Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Joe Kubert Art

So, Diana and I won this art at the Fan Expo convention this past August.

It's pretty amazing.

The Kubert School was raising money that they donated to the Toronto Sick Kid's Hospital - I can't think of a much better cause than that, and I hope they raised a lot.

And the art - well I think it speaks for itself.


Many, many thanks to Joe.

Labels: ,

Friday, November 12, 2010


Last week my lovely wife and I had the good fortune to attend the Pillar Community Innovation Awards at the London Convention Centre. http://www.pillarnonprofit.ca/news_and_events/pillar_community_innovation_awards_2010/

It’s been two and a half years since Diana and I moved to London from Toronto (Diana grew up here in London), and now that we’ve settled in I’ve started thinking about how I can get more involved in the community. We thought attending these awards might be a good way to start learning about what’s going on in the city, and what sort of non-profits are at work here.

In my career, I’ve worked for a few non-profit organizations – the United Way in Toronto and the College of Physiotherapists of Ontario, so could really appreciate all the hard work that all the nominees put forth considering all the daily challenges they face. It must have been very difficult for the awards committee to reach their decisions. The rewards that come with working for a non-profit are so big though that I really came away from the event being inspired, engaged and wanting to contribute more.

I was also equally inspired by the people we talked to that evening. There were a few people from rtraction (http://www.rtraction.com/), a company that is big on supporting the community, and that Diana had worked with so we chatted with them for a little while. We also talked with some people from the Sunshine Foundation (http://www.sunshine.ca/), and a friend of ours ended up winning one of the two fabulous prize packages! I was even surprised to find out I knew one of the people who presented the grant from the Ontario Trillium Foundation (he and I often share iPad ideas and I noticed him using it for notes when at the podium).

By the end of the night I was re-energized and thrilled with what was happening in London and all the good work people were doing. I know that it’s not enough to just pass through this life – I think everyone has an obligation to make this a better world than the one we were born into. It’s just a matter of finding something that resonates within you; something that you can be passionate about, so that when you do whatever it is that you do, your enthusiasm and energy becomes infectious and inspiring to those around you.

Now it’s just a matter of finding that for me.

Labels: , ,

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Saturday Morning

So it's Saturday morning. The ladies in my life are still asleep, and I'm bored.

Okay, I'm procrastinating.

Since the last post about our cat Chloe, she died. She was in obvious discomfort for the last night of her life, and when we describe what happened, people seem to think that she had a stroke, or a series of strokes. After waking up every hour or so in the night, crying out and I'd try to comfort her as best I could, she finally passed away around 7 AM. We were all up and got to say goodbye. It had been tough for the last few months, with her not eating well, but she was wonderful cat, and an addition to our family that is, and will be, greatly missed. I see her every once in a while out of the corner of my eye, and I feel sad and happy at the same time: sad because she's gone, but happy because I loved her and I'm glad she was a part of our life.

She was only nine, and I think we got ripped off - we should have had a few more years with her.

There is talk about another pet - a Yorkshire Terrier - and I'm fine with that. Diana is a dog person, and it's her turn. I like dogs just fine, but cats have always been my preference. We'll see in the next few months how that works out.

Otherwise, as I said, I'm procrastinating. I'm back on the CMA course stuff - in the Strategic Leadership Program (SLP) that lasts for around two years. It's all case work stuff (individual for the first year, group for the second), and I have an assignment due this Friday night at 11:55 PM. I've been reading the materials, and this weekend I'll start to writing it, but it's Saturday morning, and I don't feel like working on it right now.

I also don't have any computer games to distract me - which is good. I got Civilization 5 (Civ V) recently and have played through a game where the English Empire (me) took over the world by 1957, thus ending the game. And the game just didn't grab me. The Civ games never really have. A little bit maybe, but I've never found them to be particularly challenging, and after a few games, they just get repetitive. I know some people live, love and breath the game; I'm just not one of them.

Of course, Fallout: New Vegas comes out this week (I have pre-ordered it so I get some bonus stuff) and I'm alternately looking forward to/dreading that one - because I'll want to play it, but I have my CMA stuff to do.

I've also been turned off of computer games a bit, with my experience with Starcraft 2. While playing the game my graphics card burned out, and I had to get a new one. When I went to the forums (my first mistake - actually, my only mistake) and explained what happened, I got a) no support from Blizzard who made the game, and b) berated by other gamers who told me my computer must have been the problem (it wasn't). I've gone back to my general rule of not communicating with gamers online.

I'm also trying to work on a writing thing, and have a couple of weeks to get that done. It's self imposed, but I've started and want to push myself to finish it. I should probably be doing that now ...

Well, my daughter just got up and is now watching Saturday morning cartoons, and wants me to join her. I'll take my iPad (what an amazing machine!) and read some of my CMA stuff on it (reading pdf's on it is a beautiful thing), and we're off to the start of a great weekend.

Despite all the other stuff, life is great.

Labels: , , , , , ,

Friday, July 02, 2010

My hope

Though I am loath to say it aloud (or type, as the case may be), things have settled down a bit for me.

