06 December 2008

NIN and a brief hiatus

Yes, another iconic band hit Victoria last night - an excellent birthday present, I have to say again - and rocked the roof off the Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre.

The lights were amazing! They had cameras set up around the stage and the arena, projecting images onto what looked like giant mesh grids of tiny LED lights. Like LED curtains!

Trent Reznor sang right into the camera and it was translated to a night-vision and red-toned images on the massive LED grid.

The curtains had all kinds of graphics and backgrounds on the rest of the time. I'm wondering who's job it is to design for this kind of stuff, 'cause I'd like to know how you get going on that. But Jeff tells me it's likely they do everything themselves owing to how hands-on he says Reznor is.

Now on to the "hiatus" part of this post. I probably won't get to blog again until the end of January. Just scheduling and workload stuff, but I thought I'd mention it since I usually post more often than once every couple of months.

So TTFN and I'll see you again in 2009.

30 November 2008

A non-precious project

I've been sketching a bit over the last two weeks (when not crafting wire rings) for two reasons.

The first and most prominent is that I set out to attend a graphic novel workshop which I had to excuse myself from due to a sudden and unpleasant stomach bug. I was quite looking forward to hearing what instructor Sarah Leavitt had to share and very sad to have to bow out.

The second reason I've been sketching is that I expect to be busy this winter and it occurred to me that I should do something visually creative in my spare time before I'm back to being completely absorbed in writing.

Hence the following characters coming into rough focus:


Justin


Marcus


Pamela, AKA "Willow"

One of the few bits of wisdom I managed to glean from Sarah - before nausea demanded that I depart the room - was that it's okay to be "non-precious" with drawings.

I'm a tiny bit of a perfectionist, so it's hard for me to just bowl through something. I haven't thrown anything together anything since I was in high school - either sketching for a scheduled art class (or doodling in the margins of a notebook mentally skipping some other class).

So you'll notice that the drawings both above and below (old art projects) are of the "non-precious" category. I hope to explore this concept further as I find it very liberating.

















29 October 2008

Moonbeam Gold Medal!

On Friday, October 24, I got the amazing news that Watching July won a Gold Medal from Independent Publisher's 2008 Moonbeam Children's Book Awards.

I was already very excited to be shortlisted for such an awesome prize, dedicated to promoting independently published, new and unknown authors.

Big, big, huge thank you to Jennifer, Lois, Dayle, Liz and all the ladies at Sumach Press who helped make July as successful as she's been so far!

14 October 2008

Moonbeams, Kenya, and a national election

Today was certainly an interesting day. I found out that Watching July has been shortlisted for a Moonbeam Award. Good news for a first novel!

I also had a less pleasant email notifying me that the December SLS Kenya writing workshops (which I've been ranting about to everyone) has been cancelled by the organizers.

I'm glad I got the good email first; I was in just the right mood to offset the Kenya cancellation. Balance in the universe, at least today, seems to be functioning just fine. Let's hope economies everywhere will follow.

On a brighter note, I expect my Kenya airfare credit will put a reasonable dent in the yet-unplanned honeymoon Jeff and I are in desperate need of. Stay tuned for that one :)

Distracted as I am today, I still made it out for the all-important Federal vote. I've been telling family, friends, and co-workers, "Even if we don't agree, just please get out and vote."

So, from this slightly confused author and would-be adventurer, happy Election Day! (Despite the fact that it seems not much has actually changed on that front.)

21 September 2008

Nine Inch Nails @ Save On

NIИ must have known that this December 5th was my 30th birthday, because they picked that date to come to Victoria for the first time. Thanks Trent!

However, unlike the heartache that ensued after failing to get tickets to the December 1, 2007 TOOL concert, I've already got my seats sorted (good ones at that) for the big event. Woot! (You can't see me dancing, but I'm doing the victory hip-bump.)

Although I really should stop stewing about the TOOL sellout, since I did actually get to go. Just seems somewhat undignified, yelling at a crowd for second-hand tickets. (Actually Dani did that, but I braved the cold too.)

So I'm a happy woman. 2008 is still a sweet year. Let's hope it stays that way!

09 September 2008

Starting September

Back from a too-short trip to Port Renfrew, trying to savour the last warm days of 2008, I'm still playing with my camera, compiling more HDR experiments.

