Saturday, August 30, 2008

What to do in Kalamazoo?

Amanda, Michelle, Becky and Leah pack the truck

On our way to Kalamazoo, Becky's cell phone rang. It was Ivy, who had left for Kalamazoo earlier today and was there already. The text message told us to call her as something had happened. Since Becky was driving and maybe because it scares me a little when Becky multi-tasks while she drives, I called Ivy back. "The second floor of our hotel is flooded. They're evacuating everyone." Well that didn't sound good at all. "We'll be there in an hour and forty minutes." I replied.

After a few more calls, text messaging, and talking to the night desk person at the Motel 6, We discovered that a water main on the second floor broke in the EconoLodge Hotel (the place we were originally supposed to stay at). The water in turn fell through a ceiling of the first floor and hit some women. The city turned off the water and the hotel evacuated the people staying there.

The Coffee Lodge in Sarina with cakes from Chicago

Other than the switch of places to stay at the last minute, the trip went pretty smoothly. We stopped in Sarina to grab a snack and take a bathroom break (see Coffee Lodge photo). It should be noted that Becky bought an incredible slice of Peanut Butter and Chocolate cake (imported from Chicago).

On the US side of the border we stopped at some gas station and laundry mat for gas. There were posters of Apple Cider plastered all over the building. The brainwashing worked as I thought "I should buy a bottle of apple cider. It's only 99 cents.". To my surprise there was also no tax... woo woo!!! The cider was yummy!

Apple Cider, a Lansing Tradition!

Gas station and laundry mat in Lansing, MI

We received directions from Ivy to the new sleep location. The Motel 6 was located just across the street from the flooded EconoLodge. I half expected to see water coming out of windows when we passed by, but nope, nothing.

Judge Jody and Bitchslap Barbie, the motel 6 welcome committee

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

C NE thing new?

Lanterns at Ontario Place

Went to the Canadian National Exhibition today with Andrew (the designer). Maybe it was my mood but it didn't seem like there was much interesting this year. Of course that excludes the two corn dogs, roti, and pellet like ice cream I had.

Part of the admission to the "Ex" is the admission to Ontario Place as well. Not that this is a new thing but it's a place I don't visit often. Not sure why as I like paddle boats. Maybe it's too touristy.

From a distance, the giant Ontario Place sphere can be seen and everything looks the same as it once did all those years ago. Up close though everything is pretty much different. Andrew and I wandered though looking at all the new things put up. A water park, a water ride (and really the log ride isn't that new), the Molson Amphitheatre.

Then we arrived at what was once the Children's village. A bright orange tent now faded to brown by all the years of sun. It was gutted and made into a cadet recruitment centre. Memories of being squashed in a forest of punching bags, climbing rope nets and swinging down pulleys were all that was left. Everything gone. It was really sad.

A palace...

On a positive note there was the Chinese Lantern Festival which was pleasing to look at. The lanterns were dinosaur and world structures in theme this year. Statue of Liberty, the leaning tower of pisa, the Big Ben tower, to name a few and a giant palace made of tea cups, plates, and chinese soup spoons. Crazy.

...made of a bunch of teacups.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Fan Expo Saturday

The 10:00am convention line up

My day started off by getting to the convention centre early. It was 10:00am. I didn't actually have to be anywhere specific until 11:00am. 11:00am was the Anchor Bay Black Christmas screening.

The line to get into the main room, the room with all the toys, autographs, bubble gum cards, and comics for sale was incredible. It snaked it's way from the main doorway all the way over to the other end of the room then folded back and forth filling up the room. Yeesh.

Art Hindle and John Saxon

I decided to go to plan B, which was to find something to eat. The only vendor was located on the floor above. I had a coke and a sandwich, a very small sandwich, all totalling $9.00. I should put food expenses into my contract. Not only does food cost money but it takes time to get it and convention food is right up there with airport food in that it's not very cost effective eating.

At 11:00am sharp I was already at the room configuring the DVD player. It was set to the wrong aspect ratio. It, as a 24 frame playback person was screaming inside me, really bugged me so I offered the anchor bay guy there my services.

The two actors that were present at the screening were John Saxon and Art Hindle. While most people remember John Saxon as the token white guy in Enter the Dragon, I remember him most from an episode of the Six Million Dollar Man. He played a robot that could assume other people by changing his face. (Note: according to Big Joe, see photo below, the robot toy was called maskatron but in the actual show he or it had no name).

