Thursday, 29 November 2012

Ray Mears’ The Twelve Woodlores

From Ray Mears’ 1990 Survival Handbook

1. Don’t challenge nature, challenge yourself:
Occasionally you will hear people talking about beating the elements by conquering a mountain or crossing an ice cap or some such brave deed. The truth is that the challenge is internal. Have you the skill? Can you overcome your fear? No one can beat the elements; all those that fail to heed the warning signs or have the stupidity to press ahead regardless, die. Instead of taking unnecessary risks challenge yourself to know when to turn back; learn to be more skillful; above all challenge yourself to better understand the way nature works.

2. If you’re roughing it, you’re doing something wrong:

Any fool can be uncomfortable, you gain no points for carrying a heavy backpack, or for any deeds of self-imposed endurance. While you may train for an expedition by roughing it, if there is a way of making yourself more comfortable, without the effort becoming a disadvantage, do so. In emergency situations in particular, just a small amount of hardship can prove to be fatal once your level of morale has dropped.

3. Always give 100% effort the first time:

Whether shelter building, fire-lighting, or whatever, if you don’t set about it in the right way the first time you are wasting your energy and will simply have to start from scratch again.

4. Aim to achieve maximum efficiency for minimum effort:

To work you need energy; for energy you need food. In the outdoors finding food is work. When you gather your firewood for your fire do you carry large armfuls to the log pile or do you only fill your hands?

5. Never pass by an opportunity:

This is very important. As you travel along, should you find suitable water, food or fire-lighting materials, gather them as you pass since you may not have the opportunity later when they are needed. This is particularly true of fire building materials whereby the end of a day’s travel it may be raining or have rained earlier soaking the available tinder. Many of my old shirts and jackets have birch bark pieces in the pockets that I gathered some years ago now.

6. As far as you can, adapt your expectations to a level which you can meet given the circumstances:

If you cannot build a large comfortable shelter, be satisfied with a small shelter. If there is not a wide variety of wild foods available to you, be grateful for the one type you can eat. Make your psychology work for you. Be realistic - make yourself comfortable but do not over-work yourself to achieve this: it’s no use building a palatial shelter if you then collapse with exhaustion inside it. But also do not underestimate what you can achieve.

7. Only eat that which you have positively identified as edible:

Do not trust taste tests or in any way experiment with unfamiliar plants or other materials for use as food. The only real way to eat in safety and confidence is to learn what can be eaten and just how to prepare the food before you set out. If this seems like hard work you should not be eating wild foods.

8. Suspect all water as being infected:

Even the cleanest, coolest most alluring water may well be contaminated; you cannot tell at a glance. Boil or purify all water - check in particular for signs of chemical pollution, this may be concentrated by boiling!

9. The state of your fire is directly proportionate to your level of morale:

Whatever your level of morale, if you can light a fire it will be raised, but if you fail it will plummet like a stone. If you are not confident of your ability to light a fire in the rain it may well be better to wait until the rain stops before trying.

10. Whenever gathering your resources use natural selection as your guide, this is the ‘way’ of nature:

Leave the strong, harvest the weak; when gathering food you should always leave a proportion of healthy plants, shellfish or whatever to continue the line. By this lore stronger healthy creatures will have the best chances for survival and thereby proliferate in the future.

11. Take only memories leave only footprints:

Wherever possible minimize your impact upon the natural environment, and always aim to leave a campsite in a better state then you found it.

12. Be fit, able to swim and do not give in:

Every single skill or technique which follows is easier to learn and master if you are fit. The outdoors is filled with risks and the danger of unpredictable circumstances. Your fitness may well be your last line of defense in such circumstances.

Does your family love to read?

Signage: Fully Certified Cars

Old garage on Queenston Road.

S.o.t.D. - No Name, No Slogan – Acid Horse

No Name, No Slogan – Acid Horse

While Al Jourgenson’s entire output has devolved into absurd cock rock nonsense, for a while in the late eighties he did some interesting stuff - namely with various collaborators. Pailhead, with Iain MacKaye being one, Lard with Jello Biafra being another, and Acid Horse, a one off collaboration with Cabaret Voltaire being yet another.

