My random nattering about all things geek, including family, friends and what I find to be fantastic and fun!
|Posted on April 18, 2015 at 11:00 AM||comments (0)|
Ottawa has its downs - weather, traffic, the usual. But it also has a great number of ups, including all the great world cultures we get to experience by having the embassies located here in Canada's capital. Another plus for us is having the Canadian Film Institute (CFI) located here. When the CFI and the embassies get together we get incredible Film Festivals. I've already told you about Bright Nights. Now let me tell you about the Latin American Film Festival.
I got to go to Cuba to learn about this local festival... ok, not really, but kind of. I and my daughter Miranda, who occasionally assists me, were invited to the Cuban embassy for the launch of the Festival.
Festival presentation at the Cuban embassy.
My lovely assistant and a poster for one of the films.
The Latin American Film Festival (LAFF) showcases features, documentaries, and short films from south of the Rio Grande. The event features only contemporary Ottawa premieres gleaned from the screens of such festivals as Cannes, Berlin, Toronto, and Chicago to celebrate the rich and diverse cultures of Latin America. This year's Festival has 18 films as part of the official line-up. There will also be a number of special guests, including top Latin American actors and filmmakers.
Over the next few days I will be reviewing a few of the wonderful films being shown. As well, Miranda and her Spanish class will be watching one of the films (who doesn't love to watch a film during class) and reviewing it with me.
Here is the trailer for the festival. The music alone will get you in the mood.
The Festival runs from April 25 to May 9th. All films will be shown at Carleton University's River Building Theatre. You can get Festival passes through CFI and individual tickets at the door.
All the best, your GG
|Posted on April 15, 2015 at 10:00 AM||comments (0)|
When our girls were little and we were looking for fun and interesting things to do with them that wouldn't cost us an arm and a leg, we lucked out and found a well kept secret that is truly an Ottawa gem.
The Ottawa Family Cinema really is a gem for families. Their prices are outrageously low, you get an old fashion theater experience, it's run by one family and their crew of volunteers, and the love they have for it shows in everything they do.
It was started by Jim McNeill and his lovely wife Anne way back in 1977. When we went to the theatre with our girls, it was their daughter who helped out on stage. Now their daughter does most of the work and it's her family helping out. They show films on Friday evenings and Saturday afternoons. They have used various locations through the years. They are currently located at Notre Dame High School on Broadview Avenue. This is where we used to take our girls and it's a great location.
While we the parents loved the low prices for the films and great snacks, our girls loved so much more. They loved the cushy booster seats, the cartoons before the movies, the door prizes, the plushies randomly thrown from the stage into the audience, and most of all the themed events. The Halloween and Christmas events were highlights for our girls. They loved dressing up for Halloween, getting candy, and entering the costume contest, and at Christmas getting a little something from Santa. All this fun was so easy to fit into our budget. We loved it so much we even got a membership for a number of years. A membership today is still the same price it was when we got ours, and worth every penny.
Another great thing about the Ottawa Family Cinema, as if I haven't already given you enough reasons, is that its a non-profit registered charity and all proceeds above operating costs go back into the community!
This year is their 35th Anniversary and there will be many extra special events going on. Now that I've let this family theatre cat out of the bag, go and enjoy this special treat that we're so lucky to have here in Ottawa!
All the best, your GG
|Posted on April 13, 2015 at 7:30 AM||comments (0)|
When I received this book from Prometheus Books, I knew immediately who would be the best family member to read it. My husband Pat is a natural born skeptic, and while he's a loving and spiritual person, his views on what's real and what our final fate will be have changed considerably over the years.
Here is his review of The Soul Fallacy by Julien Musolino.
For a very, very long time and across many different cultures and belief systems, the existence of the soul has been taken as a given. Even today, with scientific rationalism eroding the spiritual, it is easy to feel that one's mind is somehow a different thing from one's body. It is this feeling - this dualism - that Musolino examines and ultimately tears down.
The Soul Fallacy is in some ways a book without a place. For the believers and faithful, the existence of the soul is so central to life that any attack, no matter how well reasoned or effective, must fall to the sword of faith. For the humanist, atheist or other non-believer, The Soul Fallacy only strengthens the argument against the super-natural. If an audience for this book must be defined, there are perhaps two. The first are those interested in the formal argument against faith and the supernatural. Musolino lays out in great detail all the arguments used to justify the existence of the soul and then equally carefully, demolishes them with reasoned argument. For this group, The Soul Fallacy is a valuable tactical manual for debate. The second audience are those who are on the fence about faith and the soul. The Soul Fallacy takes each of the primary apologetic arguments in turn and refutes them with well thought out argument.
Over 9 chapters, Musolino looks at the history of the soul and examines the divide between the physical and mental - dualism - in some depth. Building off this base, he then defines how the examination of the existence of the soul is worthy of scientific investigation. He then addresses current arguments supporting the existence of the soul and overturns them. With the argument for the soul solidly refuted, Musolino turns to the implications of the non-existence of the soul. These final chapters offer everything from the simple: The fact that we love, hope and dream, is not explained by the now disproven soul; through the more complex concepts of counterfactual free will, free will and rationality, and the difference between consequentialist and retributive justice; and then moves onto the hot button issues of abortion, assisted suicide and death. Each of these topics is illustrated through comparison between attitudes in the US and other, usually European nations. As a Canadian, some of the arguments don't quite resonate because of our cultural differences with our cousins to the south.
