Monday, November 30, 2009

baking 2

I made a batch of mochaccino cookies and a batch of lemon cookies this evening. William wanted to do all the work on the first batch, claiming that taking responsibility had rewards. We ate in front of Mythbusters (Margaret was out) until egg nog was spilled and we adjourned to the table.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

CFL Football

I generally don't care about football and had no intention of watching any of the Grey Cup, but five minutes ago I decided to check out the score. It's annoying not to know what everyone is talking about the next day. So I ended up watching the game starting with a few seconds on the clock and the reversal where Saskatchewan lost due to having too many players on the field. That's drama, glad I tuned in. When I took William and Rowan to see G-Force today, it wasn't as good at these past few minutes.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Baking 1

I finally baked my first batch of Christmas cookies. I chose to make some ginger snaps, they are pretty soft and good. Of course I started mixing ingredients before discovering that I had no ginger (even though I had lots last year and no one else uses it). I chose to walk down the block to the health food store by William's school since they say they sell herbs on their sign. They measure out this organic stuff as if it were illegal and I got a small bag of it for over three bucks. I didn't question it until I was walking home. The cookies turned out as good, if not better than usual, so perhaps there was something to it.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Star Trek

I never would have believed it but I started off my experimental film course with showing extra features from the new Star Trek movie. In particular I wanted to look at the purposefully insertion of flares and the use of physically shaking the camera that JJ Abrams did during shooting and discuss how important an awareness of film form can be even for very commercial filmmakers.

Thursday, November 26, 2009


I mostly worked from home today, getting my notes ready for tomorrow and getting some progress on my syllabi for next term. Had a meeting with William's teacher about a variety of stuff. Paul was over and we worked on KenKen puzzles to try to keep quiet while William tried to get to sleep. Margaret has a wager with him to get 100% on his spelling tomorrow for a Harry Potter chocolate frog card. His spelling has been getting sloppy, probably because the words are getting challenging but that we stopped making him practice some time ago since the words had stayed easy for so long. Now it's things like Tuesday, February, August. I was going to start my Christmas baking but just couldn't get enough modivation (although close, I had my favorite book out and made note of some ingredients I need).

Wednesday, November 25, 2009


We have these two snails in our fishtank now and they are getting bigger. I not entirely certain if it is just my imagination or not, but the fish are looking smaller and smaller compared to them. This evening, after my all day headache finally subsided, I got my software and hardware all to finally jive and I shot some time laps of one snail (he's not moved since this video, when they go they really go, when they stop, they really stop). The video is only a couple seconds and silent, more another time.

Monday, November 23, 2009

coffee code

From now on I'm going to label my meetings with a little coffee icon to indicate the ones that have coffee served and those that don't. Faculty of Engineering, yes. Faculty of Science, no. Faculty of Fine Arts, sometimes but rarely. Campion Collage, yes. Faculty of Grad Studies, even though we had a two hour agenda today and an inch of paper to comb through; no.

Filmpool Board meeting this evening; no coffee.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Sunday with William

I spend most of today with William. We went to the Science Centre and he tried the climbing wall again, although he was a bit rusty and didn't do as well as before. Perhaps the wall he was on was trickier? We went to the library and found more of the Darren Shan books since he finished the second one this morning. This evening we watched the new Star Trek movie again. Lots of fun. I got through most of my scripts I needed to read except for a couple that arrived this weekend.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

driving me crazy

The roads were crazy today. I knew they would be with the big play off game tomorrow AND agribition starting today. However, I still ventured out, driving to the north end dropping Margaret at her Artist Trading Cards session, to the east end to check on Lego advent calendars that were supposed to be at Zellers but are sold out at both stores and to pick up a dozen barbecue pork buns at the Chinese bakery who only bake on weekends now. Then to the south end to investigate supplies of Darren Shan Saga vampire books for William as he burned through the first one over the past few days and is a third of the way through the second one just this evening. The books seem to be available but in short supply and printed in rather shoddy pocketbook form rather than the fairly nicely printed trade paper version he got from the library. With a movie in the theatres (The Vampire's Assistant) I would have thought that there would be a new printing, but no. Chris Scott from Centennial used books thinks that the limited access to distribution may be because they were originally Scholastic books. As usual, she doesn't have any in her store (almost no matter what author I'm looking for, it is extremely difficult for her to get copies of and to keep them in stock). I'm not really believing the Scholastic line either. I think it is a bit mis-marketted here. The covers I've seen are very scary, fitting in with any adult horror book. The british covers are more fanciful for younger readers. (see comparison below).
All told, I must have spent over an hour this afternoon in the car between these places, often behind people stopping at green lights just to be on the safe side. I knew every minute that I would be better off staying home all day. Perhaps tomorrow.

