calzephyr: (Default)
2017-09-15 09:23 pm
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LOL, I have never had a movie going experience so botched as what happened last Sunday. When I told my husband about it, he laughed and it made me feel good because my instincts were so right on. Landmark Cinemas is airing classic science fiction films to prepare for the release of Blade Runner 2049 and this past weekend it was THX1138 (this weekend it's Westworld). I had watched the movie before, but I wanted to see it on the big screen. It was only $5, what a deal! I couldn’t roll hubs out of bed though for it, so I went by myself. Landmark Cinemas is really nice, some of the theatres used to be Cineplexes and were woefully out of date. They got rid of the 90s styling and replaced the regular seatingwith recliner seats, ahhh!

Well, Sunday morning I was in for a total treat because I was the only audience member. I picked the best centre seat and munched away on my popcorn. I guess THX1138 isn’t that big of a draw. Let me say - the future may be bad, but at least it’s not THX1138 bad! Another woman showed up and I thought that was cool - two chicks who dig science fiction, yeah!

The movie started and it quickly became apparent that it was being played from a DVD and someone had left the commentary track on! At first I thought it was similar to the CE3K showing where there was some preamble, but nope. The usher came in and explained the problem and that the movie would be reset. After a few minutes of watching the film again, the other woman left, came back and told me we were in the wrong theatre.

“But my ticket said 11...” I said. Regardless, thinking that perhaps they were showing it in more than one theatre, I followed her out into theatre 12...where I realized that a completely different movie was playing. So I scooted back and finally settled in again to watch the movie. It was sweet - I could be that annoying person with their phone during the movie! Oh, and because it was so botched, the usher gave me a free admission coupon and I didn't have to complain!

We watched THX1138 some time ago and I noticed that there isn't a previous entry for it. It's possible we watched it on our old CRT so it may have been in pan and scan. On the big screen I noticed a ton of details that went by me before. On the other hand, there were some details that I simply noticed because ten years of art college gives you the language to talk about pacing, empty spaces, shadows, etc. etc. One glaring thing I notice was when THX meets the self-described hologram SRT. For a hologram, SRT is pretty tangible. He's hungry and feels emotions. In the world of THX1138, people of colour seem to exist as entertainers. I can't help but think that SRT's lack of self-realization is a slight commentary of the times in which is was produced. And speaking of those times, it still has a futuristic touch that seems rather ageless.

I don't think the future could ever look like THX1138 and it's sad to think that the past had such a morose version of the future. Perhaps in 1971 they just didn't have the understanding, descriptive language or knowledge to paint a brighter picture.
calzephyr: (Default)
2017-09-04 04:57 pm
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Thumbs Down Cinema!

We have been watching a lot of movies lately, but two were definitely thumbs down.

First up is Chappie which I bailed on this afternoon after 20 minutes or so. It's just insufferably bad and boring. "You can finish it on your own," I said to my husband, cuz I have better things to do with two hours than sit through this terrible movie. I loved District 9 so much but Neill Blomkamp's follow up movies are just not as good. Even his short films available online aren't fully realized stories and perhaps that the problem with Chappie. It has all the right ingredients - an interesting premise, star power and a cool looking robot - but it just fell horribly flat with me. Robocop it's not.

Valerian left me so woefully confused afterwards and I know I'm not the only one. Maybe it's because the only Luc Besson movie I have watched is The Fifth Element and expected something in the same vein. Valerian was an extremely beautiful movie but another confusing mess. Valerian and Laureline are supposed to be top agents, but they look and act like bickering, inept teenagers. It's hard to believe that they love each other because the acting is so wooden. Again, another interesting story idea and gorgeous visuals, but little star power. We couldn't figure out what the point of the movie was supposed to be at all.
calzephyr: (Default)
2017-09-01 09:42 pm
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calzephyr: (Default)
2017-08-07 11:11 am
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Death by Meeting

Death by Meeting is a surprisingly corny yet compelling book on how to run more effective meetings. It’s a business book couched in a terribly written narrative and yet I fell for one of the book’s premises - that an engaging story will keep readers hooked.

The TL;DR version of the book is basically - instead of having a long two hour weekly meeting, break it up into different meetings by type, such as a daily scrum, weekly tactical, monthly strategic and quarterly offsite meetings.

