Wednesday, November 30, 2011

End of a (45 day) era

Bathroom wall is patched (still need some sanding and fixing of plaster and painting). We've not installed the lights yet since we are painting an area near them. It's the end of the month so I fulfilled my promise and shaved the ugly old mustache (45 days old). Worst part of the day: in the middle of our all day "End of Life" research meeting at work, Mary wanted a group photo for our forthcoming website so it will look like I'm being attacked by a caterpillar for all to see.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

My First (green) Car

Today I worked at compiling student files into a dvd to give them so that they can have copies of each others projects as well as their own. I wonder how many ever watch them? I've been doing this for about five  years and never get feed back. It doesn't matter actually, I know it is valuable to me to have them together and I also regret not having copies of my colleagues' projects from when I was in school and would like to have had something like this.
With periods of rendering and capturing time, I started leafing through junk on my office shelf and found this Polaroid photo from on the set of "Jimmy's Game", the infamous Gerry Horne Filmpool workshop film from the late 1980s. The image is the only colour photo I have of my car, a mid-70s Datsun 210 or something close to that. I can't recall who the person/actor is in front of it. I was on set one day and played an undercover cop for one shot. Rather ridiculous, even then. Margaret has always claimed that I forget colours of things and that this car was likely orange. I was delighted to have found this in a Filmpool box about 10 or 15 years ago to prove it to her.

Monday, November 28, 2011

The Baking race is on!

We began the first of the Christmas baking: gingerbread men. One week of classes remaining so no lectures to prepare, just some grading and packaging of videos of projects for the students (not required, but something I always do for my experimental film course). I'm having trouble importing some videos which have an Avid codec so will need to convert those at the university before proceeding. Oh bother.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Melt down

Just in time for the snow to melt, I put in our storm windows today. I'd not done so earlier because I thought we might need more air in the house while renovating (various toxic materials and paint were in constant use). No other house progress; George watched the game I guess. This morning I worked on assembling compilation dvds of student work. I had a Filmpool meeting all afternoon; I chaired it since both the president and vice-president were unable to attend. It went well; lots of discussions about 35th anniversary, other programming, web site, goals, etc. Meetings are a funny thing; I generally don't want to attend them and hate about 30% of the discussions we have, but actually love the other 70% (not just Filmpool, but practically every meeting I attend, regardless of the topic).

Saturday, November 26, 2011

a plumb day

The plumbing in my bathroom is complete!!! I worked on some grading and video compilations while the plumber worked and William watched tv with his friends; overall a busy and noisy day so I didn't get much done. However, it is very exciting. The light fixtures are not in yet but perhaps tomorrow. This evening we attended the Beethoven concert with the Regina Symphony; William declared a preference for Beethoven out of the blue about a month ago so it was definitely the right concert for us. Our seats were at the back of the second balcony which sound far and high but is actually pretty nice. We attended the reception afterwards. I was  hoping to see my old friend Jeff who is a violinist but he didn't attend the after-party (doesn't seem like the right word for a group of decaf coffee drinkers whose average age is above 50)

Friday, November 25, 2011

Delivery Day

This morning the chip repair guy came and fixed the two chips we got in our new tub during renovations  around it at $75 per chip. The light fixtures for the bathroom also finally arrived. Luminesque gave us a discount for the inconveniences of the three delays. They aren't installed yet, I'll post pictures when they are. My video card also arrived. I just opened it up and was very intimidated; I think it needs its own licence plate. This thing is massive; it takes two slots and must have five times the mass of my old card. It requires its own power. I was a bit freaked out putting it in but finally got it and now it working really well. I imported photos from my camera and it just immediately sees all the photos and displays the thumbnails; no delays at all.
This evening I presented the Fragile Harvest film screening at the Filmpool. The crowd was nice. Everyone stuck around afterwards and talked. (there were about twenty people. quite a few more than are in this photo).

