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Monday, April 23, 2018

Not enough time

My time today was much freer than usual. The fire alarm that happened suddenly at mid-morning was only a minor inconvenience and gave me an excuse to visit Geremy and see his new (old) microscope/camera mount. Time went crazy after William got home. He fell behind on his daily comic pages so I set him up to work on one as soon as he got home, thinking he only had a bit of math to do later. The drawing took up all of his time until our early supper after which we went to piano and then to the screening of Stephan Broomer's "Potamkin" at the RPL. This event didn't have the usual promotion so only the true cinephiles where there: Jeannie Mah, Jason Britski, Ella Mikkola, Sandra Staples, Matt Ripplinger, and a dozen others. They were really in for a treat; the film was amazing.

The heavily processed/reticulated/manipulated images, shown this evening with a 16mm print, were breathtaking by themselves. The soundtrack, which began as a loop of alarm-like droning noises, evolved into a sophisticated jazz composition of bells. I don't even know when it shifted from one to the other or whether I liked it more at the beginning or the end. I was just too captivated to analyze it. William thought that we should take a Batman feature (I suggest #4 with George Clooney) and transfer it to super-8, give it this same chemical treatment, then attach this soundtrack to it. In fact, I think he'd like us to do that with all films. Energized by the screening, we headed home to finish the drawing and get on to more homework. However, I've not discovered that he has to do a set of narrative images for Drama for tomorrow and he also has math homework. After cracking the whip on him all weekend, making him do homework all day Saturday and all day Sunday, I thought there would be a bit of a reprieve. I don't know what the teachers are thinking these days.

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Homework, taxes and turkey

I cooked a turkey yesterday, about 20 pounds, and took some to mom today. Lori was over doing taxes with them and so of course I realized the urgency of getting on to mine. They won't be tough this year as there are no strange expenditures or incomes but for the usual things. I cracked the whip on William to get him though his homework on English, science, math,,and art. Lucky only four subjects. Only took one break, about 90 minute coffee break with Geremy, but even that may have stymied William's ability to progress on his Pud project (unless he is downstairs doing it now???).

Saturday, April 21, 2018

The BIG Hole

We went to the big hole that has been dug for the Capital Pointe building. As everyone in Regina knows, this hole was dug years ago and no progress has been made. It's a ridiculous inconvenience and eye sore. A group all posed by it this Saturday and said "Wow". 

Friday, April 20, 2018

Fourth year film student screening

Congratulations to all the film students and their very successful screening of the work they created this year. The whole event on Friday night was great fun. A few things stood out of course. I've been looking forward to Matt Ripplinger's film for some time as he has been working away on the 16mm elements for it over the past few months in the darkroom. It was more sentimental than I expected, a nice surprise. Haley Klassen had two short animated films which, as seems to be her method, she reveals a lot about herself within them. Joel Campbell's film about a relationship involving long term pain and religion screened. However, instead of the script being presented as written, "Line: the movie that was never made" was a film about the (failed) film process emerged - a project that spoke to me much more deeply about the human condition than the intended story would have. A phoenix of a project. Beta Test by Kenton Evenson and Joel Makar was also quite sophisticated - a sort of black mirror sort of thing but had me really hungry for virtual pie. 

Thursday, April 19, 2018

John Desnoyers-Stewart

Really interesting virtual reality exhibition in the Fifth Parallel on campus this week. John Desnoyers-Stewart has a set up where your body is tracked and images of it appear as a figure made of light on the walls. More interestingly, when you put on the goggles, you can see virtual versions of things, rain made of light, a "mirror wall" that you are reflected in, and you can play on the keyboard and make it control the rain and other features. Very fun.
This evening I took my first painting class with Lori. It's taught by Donovan at the Balkwill. 

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

third year film student screening

Huge congratulations to the third year film students and their impressive collection of new work they screened on campus this evening. They had a great crowd and an interesting range of material to watch. From historical drama to poetic experimentation to zombie farce, there was something for everyone. 

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Stories with Allan

Allan came over this evening. I'd not managed to finish storyboarding the comic page ideas we had developed last week, but after we went to "Ready Player One", I jumped back into the last four while William and Allan put their visual heads together to figure out the five pages where the characters wander the dream world. The 30 pages are now planned. I need to finalize the text, but William can now start to draw. 

