Saturday, January 31, 2009

Movie Review: Let the right one in

Tonight I saw the Swedish drama/horror/love story/pain of adolescence/coming of age/vampire flick, "Let the right one in".

The genre of this film is generally hard to classify. It ranges from some pretty gross horror moments to some absolutely tender and powerfully moving sections of tender boyhood girl-next-door first love kindof feelings. It was really awesome.

It's not without a few faults, some pretty intense scenes and some very strong archetypes, but the general theme of the movie is very passionate despite covering a wide range of genres and topics.

The acting from the two young actors is just amazing, and laced with so many complex feelings and emotions - of confusion, of first love, of growing up and attacking (literally) your problems. The loneliness and need for friendship, companionship, love and mutual understanding between the two young kids is heartbreaking. There are some interesting moments where the young boy feels comfortable telling the young girl the truth about the bullies at his school - things he won't even tell his own parents. He confides in her and in turn, she confides in him. It's a very cute and powerful story, which acts as a great canvas to have some exciting action scenes, too!

What a great movie!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

A response to "David Mamet on Anti-Semitism, Self Hatred and the Jews"

This evening I went to a lecture at the JCCSF where legendary playwright David Mamet was in conversation with renowned scholar and Professor of Jewish Spirituality, Rabbi Lawrence Kushner.

David Mamet has written some amazing screenplays over many years, including Glengarry Glen Ross, The Untouchables and Wag the Dog. Tonight, David Mamet commented on several ideas and themes he discusses in a recent non-fiction book of his, entitled "The Wicked Son", which is a commentary on Anti-Semitism, and Self Hatred within modern Jewish culture.

It was a very interesting discussion and very thought-provoking, but I found that I enjoyed the responses from David Mamet much less than some of the speakers at other lectures I have been to at the JCCSF recently. This had nothing to do with the serious nature of the conversation or the topic at hand - for instance, I thoroughly enjoyed a lecture by Daniel Goldhagen last year which focused primarily on the general lack of response from ordinary German citizens during the Holocaust - clearly not a lightweight subject, nor lacking in intensity or the potential to offend and provoke the audience.

What I took issue with was that David Mamet seems to approach issues (and perhaps the world in general) as "black or white", "yes or no" - a phrase he used repeatedly was "you're in or you're out". He took an incredibly one-sided viewpoint to some serious issues (the current war in Gaza) and even the idea of going to Synagogue or even being a serious Jew. "You're in or you're out, it's as simple as that", he said several times.

The other issue I had was that Rabbi Kusher's questions were vastly different in tone (and what I see as thoughtfulness) than David Mamet's responses. Rabbi Kushner clearly described his question in a very deep and what you might call "Professorial" way: the history of the situation, the reasons for asking a question, how one might answer such a question... this being a particularly common way for a Rabbi to ask a question. :) For example: "Let me pose you this question, but considering the comments from Rashi on this matter... and the nature of the human spirit... and the current economic climate... and the election of the first African-American President... so, what do you think about the original question and how it relates to modern American 20-somethings?" :)

Anyhow, I found the breadth of Rabbi Kushner's questions, and the questions from the audience were met with a very terse, very quick, sometimes even 1-word answer from David Mamet. A shrug of the shoulders, a "I don't know", or a quick "Well, I know it must be this way"-style answer without much verbosity, explanation or follow-up. I found that he spoke so much of the importance of Jewish culture and thought, though he failed to elaborate on many of the issues on which he spoke with so much passion. This was a bit unfortunate. I found I enjoyed Rabbi Kushner's questions more often than I appreciated David Mamet's response. Sometimes his response was very interesting, but there were too many times where it was almost forced upon the audience without much follow-up. I'd say for a JCC in San Francisco, and to an audience of sophisticated, educated professionals, you'd err on the side of verbosity rather than the opposite.

