ltmurnau: (Default)
2017-09-15 02:26 pm

Ten Days in London

 I just got back from ten days in London!

Copiously illustrated account on my game design blog, since main purpose of visit was to attend conference on professional wargaming.
I got to role-play Kim Jong Un, saw where Throbbing Gristle used to live and work, went to a puppet play, and traveled to far-off Dagenham.

Check it out!

https://brtrain.wordpress.com/2017/09/15/ten-busy-days-away/
ltmurnau: (Default)
2017-06-19 07:54 pm

Here is something new...

...insulting spam!

I got this today in my email:

***

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: advice
Date: (today)
Subject: Hi (my name)
To:

I always wanted to tell you that the cloths you wear do not look that good on you.
Please be more classy! It is for your well-being.

Just an advice from a friend.

***

I think this is absolutely brilliant.
Instead of pretending to be a Nigerian prince in difficulty or a dotty solicitor offering money, insult the rube and provoke him into replying, letting them know they've got a live one.
ltmurnau: (Default)
2017-05-05 02:36 pm

A Sort of Circle

Last week I hookied out of work 40 minutes early to see "David Lynch: The Art Life", a documentary that is mostly just Lynch talking, or smoking and painting while talking, about his early life and the people and influences that got him started on painting, then film.
Chronologically the film goes up to the point where he got an American Film Institute grant and went to Los Angeles to make Eraserhead.
Five people were there, including me.

I went to see this because I was of course interested in Lynch and his creative process, but more to the point, I wanted to see it in this particular theatre.
It's near where I work, and it has been a theatre since 1974, opening shortly before I moved here.
I would see movies there over the years.
I saw Star Wars for the first time there, but I needn't have hurried because it played there for nine months straight.
But later it started to run cult films, in a regular event it called "Midnite Madness".
And it was in that very theatre that I saw a double bill of Liquid Sky and Eraserhead in 1983.
Five people were there then too, including me.
ltmurnau: (Default)
2017-04-09 02:53 pm

First post

Just migrated here from LJ.
Still waiting for my boxes of stuff to catch up.

Lt.
ltmurnau: (CX)
2017-01-16 12:19 pm
Entry tags:

Miscameme

The lovely [livejournal.com profile] emmabovary has filled out another meme, so I must follow suit!
(It's easier and less tedious than telling you all about what I have been working on; see http://brtrain.wordpress.com)

What was your first screen name?

citizenx (first mail art pseudonym and email address) or ltmurnau (first social media handle). Why these names at http://ltmurnau.livejournal.com/21097.html

What was your worst day ever?

Hard to pick an absolutely worst day, since many days are awful in different ways. One that still makes me cringe is the night Akito fell in a campfire we had going at a barbecue and burned his hands on the hot grill.

What is your favorite smell?

Roast chicken. Fresh coffee. New bread.

What cocktail are you most like and why?

Gin and tonic, I guess... transparent, bitter, going green at the top.

What were you doing at midnight last night?

Trying to get to sleep.

What did your last text message you received say?

some emojis of doughnuts and "when home?"

What is a word you say a lot?

"uhhhh..." Coherent word? "Yes" with lots of inflections.

Who was your first crush?

Some girl in my neighbourhood whose name I can't even remember now.

What was your worst injury ever?

Getting run over by a car. http://islandnet.com/~ltmurnau/text/news2002.htm

What was the last song you listened to?

"I Like" by Men Without Hats.
Video features synthesizer powered by a large bag of gas, operated by a pregnant woman in medieval dress. You can't say the 80s weren't fun, at least sometimes.

ltmurnau: (CX)
2016-11-09 09:10 pm
Entry tags:

Dating Meme

- nicked from [livejournal.com profile] emmabovary who got it from.

Proof that I haven't dated much in my life.

