Posters and Pushpins

1995 seems like a long time ago -- and by some measures, it actually was.

In 1995 I was finishing up my third and final year at Ryerson's Radio & Television Arts program. One year-long course was the Personal Production. It could have been anything -- a radio drama, producing an EP for a band, short documentary, or even a "web site" in the emerging world of the World Wide Web. (Remember Mosaic?)

For my big project, I chose to produce a short movie based on a short story written by my friend Cindy Smith.

I had the chops to storyboard, direct, shoot and edit something good, but I've never had a knack for coming up with original stories. Cindy, on the other hand, was a talented writer, and I remembered a very moving short story she'd read me once. With her blessing, I took Posters and Pushpins and turned it into a nicely-shot, if a little slow, short film.

It was shot on location at my grandmother's house in Toronto -- the home where I was living in the basement. It was a lot of work, and I was never entirely satisfied with the audio mix. Through the wonders of digital, though, I was able to remove some of the noise and smooth out the levels a little.

It's only ever been seen by a few people over the years, and now it's on YouTube. Enjoy!

Which Scott Simpson is this?

I haven't mentioned Scientology here in a long time, so here's a throwaway reference for you, as an intro to this Googly article.

The "cognition" of Scientology's top level, Operating Thetan level 8 (New OT8) -- that is, what you're supposed to come to realize after finishing it all -- is "Now I know who I am not and I am interested in finding out who I am." There. I just saved you a few hundred thousand dollars, at least.

On that note, I've come up with a little exercise to illustrate who I'm not. Thanks to the magic of Google, I can attest with some confidence that I am Scott Simpson ... but not any of the following Scott Simpsons:
(UPDATE June 2012: Used to have a lot of links here, but many have expired since the original post.)

  • Scott Simpson the Halifax film director. I know him, though. He's engaged to one my coworkers. That's a little weird, but he's a cool guy.
  • K. Scott Simpson, apparently also from Halifax. He works at Dalhousie in sport. Clearly, I don't do anything much with sport.
  • Scott Simpson at UWIC Cardiff School of Sport. Ditto.
  • Scott Simpson the Canadian medal-winning triathlete from Toronto. I had a hunch there was another Scott Simpson in Toronto when I lived there, but I didn't know someone with the same name became the first HIV+ athlete to ever compete in the Triathlon Canada. Good for him!
  • Scott Simpson the American golfer. He won the US Open in 1987. I've never played golf.
  • Scott Simpson the Safety Director for AviaEd in Tempe, Arizona. I can't fly planes.
  • Scott Simpson the British electrician. I can hook up my home theatre, but I can't wire a house.
  • Scott Simpson the blogger from www.scottsimpson.net. He uses WordPress. I still use Blogger.
  • Scott Simpson the mentally ill criminal whose 2004 death in Australian custody was the subject of an inquest. I've never been to Australia, though that sounds like fun.
  • Scott Simpson of Phoenix, a dentist who specializes in sedation. My brother-in-law knows teeth, but I don't.
  • Scott Simpson, president and CEO of bitHeads, and board member of Information Technology Association of Canada. I know some stuff about computers, but not *that* much.
  • Scott Simpson the Thomas Cook travel book writer. I don't know anything about Krakow, Poland.
  • Scott Simpson the Virginia Genealogy expert. I don't think I'm related to any Virginians.
  • Scott Simpson the design expert, co-chair of Design Futures Council and president and CEO of The Stubbins Associates of Cambridge, Massachusetts. I don't even design the present. Amanda's the in-house designer.
  • Dr. Scott Simpson the director of Faith In Action Campus Events in Spearfish, South Dakota. I don't go to church, let alone lead one.
  • Scott Simpson the "acoustic artist form the north west blending Bob Dylanesauqe protests songs with JohnnY Cash story telling with a large dash of his own personal experiences." I play mostly electric guitar.
  • Scott Simpson the singer/songwriter from Runcorn in the northwest UK.
  • Scott Simpson the Rochester, New York goalie. I don't play hockey.
  • Scott Simpson the NCAA football player. I also don't play football.
  • Captain Scott Simpson of the charter boat Impulsive. I don't have a boat, though Impulsive is probably exactly what I'd call it if I went out and bought one.
  • Scott Simpson the Case Western Reserve University paleontologist. Does a new fossil link Homo erectus and Homo sapiens? Damned if I know.
  • Scott Simpson the social policy writer. I barely observe social policy, let alone write about it.
  • Scott R. Simpson, Rochester attorney specializing in tax-exempt and nonprofit organizations and their corporate governance. IANAL (I am not a lawyer).
  • Scott V. Simpson, British lawyer specializing in cross-border merger and acquisition transactions, including contested takeovers. IANAL.
  • Scott Simpson the Cedar Rapids "parachute associate." What?
  • Scott Simpson the Maine light painter. I don't know what "light painting" is, but I bet if I painted, I'd paint heavy.
  • Scott Simpson who played Professor Harris on Dawson's Creek. I'd avoid Katie Holmes.
  • Scott Simpson who wrestled professionally as Nikita Koloff. I met his "Uncle" Ivan Koloff once and told him that was my name, too. He understood that we are different people.
  • Scott Simpson the clinical social worker from Burlington, Vermont. Cool, a social worker!
  • Scott Simpson the Assistant Principal at Anne Arundel County Public Schools. I don't go to schools.
  • Scott Simpson who's looking for a chick in Texas at consumating.com. Looks like we were both on Fidonet back in the day, but I ain't him.
  • Scott Simpson the project manager for the Illinois Prairie-Chicken Sanctuary. See, I eat chickens.
  • Scott Simpson the anime voice-over actor. My voice-over work is strictly commercial, though being the voice of a cartoon would be pretty cool.
  • Scott Simpson the Century 21 real estate agent from Leominster MA. I'm just learning about home buying.
  • Scott Simpson of Scott Simpson Builders in Northbrook, Illinois. I don't build 'em either.
  • Scott Simpson the Minneapolis financial advisor. I don't dispense solid money advice. Invest early, invest often, stay invested. There ya go.
  • Scott Simpson the Vancouver Sun writer. Journalist, yes, but it's not me.
  • Scott Simpson the ex-RCMP officer who pleaded guilty to trafficking marijuana. Ouch.
  • Scott Simpson the co-founder of Main Street Auctions. I've bought and sold on eBay a few times, but not enough to start a company.
  • Scott Simpson the chef and owner of Seattle restaurant Fork. I might eat there, though (risotto pops for $8—think jalapeƱo poppers, but instead truffled wild mushroom rice is panko-breaded, with remoulade for dipping).
  • Scott Simpson the Star Wars Stormtrooper. WTF?! That's pretty cool.
  • Scott Simpson the Vice-President of Marketing and Analysis at Capital One Healthcare. Sounds important.
With all these fine Scott Simpsons around, I'm honored to be the first one to show up on Google when you search said name. Well, it has been recently, anyway. Perhaps this article will screw that right up. I don't know if Google will see all those repeating names and decide I'm full of crap.
Anyway, now that you know who I'm not, I hope you're interested in learning more about who I am. If so, keep reading.

