Entries from June 2003

I was an all-star trading card

Trading CardIt's been a little while since I last posted anything of note, mainly because last week was utter mayhem. It was the last week of classes, with my main group of students mired in end-of-term assignment panic, and the Graphic Design students scrambling to prepare for their open house. The GD students show off their work to industry types, brownnose and network for jobs, and make contacts. It's fun.

Every year, the open house show has a different theme. This year's theme was extra special, however, as the 3rd year GD students put together something really cool. They printed trading cards that had their photo on them, some sundry facts about themselves, and an example of their work on the back. They followed this up with a set of "all-star" cards, which features photos and facts from the various design instructors. All were packaged up in foil and given out during the show.

Here's mine.

With the last week of classes finished, and some of my students graduating this year, I find myself in a somewhat discombolulated state. On one hand, I am incredibly relieved to finally have control over my own time again, and to not have my patience tested when I'm tired, and not having to deal with the occassional bouts of student idiocy (which were rare, but annoying nonetheless). :D

At the same time, I'm going to miss my graduating students. I tend to get along with just about anyone, and it's been a real struggle this year to not get too friendly with my students. I have been lucky: there are some seriously cool people taking courses at the college, and it's been interesting meeting and befriending them. I'm curious if I'll run into any of them again...

But, the summer stretches in front of me like a big, fluffy barcalounger. I am going to enjoy the break.

P.S. There's a spelling mistake on my card: it's supposed to be Jacques Carelman, not "Grelman" as it presently says. Oh well.


I should be working on this mountain of marking I need to get done for Tuesday, but instead I succumbed to the lure of twiddling with my site and added something new.

Bagatelle (also available over to your right in the homepage sidebar) is me succumbing to the rampant spread of sidebar links. It's basically just stuff I come across that I thought was worth pointing out, but not worth posting an entire entry on.

As with anything that I only spend about two seconds posting to this site, your mileage will most definitely vary. Yes, there's a RSS feed.

(P.S. For those who are wondering: bagatelle is French for "trifling amount".)

My Kingdom for an Email Client

Mail IconWith all of the attention given to Mac web browsers in the past year, web surfers have been blessed with a veritable bounty of good-looking, standards-compliant, and fast-loading browsers to choose from. Apple's Safari. the Mozilla group's Camino and Firebird, and the upcoming Omnigroup's OmniWeb are all excellent products. Choice is groovy.

So I would like to send my plea out into the electronic ether: will someone please make an equally excellent email client for Mac OS X? For an application that I spend almost as much time in (if not more), the selection of complete (for me) email clients out there is woefully underwhelming.

I was using CTMDev's Powermail for a while, but the HTML and IMAP support sucks, and CTMDev's customer support makes me sometimes think that they've abandoned the product. Apple's Mail looks nice, and has pretty good IMAP support, but it's slow, has very poor attachment encoding support (nonexistent, almost), and half-baked applescript support.

gyazmailIcon.gifGoichi Hirakawa's Gyazmail looks promising, but has zero HTML, IMAP, and applescript support; a to-do list on Hirakawa's site indicates that it may be a contender by the end of the year. Microsoft's Entourage is crash-obsessed, has a proprietary database that corrupts easily, and has the extra crud of a calendar and address book (both of which do not coexist well with Apple's offerings).

There are a bunch of options out there at the moment, and I've tried almost all of them. All of them either lack essential functionality, look like dog pants, or just plain suck.

So. This would be my wish list for the perfect email client (for me):

» My Kingdom for an Email Client continues...

The Exchange (part of a series)

doorI'm finished. I plowed through and completed all of my marking, and recorded final grades for all of my classes. My first year as a teacher is over, and, starting very soon, my summer vacation will begin. Can you see me dancing?

To celebrate the return of that completely foreign concept over the past ten months known as "personal time", on the way home I shot some photos of the area that the campus is located in, called The Exchange District.

I think this will be the beginning of a series, as the Exchange is teeming with photographic opportunities. Unlike Toronto and some of the other larger cities that have torn down a lot of their older architecture, Winnipeg has maintained the Exchange in much the same way it looked over a hundred years ago. This is one of the major reasons why film companies shoot here so often (like the currently in production Jennifer Lopez / Richard Gere movie, Shall We Dance) - it's fairly easy to make the area look like Chicago, or recreate some turn-of-the-century city.

Go and check them out. It's not much, but it's a start... and it's good to get back to shooting.

Vacation, all I ever wanted

go-gos.gifNext Monday, I'm taking off for a couple of weeks out East to catch up on my annual smog intake, visit some sorely missed friends, hang out in the my favourite city and take in some jazz, and generally try to chase away any thoughts of school for a bit. It's going to be great.

I was originally planning to take the train, so I could do a bit of a photo journal trip thing, but with Jetsgo's seemingly insane loonie sale (buy one direction full fare, get the return leg for $1) I couldn't resist. This, even though I absolutely loathe flying. I really, really, do. Anything for a bargain, I suppose.

Renée's dad thinks I'm nuts for going to Toronto with all of the SARS stuff going on. I personally don't understand the SARS panic whatsoever; yes, it's a new disease, and yes, it's a horrible cost that it has caused to families who have lost loved ones because of it.

At the same time, the way that the media has reacted to SARS has made it seem more like its the full-fledged return of smallpox to Canada, and not the very isolated disease that it is. Do you find that the mainstream media becomes more and more like those trash 80's pseudo-news shows (A Current Affair, Hard Copy) as time goes by?

