Sunday, November 30, 2014

Ed Willett book signing

Ed was signing his new book today. We ventured into the bitter bitter cold to visit with him briefly and to have a hot chocolate. Back at home, William is increasingly interested in getting the basement usable to do things like play games, watch tv, and do homework. 

Saturday, November 29, 2014

dance and my hat

The arts are really piling up this week. After about four consecutive days of events (most of which we missed) I had hoped to hit both the dance performance at NDH and then get to see the live goat at the Dunlop. While I managed to find my hat at the dance, I did not get to the Dunlop in time to see Bill Burns do the milking.
William and I have been cleaning up the basement room and hope to put it into use very soon. 

Friday, November 28, 2014

seven hours of errands with WIlliam

William was off school today and Margaret was working all day. I had hoped to take some time off with him but it wasn't entirely possible. I spelled out my days activities and he wanted to tag along. We started with a nice lunch meeting with Chrystene and Robin regarding dance and German Expressionism. Went to the French cafe on Victoria near Park Street. I think I forgot my hat at NDH, which Robin would like to call New and Used Dance Horizons, claiming that there isn't anything new anymore. It hasn't caught on. From there we went to the university where he watched Dune on Hoopla while I was at an education meeting. We slipped into Randal Rogers and Christine Ramsay's book launch for "Mind the Gap". Driving around downtown after that was slow as I searched for my hat (was too late, NDH had closed) and to drop some keys to Kallie. Many art gallery openings tonight but I attended only the Dunlop show. I have not been inclined to take pictures but pulled the camera for a moment to get William watching videos on my computer in my office.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

SIFA awards

SIFA awards this evening. High point for me was Matt Yim's speech accepting the audience choice award. When he found himself at the podium without his partner Matt Belanger, he thanked the Belanger family for coming out in sufficient numbers to vote for him. I forgot my camera but had nice conversations with Chrystene Ells, Berny Hi, and Jeannie Mah.
This morning I met with the Film 400 class to talk about next term. I'll need to create the syllabus this weekend. This afternoon I tested my puppet in Tanya's lab. I'm getting excited about this project. 

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Where did I put Canister?

I've totally cracked myself up as I super-sharpened my exacto-knife on a wet stone between each cut and create my new puppets of Canister the Robot and his adversary. I hope to do a test shoot in Tanya's lab soon. Problem is, I keep losing his body parts. 

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Kodak super-8 film shipping problems

Last week I placed an order for a dozen rolls of black and white super-8 film from Kodak. The communication between us was not great as they wrote to ask for credit card information that they already had. After confirming the info, I asked for the total and was told a much smaller number than I had anticipated. It ended up that they placed the order for only one roll and, even though they were just confirming my order, they had already shipped it. Hurrah and Doh, simultaneously. They put in an order for the remainder and sent me the two invoices. Looking at the invoices, I was miffed to find a surcharge on both orders, even though the division into two was their fault. I complained but heard nothing back. Two days later, the first box arrive with one roll of film in it. Today I realized that the second box had not yet come so I looked at the invoices for tracking info. The necessary shipping numbers were not on the invoice, but I then noticed that the second box was being shipped to a different address, my new neighbour across the street! Fortunately they were home tonight and had the box (I'd met them when they were moving in three weeks ago but they'd forgotten my name). So here I am with a dozen rolls. 

Monday, November 24, 2014

yawning and taping

It's been an effort not to yawn today. This evening I'm yawning almost constantly. The house feels very cold and I cannot warm up, even with multiple blankets.
URFA AGM this morning. I couldn't stay for the break out sessions due to teaching, but truthfully I didn't really want to go, feeling as tired as I do.
In the small time I did have in my office today, I dubbed the very last of the cassette tapes that I wanted digitized. There are over 100 tapes in this box, making up over 8 Gb of mp3 files including Dread line recordings, personal answering machine tapes, interview tapes, sound effects and dialogue tests from early films. These are primarily from 1987 to 2000.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

on line movies through library

Today William and I tested out "Hoopla" which is the way that the Regina Public Library is allowing its patrons to access online media such as ebooks, audio books, music, and movies,  While it took ten minutes of monkeying around to register and get the right plug in downloaded, it appears that from now on it will be easy. The list of movies is large and somewhat random. We watched "Silent Running". I'd not listed it as a dystopia before, but listening to the discussion about earth within it, there is certainly grounds for dystopic association. Earth is now entirely crime free, weather free (all at 75 degrees somehow), unemployment free, and starvation free (everyone eats the same processed foot pellets). Uniformity leaves no room for someone with different ideas, and thus the story. 

