Friday, March 30, 2012

The WTF Phone Message of the Month

I have the pleasure of owning a residential phone number that once likely belonged to an ethnic family... who also happen to be in a world of debt and appear to be on the lam. Because I get a SHIT TON of random phone calls from collection agencies hunting for some Mr. Avasi or something like that. And often, the calls start in a foreign language, only to switch to English after I annoyedly respond with "Sorry, you must have the wrong number." And I have occasionally even had the asshole callers accuse me of lying and that I am in fact this Mr. Avasi. Whatever.

But in the fairly regular routine of "WHAT THE FUCK?!" phone messages mistakenly left on my machine for Mr. Avasi, this recent voicemail message I received definitely takes the WTF cake to a whole new level. It takes the cake, puts an extra bit of icing on it, adds chocolate sprinkles, and then throws it in the face of your favourite politician during a mentally disabled fundraising event. Either this dude lives under a fucking rock, and that rock is buried in another mountain of fucking rocks where the concept of 'voicemail' is completely foreign, or else he's drunk, high, hallucinating, texting his mom, and eating a tuna sandwich all at once. Either way, I couldn't help but laugh, and then be annoyed, and then laugh again at the ridiculousness of it... have a listen.

Oh, and if you're reading this on a smart phone, you won't be able to access the embedded .mp3 I made of the voicemail. I don't know if this will work, but you can try clicking here to access it.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Montreal in Random Photos - Part I

Well it wasn't quite the full on pink slip exercise that we were fearing today, so I can hold off on my backup career plan of becoming a professional sperm donor... for now. Too much info?

Anyways, quick set of random photos from my first day in Montreal last week.

Montreal Randoms

Montreal Randoms-2

Montreal Randoms-3

Montreal Randoms-4

Montreal Randoms-5

Montreal Randoms-6

Montreal Randoms-7

Montreal Randoms-8

In order from top to bottom:
1) View from our hotel room.
2) I liked this teapot at a great little dumpling place called Qing Hua.
3) A little Vespa in the street action.
4) Daytime view from hotel room.
5) Without meaning to, I ended up stumbling into Chinatown when google maps pointed me wrong. The sculpture is of chinese maidens.
6) The front facade of Notre-Dame.
7) I met a local gal who was sketching the front facade of Hotel Deville.
8) The sketch only took her 30 minutes. I was impressed. But I think she may have thought I was hitting on her. Seriously, it's nigh impossible to approach a girl to take a photo without coming off as a creep.

Public Service Armageddon

Tomorrow is budget day, but many in the Canadian Public Service (Anita and myself included) are preparing for it to be more like judgement day. Here's hoping that the budget cuts, while expected to be deep, will be more like this unexpected sunrise... beautiful despite being viewed through a horribly dirty window.

Rising from the Ashes

Photo taken with an iPhone 4S. Click the photo to view it large on black (worth it!).

Monday, March 26, 2012

Kiev 88 - Photowalk results from a few weeks ago

Sorry, no tales of neighbourly shenanigans for you tonight. I just wanted to post a few black and white shots from a photowalk I went on in Calgary a few weekends ago with a friend. I shoot way more pictures than I'll ever have time to scan and upload to flickr, so here are a collection of some that did make it, while the others were still languishing as unscanned negs on my floor. Move over, dust bunnies.

Ubiquitous Bench Shot

Calgary Photowalk - Bike Stand

Calgary Photowalk

Stephen Ave Stroll

Calgary Photowalk-3

Calgary Photowalk

Calgary Photowalk-4

Frozen Embrace

Calgary Photowalk-2

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Middle Aged Folks Having Sex

So our stay in Montreal was a pretty awesome time. You know what wasn't awesome though? The paper thin walls of our hotel, Le Centre Sheraton, in the downtown core. The worst part happened over a 2 night span in which a middle aged couple checked into the room next to ours. I have no way to visually confirm that they were middle aged, or that they were even in fact a couple, as I did not see them. But due to said paper thin walls, I was able to hear EVERYTHING. They sounded like they were in their mid forties (you can usually get a sense of age from the pitch of a person's voice when they talk). And then they started doing it. IT. EYE period TEE period. It kind of sounded like 1 part pleasure, and 3 parts 'drought stricken villagers sacrificing a yak for a god's mercy'. And it was loud. The woman's "OOOHHHAAHHH AAAHHHHH" that marked the ending to their 37 second copulation session on the first night was awkward and hilarious at the same time. I couldn't stop thinking that the book and movie title "Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close" seemed really fitting for our position as the unwitting neighbours next door who failed to stock up on ear plugs before a trip. I actually have no idea what that book/ movie is about, but they should just rewrite it to a story about a middle aged couple that have sex really really loudly in hotels, and the poor neighbours stuck awkwardly trying to tune them out.

Can you tell I'm bored and killing time in the Winnipeg airport at the moment?

So anyways, on the second night, the couple decided they were going to do EYE period TEE period again for about 40 seconds, and so we again heard the woman's loud OOOOOHHAAHHHH AAAHHHHH, followed by the dude's even louder AAAAOOOHHHH a couple seconds later. And then all was quiet. Then I thought, maybe "Extremely Loud and Incredibly Gross" would be a better title for being stuck in the room next door…

Okay, lots of photos from our trip to come soon. Cheers,

Friday, March 23, 2012

Montreal Student Protests

Been in Montreal for the past few days, and it has been awesome - hot summery weather, GREAT food, and super friendly folks everywhere! Got into the thick of it yesterday, as I attended a good old fashioned Student UPRISING protest against tuition hikes. Good for them, sticking it to the man (or in this case, Jean Charest's provincial government). The protest was the culmination of a weeklong general strike for a lot of university students (who knew students could strike?!!)... It was well organized, well attended, and most importantly, well behaved. Which is refreshing, given the riot a couple weeks ago during Anti-Police Brutality day, which ironically then ended in police brutality.

