Monday, October 30, 2006

My Adventures with Harrison Ford and Cap'n Crunch

I just got back from Zehrs a little while ago, and am now making this entry after enjoying an exquisite dinner consisting of one parfait, about 4 oatmeal cookies, 3 handfulls of Cap'n Crunch cereal, and 2 glasses of chocolate milk. I often brag about how good the food in Guelph is - for good reason - but I'm only really talking about campus food. On a day like today when I only have one class all day, I'd normally hang out at the library and get my meals around campus. But today I just didn't feel like it. Came home instead and had a nap. I've been very lethargic lately. I plan to spend the next 6 hours or so before going to bed preparing for my assignments and such this week. I have to write a one thousand word paper for Languages of the Media (more on this later probably). That's for Thursday, then for Friday I have to write another one thousand worder for Theatre. Yuck.

Friday was a good day. Mostly. I had most of the day off so I spent some time loitering in the UC, particularly around the booth a guy had set up where he was selling a ginormous collection of used music, dvds, and video games. I asked if he had any seasons of House kicking around, but they'd already sold. (I've never actually seen House - I can honestly say I don't watch TV more than like twice a month - but it's a show I've been meaning to check out.) I almost bought a random season of Law and Order: SVU, but then something caught my eye and it was love at first sight: the complete movie DVD collection of INDIANA JONES! Forty six bucks after tax. You also get a bonus material DVD with documentaries and stuff. Very interesting. So yeah, I had to get it because I hadn't seen those movies in awhile - in fact, I don't think I'd ever seen Raiders of the Lost Ark all the way through, so there you go. I seriously love Harrison Ford. He might be my favourite actor of all time, even if it's only because Han Solo and Indi Jones are both a dozen scoops of awesome. That is a good enough reason.

Anyway, back on track, on Friday night Peter and I went to the premier of Marina Monster which I worked on the tech crew for one summer.

I've been debating in my mind over how much of my personal thoughts I want to disclose about Marina Monster, (MM). I thought maybe I shouldn't say much because, well, this blog is open to the general public and somebody, including Christine Whitlock, could potentially read it - which wouldn't be a particularly good thing in view of the fact that I would like to work for her again, maybe. On the other hand, that is very unlikely, and even so I have the right, (especially as a person who studies the conventions of popular film) to pass judgment. So here it is.

Marina Monster is the worst movie I have ever seen, bottom line. I knew from the first day I was on the set that it was going to be abysmal. People kept telling me, "Give it a chance." "You'd be surprised what they can do in editing." Yeah, yeah. Two of the main problems are summed up in a lyric I just heard, ironically, as I was writing this, from Death Cab for Cutie's Tiny Vessels: "It was vile, and it was cheap." (That lyric is reffering to sex of course, but it reminded me a lot of MM too.) You can forgive a film for being low budget. That's not a really big deal. And you can even forgive a filmmaker for employing terrible actors, because maybe they don't have the finances for anyone better. What I can't excuse is horrible taste, no director's vision, outdated and highly offensive attempts at humor, and careless mistakes in editing and continuity.

Here is a summary of the things I hated about the movie:

The jokes weren't funny. In fact, the whole script is mostly garbage. There's maybe one decent line in the whole thing, and I don't remember it. There's a random "professor" type guy who appears periodically throughout the film making idiotic comments about the shark that's eating people. It's supposed to be funny, but it's really annoying. The acting. All horrid. The two main characters were the only ones with brief moments of talent, but they were given no direction so it was still no good. I could go on for ages about technicalities like continuity, characters upstaging eachother, careless camera mistakes, and so on. But all of that you could say is partially understandable due to time and money constraints. The absolute worst part is the script and just the general themes. MM is incredibly insulting to women (and men, but especially women.) Every female character is a helpless, idiotic slut. They are the antagonists of the movie, a constant nuisance to the men and the inciting factor in every problem.

You know what? I could go on, but I'm going to stop writing and work. I'm sorry, this post must be incredibly boring. You're thinking, "why can't you just say the movie was really bad and drop it." I couldn't because I think lots of movies are terrible. I couldn't because, on Saturday afternoon I watched a movie called "Just Friends" starring some dude and Amy Smart, and it was an empty, predictable movie that followed a formula that rarely fails at being entertaining. It was a bad movie, but I enjoyed it anyway because it maintained at least some level of professionalism. I can't just say that Marina Moster is a terrible film and be done with it, because it makes me angry. It's terrible on a different level, so much that it's more of an insult to the art than a foolish attempt at the art.

