Week from Monday 4th June 2012

This week we had a DOUBLE BANK HOLIDAY WEEKEND as enforced by Royal Proclamation. So naturally, it pissed down. A wonderful opportunity to stay in and AVOID watching television for once. (Think yourself lucky, Britain... If you had watched the Jubilee on CNN, you'd have spent several hours in the delightful company of the oily slug PIERS MORGAN. You get the TV you deserve!)

I had ample opportunity for some reading: I re-read BILL BRUFORD's autobiography and made a start on another CHARLAINE HARRIS. I did some more episodes of TWIN PEAKS. I pieced together a new musical number in the ongoing "HORRIPILATION" series. I finished writing the my[_____] "Coping with Profile 3.0" tutorial and posted it on Blogger. On BLOGGER, note you, and not on my[_____] itself, where it is impossible to quote chunks of HTML within your text without the robots rewriting it for you. Thus, you can't easily do HTML tutorials on my[_____], which, irony upon irony, negates any attempts to demonstrate how EASY it is to customise your own pages using HTML. my[_____] don't do any tutorials of their own, but they also seem determined to thwart any attempts by third-parties to fill the void.

Planet Earth witnessed one of those astronomical phenomena that only come along once in a lifetime, the TRANSIT OF VENUS across the face of old father Sun. But this is June in Little England, so we can't see the sun anyway. As someone who has several times been dragged up hills by his hippy friends to "see in the Solstice", I can tell you we DON'T GET sunrises in June. Still, lots of nice pictures of it on that internet they have now (mainly taken from India and around the Pacific Rim).

I found myself trying out SERIF MOVIEPLUS again, experimenting with another couple of "remixes" of CC's videoblog poetry recitals. Results are mixed (I got the aspect ratio wrong, for a start!), but they've gone down well with our 'public'. A 'proper' blog, explaining the HOW?s and WHY BOTHER?s will follow shortly.

Then suddenly...
HELLO!!! This webbybloggydiarythingy is now PUBLICLY VIEWABLE again! Hoorah! Anyone who has stumbled onto this page for the first time via my other pages at Blogger or MySpace - WELCOME! Those of you who were previously keen followers of my adventures (or lack thereof) from 2003 until I was forced to take the page offline last February - WELCOME BACK! You've got some catching-up to do :-)
Week from Monday 11th June 2012

IT WAS STARING ME IN THE FACE ALL ALONG... A little update. Back in February of this year, I severed ties with my previous internet service provider, whose charges went up and up as the standard of service they were supplying went down and down (and which was frequently 'down' altogether). I have switched to a TalkTalk (The Artists Formerly Know As Tiscali) phone-plus-broadband package and I am enjoying RELIABLE internet connections for the first time since... well, ever, actually. But... one of the few perks of the old service was that I had a few megabytes of online storage space which allowed me to host and post this poor excuse for a website online in a 'PUBLIC' place. I lost that (although, curiously, I still have use of my old email address).

I continued to keep a diary, although it was no longer readable by anyone else. Does It Really Matter? I'm well aware that this is the last word in VANITY PUBLISHING. I realise that this crap is of NO INTEREST WHATSOEVER to anyone except me and a couple of 'actual' friends. But I keep a diary anyway. Obsessively. I used to do it using good old-fashioned ink and paper. The MODERN CONVENIENCE of doing it in an expandable, flexible electronic format is a boon. If I can append it to my ONLINE PRESENCE so that the 'public' can see it... well, it's a nice bonus, but I won't lose sleep over it (I have lots of other things that do that!)

Earlier this year, I updated my operating system to the new-fangled WINDOZE 7. I also retained WINDOZE XP functionality by having that nifty DUAL BOOT SYSTEM they all talk about these days. Having done that, I found that my trusty dusty old copy of M****soft's FRONTPAGE, which I'd used as my HTML 'word processor' of choice, no longer worked on my pooter. So I installed this here FREE HTML EDITOR from the CoffeeCup concern and used that to edit my pages instead. It's far from 'WYSIWYG' but it's a very useful bit of kit.

It was a while before I took any notice of the 'adverts' that festooned the application, drawing attention to their FREE web hosting service. I'll have some of that, says I. Long story short, I now once again have somewhere 'LIVE' for my day-to-day wafflings to go, so [both of] my fans can read it again...

I'm not sure yet if I still use my favourite FTP program to upload files, or whether I shall adapt to a different 'CLOUD' way of working. I'm now typing this directly into the file on a distant server somewhere (whooo, isn't it clever what they can do nowadays? isn't science wonderful? etc etc). This of course means that the 'working' version I have on my hard-drive doesn't always match the one that is 'LIVE'. I will have to perform regular backups (for my own reassurance) and a lot of cutting 'n' pasting between the two. But I'll get used to it, I guess.

Saturday was spent COLLATING... A long, fruitful but thumbnumbing day spent emptying piles of paper out of boxes and then putting them back into boxes in a different order. I have managed to contact our SHELFY and we will be having our annual early-season cosmic wayzgoose on Wednesday. Parcels are parcelled, road tapes are compiled, maps have been googled, FUN may commence!

