Thursday, 6 July 2017

S.o.t.D. - Cleopatra – The Lumineers

Cleopatra – The Lumineers

What I’d really like to show is the video of my nephew playing this on acoustic guitar and his girlfriend and her amazing voice singing this. But apparently I’m not allowed to since it was filmed in their school auditorium, and the school logo appears. Not sure I understand the reasoning, but hey.

So, in it’s place, I’ll show the original.

Tuesday, 4 July 2017

Sunday, 2 July 2017

S.o.t.D. - The Russian Are Coming (Take Five) – Val Bennett

The Russian Are Coming (Take Five) – Val Bennett

Took me a second to realize why this sounded familiar. It’s a rock steady cover of Dave Brubeck’s iconic Take Five. In a different time signature too.

Thursday, 22 June 2017

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

S.o.t.D. - Samurai – Bonobo

Samurai – Bonobo

Figured since it’s the first day of summer, and my birthday, something as juicy and effervescent as Bonobo should be the song of the day.

The man is brilliant.

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

S.o.t.D. - Mumbo Jumbo – Quivver

Mumbo Jumbo – Quivver

Yesterday I mentioned that Skanna was an early 90’s drum & bass oriented project from one John Graham. Learned that he has since been doing stuff under the name Quivver. Totally different genre, and the name was new to me.

Checked it out and the first track I clicked proves that man is talented no matter what he decides to tackle. Will have to investigate more.

Monday, 19 June 2017

S.o.t.D. - The Greatest Thing (Summertime Mix) – Skanna

The Greatest Thing (Summertime Mix) – Skanna

Remarkable to me that Skanna was putting stuff like this out in 1993. Way ahead of its time.

Skanna was John Graham, who is now operating under the name Quivver.

Freaky Clouds

Jogged to a friend’s house last night, but had to stop a couple of times to photograph these clouds.

Saturday, 17 June 2017

S.o.t.D. - First In First Out – Front 242

Circling Overland – Front 242

Saw that it was the 242nd birthday of the U.S. Army a few days ago, which reminded me that that was a perfect excuse to play some Front.

Nerves connected to the center
We are tied to the machine 
Invisible and silent
Circling overland 

Signage: Authorized Personnel Only In Clean Room

Tightly kerned.

One of the more interesting aspects of my workplace is the clean room where sewing for the aerospace industry is done. You have to wear a Tyvek bunny suit, booties, surgical mask, the whole bit.

Thursday, 15 June 2017

S.o.t.D. - Careful What You Wish For – Coil

Careful What You Wish For – Coil

Still one of my very favourite musical acts of all time.

It shows their ability to be both accessible and off-putting all at once.

The film used in the video is Barbet Schroeder’s 1969 More.

“God please fuck my mind for good”

Bibliophilia: The Elements of Typographic Style by Robert Bringhurst

The Elements of Typographic Style by Robert Bringhurst

Quite possibly my favourite book ever. If judging the number of times I’ve read it is any indication.

I bought the first edition in 1992, immediately realizing it as the authoritative book it was. That it was beautifully designed, and written with the sort of grace a poet is capable of, just made it more appealing. (Bringhurst is a remarkable man, and this exemplary treatise on the subject is just one of his many achievements.)

I read that book cover to cover, over and over. The section on the Golden Section was worth the price alone.

I’d bought more recent editions as gifts for friends over the years, but never treated myself. While I was in Swipe in Toronto recently, I grabbed the fourth edition. I may not be as involved with graphic design and typography as I once was, but given how much I’ve enjoyed and gained from this book over the years, a second copy 25 years on was worth it.

Anyone who works with type to any degree, needs to own this book, and put the teachings in to practice.

Tuesday, 13 June 2017

S.o.t.D. - Infectus - Chris & Cosey

Infectus - Chris & Cosey

From the album released for their short stint with Nettwerk - before that label’s suckage really took hold. Nice Steven R. Gilmore cover too.

Thursday, 8 June 2017

S.o.t.D. - Spaceship – Garage Skills

Spaceship – Garage Skills

It’s got that spooky vibe, but catchy at the same time.

