Monday, October 30, 2006

All the World's a Stage

As a working musician I find myself setting up my drums in some interesting spaces. Anywhere from jammed into a tight corner of a restaurant, to a festival stage where my drum riser is the size of my living room, and the nearest musician is 25 feet away! I thought it would be fun to take some photos of such places, so this is the first installment of "where I work", aka "all the world's a stage".

This past Saturday saw the Custums playing a fundraiser at the Aviation Musuem. This was our third year in a row for this event, and this year was special because they actually had a stage for us (last year we set up under the wing of one of the planes!). So the actual performance area was quite ordinary, but the setting was interesting with all the aircraft in close proximity. I took a few photos...

setting up the stage

a cool gyrocopter

An experimental plane. The outline on the left arm of the 'A' reads "cut here in an emergency"

a much larger 'copter, with rear view into the interior

This was on a smaller one. I'll bet you learn to duck... :P

Speaking of ducking, this is the wing we played under last year.

This tiny thing was the first production rocket-powered plane. Apparently they had a nasty tendency of blowing up upon take-off or landing.

Happy to set up in front of a Canadian classic

Friday, October 20, 2006

How bicycles are built

A cool 10 minute video clip showing how your basic errand bike is put together. I'd heard of wheel-building machines, and finally got to see one in action. Isn't YouTube great?

Thanks to Otto_It for the link.

Also, Friday random link: Snake Bike

more music

In a two-week period I've been offered the drum chair for two local Big Bands! This is fun, because the music is great to play, and also a challenge, because the drummer is in the hot seat with these large groups. If you can't drive the band then it'll sound like poop no matter how good everyone else is! You have to keep the tempo, set up the shots, guide the dynamics, interact with the soloists, so there's lots to stay on top of.

The first group is the Bill Jupp Band, which has ben around Ottawa for many years, and plays original tunes and arrangements written by Bill. This is mainly a rehearsal band, but it meets once a week and keeps both my reading and swing chops together. The rehearsal space is barely a kilometre away, and I can leave my junky old practice kit there and just commute with sticks and cymbals.

The second band is Grey Jazz, run by Bob Cleall, and the band's name comes from the fact that it is based in a senior's facility, though none of the players reside there. ;) But the musicians are mostly over 50, so I'm definitely the youngest player, not to mention the least grey. :P The band swings well, and I've just completed my first gig with them (had to sight-read a few charts on the fly!), so it's a working group. We rehearse ever Friday morning at 9:30, and being the night owl that I am that's only doable because 1) they have a drumkit there, and 2) it's only four blocks from my house! So I just get up, scarf down some breakfast, and stagger my way there...

Thursday, October 12, 2006


My friend Wenna creates some fabulous and whimsical paintings. And now you can see a sampling of them online at her new website. I should commission something with a bicycle theme...

Monday, October 09, 2006

for you jazz fans...

I've got a gig that might interest some of you, this coming Saturday at the NAC's Fourth Stage:

Accompanied by:
J.P. Alain - Piano
Mark Rehder - Drums
Tom McMahon - Bass
Rick Rangno - Trumpet
Mike Tremblay - Tenor

I of course play with Steve's quartet, as does bassist Tom. Rick plays trumpet for the Jivewires, while J.P. and Mike are regulars on the scene. Should be a fine evening!

Sunday, October 08, 2006

media attention

My cargo trike is the subject of a cover story in the Fall issue of "Better Bicycling", published by local organization Citizens for Safe Cycling.

I've not done much in the way of promoting Kyoto, other than just riding it on city streets to do the jobs I built it for. So when CfSC contacted me for the story I was happy to oblige. Other than one slip-up ("it’s a single-wheel recumbent bicycle" should read "three-wheel") it seems to be a good read. What's next? Front page on the Ottawa Citizen, or how about the Globe and Mail? Maybe I should head straight for TV coverage - where's my agent?... :D

Thursday, October 05, 2006

current events

Thought I'd share some fave cartoons and a photo. Click on each one for the larger, more legible version.

Two from recent events:

An old "Bloom County" strip from its pre-Opus early days, about twenty years ago! The caricature is brilliant, and still quite relevant given that in U.S. politics "Liberal" has become a dirty word:

Snoozing lizard, found on someone's blog (sorry, forgot who!). Note its tiny rear feet wrapped around second spoke:

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

PABs finally legal in Ontario

Kyoto's electric-assist motor is now legal! The press release below was sent by Juergen.


October 4, 2006 (Toronto)
For Immediate Release

The Electric Vehicle Council of Ottawa (EVCO) applauds today's announcement by Ontario Transportation Minister Donna Cansfield to permit electric-assist bicycles on Ontario roadways under a pilot project.

