Thursday, October 16, 2008

Math is not my Friend

I suck at math. The post about how many people turned out to vote doesn't even make stupid sense. I just looked at it and the numbers don't add right.... ugh.... I will NEVER post again about stats stuff. Political stuff that is all opinions and not based on facts, sure. Numbers I think not. However, no one did catch it....


Just thought I'd post some artwork that I admire very much.

The artist is Shepard Fairey.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Canada Elects

The Canadian election is over and the Conservative Party of Canada has won, but produced a minority government. I have been thinking throughout this election of just how many people would vote. It always seemed like no one voted. So I've added up the numbers of how many votes the parties received and compared it to Stats Canada figures.

10,562,956 people voted in this election. The conservative government received 5,204,468 votes that resulted in a win of 143 seats out of a possible 308 seats. This means it took 49.27% of the people who voted to provide us with a minority government (for non-Canadians, there were three other parties who won seats in the house of commons and a plethora of smaller parties who did not win any seats but still campaigned and received votes).

The population of Canada was 33,311,400 as of July 1st, 2008. That provides an average of 31.7% of Canadians actually turning out to the polls. But wait, that is the total population that includes people who are not old enough to vote. The breakdowns I could find from Stats Canada were not too specific, but according to their charts for 2001, there were roughly 8 million people under the age required to vote. If you pop that number into the equation than the percentage of people voting jumps to 71.6%. That is a lot by any standard!

I'm not a statistician, but these numbers are likely very close. What is important here is that I was wrong in my earlier opinions that people don't vote in Canada. They do. The Conservative Party won, and people voted for them. My problem -which is not discussed here- is that Canada is voting locally for a federal leader. The Bloc Party SHOULD NOT be allowed to run in a federal election. How is it just that Quebecers vote for a provincial party that has no input in the matters of other provinces and yet their same votes affect the outcome of a federal election that all other provinces vote in! If the Bloc did not run in these federal elections the Conservative Party would still have won. I am fine with that because the majority of Canadians voted for them. I believe in the democratic system. BUT I do not agree with groups that CANNOT run federally still compete against federal parties in provincial ridings.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Sketching the Past: Illustrations in Archaeology

The following is an excerpt from a paper I'm working on. The paper is entitled: Sketching the Past: Illustrations in Archaeology. The main thesis is that scientific illustrations are problematic and deserve better attention. Further, these illustrations hold connotations that many take for granted. This is primarily a theoretical paper. Below is the discussion I wrote for the first step in any illustration, the visualization of an object(s).

One must first see what they are drawing before they set pencil to paper. This is the process of visualizing. An artist needs to stare intently at the object(s) before them. The totality of the image is viewed. Questions such as shape and size are studied, along with the object’s color and where shadowing occurs or doesn’t.

An artifact is not just an artifact, and by staring intently one can understand this. What this statement implies is that an artifact, or any object for that mater, is a jigsaw of colors, shadows, and lines. The eye must become comfortable with the object by staring at it and getting to know it.

An analogy might help in describing this problem. A person driving an automobile does not generally note all the intricacies of everything that they pass; signs tend to blend into one another and only the general outline or meaning is remembered or acted upon. A stop sign will register with a driver to halt the vehicle, but the actual image of the sign likely fades from his or her memory fairly rapidly. For an archaeologist, we cannot treat artifacts in such a manner. While sorting through artifacts, we cannot treat them like road signs at 50km an hour. Instead we should take a leisurely walk. The past deserves such attention.

Visualization of artifacts at the beginning of an illustration forces the archaeologist to take a walk with frequent breaks. Visualization forgoes the speeding past road signs. The eye is forced into looking at one artifact for a suspended period of time. The eye relaxes and the artifact becomes a familiar shape, not some alien object that becomes rapidly tossed into Ziploc coffins.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Poster for Illustrations

These posters were created for advertising my work. If you are interested in commissioning me for an illustration, leave me a reply on here and I will respond back. Specifically these posters are aimed at scientific illustrations, but I'm game for almost anything.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Palin's Experience with Russia

This is just too good! I love Palin for her complete ineptitude!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Second Blog.

Quick note here. I've finally started up another blog. Long time in the making -longer than probably most realize. Well, it's here and will be slowly taking shape. The address is:

Hope you enjoy...

