Monday, 30 September 2013

S.o.t.D. - A Drift To The Centre – Aquarius

A Drift To The Centre – Aquarius

Fond memories of one off parties in Toronto buildings long since knocked down to become condo towers.

Compressed 02

This is a time lapse video that combines bubbles, ferrofluid, magnetism, and food coloring. The creator, Kim Pimmel had this to say about it.
“I combined everyday soap bubbles with exotic ferrofluid liquid to create an eerie tale, using macro lenses and time lapse techniques. Black ferrofluid and dye race through bubble structures, drawn through by the invisible forces of capillary action and magnetism.”

Saturday, 28 September 2013

S.o.t.D. - Tokoi – Phaeleh

Tokoi – Phaeleh

Hearing them be able to tackle a myriad of sounds, and doing it well, is a good indicator of the greatness of an artist.


I hear them, and I find their carapaces sometimes, but I’m not sure I see live Cicadas very often. This one was very sluggish, which makes me wonder if it has fulfilled its biological imperative, and was close to croaking.

Tempest Milky Way

Can’t get enough of this sort of imagery.

Old English in Friesland

The small country I was born in, the Netherlands, has a kooky number of accents and dialects and languages, given its size. When I open my mouth and speak Dutch, people know immediately that I’m from Amsterdam. Travel a half hour outside the city and people have a different accent. Cities an hours drive from one another have totally unique slang and vocabulary, in addition to distinctive accents. Travel to one of the far corners of the country, and the residents will be speaking Zeeuws, Limburgs or Fries - which I can’t make heads or tails from. 
This map gives an idea of the bewildering array of dialects to be found in the Benelux region.

A similar state of affairs exists in Great Britain, where someone can be immediately identified as coming from a given region as soon as they start to talk.

I’ve always found it fascinating that in the massive country I live in now, Canada, seems to lack these linguistic differences and lacks much in the way of distinctive accents. Oh sure, you can distinguish someone from Newfoundland, and to a lesser degree some of the other Maritime provinces like Nova Scotia. But by and large, someone from Alberta sounds much like someone from Ontario, who doesn’t sound so different from someone from British Columbia, who wouldn’t sound out of place in Manitoba. 

I know full well that Great Britain was populated by successive waves of people, who all added to the language we now know as “English.” One of the groups, in addition to the Celts and Romans and Angles and Saxons and Danes and Norse and Normans, that invaded/migrated to Great Britain were the Frieslanders.

I’ve heard it said that Fries (or Frisian in English) is the closest living language to old English. I gather it has more in common with English than Dutch. Stumbled across this video of Eddie Izzard (who is quite a linguist) in Friesland trying to communicate.

Thursday, 26 September 2013

S.o.t.D. - Just Say – Synkro

Just Say – Synkro

Another sweet tune from Synkro.

I think I’m in love....


Kind of a country glitzy girly girl next door, that has a channel on YouTube that is really enthusiastic about and does reviews of knives, shoots firearms, goes hunting, likes the outdoors, pro 2A, has recently started making knives, has a big skull tattoo down her side, wears a T-shirt that says I ♥ Bacon....oh and did I mention she’s really easy on the eyes? Admittedly her reviews are kind of fluffy, but when the reviewer is a honey bomb, I’ll overlook it.

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

S.o.t.D. - God Put a Smile Upon Your Face – Coldplay

God Put a Smile Upon Your Face – Coldplay

What 12 years in a glacier does to a backpack

I really dislike the term “bomb-proof” to describe outdoor gear. But after seeing this, I’m wondering if “glacier-proof” will become the new marketing hype term.

The short story is that a man fell into a crevasse a dozen years ago on the Athabasca Glacier in Alberta. He was with only one friend, who went to get help. The people who came pulled the man out, but his pack stayed behind, and they weren’t about to risk their lives to salvage it. Fast forward a dozen years, and the man goes back to the area and finds his pack. It had been pushed down about 500 meters, emerging from the ice on a moraine.

Pretty astonishing to see what 12 years of being mangled by a relentless glacier does to the contents of a pack.

And an interview from CBC Radio.

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

S.o.t.D. - Home – Mono Suono

Home – Mono Suono

If there was ever a track to epitomize cruising in a convertible along a winding coast road with views of the ocean on a sunny day with someone beautiful you dig beside you, I think this is it.

Saturday, 21 September 2013

S.o.t.D. - Chernobyl – Blanck Mass

Chernobyl – Blanck Mass

Amazing piece of music. Elegiac is I think the apt word to describe it.

Log Cabins

I was in a grocery store yesterday and the cashier comments on the log home magazine the woman in front of me was buying.
“My fiancee has 25 acres in Lanark county and he’s going to build a log cabin from the trees on it, and we’re going to live there.”

