Wednesday, April 30, 2014

New 3D negatives

I had my recent roll of stereoscopic film developed today. Bird film accidentally cut the negs so they did the pricey transfer for free. I was going to do this myself today, so I've pleased. I haven't studied all of the images to see if any of the frames got trimmed through the cutting, but I suspect that they will all be workable. They reported that my camera probably needs a cleaning as there seems to be scratching. Here is one of the first shots on the roll of me and Geremy, taken by Erik Sirke.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Winter's last chill

Yesterday's snowfall, combined with the frustration of discovering that Bird Film can only scan my stereoscopic images manually with a consumer-level scanner not unlike my own (and the fee for doing that would be sizable), made me feel rather rotten. This morning I took some vitamins, drank lots of coffee, and am reading the final project from my grad students which just came in so I can now submit my last grades. Yippee. 

Monday, April 28, 2014

Dr. Skrimguard Presents: The Dangers of Video Piracy

I helped William make a public service announcement for a class project today. I asked him what the parameters of the assignment were and he said that he did not know (admitting that it was a toss up between being uninformed and not having listened). I really hope that the assignment was not intended to draw out a heartfelt, earnest response to a topic, this just isn't his way.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Filmpool renovation complete

After months of discussion, negotiation and delays following the water damage last summer, the Filmpool is reopened. Other than the carpet, the space is surprisingly (disappointingly?) the same as before. Even the textures on the ceiling and the ceiling tiles are identical. That said, the new carpet is a profound improvement.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Siam Restaurant

After a bit of running around with William today (we shot some stereoscopic images in the studio) we treated ourselves to an evening out. Fortunately there was one un-reserved table remaining at Siam. I've not been there before. William has decided it is his new favorite place. I had the very spicy curry and William had the very non-spicy crab. Margaret split the difference. 

Friday, April 25, 2014

Colby and modern art

Met with my students for last time this term today. Feeling very tired but the work they presented almost makes me feel inspired again. It was good enough that I made a list of topics for my summer courses. After supper, William and I watched Jacque Tati's "Trafic" then went to the Dunlop for the new modern art exhibition which opened. Colby and Eric were there. They both have this camera bag, identical to one that I have. I wonder if I could have been hip had I been born 25 years later? 

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Draw Something tablet game

We have been playing "Draw Something" on the tablets lately. I really love the sketches William does, even though some of them are inexplicable (most of the time I can figure them out in seconds though). After some initial resistance, we even got Paul playing a few rounds. 

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

1200 consecutive days with same contact lens

Today I got new contact lenses. Sometime shortly before new years, 2011, I made a resolution to wear my lenses every day. After a short while, I determined that I really only needed by right lens every day, but have put it in without fail every day. Today my replacement lenses came it so now the huge foggy areas are a thing of the past (and the future I suppose) but not a thing of the present. 

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

First day off

With all my grades except the grad class (which is running late) submitted, I took the day off and ran a half dozen errands which needed to be done including tracking down Tati's "Trafic" at the library, finding a new bluetooth headset, buying a gift, booking an eye appointment (for tomorrow!!!), and purchasing our tickets for Iceland!!!

Monday, April 21, 2014

Geremy's last Prezi

Geremy did his last required term review this week. I'll miss the regular updates to his Prezi, especially all of the pie charts and tables. If you look at the top left corner, the bundle of images constituted the first review. He added to the same presentation every six months since then. 

Sunday, April 20, 2014

signs of spring

 Easter Sunday. We drove out past Craven and saw the first few crocuses of the year (I'm not sure when they always come out, but 4 years ago they were out on April 6 and the year before that they were April 18). We stopped in to Richard and Gerda's for a cocktail before supper at my parents'. Saw a robin on the way.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Fourth Year film screening part two

My back felt much better today. William and I went for a walk after watching Pierre Etaix's "As Long As You've Got Your Health" (having run behind yesterday and left our French Friday until Saturday). The walk was the best thing for my back, leaving me almost able to watch the evening's student films pain free. I was up in the balcony with Berny Hi again, although Chrystene was not there tonight. What I noticed tonight, and this was probably just as true last night, was the strangely awkard ambiguity with which almost every film ends. Tonight's exception was the series of web videos, "Best Roommate Ever" by Brenden Wishlow. These were about two minutes each and didn't have much structure but they all did have endings. The endings were not conclusions, they were just parting words, strange gestures, or ironic suggestions. However, they left the audience thinking, giggling, and wanting more. If I were to guess, I'd say that Brenden planned each episode around the endings rather than the story or character. It was an interesting change of pace. "Beyond the Looking Glass" by Taylor Bacala was also very powerful and worth a second viewing. 

