Week from Monday 2nd November 2015

Early morning start, doing some NEWS updates for Uncle Willy, newly-inducted into SMPTE. They live by a code, y'know. Then it's off to Gozzy to visit the OPTICIANS. As PRINCE FAR-I once growled, "THAH ROOORD IS SOO FAGGY FAGGEH..." this morning (They've even grounded flights out of Eastleigh Airport).

This morning (Wednesday) I'm feeling knackered... and I think I've caught a chill on my chest, from spending much of yesterday pushing trolley-loads of boxes up and down the High Street in the rain. I don't feel like going for today's walk, but I convince myself that I did twice my share yesterday, "so that's alright then..."

Tonight, Film4 are showing the silent classic "METROPOLIS". I've often wondered what it might be like with a Miles Davis GRUNGY-ELECTRIC-SPACE-VOODOO-JAZZ soundtrack. Now's my chance to try it and find out! (I'm reminded of that URBAN MYTH that was going around in the early seventies, which claimed that "DARK SIDE OF THE MOON" perfectly synchronizes with "THE WIZARD OF OZ". I tried it once. It didn't.)

I did go for the WALKIES this morning, just into town and back. But I begrudgingly wore several layers of quilted clothing to keep the bronchitis at bay, thus requiring that I bathe away the accumulated perspiration once I got home again! As BRIAN WILSON said "I just wasn't made for these times..." (or this grotty weather!) Oh I say! PROGZILLA RADIO is playing a lengthy track by EGG... and now something from NICO's "The Marble Index"... They must have seen me coming!

I've got a Christmas poster to do - TIME TO BREAK OUT THE FAKE SNOW!!!

Week from Monday 9th November 2015

THE POWER OF SUGGESTION that lives in Twitter... My listening habits for the day are sometimes determined by passing comments on the social pages. This morning, CARLA BLEY was mentioned in dispatches, so that was enough to compell me to pull out some of her music just as soon as I returned from my walkies. First up on the jukebox was "Fleur Carnivore" by THE BIG CARLA BLEY BAND, followed by her trio album with ANDY SHEPPARD and STEVE SWALLOW, "Songs With Legs"...

Tuesday morning, I went down to Gozzy to collect my swanky new SPECTACLES. This afternoon, when I take my "COUNTDOWN BREAK", it immediately becomes apparent that I've never seen my HD telly channels in actual HIGH-DEFINITION until now!

Wednesday... An unscheduled extra visit to Gozzy to get some flyers printed for Uncle Willy, then I hopped on a train to Cosham to deliver them and to discuss some other projects. Afterwards, I did Cosham's famous "WALK O' THE MANY CHARITY SHOPS"... but when I got to the station, I realised (just in time) that I'd left my laptop's power adaptor behind at Oor Wully's, so I had to turn back again... Ah well! it's an extra walk innit...?

...Because on Thursday... I don't think there will be time to go WALKIES today! I have a series of complex POWERPOINT SLIDES to do, to further explain how Event Cinema works. It was supposed to be a single drawing, but there's far to much data to fit on one ILYUSTRAZIAN.

On Friday, I was up obscenely early doing some PROBLEM SOLVING... well, up to a point! I'd already succeeded in getting my old WINDOZE XP running in a Virtualbox via my W7 workstation (I'm using that one to run Ye Anciente CorelDRAW). Once I'd ironed out the wrinkles inherent in XP itself, I think I've made it USEFUL again. Now I thought I'd have a go at getting a virtual XP to run on Linux as well, so that I can use POWERPOINT on the laptop. But under Linux it's nowhere near as smooth, in fact it's downright QUIRKY! The virtual Windoze takes an age to load up and shut down... and I've had to trick it into exchanging data with my other drives by calling LinuxMint's desktop a 'shared' folder. But it still doesn't recognise any USB devices (or even the optical drive half the time)! DRAGGING & DROPPING of biggish files between platforms causes VBox to freeze up, something that the other (XP-on-W7) installation handles with ease. So it remains to be seen if Virtualbox on Linux can be used for anything serious... yet another quick visit to Gozzy to get some Xmas posters printed... then I think I might take a siesta!

Week from Monday 16th November 2015

...speaking of "SIESTA"... Cometh that time of year when I choose a BOX-SET (or two) to buy myself for THAT XMAS THEY HAVE NOW.

There is (yet another) MILES DAVIS box coming out. This one gathers together all of the late albums recorded for Warner Brothers (including, in no particular order, the aforementioned "SIESTA" soundtrack, "TUTU" and "AMANDLA").

And then there's "DOO-BOP". I'm fairly certain that, even once I own it on a spanking new CD, I still won't want to listen to THAT very often. As a pasty white middle-aged suburb-dweller, I could never claim to be its target demographic. To the best of my recollection, I have never once had the urge to utter the phrase "FO'SHIZZLE YO", whatever it might mean.

