Saturday, October 31, 2009


I put film loop device to use this evening, running a film that I made with William this afternoon. He dressed up as Death (which is what he went out as this evening) and I filmed 50 feet of footage of him at the university and it while he drew comics (more on that tomorrow). The film also includes the very cool Lego skull that Paul built. I developed the film as negative so the clip below will show William dressed in white as the reaper instead of the traditional black. He questioned this and I suggested that Halloween is a time for the world to be turned upside down. As usual, I project a Halloween-based 16mm film in my front window for visitors to see. The loop device was temperamental and chewed up lots of film. I eventually used only half the film at a time and had better luck. The cat really wanted to play with the film and broke the looped film once. She also went out a couple of times until Margaret had to fetch her from a block over from some people who had a large orange cat on a leash. Sylvie was growling at the bigger cat and those owners thought that Sylvie was such a small lost kitten.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Globe Theatre

This evening we went to the Globe Theatre and saw the Alice Nocturne. I liked it. William was beside me, occasionally impatient and hungry but generally paying attention. I think it bothered him when people laughed when he didn't think it funny (the main jokes were discrete cultural references or innuendo that he wasn't privy to). I felt it a bit long but colourful and the most enjoyable theatre experience I've had in years (I don't go to many plays as I enjoy very few of what I do see).

Wednesday, October 28, 2009


I needed to use a razor blade to scrape all the slime from the inside of the fish tank today. Then, with the fish net, I scooped the sheets of slime out of the water and into a bucket. I believe they'll be happier now. Do snails eat that slime? Because if they do, we could raise a snail farm.
A couple of months ago we got a letter from the city, addressed to both Margaret and me and including our middle names on the envelope which really got our attention. It said that some of the pipes bringing water to our house may have lead (all of our house is copper) and thus we should run our water for five minutes before drinking it. Well, this didn't sit too well with us of course. We've been here for 13 years without running it. In any case, a shower in the morning will use enough water to flush the lead but the first coffee was always a problem. We've been keeping additional water from the day before in the frig for the morning. Our drinking water has its own filter so today I went to Rona to see if they have a filter to remove heavy metals (we all need to remove heavy metal from our life eventually). The filters we usually use cost about $10 each and only need changing once per year. The lead removing one costs $38 and only lasts 6 months! Ugh.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Shawn visits

After a few breaks in communication, I made direct contact with Shawn McGrath and he visited my class to talk about a variety of business and legal issues regarding filmmaking and the film industry. William stayed home from school again, he seems healthy but has a reduced appetite and slept until noon! I think he'll be in school tomorrow. I finished the soundtracks for both William's and my One Take Super-8 films.

Monday, October 26, 2009


I spent the afternoon trying to combat the flu, or perhaps just exhaustion. William was home sick but by noon he was 90% back and had energy to burn. It made it difficult to rest. Later in the afternoon however, we did some decorating for Halloween, which is a pretty big deal on our end of the street.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

cut the cold

While I was FINALLY installing my storm windows today, having found a great deal on weather stripping at CMS, William was in bed with a fever, possibly but not necessarily the result of last night's late night line-wait in the cold.

the long the the short of it

It was worth it, but what a wait! This evening we went to the Sukanen Village Halloween event. We've wanted to go for a couple of years but didn't for one reason or another, but this year we were able to. Sukanen Village is a few miles south of Moose Jaw; it's were the steel ship built by Tom Sukanen is now kept and partially restored and where Chrystene shot much of "Sisu". It started at 7:00 but Margaret had been working all day so we didn't get a quick start, leaving Regina at 7:30. On the way, I noticed some interesting light in the sky on the pollution above the Kalium plant outside Belle Plaine. I'm certain it could look very cool with the use of some time exposures (Ryan, perhaps you could take a look sometime). It was a bit rainy so the sky was cloudy; this might have added to the effect. We didn't get much of an image of it, this was just shot by Margaret out the window of the moving car: We arrived at Sukanen Village at 8:20 and I really didn't think there would be many people since the signage was generally so poor. However, I was immediately struck with the image of cars parked throughout the ditch. We parked along the grid road that services it and got into a large line up. I soon realized that the line was moving very slowly, owing to the fact that they were only letting groups of about 12 in at a time, probably every 5 to 10 minutes. At 9:30, William's feet were frozen, owing to the fact that he'd worn his crocs. At 9:45 he wanted to leave but we were at the gate and kept going. Inside the building we were able to warm him a bit as we got placed into a group (I think they placed groups with children in different groups than teenagers+ so that the scare factor could be altered). We were then led out to what I thought would be the tour but was in fact another line. They had the canteen set up as a holding area for the groups where they could buy hot chocolate and snacks. We did so and moved, one table at a time, towards the launch area for the tour. By this point William had really made it clear that he wanted to go home but we persisted and, miraculously, we finally got our turn at 11:10. The tour was quite amusing and mainly consisted of us following our host, the only person with a flashlight, as we walked backwards quickly over very uneven ground and a variety of people yelled from the darkness or jumped out at us. A great lark. William laughed and laughed. He fell asleep in the car on the way home.

