So I thought it would be a good idea to put a beer in space. Why? Why not. After spending a an hour or two researching high altitude weather balloon lift ratios, I bought a 600g latex balloon on Amazon.com and started designing a cheap space craft out of spare junk in the garage and leftover crap from behind the fridge in the basement.
Ok, so it didn’t quite make it to space space… but it did make it to apprx 110,000 ft (33.5 km). Stable low earth orbit starts at around 160 km… it’s a region of the stratosphere that Wikipedia defines as “near space”.
The final step in this build was to install the rear wheel bridge and brake mount. I wasn’t really sure about the best way to go about this, but after a few minutes in Home Depot I found a few metal nuts that I could epoxy into the bridge to give the brakes a proper support. After aligning the bridge and the nuts at the right angle I epoxied them in place and wrapped them in hemp. Once it had cured 48hours later I sanded everything down and drilled a hole through the hemp to expose the metal mount for the brake. Perfect fit.
While down in LA visiting some friends I found a great deal on a 28 hour muilti-leg last minute flight to Peru… Here are a few snaps from llama country:
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We’ve never really had a proper skylantern event in Vancouver… and events like this: http://www.theguardian.com/environment/blog/2013/jul/01/smethwick-fire-chinese-lanterns-banned don’t really do them any favors. What goes up must come down, and even if they don’t light the forest on fire, they do create a mess. They are not the most responsible things.
That said, I’ve always loved sky lanterns.
Last year I was asked to shoot The VIBF… knowing virtually nothing about burlesque I went in without really knowing what t expect… It turned out to be the craziest, sauciest, sexiest, most hilarious, most out of this world awesome show I’ve ever seen, and I’m so grateful to have a chance to be a part of it.
This year I was grateful to be invited back for 3 more nights of whiskey and some of North America’s top burlesque talent. I can’t even begin to fathom the hours of blood, sweat and passion that go in to putting on a show of such world class caliber.
Each performance is entirely unique, creating audience reactions ranging from intimate and soulful to chest splitting hilarity (who knew a landscape painting session with Bob Ross could be so sexually charged?). Music ranges from jazz to classic rock to dubstep. The only constant between all the performances is that they are ridiculously entertaining, and wardrobes tend to “malfunction” in a spectacular fashion. If you haven’t seen the show, words can’t even come close to doing it justice… you really need to get out and experience it for yourself. Hopefully some of these photos help give you a peek in to how crazy a burlesque night can get 😉
Night 1 – The Rio Theater
Night 2 – The Vogue Theater
Night 3 – The Vogue Theater
I think I’m pretty Canadian in that I say “eh”, wear a bit too much flannel, and occasionally ride a moose to work. There is however one distinctly Canadian pastime that’s always eluded me, the mysterious art of Maple tree tapping. Living in a city the idea honestly never crossed my mind… but then one day it did. When I realized that the streets of my neighborhood where lined with Maple trees, and I didn’t have anything else planed for the day, I figured it was a perfect time to check this off my list of “Distinctly Canadian Things to Do”.
Legal disclaimer: I’m not sure what the legal ramifications are for harvesting Maple Sap from city property, but I can assure you that the taste ramifications are tremendous.
With a bike jig in place and your head tube, bottom bracket, seat-post and dropouts secured in place, the next step is to start measuring out the bamboo and cutting it to size. You can get the metal components from a frame-building supplier like Nova Cycles or harvest them off a junk frame. Once cut each joint needs to be mitered down so that it fits perfectly and snugly around the component you will be epoxying it to. My bamboo was pretty hard, so I ate through a few dremel bits during the mitering process.
I have this thing where when I say that I’m going to do something I inevitably have to do it. No matter how ludicrous or implausible, I’ve just gotta jump in headfirst and hope it works out, somehow it usually does. As it happened, one day in April I realized that I didn’t have a bike… and with no knowledge about how to actually build one I announced that was in fact what I was going to do.
Let’s face it, building a bike out of what is essentially panda-bear food sounds ridiculous. The first question that comes to most peoples minds is “why the heck would you do that?” Bamboo has hundreds of industrial and commercial uses, it’s fascinating stuff, and when it comes to bikes bamboo is actually an excellent frame building material. It’s lighter and stronger than steel/aluminum with better vibration absorbing properties than carbon fiber. I also think that it looks pretty cool. After spending a few weeks researching bamboo tensile strengths, epoxy curing agents, carbon fiber thermal expansion coefficients and a brief refresher on the Pythagorean theory from my tenth grade math textbook I figured I was as ready as I’d ever be to build a two wheeled death trap fit for Gilligan himself.
My flight in to Myanmar followed Air Force One in from Bangkok. President Obama was in the region for diplomatic events in Thailand, Myanmar and Cambodia. The major routes around Yangon University were packed with people were out on the streets waving US flags and covering themselves in red, white and blue face paint.
Myanmar (or “Burma” as it’s historically been known) is a country going through a huge transition…
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I just returned back to Vancouver from 4 weeks of traveling through Bhutan and Myanmar (Burma). I also made some short stops in to India and Thailand where I lucked out a bit with timing, as I had a 42 hour layover in India during Diwali, and a 42 hour layover in Thailand during the Loi Krathong Sky Lantern Festival.
Western Bhutan is a difficult country to get in to, but at least they have a functioning airport… even if it is rated as one of the world most dangerous. To get into Eastern Bhutan you need to drive to the border through Assam India, particularly through an area that is known for separatist rebel violence. It’s legal to drive through this part of India with Bhutanese license plates, but it’s not exactly practical. The Bhutanese army has been fighting to flush these rebels out of it’s southern forests for years, and for a few years rebels have been targeting and burning Bhutanese vehicles along the highway. The Indian government sponsors a “complimentary” military convoy to protect vehicles in this region, but it’s slow and only runs certain days if the week.
Despite the issues along the border, Bhutan is a remarkably peaceful country. Driving North into the foothills of the Himalaya, Bhutanese prayer flags begin to raise u
p and litter the sky with colors as they flutter in the wind. Roofs run bright red as hot chilies (a staple ingredient in every meal) are laid out to dry all day in the sun. Monks sip butter tea in immaculate monasteries that were built into rocky cloud level cliff-sides centuries ago. It’s a sort of fairy-tale like place that you’d think couldn’t possibly exist.
Bhutan is interesting in another respect. Democracy is a new concept in the “kingdom” and it did not by the will of the people, but rather by the will of the king. In a very backwards way of thinking, many of Bhutan’s people would rather continue to be ruled by the Monarchy than elect their own officials.
While most countries across the world gauge their success on their annual GDP, the 4th king of Bhutan coined the term “Gross National Happiness” to be the kingdoms measure of success.