Being the kind of guy I am, I felt no compunctions about offering up my opinion 
when she was ringing up my order.
“Sorry to be a party pooper, but I very seriously doubt that you can build a log cabin with the trees to be found on 25 acres in Lanark. In a hundred to one hundred and fifty years maybe.”

Having lived in Lanark for several years, and having covered large areas of the county mainly on foot, and having helped clear out a bunch of sugar bushes after the 1998 ice storm, I knew that the place had been too extensively logged of prime trees to make that a very realistic dream. Save for maple trees due to their economic value, any tree of any real worth had likely been taken down at some point. Oh sure there were pine and oak and beech and all sorts of other nice trees, but they were either the crooked ones or very young trees that required several decades to mature before they would be good for anything other than firewood.

Depending on the land and what kind of logging had been done there, the availability of suitable trees is a consideration. And most of what I encountered in Lanark not given over to maple syrup production, had been logged over several times in the last century. To people with no sense of perspective, any area with a lot of trees looks like forest. But if you’re ever lucky enough to go into some of the few areas in North America that for whatever miraculous reason wasn’t logged, that has trees that are hundreds of years old, not a few decades old, you grasp that what we see now is a pale imitation of a “forest.”

It’s always seemed to me that the appeal of log homes is largely about nostalgia. Not so much that they’re an inherently better home, just that it has that whole rich history of the early settlement of this continent tied up in it. They probably made a lot of sense to the early pioneers, who utilized their environment to sustain them. When they had a chunk of land with great old forest trees on it, and an immediate need to shelter their family, a log cabin undoubtedly made a great deal of sense. Now, those old growth trees are gone, and all that remains in most places are far inferior trees. When you need to ship suitable trees from halfway across the continent, it just starts to seem more like the privilege of the very wealthy who harbour romantic ideals of life on the frontier.

Thursday, 19 September 2013

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Monday, 16 September 2013

S.o.t.D. - Sun Harmonics – Jon Hopkins

Sun Harmonics – Jon Hopkins

I think this is a reworking of some of the elements used in yesterdays track, I suppose when you collaborate with someone, there’s nothing saying that you can’t rework it into another project.

NyfFyrLyt™ 3

The other two versions worked, but I still wasn’t entirely happy with them.

Sooo....back to the drawing board. Main thing I didn’t like about the second go around was the zippered top opening. Thought a flap might work better. Wanted to carry all the stuff that went into the original two versions, but I also wanted to carry some more stuff. Redundant perhaps, but I wanted to carry my Leatherman Wave as well as the Victorinox Huntsman. The bits that accompany the LM. A PocketWrench 2. A pen. A lighter. Having the battery die in the flashlight is annoying, so wanted to have a way to carry extra batteries as well.

I’d seen the Skinths, and thought they had some cool features. But while Eric is a good guy, buying one from him would deprive me of the fun of making my own thing, and there were a bunch of my own features I wanted to add. 

I could have gone narrow and thick, and instead opted to go with wide and thin.

Like Soviet weaponry, it’s not pretty, but it’s effective.

First component for the four main tools. The two white bits at the bottom...
....are Spectra cord that I used to hold the pen in place.
The back/flap component for the four flat tools/items.
The two side by side.
The third front and sides component. Decided to add a SliverGripper to the side as well.
All three components combined. I added an H&K hook to it to hang keys on.

The size of the whole thing is about 180 cm (7") by 120 cm (5") by 50 cm (2"). The main pouch is about 110 cm (4.5") by 105 cm (4") by 30 cm (1.25"). And the weight of it is a heavy 1 kg (2.2 lbs.).
The back side. One change I made to the whole set up was to have straps that I could detach at the bottom. This way I can either have it high up on the belt, or drop it down low so that when I’m wearing a backpack with a waist belt, it hangs down below that waist belt. Having that lump of stuff under a belt is really uncomfortable. Yet I still wanted to have this on my belt, on my person, so that if I ditch the pack I would still have it. This attachment system is known as BALLS - Belt Attachment Lowerable Loop System.
Viewed from above.
The front side, with a pouch for a lighter. It’ll hold a Bic, and any other similar sized disposable or refillable lighter. Hemmed and hawed about whether I should put the lighter on the inside, or maybe the flashlight or the SAK on the outside pouch. The lighter ended up on the outside. Maybe if I tackle version 4, it might not be there. 
The back side, with a pouch for two AA batteries. I found that 1" tubular webbing is the perfect size to house the batteries. Made it so that it flips down to release them. One drawback to this approach is that I already knew that the tube would push loose from side to side, so I added some shock cord and a cord lock to help hold it in place. I put the batteries in facing a different direction and also put a circle of plastic between the two batteries to make sure they didn’t drain.
The contents. 
Top row: Fisher Trekker Space Pen, Silva Matchcase, Leatherman Wave 2004, Victorinox Huntsman, Whistle, Fenix L1D, Bic Lighter 
Bottom row: Sliver Grippers, PocketWrench 2Leatherman Bit Kit, Brass Calipers, AA batteries
And here you can see it worn normally on the belt, and worn low on the belt.
The BALLS straps on the back also allow me to mount it on PALS webbing, like here on the Messenge’mups.

