Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Poiple Poppies

S.o.t.D. - Latatoo (Lackluster remix) – Sleepy Town Manufacture


S.T.M. are Russian I gather, never heard of them before, but Lackluster I discovered a few days ago, and it led me to this track.

Reminds of trips up north, driving through the night, tuneage blasting, the sun rising on an awesome landscape, the promise of a few days in paradise in the offing.

Monday, 27 June 2011

S.o.t.D. - X·Flow – Haujobb

X·Flow – Haujobb 

If I had this track on vinyl, and not as bits and bites on a digital device, I would have worn right through it by now. Not sure that I could even begin to articulate why I love this song so much. Odd off kilter rhythms, sounds that blend in and out sporadically, obscure sounds mixed deep down, buried vocals - and it totally works for me. Just really love that glitchy minimal sound.

Sunday, 26 June 2011

Legotropolis

I organized my nephews Lego collection the other night. He’s away for a few days , and I’m looking after the cats. Figured it was as good a time as any to get in there and dung it out. My own Lego collection is hyper organized. I’m sure some ass will feel compelled to comment that I’m a little too obsessive compulsive about it, but they can eat me. I enjoy building – I don’t enjoy searching. Having to spend an hour trying to locate one tiny piece among tens of thousands of pieces – is a colossal turn off. I like being able to see at a glance what I need, and being able to determine if I have the right number or perhaps colour to determine right off the bat whether an idea is even doable. I have to take some time to put everything back in its place when I take an old project apart, but that is a small price to pay for the sheer pleasure of just being able to get on with the building.

We’ve been talking about rebuilding all the StarWars kits that he has that have all been ripped apart. I tried to build one by sorting through three big bins and I gave up after a while. Now that everything is easy to find, making them will actually be fun. And then we can have an epic Lego Star Wars battle.

A lot of the planks and bricks I stack up into one big block. Since they all stick together anyway, may as well organize them that way. Little finicky pieces – the ones I’m most concerned about, get put into little ziplock bags.

I noticed that the conglomerations of bricks and planks ended up looking a bit architectural, so for fun I snapped some quick pics of a Lego cityscape.

S.o.t.D. - Demarre Le Chauve – Pépé Bradock

Demarre Le Chauve – Pépé Bradock 

Not very long unfortunately. Pretty much just a funky drum line and a subtle and effective guitar that combine to create a smoking hot track.

Saturday, 25 June 2011

S.o.t.D. - Beloved – Lackluster

Beloved – Lackluster 

Another new discovery. This will definitely be making an appearance on a cycling playlist.

S.o.t.D. - Napolese – Ochre

Napolese – Ochre 

I had heard of Ochre before, but only recently have I delved into his whole discography. Wow. Very diverse range of stuff, including this absolutely gorgeous piece that would be perfect accompaniment to an amazing film.

Thursday, 23 June 2011

S.o.t.D. - 111 – Ochre

111 – Ochre 

If this track doesn’t have your foot tapping, your knee bouncing, your head bobbing - there is something wrong with you.

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

S.o.t.D. - The Story – The Matthew Herbert Big Band


Wowzers.

I’ll tell you what you can do with your “No Backpack” rule....

I went into a large retail establishment yesterday. Should I say who? Mmmmmhhh, they’re Canadian and they sell tires. 

They have a notice towards the front of the store stating that bags need to be handed in at the customer service desk. Which I ignore. 

I had a friend who left his backpack at the front of one of their stores, a shitstain came by, said that it was his, the clerk handed it over – bye bye backpack. To say that their efforts to remedy the situation fell far short of satisfactory is an understatement.

One of the 16 year olds behind the counter asks me to hand over my backpack.
“Are you going to give me some sort of security measure?”
Look of incomprehension.
“You know, something that you attach to the pack, and you give me something to hand over to you when I’m ready to leave your store, in order to prove that it is indeed my property?”
“Uh no, we don’t have anything like that.”
“Okay, well the answer is no then.” Walked away.

