Monday, April 30, 2012

Broken Social Scene - All to All

Picture Dump

Because I'm beat and uninspired (more than usual) here is some stuff.

Beautiful Anna Sten

I've walked on the Capilano Suspension Bridge,
Vancouver British, Colombia.   Way cool 

I don't like commitment, it's true, however
I'm considering death since I don't get enough sleep.

Who the lad would have resembled if he hadn't
spent three plus years in braces.

Still don't know what this is.  Still wanna

Love this bedroom

cool light fixture

Freddie with cats...


Beautiful

Little kid in a Johnny Cash costume.  This is so damn adorable!

No words necessary

Why is this here?

Garth Brooks.  Hahaha!!!!

Royal Tour, Diana and Charles Summerside PEI 1983

Diana, centre, disembarking from the Royal barge. 

Ashton Kutcher

Avril Poseur Badass Lavigne


Picard


Umbrella
Johnny Actual Baddass Cash

K-Stew

How Many Dead on Mt. Everest (graphic)

[Update 2014: According to Everest News, as of April 18, 2014 an avalanche has left 16 Sherpa guides. What could be one of the deadliest events in the mountains history has increased the number of Everest fatalities dramatically.]

[Update April 2015: An earthquake in Nepal on April 25, 2015 has so far has killed more than 4,000 5,500 6,000 7,000 8,000 people. The epicentre of the quake, measuring 7.8, was 220 miles from Mt. Everest and triggered avalanches that have killed 18 people and injured 60 more jumping the number of deaths on Everest significantly. For the avalanche story and images click here. There is a photo story about the Nepalese quake devastation as well and an opportunity to donate to the relief efforts.

[Update May 2015: Another earthquake measuring 7.3 as well as very strong after shocks have hit Nepal. So far another 30 dead and over a 1,000 injured. 

[Update May 27, 2016 Everest has claimed five more lives. At least one person per year has died since 1900. One of the five, Maria Strydom, said she was climbing Everest to prove vegans are not weak. Did anyone think that? Maybe not weak, but probably not cut out for the rigors of Everest. More details here.]

All lives are valuable and one person's lost life should not matter more than another's just because they are famed in some way. For a comprehensive list of all who have died on Everest so far, in chronological order click here.]

If you're one of the couple of hundred people who will attempt to climb Mount Everest this year, there is something you will be sure to see along the way - dead bodies.

Most of the bodies are located in the "Death Zone," the area above the final base camp at 26,000 feet.

George Leigh Mallory, found 75 years after his disappearance on the mountain.

On the days surrounding May 21, 2012 this danger zone claimed four more bodies, three of them on the same day. Why so many? Would you believe there is an over crowding issue on the planet's highest point?




Climbers jumped on the opportunity to reach the summit when a window of good weather opened up. Some taking off for the top as late as mid afternoon. I'm not a mountain climber but I have been on a tiny mountain at 2:30 in the afternoon, above the tree line, and it's not cozy. Not even in the middle of summer.

What happens when someone dies on Everest? Mostly they are left there because retrieving them is impossible. There are several reasons why it might be impossible. The body has fallen into a crevasse and cannot be retrieved. The body is in a place where retrieving it would put others at risk or the family of the deceased climber simply cannot afford to pay someone to retrieve the body and bring it down the mountain.

Tsewang Paljor, now tragically known as the landmark "Green Boots"
Check out this article that features more information about some of the people
who have lost their lives on Everest

Bodies on Everest are preserved in almost the exact condition they were in when they died because of the temperatures and lack of moisture.

Green Boots, picture above, is the name given to the corpse of Indian climber Tsewang Paljor who died May 11, 1996, aged 28, on the Northeast ridge route of Mount Everest. On the way down the mountain, he fell victim to exposure in the storm of May 10th 1996, one among the eight who died that day. Since his corpse lies on the popular northern route, his body is encountered frequently and came to be known as Green Boots. Many feel this is disrespectful.


It costs $25,000 to $60,000 to climb Everest. So you can imagine it would cost the same or more to retrieve a body left behind.


Many are left where they lie. Many are on popular routes and part of climbing Mount Everest is coming to terms with the bodies you will be passing on your way up and down the mountain.





Many climbers fall into trouble but cannot be helped because it would endanger the life of another climber or a team. Basically, because of the cost and conditions on the mountain, if you run into trouble, you're on your own.

You know what else is left on the mountain? An estimated 120 tons of trash. Seriously? Why do you climb the mountain? You go to the trouble of spending the money and energy for training, you get to the mountain and you can't take your garbage back down? Unbelievable.

Nepal now requires climbers to remove their garbage or lose their deposit which has decreased recent additions to the pile. Why wasn't that just a common sense kind of thing in the first place?

CBC News has an interesting graphic on climber deaths by country and manner here. According to their information, as of April 22, 2014 an estimated 230 (now over 250 as of April 2015) climbers have died.






