Tuesday, November 30, 2010

that's science

I finished reading this book on the periodic table. It was very enjoyable. It occasionally over challenged my grade 12 chemistry and physics memory,but primarily it is full of fun history and anecdotes about scientists and politics around the discoveries of the elements.

Monday, November 29, 2010

wiki me

I started a wiki today for use in one of my winter classes on photography. I'm not really sure what to do with it, but I know about as much about wikis now as I knew about blogs when I started this one. No one has told me that I'm doing it wrong yet, so I'll continue.
I don't know if the privacy settings stop people from seeing it or just from posting on it. It is: http://photography311.wikispaces.com/
Margaret took down the trading card show today, then has basically collapsed with a new flu she's been fighting with for a couple of days.

Sunday, November 28, 2010


This morning we went to the Regina Inn for brunch, along with both sets of grandparents. We were able to catch up on on some of Gertrud and Fred's stories of Istanbul.
This afternoon the artist trading cards show at the Sherwood Dunlop gallery closed. I'm very impressed with this show and very proud of Margaret as one of the curators.

Saturday, November 27, 2010


I pulled out the vacuum pot for the first time in about five years the other day and David Gane and I shared a cup. I actually fouled up and made it too weak but we drank it anyway, just to say we did.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Thursday, November 25, 2010

catching up

I had an afternoon to start to catch up on things and it almost feels like I see the end of the tunnel. I have read and grades everything that has been handed in to me, I packaged "Memories of Uncle's House" to submit to one festival (although I should probably send it to others), and I even got a nap in. Margaret went with William on his class field trip to Agribition. It was complicated because they were supposed to walk but it was too cold for the school to legally allow them to do that so Margaret also helped shuttle them over three at a time from the school in the car. The weather has shifted and it's already only -6 and it'll be warmer tomorrow.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


This evening Margaret's parents got back from their month long trip to Istanbul. I've not seen them yet, their plane lands in a few minutes and they'll be tired (they are flying from Toronto where they spent the last few days, but that still puts them two hours later than here).

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

numbers don't lie

We did a simulated art jury in class today. There is never enough time. The numbers are crushing and seem to take more importance than the discussion. I should figure out a better way of doing this for next time. Unfortunately, the parts that take the most time are the most important parts for them to learn. We went twenty minutes overtime.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Ridering through the snow

Riders won today. Everyone is excited I guess. Grey Cup next week. Avoid Albert Street next Sunday, the fans want to try to compete with soccer for being rowdy. Frostbite expected.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

that's a topper

Margaret saw this: a jack-o-lantern top for a snowman hat. I spent the day with William, mostly cooking and listening to Neil Gaiman's "Stardust" on audiobook.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Ghost in machine

In class today we played with mirrors, discussed ghosts and David Hoffos.

Thursday, November 18, 2010


It snowed a lot today. I worked with David over at his house for the first time. The afternoon was mostly grading but for one meeting at the office - a bit of a trial in the blizzard. This evening I had to force William to go to his acting class but mid way through it he started loving it again. He has a new role of acting the director and being the narrator. I hoped he would reconnect. We'd spent an hour while preparing supper writing a story he'd like to make into a movie so I know he's having a particularly imaginative week. Here he is beside the icy snowman he and Margaret made a few days ago on 13th Avenue. It has required repeated restoration but is now so coated with ice that it is nearly impenetrable.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


Margaret, William, and Margaret's brother George Bessai
Today we had a secret visitor over for supper who we can't talk about. Then I spent all evening working on something else that I can't write about. Makes for poor blogging. It's just that sort of week.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Michele Sereda

Michele Sereda came to my class today to talk to the students about acting and directing actors. As with last year, we structured it so that she simply asked each of them to describe something about what they were doing or to ask a question and from that, 2 hours of discussion were filled. Intense and worthwhile I didn't take any pictures.This evening while William and I shopped at Superstore (which changed its sign to blue), Margaret did a trading card session where Sylvia was workshopping the creation of miniature purses .

Monday, November 15, 2010

night vision

William is making use of his "night vision goggles" he got as a prize for selling magazine subscriptions.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Home work

Stayed home most of the day. Margaret read her essay on the bookmobile at a library event at the Artesian this afternoon. It was going to be hours of talks so I stayed behind with William. The cat helped me wash dishes.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

L.A. Zombie

This evening Kevin and I went to Bruce LaBruce's "L.A.Zombie" at a fundraiser show at the Artesian. It was shorter than I expected and certainly a lot less explicit. I did ask him (when he was in my class the other day) if this really appealed to the porn clientele and he did admit that his porn producer thought it was disgusting and that no one would want to see it. On the other hand, that producer had only put $20,000 into it (which isn't a lot of money in movie circles) so could live with it not having much appeal. The big surprise for Bruce was to discover that the copy he showed tonight was an American recut (without consulting or even telling LaBruce) and removed the most offensive part. No, not the spraying of inky black alien semen over a dead man's face. They removed the image of the actor urinating. Censorship is a funny thing.
The film, overall, was a rather unstructured journey as the zombie wanders from place to place finding dead people and, as the poster correctly claims, fucking them back to life. There is no real conflict in the usual dramatic sense. The conflict actually exists on a different level than between characters, it exists between the audience and the characters as we struggle to come to terms with a monster which is loathsome in appearance and in representation (the zombie epitomizes the homeless of Los Angelos) but who does nothing wrong and actually does much more good than harm. We seek ways to define it as a monster, regardless of whether it deserves that label or not. So who is really the monster?

