Highwaymen Take Large Dump on Field

Media Release

For Immediate Release


August 31, 2010 (Yellowhead, SK)  After spending the Bye Week studying their own flaws whilst consuming buckets of KFC, Highwaymen players and coaches stumbled upon a bold new strategy in preparation for last weekend’s game.  “We shit ourselves,” began Highwaymen owner/coach, Captain Jarrett Rusnak.  “We all shit our pants right on the field.  We shit ourselves over and over again.  It was a sea of shit out there.”

Indeed the strategy seemed to work in the first quarter as the team jumped to a 14-0 lead over defending champs, CK Barnagel.  Highwaymen players were repeatedly observed defecating in their pants and then promptly hugging their Barnagel opposition upon the conclusion of plays.

“They didn’t want nothin’ to do with us,” said Buck Duke, Yellowhead’s starting left guard.  “Between plays we’d help their guys off the ground and hug them as a show of good sportsmanship.  Of course, after a few plays they didn’t want us touching them.  They didn’t even want to hit us during plays, cuz one time one of their guys hit our Centre low and wound up with umm…. splatter in his eyes.”

Over the final three quarters however, CK Barnagel got a whiff of what Yellowhead was up to.  They made critical adjustments, consuming cases of Ex-Lax.  “I think they ate really spicy Indian food for lunch,” said Rusnak, “or perhaps it was already shit when they ate it, cuz they were brewing up something aweful, and we just didn’t have an answer.”

In the end, CK Barnagel prevailed, 17-14.  While lamenting the loss, Rusnak went on to mention that the stadium clean-up will take several weeks.  “There’s so much manure laying around, our artificial turf went and sprouted new silicone.”

The ‘Regina Thing’

Last week of August.  First day back after a long road trip.  Got shit to do.

Yesterday I toured Sandra around Regina.  Showed her Wascana Park, the university, downtown, my old house, and other things.  Afterwards we fell into a conversation at O’Hanlon’s.  She’s simply not used to such a small city.  “What do you do here?” she asked.  I responded by asking her what she does in Vancouver or Havana.  After several minutes of contemplation, she admitted that hanging out with friends, going for walks, relaxing and working were the big things — all things she could do anywhere.  Vancouver sees more festivals and other cultural events.  There’s also a ton more traffic.  Getting anywhere requires patience because traffic moves so slowly.

Overall, I like Regina a lot.  If I could live here half the year, Bucharest for part of the year, and spend the rest of the year travelling, I figure I’d be leading a life rich beyond measure.  It wouldn’t even require that much money.  I’d just sacrifice the boat/cabin/RV/2nd car/toys that others purchase with their average incomes.

We bought groceries, made supper and then headed out to Shawn & Cheryl’s.  Sandra was worried about being outside, but Shawn had a fire going.  I brought beer and our conversation lasted late into the night.  Sandra introduced me to a lot of her friends and local customs when I visited her in Havana.  I thought bringing her by Shawn’s for a fire was a pretty ‘Regina’ thing to do (along with drinking at O’Hanlon’s).

Today has me at the office most of the day.  Sandra will be loading her new laptop up with my software.  I’ll be editing a video for the Red Cross.  After that we’ll see what the day brings.

Lot to Pack In

I’m home from my whirlwind tour of Vancouver.  Packed quite a bit into a short period of time.  When Jazzy wasn’t rushing off to be with friends, I spent time with her (usually rubbing her feet).  One of my biggest worries with Jazzy being two provinces away is that I’ll lose my connection with her.  However, after spending an entire summer together, I must say, our bond is stronger than ever.  When I did leave, there was nothing dramatic, no tearful goodbyes, no regrets, no heavy sighs.  It was all kisses, hugs and laughter.  Just like always.  Just as if I was heading out for the afternoon.  We’ll see each other soon enough.

It was super swell reconnecting with PJ again.  Being married for 10 years breeds a bond that changes, evolves, but never shatters.  Talking to her, laughing with her, even fighting with her has a familiar ring to it.  She talks about guy issues, I talk about girl issues, we talk about life, and really, it just feels comfortable.  We take a lot of pride in our friendship, and it’s probably a big reason why Jazzy has turned out so well.