Your favorite qualities in yourself: My sense of humour, and appreciation of the absurd.
Your favorite qualities in a woman: Sense of humour. Intelligence. Books. Interest in the outside world.
Deal-breaker in a woman: I don't know, they usually walked out on me first.
Your favorite date activity: Dinner or coffee, in a quiet place so we can talk. Not a movie because I concentrate on the film.
Your favorite date outfit: Adequate layers for the environment, with pockets.
Your favorite date food: I usually go with "safe" not-messy food.
Your favorite date experience: First night I met Lianne (13 years ago yesterday). We walked for miles during a lunar eclipse, talking and talking.
Your least favorite date experience: Getting stood up, of course. Or realizing our "coffee date" was just an excuse for me to review her resume and suggest formatting.
Your main relationship / dating fault: Being overly eager to please.
Your idea of relationship happiness: Be friends. Be good and do good for each other.
Your idea of relationship misery: Disdain, disinterest.
What natural talent you would like your partner to be gifted with? Languages.
What fault do you have most tolerance for? Not sure, there are some I don't tolerate.
What is your greatest relationship regret? Taking it personally. Sometimes it is them, not me.
If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be? More insight into what other people are really saying or feeling.
What is your present state of mind? Tired. It's been a long and busy year and it's not over yet.
What is your favorite dating advice / motto? Be yourself; a mask will inevitably slip.
ltmurnau: (CX)
2016-11-09 08:54 pm
Entry tags:

TR.....



Goodnight children, everywhere.

- Uncle Mac
ltmurnau: (CX)
2016-08-08 07:20 pm

60 good SFF reads meme

Yanked from [livejournal.com profile] james_nicoll who got it from.
No idea how these were chosen.

60 Essential Science Fiction & Fantasy Reads

Bold the ones that you have read.
I guess I'm pathetic.

Grimspace by Ann Aguirre
Primary Inversion by Catherine Asaro
The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood
Range of Ghosts by Elizabeth Bear
Flesh and Spirit by Carol Berg
Chime by Franny Billingsley
Daughter of the Blood by Anne Bishop
Tithe by Holly Black
The Long Tomorrow by Leigh Brackett
Cordelia's Honor by Lois McMaster Bujold
War for the Oaks by Emma Bull
Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler
Synners by Pat Cadigan
Foreigner by C.J. Cherryh
Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke
Survival by Julie E. Czerneda
Tam Lin by Pamela Dean
King's Dragon by Kate Elliott
Black Sun Rising by C.S. Friedman
Slow River by Nicola Griffith
Dragonsbane by Barbara Hambly
Fly by Night by Frances Hardinge
Assassin's Apprentice by Robin Hobb
The God Stalker Chronicles by P.C. Hodgell
Brown Girl in the Ring by Nalo Hopkinson
Valor's Choice by Tanya Huff
God's War by Kameron Hurley
The Killing Moon by N.K. Jemisin
Howl's Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones
Daggerspell by Katharine Kerr
The Steerswoman by Rosemary Kirstein
Beggars in Spain by Nancy Kress
Deryni Rising by Katherine Kurtz
A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle
Tender Morsels by Margo Lanagan
The Dispossessed by Ursula K. Le Guin
Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie
Ash by Malinda Lo
Warchild by Karin Lowachee
Legend by Marie Lu
Dragonsong by Anne McCaffrey
Rosemary and Rue by Seanan McGuire
Dreamsnake by Vonda N. McIntyre
The Thief's Gamble by Juliet E. McKenna
Sunshine by Robin McKinley
His Majesty's Dragon by Naomi Novik
Who Fears Death by Nnedi Okorafor
Diving into the Wreck by Kristine Kathryn Rusch
The Female Man by Joanna Russ
Old Man's War by John Scalzi
A Door Into Ocean by Joan Slonczewski
The Grass King's Concubine by Kari Sperring
The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater
City of Pearl by Karen Traviss
Her Smoke Rose Up Forever by James Tiptree, Jr. I haven't read this collection but have read some of the stories.
The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne M. Valente
The Snow Queen by Joan D. Vinge
Farthing by Jo Walton
The Cloud Roads by Martha Wells
To Say Nothing of the Dog by Connie Willis
ltmurnau: (CX)
2016-08-08 10:48 am
Entry tags:

Me meme

Snagged from [livejournal.com profile] sabotabby.
More memes means more posts.