Friday, October 23, 2009

busy friday

I had a huge cart of stuff for class today to demonstrate kinescoping and film loops but no one brought material so we did some video feedback instead. My loop devise worked. I then ran an hour of errands then got home for William and read student scripts as he rode his bike then we watched a show until supper and went to the Dunlop shows which opened at both galleries. Very tired now. Margaret is finally home after having attended a work conference all day then working the opening in the evening.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

plumbing 2

Today we took our young cat, Sylvie, in to the vet for spaying. They also pulled one of her baby teeth. The plumber came and put in our Japanese dual-action toilet.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009


We bought a new toilet this morning but weren't able to get anyone to install it today. Hopefully tomorrow. At least our plumbing does not look like this.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

good news and bad news

The good news is that my guest in class today, Michele Sereda, was really interesting and talked a lot about how a director can prepare with a script to be more able to communicate with actors. Other good news was that William went to a science fair and had a great day too. I also joined Paved by mail and sent in a Professor Delusia video for their Halloween screening. I also recorded and edited the soundtrack for my one take super 8 film "Memories of Uncle's House". The bad news is that the toilet is leaking again.

Monday, October 19, 2009


Kevin and I went to Zombieland last night. It was a hoot, some good surprises, some good gore, some good comedy, and some good characters. It was a bit short, probably about 80-85 minutes. We went for coffee afterwords and I forgot my satchel at the Robin's and had to race back for it. Didn't lose it, but it had my wallet in it so I was a bit anxious. That place couldn't hold off zombies for even five minutes.

Sunday, October 18, 2009


William finished the last Harry Potter book today, taking just 11 days (over 600 pages)! Here he is reading at the cafe at the Mendal in Saskatoon yesterday:He's already deep into the new Animorphs books I found for him, finishing one of them before supper time (book 41, " The Familiar", 143 pages).

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Trip to Saskatoon

We drove up to Saskatoon yesterday after the toilet was fixed. Margaret got word that the Sheriton had great water slides so we booked it for one night and they were quite good. There were two slides and two hot tubs. We spent a couple of hours last night and then got back in after breakfast this morning for another hour and a half. Margaret conducted a workshop on artist trading cards at the Mendal while I went to the new Paved space and got a bit of a tour. I was surprised to find that Tim no longer worked there and then discovered, upon talking with his partner Donna Wawzonek whom I ran into as I was leaving, that last year he left not only his job but her too! Wow, am I ever out of the loop! I found William a bunch more Animorphs books at the newly located (same building, much bigger space) 8th Avenue Books because he was asking if he could get back to that series after he finished Harry Potter. I'm glad I did because he read about 150 pages of "Deathly Hollows" today and will likely finish it tomorrow.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Margaret's birthday updated with one picture

While I was at work, Margaret got to spend her birthday serving cake to her parents as they fixed the wax seal on our toilet. The cat was very curious.
Margaret's mother and Sylvie the cat
It seems that this is a rare birthday with virtually no photos of the birthday girl!?!?

