Tag Archives: video

goals and new years (and no portzelky)

Recently I was talking to Holly (and I say talking in the sense of typing) and our conversation glanced off the topic of setting goals. That’s one of those things I’ve always found helpful about being in school. Built-in goal: graduate. In 2012 I had two big goals; graduate and get a job. I succeeded in both of those. Hooray. My basic economic needs are met. I have food and shelter and internet connections (and a fucking motorcar).

As far as goals that made me happy and fulfilled and whatever, they were pretty much inadequate. One of my friends mentioned on Facebook last week that 2012 was a successful year for him, but now the goal is to make 2013 a happier one. That sounds like a good plan to me too.

I’ve spent the last month trying to figure out what I need to do now. Because going to work 5 days a week and then coming home and reading isn’t really cutting it. If I were in a place where I had friends then I’d be able to get by like that, because coming home and reading would be a prelude to playing games with people or going to parties or talking not in the sense of typing.
vagabondscrawl pt 1 - BTS
However, I’m not in a place with my friends. So it looks like this is going to be a year of trying to spend more time producing than consuming. I’m going to write more (if not blog more – sorry mom) and read less. I really liked making that stupid little Xwing video on Christmas morning. I’m going to make more stuff like that.

I’d been complaining about the amount of work it would be to do my Lego comic thing as stop-motion (even at a cut-rate 2-3fps), but fuck it. Goodreads says I read 333 books in 2012. I think I can afford to cut back a bit. Making shit may take time, but these days there’s no human with a demand on it. Someday I’ll be somewhere with friends and social things to do, but not right now. I’m okay with disappointing the never-ending stack of unread books by making something, and preferably something only I can make.

Tagged , , , , , , , ,

merry xwingmas

In the past I loved Christmas, but being far from Winnipeg just over half the Decembers since I stopped living at home has kind of made the need to be with family and do the same things as always sort of less appealing. I like the idea of Xmas traditions and getting together with loved ones and all that, but I like it better with a bit of detachment.

I like being in a country where Xmas isn’t celebrated (or is done with hitting people with inflatable bats for some reason) and having a few people you make something kind of holidayish with. Last year I got to hang out with Holly’s family and I really liked it. I like seeing what other people’s traditions are and fitting into them as best I can.

This year though, I didn’t do anything for Xmas. Scheduling at work is crazy because ’tis the season to take time off. I didn’t have many holiday days anyway, and my mom is going to India, so heading home was a bit less of a draw, since I’d have had to crash friends’ family things. So here I am. I bought myself a Lego set, as that is the traditional Xmas gift in my home, wherever it may be.

Xwingmas from J Unrau on Vimeo.

And now I’m going to watch the good Star Wars movies. Merry Xmas, happy new year and I’m glad the days’ll only get longer for the next few months.

Tagged , , , , , , , ,

alone together & wrestling bookcases

I like to think of myself as the kind of person who is a good enough friend to not make his friends do too terrible of things. Low-maintenance. Because of that I end up in situations like yesterday where I moved the stuff out of my apartment to my storage locker on my own. All my fine Vancouver friends had work and things so I figured I wouldn’t insist on putting them through navigating my futon down twisty flights of stairs in exchange for pizza or whatever.

Alone together opening #sfups

Tonight though I went to the opening of SFU’s Alone Together: Connecting in the City and it made me sad about being a person who doesn’t naturally reach out and do stuff with people. The Vancouver foundation did a survey and found that 25-34 year olds feel the least engaged and the most lonely in the city, which surprised them (they assumed it would be the elderly). One speaker talked about how it’s the meaningless little bits of chitchat (and futon moving?) we do that creates community. Another talked about political activism in municipal politics and how the highest role in our democracy is supposed to be the citizen but we think of politics as something done by other people. He also thought we don’t value the importance of the individual enough which makes me wonder if he’s ever thought about things from a different culture’s perspective.

It was all very interesting and clearly trying to be inspirational. There was a terribly cheesy music video and the opening band was clearly chosen because of their upbeat nature, but Shane Koyczan did two poems and he was great.