Friday, April 18, 2014

Fourth Year film screening, part one

The first half of the fourth year films screened at the Artesian. I put out my back while I was hanging out home alone (Margaret and William went to Marla's to dye eggs, it being Good Friday). I didn't socialize afterwards since I was in such pain. My cold is going away but now it is a combination of pain and pain killers which has me in a drunk-like hallucinatory state. The first of the two most memorable films tonight was the finely crafted "Paragon" by Zoe Gaudry and Omar Ismail which was a claymation story about a sex-bot with a manufacture flaw. The other film which stood out was "Gunslinger" by Ryan Radwinski and Kyle Parkinson. This is a minimalist adaptation of a screenplay Ryan wrote in my course last fall. The production quality was so low and the mistakes so glaring that it was almost sublime. 

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Rachelle Viader Knowles going away party

After the third year film screening, I headed over to Leesa's where the whose who of the arts had converged to bid goodbye to Rachelle Viader Knowles who has been teaching intermedia and related arts courses in the visual arts department for over ten years. I didn't take any photos, it just didn't seem like the place (plus my cold had me nearly on the floor - feels like I'm always half drunk). 

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

University sign nearly complete

I couldn't get past the fence, but the expensive (but seemingly elegant) new University of Regina sign at the Kramer entrance to campus seems very close to completion. Many of the covers have been removed so I expect it will be unveiled soon. I wouldn't be surprised if they reveal it without ceremony since the high price tag (rumored to be a million dollars) is something that the administration likely doesn't want to open discussions about. 

Tuesday, April 15, 2014


Dragged myself through a number of meetings today; the cold I caught from William is on the upswing. Fortunately he is beginning to feel better. He ventured out of the house for the first time in 5 days to get to his piano lesson. It happened to be Chuck's day off so he was also at the lesson (his son has a guitar lesson at the same time). Had a great chat about cameras and pay stubs. 

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Gerald Saul, elsewhere on the internet

This past week, the promotional films for our department that we shot last year went up on Youtube. Here is one of mine (there are two for each of us, one directed towards interesting high school students, the other more towards graduate students).
Wheat Soup also gets a nice little mention in Greg Klymkiw's "The Film Corner" as he discusses the (not forgotten by everyone) film "Downtime" by Winnipeg's Greg Hanec. I recall seeing this film with about six others in the NFB theatre that used to be in Regina. I don't think there was any filmmaker here with it, just a print and an almost entirely unadvertised event. I somehow got a vhs of it which I used to show to students (even among film students, 9 out 10 simply don't get this masterpiece). 

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Sick in front of the tv

The weather has turned cold again and William is coughing constantly but as it is Saturday and we have no immediate commitments, we had a satisfying day in front of the tv. First it was the James Bond film "Die Another Day", then later in the day we watched Alfred Hitchcock's "The Birds". Feeling headachey myself, I watched tv alongside him rather that getting on with my grading. I'll need to ramp that up tomorrow. 

Friday, April 11, 2014

Yoyo by Etaix

I've been feeling that "French Friday" when William and I watch a French movie has become the high point of my week. Today we watched "Yoyo" from 1965, the second feature by clown/director Pierre Etaix. He writes about each film but often we have a discussion about his interpretation of things. Often without prompting, he understands that aspects of the film are metaphors. Today we talked about the elephant and how it is representing freedom from the confines of money. 

Thursday, April 10, 2014

How does a viewmaster disc drive forward?

I'm coming down with a cold. As I'm writing this two days after the posting date, I think that is the reason I'm feeling low all week, generally uninspired and moody. Even the end of term doesn't bring a spring to my step. Geremy showed me his new computer cutting device which should be able to cut precise viewmaster slide holders. The results so far have not worked perfectly, but it is likely a matter of time and selection of the correct paper stock. To me, the mystery is how the disc is driven forward and whether or not that aspect of the disc needs to be enhanced. With the older (familiar) viewmaster viewers, you cannot see the drive device. However, with the newest model, the disc seating area is visible from the top and it is readily apparent that the drive is done solely with the cut notch set every second frame.
Undergrad classes ended. Grading won't take too long. 