Musolino's conclusion is that the presence of a soul has no bearing on our ability to live productive, fulfilling and most importantly happy lives. In closing, it should be made clear that Musolino does not object to those who believe in the soul and acknowledges the comfort that that belief might give them. However, he emphatically maintains that belief in the soul is not necessary to a fulfilling and happy life.
Would I recommend this book? Yes. The bulk of the book can be a bit dry but it sets up the reader for the payoff of the final chapters. You may not agree with Musolino, but he will make you think.
If you'd like to read this, you can get a copy from the publisher, your local bookstore, or amazon.ca
All the best, your GG
|Posted on April 11, 2015 at 2:00 PM||comments (0)|
We have been hearing and seeing more and more about quantum physics over the last few years. We've learned a lot about it by simply watching Big Bang Theory. Now author David Walton has given us a story that's more science than fiction - Superposition.
Jacob Kelley's family is turned upside down when an old friend turns up, waving a gun and babbling about an alien quantum intelligence. The mystery deepens when the friend is found dead in an underground bunker…apparently murdered the night he appeared at Jacob's house. Jacob is arrested for the murder and put on trial. But as the details of the crime slowly come to light, the weave of reality becomes ever more tangled, twisted by a miraculous new technology and a quantum creature unconstrained by the normal limits of space and matter. With the help of his daughter, Alessandra, Jacob must find the true murderer before the creature destroys his family and everything he loves.
This truly is a twisted story. It's part murder mystery, part science fiction, and part quantum physics text book. I learned more about quantum physics and the theories of how it effects our world than I ever did in school. As I was reading, I found that I had to stop and absorb the "lesson" and then continue. It wasn't like reading a regular piece of fiction. Even so, I still ended up reading it quite quickly. It's beautifully paced with lots of action and emotion to go along with the physics lesson.
It's also set in the near future, which makes it a horror story as well. The quantum creatures terrified me. We really don't know what exists within our world space, so they do live within the realm of possibility. That gives me the willies.
But that's not all. It's also a story about a father and daughter. It's about their developing relationship in the face of strange happenings, tragedy, and hard choices. There is a story within the story about family and what's important, whatever your state of being.
If you like your scifi with a lot of science, if you enjoy anything about quantum physics, and/or you love the idea of a scientist in jeopardy with real life and family to deal with at the same time, this is a brilliant story for you. It's going to appeal to many different types of readers on many different levels.
You can get it through amazon.ca or from your favourite bookstore.
All the best, your GG
|Posted on March 31, 2015 at 10:55 AM||comments (0)|
On the Friday evening of the event I actually had only adults. They still came and sat around me to see the pictures. They laughed and enjoyed the stories just as much as the children I had on Saturday and Sunday. We had a great time.
On the other two days I had a number of wee geeks join me. It was fun to see that each liked a different book as I read them. I think the most popular though was definitely Goodnight Darth Vader.
On Sunday I even had a sound effect to go with this book thanks to the Capital City Garrison, 501st Legion. Darth Vader's breathing added a little something special to my lame attempt at doing his voice. It was a big hit.
The best part though was the reactions from the kids. Some were shy and had to sit with their parents. Some came right up and pointed at pictures as I read. Some just nodded when I asked them questions and some spoke right up and had great answers.
(image by Shahin Yazkani)
(image by Jonas Kaufman)
I absolutely love sharing this low-tech, I told one person it's "retro", geek activity with our next generation of geeks.
All the best, your GG
|Posted on March 29, 2015 at 8:00 AM||comments (0)|
Today is your last chance to join me at the Ottawa Geek Market for double the fun. I say double because this event has double the space, activities, and seriously, the fun of any other Geek Market to date.
There is so much to do, from crafts, to games, to the biggest bouncy castle you've ever seen! This incarnation of the Geek Market has the most family friendly activities ever.
You can even do some colouring with a very adorable Dalek.
And who doesn't love to play dress up. This is the best place to do that. All ages are getting in on it!
There are also over 100 vendors with all sorts of goodies from plushies to art to even clothing, and be sure to drop by Parlugment to see their new creations, including this beast....
I hope to see you there. And do join me for some geeky storytelling too!
All the best, your GG
|Posted on March 26, 2015 at 7:00 AM||comments (2)|
This upcoming weekend you will have a chance to meet fictional superheroes and rub elbows with real life ones too!
(image by Richard Dufault for Ottawa Geek Market)
The March 2015 edition of the Ottawa Geek Market is all about the day to day heroes in our lives. The charity this time around is Heroes are Human which offers training and support services to first responders and military who have experienced emotional trauma while on duty. The Ottawa Geek Market is also celebrating these great men and women by offering them free admission all weekend!
If that wasn't enough, the Geek Market is now part of Ottawa Festivals. This means more opportunity for you to celebrate your favourite fandom through shopping, entertainment (there's a stage now), huge gaming expo (both tabletop and video), and more prizes to be won than you can imagine.
They still have all the old favourites - the vendors, the silent auction, and the very popular scavenger hunt - but now they also have a whole lot more including a bouncy castle obstacle course, a large number of family friendly activities, and a costume contest!
This edition of the Ottawa Geek Market runs from Friday, March 27th starting at 4:00 pm and runs until Sunday, March 29th at 5:00 pm. For more information on everything mentioned above, and so much more, go to their website.
See you there!
All the best, your GG