Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Round is Good!

A nice round trailer in the parking lot across the street from work

In front of my current work place...Yes I'm working... woo hoo.. I have seen a trailer sitting in the nearby parking lot for the last two days. Normally I wouldn't notice this kind of thing but it's round and possibly cute (as a guy, can I even say that word without the reference of a female in the same sentence and still retain my masculinity?). As my profile states I like all things round. I wonder about this every now and then. Is it from being a kid with a lot of sharp objects around? Or it is that all things that are round are indeed friendly?

Taking a time machine we go way back. Back to a time when I still lived with my parents. Back when I didn't have the financial woes or dating problems of today, back when I was a computer jockey still in high school. It's incredible how some things really don't change much at all.

In the kitchen, my parents used to have a notepad right next to the phone. Makes sense. The phone rings, the person being called is not home, you write a message down. Effective and efficient. Also next to the message pad was a pencil/pen holder. This also made sense. It would hold your writing utensil at a forty five degree angle so it was easy to get at. It was located in a close proximity to the notepad. You just pull the pencil out and start writing. You didn't even have to readjust your wrist or move your hand very far to do that quick notepad jotting to keep up with mr. or mrs. speedy mouth on the other end of the line. All was good.

Now another thing next to the phone, correction, directly beneath it, was a garbage pail. Perhaps it was there to throw old messages out or maybe it was just there because there really wasn't anywhere else in the kitchen to put it. So to review. You've got the phone, pad of paper, pencil sticking out at a forty five degree angle and a garbage can directly beneath the phone. It all seems quite logical and could be the configuration of anybody's kitchen/phone set up.

Now, enter a guy chewing gum. (Yes that guy was me). The gum is getting stale. More to the point, it was stale. I had been chewing on it for hours. The flavour has been gone for quite a while. What do I notice? The garbage can! "Hey a garbage can!" What a great place for it and so convenient a place to get rid of my gum of no flavour. "hooray!" I think to myself.

I lean over to spit the gum out only to find that the pencil has been stuck into the holder backwards. I find this out because I've just jammed my head into the hard lead pencil tip instead of the nice soft (and rounded) eraser side. When I move my head back, as a knee jerk reaction to get away from the pointy pain, the pencil comes with it.

I look at myself in the mirror. There's a yellow HB pencil sticking out of my skull (at a forty five degree angle) and it hurts. Being the brain that I am I decide it would be better to take the pencil out of my head and put it back into the real pencil holder. So I do what any normal well adjusted pencil victim would do. I grab a hold of the pencil and pull with my right hand.

The pencil comes out. I look down at the pencil. I look back in the mirror. Cheap ass pencil! The lead had slid right out of the pencil and was still stuck in my head like an antennae. Using the left hand I pull the lead out and notice a blueish dot where the lead used to be. To this day I still have that stupid bluish dot slightly over my left eyebrow.

Morale? Do you even have to ask? Round good. Non-round, sharp, pointy bad. Get the point? I sure did, but then I got the lead out.

Monday, March 28, 2005

Cryonics for Beginners or How to get a head in life

My can of beer (yes I still haven't made that batter for fish and chips) in plastic ice

I picked my fake ICE today. A few days ago I went to the Tilt sale. Since the show is not being renewed for another season they were having a sale on all kinds of stuff. Clothing, lamp shades, large over sized dice, metal cookie containers shaped like bowling balls, poker chips, picture frames, all kinds of surplus stuff.

My big purchase was a tub of ICE complete with an ice bucket. One of those plastic buckets that you would find at at hotel. The nice thing of having fake ice is that you can shoot it without worrying about it melting. Good for continuity and less messy. The only problem with this ice is that it doesn't float. D'oh!

Which brings me to cryonics. Last thursday I went to the Toronto cryonics meeting. I expected to be surrounded by egg heads explaining how to cheat death by prolonging the life of humans by freezing them and bringing them back to life when a cure for whatever death causing disease was found. There were about 24 people that said they were going to show up via the internet meet up post. In the end however, only five people showed. And really only four of them were egg heads in the topic. Me being the fifth.

One guy, and I can't remember his name, was pro freezing and was telling me how he was trying to get insurance to freeze his head once he "died" of heart problems or non head crushing injury. Yes I brought that up. What happens if your head cannot be used? I wonder if that was from something I saw on futurama? ah well.

Because there's no place in Canada that does this he was checking out insurance in the States. The company Alcor was to be given money and his head should things take a turn for the worse. Oh right, the reason that only the head was to be frozen is mainly money. To freeze a whole body would cost a lot more.

