Monday, 19 March 2012

2 new tunes: CASIOM.T.B and WIlliam Gerard

William Gerard & CAS10 MTB: Its nice to have you home again at last .mp3
 Cas10 MTB & William Gerard: Oh My Dear God She.mp3

for more info read this:

Monday, 12 March 2012

120312 Spotified or Radio 6'd, not sure

Continuing  the debate as to whether to stop paying  for Spotify, I just can't decide. This weekend is a very good example of why it is difficult.

On  Friday evening  we were listening to the unbelievably good Tom Ravenscroft show, which has a couple more days before its taken off line. The thing  is that its difficult to keep up  with what you  are listening  too, often the radio can't be bothered to say, now the website, and if he does speak it can easily be a series of vowels and consonants that often make little sense: Inigo Ugarteburu Aeraberan being  a particularly good case in  point. Even now i am not sure if i am correct, bu this may have been a brilliant tune.

So, on  saturday night i found the track lise for the show and decided that the closest thing  i could find to what i had written down the night before (i had written 'beringi el berengar' about 3 minutes after he had said it as by then a  second or even third track had been played and i had no idea what he was referring  to.

Yes, i do sit there with a note pad to write down things we listen to and talk about.

Anyway, staring  at the set list  of fridays show i decided that Casiokids Kaskaden, Ben Butler & Mousepad was what i had liked, and tried to find it in  Spotify - and couldn't. Though i did find Casiokids by Kaskaden but thats a different thing. (And who knew Bernard BUtler was doing  interesting  things with Mousepad, AND as a big big fan of my casio and what can be got out of it i liked the idea of the tune Casiokids. But it wasn't that. So i wondered down through the set list, thinking  that was where i had been listening.

And thats when i found Sugar Minott Ghetto Youths. But i dodn't play that. What caught my eye was Sugar Minott Exit Music. Surely no?! But yes, digging  deeper into Spotify it turns out that there is an album called Radiodread, what a fantastic name. And what a fantastic album, well mainly anyway. According  to wiki Radiodread 'is a 2006 album by the Easy Star All-Stars (on  backing it seems), a collaboration of reggae and ska artists', so its not as varied as i had originally hoped (i had hoped it was completely different artists playing  any Radiohead song, when actually it turns out its OK Computer). But still worth getting  and listening  too. Actually, its just brilliant.

And they have an earler album called Dub  side of the Moon! Just makes me laugh even saying  that. Got to hear that too.

Anyway, i have to go back and continue relistening  to Tom Ravenscroft's show, i am beginning  to think the songs i am after are:
Inigo Ugarteburu — Aeraberan
A Giant Dog — Trash Can USA
Kromestar — Wooo
Groundislava — Creeper Shit
Trans Upper Egypt — Cleopatra
or maybe it was the The Haxan Cloak — Untitled - which i think is a 20 minute mix.
i dont know. More work needed.

So, the result is i need radio 6 and spotify. I need spotify to find the bands i hear on  radio 6, and to branch out to find more.

Whoops, sorry forgot another song that got played: The Beach Boys — Feel Flows. Reading  about that on  wiki too. Its surprising  late, 1971, but a lovely tune. I dont like like the Beach Boys, i bought Brian Wilson's Smile, and liked it a lot, yet somehow it feels wrong. But maybe Surfs up  is the album to actually listen too. Just a surprise i suppose.

DOSBox on Ubuntu ( and then Android!)

My son wants to play more computer games on  my computer. We have been talking  about getting  him a Raspberry Pi, i guess because there is nothing  like torturing  a child  by getting  them sort of what they want but making  them work for it - like programing their own games. What am i thinking  of? Its just cruel. We'll see.

In  the meantime, as Wine seems to be massive problems with Steam/Half Life 1 & 2,  in  a no sound and or no game sot of a way. I thougth that at least i should be able to get Doom 2 running.

Which considering  the Half Life failure of the last few weeks, went OK. I installed DOSBox (via Ubuntu program installer, so no problem there.)

