Thursday, 30 March 2017

S.o.t.D. - Dub Smoke (Tripswitch Remix) – Pitch Black

Dub Smoke (Tripswitch Remix) – Pitch Black

Bibliophilia: Starlight: The Return of Duke McQueen by Mark Millar

Starlight: The Return of Duke McQueen by Mark Millar

The always reliable Mark Millar, with art duties handled by Goran Parlov, gives us a really fun romp. 

The heroically titled Duke McQueen is a barrel chested, square jawed he-man. As a young air force pilot, he found himself transported to the planet Tantalus, where he led the fight against the tyrant Typhon. Revered by the people he helped liberate, he turned down their offer to be their king so he could return home to his beloved. Forty years later, he’s an old man and a widower. No one (except his late wife) believe his stories of his daring exploits. His two sons view him as a pathetic figure. But at his lowest point, an envoy from Tantalus arrives, pleading with him to return to help them fight off the invading Brotean empire. Can this tired old man rise to the challenge and help his old friends fight off this new threat?

Campy good fun, even if the ending felt rushed. (It feels like this may have been envisioned to run for more issues than it did.) It’s reverentially nostalgic for a simpler time. Unabashedly inspired by the likes of Flash Gordon and Buck Rogers and Dan Dare, and probably a few lesser known 30’s, 40’s and 50’s pulp space farers and adventurers. It’s admittedly formulaic, and feels very familiar, but Millar handles it deftly. The terrific art by Parlov has a bit of a Moebius feel to it, and suits the story perfectly.

Wednesday, 29 March 2017

S.o.t.D. - Í Tokuni – Eivør

Í Tokuni – Eivør

Eivør Pálsdóttir hails from the Faroe Islands, but is now based in Iceland. Not sure how to categorize this, but really fascinating is a good starting point. Scenery in the video is gorgeous too.

Monday, 27 March 2017

S.o.t.D. - Talk – Coldplay

Talk – Coldplay

First time I heard this I thought “boy, does this ever remind me of Computer World by Kraftwerk. Homage, blatant ripoff, unconscious appropriation?” Turns out it was the first.

Sunday, 26 March 2017

6° of Toronto Rave Scene

One of my nephew’s friends is a gal named Cecilia. Great kid, and they ​seem to have a pretty solid friendship.

One day her mom came and picked her up from his house. His dad thought she seemed familiar, but couldn’t place her. “I hope she wasn’t a one night stand when I was 18” he thought to himself.

​A while later she was over and they were in the front (​what has become the ​music) room, playing records on the turntables. Again, her mom came to pick her up.
“Hey! I recognize that record. It’s ​Transwave. Cycles of Life.”
Andrew was really surprised. Not something a lot of people would recognize. 
“Uhhh...yeah...”
“Wait! You’re Sunboy! Now I remember why you look familiar. I came to your place on Sterling in Toronto and bought some records from you.”

Then it all fell into place for him. He’d been a DJ back in the day, and so had she.

Almost 20 years had passed. Appearances change. Memories fade. He’d moved back to Hamilton, she’d moved from Toronto, and years later their kids ended up as classmates and friends.

S.o.t.D. - Hide Away My Heart (Roughstep Future Edit) – Bozco?

Hide Away My Heart (Roughstep Future Edit) – Bozco?

Groovy.

Bibliophilia: Bombing Nazi Germany by Wayne Vansant

Bombing Nazi Germany: The Graphic History of the Allied Air Campaign That Defeated Hitler in World War II by Wayne Vansant

A concise visual narrative of the air war against the Nazis. 

Starting with a look at WW1’s hints at the potential of strategic bombing, and the inter war years proponents like Italian Giulio Douhet and American Billy Mitchell. Hitler’s Condor Legion’s bombing of Guernica was the first real show of force that proved the theoreticians correct. From there the war’s changing tides and strategies are examined. The British strategy of nighttime bombing, versus the American strategy of daylight bombing, technological advancements, stories of individual crews, the viewpoints of the generals and politicians, the perspective of the German civilians affected by the raids, etc.

The art is excellent and all the relevant points are touched on. Not exhaustive in its details, but a very engaging look at an important chapter of WW2. 

Art

Went to a show the other day. An art show. An art show about Cootes Paradise, a place I’m rather fond of.

