...this is what I thought of the deep-fried blandness and undercooked quesadilla I had on Saturday:
The $19.00 "El Sampler Grande" will never be consumed again. Next time I'll stick to margaritas and nachos. Please don't make me make this face again... my eyebrows might stick that way.
Tuesday, February 26, 2008
...this is what I thought of the deep-fried blandness and undercooked quesadilla I had on Saturday:
The Nova Scotia Government homepage has just undergone quite the facelift. For reference, on the left is the old gov.ns.ca look.
The new look is less cluttered with a design that almost borders on Web 2.0-esque. Emphasis is placed on Premier MacDonald's "New Nova Scotia" plan with a nifty pop-up menu on the right side of the page.
A downside to this new look might be that some may find the site harder to navigate at first, as less information is presented in the frontpage. But, rejoice, the handy search tool remains, now without the cheesy "Ask Joe Howe" image that I always felt was unnecessary. Another downer: NSARM lost their link, while museums and other facets of TCH (while you're there, check out the province's first-ever Heritage Strategy) still get plugged.
Government departments will soon follow suite with their own makeovers. I'm excited to see what that means for the NSARM page, as I think a lot can be done to make it more visually appealing.
In other NSARM news, last Sunday's Nova Scotian featured a great article (including quite a few amazing photos) on the Tom Connors exhibit. This was my first time on the other end of journalism, which I actually found a bit easier than having to keep the questions coming.
Oscar Night on Sunday didn't offer many surprises. I was disappointed that Cate Blanchett didn't get recognized for her take on Bob Dylan, but I'm happy Tilda Swinton won nonetheless... she's a great actress who has often been overlooked. One thing that disappointed me was that Brad Renfro wasn't honoured alongside Heath Ledger in the 2008 "dead people" montage. He definitely wasn't as obscure as many of the folks included. Alas.
One of my favourite parts of the evening was all of the references to Javier Bardem's "killer bob" in No Country for Old Men, as styled by Maritimer Paul LeBlanc. LeBlanc won an Oscar for his work on one of my all-time favourites, Amadeus. "Fierce" comes in all shapes and sizes, I suppose!
Wednesday, February 13, 2008
It's Valentine's Day on Thursday, and the mister and I are going to check out Morris East, which comes highly recommended. I love going to new restaurants, and this one is just around the corner. Another celebration is also approaching: Oscar night! What a relief! Now that I know the Writer's Strike is actually over, I'm calling my picks:
Best motion picture of the year
- "Michael Clayton"
- "No Country for Old Men"
- "There Will Be Blood"
I personally like TWBB better, but I'm almost certain NSFOM will win.
Performance by an actor in a leading role
- George Clooney in "Michael Clayton" (Warner Bros.)
- Daniel Day-Lewis in "There Will Be Blood" (Paramount Vantage and Miramax)
- Johnny Depp in "Sweeney Todd The Demon Barber of Fleet Street" (DreamWorks and Warner Bros., Distributed by DreamWorks/Paramount)
- Tommy Lee Jones in "In the Valley of Elah" (Warner Independent)
- Viggo Mortensen in "Eastern Promises" (Focus Features)
There is no way Daniel Day-Lewis can lose. I loved Mortensen and of course have to hope a Cronenberg movie is recognized, but if Day-Lewis doesn't get the Oscar, there is something wrong with the world. His performance was terrifying. All last week I was muttering "I have a competition in me" and "This is my son and business partner H.W." to unsuspecting friends. Also, Depp doesn't deserve the nomination for the lukewarm Sweeney Todd. Sad but true.
Performance by an actor in a supporting role
- Casey Affleck in "The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford" (Warner Bros.)
- Javier Bardem in "No Country for Old Men" (Miramax and Paramount Vantage)
- Philip Seymour Hoffman in "Charlie Wilson's War" (Universal)
- Hal Holbrook in "Into the Wild" (Paramount Vantage and River Road Entertainment)
- Tom Wilkinson in "Michael Clayton" (Warner Bros.)
I have not seen any of these movies except for NCFOM, so I'm going to have to go with Bardem (thought I hear Casey Affleck was great and stole the movie from Mr. Jolie). The theme at this year's Academy Awards is to be bleak and scary.
