Photos from Around the Block Number Seven

I’m proud of myself for getting out of the house regularly these days to take pictures.

I mean…

I guess I would still leave the house; just go to the store and come right back, but taking my camera with me has created an excuse and opportunity to stay out longer. And I’m starting to remember how much I enjoy taking pictures. People who know me from before know that photography was the first love of my life.

So, this whole thing has been an exercise in gaining back a piece of myself. Before the drugs, I was the guy with the camera. Soon after, I was the guy with the drugs. I want to be the guy with the camera again.

Here’s this week’s pics…

Careful. This is an ATIVE driveway.

Careful now. This is an ATIVE driveway. No parking and no C’s allows.

A view from the hill.

A view from the top of the hill.

One day I'm going to step inside this chirch.

One day I’m going to step inside my local church. (and no I won’t burst into flames)

Stained Glass Windows from the outside with the sun's reflection are probably stunning from inside.

Stained Glass windows from the outside showing the sun’s reflection are probably stunningly beautiful from the inside.

OPen Stain Glass Window

An open stained glass window on a pretty place of worship

A closer look

A closer look at the glass.

G & H Red Light

G & H Red Light



This guy.

This guy… on a roof

Rusted Rustic Shack

Rusted Rustic Shack

Green House covered in green

Green house covered in green.  I love it when nature swallows up a man-made structure. In the story I’m writing now everything’s covered in green.

In the Mirror

In the Mirror

In the Woods

In the Woods

In the Wire

In the Wire

In the City

In the City

I think they diverted the takeoffs and landings at my local airport because there were no airplanes.

So I guess I’m staying.

See you next week.

– Mel


How We Treat The Least Among Us

I tried to watch this without crying or screaming… I could not.

It doesn’t need sound and personally I think the music takes away from the impact.

It is just six minutes and I’m sorry.


I am not a vegetarian. I’ve hunted. I’ve fished. I see nothing wrong with killing for food.

THIS is torture. I see EVERYTHING wrong with that.

This is not the most efficient way to run a (omg I’m going to call that a) farm. This is the most profitable. Less space, less overhead, fewer employees, smaller cost, more profits. These days there is no such thing as evil as long as there’s profit in it.

It’s not the killing or what they do to them after they’re dead. It’s how they treat them while they are alive; The animals and the workers. Because every single person who works there has either hardened their heart long ago or they’re dying inside.

Now I see why they fight so hard to make sure these things aren’t shown. And why it is illegal to record the conditions of these plants in America. But I ask you honestly, do you think American farms are better or worse? Or just the same?

The only difference I see between this and experimenting on lab animals is that we eat them afterward.

Fuck that.

– Mel

Five Favorite Foreign Filmmakers Part 4 of 5 (Oh Canada)

My five favorite filmmakers from five regions continues after a slight delay.

The list became difficult once I got back to North America being so close to home. It was hard to separate the Americans from the Canadians. And as it turned out there were a lot more Canadians than I thought. 


“Hey, what’s this guy got against Canadians?”

Lighten up Francis.

My original plan was to combine Mexico & Canada into one region but Mexico will just have to join South America because there were just too many Canadians.

Isn’t that always the way?

So part four is just Canada. And part five will be Latin America, I suppose. To the list… 

First up:

Norman Jewison

Norman Jewison

Norman Jewison is one of my earliest favorite directors. One of my original faves, as it were. The director of some of my favorite films from before I realized how much I loved films.

A fantastic storyteller and a director who elicits great performances from amazing actors. A true actor’s director. The great Canadian (who knew) filmmaker: Norman Jewison.

Here are five perfect films with superb performances.

In the Heat of the Night (1967)

In the Heat of the Night

Rollerball (1975)


…And Justice for All (1979)

And Justice for All

A Soldier’s Story (1984)

A Soldier's Story

Moonstruck (1987)


Five fantastic films, but Rollerball (the original not the silly remake) is my personal favorite and is yet another one of those movies that I quote all the time.

