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    • The shape shifters in their usual form.
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At least I was Honest

What if her sister really is more attractive?

Risk

What do you get when you take three competitors, a board, and the game of world domination? A three-hour stalemate!

Happy New Year 2008

First of all, Happy New Year! Its hard to believe that we are getting pretty close to the end of the first decade in the 2000s. For me, last year was full of tremendous blessings and exciting times, and I look forward to another good year.

I have been very busy since Christmas, hosting several parties and attending several more, visiting with friends and family, and generally avoiding real responsibility for a while. Among my activities:

  • Christmas Day with my parents, sister, and nephew. I was tremendously blessed this year.
  • Hosting the TRC Alumni Potluck — I brought together a few people from the olden days of the TRC at my place for good food and good company.
  • The arrival of Ben and Kaylee, my brother and sister-in-law
  • Attending the McElroy Family Christmas Party — With the traditional visit to a theatrical venue — this time it was Seattle Children Theater’s “Neverending Story.”
  • Hosting a spectacular “Friends and Family” dinner where I acted as sous-chef and the food came out incredibly perfect. Perhaps the best ever overall dinner I’ve had at my parent’s place.
  • Two new year’s eve parties — the first at the Marsh’s and the second home at my place. The former involved a Wii, and the latter involved fireworks, the Great Dalmuti, and a few too many drunk people for optimal enjoyment.

All in all, I had a great time, and I was especially grateful to see Scott and Maneesh again, as well as catching up with Amy, Kat, and a few other people from the International School days.

And I still have Christmas gifts to deliver, but I’ve always been a bit slow that way.

Silverfir Productions

Last night, in yet another sign that the music industry establishment is in its death throes, I went into the music production business. Local artist Daniel Moretti decided to cash in a four-year-old coupon to hold a studio session at Chez McElroy. The result of about five hours of work is a four-minute-long song that is a quite impressive piece of music, although I still need to do a little production work on it. Entitled “Over and Over,” download it below for a listen!

Daniel Moretti – Over and Over

The Mysterious Pastry is Back!

My good friend Shai is back online in style over at DonutEnigma. Welcome back to the blogosphere buddy!

First Day Autumn 2007

The first day of classes went well enough. With the help of a Windows XP scheduled task and Foobar 2000, I woke this morning to the sounds of the Halo 2 Trailer music (randomly selected). I left for class early, which was good because the first time I forgot my bike lock, so I had to return home and get it before returning to school.

My 7:30 BioChem hasn’t gotten too terrible yet, Advanced Digital Design is going to rock — we’re building a graphics card!!! — and Neural Engineering looks like it will be interesting while not too hard or time-consuming — perfect for a senior elective. Computational Bioengineering is tomorrow.

I also met some new lab members today, including the guy I’ll probably be working with on my capstone most of the time. He seems cool, so I’m teh happy.

I got paid back by Christine finally, from money she owed me since the Long Beach trip. Speaking of Christine, she was suddenly friendly to me yesterday and today, after not talking to me for most of the summer, and I’m not sure why. But these days I just assume the worst possible reasons so I can be pleasantly surprised if the real reason is something else. This also helps me avoid getting in to any more bad situations.

After classes, I biked down to the bus stop and took the 545 into work. While waiting for the bus, I ran into Todd, and we ended up taking the bus to the eastside together.

Overall, a good, productive first day.

Thursday at TIFF — AKA Passive Agressive Meltdowns

Today we had 4 movies on the docket — everyone knew it was going to be a long day, but just how long is another story entirely. My day started with Scott waking me up sometime around 7:20 to the best of my recollection. Our first movie was at 9:00, so to catch it we needed to get on the 7:44 train, which would arrive in Toronto at 8:07 and allow us a little less than an hour to traverse the several blocks to the Rhyerson University Theater, where the movie was playing. After Scott showered very quickly, I jumped in and took maybe twice as long as he had, but it was still a pretty quick shower. I already had my contacts in from when Scott had showered; as I got out Scott and Dan were leaving for the train; it was about 7:33 at that time.

I dressed, gelled, collected my belongings, and dashed out the door and down the stairs with 6 minutes to go. I caught up to Dan about a block away — he had taken the elevator. I tried urging him along with countdowns and such, but it didn’t work out so well. Soon I was sprinting ahead as the train pulled in with three minutes to go. I made it to the stairs to the platform where Scott had stopped about a minute before the train would depart. The train stayed for a couple of minutes because it had arrived early, but it pulled away just on time, about a minute before Dan would have made it. Scott had already decided to drive, which I guess pissed me off a little because I had just sprinted in the early morning to catch the train and would have made it. But at any rate, the car wasn’t far away, so we turned around and headed back, but not before the accusations started flying every which way.

Well, we got in the car and hit the highway, which was slow all the way into Toronto. Scott doesn’t like driving in the city so much, as I found out on Saturday, so he wasn’t too pleased. I was pissed off because by the time we got the the first exit on the highway, I could have already been in Toronto. Dan was pissed because there had been a bus which appeared to him to be headed to Toronto that we could have taken. Scott was pissed off because he was the first to the train station and had told everyone to be up on time, which technically I was. Anyway, it was a tense drive in.

