Monday, August 31, 2009

on the clock

This afternoon I met with John Hampton and we looked at the videos he's been editing. We are to preview all four of these shorts next Friday so he needs to whip them into shape. The two he's headed up are really close, we just need to review the other two which are in Mauricio's hands and he's out of town right now, coming back soon I think. William and I watched Harold Lloyd's "Safety Last" this evening. I recorded in a few weeks ago along with a number of other Lloyd films from the same time period and we've been watching them one at a time (they are around an hour each). I skipped a couple others to watch it as he was heavily referenced in the "Back to the Future" films.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Ted Godwin

I don't know how this happens but four months ago Margaret and I missed the Ted Godwin opening at the MacKenzie Art Gallery because of a number of conflicts, first and foremost being the dinner with Chrystene Ells following her defense. We usually go to the MacKenzie about once a month so I had no worries about seeing the show. Well last night I got thinking about modern art and looked to see when the Godwin show ends as I still had not seen it and it closed TODAY. Margaret and I managed to convince William to leave the house and come with us so we all saw it two hours before closing. Pretty good work, glad I saw it.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Shawn Fulton

I met up with Shawn Fulton in a park this afternoon and we recorded over an hour of an interview in preparation for an article I want to write about his really cool super-8 films. William and Sylvie also came. Sylvie climbed a tree very well, limited only by her leash. William bumped his head and cursed the planet for his pain and hoped that we crash into the sun. He really didn't cheer up until we were at grandmas and got some new Lego (Indiana Jones Jungle Cutter). We all went over to Ed/Faith/Marin/Rowan's house and they hosted a bar-b-que and made it a bit of a surprise party for William. We stayed rather late but there's an even louder party next door so it won't be an early night anyways. Sylvie has started being more playful, probably because she is becoming more comfortable here but probably also because she is de-wormed and de-ear-mited. She has some sort of fur covered ball that she goes nuts for.

Friday, August 28, 2009

no space

We spent the better part of this morning at the vet with Sylvie. She weighs 1.4 kg and had more mite infested gunk in her ears than I would have believed possible. She also needed a de-worming pill, ointment in her eyes, and other orifices probed. We were able to test some other cat foods and found some things that she likes (Science Diet is current favorite). She seems to have forgiven us for her hour of hell and is likely able to hear much better now.
I spent the afternoon working on my scores for Modern and trying to prepare notes for my next Splice Magazine article and this evening watching the first two "Back to the Future" movies with William.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

First day back to school

Today was William's first day back at school. He started grade 3 with a teacher who is new to the school and is in a grade 3/4 split. In the morning we all walked to school together, including the cat so his friends could see her. We have a leash and harness for the cat so she can go for walks with us. I think she's nervous about the outside so maybe she'll be more of an indoor cat. We got to the school a minute or two after the bell so most kids didn't see her, but we'll try again. William seems to have enjoyed his day.
I had a good meeting with Janine and reviewed the 9 short videos she has made that interconnect as her MFA project. Really starting to work. Strangely, she is pulling farther and farther away from the shockingly violent aspects of the stories and gravitating towards small anactotes.
The cat we got yesterday, Sylvie, is really small. She's apparently 5.5 months old but is not much bigger than a kitten and some people have pointed out that she should be bigger. She won't eat the dry cat food that they were giving her at the Humane Society but is really hungry. I am suspecting that she was surviving on the small amount of wet food they gave each cat as a treat in the morning. She ate a lot of raw beef and chicken today. Last night she slept with, and sometimes on top of, William. She is with him now.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

...and MORE family

Here is the new addition to our family: Sylvie, an orange female cat about 5 months old adopted from the Humane Society. She is exploring the house and didn't mind the car ride around town today. She is pretty quiet and purrs a lot. I've left it to William to decide if she is his cat or the family cat.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

More family

We went out to the farm this afternoon/evening to have a bar-b-que with Margaret's aunt Dianne and two of her sons, Margaret's cousins Tom (an architecture professor at UofT) and Frank (a musician in Edmonton) and five sons of theirs. William took a while to accept the venture but eventually had fun with water fights and playing a bit on Frank's violin.

