So this is what regular life feels like

Long weekends used to mean an extra day to get schoolwork done before going back to the office. This long weekend, on the other hand, has meant an aggressive regime of nothing topped off with some lazy-sprints. True, we’ve cleaned up and organized and bought some things for the condo, and done the usual mundane housekeeping things like groceries, laundry and, well, housekeeping, but it’s felt like a very nice, relaxing weekend indeed. I had no intention of going away or doing anything for the long weekend (TIFF all but prohibits that anyway), just enjoying the city. And the weather…my god, the weather. Sunny & warm, but not muggy or smoggy. Just perfect. The barbeque’s gotten a workout.

Speaking of TIFF, Nellie got all 20 of her #1 picks too. She never did get her email, but we checked online et voila. We have 17 together, which is nice; always better to have someone with you in the line.

We’ve watched a couple of movies this weekend too, in an attempt to clear off the PVR in advance of next week when some things will pile up. Dan In Real Life (imdb | rotten tomatoes) was ok…cute, if a little boring. Steve Carell proved once again that he can do subtle as well as over-the-top. 30 Days Of Night (imdb | rotten tomatoes) wasn’t bad, as far as violent vampire thrillers go, but when your two leads are as bland and expressionless as Josh Hartnett and Melissa George, you’re in trouble. Timothy Hutton almost saved the film, but not quite.

[tags]tiff, toronto weather, dan in real life, 30 days of night[/tags]

23 boxes = closer than you might think

My first time picking 30 film festival movies went better than I could have expected. Not only did I get all 30 tickets without missing any, but I got my first choice in every case. Here’s the final list:

  • Waltz with Bashir
  • RocknRolla
  • Me and Orson Welles
  • It Might Get Loud
  • Sauna
  • Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist
  • Religulous
  • Deadgirl
  • Is There Anybody There?
  • Slumdog Millionaire
  • Zack and Miri Make a Porno
  • Not Quite Hollywood
  • New York, I Love You
  • Het Zusje van Katia
  • A Christmas Tale
  • Flash of Genius
  • Er Shi Si Cheng Ji
  • The Brothers Bloom
  • The Hurt Locker
  • Leonera
  • Martyrs
  • Fifty Dead Men Walking
  • Synecdoche, New York
  • Tokyo Sonata
  • Acolytes
  • El Cant dels Ocells
  • L’Instinct de Mort (Formerly Mesrine)
  • Domovoy
  • Bajo Suelos Ricos
  • Miracle at St. Anna

I like that list. I like the mix of bigger, more popular releases and small international titles.

I didn’t realize this when I was picking them out, but the Ryerson is easily the most frequent theatre for my viewings. In fact, 11 of my first 12 screenings are there! Fine by me, since the Ryerson and the AMC are the closest theatres to my place. Here’s my breakdown by theatre:

  • Ryerson 19
  • AMC 5
  • Scotiabank 3
  • Varsity 2
  • Isabel Bader 1

Note the absence of the Cumberland (they were all but shut out this year), and the paltry number at the Varsity. In years past I’d have spent most of my time at the Varsity and seen at least one or two at the Cumberland. The inexorable march downtown continues, I guess.

Now I have five days to relax before the games begin. Must buy Gatorade, nutrigrain bars and an ass pillow…

[tags]tiff, tiff08[/tags]

Just call me sweetbuns

I’ve just gotten back to the city after a few days at my boss’s cottage up north. Work thing…get some people out of the office for a couple of days to actually think about some stuff instead of just putting out fires. And bond a little too. My boss made ridiculous amounts of ridiculously good food (lot of ridiculous going on up there, including the above-captioned nickname) and it was nice to wake up next to a lake again.

But now I’m back, and have returned to film festival news. We were in box 32 of 78 (thanks baby!) and they appear to have drawn box #9 in the lottery. I think that puts us in pretty good shape. With 30 films I suppose I’ll miss one or two, but I’m feeling pretty good about it. Now I just have to wait for the email…

[tags]tiff, tiff08[/tags]

Everybody…word scramble!

