Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Truck Stop

Just north of Bracebridge we notice a truck in the median flipped over.

The way back home was a lot quicker thanks to our transport driver Wayne. To get back to Toronto from North Bay it is just a little over 300 km. We arrived in just under three and a half hours. That time may have been shorter had we not come across a flipped over lumber truck while booting down the highway. The traffic slowly down almost to a crawl. You could walk faster than we were going. Once we past the truck and the tractors trying to flip it back up we noticed the traffic started zooming along.

What is it with rubber neckers? It's not like any of them got out to help. Once they saw what was going on and that there were no bodies hanging out of the truck they'd speed up. Of course the slowing down thing slows everyone behind them down and the cycle continues until the accident has been cleaned up.

Last Night in North Bay

A nice sunset over Lake Nipissing.

After wrapping for the day part of the cast and crew headed off to Wawa for more shooting. The rest of us got to stay for one more night in North Bay. I found out there's a beach on Lake Nipissng just a stone's throw away from our hotel. The water is so shallow that you can walk out a few meters before your knees get wet. The water was pretty warm and the beach became a place for some of the crew to go swimming after a long shoot day.

After taking a few pictures of the sunset I decided to wade back to land and walk north along Lakeshore drive, the street that the Travelodge, my hotel, was located. By this point the sun had gone down and even if there was daylight I doubt there would have been anything really that interesting to see. A lot of spaced out hotels (I think I was walking the hotel strip of North Bay) all advertising free internet connections, some houses, trees. Kind of reminded me of walking around scarborough (a suburb of Toronto) at night. The streets are long and the intersections are few and far between. I passed by two Tim Horton Donut stores and got up north as far as a baseball field just past Judge ave where there's a resturant called the purple pig. That's when I noticed a jet perched on a cement mount.

The jet across from Lee Field, North Bay.

Since it's not something I would see everyday I thought I'd take a picture or two. The jet was down in a small valley of a park. As soon as I stepped off the pavement sidewalk onto the grass a wack load of bugs (some mosquitos) swarmed me. The little specks (and some of the big blobs) in the picture above and below are the tiny blood suckers flying around. They were everywhere. Some bouncing off me, some bouncing off my lens. I think I have four bites in the neck from that venture along with other bites in various other places. You can play connect the dots there's so many of them.

Welcome to Northbay and a load of blood sucking bugs.

What I do to get you readers these pictures. The jet and gateway are solely illuminated with my Nikon SB-800. Not bad for a single flash. Otherwise it was dark. You could see the silluotte of your hand in front of your face. The park was dimly lit from the baseball lights up across the street. After taking the pictures I ran out of the park slapping my arms and various parts of exposed skin trying to fend off any and all insects that flew into my personal space. I ran past a dog walker. I think he thought I was nuts.

After the swarm experience I decided it was time to walk back to the hotel. When I finally got back to my room I checked out my map (that I picked up at Macs Milk a few nights before) and calculated that I had walked 4km to the gateway and another 4km back. A long stretch of road to find a bunch of bugs and a few iced cappacinos. Not very rewarding. I did find out from a person waiting for the bus that the cost was $2.00.

I think being lost in Montreal was better.
A) there was daylight,
B) there was a dollar store where I picked up some postcards,
C) there was a bus to get me back.

Monday, June 27, 2005

The Director Who Cried Wolf

Arthur - an arctic wolf from the Bowmanville zoo.

There's a scene that requires a wolf that Terry Fox sees while on his run. Since wolves are untrainable, at least that's what I was told by the wolf wrangler and the on set photographer who shot Animorphs (a low budget kids show where humans turn into animals using really poor visual effects), the next best thing is to get a wolf from a zoo and change it to suit your needs. In this case it was to make it's fur grey. Arthur is an arctic wolf and as such is normally white. Judging from the picture above they did a pretty good job.

An interesting tidbit that I found out. For the shoot they actually brought two wolves to set. Just in case one ran away. I thought "Well then you have a second one to shoot." While I thought this was a pretty logical solution I was wrong. The second wolf is actually the first wolf's mate. If the wolf decided to run away he would come back eventually to be with the other one. How's that for commitment?