David Mamet's responses were very strong, and (almost by necessity) this made his opinions very one-sided. I think this was very interesting, and it is obviously quite amazing to get to hear directly the opinions of such an acclaimed writer and screenwriter. I think, rather than these responses being necessarily negative, I found they made me uncomfortable rather than necessarily keen to disagree with the actual topic. Since I'm from Canada and am living in America as a sort of "outsider", I think I see things with a different flavour... in Canada I'd say it's a golden rule that it's better to agree (or at least quietly and politely listen to someone else's opinion) than to be disagreeable. In the USA, I've run into many occasions where this lack of "unwavering stance" on topics is viewed as weakness, rather than an intentional aim for consensus. I think these kinds of strong-willed ideals - "pick a side" or "you must have a strong opinion on this issue" - are quintessentially American. This kind of attitude is often viewed as strength of character, and a testament of the will and energy and courage of a people. Those traits are certainly admirable, that is for certain. But what I think David Mamet fails to realize, is something that America should be wary of as well - the world is not always that simple. It's not always black and white, and there are more thorough and deep discussions needed to uncover the kernel of an idea. In terms of discussing war, it's not so black and white - small idiosyncrasies of culture need to be taken into account when discussing such an issue. I think he realized that, but I was concerned that on some of the issues he discussed, he seemed to paint a very black-and-white portrait of the situation. In reality, I don't expect that portrait would hold up.

I suppose it makes a lot of sense that in America you have strong-willed personalities like David Mamet. In a way, he is in good company with the polarized nature of the American public. George Bush said it himself in his quote, "You're either with us or you're against us." Election maps in general (although less this year, thanks to the inspirational and passionate efforts of Barack Obama) show a stark difference in opinion in this country - You're a Red state or a Blue state. You're for the Texas Longhorns or you're for the Aggies. You're a Republican or a Democrat. As Sarah Palin so casually blathered, You're either from the REAL America, the "Pro-America parts of the country" or you're from one of those Anti-American parts. To this Obama responded that ALL of America is (obviously) Pro-America. These rivalries are fun for college football, but when taken to the stage of the whole country (or worse, to the world stage), I find these arguments break down. When you look at the electoral map, you see it covered in red and blue states. What you don't get shown very often is that really, nearly every single state is some shade of purple... it takes only 1% extra votes to "turn" a state red or blue. When you think about this, in true reality, nearly all of the country, and all of the states are split right down the middle, republican or democrat. Within states, within regions, within households, even within 1 single person, you have different counterbalanced opinions. I don't believe that the world can be so black-and-white. Humanity is much more complex than that.

I think we reduce ourselves to a lower plane of thought when we view the world through such a polarized lens. To achieve co-operation, to achieve such mighty goals as peace in the Middle East... it comes down to mutual respect, and the willingness of both sides to reach a meaningful and honourable consensus. America the fierce and America the mighty is already showing signs of this kind of thought - Barack Obama today staged a truly valiant effort to reach out to the Muslim and Arabic communities through an interview on an Arabic TV network. His discussion of the need for diplomacy is amazing, mentioning how Iran will find that "America has an extended hand if they are willing to unclench their fist." I think Obama's approach will ultimately be much more human than the approach of the Bush administration, and ultimately I hope (and think) that this will be much more successful. Marjane Satrapi, the Iranian-French author and director of the film "Persepolis" told the audience at the JCC last year that if you look at your enemy as pure evil, if you demonize an entire people, then you will never find the common ground or common decencies that are bound to exist. I believe, and I think Barack Obama feels the same way, that this common ground is our best bet on an aim for world peace.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Target, BMW ZipCars, Saving, Taxes, Comic Books, Trader Joes, Travel

As you can see from the title, I've got a ton of stuff on my mind today.

I got up today and yapped with the family for a bit, then headed off to Target to get some necessities. In true "stop spending so much money on restaurants"-style, I bought a toasted sandwich maker, a cheese slicer, and some other useful house-related stuff.

To balance this, in a non-frugal style, I rented a BMW ZipCar today!! It was sweet. It was actually the only spare one from the rental location I was booking from, so I didn't have any cheaper options. Still in the grand scheme of things, having a ZipCar is so insanely cheap compared to actually owning a car... but... man that $14/hour sure is nuts! And, of course by "nuts", I actually mean "insanely cheap and awesome". I love ZipCar.