But, as you can imagine, doling out that piece of advice isn’t very profitable, so author Patrick Lencioni disguises it as the story of a fictional gaming software company that needs to shake up their meetings after they are acquired by a larger gaming software company. The villain of the story is one JT Harrison, who never says much but strikes fear into the heart of Casey, the founder of the smaller company. To the rescue is his good friend’s son Will. With Will’s guidance, the supporting cast of business unit managers change the corporate culture to impress JT Harrison and thwart any plans to fully absorb the company. If this sounds all incredibly dumb, it is. I read the short chapters (some are just two pages) right to the end, all to find out if Casey and Will can save the day. There’s a twist to the ending, which one might guess because...

Will’s educational and work background is in advertising, marketing and filmmaking. He happens to become employed at Casey’s company because he needs a break from school. Surprise! A maternity leave presents the perfect opportunity. Will uses his savvy to observe the terrible weekly meetings and institute change.

The corniness of this book made me roll my eyes so much that I thought they would fall out of my head! I used to work in web development and I don’t feel the portrayal of the software company to be very unrealistic. A company where everyone gets along so perfectly that they have to create conflict? Where they accept an outsider’s suggestions so easily? Haha, hahahaha! Truly, the fictional software company, Yip, is a figment of Hollywood imagination much like those perfectly beautiful homes in movies. But, I do have to give Patrick Leoncioni credit for creativity and trying to make a buck at it! The sticker on this book was $26.99 Canadian.

Oddly enough, the most offensive thing about the book is making light of Will's mental health issues - it seemed odd that it was included at all. For example, he goes off his medication and it's during that period that he can tell his boss that the company meetings suck, then he promises to go back on his medication. It really sounded like Will's criticism had to be justified somehow? I'm not really sure what the point of that was.

If you are looking for a practical book on leadership and organizational culture, this is not it. I imagine a fair number of readers would consider the book a complete waste of time for the little amount of information it contains.

x-posted to [community profile] book_love 
calzephyr: (Default)
2017-08-04 10:15 pm
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Senior Food Inspector on Patrol!

Gulls are really quite populous here in Alberta, a landlocked province in Canada. I enjoy them a lot :-) Here's a senior food inspector on patrol!

Food inspector on patrol! #bird #birds #gull #gulls #urbannature #urbanwildlife #nobody #profile #seagull #seagulls #nature #wildlife

calzephyr: (Default)
2017-07-28 09:55 pm
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Disco the budgie passes away

Aw, some sad news. On Disco's FB page it was revealed that he passed away back in January. If you haven't watched Disco's delightful videos, check them out.
calzephyr: (Default)
2017-07-27 07:47 pm
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I know what I'm doing for my birthday in October! :-D

I could also see the Blade Runner sequel too, I suppose.
calzephyr: (Default)
2017-07-24 07:48 pm
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Wonder Woman

I was so afraid that we would miss Wonder Woman in theatres because we have been missing so many movies in theatres lately! I grew up on Lynda Carter’s Wonder Woman, so I understand all the anxiety around this movie. It’s one of those characters/movies that everyone hopes will be desperately done right instead of being an embarrassing pile of boobs and tropes. Personally I was worried that Diana and her Amazon friends would have terrible accents - you know, the kind that is your cue to laugh at the funny foreign folk. The cringeworthy moments never happened, to my relief. I knew right from the outset that Gal Godot was perfect for the role after watching her in Fast & Furious. She played Diana with great passion, intelligence, strength and compassion. Us Mediterranean people are pretty passionate and I felt like I was watching my 18 year old self on the screen (albeit more souped up). Slay all the injustices!!!

It was so action packed but I wish that more attention had been paid to the CGI. The distance shots of Themyscira looked fake and oversharpened. Once the action moved over to Europe everything was kind of desaturated. When you're used to the colourful world of Marvel, the weirdly coloured DC world is a letdown. The plot could have been less simple - maybe it was because it was an origin movie - but to dwell on that would be to overlook all the positives packed into the movie. Personally, it was a huge deal to me that Diana is a brunette. We're so overlooked ;-) She wears her costume for her and she was never displayed as anything but the athletic warrior princess she is. Come to think of it, all the Amazons, and I believe many of the background ones were real athletes, were such a refreshing change from the usual. Here were realistic looking women that looked solid and not flimsy.

