Tuesday, June 30, 2009


Felt logy all day. William's fish's tail is all chewed on, we think it might be from the sucker fish. I read up on them and it says they starve easily and can be aggressive. They suck algae right off of other fish if they need to. I told William that I think we will have to return that fish to the store and he's upset, claiming he loves "Tiger" and that this ugly little sucker fish we've owned for less than a week is "Part of the family". The two goldfish are now also logy, spending most of their time inactive at the bottom of the tank. The web says they also get stressed so we've got an unhappy household.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Vacation day 5

We drove home from Calgary today. Margaret, as promised during the Ikea shopping, packed the seemingly impossible amount of stuff into the car. Trip home was relatively uneventful. I did most of the driving to make up for the way here. We lunched in Medicine Hat, picking up sandwiches and eating them at a playground filled with a mixture of new and old climbing structures. William was a bit homesick and was happy to see the fish (they are fine). I didn't check my email the whole trip (I wrote all of these posts from the past four days in the past hour and set false dates and times) and had to answer and solve some things from Thursday but otherwise work and the world is quiet. I got no messages concerning either Michael Jackson's death or Farrah Fawcett's.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Vacation day 4

Before swimming today we went back to the mall and looked at the window display at the Great White game/comic/model store in South Centre Mall. They have the Lego of Death Star 2, the Eiffel Tower, and the Millenium Falcon assembled there. These are very expensive on-line ($650) but in the store they are marked up an additional $250. Yikes. William did not pressure me to buy one. I took him to Toys R Us but the stock there was pathetic. Perhaps all Calgary kids get Lego at the end of the school year? After supper I met my nephew's girlfriend and we ended up talking about a box of old comic books he got for free. Wow, he really knows how to show a girl a good time! (actually, if I was to critisise anyone it would be me for knowing way to much about the 1970s comic book industry).

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Vacation day 3

This afternoon we drove around to a couple of garage sales (missed the big Lego stash at one but found 18 random pieces at the bottom of a box and got them to a coin) then went to a solstice party in the park that my brother-in-law had some passes to. It was very family oriented with a big main stage for a concert and lots of kids stuff. William got multiple tries on a portable climbing wall. It was about 25-30 meters high with all the safety stuff and proper staff and a waiver form that we didn't read. He gave up after the first try but tried again and, with a bit of coaching and encouragement, made it to the top. He then went to the top of the medium difficulty wall twice. By the end I knew he couldn't do it again, he could barely hold the rope to come back down. He was exhausted and delighted.
William stayed home this evening and watched "Return of the Jedi" with my sister as I took my niece and two of her friends to the Serena Ryder concert. It was good but none of us were highly engaged and decided to go for ice cream / slurpee mixtures at the A+1 store, instead of waiting three hours for fireworks. A good choice.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Vacation day 1 and 2

Yesterday we drove from Regina to Calgary. Actually Margaret did most of the driving. Around one hour in I started feeling really tired and lousy so took a nap. At the A&W in Swift Current we debated going home but William really wanted to keep going and I just wanted to sleep. With a few advil and another three hours of sleep I started feeling okay once we were past Medicine Hat and did drive the last short ways into town and to my sister's house. After supper we went over to the nearby wave pool where William was excited to swim and waterslide. There was tons of renovations going on so I got my nephew to call over to make sure they were open. They said they were, regular hours (which my nephew said was until 10). We paid and changed and went in. While stepping into the water at 8:45 the lifeguard reminded us that the pool was closing at 9:00! They gave us a pass to come back. Actually it was okay since I really just had the energy to swim for 15 minutes anyway, a good break at the end of the day. I went to sleep shortly after we got home and got a decade breaking 10 hours of sleep! I feel better today.

This afternoon we went to Ikea for lunch and to buy a few things then I dropped Margaret, William and Michelle at the mall as I went off to the Calgary Society of Independent Filmmakers office where I met with Melony to discuss the films I'll be curating from their collection in August. I got a very good idea but didn't have time to watch them all the way through so I'm taking the main selections back to Regina to watch more carefully to insure they work well together and to write some notes about them. They have screenings from their collection of 16mm films once per month and don't tell anyone what the films will be until they arrive to watch them, nothing but a hint from the screening title. More on that in 5 or 6 weeks.
This evening, against everyone except Margaret's better judgment, we drove half way across Calgary for ice cream. Margaret had found a listing for "Amato Gelato", an Italian ice cream place on Kensington with 38 flavors of gelato and described as the best ice cream in Calgary. It was. Wow, and wow again.

