Tuesday, 31 January 2017

S.o.t.D - Sweet Magnolia – Seba ft. Jenna G

Sweet Magnolia – Seba ft. Jenna G

And this tune is pretty sweet too.

Bibliophilia: How to Wreck A Nice Beach: The Vocoder From World War II to Hip-Hop – Dave Tompkins

How to Wreck A Nice Beach: The Vocoder From World War II to Hip-Hop – Dave Tompkins
I only ever knew the Vocoder as an effect used in late 70s and early 80s electronic music. I wasn’t even aware that it was originally devised (by Bell Labs) during WW2 as a means of scrambling cross-Atlantic telephonic communications.

The title is “how to recognize speech” - as it would have been mis-interpreted on the receiving end.

The writing is wildly inventive, and I love how he goes off on all sort of tangents, deftly linking nascent electronic development, wartime espionage, military encryption, postwar paranoia, early electronic music and pioneering hip-hop into a wildly entertaining roller coaster ride.  

Monday, 30 January 2017

S.o.t.D. - Lonely – Rift

Lonely – Rift

This YouTube channel, has been feeding me tons of great tunes over the past few months. Solid selections.

Bibliophilia: 750 Years in Paris by Vincent Mahé

750 Years in Paris by Vincent Mahé

I’ve never been to Paris, and it isn’t so high on my list of priorities. But I do find its history interesting. 

Starting 1265 and ending in 2015, Vincent Mahé has created 60 pages that focus on a single block, serving to highlight not just the changing architecture over the centuries, but also the historical events and time periods that shaped Paris. Fires, plagues, uprisings, revolutions, renovations, wars, strikes, terror attacks. They’re all there. The images tell a vibrant story without a shred of dialogue.

It reminded me a bit of Virginia Lee Burton’s The Little House.

It’ll appeal to fans of visual story telling, history, and architecture.

Sunday, 29 January 2017


Just an FYI for all concerned: No matter what your opinion is on any subject, typing a comment on the interwebs in all caps, using terrible spelling, poor grammar, and a complete avoidance of punctuation - save for the exclamation mark – is a surefire way to make sensible people complete ignore what you have to say. It’s a large banner that screams “IGNOR ME !!!”

While the internet is a wonderful thing, every time I see some ignorant dumbfuck spout off in a rant - all while showing a tenuous grasp on the niceties of the English language, I shudder. I miss the days the only real divergent commentary I read were letters to the editor of the newspaper. I may have disagreed with the opinions stated, but terrible spelling, abysmal grammar and poor punctuation wasn’t one of the problems. A letter that sounded and looked like the equivalent of a deranged street preacher shouting on the corner, was invariably tossed in the trash can. Oh yeah, and owning up to your stance with your actual name attached - priceless.

529 Garage: An effort to stem the scourge of bike theft.

Digital bike registry service. Considering the staggering amount of bike theft in the world, and the generally tepid response to it by law enforcement, all efforts to stem the scourge are good.

Slick system to record all the details of your bicycle,


Mystery Ranch NICE Frame

Just to clarify: I don’t consider this a review of the product, the Mystery Ranch NICE Frame. I have no appreciable time carrying or using this, so all this is meant as is a photo chronicle of an excellent piece of kit. This was lent to me by Andrew Kent, (who also lent me the ERYX Frame) because I expressed an interest in it. I hope that someone considering purchasing one might glean a little more ideas what it’s all about from these photos.

Being a lanky 203 cm (6'7"), the main reason I haven’t put much time under it, is that it’s not so well suited to my height. I know OV Innovations have their load lifter kit, which might make it a little better for the vertically advantaged. The Kifaru Duplex Frame, up till this point is still a better option for me.

This frame was devised by Dana Gleason to be a better ALICE frame. NICE stands for Nylinear Individual Carrying Equipment. (I chuckle every time I see it written as MR NICE, as it makes me think of Dennis Howard Marks’ autobiographical Mr. Nice.)