Undulatus Asperatus Sunset by Mike Oblinski

Mike Olbinski is a photographer that chases storms in the United States. Earlier this month he took a time lapse of an Undulatus Asperatus at sunset in Bowdon, North Dakota. Gorgeous stuff. Bet you’ll watch it more than once.

Thursday, 1 June 2017

S.o.t.D. - Black Horse And The Cherry Tree – KT Tunstall

Black Horse And The Cherry Tree – KT Tunstall

One of those songs, that I think is familiar (heard it in the grocery store or something like that) but since I rarely listen to commercial radio on purpose, I’m not certain. I gather it’s at least a decade old. 

Sunday, 28 May 2017

Barefoot Hiking (Involuntarily)

Well that was one of my more adventurous hikes.

My dear friend Michelle came down from Toronto to go for a hike. Decided to wander along the north shore of Cootes Paradise.

Opted to wear my old Bates M-6 boots. I think about 8 or 9 years old by this point. I’ve been really happy with them, and they’ve seen a lot of clicks. They’ve largely been relegated to back up duty, but decided to wear them today.
(The aforementioned boots about 5 years ago.)

Lake Ontario is at its highest level in a century. Several wooden board walks sink a bit when you walk on them, getting them wet. Couple that with old foam, some steep inclines and declines, 
I started to notice that they weren’t doing so well. By the halfway point it was obvious they were completely disintegrating. To the point of the whole bottom on the left one coming right off. The right one was well on its way to being there.

I’m usually always really prepared on hikes. On longer trips I’ll have a pair of paddling shoes for wear around camp or for crossing streams. Usually have a repair kit. Today? “Meh. Casual hike, not too far from home. I’ll be fine.”

So...opted just to ditch the boots altogether and walked back to the car barefoot. (Not before saving the laces though, since they were fantastic.)

Kinda sucked, those little pebbles especially. But there was a margin of grass at the edge of the trails that made it doable. Just shy of 2½ kilometers.

Adapt. Improvise. Overcome.

I know what I’ll be buying with my next pay cheque.

S.o.t.D. - Broken – Lazarus Moment

Broken – Lazarus Moment

One to watch.

Monday, 22 May 2017

S.o.t.D. - Your Mind – DJ Boring

Your Mind – DJ Boring

Definitely not boring.

Thor’s Hammer Bracelet

I found an example of one of these in an Encyclopedia Britannica when I was a teen. Thought it as pretty neat. Found in Iceland, from around the time “pagan” beliefs were giving way to Christian beliefs. It combined elements of both. A few years later I saw ... I think it was one of the members of Coil wearing one ... or maybe it was Current 93 ... or perhaps it was Douglas P. from Death in June. Can’t remember for sure. Then I found one somewhere.

It’s pretty much sat in a box for a few decades. Came across it and even though I’m not Icelandic, Christian or Asatru, decided to use it as a closure for a bracelet.

Sunday, 21 May 2017

S.o.t.D. - The Hitman – Marvellous Caine

The Hitman – Marvellous Caine

Built around samples of Renegades’s “Terrorist”, Cutty Ranks’ “Limb By Limb” and the 1980 film Babylon, a classic from the early days of jungle.

Saturday, 20 May 2017

S.o.t.D. - Babylon – Splash

Babylon – Splash

The first minute and a bit of this are just lethal, but it loses focus after that. 

“All of the youth shall witness the day that babylon shall fall. I and I know that.”

Wednesday, 17 May 2017

S.o.t.D. - The Unofficial Ghost – Doc Scott

The Unofficial Ghost – Doc Scott

I thought this was yet another D&B track that sampled Japan (Ghosts, in this instance). But apparently this is a re-working of Ghosts Of My Life by Rufige Kru. Which is another guise of Goldie. Confused yet?

What I do know for sure, is that this track is just a monster.

