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arts

Time LAX

A wonderful time lapse of Lose Angeles.  It made me remember how much I miss L.A. and how much I would love to live there some day.

LUNAFEST in Saskatoon

LUNAFEST is coming to Saskatoon

Join a Saskatoon celebration of International Women’s Day at a Women’s Film Festival!

The Betty-Ann Heggie Womentorship Foundation and the Edwards School of Business are pleased to present a screening of LUNAFEST, followed by a panel discussion at the Broadway Theatre the evening of Wednesday March 6th, 2013.

LUNAFEST connects women, their stories, and their causes through film. The program of nine short films will compel discussion, make you laugh, tug at your heartstrings, and motivate you to make a difference in your community.

Come out, pick up your free popcorn, drink, and a Lunabar and watch nine short films produced by and for women. Incredibly diverse in style and content, the films are united by a common thread of storytelling. A short description of each is as follows:

  • Blank Canvas by Sarah Berkovich – Going through chemotherapy, a woman turns her baldness into a blank canvas for self-expression
  • Flawed by Andrea Dorfman – An animated tale about accepting yourself, flaws and all.
  • Lunch Date by Sasha Collington – Getting dumped hurts, especially for a woman whose boyfriends sends his fourteen-year-old brother to break the news.
  • The Bathhouse by Jisoo Kim – Escaping the streets of the modern city, a group of women are transformed by a bathhouse paradise.
  • When I Grow Up by Sharon Arteaga – A mother and daughter sell tacos and dream of a better life.
  • Chalk by Martina Amati – A gymnast selected for an elite training camp makes new discoveries about bodies, boys and friendship.
  • Georgena Terry by Amanda Zackem – How the founder of Terry Bicycles revolutionized cycling with bike frames designed for women’s bodies.
  • Self-Portrait with Cows Going Home and Other Works by Rebecca Dreyfus – A rare and soulful portrait of the ironically camera-shy Sylvia Plachy, a renowned contemporary photographer.
  • Whakatiki – A Spirit Rising by Louise Leitch – A day at the river awakens the spirit of a women held captive by years of broken promises.

Panel:
Betty-Ann Heggie (moderator)
TBA (watch for announcements)

Admission is $10. All proceeds will be directed to tuition fees for Proteges from the non-profit sector to attend the Betty-Ann Heggie Womentorship Program at the Edwards School of Business, with a donation also being made to LUNAFEST (The Breast Cancer Fund). Seating is limited!

  • Doors open at 6:00pm
  • Seating at 6:50pm
  • Screening starts at 7:00pm
  • Panelist discussion at 8:30pm

Bose IE2

Bose IE2 headphones

The other day I ordered some Bose IE2 headphones off of Airmiles and they arrived today.  I took them out and plugged them into my iPod and started to listen.  I was amazed.  There were parts of the music that I had never heard before regardless whether I had listened to it via headphones, dock, or plugged into some speakers.  It was like rediscovering my music library all over again. The sound quality between them and the included Apple headphones or any other headphones I have owned isn’t even comparable.  While I had some reservation about the ear tips, I don’t even notice them.  They look really weird but fit really comfortably.   After fiddling with my headphones for the majority of my time at the gym today, I think I may appreciate them.  If you love your music and have never tried out a pair of high end headphones, you really need to.  These are amazing. 

I know audiophiles like to look down at Bose but I’ll be honest, I am not going to spend thousands on my stereo so these are spectacular.

Update: Sadly Nickelback still sounds like Nickelback.  They can’t fix everything.

Giant Squid Caught on Tape for the First Time

Discovery Channel has captured a giant squid for the first time on video.  Of course now that I want to see is a video of a colossal squid.

Gangam Style

I am not saying that I am not cool but 939,000,000 other people saw this video before I did. including my oldest son who informed me that this has come and gone already.

Update: Wendy hadn’t seen it either.