No new technicolour pieces are ready yet, but if you're into marine biology or coastal scenery, check out the regular Port Renfrew and Botanical Beach photos here.

Fall blues aside, I'm getting pumped to go back into book mode this week. On Saturday, September 13th, I'll be going to the 3rd Annual Victoria Anarchist Bookfair.

If you're in the Victoria area, you should stop by and get a healthy dose of chaos. The details were kind of hard to find on their site, so I'm posting the hours here.

Saturday, September 13, 11 am - 7 pm
Sunday, September 14, 11 am - 5 pm

755 Pandora Street (The Victoria Cool Aid Society)

Meanwhile, I heard about another book review for Watching July; this one is in the Nexus Newspaper. It's a local student paper for Camosun College.

26 August 2008

A sunny day and a Dark Knight

Jeff and have I decided that, overall, the glass was half full for our wedding on Saturday. Sure, BC Ferries' latest disaster scratched our family dinner the night before and sent our out of town guests fleeing before dawn the day after.

But we had beautiful weather for the outdoor ceremony. (Unlike the couple after us, whose Sunday wedding was driven under the Inn's covered parking by the rain.)

The food was great and we were happy to see our friends and family. We had spectacular photos too. (Go check out our photographer Dani's web site at daniboynton.com.)

So after a day of quiet rain, on Monday we got around to something we've been meaning to do all summer. We went to see The Dark Knight. Both Jeff and I enjoyed the movie, but for my part, I'd expected to be 'wowed' from start to finish.

I suppose it's ironic to watch a supremely hyped movie right after your wedding. And silly to expect anything other than a morning-after-Christmas sigh at the end.

20 August 2008

Riding the bus with Ricky and Julian

Stressed and grouchy, I got on the bus after work today to run yet another wedding errand before the big day this Saturday. Then two reasonably clean-cut guys, wedged into the space I next to where I was unhappily standing. They were certainly the most interesting characters I've had the pleasure of overhearing on the bus in the last few months.

The gravelly-sounding labourers looked like they'd just gotten off work too, loudly talking about their plans for the weekend, specifically drugs, bars, dates, dating online, and their current women - that they'd met online.

Then it took an interesting turn. They started talking about how and when they own up to their past prison terms. The taller white T-shirt favoured hesitating until it was worth getting into. The blue T-shirt preferred to postpone owning up to smoking, while he thought it was essential to put his conviction history on the table immediately. As I listened to his logic about not wanting to lie, I wondered what he'd done to wind up in prison.

I also wondered, pending nuptials aside of course, if single, would I ever consider dating a guy who'd been to prison? Even if I wasn't looking for a lasting relationship? Would I ever use an online dating service in the first place? These kinds of thoughts don't cross my mind often. But when they do, Jeff looks better and better every time.

10 August 2008

Top 10 Reasons I travel with books

Although I've travelled with pocket games, mp3 players and laptops, I always make a point of having at least one book because they:

10. Are available in handy shapes and sizes
9. Can be fairly affordable
8. Often have beautiful covers (and/or illustrations inside)
7. Don't interfere with ship/plane operations
6. Have no start-up or shut-down delays
5. Rarely prevent you from hearing announcements (and/or alarms)
4. Are never interrupted by pop up ads or commercials
3. Give you a solid excuse to glare at loud talkers
2. Never run out of batteries
1. Are always better than the movie

"Here we just sell small rectangular objects; they're called books.They require a little effort on your part and make no be-be-be-beeps."

- Carl Conrad Coreander

28 July 2008

The All-Seeing-Bow and other oddities

No idea why this hadn't occurred to me when I first made them, but over the weekend, I decided to add some craft pics to my deviantART page. Check them out here.

DA takes all kinds of jewellery and crafts, so I think I'll add a few more homemade accessories soon.

15 July 2008

More on cell phones

Like my post from May 25, the video below is a trick, apparently done by removing a microwave component.

Still, it makes me glad that I don't spend much time on my phone. I'm not really a phone person in general, so I wouldn't be worried anyway.

Now if they tell me computer monitors or laptops can pop kernels, then I'll lose some sleep for sure.

01 July 2008

A blurry bookshelf

It sounds silly, but one of my personal benchmarks has always been finding a book I'd written on a shelf in a major book store.