One of the main problems with cryonics is when freezing the body, or organ(s) the cells are punctured by the water turning into ice and poking through the cell membrane. The process that addresses this that companies like Alcor are working on is called vitrification.

Supposedly a rabbit kidney was vitrified and restored with success. It's a far cry from the human brain but serves as a stepping stone at the very least to something seen in Futurama. If successful on a human scale the organ donar industry could make leaps and bounds in terms of storing extra parts.

Saturday, March 26, 2005

The Good Friday Hike

Juley, Marc, Zee, and Sue-ling on some northern ontario trail/drive way

At 9:00am Marc and I set out to meet Zee, his wife Juley and Juley's sister, sue-ling at some far off hiking trail located near Acton. We walked the Bruce Trail and a trail by some other name for about five hours before going to a resturant to eat. The photo above, called the "Superhero picture" by Zee, was taken near the end of the hike.

I had found a water dam and wondered off to take a closer look. The other four decided not to follow me and stood at the entrance to the dam surrounded by plant life looking in my direction. Maybe to see if I would fall off into the water. I don't know.

A nice action shot of Juley throwing a snowball at Zee while Zee takes a picture of Juley with his digital Rebel

Thursday, March 24, 2005

So Money

Emmanuel Lopez starts his seminar on how to meet people.

If yesterday was odd today was unbelievable.

I ran into a multitude of people I haven't seen. Some of them I haven't seen in years, some months. But for some reason I kept bumping into these people all day. Directors, friends, people from set, people I've seen in other places. They all seemed to pop up out of nowhere. To make matters even more bizzare. I got four job offers today. Each one in the various fields that I can work in. Visual effects, photography, animation, and computer playback.

I took the visual effects, photography and computer playback gigs, leaving the animation job to the wind. Later as it turned out the animation job went away due to lack of funding. How bizzare is that?

If that wasn't enough to make my day, to clinch it, I met a cute girl at a seminar I was photographing. I don't know if she's single, dating or married but I managed to get her phone number. We'll go from there. Small baby steps. As dating has never been a strong suit I have to put emphasis on the getting the phone number part. It's a big step.

The seminar was held at the mind camp center at 215 Spadina, suite 120. A friend that I met by going to various parties and repeat meetings was one of the guest speakers. I had no idea what Emmanuel did for a job, let alone knowing that he was a smaller version of Tony Robbins, the famed confidence builder. Turns out Emmanuel talks about people interaction or more to the point the "ABCs for meeting new people".

After the seminar I noticed Caroline, a girl I had met briefly earlier that night. She was putting her coat on and getting ready to leave. The seminar had convienced me that the fear of being rejected was over shadowed the risk of trying to get to know her and introducing myself. Even if she wasn't "the girl", she seemed pretty nice... and cute. I decided right then and there to go up to her and smooze until I got her number or slapped in the face (a visual I couldn't get out of my head for some reason).

It was on and I ended up being so money (see Swingers if this reference passes you by, it's a great movie) without even really knowing how I did it. Everything seemed to go right. Like I was behaving like the un-me. Maybe it had something to do with that $6 bucks (see previous entry). I'll update you on details as it happens. It'll be interesting to see how things turn out.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

The Do Gooder

Toronto, supposedly center of the canadian universe.

Something odd happened to me today. I went to the local variety store to pick up some orange juice and a magazine. The change I got back was about $6 too much. I didn't realize this until I got half way home. When I went back to the store and told the clerk it was like some miracle had happened. Right up there with Jesus walking on water, Moses parting the sea, and Kirk having hair in all seven Star Trek movies. The clerk and some guy reading a car magazine looked like they were bonked on the head and needed time for current events to settle in.

The clerk kept repeating "I can't believe this is happening.... especially in THIS neighborhood." My sysbrows went up at that. "Am I living in a scum filled neighborhood?" It's not like there's drive by shootings or people running out of the convenience stores with stolen goods every day or anything? Is there? The guy reading the magazine came back down to earth first and started saying "Guy, you'll probably win the lottery for being so honest." If he only knew. My luck playing the lotteries is like this. Out of 20 tickets that I have played the entire year one of them got one number. It didn't win it just got one number. Turns out I just accumulate tickets until I feel I require money, then check them all.

