Saturday, September 24, 2011


Here's a look at my first entry for the Lile One Minute Film Festival

For a few details on the creation of the video look here

Here's the video

Friday, September 16, 2011


So with the deadline Sunday I've finished Siren, the music video that is my entry into the Kmag Video Competition

If you're interested in reading details about the creation of the video check out Idiot With A Camera

I've embedded the video here but if you want the HD version, please check out this link


Thursday, September 15, 2011


A few months ago I decided to create a video for the Are We Connected film competition sponsored by Amplify Me in the US

It was one of my typical on the fly productions and I had fun making it

I was just informed that the video won third place in the festival. That finishes just outside the money but very exciting nonetheless. At this point I have no idea how many videos were entered in the competition, there could have been three for all I know.

I don't care. Don't mess with my bliss

My little video, or a segment from it, will be included as part of the film festival Amplify Me is hosting in Florida on Sept 22. So that's good news

Bad news is, this only encourages me to keep cranking out these videos. Speaking of which, I better get back to it

If you haven't seen Are You There, here is the low rez version, for the hi rez version, please click on this link

Are You There

Thursday, September 8, 2011


This will be a short post. More posts and more tributes will follow.

Suffice it to say today, at the age 13, our beloved Miss Hayley passed on. This has been a tough year for Hayley. Severe arthritis. Heart disease. But she fought through all of it. One of her vets called Hayley "the miracle dog" Another said "That's the toughest dog I've ever seen"

She was tough, in some ways she could seem timid or even skittish but have no doubt she was tough. She loved her life, she loved her family and she had that working dog spirit "No, I'm fine really, I can do my job, don't you worry about me"

But all fights come to an end and with her heart incredibly enlarged, there was no fight left in her. We had found Cytel M, a solution to her arthritis and the other meds she was on maintained her for a long time so I can honestly say that she has not been in pain.

But this morning her heart finally threw her more than her body could handle. She jumped in and out of the car and walked into the vet and after a quick exam they were amazed she could do even that. But that was it. She had no more to give. She gave us so much in those 13  years, more than I can properly express, I didn't want her to keep trying when that trying was just too fucking difficult.

On an objective level it may seem silly to thank a dog. After all, we give them the food and the shelter and the care. But what did she give us back .....


Thank you Miss Hayley

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

C.N.E. AIR SHOW 2011

Another year, another Air Show. Traditionally, the Canadian National Exhibition marks the end of summer here in Toronto so my question is ... where the hell did the summer go? Well, some of it went to Iceland and took us along for the ride.

This year we only had one day to go the Ex and of course we picked one of the days of the Air Show. Now that is a good four hours right there and it was the last day of the Ex with everything closing down at 9 pm; after the show we had time to play a couple of days (and win Terra a new toy) buy a John Wayne coffee mug and hit the Food Building. But of course the Air Show was the star of the day.

It was grey and quite cool down by the water but I had to say, it was one of the better shows we've seen in recent years. There was a good variety of aircraft including not seen before at the show. One of these was the Osprey, a US prop driven VTOL aircraft; a combination of plane and helicopter that can change its orientation on the fly ... so to speak.
It was quite impressive to watch the engines literally change their position while the machine was in flight.
Mostly the Air Show is about airplanes but sometimes it's about what falls out of airplanes ... in this case a group of lady skyjumpers from the U.S. called the Misty Blues
Skydivers as a rule are pretty brave people. These women were brave to the point of being heroic: they voluntarily landed in Lake Ontario. Yes, you know I'm going to say it, they made quite a splash.
There were of course several aerobatic flyers, zipping around the sky in their custom made propellor planes, doing their best to stop our hearts with stunts like flying with their wing tips just over the lake or stalling their planes and letting them tumble down the sky just before kicking their power back in.

I do love watching these little prop planes flip and spin and dive, their powerful engines screaming, their pilots working stick and rudder much like their barnstorming "forefathers" from decades ago.

The Air Show is always a combination of commercial and military planes, of props and jets and this year was no exception. The U.S. Marines brought the A-10, a war jet specializing in ground defence, not the most attractive plane one will ever see but a purpose built pugnacious aircraft that has a special place in my heart. After all, it's called the Wart Hog ..