My moment happened last Friday when I popped into the Chapters on Douglas Street in downtown Victoria. (I'm also aware that realistically, this matters only to me and a small circle of family and friends.)


YA shelf in the basement of Chapters

Nonetheless, I grinned openly walking back to work after taking a blurry picture with my camera phone of Watching July on the shelf.

(And no, unlike Carrie Bradshaw in her latest film outing, I did not swap my book for one on prominent display. I'm also pretty shy when it comes to stuff like that.)

I've since found it at Bolen Books and the Coles at Tillicum Mall. So for everyone who's been asking, yes July is in book stores.

I would have uploaded this photo and post earlier, but I've recently become addicted to Rock Band. Specifically the drums.

26 June 2008

What will we do without oil?

I saw a story on The National the last night called "Running on Empty" and much of it rang true for me. Escalating gas prices, environmental damage, unsustainable suburbs; just a few reasons I won't be replacing my car any time soon. Or buying a house an hour from where I work just so I can have a yard of my own.

Still, most people don't want to talk about tough changes and sacrifices within the plans we've all made and the goals we've set for ourselves - even as our collective grasp is continually too short.

More seriously (and I don't personally know anyone who fits this category) I think a large part of what James Howard Kunstler addresses in his commentary in "Running on Empty" is a tenacious sense of entitlement among many materialistic, high-earning, high-achievers.

It seems that some people believe that because their parents had it and they've worked for it, they're going to have their SUVs, overseas vacation villas, boats, and whatever else - consequences be damned.

Every time I bring up lifestyle revision in social conversation with people I do know, the reaction is either that I'm a downer or I get lip service in return. (Although for the former, I expect there may be a correlation between reluctance towards self-examination, a distaste for intellectual conversation, and/or disbelief in punctuated equilibrium. Fortunately, I expect these acquaintances also don't read my blog.)

That said, I'm not innocent either. As I watched "Running on Empty", part of me fretted for my yet-to-be-decided tropical honeymoon, an upcoming writing retreat in Kenya, and any other travels I might want to take up this year. After all, I work for a resort developer and we sell vacations.

We may be looking at a world where guilt and worry over our carbon footprints become moot. If you have a few minutes, I highly recommend watching the clip below.

23 June 2008

Turkey Vulture!


Above Lone Tree Hill, off Millstream Road

On a hike at Lone Tree Hill yesterday, we bumped into what we thought were a couple of hawks of some sort. It wasn't until we got home and looked at the pictures, in combination with the park web site, that we realized this rather unattractive bird is called a Turkey Vulture.

19 June 2008

To quote a redhead...

"Please explain to me the scientific nature of 'the whammy'."
- Dana Scully

You've got to love dispassionate professional women who never smile or have fun in their working hours. Personally, I think Scully had her 'serious face' on because she wanted her predominantly male co-workers to take her seriously, in addition to conveying her scientific background.

Any X-Files fan will tell you, Scully regularly, either through rank never clearly illustrated or her own personality, regularly subordinated herself - subtly, but noticeably - to Mulder.

What I'm wondering today is, if Scully's character had been the lead, would she have had the chance to sling the witty comic relief instead of her partner?

17 June 2008

Launch and Vancouver pictures

I've got a few new pictures today; a shot from the book launch and a few pics from my last trip to Vancouver.


    Reading at the Flipside Teen Lounge
    Photo by Dani Boynton


    For the Vancouver pics, visit my deviantART account or check out the side bar on the right.

    09 June 2008

    Post launch thoughts and thanks

    It's been a over a week since the launch of Watching July and the good wishes are still pouring in. Thank you to everyone for all your support and encouragement.

    A big huge thank you to everyone at Sumach Press for all their work in helping to bring July into the world. Thanks to my editor Jennifer, publisher Lois and publicist Dayle.

    Thanks also to everyone who came out to the launch. Although I'd planned to share the live reading here (which Jeff was kind enough to record with his mp3 player) the sound quality just wasn't post-worthy.

    So although it's not live, here is the first chapter:

    Salmon River Ranch
    www.christine-hart.com/chapter_1_watching_july.mp3


    The first review is in too - excerpt and link below.
      "...the descriptive flowing style of the work invites the reader right into the life of July MacKenzie to the extent that it feels as if she is a friend.

