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Week 43

April 9, 2012

I’m going to make a new moratorium to not write a goddamn post on the iPad because the WordPress app LOOOVES to lose things.

I have been drafted into a group for the Toronto Film Challenge, where people band together in a 48 hour period to produce a short film. I immediately suggested we run the cameras for all 48 hours and title the epic WARHOL IS DEAD but apparently there’s a time restriction and no one was happy with my idea anyway, so boo.

The trick of the Film Challenge is that there is a “challenge pack” which contains a certain item or theme or genre that must be used in the short. I have an ill feeling that my short will involve either:
a) the death mask of a former lover
b) pig’s blood
c) the theme of “awakening”

I’m HOPING our challenge pack contains a crate of Red Bull and a frame photograph of a thumbs up.


I completed LONE WOLF AND CUB volume 3, which now sits awkwardly between volumes 1 and 5, because, I guess, Dark Horse is holding off on the reprint or will be releasing new editions somewhere down the line. I’m sure they’ll be hardcovers or in colour or obscenely beautiful. But until then, I scrabble through the bargain bins in search of treasure.

I also finished THE TIPPING POINT by Malcolm Gladwell which made me feel very, very alone. There’s a section where you self-test and the “average” score is like 15. I got 2. Because the test was “DO YOU KNOW A LOT OF PEOPLE? HERE ARE A BUNCH OF COMMON GIVEN NAMES, HOW MANY DO YOU KNOW?” The high scores were like 70s. I got 2. In my nightmares, Gladwell is the Ghost of Christmas Future, pointing at my grave and then all the other graves to see if I recognize anyone I know. Then I sob into nightgown and it’s Christmas morning, the spirits did it all in one night. Then I throw money out the window at a passing boy because he remembers the giant turkey in the window of the shoppe down the street and my instructions are BUY THE TURKEY AND DESTROY IT AND I WILL GIVE YOU DOUBLE THE MONEY I HATE TURKEY FUCK.

For one of my projects, I’ve been spinning the research wheels and digging up everything I can about Alberta and the Tar Sands. A good tool has been TAR SANDS (who would have dreamed!) by Andrew Nikiforuk. The book is excellent; the prose clean and detailed. One of the biggest things it’s achieved so far is in clearing up my thoughts towards the product being extracted from Canada’s Saudi Arabia: bitumen. Not oil. The industry says oil because we think of oil as a commodity that has a certain number of pros and cons. But this is not oil. It’s bitumen. A horrid, dense product that has to be “forced” to provide any amount of energy. And before you start thinking that it might be similar to coal, it isn’t. And for one very good reason: it doesn’t BURN. Bitumen sits very high on the ground, mixing with the top layer of soil (sand, often) and however many forest fires happen in Alberta have failed to set fire to this shit. Annually, processing this material takes more water than would be needed to satisfy Toronto, and we use it to break up this fuel that needs processing before it can even travel by pipeline.

And this is our future of energy.

In a town like Fort McMurray, where it’s faster to get cocaine than a pizza. Where amphetamines are involved in nearly every arrest. Where there’s no tourism because the fatality rate on the one highway road up is a thousand times higher the most accident prone highways in all of Canada. Where you’re the employee of the month if you show up on time to work. Where each oil company (and every major oil company in the world has a stake in Alberta) have their own private airports to fly workers to and from the major cities where they live.

It’s a fascinating way to think about our resources, and how we’re destroying not only millions of acres and millions of gallons of water annually, all for the sake of a fuel that won’t burn if you set it on fire.


THE RAID – REDEMPTION – Lots of raiding, very little redemption, one instance of doorframe killing.
DR WHO – Series 6 – Re-examined. Fun. Lots of good. Lots of whatever. But the stuff they do, they do well.
THE WICKER MAN – Goddamn pagans and their hilarious nude scenes.
HOMELAND – I continue to work my way through that.
THE CHASER – Hot damn.

There’s bound to be a great deal to say if you were able to take the history of cinema, line them up by country and then examine their growth and diversity by comparison to the American industry. The Chinese seem interested in doing historical epics with the same volume as the American Westerns were, whereas the Japanese industry grew out of it at the same time as the American did. The next step was, of course, the crime thriller, where South Korea’s obsession with the outsider and the serial killer has deep roots.

But that’s an heavy book subject, and my copy of THE STORY OF FILM by Mark Cousins has had shipping delayed twice.


This is always my weakest section for a few reasons: 1) I never feel completely comfortable discussing everything I do, 2) I never want to use the actual project names, 3) I don’t work for money as much as I should.

Speaking of which, I have shit to do and a 7 am to contend with. This is the internet. There are no solutions today.

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