Call + Response

Just had to post this quote I heard:

"Justice is what love looks like in public"

This comes from the trailer for the new documentary Call + Response, which is about today's slave trade. The trailer is shown below.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008


What are the reasons behind people’s actions: what are their motives? The motor that powers actions is a product of history and specific interests. What is your history and interests? The direction of this inquiry is related to politics and leadership. A proverbial motor drives a politician that vies for your vote. Now, the politician’s action is to obtain a seat of power that can only be done-so through the support of the general public with votes, and through special interest groups with their campaign funds. Now ask yourself what brought that person to the point of being a politician and why they continue? Search for the history of the person first. What was their life prior to politics? Then search for what occurred since they have entered politics? The second part of the motor is the ‘interest’. Knowing what you now know of their past, why do you think they continue. People, broadly, continue actions because of specific interests: such as altruism, selfish pride, the admiration of loved ones or strangers, and so on. If you asked a politician what their interest is, no matter what they said, you would likely not completely believe them. This might be because you do not know this person on a personal level, or that we, as a society, have become indoctrinated with stories of corrupt politicians –both rightly and wrongly. It is always hard to believe a stranger, and no matter how hard a politician may try, they shall always be a stranger; to overcome this can often result in a charismatic leader who wins the election, such as the Kennedy’s or Trudeau’s. Nonetheless, how does one discover the interest? By searching through the person’s history you can likely form a very educated opinion about what their answer would be. Take into account all of their former actions and what resulted from these actions. History, often taken for granted, hold keys to understanding our future. That future is to be found in who we elect, no matter what part of our lives that election can be found –such as hiring a new employee, investing in stocks, or voting for a politician.

When choosing which candidate to vote for, ask yourself what you know of their motor. Compare your motor to theirs. History can be a powerful tool that too many dismiss.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

A Week Off

Okay, for those that don't know I'm doing my masters in archaeology. It is a truly wonderful experience, however I was getting sick (again) and decided to go back home for the week. Unfortunately my wife has to live in Calgary while I have to live in Saskatoon while I do my masters. So, I flew back home to spend the week and recoup.

I honestly meant to do some school work while I was away, but a little thing called movies got in the way -plus I was sick, did I mention that? So now that I'm back in Sask I thought I'd post about the movies I saw. Instead of working on school stuff of course -I may not be sick anymore, but procrastination is a more permanent affliction!

Movie 1. House Bunny. worth: $8 (what I think you should pay)
Very funny, though not too original. It is your typical 20-something or teenager chick-flick, but still has a few surprises that will keep you entertained. Basically the story is about an orphan who becomes a Playboy bunny. On her 28th birthday she is tricked by another bunny in leaving Hugh's Playboy mansion, where she resides. Distraught, she somehow ends up being the 'house mother' of a sorority at a university -I had no idea such 'house mothers' existed. The 'bunny' then teaches the sorority girls a few things while they teach her a few as well. Formulaic. There are many laughs and the characters are developed and generally well acted. The cast is fairly good, with two celebrity prodigies included: Bruce & Demi Moore's daughter, and Tom Hank's son, who I wish had a bigger part. Overall, worth checking out at a cheap theater or to rent (wouldn't pay 12 something for it).

Movie 2. Hancock. worth: $9
Enjoyable, but not great. The story is different from what normally occurs in superhero movies -which I am a BIG fan of. Will Smith stars and is, as always, great. The story while different is short. The movie ends and I began to think that this 1 1/2 hour movie only had about 1/2 an hour worth of story. Nonetheless, it was enjoyable with a few good twists and some great visuals which lends itself well to being viewed at the theatre.

Movie 2. Jumper. worth: $7.50
Unexpectedly a good movie. The plot is thin, but engaging. A young man nearly drowns but is
saved by discovering that he has the ability to teleport. He uses this ability to rob banks but years later realizes he is not alone and that a mysterious group /agency wants to murder him. Samuel L. Jackson leads the group that chases Hayden Christensen (who has vastly improved since being Skywalker). Jackson is as bad ass as ever, with really cool toys that he uses to catch the 'jumpers'. Diane Lane is also in it, although briefly. She is also as classy as ever. Doug Liman directed and his previous movies -the Borne series- definitely have a similar feel in comparison to Jumper. Overall good visuals and okay story -fun to watch but not overly memorable.

Movie 4. Definitely, Maybe. worth: $9

Very enjoyable, but if you haven't already figured out, I do have a soft spot for romantic comedies. This movies plot is different from other romantic comedies in that it portrays almost a decade of the main character's (played by Ryan Renolds) life. This was a pivotol part of the character's life where he meets three women. The story is told by Renolds as he attempts to put his daughter to sleep. He is currently going through a divorce and his daughter (played by Abigail Breslen, of Little Miss Sunshine fame) asks him about how he met her mother. The story is predictable, but plays out well enough to still be enjoyable. The acting is good and there are plenty of humorous moments to keep you watching.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008


I remember, like so many.

