Shopping For Books, Music and Movies

I generally tend to ask people for book or cd tokens for my birthdays and Christmas. It’s easier sometimes than trying to suggest a specific item that I would like. At time like that I seem to only be able to think of terribly expensive or obscure things that I want. So, having got some tokens for my birthday last week, and having some left over from Christmas, I finally got round to going shopping today. And what a lot I got! ๐Ÿ™‚

I had £95 worth of tokens to spend. Some were for Borders, some were for HMV and some were for Waterstones. Having looked around for the last couple of weeks at some of the things I might buy, I finally got round all three shops this morning and spent all but £2 worth of tokens. Here are the things I bought:

Three Brian Jaques Redwall books: Triss, Loamhedge, and Rakkety Tam. I’d got behind with the Redwall series. These will bring me up to date. Three Terry Goodkind books from the The Sword of Truth series which I only started last year: Blood of the Fold , Temple of the Winds, and Soul of the Fire. Two Neal Stephenson books: Quicksilver and The Confusion. These are the first two of the Baroque cycle which I have been waiting to read. The third, The System of the World, is still only available in hardback so I’ll wait to get that one.

The last two books I got were Black Coffee Blues by Henry Rollins: I love his music, but I’ve not read him before; and O’Reilly’s Extreme Programming Pocket Guide (I had to get one computer book didn’t I!)

I also bought some music CDs: Michael Nyman – The Piano, the Beginners Guide to Bollywood which is a 3CD set for a budget price, and Serge Gainsbourgs’s Initials Sg which is a great compilation of his work through the decades. Quite a mixed bunch that lot. I’m currently listening to the first of the Bollywood CD’s real vintage stuff from the 60’s and 70’s. I don’t understand a word if it, but it’s great!

Finally, I bought a couple of DVDs (I set out to get more, but I can get three books for the price of a DVD!)Akira – The Ultimate Collection. Jan had already bought me the second Akira graphic novel for my birthday. I also got Siouxsie and the Banshees Best of: Deluxe Sound and Vision which has a double audio CD with a DVD. I realised the other week that I no longer owned any Banshees stuff so I’m glad to get this even though it’s only a best of.

So, I’ve got a lot to entertain me for the next few weeks. I’ll try to review them as I get through them. I’ve missed doing reviews for the last 18 months.

Another Year

That’s another year nearly over. One in which I’ve had some major changes in my life. One which seemed to have flown by in retrospect (don’t they all?).
Next year will be another year of changes, with any luck the big changes will be the ones anticipated and planned for, like Jamie going to high school.
Of course, if everything that happened was expected and planned-for, life would be terribly boring. I just wouldn’t want to repeat some of the things that have happened this year.
I’m hoping to be a little more visible on line next year. I’m hoping to be much more organized and achieve some personal goals. I’m hoping that David Allenโ€™s Getting Things Done will help. I must lose the weight I’ve gained since stopping cycling. I really want to swim more and get better at it. I want to do something more active with music. I don’t know what yet, but I have recently missed being a (very small) part of the music industry. There are a million software things I want to do! There are skills I want to gain, and experiences I want to… experience!
I don’t really expect to achieve a tenth of what I would like, but next year I am determined to do some of them.

Legendary radio DJ John Peel dies

Yesterday, John Peel – longest serving Radio 1 DJ and musical hero of mine – died suddenly in Peru. The BBC have several stories:

He had a huge impact on my musical tastes, introducing me to a diverse range of music. A range which I still continue to enjoy today.
Back when I used to listen to his show religiously, I was in the fortunate position of being able to help, in my own small way, promote some of the bands he championed. I worked in a record shop in the late 70’s early 80’s, and used to try to stock anything that Peel played that I liked.
I went on to get involved in working with new and independent bands firstly on stage and promoting shows, and later in studios, and working with video and early computers!

His loss to the world of music his huge. But my deepest sympathy goes out to his wife and children.

CDDB Dump Updated

I’ve just updated my CDDB dump page. That page is quite literally a dump of the CDDB files created by my favourite CD player (Notify CD Player). This little player sits in the taskbar and plays CD’s. Quite simple like most of them. The nifty thing about this one I like so much is that it puts the details of the currently playing song in the title bar of whichever window has focus. I love that! It gets it’s details from and stores the data locally so it doesn’t need to go to the network again. This local data is the source of my CDDB dump page. A quick grep and a couple of regex search and replaces in epsilon and nearly 700 files are converted to an unordered list.
After sorting and de-duplicating (again in Epsilon), the list is down to about 628 CDs . There are probably another 10 or so duplicates in there and 15 or so that I don’t actually own but have borrowed at some point. Plus I have CDs which are not in the list (I can see at several to my left now!). If you want to see what they look like here is a photo of the collection I took a couple of months ago. It has grown since then!

DMOZ Editor

W00t! I have been accepted as an editor on the Open Directory Project (ODP) (AKA DMOZ).
My category is Arts: Music: Styles: Dance: Radio and I have already started editing: Clearing out a couple of dead links and approving some recommended ones.
I am particularly pleased with this news: I remember DMOZ starting up as a project way back when Netscape acquired it and thinking I really should get involved… Here I am 5 plus years later and I finally found the inspiration and motivation to actually do it!

Linkin Park

I got back from the Linkin Park concert earlier and I have to say the guys were fantastic! Truly awesome!

The support bands were OK, with the Lost Prophets sounding better than local band Kinesis. But Linkin Park blew them both away. The level of professionalism was a world apart. From the lighting and sound to the songs themselves but mostly I think it was the band’s presence on stage. And the songs. And Chester’s voice (which took two songs to really warm up but which was then outstanding). And Mike Shinoda strutting round the stage firing his rap lyrics scattergun stylee. And the songs. And the fantastic rapport with the audience. You knew these guys were really enjoying themselves. They had tons of feedback from the crowd. Mike joined the people on the pit at one point. Rob on drums worked hard all night and along with Brad and Pheonix provided the solid foundation to most of the songs all night. Joe was great too, ignoring the fact that he seemed to be wearing what appeared to be a green halloween mask all night!

All in all a thoroughly fantastic night. I can’t wait for the Live in Texas DVD. It won’t be the same as being there but maybe the next best thing.