Bibliophilia: Kill Decision by Daniel Suarez

Kill Decision – Daniel Suarez

Didn’t like it quite as much as his first two books (which I loved), but I still liked this a lot. Scared the hell out of me though. It explores the concept (not a fanciful science fiction conceit) of applying swarm intelligence (think ants) into drones. Drones I find fascinating, and I admit that I don’t lose sleep over the US whacking fundamentalist scum in Pakistan with them. Compared to WW2 when hundreds of bombers would be flown against a target, suffering terrible losses, with incredible collateral damage, a targeted strike is preferrable.

At one time drones were the purview of major world powers. They cost a staggering amount to develop and operate. But now, non-nation players like Hezbollah have drones. Not nearly as sophisticated as what Israel has, but if your intent is to spy on your enemies, it will suffice. D
rones are within the reach of almost anyone. For a few hundred dollars, you can have a remote controlled helicopter or plane, mount a camera on it, and you have a functional observation drone.

But the book delves into something chilling, and it is not a sci-fi fantasy. Namely, autonomous drones. Drones that aren’t controlled by a human, but that make their own decisions. The reason given is that sophisticated powers (Russia, China, Iran, etc.) can jam the signals that control the drone. So, in order to avoid that, the idea is to have a drone that can navigate, distinguish targets and fire on them, without a human saying yay or nay.

And I concur with the accolades that he seems to be becoming the inheritor of the Creighton techno-thriller mantle.

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

S.o.t.D. - Demonomania (remix) – Test Dept.

Demonomania (remix) – Test Dept.

From the stage when they started to mellow out a little and explore a more dance oriented sound. Kind of a parallel of my own musical development.

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

S.o.t.D. - Go With The Flow – Malt. Tabulated Sounds

Go With The Flow – Malt. Tabulated Sounds

While I’d like to find out what movie this imagery is taken from, I’m expecially glad I found this track. Wonderful stuff.

Fixer’s Manifesto

The makers of the wondrous Sugru have the Fixer’s Manifesto up on their website. I can dig it. For a very long time now I have had a tendency to tweak things to my liking. I don’t buy into the notion that one size fits all, or that one persons vision of how an item should function, works for all people. I look for shoes for instance that I can resole or have repaired. Sharing my knowledge is something I’ve strived to do for a while now. And I have been known to take old or inappropriate for me stuff apart, packs for instance, and turn it into something else.

Monday, 26 November 2012

Kayak Build pt. 14

Taking her out for a test spin.

Now that the kayak was close-ish to being sea worthy, we wanted to take her out for a quick test paddle. It won’t be fully completed for a while yet, and I didn’t want to wait until next spring to try her out. And the other thing we wanted to see is: do they work for us. Meaning, we chose this design for two big boys to use. Before we go ahead and build a second one, shouldn’t we see that they indeed fit us. Can we get our selves into the cockpit okay, do our legs fit, do our feet fit? I was reasonably sure they would, but for the heck of it, we arranged with Dag to come down on a Sunday afternoon and we walked her down to the water and gave her a quick test spin. 

And another thing is that I have never been in a kayak. Canoes many times, although my experience with soloing them is limited. So I really wanted to get into one and see what it was all about. I was a little bit nervous, but more than anything I was very excited.
When I got there, Hank had shuffled the strongback with the kayak on it over to the side so we would have room to put it on the floor before lowering it out of the window. To offer a little protection from damaging the still unfinished sides, and also to hold the totally unfinished hatches in place, he had applied tuck tape.
Ready for launch.
A few months ago we shoved big honking planks of wood up through the attic window. Now we were lowering what we had made form those planks down from the attic window.
Off we go.
In the water for the first time. Hopefully the first of many, many, many times she is lowered into the water. I opted to wear my wetsuit pants and paddling booties, in case something bad happened and someone had to go in after it. Unlikely, but you never know. Oh and I was also a responsible paddler and wore my PFD.

Getting in was a little freaky, just because it’s an unfamiliar craft, and a sensation I need to get used to. But once I was Very different than a canoe, just because I’m pretty much in the water, rather than sitting a foot above it like in a canoe. 

