Sunday, November 29, 2009

Otis Taylor

From Recaptruing the Banjo and featured on the public enemies soundtrack.

Yeah Right!

No warm up, first try bitch!

Front salad, back salad, front blunt.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

All In One

For every task there is a tool. This tool was designed specifically for this task. Most of the time that tool is nowhere to be found. That is when having a decent multi-tool can be a life saver. Works for lost of things, works well for almost nothing.

While these tools are helpful for most of us, there are some men that can complete any task even without the help of a multi tool.

Monday, November 23, 2009


Normally if someone told me they wanted to watch a sci-fi movie about time travel that had a budget of 7,000 dollars I would expect them to be describing some terrible made for sci-fi channel movie (this means it is worse than normal made for TV movies) that has script that seems to have been written by someone who just started to learn English as a second language. However, in the case of Primer 7,000 dollars gets you an intelligent script that uses language that for most intents and purposes is scientifically correct. This is combined with a story line that keeps you guessing, plot twists that are guaranteed to throw you for a loop, and some surprisingly good acting for a bunch of unknown actors. Primer has also developed quite the dedicated cult following, who have generated graphical time lines and a 20 page paper to fully explain the story.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Bean Snowboards

I checked out the Boston Ski and Snowboard Expo yesterday to stop by and see some good friends who run Bean Snowboards and of course to pick up some new boots and bindings on clearance. Bean Snowboards is the creation of four friends living in Boston who wanted to create an east coast centric brand of boards built for people who know what its like to ride on the east coast, where its often more e ice than snow. Combining the talents of 3 Northeastern mechanical engineers, a graphic designer and an ex manager of a snowboard shop, Bean started out two years ago as mostly a hobby but has turned into a pretty interesting small business.

Bean snowboards is releasing two boards this year along with a slew of awesome outerwear. This seasons boards are the Violator a buttery soft true twin designed for hiking the park all day, and the Commonwealth a direction twin with a strip of carbon fiber in the base that's got just enough stiffness to let it shred all mountain without sacrificing too much forgiveness in the park. I rode a 153 cm Violator last season it rode great in all conditions and survived endless torture in the park, thin covered glades, and the occasional urban session.

The boards may still be built in a cramped Allston garage but they have definitely refined their manufacturing process this year, its nice that for the first time in a long time you can buy a board built by the guy who you just dropped in behind you. Best of all every piece used to manufacture these boards is sourced from a US company, most of them based on the east coast. The tech is definitely up to par in the boards although if doesn't feature the ridiculous terms of the bigger manufactures. Sintered bases, poplar and maple cores, Ultra High M )olecular Weight Polyethylene (Really Strong Plastic) sidewalls and 100% biodegradable green wax (you know its safe for the earth because it smells like patchuli) are used on both models. Best of all no reverse camber mumbo-jumbo.

Check out a good article on Bean Snowboards in Boston's Pheonix newspaper

Violators to the left, Commonwealth (obviously) to the right

Hand made by good people!

You can ride year round on the east coast if you put the effort in

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Joseph Kittinger and Project Excelsior

Joseph Kittinger's has one of the most varied and eventful careers of any pilot in the US Air Force. He is most well known for his participation in Project Excelsior, an extreme altitude project but that is just one part of a very interesting mans life. On top of his involvement with this record setting project he is also the first person to make a solo journey across the Atlantic in a gas balloon, holds the record for highest ascent in a gas balloon and holds the record for the most g forces sustained by a human being. On top of this during the Vietnam war in his third tour of duty Kittinger was shot down in a dogfight with a MiG-21, he was then captured and spent 11 months as a prisoner of war in the infamous "Hanoi Hilton."

Project Excelsior was used to test Beaupre multi-stage parachute system from 1959-1960. The system used a series of parachutes with the initial chutes being small and used to stabilize a falling person, then releasing larger chutes to slow them down before impact. The testing consisted of a series of extremely high altitude jumps, from 76,000 to 102,100 feet, all of which were performed by Kittinger. He was lifted to the stratosphere by a specially designed gondola attached to 200 foot tall helium balloon. He was also outfitted with a special high altitude suit designed to maintain pressure on his body to combat the effects of the near vacuum at the extreme altitudes he would be jumping from.

The first test jump was made on November 16th, 1959 at an altitude of 76,400 feet. The stabilizer chute designed to balance Kittenger was released two early and caught him around the neck and forced him into a spin at 120 revolutions per minute, scientist later would determine this would cause his body to experience 22 g's making Kittinger the record holder. Kittenger lost consciousness during the jump but was saved because his main chute was designed to deploy automatically. Even though almost loosing his life in the first jump Kittinger volunteered again for a second jump, this time successfully jumping from 74,700 feet, however he deployed his main chute at 55,000 ft.

