Sunday, 31 March 2013

S.o.t.D. - Papa Was A Rolling Stone – The Temptations

Papa Was A Rolling Stone – The Temptations

Sure, the singing in this is great and all, but to me the music is what really knocks this piece of music out of the park. Considering how many people have sampled it over the years, I’m not the only one who thinks so.

Saturday, 30 March 2013

Makers – The Luthier

I can’t play any stringed instruments worth a damn, but I reckon I would enjoy making them. I know I never will - too many other things competing for my time - but I can certainly appreciate the craft involved in making them.


www.sandersguitar.com

S.o.t.D. - Step It Up And Go – Blind Boy Fuller

Step It Up And Go – Blind Boy Fuller

I generally don’t like blues. I’m sure I’ll upset some people by saying this, but I generally find it the most derivative music out there. Everyone doing it today is trying to sound like everyone that came before them. To me, “innovative blues” is a completely oxymoronic term.

But, for whatever reason, I like the stuff called “piedmont blues” which came about in the Carolinas in the 30s.

Friday, 29 March 2013

S.o.t.D. - Uranus – Uranus

Uranus – Uranus

Now for something a little different. The Voyager 1 & 2 space probes had plasma wave antennas mounted on them to record electromagnetic waves. Every planet and moon has a distinctive “musical pattern”. This is the sound of the planet Uranus. Ambient music created by a planet! Awe inspiring doesn’t even begin to describe this.

From a CD called “Uranus: NASA - Voyager Space Sounds.”

Monday, 25 March 2013

S.o.t.D. - One I Love – Sina

One I Love – Sina

Holy moly. 

Flying Rhino Vest

A friend gave me this about a decade ago. He had procured it almost a decade before that, sometime in the early to mid nineties in Goa. He knew many of the people behind the scene there, and someone from Flying Rhino gave him this. It was created with being completely off your face on LSD in mind. A place to store your passport and wallet, chillum and smokeables, a pocket on the back for a spare T-shirt, some snacks, etc. You could recline under a palm tree, go dance for a few hours and know all your stuff was safe and in one place, even if you were tripping your face off. I imagine it was made locally, but I have no idea how many were made, precisely when it was made, and I also don’t know if they were ever for sale. As far as I know it is a rare bit of psytrance memorabilia. It’s made from a thick cotton material, suitable for a jacket, with polypropylene straps. The construction of it is okay, but the inside edges aren’t seam taped, and the closures are of course a crappy little square of Velcro. Would love to know some more about this, but I will likely put it up for sale.
 Front
 Back.
 Label.
 Left Front Pocket.
 Left Side Pocket.
 Back Pocket.
 Right Side Pocket.
Right Front Pocket.
And a few lousy pictures of it worn. I doubt it was made for a guy my height and circumference in mind.

Pretty neat little item. Essentially a chest rig for hippies.

Bibliophilia: Batwoman: Elegy by Greg Rucka

Batwoman: Elegy – Greg Rucka

I’m a fan of Greg Rucka partly because, like Joss Whedon, he creates great female characters. When so many female characters in books and movies are either garnish that look nice or whiny victims, he creates female characters that are smart, capable, multi-faceted, and frankly, believable. His interpretation of Batwoman here is just such an example. Instead of merely treating her as tits with legs in a tight outfit, she is shown to be a complex and intriguing character. So you have great writing and then ... combine that with the stellar artwork of J. H. Williams ... and you have a definite winner.

4 hours of Aurora Borealis in 3 minutes

Photographer Göran Strand used 2464 raw images taken with his all-sky camera to create this gorgeous time-lapse video. The swirling crystal ball images show the view from Östersund, Sweden, when Sunspot AR1692 produced an M1-class solar flare and the resulting Coronal Mass Ejection hit Earth’s magnetic field hit our magnetic field on March 17th, creating this marvelous light show.

Sunday, 24 March 2013

S.o.t.D. - Stay – Wakjob

Stay – Wakjob

Lovely tune.

Makers – Quoddy Workshop

(Given my obsession with making things, and that I stumble across some nice videos every so often of other makers at work, I figure I’ll have a semi-regular feature of high-lighting these inspiring artisans.)

Right now I am working on some designs for moccasin type shoes, and just trying to learn a whole lot about shoe making in general. So this video was very motivational.



http://www.quoddy.com/

Saturday, 23 March 2013

S.o.t.D. - Wishing Well – Terence Trent D’Arby

Wishing Well – Terence Trent D’Arby

Don’t know if I would call him a mere one hit wonder, but I always dug this song.