This was the moment that started it all. I was in the distance but not part of then nor now. Those distant actions continue to pay forward. I wonder if these thoughts will return every year or if they will dispel into time like all others. What makes it unique though? Was it the past or the snowballed future?

For today I shall remember and hope all others will as well. But how do people remember? Surely, and sadly, it is different for each. Perhaps though, we can all remember in peace.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Joey 'Shithead' Keithley.
A continuation of a previous post.

Here is a politician who demonstrates how one can make their voice heard. Shithead, or Joey, is a member of the punk group D.O.A. The band is based in Vancouver and developed a pretty devote following since the 1980's. He has remained an important figure in punk music, with the maintaining and growth of his own recording company, Sudden Death Records.

In 1996 and 2001 he entered politics under the Green Party's banner. Unlike some, he did not try to alter who he was when he put his name on the ballot. Instead he embraced it. The general public seemed to have as well, since he secured as many votes as the then leader of the Green Party had: Adriane Carr. Joey probably did so well because he is charismatic, but more importantly truthful to himself, which bleeds into how he treats the public. While his political career never became that of someone like Justin Trudeau, I doubt that Justin could really be perceived as being either truthful to himself or the public. Or at least in comparison to Joey.
Evil Dead..... the musical?

This just rocks! At the end of the month I will be going to Toronto for a week with my wife. The Evil Dead Musical is playing in Toronto but will end at the start of September and the tickets are roughly $20. After watching this video, I just gotta go!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

To Complain...

Why don't people complain? I'm not referring to the always annoying people who mindlessly complain about trivial matters that they can easily fix; for instance people who complain 'it's cold outside' when it is in the middle of a Canadian winter. What I'm referring to is why don't people make a fuss about big problems in our lives?

The problems in this world are numerous, and yet most people feel content to live with them. Sure people gripe to one another about such problems, but they are not willing to actually do something about it. To be fair, where should one start by addressing such 'big' problems. We hear that we can always write or phone our elected official. Seniors are the ones most likely to do this, and even then they are just lonely and likely content with the way things are. Additionally, I doubt the elected official really cares about one person as opposed to a scenario where multitudes of people would complain at once.

What else can one do? Well some say protest. I doubt this does anything either. Sure there was a lot of protesting during the 60's through the 80's about everything from independence for Quebec, ending the Vietnam war, promoting civil rights, ending nuclear productions, and etc. Did any of these protests work? Hard to say, but they probably did very little. The fact is that it is the young who protest and it is the old who make the governmental policy decisions. The old are also the ones who vote the old into office, not the young. So if many young people protest, what weight do their threats carry?

Today people find refuge in entertainment. Movies tell of us these great David vs. Goliath fights. A new movie is coming out about this called "A Flash of Genius". It is about a man who invents automatic windshield blades but has his invention stolen by Ford. He sues them. This happens in the 1960's. This is a common theme in entertainment for North America. Apparently these stories only occur in the years between 1960-1980 something. There are many movies like this that make this time period out to be some magical entity where people could band together in a common goal and achieve their wish. It was a time of the Tyranny of the Majority and not the Minority. Rarely does the media promote stories about people performing incredible feats in today's society. Instead we are encouraged to roll over and press play.

You could run for office. The most affective way of invoking change is to invoke it yourself through entering politics, or so they say. Where are the young people in politics and who are they? Well.... they have money. They are not a representation of the majority but rather the minority. I also doubt that they differ all that much from the older guard. Truly, these 'young' politicians are brandied about as a face and not so much for showing their ideals. An example. Justin Trudeau (pictured left). I admit I do not know too much about this man, but enough to form some level of an opinion. He was the son of the infamous Premier of Canada during the 1960's; he gave Canada the need of taxes because he ran the country into so much debt, but then he also gave the country many social programs that became cherished. Justin slowly entered politics over the last ten years, culminating a few years ago in being elected to Parliament. He is a Roman Catholic. He is also 'close' to French communities and their perceived needs. He won his riding as a liberal. He is also an actor, appearing in a mini-series on CBC television. He also went across Canada giving talks about what 'young' people can do about Canada. These talks occurred about 3 years ago and at the time I was interested in attending. I never made it because it would cost well over $100. This is strange since his talk was addressing young people, but how many 'young' people would have over $100 to spend on listening to his talk? And yet Justin is now a politician, a 'young' politician, who should be addressing 'new' issues and making change in the government. No hope there I am afraid. It would seem that the average 'young' person is not as likely to enter politics as much as a 'young' person with connections and the motivation to not 'rock the boat' of the older ways.