“I love this game, Moonpie.”

The next director on the list will be familiar to readers of my blog. The very skilful

James Cameron

Envy Presents 5 by 5: My 5 Favorite Films by My 5 Favorite Directors (5/5)

What can I say about James Cameron that I haven’t already said here?

Nothing really. He is the man. He is a Canadian man. (again who knew?) And he is also number five on my all-time list.

Here are four perfect action films.

The Terminator (1984)

Aliens (1986)

Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)

True Lies (1994)

True Lies is still one of my all-time favorite Husband & Wife Spy Thrillers. Speaking of which, I miss The Americans on FX. I can’t wait for that show to come back.

"That's the fact, Jack."

“That’s the fact, Jack.”

That’s the fact, Jack.

Next up, and without any further ado, the patriarch of what some have called the first family of Canadian Cinema… and by some, I mean me.

Ivan Reitman

Ivan Reitman

Ivan Reitman has made many other comedies, but as it turns out my three favorite of his films are all Bill Murray hits. Ivan Reitman is one the best directors of the Action-Comedy genre and all that came after borrow from his brilliance. And he made Bill Murray a big star.

Also he has the rare distinction of fathering another of the directors on this very list; Jason Reitman.

*Side Note: His daughter, Catherine Reitman, used to produce an internet movie review show, called Breakin’ It Down.

Catherine Reitman and Harry The Sound Guy

A show that I would refer to religiously before going to the theater and paying 30 dollars to see a movie. But alas, Catherine has moved on to other things. All six of her.

Catherine Reitman

Besides his three kids, here are three other, damn near perfect, things Ivan Reitman has produced…

Meatballs (1979)


Stripes (1981)


Ghostbusters (1984)


Needless to say, I quote all three of these movies constantly, Stripes especially. They are three of the funniest movies ever made, Stripes especially. And there is no quicker way out of a bad mood than by watching any of these movies but… Stripes especially.

"Whose idea was this?"

“Whose idea was this?”

Mine, Bill. It was all mine.

Next up the sublime beauty of…

François Girard

François Girard

François Girard is a magnificent film artist whose films I consider museum quality or even space time capsule worthy. Just exquisite works of art. The Red Violin is one of those rare films that makes my heart hurt in a good way. And Glenn Gould is not just an original take on the biopic but an experience.

François Girard hasn’t made a ton of films. But the films he has made are wonderful.

Here are two of the most beautiful stories you can see.

32 Short Films about Glenn Gould (1993)

32 Short Films About Glenn Gould

The Red Violin (1998)

The Red Violin

Each film is a love letter to music and love and death and life and sex and art and film and… breathing.

And lastly..

The young Jason Reitman who makes great films.

Jason Reitman

Jason Reitman

I put, the young Jason Reitman who makes great films, in the same category that I place Sofia Coppola. Both are the offspring of great directors but in my opinion, even though they do not garner the amount of respect due their artistic inheritance, they are better. They are both better filmmakers than their fathers.

Call me crazy, (you wouldn’t be the first) but after a handful of films each, I am keenly aware that they are both immensely talented. Just dripping with it. It’s awful. It’s disgusting.

I could have chosen any one of, the young Jason Reitman who makes great films’s films but, if you are not aware of his work, this is the best place to start…

Juno (2007)


Juno is the film best remembered for making Diablo Cody a recognizable name. And yes the dialogue and story are fantastic, but the pacing, the photography, the feel of the film, the subtle sweetness of the cinematography, the fly on the wall filmmaking that you get from directors like Jason (& Sofia) are what make this wonderful film.

This is not a film. You’re not simply watching a film. You’re watching someone’s life. And if you didn’t recognize the actors you’d swear it was some sort of illegal surveillance. Joyce, Kubrick, Renoir. To be that young a director (under 40 is young for a director) and to be able to do that. It’s… sickening. But it’s also amazing.

The kind of training you get growing up on film sets, I guess.

"Aaaarmy Training, sir." "ARMY TRAINING, SIR!"

