Zoom Fest 2019

Last year our oldest daughter participated in Zoom Fest– a student film competition that lasts only 48 hours. This year her group is doing the filming and editing at our home. Originally it was just our oldest daughter and her classmate. But since arriving at our home, our other daughter has begun to help them.

The film needs to be between 30 seconds and 7 minutes in length. The are given a theme and told to incorporate a prop in some form. This year the prop is “Gloves” and the theme is “Haste makes Waste”.

The Langley Fine Arts school has loaned out cameras, equipment and Apple Computers to each team. The competition began at 5pm yesterday and ends tomorrow at 5pm. Last night, our daughter’s group gathered up their props, figured out their shots and story line. They opted to get a good night’s sleep and woke up at 5am to begin filming. We are already two pots of coffee in…

As they were outside filming during a windstorm- a large branch fell. They shakily caught it on camera and their excitement levels have increased. With all of their caffeine and adrenaline levels spiked- these girls are talking a mile a minute trying to get their film together.

These two/three girls are working well together so far. With a little under twenty hours behind them and twenty eight hours left to go- they think they have plenty of time to finish. I wish them the best of luck and I cannot wait to see the finished film.

Don Quixote

You think you can hide from me? We shall have such great adventures together.

On Wednesday April 10th, there was a limited screening of “The Man Who Killed Don Quixote” by Terry Gilliam. I have been waiting years for this film. About a month ago, I found out this screening was happening- As I mentioned in My blog last month, I love Monty Python and Terry Gilliam. So I found someone else who equally appreciates these things and I bought two tickets to a film.

As I watched this film in an uncrowded cinema, I realized that his movies speak to a select audience. These aren’t Marvel or Star Wars. But it’s not exactly artsy either. It’s like having a dream come to life and everyone around is sharing it with you.

For my friend and I, this film did not disappoint. Terry Gilliam successfully shared a marvelous adventure through the art of celluloid. If you watch previous films of Mr. Gilliam, you can stitch together sensations from each of his pieces. As if this film is the culmination or even the pinnacle of his film making career.

Time Bandits

Brazil

The Adventures Of Baron Munchausen

The Fisher King

12 Monkeys

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas

The Brothers Grimm

The Imaginarium Of Doctor Parnassus

All of these play a part in the cinematic experience that created Don Quixote. From dream sequences to the angle of the artistic shots. From humor to homelessness and helplessness. The way insanity spreads and takes over but somehow makes everything better.

So there you have it. No spoilers. No criticisms. Perhaps one day I shall read the book. A peasant like you cannot read. I will sound the words and you can look at the pictures.

To tell you that I enjoyed the film would be meaningless.

But I enjoyed the film.

From Monty to Movies

Monty Python is legendary. I have always found their humor to be some of the best in the world. In fact, my kids have also grown to love them. Netflix adding their show and films has made it easy to share once more.

But beyond Monty Python, the actors have done a great deal of other shows and films. One of my favorite films has to be “Brazil” by Terry Gilliam. I saw it when I was younger and fell in love with the crazy dystopian style. I began to digest his other crazy films such as The Fisher King12 MonkeysFear and Loathing in Las Vegas, and The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus. Gilliam has a way about him that just speaks to me.

I have been waiting for Gilliam’s version of Don Quixote to come out. It has taken 19 years and lots of mishaps for it to finally get a chance to hit the big screen. And even then, there is a one day only screening of it this year in April. So I bought tickets. I suspect only die hard fans of his work will be there. Most likely a dozen other people in a 300 seat auditorium…

But I will be biased and tell you that I am going to love the film whether it is good or not.

Fun Romancing

Yesterday was Valentines Day. Some people expressed their love for one another on social media. Others shared bitterness and sarcasm. Many people shared pictures of lovely dinners and flowers. Whatever your day was like, I hope it was great. Mine was super romantic.