Okay, I’m in this thing, I haven’t flipped over, hung up inside it, drowning...okay. This is cool. Oh I’m liking this sensation.
Foolishly we had put it in the wrong way around, with the stern towards the open water, so I had to get a long, very fast boat turned around in a small space. Not being used to the length or speed of it was a bit awkward, and I had never used a double bladed paddle either, but within a minute or so I had the hang of it. Played around a little getting a handle on handling it
All right, enough goofing off, let’s take it out into open water. Hank had a wooden paddle up in the attic rafters taht I used, but it is really too short for me. I need to carve some paddles over the winter.
Like I said, an almost 20 foot long kayak is fast. And that sensation of gliding on the water....WOW!
The freakiest part of the whole exercise was getting a grip on how far that bow jutted out in front of me and easy it was for that long boat to move almost effortlessly with one stroke of the paddle and how quickly that would move me towards the dock. I bumped into the dock a few times. Whoops.
Then it was Dag’s turn to give her a whirl.
Being a very experienced paddler (not to mention an Olympic level sailor) he made it turn with no effort at all.
And off he goes.
And he was also very happy with the way it handled. Both of us fit inside of it just fine. And may I just say...damn that kayak looks nice. Those lines are something else.
And no! I didn’t pee myself. With no seats inside of it, the water dripped off the paddle and collected right under my ass.

And then, sadly, we brought it back inside, and hung it up in the rafters to begin the next boat. Lots of fiddly things left to do (bulkheads, hatches, foot braces, seats, stem band, gluing it together, putting on the rub rail, varnishing it), but they will be done over the coming months.

I could have paddled that thing for a few more hours.

S.o.t.D. – The Wheel - S O H N

The Wheel – S O H N

No idea how to categorize this. Quirky pop maybe. All I know is it’s catchy as hell.

Friday, 23 November 2012

S.o.t.D. - The Silver Lining – Oscillist

The Silver Lining – Oscillist


Bibliophilia: Sgt. Rock: The Lost Battalion by William Tucci

I recall reading a Sgt. Rock comic book or two when I was a kid and thinking it was asinine. This however, is something else altogether. Tucci’s art is great, very accurately detailed, beautifuly coloured, and it relates a slice of history. In the story, he is with the 1st Battalion, 141st Infantry, which was surrounded by numerically superior German forces in the Vosges Mountains on 24 October 1944 and eventually rescued by the Asian-American 442nd Regimental Combat Team. The latter was a unit comprised of Japanese-Americans. Their families were interned back home, and forbidden from fighting in the Pacific theatre, they distinguished themselves in the European theatre.

And my dad is likely spinning in his grave, but I have to, and hate to, admit that German mountain troops always looked really damn cool. Those bastards had panache.

Thursday, 22 November 2012

S.o.t.D. - Cables – Textural Being

Cables – Textural Being

Another artist that would fit well in a set alongside yesterdays artist.

Marketing (Outdoor Gear) in the 21st Century pt. 1

I think anyone whose advertising of any sort of outdoor gear (although I think it applies to a lot of things) is limited to ads in magazines is putting themselves in a customer awareness deficit. An advertisement in a magazine or even a website in most cases is merely a monologue. Participating in forums or interacting with bloggers is a dialogue.

Being active on a variety of forums and interacting with a bunch of bloggers has proven to me that the way to market a product has shifted. Drastically.

An ad in say a, bicycling magazine, may serve to make me aware or curious about a product, but that’s it. Then I quickly go looking for info about it online. Either to see what people are saying about it on forums or if any bloggers have done a review. A review by a real world user is worth gold to me. I’m not talking about copying the press release and generic ¾ view of the product. I’m talking about photos the user has taken, from every angle, inside outside, top, bottom. Does the review pass the sniff test? Nothing but effusive praise about a product, every product they review, sounds suspicious. Do they identify what they perceive as a shortcoming about the product, as well as what they like? That isn’t necessarily a bad thing for the company behind the product. It merely shows that a real human being, not a lapdog reviewed it. Not every product is perfect for every person. That’s fine. “I thought the shoulder strap was a bit short.” Not a deal breaker for most people, but I appreciate being told that. I’ve seen company reps getting defensive about minor points that a reviewer didn’t like. It’s to be expected. It’s okay.