Then i wandered the internet trying  to work out what to do next. Until i found this: OK lost the address. But the gist was.
  1. Make a folder in your home/username folder called dos, and inside that a folder called c 
  2. move the Doom2 files (from my old pc installation files circa 1998!) into the c folder:   home/username/dos/c/doom2
  3. Unhide your hidden Files in  your File Browser and look for .dosbox, and the file inside called something  like dosbox-0.73.conf, and open it.
  4. Then at the bottom, last line add::
# Lines in this section will be run at startup.

mount c /home/USERNAME/dos/c
# cd Doom2
# cd Genesys

If you  un-comment out:

cd Doom2

Then when you  start DOSBox, not only will it mount your fake c drive, but it will also start doom and, when you  close doom, exit dosbox.

Or, as i did, open  Menu Editor, add a new Item, say DOSBox Doom, with these properties: dosbox -c "cd Doom2" -c "DOOM2.EXE" -c "exit" i now have a item in  my Games menu that starts Doom.

Now i just have to persuade him that Doom 2 is great.

Sort of Update: i got so excited by this that i downloaded the free app aDosBox for my phone, having  copied the Doom2 fodler onto my phone - and it worked! Well almost, cant actually seem to work out how to control the game, but both doom and genecyst load.

So, back to Sour Dough and starting your own starter

I stopped making  sour dough bread a couple of years ago. Whcih i felt bad about, i dont like to kill things that are struggling  with life, that being  my sour dough starter that i got from a friend in  the Borders and who had, it turn, got his from France and could easily have been hundreds of years old. And i let it die, or worse threw it down the sink. Maybe it still lives somewhere in  the sewage pipes of Olde Edinburgh.

But, i was the only one who ate it, the kids were not impressed by it even though it makes wonderful toast. And bread and butter are not great for anyones waistline. Sadly, bread and butter ( and cheese and wine and salami and grapes) pretty well cover my favourite foods. I do love a picnic

But i decided a few weeks ago to start making  bread again - sour dough at that.

But i had no started so i read up  about making  my own here over at SoughDourHome. And generally by halfing  the measurements and kind of following  the instructions, and then really not botering  to follow the instructions - i made asour dough starter! And it works!

I have learnt to put in  less water, as it separates and smells rancid. I have learnt to feed it with teaspoons of whatever flour i can get my hands on - rye is especially good, but so is wholemeal.

And i do cold whatchamacallit - leaving  the bread to rise - overnight. It does make for very sour sour dough bread. (which i don't mind but is proving  even more unpopular. Oh, is the word 'proving' not rise?

So, now i am experimenting  with feeding  the sour dough with less water, to make it thicker, putting  more into the flour, but going  for a shorter rise, in  the hopes that this makes it less sour.

We shall see.

Update: Stopped Proving (first )rise after 8 hours and put in  cold oven set to 180 (fan oven) with a dish of water in  the bottom  of the oven. It hadn't risen a lot - maybe doubled in  size, but it held it together in  the oven and 25 minutes later i pulled it out and it looked lovely. This evening  both children asked for some, and then, miracle of miracles, aske for more. It is slightly less sour than my overnight risers. I probably should have cooked it longer.

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Spotified 120213 + 120206 - aargh lurgy

the problem with Nursery is that those first few terms just keeps piling  on  more and more illnesses. She brings them back and we all get them. We had this 3 years ago when our son first started. Its not exactly worse but we seem to get a week or so before the next when starts to mutate through the family.

Anyway, thats probably why i haven't written for a couple of weeks, that and laziness obviously.

Dr Who episode Blink and the one before with Jessica Hynes from Spaced in  the School in  1913 - what good episodes! (Watching  them with son and some trepidation)

Anyway. This whole Radio 6 thing has changed matters somewhat. What do we listen to - Spotify or Radio 6? Well mainly its been R6. Is that the end of Spotify? I don't know, yet. I'm  still paying  for it.

So heard anything  good. On  SPotify i have to say PVT song Window is great. And we listened to the old Grizzly Bear album Friend. And then went on  an orgy of RAdiohead. During  which i was informed that i can never compete with Thom  Yorke in  anything, even dancing. Actually it seems even Colin Greenwood can dance better than me, and thats based on  an unseen assumption! Still i rate higher than ed o'brien, fact (circa 1993 anyway).

On  the plus side my icecream (or rather Nigella Lawsons quick pomegranite icecream) is better than MAckays icecream. Probably becasue my ice cream is , well, cream. not so much the ice. Still very nice, can't make it too often though.

And Radio 6, well the downside is that you  cant go and pick stuff to listen to. Wow is Sigh's Transubstantiation Fear crazy! is it death speed metal queen 70's southern rock?