I also had time to catch up with a friend on Wednesday.  Jocelyn and I spent several hours in and around Horseshoe Bay picking up where we left off in July.  She’s a filmmaker on the verge of breaking through with a number of smaller corporate projects, and soon will be doing larger stuff.  She’s where I was about 10 years ago, and I’m hoping she’ll be able to avoid a lot of the same mistakes I made over that period of time.

On Thursday I had lunch with Sandra (my Cuban friend).  She spent the last month living on a boat with friends on the Mediterranean Sea.  She visited Greece, Crete, and Turkey during that time.  She arrived back in Vancouver the same day as me to start a Masters in Community Development and Planning at UBC.

Lunch turned into plans for a road trip.  Sandra has never been through the Rocky Mountains or the prairies.  When I mentioned I was leaving for Regina the next day, she asked if she could tag along.

So here we are… in Atlantis.  She’s on her computer and I’m on mine.  We camped on Friday night near Field, BC.  The temperature dropped to zero Celsius and her tropical Cuban blood found the experience a harsh contrast to the beauty of the mountains.  She’d never slept in a tent before, and I wished the experience could have been more pleasant.  Oh well… all good things inevitably spawn their opposites.  Breakfast in Banff at Bruno’s was great.

Seeing the prairies for the first time, vicariously through her eyes was also great.  I saw gentle rolling hills, colours, and endless horizons in ways I never noticed before.  We pulled into Regina at 6:30pm, just in time to catch the 2nd half of the Rider game.  Drove straight to Jason’s and introduced her to the rest of the Romanian Syndicate.  Riders lost and I decided that I’ll not ever invite her to watch a game with me again.  She came to a game with me last year in Vancouver and the team played poorly.

Today has groceries, touring, and writing on the menu.  Sandra flies out on Tuesday, so there’s a lot to pack in.

Timeless Eyes

Sitting in Boulevard Roasting Company in Vancouver on the UBC campus (again).  Jazzy and I rolled into town last night after an intense 9 hour drive from Edmonton.  It should be a 12 hour drive, but I averaged 140 the whole way.

Driving fast through the mountains is my kind of medicine.  It requires intense focus.  I’m hyper aware of everything going on around me.  I’m anticipating dumbass moves from other drivers, I’m anticipating closing speeds, I’m calculating my passing maneuvers, I’m trying to be precise with the way I enter the turns (cuz if I’m a half second too late or too early, things get very uncomfortable).  There’s not much time for the mind to wander.  It’s the most sustained experience of ‘being’ that I’ve encountered.  When you’re driving fast through the mountains, everything just ‘is’.  ‘Was’ is always too late, and ‘will’ takes too much focus away from ‘right now’.

I went through Edmonton this time because I wanted to catch up with an old friend.  I’ve known Chani since I was 15 years old.  Her face is the same face I’ve always known.  I don’t see all those years gone by in her eyes, in her laugh, or in her way of being.  She’s still Chani.  We share the same birthday, except she’s exactly two years younger than me.  For that reason, I’ve always called her ‘little sister’.

Her teenaged daughter Sara had a boy over when we first arrived.  He’s a tall skinny geek who’d like things to be more than ‘friends’.  Kinda reminded me of… ahem… me.  The passage of time was never more vivid.

Feeling rushed this time out.  I’m supposed to head home tomorrow, although now I’m thinking I might take an extra day.  There’s still a bunch of paperwork I need to take care of back home, but since I won’t be back in time to do any of it during business hours, might as well do what I can from here.

To that end, I’ve just decided to put ‘writing’ back on the menu.  I put forward a fairly ambitious critical path for ‘Highwaymen’.  Four days of driving in five days won’t be a very great way to realize my goals.  I’ll take a cue from my highway experience.  Since I’m here already, I might as well ‘be’ here.

Bam Bam Bam

Bam.  Bam.

As I mentioned yesterday, a list of requested deliverables for the CTF was emailed to me yesterday morning, on top another list I was already in the midst of completing.

Then Bam once more.

Telefilm emails me, requesting four items related to my feature film project.

I planned to be immersed in writing yesterday.  Remember?  I wrote about that too.  Instead, I cut another couple notches in my business affairs bed post.  Though I instinctually cringe when these lists show up, it wound up being a pretty satisfying day.  Got everything done on all three lists.  There’s money in them thar details.

