ramblings of an information troubleshooter
calgary comic expo 2012 - day one
every year this expo gets bigger and bigger. this year
will be even more hectic given all the star trek: the next
gen hype. i do have tix to the EXPOsed show on saturday nite,
but i'm still mostly going to the show for the comics side
of things. as soon as i got my weekend pass, i took stock of
where i needed to go. i had printed off the floorplan from
the expo site and had noted down which creators i'd be
interested in seeing. spent most of the evenings the 3 days
prior to the expo combing thru my longboxes of comics for all
sorts of gems from the 80's and 90's.
so, first up was george perez. i got my copies of the judas
contract, crisis, and wonder woman signed and then sprung for
a sketch of hippolyta:
up next was whilce portacio, who has happy to sign
my copy of the star wars omnibus, where he had inked
the final issue of the original marvel series. he
also graciously signed my copies of alpha flight
#50-53, #51 being jim lee's first professional work
in comics. i went down to the other end of the line
and got a sketchbook from frank cho. he also
graciously signed my copy of liberty meadows #1
(first printing, natch!). he stated that guns and
dinos would still be coming out, but that the chance
to be involved in the big avengers vs. x-men x-over
was too great an opportunity to pass up.
after that, i chatted with peter david, and when i
presented his classics illustrated adaptation of
cyrano de bergerac, he explained that he had to
delve through multiple translations in order to
cobble together the script, due to the confusing
conclusion of the then-standard english language
translation (which was also still under copyright).
mon panache had been literally translated as 'my
white plume', but peter decided to stick with the
original rostand version, which he decided had
been intended as a pun, referring to style or poise.
at the next table over, ty templeton overheard the
conversation, and jumped in to the discussion,
then the two writers moved from cyrano to dante's
inferno. ty also discussed an upcoming book in
which he did the illustrations, called 'bill the
boy wonder', the story of how bill finger was
cheated out of his just dues as the true creator
of batman. ty's full of stories, so if you ever
catch him at a con, take the chance to just hang
out and absorb. ty was happy to sign my copy of
the hardcover collection of mr. x and threw in a
last up on the that side of the hall for me was
bernie wrightson, who happily signed a copy of
epic illustrated that i brought, along with my
purchase of one of his prints from his frankenstein
set. wandering into the maelstrom in the middle of
the hall, i went in search of ken steacy to get his
john doe on the mr. x. book which he had 'mid-wived'
back in the '80's. he also signed my copies of
comico's grendel #14-16, which he had done the covers
for (in 3-d!). i also arranged for ken to sketch me
this beauty of grendel and mr. x. facing off:
leaving my sketchbook with ken, i continued wandering
the floor, stopping by riley rossmo's booth. i know
riley from his stint working at my local comics shop,
which had kindly shipped my books up to the arctic for
the 7 years that i had been up there. he was totally
stoked that bernie wrightson was in the house and
couldn't wait for his chance to wander over there.
next, i wandered over to the comic legends legal defense
fund booth, where they had a bunch of sandman tpb's signed
by neil gaiman. however, since i already have my
original mr. x. t-shirt worn and signed by the man
himself, i ended up just picking up a pin to support
i headed to bob mcleod's booth next, where i pulled out
a truly ratty copy of new mutants #2 for him to sign.
he expressed some regret that he didn't get the chance
to do his best work on the series, but was happy that
i had enjoyed the series when it came out. my final
stop on my to-do list was steve rude's booth, where i
picked up a copy of his limited edition hc art book,
which he offered with a money-back guarantee. who would
be the bozo to even think about asking for money back
for that ? anyway, i also arranged for him to sketch
sundra peale for me on saturday.
after that i wandered around the rest of the artists'
alley and picked up a few things that caught my eye,
including postscript (the stories that happen after
the fairy tales finish), max overacts (about a kid
who is *very* enthusiastic about becoming an actor),
gamers are people too (from a booth suspiciously
and conveniently adjacent to the big area of gaming
tables), and a book called mathemagick (about a team
of mathematicians who team up against the metaphysical).
finally, i returned to ken's table to pick up my sketch.
he also signed the star wars omnibus that he had also
worked on just before whilce wrapped up the series.
the penciller in both instances was cynthia martin,
who did the finishes on george perez' war of the gods.
so, that ends the first 5-hour day and my feet are
already sore with two more days to go !! since i didn't
post for over a year, here's my fave sketch from the 2011
expo that was held last june. this was done by rod espinoza,
who happily indulged my steampunk desires:
never let me go
just got back from the globe theatre in calgary,
where i had watched (for the 2d time in a week),
the marvelous film 'never let me go'. the first
viewing had been last friday, and if i hadn't
already made plans to do a carey mulligan double-header
with 'wall street: money never sleeps' at eau claire,
i would've saw it for the 2d time immediately afterward.
keep in mind that i haven't read the original book by
kazuo ishiguro yet, but a co-worker has offered to lend
me her copy, and i suspect that the book will soon
disappear from my amazon wishlist.
is getting moved off of it right now -
rachel portman and the music editor did a fantastic job.
you know how sometimes the music swells up and intrudes
on the audience, forcing it to feel *something* ? well,
that wasn't the case here, as the music helped to ease
the pain of the empathy with the characters. i don't
know how well it will hold up without the movie, but
i do know that i'm obsessively re-playing the judy
bridgewater version of 'never let me go' (yes, i know
she is fictional).
i'm still trying to figure out exactly what motivated
me to go see the film, as it was definitely a pleasant
surprise. i'm a fan of keira knightley from way back
to 'bend it like beckham', and i had seen andrew
garfield earlier in the week in 'the social network'.
i was a carey mulligan newbie though, as i had avoided
'an education' due to fear of hype-withdrawl, but i
think i'll have to remedy that soon - she was magnificent(!)
as kathy h. hmm, maybe it was the alex garland screenwriting
credit - i did like the first two thirds of his previous
sf film 'sunshine', directed by some guy named danny boyle ;)
also seen recently was duvall and murray's 'get low'
which had its moments, but sort of ended a bit blah.
'the social network' was worth seeing, but more as a
documentary of life in the mid-2000's. 'scott pilgrim
vs. the world' was very fun, with awesome music, and
i'll try to catch it a 2d time at the movie dome. in
the same michael cera vein, i also finally got around
to watching 'nick and norah's infinite playlist' - i
remember that kat dennings was in 'defendor', but she
was excellent in 'n+n'. i even bought a ticket to see
her film at this year's calgary international filmfest,
but got distracted by poker :(
that said, i did catch a few interesting films.
'trigger' was an intense experience. molly parker
was great, but tracy wright's drug survival soliloquy
was riveting. 'a film unfinished' dug into the
footage of the warsaw ghetto that was intended for a
propaganda film that was never made. 'force of nature'
was a worthwhile film about david suzuki - his speech
was inspiring. doctor o'connor was in attendance at
the sold-out showing of 'dirty oil' at the plaza, and
i was glad for the chance to shake his hand. zhang
yimou's 'a woman, a gun, a noodle house', (which i'm
told is an adaptation of the coen brothers 'blood simple',
which i've never seen) oozed with colours and farce.
