Wednesday, February 28, 2018

A Turkey Shoot in Canada

While meeting with a friend yesterday I got into a bit of a discussion regarding "film". No surprise. (From Jonas Mekas to Ed Hunt.) He asked me if I have interviewed anyone who was involved in the production of the 1977 Canadian science fiction epic, Starship Invasions. Indeed I have.

In the summer of 1985 I met with "technical effects" man Warren Keillor in his workshop, and years later I worked with, and later hired, visual effects artist and cameraman Dennis Pike. Although my meeting with Mr Keillor was first and foremost initiated by me in the hope it would put my name out there for any possible contract employment after I graduated from school, he was very forthcoming and revealing when he talked of his experiences on Starship. Mr Pike offered many stories about "Alien Turkey" -- the name given the film by some on the production crew. (The original and working title for Starship Invasions was Alien Encounter. Unfortunately a film with a similar name was also in production: Close Encounters of the Third Kind. The producers of the Canadian-made effort had no desire to start an interstellar war, hence the change to the pulpy, and perhaps more enticing, title.)

In production: Stories about the making of "Alien Turkey". No, not Close Encounters. That film's best described as "Alien Pigeon". Or Turkish Starship Invasions.

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Colette on Writing

"Writing only leads to more writing."

Volume leads to gems.

Monday, February 26, 2018

Charles Baudelaire on Writing

"Inspiration comes from working every day."

Writing is best a habit.

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Are The Germans Talking Hockey?

My 'Germany' correspondent (a German friend) filed a report today saying that his fellow countrymen are not talking too much about the ice hockey upset: The German mens' victory over the Canuck squad at the Pyeongchang Olympics this past week.

Perhaps that German pride works in silence; the Canadian media makes all the noise.

Saturday, February 24, 2018

The Canadian Men's Hockey Team Gets the Bronze

Just got the news about an Olympic event in Gangneung, South Korea:

No doubt the guys from the Czech Republic put up a fight, but I'm happy to hear the Canadian Men's ice hockey team captured the Bronze medal. They deserve it.

I'd rather a team made up of  'regular' players win a Bronze than one comprised exclusively of NHL'ers winning a Gold.

The Breakfast Cereal Isle?

Looking for canned peas. But somehow I end up in the wrong aisle: the breakfast cereal section. Look at all the multi-coloured boxes! Which reminds me of a story of when a friend of mine came into town to visit TIFF (the Toronto International Film Festival).

As per just about any month or year, in September of 2006 my cupboards lacked any boxes of cold breakfast cereal. Not even one to impress, or feed, visitors.

My friend and I would have to eat in the morning. His visiting me was cause for celebration: going out to eat. "There's a really good diner just around the corner." For the duration of this special occasion my buddy and I whirled a variation on this brekkie thing.

Later on I heard something that broke my breaky heart: "Going without cereal for so many days was tough on me."

"You should have said something! I would've picked up a couple boxes of Froot Loops."

Friday, February 23, 2018

Expect the Unusual When You Don't Expect It

The radio was on this morning as I prepared for lift-off. "Germany has never won an Olympic (ice hockey) game against Canada."

What does a cynic with a disposable razor do? He says: "Oh, no."

The radio, later: "Germany is ahead four to one after two periods."

Oh, no.

Just when I forgot the game was being played: "A shocking loss!"

Germany is not some country foreign to the exciting game of ice hockey. It's long been played there. "Eishockey."

Here come the Germans!

Thursday, February 22, 2018

A Lovely Good Early Morning it Was

A good morning for me is:

Hearing the birds chirp, drinking the perfect coffee, and getting the news that the Toronto Maple Leafs lost their game the night before.

What? They didn't play last night? They played on Tuesday? And won?

That is the early morning I enjoyed today.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Orson Welles on Movie Making

"It's about two percent movie making and ninety-eight percent hustling. It's no way to spend a life."

And now it's almost all about the "tentpole".

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

What's With Team U.S.A.?