I’m walking around the store, and some sort of manager type comes up to me and says “Excuse me sir, but we have a strict no backpack in the store policy.”

“And I have a strict no handing over my backpack to your teenage minimum wage employees without some kind of security measure.”

Same look of incomprehension.

I mentioned my friend having his backpack stolen in one of their stores. “You want to protect your merchandise, which is fine and understandable, but you do nothing to protect the property of your customers. I have a backpack that costs $300, plus a laptop that costs say $1000, $1500, a first aid kit I have a $100 into, a $200 camera, plus many hundreds of dollars of other stuff. I’m supposed to hand over my pack to a teenager making minimum wage, who will wander away from that pack as soon as a customer comes along and asks for assistance. Another teenager making minimum wage will come back a minute later from assisting another customer, have no idea who that pack belongs to. Some lowlife will come along, claim it’s his, she’ll take his statement at face value and hand over the pack. If you aren’t offering the customer some form of security to protect their valuable possessions, this customer is not about to entrust it to you. If you want to inspect my bag as I’m leaving the store, that’s fine with me. It remains in my possession to safeguard and allows you the opportunity to make sure that I’m not walking off with your merchandise without paying for it. That to me is an equitable solution. Not to mention the fact that I’m probably the most noticeable person in the store, and that the act of shucking off the pack to put something inside isn’t likely to escape anyone’s notice. That you’re not asking women to hand over their purses, or asking people wearing hoodies with kangaroo pockets on the front to take them off, your policy strikes me as a double standard and little more than appearance. I’ll see you at the door when I’m done shopping.”

The look on his face made it all worthwhile. Never did see him at the door.

Some stores will ask for your bag, but they have someone behind the counter who stays there, and they also hand you over something like a half a playing card. The other half is pinned to your pack. When you go to retrieve it the same clerk from before is there and with the proffering of the half card, the correct card is found to match it and you get your bag back.
That’s a pretty simple means of assuring a measure of security. That I don’t mind so much.

But this pathetic, we get to protect ourselves, but screw the customer approach that Canadian Tire pulls is totally unsat. I get it, you lose a lot to shoplifting. Frustrating, harmful to your bottom line – I get all that. But you let women walk around with a purse, although I can’t walk around with a ruck on my back. Piss off. As if anyone couldn’t see through that half assed double standard. Oh right, cause women never shoplift. And expecting me to have faith in the underpaid kids you have working there to guard my pack, and not giving me something that protects my investment – yeah right.

I’ll keep on ignoring their and anyone elses idiotic attempts to protect themselves from theft while leaving their customers open to having their valuables stolen. Don’t like that? Then I’ll stop being a customer.

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Artspiration – Calvin Nicholls

Just when you think paper art has reached the limits of what can be done with it, you see this.
http://www.behance.net/gallery/Follett-Library-Resources-Hummingbird/753955

http://www.calvinnicholls.com/

Drowning Doesn’t Look Like Drowning

The first time I’ve ever repeated a post, but I think it’s important enough to warrant a repeat.

Drowning people don’t look the way movies and television portray them. Not just people with small children should read this, but I think it’s important for everyone to be able to recognize the signs of someone drowning. Lots of people drown every year, the news announcing this morning that a child already had, so I figured this was very topical. Thank you to Mario Vittone for writing this.

Drowning Doesn’t Look Like Drowning

S.o.t.D. - 7'39 (Link and E621 Appliance of Science Mix) - Global Communication

7'39 (Link and E621 Appliance of Science Mix) - Global Communication

Another Global Communication track that was remixed by one of the many guises these two fellas operated under. Utterly unrecognizable from the original.

Untitled

Goalie Drills

The boy is showing a lot of interest in soccer, and specifically in being a goalie. Happily went to the park and ran some drills with him for a half hour, longer probably. I have very little patience for watching any sport, but I will happily play them. Get wound around the axle about supporting any NHL team? No thank you. Go out and play ball hockey for two hours? Yes please. All the World Cup hoopla makes me ill, but helping my little pal get better at something he expresses an interest in and demonstrates some aptitude for I will gladly do. Come at him from different angles, lots of fancy footwork to deke him out, kick the ball with different amounts of force. And he’s definitely showing some ability. Lots of laughs.

