Superfluous Matter
Responsible Citizen

A couple of people have mentioned that I haven't update recently so I thought I would comment on a recent local issue here in Toronto, since it is something that could affect me as a resident of this fair city.

As part of the waterfront revitalization efforts, a proposal has been made to the city to demolish the Gardiner expressway and replace it with a multilane boulevard in order to improve the aesthetics of the downtown core. Combined with several other highway enhancements in the area, this would serve to reduce the number of cars (and thus the noise and pollution) in the immediate downtown area. This is a good idea, it is ridiculous to have a major highway right through the very heart of the city. If you want to get down here you should take public transit from the outlying regions or be prepared to drive on normal roads and fight for a tiny number of parking spots. Downtown should not be centred around cars.

Anyway, I like the idea of getting rid of the Gardiner and opening up the land for green space and business and such, but the project would cost up to a billion dollars and would take almost a decade to complete. I understand the idea of long term investments, but I think that it would be a better idea to put the money towards the ever-struggling TTC and commuter services such as GO. If public transit were greatly improved, it is possible that traffic downtown would be reduced through the voluntary actions of people as opposed to being forced to stop without a viable alternative. The current services are sufficient for current usage, but I doubt they would be able to handle the additional strain if the main road into the core were to be removed.

The real problem of course is that there isn't money to do anything, and that regardless of what happens, something needs to be done with the Gardiner because it is old and falling apart. As it is, it costs more than ten million dollars per year to maintain it. That's just no good.

Infamous Gala Event

I just got back from the Gala presentation of the North American premiere of Infamous and I'm too wired to go to sleep so I'm taking the opportunity to post an update about the rest of my film festival adventure.

I took a long lunch on Monday (and subsequently stayed at work until 8:30pm after getting back) to go see The Last Kiss staring Zach Braff, Rachel Bilson and Jacinda Barrett. I enjoyed the movie quite a bit, but it was completely different from what I expected. I think current marketing/press stuff suggests that it is a romantic comedy, but it wasn't very funny and it definitely was not romantic. It did however deal with a lot of relationship issues in an often brutally honest way. It was very well written and all of the actors did an outstanding job in what seemed like difficult roles. All of the characters had glaring personality faults, like real people. It was different from a lot of movies in that nobody was a hero or flawless or anything (hence the brutal honesty). I also found that the movie spoke to me personally in that many of the issues could perhaps be in my near future. The movie centres around young (but established) middle class professionals who are about to make the final transitions to true adulthood...something which seems nearer to me now than ever. No special guests were present for the show, but it was an afternoon screening the day after the main screening, so I wasn't surprised.

Tonight was the big event, the Gala at Roy Thompson Hall for Infamous and it was quite the event indeed. We lined up about two hours early and there was a huge crowd of people (who weren't even attending the screening) waiting around just to catch a glimpse of the special guests. The director Douglas McGrath was there, along with cast members Toby Jones, Sandra Bullock, Sigourney Weaver and Lee Pace. It was pretty exciting just to be there. The director and cast came up on stage before the screening to talk a bit about it and then they took their seats up in one of the boxes to watch the show. Lining up early was definitely worth it, because we were able to get our tickets upgraded (for free) to the main level (as opposed to the balcony).

The movie itself was great. It's another one about the American author Truman Capote (like last year's film, Capote) but since I haven't seen the other, I was able to just enjoy this one without (unfair) comparison. The director even joked about the coincidence in his speech at the beginning. It seems unfortunate to be the second movie, but I believe that this one will succeed as well. It was an excellent film, probably the best of the three I saw at the festival (although they're so different it is hard to compare them). It is hard to describe the movie, but it basically follows Capote around during the time of his research and writing for his book, In Cold Blood, both in New York and in Kansas. The juxtaposition of these two worlds alone was a fantastic way to present the story, and I felt that the acting (especially Toby Jones and Sandra Bullock) was fabulous. I definitely recommend.

Zombies at the TIFF

I'm finished my first week of work as a real person now and I think it went pretty well. I'm already right into real work with a whole bunch of bugs assigned to me to fix. It also sounds like I'll have some larger projects pretty soon so that is pretty cool too. I've bought my annual membership to the climbing gym as well, and I'm going to try to start going twice a week. I'm still sore from Wednesday though so I don't know if I can start the twice a week thing yet.