On Thursday I’ll be taking a Uhaul truck full of books, shelves and an awkward futon to Campbell River, but I’ll have to come back next week to get a last bit of work on the video project sorted out. And to feed my roommate’s fish till her new roommate gets here.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , ,

suddenly everything happens at once

I’ve had a pretty lowkey couple of months since my winter term ended. Plugging away at the IFLA project and doing my Children’s Publishing course. But now this week everything decided to start happening all at once. I had an interview yesterday for a Professional Experience course doing techy stuff with a Teen Summer Reading Program. The interview went well and I was hired, so instead of having one more course to finish, I’m doing that instead. I also got hired (for pay not course credit) to work on producing videos for SLAIS over the summer. And next week I’m going to Ontario for ten days to interview IFLA-connected librarians (again for course credit, but the trip is paid for not by me).

All of this busyness while I’m applying for post-school jobs. And that came around to bite me today. I applied for a job in Kelowna which would have been pretty sweet, and they called me to bring me in for an interview, but the interview time was Monday, when I’ll be in Ottawa. So I had to turn them down and hope that they have a bunch of terrible applicants so they have to go to a second round of interviews once I return. It’s nice to get offered an interview, and it sucks to not be able to go do it. I get this notion that this was my only chance and now it’s gone and I’ll never work again, which is patently untrue, but still.

I also got to watch the last third of a perfect baseball game tonight. Matt Cain is a pretty awesome pitcher.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

opening week

My mom is off to France, heck, she might even be there soon, and I am done school for the term. Many of my classmates are now done school for good, which is a little weird. Weird that we don’t all finish together, I mean. I don’t have the great cathartic sighs of relief, since I’ve still got two and a third classes over the next four months. Plus doing interviews for a book we’re working on.

The good thing is that remaining a student leaves me able to work in Graduate Research Assistant positions over the next few months. I’ll hopefully be doing a bunch of video production work for one of my profs, and right now I’m doing a whack of content management stuff for SLAIS’ new MA in Children’s Literature website (which isn’t up yet).

The wonderful bit about this kind of work is that I can do it on my own with a baseball game on. The Jays have new uniforms and hey, maybe this is the year they’ll play meaningful September ball. I enjoyed the hell out of their first victory of the season yesterday, but really, I just like watching games.

I was looking at my history of being here in Vancouver and I noticed that this month till the summer classes begin is my first time I’ve really spent in Vancouver without school going on. I ran off to China and Australia at the ends of my previous semesters, so I’m going to have to remember that there isn’t any meeting with people in my classes that will just happen because I’m sitting in a chair near somewhere they are going. If I’m going to see my friends I have to contact them. Which will be difficult but I’ll do my best. It’s a time for hope.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

cordyceps makes for good gaming

I had an excellent afternoon of RPGing today. Marek and Sam and I were playtesting a rules-light system of Marek’s creation and the story he cooked up for it was a set-in-Vancouver “what kind of apocalypse happened while we were stuck out on a Gulf island?” kind of deal. It played out really quite well.

Here’s a video about the fungus the scenario was inspired by:
In the game, there was a version of this fungus affecting humans, which made for some good terrible zombie movie gaming.

One character got infected by the fungus zombie plague and sort of sacrificed himself, another was decapitated in the final escape sequence, my character who likes to run drew fungus zombies off the rest of the group’s trail so they could get more ammunition (which proved kind of useless), and it all ended with a fireball and us saving the young girl and heading back to the island we never should have left in the first place.

Moral of the story (as it is for so many horror movies): Never leave home.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

plastic people buckling their swashes

I have had a busy weekend making stuff, which is a pretty good way to spend my time, even if it is technically for homework.

I’m doing a video booktalk/trailer for an excellent YA pirate novel (A.S. King’s The Dust of 100 Dogs), and I own a bunch of pirate Lego, so using that Lego to illustrate the trailer seemed like a great idea. A few weeks ago I supplemented my Lego collection with extra hairpieces and some less masculine torsos and I was good to go.

Now, everybody in class has to make a video, but you can also just do a video booktalk. Getting out the Lego and building sets and taking umpty million macro shots isn’t a course requirement. But I’ve realized this term that what I’m really excited about in librarianship is doing cool stuff with young people. Playing with Lego and making something cool to show people is something I’d actually like to do professionally (and doing media-creation YA programs is something libraries can get into). This was completely the kind of project I can get lost in. If only all homework was like this (I’m sorry to my friends in cataloguing this term).

As of now I’ve got 30 pictures for my 90 second trailer and I’ve figured out exactly what gaps need filling. I need to do at least one more action sequence, a leaving home sequence that’ll recall the one already shot in the other timeline and a handful more Lego dogs (so I can turn them into 100).