Sunday, 14 May 2017

S.o.t.D. - Empyrean – Bija

Empyrean – Bija

Signage: A. G. Gaul

A. G. Gaul was a jewelry store that operated in downtown Hamilton for 50 years. A sign that had been placed over this ghostly remains of their signage was taken down recently, revealing it.

Saturday, 13 May 2017

S.o.t.D. - Find You – BLVCK MVK

Find You – BLVCK MVK

Apparently, this is “liquid witchhouse.” Okay. It’s pretty chillaxing, no matter how thinly parsed music gets.

Tuesday, 25 April 2017

S.o.t.D. - Black Mask – Lowlands

Black Mask – Lowlands

A band not from my homelands, but a half hour’s drive from here, Guelph, Ontario. Really dig this, even though I don’t usually swing that way.

Monday, 24 April 2017

S.o.t.D. - War (EmoBoys Remix) – Julien Jabre

War (EmoBoys Remix) – Julien Jabre

April 7 Dusk Wander

Went for a walk down to the Valley Inn Road bridge and back on a Friday night, before stopping in the spot in the cemetery where I do calisthenics. Windy and cold, but the light was gorgeous. And other than about a half dozen people walking their dogs in Dundurn Park, didn’t see anyone. (Cars passing by don’t really count.)
The cockpit and Dundurn Castle.
Dundurn Castle and the promenade.
The promenade.
Burlington Bay.
Gnarly roots.
The coach house.
Burlington Bay.
Burlington Bay and Carroll’s Point.
Moon over Hamilton.
Moon over Hamilton.
Looking back towards the High Level Bridge. The restored turtle habitat on the right.
My phone takes lousy night time shots, but I kinda dig the weird scuz in the night sky it creates. Looking out across Cootes Paradise.

YouTube’s Skewed Priorities

I watched something yesterday about the controversy regarding the YouTube channel of one “Daddy O 5”. (For those of you not in the loop, white trash parents have five kids who they include in “prank” videos. From what little I saw, most sane people would regard what they do as being verbally and emotionally abusive to these children.) I’m not sure whether I found their treatment of those children more appalling, or that 3 quarters of a million people regard this as “entertainment.”

But my friend Ryan made a great point.

YouTube has recently been de-monetizing channels that feature weapons. Forgotten Weapons, a very informative channel that discusses old, rare, prototype, etc. firearms, takes them apart, shows what makes them interesting, was just one example. Joerg Sprave, and his always entertaining Slingshot Channel was threatened with a ban because he demonstrated how a supposedly stab proof vest was anything but, and that people shouldn't trust their life to it. The geniuses at YT claimed that this was a “training video” for terrorists.

Watch either example for a few minutes, and it quickly becomes apparent they’re harmless.

Yet a channel devoted to emotionally scarring children in a low rent attempt at reality TV stardom - that’s just fine.

Guns? They might harm children! Children being harmed? Meh, no big deal.

Friday, 21 April 2017

S.o.t.D. - Enjoy The Silence – DMK

Enjoy The Silence – DMK

I’ve been aware of the huge smile inducing efforts of Dicken Schrader and his two children, Milah and Korben, and their Depeche Mode covers for a while now. Can’t believe something this awesome has taken me this long to post.

Can’t not love this.

Saturday, 15 April 2017

S.o.t.D. - Beating The Retreat – Test Dept.

Beating The Retreat – Test Dept.

Had to laugh when I watched Children of Men for the first time and this was the intruder alarm when the Fishes approached Jasper Palmer’s (Michael Caine’s character) house.

Friday, 14 April 2017

S.o.t.D. - Fuck the USA – The Exploited

Fuck the USA – The Exploited

Never much of a fan of them, although I did get to see them live in, 1984 I think. Don’t agree with the sentiments expressed in the tile, but a fun example of the era and style.

Thursday, 13 April 2017

S.o.t.D. - White China – Ultravox

White China – Ultravox

My tastes by the time this album came out were already veering towards a lot of darker and more experimental stuff, but still loved this album.