Saturday, November 22, 2014

William remote control lego camera tank

William built this and successfully shot a video while it checked out the cat and got stuck and unstuck upon hitting the hardwood. 

Friday, November 21, 2014

Berny Hi studio

 Berny Hi, the artist in residence for the Saskatchewan Filmpool, held an open house and information launch of his studio for participants and interested people last night. He has a great space at the CBC, about twice the size of the UofR Film Department studio.
Fantastic turn out with quite a few more people than he anticipated, all wanting to contribute creatively. Nice talks with Dianne Ouellette, Martin Makowski, Colby Richardson, Jon Tewksbury and others.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Eric sighted at improv, too fuzzy to be funny

William and I went to combat improv at the Artesian last night. Always a good time although we certainly miss Colby. I'm certain they will get into their groove again soon.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Thinning the files

I've got some books that won't fit on my shelf. I figure that if I were to reduce and move some of the materials in other areas that I will eventually find space on the shelf. Today I pulled out my notes from Film 400. I've taught it about 7 or 8 times and rarely have I thrown anything away from the files. I reduced this in half, making about 4 more inches in my drawer. Tomorrow I'll do some more. I have a 4 inch stack of proposals which I should scan to files and recycle, but I'd like them in individual pdfs rather than one massive one, so this would require a minute long cycle for each of the 150 proposals. Maybe I can get a student assistant to do this...? 

Monday, November 17, 2014

Photo hunt with Smokey the Bear

I created another photo treasure hunt project today in which students would be tasked to reproduce photos I've taken, matching lens length, depth of field, etc. However, I couldn't manage to print them off and the on line album didn't seem to work for the students. It ends up that we didn't have enough time anyway, having changed my schedule slightly, so I might try it next week instead.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Dinner with Gertrud and Fred for birthdays

George bbqed up a great feast of fillet mignon, lobster, shrimp, and scallops for the combined birthdays of Margaret and George's parents. The evening was further enhanced by a call from Kristin which was passed from person to person around the table. Some amusing stories were told, including tales of meal preparation during harvest time 45 years ago. 

Friday, November 14, 2014

French Friday continues

Ran into another glitch getting the lab computer to run Sockvile so that An can work on it. This delayed me to the point that I was almost late for William, having agreed to pick him up today. We watched Claude Chabrot's 1960 new wave film "Les Bonnes Femmes". Crazy to see the characters at the zoo, feeding monkeys through the bars and yelling/screeching at them. William had French class today and is obviously trying, as evidenced by the writing on his hand. 

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Extinct birds at Museum

Passenger PigeonThe Royal Saskatchewan Museum opened a new exhibit today about extinct or nearly extinct animals. It is a small gallery but quite worthwhile. They have a dead passenger pigeon. I've never seen one before and was a bit surprised by what it looked like. 

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Film festivals

Found out my film "Gas" wasn't programmed for local film festival today. I should have known, my Saskatchewan based films are never a good fit to screen here. 

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Snow on Remembrance Day

Woke on the day off to a thin blanket of snow. It will be  -12 all week, so I don't expect it to melt. Winter has begun.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Paul Crepeau performance in the Three City Link

As part of the Three City Link project that Christine Ramsay is doing with her class, co-teaching in a virtual and webcast environment with Coventry, UK and Gyumri, Armenia, Paul Crepeau did a very funny performance as his right wing government administrator. This time, he was proposing to use genetically modified foods to correct the genetic problem of homosexuality. He further proposed the win/win scenario where, with more heterosexuals, the population would increase to the point that women could stay home where they belonged and men could get their jobs back. At the end, he did break character to explain and make sure that the recipients across the globe understood he was creating satire. Between spotty audio, lack of direct performer/audience eye contact, and accent/language issues, it is difficult to know if something like this is being interpreted as intended.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Return home from Winnipeg

We drove home Sunday since I have a class Monday. William took two days off of school (Thursday and Friday) for the trip and now will have Monday and Tuesday (Remembrance Day) off. Weather is getting cold but the snow didn't come so the drive was fine. Cats were well taken care of and all the fish survived. We watched the Dr. Who season finale almost immediately upon our return so that William could phone Griffin and talk without spoiler risks. 

