Archive for December, 2007

In Which I Fill out Forms

I borrowed this form from a friend’s Facebook note; it’s cross-posted in my notes there, too.

I present to you: my year in review! (Kinda)

The Year 2007 in Review

1. Did you fall in love?
Does anybody?

2. Did you get any new friends?
Yes. They know who they are, and exactly how I feel about them (I have a tendency to tell my friends how great I think they are and how much they mean to me. It’s kind of weird?)
Also, I got flatmates for next year. Yay!

3. Did you start disliking someone?
I… don’t know? I think the answer is yes, but I don’t know who it would be. Do I dislike someone and not even know it?
Wait, nevermind, I remember. It’s Ruhi.

4. Did your heart get broken?
Not exactly, though there was a period of one week in which my head was broken. It was… complicated? Essentially I went crazy and stopped eating or sleeping. Though now that I think of it, being crazy is an entirely different thing from heartbreak. This answer really doesn’t apply to the question at all.

5. If you could change some thing about this past year, what would it be?
I’d like to say “nothing”, but that’s not really true. Essentially, I’d like the entire period mentioned in my last answer to never have happened. I can be a real idiot sometimes.
Now that I think of it, I actually screwed up a lot last year.

6. Did anyone close to you give birth?
My uncle and his wife had their third kid. I was in England at the time, and no one even bothered to tell me they were expecting. It was kinda a surprise when I came back.

7. Has anybody you loved passed away?
Tragedy: Averted!

8. Whose behavior merited celebration?
Alyssa, for putting up with more shit from me this term than anyone should ever have to; Beth, for becoming an incredible friend in the span of only four months; Danielle, for being the most fantastic person I know.

9. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
Ruhi, who has (among other things) refused to learn my name and threatened to “break me”.

10. Did you do any thing life changing?
I’d like to say England, but technically that started in 2006. And going to Vancouver isn’t all that life-changing in comparison. In what can only be deemed “kind of embarrassing and really pathetic”, I think the most life-changing thing I did in 2007 was to start drinking.

11. Favorite piece of clothing?
“You do realize that shirt doesn’t actually make you The Flash, right?”

12. What moments stand out when you think of 2007?
The two best days of my life:
The first day involved treasure hunts, castle exploring, a fight to the death, drinks in a pub, and a rooftop poetry jam. It also involved last moments with great friends I haven’t seen since.
The second day involved pie and pickaxes. I set out expecting a normal day, and instead absolutely everything went right.
Not my greatest day, but an interesting night; on St. Patrick’s Day my English professor threaten to beat me up over the results of a football (re: soccer) match and insulted my taste in Beatles albums. Then we ended up talking about Star Wars and his youth spent stealing road signs.
Paris was pretty great.
Shit, it was an awesome year all around.

13. Who did you miss?
The old old gang (Leaguers Assemble!) and the new old gang (Mitch, you son of a bitch!).

14. What song will always make you think of 2007?
I’d like to say “Skip to the nana’s!”, but ‘Hey Jude’ is pretty much my song for every year.
I’m going to nominate “A Talk with George”, as being representative of JoCo’s catalog as a whole and also kinda inspiring.

December 31, 2007 at 9:49 pm Leave a comment

Even More Ninja Turtles

It occurs to me, after my post from Christmas, that this blog needs a lot more Ninja Turtles.

Oh, that takes me back.

The Ninja Turtles have always been something of a strange beast, in that they differ so wildly between incarnations. As a kid, I was always more a fan of the Ninja Turtles movies, which is probably why I like them most when they’re fighting street-level crime in a slightly dark and serious setting. But then they’re just as likely to appear in a goofy kids show, or in bizarre sci-fi and fantasy adventures through space. In a lot of ways, the series is all over the place.

I think this calls for a “History of the Ninja Turtles” post in the future.

Editor’s Note: And then I didn’t write one.

December 27, 2007 at 6:56 pm Leave a comment

A Very Ninja Kind of Christmas

And what could say Christmas more than the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Holiday Special?

Yes, giant, mutant, anthropomorphic turtles are the true reason for the season.

Now, I was a huge Ninja Turtles fan back in the day, and they still hold a special place in my heart. Sometime last year I found this issue in a bin of back-issues; it’s from way back in 1990, and the lead story come from Eastman and Laird’s original run in 1985. Essentially it is classic stuff.

