Saturday, October 31, 2015

Getting pumpkins carved for Halloween

 Last night we carved four pumpkins (one huge, two big, and one small) and roasted the seeds (much easier than I'd have thought; we've been doing it for a couple of years now).

Friday, October 30, 2015

William's new Halloween costume

Soviet scientist William Bessai-Saul and "Spudnik"
William combined Halloween and his science project today by presenting his research on Sputnik in the guise of a 1957 Soviet scientist, complete with fur hat, slide rule, and a copy of the communist manifesto. Margaret came to the school at lunch time to pick up the 1/2 scale sputnik replica and his teacher went out of his way to come outside and compliment the presentation. I asked William if they managed ot get through all of the presentations, which is when he pointed out that he was the only one who presented; the others all handed in papers instead (form/style of the project had numerous options). He began with the discussion of "spudnik" and its self generating electrical power, but once corrected, he continued with Sputnik.
Taking Sputnik to Sheldon Collegiate 

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Dishwasher pushes our button (or we its)

Broke the on button on the dishwasher. Margaret took panels off to get at it. Unfortunately she took off two screws that she shouldn't have and the door became detached from its spring-loaded hinges. We finally sorted that out but eventually found that the plastic button was broken. We'll try to use it without that button (the actual switch is still accessible, even with this piece off). 

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Rocky Horror Show a bit rocky

We went to The Rocky Horror Show (for those who don't know, that is the title for the live stage version of what became the movie, The Rocky Horror Picture Show) produced by Sterling Productions at the Centre of the Arts. This was the third time I've seen it live, on top of seeing the film over 20 times, so I am very familiar with it. The play began with some incredible singing and performing by Jason Fisher (Brad), Hayley Robinson (Janet), Nolan Straightnose (Riff Raff), Nathan Weir (Narrator), and Tajzanna Hall (overture and Magenta). I was immediately enthralled by the spectacle which brought new colour, light and movement to the work that I hold such strong nostalgic value in. The make up, costumes, and especially the live music were all fantastic and the performers were really owning the roles, singing corny familiar songs with skill and meaning. Things got even better in scene two with the Time Warp (although the non-tiered seating made the impromptu audience dancers a major distraction, making Montana Adams' dance (as Columbia) difficult to see). However, with the entrance of the starring character Frank-N-Furter, played without flair by Lyndon Bray, I was ready to leave. He performed his role like someone who has watched the film a few times and had simply memorized his lines. His attempts at humour were pathetic cliches. I was reminded of Dom DeLuise and his uninspired antics including knuckle biting and audience mugging. I tried to appreciate the fact that Bray is significantly older than the rest of the cast and may have enjoyed it if they had tried to sell us on Frank-N-Furter being an over-the-hill version of his former self, but no mention of his wrinkles, his flabby skin, or his struggle to walk in heals was ever made. I stuck with the play to the end, knowing that the others had many good songs to come (and wow, they continued hitting them out of the park), and appreciated Bray's interaction with the audience in his final "I'm Going Home" song, but it was too little, too late for him to redeem his disappointing performance.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Caligari in the public domain

I've been looking at the new 16 fps transfer of "The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari" I had done to see how close it is to the restored version that is available from dvd. The restored copy, with its "value added" scratch removal and tint/tone re-imagining is no longer public domain while the scratched and damaged version we all fell in love with in film school is anyone's film.
Today I took Rania and An fabric and craft shopping. 

Monday, October 26, 2015

I smell a good buy

While in Saskatoon on the weekend, William bought this electric steam thing at Rose's auction house for five bucks. He wants to make it into a scene machine. 

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Creepy Piany

We put up some of our Halloween decorations. The skeleton has a place of honour behind the piano to watch William practice. The hands often get in the way of turning pages so need to be bent up (in anticipation of a high five?). He's been playing the first two pages of the Star Trek Next Generation theme this week. 

