Monday, December 31, 2012

Funny cat at the end of the year

 I downloaded one of those mouse games for the tablet today. Sylvie heard the "mouse" scratching and investigated. It only held her interest for a couple of minutes though. She didn't score any points.

The Mercury Diner is closed on Mondays. I really wanted a burger so, even though it was really cold out, I swept off the barbeque and made elk burgers for lunch. They were awesome.
Brett Bell came over this afternoon to do a quick shoot of his animatronic Christmas tree. Sylvie, who has been overly playful since she decided two months ago that she was no longer an outdoor cat, explored his box. 

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Ian Campbell's robots

After William had one last half day with his friend Griffin before he and his family returned to Edmonton, we went to the MacKenzie Art Gallery where a portion of the Fine Arts faculty show is already open. I was left feeling a bit out of sorts. There were so many people on display, including quite a few more sessionals that previous shows of this nature, but so many people missing as well.  Ian Campbell's robots were quite interesting. They seem to be falling apart, like sick little dying birds. Wish I'd made something like that. 

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Jeff Morton at Artful Dodger

This afternoon we attended a performance by Jeff Morton on multiple toy turntables alongside an exhibition (for sale) of his modified viewmasters. When you look through the viewmaster you see an image which has been scratched, painted on, or otherwise damaged to near unrecognizability. Lots of people were there. The separation of the two images for stereoscopic purposes creates a difficult viewing environment, similar to the disconnected two channel sound. The problem with the exhibition lay in the environment where a dozen other   artists were also being exhibited and sold and the twenty or so people in the room designed to hold eight made it challenging to look, listen, and consider the audio and visual works as a unified coupling. 

Friday, December 28, 2012

Risa Horowitz's Birthday bloodletting

 Risa invited us over for a birthday celebration this evening. We ended up eating at home due to William's friend being over and so on, but we arrived and had a great time. Rebecca brought traditional English Christmas pudding and made custard for it. William tried it and liked it (although it didn't really seem like the sort of thing he'd like, I believe his "like" came out of his interest in British culture more than the actual taste). The only casualty was Risa cutting her finger on a lobster while putting away left overs.

Settlers of Catan with Frenemies

This afternoon I took a break from the reports I was writing to play a short game of Settlers of Catan. We added in the new Frenemies expansion but just played with the three of us and the basic beginner layout (to remember how to play). It was quite fun. It reduced the feelings of being constantly either victimized by other players or guilty of mean spirited playing when the bandit is moved. Instead, the non-aggressive choices come with benefits and therefore the game is more about competing to expand rather than the bickering and attacking.  William won, even though I was actually trying to beat him. Great job. We took a break from the game so he could go bowling with Teagan and Griffin and he won doing that as well. 

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Bond and (post) Boxing day

While William was seeing the Hobbit again with his friends, Margaret and I ran around doing some rather mundane shopping (wrapping paper on sale, picking up photo prints, getting gas, refilling printer paper supplies). The one place I'd wanted to get to yesterday was HMV to get some of the James Bond movies I was still missing. I'm still down three, but did get a bunch on dvd and blue ray. 

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Magic Bullet

 Although it was boxing day and I actually do like to wade into the maddening crowds and get some half assed deal of junk in the stores, we stuck close to home all day. William made drinks with his new Magic Bullet. Mike and Paul dropped by and we played a few rounds of the Godzilla card game I found for Paul. I also played with my new tablet, downloading some basic apps such as Instagram and Angry Birds. 

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Christmas Day

William woke us up at 5:30 this morning. While he managed to get back to sleep quite quickly, I didn't. I managed to catch another hour before getting up and preparing waffles for Christmas morning breakfast. Margaret had laid out the china plates ahead of time so we felt like we were starting a new tradition of not rushing to the gift openings.
We had a very pleasant morning. Santa brought William a metal sculpture he'd been wanting. He was also very happy to get the Minecraft t-shirt I found last week at Tramps.
 Another of William's favorite gifts was a new, very warm sleeping bag. He wants to live it in now. Margaret appears very much in the spirit of the doom book William picked out for her. I received an excellent wool and leather hat with ear flaps from New Zealand which was almost too warm for the -40 weather we had today.
 This evening we had supper with my parents. My sister got William his first appliance, a magic bullet mixer. Again, he has been really happy with every gift that has come his way. Amazing and imaginative items of so many varieties. 