'secret reunion' was a neat korean spy-action flick, and
big hapa family' was a japanese-canadian's exploration
of his own family's affinity for multi-racial marriages.
as i have cousins in a similar situation, i picked up a
copy of the dvd to lend to them. the last shout-out goes
to a japanese short film 'jitensha' which showed a man's
struggle to rebuild himself in the process of rebuilding
his bicycle, the parts of which were mysteriously
scattered in various hiding places.
hmm, going back to august, i'll give kudos to a few
fringe shows that i enjoyed at the time. i really
enjoyed ingrid hansen's
bound' (and not just cuz i got pulled up on-stage to
participate). it was a very creative show which showed
off her danish heritage. also well worth seeing was bob
wiseman's 'actionable', which i would've seen twice if i
could've fit it into the schedule (i did manage to see 12
shows in 10 days !). a real treat was the chance to chat
with bob before his show in the artpoint art gallery
upstairs, and compare notes about which shows to take in
(leading me to 'brazil nuts' and the aforementioned
'gnomeward'). the plays that i did manage to see twice
were 'march' and 'the last goddamned performance piece',
the latter mostly to see how much was scripted and how
much was performance. the story for 'march' could've been
developed a bit more, but i really enjoyed the performance
of the actors, and especially with how they inhabited their
costumes to bring the characters alive.
oh, and i guess i should mention that i'm gainfully
employed and can no longer spend 3-4 nites a week at
the casino :( ah well ...
the benefit of unofficially dropping down to
audit status in my film program is that i've
recently spent more time actually watching
films ;) over the past week, i've watched 'the
painted veil', 'shut up and sing', '9/11: attack
on the pentagon', and 'watchmen' (twice). tonight,
i have a ticket to go see the local stop of the
vancouver international mountain film festival
tour - we'll see how it stacks up against the
banff ones that i helped to organize up north.
meanwhile, yet another facebook meme is making the
rounds. i had started on the 25 random things,
but i quickly ran out of steam with that one.
however, the one that
sent me yesterday simply asked for a list of 10 books
that will always stick with me, and i was able to come
up with the following list within the 15 minute
Snow Crash / Cryptonomicon - Neal Stephenson
Ender's Game / Children of the Mind / Ender's Shadow et al. - Orson Scott Card
Foundation Trilogy / Robots series - Isaac Asimov
*Elektra Assassin - Frank Miller and Bill Sienkiewicz
*Sandman - Neil Gaiman and Various
The Prize - Daniel Yergin
100 Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Marooned in Realtime - Vernor Vinge
Shamans, Software and Spleens - James Boyle
Lord of the Rings / Hobbit - J.R.R. Tolkien
The Compete Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
Distraction - Bruce Sterling
* graphic novels, so i don't know if they counted,
hence the even dozen.
alright, why does 'snow crash' sits atop my list ?
a prescient vision of an internet that is part of
the infrastructure of society (not a given in the
early 90's when this book was written and released),
a distillation of what america is good at (software,
high speed pizza delivery), a sword-fighting hero
protagonist, and a politico-religious conspiracy
to take over the world by controlling everyone's
minds - what's not to love ? oh, and the idea that
the most useful piece of software in their virtual
reality is 'the librarian'. cryptonomicon gets a
nod for its deft shifts between generations and a
focus on how value will be determined in the
orson scott card's 'ender' series of books is full
of heart-warming and heart-wrenching human stories.
'ender's game' is tops for its depiction of the
struggles of prematurely wise children trained to
become the generals of the world's armies.
'children of the mind' deals with the struggles of
a dysfunctional family after their father passes
away, and how they discover that the truth is not
always kind. 'ender's shadow' delves into future
geopolitics, reassuring us that no matter how
enlightened we might believe ourselves, we can not
easily brush aside the detrital grudges of history.
asimov's 'foundation' trilogy and follow-up series
and tie-ins with his robots stories were a big
influence on me as a teenager. despite a story
spanning centuries and an entire galaxy, the
ultimate take away is that the actions of individuals
can make a huge impact on how events evolve.
'elektra assassin' was a brilliant combination of
frank miller's writing and bill sienkiewicz's painted
art. a tale of political conspiracy that bursts with
colour and energy as the assassin closes in - but who
is the target ? neil gaiman's 'sandman' was a brilliant
platform for him to tell stories about storytelling,
in collaboration with a series of artists who brought
the characters to life.
i didn't limit my list to fiction, as some non-fiction
books also had a huge impact on me. 'the prize' deals
with the sordid history of the oil industry, drawing
solid connections between world events and the pursuit
of the black gold. i inhaled '100 years of solitude'
in a weekend, and if i didn't have to return the book
to its owner, i would have dived right into it again.
at times funny, other times sad, the characters in this
book are your neighbours, your relatives, your friends
and your enemies - we are all more alike than we might
'marooned in realtime' sells itself as a futuristic
detective story, but the sense of loss over space
and time that it builds is palpable. the book
questions the purpose of humanity and drives us to
ponder about what our contributions might be, for
which we will want to be remembered. 'shamans' is the
2d non-fiction book on my list, providing some anecdotes
about how the intellectual property has reached into
domains where the application of its principles delivers
'the lord of the rings' is the quintessential fantasy,
with elves and hobbits and the fearsome nazghul; a
tale of adventures, of magic, of terror and of loyalty.
even when surrounded by darkness, hope can prevail.
and of course, sherlock holmes' logical and dogged
sleuthing provides a particular insight into Victorian
society and universal human weaknesses.
'distraction', which closes out my booklist, is another
futuristic sf title which contains yet another political
conspiracy, layered with the arts of spin doctoring
and genetic engineering, spiced with pursuits and
revelations, all stirred up in a gumbo that successfully
distracts the reader from their own humdrum reality.
but once you are familiar with the tools of distraction,
can you still look at the world without seeing the
the new facebook layout sucks. i'll echo all
of those who complain that if we wanted to use
twitter, we'd use twitter. forcing me to cull
over 300 'friends' acquired to play fb games,
just so i could keep track of the real life
friends, sort of seems self-defeating on fb's
part. anyhow, they have every right to change
their site as they see fit - they just can't
expect us all to be happy or help them earn
also annoying today was receiving some
telemarketing call from my credit card company,
regarding some home / car / health thingie. i
was willing to have them send me info about the
program, but i told the lady that since i don't
own a house, don't own a car, and haven't gone
to a hospital in 5 years (other than for cheap
cafeteria food), that the product would likely
not be of interest to me. however, later in the
call, when she indicated that i would get the first
month free, i quickly put a stop to that.
apparently, she was in the process of signing me
up for the service first, with the requirement to
this is just ridiculous. marketers, get your head
out of the sand !! if i want something, i don't
need to be coerced. if your product is of interest
to me, i will go looking for you. the best thing
you can do is make sure the product is of good
enough quality, and the service you provide meets
my needs. that's it. and you'll have a customer
for life. as it is, i was tempted to cancel the
bloody credit card right then and there.
anyway, i spent the weekend catching up on all of
the edge.org emails that have built up in my inbox
since last summer. of course, the edge video that
did catch my attention wouldn't display on my pc,
but since i had a new macbook handy, i used that
of songs' is a video of professor armand leroi
talking about whether the evolution of music could
be traced via traditional song styles. following
up on the work of ethnomusicologist alan lomax and
his cantometrics, leroi examines HOW a song is sung,
drawing connections between the geographic patterns
of cantometrics and the geographic distribution /
history of DNA. very intriguing.
