Week from Monday 5th October 2015

The weather is getting more and more autumnal, chiz chiz... I find myself having to wrap up in plastic for the morning WALKIES these days. It certainly helps me work up a sweat. When I come in from a walk in the rain, my clothes are generally wetter on the INSIDE!

I picked up some more information about M!¢r0$ØfT's sneaky 'telemetry' ploy, both in the print media and on That Internet They Have Now. Having 'taught' UPDATE MANAGER to stop sending me spyware in the form of WINDOWS UPDATES, and switched off one or two things in the TASK SCHEDULER, I today turned my attention to the FIREWALL. I found a batch-file which SHOULD block out all the M!¢r0$ØfT sites with the word 'telemetry' in their name. I also scanned the pooter to see if M!¢r0$ØfT had downloaded any gigantic 'prefetch' files for the unwanted WINDOZE 10 behind my back. I'm pretty sure my various third-party tools would have informed me if they had, but just to make sure... I also learn that there is a rogue, corrupted "SECURITY UPDATE" that doesn't do anything except come back and annoy you (KB915597). It fails to install properly if you DO download it. If you then HIDE it from your 'wanted' list, it reappears a few days later. Good job I deal with all this crap manually now. Imagine 'trusting' M!¢r0$ØfT to do it for themselves automatically!?! Do they take us for fools!?

I'm also now in the habit of "asking around" on the internet whenever a new WINDOWS UPDATE appears, to find out if it's considered safe or not, lest I undo all the precautionary good work already done!

Well, I tried, I really did... I gave it a week, but "THE DAILY SHOW WITHOUT JON STEWART" just isn't that funny anymore! The current crop of 'correspondents' are pretty weak, and Jordan Klepper in particular is a bit irritating. I might tune in from time to time, or watch the weekly 'best of' compilation (as I used to with "THE COLBERT REPORT"), but it's no longer ESSENTIAL VIEWING four days a week, for which I'd specially installed the 'ModifyHeaders' plug-in on my browser in order to clandestinely tune in across the pond.
ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY... Today (10th October), I learnt of an extraordinary piece of cosmic alignment which proved to have universal implications etc etc and all that. "IN THE COURT OF THE CRIMSON KING: AN OBSERVATION BY KING CRIMSON" (to give it its full title) and Frank Zappa's "HOT RATS" both came out on the very same day in 1969. Exactly one year later, Pink Floyd's "ATOM HEART MOTHER" appeared in the shops.
Week from Monday 12th October 2015

I've just started reading William Henry Davies' "THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF A SUPER-TRAMP" again. The last time I read it was the very week that this here "AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF A CYBER-TRAMP" bloggydiarythingy started its online edition, way back in September of 2003. You may recall, it was in the pages of these particular memoirs that the word (and concept of) "GRIDLING" was first discovered by 'our glorious founders' Shelfy and Spot, thus providing a name for whatever it was that we used to do. The monopod vagabond Davies would never know that he was responsible for a lot more than just having 'time to stand and stare'...

Having returned from this morning's walkies, which passed through a couple of charity shops along the way, this afternoon's 'OFFICE AMBIENCE' is the first album by THE LITTLE WILLIES, a sort of WESTERN-SWING fun-project featuring NORAH JONES. Twangtastic! Yee and indeed, haw! Both kinds of music - country AND western! This'll tide me over till "NASHVILLE" returns!

This morning brought my return visit to the DENTIST to have my 'seed hole' refilled. I was well impressed by how 'local' the anaesthetic is these days. For once, I didn't leave the receptionist's desk speaking like the Elephant Man. The rest of my face (the non-drilled and filled part) was pretty much unaffected.

TASK O' THE DAY... I am building a 'virtual' WINDOZE XP so that my ancient and once trusty version of COREL DRAW can once again find a use. "Tonite We're Gonna Party Like It's 2002..." I've got as far as installing the VirtualBox and configuring it; I installed Windows XP itself and purged it of all useless crap; I hacked the registry so that XP doesn't keep nagging me to "Activate Windows within 30 days" and to get rid of those stupid 'helpful' speech balloons; I'm about to install the CorelDraw suite; Yet to happen - I will need to get it to interact with my other hardware for it to be truly useful (USB drives, printer etc.) It's a no-pressure, 'work in progress': I will simply do this today until I get bored with it! There's a lot of sitting around involved, waiting for stuff to install. I can always come back another day and keep tweaking everything until it DOES work.

Wallowing in the latest download album from the MARKUS REUTER concern, called "MUNDO NUEVO". He's giving it away as a free promo, but I slipped him five euros anyway! (Hey! Even if I can't make BANDCAMP work, I don't begrudge anyone else succeeding!) This album consists of Markus' soundscapes from the recent STICK MEN South American tour, which have then been handed over to his various chums to add their own improvs.

