Wednesday, December 28, 2011


What a pleasant holiday movie! I don't get out to see too many movies these days. I'll HAVE to change that if there are such great flicks coming to the silver screen.
This is not "steam punk" like, say, the Golden Compass, but rather, think of it as aging steam punk....steam thirty years after steam is no longer used.

Have seen a few movies over the holidays. Watched "Lords of War" for instance. I thought that Nicholas Cage played a wonderful character...a quiet, thoughtful supplier of arms to both sides of some very violent conflicts. His very quiet, business like demeanor was more chilling than any Rambo could ever have been.

Christmas dinner was at my friend Susan's place....a lively day full of kids being kids. Loved it.

There is a blanket of snow out there that I have to get at, so Merry Christmas.

Friday, December 23, 2011


Castle making out of Ginger Bread.


Come to think of it, I will put this link up on my armouring blog too!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Ray Sawyer's Hotel Christmas

Most people know Ray Sawyer as the eye patche'd dude who brought Shel Silversteine's poems to life in his band "Doctor Hook and the Medicine Show". He is famous for his cowboy hat and his eye patch, but the Santa Claus beard was a bit of surprise.

Here is the last song ever written by Shel Silverstein. May he rest in peace.

Relax, pour yourself an egg nog and enjoy.

Sunday, December 18, 2011


In an office:

In a Laundromat:

In a London department store:

In an office:

In an office:

Outside a secondhand shop:

Notice in health food shop window:

Spotted in a safari park:

Seen during a conference:

Notice in a farmer’s field:

On a repair shop door:
We repair anything. Knock hard, doorbell does not work.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Electric Balalaika


So they said...Why don't you put up some foxy ladies up on your blog. So I did.

Cell phone hi jinks

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Medical Info all women should know

Medical Info Women Should Know

Pregnancy, Estrogen, and Women
PREGNANCY Q & A & more!

Q: Should I have a baby after 35?

A: No, 35 children is enough.

Q : I'm two months pregnant now. When will my baby move?

A: With any luck, right after he finishes college.

Q : What is the most reliable method to determine a baby's sex?

A: Childbirth.

Q: My wife is five months pregnant and so moody that sometimes she's borderline irrational.

A: So what's your question?

?: My childbirth instructor says it's not pain I'll feel during labor, but pressure. Is she right?
A: Yes, in the same way that a tornado might be called an air current.

Q: When is the best time to get an epidural?

A: Right after you find out you're pregnant.

?: Is there any reason I have to be in the delivery room while my wife is in labor?
A: Not unless the word "alimony" means anything to you.

Q: Is there anything I should avoid while recovering from childbirth?

A: Yes, pregnancy.

Q: Do I have to have a baby shower?

A: Not if you change the baby's diaper very quickly.

Q: Our baby was born last week. When will my wife begin to feel and act normal again?

A: When the kids are in college.



1. Everyone around you has an attitude problem.
2. You're adding chocolate chips to your cheese omelet.
3. The dryer has shrunk every last pair of your jeans.

4. Your husband is suddenly agreeing to everything you say.

5. You 're using your cell phone to dial up every bumper sticker that says: "How's my driving".
6. Everyone's head looks like an invitation to batting practice.
7. Everyone seems to have just landed here from "outer space."
9. You're sure that everyone is scheming to drive you crazy.
10. The ibuprofen bottle is empty and you bought it yesterday.


10. Cats' facial expressions.

9. The need for the same style of shoes in different colors.
8. Why bean sprouts aren't just weeds.
7. Fat clothes.
6. Taking a car trip without trying to beat your best time.
5. The difference between beige, ecru, cream, off-white, and eggshell.
4. Cutting your hair to make it grow.
3. Eyelash curlers.
2. The inaccuracy of every bathroom scale ever made.