The Making of John Mayer’s “Born & Raised” Artwork

While I tend to find this style of graphic design a bit kitschy and  nostalgic, I can’t deny that I am in awe of the talent and craft that goes into it. I just really appreciate that any one is willing to go to these lengths to produce an album cover. I’m just really curious as to how many hours went into this. The vectorizing alone must have taken dozens of hours. Well worth watching this. So nice to see that someone this talented still does this sort of work. This isn’t a mere sign – it’s a shimmering jewel that informs people of something.



And check out the site of the artist/sign painter.
http://davidadriansmith.com/

Thursday, 21 March 2013

S.o.t.D. - Once Upon A Time (Kick Bong Remix) – Sideliner

Once Upon A Time (Kick Bong Remix) – Sideliner

Pulsating groover.

Bibliophilia: Threat Vector – Tom Clancy

Threat Vector – Tom Clancy

I like these just as an evening or two of thoughtless fun, but I think at some point a cyber-drone-shark was jumped. The parts where they manage to get a badly wounded team of SEALS out of Hong Kong with police and gangsters on their tail, and then manage to stage an ambush in the middle of China and slip away, and rescue a shot down pilot from an angry mob in the middle of China and slip away, just came across as ridiculous. These are certainly not the tight as a drum books he was writing a quarter century ago. They just feel like an effort to advertise the “Tom Clancy” brand.

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

S.o.t.D. - Nothing Ever Hurt Like You – James Morrison

Nothing Ever Hurt Like You – James Morrison 

This guy is probably some big star, but since I never come anywhere near a commercial radio station, I have no clue. Good song, good voice. Love the line “you don’t get to taste the honey without the sting of a bee.”

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

S.o.t.D. - Sweet Inspiration – Fresh and Low

Sweet Inspiration – Fresh and Low

Smooth, loungey house. Would like to hang out for an evening in a place that played stuff like this, this sort of tempo and vibe.

Artspiration: Banksy

While stupid taggers make me mad, and even the work of more talented graffiti artists suffers from a curse of sameness, Banksy is one graffiti artists I really like a whole lot.

His acerbic commentary on societal norms are both clever and technically well done.

ADVICE ON MAKING STENCILS, by Banksy:
A regular 400ml can of paint will give you up to 50 A4 sized stencils. This means you can become incredibly famous/unpopular in a small town virtually overnight for approximately ten pounds.

Draw your artwork on paper, glue onto some card then cut straight through them both. Acetate is apparently quite good but any sort of free cardboard is okay. Stiff 1mm to 1.5mm board is ideal.

Get a small roll of gaffa tape, pre-tear small strips and stick them on your shirt inside your coat.


Find a suitable piece of card to act as a folder. For instance when using red paint cut the stencil into the bottom of a pizza box so when you get paint all over your fingers its not so suspicious.


Nothing in the world is more common than unsuccessful people with talent. Leave the house before you find something worth staying in for.

Spray the paint sparingly onto the stencil from a distance of 8 inches.


Try to avoid painting in places where they still point at airplanes.

Mindless vandalism can take a bit of thought.

Think from outside the box, collapse the box and take a fucking sharp knife to it.


First off, stencil anything. If you wait for the perfect idea you will be waiting for ever. Cleverness is never as entertaining as blatant stupidity, failure and public humiliation

Obtain a fucking sharp knife. Blunt knives result in fluffy pictures and make the whole process long and boring. Snap off blades of British steel are best.


It’s easier to get forgiveness than permission.

If you’re in a place with lots of security cameras, wear a hood, move around the city quickly and act like a sad old drunk if you attract attention.

Be aware that going on a major mission totally drunk out of your head will result in some truly spectacular artwork and at least one night in the cells.


When explaining yourself to the Police it’s worth being as reasonable as possible. Graffiti writers are not real villains. I’m always reminded of this by real villains who consider the idea of breaking in someplace, not stealing anything and then leaving behind a painting of your name in four foot high letters the most retarded thing they ever heard of.


Remember crime against property is not real crime. People look at an oil painting and admire the use of brushstrokes to convey meaning. People look at a graffiti painting and admire the use of a drainpipe to gain access.


The easiest way to become invisible is to wear a day-glo vest and carry a tiny transistor radio playing Heart FM very loudly. If questioned about the legitimacy of your painting simply complain about the hourly rate.

