Friday, November 30, 2012


After an unbelievably busy day of classes and meetings and revisiting Trevor's exhibition and for Margaret working on CBC art cards for charity event and William running errands with his Ommi after school, I got a call from my sister telling me that dad is in the hospital. I visited him for a couple of hours. He's probably fine, they think his dizzy spell is likely an inner ear thing. He has no tv there and the ward he is in is some makeshift  area with no refreshments or lounge or amenities of any sort, so boredom is definitely kicking in. He's hoping to go home tomorrow. 

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Learning to knit

Busy almost beyond belief. Meetings all day and managed to author a dvd for my students which includes three of their projects plus two in-class projects. I`m trying to get my grading done as well but on top of it all, I agreed to go out with William and learn to knit. He was supposed to learn it in school but had difficulties. Here he is with Donna Cornelius, finally getting the hang of it. I managed to do a few rows as well. I wish I could just kill the rest of the evening doing it, even though it makes my old hand injury act up. 

Wednesday, November 28, 2012


Amid the numerous deadlines which always converge on the last week of a term, I took Rob to Tanya's lab to do some microscope photography. However, since the lab was moved around recently, we could not locate the correct hardware to make this a reality. It will certainly be remedied in the next day or so, but was a bit of a disappointment. Had we used it, this is what we might have seen:
I put in a 10 hour day and didn't actually finish anything. I have the Terrible Film Festival dvd about 80% authored, so will finish that tomorrow (in between my three meetings). 

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Trevor Grant's gallery installation

I had a look at Trevor Grant's MFA gallery installation "Come and See.  And I Saw" at the MacKenzie Art Gallery this afternoon. It has a performer on Fridays (as well as for his upcoming defense) but not today.  I spent the past hour brainstorming questions to ask him for his practice defense tomorrow. 

Monday, November 26, 2012

focus a camera through or on a mirror?

In the middle of a brief intro to computer animation today we got off on a tangent that I probably would have completely dismissed had I not debated the same technical issue myself, many years ago. The idea is that if you point a camera into a mirror, is not everything in the mirror on one surface and therefore all at one focal distance? If so, then you can establish a mirror fixed to the front of a camera at a 45 degree angle and just shoot with the camera seeing the reflection. Some rudimentary physics tells us that this is not so. We do not look at the mirror, we look at waves bouncing off the mirror. I don't have the right vocabulary to describe it, but even if I did, math and science words are not convincing if you have no training in them. Instead, I solicited a mirror from the group (one girl had a 2 inch mirror) and I shot a pair of photos, one focused on the mirror (as seen by the frame of the mirror being in focus) and the other of the reflection (noting now that the mirror frame is no longer in focus). Tangible testing. We eventually returned to the computer demo. 

Sunday, November 25, 2012

A long non-meeting

The Filmpool board meeting today unexpectedly didn't have quorum. As there were two new members present, Luke and Amber, we spent two and a half hours talking about all kinds of stuff, mostly the Filmpool, although none of it is chronicled in the minutes. Great session, wish we could have more of them like that (except the part where we need to reschedule and that we'll inevitably forget it all).
Image above is from Friday, me with Michele Sereda. Sorry for missing your event last night. 

Saturday, November 24, 2012

My presentation notes

My notes from yesterday are my only documentation of my presentation. Seems odd that I document so many things but rarely the things I am doing myself. I'll need to figure out a way to remedy that.
It is Saturday and William and I had a great day just kicking around the house. Margaret took a shift at the last minute then did other art events all afternoon leaving us home. I kicked William off of his computer in various intervals to do bits of projects he wanted to do (creating some optional original drawings for a school project for example). In the end, we had a diverse day of great indoor activities. 

Friday, November 23, 2012

Talking Art

The big thing for me today was my Fine Arts Presentation. I did a one hour talk about my short videos. The main hook was talking about time and how we control time by manipulating our perception of time through the intensity or complexity of our thinking. Therefore, by challenging myself to create daily creative work and digesting daily critical readings, I was creating a perception that my sabbatical was much longer than it was. 
I took my class to see a talk by Turner Prize* who were discussing their body of work at Art For Lunch today. I am hoping that the idea of creating and maintaining art collectives, which builds reputation, creative and technical support, and reputation, will appeal to some of the students. 

This evening the Dunlop had an opening which marked their 50th anniversary. They also launched their new book about themselves which has an article Margaret wrote. Image below is for the golden jubilee of the gallery, instigated by Turner Prize* who are created a special exhibition referencing Dunlop-featured artists from over the past five decades. 

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Filmpool Premiere screening tonight

This evening, at the Artesian on 13th Avenue, the Filmpool is hosting a screening of new works by members including two shorts of mine. Music starts at 7:30 and the films at 8:00.
My two films were both part of my sabbatical video series which I'll be discussing at the university at 3:30 tomorrow in Riddell Centre room 050. The films for tonight are no longer on the web, as is the tradition for showing material at festivals. I'll be pulling more of them down as I get around to sending them elsewhere. 

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Out of Blog Space!!!

