Monday, October 31, 2011


For the first time in ... I guess ever, I dressed up for Halloween for work. Teaching in the Italian Spiderman mask was a pain, as were the gloves, and for that matter I'm sick of this mustache, but the shirt is comfy (I painted it last night, it is a great cotton sweat shirt that I got some ink on the cuff of the second time I wore it so I've been planning this for some time). William went out as a pilot. This isn't exactly what he wore, he found this leather jacket of Margaret's to be uncomfortable but he posed for a photo anyway. He did some rounds with his friends, unescorted. They talk more than they hustle, so the haul is significantly lower than previous years. We got about 75 kids to our house. My film loop this year was some digitally manipulated jaguar images which I kinescoped to 16mm film last week. It looked very good.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Wolf man? Ape man?

This evening we went to a church fowl supper; William apparently is uninterested in being there, or perhaps annoyed as usual by my beard..Afterwards Kevin and I went to Rise of the Planet of the Apes this evening. I found it pretty entertaining, even though I kept asking myself why there were would be a a privately run primate containment facility, filling an entire city block and with a permanent staff of three, in the middle of San Fransisco? Both visually as well as narratively, it was a chimp prison. Odd. Enjoyed it anyway. Last night however, I watched the series opener of "Grimm". which I had high hopes for. I imagine you have all heard the oft advertised premise that a descendent from the Grimm family is a cop and he can see enchanted creatures that appear to everyone else to be just normal people. Well, most of the episode was spent telling us that. The rest was a rather forgettable search for a kidnapped girl which required the Grimm character to team up with a big bad wolf. The characters were all rather forgettable. He is engaged to someone who hangs out in his kitchen in one scene. He has a partner whom he doesn't confide in and is equally forgettable. The only thing I do remember is the main message, that there is a super-cop who can tell who is guilty of a crime by looking at him and we shouldn't doubt him as he wrestles these seemingly innocent people to the ground and confines them while searching their houses. If we can learn to trust our police like that, the world will be a safer place.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Dunlop/Neutral Ground opening

After a long day of drywalling in which George and I finished off the walls of the bathroom, Margaret and I went to openings at the Dunlop Art Gallery and the Neutral Ground art gallery, where both shows were curated by Winnipeg's  Kegan McFadden (on podium above). The show is interesting, made up of work generated by computers or other technologies in one way or another. I think I preferred the show at Neutral Ground which was more video and video performance rather than the more conceptual/abstract work at the Dunlop. William was at another party so we had to cut out early to connect back up with him. Exhausted.

Friday, October 28, 2011


Watched works in progress for the Terrible Film Festival today in class. The screening is in one week. The image above is Noelle's which features emulsion carved off other films using Fantastic cleaner and glommed onto other film; quite effective (thanks to Rob Hillstead for shooting frame grabs). This evening I worked with George to put many pieces of wood into our wall to prepare it to support the new sink, the mirror, and a towel rack as wells as installing new boxes for the lights. Took until midnight.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Pumpkin cannibal

It is said that if you plant a pumpkin patch in a remote wood, leave it without nurturing the young impressionable vegetables, and shun it when it turns to  you for understanding, then when the night of hallows eve approaches, the spirit of wendipumpkin arises and feasts on the flesh of its own kind.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Pumpking carving begins .... finally!

William has been dying to carve into his pumpkins, today he finally got to start. We also roasted the sees. I've never really liked pumpkin seeds but a couple of years ago William wanted to try a recipe out of Discovery Box magazine which had them roasted with butter and salt. Wow, are they ever good!

Tiling is happening right now, I think they will finish later this evening.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Meow .... Meow ..... Meow ....

We've needed to lodge our bathroom window open for air during renovating and Sylvie thinks it is a new door, at least she thinks it is a new door out. She goes out onto the roof and jumps up to the higher level and then can't come done. The other day I decided to leave her up there, certain that she'd eventually figure out a way off. She didn't. Four hours later she was still freaked out and wandering around up there. I got out the ladder and dragged her down. Strange cat. She's not been as anxious to go out that window since then.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Yah for raking!

William ramped up the plans for Halloween, decorating the entrance way last night and helping rake leaves to fill pumpkin and ghost leaf bags this afternoon.
Tiling continues. At least one more day of work which may or may not be tomorrow.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Brock Stevens at the Filmpool

Brock Stevens was one of the original Filmpool members. It used to be amusingly annoying to have him at meetings because he would vote against every motion, regardless of all arguments, even if he completely agreed with the motion. I saw him today after the Filmpool Board meeting as he worked with Rob Hillstead to transfer old Regina films to video using the telecine that the Filmpool recently acquired from Film Rescue in Indian Head. In this picture he is running a standard 8 projector with a variable speed controller to correct the frame rate differences.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Sockvile gets political

 This morning Erik and I went to the legislature building and shot photos and video of empty hallways for backgrounds in one episode of Sockvile. Margaret had a day full of prep for another big art social as well as an artist trading card session (Halloween and stitching as a theme, which William was excited about), so I ended up taking him along. He's never been inside there before so it was a cool thrill.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Colour or Black and White?

