First Post (27FEB2005)      Previous Week      Next Week      comments       Most Recent Post

senatorhung's pad
ramblings of an information troubleshooter

i'll pay with the rest of my life

Sunday, 13MAR2005:

popped into the office in the afternoon to clear out a few more emails from the 'pending' archive. then i headed up to the astro to do a double header - 'house of the flying daggers' followed by 'constantine'.

HFD was amazing. there were many tributes to both 'hero' and 'crouching tiger, hidden dragon'. the bamboo scene from CTHD became an extended riff in HFD, with bamboo spears made piercingly deadly. the impressionistic 'fighting over water over dead woman' scene from hero was repeated over a meadow and when that turned to snow, the colour change echoed hero's leaf scene. the single arrow viewpoint accompanying a hail of a thousand arrows from hero became a distilled tracking shot of 4 arrows each unerringly striking their targets. a scene where mei's dress gets shredded by andy lau's character transformed the falling drapes scene in 'hero' into a more intimate refrain and was way better than the painful homage attempted recently in 'elektra'.

the vibrant colours, the magnificent scenery and the beautiful people all added up to a visual feast. the music was by shigeru umebayashi, who had done a track showcased by wong kar-wai's 'in the mood for love'. zhang ziyi continues to develop as an actress and as zhang yimou's muse from 'the road home' thru 'hero' to HFD, she proves to be more than just a pretty face. andy lau was terrifyingly intense as the conflicted deputy sent to track her down. there were many reflections of his character in 'infernal affairs' where betrayal became second nature.

constantine was much more conventionally hollywood, but after gorging for so long on its comic book source material, 'hellblazer', i was bound to enjoy it. keanu didn't play constantine strictly as interpreted in the comics, but he was a right bloody bastard nonetheless. as in the comics, most of the people who have faith in him and help him out end up worse off for the association. the impression of hell was surrealistic enough in small doses not to seem too much like visual effects fakery and the time dilation motif was used well.

nigel and i had talked about hellblazer last week. he didn't like the book much because he felt that it was about a man of faith searching for redemption. the movie script picks up on this element and highlights how knowledge can be a challenge to faith. tilda swinson's character remarks to constantine, "you don't believe. you know. there's a difference."

i do believe that constantine needs a tiny kernel of faith, but is more interesting when driven by the need to take the piss out of the pompous pricks that populate the occult world. i remember that my 3d letter in hellblazer got printed during ennis' run where constantine successfully survived lung cancer, partly by giving the finger to everyone. i was happy to see a bit of that make it into the movie - so there, i can say that something i cheered on ended up in a hollywood picture - should i try to claim a royalty cheque ?

  • message left on my answering machine: "fucking freak. apparently this is a wrong number, but you're a fucking freak. find me. bitch."

    some people are just *too* sensitive :)
section divider

we were born under blue skies, not concrete alleys

Monday, 14MAR2005:

rippling sky
there's always a scent you get about you when you've been out on the land. it's like a fresh breath of freedom.

making trax
went out skidooing this afternoon with some folks from work. janine was kind enough to let me saddle up on the back of her skidoo, but i'm sure she was regretting it by the end of the day after i spent the entire time bouncing around hanging on to her for dear life.

skidoo pitstop
others on the expedition included david, saila, jeannie, melissa, harriet, midori and pacome. we went out past tarr inlet and on towards ward inlet before turning back to town.

the only catch was that i sacrificed my keys to the snow ... call it a fair trade.

at the end of the day, i wandered over to the quiet lounge at the legion to meet up with malcolm and olivia. we watched cbc's 'the national' which featured a half hour of nunavut-based stories under the umbrella 'north of 60'.

  • today's soundtrack: northern ramblers - guitars, tundra, whiskey & women (2005)
section divider

my heart will fill with everything it lacks

Tuesday, 15MAR2005:

checked out the joamie school in the afternoon with jen to see how appropriate the venue would be for a community arts showcase. the school has only been open for a couple of weeks, but the building almost oozes with love, caring and comfort.

in the evening i visited the museum again to hear jonathan cruz tell, about a dozen attendees, some of the stories behind the works in his exhibition 'hybrid theory'. he spoke about the strength of his family ties and the links of responsibility that accompany them. he spoke about the need to recognize when you're in a bad situation and to do something to get yourself out. he spoke about the power of faith and how he saw painting as his calling.

next, i headed over to the legion and convinced jeff to turn the big screen on to cbc newsworld to catch the latest edition of the national's road stories 'north of 60'. odile's lead story covered the housing shortage in nunavut, showing grim pictures of the crowded conditions in a shared household. a mother spoke about being torn between the chance to live freely on the land versus making sure her kids had an education. also tossed into the mix were demographic pressures, the effect of overcrowding on kids attending school and the lack of breathing space when families were in conflict. the report assigned some of the responsibility for this sorry situation at the feet of the feds. as one interviewee commented, "if you want sovereignty over this land, you have to provide for the people who are already living there."

