Monday, June 30, 2014

Soggy backyard

With any luck, the weather network's prediction that the rain stops today will be true. We've not met with disaster yet, but seepage into the basement has begun. We are fighting back with a pump in the backyard, diverting water to the alley. We also tarped the south west corner flower beds because the eaves are overflowing into them and we are seeing water in the basement there. 

Allan Dotson and Jana Kutarna wedding day

Yesterday, amid the heavy rain, my friends Allan Dotson and Jana Kutarna got married. They held a very small ceremony in the morning then had a great bash in the evening. They shied away from most tradition, emphasizing creativity and community instead. with an autograph book which encouraged drawing, toys for the kids, live music by Belle Plaine and Ryan Hill DJing. Congratulations to Allan and Jana and best wishes on the travels in the near future and the continued journey of life for many years.
The wedding and reception took place, appropriately, at the MacKenzie Art Gallery. 

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Gaming party at Allan Dotson's new house

Last night, on the eve of Allan and Jana's wedding, they had us over for a house warming and gaming party. While it is a game that is designed to pull action into violent, sexual, and all around inappropriate activities, I felt it was okay for William to join in on a session of Apocalypse World. Chad was there, along with Allan's brother and a number of people I've not met before. William did well, playing a hoarder who was squirreled away in an underground lair. To create a momento of the evening, Allan covered his game table with paper and invited us to draw as we played, writing notes about the game or just doodling. William drew the characters and villains below: We went until midnight and could have gone much longer, lots of fun.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Cousins arrive to find new camper

William's cousins arrived in Regina yesterday. The big surprise this year (there is always some sort of surprise) is that George bought a 35 foot camper trailer for the three of them to stay in at the farm and to tow around to various camp grounds over the next month. It is pretty snazzy. It sleeps the three of them with comfort and can sleep a few more (for example, the eating area can be converted to be a bed, as can the the couch beside it and the bedside table area in the girls room). The visiting time so far has been dominated by shopping for bits and pieces to make using the camper more practical (dishes, bedding, towels, etc).
Today I helped him pick out a tv and mount it, which met with minor but solvable problems. With the girls getting older, the comforts of a shower, frig, and a/c will extend the thrill of camping for at least another couple of years (perhaps more).

Friday, June 27, 2014

Last (panorama) looks inside Connaught School

Slipped into back door of Connaught school (as the front door is boarded shut) and took a few last photos of the hallways. The staff have until five today to empty their classrooms, then it is up to the school board to remove the last of the furniture and so on over the next two weeks. 

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Last day of grade 7, An is in 3D, and Robert is in prints

William on his way to his last day of grade seven, and the last day that students will attend Connaught School.
I met with An today and looked at progress she's made with the 3D scanner. She has figured out some aspects of it and also determined that the amount of detail it creates makes animating with it rather impracticable. I still hope to use it for something cool in the near future.
Robert Truszkowski has a solo exhibition at the Slate Gallery. His prints are beautiful and very precise. Each seems to contain references that are obtuse, perhaps even non-existent. Everything looks like it should be familiar, but isn't.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Connaught School, the last hurrah

Connaught school, having been turned down as a historical site, will be torn down sometime following tomorrow's last day of classes. They held a barbecue for families. Huge turn out.

Reflecting on corner gas/glass

They are shooting scenes of Corner Gas the movie around the corner on 13th Avenue today. We were shopping over there yesterday as the art department were touching up the places. The old Buy The Book store, which is now empty but taken over by the shoe store, is dressed as a classic clothing store with mannequins. They were up quite high, making shots of people reflected in the window with them a bit wonky but weird.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Installing Art Shack with Heather Cline

Margaret was at the Dunlop all day yesterday, assisting with an installation of the "Art Shack" in front of the library building. This is a Heather Cline project, art shack camps, beginning July 7. William and I arrived at the tail end to hold a ladder or two and share in the credit for the construction. Timing is everything.