Splinter Unit

Our splinter unit watching Grant run up the hill. Yes, Grant is that little dot in the distance, two thirds up the hill.

A splinter unit is a small group that shoots usually concurrently at some location while the main unit operates somewhere else. At times the splinter unit will shoot pick up shots, establishing shots, or shots that do not require the main actor or actors to be present.

Today we (visual effects) were part of a splinter unit to shoot Grant, the Terry Fox double, in the distance running up a hill. The visual effects part of it would be adding a mountain as one might see in British Columbia just off the road we were shooting in North Bay. My job was to keep a record of the different lenses, focal lengths, and other data that seemed to make the rest of the crew puzzled.

Tom joked that it was like working with the black arts when we did stuff on set. Taking the odd measurement or whipping out the custom mystery gear, then drawing little stick figure representations or diagrams for what was going on on set. Some of the crew even asked what we were on set for as they didn't know.

Here you've got these two people that are not operating the camera, moving props, or putting on wardrobe or makeup on the actors. Yet they communicate to the big wigs. The producer, the director, the DP, and occasionally look over the camera guys shoulders to ask them to adjust the camera slightly or for measurements every now and then.

Even when I told them what we did they still really didn't get what we did or why we did it. They understood the end result and what it should be but why we were doing what we did on set. They didn't get that part. I could point my arm towards the sun or moon and start clucking and they probably would accept that as being part of my job.

I guess that's good job security. In the end as long a the film doesn't look like there's visual effects in it then we've done our job right. Hopefully the crew on set that asked us who we were and what we were doing would say after they saw the show on TV "What did we need them for anyway?".

Saturday, June 25, 2005

Sock it to me

The sock and the Addidas shoe.

Saturday. Crew call was at 7:00 am. That meant I had to get up at 5:00am, wake up (brush teeth, wash face, etc) get all my gear sorted and packed, grab a bagel from the continental breakfast tray and take a 45 minute ride to the shooting location.

It was hot and standing on the side of the road didn't help. I drank bottles and bottles of water while waiting to jump into action doing the visual effects thing. The big visual effect for this movie is to replace the main actors leg with a computer generated artifical one. To help out there was a stand in, Grant, who wore the same type of leg technology that Terry wore 25 years ago. Grant would be used for shots where you would see Terry in the distance or from behind. All the other shots would be of Shaun from the waist up so as to not see the leg or if you did see the leg it would be a visual effects shot. All the visual effects shots were designed by Tom Turnbull who also happened to be the visual effects supervisor and my employer. Tom is one of those guys with a very modest attitude who has exceptionally high standards for his work. He also has integrity something I find lacking in the visual effects world that I've worked in.

On set visual effects people have to do a lot of waiting around. Unless you're working on Star Wars or something huge usually we have to stand around waiting to get to the visual effects shot. Because the Terry Fox movie has a visual effect that is required for the whole movie we were stood around on set looking for details that the other crew might overlook, and to be accessible should the director require a "new" shot or angle.

While waiting around next to the heat reflected road I had another job to do and that was to take pictures of the sock. Sock? As in that thing you put over your foot? Yes sock. Over the course of the film we follow Terry Fox running across Canada. During the run his sock gets more and more used. It got dirty. It might have even started to show wear. It's pretty amazing when you think about it. On average Terry ran about 40 something kilometers a day. I'm sure the sock would have taken a beating.

They're creating a CG model back at the office they have to match it to the sock that's being shot on set for that particular group of scenes. The sock may not even be registered on the TV screen when all is said and done but as someone said "It's better to have more than less cause you never know."

Friday, June 24, 2005

Away To North Bay

Traffic going up to North Bay.

At two pm a bus departed from Toronto to take about 25 of us up to North Bay for the weekend to shoot the Terry Fox TV movie. It seems that we got stuck in traffic. I'm guessing most of the vehicles were going up to cottages for the weekend. The bus, although half full, felt cramped. Take the train for five hours to Montreal and compare it to a bus ride for five and a half hours to North Bay and I think you'd prefer the train. Unless of course you're a person with short legs or likes sitting in the fetal position where your knees are at your chin.

