Saturday, 31 July 2010

Street Art – Abandoned Federal Building

I tend to be pretty ambivalent about a lot of graffiti/street art. 99% of taggers are pathetic and if where they’re found happens to be behind a building, away from scrutinizing eyes, that’s a perfect spot to administer some wall to wall counseling. On the other hand, I think Banksy is incredible, and I absolutely love what he does. One is actually a really good artist, who makes witty, clever comments about the world and the state of it. And the rest are unimaginative jackoffs akin to a dog pissing on a wall. I guess that’s the difference. 

Every once in a while I see street art that I like. The stuff I tend to gravitate towards is non permanent public art. Chalk, tape, posters, on a building about to be torn down anyway. Make a statement, but don’t be obnoxious about it,

Saw these whimsical portraits on the abandoned Federal Building on Main Street yesterday. No idea who did them, not spectacular, but I liked them. Maybe it’s just that they’re a refreshing change from the usual bereft of imagination scribbles that blight this town.

Criminal Negligence and Bureacratic Ineffectuality

The local paper recently had an article about a lowlife operating a tattoo shop out of his apartment, and his lack of proper hygienic procedure. Sadly this hasn’t been an isolated incident around here.  There have been at least a half dozen in as many months, all within a half hour drive from here. Shops with broken autoclaves and operating for months like that, operating with no autoclave at all, half assed home setups, with absolutely no attempt at proper hygiene.

Home Tattooist Risk

Danielle Wong
The Hamilton Spectator
(July 27, 2010)

Hamilton public health is warning clients of an unlicensed tattoo artist operating out of a west end apartment to seek medical attention after it found the artist did not sterilize equipment between customers.

The department says Tyler Robert Green, who operated under the name Green House Tattoos
at 918 Main Street West, Apartment 1, has been issued an order under the Health Protection and Promotion Act to stop tattooing until appropriate cleaning and disinfection of equipment is established.

Associate medical officer of health Dr. Chris Mackie said the most serious risks are blood-borne infections including Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C and HIV. Clients could also contract bacterial infections.

Mackie said public health does not have data on how long Green had been in business or how many people he tattooed because Green did not keep records or would not present them. But Green’s business website shows more than 70 tattoos he has done, so “at least that many people or more” may be at risk, Mackie said.

Last month, public health issued a warning about two other tattoo artists using unsterilized equipment in unlicensed home businesses. Mackie said that notice prompted people to come forward about Green’s business.

While the department doesn’t have enough data to determine if unlicensed home tattoo studios are a growing concern in Hamilton, they have not been seen frequently in the past, Mackie said.

Now everything about this on the face of it is bad enough. But what really got my dander up was the relatively limp and ineffectual response from Public Health. I wrote them a letter about my displeasure with their actions. 

I really think the response needed to be much stronger. I don’t get the wrist slap. “Okay, you can keep working, once you do what we tell you.” No! Charge him with Reckless Endangerment at the very least. How about Assault? How about Criminal Negligence?

My friends run a reputable tattoo shop. They’re legitimate, aboveboard, cooperate with the public health department  to the utmost, they keep meticulous records of who they do work on, so if there is ever a problem they can contact them, (which this weasel didn’t do), they pay for a business license (which skylines them to any regulatory bodies, as opposed to operating on the sly out of an apartment), they pay taxes, have proper spore tests done above and beyond what is required of them, they pay to have their biohazardous waste disposed of, they pay to attend bloodborne pathogen courses, will happily show anyone their scrub room and sterilization facilities, and explain the procedures, etc. They do the utmost to not only do stellar work, but also to protect the health of  their clientele while doing so.

This individual and his amateurish operation are a threat to more than just the people he tattooed. His irresponsible and frankly greedy actions endanger those around them as well.

This requires far, far more than a weak, “you can keep doing what you’re doing when you finally agree to our quite reasonable requests to maintain public health and safety” order. He needs to be criminally prosecuted.
This is an out and out example of criminally negligent behaviour. And there is absolutely no excuse for that.

Where is the punishment here? Where are the consequences for his actions? Anyone else like him will see there are no real repercussions to not spending the extra money to do it right. They’ll just get a toothless order from Public Health when they finally do get caught.

I know lots of fine people who have not only been striving to elevate the art of tattooing to incredible levels, but also the health and safety levels and social status. Their decade, two decade long efforts just got knocked back by this asswipe, and the response by any regulatory bodies amounted to little more than a “that was naughty. Mustn’t do that again.”

Deplorable on several levels.

S.o.t.D. – We Meet At Last – Liquid Stranger

Bubbly and transcendant.

Friday, 30 July 2010

Radiator Man

Cool sculpture outside Barton Radiator Works.