Wednesday, 12 April 2017

S.o.t.D. - Stillpoint – Orphx

Stillpoint – Orphx

Shocking that I haven’t had these home town favourites on. And also shocked that I only discovered them maybe a year and a bit ago too, when a friend in Toronto mentioned them. For an act with an enviable international reputation, certainly. Straddle the line between techno and dark industrial.

Monday, 10 April 2017

Damn Dirty Hippies!

I went into the bathroom at the library and recoiled in disgust.

There was an individual of indeterminate gender identity in there.

Is this what disgusted me?

No. Not in the slightest. Don’t care.

Was the fact that this person was wearing a Che Guevara T-shirt and had a bunch of predictably left wing buttons on their bag, what disgusted me?

Well, yeah, that generally disgusts me.

But what really disgusted me was this soap dodgers pungent, hit you from 5 paces away, quickly clamp your mouth shut, immediately expel all the air in your lungs through your nose, BO.

Holy hell, did this scumbag stink!

“Wash, you sack of shit!” was the not particularly articulate comment I gasped out, before quickly turning on my heel.

I can just imagine the conversations in the antifa, SJW, Marxist club house.

“Okay, our next attack on the foundations of civilization needs to be the tyranny of washing. This culture’s unrealistic hygiene standards need to be destroyed. Laundry is simply a conceit of the privileged white people. Poor people from marginalized communities can’t afford a bar of soap, so it’s unfair to make them feel bad with the micro-aggression of smelling nice.”
“Precisely comrade. This revolutionary struggle requires us to stand in solidarity with the downtrodden members of the great unwashed masses. Since we’ve bullied everyone into silence on all the other issues, our next campaign needs to be about wino rights.”
“Exactly! While some of them may well be from the unpeople class of white males, we should make an exception and include them on the intersectionality scale, creating a special victim class just for them. And of course, we should adopt their mode of dress and radical rejection of modern bathing habits.”

Fucking stinky hippies.

S.o.t.D. - Faux Monsoon – Giyo

Faux Monsoon – Giyo

It may have faux in the song title, but the appeal of this track is very real.

Sunday, 9 April 2017

Owl & Squirrel Taxidermy

New piece up at Cottage 13.

S.o.t.D. - The Light In Your Eyes – Polaris

The Light In Your Eyes – Polaris

A producer from Toronto, originally from Bucharest, Romania, by the name of Vlad Tiron. He manages to pack more juiciness into one track than many producers do into an entire album. From a Hospital Records e.p. called The Future Sound of Canada.

Bibliophilia: Normandy – A Graphic History of D-Day by Wayne Vansant

Normandy – A Graphic History of D-Day: The Allied Invasion of Hitler’s Fortress Europe by Wayne Vansant

I enjoyed the previously reviewed graphic novel by Mr. Vansant so much, that I immediately grabbed this one.

While I knew about all the salient points discussed here, I thought this was a great overview. Yes, I’ve read scholarly treatises about this pivotal event in world history. Thick books by history professors. Sure, I enjoyed them. But not everyone brings the same level of interest to the table. For some people, those who may still want to learn a little more, without wanting to plow through a thick tome, this is a terrific option.

Again, various perspectives are examined. Allied and Axis. General and private. Citizen and politician. Major battles and small skirmishes. Technology and human will.

The work being done by Mr. Vansant is a very worthwhile attempt to engage a wider and more diverse audience in learning more about history. The art is fantastic, and his ability to synthesize a great deal of info into a cohesive and engaging package is masterful.

Monday, 3 April 2017

S.o.t.D. - Boab – Kalya Scintilla

Boab – Kalya Scintilla

If you like the sort of fat, groovy beats the likes of Tipper and Bassnectar offer, you’ll love this. The entire EP this is from, “Listen to the Trees” is fantastic.

Thursday, 30 March 2017

S.o.t.D. - Dub Smoke (Tripswitch Remix) – Pitch Black

Dub Smoke (Tripswitch Remix) – Pitch Black

Bibliophilia: Starlight: The Return of Duke McQueen by Mark Millar

Starlight: The Return of Duke McQueen by Mark Millar

The always reliable Mark Millar, with art duties handled by Goran Parlov, gives us a really fun romp. 

