thinglets: The Underground Movie


With my podcast yesterday about the Canadian government trying to throttle the sharing of the Ministry of Natural Resources scientists, what follows is another short gem from the National Film Board. Since the Harper government doesn't want us to find out about a 13,000 year old post-ice age flood, perhaps we can interest them in a Canadian scheme to drill through the earth.

From the website:

"Everyone has wondered what it would be like to dig right through to the other side of the Earth. This animated short takes that notion one step further. Here, the probe is accomplished by an ingenious machine dubbed Old Chucknose, which with the help of amazing gadgetry, bores through every layer of the Earth’s crust and centre."

A little bit longer, at 14 minutes, than what I usually post, but surely you have to have a 15 minute break some time during the day.

thinglets: An Ohbijou New Year

For years I always accepted New Year's Day by U2 as the generic New Year's anthem for any of us who were teens in the 80s. In the 90s, I tried to replace U2 with Alive by Pearl Jam because, while it had nothing to do with New Year's, it satisfied my "angsty" needs more than U2. Now that a couple of decades have passed, and I'm far less "angsty" I've decided that while I may have the urge to listen to U2 and Pearl Jam at some point in the night, Ohbijou may have become a more accurate soundtrack to NYE festivities.

First, they're Canadian. Second, I just love the layers. Third, it's just such a damn cool video that I will want to watch it after a few beverages on the celebratory night in question. Don't worry U2 and Pearl Jam fans, I have not forsaken you, merely engaged in an evolutionary fork down Chill Avenue.

thinglets: Lack of Vision on Canadian Net Neutrality

In as much as some people are praising elements of the CRTC's decision last week when it came to Net Neutrality in Canada, I remain the right cynical bastard lovehatethings readers would expect. As such, I created the following to protest the lack of vision on the part of the CRTC. Please don't upload this to a Bit Torrent site in Canada. Anyone who downloads it will have their bandwidth throttled if the ISP deems it necessary.

lovehate: Five Canadian Things To Be Thankful For

I get that Thanksgiving, for whatever reason, is anticipated annually because of a day off, a celebratory meal and often hours spent wasted watching bad football games. While I don't think I have a real appreciation for the traditional/historical aspects of Thanksgiving that are supposed to inspire me, I am certainly not above giving thanks to all the people, places and things that help make my life better every day.

But as the holiday has essentially become nationalized, I hope to share with you some oft-ignored Canadiana that everyone, worldwide, should be thankful for.

1. Eh?

Laugh heartily at all of your Canadian friends who are stuck with this speech impediment wherever they travel, but ask yourself isn't this really the height of all courtesy? In Canada we append a simply two letter expression that invites you (the listener) to respond and offer your feedback. If I said "You're an idiot!" You'd probably get all in a huff and storm away because the discussion would be closed. If I said "You're an idiot, eh?", you'd have the opportunity to respond and try to convince me otherwise.

Isn't that what the core essence of learning and discovery is all about? We encourage discussion and dialogue to learn more about each other and the world around us. That we've condensed it down to two letters is spectacular - and so, I give thanks.

2. Maple Syrup

Instead of torturing suspected infidels, we torture trees for their yummy goodness. It's no small wonder the maple leaf is at the center of our flag. Maple tree blood is the lifeforce of this country. What do you get out of beating up a suspect? Maybe some some crying, begging and useless human blood. We've devised a way to take out our agression on plants. We drive taps into trees much the same way one taps a keg of beer and bleed the sucker dry. But don't weep for the tree my friend. It doesn't hurt a bit - at least that's what Marlon Perkins used to tell me on Wild Kingdom. Then we attach a radio transmitter to a branch so we can track its migratory patterns in the wild.

The perfect thing is that all the sap rejuvenates next year. We can tap dat all over again yo! Be thankful that instead of taking out our aggression on you, we only take it out on the trees. Oh... and baby seals; they have the black eyes of ruthless killers.

3. Cold

We've invented a whole bunch of useful stuff that people around the world use every day. I believe that the motivation to create so much stuff is not necessarily due to the fact that Canadians are particularly brilliant, but more that they have a bunch of time every winter sitting around the homestead with nothing better to do. Such motivation has caused to create ways to get around in the cold, keep warm in the cold, be productive in the cold, and communicate over long distances because we aren't coming outside.