I suppose magazine guy was referring to karma, doing a good deed and it returning to you a thousand fold, stuff like that. I have to say I am pretty lucky when it comes to work. It seems like the last 15 years I 've managed to bounce from one job to the next without too much difficulty. Knock on wood. Winning a lottery wouldn't be too bad though.

I find it odd that something so simple can be made into such a huge deal. It's sad to think that a trait like honesty is so rare that people are bewildered and amazed by it when it occurs. I wondered if this was magnified from living in a large city where people become statistics instead of faces? I'd like to thank my parents right now for beating in the values I now have.

Monday, March 21, 2005

Peanut Butter Epiphany

The free peanut butter sample from the CNE.

Perhaps it's being sick for days on end, confined to a small apartment and seeing the same four walls just after being at a talent show filled with musical artists, a bunch of them being rappers that I'm going to share this little diddy with you. This is all based on findings I've had today regarding my peanut butter. It could also be from the enormous amounts of chicken soup that I've been ingesting.

When you read the following pretend you're rapping this like Will Smith...

yo yo check this out...

There once was a guy that liked peanut butter, he preferred that Kraft kind over any other.
But then one day when his Kraft was gone he opened a jar of JIF, a jar that he won
At the CNE, the canadian eX. Free amounts were given out that would make one perplexed.
They came in a bag with a sample of jelly, he thought "That sounds good goin down to my belly",
The JIF peanut butter was silky and smooth compared to the Kraft peanut butter that was crusty and rude.
It then hit him while the sandwich was half way down the expiration date was no where to be found.
That old kraft jar was at least three years old. Then he looked closer. He could see some kind of mold.
The morale of the story, truth to be told, is if you have crappy peanut butter chances are... it's old.

Sunday, March 20, 2005

and the good parenting award goes to...

Asha getting her teeth brushed by Irmina.

Sunday. After trying to get to sleep for about 8 hours I finally dozed off reading a corrective lighting and posing book at 9am. Needless to say my blissful sleep didn't last long. My phone rang at around 11am, 12pm and 2:30pm, at which point I finally got up. One of the callers was Irmina, just checking in to see if I could make dinner tonight.

After reading my blog (yes this one) she figured I'd probably still be out of it. She's right. I'm still sick with the odd cough every now and then. This will be the second event that I'm going to miss due to this sickness. Last night was Alan's birthday. Happy Birthday Alan. Tonight, had I been well, I would have eaten like a King.

Irmina, among being one of the most amazing parents I've ever met, is also one of the best cooks I've ever met. Missing a dinner made by her would be the equivalent to missing seeing Star Wars in the theatre opening night (episode 4, 5, maybe even 6- but not those other demo reels Lucas calls movies), eating the box of Belgium chocolates all by yourself, having your friends meet up to celebrate your birthday, or kissing for the first time. Actually the kissing for the first time is only a good analogy if a) you were kissed back, and b) you didn't poke the partners eye out with your nose. Actually let's just scratch that kissing for the first time thing out altogether. You get the idea. Eating food at Irmina's is a pleasant experience.

Did I mention Irmina is a great parent? I know I briefly mentioned that but I would like to take the time to emphasize how great that is. In a world where bratty kids seem to run rampant with no boundaries and A.D.D, it's great to know that there are people out the like Irmina that put the time and energy in their kids. I'm sure as a graphic designer she's had to sacrifice a lot to accommodate the kid as all parents should. She has. Does she get pats on the back on a regular basis? Probably not. So this is what this blog entry is for, to acknowledge not only her great parenting but all parents that are great parents.

It's easy to become a parent but it's hard to stay one. There are so many people out there that have a kid to increase their status or any other multitude of wrong reasons. "Hey look I'm a parent. I'm now a responsible individual." In the end they don't follow through and who suffers? Certainly not the parent as they tend to be too self-absorbed to see what’s going on with the kid in the first place.

How many bratty kids have you run across where you could just smack them? Actually for me none. I’d rather drop kick the parent. How many parents blame schools, TV, or the internet for their kid’s behavior? Even before the kid watches TV, plays with the computer or even goes to school values are taught by the parent.

“You’re single you don’t know what it’s like to be a parent.” I know that it’s a lot of work and I know your kid’s a brat that’s beating up other kids, has no boundaries and destroys everything he/she touches. That alone should be enough information to drop kick you, the parent. I never said parenting is easy and great parenting is even harder. Maybe one day I’ll be fortunate enough to experience the skills of achieving good parenting but until then knowing that there are parents out there like Irmina and not all kids will grow up to be self-centered little pricks I will sleep better at night

Saturday, March 19, 2005

St Paddy's Day

Hey It's march 17th and it's St. Patrick's Day. More importantly the day marks my third year having a digital camera. Specifically my Nikon 990. Since it's purchase I've taken 100 CDs, and 13 DVD worth of images (that doesn't include the images I erased).

