Acquired – Zeiss 45mm F2.8 Pandcake

So, with the help of Camera Traders I have been using various “classic” lens on my Canon EOS Rebel T3. I have been using lens originally designed for a Contax / Yashica system with an adapter for the Canon EOS system. The results have been very favourable. From the ability to pick up a 24mm lens for $100 (Tamron 24mm F2.8 see here for samples) it allows you to experiment with different fixed focal lens, rather than using clinical auto focus, and stabilized lenses. Don’t get me wrong, I still have some Canon auto focus lens sitting in the camera bag, but over the last few week they have been doing a lot more sitting than shooting. When I am doing product shots at work (online store) my cameras on a tripod, its tethered shooting to my laptop. I no question reach for my 28-80mm Canon AF. But when it comes to product shots for Facebook, or Fashion du Jour photos I will always reach out for some classic glass, the imperfections become perfection. And I must say, I have been blown away by the newest addition to my arsenal. A Carl Zeiss 45mm F2.8 – F22 Tessar T* Pancake. Its superior optics contained inside a 2cm casing. With the extra length the adapter adds it is just 25mm long. It adds so little weight, wile taking such sharp photos within a large aperture range. If there is a downside, it would be the minimal focal length is 60cm. That said, you have marked focus lengths from 60cm – 10m – ∞ –  with prime being at 3.5M F8. Well, thats enough writing for now, im out to do some shooting. Some samples of the Zeiss 45mm below – for other samples of various lens check out some of the links above. Also many thanks to Matt Savage – Adventures on Film for the help and advice along the way.

Autos – Toyota LMP 1

As we discussed in the original LMP Aston Martin Lola post (here) this is the top level of manufacture racing only. So, enter Toyota the maker of classics like the: Corolla, Tercel, and Hilux. Or playing a part in the “future” of automobiles with their Prius, and its hybrid system. Toyota has always floated around LMP racing in the 1990. Well when your Tercel from 1989 has 330 000km on its and runs fine, making a car to race for 8, 12, or 24 hours can’t be that hard. They have now decided to join this unparalleled reliability with their newly gained hybrid technology. Toyota has not produced a car for LMP racing since 1999, when they pulled out of to focus on F1, which they are no longer involved with. Therefore, premiering at the 2012 24 hours of Le Mans, will be their new LMP hybrid race car.

Recommend – The Hill-Side

Now i’ve always loved fine cottons. The Hill-side are modern kings of cotton. Primarily small square or rectangular items, i.e: ties, pocket squares, scarfs, and bandanas. From simple solid colours, all the way to wildly printed. They mix the classic with the modern wonderfully which just makes it fun to wear. Check out Hill-side virtually (here) or in analog at Four Horseman in downtown Victoria (here). 

Autos – Bentley Speed 8

One Bentley, sans luxury, add speed. As we discussed in the Aston Martin LMP post (here). These really are the top level of automobiles. Sure, Formula One might be the top level of four wheel engineering. Whereas, LMP’s are standard cars on aerodynamic and performance steroids. Take a look at a properly beautiful automobile.

Super Down With – Sid Mashburn

Atlanta Georgia is called Hot-lanta for a reason. It may be due to the 1996 Olympic game, perhaps because of several rappers. I think its because of Sid Mashburn. What may just be the hypest menswear store in North America. The style is very cohesive, a little English gentlemen, meets Italian playboy. Below is an excerpt from Sid Mashbur mission statement:

“Years ago there was a surfeit of men’s specialty clothing stores — shops that were part fraternity house and part museum with a heavy dose of English gentleman’s club. The salesmen, smelling of a mix of tobacco, peppermint and aftershave, were a cross between a concierge, a next-door neighbour and a professor who was in the know about everything — from cars to books to sports to music.

Though their mission was to help a man dress, they offered more than rules. You were taught how to feel comfortable in your own skin and introduced to skills that would serve you well for your entire life — how to tie a tie, where your pants should break and how to dress for certain occasions. This wasn’t just a shopping trip — these were rituals being handed down by keepers of the grail — people who were confidantes, offering advice without judging.

Our inspiration draws from Gordon Parks and Steve McQueen, from Charlie Feathers to Belle & Sebastian, from the 1971 BMW 3.0CS to the BMW 5 diesel station wagon — a fresh interpretation of old standards.”

