Monday, 25 December 2017

Christmas Eve

Walked to the home of friends last night to celebrate how much cheeses love us. The walk there was magical – no sound but that of snow crunching underfoot, the soft ticking of snow on my hood - and church bells ringing in the distance. And at midnight, it was even more magical. Thoroughly toasted, I wandered around Dundurn Castle and the cemetery for an otherworldly hour.
 The garden.
The Dundurn dovecote.
Cemetery gatehouse.

Thursday, 21 December 2017

Happy Accident Fire Truck

For thirty years I’ve been clapping gleefully whenever something visual screws up.

The blurry, or double exposed, photos Black’s didn’t charge you for. The odd shapes formed at the edges on stat cam prints by the bulbs when you really shrunk something down. Postscript printers deciding it didn’t like your file and spitting out pixelated mayhem. PMT prints that didn’t work and left strange patterns and colour fades. Early monitors that would sometimes show a chopped up version of the file you were working on as you zoomed out, and stay there long enough to get a screenshot of. Images after they’ve been stapled to a phone pole for a half year. Run up sheets from offset presses, with oddly juxtaposed type and images.

I’ve got a huge file of this kind of stuff. Not used so frequently, but when you can find a use for this sort of randomly generated imagery for something, terrific.

Happy accidents I called them.

A bunch of years back I was home one morning when a fire truck parked between calls on the quiet cul-de-sac I lived on. Went out to say hi and snap some photos as reference for possibly building a Lego version. (Still haven’t gotten around to it.) Somewhere along transferring them between camera and various storage mediums, the entire folder of images got truncated.

PhotoShop can’t do anything other than show a narrow strip along the top. If PS can’t open it...that’s saying something. Single previews don’t work, but for some inexplicable reason, opening them all at once showed me this riotous collage of strips of stuttering colour. Took screenshots of the expanded screen, because other wise these are inaccessible.

“Accident is the greater part of art, not design.” – Aleister Crowley

Tuesday, 5 December 2017

Sunday, 3 December 2017

S.o.t.D. - The Good Life – Tony Bennett

The Good Life – Tony Bennett

What a voice.


Woodlanders is a crowd funded online film series that seeks to document the work of people who care for and depend on forests for their livelihood and well-being throughout the world. 

Definitely worth your time. And your support.


Friday, 1 December 2017

S.o.t.D. - Angels In Dub – Code Blue

Angels In Dub – Code Blue

How could I hear bass and drum lines interwoven like this, with production quality like this, and not fall deeply in love with this whole genre.

A frequent Jarkko tune. Usually slowed down.

Thursday, 30 November 2017

S.o.t.D. - Ventura Highway – America

Ventura Highway – America

I referenced this song yesterday, and then discovered to my chagrin that I had never featured America. That needs to be remedied. Of all the yacht rock bands, I think they’re my favourite.

Tuesday, 28 November 2017

S.o.t.D. - Disturbed (Kessell Alternative Remix) – Pulse One

Disturbed (Kessell Alternative Remix) – Pulse One

Is it too much to ask for one night a week where several hours of this kind of spacey, echoey, but really groovy techno is played?

It probably is.

This tempo and sound is so much fun to dance to.

Monday, 27 November 2017

S.o.t.D. - Afternoon Delight – Circle Jerks

Afternoon Delight – Circle Jerks

Been on a bit of a punk kick the last few days. Quite fun. Saw these guys once, waaay back when. Also quite fun.


My new compression panel day pack, the Squish’mups. 
(And just to give you a sense of the size, I’m 203 cm (6'7") and 113 kg (250 lbs). Yes, I make a 130 lb. Great Dane look small.)
I’ve tried a few approaches to this idea, and they all fell a bit short. But I’m certain this will be the solution! I think. Maybe...

The idea is to have a detachable day pack that I would have with me on a two hour hike or a two week canoe trip. There are things that are necessary for both –what changes usually is insulation, shelter, food, etc., on longer trips and time of year. I want to have a way to carry the necessities; water, means to purify it, first aid kit, rain protection, some insulation, a day of food, etc.

Besides being able to carry it as a stand alone day pack (with or without a waist belt, and with a frame sheet, aluminum stays, or both, or none) or have it attached to a frame (Kifaru or the one I’ll eventually build), it’ll serve as a compression panel. Between the Squish’mups and the frame I can carry a no-frills pack sack (the next thing I’ll make), a duffel bag, a dry bag, a barrel, a Pelican case, a rifle drag bag, etc., etc.

The difference between some of my other attempts, is to have a pack not very deep, but wide and tall. Keeping the depth of it down helps prevent the center of gravity from being put too far out.
The dimensions are 60 cm (23") x 33 cm (13") 10 cm x (4").

Using some very complimicalated mathematics*, I derived at a figure of this being about a 37 liter pack, or approximately 2250 cubic inches. 

*( C = W + D x 2 ÷ π ÷ 2 = R
π x R² x H = V )
Some of you will automatically recognize that the belt and the way it’s attached, and really the whole suspension, is pretty much my take on the Kifaru Omni system. I’ve been using it for a decade, it works very well - so why re-invent the wheel as far as that went. Some ideas for the belt were also nicked from the Hill People Gear Prairie Belt.)

Some closeups of the belt. I changed the Delta Straps a little by adding removable ladder locks. In Kifaru’s the webbing is sewn into the belt. I wanted to be able to have this as a stand alone belt if need be, and wanted to be able to remove them altogether. (The HPG belt does something similar.) I also added four tabs along the top so that I could attach suspenders. The other things I did was attach Eva-Zote foam and spacer mesh to the belt (as well as two strips along the back) both for padding and - hopefully - a bit of comfort on hot days.