As a kid, John Saxon as the robot, scared the crap out of me. It wouldn't be until he teamed up with Bruce Lee in Enter the Dragon that those scary nightmares of being pummelled by a robot would go away. Much later on (like a few months ago) I saw the Kung Fu episode where John plays a bounty hunter (Season One on DVD). At the time of watching the episode I thought "Hey cool it's John Saxon, the guy that played the android in the Six Million Dollar Man". Today that episode had more relevance.

John Saxon and Wes Craven

After the intro to the screening of Black Christmas, the actors, the people of Anchor Bay and I wandered down to another room where Wes Craven was just finishing up with autographs. Just as security was kicking me out, and I have to give credit to Susan at Anchor Bay because she's awesome, Susan pleds with the security person to let me stay to take a photo if she got the other anchor bay people to leave the room. Here's the shot I managed to get while security was pondering that question. I was in and out of the room in less than two minutes. Not the best photo but a great photo under those conditions.

Heather Van Viper and other computer gaming friend.

On the way out of the room and off to another Anchor Bay screening I bumped into Heather Van Viper, one of Simon Mah's girls (photographer to the stars). I had met her before at a playboy Swimming Pool event. It was a surprise seeing her working the convention asking people for their email for some video game related thing.

John Saxon with a David Carradine story from "Kung Fu"

Later on in the day the actors of Black Christmas reconvened in another room for a panel discussion of the movie. Art and John were joined by Lynne Griffin(actor), Burt Dunc (camera), and composer Carl Zittrer. William Alexander of Critical Mass was the moderator. They covered mostly topics from the movie but also strayed off topic a bit to talk about John Saxon's career.

The Black Christmas panel, left to right, William Alexander, John Saxon, Lynne Griffin, Burt Dunc, Art Hindle, Carl Zittrer

Lynne Griffin shows her breathing technique in a plastic bag.

Burt Dunc describes one of the camera techniques used in Black Christmas.

Big Joe of Dragon Lady Comics

Sam Argo, artist and improv guy.

Rob Pincombe of the Random Few, artist, performer and star of the "Milk Man cometh".

Two guys dressed like bananas

The Anchor Bay booth.

Norman Mah, Action Figure

A Jawa

Friday, August 22, 2008

T-shirt Party

A bunch of us pose for the camera on auto timer

Adam Shalaby, a great photographer and as it turns out a great party organizer, invited me along with some really interesting people to his apartment for a T-shirt party. No, not a wet t-shirt party... the only shirt to get wet (that I know of) was mine as I tried to get a mustard stain out. The party theme was to wear a unique T-shirt.

Shirts that read "I hate you... call me", "Once you go black you never go back", "Fuck you you fuckin' fuck", "I like Commerce", "Oops! I crapped my pants!", "Si Oui, Yes" and my shirt "Poutine, cest bon." were just some of the solgans that I read. There was even a shirt with Adam on it from a photo I shot a few months ago! (see below)

This is so hilarious!

Like most great parties, it's the people who go to them that make it a success and like most great parties it was not long enough.

Fan Expo 2008 Friday

Superman and the Sub-Mariner

I went to the FanExpo today. After the fiasco of two years ago I figured it was time for me to visit the convention centre again and see if anything improved. While seeing Shatner and Nimoy together two years ago was cool, the organization of the convention was a little nutty (by that I mean poor). Mainly the lack of signage was the thing that irked me the most.

The plus side to this years convention was that I was being hired by Anchor Bay to do some photography tomorrow. I ended up going to the convention today to see where the rooms were located, a bit of advance reconnaissance you might say. Another added bonus was that I was accompanied by Ian Jennings, a fan of the FanExpo.

Ian's positive outlook and easy going nature made going to the convention enjoyable. I quickly forgot about all the crazy waiting in lines as I absorbed all the movie and background artist news Ian started rambling off. It was like he was tuning in some television feed from somewhere.


Another surprise was meeting Gord. I've known Gord for years... sort of. Way back when, before multiplex theatres, some would argue when theatres were actually good, I kept bumping into Gord while waiting in various line ups to various movies.

Movies used to only play in one of two theatres that were great in your area. Being the movie geek you wanted to go for the first showing at one of those premiere theatres. Cutting classes, sleeping overnight, and taking turns in line while others did the bathroom or food break or went home to sleep, were par for course. While I never did the overnight thing, I did play the Kevin Bacon game with a group of strangers while standing in the front of a line for eight hours. "Empire Strikes Back", "Return of the Jedi", "Batman", "Terminator 2" (the last one I remember waiting for), were just some titles I waited for hours in the front of the line to see.

