Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Sunday, 19 October 2014

S.o.t.D. - Stolen Generation – Ghostek

Stolen Generation – Ghostek

This track is insanely great! That bit at 3:00 - mmwwwaaahhh..... Can’t not have every joint in your body moving to this.

Bibliophilia: The India Ride: Two Brothers, Two Motorcycles, One Incredible Adventure – Colin & Ryan Pyle

I grabbed this book because a friend has mentioned the idea of taking his son for a trip around India when he is a bit older. He has a lot of experience in the country, but hasn’t been there in 15+ years. If the roads were nuts when he was last there, they’ve only gotten worse as more and more vehicles have piled on to the roads. He wouldn’t use motorcycles like these two brothers did, but their descriptions of their trip make me wonder about the feasibility of even an SUV. According to the Times of India, there were 196,000 deaths on India’s roads in 2012. That’s 1 in 10 road deaths in the world. Every 6th car crash in the world occurs in India. And yet, they only have 1% of all the vehicles in the world. The book is replete with descriptions of harrowing traffic conditions, and the fatalistic attitude exhibited by so many of India’s reckless drivers.

If I have a criticism of the book it’s that I wish there were a lot more photos. One of the brothers is a photo journalist and I think they should have played more to those strengths. A photo book interspersed with text. Not a book with a scant selection of photos in the middle. The idea I got is that the writing was done by someone more accustomed to writing segments for a TV production or a documentary - not necessarily writing for a book.

It’s not the greatest book ever written about traveling in a developing country, but they do a good job describing the highs and lows a trip like this involves. While an amazing journey, the frustrations experienced on the journey were not varnished over. Anyone contemplating something similar can learn a lot about the difficulties both in organizing such an undertaking, but also in actually achieving the stated goal.

And I had to tell my friend that he is nuts for contemplating this, and insisted he needs to read it for one perspective on it.

Saturday, 18 October 2014

Loon by Doublenaut

Went into Mixed Media today and was smitten with the image on this postcard. 

Greetings From Canada is a series of 10 limited edition letterpress postcards with designs by 10 Canadian illustrators and graphic designers.

This one is called Loon and it is by Toronto studio, Doublenaut. More here.

S.o.t.D. - Get Down – Synkro

Get Down – Synkro

I’m almost certain there is a sample from a David Sylvian song in this, but I can’t for the life of me recall what song. It’s driving me a bit crazy trying to remember. It’s also driving me a bit crazy how awesome this song is.

Thursday, 16 October 2014

S.o.t.D. - Road Signs (Hugh Hardie Remix) – Zoë Phillips

Road Signs (Hugh Hardie Remix) – Zoë Phillips

I live with the hope that stuff this catchy is a big radio hit enjoyed by many, somewhere.

Bibliophilia: The Walkable City: From Haussmann’s Boulevards to Jane Jacobs’ Streets and Beyond – Mary Soderstrom

The Walkable City: From Haussmann’s Boulevards to Jane Jacobs’ Streets and Beyond – Mary Soderstrom
I discovered the term “flâneur” a while back, someone who explores cities on foot, and it is a fancy word to describe something I enjoy doing. I try to walk as much as I can, and I like to just wander around in areas I’ve never been in before.

So when I saw this book at the library I grabbed it. The author uses the examples of Georges-Eugène Haussmann and his radical transformation of Paris in the mid 1800s, and the influential writing of American transplant to Canada, Jane Jacobs, to delve into the many benefits of making walking an integral part of an urban centre. Paris and Toronto (and specifically the 1950’s planned community of Don Mills) are the two major cities discussed, but other examples of good urban planning and consequently, desirable places to live and work, are also included.

While I enjoy walking for it’s own sake, I also enjoyed this exploration of some of the broader implications of walking and how it relates to the urban centers people inhabit.

Plastics 101

It’s not like I haven’t realized for a long time how screwed up plastics are, but a recent clean up effort I participated in has made me even more conscious of what a toxic time bomb the stuff is.

