Tuesday, May 31, 2005

"I have killed two people since midnight. I haven't slept in over 24 hours. So maybe you should be a little more afraid of me than you are now. " -Jack Bauer, 24

Having finally recovered from spending more than 24 hours awake between 10:30 PM on Sunday and Monday night midnight (20% of which was spent nodding off), I'm starting to realize that we could get so much more done if we didn't need to sleep.

No, I'm not masochistic. It all started on Sunday morning when I was called to the set of Live Feed, an independent horror flick directed by Flesh and Fantasy SFX guru Ryan Nicholson. Only there for a few hours wasn't enough to get good material (that, and I had to go to my other job immediately after), so I had to come back the next day. But, being that this is an independent flick, most of the people working on it are doing it solely for the love of the craft (ie: they're doing it all pro bono), so they're doing it outside of regular working hours.

So, after getting home from my weekend job, I immediately go to sleep (6:00PM, not an easy thing considering that it was a really bright sunny day) and wake up at 10:30PM, shower, eat breakfast, and hop on a bus. Not realizing that the Skytrain won't take me all the way to Vancouver before shutting down, I am waiting at New Westminster Station for the better part of 4o minutes, shooting the breeze with the locals while the bus takes its sweet-ass time showing up.

Upon arriving at the set, the Venus theatre on Main street (yes, where they show old porno flicks), I enter, making sure no one sees me enter. Getting interviews for the next few hours, I get some good soundbytes out of everyone, but two actresses aren't there, so I'll have to follow up at a later time. Running on barely three hours of sleep, I trudge off to UBC where I begin another 8 hours of work.

As I'm only semi-concious and running on about three cups of coffee mixed with hot chocolate powder, I request that I am given the most mindless administrative task imaginable. I also apologize in advance if I start nodding off during conversations, need to have things repeated, or if I go into shock if there are any loud noises.

For the first hour, I am photocopying. Nice mindless tedium. Sadly, this does not last long, as I am back to more stimulating work (NDA NDA NDA NDA). The rest of the day is a complete blur. After getting my requisite six hours of sleep that night, today I am still nodding off.

I wonder how I'm going to last with my new responsibilities at my weekend job. I swear, every time I contemplate quitting, my boss gives me more responsibilities and a pay raise. Perhaps I should start thinking more about getting promoted so the opposite happens.

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Friday, May 27, 2005

Ken Jordan and Scott Kirkland of The Crystal Method

The Sonar @ 66 Water Street (experimented without flash)

What's up with the guy in the bunny suit?

Ken Jordan and Scott Kirkland, working the crowd.

Shake it, baby.

Self-portrait under the least optimal lighting conditions. L-R: Melissa Choo, Vince Yim

Scott Kirkland playing "Bad Stone" from the album Vegas, while politely asking everyone to make their way to the exit. "Good night, Van-City!"

Being that I had the foresight to wear earplugs this time, there is no equalization period for my hearing to return back to normal. Very kick-ass show at an itty-bitty venue with lots of great tunes played. Many tracks from Community Service 2 as well as some out-of-left-field surprises, such as remixed bootleg of Blur's "Song ^2". Open-toed footwear is not recommended.

Decided to show my stuff with the b-boys by mixing a little Capoeira onto the floor, pulling backflips and stuff (never mind the fact that my breakdance skills are minimal). Before I know it, someone shoves a ticket for the upcoming Hybrid show into my hands. He must know the promoter or something.

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Monday, May 23, 2005

Fangoria Magzine issue #244, on stands May 24th, 2005.


I've run out of clever, inventive, and political things to write about for the past week (that, and I'm a little burned out from writing every day because I didn't give myself a break between a grueling second semester at school and my work experience), so I'm just gonna plug the latest issue of Fangoria magazine because it's got my latest article in it.

I covered the direct-to-video techno horror flick, Devour, starring Shannyn Sossamon (A Knight's Tale, The Order) and Jensen Ackles (TV's Smallville and Dark Angel). Everybody go out and buy one. And no, I don't get royalties for it, but buy one anyway.

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Saturday, May 14, 2005

Who? What? Where?: The Board Game

Gameplay: You are given three cards, each depicting a person (celebrity, public figure, or famous fictional character), an action, and a location. For example, if you are given "Albert Einstein", "Playing Football", and "On the Moon," you will attempt to draw a reasonable likeness of Albert Einstein playing football on the moon, but you can get creative. In three rounds, draw the person doing whatever action in the specific location. You have four minutes to draw. Upon completion of the drawing phase, pass your drawings around to the other players, who must guess who you are trying to depict.

Doing boardgame night at a friend's place, we got to put our drawing skills to the test. This is what I ended up drawing. Let's see if you can figure out what I'm trying to draw. Click on the image to see a larger version. Highlight the text to see the answer. Ready? Let's go!

NOTE: Answers are discussed below.

#1: Who? Michael Jordan. What? Rock climbing. Where? Statue of Liberty.

#2: Who? Snow White. What? Bobbing for apples. Where? Nuclear power plant.

#3: Who? Tina Turner. What? Doing a belly flop. Where? On an airplane.

(And just for fun, please leave a comment with your answers!)

Discussion: Psychology is not my area of study or expertise, so any analysis to do with the human mind remains speculative. Still, it's interesting to see how we tend to associate things, especially when we can't quite get images across due to limited art skills. Admittedly, my art skills aren't the best, even worse when I'm given an extremely short time span to come up with an image.

Drawing faces can be challenging, especially if you lack formal art training or practice. So, if you were to Bill Gates eating a hero sandwich in the Sahara dessert and your drawing skills are only slightly above stick-figures, what do you do?