Anyway. I'm done. This post had very little to do with Harrison Ford or Cap'n Crunch, (much less my adventures with them, as cool as that could feasibly be), but the title stays because I like it.

Random Aside: I'm loving Radiohead again! I have to listen to "The Bends" like, 10 times a day. (The song, not the whole album.)

Also, chocolate milk is great.

Monday, October 23, 2006

It had to be said

Just a few minutes ago I returned home with 2 DVDs from Blockbuster. I rented some more episodes of numb3rs, and The Butterfly Effect 2. I never even heard of it before I saw it in the store. I expect it will be bad, but I really liked the way the first one was shot so I felt obligated to see the likely lack-lustre sequel. (Felt I deserve this break after spending the whole day reading in the library.)

So I came home and was met with a surprise. The dogs were edgier than usual. And then I realized: there were four instead of the usual three. Jeannette picked up the smaller one (another girl by the way, a light-brown coloured cross between a poodle and a hound, currently unnamed), and said, "We went to the petstore yesterday looking for fish and we just fell in love with this one. I know, I know. We're nuts."

I looked her in the eye and said, "Yes, you are."

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Happy Sloth

Another weekend gone by. I didn't do much. As soon as I arrived in Hamilton on Friday night I went straight to the central library for the Power of the Pen awards ceremony. Power of the Pen is a local writing contest for young people aged 12-18. (I think the youngest is 12...whatever.) Most other years I've entered the contest, but I didn't this past summer. Not really sure why. I guess I wasn't motivated. So anyway, the reason I went was to see my good old friend Sarah/Kat/Nobi or whatever her name is now, who (public congratulations incoming) won first prize for poetry and second prize for short fiction in her age bracket. Or...wait. Crap. Was it the other way around? I can't remember now. Anyway, I also ended up running into Raman and Rose who won first and second place for short fiction, respectively. Congrats go out to all of them. Afterward I walked home, (had to refuse Sarah's family's kind offers to drive me home) and it took me an hour. I love walking at night though, especially in my home town.

Saturday night I saw my sister and her husband who are expecting their baby at Christmas time! That is awesome. Later that night I went out with Rockwell and Paul to the local pool hall and played a few rounds. I think I won twice. Then we rented Art School Confidential. It was a reasonably funny movie, but the plot was weak and overall it wasn't as good as I hoped. Sunday, I did a whole lot of nothing. And I'm fairly content with that. Tomorrow I'm looking forward to hanging out at the library and hopefully getting a lot of reading done.

I'm getting excited about the plans I'm formulating for the next month, and I'll write about them once they're official and happening for sure. I'm also debating over whether I want to post my essays up in the blogs corresponding to the classes I wrote them for. I'm not sure what's holding me back - I think it's a combination of not wanting to show off when it comes to the good ones, and not wanting to be embarassed when it comes to the not-so-good ones. Of course I only have like, 3 papers so far. Maybe I just haven't decided whether or not I like them myself yet.

Currently, I am loving the song "Iris" by Goo Goo Dolls. It's been on my main playlist for awhile but I've been playing it more often lately. The lyrics are really nice.

"And I'd give up forever to touch you
'Cause I know that you feel me somehow
You're the closest to heaven that I'll ever be
And I don't want to go home right now"

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Chase This

I'm writing an entry now to plan out what I'm going to say in this Media paper I'm working on. My reasons for doing so are twofold: firstly it's a thought-organization thing for me, and secondly it's an update on my life! Woo! I know it's exciting.

So, the assignment is: ...oh wait, I already talked about this in my post "Mission: Ambition". Yeah. Ok, well, recap: basically I have to do a detailed analysis of a popular song. I've decided to talk about Chasing Cars by Snow Patrol. It's a very sentimental piece, a little sappy, but a good song. I chose it because I thought I could relate to it best and when I was listening to it I had some ideas pop into my head. If you read the part where last discussed this assignment you know that I'm supposed to (or at least, invited to) talk about elements of the song besides the lyrics. Lyrics are certainly going to be one of the main components of my paper though, so for reference, here they are:

"Chasing Cars" by Gary Lightbody

We'll do it all
On our own

We don't need
Or anyone

If I lay here
If I just lay here
Would you lie with me and just forget the world?

I don't quite know
How to say
How I feel

Those three words
Are said too much
They're not enough

If I lay here
If I just lay here
Would you lie with me and just forget the world?