Visit the Sid Mashburn online store (here)

Things I Want – Dunhill Lighter

Ohh the Dunhill Rollagas Lighter. Developed in the mid 1950s, it is one of the first butane gas lighter. The design is almost unchanged since first being introduced. It rose to popularity after a one Mr. Bond decided to use one to light up in Dr. No. I love the purity of the design. It looks very different from its zippo cousin, it also cost substantially more. To get your own or to buy one for the Chairman, visit Dunhill (here)

Autos – Ferrari FXX

The Ferrari you never take home. You pay 1.8 million dollars to drive you Ferrari FXX only on Ferrari approved test tracks. After you take you FXX out on the track you have the option to be debriefed by the Ferrari team on your FXX’s performance. Ferrari made only made twenty-nine FXX’s for general sale. They also made a special number thirty that belongs to Michael Schumacher, his FXX is completely black with no logos, or identifying markers on the exterior.

What The Governments Up To – Civic Election November 19th

Iain Russell wears his beliefs like a badge of honour, or in his case, like tattoos of honour. On his torso, he’s got the Charter of Rights, Section 2. On his wrist, he got the words City of Victoria indelibly inked this past summer.“We’re so lucky to live in a place like this,” he says. At 24 years old, Russell has lived his entire life in Victoria, and doesn’t rule out one day entering politics. For now, however, he loves his line of work. The downtown resident also works downtown, at two different service jobs, totaling 60 hours per week. In his free time, he maintains a fashion blog and tweets regularly about civic affairs. He could just be the city’s biggest fan and he took a public stand in support of the city’s plan to replace the Johnson Street Bridge in the lead up to the referendum last year. He continues to be on the bridge advisory panel. While Russell is also a proponent of light rail transit, neither this hot-button issue or any other will guide his vote in the Nov. 19 municipal election. When asked what election issues are important to him, Russell says it’s the wrong question. “The problem, I feel, with civic politics is making it about issues rather than the people running,” he explains. “I always love that with city councillors, you get to look at their profiles and even meet them and gauge what they’re like as a person and vote for what they’re like as a person.” So what kind of characteristics make a strong city councillor? A good listener tops Russell’s list. “There’s a few of them that do such a good job of not speaking too much…. They’re not talking to the press trying to get their slant across, and you can tell that what they’re doing is going out talking to people and listening.” Being approachable is also important. That means having an approachable manner, but also being present at public events, Russell says. A related, third criteria is social-media literacy. “Facebook is a great example,” he says. “If you’re friends with a city councillor, you know where they are when they are, and they’ve invited you to come.” Having a Blackberry or an iPhone, to get emails when you need them, is a must in this day and age, he says. Russell qualifies, however, that posts or tweets must be done in a genuine way. “It’s not just the ‘look at me!’ ‘look at me!’ because that’s being media savvy…. I love it when they do something personal.”Using social media is important to keep people involved, Russell says. “Especially if you want to keep younger people involved too. That’s how we operate.”

Russell’s question to Victoria’s non-incumbent candidates:

So often politicians will tell you what they’ll do, and not why they’re doing it. Why, as a human being, are you trying to help people? What is it that drives your passion that you feel you should be our representative?

To see the answers to these questions click (here) to go to the full article.

Remember – Afghanistan

As of Wednesday, November, 9th, 2011. One Hundred and Fifty-Eight Canadian Soldiers have lost their lives fighting in Afghanistan. As some of us wear poppies today, some Canadian soldier is over in an Afghan poppy field. A tradition from the fields of Europe becoming an ever present way to remember. When I look at my poppy this year, I don’t just see the blood spilled of past. I see a blood of the presents. It is easy to be critical of government foreign policy. Its also easy to respect our Canadian soldiers that are doing an amazingly hard job, very well. Below is a visual representation of the Canadian men, and women, that have been lost fighting the politicians fight.

Throw Back – Game Boy

Oh youth, I can remember playing Tetris and World Cup Soccer on my Game Boy. how our lives have changed. Who doesn’t have a phone that lets them play games more advanced than these Game Boys ever did. So today we take a walk back into the world of portable gaming provided by Nintendo.

