Adventures in personal lubricant

Don’t you hate when you finally find something long after you gave up looking for it? In this case it was an industrial size quantity of personal lubricant.

I worked on a TV movie called “Sorority Wars” a while back. One scene that took place in a nightclub called for a partygoer to barrel down a soapy slide into a pool of suds.


The foam party scene. Filmed at Sugar Night Club, Yates Street. I helped with some of the props and painted the big foam party sign.

The art director, wanting to ensure the stuntwoman didn’t end up with a head-to-toe rug burn declared that a vast stockpile of KY Jelly or similar product was essential and went about seeing if any Victoria drugstores carried lube in such quantities. I told him that I had no clue if it was sold by the jug although I confess that if I were aware you could buy bulk lube I probably would not have admitted it to the crew.

The search was fruitless, and he returned to set with a case of bubble bath, the next most agreeable substitute. The scene went as planned and the stunt went off without a hitch, after the stuntwoman determined that the run-up and slide would not actually be slippery enough to launch her straight over the pool into the stage Wile E. Coyote-style. You can see the finished scene here on YouTube by skipping to the 2:30 mark (safe for work–it’s not that type of movie).

Now, Nick Bergus alerts us to the fact that a massive drum of the slick product is available for sale at a reasonable cost, although the shipping would be killer.

One thing I learned working in movies is that if something is really needed, any reasonable effort will be made to get it. For example, I painted these plastic letters that were only on screen for a few seconds, seen from a distance. They were rushed to Victoria by float plane even though any local sign shop could have printed out a similar-looking banner for a fraction of the price.

So the moral is, always be inquisitive, as you never know when that knowledge will come in handy. And if you need a barrel of lube, try Amazon.

March 2, 2012 at 11:31 am 3 comments

2011 Victoria civic election wrap-up

I’ve been neglecting this blog but wanted to post some post-election thoughts regarding the surprising outcome and what we can look forward to.

Dean Fortin M 10080 YES
Paul Brown M 4229
Steve Filipovic M 2206
David Shebib M 161

Councillor Candidate(s)
First Name Last Name Initial Gender Acclaimed Votes Elected
Geoff Young M 8940 YES
Charlayne Thornton-Joe F 8803 YES
Lisa Helps F 8523 YES
Ben Isitt M 8419 YES
Marianne Alto F 7493 YES
Pam Madoff F 7321 YES
Shellie Gudgeon F 6904 YES
Christopher Coleman M M 6793 YES

John Luton M 6343
Lynn Hunter F 6101
Philippe Lucas M 5719
Rose Henry F 4866
Sukhi Lalli M 3993
Linda McGrew F 3923
Aaron Hall M 2777
John Turner C M 2014
Robin Kimpton M 1519
Saul Andersen M 1055
Sean Murray M 757
Jon Valentine M 682

First, the bottom

20 council candidates this time compared to 35 in 2008. There were also fewer fringe candidates and really no outright loonies or joke candidates. The two bottom men, Valentine and Turner doubled their vote tally over 2008. Cabbie Saul Anderson ran for Council instead of mayor this time going from 172 to 1055.


Three incumbents tossed (Hunter, Luton, Lucas) is rare, I don’t think it’s happened in recent history, if at all.

Three new rookies with no real hands-on political experience rarer still. I think the closest experience Isitt has is his stint on the City’s old Environment and Shoreline Committee. The rest is academic.

Pam Madoff loses nearly 1700 votes since the last full election in 2008. Formerly always the top vote getter, this time she is third from last.

I predicted a close race for the final positions and this proved true. In 2008 there were nearly 3,000 votes separating ninth place loser me from last place winner John Luton.

My first-among-losers placing of 3737 in ’08 would have gotten me seventh place among the losers in ’11.

Geoff Young consistently placed in the centre of the pack in past elections. His leap to the top, ousting Thornton-Joe from the no. 1 postion may be unprecedented.

I’m surprised Paul Brown did so poorly. Clearly his message did not resonate as much as I thoght it would. I don’t know if he has the appetite to run again. Like Geoff Young, his wife might forbid it. I went from being a Brown supporter, to being ambivalent, to disappointed the more I read his platform. His views on homelessness, as reported on his web page are naive and incoherent. Talking with the other levels of government? Is this really a new, dynamic action plan?