Oh yeah, and I sewed the whole thing by hand.

I suspect that like the other ones, I may find some flaws with this one after living with it for a while and tackle version 4. But for now, I’m happy with it.

Sunday, 15 September 2013

S.o.t.D. - John Taylor’s Month Away – King Creosote & Jon Hopkins

John Taylor’s Month Away – King Creosote & Jon Hopkins

Just a harmonium and an acoustic guitar. Oh, and voice too. Gorgeous. Love that drone effect of the harmonium. From the mini album Diamond Mine, which is really nice.

Thursday, 12 September 2013

S.o.t.D. - Change – Tears for Fears

Change – Tears for Fears

The Hurting was an album that impressed the hell out of me when I first heard it in 82 and I still think of it as a solid album.

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

S.o.t.D. - Isolation – Joy Division

Isolation – Joy Division

If you could just see the beauty. These things I could never describe.

Words can’t even put into words how much the music of Joy Division means to me.

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

S.o.t.D. - Ecstasy – New Order

Ecstasy – New Order

I think it’s the bass solos in this that do it for me. The vocoder vocals certainly don’t do much for me.

Turn In Your Firearms

Did up a moto poster. Expresses my cynical view of gun control. Share at will.

Sunday, 8 September 2013

Saturday, 7 September 2013

S.o.t.D. - Light Through The Veins – Jon Hopkins

Light Through The Veins – Jon Hopkins

This whole track is great, but the last three minutes in particular are spectacular. Coldplay fans will recognize this from Life in Technicolour, as this was his contribution to it.

First Visit to the Dentist in 20 Years

So I went to see the dentist yesterday. For the first time in 20 years.

A few reasons for not going for so long. Going to the dentist is just not fun. Let’s be perfectly candid. It just isn’t. It’s expensive. Working a range of contract or temp jobs or freelancing or part time jobs for not enough pay or periods of unemployment, makes paying for the dentist a financial challenge. I don’t imagine I’m the only person in this boat. And then there is the invariable procrastinating “yeah, yeah, I’ll get around to it.”

Being the typical dumb male, I figured that if there isn’t a problem, why bother going. My teeth weren’t giving me any trouble, they’re strong, they don’t hurt, no one complained that my breath smelled like rancid death. I brushed very regularly, used mouth wash, flossed somewhat intermittently, I have dental picks that I have a go at tartar build up with. They’re not that straight, they’re not that white, they won’t make me look like a model, but they’re functional.

Well until recently.

Many years ago, while still in my teens, I had two molars on the bottom, second from the back on each side, pretty much cratered, deep cones put in them and filled. Apparently I had cavities so severe it necessitated this drastic course of action. “You’ll need to have crowns put on them, and probably have to replace them every so often. Maybe even necessitate root canals to save them.”

Never had crowns put on them. See the aforementioned part about being an impoverished bum. See the aforementioned part about not digging the dentist. Kept chewing on them for 25 years. Eventually the one on the left side, had small pieces of the tooth itself crack off. Over years a few more pieces came off. The filling itself seemed rock solid though. At some point in the last half year the filling part broke off. Still no discomfort. Weird. But recently it did start to hurt. Infected hurt. Shit. All right moron, time to go to the dentist. I realized there was nothing that could be done to fix it, possibly by some amazingly expensive miracle that I couldn’t afford anyway. I resigned myself that my inevitable slide in to decay and entropy was smacking me in the face right here, and that I would have it yanked.

Went to the dentist. The process of X-rays has definitely deteriorated. It may be easier for them because it’s digital. But where as before it was a small plastic card with a flap you clamped between your teeth, it’s now an awkward contraption that is decidedly uncomfortable.

She looks at my teeth. Yeah, it should come out.

Now the other thing that I should mention is that when I last saw a dentist I was informed that I had 3 cavities. 20 years of doing nothing about them.

I fully expected to be informed that I now have 87 cavities.

Dentist informs me that I now have 4 cavities. All on the top side. “Want to have them filled right now.”

Take a deep breath. “Sure.”

My memories of fillings are honking big needles being shoved into my skull that were hellishly painful despite any preliminary novocaine, clamps around my teeth, rubber sheets, clamps to hold my mouth open, my tongue being pried aside, many interminable minutes of grinding on my teeth. It just sucked. Let’s not mince words.

So I was pleasantly surprised when the needle was tiny, I didn’t feel it at all, and the whole process was over in, 15 minutes, at most 20 minutes. All right. That aspect of dentistry has certainly improved.