Performance by an actress in a leading role
- Cate Blanchett in "Elizabeth: The Golden Age" (Universal)
- Julie Christie in "Away from Her" (Lionsgate)
- Marion Cotillard in "La Vie en Rose" (Picturehouse)
- Laura Linney in "The Savages" (Fox Searchlight)
- Ellen Page in "Juno" (Fox Searchlight)
She's in a bio-pic, and thus automatically has the edge.
Performance by an actress in a supporting role
- Cate Blanchett in "I'm Not There" (The Weinstein Company)
- Ruby Dee in "American Gangster" (Universal)
- Saoirse Ronan in "Atonement" (Focus Features)
- Amy Ryan in "Gone Baby Gone" (Miramax)
- Tilda Swinton in "Michael Clayton" (Warner Bros.)
Blanchett must win this because she was nothing short of brilliant, and her performance of "Ballad of a Thin Man" gave me chills.
Achievement in directing
- "The Diving Bell and the Butterfly" (Miramax/Pathé Renn), Julian Schnabel
- "Juno" (Fox Searchlight), Jason Reitman
- "Michael Clayton" (Warner Bros.), Tony Gilroy
- "No Country for Old Men" (Miramax and Paramount Vantage), Joel Coen and Ethan Coen
- "There Will Be Blood" (Paramount Vantage and Miramax), Paul Thomas Anderson
Once again, I kind of like PTA better, but I think this is the Coen brothers' year.
Best animated feature film of the year
- "Persepolis" (Sony Pictures Classics): Marjane Satrapi and Vincent Paronnaud
- "Ratatouille" (Walt Disney): Brad Bird
- "Surf's Up" (Sony Pictures Releasing): Ash Brannon and Chris Buck
I missed seeing Persepolis at Monday Night Movies, and regret it. It looks great. But I'm still guessing that, once again, Brad Bird and co. will win.
- "Atonement" (Focus Features), Screenplay by Christopher Hampton
- "Away from Her" (Lionsgate), Written by Sarah Polley
- "The Diving Bell and the Butterfly" (Miramax/Pathé Renn), Screenplay by Ronald Harwood
- "No Country for Old Men" (Miramax and Paramount Vantage), Written for the screen by Joel Coen & Ethan Coen
- "There Will Be Blood" (Paramount Vantage and Miramax), Written for the screen by Paul Thomas Anderson
AFH had considerably less fanfare than other films in this category, but I think Polley has a good chance of winning this one.
- "Juno" (Fox Searchlight), Written by Diablo Cody
- "Lars and the Real Girl" (MGM), Written by Nancy Oliver
- "Michael Clayton" (Warner Bros.), Written by Tony Gilroy
- "Ratatouille" (Walt Disney), Screenplay by Brad Bird; Story by Jan Pinkava, Jim Capobianco, Brad Bird
- "The Savages" (Fox Searchlight), Written by Tamara Jenkins
The writing in this film was smart and sharp with very little missteps. For a first screenplay it's amazing.
Best documentary feature
- "No End in Sight" (Magnolia Pictures) A Representational Pictures Production: Charles Ferguson and Audrey Marrs
- "Operation Homecoming: Writing the Wartime Experience" (The Documentary Group) A Documentary Group Production: Richard E. Robbins
- "Sicko" (Lionsgate and The Weinstein Company) A Dog Eat Dog Films Production: Michael Moore and Meghan O'Hara
- "Taxi to the Dark Side" (THINKFilm) An X-Ray Production: Alex Gibney and Eva Orner
- "War/Dance" (THINKFilm) A Shine Global and Fine Films Production: Andrea Nix Fine and Sean Fine
I think Michael Moore really matured with this film, and while I haven't seen the other movies in this category, I do think he deserves it.
There you are. I'm not getting into the editing and effects (et cetera) categories because I would just be picking blindly. Last year I won a couple of prizes for my Oscar picks... this year I'm hoping to just enjoy the show and gloat when I'm right.