The time of getting fame for your name on its own is over. Artwork that is only about wanting to be famous will never make you famous. Any fame is a bi-product of making something that means something. You don’t go to a restaurant and order a meal because you want to have a shit.
There are several books of his work available, and a film about him as well, Exit Through The Gift Shop.

http://www.banksy.co.uk/

(And my theory on Banksy is that I suspect it’s more a collective than just one person. That there may well be one person coming up with the ideas, but that several collaborators, maybe even copacetic friends in various places do the actual application.)

Friday, 15 March 2013

Bibliophilia: The Quotable Hitchens by Christopher Hitchens

The Quotable Hitchens - From Alcohol to Zionism: the Very Best of Christopher Hitchens – Christopher Hitchens

I’ve been on a big Hitchens kick lately, and like everything else he wrote, this proves what a giant intellect he was, and that his mastery of the English language was second to none.

S.o.t.D. - Warszawa – David Bowie

Warszawa – David Bowie

This is really more Eno than Bowie. All right with me.

DIY/MYOG Material Sources

This question gets asked periodically, so I thought I would compile a list of sources. This list touches broadly on “outdoors equipment.” Packs, pouches, tarps, tents, sleeping bags, clothing and the like. Most fabric/sewing stores are great if you’re putting a new cover on a cushion or making a halloween costume. Anything outside that scope is usually not worth asking about. To make your own lightweight underquilt or a military pouch or a hunting pack often requires shopping at specialty stores.  

Some of these vendors sell small quantities, some only large amounts; some are geared towards military stuff, some geared towards strictly civilian lightweight camping stuff; some are very specialized and some sell a broad variety of items. I have tried to give a little blurb about each place, noting anything out of the ordinary they carry, etc. Not a definitive description of the place, but I hope it narrows it down a bit for you.

Some of these places appear to have a web person on staff, updating frequently, and some appear to have a very static site that was set up a decade ago. Might not be a bad idea to contact the companies to inquire about their actual stock levels before ordering.


Some of these companies I have dealt with many times and will do so again. Some I have never had an opportunity to deal with. 
Inclusion on this list is not intended to be a recommendation or endorsement of any kind. I wouldn’t knowingly include a firm with disreputable business practices, but you shop at them at your own risk. If you have any suggestions, additions to make to this list, praise for a particular company, horror stories about a particular company, notification some shops may have closed, I would like to hear about it all.

http://www.rockywoods.com/ 

(A very wide selection of stuff, quite broadly oriented. Navigating the site is fairly straight forward. Good company to deal with. Located in Loveland, Colorado.)

http://www.paragear.com/default.asp

(Anything parachute related, so a source for some more obscure stuff - metal hardware, critical applications, etc. Sell in small quantities. Located in Skokie, Illinois.)

http://store.jontay.com/ 

(Predominantly Milspec. Some things sold only by roll, some by the foot or yard. Cordura, webbing, hardware {metal and plastic}, hook & loop, zippers, thread {69#, 92#, 138#, 346#}. Located in Waycross, Georgia.)

http://www.ahh.biz/fabric_catagories/Camo_Materials.htm
(Camo fabric, mesh, clear vinyl, rubberized type fabrics (hypalon and the like), shock cord and elastic, hardware, some tools. Located in Sealy, Texas.)

http://www.seattlefabrics.com/
(Comprehensive assortment of fabrics, including upholstery and marine fabrics, hardware, webbing, zippers, some books and patterns, and machines. Located in Seattle, Washington.)

http://www.owfinc.com/

(Comprehensive assortment of fabrics, some metal hardware and zippers. Retail buyers receive wholesale prices if they buy 20 yards or more of something. Located in Caldwell, Idaho.)

http://www.wtfidea.com/
(Besides some shock cord, zipper and webbing, they carry ACRONYM 500D laminate in several colours and patterns, 500D fabric from PenCott and A-TACS, mesh and sheet Velcro in MultiCam, Trelleborg HANK in 18 oz and 35 oz, by the yard or foot, laser cut HANK components, including their proprietary WTFix attachment system, pull tabs and shock cord tabs, as well as a PALS marker. They can also produce custom tags. Located in Mesa, Arizona.)

