Greetings Bluescentric

About six or eight weeks ago Matt H came to looking for some help with a website design project. Matt is a fab coder, but self admits he all thumbs with design and CSS, so when he asked I was happy to help out a guy who’s doing some seriously cool stuff. Matt is a huge fan of the Blues, and has always wanted to see a nice blues information and merch site. Thus was born Bluescentric.

I did the basic design of the site, built the bulk of the CSS and images, and did a bunch of stuff with forms and the like. I then handed it over to Matt who’s gone through and added his own touches here and there, proving he’s not as clumsy in Photoshop as he thinks. It’s more or less an information site, with some merch, and some listings of Blues bands ( past, present, and future ). I’m looking forward to seeing how this one grows and develops.
There were some fun challenges on the site: The wood and paper sidebars were a tricky thing to do. They needed to look neat, and they needed to expand to fit what ever future content was going there. My favourite part of the entire design is the Matt’s Taphouse & Tunes logo, I want that on a T-Shirt.
Samples for everyone to poke at, comments and critique always welcome. You can find them over on the Design page as well.


New design work

Andrea Phillips, one of the people I hang out with in the Neogence technology syndicate, mentioned needing some new business cards, so I took a bit of time to crank out the designs below. I have changed all contact information except her website so all the lunatics who follow me around don’t start stalking her as well.

The two tone green of the samples on the site do not fully capture the design, the scroll work is actually a spot varnish coat and should look uber snappy and subtle. Samples also on my design page.

Andrea Phillips business card
Andrea Phillips business card

An open letter of condemnation on climate change policies in Canada

Good Morning Leaders of Canada!

I am writing to you this open letter today on climate change, and most importantly some of the bad that has crossed my RSS feeds and inboxes. The very intelligent people at MIT have revised their best guess of temperature rise by the end of the century if we continue with business-as-usual… they are now projecting a 5.2ºC increase ( average across the globe ), with a 9% chance of a 7ºC increase in global temperatures. These numbers are being independently supported by the International Energy Agency ( IEA ) which warns of a 6ºC increase, and the Hadley Centre which are projecting 5-7ºC increases. You can find the reports and more information at: MET office’s Hadley Centre & International Energy Agency (IEA) & MIT’s centre for Global Climate Change Science

For the last twenty years the scientific community has been sending increasingly dire warnings to the human species about the risks and dangers of a 3ºC temperature shift. Changes that included the melting of the polar ice sheets, large scale melting of antarctic ice sheets, the possible failure of the Atlantic currents that keep Europe warm, increases in ocean depth of up to 6 meters in some areas of the world, North America being hit hardest. Temperature changes like these do not cause a linear level of damage to our world, one degree increase does not equal 2 meters in ocean depth. Rather it is an exponential growth in change. Think of it like the Richter scale, but for our weather. Doubling the temperature gets you four times the change, or 24 meters of ocean depth increase and the full melting of both polar ice caps. All by the end of THIS century.

Lets put some costs to this sort of climate change, keep in mind that these are napkin calculations based on information that is not 100% complete, so I am erring on the side of conservative. I will base my projections on what is increasingly looking like the ‘best case scenario’ of a 6 meter ocean depth increase by 2100.

A 6 meter increase in ocean depth will displace roughly 4 million Canadians. Their homes will be under water. The majority of these Canadians will be in British Columbia and the Maritimes particularly hard hit will be the Vancouver area and the communities in the Frasier Valley delta. All ready parts of the Metro Vancouver Area are below sea level, notably Delta and Richmond, where some 300,000 Canadians live. At the current average price of a home in Canada ( $274,000 as of January 2009 ) the estimated cost, in loss of buildings, would be around $1,096,000,000,000. Yes, that is just over one TRILLION dollars. This is just the cost of replacing the lost homes, not relocation of this massive amount of people, nor does it cover the costs of replacing the commercial and industrial components of the coastal areas of Canada. I will not hazard a guess on to the costs associated with replacing 30-40% of Canada’s commercial and industrial complex, which is what we would lose along coastal areas.

At a 6 meter increase in ocean levels we would lose every major ocean port in Canada. The Vancouver port would be under water, as would ports in Victoria, Prince Rupert, the Montreal port, Halifax. All ports besides those in the Great Lakes would be under water. I have no way of knowing the full extent that sort of change would cause to the Canadian economy, or the cost of replacing such key elements of our infrastructure. What I do know is the Vancouver port has a Gross Domestic Product of $4 billion per year ( making the Vancouver Port the 149th largest economy in the world, just slightly larger then the nation of Malawi ), and handles $43 billion dollars in cargo each year, and represents $8.9 billion in direct economic inputs. This would ALL be under water. Gone.

