Week from Monday 4th October 2010

Oh boy, it's definitely Autumn:- the 'EMBERS & 'OBERS are well and truly here, the weather's lost all its summerness, the long trousers are back out, and the first C*****mas adverts are appearing. As if I NEEDED an excuse for depression... An early morning trip to the DOCTOR's today, to stock up on [some different] happy pills. I look forward to a few fidgetty days before I start on the new regime. Later in the week, I have to go to the OPTICIAN's for an eye test...

For want of something to fill the 'new' MicePage with, I sat and compiled one of those "LIKES & DISLIKES" lists. As you can imagine, this particular "GRUMPY OLD MAN" had more than enough with which to stock his "ROOM 101". Once I'd started to list things about MODERN LIFE that get the old dander up, I couldn't stop! As my list of NoNos includes such items as tattoos and piercings, plastic breasts, teenage linguistic corruptions and the vast majority of contemporary musical styles, I have probably succeeded in alienating half of the MySpace constituency. But do you see me worried? Thanks then to MARKUS REUTER for drawing my attention to the "ZEN HABITS" blog, for hints on how to live an untroubled life.  [Link on site map/'list' page and on the SpacePage itself]

Having posted a few playful PLAYLISTS on my Space, I am HIGHLY amused by the "SONGS SIMILAR TO..." suggestion lists which the page generates. Does anyone really believe that "Slightly All The Time" from SOFT MACHINE's "Third" sounds [anything like] the long floaty ambient thing that is "Neroli" by BRIAN ENO, "Mystery" from MILES DAVIS' half-assed hip-hop effort "DooBop", "Spray" by CAN or "H&H" by PAT METHENY? Or, for that matter, does "BABY'S ON FIRE" bear any similarity to "Radio Activity" by KRAFTWERK, SOUIXSIE's "Hong Kong Garden" or tracks by DAVID BOWIE and YO LA TENGO? Best of all, how does "SUE EGYPT" by the Good Captain resemble "FOXY LADY" in any way? Robots eh, don'tcha just love 'em?

"BADGES? WE DON'T NEED NO STEEEEENKING BADGES!": The Next Chapter... There's obviously a very fine line between SOCIAL NETWORKING and SOCIAL ENGINEERING. These pesky badges serve no purpose whatsoever and are of no value in the overall scheme of things, but you still find yourself being caught up in the 'fun' against your better nature. The sinister Skinnerist Spacemonkeys have us all chasing around in mazes (Mice-Pace! Ha!) trying to 'win' them all. Some are virtually given away free, some seem to defy logic as to their purpose and some don't seem to exist! For example, the "People Love Me" badge is the one that has me baffled at the moment. It is supposedly 'awarded' for profile views. Rabbithole has one and I don't, even though I have more TOTAL visitors than he does because I've been at it for longer. Therefore I conclude that the GREAT GOOGLY-WOOGLY BOTS must be registering FREQUENCY of views rather than totals, as THE BRASS STURGEONS (deservedly) have a lot of DAILY traffic. There is also a badge for 'creating a music playlist or two'. I have compiled six of the buggers, but still no prize! I don't think anyone at all has been given that one, it doesn't actually exist. 

But enough... IT'S NOT IMPORTANT! 

I WOULD still like to rid my 'Activity Stream' of automated postings about the wretched things though. But don't even BOTHER 'consulting' a MySpace FORUM for any answers - I was rudely told to shut up and go away ("Who the **** ARE you? Mind your own business!"), because I dared to interrupt a string of pointless chat to suggest that the forum had gone off-thread! This was SUPPOSED to have been a technical help forum, but the inner circle had decided that they'd rather compare the weather in various far-flung American states. Like an American High School, it's not a nice place to go if you're not IN. Anyone who has the nerve to point out the format's shortcomings is quickly turned upon. Doubly so, if you attempt to use clear English to make your point, rather than a string of emoticons and txtspk. One young fellow, who'd actually started the thread with a perfectly reasonable enquiry, was told to 'get over it'. I believe the word "dude" may also have been bandied about more than once. You can almost hear the interrogative cadence dribbling out of every slack-jawed stanza. PLEBS!!!

"I am patient with stupidity, but not with those who are proud of it..." Edith Sitwell

The lady with the striking features has it right. Although I understand she was speaking particularly about religious nutjobs, her remarks could be equally applicable to any form of PHILISTINISM. My heart goes out to my friends in the educational sector - they know who they are! - who must have to put up with this kind of thing on a DAILY basis! [ADDITIONAL: Since I wrote that, I've been catching up with our Bunny's Journal - and I see that I'm not that wide of the mark!]

Week from Monday 11th October 2010

Still plenty of 'real' work going on, but not much in the way of CREATIVITY flowing elsewhere... so I had a weekend of HTML-flurrying fun, redesigning a couple of our 'joint' MySpace sites, using the new Profile 3.0 editor. For the RABID SOW/ARTDOZER/WINGED EYEBALL site, I stuck to one of the 'readymade' templates, but for TEASET BODY REVIEW I created an 'original' VICARAGE THEME. The Teasets have now been befriended by ZGA. Rightly so, if I may say so, for if ever there was a band who would 'understand' PALE DEFINITIVE MUT(IL)ATION MUSIC, it is the lads from Riga! 

I also solved the MYSTERY OF THE VANISHING BANNERS - Dame Agatha and Sir Arthur had better watch out! My AD-BLOCK plug-in had been so efficient at its job that it had blocked my OWN adverts! So I have to call them something other than 'adverts', otherwise they don't appear on my screen. [That flimsy little bit of information merits a 'blog in its own right!]

