Wednesday, November 30, 2005
Yummy Ganong Chocolate
If Hershey has the great american chocolate bar than Ganong has the great canadian "chicken bone". I won't stop there. This year Ganong introduced the Fruitfull. They're sugar jellies covered in rich dark chocolate. Today the launch of these tasty treats took place at the Sugar Cafe.
Sugar Cafe located at 942 Queen street west
Aptly named, the sugar cafe is a great little resturant with warm lighting and good eats (they provided the finger food). I was lucky enough to be hired to shoot people sampling the chocolate, having a few drinks and having a fun time over all.
Emmanuel Lopez, motivational speaker, makes a grab for the Ganong Fruitfull jellies.
Tuesday, November 29, 2005
Monday, November 28, 2005
Nathan Phillips Square (and the "new" 40 year old City Hall)
As Christmas fast approaches the city, in this case the city of Toronto, has started the Christmas tradition of putting lights up around town. I was walking by City Hall and Nathan Phillips Square looked around and noticed the Blue Christmas tree, the skating rink rights, the lights around the peace garden, and the reindeer above the snack bar.
What's with the lone reindeer?
What's with the reindeer anyways? There's only one. How do you explain that to your kid? Did he get lost? Was he tossed out of the reindeer club? and why was that? Did he bite Santa in the ass? push him off a roof while making a delivery? And why is it every year the city places him over the snack bar?
As a city can we not afford seven more reindeers? Was that single reindeer on sale? Couldn't we have bought a snowman? No one questions a snowman standing alone.
Saturday, November 26, 2005
The I'm with Stupid T-shirt store located at 1300 Queen street west
Celebrating their two year anniversary the T-shirt store had the Tijuana Bibles play live. Considering how many musicians make up the band and the size of the store it was pretty incredible that they all fit. Rock and Roll T-shirts, mexican wrestling masks, fridge magnets, this store has it all.
The store also released a new Tijuana Bibles shirt and hoodie. After buying mine there were only 6 hoodies left.
Tijuana Bibles play in the corner of the store.
Vesna - animator, artist and creator of Foolish Girl.
This morning I woke up early and travelled across, way across, town to help out Vesna assemble her computer. As a reward she took me out to Easy, a resturant with great breakfast type food located on Queen and Roncesvalles. For some reason this description of Easy sounds awfully familiar. I may have wrote about it before in another blog entry (Oh... here it is). That's how good the food is. Worth the trek to the west end for sure.
Friday, November 25, 2005
SFX con flyer
Today I received a flyer in the mail for a Sci-Fi event taking place next september. Yikes! Talk about planning your life in adanvce. Although it would be interesting to see what these actors would have to say to give you your $400 bucks worth. Would they talk about the on set hijinks? That Gene Rodenberry was indeed a god? All the infighting among crew members? How they both miss Deforest Kelly or James Doohan? (that's McCoy and Scotty for all you people not in the know of Star Trek The Original Series - ST:TOS).
To my surprise I didn't just chuck the flyer in the garbage like I did last year with the SFX flyer featuring Elijah Wood. I actually scanned it in to email it to a friend in L.A. who is probably considering flying here to see them.
As for me, there are a lot of camera accessories in the way as well as bills and rent... We'll see.
Thursday, November 24, 2005
The Miss Hooters contest in Toronto
After a second Miss Hooters contest I've discovered that I really like the honey garlic chicken. I think it's the fried crunchy batter. One has to notice the food while waiting for the contest to start. In Brampton tables were packed two hours before the contest. I figured I'd get to the resturant a bit early to get a seat and grab some grub.
Sure enough, by seven o'clock, it was jammed packed, standing room only, with photographers, friends, and fans. The layout of this contest compared to last weeks was a bit better. The stage for one was facing the dining area and the people watching. In Brampton the stage was tiny and for the most part the girls were facing away from the majority of the audience.
Before the show started I met Julie Hinton, a gorgeous gal who just happens to be a model. She was promoting her new calendar. Which, by the way, is available for purchase on her web site www.juliehinton.com. Technically I thought the calendar was nicely shot. Nice lighting. Nice locale. Oh yes and nice model (both in personality and looks).
Julie Hinton and her 2006 Calendar.
