Wednesday, September 29, 2010

street art

From Schmidt & Weston blog

This past year I got myself into the middle of a nasty online debate over the definition of art. It started on my sister in law's facebook site... in fact it was done entirely on her facebook site. She claims it was very entertaining to read, but I still feel pretty guilty about that. The internet is no place for a rational debate about anything.

The whole affair started when person X decided to state that she felt government funding of the arts was offensive. By art, she of course meant the purchase of paintings and sculptures. I think it is an excellent idea to have the Man buy some art now and again, so I disagreed. I then pointed out, because I thought I was being clever, that art wasn't just the Ballet, Opera, paintings in galleries by 'established artists'. Someone, somewhere had to design even this font. A computer didn't form the letters from nothing.

She disagreed with my disagreement and then proceeded to tell me that I didn't understand, and my arguments were not valid because it wasn't relevant to her initial claim that art was a waste of tax payer's money.

I don't like it when my arguments are called invalid. It hurts my feeling (I only have the one right now).

Well, person X has a very limited idea of what art is. And she is wrong.

Art is important.

From Schmidt & Weston blog

Imagine a city with nothing on the walls but beige paint and everyone wearing the same shapeless jumpsuit living and working in ATCO trailers. That is what life with a government that does not value the arts looks like. Such places do exist; I have seen it myself.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

just one cup....

From Schmidt & Weston blog

All I want is one good cup, and just enough to know that one is enough.

When I was 19, I worked at a Smitty's Family Restaurant. It was not a good time. The best day was when Bruce McCulloch sat in a booth I was serving and asked me for coffee.

Monday, September 27, 2010

monday's animal - no. 1

From Schmidt & Weston blog

Most barnacles are hermaphrodites. As if that fact wasn't bad enough, turns out the testicles are located on the back of the head (wherever that is on a barnacle). Having sex turns out to be very difficult when you can't move... at all, ever, except to stick out your tongue for plankton. Barnacles do have long penises though, and that is how that happens.

And even though barnacles have been around since long before humans, humans didn't bother to study barnacles until 1851. Just named them and moved on. I think being ignored is probably the worst part about this sad story.

To re-cap: hermaphrodite, testicles on the back of the head, diet of plankton, an entire adult life stuck in one spot unable to move, ever again, ignored for millennia but you get a long penis.

So stop whining about it being Monday.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

the birds

From Schmidt & Weston blog

How do they never hit each other. Have any of you seen pigeons in a mid-air collision?

Friday, September 24, 2010

this dog I know

There is nothing profound in this video. In fact, nothing really happens at all. Just a half minute of a puppy learning about sounds.

I've heard that the internet is especially fond of videos of naked ladies and cute animals. Perhaps this will please the internet deities and will bring me long lasting fame.

Monday, September 20, 2010

they call him the kid

The kid is not stupid, just innocent and a rookie. He is no longer a rookie, but he is still very afraid of cotton balls and klennex. Many have been tricked into the impossible sit up; The Kid is not the first. However, I cannot explain the tic tac toe incident... it has been a very long time since I've seen an Xs and Os game end in anything but a draw. The ninja on the mountain stuff is entirely my fault. I fed him the coffee that morning and he hadn't had any espresso prior to that day. It may have been his first coffee ever.

Friday, September 17, 2010

the snack I'm eating lately

From Schmidt & Weston blog

I like these because they are cheap and crunchy. They are probably just horrible. But they are packed in Nitrogen for Freshness, and there is an elf sitting under a mushroom. That seems very happy.

Also, they are called Ding Dong Mixed Nuts.

69 cents a pack.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

buvez coca-cola

From Schmidt & Weston blog

In Montréal, they have dépanneurs everywhere. You can get beer there, no problem.

In Vancouver, not so much.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

the cooler - and some profanity

When a firefighter is sent out for the day, they are often sitting somewhere remote, waiting for a fire call. Sometimes that call doesn't come for days.