AND, the Number One thing only women understand:


Thursday, December 01, 2011

soft ware for hard steel

I have been playing with some innovations. Like feathers for scale, or brass edging of steel that look like flames or just repeating patters, that sort of thing. Most of them take an excrutiatingly long time to cut out and attach to the metal. Often doing such work is soul destroying, repetitive, boring and sometimes not what the client wanted at all. There are software programs which can create these things as required. Below is the letter I wrote to a major three dee software designer I am evaluating at the present.

cut and paste follows

>Well, this is a sort of "chicken or the egg" isn't it! I am searching for an edge on my competition, and the use of machinery which uses three dee modeling might be the edge. Or it might not. And that means tools which can run that machinery. Or it might not. If there is a technological answer, it exists in 3-d modeling. Or it might not.

What I DO is make custom suits of armour for people. Right now, they are made the hard way....each one is a "one off custom job" with many similarities from one to t'other. By their nature, they tend to be very pricey.
They have to be able to be worn, and they have to be made from steel because, well, they have a function to perform as well as a look.

There are an increasingly large number of people doing this kind of work, many of them are offshore, and have access to remarkably inexpensive labour and some of that labour is quite skilled! Trust me, there are lots of suits of armour being made....there are plenty of people who have always wanted to be "the knight in shining armour". And the offshore people know this. For me to stay in business, I have to come up with something they don't have. That means imagination and quality and innovation.

The breakdown of processes involved in making a suit of armour is not very complicated. Imagine a tailor making a suit. You have the material. (aluminum for actors, stainless for rental firms, steel for re-enactors.) and cutting tools, hammers and rollers to fabricate the parts. And then there are the sales staff, designers, web developers, book keepers and shippers. There is a fair amount of room to grow, and not enough sales to accomplish that growth, but with a unique product, I can regain my top spot in this market.
Now, you have to remember Justin, that I am fifty six years old, and have been doing this job now for twenty two years. Its time I conserved by skills and time on the hammer and prepare for the future. And innovation is nothing new to me...every day I discover and have to master a new skill.

So what can three dee modeling do for me? Oh, lordy, who knows! However, lets start with something simple. A scale for a scale coat.
Right now, scales are labouriously cut by hand from scrap metal. Good use of scrap. Now they have to be cut, drilled, sanded and shaped into a little shield. Excellent concurrent activity for my staff who would be standing around with their thumbs up their tush anyway, but soul destroying work to do full time. So I accumulate several hundred pounds of business card sized scales on the off chance that somebody wants them someday. They sit there and go rusty and eventually I use them. But what if somebody wants an innovative scale coat? Say, one which uses scales of a different size? Or different material? Or different shape? Say, he wants feathers, or dragon scales, or fancy gauntlet fingers. I can't economically cut all the possible shapes out on the off chance that somebody might need them someday. But I CAN have the design as a template which I can get a contractor with a water jet cutter to manufactur as required. Heck, if this approach were to become popular, I might get a water jet or a trumph laser here in my shop, in which case, I would be able to bid on short time line contracts.

But for scales, Gimp or paint shop pro might be more appropriate. Perhaps easier to learn or be supported by more machinery or whatever. I don't know the answers to these questions. Which is why I am evaluationg all three at this time.

But a scale is not a three dee rendering. Nor does it require three dee software. What "would" require your product? Well, how about a steel gauntlet? Making a gauntlet is a very complex and difficult process at present. It involves a lot of cardboard and scissor work, and a lot of trial and error. Most gauntlets therefore do not have much compound curving to them. They look to be cut out of flat sheets because, well because they "are" cut out of flat sheet metal. Which provides a sort of look which is okay I guess, but that look is achieved at an ungodly low price by my competition off shore. I need to come up with ways to change it on "paper", model it on screen first, and them print out the templates. Again, it would be good to have those templates repeatable, and be able to cut out a hundred gauntlets as easily as one. To be able to have nesting compound curves is desirable and with difficulty, achievable with present methods. And then there is the issue of "sizes". Small, medium, large, and Xtra large come to mind. Or if it exists only on a program perhaps an infinite size range could be accomodated as required. (variables would be distance around the hand, length of fingers, that sort of thing.
Then there is labeling and surface details. A laser or a water cutter can be dialed back to allow for surface marking instead of cutting. To mark a size and part number into the back of every plate would ensure that we don't get them mixed up. Or imagine engraving stuff onto the surface to decorate it or texture it. Or even engrave the client's name into each piece.