As I wrote in a previous posting I do not watch the Olympics. However, news about what medals have been won does get my attention at times. Minutes ago I heard what the tallies are thus far; the order of nations. One thing really stuck out.

Team U.S.A. is grossly underperforming. My limited knowledge of such affairs tells me they should be near the top in the medal count. We, Canada, have eight gold with a total of nineteen medals. The U.S. sits at five gold with twelve tins in total. Norway is at the top, no surprise. If there is not a big push-up in the American results I'm guessing a shakeup is in the cards.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Explaining Leafs Losses

An old buddy of mine, who in a past life hated 'organized sports', is a big Toronto Maple Leafs fan. I'm not sure if he's a certified member of Leafs Nation or not, but I'm thinking any unquestioning support of a fumbling sports organization earns one an automatic blue card.

Last night's loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins prompted my pal to text me with "where's Batman when you need him?". It was late, I was tired, so it took a moment for me to make the connection.

I replied with some uncharacteristic sympathy:

" 'The Leafs are different this year.' Simon sprays tea through his nostrils as he giggles uncontrollably.

"You're the Exchequer of Leafs Nation and you have to address Parliament and explain the massive deficit."

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Honest Ed's Gone

Coming Soon: "Behold the Crackerboxes!"

Friday, February 16, 2018

Nick Zedd on His Part in Arts History

"History is whoever gets to the typewriter first."

Everyone can do it but one does it.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

I Could Not Resist

A conversation between a believer and a non-believer:

BELIEVER: We don't do that.
BELIEVER: We only do what's written in the bible.
NON-BELIEVER: What, printed and bound in the U.S.A.?

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Film Composer Jerry Goldsmith (1929 - 2004)

Yesterday a friend reminded me that it was film composer Jerry Goldsmith's birthday "today" -- he would have turned 89. Also, actor Jonathan Frakes tweeted that Goldsmith is one of the most inspirational artists he has ever worked with.

What impresses some of us about the late great film-music composer is his body of work. Take a step back and look at the variety of scoring. From horse operas to space operas, with small and intimate films in between: Wild Rovers to Star Trek - The Motion Picture, with A Patch of Blue and some Gremlins. From television: signature themes for Dr. Kildare, The Man From U.N.C.L.E., and The Waltons.

I met Goldsmith at Toronto's Roy Thomson Hall in November of 1990. He had three concert dates where he played a sampling of his movie material. While I chatted with some people in the lobby after the concert I overheard an older gentleman telling another regular concertgoer (they were dressed like season ticket-holders) his feelings: "I was very impressed . . . it must take an incredible mind . . . that's a lot of music."

"Mr. Goldsmith, I finally get to meet you. I've been a fan for twelve years." I remember the slight smile on his face. Oh yes, another nutty fan. (I was one of many nutters in that lineup.)

I was uncharacteristically a little nervous. Big name, small name, I don't care. But. I'm thinking: "This is the guy who wrote Ave Satani !"

Saturday, February 10, 2018

The Cats Came Back (Die Katzen kamen zurück)

On March the 8th of 2016 I wrote about my affection for the domestic cat; the house beast. They can cost us a lot of money, give a little grief, but in return they provide, or may provide, lots of love and affection. Of course, if they know you "hate" cats they will initiate and facilitate your demise.

Katzen, Chats, Gatos, γάτες, Catti, Koty, коты, Cathod, Cats....

My posting from yesterday, "A Swinging Cat", spoke of cat-fights and cat-sitters, and cats. While I grew up with both a cat and a dog as family pets, I much prefer the feline due to that type's lower maintenance requirements in addition to its rudimentary affection characteristics. (Notice I did not mention veterinary costs.)

Many years ago I came up with two little and hardly original bits to sum up my admiration for Felis silvestris catus.

* I do not trust any man who doesn't like cats.

* There cannot be a more blissful existence than that of the pet cat of a loving owner.

You were saying?....