I found it excruciating. It was “Art”. You know, art that is terribly
earnest university art student “Art.”Art with all sorts of “deep meaning” behind it. The sort of art that requires a three page description to make sense of. That then requires being translated into regular language so that regular people can understand it. You know, art that is described with terms like: “With its exploration of disjunctive proto-montage elements that spatially undermine the internal dynamic of codified biomorphic forms to re-contextualize the essentially non-linear narratives of post-colonial discourse.” The sort of gobbledygook that only terribly earnest artists who went to university art courses can understand. Or pretend to understand. 

It’s the sort of stuff that I have come to find rather dreadful. Maybe because I get exposed to reams of amazing painting and illustration and sculpture through all the people I know. It’s stuff that I find both on a theory and technique level, really compelling. My admittedly crass stance on art appreciation is “would I want to hang it on my wall, and would I want to look at it every day? Does it immediately leap out in terms of execution and does it also explain itself? Does it depict a scene or world I want to explore and know more about?” There was nothing there that passed that benchmark. Sorry, but branches wrapped around a pole with a blue light shining from underneath is to me just too try hard. As soon as I see that it’s art that requires a three page explanation, that unless you’ve been bamboozled by four years of university art education, would require a translation to understand, my eyes glaze over. “As spatial replicas become clarified through emergent and academic practice, metaphorical resonance of the biomorphic forms reconfigures the patriarchal hegemony” is just a big steaming pile of horse kaka as far as I’m concerned. If someone had gone to the trouble to do 30 6"x6" watercolours around Cootes Paradise, that’s cool. But cobbling together two half assed bird boxes? Illustrations that reminded me of stuff I’ve seen of public school art students work? Just not thrilled by any of it. 

Around The Bay Race

I took part in the Around The Bay Race for the first time today. (Which is the oldest road race in North America.)

Participated as a member the team my company, FellFab, sent to take part. We were only doing the 5 km option, rather than the 30 km option. (I had originally hoped to ruck the 30 km part, but there’s no way I could finish it before they packed it all in and left.) Running sucks when you’re my height and weight, but I opted to walk it carrying a rucksack, and decided I would at least do it twice.
Loaded up my Kifaru ZXR with just shy of 40 kg (87 lbs.) 
Not bad considering I didn’t run and carried a pack that weighed more than some of the adult participants. Off for round 2.
Second round took me just over 49 minutes. My hips are going to be sore tomorrow.
Finished 1773rd out of 2869 participants for the 5 km race. My gender place is 763 out of 1131. My pace was 8:51 a kilometre. 

So, for a guy almost a half century old, walking rather than running, and carrying between a third and half his body weight – not too shabby. I suspect I was also one of the few, maybe the only one, who did the 5 km twice, and certainly the only one who rucked it.

I did it for the fun of it, the camaraderie of doing it with my colleagues, the exercise, but also to help raise money for St. Joseph Hospital here in Hamilton, if you’d like to sponsor me, you can do so at the link below. I, and the people your generosity will help, thank you.
http://support.stjoesfoundation.ca/site/TR/Events/2017ATB?px=1108756&pg=personal&fr_id=1081#.WM_RwVUrKUk

Thursday, 23 March 2017

Innis & Gunn Kith & Kin

I finally had a chance to go by the only LCBO in town to carry Innis & Gunn’s Kith & Kin. Yes I & G produced a limited edition stout in collaboration with Teeling’s Irish Whiskey, whose barrels they aged the stout in.

Do I need to say it? It’s unbelievably delicious.

But the funny part of it is that I got 4, and decided that since Andrew is my kith and kin, I’d drop one off for him. Stopped by the house, but since no one was home, I left it behind. Sent a quick message.
“Hi. Left you a present behind the salt bucket.”
Got a message back a minute later.
“Okay... That’s really creepy...”
“Huh? It’s creepy?”
“A turtle carcass in a plastic bag? Yeah. That’s creepy.”
“What?! No! I didn’t mean the salt bucket at the shop, I meant the salt bucket on your porch.”

Checked it out later. Sure enough, a partially decomposed, desiccated, and thoroughly revolting looking turtle carcass.

We found out later it was a “gift” from one of Os’ clients. Ugh. I’m all for skulls and horns and shells. But I think I’d rather just buy one where someone else has gone to the trouble to clean it.

S.o.t.D. - Skylight – Andy Leech

Skylight – Andy Leech

Skylight and chill.

Sunday, 19 March 2017

S.o.t.D. - Reach My Soul – EX✝XƎ

Reach My Soul – EX✝XƎ

I’m going to guess this act is pronounced ecstasy.