I hate running. To run in a straight line for an hour - boring. But the running I do in soccer I love. Jog, run, sprint, kick, run to the side, stop, walk, run, run, run backwards, sprint to the side, slow down, sprint, kick - that variety I really enjoy. Great cardio workout, without the tedium of running.

His dad came by later and played with us for a while, and then I accidentally kicked the ball into his arm - the arm that he had Steve Moore tattoo for 4 hours on Friday. Oh I felt bad.

Monday, 20 June 2011

S.o.t.D. - Ostia (The Death of Pasolini) – Coil


While I won’t shed a single tear over the death of Pasolini, the death of the members of Coil did sadden me greatly. Off of my favourite, maybe second favourite album ever, Horse Rotorvator.

Saturday, 18 June 2011

S.o.t.D. - The Thin Wall – Ultravox


Ahh those halcyon days of the early video years. 

SkateGnome

Bit of graffiti I spotted yesterday. I like Gnomes, and this made me smile.

S.o.t.D. - Mothership – Ed Rush & Nico


If I had to rush into a burning house to save some vinyl, I think the Torque LP would be one of the ones I would grab.

Orgy of Orange

Okay, so it’s more yellow than orange, but after the poppy photos called Riot of Red, I had to carry on the theme.

Lancaster

Crappy pictures, but hearing and seeing the Lancaster always gives me goosebumps.

Strange bundle of emotions wrapped up in it. If it wasn’t for this and so many other planes like it, I might not be alive today. The bombing raids they carried out helped to slow down or halt Nazi Germany’s ability to wage war. Towards the end of the war, they dropped food to the starving citizens of the country I was born in. Without the efforts they and their crews made my own parents may well have starved to death, or the Nazis brutal hold on the Netherlands and the rest of Europe may have continued for many more years.

I also recognize how many young men died horrible deaths or were maimed crewing them, or were carried to years of languishing in a POW camp. I also recognized how many people were killed by them, people who likely didn’t want to have anything to do with the war mongering of a psychotic, and just wanted to get on with their lives, practice their trades and raise their families.

Witnessing it in flight, always makes me happy, recognizing the good it did, and yet also sad at the same time, recognizing the suffering that happened in and because of it.

This is one of only two still left flying in the world. Whenever I hear the roar of those four Merlin engines I have to stop. Partly to admire the sound of those engines, and to watch the last of a once plentiful breed, and also just to reflect on what it all means.

Given that another of a once plentiful breed, a B17, crashed this past week, it made seeing and hearing the Lancaster especially poignant.

There is an airshow going on here this weekend, so they were likely taking her out for a test flight. I know it gets completely stripped down, inspected and rebuilt over the winter. This is the first I’ve seen it or heard it, so this might have been its inaugural flight of the year. You can book a flight in her. Pricey, but one day I hope to scrape together the cash to do so. I imagine it will be a very emotional experience.

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

S.o.t.D. - Life in the Rain – Quantic


Jazzy and funky. Smooth as silk.

“Sometimes I wonder if I know where I’m going. I go for a walk like this. And it seems I’ve been walking for years and years and years. And I don’t know where I’m going. I hear the Sound leading me on. And I don’t know where it is taking me.”

Monday, 13 June 2011

S.o.t.D. - Baker Street – Gerry Rafferty


Yesterdays track by Ace reminded of another artist from the 70’s I liked.

Untitled

S.o.t.D. - How Long? – Ace


What a completely and utterly perfect song this is. Instrumentation, vocals, lyrics, melody, everything. It seems like music of this caliber is a thing of the past. Compared to so much of what passes as popular music today, hearing a group of talented multi-instrumentalists who could craft truly catchy songs, is really refreshing.

