Archive for Vancouver

Update

Posted in Books, DIY, Entertainment, Film, Inspiration, Life, Music, News with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 17, 2009 by blakejohnson

So…been a longass time since I posted. Figured some sort of update was in order, so here goes…

I’ve moved back to VT. For the holidays, but also for the foreseeable future. It’s vacation, then working, saving up, and if all goes as planned, film school starting in the Fall. I’ve taken a two-year detour from what was really my dream, and I’m back on track. So that’s good.

Before I left, I got to check out a MAKE IT! fair and was pretty impressed. I’d wanted to go last year in Vancouver but looked up the vendors that had websites and was pretty turned off. This year I just took the plunge and am sure glad I did. From Cocoa Nymph (awesome chocolates) to Thyrza Segal’s Plantscapes to Daughters of Bastards Warrior Wear (awesome chain mail jewelry, no website, sorry) there was plenty of awesome stuff to check out and to gawk at. Catalyst Reaction had some cool leather stuff and I picked up some great Christmas cards from Hug + Kiss Designs.

Other than that, not much else to report. T-day in Seattle with the bro, a week in NYC with an old friend, then getting settled in here, ready for Christmas, watching the last of my funds slip away.

Moved onto Season 2 of Fringe and giving Leverage a second chance. Finished Dexter Season 4 last night. I’m still traumatized. Fantastic show…they don’t pull any punches. Hoping to start in on Supernatural Season 2 soon. Being Human was a no-go for me; the emo vampire dude was waaay over the top annoying, I couldn’t even look at him. Watched Slither and Gremlins recently. Both were awesome. Definitely to-purchase. Great fun. Excited about Chuck’s Season 3 and Burn Notice’s continuation in January too. Workin’ away at my to-watch lists…

I’ve been on a pretty major Star Wars kick lately. Partly nostalgia (I found my first screenplay – a Star Wars fanfilm, almost 70 pages!), partly reading Death Troopers (fun!) and partly finally getting around to watching Star Wars Clone Wars from Cartoon Network. Pretty awesome series, I’m having a blast. You know it’s good when it gets you excited about watching the prequels. Yea. That’s serious.

Listening to lots of industrial and gothic, generally dark stuff lately…Rammstein mostly but Imperative Reaction, Assemblage 23, Zombie Girl a bit, I:Scintilla, Heimataerde, Icon of Coil and Birthday Massacre. Got Nightwish’s Dark Passion Play on in the background right now. Never a baddie :P. Awesome album.

Hope all’s well with everybody reading. And everybody not reading. And no I didn’t get you presents. Have great holidays! 🙂

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Early Screening: Ninja Assassin

Posted in Entertainment, Film, Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , on October 16, 2009 by blakejohnson

VIFF continues, and with its continuation comes an early premiere screening of Ninja Assassin, James McTeigue‘s (V for Vendetta) new film about ninjas, revenge, kick-ass fighting and boatloads of blood. Needless to say, this was a crowd-pleaser. Awesome from the get-go, it packs the punches (and kicks, and blades, and other ninja weapon goodies) into a nicely stylized modernized ninja B-movie complete with an angry old sensei, a lost love, and a chance for redemption by the spilling of blood. Lots of blood. In fact, try counting the bloodsplosions (yes, bloodsplosions) and I promise you’ll give up within the first 5-10 minutes.

Official release date is November 25, so head out to the theaters then and git yer butt in gear for some fun!

Free Geek!

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on February 20, 2009 by blakejohnson

Alright…I just watched the redux on The League of Noble Peers documentary Steal This Film 2, as part of their campaign to help the three members of TPB during their current trial in Sweden, and not only did their talk about a new kind of internet connectivity and community and new ways of thinking about collaboration and community and a sort of technology/creativity-based utopia get me all geekishly excited but I just happened to stumble upon this site while looking for free packing supplies in my area (moving at the end of the month).  Yea, no big deal, but cool nonetheless, until I saw the righthand menu section.  “Upcoming Events”!?  “Learn”!?  CAN YOU SAY AWESOME!!  (How about GEEKTASTIC!?)  I got really excited when I saw the “Intro to Ubuntu GNU/Linux” coming up in March.  Definitely going to have to attend that one.  Except it’s full.  Damn.  Well it says there’ll be more in the future so I’m subscribin’ to ye ol’ newsletter then, see what I hear.

Oh yea, and their events are free, they’ve got an “earn a computer” program where you donate 24 hours of service to their organization and you get to adopt one of their aptly-named GeekBoxes (a Linux machine loaded with open source/free software), a computer thrift store (ooooh yeeess) and, under the ‘Free Geek Family’ section, ‘How to start a Free Geek!‘  Oh, and there’s a cluttered but kinda cool Wiki too.