The bus ride wasn't all that bad. One of the pluses was we got to stop at Webers. Webers is a burger/ice cream place somewhere near Orrillia somewhere on the way to North Bay. Sorry to all those techies out there I do not own a global positioning system. You can tell it's Webers from the diamond shaped sign and the bridge that allows people going south to cross the highway safely to get a bite.

The line up was pretty long, I'd say we were standing in line for about ten or fifteen minutes. I ordered a cheese burger with double patties. Efficient teenagers shuffled back and forth through the people in line taking orders, money, bringing back change and eventually gave you your food. In the end I should have ordered two cheese burgers. I got hungry after eating the first one, got in line again, only to find that I had to get out of line to get back on the bus that was going to leave. D'oh! I told myself that I'd be fine and could go get some food in North Bay. After all how much more of a bus ride would there be?

Something to consider when riding a bus. Keep in mind this may not be for all buses. I'm basing my experience with this one. I don't really remember the bus trip to and from Niagara Falls. Not only do they not have leg room but they also do not have those cool little fold out desks. I had to type on my psion using my camera bag as a make shift desk sitting on my lap. Because of the cramp factor the psion screen was almost eye level.

I also noticed that the seats never lean far enough back. Maybe due to the fact that usually there's a person behind you that would get squished. In order to support your head in the sleeping position usually I have to crouch down more until my knees are in the back of the person in the seat in front of me. By default then, assuming no one is sitting next to you, you usually lie on a tilt with your legs over the seat next to you and your back partially on the seat and partially on the side of the bus. It's uncomfortable and I really can't imagine doing the twelve hour bus trip to New York even with a stop in Syracuse.

The bus ride ended up being pretty tiring. After getting off the bus I got some food at a fancy schmancy resturant named Churchills. It had a piano player and dim lighting. Perfect for asking someone to marry you. Failing that, as I was with Tom the visual effects supervisor, it was good for ordering and eating expensive food. I was hungry and there were no other resturants in sight so I ordered the lamb with a side of mushrooms. My bill came to about $60.00 (without alcohol, after tax and tip). It certainly wasn't a Webers but the food was good. Even if all the piano guy could play was Billy Joel music it was still a good choice in the end..

Hunter Valentine

Hunter Valentine at the newly renovated Gladstone.

After an exhausting game of soccer. It was only about 20 minutes. A bunch of us went to see a performer at the Gladstone. Alan's friend Laura was playing the guitar and singing. There were a few bands that night but one in particular named "Hunter Valentine" had a lead singer that had one of those memorable sounding vocals (and a cute drummer).

Note: When shooting bands always try to get at least one good shot of the drummer as they are usually the hardest to get a shot of. They're located (most of the time) in the back and are covered by the guitarists and/or singers in the front making it difficult to getting a clear shot.

Come to think of it when you see "big" bands play, the drummer is usually located high up on a platform behind the front line of performers. AC/DC comes to mind. I can see Phil (the drummer) on some platform high up behind Angus, Brian, Cliff, and Malcom. I guess someone else thought of this for photo/video/film purposes. See lego set as reference in previous blog. I wonder if there are any performers that use a mirror over the drummer much like a mirror over a cook on a cooking show so you can see what he/she is drumming?

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

The New Harbourfront

Harbourfront with new boardwalk.

Biked by the new boardwalk on the harbourfront today. Decided to stop and take some pictures. The new addtion allows tour boats to dock perpendicaular to the shore. The wood seems pretty nice. I wonder how long it will last?

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Beach Painter

Painting on the beach

Back in Toronto with not much to do I decided to bike out to the beach to see if there was anything interested to take pictures of. I stumbled across this guy painting a tree. It's been a while since I've drawn anything on paper let alone be in an art class of some kind and I found it odd that people still do this analog stuff with all the computer technology floating around.

It's easy to get lost in all the computer techology and forget the basics of things like drawing, painting and even film making. I have found that you can spead a lot more time wrestling with the software and learning how the computer works when you could be just doing the art work itself like this guy here.

Monday, June 20, 2005

Montreal Women

Francesca (right) and friend (left) pose for the camera

Something immediately noticed when in Montreal, especially on a warm summer day, is that there are a lot more women dressed in dresses, skirts, and stylish clothing than the women of Toronto. They also seem friendlier. I'll have to do more research on this and get back to you.

