Monday, January 31, 2011

Considering Milne

In photography today I discussed the late Saskatchewan photographer Courtney Milne. After some basic biographical info, I concentrated the discussion on the later work of Milne where he found astounding beauty and profound wonders in his own back yard, shooting tens of thousands of amazing images over the past decade there. I suggested that opening ones eyes and being patient and observant are key to such discoveries. We went outside to consider the snow but I have to admit that -30 makes it difficult to be patient. The image above was taken by one of the students.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

son of a...

It seems like I must be managing my time poorly since I've barely left the house this weekend, canceled my social plans this evening, it's nearly midnight and I'm still not ready for Monday.
Part of my class preparations led me to this image scanned in 1957 and is considered the first digital image. The subject is the inventor's son. Similarly, the first cell phone picture was of that inventor's son. I think this might be some sort of club.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Saturday off?

Worked all day except a couple of tv breaks with William. A fair Saturday. Went out briefly to Neutral Ground art gallery to see Patrick Bergeron "Loop Loop" show. He is a high end digital video guy for movies, working as a compositor on films such as the first two Lord of the Rings and one of the Matrix films and some other stuff. He's been working some footage he shot in Korea ten years ago into a long long image that is printed as strips back and forth on a panel. It also moves in amazing ways in the video with distorting perspectives. Talked with Charlie Fox for a few minutes.

Friday, January 28, 2011

telling stories out of class

i met with a few of the students after class today to continue working through story ideas for four more hours. There are fifteen separate scripts that need to feel unified in the next two weeks.
Here is Matt Ellis talking about his story.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Something missing

William lost a glove at school and forgot his book.
I took him downtown for A&W and his theatre class and lost my gloves.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

warm day

This was in the evening at the end of a long day. I was at work for an 8am meeting. I'm not good at that. I mistimed and pulled onto campus at 7:56 and had to park at a meter and run to the office. I was not the latest one there and I made the Dean laugh when I wondered aloud who the hell is up and out there clogging up the streets at this hour? There was coffee at the meeting and it was actually pretty short. My last meeting of the day included a debate over our department name change. Still no solid movement. It will either happen in March or will drag on for two more years. Drove downtown this evening to pick up a birthday present and noticed this water pouring off of the walkway at the Cornwall Centre.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Coffee to develop film print

Yesterday I created this contact print using three transparencies and then developed the print in a coffee/washing soda solution.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Snowy Sunday

I was at a well attended and rather positive feeling Filmpool board meeting while Margaret and William frolicked in the snow.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

what we saw today

This afternoon William and I saw "Green Hornet" in 3D. Quite enjoyed it, especially the numerous post-modern reinterpretations of the story which manage to steer the story into its original formula. Good buddy picture too. I was apprehensive when I was buying tickets and noticed it was rated 14A but the violence was quite clean. There is a lot of killing but no torture or real brutality.
This evening we went the MacKenzie Art Gallery opening with performances by New Dance Horizons for their 25th anniversary. I just watched the first two. They were slow, one person, introspective pieces. While there were certainly some interesting moments (Robin Poitras using bed springs wired up to be an electric guitar) but there were also many aspects that remained inexplicable even after reading the program notes. Paul-Andre Fortier performs with a cardboard box which, according to the program, is just "ordinary". However, it has labels and coloured tape on it that draw my attention (all details in minimalist work garners undue attention) and I just don't know why a generic box wasn't chosen. There is no pay-off to the details. The movements he is doing is about us paying attention to him, his body, his time and space as a performer. There is no deception, it is formalistic and we watch the raw material of the body. This ideological take on the art does not transfer to their use of new media devices being arbitrarily affixed to their exhibition. A couple of times in the performance there is audio, seemingly from a microphone he is handling or is strapped to him (as if it is hearing his heartbeat) but again there is no explanation or justification. The viewer is unable to put together the supposedly associated elements.
William was not in the mood to watch more dance so we stuck to the gallery for the second half. He has some very sophisticated observations about the Morriseau painting that was up, "The White Man's Curse". He pointed out the the second man, carrying the cross, has a spiral inside his head so he must be confused. This led us to a great little conversation about colonizations.

Friday, January 21, 2011


William did a one-boy skit today in class. He played four roles, the narrator, a white blood cell, a virus, and a person whose stomach the drama is taking place within (pictured above). He wore a white bucket on his head for the white blood cell but forgot that the mustache was in his backpack so went without.
At work we began to run through the scripts. There is about 150 pages of it and now I've promised to send notes on it all this weekend. I am already panicking that I don't have my Monday lecture together.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

New stereo

Before supper today I turned most of the dining room upside down, finally installing Margaret's new ipod docking stereo. It is almost exactly the same size as her old one, both Sony and containing a radio and cd player, but the new one plays the ipod instead of cassettes. In part of the process I moved the cd rack which had been buried beneath the Lego station and mostly inaccessible. I needed to so some drilling and dusting and I killed a spider.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011


The package of 19 Luis Bunuel dvds I ordered from a friend of my friend Marc LaFoy arrived today. Had I contacted him the day before I would have managed a complete set, but this is far more than I've ever seen before (missing four obscure ones) What a treasure trove. Watched "The Brute" this evening.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Katherine O'hara

Late last night we finally watched Christopher Guest's 2006 film "For Your Consideration". I bought it about a year ago along with another couple of Guest's films but somehow never got around to this one. Margaret and I couldn't get over Katherine O'hara and her face. Near the end of the film she gets major plastic surgery and is this most hideous monster with a smile that makes my face hurt so much. Apparently is was done primarily with some fake teeth, make up, and great muscle control. Absolutely eerie.
I couldn't find a really good depiction of the image online. I think you have to see it to believe it.