Our own Canadian forces were not be outdone was they showed off their own CF-18 Hornet. I am not one of those guys who jump up and down and clench my fists and scream "Make it loud" at the prospect of a jet flying over but there is something to be said of the sound of the Hornet, a deep profound rumble that you can feel in your bones

Something new to the show this year was a recently formed "civilian" jet team called Heavy Metal. They flew four L-39 Albotroses and a vintage looking MiG 17 all painted in eye catching Arctic camo paint

Of course, it would not be an Air Show without the Snow Birds. As always, they closed out the show. Weather had been spotty for most of the show days and our day they ended the Snow Birds performance a bit early, citing low ceiling ... this could be true of course but the team was delayed by some kind of complication with a plane and I think this transmitted to the end of the show. Still, it's the Snow Bird folks and you have to love them.

No, really you have to love them ... or CISIS will come looking for you ... of course what are the chances they'll actually find you.

So those are Collette's pics from the Air Show, my video is below. Still can't seem to embed a Hi Def video here so if you care to see the hi rez version please click here: CNE Air Show

Sunday, September 4, 2011


One of the fun things about doing a blog is being able to track who visits it, from where and why. I have tools on the blog that allows me to see how people find their way here ... luckily I don't have to know that once here they run away screaming in terror, I just assume that they did.

These tools let me track which particular posts get the most hits and they let me see the search words people have used that brought them here .. poor unwitting suckers.

Besides people searching for hairy porn links ... really I don't judge but if you can't find porn on the internet you may have some issues .... some of the popular searches have been: Last Emperor of China, Vikings, air shows. But the two most popular search phrases, way above and beyond everything else have been Audie Murphy and Charles Bronson.

I have written a couple of posts about Audie (This one for example) and a couple of posts with Bronson's name in it. I've written about Death Wish a couple of times but it was this post that really got things going or more correctly brought people here who were already searching for Mr Bronson

Both Murphy and Bronson have been gone for some time; Audie was a moderate movie star in his day but more correctly remembered today, I think, for his extraordinary military adventures. Bronson was a huge star in his day, at one point the most popular movie actor in the world but I have often wondered what his legacy is today; he made so many bad movies I fear that some of his very fine performances have been overshadowed by his persona as an unblinking killing machine

I can tell if people are searching for Charles Bronson but I don't know why: Are they searching for his movies, are they looking for images of wrinkly faced guys holding guns, are they searching for a new baby daddy, do they need something with which to scare their children ...

But for whatever reason, there clearly remains a strong interest in Charles Bronson. I'm getting almost daily hits from that name, from all over the world.

So, contrary to the title of a novel, tough guys indeed do dance .... or beat guys up on the screen, and we want to see them.

Thursday, September 1, 2011


By now most Canadians are aware of the passing of Jack Layton. Former Toronto City counsellor, head of the Federal NDP party, well known figure on our political scene. This is not going to be a post about Mr Layton; much has already been written, much is still be written, most of it by people far more qualified than I.
What this post is about is grief, and the public expression thereof. After Jack died something rather remarkable began to happen. A tribute was erected at Nathan Phillips Square, the public space right in front of City Hall. That is not unusual nor unexpected. Placing flowers for public figures who have passed has become so popular that it almost has transcended tribute to the point of ritual.
But something else happened. To my understanding someone put down a sheet of paper at the memorial so people could write a few words.

The paper quickly filled up but people still wanted to have their comments seen, so they took a piece of chalk and just wrote on the grey concrete that surrounds the memorial and of which the entire square is made. I don't think I've seen this before and although it quickly became a "media event" it really did strike me as something that a spontaneous or even an impulsive expression.

As I said, it soon became an "event" as people heard about what was happening and flocked down to the square, to add their comments. By the time I got there, the day of Layton's funeral the entire square was covered with writing and pictures in chock, thousands of them probably, everywhere you looked

A lot of the messages was simply Thank you or RIP, but the variety of sentiments was almost as dazzling as were the sheer number of messages. There were many depictions of Jack's famous mustache and of course, lots of bicycles.

There were messages in a wide variety of languages. Chinese characters were very prevelant and I'm sure many of those were speaking directly to Jack's widow, Olivia Chow. Many messages were directly to Olivia, a career politician in her own right, people saw them as a true partnership
I loved the idea of a public space basically being transformed into a ... literally .. open book. In our era of email and facebook and IM's and texting, people took this place, a place where Jack toiled for many years, and turned it into an open letter, communicating with a simple piece of chalk, bending down on knees, stretching up, finding a space, moving the chalk against the concrete, putting in a small effort of labour to express their remorse and their appreciation for a man who many had never met and yet who had had a profound impact on their lives.
Jack, champion of the bicycle, a man who remained grass roots even as the official opposition in the country, probably would have appreciated that.

Here is the video.

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