The Sahara dessert is simple enough, just draw a few stick figure camels and a cactus, and you're done. Hero sandwich might be tough, but if you can figure out how to depict eating (e.g.: a long sandwhich with a bite out of it), then you got that nailed down too. But if your caricature skills are lacking, Bill Gates becomes tough to render. That's when associative skills come in handy.

A common technique in the game is to have a thougth-balloon depicting a few images that one can associate with Bill Gates. A big fat dollar sign would work (universal symbols are permitted by the game rules), a huge bag of money, a computer on fire, or whatever comes to mind.

Some players get fairly inventive. One guy had to depict "Julius Caesar," and not being able to get a dead-on likeness, simply had thought balloons coming from his head with two somewhat familiar icons: a drink cup (representing "Orange Julius") and a salad (representing "Caesar Salad").

It was easy enough for the second round - Snow White bobs for apples on a nuclear power plant. Being that I couldn't remember for the life of me remember what the Disney version of Snow White looked like, I drew seven little stick figures around her glass coffin with a guy coming up to her on a horse.

Some made some amusing visual clues where drawing skills were lacking. One player in particular depicted a male and female stick figure standing side to side, with a thought balloon from the male stick figure depicting the American flag...and a female stick figure on her hands and knees performing oral sex on the male stick figure. The connection is fairly obvious. Unfortunately, the player in question didn't have the foresight to have an arrow pointing to the right stick figure...her "who" card said "Hilary Rhodam Clinton," but everone else guessed either Bill Clinton or Monica Lewinsky.

I thought I was in for some real trouble with the third round. Not knowing how to properly depict Tina Turner's haircut, I just drew a music note coming out of her, to imply that she's a musician. Not knowing what else, I drew another music note with a heart next to it. Then it hit me. I then drew an stick figure giving the female stick figure a black eye while she's singing a love song (music notes next to a heart symbol). Almost everybody got it, although one player guessed "Whitney Houston."

It's somewhat amusing and sad at the same time that it's harder to associate famous people with what they're supposed to be associated with. We don't associate Bill Clinton with a American presidency during a robust economy and prosperity among the people, instead we associate him with the Monica Lewinsky scandal. We don't always associate Tina Turner with a successful music career that spans many years, instead we associate her with getting beaten up by Ike Turner.

I shudder to think of what people would've come up with for Michael Jackson (a stick figure man dropping a stick figure baby out of a balcony), Kurt Cobain (stick figure with a guitar in one hand, a shotgun in the other, and a head that's half-missing), or Courtney Love (strung-out-on-heroin stick figure with very obvious plastic surgery, standing next to a stick figure with a guitar in one hand, a shotgun in the other, and a head that's half-missing).

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Wednesday, May 11, 2005


This is probably one day of the week I look forward to the most because I can actually sit down and do some work and get some cleaning in at the same time. The basement I'm living in is an absolute mess and the only thing that looks remotely clean and organized are the shelves and racks on which I keep my CD and DVD collections. As it stands, the shelf I put my DVDs currently has an unopened skin moisturizer dispenser on it and I have no idea why it's there, except it's been there for months and months and I haven't bothered to move it. There is a half-centimetre thick layer of dust surrounding my action figure collection and I really need to crack my computer open to vacuum all the dust out of it.

Heck, I still have my notes from last semester scattered in all directions, even though the semester ended in early APRIL. So, here's my to-do-list.

-Complete first draft for Fangoria magazine article
-Write two passages and one page of dialogue for my day job
-Tidy up basement to reduce fire-hazard risk
-Go to local store to grab bag full of top soil so I can start planting green/red peppers on the porch
-Hit the gym

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Sunday, May 08, 2005


Well, if anything else, this only confirms what many people have already been speculating since the campaign for the whole "War on (T)error" began. Harkening back to a previous blog, you gotta wonder what would happen if everybody was aware this was going on. But of course, given the corporate sponsored media, it's no surprise.

Damage is done, though. It's not like they can simply go, "Hey, sorry, man. We kinda fucked up." Tell that to all those dead soldiers and their families. Tell that to all the people who are now homeless because they got their homes destroyed.

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Wednesday, May 04, 2005

The fruit(s) of my labour

Never quite looks as good as the picture, does it?

Having taken up a minor interest in home gardening, I've been maintaining a few pots of strawberry plants and romaine lettuce. After about two weeks, I have about one strawberry that is ready to pick and the romain lettuce has just sprouted, which means I'll have about a teaspoon of ceasar salad by the time the week is up. If I'm lucky, by the end of the month, I'll have enough strawberries to put over a bowl of cereal.

It's times like this that I realize that we all live a very subsidized lifestyle. Why wait two or three months for a head of romaine lettuce when you can go to the supermarket and buy it in less than fifteen minutes? Considering the time and expense that goes into each plant, it's not likely that it's going to yield the same results that industrialized farming does, when you factor in the cost. I mean, a single strawberry plant costs $0.88, but it's probably not going to yield the same number of strawberries as if you bought them at the supermarket, especially when you consider that the ones you get at the supermarket are specifically picked out for colour and size. Given the amount of fruit that tends to get wasted and discarded, that's a lot of strawberries.

Mind you, a single packet of romaine lettuce seeds costs about $1.59, whereas a head of romaine lettuce will cost you anywhere from $0.89 to $1.99, depending on where you get it.
A lot of this evokes notions of True-Cost Economics, where the final price we paid at the cash register reflects everything that goes into it -- environmental costs, transportation costs, marketing costs, manufacturing costs -- everything. I mean, where does all that money end up coming from anyway?

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