The University theatre (now a Pottery Barn), the Imperial Six (replaced by stores), the Uptown (replaced by a condominium), the York (now an exercise gym), the Eglington (I'm not sure? Is it still there?), these were the great Toronto theatres of yesterday. This is where I met Gord, fellow movie geek.

Michael Cho

I was surprised to see Michael Cho. Not because he was there but more because I had recognized him from seeing his name somewhere else. His work was also featured at the Pages bookstore in their window display. I love his artwork, the sense of composition and amount of black used.

Sam Agro

Another artist who I knew but didn't knew drew, is Sam. For some reason it never clicked in my brain that he drew even though he did put in a submission to Darryl's HLAP magazine. I always think of Sam as a great improv performer.

Kristy Swanson and Ian Jennings

The original Buffy. Kristy Swanson was at the FanExpo was really nice and for a measly $10 would pose for photos.

Richard Comely and Ian Jennings

A high point at the FanExpo was Ian bumping into Richard Comely of Captain Canuck fame. Ian had been looking for this artist for the last four years at the FanExpo and kept missing him. When Ian saw the T-shirt I thought he was going to break out in tears of joy. I don't think I've ever seen someone gush over a comic book artist to this degree. It was pretty incredible.

Rob Pincombe of the Random Few

Cartoonist, animator, improv guy, Rob Pincombe is seen collecting art work from Sam and some other artists in the artist alley.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

As good as Gold

Darryl with some vinyl

There are some days where one goes where one is lead. Kind of like the way water flows through a valley. Water doesn't think about it. It just makes it's way from one end of the valley to the other, passing whatever obstacles in it's way. Kind of like autopilot. I suppose that's what today was like for me.

A few days ago Darryl had the idea of shooting a film. At the time, my schedule was free so I said "Sure. I'm free t help out". It wasn't until later on that I realized I didn't ask about what the film was about, where it was being shot, what time it was being shot, or how long I would be required. An anxiety started to build in my gut.

I suppose if you do enough of these things you can pat yourself on the back and tell yourself what a good friend you are for helping someone out. It kind of helps deaden the thoughts of "Oh Gawd! I can't believe I'm volunteering to do more last minute stuff.". Especially when I could be sleeping.

At least this is what I was thinking at 8:30am when I was looking at my alarm clock for the sixth time after pressing the snooze button five times. By the end of the day I thought differently. I actually had fun listening to old 80s records, setting up lights, helping compose the video camera shots, being a dolly grip and shooting stills of half naked girls.

The morale of this blog entry... "Get your ass out of bed and out of your dwelling. Go forth into the world. There's a lot of interesting things to see."

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

New microwave, New blog entry.

Sunset over the Canadian Tire

Okay I realize it's been a while since the last blog entry. Something I've also noticed is that there are a number of blog entries that blab about me starting a trip somewhere but there's no follow up entries. To say I've been quite busy these last few weeks is an understatement. It's odd, I'm busy but I dont' really feel productive. Part of me wanted to wait to blog something of interest but when something interesting happened I'd be too busy to blog it.

So since the trip to Montreal, where the Hamilton travel team lost to the Skids (the Montreal team), I've gone off to Las Vegas for RollerCon 2008 with a connection in the San Fransisco airport on my way back, my friend Mark got his 5 year medallion at AA, my landlords Chris and Kyoko had a baby boy (Carl Grant Morri Cammage - 7 pounds 7 ounces) on august 9th, my uncle Joe died august 12th, Texas played Hamilton ins an amazing game where they crushed the HCRG by 92 points, the league presented a shirt to me with the words "BAGEL HOT 00" on the back, and I picked up a new microwave.

Granted a new microwave isn't really a big deal but I thought it would make a good starting point to start doing blog entries again. Perhaps it'll become habitual.

The new microwave

For all the readers that have been wondering what's been going on, sorry to keep you in the dark. I will do my best to keep you updated on the mundane and interesting events in my life AND maybe, just maybe I'll enter in some blog entries for past dates. There are some entries that are half filled already.

I would also like to say that the photo of the sunset was taken because Chris had come into Canadian Tire while I was picking up the new microwave (for 101.69 after tax!!!) and told me to look outside.