I was a little bummed by the ending. I really thought it would have a different outocme.

I'm looking forward to Justice League now. I'm not a DC fan at all, but the right movie might change my mind.
calzephyr: (Default)
2017-07-21 12:26 pm
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Galactic Budgies

I think I have a posting routine figured out - if I post here and crosspost to LJ, then I can back it up with LJ Archive. But since DW forked off before a lot of LJ improvements were made, it's not so easy to add an Instagram!

I had to wait a while for my husband to pick me up, so I used just about every filter on every graphics program I had on my phone!

Birb! #weird #budgies #mirrorimage #picsaypro #rainbow #birds #budgerigar #parakeet #birb #cosmic #wellensittich #budgerigars #bored #overdone #mirrorimages #mirrorgram
calzephyr: (Default)
2017-07-02 07:07 pm
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Werewolf Tycoon

Werewolf Tycoon is one of the silliest games I have played, but that's not saying much with how little opportunity I have to play games anymore! It's available for Android and iPhone and I only found out about it because of a bunch of tweets someone retweeted about fake game names. Someone pointed out that yes, Werewolf Tycoon did exist and of course I had to try it.

The game is simple to play and easy to master - eat the humans, don't let reporters take your photo and rack up boosts from briefcases. There's so much to like about Werewolf Tycoon from it's goofy music to it's retro style graphics, but it doesn't have a lot of long term playability or challenge once you've mastered it. The best part is all the jokey things in it, from bringing down a UFO to the newspaper headlines. But, once you exhaust those, there isn't much else to do.
calzephyr: (Default)
2017-06-12 12:30 pm
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My Weird Ass Organ Donation Dream

 I had the creepiest dream about an organ donation scheme a few days ago. It was one of those movie-length dreams where everything happened so effortlessly and seemed very true to life's, if by true to life I mean that the hair salon that just closed behind our house turned into a boutique craft store. It was more like a jewellery store with large glass display cases and spotlights. I made friends with the proprietor, a woman in an orange and black flowered dress who was a Hutterite or Mennonite. We talked about crafts and then we went out to get lunch at McDonalds, also in the same strip mall. 
Afterwards, we went to another store that looked like a Home Depot for pets. She had to go back to work, but I continued to walk around the store and soon discovered that it was a for-profit organ donation warehouse. The walls were light green and grey and the front of the store had big windows at the front. You lined up and checked out with your organ, picked from a shelf. All the staff had red and black polo shirts and were kind of tough looking! 
What did I buy? I bought a heart and some brain cells! I paid for my purchase, which was put in a paper bag. As I was sitting there I looked out the window and someone sitting at the bus stop in the distance dropped their organ. It rolled out of the paper bag and fell on the ground! 
When I looked away from the window, my bag was gone and the person next to me was talking to his mother. He was assuring her that he could pay his bills this month. I guess people who were there to donate organs went into a separate line. He was going to sell his organs and pay his debts. 
The staff had a switch over - new staff burst through the door and one had a guard dog on a short leash. I asked the man where my bag was and at first he said that he didn't know. 
I said something like "I paid a lot of money!" 
Then he admitted that my purchase had been docked the heart, but offered no further explanation.
The only reason I remember so much is that I woke up to go pee. Naturally I couldn't get back to sleep easily after that, so I wrote the details down on my phone and went for an early morning walk! 
calzephyr: (Default)
2017-06-07 12:47 pm
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I watched Riverdale in April because it came highly recommended by my friend. I was so unimpressed after the first episode. It was a weird blend of the Twilight movies in style and Twin Peaks in story. The acting was also really really bad! Maybe it was the cognitive dissonance of a gritty reboot of squeaky clean Archie - really! Is nothing sacred? - but eventually the plot and Riverdale's dirty secrets drew me in along with the conspiracy theories. The acting also did get better after the first few episodes.

