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Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Out in left field

I went out to the farm for the first time this year. I scraped some paint off the "cottage"; it seemed like I 'd not scraped any at all last fall. It is very hot and humid and nothing seemed worth taking a photo of. I didn't pick up the camera even once. Some days are like that. If I had picked it up, I probably would have taken dozens of images. When you carry a hammer, everything looks like a nail. Here is another image from yesterday:
It is part of what I hope to be a narrative series of artist trading cards I need to finish this week. I hadn't planned on Erik appearing as "The Nemesis", that was William's idea (and costuming).

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

photo day

At the last minute we realized that Margaret had to work today, Tuesday, which is my research day when I've been working with Erik. I decided to bring William along and finally get around to trying out some of the photographic styles I've been excited about. We worked with some long exposures to basically paint the image in near dark. Here is one that Erik particularly liked: he thought it could be a poster for some sort "Clan of the Cave Bear" sort of movie. We include William in many of the photos. I'd like to print some of those.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Kidder: 2009-2010

This evening our favorite fish, Kidder the catfish, passed away. William held a heart-touching service in the front garden.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

taken for a ride

This afternoon I went bike riding with William. We went down the bike path with a plan of going to the place he went to by himself once before. However, at the first underpass, Pasqua Street, he panicked as he turned the corner into it and discovered the path was covered with water. Stopping short, he slid and fell into the mud (see signs of it all over his shirt). He was okay and I convinced him it was no big deal and we continued. We rode about two miles but the troubles with water continued so we never did reach his previous limit. Here we are a couple of blocks beyond the RCMP museum which you might see a bit of in the distance (top left).
Tonight Kevin and I went to see "Jonah Hex" while Margaret and William went to "Prince of Persia". I had a good time but it isn't a highly memorable movie.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

cut

A few months ago we lost our big expensive knife. We looked everywhere. I thought that Margaret had taken it to work to cut a cake but she said she'd taken a different knife. I also thought that it might have somehow got dropped in the snow so it would show up in the spring, but that didn't happen. We eventually bought a new one. Yesterday the old one was found at the Dunlop so now we have twice the cutting power! Now if only my "Professor Dulusia" hat I lost two summers ago would reappear...

Friday, June 25, 2010

politically incorrect Lego

I admit that I arranged this to be on the ramp leading away from this castle, but the arangement with the cowboy being carried by the "Indian" was created by someone else. Maybe my son, maybe some other idle hands in our kitchen over the past couple of days. A Lego construction so bizarrely inappropriate that I needed to photograph it.
It was William's last day of grade 3 today. I had a lazy day, didn't even look at my calendar. The summer heat has arrived (although the rain returns tomorrow) so I just couldn't do much. I put on the last episode of "Six Feet Under" after lunch; I watched all five seasons over the past few weeks, mainly after 11pm. Good show although I certainly finished it out of obsession rather than genuine interest. It got to be more and more about their sex lives than about the dead bodies which had been central in first season.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Today I spend a few hours listening to old radio shows and sorting the good ray-o-gram material I've made from the crap. There is more good than bad so my project is nearly complete. I'm very excited about some stuff we did a few weeks ago at Erik's suggestion where we multiple exposed the film with different coloured lights after shifting the alignment of the masking contact printed image (example above). Notice how the same pattern is repeated (even though it is based on unreproducibly randomly placed objects) but that the two images are apart and different colours.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

finishing touches begun

Margaret started repainting the area above our door and front window today. When we painted last year we designed all the colour patterns after a plan of the house from a distant perspective. However, the house is most often seen from a close up, low angle perspective (basically standing in the front yard or at the front door) so the result is that the blue of the second floor is not well seen and the whole thing is off balance. The solution is to change this area from yellow to blue. It will need a second coat, as will the door, but it feels great to get this step closer.