Friday, November 12, 2010


I made biscotti this evening. Our cat ate all the marshmallow eyes off the snowmen.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Rememberance Day

We are home for the Rememberance Day holiday. William took the day very seriously, setting the timer for the appropriate time we were to sit in silence and everything. He even did some soft of talk to the whole school yesterday. After that, William and Margaret had great fun going sledding and then building snow people and animals at our house and at Margaret's mother's house. I also had a good time, working in a house all to myself and almost catching up on the vast amount of work that has piled up around me.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Winter comes but once...

Winter comes. I was teaching and in meetings all day. Margaret had to walk home from work to be there when William, excited about a four day weekend, would be getting home from school.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Bruce LaBruce

Today Bruce LaBruce came to my class and spoke with my students for about 2 hours. It was a very good session. He showed clips from his various films since the early 80s, creating connections between the first collage-style experimental films and the 1/2 million dollar "Otto" zombie film from last year. He showed some scenes from "LA Zombie", his newest films which will be screened this Saturday at the Artisan on 13th Avenue. It's funny the sort of direction your work takes when you are produced by a German pornography studio. He uses sex, again ever since his earliest films, as a political device as well as a type of affordable spectacle. With the exception of "Otto", his budgets are generally $70k or so; "high" budget porn films. He creates two versions of each, the hard and the soft. Each of his films shows at around 150 film festivals making them the prestige films of his studio (I suggested he is making the Caligula of the 21 century). LA Zombie was banned from Australia this summer by their censor board. I can't wait to see the rest of it.

Monday, November 8, 2010

am I so wicked?

No rest for me today. I've not even take my "Castle Break", or any other tv for that matter, let alone a half day like I wanted. I had unavoidable meetings at work both in the morning and the afternoon and have spent my entire evening working on assembling student work to discuss in class tomorrow, if we have time.
This photo is of William yesterday as he worked on his transmognifier machine (converted from a naval intelligence cardboard box which had been foolishly discarded at the end of the cold war. It was never fully tested due to a shortage of available friends to act as Guinea pigs when the decisive time came.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Yarrr, the yard

The temperature went up to 18 degrees today but we are warned that this is the last of the warm weather so we spent the day cleaning the yard and garage. Notice the carpet in the garage? This was originally in the master bedroom when we moved in in 1996. I put it in the basement for a few years but later we moved it here. The garage has been filled with junk for two years so this is the first time since 2008 that we could see the whole floor. Stuff did move back into it so it's not really ready for a car (and besides, the door is misaligned so doesn't move up and down very easily). I think the front of the building is crooked (we straightened the back a couple years ago) so the door pops out of its groove most times you use it.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Saturday with William

William's voice, emitting through the closed bathroom door, causes wonder as we hear "Mom, can we get a DNA lab?".This morning William and I finished watching the live action "Tick" serie. This afternoon we went out and bought a sonic screwdriver. This evening we watched "Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow" which I had to order off Amazon because none of the stores seemed to have it anymore (I'd passed over buying it on sale on a number of occasions). While the second time through it does not make the script any stronger (but couldn't get much weaker), the style holds up and the context of its steam punkness and watching it with William made it a wonderful experience.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Terribly come and terribly gone

The annual Terrible Film Festival, where I make my students show the hand processed films they made over the past few weeks, was this evening at the Filmpool. It went as expected. Some nice moments, some break downs, etc. The crowd was small, as usual. I think I jammed up one of the projectors with a film fragment because after one broke I couldn't get it loaded again and lacked the light, time, and tools to remedy it (it's the one sitting outside of the booth Berny). One new idea I had that I presented at the end of the event was to take a roll of super-8 which had been developed as colour negative and project it. At the same time I had a video camera pointing at the film image and the video camera set on effects where it turns the image negative. The video camera is connected to the video projector so that the positive image created on video can be projected alongside the film image.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Paul's new car

Amidst an ongoing headache, I got numerous stuff done such as submitting my final draft of my SSHRC application. The "Kevin" in the UofR research office ended up being Kevin O'Fee whom I've known for twenty years so seeing him in there was a nice surprise. I saw Paul with his new car in the parking lot (although I think that was yesterday, the week is blurring).

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Heather Cline

The Heather Cline opening was very nice. Here is Margaret, William, and Xander (substituting for Rowan) in front of one painting. What you can't really see in the photos is that there are many hidden, layered images that emerge as you stare at it or look at it from different angles or under different light.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Tomorrow art show

Tomorrow night at the Art Gallery of Regina, Heather Cline has a show which features one painting of Margaret and William. Click on the link to see the cool stitched together panorama image of the show (sorry, no other image today).

Monday, November 1, 2010

Field trip

This afternoon I took some time away from prepping for next term (I think my syllabi are due soon, it always sneaks up on me) and instead I went along with William's class on a field trip to the MacKenzie Art Gallery where they saw the big baby and some video installations and built some Alice in Wonderland stuff out of recycled junk. Here is the Mad Hatter hiding a tea cup behind his back. William actually told the facilitator his idea of how the sculptures in the gallery were a metaphor. He's my boy but some days he is his mother's boy.