It's been a whirlwind since the end of August - when I started my Saturday course with the CMA. That finished up at the end of March, but then I had to start studying, and taking the prep course for, the CMA entrance exam. I wrote that exam a couple of weeks ago, and have around six weeks to wait until I get my results. (I think it went okay - I find it's tough to say when all the questions are multiple choice.) When I get my results, I'll know what my next step is: either move on to a two year Strategic Leadership Program, or (and I hope this isn't the case) re-write the exam.

Other than that, things are good. Our daughter "R" - or "Arr" for fun - has finished Senior Kindergarten, and is looking forward to Grade 1 in the fall. In the meantime, she'll be going to daycare full-time in the summer, which she's okay with.

My lovely and amazingly talented wife "Dee" has been hard at work on her graphic novel, and it's coming along fabulously. It's a labour of love for her, and it shows. I can't wait to see every page as she finishes it.

The only other tough thing for me right now is our cat - I'll just call her Chloe (it's her real name). She's not been eating well and has lost some weight (and she didn't have a whole lot to lose), and I didn't realize how upset I've been about her state until tonight. I went to the vets this morning to return some food that she initally loved, but then when I bought a whole case of it, she deemed it unworthy. I got some dry food, but one that's supposed to be easy on her stomach as she's been throwing up her regular dry food. Well, she ate a good amount of the new dry food, and was sleeping contentedly on the couch like I haven't seen her do for a while. Watching her resting like that made me realize how worried I've been about her, and how glad I as that she seemed happy.

It didn't last. About a half an hour later, Dee heard Chloe's signature "I'm gonna throw up" meow, and she did.

I hope we're not back to square one; I hope Chloe just ate too much, too quickly and that she'll settle down and eat normally and gain back some weight. That's my hope.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

To Silly For Words - part 3

Not to many words, 'cause, you know, a picture is worth a thousand of them ...

Friday, August 31, 2007

To silly for words - part 2

On Friday, August 31, 2007, some of the cast and production members of the tv series Heroes came to Toronto. If you read the post below this one, you'll find out that I was able to get a wristband that secured some facetime with these people. This is that story ...

I left work around 11:45 - the instructions I received with the wristband said to get there around noon, and no later than 12:30. By the time I walked from my office to Dundas Square, it was around 11:55. I (with the assistance of a Best Buy employee) found the lineup for people with wristbands, and, with my iPod earphones firmly planted in my ear, waited.

It actually didn't take that long for things to start to happen. Rick the Temp (from City TV originally, but now I think City's been bought out by Global, so I guess he's with Global now - okay, 'cause this is what the 'net is all about, I did some quick research and found out that Rick is now with ET Canada) came out on stage, introduced the whole thing, had a clip from the shows' creator, Tim Kring, which was interesting, then brought the stars out for a Q & A. I listened and enjoyed what they had to say, but having only watched one episode, I wasn't really getting into it as much as some people were.

After the Q & A they took some photos, set up the tables for the stars to sign at, and started letting my lineup on stage in groups of five. After a few minutes, after having a security guy look through my bag, I got up on stage, and the first person to sign was Jeph Loeb (he's the co-executive producer/writer). Jeph was the main reason I was there (Tim Sale - the comic/graphic novel artist didn't make the trip to T.O.), and as I came up to him I asked if he had a moment to sign a Long Halloween page (this is a page of original artwork from the comic book "Batman: Long Halloween", written by Jeph and illustrated by Tim Sale).

"You've got a Long Halloween page? Here?" he asked.
"I do", I replied, and then extracted the page from the portfolio I had brought. I placed the page down on table.
"Wow, what's that?" a cheerleader behind Jeph asked.
"It's an original page from a comic I did" Jeph replied, eyeing the page. "Do you have a pencil?" he asked me.
"Pencil?" I looked in my bag. "No, I don't think I do."
"I don't want to sign this with a sharpie. A pencil is best for paper like this." He turned to one of the many people standing at the perimeter of the stage. "Can you find me a pencil?" he asked. The women he spoke to turned and immediately went off stage to look.
"I'll keep the page here, if you're okay with that, you can get your DVD signed, and then come back around here until someone finds a pencil." Jeph indicated a spot for me to come back to - right beside him on the stage.
"Sure, thanks, I don't mean to cause any trouble" I stammered apologetically.
"No, no trouble at all. I just want to sign it in pencil."

I thanked him and went to the next person seated at the table. While Jeph and I were talking, a few more people, included the cast members looked over at the page now right beside Jeph. I got the DVD signed by the four actors, and talked to them briefly (Zach Quinto was very pleasant - I asked him if he was having troubles with the eyebrows (for his upcoming role as the young Spock), and he said no, not all, but he wondered if he'd have eyebrows at all (Nimoy's eyebrows were mostly eyeliner in the original series), and James Lee was as well - they're going to a Jays game Friday night. Noah was a little bit shy, and Dania didn't seem to want to talk too much – maybe she was shy too?). Then at the end of the table, as the security guy was about to herd me off the stage, Jeph stood up and waved me back over to him.

I walked back across the stage, through the line of other fans getting autographs, and stood next to Jeph at the table. They were still looking for a pencil.