Shelfy has insisted on a goodly supply of DUB REGGAE for the journey (well, that's no big surprise!) and some PINK FAIRIES. Uh oh, sounds like he's going through one of his dumbass plod-rock phases. Could be worse though. Could be BLACK SABBATH. Maybe I should try to ween him onto PORCUPINE TREE or OPETH and knock some sense into him, tee hee hee...

In the meantime, I have to wrap myself in plastic and trudge off into the English weather to do a delivery... I got drenched to the skin. Note to self: That "WEATHERPROOF" jacket isn't...

DREAM DIARY... Doing murals for aliens... I had to paint a large picture of a spaceship, in the hope of meeting some beings called the Futarchs. I never did, as I simply couldn't get the exhaust flames to look right...

WEDNESDAY: THE DEVILRIES... Of course, in these jingo-lingo days, I believe we're supposed to call it "LOGISTICS"... The weather has been kind enough to let up for the day. It's cloudy and cold but the rain has stopped. This is the first time I've actually seen SHELFY for donkey's aeons, so I still held his present for LAST Xmas (a copy of 2011's ALBUM OF THE YEAR, "Witchazel"). With this in mind, I also gave him his birthday present for NEXT month (a CAN compilation disc)... First stop is TITCHFIELD (a mere ten minutes down the road) to drop off two boxes at the County Co-Ordinator's gaff. Then we're off! Load up the road tapes, make adjustments to the (ahem!) 'hi-fi', try to make it sound as good as it possibly can, and crank it up! I'd compiled three tapes especially for the day - ninety minutes of PORCUPINE TREE-related goodies, the obligatory ORB tape, and another containing a mixture of North African 'rai' and some Okinawan rave music. There are also the OLD STANDBIES with which no cosmic ramble would be complete, BLACK UHURU and 'something West African', in this case, SEKOUBA BAMBINO DIABATE... I tend to measure the passing of time in C90 durations. In quick succession we visit BISHOP'S WALTHAM, ROMSEY and the NEW FOREST before heading 'north' towards ANDOVER and WHITCHURCH... Another bit of Jingo-Lingo spotted on the back of a lorry - People who shred paper are now 'PRACTITIONERS IN DOCUMENT DECONSTRUCTION'... Lots for us to catch up on. Shelfy has pretty much abandoned MySpace altogether. I'm going to have a go at turning his discarded RABBIT SHOW REJECT profile into some kind of "ART STATEMENT". Meanwhile, although he runs scared of the interweb thing, he has been dabbling with some animation software. I updated him on what I had been doing with MoviePlus 'remixing' CC's vidblogs. He has been compiling GRIDLING ARCHIVE CDs for a couple of chums, while our disturbed chum THE TIN RAM started him off setting up a new website, before going off the rails again. I promise to help him fix it up, if he wants to keep something going. Ah but... sad but true... there are ALWAYS "What If We Did So-and-so...?" discussions on these occasions, which I KNOW from experience will never come to anything. I don't think we managed to get TOO lost this year, and we were able to avoid the dreaded BASINGSTOKE road system for once, although we did end up overshooting rather a long way south before finding a way to get from WHITCHURCH to HOOK... "The Bit In The Middle": ALTON, ALRESFORD and WINCHESTER were visited in that order, which was the reverse of how I had originally planned, but there is inevitably a bit of 'doubling back' involved whichever order you do things in... The sun has actually come out, it's getting warmer, I can remove a sweater or two. But the car (a Peugeot, don'tcha know) has started to overheat as well! Somewhere north of Winchester, we pull over to let it cool down and to empty bladders. We try to figure out which is the best way to get from Winchester to HAVANT. We are well ahead of schedule, so a more 'scenic' route would not be too damaging... back through Droxford, Wickham and various little places behind Portsdown Hill before swooping over the top of it, to take in HAVANT (much comment about its dreariness) and COSHAM and home in time for tea! The whole of Hampshire in the equivalent of four C90s and a bottle of orange squash!

I had a crack at Shelfy's MINIMALIST ART STATEMENT on his my[_____]. The idea was to have an ALL-WHITE page with a barely discernable "I DO NOT EXIST" taking up the wide column. Results were disappointing. I clearly didn't reckon with the tampering RoboMonkeys! I was only able to achieve the desired results by 'cheating', using the forbidden CSS. Without it, the profile is still covered with all those non-removable ugly elements that ruin the effect somewhat. This is how the public will see it. Besides all those round-cornered boxes (in various inappropriate shades of grey) that spoil the view of any non-Stylish my[_____], I discover that there are additional obstacles to ART. Although you can hide MOST of the modules on the profile page via the 'customize' editor, if you are a 'band', then the music player module has to stay, EVEN WHEN IT'S EMPTY! What's more, it has to stay JUST THERE! You can try to move the module around, but no! it'll just end up back there right in your face, at the top of the wide column. Disappointing, as I say...

I have the mother of all head colds (and a sore throat... and a chesty cough...) That'll teach me not to venture out in the English weather without a proper diving suit. It's clearly just a common cold. But I'm a TYPICAL BLOKE, so I fear the worst. Must be bronchitis, could be pleurisy, possibly pneumonic plague... whichever it is, it's almost certainly fatal.