Thursday, June 25, 2009


William finished second grade today! He got close enough to completing my last school challenge for the year, to get to school in time for "Oh Canada". I came in with him and he only missed the first couple of lines. His report card lists 23 lates this term; his mother's son. He brought his fish, "Big Gil" home today and we've installed him in the aquarium. He also got another friend for the next two weeks, his class mate Teagan got a fish that she named "Tuna" who needs to be fish-sat during her vacation so they are shaking up in the aquarium. Gold fish appear to be much more sociable than I'd have thought.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009


William was off to school this morning, eventually. We let him sleep in as part of his recovery and I took him there at morning recess. His friends ran up and told him that they were going to take their fish home! At lunch time however, we discovered that Mrs. Johnson, his reading group teacher who got them all these fish, only came in for half the morning because she was sick so he'll have to wait until tomorrow for his fish. Still a bit sick and/or exhausted, William was upset. Anyway, after school we went and got him a sucker fish and a plant for his aquarium so it is now ready for his fish tomorrow.
This evening we went back to Canadian Tire to get more stain for the cedar shingles on the house. When Margaret was there the other day, the guy spilled half a can of paint on the floor and her shoes and then told her it was the last can. The guy today was a bit more efficient; he found another can but took an hour to match the colour correctly.

Monday, June 22, 2009


William stayed home from school today. My morning meeting was canceled and I thought the probability of me getting sick soon was high so I postponed my other two meetings and stayed home too. Racing the clock (sickness and rain, neither of which arrived) I got the shingles on the front of the house finished by lunchtime. I finally cracked open the 1992 Batman Animated series I bought for William last year and we watched a bunch together. This evening William was back in top form (see photo) and expects to go to school tomorrow. Perhaps it was just some minor everyday flu. We set up the aquarium for his goldfish, Big Gil, who he'll be bringing home from school tomorrow or the next day. His reading group teacher, Mrs. Johnsone, got each of the kids in this group a fish that they wrote about and have cared for since January.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

A Father's Day is never done

It was a very rainy day so we didn't work on the house this morning as I'd wanted but instead we hung out all morning eating pancakes. William got me the Quintin Blake picture book "Loveykins", which is really wonderful as he's one of my favorites and always a joy to look at (picture of William reading me the book). This afternoon I took my son and my dad to "Up" at the Southland theatre. I was surprised at how sad it was, especially the first third. It might not have been sad for the kids, but it is about the melancholy of getting old and losing touch with your dreams. I had hoped to compare it with Clint Eastwood's "Grand Torino", which I probably still can, but the parallels were not really there beyond the most superficial. I went out this evening, saw Peter Cook's house (happy birthday), ate some cheese and drank some blueberry wine, and when I arrived home I was immediately sent out for ginger ale and paper towels to combat William's bouts of vomit. It looks like the swine flu has hit our household.

Saturday, June 20, 2009


It's solstice today, we always celebrate, it's the pagan in us. I was super stiff this morning and mostly hung out with William and watched Star Wars (episode 4 of course) until noon then worked on the shingles until supper time. We went to Marla and Jason's for an evening bbq, a ceremonial fire to sacrificial food (and marshmallows), played with Jason's amazing Lego, then came just before the thunder storm began.

Friday, June 19, 2009


All day spent shingling house; 9am-9pm. Hair feels like it is full of dirt, then realize it is full of canker worm poo.

Thursday, June 18, 2009


Today we started putting shingles onto the side of the house where we tore the vinyl siding off a few weeks ago. I also went to Rona and bought the last two cans of clearance CIL paint that is the key colour to our garage and house. Margaret then read that we shouldn't use oil paint on cedar. Urgh. That's okay I guess since there is a lot of house that isn't shingles and the paint I have will get used up.
This evening there was a going away party for Seema Goel and Steve Kirkland who are moving to England where Steve is going to have a research position in mathematics, and for Rory MacDonald (pictured here with me, photo by William) who is moving to Halifax to teach as NASCAD. David Garneau and Sylvia Zeimann hosted the party at their house, super-well attended by the hip of the art scene (and I was there too).
I shot my titles for my first "Grain" film today (this was the last thing on last week's list of things to do). Once I process them, I will be ready to do the neg cut. I contacted the lab to inquire about parameters for the soundtrack and that sort of thing. I've not finished anything to film like this since the Toxic films, and the last of those was done by Rick a week before he died. I'm a bit gun shy about going to another lab, I just don't know how to establish a relationship. My films are never straight up and traditional to print, they always offer some odd challenge since I've handed the elements so roughly. I am awaiting a reply.