Monday, August 24, 2009

no more vacation

I dove back into work today, actually answering all of my email that accumulated over the past couple of weeks! The office was pretty quiet, only Darrell and Andrea were there so I managed to get through things by noon and started trying to write my new Splice article this afternoon. I posted the program notes from my Calgary screening on my other blog for those interested. I took William to get more back to school shoes and we also got him a second pair of Levis. He's into jeans now and when we were in Lethbridge I found him some Levis at Winners so now that's what he wants to wear (just like dad). Downtown is crazy with the AC/DC concert happening this evening. We just drove past the swarms of people heading towards it; more black t-shirts, wrinkles, and grey hair than you can shake a stick at. I'd be so embarrassed to be going to it.

Midnight post script.
It's quiet now. The sound of the AC/DC concert carried very well to our house so we had to close our doors and listen to 1940s radio dramas all evening. I processed 3/4 of my apples into sauce but didn't have the time or energy to properly can them so they sit in a large pot plus some uncanned jars in the frig beside the three pies Margaret made (in case you are wondering; No, we don't have anything else to eat in the house).

Sunday, August 23, 2009

what's cooking

I finished the sound editing and mixing for my audio for my new film "Grain: Summer: I Can't See the Forest Through My Dreams" this morning. I'll ship it to Toronto tomorrow to have an optical soundtrack made. I finally tracked down the last place in the country to still make those for 16mm film and I committed myself to making four more films to be finished on film with my Canada Council grant. I will make one of them on 35mm, which won't save me any money but may be slightly less questionable by the labs (very few labs still make prints of 16mm either). It is about 10 minutes long and is about vacations. It will play at the Antimatter Film Festival in Victoria in October.
Yesterday I baked William a cheesecake for his birthday. He asked for coffee flavour! Today he tried out the climbing wall at the science centre: he got up about 30 feet which is about 1/3 of the way. He wants to try again tomorrow.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

our cat

I woke up early this morning and started thinking about my cat, wrapped in plastic, frozen in my deep freeze. I couldn't stay in bed thinking about him so I got up, put on some work jeans and runners, and got a shovel. I found a good spot in our garden which wouldn't be disturbed and dug him a good sized hole about 2.5 feet deep, as deep as I could manage. I told Margaret what I was up to and she thought I should consider William in the process. He was up late last night and slept in but once he was up I immediately told him what I was doing. He asked to help so I went out with him and he dug a bit more with me. Meanwhile Margaret had wrapped the cat in a blanket and tucked one of his toy mice with him as well as the goldfish Big Gil and others. William carried him to the hole we'd dug. He'd not gotten much lighter and still must have been 16 pounds. I helped place him in the hole and William insisted on covering him one shovel full at a time with the dirt. We have a stone from the mountains to mark the spot, a stone Margaret will soon paint.
We got this cat in 1996. I'd been working for the tv show "Utopia Cafe" in its final season and a new girl was hired as an intern. She had been traveling and didn't have a place to live so in September she'd been sharing a house with someone else from the show who had a cat. This stray orange cat whom she named "Tony Big Balls" for apparent reasons had been prowling around their back door and she'd taken to feeding it. However, she couldn't take it in since it fought with their resident cat. It was warm so they had no worries. Some of the next details are a bit fuzzy in my memory but for some reason they connected up with a woman who had a personal crusade to help cats and adopted many of them off the street, getting them fixed and having them registered under her own name, regardless of whether or not they had a previous or current owner. Returned in this state, Tony no-longer-big Balls disappeared into the night, returning to their back door after a few days with serious fighting injuries. With no money for a vet, she had no choice but to call the humane society to have him picked up. Her next call was to me since she knew that I had just purchased a house (our possession date was Oct 1). She begged me to go to the humane society and adopt him; the humane society had no tolerance for the cat crusader and her set-cats-free-on-the-streets attitude so Tony was not long for the world. Margaret and I went down and adopted him, renaming him Baron Munchhousen. However, the house was not yet ready to be lived in as we were doing a lot of painting and sanding of floors, things we could not have a cat around for. We housed Baron at Mike Grzesina's apartment for about ten weeks and Mike fed and fed and fed him until he began to take the shape he was known for. At Christmas, when Mike needed to leave town, our hand was forced and we needed to stop our renovations and move in.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Vacation day 12