“Aaaarmy Training, sir.”

No, Bill, not army training.

We will meet again in Latin America, you and I.

Until then, hasta luego.

– Mel

Photos from Around the Block Number Six

So, I went out today. To the store again. Bought some Ice Cream. I need to lay off the Ice cream… seriously. Cookies & Cream. Took a new route to the store. So I had some different image choices. Hope you enjoy them.

Red Light is actually a whole bunch of little tiny lights

Red Light is actually a whole bunch of little tiny lights

Please Curb Your Sign

Please Curb Your Sign

Birds On A Wire

Birds On A Wire

Homeless in this neighborhood are living well.

Homeless in this neighborhood are living well.

Another Pretty Place of Worship

Another Pretty Place of Worship

What's that up in the road, a head?

What’s that up in the road, a head?

A Caged Flower

A Caged Flower

A Trapped Sign

A Trapped Sign

Birds off the Wire

Birds off the Wire

The Neglected Balls of Late Summer.

The Neglected Balls of Late Summer.

The Last Flight Out

The Last Flight Out

It was a good photo day.

And now we celebrate.


– Mel

The King of Procrastination

Needed to re-read this the other day. So I guess I’ll reblog it.

Mel Rook & The 3 Higher Trainings

I am the king of procrastination.

“Why should I do something tonight when I can do it next year?”

I need to hire a dominatrix in a tight leather outfit with a riding crop to make me jump and to make me call her mistress while hinting at the possibility of me getting to have sex with her if only I just finished a project.

In other words, I need motivation.

I know what I’ll do. I’ll make a list.

Sex is the first motivation that comes to mind. (see dominatrix fantasy above) I have always been a huge fan. Sex is a powerful motivation but it requires a partner. A resource that I am sorely lacking. Of course there is always masturbation but promising myself that I’ll masturbate if I finish a project is just not good enough of a motivation. So that’s out. Plus if you…

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Photos from Around the Block 4/5 (megapost)

If you’re following my Around the Block style Photos posts, you may have noticed that I missed last week. I didn’t leave my house. Not once all week. So I broke my rusty cage today and even wandered out of my comfort zone (a bit).

So here is a double-sized post to make up for last week.

I saw some cool stuff on my walk and I could have kept going, maybe even should have kept going… but I got hungry… and then it got dark.

When I got home with my pizza, my place was full of flies. I had left the window open. (serves me right for going outside)

As always I start with an unwelcoming image and end with an airplane.

Rusty Chains

I’m gonna break my rusty chains…

Sad Dog

“Damn Paparazzi. Leave us alone. roof roof roof.”

Distant Bridge

Distant Bridge



Stacking cars... for later.

Stacking cars… for later.

Playing Ball in the School Yard

Playing Ball in the Schoolyard

Place of Worship

A pretty place of worship.

Broken Glass

Feels just like I’m walking on broken glass.

Busy Streets

Bustling City Streets. I love this city.

Guy Hanging Out on a Building

Guy hanging out on the side of a building… laughing at the people down below.

His Brother The Bookworm

His brother… the bookworm… um… I mean scholar.

I liked him so I too more pics.

I liked him so much, I took more pics of reading guy.

I'm going to let him get back to his book

I’m going to let him get back to his book now.

What's up with banks and clocks?

What’s up with banks and clocks? Time is money. I guess.

A cross in the foreground

A cross in the foreground.

A bridge in the background

A bridge in the background.

Duck Rocking Horse

Q. When is a duck also a horse?
A. When it’s a duck rocking horse.

Sidewalk Closed

Sidewalk Closed.

Summer in the city

Summer in the city.

The space between

The space between the buildings.

Water towers in the sky

Water towers in the sky

My neighbors

My neighbors. I wonder how many of them are home.

Cheese it! The cops.

Cheese it! It’s the cops.

That's my ride.

That’s my cue to go.

I’m out.

Next week I’m going to the water… I think.

– Mel