This is what I have in mind for innovation. To do this, I am evaluating your product versus about three different flavors of auto cad.
So what do YOU think? So far, xxxxxx design seems to be winning out. Do you think xxxxxx 3-d modeling would accomplish my desired innovations?

Friday, November 18, 2011

The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald

The Edmund Fitzgerald sunk on 10 November 1975. Its a November thing.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

A song for Canadian Soldiers

A song for Canadian soldiers.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

motivational thoughts

Feeling blue or insecure? Losing sight of what's important? Still searching for the real "you"? In this self-help age of soul-searching, daily affirmations have been known to do the trick. But you probably shouldn't try these ...
My intuition nearly makes up for my lack of good judgment.

I no longer need to punish, deceive or compromise myself. Unless, of course, I want to stay employed.

I am at one with my duality. Only a lack of imagination saves me from immobilizing myself with imaginary fears.

In some cultures what I do would be considered normal.

Having control over myself is nearly as good as having control over others. I can change any thought that hurts into a reality that hurts even more. I honor my personality flaws, for without them I would have no personality at all.

All of me is beautiful and valuable, even the ugly, stupid and disgusting parts. I honor and express all facets of my being, regardless of state and local laws.

When someone hurts me, forgiveness is cheaper than a lawsuit. But not nearly as gratifying. Today I will gladly share my experience and advice, for there are no sweeter words than "I told you so."

I have the power to channel my imagination into ever-soaring levels of suspicion and paranoia.

I assume full responsibility for my actions, except the ones that are someone else's fault.

I can change any thought that hurts into a reality that hurts even more.

Joan of Arc heard voices too.

I am grateful that I am not as judgmental as all those censorious, self-righteous people around me.

I need not suffer in silence while I can still moan, whimper and complain.

A good scapegoat is nearly as welcome as a solution to the problem.

I am learning that criticism is not nearly as effective as sabotage.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Upon one summer's morning, I carefully did stray,
Down by the Walls of Wapping, where I met a sailor gay,
Conversing with a bouncing lass, who seem'd to be in pain,
Saying, William, when you go, I fear you will ne'er return again.

His hair it does in ringlets hang, his eyes as black as soles,
My happiness attend him wherever he goes,
From Tower Hill, down to Blackwall, I will wander, weep and moan,
All for my jolly sailor bold, until he does return.

My father is a merchant — the truth I will now tell,
And in great London City in opulence doth dwell,
His fortune doth exceed ₤300,000 in gold,
And he frowns upon his daughter, 'cause she loves a sailor bold.

A fig for his riches, his merchandize, and gold,
True love is grafted in my heart; give me my sailor bold:
Should he return in poverty, from o'er the ocean far,
To my tender bosom, I'll fondly press my jolly tar.

My sailor is as smiling as the pleasant month of May,
And oft we have wandered through Ratcliffe Highway,
Where many a pretty blooming girl we happy did behold,
Reclining on the bosom of her jolly sailor bold.

Come all you pretty fair maids, whoever you may be
Who love a jolly sailor bold that ploughs the raging sea,
While up aloft, in storm or gale, from me his absence mourn,
And firmly pray, arrive the day, he home will safe return.

My name it is Maria, a merchant's daughter fair,
And I have left my parents and three thousand pounds a year,
My heart is pierced by Cupid, I disdain all glittering gold,
There is nothing that can console me but my jolly sailor bold.