Successful companies have their own forums and blogs, and participate in forums and respond to blog posts.

Let me cite an example. Kifaru. I own a bunch of their packs. Totally happy with them. Their forum features other happy users. Many prospective customers come there to inquire about their products. “Hey, I have a ........ and it’s this big and will it fit in .........” And the brigade of happy users often answer the questions before the staff does. I’m one of those people. Their users post pictures and reviews. I can imagine the company is thrilled that their good products and good service have created a legion of unpaid sales people and customer service reps. Notice the all important key of having great products in the first place and that their customer service being second to none. Those are the all important building blocks. But if you can then back it up with your fans shouting your praises – that’s golden. And the forum also serves as a great place to announce new products, interact with (and be seen to be interacting with) customers who have a mixed up order, a problem with a product, questions about the product, etc.

Being active on forums devoted to a variety of topics, I see daily how well companies do that have their reps active on those forums. Answering questions about products, heading off customer problems with polite offers of help can pay major dividends. And I see how companies that don’t communicate with their potential customer base, or communicate badly with their existing customer base do. It often takes little more than a few lines, “Hey this was missing that, or item Q had Y malfunction?”
“No problem give me a call on this number and I’ll get you squared away.”
And then two days later the forum poster comes back and raves about what great service they received from such and such company, and how quick they got a replacement. Seeing that tells multitudes of customers and potential customers that the company is responsive and genuinely cares. It makes people realize that of course things can go wrong. One out of a million parts can break, the assembly line might not spit that one part out of the feeder into the box. But if the company is there to respond and rectify the situation, it shows they’re there to help and stand behind their product and their brand. And I’ve witnessed how wrong it can go when customers come on forums to complain about the lousy service they got from XYZ company and no one is there to help, or when company reps antagonize customers. That customer may well be in the wrong. But seeing a company representative calmly try to rectify the situation, is the important thing for everyone else to see.

By the same token, reps finding reviews on blogs and responding, answering questions, correcting erroneous information, offering to help, all those things can pay dividends. Throwing a bone to the blogger who went to the trouble of photographing your product or making a video or writing a review, is also a small gesture that can build goodwill. Offer them a pre-release product to review to help build awareness when it comes out, a T-shirt to wear when they review your next product - simple gestures that make the company look like actual humans work there.

And the important thing to point out is not to be anonymous. Forum posts from shills might work once or twice, but people quickly see through them. Be up front. Post your name and what you do and how to contact you below your post. Blog posts from companies that masquerade as independent reviewers will quickly backfire. Be sincere. It pays off in the long run.

Forums do cost money to run, and some forums might not appreciate a company coming on to essentially advertise their wares. A company might well have to take out an ad to help defray the cost of hosting that forum. But the cost of that, to essentially find some of the most targeted marketing out there, to be able to speak directly to your customers, is a bargain compared to what an ad in a magazine would cost.

I’m sure ads in magazines may help to some degree to help build brand awareness and let people know about new products. But I feel the days of spending most of an advertising budget on that medium are waning. Besides a web site, companies need to spend time and resources on interacting with end users on forums, acknowledging bloggers for their reviews, finding bloggers to slip a product to to review, etc., etc. Consumers place far more stock in a relatively unpolished review by a genuine end user, than they do in a review from a glossy magazine that never says a bad thing about anything they review. A review that is often little more than a rehashed press release. Customers instinctively realize when someone knows what they’re talking about, and when someone is little more than an unctuous salesperson.

I think companies ignore the new paradigm of how to market their wares at their own peril.

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Dieter Rams’ ten principles of “good design”

Dieter Rams, celebrated German industrial designer with Braun, who once described his design approach in the phrase “Weniger, aber besser” which translates as “Less, but better”, offers these words of wisdom to contemplate.