Electric-assist bicycles (officially called Power Assisted Bicycles or PABs) are bicycles with a small electric motor that are limited to a maximum speed of 32km/h and a maximum power of 500 Watts. Electric bicycles are zero-emission vehicles. Anyone in Ontario who is 16 years of age or older may ride an electric bike during the pilot project which is expected to last three years.

"Many Ontario citizens have been waiting eagerly to drive their electric bicycles legally or to acquire one" notes Etienne Gibeault, EVCO President. "We are thrilled that these electric vehicles are now legal."

Electric-assist bicycles are available, affordable and are as easy to use as a standard bicycle. The electric motor and battery pack provide cyclists with clean, quiet and non-polluting power -- ideal for hill climbing, extending one's range, assisting those with mobility impairments and reducing the effort associated with cycling (a bonus for those without shower facilities at work). Electric bike riders can get as much exercise as they choose without worrying about longer distances or over-exertion. Electric bikes allow the rider to pedal as much as desired while providing power-assist when required.

Electric bike riders are now able to do their part to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, improve air quality, and stay fit without having to worry about breaking the law. EVCO congratulates the Minister for taking this step and looks forward to a time when a variety of electric vehicles are
legal on Ontario roads.

"Relatively inexpensive electric vehicles are now within reach of the average consumer," says Etienne Gibeault. "This is a viable alternative for Ontarians who want something more than the traditional means of transportation."


EVCO is a voluntary, non-profit organization that promotes the use of electric vehicles in applications where they are appropriate. Electric vehicles are viable transportation alternatives that are ecological, economical, practical and available. EVCO has been campaigning for the
legalization of electric bicycles in Ontario for over 3 years.

Spokesperson: Juergen Weichert (613) 746-7685

The Electric Vehicle Council of Ottawa
P.O.Box 4044, Station "E"
Ottawa, ON, Canada
K1S 5B1

Monday, October 02, 2006

YouTube (and other) fun

Step right up! We've got humour, politics, music, cats - all courtesy of YouTube!

First off, a fabulous anti-war parody of "Tie a Yellow Ribbon..." (warning: naughty words, especially at the beginning!).

Next: Most have heard about Bill Clinton taking Fox interviewer Chris Wallace to task. And now this fabulous editorial from Keith Olberman. I couldn't quite believe it at first - here's a guy from the mainstream U.S. media (MSNBC) nailing Bush and his Administration to the wall! Well done, sir! And about time...

On the much lighter side: kitties! A compilation of feline goofiness.

And music:

Shredding: Heavy metal prog-rock accordion. Two Finnish musicians, along with the drummer and former bassist for King Crimson. If you're going to make a noise, this is a good one to make!

Sublime: my favourite female vocalist, Lisa Gerrard (formerly of Dead Can Dance). She has the most stunning and versatile voice I've ever heard.

And lastly, a non-Youtube link. Crazybikerchick Tanya has a fabulous "open letter to motorists who dislike cyclists". Check out the 90-plus comments!

Sunday, October 01, 2006

more bridge fun

A different one this time, and Kyoto's first trip across the interprovincial Champlain Bridge.

My friend Andrea recently moved into a house on the Quebec side, quite near the Ottawa river and the bridge. She had a surplus microwave oven for me, and I decided to fetch it. Now, the cargo trike was overkill for this trip (could've used the trailer), but I wanted to see what it was like using the bridge's bike lanes, as I had only ridden on them with my 2-wheel bikes.

Yes, could have moved a few microwaves, or a refrigerator!

Andrea exclaims "no, don't show my messy garage!" But she is still moving in, so she is forgiven. ;)

Heading home, and the bike lane is just wide enough for Kyoto. The bridge has three motor vehicle lanes, with the middle HOV lane switching directions depending on time of day.

Looking west on a cloudy Sept. day (railings will be in the way of these shots, as I took them while in motion)

Crossing over Bate Island, the east end of which is a fave launching area for kayakers, as the rapids make for a fun play spot. Above is a quiet inlet.

My little camera strained as far as it could to bring you this ill-defined shot. The river is quite shallow here, especially at this time of year, and someone planted a bird-shaped sculpture on one of the rocks!

My only challenge on this trip was at the Ottawa end of the bridge. The bike lane narrows down to the old standard of about a metre wide, and Island Park Drive is one lane each way. If I take the main lane I slow everyone down, so I stuffed myself into the bike lane, as I only had two blocks to go before turning left into the residential area and onto my cross-town route. I always wonder what the cars behind me think as I put on the turn signal from the bike lane and move into the main lane. And I don't wait for someone to let me in, as that route is busy and no one wants to stop, so I just wait for a gap and toss the trike into it. As usual, no grief from anyone, either because they're being nice, or that they can't quite figure out what the thing is and they probably shouldn't provoke it. hehe