Janine did her public presentation of her thesis film today. It holds together quite well. I'm very happy with what she has been doing.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

gaining momentum

Today Erik performed a piano piece he composed for my new Grain film. It's a bit of a waltz. I wanted something traditional yet fresh for my highly abstract ray-o-gram style second film in this series. It will be on 35mm and I won't be able to watch it until it is done. We recorded on an out of tune (not that I can really tell) baby grand in the music department at the university. They were very accommodating. Joe wanted to see how the new RODE microphones performed with music so he helped out with the recording as well.
I also got thinking about the cruising through time/space/mind sequence in 2001 that Kubrick had created using a slot scan method that Erik introduced me to last month. Knowing how it is done, it is relatively easy to recreate it using digital images. However, I also realize that the traditional way allowed you to have perfect images with no problems with grain or pixels. The digital short cut has you stretching pixels rather than stretching a real image or a higher res lens-photographed image. Therefore the result contains pixels stretched to dozens of times their original size/dimensions. Regardless, it does demonstrate how the understanding of old school technology allows you to easily navigate and innovate in new/digital technologies. Here are two very short silent demos of the sort of shot I'm talking about:

video

video

Monday, June 21, 2010

National Aboriginal Day minifigs

I went on a quest for the new line of collectable mini-figs Lego released this month. Toys R Us was completely sold out in about a week so I missed them there. WalMart on the south end had 5 left from the 1000 they got in last week. There are no more coming in stock until the 2nd edition in a month or two. William and I hit the other two Walmarts and found only one more. I let him open one today. It was a coincidental pick for National Aboriginal Day.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Father's Day

I got some nice chocolate and coffee in bed this morning. William made me a tiny key chain made from some sort of paper that shrinks so that he was able to create details that end up very fine.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

clear skies appreciated

My mom's four day garage sale was in its final day today. William held a pop stand. He used his (defered) allowance money to pay me for the pop which he sold for a buck each for a tidy profit. The final tally of the entire sale isn't in yet but a lot of that goes to William as well as there were numerous toys of his in the mix. Later we went to Marla and Jason's bar-be-que and managed not to talk economics TOO much. He rotisseried a pork roast to perfection. I envy his digital thermometer.

Friday, June 18, 2010

half the fun

Today Mike was in town. We celebrated his half-birthday a day early with a half cheesecake. I made a peanut butter one for the first time even though once, years ago, Mike thought that I HAD made a peanut butter cheesecake but it was actually a coffee one but was a bit over cooked which gave it a slight nutty flavor. He tried to put out the candles through not-blowing-them-out methods such as inhaling the air off them but eventually William had to help him.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

walking dead

I had a strangely inactive day today. I worked at home but really didn't accomplish much of my real work, just some odd jobs around the house, clearing space in my dvd-r, baking biscotti, and watching "Shawn of the Dead" finally.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

sketchy

Here is the sketch of William's Dr. Who costume. We've still not got onto shooting this. The weather has been so rainy that I never did finish the Dalek or the tardis. He only has just over a week of school left until summer. I met with Trevor today for the last time until August. He'll be traveling and working on his photo projects until then. That means I'll have my Wednesdays open for other stuff.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

50% day

Tuesdays are my research days with Erik. For the first time this summer, it was sunny out so we grabbed all the stuff we needed to shoot some pinhole footage and headed into the country. We ended up in a small town about 20 minutes south east of Regina and we set up to shoot the grain elevator. However we couldn't get the battery belt to power the controller/motor. I opened up an ac adapter that plugs into the cigarette lighter and we ran the motor with that for 45 minutes (2 second exposures with an f70 pinhole and 10 iso black and white film). We cut that part of the day short and went back to town, shooting all the way. The long exposures from the moving car are a bit more interesting than regular pixilated ones but only by a bit. You don't really escape the cliche aspect of it, but worthwhile to know. Back in Regina we developed film. The titles for my35mm film didn't work because the bleach I used, which I thought still had some umph left in it, didn't. It was only a test and can be redone in 15 minutes, maybe tomorrow. The footage we shot today was okay, although perhaps a bit overexposed. We got ice cream. This evening I took William to the RPL and we watched puppet films. It was a show curated for kids (there were other adult shows that I missed) and while a couple films were worthwhile, many of them were very juvenile (animals singing in a barn? come on!)

