Sunday, June 03, 2007

Alberta Reports - Number Five

July 28, 1998

Paula and I went to Calgary for Conversion 15 last weekend. She said driving to Calgary with me was like spending three hours with Roger Rabbit….
JMS was the GoH at Conversion, and he is extremely funny and had great stories to tell.
We saw five minutes of footage from the new Babylon 5 movie “River of Souls” (to air in October?), seven (that’s right, seven) minutes of footage from the B5 movie “A Call to Arms” (airs in January – the set up for “Crusade”), and some SFX tests for “Crusade.” We also saw the B5 blooper reel, which was very well put together.
The bloopers could be billed as an alternate universe episode: see Delenn say, “Oh, go fuck yourselves!”; see Sheridan call himself Sinclair; see one poor actor mispronounce “Ivanova” fourteen times in a row; see Centauri with Jewish accents; and see Sheridan give an inspiring speech from a balcony to a crowd of a hundred extras who are so overcome that they suddenly start doing the Macarena.
One of the funnier bloopers occurred when Robert Foxworth (who played General Hague on B5) found himself double-booked and scheduled to guest on B5 and another show during the same week. He elected to forgo B5. So when the actor playing the replacement character on B5 (he played D-Day in Animal House and the Sheriff in My Cousin Vinny) was asked, “Where’s General Hague?”, he replies, “He’s on Deep Space Nine, sir. His agent double-booked him. We were left with no other choice but to kill him off.”
But even the blooper reel managed to capture the dark soul of the series. It ended with Londo dancing with one of those life-size cardboard replicas of him you can buy. He broke into song, a song which the convention audience picked up on, and they immediately joined him singing: “Me and my shadow….”

We’re now picking the Royal Burgundy beans, which (as you can imagine) are purple. They are also quite long and every so often I forget what I am doing and mistake one for a “SNAKE!!!”
The weather cycle continues. Sunday, the clear weather starts breaking down. Monday and Tuesday (our slow days) are generally cool and rainy. Wednesdays, the skies clear up and the heat returns as we return to the fields for serious picking. By Friday, our busy day when we’re spending ten or eleven hours out there, it’s blistering hot here and we’re all pretty much wrecked by the end of the day. The weather holds for Saturday market, which is good for bringing out customers, but is no fun for us as we spend six hours standing in the sun. Still, this week Bernie and I worked out a two-person juggling routine which brought large crowds to our table.

Bernie, the kids and I went to the Klondike Days Exhibition (Edmonton’s answer to the PNE). It was a lot of fun. We saw a live radio broadcast by the Arrogant Worms, a band we all enjoy. The announcer introduced the Worms' final song by saying it was in honour of the two gentlemen who were pumping their fists and cheering. Paula, listening to the show at home, thought she probably knew who those two gentlemen were....
And as we were leaving Klondike days, we all filled out entry forms for some contest a local radio station was having. Guess what? I won a gas barbecue.

Out in the fields this week, we stopped work for a few minutes and watched a big passenger jet fly overhead, trailing a long, puffy contrail. Strangely, there seemed to be another jet flying parallel to and ahead of it and leaving a similar contrail. Then I realized there we were looking at a temperature inversion – a reflection of the contrail in the atmosphere. When I looked more carefully, I found I could even see the inversion: a thick but faint black line in between the contrails.
But the sky wasn’t finished showing off yet. That night around midnight, Paula knocked quietly on my door. “John? You wanted to see this.” Still asleep, I pulled on some clothes and stumbled outside. Paula and Bernie were standing in the field between the houses. And looking up at the Northern Lights. Faint, luminous curtains of light were dancing slowly across the sky. Paula said she’s rarely seen them this far south – they stretched down from the north and over our heads until they were washed out by Edmonton’s glow in the south. Sometimes, you can hear them crackle as they dance, but we didn’t this night. Bernie was whistling. He said if you whistle at the Lights, they’ll come down lower and dance. His whistling wasn’t working, so I tried whistling “Super Freak” (yeah, still have that song running around in my head). We watched for twenty minutes, until the mosquitoes overcame our awe.

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