if you can't get the edge.org video to load, there
video that covers some of the same area without
the pretty graphics, and also delves into how
copyright has been used to impede some of his
the catching up post ...
i hate changing my clocks for daylight savings
time. i wish people were more sensible like
saskatchewan folk and just keep the same time
all year round.
alright, so why haven't i been updating this page
more often ? well, my ftp from my pc wasn't
working properly for awhile, and it seemed like
too much of a hassle to haul stuff to school to
upload. however, i've just received my new
macbook pro and magically, the ftp connection
on my pc now seems to be working fine again -
nothing like some pc/mac rivalry to kick things
into shape, eh ?
ok what else. hmm, i dropped some classes in my
film program so i won't get the piece of paper at
the end. i'm ok with that - i'd rather have the
time to get into my own groove. i've been feeling
pretty exhausted creatively, and getting up for
9 a.m. classes just doesn't help. however, being
in the film program has allowed me the chance to
film a body-painting contest and some material
for a future music video, so that's been kewl. i
also edited some footage for another
for a local candidate and she has since become
her party's nominee.
also went on a trip to china for the first 2 weeks
of february. i'm attaching meta-info to my photos
before uploading to the family ftp site, but when
they're ready, i'll post a couple of the good ones
here. the highlight of the trip was getting to
visit the ancestral village where my father grew up
as a youngster and see why my grandfather assumed
that my father would leap at the chance to emigrate
to canada. i also got to climb a portion of the
great wall outside of beijing and picked up some
awesome tea in taishan city that somehow has an
unexpectedly sweet aftertaste - yummy.
alright, that's enough of that for now. i just
finished my comic book order for this month. some
great stuff like: gene yang and derek kirk kim
teaming up on the eternal smile; a collection
of cartoons by canadian
wright; asterios polyp, the return of david
mazzuchelli; and most gorgeous of all, a book called
the history of west wing, featuring the
of guo guo. when i saw those images, my mouth
literally dropped open and i added the book to my
order right away. here's a sample of one of the
the shape of winter in nelson ...
as i crossed the big orange bridge to nelson proper,
the wind was howling down the valley, and the
temperatures were hovering in the minus teens - winter
has definitely arrived here in nelson. however, i
still counted myself lucky as the national weather
report on the laundromat t.v. indicated that poor
iqaluit was down to minus 31. brr.
people still looked at me funny, tho, as i biked
downtown to catch the TNT production of 'shape of a
girl'. someone called me 'brave' outside the save
on foods and i just had to shrug. anyway, SOAG as
done solo (as joan macleod intended) was an
interesting experience. some of the scene
transitions were challenging, and weren't always
clear when signalled by lighting changes or the
unzipping of a bunnyhug.
carolyn gingrich played the difficult lead role
of braidie, and while she had some great moments,
especially the washroom scene, i wasn't entirely
convinced. part of the issue was that the actor
rarely seemed to speak directly to the audience,
but rather off to the side. while this worked
for the portrayal of playschool braidie, along
with seemingly unconscious fidgeting, this was
less effective for rebellious teenage braidie.
odile's decision to split the role into various
parts when we did the iqaluit run a few years
back made it much easier for the audience to
figure out the time changes, and i think served to
reinforce the idea that any girl could be living
thru what braidie was describing.
i was impressed that the church venue had an actual
lighting grid installed by the community theatre
group, with around 8 fresnels and a couple of
lekolites. the sound design was fairly minimal,
with beach surf interspersed with the ringing bell
that punctuated the script. however, with 2 speakers
available at the back corners of the stage and 2
at the back of the audience, i think sound could
have been used more creatively to help with the
scene / time changes. the coastal set incorporated
actual driftwood and used a swath of burlap to
imitate beach sand - much more elaborate than the
rudimentary wooden blocks that we had used.
anyway, the production is running for a couple
more nights, so if you know anyone in nelson, you
should encourage them to go. though the church
floor itself is almost twice the size of l'ETS in
iqaluit, half was closed off and there were only
seats out for around 25 people and half of them were
empty for tonight's run - not sure if it's timing,
crappy weather, or just too many other distractions
in nelson, but i think that we can count ourselves
lucky that we were able to have such a successful
run in iqaluit.
i've been mostly vegging this week after polishing
up my first term film project 'political equity'
last week. unfortunately, as one of the interview
subjects has declined permission, i won't be able
to distribute it online. i was happy with my
original 7-minute 'talking-heads' version, but the
feedback from my instructors was that it needed
to be more visually interesting and that the
audience needed a path through the material. so,
i did my best stephen colbert imitation and put
myself into the film as a bonehead anchor, and the
final piece ended up at around 4 minutes. that
version is less interesting to me, but a good
learning experience for next time about getting
appropriate b-roll and contrasting viewpoints.
regarding facebook games, i had been playing the
blood games, but when i found out that the original
developer had sold out to a marketing firm (shades
of triumph!), and that no further episodes were
forthcoming, i went searching for something new.
brother vance turned me on to
which took the blood role-playing game template
and added some interesting combat mechanics.
i've also been playing
metropolis, where i'm in the top 30 canadian cities for culture
and landmarks. i'm also continuing to play
(lvl 84) and
cybernations, where i crossed my 1-year anniversary
threshold a few days ago.
politicially, i'm pleased about the nunavut
election results, and looking forward to how
things will change with eeva in charge and hunter
in cabinet. i think picking markus as the top
civil servant is a great first step, but they're
going to need even more talent at the leadership
level. nunavut's economy will be severely
challenged with the international investment
climate turning a cold shoulder to investing in
new mining development projects, and economic
distress down south consuming a greater share
of federal attention. we might even look back
on the last few years of budgetary expansion up
north as a 'golden age', compared to what's
coming in the next few years.
anyway, that's enough to break the blog silence
after a couple of months. i'll be heading off to
cowtown on the greyhound tomorrow nite, likely
followed by a trip to the country to visit the
folks before hitting up the casino poker tables to
ring in boxing day. hope everyone reading this has
a happy holiday season and best wishes for 2009 !
one election down, 3 to go ...
i've been keeping my eye on a variety of elections
recently. as expected, the canadian federal
election resulted in another minority conservative
government. i don't know if this is due to support
for their agenda or just lack of support for the
other agendas on the table, but i am seriously
concerned about what this tax-cutting government
will do in the face of widespread economic turmoil
that is still coming our way. also, i expect that
the evil c-61 copyright bill will soon be
re-introduced and will pass with the support of
the liberals, blocking some canadians from being
able to join the internet and information economy
that will eventually supplant the manufacturing
economy that canada has been forced to prop up in
in any case, i didn't have much hope for a different
turnout there. i had hoped that nunavut's new mp
would be someone else, as leona will now be a mere
backbencher in the minority government, and will not
have the same opportunity to speak out against the
government when northern issues are trampled (which
they will be). with the credit markets being
strangled, all the northern mining developments are
at risk, and without mining, the nunavut economy is
going to get scuppered for half a decade. the
nunavut government has severely limited its options
by having put all its eggs in that basket over the
last few years, and now nunavummiut will pay the
so, i'm also not hopeful for the nunavut election
that will take place on october 27th. judging
from the mood, i'd say that paul will get
re-elected, and will again face off against tagak
for the premiership (and will win again). that
said, there is a sizable crop of younger and more
enthusiastic candidates, so hopefully some of
them will get elected and bring some much-needed
energy and vision to the floor of the legislative
i *am* hopeful for the u.s. election. obama has
done a masterful job on the debates, and tina fey
has done a fabulous job of undercutting sarah palin's
credibility. i'm looking forward to seeing the
obama landslide on november 4th.
