Tuesday, November 23, 2010


Greetings Bloggies.

This post is in response to having met people I consider myself a fan of. Specifically Spider Robinson, author of many books and even more terrible puns and George Hrab, author of 1 book several albums and a similar body of puns. In generally I have not self identified as a FAN. Outside of geography, I have no affinity for sports teams, and like any non fan I only care if the team in my city is winning, the rest of the time I don't even know they are playing. Similarly, movie stars and most famous performers fail to engage my interest.

The people I am fans of have reached me in ways more personal then the players on a sports team or an actor on the big screen. Spider Robinson, has made me laugh, taught me some of the principles of truly horrible puns, I have lost count of all the books of his I have read. I have stopped reading him in recent years, I have had my fill and even when a writer is good I will over time want to move on to new voices. That said his more emotional short stories still linger in my memory and the community that existed in the Callahan's pub series made me want to have some of that for my self.

I only saw Spider briefly, he did a reading and a signing afterwards. I exchanged only a few words, enough to convey my appreciation. This limited dialog is what I expect from a content producer in the traditional media. The other side of the coin is the relation that can exist in new media, those people who have carved out a space for them selves on the internets because the old school distribution and sales methods fail for something as fringe. The best example of that in my life is George Hrab.
Some where along the line I started to listen to podcasts, downloadable, generally audio content, generally free, often amateur. Many of them simply suck. Since at the time I had a boring job that did not always require my full attention I listened to many such shows, this chain eventually lead to the Geologic podcast. Its mix of dry humor, strait up silly skits and random factoids entertained me. This precipitated an exchange of emails that has continued in an off and on trickle over the last few years.

Upon hearing that George was going to be in Vancouver, I ordered my tickets as soon as I knew the site was online. To be fair he was a guest host on another podcast which I have been listening to for roughly the same amount of time, but he was coming to Vancouver non the less. So colour me surprised when, I was recognized in as I spoke introduced myself. Two me an interesting illustration of the way the internet has opened up media.

I conclude this with saying that, within my interests I am as prone to fandom as most though I feel I am a laid back supporter. I am also glad that now that I live in Vancouver that I can indulge my fixations better as many things come to town, because of that I can start checking off personal goals rather then count missed opportunities.

Sunday, November 14, 2010


Greetings Bloggies.

Its been a while since I have written. I am back in vancouver. I came back on the 5th. Its good to be back but thats a separate post. This is a post I thought up while at Rabbit lake. Stuff, we all have it especially the people who read blogs.

I would say I am not the most materialistic of folks living in industrialized consumer economy, but I have my share of stuff. What got me thinking as my aged steel toed work boots absorbed water through their partly delaminated soles was that how little of the stuff I own has really brought value or utility to my life. In this case value stemmed from devices that have helped me earn money. I could do a separate post on items of personal or sentimental value.

I'll start with the foundation. Boots. I have two pair of quality boots between the two of them nearly every dollar I have made was spent standing in them or walking in them. Acquired first were the Scarpa hikers, my third pair of proper hiking boots and the first not to fail on a poorly placed seam. They have been resoled once but the resoling left them tighter then they were originally. Many an afternoon or evening was spent tramping across naked metavolcanics in a greenstone belt. That 2.5 billion year old pressure cooked volcanic rock wore those soles out.

Boot number two the work boots. Heavy bricks of hard rubber and leather. Not much for walking but a great boot to stand in. Stand I did, looking at rock in boxes for days on end leads to standing. They had one weakness I did not know about till after I got to the north. It turns out the hard compound rubber in their sole gets piss poor traction on snow or ice, worse then nearly any shoe I have have ever owned. Despite that they have still managed to have a huge number of hours logged in them. I debate resoling them. They might be worth it but that would also be a symbolic admission that I believe I will return to the lines of work that those boots represent, something I am aiming to avoid.

Next up is the multi tool. The least used item on it is the can opener. The knife has most often been used to sharpen wax china markers. I once tried to one of the longer narrow, not knife parts to pry off a hubcap on a truck. The truck was stuck with a flat on Prosperous outside Yellow Knife. I was trying to change the tired and had never seen the arrangement that truck presented to me. There was a plastic hubcap which had on it plastic lug-nuts. In the kit was a second tire wrench sized for the plastic nuts. Never having seen a hubcap that did not just pop off I could not image an arrangement as insane as that. So I did what I thought made sense, try to lever off the cap. I failed and had to beat the tool back into shape to fit it back in the housing.

Of the items that make me money perhaps most iconic is the hand lens. When pressed I will answer that I am a geologist. This is a suitable answer to outsiders as I have not yet attained a standing in the related professional organization. After a rock hammer the hand lens is iconic of geology. The pair, a cheap 10X and a vertigo inducing 30X have often let me identify tiny specks of gold that would have other wise passed me by. The flip side is true, they have also removed false positives from my data collection.
The art to using the 30X one is to focus your eye on the target and then slip the lens between you and it, you will never find what you were looking for if you go at it half assed.