Treeplanting Video Past & Present

I don’t know how I didn’t know about Do It With Joy, a 1976 documentary about one of the first treeplanting crews working out of a hand-hewn camp up the Nass Valley, organized by Dirk Brinkman in a giant beard, and featuring some kick-ass mattock and blues:

The film was made by Nicholas and Simon Kendall, among others. It’s a gold mine of imagery from the foundational era of treeplanting, and beautifully bearded.

“Everytime I meet someone who’s really messed up in their head, I often think wow, what that person needs is to go treeplanting, that would be a really nice gift for them.”

Pauline Kendall
(who I think hauled a load of compost from our overstock pile a while back)

correction: Glada McIntyre (thanks Carole)

An updated version, with where-are-they-now interviews (and hopefully better quality) might be available from Orca Productions. If it is, we’ll be holding a viewing at the house sometime soon.

Here’s a 1987 CBC report, which catches up with Dirk Brinkman, who has swapped his beard for Bill Gates glasses and is tapping away at an Apple IIe, trying to figure out how to increase treeplanting production to meet the growing late 80’s demand. If he only knew I would arrive 13 years later, he wouldn’t be so stressed. It also features this haircut:

“Back in British Columbia, in the hills southwest of Vanderhouf, blackflies and mutiny fill the air”

And 35 years after we started, here’s a prime example of the recent surge in digital-facilitated planter-made clearcut reportage: Faces and Hands, a series of short vids by Millefiore Clarkes being distributed by Peppermill Records. The episodes will show up weekly on the Peppermill site. Here’s episode one:

It’s Funny With the Eggs

Now that’s comedy:

Is that really from the 3rd ever Johnny Carson show?

TV Guide

The Pacific premiered on HBO last night. The Pacific is a follow-up to Band of Brothers. Only recently have I begun to doubt the inherent truth value of the following statement: “Band of Brothers is the best TV series ever”. I’m trying to hold off until the end of the week to watch the first episode.

I finally came to question Band of Brothers‘ best-everness upon completion of David Simon’s The Wire. I am also a big fan of anything to do with New Orleans. So I am mighty stoked to discover that David Simon has a new series called Treme coming up, set in post-Katrina New Orleans. Oh boy oh boy.


Edit: the trailer above no longer seems to be working, I think because I’m in Canada. I would embed a youtube version instead, but HBO seems to have cease-and-desisted all them. Boy, they really don’t want you to watch the trailer for their new TV show.

El Contrato: Mexican Migrant Labour in Southern Ontario

I’m too busy to watch this NFB documentary about Mexican migrant labourers in southern Ontario, but Jane’s watching it and it looks sooper interesting:

I used to work the friday night shift at the local office supply store in Collingwood, and for a certain stretch in the summer that’s when the Jamaican orchard pickers would roll into town, looking to buy stuff to take home with them. Cross-cultural perplexity inevitably ensued, good times to be sure. There were also local orchards that employed Mexicans under a similar arrangement, but for some reason they never showed up in towne. More recently, Vantreight farms employed a parallel Mexican migrant crew during daffodil picking season, but they never mingled them with us local pickers.

The particular legal exemptions that allow migrant agricultural workforces in Canada have always seemed murky and more than a little suspect. CBC Victoria once did a decent radio program on the Mexican workers at Vantreight, and the managers there had some reasonably reassuring things to say. I’m really looking forward to watching this doc, eventually.

Further Kicking of Under-Appreciated Dog When It’s Down

Me and Sherwin are sparring over the value and democratic character of those disappearing newspapers. We’re pretty much not talking to each other because of it, which is sad, because he’s like, one of my best friends ever. Still, he’s wrong so what am I supposed to do? And now Jesse Brown has turned on me as well.

You’ll miss those newspapers when they’re gone, I swear to god. All of you.


Forgive me for saying so, but I know a thing or two about enhancing photographs. I’ve put some time in as a satellite and aerial imagery analyst, and as a hobby photographer I make no apologies about Photoshop. I grok histogram response curves, level shifting,  global  and local contrast, interpolation, headroom, falloff, edge detection, hue isolation and saturation expansion. I know you almost always zoom out (!) to see a pattern, but if you want to get into pixel-peeping, I know a little about decomposing a pixel into constituent spectral signatures, k-means clustering and machine-learning classification, and all the lovely supervised and unsupervised pixel binning techniques. If I give myself an hour to study up, I can even keep the Minimum Noise Transformation straight in my head for 15 minutes. And the N-Dimensional Visualizer speaks for itself.

There is an enormous amount you can do to make a shape or pattern or shade of interest stand out in a image, by tweaking the colour or contrast response, or exploiting extra parts of the light spectrum to help the computer find hidden colours. You can fuzz together noisy patterns to see the shapes behind them, or bin together multiple pixels to lighten up the darkness. Just about the only thing you can’t do is create detail where there wasn’t any to begin with.

So I get grumpy every time I watch a movie with an image analysis scene, and the one and only thing they always always do is the one damn thing you can’t.

dunk3d made a montage:

Two they left out:

Bladerunner (the original?)

and of course Super Troopers

…(although it’s true that imagery analysts wear state trooper uniforms to operate their computer terminals.)