Signage: Art Supplies

A friend ran an art supply store for many years. He had a man called Percy, paint a sign for him. Already a senior by this point, he had been an itinerant sign painter most of his life. He was living in an old hotel above a tavern. Despite the fact that he had been an alcoholic for most of that life, he could still paint some nice lettering.
My friend sold his art supply store many years ago, and the sign that had stood proudly on the sidewalk attracting customers, had languished in his basement for far too long. In the intervening years, his old store had closed, and a small independent store, Mixed Media had sprung up. Rather than have that testament to the sign painters craft sit neglected in the dark, he donated it to them. Ever since they placed it on the sidewalk in front of their store, it’s brought many people inside who were entirely unaware that in addition to quite a few other items, they also peddle a selection of art supplies.
The back also has a very similar design on it, but condensed and moved over to the side so that it’s not obscured by the pole it would lean up against.

S.o.t.D. – Transistor Love – Oveloe

Transistor Love – Oveloe

Montreal based analogue synth nerd, Charles Bisaillon.

Thursday, 29 July 2010

Eastern Milk Snake

I got a call from a friend on Sunday afternoon, who had spotted a snake hidden in the rafters of his garage. I’m surprised he spotted it at all; less than an inch of its scales showed in the dark corner. But we got it out and put it in a container. I checked and it turned out to be an Eastern Milk Snake. He held on to it only long enough to show his son when he came home, and then put it back where he found it. Pretty neat to get to inspect one up close. Beautiful creature.

Monday, 26 July 2010

S.o.tD. – Slowly – Max Sedgley

New Project

Just started a new project. It’s something I’ve been mulling over in my head for a while. Drew it out, made patterns for some of it, and cut it out. 
Forgot to include a cord lock and some para cord, but that is what will go into it.
Drain hole punched in the bottom.
The two parts of the lid stapled together.
Lousy pictures, but this is the lid which was sewn in an evening

This is going to be a part of a system, of which there will be three other components. One of the components was originally going to serve one purpose. While out hiking yesterday, I let my creative juices flow, and it will now serve 7 purposes. Really excited about it.

Sunday, 25 July 2010

S.o.t.D. – More Than This – Roxy Music

Always thought the production on this was stellar, and the way the different instruments were all put together, still fantastic to this day.

Friday, 23 July 2010

S.o.t.D. – Rhythm of Time (Victor the Cleaner RMX) – Front 242

Right from the first instance I heard Front 242 back in 1983, I became a huge fan. Still am. Loved the sound, loved the look. Incredible live show. Really liked how they wrapped everything up into a very cohesive package. Trendsetting sound, energetic concerts and the visual onslaught that went with it, the ambiguous para-military look, the graphics for the packaging and the paraphernalia. 

I think the Tyranny For You era was possibly when they were at their peak. And I think the best track off that album was Rhythm of Time. Then they let the mighty Orb loose on a few tracks. It could only get better from there.

Typeface Design – Ampersandman

Just a fun, experimental typeface I jotted off in an afternoon, back in 95. I’d been a big fan of Sandman right from the first issue, and my favourite character in the alphabet is the ampersand. I took a bunch of ampersands from various typefaces, tore them apart, and rebuilt them into this. Pretty much a throw away thing. Probably just a few hours of playing around, distraction from something more serious.

Thursday, 22 July 2010

S.o.t.D. – In Dog We Trust – Akufen

While some might argue that my tastes are a little skewed, in every decade for the last three, this fine country has produced a standout artist. In the 80’s it was Skinny Puppy. In the 90’s it was Richie Hawtin. In the 00’s it has been Akufen.

Sailboat on the Bay

The view out behind my house.

A.G. Russell WoodsWalker

I find knives indispensable tools, but I seem to have a particular fondness for small knives. Since I often carry these sorts of knives around my neck, I usually refer to them as neck knives.

Small knives are lighter, easier to use for most of the things I ever do with a knife, and they tend to not freak the sheeple out quite so much. :-)

I have a friend whose outdoor knife of choice is a paring knife. Just like you’d find in your kitchen. It’s not at all flashy or expensive, but it does exactly what he needs it to do. Which is pretty much just food prep, clean a fish, cut the odd piece of rope, make a fuzz stick, open a package, etc. He made a leather sheath for it, and it’s served him well on canoe trips for twenty or more years.

I had been intrigued by this A.G. Russell WoodsWalker for a long time, and while buying a birthday present for a friend, I figured I may as well finally get it. For the cost, I couldn’t really go wrong. And I didn’t.
The length of the blade is 6 cm (2.375"), and overall, the knife is 15 cm (6"). The blade is made from AUS-8, hardened to an HRC of 57-59. The handle is wood Rucarta (which I think is just a way of getting around the Micarta trademark. Same thing, different name.) It weighs 34 grams (1.2 oz.). Oh and it’s made in Japan.
Nice size.
The WoodsWalker comes with two sheath options. One is a leather model.... a back pocket. Comfortable and unobtrusive.
The other option is a Kydex sheath. This allows for far more in the way of carrying and mounting options...
...including neck carry...
...or mounting it to any piece of MOLLE/PALS compatible gear. The possibilities with this are almost endless. Horizontal, vertical, angled, right side up, up side down. In this example I used para-cord to attach it, but zip ties could also be used. I’m not sure, but I suspect you could also use MOLLE-LOKs or TEK-LOKs to attach it to a pouch or pack or belt or rig.

