What’s Been Happening – Feb 2015 Edition

TorStarSendOff-1024For the past 15 months I’ve had the tremendous pleasure of working at an institution I respect enormously: The Toronto Star. My job was to support the toronto.com property, where hard working editors constantly maintain an up to date list of things to do, attractions, restaurants and events such as concerts and plays, in our wonderful city.

And along the way, I got to work with an awesome team of software professionals, tasked with supporting, maintaining and enhancing the digital version of Canada’s largest newspaper.

But, sadly, all things come to an end. The powers that be decided to move the Toronto.com site off the WordPress platform, and onto Adobe’s CQ5 content management system. So my job was disappearing. I was advised of this decision well in advance, so I started my job search early. But truth be told, I was kind of hoping something would materialize at TorStar.

It didn’t.
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Essential Movies

It’s happened a couple of times: while chatting with colleagues I reference a seminal movie, and I get a blank look, or “I’ve never seen that.” My jaw drops. “You’re kidding!”

We’re talking about such mammoths of cinematic history as Apocalypse Now, or The Ten Commandments.

So I started putting together a list of essential movies. And here’s what I’ve found: there are essential movies, and there are really, really good movies. And sometimes, the difference between the two depends on your own introduction to the movie. So, yeah: this is my own opinion of what constitutes an essential movie. And the line is blurry; and it may move. But this is it for now. Continue reading

A Sunday

Lovely day today. Yvonne was off work, so we thought we might spend the day together. What a novel idea!

We were thinking of going to the Toronto International Art Fair, but our friends Hugh and Diane warned us it was lame. They instead recommended the Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibition at Nathan Philips Square, in the summer. I’d actually stumbled into it many years ago, and it was inspiring. Kinda missed it this year. We’ll gear up for the next one July 9-11, 2010. (Pluswhich, the TIAF is $18 to get in, whereas the outdoor one is FREE!)

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So we decided to have lunch at Caplansky’s, then head out to the Distillery District to finally check it out. (We’ve been promising ourselves to go visit for a couple of years now.)
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News Update

It’s been over two weeks since I blogged.  It’s been busy: lots of projects at work, my sister and her husband came in to town and stayed at our place, my mother-in-law had health issues so my wife and her sisters were visiting her.  As I say busy, busy.

In the meantime, I’m participating in my Green candidate’s election campaign, putting up signs, canvassing and managing the fauxharper attack blog.  I attended an all candidates debate at Beth Emeth synagogue, but the clueless moderator turned it into a very boring, single issue debate.  It was all Israel, Israel, Israel.  Of course, Israel is an important issue, deserving of our support, but let’s not lose sight of the fact we live in Canada, and we’re under attack here as well, from the right-wing policies of Stephen Harper and the Conservative party.

I received a phone message from Ken Dryden after blasting his campaign workers for ignoring my request for face-time until they needed my support during an election.  He promised to call back, but never did.  I spoke to him briefly at the debate, but he basically wouldn’t commit to a position on either net neutrality or copyright.

Onto more pleasant subjects: I bought an electric guitar off craigslist and took my first music lesson.  Sadly, I’ve been too busy to practice much; but I’ve already started to turn that around.  This is important to me, so I pledge to dedicate time to this.  I’m shooting for at least 15 minutes of practice a day.

Well, that’s it for now.  See you in the funny papers.

I Want to Get This Good at Photoshop

I’ve been using Paint Shop Pro for years.  I got pretty good at making greeting cards, but there was a limit to what I could do in terms of photo-realistic compositions.

My friend, Kristan Uccello, posted a link on Facebook to a set of tilt-shift miniatures, which I think I can pull off.  I’m also interested in learning how to do High Definition Range photos.  I’ll keep you posted.

What really got my juices flowing, though, was a link to one of the artists in that list: Glenn Karlsen from Norway has some terrific and amazing images.

I’m not sure you can do this stuff with The GIMP, which is the open source, cross-platform image manipulation program I’m currently using, but I’m going to give it a shot.  Watch this space for developments.

Joss Whedon Does It Again!

What cool people I work with!  Today at 12:30, we gathered in the boardroom with our lunches.  Buddy Richard hooked up his MacBook Pro (oh!  How I’m missing Bender.  And it’s only the first day…) to the projector, and regaled us with the first episode of Joss Whedon’s latest effort: a micro-miniseries (3 episodes, 15 minutes apiece) entitled Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog.

It’s high camp, to be sure, and artfully showcases Harris’ impeccable comedic timing, as well as Whedon’s mastery of the genre. Continue reading

Russian Army Dancing to Run DMC – It’s Like That

Sitting in a bar with friends, a familiar tune comes on.  I’m trying to figure out what it is and where I know it from.  Then I remember: a video of the Russian Army, dancing, to Run DMC’s It’s Like That.  Loved it.

Sharing it with you here to keep my hand in at placing videos in WordPress posts.  It took me a while to figure it out.