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Forks Mall and the new Museum of Human Rights

Today, the form thrilled me much more than the content. The Forks Mall in Winnipeg, which I'd last been to 20 years ago with Margaret, hasn't changed very much but we have. It was nice to have numerous craft and gift stores, but I really did't want any of that. On the other hand, I took the a number of photos to stitch together and we ate a bit of nice Ukrainian food.
After that we walked over to the brand new Museum of Human Rights. This is open but still under construction so they only allow you in with a tour so that no one wanders off to the forbidden zones. Due to this, we had to book tickets for later in the afternoon. In the meantime, we went downtown to a cool toy store.

The Museum of Human Rights is an incredible building which should be on everyone's lists of places to see. However, as an actual museum, it pulled punches at most turns and actually made me feel that the problems of the world are mostly under control. I was never faced with horrors. I was never faced with unsolvable problems. I was never woken from the safety of being in Canada. If I wanted to find any negative issues, I had to dig for them in the interactive screens, and even then I'm not sure they were really there. Complacency was reinforced. Again, I found that taking pictures of the place was the most thrilling activity.
Linda and Sean came over and we had a great visit this evening. 

Friday, November 7, 2014

Dali and Graeme Patterson at the WAG

We went to the Winnipeg Art Gallery (WAG), primarily to see the Salvador Dali exhibit. It was fantastic but not as large as I'd hoped. In another gallery was a new animation by Graeme Patterson who started off in Saskatoon and did a very intricate animation with a deer a number of years ago that I believe he showed during an artist talk at the university one day. Now he is a Sobey winner and his work has far more depth. We watched the entire half hour. 

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Trip to Winnipeg

Drove to Winnipeg Thursday for a weekend of art and visiting. Portage was under construction starting five km out of town, a new record. Leslea and Leif's house is incredible. It's hard to believe that they changed as many things as they tell us they've changed as the whole place seems so balance and coordinated. One spot they've discovered but not yet actually done anything with is the crypt under one portion of the house but not connected to the rest of the basement. It is accessible only through a single hatch. The floor of it is covered with broken bottles.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Geremy's Face Book invitations

 Crazy day running around campus, not getting software to work (Christine was having her own, even more catastrophic software issues in her course project which connects three cities). Connected with Geremy and saw his printing press with moveable type with which he'll be making his The Face Book invitation cards. 

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Peter Pan and green screen

In class today, we created a few shots from Peter Pan. I had a good time but I think it was one of those classes that the students mostly watch and likely were not as engaged as I'd liked them to be. The shoot was fairly solid and I gave out some of my strategies for ultra low budget filmmaking, but I don't know if anything stuck. I need to re-think that lesson and make a more controlled and engaged plan. 

Monday, November 3, 2014

Heroes with Henry Winkler and Sally Field

I've clung to this book for 37 years. Why? It was given to me in 1977, probably for my 13th birthday. I read it, which is a bit of an anomaly for me as I rarely read books that were given to me. As it was a novelization of a movie, I obviously wanted to see the movie. Henry Winkler was known mainly for the Fonz in Happy Days and little else. Sally Field should have been the lead name, but that is the nature of fame. Anyway, after a couple months of waiting, the film finally came. It opened at the Roxy Theatre in Regina one Friday night so I was ready to go downtown to see in Saturday afternoon. In the morning, the startling news. The theatre had burned down in the night. The building, including the print, were gone. It took me about a decade to see the film. It was rather ordinary. 

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Is Canister's death a HOAX???

Reports yesterday which shocked the world of Canister the Robot's death yesterday are now being questioned by authorities in Belgium. Since we brought you the news, social media has been abuzz on how this world conquering icon could have been defeated with so little collateral damage to the city where he was found. "Znot rite. Sidewalk not even burnt up" scribes blogger Simon Oldman. This provocative observation exploded into a full investigation with conspiracy theorists having a field day. Noted extra-terrestrial scientist and consultant for the Belgium military space program Joseph Cavor held a press release in Antwerp where he posed the question "If Canister really was a robot, then why did he leave bones behind when he died?".  So far, there have been no fresh sightings but I say to all of you, KEEP WATCHING THE SKIES!

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Halloween tragedy: the end of Canister?!

When we awoke from the daze of last night's Halloween carousing, we were met with a most grizzly sight. The sounds we'd heard in the wee hours of the night, the screams we'd written off as playful role play of children or radio hosts, had not been as innocent as we'd deceived ourselves into believing. The carnage was more than William could bear. He is sedated now. The shock was so intense, I'm uncertain he will ever be the same. And as for Canister, as world conquering megalomaniacs go, he was one of the more endearing. His monologues will be missed.

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