It started raining at lunch time. Margaret needed the car and drove me back to work. On the way , we found some very cool snowmen. I was going to post an image but it seems that I have filled my one gig of free space for photos for my blog. I now will have to pay them a few dollars every month or remove photos or stop posting photos. I could take photos down, compress them, and repost them, but that would take me weeks (I have about 1000 photos on my blog). Not sure what to do.

Okay, now I have gone back into three recent blog entries, deleted the photo and replace it with a compressed version. This should win me enough for a couple days. I suppose if every day I do this with one or two photos, the vast work of it will spread over time. The biggest problem will be finding the images as they are not always in the same folder as the date of the blog entry. It is sounding like more that $2.50 per month worth of work. 

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Cara Morton

Cara Morton in Regina, 1998
Today Sarah Abbott informed me that our mutual friend, Cara Morton, passed away on the weekend. I had not even been aware that she was sick, let alone had been struggling with cancer for a few years. I've not seen Cara in years but she was wonderful, very funny and cheerful and intense, all at the same time. I'm embarrassed to say that I'm not entirely certain when or where we met. It was probably Toronto; perhaps Sarah introduced us. I remember being entranced by her short film "Incantations" which I curated into a Filmpool show in 1998. Around the same time, Cara drove through Regina. I'm not sure what she was doing; Vacationing? Moving? Shooting a film? She did have a camera and film, and even some jugs of chemistry. She developed film in my basement (that was a year before I started at the university so I was doing occasional basement darkroom work, but only at night because my windows had no curtains). She left me her jug of film bleach which I used for over a year as I had no idea how to make my own. We dried her film on my clothes line in the back yard, which she thought was charming. I'd not seen her in a long time, but she left an impression that endured. 

Monday, November 19, 2012

No Camera, No Problem

In class today we watched the students` drawing on film projects. I`d like to try to set up some sort of cameraless film collective (click to find new Facebook page). I`m thinking about shooting a series of videos explaining the basic techniques. One big problem is that these films are often so short that an event of such a collective`s work would seem insubstantial. Doesn`t mean we shouldn`t try. 

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Oh my head!

I spent the majority of the past 12 hours in headache agony. Not a migraine, just some sort of composite headache which took the worst of caffeine withdrawals  hangover, dehydration, muscle strain, stress, and mousing cramps, without having actually earned any of those forms of headache today, and put them together into a nearly incurable pounding. Many drugs, stretches, beverages, sugars, naps, and massages later, I'm finally at at least 80%. Built a snowman. The weather/snow was perfect and the fresh air also seemed to help. 

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Out of wine

Had to finally sort the liqueur cabinet today. The box of leftovers from the Pow conference was getting underfoot. Now we discover that we are out of wine. 

Friday, November 16, 2012

Hoffos-like experiment

In class today I showed the students some alternative ways of considering exhibiting the moving image including setting up a reflection scene akin the work David Hoffos creates, and some work with overhead projectors. 

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Ghost Tobogganing

After dark, Chapter's hill. Strange shapes chased me down the slope. There is nothing more frightening than a shadow-casting wisp of frost. 

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Wheat Soup turns 25!

It was 25 years ago tonight that Brian Stockton and I premiered Regina's first locally produced dramatic feature film "Wheat Soup". With less than a shoe-string budget (around $16k if memory serves, and virtually all of that went to film, lab, mixing and other expenses), this 75 minute, black and white 16mm film took us three years to create. It was a hellish amount of work, hundreds of things went wrong, but it was also one of the most worthwhile projects of my life. While certainly flawed, many parts of the film turned out just as good, or even better, than we imagined. Much of this is to the credit of DOP Spyro Egarhos and his careful eye and amazing lenses. Shaf was also amazing, sticking with us for so many shoot days without complaint (or compensation).
A few weeks after it's premiere, Wheat Soup cleaned up at the SMPIA film awards, garnering best overall film of the year for our province.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Gertrud's birthday guest

Today is Margaret's mother's birthday. She also has her friends Allison and Arthur visiting from Australia. We went over for some cake. William was a conversational dynamo, keeping constantly on topic, bringing up new and relevant points, all with an Australian accent he picked up 20 seconds after arriving. 

Monday, November 12, 2012

Cabin fever?

Other than a short bout of shoveling  we spent the whole day in the house today. The snow has stopped falling but it is cold and a holiday. William had his friend over and my computer got used all afternoon so I worked out two of my syllabi on paper. The cat is going crazier than us, dashing outside for three minutes at a time then rushing back in and yowling for summer. 

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Margaret returns

The snow finally stopped today. I dug out the driveway, sidewalk, and even a bunch of the street again. As I was doing so, Margaret and Terry arrived back from their trip to Prince Albert. Image above is during Margaret's trip, I'm glad she got back safely. 

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Let the baking begin

The snow was really deep everywhere today. As it is Saturday, I would have stayed home all day but William had a birthday party at the theatre to go to so dropped him off and went to the office for a couple of hours and developed 350 feet of colour film. After supper I tried out a new cookie recipe from a cookie magazine I bought the other day. I probably should have flattened them out more to create a better dunking shape similar to the images in the publication, but they do taste quite good regardless. 