Wasting Time On – Just Cause 2

Welcome to the sandbox environment of Panau. Based on a fictional island in Southeast Asia, our hero Rico Rodriguez is back to take down an evil dictator Pandak “Baby” Panay, as well as, confront his mentor Tom Sheldon. Just Cause 2 works like the modern open world game, with a few special tools thrown in. The major difference between Just Cause and lets says Grand Theft Auto IV is you are armed at all times with a grappling hook and parachute. Making transportation around the vast island systems easy and free flowing. The game was released in 2010, shortly after the developer of the game when out of business making this a hard game to find. I was directed towards the game by its review scores being all from 80-100 where most games that aren’t Call of Duty, or Grand Theft Auto, receiving 60-70 average review scores. This is one of those games that you can just pick up and play. I searched for a copy locally for a few months before I found one out of sheer luck. It has a pretty hard learning curve to figure out all the controls. Once basic skills are acquired you will find yourself jumping from a motorcycle, to parachute over a bridge, to grapple onto a helicopter. Just Cause 2 provides that sense of freedom and destructive relaxation that you can only really get from a proper video game. Check out the Just Cause 2 website (here)

Autos – Aston Martin LMP

Oh the world of Le Mans Prototypes or LMP’s. This is the top level of closed wheel race cars. The LMP class autos do reach higher speeds that Formula one. And share similar cost for research and development. The LMP class gets broken down into two classes LMP1’s using very large custom engines, and LMP2’s using top level production engines.  LMP1 has become seen as the car companies playground, whereas, LMP2 has become the world of privately funded racing. We will look at some of these top level race cars over the next few months. Today we start with the Lola Aston Martin…

Autos – F1 Tyres

I have always held a special place in my heart for Formula One racing. It is really one of the wildest spectator sports out there. They also have so of the wildest rules in any sport. F1 struggled from teams with limitless budgets for years, you can think back to when the winners were either in a Ferrari, or a Mclaren Mercedes in the 1990s. So they took some very active steps to create a very even playing field. Today we will look at just how the tyres have been limited. In the weeks to follow I will break down some of the other rules F1 has established over the last few years. Formula One features a single tyre supplier (Pirelli) all teams use identical tyres. At each Grand Prix each team is given access to two different dry weather tyres. Drivers must use both types of tyres during the race. The different compounds can be recognized by the colours on the sidewall. Red – super soft, Yellow – soft, White – medium, and Silver indicating hard. Over the race weekend the driver has access to eleven sets of dry weather tyres, Six harder options, and five softer options, four sets of intermediate tyres and three sets of wet tyres. This is just the beginning of the strange rules. During Friday’s first and second practice sessions the drivers are only allowed to use three sets of dry weather tyres, (two hard, one soft) and one set must be returned to Pirelli before Practice Two, and one set of each tyres compound must be returned for testing before the start of practice three. They will then allocate eight sets of dry weather tyres four sets of both the soft, and hard compounds for the remainder of the race weekend. But, one set of each compound must be returned before the start of Saturday’s qualifying session. At the start of the race the cars that took part in qualifying three must be fitted with the tyres the driver used to set the grid time. So if that wasn’t confusing enough. At certain events teams will be given an extra set of tyres for use in practice for evaluation purposes. Teams will be given at least a week’s notice when this will occur. Teams are free to use wet tyres if they see fit during qualifying and the race. They may only use wet tyres during practice if the track has been declared wet by the race director. If a race is started behind the safety car due to heavy rain wet tyres are compulsory. Wet tyres are denoted by orange and light blue sidewalls. All tyres are given bar codes at the start of the weekend so they can closely monitor their use and ensure that no team is breaking the regulations. If a driver fails to follow these rules that can be excluded from the results, if the race is suspended and can’t be restarted, thirty seconds will be added to the elapsed race time of any driver that has yet to use both compounds. wow… and thats just the tyres…

Autos – Being Driven

Its been a long day being the “1%”. You walk out-front of your multinational corpouration. Edward your trusted man servant,  has alright brought the car around. The back door open, the leather seats patiently waiting to embrace you. A drink already poured, you sit back and relax as Edward takes you home.

Yes please.