Sean Taylor and WIlliam upon opening Green Hornet graphic novel.
 Leesa and Daniel also came for supper. The boys reconnected very well, having not really spent much time together in the past year or two. A good evening, although I have to admit that the early morning was really catching up on me and I'm collapsing.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Christmas Eve surprises

Christmas Eve was full of surprises this year. The day started off fairly stress free. I had all of my shopping and wrapping done so today only required me to complete a couple of cards and bake one last batch of gingerbread men. William insisted that we need a Santa shaped cookie to leave Santa to eat when he visits so I made a couple (see below). 
 The evening was spent, as usual, at Margaret's parents' house. They celebrate in the German tradition of having the big meal on Christmas Eve and then opening gifts before bed. The first item to be opened, during the break between the goose and the strudel, was a smallish set of Star Wars Lego from Margaret's cousin Allan for William. He was building away for a lot longer than I though he needed. When I checked on him, it ends up that the box had a packaging error I've never seen before. He got two entire sets within the same box, down to two sets of instructions. Great deal, especially in that it was mainly a figure set with two storm troopers and two rebels.
Gertrud gave George a rather nice aerial photo of the farm. It was taken by a team from Quebec who flew around shooting farmstead images on spec then selling them. She arranged some sort of trade for the photo rather than straight up cash. It's a pretty awesome gift and George seemed very pleased. 
 Margaret got coffee. And gin.
 William and I opened a pickle for the tree. It is supposed to be a mystery where the pickle is hanging on a tree and I rarely find them. I'm studying this one so that I at least know what it is supposed to look like.
When we got home, the cookie had been partially eaten (Santa rarely has time to finish it) and the brown cow (we were out of rum and egg nog so replaced it with Kahlua and milk) was entirely consumed. There is a large mysterious gift in the middle of the living room which will have to wait until morning. 

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Discovering Roger Ing

I was looking for some art paper to make into Christmas cards yesterday and ended up opening a box I'd not looked in for a decade or more. Insider were a number of my earliest Roger Ing paintings, drawings, and collages. The drawings, dated around 1986 or 1987, are on paper and I'd never really appreciated them. He was doing a lot of them at one time and just handing them out but people didn't know what to do with them since he worked on both sides and you couldn't figure out which side to show (and which side to hide forever). .They are very detailed and I've extremely happy I've managed to store them in pristine condition all of these years.
Roger Ing collage (a "Rogerism")
Today William and Griffin when to Xander's birthday party, waterslideing at Day's Inn. I got more baking done and some cards written. 

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Cat guards the gifts

Our cat Sylvie has claimed the space under the tree as her own. For the most part, we need to keep all of the gifts on the couch or else she relentlessly attacks the ribbons. I think we finally finished shopping today, so there is nothing left but a bit of wrapping and more baking. 

Friday, December 21, 2012

Leslea's Apocalypse Party and The Hobbit in 3D

Pictures say enough.

William's Christmas break began today. He had school for part of the day and then we took him to The Hobbit in 48 fps 3D. I guess it was a good movie although I found it rather boring at times and I was quite sick of the music by the end of the first hour. In particular, I didn't like the sharpness of the 48fps. It made it look like video. In particular, the scenes where the camera was relatively static stood out as looking cheap. 

Thursday, December 20, 2012

New red Camera (Scarlet?)

Yesterday I purchased a new point and shoot camera to carry around in my pocket to replace the now-malfunctioning red Canon camera I have been using for a few years (was dropped in August and now doesn't shoot video). The new one, a Canon Elph 520, has an impressive 12x optical zoom, quite amazing for something this small. Unfortunately it does not have the new wifi capabilities which some of the other Canons have. Also, Canon has changed its battery style once again, meaning the three chargers I have will not work for it. Furthermore, to save space or something, they have moved to a micro-sd card which are really difficult for my fingers to handle. My filing system for my photos is based on month and camera, but I never use model numbers but rather I call the cameras blue or red or slr. Now with a second red camera, I'll need to fix this. Perhaps I'll call it my "scarlet". 

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Wrapping presents with a funny cat

William and I did some shopping and then some wrapping today while Margaret was at work. Sylvie is in love with ribbon and we're unable to put any gifts under the tree as that is her domain and she's been playing with anything that goes there. Here she is "helping" William wrap a gift for his mom.
I sent a copy of Sockvile episode 1 to Chrystine for the Calgary package. It' s still pretty rough but it is is what it is. 

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Winding down

Met with Rob today to see his photographs he's been creating over the past couple of months. Nice large prints. Geremy Lague is back in town and he did his end of term crit. Some funny sidebars slipped in via his Presi-based presentation. I worked on Sockvile at home, based on an SD output I created this morning and put together a rough soundtrack. I called Frame Discreet and it looks like I won't be able to get my film back until after New Years, meaning I won't be able to edit my project for the MacKenzie show until then. This makes me pretty nervous, but there's not much I can do. I baked some sugar cookies that mom made the batter for. Still a few more  work related things to do tomorrow but it looks like I will be able to ramp up my baking and Christmas card production pretty soon. Here is a fragment of what Margaret has been painting for one of our cards. I'm hoping they will reproduce well enough that we can send out more than three cards (which is how many we have right now). Looks awesome:

Monday, December 17, 2012

Erik Sirke was away...?

Erik Sirke
Erik would like people to know he was away for a month in Japan and is back again and will be celebrating his return with a party, or so he says. If you know Erik and want to hold him a surprise party, this is your chance (he rarely reads this blog). 
 As a wonderful gift, he brought William back a pair of sword-shaped chop sticks of which William was elated. 