Today is going to be one of those half assed days.  I have a meeting for momMe lined up in 30 minutes.  Afterwards it’s off to the office to take care of some odds & ends.  Then it’s off to the airport to pick up Shy.  She’s returning from her trip to the Dominican Republic where she volunteered building houses for poor people.  After that, I plan to pitch a tent in Buffalo Pound for the night.

A campfire and a bottle of wine sounds like a great way to end the day.

Keeps On Giving

I’m sitting behind the window in Atlantis and my mind is full.  An email arrived this morning from the CTF asking for more details on reports and affidavits I barely remember others preparing for me two years ago.  A large chunk of money awaits my response.  It’s like cough medicine… tastes awful but good for the health.

Wasn’t I paying people (very well) to look after these things for me back in the day?  It seems like these things always come back to haunt me.  Things are going to be different next time.  The next project’s reporting is going to be solid.  The paper trail will be a highway and not a goat path.  Every penny spent will be a penny well spent.

The mistakes of my past are mistakes that keep on giving, even after the improvements I’ve made have proven successful.  The development phase for ‘Crimes of the Art’ included a mountain of paperwork.  Did it all myself.  Did it in a timely and efficient manner.  Did it even as I delved deep into the creative.  Every cent was tracked and well spent.  The project even came in under budget.  I expect the next big project to go as smoothly.

Yet here I am, basking in the glory of old mistakes… my mistakes.  Enough already!  Really.  Can we just call it a life lesson and move on?  Please.

Not complaining mind you.  I think more than anything, what I feel inside is a burning desire to get the next one right.  ‘Put me in Coach!  I’m ready to play!’  My business is sound.  My projects are solid.  My future is exciting.

I think I’m going to eat something, head into the office, and spend the evening looking after things.

Wandering Around Kant

I watched a movie in the park last night with Jazzy and Lins.  It was great.  Brought my own fold up chairs, sleeping bags, and refreshments.

In preparation for the event, I mixed up a ‘Romanian Wanderer’ and let Jazzy try a sip.  Mint leaves, ice, rum, tonic water, and lemon.  Jazzy liked it so we mixed up a rumless version for her.  She called it the ‘Romanian Fizz F-Follower.

Earlier in the day Lins let us into the Ramada pool (where she works).  Jazz swam and I tried to comprehend David Hume, a long dead philosopher.  Hume believes our sense of our ‘self’, our identity, is a work of fiction.  Our mind is like a theatre he says, and events, people, places, and sensations enter and exit before us.  We are passive observers of life and therefore, are never the same person from moment to moment because we never take in the sum total of all our experiences, thoughts & sensations at any one time.

It’s okay if you have a hard time following that logic.  I read it fourteen times and it just seemed like nonsense.  Fortunately I moved onto Immanuel Kant who refuted most of what Hume was on about.  Kant instead submits that our identity, our sense of ‘self’ comes from the ACT of consciousness, the ACT of organizing our experiences.  ‘Self’ therefore is something we actively create as individuals, and we each do it in our own unique way.

If you have a Quarterback who after 12 concussions, is missing pieces of his memory, is he still himself?  It seems he might not be quite the same person he was, according to Kant, but he would still be a unique individual who is shaped by the memories he still possesses.

Descartes is somewhat vague on the subject.  As long as the Quarterback thinks, he has a sense of self.  Locke takes that idea and runs with it, saying that we are permitted to change over time and still be a self, so it doesn’t matter if pieces are missing, the Quarterback is still the Quarterback.

I like Kant best.  He simultaneously kicks Hume in the nuts while taking the missing link of Descartes and Locke, and marrying it to common sense.  We are who we remember ourselves to be.

If I were around back in the day, I’d buy Kant a Romanian Wanderer.

Through the Wall

The wall opened up and let me pass, only to reveal a twisting bumpy mountain goat path laying in wait.  One major hurdle cleared and yet another remains to be crossed.  Still, I’ll take that goat path over a looming date with the wall any day.  I’d like to thank the stars for giving me that sliver of fresh air.  Thank you.  Thank you.  Thank you.

