Wednesday, December 29, 2010


From Schmidt & Weston blog

You should always make new years resolutions that are achievable.

I resolve to eat more snacks.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas is very Near

Dear loyal and precious blog readers,

It took until today, christmas eve, for me to get my christmas cheer levels up to scratch. Suddenly all the carols have purpose other than to further my resolve to never be without my little ipod head phones firmly planted to my ear holes.

Mark Near, who you should know from this recent post, is a good friend of mine. We met a few years ago when I was still a forest fire fighter. I was told that I had to meet him and Rob Philips (Far) that we would get along immediately.

They are the closest I've come to meeting a real life Bob and Doug Mckenzie. And that is why I interviewed the pair of them.

One of my favourite stories about Near (I have never called him Mark... always Near) is when his crew was sent to Ontario to fight a forest fire one summer. Near had grabbed a pair of rubber chainsaw boots before leaving Alberta and was all set, he thought.

Sadly, he had been far too excited about the promised overtime and adventure and had grabbed two left (or right) boots. This would have stopped most people in their tracks and forced most of us to admit to making a mistake that had to be dealt with.

Not Near.

With his roommate unable to leave the room due to laughter, Near somehow managed, in a panic, to get a left boot on his right foot. If that wasn't enough, he also managed to walk as normally as he could (I imagine him walking in one large circle) to the morning briefing and tried to play it straight as if nothing was amiss.

Eventually his prominent limp caused management to take notice of this one fire fighter who was not like the others.

It is that kind of optimistic problem solving that brings a smile to even the most cynical.

Mark Near contacted me through the evil that is facebook and let me know that he was building a christmas album. I generally avoid such things relying on the radio to give me all the christmas music I need for the pair of days I can tolerate it. But this album I had to have despite the obvious copyright infringement. Only paranoid filmmakers and litigation lawyers worry about such things anyway.

I promised to review the album for Near, as the man deserves to be famous.

The music is all karaoke versions of christmas carols... but being Near, it is the preamble that brings the carols a fresh new sound. The over-enthusiasm often means that he is off key or completely off beat, sometimes very far off beat.

This is actually not as much of a problem as you might imagine. He clearly loves these carols, especially the Little Drummer Boy, and his christmas cheer levels are exceedingly high. I laughed and cried and thanked various deities that I can call Near a close friend. I will always share my scotch with this man. To rarely take oneself seriously is an especially fine quality in a friend.

I'm not sure how many of these home albums Near made, but Christmas is Near deserves to be an instant classic.

As my gift to all of you who clicked on a link, or googled the word Sidonglobophobia, or considered hiring me and instead found this blog and then possibly changed your mind, here is Mark Near singing Silent Night as you've likely never heard it. I adjusted the levels of the music so it doesn't blow out your computer speakers... added some rare photos of Near when he decided to get a perm (I strongly supported this decision) and some snow flakes... which are all artificial and lovingly rendered with 6 hours of computer time, as each flake is carefully and individually created by this computer because there is no snow in Vancouver.

Enjoy and a very Merry Christmas to you all....

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Saturday, December 11, 2010

my squirrel army

From Schmidt & Weston blog

I'm slowly training an army of squirrels to do my bidding in my quiet neighbourhood. So far, I have no recruits, but I remain optimistic that they will come around.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

stupid graphics

From Schmidt & Weston blog

The above photo is an example of poor policy. There is probably a rule that says that all safety equipment must be labelled. The problem is that a lifebuoy is its own label, no sign required. The only thing the sign does is bring our attention to where a lifebuoy should be when it is absent, which I think we can all agree is somewhat useless information to the drowning folk.

I took graphic design classes and simplicity was always one of the primary goals. The other goal was getting paid. So I would never refuse a request to build a stupid sign, especially for a juicy government contract.

Please send me your requests for stupid graphics. My rates are directly proportional to the level of stupidity involved.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Krav Maga

From Schmidt & Weston blog

Krav Maga is an Israeli self defence system which was initially created to fight Nazis. No one has bothered to start a fight with me since junior high and there are no Nazis in my neighbourhood. I started about a year ago because I was bored and getting fatter sitting in front of my editing station.

I once cut together a short film about a Haitian boxer in Montréal. I'm quite proud of this short piece which eventually led to a full length documentary film. I regret not being a part of the final production, but such is life. The producer kept promising to put me in the ring with Dierry, which I found exciting and frightening. It never happened, which is probably a good thing; concussions don't really appeal to me at all and I getting really moody when I have a headache.

However, the experience of editing that bit of video and the producer's taunts did capture my imagination. Turns out that I really do like punching and kicking.

From Schmidt & Weston blog

This is the first time I've taken photos at the gym because usually I'm too sweaty and focused on avoiding punches to the head to get out my camera. Of the dozen photos, these two were the most in focus shots that I had. Turns out that Krav Maga involves so much speed that my lens couldn't quite stop the action the way I intended. I'll try again next time.

Friday, December 3, 2010

let's all go to the movies

From Schmidt & Weston blog

This broken theatre is 98 years old, the same age as the apartment we lived in in Montréal.

It was built in 1912 and named the Alcazar, then re-named the York in 1941, and finally the Raja. Although I'm quite pleased that it will be saved and not torn down, I have to admit that I have a real affinity for buildings that, in the words of my 4 year old self, have "had the biscuit."

Abandoned buildings are far more interesting to look at. They beg to be explored and only the threat of being caught and the fear of imagined ghosts keep me from busting in.

This photo also reminds me that I haven't gone to a film in a theatre in a very long time.


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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