"How many images is that?" you ask. Good question. As I haven't been updating my photo database (I'm only on DVD 6 and have about 75 CDs to still enter) I don't really know. Definately in the thousands.

--- CAUTION following text is not for the weak stomached ---

In case you're wondering (specifically this means you Wade) there is no picture today (for March 17th and18th actually) because I'm sick yet again. No, not from drinking barrels of green beer or eating too much corned beef or watching Leprechaunin the Hood (was that the second movie?). I have some kind of stuffy-ness that's been making me see past things I've eaten, followed by a burning sensation in my throat. Not very pretty and not very photogenic.

I didn't feel too bad today. But by the time I met up with Simon, Matt, and Melissa, I started feeling queesy. Later on, just after I got to the talent show to take pictures I was fighting the urge to pass out and/or up chuck. I'm not talking about a small food item making itself known when you burp I'm talking large chunks ahoy with the stomach heaving until there's nothing left and heaving some more just to make you feel crappier than you already are. It's a bit better than having the Norwalk virus in that you can sense something wants to come out but it's still no trip to Disneyland.

I remember the time I had the Norwalk virus and started to cough. Next thing I knew the sink was filled with vomit. In the blink of an eye! And your stomach felt bruised from passing so much crud through in such a short amount of time. This was all because a "friend" had it but didn't tell anybody figuring we'd get it anyway. Everyone that christmas that visited the house got it. Michelle and I weren't very happy campers to say the least.

This is the third time this year I've been sick and I'm really getting tired of it. What the ____ is going on? I sat around doing taxes indoors for most of the week, went to a mullet hockey game and a rappers against the war show. That's it! ugh.

Oh great. There's the taco chips I was eating about an hour ago all over my keyboard.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Earth's Last Best Hope...

Natasha and Jennifer. Two of the amazing Marchand sisters.

Hello Readers!

Okay now I know what you're thinking. These two are the most attractive women to be on my blog (at least since Tammy, the girl in the pink bikini). Especially if you have a lemon fetish. How did I bribe them to be on my blog to be shared with you, the viewer, you ask?

First off let me assure you that no air brushing or photo manipulation was done. Yes they look that great in real life. Really. I know you're asking how do I manage to surround myself with all these attractive women? My advice is to just be yourself. Sure I'm charismatic, charming and easy going and I'm sure you are too (in your own way).

But don't let those great qualities fool you into thinking it's easy. It's not. It can be tough at times with all these people clamoring over you to get on your blog. Fame, fortune, attractive women. These are just some of the hazzards that come with publishing your own blog. If I had a dime for every woman that made a fuss to be on my blog I'm sure I'd have at least 30 cents.

As Stan Lee once said "With great power comes great responsibility". Not only have I strived for the best quality blog but I've also worked hard for you, dear reader, to enrich your life and make you a better human being. Why you ask? Why do I do all this for you? Because you are Earth's last best hope.

Now go forth and multiply... if that's too hard try addition. We like blog readers who are not as bright just as much as those who are.

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Go fish

"Harold" the Fish

For the last two days I've been spending quite a bit of time in my friend's living room helping him sort out reciepts for taxes. Yesterday I sat in the same position for 11 hours. It wasn't until my knees started to hurt that I got up to stretch and I realized how much time had gone by. I tend to sit in the lotus position even if I'm in a chair hence the sore knees. How odd is that.

Harold, the fish, kept an eye on me all day. I don't think he gets many visitors, let alone ones that stay stationary in the same position in front of his tank. Every now and then I'd hear tapping on the glass. I'd look over and Harold would be pushing around that orange golf ball with his nose. He's a pretty interactive fish as you can put your finger near the tank and slowly move it back and forth. Harold will follow you.

It must get boring for Harold to see the same view each and everyday. Harold used to have another fish of the same type until it expired. We don't know for sure. Harold might have been part of some foul play while the rest of the household was asleep. "This tank is only big enough for one of us. Bwaa haa haa haa!"

This is want happens when you do things that really doesn't interest you (like taxes). You entertain yourself with things, such as fish, that would otherwise miss your radar and go unnoticed. Btw, I really don't know what the fish's name is but it seemed like it would respond to "Harold".