Good design:
  1. Is innovative - The possibilities for innovation are not, by any means, exhausted. Technological development is always offering new opportunities for innovative design. But innovative design always develops in tandem with innovative technology, and can never be an end in itself.
  2. Makes a product useful - A product is bought to be used. It has to satisfy certain criteria, not only functional, but also psychological and aesthetic. Good design emphasizes the usefulness of a product whilst disregarding anything that could possibly detract from it.
  3. Is aesthetic - The aesthetic quality of a product is integral to its usefulness because products are used every day and have an effect on people and their well-being. Only well-executed objects can be beautiful.
  4. Makes a product understandable - It clarifies the product’s structure. Better still, it can make the product clearly express its function by making use of the user’s intuition. At best, it is self-explanatory.
  5. Is unobtrusive - Products fulfilling a purpose are like tools. They are neither decorative objects nor works of art. Their design should therefore be both neutral and restrained, to leave room for the user's self-expression.
  6. Is honest - It does not make a product more innovative, powerful or valuable than it really is. It does not attempt to manipulate the consumer with promises that cannot be kept.
  7. Is long-lasting - It avoids being fashionable and therefore never appears antiquated. Unlike fashionable design, it lasts many years – even in today’s throwaway society.
  8. Is thorough down to the last detail - Nothing must be arbitrary or left to chance. Care and accuracy in the design process show respect towards the consumer.
  9. Is environmentally friendly - Design makes an important contribution to the preservation of the environment. It conserves resources and minimizes physical and visual pollution throughout the lifecycle of the product.
  10. Is as little design as possible - Less, but better – because it concentrates on the essential aspects, and the products are not burdened with non-essentials. Back to purity, back to simplicity.

S.o.t.D. - Option 21 – Marko Fürstenberg

I was thrilled to discover Thinner records about a decade ago. This was one of several artists I particularly liked among the glitchy, dubby tech-house sounds they specialized in. Brooding, pulsating track.

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

How to Fold a Topographic Map and Other Techniques

ITS has a great post today on folding a topo map. I’ve known about this one for a long time, but worth passing along. I just wish I could buy road and city maps unfolded, so I could fold them properly. The way they’re folded has nothing to do with usage, and everything to do with displaying them in a retail environment.

How to Fold a Topographic Map and Other Techniques

S.o.t.D. - Spoken – Hidden Orchestra

Spoken – Hidden Orchestra

Hidden Orchestra have been a discovery I’m really liking.

Malala Yousafzai Public School

I have mentioned my white hot hatred for religious zealots that try to murder school girls.

Kids in Milton, Ontario have a campaign going to have a new public school named after Malala Yousafzai. Just because I know it will annoy Taliban shit lickers to no end, and because the thought of that makes me giggle with delight, please go this link where you can ask the Halton District School Board to do just that. Thank you. And do it before November 23rd.

Fuck you Taliban!

Why I have no patience for conspiracy theories

I have little to no patience with conspiracy theory stuff. It is all such a collosal waste of time and effort. My basic response is always. So what? So there are secret alien moon bases that NASA knows about and are hiding the fact from us, and that is why they stopped going to the moon cause the aliens told them to back off, (oh, wait, did they actually go to the moon?). Even if any of this is real, what the hell am I or anyone else supposed to do about it? Why the hell would anyone waste a nano-second of their time on this rubbish? I can do something about my community, I can help out my local councillors election campaign, I can talk to city committees about traffic isssues, or let the cops know about something that isn’t copacetic, etc. What the hell am I supposed to do about the “secret world government”? I have no power to control those sorts of things, so why fret about it.