1. Do you like blue cheese?
No.

2. Have you ever smoked?
Yes, once in a while when I was in the Army. When you are tired, hungry, wet and cold and can't do anything about these things, a cigarette can make you feel better.

3. Do you own a gun?
Yes.

4. What is your favorite flavor?
Chicken.

5. Do you get nervous before doctor visits?
No.

6. What do you think of hot dogs?
Court of penultimate resort.

7. Favourite Christmas movie?
The Nightmare Before Christmas.

8. What do you prefer to drink in the morning?
Coffee, and lots of it.

9. Do you do push-ups?
I can crack off 40 or 50, but I don't like it.

10. What’s your favourite piece of jewelry?
I guess a wristwatch counts. Otherwise I have never worn jewelery other than a wedding ring and dog tags.

11. Favourite hobby?
Game designing.

12. Do you have A.D.D.?
No, just distractible.

13. What’s the one thing you hate about yourself?
Too hard on myself, too second-thoughty.

14. Middle name?
Richard.

15. Name three thoughts right now?
My foot's going numb
I'm more tired now than I was when I left on Friday
the next three game-related blog posts I have to write.

16. Name 3 drinks you drink regularly.
Coffee, water, juice

17. Where's the question?
Got lost, I guess?

18. Current hate right now?
News clowns.

19. Favorite place to be?
Downstairs.

20. How do you ring in the New Year?
Go to bed early.

21. Where would you like to go?
Britain.

22. Name three people who will complete this?
No idea. [livejournal.com profile] emmabovary sometimes picks up on these things.

23. Do you own slippers?
Yes! They are destroyed but I wear them anyway.

24. What colour shirt are you wearing?
Feldgrau.

25. Do you like sleeping on satin sheets?
Never have.

26. Can you whistle?
A little, just enough to be annoying.

27. Favourite colour?
Black.

28. Would you be a pirate?
No.

29. What songs do you sing in the shower?
I don't.

30. Favourite girls name?
Alice.

31. Favourite boys name?
Don't have one.

32. What’s in your pocket right now?
Pen, knife, keys, bus pass, some coins.

33. Last person that made you laugh?
Lianne.

34. Best toy as a child?
Toy rifle that made a hell of a bang (was supposed to make a puff of oil smoke too, but never did). Got left outside for an Ontario winter and that was that.

35. Worst injury?
Having left lower leg crushed by a car.

36. Where would you love to live?
Money no object? London or Berlin.

37. How many TVs do you have in your house?
3.

38. Who is your loudest friend?
They're all fairly quiet. Gray, I suppose.

39. How many dogs do you have?
None.

40. Does someone trust you?
Yes.

41. What's your favorite movie?
Repo Man!

42. What’s your favourite sweet?
Dark chocolate covered cherries.

43. What’s your favourite sports team?
None.

44. What song do you want played at your funeral?
Oingo Boingo, "No One Lives Forever"

ltmurnau: (CX)
2016-07-13 03:47 pm
Entry tags:

Senior Year

Nicked from [livejournal.com profile] emmabovary, who picks good memes.