I also noticed Trader Joes while driving around the city today and figured I needed to pick up some groceries... did I ever! Turns out they still have totally amazing stuff there, and I really miss shopping at a decent grocery store like TJ's where you get awesome food, good quality, interesting/unusual stuff, and it doesn't cost 100 bazillion dollah-dollah billz, y'all. I think I am gonna start going there rather than the usual (Safeway) cause it's really a lot more interesting and better for the kind of food I get. I got some great fresh mozarella, fresh basil and fancy tomatoes to make caprese salad, and it was all super cheap. They have brie there that's like half the price of my neighbourhood grocery store. It's nuts. Also I got some interesting Indian stir fry sauces so I can try making some curry myself rather than ordering all the time. I have a rice cooker now too, and just opened it to realize that there is a steamer included in it, which is cool. Maybe I can make those freakin' tasty dumplings like they had in Waterloo?!!

So along with the better food preparation at home comes some of the other goals I am aiming for. I am saving a lot cause I'm going to get the new Canon SLR whenever it comes out, presumably it's called the Canon Rebel TSi or something like that, and articles online say it has 720p video like the Nikon D90 which would be SWEET. I want to stick with Canon, so hopefully they release this camera soon so I can get it and start practicing before all the trips coming up! I want to get practicing and also enrol in a camera course so I can learn a whole bunch and become somewhat reasonable so I can take some nice photos on some upcoming trips. Hopefully I'll get to go to Siggraph in New Orleans in August which would be AMAZING!!!!!! Then in October my best friend Matt is getting married back in Canada, so I am gonna head back to Canada for the wedding. It would be nice to take some good photos at the wedding. And then in December/January I am starting to get the ball rolling for a trip to Japan and South Korea! So of course I want to be a good photographer by then, too!

Tax season is coming up! Why am I excited? I don't know. This will be the first year I've had a full-time job for the whole 12-months of a year. In the past when I've gotten huge tax returns back, it's usually because I've been going to school at the same time as earning just a small amount, and paying most of it to tuition. So I guess it would be totally amazing to get a decent return back this year, but I'm not expecting anything major. If it's a few hundred bucks though, that would still be sweet (and I'll put it right into my savings account towards my Japan trip) :)

Hmm what else. I've started reading The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay by Michael Chabon, which I think is sortof about the origins of the Comic Book industry in the US. Pretty cool. I think it's gonna be amazing, I just gotta keep at it. In the past I haven't been very good at reading often (possibly due to my over-indulgences in computer-land), so I'm doing my best to rock that out more often.

Well that's what's going on lately. Work is AMAZING, lots of cool and exciting stuff going on as usual!

Ok a few more things... new Dave Matthews Band CD in April! I can't wait. Also looks like there is a book called The Art of Pixar Short Films coming out next month, guess I'd better make sure to get that. Oscar Nominations were amazing and psyched to see Wall-E and Iron Man on the list of nominees.

Movies I want to see at the moment:
  • Slumdog Millionaire
  • Bolt
  • Milk
  • The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
  • The Year My Parents Went On Vacation
  • Happy-Go-Lucky

Friday, January 23, 2009

LG Watch Phone - Dick Tracy style

This is sooooooooo cool.

When this thing has hi-speed, affordable video conferencing over 3G Skype... I'm buying one.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Congrats to ILM and Pixar on the OSCAR Nominations!

Today the OSCAR Nominations came out, and Iron Man got 2 nominations, and Wall-E got 6!

The Nominations are:

Iron Man
  • Achievement in Sound Editing
  • Achievement in Visual Effects

  • Best Animated Feature Film of the Year
  • Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures (Original Score)
  • Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures (Original Song)
  • Achievement in Sound Editing
  • Achievement in Sound Mixing
  • Original Screenplay
Congrats to my colleagues at ILM for an AMAZING job on Iron Man!!!! It was some truly amazing 3D work, I could have bet a million bucks that Iron Man's suit was real in some of those shots. :) Amazing work, and congrats!