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Don List and Orange Aeros

This afternoon I took Margaret to Don List's office where they were shooting some seasonal video for Buzz City. Don is always a great host, even at the office, pouring us egg nog and showing me his new low-tech dolly contraption (above). Afterwards I attended a long but fruitful Filmpool planning session with the Board. This evening Mike and Kevin came over. I thought Mike was in for a few days but it ends up he has to work in the morning so he drove back to Saskatoon at midnight. As always, he arrived with interesting snacks in hand; this time it was a stack of orange aero bars.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Break from grading

Finally going full tilt on my grading today, getting about half of it done. I did take a break to run some errands, visit my folks, do some shopping, and take some photos of snowmen. This evening Margaret and William sewed some cat toys by hand. We were wondering if we should start making Sockvile characters with catnip in them? 

Friday, December 14, 2012

Filmpool Christmas social

Had our department lunch at Earle's today. Opened up a new bank account afterwards. Worked on Sockvile before and after lunch, getting the effects roughed in for the entire episode one. This evening we went to the Filmpool Christmas social and had some great conversations, most notably with Michele Sereda about resetting one's creativity to allow for renewed teaching ability, Ann Verrall on her activities shooting in LaRonge with Janine Windolph, Chrystene Ells about Sockvile and "Simon of the Desert", Melanie Wilmink about her research on media art during her trip to Germany, and Kevin Foote (pictured below), my old FIlm 200 classmate, on the whereabouts of Bill Latousal.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Weird camera effects

Worked on Sockvile today. Had a meeting. Ran some errands in an attempt to move towards Christmas. Baked two batches of cookies so I have something to bring to Filmpool party tomorrow. Paul was over and I started trying to figure out something odd that William's camera, a Canon Elph 100 HS, was doing. I discovered a dozen weird things it can do including slow motion video and colour replacement. Here is an image that I did by replacing black with a light yellow from a lamp (it isn't negative, only the black ins changed. White remains white, red is red, etc). I can't believe how many hundreds of times I've used this camera over the past year without noticing the amount of things it could do.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Winter Carnival and Joe Fafard

I worked all morning on Sockvile then a department meeting much of the afternoon. This evening we jumped from the very fine winter carnival at William's school where his class hosted the bake sale (I contributed a few items) and many crafts, music, and general visiting went on throughout the school. Margaret liked this snowman drawing she is posed in front of.
We jumped from there to an amazing exhibition of Joe Fafard's sculptures (and a few drawing) at the Art Gallery of Regina down at the Balkwill Centre. Joe was there of course, and many other interesting folks. I talked with a guy from music I'd not met before (and whose name I'll try to find and insert into here later). 

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Sleeping Man Walking

Don't go into the light little fish, you are much too young.
I woke up at 3:00 am, haunted by the many tiny deadlines I have this week. Unable to actually do anything about any of them, I thought I'd relax by going downstairs to watch my new fish for a spell. However, one of them was lying on the bottom doing nothing. Was is dead? Killed by the same event that killed my other two? No, it was just sleeping, but it made me feel increasingly angry and uneasy (a bad combination). I went back upstairs and typed on a side project for a couple of hours until at 5:30 Margaret made coffee and we both went back to sleep (no, it was not decaf, I cannot explain this). Suffice to say, I felt like a wreck at my meetings today but managed to put in a couple of hours on Sockvile at the end. Also shipped off a new video, "MNDR" to a gallery in Romania who invited me to participate in a project. You just can't turn down mysterious Romanians, even when they intrude on your other deadlines. Baked some ginger snaps for William's school carnival tomorrow while Margaret was out at a work meeting. Now, before the last bits of whatever is keeping me going wears out, I have a couple of references letters to write. 

Monday, December 10, 2012

Fishville. is a monkey off my back

My stupidest time waster in recent months (or perhaps years) has been the Fishville "game" on Facebook. It's not really a game, it is just a virtual aquarium where you buy fish and let them grow, decorate your tank, and basically are required to log onto it every day or else your fish begin starving. A few days ago they finally closed up the game and it can no longer be played. Obviously not enough people played it for it to be profitable. I didn't spend a dime on it and no other friend of mine had even played it in ages. I sometimes gravitate to bad ideas. 

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Catfish death

This morning I found that one of my two pictus catfish had died. William and I went out and bought two more catfish of different varieties. When I got home with them, I found that the remaining catfish was behaving in a very distressed way, swimming upright facing the surface, gasping for air, gills pumping hard and beginning to turn red. I got the second air pump going, replaced about a third of the water, and added all other helpful chemicals I own. It is sitting on the bottom now, I think too exhausted to swim like it was doing. I think it is also dying. Have not yet found anything on the internet to help. 

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Latke Party 2012

We just got back from another wonderful Latke party hosted by Daryle and our old friends Penny and Steve (pictured here peeling potatoes). We missed last year but were there two years ago. Lots of great people and conversations. Risa Horowitz was there for the first time and of course Leesa, Kennith and Daniel, Brett, Hildy and three of their kids, Anne Kipling Brown, and many others. The centre of attention is always the potato latke pancakes which were crispy and oily and wonderful. Served perfectly with one or more of the three different apple sauces, I think at least two of them were home made. The sour cream was plentiful although it isn't my thing, but I did mix a bit of maple syrup in on top of my last one and that made it extra special.