Case and point. During my last hour before my train left. I started talking to a photographer named Mai. She was selling her black and white and colourized photos on the street. I eventually bought a magnetic version of one of her photos to put on my fridge. I wanted to take a picture of her next to her display so I'd remember what she looked like. I wanted to blur out the background so to do this opted for using my 70mm to 300mm lens.

In order to frame her and the display I had to walk half way across the street and shoot through a crowd of people walking by. That's when I met Francesca. She walked by my line of sight (as a blur) and said "shoot me". In the middle of a walking crowd of people she stopped and posed while her friend stood off to the side smiling with amusement. I ran out of memory at that moment. So I lost the moment (and pulling the hair out of my head). Each compact flash card I use lets me take 150 or so images. What were the odds I would run out of pictures at a time like this? What are the odds that something like this would happen in the first place?

As they walked away I changed compact flash cards in my camera then ran after them with my lugguage trailing behind. Eventually I caught up to them and asked if they really did want their picture taken. Turns out they did.

Bagel for lunch

The Bagel Resturant

By 2pm I was in the mood for eating lunch. It seemed like an obvious thing to do after seeing all the people outside eating or going to and from lunch. Earlier in the day I had passed a place called "Bagel". What a better place to go than that. I had a chicken and cheese bagel special. It came with potato salad and a cup of lemonade which was freshly made from scratch. Amazing.

I sat outside in the sun , eating my chicken bagel sandwich, watching people go by while backing up the pictures I took onto my epson p-2000. I'm going to have to go back to Montreal if for anything else to eat more of the food there.

Montreal Architecture

Montreal buildings old and new.

After a lazy Sunday of eating brunch, seeing everyone off, eating and a whole lot of sleep, I found myself waking up on Monday to a person knocking on my door. It was the B&B girl with my breakfast. A toasted bagel (montreal bagel!), cream cheese and a glass of orange juice. It had seemed that I overslept. It was around 9:30am and my check out time was 11am.

My train would leave Montreal at 6:15pm. I planned getting on that particular train so I'd have the day to spend walking around seeing the sights. My first stop was the Hudson's Bay store where I saw a piece of luggage with wheels on sale. It was only $60.00. A small price to pay to keep all the stuff in one place without your back giving out. Granted the luggage was purple. Maybe that's why it was on sale.

My new VIA rail luggage with wheels!

I did a lot of walking around. About seven hours. I made my way down to old Montreal where the streets are cobble stone roads and all over downtown. It was great to see people rushing to and from work knowing that I didn't have to. I noticed that in Montreal there is a lot more green space and open areas than we have in Toronto. People actually sit in the park under a tree or next to a sprinker system eat and talk to friends during lunch. It seemed much more friendly than the concrete city of Toronto.

Even the buildings looked good. They are not as bunched up as the ones in Toronto and seem to go well together. The downtown core spreads out over much more space than that of Toronto. Maybe it's just an illusion. The old and new buildings almost look like they were built to go with one another where as here in Toronto it looks like building plans were taken out of someone's ass, cheapened up somehow, and stuffed into an area not really zoned for that purpose to begin with.

There are some really ugly structures here in Toronto (like the residence on Harbord and Spadina - it looks like a bomb shelter). Even the new theatre for dance, which is still under construction, on Queen and University, is starting to look like crap. It doesn't look anything like the concept drawings posted on the construction walls. Seems someone took the money from the construction and just pocketed it. We'll see in the end how the building turns out.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Fringe Festival

Lateif a musican that creates sampled music using his vocal cords.

After a fine brunch with Darryl, Amanda, Rob, Roger, Abby, and Jill. I said my good byes and decided to take in more of the Fringe festival. Since I didn't have any work on Monday I decided to stay an extra day to look around, eat food, and just enjoy Montreal in general. Did I say there was cheap noodle food? Pai tai and chow mein? I wandered the streets until 7pm seeing the sights and stuffing my face. Eventually I made my way to a section of a park that had been turned into a stage for musical performances.

One guy in particular stood out. Latief had a recorder that would sample bits of music that he would make by making sounds into a microphone. Once a sequence was done he would layer another beat of vocals over the existing one. He would do this over and over resulting in a catchy rhythm. He did a version of the imperial march from Empire Strikes Back as you might hear it on a dance floor.