Monday, June 14, 2010

Monday is free day

It seems to be that Mondays are my only really free day that I can catch up on stuff I've been meaning to do. Today I painted a riser blue-screen blue, as well as my mini-cyclorama stage. We pulled William out of school a half hour early and we all attended the book launch for the new collection on mothering that Margaret has a drawing in. Yeah! A new publication (although that means she's got to update her cv). William didn't miss much: all his teachers were subs today so they were watching "Bolt" in aboriginal studies class. I also made an attempt at writing a script for a test chapter of my "Rerun" project. It consisted of 10 lines adapted from Faust to refer to ridiculous film production moments. I don't think it works yet.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

portrait of my brain

This isn't really my brain, it just feels that way. I had a headache all night that kept me from sleeping. This morning William asked if we could watch "Alice in Wonderland" which I bought a couple of weeks ago but haven't opened yet. I was quite certain that he didn't want to watch it, being potentially creepy, so I gladly agreed. I quite enjoyed it and so did William. He wanted to re-watch the Mad Hatter scenes. My headache persisted but discovered that it was less when I was sitting upright so I slept in a chair all afternoon. This image is a photo Margaret took yesterday while working at Gerda's on paper making. It is by Gerry Ann Siwek: image of bunny from handmade paper with inclusions.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

not kid stuff

Today I woke up early, being back to my regular schedule of bad nights, but then fell back asleep and everyone had a slow start to the day. In fact, William never did get out of his pajamas. Margaret and I went to Sylvia Ziemann's opening of her tremendously alluring miniature houses, each demonstrating a different approach to post-world-disaster architecture, complete with functional tvs and (non-functional) toilets. They are up for another couple weeks at the Dunlop branch at the Sherwood Village library.
This evening Margeret went out paper making and William and I tried out the two player Carcassonne Wheel of Fortune variant I bought a few months ago. We had fun. I tried to take the opportunity to teach him the strategies to compete at the game. I pointed out how when we usually play, Paul and I viciously attack each other but not him because he is eight. However, when he turns nine, these rules might change so he'd best be prepared.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Desktop


tI finally built my new nesktop. That's a real desk, not the computer screen. It is the desktop that the computer screen is on rather than the desktop that is on the computer screen.
Many frustrations wiith screws and sawing but now it is done and I can sit correctly and type finally. I will look at getting William a new monitor and using his as my second. Maybe tomorrow.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

June 10

It rained today so the Meti dance event was canceled. William was going to be the class photographer. Instead they stayed inside and watched "Ponyo". Debbie and Owen came over for supper and he and William played Lego for 3 hours non-stop. I worked today, didn't take any pictures but I did find this one from exactly 4 years ago.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Home from Calgary

After a mitt full of advil at 5 am, I managed to get rid of my sinus headache and get some more sleep. This resulted in our getting a slower start to the day. We left my sister's at 10 and went to visit my niece Nicole at her workplace. We made a couple of other stops, most notably a long break in Medicine Hat for lunch and an art gallery. It rained almost the entire way so the drive was tiring. William read the entire way, completing Michael Scott's 389 page "Necromancer" novel in one day. I've got too many posts to catch up on and am not going into the detail this adventure deserves.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Calgary day 2

We had a busy day in Calgary today. First we exited out B&B, hit another used book store, went to Heritage Village and rode lots of rides and crammed a bit of history into our heads, then picked up my niece Michelle to take her for supper, then I dropped Margaret and William off at my sisters so that they could go swimming and I took my nephew Chris to the screening at the CSIF that I curated in their sofa cinema. I started coming down with a cold and had a rough night.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Traveling to Calgary

With great intentions we got up at 5 am and tried to make an early start for Calgary. I think we were actually in the car by about 7, not even in the first 3 to driving off our block. It's a busy place as the sun rises around here. We arrived in Calgary at about 4 and passed this fence that we called "ca-moo-flage". I think it is so that neighborhood cows can hide from the hazards of house cats who prey upon them. William disagreed, so we decided it might be for the cows to hide from the MacDonald's across the street.We checked into a b&b and spent the evening going for gelato (below) and finding used book stores (see yesterday).