We got up early and packed the car and were driving away at 9am, saying our goodbyes through my brother-in-law as my sister and niece were both still asleep. Last night I suggested that if we do manage to leave early we'd be able to stop in Drumheller and see the dinosaur museum. William was actually more excited about seeing the five story t-rex again, so that was our first stop. We got lost coming into town and again going from downtown to the museum and again trying to find the highway to connect back to the trans-Canada. In our confusion, we did find the hoodoos and stopped for a minute. Arrival time was about 10pm in Regina.
If you read this daily, you may want to go back 11 days as I just posted all of the vacation posts. I wrote many of them two days ago in Calgary but just saved them unposted until this past hour. Just press "August" on the sidebar to your left of this post and it will allow you to scroll backwards through the month without pressing the "older posts" button. Enjoy.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Vacation day 11

Today was William's Birthday. First thing this morning Margaret presented him with the foam tipped bow and arrow set that he was instantly in love with. She'd picked it up in Penticton before she knew we'd be watching Mythbusters about crossbows. After breakfast, to my surprise, William relented in his daily requests to return home and agreed that it might be nice to stay in Calgary for a day! We were basically ready to get on the road but instead we did some shopping. I picked up the $30 worth of stuff I wanted from IKEA (plus the $55 worth of stuff I hadn't intended on getting, but that's getting off cheap). Sharon took William to Toys R Us and he picked up an Agent's Lego set (she pointed out that he took much longer to choose a slurpee flavour than the Lego). I made peanut chicken, at his request, and as I'd not made a cheesecake (his cake request was "one of dad's cheesecakes") so he settled for Oreo cookies and a movie for desert (we watched "Arctic Tale" on their big screen tv). It was a nice relaxing day.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Vacation day 10

. (image: chocolate frog)
We got the earliest start of the trip today, about 8:45. We picked up some chocolate from the local preservative-free chocolatier as we left town. We made only two stops, one in Revelstoke and another in Banff, and otherwise pushed through to Calgary. Good thing as the passes around Golden are closed at night. In Revelstoke we saw, but didn't tour, the Nickelodeon Museum which could be worthwhile next time through. In Banff we went to the old hot spring pool, the only one I've been to there (I was last there when I was about William's age or a year or two older). My brother in law Paul's birthday was yesterday and there was still ice cream cake that Michelle made left over. We put new candles in it and sang for William; his birthday is tomorrow.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Vacation day 9

William wanted to return home today but we stayed an extra day to go on the authentic steam train ride. However, today is Tuesday and the train only runs Thursday to Monday so we were left to just do some hiking. It seems that the landscape had a message for us: "DON'T WALK ON US"! William stepped on a cactus and when I went to rescue him and pushed a different cactus deep into my ankle. Margaret pulled out the thorns and they ended up pushing into her had. In pain, we limped back to the car, went back to the condo for leftovers. I forgot the AC power cable for the dvd player and Maureen doesn't have a dvd hooked up to her 50" tv until this weekend. We watched an episode of Mythbusters where they built crossbows from paper, ending the day on a high note.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Vacation day 8

(image of our cat from fall 2005)
First thing this morning, William and I went back to the rock wall and he succeeded in climbing all three (he only finished one yesterday and didn't get second chances). This afternoon we went to a vineyard and did a wine tasting (a cool experience but one that could exhaust you if you tried to do all of them here, there are MANY). We picked up from fresh fruit, pulling a peach and some grapes right off of some trees, then went for ice cream. While enjoying our over-sized cones we got a call from Margaret's mother informing us that our cat, Baron Munchhausen/Mr. Guy/Kitty, died last night. He passed in his sleep in his favorite chair. He was my first real pet. We adopted him as a young and rather wild cat back in the fall of 1996 and he moved into our house the same day we did. I'm glad that he went so quietly without any apparent suffering, but I'm very sad we couldn't have been there with him.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Vacation day 7

The beach wasn't busy at all. Maureen thinks that the forest fires, which haven't touched this area, have nonetheless discouraged tourists this year. I built a sand castle then I played Mothra and defended it for quite some time against William who played Godzilla. Eventually we entered the rather cold water. We went to the used book store where William found a couple Animorphs books he didn't have before and I picked up a book about Disney. We went to the Penticton Art Gallery where they had a small but very exciting show of Bob Masse rock poster art which included pencil drawings, colour separations, and finished posters of these quintessential psychedelic art. This evening we went for mini-golf and William climbed the adjoining rock wall.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Vacation day 6