As is to be expected from Mystery Ranch, this is a very well built pack, made to exacting standards. It’s certainly a very viable option for anyone looking at a pack frame system. I like the look of the Crew Cab, that’s an option for this system. From my admittedly limited use of it, my only issue with it, is that isn’t suited to my galootish frame. Since I’m an outlier, many others will likely find this a good choice.
Two views of the face with the vertical compression straps.
Two views side on.
A view of the shoulder straps and back side.
The load lifter straps, both connected and disconnected, as well as the carrying handle.
Hydration tube (and maybe comm wires) management. Present on both shoulder straps.
Sternum straps.
Logo at the bottom of the shoulder strap and shoulder strap adjustment tri-glide.
There’s no quick release feature on the shoulder straps NICE frame.
Bolsters on the sides. Relevant mainly to anyone wearing body armour. The zippers allow for washing or replacement I think. There’s no zipper pull because it’s not like it will be opened very much. There’s a gap behind it.
A better view of the back panel and waist belt with the shoulder straps folded out of the way.
And a more detailed view of the waist belt. I like how the waist belt and lumbar strap connect with the pack. A centre pad with kidney pads on each side, and then adjustable waist pads. 
Kidney pad.
Kidney pad and waist belt.
A view of them from underneath.
Another view from underneath.
And another.
One thing I wonder about though is that the (attached) straps aren’t that long. 
The straps use Mojave Auto-Lock Buckles.
Strap ends feature Velcro to manage excess length.

S.o.t.D. - Lost – inVAin

Lost – inVAin

Really sweet tune.

Bibliophilia: Wrinkles by Paco Roca

Wrinkles by Paco Roca
Another of those wonderful graphic novels that doesn’t deal with superheroes in sweeping scenarios. It deals instead with an elderly man in the early stages of Alzheimers, who enters a care facility. Scenarios switch from the present to the youthful memories of the characters. Confident characters of the past abruptly segue out of flashbacks to their confused, bewildered present, struggling to come up with words and recall details. The stiff and formal Emilio strives valiantly to hang on to his mind and his memories, dreading the thought of having to go to the second floor, where the severe cases of dementia end up. With his brash and dastardly room mate Miguel, he does his best to hang on to his dignity and reality, even if it is the hum-drum existence of an old folks home.

There’s a parallel in my own life, as my mother is now in a care facility gradually succumbing to the ravages of Alzheimers. Witnessing it is the hardest thing I’ve ever experienced. So this was a pretty wistful read for me.

Heartwarming and heartbreaking at the same time. Anyone with elderly parents or grandparents slipping into dementia can relate to this, and it may even help you come to terms with it a little. As nearly impossible as that is.

Saturday, 28 January 2017

S.o.t.D. - Videoman – Nucleus & Paradox

Videoman – Nucleus & Paradox

Dark and hard.

Spectator Article on Cottage 13

Terrific article on Jen and the shop.

“With its elegant façade, Cottage 13, looks more like a private club than the rustic tattoo parlours of the past. With the art-filled walls, music and humorous banter it’s a pleasant place to have your body punctured.”


Wednesday, 25 January 2017

S.o.t.D. - 003 B – Hostom

003 B – Hostom

The A side was featured a few weeks ago.

Nations Packaging

Nations Fresh Food is an Ontario based Asian super market, with a lot of Western fare as well. It’s a bit on the weird side (for a really long time their web site was an image of their weekly flyer - no contact info, job applications, info about products, etc. – it now looks to be considerably improved.), they only take Canadian cash and debit cards, they tell you you can’t separate bunches of bananas (ha!), their closing time seems to be whatever the staff feels like, I’ve had to chew out a manager on more than one occasion about their bait and switch pricing tactics, etc., etc.)

But the wacky packaging! Oh the packaging. Sometimes delightfully charming, and other times just “WTF?” bizarre.

Aahhh....just because my Monday morning needed a WTF?!

The “Mo! Mo! Moooo” part is also....unsettling.
An individual packet of the sugar and palm oil filled cookies. Where there is even less evidence of it being an udder.

“We have bought NTD 10,000,000 product liability insurance for this product.”

They look like something you’d find behind under your fridge. They’re like corn puffs, but with a choco flavour coating. Ate two. No need to eat any more.

