Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Do Something Really Nice For Someone Today

That is what my grandma used to say to me when she was suiting me up for school in the mornings when she took care of my brother and me when our parents were on trips.

Here's an article in the New York Times about a genocide currently underway in Darfur, a region of Sudan.

There are links at the end of the article to other webpages with more information.

If you want to write the Prime Minister's Office about it, you should do that.

If you want to write the President of the United States about it, you should do that too.

Pull Head Out Of Hole And Look Around Once In A While

I am twenty-six and a half today, which means it's exactly six months since I did my first assignment for film school (driving around snapping photos in Hollywood- the boulevard of broken dreams, n'est ce pas?). O, what a long way in half a year.

I saw Hotel Rwanda on the weekend and I almost got up and left halfway through, not because it was bad, but because it made feel like a fool for sitting and watching a movie when I ought to be out in the world making it the kind of place where the things that happened in that movie would be less likely to happen.

Sunday, February 20, 2005

In Which The Non-Indigenous Stick Together

Everything that is wrong with me can be chalked up to not drinking enough water and not reading enough good fiction.

I proved the water theory by making an active effort to drink lots of water the other day and it cured at least one thing that was wrong with me (I won't get into too much detail about this, let's just say Doretta's mom would also have a solution to offer). Drinking water all day also cured me of obsessively making and eating snacks all day (goddamn you Trader Joe's endless varieties of trail mix!).

On the fiction front, well, I gave up reading a while back. A year plus. I remember meeting my Swedish friend Mikaela's brother several years ago. He was on some kind of straight-edge stint that Swedish kids apparently do sometime in their late teens. No drinkee, no smokee, no meatee, no humpee. I guess this is for cleansing the spirit? Or teaching you that you can live without all these things, that these things are privileges to be enjoyed in a mature fashion. It's a healthy thought, this sort of monkish abstinence in the middle of what, for most people in the modern Western world, is some variation of a head-first swan dive into a pile of the dangerously yummy stuff.

Anyway, I've been reading like an alcoholic sucking on a bottle since I learned how. There's a particularly touching photo of me as a small person in pigtails sitting on the can (thanks to a plastic seat insert to keep my small bottom from falling into the bowl) and concentrating on Richard Scarry's "Busy People" (a misnomer really, aren't they all animals?) which spread out on my lap and takes up all the space from my hips to my ankles. Anyway, from that point until last year, at any given time, I'd usually have about four books on the go. During my English Literature degree, I could hardly wait for the summer so that I could leave off reading Thomas Hardy novels and do whatever I wanted with my free time (read Virginia Woolf, at it turns out).

Then I went a-traveling for a couple months and though I brought books, I ended up reading only Nicholson Baker's "U & I" and part of John Fowles' "The Tree", both very short and both non-fiction, an undiscovered country for me. Shortly after this, I discarded fiction in favour of non and then gave up on reading altogether.

But I just can't stop being literary, even in the middle of movie school. I mean, come on, did you catch the Hamlet reference above? It just slips out! I've decided to return to the fold. I read Eden Robinson's Monkey Beach over winter break, which I'd been meaning to read for years. I just finished re-reading Pride and Prejudice, and gawwwwwww-lly if that Jane Austen isn't still as amusing and piquant as ever. I'm onto Star of the Sea by Joseph O'Connor (Sinead's brother? So I heard). I'm hoping the rib-sticking stories will weave their subtle patterns around me and give me the ballast to find the same nuance in film tale-telling.

So, that'll be me, in the false-front, confectionary world of Los Angeles, I'll be the one weighed down with a massive tome and a jug of Adam's ale. Hey, it's no backpack of reference texts, but it'll do.

Friday, February 18, 2005


I got some bathing suit bottoms in the mail from J. Crew today. To go with the bathing suit top that I already have. Thereby perhaps creating the illusion of having a whole bathing suit, or: "bathing costume" or even: "togs".

The bottoms are a pretty colour (chocolate brown) and a nice cut. Problem is: they are slightly too big. This is the same problem I have with the other shorts that I wished to replace as bottoms. I know that this will result in the same problem: almost losing them in the briny deep and possibly having to sprint back to the towel bare-bummed.

So the question is: do I see if I can take them in or do I keep eating candied cashews until my ass grows to fit them? Please advise.

Also: any men with size nine feet out there looking for a nice blue pair of flip flops? The ones I got are absurdly wide for my feet. Like snowshoes. Janey: tell Alex.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

What Do You Get When You Cross A Kid In The Hall With A Person Whose Job It Is To Make Tiny Sounds In Movies?

Give up? A Dave Foley Artist.

Right, okay.

So Sound Class, Wednesday nights. This, after a nine o'clock start in the morning that involves deciphering the intense ranting of a great, ancient, surgically enhanced prof who thinks Doris Day is the shit and then watching a long movie that somehow takes your nine a.m. and turns it into one p.m. before you can say, "wha happen?"

Inevitably, errand-running and stuff takes up the middle part of the day and by the time seven p.m. rolls around, i'm ready to maybe sit quietly by myself somewhere and think or maybe cook or bake something, which is how I've been dealing with stress lately.

But no! Schedule says: go sit in a class and try to learn very techincal information explained in a confusing way while behind the person lecturing you (and the person constantly interrupting to make something even more confusing) is a moniter with a deeply mesmerizing screensaver on it.

Tonight I was so tired that I was flushed, which is how I get when I'm really tired. But tonight, tonight we got to go to the foley room and practice making sounds. It is quite possibly the best comedy in the world watching your classmates and friends from the engineering booth, crouched in front of a bucket with an old shoe and a rock, staring intently at the screen in front of them as they occasionally hit the bucket with the shoe or the shoe with the rock. Or, you know, whacking a bag of sand with a pipe. And concentrating. Con-cen-trat-ing. Like a three-year-old with long-eye.