The Art of Making a Book


I worked on many books over the years, but it was a much faster process than this. You can watch each step of the process as it would have been done before the turn of the 20th century — from the setting of the type, to the application of ink, to the impression onto paper, to the folding, cutting, hammering, sewing, binding, clamping, and trimming. And the way it’s done here is still faster than it would have been when scribes who would have written out each page by hand. 

Tuesday, 14 March 2017

S.o.t.D. - Assimilate (Red Union Remix) – Skinny Puppy

Assimilate (Red Union Remix) – Skinny Puppy

The original was plenty punchy. This one makes it even punchier.

Patchery

I mentioned in my writeup about the fantastic makerspace at the library, the Janome embroidery machine. It took a little while, but I’ve jumped into making patches with gusto.
First thing I tried. Didn’t entirely work out. Bobbin ran out halfway through, and made a slight mistake in the rethreading, and it started showing up top. Fixed it, but the damage was done.

Still, for this being my first time using this machine, not bad. I expected worse. 
Second project. I’ve written to that calcified and hidebound institution, the Canadian Legion 3 times asking them to offer an embroidered poppy for sale. Nothing doing. That pin drives me nuts. Catches on things, rips stuff, falls off, contributes to the plastic clogging our oceans. So I took matters into my own hands.
Then came a 3 colour variation. 

Lessons I learned up to that point: Make sure you replace the bobbin cover, trim the end of the thread coming out of the needle to be about an inch long, otherwise it might wrap itself around the presser foot and when that happens you can toss out your project as it’ll get out of alignment and there’s no getting it back. Same goes for not tightening the hoop screw enough. If it pops out, it’s over.
The thing that was at the top of my list of things I wanted to get into making patches for. The Cottage 13 logo. My first attempt is on the right, the second on the left.) Used a different white, grey and gold thread. Made some changes to the Illustrator file. (Widened areas, thickened lines, etc.) Applied a different embroidery effect to a few areas. Still trying to deduce how to change the stitch direction for consistent effects.

As I’m learning by this point, there is a very steep learning curve to this. Once the vector file is converted into an embroidery file, all sorts of weird things happen. And figuring out how to make it conform to what I want is proving to be a challenge.

Another attempt at my logo shield, and a “maker” patch, using my typeface design Nephilim. In the shield you can see a divot in the top right, and on the maker, the ... serifs ... if you will, are for whatever inexplicable reason, treated as separate objects. 


Here you can see how things get pulled out of alignment. I thought it was because the material wasn’t tightened enough in the hoop, or having it 4 up, but the same thing happened when I set it one up, and about double the size. I managed to get one decent one out of it by cheating and blacking areas in with a marker. Pretty much second on my list of patches I really wanted.
Missed the ASF T-shirt I had as a teenager. So I made myself a patch.
Being a proud Amsterdammer, one of the patches I’ve wanted for a while is a crest of the city. I like it partly for how bold yet simple it is. It’s like heraldry and post modern graphic design had a night of drunken sex and this is its offspring.
Made this one for a friend, but will likely make one for myself too, just to annoy the hippies. :-) One of the things that is proving tough, is small letters.
Being a big F242 fan, another one on my list to make myself.
Patch I made for my pal Andrew Kent as a Christmas gift.
Gavin asked me to make this Pentatonix logo patch for his daughter for Christmas.
Way too imperfect for my tastes, but I made myself an RCAF roundel patch. I’ll call it the Patch, Embroidered, Roundel, RCAF, Mk. 1. The yellow band needs to be thicker and more prominent.
I’m rethinking my initial impression that embroidery is a straight forward thing. It's anything but. Some initial luck has been followed by a lot of WTH?!’s. That setup fee the company charges to have your golf tournament logo digitized to put on a shirt? Just shut up and pay it. I think they’re probably losing money on it.

Jun Matsui logo and a name patch.
Another of the explicable things that has happened a few times is in circles like this, a line of stitches that run horizontally show up despite the vertical stitches over it.

All in all, a vector file for printing and a vector file for embroidery are two totally different things.

And professional patches have a nicely finished border on them, done with a Merrowing machine (or an overlock or serging machine if you will). I don’t have access to such a thing, so I do a fake finish. Do a seam and then carefully cut and singe the ends with a lighter.

