Monday, February 20, 2006

I Don't Like That Duotone Of Yours Mister!

I havn't had a chance to show some of the things I've been doing in class, but I found todays pretty interesting and have an easy example to show what I learnt.
Today's topic in Digital Image Processing I we were taught Duotones. Basically, it's a way to color a black and white (and grey) photo using only 1 (mono), 2 (duo) or 3 (tri) colors (tones). You start by analyzing the original photo. Our first example was the following photograph:

Looking at the photo, you can see three main different parts - the flowwer petals being white/slightly grey, the leaves beings shades of grey and the shadows in the background are almost completely black or dark grey/black. Therefore, you can distinguish the different parts by applying a color to the amount of grey each part has.

Then you choose your colors. In this example we used three (therefore, it's a tritone) colors - yellow, green and black. The values are set on a graph of Quantity of Color by Amount of Grey. The petals look like they are ~20-30% grey, the leaves 40-60% grey and the backgroung 90-100% grey. Therefore, all you do is set the yellow to "color in" only the regions on the photo that are 20-30% grey. The same concept is used to set the green and black colors. After tweaking the values, you end up with:

Pretty cool, eh?

Our next big project in that class is to make an animation. I thought of a pretty wicked idea for a crazy animation so hopefully I'll be able to use it for the assignment. Look out for that one in the future.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

This is SO cool

Yesturday in my Creative class, th eprof told us to take out a piece of paper and draw an abstract object. Then we had to take that object and turn it into a cartoon character. She then made us write positive and negative things about the character purely on how it looked (happy, sad, mean, etc.). We also had to make up a story to go along with the character. Finally we were given 10 words (garuantee, free, money, etc.) and 8 items (batteries, beer, diapers, etc.) and had ot make a slogan up for eahc item using each word (so 80 slogans total). She finally told us that we have a 20% project where we have to take all these things and make a movie poster that will have the character I made up, based on the story I have and use the best slogan I made up. We have to drawe it and use paints and everything. It's going ot be wicked. My character ended up being a King Neptune kind of character and my idea for my poster will be a take off on the first Star Wars poster. It's going to be wicked!

I HEART (the new) PORN(ographers)

I've known about these guys for a while and have had their albums for some time now but lately I REALLY got into The New Pornographers. They are a "super group" from Vancouver and members include A.C. Newman and Neko Case as well as 2 guys from Limblifter. My buddy Glen introduced them to me with their second album Electric Version. It's really good. After that, A.C. Newman released a solo disc, The Slow Wonder, which is actually as good as the New Pornographers albums. TNP released a third album last year which I think is excellent and was rated one of the top albums of 2005.
As for the music, it's very pop rockish but with really good harmonics and nice little riffs and stuff.
I highly recommend them to listen to.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Oh lucky lucky me!

I just finished my Shortcuts for MAC OS X for my Computer Techniques class. Literally. I'm still in the classroom right now. We were given a sheet in class of useful shortcuts to use on the computer. basically i had to memorize the two columns - The actual shortcut keys, and what they do. I think I did really well. I answered all the questions, looked over it twice adn was still the first one to hand it in. I don't know how anyone could fail such a quiz for not only did the prof put a few answers on the board right before the quiz, he also repeated the 2 of the questions twice on the same page. Plus most of the time the only word I had to fill in for the shortcuts was 'command'.

In the sae class, I actually had a tiny assignment for today which I completely forgot about and had to rush to complete it throughout the course of the day. I came in today feeling good, sat down and Amelie next to me says "did you finish the pictures?". Realizing I had no idea what she was talking about, I later found out we were supposed to aquire 15 photos for 5 different catagories (nature, cities, textures, people and objects) for a grand total of 75 pictures! I crammed it in during all my breaks. When I was told that it took others over an hour to finish I was worried I was done for. thankfully (and luckily) I finished my work in the previous class early and was allowed to leave, so I had well over an hour to finish what I had left (I had already comepleted 3/5 of it during my 30 minute lunch break).

Well class has started again...

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Happy Hallmark Day

Hooray it's Valentines Day (boo!). Actually, I woke up feeling bitter but realized there is no reason why I should feel that way and it wouldn't do any good to be mean to others. If anything, I'd just look like the bad guy. So I changed my 'tude and decided to go about it like any other day. I worked today and discovered that Valentines Day is a lot like Christmas. People run to the stores to get gifts for their loved ones at the LAST minute. At least during christmas the last minute is christmas eve since all the stores are closed on christmas day. For Valentines, however, you can by gifts until 9pm the DAY OF!. Nothing says "I love you!" then something bought on the way to seeing you! The gifts women usually get on this day are roses and chocolates, but apperently, for men it's boxer shorts with hearts on them. Well thats what the girlfriends think their boyfriends want since every second person I served at cash today bought a pair. Attention ladies, your boyfriends want SOMETHING else! (Oh Right - Giggidy Giggidy!)

