Showing posts with label a sense of longing. Show all posts
Showing posts with label a sense of longing. Show all posts

05 November 2012

but have you seen it on vimeo?

for those of you who may have missed my short film "a sense of longing [oblivious]" when it first appeared, here it is again, now on vimeo. [cue frustrated you tube rant here.]

enjoy!

a sense of longing [oblivious] from Kate MacDonald on Vimeo.

31 December 2011

friday favourites 30.12.11

so this is how it ends... it's the very last "friday favourites" of 2011, which means i really should be reviewing my favourite things from the entire year. my friends, i can't say i'll miss this year very much, which is sort of frustrating, because i said the same thing last year, but i guess the good news is that i'm fully aware of the problems i have and the things that will eventually solve them, which is actually an improvement on last year, when i felt like things had been largely out of control.

[way to start a piece called "friday favourites", dumbass -ed.]

but the fact that i'm happy to be moving on to 2012 doesn't mean that there weren't parts of the year that i enjoyed greatly. in fact, there were several things that stand out. i've decided to divide my preferences into a few posts- this one is more general, but there will be separate ones dealing with music- and beauty-related things. i should have both of those ready for you tomorrow.

in world affairs, i've obviously been getting way more than my fair share of involvement out of the campaign for the republican presidential nomination. i see now that mitt romney and rick santorum are having their turn to surge, which i think means that romney is the new anti-romney. i'd like to thank all those of you who've followed me on twitter, both those who found me because of my incessant need to tweet the republican debates and those who stuck with me in spite of it. one of the things about insisting on indulging all my selfish interests is that i'm sure some people end up wondering what the hell they've gotten themselves into.

really, the biggest event for me was that, for once, i agreed with time magazine's choice for person of the year. well, it's been known to happen in the past, but i didn't expect they were going to go with my choice. then again, it's hard to ignore the power of the protestor and it's encouraging to see that, despite repression of varying sorts [depending on where in the world you're protesting], those voices are being heard and causing change. dom and i were at the vet's office having our little boy seth checked out [he has some occasional problems with asthma, like his mum] when we found out- via twitter, appropriately enough- that hosni mubarak had resigned, after weeks of insisting it would never happen. of course, there are still big problems facing egypt, but i can't help but admire that "ok everybody, back in the square" attitude that prevailed when things weren't progressing well or fast enough. it remains to be seen what will happen in egypt, tunisia, libya, syria, bahrain and across the arab world, but the most important element is that there are more voices being heard. [and, i should add, that holds true even when we don't like what's being said. the transformations of the arab spring will likely make things more delicate and complicated for governments in the west. such is the nature of democracy.]

on these shores, of course, we had the much maligned and misunderstood occupy movement, which strikes me as a sort of pan-movement, indicative of broad-ranging dissatisfaction rather than focused anger. that openness of message was often used against the protestors who marched, camped, fed and sheltered [remember those services the next time someone harps about how much the protests were costing- many of the people eating and sleeping at those camps would have otherwise been at municipal soup kitchens and shelters]. the protests in canada were generally defused when the camps were dismantled [sometimes with acrimony, but often, as here in montreal, with a remarkable sense of cooperation]. in the united states, they have moved to a new frontier, peculiar to their specific cultural situation- occupying homes foreclosed on by banks who received billions in taxpayer funds after having blown up the economy in 2008. the more attention shifts to scenes like these, the harder it is for bitter conservatives like newt gingrich to laugh off the voices of the people by saying that all they need is a bath.

i think i was especially relieved to see these sorts of protests, because they showed how such things can be done well- unlike events in england which saw people targeting such corporate monstrosities as an independent record company and a multi-generational, family-operated furniture shop. way to stick it to the man, guys.

i don't feel any great sense of encouragement when i look at the governments of either the united states or canada, but i am hopeful that the badness of the times will encourage more people to speak up about the obvious inequities of the financial and political system, which perpetuate gross inequalities.

well now that's a bit heavy for a friday night, isn't it?

on a personal level, although i think i could have done better, there are a few accomplishments i'm proud of. i was really happy to be able to envision and create a short film earlier this year, something i didn't know how to do until, well, until i did it.

although i would like to have written more, i am pleased that i got back into publishing "a definable moment in time" [which got its name this year, thanks to dom], especially since it's encouraging me to finish a project i've been working on for a few years.

i was very happy to get the opportunity to do a regular dj night [the first wednesday of the month, if you've been wondering], especially since the folks at cagibi are so lenient with what i can get away with. i've been very appreciative of those who have come to those nights and who have taken the time to ask about what was played or just to say that they enjoyed it. plus, of course, i've had the opportunity to do other nights, including a couple of returns to the radio waves, something i'd not done in years. these things have brought a lot of smiles to my face.