Project Grizzly Streaming at NFB

Project Grizzly is up at NFB!

I can’t remember where I first saw this crazy thing. Afterwards, when people started talking about Herzog’s Grizzly Man, it took me a while to sort out that they meant a different movie. “Wait, in the grizzly man documentary you’re talking about, he doesn’t don homemade battle armour and search out bears for combat?”

Peter Lynch, 1996, 72 min
In this feature-length documentary, Troy James Hurtubise goes face to face with Canada’s most deadly land mammal, the grizzly bear. Troy is the creator of what he hopes is a grizzly-proof suit, and he repeatedly tests his armour – and courage – in stunts that are both hair-raising and hilarious. Directed by Peter Lynch, the film has become a cult classic in the United States and is rumoured to be a favourite of director Quentin Tarantino.”

A Badly Recorded Presidential Dinner with John Hodgman

Here is a video of John Hodgman’s remarks following the presidents own speech to the Radio & TV Correspondents’ Dinner last night:

You will note that there is a significant cross-circuit hum, and that the audio is de-synced from the video. And yet, I have to admit that they didn’t screw up the recording of Hodgman as much as I did.

John Cleese’s VHS-Era Pitch for Proportional Representation

In 4 days BC votes on the provincial government, and more importantly on whether to become the first major jurisdiction in North America to bring in a proportional representation voting system.

I have the same worries about proportional representation that I’ve always had — de-localizing politics, reducing the transparency and hence accountability of the voting mechanism. The Single Transferable Vote system proposed mitigates the de-localization concern substantially, but definitely makes my head hurt when I try to imagine how exactly a given set of marks on a ballot would translate into somebody getting elected or not.

That said, I still have the same hopes for a proportional representation system: the de-dumbing-down of politics, eliminating the lowest common denominator and forcing us to actively and openly negotiate multiple, openly expressed values to reach workable political compromise. Enfranchisement of non-centrist views, maybe even a general re-engagement with politics. First-past-the-post is just a ridiculous way to vote.

So I’ll be voting for STV with bells on. I’m looking forward to it. If you’re still on the fence, you could go to the pro-STV people and watch their videos, or the anti-STV campaign and watch theirs. But what I really recommend is to watch the video that first got me interested in proportional representation. Here it is: John Cleese on why 1980s Britain should really consider proportional representation.

Basically the same system, basically the same conversation, 20 years later. But I think this time we’re going to do it.

Saturday Night at the YouTube

A collection of good pre-partying videos from the last few years.

In high-def where available, but I can’t be bothered to search up the youtube hack that allows embedding of HD clips, so you may have to click through for full quality.

Fatboy SlimPush The Tempo

I can’t believe I hadn’t seen this before.

Utah SaintsSomethings Good ’08

“It was the freshest move I’d ever seen”. Charming.

Eclectic MethodThe Colbert Report – Remix feat Lawrence Lessig

Also appears as the closing credits in Remix Manifesto (which I still haven’t seen, despite that I could see it if I were to click here). Can’t help noticing that all of these videos are either remixes or third-party alternate versions or make heavy use of sampling (except maybe the Fatboy Slim, ironically).

Flat EricFlat Beat – Mr. Oizo

Also new to me. I don’t know the story behind the video but I gather it was yet another sensation that I never heard about a few years back. Click through and read the info box for some background on the track.

Kanye WestCan’t Tell Me (Alternate Version) by Zack Galifianakis and Will Oldham

Still my favourite after all these months. Shot on Zack’s farm in South Carolina as a lark for his friend Kanye. Finally an HD version!

Kanye West “Can’t Tell Me Nothin” feat. Zach Galifianakis
by galifianakis

François MacréThriller (64 tracks a’cappella version)

Maybe a little sedate for Saturday night, but maybe not. Heck of a thing.

Lazza Gun Sound SystemWelcome 2 Treeplanting 2012

Met Lazza (Lars) at a BBQ last week and he obliged by laying down some fresh freestyle for us, but we forgot to ask him to make the lightning sound effects from the classic “Pound Mix 2007” that I played on a couple of my radio shows. A few days later he emailed me with this fresh material (warning, profanity and 10 minutes long, which is long by youtube standards). Lyrics and .mp3 download here.

Use a staff for your back if your a little taller, I put a twist on a D and grind of the kicker
Shovel in the right, Left is my trigger finger, 249 in a clip plus 1 one in the chamber
Thats not dirt on my hand, I call that gun powder, and I can open up your tarp like its a cash register
Step out on your peice and take out every dollar, see me LZ in my getaway car
And when i say getaway car I mean A-Star, Best decision special mission in a helicopter
I Got a Back Bagger Swagger , a nitridex-flex, I aint just top-dollar-ballin Im livin the upper deck!
Pump That, Cause every top-dollar-baller pumps that, you pocket turnd fat, cool cat,

Hells yeah.

And finally, this new any more but it really is that good:

KutimanMother of All Funk Chords — Thru-You project

If you liked that there is an entire album, all of which seems to be as conceptually and sonically vicked. Touching and rocking at the same time. Recommended.

older posts →