In places further inland the changes are just as devastating. For example the lumber industry across Canada, particularly in BC and Alberta, are getting hit with devastating attacks of the Pine Beetle. This damage is so extensive you can now see it from space. Millions of hectares of forest have been destroyed all ready. What controls Pine Beetle populations are fire and cold. You need to have the temperature highs stay below -30ºC for a minimum of a week for the Pine Beetle larva to be killed during the winter. ( Or 24 hours of temperatures at -40ºC ). These sorts of low temperatures are becoming increasingly rare TODAY, if you add an average 5.2ºC to temperatures… Well, I suppose we can just burn the entire province of British Columbia to remove the infestation. Pine Beetle currently costs the forestry industry $2.4 billion dollars in timber, and it looks to be getting worse each season.

In Alberta, where I live, the problem is water. We are a dry province, and getting drier. As the temperatures increase we will see southern Alberta turning from ‘dry land’ farming to ‘desert’ farming. All ready the main water sources in Southern Alberta, the Milk River and the Bow River, are shrinking. It is projected that by the end of the century the Bow will be 25% of its current size, and the Milk will be 20% of its current size. These are glacier and run-off fed rivers. Without the winter snows these rivers are running lower and lower each year as the runoff shrinks and the glaciers disappear. This is going to cripple southern Alberta’s agriculture sector. The bread basket of Canada will collapse, putting thousands of farms and ranches out of business and doing untold damage to our economy and food supply. Northern Alberta and the Tar Sands, the most important part of our country for politicians these days, will also be in jeopardy. Tar Sand extraction requires a lot of water. The Athabasca River is projected to shrink by up to 50% as the glaciers and snow-falls that feed it vanish, putting the multi-billion dollar tar sands projects at risk.

In a nut shell climate change is going to cause economic and social upheaval that makes the current ‘economic downturn’ look like a cake walk. Right now we are talking about problems that are costing billions to solve, climate change is going to cause problems that cost TRILLIONS to solve. Many many TRILLIONS of dollars that will also be linked to massive systemic failures in our core infrastructure. What I have outlined above is the tip of the iceberg,  we are looking at disasters of unprecedented proportions in Canadian history.

What is our government doing about these problems? Nothing. The current ‘plan’ is to ‘wait and see’ what the ‘Obama administration’ is going to do. I am uncertain as to when Canadians started voting for the President of the United States of America. At my last check I was voting for Canadian politicians, and we had a Prime Minister who is supposed to lead a government and the House of Commons on issues surrounding Canada and Canadians… did I miss a referendum?

This inaction is the total epic failure of not just the current Conservative government, but the entire political spectrum in Canada. Instead of sitting down in the House of Commons and working together to find a solution, or even a very sketchy plan, our House of Commons is filled with childish bickering, partisan rhetoric, and a whole lot of wheel spinning. Instead of reaching across the floor to his opposition our Prime Minister is running smear campaigns and hate ads. Instead of rational discourse the NDP leaders are ranting and filibustering. Instead of effectively calling the government to task, the Liberal opposition is waffling and struggling with their personal branding and image. My email inboxes are filled with requests for donations from all the major political parties, from the NDP to the Conservatives to the Liberals and the Greens. Donations to pay off DEBTS from the last election. Now tell me why the heck I would donate to, or vote for, people who are so fiscally incompetent that they run their entire party into debt?

We are staring down the barrel of a gun here. We are facing the biggest environmental, political, and social problem of the century. My children are the
ones who are going to suffer through the challenges of climate change. They are going to face the brunt of our poor decisions, and my grandchildren will live in a Canada so radically different from mine that it is impossible to comprehend. A Canada without Vancouver, Victoria, and Halifax. A Canada where our coast lines are completely different, where places like the Bay of Fundy no longer exist because they are under water. A Canada of deserts in Alberta, and bald treeless mountains in British Columbia. A Canada where there is no ice caps, where Polar bears are extinct, and the permafrost is gone.

I am a staunch Canadian patriot, and to see the leadership of our country, be they political, social, or economic, fail so badly, so consistently is heart breaking. You should all feel a great deal of shame for leaving a world worse off for your children, I know I do.


Marcus Riedner

CC-SA 2.5 Canada

I hate copyright. I loathe it. This site is now under creative commons share attribution share-alike 2.5 Canada. At some point I’ll go on a big ol happy rant on intellectual property and what I think of the current set of drek that makes up the copyright laws on our planet, particularly here in North America. It will be a great rant, I assure you. But for now just know that this site is CC A-SA. Punks.

Also note, I have added Google Analytics to the site, because I have these delusions that tens of thousands of people visit my website to keep track of what I am doing and saying. Yup, I can now track all-a-yall.

