Thursday, 31 December 2009

S.o.t.D. - A Love From Outer Space – A.R. Kane


Another act from the golden age of 4AD.  One half of M.A.R.R.S. (Pump Up The Volume), although it always seemed to me that P.U.T.V. was distinctly a Colourbox song and that the B-Side was distinctly an A.R. Kane song.

Wednesday, 23 December 2009

S.o.t.D. – Blue Skies – Doc Scott

Kifaru EMR Packframe Ride

Playing around with my Kifaru EMR the other day, I decided to turn it into its packframe/hauler mode and give Anand a ride home from school.
I think I heard “This is fun!” about 25 times.

That frame is so spectacular that even with a 65lb., wiggling sack of potatoes, it was surprisingly comfortable. I look hunched over in the pictures but it’s just from me leaning forward adjusting the straps to get it dialed in. Anyone involved in SAR needs to have one of these.

Sunday, 20 December 2009

S.o.t.D. – Q-Flutes – Aphrodite

Torch Relay

The corporate sponsorship extravaganza, uhh, I mean the Olympic torch relay came through town yesterday. Since it was going to end up right in my backyard, and since some bands were going to play, we wandered over with the lad.

And it was of course all a bit nausea inducing. It was essentially just an excuse for Coca-Cola and RBC to promote themselves. Big screens for Bell and McDonalds commercials. The usual tepid exhortations from the stage for people to “make some noise” and “wave their hands in the air.” How this was “their Olympic moment.” And the worst was when the “MC” urged the crowd to “give it up” for an apparatchik of RBC, who he called a hometown hero. What because he gave a cheque for a few thousand dollars to the hospital? Seriously? A multi-billion dollar bank gives an infinitesimal amount of what they’re worth to a hospital and the guy who hands it over is now a hero? So what does that make someone who runs into a burning house to save a kid? We’re not going to put the two on the same plane are we?

One point that had me asking WTF, was a female cop who I don’t even think was 41⁄2' tall. Come on, really? Has our headlong rush to “embrace diversity” and be “inclusionary” gotten to the point where we now have police officers the size of a child? We don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings, so we’ll let anyone that wants to be a cop, be a cop? That had to be some socialist do-gooder quota that had to be filled. Sorry, call me a chauvinist, but I have a hard time taking her seriously. A police officer needs to have a commanding presence, and if called up on be able to go toe to toe with a scroat.
To my mind she doesn’t qualify on either count.

Anyway, eventually the gigantic, poorly rolled joint, uhh, I mean the large, misshapen doob, uhh, I mean the Olympic torch showed up. We had positioned ourselves in a spot that it went right past.
The hippies were out protesting of course. I certainly haven’t drunk from the Olympics kool-aid either - I think it’s a huge expenditure of tax payers money with very little tangible benefit to the average person. The boosters of the Olympics and many other big events like this - the PanAm Games, the Commonwealth Games - mouth a lot of empty platitudes. Wow, “regional pride”? I’d prefer my regional pride to come from a well funded educational system or a functional health system.  The people that stand to benefit – hotels, restaurants, useless knick-knack providers, etc. need to be the ones footing the bill. But the inevitable gaggle of hippies in Che Guevara T-shirts playing bongos wailing about stolen native land. Puhlease. It’s here. Suck it up. Do something to oppose the next event like it, but protesting against this one makes you look like the predictable, ineffectual malcontents you are.

But Anand enjoyed himself, he got to hoot and hooler with some of his little school chums, so I guess my bah humbuggery doesn’t really matter much in the end.

S.o.t.D. – Atmosphere – Mr. Monik

Atmosphere – Mr. Monik

I think 90% of 90’s D&B was created by 9 producers. Photek, Goldie, 4Hero, Source Direct, Dom & Roland (as in this instance), are a few of them that put out records under multiple names.

Tuesday, 15 December 2009

Monday, 14 December 2009

S.o.t.D. – It’s All In The Game – Carmel


What’s better than a really great song? Why, the extended version of course. Totally loved this track from the instant I heard it, and it always surprised me that this didn’t become a worldwide #1 hit.

