Monday, 31 December 2012

S.o.t.D. - Lost Time – Nanobyte

Lost Time – Nanobyte

Somehow seems like the perfect tune for ringing in the new year. That whole “ambient dubstep” sub-genre is producing some really fantastic stuff.

Sunday, 30 December 2012

S.o.t.D. - Last August (For Jared’s Memory) – Daniel Land

Last August (For Jared’s Memory) – Daniel Land

Staggeringly beautiful piece of music. I could listen to this on repeat for hours.

You are puny

The part that gets me is Voyager 1, launched 35 years ago, is 17 light hours away. Hours. That gives my little brain the slightest sense of how vast the universe is. The fastest thing we’ve ever set loose would take approximately 18,734 years to travel one light year. Alpha Centauri, the closest star to our own, is 4.367 light years away. Wow.

Makes me realize that any thoughts of finding another planet to inhabit when we destroy this one are just so much fanciful nonsense. Perhaps we should just go easy on this planet.

Saturday, 29 December 2012

S.o.t.D. - Wandering (Live) – Hidden Orchestra

Wandering (Live) – Hidden Orchestra

These folks impress the heck out of me, but seeing them live, playing with two drum sets, and a cello.....oh yes.

Tales From The Green Valley

I thought this was an incredibly engrossing documentary. Essentially a reality show, without all the backstabbing phonies and drama queens. 5 experts in period garb and using tools of the time spend a year showing what life on a farm in the 1620’s would have been like. 12 half hour episodes, each one showing a month in the year.

This series led to later ones, including Victorian Farm and Edwardian Farm.

If I had a criticism, well if it can really even be called a criticism, is I would love to see this carried through for more than one year. Three years or five years maybe.

Friday, 28 December 2012

S.o.t.D. - Blue – Re-Drum

Blue – Re-Drum

And today’s track has more of a tech-housey feel to it, with a bit of a dub twist.

Bibliophilia: Kill Shot: An American Assassin Thriller by Vince Flynn

I know I should read more profound material, but I love stuff like this. It feels like a guilty pleasure reading it, but it’s always an exciting story that pulls you in. It is the second of the novels that delve back into Mitch Rapp’s past, his early days as a crackerjack assassin.

Thursday, 27 December 2012

S.o.t.D. - A Long Run – Re-Drum

A Long Run – Re-Drum

Just discovered this artist. Some tracks would fit nicely into a set with some Bonobo and Hidden Orchestra.

Tuesday, 25 December 2012

S.o.t.D. - Eigenleben (Das Kraftfuttermischwerk Autoexistenz Mix) – Dubsuite

Eigenleben (Das Kraftfuttermischwerk Autoexistenz Mix) – Dubsuite

If I ruled the world, this would be Christmas music. No more sacchariney sing alongs. Pulsating german dub techno instead.


So the wallet that I had for a bunch of years, one from Asolo, had gotten to a point where I thought a change was in order. I liked the basic design just fine, and had gotten used to the layout. My problem with it was that the material had started wearing through in places, the zipper on the change container had busted and several attempts to repair it had proven futile, and the Velcro that closed it had given up the ghost long ago. Of course. Since the change container no longer closed, I had been using some solutions of my own, both the SmackSack and the Change’mups. The latter I liked a lot, but it meant that I had two items to deal with in two separate spots. Wanted to have bills and change in one spot.

I could have gone out and bought a wallet, but there is no fun in that.

Thought it over for quite a while. Thought of different features, different closure options, how to deal with the change compartment. This is what I went with.

A friend had given me a pack a while ago that I had taken apart for some of the material and webbing and hardware. The Cordura was purple, and since that is a colour I am fond of, and a nice change from the usual black or earth tones I work in, opted to make the wallet from it.

The one thing I did that didn't work in my favour was doubling the fabric. It originally had a waterproof coating that over the years had rubbed off and consequently looked a bit scuzzy. Decided to put it back to back to avoid seeing that. Which made for too much fabric. Dummy.
 I used a different construction method than I would normally use, where I make it inside out and when it’s turned, all my ugly stitches are hidden inside. Here my ugly stitches are visible.
I liked the design of the Change’mups a lot. I though of putting it on the other side, tucked in beside the retaining flap, and a clear window for ID on this side, but went with this instead.
 Instead of guaranteed to be useless in 6 months Velcro, I opted to use snap studs instead. 