Suckit down landowners in Alberta

Bill 19, a contentious piece of legislation here in Alberta that gives carte blanche rights to ministers to appropriate land in ways that go even further then the current Expropriation Act has passed third reading. Basically, for those who don’t want to sift through government legalese, Bill 19 allows any minister to expropriate a land owners land for any purpose. This purpose does not nessesarily require full public disclosure. This purpose does not need to be for the ‘common good of the people’ ( those specific words were voted against ). It can be used for an oil and gas pipeline, a well, a tar-sands bitumen dig, a strip mine, an irrigation canal, a highway, or for crown holdings. Compensation to land owners is defined at ‘fair market value’ but no proceedures or methods for determining that are outlined.

In a nutshell, the man can come take your home, farm, ranch, or acerage and do what ever they want, and all you get is 30 days notice to try and stop them.

Here is my response to the Premier of Alberta and my MLA:

Honourable Premier Stelmach,
MLA Alana Delong,

I am absolutely stunned that this bill has passed third reading, in any form, considering the negative media coverage and the solid unrest of the constituents of rural and urban Albertans. Even with the current amendments and alterations the bill is yet another example of how this government absolutely does not care for Alberta land owners or residents of Alberta. I am absolutely furious at the utter lack of respect being shown to landowners, as if the Expropriation Act wasn’t bad enough, Bill 19 makes it even easier for a farmer or rancher to be stripped of their land, livelihood, and family legacy. Between this bill and the rights and powers given to oil companies and landsmen the oil industry have near carte blanche to lay more pipelines, sour gas wells, and dig up more dirty tar sands. This is another fantastic example of ‘not using the brakes’, a phrase and way of thinking that has come to epitomize this government. Don’t think. Don’t plan. Don’t care. Definitely don’t slow down.


Marcus Riedner

I have been adamantly against this bill since I heard about it in January. The current land expropriation legislation is loose enough to be a pain to land and home owners, this just makes it worse.

bite your tongue…

So I bit my tongue last night, badly. It bled, and now there is this gaping sore in my mouth. Normally when one says bite your tongue you are keeping something to yourself, trying to be polite… in my case it is literal.

So the last of the stuff is at our house, we have food ( YAY! ) in the fridge and all the plants are finally here. We took some time to do a quick tidy up at Salisbury House, making it livable in places like bathrooms and kitchens. Fridges and microwaves cleaned, and carpets vacuumed.

Meanwhile on the home front a closet rod has collapsed, and fatal design flaws have come to light in the shelving and closet rod structure. Stud finder employed to check for structural elements hidden behind drywall, all seems well. A trip to the hardware store to pick up some timber is in the plannings for tomorrow, as well as finishing off some painting. Looks like my lazy Saturday of unpacking and loafing around is getting replaced with manual labor. I suppose there is still Sunday.

moving is a lot like ADnD

So the move is officially done. Almost. We still have to pick up our plants and the left over food from the Salisbury House and bring it to our as yet unnamed new home. It has been a long day fraught with peril. I think we had a vindictive GM, I can recognize our kind…

I went to bed at about midnight last night, and was out like a light. Until the blizzard and near hurricane force winds started up, followed shortly by the popo parking outside the Salisbury House and shining their search light all over the place, including our bedroom windows. That was at about 4:00am. Fitful sleeping patterns regained until alarm clock at 7:30am. Much groaning, and attempts to hide from the universe. Efforts proved to be ineffective, and by 7:45am showers were being had.

Shortly after we got in the car to head to Caffe Rosso for caffeinated beverages of the medium roast variety and sustenance of the pastry species. But what was this? The snow had partly melted, then been whipped into sheets of glare ice a centimetre thick! Brakes: ineffective. Hills: gravity always wins. Bus vs. Parked Car, roll 2d6 for minutes delayed. Side route with a lesser grade, skating through a stop sign into a playground zone. Destination reached, coffee purchased. Roll a charisma check to glean information from barristas and other customers in line… resutls in tales of minimal woe and rumors of ‘clear main thurofares’.

Some discussion was had, and the decision to continue was made. The treck to UHaul uneventful, and rumors of clear roads prove true. Did you know that UHaul charges $0.69/kilometre for a city rental, plus the $29.95 rental fee? They also do not supply a snow brush or window scraper. Yes, that is correct, in Canada, in the spring/winter you are not provided with one of the most critical pieces of auto equipment. A snow brush. Also noted once road spray was on windshield: definite lack of windshield washer fluid.