so, what's the fourth election ? well, the b.c.
provincial election is slated to take place next
may. the incumbent NDP MLA in the nelson riding
is retiring, and his spot is being contested by
four women. i had been trying to get together with
a friend of a friend to see about a regular poker
game here in town, but he's up in nunavut on duty
travel right now, so i met his partner instead.
she's one of the four candidates, and i decided to
assist her (and get some homework done at the same
time) by filming her fundraising event the weekend
before last. i took the footage, loaded it from
the camera to the macs at the school, and then
edited a 1-minute film that she added to
website on thursday, 5 days after the event.
so, i did my cinematography homework by shooting
the footage solo, and re-acquainted myself with
capturing and editing the footage with final cut
pro. i also did a bit of work on soundtrack pro
to cut down on the crowd noise - i had arranged
with the soundman on-site to get a cd of the audio
for the night, but he explained to me at the end
of the night, that, as other people had access to
the booth, someone had bumped the mouse and nothing
had gotten recorded. next time, i'll be sure to
bring my own recorder. as it was, i had to use the
audio that came from the XLR mic that i had attached
to the side of the camera, hence the attempt at
after that, i played around with a variety of
compressor settings to get the most optimal quality
to size ratio, knowing that michelle wanted to upload
(remember to click on the 'watch in high-quality
link' on the bottom right !) and
facebook. the best quality file was over 2 gigs, which
wouldn't pass thru the maximum filesize limits on
youtube or facebook (1024 MB). i ended up with an
MPEG-4 encoding that gave me a 46 MB file.
in our film history class this morning, we got to
watch 'citizen kane'. very interesting. over
the weekend, i finished my comic order, and had
stumbled upon kathryn and stuart imonen's
pictures. i had enjoyed stuart's work a few
years back on shockrockets, and this new work's
melange of other artists that i like, including
andi watson, jason lutes, tim sale, and matt
wagner, was right up my alley. here's a sample
page, where the last panel matches quite nicely
with the final scenes of citizen kane, with
characters in deep background surrounded by
crates full of potential goodies:
i haven't posted any vids from battle
stations in awhile, but i managed to take down
an opposing fort over the weekend with the
help of 4 other alliance comrades. here's
the final volley:
nestling down in nelson
i thought that the older i got, the easier
school would get. sadly, it seems that i
picked the wrong program if i wanted any
downtime to recover from the busy time i gave
myself in the north. my seven film classes
film history (we get to watch old films !)
digital video (technology and terminology)
cinematography (shooting with DV cameras)
photoshop (i can paste now paste my head over
screenwriting (standard 3-act story structures)
sound for film (boom mics, isolating headphones,
recording in washrooms, etc.)
editing (fun with final cut pro)
the first couple of weeks have been very hectic,
with lots of background reading and intro to a
whole schwack of software programs and their
related keyboard shortcuts. plus, the fact that
i have to get up early early for my morning
classes is really leaving me exhausted at the
end of the day. the consolation for that is
that classes are only from monday to thursday,
so i have a few days to try to catch up on sleep.
besides tuition, i've already spent a ton of dough
buying textbooks, USB drives, two 500 Gig external
drives, DV tapes, and headphones. so, much as i
would like to spring for a new mac as well, i think
i'll hold off on that splurge until after january.
other than school, i've checked out the local
touchstones museum / art gallery, as well as the
show at the oxygen art gallery, co-curated by my
screenwriting instructor. like iqaluit, nelson
has a lot of development issues, a lack of housing,
and a seeming disdain for planning which is slowly
changing. i also picked up a cellphone for the first
time, and have actually used it more as an alarm
clock / mp3 player than as a phone. still, i like the
'my10' plan that i have, that allows me to call 10
numbers across canada as part of my monthly package
without incurring lond-distance charges, which will
hopefully allow me to keep in touch with folks more
with today's deadline for the nunavut election
nominations, i'm looking forward to finding out who
all is running up there. since i actually moved my
stuff from iqaluit, i was advised that i couldn't
vote for the nunavut federal race, and so i'll have
to pick from the candidates here in nelson. since i
can't do much for my friends who are running up north,
i've volunteered to help out a friend of a friend here
in nelson, in her attempt to become an MLA when b.c.
goes to the polls next spring.
i had spent quite a bit of time last week hunting
down a copy of the tina fey / sara palin skit from
SNL. my internet connection at the motel is abyssmal
(maybe that's why it's included in the rent ??),
so when i went to the nbc site, the streaming video
would keep pausing for the stream to catch up. i
finally found a copy to download
anyway, i'm very interested to see how all these
elections turn out, between canada, u.s., nunavut
and b.c. i have some hope that i can turn this
interest into a film project for my next term,
but if anyone has any thoughts on that, feel free
to give me a shout.
august adventure wrapup
as promised, i have a couple of allen ball tile works
from the triangle
art gallery in calgary. i liked these because the
artist transformed simple household linoleum tiles into
evocative expressions of colour and contemplation.
ok, what's next ... right, the trip to victoria for
wedding #2. after a couple days in scenic sooke,
a bunch of us accompanied the bride and groom to
the bella pacifica campground just outside tofino,
to spend a weekend in tents, hang out at the surfy
beach, and huddle around the campfire in the
evenings. on the way back, i stopped back into
cathedral grove for another pilgrimage thru the
i spent a couple more days staying with another
friend in victoria, who had bought a house for
herself earlier this year. i also got to see
another round of fringe shows at the victoria
fringe fest, including 'face of jizo', 'grow your
own dinosaur', and my fave,
ain't dead yet'. the latter featured a
storyteller with a guitar, who gave an monologue
of woody guthrie's early life, tying specific
historical incidents to various guthrie songs.
sounds a bit hokey, but it was a riveting theatre
after that, it was back across the ferry to stay
in vancouver for a couple days, and take in a
blue rodeo concert in malkin bowl in stanley park,
which i had bought tickets for months ago while i
was still in iqaluit. if i had been smarter, i
would have arranged to see them at the calgary
folkfest, but as it was, i got a chance to see a
bit of vancouver nightlife with another friend
from iqaluit. i got to stanley park early in the
afternoon the next day, and enjoyed listening to
the impromptu 6-song concert that greg and baz
gave during the soundcheck. there was only one
person in line ahead of me, so crowd control was
not nearly the issue that it was for the warped
tour. with a wedding ceremony taking place in
the adjacent lawn, the opening band sadies had
to hold off on their soundcheck until the vows
were completed. anyway, while i have a couple
of shots of greg and jim coming up to the front
of the stage to serenade the crowd, here's my
best photo of all of the gang:
i tried to leave vancouver right after the concert,
but got stuck in a huge traffic jam on the trans
canada where i got held up for nearly an hour and
a half, driving maybe 4 kilometres. i gunned it
through the rest of the flat-ish lower mainland to
try to make up some time, but i had to pull over
to a rest stop around 4 in the morning to catch
some winks in the back of the rental. i made it to
nelson the next day, and spent the rest of the week
in a temporary motel room, getting a feel for the
motel environs where i would be spending the next 8
or 9 months. then it was back to calgary for the
weekend, to meet up with the mover from montreal,
who had ferried my sealift from iqaluit across the
country. with classes starting on the tuesday after
labour day, i ended up just stuffing my stuff into my
storage locker with the aim of returning sometime
later to sort thru everything and decide what i
needed. the rental car was returned, after 6 weeks,
with a total mileage of over 7000 kilometres !
