Tuesday, 30 April 2013

One Got Fat

I’ve previously posted Boards of Canada’s surreal, but strangely fitting video for “Everything You Do Is A Balloon”. It culls imagery from the weird 1963 bicycle safety film, “One Got Fat.”

Decided that I wanted to see the actual film itself,
narration, explanations of what the hell is going on and all. Yup, it’s wacky all right. While the core message is undeniable, it’s unfathomable that something like it would be produced today.

S.o.t.D. - Tomorrow’s Harvest Transmission – Boards of Canada

Tomorrow’s Harvest Transmission – Boards of Canada

In a campaign as obtuse as their music, BoC teased their fans for the last week with cryptic clues, leading up to an announcement of an upcoming album, to be released June 10/11. Most people will undoubtedly be left scratching their head wondering “What the hell is this? It’s weird. It’s like, some sounds and some noise, and, and, they’ll never win if they go on American Idol.” But I am very stoked!

Marching into March

Back in March I grabbed my ruck and went for an extended wander. Only now getting around to sticking up the few photos I took. 
Cut across Chedoke Golf Course. No one golfing yet.
Despite it being a beautiful day, chilly but sunny, this was the extent of people out. One cyclist overtook me, and 17 walkers and 3 cyclists passed me on the trail. Oh well.
View out across the Dundas Valley, the Niagara Escarpment on the opposite side on the left, with Lake Ontario in the distance on the right.
Closer to the Lake.
Hawk soaring on the thermals of the Escarpment.

Monday, 29 April 2013

S.o.t.D. - Sayonarra – Red Lorry Yellow Lorry

Sayonarra – Red Lorry Yellow Lorry

I just saw that there are two RLYL shows coming up, one in England, one in Holland. Nostalgia perhaps, but part of me wishes I could go see them.

Makers: Mick Strider

I have some misgivings about Mick Strider, and I’m also not hugely enamoured with the style of knives he makes - the sharpened pry-bar school of knifemaking. I know there is a place for them, but I guess I’m not his target market. They’re undeniably well made, and for those who have a need for them - or who can afford them as safe queens - have at it.

That being said though, this look into his shop is drooly. If I win the lottery I would set up a shop like this to make a few blades and axes.


Another fine piece of work by the talented Bryce Huffman. Seriously wondering whether I should let the lad tattoo it on me as a half sleeve.

Cootes Paradise Cleanup

It seems I’ve been doing a lot of this kind of stuff lately. Still not sure if that’s a good thing or a bad thing. Guess it’s good I and others are doing it – just bad it needs to be done at all.

The Stewards of Cootes Watershed have been coordinating periodic cleanups in and around Cootes Paradise in the last year. The amount of crap they’ve been hauling out there has been really impressive. Slightly less impressive when you consider that there is any need at all to remove dozens of tires and dozens of shopping carts and hundreds of bags of garbage out of a gem of a spot at all.

Being really fond of the place, I wanted to go down and help. The spot being tackled today was at Princess Point.

Beavers are making an appearance again in this area after being away for quite some time. Not sure what they’re planning on doing with these though, if anything. One felled right beside the other.
Got there earlier than the appointed time, so I got a brew on, pulled out Mongoliad and read for a while.
This fella came strutting by while I sat and had a cup of tea and read my book. I believe this is a hybrid goose.
Two maps of the area we were in.
Various critters, both human and avian floating and paddling on the water.
Some people out on Princess Point proper. The earliest archeological evidence of agriculture in Ontario is right here. 
Dave and Gunther across the mouth of the Chedoke Creek from me.
Second bucket of trash I collected. 
And to any of the ladies reading this, I just want to say...when you flush your goddamn tampon applicators down the toilet, they “go somewhere” all right....namely the shoreline of a picturesque body of water. I cleaned up 37 of them today....in maybe a ten square meter area. And the other thing is one of those cigarello mouth pieces. I collected about twice as many of those. Gawd, people are disgusting.
While this particular photo was taken about a year ago, along the shore of Cootes Paradise, it demonstrates the problem. While all the bottles and tampon applicators and all the other detritus of “humanity” are just plain unsightly, the bigger problem is that years and decades of ultra-violet light and the action of waves and rocks, grind all that plastic down into little pieces. I spent quite a bit of my time picking up little itty bitty bits. Not doing it leads to awful sights like this. Animals dying pointless deaths from having their insides filled with plastic. (Although I should point out that while this photo is not of one taken here, but of a bird found on Midway in the Pacific, I doubt it is a problem endemic only to that part of the world.)
To birds it just looks like berries or bugs or whatever else their tiny brains think they can eat.
8 people, 3 hours, maybe 200 meters of shoreline. Sad that it needs to happen at all. The tire in the middle was my find. Although it represents only one of many dozens that have been retrieved from Cootes in the last year. According to Tys Theysmeyer, an Aquatic Ecologist and Head of Conservation for Royal Botanical Gardens, in the 15 years he’s been at his job, he has found the carcasses of 4 snapping turtles that have somehow become trapped in tire rims.

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”

Margaret Mead

Thursday, 25 April 2013

Bibliophilia: Jeff Rubin

Why Your World Is About To Get A Whole Lot Smaller – Jeff Rubin
The End of Growth – Jeff Rubin

Rubin was the chief economist at Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce World Banks (their international investment branch) for 20 years. His job was to sift through all sorts of info to deduce what was worth investing in. One area that he studied in depth was the energy sector, and consequently how it effected all other segments of the economy. His knowledge of the subject led to these very sobering books.