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

"Indian" Lego: post-ironic, kitschy, racist, or just tacky?

Margaret and William bought me a Lego set for my birthday. I'm told that there was some dispute at the store with Margaret outvoting William on what to buy. They got me a "Lone Ranger" set which includes the Johnny Depp Tonto minifig. If you look at the history of Lego, there were numerous early "cowboys and indians" sets. However, this theme has been suppressed in recent years due to the inevitable racial stereotypes created with the First Nations people being clad in feathered warbonnets and fighting with tomahawks. However, I have no doubt that the Lego company itself has been looking for a new way to re-market this theme and with the release of Disney's "Lone Ranger" last year, they found it. With Disney taking all the flack about stereotypes, Lego was able to slip in under the radar and put out all the teepees and canoes they wanted. William thought that purchasing such as set for me was stupid. Margaret felt that it would appeal to my postmodern, ironic sensibilities. She was right. William is such a millennial.  

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Captain America

Captain America And The Falcon #205 Cover: Captain America, Falcon and Agron Fighting and Flying Stretched Canvas Print by Kirby Jack

After a late lunch with my grad students, Margaret, William and I went to the supper-time screening of "Captain America, Winter Soldier" at the Southland yesterday. It seemed like a perfect birthday action film. I probably bought the entire run of Captain America comics while he was co-staring the Falcon (it probably seemed radical at the time that he wasn't called the "Black Falcon" which was the overwhelming trend for non-white superheroes at the time). Of course, the film tries to make no reference to character ethnicity, other than Nick Fury growing up in some sort of ghetto. I suppose I am hoping that one of the next super heroes movies has them win the day through thinking and/or stealth rather than blowing everything up, but we had a good time watching it anyway. 

Monday, April 7, 2014

50th Horoscope

Began my day with an egg and my horoscope. I'm still hoping to recapture my time travel year, but since 2008 I have been told simple, general good news and optimism and almost never that I can control time

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Party for my 50th birthday (one day early)

Had a great time hosting my 50th birthday party over at the Artesian this afternoon. Lots of people came out. The cheescake lasted, although only enough for tonight's desert. Conversation turned to Jacques Tati more than once. I shot some stereoscopic images, even though the light was a bit low (shot at 1/50 second at f3.5). Thank yoiu to Margaret and William and Neil and Chad as well as all of my guests.

Amazing old paper camera kit from Chystene - THANKS!

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Saturday with William

Connaught School with 10 Williams
Today I baked three cheesecakes as well as a batch of mini-cheesecakes, all in preparation for my birthday party. I finished a "Mr. Saul" film that I hope to screen soon (it is on vimeo but I'm going to keep it private until at least one local screening has happened). The weather is getting to be quite nice so William and I had a little walkabout, checking out drainage and the school. 

Friday, April 4, 2014

Slate "Paper" gallery exhibition

As always, the Slate Gallery in Regina held a frenzied opening last night with a hundred people snacking and chatting and gawking at the magnificent art. I was ready to fall asleep standing there, so have no legitimate critique of the work itself. However, it haunted me that the them of "paper", chosen for this event due to this being the first anniversary of this gallery, was embraced by only about half of the contributors. This felt unadventurous, so I say shame on them.
Also, as usual, William is cooler than I ever was or could be. 

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Erik visits and Geremy shows off his 3D print

Erik is in town for a couple of days, on a break from the Banff Centre. He came to the university and he, Geremy and I met up for a couple of hours. Geremy recently returned from San Francisco where he was at a print conference and his print won an award. It is an image of lunar explorers in 3D with a pair of hand-assembled 3D glasses attached to the bottom and removable using the serrated seam. 

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Lake Victoria Avenue

I grabbed William and went out blu ray player shopping (something has always been wrong about the combination of my Panasonic player and tv resulting in 4:3 programs never being in the correct aspect ratio, no matter what you do, and this is intolerable for the complete Emma Peel Avengers set I got last week), so I took Victoria Avenue only to narrowly make it past the nearly foot deep of water for two blocks. In the end, the machine I think I wanted wasn't in stock. Besides that, none of the stores had players connected to their tvs, so I couldn't even test a disc in a machine.