First Post (27FEB2005)
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ramblings of an information troubleshooter
i'll pay with the rest of my life
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
- 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 :)
we were born under blue skies, not concrete alleys
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.
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.
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)
my heart will fill with everything it lacks
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
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.
he's just another star up in the sky
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
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
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 ..."
"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...
keep hoping there's love in her eyes
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
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
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
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.
keep on running back into that wall
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 !
til i tame my wicked side
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:
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.
psicobloc - rock climbing over mediterranean water
yukon quest - dogsled race
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
- 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
- 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
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