Saturday, June 28, 2008

We Made It

Well, we made it.

We're out here on the west coast. I watched our house leave in a couple of containers on the back of a semi on Monday and we all flew out to Vancouver Wednesday evening.

Poor Chris got picked up from school on Wednesday and we drove to the airport from there. Poor little guy - he was really a strong little dude on the playground saying bye to some great friends he made. The cool thing is that he's been able to already email them all (multiple times) since we got here. Alex and Sam seem to be taking it all in stride and I think Catherine is very glad to not have to commute ever weekend anymore!

We saw the new place today. It's definitely smaller than the house in T.O., but not as small as I inferred from Catherine's descriptions and comments. She admitted to purposely trying to set expectations lower... ;) The current owners are still in there, and I wouldn't be surprised if they were now regretting accepting our offer after having our three little tornadoes in for a quick look-see.

It'll be a while before we're in there. Our stuff won't be here for another couple of weeks and the place doesn't close until the end of July. We'll be getting it painted and the floors done before getting in, so we won't be getting in until at least the 28th. Meanwhile, we're at Catherine's parents place.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Kids + Pool = Hours of Entertainment

Yesterday, our house got cleared out.

We're now the proud owners of an empty house and a bunch of other stuff that's locked up in a couple of containers on the back of a truck.

For today and tomorrow, we're staying at Catherine's brothers' (Uncle Kai) place. He's got this little 4 foot deep octagon pool (about 10 feet from side to side) that the kids are just loving!

Got me wondering when I changed from loving being in the water even though my lips were blue and I was shivering to a "parent" who's always trying to suggest we get out and get warm. Of course, my suggestions were consistently vetoed.

Back to the first point - empty house. Geez! It's really odd and a bit spooky to walk through a place you called home when it's transformed into a echo-filled cavern. Walking through empty rooms brings back a lot of memories.

You'd think that having all our "stuff" there would do that, but, at least to me, it seems as though the absence of any furniture or whotnot, (and probably the impending move) brings back a whole raft of experiences. We're going to head back one more time to look through before getting on the plane tomorrow.

Speaking of being at Uncle Kai's place...

Before I figured out what the password for Uncle Kai's wireless access point, I found 2 out of 4 available WiFi connections in the neighbourhood were not locked down.

I dunno, I GUESS the chances of some malicious hacker driving by and getting into my connection for nefarious purposes are probably pretty low, but I, personally don't want to tempt fate there.

Maybe the new "tiered" or pay-as-you-go services being proposed south of the border may be a bit of a kick in the pants for folks to lock down their access points.

Oh well, off to Vancouver tomorrow! More later.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Wiiiiiiiiii!!!!!

We got our Wii yesterday!

Mom and Dad presented the kids with the Wii at Uncle Kai/Aunt Nicole's place yesterday. They hosted a going-away party.

After everyone left, we set it up and played until the kids started whining about needing sleep. ;)

What a blast. This is the first video game platform that I think Catherine can actually get into as well!

I can't believe how small the box is too - it's not much bigger than a protable DVD player.

So, of course, it only comes with Wii Sports, but that'll change quickly soon. Guitar Hero World Tour is coming out soon - that'll be the next on the list me thinks.

Ho Hum...

I'm waiting for the movers to arrive. Catherine has the kids over at the playground after dropping Chris at school. The house is in boxes.

The only thing still connected is the phone. I reluctantly disconnected the Internet connection last night, but remembered that there are a couple of unsecured WiFi points at neighbours' houses around here.

After they left, I dug out the laptop and ... bada bing, bada boom ... Back in action! So this'll do me until the the battery dies... ;)

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Damn it! Dora is Back...

After a couple of successful months without having to hear that annoying "Backpack" and "Map" songs or the chorus of "Swiper, no swiping, Swiper, NO SWIPING!"...

Sam, out of the blue, requested to see Dora the Explorer again (there's a Wiki page for everything these days ... low standards).

We have been letting the kids watch TV on the weekends and each have a few requests for what they'd like to watch. Sam had started requesting other shows and not watching Dora (to the absolute delight of myself and Catherine ... not to mention Chris as well). So, we took the show off the PVR recording schedule.

We've been enjoying a whole host of other shows that, I'm sure with time, could become just as grating as Dora - Toopy and Binoo is a show that's first on the list of quickly getting there. We were REALLY hoping that Dora was a phase long gone in the rear-view mirror.

{Groan} No such luck...