Thursday, October 15, 2009

chase my tail

We met with William's teacher today, that went well. William had the rest of the day off so Margaret took him tobogganing while I did some grading. I went to the office in the afternoon and finished shooting my super-8 films "Memories of Uncle's House". Margaret worked this evening so I baked a lemon cheesecake for her birthday and we watched the missing episode of The Brave and the Bold then about half of "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" (which William was surprisingly engaged with considering all they did was stand around and talk for the first fifteen minutes) before Margaret got home. William didn't buy into the wire-fu for a minute though. We had to tell him they have special kung fu skills that let them walk on air. Margaret's present today was the complete Wooster and Jeeves televison series on 8 dvds. Now I've got to get back to my notes for tomorrows class. I've not had time to get my window weather stripping in and them installed and now our toilet is leaking.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009


This morning I went to pick up fresh colour film development chemistry from Don's Photo. Kodak has now discontinued their one gallon C-41 kits so I will need to start buying 5 gallon kits. The problem is that the stuff doesn't have a very long shelf life after you open it and I can't dive into a big processing project in the middle of term. Luckily I was able to get a small kit, but it will likely only do two rolls of 16mm before it is depleted. I got back home to read through some student scripts and the cat went to sleep on my shoulder. Other than one meeting, I spent most of today responding to comments from students about their projects; some in person but mostly over email. I wasn't at the office long enough to progress very far on my super-8 film; I'll need to complete it tomorrow.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

a closer look

Ian Toews came to my Film 400 class today, always an honor. We watched a whole episode of Landscape as Muse featuring John Chalke; I feel inspired to take a ceramics class now. Before that I put about three hours into my One Take Super 8 film which required many magnifying glasses.

Monday, October 12, 2009


I'm feeling less well every day, although it might be just exhaustion rather than the flue since I don't actually have any flu symptoms. Today I redesigned my One Take Super 8 idea to allow me to get it done in time since I didn't get response for my Shakespeare project early enough. Onto the back burner with that, and on with "Uncle's House" (working title). I'll be able to shoot it tomorrow and the next day and have no problem making the 16th deadline.
The puttying of the windows continues.
William and I went to the Lawson pool and swam for a couple of hours. He is far better at swimming that he demonstrated to the teachers last month, which resulted in him wearing a life jacket all the time instead of jumping into the deep end from high boards without one, as he did today.
We went to Richard and Gerda's for Thanksgiving supper. There were 20 people there. Gerda gave William a box of old Bionicle parts, a huge treasure! I had a nice chat with Joanne and Norm; they are always so great to talk to but we don't socialize like we used to. Food was very good of course. Gerda found a discontinued Polaroid camera for $5 with 8 shots remaining in it of unused but discontinued film. They shot all 8 at dinner, essencially turning the camera into a paperweight. Here is one imaged, copied with a hand held digital camera with no proper lighting:

Sunday, October 11, 2009

long weekend

We are going to a Thanksgiving due tomorrow, today was mostly a work day. Margaret's mother Gertrud came over yesterday and today to help re-putty the storm windows. I scraped old paint off and cleaned them after the puttying. I'm shocked by what a poor job I did at painting them last week but the conditions were very poor and I was very rushed. At least I got a first coat on them. The putty job will take at least one more long day, maybe two.
This morning I worked with William to help him shoot his One Take Super 8 film which he is calling "Sylvie Bingles Lego and the Jet Pack". We still have to do the soundtrack but I have a plan for that which should be cool. Margaret spent much of the day baking pies and, her new passion, bread. I wonder what sort of madness is required to be a baker as many of the bread recipes I see contain food that just shouldn't be eaten (things have have soured or formented or just about rotted seem in order only there).

Friday, October 9, 2009

in the dark

Today my Film 412 class processed their 100 feet of film in the darkroom. I guided batches of four at a time at four stations so we were able to get through all 1600 in about 3 hours, but then I had to process some tests and ray-o-grams we did last week so I ended up darkrooming for 4 hours. The bad part was that it snowed all day and we couldn't dry film on the lawns like I prefer. Here is me working with hand processed film at Phil Hoffman's Film Farm back in '02.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Another one down

This afternoon, with the four day weekend stretching ahead of him, William finished the sixth Harry Potter book, "The Half Blood Prince". 606 pages, 23 days. He'll start the seventh and last one this evening.

We had a bit of a reward by me and Paul taking him out to see the 6th movie again at the Rainbow.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

that's class!

