Sunday, February 28, 2010

end of tiring weekend

Today Margaret and the collective she's working with put up a show of their collage art at the Flatland studio. I got the four poetry videos done and will need to ship them tomorrow (the ones on PAL). William had a couple of play dates with Rowan this weekend as well as one with Xander today. Overall, everyone is pretty tired.

Friday, February 26, 2010

What is happening not at work

I've been working on a series of videos that respond to some specific poems for a European festival. I ran across the call for entries in a some random searches for experimental film last week. They are short and I've got some ideas so each of them shouldn't take long to make. I've made two so far (over past three days) and hope to make two more. I had the text read in French by one of my ex-students from Quebec to ensure a distinctive Canadian sound. He voice sounds great when recorded with the good dialogue microphone in the super-quiet recording studio. When I listen, I find myself whisked away into some inexplicable Godard film opening. The problem will certainly be in making sure that I get the right materials to them in time. Not only do I have only 10 days from today to get the discs over seas, but the requirement is specifically "PAL DVD". I shot raw footage for them with my still camera set to HD PAL mode (see still from film above), and have been editing in PAL. I'm certain that the DVD authoring software will let me work in PAL. However, I will have no idea if the disc I make will actually run when it gets there! I guess I'll create some quicktime back-ups for them on another disc.
William had the day off so he and Margaret ran errands. They cashed in the recycling for $13.50 and bought $3000 worth of furniture and appliances (a new juicer, a new dresser for William, and a wardrobe for our room: appliances to be delivered next week).

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Chris Birch

Earlier this week I got a Facebook invite from one of my oldest friends, Chris Birch. I've not seen him in over 20 years. We met in grade 3, at the same age that William is now. He invited everyone to his birthday party and I couldn't come because of some conflict (lessons or something) but my mom thought I should got for a play date (before the invention of that term) the next day. Mom pulled a gift out of the closet, a stapler shaped like a cannon; why it was there in the closet I will never know. We had a great afternoon and were great friends for years, bowling, playing pinball, climbing on rooftops, cutting classes, stealing booze, and all the other stuff grade school boys do. My parents didn't like him for some reason. Today we caught up a bit over Facebook chat, although the information transfer was rather slow. I'd say we had a ten minute conversation that took an hour. Fun though. Lots of memories coming back.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010


I went to the new Walmart mega-store that just opened up on the south end of the Lewvan here in Regina. Huge place. Huge. I went for the brand new Lego movie (it was better than most movies produced by Lego) and also left with four chocolate oranges I impulse purchased because they were 75% off ($1.11 each!).

Monday, February 22, 2010

vintage photo

How old is vintage? I don't really think any digital images are "vintage", but this one is from four years ago, so is "vintage William".

Sunday, February 21, 2010


Went tobogganing with William for a while beside the store that isn't Walmart anymore.

I've discovered that my computer port for SD cards doesn't like the new 4 gig card I bought. It can read the information if I patch the usb cable into the camera, but it gets hung up on the port if I put the card into it. I wonder if it is the card size or the brand?

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Friday, February 19, 2010

food for thought

I graded all of my Film 200 midterms today. Paul took the week off so we all went to the Novia for lunch since William and Margaret had eye exams this afternoon so William wasn't going back to school.

Thursday, February 18, 2010


So far on this spring break I have done something significant each day, mostly work that I'm catching up on, but all without going anywere near the office. Feels pretty good, I've been a bit burned out this past month. Today I finally did some shopping in the east end, something I don't like to do when the whether is really bad. Paul and I did a furious race from place to place for two hours, starting with picking up my Kitchenade mixer that has been in the shop for two weeks. We also got to Futureshop where I got a 4Gb SD card for my camera and some fresh dvd-r discs. To Winners where I found some Sony headphones for William and a new red bowl. To JYSK where I found an egg cutter for my mom that she wanted. Then finally to Canadian Tire where I found a German-made carrot peeler and a new air pop popcorn maker. Why don't stores have air poppers anymore? They are really hard to find. Does everyone just microwave it now? That's just wrong. Anyway, after all that I got home and Margaret asks where the bowl is for the mixer, it was taken in with the machine to get it aligned. I had to go back but the woman there couldn't find it and the repair guy was gone and unreachable. She took my number and found it an hour later and delivered it. Excellent service. I made peanut butter cookies and biscotti after supper. I've never made peanut butter cookies before, they turned out well. I discovered too late that I was nearly out of chocolate chips so half the biscotti are made with busted up white Belgium chocolate instead.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

super 8 running late?

