Sunday, 29 May 2016

S.o.t.D. - Theme For Great Cities – Simple Minds

Theme For Great Cities – Simple Minds

Damn, they were great at one point.

Requiem for a Needle

Needles are sadly not what they once were. I don’t expect the needles I use to last for that long. And if they are good, I often don’t have a clue who made it. I used one that beat all the odds and it lasted for almost five months. Finally gave up the ghost. Figured it needed some recognition for its yeoman’s service.
a humble embroidery crewel
possibly the simplest tool
a sharpened sliver of steel
with a single minded zeal
an eye, a shaft and a point
serving to get fabric joined
always took up the slack
dutifully made my pack
subjected to months of abuse
at last it’d get no more use
after pulling miles of thread
an irreparably damaged head
would mean an ignoble end
of this very faithful friend

Saturday, 28 May 2016

Thursday, 26 May 2016

S.o.t.D. - Her House – The Moon Seven Times

Her House – The Moon Seven Times

Don’t know much about this act. I think the Chris Bigg cover may have drawn my attention, but the music within was quite fine. Majestic and melancholy, it’s a bit dream pop / shoe gazer-ish, but it’s got quite a bit more than that.

Tuesday, 24 May 2016

S.o.t.D. - Escape From New York – John Carpenter

Escape From New York (Official Live In Studio Video) – John Carpenter

I’ve featured two tracks from the soundtrack to this movie before. It turns out Mr. Carpenter has put together a live band to play his soundtrack music and is going on a worldwide tour.

Monday, 23 May 2016


I’ve been using a lacklustre toiletry bag for my sewing kit for about 15 years. I guess it sort of did the trick, but it was lacking in many ways. I often thought that I should gut the interior and rebuild it. But it always ended up on the back burner. I jokingly figured I would finish all the other things I wanted to make, finally tackle it ... and then never make anything else. Figured I would make much more in the years to come and that I owed it to myself to come up with something that really worked.

The Sew’mups.

Let’s get the most important feature out of the way first: the all important velcro patch panel. Size wise, it’s 24 cm (9½") high, 16.5 cm (6½") wide, and 7.5 cm (3") deep.
The back features PALS webbing. Partly for attaching to packs and bags, but also to serve as a slot to house a pair of scissors and forceps. The latter both for pulling a needle, but also to serve as a fid and end grabber for doing paracord work. It can also serve as a precision clamp.
This top view shows the fur coat closure system I use to prevent the two tools from falling out. (They’re called “fur clips” {pelzhaken in German}. Prym makes it, and the product code for it in black is 416502, although it is also available in brown and beige.) The ring was sewn between the two ends of the ½" webbing, and the metal clasp was sewn to the top of the pouch. I’ve done it on a few medical pouches and it works very nicely. 
And a close up of the lanyard knots I used for the zipper pulls.
 The two sides. I used a #10 zipper, which is probably over kill, but I had this and didn’t feel like making a trip just to get a smaller zipper. (And you’ll see white positioning marks everywhere. They’ll fade in time.)

Bottom. It’s not actually that lumpy and misshapen.

Okay, the outside is a pretty straightforward rectangular pouch. Let’s get on to the juicy bits, the interior.
I wanted to be able to open it right up and lay it flat. Yet, if I had it attached to a bag or pack, it could fall open and nothing would fall out.

The front panel features CLASP (Cord Lattice Attachment System Pattern), paracord with the cores taken out and sewn in a matrix. I can attach bunjee cord to this to hold spools of thread (Coats Upholstery for the most part) and film canisters with (rarely used) safety pins, and (often used) rubber thimbles. Also put a Filzer I‑Beam X‑90 flashlight in there.
In the bottom I attached these ITW-Nexus PipeDoc Sternum Sliders. And I used them in a completely different way than they were ever intended to be used.
How I intend to use them is as a spindle for a spool of thread. A piece of paracord with a button knot in one end as a stopper. The bunjee is fine for storing thread, but for the thread that I’m using for a given project, and will use for a while usually, I wanted to have easier access to.
Paracord goes through the spool, slide the paracord through the piping holder and finish it off with a figure 8 to serve as a stopper knot on the other end. Works very nicely so far.
Behind this is a slot to house a sketchbook. I use it for sketching ideas, visually solving problems, scribbling down measurements and calculations, etc.

The back panel.

Trying to figure out slots to house all the myriad of tools is a pain in the butt. Not to mention, I might use different tools sometimes for different tasks, purchase different tools that are a different size, etc. So what I came up with in the 
Exploriment Laboratories is an exciting new modular attachment system known as VREE – Velcro Repositionable Exchangeable Equipment. (My 4th modular attachment system for anyone keeping count, after Thomas’ Attachable Bag System, Belt Attachment Lowerable Loop System and Cord Lattice Attachment System Pattern.)
Each tool has a pocket made of hook Velcro on the back, and loop Velcro on the front. This way I can position them where I like, remove them, stack them on top of each other, etc.
 A closeup of one of the pouches. Not at all fancy. I’ve been adding a piece of webbing and a bit of velcro on it to help hold the contents in place.

I still intend to make a few more pockets, but to give you an idea:
Top row: Olfa retractable knife, Dritz measuring gauge, 6" metal ruler, and needles in the loop Velcro with a piece of loop Velcro over that to hold them in place. (One of the things I still have to make are some pockets for pencil lead holders that I use to hold needles. But these are the ones I use most frequently, so I thought it made sense to have them be easily accessible.), and while it’s folded out of the way in this picture, you can see it in the one above, a Victorinox Classic.

