Satisfying Creation

It is late, I'm in bed and sleeping, or nearly sleeping. Then it hits me, a sudden and unexpected drive to leap out of bed and do something specific; solving a problem, making a photograph, or creating a painting. It could be anything, it could be writing, programming, drawing, moving, cleaning. Maybe it is destroying something that needs to be destroyed, moving around objects that are the everyday, or just putting on the closest clothes and going to be somewhere for no reason other than the sudden need to do it.

It doesn't happen that often, but when it does, it nearly always ends up creating satisfying work or at least creating powerful memories. Does this happen to you, too?


Ten great things about the weekend

1) Showing old friends new places; Floata Restaurant and Sweet Revenge.
2) Sara and Derek are still as much of an adorably cute couple now as they were a year and a half ago. So damn cute. Please you two, think about the single people!
3) Sam, P****!
4) Having a great meal, watching a fun movie, and as a bonus getting some pretty decent photos with Derek, Sara, Jonas, Conan, Josh, Sam, Hez, and Jen.
5) Brunch on Saturday with Hez. Hez, Erin and Jonas are all travelling to the Haida Gwaii (Queen Charlotte Islands) for three weeks in June, lucky blokes.
6) Photowalk and dinner with Josh (xdjio); finding a flying bicycle. Josh is heading to New York for 5 days on the 14th. Werner Herzog, Grizzly Man, Timothy Treadwell. Oh yeah, and "Popol Vuh" is an interesting band.
7) Talking with Rachael on the bus; Bogey is lucky to be alive.
8) Dan's housewarming; wow Dan, you have a great new place. Love the view. Really good to re-connect with some of the 'ol CUCBC people. Dave is still the best (wall) painter I know.
9) Meeting Mike, Martin, Robert and Clint for brunch on Sunday morning. First time to meet all four; "pretty brave to go without a wing man" says Mike. First impressions; good guys, good mix. Two of them use Debian derivatives. And did you know that in the video game "Battlefield 2", a medic can make a kill using his defibrillator?
9b) DOXA with Jason; I already blogged about this!
10) Walking into the Granville St. underpass at the same moment as a woman singing "This little light of mine, I'm going to let it shine" walked in from the other end. Lovely!


DOXA: Real Cartoons: Animated Documentaries

Jason invited me out to see the "Real Cartoons: Animated Documentaries" show at the DOXA Documentary Film & Video Festival. The selection of films added up to 1 and 1/2 hours of powerful animation, curated by Jessica Meistrich Gidal.

The show was an emotional sandwich, with a lighthearted beginning. It started with "Frankly Caroline", exploring a married couple's relationship through photo montage, and "faith & Patience", a young girl's thoughts on her new sister. This quickly turned to the heavy central material. "Met State" was a brilliant exploration of an abandoned insane asylum involving a variety of techniques such as different cameras used to create texture, stop animation, time lapse, and still photo sequences. All this used to explore the hospital and surrounding lands in various seasons and conditions, along with creating strong symbolism out of various materials and a shocking macro sequence using a flashlight source.

The core of the show was "His Mother's Voice", a mother describing the process through which she learned that her child had be fatally shot. The entire film was a recording of the mother's monologue played twice and laid over two very different styles of animation corresponding to the developing story. It reminded me of my own mother describing the sudden death of a would-be brother. Clearly there were similarities between what my mother and this other mother had experienced. "His Mother's Voice" left me sobbing in my seat, and I didn't really catch any of the documentary that followed, something about commuters in Tokyo. The sequence was wrapped up with "Give Up Yer Aul' Sins", a lighthearted take on the execution of John the Baptist (no, really!), "Roadhead" which portrayed everyday people as different styles of animations, and "Bike Ride", a rather nice take on breakups and rejection.

An afternoon very well spent. The style of visual presentation was almost entirely new to me and the content was certainly engaging. The topics were heavy but the curator took care to leave the audience feeling well and prepared to walk out of the theatre in one piece. It was very memorable and now I'll be more willing to seek out the interesting films. Thanks Jason!


On Seatbelts, Eggshell Skulls and Attractive Nuisances

While eating lunch with the guys here at the office today, the subject of seatbelts and who is responsible for passengers wearing them came up. We got into an argument about whether it is the driver's responsibility or the passenger's responsibility. Only one way to solve this argument - walk over the court house and ask the librarian!

