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I haven’t died… yet.

It has been a while since I posted anything and it is not like nothing has happened.

Eiffel Tower at NightI took another amazing trip to Europe. The goal this time was to see amazing new things that I would not have seen if I actually planned the trip. It may not be a surprise to some of my loyal readers that I have a short attention span and my plan for Paris was simple. Do the Eiffel Tower at night, then on my full dat go to L’Arc de Triumph, go in Notre Dame, and see Rodin’s House. L'arc de TriumphWhat did I end up accomplishing? Just the tower and arc from my list.

As it turns out I was going to walk down the Champs de Elysee to get to see the Charles de Gaulle statue and get on the Metro. As I walked down the street I noticed these mini malls and started to check them out until I found one that near the end had a back entrance to an alley. It was in this ally that I found the most amazing baked thing with raspberries that has ever entered my mouth. I should have taken a photo or wrote down the name of it… but it didn’t last long enough. At this point I realized that I spent way more time than I though I would have so I finished the street and made it to the metro. I never did find that statue but I got this amazing photo.

Champs de Elysee

IMG_0053Then I get to the Metro station and I have to transfer twice to get to the Arts et Metiers station. Though I never made it there. Why not you might ask? It is because I ran into a station that the train stopped at nearby called Bonne Nouvelle. For those readers IMG_0060that know some French will know that the name of the station means Good News! What type of explorer would I be if I missed the opportunity to visit Good News. So I got off and then made it to the street and got my bearings to the general direction I needed to go. Then as a continued to walk I found a little hidden gem not one but two really cool old arches that were even more impressive than the main three of Paris.

IMG_0063Then finally after a 20 minute walk to where I was supposed to get the train to, I finally arrive at the Musée des Arts et Métiers. As i make my way around the building to the entrance to the museum I get the amazing welcome that many poor immigrants to the United States got to experience over a hundred years ago. It was a bronze cast of the plaster model original that was used to size to scale the giant version of La Liberté éclairant le monde (Statue of Liberty) that welcomes people to New York harbour. This museum has the original plaster version inside the converted church that is now basically a church of science and IMG_0947engineering. The name of the museum is a little deceptive because it translates to Arts and Crafts but there are amazing gems in this place including a kilogram, a satellite, every measuring item that you can imagine. Very old adding machines up to the Cray-2 (world’s fastest computer 1985-1990). Very old to almost new but obsolete technology. It is a geek’s nerdvana.

After the Museum it was time for some lunch then grab the train to Notre Dame because I had a plan. As I started walking down the street passing station after station looking for a Baguette sandwich that I was craving I realized that this was probably the only place in town where there was no food cafés or I just stuck at noticing things and missed them. Finally I find one and it was the best ham and cheese sandwich that I ever had (at that time and for about a week until I hit up Rome).

By this point I was at the City Hall and enjoyed the square and was getting tired but I could see the Notre Dame in the distance so why not just walk the rest of the way. As I get there my feet are tired because I had new shoes and my gel insoles were still in my bag at the hotel. I see the big line and figure why not take a few photos in front of the church and the head to the Rodin House.

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IMG_0099I then get in the Metro and make it to the Rodin House but by the time I get there my time is up and I need to walk back to the pick up point. I went back to the hotel to get changed then we headed out for dinner where I really enjoyed some wine and great french food. Seen a cabaret style show. Then tried really hard to debate some very good points, lose a stupid argument, and headed back by taxi to the hotel for some sleep and then a really long shower to relax.

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My Logitech M-BJ58 2000-2008

I just tried to change the LED in my mouse to a Blue LED. Let’s just say it did not quite go as planned. After putting the LED inplace I plugged it in and worked but as I put the clip back in I somehow chipped the printed circut on top. I was thinking that possibly I could use a small wire and follow the circut down further to the next solder point. I miss my mouse.

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I now got my Mac :-)

Because I want to make a post but did not have a topic, so I am going to make this post about my new MacBook. I really am now wishing my main computer was a mac but this is really one of the best computers I have used. (Leave comments with your recommendations). I’ve still been looking for places to get free software for it. I’m having issues at the moment networking with my PC but I thing the problem it is because I can’t even network my Windows XP with it ATM.

I’ve also been working on new patches for WordPress 2.5 that is due to come out March 10th. It wasn’t working in IE7 (back-end) so that was also one of the reasons I never made a post lately, that and starting a Full-time job that I haven’t really done since July 2005. It is really tough getting used to a FT job if you’ve been away from it for a while. Although I am glad that now that I have more experience it seems better suited than the last time I have done call-centre work.

Finally, since it is getting late (2:12AM), I am working on re-structuring TheRealBurgers.com and going to start doing real full movie reviews since I tend to disagree with most critics, I thought along with Tony Tompkins, to post these reviews of all the movies I have seen as I see them. I may even port the reviews to my Flixster account, which can be seen through Facebook as well like the RSS feeds of this site as well.