Allow me to illustrate with following Canadian inventions:

AC radio tube, basketball, chocolate bar, commercial motion picture, compound steam engine, electric car heater, electric cooking range, electric light bulb (patent sold to Thomas Edison), electric organ, electric street car, electron Microscope, frozen food, hydrofoil boats, insulin Process, kayak, kerosene, lacrosse, lawn sprinkler, Macpherson gas mask, Mcintosh apple, newsprint, odometer, oil-electric locomotive, paint roller, panoramic picture camera, phonograph/gramophone, railway car break, ship propeller, snow blower, snowmobile, snow shoes, sonar, standard time, table top hockey game, telephone, telephone handset, television, television camera, toboggan, tracer bullets, washing machine, wireless radio, zipper.

Hard to survive Thunder Bay, Flin Flon, or Inuvik without a zipper.

4. Butter Tarts

Oh sure, if any of you have visited Canada you know that Tim Horton's Donuts outnumber churches and schools in most communities. You also know that we often try to give ourselves coronaries by jacking ourselves up on caffeine while pounding down a couple of crullers full of saturated fats. But perhaps the most unblanching admission of our desire to slowly kill ourselves is the butter tart.

There is no way ANYONE could believe that something named the "butter tart" was in anyway, good, nutritious or healthy for you. With an ingredient list that includes a crust made of flour, icing sugar, shortening, and eggs, and a filling made of corn syrup, brown sugar, butter, eggs, vanilla extract and raisins, these snacks are sinfully good. They also cause my heart to cry a little bit every time I eat one. You can keep you baked goods with "fancy" filling like fruit and such. I would prefer not to disguise such healthy alternatives in a flaky crust.

5. Simplicity

If a colour couldn't be reproduced using a 12 pack of Laurentian pencil crayons, then it should never have existed in the first place. These were the colours that I lived with from grade one up to grade nine. This was the palette I was restricted to upon drawing my first primary school scribbles of my family and home, all the way up to grade nine geography class which was, conveniently enough, Geography of Canada. I always maintained that one should be able to pass any grade nine geography course by following two basic mapping tenets: Water is blue. Land isn't.

The Laurentian palette became the best friend of all students when trying filling up pencil cases on Labour Day for the year ahead. The rainbow ran as follows: 1. Deep Yellow, 2. Sarasota Orange, 3. Poppy Red, 4. Cerise, 5. Purple, 6. Navy Blue, 7. Peacock Blue, 8. Emerald Green, 9. Deep Chrome Green, 10. Photo Brown, 11. Chestnut Brown, 12. Midnight Black.

I know it may sound stifling for a youngster to be restricted to 12 colours when trying to express their artistic visions, but let me tell something. There was only one real test of any colour palette in a Canadian school. Could one draw every single NHL logo using the colours at hand. If the answer was yes, the palette was sound. Laurentian never went down the road of the Crayola "Flesh" colour fiasco. Instead it unified, democratized and turned us all into metacritics of logo design. Thanks Laurentian.

So there it is, my Canadian Thanksgiving list. If you've never heard of these things before, then get to know your friends at the top of North America. You can't have North America without the Great White North. Failing that, take off you hosers.

Podcast 105 - How the DMCA took my #copycon away


My podcast becomes story time this week, as I tell you the tale of how the US DMCA was used to takedown a post on the lovehatethings blog because it contained someone else's words, originally posted on a Government of Canada website, commissioned to garner public input on upcoming copyright legislation.

To be continued upon further investigation...

Garry and Sachin - you rock!

thinglets: Here's Hockey! 1953


A great time capsule look at the Canadian view of hockey in 1953. Not much has changed. NHL training camps are opening. My hometown of Hamilton is getting screwed over for a team once again.

That aside, this short film gives insight on ice makers, junior hockey, equipment costs, and minor hockey teams featuring the legendary Jean Beliveau's transition from the Quebec Aces to the Montreal Canadiens. Some great early slo-mo sports coverage that's over 55 years old. Incredible video quality as well!

"Professional hockey's a more than 7 million dollar a year business!"

This Leslie McFarlane film is presented courtesy of - the National Film Board of Canada.

lovehate: Recent Comments on Canadian Copyright Reform (Part 2)

As a follow-up to my recent post on a response, my reply to a comment made on a statement I made on the website about a week ago, I present the next response from someone else who misread my original post and my subsequent reply. All comments are presented unedited.

Her reply after reading my original post, the first commenter, and my reply back (all of which can be read by clicking the above link):

not really- I don't think contentcreator misconstrued. that's how I read it too. if we've misconstrued, by all means, clarify.

and if you think that the 'marketing' as it pertains to artists at the levels where this issue really matters - the ones who have to figure out 'how the F*&k do i try to make enough money to put music out- record a record, pay the studio & musicians and press the thing... even gas to get to the next gig- is separate from the music, then it would make sense as to why you think most musicians are no better than your neighbor or cousin- because you have spent very little time or energy considering your premise.

