Sunday, 21 September 2014

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.

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.

The Adobe Illustrator Story

Heaven knows I have some issues with Adobe Illustrator, but I use it and I have been for a long time. It may not be my favourite vector illustration program, but it was good to see this glimpse into the birth of it. Funny to look back on what are now positively quaint images of computer ads from 25 years ago.

Friday, 1 August 2014

S.o.t.D. - Spyroid – Ozric Tentacles

Spyroid – Ozric Tentacles

I don’t know why, but I am not so familiar with Ozric Tentacles. As a fan of System 7 and Eat Static, I’m digging it and thinking I need to listen to morem.

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

S.o.t.D. - Stonekiller – Source Direct

Stonekiller – Source Direct

How has this Source Direct track eluded me? Stellar example from the genre. Complex and atmospheric, the brooding beat just hangs on that edge. Operating at a whole other level. I think part of what makes stuff like this sound so incredible is it was recorded from hardware through a desk onto DAT tape and mastered and cut to vinyl by people who knew what they were doing.

Scumbags get scummier with time

Clicked on this link in the local paper, and had a laugh out loud moment of recognition.

In the short time I worked as a bouncer, I once had a run in with this shithead. Aggressive and belligerent, he appeared to be on cocaine. (I always trusted my instincts - if someone gave me the heebies at the door, I just didn’t let them in. Several hours of drinking wouldn’t improve their demeanour.)

He asked me: “Do you know who I am?” 
“Yes. You’re a guy who isn’t getting in here.”
“I’m a former Hamilton Tiger-Cat.”
“That’s nice. You’re still not getting in here.”
I guess he thought having been a Ti-Cat was some magical “I can do whatever I want, whenever I want” talisman. It meant nothing to me.
He tried to barge past me. It went badly for him from there. One of my co-workers came over, he got lippy with him, tried to barge past him, and before he knew it he was down on the ground, arm twisted behind him, and a foot on his back. And he wasn’t a small guy either. He was tossed, and then tried to go to another bar a ways away. We had already warned them via radio, so they knew not to let him in. 

He was a turd then, and it appears his turdosity only increased in the intervening years.

Thursday, 24 July 2014

Saturday, 19 July 2014

S.o.t.D. - Rodent – Skinny Puppy

Rodent – Skinny Puppy

This album rocked my world like everything else they did. The production, the rich complexity of their sound, that chugging, never really kicking over drum beat, that little dat da da horn sound just before the vocals kick in at the 1:30 mark, the stream of consciousness lyrics, and then the fact that for being an abrasive band / sound, it was a really hooky song.

Cringe inducing videos of women shooting guns

I came across a YT video showing women shooting, and it was packaged as one of those schadenfreude-ish “fail” compilations.

They make me cringe not even so much for the awful handling (chickenwinging, teacupping, limpwristing, leaning back, feet not placed right, scopes right against the eye) – but mainly for the off screen males behind those videos. Why the hell are the lunkheads who’ve taken them shooting, not giving them proper coaching and giving them firearms they simply can’t handle? Giving some 100 lb. slip of a girl a 12 gauge shotgun or a .44 revolver is asking for an uncomfortable / painful / dangerous experience. She’ll hate it, be resentful of being made to look like a fool, the video the asshole shot of it and post on the web, will further humiliate the girl, and make responsible firearms owners look really bad.

I particularly despise these videos because I suspect the asswipes taking their girlfriends / sisters / wives, etc. to the range are sadistic jerks at best.

I’m all for responsible firearms ownership and use. But those videos demonstrate the opposite of that.
Firearms owners are their own worst enemies sometimes

Friday, 18 July 2014

S.o.t.D. - Show Me Your Spine – Programming The Psychodrill

Show Me Your Spine – Programming The Psychodrill

This was the music featured in the night club scene in Robocop, and was Al Jourgenson of Ministry and Nivek Ogre of Skinny Puppy on vocals. Don’t know that it was ever that great or that it has held up so well, but I was pretty stoked about it at the time because of who was involved.

Monday, 14 July 2014

S.o.t.D. - Drumz ’95 (Nasty Habits remix) – Doc Scott

Drumz ’95 (Nasty Habits remix) – Doc Scott

This track is insanely fun to dance to! Yet another example of some of the superb stuff that was being produced in the 90’s under the label “jungle” or “drum and bass”.

Saturday, 12 July 2014

S.o.t.D. - Warm Leatherette – The Normal

Warm Leatherette – The Normal

While I’m on a late 70’s synth pop that influenced 80’s techno kick, I can’t believe I haven’t posted this classic. Inspired by the great J. G. Ballard.

Friday, 11 July 2014

S.o.t.D. - Frequency 7 – Visage

Frequency 7 – Visage

I went to hear Kenny Larkin spin and had to laugh when I heard this ten year old Visage song tossed into the mix. And yet, it fit perfectly with the hard edged sounds the early techno guys in Detroit were coming up with.

Tuesday, 8 July 2014

S.o.t.D. - The Sun and the Rainfall – Depeche Mode

The Sun and the Rainfall – Depeche Mode

A Broken Frame is still one of my favourite Depeche Mode albums. Surprisingly strong for an album with someone else stepping into the main songwriter role for the first time. 

Bibliophilia: Crazy Town: The Rob Ford Story – Robyn Doolittle

Crazy Town: The Rob Ford Story – Robyn Doolittle In case you haven’t heard, the mayor of Toronto has a substance abuse issue. Okay, many issues.

I’m an avid CBC radio listener and listened transfixed to all the revelations as they unfolded. But reading them all again in one place brought into stark relief what an abysmal mayor the Ford brothers are. 

The verbal gaffes, the inarticulate buffoonery, the frat boy antics, the uncultured stupidity, the cringe inducing oafishness - those were a mere pre-amble to the train wreck to come. 