make work

Today is the last day of my 3 or 4 weeks of being acting department head. Things calmed down quite a bit this past week, but it was quite busy for a time. I went in this morning for a while but there was no papers to sign or students to meet so I generated my own in the form of vacation requests and requests for meetings (warning: don't force an academic to sit at a computer for too long or s/he will start inventing meetings). This afternoon I went out to run some errands and stopped in to see Gerald and make an appointment to get my hair cut. He had time so he cut it right away, just 6 inches or so off. Margaret didn't notice for eight hours, so it apparently it's not very dramatic. This evening we watched Guy Maddin's "My Winnipeg", which was quite amazing. I bought it for myself for Christmas and just couldn't get around to watching it. I wanted it to be just right.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

flm and poetry

This evening I showed my film "Anger" at the Filmpool as part of an evening of poetry and film organized by Kelly-Anne Riess and emceed by Natalie Thompson.

The evening alternated between short films and 15-20 minute readings by gillian harding-russel, Kelly-Anne Riess, and the guest of honor, Pooka Press founder Warren Dean Fulton, who came in from Vancouver. Other films shown were by Gordon Pepper, Terry Mialkowsky, and Jemma Gilboy.

When I got home, William was putting the final touches on his huge Lego I got him yesterday. Check out his blog.


I took William to Toys R Us after school. He wanted to look around at everything but, predictably, we gravitated to the Lego. I promised him a reward but had not defined the parameters. He kept pulling the most expensive sets off of the shelf so I told him to pick out the three sets that someday he would want. He did so; he found a $70 Bionicle racer, a $119 agents truck/base, and an $84 power miners set. I agreed to get him the power miners because I was so proud of him. Did I ever get a smile and a hug for that. When we got to the till, the price came up much higher. William was stunned, he'd just finished telling the teller how much the set was going to cost and that he couldn't possibly be needing anything else. The teller went over to the Lego and declared that the shelf was misleading or mistaken or something and we got the lower price. An amazing day.
I asked William what he wanted to read next. Without hesitation he said "Harry Potter 4". He spent the evening working Lego then reading the first 37 pages of "Goblet of Fire".

Monday, June 15, 2009

Harry Potter

This morning William woke up at 7 am, even though he was up late last night reading, and without a word picked up his book and continued reading. By 8 am he completed "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban". Two weeks ago, with only the first 60 pages under his belt, I challenged him to finish reading it before the end of the school year. We have agreed that he will be able to pick his own prize for this feat, and this is still not determined. He's 9 days ahead of schedule. Very impressive for grade 2 in my opinion. I've not yet asked him what he'd like to read next.

Sunday, June 14, 2009


We drove out to Regina Beach today. The art gallery there, which has expanded since we last saw it, has a show of photographs by Dennis Evans from within his straw bail house he built a few years ago on the edge of the valley. We arrived to collide with Daniel, Leesa's son, in the doorway. William and he played until they were beet red in the face; summer is here. We spent the next couple of hours on the beach and having some fish and chips on the steps of the Blue Bird Cafe.

Saturday, June 13, 2009


In the morning light I quickly realized that the one spot I'd not painted yesterday on my garage was not the only thing left to paint. In trying to stretch the paint in the failing light at the end of the day, much of the last half was spotty. I went to Rona to buy another can. I had my info on the CIL paint colour I needed, which they copied into a Rona house brand paint two weeks ago. However today the computer wouldn't let them. Frustrated, I resigned myself to buying name brand paint and discovered that the CIL oil paint I needed was on clearance and $12 off! I got three gallons. The colour ended up not exactly matching the existing paint so I did a second coat over the entire side.
This evening John Hampton had an opening at Neutral Ground. Looked good. William was tired from a long day of playing and riding his bike so we left after just a couple of brief conversation. Sheila Petty was there, so were many others. Pretty solid for a new comer. William was wearing his new blue jeans, the first pair he's ever worn (he's owned others, just refused to put them on).

Friday, June 12, 2009


I was excited to post today to announce that I dove into my painting project and painted my entire garage today. After a refreshing four hour sleep I was up at six and outside at 8:30, finishing the scraping and prep, getting my tools together, painting all of the trim, then painting the walls a sunny yellow. However, I ran out of paint with only a few square feet to go.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

manual labour

I've been craving the physical process of working on things that don't require too much though. This afternoon I scraped paint on the garage, getting ready to paint the other three sides of it to match the one yellow side I did last year. Margaret's parents came by and in classic Wile E Coyote fashion we drove spikes into the ground, balanced long 2x6 planks in precarious positions, and cranked away on a combine jack at a 45 degree angle until our garage was straightened up a bit and we could close the door.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Citizens of Veduta

On rainy Sunday, Heather Cline and Michele Sereda were working with Steve Wolfson and making a movie called "Citizens of Veduta" and Margaret and William were extras in it. Heather will be creating panoramic paintings based on the images. William and his friend Rowan sword fighted down the street on screen. The artists have been issuing beautifully printed lino-cut Veduta citizenship papers to participants.