Monday, April 16, 2018

Journalism students

William and I attended a screening of three films made by journalism students at the university. One of the films was made by a group which included Kyle who was in my grad course on Fridays this term. His supervisor is Trevor Grant who I've not run into since he graduated a few years ago, even though he's been working just a couple of buildings away. We made plans to connect later in the summer. The films were strong but sort of frightening by the end. One was about schizophrenia, the next was about ex-cons and their frustrations over not being able to find a new place in society, and the one Kyle was a part of was about a guy with a multiple personality disorder. While he generally seemed funny and nice, he had some manic moments that felt on the verge of violent and also often appeared to be making very bad day-to-day decisions with things like electrical cords. 

Sunday, April 15, 2018

change of brunch plans

I'd been looking forward to seeing Ivana this weekend as she was taking Kiki to Vancouver to tour UBC. They were going to stop over in Regina for a few hours but at the last minute they changed plans and flew directly home (might have been because storms were heading towards Toronto). The big group was cancelled but the three of us went out anyway as we'd not tried the Creek Bistro brunch before. It was very nice. 

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Third car is ... a Prius!

Margaret bought a 2004 Prius from our friend Janine. It's a hybrid. I'm not sure what I think. Three cars is a lot of expense.  I'm also a bit worried that once these sorts of new vehicles that are quite electronics heavy begin breaking down, they will be expensive to keep up. However, the price was good and the mileage is excellent (89000 km in 14 years!) so we're happy. William is distressed that the gear shift is on the steering wheel where the signal should be but I told him that it is like driving a car in the 70s - that this is retro and cool.

Friday, April 13, 2018

Last day of classes

My grad students did half hour presentations today, completing the teaching term. While I always enjoy teaching and had great students at all levels this semester, I think the combination of a large number of classes and the admin duties overwhelmed me. I've been more tired on a more continuous basis than I ever remember being. The weather didn't help, nor did the many colds running through the house. It felt pretty good to buy a round at the Owl for them after the session was done. 

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Kevin McKenzie sculpture in my office

At the visual art student exhibition a couple weeks ago I bid on, and purchased, one of the sculptures by Kevin McKenzie. On a formal level they are strips of paint without a canvas. I also see them as a slide at the fair or an acrylic tongue. I'm also not sure if it upside down or not. 

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Pin hole failures

I'm hitting that point in the year when I really want to do something creative but I have so many things weighing on my time that my attempts at embarking on projects is feeble and half-assed. For example, I shot a series of 80-90 second pin hole photo self portraits yesterday before leaving the office. I had commitments at home so I didn't develop them before I left. This morning I put them into the developer but found that they needed at least twice as much time in the exposure so they are no damn good. However, it had started snowing again this morning so the light was dim and I'd be back to square one at calculating the exposure (I was too busy/distracted yesterday to actually take a light meter reading) so I ended up with nothing and had to return to my grading instead of attempting new exposures. This is the best I came up with, but the original, which is what I'd hoped to show, looks so thin that you would not pay it a moment of attention.
The best creativity this week was a solid hour that Allan, William and I spent writing out a scene by scene Pud film and graphic novel idea. 

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Carmen Robertson going away reception

One of my classes ended today with others to follow later in the week. After class I went to Carmen's going away reception. She was always so great to work with and it is a huge loss to the faculty but a great opportunity for her. Had great conversation with Risa over some bannock, blue-skying an idea of a collaboration. 

Monday, April 9, 2018

Michelle Raheja lecture at UofR

At noon today the Philippe Mather hosted our department's annual guest lecture by a distinguished professor of Native American literature, and Director of the California Center for Native Nations at the University of California-Riverside: Dr. Michelle H. Raheja entitled "Indigenous cartographies and Tungijuq". Later I went for supper at Crave with her and Philippe.

Sunday, April 8, 2018

scanning 35mm

I've set up my scanner with a template so that I don't have to preview and pick the individual frames. While this has required me to scan a slightly larger area so as to compensate for the degree of error I have, the exchange of time is well worth it. I can now do a second of film in about 10 minutes if I'm sitting by my computer. It allows me much of the time to multi-task though, so I'm getting some grading and blogging and gaming done.