I get that if a city is ¾ of a billion in the hole, and public service unions keep blithely demanding more in the midst of a recession, many taxpayers will be very resentful that they are regarded as a bottomless money pit. But weren’t there any better options for a fiscally conservative candidate? I was crestfallen that John Tory didn’t run. Not that I necessarily agree with his every stance, but he is at least an articulate statesman. He inspires some confidence. 

In all this, the largest source of contention for many was the block headed brother of the mayor. Speaking for him, showing up at functions in his place, and then enabling his actions.

“Robbie just likes to have a couple of pops in the basement.” Dougie. Robbie takes an Oxycontin, then proceeds to get completely blottoed drunk, snorts rails of coke, drives in that state, goes and hangs out at a place where gang members involved in public gun battles hang out, and then smokes crack with them. And/or goes out in public in that state. No, you entitled enabler, Robbie doesn’t have a “couple of ‘pops’.” Robbie is the mayor of the sixth largest government in the country, and acts in a way that would get you fired from every job if you behaved that way. He knew he was lying when he said that.

And to then malign the police and their chief, calling into question their integrity - when the chief revealed they had the video - just beggars belief.

They seem to be the perfect storm of hubris, arrogance and entitlement.

I think the Ford brothers already have, or are very near to that realm of the unforgiveable, on par with Lance Armstrong. People make mistakes. With contrition for an honest mistake, atonement is possible. The addiction could be forgiven. But to lie about it at length, endlessly deny, and then worst of all impugn the character of your critics and attack them legally - that enters into territory one shouldn’t come back from.

A good book about a bad mayor. I found it an engrossing read, despite knowing a lot of the details already. I got a lot out of the glimpse at modern newspaper publishing and the spirited defence the author gives of the profession and the efforts to tell this important story.

Monday, 7 July 2014

S.o.t.D. - Swimmer – Metamatics

Swimmer – Metamatics

Ambientish intro for the first 2½ minutes, and then segues into a D&B track that would fit nicely into a Bukem set.

Sunday, 6 July 2014

Ride The Sky

To quote producer and director Lance Page’s blurb on Vimeo: 
I had the idea of a new astro time-lapse technique in which the camera is pointed right at the north star and mounted to a motorized pivot point directly lined up with the sensor so the camera is able to spin with the stars through the night. 

The result is truly magical.

S.o.t.D. - Woven Ancestry (Lusine Remix) – Max Cooper

Woven Ancestry (Lusine Remix) – Max Cooper

Max Cooper is good, and then you throw in a Lusine remix, and it’ll be even gooder.

Friday, 4 July 2014

S.o.t.D. - Blue Water – Metamatics

Blue Water – Metamatics

Discovered this, yet another totally fantastic track by Metamatics, on The Grandfather Paradox: “A Journey Through 50 years of Minimalistic Music”. This percolating number was the best thing on there.

Monday, 30 June 2014

A Canoe For The Making by Maryke Mcewen

I saw a show on TV about a dozen years ago, on APTN, and would LOVE to see it again.

A motorized canoe brings three (native) men to an island in the boreal forest. Two of them get out and start to unload supplies. The canoe takes off leaving the two men stranded. The younger of the two is freaking out, but the older man calmly announces that they’ll just build a canoe.

They build a birchbark canoe and while doing so the dynamic between the two men is explained. The older man is the younger man’s grandfather in law. The younger man is very much used to modern life, where as the older man is still into the old ways. It becomes clear that the younger man is also an alcoholic. The time they spend building the canoe allows him to dry out. There is a bottle of booze sticking out of the top of a stump out in the water. Initially he can’t wait to get out there and get at it, but when the boat is done, he has the chance to paddle out there and get it. But opts not to take it.

Deciding that they will head back in the morning, they fall asleep. He wakes to see the older man in a drunken rage, bottle in hand, kicking at the boat. He runs over asking him what he’s doing, that he’s destroying the boat. The old man it quickly becomes apparent is not drunk at all. He turns to him and says:
“I can fix this boat or make a new one. I can’t replace my granddaughter. If you ever hurt her again, I’ll kill you. I could easily have killed you, and buried you here, and people would believe me when I told them it was an accident. And then I would come back and build a boat over your corpse year after year.”

The half hour show was called A Canoe For The Making, and it was a 1995 CBC production by Maryke Mcewen, and directed by George Bloomfield. The grandfather was played by venerable Canadian actor Gordon Tootoosis, the younger man was played by Kennetch Charlette .

And wouldn’t you know it, it is impossible to find anywhere.

S.o.t.D. - Popular (Tom Middleton Cosmos Remix) – Saint Etienne

Popular (Tom Middleton Cosmos Remix) – Saint Etienne

Because one can never have too many Tom Middleton remixes.

Oh, come on.....

I appreciate entrepreneurialism. I admire anyone willing to come up with an interesting idea and bring it to market.

But I also see things sometimes that only leave me capable of saying “Oh, come on.....”

Case in point.

Bamin Bags

I’ll give them props for being made in the USA.

But besides the fact that zippers should not be load bearing, $235 for a rectangle of leather with a zipper sewn on is kooky.

$370 to $550 for a duffelbag with no interior organization strike me as really rich. You can get a whole lot of bag from a company like Kifaru or Mystery Ranch or Tom Bihn, or several other made in the USA bag makers, for that sort of money.

I’ll pass.

Fabric Testing

Fantastic post on Hill People Gear’s forum, testing a variety of “outdoor” fabrics. Not exhaustively comprehensive (the post author only had the chance to use the equipment sporadically, samples were limited, equipment couldn’t give measurements for some parameters) but still an enlightening article.

Sunday, 29 June 2014