http://ripstopbytheroll.com/
(1.1 oz nylon and polyester ripstop, 1.9 oz nylon ripstop, 1.1 oz Silnylon, 1.1 oz Silpoly, 1.0 oz and 1.6 oz HyperD diamond ripstop, 1.0 oz nylon taffeta, 0.51 oz and 0.8 oz Cuben Fiber, 0.75 oz No-See-Um mesh, 300D and 420D diamond ripstop. Lots of Multicam - 1.55 oz Epsilon, 1.9 oz ripstop nylon, 330D nylon, 1.1 oz Intruder in uncalendered, calendered and silnylon. Hyperdry down, ClimaShield Apex, and Promaloft in various weights. Bunch of other stuff. 
Wholesale prices with no order minimum. Lots of colour options. The only catch is that they ship once a week. Located in Raleigh, North Carolina.)

http://www.therainshed.com/

(Fabric, hardware (nothing that exotic), cordage, webbing, some books and patterns. Located in Corvallis, Oregon.)

http://sewwhatsupplies.com
(Leather working stuff, metal hardware (including Chicago screws), beads and studs, some civil war re-enactment supplies, small selection of nylon fabrics, some 43668 and 17337 webbing, small selection of plastic hardware, a few colours of 1" & 2" Velcro, some other webbing, some zippers. Located in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.)

http://milspecmonkey.com/store/tactical-gear?limitstart=0&limit=50
(Nothing too out of the ordinary, but a source for some of the ITW-Nexus stuff, including the G-hook, sling swivels, etc. Located in San Jose, California.)

http://downrangegear.net/DownRangeGear.html
(Texcel webbing and some ITW/Nexus hardware.)

https://pk-supply.myshopify.com/
(A wide selection of fabrics and webbing, as well as cordage, elastic, thread, hook & loop - with military spec and colours being one subset of all those - but perhaps most importantly one of the few sources I know of that carries National Molding/Duraflex products. A wholesaler, the minimum order for hardware appears to be a 100 pieces, fabric 10 yards, webbing 1 roll, and thread 1 cone. Located in Kent, Washington.)

(Best place for paracord and accessories for lanyards and the like. Type 1 accessory cord and shock cord, as well as ITW Nexus hardware. Mark is a great guy to deal with. Located in Marlboro, New York.)

http://www.strapworks.com/
(The name says it all. Anything to do with webbing, strapping, ribbon. Rope, elastic, plastic and metal hardware, thread {92#}. Some Milspec, but largely civilian. Located in Eugene, Oregon.)

http://www.tnwebbing.com/
Broad selection of seat belt and Milspec webbing. Lots of colour choices. I particularly appreciate the chart with clear photos explaining some of the myriad Milspec webbing choices. Limited info on site - need to contact the company for more than some cursory details. Set up more for bulk orders than small hobbyist orders. Located in Knoxville, Tennessee.)

http://www.geraldschwartzinc.com/
(Sells only larger quantities, but I gather hardware can be sold in singles. Limited info on site - need to contact the company for more than some cursory details. Some of their selection is decent but limited {fabric, plastic & metal hardware} while other stuff is a bit more expansive {cordage I’ve not seen anywhere else, Milspec webbing, 6" wide Velcro}. Located in Tucker, Georgia.)

http://www.magnafabrics.com/
(Really great prices on an amazing selection of fabrics. Located in North Bergen, New Jersey.)

http://www.dj-associates.com/products.html 

(Excellent selection of stuff difficult to find anywhere else. Servicing the aeronautics, aerospace, skydiving, military segment. $25 minimum. Located in Fort Smith, Arkansas.)

http://www.rosecitytextiles.com/

(Fantastic selection of high tech fabrics. Lots of Corduras, WPBs, fleeces, etc., etc. Located in Portland, Oregon.)

The following seven are geared towards the light weight camping market:
http://www.questoutfitters.com/
(Terrific selection of material. Source for Nomex, Cuben, tent poles. Patterns and kits for backpacks, tarps. Hardware, zippers, thread. Extensive gallery of projects made by customers to inspire the viewer. Located in Sarasota, Florida.)

http://thru-hiker.com/materials/index.php

(Momentum, Pertex, Dyneema Gridstop, Climashield, down, Primaloft, very limited colour selection of cordage, hook & loop, grosgrain, webbing. Kits for a quilt and some clothing. Plans for projects. Articles and a forum. Located in San Francisco, California.)

http://www.backwoodsdaydreamer.com/products-page/

(This one has a hammocking slant, but certainly not limited to that. Supplier of Insultex. Some excellent tutorials as well. Located in Maine I believe.)

