Thursday, 28 February 2013

S.o.t.D. - Just Another Dub (Sounds From The Ground Rmx) – Impact All Stars

Just Another Dub (Sounds From The Ground Rmx) – Impact All Stars

Sweet tune from the Blood & Fire label.

Signage: LaSalle Cabinets

I’ve often admired the building beside the house my friends Terry and Anita used to live in on Vine Street. Walked past there today and noticed that the old sign for the auto supply place that used to be in there was removed, revealing the painted sign that used to be there. Blog post from the company that is moving in there, PeaPod Studios shows some other pics of the building and the sign that used to be there.

Wednesday, 27 February 2013

S.o.t.D. - Stella – Jam & Spoon

Stella – Jam & Spoon

I sort of vaguely know this woman Stella. Total knockout. Smoking hot body, gorgeous face, nerdy glasses, delightful French accent, sashays when she walks, nice hair, smart, terrific personality. Basically she’d cause a Buddhist monk to punch a hole in a wall.

I wouldn’t say this Stella is on par with that Stella, but she ain’t bad either. 

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

S.o.t.D. - Yulquen – Autechre

Yulquen – Autechre

For whatever reason, Autechre is an act I’ve never really gotten into. I’ve seen them live, twice, but a lot of what they did was just way too abstruse and angular for me. Mangled sound sculptures, concatenations of distorted samples, arhythmic experimentation. Most of it just gives me a headache. Off! 

This however is a pretty, shimmering track with some crazy low bass frequencies.

Artspiration – Brian Jungen

Brian Jungen has assumed the crown once worn by Bill Reid as the most interesting aboriginal artist in Canada.
Whether it’s a whale skeleton constructed from white plastic lawn chairs....
....or masks made from Nike sneakers, his work never fails to elicit a smile and a wondrous feeling that you are witnessing the work of a gifted and clever artist. He has taken iconic NorthWest Coast imagery and the detritus of our modern consumer society and turned them into something entirely his own - an homage to his roots, yet questioning the world as it is. 

There is a book of his work, and here are a few galleries with selections of his work. Worth looking up his work in an image search as well.

Monday, 25 February 2013

S.o.t.D. - The Sun Rising (Tom’s Drum & Bass mix by Global Communication) – The Beloved

The Sun Rising (Tom’s Drum & Bass mix by Global Communication) – The Beloved

The original, with its madrigal vocal samples from the sublime A Feather On The Breath of God: Sequences and Hymns by the Abbess Hildegard of Bingen, was good, but Mr. Middleton’s magic touch makes it exponentially better.

(Hildegard of Bingen is a fascinating historical character by the way.)

Dundurn as Dusk Approaches

Hitchcraft – Sling In Action

Tromped down to a spot I knew I could find some rocks and also fling said rocks with gleeful abandon and not have to worry about causing any damage. 
The sling loaded, or as I prefer to call it, the “High Capacity, High Power, Military Style Assault Weapon Machine Sling!”
And after that photo, the battery in the camera died. I fired that incompetent photographer on the spot.

Which is perhaps for the best, since my performance was on the whole rather pitiful. I mentioned yesterday that there is a very steep learning curve to these. I thought that had to do with actually hitting a target. I didn’t realize that it also had to do with flinging the rock in any sort of desired direction, releasing the knot at the right time, etc. I tried swinging it over hand, underhand and overhead. The latter, helicopter style essentially seemed to be the one that worked best for flinging the rock in random directions. The others were a little more accurate. As for my hoped for speed and power and distance.....the less said the better. I think my best shot was about 25 meters. 

Since there was a hard crust of ice all over everything, finding decent rocks also proved tough. I did the best I could, but didn’t find much. I think I’ll go to the dollar store for some marbles and keep trying. 

I can see this being fun. Once I get the hang of it.

I erred on the side of leaving the cord quite long, just a few inches off the ground when hanging from my hand. I may find I prefer the cord shorter, but I’ll try it for a while this long.