BigAssSuperstar: Un-Weighted: Week Fourteen

Merry Christmas, everybody!

I managed to squeeze in two sweat sessions in the gym downstairs amidst all the shopping frenzy and last-minute everything. I'm up to a level where I can actually run for a while. I walk briskly on an incline for a bit... lower the incline on the treadmill... then when an upbeat song comes up on the iPod, I crank it up to something over 6 MPH and run. This week I was impressed that I can keep running steadily for the length of a whole song. (This week's songs: If I Had $1000000 off the BNL Yellow Tape, and Self Esteem by The Offspring.)

There's been an abundance of cookies and naughty food around, but somehow things managed to work out in my favour ....

Start weight: 220 pounds
Last week: 213
This week: 210
Change: -3
Total loss: 10 pounds


Yay! Yay! I broke the 10 pound mark, much to my surprise. Hot diggity! Not so optimistic for this week, as we just unwrapped presents and stockings, and now I have Toblerone, Kinder eggs and Lindt chocolate to enjoy. And tonight there's turkey and stuffing and potatoes and gravy and brownies and nanaimo bars and wine and ... and ... and ... well, I wouldn't be surprised to see me back at 213 or 215 next week, but I'll rejoice for today!
Super fitness-friend thanks to Sandra & Byron for their Pilates-inspired gift this year, which we'll try out here at home. Amanda got me a gym bag, too, so I don't have to carry my gear down in a tattered grocery bag any more. And Shannon & Chris gave us snazzy water bottles so Amanda & I can work out together, safely hydrated. Thank you everyone! Happy healthy ho-ho-hos!
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The new screen

The new big-ass computer screenI finally got around to spending some Christmas/birthday money a few weeks ago. I went to Future Shop and picked up a monitor to replace my 2000-vintage Syncmaster 750S. The ol' Samsung was still working fine and looked good -- it was just feeling small compared to everything else out there. And, I so rarely treat myself to new toys, so, what the hell?

I got the LG L204WT Flatron Wide 20" widescreen LCD. It boasts a 5ms response time and a 2000:1 contrast ratio. Mostly, it's a true Big Ass Monitor, and it's bright.

It's served me well on my recent spree of multimedia production, editing video and touching up audio in a variety of programs. The web looks fantastic. Photos look gorgeous.