I think the show did a good job of getting down to the gap between the worlds of teenagers and adults and did so in a very contemporary way whether it's that Betty takes ADHD medication or that Jughead comes from a broken home. It's not an adult's version of high school which a lot of youth oriented shows seem to resemble. Just that there is a diverse cast is amazing in itself!
calzephyr: (Default)
2017-05-29 07:53 pm
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2017 Festival of Quilts

So saying no to one thing means saying yes to another thing. If I was still going to Creative Chaos, I would not have been able to go to Festival of Quilts this past weekend. We didn't go in 2016 due to rain - last summer was very rainy overall. It was unusually hot for May and I ended up with a sunburn from walking around the park with Mom and my brother. It really was a picture perfect day and I took lots of pictures. I'll get those on Flickr in a bit.

One of the awesome things about the show is bring able to see the fabric in natural light and they looked quite gay, giving everything a touch of whimsy. I managed to avoid buying any new fabric although it was very tempting. So many colours...pretty pretty colours...but I had enough at home :D

We didn't go inside the historic houses as we usually do. All the buildings - even the barns - are hot as heck. I often wonder what people did in Ye Olde Days to keep cool!

Click for Insta snaps )
calzephyr: (Default)
2017-05-13 10:40 pm
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Spirit Riding Free (and DW cross-post test)

I have been prepping for another craft show and it involved a lot of mundane stuff - labelling cards, packaging cards, sealing card envelopes, etc etc. One can only watch so much of The Vampire Diaries and 80s cartoons on Netflix before you just want something different and I was so intrigued to see Spirit Riding Free pop up. If you haven't watched it, Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron is a 2002 feature length animated movie starring Matt Damon as Spirit. I think it's one of the few movies to feature horses...there might be an animated Black Beauty somewhere, but if there is, I haven't watched it. There is very little connection to the movie other than it is set in the West, has a horse named Spirit and...yeah, that's about it. The reaction to the series has been quite passionate - my favourite was a FB comment that went something like "Young girls shouldn't fantasize about riding stallions" to folks posting long YT rants. It would be nice if they did make a sequel to Spirit, but I'm not sure how it could be done since movie Spirit's story is more or less complete.

I whipped through all six available episodes. My first instinct was that the animation looked really bad and cheap, but Aunt Cora won me over with her line "Why is everybody hugging? I haven't finished yelling yet!" in the first few minutes. The series starts out with Fortuna - Lucky to her friends and family - returning to the town where her father and mother met. Lucky's mother died somehow and the only clue we get is that she was a circus performer or trick rider. Eventually the animation grew on me because there were moments where it came across as beautiful. I think the lighting might be inconsistent.

Lucky soon makes friends with Pru and Abigail as she learns to ride a horse and adapt her city ways to country life. Although the stories aren't too in-depth, they are adventure packed and isn't just for girls. I laughed a lot, especially episode 6 where the girls plan a surprise party for Pru and it all goes sideways. I think it's exciting that there's a diverse cast too! Abigail is my favourite character because she's so sweet and innocent and tries to be a peacekeeper, but she's no doormat either. I'm looking forward to more of this series and maybe will pick up a toy or two.
calzephyr: (birds)
2017-04-10 09:20 pm

I have a DW account...

I have been phenomenally busy the last week and a bit, but I want everyone to know that I'm calzephyr on DreamWidth. I don't know if I will be fleeing LJ because of the new TOS - I don't think so because I do like some of the communities here - but it never hurts to have a Plan B :) If you are on DW, feel free to PM me your nick.
calzephyr: (birds)
2017-04-08 09:00 pm
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The Circle of Life

I was going to make a post about all the birds that have returned to the neighbourhood since mid-March but I was so busy with this and that.

Several pairs of crows are back, along with the sparrows and magpies. Last week I saw a tree with easily a dozen magpies. And maybe it was the same week but I saw either a pair of quail or Hungarian partridges run across the neighbour's lawn. They were pretty quick!

I haven't seen a magpie since Thursday though. When I came home from work on Thursday there was a freshly killed one on the front lawn, right by the sidewalk. I had hoped my husband would take care of the little body, but tomorrow I'll probably throw some dirt on him as it's rained and other critters have been at it. Crows were all about our yard on Friday morning.

I happened to look out the window later and for lack of a better word, about seven or eight magpies paid their respects to their fallen comrade. Then they flew across the road to the playing field and jumped and pecked at a lingering pile of snow. I don't know what they expected to find, but it seemed like grief or confusion to me.