We barely made it, pulling into an all-day parking place just as the movie was starting. We took our seats a few minutes late to watch Silk. Unfortunately, it was a terrible movie. Poor acting, poor directing, poor cinematography, a poor script, terrible dialog, and an unreasonable and unreasonably poor plot. It was pretty much a high budget, faux classy softcore porn film. Just about the only redeeming factor was that the detestable main character tool felt bad at the end. Too bad he wasn’t destitute and mauled and dead to boot. Oh well. I give it a 0.5/5, and just barely at that.

After the travesty of a movie, we grabbed food while headed north to the Varsity theaters to watch All Hat, a late addition to our docket. It was, fortunately, a lot better than the first.movie of the day — the acting was good, the idea was fun if imperfectly executed, and the scenery was good. Just about every shot had the actors drinking, which was a flaw (they apparently never eat), but overall it was nice to have what was probably a lower budget movie destroy what was probably a higher budget movie on the primary strength of a good story versus a bad story. Story matters. Anyway, I’d give All Hat, as in “All hat an no cattle” a 3.5/5.

As a bonus, the producer, director, and lead actor were at the movie before for an intro and after for a Q&A session. We were pretty sure the actor was as high as a kite on something pretty strong. He was clear for brief moments, but he also took about 2 minutes to collect himself enough to answer the first question, banged his head on the microphone after answering a question, and at one point was seen examining the wall rather closely with his hands, while still in the spotlight. It was an interesting, awkward time, to say the least.

At this point we had a pretty decent break, and since we were fairly far north compared to where we’d been before, we headed more north. We started going up Yonge Street (the longest street in the world!) at Bloor street. Scott decided he’d had enough walking without a cause a little after St. Claire’s street and turned around. Dan and I continued North to Eglington, stopping at a market for me to buy berries (yummy!) and at a pro audio store for Dan to salivate over some expensive headphones. At Eglington, we bummed around the mall for a few minutes until it was 5:00 at which point Dan jumped on the subway and I headed back south because by then I needed some alone time.

We convened back at the Ryerson for the 6:00 showing of Death Defying Acts, at which the producer (whose name I don’t remember) and lead actor (Guy Pierce) were present. He spoke briefly beforehand and was a bit funny, but nothing much of substance that I remember. Anyway, the movie itself was alright — it was about Harry Houdini and a psychic woman; it was a bit like a poorly done version of the Prestige, but with a love interest (Catherine Zeta-Jones) thrown in for good measure. It was not a terribly strong movie, but at least it didn’t suck — I’d give it a 2.5/5, and maybe thats a little generous but then it was definitely better than atonement, which I may have to downgrade to a 1.5… who knows.

After the movie, we took off for the Elgin for our final movie of the night. It was an evening showing and I have a Platinum Visa card (although the account is currently on hold because of my expenditures in Toronto), so I was able to use the card to gain early entry with Dan into the theater, as the screening room was sponsored by (and named after) Visa. We saved seats for Scott who was actually not far behind us, but at any rate we had pretty good seats. The show was “Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead” — it was a gratuitous and calculated look into the darkest deeds of some very evil people. Beforehand the director, who is apparently somewhat famous though I had never heard of him, gave a brief introduction in which he introduced a rather pretty lady that we would almost immediately see naked on the screen. During the introduction someone from TIFF also said that this was a movie as good as any of the movies that this director was famous for, and it was relevant because of America’s current moral crisis (referring to the Iraq war), just like the previous movies had been relevant during the Vietnam war.

Anyway, I guess what this movie proves quite well is that you can be very good at the science of making a movie while completely missing making something worthwhile watching. The movie was grotesquely in every important way that , but very well done at the same time. It was a masterpiece of sewage, perhaps. It revoles around two brothers who have very much achieved what might be called the American dream but are in the middle of screwing it all up with a salvo of bad choices and worse choices. It spirals out of control as all of the characters grow uglier and uglier souls. No one is redeemed, and I guess the moral of the story is that everything sucks, and don’t do drugs. I can’t really recommend it, and I really don’t want to — 1.0/5.

So after the last movie, we headed back to the car. Scott was stressed out due to driving once again; it didn’t help that the car was locked inside the garage for about 5 minutes either. It also didn’t help that Dan and I both had ideas about how to drive and which way to go. I mostly hummed a Christmas tune and brushed my teeth on the way back. Dan asked about 10 times if we wanted to do laundry. Seeing as I brough enough clothes for the trip, the answer has been no since the beginning and it continued to be no. When he asked again right before I left to find internet to blog, I kinda blew my top and yelled. Scott isn’t really talking to anyone right now. So hopefully the sleep will help everyone get along again. But with a 9:30 movie tomorrow, I’m not sure how well things will work out with the schedule — at least I know I’m taking the train and not waiting for anyone.

Well, thats the news I guess.