I've been letting things slide a bit on the blogging front (and on my 101 in 1001 list), and I'm going to make an attempt to get back into being proactive and writing about it. At this time of the year I like to blame everything on the weather. It's been a particularly messy winter in Nova Scotia, and by the time I make it home in the evening all I feel like doing is hiding under blankets, turning up the heat, and watching yet another season of X-files (I'm up to Season 4).
Work has been fantastic, lately, as every project I'm currently working on really suits my interests and "talents". Last week I introduced a group of employees to the wonderful world of wikis and received a great response from a group of varying ages and "tech" experience. This group is spread across government and cannot meet often due to conflicting schedules (this environment is what made me think a wiki would be right for them). They are divided into about a dozen different committees, consisting of around two to five members. I'm watching the group delve into collaborative editing and uploading content with great pride and interest---I sort of feel like I'm gazing at a sort of social experiment through a microscope. So far, so good. I hope that we can use ScrewTurn Wiki again for more group work.
Tom Connors has been launched (complete with a "rack card" brought to you by Microsoft Publisher [sigh] and L. Oostveen), and we're moving on to other web products. The next "big" exhibit might be my favourite so far. I'll keep it under wraps until it's launched, but will note that it is a huge collection full of beautiful illustrations and colourful photographs that remind me of why I love all things vintage. It's such a treat to have access to such lovely photos. The other day I was fortunate enough to find a photo of this beautiful, though currently nameless, little girl from Bear River from the last 19th, early 20th century. I just love the innocent expression on her face. It's currently my favourite archives "find" and makes me wish I could spend a day going through the boxes upon boxes of history we have here.
Another recent gem I stumbled upon is one of Dr. Helen Creighton's personal photo albums with lovely black and white photographs of her travels around the Eastern Shore,
recording folk singers and collecting stories. Each photograph was captioned in white ink by Dr. Creighton's tiny, neat handwriting. One that particularly caught my eye was a photo of Dr. Creighton at a house on Devil's Island, which I now want to visit, though I'm not sure if anyone lives there now.
I've been researching hostels for June's overseas trip and have found out that you pay a lot more to stay in places that are guaranteed to be safe and clean. This is somewhat upsetting, and am wondering if staying in cheap-ish hotels is a better option. I'm semi-terrified of sleeping in dorm-style rooms full of strangers, and have heard a few horror stories that can confirm my worries. Still, I'm not going to Europe to rest, that's for sure. Recently added (after attending a focus-group on the proposed new central library for Halifax) to my list of places to visit in Europe are libraries, especially the new Public Library in Amsterdam. It's bright, colourful, welcoming, and offers some very cozy reading spaces. I hope we can get something just as nice in Halifax. Fingers crossed.
Monday, February 04, 2008
I've been spending a lot of time, lately, with this man: Tom Connors. No, not of "stompin'" fame (thought I am 1/4 Islander).
Tom Connors was known across Canada and the United States as "the Old Sport" because of his legendary status among sportsmen. Connors grew up in Halifax and became involved in athletics from an early age. His sports of choice were tug-of-war and rowing. He went on to become a trainer and a vocal advocate for amateur sport in Nova Scotia.
If there was a match, game, regatta, tournament (you get the idea), Connors would be there, front-row centre, supporting young athletes in their quest for gold. Connors' travels to sporting events led to his collection of sports photographs and memorabilia (1830 to 1947), which were said to be the finest in Canada.
This is where I come in. Nova Scotia Archives & Records Management digitized his collection and have made it accessible
for the public on their website. I really like the Archives' use of Viewpoint technology---you can zoom right in on faces and other details that would otherwise be lost.
This collection continues to make me smile. Everything is familiar, and yet otherwordly. Baseball on the Commons and paddling on the Dartmouth lakes are seen in a different light, and often described through the pen of Tom Connors. Connors has a penchant for whistfully describing "the old timers" and "the good old days", but continues to lend his support to upcoming athletes who he describes as "Champions!".
"Tom Connors: the Old Sport" also offers a glimpse of Nova Scotia in a period of growth. Halifax, in specific, is showcased often, and the effects of the Halifax Explosion is shown in detail.
Take a minute and check this collection out: you won't regret it. While you're at the NSARM site, take a gander at the featured exhibits for Black History Month... Gone But Never Forgotten: Bob Brooks' Africville and African Nova Scotians.