Insulting, and ignorant, in the classic sense of the word. the artists who are not already established (read- backed by corporate $$), do their own marketing and it's 75% of the work. Which is why your neighbor or cousin- whose talents you so dearly admire- aren't doing it. It takes a passion and dedication that defies logic.... and money, for god's sake.

yeah, sure, art has always existed- but art always had it's patrons who helped finance the artist while they created. The wealthy gave money to artists (as opposed to making money off of artists) because it was the honorable, ethical thing to do and because if they didn't they'd appear crass and cheap.

even touring in Europe you find more generosity towards the artist- for example, after finding out you are a musician, they don't immediately ask you what your day job is. North America has cheapened it. 

You're right though- art was always available to the masses- for free. but there were mechanisms in place to allow that to happen.

look at radio. free. but there are mechanisms that are respected and hold broadcasters accountable. If someone is making money off of art and that money is bypassing the artist, that's the only issue I see mattering.

it's just, who? the recordable media producers? the internet service providers? the advertisers who do their advertising because free content draws hits to the sites?

we send people to space, I'm sure there's a way to figure it out.

regardless, the rights of the creator has to be acknowledged- things are changing and writers and creators of all disciplines need to be protected.

man. how the hell do you expect us to eat? marketing is not worth that much to you... worth what?! what have you paid?

personally I think there are a lot of people making money off of 'free' content before it ever gets to the user and they are the ones who should pay... but before you start talking about 'entitlement' consider what you are saying you're entitled to... free access to art at the cost of the artist.

My reply back to her...

My original comment was misconstrued in the sense that the point was about the presumption that copyrighted/industry music was being presented as the hallmark or Canadian culture. The secondary assertion was that art will always exist (even without monetization), and that to imply "professional" artists are necessarily better (or produce better work) than the "amateur" up the street is arrogant.

From those ideas, the first commenter implied that I was somehow all for stealing copyrighted work, that I was implying he should get ripped off, and that I said it was "easy to make a living writing or singing". I never said ANY of those things. That the original commenter and yourself are bringing those suppositions to argument is at once, telling, and, I suppose, not unexpected considering the venue.

I spent years playing in various bands across Ontario for little to no money and never would imply that the effort or drive in monetizing artistic talent is anything less than exasperating. It's the reason I chose to not do it for a living. But don't, for a second, try and make a logic leap that by not choosing to monetize my music anymore, I'm somehow less passionate or talented than anyone else. Not having a passion for business does not preclude abandoning passion for the art.

Choosing to spend money on recording, promoting, and touring is an investment you're making in a life YOU choose to follow. You're banking on your ability to sell your talent like a commodity and are taking the same risks as someone who pours money into research for an invention or buys a stock. You're letting the consumer market decide your monetary reward. And while I hope that you make millions, if no one wants to listen, your bottom line will be less impacted by copyright thieves than your ability to market yourself. Your music may be brilliant. And while you have a right to sell and buy your product as demand dictates, and protect your copyright to boot, you have NO right to expect to make a living from it and NO recourse if you're just simply decades ahead of your time or increasingly derivative and mundane.

With regard to your historical diatribe about patronage and "free art for the masses." Let me first preface by repeating (again) "I NEVER SAID I WANTED TO PIRATE COPYRIGHTED MUSIC OR TAKE MONEY FROM YOU!" Secondly, I'm thinking that the key divide between my original post and your interpretation is with regard to contending definitions of art. Art doesn't have to be "free to the masses" for it be art. Further, art can be locked up in a room for a hundred years and never see the light of day while still being art. The intrinsic value of art, for me, does not rely on the number of consumers ingesting it. While I understand that the entire mechanism around "The Arts" as a monetization industry does revolve around this concept, and that to monetize art does depend on consumers, I have no problem with Nickelback and Avril Lavigne making tens of millions of dollars around the world and in Canada. Can't stand the music, but I don't begrudge them making money nor do I plan on ever asking for it to be free.

Next, in considering a couple of your assertions...

Radio is NOT free or it would not exist as mass media. That I give up 10-20 minutes per hour listening to ads is perhaps the most expensive use of my time and the main reason I don't listen to most commercial radio. By the way, someone IS making money off of art that is bypassing the artist: The Record Companies - usually from 90-99% of it!

Where do I get free access to art? Not television, radio, or websites. Contending with ad-based promotion is not free for me. That a hundred thousand musicians choose to put their music up on MySpace and allow Rupert Murdoch to reap the benefits is not my fault or choice. If you can get money from him, be my guest, or take your music down from his site. If a musician puts music on MySpace it's for one of two reasons: 1) to share it without expectation, or 2) to use the service as a promotional tool - that's called a commercial and there's an expectation that goes along with it.