Went with a bit of contrast by adding some grey here and there. Like those two colours in combination.
And here I also went with snap studs instead of Velcro.
Underneath the snaps I put a reinforcement of some webbing. Given how often they will be opened and closed, I wanted to do something to lessen the strain that will be put on the thread and the fabric.
550 loops on both sides so that I could attach retention lanyards or hang it around my neck if I wanted.
I can tuck away a miscellany of coupons, bus tickets, business cards, bank books, sentimental photos, etc. I put my library card in the bottom slot and went with a clear window so I can easily scan my card when I sign books out (which I do rather a lot) without having to remove the card from a slot.

Keven at the sail loft gave me some old Spectra line. (It’s probably still fine, but if you’re spending thousands on a sail, you may as well spend a few tens extra on cordage.) Its grey colour worked perfectly with the colour scheme. I tried to do a roundish snake knot, but its thinness and the length of the cord I had to pull through made that a pain in the butt. Opted for a cobra knot, and when I had lots left over went around again for a king cobra knot.
Tethered to the pouch on the Messenge’mups that I carry the wallet in. Prevents loss or snatching.

So all that excess fabric has made it possibly the most rugged wallet ever, and filled up with cards and cash and change, it is a hefty package. Think I will go out at some point and get some new fabric and try it again. But, it works.

Oh and I sewed it by hand. Took me about two weeks. A few hours here, an hour there, a couple of hours there. Not as pretty as I’d like, but it’s strong.

Saturday, 22 December 2012

S.o.t.D. - Unsquare Dance – Dave Brubeck Quartet

Unsquare Dance – Dave Brubeck Quartet

The best two minutes of your day. Such a supremely simple, yet complex tune, with its 7 over 4 time signature.

The choreographer is Ron Poindexter. The dancers are Bill McGrath and Carlu Carter, a married couple from Canada. I think this is from the Smothers Brothers TV show.

Signage: City Motor Hotel

I love the 1950’s modern, space age feel of this. You can just imagine people in big convertibles with big tail fins seeing that sign and thinking it would be a swell place to spend the night. Sadly the glory days of the City Motor Motel had long passed it by, devolving into a den of crack dealing and prostitution at some stage. It was the place in the city that more police calls were sent to than any other, and the city eventually seized it. The city now owns the City.

Friday, 21 December 2012

S.o.t.D. - Crazy – Transient

Crazy – Transient

I’d only ever heard of Transient from a Tischtennis Im Regen remix. Which I really liked. Not sure what took me so long to check him out, but glad I did. One of those artists who doesn’t seem to restrict himself to any specific genre, and seems to do it all well. This one has a languid, trip hoppy beat, with catchy, not quite in the foreground vocals.

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Sunday, 16 December 2012

Victorinox Factory

National Geographic show called MegaFactories that shows how Swiss Army Knives are made, as well as a history of the company and their iconic product(s). Cool.

S.o.t.D. - Missing – Everything But The Girl

Missing – Everything But The Girl

“I miss you like the deserts miss the rain” is such a fantastic line. Fantastic song too.

How to care for Gore-Tex

Nice little video from Arc’Teryx on how to care for your Gore-Tex garments.

Thursday, 13 December 2012

Maps on Spark

CBC Radio 1’s Spark is always a great show. While it falls under the “technology” heading it doesn’t so much deal with what the latest games that are coming out, or how many gigahertz of terabytes a new gizmo has. It deals more specifically with the interplay of society and  technology and how culture is shaped by that.  This weeks episode, episode 199, dealt with maps. If, like me, you find maps interesting, and especially if you dig DIY, this is a good one.

I have been puttering away at a map of my area, but far too many other things vying for my time and effort.