Tell us about your SENIOR year of high school!
The year was: 1982

1. Did you know your spouse? no
2. Did you car pool to school? No, I took the school bus.
3. What kind of car did you have? none
4. What kind of car do you have now? none
5. It's Saturday night...where were you? either playing games with friends or watching a movie.
6. What kind of job did you have in high school? Militia (Army reserve).
7. What kind of job do you have now? Education Officer.
8. Were you a party animal? Mmm, no.
9. Were you a cheerleader? No!
10. Were you considered a jock? Ha. No.
11. Were you in band, orchestra, or choir? No.
12. Were you a nerd? I suppose.
13. Did you get suspended or expelled? No.
14. Can you sing the fight song? Canadian high school; we didn't have one.
15. Who was/were your favorite high school teacher? I liked Mr. Cross (English); we would talk about movies.
16. Where did you sit for lunch? In one of the chem labs, or the central amphitheatre.
17. What was your school's full name? Parkland.
18. What was your school mascot? A panther.
19. If you could go back and do it again, would you? God no, it was boring and futile. The only consistently valuable thing I learned in high school was touch typing.
20. Did you have fun at Prom? A bit; had to cut it short and go home and get some sleep, as I spent the rest of the weekend in the woods on a patrolling exercise.
21. Do you still talk to the person you went to Prom with? No.
22. Are you planning on going to your next reunion? No.
23. Are you still in contact with people from school? A couple, but we don't talk about school.
24. What are/were your school's colors? Damfino.
ltmurnau: (CX)
2016-06-08 10:28 am
Entry tags:

The Rathskeller is closing

http://www.timescolonist.com/business/german-restaurant-rathskeller-closing-after-half-century-1.2273073

The Rathskeller, Victoria's only German restaurant, is closing after 50 years.
My friend John and I used to go there every so often when, as he put it, "he felt a quart low."
Good schnitzels and the potato pancakes were great.

It used to be in an actual cellar, in the basement of a hotel on lower Douglas Street that is no longer there (it's a Budget rent-a-car lot now).
It moved in 1982, and after it moved a Chinese restaurant was in there for a while.
I stopped in there one night to get supper before getting the bus home.
The new occupant hadn't touched the decor, so I ate my Combination "B" in a dark wooden booth, in a dark wooden-panelled room with large paintings on the walls of cathedrals and trains wending their way through the Alps.
It wasn't bad, but an hour later I felt like invading Poland.

ltmurnau: (CX)
2016-05-16 09:50 am
Entry tags:

Last Circuit Breaker



I hadn't posted much lately about the monthly DJ gig, but we did the last one last night.
Five and a half years is a long time for a regular music night, in this town it's a phenomenally long time for any kind of music let alone the EBM/industrial/coldwave etc. stuff we were playing.

I learned a lot, and had fun, and listened to a lot of interesting new music. But ti's time to move on. Maybe I might still do one-offs in future but we'll see.

Setlists, videos, MP3 files of sets etc. will be at http://circuitbreakerclub.org for some time to come.

Thanks!
ltmurnau: (CX)
2016-04-18 09:58 am

High-Rise, the movie

... ohhh pleasedontsuck pleasedontsuck....

From this morning's CBC:

Filmmaker Ben Wheatley is 'a cup of tea away from anarchy'
British director's new film, High-Rise, explores the intersection of condo life and class warfare
By Matt Meuse, CBC News Posted: Apr 16, 2016 8:00 AM PT Last Updated: Apr 16, 2016 8:00 AM PT

"They say you're only two meals away from anarchy," British director Ben Wheatley tells On the Coast host Gloria Mackarenko.

"You know, I like to eat. I'm probably about a cup of tea away from anarchy, usually."

Wheatley's new film, High-Rise, tells the twisted story of a utopian condo complex on the outskirts of a gentrifying city, and its rapid descent into chaos.

The transformation takes three months in the film. But in real life, Wheatley reckons it would be much quicker. In the aftermath of the 2008 banking crisis, he realized he only had a day's worth of food in his house, and no real cash or valuables.

"I started looking around at the people in the street going, oh, I'd have to fight them, wouldn't I, for food," he said, laughing. "It would collapse really fast."

The film is based on a novel written by English author J. G. Ballard in the 1970s. Tom Hiddleston stars as Dr. Robert Laing, a resident of the titular High-Rise.

The book was speculative fiction at the time, but Wheatley finds it to be remarkably prescient.

