Saturday, March 31, 2018

The Funniest Thing I Heard Today

I was speaking with a client about the Toronto Maple Leafs' chances against the Tampa Bay Lighting in the first round of the NHL playoffs. It looks as though that may be the matchup to excite Leafs Nation.

Do the Leafs stand a chance against (Tampa Bay)? They are really good on paper.

On paper, but they're crap on the ice!

Friday, March 30, 2018

So Wrong They're Right Doc

A friend recommended I check out the 1999 documentary film, So Wrong They're Right. Filmmaker Russ Forster tracked down and recorded interviews with serious 8-track tape collectors and let them show and tell their stories of obsessions with that format. Interestingly enough the film stays in the U.S., although this decision was no doubt one purely of economics, after all, there must be obsessive collectors of a bygone audio play-back format in this great county, Canada. Then there's overseas.

I'm not a collector in the traditional sense, but I do enjoy watching someone speak about their love of collecting a 'line' of items. Enthusiasm can be infectious.

At first blush So Wrong They're Right looks and feels a bit like a Bruce Brown documentary. The Endless Summer (1966) is one of my favourite documentaries -- it must be the sense of filmmaking, something rare in today's crowd of docs where it's all about the "as is".

My buddy guessed right.

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Lookup Theatre Presenting Resilience

A friend of mine is involved in the Toronto-based theatrical troupe, Lookup Theatre. I've been given the brief on what they are all about and the work they do, which has spurred me on to post this piece. Lookup's show for this season is titled "Resilience" -- it's part of the TTYL ("Talk To Youth Lately") circus.

I'll let the flyer for the upcoming show speak:

"A circus show about mental health and the ability to return to your original form after being bent, compressed, and stretched."

"Resilience" runs April 27th (8pm show) and April 28th (2pm & 8pm shows).

At the:

601 Christie Street, Unit 176, Toronto

Tickets are $12 each. For information and tickets:

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Roseanne Has Returned to Continue

This television series non-watcher admits he sat down for the first eight or so episodes of the original Roseanne sitcom, which ran from 1988 to 1997. (My dislike of sitcoms made my achievement even more remarkable.)

What I saw of Roseanne prompted me to tell a friend: "It's a good show." (He concurred.)

The mouth on Roseanne: "I shoulda had my tubes tied!"

"Did she just say what I think she said?"

The series concept has been rebranded, or rather, continued, for today.

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

The Mathematics of the NHL Playoffs - Round One

Last night the last place Buffalo Sabres stomped on the Toronto Maple Leafs. I learned today from a hockey fan friend that the Leafs may very well end up matched against the Boston Bruins in the first round of NHL playoff battles. He said: "If they are, the Leafs are done!"

That reminded me of an article I read recently where Leafs Nation (supporters) are pessimistic of their "Buds" chances of getting past the first round if indeed the Bruins are their opponents.

What is it about the Boston Bruins that instills such fear in the minds of Toronto Maple Leafs fans?

Monday, March 26, 2018

Another Star Wars Movie (Of Sorts)

Onscreen graphic: "Lucasfilm."

My reaction was honest as I was still in the process of waking up.

"Another Star Wars movie?"

Oh, Star Wars: The Last Jedi. It's on DVD and Blu-ray tomorrow, March 27th. For some reason I'm all excited.

There's another "Pacific Rim" movie? A friend of mine is a fan of the original. Perhaps it's time I check that one out. Is Monster Island featured in Pacific Rim?

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Instagram Is Rolling

Due to a blog's stacked nature, photos and articles get buried in an archival pile of postings. To keep the image end of things up and active, I've posted pics to Instagram.

I Missed Earth Hour Last Night

No matter.

My television has not been energized in two days, and my overall power consumption is minimal. (For some reason my hydro bills continue to be high for a guy who prides himself on low electricity usage.)

Sol is beaming great energies through my window....

Saturday, March 24, 2018

An Instagram Telegram


Successfully started an Instagram account. Into keyboard type:

Photographs to be uploaded at earliest possible time.

Please visit.

Emolument.         Simon St. Laurent

Friday, March 23, 2018

It's National Puppy Day?

National Kitten Day would make me notice. I love dogs, but, as a classmate said to me back in design school, "cats are where it's at". True.