Here you can see a mistake I made. Opening my fingers when the knot is down there, I would have to crank them wide open in order for it to be released. What I should have done of course is use that amazing thing humans have – the opposable thumb. Clamping the knot between the thumb and index finger makes it very easy to release it at the right time. By the time my little pea-brain figured that out I had run out of usable rocks. But I know now for next time.

Sunday, 24 February 2013

S.o.t.D. - Microdubs – Geoff White

Microdubs – Geoff White

Infectiously groovy, dubby shuffler. Love this sort of stuff.

Star Wars Samurai

Print hanging up at the shop that makes me smile. Done by Rob Noseworthy at Black & Blue Tattoo out in Nanaimo, B.C. Kenobi and Vader as samurais done up in classic Japanese tattoo style.

Hitchcraft – Sling

After meaning to make a sling for ages, I once again came across what is the site on the subject,, and decided “goddamnit, get off your ass and make one already.” I spent the afternoon trying a few different approaches, and wasn’t so thrilled with them. I recall seeing this particular tutorial years ago, and attempted it. Worked out nicely.

I will be happier tomorrow morning when I am flinging rocks out across the lake. There is a very steep learning curve with these. Accuracy will come with a lot of practice. But for now I will be thrilled with speed and power and distance.

Saturday, 23 February 2013

S.o.t.D. - Oh Little Brain (Bluetech Spaze Gaze Mix) – STS9

Oh Little Brain (Bluetech Spaze Gaze Mix) – STS9


Steampunk Sewing Arm Bracer

I find steam punk kind of interesting, but then I realize the dork factor is just way too high. Not to mention the sameness of a lot of it. For every breathtaking steampunk Mac (and some of the other projects on the right hand side as well), there are a surfeit of uninspired watch gears hot glue gunned on to something, and that’s supposed to suffice.

Came across this one though that made me chuckle. Too dorky for me to even contemplate ever wearing, even if I made a PALS covered Cordura version. But as a guy hooked on DIY and who hand sews a whole hell of a lot, I appreciate it. A wearable hussif if you will. (A link to the makers Etsy site if you’re inclined to order one.)
And making me reassess just how dorky I think steampunk is.........

The Four Tattoos You Need To Stop Getting Right Now

I almost spit coffee out of my nose.

“Girls, you are the worst offenders. I can almost guess which of these images you’re about to show me when you pull out your pink, blingy iPhone and start scrolling through the images. And I wait and wait as your squared-off plastic french manicure thumbnail taps the screen repeatedly while you search through all the duckface pics you made in the ladies room at Chipotle.” 

Having spent a fair bit of time in tattoo shops and around tattooists, I see and hear about it all. And yes he is correct. The amount of herd mentality you see in tattoo clients, especially women is unreal. You see these waves of the same damn design/essential design come through. And when you offer to draw something along those lines, but you know, a little more unique, no no, they want that exact same tattoo they just handed you a shitty low rez JPEG print out of.

At one point 
it was butterflies, then it was kanji, then it was ass antlers, then it was a little heart on the wrist with the word love in it. Now it’s these sheets of “profound” text and  “inspirational” quotes. As a friend of mine, who is even more cynical than I am, has no qualms about saying, “some things just need to be kept to a T-shirt or a framed picture on the wall.” Thanks for helping pay the rent, but good god damn, develop a personality already.

Friday, 22 February 2013

S.o.t.D. - Catalogue – Drei Farben House

I still chuckle a bit at the idea of pasty white German guys producing super funky music, but when it’s this groovy, I’ll just shut up and dance.

Thursday, 21 February 2013

S.o.t.D. - Cover Your Dreams – Reii

Cover Your Dreams – Reii

Don’t even know how to categorize this, but it is a hauntingly beautiful gem. Like floating in a lagoon, shafts of sparkling sunlight beaming through. Awesome!

Cool Map Tools

Found this recently and thought there were some nifty tools featured there. (From what I can deduce, this is merely a compendium of tools. They aren’t necessarily the creators of them. I think more than one entities efforts are included. Because of that some of them appear to overlap in abilities.) Scrolling down each one a ways reveals some more info, known problems, end users advice, etc.

