Sunday, March 31, 2013


William found all this candy just lying around this morning. Imagine that!

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Migraine Cure?

Migraine returned today. I had promised
 Mike I would help him videotape some of his juggling and I felt terrible backing out (Margaret and William went to help him). As this is the fourth migraine (of varying degrees of severity) in the past five days, I am beside myself as what to do. The most I've ever had has been two days in a row, and I only recall that happening once in my life. After it began, I took a mittful of advil along with one of my prescription pills (the name has long since rubbed off the label but it is about 15 characters long and starts with a D or an O). I poured myself a coffee and a glass of red wine and drank them in a warm bath. After a half hour I got out and shoveled snow for a while then had a nap on the couch. An hour later I felt better. This evening I baked a chocolate/orange cheesecake with amaretto topping for tomorrow's desert (see image). 

Friday, March 29, 2013

Ishtar Dying Day

We had a great crowd of people over today to dye "Easter Eggs". Gertrud always does her amazing onion skin eggs and the group has also been working with wax, Ukrainian dyes, and cabbage for beautiful results.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Still tipsy

I still felt tipsy this morning and took until mid afternoon to get back to normal. Lots of advil helped. The grad students started doing presentations and I had a production committee meeting and had a meeting the school later on. We also went and bought a new stainless steel wok and a ceramic frying pan. This evening Paul came over and we had a round of Carcassonne. 

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

William's Self Esteem collage

After an unsteady start to the day, a large coffee finally chased my headache away around 1:30, approximately the time it started yesterday. Class led into a meeting which took until suppertime. When I got home, Margaret and William were just finishing up his homework project on self esteem which was to be created from a minimum of twenty images extracted from magazines. William was a bit sick himself today so Margaret kept him home from swimming and they worked on this for 5 hours. He's got odd ball stories about every snippet. 

Tuesday, March 26, 2013


In my fourteen years of teaching, today was the first time I've had a migraine during class. It started slowly. I was feeling a bit off and figured I was just in need of coffee (perhaps I should have got one) but around 45 minutes before the end of class I was getting pretty inarticulate  I probably freaked out my students, speaking in single syllable words and likely making little sense. If any are reading this, I apologize  I cut class a few minutes short after getting one of the students to read out the weekly film manifesto (I stared at it for a moment and realized I didn't know what most of the words said). By about 5:00 I could think again. By 7:30, the headache began subs
iding, a pretty minor case.
collage by Margaret and William from three days ago

Monday, March 25, 2013

Recreating The Matrix ... not quite

Using eight matching Canon T3I cameras, my class created a test shoot of bullet time from the Matrix. The effect was difficult to edit and not particularly effective, but we got a bit of an effect. The cameras needed to be closer together and more of them. I'll try again next year after we get some additional cameras.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Caught a case of the winter zombies

Helped William and his friends Rowan and Teagan shoot part one of a zombie movie today. Many mishaps but no one lost an eye. WATCH VIDEO ON YOUTUBE.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Question of gluten

Based on something she read, Margaret wants William to try avoiding gluten for a few weeks. He has been having difficulty concentrating and the symptoms all seem to match someone who has a gluten allergy  I guess it won't hurt to try. Of course, there is a learning curve. We'd promised him we'd do some baking and Margaret went out and bought alternative flours. Only after we got the first batch of cookies out of the oven did she follow up and discover that spelt flour contains gluten so we needed to start over again. Not bad in the long run as William did all the mixing and baking on this follow up. He was having a great day, but I would actually credit it more to his decision to not turn on his computer more than anything else. 

Friday, March 22, 2013

Toxic film now on Youtube

As part of the process of building and promoting the Film Department's image, we are each putting films onto a departmental Youtube channel. I put "Final (Toxic 6)" on the other day. To view it, click this LINK.