Waterfront Wander

I went out for a stroll on Saturday afternoon. No real destination in mind, just wanted to walk around. Ended up down by the waterfront, somewhere I haven’t been in a while.

Two tugs, the Ocean Omni-Richelieu and Montreal.
 The Maritime Trader being checked out by a cormorant.
Geese in the yacht club.
 Sailboat on the Bay. Burlington on the right, Iroquia Bar on the left, Niagara Escarpment beyond that.
Swallows flitting about centimeters above the surface of the water. Wanted to stick around to see if I could get some more photos of these incredibly fast, incredibly aerodynamic birds, but it started to rain. I’ll come back another day.

Saturday, 11 June 2011

S.o.t.D. - Distant Dreams – Throbbing Gristle


A rather melodic and atmospheric track from the seminal TG, who were more purveyors of challenging and disturbing music.

Donating Blood

Saw a sign the other day outside St. Joseph Hospital that there was going to be a blood donor clinic this past friday. Since I had to pass there to trek up the mountain anyway, I figured I’d stop in on the way.

(kind of off topic, but goddamn there are a lot of obese people working at hospitals. Nurses especially. Two really overweight women (their photo tags giving them away as employees) were turned away because their blood pressure was through the roof. Another one complained about needing hip surgery. I imagine carrying around dozens, hundreds of pounds of excess weight on a daily basis for years, decades will really screw your joints up. A very rotund male employee came in panting and out of breath, and something tells me that he hadn’t run to get there. Damn. Shouldn’t people who work in a hospital be ambassadors for healthier living, and strive to set a good example for the patients?)

Went through the whole tedious rigmarole of whether I’m on a first name basis with my pharmacist or whether I’ve had sex with African prostitutes or shared needles with South American junkies. Checked my blood pressure and temperature, which were fine.
Another weird aspect of the whole process is that they give you a little sticker that states “Yes, use my blood” or “No, don’t use my blood”. The person processing you leaves the room for a minute, you apply the sticker you feel pertains to you and you throw the sheet the sticker came from in the garbage. I always found this a little puzzling. You’re there of your own volition, no one is forcing you to donate your blood. Someone told me that because a lot of organizations organize blood drives, some people feel compelled to go. Not wanting to admit publicly that they lead very licentious lifestyles that put them at risk for all sorts of communicable diseases, they go to look like a team player, and then this allows them to back out while saving face. They still donate a pint, but when the barcode is scanned it gets rejected. Weird, but okay.

That out of the way I sat my self down in a chair and the process began.
I actually really like giving blood. Besides the altruistic aspect of it, there is also a health benefit to it, in that it boosts your immune system.

But I hear every excuse under the sun for why people don’t donate. The biggest one being “I don’t like needles.” Oh suck it up you whiners! It’s a sting that lasts a second, and then it’s over. You want the blood to be there when you or your loved ones need it, somebody has to replenish the supply. May as well be you.
You can have one of these nice cards too if you live in Canada. They give them away free and they give you treats when you use it.
My blood must have the consistency of water, since it always takes less than five minutes for the process to go from start to finish. Some people are in the chair when I walk in, and when I walk out after drinking and eating something, they’re still sitting in the chair. Suckers.
I guess this is the way they collect a sample to test for nastiness now. Every time I go there is some tweak to the process. In past they filled up two or three test tubes from a by pass in the tube, but it appears this is the new method.
And there it is. A bit of my O+ to benefit someone else.

After that they make sit for a while and drink some juice and have some cookies. When I was working at King and University in Toronto, there was a clinic right across the street, and when I was done they offered really great coffee and black forest cake from Dufflet
“Would you like another slice? We’ve got lots.”   
“Uhm...yeah, I’m feeling a little weak actually.” :-)
That’s the kind of service every blood donor clinic needs to be offering. No more Peek Freans cookies and shitty coffee, more Dufflet pastries and gourmet coffee.

Go donate blood.

You want some blood to be there when you need it? Then you need to go and donate blood.