It was interesting to see people's reactions at the event. Something I've noticed both during the contest and in life is that women can be pretty cruel to other women. Why is that? Do guys talk about other guys in the same way? When's the last time you heard a guy saying that another guy had fat ankles? or fake body parts?
I suppose bringing up the womens "problem features" would be the equivalent to a guy bringing up the loser factor or intelligence quotient of another guy. "Idiot", "Dumbass", "Lard butt", "Asshole", "Fu@khead" etc. These are guy sayings. Not really nice but not made up. Usually these names given are based on fact. Even if it was a fact that happened long ago.
For example if a guy does something dumb. He's called "stupid", "dullard", "fu@k head" (you get the idea). It could be something that he did a long time ago but it happened at some point. If a women has large breasts other women are the first to identify them as fake even if they are or not. I'm referring to women that are fully clothed or at least where it's not obvious that they may have implants.
In this case women go on gut reactions where as the guy goes on observation. Why is this? In the playgound did the "good looking" girl cause havoc with the balance of power in the sand box? Fast forward a couple of years and now the women are on automatic defensive mode?
I would like to see another women feel another womens breasts before they come to that conclusion or at the very least see them naked. Then again I'm sure other guys would want to see that as well.
I figured I'd write this little entry to see if we get any reaction from the peanut gallery out there. Last weeks entry seemed to be quite the gab generator.
Wednesday, November 23, 2005
Bay Street Video the new location
I just noticed that Bay Street Video has moved to a new location, now inside the mall. For those of you that don't know, Bay Street Video, located just south of Bay and Bloor (west side) is one of the best places to find DVDs. Unlike Blockbuster they have independent and foreign titles as well as the main stream hollywood stuff.
Tuesday, November 22, 2005
Spider sips some Coke-a-Cola on a nearby blind.
The hilight of my day today was to go across the street where they sell those flouresent chicken balls and have the $3.99 special. It was cold. Real cold. Well it didn't help that I was still in T-shirt mode. Once in the restaurant I took a seat next to the window. I glanced out onto the cold, cold street, that's when I noticed this spider (you could say I "spied her" - and yes it's a "her". Notice the front two legs in front of her face are not bulbous).
It was sitting on the blinds. At first I thought it was dead. As it wasn't moving. Then I thought it might have been dehydrated. Spiders pump water around in their bodies to move around. That's how their legs work. I decided to share my drink with it.
Using my fork I flicked a droplet of my coke onto the blind just in front of the spider. The spider crawled toward the droplet and started drinking. This was my chance to shoot it using my extension tubes. A guy at one of the tables behind me was staring at me while I was assembling my gear. When I made eye contact with him he just went back to eating his food face down.
When shooting with extension tubes it's difficult to focus on such small things as your depth of field is so shallow. I was trying to get the spiders eyeballs in focus. I think the depth of field was about one millimeter. Instead of using the focusing ring I found it easier to move the camera back and forth.
After eating my flouresent meal I quickly hurried back to the nice, warm apramtent and didn't step outside again that day.
Monday, November 21, 2005
Amanda Shear in TV watching mode
I was in the neighborhood so I decided to drop by to Amandas place to pick up a compact flash card I lent her. One thing lead to another and the next thing I knew I was stuck in front of her TV set watching a 3D show called Medium. The whole show wasn't in 3D just segments where the main character sees flashbacks of some murder taking place. There was a nice cleaver throw toward the camera that was pretty good. We didn't have any red/blue glasses so we ended up using red and blue gels from my SB-800 speedlight kit. How nerdy are we?
Not having a cable set up or even reception I have not seen any current TV shows in quite a while. So like flies to flicket I was glued to her television. I stayed and watched an episode of CSI: Miami. It was an episode where there's a gang that's motivated by a video game. They kill people, steal cash, and raid the police station because they're bored with the not-so-real console game.
Sitting in front of the television may seem easy but at Amanda's it's quite a lot of work. Especially if her two dogs think you're a walking salt lick. She has a boxer (Clancy) that gets close to you then starts licking the air about five centimeters from your face. It's quite bizzare. It's almost like the dog's licking your Kharma bubble. If such a thing exists. The other dog, is just heavy. Kind of like a giant white sausage with legs and a tongue that wants to be friendly. Amanda kept apologizing for their behaviour. Aside from the face licking, and drenching my sock, and left foot, with dog goob, I thought they were pretty entertaining.