The lunch cooler then becomes the focal point for the entire workday. It causes arguments, dissent, and anger, usually directed at the rookies who packed it. Senior members of the crew will complain bitterly should anything, even the most seemingly insignificant condiment be forgotten. Not enough bacon and/or cheese is considered a very serious oversight.

I should warn the viewers (slightly too late, I suppose) that there is a heavy amount of profanity in this video, and because I'm not offended by such language when used properly, so I didn't bother to censor any of it. Beeps lack impact.

Swearing has been in the news lately, mostly presented as a sign of unprofessionalism. Clearly, context is everything. I argue that depending on the situation, it may be professional to swear. If you think of a police officer making it abundantly clear for someone not to move... at all; at that point, an expletive can add that needed emphasis. Or, perhaps, when your lunch menu has been tragically usurped by the poor planning of a fellow crew member. The F-word does tend attract attention under nearly any situation. The C-word can stop an entire house party.

The flip side is that one should probably not swear in church, or in an elementary school, or at the front end of a restaurant. Potentially difficult words to explain to those under ten should probably be avoided, most of the time.

But then the question of what is a swear word or not comes up. To some, fart, darn, damn, tabernacle and so forth are swear words. I don't like my vocabulary being tailored to fit someone else's idea of politeness. Rules with no logic tend towards encouraging me to break them.

I'm more offended by the following words and non-words and I hear them every single day, over and over and over again.

like : used instead of um, ah or silence. If you can't use it properly, you shouldn't say it. Choose silence.

literally : you probably never need to use this word. I hear it all the time and generally following a hyperbole thus making it an even more stupid word to use.

moving forward : these two words are just business and new age jargon. Generally, it is meaningless noise that should be replaced with "we should do this now" or "NEXT".

irregardless : not actually a word, regardless of what you might think.

orientated : again, not a word. You are more lost than you know.

i.e. : quit using latin to seem more clever.

I could care less : notice how every time someone says this, they, in fact, care a great deal.

Instead of using those words and phrases, I think we would all be better served to instead use some sort of profanity. At least we would choose our words more carefully.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

modern times have got me down

From Schmidt & Weston blog

I have recently updated my video server. Now you can watch any of the videos I've created on your iPad or iPhone. I don't have one, but after borrowing a friend's today, I can assure you, if the videos don't play for you on the bus while you are blocking the exit... well it's no longer my fault.

One of the other major upgrades is the statistics associated with each of my short little films. As with most numbers, it is not all good news.

After careful review of the statistics pages on my various online, here are some rules of online media.

1. Photos beat text.

2. Photos of naked ladies beat photos of anything else. Quality not important.

3. Videos beat photos.

4. Videos of cute animals doing something funny beat all other footage (except, of course, porno - see rule 2). Again, quality not important.

5. Videos of topless male fire fighters will get noticed by women, despite being taught my entire life that women are above such overt visual stimulation.

6. Short is better than long. (Irony noted. Laugh it up, perverts).

7. Funny is better than sad.

8. Sexy is better than funny, but no one will ever admit to watching it.

9. People will comment and like videos on Facebook, but will tend to balk at commenting or liking on other more trustworthy websites, citing fear of spam as the reason. Oh the irony.

10. Copyright infringement is only a concern for professional filmmakers. It's a free for all for the rest of you. EXPLETIVE YOU! This year's hot theft of intellectual property: Lady Gaga's Poker Face. For shame, librarians - supposed protectors of such things.

11. My illegal spouse/room mate, can do better marketing that I can.

From Schmidt & Weston blog

The hardest lesson from my statistics page is that many of my prospective employers and clients who promised me that they watched my demo reel.... didn't.

My feeling is hurt. That feeling is anger.

It's not so much that I mind that they didn't watch what I made (people are busy, I presume), though it would be polite seeing as I'm putting in a lot of effort in the trying to make my way in the world (which does take everything you got). What really burns is the lying.

But now I know, and knowing is half the battle.