Christmas Gift Guide for Teenage Boys | 2012 Edition

A couple of weeks ago search results looking for Christmas gift ideas started to appear so I knew it was time to dust off the Christmas Gift Guides and start on 2012’s.  As usual, I start with the kids and move from there.  If you have any idea or feedback, let me know in the comments.

Shopping for a tween or a teenager is hard.  Amazon suggests MacBooks, they all want $600 iPhone and if you get it wrong, they will hate you forever.  Welcome to shopping for a teenager.  Here are some ideas that are cool, won’t break the bank, and may actually inspire them.

HTC Desire CI have long been a fan of Virgin Mobile prepaid for teens.  You can control their data, their minutes, and if something goes wrong and the phone is lost, you aren’t hit with a massive phone bill or contract.  Everyone wins.  The HTC Desire C ($149) has the newest version of Android Ice Cream Sandwich, a 5 megapixel camera, and a sound system that is by Beats by Dre.  It’s only $149 upfront and you can either put that on their no-contract plan or go prepaid.  It’s not a Samsung Galaxy III or a iPhone 5 but for someone that is 12 or 13 years old, they don’t need a better phone than you.  If  you really want to spoil the kid, you can get them some Beats by Dre headphones ($149) to go with it but a more fiscally sound and responsible choice may be these highly rated and fairly inexpensive JVC Xtreme-Xplosivs headphones ($14.99).

Kodak Playsport video cameraWhile Kodak has fallen on hard times, it still makes a great little compact camcorder in the Kodak Playsport ($80).  It’s shockproof, rustproof, and waterproof to a depth of 10 ft. Since it is designed to be used on the go, it has built-in image stabilization to smooth out the ride. It also has a share feature making it easy to get the video onto YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter.  If you want more stability from a manufacturer, check out the Sony Bloggie camera (or the Sport model).  All are great options for your young aspiring filmmaker.

Of course they will need some adventures to film.  Geocaching is extremely popular all over the world and Magellan has created the eXplorist GC Waterproof Geocaching GPS ($119).  It easily connect to the Geocaching.com User Community and perform "Send to GPS," create and sync Pocket Queries, and upload Field Notes. Pre-loaded with the most popular geocaches in the world.  Additionally, the product comes packed with common outdoor GPS features, such as waypoint creation, a worldwide base map, active tracking, and trip odometer.

If they are a gamer, chances are that they have grown out their Nintendo DS.  If they have, check out the PS Vita ($249).  With any gaming system it is all about the games and I am pleasantly surprised the amount of good looking games there are out there for the PS Vita (compared to the PSP).  There is Assassin’s Creed III ($39), Madden 13 ($25), or FIFA 13 ($39)

2012-ipodnano-product-initialWhile my son would love an iPod Touch ($299), I am not sure if any child needs to be online 24/7.  There is a great alternative in the new iPod Nano ($149), especially if the child you are shopping for is extremely active (or you want them to be more active).  The redesigned iPod nano now has a larger, 2.5-inch Multi-Touch display. It plays music and has Genius playlists and FM radio.  It has enough memories to watch watch movies and widescreen videos on the bigger screen. The iPod Nano tracks your steps, your runs, and burned calories and syncs to the Nike+ website to challenge friends. And with built-in Bluetooth technology, you can wirelessly connect to speakers, headphones, or car stereos.  While you are at it, you can add some amazing iHome rechargeable mini speakers as well.

If your child is a skateboarder, you may want to consider a Tony Hawk skateboard deck and kit.  I know what you are thinking, "What’s Tony Hawk a skater back when I was a kid?" and the answer is yes and somehow he is still skating and he is still pretty awesome… if you consider a 900 degree turn on a skateboard awesome.

If you teen is planning to do something awesome like that, you may want to get them a GoPro camera ($169) and a headstrap to record the madness/injury.