The heroically titled Duke McQueen is a barrel chested, square jawed he-man. As a young air force pilot, he found himself transported to the planet Tantalus, where he led the fight against the tyrant Typhon. Revered by the people he helped liberate, he turned down their offer to be their king so he could return home to his beloved. Forty years later, he’s an old man and a widower. No one (except his late wife) believe his stories of his daring exploits. His two sons view him as a pathetic figure. But at his lowest point, an envoy from Tantalus arrives, pleading with him to return to help them fight off the invading Brotean empire. Can this tired old man rise to the challenge and help his old friends fight off this new threat?

Campy good fun, even if the ending felt rushed. (It feels like this may have been envisioned to run for more issues than it did.) It’s reverentially nostalgic for a simpler time. Unabashedly inspired by the likes of Flash Gordon and Buck Rogers and Dan Dare, and probably a few lesser known 30’s, 40’s and 50’s pulp space farers and adventurers. It’s admittedly formulaic, and feels very familiar, but Millar handles it deftly. The terrific art by Parlov has a bit of a Moebius feel to it, and suits the story perfectly.

Wednesday, 29 March 2017

S.o.t.D. - Í Tokuni – Eivør

Í Tokuni – Eivør

Eivør Pálsdóttir hails from the Faroe Islands, but is now based in Iceland. Not sure how to categorize this, but really fascinating is a good starting point. Scenery in the video is gorgeous too.

Monday, 27 March 2017

S.o.t.D. - Talk – Coldplay

Talk – Coldplay

First time I heard this I thought “boy, does this ever remind me of Computer World by Kraftwerk. Homage, blatant ripoff, unconscious appropriation?” Turns out it was the first.

Sunday, 26 March 2017

6° of Toronto Rave Scene

One of my nephew’s friends is a gal named Cecilia. Great kid, and they ​seem to have a pretty solid friendship.

One day her mom came and picked her up from his house. His dad thought she seemed familiar, but couldn’t place her. “I hope she wasn’t a one night stand when I was 18” he thought to himself.

​A while later she was over and they were in the front (​what has become the ​music) room, playing records on the turntables. Again, her mom came to pick her up.
“Hey! I recognize that record. It’s ​Transwave. Cycles of Life.”
Andrew was really surprised. Not something a lot of people would recognize. 
“Wait! You’re Sunboy! Now I remember why you look familiar. I came to your place on Sterling in Toronto and bought some records from you.”

Then it all fell into place for him. He’d been a DJ back in the day, and so had she.

Almost 20 years had passed. Appearances change. Memories fade. He’d moved back to Hamilton, she’d moved from Toronto, and years later their kids ended up as classmates and friends.

S.o.t.D. - Hide Away My Heart (Roughstep Future Edit) – Bozco?

Hide Away My Heart (Roughstep Future Edit) – Bozco?


Bibliophilia: Bombing Nazi Germany by Wayne Vansant

Bombing Nazi Germany: The Graphic History of the Allied Air Campaign That Defeated Hitler in World War II by Wayne Vansant

A concise visual narrative of the air war against the Nazis. 

Starting with a look at WW1’s hints at the potential of strategic bombing, and the inter war years proponents like Italian Giulio Douhet and American Billy Mitchell. Hitler’s Condor Legion’s bombing of Guernica was the first real show of force that proved the theoreticians correct. From there the war’s changing tides and strategies are examined. The British strategy of nighttime bombing, versus the American strategy of daylight bombing, technological advancements, stories of individual crews, the viewpoints of the generals and politicians, the perspective of the German civilians affected by the raids, etc.

The art is excellent and all the relevant points are touched on. Not exhaustive in its details, but a very engaging look at an important chapter of WW2. 


Went to a show the other day. An art show. An art show about Cootes Paradise, a place I’m rather fond of.