i took the red eye greyhound back to nelson and
was able to finally move into my proper pad. here's
a shot from the balcony outside my 2d floor window:
when classes ended at noon on thursday, i dropped
by a van rental agency to see what i could arrange
for a trip back to calgary to move some stuff. they
didn't have any mini-vans or half-tons available at
all, so i was going to try later in the month, but
the clerk pushed for me to try an SUV. i made an
impulsive decision to give it a go, and started on
my 2-day blitz back to calgary to try to pick out
what i would need to survive in a motel room for 9
months. my brother helped me pack my selections
snugly into the back of the tank-like SUV, and then
i was hustling back to nelson to unload and return
the rental after a 1700 kilometre round trip. other
than the abysmal fuel economy, i was actually pretty
impressed with how the SUV handled on the road, and
with how much stuff i was able to lug. the illusion
of being impervious was quite convincing ...
how much art can i pack into my summer holiday ?
unfortunately, i wasn't able to experience too
many of the pleasures of nelson, as i spent most
of my 3 days there searching for a place to stay
for the fall. i did manage to treat myself to a
viewing of the dark knight on my birthday, but
compared to the astro theatre, the 1-screen,
1-movie per night offerings in nelson are pretty
as for housing, in the end, i decided to book a motel
room for the september thru may period, just to be
certain that i'd have a place when school starts.
one benefit is that i won't have to deal with any
roommate issues. after that was confirmed, i
returned to calgary to shuffle stuff from my old
storage locker to one 4x the size, as i won't be
able to host all of my stuff being shipped down from
iqaluit to montreal in a single motel room.
however, i did take some time out to attend my
friends' 'star trek'-themed wedding ceremony and
reception. here's what the middle layer of the
wedding cake looked like, surrounded by 'tribble'
immediately preceeding the reception, there was
a kung fu demonstration outside of the dining
hall. i managed to snag a video of a demo of
10 bricks being broken.
after all the moving of stuff was done, i began
to relax and see what i could schedule in to
keep myself busy for a couple weeks. besides
feasting on sushi and dim sum, i managed to
re-visit the movie theatres to take in an IMAX
viewing of the dark knight with my brother,
hellboy 2, and mongol, a neat tale about the
rise of genghis khan. i also stopped into the
triangle gallery to check out their latest show
featuring some edmonton artists. i'll return
later this week to snap some pics of allen ball's
work and hopefully post them here.
the rest of my weekend was spent in inglewood,
checking out the calgary fringe festival. my
fave so far has been
blond', a one-woman show about 40's hollywood
movie star judy holliday and her run-in with the
congressional un-american activities hearings.
laura harris played the coquettish part to a tee,
while simultaneously demonstrating the keen intellect
required to pull one over on the antagonistic
senators. the use of archival audio recordings
from the period for laura to react to was neat,
and i decided to book another ticket for her
saturday show to see it again.
another enjoyable show was
girl and the dark enigma', which features a
troupe of just-graduated mount royal college
students, who put on a real gumbo of a show that
included doo-wop singing, original folk songs,
a sword-fight, a rags-to-riches adventure and
the metaphor that a 'relationship is like a pizza'.
while not very deep, the enthusiasm of the cast
made for a fun and breezy hour spent.
the other show that i managed to catch tonight
winner', again about the relationship
between 2 people who don't realize that they
are meant for each other. the length that the
characters are willing to go, to win an obscure
prize in tim horton's 'roll up the rim' contest,
was pretty funny, and the pair of actors handled
numerous costume changes with aplomb. they also
introduced a game called 'yellow light splooge',
involving the running of yellow traffic lights and
the blurting out of secrets. the sound tech also
needs to be commended for switching channels and
songs on cue every time !
up tomorrow is the vans warped concert tour,
calgary stop, where i will hopefully get to see
the vandals and motion city soundtrack on 1 of
the 6 stages. thursday and friday are reserved
for evening performances of shakespeare in the
park, put on by mount royal college theatre
students. thursday will feature 'the tempest',
while i will see 'the merry wives of windsor'
on friday nite. the weekend will be spent
catching up with my calgary cousins and then
it's on to victoria to catch another wedding,
followed by a trip to tofino for a bit of
day of departure
a big thanks to odile and pat for hosting my
farewell poker tourney thursday evening. i
was lucky to avoid the vinnie steamroll as
he proceeded to knock people out one by one.
my closest scare was when he finally folded
K-2 to my all-in bet, which would have given
him a full house, 2's over 3's. i ended up
facing him heads up and managed to triumph in
the first tourney. a 3d place in the 2d
tourney allowed me to climb back up in the
standings for the thursday tourneys. the
sickest beat was when a 9, 10, and a K had
flopped and i bet out with 3x the big blind with
my bottom pair of 9's. cyndi went all-in for 4x
my bet, and i stupidly called. she turned over
her JQ for a flopped str8 and then watched with
horror as the turn and river came K, K to give
me a runner runner full-house.
after recovering from alianait, i began to start
packing for my big move. i had gotten most everything
packed up and taken away by the movers on wednesday for
eventual sealift to montreal, and then the cleaners
came in and did a whirlwind job on my apartment to
leave it in a pristine state not seen in 6 years.
since i had my pc packed up and sent by air
cargo on thursday, my time on friday was spent
leisurely checking in, returning keys, and
enjoying a final lunch at the frob. i was
asked a couple of times about what i will miss
most about iqaluit, and i couldn't really give a
decent answer at the time. thinking on it now,
i'd have to say that i'll miss the pace of living
in the north, as well as the connectedness of
everything and everyone. if you know the
right people in town, you can accomplish
after the numerous airport farewells, i
finally boarded the canadian north jet destined
for edmonton. a bit of frisson was caused by
one of the feature articles from the in-flight
magazine, which delivered a bevy of tales from
northerners about their 'first days' in the north,
including one from aaju peter, who happened to be
on the same flight on her way to the 'folk on the
rocks' music festival in yellowknife. topping
off my sense of displacement was seeing a full-page
ad in the magazine, placed by my previous seismic
employer, touting all of their accomplishments in
the north. ah, what could have been ...
looking back on my own 'first day', i remember
marvin picking me up at the airport (ferrying
people around town seemed to be his favourite
work-related duty). after getting me settled
at the frob, he invited me to join a farewell
supper for another staff member at the kamotiq.