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Fragile Harvest film screening notes

I finally finished my program notes for the screening of films from the film farm I curated for tomorrow night. I didn't even find the writing to be difficult (the majority of the notes are simple anecdotes, opinions, and background with just short critical analysis of each of a handful of films) but I have had such a difficult time concentrating on anything more than five minutes lately. It was great to be sitting in front of my computer in my office again, without it crashing that is.I'll put my notes up on my website, but not until after the screening (besides, I no longer have all my passwords in my computer so it's going to take me forever to remember each of them and start taking care of business).
Anyway, the screening is tomorrow (Friday) at 8:00 at the Filmpool (see poster above).

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Seven years ago

I copied the disc versions of the 35mm stills I took between 2003 and 2004 into my computer today. These were also all before I had digital camera, before I had a blog, and before facebook. It's nice to see some of them. Here is a shot that was supposed to be for our Christmas card but we didn't manage to get a good one. Margaret looks great, but there was wind and William was not as controllable at age 3 (although that suggests we can control him now...?).

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Screening room conversion

How to turn your regular old tv room into a theatre-style screening room, ready to support a career in cinema studies, in less than five minutes..
I worked on my program notes for this Friday's Filmpool screening I curated but didn't finish due to some meetings I had at the office and the need to finish rebuilding my computer this evening. It is running very well so far. I don't know how I played facebook games without 8 gigs of RAM before?

Monday, November 21, 2011

Big computer upgrade begins

Two exciting things today: I took my class to the Filmpool and we toured Chrystene Ells' puppet workshop studio. It was very inspiring. I'll be part of the workshops after Christmas so I'll certainly be talking about it then. I forgot my camera, so no images at this time.
This evening Zaul came over and began assembling my new computer. He put in the motherboard with sata3 and usb 3 along with the new quad processor and 8 gigs of ram. However, I hadn't realized that the new solid state drive which replaces the hard drive was as small as it is and requires a suitable housing to mount in the computer. Therefore we didn't finish the job.
Our plumber is delayed again, putting off the completion of the bathroom until this weekend. My mustache is looking like it will last to the end of Mowvenber after all. 

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Shooting super-8

I made my super-8 film today, with the help of William. He performed the narration and then we worked to the playback of the narration when we shot it at the university. It took 3 hours, even though the film was shot in one go (3.5 minutes). The set up and clean up were murder. I'm not even sure it worked very well. Fingers crossed.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

warm feet sharpens the mind

Margaret bought me a pair of alpaca slippers yesterday, responding to my months of agony over cold feet around the house. It allowed me to focus and completely rewrite the dialogue for the super-8 film I'm trying to make, a Sockvile inter-season teaser in iambic pentameter.

Friday, November 18, 2011

New visions

William and I bached it this morning while Margaret went to an early morning Christmas card design session with other artists to raise money for the food bank (cards available soon on ebay). Pictured below is Margaret with local art legend Wilf Perreault. .
 This evening we went to Leslea and Leif's house, had a glass of wine and looked at their amazing new kitchen. They expanded the back of their house by four feet and it made a lot of difference. Makes me want to start baking.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Evan Rust

I found out yesterday that Evan Rust is no longer the administrator for the New Media Studio Lab at the UofR. This is a huge blow to me, he has been tremendously supportive of work in the lab and is skilled and well informed about media and media technologies. His background is in sound recording and mixing and worked on "Wapos Bay", "Tideland", "Little Mosque", and many other shows. He was key to the success of getting Sockvile recorded and the playback established. He also volunteered to mix the sound for "All the Boys are Called William" last year. With my sabbatical coming up and Sockvile in post production, I had high hopes of working much closer with him over the next six months, which would certainly have been a pleasure since he is both nice and capable (a rare combination some days).  It is certainly a shame and I am feeling rather powerless about it.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

It's Alive!!!

The mustache is one month old today and no one bought it a present. 

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Super-8 plan

I still haven't shot my super-8 film, but I have a plan. Nuff said.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Christmas music

We've cracked out the Christmas music, and it isn't a moment too soon. Did some shopping at Bach and Beyond in the Golden Mile the other day, they are definitely getting ready.  If there wasn't a giant air compressor sitting in my Kitchen, I'd probably be baking cookies (and the fact that I'm totally burned out from teaching my class then guest teaching Philippe's class immediately after - that's 6 hours total).