Ooooh…this is going to be a long night of nerdgasms…

UPDATE: Check out the YouTube video below to see how the original Portland chapter got started.  Pretty freakin’ well-spoken 13-year-old, huh?

I’m in town!

Posted in Friends, Journals, Life, News, People, Realtionships with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 14, 2008 by blakejohnson

Staying in Seattle with my brother and his wife was wonderful.  Now, living in my apartment, I realize and admire how comfortable of a life they’ve built for themselves.  It was great.  They’d be at work, and I’d be home.  I ventured off a couple of times and found a bookstore, a music store, a cafe.  Most of the time, I was home on the internet, or watching one of the hundred movies we pulled out for me to see, just the classics I hadn’t seen like Jaws, Predator and Alien.  And then there was The Usual Suspects, the Bourne movies and the Goonies.  Most all of the movies I watched there I liked.  Tuesday nights were game nights, so I met their friends I hadn’t seen since the wedding ceremony.  We had an action movie night one night, and a few other friends came over then.  Their two housemates were great as well, always friendly, always interested and joyful, joking.  And of course visiting Vancouver with them was even more fun then sticking it out alone.  I’ve seen a ton more movies since being up here, and rated and reviewed around 350 more online in the last 3 weeks or so.  Tuesdays were pie-making days also, when Juliana didn’t work she’d stay home and we’d make pies from her massive pie book together.  She’d really make them, I’d just help.  But it was fun.  And they usually tasted quite good by the end.  That was Jesse’s favorite part about Tuesdays.  He’d come home from work, say hi to me and the dog, and walk straight into the kitchen for a plate and a fork and dig in to the pie of the week.  It was fun.  We also did a baking day on Superbowl Sunday one weekend.  Nobody was interested in the Superbowl, but the food was excellent, so they made chili cheese dip, popcorn shrimp, bacon and potato skins, all the good parts of a Superbowl celebration.  And us guys watched some good action movies in the living room while most of the women cooked.  It was a good day. 🙂

Vancouver.  Vancouver is awesome.  The city itself couldn’t be more gentle or fun.  The apartment I’m in is just the right size for three guys who don’t typically cross paths for more than a minute.  My room is nicely sized, comfortable and well-lit…now.  And the people… Canadians blow me away.  Why aren’t Americans this nice to random people?  Maybe it’s because we’re roommates or maybe it’s because they’re friend of my family, but everybody I’ve met so far has been more than willing to drop whatever they’re doing and help out in some way.  It’s shocking, but nice.

I start school in about a week and a half, so I’m still getting used to the area around the apartment, finding new places to get groceries, household things like tape, light bulbs, etc.  I just got the internet set up today, and the roommates will pay me back for the router when I see them later tonight.  So far it’s been pretty quiet days at home, since the roommates have school and/or work, and I’ve got neither, and then some movie and food later on, with the occasional interest of one of them.  Tim goes to the school I’m going to be going to, only he’s in the Game Design program, so he’s doing a lot of 3D modeling and texturing, making characters and stuff for games.  He’s almost done with his clay version of a character, he said, and he’ll be 6 months through the program once I start.  Andrew’s finishing his masters in Health Economics.  That was a shock to me, since when I saw him he looked like he was just out of high school and starting college for the first time.  It was also a field I never thought existed until he mentioned it, but it’s something I now can’t imagine not existing, even though I’m really not sure what it is.

I moved up on Sunday, and it’s Wednesday now, so I’ve got no good excuse not to learn the bus routes soon.  Tomorrow I’m taking the closest one down to my school to see where it is, and meet one of my brother’s friends or a brief visit in the middle of his work day (see what I mean, and he’s not even Canadian!)  I’ll wander around and explore the area a bit, and finally come back home when I’ve explored enough for the day.  I hope it’s just so exciting I go back again on Friday, only it’s supposed to rain Friday, so maybe I won’t.  I’ve always got the apartment to stay in.  It’s still surreal, being in the apartment, thinking it’s partly mine.  Walking into the kitchen thinking it’s my kitchen, my living room, I don’t know if it’s sunk in or not, but it’s an odd feeling.  It’s kind of a feeling like I have this freedom, this ultimate freedom where my life isn’t determined by the schedules of other people, my daily life is completely and entire up to me, down to the absolute minute details, and yet I haven’t changed anything about my habits yet.  Maybe I will with time, and maybe finding new friends will cause that, but for now, I’m happy to have a place to sleep and eat and a brand new city to explore.

I'm in town!