I found it excruciating. It was “Art”. You know, art that is terribly
earnest university art student “Art.”Art with all sorts of “deep meaning” behind it. The sort of art that requires a three page description to make sense of. That then requires being translated into regular language so that regular people can understand it. You know, art that is described with terms like: “With its exploration of disjunctive proto-montage elements that spatially undermine the internal dynamic of codified biomorphic forms to re-contextualize the essentially non-linear narratives of post-colonial discourse.” The sort of gobbledygook that only terribly earnest artists who went to university art courses can understand. Or pretend to understand. 

It’s the sort of stuff that I have come to find rather dreadful. Maybe because I get exposed to reams of amazing painting and illustration and sculpture through all the people I know. It’s stuff that I find both on a theory and technique level, really compelling. My admittedly crass stance on art appreciation is “would I want to hang it on my wall, and would I want to look at it every day? Does it immediately leap out in terms of execution and does it also explain itself? Does it depict a scene or world I want to explore and know more about?” There was nothing there that passed that benchmark. Sorry, but branches wrapped around a pole with a blue light shining from underneath is to me just too try hard. As soon as I see that it’s art that requires a three page explanation, that unless you’ve been bamboozled by four years of university art education, would require a translation to understand, my eyes glaze over. “As spatial replicas become clarified through emergent and academic practice, metaphorical resonance of the biomorphic forms reconfigures the patriarchal hegemony” is just a big steaming pile of horse kaka as far as I’m concerned. If someone had gone to the trouble to do 30 6"x6" watercolours around Cootes Paradise, that’s cool. But cobbling together two half assed bird boxes? Illustrations that reminded me of stuff I’ve seen of public school art students work? Just not thrilled by any of it. 

Around The Bay Race

I took part in the Around The Bay Race for the first time today. (Which is the oldest road race in North America.)

Participated as a member the team my company, FellFab, sent to take part. We were only doing the 5 km option, rather than the 30 km option. (I had originally hoped to ruck the 30 km part, but there’s no way I could finish it before they packed it all in and left.) Running sucks when you’re my height and weight, but I opted to walk it carrying a rucksack, and decided I would at least do it twice.
Loaded up my Kifaru ZXR with just shy of 40 kg (87 lbs.) 
Not bad considering I didn’t run and carried a pack that weighed more than some of the adult participants. Off for round 2.
Second round took me just over 49 minutes. My hips are going to be sore tomorrow.
Finished 1773rd out of 2869 participants for the 5 km race. My gender place is 763 out of 1131. My pace was 8:51 a kilometre. 

So, for a guy almost a half century old, walking rather than running, and carrying between a third and half his body weight – not too shabby. I suspect I was also one of the few, maybe the only one, who did the 5 km twice, and certainly the only one who rucked it.

I did it for the fun of it, the camaraderie of doing it with my colleagues, the exercise, but also to help raise money for St. Joseph Hospital here in Hamilton, if you’d like to sponsor me, you can do so at the link below. I, and the people your generosity will help, thank you.

Thursday, 23 March 2017

Innis & Gunn Kith & Kin

I finally had a chance to go by the only LCBO in town to carry Innis & Gunn’s Kith & Kin. Yes I & G produced a limited edition stout in collaboration with Teeling’s Irish Whiskey, whose barrels they aged the stout in.

Do I need to say it? It’s unbelievably delicious.

But the funny part of it is that I got 4, and decided that since Andrew is my kith and kin, I’d drop one off for him. Stopped by the house, but since no one was home, I left it behind. Sent a quick message.
“Hi. Left you a present behind the salt bucket.”
Got a message back a minute later.
“Okay... That’s really creepy...”
“Huh? It’s creepy?”
“A turtle carcass in a plastic bag? Yeah. That’s creepy.”
“What?! No! I didn’t mean the salt bucket at the shop, I meant the salt bucket on your porch.”

Checked it out later. Sure enough, a partially decomposed, desiccated, and thoroughly revolting looking turtle carcass.

We found out later it was a “gift” from one of Os’ clients. Ugh. I’m all for skulls and horns and shells. But I think I’d rather just buy one where someone else has gone to the trouble to clean it.