And for Wall-E... this is awesome. 6 nominations is pretty darn amazing, and the musical score and sound effects add so much to such an amazing story, that it was really nice to see that it all got nominations. :) It was a dream come true to work on such an amazing film, and my most sincere congratulations to my friends still at Pixar and to the hardworking crew of Wall-E. 6 nominations?!?!??!! This is unbelievable!!

Feb 22nd is the Oscars and I'm really looking forward to it. But what a great success already and it's clear how big of a splash these movies made in 2008. Rock on!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009 website is amazing!!

Whoooooa, it looks like the White House website has been Obama-fied!! "Weekly Video Updates from the President, every Saturday"?!?!?!??!?!?!?!??!!?

This is AMAZING.

Never expected I'd be a frequent visitor to THAT web address. Well, "change has come to Washington", as America's NEW PRESIDENT would say! I am absolutely blown away by the kind of openness and direct correspondence with the people that Obama is aiming for. was an amazing site over the campaign, and if they can maintain that kind of readership and interest in the government... wow. That would be huge!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Beyonce sings "At Last" for Presidential "first dance"

If this ain't true romance, I don't know what is. :)

Barack and Michelle Obama's "First Dance" at the Neighborhood Ball

Obama St signs replace Bush St signs in San Francisco

This is hilarious. Someone went to the trouble of creating the exact same street sign font and making labels to stick on the Bush St. signs here in San Francisco. The funniest is that when a street comes to an end, the signs in San Francisco say "End" on them... so someone replaced these signs from "End Bush" (the end of Bush St.) to "Begin Obama" :) Hilarious. (Feel bad for the photo I saw of city workers having to take all of these stickers down, though)

The original street signs

The modified street signs

Obama's Inaugural Speech - text in full

What a moment this was today, the swearing in of the first African American President of the United States. A brilliant example for the world, and a historical triumph. A moment to remember! Here is Barack Obama's speech from today in full.

My fellow citizens:

I stand here today humbled by the task before us, grateful for the trust you have bestowed, mindful of the sacrifices borne by our ancestors. I thank President Bush for his service to our nation, as well as the generosity and cooperation he has shown throughout this transition.

Forty-four Americans have now taken the presidential oath. The words have been spoken during rising tides of prosperity and the still waters of peace. Yet, every so often the oath is taken amidst gathering clouds and raging storms. At these moments, America has carried on not simply because of the skill or vision of those in high office, but because We the People have remained faithful to the ideals of our forbearers, and true to our founding documents.

So it has been. So it must be with this generation of Americans.

That we are in the midst of crisis is now well understood. Our nation is at war, against a far-reaching network of violence and hatred. Our economy is badly weakened, a consequence of greed and irresponsibility on the part of some, but also our collective failure to make hard choices and prepare the nation for a new age. Homes have been lost; jobs shed; businesses shuttered. Our health care is too costly; our schools fail too many; and each day brings further evidence that the ways we use energy strengthen our adversaries and threaten our planet.

These are the indicators of crisis, subject to data and statistics. Less measurable but no less profound is a sapping of confidence across our land — a nagging fear that America's decline is inevitable, and that the next generation must lower its sights.

Today I say to you that the challenges we face are real. They are serious and they are many. They will not be met easily or in a short span of time. But know this, America — they will be met.

On this day, we gather because we have chosen hope over fear, unity of purpose over conflict and discord.

On this day, we come to proclaim an end to the petty grievances and false promises, the recriminations and worn out dogmas, that for far too long have strangled our politics.

We remain a young nation, but in the words of Scripture, the time has come to set aside childish things. The time has come to reaffirm our enduring spirit; to choose our better history; to carry forward that precious gift, that noble idea, passed on from generation to generation: the God-given promise that all are equal, all are free, and all deserve a chance to pursue their full measure of happiness.