Darryl's Hard Liquor and Porn Party in Montreal

People at HLAP6 watching a scene from Gudrun's veggie pizza delivery guy movie.

The party took place at the Society for Art and Technology, SAT for short, located on St. Laurent, sandwiched between some erotic toy stores, strip clubs, and local bars. There weren't a lot of people to show up exactly at 9pm but as the night progressed more attendees started to pile in. The venue was nicely laid out with projections of the "porn" movies all over the place. Some images reaching over 10 feet tall. The show was broken down into three parts, allowing for people to show up, Darryl to give out prizes, and people to schmooze with one another while drinking their favorite beverage.

Somethig to note: In Montreal I have found that people are more open to the making out process in public. In Toronto a randy couple might find a secluded corner of the club to get it on where as in Montreal they'll just go at it wherever they happen to be located. Kissing, breast fondling, crotch grabbing. No public display of affection seemed to phase them.

After the three sequences of films there were three DJs that played music to video samplings of real porn. This continued until about 4am. At one point, I think it was around 1am, we decided to get some food and in Montreal there are a ton of places opened late. We ended up going to a 24hour crepe place. The food is so good in Montreal! Well I suppose that there are some not so good places... Darryl had told us about some crappy milk shake place... but I had the luxury of not eating in any of them.

Just before the club closed, Darryl and the rest of the HLAP gang were downstairs cleaning and packing up. While this was happening I was standing outside getting some fresh air (there are a lot of smokers in Montreal) . Seven police cars pulled up in front of me with police running out of their cars to a bar across the street. A few minutes later a guy in handcuffs was escorted out of the bar to the back of one of the police cars and as fast as all the police cars pulled up, they all disappeared.

Eventually we drove back to the B&B. Another Hard Liquor and Porn party over.

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Food Finding Mission

Rob Pincombe - Hard Liquor and Porn film maker on the streets of Montreal

After checking into my B&B I decided to go get some food. I found a message on my door from Rob telling me where the hard liquor and porn party was, who was staying with who and where, and what numbers to call should I need more info. Very convenient.

I was hungry (was else is new) and as I'm not really familiar with Montreal I decided to head east only because a) it was downhill from my B&B and b) that was the direction the map said the party was taking place. No more than five minutes later and I actually ran into Rob. He had just gotten food and was taking it back to the B&B. There was a Fringe festival going on. St. Laurent was closed to traffic and had a bunch of venders selling their goods. This included cheap food.

Dom And Erin - two people I met on the train now enjoying the Fringe festival

Pai Tai for two dollars, chow mein for two dollars, mango on a stick. There was a lot of food to choose from all at pretty reasonable prices. While trying to figure out what food to buy I bumped into Dom and Erin two people I met on the train a few hours earlier. Dom had a sister acting in a play and travelled to Montreal to see her. As a side note, I find that people like Dom who visit family in a different city to support them is pretty incredible.

In the end I picked up a shwarma, some kind of meat in a pita and headed back to the hotel to prep for the party.

Montreal - the Arrival

Boonie land Montreal.

I arrived in Montreal early. Darryl's Hard Liquor and Porn party (the 6th edition) was to take place at 9pm. (BTW, There's no time zone difference.) My 12:41 arrival would give me plenty of time to check into my hotel, charge the assortment of camera batteries, get something to eat and maybe even rest or see some sights before the show. As with any good plans there always seems to be something that throws a wrench in it. The place I had booked was on Prince-Arthur West. I asked someone getting out of the train station directions and they told me to take a bus east along Sherbrooke.

East? what? Wasn't the address west? I looked on the map and sure enough it was east. It got cut off by 32nd street and continued west of that. That little part of the street was west. Seemed logical enough. I decided to walk the distance. It's easier to see the sights on foot. Personally I find I have a better sense of location and direction if I walk. Eventually the novelty wore off. I was getting tired, looked at the map and noticed I had only walked half way. I checked my watch. Three and a half hours went by. Holy Cow! I suppose taking a better look at the maps scales might have given me a better sense of timing. That's when I decided to get on the bus.

