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The Rose is White

Six months ago my friend Pat Dryburgh and I set out to make a film in 62 hours.  After throwing the idea around about quitting the 62 hour festival about 5 times we gave up and lost out on 15 hours of valuable time in such a time restrictive contest.

The results of having to push creatively for 37 hours resulted in one of the proudest moments of my life.  

The Rose Is White (Trailer) from Edward Platero on Vimeo.

Completing this film in such a short time frame, and have it win both the overall prize as well as prize for best visuals helped validate in my head what I love to do.  

Fast forward 6 months and I’m working a the most exciting project of my life.  Who knew that cold weekend in March could ignite such a fire.

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The Joshua Tree

The sign says "Death Valley"... I'm close.  3 Hours of driving constantly looking at the GPS, and now I'm almost there.  This isn't going to be easy, I still need to find a dead tree in the middle of the desert.

I was 14 years old when U2 released "The Joshua Tree".  My dad took me to Sam the Record man in downtown Toronto to buy records.  It was one thing that we did when I had the chance to visit him. Whenever I would go to Toronto, I would think of the record that I would want to buy when I was with him. It was a silly ritual, but it was something I could count on.

Entering the store that day, I knew that the record that I wanted that weekend was "The Joshua Tree"  We bought the 12" vinyl and the cassette, so I could listen to it on the bus ride from Toronto to London.  Listening to it for the first time, I was blown away on how this had never sounded like anything I've heard before.  It wasn't over produced 80's pop, it was.... different.   I would listen to the album over and over again and pick out every nuance of each instrument, every drum hit, the crafted melodies that the Edge would play on guitar against the intense vocals.

With every listen, I felt like I needed to create something that incredible.  I decided that I wanted to play guitar.  My mother, thought that I was insane I'm sure.  I had never expressed interest in music before that.
I was very passionate about music and it consumed my life.  I had highs and lows as a musician, I had some incredible experiences playing in my band, as well as our disappointments when the band just fell apart.

 

I arrive at my destination, get out of the car and look for a downed tree. I have a copy of the Joshua Tree on vinyl with me that I purchased the night before.  I'm looking at the album and the mountains down seem right.  There is no cell service where I'm standing, so I can't double check the GPS co-ordinates.  I walk back to the car to find the GPS co-ordinates again, and I've overshot the tree by 7 miles.

 

After my daughter was born, my interest in creating music totally dried up.  I was a dad, and things were more important than creating music.

While my passion for creating music had run dry, I still felt the need to create.  This is where film and photography entered my life at the right time.

I pull over on side of the road, and take a walk towards where I think it is.  The hint to the GPS data is "look for the solo tree and the green container"  I walked around and saw something in the distance that could be it. As i was walking towards it, tiny lizards were darting in and out of the brush.

I could see the rock formations first as I walked closer to the tree.  I was here.

One would never think that sitting at a dead tree in the middle of the desert would have an effect on anybody, but it was outstanding.  I was at the spot where I would stare at the pictures of it, knowing that I had to be an artist.

Overwhelming doesn't even begin to describe how it felt.  I looked at the tree, and opened the container that held books for people to sign and gifts that people have left behind.  I saw a jar of sand from Russia, copies of the Joshua tree from around the world and a stock pile of letters of love to the band.

I sat down to take it all in.  This was a dream of mine since I was 14 years old, and now I'm here.  Life can be crazy.

I listened to the Joshua Tree in it's entirety while walking around the site.  The sun was beating down on me but I didn't care. I would deal with a sunburn.  Listening to the album was surreal and inspiring.  I'm really gonna savour this.  At that moment I so desperately wanted to speak my children, just to hear their voices and tell them I loved them.  Sadly, it was afternoon and they were still in school.  I looked at their pictures on my phone, missing them to death, I wanted to see their faces.

Being alone in the desert is surreal, it's total isolation.  I was here and all of the other noise in the world was turned down.

As each song rolled by, the experience was one of the most incredible of my life.  I was in a stasis of amazement, inspired beyond belief.

4 years ago when I first picked up a camera, i would have never thought that I would be as privileged as I have been as of late.  Life has been crazy.

I wrote a letter to my children, and placed it under a rock. My emotions poured out onto paper meant for them as they were both all that I could think about.  Hopefully one day they will have a chance to read it....