When I was first put on cash I thought the cash I had was dying. First it was making a lot of weird noise (which I later found out was from a jammed paper), then it was spweing out 10% discounts left, right and center. See, every once in a while, the cash randomnly beeps and then prints out information for access to an online survey which as a reward for filling out gives the customer a 10% off coupon to be used in the store. Normally, I'd get 1 or 2 in a 9 hour shift. Today I got 5 in 30 minutes! One person even got the 10% off while RETURNING something! Turns out the company incresed the chances of getting it and now almost every second customer wins 10$ off. Hooray for the customers (boo!) because now I need to repeat the same schpeel all the time!

For those of you inrelationships I hope you get smothered in gifts. For those not in trelationships I hope you get smothered in gifts (bought by yourself of course) and got out and meet other people! Since i have school early in the morning, I can't even go out celebrate being single, so if your in the same position of not being able to go out, read my blog and drop me a line!

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Franz Death 2006!

This morning, I got up and put on my long johns, thermal socks, 2 long sleeve shirts, ski sweater, 2 pairs of gloves, winter coat, scarf and ski hat. However, I wasn't going skiing. I was getting ready to stand in line outside in the cold Montreal weather in order to get tickets to the upcoming Franz Ferdinand/Death Cab For Cutie conert. Being that they are two great bands and that the venue is small (Cepsum - U de M) I figured they would sell out REALLY fast. My plan all along was to get to Club Soda at 10am and wait until 12noon when the box office opened.

As I was walking down the street, just before I turned the corner to Club Soda I was expecting to see a huge line. Instead, I saw nothing. I was the ONLY one there. I sat down on the blanket I brought and started to wait. Only 2 more hours to go... Then around 10:15, 4 girls came and asked me if I was in line. They told me they to were waiting for tickets but decided to wait inside the Burger King across the street since they were the only one. Then at 10:30, the lovely Mariana came and waited with me for she too was excited to get tickets. I was getting anxious to see that the line would surely get humongous any time now.

It never did.

In fact by 11:15, Mariana and I decided to go warm up and get coffee. We got back at 11:45 and only 2 more people came.

By the time the box office opened I think we were a total of 10 people. On the bright side I did manage to get the correct amount of tickets I needed.

I may have waited in the cold for no apparent reason but I'm GOING TO SEE FRANZ FERDINAND AND DEATH CAB FOR CUTIE! WOOT WOOT!

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Wacky Inventions

Yesterday during my Creativity class, we were split into two groups (so happened to be French versus English...) and were handed each a bag with various items inside. Our goal was to invent a functional object using all the items supplied. In our bag we were given:
-A martini glass
-Black Bristol board
-2 Green plastic leighs
-A flap jack flipper
-2 red clip magnets
-A sheet of thin insulation
-2 copper wools
-5 chop sticks
-A bunch of plastic ties (the ones that you put one end through the other and pull until tight and can't undo them)
-A bunch of paper clips
-Scotch tape
-A knife

After several ideas ( a telescope, a dog toy, a cheese grater) we came up with a Martini making machine. The final project looked pretty damn cool. We basically used the Bristol board body by rolling it into a cylinder and then cut a door out of it.The flap jack flipper was used to place the martini glass in and out of the contraption. The foam became a funnel. We used the chop sticks and copper wool to be the base to place the flap jack flipper and also as a filter above where the glass goes. The leighs became the "juice" and we ripped one so it hung out of the funnel/filter and into the glass. The whole thing was to be graded for 10% of our final mark so I hope my team did well.

The other team came up with a less impressive invention. Originaly they got lazy and were going to make a TV antenna out of the chopsticks and Bristol board but were told it had to be something that doesn't already exist. So, they last minute through everything on top and said it was a special machine that oxidized water into oxygen. Later on we had to switch sides and write down the positive, negative and interesting facts about the other groups invention. Boy did I ever have the advantage of having studied chemistry. Yeah right, like water can ever be turned into oxygen. What next? Using the suns energy to power cars?

Happy Birthday Charles!!!

Last Saturday, February 4th, 2006, my nephew Charles turned 1! Boy was he ever the center of attention, and he LOVED every second of it.