Was the hotel that far from downtown because it was cheap? Next time I'd pay the extra few bucks to get a place closer to the downtown area. I figured a taxi would cost about $50 each way if they had he same rate as in Toronto. Finally a half hour, two bus rides and a ten minute walk later I found myself on Prince-Arthur. My bag was starting to become heavy and my tripod was diggng into my shoulder so much so that my left hand wasn't getting enough blood. I approched the closest house on the corner to see the address and figure out which way to go. Eeek! The address was in the thirteen thousands. The Bed and Breakfast was in the six hundreds. I decided to call the bed and breakfast.

As fate would have it the bed and breakfast was a fifteen minute walk, maybe twenty, from the train station. The same train station I initially came out of at 12:41. D'oh! I decided to take the bus back but ran out of change on the way to the boonies. To break a ten I purchased two post cards at the local dollar store, then made my way to the nearest bus stop. By this point it was 4:30. I looked at the bus schedule. I had nine minutes to wait for the last bus. The last bus or be stuck out in the middle of nowhere. The idea of walking back who knows how long in order to try to get to the porn party didn't sound very tempting. I must have checked the map and the bus schedule 10 or 15 times, memorizing the bus routes back. Was the bus early? Did I miss the bus? Why was I standing there in the middle of nowhere again? I noticed it would tkae three buses to take to get back downtown.

The 186 bus ended up going past the subway. Montreal has a subway? Right on! Taking the green line, there was only one way to go as I was at the station furthest out, I made it to the bed and breafast by 6pm. Checked in, dropped off my stuff then went to grab food.

to be continued....

Thursday, June 16, 2005

VIA: Passport to Romance

Toronto's Union train station in the heart of downtown.

Wednesday. My day off. Today I have been busy getting ready for the Montreal Hard Liquor and Porn party, Darryl's sixth installment with added francophone humor. Thursday and Friday I am to be on Felicity to finish off the show. So there won't be any time to prep for the trip to Montreal after today.

First stop the train station. I decided to take the train. It's a five hour ride from Toronto as opposed to the half hour flight by plane. The nice thing about going by train is you don't have to worry about electronics being turned off, looking for a light to stay seated, and taking a cab from downtown to the airport and another cab from the airport to downtown. Or if not a cab whatever transport you decide to choose. The train leaves from downtown and drops you off downtown. Nice.

The agent selling the tickets picked up that I was a novice train traveller and tried to perk my interest with the fact that travelling by train is a great way to meet people. Leaving one city single and entering another one romantically involved. He told me that the romance factor increases on the train. You're stuck sitting around people you don't know and they can't get away. He referred to all those movies where strangers would meet on a train and get married in the city they arrived in.

Trains going through dark tunnels. There's something to be said about that. As a movie buff I then brought up the fact that people usually get murdered on the train, and usually in that same dark tunnel or at least during the night. From Russia with Love, The Spy who Loved Me, Terror by Night, and even Silver Streak. With the exception of Terror by Night, there's someone getting some by the end of the movie. I guess Sherlok Holmes didn't need the sex with all the cocaine he was doing. George (played by Gene Wilder- Silver Streak) got some probably because he knew how to garden and plant. It's nice to know an ordinary character (not just James Bond) can get the girl in movies. Isn't that what movies are all about?

Once I picked up my tickets the next stop would be the camera store. Specifically to pick up stuff that would help with the shoot. One thing I've noticed while shooting in crowds of people is my camera bag is cumbersome. It's a bit heavy with all the gear but it also gets in the way as I try to squeeze through people. Also it takes time to open it up, grab a lens, should I choose to change lenses, and close the bag again. The solution I was looking at was a belt/harness contraption. You would buy individual pouches for each lens/accessory and hook them on. The main advantage is even weight distribution over the body.

The belt and shoulder straps came to about $100. The pouches were about $20 or more each. As I'm not made of money or could justify spending the money I decided not to get it. If the photoshoot were to pay big bucks or involved running around (literally) then maybe. But for now the camera bag would have to do. Even if it means saying "I'm sorry for hitting you with my camera bag" in french. "pardon moi." I don't know "the camera in the gut/head/or body part"part of the saying.

