Friday, October 30, 2009

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Bored To Death

Bored to Death is a new comedy on HBO starring Jason Schwartzman, Ted Danson, and Zach Galifianakis. Schwartzman plays an alcoholic, out of work writer, who moonlights as a craigslist advertised private eye. Danson plays Schwartzmans boss, who is an aging magazine editor with an affinity for having crisis and getting to high to funciton. Galifianakis plays Schwartzmans best friend and is a comic book writer who is constantly bossed around by his girlfriend.

The show was originally advertised as a noir-comedy, which is why it caught my eye. The first few episodes were entertaining enough, but the show never really grabbed me. However after catching up on the rest of the season (6 episodes so far) I am definitely enjoying it, the characters are well written, even if a little outlandish. One of the things I've found the most enjoyable have been the unique characters in each episode, who definitely supply some of the best humor. Bored to death can be seen Sundays at 9:30.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Tom Crean

There are men that are tough. There are men that are loyal. There are men that are dependable. Then there is Tom Crean. Crean was born in the small town of Annascaul, Ireland to a family of 10 in 1877. After leaving school early to help work on the family farm he enlisted in the Royal Navy at the age of 15. In 1901 he would be selected as crew for the Discovery Expedition to the Antarctic. During this trip Crean would gain his reputation as one of hardest working and toughest sailors, logging more days hauling sleds than any of the other 48 member crew.

Captain Scott who had lead the Discovery Expedition would ask Crean to accompany him again in 1910 on the Terra Nova Expedition. He was part of the 3rd tier of the support party designed to help move the main exploration parties gear towards their destination so the main party could continue on well rested. On the return trip back to the main camp the 3 man group Crean was in became lost, food and supplies soon became short. The group made a decision to slide the sledges they had been dragging down a large icfeall they had been trying to hike around. Although almost impossible, they successfully slid down the 2000 foot slope all the while avoiding the large crevasses int he ice, some being upwards of 200ft wide. After two more days of hiking they reached the next camp site. This camp was only a teporary camp and the group still had to travel through two more temporary camps to reach the main base. On hike form the final temporary camp to the main base they realized their low food supplies were not going to last the 4-5 days it would take to drag the sleds the remaining 35 miles. Crean who was in the best condition of the group, was to walk the final leg and get rescue party. Equipped with nothing more than a few biscuits and some chocolate, he eventually reached the base camp at Hut Point after 18 hours of continuous walking through the arctic tundra. A rescue crew was soon sent out and successfully retrieved Creans two partners.

"In the winter it was once again Crean who was the mainstay for cheerfulness in the now depleted mess deck part of the hut."

The main expedition party Creans group had helped reach the final leg of the trip never returned to the camp at Hut Point. The remaining crew was forced to return to the more permanent arctic base at Cape Evans without the main team. During the trip across the solidified ice flow Crean, Apsley Garrard and Hanry Bowers set camp on a unstable section. The section of ice let go during the night leaving the men suck out on a moving ice flow. Crean jumped from floating chunk to floating chunk eventually reaching solid ground. He then gathered a party together to retrieve the two men still stuck out in the flow. Both men were successfully rescued.
Crean is most well known for his heroics during Shackleton's Endurance Expedition. After having their ship, the Endurance, destroyed after it had become stuck in an ice flow, the crew was forced to march across the ice dragging their supplies in the ships 3 life boats. They eventually reached Elephant Island were a temporary camp was set up. They were still trapped in the arctic with no way of sailing home, the only chance the party had of rescue was to sail one of the small lifeboats to a whaling station on South Georgia for help.

The sturdiest of the boats, the James Caird, was chosen for the trip. The crews carpenter worked with what little was available to make the vessel more seaworthy. Shackleton originally selected Crean to stay behind to help keep the rest of the party alive, but Crean begged to be allowed to help on the sail to South Georgia. The crew of 6 set off, and battled 30 foot swells and force 9 winds for 17 days before making landfall on the far side of South Georgia. Shakleton then selected Crean and another man, Worsley, to go with him on the 36 hour trek to get across the island to the whaling station. Eventually, after successfully reaching the station, a rescue team was sent out to retrieve the crew that was still trapped on Elephant Island. All members of the Endurance Expedition would survive.