And the original image can be found here if you would like to print it out.

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Bibliophilia: All the Dirt: Reflections on Organic Farming – Rachel Fisher, Heather Stretch, Robin Tunnicliffe

All the Dirt: Reflections on Organic Farming – Rachel Fisher, Heather Stretch, Robin Tunnicliffe
An excellent introduction for anyone interested in farming. Several small scale farms in British Columbia are featured. Besides the usual stuff you would expect - how to raise livestock and grow crops, other important subjects are tackled like the financial aspects, and what children bring to the mix. This isn’t so much a starry eyed hippie manifesto as it is a pragmatic reality check for anyone looking to do this. The book will do much to inspire, but it will also lay out the practical realities of what farming all entails. The book is buttressed by superb photography.

S.o.t.D. - Eclipsed (LFO Mix) – H.A.L.O.

Eclipsed (LFO Mix) – H.A.L.O.

Remix of a Graham Lewis (He Said, Wire, etc.) project.

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

S.o.t.D. - Nurture – LFO

Nurture – LFO

Saddened to hear about the death of Mark Bell.

Bibliophilia: Wolves in the Land of Salmon – David Moskowitz

Wolves in the Land of Salmon – David Moskowitz

The first thing I learned from this book is that I missed my calling. The author/photographer is a wildlife tracker, spending a great deal of time walking the mountains and forests of the Pacific Northwest following the evidence left behind by animals to help piece together a larger picture of their behaviour.

Anyone interested at all in wolves, will thoroughly enjoy this book. I found the writing to be engaging, and the photography, both of wolves and the landscape they occupy, beautiful. Anything you ever wanted to know about wolves is included here. Broadly covering their return to Washington, Oregon, Idaho and British Columbia (and to a lesser degree Montana, California and Alberta), after mankind did a very effective job extirpating them a mere 125 years ago. I found the book balanced, exploring the viewpoints of those who would prefer to go back to exterminating them, and those who see a value to their presence in the landscape. He explores their physiology, social structure, hunting strategies, reproduction, how different landscapes affect them, how they interact with other apex predators - including us humans, etc.

What I appreciated is the detail he went into explaining wolves as part of an eco-system. That all species, both plant and animal, all affect one another. An increase in one, has an effect on one species, that decreases another species.

One of the things I found most fascinating was this section:

Salmon host a parasite that canines (including domestic dogs) can contract from eating the fish. The parasite is usually fatal for canines if untreated. Neorickettsia helminthoeca is a bacteria-like organism that has a complex life cycle which includes passage through an intestinal fluke (Nanophyetus salmincola), an aquatic snail (Oxytrema species), various species of salmonids, and salmon eating mammals including wolves. Snails, infected with the fluke are consumed salmon and trout. In fish the fluke is benign, found most abundantly in the muscle tissue and kidneys of the fish. When the fish is consumed by a mammal, the larvae embed in the intestinal tract and the bacterium is released, causing symptoms including persistent diarrhea and vomiting. Cysts of the infected flukes are expelled in the feces of the infected mammal. Foraging snails pick up these cysts and the life cycle begins again.


Gratitude on Thanksgiving

Went up to see my family up north yesterday. Somewhere close to Newmarket, I reached into my right front pocket and realized my knife, my much loved Spyderco Tenacious, wasn’t there.


Then it hit me.

I had received a $25 dividend from MEC a while back and still hadn’t used it. Went out to Burlington on Saturday and ended up with a Fenix E12. (Which is great BTW.) I sat on an embankment by Brant Ave. and used my knife to cut open the packaging. I rested it on my bag, checked out my new light, relaxed for a bit, had something to eat and drink and then got up to go. As I did, there was a near accident at the nearby intersection that got my attention. Observed this for a while, and the distraction meant I didn’t notice that my knife fell off my bag. And didn’t notice till about 16 hours later that it was missing.


