Friday, December 31, 2010

New Years eve, new games

Relatively sober evening (only two or three drinks) while playing "Dominion" with Tom, Veronica, Paul, and Mike. We drank champagne , ate Belgian chocolate fondu, and found ourselves in a new year (I've faked the date/time on this post).

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Diner breakfast

William and I went to the Mercury for breakfast while Margaret got her hair cut this morning. After William got his cut, I went and paid all my bills before the new year comes. It's not really a superstition or anything, it just seems like a good idea. Margaret is trying to square stuff away as well. She completed her collage pages for her collective's contribution to a book project today. It's one of those projects which could be fiddled with and adjusted forever. The results are pretty good though. Here is a page of it:

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

cating around

William had a long play date while Margaret and I did a bit of shopping. This evening we went to my mom's house. She has having a party for her friends. It's Nicole's last night in town. My nephew Quinn came by at the end of the evening but disappointingly didn't bring his new dog which he got yesterday.Our cat got something stuck in her fur. We gave her a bit of a bath, using the cat shampoo we bought but didn't use earlier this summer.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010


William built Lego all morning. We went to the new Harry Potter movie this afternoon. Nicole and my dad came along. Reconnected with Katherine and Kristin and George for Western Pizza afterward. Took the girls book shopping for travel reading. William got a rat.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Game day

William played with his cousins all day, running around with George visiting and so on, while Margaret worked and I brought my niece Nicole to Paul's to connect up with Mike and Thomas and play some games. I can't actually remember the names of the two games. One was set in a haunted house and the other was about disease control around the globe ("Outbreak" and "Pandemic" I think it was called). The haunted house game was very cool. You play it cooperatively at first, exploring the insides of a haunted house to see where everything is (the floor tiles are randomly chosen as you open doors) but when certain random events occur, one player becomes the villain and the rules all change. In on session I played an 8 year old girl who opened a gate to another dimension and summon in a Lovecraft-type elder god.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Boxing day difference

We began Boxing Day at home. William and I watched "Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure". In mid afternoon we connected up with Margaret's brother George and his girls and went tobogganing by Southland mall. The temperature wasn't bad but the wind was extreme. We then went for Christmas dinner which had been postponed from Christmas Eve at Gertrud's house. Paul and Mike were there. Tom and Veronica, in from Portland this week, came after supper bearing games.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas Day

William woke up at 4:00 am and wanted to start opening presents. We convinced him to sleep some more, but at 7:30 we could contain him no more. We had a pretty good day of hanging out in our pjs, eating candy, building Lego, reading, etc. In the late afternoon we went to visit Leslie, Leif, Teagan and Brianna. Then we went to a dinner at my sister's.
William's favorite gift was the two expansions for Spore. My favorite was the missing Girl Genius book (#3). I started reading the series from the start, it's extremely funny and addictive.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas Eve

This year we broke with tradition. Rather than having Christmas Eve dinner at Margaret's parent's house, we hosted it here. My parents and our friend Janine also came.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Getting the house in order

Today I continued working on William's computer. I was stumped by the tiny barely-labeled wired that were to fit onto tiny posts for the USB and I also discovered that I couldn't keep both hard drives so to update that. I went to OTV and was helped out by Craig in service who agreed that these wires were very difficult and that nowadays they are grouped together. He fixed it while I waited and also installed the hard drive. I took it home and it wouldn't boot up. I studied the instructions and concluded that the old power supply wouldn't cut it so I returned to Craig at OTV and he tested everything and finally agreed. He replaced the power supply and I decided that, with almost everything else new, I might as well replace the dvd with a blue ray. In the end, William's computer has a new motherboard, new processor, new memory, new hard drive, new power supply, and new dvd player. The only things old are the firewire card, the second dvd burner (which is was a replacement) and the case itself. Total cost was $400. Paul helped me out this evening moving the Spore files off the old hard drive (which I'd not done correctly) and so William's favorite game can continue. Just in time since we'll be busy tomorrow getting ready to host a small Christmas Eve dinner with both sets of grandparents.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Did it all

Busy day. got my hair cut (no picture yet) and shopped for presents and exchanged two things that were damaged that I bought the other day and did some cleaning and had Richard, Gerda, Gerri Ann and Steve over for drinks and bought William an new motherboard and tried to install it. I am confused about a bunch of unlabeled wired that I think are about USB but are colour codes instead of being labeled. There is only one IDE slot as opposed to three on his old motherboard and this means that I cannot connect both disc drives plus the floppy drive plus the two hard drives. It is likely that I will buy a new SATA hard drive for him tomorrow. The drives he has are 40 Gigs each so certainly he could use some thing newer. It was William's last day of school, he's on holidays now. For his party in class, Margaret sent a pile of grandma's gingerbread men and some icing with him and he led a decorating workshop.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Monday, December 20, 2010

Soltice full moon eclipse

Margaret got her ears pierced this evening. She'd only had one done before, back when she was a teenager. The world is coming into balance. It is the winter solstice tonight with a first-time-in-over-400-years-on-solstice lunar eclipse happening. William is staying up for it although it is still hours away. I don't know if I can make it. I also made the basics of truffles today, helped complete this house, and did a variety of other bits of work.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Not work work

Since getting my grades in last night, I've taken the weekend to work on not work stuff. It took me four hours to go through 15 months of digital photos to pick out ones for our album (420 into total, will cost about $80). I also constructed this magnificent gingerbread house....

more on that later.