Saturday, April 7, 2018

Birthday and Neutral Ground

Pretty good birthday today. As it fell on a Saturday, I was able to mostly stay home. I started my grading but also read a bit, watched some tv (finished "Episodes" and the new season of "Jessica Jones", talked with Mike on the phone, and eventually went out to get ice cream from Deartes (above photo). The Leader Post put the wrong horoscope for the "today is your birthday" section so I had to find one on line.

Neutral Ground moved to a much better ground level space in the mall-area of Scarth Street (east side of the street) and they had a big opening party. Great crowd. Helen Pridmore sang a letter from Paved to the tune of Bowie. Wow

Friday, April 6, 2018

Dunlop opening

Dunlop opened a new show. I was almost asleep ever since leaving class so didn't really absorb a word of the hour long talk, although I have the impression it was interesting (ceramics being used to temporarily imprint into skin and make mundane "art" such as wallpaper). 

Thursday, April 5, 2018

Slate gallery

I had to pace my caffeine today. Woke up at 4:30 and couldn't fall back asleep so was just a wreck all morning. I didn't want to drink too much coffee and crash too early so I did without until 1:00 when I got myself a couple of Starbucks double espressos and was completely alive for my 3 hour class and then into the evening as we met up at Slate and then Fudruckers. Heather thought Eric looked very GQ, which he did.

Wednesday, April 4, 2018


William has the week off. He has a moderate amount of homework - basically one small thing in each class, but I'm too busy at work to crack the whip. He did a bit of a collage. It's sort of a cool version of the house but very two dimensional. Hope he can finish it later. 

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Wrinkle In Time

I really enjoy going to movies in the theatre. They are loud and big and the seats (at least these days) are comfortable. It has been years since I've wanted to walk out on a movie, and but for being with a group, I'd have marched out of "Wrinkle In Time". While I liked the lead actress, the only other redeemable performance was the mean girl, on screen for only two minutes, and a role I generally never like. The story, the performances, the costumes, and the whole damn idea of this film annoyed me more than I can say. If what they said in the film was true, I should have been able to wish myself home and away from this mess. Instead, I stuck it out so that I could complain about it here.
William and Allan both drew from the smoking women book.

Afterwards we went and got some cool cane sugar sweetened pop - that's a party.

Monday, April 2, 2018

Covering a class

Mike had to be away so I covered his class. Not a big problem as it was a session of watching and discussing their work so no preparation was necessary, or even possible. The snowman continues to stand and be stranger and stranger.

Sunday, April 1, 2018

Easter with the collective

As with Thanksgiving, Richard and Gerda hosted a huge pot-luck at the senior's centre. We had a last minute perogie disaster so arrived with only cabbage rolls and cheese cake. Some interesting conversations about art and photography, but the evening ended early and we headed home to netflix the night away. 

Saturday, March 31, 2018

Easter at Lori's

Supper at my sister's with prime rib and perogies. Quite a night. I made 12 dozen (only brought over four dozen). William drew portraits of dad and others.

Friday, March 30, 2018

A real holiday

I guess I define holidays much differently than I used to. Today I got to stay home alone for a few hours while Margaret and William went out to dye eggs. I cleaned the kitchen then had a nap, knowing that the kitchen would be clean when I needed to return to it. I made two cheesecakes, painted the chocolate onto the biscotti, and made cheese and potato mix in preparation for perogies. Mike dropped by and we had cocoa. Margaret and William picked up bread from the back yard baker and then we watched tv. What a great day. 

Thursday, March 29, 2018

early egg colouring

We usually dye eggs on good Friday but this year, with Paul over and with me already declaring that I need rest more than I need a drive to Rouleau to do further colouring, we dyed a few at the table. William did some crazy stuff with wax, extending his drawing style into the sculptural realm.

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

No more melting

I used the pick axe I bought a couple years ago (for the purpose of cutting sod so as to level the deck off of the cottage on the farm) to chop up a mound of ice/snow in front of the house and therefore turn the two parking spots into three or possibly even four spots. The snowman who watches over the cars continues to shrink but the weather will not rise above zero for at least another week, giving him a bit of a reprieve. 