Monday, June 23, 2014

41 French Films on William's Friday list

As I'm alluded to a few times over the past months, William and I have been watching a French film every Friday. This began with a conversation with his art and core French teacher, Ms Wilson, who told us that an important aspect of core French this year would be an appreciation of French culture. The combination of art and French culture quickly led me to ask her about the inclusion of French cinema in the curriculum, to which she admitted that most French films contain content which would not be appropriate for Grade 7 (at least, not according to the school board). Therefore, we began watching on our own and William would write a short report on each film. All of the films were viewed with subtitles on. In cases of silent films, they were watched in English. The point, as I said, was French culture, not to try to understand dialogue. Most of the films are from France but a few are from Quebec. Seventeen of them are in the Time Out online list of 100 best French films of all time as voted on by French film industry experts. One exception, "Babette's Feast" is not a French film but has a main character who is French and speaks in French for much of the film (I remembered the film so fondly that I picked it up from the library without even thinking about what language it was in until we sat down to watch it). I tried to ensure that he watch most of the important directors. Missing from the list is Luc Besson. Prior to beginning this tradition, William had watched his French films "The Extraordinary Adventures of Adele Blanc-Sec" and his American film "The Fifth Element".
Today, this being the last week of the school year, William will be handing in the last of his reports. I hope for us to continue this weekly tradition but we might change it to "Foreign Film Friday" instead so that I can introduce other gems.
Here is his list, (Numbered ranking indicates film is on list of 100 best French Films.)

Quebec? 100 best?
Jules et Jim Francois Truffaut
Monsieur Hulot's Holiday Jacques Tati 94
Hiroshima Mon Amour Alain Renais 40
Rules of the Game Jean Renoir 1
Diary of a Counry Priest Robert Bresson
Le Crime est Notre Affaire Pascal Thomas
Mon Oncle Antoine Claude Jutra Q
Amelie Jean-Pierre Jeunet
Trip to the Moon Georges Melies 26
Bon Cop, Bad Cop Erik Canuel Q
Emile Cohl shorts Emile Cohl
All the Boys are called Patrick Jean-Luc Godard
Breathless Jean-Luc Godard 34
City of Lost Children Caro & Jeunet 76
Babette's Feast Gabriel Axel
The Suitor Pierre Etaix
Wages of Fear Henri-Georges Clouzot 14
L'Atalante Jean Vigo 8
La Grande Seduction (Seducing Dr. Lewis) Jean-Francois Pouliot Q
400 Blows Francois Truffaut 9
Asterix at the Olympic Games Forestier & Langmann
Zazie dans le Metro Luis Malle
Mon Oncle Jacques Tati 16
Pickpocket Robert Bresson 53
Shoot the Piano Player Francois Truffaut
Beauty and the Beast Jean Cocteau 10
Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie Luis Bunuel
Playtime Jacques Tati 6
Yoyo Pierre Etaix
As Long as You've Got Your Health Pierre Etaix
le Grand Amour Pierre Etaix
Land of Milk and Honey Pierre Etaix
Trafic Jacques Tati
Day for Night Francois Truffaut 12
La Grande Illusion Jean Renoir 15
Band of Outsiders Jean-Luc Godard
Le Million Rene Clair
The Illusionist Sylvain Chomet
Jour de Fete Jacques Tati
La Jette Chris Marker 33
Delicatessen Caro & Jeunet 58

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Wolfcop, finally

Due to our travels, we were not at the premiere of "Wolfcop" two weeks ago. This evening we finally made it. In a strange coincidence, Zoe was taking tickets at the theatre. She'd also been working security when William and I were hanging around near the set on Halloween last year. The film was pretty fun. While not profound, it offered more than a few laughs and had me quite amused with the humorous moments of violence. Recognizing actors and locations is always satisfying, but I was surprised by how interesting Moose Jaw looked from the aerial photography. Perhaps my biggest disappointment is that I didn't feel there was enough time to get very close to any of the characters. The role of villain was split between a handful of people (more to kill) so the story had to keep jumping from person to person. 

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Taste of the Caribbean at the Art Gallery of Regina

Margaret worked hard helping to put together the annual food sampling fundraiser at the Art Gallery of Regina this weekend. The theme was "Caribbean". William tried everything at every table, even a couple of things that I didn't expect him to (such as a sandwich with mustard on it). The most non-caribbean aspect of the evening was the band which played very non-reggae music (contrary to what I was led to believe). As I'm not really fond of reggae, this was fine.

Friday, June 20, 2014

William doing announcements at the school for last time

With only a few days of school left, the last before Connaught closes for good, William did his final Friday stint at the intercom announcements. With permission, I slipped in to watch and record them. Truly bizarre. His ad lib performance included a ramble about robots taking over the computer and the Oh Canada orchestra being dead because the rescue money was spent on pina colodas. 

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Diary of the Dead

Paul and I watched George Romero's "Diary of the Dead" on Netflix. It was surprising to see a minor role played by Tatiana Maslany, but now that I look her up, she is in a lot more films and tv shows than I knew (including being in "Incredible Story Studio" when she was William's age). What I actually found most amusing was the way film professors are portrayed; no one could be more pretentious and disreputable. 