As great a knife as it is, it wasn’t so expensive, and I could always replace it. But still, what a waste of money, and what a dunce for not noticing that I’d lost it.

Decided to see if I could find it. I figured there was a decent chance it might still be there. The spot was a bit out of the way, and given that it was a Sunday, and Thanksgiving, I figured there might not have been many people going past. I got off the train at Burlington GO station like a paratrooper exiting a Hercules, and hustled to the spot in question, used that new Fenix E12 to look around ...and...there it was. 30 hours later, and still there. Covered in dew, but my beauty was mine again. Hustled back to the GO station, grabbed the next train and headed home, content.

It’s ultimately a little thing to be thankful for, but it was something else to be thankful for on Thanksgiving.

Sunday, 12 October 2014

S.o.t.D. - Night Train – Dub Syndicate

Night Train – Dub Syndicate

Just learned Style Scott was killed at 58. Loved Dub Syndicate live. I’ll always cherish that night. Classic sound of Adrian Sherwood and On-U-Sound in this. His production is what drew me to dub.

Thursday, 9 October 2014

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

S.o.t.D. - Let Me Go – Heaven 17

Let Me Go – Heaven 17

I referenced it yesterday as the sample used. And to my surprise, I had never posted up a Heaven 17 track. As good a track as any they did to rectify that oversight.

Sunday, 5 October 2014

S.o.t.D. - Fooled Around and Fell in Love – Elvin Bishop

Fooled Around and Fell in Love – Elvin Bishop

Another track featured on the Guardians of the Galaxy soundtrack. Another one of those songs that I have a passing familiarity with, but it’s not one I know really well. 

Saturday, 4 October 2014

S.o.t.D. - Come And Get Your Love – Redbone

Come And Get Your Love – Redbone

Bryce has been playing the soundtrack to Guardians of the Galaxy pretty steadily at the shop. Familiar with this song, but not so familiar. Like it.

Tuesday, 30 September 2014

S.o.t.D. - Valley of the Shadows – Origin Unknown

Valley of the Shadows – Origin Unknown

This is over 20 years old, and I can still the remember the “Wow! This is blowing my mind!” feeling it engendered like it was yesterday.

Webster’s Falls via Drone

Some will go “Ohmagerd! It’s making me dizzy!” And you really want to turn the sound right down/off, but this is a pretty neat perspective on the lovely Webster’s Falls here in lovely Hamilton.

Monday, 29 September 2014

Archeological dig...after a fashion.

I took part in an archeological dig today.

Well...not quite.

Took part in another cleanup organized by the Stewards of Cootes Watershed, near the Desjardins Canal, along the northeast shore of Cootes Paradise. 75 volunteers from McMaster came out. Which would mean being able to tackle a sizable chunk of the problem.

And the amount of garbage was, pardon my language, fucking mind boggling. Not even the bigger stuff, like bottles and cans. That had already been cleaned up. No. Small plastic detritus. Staggering amounts. Sorting through it was like an archeological dig. Delving into a period of very recent human rubbish.

Bottle caps, cigarello mouth pieces, tampon applicators, tamper proof seals, golf balls, 1" drug baggies, tips for glue tubes, tips for caulking tubes, corks, stir sticks, straws, coffee cup lids, freezie tubes, bobbers, balloons, combs, lighters, happy meal toy parts, kinder eggs, present wrapping ribbon, syringes, googly eyes, tooth brushes, caps for cap guns, retail store hangers, badminton birdies, hair barrettes, zip ties, plastic cutlery, busted tictac boxes, plastic bags, green army men, styrofoam cups, ping pong balls, elastics, Q-tips, cassette wheels, and all sorts of unidentifiable pieces. I could go on. Found a fist sized snow globe ball.