Sometimes the best technology and gifts are some of the most basic.  Binocular prices have dropped while the optics are still great.  A pair of compact Bushnell binoculars ($30) are perfect for a hike, some urban exploring, and compact enough to toss in a bag.  If taken care of, they will last a lifetime.

Canada at War: A Graphic History of World War II:  A visual look at Canada during World Ward II.

Canada at War follows the developments and setbacks, wins and losses, of a nation learning to stand up for itself in the midst of the most difficult war of the 20th century.

In graphic-novel format, fully illustrated and in full colour, Canada at War shows the growth of a nation’s army, navy and air force through movingly depicted triumphs and tragedies. From the disheartening losses at Dieppe and Hong Kong through the Battle of the Atlantic and the invasion of Sicily, it focuses on the human dimension of the key battles and decisions that ultimately swung the war in the Allies’ favour.

This poignant graphic account ends, after the victories of D-Day and Juno Beach and the liberation of Europe, with a final reckoning of the legacy these storied years have had on a country forged through war. Aimed at both adult and young adult readers, this very human history tells the stories behind some of this country’s most distinguishing military moments.

Christmas Gift Ideas and Gift GuidesIf I missed anything or if my suggestions made you think I was absolutely crazy, let me know in the comments. You can access the current edition and previous years list of Christmas gift guides here.

All I Can

JP Auclair Street Segment (from All.I.Can.) from Sherpas Cinema on Vimeo.

This came via @kr_wolfe in reply to this post. It’s a worthy rebuttal.

The Battle of the River Plate

One of my favourite movies of all time.  More on the Graf Spree can be found on Wikipedia.

Roundball Rock

The only good thing that John Tesh has ever done .

Project: The Story of Saskatoon.

The other day DeeAnn Mercier and I were arguing about the hiking the food desert that she was a part of last year. I was talking about it being kind of pointless when Station 20 West was opening up when I realized how much people spend each check day to get to Safeway/Superstore/Wal-Mart in taxis which of course comes right out of the food budget. While Station 20 West will be a big part of the solution, it is still a long ways for people to get groceries. That lead to a discussion about some of the stats in the core neighbourhoods that we have heard over the last year and DeeAnn suggested visualizing some of those statistics into videos. The idea was appealing although relearning Flash (or more than likely Swish wasn’t appealing) As we brainstormed, debated, argued, and brainstormed some more we put together a framework that hopefully will tell the stories of what life is like for those below the poverty line in Saskatoon.

The plan is take look at a bunch of different urban issues that are affecting Saskatoon. Housing, drugs, crime, sex trade, income disparity, racism, urban design, food security, and even sports. Using video, we want to tell the story from the perspective of those struggling to get by but also what the City of Saskatoon, the Province of Saskatchewan, the Government of Canada, and service providers are doing about it. While the story of people struggling is told and the story of government initiatives are told, they are often told independently when in reality they are totally connected.

It’s also a chance to do a project like this correctly. Too often we have seen documentaries shot in Saskatoon that ignore the facts of the situation. They tell a sad story but miss the contributing factors, what others have done, and either ignore the bigger issues or place blame in the wrong places (sometimes on the individual, sometimes on the wrong part of the system).

It won’t be one episode but a series of 10-12 minute videos posted to our channels on YouTube and Vimeo with the goal of posting one a month. If you are interesting in joining our little project to explore and tell the stories of life in Saskatoon, why not contact us at jordon@collectiveimpact.ca or deeann@collectiveimpact.ca

You can find out more about our efforts at collectiveimpact.ca, follow us on Twitter (@TheCollectiveSK), YouTube (CollectiveImpactYXE) and Vimeo (CollectiveImpactYXE).  We’d love your help and feedback.

The original pitch video for The Muppets

There’s also a scene with Kermit right at the end which  didn’t make it into the clip.

After Leo’s powerful speech, Kermit appears from off-screen against a CBS logo and shrugs, "What the hell was that all about?"