The only saving grace is that this is the last weekend with the PVR. We're going to be staying with Catherine's parents for a few weeks before moving into the new place, and we'll see if that's a bit of a distraction from their regular routine. They've got a PVR too, but I'll be sure to see if I can "sell" some other options for their weekend viewing... ;)

Moving

Speaking of last weekend with a favourite piece of technology, I broke everything down in the studio last evening. That means, we are pretty well completely packed. :) I backed up things on hard drives in triplicate and have padding for everything.

It was a solemn evening - only to be revived by a two hour session on RockBand with Catherine. We've almost completed our quest to get five stars on every song. Those last Iron Maiden and Metallica tunes and a couple others are still our nemisis on hard...

Boxes are everywhere. Things are taped up, labeled and ready to go. It's really odd living in this kind of transition period. I really can't wait to get roots settled down.

I think this'll be the last post before Vancouver. So farewell to Toronto and hello west coast!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Been a While...

Yeah, yeah, yeah...

I've been AWOL for a week or so. It's been packing, packing, packing man!

I can't really take credit for all the organization around here - that'd be Catherine. I was planning to pack up my studio today, but my pal, Travis, sent me a couple of files last evening wondering if I could lay down some tracks.

Sent him a "boy are you lucky you didn't email tomorrow" message and got to work last night and today. I sent him off some tracks that I think might work - we'll see what he says. If it's good, then I'm a-packing away...

On another note, found a cool product called "Autosampler" through a post on The Womb. It'll go through your hardware / software synths and sample them into Logic's EXS|24 sampler. This is cool, cause, I've been essentially staring at my synths for the past couple of months wondering when / if I'd be using them like I used to.

Logic has made using soft-synths so easy, that it's been so painful to even think of trying to record hardware synths anymore.

Plus, me thinks the sale of these synths after the fact will more than justify the price!

Well, maybe another post before the move...

Monday, June 09, 2008

Hockey Night in Canada

So, I'm a member of the Guild ... the Guild of Canadian Film Composers.

It's a great group to be a part of - supportive and has a few seminars and such that are educational and/or showcase members' work.

I wouldn't say that they're in the same league as the Screenwriters Guild down in the 'States - there's no union or collective bargaining aspect to the organization, although they do seem to add their voice and opinion to some topics.

The latest thing to come across the Guild's listserv is the spat between the CBC and Dolores Claman regarding the failed negotiations to keep the traditional "Hockey Night in Canada" theme.

The "sitch" of it all, from what I can gather, is that now that the negotiations are officially ended, the CBC wants to run a competition to search for a new theme. The proposed "jackpot" is a $100,000 with any royalties being donated to little league hockey.

Now, a thread has been started expressing some concern over what the CBC is doing, but I can't really see what the big fuss is about...

I've seen a couple of arguments:
  1. This will become a precedent for future contracts between producers/directors and composers - stripping composers of their traditional ties to ongoing royalties.
  2. This is yet another example of "devaluing" composer's work.
Now, getting past all the sentimentality that surrounds the theme song and all, I, personally, don't see a real problem with what's going on. The CBC is proposing a way to replace an iconic theme song in what seems to be an open manner - using a competition that is non-exclusive and probably very public. The added bonus is that Canada's national sport - little leaguers get a financial boost.

I haven't really seen any other arguments but the above against this, but from my perspective, to the first point, this doesn't set any precedent at all - it's a competition - they all run like this. From the American Idol songwriting competition to the art contest on the back of Fruity Loops - you relinquish any rights to your work when you enter a competition.

I can't see this as a precedent for producers to keep royalties to themselves - if some producer comes along and holds that argument up, then they can go through the legal and administrative hell of running the competition too...

To the second point - devaluing composers work? There is no "minimum" standard or qualifications one has to possess to write music. Who are "we" (Guild members) to judge that someone with an aspiration to write a theme song and and submit their work to be scrutinized is any less qualified to try their hand at this?

If you're talking about the financial aspect of it, then, again, what are you talking about? The Guild's own salary survey from 2005 shows that less than 10% of commissioned themes for broadcast media fetched 20% or greater of the "jackpot" here. Even if you are giving up royalties, you'll be hard pressed to get a better return on investing the jackpot...

I find the whole "devaluing work" argument a preposterous entitlement mentality! Get over yourself and put your money where your mouth is.

As you can probably gather, I don't really have any qualms about the way the CBC is proposing on how to run this, but rather the whining of a few fellow members.