Uhaul arrives at loading point, loading commences. Winds continue to howl, whipping up snow drifts on sidewalks every 20 minutes. Roll 1D10 every five turns for minutes delayed. Rob, hero of the day, shows up and loading speed increases. Strangely enough our green hand truck ( dolly ) has gone missing. Where could it be? We do not know. Rob busts out his collapsable hand truck, and the day is saved. Uhaul loaded by 12:30pm, give or take.

Drive to new house ( as yet un-named, but located in Silver Springs ) is straight forward and uneventful. Unloading commences, and is completed in record time. Budwiser and Cokes follow. Rob heads off to beat rush hour at 2:30pm, and we head down to Janice and Lonnie’s to get a couch/hide-a-bed… that weights as much as God. No, seriously. Lonnie comes up to the house, hero of the day number two, and helps unload. Janice provides Kernals popcorn. The time clicks over to 3:20pm…and my stomach begins to complain that it has only been given one travel mug of coffee and an apple cinnimon scone. Roll 1d20, on any result under 5 angry bear emerges and all around you face berserker mode. On results of 15 or higher, pleasant personality emerges. Roll a 20 and you get sainted.

I roll something around an 8, and am grumpy but not homicidal.

Treck to return the Uhaul begins. Crowchild to Glenmore has almost no traffic, at 4:00pm. What is this? Oh, I must have used up my remaining luck pool. Stop near Uhaul drop point to get fuel. Card rejected at Pay-n-Go at the pump. Damn you Shell. In to see the clerk, charisma check, prepay the pump. Petroleum storage nominal! On to the Uhaul drop point… oh, what’s that? wrong turn? In rush hour? Roll 3d10 for minutes delayed. Oh no! Critical failed roll on pathfinding, a second wrong turn resulting in a 1d6 kilometre detour!

So at about 4:50pm the Uhaul is finally dropped off, and the bill is paid. At this point hunger knaws at my soul, and Kam Han on Spiller Rd. is the only option. Western pseudo Chinese food consumed en masse. Back up to the Salisbury House to load up on things left behind, like boxes of random things, bags of random things, various other bits of clutter. Back to Silver Springs to unload, Sarah stays behind and I head back for another load, unwilling to stop as long as there is light. At 7:45pm Sarah calls and says the screws to hold the bed together are breaking, heads torquing right off like dandilions in the hands of an 8 year old. Screws described. Metal file requested. Home Depot, here I come! Roll 3d10 for minutes delayed in loading.

Turns out that the screws holding the bed together are of the drywall persuasion. Why? I know not, perhaps ask the chummers who put the bed together. I mill around the hardware section and ponder options. Deck screws look too agressive. Settle on #2 Robertson 10 x 1 1/2 inch wood screws, a pack of 13. Also pick up a pack of #2 Roberson 10 X 1 3/4 just in case. One can never have too many loose screws. Metal file selected, the brand proclaiming rapid removal of metals of all sorts, including lawn mower blades.

Return to Salisbury House with hardware, and load up some more. A computer chair that feels as heavy as a Fiat by this point, a rocking chair of wicker and lathe that feels as heavy as a couple cinder blocks, and anything else that will fit around them. All that remains is food goods in the fridge and house plants, oh, and one big pot with a possibly alive Clematis that was forced to live on the front porch. Survival of the fittest, reap life in Hardiness Zone 3a.

Return to Silver Springs, stop and get Jr. Chicken Sandwich and small fries at McDonalds ( only $2.92! ) to wolf down. Time clicks over to 9:00pm, the sun has set and sinister clouds on no less then three horizons threaten coming snow. Last load of the day is unloaded and stored in the middle of where ever it fits. The house looks like a moving van exploded all over it, things are everywhere.

Metal file and screws grabbed, stumps of broken drywall screws sanded down. Fancy new DeWalt 18V 2 speed drill/driver used to drill holes and screw in snazzy #2 Robertson 10 x 1 1/2 inch wood screws, total of 4 used, leaving 9 loose screws. An auspicious number! Bed assembled! Matresses placed! Bedding applied, bed is made! Showers are had! Wifi is plugged in! Blog post added detailing the day!

Sleep, here I come!

artwork from Verse Studios

I’ve added some more work to the artwork page, a sampling of the stuff I was doing in 2006/2007 for the now defunct Verse Studios. It was a lot of concept art for space based games, with a focus on cultural elements. It is also an example of me learning to play with water colours on paper, mixing them with india inks and the like.

…wow, okay, so there are birds fighting in the back yard now… Robin vs. Magpie. Round One goes to the robin…

Anyway, that should bring things pretty much up to date on the artwork side of things. 2007 and 2008 were years of trial and strife that involved trying to save a company from death, failing, and then moving back to Calgary from New Westminster. I have some design work, logos, and some web projects from 2007 – 2008 that will find their way on to the site in the next couple weeks.