Chrystene and Berny at Art For Lunch

After having a goodbye coffee with William's cousins before they head home, I fought through the snow to get back to work and attend a very entertaining and energized presentation by Chrystene and Berny about the Filmpool, the puppet workshops, and the forthcoming IPUFF festival of puppet films. Well attended lecture with great reactions.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Laser Dentistry

William went to the dentist for a regular cleaning today. They had hoped to put a protective coating on his rear molars but the teeth had not yet grown past a flap of gums. When the dentist took a closer look she found that this flap concealed food which was difficult to clean out of the way. The recourse? She took a laser and cut away William's extra bit of gums. It was really exciting.
My Nexus 10 arrived today. Also, I shipped "Seeds (Grain 2)" to the lab for printing. 

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

First Day of Spring and wind chill warning

It's the first day of spring!!!!
William had indoor recess due to the wind chill of -32. 

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

William's hair, before and after cutting, and steampunk books through Kickstarter

 I took William for his haircut after school today. When we got home, the package containing the books one and two of the "19XX" graphic novels I invested in through Kickstarter had arrived. 

Monday, March 18, 2013

Life, and death, on Mars

I wanted to see if a communal project would inspire my animation class today. I took a page from the Microscope game to get them to put together a bit of a story which involved people on Mars under threat of being eaten. Class was okay, although I don't think it was as engaging a project as I'd hoped. When 5:20 came along, they all had to leave. With the artwork coplete and only a few shots to go, I finished it off. By the time I'd rendered the footage, cleaned the space and returned equipment, computers, art supplies, teaching supplies, and artwork to where things belonged, it was 7:00 and too late to get to the Filmpool for the guest talk.
Before work today, I dropped past mom's and photographed her Quilts of Valour quilt before it gets donated. You can see it on this link: 

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Wheat Soup screening a huge success

The screening of Wheat Soup at the Filmpool had a great audience of about 60 people (every chair was filled) and I spent almost two hours in conversation with many people. Great questions. Many memories. Thank you to everyone who attended.  I think a couple people are now wanting to write about it and I welcome the attention to it. I was asked numerous times what I thought about the film having not watched it in years and I feel that there are problems with the film but the problems I see now are not necessarily the same problems I felt existed ten years ago. Some aspects that I previously felt were embarrassing I now feel are quaint and create a portrait of who we were at that time. Overall, I am always impressed by things that we did accomplish and the sophistication of some of the visual metaphors. 

Friday, March 15, 2013

I'm dreaming of a white Easter....

This is just getting to be too much. I could barely open the door to get the newspaper this morning. I suspect that the city's snow plow budget is long since spent and they'll bide their time, hoping this will melt before they need to do every street again. That means a lively drive to work. Luckily I don't need to get there until noon. 

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Pi Day and Gerald on Radio

I woke up minutes before the CBC was scheduled to call me for a live radio interview regarding this weekend's screening of "Wheat Soup" at the Filmpool.
It is pie/pi day (March 14 or 3rd month, 14th day or 3.14) so Paul, William and I went to the Mercury. We got the last three pieces of pie in the house. William had rhubarb-strawberry, Paul had apple, and I had cottage cheese. I'd tasted cottage cheese pie before and it is nice, a bit like custard, but now that I had a whole piece I found it was full of raisins so it wasn't quite as pleasurable as other choices might have been. 

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Art Chess Set at AGR

We went to the annual members sale at the Art Gallery of Regina. William was taken with this beautiful unique hand made chess set. 

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Giving cinema a hand...

Today in class I felt of two minds. My love of film is having a difficult time arguing against the increasing lack of support and availability of film while digital media continues to improve in amazing ways. I wanted to talk about the differences between film and video and how the grain makes the film more organic than the mechanically encoded video. However, I have read about a number of technologies looking at improving this quality of video and considering the scale of the tech budgets available to Hollywood, these advancements are inevitable. In conclusion, I discussed how cinema is constantly changing. It hurts when things change in ways you don't want them to. At least my students still get to shoot some film. 

Monday, March 11, 2013

Face time?

