Week from Monday 5th March 2012

Today is TALK TALK GO LIVE Day! Apart from a brief half-hour when the phones were switched off, everything went smoothly. I've set up my 'old faithful' BT Voyager ADSL box to communicate with the TalkTalk service (They gave me a free wireless router. But the trouble with that is it requires the internet connection to be ALWAYS ON. When I turn the computer off at night, I lose all the connections. Setting up a home network is overkill for my situation). I also had some trouble trying to get Thunderbird to work with their email settings so, in the end, I've settled on GOOGLE MAIL as my portal of choice instead.

What has REALLY irked me is the process one has to go through to sever ties from the increasingly crap SUPANET concern. They are making me pay up to the end of the month (£21.48 now!) AND charging a £39 cancellation fee. To enable this extortionate liberty to take place you HAVE to phone them, enduring up to fifteen minutes of appalling cheap electronic music while you are 'on hold'. The email notification says please call this number within seven days and pay by credit/debit card, or mail a cheque to the address below. Which isn't there... (Finding out ANY kind of information without the telephonic endurance test meant navigating around their broken website using their broken internet connection). Then, when you finally talk to a 'person' they try to sell you the idea that they can offer you a better deal than Talk Talk or BT. Which in itself is crap. I'll be glad to see the back of 'em, bunch of cowboys...

Tying up the loose ends on a couple of jobs this week, including 'Phase 1' of the RIDE & STRIDE-A-THON. It turned out that there WON'T be an extra 'cosmic ramble' tour of Hampshire this year... everything went by post after all. Just waiting for the cheques to roll in now...

Following on from that MILES DAVIS box set, I've been downloading and compiling the 'missing' tracks that cover the transitional semi-electric period of late 1968 (purchased from the 7DIGITAL concern - iTUNES does NOT have the TUNES I want!). Albums issued in the late sixties/early seventies, such as "Filles de Kilimanjaro", "Directions" and "Water Babies", were HALF-AND-HALF - the tracks representing the classic Quintet DO appear on the "Complete Studio Sessions 1965-68" box set, but the other, in-betweeny, stuff with Chick Corea and Dave Holland (et al), was reissued in the "Complete In A Silent Way Sessions" set. It's one of my favourite periods of MILES... still coolly considered and impressionistic like the 'classic' sixties quintet, but not quite out-and-out "SPOOKY ELECTRIC VOODOO SPACE FUNK" like the early seventies bands.

Time for my SLEEP THERAPY session with the shrinkydink... We're calling it a day for now: we both agree that we've reached all the conclusions and made all the changes that I'm ever going to make! Besides... The SPRING is here! HAPPY HAPPY JOY JOY!

SKIVE-OFF AFTERNOON this week involved a stroll around Winchester. Visiting one of the many charity shops along the way, I found a copy of the second album by the French Canadian jig merchants LA BOTTINE SOURIANTE. I don't think it's quite as good as their first (perhaps the novelty has worn off?), but the cover is stunning - They've had themselves photoshopped into one of Peter Breughel's crowd scenes.

For just under £3 I also got a two-seedy collection of MAHLER's "Orchestral Songs" (the various "Ruckert-Lieder" collections in their expansive orchestral settings). The recording of "Das Lied Von Der Erde" is not GREAT, nor is that of the "Kindertotenlieder", but the second disk containing the "Lieder eines Fahrenden Gesellen" and "Der Knaben Wunderhorn" is worth a measly few quid of anyone's money!

Week from Monday 12th March 2012

Finally, I've arrived at a 'finished' version of "ENDLESS UNIVERSES OF STARS & MOUNTAINS" (Hooray!) and posted it live on both SoundCloud and my[_____], along with attendant links on the blog and Google Plus. I'm calling it a Pedantic Pedestrian track (rather than say CC:PP), but I have given full credit to both CC (for the JACK KEROUAC recitations) and to JOxFIELD PROJEx for the drum sample that holds the whole thing together. I wonder if they'll recognise themselves?

Paid a visit to the ghost town that is UNCLE WILLY's WEBSITE and took down the dead marquee banner that's been sat on the homepage since last Autumn, advertising an event long since done and dusted. If I don't do it, nobody else will...

Tuesday... I went for a nice "COUNTRY WALK" to Gosport and ended up walking even further than I'd planned. The GREEN route to Gosport takes me across the field to Crofton School, around the airfield to the new "Cherque Farm Freeway", then a bridle path that avoids the road before leaving it altogether and cutting across the Alder Valley Wildgrounds. All very nice and surprisingly quiet. Except that when I got to the part where the footpath follows the river, it was un-navigable. "RIVER DONE RAAAAAHZED UP!" The path was flooded. "Can't go that way, mate..." said a passing Council worker. So I doubled back and ended up going in a circle, rejoining the road only a couple of hundred yards on from where I'd left it. Ah well...

This afternoon I soaked my feet and it's back to the MILES DAVIS 'collating'...

Actually, I think I've overdone it with the walking this week, if such a thing is possible (and by the state of my feet by Friday morning, yes it is...). I've also had cause to walk into town a couple of times since then. I desperately need new boots.