I left with a bunch of dog hair stuck to me, the human lint and hair brush. Not a good day to wear all black. That's the price of watching TV.
Narnia - the Christmas window version
I was walking by the Hudson's Bay Company today and notcied that they have their Christmas windows up. This year it's a recreation of the Narina story. I felt it was a bit of a sell out as Narina is being shoved down everyone throats this year to compete with Harry Potter. I wondered if someone in higher managment was getting some kind of kick back for this.
A family in front of the Bay check out the window displays
I missed the Santa's workshop theme. Elves skating, making snowmen, working in the toy shop, that sort of thing. At least the Bay was attempting to put something in the store windows for kids. There were a few years that went by where they didn't do anything. I wonder if that was a money cost thing or if people just don't go looking at store windows like they used to. Now thinking about it if you're shopping, chances are you're inside the nice warm mall as opposed to the cold outside.
Chalk up another cool thing that this generations kids will miss out on. It's right up there with turning the dial on the TV with a wrench (because the TV dial with it's space age plastic broke off).
Sunday, November 20, 2005
David in his new apartment.
The big event on the agenda today was to help my cousin, Dave, move his stuff into his new apartment. As a person who has had to move in the past, seven times in eight years, and has had a lot of help moving, you kind of feel obligated to helping others move and pass around the moving Karma if there is such a thing.
I imagine that there are still moving "buddies" from my moves that probably wake up in a cold sweat because they had a nightmare that they're stuck under a heavy box of laserdiscs with no one around to help lift it off them. Guys in the gulf war are a bunch of sissy pants compared to the movers of the Move Hell of '03. Although all of them made it back, some didn't come back in one piece. Broken with the loss of innocence going into the move never again will they take moving for granted, the movers before them or the crap that is in a friends apartment.
Thanks to all those that served. Neil Hollands once described one of my moves like the scene with the brooms from the movie Fantasia. The unrelenting line of stuff going from one place to another.
Recently I've actually started going through boxes. The boxes that seem to get transported to the different places but never get opened. "That's where my _____ went!". It's incredible how much stuff one can accumulate over the years. I had boxes of old Apple computer magazines that were being lugged around. When I say Apple I mean Apple as in Apple II. For kids that means pre-Macintosh. Yes there was such a thing. Sheesh.
WARNING trip down memory lane
Back in the day when computer magazines actually had cool stuff in them. Long before "wired" type magazines came out where magazines just made up new jargon and had reviews on software, magazines actually had projects you could do. Programs you could type in with another program to check the program you typed in. Projects where you could use a soldering gun to make speakers, robots, sensor type things. It's all very dumbed down these days.
END of WARNING
So today, with the help of Terry and James, I pitched in to get my cousin to his new place. I believe Dave has set the record for moving. We did the whole move in under two hours. Two trips! Mind you the biggest thing moved was probably his drum kit.
Saturday, November 19, 2005
The stuff they broadcast these days
While waiting for Ingrid to show up at Darryl's place we were channel flipping to land halfway into this new s story. Not really knowing what they were talking about our eyes went to the big text banner on the bottom. With all the networks being very careful as to what gets aired it's interesting to see some of the things that slip through. And although Bevis and Butthead would get a kick out of this so did we.
Friday, November 18, 2005
Fiona Smyth stands next to "the Last Elephant"
Fiona's work is on display at the Spin gallery for a few more days. As a bonus the Leather Uppers made a special guest apperance/performace. Not seeing her current work prior to tonight I was drawn to a creepy teddy bear like drawing she had in a bunch of different pieces of work.
The Leather Uppers - Greg and Craig
Local D.J, Serge Cassano, checks out Fiona's art work.
Note: The creepy but hypnotic Teddy Bear.
My eye stylized using Photo Booth.
While waiting for my cousin at Carbon Computing on Queen street I started playing with a Mac that had a web cam built in. There's a program called photo booth. Although nothing new to the PC, photo booth allows the user to see what the camera sees and when a button is clicked does a three second countdown till it takes your picture. The neat thing is that photo booth has a bunch of real time effects that you can choose from. From warps, glow, and cartoon filters it's a very addictive little piece of software. Well it kept me entertained for about 20 minutes.