I just chose a spot, any spot, and got to work. I put on knee pads, spread out a tarp and an inflatable seat pad, situated myself in a spot in the shade near Tys Theysmeyer, the Head of Natural Lands at Royal Botanical Gardens. Kneeling, bending, sitting, squatting – I used a trowel and well gloved hands to sift through the area above the sandy and rocky beach. About a two meter circle. And I filled a large garbage bag. Full. Everyone else filled dozens and dozens of bags. The pile was 4, maybe 5 meters long, meter, meter and half high and wide. The weight was an approximate 200 to 225 kilograms. A tire. A road pylon. All in an area about 30 to 40 meters long.

And if I went back tomorrow I could fill a similar sized bag in a few hours. And do it again many, many times. 

But what is a lot more disturbing were the pellets. Lentil sized pellets. Gravel almost. And not a few of them. The soil is laced with them. A handful of soil would net you dozens and dozens of them. I asked Tys and even he wasn’t sure. I asked if it could be silica gel. Someone else suggested they might be the granules that fill diapers. Most of the objects I listed are graspable, recognizable. As tedious and gross as it is, it is doable. Granules the size of a match head, by the millions. Just in that one spot. How do you get that out?

And what was depressing about it was that most of this, nearly all of this massive amount of plastic, was that it wasn’t an accretion from decades past, but at most 5, maybe 10 years of stuff. Most of what I found was a fairly recent thing.

Do what you can, where you are, with the abilities you have, with the time you have.

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Monday, 22 September 2014

S.o.t.D. - Manicured Reality (feat. LowQui) – S.P.Y.

Manicured Reality (feat. LowQui) – S.P.Y.

The tune is hard, the gal is hot, but I really like the message of the vid. Self obsessed narcissism that merely masks deep seated discontent and disaffection.

Touchdown, plug into the matrix
Eyes to the screen on a permanent basis
Share your deepest feelings with pages of strangers
Intravenous data, names and faces
Artery, digital, blanket security
Phantom hand, warning, low battery
Project image, construct fantasy
Distress, distort, manicured reality

Sunday, 21 September 2014

S.o.t.D. - Fire & Water – Calibre

Fire & Water – Calibre

This is what’s known as a roller.

One of the best things I ever did.

I had just turned 8, and I decided I wanted to go to Schiphol to look at the planes. By myself. I had gone out there a few times before with my dad, but it was the summer holidays and I wanted to go on a little adventure. I figured out the route on a map of Amsterdam, and set out to ride from one end of Amsterdam to the other. My mom had packed me a lunch, the map, the phone numbers of some of my parents friends and family along the way, some money, and off I went. At about the halfway point, at the old Olympic stadium, there was extensive road construction, streets all torn up, road signs down, and I got all discombobulated. Turned around and went home.

Upset that I hadn’t made it, the next week, I set off again. Figured out different routes around the area that had given me trouble. And this time I made it. Watched the planes for a while, turned around and went home.

People are aghast when I tell them this. “Your parents let you ride your bicycle across a big city by yourself when you were 8?!”


Granted, it’s a city with excellent bike infrastructure. I guess they figured I was a fairly bright kid. But I set a goal, used map reading skills,
overcame difficulties, got some exercise, etc.

What do you think builds a kids abilities and self esteem? That, or taking them to the mall to buy them a video game because they ate their supper without crying about being lucky enough to have something to eat?


I still think back fondly to that experience, and realize how much it taught me.

Cordage from a plastic bottle

I have plenty of cordage, so I won’t be rushing to try this, but I thought it was a really clever idea. For doing basketry and the like especially. And sadly, given how many plastic bottles can be found, even far from “civilization”, in an emergency perhaps you could make some cordage from them.

This video shows the process and some of the imaginative things they do with the resultant cordage. (It’s in Russian, but you’ll get the gist of it.)

This link shows two devices, and a ways down is the device used in the above video. I gather it can be ordered from Brazil, but the DIY inclined could likely fashion one.

And an Instructable link with a more low tech approach.