My idea is to take info from a few different sources and compile it into one So much more detail is revealed on aerial photos. Some maps show hiking trails, while others show pubic transit info. Some show topographic or geological info. Some show more human details, building and the like. Take info from a bunch of sources and put it into one. I dream of one map that I can not only create in layers, but view in layers. Having it so that the viewer can customize it to what they want. Someone might have no need to view detail that a contractor might want to view - where hydro poles and storm drains are, but another person might want to not clutter up a map with where public transit routes are, and another could care less about the geology underlying an area or about the topography or lats and longs.

The city I live in has lots of maps available, showing a host of info, some nicely detailed. Problem is that they are all locked PDFs. I know how to work around that and hack into them, but it creates its own set of problems. There are no more layers, typed is cracked up. A lot of time to get that back to a version I think is acceptable. In its own way it solves some problems and saves some time, but it also forces a lot of effort into fixing it. Is it worth it to devote time to it? - one of those 50-50 things.  That’s why the efforts of the city frustrate me. Let me and everyone else at them. I realize they’ve spent an untold amount of money to have a map drawn, but I don’t want to access their maps for nefarious ends. I just want to add that other bicycle route I know of, or add where that grove of oaks is, or add that path that an aerial photo didn’t reveal, or add info that an aerial photo did reveal. If I can add that to a public database, or even just use for my self - print out one or two copies, that's it. Once I get the boat in the water, I might want to add info that other boaters might dig. The spot where you can lift over into another area, precise location via GPS of where there is a fallen tree that is creating an obstruction, those kinds of things. If I go to the trouble to annotate maps, or make improvements to them, why go to the trouble just for me. Share that info.

And some of the other 198 episodes are worth checking out as well. Great show.

S.o.t.D. - Circularity – Tripswitch

Circularity – Tripswitch

Wednesday, 12 December 2012


I don’t usually re-post these sorts of FaceBook feel good videos, but I really dug this one. Being big into being resourceful, doing it yourself, re-purposing stuff, etcetera, I thought this was amazing. And it is you a little hope.

S.o.t.D. - A Subtle Blend – Plug

A Subtle Blend – Plug

I think this still stands as one of the finer examples from D&B’s heyday in the mid to late 90s.

Monday, 10 December 2012

Karma Moose and the Redemption Trout

I’ve been on other trips with these two fine fellas to these particular lakes in the quest for the elusive brook trout.

Two friends on a canoe/fishing quest in Algonquin Park for this slippery prey. Creamy!

S.o.t.D. - Nasty – Killdozer

Nasty – Killdozer

Killdozer, Wisconsin’s finest grungy rock ensemble, did this fine song that was later covered by Miss Jackson. Okay, not really. Well, they are Wisconsin’s finest grungy rock ensemble.

Saturday, 8 December 2012

S.o.t.D. - Overcurrent – Fragile State

Overcurrent – Fragile State

So damn good, I have to post another track by these two fellas. Nicely done track with subtle theremin like low frequency oscillations, the great Rhodes keyboards over top of that, the drums and then the vocals.

Friday, 7 December 2012

S.o.t.D. - Seraya – Fragile State

Seraya – Fragile State

Can’t believe it’s taken me so long to put up this gorgeous tune. FS only has two albums, but they’re both really sumptuous downtempo, jazzy lounge stuff like this. Neil Cowley’s other project is Pretz, also worth checking out.

Andrew Loomis Art Instruction Books

I think these date back to the 1920s, 1930s. I know there was an extensive series of these, and I have several of them, ones I’ve had for a very long time. Since these are now in the public domain, I don’t have any qualms about sharing a link to free high-rez scans of six of his books.

Thursday, 6 December 2012

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

S.o.t.D. - The Duke Arrives-The Barricade – John Carpenter & Alan Howarth

The Duke Arrives - The Barricade – John Carpenter & Alan Howarth

So the movie was pretty ridiculous, but the soundtrack was fantastic.