Friday, November 20, 2009


William and I went shopping to Zellers tonight and got our exercise chasing each other around the store. It's better than a gym. He got two turtle neck shirts for about 5 buck each, 100% cotton. This morning almost half my students were out sick but the rest of us discussed nostalgia. It was a good time, I miss that class and I miss Woolco, the store that was in the place that Zellers is now.

Thursday, November 19, 2009


I feel like I came completely into focus today. Everything seemed much easier to do and to think about, that is up until 7pm when I was tired again. I got my grading done and authored a dvd and had some meetings. redesigned my class for tomorrow, and made peanut chicken.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009


Struggled all day to keep eyes open. Why am I still up? I had a headache last night that began at midnight and only subsided around supper. I left a faculty meeting after the VP's presentation because I could barely stay conscious anymore. ug.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Rick Mercer

One of the only shows I record these days is Rick Mercer Report, but it doesn't take long to watch it. His mixing with college students, military, and sports teams has gotten very old so I skip them and just watch the rant and the faux ads. The best 7 minutes of tv in the week.

Monday, November 16, 2009

flu shot

William got his flu shot at school today. He said it hurt but not as much as the freezing we did on his wart on his foot.
William and I started an animated Lego movie this evening. He set everything up and did all the animating. He really is understanding what is entailed. I think it will take at least a few days, if not a week, to shoot. Will post it when it's ready.
I watched "Heroes" tonight. They had a 16mm film on a projector but the take-up reel wasn't turning. No explanation.

Sunday, November 15, 2009


William watched Monsters vs Aliens again today; he's totally loving it (Chrystene: check it out for the destruction and mayhem in San Fransisco). William then got out some paper and wrote a letter to Dreamworks telling them to make a sequel. I found an address for them and we'll mail it in the morning.
I also found a message in my no-longer-used email account from Steve Wolfson. We worked together on an comedy show years ago. He posted some of the work on Youtube including this one featuring Jeff Looysen.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

building a go-cart in the garage

Building a go-cart? Are you nuts? I don't know how to do that. William and I started making a new movie together today. He's written it. I'm shooting it. Margaret built him a tin heart as a key prop last night. We did a bit of green screen work at the university and in the parking lot. Came home and couldn't get the rest of the cast so we watched the original Godzilla - Japanese version with subtitles. This evening we watched Monsters vs Aliens. William finished reading the third and last book in the Beyond Spiderwick book series. I'm trying to get the Terrible Film Festival dvd editing but now that I finally have uninterrupted time, the house is getting cold and my brain is shutting down.

Friday, November 13, 2009

no lunch today

In Film 412 today I spoke for a minute about journal writing and my sporadic obsession with it. I mentioned this blog, which followed a 10 year gap without journal writing, and I suggested that if I stopped writing this for a few days that I would likely discontinue it altogether. There was a chuckle when I mentioned the blog as if they might have been aware of it so if you are reading this, GET BACK TO WORK: YOU ARE LIKELY LATE ON AT LEAST ONE OF YOUR PROJECTS!!!

I had an 8:30 meeting this morning that I had to leave at 10:25 to get to my 10:30 class (where I assigned them to think about their friends mothers and to play with pieces of glass) and that class ended at 1:20 but was immediately followed by a 1:15 meeting in the same room (luckily we parked our department on top of a time/space rift) and that meeting ran overtime so I had to leave it at 2:00 and meet with a student. A few other encounters and conversations later, I am on my weekend and feeling a bit fuzzy.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


I finally got over my headache while watching The Secret Life of Sherlock Holmes (which I believe I watched a couple years ago) with an ice pack on my head. I woke up relaxed and not thinking about anything and thus did very little today but finish my biscotti, start some vanilla gelato, and while William's friend Rowan was over, I explode a diet coke with mentos (see video). I also finished off the roll of super-8 film I started around William's 8th birthday that Margaret suggested would represent his "super-8th birthday".

