The Creative Crockpot of Christopher Olson

Nerf Warz: Dinner’s On

This was a project that took a weekend (in length) to shoot – 1 eight hour day with 2 4-hour days, shot obviously on an iPhone 6s without proper lighting or an app that would allow for manual light balancing. The terrible lighting of a usual house with few windows is apparent, and even the magic of Final Cut Pro X was unable to fix it. It also shows I need more work on my light grading technique. I didn’t really have time to spend cleaning it up, or I’m sure it could be much better.

The rough edit was done in the most recent version of iMovie and then I took it from the first editor and tightened it up a bit using FCPX, did the colour correction, added or adjusted sound and sound effects. I also created a sound track using Garage Band 10. This is the first longer bit of musical work I’ve ever done, and the first creative music work I’ve done in two years. It took about three hours to put together.

For your perusal:

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Dear TeamBuy

To Whom It May Concern,

It has now been 96 days since TeamBuy told me this order could not be cancelled as it had already been shipped to me. Most recently, over ten days ago, I was told yet again that it would arrive shortly.

I have decided to to figure out how long the shipping should have taken***, on the assumption that the electronics factory where the device was being constructed was located at the very peak of Mount Everest and that you were using the slowest reasonable shipping options available.

Assuming it’s being transported by a Sherpa in no general rush, it would take about 14 days from the summit of Everest to Namache Bazar. From Namche Bazar, it’s another 2 day hike to Kukla Airport. From there the only option would be a 1 day transport flight to Kathmandu.

After that it’s a one day trip by truck across the border, (really 15 minutes) from Kathmandu, and then from there a train to Mumbai. From there, taking a freighter from Mumbai to San Francisco is a 22 day sail.

Then 2 days of truck travel to Vancouver. From there 2 days from distribution centre to delivery.

Then let’s add in 5 days for customs at each international crossing. Nepal to India, India to the US, US to Canada. (15).

That takes us to 58 days. By this shipping estimate, in another two weeks I could have received two of these since I placed the original order.

Any chance you can just give me my refund now? I think sufficient time has elapsed that we can call this a farce, and that i’m not getting the product.

***Based on a cursory internet search. All times are estimates and in no way should be considered accurate.

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The BC Conundrum

It was about two weeks ago, right in the middle of the provincial election that is being decided today, that my wife made an observation to me while driving.

“Where are all the lawn signs? The election has started right?”

And wow, was she right. There are very few signs on people’s lawns this election. I have no statistics to back this up, but from a general feeling, it certainly seems there are fewer signs than previous elections. Yes, in public spaces, there are dozens of signs sprouting up like ugly fungus, ruining picturesque corners, and dangerously blocking sight-lines at intersections, like every other election. But on private property? Not so much.

And yet there’s no lack of passion for this election. People feel very strongly.

The problem is, no one supports anyone, they just hate the status quo. People aren’t clamoring for the policies and leadership of Adrian Dix, they’re just fleeing the current Liberal government.

BC is in a pretty awful predicament. Not satisfied by killing the HST, the populace is still looking for an outlet to take revenge on the government. Christy Clark’s campaign style leadership, is a jarring contrast to the governance style of Gordon Campbell, and it’s pretty clear it does not resonate with the electorate.

I’ve made no secret of my distaste of the tenure of Premier Clark and her poor governance. Anyone who takes away money from already starved basic services to give it to private charities should not be rewarded with a second term.

And her purposeful misclassification of tax incentives for the film industry as subsidies because it doesn’t fit her view of her family first platform is just straight infuriating. (Quick message Clark, you receive zero tax income from an industry that does not exist. Competing with other jurisdictions with tax INCENTIVES, will bring in tax revenue. You’re not actually spending any money Giving money to private charities – that’s a subsidy.)

The problem is there are no good options. The Green Party and its leader Jane Sterk are untested, and not even running a full slate of candidates. They have yet to break the public view that they are more than a one issue party.

The Conservative Party and John Cummins are marred by the poor optics of their federal cousins, it’s own internal struggles and ineptitude, and people’s fear of splitting the conservative vote and pushing the NDP into power. Not to mention some of the right wing social views held by (ex)candidates.

And then there’s the NDP, the only viable option for those enraged enough at the Liberals for people to sell out their province’s future.

People desperately want a change, and Adrian Dix is trying to sell them on change for the better. But looking at his platform, his promises of tax increases and spending, I’m highly doubtful his change is better.

And I don’t think it’s good for BC either. If your house is flooded, yes you want to change that situation. But change for change’s sake is not always the best idea. I would rather keep working on pumping out the basement, than to set my hosue on fire simply so at least things are different.

Here’s hoping for a minority government that doesn’t accomplish anything but get us new political leaders. 4 years of treading that flood water is certainly better than 4 years of watching the house burn.