Posted in Friends, Journals, Life, News, People, Realtionships with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 14, 2008 by blakejohnson

Staying in Seattle with my brother and his wife was wonderful.  Now, living in my apartment, I realize and admire how comfortable of a life they’ve built for themselves.  It was great.  They’d be at work, and I’d be home.  I ventured off a couple of times and found a bookstore, a music store, a cafe.  Most of the time, I was home on the internet, or watching one of the hundred movies we pulled out for me to see, just the classics I hadn’t seen like Jaws, Predator and Alien.  And then there was The Usual Suspects, the Bourne movies and the Goonies.  Most all of the movies I watched there I liked.  Tuesday nights were game nights, so I met their friends I hadn’t seen since the wedding ceremony.  We had an action movie night one night, and a few other friends came over then.  Their two housemates were great as well, always friendly, always interested and joyful, joking.  And of course visiting Vancouver with them was even more fun then sticking it out alone.  I’ve seen a ton more movies since being up here, and rated and reviewed around 350 more online in the last 3 weeks or so.  Tuesdays were pie-making days also, when Juliana didn’t work she’d stay home and we’d make pies from her massive pie book together.  She’d really make them, I’d just help.  But it was fun.  And they usually tasted quite good by the end.  That was Jesse’s favorite part about Tuesdays.  He’d come home from work, say hi to me and the dog, and walk straight into the kitchen for a plate and a fork and dig in to the pie of the week.  It was fun.  We also did a baking day on Superbowl Sunday one weekend.  Nobody was interested in the Superbowl, but the food was excellent, so they made chili cheese dip, popcorn shrimp, bacon and potato skins, all the good parts of a Superbowl celebration.  And us guys watched some good action movies in the living room while most of the women cooked.  It was a good day. 🙂

Vancouver.  Vancouver is awesome.  The city itself couldn’t be more gentle or fun.  The apartment I’m in is just the right size for three guys who don’t typically cross paths for more than a minute.  My room is nicely sized, comfortable and well-lit…now.  And the people… Canadians blow me away.  Why aren’t Americans this nice to random people?  Maybe it’s because we’re roommates or maybe it’s because they’re friend of my family, but everybody I’ve met so far has been more than willing to drop whatever they’re doing and help out in some way.  It’s shocking, but nice.

I start school in about a week and a half, so I’m still getting used to the area around the apartment, finding new places to get groceries, household things like tape, light bulbs, etc.  I just got the internet set up today, and the roommates will pay me back for the router when I see them later tonight.  So far it’s been pretty quiet days at home, since the roommates have school and/or work, and I’ve got neither, and then some movie and food later on, with the occasional interest of one of them.  Tim goes to the school I’m going to be going to, only he’s in the Game Design program, so he’s doing a lot of 3D modeling and texturing, making characters and stuff for games.  He’s almost done with his clay version of a character, he said, and he’ll be 6 months through the program once I start.  Andrew’s finishing his masters in Health Economics.  That was a shock to me, since when I saw him he looked like he was just out of high school and starting college for the first time.  It was also a field I never thought existed until he mentioned it, but it’s something I now can’t imagine not existing, even though I’m really not sure what it is.

I moved up on Sunday, and it’s Wednesday now, so I’ve got no good excuse not to learn the bus routes soon.  Tomorrow I’m taking the closest one down to my school to see where it is, and meet one of my brother’s friends or a brief visit in the middle of his work day (see what I mean, and he’s not even Canadian!)  I’ll wander around and explore the area a bit, and finally come back home when I’ve explored enough for the day.  I hope it’s just so exciting I go back again on Friday, only it’s supposed to rain Friday, so maybe I won’t.  I’ve always got the apartment to stay in.  It’s still surreal, being in the apartment, thinking it’s partly mine.  Walking into the kitchen thinking it’s my kitchen, my living room, I don’t know if it’s sunk in or not, but it’s an odd feeling.  It’s kind of a feeling like I have this freedom, this ultimate freedom where my life isn’t determined by the schedules of other people, my daily life is completely and entire up to me, down to the absolute minute details, and yet I haven’t changed anything about my habits yet.  Maybe I will with time, and maybe finding new friends will cause that, but for now, I’m happy to have a place to sleep and eat and a brand new city to explore.

The Big Move

Posted in Family, Friends, Get Meta!, Inspiration, Life, News, People, Realtionships, School, Work with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 18, 2008 by blakejohnson

Well, here it is.  I’m sitting in the airport on my way to LA, then Seattle, then Vancouver for my long-awaited move away from home.  This is the first time I’m going to be living outside of my parent’s house, and it’s really kind of interesting how I feel about it.  I’m not excited.  I’m not dreading it.  I find myself thinking of it as just another day that happens to be taking place in a different state, and eventually, country.  Everybody keeps coming up to me saying things like “Oh, I bet you can’t wait,” or “You must be excited,” and really, honestly, I don’t feel different.