It’s official: I passed my final exam, which means I passed my final course, which means I have an MBA. I guess technically I wait until my convocation in October, but whatever.

So…now that I have BComm, FICB and MBA trailing after my name, what fun words can I scramble those words into? I suspect it could be difficult, given the paucity of vowels.


TIFF picks, or: a fool's hope

OK, I think I have this sorted. Here’re my choices (first / second) for the thirty films:

  1. Waltz with Bashir / JCVD
  2. RocknRolla / Delta
  3. Me and Orson Welles / One Day You’ll Understand
  4. It Might Get Loud / Vinyan
  5. Sauna / More Than A Game
  6. Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist / Il Resto della notte
  7. Religulous / Three Blind Mice
  8. Deadgirl / The Burning Plain
  9. Is There Anybody There? / Afterwards
  10. Slumdog Millionaire / Voy a Explotar
  11. Zack and Miri Make a Porno / Genova
  12. Not Quite Hollywood / Hunger
  13. New York, I Love You / Disgrace
  14. Het Zusje van Katia / Den du frygter
  15. A Christmas Tale / At the Edge of the World
  16. Flash of Genius / Management
  17. Er Shi Si Cheng Ji / Flammen & Citronen
  18. The Brothers Bloom / Snijeg
  19. The Hurt Locker / Adoration
  20. Leonera / What Doesn’t Kill You
  21. Martyrs / Revanche
  22. Fifty Dead Men Walking / Gomorra
  23. Synecdoche, New York / Anonyma – Eine Frau in Berlin
  24. Tokyo Sonata / Uncertainty
  25. Acolytes / $5 a Day
  26. El Cant dels Ocells / Pontypool
  27. L’Instinct de Mort / The Dungeon Masters
  28. Domovoy / Control Alt Delete
  29. Bajo Suelos Ricos / Lymelife
  30. Miracle at St. Anna / The Other Man

Now I just have to fill out the form and cross my fingers.

[tags]tiff, tiff08[/tags]

TIFF: the most wonderful time of the year

I have now read through the film festival guide book and marked off the films I would like to see. This is my first year seeing 30, and I think I may not have been sufficiently adventurous. Seeing 30 films means picking 60 (you pick a 1st and 2nd choice for each ticket) and I don’t think I’ve marked 60 films that aren’t off-limits because of venue.

Nellie’s going through hers right now. We have to have them all selected by the end of the night since I’m leaving town tomorrow. Speaking of which…must pack.


More film news: they’re making not one, but two sequels (probably) to Hard Core Logo (imdb | rotten tomatoes). Time to grow hair again, Hugh Dillon.

[tags]tiff, tiff08, hard core logo[/tags]

A note on Usain Bolt

I obviously haven’t had much to comment on the Olympics, though I have been trying to keep up. There’ve been lots of great stories — the little singing girl swap, Michael Phelps, Canada’s late burst of medal-winning, the Cuban guy kicking the referee in the face, and so on — but the one that’s really bothering me is the furor around Usain Bolt.

For those who don’t know, Bolt won the 100m dash, generally regarded as the showcase athletic event at the Olympics, without breaking a sweat. He actually cruised the last 20m or so (since no one was around him) and even pulled up a bit when he started celebrating his win. This caused a wave of indignation from…well, old people. They were angry that he didn’t “run through” the finish line, that he pulled up and started to celebrate (beating his chest, etc.), and that his celebration was a little too exuberant.

I find this patently absurd. Usain Bolt is 21 years old. He had just broken the record in the world’s premier race and become, pretty much officially, the fastest human on the planet. He’s from a country that’s fairly well known for exuberant celebrations. He’d just capped off four years of grueling work by winning in front of tens of thousands of screaming fans. With all this screaming through his mind, in the final 1.2 seconds of that 9.69 second run, you expect him to become austere? Maybe show some emotion by pumping a fist? Ridiculous.