"When I reread the book in my mid-40s, I realized that it wasn't predictive science fiction anymore, it was much more like I was reading pages out of a newspaper," he said. "It was a bit depressing."

To capture the feel of the novel, the film is set in a sort of alternate-history "super 70s," as Wheatley describes it — an ambiguous, highly-stylized representation of the era.

As if to highlight this, the film ends with an archival monologue from former British prime minister Margaret Thatcher, whose right-wing economic policies dominated British politics in the 80s.

"Hearing Thatcher in the air [at the end of the film] is like the ending of John Carpenter's The Thing," he said, referencing a classic 80s horror film with a similarly bleak ending. "When I hear that voice, I get a slight twinge of fear. I find her disconcerting and terrifying."

"It's saying that the whole thing is cyclical and it will start again. And we have the hindsight of knowing what's going to happen next."

Parallels with modern Vancouver

The city in the film is implied as London, which is currently facing housing affordability problems not unlike Vancouver's. Prices are surging in both cities, and many blame investors who use real estate as a way of making and storing money.

Wheatley said the practice of treating real estate primarily as an investment has a devastating impact on cities.

"I always think of it as a bit like when these investors buy Van Goghs and stick them in a vault somewhere," he said. "The art gets turned into money, becomes abstracted and then put away, and it no longer serves the point it had in the first place. So, you know, if you do that to a city, you basically kill it."

"And what happens when no one can afford to live in the city? Do we all have to live on the outskirts and just look to it like Oz or something in the distance? I don't know, it's terrifying."

High-Rise was screened Friday night as part of the Vancouver International Film Festival, with a wider Canadian release on May 20. He'll be giving a master class as part of the festival Saturday at 2:30 p.m. at Vancity Theatre.
ltmurnau: (CX)
2016-04-13 09:53 am
Entry tags:

OK, I never expected to read this in the local paper...

for the first time ever, Insane Clown Posse is coming to Victoria.

http://www.timescolonist.com/insane-clown-posse-rappers-coming-to-victoria-1.2229079

Wha...?
How...?

I had no idea this city had anywhere near the minimum critical mass of fans required to make ICP show up on your doorstep.
Victoria has been home to cells of all kinds of weird cults, but I never thought Juggalos would be one of them.

In other musical news, Circuit Breaker (the monthly EBM/industrial/coldwave/etc. show I've been doing for over 5 years) is about to conclude.
The two DJs I have been doing the show with want a break, and I don't have the time or energy to keep it going by myself.
Five years is a darn long time to keep a regular music event of any kind going in Victoria.
It was fun and I've learned a lot, and I will miss it, but perhaps it's time to hang it up.
Last show is May 15!

http://circuitbreakerclub.org is the website I've been maintaining, setlists and videos and occasional MP3s of sets are there.
ltmurnau: (CX)
2016-02-11 11:44 am

INcreasingly INfrequent UPdate

Believe it or not, I am here most days for a quick troll through my Friends page.
But I don't post much anymore, obviously - mostly because I am busy doing stuff that I would be posting about, if I posted more.

Aki made it through his bridging semester program and now he is in 3rd Year of Mechanical Engineering!
He's finding it a lot of work, but I think it's coming together for him and he can see the purpose of it, unlike the Shakespeare they made him swallow in high school.
They have them working on projects, he is doing one with a team where they are developing a way to 3-D print custom braces for children with club feet.
He's also 21 now, how did that happen....

Game designing takes up a lot of my outside-work time, my blog on that is at http://brtrain.wordpress.com .
I never did figure out a way to feed entries from there to here, I should just do it manually but I am not sure who would be looking at it.