Sunday, June 12, 2005

The Eaton Centre

The squirting fountain, a piece of the mall that's been there since day one.

After waking up late, I noticed my mosquito bites from being on set at that park on friday. Just on my left leg alone I have counted 33 bites. 33 itchy bites. Oh yes and to answer Amanda's suggestion about Aloe. It does nothing. Or at least nothing to stop the itching that I've noticed. I've tried peppermint as well. That may stop the itching, I'm not really sure. There are so many clumped together it's hard to tell what lump is itching and what lump isn't. At the very least peppermint smells good. I suppose.

After making my way to dim sum, eating dim sum, and saying hi to those that showed up. Michelle and I made our way over to the Eaton Centre to do some clothes shopping. In the mall they had the batmobile on display from the upcoming movie (I think it's coming out this wednesday).

Batmobile displayed in the Eaton Centre

It's incredible how mean it looks compared to the Tim Burton Batman movies, the batmobile with the tail fin that wobbles. This updated version feels more like a tank on wheels. It makes me want to see the movie just to see Batman drive over some baddies and crush other cars. hee hee hee.

Speaking of movies, Shark boy and Lava girl came out friday. A movie which I and several others worked on with no credit in the film (long story). It's getting really bad reviews. That's too bad. I'd like to work on a big budget movie one day that does well in the theatres.

Saturday, June 11, 2005

Morning Commute

Friday morning traffic going eastbound across Toronto.

It's hard to believe people actually travel to and from the city with traffic like this. This picture is shot just before rush hour. It was 6:30am and we were on our way to some park just north of the Toronto Zoo. Total travel time from my bosses house to the park is about 45 minutes. Total travel time from my house to the bosses house is one hour via TTC (our transit system). Total time on set approx 13 hours. Total time getting back home is about a hour and a half.

Almost a quarter of the day is spent travelling. Gads! There are people I know that drive in from Barrie. How do these people do it? At least as a passenger I can sleep, read a book, do the cross words, eat a sandwich or something. It's nice living close to work. (not too close).

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Mosquitos, I hate them

The "nicer" location inhabited by one of the rampant chipmunks.

Tomorrow we're changing locations for shooting on Felicity so that we're in some large wooded area just north of the Toronto Zoo. I was there for a quick location survey for visual effects last week and noticed I was being eaten by a bunch of mosquitos. Not at first mind you. I'm sure I was bitten at least 5 times before I actually noticed one sucking the blood out of my hand and pinched the skin around the bite zone so blood would gush up into the insect making it explode. Take that you! In hindsight I wouldn't suggest doing this as the needle part of the little sucker stayed in my hand as the rest of the body blew up. D'oh.

Once I arrived home I noticed about 14 other bites on various exposed parts of my body. The neck, the arms, even one on the ear. The bites leave behind itchy little lumps that are a major irritant. I wonder if I could buy a bag, box, or container of dragonflys somewhere and release them in the mosquito infested area? Bats would work too but have a bad rep thanks to all those vampire movies. "I vant to suck your blud. Blah."

Not only are there mosquitos, supposedly the area also has poison oak. Wheee! Based on this recent data that I happened to get from the set decorator I decided to drop by mountain equipment co-op and pick up some trousers. (M.E.C. is a local camping, outdoor, clothing and gadget store chain here. - ed)

As an aside, since when did trousers have UV ratings? Yes it's true, my pants have a UPF rating of 45 (excellent protection, blocking 97.5% or higher of those nasty ultra violet rays) and complies with the AS/NZS 4399:1996 thingy. It seems pretty crazy that we even need a rating for clothing. Thanks to our depleating ozone layer. I like how there's a disclaimer saying the pants will not give as much protection when a hole occurs from wearing out. How dumb are people? It's probably put there so americans don't sue the company.

Why the pants you ask? This after all is shop talk about something other than camera, computer, or even entertainment gear. Today was 30 degrees C. Jeans are going to be too hot to wear so I thought I get some light, cool pants. Something to keep the poison oak and mosquitos (hopefully) at bay. Plus, I need new clothes anyway and as it's my least favorite thing to purchase it might as well be now. That 70-200mm lens will just have to wait that much longer on the shelf in the camera store.