This is one of those times where you know a specific group of people are responsible and nobody else. Mountain climbers. Defeating the mountain and crapping on it's face.

To be fair there is a movement under way with groups of volunteer climbers working to remove the garbage from years of accumulation.

Apa was born in 1961

Apa, born in the foothills of Everest and working the mountain since age 12, has climbed Everest a record 21 times. He is leading a team of climbers in a mission to clean up the mountain.

Also Eco Everest Expedition arranges cleanup climbs for the purpose of collecting garbage. Eco Everest Expedition also funds a "Cash for Trash" venture that pays climbers for the garbage they collect and bring down the mountain.

Since the "Cash for Trash" program started in 2008, the Eco Everest Expedition has been able to bring down more than 13,500 kilograms of garbage from the high mountains. They pay roughly a Euro per kg.

There aren't too many places left in the world where travel to that destination could be considered an expedition. Something like that should be valued.

So should the people whose lives are lost and who are left behind to sleep forever on a mountain face.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Remember a post about coin wrappers...?


...yeah me too.  I have three comments on that post that indicates it existed at some point.  It is now empty of pictures and text and I apologize I have no idea what happened.  I also do not wish to re-type it right now.  I'll try tomorrow but no promises.  Stay tuned.

It's looking more and more like I need to get my own domain.  Stay tuned.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Do You Roll Coins? - Public Service Announcement

This is the coin roller reboot.  Something happened, yada yada, whole body of the post disappeared.  For some time I've been considering my own domain and this kind of decided me.  Until I get that up and running I'll stay here.

I'd like to tell you that I'm about to retype the whole thing verbatim but the muse has not the inspiration to serve me twice on this subject.  I'll try my best on my own power.

If you roll your own coins this is a good thing.  Banks love that.  However do you use these to roll your coins?:





If you do, please stop. Stop now. I hate them, the banks hate them. There are many reasons these must be outlawed.

Yes they're easy. You don't even have to count your coins because only the exact right amount of coins will fit.

They're see through. If you've ever opened a roll of dimes and found they were actually pennies - except for one dime on each end as a disguise - you can appreciate the transparent nature of the rollers and the resulting prevention of scams.

But...

They are made of semi-rigid plastic. Somewhere between plastic wrap and acrylic sheets. The seams at the top and bottom of the roll are sharp and pokey. When they're full of coins, and coins are heavy, they feel like they're puncturing my hands.

The tabs alone do not hold the rollers closed. This is because most people do not read the instructions and leave out the last critical step. Once you close the tabs you're supposed to bang the tab side of the roll on a hard surface to lock them. Nobody does this. So these rollers open up inside the safe, inside the till, while you're transferring them from the safe to the tills, and at virtually any point in between. 

Also, the ends open up and the coins empty out of the roll from either end or sometimes both. 

Try picking up coins off a floor without magnets or fingernails.


Some people tape them shut.  Unnecessary if you follow instructions.

I have occasion to be dealing in huge amounts of coins on a regular basis. Do you know what the banks do when they have an abundance of coins wrapped in evil AND a client who orders an abundance of coins?  They give them to me. The last time I was picking up a coin order, the teller brought the bundles to me and I saw they were ALL wrapped in these plastic crap rollers. I whimpered. You're thinking probably I cringed inwardly and using the word "whimper" was figurative. No. I actually whimpered. 

The teller said; "I know honey, when I saw it was you coming to get the coin I thought it was just wrong that you got these."

Wrong. She called me honey but don't even think that came anywhere close to making up for it.


Fits US coins too!

I get most coins in bundles of ten rolls.  Because of the tabs, these rolls do not slide out of the bundle smoothly and effortlessly like their paper counterparts. The tabs catch on other the tabs of other rolls in the bundle and also the elastic that binds them. The tabs also 'grab' other rollers and cause rolls you don't want to come out of the bundle. Then the remaining rolls spaz and kink out of place, losing the rubber band and in the process usually spilling their coins wherever I had the misfortune of working.


It doesn't matter where I stand in the room, their tabs follow me
Notice above right: quarters in Machiavellian rollers.
I wasn't kidding when I said the entire coin order was done up with these.

In the other post I mentioned that I took each plastic roll and brutalized the tabs to lock them, even the taped ones, just on principle.

Today I felt differently. Today I re-rolled every one of them into the paper rollers that we use. Also, remember I banged the hell out of the tabs to lock them?  Today I had a hell of a time getting the tabs to release.  If people would just follow the last step THAT would improve things so much.

In the other post I made the claim that these rollers are made with snowy owls, baby seals, actual real spring water and foie gras. I said you'd be doing the environment a favour by never using them again. That was...what?  Hyperbole? Save the universe, and never use these again. There. That was hyperbole. Me, the bank, Greenpeace, snowy owls, baby seals, real actual spring water and ducks will thank you.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

The Swimming Pool - Holly LeCraw

Don't bother.

Why is there a disembodied arm floating in water on the cover?
Nobody literally drowns in this novel.