Week from Monday 18th June 2012

I'm in love with the movie "MIRRORMASK", having just spent an afternoon watching it on Film 4 - produced by the Jim Henson Company, from a story by NEIL GAIMAN, jawdroppingly extraordinary visuals by DAVE McKEAN's Hourglass Studio (they did all those wonderfully surreal Bill Bruford sleeves), with a jazzy 'circus music' score written and/or arranged by IAIN BALLAMY and featuring assorted Loose Tubes alumni. "What's not to like?", as they say.

Taking it easy this week... sleeping entire days away and knocking back the glucose drinks like billyo. A belated HAPPY BLOOMSDAY for Saturday, by the way. "Kithogue! Salute!". I'm reading yet another volume of PG WODEHOUSE and revisiting the halcyon days of my festival-going youth with some naughty recordings of KNEBWORTH 1979 (ZEP and TODD). The weather's cheered up a bit, so I might venture out tomorrow to see what the world's up to...

KRAUTKRATE INDULGENCE! I went to Southampton to buy CAN's new box set "THE LOST TAPES". A delightful thing it is to behold. Churlish of me to complain at this early stage, but a ten-inch square box won't fit in any known storage system. Where the heck am I going to keep it? More on this, I'm sure, when I actually get around to LISTENING TO IT!

ALSO... a couple of impulse buys: I bought the DVD of the aforementioned "MIRRORMASK" because it was reasonably priced and I can quite see myself wanting to watch it repeatedly; there was a LED ZEPPELIN photo book available at the till for a mere three of your earth pounds, so I HAD to, didn't I?

Another semi-secret HTML project on the go during my off-hours - I'm designing an online registration form. I have no problem with the "DESIGNING" part. It's making it WORK that I'm having trouble with! My original idea, of sending the information directly to an email address, is not considered safe in this day and age and is not supported by certain browsers. I found a HTML test page on a tutorial site that confirms that my code is all present and correct. I just need to read up on CGI-bins and all that, between now and January...

I've only had time to listen to the first disc of "THE LOST TAPES", but I'm liking it so far! Like all CANmusik, it's probably best appreciated on headphones in a darkened room.

It's ISLE OF WIGHT FESTIVAL weekend. Hahaha, look at all the silly young folk wallowing in muck! You'd think that festival organisers in this country would learn from years of past experience and find more SUITABLE sites, perhaps on higher ground with adequate drainage, but NO! every year another mudbowl. With ticket prices now scraping the £200 mark, they'll make THEIR money anyway, especially as they have a strict NO REFUNDS 'policy' (even for those who only made it as far as a traffic roundabout this side of Newport), SO WHAT DO THEY CARE? "Build it and they will come..."

Week from Monday 25th June 2012

The weather continues to be stay-inside grotty, but there was a frightening amount of SPORT hogging the airwaves over the weekend (a mere taster for the horrors to come?), so I had to make my OWN entertainment. I had a bit of a TWIN PEAKS marathon; I watched BBC4's DAVID BOWIE-themed night (I enjoyed the documentaries, but I grew bored with the concert films after a couple of hours!); I watched "MIRRORMASK" with the directors commentary (I'll save all the 'making of...' footage for another time); I both read and watched a feast of WODEHOUSE (pick any disc at random from the "JEEVES & WOOSTER" box set and one is sure of a fun evening!). "Pour yourself another desperate measure...". Or one can always just lie back in HEADPHONELAND and immerse oneself in a disc of 'lost' CAN or remastered KCRIM.

Off to the library this morning for a little 'research'. The weather is quite nice now, probably baking the ferryloads of returning festival-goers into a terracotta army.

DREAM DIARY... A post-apocalyptic situation, with a commune living in a wing of a large abandoned gothic mansion house... Inevitably, the subject of sanitation came up - it was revealed that the 'night-soil man' had been merely dumping the waste in another part of the building! Someone came up with the brilliant idea of setting fire to that part of the house, with 'hilarious' consequences...

Down to little old GOZZY this morning, people to see, printing bills to pay (I wish someone would hurry up and pay ME!).

DENTAL APPOINTMENT on Thursday:- That's me "ALL CLEAR" for another six months! The downside of going to the dentist for me is that I always plump for an early morning appointment - I therefore go for a traipse into town BEFORE I can eat my breakfast. A bellyrumbling experience, but at least I don't have to spend ages picking cereals out of my teeth BEFORE I go!

I've tossed off another couple of impressionistic new tunes this week. The first, "JUGGLING AUSTRIANS" is a mad bit of 'CIRCUS MUSIC' created by cutting up some unfinished earlier pieces (some of which had the word "Austrians" in the title). I blame too many hours spent analysing "MIRRORMASK" for this one! The second tune is called "MAINZ DAGON" (I don't know why, it just sounded like a nice combination of words), and it's basically an improvised piano noodling to which I added some MIDI-fied string parts where suitable. It sounds quite oriental, with just a hint of low-budget Jarrett. As do all of my piano noodlings, really...