Another view of the belt with the ladder locks removed and the suspender tabs more visible. The other thing I did was use a buckle arrangement similar to the HPG Prairie Belt.

The back, showing the inside and outside. The 2" straps at the top go all the way to the bottom, and serves as a carry handle.
The back, showing the inside and outside. Inside I put 4, ½" strips of webbing on both the front and the back, so that I could hold things in place with bunjee cords and cord locks. Inside is also a slot for an HDPE frame sheet and you can just see the 2" slot pockets for aluminum stays. I can use one or the other, or both, or none.

Bottom. Bit hard to tell, but it’s an irregular hexagon. One piece of gear that I absolutely wanted to use was my MSR Titan Kettle – which was a bit bigger than the depth I had envisioned for this. I shaped the pack so that only the bottom part I would put it in was sized to accommodate it. The rest tapers away to be as slim as possible.

Sides showing the water bottle holders (corsets so that any size bottle can be accommodated), compression straps, and the daisy chain riding up the sides and over the top. 
Top, again showing the daisy chain and the compression straps, as well as carrying handle (the straps go all the way along the back to the bottom). 

Trekking pole holders on the front. A strip of ½" webbing, sewn to be 2 channels, with bunjee cord and a cord lock.

The straps that will attach the compression pack to the frame. (You can also see how I shaped the front to accommodate the larger kettle at the bottom and then flare away to a narrower wifth.

Some closeups.
Closer look at the water bottle holders. I wanted to be able to accommodate different sized bottles if need be. I did the bottom so there is a hinge, to better fit either Kleen Kanteens or the Classic 1 liter Nalgenes. And on the bottom by the seam you can see the two holes I put for the cord to emerge from.
The Kifaru E&E and the Squish’mups side by side. I got the E&E a decade ago for the purpose I outlined earlier. Just found it too small for my needs. I also found the fact that I can only attach it via the sides meant it always sags down.

The ½" strips of webbing and how things are held in place with bunjee cords and cord locks. If it was a top opening pack I could just shove things down inside. Given that it opens all the way up, I wanted to makes sure everything stayed put when I opened it.
To give a description of what’s all here:
Starting top left, first aid kit (I’m going to make one specifically to fit along the width along the top, and have it be a tear-away), below that a pouch with some miscellaneous stuff - repair kit, toiletry kit, headlamp, gaiters.
To the right of that, at the top, an inflatable seat pad, below that a ground sheet (foot print from a 1 person MEC tent) below that a bag with approximately a days worth of food.
To the right of that a bag with a sweater, gloves, socks, toque and buff, all in merino wool.
To the right of that at the top, a Swiss mesh scarf. About a meter square, it’s one if those items I could in theory live without, but it’s so versatile it always comes along and I always find a use for it. As a scarf, I drape it over or wrap it around my head when I sleep, I’ve rigged it up as a sun shade, it can serve as camouflage, collect leaves for a debris shelter, I’ve strung it up as a place to put gear so it’s off the ground - the uses are endless. Below that is a cozy that fits a home made dehydrated meal and inside of it is my trusty MSR Titan kettle and LMF cup with a homemade stove and wind screen and fuel bottles and lighter. Below that is an Integral Tactical silnylon poncho. Thin and light, it serves as both wearable rain protection and shelter.

Anyway, my confident prognostication that this will be THE solution ... fell a bit short. It’s very close, but not quite. It’s really comfortable, but then again, it’s an Omni suspension, so it would be. 

My biggest gripe is the water bottle carriers. The bunjee cord adjustment system mainly. The next go round will be attached in the seam at the bottom, and via SRB at the top, and instead of a cord lattice, it will be webbing straps adjustable via Velcro. 

 The daisy chain up the sides and top will be dispensed with, since its main purpose was for the bottle cord lattice to weave through. And my initial thought was maybe use as an attachment point for something. Would rather dispense with the weight. 

Also the way the compression straps attach to the pack itself when not on the main frame, will change. I had attachment points all the way up the sides, top and bottom. Instead there will only be tabs specifically for those straps to connect to. Again, unnecessary weight for, maybe I might attach something to it some time.

The way the compression webbing attaches will be different as well. Part of my original design was to have a mesh panel that I could use to stick a wet rain jacket or tarp under. Then it hit me. Duh. Why not just use those compression straps for that purpose. The next iteration will do away with the metal tri-glide / loop-loc attachment, have it be one piece and route through webbing tabs. I can loosen it, stick what I need under it and cinch it tight. Basically, the Kifaru Cargo Net. Slightly different, but essentially, as soon as it’s no longer sewn to the pack, that’s what it became.

Another idea that seemed good at first, but had to actually use for a while to realize the shortcomings of, are the trekking pole holders on the front. The next iteration will have them be attached to the main frame instead.

It will also be just a pocket, rather than a full on pack. Rather than a built in suspension, I’ll simply attach it to the main frame. I think I may keep shoulder strap and waist belt attachment points (and maybe include pockets for aluminum stays). If I want to take it off the frame and carry it alone, I can if I do that. I intend to put a pocket along the back to slip a piece of foam in, both as a seat pad and to give the pack some rigidity. (And that would also clear up room inside currently taken up by the inflatable seat pad I have in there.)

I also have the idea to do an iteration of it which is just a top opening pack, rather than a full clamshell opening. While everything is neatly attached, I wonder if it’s really such a good use of the space available.

Some more photos.

A Pelican 1600 strapped on to a Kifaru Duplex frame. (The belt, shoulder straps, frame sheets and aluminum stays removed from the Squish’mups.)
Stripped down Squish’mups strapped to the Kifaru MOLLE Express.
Stripped down Squish’mups on a Kifaru Duplex frame, with a MEC duffel bag between them.