Monday, January 17, 2011


In class today we processed four different film stocks in coffee. Three were successful. Here is one of them. I will post all of them on the class wiki tomorrow.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

In progress....

Today William had a classmate over that he's never had a playdate with before. Margaret had her second day of her collage collective workshop/retreat today (see work in progress above). The kids had fun here in the house but the noise level was pretty high so once again I feel under-prepared for my class in the morning. I did manage to put together my last class compilation from last term onto dvd (there was one corrupted file I needed to replace). I could work on my class now but "Madmen" (mid first season) is calling.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Story response

This weekend the impact of the extra work of this advanced production course began to hit me. I had to spend most of last night (after getting home from the David Garneau opening at the Dunlop) and all of this morning and some of the afternoon just typing up notes for the writers based upon their idea pitches yesterday. This was a small session, wait until I get the whole scripts next week.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Green Porno

Today in class we spent the entire three hours talking story. I'm beginning to worry that the term won't be long enough. If we met every day we could do this. Good energy though.
The only thing we did outside of that was to watch a bit of Isabella Rosselini's "Green Porno" videos which are really fun and relate in the mature content, puppetry, and farce elements.

Thursday, January 13, 2011


A couple of months ago Margaret's brother George Bessai came to town on a very short, very discrete trip for a job interview resulting in his forthcoming return to Regina. Tomorrow is his last day of work in Toronto. It will be a big change for everyone, we're looking forward to it.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Agatha H. and the Airship City

The other day my copy of "Agatha H. and the Airship City" novel arrived via Amazon. I guess I ordered it for William but he's reading something else so I began it. It is a "Girl Genius" novel. In my usual non-reading mode, I didn't actually read the description of it before ordering, just that it was brand new and written by Phil and Kaja Foglio who have been publishing the "Girl Genius" comic online over the past few years and it is great. Anyway, the novel wasn't what I expected. There is no new material but instead is a novelization of the first couple of graphic novels. I've only read the first few chapters so far, being pretty busy as work, but I have mixed feelings. I re-read the comics over Christmas (I'd also just received the missing third book so I could finally read the set in order) so the story was very clear in my head. Like a novelization of a movie, the book often just described, moment by moment, what happens in the source story. This might happen for two pages or more. Just when I'd want to give up on it, they would spell out some simple but amusing details. These might seem minor, but in an obsessed mood like I'm in now, the exact process of how people are executed in Beetlesburg or the origin of obscure objects in Agatha's bedroom couldn't fail to please. I've also been noticing more references to the Heterodyne Boys, obviously building up some background for them to foreshadow their eventual introduction into the main story (they have been missing since 11 years before the story begins). Certainly worthwhile for fans. Outside of them, I don't know?

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Monday, January 10, 2011

Calling all saints`

Caught gambling, not my finest moment.
We played with some classical lighting schemes in photography today.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Saturday, January 8, 2011

it just doesn't add up

Cold out today so it was nice to be in and watching Dr. Who or spending extended periods of time listening to the radio while driving around looking for new clothes for William. We heard some good stuff on CBC including The Debaters and Quirks and Quarks.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Sock-vile, day one

Today was the first day of class in which I am getting the class to create a tv show. I've been worried about this class, still am, but it is a very strong group and I think we got off to a good start. I got them to work in groups to talk about the project while playing board games such as Mousetrap, Operation, and Kerplunk.

Yeah, really, I did.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

get set...

Getting ready for tomorrow's class. Shame because I'd like to stay up all night watching "Mad Men" or reading the new Girl Genius novel that arrived hot of the presses.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Snowblower overkill

Only in Regina, eh?

I stayed home sick all day. Margaret and William went out and it was shockingly quiet in the house. I got a lot of basic research done, the sort of stuff that if I did it twice per week I would actually know what I'm doing. Might start happening.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

work officilly starts

The university reopened today. I'm feeling so weak I could barely raise my arms most of the day. I have my first day basically ready, although day two will be a bit rough. I wish I was teaching something I'd taught before so I wouldn't be facing so much new planning. The feeling in my gut could be flu or could be anxiety or could be both. Image above is certainly not of me.

Monday, January 3, 2011

House crashers

I was home all day working on my course plan for this Friday. Thomas came over to use our wi-fi all afternoon. William had two play dates, morning with Rowan, afternoon/evening with Griffin, both at our house. William seemed to be feeling low so I suggested a little sugar rush moment (see video). It worked.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

out in the cold

After a day inside, it was a real shock to go outside again. We dropped by Paul's place, did our last gift exchange of the season, played a bit of sheep game, and dove into the chilly air again.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

New Years Day 2011

It was cold outside. We spent most of the day on the couch watching The Tick cartoons (after William finished his big Persia Lego set). This evening I finished the important/necessary updates on my website. I've only done some minor tweaks since finishing it two and a half years ago. Over this past few weeks I've added about 30 or forty pages, mostly new films, articles, or curatorial statements.