Forget what we're told
Before we get too old
Show me a garden that's bursting into life

Let's waste time
Chasing cars
Around our heads

I need your grace
To remind me
To find my own

If I lay here
If I just lay here
Would you lie with me and just forget the world?

Forget what we're told
Before we get too old
Show me a garden that's bursting into life

All that I am
All that I ever was
Is here in your perfect eyes, they're all I can see

I don't know where
Confused about how as well
Just know that these things will never change for us at all

If I lay here
If I just lay here
Would you lie with me and just forget the world?

My plan for discussion is to say that the most important elements of this song are the lyrics and the mood. From the lyrics we can infer that society has become more accepting of romanticized ideas, such as a glamorized view of wasting time.
"let's waste time chasing cars around our heads"
The line, "would you lie with me and just forget the world" infers that there are things in the world that merit being forgotten. More specifically I would argue that it is reminiscent of the writer's dissatisfaction with certain parts of society or life in general - and this of course, his fans identify with. Many feelings portrayed in the lyrics are seen too in the mood - however there is also some contrast.

Anyway I think I'll stop rambling and just write the thing. Gotta bite the bullet, this isn't really helping. I'm just. So. Tired. 8:30am classes - I hate you.

Monday, October 16, 2006

VICTORY! and York

Just like I said I would, I checked the availability of Linguistics again, just a moment ago. One spot open and I grabbed it! HAHAHAHA. This makes me very happy. I would like to take this opportunity to publicly flaunt this fact to Rockwell who adamently said, "don't bother keeping an eye on it for an opening, that NEVER happens." Served. Haha. Oh, and the course I dropped to make room for it was History in Film.

Anyway, just so it doesn't feel left out:

Introduction to Linguistics
The nature of language. An elementary survey of linguistic disciplines. Phonetics, morphology, syntax, semantics, language, and society.

I drove with my parents to the York district today. Knowing absolutely nothing about the area, I had it in my head for some reason that York was the well-to-do area in northern Toronto, kind of posh and modern and community-oriented. Hrm. In reality it kind of looks like how I've always imagined the Bronx - or maybe Queens, NY. I have also heard people call the campus both "ugly" and "boring", however I didn't think it was too bad. It's certainly not "pretty" in the traditional sense that parts of Guelph's campus are, but it makes up for that with an interesting modern feel. We also spotted a sign that said, "subway coming soon to York". Of course soon could mean 5 or so years, but hey, it's progress. I think I'd be satisfied if I could live on or very close to the campus and take a bus/the subway South, into the part of Toronto that's actually nice to shop and go out on the town and such. We'll see.

Still haven't started that Languages of the Media paper. It's getting scarier by the minute.

Those Who Like it, Like it A Lot


I am sad. The course I was most looking forward to taking next semester has regretfully been...filled. Before I got to it. This is infuriating! Last night there were several spots left, but because of my student number I couldn't register until this morning. And alas, I didn't get up early enough. I guess those who like Linguistics like it a lot. There are 98 people signed up for the class - who'd have thought it would be so popular? ARG. I'm going to check back as often as I can though - maybe somebody will drop it and I can fill in the crack. If not, maybe I can take it through distance education in the summer or something. The rest of my courses, I'm fairly happy with.

Film as History
This course will consider film both as a source and as a comment on the past. Topics will vary depending on instructor expertise, and may include film as propaganda, the city in film, film as myth, women and gender in film, film and war.

Contemporary Cinema
The course is designed to give the student knowledge and understanding of contemporary cinematic expression.

Acting (Level 1)
A studio course for drama students applying classroom theory to acting problems. The course is required of, but not restricted to, students in a drama specialization.

Elementary Symbolic Logic
A study of the basic principles and techniques of formal logic. The analysis of the logical structure of sentences and arguments is explored, together with the fundamental principles of elementary sentential logic and quantification.

Critical Thinking
A course designed to develop clarity of thought and method in the analysis and construction of arguments. By contrast to Elementary Symbolic Logic, the emphasis here is upon informal principles of critical thinking and arguments stated in terms of ordinary language. Topics include the nature and methods of arguing, classification, definition and fallacies.

Nobody seems to understand my desire to take the last 2. The only way I can explain it is that I just love that stuff. I really enjoy debating and especially picking apart the way people present arguements. This is something I generally pay a great deal of attention to when I write something, particularly an essay. It may be a completely useless skill unless you're a lawyer or something, but I don't really care. So there.