Thursday, November 17, 2005
Laura competes for the title Hooters Girl of Brampton
As a Torontonian the idea of travelling to Brampton seems pretty tiring, and labour intensive. Even with the GO train and the relatively short 45 minute trip you have to ask the question "Why does one even go to Brampton?". Perhaps you have family. Maybe you're bored and want to visit a smallish city. Maybe you just like the GO train and bus trips (which are about $6 each way). It could be to see girls in swimwear competing for the miss Hooters Brampton title and a possible trip to Costa Rica (sorry cupcake no college fund). It beats sitting on the couch at home reading about camera equipment in dim lighting.
The Miss Hooters Brampton contest packed the resturant with a mob of guys (and gals) on this cold thursday winter night. The temperature seems a lot colder in the "burbs" than in downtown Toronto. Maybe it's because it's just a strange new environment. Laura, a Brampton favorite and Wednesday's Sunshine girl, did not win the miss Hooters title but did rank in the top three. It was a crushing blow to her fans. Well, maybe next year.
Wednesday, November 16, 2005
Tuesday, November 15, 2005
Smarties - the Canadian version
I was going through my VIA train luggage (bag) and taking all the stuff out that was in it from my Montreal trip. I required the luggage to move some photo equipment. Since the bag had wheels I just figured it would be easier than lugging it around on my shoulder. I found some papers and a unopened box of "Canadian" smarties. As pictured above they were all red and white. The white ones had a maple leaf on most of them. They have the same smartie taste.
For those of you not born in North America, here's the smarties jingle (which has been brain washed into my mind from watching lots of TV as a kid)...
When you eat you smarties do you eat the red ones last?
Do you suck them very slowly or crunch them really fast
Eat that candy coated chocolate but tell me when I ask...
When you eat you smarties do you eat the red ones last?
Monday, November 14, 2005
Five floors of fun filled reading
As it's starting to get really dark thanks to mister winter coming to Toronto, my apartment gets pretty dark. So much so that I have to turn on lights in order to read any books. I'm not sure what it is but I have found that if I read under tungston or fluoresent lighting I tend to fall asleep. I decided to go outside to somewhere with natural lighting. My first stop was a resturant just down the street from me. It's a hole in the wall. What attracted me to the place was a poster with cheap food on it. One of the dishes being the fluoresent orange chicken balls with fried rice.
The chicken ball, fried rice dish for only $3.99.
Outside I thought the resturant was just a take out counter. It seemed pretty small. Just a window and a door. Inside there's a rather large room with tables, chairs, and a outdoor patio. It was like finding Brigadoon or wandering into a Tardis. For such a neglected neighborhood this place was quite the oddity. I sat, ate and read for about an hour then decided I should move on to the next reading place.
The metro library is a rather large building with a lot of space and it seems (at least today) that there really weren't that many places to sit. Most seats were taken by students. I ended up sitting on the fifth floor under the windows in a corner. Unlike most Toronto libraries I've been to this one doesn't smell like books decomposing. Which is why I made the journey to the central location downtown.
The the last day or so I've been trying to get through this book I purchased a while ago on corrective lighting. It tells the secerets of how to light someone with "problem areas". Be it flab, reflection in glasses, or a big nose, this book explains how to put less attention on the subject by changing the position of the subject or changing the lighting. So far it's an interesting read.
Sunday, November 13, 2005
Tiny beady eyes pop out from under the water...
Today I was originally supposed to do a photo shoot. My client cancelled due to having to attend a funeral of a friend being shot to death. Another product of gang violence. What is wrong with this world? I appreciated the heads up when he called me a few days ago to cancel it allowed me to sleep in a bit more.
After going for the weekly dim sum consumption I randomly choose to go to the zoo. Why? I don't really know but if I could guess it might have something to do with taking pictures. Since High Park has been frequented quite a bit lately I decided to go somewhere I hadn't been in a while. Somewhere where there were animals a plenty.