      ...a cunningly written book, with strong and vivid characters, plot twists and turns."

      - A 'n' E Vibe Magazine
    Read the full review at:
    www.anevibe.com/book-reviews/watching-july-christine-hart.html

    05 June 2008

    The Happening and Facebook

    I came across two interesting items today: Adbusters discussing Facebook privacy issues, and the trailer for the next M. Night Shyamalan film The Happening.

    As cautious as I am about using Facebook, I think this article is a little extremist - and that's saying something coming from me.

    Facebook Suicide
    www.adbusters.org/magazine/77/facebook_suicide.html

    On the latter, I'm a pretty serious Shyamalan fan, so I felt kind of silly to be hearing about his next movie so close to the release (June 13). Well, at least it's not like finding out CAKE had a new album out months afterwards.

    25 May 2008

    Cell Phones Are Evil

    I'm not a huge fan of cell phones. I own one because the conveniences outweigh the drawbacks of expense and constant connectedness.

    I like the idea of being unavailable. Each time you give someone your cell phone number - regardless of the fact that you consciously give that information to people you know, like, and trust - you become more available at all times.

    Because I don't value my cell phone enough to let a bill get out of control, I'm on a pay-and-talk plan. Obviously the guy who designed the video below wasn't as sensible with his phone:

    22 May 2008

    Are you a vegetarian yet?

    I have to admit that I still eat meat, but I am reaching a point where my diet is becoming more veggie-oriented for both health and moral reasons.

    From fish farms to poultry pens, those of us paying attention are becoming increasingly disturbed by the treatment and conditions of food animals. If you're not bothered morally, just Google "sea lice" or "avian flu" before your next meat meal.

    Mystery Meat
    adbusters.org/magazine/77/Mystery_Meat.html

    I can't imagine anyone would remember, but I've blogged on this kind of thing before:

    What is The Meatrix?
    sleeplessstoryteller.blogspot.com/2005/10/what-is-meatrix.html

    What's in your food?
    sleeplessstoryteller.blogspot.com/2005/05/whats-in-your-food.html

    16 May 2008

    Camosun award

    Congratulations to my future husband Jeff Thomson on winning the 2008 Camosun College Sheet Metal Apprenticeship Award!

    He's the top student in his year and was invited to Montreal for a national apprentice competition. Jeff also won the award for the Sheet Metal Entry Level Trades Training (ELTT) program in 2006.

    Jeff's letter from the Camosun Dean of Trades and Technology

    In a sad twist, the presentation for his award is May 30th, at about exactly the same time as the launch for my novel. He has very sweetly promised to skip his award to be at the launch, so if you'll be stopping by, please give him your best wishes and congratulations!

    13 May 2008

    Dreary skies and dystopias

    Reading yesterday's MediaScout memo "The Burmese Junta’s Cold Calculation", I felt compelled to put down the H. P. Lovecraft collection I've been devouring and get back to the last section of The Shock Doctrine. To me, realizing that military dictatorships don't form in a vacuum is an important step in interpreting their actions.

    Since beginning Naomi Klein's latest book, I'm not surprised to look around and see growing potential for major dystopian governments like the ones depicted in Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale, Alfonso Cuarón's Children of Men or Alan Moore's V for Vendetta.

    As two of those references go back to the early 80's, I'm wondering how much of their fictional futures those writers (and other past authors of dystopian settings) expected could come to pass. Are today's US and UK governments capable of crossing the line to bring home a selection of frightening policies and procedures into the daily lives of it's citizens - to the point where it can no longer be ignored by turning off the nightly news? Would Canada be immune?

    Food for thought on a rainy, dreary Tuesday.

    05 May 2008

    Finding my way around Facebook

    I held out for a long time - a very long time in Facebook milliseconds. Some of you might remember my posting a general notice that I had no plans to join. But I've finally signed on to the still exploding social network that is Facebook. And I'm having fun.

    Although I do plan to keep blogging (particularly because Facebook seems more conducive to photo comments, byte-size memos and cartoon-illustrated gestures) I'm becoming fascinated by "the book" - especially now that I'm on the inside. The etiquette (or lack thereof in some cases), the addictive quality, the risqué images and slogans slotted neatly in between kittens and roses on individual profile pages.

