Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Alison Cropley


This weekend a dear woman and friend, Alison Cropley, passed away from an unexpected stroke. I met her a handful of times when she would come to Regina from Australia to visit her old classmate Gertrud, Margaret's mother. The last time I saw her, I suggested that we go to Dairy Queen. I knew (can't remember how) that she'd loved going to Dairy Queen decades ago and hadn't been there in ages. Even though it was late in the evening and none of us were really hungry, we had a blast going and getting sundaes and shakes and so on. I'm so glad that I got to enjoy the few conversations I did with her. 

Monday, January 30, 2017

New Car

We bought a new car today, a 6 speed Mazda 6GT. It's pretty swank. 

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Allan and Fiasco

Last night I had only a few minutes to talk with Allan at the fundraiser. Today he came over and we played a round of Fiasco and caught up on stuff (hadn't had a chance to talk since summer). 

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Allan Dotson unveils poster for Cathedral Festival

At the Taste of Cathedral Festival fundraiser this weekend, Allan Dotson unveiled his design for this year's poster. To my surprise, Canister the Robot is one of the figures wandering the streets of our neighborhood!!! I'm totally floored. Margaret knew and somehow kept it a secret from me this whole time.

Friday, January 27, 2017

Dunlop NDH performance of Bill Coleman’s Dollhouse

We went to the opening night performance at the Dunlop, presented in partnership with New Dance Horizons, in which Gordon Monahan (sound artist) collaborated with the reknown dancer, Bill Coleman, and used a variety of dance, electronic, mechanical, chemical, material, and costume elements to construct a one hour event of slapstick struggle. William got a chair, which perhaps was a good thing even though he couldn't always see what was happening on the floor such as when Coleman was getting his  feet stuck to glue panels. Margaret and I sat on mats on the floor which gave us a great view of most things, except perhaps the contents of the strange vibrating pots that William thought contained dry ice. However, I was pretty stiff by ten minutes in; can't do that sort of thing like I used to. I liked when Coleman's entanglements evolved into tap dancing, reminding us of his serious dance skills, and the control that is behind choreographed chaos. This  helped me to define him as a person with a goal which in turn made the slapstick problems have dramatic purpose. Without him having any characteristics, the comedy was purely formal and couldn't sustain dramatic interest. Crazy stuff. 

Thursday, January 26, 2017

animation tests

We shoot a bit of animation each week in class to demonstrate some software or hardware or an idea. Here are two clips from out class shoots:

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Reprint license plate

During our used car purchase when we dealt with all the technical stuff at CAA, we discovered that you can get your license plates reprinted for twenty bucks. We've had this plate for 16 years and sort of remember it and thought it might be nice to keep it. Today our reprint came in. We'll be able to use it on our new car which should be here in a few days. The plates weigh slightly less than half of what they used to (old ones were 7 ounces, new was 3.3).

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

driving practice

Went out driving with William. Around and around the parking lot we go. 

Monday, January 23, 2017

Saskatchewan Gothic at the Dunlop

For the next week or so (until Feb 5, excluding the weekend of Jan27-29) I am included in an exhibition called "Saskatchewan Gothic", part of the Meet in the Middle project from Strandline. The sparse room creates a unique acoustic space for the soundtrack Jeff Looysen and Jon Dyck performed for these 1999 films of mine. These films are generally shown in smaller spaces, beginning with their first Dunlop show, Quicktime: The Revenge of Super 8, from 2000, where the films were shown on a small monitor and observed from the comfort of a couch in one of a number of cozy spaces that the gallery was divided into. Other screenings may have been larger, but not until now was the music played in such room that it reverberates in such a manner. I'm very pleased.
Other work include is by Ian Campbell, Mike Rollo, Amalie Atkins, David Garneau, and Dana Claxton. 

Sunday, January 22, 2017


Made a double batch of waffles this morning. We have a lot of eggs to use up so I added extra to them. This evening we had a meeting to start bringing Caligari to a close (and talk about the future...)

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Driving in rectangles

Took William out practicing driving at the Centre of the Arts parking lot, then met up with Kevin for coffee. 

Friday, January 20, 2017

Late night helping William

Following William's Wednesday paper and Thursday final, both in social studies which is his only B and therefore the course most in need to pouring extra time into, William needed to get his final media project done for Friday morning to present at 9:00 am. The parameters were that it had to be "a minimum of 3 to 5 minutes, and must demonstrate editing, cinematography, diegetic and non-diegetic sound, use of Adobe Photoshop, Premiere, and After Effects." The teacher didn't necessarily workshop them on much of the software they were asked to use, so I proposed a few techniques and gave William a couple workshops. By the time I got home from my lengthy Thursday at 9:30 pm, he already had the crazy "living room" scene done and was working on syncing his paper animation to his audio recordings. I suggested a shortcut that saved him a half hour so that he was able to get the digital animation of the cut-out version of himself started before midnight. He got it cut together by 2am and sent it to render. I waited up for it to finish the technical export in case anything went wrong. Nothing did. It has a number of bits that should be adjusted, but overall I'm quite impressed by this brave, crazy, non-narrative video he made. Response from the class sounds like it was good. It is called Hallucinasia.
Just as he was finishing at the media couse, we got the call to pick up our 2001 Mazda from the shop. Steve had given it a once over and gotten it all fixed up for about $700, making the cost of the vehicle only $2700. Pretty good replacement.
William had a second exam on Friday afternoon, math at 1:00. He finished and double checked his answers in the minimum one hour so I picked him up and took him for a soda. Enjoyed the "Americana" brand cherry cola. 