I felt rather badly for the magpie. Sometimes magpies and crows get hit by cars while eating roadkill. However it happened didn't seem to leave my birds upset. We do have small raptors in the neighbourhood. Last month I saw a small raptor up by the rec centre. It was too dark to see what kind but he was sitting like a statue on top of a lamppost until a crow started harassing him.

Hopefully my next bird update will be far more positive!
calzephyr: (Mr. Jill)
2017-03-31 11:25 pm
calzephyr: (birds)
2017-03-25 09:24 am


About ten years ago I started reading a lot of business type books. I don't know if it had to do with turning 30 or that there was just a wave of popular business books around that time that were accessible to average people. Think books like Freakonomics.

I decided to start reading through our little book collection at work because I haven't read anything in ages, I love new ideas and it started to bring some relief to my work day. At New Job employees were always encouraged to surf the web and seek out ideas; not so much at my current workplace because we're so understaffed and Internet usage is monitored. But I doubt anyone is going to give me heck for reading a little bit at the end of the day!

I really enjoyed Switch by Chip and Dan Heath. Some of the concepts were not new to me because of all the change management blah blah blah thrown at me over the years during buyouts and re-orgs. What makes Switch so amazing is the warm, encouraging and conversational tone that the Heaths bring to the book. It's a very empowering tactic, especially as they profile everyday people trying to make their workplace safer or improve student relationships.

Change is hard. People don't like change. That much is obvious! The brothers lay out a framework that we're all Elephants being goaded by Riders on a Path. This gets a little tiresome, but the gist is that the Rider is controlling, easily exhausted and can be too analytical. The Elephant is big, strong and guided by emotion. Obviously the Path is the road to change. The book is broken up into short sections in three parts detailing each concept. When all three ideas are aligned, magical change happens :)

The book has so many a-ha moments. You can find a great summary here. Barriers to change include end goals which lack clarity, a lack of direction, focusing on the wrong problem, lack of appeal to emotion and asks that are too big. Loads of anecdotes about how ordinary people influenced change are the huge strength of the book although if you are looking for concrete directions, this isn't the book for you. Basically the authors offer suggestions because of course there is no one size fits all solution.

I highly recommend this book - it's great for one's personal life along with work life too.
calzephyr: (Awesome)
2017-03-22 09:50 pm
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happy birthday william shatner!

Loblaws is an Eastern Canadian supermarket chain - in Western Canada they are called Real Canadian Superstore (or Stupidstore - I hate shopping there!)

Originally posted by [ profile] deathstar461 at happy birthday william shatner!

calzephyr: (cooking)
2017-03-19 07:09 pm
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Let's Try New Things

If you have been reading my LJ for some time, you know about my love affair with the slow cooker - but, as of Friday, it has competition! Pressure cookers are all the rage right now with one pressure cooker to rule them all - the Instant Pot. People are losing their minds over this thing and rightly so. I went middle of the road and bought a Tupperware Microwave Pressure Cooker from my friend who sells the stuff. It's purple and for the cost, I could safely find out if I was a pressure cooker type person.

The pressure cooker itself is pretty heavy and durable. I read the instruction manual carefully and it was super easy to use. There is a slight hitch - our upstairs microwave was too powerful. It can only be used in 900 watt or lower microwaves. Fortunately the pot just barely fit in our 900 watt downstairs microwave. Why do we have an upstairs and downstairs microwave? Let's say it's the easiest way to marital bliss when you want to nuke hot dogs at 3am ;-)

I picked a soupy stew called Caldo Tlalpeno because it looked simple and straightforward. I couldn't find a single bulk hot pepper in the produce aisle, so I substituted taco seasoning to give it kick. Basically first you nuke the chicken and then you nuke the vegetables. Instead of a whole chicken like the recipe called for, I bought some chicken breast stir fry strips. I nuked them for 15 minutes - I would maybe do 10 next time as the chicken was a little rubbery coming out. But no doubt about it - it was cooked through! I nuked the vegetables for 5 minutes as suggested in the recipe, but I would use 10 minutes next time as the onions and carrots were still crunchy. Still, very filling and I have lots for lunch tomorrow!

Chicken vegetable soup stew made in my new #tupperware microwave pressure cooker! Worked really well and fast :)