Current projects, since the last time I talked about them, include games on the following in no particular order:

- the French-Algerian War of 1954-62 (two games actually, using completely different systems: one large one with lavish production and wooden bits, another one a revision of an earlier design)
- the Battle of the Bulge (revision of earlier design, published 11/15)
- a set of 3 battles from the first year of the Korean War (published 11/15, mangled by publisher's "development" team)
- the 1973 coup in Chile
- the Slovak-Hungarian War of March, 1939
- the invasion of Canada by the United States, 193? (revision of earlier design)
- the Polish-Soviet War, 1920 (revision of earlier design)
- the Cyprus Emergency, 1955-59
- Binh Dinh province (central coast of Vietnam, 1969; did this one up a while ago for a history professor at Nipissing University for students in his course on 20C wars and revolutions to play)
- the 1943-45 Allied invasions of Greece and Yugoslavia that weren't (two games actually, using completely different systems; one from the publisher that mangled my work (though they seem to have not mangled it too much this time, it's still the last work I will ever send them) and one I published myself)
- the Finnish Civil War of 1918

People want me to talk about my work too, which I find extremely difficult to do... I mean, I can talk technique, but as to what value there is in it, or what makes some thing better than another thing - I can't be articulate.

But week after next I am going to Washington DC to talk to people at RAND Corporation about what I do, and how it might help them in what they do... a very unexpected offshoot of a conference I went to last September that featured a workshop on quick game design that I helped facilitate.

Then in mid-March, UVic has an event on gaming (http://gameswithoutfrontiers.uvic.ca/) and I will be showing some of my work and maybe talking about it.

Then at the end of March, I am going to the American Popular Culture Association's national meeting in Seattle, to present a paper on... well, here's my abstract:

Bored of War

Board wargames, or manual military simulation games, are a form of civilian entertainment that peaked commercially in the 1980s but continue today as a small press, near-DIY activity. They remain one of Western culture’s most complex analog artifacts, rich in their ability to generate narrative and explore historical possibilities.

However, only a very small number of published civilian wargames address the dominant modes of actual post-World War Two conflict: irregular war and counterinsurgency. This paper will explore the cultural reasons for this absent focus, explain the social and political utility of these games as a means of interrogating and critiquing contemporary conflicts, and present specific games in this field as examples of “critical play” (Flanagan, 2009).


See what I mean about being inarticulate?
This is a big conference, with thousands of presentations... and the Game Studies area is quite new, with only about 100 presentations. But all of them are about digital games - their design, the sociology of people who play them, etc. - except for 3: my presentation, and 2 presentations on role-playing games.
I feel no one will have the vaguest idea what I am talking about, much less care, even if I could make myself understood.
But Lianne is making a presentation (on horror films) in much better company... I've never been to a conference quite like this before.

And then in April, trying to work through arrangements to visit the Army War College in Carlisle PA to do some facilitated play of my Algeria game, to match with a screening of The Battle of Algiers.
I wonder what the Army officers there will make of that one.

Then in June, to Tempe AZ for the annual Consimworld Expo, for more showing of work and meeting with publishers.

It took 25 years to get to this point, I don't mind being so busy but again, it's hard to write about this stuff in the larger sense.

Oh, and I have something in a book too: this spring will see a game studies anthology come out from MIT Press:
https://mitpress.mit.edu/books/zones-control
It's the first time any of my writing has been in an actual book!

Anyway, this is in large part what I have been doing instead of posting.
I will try to pop in here more often, if only to leave links.
ltmurnau: (CX)
2015-10-05 09:53 pm
Entry tags:

My Brilliant Cousin

OK, a brief post to show you how brilliant my cousin Hall is.
There are people in one's life that you just hold in awe - they are creative, smart, happy and great to be around.
My cousin is one of these, for me.
Ever since he was a boy, he was fascinated with dinosaurs, and film, and motion.
He has made a career of animating dinosaurs and much of his business involves preparing exhibits for museums etc..
But his latest little film is a fun little short, a hat-tip to Melies and done to inspire kids to use simple illusory tricks to make their own films.
This is the sort of thing he would have made at age 10, if he had had the tech kids do today.
But that was over 40 years ago, and he had to make do with 8mm film shot one frame at a time ... like I and my friends did, but didn't stick with as he did.