I also appear to have left my phone in my jacket pocket with the ringer off since Friday night and never even thought about looking for it, so engrossed was I in Lego. Apologies to the person who tried to call me.

Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

coming to terms with the lack of internet

Saturday morning I went out to have a cultural day. A free cultural day. Up at the Sydney Opera House (perhaps you’ve heard of it?) there was an indigenous film festival going on with free screenings. The movie I saw was called Here I Am, and’ll be touring Oz over the next while.

The movie was shown in the Playhouse part of the theatre, so not the gigantic part. Actually, I don’t know if there is a gigantic part. All the different shells are separated for than I’d always assumed. It’s not just one big shell that’d have you looking up at the concave version of the icon from the inside.

After the movie I went for a walk through the botanical gardens to find the Art Gallery of NSW. I knew it was in that vicinity but it’s much deeper behind the park than I’d assumed the last time I went looking for it. On Saturday I found it and wandered around. It’s a free gallery which is appreciated (so I could go now without worrying about wasting it before Holly arrives).

The collection was kind of awesome. They’ve got European masters (I looked at one Monet and recognized very few other artist names in that area since I don’t really know that much about Art) and aboriginal stuff and 20th century Australian art. One painting, “The Telephone Box” by John Brack, was from 1954 but could have been 21st century street art; I checked the date a couple of times.

There was also an exhibit by this Japanese photographer who takes pictures of pictures projected onto posing nigh-naked people painted white. It was pretty neat.

But the coolest exhibit was Unguided Tours, which was a bunch of cool video things. Part of one piece used Google Maps to mark out the discarded condoms in a neighbourhood. Another artist created these awesome video pieces out of these gigantic mounds of junk. One basically made a video of outside a jet window flying above a cloudless ocean. But what made it cool is how the video is constructed out of broken chairs and hairbrushes and a vacuum cleaner hose and an unshaded desk-lamp. Very very neat.

It almost made up for still having no internet at the apartment. Our landlord is apologizing and says there was a mixup last Thursday about the address so they can’t get here till this week.

So far the living with a shared kitchen isn’t going too badly. There’s not an Australian in the building though. We’ve got three Chileans, a Colombian, a New Zealander, and Holly and I will represent North America. When I type it out like that it seems like a lot of people. But it doesn’t feel that full.

I got a library card the other day. And went to the little Chinese grocery store where they carry almost all my favourite Chinese brands of juice and snacks (no Shaolin cookies though). And I’m working on a story to submit for the second Machine of Death anthology. And writing letters. Things aren’t too bad.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

hall of snarky ghosts

My friend Dan Wiebe made a music video. This is it:

Produced by Painted Bull Media and edited by the 2015 Socchi Welcoming Committee. (*No ghosts were harmed in making the video)

Tagged , , , , ,

making something out of something

On Friday I buckled down and worked. Not on any of my work that needs doing (I get scared of my book from time to time because I suck) but on Grandma’s birthday video. It’s funny how lost I can actually get in making something. How fast time can go. This doesn’t happen to me all the time. Even when I’m dicking about on the internet I feel aware of each and every second I’m frittering away.

In the end Final Cut and I got Grandma’s movie sorted out and put on a VHS tape for her. Oh VHS, you are such an ugly horrible medium.

I don’t know exactly why my regular Saturday shift begins at 9:15 with a break at 9:45. I suppose there’s a reason for it somewhere but it’s odd. Note I didn’t say “I’m sure” because I do work for the city. Right now we’re only allowed to have three people on-desk at a time, meaning one person at least is banished into the lightless cells at any given time. This is so we don’t appear to be inefficient in our department and have our hours cut back in these “tough economic times.” Supposedly if there is to be a cutting back of hours everyone’s positions are re-posted and it is a horrible seniority-based free for all to grab something resembling your job. I hope that doesn’t happen.

Although if it did happen it might provide me a kick start. Mom and I were talking the other day about my September trip to China along with Holly’s bakery she’s opening (isn’t that awesome? A bakery!) , and Mom said something like “I keep on expecting you to run off to China again.” And I told her that if I could go without teaching I would. But until I completely lose my memory of how much I disliked teaching I probably won’t go. It’s a choice I’m going to be working with for forever probably: choosing between a job I hate with a life I enjoy vs this grey okayness of work and life. Hm. when I put it that way it seems like hardly a choice at all.

But in the greyness there are the occasional nice evenings like last night with Aileen and Alison that make me forget about the rest of the time. And next week I’m going to Calgary. That promises to be a good time.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,