It just boils down to this pathological need to believe something, no matter how outlandish, to be “in on the secret.” Alex Dice and Alex Jones and their ilk...they’re charlatans. They can make up the most outlandish nonsense, and gullible fools with the part of the brain that I’m apparently missing that allows them to fall for it, buy into it. No proof needed of course. Just outlandish conjecture and supposition. And people waste untold amounts of their lives on it. Sit around in a big internet circle jerk telling each other how enlightened they are cause they’re “in on the secret.” Not sure exactly what the hell any of them think they’re going to do about it, but anyway. Getting involved in their local community to affect change likely doesn’t have as much appeal. Not as sexy or as easy as endlessly discussing how JESUS WAS AN ALIEN WHO WAS IN CAHOOTS WITH THE FREEMASONS WHO HAD PRINCESS DIANA MURDERED AFTER BILL GATES IMPLANTED A MIND CONTROL CHIP IN HER BRAIN BECAUSE THE CIA MANIPULATE THE WORLD BANK TO HELP THE ZIONISTS SUPRESS THE INCANS WHO SACRIFICED ILLUMINATI AFTER THEY EXPOSED EVIDENCE OF MI6 EFFORTS TO HIDE UFOS UNDER THE PYRAMIDS WHICH ARE REALLY THE SECRET HEADQUARTERS OF THE TRILATERAL COMMISSION THAT IS THE TRUE FACE OF THE VATICAN WHO USE SAS SOLDIERS TO ENSURE THE SWISS CARRY BIO-METRIC IDENTIFICATION CARDS TO HELP THE BILDERBER GROUP FORCE MOZAMBIQUAN CHILDREN TO DIG FOR UNOBTANIUM THAT IS USED FOR COVERT ANTI-MUSLIM PSY-OPS IN THE TUNNELS UNDER TOKYO WHERE CANISTERS ARE FILLED WITH BIO-WEAPONS AND FLOWN VIA RUSSIAN PLANES TO HIDDEN SOUTH PACIFIC ISLAND BASES WHERE NEO-NAZIS EXPERIMENT ON SOMALI PIRATES WHOSE TRUE AIM IS TO REVEAL EVIDENCE OF CHINESE EFFORTS TO CONTROL THE WORLD PHARMACEUTICAL MARKET SO MOSSAD CAN ASSASSINATE MICHAEL MOORE BECAUSE HE'S ABOUT TO REVEAL HOW NASA FAKED THE MOON LANDINGS SO BUSH AND THE NEO-CONS COULD PULL OFF 9-11!!!!!!!!!

Came across something I wrote a few years ago in response to a conspiracy kook I know who posted a video on Facebook showing a “doctor”, Tulio Simoncini, discussing how cancer is really a fungus. And his treatment? Infusions of baking soda. Wow, this just reeks of a conspiracy, so he’s all over it. ‘Big pharmaceutical companies are keeping this guy down, maaaaan!’ Well, this of course got a response from me.

I think there is a duck outside my window because all I’m hearing is “quack! quack! quack!”

The most cursory Google search on his name reveals that he’s been convicted of fraud and manslaughter in Italy, and he’s also being investigated for similar accusations in other jurisdictions in Europe. His license to practice medicine has been revoked in Italy. Doctors are a valuable commodity. Their licenses aren’t revoked because his tie wasn’t this seasons style. It takes something really damn serious for that to happen. That’s what a detective would call a clue.

This man is a shill and a charlatan. He preys on the most vulnerable people. The 35 year old mother, who has been told her cancer will kill her in a few months, whose oldest daughter just went into grade 2 and who desperately wants to continue being a mother to her 3 children. With no where else to turn, all other avenues exhausted, she turns to this smooth talking snake oil salesman. He promises her hope, and desperate, she falls for it. And of course the only person who benefits is him. He is despicable on a whole other level of despicable.

It’s such a damn cliché, you could use a checklist for these cranks.
] Global cross-specialty conspiracy
] I’m the only one who knows the obvious truth
] Here is my treatment, BigPharma can’t patent it or make money off it, so I will
] Why publish in scientific journals if you can publish books that are sold in health food stores
] Deaths are coincidental or because of the illness, recovery is due to my treatment

To which he replied with “Yeah, but what did you think of the video?” (The video was Simoncini giving a talk to a rapturous audience of about a hundred or so, and interviews with three acolytes “cured” by him.)

I thought it was little more than a Peter Popoff faith healer sermon. A hundred true believers doesn’t really constitute incontrovertible proof. Three people claiming that he cured them doesn’t really confer iron clad evidence.

If two dozen oncologists were interviewed and they all claimed that this man was on to something, that he may well have the cure to cancer rather than a bogus scam that he stood to profit from, then, then, I might be somewhat swayed.

I’ve said it before, but let me say it again. Proof. Where is the proof?

Let me explain to you how science works. You have a theory, you design a study to investigate this theory, you have carefully laid down parameters, and you conduct your experiment. You very carefully record your results. If the theory is borne out, you publish your findings in a peer reviewed journal. Others in your field of study analyze your findings, and critique it or applaud it. Other scientists set out to reproduce your results, possibly in a larger test group, and if they have success they publish their findings, then others study their findings in peer reviewed journals and present it at lectures in front of other experts in the field.