I'd write more, but let's face it, you're all just here to see the topless protester…












Alright, it's time to go eat obscene amounts of smoked meat. A la prochaine, mes amis!

Update - May 10, 2010 - While I was generally supportive of the idea of fighting unilateral decisions on tuition hikes, I have to say that after a month of prolonged protests that have often ended in unruly behaviour, violence, and smoke bomb campaigns along the Metro lines, I no longer have much sympathy for this movement. Access to education is an issue that is of utmost importance to society, but resorting to violence and (smoke) bombing of public transit lines instead of rationally debating the attempts at compromise is certainly not bargaining in good faith. For the majority of students out there who are protesting within their legal means, good on you. But the few organizers of the aforementioned unfortunate (illegal) tactics is giving the entire student body a bad name. End rant.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

St. Pat's Day Analog Adventures

Results of this weekend's St. Patty's Day analog photo adventure with a group of hipster dudes. I felt pretty out of my element at the beginning (I was probably a good decade older than some of them), but they were really awesome to hang with. And once the green beers started flowing, it was good times all around. I ruined a couple rolls in the Kiev 88 - one of the tension pins in the film back popped out, so the film wasn't tight to the plane, leading to some really weird pseudo tilt-shift type of focus. But the ones that did turn out, turned out pretty awesome.

Calgary Camera Style










Alright folks, assuming Air Canada's pilots don't pull any shenanigans tomorrow, I'll be in Montreal. See ya in a week.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Milk Run to Montreal

I have the pleasure of transiting through the James Armstrong Richardson Airport in Winnipeg en route to Montreal next week. Now I claim to know as much about Winnipeg as I do about perming your hair (ie: not much), but I have heard this airport (Canada's newest) is supposed to be very beautiful and insert every other gushing flowery compliment patriotic locals would use to proudly describe something in their city. So you'll have to pardon my snide snickering when I hit up the 'interactive map' on the airport's website, and under shopping, dining, services, and facilities in the 'after security' part, it listed: payphones, elevators, restrooms, and - ooh look! - STAIRS as the highlights. It took me a couple of seconds to realize I was looking at the arrivals level (which the map defaults to). Luckily for me, my near 4 hour layover will be spent in the much more well amenitied departures level, which does also include the aforementioned highlights of stairs and elevators, but also comprises treats such as a chapel, an information phone, those oh so fun 'family restrooms' (people love it when a single person uses those), and a T.G.I.Fridays. WEEEEEEE!!!!


But I really should stop being such a Negative Nelly, and give the airport a fair shake. Maybe I'll write up a proper review after I've had a chance to comb through every last square inch of it thrice over (I did mention the 4 hr layover on the way to Montreal, right?). Not to mention another 3 hrs on the return leg. The only bigger waste of 7 hours I could think of would be waiting in line for an iPad. ha! I made fun of Winnipeggers and tech geek fanboys in the same post. My work is done.

Have a great weekend! Go out and pound back a few green beers tomorrow!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Not Quite Tupac

My 2nd watercolour painting... this should put to rest any doubts about my complete lack of skills in this medium, cause this did NOT turn out like I had envisioned. Not to mention that the Tupac sketch I did before I added the watercolour didn't even look like Tupac to begin with.

Click to view it large on black.

Not Quite Tupac

See my first watercolour here.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Life Drawing - Harcourt House - Mar. 7/12

Life Drawing. Harcourt House. Edmonton. Nuff Said. Actually, no wait. The session was interesting in that the first half was filled was terrible country music in which every song but one was about drinking whiskey. And then after the break, they put on a folksy CD in which Dean and I quietly commented on the grade 7-ish lyrics. Then another dude declares aloud to the rest of the class "This music SUCKS." To which the session's organizer replies (after giving him the stink eye for a few seconds), "Well you're drawing the singer." Ooops.

Click to see Dean's sketches here.

Life Drawing - 03-07-12-6

Life Drawing - 03-07-12

Life Drawing - 03-07-12-2

Life Drawing - 03-07-12-4

Life Drawing - 03-07-12-5

Life Drawing - 03-07-12-3

Pentel Pocket Brush, Copic Markers, White Chalk Pastel, and Conte Crayons.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Kodak Discontinues Colour Reversal Film Stocks

So Kodak has discontinued production of their remaining 3 colour reversal (slide) films as of yesterday. Seems like every day, there is some announcement of the demise of yet another treasured film product. One could almost make a drinking game of it: pound back a scotch neat every time Kodak discontinues a film stock. At least you'd drown your sorrows from the news at the same time.

While the last remaining E6 (slide film) processing lab in Calgary shuttered that part of it's operations last year, this news still makes me sad knowing that I only have limited stocks of the E100 series of Kodak slides left that I could cross process. I had some fun results with these films over the past couple years. They will be missed.

And yes, you know you're an old luddite with no life when you're at home on a Friday night lamenting the death of analog.

The Lo-fi Aesthetic

Where the hell did this come from?


Top of Wenceslas Blvd

Railway Bridge - Riga, Latvia

Avenida dos Aliados - 3