Gonna Name My Kid Googlezon

I thought I'd share this amusing flash video my Media prof showed my class. The events it documents up to 2005 are accurate, and the rest is prediction. While it is partly intended as a joke, I would point out that many things it states so matter-of-factly are quite plausible, technologically. I showed this to Paul and he thinks some of these things may occur even sooner than 2015. Check it out for yourself!

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Mission: Ambition

It's been a very blah weekend. The most exciting thing I did was do some shooting with Rockwell yesterday. The set was my room, but because we put it off to so late in the day, the light was very unsatisfactory. We're going to do more shooting maybe later this week, or possibly as late as next weekend if we decide we want to do more in Hamilton.

What I'll say about our first project is that it's a pretty simple scene whose working title is "Morning". It depicts a young man, played by Rockwell, getting up in the morning and going through a normal routine. The aim with the project is to employ effective camera angles and editing to make something simple and mundane rather amusing. Our biggest challenge right now is lighting because, well, we don't have any lights. Except for the lamp in my room. Very professional.

Speaking of professional, one thing Beattrock needs if our portfolios are going to be a cut above the rest is some better equipment. That's why I'm considering taking out a bank loan to fund my equipment until I get a job next year. (And by next year I mean in 2007, when the school year is over or close to it.) Problem is, I know nothing about the equipment right now. That's my next research task: find out what kind of camera I should be looking for. And then I guess I'll have to be buying stuff like boom mics and lights. Hrm.

Although I enjoy school quite a bit and I'm totally psyched about my courses I hope to get into next semester, I'm also really looking forward to getting some work experience after school's out. Not only will I need the money to pay off my tentative loan, but I just have this burning desire right now to work on something that's not exclusively academic. Something I don't abosutely have to do to avoid losing marks.

The summer before last I worked with a local (Hamiltonian) filmmaker named Christine Whitlock on her schlock horror/slapstick comedy film "Marina Monster". Although I was originally interested in an acting part, I ended up doing various jobs on the set. I learned a lot about what it's like to work on a set with a crew, and that was great. Whitlock has indicated that she may have an acting job for me in her next project, which I think would be an ideal thing for me to get involved in as a side project - that is, next to a full-time job with a better wage.

It was suggested to me that I should look into working abroad - and by abroad I mean being a lumberjack up north, or perhaps planting trees in British Columbia. I don't doubt the merits of such an occupation, but I think I'd rather start establishing myself in the area, (both occupationally and geographically) that I plan to work in. This past summer, one of Geoffrey Rockwell's collegues hired Peter to work full time at his company, Epic Creative. He did web design with Flash and Photoshop. It goes without saying that I'd love to get a job like that, but I'd be happy even with something that comes close. The important thing is that I don't want to work at McDonald's. And it's not because I think I'm too good for McDonald's - at least, that's not how I think of it in my head. What I feel instead is that I'm good enough for other things. The last time I was home my mum described a certain job opening at Fortino's involving certain secretarial work that would basically require organization, charisma, and some innovative computer skills. And I thought to myself, "I could totally do that job." So that's the plan: I'm going to be ambitious, and hope for the best.

For now though, I should probably try to focus on the present. This Thursday I have to hand in my second 1000 word paper for Languages of the Media. The task? Explain the sociological causes and implications of a current Top 40 song. Lipton said we could write about the lyrics and such if we wanted, but he also said, "I challenge the better writers among you to tackle the more abstract and explain it." He went on to say he wants us to talk about things like pitch and tone, and then relate them to sociological factors. It's going to be tricky. After a little deliberation, I think I've settled on the popular song featured in Grey's Anatomy, "How to Save a Life" by The Fray. Let's hope it's got enough substance to inspire a thousand words worth writing.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Google Buys YouTube; Fate Buys Dave-like Voodoo Doll

Title says it all. Google bought YouTube today! Or, that is, they agreed that this is going to happen. The transactions should be taking place by the end of the year. Is Google trying to take over the world?? Only time will tell.

On a personal note, today hasn't been so good. I had to get up early to write my Sociology mid-term, but I walked to campus because I heard that the bus drivers were on strike today. Outside it was a cold morning. I was cold when I woke up in the morning so I bundled up a bit. That was a good call. I took about 5 steps away from the front door and it started to snow. A moment later I was walking into a strong headwind and a torrent of marbel-sized snowflakes that nearly turned my face into a grimacing ice sculpture by the time I reached campus 45 minutes later. And as I shuffled up Stone Road glaring through the white, Bus #52 rumbled past - some strike that was. To top it all off, I just spilled some of my mocha latte on my computer. On the keyboard. There doesn't seem to be any harm done though, thank goodness. It's just kinda...sticky. Yuck.