The Incredibles came out today in Canada on DVD. While eating dinner I sat and watched the copy that my friend bought. A lot of extra features. There's a great little animation done ala space angel, where lips are comped over still drawings. It had the same feel as the old 67 spiderman, or rocket robin hood shows and a bunny! I don't want to give it all away but if you get a chance watch it, then watch it with the commentary.

Also new today is my lens in a cap stereoscopic addition for my camera. Basically a beam splitter that takes two images (one for your right eye, one for your left) and places them next to one another on a single frame. I'll have to go into more detail about this after more experimentation.

Sunday, March 13, 2005

This Will Bug You

Wallpaper pattern of bugs by Jennifer Angus

I was at the Habourfront Centre today on the York quay. In the gallery there is an installation called "The Ball and the Feast" by Jennifer Angus. To put simply it's wallpaper patterns made out of almost 6000 real (but dead) insects. Creepy yet interesting at the same time. Probably not for all but definetely interesting to some.

The bugs are pinned to the wall and are exposed (there's no glass over them). If you visit be careful not to lean against the wall. The room is small and dimly lit. The picture above only shows the lower half of the wall with the big bugs. The upper portion has smaller bugs arranged in circular patterns. It took three days with two assistants to create this installation. I wonder if they went bug eyed? (boo).

The installation will be up until March 20.

The Bright Pearl

What's more Canadian then a cup of lycee?

Michelle and I went to Rol San for dim sum today only to find that it was packed as usual. We ended up going across the street to the big yellow haunted place with lion statues out front, the Bright Pearl. Yes I did say haunted as in ghosts and what not. I've heard this story here and there from various people. I've personally never seen a ghost and really haven't done the research on the building to know why the ghosts are appearing. But there were a bunch of years that went by where the building was not used for anything.

After getting a table we noticed flyers telling the origins of dim sum with pictures of samples. The food in the pictures were lit from one direction using diffuse lighting. My photo brain at work. I suppose the Bright Pearl was trying to cater to the tourist crowd. The service was pretty incredible. I was emptying my can of coke into my glass. As soon as I felt the can being empty there was the hand of the waiter hovering over it to take it away.

Not the cheapest place to eat as our bill came to about $50 after tax but the food was good and we were pretty full when we left.

Saturday, March 12, 2005

Beach Bikini Mail Order Bride Birthdays

Gull at the Beaches

Friday 13:00. Photography at the Beaches.
It was an incredible day for taking pictures. Altogether I took 971 photos after deleting the really bad ones (ie. where the flash didn't fire because I didn't notice the batteries were weak). I started the day off by going down to the beach. On the way I picked up some bread and peanuts to feed the birds, squirrels or whatever was around to be photographed. There was clumpy snow falling from the sky. I figured this would make the little critters hide somewhere to take shelter. I got to the beach and sure enough it was deserted of pretty much all animal life.

There were the odd dogs with their owners but no birds and the only squirrel I saw ran into a hole in a tree before I could get my camera out of my bag. I decided to walk up the boardwalk. Past the life guard station there's a clump of rocks that usually has a bunch of gulls. For some reason in my brain I've been told somewhere that there is no such thing as a sea gull. They are just called gulls. I think it was an irate bird person that told me that a long time ago.

I was happy to find a bunch of "gulls" sitting on the rocks peppered with some malard ducks for good measure. It was easy to get the gulls to fly over. Once a piece of bread fed one of them, that gull became a bird siren signaling the rest to fly over. I took a bunch of pictures of them flying towards the camera. I can see why camera guys need assistants. It's hard to throw bread clumps then focus and shoot the camera on time. Not that I'm a great pitcher to begin with but throwing with my left hand while holding the camera with the right didn't help matters much. I was thinking how easy it would be if I had a sling shot tied to my left wrist that could be activated much like a spider-man web shooter. Only it would shoot bread clumps. When we were kids, my cousin actually owned a wrist shooter that shot suction cup darts.

I spent about a hour trying different bread throwing, camera shooting techniques. I eventually ran out of bread had to go up to the Mac's store on queen street and return to figure this problem out. About 3/4 into the next loaf I figured a trick that kind of works. You can throw bread at an oncoming bird while it's in the air. The bird will catch it in the air. Other birds will take flight and hover near that bird so they can replace it when the bird flies away. So to take the shot that you see on the screen, I prefocused the camera, placed in in manual (the D70 Nikon camera will not let you take a picture if it's on automatic and it can't lock a focus), then launched a clump of bread with the left hand while shooting with the right. It took a good number of shots to get something I wanted. I would have been happier if the focus on the eyes were a little sharper. If only the gull had been a few centimeters further back.