2 hours later, i had my first (and last) meal
of deep-fried muktuq (i prefer it fresh and raw),
and had been roped into running the lighting
board for the community theatre production of
'The Wizard of Oz', simply on the basis of
knowing what a lighting board was. seemingly
heralding my own departure, the kamotiq was
earlier this month.
i had an extremely good run in iqaluit, with
opportunities to do many things that i probably
wouldn't have been able to do in a larger
center. i'll miss broomball and all of the
friends that i made in iqaluit. however, i won't
miss the I.T. hassles, or the high cost of living
(which is destined to go even higher with the
increasing fuel costs). i'm excited to take a
year out to live the student life and build up
my proficiency with film, and see if i can find
a way to affect cultural policy from the creator
side in addition to the user side.
staying up late on this longest night of the year ...
geez, how the time flies when you're getting
ready to make a move. in the 6 weeks since i've
last posted, i've done a trip down to saskatchewan
to visit my parents on the way to a conference,
returned to hand in my resignation letter (just
on the right side of the government employee
contract ratification), strung up lights for my
final part-time players production and gotten
roped into overseeing the lighting for this year's
alianait! music festival. it's 5 a.m. and i'm
almost on the *other* side of exhaustion.
i was a bit shocked during my drive to the parental
hacienda to see so many farmers' fields swapped
away from birthing agricultural crops and becoming
oil battery hatcheries. i understand that the black
gold is a much more lucrative harvest than granary
gold, but the scenery that i remember from my
boyhood days has been much impaired. luckily,
there are still a few picturesque farms in rural
NW saskatchewan, as seen in the picture below.
i pretty much coasted thru the conference as i
had already made the decision to resign, so i was
more making contacts for future moves, rather than
boning up on the current hubaloos. this
lackadaisical attitude allowed me time to take
a few guilt-free breaks away from some conference
sessions to get my first optometrist checkup in
years, as well as to wander down to the
broadway cinema to catch the film
yangtze', about the impacts of the flooding for
the three gorges dam on a couple of young chinese
tourist boat workers.
on the way back to downtown saskatoon, i snapped
this pretty pic:
heading back north thru edmonton, i had my clock
cleaned at the poker room of the baccarat casino.
still, i managed to play with the big boys for at
least a couple of hours before running down to the
felt. i earned the minimum $200 buy-in to the
big boy table by scarfing up a final pot at the 3/6
limit table which i bought into for $100. at one
point, the shortest stack at the main game was
around $750, and it wasn't me ;) sadly, the
biggest stack at the table was around $7500, so
it was only a matter of time until i ran into
the inevitable skilled trap play. next time i'll
have to avoid playing after driving 5 hours in the
sun across the open prairies.
returned to iqaluit, i managed to surve the curse
of the scottish play with only a minor finger cut
(out out damn spot !), acquired when i got too eager
with a box cutter while ripping off the duct tape
overhead during strike. however, to make up for
that good fortune, tonight i heralded the opening
concer for this year's
arts festival by blowing a parcan bulb and then
stumbling over the side of the stage, only to be
rewarded with shrieks of hilarity from the kids
seated in front of the front row (i'll assume that
they thought i was one of the circus clowns, and
weren't just laughing out of spite). in any case,
i survived with only a few scratches below the
knee, and a stern reminder to myself to carry a
torch in the dark ...
this year, the festival had the foresight to bring
in a professional designer for this year's show.
here's a snap of the final setup as designed by
chris humphrey, featuring the alianait! gobo
overhead of the magnificent eskimo goggle backdrop
created by claude roussel, which he had to quickly
repair the day before opening after a break-in
my favourite act of the evening was the opener
from mongolia / southern siberia. remembering
what happened at last year's festival with the
greenland hiphop band, which only brought a dozen
cd's with them, i rushed over to the merch table
and snagged my copy of their cd before the rush.
the fact that half of namgar's available cd's were
sold before their set even finished was a testament
to their ability to get the crowd excited and bode
well for the rest of the evening.
near the end, the klezmer band
took the stage to rock the house before the circus
preview. i'm including this pic of them to show
off the spotlight (shining down on the clarinet
player at center stage), which i had the fun of
hanging along with most of the other lights on
the on-stage truss:
alright, the fog is starting to brighten up
again outside, so i better get a bit of
shuteye before my 11 a.m. call time back
at the festival. if you're in town, and
you're interested in finding out what those
long drape thingies in the photo above will
be used for, come check out the fibonacci
circus tomorrow in front of the nakasuk
school ! to close, i'll single out a couple
of items that caught my eye over the last few
so, my trip up to pond inlet at 72 degrees
north latitude went swimmingly. umm, not
literally, as the sea ice there is still
ultra-frozen unlike the puddles now spreading
around iqaluit. the scenery was fabulous
and the locals were ultra-friendly. i've
on facebook, but here are a few teasers:
the hamlet of pond inlet (legal aid office
in the foreground):
bylot island 24 kilometres away across eclipse
the wall of an iceberg with exquisite blue
striations, frozen into the sound south of the
the iceberg cavern in all its massive glory:
sandwiching the trip, i hit up the astro theatre
for the debut friday showings of 'iron man' last
week and '21' tonight. i enjoyed both films, but
will likely only allow 'iron man' a repeat visit
tomorrow nite when i also take in 'the forbidden
'iron man' really hit the spot and demonstrated
that even a mid-level superhero can be
transmorgriphied into film properly, even after
hollywood gets its mitts on the property. '21'
had lots of escapist vegas fare, just made for a
time when the general economy appears to be going
down the tubes. 'i *need* this money' may be a
refrain that we'll begin to hear more often in real
life, but the music in the movie was excellent, and
the editing in both movies was unjarringly seamless.
however, the performances by gwyneth paltrow and
robert downey junior gleamed in 'iron man' and that
tips the re-viewing balance in their favour.
May Day isn't a holiday in Canada ...
today marks the end of the current round of
wars, so some lucky sod will win an xbox out
of the deal. it's funny that some analysts figure
that the latest 'grand theft auto' game might
bite into the opening weekend box office for
'iron man'. gaming has really come out of the
ghetto that i remember it being in when i was
growing up. that whole man-child phenom is
poked at by 'knocked up' and 'superbad', but
really, why would someone willingly take on more
responsibility if there isn't any social cost
to *not* playing the conventional societal game ?
sort of along those lines, why work for an org
that doesn't get it, when you can work for one
that can ? May Day is supposed to be about the
empowerment of labour, but i think these days
labour needs more *enlightenment*. larry page,
co-creator of google, is interviewed by 'fortune'
magazine on 'how
to save the world'. here are a few tidbits:
"... The question is, How many people are working
on things that can move the needle on the economy
or on people's quality of life? ..."
"... it's hard to get people to work on those kinds
of things because of the personal risk they feel
they're taking. Also, people don't have the right
training. If you say you want to automate cars and
save people's lives, the skills you need for that
aren't taught in any particular discipline. ..."
"... As a society, on the larger questions we have,
we're not making reasonable progress."
"<Interviewer>: What kind of background do you
think is required to push these kinds of changes?
I think you need an engineering education where you
can evaluate the alternatives. For example, are
fuel cells a reasonable way to go or not? For that,
you need a pretty general engineering and scientific
education, which is not traditionally what happens.
... If you look at the people who have high impact,
they have pretty general knowledge. They don't have
a really narrowly focused education.
You also need some leadership skills. You don't want
to be Tesla. He was one of the greatest inventors,
but it's a sad, sad story. ... If you invent
something, that doesn't necessarily help anybody.