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Acadamy Awards picks and comments

Ok, so let’s begin the post I have promissed a few days ago about my what my Oscar Pics whould have been. Here are my choises and comments.

Best Actress-

Performance by an actor in a leading role
    Will Smith in “The Pursuit of Happyness” (Sony Pictures Releasing)

Will Smith really diserves this award. I have never been the largest Will Smith fan but his acting in this movie just about made me cry.

Performance by an actor in a supporting role

I really don’t know about this catigory who should get this award. There is really not an outstanding name to look for here in this catagory. Neither nominated or not.

Performance by an actress in a leading role
  Meryl Streep in “The Devil Wears Prada” (20th Century Fox)
  Kate Winslet in “Little Children” (New Line)

These 2 names are my hopfulls, but I was really hoping to see maybe Kirsten Dunst here for here roll in “Marie Antionette”

Performance by an actress in a supporting role
  Abigail Breslin in “Little Miss Sunshine” (Fox Searchlight) 

Best animated feature film of the year
  “Happy Feet” (Warner Bros.) George Miller

If any movie diserved this more it was Happy Feet. I have never seen more non-moviegoing people go and see a Cartoon movie than I have for this movie. Even though I missed this one.

Achievement in art direction
  “The Prestige” (Buena Vista)
Art Direction: Nathan Crowley
Set Decoration: Julie Ochipinti

Achievement in cinematography
  “Children of Men” (Universal) Emmanuel Lubezki 

Achievement in costume design
  “The Devil Wears Prada” (20th Century Fox) Patricia Field
  “Marie Antoinette” (Sony Pictures Releasing) Milena Canonero

Both are very deserving of this award.

Achievement in directing
  “Letters from Iwo Jima” (Warner Bros.) Clint Eastwood
  “United 93” (Universal and StudioCanal) Paul Greengrass

Best documentary feature
  “My Country, My Country” (Zeitgeist Films)
A Praxis Films Production
Laura Poitras and Jocelyn Glatzer

Best documentary short subject
  “Rehearsing a Dream”
A Simon & Goodman Picture Company Production
Karen Goodman and Kirk Simon

Achievement in film editing

None of the nominiess seem to belong here, I really think that this award might have been better chosen 

Best foreign language film of the year
  “Water” A Hamilton-Mehta Production

Achievement in makeup
  “Apocalypto” (Buena Vista) Aldo Signoretti and Vittorio Sodano

Achievement in music written for motion pictures (Original score)
  “The Good German” (Warner Bros.) Thomas Newman

Achievement in music written for motion pictures (Original song)
  “Our Town” from “Cars”

Best motion picture of the year
 My choises would have been:
The Devel wears Prada
Night at the Musem
Prusuit of Happyness
Marie Antionette

Best animated short film
  “The Danish Poet” (National Film Board of Canada)

Best live action short film
  “West Bank Story”

Achievement in sound editing/Achievement in sound mixing
  “Apocalypto” (Buena Vista)
Sean McCormack and Kami Asgar
Kevin O’Connell, Greg P. Russell and Fernando Camara

Seriously this movie had to have the best sound track ever. The sound in this movie tells the story better than the acting.

Achievement in visual effects
  “Superman Returns” (Warner Bros.)
Mark Stetson, Neil Corbould, Richard R. Hoover and Jon Thum

Really dissapointed that “Night at the Museum” was snubbed. The reason I liked this one for visuall effects was that they looked real. Most visuall effescts are just too computer faked lately it is sickining. 

Adapted screenplay
  “Notes on a Scandal” (Fox Searchlight)
Screenplay by Patrick Marber

Seriously Borat cannot win this one. That movie is a mockery of Screen play writing.

Original screenplay
  “Letters from Iwo Jima” (Warner Bros.)
Screenplay by Iris Yamashita
Story by Iris Yamashita & Paul Haggis

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All about Melanie

You would think that it calling Rogers and talking to the voice automation is bad. Then you have never had the pleasure of meeting, Melanie, the inbred country cousin that guards the pay-as-you-go phone line. This computer does not even recognize the common commands that you can use with other auto-gatekeepers. And what is worse is that every Rogers call centre rat is trained to sick Melanie on you.

Why can Rogers use the same system as every other service for Pay-as-you-go. At least that person has half a brain to understand what you want, and not listing everything.

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Reminiscing the Past

My 1st Computer Graphic

After two people recently mentioned they went to school with me at Loch Lomond School I decided to crack open the old year books and look for them. It was a shame that I have miss placed my yearbooks from Fundy Shores (1989), Simonds High (1998). and that there wern’t any yearbooks or I didn’t get one; Fundy Shores (1990 or 1991(I left mid-way threw)), St. Rose School (1991), Bayside Jr. High (1996 & 1997).