Radius Around Point - ie, what area falls within say a 50 mile radius of a particular location. Size of radius can be set to any desired distance.

How Far Can I Travel - how far can you travel within a certain time period given a specified mode of transportation and speed travelled.

How Far Is It Between - gives both an “as the crow flies” and roadway distance between two named points on a map.

Trip Calculator - Similar to the above tool, but allows you to determine the route as opposed to an algorithm determinining the most direct route. Want to meander along on back country roads and take a more circuitous route? This will allow you to figure out the distance and time involved.

Measure Distance - (Perhaps somewhat similar to the above.) You can do a very precise measurement of the distance of a route you want to or have traveled. And you aren’t limited to an “as the crow flies” route either. You can click and leave a way point as many times as you like to more accurately follow the route you will or have taken.

KML File Creator - Keyhole Markup Language. uhm....not entirely sure what this does.

Area Calculator - A planimeter tool that can measure the enclosed area of a defined polyline on a map. Will also give you the perimeter length as well as the area in a few different formats.

Map Tunneling Tool - A bit silly, but allows you to determine where exactly you would end up on the other side of the Earth - if you were to dig a tunnel straight through from where you are.

Tunnel to the Other Side of the Google Earth - Similar to the above tool.

How Far Does Santa Have To Travel - Again, another bit of silliness.

International Meeting Centre of Gravity Tool - Have a bunch of delegates from many different locations coming together for a conference, meeting, etc.? This tool will allow you to determine the most central location to meet.

Range Finder - Find out the end point on a map when you specify a start point, a bearing and a distance.

Elevation Finder - Used to find an estimate for the elevation of a point on the earth. Although it didn’t display any info for me. Maybe just the particular browser I used?

Find Sunrise and Sunset Time at a Location - Find out the next sunrise and sunset of any point on the earth.

There are also some post code and zip code related tools.

Bibliophilia: Gathering: Memoir of A Seed Saver by Diane Ott Whealy

Gathering: Memoir of A Seed Saver – Diane Ott Whealy   

This was written by one of the people who founded Seed Savers Exchange, an organization dedicated to preserving the seeds for flowers and vegetables that are rapidly being lost. Many fruits and vegetables have (had) hundreds, even thousands of varieties, but many of those genetic strains are in danger of disappearing forever. Agricultural biodiversity is so important. Monocultures may be great from the perspective of an agri-business looking to minimize complexity and maximize profits, but they aren’t much good for anything else. If a disease or blight comes along, that one particular strain is at an extreme disadvantage.

Ott, who grew up in Iowa, the grand daughter of German immigrants, cherished some of the strains that they had brought with them from the old country. This spurred her interest in preserving and sharing these heirloom seeds. She and her husband Kent, began the organization in 1975 and the book chronicles their growth as an organization and as a family. 

Beautifully presented, with many wonderful illustrations and photographs showing some of the gorgeous vegetables and flowers that have been saved through their efforts.

Bibliophilia: Victorian Undead by Ian Edginton

Victorian Undead: Sherlock Holmes vs Zombies! – Ian Edginton
Victorian Undead: Sherlock Holmes vs Dracula – Ian Edginton

Completely over the top, but rollicking good fun. And the art by Davide Fabbri is absolutely fantastic! Bit of a steam-punkish/League of Extraordinary Gentleman feel to both of these. Of course, being the detail geek I am, I found the inclusion of tanks and submachine guns in stories set in about 1875 a bit annoying. The inclusion of zombies and vampires I could overlook, but those two points I had trouble with. Go figure.

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

It’s Not An Accident

As you have no doubt heard, Oscar Pistorius shot his girlfriend.

I hold him in much the same regard as I hold most sports figures and media darlings: I don’t. Sure, he runs fast and he does so on a pair of high tech prosthetics. That’s pretty neat. But compared to Army Ranger Sgt. Joseph Kapacziewski, who returned to active combat duty serving four deployments with a prosthetic leg (meaning he went through selection not once, but twice - once with a prosthetic leg - that’s what you call hard as woodpecker lips), he seems like just another pampered, rich athlete.