    Not only are Facebookers giving up their blogs, some seem to be forgoing external email almost entirely. When a notice from Facebook in your inbox is just an added step, why not cut out the middle man? I'm not judging, really. I find it very interesting from a professional point of view.

    What will business look like for web-based email providers? What loyalty would users have to a tool that was free in the first place and for which they're a faceless web banner receptacle? Of course, that's true of Facebook too. Will we ever reach a point where one hegemonic social network trumps all others functioning as everything to everyone? Those are the kind of thoughts going through my mind as I navigate Facebook.

    Then, this afternoon as I surfed the site of a savvy blogger I read regularly, I remembered why I began a blog in the first place. Conversation. It's different than connection - and it's still important.

    21 April 2008

    Launch date set for Watching July

    I'm excited to announce that the launch date for my first novel, Watching July is May 30th here in Victoria! Please visit me on Facebook or view the pdf below for all the details.

    Invitation to the launch for Watching July

    11 April 2008

    I love Live Trace!

    And you should too if you work with Adobe Illustrator. I've been using Adobe Creative Suite for several years now - Photoshop and various Macromedia products for much, much longer. But as long as I can remember, vector files and any occasion to work with Illustrator used to make me grouchy. That's my polite way of putting it.

    However, now that I've discovered Live Trace (and practical applications for it not shown here) I am a happy woman. Ever needed to convert a low res logo to line art and felt an aneurysm coming on? No more. And in my (limited) spare time, I've been clicking my way to a converting old low res or not zoomed enough photos to pseudo-impressionist images. Check out the side bar and/or my DeviantART gallery to see the damage.

    06 April 2008

    Polaroid instant film going the way of the dodo

    As soon as I heard that Polaroid was stopping production on it's world-famous instant film, I felt sad. Although there are many die-hard fans who are more distraught, I will miss it.

    I have to concede that between the bulky chemical laden prints and the battery-included film cartridges, Polaroid's instant film could be the most environmentally unfriendly film on the market.

    Still, the whirring snap of an instant photo sticking like a tongue out of one of those distinctive cameras, to me, is a piece of nostalgia.

    And I knew I had to get in on some of the last of it. Even grabbed some for my Dad too, although he may be more interested in his new DSLR for the foreseeable future.

    So, new (used) camera and film in hand (both from eBay; local stores are sold out) I started snapping last night and continued this morning:


      Galloping Goose Footbridge


        Under the Highway


          Creek Current


            Reflection on the Colquitz


              The Neighbours' Yard


                Mannequin Vanity


                  Sam
                  (slightly out of focus)



                  For the whole scoop, here's a recent CBC story from February 24:

                  01 April 2008

                  In the tiniest ring

                  I came across a web site via my regular Tyee reading that I haven't been able to get off my mind. It's called Japanesebugfights.com and not surprisingly (in addition to banner ads) they host pre-recorded bug fight videos. All seem to go until death, although I have to admit, I wasn't able to sit through many (none involving spiders).

                  Normally, for anything available as an embedded video, I would post a sample here. Since I haven't made up my mind as to how I feel about this practice, I'm simply inviting you to read the article and visit the bug battling web site for yourself. But be warned - it's been over 24 hours and I'm still unnerved by the experience.


                  Bug Fights, Hot Trend

                  Japanesebugfights.com

                  23 March 2008

                  A day at the Vancouver International Airport

                  I was disappointed, but not surprised to hear that my sister, planning to meet a 10 am flight, arrived at the Vancouver International Airport yesterday at 9:30 am, yet left well after 2 pm.

                  Lost luggage? No, that's understandable. A long customs line? Also not the source of the delay.

                  She was there to meet her boyfriend's flight from Seoul (after a layover in Japan as I understand) only to spend hours wringing her hands before herself being interrogated by our own customs officers.

                  Her boyfriend is a South Korean citizen she dated for the better part of a year while she taught English to kindergarten students. Both were interested in continuing the relationship, so he planned to come to Canada for an extended visit.