Friday, December 17, 2010

the war is over

After the sidewalk was snow-blown, the half melted snowmen really look like they are in an alien battlefield.
I finished my grading today, just a day late. We celebrated by watching the Christmas 2005 episode of Dr. Who, the first one with David Tennant.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Christmas concert

William's school holiday concert was today. The evening show in they gym had 200 people seated and 100 standing plus some in the balcony (perhaps another couple of dozen, I don't know). William's class sang Winter Wonderland with some modifications (Parson Brown is changed to a circus clown and "Eskimo" is changed to "Inuit"). William resisted the kazoo pit in the dress rehearsal but when we sent him with his own good quality kazoo (or as good as they make them for six bucks) he happily played along in the finale.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

food for thought

William is growing two sunflowers.
Today we got a holiday greetings calendar from the Saskatchewan Party Member of Parliament Ray Boughen. He leaves space on it for you to fill in "Important phone numbers" which he lists as his own, then
1. Emergency
2. Doctor
3. Veterinarian
4. Babysitter
5. Chinese food.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010


Margaret and I noticed this worn out portion of a sign in the warehouse district the other day. We squinted at it for a moment then I realized that it is the Kaufman's sign! This was a discount department store that was open when we were kids. I remember we used to go there about once a month. I can't remember what we ever bought. I do recall sitting on some huge pile of either clothing or bolts of cloth and reading Soupy Sails picture/joke books one time. It has strong and distinct memories but as I was far too young to drive, I never really knew where it was. Now I see that the old Keg moved into it after it closed. I used to go there when I was in university (and perhaps occasionally before that) and it was very happening water hole at night. Now it is artist studios and hair salon and other stuff, much quieter. I bet the old beams in there miss the noise.

Monday, December 13, 2010

blustered and flustered

I wanted to spend the day grading, taking just a quick trip into work in the morning with a promise that I'd return before lunch. The roads were snowy but nothing compared to last night coming home from Kevin's (you just had to move to no-man's-land, didn't you?). However, once there, I discovered that an afternoon meeting was scheduled which forced me back again. With two trips back and forth, I was much more distracted than I'd hoped and didn't get as much accomplished as I'd hoped.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Kate Davis

Kate Davis, 12 year director of the MacKenzie Art Gallery, passed away of cancer earlier this fall. Today over 250 people attended a memorial for her in the foyier of the TC Douglas Building. I didn't work with her directly but had many conversations with her over the years. I think the one statement that one speaker said about her struck me as most truthful, that she always treated the artists as if they were the most important people involved in a gallery show. This might seem like the obvious approach, but it is not always true. She was always so positive and made every event amazing.
Kate Davis on August 13, 2008. Photograph by: Roy Antal, Leader-Post files

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Latke party

We attended a wonderful latke party this afternoon. It was hosted by a friend of our friends Steve Wolfson and Penny Ward and it was really a whose who event. Margaret pointed out that it was the first social event which was not an art event where we've socialized with Jacquie Shumiatcher. I've never eaten a latke before. It is a type of potato pancake, fried in lots of oil, and often eaten with sour cream (which I don't like) or apple sauce (which was wonderful). Also spoke with Leesa Striefler, Ken Wilson, Heather Cline, and Daryle the host.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Chairing defense

Today I chaired an MFA defense for a visual arts student in ceramics, Jennifer Mapplebeck. Her show is up for another week at the MacKenzie Art Gallery, pretty interesting. This image is pulled from her facebook site and doesn't really reflect the larger nature of the project on display.
I woke up very early this morning with a searing head ache. Advil held it at bay until mid-afternoon when I had to dose it again. Now it is back and I'm really unable think. Maybe it is the change in the weather.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Dead snail

The second of our two large snails dies a few days ago. It had been doing a similar thing to the other one, not moving as often and floating. It was then sitting all day on the bottom and had small snails crawling on it. I took a picture so I could see if it was in a different spot the next day. In the morning, the shell had become blackened with mold or something.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Long day, short tree

Meetings started at 8:30 this morning. That's early for someone with tenure. This evening we set up our tree. No decorations yet.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010