Besides the fact that he shot a woman to death, his legal team getting in front of the media in an effort to sway public opinion by trying to paint this tragic event as an “accident” is what is really pissing me off.

They are trying to claim that shooting through a door several times at what he believed to be an intruder he couldn’t actually see, meaning he couldn’t positively identify, was an “accident.” That’s “negligence” at best, plain old “murder” at worst.

Now I should preface this by saying I think people should be allowed to own firearms of any size and description. Someone tries to harm you, your loved ones, your property, you should be allowed to stop them, in any way you see fit. Having said that though, with great power, comes great responsibility. 

I’ve posted them on here before: Colonel Coopers 4 Rules of Firearms Safety. Rule #4: Be sure of your target and what is beyond it. Clearly, he did nothing of the kind in this instance. Given the shocking level of criminal brutality in South Africa, I think people should definitely be allowed to employ a means of not becoming a victim. But a basic premise that needs to be followed is that you need to be 100% certain of what it is you are shooting at, (daughter sleepwalking or prowling rapist?) and also an awareness of what is beyond that target (kindergarten playground or brick wall?). A flashlight is a mandatory accessory on or with a home defense weapon to see what it is you are shooting at in the dark. Being able to actually see what that potential threat is, is crucially important. A closed door would also deter one from seeing what that “target” actually is.

To not have been 100% certain of that fact before pulling the trigger is not an “accident”. Stop calling it that. If people aren’t by this point convinced he is a femicidal asshole, they should be convinced he is a negligent asshole. To continue trying to prop up this tired cliché that this was all some regrettable mishap is not doing him any favours.

When I read in the paper that Pistorius nearly shot a friend at a Johannesburg restaurant recently when a pistol he was looking at “accidentally” went off, it just confirms it all for me. He was looking at a friend’s gun when the firearm “discharged accidentally”, Kevin Lerena told the Afrikaans-language Beeld newspaper on Monday. “For some reason it got caught on his trousers, flipped the safety pin and a shot went off. I wouldn’t say he was negligent.”

Oh I would. How the hell does a pistol just “accidentally” go off? Oh that’s right, you violated rules #3 (keeping finger off the trigger) and probably #1 and #2 as well (treating a firearm as though it is always loaded, and not allowing the muzzle to cover anything you’re not willing to destroy). There’s no mystery to a firearm discharging.

The military is right. It’s a “negligent discharge”. There’s no accident involved.
Do that in the military and bad things happen to you. It always pisses me off when the police refer to it as an “accidental discharge” when one of their own does it. There’s no accident involved. Obey Colonel Coopers 4 rules. I realize full well that they say that as an ass covering ploy to avoid culpability in cases where someone is hurt by those sorts of acts. Again, it’s an effort to manipulate public perceptions and opinion. And I don’t like it.

I’m all for people being allowed to own firearms. Yes, it’s a right, but that that right also needs to come with a very high expectation of responsibility. If you pull a stupid move with one, you should be punished for it. Or have the damn thing taken away from you because you just proved yourself to be incompetent  No matter if you are a rich and famous sports figure. And if that stupid move leads to someones death, it should come with at the very least a negligent homicide conviction.

An accident is walking along a trail and a boulder at that very moment comes loose on a cliff above you, plummeting silently down and landing atop you. That is an accident.

What this shit licker did is not an accident. Stop calling it that. In general there needs to be a serious rethinking of what we casually refer to as an “accident”, but this case in particular makes the point crystal clear for me.

S.o.t.D. - Lucky – Lusine

Lucky – Lusine

Stoked to find out today that Lusine has a new album coming out, The Waiting Room.

Bibliophilia: Radioactive Man by Matt Groening

Radioactive Man – Matt Groening

I’m an unashamed fan of the Simpsons. One of the few reasons I regret not having a TV, is that I miss out on the Simpsons. And if I am ever somewhere where I have access to a TV for a while, there is a good chance that I will seek out the Simpsons. There have been times that I have been gasping for air from laughing so hard at some of the incredibly smart humour in that show. So, a graphic novel of Simpsons strips will fill the gap for me.