(I hope I'm not being racist. I am merely pointing out, in my usual flippant manner, that HIP-HOP is a musical genre to which I find it impossible to form any sort of cultural or emotional attachment. I JUST DON'T GET IT. Just for the record, I have an equal aversion to the nineteenth-century light operetta stylings of Messrs GILBERT & SULLIVAN.)

HIP-HOP doesn't SPEAK to me, it wasn't MEANT for me, so I'm no expert. Yet even I can hear that "DOO-BOP" is not only a fairly feeble MILES DAVIS album, it doesn't particularly stand up as an shining example of HIP-HOP either. The rapping is piss-poor; The sampling is badly done; Rhythmically, it's trite. It hasn't dated at all well - in fact, it was already sounding a bit "LAST YEAR'S THING" when it came out originally! A sort of "Tesco's Guide to '80s Urban Music" to be filed under "HISTORICAL INTEREST ONLY"... I'm still not sure why Miles allowed his name to be attached to this stinker! Someone at the Warner's marketing department obviously thought it would be a sound commercial idea. Miles here becomes a 'featured guest soloist' on his own album (in much the same way as Carlos was on all those so-called "SANTANA" albums throughout the '90s and '00s). A sad way to see out a long and illustrious career.

But I look forward to revisiting the rather cool soundtrack albums and hearing the live stuff that I don't already have elsewhere. THAT is how Miles' latter years should be remembered.

The other 'ESSENTIAL' release this month (as Sid Smith has just reminded me) is a four-CD collection of WEATHER REPORT live recordings, dating from the ZAWINUL/SHORTER/PASTORIUS/ERSKINE years. This was probably their most commercially-lucrative period and I have fond memories of seeing this line-up play for nearly three hours at the Brighton Dome in 1980. It's probably not as musically 'OUT THERE' as their earlier work, but they're AN ADVENTURE FOR THE EARS ne'ertheless.
Helen Pluckrose • 'X causes harm' does not mean 'Only X causes harm', 'X causes only harm' or 'All proponents of X cause harm'.
pedantic pedestrian • "JE SUIS {{{rien}}}" has very quickly become as empty a platitude as "KEEP CALM AND {{{write something trite in a Gill Sans font}}}"
Today, the most popular flavours of LINUX MINT have had a fresh upgrade... the new LINUX MINT 17.3 is known as "ROSA". Hello, Rosa! I did the ol' sudo apt-get dist-upgrade routine and everything seemed to go jolly smoothly this time around. No problems encountered so far. I've only noticed a couple of changes to the system menu layout... some of the 'boxed' applications might have had an update as well... and I might be imagining it, but I think even my virtual Windows is a LITTLE bit faster at loading!

On Thursday, I went for a walk in the rain... and ended up on a bus to Southampton, for further bouts of seemingly determined but actually aimless wandering (or 'SNUDGING', as I've just been informed it's called via That Twitter). I went looking for a book about the VULCAN, to no avail, and ended up with yet another MILES DAVIS box set!

It's Sunday evening and I'm laying here in the dark, absorbing the last two editions of Sid Smith's "PODCASTS FROM THE YELLOW ROOM"... Hearing two lengthy chunks of the WEATHER REPORT album ALMOST had me wanting to open my Xmas prezzies early! And what about that big band 'mash-up' of Stravinsky's "FIREBIRD" with Mahavishnu's "BIRDS OF FIRE", eh? I totally agree, Sid, it WAS 'bonkers'! But someone had to do it!

Week from Monday 23rd November 2015

With the 'now-it's-on-now-it's-off' TRAINING COURSE finally happening at the end of this week, I'm doing a number of little preparatory jobettes for UNCLE WILLY & CO... that meant I didn't get to take my WALKIES until what you might term 'LUNCH TIME'. With all these MILES DAVIS box-sets piling up on the shelf, I now find myself with quite a few 'swapsies' in my collection... so today I took a bagful o' Miles duplicates to the Oxfam Music & Bookshop.

This morning, I'm downloading the ISO file for "LINUX AV", a Linux operating system that comes fully bundled with loads of audio creation software. As it's Linux (i.e. FREE!) I thought I'd give it a go... I can at least run it from the 'live' DVD to see if it suits my musical sensibilities, maybe install it in a VirtualBox if I find I want to pursue it further. It always gets the creative juices flowing for a while when one tries out 'NEW KIT'! Mind you, I was ALMOST put off the whole thing when I took a cursory glance at the manual and saw that the author is an absolute fiend for the MISPLACED APOSTROPHE. Boffins, eh? C'uh!

