found sound

Hauling my bike up the stairs up the Queen St viaduct over the Don this morning, I found a beat-up discarded demo CD for Estella Fritz. Being an avid fan of the 365 Days Project, I hoped this would be a demented demo for some superannuated wedding singer.

On hauling it into the office, I was disappointed. It’s generic overly-angsty rock from Windsor, ON. They have a website, alas: estellafritz.com.

Dang.

just like Ms Morissette said

I find it amusing that, after co-chairing several acrimonious public meetings supporting the development of Dun Law Wind Farm against accusations of it being a potential eyesore, it’s now a tourist attraction — <http://www.discovertheborders.co.uk/places/33.html>

i think i like emusic …

Just signed up for emusic.com. US $10 per month for unlimited download of some excellent artists, encoded as decent MP3s.

Here’s a sampling of what I’ve downloaded so far:

  • The Dickies
  • The Fall
  • Ewan MacColl
  • Jah Wobble
  • Gorp
  • James Taylor Quartet
  • Daniel Johnston
  • Holy Modal Rounders
  • Wesley Willis
  • Boards Of Canada
  • Perez Prado Orchestra
  • Young Fresh Fellows
  • Mayor McCA
  • Yo La Tengo
  • Dressy Bessy
  • The Fugs
  • Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan

Maybe I don’t like them all, but at least I haven’t paid extra to find that out.

where’s willy?

Okay, so I got a $20 the other day in Scarborough inscribed with See Where I’ve Been… Track it online… www.whereswilly.com. Seems I’m the second-last person on the continent to hear about this little diversion for tracking paper currency. Shame about the name, though.

renewable energy spam!

Browsing through an old mail address’s cluttered inbox, I came across a message touting EnviroMission‘s Solar Tower technology. (Site warning: annoying flash graphics.)

I’ve always been dubious of this idea — basically, build a big transparent canopy somewhere really hot, and exhaust the hot air through turbines at the base of an enormous concrete tower — but to get spam from them is quite the limit.

Stuff like this doesn’t help the renewables industry. We’re building reliable machines that fit into a dependable power infrastructure. Fly-by-night spamming seriously damages the entire industry’s image.

argh… software annoyances

My list of you can’t get there from here software annoyances:

  • Nautilus: you can drag the Home, Start Here, and Trash icons over to the right of the screen, but the icons for removable media always float back to the left — right under where my windows are. It doesn’t seem possible to save the position.
  • GNU Emacs‘s HTML editing mode doesn’t have a close-tag function. PSGML under XEmacs had this a long time ago, and jEdit will close a tag as soon as you type </ (although, being written in Java, it does so very slowly). So why not the editor of nearly-champions?
    Easy Solution: go back to using XEmacs — it’s just so much better for creating XHTML.

I hope only to be able to delete entries from this list, but I’ve a nasty foreboding that it’ll grow.

Well, George, I didn’t expect to find you here …

w

In a Food Basics supermarket in Scarborough, there’s a kiddie ride that reminds me of a certain world leader …

Sick beyond belief

It’s called Policy Analysis Market, and the blurb sounds fairly innocuous:

PAM is intended to have a globally distributed population of traders. Individuals interested in the Middle East and in the involvement of the United States with the countries of the Middle East are welcome to register as PAM traders. Individuals who are interested in the use of market processes to manage risk are also welcome to participate in PAM. Whatever a prospective traders interest in PAM, involvement in this group prediction process should prove engaging and may prove profitable.

… until you realise that it’s basically a stock-market system in which traders can bet on the likelihoods of terror attacks and assassinations in the Middle East. Eww!

I’d heard that money was amoral, but this is straight immoral. How soon will it be before an investor consortium on this market hires hitmen to make their “investments” profitable?

And all because They say that The Market can predict anything. If that’s the case, I’ve got a nice fish I can sell you, and you can tell the future by looking at its entrails.

The return of Mayor McCA

Back on June 6, I lamented the lack of interest there is in determinedly indie Canadian musician Mayor McCA. How wrong — or premature — I was.

I just heard from Mark at Sonic Unyon records that not merely does the Mayor have a new CD out, but that they’re sending me a copy! Whee!

Better yet, the Mayor is playing a free show later in the month at The Horseshoe, Toronto. This is all on his website, mayormcca.com, along with a track from the new album. Great stuff!

Stumpy!!!

stumpy4.jpg

I just got a classic bike from a small ad in a bike shop: a mid-80s Specialized Stumpjumper — with ultra-relaxed 69° angles and retro tiny main tube diameters — converted into a singlespeed.

The frame’s a little rusty, but it’s still lovely. The seller had done the conversion with pretty decent parts, so I’m happy as a clam. And the price was great. And it rides like a dream.

So, only 20 years after drooling over a Stumpy as a paperboy, I’ve finally got one. Wheee!!

the wisdom of chairman ralph

You know, you can’t let people like this get away with stuff like that because if it’s a pie today, it could be something else tomorrow.

 — Alberta Premier Ralph Klein, after being pied at the opening of the Calgary Stampede. Thanks to The Globe & Mail for the sharp words.

and finally… Raudelunas ‘Pataphysical Review!

Raudelunas 'Pataphysical Review CD cover

Well, after many years of waiting, Raudelunas ‘Pataphysical Review has made it onto CD. It’s especially nice to see my name on the “Special Thanks” credits.

So how did a Scottish engineer who was only 5 when the original performance took place in Alabama get a credit? Well, long ago, I had a site about Fred Lane. Various people got in touch with me through the site, and before long I was putting members of the original collective in touch with Ed Baxter, who runs Alcohol Records.

So now, after about five years, I have the CD in my hands. It sounds even weirder than it always did. It’s still The Best Thing Ever

happy birthday to, erm, me

Jings, 12418 days old today.

Through the wonders of gift exchange (where geographically diverse families agree to spend an amount on each other, then buy something for that value; saves mailing stuff) I got a used but gorgeous Zero 2000 camera, all teak and brass, from my sister and my parents. I took this with it:

Light Streaming through Leaves
(image links to a larger version at photosig.com).

And now, to a birthday breakfast …

a great place to be *from* …

[Bit of background here. I’m Scottish, but I live in Toronto. Canada is big, Scotland isn’t.]

There’s this thing I like to call The East Dunbartonshire Conspiracy. I used to live in Kirkintilloch in East Dunbartonshire. It’s a small central Scotland town, rapidly becoming another suburb of Glasgow.

Since coming to Canada, most of the expat Scots I have met are from East Dunbartonshire:

  • The LCBO guy in Toronto Union Station is from Kirkintilloch, about 100m from where we used to live.
  • Another LCBO guy on the Danforth is from Bishopbriggs, where I used to work.
  • The GO Train customer relations person who called me about the new proposed train station at the end of our street (yay!) grew up in Bishopbriggs, and has relatives I think I worked with when I was at Collins, the publishers.

So what’s this all about? Why are so many people leaving East Dunbartonshire for Toronto? Is it the horror of living at 56°N, with dark, windy wet winters? Who can say?

damn your photoshop, sir!

I’ve decided I really loathe all those composited, over-sharpened retouched images that folks spew out of photoshop. Just because you can doesn’t mean that you should.

To this end, I will mostly photograph without lenses for a while, using pinholes. A small gallery of mostly pinhole images is here.

After all, as Cartier-Bresson once remarked to Helmut Newton: “Sharpness is a bourgeois concept.”

what’s this ear?

Stewart’s first theory on the evolution of punctuation: the question mark is a stylized representation of an ear. Because a query expects listening, an ear symbol would make sense here.

Mind you, I did come up with that at 3am …