Hammock – Springfield

Went to visit friends in the lovely little town of Springfield this summer. Now that they have two kids space in their house is limited. But, they have lots of room in the backyard, and trees spaced a good distance apart.

Sunday, 13 December 2009

S.o.t.D. – Same – Smith & Mighty


I bow down before the mightiness that is Smith & Mighty. They’ve had many great tunes, but this remains one of my favourites. Languid but still a total toe tapper.

Saturday, 12 December 2009

Logo – Caution Point

Perhaps not so much a logo as a design for a T-shirt.

Caution Point is the recording studio of the PostContemporary label. One of the things they specialize in is locked grooves, or Eternal Opuscules as they call them. They’ve done over a hundred up till this point. Primarily a DJ tool, the repeating loop allows the user to concentrate on adding other elements over top.

The design is meant to symbolize a stylus in a record groove.

I always wondered what the name meant. At the top of the stairs leading to the studio is a sign stating “Caution: Hearing protection must be worn beyond this point.” The first word and the last word. Hence the hearing protection symbol as the stylus.

S.o.t.D. – Café de Flore – Doctor Rockit


Another guise of the wonderfully talented Matthew Herbert.

Friday, 11 December 2009

Typeface Design – Gyrosol

Like so many others, this started with me noodling around with type to create a logo. (Don’t for the life of me remember what the logo was though.) As is often my wont, I’ll type out the word and go through the font menu to see what I think has the right “feel.” One of them was Tobias Frere-Jones’ Font Bureau typeface Stereo (itself an adaptation of Karlgeorg Hoefer’s original Stereo). Well, the interior of the letters in Stereo appealed to me. I culled them, noodled around some more, the logo went in another direction, but I liked where that idea was headed. Later I went back and continued it. Took away the outer area, added areas that were missing like the counters, adjusted the X-height, fixed the spacing, kerned it and also created a lower case for it. The lower case needed to be polished up a bit more, but just never got around to it. Done in 97.
I also did some variants of the upper case. I like this as a loose, signpainter-ish typeface.

Bear Tattoo

This will go on my left knee (well, just below the meniscus, at the top of the tibia). My own attempt at NorthWestCoast art.

Emdom Recon Waist Pack Modification

In my seemingly never ending quest to find the optimal means of carrying my stuff, I decided to give the Emdom Recon Waist Pack a try. I know fanny packs have a bit of a reputation as being something that only daggy geeks wear, but since I am of course super cool, and incredibly stylish to boot, I figured I could pull it off with aplomb. (Yes, that was self deprecating sarcasm you detected there.)

Now it is a great bit of kit, with the usual Emdom attention to detail.

But, (and if you have read any other part of this blog you’ll know what’s coming) there were things about it that didn’t suit me, so I opted to change them.

Now I should maybe back up a bit and explain why I chose this in the first place. There are always things that I want to be able to quickly access when I am walking along. Having to shuck my pack all the time to get at those items gets very annoying, very fast. Having things attached to my trouser belt is really uncomfortable if I have a pack waist belt over that. Stuffing items into pockets is only marginally feasible. I figured this could be worn so that it could hang below the pack waist belt and allow me to get at all those things I needed. Sun screen, bug repellent, snacks, tissue, lighter, etc., etc.

Two items that I wanted to be able to carry as well were a flashlight and a multitool. I thought attaching them to the outside would free up more room on the inside, but how to attach them. Putting them on the outer edges where the belt attaches made lifting my legs a bit awkward. I decided to sew some PALS webbing down the edges of the front pouch. This way they would be accessible but without any interference of movement.
Very tricky sewing them on. Trying to get a needle and thread into that small a space was quite a challenge, but, I managed.
The light pouch is the one shown here, and the Leatherman pouch is pretty much the same as the one shown here, except I used OD webbing and hardware and painted it.
Some later pictures. Leatherman pouch replaced with a TT multitool pouch. Zipper pulls replaced with paracord fobs.