The Toronto International Film Festival is currently running here and I was lucky enough to get tickets to 3 movies! It's really exciting because the TIFF has become one of the world's most important film fests, along with events like Cannes and Sundance. I even read that it is the most important event for the Oscars because it has the largest North American attendance of all festivals. The three movies I'm seeing are Fido(IMDb),The Last Kiss(IMDb) and Infamous(IMDb). The Last Kiss is on Monday, and Infamous is on Thursday so I'll talk about those in a later post, but Fido was an opening night movie so I've already seen it and I'll discuss it here.

Fido is a Canadian film by Andrew Currie, a comedy about zombies. So you know it has to be good. I mean, c'mon, a Canadian Zombie Comedy? How can that be bad??? And as predicted, it completely rocked the house. If it ever comes to DVD (harder for small movies) I will definitely be buying it.

So the movie has a 1950s sort of feel to it, like Leave it to Beaver or something, with perfect families in perfect neighbourhoods in perfect little towns with lots of bright colours and lush scenery. Except that 20 years before the time of the movie aliens blasted our planet with radiation which left a coating of dust everywhere that causes the dead to come back to life and seek out the flesh of the living for sustenance (awesome!). So there was a big war where mankind eventually overcame the zombie menace by closing in their towns and cities with fences and inventing a collar that quenches the flesh-thirst of zombies who wear it. This leads to the idea of using collared zombies as workers for menial tasks and it becomes trendy to keep a zombie or two as servants in your house.

The movie centres around a family that just got its first zombie (played very well by the Scottish comedian Billy Connolly) and is adapting to life with a zombie. The father was a child during the zombie wars and is so damaged that he feels it is best to never form close relationships because the person is just going to become a zombie that tries to eat you when you die (the radiation dust lingers). The mother (Carrie-Anne Moss, Trinity in the Matrix), desires more from her relationship and the son (K'Sun Ray) questions everything about the whole "Zombie Menace" as only a child can. The child and the mother quickly befriend their new zombie, however the father remains terrified and resentful towards it. When the collar on the zombie malfunctions and it eats one of the family's neighbours (thus creating a new zombie), a zombie outbreak occurs in the town and the family must work to keep their beloved zombie safe and to avoid being eaten.

The movie explores lots of issues and probably has lots of deeper meaning, but I'm not very good at stuff like that. I feel like maybe the isolation of the characters from each other as a result of fear of future zombification maybe reflects the growing isolation of people in society today. But I don't really believe that people are more isolated today (as some other people do) so that doesn't feel like a valid analysis to me. Meh, whatever.

More importantly though, the movie was hilarious. I know my above description doesn't really show it, but the actors in the movie play the whole thing dead seriously, and the premise is way to ridiculous not to laugh at. Some of the funniest stuff is when a zombie safety expert visits a class of young children (maybe 8 or 9 years old). He asks how many have had to kill a zombie and several rais their hands. He also gets to see them do target practice while chanting "Not in the chest, head shots are best." Also amusing was the recurring mantra of, "You can't trust old people." Because you never know when they'll die, become a zombie and start trying to eat your flesh. The whole movie was full of crazy stuff like that and the audience was howling for the entire time. It was awesome.

This was the premiere of Fido, so a lot of the people involved in it came as well, including Carrie-Anne Moss, Billy Connolly, K'Sun Ray, Andrew Currie, and a whole bunch more. They even did a bit of Q\&A at the end and Billy Connolly was hilarious! I'm also impressed by seeing Carrie-Anne Moss, it's the first celebrity I've ever been close to (she sat about 10 rows in front of us).

I'm so glad that I got tickets to some of the movies this year and I feel very lucky because we got them online on the day general purchasing opened. Jen got up early in the morning and hammered at the server until she managed to get some tickets. I am definitely going to buy a coupon book or something next year because it's such an awesome experience to go to premieres and see really good movies.


Well, my last summer as a student is almost over. I start work tomorrow, and although I'm excited (and anxious) I am also a little sad because it means I am leaving the student phase of my life behind, possibly forever. And it was a good phase, lots of fun. But I will be glad to have an income. I like living in an apartment that I'm not ashamed to bring people to.

The Ex has been happening for more than a week now, which means we've been able to watch fireworks every night for a while. This weekend was the airshow, and our apartment has a great view of the area where it happens so I was able to get a couple cool pictures. I've never seen an airshow before, and it was pretty sweet. Planes are cool.

Planes flying in formation
Planes flying in formation
Fighter jets about to pass over my building
Fighter jets about to pass over my building
2006-08 | 2006-10