In reaffirming the greatness of our nation, we understand that greatness is never a given. It must be earned. Our journey has never been one of short-cuts or settling for less. It has not been the path for the faint-hearted — for those who prefer leisure over work, or seek only the pleasures of riches and fame. Rather, it has been the risk-takers, the doers, the makers of things — some celebrated but more often men and women obscure in their labor, who have carried us up the long, rugged path toward prosperity and freedom.

For us, they packed up their few worldly possessions and traveled across oceans in search of a new life.

For us, they toiled in sweatshops and settled the West; endured the lash of the whip and plowed the hard earth.

For us, they fought and died, in places like Concord and Gettysburg; Normandy and Khe Sanh.

Time and again these men and women struggled and sacrificed and worked till their hands were raw so that we might live a better life. They saw America as bigger than the sum of our individual ambitions; greater than all the differences of birth or wealth or faction.

This is the journey we continue today. We remain the most prosperous, powerful nation on Earth. Our workers are no less productive than when this crisis began. Our minds are no less inventive, our goods and services no less needed than they were last week or last month or last year. Our capacity remains undiminished. But our time of standing pat, of protecting narrow interests and putting off unpleasant decisions — that time has surely passed. Starting today, we must pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and begin again the work of remaking America.

For everywhere we look, there is work to be done. The state of the economy calls for action, bold and swift, and we will act — not only to create new jobs, but to lay a new foundation for growth. We will build the roads and bridges, the electric grids and digital lines that feed our commerce and bind us together. We will restore science to its rightful place, and wield technology's wonders to raise health care's quality and lower its cost. We will harness the sun and the winds and the soil to fuel our cars and run our factories. And we will transform our schools and colleges and universities to meet the demands of a new age. All this we can do. And all this we will do.

Now, there are some who question the scale of our ambitions — who suggest that our system cannot tolerate too many big plans. Their memories are short. For they have forgotten what this country has already done; what free men and women can achieve when imagination is joined to common purpose, and necessity to courage.

What the cynics fail to understand is that the ground has shifted beneath them — that the stale political arguments that have consumed us for so long no longer apply. The question we ask today is not whether our government is too big or too small, but whether it works — whether it helps families find jobs at a decent wage, care they can afford, a retirement that is dignified. Where the answer is yes, we intend to move forward. Where the answer is no, programs will end. And those of us who manage the public's dollars will be held to account — to spend wisely, reform bad habits, and do our business in the light of day — because only then can we restore the vital trust between a people and their government.

Nor is the question before us whether the market is a force for good or ill. Its power to generate wealth and expand freedom is unmatched, but this crisis has reminded us that without a watchful eye, the market can spin out of control - and that a nation cannot prosper long when it favors only the prosperous. The success of our economy has always depended not just on the size of our gross domestic product, but on the reach of our prosperity; on our ability to extend opportunity to every willing heart — not out of charity, but because it is the surest route to our common good.

As for our common defense, we reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals. Our Founding Fathers, faced with perils we can scarcely imagine, drafted a charter to assure the rule of law and the rights of man, a charter expanded by the blood of generations. Those ideals still light the world, and we will not give them up for expedience's sake. And so to all other peoples and governments who are watching today, from the grandest capitals to the small village where my father was born: Know that America is a friend of each nation and every man, woman and child who seeks a future of peace and dignity, and that we are ready to lead once more.

Recall that earlier generations faced down fascism and communism not just with missiles and tanks, but with sturdy alliances and enduring convictions. They understood that our power alone cannot protect us, nor does it entitle us to do as we please. Instead, they knew that our power grows through its prudent use; our security emanates from the justness of our cause, the force of our example, the tempering qualities of humility and restraint.

We are the keepers of this legacy. Guided by these principles once more, we can meet those new threats that demand even greater effort — even greater cooperation and understanding between nations. We will begin to responsibly leave Iraq to its people and forge a hard-earned peace in Afghanistan. With old friends and former foes, we will work tirelessly to lessen the nuclear threat and roll back the specter of a warming planet. We will not apologize for our way of life, nor will we waver in its defense, and for those who seek to advance their aims by inducing terror and slaughtering innocents, we say to you now that our spirit is stronger and cannot be broken; you cannot outlast us, and we will defeat you.

