Tuesday, 30 September 2014

S.o.t.D. - Valley of the Shadows – Origin Unknown

Valley of the Shadows – Origin Unknown

This is over 20 years old, and I can still remember the “Wow! This is blowing my mind!” feeling it engendered like it was yesterday.

Webster’s Falls via Drone

Some will go “Ohmagerd! It’s making me dizzy!” And you really want to turn the sound right down/off, but this is a pretty neat perspective on the lovely Webster’s Falls here in lovely Hamilton.

Monday, 29 September 2014

Archeological dig...after a fashion.

I took part in an archeological dig today.

Well...not quite.

Took part in another cleanup organized by the Stewards of Cootes Watershed, near the Desjardins Canal, along the northeast shore of Cootes Paradise. 75 volunteers from McMaster came out. Which would mean being able to tackle a sizable chunk of the problem.

And the amount of garbage was, pardon my language, fucking mind boggling. Not even the bigger stuff, like bottles and cans. That had already been cleaned up. No. Small plastic detritus. Staggering amounts. Sorting through it was like an archeological dig. Delving into a period of very recent human rubbish.

Bottle caps, cigarello mouth pieces, tampon applicators, tamper proof seals, golf balls, 1" drug baggies, tips for glue tubes, tips for caulking tubes, corks, stir sticks, straws, coffee cup lids, freezie tubes, bobbers, balloons, combs, lighters, happy meal toy parts, kinder eggs, present wrapping ribbon, syringes, googly eyes, tooth brushes, caps for cap guns, retail store hangers, badminton birdies, hair barrettes, zip ties, plastic cutlery, busted tictac boxes, plastic bags, green army men, styrofoam cups, ping pong balls, elastics, Q-tips, cassette wheels, and all sorts of unidentifiable pieces. I could go on. Found a fist sized snow globe ball.

I just chose a spot, any spot, and got to work. I put on knee pads, spread out a tarp and an inflatable seat pad, situated myself in a spot in the shade near Tys Theysmeyer, the Head of Natural Lands at Royal Botanical Gardens. Kneeling, bending, sitting, squatting – I used a trowel and well gloved hands to sift through the area above the sandy and rocky beach. About a two meter circle. And I filled a large garbage bag. Full. Everyone else filled dozens and dozens of bags. The pile was 4, maybe 5 meters long, meter, meter and half high and wide. The weight was an approximate 200 to 225 kilograms. A tire. A road pylon. All in an area about 30 to 40 meters long.

And if I went back tomorrow I could fill a similar sized bag in a few hours. And do it again many, many times. 

But what is a lot more disturbing were the pellets. Lentil sized pellets. Gravel almost. And not a few of them. The soil is laced with them. A handful of soil would net you dozens and dozens of them. I asked Tys and even he wasn’t sure. I asked if it could be silica gel. Someone else suggested they might be the granules that fill diapers. Most of the objects I listed are graspable, recognizable. As tedious and gross as it is, it is doable. Granules the size of a match head, by the millions. Just in that one spot. How do you get that out?

And what was depressing about it was that most of this, nearly all of this massive amount of plastic, was that it wasn’t an accretion from decades past, but at most 5, maybe 10 years of stuff. Most of what I found was a fairly recent thing.

Do what you can, where you are, with the abilities you have, with the time you have.

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Monday, 22 September 2014

S.o.t.D. - Manicured Reality (feat. LowQui) – S.P.Y.

Manicured Reality (feat. LowQui) – S.P.Y.

The tune is hard, the gal is hot, but I really like the message of the vid. Self obsessed narcissism that merely masks deep seated discontent and disaffection.

Touchdown, plug into the matrix
Eyes to the screen on a permanent basis
Share your deepest feelings with pages of strangers
Intravenous data, names and faces
Artery, digital, blanket security
Phantom hand, warning, low battery
Project image, construct fantasy
Distress, distort, manicured reality

Sunday, 21 September 2014

S.o.t.D. - Fire & Water – Calibre

Fire & Water – Calibre

This is what’s known as a roller.

One of the best things I ever did.

I had just turned 8, and I decided I wanted to go to Schiphol to look at the planes. By myself. I had gone out there a few times before with my dad, but it was the summer holidays and I wanted to go on a little adventure. I figured out the route on a map of Amsterdam, and set out to ride from one end of Amsterdam to the other. My mom had packed me a lunch, the map, the phone numbers of some of my parents friends and family along the way, some money, and off I went. At about the halfway point, at the old Olympic stadium, there was extensive road construction, streets all torn up, road signs down, and I got all discombobulated. Turned around and went home.

Upset that I hadn’t made it, the next week, I set off again. Figured out different routes around the area that had given me trouble. And this time I made it. Watched the planes for a while, turned around and went home.

People are aghast when I tell them this. “Your parents let you ride your bicycle across a big city by yourself when you were 8?!”


Granted, it’s a city with excellent bike infrastructure. I guess they figured I was a fairly bright kid. But I set a goal, used map reading skills,
overcame difficulties, got some exercise, etc.

What do you think builds a kids abilities and self esteem? That, or taking them to the mall to buy them a video game because they ate their supper without crying about being lucky enough to have something to eat?


I still think back fondly to that experience, and realize how much it taught me.

Cordage from a plastic bottle

I have plenty of cordage, so I won’t be rushing to try this, but I thought it was a really clever idea. For doing basketry and the like especially. And sadly, given how many plastic bottles can be found, even far from “civilization”, in an emergency perhaps you could make some cordage from them.

This video shows the process and some of the imaginative things they do with the resultant cordage. (It’s in Russian, but you’ll get the gist of it.)

This link shows two devices, and a ways down is the device used in the above video. I gather it can be ordered from Brazil, but the DIY inclined could likely fashion one.

And an Instructable link with a more low tech approach.

Saturday, 20 September 2014

Sunday, 14 September 2014

Saturday, 13 September 2014

S.o.t.D. - Metamorphosis – Addex

Metamorphosis – Addex

Absolutely love the deep, funky house sounds of Addex.

Had one of those “I’m such an old fogey” conversations with a friend recently, but I would love it if I could find a night that played stuff along the lines of this for several hours, where no booze was served. That might make me want to go out.

Thursday, 11 September 2014

Tuesday, 9 September 2014

Monday, 1 September 2014

S.o.t.D. - Two Different Places – David Cunningham

Two Different Places – David Cunningham

Off of the 1986 Touch compilation cassette, Ritual: Magnetic North. I discovered a lot of cool stuff through the Touch tapes.

Makers: Balan The Blowpipe Maker

I’ve always been interested in blowpipes. (And I still don’t grasp why they’re illegal in Canada.)

Culled from an upcoming documentary, Sunset over Selungo, this short excerpt shows a Penan who still makes blowpipes. I know that in some cultures that used blowpipes, a groove was cut in two separate pieces of wood and then glued and/or wrapped with cordage back into one element. Here a long piece of wood is drilled through. Funny to see him using a modern rasp though.

I think the Penan are an especially fascinating indigenous people. They are one of the last remaining hunter gatherer tribes, although the Malaysian and Indonesian governments and multi-national corporations are seeing to their rapid demise, by destroying the forest they need to survive. Please consider donating to the Kickstarter campaign for this film.