Versus – PS3 Versus XBox 360

Ohh the battle of the game stations. This has been going on for sometime. Its pretty clear that Sony, and their PlayStation have figured out this world. Microsoft’s XBox is really, the best thing that Microsoft makes, and it has its moments. The Play Station is for sure the better system. Sony went for “Blue Ray” from day one, whereas, Microsoft tried unsuccessfully with “HDDVD”. Also if you are an online gamer Sony welcomes you with open arms, Microsoft sees this as another opportunity to get at your wallet,  you pay different values for a Silver or Gold membership to “XBox Live”. This takes me into a section of the new video game market that really angers me. The “Online Marketplace” everywhere in games they want you to keep paying for these games. From more in game content, to charges just to play the game with others online. Its starting to make we wonders if videos games are to played hanging out with some mates. Or only alone, with some virtual mates online. So, if your looking at getting a new game system, do some research into what games you want, and go from there.

Favoritve Candy – Mike and Ike

Oh my good friends Mike and Ike. Personally the “Red Rageous” pack is epic on levels of berry candy. The “Tangy Twisters” are a great mix up of the original flavour range. And of course if your in need of a good candy fix the original Mike and Ike will never serve you wrong. So, head down to your favourite candy retailers and catch up with old friends Mike and Ike.

Recommend – La Belle Patate

Oh, my lord. I just had the best lunch of my life. At La Belle Patate at 1215 Esquimalt road. Poutine and a steamed hot dog. Yes, Even the decor was perfect. You can tell that these people have some passion for their work. They must have served fifteen people in the twenty minutes I was there. What an amazing local business. Lets all keep our fingers crossed that a downtown location could some day become a reality. Visit La Belle Patate’s website (here), they also have locations in Vancouver, and Canmore. Below is a picture of the epic poutine I had for lunch.

The Chairman’s Desk – Indochino

I have worked with suits for just over three years, before that I had spent another three years working with with high end casual wear. So, after years of seeing and working with proper fits, fabrics, and styling, I have a few things to say about one certain “retailer”. The most important thing I do at work is ask questions. Questions like: “when are you wearing this?” or ” how many suits do you own?” It is important to also ask “what do you need this suit to do?” and “what kind of fit are you interested in?” as well as several others throughout the process. It is these questions that I will use to recommend whether you need a black, charcoal, navy, or patterned suit. Do you need a suit for work? If so, I take you to ones that I know will hold up. Are you getting a Nobel Prize? We head over to a piece of wool so beautiful it just says “thank you”.  The most important service I provide is answers – what shirts to wear, what ties, what socks, when to separate the jacket to wear with jeans (never) and any others that come up along the life of the suit. If you were to walk in today you would be able to try on the suit, see how the pant feels, how the construction of the jacket works for you. All fabrics hang, and feel different. Its crucial to make sure you like the tone of the colour, the depth of the fabric and how it makes you feel. I am a huge believer that suiting is more about feel then fit. To look really good in a suit you need to feel like yourself at your best. You should put the jacket on and just feel like life got a little easier. It’s my job to make sure you look good. If we build trust it’s easy to help guide you throughout this process and the results do show. Now lets take a little look at costs.

The break down is that the difference of three hundred and sixteen dollars gets you a fair amount. What’s the difference of 20 threads per micron? The big difference is wrinkling, a 200 being much less prone to harsh wrinkles. A super 200 will also have more depth than a super 180 wool. Now, I am a little bit of a sucker for manufacturing; I love things that are made with history. I am so lucky that I get to work with product that has a story to tell. Jack Victor for example was established in Montreal in 1913 and now employees 700 people all in their downtown Montreal factory and customer service centre. Empire’s story is much the same. To fit your suit online you are asked for several measurements of several different locations of your body. I needed a little help to get some of them. It really should never be so difficult. Suit sizing works with with logic through drop sizes. I wear a size 36, which is in reference to inches around the chest. That is all you really need to know. If I am at work and it is a size 36 suit, that will fit me. It could be a little small, or a little big, but that is the difference between company and cut. A standard suit comes with a six inch drop, hence a 36 jacket comes with a size 30 pant.  Tweaks like taking in the back, hemming the pant, collar roll, shortening or lengthening the sleeves, are other alterations that can be done on site by an in store master tailor. This is one of the major investments. A suit can be let out, or taken in, so as you grow and change over the life of the suit (generally one to three years depending on wear) these changes can easily be made free of charge. And because you have opted for a higher quality super 200 wool, your suit will last longer. And then there is shipping, oh wait, you supported a local business. You get to go in, and you can try it on with your shirt, shoes, and tie. I get to make sure you look suitable. If a further alteration is needed, then the in house master tailor comes up and takes a look, and makes it right. Thankfully my job doesn’t stop there. In the real world things happen, your suit was such a hit you got invited to an amazing cocktail party, you got home late, a touch blurry eyed perhaps, you hang your jacket up weird. Three days later you go to grab your suit and suddenly somethings not right. Well your not on your own at all, call, email, come in, most of these issues can be solved by the tailor or a simple trick you had never heard of. I know I cannot speak for all suit sales people, but I do speak to how myself and my coworkers treat our profession that is menswear.