After over an hour under the blazing sun, i packed everything up and said goodbye.  I took souvenir for myself, I piece of bark from the tree, a rock from the site and some sand.  Whenever i may get discouraged or frustrated by things not going right, I will look at these items and remember how I felt when I was there.

No matter how derailed life can get, it's amazing to know that every once in a while the universe will reward you.

 

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2011: What I shipped

Looking back at 2011, I will always look at it as the year that I really decided be jump into film with real drive and passion. 2011 has been a very exciting year for me professionally and here is a look back at what I delivered this year.

Music Videos

Stacey Zegers: Sunflower A simple video with a strong message was the very first Music video that I shot in 2011. The entire process was a three day journey from concept to final product, and was picked up by Kid's Help Phone. (read blog post here) News coverage here & here.

The Rescue: Televised Shot at the UnLondonUnLab on a Sunday in March. (read blog post here)

Boss Rebel: Name in Lights Shot in 2010 but compiled in 2011, this video was the one project that sat on my to-do list the longest. (blog post here)

Stacey Zegers: Rules Shot at Cowboy's Ranch in London in March.

Burn Like Fabulous: Kettering My first video that I actually stepped in front of the camera. The song was a project for my short film, Imprint.

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Screen Shot 2011-12-31 at 2.54.01 PM

Clayton Healey: Find Another Way Music Video was completed in 2011, Artist is releasing Jan 2012.

Film:

Imprint My first short film as a writer/director. Winner of the Best Cinematics award for the 2011 London Short Film Showcase(Blog post about the creation of Imprint here)

Frantic Winner of the London Fringe 2011 62 Hour Film contest.

Promotional Video:

Stacey Zegers: Kid's Help Phone PSA Shot for the Kid's Help Phone celebrity ambassador program

SmithsonMartin Emulator Promotional video for the SmithsonMartin Emulator DJ product.

Emulator Festival Video for the SmithsonMartin Emulator festival

Community

Shot on Mobile Film Showcase 2011 marked the creation of the Shot on Mobile Showcase. A film showcase designed where all films entered are shot on mobile devices. I was proud to spearhead this project.

Music

Imprint: Soundtrack My first journey into music since 2006. The soundtrack was created with friends Mike Scott & Pat Dryburgh. The soundtrack also featured a cover from my new band, Burn Like Fabulous. Download the soundtrack for free here.

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Jumping into the Deep End… Imprint.

For the past few years, I have been involved in the creation of some great film/video projects. I've become smitten with filmmaking in a big, bad way. I have always been a huge fan of film and the creative process behind making a movie, and I have been very proud to work on some great projects for other people. All my time working on other projects, I've been hesitant about putting my own idea forward. This past year, I've had the idea for the film Imprint rolling around in my head, but never took it farther than a quick treatment. It has always been on my ever growing To-Do list, along with other script ideas that I have. Out of all of the script ideas that I have started, Imprint has always been the one I've wanted to take into production first.

In August, I sat down and finally finished the shooting script, and then sat on it for a few days.

I've always been a huge fan of Filmmaker Kevin Smith, and for the past year, I've been listening to his podcast outlining the journey to complete in latest film, Red State. His journey to create that film has been such an inspiration to me that I wanted to chase my own goals and just get out there to start my own film.

I wrote the movie with my friend Pat Dryburgh in mind for the lead role. The role embodies Pat's personality on a few different levels, and he was the only one I wanted to play the part. Being that this was Pat's first time acting in a dramatic role, and my first time directing a scripted feature, it was going to be a challenge.

To flush out the other roles, I cast Andrew Jiggins in the "make it or break it" role where he has to deliver some pretty heavy dialogue and explain the premise of the story to our lead character. Andrew, an experienced actor was exactly who I needed to law down the rules of Imprint to the audience.

We started shooting the night before I left for a trip to Los Angeles, I had one night to shoot with Andrew before he permanently moved to LA. Hearing Pat and Andrew delivering the lines from the script, finally made this idea rolling around in my head for a year real. From there, I was hooked.

During my trip to LA, I attended two screenings of Kevin Smith's Red State, along with Q&A sessions with Kevin. Hearing him speak about his process to create Red State gave me the charge to finish Imprint when I returned home.

The first scenes shot upon return were with Pat & Stacey Zegers. Stacey and I have worked together 4 times previously, creating music videos, and she fit the role of Gabrielle, a 24 year old with her entire life before her. Imprint is also an acting first for Stacey.

