Tuesday, 31 January 2012

S.o.t.D. - Novox – Jenglander

Novox – Jenglander

Know nothing about this act, other than the fact that they hail from the country of Jengland.

Break-Away Necklace

I guess it’s important to have some kind of a break-away if you wear something around your neck. Even though I’m not ashamed to state that I’m a bit of a safety ninny, I have worn a neck knife for years on just a piece of 2mm cord. I guess on some level I have a problem with weak points. But I do realize that it is probably a good idea. I’ve looked at some of the little plastic break-away hardware, and wasn’t so impressed with it. It came undone too easily for my liking.

Was in a dollar store recently and saw this. For a dollar, I figured I’d give it a try.
Will all dollar stores have this? I have no idea. Are these super popular and available everywhere? I have no idea. Are they available in longer than 18" lengths? I have no idea.
Don’t know if there is a proper name for this kind of closure. I call it Ball and Loop.
Now, 18" makes it a choker on me. A choker with a break-away to avoid choking, but a choker nonetheless. I guess these are marketed towards 8 year old girls, not burly adults who carry knives around their necks. Thought of getting a second one to lengthen it, but that would then add two weak points.
So far so good. Mind you, three days of wearing it isn’t that much of a test. Although I have worn it while I slept, and if all that tossing and turning I do hasn’t ripped it loose, thats a hopeful sign. I can see this being problematic if you carried a knife that required you to really yank on the handle to get it out of the sheath. But what I carry has been fine so far.

Bibliophilia: C-130: The Hercules by M. E. Morris

C-130: The Hercules – M. E. Morris

My nephew suggested building a Hercules out of Lego. I was completely on board with that of course. But rather than wasting paper and toner printing out pictures from the internet, I swung by the library and signed this out. At least 25 years old, but a good source of info on this amazing work horse of a plane. Each chapter is devoted to some of the different tasks it has been assigned to, whether maritime patrols by the US Coast Guard, supply runs down to Antarctica, experiments with landing and takeoffs on air craft carriers or conversion to the lethal Spectre gun ship.

Monday, 30 January 2012


I haven’t had the money to go to movies for a long time, but last night I said “Damn the Torpedoes!” and went to see Haywire. Friends had good things to say about it. I got properly prepared and went.

Loved it.

Gina Carano. Heellllooo! I’m in love. I thought she was very believable in the role. She’s not that emotive, but given what her character does, I wasn’t expecting a saccharin-y girlfriend type. And frankly she makes a better “hero” than most male actors cast in that role. The whole movie felt plausible. The fight scenes were realistic, with none of the hyper fast editing most fight movies seem to feature now. And Steven Soderbergh I’ve been a fan of for quite a while now.

And she looks good. Looks good in a black dress. Looks good in leather riding a motorbike. Looks good in a wetsuit. Just plain looks good. She’s got thighs and hips and ass and boobage. Yum.

There’s rally driving, parkour, fighting, trade craft, acrobatics, good weapons handling, intrigue, some subtle humour. And Gina Carano looking good. 

S.o.t.D. - Poetic Licence – Kani

Poetic Licence – Kani 

Another languid toe tapper.

Saturday, 28 January 2012

Three Port Tour

The Hueston’s, of the Aylmer Express where I used to work, had their first Three Port Tour this past August.

There are three races to choose from: 160 km, 100 km and 50 km. The shortest takes you from Aylmer to Port Bruce and back. The middle distance takes you to two Ports from Aylmer, Bruce and Burwell I guess. And the longest one takes you to Port Stanley as well.

East Elgin is a lovely area and perfect for cycling. If you’re in the area and into cycle touring or racing, mark it on your calendar.

Northern Lights

Some spectacular examples of auroras produced by the recent solar storms.

Yosemite Timelapse

S.o.t.D. - Crabbuckit – The Good Lovelies

Crabbuckit – The Good Lovelies 

They’re good and they are lovely. All their stuff is absolutely wonderful. Definitely check them out. A cover of the k-os hit.

Friday, 27 January 2012

Sun & Moon

Been noodling around with this idea off and on for ages. I intended it as a logo. Played around with it a bit here and there yesterday and today, and I think it’s all right. Not really very suitable as a logo any more though. Lots of fun to do anyway.