Tammy Plante, 22, winner of the Budweiser Bikini Show and Ms. Audio Thunder show

20:00. The performance car show budweiser bikini challange.
"Being a photographer is a great way to meet and take pictures of chicks". I've heard this line paraphrased by a whole slew of people. Girls and guys. So far, on the surface anyway, it seems I've only met other fellow photographers interested in talking shop. It's like the stories you hear about those party lines where they advertise meeting a bunch of girls but when you call it's about nine guys listening in to see if there's a female voice. At least with photography there's no $15 a minute charge and you can always resort to shooting gulls on the beach.

So to fill my quota of photography of women I decided to go to this car show. Despite the fact that it's a bunch of bikini women it's a great opportunity to figure out how the flash works and become familiar with it. Okay at this point I can see all you female readers rolling your eyes to the back of your head. How many other venues have a walkway and have people pose in poor but varying lighting conditions?

To those of you that have never been to a bikini contest before the usual drill is to bring out your group of hopefuls dressed in some sort of club wear, introduce them, send them off stage and reintroduce them in their bikini garb. I'm sure there's a science to this. Maybe to build the anticipation of seeing half naked women. I'll have to do more research on this and get back to you.

The contest did not have official judges. The girl won the pageant by audience applause. In the end Tammy, age 22, won the title of Miss Budweiser Bikini Show

M.O.B. plays at Sneaky Dees. Medeine Tribinevicius - guitar, Ruta Tribinevicius - drums, Meghan Dove - lead vocals, Rowan Brewer - bass

22:00. The Punk show at Sneaky Dees
At the bikini show I bumped into a friend for elementary school. This was fortuitous as I had to get back downtown in order to shoot the all girl punk bank M.O.B.. The bikini show although scheduled to start at eight started a bit later. This pushed the ending to about 9:15, leaving me only 45 minutes to get back downtown from the airport.

On the way to Sneaky Dees Henry told me how he had won an toy ambluance at one of my birthday parties when I was a kid (somewhere between grades one and three). I don't even remember the birthday party let alone the ambulance. I do remember eating a submarine sandwich that had a circumference almost as big as my face but that's because my father took a picture of me eating it. I wonder, if my parents had digital technology, would I have more memories of my childhood?

The stage at Sneaky Dees is very small and the audience can get real close. On one hand it's great because as a photographer you can get right up close to the action. On the other hand you can also get pushed into the stage. I've noticed at punk shows it's customary to shove people around near the front of the stage. It's normal, kind of like dancing, only with pushing involved. Since smashing my lens isn't on my top priority things to do I stayed near the edges of the stage shooting from the sidelines so to speak.

One thing I noticed, because the stage was so small and there's a lot of gear up there from the four bands playing that night, was that there was a lot of background clutter. It was tough getting shots of the performers without something sticking out from the back of their heads. I ended up trying to shoot close up shots with my 70-300mm lens to help get around this. I spent half the concert fiddling with settings on my flash. The difference in lighting from Meghan (lead singer) to Ruta (drummer) was about 2 f-stops.

Rob, Jane, Tracy, and Daryl at the Blue Moon

00:00. Rob Pincomb and Darryl Gold's Birthday Party

A quick ride on the streetcar transported me from Sneaky Dees to the Blue Moon Bar on queen and broadview. Darryl's birthday was on the 9th, Rob's was the 11th and just for trivia purposes the zamboni (the ice melter at skating rinks) is on the 10th. This is significant because all three of us worked on the NHL hockey rulebook for CD rom back in the early 90s when we found this out.

By the time I left the party I had 27 shots left after shooting almost two gigs worth of stuff. This doesn't include the beach as I managed to download that stuff before going to the car show. Eeek. I'll have to get more memory if another day like this occurs. Otherwise the D70 held up pretty well. I didn't have to change the camera batteries at all and I only had to change the flash batteries once.

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Darryl's "Surprise" Birthday

That's one big ass birthday wish.

On the way home from the scandalnavia gig I found myself on the streetcar which was waiting behind a garbage truck. We were nearing Darryl's place. It was about quarter to one. I thought he'd be up so I called. He answered and after a bit of chit chat I found out it was his birthday. So I decided to visit.