I dubbed my super-8 film "Memories of Uncle's House" off of the recently printed One Take Super 8 Film dvd. It is odd because these films are each the exact same length, 3:30, and mine is 35 seconds longer on the dvd for no apparent reason. The soundtrack I created is the same length it used to be, so it ends the the remainder of the film runs in silence. I cracked it to my computer today and trimmed out bits that I didn't like until it fit the soundtrack. I figured that as it wasn't a pure film anymore, I might as well go further and I altered the colour a bit, turning it from black and white to more sepia.
William's acting class resumed today. I checked out HMV but nothing tickled my fancy. Maybe next week.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Road Trip

We pulled William from school today and drove up to Saskatoon. The forecast was for today to be the nicest day of the week. About five minutes out of town we hit fog that was incredibly dense and stayed with us until five minutes outside of Saskatoon where it miraculously parted.
Our main mission was to see the Mendal Art Gallery show. One show that required dust free shoe protectors was Marie Lannoo who works with reflective surfaces and light reflection. Here is William (a little bit unwilling since he really wanted to read the new Animorphs book we found an hour earlier at 8th Street Books) within her large central sculpture.

The big show as an amazing paper cut installation by Ed Pien. The security was tight so I didn't get many pictures (I don't think they like the idea of eight year olds running rampant in these complete patterns of paper hanging by stick pins, but in fact Margaret posed the greater hazard with her huge purse. One seven foot cylinder of paper featured holes through which you could look and see magical little tunnels.
Here is a tunnel and an image I snuck from above which shows the way they are constructed. We met up with an old friend Jamie and met her cats who would dwarf most normal cats. They were each at least triple the size of our cat. Before leaving town we had supper with Mike. The road was completely clear as we got gas at the Esso by the Teepee five minutes south of Saskatoon. We left the gas station three minutes later as the sun approached the horizon and collided with a fog bank denser than the one we faced this morning.
It was a white knuckle journey all the way home.

Monday, February 15, 2010


It is family day today as well as the first day of reading week, so I wasn't at work. I've slept seven hours a night the past two nights, perhaps even more. That's the most sleep I've had in a row for months but I'm still wrecked. I just want to watch tv but can't really even do that because the moment I do, William is on my lap wanting to watch Penguins of Madagascar and he's already watched more tv than Margaret wants him to, so we are basically both cut off. I'm going to try to watch a bit of something on the portable with earphones under the radar. I did manage to watch "Waiting for Guffman", Christopher Guest's first film over the past couple days and found it disappointing. He doesn't take things as far as his later films like "Best in Show" or "Mighty Wind".
Old photos are nice to look at though. It always seems like an extravagance to leaf through old images. This one is from over four years ago. That was a great jacket on William and I think that I feel like the snowman looks.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Valentine's Day

We don't make a big thing out of Valentine's Day, but Margaret found some great flowers and chocolate and I made some shrimp in butter/garlic without overcooking them for once. William finished the fifth and final Percy Jackson/Lightning Thief book last night so this afternoon I took him tobogganing and Chapters shopping and he found a new series (The Warrior's Heir and the two sequels in a box set). This evening we watched one of the later (and very slapstick heavy) Pink Panther movies and tried to get to sleep early, although I'm certain William stayed up later than usual.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

pre-Valentine's supper

William started his new weekly chore of making supper today. I guess I helped out as we bar-be-qued a whole chicken, but he decided on the menu, made the wild rice, washed carrots, set the table, and made a valentine. It was nice.

Friday, February 12, 2010

a "classic"?

