saw the teacher and she was surprised he was underslept; he was apparently in a very good mood all day. Margaret took him tobogganing after school before they came to pick me up. He continues to be full of energy and is roaring around upstairs, reading from a Calvin and Hobbes cartoon collection, howling with laughter. Will he crash tomorrow or later in the week, or does he really need 3 hours less sleep per night than the recommended amount for his age?

Monday, January 5, 2009

classes began

Classes resumed today; I had my new animation course. We have a very crowded room and it's nearly impossible to teach the technical stuff the way I thought I would. Good natured students though, I think it'll go well in the end.
William lost another tooth this morning just before school; it had been loose for a few days. He's so excited about the tooth fairy that he can't sleep. He called me in 15 minutes ago because the memory card on his camera needed emptying; he'd filled it shooting video trying to catch her coming into his room.
I spent a couple of hours this evening packaging up some videos to propose for the hallway monitors. Some company installed about a hundred of them throughout the university of Regina a few months ago, they "captivate" you while you wait for elevators, that sort of thing. They've agreed to show short (10 second) silent films on the monitors between their ads. They don't pay any fees. I've made videos without my name on them, so it's not for the profile. I guess it's just to add some colour to the world. Here is one below, although the compression makes it the opposite of what it is supposed to be:

diving board

We wanted to make sure William had a good nights sleep for his return to school, so I got him up early this morning (after he'd been up until nearly midnight on Saturday) and then did some good activities like swimming in the afternoon. He was still up until at least 10.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

reading and writing

Detoured off preparing for classes by reading half the day to William (finished Wee Free Men) and did some writing on a new project that's been wiggling in the back of my head for a couple of years and just had to pop out today. Work must be looming close; I'm getting the urge to play Lego.

Friday, January 2, 2009

it sounds relaxing

After a rather sleepless night where I got up at 3:30 and read film theory for an hour without getting tired and finally made a pot or rice and ate it with a nice curry sauce (curry, olive oil, soya sauce, milk, and honey) in front of Warner Brothers cartoons until 6am, I got a couple more hour sleep then spent the day watching more cartoons and the evening reading Terry Pratchett's Wee Free Men to William. It sounds relaxing, and it was. I begin teaching my new animation course on Monday and still have some questions about what films I'll show; but they are narrowed down well enough I suppose. William stayed up until 11:30 +.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

New Years Day

A busy day of socializing, first at Margaret's parent's house where we had crepes and fruit and champagne and some good conversation, then at Leslea and Leif's where they lit a fire and I finally got warm and the tranquility of the world crashed down on me. Paul brought the new Christmas episode of Dr. Who over and we all watched it this evening. He left early since he has to work tomorrow, reminding me for the first time that University is open tomorrow, not just Monday. Yikes, I've got some reports to deliver!

New Years Eve

Happy New Year everyone!
Check out my Youtube videos, I posted a couple of new ones today. Highly distorted by compression, both from my end and then on theirs, but I've begun to design the work around that level of alteration.
We took it pretty easy again tonight; Paul came over and we played a game of Carcassonne. I ran out and bought the new suppliment set, the siege and cult cards. We also included the tower cards, even though we didn't use the towers themselves. In the end, even without the river cards which we played first, the tiles overfilled the holder! We finished at about 5 before midnight and then quickly downed the bottle of champaine I'd chilled in the porch. Perhaps it was too cold, but it tasted great that way. William got to bed around 1;00.