This setup was okay. The weight was noticeable, especially the Wave (and the bits that accompany it), as it was quite a bit heavier than the SureFire. However, I found the front pouch not entirely to my liking. The thought entered my head to just remove it altogether and cover the front with PALS webbing to set it up exactly how I want.
This now gives me the option of setting it up to my liking.

The other thing that adding PALS to the front allowed me to do was address another deficiency – the lack of organization inside the main pouch. There is a mesh slot pocket at the back, but that’s it. I thought of how best to be able to keep certain small items contained and organized rather than having them loose in the pouch. Even though I dislike Velcro in many applications, this was an instance it would work. Loop face of the pouch on the inside, and hook on the back of some pouches or some sort of holder I’ll make. Velcro that is opened and closed repeatedly wears out and on the outside of something tends to gather all sorts of crud. Here it will be fine though. As a means to keep a pouch in place and still allow me to swap something out if need be, it’s great. At first I thought of gluing the Velcro in, but then realized that the bartacking would hold it in place just fine.

I had to use two 2" pieces (all I had) and it’s just sewn vertically, not horizontally. This creates little slots that can hold a pen, knife sharpener, etc.

Still have to make any pouches that will work with it, but that will come soon.

I haven’t nailed down exactly how I’ll set it up yet. This was one attempt – TT frag pouch holding a Petzl TacTikka, TT compass pouch, and the aforementioned TT multitool pouch.
Here I have a Maxpedition RollyPolly in the centre. Good for when I have to collect twigs for a fire or if I’m gathering wild foods. I have other ideas for what to put there. Maybe a camera, or a radio. On my list of pouches to make is a flagging tape holder. It would go well on the front too. I’ll keep playing around with it until I get the right setup.

I like having options.

S.o.t.D. – Silver – Evan Marc


I’ve spoken here several times of my fondness for Bluetech, which is another guise for Evan Marc, aka Evan Bartholomew.

Thursday, 10 December 2009

Logo – Missing Fifteen Minutes

Lettering done for an ad for a college radio show. A hand lettered, calligraphy look, done entirely with a mouse.

Artspiration – Evan Penny

Evan Penny is a portrait photographer.
Actually…I lied.
Evan Penny is a sculptor.

Using silicone and pigment, it’s truly eerie how lifelike his sculptures are. I’ve had the pleasure of seeing his work at the London Regional Art Gallery, and it really is awe inspiring. When you walk into the room, you’re momentarily convinced that he’s taken real people and taxidermied them. Or that he’s somehow found a way to expand people’s heads to twice their original size or shrunk their entire bodies down to half their original size. The detail in his work is staggering. The texture of skin, the character of an aged face, the tiny striations in the dermal layer, pores, discoloration, hairs, and most incredible is his ability to capture an “essence”. His “people” are both raw and real. I don’t know how else to describe it. He manages to be almost perfect at recreating human imperfections.

Take a look at his work, but if you get the chance, definitely go and check out his work in a gallery setting. Pictures really can’t do justice to the grandeur of his work.

S.o.t.D. – Memory Shell – Aes Dana

Memory Shell – Aes Dana

Wintery View Outside my House


Carlos the Jackass

About 7 years ago I spent a few months working as a bouncer. Just as a way to make some extra cash, and it did have a few hilarious moments. The funniest happened though after I thought it was over for good.

I had spent a Saturday night with friends, listening to music, having dinner, great conversation and aperitifs.

When I got home at midnight, my phone rings.
“Hi Thomas, it’s Jen. The guy we got to replace you didn’t show up. I was wondering if you would be able to work a shift?”
“No not really. I left and I left for a reason. I despise that place with every fiber of my being.”
“I know but there are 350 people in there and only Brad and Pete are on. Please?”
I hemmed and hawed for a second, and then thought, oh what the hell. I told her not to make a habit out of this though, that this was the last time. I don’t know what possessed me but I went. I liked the two guys I worked with, but the establishment was an east end shithole. Choans getting wasted as they listened to classic rock tribute bands. AC-DC one night, Judas Priest the next night. *shudder*

I got there at about 01:00 and it was going okay, until about 01:45 when the fun really started.