Sunday, November 13, 2011

The cutting edge?

Four weeks, bathroom close but not yet finished. George finished the baseboards and they look great. Only the light fixtures (arriving by end of week) and the shower switch left to complete (and then fix the wall that repairing the plumbing will require cutting through, and then painting that wall and all of the other touch ups). We were hoping for the plumber to come today but she didn't. I desperately want to shave but have committed to maintaining my reno-beard.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

An unrealistic war

I spent all afternoon cleaning the basement, putting tools away into my new cabinet,disassembling the flimsy shelf that I've overburdened for the past few years and was beginning to lean dangerously, and trying to sort valuable construction of art creation items from useless pieces of crap. This evening we went to "The Three Musketeers" (in 3D). It was quite fun although stretched the limits of believability a bit too far a bit too often. Also, and perhaps this was the 3D influencing me a bit, I found much of it very unrealistic. Even sets which could have been real (palace hallways for example) felt like they might just be digital constructions.
I leave you with this image of a pencil crayon drawing, about three feet across, which came with our house when we bought it in 1996. It was so awful that I couldn't part with it and I hung it on the wall in the tool room. However, over ten years ago I put up a shelf in front of it and it has been mostly hidden ever since. I'd like to send images of it to the Museum of Bad Art someday.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Remembering war.

William takes Remembrance Day very seriously. I think they do a few things at school that have made a big impact, veterans coming in to speak and that sort of thing. I don't recall anything of that nature when I was a kid, just a huge emphasis on the poppy and numerous art/colouring projects that required abundant red. On William's suggestion, we spent a few minutes after 11 am this morning discussing why Remembrance Day is important and then we sat in silence (no talking, music, computer, toys, reading, etc) for 11 minutes. It was sort of nice.
 This afternoon I shopped for a tool cabinet (found an inexpensive one at Rona) while William built a new bloody head for "old man Johnson" and a fort from snow. He insists it is a fort for relaxing in, not fighting.

 He and Margaret also built a Mowvember snowman to taunt me (sink in place, still haven't shaved, was suggested I wait until reno is actually done which might be as soon as this Sunday).

Thursday, November 10, 2011

It's Electrifying!

At work I had to go through old tapes and, unfortunately, old dvds to try to find the student films I want to show as part of Philippe Mather's small cinema course on Monday. I had hoped to pull everything from digital tapes but in a couple of cases I couldn't find the tapes (perhaps they are on a different format, perhaps they are stored somewhere else, don't know). Two films wouldn't extract properly from the dvds so I need to do without them. Very unfortunate. One of them is a particular favorite, Chad Hudson's short video he did for a Point of View project in which a doctor is seen from the point of view of the anus he is examining. Truly horrifying and gut wrenchingly funny.
We have electricity in our bathroom again, even though the fixtures I ordered were delayed again so we have cheap substitutions in place. There is now a timer for the ceiling fan. All good.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Glass half full.

I had a few meetings at work including an interview with Noelle about the grad school and a hundred interconnected decisions and random events (she needs to write a paper which talks about careers). I telecined the terrible film festival footage, which had a coincidental connection as the piece of glass I was using (the same one I've used for over two decades as a tracing table, rotoscoping screen, kinescoping screen, and telecine screen) I got from one of my professors (SC) just before he moved away. There were two or three people who inspired me to keep going on the path I was on and he was one of them.
 The bathroom reno moved ahead as the plumber came in and fixed 3.5 of the remaining 5 tasks. She brought her father and her baby (a one year old actually, she loved Sylvie, our cat. Sylvie loves the sink).

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Can't Face my Face

Yesterday a computer science grad student, Fatimah, who is taking my animation course brought me this render of a 3D scan. The scanner tends to leave eyes empty so she filled those in. I think she may have emphasised my mustache too, boy is that ugly, even for Mowvember. .
This evening the plumber was back and she connected up the sink so I no longer have any excuse not to shave. There are still a couple of plumbing problems to take care of so the bathroom is still in progress.