Getting off the streetcar I went into the nearest convenience store, bought a frozen chocolate cake, 36 birthday candles (it was the last pack and the only candles available), and some matches. After pressing Darryl's buzzer and him letting me in, I took the cake container apart exposing the cake, ripped open the candle package, grabbed the candles in one big bunch, then with a fist I drove the wad of candles into the cake as one lump. Some of the candles around the side of the candle lump went in crooked. This made it difficult to ignite them with the matches. I did this while still walking up the stairs towards the apartment corridor. At one point I had to set the cake down on the floor so I wouldn't catch fire. That whole haste makes waste thing. Knock on the door. Open the door. Instant birthday surprise!

Of course, once seeing the mini bonfire, Darryl had to find his camera to take a picture of the cake-o-flames. Then after doing that and risking fire alarms going off, as by this time the candles were 75% burnt and smoke was billowing off the cake, I had Darryl hold the burning cake so I could break out my camera and take a picture of Darryl blowing out the candles.

All in all it went rather well. No fire alarm. No third degree burns. Yea!


Lead singer belts out "Immigrant" just one of the bands hits.

Scandalnavia in operation garb.

Scandalnavia played at the Gladstone tonight. I managed to go say "Hi", see the band play and take some pictures.

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

So close and yet so far.

You can almost hear the hamster wheel turning inside Ella the dog's head.

I was at the beach again today and much like yesterday it was cold. Mental note do not try to clean lens with lens fluid in cold conditions. I might have mentioned this before but if I haven't... the fluid will freeze and if you're really unlucky the lens you're applying it to will crack. Not a really nice way to see your lens go.

Rob, the owner of the dog, is the second producer I've met on the beach walking the dog. Yesterday I met Mary, another producer, who was out walking her labrador retriever. Both asked me if I was a professional photographer. Mainly because I was walking around with my D70 but in Rob's case because I had infiltrated a local haunt used by Toronto Star photographers. It seems the beach is a good spot for taking photos.

Another photo tip I've been told is when taking your camera inside after being outside you should leave your camera in your camera bag for a few hours so it can climatize slowly. Something to do with moisture and condensation and lens cracking, etc. Works for me.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Garbage Day

Garbage collection

It's freezing cold, there's snow on the ground and now the sidewalk is littered with garbage cans and bins. Our tax dollars at work.

Monday, March 07, 2005

The Squirrel - Friend or Foe

The Squirrel - a friendly creature looking for a nut? or a calculating vermin searching for a effective way to spread it's rabies to humans?

To some, squirrels are considered vermin, rats with fluffy tails, rodents that sit waiting in trees to leap out and jump on your head while you're walking by. Then they'll bite you in the neck and give you rabies. Well maybe if you had a peanut butter jar on you at the time and were mean to squirrels in a past life. However, in my limited experience squirrels tend to run away. "It's that guy with the camera! Head for the hills! Run away!". It depends on where you go. In the parks where kids feed them, the squirrels are much more adventurous when getting closer to us humans. In the more remote areas these nut gatherers tend to zip away once they see or hear you approaching. These animals are perfect for honing one's photography and long lens skills.

With a camera housing a 70mm to 300mm zoom lens I found myself at Allan Gardens. A park noted for it's odd, shady, alcohol drinking characters that seem to linger around day and night. Not the best of places to be at night and during the day the park seems drab and slum-like. I noticed a few squirrels running around some trees and decided to try shooting them. It's incredible how fast they dart around, leaping from one branch to the other and running up and down the tree bark as easily as we walk along a sidewalk. I tried shooting at first using the camera's built in autofocus. The problem is that the subject has to be in frame. By the time the camera was focused and I pressed the shutter button the subject had moved.

Another problem I encountered was staying on a side of the squirrel that had more light. I didn't want a dark blob of the squirrels outline. So the squirrel would move, I would move. This went on for a few minutes until I figured the squirels was literally running circles around me. I stopped in one spot and waited. Switching the camera to manual focus I anticipated where I thought the squirrel was going to go. Once in frame I pressed the button. Not too bad (see above).

Sunday, March 06, 2005

You can always go... downtown.

A Beck Taxi travelling south along Yonge street.

After doing the weekly dim sum thing. I decided to walk around downtown. I ended up looking at different camera stores and noticed one of the ones I usually go to has been replaced by a book store. (For those living in the Toronto area it's the one across from Sam the record man). "There have been a number of stores to close" says shop keeper Roger of Monster Records. His customers would file in from the theatre crowd. Now that the Uptown theatre is just a pile of rubble there are no movie goers lingering around the area and popping into the store.