Monday, June 8, 2009

new angles

This morning I had a great conversation with Sylvia Ziemann about film. She works with small projected video loops within sculptures so I was trying to figure out the best advice to help her enhance this type of work. It was all about lens choices, lighting, and camera placement that needed to be chosen to suit the window the video was to be seen in and for the location the viewer will be allowed to see it from.
This evening I played with my injured toe nail (from about 4 weeks ago) until it could bend up nearly 90 degrees. There seems to be a new toe nail below it. I've known that for some time, but dead toe nail can be taped down and acts as a perfect armour for the toe. However, once I'd over played with it tonight, it would no longer seat itself into its original position so I've needed to clip it away.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Frenzy frenzy complete

Racing the clock, our team (me, Steve Sutherland, and Kevin MacKenzie) watched and cataloged our raw film footage, wrote our title cards (more difficult than it sounds), edited the film, recorded a musical score for the film, then I took that home and mixed Steve's trumpet with voices we recorded of our process yesterday, then got it to the filmpool and I still had to double splice all the cuts, completing it at 7:35 for the 7:30 screening. We won. William took Berny at face value when he said we could take the trophy home for the year.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Film Frenzy

Today was the Filmpool's 48 hour film frenzy. I spent all day working on a film with Steve and Kevin the storyteller, then helping everyone develop their film. I'm a bit dead on my feet and my eyesight is a bit blurry. It was rainy but we fortunately had decided to base our production inside. However, my regular system of drying the film on the grass wouldn't work so I made everyone take their film home. Here is one of my two, 100' rolls of film hanging in my living room and kitchen (thanks Margaret, I couldn't have done it without you).

Friday, June 5, 2009

The King

Seven years ago I made a film called "The King Who Never Napped". Tonight William made a crown for himself (with some help) based on a pattern for being a king from the Lego website.

Thursday, June 4, 2009


Well, almost finished. I have the first of my "Grain" films nearly done. It is a ten minute, 16mm film called "Grain - Summer: I Can't See the Forest Through My Dreams". Perhaps the longest title of any of my films. It might change but I'll likely shoot the title cards in the next day or two. I'll still need to do a negative cut on it and a final sound mix but none of that worries me much. I have a work in progress to send to Antimatter. I feel pretty good about it, the footage is beautiful.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

tired or not?

Margaret is going to sleep. I can't decide if I should stay up and watch a show or not. I always have a very tired part of a day, usually later afternoon, when I really really need to sleep but usually don't . This evening Margaret went to work and William and I ate supper while we watched "Steam Boy", then I had a 3 minute nap and we went shopping. I did enough work today to earn myself some more Goddard (have my new film soundtrack mostly edited, I continued on the picture editing, and baked biscotti). Margaret found some comic strip that I've been reading this evening, 'Pictures for Sad Children', I don't laugh much but it is fast. She also gave me the new Kurt Vonnegut book, a set of previously unpublished letters and essays, "Armageddon in Retrospect", published posthumously. Perhaps I'll just read.


I poured on the steam in the editing room today, not the computer lab but the REAL editing room where I was cutting film on Steenbeck. Fortunately the work in progress was in a few (poorly labeled) rolls that were collected together for me to work on. Unfortunately, there are 50 other small rolls and I don't know if any other them contain valuable tidbits for me. I have a basic cut of one of my Canada Council funded "Grain" films now and the soundtrack is also nearly done.
This evening William rode around the block on his new bike seven times. On the last run he had a bit of a fall, scraped his knee, but didn't want a bandaid because he'd not be able to bend and peddle properly with it on. Obviously it's not going to stop him. Sure loves that bike.

Monday, June 1, 2009


This afternoon we bought William a new bike. It is bigger than his old one, it's got 20 inch wheels and a five speed gear system built into the handlebar. He's a bit unsteady getting started on it but is really starting to be able to go. The larger wheels allow him to ride on grass and gravel better.
Speaking of rubber, but not rubber, June 15 is the 140th anniversary of the unsuccessful entry into a competition to replace the ivory in billiard balls. The inventors in question, John and Isaiah Hyatt, patented the "solid collodion" evolved into celluloid, the material that became the base for flexible film and thus an essential ingredient in motion pictures.