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Saskatoon for Hunchback of Notre Dame and Cajun food

William and I drove up and back to Saskatoon today to see The Hunchback of Notre Dame at the Roxy with live music by the Saskatoon Symphony. It is an odd film in that it is rather old fashioned in its construction (even for 1923) with most of it shot in master shots and a title card every third shot. However, the Lon Chaney performance was far more bizarre than I'd remembered with his tongue constantly flicking out of his mouth and his deafness expressed clearly but his surprised pantomime every time he becomes aware of people behind him. It was fun.
Mike joined us for the movie and for Cajun food afterwards. We went to the Mardi Gras Grill, a couple blocks from the theatre, and it was okay. There was a good range of selection on the menu. This was the first time William tried Gumbo and he ate ever bite. He also tried my alligator (which was also a first for me).

William and Mike having a flip phone fight

Friday, October 23, 2015

Stadium in sight

With the leaves off the trees and Connaught School still gone, we can now see the new stadium from our driveway. This is zoomed in but I'm basically standing behind my car. I'm wondering how loud this is going to be on a winning day? William got his hair trimmed (likes it bristly on the back). Angelos was over for supper. He's been in town visiting his mother. 

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Parent/Teacher meeting

We went to William's school this morning for scheduled meeting with his teacher. Things are going very well. Afterwards we managed to finally get him onto the school wifi (there was an agreement page that never seemed to come up but someone at the office knew it had to be there and helped us find it). 

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Zachari Logan at the AGR

Tonight was the official opening of the Zachari Logan exhibition at the Art Gallery of Regina for which Margaret wrote the program. Great turn out. The work looks fantastic. His talk helped connect the lines between the large nude self portraits and the dense pastel panels with foliage (it begins with one flower...).
Had conversations with Eric and Allan whom I was not sure had met before until Eric reminded us that I did Allan's voice in his Filmpool 30th Anniversary film

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Magic Mirror

I worked with Rania and An today. We made some successful breakthroughs towards Rania's hopes to use anamorphic mirrors within her thesis project. Coincidentally, (well, not entirely coincidentally as I ordered this on line as a reaction to my meeting with Rania last week) I received this "Magic Mirror" book in the mail today. It is a 1979 reprint of a 1900 publication and although not a well printed book, it is beautiful and an excellent demonstration device for this form. Also in the mail: my refund cheque from the post office for their blundered shipment last month. 

Monday, October 19, 2015

Canadian Election

Election today. I voted a couple weeks ago, Margaret voted first thing this morning at William's school. Liberals took a significant majority. When we turned off the tv a few minutes ago, the NDP candidate in our riding was ahead by a few votes (and I really mean a few) but has been within a hundred votes of the PC candidate all evening. As a result, I don't know which of the selfies I shot this afternoon to use. I guess the morning will tell us....

Post script: the next morning it appears that the upper photo is the correct one. Weir has won the riding by about 140 votes. Yeh!!!

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Farm, Cottage, Coyote, Flax Fire

We drove out for a whirl-wind adventure in the country today. I put in the seventh window into the cottage, finally sealing up the upper hatch where they used to fill the bin with grain (it had big gaps so there was no way to restrict flies from coming in). I also got the cedar done on the second side. William practiced his driving a bit, including a try at the standard.

On the way there, we found a recently dead coyote on the grid road. On the way home, we stopped to see the flax being burned just north of the valley. Pretty image-filled six hours.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Visiting neigbours, trading veggies

We were visiting with Evanna and Kathy across the street this evening. Margaret brought some potatoes and pickles to trade for some tomatoes. We had a nice visit, some wine, and some talk of Ireland. William and I cut out a bit early so we could watch this week's foreign film: Werner Herzog's Nosferatu. 