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Catching up 1

I'm posting this a few days after this actual date. We went to Calgary for the past two days and the day before we left (Sunday) blogger wasn't working so I couldn't cheat and pre-post my blog.
The day was mostly spent getting ready, writing my notes for the screening at the "Sofa Cinema" at the CSIF, and getting what I'd hoped would be my last report of the summer done and sent to the head (email I'm facing now proves this to be untrue, but I'm not "working" until at least Thursday.
I've been enjoying blogging again, especially when I include images. Here is a book I found in a used book store tomorrow but will include it here. I didn't buy it, the review just wasn't convincing enough;This evening I managed to keep my hand in on the 48 Hour Filmmaking Frenzy by being one of the jurors to give out the awards and have a team that I was not on be on the cup (I'm on over half of them but am not sure I'd have beat the teams this time, they were really good).

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Holiday!

We've delayed our main trip but today we took a mini-trip to Assiniboia (a small city about 1.5 hours from here). There is a rather interesting art gallery there, the Shurniak. It was set up with private money and houses a private collection including a number of Group of Seven paintings but also including some rather hokey paintings of cowboys. The whole place is set up like a large house with multiple rooms, the walls lined with art, but also filled with couches, chairs, lamps, pianos, etc. I was particularly taken with a traveling show on Kenderdine paintings (see above). William was a bit sick today so we didn't do many side trips. We went to Moose Jaw on the way home and stopped at the old train station that Rick Hancox couldn't get into to film for his "Moose Jaw" film but is now converted to a liquor store (below).
We also stopped at the burrowing owl sanctuary and discovered the the one-winged owl we sponsored last year has died in some accident. I'm disappointed tha they didn't inform us of that fact. At least they didn't hit us up for a new sponsorship.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Holiday?

I had today off as a holiday. Spent the entire morning at work catching up on things, returning equipment (almost forgot to pull last photos off camera before it went back), mixing up film chemistry, planning my next film review, and meeting people about capital purchases. This afternoon I tried to fix my mom's computer printer problem. She gets a "print spooler" error which I've solved before and I found two methods of turning back on but it just shuts itself back off again after you try to print. Painful. This evening we had a nice fire in the back yard (no, we didn't burn my mom's printer - that would be against the city bylaw).Here is a more or less successful demonstration of the slit scan photo where the entire image is not captured at the same time resulting, in this case, in the moving object being shortened. A slit moving the opposite way, with the moving object instead of against it, would result in the moving object lengthening. However, this was much more difficult to time and we never accomplished it.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

water and fire

This afternoon I helped out William's class going to the Lawson swimming pool. I met William's teacher's mother and had an interesting chat. This evening we went to Victoria Park and saw the best fire dance I've ever seen. Well choreographed and luckily not stopped by the fire department when they arrived (they had a permit).
video video

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Hump day

Busy day at work with a big meeting this morning and teaching this afternoon. I worked with Trevor today, going into the studio with the new camera. This isn't one of the images we shot since I forgot the camera at the office with the images in it. This is another one of me from yesterday.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

new camera

The New Media Studio Lab just got in a new Canon EOS 5D digital SLR camera. A mighty machine. Erik and I took it out for a test run today. We shot some "Neighbors"-style pixilation which works really well when you can expose at 1/8000 of a second. We also did some long exposures. Here is an excerpt of an 20 second image of me moving around a dark room with a very filtered flashlight.