Several women came out, a variety of ages, and they were all very upset.
“That pervert.” “I can’t believe this place.” “You should do something about that guy.”
“What’s the matter? Tell me what’s going on please?”
“Some creep was grabbing at our asses and tits as we walked past.”
“That fucking low life grabbed my mom’s crotch!” one of them said pointing to the oldest woman in the group, who was maybe late fifties, early sixties.
“Can you point him out to me? If he did this to you, he’ll do it to someone else.”

I went inside with two of them and they couldn’t see him. Milled around for a minute, and then headed back outside. On the way out I corralled Pete and had these women tell him what had transpired. They gave Pete a description, and he rolled his eyes and said “Oh shit. I know exactly who you mean.” From the description I had a suspicion as to who it was, and I was proven correct.

A vile, cretinous little troll came in once in a while, by the name of Carlos. He’s utterly despicable when he’s sober and it just goes downhill from there. He is a mean, surly, belligerent drunk. He invariably causes problems, and Pete had violently ejected him on several occasions. Why he’s let back in is beyond me, but anyway.

Brad and Pete are having a confrontation with him at the inner door to the place. Clyde (who ran the company I worked for) is also there. All I can hear this lowlife saying is something about his smokes, that he’s not leaving without his smokes. Brad is telling him, “You just donated your smokes to some other Oakwood retard,” and tells him that he is leaving now.

At this point a youngish man (19, 20) who I had seen with these women saunters over and punches him right in the face, really hard.
“That’s for touching my grandmother, you fucking pig,” and then proceeds to spit on him.
I step in between them and tell the young guy, “That’s enough, we’ll handle this.”

Brad and Pete grab both handles of the scumbucket and start walking him through the lobby. He keeps spluttering that he didn’t do anything. Of course. Someone approaches who I think is just a patron. He proceeds to lay the most almighty punch straight to his face. Pete moves towards this guy, who dekes past Pete and punches him a second time, even harder than the first, so hard in fact that he goes flying and smashes his skullet (balding but still rocking the soccer rocker) right into the wall. Brad picks him up off the floor, twists his right arm in a hold, grabs him by the scruff of the neck, pushes his head down and frog marches him towards the door. Another man approaches and kicks him right in the face! I’m trying to ward off the first irate family member, Pete is keeping the second one at bay, Clyde the third one. When he gets outside, several more guys proceed to start kicking and punching him. The women are trying to restrain them, but to little avail. Several friendlies have come out to help us maintain order. Several former crew members and some other guys who could be relied on to back us up in a pinch.

Brad is trying his darndest to protect this guy from a mob that has tasted blood and wants more. (And I really can’t blame them.) This vermin is just a bloody mess by this point, with probably a broken nose, with what looks like the start of two black eyes, a bloody mouth, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if he had just lost what few teeth he had left. So this loser, with a battered and bruised and bloody face, a virtual mob out to kill him, is getting lippy with Brad, and tries to assault him! He takes an ineffectual swing at Brad, who very casually elbows him across the head.

Pete, Clyde and I are trying desperately to stave of yet another mob assault. I’m telling these guys that I understand how they feel, that I can sympathize with their anger, but that this isn’t the place for it. What I really wanted to say was, “Come on guys, how about letting me get in a kick or two.” Just as we block the path of one, another one comes from another angle and gets in a kick to the ribs or a punch to the face. Clyde is telling this loser to get in a cab, but he keeps saying that we’re a bunch of assholes and that he didn’t do anything. Sure, several very convincing sounding women just made up some story to pick on some random stranger, who just happens to be a drunken piece of trash. He doesn’t seem to grasp that he looks like he went about twenty five rounds with Mike Tyson, that about seven or eight sons, grandsons and sons in law of this lady want to brutalize him. What a moron. He keeps on mouthing off to the people who are risking their own safety to protect his worthless life. I was pretty much ready to walk away and say “go to it boys,” when one of our backups whistles from across the street. He has flagged a cab, Clyde and Brad grab him and start hauling him to the cab. I hear the loser saying that he wants to wait for his ride! Pete and I and Al and Mike (two of our good samaritan backups) are walking phalanx trying to ward off further dive bombing attacks. Before he gets to the other side of the street, several more blows have landed, and a few more are attempted. He gets to the cab, and while everyone else is trying to hold back his lynch mob he just stands there, his face looking like something from a horror movie, telling me I have no right to tell him what to do!
“Get in the cab.”
“Get in the cab!”
“GET IN THE CAB!!”
One of our guys grabs him and manhandles him into the cab, although not before slamming his head into the roof first.