                  On his arrival in Vancouver, to his great misfortune, his English was not strong enough to communicate to the customs officers' satisfaction and he had lost my sister's cell phone number. Frustratingly, he was able to see her through one-way glass, yet not allowed to collect his bags and cross over with everyone else meeting friends and family. Instead, he was treated to 4 hours of detention and interrogation at the hands of cruel, arrogant, power-tripping customs officials.

                  Does this sound familiar? My disappointment is, of course, exacerbated by the fact that this happened just months after the infamous taser incident which senselessly ended the life of Robert Dziekanski at the very same spot in the same Vancouver airport. His encounter with the RCMP happened approximately 10 hours after he landed in Canada - after 15 hours of travel.
                  Ironically, I remember seeing the memorial of candles and flowers to Mr. Dziekanski a little over a month after his death when I met my sister's flight back from South Korea in late November of last year.

                  In Mr. Dziekanski's case, it sounds like basic indifference to his needs and vulnerable state was the primary problem. While my sister's boyfriend was treated like a criminal suspect, questioned repeatedly until he began preparing himself for the prospect of heading directly back to Korea.

                  The resulting state of mind is very similar though: trapped - hopeless - lost. It begs the question, what will it take to convince the Vancouver Airport Authority and Canada Border Services that visitors to Canada deserve better treatment?

                  I understand having to detain someone if there are unanswered questions, but what would the worst case scenario be if the officers were just a bit more polite? A would-be smuggler doesn't get intimidated fast enough?

                  It's not often that I feel ashamed to be Canadian, but yesterday was one of those rare moments and I worry that it won't be the last.

                  29 February 2008

                  Digital speed painting

                  I've wanted a digital art tablet for some time now, so when I saw a collection of speed painting videos on You Tube, I got really excited (although my work will look nowhere near as sophisticated as this artist's).

                  He does a selection of well-known characters, but here's his Optimus Prime clip:


                  21 February 2008

                  Another good read for the gamers

                  Nearly every time I read a gaming article (that I like), I'm compelled to post it here despite the fact that I hardly ever play anything. Still, for everyone I know who plays a game online, I think the article below - and the discussion in the subsequent comment section - is a nice little boost.

                  20 February 2008

                  Not unpleasantly cold

                  Weather is a hot topic of conversation in Victoria and all around the West Coast virtually any day of the year. We all feel we've made some level of sacrifice to move to or continue to build our lives in a part of the country fraught with over-priced real estate and high cost of living.

                  So when Old Man Winter dares to touch our territory with so much as a pinky finger, we're agitated - even outraged. After 2007 saw a grim summer (at least it seemed like it) and a snowier, colder winter than we're used to, many of us were feeling mutinous. (Although I'm sure the prairie and East Coast folks feel an understandably low level of sympathy.)

                  Today is one of those days - a mid-February day - when I am completely certain that our balmy spring-like weather (10°C and sunny as I write) is that sunshine tax pays for. Now if it just happened more often...

                  05 February 2008

                  A word on the new look

                  If you've been here before, you're probably noticing that I've recently renovated.

                  I've been meaning to update the design of both my web site and blog to integrate the two sites more smoothly. Yet, I wanted a design that fit my personality and my work. To do this, I knew the coding was beyond my skill to create, so I've used an opensource xml template.

                  Life gets busy, so its great to keep things simple - which is what I'm going for here. I'd invite feedback, but as the design isn't mine, there's not much I can incorporate in the way of changes.

                  That said, please let me know if you see anything sketchy in terms of font, (eg. I'm still smoothing out the nav font size for consistency) graphics, layout or anything you think isn't being rendered properly on your computer.

                  If there are too many bugs, I'll likely revert to the old blog and previous incarnation of my personal site, so I need the bad news as much as the good.

                  In the meantime - thanks for visiting!

                  02 February 2008

                  Eye tracking

                  For some time now, I've been researching the reason the human eye fails to recognize typographical errors. I keep coming across chastising blog posts and intense proofing 'how-to' pages.

                  Fine, but none of those pages addressed the 'why' aspect I'm more interested in. Rather than internally berating myself for every error I've ever made, I wanted to find any scientific, biological, psychological reasons.

                  So my curiosity drove me forward. Here's what I found:

                  Eye Tracking
                  en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eye_tracking

                  Eye movement in language and reading
                  en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eye_movement_in_language_reading

                  Saccades
                  en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saccades
                   

                  "From a study of speed reading made by Humanistlaboratoriet, Lund University, in 2005."