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Ian hosts workshop

Ian Campbell came into my animation class this week and generously taught us about his techniques for building miniatures out of found objects. I had a lot of fun. I'm hoping that the animation room contain a "builder's corner" where we can glue, paint, and otherwise fabricate background pieces and props for puppet animation. 

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

William last day of term

It was William's last day of classes before final. He worked for at least a week on his social studies paper on Chairman Mao (they needed to choose a world leader and talk about impact and other issues). It was interesting to learn along with him. The final, the day after the paper is handed in, will be a five minute oral summary of this topic. William spent the evening gathering images. The oddest bit that he is adding to his presentation that was not in his paper was a program Mao instigated to get rid of pests. In its first incarnation, he had the entire nation strive to kill as many flies, mosquitoes, rats, and sparrows as they could. The resulting hut to near extinction of sparrows (pictured above), instead of saving on how much grain they ate, created a plague of locusts that had previously been eaten by the birds. Famine followed. He latter changed the hunt to bed bugs. 

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Last look at our car

Car is gone for scrap now. We have our replacement, dropped off with Steve to fix a few things this week, but we'll still miss "blinky".

Monday, January 16, 2017

Turkey Monday

Fortunately, my foot feels much better this morning, having put a hot water bottle on it all night, because on my way to work to submit my three year informational report for review I came upon a woman who'd lodged her van onto the snow and was completely stuck and panicked and desperately wanted a push. The snow was hard and there was no way to dig it with our hands, nor get the van over the hump she's put herself onto. Luckily the local Imam brought a shovel out and we got her cleared.
I worked at home this afternoon, gettting ready for class and catch up on other stuff that needed doing. However, I seem to have lost my list of things to do so I baked a turkey. 

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Picture of car

Weather is great. William went for a walk. Here he is with the new (old) car. 

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Sore foot

Ran some errands with the new car. Drives well. My right ankle was sore when I went to bed last night. Today it is very sore. Hobbled around Canadian Tire and Safeway picking up this and that. Weather is finally changing.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Fast car deal

Found an old Mazda 626 on Kajiji. We met up with the owner. The price was ok but not great so Margaret was going to ask to have the mechanics look at it first. Then, with a bit of eye contact as our only signal, she made a low-ball offer and he took it. A few hours later, we paid for it in cash and registered it, all in one sitting. 

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Car was sold

The car we looked at earlier in the week was sold to someone else. This is our second disappointment (earlier in the week the mechanics told us that the Honda we looked at had too many problems for the price that was being asked). Hitting Kijiji again. What we've discovered is that a great deal of the imported cars, except Mazda and Honda, are too small for me to want to drive. This helps narrow the search (Margaret doesn't want to buy a used domestic). 

Wednesday, January 11, 2017


I've been getting obsessed with checking up on the south Florda eagle live webcam. It's unbelievably cool to see eagles feeding their young from this close up. I had a nice break, thinking that I had a big meeting but then discovering that it had been cancelled. Got to love that. 

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Possible car

We've been car shopping for a used car. We looked at a Mazda very similar to our old one but a bit newer and a standard. Price was great. We wanted to have a mechanic look at it. Weather is very cold and we are very busy, so this will have to happen on Friday. 

Monday, January 9, 2017

Name that wheat?

What kind of wheat is this? It was growing near Regina in 1985 or 1986. 

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Cabbage rolls and Perogies

Heather and David's annual cabbage roll party and competition was tonight (even coinciding with Ukrainian Christmas). I made perogies and brought a few dozen to mix it up a little. 

Thursday, January 5, 2017

classes begin

Classes started. Thursday is my busy day with two classes, each 3 hours long, on the same day. The students were overall quite quiet. Perhaps it is just a beginning of term thing. 

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Last day of the break

I'm actually back at work but, without a car, it seemed more efficient to work at home today. I got some sound done and a bunch of scanning from film frames as well as some notes compiled for tomorrow's classes. William is the one who is really on his last day of his break, but he's pretty interested in getting stuff accomplished. He shot some piece of a puppet show. He's also been drawing some animation and I taught him how to scan the artwork. 

Tuesday, January 3, 2017


Met with Grant, Mike, and Brian at Bushwakker's this afternoon to lively (but sober) talk about the beer project.
This followed a frenzied day of errands as well as a hospital visit with BG. 

Monday, January 2, 2017

Car shopping

Still haven't found a car, but at least we are looking. Test driving in -30 isn't very fun though. 

Sunday, January 1, 2017

New Year's Eve and Day

We closed out the old year with fire. The fireworks over the Science Centre were pretty nice as seen from the Centre of the Arts parking lot at 6:00. Afterwards, Mike dropped in for a semi-surprise visit from Saskatoon. We played some Exploding Cats then walked over to Richard and Gerda's where they were burning an effigy of Trump.
New Years day had us together with Mike again, this time at Gertrud's for crepes. The evening of the first was an amazing adventure at Kevin's with the three of us together for a rare in-person session.