1.11.11

I felt bad for letting that slip the first time without noting the occasion.  I mean, 1.11.11 only comes around once.  Ever.

Then suddenly, that once ever event happened 10 days later.  It’s like, I get to mark the occasion just before the warrantee expires.

So now what?  It’s an otherwise unremarkable day.  I will be pulling my feature film out of moth balls later, but that’s not something worth writing about on such a momentous occasion.

More than anything, I want to write about yesterday because yesterday was really cool.  Got to lead Jazzy’s grade 6 class in a scriptwriting workshop.  She was so excited, she called me at noon to make sure I wouldn’t forget.  I got there and met all her friends.  Made them laugh and they learned a lot.  Turns out they were already spending time on script writing, and my little impromptu workshop coincided perfectly with what they were already doing.  Jazzy was in the corner beaming.  It meant so much to me, that it meant so much to her to have me come in.

But I’m not gonna write about that because today is a special occasion warranting special attention.

I’m not going to write about guest lecturing in an EDCP 371 class at UBC later that day.  PJ is teaching that class and she wanted me to talk to her students about what I do, and strategies I use to reach an audience.  Her class consists of elementary school math and science teachers, and the course is about using technology teach difficult concepts in inspiring new ways.  I struggled to find common ground with them, but I did alright.  Played a couple of my documentaries, talked about the technologies involved, and hopefully left them with something worth while to chew on.

Ain’t gonna mention it though.  Nope.

This article is an homage to a once ever event (except it happens twice) that can be recorded for all time.  It is a tribute, a chiselled in digital stone to be help up like ancient Greek epics for future generations to behold…

Wait a minute.  Isn’t 11.11.11 is coming up later this year?

Boulevard Coffee Roasting Company

“I could kill you, but I could never make you cry” — Judy

Found a copy of the Vancouver Province abandoned in the coffee shop this morning.  The above quote was pencilled onto the second page.  I kind of want to meet Judy now.

The Boulevard Coffee Roasting Company is a different kind of place.  Art hangs on every wall.  It’s located on the campus of UBC and it’s filled with two-seater tables.  Most of them with only one seat occupied.  Nearly everyone has a MacBook open.

I always sit in the windows of coffee shops, but never at this place.  The vibe seems to pull people towards the back tables for some reason.  There are windows near the entrance, but most people sit around the corner, near the back wall.

You never see the same people working behind the counter.  Not only that, but none of them seem to care about customer service.  ‘Customer Service’ would fuck up the vibe.  You order your drink, pay for it, they make it, and you sit down for a few hours.  Simple.  If you go too far out of your way, either to complain, or to serve, the balance falls out of kilter.  The place just works.  Period.

The line between customer and server can only be distinguished by where people arrange themselves.  Often that line blurs because customers will often become servers when their shift begins.  They simply get up from their table without prompting and stand behind the counter.  The table they just vacated still has their stuff on it.

Whenever I stay in Vancouver, I’m a staple here.  It’s not a destination.  It just is.  I get lots of work done.  More than that, I FEEL like working when I get here.  I still find time to play, but switching back into work mode is never a problem for me.

The customers are always interesting to talk to, or eavesdrop on.  All types can be found here.  Internationals, artists, hippies, conservatives, white collars, old, young, beautiful, frumpy, gay, straight, and people like Judy.  They come and go and leave echos of their energy behind.  It’s a medley of humanity.  It’s a great place to drink it all up.

Left Coast Vibrations

Spent a couple of days walking in the rain whilst wandering around the lush green campus of UBC.  There’s an ocean over yonder, a rain forest even closer, and a chilled out Vancouver vibe everywhere else.

I’m a prairie boy in January, having a hard time getting used to all this lush vegetation, unfrozen water, and what do you call those big hills over there… mountains?  I like ‘em, but they tend to block the view.

I picked Jazzy up from school these last two days.  The first time her friends tagged along, and we walked through the forest on the way home.  I was cracking jokes and had ‘em in stitches at times.  They think I’m cool, and I like that mostly because Jazzy likes that.  I’ll be leading a script writing workshop for her class on Monday.  I’m looking forward to it.  Jazzy gets to show me off once more.

I’ve been getting work done while I’m here.  Been a staple at Boulevard Coffee Company.  There are also a few other nooks around campus that I’ve been hiding in while tapping the keys to my laptop.  Finished revisions to Ep 2 of Highwaymen, then went back to Ep 1.  Spent most of a day re-writing one scene.  You wouldn’t know it from reading it, but it’s funny how a few well chosen words will make a script infinitely better.

Caught up with old friends too.  Sandra (my Cuban friend) is doing a Master’s Degree here.  I was walking across campus to meet up with her when I heard my name being called.  Turned to look, and it was Ingrid!