For pictures ( a whopping 57!), click HERE

Thursday, February 09, 2006


Didn't know what to title this post since it's just bits and pieces of things from here and there.

After the improv Summit,on saturday, I attended my newphew Charle's first birthday party. It was crazy. my brother invited the whole city of montreal to our house (or what felt like it). Charles lit up like a firecracker when he recieved his umptieth gifts (or the wrapping paper to each gift, rather).

Monday I had another photoshop class where I learnt how to touch up both a black and white, and a colored photo. I have an assignmentin fixing up 2 such photos as well as another assignment in which I turn a black and white photo into a colored photo.

Tuesday I worked. Everything went well except:
-I short changed a woman 10$ and when my managed went to count the cash to see if we were over 10$, he found out we were over 35$! Thankfully, it turns out, my manager miscounted and we were only over 10$ which was returned to the customer.

-A woman freaked out when she tried returning a few tank tops. She didn't have a bill so I could only give her back the value of what the items are worth now (we have a 3 month return policy). AS I did so, they were all ringing in at 4.97$. She started to flip and immediately asked for the manager. Mike came along to help me. She kept saying that all the tank tops on the floor were 16$ and that meant there HAD to be a mistake! The clothing she was returning was no longer a new item and if any remained, would only be in clearence, hence it being so cheap. Still not believing us, she went and grabbed a featured tank top at 16 and still claimed ALL the tank tops were 16$. We have about 20 different types of tank tops all different prices! Besides, she brought a black one with studs and hers was white with a pattern and kept saying they were the same. On top of that she said she worked in the industry! Finally she accepted what she was getting for them and left.

-I smiled and waved at a baby while working as a cashier and the baby FLIPPED! She started to cry so loud that everyone in a 2 mile radius was looking in our direction wondering what the heck I did to the kid to freak it out so much...

Wednesday in my Basic Design class, I had my first quiz. I thinkI aced it. All that was required was to reproduce a picture of a fish made out of shapes, and then draw 2 logos, following specific steps given.

Afterwards, I had to make a layout in my Edition 1 class. Our Wired Magazine layout is really starting to look cool since we got to put in text and pictures now. Man, I really wish we had Quark Xpress when I worked on my high school yearbook...

I also studied for a quix which I THOUGH was yesturday but turns out it's next week so that was good and bad.

My wqednesday night ended with a GREAT episode of LOST. I love that show so much I almost fainted from excitement! I'm not so crazy on the direction they're putting the show now but I still really enjoyed it and thought last nights episode was nuts!

Today I had my graphic design class where I was working ona big project that involves not only making layout grids btu actually cutting up magazines and placing items on the page. It's a lot of fun but time consuming. I have to do 16 different layouts where 1 can take about 20 minutes to do since I have to think of where I want to place things, find them in the magazines, cut them out and finally paste them.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

The Event, The Experience and The After Party

Friday night finally came and went and so did the 4th annual Improv Summit held at McGill University. It was in my opinion and to all the people I spoke to, a total SUCCESS!

And now a quick flashback on the past three summits:
Summit #1: - Held in 2003, was the brain child of Chris Dye, Maryam, Jerry and I think some other people (I appologize for leaving anyone out). Nine teams from various universities and cegeps (both english and french) from within Montreal had entered as well as Carleton from Ottawa. So many people were interested in being a part of this major event that McGill improv had split up into2 McGill Teams and a Concordia team. The winner of each round was chosen by 3 judges. The event was hosted my "everyone's favorite host" Bryan from Without Annette. The winning team was UQAM

Summit #2: - In 2004, the summit was moved to Concordia University. Fewer teams had participated (I think 6 total) and the winning team was again chosen by 3 judges. The even twas hosted by "The Host Formely Known As" Bryan (I think.. I wasn't even there...). The winning team was McGill (There are rumors a bribe of 1000$ to each judge was involved...)

Summit #3 - In 2005, the summit was brought back to McGill University. All the teams except UQAM had bailed last minute, resulting in a 1 on 1 combat between UQAM and McGill.This time, the style was "Quebec Hockey Tournament Style" and the winner of each round was chosen by the audience voting. The winner, claiming the best 2 out 3 summits, was McGill. Unfortunately, Bryan complained he was not getting paid enough and refused to host that year, so a clone was made and replaced him. To this day no one knew the difference. (Again, I was not present so the above info may be wrong...)

