Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Kayak Issue 41 Otters

Kayak 42 Spread Illustration

Here is the opening spread for Issue 41 of Kayak. Teeka and Beau performing a play Shakespearian style. Illustrated using Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop for the finishing touches.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Kayak Issue #41: Canada On Stage

Kayak Issue 41 Cover

Kayak will be coming out on newsstands shortly. This issue focuses on the evolution of theatre in Canada. It is full of interesting facts, talented acting troops and famous actors from throughout the years. Inside you will find all this, coupled with illustrations from some of Canada's best Illustrators.

Our comic focuses on Cirque Du Soleil, one of my favourite performance groups in existence. Brought into existence by the talented Alex Diochon, who is up for a Manitoba Magazine Award (Maggie) for his work on this and many other Canadian history comics.

This cover is Done by Stéphane Boutin. You will find more of his work inside the magazine. You will also find the work of Tania Mignacca who is new to doing wok for Kayak. She has done some great work for our fiction feature on the start of the Stratford Shakespeare Festival.

For those who already subscribe, the magazine should be dropping in the mail shortly, for those who don't, keep an eye out at your local newsstand, and library.

I will be posting my artwork for the introduction of this issue shortly.

Please check out issue 41 of Kayak and learn more about theatre in Canada.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Barefoot or Bust

Vibram Five Fingers

Quite recently I have switched to minimalist running. About a year and a half ago I listened to a book tape called Born to Run. It is a fascinating, if not one sided story of a man and his search for answers as to why some people seem to be able to run forever without getting injured, and why the rest of us always seem to get hurt.

It is an inspirational book filled with interesting facts and even more interesting characters.

But before you strap on you huaraches (barefoot running sandals of the Tarahumara Indians).and try and run 100 kilometers. I have a few tips.

1. Be realistic

If you are like myself, and you have been running in standard running shoes for your whole life. there is going to be transition time needed. So dial down your distance and get used to the changes in your stride and let your feet toughen up a bit. 

2. Size matters

Someone who is 120 pounds might find it easier to slap on some minimalist shoes and giv'er a good 10k run no sweat. I however am about 205 pounds. That is a healthy, active 205 and I have to say, if you are capping 200 pounds you'll have to watch yourself. No matter what you do you are going to hit the ground with more force. This is not a bad thing as it quickly becomes apparent where things are uncomfortable and you can correct your technique at an early stage. My main issue is for the first couple of weeks my calves felt like I had inflated them with a bike pump. I was starting to get concerned, but with patience and rest they relaxed becoming accustomed to the forefoot strike I changed to from my original heel strike style of running. My calves have complained for a little while, but my knees and my back have been thanking me since I've made this change.

3. Turf wars

One of the most helpful things I have done to help condition my body to the changes in running style is to run on grass. I have a park close to where I live and I cut my distance from 7-10k down to about 2k. It may seem a bit drastic. But when I originally made the running style change, I tried to keep the distance similar to my old distances, and that I believe led to the increased discomfort of my calves. I have been doing this 2k circuit at the park for a number of weeks and recently I have been able to increase my distance to 4k. I am now alternating park runs with pavement runs as well. The great thing about running on grass is you can ditch the shoes entirely if you like. Although, I have been cautioned by a friend that stray nails and broken pieces of glass have been known to lie in wait in many a field. So go barefoot at your own risk. I generally keep my shoes on.

4. Patience is a virtue

Everybody is different and is going to develop at a different pace. This style of running is not going to make you some kind of superman. However I believe the benefits described in Christopher MacDoogall's book Born to Run are worth a little time and effort. All aches and pain I have experienced have been based on my misconception of what my body can do and how long it would take for it to adjust to minimalist running.

In the picture above you will see my Vibram Five Finger KSO's. These are just one pair of the many minimalist shoes that are being produced. They look goofy but as the name suggests they fit like a glove. You can find minimalist shoes that look more like standard runners from companies like Brooks, Merrell and New Balance.

For those of you interested in running and wanting to try something new, or in this case new/ancient (modern running shoes have only existed for about 40 years) pick up Born to Run, see what you think and if it strikes your fancy, give this style of running a try.

Stay golden Ponyboys and girls

Thursday, August 9, 2012

My First Man Bow

My first bow 7

My first bow 10

My first bow 6

My first bow 1

So here are some shots of my first primitive style bow sized for an adult human being.

About a year ago I decided I wanted to try and build a bow that was primitive in nature. I did not use hide glue, and I did not use sharp edges of rocks to shape this bow. Thus my reference to this being a primitive "style" bow.

I went out last year and cut a small tree from the river bank near where I live, debarked it, and let it season for a couple of months. I then used a hatched to rough out the basic shape and use a rasp to shape out the rest of the bow.

It took a long time, but what else are you going to do a 10PM at night during a Canadian winter.

I almost broke it trying to flex it at an early stage and so I figure I lost about 20 pounds of draw weight. I had some wood split up on the back of the bow and had to use a drawknife to remove some serious wood. I then salvaged the bow by laminating rawhide onto the back to keep it from braking. I also added some  elk antler overlays to the tips.

It has held up and shot a couple hundred of arrows so far. I need to build some arrows specifically for it as I only have my hunting arrows I use for my 50lb fiberglass bow.

There are many flaws with this bow. Knots, some holes in the wood, imperfect tiller. I attribute a lot of the success of this bow to the length I made it. Seventy two inches of height really spreads out the amount of pressure on the limbs.

I only ever expected this bow to blow up in my face. So I have to admit that after a year of toiling, reading, and watching youtube videos into the wee hours of the morning, it is quite a relief that I got to shoot some arrows with it. I do not know how much longer it will last, but I am confident that I will make better bows in the years to come.

I would like to thank Professor Roland Bohr who I have had the good fortune to become acquainted with for his encouragement and all the knowledge he has shared with me.

I will post shots of some of the kids bows I have made for my nieces and nephew over the past summer. I will also take some glamour shots of my elm longbow and maybe post a video to YouTube so people can have a look at how it shoots.

Stay golden Ponyboys and girls.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Home Brew at Last!

First Batch of Beer 1
Preparing to transfer the beer from the secondary

First Batch of Beer 2
Sterilizing the transfer tube

First Batch of Beer 3
Starting the transfer process to clear the sediment from the secondary.

First Batch of Beer 4
Bottling the tasty brew

First Batch of Beer 5
The finished product, a tasty brew ready for storage... and consumption.

I started Brewing my own beer recently.

My gorgeous and loving wife got me all the gear to brew the beer this last Christmas, but I was short bottles. This proved not to be much of a problem since I have two qualities I'm proud to brag about. Patience and a love of Grolsch. Some do not enjoy this brand of beer, but I do, and lucky for me because some 48 reusable pint bottles later I am now capable of storing my craft beer.

It takes about a month to sort out your brew but as I have discovered, it is worth the wait. My First Batch was an English Bitter kit from Coopers. It was a bit green when I first tasted it but it has sit for about two months now and has a fine flavour enjoyed by all who have tried it.

The exciting thing about home brewing is the variety of beers you can make and it not a bad way to save a few bucks. I've just got in touch with an old friend who is going to help me score some quality beer kits from the states that are otherwise unavailable to Canadians. I'm very excited to get me hands on Dead Ringer IPA produced by the company Northern Brewer.

I'm happy to help carry on my fathers legacy of home brewing. I've watched him make his own beer for about 20 years and I've always wanted to do it myself. Well now I have, and I feel like a whole new world has opened up to me. One of barley, hops and yeast.

Drink up fellow brewers, life is good.