Signage: S. A. Armstrong Ltd.

Going through some old photos yesterday I came across this one I took while wandering around in Toronto 15 years ago with my pal Cindy. The lettering looked somewhat dated, from a by-gone era. Not that I thought that was a bad thing of course. I liked it enough to take a photo of it after all. Some imperfections to it, but to me that adds to the charm of it .

Looked up the company, and while they are still a going concern, they’ve ditched the quaint lettering for something more modern. Read: blander.

Bibliophilia: Shop Class as Soulcraft by Matthew B. Crawford

Shop Class as Soulcraft: An Inquiry into the Value of Work – Matthew B. Crawford

I was really excited when I learned about this book and got it immediately, reading it in one night. Crawford has a PhD. in political philosophy, but chooses to work as a motorcycle mechanic. The book expounds on something I have been thinking about a lot lately. That for many people, working with ones hands is profoundly important, and our society needs to come back to an appreciation of that fact. At one time, making and fixing things was seen as important and valuable, and now we try to shunt more and more kids into “knowledge worker” jobs. And like me, so many of them likely feel disconnected and alienated. I realize that I am happiest when I am solving problems with my brain and creating solutions with my hands. He doesn’t completely articulate why I feel this way, but it did help me order some of the disjointed ideas in my head about the issue.

A book I will read again soon. 

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

S.o.t.D. - Now, Explosive New Movie – Severed Heads

Now, Explosive New Movie – Severed Heads

While this is from a little bit later in their career, I got into this Australian act in about 84 because of their crunchy electro industrial sound. It reminded me of another band I had discovered around that time, Portion Control.

Import Groove Ads

2 ads for a radio show done for the local weekly alt-media magazine.

Not too shabby...

Went shooting a while back – for the first time in a looooong time. Shameful how long it’s been. But even if it has been a few years, I don’t think my first time behind the gun in a while was anything to hang my head in shame about. 5 rounds, .22LR, at 100 meters, prone supported by a sandbag. Not too shabby, if I may say.  

Monday, 18 February 2013

S.o.t.D. - Trouble Funk Express – Trouble Funk

Trouble Funk Express – Trouble Funk

Cover of/sampling of/appropriation of/reworking of Kraftwerk’s seminal and oh so very fantastic Trans Europe Express.

Sort of surprised to find out that Ian MacKaye and Henry Rollins are big fans of these fellow DCers.

Saturday, 16 February 2013

S.o.t.D. - Footsi Footsi – Wir

Footsi Footsi – Wir

For some reason I never really got into the early incarnation of Wire, but I liked their post going off on various solo projects incarnation as Wir. Video is redonkulous, but song is good.


Illustration I did a bunch of years back of a Soviet MI-24 Hind. Done in Aldus FreeHand.

Interesting patch – Tangram

I have a whole bunch of Velcro backed patches that I switch around on packs, pouches, hats, coats, etc.

Yeah, I know, it’s Maxpedition, but I see they are coming out with PVC patches, and one of their first offerings is a Tangram patch. 
3"x3", 7 pieces that you can either leave as a square, or form into one of thousands of things that can be formed with Tangram.
Pretty nifty. 

Tangram Patch


Bibliophilia: Cuba: My Revolution – Inverna Lockpez

Cuba: My Revolution – Inverna Lockpez

There’s a reason why I get so pissed off about mushbrained hippies wearing Che Guevara T-shirts. (I always ask these patchouli farmers “So tell me a little about Ernesto.” Which, so far has always been followed by a look of vacant incomprehension.) This book helps explain why these refugees from logical thought bother me so much.

Friday, 15 February 2013

Bibliophilia: A Flight of Angels by Rebecca Guay

The whole angels oeuvre I find slightly nausea inducing, but some gorgeous and elaborate art and a story by the great Bill Willingham, and my favourite story from Alisa Kwitney redeem the exercise.