You've got to actually get it into the world ..."
this recalls an interesting discussion i had last
em's sister who was up visiting, about the perils
of inflexible pedagogies. there isn't much
sympathy for generalists at universities these
days, which i think is a shame (consistent with
my opinions when i was in student politics as
well). universities are gradually introducing more
time-flexibility (poor xan is taking summer classes),
but opportunities for cross-disciplinary exposure
are limited by curriculum requirements. i was lucky
in snagging a co-op job on campus during my MLIS,
which allowed me to take additional courses beyond my
degree requirements, including a Ph.D.-level course
on the political economy of information, which
really helped to cement everything i had taken in
library school up to that point and justified the
tuition expense and time spent away from the
one of the reasons that i picked selkirk college
over the degreed film programs was that i wanted an
environment where i had more control over what i
learned. nelson is a smaller city, with fewer
distractions than the metropoli of toronto, montreal
or vancouver, and the program is only going into its
3d year, so nothing will have had time to ossify.
as well, with only 2 semesters to worry about, they
can react very nimbly to changes in the marketplace
- e.g., the potential actors strike this summer may
give them an opportunity to have a star instructor
for some of their courses in the fall.
so, now i just have to figure out what grand
project i'll be interested in applying my varied
skill-set towards after i graduate - who knows,
i may just end up at google, which i had
contemplated at the same time that i was
considering library school, way back in 1998
prizes, mix and chairlift
so, we had our 3d annual (4th awards, 3d with
voting) iqaluit broomball awards ceremony on
saturday nite at the francophone association
which we had rented for the occasion. 22
awards were handed out, including ones for the
most stylish, 'drama queen', and 'ben johnson'
award for suspicious speed, along with a whole
bunch of skill awards. me, i grabbed hold of
the trophy in ties for most stylish male (only
due to massive splitting of the vote) with JFB,
while splitting for best defensive player with
gord. my sole solo catch was best shot-blocker,
and i have the bruises to show for it.
at the end of the regular ceremonies, 2
additional awards were handed out. the first
was for chris d's 'thrust' goal earlier that
day on the outdoor broomball ice. please
understand that a hand or foot-directed ball
will be disallowed as a goal, but chris d.
somehow managed to use his *groin* and
there's nothing in the rules against that.
the 2d additional award surprised me as
the broomball club exec also provided me
with a hall of fame award and trophy. here
are some pix featuring the 2 signed broomball
balls that came with the trophy:
apparently, i had been reticent about my
upcoming plans for the fall, so some of
those in attendance were caught by surprise.
however, i've already bought my ticket out
for july, and am in the initial stages of
deciding what to keep with me and what to
shed here in the arctic.
week before last, i also stayed up til 5
a.m. working on a mix that i just threw
together on a whim that evening. i played it
all day at work the next day and it held up
without becoming annoying, so i've posted it
up at artofthemix - it's called
the world in 23 songs. i hadn't posted
a mix in months, but the regulars still
welcomed me with positive comments. the
dload link has since expired, but if
anyone really wants to sample it, just send
me a note and i'll re-upload it.
on either side of the mix-making, i assisted
david s. with the lights for the opening and
closing cermonies of toonik tyme. i got to
use the chair lift for the first time and
i won't lie and say that my knees weren't
shaking as i was reaching over my head just
under the rafters of the AWG arena. the
shows went smoothly, tho, and nothing
fell on the audience, so it was all
good. the lightshow designed by david was
fantabulous, as was the sound by juno-award
winning diego. sylvia knows all sorts of
interesting people ...
more fun in the sun
here's yet another replay from battle
stations, featuring their one-day only
weapon offering from april fool's day ...
the PIE LAUNCHER ! mmmm ... tasty ...
don't blink or you'll miss it ;)
oh, and that stuff about film school ? NOT
an april fool's thing - i just got an email
this evening indicated that i've already
been provisionally accepted into the
program !! hurray !
on this sunshiney sunday ...
wow, over a month since my last posting.
i had gotten some notes together to post on
march 8th, but somehow got too tired or too
wrapped up in some online game. here's a
couple of the links that went awol:
/ mashup demonstrating how hillary
clinton could be mistaken for a grown-up
version of tracy flick (played with gumption
by reese witherspoon) in the movie 'election'.
let's see, what else can i catch you up with ...
oh, right, i assisted with the lighting for the
alianait! fundraiser last weekend which featured
aaju peter opening for nathan rogers (spawn of
stan). i managed to time an 'effects' disco
ball effect right when nathan was doing a bit
of himalayan throat singing, which went over
well with the crowd. simon took care of the
spotlight to cover up the mistakes that i made
with the board during the rest of the show.
oh, and renovations at the office have been a
huge pain. we ended up moving our division back
to the building that i had spent 5 years planning
my escape from, just to let the construction
folks do their thing without our bellyaching.
productivity nose-dived and it was hard to get
motivated. we're supposed to move back into our
'new' offices this week, but i won't hold my
i finally got off my patooie and submitted my
application to selkirk college's
film program this week. the program director
indicated that i should hear back within a
couple of weeks, as they are limiting the class
size to under 15 students. the fact that there
was a film symposium in town this week likely
gave me the final impetus, but unfortunately i
wasn't able to make an appearance at many of
their functions due to being sick in bed on
tuesday and friday. i did make it to their
thursday nite gala, where i was treated to a
smattering of films (marred by technical
difficulties due to broadband incapacity), some
award presentations, and best of all, some
jazzy crooning by the lovely emily.
spent saturday afternoon in bed to recover
from my evening online poker tourney win
(2d of 90 for $45) and missed this year's
first game of outdoor broomball as a result.
todd called up to reserve my evening, and
we stayed up until 6 a.m. playing 3 tourneys
and a cash game. i broke even after the 3
tourneys, but dropped back into the red after
the cash game. ah well, at least i went home
in-between tourneys to make myself some
salmon-rice for supper so i didn't indulge in
the snack and saved some dough that way.
sunday afternoon looked magnificent outside,
and i couldn't bear to stay in bed past 3.
instead, i pulled out the crazy carpet from
the dusty corner of the closet (where it had
lain dormant for, umm, a couple of years ?),
pumped up my bike tires, and pedalled on
down federal road past BCC before heading up
into the tundra to my favourite sliding spot.
my first attempt was a bit dodgy as i
sideswiped a rock that i had specifically
been aiming to avoid. my next attempt went
too far the other way and i ran into a 4-foot
deep drift that i had to scramble out of
before continuing on down the hill. my 3d
attempt was right down the middle - oh baby !
i spent the next hour going down that stretch
until one perfect run that took me way past
the line of power poles. i was going to
stop on that high note, but decided to take
one last trip down. a wipeout halfway down
gouged out a big pit and i gladly called an
end to the day's sledding adventure.
as far as online games go, knighthood has
gone to craphood, as the strategic elements
have been hulled out of the game in favour
of spam attacks. even i don't have the
gumption to sit in front of my computer 24-7
to guard an imaginary kingdom. replacing
it has been a game that
elvis turned me on to:
my first impression, was 'oh, this is just
a neo-con brainwashing application', but
then i realized that even if i disagreed
with the modelling assumptions, having a
nation with a political skew right up my
alley would be an interesting little
curio. we'll see how it goes.