Bakka Books, a sci-fi bookstore, which was once located on Queen street moved to Yonge street just south of Monster Records. It has now moved back to Queen west as of the first of this month. I am keeping my fingers crossed for Monster Records. Where else can you get 70s action figures, posters, music CDs, books and used AC/DC cds in Toronto? Monster Records actually has a KISS (lick it up, shout it out loud, I was made for lovin you) wall. Roger pushed the "Back in Black" album (cd) on me today. Well okay it's not like he had to twist my arm.

My little short went over well at the IATSE screening. The other short movies were incredible. That is to say they looked really well shot. After going through the program I noticed that everyone (the other eight) that submitted an entry were all DPs or Directors. I was the only one listed as an animator. I felt intimidated. At least until the films actually played out. There were two films that stood out. One was about a boy doodling in class. It reminded me of the film "The Red Balloon". The other was called "Just Reward". It was a short about two hosers that meet up with a bank robber. Very funny.

The other films reminded me of something I would see at art school. Visually stunning, heavy handed, look for the symbolism, and kind of boring, with bad sound or bad music films. Some of them were even supported by the National Film Bored (whoops... Board). Yikes!

Saturday, March 05, 2005

A Time to Shine

Hip Hop rap artists from The Dope Poet Society

Friday. I got to be photographer for a talent competition called "A Time to Shine". DJs, rappers to "Berry White"-ish or "Usher" type music played at this Bathurst/Bloor venue. The highlight of the evening for me being some DJ that had a rap version of AC/DCs "Shook me all night long" and the improv rap singing of the Dope Poet Society. I was so impressed by the dope poets that I even paid 10 bucks to buy their CD.

The CD, "ProIntelPro" is an anti-Bush statement with some interesting lyrics. Although not as fun as the impromptu lyrics including me with a camera taking pictures of them on the stage, the CD has got an surprisingly catchy beat even if it's does have a heavy political side to it.

The picture above was taken in pitch black darkness. I played around with the flashes a bit. I think they were getting a bit tired of making the serious rapper look. In the end I think they were happy with the results. yea.

Friday, March 04, 2005

Ice Doggie

A snow sculpture being inspected by a four legged art critic.

At around 5:30pm I was at the village by the Grange. A park located near a local art school. Someone had made this snow sculpture. It blended in with the background to the extent that I noticed the real dog first. The dog was giving the sculpture a once over then left a yellow "seal of approval". "Dog gone it. Nice work. People should stop and paws."

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

The best sleep money can buy

Streetcar waits at light while fluffy bits of cold wet snow float by.

I think I've had the best sleep I've had in weeks. Woke up well rested and actually awake. Even had an odd dream of cooking potatoes and trying to find a store that was open to buy milk and butter to add them into my mashed potato recipe. I thought the dream was a little strange as I haven't really been cooking at home much in the last few days.

When I did decide to go out I noticed my path way was again covered with tons of snow. Not the light fluffy kind, but the heavy, wet, ice on the bottom, slide and land on your back kind. It could have been worse. An icicle might have at that same second dropped and put a hole through me. I'm going to have to take a baseball to those things or find a construction hat somewhere.

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Tired and Bleary Eyed

The chips from "Tilt". See those blue and pink markings? They were painted by hand on a few hundred chips!

Monday. The night after the Academy Awards. I was visiting Nilla and some of her friends to watch the Oscars. The Incredibles won for best animated movie. Yea! I didn't stumble home until about 2:30am. Then deciding to catch up on all my blog writting I stayed up until 4:30 - 5:00am. (see previous blog entry). As it turns out I couldn't get to sleep until 6:30am.

My alarm woke me at 6:45am. I got up and trudged through the snow to James' place to be there at 7:30am. It was a bit tough staying awake. I half slept through the car ride going to the Tilt set. The trip was only half an hour. Luckily we were only taking things off the set. There was no shooting as the last day was friday. So brain, no use. Body on automatic.

I felt like a zombie moving cables and hardware from the set to the locker room and then to the truck. By about 5pm we were finished moving all the stuff back to James' garage and started to clean and sort all the equipment. It wasn't until 7pm that we finished working. I ate two hamburgers that James had cooked, drank a glass of Coke, then left.

I wandered back home through the piles of packing snow, sliding back and forth in my running shoes. Once home I fell instantly into a comma-like state. I realize this entry is pretty short and non-descriptive but that's all I can remember of this day. That and wanting to go to sleep.