Oh and Gonjasufi's The Blame, very nice.

Thursday, 2 February 2012

Lovely Radio - Bad dream

Radio arrived! and it looks lovely and works!
and i keep trying to upload the images and failing. not sure what googles problems is there - they uploaded to facebook ok.

But this leads on  to another problem. Radio 6 is great! This was the whole point of having  DAB - to listen to R6. I just wasn't expecting  it to be quite so good.

But, do i still need spotify?

Well. Yesterday i was inspired to listen to an album of '80s 12 inches on  spotify, becasue of listening  to the Sugarhill gang on  R6. And as i speak i am listening  to The Jesus and Mary Chain: Psycho Candy, and loving  it. Its strange, i loved April Skies (from the 2nd album Darklands) at the time, and bought it. But never bothered to listen to the albums. Why? Well becasue of Duran Duran and The Cure.

You  see i bought the trully abominable Duran album Arena. A terrible live album - and i saw them live that year too at Wembley Arena. One of the worst gigs i have ever been to. And then i bought The Cure's Head on  the Door - which had 4 great songs and 6 terrible ones (or so i thought) which upset me a lot. So i told myself that i would not buy any more current albums.

Which (apart from 3  Shriekback albums ) i stuck to until 1989 when i bought The Beloved's Happiness, The Stone Roses and Welcome to the Beautiful South.

In  the mean time i got listening  to all sorts of 70s funk and disco.

And missed many great bands of the mid-eighties. If there were any, then i missed them.

Oh, and the dream: standing  on  a steeply rolling, lightly wooded  hill (somerset? the borders?) and the ground is covered with dead animals and birds. Though there are some sheep and lambs still alive, and there are a lot flies which keep going  in  my mouth. No zombies though which is a plus.

But, Misfits raised an  interesting  point a few weeks ago: zombies like live flesh, they eat an animal, the animal escapes, do you  then have zombie animals. Its bad enough having  zombie humans chasing  you, but what  if its cats too? and mice? and flies??? and fleas. Anyway, stop there.

UPDATE: 27/02/2012. Schmallenberg virus gets into news in  UK. Lambs dying  as midges spread virus in  south of England.

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

2120122 - spotified

Well, on  advice, and frankly it was becoming  obvious that Warp records supply an awful lot of good bands we spotified Warp and played whatever came up.

And by golly i think everyone needs to listen to:
  • PVT - window
  • Grizzly Bear - he hit me
it is slightly worrying  that somehow we missed the 2008 grizzly bear album Friend, considering  that we know half the songs already, but somehow we did - and it is very good.

But to continue on  with a playlist of goodness, some oldies:

  • Can - vitamin c
  • The Breeders - cannonball
  • Death i  Vegas - dirge
i know, a  bit of a 90s wallow there, but it has to be done sometimes.

I thik the art of a good playlist is not the amusing  juxtaposition Ramones/Sinatra, which just gets annoying, but a more relaxed and interesting 3-in-a-row idea, where you play, unbelieveably 3 or so in  a row from someone and then slide into something that follows neatly in, gradually taking  the listener to new lands and back.

I dont know what the order would be of the following: Lord Creator, Washed out, grizzly bear, st vincent, XX, Bon Iver, Beach House, Girls, Awkward I, PVT, Metronomy, metric, seefeel, tv on  the radio, broken social scene, twin sister, wild beasts, andrew bird, animal collective, bonobo, bowerbirds, cat power , devandra banhart, james blake, janis joplin (really, and i seem to have gone alphabetical now, so this must be older stuff), mogwai and violent femmes. at a guess. for a start. perhaps. keeping  the oldies to a minimum.

Monday, 16 January 2012

SPotify 16 01 12 - and others

Things got pretty bad before christmas. I was, once again, short of a book to read and sniffing  round my bookshelves trying  to rememebr what i had and hadn't read. I was left with 2 Bill Bryson  books and Mary Ann by Daphne du Maurier. Went with the latter, i just can't face Bill Bryson, no idea who he is or why he's famous.

But christmas hit and books came in  a flurry, Mary Ann made it to France, or maybe died, i wasn't paying  much attention at the end just counting  the pages. Now i'm reading  Aurorarama, and frankly any book with an airship on  the cover gets my vote. I knew i would love it from the first line. Nothing  too exciting (maybe something  will happen in  the sequel), but its good.