Friday, February 9, 2018

The Time Difference - Olympic Proportions

Watching a 2018 Winter Olympic event is difficult for us Canadians since South Korea is many hours in the future. Some hockey fans here say they have little interest in watching hockey matches. Their rationale is: NHL players are not the Canadian squad.

Why would professional ice hockey players from the National Hockey League be in the Olympics?

They should not be playing in an amateur-sport event.

Thursday, February 8, 2018

The Olympics is Back On

On the CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) at this very minute is the Winter Olympics. Life is going fast when there's almost seamless branching between various Olympic games.

The last time I watched the Winter Olympics was when team U.S.A. and team Canada played for the gold in February of 2010. Sydney Crosby was the hero, and when he popped the puck past the U.S. goaltender I found the living room ceiling.

The last time I saw any Summer Olympics -- a less interesting affair to me -- was the 1984 games. That was a long time ago. I watched a few hours one day. Actually my reason for tuning in was to check out the new slow motion video system. Playback in slo-mo was as smooth as normal speed video....there was not the tug-tug-tug-tug of conventional slow motion replays.

Exciting stuff. Which is why I'm going to go back to my book....

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Entrance of the Fibrillators

Caught a few minutes of an insipid NHL (National Hockey League) game a few nights ago. My favourites, the Toronto Maple Leafs, whenever they had possession of the puck, shuffled and sputtered to the strains of "Entrance of the Gladiators". Is this their anthem?....

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Lawrence Kasdan on Writing

"Being a writer is like having homework every night for the rest of your life."

And it's always math homework.

Monday, February 5, 2018

Harlan Ellison on Writing

"Writing is the hardest work in the world. I have been a bricklayer and a truck driver, and I tell you -- as if you haven't been told a million times already -- that writing is harder. Lonelier. And nobler and more enriching."

I've worked many kinds of jobs in my years and I wholeheartedly agree.

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Ray Bradbury on Creativity

"Creativity is a continual surprise."

And its rewards are incalculable.

Saturday, February 3, 2018

Honest Ed's Almost Gone

Franz Kafka on Getting Ideas

"You do not need to leave your room. Remain sitting at your table and listen. Do not even listen, simply wait, be quite still and solitary. The world will freely offer itself to you to be unmasked, it has no choice, it will roll in ecstasy at your feet."

Like my cat when he wants food. As natural and honest as that.

Ludwig van Beethoven on Creativity

"I carry my ideas about me for a long time, often a very long time, before I commit them to writing."

Even lesser mortals and insignificant talents like me utilize that methodology. I call it "RAMing".

Friday, February 2, 2018

Ready to Get Inside the Trump White House

Some force made me walk into a Chapters store here in Toronto. I must have known.

I will dig into Fire and Fury - Inside the Trump White House (Wolff) almost immediately. What is the proper hot drink to accompany this read? Tea? Coffee? Hot chocolate?....

I'll tell you how it all ends. What will be the proper drink when you read my news? Beer? Wine? Vodka?....

The Attitude of the Toronto People

Out of stamps! Shoppers Drug Mart is still open; it has a Canada Post outlet.

Good. Just one lady ahead of me. And one person at each of the two 'wickets'. Line up. I'll be through in no time at all.

I had failed to notice that each of those two people had bags of parcels to mail. No rush. No panic.

The line did not move after the woman lined up in front of me was called. About six or seven people had stacked behind me by that point. They entertained themselves with their smartphones. (How did we entertain ourselves during transit or waiting in line before those electronic devices came along?)

I had been stationed at the "next" position for about ten minutes when the middle-aged Asian gentleman in the process of being served turned to me and asked: "Do you want to go through?"

"No problem, sir. I'm in no rush at all."

About another ten minutes passed with me getting no closer to my postage stamp. Just one person from the lineup had ejected by that point. The rest stayed and waited patiently.

The Asian man turned to me again and asked if I was sure I did not want to sneak in. I was fine with waiting. He then addressed the whole lineup and said, "if this was Hong Kong everybody would be yelling at me".