For we know that our patchwork heritage is a strength, not a weakness. We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus — and non-believers. We are shaped by every language and culture, drawn from every end of this Earth; and because we have tasted the bitter swill of civil war and segregation and emerged from that dark chapter stronger and more united, we cannot help but believe that the old hatreds shall someday pass; that the lines of tribe shall soon dissolve; that as the world grows smaller, our common humanity shall reveal itself; and that America must play its role in ushering in a new era of peace.

To the Muslim world, we seek a new way forward, based on mutual interest and mutual respect. To those leaders around the globe who seek to sow conflict or blame their society's ills on the West — know that your people will judge you on what you can build, not what you destroy. To those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent, know that you are on the wrong side of history; but that we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist.

To the people of poor nations, we pledge to work alongside you to make your farms flourish and let clean waters flow; to nourish starved bodies and feed hungry minds. And to those nations like ours that enjoy relative plenty, we say we can no longer afford indifference to suffering outside our borders; nor can we consume the world's resources without regard to effect. For the world has changed, and we must change with it.

As we consider the road that unfolds before us, we remember with humble gratitude those brave Americans who, at this very hour, patrol far-off deserts and distant mountains. They have something to tell us today, just as the fallen heroes who lie in Arlington whisper through the ages. We honor them not only because they are guardians of our liberty, but because they embody the spirit of service; a willingness to find meaning in something greater than themselves. And yet, at this moment — a moment that will define a generation — it is precisely this spirit that must inhabit us all.

For as much as government can do and must do, it is ultimately the faith and determination of the American people upon which this nation relies. It is the kindness to take in a stranger when the levees break, the selflessness of workers who would rather cut their hours than see a friend lose their job which sees us through our darkest hours. It is the firefighter's courage to storm a stairway filled with smoke, but also a parent's willingness to nurture a child, that finally decides our fate.

Our challenges may be new. The instruments with which we meet them may be new. But those values upon which our success depends — hard work and honesty, courage and fair play, tolerance and curiosity, loyalty and patriotism — these things are old. These things are true. They have been the quiet force of progress throughout our history. What is demanded then is a return to these truths. What is required of us now is a new era of responsibility — a recognition, on the part of every American, that we have duties to ourselves, our nation and the world, duties that we do not grudgingly accept but rather seize gladly, firm in the knowledge that there is nothing so satisfying to the spirit, so defining of our character, than giving our all to a difficult task.

This is the price and the promise of citizenship.

This is the source of our confidence — the knowledge that God calls on us to shape an uncertain destiny.

This is the meaning of our liberty and our creed — why men and women and children of every race and every faith can join in celebration across this magnificent mall, and why a man whose father less than 60 years ago might not have been served at a local restaurant can now stand before you to take a most sacred oath.

So let us mark this day with remembrance, of who we are and how far we have traveled. In the year of America's birth, in the coldest of months, a small band of patriots huddled by dying campfires on the shores of an icy river. The capital was abandoned. The enemy was advancing. The snow was stained with blood. At a moment when the outcome of our revolution was most in doubt, the father of our nation ordered these words be read to the people:

"Let it be told to the future world ... that in the depth of winter, when nothing but hope and virtue could survive ... that the city and the country, alarmed at one common danger, came forth to meet [it]."

America. In the face of our common dangers, in this winter of our hardship, let us remember these timeless words. With hope and virtue, let us brave once more the icy currents and endure what storms may come. Let it be said by our children's children that when we were tested we refused to let this journey end, that we did not turn back nor did we falter; and with eyes fixed on the horizon and God's grace upon us, we carried forth that great gift of freedom and delivered it safely to future generations.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Congrats to Nathan Matsuda on his VES Nomination!

My old Pixar colleague/roommate/insanely talented buddy Nathan Matsuda has just been NOMINATED for a VES AWARD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

This is SO AMAZING!! I know he worked SO hard on this student film over the past several years and put so much time and energy and effort into this amazing production. What a well-deserved nomination. Good luck, Nathan!

