Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Vacation Diary -- Overview

Quotation of the day ~Tom Carey: The ultimate metric that I would like to propose for user friendliness is quite simple: if this system was a person, how long would it take before you punched it in the nose?

Hi, everyone. Here, on the final day of my spring holiday,  i have to say that it's been great. I think that i am eminently suited to the life of leisure. Anyone interested in financing this for me, please leave a comment and a contact address. Thanks! (I don't need much: $1000 a week would be ample.)

The week, in some ways, was also extremely frustrating. My long-term reader (i.e., me) will recall that, the last time i took a week off, back in October, i spent a great deal of time working on some drastic computer problems. During that week, both my desktop PC and my laptop had to go into the shop, and the PC had Windows re-installed, and, while i didn't lose any files, i lost most of my program files, and it took a great deal of time to re-install and configure them.

This week, another, albeit less serious problem arose. Something was corrupt in my email program (Thunderbird). Sent messages wouldn't appear in my Sent Items folder and in one isolated case, a message appeared there five times (when, of course, i'd only sent it once). And sometimes, the font size would go doolally, so that messages would appear to the recipient looking something like this. I went to various Thunderbird user forums and tried to solve the problem, i uninstalled and re-installed it, all to no avail. So i decided to find an alternate email client. I tried Sea Monkey. I liked it, it looked good, i successfully sent a test message and so i imported all of my settings from Thunderbird and ... must also have imported whatever was corrupt, because from then on it was useless. So, i uninstalled it. Then i tried Opera's built-in email program (i already use Opera as my secondary browser). Same thing -- as soon as i imported my Thunderbird settings, it was useless.

I tried, believe me. For three days.

Then i gave up and tried to find some workarounds in Thunderbird. And, not just another pretty face, i did. And then gave up, i was tired of working on it. Some holiday!

Well, that took me up to Wednesday. What did i do on Thursday? Don't remember, got drunk probably....

Friday i went to Toronto for the day. Via Rail has free Wi-Fi so i was able to listen to my favourite radio station, K-SHE, all the way (i have their app on my phone). Had lunch with my old friends Julian & Andrea, nipped over to the HMV superstore and bought the new CD by Paula Cole and Big Wreck's second album, and thereafter mostly took a walking tour. And it was a beautiful day for it -- nice and warm. Stumbled upon a charity book sale at the Church Of The Holy Trinity, a beautiful old (1847) church in the heart of downtown Toronto, and look, there's its picture:

I only bought one book, though: "The Child In Time," a title i'd never read by one of my favourite writers, Ian McEwan.

And then i just walked more and more, stopped in a pub whenever i got thirsty (and there's no shortage of those in downtown Toronna!) and then it was time for the train home.

One of my Toronto traditions is to buy some street meat -- generally spicy sausage on a bun -- from one of the vendors in front of Union Station before boarding the train home. Unfortunately, this time, it was not to be: there's so much construction going on around there that the vendors have been forced to relocate, and i couldn't find one in time. Bummer! So i had to settle for a can of very nasty beer and a very small bag of chips on the train -- for eight dollars, they must have seen me coming. At least i was able to listen to K-SHE all the way home....

And really, that was the end of the holiday: on Saturday, Sunday & Monday i had to go into work for just a couple of hours each day, but still, it meant that i didn't really have those days to myself, and this, then is it. Back to what we laughingly call "normal" around here tomorrow. Blah.

Oh, one last thing, my last post i said that my CD collection was complete for the letter "A." Wrong again. Somehow i missed this album by Kevin Ayers, Mike Oldfield, Robert Wyatt, David Bedford, Lol Coxhill & Six Beautiful Girls:

Now, onwards to the letter B.

Love, light & peace, y'all...

Sunday, 23 June 2013

The End Of "A"

Quotation Of The Day ~ Oscar Wilde: We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.

Argh, i've been wanting to keep a diary of my week off, but i've just been too busy. A draft is in progress, i just need to find the time.

Meanwhile, here are the final albums in my CD collection under the letter "A."

Yes, the letter A is finally done. Up next, the letter B.

And of course the playlist:

Plankton - Plankton
Tangerine Dream - Phaedra
Martin Carthy & Dave Swarbrick - Walnut Creek
Ashley Hutchings - By Gloucester Docks I Sat Down And Wept
Various Artists - Blues Breakers!
Melissa Etheridge - Never Enough
Renaissance - Grandine Il Vento
Genesis - Genesis
Rory Gallagher - Calling Card
Fish - Raingods With Zippos
Paula Cole - Raven
Big Wreck - The Pleasure And The Greed
Thin Lizzy - Black Rose: A Rock Legend
Ofra Haza - Desert Wind
George Harrison - 12 Arnold Grove

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Vacation, Spring 2013, Day 2

Quote Of The Day ~ Weezer: Let's go away for a while /You and I /To a strange and distant land /Where they speak no word of truth /But we don't understand anyway /Holiday

Whoo, another lazy day, i could get used to this ... except....  The love / hate affair with technology continues, and becomes too much like work.

I wanted to watch a film this afternoon. "Die Hard 3" to be precise, so i inserted the DVD into the computer's "G" drive (yes, really) and ... it wouldn't play. So i tried it in the "D" drive, and, nothing. So i took the disc out, cleaned it, and tried again. Bugger all.