Sunday, 12 March 2017

Bibliophilia: Unfollow: 140 Characters by Rob Williams

Unfollow: 140 Characters by Rob Williams

A billionaire who created a Twitter like social media phenomenon, is dying. He’s decided to leave his fortune to 140 people. An oddly disparate group of people, who seem to  have been randomly selected. Or have they?

This first collection largely revolves around establishing the different characters. A young man from a crummy neighbourhood who hopes the money will be a way out for him and his sister. The rich girl intent on giving away her wealth, who then inherits another fortune. An ex-SF soldier turned religious mountain man. A famous Japanese novelist who cut his own legs off. They’re all flown to the billionaire’s private island where the caveat is revealed. While each of them is to receive $130 million, if one of the 140 dies, their share is taken back and distributed to the others. So, will they all start killing each other to become even richer?

Really liked this and look forward to reading more.

S.o.t.D. - Gubkin – Spaceouters

Gubkin – Spaceouters

Signage: Kay Penny Florists

Putting a florist right across the road from a hospital seems like a genius move.

Sadly, it looks like entropy is taking its toll on this sign. I suspect the lights don’t actually work any more.

Saturday, 11 March 2017

S.o.t.D. - Wish – Nine Inch Nails

Wish – Nine Inch Nails

It’s weird, but I like listening to pretty aggressive music when I cook. Don’t know why. This is one such track.

Friday, 10 March 2017

Thursday, 9 March 2017

S.o.t.D. - Escape from Midwich Valley – Carpenter Brut

Escape from Midwich Valley – Carpenter Brut

French artist, but that’s about all I know. Uses a sample from Prince of Darkness.

Signage: Men’s Haircuts $10

I was too busy smiling at the naive vernacular typography to realize “Ten dollars for a haircut? Good deal. Will have to give them a try and see if they can get a high and tight right.”

Wednesday, 8 March 2017

S.o.t.D. - Don’t Stand In Line – Pailhead

Don’t Stand In Line – Pailhead

Yesterday’s track made me realize I’ve only ever posted one Pailhead song. I know there are only 6 to choose from, and I already posted the best one, but this second best one is still really good.

Get Your Own Tools

I’m always somewhat taken aback - although really I shouldn’t be - by people who work in professions that require them to use tools, and don’t have them. Ones I find cause to use all day, every day. Instead of carrying them around on their person, or even possessing them at all, they seem to regard me as a generous, portable tool caddy.

And the answer is no.

Yes, I know. Dennis Leary wrote a song about me. But I just find that lack of common sense, competence, and concern about your performance, irritating. 

​If the first time you require a tool, it’s what a detective would call a clue. If the need arises again, several times during the day, you’re essentially being battered about the head with a clue by four. Get your act together and have that tool within​ easy reach. Don’t assume your co-workers will be thrilled to be lending you that tool numerous times during the day. No. Get your own goddamn tools.

It’s one thing for a new hire to be uncertain of what tools to have. But someone who’s worked at the job for two decades? This is a joke right?

Tuesday, 7 March 2017

Monday, 6 March 2017

S.o.t.D. - The Angel – Ministry

The Angel – Ministry

While I lost all interest after about their third or fourth album, I still love Twitch.

New Guy

New guy started today in the warehouse. I can only catch glimpses into the warehouse from where I work, and only go in there periodically, but I hadn't seen him for a while. I went to talk to talk to one of the guys. “I haven’t seen new guy in a bit. Did he quit already?” I asked jokingly.

“Yup. Didn’t even last an hour. We asked him to unload a pallet and put rolls in the racks. Said he didn’t want to do that, just drive forklifts. Said it was “beneath him.” So he walked out.”

I laughed.

The warehouse here requires a multitude of tasks. Order picking, data entry, re-shelving, delivering requested goods to departments, shipping and receiving, probably a bunch of other things, and sure, driving a fork lift. The three guys do it all. And they do it all without a shitty attitude. I’ve learned how to enter the info for anything I may need and have grabbed, into the system. Just to be a team player and help them when they’re tied up with the multitude of tasks they have to perform. It’s not “my job” but I do it. I suspect they appreciate the assistance.

I’ve seen this many times before. Jobs where people are too precious to last even a half day. People who have all sorts of unrealistic expectations of a job.

Show up and shut up. Demonstrate a work ethic. Have a good attitude. Do more than what’s expected. Show an interest in learning new skills.