And, it's got me playing video games again. Not a lot of video games. But I had some games that I just hadn't played. I bought Call of Duty for a LAN party a long time ago and only ever played it once. Looks nice on the wide-screen. Someone bought me Half Life 2 as a gift ages ago, and I hadn't opened it yet. Looks f'ing incredible in native widescreen mode, though I can't wrap my head around the game yet. Looking forward to trying GTA:Vice City and Medal of Honor with a wider field of vision. Watching DVDs ought to look cool too, 'cuz this thing has higher resolution than an HDTV. (Yeah, I know, DVD isn't HD.)

Anyway, new toy. I like. Good purchase. No dead pixels, it works with my ATI AIW 9800 Pro, so I'm a happy camper.

I think I should get back to hanging out with Amanda now, as I've been playing on the computer all night and it's a quarter past ten.

BigAssSuperstar: Un-Weighted: Week Thirteen

Half-way through, and I'm not looking forward to this week's entry, because it's measurement time ... and, as I expected, it was a tough week in the food and gym department. Tough not to eat the food. Tough to go to the gym. I worked out once and ate many times. Much bad food. Little good sweating.

On the good-news side, I was thrilled to be thin enough to shop at the Gap again! I've had a Gap gift card in my wallet for a long time now. My friends got together and generously bought me some credit there for my 30th birthday in the hopes that I'd tune up my attire to match my age. Unfortunately, I was just too bloody fat to fit the clothes -- everything but the jeans stops at size 38. Well, I went shopping for something nice to wear to the company Seasonal Holiday Festive party, and came away with a kick-ass outfit that ended up costing me a mere portion of the ticket price, thanks to that years-ago birthday gift. As much as I dread shopping, I could envision shopping at the Gap again once I de-bulge some more.

Anyway, on to the measurement section of the show.

Mid-way measurements (initial measurements in parentheses):

  • Height: 5'7" (not expected to change)
  • Weight: 213 pounds (220)
  • Body fat (on electronic scale): 38% (40.1%)
  • Chest: 45" (44.5")
  • Biceps: 11.25" (12")
  • Waist: 44.5" (47")
  • Thighs: 23.5" (25")
  • Neck: 17" (17 3/8")

Start weight: 220 pounds
Last week: 213
This week: 213
Change: 0
Total loss: 7 pounds

So, that's how it stands half-way through the journey. It's clear I'm not going to get anywhere close to the original goal. That's part of the lesson of this project. But, if I kick it up a bit, I think I can lose another 10-15 before the deadline.

Any math wizards in the audience who can do the quick scale weight vs. body fat percentage calculations to illustrate how much of my loss has been fat? I know it's not tricky math, but I'm more Mac than PC when it comes to stats.

BigAssSuperstar: Un-Weighted: Week Twelve

With the holiday season upon us, keeping any steady weight is gonna be tough! So much yummy food around, and so little time to craft healthy stuff. Still, the news is not all bad this week.

Start weight: 220 pounds
Last week: 215
This week: 213
Change: -2
Total loss: 7 pounds

Back down to the low point from a couple of weeks ago. Sweet. Only managed to get my ass to the gym once this week. That'll have to change, or else I'll be back up to 220 again by January 1!

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Jack Layton is a Big Ass Superstar

Woot! A lot of hits are expected to come shortly here at Big Ass Superstar. One of the most commonly searched-for-and-hit items via Google and others is the phrase "big ass." And based on an article at Canada.com, perhaps federal NDP leader Jack Layton is thinking the same thing:

Layton rose in the Commons today to attack the government over subsidies to big oil companies. But he tripped over his tongue and instead asked Prime Minister Stephen Harper if he would finally cancel subsidies to "big oil and big ass." Layton meant to say "big gas."

Harper jokingly answered that he would "get to the bottom of it."

BigAssSuperstar: Un-Weighted: Week Eleven

The half-way point in the journey is coming up before too long, and I've yet to crack the 210 mark. Yikes. Managed to haul my ass out of bed twice last week to get sweaty at the gym. Can't say I ate like an angel, though, so I'm not expecting miracles on the scale, especially considering the surprise loss of Week Ten. So, let's get it over with ...

Start weight: 220 pounds
Last week: 213
This week: 215
Change: +2
Total loss: 5 pounds

Fine, that's no surprise.

Still feeling trimmer. When doing up my belt now, I cinch it up and expect there to be another hole there -- but there's not. So I guess I need a new belt. And some new pants. Holding off on any big clothing spending sprees 'til I crack a good round number, or the fat/muscle distribution absolutely necessitates it.

Today was my last day at work, and I'm okay with that

Today marks a weird spot on the calendar for me. It’s one of those landmarks that really doesn’t mean anything, other than to illustrate the...