The VIRTUAL WINDOZE is up and running, although there is still one or two things it WON'T do... This morning, the virtual machine didn't launch at all and reported an error message. I discovered that this is a well-documented anomaly involving Avira Anti-Virus updates. Then it suddenly worked again. I also find that my Seagate Expansion drive (USB3-compatible, SSD) is simply too 'modern' for Windows XP to communicate with. But I've found a workaround for this by enabling DRAG & DROP between the Host and the Guest machines. If I need to revisit an old Corel file that lives on my work storage drive, I simply drag it onto XP in a window, before maximizing the desktop to full-screen, so that I can work with it from there. "Tonite We're Gonna Party Like It's 2002..." Oh! I already did that one!

Feeling smug about my problem-solving for the day, I treated myself to ONE O' ME DAZE OUT... I took the bus to Portsmouth and trawled all of the CHARITY SHOPS in North End and Fratton. I chanced upon Mr. and Mrs. VIRGIL C. TUNNICLIFFE in London Road, a couple of pepperpots if ever I did see! I picked up one or two items along the way (another missing RADIOHEAD album, the DVD of "THE LAST WALTZ") and I stopped myself from buying a rather nice leather jacket. I then hopped back on a bus, down to Gunwharf, for a goodly hour of browsing through more CD racks. I bought a rather comprehensive ISLEY BROTHERS anthology for little more than a fiver. The bus home was long and painful. My own fault. Instead of waiting for the faster X4, I got on a number 3, which goes to the hospital, seemingly visits everyone's house in Paulsgrove and Portchester, before getting wedged in the (ahem!) 'rush hour' traffic on the A27. An obnoxious[ly] young woman at the back of the bus shouts inanities (all "Y'a'n'a'w'a'mean?" and "Innit?") into a hands-free dongle for the ENTIRE two hours it took. And I couldn't help noticing that the computerised ladyvoice that announces the bus-stops has developed something of a stutter of late...

Week from Monday 19th October 2015

SEASONAL ADJUSTMENT... With the mornings getting (or rather staying) darker, I'm finding it increasingly difficult to wake up with my customary EARLY. In fact, I've overslept until close to nine, on at least two mornings out of the last five. That's half the day gone already!

The EVENT CINEMA ASSOCIATION's Conference kicked off OopDzatLoondin, so I spent the morning on REMOTE TWITTER DUTY on behalf of Uncle Willy, who is onstage chatting at this very moment, using long words like "ISOCHRONOUS". But a lot of the tweeters seem more obsessed with the range of sweeties and exotic snacks available in the foyer!

...of course, this morning I have another excuse for not waking up. I was up half the night bingewatching all three "BACK TO THE FUTURE" movies. Yesterday was 'officially' declared [hashtag!] "Back To The Future Day", seeing as how OCTOBER 21st 2015 was one of the Futures that the deLorean went Back To in the second movie. A sort of Bloomsday for sci-fi nerds everywhere! Nothing defines an era better than how it envisioned 'the future'. So in the mid-eighties, it was expected that, by the time another thirty years had elapsed, we'd all have flying cars, trash-gobbling cold-fusion reactors, self-lacing shoes and self-cleaning clothes and there'd be theatre-sized holograms that worked in the daylight. AND WHERE'S MY HOVERBOARD THEN, EH?

DREAM DIARY... I found a strange FRETLESS BASS instrument in a junk shop. It was electric and elegantly solid-bodied, but it had a really long and narrow neck like a bouzouki, and flat (elliptical) ribbon-like 'strings' with very little action, requiring no finger effort at all. Naturally, I was a virtuoso on this beast within five minutes of picking it up... At some point in the night, I also found myself singing Phil Collins songs at a karaoke bar...

Earlier in the week, our phone company and internet provider TalkTalk were the victims of MALICIOUS HACKERY, when their main website was allegedly hit with a DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) attack. Which is, I admit, a little disturbing. But not nearly as much as the screaming lunatic "WE'RE ALL GOING TO DIE AT THE HANDS OF JOHNNY FOREIGNER"-merchants in the media would have us believe. PERSPECTIVE: The website has been closed down as a precautionary measure, pending an investigation by the Cyber Police and it remains to be seen if any ACTUAL damage was done (other than that to TalkTalk's reputation, of course)... We shall wait and see, with the patience of the zen masters we are not. Meanwhile though, the whole kerfuffle provides the Daily Mail and their ilk with another front-page scare story to keep the populace crapping themselves...