Last week in experimental film I had the students shoot a couple of short rolls of film, one was a very outdated piece of colour reversal (7239 from the early 1980s) and the other was colour negative (7291 from 1986). The day was cloudy so they couldn't shoot the colour print stock that I had also brought (from a batch I bought in 2003). I determined that this 3 iso stock WOULD expose a subject who was six to eight inches from the light source of an overhead projector so I had Rob Hillstead shoot my face in that context. I processed all three clips together as colour negative (bucket processing as I always do) and the results were generally poor. The stocks that the students shot were a bit dark and the the colours were strongly affected. The print stock was more surprising, it ended up being entirely black and white, no colour tint or cast at all. There is not mistake about the stock choice: had it been a faster film it would have overexposed by many many stops (it is a bit underexposed) and had it been a black and white film, it would have been entirely ruined by the colour chemistry (I've tried this before). The lack of colour must be a factor of the age of the stock, that the pigments are much more transient that any others. Very odd.

My computer started crashing, did so five times while writing the text above, and so must post from Margaret's laptop. 

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Reno-beard and Rhino-board

Wiilliam went to a fundraiser dance at the Italian Club this evenign, dressed like he a 1920s socialist. Meanwihile, I worked with George and Paul to get rhino-board on the shower walls in preparation for the tiles. Almost no mistakes. I've been without a bathroom vanity for five days now so have been less inclined to shave. Perhaps I'm readying myself for mow-vemeber? 

Wednesday, October 19, 2011


With the bathroom renovation still ongoing, our cat is enjoying a multitude of new places to be. She has been trying to get between the floor and ceiling (fortunately she was unsuccessful) and through the open windows (which she's done a few times now, stranding herself on the roof and calling for help). Today the tub was basically plumbed in, except for the taps which are added after the walls are replaced. There was a drip which required that the plumber return for a few minutes, but now it's all golden (or copper).

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

"Seeing Red"

Today I attended the book launch of "Seeing Red" by two of my colleages Carmen Robertson and Mark Anderson. It is a historical study of the depiction/description of first nations peoples within Canadian newspapers over the past 1.5 centuries. Their talk was good. I became very interested in the approach they took where they differed each chronological chapter so it did not just seem like a repeat of the last with new names inserted (even though that is pretty much what happened).
The plumber had a lot of trouble with the tub. It was finally in place at 10:30 this evening.

Monday, October 17, 2011

renovation slow start

The plumber had some time/manpower conflicts today and so the progress was not huge. It included some shut off valves being installed and the vanity being removed. Only after she left did we manage to have the bodies in place to move the tub up to the bathroom. I needed to be at work all day, even though Adrian Dean, who was my guest in my animation class today, was so brilliant that he really didn't need me there at all.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Margaret's birthday and beginning of bathroom renovation

 We brought Margaret a birthday breakfast in bed this morning, moments before we got the call informing us of Margaret's brother's imminent arrival to begin tearing out our bathroom. We removed plaster, leaving lath behind, and pulled the tub out. We have a new tub in the garage which is to be put in tomorrow. I also removed the medicine cabinet and started getting ready for the vanity to be replaced.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Margaret's rocker hair

Margaret went to the MacKenzie Art Gallery gala fundraiser/auction with Sylvia this evening. Past of the condition seemed to be that she dress as an 80s rocker so she got her hair done. William and I have been watching season 2 of Buffy the Vampire Slayer all week and that got a bit out of control today. Good times. William usually gets quite spooked by things like this but I think with a mix of familiarity of the characters and format with the summaries of many episodes he's been given by his friend Griffin, he has been right as rain with them.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Filmpool Premiere Screening

This evening was the first of two Filmpool premiere screening events, held at the Artesian. I'd seen a few of the films before but there were a number of great surprises. Jason Britski's film "Witchcraft" was excellent, featuring x-rays, very old home movies, and the sound of an optical printer. Ian Campbell presented a video called "Warm Iced Tea" which was short in a very fluid fashion, partially through a drinking glass, with every frame being a bold and dynamic compositional masterpiece.  The Art of Fire Showcase by Rob White laugh out loud funny. I had lengthy conversations with Rob Miller, Jason Shabatoski, Stephen Onda, Rob Hillstead, Janine Windolph, Chrystene Ells, and Jason Britski. I went alone, Margaret having a commitment at OSAC and this show being severely inappropriate for William who stayed home to watch the three hour Terry Pratchett film "Going Postal" for a third time this week.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Halloween Artist Trading Cards

Margaret set up the window display at the library in Southland Mall today to feature artist trading cards with a Halloween theme. Someone came by and asked about the metal head, saying that he worked in a store which was selling two of them. He was incorrect because the story no longer is selling them, they were bought by William over a month ago. After a brief moment of anticipation, our hope for an answer to these enigmatic items is dashed again.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Halloween Hair