A few shots from Fashion du Jour 

Huge Ups – Space Flight

Ups, ups and away, Right to space. Space has given us ell phones, television, GPS, Internet, and dreams. I often find myself staring upwards on clear evenings taking in the beauty of the stars. They are all in their places at their time, as we are in our places at our times. Space, like life is mostly empty space with bright spots. Let us look back to the words of JFK and the dreams of space.

John F. Kennedy – On Space – 1962

“We meet at a college noted for knowledge, in a city noted for progress, in a state noted for strength, and we stand in need of all three, for we meet in an hour of change and challenge, in a decade of hope and fear, in an age of both knowledge and ignorance. The greater our knowledge increases, the greater our ignorance unfolds.

Despite the striking fact that most of the scientists that the world has ever known are alive and working today, despite the fact that this Nation’s own scientific manpower is doubling every 12 years in a rate of growth more than three times that of our population as a whole, despite that, the vast stretches of the unknown and the unanswered and the unfinished still far outstrip our collective comprehension.

No man can fully grasp how far and how fast we have come, but condense, if you will, the 50,000 years of man’s recorded history in a time span of but a half-century. Stated in these terms, we know very little about the first 40 years, except at the end of them advanced man had learned to use the skins of animals to cover them. Then about 10 years ago, under this standard, man emerged from his caves to construct other kinds of shelter. Only five years ago man learned to write and use a cart with wheels. Christianity began less than two years ago. The printing press came this year, and then less than two months ago, during this whole 50-year span of human history, the steam engine provided a new source of power. Newton explored the meaning of gravity. Last month electric lights and telephones and automobiles and airplanes became available. Only last week did we develop penicillin and television and nuclear power, and now if America’s new spacecraft succeeds in reaching Venus, we will have literally reached the stars before midnight tonight…”

Full JFK Speech (here)


Autos / Verus – Fiat 500 V. Mini

The battle of original vs. original, and remake vs. remake. Personally, I would go vintage Mini, But new Fiat 500. I love a good hot hatch. But, the new mini just doesn’t have that same small car look that it use to. Whereas, the new Fiat is a little more substantial then the old, which was needed. But, if I had to pick just one of the four. Easy, classic mini all the way.

Things I Am Not Down With – Halloween

I dont fully understand halloween. I put a solid effort into my dress most days not just on the thirty-first of October. When I was young I really was only into the candy portion of the event. Sure, I may love a little creative thinking, I think to when Matt (adventures on film), Kevin (84 of 84/85) and myself went as the Sanford prison experiment. Myself as the scientist, Matt as the prison guard, Kevin as the prisoner. Now that was a good costume. But, all in all, seeing women wearing questionable clothing and men dressed like fools is a little hard for me to get excited for. Think hard and make that costume a good one.

Recommended – Spooks

So, I love British television, I also love spy thrillers. Spooks is the best mix of both. There is ten seasons. The final season ten just being wrapped up last week. I whole heartedly recommend getting into this one. Start at season two and work through them season by season. The show is based at Thames House the headquarters of MI-5. The show follows the lives of the agents of Section D – Counter Terrorism. Being a BBC production the episodes are a full hour and commercial free. This is not *cough* a link to a torrent for seasons 1-5 of spooks (here)

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The Military Industrial Complex – Heckler and Koch Grey Room

Heckler and Koch is a German gun manufacture. They are heavily involved in military arms productions. Today we are going to look at one of there interesting installation they had at a facility in Virginia, that has now been complied into a book “The Grey Room.” It is basically a showing of some of the one off weapons and prototypes over the years. wow. Just wow.