http://www.bearpawwd.com/fabrics_misc/fabrics_misc.html
(Silnylon, several weights and colours of Cuben and Tyvek, but also fire resistant stove jack material. Good selection of poles and parts for poles. Few other odds and ends. Located in Fort Collins, Colorado.)

http://www.arrowhead-equipment.com/store/c10/Accessories_-_DIY.html
http://www.arrowhead-equipment.com/store/c11/Suspension.html
(Mainly stuff for DIY hammocking. Located in Idaho.)

http://www.lightheartgear.com/index.php/fabrics
(Silnylon, including woodland camo, and no-see-um mesh.  Located in Asheville, North Carolina,)

http://dutchwaregear.com
(Argon 1.6, Argon 67, Argon 90, PolyD 1.2, PolyD 1.4, Nylon D1.6, Cuben fiber material and tape, Tyvek, No-See-Um mesh, titanium sheet (.005" x 12"), Amsteel and Dynaglyde, and all sorts of proprietary buckles and hooks for hammocking. Located in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.)

http://www.makeyourgear.com/

(Another venture started by Dutch of Dutchware, but with a broader focus, including stuff for sheath and stove making, and a forum and tutorials. Located in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.)

The following six are Canadian:
http://www.peakfabrics.com/ 

(Lots of high tech outdoor fabrics - soft shell, hard shell, fleece. Not certain if they sell just small quantities though. Located in Calgary, Alberta)

http://www.sundroptextiles.com/ 

(Geared more towards  householdy type stuff. Located in Port Coquitlam, B.C.)

http://www.discoverytrekking.com/fabric 

(Lots of high tech outdoor fabrics - soft shell, hard shell, fleece, including nomex fleece. Colour selection has a bit of variety as well. They state up front that their supply may be somewhat erratic at times, so contact them to see what is on hand or can be ordered for you. Located in Campbell River, B.C.)

http://www.paccana.com/
(Seems geared more towards sewing clothing and home decor, but some outdoorsy stuff as well. Well rounded selection of items. Webbing sells in 5 yard increments. Velcro sells in 5 meter or 25 meter increments. Colour choices are often rather limited. Located in Calgary, Alberta.)

http://www.hudson4supplies.com/index.php
(Good website. Seem to cater towards larger manufacturers more than hobbyists. Hook & loop, some webbing, magnets, metal hardware {chicago screws, G-hooks, MASH hooks, metal quick release buckles. luggage items}, and plastic hardware (Snap-Dragons, Picatinny QASM Ramp}.  Located in Saint-Laurent, Quebec.)

http://www.tri-point.com/
(Website isn’t too helpful, but they carry webbing, metal and plastic hardware (Duraflex / National Molding). Located in Alfred, Ontario)

The following four are located in Europe:
http://www.shelby.fi/catalog/default.php
(Some original patterns. Lots of high tech fabrics, and merino wool fabric. Most anything else you might want to MYOG. Very much a civvy slant. Easy to navigate website. Located in Oulu, Finland.)

http://www.extremtextil.de/index_en.html

(Extensive selection of fabrics, including Kevlar and Nomex, X-Pac, polyamide, Cuben, Dyneema, Aramid and carbon sailing laminate, merino fabric, Tyvek, neoprene, primaloft, Climashield, down - and pretty much everything in between. Located in Dresden, Germany.)

http://www.profabrics.co.uk/
(Terrific selection of fabrics and colours. The info on webbing is a bit sketchy. Source of harder to locate camo like DPM and Flecktarn - desert and woodland - in a few different materials. Boating materials. Most everything else you might want. Website is a bit tricky to navigate, but certainly serviceable. Located in Tattenhall, England.)

http://www.pennineoutdoor.co.uk/
(One of the few places I know of that carry cotton moleskin, as well as P80 Ventile. Hardware that I haven't seen anywhere else - rollcage hooks, gaiter hooks, lockable buckles, a few other unique items. Tentpoles. Waterproof zippers. Unique patterns (look under leaflets). Only have polypropylene webbing and in limited colours. Located in High Bentham, England.)