Today we left Creston and went off course a bit to see the house made out of glass embalming fluid bottles near Boswell. Margaret had read about it a couple of years ago and just realized at an information centre that this is where it is. It was cool. He loved the spot by the lake and decided to build there and recycle bottles from his career at the same time. Since we'd come this way, we continued north and took the long (free!) ferry ride over the lake and drove though Nelson where we met Anita Levesque & Bradley Smith at the Oxygen Gallery during their open gallery day in town. We arrived in Penticton at supper time or so and spent a great evening in Maureen's pool.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Vacation day 5

We left Lethbridge today but, as per our pattern, did not get away until nearly lunch. William dined mainly on a bag of almonds. The roads into the mountains were full of maintenance delays and it rained a lot. We stopped at a very nice museum at Frank Slide. However, the event the museum focuses on took only 90 seconds, so the museum was a real case of all form, no substance. We stopped for the night at Creston. We chanced a little motor inn and were very happy. We got the last room. It had three queen sized beds but we got it for the price of a regular room. The outdoor pool was small but was heated and William and I had an hour of fun dueling with pool noodles. We went out to eat and William, still moaning a bit from an almond he'd chewed earlier, suddenly spit out his crown off one of his molars. It was one that had been put in surgically when he was about 3. Not only that, but the tooth had broken away horizontally level with the bottom of the crown. It bled for a minute but then stopped. It was not sensitive to cold or to eating. We put a call in to his dentist, Dr. Kristie White, and she called back to say that a partial root canal had been done to that tooth so if he isn't having pain then to just keep it clean and go on with our holiday!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Vacation day 4

This morning Bob took us to the Birds of Prey park near Lethbridge. We got to pet owls and hawks and saw eagles and a vulture very close up. William has been wearing nothing but his hawk t-shirt throughout this trip so he was pretty pumped. This afternoon we met up with Deric Olsen and his family. Deric has a position at UofLethbridge now teaching film production. William and his daughter get along well and would certainly be close friends if we lived closer together.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Vacation day 3

I got up early this morning and drove Nicole to work. The air mattress isn't giving me the best sleep but the house is quiet so that's nice. We went to Heritage Village again this morning and after lunch went to my sister Sharon's. My nephew Chris is leaving for Europe in a few days so we got to see him one last time before he goes. We drove through the rain to Lethbridge this afternoon, listening to Harry Potter 4 in the car. We are staying with Bob and Brigitta, old friend's of Margaret's parents. Their grandson Nicholas has lots of Lego and a new dog, Jerry, so William had a good time. Before bed the three of us all read different Harry Potter books.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Vacation day 2

We spent the day in Calgary. Margaret bought a family year pass into Heritage Village so we went there and did a few old rides and saw some of the sites. William really loved the school house where he sat at a desk and wrote on the small chalk board. In actuality, I'm counting today as a work day rather than vacation as I am presenting a package of films I curated from the collection at the Calgary Society of Independent Filmmakers. I ran two documentaries on Cannibals. About a dozen to fifteen people were there, relaxing and enjoying the "Sofa-Cinema" and the discussion afterwards ran at least 90 minutes. My niece Nicole came with me and engaged well with everyone. I think she connected with some of them afterwards regarding the comic convention on this coming weekend.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Vacation day 1

Today we drove to Calgary for the beginning of our vacation. We got a late start, about 11 am, so didn't arrive at my sister Maureen's until after supper. Maureen's house is Spartan since she moved all her spare furniture to her new condo in Penticton BC last year so we had to bring an air mattress to sleep on. William is disappointed that we are not in the mountains yet and it took me a long time to cheer him up. In the end it was my Coby mp3/video player that turned the tide as he was able to watch little 2" videos I'd loaded on it. I thought it was broken a few months ago but it seems to have either fixed itself or it was the usb cable I'd been using.

I don't know what I did today.

