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The Engineer

The Life and Times of Donald F. Simmons

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New Bike! And more

Upon promoting by my friend Paul, I decided to start looking around for a real bike, something i could go on long rides with (my current one speed can get me around the city but it's hopeless on hills). We went down to Duke's on Queen St. on Saturday, and they guys there showed me this model that I was sold on after I took it once around the block. It's not heavy, the brakes actually work (first time I tried them I almost went over the handlebars) and gear-changing technology has advanced a lot since I was a kid. Since I had errands to run the rest of the day, i made arrangements to pick it up the next day.

However, my first big ride the next day was a little less than perfect. The bike came with toe-clips, with Paul raves about, but which caused me a slightly nasty crack-up, not being able to get my foot out in time when I stopped at a curb. So those are gone now. Then due to my own foolishness I got a flat riding where I shouldn't. But the up side its wasn't far from home, and I got some much needed practise in in changing a bike tire, with some significant help from my upstairs neighbour Ralph (who kept saying "nice bike"). I am looking forward to some day trips on it.

What else? Had brunch Saturday morning with owlfish and colins_journal, who are visiting from London, she on her way to the big medievalist conference in Kalamazoo, he along for the ride. It's so great to see them again.

Also Saturday (it was a busy day) was the Annual General Meeting of the Friends of the Merril Collection. I'm continuing as Secretary for another year, but green_trilobite had to bow out from the board due to new time constraints on this life (he'll continue as the Merril photographer). If anyone is interested in doing a little volunteer work, please check out the new volunteers section of the Friends webpage, written by your's truly.

Sunday attended a panel at U of T on the current state of the Hong Kong film industry, which is pretty dire. The number of movies has taken a nose-dive in recent years. The panel felt that the two biggest reasons was interference from China (which has imposed rules like "no ghosts or supernatural aspects", which means all recent horror movies have had "Scooby-Doo" endings) and a mixture of piracy and the pursuit of the new big trend. That is, people would rather be the very first to see a new movie, no matter how crappy the quality of the bootleg is, just for the bragging rights than see in properly in a theatre or on DVD. There's no obvious solutions in the offering for these problems. The center of insane Asian moviemaking seems to have moved to Korea for now, so we'll see what happens in Hong Kong in the future.

And Sunday evening was the Scott McCloud (the Understanding Comics guy) talk at OISE. Huge lineup to get in, and the talk was really great. Won't try to go into it (see his website for that), but here's a guy who actually knows how to make PowerPoint interesting and worthwhile to use. The evening started up with his 12-year old daughter with a seven minutes presentation on their "50 State" speaking tour which was pretty damned good for a kid. His even younger daughter is doing a weekly webcast on their LJ (the community mccloudtour). Scott's talk took about two hours (and made sufficient use of Toronto references to please the crowd) with another half-hour of Q&A and a signing afterwards, so i think everyone really got their money's worth.

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(which has imposed rules like "no ghosts or supernatural aspects", which means all recent horror movies have had "Scooby-Doo" endings)
Whisky Tango Foxtrot?! I mean, I get that the communists are against "backwards superstition," but seriously, that's like a Bradbury dystopia.

Yeah. They also had the change the ending of Infernal Affairs for the mainland Chinese release so that Andy Lau goes to jail. All evildoers must now be punished by law, and not just by the realization that you've given away your soul.

A friend of mine went to school with Scott McCloud. She was trying to get me to go to that talk.

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