S.o.t.D. - Kalu – Kit Clayton

Kalu – Kit Clayton

David Mills Business Card

Still one of my favourite designs. Simple and effective. Name, what he does, how to contact him. No budget whatsoever, but even within the confines of a one colour job, it effectively communicates everything it needs to.

Thursday, 14 February 2013

S.o.t.D. - Fade Into You (feat. Steffaloo) – Stumbleine

Fade Into You (feat. Steffaloo) – Stumbleine

Not vastly different from the Mazzy Star original, but decent.

Messenge’mups Bag Dump

While I’ve posted up the bag I’ve made, I don’t know if I have ever shown what I carry in it.

This is more that I usually carry in it on an ordinary day, but this is what was in it the day I opted to dump it out to photograph it all.
 The bag itself from a few different angles.
  1. Smoke kit
  2. Packet of tissues
  3. Sigg 0.6L oval bottle with cup
  5. Batuca Battery Case (AA, AAA and CR123)
  6. 18GB USB Key
  7. 256 GB LaCie External Hard Drive
  8. Extra Battery for Cell Phone
  9. Apple iBook G3 20 GB
  10. Motorola Q cell phone
  11. Head phones
  12. 40 GB iPod
  13. Charger for phone and various USB adapters and retractable cable
  14. Cash’mups
  15. Mesh shopping bag 
  16. Monocular
  17. Eagle Creek sunglasses case
  18. Toiletries pouch
  19. Spyderco Tenacious (carried in right front pants pocket)
  20. Lighter (refillable) (carried in left front pants pocket)
  21. Fenix T1
  22. Leatherman WAVE 98
  23. Book (usually always have one with me. Changes often.)
  24. Light My Fire mess kit
  25. Snow Peak titanium spork
  26. small plastic spork (came in a fruit cup)
  27. GSI N-Case 840 with Samsung ES70 camera
  28. Rite in the Rain 3"x5" note book
  29. Zebra F-701 Pen
  30. Sharpie Steel Marker (piece of crap)  
  31. Bic 4 Colour Pen
  32. Maxpedition Micro Wallet with business cards 
  33. A. G. Russell Woods Walker
  34. TTC tokens
  35. Notebook/Sketch Book/Day Planner/Address Book
  36. NyfFyrLyt (carried on my belt)
  37. Clip’mups (carried on my belt/in right front pocket)
And a larger, unlabelled version if you want a closer look at anything. (Right click and scroll down to ‘open image in new tab’ and that will allow you to zoom in.)

The electronics are a bit dated, but hey - it works.

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

S.o.t.D. - Dubplate Pressure RMX ft. MC GQ – Sniper

Dubplate Pressure RMX ft. MC GQ – Sniper

A massive choon from the glory days of Toronto jungle. Holy moly. I suspect a few people had their brain slide out of their ears when this song dropped.

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

S.o.t.D. - Does the Darkness Make You Feel Sad? – Klute

Does the Darkness Make You Feel Sad? – Klute

Built around a Cocteau Twins sample (can’t recall the song right now). Like it.

Artspiration: Philippe Buchet

Sadly, I do not yet own this book, but a friend does, and I browse it often when I visit.

French illustrator, known most for his creation Nävis, from the series Sillage, created along with writer Jean–David Morvan.

I enjoy his ability to tackle everything from pin-up to concept ships to military art to robots to superheros. And to do it all with aplomb. He is clearly someone who draws obsessively. For which I’m thankful.

I grew up reading Belgian comics, and I have always had a soft spot for the more sophisticated bande dessinées. So Sillage is right up my alley.

Nävis is clearly his muse/archetypal heroine. He manages to draw her in many styles/eras/situations. She can go from a manga-esque version in stories aimed towards younger readers, to a sci-fi honeybomb for an older audience. He manages to draw her as cute and innocent, or smoldering and dangerous. She can be sexy, strong, vulnerable, funny; she’s both the girl you could fall in love with, and the girl you’d be afraid can and will kick your ass.

A few examples I yanked off the net, showing his many varied takes on one character.