We spend over an hour before shooting speaking about death, sadness, and the most depressing things that we could think of to get us into the headspace the characters needed be be in. Both Pat and Stacey brought their 'A' games on a tough night shooting, both emotionally and physically. We also had the police called on us as we were shooting a very loud scene in the park until 4am.

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Having the police called on us was a trend that would follow throughout the shoot.

We shot again with Andy Berdan, Sean Quigley, Kevin Van Lierop and Chris McInnis in one long marathon night of shooting. The rush job produced mixed results with some great scenes and some that needed to be re-shot. Working on such a short time timeframe, made me sacrifice certain elements just so we could finish the scene and move to the next location.

This night had to be my favourite night of shooting, although I didn't get all of the shots that I needed, it was a learning experience. This was also the night where we were filming the car crash scene. During the day I scrambled to find anybody who could do FX makeup and make the actors look like they were involved in a horrific car wreck. No dice. In the end, we ended up doing the makeup ourselves and it looked amazing.

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This was also the second night the police were called on us, This time because they thought the actors were actually involved in some fatal accident.

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Moving to post production, I asked Pat Dryburgh to also serve as a producer on the film. Working with Pat has been a great collaborate experience, and allowed me to take a step back from the film in my head and see it from a different perspective. From there we worked together editing and crafting the feel of the film, and trimming all of the fat from the shooting script. I can't thank Pat enough for his dedication to this project.

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Being a musician, I always knew that I wanted to score the film myself. Sometimes taking on every role you tend to deliver something very one sided, so I decided to collaborate. Scoring the film, was joint collaboration between Mike Scott of Boss Rebel, Pat and Myself.

Mike and I setup in the UnLondonUnLab to create the basic score of the film, and then Pat & I put the finishing touches on it when we got closer to picture lock. The musical soundscape of the film is something that I am very proud of. It has been many years since I've written anything musically so it felt great to dive back in and create.

We talked about releasing the soundtrack for the film, the song features two songs that I wrote the script around. While it wasn't a problem to secure the rights for these tracks. Releasing them as part of the soundtrack would be costly. The film features the song "Kettering" by The Antlers, a song that deals with the subject of death, from a caregiver's perspective. It plays an integral role in the scene it is featured in, and I couldn't imagine releasing the soundtrack without it.

Out of that, we decided to record our own version of the song for release on the soundtrack. Given the fact that Stacey, Pat & myself are all musicians, it was a simple solution.

I flushed out all of the instrumentation of the song, and recorded all of the music. Stacey recorded her vocals at the UnLab, and we went to the studio to record Pat's drums. Out of that simple project, we decided to film an accompanying music video. The night we shot the music video, while setting up Pat says "We should do this as a band" and from there, Burn Like Fabulous was created.

Approaching the final deadline and 2 nights of reshoots, there was only one thing missing from the final cut. The car that was supposed to be crashed up was in pristine condition on film, the budget didn't allow for us to buy a crashed up car.

Pat was able to locate through friends a car wrecking yard that would allow us to use a car at no charge.

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Seeing the mangled car go up on the forklift and hauled out to be placed on the side of the road was a huge highlight for me in this creative process. It completed my vision for the film.  This also was the third night the police were called on us.

Imprint is set to premiere at the 2011 London Short Film Showcase, where it has been nominated for 4 awards:

Best Story Best Cinematics Technical Achievement Committees Choice

Tickets are available here.

The following night, we are holding a screening of Imprint with a performance by Burn Like Fabulous and Carly Thomas. This screening will be at Fitzrays in London, ON.

Imprint has been a true passion project for me for the past three months. I am very proud of the film. I would like to thank everybody involved in the film. Throughout the journey, I have made some incredible relationships and been struck by such a creative drive, it's been infectious.

You can visit the Website for Imprint here: http://imprintfilm.com Download the Soundtrack for free here: http://imprintfilm.bandcamp.com Watch the Music video for "Kettering" here: http://vimeo.com/30060451 Follow Imprint on Twitter here: http://twitter.com/imprintfilm Like Imprint on Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/imprintfilm

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Anatomy of a music video: Boss Rebel - "Name in Lights"

After completing the music video for the song, "Heavybad" I knew that I wanted to work again with Boss Rebel on their next music video. I had the idea to shoot a video for "Name in Lights" that involved using vari-speed and one single take. Little did I know how much work it would involve. We filmed on a Saturday afternoon in a warehouse with around 50 extras and enough confetti that I'm sure is still stuck in most of our lungs from that day.