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Humorous “Making of” Video

I forgot to share this… 

The music was mixed using GarageBand and looping. The video was editing with FCPX 10.0.7, and the footage was a mixture of pro camera shots, the usual video camera, and one interview done with an iPhone. I’m sure you can tell which one. 

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At Long Last Book Out Now

My wife’s book, “When the Fight Goes to the Ground: Jiu-jitsu Strategies and Tactics for Self-Defense” is now out. I did a promotional video. While the quality of the interview and the video clips aren’t my best work, I am quite happy with the music which was composed using Garageband. Maybe I have an aptitude for music composition? You can watch the video below.


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A Quick Update for January 2013

I’ve had my nose to the grind for the past while, and my creative endeavours have been in promotional stuff. I have a long awaited review of a book coming up that I need to finish as well as a return to writing, as the political season gets underway post Christmas.

Here’s a quick recap of what I’ve been up to since the last update in November.  I penned the following articles, listed from oldest to most recent:

The Importance of Instinct in Threat Assessment
Staying Aware: Warning Signs Preceding an Assault
How Not to Get HIT: A Book Review
How to Mentally Focus in Martial Arts Training
Zombies, Run! 5K Training for iPhone Review
Shifting Perspectives: In & Out of the Dojo – Nidan Essay by Chris Olson
12 Years So Far in Jiu-jitsu

I also put together the video seen in this article: My 36th Year Birthday Bounce. The actual video is nothing special with no real special video effects, though putting the supers for the throw count was tedious. If you watch the video, skip to the end for the crazier throws.

I was thinking I hadn’t written anything in a while, but researching what I had actually published shows I have written 7 articles over the period of two months where I also created 2 instructional DVDs, did a fair bit of website work and spent a lot of time working security shifts. (I even created a redesign of this site which still needs finishing.) Not too bad. Now that things will lighten up come February, I hope to get back to writing in earnest.

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Difference Between Need & Desire

The Canadian Association of Police Chiefs recently renewed their call on the federal government to pass its controversial, (and possibly charter breaching), internet surveillance bill. Their argument is the tools provided will make them more able to fight cybercrime.

Association president, and Vancouver police chief Jim Chu is afraid that the bill will die on the order paper, leaving police with the requirement of a warrant to conduct wiretaps and internet surveillance.

Originally included in the first crime omnibus bill, Bill C-30 was removed due to the massive public backlash. Section 34 especially created a large controversy, with concerns that this would give not just police, but any government appointed agents unlimited power in eavesdropping on Canadians within the digital realm. ISP’s would be required to track their customers, and would have to hand over all information without need for a warrant, judicial oversight, or even the pre-tense of a criminal investigation.


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When “Bully” Isn’t A Strong Enough Word

The tragic story of Amanda Todd is long, and painful. The issues which her story brings up is so much more complex than our 24 hour news cycle media can ever hope to tackle, and so I highly recommend an article written by Lori O’Connell, which better illustrates the complexity of the issues of Cyber-bullying, and why bullying doesn’t convey a strong enough connotation for those who victimized Amanda Todd.

Please read, “The Misnomer of Cyber Bullying & the Tragic Story of Amanda Todd,” and get a bette sense at how much bigger this is than a simple  sound bite, or a useless debate in Parliament.

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Eyes Deep in a Current Project

It’s been pretty quiet the last two weeks on the creative side. I’ve been working on a DVD project that’s not yet  complete. I’m working towards putting together the curriculum for Can-ryu Jiu-jitsu as taught at Pacific Wave Jiu-jitsu. Filming of the first two belt levels was completed a couple of weeks ago using 3 cameras, and I’m using Final Cut Pro X to put together 2 projects, one for each belt.  It’s a fairly straight forward project as this intention of this video is more as a reference guide, rather than a straight instructional video, and is targeted to students who have already seen the material in class. The supers are light, just indicating the names of the techniques, and I’m just providing a couple of angles for the techniques where it makes sense. All in all, a straight forward project.

I’ve also penned one article for the Pacific Wave Jiu-jitsu blog, entitled, When Establishing Control, Grab Like You Mean It, which examines the important of a strong, intent driven grip when applying techniques in in training and in real world application.

On the provincial politics sides, I’m further worried that the recent infighting of the Conservative Party of BC as ruined my (admittedly far-fetched) dreams of a non-NDP party taking office next year. BC is financially doomed.

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Handcuffing, Tests & Ball Shots

Over the last couple of weeks I’ve written a couple of articles on the Pacific Wave Jiu-jitsu blog. The most recent one, Overcoming Muscle Memory to Incorporate New Martial Arts Skills, involves handcuffs. 😉

There is also an article comparing the advantages & disadvantages of Scheduled Group Tests  & Individual Tests in the Martial Arts. And the back in early September I wrote an article on How to Take a Shot to the Groin. That last article is a great one, as it revisits a video I made of me getting repeatedly hit in the groin as part of the Nutty Buddy Groin Protector review I wrote back in May. You can see the video below. I’m particularly happy with how the music played out.

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