First my wife and I dropped the kids off at school. Then we went for breakfast at a random bistro that we had never been to before. One of the best breakfasts I have ever had. Also the most expensive breakfast I have ever had. This was our romantic meal of the day.

Then my wife and I went home to play some video games in bed. Followed by a mid morning nap. Which led to me sleeping until 4pm because I worked the night shift the day prior. I woke up because I had missed four phone calls from my wife. She left the same message each time in her silliest voice possible. “Call me. Call me. Why won’t you call me? Caaaaaaaaallllllll me.”

When she came home, we played some Smash Bros and Mario Kart on the Nintendo Switch. My wife is really good at gaming and beat me repeatedly at these games. After a couple of hours of video games, I made dinner for the family.

After dinner we watched one of my wife’s favorite films- “Stardust“. It’s also one of my favorites. A fairytale involving love. Something about Neil Gaiman’s works translate from novel to film beautifully.

Yesterday was a day pretty much designed to make my wife happy. From a lovely breakfast date to lots of video games to enjoying a romantic film. I think we should do more days like this.

Kill Bill

Last Saturday I revisited an old film series- Kill Bill Vol 1&2. We often show our children films from our past that we found to be entertaining. Sometimes films don’t hold up- sorry Encino Man but wow you are a terrible film. While other times the films remain incredible.

Kill Bill is the type of film that really holds up. From the musical score, to the cinematography, to the story arcs, to the monologues- this film nails it. There is really nothing negative to say about the film.

  • Strong female lead? Check
  • Action packed? Check
  • Plot twists? Check
  • During the film, we discussed every aspect. Our oldest is interested in film making and is trying to find her vision. Our middle wants to be a writer and loves to dissect film and tv shows to understand how they piece together. And our youngest tries to read into foreshadows to guess where the story will lead to. I love that each of them can take something unique and different away from our viewings.
  • As much as I love the fact that this film holds up, I also understand that it’s not everyone’s cup of tea. The scenes are a bit gratuitous in the violent aspect but are necessary for the story. I mean with a title like Kill Bill someone has to die.
  • For those who love a good Tarantino film- go back and re-watch Kill Bill. There’s no need for me to give a review of this film because of how long it’s been since it was released. Now to figure out our next family movie. I wonder if Howard The Duck is any good…

    Where’d The Day Go?

    I lost my day today.

    It wasn’t like it didn’t happen. On the contrary, lots happened which is why I’ve lost my day. More like lost control of the day.

    First was an early morning Speed Skating Meet. It was the first one at our club for the season. So at least it was close by. In between my children’s races I was trying to finish a book- Aramada. So I often got lost in the story while waiting.

    On the way home, I had to stop and put in my vote for a Mayor, some township councilors, and some school trustees. This opened up a healthy discussion about politics with my 12 and 14 year olds. They asked who and why I was voting for certain people. As much as I don’t want to create a bias in their future plans- I couldn’t very well not talk about it with them.

    At home we had a late lunch and the kids showered up. We had bought a large picnic pork roast, so I carved it into four different meals. A big hunk for tonight’s dinner in the slow cooker. Some got cubed and tossed in the freezer for future use. I sliced a bunch for breakfasts later this week. That left the bone- which will go towards a split pea soup later this autumn.

    Now I am waiting to pick up our 16 year old at school. She participated in a 48 hour Zoom Fest. It started Thursday at 5pm and ended today. The students had that time to create a short film. I hope to see the results at some point, but for now- I’m impressed by her commitment to a deadline and her ability to work with others on such a project.

    So my day just went quickly and was filled with a lot of life. Maybe I didn’t lose my day after all.

    Rather- I lived it.

    The Wizard Of Speed and Time

    The Fine Arts School that our children attend is in full session now. The children are getting excited about the upcoming year. They have a lot on their plates: various music classes, theater tech, film, photography, yearbook, carving- as well as the academic classes. This school isn’t just 9-3 either. Some days the kids arrive at 07:30am. Some days they leave at 5:30pm.

    It’s a full time commitment.

    My wife and I have always encouraged the children to explore and discover new talents. Our 14 year old daughter is taking Stop Motion Animation this year and I am jittery with excitement. I’ve always loved that style of animation and films- It was big for me growing up in the 1980’s.

    Most of it was Claymation (like the California Raisins). With some shows on a regular rotation such as reruns of these gems:

    Gumby (1956-)

    Jeremy the Bear (1968-1974)


    Then there were animation movies that really came out and showed off a more demonic style of “Children’s Movies”. Here is one of my favorites:

    The Adventure Of Mark Twain (1985)


    But the 80’s also used stop motion to capture a new style of special effect. It brought monsters to life in films such as:

    Clash of the Titans (1981)


    Sometimes, a stop motion film was able to tell a story about itself… This afternoon I shared with my daughter (the one taking stop motion animation) an obscure film that I enjoyed from years gone by.

    The Wizard Of Speed And Time (1988)

    This film is based on the short stop motion film of the same title from 1977.

    The original 3 minute film was shown during a segment of The Wonderful World of Disney which is where I first saw it.

    However, this version showcases the artist struggling to make his film and all the roadblocks encountered along the way. It took five years to make and was completed in 1988. I love how this film is simple in its delivery and carries numerous subliminal messages. It has a charm that won’t win it any awards, but the heart this film shares is immense.

    After showing the film to my daughter, she is now more inspired to film stop motion than ever before. I hope she can bring forth some effects and styles from this film.

    Perhaps one day she will be the next Wizard Of Speed and Time.

    From Catchprases to Catastrophic Films.

    Recently at work I realized that there are a few “catchphrases” that I use.  These have become a way of my speaking that I don’t notice saying them anymore.  At least not until someone points it out. So I am writing about a couple of them.

    One phrase I’ve been using over the past few weeks is one that I used to use years ago. “Pitter-patter.  Let’s get at ‘er.” This phrase strikes me as an odd one.  It reminds me of talking to children about getting things done quickly.  I do tend to say it more in a joking manner when using it.  Sure, I want the work to get done.  But I also want the employees to be a bit relaxed and calm at the start of the shift.  If saying something ridiculous like “Pitter-patter” gives them some motivation, and it works, then why should I stop saying it?

    The other phrase I use is one that I began using about eight or nine years ago.  It’s stayed with me ever since.  I still remember the first time I decided to say it.  I was working a nightshift servicing a couple of industries. It made the engineer laugh pretty hard the first time I said it, so it stuck.  I use this phrase whenever a train starts to pull and the tail end finally moves. I used to say it as a Yardmaster as well when I would tail a crew in a track using a camera. I get on the radio and say, “All shakin’ Kevin Bacon.”


    It’s a great reference to the films “Footloose and Tremors” starring Mr. Kevin Bacon.  Just a bit of fun as we work moving rail cars. Plus I loved the movie “Tremors” a shit ton when it came out.  I was 14 and must’ve watched it a few dozen times that year.  Big sand snakes called “Graboids” that chase people from underground in the desert?  What’s not to love? 


    Mind you- this was at a time in my life that I really enjoyed “B” horror movies.  The kinds that you would find on the 2-4-1 video rental shelves.  Sometimes they had excessive blood and guts, othertimes naked women for no reason. Hey- I was just becoming a teenage boy with a vcr and tv in his room, can you blame me for renting these?  Schlock horror was (and still is) a guilty pleasure of mine.  Give me some “Evil Dead” or “Toxic Avenger” anytime.  Throw in the “Child’s Play” or the “House” series and you’d live through my movie repertoire. 


    I’m glad that Netflix has brought back a few classics over the past couple of years as well. I completely forgot about “Killer Klowns From Outer Space”. I can’t imagine some of these films getting made today- especially at a time when remakes and superhero movies are all the rage. 

    Wait a second, “Sharknado 5: Global Swarming” is coming out this August! I hope they plan another sequel after it. If not, “Pitter-patter.  Let’s get at ‘er!”

    π Day

    Today is March 14th.  Pi Day.  3.14

    What sort of pie do I want today?

    The film “π” came out in 1998.  It was a beautiful film shot in black and white about a paranoid mathematician.  I was 22 when it came out.  It was during a time in my life of heavy drinking and smoking that I watched the film.  Besides it being a visual masterpiece, I couldn’t tell you what it was about or how it ended.

    Let’s move on…

    If you were to ask me to rate pies in order of most favorite to least favorite I could answer without hesitation.

    Number 1 is Apple Pie.  For obvious reasons.  It’s the best.  Hands down.  I love making and eating home made apple pie.  It even gets served with vanilla ice cream.  Two of the most simplest desserts combined to create something wonderful.


    Last on the list would be Pumpkin Pie.  Again, for obvious reasons.  It’s the worst.  Hands down.  The texture and smell are repulsive.  The taste only rivals the smell in a way that makes me feel like I am intentionally shoveling a sliver of hate into my mouth.  Burying it in whipped cream doesn’t help matters either.  Absolutely the worst pie ever.


    All other pies, including shepard’s pie, fall somewhere in between.  I’m not really picky.  Because 99% of pies are delicious.  It’s a fact.  Because I said so.  

    The last 1% is pumpkin pie.  Utterly foul.  Let’s stop talking about that atrocity now.  We can go back to talking about warm apple pie.  Even Jason Biggs “loved” a warm apple pie.  


    The film “American Pie” came out in 1999.  A year after “π“.   The film’s jokes do not hold up.  Probably because they have been quoted and mimicked for nearly two decades throughout society and other films.  Rather disappointing considering how well the first film in the franchise did.  Unlike the dozen or so reject sequels that were pumped out in hopes of making a quick buck.  Perhaps it is also this reason that the film doesn’t hold up.

    That’s about it for my thoughts on π and pie today.  

    Go math!

    Extra! Extra!

    I am about to step out of my regular routine and add some changes to my life. It all began while I got drunk while remembering my friend who I lost recently (I shared my feelings here: Jeremy).  The night I found out about the loss, I went to karaoke with some other friends.   It was the second time this summer that I went to karaoke.  The last time I ever went was nearly fifteen years ago.  I just wanted to be surrounded by friends having fun.

    Look at all that magic!


    While at the pub, there was this stranger there that looked very familiar.  It just so happened that he was the boss of a friend who was with me that evening. I began asking my friend about this stranger trying to piece together something about this guy.  Eventually, I decided to wander over to this fellow to talk with him.  I was doing my best not to make a drunk fool of myself, because I wouldn’t want my actions to affect my friend’s work.  

    Motivational image inserted to add visual content.


    After an I introduced myself, I mentioned that I knew him from someplace.  He and I both agreed that we’ve seen each other somewhere over the years.  Neither of us could pinpoint it.  A few mutual friends,  both of us have lived in the same general area for a couple decades, but nothing that gave me the “Ah-Ha” moment.  We continued talking, still having no clue where we may have met, but we were having some good laughs.  In the end he asked me to join his company.  Good “first” impression I guess.

    Yesterday I applied to work for his company.  I don’t know what kind of work it will entail, or whether I’ll get any work at all.  You see, he runs a talent agency: Aces Talent.  I applied to become an extra in film and movies.  The thought of doing something like this has never been on my radar.  Living in the outskirts of Vancouver, you just become accustomed to filming going on everywhere.  

    I can do this…


    I’m not an actor, nor am I pursuing that goal.  But for a few years now I have wanted to try doing voice over work.  This may just be the opportunity to explore that avenue.  Or maybe I won’t ever hear from them because they don’t need a pink haired skinny forty year old for any films.  Who knows.  

    The only thing I can say is that I’m willing to step out of my comfort zone once again to see what life has to offer.