Friday, November 9, 2012

Home with the boy

Margaret is in Prince Albert so William and I are alone together this weekend. It started snowing this morning and came down constantly until after dark, so we stayed in. He and I watched an amazing amount of tv this evening. (images above are from 8:45 this morning and from 6pm this evening). Thanks Steve. 

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Paul Crepeau in his studio

I met up with Paul Crepeau at his house today. He likely has to move soon and he wanted me to see the studio he'd set up for animation in his basement. It's pretty sweet. The lights are a bit large for the stage, but everything is wired into a lighting console so he can start and stop with a moments notice. 
I was transferring film to video using a five blade shutter projector and the Canon 5D camera. I was getting a serious roll bar so I affixed a reostat to the projector. It worked to control but not eliminate the roll bar. I needed to take a break when the camera battery died. When I returned, the camera must have returned to some default position or something because the roll bar is no longer there. I had run through every variable I knew so I am at a loss as to how to reproduce these results. 

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Old pumpkins ... and the US election

I met with Rob this morning to talk photography. I wanted to discuss some of the ideas in "The Original Copy" which suggests many important connections between the evolution of the study of art history, the changes in what is considered to be art, and photography over the past 200 years. As an example, I took some photos of decaying jack-o-lanterns on my way to the car. If these pumpkins were to be considered art, then these photos would be the only concrete aspect of that art. I forgot to pull out the photos, but we had a good discussion without them.
USA election is today. I'm sure everyone gets too many opinions for me to bother adding mine. We relaxed at home most of the evening and watched recorded programs which were not about the election. 

Monday, November 5, 2012

Chamelion wants to come home with us

The power was out at the house and William's school for a half hour today. Afterwards, the fish tank pump wouldn't restart so we went out and bought a new one. There was a chameleon who acted like our cat, stretching up onto the class as if to ask us to pick it up and pet it. 

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Steampunking and The Terrible Film Festival 11

This morning, in the short break between events, I took William across the extremely icy street to Gerri Ann and Steve's house to borrow their garage as a backdrop for some steampunk photos with William. 
 After a much needed nap, I got back to work, preparing the program for the Terrible Film Festival, getting projectors together, compiling the program notes, copying them, buying last minute snacks, etc.
The Terrible Film Festival went quite well this  year. While I was trying to figure out a film loop, the students took control and began the show, hosting, projecting, etc. I mostly just had to watch. Quite a pleasure. There was more food than we could eat and a capacity crowd of about 35. 

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Party at end of conference

The conference finished up nicely this morning. The only glitch today was that one participant tried to skype their talk but the signal was too weak so it was often difficult to hear. However, Everyone came out of it pretty satisfied. The final session was on comics with one speaker from France discussing "Metal Hurlant" magazine (which in English became "Heavy Metal") which brought back lots of memories. To see participants, including me, interviewed at the conference, go to the POW! website.
The group went to museums this afternoon and I collected supplies for the party. At Safeway I ran into Ron Jacobs, whom I'd just been talking about with Mazin Saffou yesterday because Mazin had interviewed Ron for the forthcoming Splice magazine. Ron still needed to send a photo; is this one good enough?
 Tonight we converged on Christina's for science fiction cocktails. I took on the bar-tending role as Italian Spiderman. Mixed many things that people drank. Sweetness was rampant. The Pan Galactic Gargalblaster (from Hitchhiker's Guide) is okay but only in that it was better than some of the other things that were blue. This evening I made a much better science fiction cocktail, here is the recipe
The Mars Attack
1 ounce Blue Curacao
1 ounce "Sour Puss" Raspberry liqueur
1/2 ounce Jack Daniels
Shake the ingredients with ice and pour into glass
Top with 1 ounce of carbonated water (not soda water)
Garnish with impaled grape.

Friday, November 2, 2012

French Science Fiction conference

The POW! French Science Fiction conference was in full swing today. According to one expert guest, this is the first conference of French science fiction ever to be held in North America. I was at talks and lunches and films and so on all day (9am to 9pm). I had my experimental film class come to the morning session, even though it was off topic, because it is not only a good experience to be at a conference of this sort at least once, but it also supported their classmate Kirsten Bligh who was presenting a paper at the student panel. Rob and Jingyi shot 16 videos and all of them are already online, as per the plan for the project (technology and immediacy). Take a look at: I'll need to figure out how to put them elegantly into the website page, but I need a bit of help and am too worn out to figure it out tonight. Tomorrow we resume at 9am.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Preparations for conference

Most of my day was spent doing preparations for the POW! PAN! conference. I did some last minute alterations to an animated intro for the interviews that will be shot over the next couple of days. I shopped for various supplies to enhance the cocktail party on Saturday night. Found William a fez at Bizarre and Novelty (Fezzes are cool). This evening the crew shot their first interview with the keynote speaker, Elisabeth Vonarburg, before the screenings at the RPL. Philippe introduced the movies; La Jette and The Immortals. William enjoyed them.