There’s two stories in this one; the lead is the aforementioned Eastman and Laird story from 1985, which features Michelangelo out enjoying a snowy Christmas Eve. You can read in it entirety here, and if you want to avoid me spoiling it you better do that now.

Oddly, he says ‘Hell’ instead of ‘Heck’ in my printed copy

Now, you may ask, what exactly does a ninja do on Christmas Eve? Well, if you’re Michelangelo, you spend a lot of it clowning around:

A cute moment with Mikey in a toy store. He rescued the cat from the cold earlier in the comic.

But after that, you get on to the ninja business kicking ass. While hanging out in the toy store Michelangelo comes across a robbery in progress (it is New York in the mid 80s, after all. These things happened everywhere). A bunch of thugs are stealing toys meant for orphans, and of course that cannot be allowed. Mikey springs into action in a way only a ninja and a turtle can:


Asskickin’s

Needless to say, Michelangelo stops the thieves and saves Christmas. Or rather, he would, except that if the police find the truck they’ll impound all the toys as evidence. And since those little orphan tykes need a Christmas, there’s only one thing he can do; round up his family and, well, you can see for yourselves:

It’s an adorable little story that also features significant bouts of action and violence, meaning it’s the kind of Christmas story every little boy dreams of.

Next up in the book is a two-page spread of the Turtles and Casey Jones running across rooftops of New York, dropping gifts into chimneys. It’s a really nice piece of artwork.

Finally, the book concludes with a back-up story of Raphael in “A Christmas Carol”. Sick of ‘fake holiday sentiment’, Raphael storms off on Christmas Eve to be alone. He eventually falls asleep in an alleyway where he’s visited by three ghosts… you know the drill. Each ghost tries to drive home the point that Raphael is alienating himself from his family; the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come even shows him as a lonely swamp-dweller who can barely speak anymore, having finally cut himself off from society completely.

As a side-note, the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come appears to be a non copyright-violating version of Ghost Rider.

After his visions Raphael rushes home, and as readers we expect him to dash in to reunite with his family. But instead the last page has him standing on a rooftop watching the other Turtles through a window, wishing them a Merry Christmas they’ll never hear. It’s a surprisingly down and depressing ending, suggesting that Raphael is already too far gone to save himself from his future.

And that, my friends, is the TMNT Christmas Special. One ending in which the Turtles save Christmas, and another in which Raphael can’t even save himself. And yet, they’re both very good stories.

Essentially what I’m saying here is that I’m a huge Ninja Turtles fan, and also something of a geek.

So, dear readers, may all of you have the Christmas-saving kind of holiday, rather than the alienated-from-family kind. I’m going to go have myself one of the former right now.

December 25, 2007 at 12:45 am Leave a comment

In Which I am a Huge Film Geek

After writing this post, it occurred to me that it’s so technically dense at points as to be of no interest to anyone.

*****

I am so happy now, you wouldn’t even believe it.

Longtime readers may recall that I’m a member of the Winnipeg Film Group, a swanky little collective that helps provide all sorts of cool resources and training for filmmaking. I haven’t been in for a few months (on account of living in Vancouver), but I’m still on the mailing list so I always know what’s going on. Thanks to this, I learned they were having some sort of big and mysterious sale just two days after I got home.

Needless to say, I went over. I was hoping to snag some Super 8 film (which is the cheapest, lowest-quality filmstock available) on the cheap. Instead, I hit paydirt. I ended up getting nearly $1000 worth of filmstock for $100. Apparently they had a freezer full of film people had ordered and never picked up that they needed to unload. The contents of my haul?

200ft of EASTMAN EXR 50D Film 5245, a 35mm film for outdoor use.
400ft of KODAK VISION2 200T 7217, a 16mm film for indoor shooting.
400ft of KODAK EKTACHROME 7241, a 16mm film for outdoor news shooting.
400ft of EASTMAN EKTACHROME 7250, a 16mm film designed for low-lighting and shooting news footage.

Getting all of that film so cheaply is unheard of, especially since it’s all in colour. Besides that I may or may not have 600ft of an unknown, black and white 16mm stock which my brother ordered but never used. Hopefully that will pan out.