Friday, October 16, 2015

Margaret's Birthday

Happy birthday Margaret. I hope you enjoyed the day and the gifts (some surprises, some not) that we found for you. We had a wonderful supper at the Creek Bistro (wow Martin, incredible!) and adjourned home to open up the smoking jacket that was thought to have been "the purchase that got away" from earlier this year. I had tracked down the seller (The Dress Form) through the organizers of the vintage sale (with help from the image I posted on this blog) and was able to pick it up (with great wrapping which added significantly to the mystery as she opened it) in Regina with William a week after Margaret had given it up as lost. William also made Margaret a stuffed pig with button eyes and a pipe cleaner tail that turned out quite charming and more that a little surprising.His name is Tennerock.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Cumberbatch Hamlet

Fat Hamlet
We attended the live movie theatre broadcast thing of Benedict Cumberbatch's "Hamlet" at the Galaxy Cinema. I think overall it was pretty good, although it took me a while to warm up to Cumberbatch in the role (or he took some time to get in his groove, I don't know which). However, many scenes were spoiled for me due to the scandalously poor projection at the Regina Galaxy theatre. Even after a complaint was filed during the intermission, the aspect ratio was wrong for the entire film. Not only were the scenes all too wide making everyone fat, but the far left and right of the frame were clipped off! Often characters were talking to empty space. Other times, people standing to the far edges were cut in half. Ophelia was chunky and her feet always looked too big. When Laertes is lying on the floor, he was no longer fat but the opposite, he was overly long and thin with his feet and the top of his head uncomfortably clipped from the screen. Margaret refuses to go to more of these events. 

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Working Wednesday

I met with Jingyi today and watched the new cut of her film with subtitles in. Beautiful work. Started reading Saqib's paper. George was over for supper and we shared some points to book the girls' December trip. After some harassment, William played his song 10 times through, as he is supposed to each day.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Trials and Tribulations of Sweets

This morning at breakfast as I was eating the fifth of six cinnamon buns that Margaret bought for me last week (they are best after a few days as the glaze begins to crystallize), I kept getting a whiff of something "funky". At first I thought it might be the coffee cream, but that seemed fine. Next I thought it might be the cereal milk, and then the butter, but no on both accounts. Suddenly it dawned on me as I began reaching the moister inner layers of the cinnamon bun that it had begun to ferment. Ugh.
This evening Margaret made her first even banana cream pie. This is one of my favorites. It turned out perfectly. Yum. 

Monday, October 12, 2015

Pumpkin harvest!

Thanks to George and Gertrud, the pumpkin harvest came home last night. It is amazing! I believe George had 23 in the truck. We took most of them (too many!!!) but since Halloween is on a Saturday this year, we can put much of that day towards carving. We are also looking forward to roasting some seeds. 

Sunday, October 11, 2015


Great meal at Richard and Gerda's house. Big crowd, although I think it is the first time that neither of their kids were in town. The rain pushed George Bessai harvest off again, but he did bring in all the pumpkins that we planted.

George Bessai

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Mercury with Erik, Geremy, and WIlliam

Had a great creative breakfast at the Mercury today. Erik Sirke is in town for a few more days and we convinced Geremy to take a short break from his holiday preparations to sit down with us. I've invited them to collaborate with me on a Frankenstein film that I've been stuck on for a couple of years without being able to figure out the ending. We made a huge breakthrough (it's all about the moon) so now there are just some issues around the middle that need fixing. Very pleased. I hope to shoot it in January or February in the studio with the Red.
I met the artist Zachari Logan at his opening at Slate Gallery. He has another exhibition next week at the AGR for which Margaret wrote the program notes. He was very happy with her writing and I was pleased they had a chance to talk. The show is fantastic. His figurative drawings of his body are incredible, although I personally preferred the playful and creepy drawings of "chimeran" creatures which are mixtures of two or more animals or animals with people. Wow.
The rest of the day was raking leaves, putting in storm windows, and watching tv. 

Friday, October 9, 2015

Early Thanksgiving with cousin Julia

Margaret made a stack of pies for Thanksgiving or perhaps early Halloween. Heading to Mom's to visit with my cousin Julia who is visiting and to eat some much anticipated turkey. Julia, Mark, and the three kids were great to see. William brought the travel Lego, which was naturally a hit with the boys.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Art in the Alley, Horror of Christina

I lent my "Crave" backdrop to Christina for her Global interview about horror movies. We also put the projector that Ange gave me last month into the foreground of their shot. Hope to see it soon.
There was a big art event in an alley downtown. The projections on the buildings were cool. Ian Campbell looked like a god atop the dumpsters. Simon Moccasin did an impassioned talk about location.