I'm listening to the Red Hot Chili Peppers now. It's soothing. Rockwell and I are planning on doing some shooting this Saturday for our first short project which is currently untitled. I'm excited. When I was hanging out with Beth on the weekend she was like, "You guys have got to have a screening!" I hadn't really thought of that, but I'll totally do that once we have some finished projects to show.

Yeah, I'm in a better mood now. In keeping with Guelph's tradition of having really freaky weather, I can now sit here looking out the big library windows and see a crystal blue sky...not a cloud in sight. It's pathetic fallacy! No, actually, I think the weather just hates me for some reason. Whatever.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Terrifying Terrific

I just realized those two words are intrinsically connected, yet their connotations are so different. Cool.

Well, I could hardly have asked for a better weekend. I saw nearly everyone I wanted to see, including Beth on Monday. Here's the artsy picture we took. The "normal" one wasn't...flattering.

I felt great on the weekend. I think I even looked good...better. Today: different story. I have two midterms to write today, and writing this little post is my way of taking a break. I should probably be up walking around or something. I haven't felt nervous about today until now, even though, thinking about it logically, I don't have much to worry about. I keep fidgeting as if I've had too much caffeine, but I only had one Cappucino (sp?) from Hortons this morning.

I really want this week to be over already. As soon as it is I can turn my focus back to BeattRock stuff, (yeah, we're going with the double T's for now.)

Gotta stop writing. I'm sitting in a library carrel to study, but it's technically reserved for somebody else. If the assigned user comes along, they can kick me out of their spot. However, I think it's likely that they wouldn't bother and just sit in an empty spot nearby. No reason to interrupt somebody who wants to work hard just like them. Which is why I'm feeling guilty every time somebody walks by and sees me working hard on a page with "Blog" in the title. Yeah.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Gobble Gobble

Oh man. I'm making this entry at 2am because I'm not going to be able to sleep for awhile. I'm in Hamilton for the long Thanksgiving weekend and, currently, in an amazing mood. Which is a little odd considering I have three midterms on Tuesday. Oh well. To be honest, I'm not worried about them. I may find out later that my sentiments are foolish, but for now I feel like I've got things under control.

So last night a bunch of friends got together and we had a big ol' reunion, only missing a couple people who couldn't make it. (And Jeremy, who's not coming home from the west coast until Christmas.) Rockwell, Paul and Sara came to my place and we hung out for a bit, then went to Alex's. Then we decided to go pick up Emmett, (saw Matt and Simran in Hortons too...and their respective girlfriends.) We all drove back to Westdale and hung out at that Tim Hortons until they kicked us out, (because they were closing, not because we're hoodlums.) Aaaand then we went and sat in Rockwell's living room for a bit, and then went our separate ways. Was so so so totally awesome to see all those people again. We took a picture of the four guys standing around...hopefully I'll get ahold of it later and post it up here. (UPDATE: Got it. Thanks Sara. Click on it to see the less-blurry version.)

Emmett, Paul, myself and Rockwell. Thanksgiving 2006

And tonight! Oh. my. gosh. I was with Katelin from 8 until about 1. We had a blast: went to Williams down at the docks and took a series of hilarious pictures using my MacBook's Photobooth application. Basically, since there's a camera built-in above the screen, Photobooth lets you take pictures while you pose and whatnot. But the best thing is, it's got all these hilarious effects (very reminiscent of funhouse mirrors) that you can play around with. And so, dear readers, for your viewing pleasure I've put them on Photobucket so you can laugh at them...and also so Katelin can access them.
WARNING: May cause uncontrollable laughter. Well, we think they're pretty good anyway. (Ok, so there's a good chance you'll think they're just really ugly and stupid. Whatever. It was hilarious at the time.)

Click here. (Click on the first one first, then keep hitting Next)

Below I'll post the one serious picture we took. It's nice. After Williams we walked around a whole lot, and then went to Skyline on Main street and played some pool. That was pretty cool. Katelin schooled me though. Twice. Only because I let her win though. You believe me, right?

*insert male version of "muah" here...whatever that is*

Anyway, tomorrow'll just be more studying, maybe with study-breaks to see friends a bit more. Monday night I'm having Thanksgiving dinner with the Fams at my grandparents' place. Looking forward to turkey and cheesecake. So much. Yeah. This weekend pretty much rules.

@ Kat, who I probably won't see this weekend: Happy Thanksgiving!! <3>

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Somebody Buy Me This Book

Don't act like you don't agree.