Review: 2012 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid

Review: 2012 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid

I am not really a Lincoln kind of guy.  I work in a homeless shelter so it felt odd taking it as a tester and I don’t fall asleep thinking of luxury sedans which makes it hard to review but here is my experience with it.

When I got in the first time, I was confronted with my third different Sync setup in three different cars, a decision that confuses me.  It did look good with leather, genuine wood and chrome touches.  While young families aren’t Lincoln’s target market, there was plenty of room and despite coming from the 2012 Ford Edge, no one in the backseat complained. 

What suprised me was the quality of the ride; it wasn’t as good as the Ford Edge or as much fun to drive as the Ford Focus.  It does have some strong points.  It has both the Blind Spot Information System with cross-traffic alert. Using two multiple-beam radar modules, the car  can detect when a vehicle enters the defined blind spot zone and illuminates an indicator light on the mirror. Cross-traffic alert uses the same technology to help detect if a car is approaching from either side within 14 metres of the vehicle when backing out of a parking space.  It’s a feature that works well in Saskatoon’s urban jungle, especially when looking for a parking spot.

The car didn’t win me over the first time I sat behind the wheel but it did grow on me as I got used to it.  While I wasn’t happy to see a new MyTouch interface, the combination of buttons and touch screen is a good one and the stereo is of excellent quality.  Despite the cold, the leather seats heat up quickly and the traction was excellent on some of Saskatoon’s icy streets.  The handling was fantastic but it did win me over as being comfortable and relaxing.  I never did take the car on a long road trip but after a trip to Pike Lake and back down Valley Road, I realized this would be a fantastic car for a weekend getaway or an extended road trip either with Wendy or the entire family

As for styling; it was non-descript.  I kept losing it in mall parking lots because it looks a lot like a lot of other mid sized sedans.  While Ford got the design right on the Focus and the Ford Edge, the styling of the Lincoln MKZ Hybrid was very conservative, again perhaps of it’s market.

It was an hybrid and I did get excellent fuel mileage out of it.  Ford says that the electric motor can take you up to 75 mph and while I didn’t get it up that fast, it did take a lot less fuel to commute to work than the Ford Edge or my Mazda 5 ever does.

Summary:

If you are looking for a fuel efficient way to get around in comfort, this is your car.  It will get you around the city with class and to your destination with comfort.

Short term mobile phone storage for students

This is kind of crazy.

Mobile phones are banned in NYC public schools so a company called Pure Loyalty parks trucks outside of several schools so that students can check their phones, iPods, and other devices for the duration of the school day.

Life on 20th?

Some arts rapping about how they see life in Riversdale and the urban core.

Why are movie revenues dropping?

Roger Ebert tries to explain.

Ticket prices are too high. People have always made that complaint, but historically the movies have been cheap compared to concerts, major league sports and restaurants. Not so much any longer. No matter what your opinion is about 3D, the charm of paying a hefty surcharge has worn off for the hypothetical family of four.

After parking, it costs Wendy, Mark, Oliver, and I about $75 to go to a movie with drinks and popcorn which brings about Ebert’s next point.

Refreshment prices. It’s an open secret that the actual cost of soft drinks and popcorn is very low. To justify their inflated prices, theaters serve portions that are grotesquely oversized, and no longer offer what used to be a "small popcorn." Today’s bucket of popcorn would feed a thoroughbred.

Of course there are his next two points.  Crappy theatre experience.

The theater experience. Moviegoers above 30 are weary of noisy fanboys and girls. The annoyance of talkers has been joined by the plague of cell-phone users, whose bright screens are a distraction. Worse, some texting addicts get mad when told they can’t use their cell phones.

Our at home experience has gotten a lot better.

Competition from other forms of delivery. Movies streaming over the internet are no longer a sci-fi fantasy. TV screens are growing larger and cheaper. Consumers are finding devices that easily play internet movies through TV sets. Netflix alone accounts for 30% of all internet traffic in the evening. That represents millions of moviegoers. They’re simply not in a theater.