Anyway, have a look!

ltmurnau: (CX)
2015-09-22 09:05 am
Entry tags:

Down Our Way

Down our way, some Earl Cowan wannabe defaced some NDP signs on the street corner with a spray-painted hammer and sickle.
But he didn't stay to do a good job of filling in the the hammer shape, so it looked like a lollipop and sickle.
Unfortunately they replaced the signs before I could get a picture.

[ETA, 6 October: He did it again!]
ltmurnau: (CX)
2015-08-27 03:08 pm

Die StraBe Frei/ Den Braunen Bataillonen... Die StraBe Frei/ Den Sturmabteilungsmann.



Guess they found a few veterans to speak for them, without their actually saying anything....

Conservatives bring in ex-soldiers for extra security on Harper's campaign
Group of former Canadian Forces members to bolster RCMP assigned to PM's protection detail
The Canadian Press Posted: Aug 27, 2015 4:44 PM ET Last Updated: Aug 27, 2015 4:44 PM ET

The Conservatives are using former members of the Canadian military to act as security guards at their election campaign events, in addition to the RCMP officers who are assigned to the prime minister's personal detail.

The former Canadian Armed Forces soldiers, who are travelling with members of the media on the Conservative campaign bus, wear suits and earpieces much like the Mounties assigned to protect Stephen Harper.

One member of the private security team, a former sniper, escorted a man out of a Harper event with the help of RCMP officers Thursday in Markham, Ont., when he tried to line up behind journalists to ask the prime minister a question.

The man was later allowed to re-enter the room a short time later.

Harper continues to be protected by his personal detail during the campaign — an RCMP unit that guards the prime minister both at home and abroad.

The RCMP detail, which is paid for by taxpayers, has only a single goal, and "that is the protection of the prime minister," said security expert Chris Mathers, a former undercover Mountie.

"That is their job," Mathers said. "If anyone else wants security at a venue, then they would have to engage private security contractors to take care of it."

The RCMP is trained to remove the leader when there is an issue at campaign events rather than engage with those causing a disturbance, he said.

Mathers said that's why private security personnel have likely been tasked with dealing with "uninvited guests" at campaign events.

"The segregation of duties is such that any contract security personnel would be doing work for the party dealing with trespassers," Mathers said. "They're not protecting the prime minister, they're there to keep the peace."

Conservative spokesman Kory Teneycke characterized the additional security officers as part of the party's logistical team.

"We don't comment on our event logistics, that's not something that's new," said Teneycke, who took issue with the characterization of the additional personnel as "security."

"PM security is about (prime minister personal detail) ... how we manage the logistics of our events, that's a different matter and we don't talk about it."

Teneycke said the party is responsible for footing the bill for "event logistics and event planning," suggesting the security is being paid for by the party, but he would not say whether they are licensed to work as security guards.

'They're just security guards, period'

Provinces have different regulations for security guards and private investigators but they are required to have a valid license to work, including in Ontario where Harper has spent the bulk of time on the campaign so far.

Alex Marland, a political science professor at Memorial University, said the presence of security at campaign events is part of a greater conversation about modern campaigns and message control.

"The reality is that all political parties know that what can happen is you can have one person come out, make a wayward remark or engage in something and all sorts of election planning and discussion goes completely amuck," Marland said.

"These things are so tightly scripted, they're so focused, they're quite frankly quite boring, that all of a sudden it introduces a level of drama that the media, understandably, will chase."

Marland said technology is a major consideration because everyone in the room has a cellphone and leaders are under the microscope.

"Every political party is absolutely trying to avoid going off script, ever," he said. "The whole point about having security at these things to is try to avoid somebody else, who has their own agenda ... destabilizing the agenda that you have."

Campaign events are not the "public open forums" that some people may think they are, he added.

The RCMP is also providing security for NDP Leader Tom Mulcair and Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau — standard procedure during an election campaign. Neither party, however, has hired additional security.