I prefer more-chilled fully grown cats over kittens, so National Cat Day would be most appealing. Needless to say, to a cat, every day is National Cat Day. ("... a whole race of humans to live as slaves.")

Bernard Malamud on Writing

"First drafts are for learning what your novel or story is about. Revision is working with that knowledge to enlarge and enhance an idea, to re-form it. Revision is one of the true pleasures of writing."

Yeah, a real garden of earthly delights. Otherwise, no argument from me.

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Missed Post: Giving Thanks Every Day

Well, I'll say you're a cynic, good sir. You have your health; people like you; you're funny; you're reasonably intelligent; as cute as a button; and you are gainfully employed.

Life can be rough, tough, and cruel. (Well, it is but humour me a little.) There are unfortunates out there: of mind, body, soul, and sometimes even geography (I met a guy from Iraq a few years ago who told me he went without electricity for six months at one point). I know more than one person who carries the great beast -- depression. They take chemicals in order to maintain some semblance of mental and emotional stability. We're not talking "today's gloomy", or "I feel a little down", but full-blown depression.

We measure our success at all levels against other people. It's a crappy and illogical human trait, yes, but that bar of platinum across the street, or aisle, often rests as our gauge. (Don't ask him or her "how's it going?". You may be surprised; you may have to look for another model.)

Be you, even if it hurts. And give thanks for what you have. Thanksgiving tends to put a lot of emphasis on having food on the table -- never a bad thing -- but it may make more sense to give thanks for what's on the shelves.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Leaving a Message

Many years ago my roommate at the time and I decided to have some fun: we recorded a message for answering machine which could be best described as "daring".

Dave had a four-track audio recorder; it used cassette tape, the kind of tape used as the 'outgoing' message on my Panasonic answering machine. Inspiration hit the two of us fast and hard. We wrote the script quickly and prepared to record the message. In my music collection I have a CD titled "Hollywood's Greatest Hits Volume Two". On one track Dave and I laid down Elmer Bernstein's theme from the 1956 opus The Ten Commandments, specifically, the pastoral passage right after the bombast proper -- the background music we hear playing under the voice of God.

Next: Dave's recording of the voice of God. His voice was better than my nasally own for this important document. After we had the two tracks down it was a matter of giving the commanding orator some reverb. (A dry voice track would inspire no one, no matter how persuasive the text.)

We were very happy with our effort.

As the British would say, "the show went out".

The reaction was much greater than what we were expecting. Callers who got the outgoing message thought it was very funny, hilarious. What happened was the word quickly got around about our answering machine commandments. People would call just to hear the message, and since Dave and I were busy guys, chances were that callers would get the machine.

A mutual friend went into hysterics when we gave him a live playback, but after he regained his composure, he told us his concern that some folk might not find our commandments humorous.

After some time Dave and I pulled the work. Unfortunately it's gone; we know not where.

Here is a reasonable facsimile:

"Luuuke. I mean....Mosesss. Thou shalt leave a message at the tone. Leave thy name and numberrr... (at this point Dave's voice speeds into a 'Maxwell Smart') ... And when I get a chance, I'll call you back!"

Tuesday, March 20, 2018


Ontario Progressive Conservative leader Doug Ford is looking to take the big prize come election time (on June 7th) -- if current polls are predictive.

I'm not against a change of government in the great Canadian province of Ontario, but....

Here we go: A government built of slogans; just what this large and complicated province needs.

* "The taxpayers of Ontario!"
* "Lower taxes!"
* "Stop the gravy train!"

... and possibly my favourite:

"Make this province great again!"

Monday, March 19, 2018

Hail Cesare!

Lee was a character. He still may be; I lost contact with him a few years ago. "Irreverent" is a word Lee would have called into being if it had not already existed.

One day over beers in the local pub Lee and I shot the breeze about our sports backgrounds. As we sat on our stools at the bar I told Lee that I had been a teenage hockey goaltender. He asked who I fancied myself to be when I stood between the pipes all those years ago. A young ice hockey player "pretending" to be one of his or her idols from the big leagues is natural, almost expected. (For me it was more a pre-teen road hockey thing.)

"Cesare Maniago."

Lee emitted his trademarked laugh, and said, somewhat mockingly: "You must have been a s**t goalie!"