So i decided to try a different DVD -- another favourite, "A History Of Violence."   One of David Cronenberg's best, IMO. Same thing happened. Wouldn't play. "Suffering Christ!" (i said to myself), does everyone have these problems, or am i just lucky...?

Then another thought occurred to me (as i was smashing my face into the computer desk) -- maybe it's the software.  Sure enough, i discovered that there was indeed a new version of my media player available. (I use VLC, by the way, and normally i love it https://www.videolan.org/vlc/)  Downloaded it, installed it, and ... it made no difference, i still couldn't play those DVDs.  So i spent the afternoon catching up on email, wandering around Facebook, and drinking beer. It could have been worse; it could also have been a whole lot better.

Here's the next batch of album covers:

 This CD here to my left, and the one immediately below it, are by Eleftheria Arvanitaki, Greek folk singer.



Monday, 17 June 2013

Vacation, Spring 2013, Day 1

Quotation of the day ~ Ray Davies: Holiday, oh what a lovely day today.

Yes, yes, yes, i have a week off! Nine days, to be precise, woo hoo! (I'm entitled to five weeks a year but i'm lucky if i get three....)

And what (i hear you ask) did i do today? Well, this morning i beetled on down to the Stratford train station and bought a ticket -- i'm going to Toronto on Friday.  Third time lucky: the last two times i went to the station the ticket office was closed.

Grabbed some breakfast at the local A & W on the way home -- i hate their burgers but their breakfast menu is okay -- and then watched this DVD (for the second time):

An extraordinary, powerful film.

And that was about it, really. Day 1 in a nutshell.

Here's the latest from my CD collection (cos i know you care):

And of course the playlist:

Mike Oldfield - Live From The European Adventure Tour
The Collectors - Grass And Wild Strawberries
Chicago - VII
The Who - Live At Leeds
Richard Thompson - Sweet Warrior
Big Wreck - In Loving Memory Of
Colin James - Twenty Five Live
James Taylor - James Taylor
Bruce Springsteen - The Rising
U. Shrinivas - Mandolin Maestro
Hector Berlioz - Harold In Italy
The Albion Band - The Battle Of The Field
King Crimson - The Night Watch

Saturday, 8 June 2013

Spam-A-Rama Part 2

Quotation Of The Day ~ Anonymous: A gentleman is a man who can play the accordion but doesn't.

A few weeks ago i wrote about how this blog had been so inundated with spam that i had been forced to enable comment moderation, in order to head it off at the pass. (This meant that all comments on my posts would come to me by email and i could then accept them, in which case they would appear, or delete them, so that you, dear reader, would not be troubled by them, or lured to a site offering "real diamonds real cheap.")

For the first couple of weeks, my Inbox had to deal with three or four a day. Where does this crap come from (i asked myself, desperately clicking the "delete" button yet again)?  But then it all stopped. Abruptly. I thought, whew, it's over.

But then, a couple of days ago, it all started again, but worse. I wasn't getting cheap diamonds or imitation Rolexes, i was getting porn.

Now, look. I'm a single unattached male, i have nothing whatsoever against porn, it serves a useful purpose and is often fun. But it has no place on this blog, thank you very much. But here's a comment i was asked to accept or delete today (naughty bits have been edited out):

Ethnic big ***** sexy milf with huge **** hard *** ******* while having her *** sucked chick ******* twister bangladeshi brother sister **** http://******.net.******.in/?roy http://*****.com/?profile-stephanie ashanti shequoiya douglas ***** gateway community college bbw pic forums black laff record productions russian teen avi asians getting **** by a monster **** alex de lesseps and ethiopian girl pictures how to stop sex addition http://********.net/?gallery-clifton [...]

I mean, really. How do they find me? Or is it spambots, just uploading to every blog that comes into their ken? I suppose, as this blog is public, i have offered myself up to anything that comes at me, but the Internet is such a nasty place now.

Anyhoo, here's the next part of the CD collection:

And of course the playlist:

Pyewackett - 7 To Midnight
Payola$ - Hammer On A Drum
Radiohead - O.K. Computer
Siddhartha - Trip To Innerself
Elmore James - The Sky Is Crying
Joan Osborne - Early Recordings
Marillion - This Strange Engine

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

After Silence

Quotation Of The Day ~ Aldous Huxley: After silence, that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music. 

And so, with that in mind, all i have for you today is the next batch of CDs:

(Note the dates of these live recordings, and remember what happened in New York City the week before. Her 1981 song "O Superman" includes the line "here come the planes/they're American planes." When she sings those words here, the hush that falls over the audience is palpable, it's an extraordinarily emotional moment.)

And of course there's the playlist:

Rival Sons - Head Down
Jethro Tull - Benefit
Paul Simon - Graceland
Talking Heads - Remain In Light
Billy Squier - The Best Of Billy Squier
Van Halen - 5150
Donovan - Sunshine Superman
Paul Simon - Songs From "The Capeman"
Fernhill - Canu Rhydd
Roger Waters - Amused To Death
Wishbone Ash - Argus
Roy Wood Wizzo Band - Super-Active Wizzo