Please show me this “doctors” peer reviewed studies? Oh, he doesn’t actually have any? Oh, he published a book that is sold in health food stores between the macrobiotic recipe book and the latest fad diet book?

Maybe this guys “findings” are the breakthrough everyone has been looking for. Maybe baking soda really is the cure for cancer. Then prove it! Prove it in a quantifiable way, do double blind studies, solicit the opinions of your peers in the field, have others reproduce your results. If it’s real, you can reproduce the results.

But this? This is vague wishy washy nonsense, that appeals to crackpots railing against Big-Pharma-Business-Corporate-Cartels, and desperate, terrified people who are clutching at straws to stay alive a little longer.

Until he publishes satisfactory findings in scientific journals, he’s nothing more than a quack and a fraud, who is giving people false hope and causing harm.

In case you can’t tell, I really loathe conspiracy theory bullshit.

Monday, 19 November 2012

Totally Tubular – Belt’mups pt. 2

The original of this you can read about here:

So in some ways the basic premise of the first version was sound. It was certainly comfortable to wear, contained a decent amount of survival stuff, but what put the kibosh on it was the buckle. It was simply too big to pass through even the biggest belt loops on any pants I had. I put the idea on the backburner for a while (where far too many of my ideas languish.). I decided to turn it into a pocket of sorts that could be attached to a belt rather than serve as the belt itself. And that works much better.

The belt is a 5.11 1.75" TDU belt. Not a heck of a lot to say about it. It’s a belt, it’s stiff, the webbing doesn’t slip through the buckle, it holds my pants up, I can put pouches on it. I’ve been wearing it for....5 years now. I like it. So all in all I would give it a hearty endorsement.
Sorry, black on black isn’t so easy to see.
A better look at the pouch itself. I put Velcro at both ends to load and unload. Sewn only along the outer edges, but it’s sufficient to hold it closed. And since it will be opened and closed very rarely, that’s enough. I also sewed on three loops to hold it onto the belt.
A closer look at the loops.
On the belt. Snug fit.
Closeup of the closure. (And if you want to know what I have in there, the link at the top of the page will tell you. The one thing I have added are a bunch more Micropur tablets. After a hiking trip where my main water purification system went down, I realized that just a few of those tablets is not enough. Yes I can boil water, but that has serious limitations. You have to stop for a time, use up either fuel or collect wood, drinking boiled water in the middle of summer is not so fun, so you have to wait for it to cool down, and when it is summer, and you are moving, you will repeat that process several times a day. Tablets are a lot easier.)
And worn. Pushed down a bit on the left hand side there, but that is no biggie. Again, very comfortable. I’ve been wearing it for three days now, and I don’t even know it’s there. It makes weaving it through belt loops and through loops on the back of pouches a little trickier, but not majorly so.

Nice to take an idea I felt had some merit and turn it into a more functional reality. It may not necessarily be something I will wear every day, but I can if I want to. Unless I’m unfortunate enough to have to go into non-permissive environments. Which thankfully, I don’t do very often.

S.o.t.D. - Bills To Pay – Moon Boots

Bills To Pay – Moon Boots

I did look up Moon Boots after yesterdays track, and I’m glad I did. Fun stuff.

Sunday, 18 November 2012

S.o.t.D. - Peanut Butter (Moon Boots Remix) – Alison Valentine

Peanut Butter (Moon Boots Remix) – Alison Valentine

May have to check out Moon Boots some more.

Tip to deal with camera loss

Interesting tip I heard on the radio today for dealing with a lost camera: The first photo you take with any data card, snap a photo of a sheet of 8.5x11 paper that shows your name, address, email address and phone numbers. And then if at all possible, set it so that the photo can’t be erased. Then, if you do lose your camera and some honest person finds it, they will know who to contact. Not a fail safe guarantee against loss, but a slight safety measure anyway.

And the other thing I have to say...I don’t know how many times I’ve encountered someone who has many hundreds of photos, a year and a half worth, and they haven’t offloaded a single photo. For gawds sake people, offload those pictures often. I do it almost every day. Better to lose a few photos rather than hundreds or thousands.