finally, here's another replay from battle
stations, featuring their new interface,
which you can see has a much more pleasant
aesthetic quality - i think the colour of
the sky actually changes depending on the
time on your clock ;)
globetrotting pirates and propaganda
it's funny how things work. at one point
in the '90's, i was the most widely
travelled of my sibs, yet sometime in
the last year, i've become the least
travelled. my formerly stay-at-home
brother in calgary has suddenly turned
on the jets and visited a whole passel
of european capitals and south-east
asian climes. admittedly, i had
usually travelled for work purposes and
did my sight-seeing on the company dime,
but still, it's a bit unnerving to
suddenly be the laggard.
that same brother is a game-playing
fiend. while i had the jump on him in
triumph, and initiated him into that game,
he pulled me into knighthood in turn.
knighthood took their servers in
california offline last nite to do some
expansion / upgrades and brought them
back online today. something they
changed did not play well with the
facebook servers, and the game was
unceremoniously punted from facebook. after a few
hours, a visit from the knighthood devs
(whose offices are a
block away from facebook's in
silicon valley), and a global outroar
from the game fans, knighthood is back
up on facebook as before. (oh, and as
before, they are still having server
difficulties - *sigh*, the pains of
being popular ;) )
here's what one fan posted:
"I called facebook and after holding for a while,
I was like "hi, i'm calling about an application.."
she cuts me off "knighthood?" , I reply "yea" she
says "ok all you can do is email facebook at
firstname.lastname@example.org and they will get back to you
in 24 hours."
Apparently lots of people have called.
edit: the number I called(US) is 1-650-543-4800"
apparently, people went to the effort of
doing a whois lookup and found the phone
number and called. with all this technology,
the world is become such a small, small
another online game, that i somehow left
out of my previous post of pastimes currently
eating up my spare time, is called
i had read a game review somewhere of the
best online games and it had been recommended.
the game itself is pretty slow-paced, with a
single round of income earning / spending per
day. after my triumph trial of fire,
cybernations seemed like old hat in comparison.
however, there is a very strong online
community, including alliances, who have
taken to sniping at each other with online
propoganda videos. i've flagged the ones
that i've found either
entertaining or scarily effective (or
to be honest, just plain scary). almost
inspires me to want to become a film
and here's another replay from
stations, developed and maintained in
singapore, demonstrating the joy that can be
found in their player vs. player battles:
"oops, miscalculation" is right *teehee*.
the attacker has first-strike advantage, but
if you play your cards right on defense, you
can take a few with you before you go down.
speaking of battle stations, the terry gilliam
short film, "the crimson permanent assurance"
is now also available on youtube:
check out part1 at 7:30 for the rallying cry.
also, broomball tonight was very fun,
as my team mustered a very strong effort.
the opposing team had scored a goal in the
first minute, and then another one after i
screened my own goalie, but we got one
back to make it close. i had some great
shifts on defence to make up for my earlier
flub, but my team wasn't able to get the
tying goal before the buzzer sounded.
and the fun and games have only just begun.
i've been roped in to assist with a political
campaign (both territorial and federal expected
this year, so that should keep you guessing)
and tomorrow, i may get to play the "acting
director" game at work. i'll need all the
luck i can get ...
where did the time go ???
wow, it's been over a month since i posted
here. must've been busy with something,
but it's hard for me to figure out what.
oh, other than facebook madness of course ;)
i called in sick today as i had acquired a
rash yesterday afternoon at work, and rather
than scratching myself silly all day, i
decided to try to give the allergy pills a
chance to work. however, i can still feel
some pressure behind my eye from the swollen
glands on the side of my face, so this may
take a bit more time to clear up.
i finally gave up on the facebook game
triumph!, after getting fed up with the way
the devs kept adding 'features' without fixing
any of the bugs that crept in with previous
feature rollouts (shades of redmond ?). i
wasn't asking them to kowtow to the players,
but they need to show some respect. some
people were actually investing real money in
the game and were getting hosed by one-off
wonders. i understand 'caveat emptor' and all,
but that is just not cool. anyway, i'm still
logging in occasionally to buy a bunch of spies
to help out my network of friends who are still
playing, but the whole arson attack setup and
massive alliance war just left me cold.
i had introduced my brother to triumph! and
in-between dodging outbursts of fireworks in
shanghai for the chinese new year, he joined up
with the alliance that i belonged to and has
since become their chief disinformation officer
for the war with another triumph alliance. in
return, he introduced me to another facebook game
so i've gone from demolishing all of my triumph!
buildings to constructing different buildings
in knighthood. does this make sense to anyone ?
anyway, i haven't started battling anyone
there, as i haven't built up a barracks yet,
but friend colleen in texas, who i had made a
vassal of mine, soon outgrew my domain and has
become a sovereign in her own right. me, i'm
happy to plod along for now, and will only pop
my head out once my defenses are well in place.
where i have been battling it out is on a
game called battle
stations, by a development group out of
singapore. unlike in triumph, this developer
has established a good rapport with his
game players, and is constantly providing
feedback. when glitches happen, he finds
ways to make the community happy, rather
than just ignoring them. i'm not generally
a big bells and whistles guy, but the game
uses flash animation to show the battle scenes,
and they just look great. so, here is one
with me launching anchors at the enemy airship
is that kewl or what ?? blub, blub, blub.
feel free to hit 'replay' again. now, if
only the game server allowed more than 10
battles to be stored ...
otay, what else. oh, repo's got a new
band called 'easy tiger'. if you're on
facebook, you can catch their videos
if you're facebook-less, i've uploaded
versions of their tunes that struck my
fancy. please pardon the horrid sound
quality - they were ripped from the facebook
vids and then i did a bit of EQ-mucking, but
hopefully you can still tell that THEY ROCK !
another facebook game, that has had some
recent run-ins with the intellectual
property folks at hasbro and mattel, is
i joined some of the facebook groups that rose
up in protest, including one called, "give
me scrabulous or give me death !". i'm not
quite that keen, but hey, it's a game that
now has a big enough fanbase that it can
boast its own
happy new year to everyone ...
first post of 2008. yep. another year
wiser. hopefully i'll make less stupid
stock trades this year. i did make it to
the snack on opening day to get my fix of
chicken poutine. DELISH !!
what else. i've finally watched my dvd
'nausicaa of the valley of the wind' - very
nice. as well, i watched my vhs copies of
'footloose' and 'ruby in paradise' - the
former was picked up recently in the 'laundry
room rummage collection' and the latter has
been sitting on my shelf for six years waiting
for me to find someone with a vhs player to
expropriate. even tho i had never watched
footloose, it still felt nostalgic as i had
listened to the soundtrack endlessly and could
sing along to the majority of the tunes that
just happened to pop into the background.
very silly stuff, but good to get out of the
way. now, the mantle for greatest 80's classic
that i've never seen moves to 'e.t.'
also have finished the first 1.5 books
of the 'giant' series by james p. hogan - twas
very neat to look back on 'hard' sf from the
late-1970's. it's the year 2028, there is a
united states of europe, humans exploring the
moons of jupiter, computers small enough to
fit in your pocket are an amazing thing and
they can even network wirelessly with a
central cpu. the most jarring anachronism
was the prevalence of smoking ...
oh, and if you have any concerns about
pakistan and the potential cover-up surrounding
the assassination of benazir bhutto, you need
to check out the video of a
report hosted by alternet. very sad.
one more day of 'holidays' before heading
back to work on monday ... at least i've
managed to return to a daytime schedule ;)