I was not an "inadequate" puck-stop but that unimportant fact did not stop me from drooling a mouthful of beer down my shirt and onto my lap.

Origin: Latin. in 'not' + reverent 'revering'.

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Meanwhile, Down at the Legion....

Toronto Maple Leafs vs The Legion of the Winged Serpent.

Face-Off and Starship Invasions, two top-ten Canadian films, have something in common: teams sporting uniforms. In the former, the "Toronto Maple Leafs"; and in the latter, the "Legion of the Winged Serpent".

There is another commonality: pyramids. While the Leafs under coach Red Kelly hoped "Pyramid Power" would give them something extra, to no avail, the Legion neutralized the pyramid, vaulting them to some success.

The Leafs are playing well right now, but the Legion (the Boston Bruins?) will zap them from the playoffs.

Now that I think about it, "Toronto Maple Leafs vs The Legion of the Winged Serpent" sounds like an old Republic serial.

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Guy Maddin on Liberation

"It's so liberating to be self-destructive, at times!"

It may remind one where the walls are, sometimes.

Friday, March 16, 2018

A List of CV Things: Newest "Simon St. Laurent"

So you, the reader, know what it is you're getting into when you come here, I thought it was time I post my latest CV. And here it is, in "dust jacket bio" point form:

hospital photographer (public relations, general, haematology, surgery)
hospital A/V tech (live streaming, teleconferencing)
brewery worker (Molson Brewery: line and maintenance)
factory/warehouse worker
lighting cameraman (short film, music video, video production)
television studio camera operator
designer (feature film, television commercial, short film, web-series, exhibit)
optical camera operator (feature film, television film, television series)
set construction & prop building (feature film, TV commercial, independent production)
writer (print, short film, video production)
consultant (television commercial, 'process' screen, historical aviation screenplay)
researcher (film/television history, aviation, Soviet space program, general history, etc.)
producer / director (independent film & video production)
film programmer (Toronto Public Library)
* manager (self-storage; video duplication)
projectionist (film, digital; T.I.F.F.)
film festival technical director (R.P.F.F.)
instructor (film & video production; L.I.F.T.)
video tech (duplication, film-to-tape transfer)
web design
archivist (film/television)
baseball umpire (Ontario Baseball Association)
* ice hockey player - forward & goaltender (B.B.M.H.A.)
ice hockey coach - Bantam (Knights of Columbus)
football (soccer) player (B.B.M.S.A.)
siding installer & general construction
* sales agent / customer service

It's Friday? Again?!

We just had one. This insanity must stop!

A friend of mine is a particle physicist at the Los Alamos National Laboratory. I will try to arrange an interview with him. I need answers.

Check back here soon....which will be here soon enough!

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Honest Ed's Stomping Ground

Honest Ed's Sat Here

Soon to sprout up from the other side of this wall: something ugly.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

A Quote by Brit Psychologist Adam Phillips

"The sane adult is always smuggling his childhood into the future, refashioning his childhood pleasures as legitimate adult interests."

That explains a few things.

Email Fragment: Food for Thought

"Yeah, why does life get more complicated as one gets older? When we were children/teens we looked forward to the freedom of adulthood."

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

The Almost Great Movies

A recent discussion with a Toronto-based editor friend of mine about Steven Spielberg's 1977 science fiction epicish Close Encounters of the Third Kind got me reading up on the film. It's held in high regard today; generally. I have not seen it in many years: I was there when it hit theatres here in Ontario, Canada, but I was coolish to the picture -- a little disappointed. When "CE3K" premiered on television I found it interesting enough in that included were scenes not seen in the original release, but, again, I felt it to be good but not great.

For me there are more than a few almost-great feature films. The list could be huge, but I'm talking here of American mainstream films frequently held high. There are more titles, but this is a good start:

Apocalypse Now
Blade Runner
From Here to Eternity
Saving Private Ryan
Hot Rods to Hell

Monday, March 12, 2018

Robert Altman on Going to the Movies

"If you're not gonna pay attention, you're not gonna get it, so you might as well leave."

Most "tent-pole" movies today require little attention. Watch and leave.

Sunday, March 11, 2018

... Yes, We Are Back and We're Badder Than Ever

The return of Canada Geese in Toronto, Canada. Our population just went up.

Me on Filmmaking

"You can do anything you want to do."