I came by this book unexpectedly. It was left in the dining room and never claimed. My adopted copy has a big gold sticker on it saying: Heather's Pick

Well Heather, I don't know why you thought this book was a good read and there is nothing astonishing, or compelling about it. Ms. Shreve, the reviewer quoted on the cover, needs to reacquaint herself with the meanings of superlatives.  Especially the word: "astonishing".

Astonishing: flabbergasting, jarring, jaw-dropping, jolting, shocking, startling, stunning, stupefying

Perhaps Ms Shreve knows Holly LeCraw as an idiot savant who's molecule of genius is knowing how to use a thesaurus?  In which case, yes, this was an astonishing book. As for well-crafted, I'm not so impressed either. I'm all for finding the correct word for describing nuances of meanings but the amount of irregular words in this book was distracting. I would be reading along and come across a particularly interesting word choice and find my brain grinding to a halt. Why that word?  It may as well have jumped off the page and blown me a raspberry.

As for the story, it surrounds a miserable group of people who reek of desperation. Jed and Callie are sibs whose mother was murdered seven years before and whose dad died shortly after in a mysterious car accident. Dad was never cleared of suspicion in the murder and the sibs are left struggling with this life altering event in their own ways. Callie has a confusing case of post partum depression and too much time is devoted to describing in clouded terms, the meanderings of her mind. Sorry, not interested.

Dad broke off an affair with Marcella the day his wife was murdered. Seven years later Jed and Marcella embark on a love affair as if this were a perfectly natural thing. Aside from the ick factor, LeCraw's descriptions of their trysts are jarring and uncomfortable. Like they are trying to wring sexual satisfaction out of each other like hot, wet, sandy towels.  

I was willing to tolerate this to get to the end of the story but I was in for another astonishing surprise.  Reaching the last sentence of the last page, I turned to continue reading and voom! That was it. I was left with a distinct; "wait...what?" feeling reminiscent of the way I felt after watching Miami Vice  episodes in their latter years.  

So if you see this on the shelf and you trust my judgement even a little, pass on this one.  Or read it and tell me where I went wrong.

The Art of Foley - A Repost

Foley - A seamless tapestry of sound.  But first! A a little interview with voice over actor, Don Lafontaine (August 26, 1940 – September 1, 2008)

 


When movies are filmed they are often in the field where ambient noises affect the audio.  Foley is the process of live recording of sound effects that are created by a Foley artist which are added in post production to enhance the quality of audio for films, television, video, video games and radio.


because there are no dialogue bubbles allowed in motion pictures

Watching a foley artist will include such sights as an adult playing in sand, people squishing melons, whacking celery with sticks and hammering on buckets.

The need for foley work arises from the fact that, very often, the original sounds captured during shooting are not loud enough or are not convincing enough to underscore the visual effect or action. 

What's the sound of a pulled punch?  Exactly.

For example, fist-fighting scenes in an action movie are usually staged by the stunt actors and therefore do not have the actual sounds of blows landing.  So fight scenes are pretty much unpopulated with bone crunching punch sounds because they're all staged. Yes. Now you know. Also you have scenes of colossal explosions that aren't actually there with the actors because they are CGI'd in after filming.


Yeah, I can't really hear anything above the sound of Shia's whining.

Crash and explosion special effects are generated by computer and are added or enhanced at the post-production stage. Foley adds back or creates sounds for things that did not actually happen in shooting. Sound editors have complete control over how each noise sounds, its quality, and the relative volume. Foley effects add depth and realism to the audio quality for multimedia sources, and they simplify the synchronizing of sounds that would otherwise be tedious or downright impossible to manage.



The Foley artist reviews the film as it runs to figure out what sounds are needed to achieve the desired sound and results. Once the material is gathered and prepared to be used, the Foley artist practices the sounds. When the desired sound is accomplished, it is the Foley artist's task to watch the film and add in the sound effects at the same time. This is similar to when actors have to add dialogue over the movement of the lips in filming. (known as dubbing or looping)

In a world where manly men run on the spot, badly coordinated in red high heels and greensweat pants...

Monday, April 23, 2012

Maned Wolf

The coltish animal below which looks like a fox's body photoshopped onto a deer's legs is known as a Maned Wolf.

Photo: Sean Crane

The maned wolf has often been described as "a red fox on stilts" owing to its similar coloration and overall appearance, though it is much larger than a red fox and belongs to a different genus.  The adult animal stands 67 to 107 cm (26 to 42 in) tall at the shoulder, averages around five feet in total length and weighs 20 to 34.09 kg (44 to 75.2 lb) 


The maned wolf range (This is South America)


The maned wolf is also known for its distinctive odor,
which has earned it the nickname "skunk wolf."


I'm sure in person the skunk smell would affect my judgement but in pictures
the maned wolf looks elegant

Some experts say the long legs are an adaptation to running around in long grass.

Coherent, rational text taken from Wiki here.