Mathers also said it is not unusual for former military members to take on security positions once they have left the Canadian Forces.

"They're just security guards, period," he said.
ltmurnau: (CX)
2015-07-21 10:12 am
Entry tags:

Laibach in the DPRK?

This is simultaneously too good to be true and possibly entirely true.
Clueless commentary on Laibach's history and intentions aside, here it is in the press.
I just hope nothing happens to the people in the DPRK who organized this - it's a bigger prank than Stephen Colbert's "in-persona" speech at the White House Correspondent's dinner, with greater consequences.



North Korea gig comes natural for Slovenian conceptual band Laibach
ALI ZERDIN / THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
JULY 21, 2015 09:29 AM
LJUBLJANA, Slovenia - For a band inspired by art in totalitarian regimes, a gig in North Korea is a dream come true.
Slovenia's Laibach recently announced it will play two concerts in Pyongyang next month. The group is known for music described as a mixture of industrial rock and retro electronic, and for its use of authoritarian imagery, such as Soviet-era symbols, marches and dark uniforms.
The tour will coincide with the ceremonies marking the 70th anniversary of the Korean peninsula's liberation from Japanese colonization, and will include Laibach's own music as well as popular Korean songs, one of the band's founders, producer and spokesman Ivan Novak, told The Associated Press.
"Originally, we invited ourselves and then they invited us," Novak said.
Formed in 1980, when Slovenia was still part of Communist-run Yugoslavia, Laibach immediately stirred controversy with its name — German for Slovenia's capital city Ljubljana — and because it used a black cross as one of its symbols.
This alone was enough for an official ban by the regime born out of anti-fascist struggle during World War II. Laibach were still allowed occasional concerts until, in 1983, they locked the door of a concert hall and played the sound of a dog barking extremely loudly for almost half an hour.
For the next few years, Laibach concerts moved abroad. The group's visual style included wearing military uniforms on stage and toying with socialist and populist imagery while playing almost martial-style songs, sung in a husky, deep voice.
The band has six members, but only two — including Novak, who will be 57 in August, singer Milan Fras, a couple of years younger — have been there from the early years. Fras joined in 1983 after Laibach's first singer committed suicide.
Despite being criticized as too dark, the band has always insisted that it is exploring the relation between ideology, politics and art. One of its main slogans states that "art and totalitarianism do not exclude each other."
Over the years, Laibach has gained an important place on Slovenia's art scene. The band's retrospective currently is part of an exhibition of the Neue Slowenische Kunst (New Slovenian Art) movement at the Modern Gallery in Ljubljana.
Laibach members are professional musicians, some of whom teach music or take part in various art projects. Laibach has held more than 800 concerts throughout the world, while gigs at home are usually sold out, drawing up to few thousand people in a country of 2 million.
Novak said the band has always wanted to visit North Korea and remembers clearly the visit in 1977 to the country by then Yugoslav communist leader Josip Broz Tito. Novak rejected the possibility that the trip will amount to political support for the North Korean communist regime, viewed as an isolationist dictatorship in the West.
"We never support the regime anywhere where we perform ... but we do support the people who live there," Novak said. He explained that the band has found inspiration for its art in the country, citing events where people fill stadiums and hold up colorful cards in carefully choreographed displays to create giant images.
"All Korea is practicing superb pop art. Superb," he said. "From the point of view of art history, they should actually protect the whole country, they should put it in a museum of pop art."
Laibach concerts are planned Aug. 19 and 20 for an audience of 1,000 each day. Several pop singers and bands from South Korea have performed in the north in the past, while British singer David Thomas Broughton has said he performed once for expats in North Korea. Laibach's performance, however, will mark the first encounter with a visually charged band from the West.
"We will adjust and adapt our program to the Korean situation and audience," Novak said. "We will perform a gentle version of Laibach."
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Jovana Gec contributed from Belgrade, Serbia; Tong-hyung Kim and Hyung-jin Kim contributed from Seoul, South Korea.