Here is my class posing yesterday for their picture in our studio. Department head Christine Ramsay arrived a minute later so made it in time but is not in this image. There are only two students out of the 26 missing; one was late, the other was ill. In the official picture, I am also there.
I spent today getting materials together for Friday's class, reading student scripts, taking William and Rowan to acting class, and trying to ward off the flu that Margaret has in full force.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

missing disc

Today we did some class pictures then I wanted to discuss a number of issues around collaboration. I then promised my students I'd show "Wheat Soup". However, I lent a copy of it out a few months ago and made a new copy but forgot to return the copy to my office. I was left in the embarrassing situation of not having the film to show. I ran some Peter Greenaway shorts and a couple of old student films instead.

Monday, October 5, 2009

heating up

I didn't paint today. Gertrud had to watch William after school since I was in a meeting and Margaret was at work. I've not seen much of Margaret over the past couple of days. She went to Marla's yesterday and learned to bake bread, something she's been excited about for some time now. I went out last night and she was asleep by the time I got in. Today I was at work all day, a Monday that was filled with meetings that I cannot discuss in my blog. William started selling magazine subscriptions for his school so it'll be time to renew my "Entertainment Weekly" again. I got it to replace what used to be the good parts in TV Guide before it turned to crap. I don't even see it on the stands anymore; was it canceled completely? I can't remember the last time I complained about it but it may have been in one of my earlier blogs. Anyway, William is getting so much more independent, going to the neighbours' houses by himself and so on.

Sunday, October 4, 2009


I was talking with Rachelle Viader Knowles the other night at the MacKenzie opening. She is just back from her sabbatical and says she tried to do a blog for a while but lost steam long before I did. We discussed the problem that if you talk about your work, you often face the problem of saying the same thing every day since big sabbatical projects take a long time to complete. On that note, I can only report that once again I worked on painting the house today. I am significantly closer to completing the windows. One storm window needs to be replaced or rebuilt and then painted. There are three other windows that require some paint as soon as the glazing putty is dry. The remaining seventeen storm windows are painted but many need glazing and cleaning (paint on glass scraped off) before being hung. I am planning to let the paint dry all week and then bring them into the house for glazing/cleaning next weekend.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

eat work eat work eat watch work

Busy Saturday. It started with eating black forest cake at Margaret's mom's for George's birthday and then back home to begin painting storm windows in the garage. Space is cramped so can't line up many windows and thus cannot maximize my time (which is severely limited). We went to the annual fowl supper at my mom's church. Back home we watched Ghostbusters 2 (we watched the first one last weekend). I also began making a series of videos about our cat which I will begin with a punk-style title sequence. I'll put them up on Youtube likely in a couple of days. Here is a sneak peak of one:

Friday, October 2, 2009


Between yesterday and today I made some authentic Italian gelato. I roasted the hazelnuts and simmered them in whole milk (brought up to Italian whole milk standard of 3.7% rather than the 3.25% of Canadian whole milk), then pureed them and drained all the milk into a bowl and discarded the nuts and used the milk in the recipe. Add egg yokes, Belgium chocolate and vanilla and a lot of straining and simmering until the mixture is finally left in the frig for a few hours. By this time it was too late to make gelato so it sat and waited until this evening and I broke in the Kitchenaid ice cream maker (prepared the day before by putting it in the freezer) and finally, after about 18 minutes of stirring, it was an amazingly edible substance.
This evening, before the MacKenzie opening, we finally cleaned the fish tank. We've never let it get so dirty as it was now; I had to use a glass scraper to remove algae from every surface of the glass and then scoop it with the net. I'd delayed the cleaning because I didn't want to suck up the baby fish. There were three remaining about a week ago but now there are two. They are getting pretty big. About ten days ago the swordtail mother died, I have no idea why. She'd been swimming around with her head facing the surface for a day, then that was it. I can't find that as a symptom on line but her gills were red and that could mean ammonia poisoning, so our long delay in the cleaning was probably the culprit. The two young ones seem strong and active and are growing really fast.
I talked to the lab (Technicolor) in Vancouver today. My answer print of my new film, Grain: summer (I Can't See the Forest Through My Dreams)" should be shipped to me on Monday. It is playing in less than two weeks at Antimatter in Victoria. I'm excited to see it; it sounds like the timer spent a long time trying to make it look just right (a challenge with my work since there is no "right").