Artwork...Hajimi Sorayama

Blast from the past

This summer I was traveling up airport road on my way to Stayner for some of Mr. Hoffmann's wurst, and this was beside the road. Not a steam punk is no doubt a diesel, but it might have been a conversion from steam.
All those cables. What a cool machine!

Friday, November 11, 2011


Antwerp-Turnhout Canal - This canal was one of the waterworks connecting with the city and its badly needed port facilities. The Calgary Highlanders arrived in this area on 18 September 1944, and on the 21st a bridgehead over the Albert Canal was created by Sergeant Ken Crockett and a handpicked section of ten men. His brave foray into enemy territory was soon expanded to a company sized bridgehead, after which the entire Fifth Brigade was able to follow. His nomination for a Victoria Cross was turned down at the highest levels of command for a very well deserved Distinguished Conduct Medal instead.

The Scheldt - The Scheldt battles were fought on both sides of this waterway during September, October and the early part of November 1944. All three Canadian divisions in northwest Europe took part in these actions, as well as several other divisions under the command of First Canadian Army. Major features north of the Scheldt Estuary included, from west to east, Walcheren Island, North Beveland, and the South Beveland Peninsula. To the south of the Estuary was the area known as "The Breskens Pocket". The Calgary Highlanders fought many actions in the Scheldt battles, highlighted by the Battle Honours listed next.

Woensdrecht - a village at the base of the South Beveland Peninsula in the southwest of The Netherlands. Any units seeking to gain access to South Beveland had to clear a series of villages in this area of enemy soldiers. From 22-27 October, much mighting was seen in this area between the 5th Brigade and veteran German paratroops of Battle Group Chill.

South Beveland - a long peninsula marking the northern boundary of the Scheldt Estuary, the waterway through which Allied ships would have to sail to reach Antwerp and shorten Allied supply lines, still being traced over land all the way back to Normandy. The failure to secure a port closer to the front line meant the expenditure of thousands of gallons of gasoline trucking supplies through France, Belgium and Holland. The Highlanders fought their way west down the Peninsula with the rest of the 2nd Canadian Division, in order to reach Walcheren Island and silence the many German coastal batteries there.

Walcheren Causeway - After South Beveland was secured, the only land route to Walcheren Island - last holdouts on the Scheldt Estuary - was a long causeway just 40 metres wide and over 1000 metres long. The Slooe Channel through which the Causeway ran was too shallow for assault boats, and the salt marshes and mud made the way impassable to land vehicles or marching infantry. On Hallowe'en Night, the Calgary Highlanders followed up a disastrous attack by the Black Watch on the Causeway, and managed to force a shallow bridgehead on the far end. Fierce fighting ensued, and the Highlanders were relieved by Le Regiment de Maisonneuve on 1 November. Sixty-four Highlanders were killed or wounded in the action; the ferocity of the fighting was testified to by the actions of Sergeant Emil Laloge, who was awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal for, among other things, picking up German grenades and throwing them back at the enemy before they could explode among his men. This battle is commemorated each year by the Regiment with a drumhead ceremony and visit from the Dutch community.

There is more here....

That action, the one where Sgt Crockett did deeds of daring worthy of a movie all its own nearly didnt' work. The Canadians pushed the defending forces back sure enough, but standard tactics by the Germans at that time were to fade back, and then return in force. The Canadians nearly broke (some say they DID break and run) but my uncle Bill set up a machine gun and covered the retreat. The Canadians recovered, and held the bridgehead long enough for Crerar's army to get across the Albert Canal, and start the big push into the Beaveland peninsula. The result of this action which was started with such a bang was the ability to clear the north side of the Scheldt estuary, whichin turn allowed ships to reach Antwerp. The history of the "bloody causeway" is yet another story, devoid of glory, and covered in mud.

This of course is part of the "forgotten war", the rolling up of the left flank...the heavily fortified "fortress europe". During the beaveland campaign, the British got the middle thrust, the "bridge too far", and the Americans got Paris. And then the Battle of the Bulge, which was their particular slice of hell.