i'd also like to add that, on the level of personal satisfaction, this blog ranks really high for me this year. although i started blogging here in 2005, my efforts had always been sporadic. this year, since i had more time on my hands than ever, i decided to really see what i could accomplish. 2011 has seen more posts on a wider variety of topics than any year previous. there has been more traffic- far more- than ever. i have received more feedback through comments here, on facebook, on twitter or through other means and that has been an amazing source of encouragement. i think it's telling that the most popular posts for 2011 include ones on the subject of cosmetics, politics and mental health. i'm aware that what i do here- maintaining a blog that features my blah-blah on any number of topics- is a little confusing and can be difficult to follow, but i'm happy that there are those who have chosen to follow, if not every post, then at least from time to time.

i am indebted to you all for your interest.

a few weeks ago, i indicated that i was going to be playing around with different layouts and, indeed, i did. here are a few of them:






if you missed me trying out the new "dynamic" layouts, it's because "dynamic" turned out to be a code word for "bollocks". the layouts that i tried were all sort of interesting to look at, but they were incredibly difficult to follow. it wasn't clear where old posts were located, everything in my side bar disappeared and the instructions on how to get things working again were predicated on going to a page that no longer existed as an option within blogger. so, i went back to a standard layout, being mindful of those who'd told me that my previous layout was making them blind, and tried a slightly different colour scheme. i'm still not sure that i'm crazy about it- there's something about the old grey-on-black that was more "me" [i.e., difficult to make sense of -ed.], but i am very happy with the cool new banner that dom designed for me. so at least that'll be a sharp new look for 2012.

i hope that 2011 has been a fulfilling year, but if, like me, you have had a rough time of it, i'd like you to all follow the example of hecubus below: put it behind you and look forward.


HAPPY NEW YEAR!

11 November 2011

friday favourites 11.11.11

yes, as a matter of fact i have been looking forward to typing that date in my friday favourites all week, thank you for asking. this being the longest possible iteration of a palindrome date, there is plenty of superstition about it. as far as i can tell, there is about an equal chance that today the world is going to end, i'm going to win the lottery and aliens descending upon us. all of which would at least make things interesting, right?

as regular readers of this blog will know, i have an aversion to including things in friday favourites multiple times. largely, this is to keep me on my toes, because it would be really easy to write every week about how thomas pynchon, good sushi, dark lipsticks and the wonderful, faintly musky scent of seth's skin continue to improve my world in ways i'd never anticipated. so it makes me think throughout the week [yes, i do actually think about these posts before i write them] about all of the things that i'm enjoying, big and small.

but in the last couple of days, it's occurred to me that i was going to need to address something right off the top, even if it was just a wee bit repetitive. if you check last week's favourites, you'll see that i referred to the republican party nomination as "the gift that just keeps on giving". somewhere between 9 and 10 on tuesday night, it occurred to me that i had possibly [almost definitely] been a little premature in my assessment. as dom and i were watching the live stream of the debate [and fyi, screw you cnbc for not streaming the debate yourselves and for having your corporate lawyers bully others who wanted to offer access to those who don't get your channel via cable], at that "crucial moment", we made eye contact, as if to say to each other: "is it possible rick perry is doing this just to entertain the two of us?"

of course, that's just silly talk. lots of people were entertained by rick perry on tuesday. it's just arrogant for me to assume that he was trying to impress me.

now comes the tricky part...
in case you think that perry's gaffe is getting too much attention, i'd like to offer my thoughts on just how remarkable it was. i was raised in a political household. i can remember watching televised debates for canadian federal elections when i was still in single digits. i have watched many, many political debates in my time- a lot more, i'll wager, than most people ten years my senior. i watched reagan-mondale rather than doing my science homework. i have never seen anything like rick perry forgetting which multi-billion dollar federal agency he was going to eliminate. people up here remember john turner's infamous meltdown in the 1984 canadian federal debate, but the fact is that what most people remember is the verbal ass-whooping laid on him by his opponent, not turner's fumble.

i remember watching a debate between candidates in a nova scotia provincial by-election on community access cable [you thought i was kidding about my political geekiness?] with the ndp's robert chisholm [who eventually won and is now running for his party's national leadership, twenty years later] and front-running liberal randy ball. ball had evidently never been told about how unkind cameras could be [particularly when you're standing next to someone like chisholm, who looked like he strolled in from a g.q. cover shoot] and the ten of us province-wide who tuned in to watch were treated to an hour or so of ball swaying, sometimes alarmingly, from side to side and sweating like he had a glandular problem. [the swaying got so bad that he would often swing into shot when the camera was on another candidate.]

to be clear, i am comparing the candidacy of rick perry, who raised $17 million in the third quarter of this year, to a candidate in a by-election in a canadian province with a total population [at the time] of under a million people [only a few thousand of whom lived in the riding in question].

that is one epic brain fart, sir. [and by the way, rick, if you were trying to impress me, mission accomplished.]

but as fun as that was [and as much as i'm looking forward to seeing what happens when the gang regroups next week], there are other things that made me happy this week in a much more positive way. here are some...