"Got any other stuff in there?" Jeph asked, seeing that my portfolio obviously did.
"Sure, you want to take a look?" I took the portfolio out and set it next to him on the table. The security guy gave me a look, but Jeph started to flip through, and the security dude relaxed.

Jeph looked through the portfolio, and when he had to sign another DVD, I flipped the pages for him to look at. We kept a conversation, him commenting on the various pieces I had (he loved the Tim Bradstreet cover, and said that he liked Diana's artwork (I had a few of her pages in there for some reason)).

A woman showed up with the pencil, and as Jeph was signing it, said that it was a really nice page, and Jeph, with great pleasure, said that it was actually a pivotal page in the story.

"Yeah," I piped up, "it's where Two-face realizes that ..." then I looked a Jeph. "Why am I explaining your story?" I asked both myself and him.
"No, that's right", he allowed me graciously. "Harvey realizes that he can't go back."
"And than Glinda was behind it all along. Is that right?" I asked him.
"Exactly. When did you get this?"
"Well, my brother got it for my wife and me in ..." and I looked at the page where Tim Sale had signed and dated it, " '98."
"Oh, so Tim did sign it."
"Yes but I've never met him and I was hoping that I could thank him personally. You'll have to mention to him that I was sorry I didn't get to meet him."
"I will."
"Thanks," I said, sticking out my hand, "it was a pleasure to meet you. And thanks for all of this", I said, motioning to the stage and the cast.
"It was nice meeting you." Jeph shook my hand warmly with a smile, and I finally made my way off the stage, receiving slight smiles and nods from the security dudes.

I think it was apparent to Jeph that, for me at least, he was the star that I most wanted to see today. And he was, and this is the most apt way to put it, genuinely tickled to see that page.

How cool is that?

If I find any pictures, I'll try to post them here.

And, BTW, I'm experimenting with what I think are kinda different styles of writing, so feel free to let me know (nicely) what you think.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Heroes DVD; to silly for words ...

I have never watched an episode of "Heroes". I think I may have recorded it on our PVR (if you don't have a PVR you need to get one right now - go ahead, run out to Futureshop and get one - I 'll wait for you ...).

Okay, now that you've done that, I can continue.

So. Never watched an episode of "Heroes". Why? Don't know. Didn't have the time is most likely the only reason I can think of. Anyway, many people have been dumbfounded at this, seeing as it is pretty much right up my alley. Nonetheless, I knew that when it came out on DVD Diana and I would jump onthe bandwagon, try to watch as much as possible before the second season started, and then go from there.

This week the DVD came out. I did web-research and eventually determined that the place that had it for the best price was, unfortunately, Best Buy. I do not enjoy dealing with Best Buy. I have pre-ordered a number of items from them (as they often have the best price, and also often have cool bonus stuff - like the DVD of 300 that came with a Spartan helmet), but there have always been problems and I end up getting it at the store, completely defeating the purpose of buying over the internet. So I don't like 'em. Never have. Just a feeling.

Anyway. Best Buy had the best price for the Heroes DVD. Not only that, but they had a collector's version (for the same price as the regular version) that included an exclusive comic. So I didn't really have much of a choice.

Well, they had something even more: the Heroes World Tour (http://www.nbc.com/Heroes/heroesworldtour/). If you were one of the first 100 people buying the DVD you could get a wristband that would get you access to the actors on August 31 and get your DVD signed.

If anyone reading this knows me, then you know that I am a collector. Occasionally an obsessive collector. I call them "Quests". When I find a Quest, I have a difficult time doing anything other than the Quest. The Quest can be for an item (a bottle of Sam Neill's wine), or a service (getting my sympatico high speed working properly), or whatever. It's not always logical - okay rarely is it logical - but there's not much I can do about it. But I try not to have to many Quests.

So I was thinking about this wristband. Did I want it? Yes. Did that make sense? No. Would I be able to get it? Most likely not. I have full time job, I've been off a few days sick (feeling better now -thanks), and I couldn't really justify coming into work late just so I could get a wristband that would entitle me to get signatures from actors in a show I've never watched. So I let it go. No big deal.

Tuesday morning, August 28, 10:20 AM. Best Buy has been open for 20 minutes. I'm at work, and decided to call them. Finally (five minutes of transferring) spoke to someone:

"Do you still have copies of the DVD with the comic?"
"By chance, are there of those wristbands left?"
"I don't think so."
"Would you mind checking? - I'm just a few minutes away."
"They're at wristband number 72. If you can get here in a few minutes, you might be lucky."
"Okay. Thanks."

I'm out the door. I get there in about three minutes. Get my DVD with a comic. Woman approaches me, asks if I'd be interested in a wristband. "Yes, thanks."

I'm number 74.

What a geek. I've never watched the show, but I'm going to get my DVD autographed by actors I've never seen. Does any of this make sense?

But Jeph Loeb (co-executive producer/writer) and Tim Sale (graphic novel artist) are also supposed to be there - the writer and artist for the Batman Long Halloween series. I've got an original page of artwork from that series, and I'm going to try to get them to sign it.

I'll let you know how it all turns out.