The following four are if you need a lot of something:
http://www.brookwoodcos.com/
(Lots of obscure, specialized fabrics. I suspect these folks are just a mill that sells rolls of material, not a few yards to a hobbyist. Never contacted them to find out for sure though. Located in New York, New York.)

http://www.acw1.com/
(Another large scale seller. $250 minimum. Geared towards military and fire services. Webbing, cordage, and limited choice of metal and plastic hardware. Website is a bit sketchy on details of products. Need to contact company for info and quotes. Located in Woonsocket, Rhode Island.)

http://www.texnetinc.com/
(While I really like National Moldings products, finding anyone that sells their stuff is really hard. This place is one of the few. Website is ho-hum. Contact is required to find out what they actually have. $100 minimum and rolls or bolts only. Located in Lafayette, Colorado.)

http://www.johnhowardcompany.com/
(Another company that handles National Moldings line. Again, $100 minimum. Decent selection of 69# thread colours, and a very wide array of nylon and polyester colour thread, what appears to be a wider selection of #31472 tubular webbing colours, some mil-spec webbing. Located in Chino, California.)

http://www.rochfordsupply.com
(Wholesale supplier of upholstery and marine supplies. Located in Brooklyn Park, Minnesota.)

Plastic Buckles:
http://www.plastic-buckle.com/index.aspx
Name says it all. Lots of obscure stuff, but I don’t know if they sell name brands or their own versions of them. Taiwanese company that I gather has a US outlet.

Zippers:
http://www.zippershipper.com/
http://zipperstop.com/


Thread:
http://www.thethreadexchange.com


Wool:
http://www.johnsonwoolenmills.com

(Besides making clothing, they also sell the raw material used in their clothing. Source for worsted whipcord wool, among other things. You can buy by the pound or by the yard. Located in Johnson, Vermont.)

http://www.hamburgerwoolen.com/
(Specializing in uniforms, especially law enforcement uniforms, and the materials to make them. Source for whipcord wool, as well as many other (not necessarily wool) fabrics. Located in New Hyde Park, New York.)

http://www.bblackandsons.com/
(“Qualified buyers only.” Located in Los Angeles, California.)

http://www.banksvilledesignerfabrics.com/pages/wools.htm
(Located in Norwalk, Connecticut.)

http://www.britexfabrics.com/fabric/wool-fabric.html?limit=30
(Located in San Francisco, California.)

http://www.stonemountainfabric.com/shop/fabric/100-wool-felt.htm
(13 colours of wool felt. Located in Berkeley, California.)

http://store.sawyerbrook.com/Fine-Wool-Fabrics/products/7/
(Located in Clinton, Massachusetts.)

http://www.filzfelt.com/
Source for many thicknesses of wool felt. Located in Boston, Massachusetts.)

Cordage:
(Source for Amsteel Blue for whoopie slings.)

Kydex

Foam
http://www.thefoamfactory.com/closedcellfoam/closedcellfoam.html

Dimension Polyant:
http://www.dimension-polyant.com/en/
(Manufacturer of high tech sail cloth. No idea whether they sell small quantities to hobbyists.)

Specific Camo Fabrics:
A-TACS
MultiCam
Hyperstealth

Thursday, 14 March 2013

S.o.t.D. - Thursday Afternoon – Brian Eno

Thursday Afternoon – Brian Eno

Seems only appropriate that I play this hour long composition, on a thursday afternoon.

Amazing, but did I really even have to say that, given it’s Mr. Eno?

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Bibliophilia: Space Atlas: Mapping the Universe and Beyond by James S. Trefil

Space Atlas: Mapping the Universe and Beyond – James S. Trefil

I want to learn as much as I can, so I’ll sometimes grab a random book about a subject I’m not so familiar with from the shelves at the library - geology, mathematics, mechanics, botany, economics, etc. 

This is one such book. I’m certainly not ignorant about the topic of our universe, but every so often it’s good to be completely humbled by the magnificence of our solar system and everything beyond it. I learn a bit more every time. This National Geographic publication is an excellent book on the subject.

S.o.t.D. - The Wrong Name and The Wrong Number – Mark Stewart and the Maffia

The Wrong Name and The Wrong Number – Mark Stewart and the Maffia

Crunchy industrial dub, with some William S. Burroughs samples thrown in for good measure.

My strange brush with fame comes in the form of going to the RPM club to see Mark, Gary Clail, Tackhead et al., on my birthday. The show fell during the time that the G-7 summit was going on in Toronto. I went to the washroom, and while at the urinal I see a lanky guy standing next to me. Out of the corner of my eye I see that it is Mark Stewart. At the same time two uniformed RCMP officers come into the washroom, look around, push open the doors to the stalls, look inside and leave. Given Mr. Stewarts agit-prop music with its undercurrent of paranoia, I thought this was a little freaky. Not wanting to look like a total dork, I didn’t talk to Mark while we had our dicks in our hands. At the sinks though he struck up a conversation with me. Sure enough his paranoid tendencies were tweaked by the sight of Canada’s national police. We chatted for a minute, told him I loved his stuff, was looking forward to the show and if he could please pass along to the other lads how much I loved their stuff.