back in the 70s, i could sleep
eye spy :: although i've owned a smart phone for about two and a half years, i'd generally resisted the urge to stuff it with apps, partly because i live with someone who has a penchant for apps that make lots and lots of noises and i feel like my nerves are shattered enough and partly because i'm too lazy to browse through what's available. but a strange confluence of events has left me with a renewed interest in my phone's camera and a chunk of credit at the itunes store, allowing me to experiment for the first time with paid apps [as a rule, i won't use my own money to pay to put little time-wasters on my phone]. i am somewhat afraid of just how much fun i'm having with these.

imajicam, which has a number of filters for both photography and video and spooky pic, which is a cute little gadget that lets you creep-ify photos either as you take them or from your history, are both fun free add-ons.

i made seth spooky!
at $1- $2 a piece, super 8, silent film director and the much discussed hipstamatic are wonderful tools for making your cutting edge technology work like stuff you put in the garbage years ago. yes, it's counter-intuitive, like sampling vinyl crackle to put on a cd, but it's loads of fun.

it can also create some surprising results. i used both super 8 and imajicam extensively on the short film "a sense of longing: oblivious" and the effect of the two makes the piece.

while i'm unlikely to be downloading an app that makes my phone produce farting noises, i am finding these camera apps dangerously addictive. further suggestions welcome.



combining apps for unforgettable results. and by unforgettable, i mean, you won't be able to forget this, no matter how much you might want to.



the gold standard :: after seeing the interesting but over-rated "the ides of march" earlier this week and then getting into debate mode, i felt compelled to re-watch "all the president's men" last night. although you could argue that the film is more about journalism than about politics, to me it will always be the film by which other gritty, realistic politically-themed dramas are judged.

made in the wake of the watergate fallout and the resignation of richard nixon, it's a gripping look at how the story came to light and at the the kind of effort it took to get it there. every journalist i've ever met has a serious employer-crush on jason robards as washington post editor ben bradlee and hal holbrook's performance as the informant "deep throat" has become iconic in western cinema. [and by "iconic" i mean that the simpsons parodied it, which is really the mark of cultural relevance in modern-day north america.] it's one of the few films that manages to convey an incredibly suspenseful atmosphere in spite of the fact that we all know how it ends.

animals being dicks :: pretty much exactly what it says. i saw this linked on www.thebloggess.com last week and i haven't stopped laughing about it since.

that's all for this week. i'll leave you with something that would be disturbing if it were people, but adorable since it's cats- a little brother-sister bath-time love [no camera apps needed here].


thanks for reading!

14 October 2011

friday favourites :: 14.10.11

it's one of those weeks where picking friday favourites is actually really easy for me, for two reasons:

1. i didn't really do very much

2. the one major thing i did do makes me feel pretty awesome.

and, in fact, my favourite things about this week are all related. for those of you who didn't see my shamelessly self-promoting post on facebook earlier, this week i made a short film, all by myself. here it is [there are some details that might be difficult to see, so i recommend expanding to full screen. i'll be here when you get back.]:



this isn't something i'd really thought about trying in any serious way, but having seen what others, in this case dom, could do, i did want to try. i fully expected this experiment to end in me snarling and growling in frustration [which i literally do at times], because, as i've learned from working on a feature film, making a movie is incredibly hard even when you have other people working with you.

now, to be fair, since i wasn't working with a script, or lighting, or actors in any generally used sense of the word, it was a little easier to go at my own pace. the small problem, of course, was that i basically know nothing at all about film-making. when we were making conversion, people would try to involve me in discussions of camera placement, number of shots, length of shots, etc., until they realised that i was nodding mostly because my brain had become full and was making my head feel heavy.

but i figured, it's not like i was volunteering to build a bridge or anything. no one was going to die as a result of my short film. [although, in retrospect, that little blast of controlled bleeding might, in fact, create the danger of a heart attack.] so i took my shot. and it was really enjoyable for me. and here's why.

strolling :: a friend of mine used to refer to my "famous walks", because i was kind of like one of those robotic animals that you just wind up and let go until their batteries run down. i get walking and i just keep going. this has, of course, resulted in my batteries running down in some kind of strange places over the years, but i've always managed to find my way back home. i've also learned that it's a good idea to turn around and start walking back in the direction i came at some point.

there is something about the process of going for a stroll that i just really enjoy and that often seems to invigorate my sense of creativity. [swimming sometimes has this effect, but i don't get the opportunity that often and it really sucks when your batteries run out on an epic swim.] i've come up with the kernels of a lot of my story ideas while out strolling. alternately, i just ruminate on something that's on my mind as i walk and, ultimately, it often morphs into a story on its own.

so monday afternoon, i went for a walk, because the weather was unseasonably warm and not that long into my foray, i had an idea for making a short film. the original idea was a little different, but i worked out that it was complicated and likely to get me arrested, both of which were deterrents.

nonetheless, rather than start planning everything out, i figured i might as well seize the day, meaning seize the monday, since i was outside in an area where i could get some possibly relevant shots.

for me, nothing beats a good stroll for getting those creative juices flowing.

SEE WHAT ELSE WAS INVOLVED, PLUS THIS WEEK'S KITTEH!


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