At any rate, any web bloggin' types in Toronto or Montreal or Ottawa (where I hope to celebrate Canada Day - maybe hanging with Lana?) who would be interested in getting together for beverages and laughs (GTABloggers, I'm looking in your direction...) let me know - I'd love to meet up with you. Yes, you.

Stormy Weather

Renée and I ventured out today after a long day of work (last day of work before holidays: YES!) for sushi and some relaxing chit-chat. I need to curtail this rather nasty sushi habit I've developed before I start signing my paycheques over to the neighbourhood sushi joint. Actually, what I need to do is find cheaper obsessions.

The last few days have been very warm, humid affairs; the kind of humid warmth that makes you realize that it will thunderstorm soon. Winnipeg gets some of the best thunderstorms I've ever seen: big, loud, bombastic affairs that come swooping in like an arrogant teenager out on the town, blaring across the city, dumping unbelievable amounts of rain in the shortest possible time, and then disappearing abruptly.

I like this about Winnipeg.


Here I am, in hot and humid Toronto. Apparently summer decided to finally make an appearance in the last day or so, bringing back the sweaty, smoggy weather I remember all too well. It's good to be here.

(I hearby vow that I will never [except this one time] refer to Toronto as "T-Dot", less I eviscerate myself as punishment with a large, ripe mango. Who the hell made that up, any way? It smacks of Lastman.)

A few things that I've noticed since I've arrived:

  1. They now use these prison camp-style pointy things on the top of signs and lights in subway stations. I'm guessing this is to prevent pigeons from hanging out on top of them. Weird.
  2. It's refreshing to be back in a city where you can buy from a large selection of ethnic foods and ingredients from your local supermarket. I mean, collard greens and ghee at Dominion? Yes, please!
  3. This sounds incredibly weird, but it's great to see black people in large numbers again. There are almost no black people in Winnipeg.

First things first: can anyone tell me where there are good cafés with free or cheap WiFi access? I need to do some work while I'm here, and I'd like to indulge in one of the benefits of a larger laptop-toting population.

I'm such a geek.

More Toronto observations

It's been an interesting week getting re-aquainted with Toronto. I've always found it a bit discombobulating to visit cities that I used to live in. I keep having to shake the urge to go back to my old home at the end of the day.

I took the College streetcar through my old neighbourhood yesterday, and when it passed my old street (Euclid avenue), I experienced a small twinge of nostalgia. When Renée and I used to live here, the rather shitty condition our apartment was in, coupled with the price of rent and our stubborn refusal to drop more money into the place quickly fueled our resentment. But, life in the College-Euclid area was pretty darn nice.

Some other things:

  1. Everyone seems so young.
  2. Very few people listen to portable music devices on the TTC. This is in stark contrast to the huge majority of people in Winnipeg who whittle away the time in transit listening to music. I guess this is because there's just so many hilarious soundbites and cool big-city sounds to listen to.
  3. Oh, how joyous it is to experience working transit. Torontonians don't know how lucky they have it.
  4. The fashion statement of the summer seems to be, "Check out my thong."
  5. James McNally is a funny, friendly fellow, and more proof that there seems to be a strange force at work that binds and brings people together. 'Twas a pleasure.
  6. Condo developments have appeared everywhere. It's bewildering how quickly the cityscape has changed.
  7. Rent has not only gone down - the vacancy rate downtown is now unbelievably high compared to the demoralizing 0.7% that it was at when we lived here. The impossibility of finding good, reasonable apartment was one of the most annoying things about living here; now that the situation is changing, it's almost appealing again...

Movie Quickies

The Italian Job

Fluffly, summer fun, if a bit stiff and formulaic. Mark Wahlberg calls in a rather subdued performance, but Mos Def and Jason Statham are pretty good. All told, this is fun in a "completely-forgotten-in-15-minutes" way; in other words, perfect summer fare. I have a real weakness for "plan the heist" movies, to be honest. That said, I don't get why Seth Green keeps getting roles, though I guess whenever a casting director says, "We need a baby-faced geek!", he fits the bill. I can't help but think that he's the movie version of that Much Music guy, Rick "The Temp" Campanelli - a low wattage talent, but at least he tries hard.

The Hulk

Ponderously slow, and a real disappointment. Ang Lee seemed to be a rather strange choice to helm this, and it shows. There's way too much gabbing and pensive, sidelong glances, and not enough clobbering going on; Ang Lee couldn't resist going the existential route, I suppose. Nick Nolte's incoherent street-person character doesn't help, though I guess he did the best with what he had. Jennifer Connelly spends a lot of time looking alternately forlorn and dazed. The entire movie really needs an ample serving of WWE!, and way less Why?. For what it's worth, I thought the Hulk scenes weren't as unconvincing as some people had reported, though it may be still a few years before Hollywood replaces real actors with technology. The ending is MIA, as is Sam Elliot's chin; this is symbolic, methinks.


Eight American kids vie for the National Spelling Bee championship; suspense ensues. This movie kicked ass in so many ways. The secret to making good documentaries, it seems, is to choose the right people to talk to, and director Jeffrey Blitz has done just that. He then follows up great interviews with some impeccable editing, and tastefully subtle transitions. He also does a brilliant job of sowing early seeds of suspense: which one of these kids we are being introduced to will win? Funny, surreal, and entertaining in the way that only reality (true reality, not that made-up TV stuff) can be.

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