I’ve heard it doesn’t hit you until you’re there, without your parents, and you think “When are they coming to pick me up?” and the inevitable response pops into your head and you think “Oh, right.”  I guess that might be what’ll happen to me.  Maybe it’s a sort of feeling that nothing in insurmountable.  Maybe it’s just that I’m not afraid.  Whatever it is, I feel absolutely normal.  Except I’m in the airport.

It’s going to be a good move though.  New people, new places, I’m glad to finally be getting away from the tiny-town Vermont.  I wrote in an email to a friend a day or two ago:

In my room, I can stand up straight, just normally, and flat-footed I can touch the palms of my hands to my ceiling. I like to think that’s how it is living in Vermont. I can touch the ceiling with no effort, but I can’t push beyond it to do what I want to do. A bigger city might have higher ceilings, but it’s definitely going to have more potential. So that’s what I’m really moving for the most.

Overall, I’m obviously looking forward to the move, and I’m looking forward to being closer to my brother who lives in Seattle.  I’m staying with him for a week or two before getting up to Vancouver, and that should be fun, since I rarely see him more than once a year.  But now, being closer, I should be seeing him more often.  In addition to that, I’ve got the opportunities abounding from the new city, the new people, and the new things I’ll learn and do when I’m out there.  If you can’t tell, I can get myself excited about the move, but I’m not overly zealous about the whole thing.

So I’m going to sit back, relax in the airport and enjoy my nice soygurt (just joshin’, I’m hardcore, I go for the real stuff) and wait for the plane to be ready to bear me on my journey through the heavens… err, the clouds anyway.  It’s gonna be a long day of traveling, but it should be fun in the end.

New Years

Posted in Articles, Get Meta!, Life, People with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 1, 2008 by blakejohnson

I was just watching the New York City celebration of the New Year, and realized that the new year’s sort of become a time where people say “alright, this year I’m really going to revamp things and get better…” or something like that. But I was just wondering, since time goes on anyway, and really nothing changes but numbers, if the New Year’s become a sort of excuse to do good at first and then peter out. It seems like lots of people have the attitude of “well, I really fucked up this last year, but I’m going to start fresh now, move on with these new resolutions,” and I was wondering how fair that is to put ourselves through every single year, when we come up with these goals and then don’t follow through, and we just say at the end of the year that we’ll follow through this time, because it’s the new year, the fresh year, and our new chance…
Alicia Keys was singing about how it was “our chance in the New Year” to live and love like we’ll never be able to again. And I’m just sitting here thinking, “what, like we didn’t have that chance every other year of our lives? Is something special about 2008? What’s going on?” I’m just wondering why people can’t stick to their goals, or maybe just make smaller goals, or something, something that makes sense, and stop making excuses about the New Year to just give up on their goals, lives, and themselves and others. It’s kind of ridiculous, I think.

I’ve become quite critical about the U.S.’s media and it’s brutal, super-capitalistic bombardment of fear, buy, buy, buy mentality… and how disgusting it is that we have to sell plans to stay healthy when it’s a human right, and their own duty to themselves; it’s absurd that the U.S. can just give up on itself because its leader is doing a shit job of being president… it’s our country, the people are supposed to be in charge, so how can he last 8 whole years without significant opposition?! To be honest, I would be perfectly happy if I just left America when I go to Vancouver, and then never came back. However, that in itself is a pretty defeatist attitude – just like how I think most Americans are feeling about the presidency right now.

I’m so sick of this place and the way it works, with no question, with so much ignorance, with so little fighting for the right way of life. I don’t get how the rest of the world (I really mean France, England, even Cuba – oh god, is that unAmerican?!) can be so much better off than the U.S. when we’re the ones who advertise as the best country in the world. (An seriously, WTF is up with that!?) After the New Year’s celebration in New York there started a TV-documentary about… guess what… eBay. Yup, and apparently, if eBay had the people who make part or all of their income on eBay’s own payroll, they’d be the second largest employer in the country…next to Wal-Mart. Yea, the gigantic, small-business-destroying mass-marketing behemoth of the buy, buy, buy mentality that permeates our society.

Honestly, I guess part of what I’m grappling with is essentially this: we began aiming for the utmost, almost a utopia (but not quite, we wanted a democracy) of people-oriented governing, fair and equal treatment and loving home lives. Now, the U.S. is essentially a capitalist dictatorship. What the hell happened, where the hell did we go? And what can be done about it – that is probably the most important question to pose and tackle (I’m not going to say “in the new year”). What can we do about it? Anything?

That said, have a great New Year, the best of luck in your New Year’s Resolutions and in the new year itself.