Saturday, 20 September 2014

Sunday, 14 September 2014

Saturday, 13 September 2014

S.o.t.D. - Metamorphosis – Addex

Metamorphosis – Addex

Absolutely love the deep, funky house sounds of Addex.

Had one of those “I’m such an old fogey” conversations with a friend recently, but I would love it if I could find a night that played stuff along the lines of this for several hours, where no booze was served. That might make me want to go out.

Thursday, 11 September 2014

Tuesday, 9 September 2014

Monday, 1 September 2014

S.o.t.D. - Two Different Places – David Cunningham

Two Different Places – David Cunningham

Off of the 1986 Touch compilation cassette, Ritual: Magnetic North. I discovered a lot of cool stuff through the Touch tapes.

Makers: Balan The Blowpipe Maker

I’ve always been interested in blowpipes. (And I still don’t grasp why they’re illegal in Canada.)

Culled from an upcoming documentary, Sunset over Selungo, this short excerpt shows a Penan who still makes blowpipes. I know that in some cultures that used blowpipes, a groove was cut in two separate pieces of wood and then glued and/or wrapped with cordage back into one element. Here a long piece of wood is drilled through. Funny to see him using a modern rasp though.

I think the Penan are an especially fascinating indigenous people. They are one of the last remaining hunter gatherer tribes, although the Malaysian and Indonesian governments and multi-national corporations are seeing to their rapid demise, by destroying the forest they need to survive. Please consider donating to the Kickstarter campaign for this film.

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Monday, 25 August 2014

S.o.t.D. - Voices (feat. Sasha Keable) – Disclosure

Voices (feat. Sasha Keable) – Disclosure

If this sort of tuneage doesn’t make you and the person you dig and who digs you get it on, there is something wrong with one or both of you.

Saturday, 23 August 2014

S.o.t.D. - Relax – Re-Drum

Relax – Re-Drum

Yes it is. I think I need to make a long playlist of Re-Drum tracks and spend a few hours checking out more of their stuff.

Thursday, 21 August 2014

S.o.t.D. - Space Technique – ASC

Space Technique – ASC

Name is very appropriate for the tune. ASC has one hell of a slick technique and there is a definite spacey feel to this.

Sunday, 17 August 2014

S.o.t.D. - Silver Blade – Dillinja

Silver Blade – Dillinja

Absolute monster of a tune. Just love Dillinja’s ability to be both atmospheric and then also seamlessly blend in staggering bass and drums. That first drop at the 1:30 mark and then a second drop at the 3:45 mark.....sweet jeebus.

Monday, 11 August 2014

S.o.t.D. - Armylian (Sygnals Rmx) – Momentum

Armylian (Sygnals Rmx) – Momentum

Ambient, but beaty.


I have made a separate pouch for this item before, the Spark’mups. (Which was actually the first thing I ever posted on this blog.) Meant to hold a Silva match case (a copy of the K&M Matchcase), containing a SparkLite and TinderQuick tabs.

If you want to know a bit of the thought process behind this (and several other pouches to come) read about the Tūl’mups. Same basic premise and design features – just a different size.
As usual, I started out with a rough paper model to get a sense of the size needed. A lot cheaper than making mistakes in fabric. Not a perfect medium, but it works okay.

A few pictures I snapped. I think it’s all fairly self explanatory. The BALLS (Belt Attachment Lowerable Loop System) might not be, but that is explained in the aforementioned link.

Oh yeah...sewn by hand on the commute to work and on lunch breaks.

Sunday, 10 August 2014

S.o.t.D. - H2O – Lauge & Baba Gnohm

H2O – Lauge & Baba Gnohm

Interesting, and slightly creepy, video about an under construction mine in Finland where nuclear waste can be stored.


So I came up with NyfFyrLyt 3....and after living with it for a while I realized I wasn’t so keen on it.

Mainly the fact that it weighed a kilo, and was essentially a big brick attached to my belt. It just wasn’t a comfortable day to day item.