The short is available on Vimeo right now:

New camera accessories I'm looking at

Along with my new camera I'm going to need a couple things right away, like a camera bag and a new large capacity memory card.

The cool part about the new Canon SLRs is that they take SD cards, which rocks. I already have 2 SanDisk Ultra II cards in 2 Gb size, which is reasonable, but I'm gonna need faster cards and much higher capacity (since the new SLR is supposed to be 15 Megapixels... i.e. loooooots of Mb per photo!!)

So I'm looking at a few things, the SanDisk Extreme III 8Gb cards are pretty cheap - only $32!! Amazing. So I'll get one of those to start, and probably a UV Filter to protect my lenses. I've got a 75-300 lens already, and I'm gonna get an 18-55 presumably with the camera itself.

Also thinking I might get the Canon 50mm 1.8 lens as well. Stephan has it already, and Brian has the 1.4 version of that lens too. It seems awesome, and I think I'd probably use it a whole lot.

SanDisk Extreme III 8Gb card

This is pretty sweet, a Canon bag, UV Filter, and an extra battery. I'll prob get this too.

This is the lens I am thinking about getting too.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Starting to look into Japan and South Korea

It is possible that I'll be heading to Japan and South Korea in December for 3 weeks or so, and I'm starting to plan my trip now. This is going to be insanely awesome, and I've got to figure it all out, but maaaaaaaaaan this will be amazing.

Some things that look awesome so far:

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Ninja Turtles turn 25

Oh man. So I was 1 year old when the Ninja Turtles were created?!??!!?

And they are STILL AWESOME.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Siiiiiiick Mickey statue that I saw in Canada

I saw an absolutely AMAZING Mickey Mouse "Disney Traditions" statue in Canada over the break and I was just looking around for it now. This is soooooooooooooo cool.

Anyway just found it, the artist's name is Jim Shore, and this is actually representing the 80th Anniversary of Mickey Mouse. Super cool, but I love it SO much because it shows him transforming through a mirror from the Mickey of 80 years ago to now, going from Black and White into Colour... SO COOL. All the excitement at Pixar and ILM about movies in general, and about new technology and the constant pursuit of perfection... this is a pretty fitting sculpture for a Computer Scientist working in Film at this amazing time!!!! I love it.

I think this'll make a good birthday present for myself. ;)

Jim Shore / Disney Traditions Mickey 80th Anniversary Figurine: 80 Years of Laughter

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Reverie by Vincent Laforest - video from a Digital SLR camera

This is super amazing. Vincent Laforest, a Pulitzer-prize winning photographer, filmed this short film using only the Canon 5D Mark II, a new digital SLR camera with a 1080p movie mode.

The result is an absolutely gorgeous film, where Vincent Laforest's photography sensibilities are translated directly into (literally) moving picture... this is absolutely amazing. He shot this in 72 hours, edited it, and proved to the world that a $2600 SLR camera has now brought professional filmmaking to the masses. Amazing!


Sunday, January 11, 2009

Wall-E wins Golden Globe for Best Animated Feature!!

Congrats Andrew and all the crew!!!!!!!! Another amazing win for an amazing film! This is so freakin' awesome. Also this clip they chose ROCKS!! A bunch of my work is in this shot: the spikey heart model, the wine bottles, and a bunch of the other stuff behind Wall-E and Eve as Wall-E hands Eve the lightbulb and she makes it light up. Soooooooooooooo cooooooooooooooool!!!

Wall-E winning Best Animated Film at the Golden Globes!

New DMB, new Josh Radin, awesome times

Yesterday was glorious, walking around in a t-shirt downtown (sorry, my Canadian peeps) :)... super nice weather this weekend.

Today it's beautifully sunny, I'm rockin' hard to the new-ish Josh Radin album and this REALLY SICK Live at Mile High Music Festival DMB album... this is ridiculous!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Apparently it's going up to 20 celcius today?!! (Sorry again, my Canadian peeps). If it's any consolation, I'm "self-confining" myself to to my apartment so I can keep unpacking stuff from Canada.