This evening I tried to watch some Clone Wars with William. I missed recording season 2 episode 3 about 3 weeks ago and couldn't find a copy of the whole thing on the internet anywhere. One source "" seemed very deceptive as although it claimed to give you free tv, you need to either pay them or give them your "mobile number" to which they send you a code. I was really put off by them, since I don't know my cel phone number and have never received a text on it so I don't even know how that works. I'm getting too old to use technology. I found the first 3 parts of the show, missing the last six minutes. William sensed how frustrated I was and suggested we skip it and watch the next one (which I have on my dvd recorder).


Woke up yesterday with a headache. Had it all day. I taught this afternoon, running my funding jury session with a group that was much too big but I think it worked okay, and then went directly to Ice Age 3 with William after work, still had the headache. William was a wreath bearer for the Remembrance Day celebration at his school this morning. I went to bed, still having a headache . Woke up just now, still have it.

Monday, November 9, 2009


Last night Margaret and I watched the final episode of Jeremy Brett's Sherlock Holmes. I had hoped to get to it over a week ago but we've been so tired at night that we just couldn't. I bought the complete collection last year to help me with my presentation about Watson and Holmes at the Conan Doyle conference at the University. The dvd set arrived on Halloween 2008 so it took us about 53 weeks to watch the 12 discs. That's pretty slow, about an episode per week, but we were not always in the mood. Great show though. The final few got a bit odd, diverging from the original stories uncharacteristically far. The final one was converted into a freaking Christmas episode with Holmes fretting with Mrs Hudson about what gift to get for Watson! It felt like it belonged for the most part, but it was a bit kooky when you compare the texts. The earlier episodes are very close to the original stories.

Sunday, November 8, 2009


Our next door neighbors, Trevor and Amy, who have renovated the house next door from a hovel of a rental place into a really swanky pad, have put their house up for sale. In the photo above, you can see our house with its current paint job to the left. The price is certainly higher than they bought it for about 4 years ago. Crazy market.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

not a rare commodity

Our catfish "Kidder" is resting on top of his algae patch, feeling a bit territorial since the snails moved in two days ago, especially Shellster, the larger one pictured here.

Friday, November 6, 2009


Yesterday we bought two snails for the aquarium. After acclimatizing, we released them in with the guppy (Gibby) and the catfish (Kidder) and they are doing well. Today William named them Sucky and Shellster. We spotted a third very small one that got scooped in with those two. It's not been named yet.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

One Take Super-8

This evening was the One Take Super 8 Event, sold out with overflow at the RPL. William's film turned out really well. It is of the cat walking among his Lego buildings while he reads from Shakespeare. It got a solid response. He was in a great mood all day but really flying at this screening. He was approaching other filmmakers and asking them questions. Top notch. Many of the films tonight were underexposed. I shouldn't talk since mine was sort of one of them, but still there did seem to be a lack of craftsmanship prevelant (mine was dark because of some complicated things I was doing with multiple lenses and parts of it were quite well exposed). I'm hoping the video transfer will lighten it up, but am also considering reshooting it since it was all made on my desk in my office and I'm sure I could do it better if I repeated it. I might even try to shoot it digitally using the new pentax/tamron camera mount I bought with which I could mount my true macro Tamron lens onto a Pentax digital SLR such as Margaret's mother has.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Terrible Film Festival

Wednesday night (tonight) my students are hosting the
at the Filmpool on 1822 Scarth St at 7:00-9:00 pm.
It's FREE, so tell them you know me and they'll let you in half price.

Monday, November 2, 2009

making the grade

Grading of projects continues today. I have been very slow at this for some reason. Perhaps because the students took the project quite seriously, or at least most of them did, so it seems all the more important that I give them some meaningful feedback. However, I've been really tired and need to let my mind wander after every paragraph. I've only got two more to grade, but since they require me to play the sound at my computer and I want William to go to sleep soon, I'll knock off for the night and finish in the morning. William is out of his regular lines of books to read so I just handed him "The Twits" by Roald Dahl. Margaret introduced it to me when we were first dating (who would do that? It's a story about a couple who are nothing but mean and nasty to each other, the end!). It's one of my favorite all time books. I can hear him protesting his lights being turned off right now, and for good reason. Short but every page is a treasure.

Sunday, November 1, 2009


Does the "hair of the dog" approach also work when you've binged on chocolate for untold hours? I tried this morning ... and this afternoon ... and this evening. My head is still swimming. How come there is no warning on Aero bar labels?