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="480" caption="Photo by Kevin Van Lierop"]Photo by Kevin Van Lierop[/caption]

In the end we did 16 takes, with take number 13 being the magic number.

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="480" caption="Photo by Kevin Van Lierop"]Photo by Kevin Van Lierop[/caption]

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="400" caption="Photo by Kevin Van Lierop"]Photo by Kevin Van Lierop[/caption]

Getting the vari-speed vision in my head to work was another beast all together.

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To get the frame ramping to work, it was a process of taking the lyrics of the song, matching where each word happened in time on the video as well as where it happens in the song and then telling the editing software to move video frame "A" to match song frame "A". A lengthy process.

Here is how the video looked, straight off the camera:

There is no lighting and the song is sped up and slowed down during certain parts. This was done so the chorus would always feel slower and the verse by Dreddy would be quicker to match the rapid fire pace of they lyrics.

Once the keyframeing was done, I ran into my first hurdle of the process… rendering. The first render passes that I did on the video would take almost 8 hours to complete. Trying to keep productivity up, it was tough because It would take 8 hours to see if there were any frame issues, and there were plenty. I could only do one fix a day, because every time something need to be fixed, I would have to render the entire thing. Looking back at the process, I did all of the key framing and time mapping in Final Cut Pro… my first mistake.

Final cut pro is an editing package, not a visual effects platform. This is where I made my second mistake… After reading on support boards for the time ramping plugin that Adobe Premiere was the best solution, I re-entered the keyframeing data (1395) events into premiere. While the render time came down to 4 hours, the video would never export properly and produced a jello effect on the band. I thought that my solution would be to put everything on the highest quality and let the mac crunch the numbers. This resulted in a 36 hour render time. In the end I was left with a 20GB video file that looked horrible. This file still had none of the artificial lighting that I had included.

The artificial lighting was done in Adobe After Effects. Out of frustration I thought that I would try the time mapping plugin in After Effects and roll the dice to see if it produced better results. It did. After re entering all of the keyframe data (for the third time now) the vision that I was in my head became a reality. I simplified the artificial lighting because the motion tracking was all over the place. Another mistake, when shooting something with artificial elements, put some sort of marker on the wall so the you can track the camera motion.

In the end, I'm pleased with the results. Approaching a project that requires visual effects, I know that I'll be more prepared next time.

I'd like to thank the guys from Boss Rebel for their patience with this project.

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2010 Personal Highlights

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The biggest highlight of my 2010 would have to be completing the Detroit Half Marathon.

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My Favourite Photos I took in 2010

Also, in 2010, I directed 5 music videos (3 releases, 2 still in post) and a short documentary

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I also released my first iPhone app, called RimRoller (www.rimrollerapp.com) and also completed iOS apps for The Walter Greztky Hockey Tournament, and Youth Sciences Canada.

Looking Forward to 2011...

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Hot Chip / LCD Soundsystem @ The Fillmore, Detroit MI.

My birthday present from my wife this year was 2 tickets to see Hot Chip & LCD Soundsystem in Detroit. I've become a huge fan of Hot Chip over the past year, and have been dying to seem live. Being a UK based band, it is very rare for them to play in North America, so the fact that they extended their "One Life Stand" tour into the fall was an amazing surprise.

Hot Chip's set was evenly balanced covering the high point of the past 3 albums.

Hot Chip Set List: (highlights bolded) And I Was A Boy From School One Pure Thought Thieves In The Night One Life Stand Over And Over Hand Me Down Your Love Shake a Fist We Have Love Hold On I Feel Better Ready For The Floor

Some video highlights taken from my iPhone of Hot Chip's Set:

Going into the show I knew that Hot Chip would be a solid performance, but had doubts about LCD Soundsystem. I've been a casual listener of the band, and only own 1 of their albums, I was blown away by their live set, and stayed way longer than I intended.