Perhaps a fortuitous omen happened this morning.  I was at Atlantis ordering two coffees to go.  I had a meeting at SCN in half an hour and I thought I’d suck up by bringing my potential new (old) client a coffee (with a shot).  Standing in line behind me was the producer from the Large Production Company I mentioned in yesterday’s blog.

We fell into a conversation and she told me how her current project is going.  She even offered to give me a ride back to the soundstage (near where SCN is located).  On the way I mentioned my Highwaymen project.  While she currently is up to her ass in alligators, she did encourage me to keep her in the loop.

My meeting at SCN went super duper alright as well.  Joanne was my program manager at SCN for InJustice.  We got to know each other very well.  She now occupies the big corner office and will be the head decision maker.  She told me that they intend to spend $1.7 million on Saskatchewan programming/year on top of another $1 million in digital production.  Of course, they’re in a bit of a pickle right now as their CRTC license is being transferred from gov’t control to private control.  While this goes on, they cannot conduct any new business.  They must spend their CMF envelope by December 7 and they don’t expect their license to be cleared up until the end of November.

It’s unlikely they’ll have enough time to evaluate and close close to $3 million in projects within 10 days.  Still, I played ‘Crimes of the Art’ for her and left her with ‘momMe’.  She liked both.  At the very least, both are ready to go as soon as SCN is, though realistically, SCN won’t be doing any new projects until 2011.

I also set up a meeting for Saturday afternoon with a big advertising agency in Regina.  My contact there is a friend of mine and I plan to pitch ‘momMe’.  I decided that I’m going to try and raise money for the project privately.  If the CMF comes on board in the meantime, great, I’ll take it.  But I’m not going to wait around indefinitely waiting for an answer.  It’s a good project and it doesn’t need public money to be successful.

Well… that’s my last 24 hours.  Not bad eh?

Highwaymen to Don Retro Jerseys

Media Release

For Immediate Release


August 17, 2010 (Yellowhead, SK) The Yellowhead Highwaymen will be sporting a new (old) look this weekend.  The three year old franchise will be taking the field sporting their ‘Retro Jerseys’ from the long distant 2008 season.

“Those were simpler times,” mused owner/headcoach Captain Jarrett Rusnak, “Facebook only had 115 million users, iPhones weren’t even 3G, a small latte cost $3.70, and the Highwaymen regularly kicked Sixth Sense’s ass.”

Quarterback Tom Brady’s unwashed jockstrap from Super Bowl XLII modelled the jersey for fans and media at a gathering outside Butcher Boy Meats this morning, saying “I think it’s pretty umm…. ‘retro’.”

Fans and media were surprisingly confused at the announcement, saying the ‘retro’ jersey appears to be identical to the team’s current jersey.  Rusnak quickly dispelled all confusion however, pointing out the tag at the back of the neck, “Lovingly sewn by Norm Fong (2008)”.

The team currently holds down 7th place in the eleven team CFLFFL, but sits only 11 points out of first.

Critical Path – Highwaymen

The following is an internal document that probably shouldn’t be posted to the internet.  Since only six and a half people read this at any given month, I figure it’s private enough for my purposes.  I have some stream of consciousness to work through.

Lao Tzu wrote in the Tao Te Ching, “The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”  With that in mind, I feel like I need to look up from the fog of ‘Highwaymen’ to see how I might move this project into development.  There are three parts methinks.

Step 1 – write the pilot episode.

Step 2 – write the episode summaries/outlines

Step 3 – meet with the Roughriders and get them behind the project, not financially, just supportively.  If they say jump, the CFL and TSN will listen.

Step 4 – meet with a larger Production Company (whom I know well), and pitch them.

Step 5 – Pitch CTV with the collective might of the Roughriders, CFL, Production Company, and TSN.

Steps 1 & 2 are the most important.  If the episode is good, 3, 4 and 5 will take care of themselves.  Now for timelines;

Sept 3 – Episode 1 written

Sept 10 – Episode outlines written

Sept 17 – Roughriders on board

Sept 17 – Larger Production Company on board

Sept 20 – Development Proposal submitted to CTV

CTV will take 4 – 6 weeks to make a decision.

Nov 1 – Green Light Dev’t Phase