the next story humourously covered the steep prices for food in nunavut, but there was nothing new to those of us already living up here. a story about hunting caribou followed, and i was amused that the camera shied away from the initial bloody cuts. the final story of the evening covered the 'mysteries' that were being investigated by teenagers in 'project naming'. the goal of the project is to identify inuit subjects in photographs taken by southern explorers. photos stored in the national archives were digitally copied and taken back into the communities so that residents might be able to assign names to faces. this is a fabulous project and i think it's ludicrous that such things might become jeopardized by the more restrictive copyright legislation being considered by the department of canadian heritage.

i've told people before that my 'home' is where my stuff is. that's really just a snide cover for the fact that i don't know where home is in my heart. my family moved around quite a bit when i was a kid, and with each successive move, i grew less attached to people or places and more attached to useful stuff that i could take with me when i next moved on. i saw a gage dictionary today, and it brought back memories of my horror when my personal copy, shepherded safely thru 4 other schools, went up in smoke along with the section of the school around it. maybe it's the remembrance of that dictionary and the fact that the first joamie school also succumbed to flame that explains why today's trip thru the joamie school v.2 still strikes a chord in me.

anyway, i've now surrounded myself with a huge pile of useful (?) stuff and i'm lucky that my job provides me with housing sizable enough to fit all of that clutter. so while i have a place for my stuff, i guess i'm still looking to people to find my 'home'. here's hoping that all of those in nunavut living in overcrowded conditions can soon find their own spaces at least, and eventually homes too.

section divider

he's just another star up in the sky

Wednesday, 16MAR2005:

broomball chronicles:

team white: denis, marco, tom, julian, me
team black: anna, JF, greg, mark, alistair

team white was up by 2 early on, after denis snuck a blooper past mark from way out in the wings. however, team black soon recovered with the fashionably late arrival of JF to form a formidable front three of mark, JF and greg. with alistair standing solid at the centre line and anna making some key plays, team white was simply outmatched and could only watch dazedly as team black scored again and again and again and ....

marlene catterall, the new chair of the standing committee on canadian heritage, recently spoke at the university of ottawa. she announced that controversial provisions contained in last may's interim report on copyright reform, dealing with the introduction of an extended licensing scheme for educational institutions to be able to use materials currently freely available on the internet, had been split from the fast-track reform agenda and would be considered separately.

this is fantastic news for educational institutions, but still leaves libraries potentially on the hook for charges when users ask for inter-library loans of information in digital form. of course, that is only if ratification of the WIPO and WPPT treaties doesn't roadblock ALL transmissions of digital materials without a fee paid to some transnational media conglomerate.

the minister's response to the interim report is due at the end of march and then the standing committee will work on drafting legislation for the house to consider later in the spring session. 'uncontroversial' measures that this bill is expected to contain include the assigning of copyright ownership of photographs to the photographer rather than the person paying for the photos, and the requirement of ISP's to remove material from servers as soon as they have been notified of possible copyright infringement, with the onus on the person posting the material to prove otherwise to a judge. hello, big brother!

also got my monthly comics shipment today. i devoured the fifth and final volume of makoto yukimura's 'planetes', an intriguing tale of life in 2075, where space debris drifting in orbit around the earth is scavenged by trash collectors, eco-terrorists sabotage lunar bases and a manned mission to jupiter is launched. space can seem pretty blasé these days but when you think about the scale of the accomplishments in the last 50 years, it is actually pretty incredible. we could see chinese astronauts on the moon before the end of this decade and a manned mission to mars in the next. as tank said to neo, "it's a very exciting time. we got a lot to do. we gotta get to it".

  • t.v. watched: quantum leap season 2 (on dvd) - "thou shalt not ..." and "jimmy".
  • cenobyte: "got my monthly comics shipment today". I know it's a big thing when you're Away and you can't just saunter over to the Comix store, but that's a kickass quote. Makes it sound like you're in prison. Or the Army. Or in a prison army...
section divider

keep hoping there's love in her eyes

Thursday, 17MAR2005:

greg supplied tasty eats for a picnic lunch at the library today. pauline hosted one final BMFF prep meeting today - everything is set for the shows on saturday and sunday. went home to have a nap before returning to the astro theatre to watch 'house of the flying daggers' again.

it was almost like seeing a completely different movie. unlike movies like the 'sixth sense' where the trickery is only in the visuals or playing with the assumptions of the audience, the second viewing of HFD allows you to see different motivations for the actions of the characters and how the dialogue is subject to multiple interpretations.

more scenic homages to 'crouching tiger' and 'hero' noted: the pebbles falling in the echo game scene matched the raindrops pattering in hero's teahouse scene; zhang ziyi has another bathing scene as in CTHD; the bamboo spears struck the ground in a flurry that matched the arrow attack on the calligraphy school in hero; and andy lau's tortured shriek evoked when his love has died is an abbreviated version of maggie cheung's screaming wail in hero.

the movie just reinforces the fact that love can not be swayed by logic and that it is impossible to force it to happen. the tragedy of andy lau's character is that his love was a selfish one, that wouldn't let him put anyone else's needs or desires ahead of his own. he went so far as to test his love with death, not quite believing that anyone would make such an illogical sacrifice for an ill-fated love.

bryan was kind enough to let me have his copy of the movie poster.