Monday, November 7, 2011

If water were pencils we'd be spitting lead.

Dwain Linginfelter resigned as Saskatchewan NDP leader after the party's devistating loss this evening. My computer is sympathetically crashing every half hour, so I'm crossing my fingers that this video compresses quickly enough to post it.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Luigi Allemano

Luigi Allemano, composer
This morning, after brushing a number of inches of snow off my car, I went to an amazing four hour Sunday morning workshop with animator/composer Luigi Allemano. He discussed simple and highly useful strategies for composing music or planning for music or communicating with composers when working with animated films. It was at the Filmpool and considering the time (Sunday at 10 am on the first snow day of the year) there was a great turn out. Initially the plan was for him to come to my class tomorrow but in the end he was in Regina for less than 24 hours, leaving the workshop directly for the airport.
This afternoon we mounted the mirror and the sink on the wall (still needs to be plumbed in). I was also able to use the bathtub. This evening the shower was supposed to be ready (were waiting for the silicon to dry) but there is a problem with the shower. Hopefully it can be solved without opening the perfectly painted wall or, worse yet, the tiled wall.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Silence is golden

From the golden age of silent film, Buster Keaton's "The General" was on this evening with live accompaniment from the Regina Symphony Orchastra. William and I sat together in the front of the second balcony and had a great time. I do wish that the screeen was larger. They used a 15 foot screen at the back of the stage even though they have much larger ones available. Also, they kept a lot of music reading lights on, making the viewing experience a bit less exciting. Still, very nice.

Afterwards we went to Christina's house party. It was hopping.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Terrible Film Festival was Terr-ific !

We held the Terrible Film Festival at the Creative City Centre this evening. There was a surprisingly accurate full page article on it in the UofR student newspaper, the Carillon yesterday.  Marian Donnelly was fantastic, the whole thing went off without a hitch. The films ran without breaking, the audience seemed to have a good time, Luke documented everything which has always proved to be a huge distraction but is hugely important because a few of the films had either live accompanyment or they had things happen (emulstion altering during projection for example) which I could not simulate in post-documentation. Noelle played host which gave the event focus and made everyone feel like they were at an organized event (really had them fooled). I had a really good time. Thanks for all who came (there were about 3 dozen people there, which is quite good).

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Brett Taylor exhibition at Rob Bos's gallery

This evening was the opening of the very macabre show of the late artist Brett Taylor who died young a short time ago and left behind dozens of dark and dangerous sculptures and paintings (sharp in content as well as form as he used numerous wire and needles in their construction). The craft is quite high, although this often feels surprising due to the dark nature of the work which often reveals the young age of the artist. I've seen moody, Gothic, or similarly disparaging work from other young artists, but never as well executed (pun not intended) and I've seen work by older artists which is as well crafted but lacks this naive spin-in-your-face attitude. Fascinating contradiction. Rob Bos's gallery is called "Art Projects" and is at 1401 - 11th avenue. It's definitely worth taking a look at.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Preparing for Terrible Film Festival

Today I developed a student's film (test strip was perfect but student's film was a wash, probably a mis-loaded roll), had some significant roll-bar problems trying to transfer a bit of the festival footage to video using an SLR so that I could send it to the CBC for possible news coverage (wow, a first for this festival!) and worked on posters to promote two of my forthcoming screenings, the Terrible Film Festival (two days from now) and films from the film farm (in three weeks). I should be doing more writing on these but seemed to spend too many hours answering emails.  On the renovation front, George did a major sanding job on the bathroom, leaving it pretty much ready to paint.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

I REALLY can't wait for the bathroom to be finished.

Today our toilet was removed at 10 am and the subfloor removed, new subfloor put in, and new lino put on top. The toilet was replaced at about 5 pm. Luckily I had top be at work for much of it. The shower is theoretically done but the tap and shower head are not yet attached. The last bits of plastering were done today so tomorrow will be one last sanding and then primer. It still seems like a long way to go.