Or, as Jim Jarmusch states and explains so eloquently:

"If anyone tells you there is only one way to make cinema, their way, get away from those fuckers as soon as possible."

Saturday, March 10, 2018

They're Back! (Canada Bastards Return to Toronto)

Better known as Canada Geese in Toronto.

Joseph Heller on Writing

"Every writer I know has trouble writing."

For some the affliction is so great they can't find anything to write about.

Friday, March 9, 2018

Jean-Luc Godard on Making a Movie

"All you need to make a movie is a girl and a gun."

And nerves made of gunmetal.

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Time For Me to Give Twin Peaks a Try?

Of course I remember when David Lynch's Twin Peaks first ran. (1990 all the way to 1991.) Of course I ignored it. I don't need no television pap to take me away from important things, like: Reading, writing, and knowledge.

An old cinematic buddy of mine has long recommended I give Peaks a try. He raves about the original series, and now, its latest incarnation. Last night, over beers with another friend, I decided the time is now. Soon. She's going through the series and has nice things to say about it, even though, like me, she's not a big TV person. (Smart lady.)

Before I jump into Twin Peaks, I must ask this question: Do I have to watch the episodes in order?

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Too Busy to Watch Just Two Movies? One?

I know I'm not alone in experiencing something like this. Last week I borrowed two DVDs and still have not watched them. For the dramatic purposes of this story, even better: I have to return them tomorrow.

The works of Messrs Tsai and Rivette I will revisit soon.

I must make time for Mr Green, however: The Snorkel (1958). No, it's not a film about a submerged U-boat running its diesel engines; it's a thriller from the fantastic Hammer Film Productions. A film that impressed me very much when I first watched it in my early teens. Great ending!

Will it stand up after all these years? A few days ago I rewatched the fine 1987 documentary film, Hammer: The Studio That Dripped Blood. I'm sure The Snorkel will be half decent, at the very least.

What? Creatures the World Forgot (1971)? I don't know you. But I am familiar with Mr Chaffey. It should be fun.

Sunday, March 4, 2018

Film Design: Subterranean Vault Facade

This early rough set design sketch is not giving anything away, as it is hardly original. It is for a project I am working on.

click on image to enlarge

Saturday, March 3, 2018

Film and Television Composer Gerald Fried

The famous "Star Trek fight music" was composed by Gerald Fried. He jokes that his ASCAP (American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers) royalty cheques keep coming in, fifty-one years after he wrote that percussive and driving piece for the Star Trek episode "Amok Time". ("The Ritual / Ancient Battle / 2nd Kroykah", its cue-sheet name, was reused for two subsequent episodes.) Television series such as The Simpsons and feature films like The Cable Guy paid homage and money.

Mr Fried was director Stanley Kubrick's first composer. They had known each other since childhood so it made sense that the oboist/composer and the photographer/filmmaker would get together to make some film art: Paths of Glory, for one.

For television Fried wrote much music for the shows The Man from U.N.C.L.E. and Gilligan's Island, and many others.

Gerald Fried turned 90 on the 13th of February.

The man himself sent me the above photo in October of 1991 after I wrote him a very un-fan-like letter. (A Note of Appreciation.)

Friday, March 2, 2018

Coming Up Here Soon Enough

On the 8th of February last year I posted a piece titled Article sample: "Yukon Crews" - Part One. The Canadair CC-106 "Yukon"was a transport aircraft used by the Royal Canadian Air Force (and Canadian Armed Forces) in the 1960s and early 1970s.

My intention was to follow up the article a week later with 'Part Two'.

Landing here soon....

Thursday, March 1, 2018

The Battle of the Ontario Progressive Conservatives

With the resignation of Patrick Brown the Ontario Progressive Conservatives are caught in a leadership vacuum. This morning I watched clips of last night's leadership debate. It did not look good.

Calling it "elementary school stuff" would be putting down elementary school kids, who can be quite sophisticated. With the exception of Caroline Mulroney there was no display of real intellect.

That party is in turmoil. To have any chance of pushing out the Kathleen Wynne Liberals, and neutralizing the NDP, the Ontario PC Party has to do better than what they displayed last evening -- at least in those clips. ("The taxpayers of Ontario!" Tell me more. I'd like a little more substance.)