Painted trim on front window this morning. I don't know what else: the day sort of filled with stuff. I did discover that my ill fated copy mp3 player that I declared broken a few months ago is working inexplicably. I think the problem may have been in the cable I'd been using to connect to the computer. If it wasn't working, then it was getting no data or no power or no neither. Have programmed some films for Tuesday night: here is a censored version of the program notes (so that the titles remain a secret until the night). I'm worried about the health of my cat. For the past few weeks he's been breathing very heavily, even when he's sleeping. He also hasn't been eating as much or as voraciously. He's old.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

day with William

Margaret worked all day. Last night William insisted that he wanted to sleep in this morning since he had to get up for his 9 am camp all week. I was concerned that we'd not get Margaret to work or else not have the car but at 8:05 this morning William got up and came to our room. I asked him if he enjoyed sleeping in this morning and he said he did. We had to hit both Superstores to find two more of his favorite shirt (blue long sleeve cotton with image of a bird of prey). I've decided we shouldn't kill ourselves trying to offer him choices all the time but instead let him wear what he wants and multiples of just that. This afternoon Mike and Paul came over; Mike is in town for a cousin's wedding reception. After they left, William and I watched Star Trek 5. Yes, I know it's one of the worst ones, but we enjoyed it well enough watching it together. It was a boy and dad day.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Fridays are not a relief

Today I finished off a bunch of administrative stuff for work before my vacation starts. As I write this I realize I have another important thing to send in regarding booking equipment and materials for my classes, so my weekend will not be work free. I also read through a horror script that an ex-student sent me and fired off a few comments. Feature scripts are difficult to digest quickly, the structure is as important, if not more important, than the individual moments and dialogue. William finished his animal camp at the Science Centre. He fought about going and fought every morning about getting up, but really enjoyed it and has lots of stories. Overall he really enjoys education.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

secret programming

Next week I'm presenting films on a cannibal theme in Calgary from the 16mm collection at the CSIF. Today I wrote up my notes for the screening but they prefer not to let the exact titles they will show become public until the event, so I won't publish those notes yet. This afternoon I edited music from my recordings with Jeff Looysen to be used in place of Raoul's music which got lost from the Film Frenzy film from 2008 that has not yet been disseminated to the participants. I think it would be nice to get those out to those people while they are still interested in the Filmpool so to maximize the chances of recruiting them as continuing members.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009


Last night I had an amazing dream that I didn't have a headache. However, other dire things were happening to the world. I then woke up to find that the world was fine but that I had a terrible headache that wouldn't go away. Eventually I ended up on the couch with ice on my neck watching Harrold Lloyd films on Turner Classic Movies. Great fun. I watched another one (all silent) with William this evening.
Following up on a promise I made the other day, I spent my morning hauling boxes out of Margaret's mother's crawl space so they can do some renovations down there. Margaret, George, and I had cleaned up that space 18 years ago but since then it has accumulated more and more and more stuff. I carried about 85 loads up to the garage, mostly two boxes at a time, half of the boxes being filled with old German books. I've not sweated that much in a long long time.
This afternoon I helped (or actually I observed) Bernie and his father inspect and start to repair the flatbeds at the university. I really hope we are able to put the belts on properly when we get replacements in.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009


I recorded music in the studio today. With Jeff Looysen I recorded a new pass for "Modern" as well as the incidental music I need for "Grain" and will also be able to use some of the session potentially to replace the lost music from the Film Frenzy workshop film I made last year. This evening I recorded trumpet for "Modern" with Nigel Taylor. It sure takes some lung power to play continuously for 15 minutes.

Monday, August 3, 2009

more paint

Holiday Monday today: I started painting the borders around the windows. I'll need at least one more full day working to get it done and I need to do that before the painters come to do the upper floor. I think they are supposed to come in early August, but we've not had any word from them in over a month.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Weekend with Carl

Sorry for brevity of last post. I actually had a very busy weekend. Carl Bessai was in town. We went to the farm yesterday and drove all over the place looking for places his father grew up, went to school, and was buried. Carl and each of his three brothers are drawn to return here every few years to retrace their heritage. We were glad to host him and his family. Other than talking family, we talked a fair amount about film. He thinks that Regina should have a film festival (an international feature film festival) to be part of the circuit that includes Montreal, Toronto, Calgary, and Vancouver. He is certainly right, although festivals are renowned for their ability to consume more hours than anyone has to put into them and I'm not in a position to do it myself. Would be cool though. We didn't get out to Moose Jaw but we talked about Sukanen for a while. He referred to the ship in his feature "Emile" which he directed with Ian McKellen a few years ago. Carl was an obvious choice to be an external on Chrystene's "Sisu" thesis but the personal relationship would certainly have got me into hot water. Carl had a last minute change of plans and had to leave town first thing this morning instead of tomorrow. I spent the day re-laying the patio by the garage. We drove by Paul's house and looked at the absence of his garage that was torn down the other day to make way for a new garage.