I'm curious to know what you consider to be the "rights of the creator" and what "protections" you expect (considering that's what these deliberations are truly about anyway). This discussion would be entirely ancillary to the current one however, as I never questioned creator's rights in my original post.

I have spent plenty of time considering the premises of my original post. Unfortunately you have either categorically disagreed (which is your right) or simply not taken the time to understand it. I'll simplify:

1) Art exists without money. 

2) Everyone has artistic abilities to varying degrees. 

3) To claim that monetized art, alone, is the core of our culture is at once shocking and repugnant. Marketing should not dictate culture.

Those were the ONLY key ideas from the original post. If you reread it without the hyperbole of the first commenter, you might be able to parse said meanings yourself.

Lastly, while I certainly engaged in a couple of exaggerated metaphors in my original post, I never had the gall to call anyone "ignorant" simply because they disagreed with me. If you note a sense of distaste in the above reply, it is returned in kind. You don't know me anywhere near well enough to call me ignorant, and you surely haven't formed a cogent argument behind your symbolized invectives and personal hard luck appeals to sway me from my aforementioned beliefs.

lovehate: Recent Comments on Canadian Copyright Reform

[I started with this at]

I hope the implication behind many of these comments and responses is not that the only way to have "the arts" in one's life are for them to be monetized. There will ALWAYS be, exponentially, way more free art than commercially-crafted artistic products. Any assertion that even echoes a tone of quantitative value for "the arts" over art makes my skin crawl.

Art will always exist whether monetized or not. Music existed well before ceramic cylinders and oral tradition existed well before summer blockbusters. In both cases performers traveled and made money playing songs and relaying stories passed through generations.

I heard much of this arrogance at the Toronto Town Hall where there was an echoing sentiment that relaxing copyright would destroy "the arts". You know what, "the arts" can take a flying leap off the CN Tower and hope its sense of entitlement will save it - ART will endure.

And before you claim this is somehow too tertiary to the copyright conversation going on here, consider that "the arts" is about persistent PR myth that people who get paid to write or perform are doing something no one else can do. Art does not demand copyright. "The Arts" does.

Are some professional writers better than your neighbour at writing? Maybe.

Are some professional singers better than your cousin at singing? Maybe.

But for most of my life, there's only been one thing that's divided "the arts" from art - marketing.

And marketing is just not worth THAT much to me.


[and after another user replied with...]

Are the staff at your local coffee shop better at making coffee than your neighbour? Maybe.

Could your cousin make you a cup of coffee for free? Maybe.

Would you walk into a coffee shop and leave without paying for your coffee? Not without being arrested.

The difference between coffee made at home and coffee made in a restaurant is debatable, but paying for it is not. Yes, you pay for the marketing there too, but it doesn't change the fact that we pay for the goods, services and intellectual copyrights created by others in this wonderful country called Canada.

Call it Art or The Arts, but I like to be paid for my work. And the idea of wandering around like a busker, hoping someone like you might toss a quarter into my open guitar case is repugnant to me.

If you think it is so easy to make a living writing or singing, why don't you quit your day job and see how long you can pay the bills based on the money you receive after your songs have been digitally transferred for free?


[So I replied back with...]

Before I start, you've misconstrued and misrepresented my original point to where it's unrecognizable in your reply.

I never once said that content creators (no pun intended) shouldn't get paid, or that it was right to take from them, so while I appreciate you speaking passionately about your concern, please do not ascribe such accusations to my post.

My point was not whether I would steal a cup of coffee or not, but rather the frustration at hearing that because I have to pay for it, it's categorically better than what I could make at home.

I could make a living by playing piano and singing. It wouldn't be as good a living as I make now, and it would be a heck of a lot harder, but I could do it. But simply because I choose not to, does not make my playing or talent inferior to those who do.

My entire original premise came from the perceived notion, through the Toronto Town Hall and reading some of the comments here, that monetized artistic talent in Canada was somehow the last bastion of Canadian culture. Also, I object to the idea that a looser copyright system threatens culture. 

As much as I hope you become a billionaire at whatever you do and whatever I do, I have no doubt just by sheer probability that many others out there can do what we do both do far better than us. And that's not because I think we're bad, but that I have faith in the hidden talents of a populace like ours.

Culture is not a definable product of monetized efforts. It is an amorphous variable that includes some of those efforts, but also reaches through the skew perpetrated by them and coalesces the rest.