S.o.t.D. - Visions – Intense

Visions – Intense 

Perhaps the most appropriately named musical act ever. If I was ever to be in a car chase or a gun battle or something like that, I’d want this playing in the background. Drum & Bass done very right.

Thursday, 26 January 2012

Bibliophilia: Glimmer: How Design Can Transform your Life, and Maybe Even the World – Warren Berger

Glimmer: How Design Can Transform your Life, and Maybe Even the World – Warren Berger

Totally loved it. Some really great insights into design, and how design is becoming far more important to companies that want to survive and thrive in today’s world. Many companies think design is merely the packaging, the glossy veneer so to speak. But smart companies realize that design needs to extend not just to how the product looks, but everything. They need to design the whole experience, from how the product looks, but more importantly how it works, and the detailed research that goes into functionality, to how the company interacts with their existing and potential customers, via a website, phone interaction, etc.

It uses Bruce Mau’s terrific essay An Incomplete Manifesto For Growth as a starting point.

Several sections were very profound, and one I thought was especially good.

Brian Collins of the firm COLLINS states that the experience design movement is reinventing the marketing model that has been dominated by advertising for the last half century. That old model made it feasible that a large company could offer a lackluster customer experience, yet still coax people to purchase its bland offerings, thanks to the sheer power of message bombardment. But over the past decade, a flip-flop began to take place. Ads started to lose their power because of changes in media (including more fragmentation and greater audience control and participation). Meanwhile, those same changes in the media heightened the importance of providing quality customer experiences because customers now had more ways to talk to each other. Today, increasingly, the experience is the advertising.

The companies that are unable to figure out how to design and deliver that experience have little else to do but make pleas for our attention that are mostly ignored–in other words, they advertise. Collins believes we may now be reaching the point at which advertising becomes the penalty paid by companies that cannot design well. “In this new environment,” he says, “you could think of traditional advertising as a tax on laggards.” 

Glimmer p.147-148 

It also delved into the curse of a lot of designers - that they’re interested in everything - that they want to learn and try everything. I can identify. Buckminster Fuller would call it being a ‘comprehensivist’. 

“When I’m totally unqualified for a job, that’s when I do my best work. If you’re trying to find a new way to think about something to make it better, it can actually hurt you to have too much experience in that particular milieu–because you understand the expectations too well. And that can cause you to limit and edit your possibilities, based on what you already know ‘doesn’t work’. ” - Paula Scher 

Another section touched on why being creative is such a charge.

People tend to think of happiness as a goal, but it’s more of a process, according to Martin Seligman, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania and the former president of the American Psychological Association. Seligman maintains that there are two activities that lead to happiness. One is what he calls “engaging” activity–the challenging and often creative activity that tends to lead to a “flow experience.”

When you’re engaged in these types of creative activities, it activates an area of the brain called the nucleus accumbens that controls how we feel about life, according to Dr. S. Ausim Azizi, chairman of the department of neurology at Temple University’s School of Medicine. He noted that creative activities that you enjoy also stimulate the brain’s septal zone–the “feel good” area–and that makes you feel happy.

But the other part of the puzzle has to do with the second type of activity that can make you happy. Seligman has observed that in addition to those “engaging” or creatively stimulating activities, there are also “meaningful” activities that tend to make people happy. These, he says, involve “using what you’re best at to serve others or participate in a cause bigger than yourself.” 

If you’re doing a certain kind of design–“problem solving design”–you are combining both types of activities. You are creating and contributing to a larger cause, simultaneously. 

Through constant acts of creative design, you recreate yourself. You help propel your own growth spiral, feeding off the energy of creation. That’s not just a feeling, it’s a fact: being in that state of “design flow” raises the levels of neurotransmitters in your brain, such as endorphins and dopamine, and that keeps you focussed and energized, according to Dr. Gabriella Corá of the Florida Neuroscience Center. Glimmer p.264-266

S.o.t.D. - Mind At The End Of The Tether – Tackhead

Mind At The End Of The Tether – Tackhead 

The equivalent of a sonic grenade going off in my brain when I first heard the On-U-Sound sound.