Once we're finished shooting in the mosquito hell we head to a nicer part of town where cows roam, sheeps eat grass and chipmunks run rampant all under the watchful eye of a lazy 10 year old dog with arthritis. Woo woo!

Monday, June 06, 2005

Croonin with Carone

Linda Carone performs at Gate403, a bar in the west end

Sunday night. After a low key weekend I decided to drop by gate 403 to see a friend sing. How would I describe Linda you ask? Graphic artist, bra designer, singer, with an infectious laugh would be a good nut shell description.

I originally met Linda about 13 years ago while working at a temp agency back when she was just a graphic designer/bra person. It's only been the last couple of years that I know of that she has been doing the singing thing. You'd think by listening to her that she should've been doing this sort of thing all her life as she can really belt out those tunes.

Her repertoire, at least for this night, consisted of a bunch of standards. Mostly songs about love and relationships. Stuff you could hear Louis Prima, Van Morrison, or Dean Martin sing. She performed three sets over the course of four hours.

Note to self: I'll have to make an effort to see her the next time she sings and have a faster lens.

Sunday, June 05, 2005


An attendee at this years Woofstock.

Woofstock, a event taking place this weekend in the Toronto distillery district. Doggie meals, doggie bowls, doggie brushes, doggie googles, bibs, shirts, leashes, tags, toys. They even had doggie staircases and ramps so the dog could climb up to the couch. It was that time of year again for woofstock. A doggie event where owners with pet could see what's new in doggie technology and meet other dog owners.

Not being a dog owner or even a dog person I blended in by going with Brian and Amanda with Bailey their boxer. Not that anyone stopped me to test my canine knowledge or anything. Most of the owners loved seeing their "Cutie pie" photographed. I must say it was entertaining seeing the different types of dogs and whatever garb the owner might have put them in. I wonder if the dogs feel humiliated? Maybe as revenge on the owner they'll pee on the couch or poo behind the TV when the owner isn't looking.

Saturday, June 04, 2005

Miss Universe: The Earlier Days

Natalie Globova getting her hair done at Andrew Majtenyi's fashion show april 8th.

The press has been showing tons of pictures of Miss Universe recently. As it turns out she was one of the fashion models in the Andrew Majtenyi fashion show a few months ago before she won the Miss Universe title. So to jump on the band wagon (so to speak) here are some pictures from Andrew's show.

Natalie Glebova modelling on the runway

Friday, June 03, 2005

Gads! What day is it?

A robin shot (with a camera) while on a location scout.

This week has come and gone and I've realized that I've been busy working a whole lot. Just in case you find yourself in the same situation but aren't sure here are some helpful hints, much like a hammer to the head, that you've been putting in way too many hours at work.

1. You lose track of days.
2. You lose track of time altogether.
3. You have to calculate how much time is required for you to get enough sleep without falling asleep at work.
4. Friends call you to see what happened to you.
5. Refridgerator is empty.
6. Toilet paper supplies low.
7. Dirty laundry pile increasing in size (not at the normal rate for just being lazy).
8. Clutter builds in your apartment.
9. You find out you're missing life changing events (see Zee's blog).
10. Everyone at work knows you on a first name basis. It's only your second day and there's over fifty people at work.

This week I've been bouncing around working several jobs. On saturday when I got back from St. Catharines (around 10pm) I went to the set of Lucky10 where I performed the task of on set photographer. This lasted until about 8:30am. Tired I went home, slept, then woke up in time to go back and do a pick up shoot from 10pm until 1am.

Monday morning I did the on set visual effects thing at black creek pioneer village. It went from 10am to 9:30pm. Then back to the second set of Lucky10 where I shot more pictures from 11pm to 2am. I forgot my tripod so I had to go back to get it. Resulting in getting home about 4:30am. After about an hour of sleep, I woke up to get into Rocket Science to shoot a foot for the Terry Fox (TV movie) for 8am. Left at 11am to go home to get better sleep. woke up at 5pm to go to the black creek pioneer village to do the visual effects supervisor thing until 11pm.

By this point the days have been more normal. Getting up at 6:30am to be on set by 9am and finishing at 10:30pm to be home by midnight. I am so looking forward to the weekend.