3 and under FREE
Children 4-12 $11.00
General 13-64 $19.00
Seniors 65 and up $13
The prices seemed a bit steep but that's inflation for you. Almost twice as much as going to a movie and a lot farther to travel but it's good exercise. Walking up and down hills, weaving in and out of screaming, crying kids and their parental units. Actually it was a lot of fun. Below are photos of some of the animals I saw. With each photo there's a small blurb saying where it is located in the zoo.
Yikes! It's a "false gharial" located in the Indo-Malaya Pavilion
The Cougar located in the Canadian Domain
A chameleon located in the African Rainforest Pavilion
South African Osterich located in the African Savanna
Grevy's Zebra also located in the African Savanna
Peacock located near Harvey's and the Pizza Pizza snack bar
Out of all the animals at the zoo the peacock is probably the smartest. Located right next to the food court it can usually get scraps of food from wide eyed kids and adults alike.
Arctic Wolves located in the Canadian Domain
Northern Bald Eagle also located in the Canadian Domain
Saturday, November 12, 2005
A Twisted Christmas Carol at the Bad Dog Theatre
I had a photo assignment at 8pm to shoot some stills for the Bad Dog Theatre's Christmas show, "A Twisted Christmas Carol". It stars the funny and talented Sean Browning, Jan Caruana, Jason Gemmill, Kerry Griffin, Dave Healey, Ralph MacLeod, Dave Pearce, Jenine Profeta, Marcel St. Pierre, Barry Wilson, and also includes Toronto's own Jane Luk.
Feel free to check it out. It's playing every saturday until Christmas.
click here for more details.
A van that seems normal at first...
...until you get a closer look (double click picture to zoom in).
Was wandering around queen street and happened to see this van with a guy sitting in it. The thing that made it odd was that there was a crap load of plastic toys glued to the inside of the van and the van was covered in pennies. One wonders why someone would do this to their van.
As I approached the van. I noticed tiny type in the rear window that read...
Hommage to Canada
This car is for the next generation
A brain started reeling with bad images. For starters I could imagine a kid asking his dad, "Can I borrow the penny mobile tonight?". A penny found is good luck. Getting run over by a bunch of them is not. Makes cents. Anyone else want to add their two cents?
Friday, November 11, 2005
Jet (Guitar/vocals) and Sadie (vocals) of the Threat.
I put off an appointment to see an editor about photography rates and canceled dinner with cupcake in order to go to Niagara Falls to film the skylon tower from a helicopter. As it turns out I found out at the last minute the trip to Niagara Falls was cancelled. This left me with a big gap in my "busy" schedule leaving me with not a lot to do. I suppose I could have gone over to see what's new at Monster Records but instead I ended up burning the pictures taken last halloween on to CD and travelling across town to deliver them to Craig's mail box.
While executing this made to order task I ran into Sadie (aka Sarah), singer, trumpet/piano player of the Threat and the Tijuana Bibles. The same Tijuana Bibles band that Craig was/is in. I found out through Sarah that the Threat was playing later on that evening at the Silver Dollar. Voila. Evening plans.
The Silver Dollar, for those of you that haven't been there or were too drunk to remember, is rather narrow as the front of the stage and the bar are quite close to one another. Off to the sides of the stage there are seats and tables which is great for listening to the bands play but not not good to see the bands head on. Also due to the close proximity of the bar a lot of people gather in the area in front of the stage. It makes maneuvering around a bit difficult when taking pictures.
Despite the crowd I managed to get some good shots of the band while at the same time meeting some girls at the bar. While it's not in my nature to take advantage of drunk girls, it is in my nature to take pictures of them. Especially if they ask me to take their picture while showing me their underwear. What am I going to say, "No"?
"Fish net stockings and panties - a nice combo"
Thursday, November 10, 2005
Nikon Canada - 1366 Aerowood road, Mississauga
My day actually was planned from the night before. On the web I read that Nikon was recalling a bunch of batteries (for the D70, D70s, D100) due to a number of them melting on the charger. Yikes! I went to the Nikon Canada site to see if any of my two batteries were listed with a defective lot number. (click here for the battery recall list on the nikon USA site)
It took me a while to actually find where the lot number was located. Turns out the four digit lot number was in black ink on black plastic so it was a bit hard to see under low light conditions. See picture below.