LCD Soundsystems Set List:

Dance Yrself Clean Drunk Girls Get Innocuous Daft Punk Is Playing At My House I Can Change All My Friends You Wanted a Hit Tribulations Movement Yeah Throw Encore: Someone Great Losing My Edge Home Encore 2: New York, I Love You But You're Bringing Me Down

Wrapping up, in hindsight, this was one of the best concerts that I have ever attended. More pics here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/eplatero/sets/72157625259084150/with/5123459025/

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Walter Gretzky Street Hockey Tournament 2010

June 4-6 Tracey and I traveled up to Brantford for this year's annual Walter Gretzky Street Hockey Tournament. As fans of filmmaker Kevin Smith, we made the trip and had an amazing time last year. Last year I took a bunch of pictures of the event and was invited to take more this year by Ming, the View Askew web guru and Hockey event organizer. IMG_0860

This year really was a step up. I was given access to take photos from the bench and from within the rink after the game. Having that close proximity to the players allowed me to get some great shots.

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Spending the weekend down in Brantford also gave us the opportunity to meet a lot of the players on the other View Askew teams.

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Aside from taking pics, I also designed an iPhone app for the tournament that featured all of the View Askew teams. I will do a post on the app in the next few days.

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I just wanted to drop a huge thanks to Ming Chen he really is the MVP of the View Askew organization.

All of my pics from the tournament, can be found here:

Day 1: http://www.flickr.com/photos/eplatero/sets/72157624205809682/

Day 2: http://www.flickr.com/photos/eplatero/sets/72157624218270814/

Day 3: http://www.flickr.com/photos/eplatero/sets/72157624218380378/

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RIP iPad, I barely knew you...

Today, was a day from Hell.... Started off OK, but slowly went downhill. This afternoon I had a video shoot that started off very well. There was a slight hiccup when we noticed that we forgot 1 half of our wireless lavalier mic across town, but somebody went and grabbed it with 2 minutes remaining before the main focus of the shoot that we were hired to do started.

After two hours of shooting, I looked at the second camera and noticed some green banding across the image.... basically meaning that the footage from the second camera was now unusable. Because of the time limitations of shooting DSLR, for corporate presentations, we run a two camera shoot and offset the start times so we can deliver a seemless video file covering the entire event.

After seeing this image, I was very distressed.

[caption id="attachment_597" align="alignnone" width="590" caption="Notice the Green horizontal banding across the image?"][/caption]

So this means that we are going to have to send a camera off to Canon to get repaired, and I'm going to have to work some major magic in Final Cut Pro to deliver this video.

10 Minutes after this, I received a phone call that clouded my head even more.

After driving back to the office, I thought that it would be best if I took the cameras back with me and apply the new firmware update and see if I could resolve this green banding issue.  When loading the camera case into the car, I put my iPad on top of my car.  THIS IS SOMETHING THAT I NEVER DO!!!

Driving home, I heard a rattling noise on my car, and looked out the rear view the and saw something black fall from my car.  It took a few seconds but then I pieced it together..... IT WAS MY IPAD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I stopped the car, turned around to pick it up, got out of the car just in time to watch a pickup truck run it over.

It was truly one of those "NOOOOOOOOOOO" moments.  The thought actually crossed my mind about running out in front of the truck, but it all happened so fast.  Hoping for the best... my heart sank as I picked it up, and turned it on to a white screen with coloured lines.

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I honestly think that the iPad did survive the actual fall from the car, the apple case i bought does provide some protection.

The back of the unit is very dented.

So, the perfect end to the day.

I really did enjoy having my iPad, even for 12 days.  I guess lesson learned, NEVER put anything on top of your car!

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Customer Support 101.

Very often as a consumer, we tend to get ignored by the manufacturer.  How many times have we purchased something only to have it break or malfunction past the warranty date or the 30 day return policy. When I started my Couch to 5K program (post here) I "hacked" my Nike+ sensor to fit my Adidas shoes.

By the second week, I purchased a proper pair of Nike+ shoes so the sensor was used how it should be and more accurate.

During my Couch 25K training, I have been using both Nike+ and RunKeeper Pro.  Both essentially do the same thing, but offer different types of analytics.  There are features that I like in both, and so when I run, I have both apps running.  It has served me well because there has been instances where one of the apps has failed and the other one kept going for me.

During my run in February during -7 degree weather my Nike+ sensor stopped working.  Not a huge deal becuase I have been using RunKeeper Pro on my iPhone to track distance, pace etc.  I wasn't pleased but was taken care of.

2 weeks after that, during my run in nicer weather, my Nike+ sensor stopped tracking during the run.  I figured that the battery was dead as it was very intermittent.  After looking at pricing a replacement out at the cost of $34 Canadian, I posted this tweet:

I drew a line in the sand, and chose my loyalty to RunKeeper.  I wasn't going to pay for a product that guaranteed 1000 active hours and only gave me 14.    The person running the Nike+ twitter account obviously saw my tweet and posted this:

I gave them the details, and received this Direct Message:

Today, the replacement sensor arrived in the mail in an envelope with "Happy Running" written on it.