Terrific little knife. Great value for the money. Sharp and easy to keep that way. A pair of great carry options. It’s pretty much just like my friends paring knife in a slightly slicker package.

I’m a firm believer in the old adage “one is none, two is one.” I usually always have a slightly bigger, sturdier knife that serves as my main user, but a knife of this size gets used a lot. And, if I was ever to lose the other knife, I would be well served with this as my backup.

Maxpedition FR-1 First Aid Pouch

The Maxpedition FR-1 is one of two medium/second line first aid pouches I have. (The other being the Emdom B.O.M.B.)
The pouch as I have it, with additions and revisions

But let’s have a look at the interior first.
The front. A zippered compartment and a double 2" layer of elastic divided into 2 3" channels. One obvious and simple change I made was an orange fob to replace the zipper pull.
The back. A mesh compartment, a 6" wide 1" elastic band with one right on top of that divided into two 3" channels, a single 6" wide 2" band with a single 1" band atop it divided into 3 2" channels. At the top is a loop to tie a roll of tape into.
The other four sides. The bottom of the pouch features a drain hole. The dimensions of the pouch are 17½ cm (7") x 12½ cm (5") x 7½ cm (3").
The interior with the supplies.

Another change I made to it was the hold open cords. Originally it was a loop with a cord lock. It allowed the pouch to be opened to whatever setting the user wanted. Flopped all the way down, opened just a bit, whatever. I found it a little too fiddly and knew that I just wanted it to open about 90°. Cut two pieces of 550 cord to the right length, knots in the ends, and presto. If I decide that I do actually want it back to the way it was, no big deal. Grab a length of cord, a cord lock and set it up the way it was. But this works to my liking.
One of the modifications/additions I made is a system to secure the crash shears in behind the pouch.
One of the changes necessary was that the PALS was originally two channels wide, as evidenced by the bottom two rows. I wanted three channels. I would have liked to do the bottom as well, but the way the pouch was laid out, made getting down into the bottom to sew very difficult. I left it at just the top two rows. Which works just fine. A piece of ½ inch webbing is woven between the webbing.
To complete it, I added a fur coat closure system. (They’re called “fur clips” (pelzhaken in German). Prym makes it, and the product code for it in black is 416502, although it is also available in brown and beige.) The ring was sewn between the two ends of the ½" webbing, and the metal clasp was sewn to the top of the pouch. Works beautifully. Easy to flip open, even with gloves on. Getting the shears back in, the webbing and eyelet through the handles and closed again is smooth and hassle free. 
Something else I altered was a carry handle that sat on the top. (Check the link at the top to the manufacturers website to see what I mean.) There were also two D-rings associated with this carry handle. I knew I was never going to want to carry it by hand or on a shoulder strap, so I just removed it.
The crash shears can also be put in the PALS webbing on the side.
One other addition are the red zipper pulls, to help identify it as a medical kit. The front also featured some shock cord and a cord lock above the PALS webbing. Not sure what I could really do with it. I suspect the thinking behind it might be a tourniquet is meant to go there. I took it off. There is a pass through behind the velcro, that Maxpedition calls a Torch-Cave. If you have it mounted on the side of a belt, you could clip a flashlight there, and have it point forward. I don’t know...clever, but I can’t see myself ever using it.
On the front I have an old LC-1 compass pouch that I put PALS on the back of, that holds 5 pairs of nitrile gloves. I think of making another pouch to hold gloves, but wider (wide enough to cover the whole front) and flatter. Or alternately another pouch roughly about the same size to hold a 4" Israeli dressing.
Here I have it mounted on a S.O.Tech Go-Bag.
And this is what I have in it:
  1. Crash Shears
  2. Biohazard Bag
  3. WaterJel 10 cm x 40 cm (4" x 16") Burn Dressing
  4. 3"x3" gauze
  5. QuickClot (the older granulated formula, not made any more)
  6. Finger Dressings
  7. Tensor Bandage
  8. Pill Pack
  9. H&H Primed Gauze
  10. Abdominal Pad
  11. Iodine Ointment
  12. Benzalkonium Chloride Pad
  13. Iodine Prep Pad
  14. Insect Sting Relief Pad
  15. Alcohol Pad
  16. 10 cm (4") Gauze 
  17. SAM Finger Splint
  18. Blister Pads
  19. Irrigation Syringe
  20. Triangular bandage
  21. 5 cm x 5 cm (2" x 2") Pressure Dressing
  22. Knuckle Bandages
  23. More 3" Gauze Pads
  24. Transpor Tape
  25. Tourniquet
  26. Finger Cots
  27. Ocular Pad
  28. Laerdahl Face Shield
  29. Fingertip Bandages
And a larger, unlabeled version if anyone wants a closer look at anything.

Great pouch, very well thought out and very well made. Admittedly I made a few changes/additions to it, but they in no way take away from the stock pouch. Of the two I have, I think I prefer the Emdom B.O.M.B. a little more, but only just. Anyone looking for a first aid pouch, something more substantial than a booboo kit, would be very well served by this.