Looking at the Xrays, it appears that the molar that needs to come out is tilted forward.

“Yes, because the molar beside it was removed.”

Huh?! I have absolutely no recollection of ever having had molars removed. Maybe the experience was so traumatic that I completely blocked it out, but I have no memory of it whatsoever. I suspect I would have been in my early teens if it had happened. I have fourteen bottom teeth. An equal amount on both sides. So if that one molar was removed, it stands to reason that the one other side was too. Okay. If I have no recollection of one being yanked out of my head, I certainly don’t remember two. I was under the impression my wisdom teeth had never come in. Maybe they did, and two front molars were removed to let them grow in? I have no idea. The other side though appears to have no forward lean, and there is little problem with that molar. That forward lean appears to have contributed greatly to the problems with it.

But to me the even bigger mystery is how when I was in my teens I had cavities so severe they required massive intervention. And yet, twenty years with 3 known cavities, and essentially neglecting them, 20 years of drinking tea and coffee with sugar, the occasional soda, stroop wafels, Caramilk bars, and all sorts of other bad for me and my teeth sugary crap, flossing way too intermittenly, falling asleep before remembering to brush my teeth, etc., etc., added only one extra cavity, and didn’t seem to do a whole lot to the other three. Bzzzzzz. Bzzzzz. Bzzzzz. Brrrrrr. Bzzzzzz. Dab. Dab. Dab. Dab. Done. Either drills now gouge massive holes in seconds, or those cavities were pretty minor surface ones. The cavities certainly hadn’t progressed to rotting teeth away to the core, etc.

So to say that I have a slightly cynical view of whatever dentist did a number on my teeth is an understatement. Whatever problems I am now having with that molar seem to have more to do with their intervention than any genetic or neglect induced causes.

Anyway, I have an appointment to have the problematic molar removed next week. Not looking forward to it, but I don’t think there is any alternative. I will probably just get a partial denture to span that gap. Maybe at some point if I win the lottery or marry a sugar mama or just plain get a decent job with dental benefits, I’ll look into getting knocked right out, one of those posts drilled into my skull and a fake tooth put on. But for now, it seems my neglectful dental habits haven’t been quite as ruinous as I had feared.

Friday, 6 September 2013

S.o.t.D. - Addiction (Second Dose) – Skinny Puppy

Addiction (Second Dose) – Skinny Puppy

The original was good, but when Adrian Sherwood was done it was great.

Axe Cop

I heard an interview with one of the creators a few days ago and part way in I knew I was going to be a fan. The creator interviewed was the older partner, Ethan Nicolle, who was 29 when he started work on it. The other partner is his much younger step-brother Malachai Nicolle, who was 5 when they started Axe Cop.

Ethan was playing with Malachai and likely an assortment of action figures, dinosaurs, etc. When I played with my at the time five year old nephew and our collection of PlayMobil I never thought to tell him that dinosaurs were extinct when the vikings were around and that they didn’t have helicopters. I just let him direct the playing with his imagination and went along with whatever scenario he dreamed up. Well, not only did Ethan delight in his younger siblings wild flights of fantasy, but given that he was a talented comic book artist, he decided to turn them into something for others to enjoy.

This is all kinds of awesome. It is utterly chaotic, follows the demented logic of a five year olds brain, but is just all sorts of great.

The titular character fights crime with a fireman’s axe. He has robot arms in his moustache. He was briefly married to a female Abraham Lincoln. He has a pet T-Rex called Wexter that has gatling guns for arms. He has partners like Flute Cop, Sockarang who has socks for arms that can detach and be thrown like boomerangs, Ralph Wrinkles the talking dog, and Best Fairy Ever. He is opposed by villains like Telescoping Gun Cop and Dr. Stinkyhead, and of course an array of zombies, robots and aliens. Axe Cops battle cry is “I’ll chop your heads off!”

Check it out!

And there are more.

Thursday, 5 September 2013

S.o.t.D. - World Control (Electric Surveillance Edit) – Manufacture

World Control (Electric Surveillance Edit) – Manufacture

A brief way point in the continuum of late 80’s, early 90’s crunchy techno-industrial, but pretty damn good. Back in the days when Nettwerk was still a label worth following. Always wanted to sample the bit between 0:45 and 0:52 and turn that into something else.

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

S.o.t.D. - Boadecia – Enya

Boadecia – Enya

I was watching a 1986 documentary from the BBC about the Celts, and this piece of music appeared in it. I recognized it as a sample in DJ Hype’s Ready Or Not, itself a reworking of a Fugees tune. No idea that that refrain had been sampled from, as I was to discover in the credits, Enya.

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

S.o.t.D. - Ready Or Not – DJ Hype

Ready Or Not – DJ Hype

I admit I like the more sedate bits in this more than I like the crazy, jump up, ragga madness, but also have to admit that this song kicks ass on the floor.