The losers

I’m inclined to say people didn’t vote against Luton as much as they voted for the newcomers and Luton was pushed out. They voted against Lucas, however. Occupy Victoria likely had a negative impact. Perhaps unfair, as he was trying to defuse confrontation. Lynn Hunter appears to have fallen victim to the identical scenario that made her a one-term MP in Ottawa years ago. A sincere, behind-the-scenes policy wonk, in the ’93 Federal election she was wiped out by voter impatience and demand for change.


Even though so many complain about signs, they work. Shellie Gudgeon came out with a second batch of signs that were more legible than the first hard-to-read ones. Helps also had a lot of well-designed signs and that worked for her.

Filopovic had a motley assortment of leftover signs mostly attached to City lamposts and signs. This worked against him as it looked unprofessional for someone running for the top job. Steve loses because he runs for mayor using a councillor’s campaign.

Signs don’t bother me. I think of them as another temporary colourful artifact of a season, like piles of leaves in November, little flags on Canada day and crocuses in the Spring.

Ben’s triumph

Ben Isitt is wise to know he lost the mayor’s race twice already and couldn’t rally the numbers to topple Dean as that would involve splitting the NDP vote. If Brown had won yesterday, Isitt would likely run for mayor in 2014. Getting 2000+ more votes than either incumbents Hunter, Lucas and Luton was a stunner.

Outlook for the short and long term

The three newbies will soon be off to government boot camp, where they will learn the basics of how the City is run. The intent is to have them hit the ground running at their first Council meeting knowing the various departments, protocol and running formal meetings. I can see Gudgeon and Helps in the front row eagerly taking notes and Isitt in the back chewing gum thinking he could teach this course.

It is going to be a very interesting term.

The incumbents will be sniffing around the newcomers, looking for possible alliances. Madoff and Alto will likely take Helps under their wing. Gudgeon is a natural ally of the centre moderates. Still, Madoff will likely attempt to school Gudgeon in the field of culture and heritage as she is the self-appointed empress of that domain.

Isitt, I don’t know–he may go “mainstream” and build alliances or remain a lone wolf lefty.

I think they will all be disappointed that their individual pet project will get little air time at the Council table, instead their day is going to be filled out with slogging through mundane Staff reports on why an application to put a bedroom over a detached garage should be rejected.

Madoff must regain her profile so as not to be toppled by the newcomers of 2014.

2014 will be triumph or tragedy for incumbents depending on City finances and the bridge.

November 21, 2011 at 1:25 am 1 comment

Wow, was I wrong

I was certain Hobbis would win the 2010 civic election by a slim margin. In fact, he lost by a lot. Alto: 3869, Hobbis: 2798 is one result I found.

I grossly overestimated the turnout. I thought the marina and bridge would bring out a lot more voters, but I guess the busy advance polls were an anomaly.

Apart from the first two results, I expect the remaining nine predictions will be more or less accurate.

I was also surprised at the strength of the “yes” side in the referendum. I thought “no” would squeak out a slim victory.

It appears tonight’s winner was the silent majority.

Here are the unofficial results:

November 20, 2010 at 10:47 pm 1 comment

My predictions in the 2010 civic byelection

Using my patented formula for accurately predicting elections, I give you the following:

Winner: Barry Hobbis – 10,800 votes
Runner up: Marianne Alto – 9,200
Third: Steve Filipovic – 9,000
Fourth: Sue Woods – 4,300
Fifth: Rose Henry – 4,200
Seventh: Paul Brown – 1,300
Sixth: Hugh Kruzel – 1,200
Eighth: George Sirk – 1,100
Ninth: Saul Anderson – 650
Tenth: Pedro Mora – 350
Eleventh: Rimas Tumasonis – 250

Barry Hobbis becomes our newest Councillor and the one with the shortest term in recent history–one year.

The three front runners are tightly bunched. A drop until we reach Sue Woods. Rose Henry is close behind. Rose doesn’t poll as high as she might as homelessness is eclipsed this time around by the bridge and the marina. Another drop to the three other moderates, Brown, Kruzel and Sirk. In my opinion, any of the above would have made sensible additions to the Council table.

Saul Anderson seems like a cool guy and I would like him to contribute to the community in other ways than fighting half-hearted campaigns. He has good insight into the late night economy.

Pedro, well, I think his democracy by consensus voting idea is non-sensical.