One of my enduring mental images of the Olympics is Donovan Bailey, having just won gold in the 100m in Atlanta, decelerating after the finish line with his arms spread wide, eyes bulging, screaming triumphantly. Was that, too, classless in the eyes of the likes of Bob Costas, one of Bolt’s biggest detractors? Many have taken Costas to task for this, but I think Heather Havrilesky from Salon might have done it best:

He became the fastest man on earth by a long shot, breaking his own record, while every other contender huffed and puffed along several feet behind him. How would anyone dare to claim that he owed it to the fans to run even faster, or that he disrespected them by celebrating a little early? What in the world is Costas, space alien from Planet Honky, talking about? Why should Bolt care about class, of all provincial, bourgeois values? What the hell is class, anyway, but some arbitrary code that soulless, high-capitalist professional robots live by? You know what I like to see in the world’s greatest athletes? Exuberance, and joy, and tears. I’d like to see them rip their clothes off and run around the Bird’s Nest naked.

Side note: the words “Planet Honky” made me laugh out loud.

As much as NBC would like to proclaim Michael Phelps’ 8 gold medals the story of these Olympics, I don’t know how it can’t be Usain Bolt. There are imbalances between the number of events available to swimmers compared to other disciplines, so I think it has to come down to who utterly dominated on the biggest stage, and who became a star in the process. In my mind Usain Bolt owned his competitors, the fans and these Beijing games.

[tags]usain bolt, bob costas, heather havrilesky, beijing olympics[/tags]


Another beautiful morning in Halifax, my last on this trip. In an hour I’ll have breakfast with Stanzi (in town temporarily herself), then head to the airport.

Last night I met up with friends at Salty’s for a few drinks on the waterfront. Somehow I ended up with a bottle of Moosehead…tragic. Anyway, some of us left there and had a fantastic dinner at Il Mercato. Knowing I’d have pasta the following night I stuck to seafood (never a bad choice in Halifax) and had shrimp & salmon…both fantastic. We knocked off a couple of bottles of Chianti Rufina (and a glass of white for my fish) and ordered decadent desserts. One of our party may have over-extended himself, but he recovered quickly.

Feeling poetic, we decided to finish off the evening at The Bitter End. It wasn’t a long night for me by any means though. One friend hit the wall and left early. My glasses of Macallan lasted me ’til around 11, but I needed some solo recharge time. I walked back to the hotel alone, suddenly reminded of how quiet Halifax streets (those outside the downtown core, at least) are at night. It felt peaceful. It felt right.

I was done. It was time to go home. Home home. I know I talked about Halifax being my spiritual home, if there is such a thing, but home is ultimately wherever Nellie is, and that’s where I feel like I need to be right now. I feel like a little chunk of me hasn’t lived there for the past four years…it’s lived in a text book or the computer or a hotel room during a week away on course. It’ll be nice to have that chunk back, and for Nellie to have it all there too, since she’s done without it for the last ~1400 days. What’s more, she’s been amazing about it. If she were anyone other than herself I probably wouldn’t have made it to yesterday.

One final, funny note: last night, sitting at The Bitter End, they were playing (What’s The Story) Morning Glory? by Oasis. Odd choice, since it’s an old album…then I remembered something: after writing the last exam of my undergrad — which happened to be the very same subject as the one I wrote yesterday — I met some friends at the campus pub to celebrate. That day in the pub they played the fairly recent Oasis CD (What’s The Story) Morning Glory? and we discussed the ridiculousness of the lyrics to “Wonderwall” over celebration beer. Twice in my life I’ve had that particular celebration, and each time I had the same soundtrack. The world’s funny, if a little precious.

[tags]halifax, mba, salty’s, il mercato, bitter end, oasis[/tags]

100% & 100%

That’s it. Done. Finished. Kaput. All over but the crying.

I wrote my last exam this morning. I was the third one out, finished around 11:00. Went straight to the bar next door with the other early exiters and had a beer. Then another. Then some veggie burgers. Then more beer. Now I’m performing the very important post-celebration rite of relaxing in my air-conditioned hotel room. We’ll head for dinner a little later; for now I just need to chill and absorb.

It feels good. Really good. But I don’t think it’ll sink in until tomorrow. Or maybe Wednesday when we get our final marks.