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

in class shooting

With the cold weather returning, I had to move my in-class shoot to the studio instead of the traditional outdoor on the lawn production. The Tuesday class was large enough that I had them do two units, one shooting a drama (in the far corner in the above image) and a second unit making a mockumentary about the other film, which was shot in the middle of the room with the production as a backdrop. Spirits were good. 

Monday, March 26, 2018

Mr. Saul and Son at Artesian

The Filmpool screening at the Artesian went really well. The audience was a fair size and quite a few stayed at the end for Q+A (above). Jason Britski's short found film "Public Domain", drawn from Prelinger Archives film was particularly striking, as was the documentary on potash in Africa. 

Sunday, March 25, 2018

point of view

I shoveled a bit more snow, hoping in vain that I can free up my driveway but realizing that the bigger problem is the alley and the ice therein. I shot some footage with the camera attached to the shovel like Chris Gallagher did back in the 80s. I really need to create a permanent bolt on the shovel to do this more effectively, but I never have the right tools at the right time. 

Saturday, March 24, 2018

Errands face delays

William and I spend much of the day catching at home as he starting catching up on his homework. We went out together to grab a few things and had only one last stop - Hill Avenue to get pizza shells, when my "shortcut" was delayed by a train. Finally it passed and the gate went up. Cars going the other direction got a green light and some went through when suddenly the gate dropped again and yet another train, this one from the opposite direction, came through. By the time we got to the store, it had closed (3 minutes late). 

Friday, March 23, 2018

Romanian Cinema

A storm rolled in during my grad class today. Berny was caught on the highway and didn't make it in time. We had a fun discussion about Phil Hoffman's "O! Zoo", which coincidentally rolled smoothly into the themes discussed by Doru Pop who presented the MAP Lecture later in the afternoon on the topic of recent Romanian Cinema. I got really pumped to see these films but the week had me so exhausted that we couldn't drag ourselves to the 6:30 screening at the RPL. William and I did however brave the storm to get to the library for the 9:15 show, only to find out that the schedule had been changed and we'd missed the film we came to see and that the second film had started early and we were already missing it.
We attended both screenings the following night: "Aferim" and "When Evening Falls on Bucharest".

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Talk about Lars von Trier

The talk presented by Dr. Linda Badley on the life and work on filmmaker Lars von Trier hosted by Christina Stojanova at the university was quite illuminating. The other day William and I watched the first hour of Nymphomaniac, which admittedly is an odd thing to show to a 16 year old, and we were really enjoying the fun ways that the hunting for sexual partners was being compared to fly fishing. However, Dr. Badley's spoilers on the film make me doubt whether William, or even any other human being, should finish watching this two movie project. 

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Conference on Immigration/Migration

It was great to have been able to clear my afternoon schedule and attend the academic talks with the mini-conference hosted by Christina Stojanova, the Interdisciplinary International Symposium on (Im)migration, Emigration, and Refugees in Europe and Canada: Social Challenges and Issues of Representation. Two of her special guests, photographed with her above, were Dr. Linda Badley from Tennessee and Dr. Doru Pop from Romania. Today's talks made me particularly interested in Romanian cinema and its current "new wave" of the past decade, which was compared in a number of ways to the French New Wave and the Italian Neo-realists. 

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Glass ring comes clean!?!?

When I emptied the dishwasher, I found a glass ring, about 3-4 inches wide and about a half inch wide, carefully placed into the upper rack. I didn't know what it was and couldn't match it to any other object so I put it on the counter. Over supper, Margaret asked why it was there and I realized that she also didn't know its origin.  After some thought, we noticed that it was the same circumference as the wine glasses and in fact, the glass Margaret was drinking from over dinner was a half inch shorter than the others! It had cracked and broken off a full ring of glass without cracking the rest of the glass. 

Monday, March 19, 2018

Ella Mikkola in Fifth Parallel Gallery

Ella opened her exhibition of projections in the Fifth Parallel gallery on campus. It is called "Valoa Light and Surface" with the most interesting aspect being two 16mm film looks made from contact printing a large glass negative (also on display) onto 16mm negative film so that the frames capture small sections of the larger image. It took some time for eyes to adjust, but the show was moody and evocative.