I have no idea what these are. (Like much of the stuff Nations sells, there is no English or French labelling. How they can legally get away with that is beyond me.) Hot rocks you put in your bath water, spicy oils that make you sweat more to get out the impurities? Who knows.

But the packaging is great.
Spicy candies, nasal spray that clears up your sinuses? Who knows.
Rose scented bath oil, candy that leads to demonic possession? Who knows.


That’s what she said to me last night.

Nope. No desire to try it. Might get it just for the can to make a stove out of though.

It’s pretty clever. Knife and fork. That and a spork and you can conquer the world.

But I fear that a $1.49 for this will lead to disappointment. Call it a hunch. 
But even if the product sucks, just that description alone will give you years of joy.

I don’t know about you, but preventing skiding is also a pre-occupation of mine.

The product itself just isn’t appealing, but the packaging is lovely.

Be my soul mate. Be my waffle mate.

Okay then.

“Love of Office Lady”. I think I saw that one. Busty strumpet, tight skirt, low cut blouse, hunky guy, and oh...the things she was willing to do to get that promotion.

It’s a pretty great porn star name. Cookie Rolls.

Show your children love the only true way. With soft cookies. Not hard biscuits, you cruel monster! Soft cookies!

I’ve been to some parties where mushrooms were consumed, and things got weird, but not Donald Trump in drag dancing with a Green Bay Packers fan weird. 
Even anthropomorphized gourds Yvette Bombardier the brothel keeper and Buster McGillicuddy the sheriff aren’t enough to make me want to buy this package of pickled vegetable snacks.

Oh look! It’s Penishead, the Unicorn Boy, that loveable mascot drooling into his hybrid afro/neck beard, enticing you to buy some spicy pig intestine snacks.

Kirin Milk Tea “the Pungency”. With the characters from Frozen on it. I had to do a double take to make sure I was seeing this correctly. Yes. “Pungency”. In relation to a drink. Using Disney characters on the label. “Pungency” is a word used to describe the guy whose BO hits you from 5 paces away. Not a drink. I will not be purchasing this. 

I love orange too. (So you don’t have to strain your eyes to read the text, just scroll through to the next picture for a close-up of the whimsical cautionary text.)

Yes. You’re reading that right. A “Tultipurp Ose Tool.”
Can rotate 180°, can clip area more fill dish of dish.
The handle into product PP material, grasps the comfortable and beautiful shape.
USES the high quality stainless steel material seiko makes clip more firmly.
Product Instruction:
This series product has peeling, planing silk function. Human nature design, use more flexible, convenient and easy to clean. Widely used in melons, chips of bio-control technology, brand and a fruit peel, planing silk function. Let your kitchen cooking light more creative. 
Please use the multi-purpose thoroughly clean the plane of residue, put in ventilated dry place. 
Please placed on children is not easy to take place, avoid to touch to let children play 

I don’t even think the Chinese made sense before they translated it.

You know how pandas are all cute and cuddly? This one is like the main character in some totally demented panda horror movie. 
The freaky thing to me is that they all look like faces that’ve been peeled off of a carcass. 

Yay! Mommy! Buy me this sugary drink because it has a cute monkey and his buddies from a TV show driving a car! 

This one caught my eye, because I thought it was quite an elegant package. 

Isn’t everyone’s reaction to dried tofu a put up your dukes / fist pump?

Look, it’s dried tofu guy again, in some sort of infinity mirror like thingy. Himself, pointing to himself, pointing to himself, pointing to himself... These are ... dried fish snacks I think?

Did this influence Designer’s Republic or were they influenced by Designer’s Republic? Things that make you guy “Hmmmmhhhh.....”

They may also make you go “Mmmmmm....” I don’t know. I didn’t buy them.

The look on that kids face is either “I’m expected to grow noodles?” or “You expect me to eat that?”

I just like this packaging. I’m not even going to comment on the “Creamy Flavoured Melon Seeds”.

I’m not sure. Do you win a prize or are these just dynamite candies? And is the estate of Roy Lichtenstein going to sue?

These just don’t appeal to me.

Again, no idea what this is, but I like the packaging.

Just like this packaging.

Mmmm.....Apparently the Chinese have managed to raise peanuts with no fat and lots of sugar.