This year we had a total of 4 teams:


(From L to R: Noelle, Me, Ken, Ilya, Mariana and Andrew)


(From L to R: Back - Noel, Chris, Will, Abi, Claire, Eric, Kirsten, Dave; Front - Tim, Owen)


(Unfortunately, I never got to talk to any of them long enough to learn their names, although the last name of one of the guys on the team was Weed.)


Maryam, Chris and Jerry were behind the scenes making sure everything was running smoothly. Bryan was the host again (we upted his salary - he was happy). The audience had the right to vote for their favorite team. Gil and Miri were the offical vote counters and Adrienne was in charge of the awesome music between scenes.

When I arrived at the location, my team was about to start warming up with Princeton. They taught us a really wicked game that involved: pointing, saying "you", saying someone's name, and saying a state or province.

We then broke up and warmed up seperately. Although I was extrememly tired all day, my energy levels were increasing exponentially. After warm-up, I was ready to tear the summit apart!

Upstairs the place was getting packed. There must have been over 100 people watching. A few people I invited couldn't make it but my good friends Caitlin and Norm showed up (Norm was skipping doing an assignment just to see me perform - dude, you rock!) as well as my chem friends Shing and Melanie. I was especially suprised and happy to see my buddy Joe and his girlfriend Katherine.

Six rounds, Thirty skits and 3 hours later, the summit was over. Everyone performed well and there was high energy held by all. I was very happy with my performances and I was even complimented by a few people after the show (yay!).

By far, one of my favorite skits was between UQAM and Princeton. The scene was a detective manipulation involving both teams. This meant that one player had to leave the room and when he came back, he had to guess the murder weapon, the scene of the crime nad the celebrity who did it. The suggestions were toothpick, Biodome and Tom Cruise. The detective was Rony from UQAM and the 2 other actors, from Princeton, had to get him to guess the words. They started using so many complicated english words that Rony was so confused (since he's french) and spent the whole scene going " I DON"T understand what you are saying! I get it! You're tryin g to trick me!". Then one of the other UQAM guys jumped on and said "Yeah, it's kind of like if we started talking like this:" and switched to french and said a bunch of things. It was hilarious!

After a tie breaker between McGill and UQAM, there was a final round between the two teams. In the end UQAM won by 1 vote! We let them win anyways... It wouldn't have been fair to beat them 3 times in a row.

Following the summit was a crazy after-party at Andrew and Adriennes. Unfortunately the Princeton guys took off because they had to hid the road early. They were actually doing an improv circuit tour! They had drove all the way form New Jersey, stopping along the way at various universities and high schools to do shows. Forunately, UQAM and Carleton rocked the house, although the UQAM team left kind of early to celebrate a birthday for one of the members. I ended up hanging out with the Carlton guys most of the night. Great bunch of people.

At one point during the party (and a few beers later) I decided to just chill in the hallway that lead to the bathroom. I ended up talking to Abi and her friend Tasia, who I had met in the past. I had a good time chatting with Tas (and if it doesn't work out with that guy from that band you see on thursdays, drop me an e-mail).

As the night started wind down I found myself on Andrews bed with a whole bunch of other people, using each other as pillows.

It was as awkward as it was relaxing, haha.

Finally by 5am, 3/4 of the Carleton team that remained and myself crashed all over Andrews floor. We couldn't stop joking around until who knows how long before I fell asleep.

I slept horribly. Alex, who was there to look over Tim, managed to break on eof the foutons and spent the whole night trying to fix it. At one point I hear "CRASH! Augh my head!" I ended up getting woken up by my brother calling me at 9am asking me when I was coming home (for my nephew's first birthday party - read the next entry to come). Noel just refused to believe it was my brother and kept insisting I was lying and that it in fact was my mom asking me when I was coming home because she made sandwiches for me.

By 11 I said my last goodbyes to the Carleton team and ended up home. In about a month we have our other big Improv event, Vaganza - 24 hours of improv, in which we're hoping to have Carleton join us as special guests. Really looking forward to that. Until then, I hope I can come visit in Ottawa some day and catch another show!

For pics of the Summit and the after party plese click HERE!

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Improv Summit

Here's the poster I made for the Improv Summit. This kills two bids with one stone - I get to show off my ever increasing Illustrator skills AND advertise for the Summit which ALL of you should come to! And since 95% of the people who read this ARE part of McGill Improv YOU HAVE NO EXCUSE!


Man I better make sure I keep up with the exponentially increasing speed we're doing stuff at school. Actual conversation that tool place in Basic Design class yesturday:

Prof: Be sure to study for the exam next week.
Prof: Yes Josh?
Josh: Uh... What exam?
Prof: What planet are you living on?