S.o.t.D. - Plumbicon (Deadbeat Remix) – Monolake


Monolake is another of those artists I only recently discovered. So much great music out there.

Friday, 10 June 2011

Thursday, 9 June 2011

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

S.o.t.D. - Psychedelia Junglistia – Cypher-O

Psychedelia Junglistia – Cypher-O

Brain liquifying Goa. I think I got into this stuff back in the day partly because of how sonically dense it was, the kooky amount of stuff going on in each track.

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Olive Drab

If you spend any amount of time browsing or reading this blog, you’ll notice that a lot of the sewn goods I make are in some shade of olive drab. The reason for it is fairly prosaic.

I was never and will never be in the military. But as a kid that liked wandering around in the woods, army surplus was far more affordable than any civilian camping stuff was. Also, I had a lot of friends whose fathers were in the army, and I got some stuff from them. I still have some of it to this day. I appreciated the rugged, built to last quality of a lot of it, but a lot of it didn’t suit my needs. I wasn’t carrying grenades or magazines. So I invariably got my mom to help me change things around so that it worked better for the things I was doing with it. (The seeds of making and modifying gear were planted early.) 

Years later when I got interested in modifying and making stuff to suit my needs, I ran into a huge hurdle. If I could even find any place that sold material or hardware (remember, this is before the convenience of the internet) I was asked how many rolls I wanted.
“Uhm...I was hoping to buy a few yards?”
“Yeah no, we only sell by the roll.”
Since I was merely a designer/tinkerer/prototype maker (still am really) this was of no use to me at all. Places that sold hardware were similarly only interested in dealing with manufacturers.

The only viable option for me was to once again turn to the surplus market and purchase packs and pouches, and disassemble them for the material, webbing and hardware. There was a time when the only colour used by every military in the world was “olive drab”. Didn’t matter if I got old pouches from Canada, US, Britain, France, the Netherlands, Sweden, wherever. While the options have increased in the intervening years (I now know of places that will sell small quantities of goods to a hobbyist like me), I’m still using up stuff that I scrounged 10, 15, almost 20 years ago, to this day. While I can now get stuff fairly easily, I find myself still liking olive drab. (I do make some stuff in black, but for any of my outdoor stuff I prefer OD. Part of it is that it photographs better than black.)

Olive drab, even though at one time it was the only military colour, now seems to be largely going by the way side. Most militaries are now switching to camouflage patterns (not just the clothing, but equipment as well). Solid colours do remain in use to some degree, but the US Army has switched to foliage green (grey for all intents and purposes) and the US Marine Corps has switched to Coyote Brown (a medium, camel brown colour), and the US military drives the train. Most mills and manufacturers have largely dropped OD, since the largest procurer is no longer ordering it.

Despite this switch to new camo patterns, and many of them really are terrific choices, OD still remains a great option. Whenever I stop somewhere to take a break, it’s usually somewhere interesting or scenic. I’ll drop my pack and wander around for a bit. A dozen paces away from my pack and I have a really hard time spotting it. I’ve started to make a habit of photographing the spot where my pack sits or lies in an effort to show that despite all the new uber-camos hitting the market, plain, old fashioned, drab olive drab still does a pretty great job of blending in to the background.

Most of these are at most a dozen, dozen and a half paces away. There isn’t anything very scientific about any of these photos, no careful adjustment of camera settings, recording of light levels, etc., etc. Just a quick snapshot.
Kifaru Express lying on a log at Sassafras Point.
Exploring the beach in Nova Scotia, I put my E&E down and wandered around for a while. It took a while before I could find it again, so well did it blend in with the boulders and rocks.
On a cold, autumn overnighter, my Kifaru EMR, leaning against a fallen tree.
At the Crack in Killarney.
Leaning against the wikiup.
Kifaru ZXR along the Bay of Fundy in Nova Scotia.
Kifaru Express along Grindstone Creek.
In the Chedoke Gorge.
Hung up in a tree to keep it off the wet ground at Princess Point.