After a great deal of research we concluded it is the driver's responsibility to provide correct equipment to each passenger, and the passenger's responsibility to use it. However this also opened up the concept of standard of care, which is a rule used in negligence cases to determine what level of care a reasonable person would or should provide to another in a given situation. This is all new to me, I had no idea old English law would consider what an average person would do - what what do you think an average person is like when it comes to caring for others?

Consider for example the eggshell skull doctrine, a rule by which an injury caused to someone who is medically predisposed to injuries by someone that had no previous knowledge of the condition and using force that would not normally injure someone is still considered negligence on the part of the attacker. Or the attractive nuisance doctrine, wherein a landowner is responsible for injuries to children who are trespassing if the children are trespassing because something on the property is attractive to children. It kind of makes sense but suddenly I'm feeling a little heavier from all this responsibility.

And here I thought it was a simple matter of go when green and stop when red. Oh no, you have to worry about cleaning up all that broken glass next to the pile of old candy boxes too.


Summer begins when people travel

So apparently summer is upon us. How do I know? Well, three friends are packing up and heading out of town:

  • Rachael is gone for 10 days to the east coast mainly to visit Gail.
  • Joanna leaves town for New York on Saturday to study under one of her favourite directors for the entire month of June.
  • Hendrik is leaving town (precise date not yet known due to red tape) soonish to work for Adobe for the summer.

Good luck to all travelers!


Extra hard workout today

For the last month or so, since my health-conscious little brother (training to be a nurse) showed me how to use the gym at my office, I've been doing a daily workout routine mid-afternoon. This used to mean run on the treadmill until the calories burned counter hit 100. That usually means running at 6mph for 0.6mi at a 4% incline. Follow that up with a light freeweight and benchpress routine. That's enough to hit reset on my focus and get back to work, refreshed. I used to eat a chocolate bar to achieve the same result. Sometimes I still do.

Today I put on a change of clothes for the first time; working in sweaty jeans and commingling aromas with my coworkers is not all that pleasant. I reset the treadmill and started to run; but something was different today. I was running and running but the calories burned counter was just not moving that fast. I set the incline to 5%, I ran 1/2 mph faster, and still the counter just crept up, surely but slowly. Did someone change the machine?

Sometimes things change and you don't know why. That's when you get pushed, so I stuck with the goal and kept running. The treadmill became hot under my feet. My body became hot but instead of exhausted I became energized. I ran for 16 minutes and 2 miles before finally that counter crept up to a hundred. I'll spare you the details of the rest of my workout but it was only appropriate to double up the effort all around.

It felt really, really good.


Writing to the geek roots: Reverse the order of jpg files.

Shopper's Drug Mart has an annoying habit of scanning film in reverse order. The last frame, the most recent frame, is frame #0 and when I copy the photos off the photoCD I want to fix it by reversing the order of the files. Here's how I fix it once and forever.

ls *.jpg | tac | perl -ne 'chomp($_);printf("mv %s %02i_%s\n",$_,$i++,$_)' | sh

Got that? Translated: make a list of jpg files, then reverse the list, then print out commands to rename each file but with a counter prefixed onto the name, then run those commands.

There. No longer a closet unix geek.


First passion flower

Passionsblume passiflora
Originally uploaded by Rainer Fritz.
Arriving home had a special treat yesterday; the first passion flower on my passiflora vine had burst open during the day! This plant has been doing very well, easily growing at least a foot since I started taking care of it on May 2 (there are marks on my trellis).

With good care the vine should grow at least as much again before it settles down to flowering for the summer.


Ten great things about the weekend

1) Hamming it up on Friday night in my impromptu studio with Chris and Rachael.
2) Seeing Jason and Noriko and George (their cat) on Saturday. Jason and Noriko are visiting Japan for 3 weeks in June and I'll be taking care of their rambunctious and fuzzy bundle of joy. Hopefully George will be as kind to me as I will be to him.
3) Dinner with Sam, Conan, Josh, Jen and Hez on Saturday night. Fab quiche Sam!
4) Playing "500" frisbee for the first time; this is a full-contact form of frisbee catching where one person throws into a crowd and everyone competes to catch it. Injuries did result but it was fun! Hey nothing a few stiches can't take care of.
5) Getting out the bicycle and performing a minor cardiac miracle so as to be on time for ...
6) Mother's day breakfast with Laura and Rachael at the fabulous Avenue Grill.
7) Heading out with Rachael to explore Tower beach for the day (after calling Mom of course!)
8) Discovering Basco on the easternmost gun tower at Tower beach. That guy is everywhere.
9) Walking down to Granville Island and visiting Nicole and Peter at Nicole's studio space on Granville Island; a virtual feast of artwork covering nearly every surface! I think I could live there.
10) Talking with Mom on Mother's day! Hi Mom!