Note to self, I still love the Dave Matthews Band to an absurd degree.

Thursday, January 08, 2009


I am now on Verizon for my cell phone, and it's already MUCH better reception than I had before. This is amazing!

So to anyone who ever heard me say, "Don't call my Cell when I'm at work"... no worries! Now you can call anytime, and it's the same number as before. Rock on!

I ended up getting the Samsung Gleam as I mentioned last month, and it's super cool. The car driving background is hilarious. Good stuff!!

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

My sister featured in several newspapers across Canada!

Congratulations, Norm!!

Amazing stuff, my sister has been featured in an article in the Montreal Gazette, Ottawa Sun and several other newspapers across Canada, through CanWest's

Amazing!!!!!!!!!!!! Check it out!

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Video Post from Toronto

A couple of funny videos from my trip to Toronto... Ans and I bustin' a move from the Kanye Mp3 on his cell phone, and Angie and I pretending that her owl-shaped mittens were really French-Canadian owls with somewhat broken English (and bad French, too) :) An instant classic in my humble opinion. :)

Kanye on Ans's cell phone

French Canadian Owl Mittens with Angie

Back in London

Now that I'm back in London, I've been spending some time taking care of stuff I've been meaning to do for ages (including blogging my Canadian adventures as you can see), and a bunch more catch-up stuff. I went to a really nice Brunch with my parents this morning, and it was super fun!!

Crazy tea


Mom and Dad at the Brunch

Mom excited for the food

Me enjoying a coffee

The live band

Mmm, soooooo goood!!!!

Amazing water fountains and Brunch setup

Rock Bandin' with Angie

On New Years Day, we met up with the super awesome and legendary Angie, got some Spring Rolls, and hit up some major Rock Band stylins. It was glorious (obviously), and insanely fun to catch up with Angie - who is (par usuale) totally "the awesome."

We made sock puppets out of Angie's mittens

They are friends

Then the mitten friends started biting each other, which is quite possibly the funniest thing I've ever seen. :)

Rock Band!

Rockin' fierce

Next day back at Alex's apartment

We met up with Kristjan too!! We chilled for a bit before I headed back to London on the train.

New Years Eve

New Years Eve was great, we spent some time at Bizz's apartment in Toronto and then back downtown to chill with Nash and Slams for the countdown. Good times!!

Me and Timmy

Finkel and Nina at Bizz's place

Haha, Bizz!!


Back to Tim's

Slams and some fancy Don Julio tequila that he got in Mexico

Getting ready to watch the countdown


Hey, look! It's a Patrick Coleman amongst those posters on the TTC subway platform!

NYC-style lights in Toronto

Crazy new billboards everywhere at the Eaton Centre

Dinner and drinks in Toronto

Tuesday night I went out for dinner with a bunch of great people that I know from way different places - Patrick (from Pixar), Yung and Jeremy (from Waterloo), Yuan (my Dad's old grad student), Tatsuya (from Starz with Yung and Siggraph and Texas A&M), Sarah and her boyfriend (from OSSSA), Matt and Kim (from London)... it was amazing!!

After some great dinner at Mengrai Gourmet Thai in Toronto, we went out to the Imperial Pub near the Eaton Centre (which was amazing!!) and Nash, Slams, and Finkel met us there. Great times. The Imperial Pub rocked, and from there we went to the Rex and stayed there until close, listening to some live jazz and chillin' some more.

P.Cole, Tatsuya and Yuan

Yuan, Yung and Jeremy

Me, Sarah, P.Cole, Tatsuya and Yuan

This REALLY good Litchi and Cranberry juice that I got

Amazing!! I got a Thai Red Curry with Litchis in a pineapple!

Everyone having fun

Heev and I looking pensive

Slams and I rockin' out, and me in my AMAZING NEW COAT!!

Word up


And another, more awkward cheers

Yung and I looking sharp

Another pensive photo

Haha, and... we're a crazy bunch


Then we walked by City Hall where they were setting up for New Years

Lots of snow

Live Jazz at the Rex


Hip hop flava