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Sheila Petty completes 10 year stint as Dean

There was a really nice reception for Sheila Petty as she nears the completion of her tenure as Dean of Fine Arts. It's been ten years. She'll be on sabbatical/leave for a year and a half, then back with us in the Film Department. Lots of people came to the party including Sheila Hamilton, Jeannette Teece, Charity Marsh and her new baby, and many others. Good wine, good food, good people.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Super-8 has been shot

This afternoon, after four days of planning, I shot my annual One Take Super 8 film (to be screened in Saskatoon in early July). These photos are the first, ultra-secret, behind the scenes images of "Rockem, Sockem, Canister" taken from the undisclosed location in the Film Department studio where, with the help of some of my graduate students, An, Jingyi, and Geremy, I have reinvented cinema (not really. actually I'll be lucky if you can even tell what is going on).

Monday, June 16, 2014

New discoveries in Regina

Racing to catch up around Regina after two weeks away. Went in to work for a while. The new super-8 film was in my mailbox (thanks Berny and Ian). My parents are selling their house. There are even more roads under construction. Most shocking, it is cold here. I was warmer in Iceland. Regardless, it is good to be back.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Back from vacation

On Saturday night we returned to Regina after two weeks away. As always, I've not tended to blog about my travels as they happen, catching up only later. If you are reading this a week in the future, you will probably find that all the prior blogs are just where they should be. However, for regular readers, you may have noticed that nothing has been posted in about 16 days. I will be back-dating my posts to create a normal chronology. We returned in time for Father's Day. I brought some Icelandic rhubarb liqueur for my dad. William made me toast in bed as I helped him focus on completing the homework he had to have completed while away. Ironically, it is colder here than in Iceland or in Prince Albert, or in Edmonton, all of our recent, northern destinations. 

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Vacation end, driving back to Regina

We maximized the time in Edmonton to give William and Griffin time to hang out, drop mentos into diet Coke, that sort of thing. Shortly after we crossed into Saskatchewan, it started to rain. Apparently it has been raining here quite regularly since we left. Odd spring. We only stopped for a quick coffee in Saskatoon and continued on our way, it's been 16 days and we miss the cat. The house was in fine shape when we returned. I"d closed windows and had expected the house to be hot and stuffy upon our return, but to the contrary, it was cold. 

Friday, June 13, 2014

Hanging out in Edmonton

We checked out of the B&B but hung out in the common room until early afternoon, finishing more homework. When hunger finally struck, we killed to things with one thing and went to Ikea. Meatballs, all the pop you can drink, and new dish brushes. Picked up more meat then brought Tady, Griffin, and the rest of their family to Frank's for a good ol' BBQ and music fest. I'm beginning to see signs of teenager interaction, groups going off for walks to get away from the old-timers, that sort of thing. It's not in William's mindset yet, but it's only a matter of time. 

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Edmonton, catching up on homework

It may seem strange, but it felt relaxing to sit in the Edmonton bed and breakfast common room and monitor William's homework for much of the day. Travel is not conducive to writing, at least not when you travel in a group. It always feels forced to me. William's main teacher didn't send him homework, but asked that he keep a journal and talk about his travels when he returns. We almost had to put a gun to his head to get him to write a bit each day. As it is, he mostly reported on things we ate. We did very little of the math and social studies that his other teacher gave him. Today is the day for that.
 In mid afternoon, we picked up Griffon from his school and took him to Margaret's cousin Frank's for a visit. We don't connect with his family often enough, which is a shame because they are so hospitable.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Iceland, day 8 (final day)

 We began our day by packing all of our bags to move out of the hotel. The manager was, again, amazing and didn't require us to vacate on schedule but rather we got to keep the room until early afternoon when the bus was to pick us up for the airport. Relaxed, we went to the bakery (which we discovered too late) for breakfast. We usually just take out, but decided to sit down for coffee, Skyr yogurt and pastries.

 William's last request for the day was to return to a shop where a group were designing material around a fantasy world. It looks a bit Manga-like and is written in Icelandic. The storybook, "Manasongvarinn",  has not been translated into English yet so we'd passed on it when we were here the other day, but we returned a purchased a copy.
 This is really great yogurt. We brought some to the airport to eat before the flight but had to gobble it down before going through security. There was a container of it in the display which represented "what you cannot carry beyond this point". Each container has a foldable spoon in the lid.
 Nice airport with uniquie art. This piece had voices telling stories which you had to stand very close to if you wanted to hear.
Our flight would be six hours and chase the sun over six time zones. We arrived in Edmonton ahead of schedule, earlier than we left. On our way back to the hotel, very hungry, we stopped for hamburgers (one does not go to Iceland to eat hamburgers, but that does not mean that one misses them).