I walked off the rememberance parade this morning...the first one I have EVER walked off. It was during the solemn prayer, everybody's head was lowered and the padre was droning on. I think it was the phrase "grant us victory oh Lord", which caught my attention, and I remembered the 1909 writings of Mark Twain. He was clearly staring his creator in the face at that time....he died only a couple of years later. This is Mark Twain's words....

It was a time of great and exalting excitement. The country was up in arms, the war was on, in every breast burned the holy fire of patriotism; the drums were beating, the bands playing, the toy pistols popping, the bunched firecrackers hissing and spluttering; on every hand and far down the receding and fading spread of roofs and balconies a fluttering wilderness of flags flashed in the sun; daily the young volunteers marched down the wide avenue gay and fine in their new uniforms, the proud fathers and mothers and sisters and sweethearts cheering them with voices choked with happy emotion as they swung by; nightly the packed mass meetings listened, panting, to patriot oratory which stirred the deepest deeps of their hearts, and which they interrupted at briefest intervals with cyclones of applause, the tears running down their cheeks the while; in the churches the pastors preached devotion to flag and country, and invoked the God of Battles beseeching His aid in our good cause in outpourings of fervid eloquence which moved every listener. It was indeed a glad and gracious time, and the half dozen rash spirits that ventured to disapprove of the war and cast a doubt upon its righteousness straightway got such a stern and angry warning that for their personal safety's sake they quickly shrank out of sight and offended no more in that way.

Sunday morning came -- next day the battalions would leave for the front; the church was filled; the volunteers were there, their young faces alight with martial dreams -- visions of the stern advance, the gathering momentum, the rushing charge, the flashing sabers, the flight of the foe, the tumult, the enveloping smoke, the fierce pursuit, the surrender! Then home from the war, bronzed heroes, welcomed, adored, submerged in golden seas of glory! With the volunteers sat their dear ones, proud, happy, and envied by the neighbors and friends who had no sons and brothers to send forth to the field of honor, there to win for the flag, or, failing, die the noblest of noble deaths. The service proceeded; a war chapter from the Old Testament was read; the first prayer was said; it was followed by an organ burst that shook the building, and with one impulse the house rose, with glowing eyes and beating hearts, and poured out that tremendous invocation

    God the all-terrible! Thou who ordainest! Thunder thy clarion and lightning thy sword!

Then came the "long" prayer. None could remember the like of it for passionate pleading and moving and beautiful language. The burden of its supplication was, that an ever-merciful and benignant Father of us all would watch over our noble young soldiers, and aid, comfort, and encourage them in their patriotic work; bless them, shield them in the day of battle and the hour of peril, bear them in His mighty hand, make them strong and confident, invincible in the bloody onset; help them to crush the foe, grant to them and to their flag and country imperishable honor and glory --

An aged stranger entered and moved with slow and noiseless step up the main aisle, his eyes fixed upon the minister, his long body clothed in a robe that reached to his feet, his head bare, his white hair descending in a frothy cataract to his shoulders, his seamy face unnaturally pale, pale even to ghastliness. With all eyes following him and wondering, he made his silent way; without pausing, he ascended to the preacher's side and stood there waiting. With shut lids the preacher, unconscious of his presence, continued with his moving prayer, and at last finished it with the words, uttered in fervent appeal, "Bless our arms, grant us the victory, O Lord our God, Father and Protector of our land and flag!"

The stranger touched his arm, motioned him to step aside -- which the startled minister did -- and took his place. During some moments he surveyed the spellbound audience with solemn eyes, in which burned an uncanny light; then in a deep voice he said:

"I come from the Throne -- bearing a message from Almighty God!" The words smote the house with a shock; if the stranger perceived it he gave no attention. "He has heard the prayer of His servant your shepherd, and will grant it if such shall be your desire after I, His messenger, shall have explained to you its import -- that is to say, its full import. For it is like unto many of the prayers of men, in that it asks for more than he who utters it is aware of -- except he pause and think.