It's been foggy for a couple of days around our little seaports. It's the kind of weather that the yanks seem to think we have ALL the time, if their films are anything to go by.

I published an update for my STYLISH scheme for GOOGLE+ and GMAIL, though it's probably, even now, far from 'definitive'. I still keep stumbling over text 'spans' that don't show up or glimpses of background picture where they shouldn't be...

Week from Monday 19th March 2012

I set myself the task of CATALOGUING all those thousands of pictures taken for the Sephrina website (and all the 'worked' versions used for the 'arty' stuff). I've tried a number of image organizer programmes, the best of which was probably Adobe Photoshop Album Starter Edition - only they don't make that one anymore, so you can't register the trial version! Serif's Photo Organizer does what it says on the tin, but I would like to find one that will output the sorted results as a catalogue file, maybe a PDF. I phoned Serif to register PhotoPlus, seeing as now I'm using Organizer as well, I'm getting nag-screens TWICE when I open the programme(s). The canny fellow at the other end of the line talked me into buying the latest PagePlus (X6), which, he assures me, has hundreds of new features including the ability to import Corel files directly. Bite the bullet... an extra £10 off and a free resources guide later... Ah! call it an early birthday present!

Spring is here... KHAKI SHORTS are on, there's REGGAE on the jukebox and some eerie SEA MISTS rolling in over the Island...

After all the kerfuffle in the meejah about the two-part "DIGITAL TV SWITCHOVER", this morning's re-scan for channels merely put them back exactly the same as they were a month ago...

Meanwhile back at my[_____], the user comments are still "NOW YOU SEE THEM NOW YOU DON'T"...

"...Only by someone else "liking" this status update (Thanks K!) is it now visible to ME. It's not on my own "Just Me" stream at all, I have to go to the (e.g.) "Top Friends" stream to read what the nice people have said about me!

I THOUGHT for a moment I spotted a trick to this - if you post a more recent Status Update after something vanishes, then the one before last also re-appears, but I see now that this is not always the 'rule'. Status Updates will disappear on the day they are posted (usually when someone comments on them) and then (maybe) come back days later, when they are no longer useful as "Updates" OR reflective of the "Status" of things.

You might receive a notification that says "So-and-so has commented on your status update"... but, by the time you read THAT, the said status update has disappeared, which means that you can't READ the comments (because the entry that they commented on isn't there when you click on the link).

Other social network sites (I realise that MySpace doesn't consider itself to be one of those anymore, but...) get these things right at the start BEFORE foisting anything on the public. MySpace maybe doesn't have the budget or resources at its disposal that Google does, but I've said it before - to get things THAT WILDLY WRONG takes a special kind of genius all of its own. In a logical system, "glitches" like that don't happen of their own accord, they have to be made to happen, either deliberately or by incompetence.

It used to work but then they broke it.

I fully expect this comment to disappear as well, but I'm taking this brief opportunity this morning for a good old-fashioned RANT!!!..."
I working on a version of the SLIDE SHOW script to go on Uncle Willy's site. Just the dummy code at this stage, because I don't actually have any content to go on it(!) Next week, I'm expecting to have a fresh frenzy of POWERPOINTing to do. Maybe the new SERIF toys will come in handy for that?

Week from Monday 26th March 2012

A day out in Cosham(!), brainstorming ideas for Uncle Willy's Powerpoint show. There was, of course, opportunity to visit the many charity shops in the area before hopping on the train home.

I finally got around to watching "AVATAR", which I fully expected to hate, given all the hype when it was first released. Being of a certain age, I'd taken one look at the "spectacular" CGI effects and all I saw was an animated version of a ROGER DEAN album cover. I'm not easily impressed by HOLLYWOOD BIG - a movie has to have an actual STORY, not just be a rollercoaster ride or a computer game (which it closely resembles - too much 'information' packed into every frame). But it wasn't THAT bad really... still not 'great', but not bad. I'll watch it again sometime. (By the way, did Roger Dean get any sort of credit for inspiring the landscapes? If not, the "homage" was blatant...)

After a flurry of activity (which has the ultimate aim of finding new ways to prize more money out of young cinema-goers), I went for an afternoon roaming around the charity shops and record emporia of BRIGHTON & HOVE, which is a LOT of shops to cover in a couple of hours. It's a lovely day, made even hotter by being in a city, so I guzzled a lot of water and Lucozade.

I found a copy of the latest BJORK album for £1.99 (in a charity shop), a PORCUPINE TREE for £2.99 (quite amazing) and RUSH's "Hold Your Fire" for £3.99 (I used to have this on CD before - why did I get rid of it?). I saw a lot of other nice things and could have spent a whole lot more!

I saw a buzzard (now ubiquitous over our towns and villages, no longer limited to the woods and moors) perched on the school gatepost...

I just turned the above rant into a proper blog (not on my[_____] itself, needless to say, it probably wouldn't stick). CC is trying (again) to persuade me to go Facebook.