It always amazes me the number of people who I went to the same school with that I never knew by some how knew be, be it the girls I chased (Colleen and Christy) or my bodyguards, (Ed, Mike and Darren) my nemesis, (Donald) or the people who I bullied of had my head in the sand while kicking repetitively. I even came across my very first computer graphic… it was made on a Commodore 64 Computer (I had typed PC before changing it to computer, as in those days they wern’t PC’s.) It is funny how people thought it was good in 1994 but would laugh now.

If you are any of these people who know me and I don’t know you please sign my guest book, I don’t even know who is still alive (I’m starting to sound like my grandmother now.)

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Making a TV Show

Note: This article was originally written for Journalism 2023 Journalistic Writing in November 2002.

The 50th Annual Saint John Santa Claus Parade comes around for another year. This was a difficult production for producer Don Ferguson to organize volunteers. In addition, the float list was only available late on Friday afternoon. Three hours before the parade was to begin, we headed down the hill to set up the equipment. On arrival, we realized the taped introduction had the old TVNB logo and Parade 2001 on it. It was determined that we could just cover it up with graphics, but at about the time the parade was about to start to come down the hill the tape got jammed in the machine and I had about 2 minutes to come up with an alternative. Then the parade went really well until the floats stopped coming down the hill in order of the list and then it was a scramble of; What float is it, type it in, bring it up and take it down and repeat for about forty or so floats.

After a hard day of work, after the family dinner, many families sit down to feed their brains with hours of Television. For a small dedicated group the night of TV starts differently, this group is not home watching TV they are making it. This is the story of the dedicated group of staff and volunteers at Rogers Television in Saint John. These people come together to get together and have a good time to make community television. One of the part-time staff members is often quoted saying, “This is not working it is a hobby.”

A typical shoot will begin with the Producer ironing out the technical details, arranging for sponsorships, and going down the volunteer list trying to assemble a crew together. The task of gathering a crew can sometimes be the most difficult task of all. There are three categories of volunteers. The first group are the extremely dedicated ones. This group will sign-up for just about everything that they can. This group is relatively small about a half-dozen or so. The next group is the regulars they are usually quite dependable. The regulars usually have a certain focused interest, like bingo or sports. Then there is the third group that are either always extremely busy, lost interest or do not even remember why they are on the list. This last group is where most of the difficulty in forming a crew comes from after the first two groups are exhausted the producer has to spend hours of trying to get someone from this group interested.

The volunteers all have some interesting stories that occurred during their years. This group comes from all lifestyles, call centre workers, retired tax collectors, former professional TV people, and car dealers. They range in the spectrum from students to retired. In general, they get together to make TV, not in a deadline setting like a commercial TV setting, but one of just to have a good time and make some TV.

After everything is in place the producer and graphics person get started doing research and graphic design as this usually takes up most of the preproduction time. Then there is set up, which could be as simple as turning on and adjusting a studio camera and wiring a few microphones. This can also be a daunting task like a hockey game which involves miles of cables to be haled all through the arena and taped down to avoid tripping setting up and adjusting a half-dozen cameras, half-dozen microphones, set up a replay machine, a fibre feedback to the station, and lighting for the dark areas.

In November is typically a busy month. The month started out with the Kiwanis TV Auction. This is a relatively simple event, to begin with, at the beginning of October J-P Quinn the producer begins with organizing the crew and booking a mobile production truck to come down for the shoot. Then comes the cancellations, of the cancellation, including the Audio, Graphics, and half the camera operators. On the Tuesday in the morning before the auction, I received a call to see if, I would be available to take over the graphics. Only two of us on the list that could do the advanced graphics required for the auction. I really started my job the day before the show. The auction required an animated introduction, over 300 lower thirds, or graphics on the bottom of the screen, and a credit roll for the end of the show. While I was working on this J-P and several volunteers went down to the Trade and convention center to set up.

 Then the long-awaited show day came, it started with setting up the lights, microphones, and phasing or adjusting the colour of the cameras. The show went abnormally flawless. The second major production was the annual Remembrance Day Ceremony this was the worst show I have ever worked on. It started badly by the fact that we could not acquire a mobile for the show resulting in ripping out the rack used for the weekly common council meetings. Since there was, only one graphics computer in Saint John the plan was to send the signal back to the studio by Fibre-optics and put them on there. The first problem was that the computer crashed ten minutes before the event was to start and I forgot to save the graphics. In addition, the fibre feed did not work so they recorded the show on site. When Don Ferguson the producer for the show returned with the tape, we put the graphics, music and taped interviews on the tape. After we finished there was barely enough time for us to rewind the tape. The show looks so awful there was almost no sound and the camera cables were not good enough to see anything but backs of the head.

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Journal Entry Nov 7, 2002

Tap Tap Tap, the sounds of little pink fingers tapping on computer keyboards fill the air, as I am in the process of finalizing my news story that is due in measly eighty-five minutes. After a few minutes, it will just become a disconcerting background sound like a buzz from a fluorescent light, or the fans of an air exchange system.