Thus far the trip has been great.  Nothing pressing is calling me home, so I’ll probably stay another week.  In the meantime, I have the whole rest of the day to play with.  Not sure what lies ahead, and that’s the best part.  Wheels are turning and something good is brewing.  I’m in a good head space and I’m thankful for that.

Epic Mountain Drive

I closed my eyes for the scary parts.

That’s how I described my drive through the mountains to Vancouver in the middle of winter.  Adding to the drama was my driver’s side wiper blade deciding to phone in its performance for the evening.  It only got really scary when I was passing a semi (or being passed by one) at 100 km/h.  At times I was using my peripheral vision to guess where the lane markers were, because I had so much snow, slush, and water washing up on my windshield, it was nearly impossible to see forward.

It was like a drama in miniature.

In the beginning it’s night and you’re following a semi on a three lane highway.  It’s kicking up all kinds of shit onto your wind shield.  This is bad.

You pilot your car into the seldom used third lane to put some distance between you and the semi.  This is good.

However, the trade-off is that you’re now driving on packed snow instead of slushy pavement.  No traction.  This is bad.

The way forward is clear.  You begin to accelerate passed the semi.  This is good.

At about the point you reach the semi-tractor’s back tires, the hurricane of snow, slush, sleet and water being kicked up on your windshield blinds you.  This is bad.

Headlights from on-coming traffic zap what’s left of your ambient vision and you cling to what appears to be a yellow line on the meridian for guidance.  One small splotch of fading yellow line is the only thing keeping you on the road.  This is worse.

In the midst of this shit storm, the yellow line begins to bend away from you to the left.  Clearly you’ve now entered a turn, and late at that.  You now must ease your car back into the turn without upsetting the delicate balance that’s keeping you from sliding sideways into the semi (which you cannot see, but certainly feel) beside you.  Accelerating through this turn is not an option, and you must now live inside the shit storm for a few uncomfortable moments longer.  You feel your scrotum retreat, as if planning its escape from impending doom by using the rest of your body as a cushion.  This is worser.  (More worsier?)

After an eternity, the yellow line straightens.  You put your foot to the floor and within a couple of seconds, clear the shit storm.  The world opens up.  You can see again.  Your scrotum sheepishly reappears.  This is good.

Another semi looms in the distance.

InFlection

Kate said it would be a quiet drive because she has a bunch of research to catch up on for her up-coming play at the Globe Theatre.  Rehearsals start in two days and she’s in charge of warming the rest of the cast up.  Big responsibility.  She needs to figure out exactly what to do for that.

What actually transpired was a rather noisy drive filled with talking sounds coming out our mouths.  Two old friends catching up.  Her research just sat there in a folder, holding down my dash board.

We drove to Strasbourg to pick up Jazz, had supper, then made the trip back to Regina.  Five hours.  Completely unplanned.  That’s how I spent the first day of the new year.

All it took was me picking up the phone.

I don’t know… this whole idea of learning to be cool with being alone.  I spend a lot of time alone already.  My ‘me’ time is a sacred thing.  Why heap more of it upon myself when my cup runneth over?  Maybe my craving to be around people when the mood strikes is a sign that I need to fuel up on how the other side lives.  It’s all about balance right?  Alone for reflection, among for inflection.

“You can’t always get what you want, but if you try sometimes, you get what you need.”

The wisdom of Sir Michael Jagger is profound.  So many good things in my life.  Too many to count.  I’m gonna bathe in all those things.  Ain’t gonna sit around no more dwelling on the one or two things I don’t have.

Gum Card MacGyver

Shawn tests in the 97’s and 100’s on the mechanical systems math he needs to do for his work.  He can Macgyver nuclear powered fly swatters out of bits of duct tape and bubble gum.  He built a motor cycle and he always has projects on the go.

He sucks at cards.  Can’t understand that one card is higher than another card.  Watching him make decisions in a game is painful.  You see his mind churning, but the gears are broken, and they’re making clanking sounds.  It gets worse when he tries to defend himself.  It’s like watching a monkey in a ball gown doing the Tango.

I quite enjoyed it because I must admit to being a bit intimidated by him whenever it comes time to talk ‘shop’, or pick up a wrench, or even measure something.  I’m the monkey in the dress when it comes to those things.

Went over to Shawn & Cheryl’s house last night and that’s how we brought in the New Year.  Their friends Crissy & Tyler were there too.  It was a subdued celebration, but it was full of laughter and warmth… except for the parts where they went outside to smoke, then it was cold.

For me it was a perfect way to bring in 2011, given how 2010 went.  Shawn’s my best friend and we go back many years.  2010 was spent worrying about the things I DON’T have.  2011 will be a celebration of what I DO have in my life.

Old friends truly are a gift.