I’ve worked all sorts of mundane jobs, and did them without complaint, because even those jobs taught me something, made me some new connections, taught me some new skills, gave me some insights into different industries, etc. Oh yeah ... I got a pay cheque too. Till I found something better, I was willing to work at some pretty crummy jobs. I’ve had times where I’ve beaten my head against the wall trying to find a job. Take the damn job that’s offered.

I was offered a temp job, showed up every day, demonstrated an interest, did my best, and before long I was offered a full time job, with a raise in pay and benefits. Amazing how that works.

The “That’s not my job” mentality I’ve seen so often is really pitiful. Or the entitled attitude that they don’t need to do any scut work or start at a less exalted position.

And the other part of it is that even if you don’t love the job, stick with it for a while. Let the temp agency know, and ask if they can put you somewhere else. But quitting after an hour shows you’re immature and unreliable, and pretty much guarantees they’ll never call you again. Lots of other people out there who want to work. I may not have any love for temp agencies, but when I was betwixt and between I worked for them. Didn’t love any of the jobs, but I got a reputation as being reliable. Showed where and when, did the work well, etc. A reputation is hard to gain and easy to lose.

Maybe dude and his shitty attitude and neck tattoos will find his dream forklift driver job somewhere else real soon. Somehow I doubt it.

Burlington Bay Panorama

Sunday, 5 March 2017

S.o.t.D. - The Last Two – Eminora

The Last Two – Eminora

A track heard on a DJ set. No time breakdown on the set list. No luck on Shazam. Started just feeding the track titles into YT, and narrowed it down that way. Worth the several minutes of my time to find.

Self Portrait with Exotic Fish

Cemetery Sunset

(I took this in the fall, but inexplicably hadn’t posted them. For shame.)

M-103 Protests

So I want to state my 2¢ regarding Motion (not Bill) M-103, and some of the protests that happened yesterday here in Canada.

First off I’ve had a bellyful of hypocrites who take great delight in skewering Christianity and Judaism, but think Islam is sacrosanct. I’ve also had it up to here with hypocrites who denounce fascism and the far right, while espousing communism and the far left. And I’m sick of those who, when they’re incapable of forming a cogent argument, resort to the easy out of crying “racism” or “bigotry”. To label anyone who disagrees with your viewpoint as “alt-right” or “neo-nazi” smacks of intellectual laziness.

Free speech is one of the most fundamental building blocks of our society. Free speech isn’t merely the viewpoints you agree with. It’s also the ugly views that make you uncomfortable.

I’m hardly a racist. I abhor violence against people based on their minority status, skin colour, sexuality, etc. I like the fact that I live in a country made up of people from all over the world, some of whom have become friends. It’s broadened my horizons immeasurably. I like that Canada is a largely tolerant and peaceful nation. I never want it to be anything else.

But I also feel that while people deserve to be protected, their ideas deserve to be held up to any and all scrutiny. Criticism for viewpoints that fly in the face of a tolerant and peaceful society deserve to be aired. That includes Islam. It deserves to be criticized, and frankly, ridiculed, like every other religion. I don’t particularly care if that offends someone. Islam is not something that can’t be changed like someone’s ethnicity. Islam is a religion, that like every other religion, has no evidence to back it up. Its fundamentalist adherents, like the fundamentalist adherents of every other philosophy, need to be held in check. No matter how much they may not like it.

Sure, let refugees into this country. Welcome them like every other refugee and immigrant has been welcomed into this country. But they need to grasp that people here don’t and won’t share their philosophy, and they need to accept that. And that there will also be people who fervently push back against theocracy and totalitarianism of any stripe.

This is what free speech is all about.

The pathetic and lazy attempt to stifle free speech with absurd titles like “Islamophobia” and the laughable attempt to curtail the necessary and healthy discussion about the problems associated with that particular religion as “racism” are more wilfully ignorant than racism could ever be.

The far left is as odious as the far right.

Signage: Carl’s Variety

Wednesday, 1 March 2017

Paint & Draw Night

Draw & Paint night at Cottage 13 with the Time Will Tell, Dadahell and SugarShack crews.

S.o.t.D. - One Step Beyond – Paradox

One Step Beyond – Paradox

I never realized he did a project with Herbie Hancock.

The Making of a Danish Axe

This is a show that appears to make recreations of weapons from movies and video games.

This one is based on one that appears in the Ubisoft game For Honor.

I always love seeing axes being made. While the size of this isn’t practical, the techniques are the same as the making of an axe mere mortals could actually wield.