We went to see "Lightning Thief" today (opening day) at the theatre. William started the first book of the set of five last Wednesday and I told him that we could go to the movie if he could finish the first one (350 pages) by today. William is currently reading book five! That's about 150 pages per day. The movie was fairly good. Margaret (who also read the book) says the movie lacks the subtlety of the book. I'm certain that anyone studying classics is appalled (I'm already seeing banter over the internet) but whatever. It's just a kid's movie about Greek gods.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

weather or knot

As the weather turns, so does mine as I am under it. Ug. Went home sick after working in darkroom with Brett, missed faculty meeting where fireworks were certain, and instead of resting I worked on the midterm I've giving to my Film 200 students tomorrow (no clues here) and on the revisions to the pedagogy document that I have oodles of notes on but can never prioritize until now that there is pressure to move on it. Ug again. Feeling just bad enough to slow me down and make everything an effort, but not bad enough to put me to bed.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

is it a fool moon?

There is guy, Geoff A, who Margaret was asking me about last week because he came to the art gallery and was ranting on about his million dollar company frozen due to his divorce and that he is producing films now. I talked to Mark Bradley at the MacKenzie opening a few days later and he'd had a run in with Geoff as well but had recognized the madness and not let him through the office door. It ends up that the film this guy was claiming to produce was for one of my students and now Geoff has disappeared in the middle of day two, leaving many things hanging including the unfinished acting role he was doing. I am a notorious crazy magnet so I can't figure out how I ducked him darkening my door, but too close for comfort.

Sunday, February 7, 2010


William says "Daniel is coming over in 30 to 45 minutes! That's just 15 minutes away!" Grade three math isn't what it used to be.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Time Bandits

We watched Gilliam's "Time Bandits" this evening. I have the great Criterion copy of it but haven't watched in in years. I tried to start it with William a year or so ago but the opening scene was to tense for him so we stopped it. This time he was totally into it. The few moments that were disquieting or confusing I reminded him that it was Terry Gilliam so he had to expect things to go wrong, and this satisfied him (recall that he has been loving the Gilliam animation from Monty Python for the past few months). We were delighted to find that the castle of ultimate darkness set at the end of the film was made of giant Lego, a detail I'd forgotten.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Daphne Odjig

This evening we went to a really amazing retrospective show of paintings by Daphne Odjig at the MacKenzie Art Gallery. A good crowd but a lot of regular art people were missing. Strange for such an important show. William was full of energy so I didn't spend as much time with the art as I'd have liked. Besides that, I had a very exhausting day at work with many details to take care of to cover three or four different approaches to rotoscoping animation (scratch directly into film, class frame by frame tracing to paper, After Effects, and Flash).

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

holey job!

I'm acting department head the rest of the week and just discovered that one of the darkroom sinks has a hole in it. On the up side, I was without meetings this afternoon and managed to figure out how to rotoscope using Flash, a system my students were using last year and found good success with.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

picking up the pieces

This morning I rendered the videos for my student's animation site all over again, this time making them mpeg4 files rather than flash videos. They worked for a while but now appear to no longer work. Highly annoying.
This evening we went shopping for books and groceries. William started "The Lightning Thief this morning and read 200 pages of it already (over half) so I wanted to pick him up the sequels. Mostly we went for groceries so when we got home and were putting stuff away, Margaret dislodged something from atop our wonky cabinet that is sitting on top of an old table in the corner of the kitchen. Trying to get the item that had fallen behind it all resulted in the legs of the table collapsing and the whole thing coming to rest on top of a smaller shelf that we tucked beneath the table. To fix it we needed to quickly remove every item from the cabinet (and I don't even want to tell you the number of things we squirrel away in that warren) and screw the whole thing back together. Time for chocolate.

Monday, February 1, 2010


I'd like to congratulate Tatiana Maslany, who was on the winning team with me at the Saskatchewan Filmpool's first annual 48 Hour Filmmaking Frenzy six years ago. This weekend she received the special jury prize at Sundance this weekend. I know I can't take ALL the credit but...