I came to the conclusion that the idea of one pouch, while on the face of it an elegant solution, a few smaller pouches, some that I can wear on the right side and some on the left side was a much more workable solution. Not to mention that I don’t need to or want to carry all of them all the time. I may just want a flashlight, or my LM Wave - but not some of the other things all the time.

Created this pouch, the first of several, for the PocketWrench 2Leatherman Bit Kitbrass calipers, and a needle nose file, the Tūl’mups.

Nothing that innovative about the pouch itself. I used webbing for back and the flap, and a side release buckle for a closure.

Bottom is just folding and stitching the excess of a square of Cordura down.
A step from the construction process. I wanted three compartments, and created that by sewing a length of tubular webbing on to the flap. The Cordura that formed the box would create the third compartment. Something else I did was to sew a bartack across the bottom of the tubular webbing so that the PocketWrench would sit up a little bit higher to make accessing it easier.
A closer look at the three compartments.
The one innovative idea on the pouch is one I carried over from the NyfFyrLyt 3. BALLS – Belt Attachment Lowerable Loop System. I can wear it high or low, and also still attach it to PALS webbing.
Box stitch on the strap.
The required items as carried.

I’ve already realized a shortcoming – it’s catchy. If it was a fairly tight belt loop, one just large enough to accommodate the width of my belt, it would be less of an issue. I needed to clamber into a tight space a few days ago and stuff on both sides snagged and managed to ride up and fold out enough where I have to manually unhook myself. Getting into a kayak hatch with this one would become a pain in the ass. Not just a nuisance, but I could see it potentially being dangerous as well.

The Siamese SlikClips are also a bit pointed, and I can see them damaging upholstery. (There is also the issue of their strength limitations.) 
I’m thinking I’d like to get my hands on some WooJin Gate Keepers instead. But I think before I spend the money on that, I will try a loop of Spectra line and knot it. Light, low profile, free. Not as quick to attach and detach though.

Another thought I’m having is in order for these pouches to be as low profile as possible, to ditch the SRBs. Maybe have a strip across the pouch that the flap can be inserted into to hold it closed. Would likely need pull tabs to open it and close it. I
ll give it a try at some point.

Thursday, 7 August 2014

Spiral of Theodorus

Spiral of Theodorus

First constructed by Theodorus of Cyrene, the spiral (also called the square root spiral, Einstein spiral or Pythagorean spiral) is composed of contiguous right triangles. It is begun with an isosceles right triangle with each leg having a length of 1 - then another right triangle is formed next to it with one leg being the hypotenuse of the prior triangle and the other leg having a length of 1.Thus, each successive nth triangle has side lengths √n and 1, with a hypotenuse of √(n + 1).

S.o.t.D. - Stone In Focus – Aphex Twin

Stone In Focus – Aphex Twin

I’ve remarked before that Aphex Twin manages to create some incredibly emotional and evocative electronic music. While some of his stuff is grating, some of it is exquisitely beautiful. Off of Selected Ambient Works Volume 2.

Wednesday, 6 August 2014

S.o.t.D. - Last Words – Hospitality

Last Words – Hospitality

Breezed through Toronto on Sunday and as I usually do, I grabbed a copy Ultra Left Wing Weekly - I mean Now - and a review of this album made me check this song out. Has a poppy, early 80’s feel to it.

Sunday, 3 August 2014

S.o.t.D. - 101 Rainbows (Ambient Mix) – Caustic Window

101 Rainbows (Ambient Mix) – Caustic Window

One of the many guises of Aphex Twin, and another facet of his creativity.


As I approach old codger status, one thing I’m happy about - besides my stunning good looks, staggering intellect, stupendous kindness (and I’m sure many other fine qualities my humility prevents me from discussing) - is that I am still really flexible.

Flexibility. It’s important. Work at maintaining it. Stretch every day. You don’t have to become a yoga master, but do some stretching exercises every day. Your older self will thank you.