I had a good grasp of the issues he discusses, but he goes into a lot more detail, reveals some things I was unaware of, and does a very good job of explaining the economics behind the issues. 

Get ready folks. Your world is in for some MASSIVE upheavals. In short, if you have a second car you were thinking of selling, sell it now, set up a vegetable garden, get a bicycle, take that dream trip to the other side of the planet now, etc. The days of cheap fuel and the far reaching ramifications of that, are over. On the plus side, manufacturing jobs will start trickling back into North America.

Highly recommended reading.

S.o.t.D. - Dark Wood – David Darling

Dark Wood – David Darling

Wow is this ever beautiful. Just strings.

Secret Beach

It’s not really a secret, but all the times I’ve been down there, I have the place to myself. Not that far from me, it’s a spit of land that’s a surprisingly quiet location. I often go down there, sit, make a cup of tea, read a book or sew or draw, etc. for a while, and feel happy that a spot like this exists within the confines of a major city.

Lately I’ve been using it as a spot to practice slinging from.

Railway marshalling yard with the Bay beyond that and Burlington beyond that.
Burlington Bay/Hamilton Harbour/Lake Ontario. Hamilton on the right, Burlington on the left.
In the bottom center of the photo you can make out a kayaker in amongst the branches.
Said kayaker up close. Having looked at those lines for many hours, I recognized them from several stories above on the Iroquois Bar, and hustled along in hopes of seeing it up close. Perfect timing. Gentleman named Raffi was paddling a 17' Bear Mountain kayak he had built. I was right. Ended up having a great chat with him for about 20 minutes about kayaking, building kayaks, tripping in various places and Hamilton. Originally from Newfoundland, he had lived in Hamilton for 17 years. Retired now, one of his favourite activities was coming down to the Bay early in the morning to paddle around for a few hours, an activity he engaged in with his wife at times. We agreed that if we had to live in a city, this one, with access to a picturesque body of water like this was not a bad city to live in. I picked his brain for a while about how he built his kayak. The sun wasn’t in my favour, but I snapped a couple of photos of his beautiful creation, thanked him for an enjoyable conversation, expressed my hope that one of these days soon I would see him out in the water in my kayak, where we could continue the conversation, wished him pleasant paddling and off he went.
It’s not quite being way up north, but in lieu of a 5 hour trip in a car, this makes a serviceable substitute for me. It’s a view I enjoy taking in every so often. 
Hello swans.
Took a circuitous route home through the cemetery, this being the “sunken garden” portion, below the Iroquois Bar.
And this being back on top of the Iroquois Bar, the Niagara Escarpment in the distance.
Looking out across Kay Drage Park.

(While I wish this was a spot known only to me, the amount of rubbish here makes it very obvious it’s not. I went down here recently with friends and family and did a bit of a cleanup. Will be back in the future to do some more.)

Makers: Salty Bicycle

I love bicycling, and along with the enjoyment of the activity itself, is the idea that I would also love to actually make a bicycle. Which is kind of the case with everything with me. I love the activities I engage in, but would love to or do love to make things affiliated with it.

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Pier 1 Cleanup

I’ve been telling my nephew for a while now about my “secret beach.” Told him I’d show him where it is one of these days. Sunday was an absolutely perfect spring day, so his dad and I took him down there. I have also wanted to clean up some of the garbage that is down there, which they offered to help me with. Some of it is due to shitheads not bothering to clean up after themselves, and some of it is what blows out of peoples blue boxes and ends up in the lake, to be washed ashore there. It was our day before Earth Day good deed.
Good work team! We could have filled a few more bags. An assignment for another day I suppose.
While it was an awkward load, it was easier to carry it on my back, than trying to scramble up hills with it in my hand.
If I was really gung-ho I would have separated it all into recyclable and non-recyclable, but I was a slacker eco-activist and didn’t do that.

S.o.t.D. - Cascade – Future Sound of London

This collects all five parts of the single into one long track. Yummy.

Monday, 22 April 2013

S.o.t.D. - Little Talks – Of Monsters and Men

My wonderful nieces introduced me to this. It wasn’t so long ago they were little babies who had lullabies sung to them, and now they’re introducing me to music.

Makers: Steracle Press

I’ve been involved in printing in one way or another for many years. But part of what I enjoyed about it, that confluence of art and literature and science and technology and business, has lost much of its luster because the craft has gone out of it to a large degree. With so much of it moving to digital printing, and to web publishing, the craft element dwindle to the point where the fun has gone out of for me.

The resurgence of letterpress and craft printing gives me hope and offers a nice balance to the soullessness of so much digital printing.

Sunday, 21 April 2013

S.o.t.D. - Raincry (Spiritual Thirst) – God Within

Raincry (Spiritual Thirst) – God Within

Just found out Scott Hardkiss died about a month ago. Only 43. Thank you for this record sir. I played the funk out of it when I got it. Still love it to this day.

Friday, 19 April 2013

Bibliophilia: The Ballad of Halo Jones by Alan Moore/Ian Gibson

Moore, he of Watchmen fame wrote this in 84. (If I didn’t realize this fact, the style of drawing which looks so inimitably British early 80’s alt-comic, would have clued me in.) Wild story set in a well thought out future.