It's a tad overwhelming at first, but now I've got the live disk, I might have a 'play' sometime. It almost TOO comprehensive really, there's a ridiculous amount of 'gear' bundled with the distro! Ideally, it's the sort of thing one might have on a dedicated laptop, sat atop a MIDI keyboard in a LIVE-ON-STAGE situation... like all the big grown-up proper musicians have these days. I didn't have a lot of luck getting it run in VirtualBox though. (I probably need to read up on setting up Linux partitions, especially 'virtual' ones. Looks like I've been spoilt using LinuxMint, as that usually takes care of such things for you when you install it. None of this grubby grubbing about with GRUBs and GNOMEs!)

Ah well! Walkies time! This morning, I have to go and collect my prescription...

The album "TERRA NOSTRA", by SAVINA YANNATOU & PRIMAVERA EN SALONICA, is definitely 'WORLD' music, in that I don't know what in the 'WORLD' to classify it as! Is it 'folk'? Is it 'jazz' or 'contemporary classical' (If not, what's it doing on ECM?)? Does it slot alongside Dead Can Dance... or Clannad...? I've decided the answer is "ALL OF THE ABOVE". You can't even pin 'em down to one locale, because, although the musicians are Greek, they play arrangements of tunes from all over the show! It's all universally lovely!

Extremely brisk morning YOMP AROUND THE BLOCK... then I'm monitoring THAT TWITTER, following what is going on (and commented upon) at the BFI Southbank today... Nothing so far... Let's 'WATCH THE DETECTIVES' instead... and write a longish diatribe about the woeful plastic drum sounds on "The ConstruKCtion of Light".

I went back to the opticians because I'm having second thoughts about those varifocals they gave me. I've decided that I definitely need two separate pairs of dedicated eyeware (one for close-ups and computers, one for watching telly).

Week from Monday 30th November 2015

Blimey! That's hard going... I only have time for a short walk around the block today, but there is a high wind a-blowing. Walking into it requires one to assume the posture of a well-known cakky French mime artist.

Today, I'm transcribing audio recordings of a certain large Californian gentleman talking about the differences between InterOP and SMPTE Digital Cinema Packages. The soundclips were made to laptop over Uncle Willy's kitchen table, so throughout the recording you can clearly hear him eating biscuits and the occasional sounds of the cats wanting to join in.

On Tuesday, everyone was panicking because the LINUX MINT homepage was 'DOWN'. It was just a routine server maintenance... but with all these 'CYBER ATTACKS' They Have Now, it doesn't take much to set the online communities all a-twitter (or even to plus their googles). Spookily enough, this very BLOGGYDIARYWOTSIT was offline for a couple of hours yesterday morning as well. These Things Happen.

Well, sod Christmas, basically... I'm already planning stuff for 2016! I've just bought my ticket to see SOFT MACHINE at Southampton's bijou The Talking Heads, next March! The band currently consists of JOHN ETHERIDGE, JOHN MARSHALL, ROY BABBINGTON and THEO TRAVIS (keeping alive the 'LEGACY' of the last couple of years and beyond). Looking forward to a jazztastic evening in the Spring!

I had to change my ANTIVIRUS software yet again... I was using AVIRA, but that has a habit of stopping VIRTUALBOX 'machines' from working. A flurry around the forums revealed that if there are error messages when you try to use Virtualbox, chances are it is your antivirus software that is causing it - especially, as it turns out, if you are using Avira or certain versions of the horrid AVG. Once I uninstalled Avira, bingo! the error messages all disappeared and my virtual machines launched successfully. I've now gone back to using AVAST ANTIVIRUS again, downloading the latest version and installing it 'clean'... But with all that  error in supR3HardNtChildWaitFor & supR3HardenedWinVerifyProcess  gibberish popping up in an unpredictable manner for no apparent reason (requiring a reboot before you can get your virtual machines to 'go'), Virtualbox is certainly a temperamental beastie and no mistake.

The reason I was fiddling with VIRTUALBOX in the first place was so that I could try out the new CINNAMON version of LINUX MINT (17.3 ROSA) which launched today. Way back in the day, when I first 'discovered' Linux Mint, like everyone else I was attracted to Cinnamon's 'looks'... but once I tried working with it, I found that it was a bit unstable. The desktop graphics kept behaving in strange ways for no obvious reason, like icons disappearing or the panel going mad. So I tried the MATE flavour instead and that was far more suitable for my needs. I've stayed with it ever since. But everyone still raves about Cinnamon on the Community pages, so I thought I'd try it out for myself, see how things have improved. LET'S SEE WHAT ALL THE FUSS IS ABOUT! I didn't want to disrupt my existing Linux installation, so running it in Virtualbox on Windoze seems to be a good idea. First impressions: it's weird seeing the default Mint-X green colour scheme again after all this time (Oh! How dull!) and I still don't like that ugly black menu...