Margaret has her hair rockin' ready for Saturday's MacKenzie gala and for the greatest holiday of the year, Halloween. I put Bauhaus's "Bela Legosi's Dead" on for the first time in a decade and was surprised at how unfamiliar it seemed ... that is until the vocals began a few minutes later and I realized that I'd put it on at 33 1/3 rather than 45. Wow, haven't made that mistake in a while.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Sockvile "races" ahead

Erik put together a couple of demo shots from Sockvile today showing his green screen and animation work. The clip above is highly compressed and includes a background from the web which is just for demo purposes. We have massive amounts of raw images now so the next step is simply throwing it together and seeing what sticks. I'm confident in the results and in Erik, the only thing that worries me is that I keep coming up with new ideas and each of them either makes the previous ideas irrelevant or creates new work. I think I'm going to devise a prequel to season 2 as my super-8 film, and it will be nothing but spoilers.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Food, Food, Food

We conclude our Thanksgiving weekend with the second feast, this time at Richard and Gerda's house. There was a good crowd, although a number of the regulars were missing. The deserts were amazing. Joanne made a chocolate tart that was amazing. We brought espresso cheesecake and apple/saskatoon pie.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Lego Star Wars animation

William is becoming increasingly independent with his films and animation. Today he worked with his friend Rowan on the creation of some Star Wars Lego animation, only consulting with me when they needed editing to begin. I have no idea what is supposed to be happening in this but I'm certain if I do anything wrong, they will let me know without delay. I guess this is a slightly better use of my time than the hour I just spent tagging photos through my Google profile which allows me to label all photos I've every posted in my blog (there are nearly a thousand). I think the long term affect of this will be that google-tagged images will come up in public searches while Facebook ones will not.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

First Thanksgiving (of the weekend)

Gorging began a bit early this year with a great feast at my sister's house. We arrived early enough that William was able to spend some quality time with the trampoline and the new dog, which gets bigger every day. We had turkey, perogies (the last of the ones I made with my mom a few months back), some various veggies, marshmallow salad (which I have only eaten at church meals that we frequent each fall) and raspberry pie and a lemon cheesecake I made yesterday. Topped off with a late evening cappuccino, I am completely sated.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Steve Jobs

Why isn't Steve Jobs in the Regina Leader Post today? Perhaps there is a notice of some sort buried in section D, but really people, this is a pretty influential guy whose death is quite noteworthy, and this is coming from someone who never wants to own a mac.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Phone call for the Baron of Shivers

I shot more stills and a bit of video for backgrounds and missing pieces of Sockvile today (as well as on Tuesday with Erik's help). Today I made the Baron a phone out of a clothes pin. It seemed the right size and I was able to write numbers on it (which you can't see very well in this photo due to the fact that I needed two hands to operate the puppet and phone and needed to push the camera trigger with a chop stick I was holding in my teeth). Lacking a safety pin or a needle and thread or even the good old hot glue gun, I repaired the Baron's shirt with a stapler .

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Guest "in" St. John

I did a guest lecture to my friend Dr. June Madeley's class in St. John over Skype today. It went fairly well, certainly a lot better than when I've used the Microsoft web video (what was it called again?) a couple of years ago (last year we couldn't even make it work and just had to do Q+A over text). The class was small and quiet but I could see them moving around and occasionally responding so I knew they were listening at least as much as my own do. I talked about experimental filmmaking and basically barely got past my obnoxiously long intro and into some meat before I ran out of time. I guess I've become accustomed to monopolizing three hour pieces of the students' day.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Super-8 Festival

I met with Daniel Suchoboki today. He's heading up a new super-8 film festival which, as of an hour ago, was not yet named. We have film in hand and he has a bit of a plan which is better than no plan and likely better than a detailed plan because those never go right. I think we have a perfectly minimal plan.

Monday, October 3, 2011

I'm animated!

Today in class we covered a number of methods of rotoscoping. We started with Koko the Clown, the animated films in which the Fleischer Brothers pioneered the technique, and simulated the process, replacing the single frame film camera with a video projection. We shot frames along the way so that we would have immediate results. The test clip was me walking. We also covered a couple of computer assisted methods. Here is Kevin juggling, rotoscoped and collaged using Adobe After Effects and Photoshop via the "filmstrip" format.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Good fences, good neighbour

Dave from next door bought some lumber and he and I started repairing the decaying fence today. Dave's been there nine years so the fence is about ten years old now. It was never very good, the boards kept rotting from where snow piled against them. We are using thinner wood but it is treated so we hope it will hold up.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Sound and fury, signifying nothing.

I'm trying to figure out how to use, and how to tell students how to use, Blender which is a shareware 3D animation program. The problem is, there are so many different things it can do and I cannot hold enough of them in my head. However, I have now managed to make some things move and make the camera move around as well. My first demo is monochromatic (got to figure out that colour thing), silent, extremely fast, and entirely meaningless.