Patagonia Timelapse

Always been intrigued by Patagonia. If I had to live in South America, I would want to live in the southern part of it. The rest is a little too fetid for me.

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Bibliophilia: Wicked Bugs: The Louse That Conquered Napoleon’s Army and Other Diabolical Insects – Amy Stewart

Wicked Bugs: The Louse That Conquered Napoleon’s Army and Other Diabolical Insects – Amy Stewart

I read her other book Wicked plants: the weed that killed Lincoln’s mother and other botanical atrocities, and I liked the style of it, and enjoyed this one as much. Very entertaining – well, as entertaining as foot long centipedes that hang from the ceilings of caves and snatch bats out of the air, disease carrying ticks and mosquitos, forest felling borers, biblical swarms of locusts, ants that have a bite so painful it feels like getting shot, flies that lay eggs under the skin, fleas that burrow under toenails and lay a bean sized egg sac, and termites that do more damage to New Orleans than Hurricane Katrina did – can be. There are 10 quintillion insects on the planet – 200 million for every person. Humans! You do not rule the earth.

Until reading this book, I was not aware of the Schmidt Sting Pain Index.

More Photo Restoration

Another one I think is only partially done, but still an improvement over the original. I want a job doing this stuff.

Photo Restoration

I realize that more than doing web design, which I am currently going to school for, I would much rather just do PhotoShop stuff. A job restoring old photos would fill my soul with joy. Imagine how happy you could make people fixing up their old destroyed mementos of family. Deciphering cuneiform as my brother so aptly puts it, no, that makes my brain ache.

This is a photo of my pal Brian’s grandfather. Still have a bunch I want to do to it, but I figure this is a good start for something I just did over my lunch break.

S.o.t.D. - Boogie Woogie – Kruder & Dorfmeister

Boogie Woogie – Kruder & Dorfmeister 

Not really any boogieing going on in this tune, but pretty swell regardless.

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Bruce Trail in Winter

Taken a little way beyond this area, about a week after they were taken.
Dundas Valley.

S.o.t.D. - Pale Clouded White – Cocteau Twins

Pale Clouded White – Cocteau Twins 

What can I possibly say that hasn’t been said already? Oh, I know.....awesome cover art. Oh....I’m sure someone has already said that. All right. Just enjoy the music then.

Winter Waterfront

Taken on two separate days. Freezing both days. To smartasses who say that Hamilton is like Pittsburgh but without any of the charm, I offer this.
Taken from Central Park. Not quite as grandiose as that more famous one, but a nice little park anyway.
Looking towards the Waterfront Trail.
Downtown on the left.


Monday, 23 January 2012

S.o.t.D. - Melonella – Cocteau Twins

Melonella – Cocteau Twins 

To me this is the point the Cocteau Twins were at their peak, between the Tiny Dynamine and Echoes in a Shallow Bay EPs and the Victorialand LP.

Algoma Guardian

On a recent stroll down to the waterfront I saw a ship looming up above everything else. It looked monstrously big. Definitely wanted to check it out. A few months back there was a laker, the Maritime Trader docked by Pier 8. The ship that was there now, the Algoma Guardian had to be twice the size of that one, if not larger.
That warehouse is two or three stories high.
That anchor is at least 2 meters long.
More than 20 meters wide. That propeller is wider than most cars are long.
That superstructure is at least six stories above the deck.
That bow anchor is at least twice as big as the stern anchor.
More than 200 meters long.

The HMCS Haida could completely disappear in its hold.

Sunday, 22 January 2012


Browsing around on EDCForums a while ago, someone posted some pictures of a change wallet that they had made, based on a Montbell example (top four pics), that is apparently an Asia only item.

I thought it was pretty nifty and decided to make one myself. Using three different widths of webbing and some Velcro, I cobbled it together in an evening.
About 2" by 2".
I added some pull tabs, to make opening it easier.
The original has a little slot along the back for bills or bus tickets or stamps, which mine does not have. But I think I make a few more of these, and will likely incorporate it then. I also want to make a wallet for myself and I think this idea may be incorporated right into it. I’ve had two wallets with a zippered change compartment, and on both, the zipper has gone kaput. Velcro will also give up the ghost, but replacing it is usually less of a chore than replacing a zipper.

All in all, this little thing works very nicely.