I introduced my animation students to the 3D scanner today. I've made progress on introducing the images into Blender, but they still come in only as mesh and I'm just not good enough at the program to make it practical. I hope that at least one student can figure it out and share the results back. 

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Lobster Dinner!!!

Celebrated William's cousins' birthdays with a great lobster dinner, although at one point we wondered who was eating whom. 

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Oz, cousins, and giant bugs

William started off his Saturday with another exciting drawing class with Aaron Clark where they were drawing giant insects, followed by connecting up with his cousins who just arrived. We went to the new Oz movie, which I quite liked. My cold feels better but I was still quite exhausted by this evening. 

Friday, March 8, 2013

Art and Sickness

Woke up sicker today than yesterday. I think I have a nasal infection making half my face ache. Got some antibiotics, had meeting with grad students, and went to the opening of the student art show at the MacKenzie (William is shown with some work above). 

Thursday, March 7, 2013

All night at the science centre

William spent the night at the science centre. I just saw him for a couple minutes as he got home and I headed to work. I came home early, my lungs hurting a bit too much. I've cancelled my travel plans to Calgary for the weekend. I just can't do it in my condition. I had really been looking forward to performing the soundtrack to "Amazing Flying Marshmallow House" at the $100 Film Festival but in particular, I wanted to do some improvisations during it with William. Doing it alone wouldn't be as fun anyways. 

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Bolex shoot and near disaster

Class went well today with the Film 202 students shooting a test roll of 16mm with the Bolex and the subsequent development of the roll. On the way to the darkroom with both the department's as well as my G3 development tanks on a cart, one wheel unexpectedly came off and I nearly lost both of these nearly irreplaceable tanks. Fortunately I grabbed them (letting numerous other things fall but nothing broke) and we completed the class. The film turned out well for the second day in a row, I'm quite pleased.
Margaret and William are spending the night with his class at the science centre. I'm going to wrap up and hope my pneumonia goes away. 

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Tanks for the memories

 In class today we shot a test roll (all about hands) in the studio then developed it in the rather slow but quite effective processing tank. It seems to have worked perfectly. When I got back up to my office I found that Noelle had dropped off a full sized poster for the Wheat Soup screening on March 16.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Microscope game

Played a very interesting game called "Microscope" with Allan and Chad. It has no random elements and no winner/loser situation but also is not collaborative and is very often surprising. You establish some parameters of a historic time (we chose to play between a period of humans cowering in caves to hide from terrible creatures to the humans having cities and beginning to go out to sea to find new lands). The story then gets very odd as pieces are filled in randomly in the middle, based entirely on the players' imaginations and restricted only by the written words from previous turns. 

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Should have drawn the line ...

Still not feeling great today, I stayed home all afternoon and documented a box of Margaret's old sketches. Many of the charcoal gesture drawings on newsprint are just taking up space, but I really wanted to capture these images before she disposed of them. Of course there were other interesting finds such as grade and high school works. (Margaret tells me that no one should have their pony pictures on the internet. Apparently I disagree.
I thought I was well enough to go out tonight. Everything was fine, even though I had to drive through a blizzard. However, I got stuck on Kevin's driveway and had he not noticed and come out to help dig me out, I'd still be there. Back home, my old friend pneumonia has decided to pay a visit.  

Saturday, March 2, 2013

woke back up

Just woke back up. Margaret was out. Can't shake this cold, feeling exhausted all the time. Had to skip the festival today, just no energy. 

Friday, March 1, 2013

Student Film Festival and zombie babies

I attended the opening night of the student film festival. I missed the zombie workshop with Emerson Ziffle before the screening but caught a glimpse just before everything was packed up. Jim Woodcock mc-ed the screening event, keeping a good tempo and telling corny jokes when the playback glitched. The crowd was pretty good. I enjoyed the films. There were a few from here and many from other schools. The final of the night was a smart little drama called "Why Does God Hate Me" about growing up gay in a severe evangelical anti-gay family.