The 35mm is essentially useless to me (it’s difficult to get your hands on a 35mm camera) but I couldn’t pass it up; 35mm is the industry standard they use for professional film shoots, and it was only $20. That’s pretty much unheard of.

The 1200ft of 16mm is a different story. It’s a really solid film; pretty much the standard for amateur and student filmmakers before video took over. I know where I can find a 16mm camera and editing suite in Vancouver. In addition, my friend Jeff (one of the guys I’m renting a house with next year) is a professional lighting guy who owns his own equipment. I essentially have everything I need to start cranking out movies.

Assuming I get the stuff from my brother, I have 1800ft of filmstock. That equates to about 50 minutes of film. If I plan things out well I can probably get about 30 minutes of usable footage out of that. Essentially, I am so excited about this you guys wouldn’t believe it.

The only issue now is deciding exactly what to do with this bounty. I’m going to need to write scripts and start storyboarding pretty much right away. This came as such a surprise, I really don’t know what to do with it all.

December 23, 2007 at 5:02 am Leave a comment

Here I Am

So, I’m back in Winnipeg again, as is wont to happen around Christmas time. In what can only be described as “totally lame”, I already miss all my friends at UBC. It’s only been two days.

Sometimes I don’t know what my problem is.

My last night in Vancouver was spent getting no sleep whatsoever. As a group we were up to midnight hanging out. After that I completely failed to get any sleep, and around 4AM I suddenly decided it would a fantastic idea to go visit people. I ended up waking my friend Mariana up to watch ‘Little Miss Sunshine’. She insists she doesn’t, but I couldn’t blame her if she hated me for that.

It seemed like a good idea at the time?

An early morning breakfast and early morning flight followed, the latter of which was quite uncomfortable. Usually I don’t have a problem flying, but I was flying on no sleep whatsoever. It sucked.

And now I’m home, and this story doesn’t have any sort of ending. That’s life, I guess.

December 21, 2007 at 5:23 am Leave a comment

Bed Heist

So the other day I was roaming around the dorms looking for someone to visit, as I am wont to do. I swung down to the basement to see if my friend Angie was in, and was shocked to find her door ajar but no one home. The room was abandoned and defenseless.

I knew what I had to do. Marshaling the aid of Ben and Jeff, we went down to Angie’s room and stole her bed.

That is exactly what it sounds like. The whole thing was gone, leaving a bizarre bed-shaped depression in her floor. We disassembled it, carried it out, and reassembled it exactly as it was in the dorm lounge. Then we all went off to dinner.

Soon later Angie came back to her room, found her bed missing, and was able to discern the culprits within 20 seconds. She has since promised to ruin us in ways we cannot imagine, but I have a feeling she won’t follow through.

*****

For the record, Angie is the kind of friend who is okay with a little harmless pranking. All of us (me, Ben, Jeff and Angie) are going to be renting a house together next year if all goes according to plan. We’re going to have to keep our doors locked all the time lest we do terrible things to each other.

Editor’s Note: Angie never did end up getting revenge, and none of us ended up living together due to being screwed by UBC housing. None of the projected futures here came to pass.

December 18, 2007 at 7:48 am Leave a comment

This Was Probably a Bad Idea

You are about to witness the lamest blog post ever crafted by human hands. Those with a shred of respectability or coolness left should turn away now.

You have been warned.

I was on the XKDC forums and came across the following math puzzle:

Suppose that you have a standard scientific calculator. We can press any combination of keys, but the only digit that you’re allowed to touch is 2, and you’re only allowed to hit it 3 times. For instance we could press 2 – 2 / 2 = to get a 1.

The puzzle, figure out how to produce every number from 1 to 12.

Now, because (as we’ve established) I’m a huge geek, I instantly attempted to solve this. It took a few minutes, but I got them all worked out.

So, as a challenge to anyone who reads this: come up with answers and post them as comments. I’ll do the same with mine, but don’t read them until you’ve had a go at it. Each problem should have multiple solutions, and I’m interested in seeing what other people come up with. It’ll be all kinds of fun!

Assuming you think math is fun.

If anyone wanted to kill me now, you could not be blamed.

December 12, 2007 at 9:17 am 1 comment

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