My hats off the Nike+ for using Twitter to deliver customer satisfaction.  I was ready to drop using the product and go 100% over to RunKeeper. Not because of the money, but the fact that I would be replacing sensors every 3 months.

Word of mouth is such an important way to market your product, if you have a great experience you may tell a few friends, if you have a bad experience, you will go out of your way to tell everybody you know.  If  a manufacturer goes above and beyond, it should be shared with anybody willing to listen.

Thanks Nike+, I'll be using my new sensor on my run tomorrow and at my first 5K in May.

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iPad... First impressions.

Since January 27th when Steve Jobs announced the iPad I knew that I had to have one.  Being a developer on the platform now, it is almost a necessity as all of our future apps from RedCat film will be iPhone/iTouch/iPad compatible.

This is the first time that I have directly dealt with the Apple store on a huge product launch, and I do have to say, Apple really knows what they are doing.

We arrived at the Apple Store in Clinton Township around 10:30am on April 3rd and were greeted by an Apple employee.  He asked my last name, punched it into his iPod Touch and found my reservation for 2 iPads.  We picked up 2 additional units, were in and out of the store within 10 minutes.

Now onto the device.  I do have to say that it is indeed a game changer.  I've had a Hackintosh Netbook before, but found my use dwindled after the first initial novelty had worn off.  Typing is really a non issue on the device, the keyboard is very responsive and easy to use (in fact, I am doing this blog post using the Wordpress iPad app).  Apple really hit the nail on the head with this device.  I really do feel that it is the "In Between" device fitting in with my iPhone and Notebook.

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Speed: This thing is FAST!  I cannot believe how fast it is on tasks such as browsing and email.  I will have to go out on a limb and say that the browsing experience is faster than safari on my MacBook Pro.

Build: The first thing that got me when I unboxed it was the weight.  I was surprised on how much it did weigh.  After a day with it, it became a non issue.  The display on this thing is awesome.  Both Photos & Video looks incredible on this.

Battery life has been incredible on this thing.  I'm used to having my iPhone dead by the end of each day.  The iPad has had major use in the first few days, and I finally charged it last night.

Apps:  While the iPad app store is still in it's infancy as of this moment, I didn't feel as though there was many "Killer" apps, YET. I am anxious to see what this thing can do after developers have had the unit for a few months.

Surprisingly, all of the offered twitter clients are flawed.  I am waiting for Tweetie to release their iPad version.

iBooks:  I did love the ebook reader on the iPad, but where it does fall short is the iBooks store.  The buying process is easy, but the titles are very limited.  I did buy my first ebook: "Viral Loop" by Adam L Penenberg and did get 60 pages in on my first reading experience.  Apple also bundles the iBooks app with a free Winnie the Pooh book, that I did read 20 pages of to my daughter.  I was pleased that Amazon did release a Kindle app for iPad, and I find that I have been using it as much as iBooks due to the vast selection that Amazon offers in it's book store.

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Along with the unit, I purchased Apple's soft case.  It's pretty good, but I'm not sure how it will stand up to day to day use.

Bottom line: This is a device that will be part of my lifestyle for quite a while.  Using it, I have found that both my iPhone and Notebook use has declined.

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Show Review: Raised by Swans @ Call the Office.

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Friday, January 15th, I had the great pleasure to attend the CD release of "no ghostless place" by Raised by Swans.  I have been a very big fan of the band since hearing "Violet Light" on the CBC Radio3 Podcast 4 years ago.  Their first CD "Codes & Secret Longing" has been a favourite of mine since the day it was purchased, and sits in my list of top albums of all time.

I have been eagerly awaiting to hear some new material, and after 4 years, the band has release their new CD. I ordered mine via online pre-order hoping to receive my copy the day before the show.  I can review this album with one word: AMAZING.  The new CD is on par if not better than Codes & Secret longing.  I cannot recommend enough to anybody reading this post, leave my site right now, and click on this link to buy this album right now!

I almost didn't make the show as our babysitter fell through at the last minute, but my wife, Tracey decided to stay home with the kids so I wouldn't miss the show.