The weekend in review

I've not been on the computer much since Laura Grace is in town. And since work has kicked up into high gear, here's the condensed version.

Ten great things about the weekend.
1) Brunch with Laura at Sapodilla's, twice.
2) Re-acquainting myself with the music selection at the Book Warehouse.
3) Having a good talk with Mom about some important family issues that are going on right now.
4) The goodness bar at Cuppa Joe's.
5) A stroll through Jericho Park with Laura, Jen, Hendrik, Rachael, Bill, Jamie, Barb and Chris.
7) Skipping rocks with Chris, balancing on a post with Hendrik, and those group photos!
8) Connecting with Carson; it was great to hear his voice. Especially because he's so far away right now it's important to be able to say hello.
9) Going with Rachael to the world laughter day event by laughter yoga Canada, which was so incredibly absurd that I couldn't help but laugh! It's the kind of event that restructures ideas about social expectations. The twist here is that the expectations of the smaller group (laugh in any way you like) would completely trump the expectations of the larger society in general (thou shalt not lie in the grass and laugh for no reason). It was bizarre and fresh, it was sometimes uncomfortable and a bit weird, but it was a lot of fun.
10) Becoming engulfed within the aroma of wisteria.


Preparations for Laura Grace

My focus for the last few days has been mainly the arrival of Laura Grace. Recap: Laura started vandigicam, not flickr! It is going to be fun having her in town; I've always enjoyed spending time with her in a group (vandigicam) and this time I'm looking forward to spending a bit of 1-1 time as well.

Consequently I've finally done something that was quite late in coming. Move back into my bedroom. For the last 8 months, the room has been mainly a storage space for the stuff I didn't want to deal with. This week I got rid of some wheels that were there and put the bed back in working order. There are papers that need filing and all sorts of knick knacks that are out of place. Becoming close with the mess I've been ignoring for months is opening my eyes to how much work is left to do; but it feels good to be there and ready to address it.



Ok, it has taken close to a year for me to warm up to Del.icio.us. Today, its power has finally struck me. More than a couple people who read this blog will ask "what took you so long"; if you are one of those, what is your identity? I want to network with you. If you are not one of those, read on.

Del.icio.us keeps bookmarks for you. This alone is not interesting. What is interesting is that you can tag each link, similar to how tagging in flickr or some blogging engines work. Del.icio.us lets you search by tags and sorts the resulting links by the number of people that have tagged a link with that tag. This is an effective way of finding resources that other people have also thought were useful enough to bookmark. As a companion to Google, del.icio.us is quickly proving itself as a useful search tool.

My del.icio.us identity is slightly_less_random, what's yours?


Ten great things about the weekend

1) Playing with watercolours on Friday night. Also something learned this week: Painting is fun!
2) Checking out the Opus "garage sale"; picked up some acrylics (for face paint) and a colour pack that included pencils, markers, pastels, and watercolours. Also a few books and frames and a couple brushes and ... spent a little too much!
3) Pasting up a pastel painting. Gee colour is nice.
4) Meeting Sam at Sapodilla's for breakfast; good to catch up and also see what prints made from 120 negs look like. Neat!
5) Running into Travis (to be honest, he saw me first) at Sapodilla's and saying hello to Jason as well.
6) Checking out the annual plant sale at the VanDusen Botanical Garden. I purchased a Passion Flower (passiflora cerulea), they look amazing! My new interest in gardening has been in no small part fuelled by the explosion of colour happening on my deck (thanks Sam!) As a foray into gardening it may not have been the wisest of moves (they require a great deal of attention) but I do have a good spot for this sun-loving climber. Plus, a garden says something about its owner and what could describe me better than an extravagant sun-loving climber?
7) Checking out the flea market with Joanna, Chris and Bill. It was my first time there, what a neat market! Tons of crap for cheap. Someone was selling a boxed set of OS/2 Warp 3. How very 1996.
8) Lunch at Phnom Penh - thanks Chris! I had the "Combo C" and it was delicious.
9) Receiving a wonderful soup recipe from Joanna.
10) Achieving something new photographically on a knarly piece of driftwood near kits.