Still one of the best shows I’ve ever had the pleasure of attending.

Sunday, 10 March 2013

S.o.t.D. - Anticipation – Triac (feat. Sharon)

Anticipation – Triac (feat. Sharon)

Not sure how to categorize this, but there is something I like about it.

Bibliophilia: The Master Switch by Tim Wu

The Master Switch: The Rise and Fall of Information Empires – Tim Wu

Compelling look into something I hadn’t thought about much - information empires. He chronicles the trajectory of every such entity - telegraph, telephone, film, radio, television, cable, and now of course, the internet. Every one of these started out as a disruptive technology, fomented by amateurs and heralding all sorts of idealistic promise. Open architecture, open to anyone with innovative ideas. But in every case, it didn’t take long before they were controlled by monopolistic forces. Things move in cycles. Hobby medium expounded by utopian visionaries, eventual domination by successful players/those who could convince government legislators to give them the reins, government decades down the path cutting off the corporate behemoths at the knees, eventual re-domination of the market by clever maneuvering. What I found interesting is how much collusion there was between industry and government. Besides the groundbreaking Bell Labs, RCA was in the governments good graces because of the strategic military and diplomatic value of their research into radios and communication technologies. Another aspect I found interesting is how several of these oligarchs saw their dominance over the market as a sacred trust. They regarded their role as that of benevolent dictators, with a duty to their customers/constituents. But of course there is an inherent conflict of interest in being both the controller of the medium and the message. Disseminating information and creating information tends to trip over one another. Another recurring theme is the outright suppression of superior (disruptive) technology by the by then entrenched interests. FM radio was stifled for decades by the people who didn’t want to see their interests in AM radio supplanted. Television could have been a reality long before it became one if radio and film barons hadn’t squashed it for so long.

Technology books can be really dry, but this is a very readable history not only of the history of technology, but also of corporations, and even societal development. But overall I think his historical research is more in depth than his conclusions on how to prevent the same fate befalling the medium you are reading this review on. I wish he has spent some more time discussing how to prevent the internet from becoming a closed and tightly controlled industry like all the others before it.

I suspect I will read this one again before the year is out.

Friday, 8 March 2013

S.o.t.D. - Warmth Reheated – Talismantra

Warmth Reheated – Talismantra

This really starts warming up for me about 3½ minutes in, but the whole track is very nice. 

Bibliophilia: Rocketeer Adventures Vol. 1

I was a fan of the Rocketeer right from the get go. Loved the original graphic novel, and loved the 1991 movie. Come on, he flies through the air with a rocket pack strapped to his back, fights bad guys, and Bettie Page is his girlfriend. What’s not to love? This is a compilation of different writers and artists who have a go at the Rocketeer, a character it seemed to me doesn’t get the appreciation he deserves. All the short stories in this are enjoyable in a light hearted way, (it is essentially a repetition of the same basic story), but the art work of Chris Weston really stood out for me. That cover alone is worth the price of admission!

Thursday, 7 March 2013

Pocket Wear

I’ve had this wrist loop residing on my key chain for a few years now, and noticed that the beads were taking a real beating. Decided to make another one using some more of the same beads. Amusing to see how much the size of the skull bead diminished.

More slinging

Went on a hunt for marbles, golf balls, bouncy balls, anything with enough mass to hurl a distance. It would appear marbles are surprisingly hard to find nowadays. Probably not enough frenetic visuals and buttons to push for the yutes these days.

After hitting every dollar store in the downtown core I finally found one close to home. Perfect ones actually. Neon bright colours, about an inch in diameter and with a bit of weight to them. Buck a bag.

Off I went to the nearby soccer fields/baseball pitches. 
Much flinging, and despite the bright colours, much walking in spirals to locate them. Most times I saw where they went, but the odd one went in an unexpected direction. Only managed to lose one, which went god only knows where. I think my best distance was about 65 meters. I’m getting a bit better.
And again, the camera conked out after only a few pictures. Don’t know if something is wrong with the battery or the fact that it was brutally cold that made the camera conk out.