By the early hours of Sunday morning, the TalkTalk concern had confirmed that "THE THREAT" was nowhere near as hazardous as first reported, with all the "thank you for your patience" that goes with it. Having said that, the website is still down... but I have MY OWN SUNDAY SECURITY ROUTINE to attend to:-
* Purge my online and offline history (manually!)
* Check WINDOWS UPDATES (manually!!)
* Scan the drives for trojans and spyware with SPYBOT SEARCH & DESTROY
* Scan the drives for adware etc. with MALWAREBYTES ANTI-MALWARE
* Run a deep-level scan for everything malicious with AVIRA ANTI-VIRUS
* Clean out accumulated rubbish with ASHAMPOO WIN-OPTIMIZER
* Double check for registry clutter with an old version of SYSTEM MECHANIC
...and I do all that EVERY Sunday, folks!
...and while this is going on, I watch an entire week's-worth of television via the magic of "SAVE-IT-FOR-LATER". All the usual cop shows from America and Scandinavia, but also... This week's particular treat was a BBC Four documentary about British PSYCHEDELIA (or "CYCLE DEALER" as it's forever known around these parts), featuring some never-before-seen (not by me, anyway) clips of the wacky INCREDIBLE STRING BAND and a mangled tape of THE PINK FLOYD on "Top Of The Pops" miming to "See Emily Play". I still can't handle the MOODY BLUES though. One or two choice tunes aside, there's something about them that seems over-contrived and entirely unconvincing. It's probably the Jason King sideys and 'taches that do it. The short clip of them trying to do a 'serious' 'meditational' number, complete with hopeless sitar and tabla and 'om' chants, was so ridiculously wide-of-the-mark it was Spinal Tap-like! But it's also noteworthy that so much of this colourful period of musical history was actually in black and white!

Week from Monday 26th October 2015

I went for my Monday morning walk into town, to pay some money into the bank... I found a rather cute little "Jali" box on the market ("ethically produced and individually carved from sustainable seesham wood") to keep incense sticks in. Which was nice. (Keeping alive the prevailing 'CYCLE DEALER' atmosphere of the weekend... burning joss-sticks and listening to "Chelsea Girl" this morning. What a ruddy hippo!?!)

DREAM DIARY... The karaoke evening has moved on, and now I'm singing some Led Zeppelin (a far less realistic scenario, I'm sure you'll agree!)

This week's morning WALKIES all have PURPOSE: to the bank; to the printers; to the health centre; to the chemist... But I think I'm going to treat myself to "A JOURNEY" later in the week.

Friday... It's not a terribly nice day, but I'm off to the SEASIDE! (Actually, come to think of it, considering all the times I've hopped on a train to BRIGHTON, I've rarely seen the sea when I get there! My explorations mainly happen around the Lanes and Laines.)

I have a £5 HMV discount voucher burning a hole in my pocket. Metaphorically speaking - It's not an actual, tangible voucher, nor does it exist in a pocket. It is merely a transaction on one of those computers they have nowadays. But it does count towards the new reissue/remix of King Crimson's "THRAK" album. For this period of KCrimHistory, I don't particularly crave the full hundred-quid-plus boxed experience. The regular 'definitive' CD/DVD edition will do for me. Oh! and there's a 'new' LOOSE TUBES album as well.

I hit the secondhand record emporia as well, of course. I ticked some more items off my ever-expanding WANTED LIST (CD-upgraded a WEATHER REPORT and a PETER GABRIEL or two). But the fun is in the BROWSING...

The murky weather has brought the little DEER[S] out to play, in the open fields between Emsworth and Chichester. There's quite a few EGRETS and other waders on the Arun marshes ("Egrets, I've had a few...") and the odd PHEASANT or two...
The new remastering of "THRAK" is a revelation! I have to confess, I didn't really think THAT highly of the album the first time around. I thought the Real World Studios [over]production job sounded far too glossy in comparison with the "VROOOM" EP that preceded it. This was where Adrian Belew's innate Beatle-tendencies finally bubbled to the surface of a King Crimson record, instead of staying on his solo albums where they belong. Since the album's release, several of the songs have been further dulled by perfunctory live versions, first by the noughties King Crimson and then by the Crimson ProjeKCt. Whatever life there was in the songs in the first place had been sucked dry through overfamiliarity. With so many others to choose from, "THRAK" was never going to be the disc I would turn to for my 'MOMENT OF CRIM'. But Jakko has not so much remixed "THRAK" as he has totally RE-IMAGINED it! It's a whole fresh NEW album. After twenty years, "THRAK" finally sounds EXCITING to listen to!