He made a third and final attempt on August 16, 1960. The ascent took one hour and 31 minutes to reach the final altitude of 102,800 feet, a new record for a gas balloon. During the ascent one his pressurized gloves failed casing severe pain and making his hand swell to twice the normal size despite this he continued on to make the jump. His stabilization chute deployed correctly and Kittinger was in free fall for a total of 4 minutes and 36 seconds before deploying his chute at 17,00 feet. During this free fall he would reach speeds of up to 614 mph.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009


A letter written in 1940 by Fidel Castro at the age of twelve. Sent to the President of the United States, Franklin D. Roosevelt. Click to read.

Monday, November 16, 2009


The standard for diner coffee. Nothing beats a Sunday morning hangover better then burnt coffee and greasy food.

Founded in 1957 in Springfield, Illinois by George Bunn as the Bunn-O-Matic Corporation. Bun was the inventor of the first paper coffee filter which was the companies main product until 1963. In 1963 the company invented the first pour over drip brew coffee maker for commercial applications. The coffee makers soon became a standard in diner's and deli's across the country. In 1972 Bunn innovated the coffee making market once again when it introduced the first drip brew coffee maker for home use. Bunn has since expanded into many different sectors of food service but will always be known for its coffee makers.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Best Seat In The House

I guess its actually the best seat out of the house.

13 Tzameti

A film that helps to define what a true thriller should be able to do. The film creates a tension so thick that its almost unbearable. One of the strongest debut films for a writer director I've seen in a while. Its unfortunate he's working on a remake for the American market and not something new.

Friday, November 6, 2009

El Capitan

3,000 Feet of sheer granite looms over the north side of the Yosemite Valley. El Capitan once thought to be impossible to climb is now one of the standards for big wall climbing. El Capitan has now become an iconic symbol of American climbing in the 60's and 7o's and the home of some of the most amazing climbs in history.

A climber gets some rest on El Capitan

The main route, know as The Nose was first conquered in 1958 by Warren Harding, Wayne Merry and George Whitmore. The team used a style known as "siege tactics" where they would climb using fixed routes that were built off of previously established base points. This allowed them to slowly set a secure route and then return to a base point and rest. They could then set a new base point higher up and use that as a jumping off point for further ascending. This technique was not without its drawbacks however and they suffered multiple set backs from rope breakage due to exposure to the cold temperatures. The team eventually summited the route, but not after a grueling 47 days of climbing.

Harding and Company interviewed by the press at the Top of El Cap

The next successful climb of the nose was in 1960 by Royal Robbins, Joe Fitschen, Chuck Pratt and Tom Frost. This time the team climbed continuously, setting up temporary resting points along the way instead of the permanent camps used in the siege technique. They completed the route in a record setting 7 days. The next big climbing milestone on The Nose happened in 1969 when Tom Bauman made a successful solo climb of the route. Then 1975 John Long, Jim Bridwell and Billy Westbay made a record breaking ascension of The Nose, climbing it in a single day
Royal Robbins gets some rest on face of El Cap
Tom Frost on the record ascension

The Nose is the historically famous El Capitan route there were many other routes established during the 60's and 70's climbing boom. Royal Robbins and his team pioneered the highly rated Salathe Wall and the North American Wall on the peaks southwest face in the early 60's. Routes such as the Dihedral wall, West Buttress, and Muir Wall were also developed in the 1960's. In the 1970's several other notable climbs were made, some of the notable ones being Wall of Early Morning Light, Zodiac, Pacific Ocean Wall and Sea of Dreams.

Bridwell looking up the face

As routes became more and more established climbers started to attempt free climbs of the face, using no climbing aids and setting protection only to prevent falls. The Nose once again set the standard for the hardest face to free climb. Ray Jardine and Bill price made several attempts from 1979 though the 80's but were unsuccessful. The Nose would remain unconquered for 14 years until in 1993 when Lynn Hill, after making making one unsuccessful attempt that was cut short when a critical finger hold was unusable due to a piton jammed in it from previous climbers, successfully free climbed the infamous route in just 4 days. One year later Hill would finish the route in an astonishing 23 hours, setting a new level of climbing for El Captain. To put this climb into perspective the second person to successfully free climb The Nose would take 261 days of effort to summit the route.

Lynn Hill conquers The Nose

Currently there has been an entirely new level of competition for climbing El Capitan. In 2007 brothers Alexander and Thomas Huber would climb
The Nose in a record setting 2 hours 45 minutes. Almost exactly one year later their record would be broken by Hans Florine and Yuji Hirayama who completed the route in 2 hours 43 minutes. 4 months later Hans and Yuji would break their previous record climbing the peak in just 2 hours and 37 minutes.

The Huber brothers on their record setting climb

Hans Florine and Yuji Hirayama currently hold
the record for fastest ascension of The Nose