  • reading: the first issue of andi watson's 'little star' examines how becoming a father changes your priorities about what is important
  • comics as journalism.
section divider

keep on running back into that wall

Friday, 18MAR2005:

spent the afternoon listening in on a strategic planning meeting via teleconference. 8 'trend analysis' questions were asked, including ones about the relationships that exist or need to be cultivated, the reasons for the existence of the organization, growth / shrinkage demands, beliefs / assumptions / facts, technological advancements and blind spots. my participation over the phone went fairly well, tho i wouldn't have known if the other meeting participants were rolling their eyes at some of my impertinent interjections. the youngest pup at the table always has something to prove.

played a round of soccer with the orange team at the high school after work but it was obvious that this was my first game of the year. early on, i unloaded the ball too eagerly and an opponent pounced in front of the net to score their first point. next, having been spoiled by the shorter nets in broomball, 3 balls whiffed past my head for goals. the final indignity was facing a penalty shot where i blocked the initial kick but lost sight of the ball. when i moved sideways to find it, the ball spun down from above and rolled into the net on the bounce. *ouch* still, my team had managed to build up enough of a lead in the first half that we won in the final tally. i'll expect to play better next week.

after a quick shower, the last event on the evening's agenda was a supper hosted by pauline. sasha, vicki, jim, heather, kelly and myself snacked on appetizers of salmon, char and brie, followed by a main course of rotini with either a vegetarian sauce or a seafood and scallops sauce - yummy !

section divider

til i tame my wicked side

Saturday, 19MAR2005:

much as i would have loved to have maintained my weekend sleeping-in streak, duty called and i hauled myself in to the office to sit in on an AGM via teleconference. one consolation that i can look forward to is a trip to montréal in october to attend the next meeting in person.

2 hours later, i travelled up to the frob to take in my second AGM of the day. again, there were fringe benefits as we were fed an amazing lunch of soup and sandwiches prepared by the frob. ducking out towards the end of that meeting, i wandered down the hall to the astro theatre to begin setup for this year's run of the BMFF.

once mauricilo arrived to let us in, david from ICSL and i started a tech run-thru to make sure all of the equipment worked properly. sasha brought us the official BMFF dvd player but we had a bit of a trial figuring out the settings / cables required. we then had to fiddle with the theatre's digital projector to focus and adjust the image to make sure that subtitles wouldn't be chopped off. bryan even brought out a lighting board that i didn't know he had, and we were able to get a spotlight pointed at the podium where sasha would do her presentation. finally, we plugged in the microphone and then sat back to test the dvd-r's to see what kind of volume levels would be required.

all-set, right ? nope. instead of cheerily sitting along the back wall watching the films and waving thru the window at david in the projection booth doing all of the hard work, i had to earn my keep trying to pinpoint the source of a nasty buzzing sound that rose up in the speakers just as we began to introduce the films. all thru the first 3 films, david and i tried a variety of possible fixes, from swapping cables, to shutting down speakers, to good old manual rattling, all to no avail. despairing, i figured that the audience would have to endure the crappy sound, but suddenly a light blinked off and back on. coincidentally, the buzzing sound also cut out and then came back on. rushing into the booth, i got david to turn off the tracklighting - problem solved !!

tonite's roster of BMFF films:
  • psicobloc - rock climbing over mediterranean water
  • yukon quest - dogsled race
  • daughters of everest - documentary of first female sherpa ascent
  • sinners - celebrating the bliss of powder skiing and featuring an excellent soundtrack of music not usually associated with skiing scenes:

    • 1. "Turkish Theme" (or Valhalla) - Lester Quitzau (Keep on Walking)
    • 2. "Wings" - Josh Ritter (Hello Starling)
    • 3. "Rollin' and Tumblin'" - Lester Quitzau (So Here We Are)
    • 4. "Lay Me Down" - The Frames (the Roads Outgrown)
    • 5. "Harrisburg" - Josh Ritter (The Golden Age Of Radio)

      "it's a long way to heaven
      it's closer to harrisburg
      and that's still a long way
      from the place where we are
      and if evil exists
      it's a pair of train tracks
      and the devil is a railroad car"

    • 6. "Snow is Gone" - Josh Ritter (Hello Starling)

  • heavy fork - a 12 year old's attempt to create his own mountain biking style
  • trans andes - a group of canadians try to paraglide across the andes from argentina to chile
  • out of ophirica - magnificent scenes of induced avalanches
  • chasing the white demon - waterfall kayaking / rafting
after wrapping things up at the theatre, i sauntered back to the frob to attend the gala sponsored by northwestel. besides the food and drink, pauline drew the winning tickets for the rest of the raffle prizes. my lucky year of the rooster - i won a cutting board and knife set from t-fox graphics, the second raffle prize i've swagged this year.

First Post      Previous Week      Next Week      comments       Most Recent Post