I was at work all day, wishing I was home doing my baking. Yesterday I did up a batch of my chocolate bomb cookies. They are incredible but very expensive to make. I bet they cost me at least twenty five cents per cookie to make, which is a fortune in input costs when you do this sort of thing. But damn they are good.
A bunch of the students in our department exhibited their responses to the propaganda course taught by Christina Stojanova this afternoon. There was some really great stuff up including Erik Sirke's pro-smoking posters and a video teaching you the benefits of paying for parking. They put up a Facebook page "University of Regina parking enthusiasts" and have promised the video to go on line but it isn't yet.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Chips Ahoy

This photo was from a couple of days ago. It is two of my students, Geremy Lague and Matt Ellis, shooting their "Chips" satire set on seadoos instead of motorcycles called "Chips Ahoy". Of course they don't have a seadoo, just a bicycle with a cardboard piece on front, and of course they don't have the sea since Regina is land locked, and they don't even have water since it is winter and the lake is frozen, but they do have a green wall and no sense of decorum, so anything is possible. Even they admit it is more about the title than about the show, but they are very committed and very funny so I'm looking forward to it.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Find things

This morning we found our shoes overflowing with stuff from St. Nicholas! There was candy, movies, coffee beans, coca cola, gin, music, fruit, and jerky. William a replacement pedometer he desperately needed and the cat even got a new toy!
This afternoon I took William to the Filmpool Board meeting. When we went back to the car, it was gone! I search the whole block where I was certain I'd parked it and eventually reported it stolen. We walked over to the library where Margaret was working and had her mom's car and told her the news. We were all devastated. On our way home we drove around that block and there was our car, where I'd actually parked it. I guess I'd gotten confused about its location since having gone to Neutral Ground last night and parked in the save vicinity. I had to sheepishly call the police back and retract my report.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

One plus One

This evening I went to Neutral Ground and saw a short performance piece by Michele Sereda and Elwood Jimmy called "One Plus One", a response to Jean-Luc Godard. I'm looking at the images on the back of the camera and am amazed at how lurid they seem. It was a very verbal piece really, with Elwood acting as the interviewer asking a long string of questions about politics, morality, ethics, etc, to which Michele would respond to each with the same answer, "Yes". Then she lay down on the desk and was covered with multiple family size bottles of ketchup. Then there was washing and guns and so on. However, with the crowd of people and the closeness of the space, I felt overwhelmed by the smell of the ketchup and didn't see the sight as I see it now in my photos. Curious how this happens. I guess that's cinema for you.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Godard film

Teagan Kaldor-Mair and William Bessai-Saul
Today was my last lecture for the term. The work handed in was very good. I'm almost always pleased with the diary film project I assign as the final in this course (experimental film), perhaps because I give them better guidance and perhaps because they have more control over the outcomes. Hard to say.This evening the Godard show opened at the Dunlop, followed by the screening curated by the Filmpool of Godard-inspired films. The event began with my project "All the Boys are Called William" staring William and Teagan. The program notes read:
When the scoundrel William sets his sights on the seemingly innocent Teagan, it seems that there is no power on earth which will dissuade him from hounding her for a date. However, when Teagan finally ceases to be the docile girl, William quickly realizes that he has bitten off more than he can chew. Armed with Freud and Mulvey, Teagan crushes William's ego, forcing him to leave the world of the 1950s. Intellectual indifference falters in the face of sympathy. Teagan befriends William and the two of them exit the cinematic frame and enter the contemporary world together.
Saul's adaptation faithful follows the visual approach of the 1959 Godard film, altering the script to make a nod to the attention to academic theory of Godard's later work. Through the casting of nine-year-olds in the film, including his son in the title role, Saul is asserting a domestic vision of cinema and the city of Regina, looking through their eyes and forcing us to face the dual nature of identification and ironic distance.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

teacher visit

This afternoon we had our 20 minute parent/teacher interview with William's teacher Mr. Black. Things are going very well. He get letter-based grades finally, instead of the always obtuse descriptive standings such as "progressing", and so on that they get up to grade three. A, B, C, D, those are things to sink your teeth into.
This evening we watched "Men in Black". William really liked it. It holds up well and, other than the swearing which is nothing compared to the Blues Brothers, it is quite kid friendly (okay, lots of stuff blow up and spread goo everywhere, but it is funny kid goo, not real life rotting flesh goo).

Wednesday, December 1, 2010


Superstore isn't green any more. I went out hunting for Christmas surprises to the north end. Found a couple gems in Superstore and a couple more in Walmart. Ran into Rob Green, fresh off a a couple of years of drumming on cruise ships. Rob did a film degree about seven or eight years ago and still dabbles but mostly he plays and edits music. Nice guy, always a pleasure to chat with.