So how can people complain effectively? They can protest, contact their local politician, or become a politician themselves. Are there more? Yes, by making money and power. Or so it seems to a cynic. Maybe there is another way.....

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Wattle and Daub

Wattle and Daub

A small house crumbles along the eastern slopes of the Cypress Hills. This house, built in the early 1900s, is a relic of Saskatchewan's past. Immigrants from Europe entered the Northern Plains because of the pull of British policies and the push of European practices. The first migrants were ranchers. Their cattle wandered across this hilly landscape, blind to political boundaries much like the bison that had once called this land their home. First Nations also thrived in this country, but they are another, much longer story.

This house may or may not have been a rancher's home. It may instead have been home to a homesteader, a farmer of various crops like rye and wheat.
The house has spartan interiors of wooden frames and iron stoves. Disheveled cots and various goods ordered from the Eatons' catalog or purchased after long journey to the nearby HBC post.
Now, animals and time have taken up residence here. The soil and vegetation seep through the floor boards. The sunlight peers in and bleaches the timber. The iron stove rusts.

The prairie grasses reclaim the area around the house. A garden may have once laid at the foot of this building. Now there is only the slumpage of soil from the gentle slope the runs to the house's west. Once this hill would have blocked the winds and snows from inundating the house. Now it runs free.
Was there a fence here? Hard to say. There is a slough just to the south of the house. Just a few steps away really. Mosquitoes must have been a nuisance during warmer months. Wildlife must have also been visible from the small square windows. Wildlife such as wolves and bears were seldom seen during the turn of the century because of ranchers protecting their cattle. For instance various traps and animal carcasses were laced with poison with the hope that a carnivore such as a wolf or fox would eat the animal and later die. Wolf skins were especially prized as companies offered fair prices for such furs. Now such animals as the bear and swift fox are extinct in Saskatchewan. The cattle, however, are safe. Provided that beef prices remain stable.

Hard work went into constructing this house. Waddle and daub was used to construct the walls. Trees from the area were cut and trimmed to be placed in lengthwise fashion. Mud was layered over top the logs to seal the walls. Banches were then pushed into the mud and more mud was added. Finally, white paint was then lathered over the walls. This house retains none of the paint and only little of the mud, but this house is likely no exception to this description.

So this is one of the neat things I've found while doing archaeological surveys around the Cypress Hills. Lots more though, but too much to mention at one go.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

By Brian Turner (Printed in the Washington Post) is veteran of the Iraq war.
Sunday, April 20, 2008; Page BW0

If a body is what you want,

then here is bone and gristle and flesh.

Here is the clavicle-snapped wish,

the aorta's opened valves, the leap

thought makes at the synaptic gap.

Here is the adrenaline rush you crave,

that inexorable fight, that insane puncture

into heat and blood. And a dare you to finish

what you've started. Because here, Bullet,

here is where I complete the word you bring

hissing through the air, here is where I moan

the barrel's cold esophagus, triggering

my tongue's explosives for the rifling I have

inside of me, each twist of the round

spun deeper, because here, Bullet,

here is where the world ends, every time.

-- By Brian Turner (A poem currently being passed around among American soldiers in Iraq)

I will add nothing else to this poem for it speaks for itself.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Out of the Murky Depths of I Tunes...

Where the hell did I get this from?
While going through my newly 'acquired' music on my i tunes, I discovered a CD I never knew I had. It's The Grates' Gravity Won't Get You High CD, released in 2006. I found it at the bottom of the list of songs and didn't have a CD or artist title so it wasn't listed like the rest of my music. But this CD kicks ass! I love it! And am sad I can't remember who I got it from! On of the best songs is Trampoline -gotta love the whole line about 'use your bed like a trampoline if you know what I mean. Just for love if you know what I mean'!

The Grates sound a little like Veruca Salt, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, and Sleater-Kinney. The entire album is very strong, with up tempo songs. It is rough around the edges, with the drums and guitars providing a driving and melodic beat. The vocals are great as well, but the lyrics aren't too clear -still catchy music! Anyways, I don't really have anything to say but that this CD is awesome, and it's like I just got a new CD. But not really. (Below is the video for 19-20-20 which is off this CD)

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Purpose in Archaeology: Musings from the Pipe

Why do people spend their lives devoted to gaining a better appreciation of the past? Why do people pursue the endeavor of archaeology? These questions are one and the same. Some people, I think, are interested in only the objects of the past. They recognize that the past is more than mere objects, but their interest lies only in these objects. Myself, I am interested in the why's of the past. While I may never answer any of the big questions of the past, I am still pursuing aspects of these questions. I should stress here that these are my opinions of the direction of archaeology and that they are in no way superior to the opinion's of others.