Bottom row: extra blades for the Olfa knife, A Staedtler Mars Technico drafting pencil – I like these partly because the plunger contains a semi-decent sharpener (will get a second one for which I’m trying to find white lead), Victorinox SwissCard scissors, a measuring tape, bic lighter, candle in a tin, and a white Sakura GellyRoll marker.
Closeup of the holder for the measuring tape.
A tea light I pressed into a small tin. If I have to singe the ends of a lot of webbing or material or cord, I prefer to do it with a candle. Keep a lighter lit for a long time and it quickly gets hot enough to burn your thumb. Plus it’s a waste of the fuel. I have loads of tea light candles I’d prefer to use up before I use up disposable lighters or butane.
Closeup of the needles in the loop Velcro.

Let me just put this picture up again to show another feature, the Bulldog Tails. I use binder clips a lot. I used to store them in M&M tubes. When I work on something, as I sew an area, I start removing the bulldog clips. Rather than put them back in the tubes, I would just toss them in the bag, or clip them to things. Not a great solution. This way I can store them, have easy access both to getting them and also putting them back. Plus it’s just more streamlined than the tubes. I can flip them out of the way to get at the tools underneath.

To prevent them flipping and flapping too much, I put clips on the bottom of them, which attach to a loop of paracord.

And in a slot pocket behind I have a cutting mat. Not an item I’ll use so much, but still really useful to have. And it gives some rigidity to the pouch.
And it’s still roughly the same size as the old pouch, probably even a bit smaller.

Mounted on the Messenge’mups. Not an ideal arrangement, but it works.

S.o.t.D. - Les Ondes – Motorbass

Les Ondes – Motorbass

Sunday, 22 May 2016

S.o.t.D. - Nightfall – More Rockers

Nightfall – More Rockers

Another guise for Rockers Hi-Fi. Kick ass tune. That bass drum part that kicks in at 2:45. Jeebus....

Bibliophilia: The Last Werewolf – Glen Duncan

The Last Werewolf – Glen Duncan

Thoroughly enjoyed this funny, sexy, literate take on werewolves.

Jake Marlowe is a very jaded, but still licentious werewolf. And, as we learn, the last one of his kind. He’s being hunted by WOCOP (the World Organisation for the Control of Occult Phenomena), who want to kill him. Oh and vampires are also after him, although they want him for different reasons. He’s pretty sick of it all. Sure, he’s physically very healthy, has managed to stay free and alive for a long time, and he’s financially successful. But having to come up with new identities every few decades and having to look over his shoulder all the time has ground him down. And he’s lonely.

Then something happens which totally changes that outlook.

I thought the writing was glorious, with some delightful turns of phrase, there’s action aplenty and sex and violence in spades.

Thursday, 19 May 2016

Wednesday, 18 May 2016

6° of Thievery

I think the statute of limitations has expired, so I presume it’s safe to tell this tale.

(The same gal that features in this 6° story, and this 6° story, is the one I speak of here.)

Blue boxes had just been introduced in London. 1990 or so. My friend Peter informed me that he’d been told they were perfectly sized to hold records. (Milk crates were already being made smaller than 12" because of the problems they were having with people stealing them.) He wanted to nick one. We drove around on a Friday evening trying to find one still at the curb. Finally located one. Into the trunk it went.

That Sunday afternoon, Kathryn, who at this point was still just a friend, was over for a visit. I relayed my involvement in this larcenous escapade. 

“That’s weird. Someone stole our blue box.”
“It couldn’t have been us. I think you’re further north than where we were. We were up by the university.”
“Yes, that’s where I live.”
I was pulling out a map at this point. “Are you at the end of a cul de sac?”
“Is it called Steele Street?”
“Oh geez.....”

After she left, I called Peter up.

“Uuuhh...listen we need to replace that blue box we stole.”
I relayed the conversation Kathryn and I had just had. Peter is howling on the phone. 
“What are the odds?”
“I know, but I really like her, but I feel kind of bad. The victim of our thievery now has a face and a name. I feel guilty.”

Later that night, we drove around, found another blue box, stole it, and dropped it off outside of what I now knew to be her house.

She didn’t seem to hold my involvement in this criminality against me, because a while later she became more than just a friend. :-)

S.o.t.D. - Masks – Troy Gunner

Masks – Troy Gunner

Like that slow, chugging tempo, within an echo-y dub frame work.

Monday, 16 May 2016

S.o.t.D. - Memories – Neotropic

Memories – Neotropic

Off of the Xen Cuts compilation. The vocals are by Shorti.

Hamilton Art Crawl Graffiti Tour

Went out to Fart Brawl with the family on Friday night. And it was frankly more fun to wander the alleyways and take in some of the graffiti and watch guys putting some up.
On the wall on the side of Dr. Disc.
On the wall of the building behind Dr. Disc.
In the alleyway beside the Spice Factory.
The Tivoli Theatre.
Oh look at this really great mural by the talented Lester Coloma. It really needs to be defaced by having some talentless wannabe add a shitty bubble lettering tag over top.

Behold everyone! The human equivalent of a dog pissing on a fire hydrant.

Some people really need to be kneed in the face a few times.