Music, well i got Marley's Kaya, from my mother ('its sort of jamaican folk music'). Which will always make me smile, has done since i first heard it in '83 while sleeping  on  the floor of a house in  Edinburgh for 9 months (thanks greville).

Actually, we did manage to fire up  Spotifyon  Hogmanay and again  begun  with Lord Creator, who interestingly our friend asked if he was modern/now, whcih goes to show something about LC or perhaps the sound of some current music. He then suggested Caada and Camille, both or whom were pretty good, and i can kind of see why he suggested them after the Lord.

Oh and we have to learn how to make gnochi and buy celery salt.

But to slip in  the exciting  news - i watched (hired) Troll Hunter last night which was just as good as i had hoped it would be. Its a handheld movie set up, just as good as Cloverfield, in  Norwegian, about, well believe it or not, a Troll hunter. A bit funnier than Cloverfield. Brilliant After the film we got out before that mind you  anything  would have seemed brilliant. I can't remember what it was called. Whats her face from the black swan and star wars was feeling  glum a lot. I cried, obviously, but still. I thought it was a horror movie at first, and then a pink dvd case film, and then i gave up  thinking  for a bit.

Its freezing up here, Snowdrops are finally appearing  and after 3 years of meaning  to do it i finally spread the conetnts of the 2 compost bins over the garden beds. Apples and plums for all!

Well there you  go, the start of a year, still listening  to the Bon  Iver album, and broken social scene.

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Debt Recovery Insurance is what??

I have been self-employed for 4 years now and the money i am owed by clients varies a lot. These last 12 months it has gone up - people seem slower to pay (though i have to admit when i start chasing  them a few point out that they have already paid, if i would just check my bank statements, and embarrassingly they are often right).

Currently the amount i am owed floats around the £5000-£6000 mark. I suppose i am in  the lucky position that most of the time i can, eventually, threaten to turn off theor website, not renew the domain name, generally stop offering  the service that they are not paying  for.

But other people are not in  such a strong position: once you  sell a bag of sweets on  credit  and those sweets are eaten, then you  can't really get them back, not without some fairly swift and unlikely surgery.

So, what are the options? The one i always hear about is The Small Claims Court. But when i do a search for Small Claims Court, nothing  comes up  that says 'i am your local small claims court'. In fact the only thing remotely like that is the .gov site/page: Making a court claim for money: an introduction. And its not very helpful:

Taking legal action should be a last resort if other options don’t work. First see if you can:
- speak or write to the person or organisation you’re in dispute with
- try an alternative to court, such as ‘mediation’

I am guessing  taht if you  are thinking  of the Small Claims Court then you  have already asked for your money - a few times.

There is a Guide: Recover debts owed to you - a guide. But again nothing  that particlularly helps you. A bit of advice, it points out that solicitors are expensive!

Where am i headed with this?

I build a site recently: Nexum Debt Recovery Insurance  (its not the most beautiful site i ever made, but its not a beautiful topic, in  fact its a really boring, don't ever want to really have to think about this topic). The gist being:
  1. You Buy Debt Recovery Insurance for £450pa
  2. You then get Nexum to chase your debts for you
  3. This does not involve scary thugs, but scary letters
  4. It may end up  in  court but you  get a discount??
And this is where i get a bit muddled (i designed it, i didn't write it!).

  1. There is some sort of limit for the amount of debt you  can chase - £4500.
    Is that per year, or at any one time?
  2. Scary letters? really - does that work?
  3. No thugs - promise?
  4. Court? How much will i have to pay? Do Nexum want it to end up  in  court so they make loadsamoney?
  5. Court? if i win does that mean that there are no fees - as the loser pays?
  6. Court? Do i always win?
  7. Court? Does that take a long time - years?
  8. Court? Do  i have to pay for costs until i win or is there no fee until the end, when there is no fee in  which case why mention fees?
There is also talk of some online system - but there are no screen shots or instructions, or online demos to try, so who knows what happens there.

Debt recovery is a bit of a minefield. In  a way i don't know what the problem is - beyond "X is being  slow to pay me". I don't know what my options are. I am very suspicious to do with anything that involves solicitors, but maybe more worried about something  that does not involve solicitors - what is a para legal and should you  give them money??

If Nexum Debt Solutions works, if you  pay £450 and get your debt recovered for you easily without using  heavies, maybe using  a nice online system, then that could be great.