"He always sang when he was steering, and nobody ever discovered what the song was, but somehow it was cheerful".
Statue of Crean in his hometown of Annascaul, Ireland

Monday, October 26, 2009

Pierrot le fou

I wonder what's keeping the cops. We should be in jail by now.

They're smart... They let people destroy themselves.

Allons-y, Alonzo!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Wayfaring Stranger

I'm just a poor wayfaring stranger
trav'ling through this world of woe.
there's no sickness, toil nor danger
In that bright world to which I go.
I'm going there to meet my father
I'm going there no more to roam;
I am just going over Jordan
I am just going over home.

I know dark clouds will gather o'er me
I know my pathway's rough and steep;
But golden fields lie out before me
Where weary eyes no more shall weep.
I'm going there to see my mother
She said she'd meet me when I come
I am just going over Jordan
I am just going over home.

I'll soon be free from every trial
This form will rest beneath the sod
I'll drop the cross of self denial,
And enter in my home with God.
I'm going there to see my Saviour
Who shed for me His precious blood
I am just going over Jordan
I am just going over home.

I want to wear a crown of glory
When I get home to that bright land
I want to shout Salvation's story
In concert with that bloodwashed band.
I'm going there to meet my Saviour
To sing His praises forevermore
I am just going over Jordan
I am just going over home

Fjallraven Vintage Backpack

Context just stocked a new Fjallraven bag that looks to be just what I've been looking for for my daily carry bag. I've been carrying a Burton snowboards bag that I bought in 2000 that was pretty much everything I could ask for in a bag. It had the perfect amount of pockets all of usefull size. It worked great for both school and travel and has been carried with me in probalby 20 countries by now. I still cant belive the thing has lasted this long with me only having to replace 1 zipper and restitch one pocket. It has reached the end of its days though, the bottom canvas is so worn that it looks more like a screen then fabric and its time for it to be retired.

One thing that really caught my eye with the new fjallraven backpack was that it was made out of their G-1000 material and designed for use with their Greenland Wax. The was is designed to be rubbed on and then ironed to make your own waxed canvas material thats exactly as waterproof as you need it to be. The thing I really like about this is that I can focus the waxing on areas that get the most rain, or on pockets that will be housing any important electronics.
More pictures of the bag and wax, and the rest of the collection that context has stocked below.

Wax on Wax off

Vents prevent you from catching a case of sweaty back
The above parka stuffs into a bag, kind of usefull I guess?

Thursday, October 22, 2009

The World Of Tomorrow

Some my favorites form when I was a kid. This goes out to Tex Avery.

Stereo Love

I always enjoy products that mix extreme performance with great styling. High end supercars are one of the best examples of this. The mix of an enormously power full engine and well tuned suspension, paired with a sleek looking body is the culmination of good design. Another, probably overlooked, area that mixes both the form and the function is home stereo equipment. Stereo equipment actually has a lot in common with cars, most people will only own low cost pieces from major manufactures like Sony and Yamaha purchased at big box stores. The Honda civics and Plymouth voyagers of audio. But just as Ferrari and Porsche manufacture cars for enthusiasts with well lined pockets, boutique companies like Continuum Audio Labs and Rogue Audio produce stereo equipment for the true audiophile. Some of these pieces are true works of art, most also pushing the boundaries of audio performance, but be warned there are some DeLoreans in every market.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

San Fransisco, USA vs. Geneva, Switzerland

So far the road to the 33rd America's cup has been one of high drama. It looks like it may actually happen early in 2010. From what has happened so far it seems that it will end up in a challenge between cup defenders Société Nautique de Genève facing off against the challenging Golden Gate Yacht Club. The event location is still being disputed but will most likely be either Ras al-Khaimah in the UAE or Valencia Spain.

The thing I am most excited about is that this will mark the first departure from the IACC 12 Meter monohull established in 1992 as the standard set for boats racing in the America's Cup. The Swiss will be sailing the Alinghi 5 a 120 foot catamaran owned by Ernesto Bertarelli's yacht syndicate Alinghi and most likely crewed by top New Zealand sailors. The rival US team will be crewing BMW + Oracle's 90 foot trimaran, originally codenamed the BOR90, and now officially christened as the USA.