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Moving on now to my review of the show.  If it has not been made clear, I am a fan.  The band played a solid 14 song set, that featured heavily the new material of "No Ghostless Place".   The new material played very well live, some songs like "Hail of Arrows" and "Secret Garden /S.C" sounding more rounded out and driven than the recorded versions.

Sound at Call the Office has always been a problem in my opinion, and there were times where the vocals did get lost in the wall of distorted mud that is Call the Office's sound system.   According to interviews with the band, they are about to embark on a coast to coast tour of Canada, so it was nice to have them playing in front of a hometown audience before embarking cross country.

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I managed to take quite a few pictures of the performance, you can view the entire set on my flickr page here.

Setlist from the show: (Show Highlights bolded)

We Were Never Young Hail of Arrows Relentless Easier Capable of Cruelty Old Fires Longer Shadows, Shorter Days Sandcastles The Waitings Over Still Inside You There's Hope Yet How do These Hearts Unfold Violet Light

Band Website: www.raisedbyswans.com

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London Photowalk #6 / LOLA Festival

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This past Saturday, Brodie and I attended the sixth London Photowalk.  The photowalk took place during the LOLA festival this year, and after a brief walk downtown we headed over to the park to check it out.  Brodie and I caught the set by Final Fantasy, making this our first concert together.  Across from the stage was the art piece Sidereal Time, where we took some pictures and video.

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For a look at all of the photos that we took during the photowalk, visit our flickr set.

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An Evening with Kevin Smith.

Last Saturday I had the pleasure to see Kevin Smith at Roy Thompson Hall.

If there was a running theme for last nights’ performance, it would easily be Wayne Gretzky (and his dad Walter) whom Smith seems to have a new found love for. And an apparent fixation on smoking weed – something he’s been doing with enthusiasm since wrapping Zack And Miri, by his own admission. Smith has been watching dvds and YouTube footage of the great one’s past glories for the past few months, and illustrated last night that Gretzky’s dad could be the greatest father figure alive. Smith even discused that Gretzky was not unlike Christ with his ability to try and do the right thing whenever he could (at least, this seems to be what the dvds Smith is watching would have him believe). Phrases like ‘It’s the Gretzky way’ and WWWD (What Would Wayne do?) popped up throughout the night, providing an easy go-to subject to help steer the evening through it’s three hour running time.

I’m sure seeing Smith live isn’t everyone’s idea of a fun night out. I know people who outright hate his movies, and his happy-go-lucky attitude in life. I’m quite the opposite. I find Smith’s honesty through his characters and dialog is always refreshing. He’s one of the few authors who has brought me to tears by laughing so hard at some of his writings. I’d liken Smith as a hero to most of his fans, as he’s somebody who’s carved out a fine career for himself by simply pursuing his dreams. In just over 15 years, he’s gone from a low-budget filmmaker to a respected film director & actor.

An Evening with Kevin Smith - Feb 7 @ Roy Thompson Hall 

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Albums of the week - 3 albums I have forgotten about...

So, i've been really taking advantage of the Genius feature in iTunes 8 and reconnecting myself with my music collection.  Along the way, I have rediscovered past albums that I have really loved, but have since put on the backburner. As a weekly thing, I am going to post an article somehow related to music.  This week, I'm looking at a few albums that I have rekindled my relationship with over the past week or so.

Underworld: Beaucoup Fish (1999): Underworld's full length album after breaking through with "Born Slippy" in 1996.  This was the release that was going to put Underworld in the forefront of the big beat techno scene.  Recommendations: Push Upstairs, Jumbo, Bruce Lee, Skym

Listen on Last.fm

 

 

 

 

 Massive Attack: Mezzanine (1998): Another game changing release for a british techno band.  This was the follow up to 'Protection', but it was a total new departure for the band.  If you watch 'House' then you may be familiar with the track "Teardrop"  Recommendations: Angel, Teardrop, Inertia Creeps, Risingson.

Listen on Last.fm

 

 

 

 Doves: The Last Broadcast (2002): Doves sophmore release, The Last Broadcast, bucks the traditional sophmore slump and takes it's place as a stunning version of Brit-pop. While not as dramatic, moody and brooding as the debut album, The Last Broadcast was definitely the Doves' chance to shine as songwriters and as musicians. Recommendations: Words, Satellites,  Caught by the River, There goes the Fear.

Listen on Last.fm

 

 

For more trends in my music listening habits, check out my profile on last.fm.

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