                  Good old Wikipedia. The more often I use it, the more I trust it.

                  23 January 2008

                  Conquest

                  I've been hearing this new one from the White Stripes on the radio quite a bit lately, so I looked it up on handy YouTube. And I have to admit, the song gave me more of a Middle-Eastern vibe than Spanish, so I was surprised to see a video about a matador. But then again, that's what I like the White Stripes for - surprises.


                  21 January 2008

                  Cloverfield and Juno

                  Sucked and rocked respectively. Unfortunately, some good friends of ours spent a certificate to get us all tickets to Cloverfield. Fortunately, I was along for the movie to visit with my friends once more before they moved out of town. (Which I hope went well.)

                  It wasn't so much that the monster movie sucked, it was more that the idea wasn't implemented properly. It shouldn't have been filmed as a Blair Witch knockoff and there should have been some form of backstory on the monster. I've been learning a lot about the importance of backstory lately and I firmly believe it could have turned the lemon that was Cloverfield into a kickass movie.

                  Juno, on the other hand, was quirky and beautiful. Someone met and captured the kid I used to be. (Without the teen pregnancy part.) I felt validated by a brave examination of a real, meaningful teen character. I highly recommend Juno, so I won't ruin it for anyone by going into too much detail here.


                  Cloverfield

                  Juno

                  16 January 2008

                  Cameras on the bus

                  While reading an article on public surveillance this afternoon, I reassured myself that Victoria was still outside the reach of urban 'big-brother' devices. At least as far as I knew. So I was surprised to look up on the bus this evening and see four cameras installed around the roof of the #11 I was on.

                  I'm pretty sure I don't want them there. I've been riding the bus in Victoria for over a decade and never once felt unsafe. Not even late at night and/or after a trip to a pub or bar. Now, I just feel unnerved and creeped out.

                  I'll Be Watching You:





                  Camera 1





                  Camera 2

                  12 January 2008

                  Trees on triangle canvases

                  Sadly, but not surprisingly, I discovered this evening that deviantART does not support png files very well. I know IE 6 doesn't really either, but I like transparency enough to let people catch up when they will. So - because I can - here are two acrylic canvases I played with today. The canvases are triangles, so I think the digital version should be too.


                  Sunrise




                  Sunset


                  09 January 2008

                  Pipin and the camera phone

                  I have to contradict the theme of my last post by latching onto one mild disclaimer (see: "I am by no means blame-free in the world of consumption") in order to post the pic below of my new favourite living thing.

                  What my Mom got for Christmas was a rescued kitten. But the picture below was taken with what I got - a new camera phone. I know it's painfully trendy to get a phone for Christmas, but I don't care. The phone is cool.


                  Pipin the kitten

                  Phone aside, it's a heartbreaking shame that something awful had to happen to her in order for the little trouble-making fuzzball to end up under my parents' tree, but it's the beginning of a lifetime of spoiling for Pipin.

                  01 January 2008

                  Stuff for Christmas

                  I love Christmas. And I'm not just saying that. I love waking up to a tower of pine and tinsel lit by blue pre-dawn light. I love the glow of red, white, green and yellow bulbs on blankets of snow. I love gingerbread, eggnog, turkey and stuffing. My favourite part of Christmas is that wherever I am, whatever I'm doing, all my friends and family (more or less) throw responsibility and schedules to the wind and come together.

                  However, I am my father's daughter when it comes to Christmas consumption. The financial and physical waste from escalating consumerism bothers us both. A lot. In spite of (what I think is) a healthy sense of generosity, like years before, I found myself frustrated at gift-giving obligations this year.

                  Staring back and forth, up and down rows and rows of products on shelves in store after store, all I could think of was the homemade doll stores from my childhood, filled with cheap plastic product replicas.

                  Still, I do have a lamentable love for fashion, jewellery, decor and spa, while working weekdays in a marketing department. I am by no means blame-free in the world of consumption year-round. So while I hang out between my rock and hard place, I was pleased to come across a web site that more rationally and objectively outlines the life of 'INSERT WIDGET HERE' instead of vaguely whining like I do.

                  If you're feeling a tad detached and frustrated after the holidays, read about the Story of Stuff at: