Practicum: One Year Done

Our oldest finished her practicum and received her feed back today. That means a year of post secondary school is now behind her. She is finally relaxed.

Ice Cream Cake

Tonight we picked up an ice cream cake to celebrate her first year behind her. Random deserves a treat after such a stressful few weeks getting her project completed.

Unfortunately there are no options for her to get in the workforce this summer. Covid has made it difficult for her to get some hands on experience. Hopefully after her second year she will get experience in her chosen field. In the meantime, she is excited to work for her boss at 1 Fish 2 Fish this summer.

What’s really neat is that for her practicum film project- she interviewed a coworker about working there. After getting feedback from her teacher, Random is going to edit the project and present it to her boss. I think that’s wonderful. Our daughter can combine her passion for film and fish into one.

I hope she continues to enjoy the career she is choosing to pursue. There will be plenty of opportunities coming up and she could be a very busy person.

Drone On

Our oldest child is about to finish her first year of post secondary education. Because she is attending British Columbia Institute of Technology, there has been a good variety of in-class and remote learning happening. Her area of study is in film.

She has been enjoying all the different aspects of being behind the camera. She has had an introduction to filming, editing, sound, directing, and everything else involved. I love hearing about it all and how excited she is when she successfully accomplishes one of the tasks or projects. She has been putting in long hours and determination.

Yesterday she was learning how to use drones to create professional images and movies. Using drones may not be exciting to some, but these aren’t the little ones you buy at Walmart. Her class had a good day to test them out and these are a few photos she took.

Unfortunately due to Covid restrictions, our daughter will be unable to take on any apprenticeships this summer. She is hoping that after next year things open up and she can utilize her skills in a more hands-on approach. BCIT has been good to her and her skill sets. I’m proud of what she has been doing so far and love to see her sense of accomplishment as her projects get completed.

Hudsucker Proxy

Sometimes in my blog I like to share films that I enjoy. I don’t do any write ups or dissection of the films. Just that I enjoy them and why. Today I am writing about a favorite of mine that I really enjoy watching in the winter. That’s because most of the film is set around New Year’s and the idea of new beginnings.

The Hudsucker Proxy is set in the early 20th century. It has some of the best cinematography I’ve ever enjoyed. The sets are Art Deco, the timeline is flawless, the jokes are quick and perfectly timed. What’s not to love about the film?

The simplicity of the underlying story and the characters that drive the film make it relatable and a joy to be a part of. I enjoyed the film so much, I made a Cosplay of the lead character a few years back. It was such an obscure costume, that when I wore it to three different comic conventions- maybe ten people understood it.

If you haven’t seen the film, please check it out this season. It is a great movie by the Coen Brothers. Check out one of my favorite scenes on YouTube: Hula Hoop.

Creatively Growing Up

Last night my daughter Interviewed me for a school project. She took painstaking measures to create the perfect lighting and backdrop. I took her direction as best I could without asking too many questions. I also did not offer any advice or “butt in” in any way.

It was tough to be a parent and just let her do it on her own. Like the first time your child walks to school alone or rides a two wheel bike without you holding the seat. You want to hold their hand, but the pride you feel when they have accomplished something on their own is far more gratifying.

I’m not going to lie, it was challenging for me to let her be creative and run the show. It was her project and her vision. In the end, she got the footage she desired and is off to the editing portion within the next week or so. Maybe she will let me see the final product. I promised her I wouldn’t critic it. No idea if she believes me. But I believe in her.

Prepping For An Interview

Our oldest is currently in post secondary school studying media broadcasting and film making. One of her projects is an interview where the interviewee essentially monologues about something. Then she will show what they are talking about with some voice over work.

So she brought home her equipment as has decided to interview me. I get to talk about 3D Printing and how I got into it. As well she wants me to show how the machine works. Of course I jumped at the chance to help her out. And I get to talk about 3D printing- my latest hobby/obsession.

It’s not very often that my daughter wants me around. Naturally I am going to be there for her. Tomorrow I’ll continue to share about the experience. As it seems that for 3 minutes of footage it may take us all night to film. Right now she is setting up the lighting and camera. I expect to be sitting on the stool for an extended period.

Wish us luck for getting through this. I have to remember to step back and let her have full control. It is her project and her career path.

Natural Born Killers

We love having family movie night in our home. Usually it’s a choice we all can agree on. But sometimes I show films to my teenagers that are uncomfortable to watch as a family. I want them to see moving picture shows for what they can be. Not just special effects or cartoons. But artsy.

Last night I put on “Natural Born Killers”. Besides the excessive violence, my teenagers didn’t quite understand Oliver Stone’s vision. I had to explain about the absurdity of the 90’s and the fascination with court cases and police brutality that went on. The worst part is that after 26 years since the film came out- it seems society is still obsessed with crime. And there are more cameras sharing today than there was when this film was made.

I know what you may be thinking. Why would you show your teenagers that film? Because it is an amazing film. It showcases a variety of music, film angles, and styles that look haphazardly thrown together, but in reality weave the tale. A perfect love story filled with society’s imperfections and obsessions.

Watching “Natural Born Killers” is like trying to understand what makes an abstract painting good. After a quarter century, the film still holds up. And is probably more relevant now by shoving the glamour of the lowest parts of humanity into your face.

It also gave my kids a chance to see many actors in a role that isn’t what they see normally. Juliette Lewis (Christmas Vacation), Woody Harrelson (Solo), Robert Downey Jr (Avengers), and Tommy Lee Jones (Men in Black). All of which were the films that my kids recognized them from.

Of course right after the film, we watched “The Muppets”. I think the kids wanted to remember what life was like in a more simpler time. Nothing wrong with that. I love reminiscing and watching movies from my childhood.

BCIT

Yesterday our oldest daughter received the news that she made it into BCIT School of Business for Television and Video Production . She has been striving to get into this course for ages. Last month she also worked on hitting the prerequisite ahead of time by taking an online course offered at BCIT. This was her first Post Secondary course (she’s still in Grade 12) and her first opportunity to learn how the workload would be. Our daughter was bouncing with joy when she learned that she’d be one of the limited students for September’s intake.

Needless to say, we are really happy for her. Over the past couple of years she has been focusing a lot of her attention to working behind the camera. My wife and I are really happy that she attends the Fine Arts School where she gets an opportunity to use high end video equipment and software. Mind you, our daughter hasn’t strayed from her original major- music, so it’s nice to see her artistic abilities come alive.

Our daughter is a lot like me and can dissect a show or movie to its bare bones. We often share thoughts and dialogue about cinematography and filming in general. This is my connection with her, and I love it. I wish nothing but continued success in her endeavors as she grows into a young adult.

The course at BCIT is a full time two year program with a diploma. Once she completes the course, she will be able to work throughout “Hollywood North” as Vancouver is always a booming industry. If she wants to continue or expand her studies, she has talked about going to Capilano University for relevant courses. My hope is that she gets work doing what she loves and continues to love the work she does.

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.

    Movie Sequels: The Search For More Money

    The magic of cinema.  It draws you into a world different from your own.  At a young age I always loved movies, mostly sci-fi and fantasy.  I grew up with adventure stories that seemed larger than life and gave my imagination something to dream of.  Musicals filled me with joy. Science fiction brought forth my imagination. From Annie to Star Wars, The Goonies to The Dark Crystal, Tron to Ghostbusters- they all sit near and dear to my soul.

    The past couple of decades has seen a rise in remakes, sequels, & prequels.  What was once left to the “B” movies back in the 70’s, became more mainstream.  Hollywood is afraid of creating new characters and stories for people to enjoy.  If something extraordinary takes hold of the box office, the studio execs are quick to pounce on the money maker and exploit a new franchise quickly.  I’m not trying to be cynical of the machine. I’m more trying to figure out why it works the way it does.  Does it always come down to money?

    This summer (like most summers) there will be sequels, rehashes of old characters, and crowds of people flocking to the cinemas.  We all want to be entertained.  Friends talk about the latest big film.  People are afraid of missing out.  But what happens when a movie that we hope will be good, turns out to be really, really bad?  

    Really not needed…


    A few years ago, I really enjoyed Tron:Legacy.  It was far better than the first Tron film.  But it didn’t do well at the box office, so they killed the next sequel that was planned.  I’m totally ok with that.  When I was six, the film E.T. came out.  It stayed in the top spot of the box office for six weeks.  34 years later and there is no talk of a sequel.  That’s the way it should be.

    Disney has now decided to do a sequel to their beloved classic, Mary Poppins.  It is scheduled to come out in 2018- 54 years after the original film.  Why?  Does society need this?  Is there some sort of closure that never came from the original film?


    This year has an X-Men sequel, Ghostbusters reboot, two films involving Batman, a Star Wars side story film, a Pixar sequel, raunchy comedy sequels, live action remakes of cartoon films, and so on and so forth…

    The machine needs money to grease it up.  I know that sequels, remakes, and prequels will be happening as long as films are being made.  I’m not saying I won’t be contributing to this- I’m just going to be more selective of where my money will be going.