"God's servant and yours has prayed his prayer. Has he paused and taken thought? Is it one prayer? No, it is two -- one uttered, the other not. Both have reached the ear of Him Who heareth all supplications, the spoken and the unspoken. Ponder this -- keep it in mind. If you would beseech a blessing upon yourself, beware! lest without intent you invoke a curse upon a neighbor at the same time. If you pray for the blessing of rain upon your crop which needs it, by that act you are possibly praying for a curse upon some neighbor's crop which may not need rain and can be injured by it.

"You have heard your servant's prayer -- the uttered part of it. I am commissioned of God to put into words the other part of it -- that part which the pastor -- and also you in your hearts -- fervently prayed silently. And ignorantly and unthinkingly? God grant that it was so! You heard these words: 'Grant us the victory, O Lord our God!' That is sufficient. the whole of the uttered prayer is compact into those pregnant words. Elaborations were not necessary. When you have prayed for victory you have prayed for many unmentioned results which follow victory -- must follow it, cannot help but follow it. Upon the listening spirit of God fell also the unspoken part of the prayer. He commandeth me to put it into words. Listen!

"O Lord our Father, our young patriots, idols of our hearts, go forth to battle -- be Thou near them! With them -- in spirit -- we also go forth from the sweet peace of our beloved firesides to smite the foe. O Lord our God, help us to tear their soldiers to bloody shreds with our shells; help us to cover their smiling fields with the pale forms of their patriot dead; help us to drown the thunder of the guns with the shrieks of their wounded, writhing in pain; help us to lay waste their humble homes with a hurricane of fire; help us to wring the hearts of their unoffending widows with unavailing grief; help us to turn them out roofless with little children to wander unfriended the wastes of their desolated land in rags and hunger and thirst, sports of the sun flames of summer and the icy winds of winter, broken in spirit, worn with travail, imploring Thee for the refuge of the grave and denied it -- for our sakes who adore Thee, Lord, blast their hopes, blight their lives, protract their bitter pilgrimage, make heavy their steps, water their way with their tears, stain the white snow with the blood of their wounded feet! We ask it, in the spirit of love, of Him Who is the Source of Love, and Who is the ever-faithful refuge and friend of all that are sore beset and seek His aid with humble and contrite hearts. Amen.

(After a pause.) "Ye have prayed it; if ye still desire it, speak! The messenger of the Most High waits!"

It was believed afterward that the man was a lunatic, because there was no sense in what he said.

I must be a lunatic because it makes PERFECT sense to me.

Wednesday, November 09, 2011


This was Shayne's place. A whole castle outside of his town house.

Up the road....a very fancy decoration.

Click to enlarge. See the "graves" with zombie parts coming out of them.

Inside Shane's castle. A couple of good little zombies with swords. Note the strings which cause things to move when you least expect it. We got some really powerful screams....

Friday, October 28, 2011

Algonquin Animation

Hi Bill!
If you or anyone you know is looking for commission art work here’s the place to go! The entire cost of the artwork goes to fund our grad show. Donations are also happily accepted. Please spread this around to anyone you know who would be interested. We update almost daily and each artist seems to be adding more and more to what they are willing to create.

And from that link...a cut and paste below...(Alanna drew the assassin llama above...give you an idea of the quality we are talking about here!)

The third year animation class of Algonquin College 2012 is earning money for their annual grad show by doing commissioned artwork for you!

As we do more and more artwork, the pieces will be posted here for people to see.

Interested in a commission by one of the student or have any questions? You can contact the artist directly or use the "Ask" button to contact the blog. Then you just select their name from the PayPal list to make your payment!

end cut and paste...

Well there you go Alanna. Doing my part to showcase your talent and that of your collegues.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Oh the humanity!

These are two of ten you can find on Ray Vilifane's blog page...

You should really go and visit it!

I dunno, you think he has captured my likeness up there?