Screw working with sound on computers, I want a job hitting sand with a stick in the foley room.

Saturday, February 12, 2005

The Millstone Blues

I didn't write my scipt this way intentionally, but my 508 film is turning out to have one of the lowest budgets in the class. I have one location that is within a half hour drive of where I live. I have the use of it for free. I have one actor and a pretty small crew. My main costs have been feeding everyone, renting one prop radio (at a 50% student discount) and, well, flour and yeast.

Yes, the movie is about making bread. Start to finish: making bread. I made bread for the first time at Marina and Wesley's. Even though I screwed up by not putting enough yeast in, it was very good and I felt altogether chuffed about my bread-making abilities. I made bread a second time with my actor the week after that. That bread turned out disgusting: pale, surly, and hard as a rock. Then, during last weekend's shoot we made bread again. Then I made bread on Thursday night to use yesterday. Then yesterday, during shooting, we made bread again. The plan tomorrow is to, yes, make some more bread.

All this yeast and flour is cost-effective, but I am so goddamned sick of it. The beery stank of the yeast, the way it foams over the top of the glass. All that flour, on your t-shirt, jeans, all over the floor, ganging up with water and fusing itself to everything it touches.

It could be worse, though. I could be making a movie about meringue. That would really suck. Eggs are expensive.

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Picture Explosion


Who knew that whatever I did last night would accidentally upload a bunch of photos.

Well, anyway, here we have my black eye (open, to show the yellow eyeshadow effect, and closed to show the genuine black-eye effect).

And here we have a photo from Mr. Dougie Coupland. This is one of the best photographs of Vancouver that I've seen.

And we also have Darcy on December 26th, 1996, in Tokyo Station, showing us how to hail the Shinkansen (or, if you prefer, Bullet Train).

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Other People Having Babies So I Don't Have To For A Little While Longer

As of today, I have a new cousin. Yes, that's right, my 26-year-long reign of being the youngest person in my generation in my entire extended family is over. I'm no longer the baby, now an actual baby gets that title. Woohoo!

The inside scoop is: it's a boy, he's healthy, he looks a lot like my brother when he was small (so: cute). And he was a c-section baby, so he can kill Macbeth when he grows up if needs be.

Can't wait to get back to Vancity and hang out with the kid. You know, babysit, maybe get to walk around with him strapped to my chest in a Baby Bjorn. Hand him things and see if he'll put them in his mouth. All the good bonding stuff.

Poor Man's ipod

Why haven't I thought of this before? The other night I made a huge playlist, like five hours long, of music that I have on my computer that I never really listen to, one track of each album. I picked songs with good names. The result is freakin' good mix-o of music. I had inklings of why people go apeshit for ipods, but this magic playlist is really selling it home to me. Not that I can afford an ipod, or will be able to afford one for the next, oh, five years? I'm hoping to win one as a door prize at some point.

Or maybe I'll be magically transported to the Sundance Film Festival and receive one free in a gift bag, along with a snowboard, which I will sell to make rent.

Now to find out whether the DVD that Alex leant me today of Pitchfork's top 50 albums of 2004 will be readable by my cd drive. Cross your fingers, folks!

Monday, February 07, 2005

I (Heart) Canadian Politics

Almost as much as I love the news coverage.

Uncool is a Valid Form of Cool

Nerdy Discoveries:

1. I found the lid to one of my pots today, wedged against the weird rice cooker. I keep losing things lately, or things I have keep breaking. The discovery of this lid made me so happy that I put one hand up in the air and said, "Yesssssss!" when I saw it.

2. The underside of the microwave, recently installed above the stove (after a long stint on the floor, which made heating up bowls of liquid potentially messy) has a light! A stove light! It's a lovely yellow colour, unlike the overheard light in the kitchen that is a shitty dim fluorescent bulb. I'm going to try to never use the overhead light again.

3. I can actually sort of understand some of the technical chitchat in American Cinematographer.

3.1 (This is how nerdy this post is: I'm using subpoints and numbering them correctly) The O.C. is shot on 16mm and they occasionally use Kodak Vision2 500T 7218, which is what I'm shooting on.

3.1.1 The O.C. scenes of the house (interior) and pool out the back (exterior) are shot on a soundstage. The ocean is fake. Whoa.

3.2 Further to discovery 3.1, said film stock is advertised in a two-page spread in the front of every issue of American Cinematographer that I've looked at recently.

4. Cumin + pretty much anything (but especially soups and sauces) = good.

4.1 I wish I were a saucier. Or a garde manger.

5. I found a bunch of meaty scholarships online today.

6. The USC library doesn't open until 1 on Sundays. This haunts me for some reason. I recall being so impressed with the robustness ("robustness", incidentally, being what spellcheck used to come up with as the correctly spelled alternative to my name) of Koerner library, open from what--eight? until eleven. Every night, right? Facillitating all your maladaptive study habits.

7. Too much baking bread makes you feel slightly ill at the prospect of baking more bread. Maybe I'll just buy some stunt bread for next weekend's shooting at a bakery. That would save me from making yet another stinky loaf of dense, raw, bland, salty bread for my movie about baking bread.

And not so much discoveries, but valid points in the nerdy theme of this post:

1. I'm wearing socks with flip flops.

2. I grew up referring to this kind of footwear as "thongs", but am too embarassed to use this term any longer.

3. And I'm also wearing very comfortable pants that used to fit me but don't anymore and are therefore frumpy-looking.