DREAM DIARY... My dreams are becoming a lot more mundane at the moment. Instead of the rich fantasy life I was getting accustomed to, I've been reliving WORK-related stuff. Solving HTML problems in my sleep, where's the fun in that? Must be the new drugs...

Naturally, I rushed to the shops to buy the new album by THE ORB on its day of release, as I'd promised myself I would when I heard a couple of tracks last week via their MySpace presence. I got the deluxe version in the white cover, containing two different mixes of the album, one of which is supposedly "3D" in nature. I haven't yet listened to it on headphones, so I can't vouch for its FULL stereophonic (or even stereoscopic) properties - but it's been on continuous-repeat-play on the hi-fi for a couple of days now, floating out of the speakers and around the room while I work. There's lots of "STEPHEN THE GOOSE" guitar action from "featured" guest DAVID GILMOUR (who's sort of stepped into the ORB-role once filled by STEVE HILLAGE), plus some of those ORB-trademark creepy dialogue samples which make you turn around 'cos you think someone has just entered the room behind you!

Today, Thursday,  I posted the final lengthy chapter of "ANARCHAEOLOGY" on the LiveJournal, along with a comprehensive list of acknowledgements and a dedication to our 'fan' for sticking with it! I don't think I'll be doing the second half of the 'book' (the 'play' "AND RUTH CREASED THE YELLOW CURTAINS"), as that would take a lot more formatting effort and I'm not even sure it would work on a webpage anyway. I don't think the world is ready for it yet.

Week from Monday 18th October 2010

The [increasingly inaccurately titled] "40th Anniversary Series" edition of KING CRIMSON's "Islands" has arrived - Woohoo! - and with all its alternate versions and such, there's hours of intensive 'study' and rediscovery ahead, enough to please even the most obsessively completist of KCrimfans. I think I'm right in recalling that this was one of the first disKCs I was introduced to whilst still at school, so its every nuance is well engrained in my psyche. Or so I'd thought. Thirty-nine years later, to hear it with WHOLE NEW EARS is nothing short of startling. For me, a complete reappraisal of the "Islands" line-up is on the cards, especially if the live, highly-IMPROVized version of "Sailor's Tale" from Frankfurt's Zoom Club is anything to go by. Never mind "PROG"; the music produced by this band could quite accurately be called JAZZ-ROCK. They weren't all "Earthbound" then, oh no sirree Bob... I feel a GROONing coming on!

Week from Monday 25th October 2010

...but it is my lot in life that, should an exciting aural experience enter my world, I will inevitably get a dose of the FUNNY EARS and not be able to enjoy it properly!

I can't help notice that MicePace has slowed down again on MY BROWSER OF CHOICE (currently Safari). A switch back to Firefox and it's a reasonable wait-free experience again. Sigh... The words 'goalpost' and 'moving' spring to mind. The Spacemonkeys are currently running adverts for Windoze Explorer 9 while, at the same time, soliciting opinions on 'HOW WE MAY IMPROVE MYSPACE FOR YOU'. I will say no more. Except to make more sighing noises...

I've been promising myself (and others) that I'd do this for a while now - but I've finally made a start on editing tracks for a STRUMPFEN compilation, to go on the Bandcamp site as free downloads. It's a PROJECT to occupy me during those periods between the 'dayjob' flurries and during the insomnambulatory wee hours. I'm listening through tracks and making notes, selecting the best stuff for the album, and I'm pleasantly surprised how authentic it all sounds. Some tracks don't QUITE sound like they could have been made in 1971 - the keyboard patches are just that little too1980s! - but as I'm whittling an hour-long album out of three CDs-worth, I can afford to be choosy. I will, of course, be doing some suitable 1971-looking artwork to go with it. And then there'll be an intense PROMOFLURRY to be carried out via the 'Space. I'll be interested to know what my REAL Deutcher 'friends' make of it (I look forward to maybe having my German corrected by rock stars, as my French was previously!)

Does anyone know where I can find a legitimate (and preferably boxed) copy of the graphics program[me] XARA WEBSTYLE 4? The good folks in Hemel Hempstead no longer make or support the prog. They've replaced it with something called WEB DESIGNER, which I've purchased as a download, BUT IT'S NOT THE SAME. For creating those little animated banners to go on websites, there's still nothing better than the older application. I'm using version 3 of Webstyle which came on a magazine coverdisk. It's lovely, but it's limited, and I'd like to get the full version 4 with all the art and template disks. There are no second-hand examples on Amazon, and I'm not about to go the naughty Torrent or Rapidshare route, as that inevitably results in badly-archived and broken files or, worse than that, a virus or two. Perhaps some of you EBAY fiends might know of something?

DREAM DIARY... Snippet of dialogue: "...during the time of the Big Bang. Of course, in those days, canaries were horses." Hooray! The strange and 'inexplicable' are slowly creeping back into my dreams! EARWORM OF THE WEEK has been the line about '...ampoules of poison gas' from "Houston" by UKZ. (The only [other] instance of the word "ampoules" appearing in a rock song.)

Shelfy appears to have come up trumps finding a XARA WEBSTYLE 4. I examined the appropriate page on eBay to make sure it was the right one, and blow me if it isn't Xara themselves selling off their old stock! (In addition to full payment, Shelfy will receive a second-hand copy of King Crimson's "ISLANDS" for his trouble). I'm also expecting delivery of a new version of Serif's WEB PLUS any day soon, so expect a few exciting new features to appear on Uncle Willy's website in the coming weeks!