The cab pulls away and thirty meters further stops at a red light. This entire mob of guys go storming after it, and reach it. Clyde and I go running after them. By the time we got there, they had three doors open, were trying to drag him out and assaulting him, one guy was in the front seat, landing punches from there. The light changes, the cab takes off, and I don’t know how many of them were still in there, pummeling him. The guys that were standing on the pavement I told to get the hell out of here. I ran back to the bar.

The women were still there, and they thanked me for all I had done, and apologized for what had happened.
“No worries. He is a disgusting little maggot and I completely sympathize with the way your boys felt. To be honest I wanted to get in a couple of good wallops myself, but I can’t really do that. But, you had best get out of here, before the cops show up. Come again any time. You’re welcome here and we’ll look after you, and I can guarantee you he will never set foot in here again.”

I burst into laughter at this point, all the excitement over. As freaky and adrenaline surging as it had been, it was also undeniably funny. Seeing this creep get the stuffing beaten out of him was hysterical. Of all the lowlifes in that place, he deserved it more than others. I know I should have sympathy for him, that he can’t help being a drunk, that his upbringing was really rough, that life hasn’t been kind to him, that society has conspired against him, that he has an illness which makes him an antisocial cretin, blah, blah, blah. I couldn’t care less. Seeing the righteous fury of men reacting to the violation of women near and dear to them was frankly really awesome.

The rest of the night passed without incident. As much as I hope I never come anywhere near this hole again, that incident proved to actually be rather enjoyable.

Typeface Design – Dread

I did this one in 91. Shortly afterwards I received a mailing about Max Kisman’s Fudoni and discovered P. Scott Makela’s Dead History Roman and Jonathan Barnbrook’s Prototype. I hate it when reality intrudes on my delusions of originality.

Wednesday, 9 December 2009

Specter Gear Light Pouch Modification

I got a Specter Gear Surefire 6P/G2 Light Pouch a few years ago. All in all a great pouch, the first pouch I got with a Natick Snap. But wait for it, there were some things I wanted to change.

The first was of course the Velcro closure. I removed it and replaced it with a side release buckle. The other thing I decided to alter was the floating lid. If you have a flashlight with a large bezel, such as the SureFire M-4 Devastator, you can adjust the lid so that it covers it. I knew that I just wanted to use this for the SureFire G2 Nitrolon. (sadly about the only SureFire light I can afford.) That change also made getting the light in and out a little easier. The floating lid had hook Velcro that went all the way to the bottom. Removing the webbing and the Velcro made for a less snug fit.
Mods sewn by hand. Not pretty, but they work.
I found that a Walkman strap I had kicking around fit perfectly. Remove the tail cap, put the loop on and screw the tail cap back on. Like it was made for it. Makes a good wrist loop.

This pouch also fits the the Fenix T1 perfectly.

Logo – K9

Logo done for a military K9 tracker team.

S.o.t.D. – Touch Me – Rui Da Silva

Nifty camo in an unexpected place

I got pulled into a Joe Fresh store last week, and while wandering around I spotted this kids winter jacket. Kind of a Swedish M90 pattern with a splash of country club thrown in for good measure. I suspect it would actually work pretty well.

Lego – Mining Scoop Drill

Anand is into the Lego Powerminers series. Well, that and several other series really. I thought I’d build something along those lines to inspire him to try making something himself. Sort of a back hoe like, drill on one side, scoop with the other side idea. Nothing special, but a fun hour or two spent on a Sunday morning hanging out with the lad.