Where to find your battery lot number.
Once I found out that the battery was considered bad I made up my mind to go to Nikon the next day. For those that aren't aware, Nikon is located in one of the most inconvenient places for someone that doesn't own a car. It's near the airport, on the side furthest away from the city of Toronto (in mississauga). Trying to be money conscious I decided to take the subway to the end of the line, Kipling station, then take a cab from the station to Nikon. The cab ride cost me $27 and took about 20 minutes in total.
Once at Nikon the exchanging of the battery was pretty quick and painless. I had to fill out a tiny form saying that I owned a bad battery and I received a good one in exchange. The total procedure took about 10 minutes at most. I got some parts to replace the lost ones for my SB-800 and asked about their Nikon professional services program. After piling up on brochures I left thinking I didn't want to spend another $27 to get back to Kipling station.
weird blue clouds
I decided to be cheap and walk back. Upon leaving the building I noticed it was cold. At least colder than when I walked into Nikon. The sky had a weird blue cloud layer. The same color as frozen ice in those antarctic documentaries. Minutes later I would be pelted by small pea sized pieces of hail. That didn't really annoy me, only the fact that winter is suddenly upon us. What did annoy me was that I was walking on the wrong side of the street. It was the down wind side. Being on a street that had a lot of trucks with diesel exhaust spewing out of them I started hacking to the point where I wanted to vommit. Feeling a tad sick I took refuge in a Wendy's along the way.
After eating a burger, some fries, and a lemonade, I set back out to walk down Dixie towards Bloor, and towards Toronto. It's funny, on the map everything seems kind of close. I only had to walk two and a half pages. It took about two and a half hours to finally stumble into the city limits. I could have taken mississauga transit but decided while trodding along, "No. I going to save money dammit". It wasn't like I had anything to do for a few hours anyway.
Toronto City Limits - yea!
Once inside city limits, notice it's dark, it only took another half hour to get to a TTC bus stop. Next time I think it would be easier to just bike all the way there and back.
Wednesday, November 09, 2005
Tuesday, November 08, 2005
Hot off the press - photos !
Something that never occured to me while printing photos is that they stick to one another, at least while using an epson printer. I'm sure other printers have the same problem. It's interesting that they don't have driers made by third party companies. I suppose you could have a clothes line and peg the drying photos to it. It would be like being in the darkroom again. As an aside there is a Kodak printer that has a blow dryer built in so the photos come out dry.
The first time I used my epson I thought I was being smart by putting ten photos in a queue so they'd be done when I got back from wandering off to do something else. When I got back they were finished printing. They were also all stuck together. What a horrible waste of ink and photo paper.
For the last day or so, which is why there's no blog entry for monday, I've been hiding in my apartment printing off some of the photos I've taken in the last few years. Another problem with shooting digital is you don't always get prints made of the photos you take. So sooner or later when you actually want prints you have to spend a bunch of time going through all the crappy, poor, maybe not-so-good ones all the while you're reminiscing, which takes up more time, while trying to get to the great photos.
So why this and why now? The reason is too fatten up the old photo portfolio before I go pushing it to various companies. I'm trying to dig up enough miscellaneous photos so I can break it down into smaller more customized packages geared to whatever company I'm applying to. Sounds simple enough. The stars must be in some kind of alignment as I'm usually not this motivated.
I've also been working on some 3D graphics for a friend. So while the computer renders the 3D images, I'm using the computer's extra processing power to scan through the library of photos and send them to the printer. Only this time I'm there to pick up the photo once it's printed and put it on the fridge. What better use for all those fridge magnets? I knew I was collecting them for something.
Sunday, November 06, 2005
Darryl looks down on the "ant" people
I had to retrieve my firewire drive from Darryl today so while in the neighborhood we decided to go for dim sum at the Sky Dragon resturant located on the corner of Dundas and Spadina. From there you can see the busy intersection from a balcony just outside the third, maybe forth, floor resturant.
Grange Park revisited
Last night and maybe even this morning there was rain and wind. Lots of it. I wondered if the leaves would be on the trees from yesterday. When I got to Grange Park I noticed that the leaves were blown off the tops of most of the trees (hence the tight crop so as to minimize the number of gaps).