Rimas is tiresome. He comes from a generation that embraced the clown and the iconoclast: the Abbie Hoffmans and Frank Zappas. The problem is the current generation looks upon these geriatric jokesters as boring, self-indulgent narcissists. Today’s generation is both more cynical and more earnest. They read Catcher in the Rye and declare Holden Caufield to be whiny and immature, thinking he should get a life. They look at the antics of Tumasonis (or David Shebib in 2008) and are bored. I saw that on an old clip on YouTube they say.

Wildcards: Kruzel could galvanize Downtown voters and place as high as fifth. Some say Filipovic is running strong and could place second. The other candidates are relatively late entering the game and they frittered away valuable campaign time merely getting up to speed.

November 19, 2010 at 11:25 pm 3 comments

Graphic design and the 2010 civic election

Let’s switch gears and look at the candidates’ promotional material from a design perspective.

Some may argue you can’t judge a book by its cover but you can often tell a lot about a candidate by the quality (or lack thereof) of their campaign material. It’s impossible to meet every potential voter face to face so your website and signage stand in when the candidate can’t.

Some candidates design their own material. Others farm it out. Doing it yourself is probably a bad idea. One, because you’re probably lousy at it. Two, a candidate needs to be out meeting people, not tweaking their web page or laying out a brochure. If you don’t have the funds to do this you really have to ask yourself if you are a credible candidate capable of being the frontrunner. If donors are contibuting to your running mates but not you, maybe it’s time to drop out gracefully before you’re clobbered at the polls.

So let’s put politics aside and look at things from an esthetic perspective.

Marianne Alto has a slick campaign with a palette of muted tones; a yellowy-green on the website and the signs combine it with a subdued light purple. The colours are matched with an urgent, modern condensed typeface (Yanone Kaffeesatz in all caps) that keeps the overall look from getting too laid back and feminine. Alto appears to use Barbara Walter’s soft-focus lens on her videos–Barry, you might want to look into that…just kidding, heh.

Barry Hobbis is a close second design-wise. His page has all the bells and whistles Alto’s has but in a more conservative wrapping. Basic blue is the colour scheme here and the site is well organized although he uses the reliable yet dreaded Arial typeface. Barry’s signs are basic blue text on white with his name prominently displayed.

Paul Brown has done some improvements to his site. It’s clean and simple but is generic and lacks character. I haven’t seen a Brown sign yet.

Steve Filopovic‘s page looks like a template recycled from his run in past provincial and federal campaigns with photos of ocean-side camping. It’s probably not a good idea to show your commitment to the city by showing you getting far away from it. Palatino bold is the typeface which looks a bit clunky here. Steve uses a lot of plain green-on-white square signs hung in the diamond position.

Susan Woods doesn’t really have a website as much as an online pamphlet. Navigation isn’t an issue as there’s nothing to click on. The template used is fairly well-laid out and professional.

George Sirk‘s page is busy and quirky. Sirk’s signs use a spray-paint stencil.

Pedro Mora managed to throw together a skimpy Google blog.

Saul Anderson starts out good by getting a good header designed for him, featuring his fuzzy mug behind the wheel of his cab and his name in a rusticated typeface. The rest of the page disappoints with a rambling short essay and checklist of favourite topics cluttered together.

Rose Henry uses a Facebook page as a website.

Rimas Tumasonis apparently doesn’t have a website! This is odd because anyone can slap together a free WordPress site (like the one you’re reading now) in about five minutes.

Note: I say typeface, not font. Comic Sans is a typeface. 12 point Comic Sans bold is a font.

November 15, 2010 at 1:56 am 1 comment

Why I’m supporting Barry Hobbis for Victoria City Council

I’m endorsing Barry Hobbis for City Council. If you live in the City of Victoria you should check out what he has to say.

Continue Reading November 13, 2010 at 12:53 am 4 comments

Hudson Grand opening

I took a tour of the new Hudson heritage renovation yesterday. I wrote about it here.

City of Victoria heritage planner Steve Barber said the Hudson will “spark a rejuvenation of the Downtown core” and hoped that the Hudson will spur further work that will strengthen Downtown’s position as the centre of the region.

The Times-Colonist covers it here. Hey, how did I get in those photos? There’s some great city photos in that gallery, too.

A quick video tour of one of the corner loft suites follows:

September 25, 2010 at 10:19 pm 1 comment

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