Oh, and the photos... due to rule number 1, I felt it was important to include a couple of pretty pictures to make sure you read through at least half way. They were taken from my special spot I go to when modern times do get me down. I loved trains when I was a little boy, and it turns out I still do.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Sidonglobophobia: the fear of cotton balls

Sometimes, when you're filming something, you get lucky and come across an event that you could never have predicted. I had no part in this prank and only found out when Irving did. I didn't expect to capture a real life example of sidonglobophobia. I had no idea it even existed. This is a real rappel forest fire fighter, one of Alberta's supposed bravest, with a fear of cotton balls.

Feel free to tweet this, link to it, help it go viral. Young Irving really wanted to be famous and I promised him I'd try. I'm fairly sure this isn't what he had in mind.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Eric Fell reading that horrid vampire story

There are these new vampire related movies out. I think something to do with Twilight or some such thing. I'm not likely to ever watch the films because I think Buffy the Vampire Slayer had the last word on the way vampires ought to be portrayed. Vampires should never simply sparkle in the sun... they melt or burn in agony, and sometimes you get to see their skeletons moments before they are gone for good.

Anyhow, this is the full version of Eric Fell, a local actor and soon to be famous, reading part of Stephanie Meyer's craptacular final novel in the Twilight series, Breaking Dawn. This was part of the Say Wha?! evening of rotten writing, created and hosted by Sara Bynoe. It is funny stuff, though I'm not sure Stephanie meant it to be funny. It makes me sad that this stupid little story has turned into fantasy fodder for both young teen girls and middle aged single ladies. Perhaps we can all make millions by appealing to this strange predictable group.

I once witnessed this world first hand when I worked for the CBC for one day as a production assistant. Really, I was a glorified security guard for some guy who nearly won Canadian Idol. I haven't seen his mug since that day, but he seemed pretty nice. I met him in what passed for a collective green room in West Edmonton Mall.

The young girls in the audience scared me. They had been in line since 6 am for a noon time show. I believe the demographic was 9 to 15 year old girls, plus a handful of scary looking single women in their late 40s early 50s. I was harassed by all, including a woman in her 50s who had flown from Montréal that day to see this teenage boy grab his last few minutes of fame. She wanted a private audience with the Canadian Idol loser. (No judgement, he lost... he was the first or second loser).

There is something truly terrifying about teen girls screaming and fussing over one, not so bad but not great, teen heart throb and his bored, embarrassed looking band.

Because I was told to be smiling and helpful to these girls, I got to hear questions such as "did you meet J (don't recall his actual name, but it started with J)?" "Is he pretty?" "Does he masturbate?"

I was shocked by the last question (and I heard it more than once), but continued to smile as if I hadn't heard a geeky looking 14 year old utter such a question to a 30 year old man.

I went home feeling dirty through no fault of my own, and huddled in a corner.

portside pigeons

From Schmidt & Weston blog

Saturday, September 4, 2010

a monkey's puzzle

From Schmidt & Weston blog

A monkey puzzle tree is one of my favourite trees. According my old friend Berkley, monkeys are likely to take over the world. He and I have had various schemes in place for when the revolution comes. Here is a photo of him appeasing a monkey by using all of my gin.

From Schmidt & Weston blog

They went home together, so I think Berkley is going to be okay.

But the rest of us had better start planting monkey puzzle trees in our front yards.

Good luck to you all.

Friday, September 3, 2010

look up no. 5

From Schmidt & Weston blog

I'll explain myself.

I have been posting these photos with the theme of look up without comment (one, two, three, four) because, well because I just like them.

But also, I've noticed that humans tend not to look up very often. I imagine there is some deep anthropological reason for this, but I'm through with reading long text books. Not looking up is sort of odd since there is an awful lot going on above our heads.