Bibliophilia: Kayaks, Kayaks and more Kayaks

Given my recent activities, I got my mitts on every book I could find on the subject of building canoes and kayaks. The Building and Repairing Canoes and Kayaks I found the least useful of the bunch because of the age of publication and since it deals exclusively with building fiberglass boats. Not what I was involved in, and the other books dealt with the matter as it pertained to strip building better anyway. Building a Strip Canoe is very nice, especially the included plans. If building a canoe, I would recommend that particular book. The Modern Canoe is another one that I gleaned some hints from, and also recommended to anyone building a canoe. Wood and Canvas Kayak Building is interesting, but since it was a different construction technique, I didn’t read it in any intense depth. I’ll read it again at a later date I’m sure, but given time constraints right now, I needed to focus only on stuff relevant to the kind of boat I was building. Kayaks You Can Build was very good, but dealt more with stitch and glue plywood construction. A technique I would love to tackle soon, but not what I was working on right now, so it got only a cursory read. KayakCraft was by far the most helpful, since it dealt with kayaks specifically, and also because it ties in with the plans we used. This and his other book on strip building a canoe are the books on the subject. Lots of photos and diagrams, and the text I found straight forward and helped me get a good grip on the whole process.
Woman’s Guide to Sea Kayaking – Shelley Johnson

Then after reading everything I could about making them, I wanted to read everything about paddling them, handling them, rolling them, tripping in them, etc. Lots of experience in canoes, none in a kayak. Not for lack of desire, just lack of opportunity. I don’t think the Woman’s Guide to Sea Kayaking has that much gender differentiation other than the title. Women and this man can (and did) learn stuff from it. Kuhne’s book was fairly bare bones; some good info in it, but the presentation was marginal. Certainly compared to the presentation in Paddle Your Own Kayak. Lots of beautiful colour photos, and touched on everything you could want to know about the topic. If I was to recommend only one, the McGuffin’s book wins hands down.
Paddling And Hiking The Georgian Bay Coast – Kas Stone 
Then I wanted to read about going specific places in them. Kayaks don’t really lend themselves to woodland lake hopping so much. But they do lend themselves to open water island hopping. Given there are tens of thousands of islands in Georgian Bay, this is an area ideally suited to the craft. I thought both were equally good. The maps are very rudimentary, but they’re meant to be coupled with  real maps - topos and sailing charts.

Monday, 3 December 2012

S.o.t.D. - I’ll Meet You in Poland, Baby - Scraping Foetus off the Wheel

I’ll Meet You in Poland, Baby - Scraping Foetus off the Wheel

Once I got over the “Dear gawd!” shock of the transgressory nature of the names of J. G.  Thirlwell’s various guises, I really dug the incredibly dense production value of his prolific releases. I think this is the track of his I like the most. 

Sgt. Harold A. Marshall – Canadian Badass

Yeah, that about sums it up.
This photo by Ken Bell was one of the most iconic images of Canadian fighting men of WW2. Sergeant Marshall served with Calgary Highlanders’ Scout and Sniper Platoon. He was wounded on 15 December 1944, several months after the above photo was taken.
The Commanding Officer, Lieutenant-Colonel D.G. MacLauchlan, speaks with scouts Corporal Kormendy and Sergeant Marshall, Kapellen, Belgium, on 6 October 1944. Photo by Ken Bell. Yes that’s a kukri on his belt.

In Ken Bell’s 1973 book Not In Vain, there was a photo of him curling in a Calgary rink. Looking very natty, and like he could still kick ass. I gather he spent his retirement years breeding champion Samoyd dogs, and as of 2008, was still alive.

I salute you sir, and all the other Canadians who served.

Sunday, 2 December 2012

S.o.t.D. - Paid In Full (Seven Minutes of Madness Coldcut Remix) – Eric B and Rakim

Paid In Full (Seven Minutes of Madness Coldcut Remix) – Eric B and Rakim

How did we go from Eric B & Rakim and De La Soul, to Young Jeezy and Lil’ Wayne?


The big catholic cathedral around here, officially Cathedral of Christ the King, is a fairly prominent landmark I often orient myself by. Over the years, I’ve taken a few photos. Different times of day and year and weather conditions and from various angles. I have to say, it is quite a beautiful building on the outside, but I’ve never inspected the inside. I’m afraid I’ll ignite as soon as I cross the threshold.