What I am referring to here are issues of origin. Perhaps not the origin of life, but the origins of the issues within life. Questions such as why is violence such a profound aspect of humanity and what specifically makes humanity unique in respect to all other organisms? Outlining how humanity has changed and remained static over the millenniums is a crucial question for me, and if these questions are pursued one may be able to better inform the present upon why things are the way they are and how to better understand them and possibly correct them. For people to understand and correct current problems, one needs to understand how they began in the first place. How were these issues tackled by previous cultures and peoples? How did these issues come to be and what was the context for them being born? To understand these questions people today can illicit contemporary instances where these issues might be born once more or could employ methods from the past to rectify the issue of the present.

This may sound steeped in arrogance in comparison to other academic disciplines, but I think a certain measure of arrogance is needed in any of life's pursuit when one is passionate about it and wants to explain why it is important. Archaeology is unique, probably not any better than any other academic pursuit, but definitely unique. It has its problems but its potential has only begun to appear. It is often mislabeled as a pursuit of the past for the benefit of the past. I would argue that this is untrue and potentially debilitating to the discipline.

A quick example of what I am referring to is that of urbanization. Today big cities could be considered as hubs of multitudes of problems: violence, poverty, homelessness, corporate greed, isolationism, noise and physical pollution, and many more. Through an archaeological analysis we can see how urban centers first formed and what problems were associated with them and how these problems were addressed. Further, non-urban centers can be looked at to see the differences between the two. Were there shared issues between urban and non-urban centers, and if so are these issues a matter of humanity's nature or are they the result of their specific contexts? These are highly interesting questions for myself that I believe most people either gloss over or take for granted. (The image below is of the settlement /mound complex Cahokia in Missouri that dates to AD1000-1600).

While objects are highly informative and intellectually engrossing, they do not represent the complete past for me. I need context and I need to make it relevant to today. I need to show how archaeology is about a multitude of endeavors that do not pertain only to the past, although that unto itself is a noble pursuit. I think I'll have to write about these issues more.

Friday, April 4, 2008


I love cake. Cake is sweet and mysterious. When you cut into it you never know what will be revealed. Will it be layered with strawberry jelly sandwiched between moist vanilla cakes? Or perhaps a solid monolithic slab of chocolaty goodiness? Either way the surprise is always wondrous!

The new Cake CD, B-Sides and Rarities is another mysterious delight. It all begins with the base, a cover of Black Sabbath's War Pigs. While this is not their best cover song for they did not give it their signature spin, it is still very enjoyable. Lots of horns and well enunciated lyrics -why that should be a luring feature of this song I don't know, but it is dammit! Probably their best cover song however is still I Will Survive from their album Fashion Nugget. The second song on the CD's tracklist is Ruby, Don't Take Your Love to Town which is likely my favorite track off the CD. It is a bit twangy, but in a good old 1950-60's country way. The lyrics are fun and the ending is an unexpected but pleasant surprise -like finding a cherry drifting inside that chocolate cake!

At the end of the CD are three live tracks. In May I will be seeing Cake live in Calgary and really can't wait. I've wanted to see these guys since I first saw their video on Much (way back when Fashion Nugget came out). They don't seem to tour Canada too often, but these three live tracks are great! John McCrea's vocals are amazing, with the same great clarity and emotion that one gets from the CD's. The band also sounds tight! One of the things I love about Cake is that the lyrics are created to compliment the band's overall sound and not vice-versa like in so many other bands.

I'm not describe anything else off this CD because A) I'm really tired and I should have read something instead of typing on my blog, and B) I think you should just buy the damn CD. It's great and you will definitely enjoy it! However, if you have never listened to a Cake CD before, I would rather recommend either Fashion Nugget, Motorcade of Generosity, or Pressure Chief. Those are definitely their best three albums, but this latest contribution is still worth picking up!

Oh, how could I forget to tell you that the CD's cover is scratch and sniff! When the hell have you heard of someone making a scratch & sniff CD? It's worth it buying the CD based on just this fact alone!

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Fading Caffein


I want coffee to be pumped directly into my body. Fuck the container. Not that I mind cutting down a few trees to make a receptacle for a fine cup of coffee, for after all when I die I would be honored to have a fine cup of coffee drunk out of me. Soft lips searching for a liquid that can engage the brain and enrage the nerves. Pumping through the lines of the body, swirling through the tubes and slushing down into the pit only to sit and be soaked up. Soaked up like salty sweat into a shirt. Exposed to the air and the public, something that was once so private and vital but now available for the world to see.

Fuck it. Kick it down and sit. Take it as your own. Act like you wish you would and rethink it later.