Back in the day when I taught people how to fight forest fires (I'm still sort of struck that I actually taught such things) I always ALWAYS made it abundantly clear that looking up was very important. Trees grow up taller, for the most part, than the average person and when they get caught on fire, you can miss something fairly important like flames... a falling tree... a helicopter or airplane about to drop water/retardant mud; all things dangerous. I'm sure my students thought me quite insane, (but that might be due to my habit of teaching from my hammock. It was, after all, government work.) When I was in the field actually doing the fire fighting, my neck would get sore at the end of a day... but nothing smashed my head... ever, making that silly hardhat completely redundant.

Granted, our worlds might not be as dangerous as a forest fire, at least mostly not. But there are still a lot of things going on up there. Some of those things are interesting.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

the city that i live in

Normally I don't post anything here that I didn't have a hand in creating myself. However, I also believe it is important to help out fellow creative folk. So on rare occasions, I'm gonna forgo my little policy and share the love of my small audience with bits of genius of which I am professionally jealous.

There are two different kinds of jealous in my mind; the nasty sort that makes even the most beautiful people suddenly seem ugly, and the professional sort which is motivated by sincere admiration. The sort of feeling you get when you smile at something and ask yourself "why didn't I think of that?"

The above video is just such an example. It was shot by my new online friend Tony Leech. I believe he captured Vancouver just the way I see it in my head... and when I look out my incredibly perfect living room windows.

Despite the reputation for being a no fun city, and even with its latest fascist no smoking anywhere in the city limits rules (slight exaggeration. Vancouverites do seem to like rules.), I really love it here in Vancouver. No French/English divide, like in Montréal, which was charming for the first month and then very disappointing. I'm not sure I understand everyone who told me Montréal was the friendliest city anywhere. It wasn't. Edmonton is friendlier by a factor of 5. Those of you in Montréal who are now defensive, I loved living in Montréal too, but not because it came anywhere close to being friendly.

There are annoyances here and no city will perfectly suit my tastes, but I'm comfortable and seeing as I love the rain, the ocean and mountains, and the ability to find a decent espresso.... this may be as good as it gets.

Please enjoy Tony's video.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

salmon fish and chips

From Schmidt & Weston blog
"L'enfer, c'est les autres" (Hell is other people) - Jean-Paul Sartre

To begin with, I should point out that the above fish and chips tasted delicious. With all the excitement surrounding the return of all the sockeye salmon, I felt it was appropriate to order the salmon fish and chips. I wondered briefly if battering salmon and deep frying it was some sort of culinary sin, and then ignored the thought because I was hungry. Hunger trumps snobbery every time.

Also, I have a weakness for fries.

Go Fish is a popular little shack that sells fish and chips and fish tacos next to False Creek. The food is good, the service is horrible.

I have mixed feelings about the bad service. The 30 minute line up we were in did consist of remarkably stupid people unable to grasp the concept of passing a menu around so that their order can be that much more efficient. It must be hell to work a full shift at the Go Fish shack.

However, seems to me that if you're in the food service business, you gotta learn to treat people nice, even the super stupid. Screeching out names angrily as the orders come up doesn't really make anyone feel good about themselves. If I can manage to remain civil and kind while dealing with unreasonable demands and stupidity in the extreme, surely anyone else can. Just a skill most of us seem to have in modern times.

Much like the soup nazi of Seinfeld fame, the argument could be made that the caliber of the food outweighs the need to be kind. Some part of me appreciates a business with standards applied to the customers. That is the same aspect of my personality that expects cars to stop at red lights, for people to walk on the right, and for escalator users to stay to the right or keep walking up the stairs (it's not a carnival ride). Sometimes, as much as I hate to admit it, and with hell being other people as Sartre so aptly put it, we must have rules. [But those rules had better make sense, or I'm not gonna follow them, and neither should you.]

But the efficiency created by the soup nazi's rules wasn't at all in effect at Go Fish... so I'm probably going to find somewhere else to eat my deliciously unhealthy fish and chips... probably somewhere that I can have a beer while waiting instead of standing, gradually building a slow resentment for humanity.


Thank you for visiting. I live in Vancouver now, but I've lived in other places too. I take photos and make short films about things and people. Please comment and be argumentative. It amuses me.

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