New year, new tries

(that’s a rugby pun on the ‘New Year, New Goals’ meme. I suppose I could have taken a cricket line and put ‘New Year, New Runs’, but that could so easily have been misunderstood, from a diarrhetic point of view)

As one incontinent year steps aside, a screaming, squawling (and equally incontinent) year is given birth on the doorstep.

And what a year the last 12 months have been.

Left a terrible job. Went freelance. Got offered (accepted) a fantastic job. Almost but not quite bought a narrowboat. Rediscovered Redit (which amuses and amazes in equal measures). Had an unusual (and expensive) ‘off’ from the Ninja. Had a fabulous holiday. Got the writing bug again; I’m now well in to the second novel. And above (and below) all these things, we stayed connected as a family.

Changes beckon from the fledgling New Year – changes we know about. And likely there will be some changes we don’t know of yet.

But I’m looking forward to 2019. I hope you are too. I hope that 2019 brings you much goodness, prosperity, and no hard times.

Though the desperately talentless fuckwits we have elected to Parliament will do their very best to make sure the last sentiment doesn’t occur.

In your ears

We have jumped to the digital/streaming music app world.

After extensive research (critically viewing three very well-respected tech websites), we decided on Spotify.

And then Sam forwarded me a special offer: Three months’ individual subscription to Spotify for 0.99p.

That’s not too shabby.

At the end of the three-month special offer (if we still like Spotify) I will convert what we have into a family account, then we won’t pollute each other’s musical choices.

There’s a downside: my Synology NAS has no API with any online/streaming service. I’m sure it’ll come in time, and it will probably come to Spotify first (Spotify being the most tech-agnostic streaming service).

I suppose the upside is that we suddenly have a path of audio hardware to inspect and procure.

Oh well. Into every life…

A day-ish of geek

Today I upgraded the .php of every single website I host to v7.2.12.

Then I redesigned the podcast website (the old design relies on some tech that has been superseded).

If I had another few hours, I would have unpacked the studio equipment and put out a podcast. Because it’s only been three years since the last show.

I also managed to squeeze in a quick trip out on the Ninja.

That was fun too.

Music

I’ve finished importing every piece of (non-vinyl) music into my iTunes library.

Though ‘iTunes’ may soon become a thing of the past, as the trusty iPod Classic is so despised by Apple they stopped making them several years ago.

Fortunately the market is awash with excellent quality portable music players, and the new devices are not tied to the same small-scale digital formats that Applie tied us to; can quite happily cope with the better quality .flac format.

I’ve kept the source audio files, so I can upgrade from .mp3 to .flac whenever I want (when my iPod Classic inevitably dies, probably).

I don’t buy music from iTunes; haven’t done so for many years – around the time Apple introduced the ridiculous, and short-lived DRM, on behalf of a stupidly short-sighted music industry demand.

Anyway.

After today’s efforts my non-vinyl music library now stands at 9,451 songs which, according to the iTunes GUI, will take me 26d 9h 58m and 45s to listen to…

If I could stay awake for 26 24-hour days.

Or 52 12-hour days.

But that’s nearly two months?

Blimey.

On a bed of roses

Not the chocolates, obv.

We have a new bed. Have I mentioned that we have a new bed?

No?

Well we do. It’s a bed. And it’s new.

What started out as a conversation (and indeed a decision) to replace the mattress very quickly turned into a ‘throw the bed away and get a new one’.

And then the conversation rapidly became ‘what size shall we go for?’

And then fond memories of the beds we have slept in, in several hotels, played with our heartstrings and suddenly we found that we had bought a Superking-sized bed.

Which, from a standard double, is a heck of a jump.

Actually it’s a heck of a jump up into the new bed, frankly.

We went for a firm mattress with a topper (not a hat) and as a direct result of new bed, new mattress, new topper, new bed-linen, new pillows (yes, we went all the way), but as a direct result of all these things, the quality of my sleep has dramatically improved.

Seven hours a night is common, where once three or four hours was the norm.

Eight hours is regularly achieved.

And this weekend I noticed up my first nine hour doze. If a doze can actually be nine hours of Zzzzzzzzzzzz.

Which I think it can.

BTW, did I mention that we’ve got a new bed?

Films, TV. Stuff to watch (or not)

I want to watch ‘Lucy’ again but it’s 18.30 on Sunday and there will be an influx of small children soon. And ‘Lucy’ isn’t a family film.

So instead, we’re watching ‘Oblivion’. Again.

It’s a good film.

Tom Cruise does what Tom Cruise does, and Andrea Riseborough shows talent by the yard (just watch her in ‘Welcome to the Punch’).

Anyway, back to ‘Lucy’.

It’s about time Luc Beson wrote and produced something else that good.

I hope ‘Lucy 2’ (currently in writing production) will be that thing.

Anyway, to the reason for this meander…

I was mucking out Prem this evening when a snippet of a song popped into my head. Just a refrain, not even a full melodic phrase.

A half-remembered portion of a tune, but it was hypnotic. Three bars of hypnotism. And no idea of the name.

I knew I knew it. But I couldn’t recall it. And not the title.

Gah! So frustrating.

Back home from the world of smelly pony and hay and straw and rugs and grooming and picking out wet hooves, I set myself a-googling.

I don’t remember what the successful search terms were, I only remember that Google didn’t give me the result, YouTube did.

It was a French track from the closing credits of ‘Lucy’.

Anyway (again).

We watched Ep1 of S1 of The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina earlier.

It’s a kind of approximate reimagining of the whole Sabrina The Teenage Witch, except it isn’t. But it is. Sortov.

It’s awful. I mean it’s really really really bad.

The writing is shocking, the acting is dubious, the cinematography is horrible, and the incidental music is irritating beyond description.

I can’t think of a single good thing to say about it.

Except that one of the cast is Jasper Carrot’s daughter.

It really is awful.

On thinking about being unfaithful

Commitment.

Does it fade?

Does it get stale?

Do we get tired of the ‘same old thing’ (even if that ‘same old thing’ is what used to take our breath away and give us butterflies in our excited little tummies)?

And when I say ‘in our excited little tummies (except I just typed ‘timmies and I have no idea what an excited little timmy might be, other than a hyperactive five-year old child)…

Where was I?

Oh yes, and when I say ‘in our excited little tummies’ I’m sortov speaking for humankind, because I’m not a ruminant.

Obvs.

Anyway.

Back to the topic of thinking of being unfaithful.

I consider myself to be a true and loyal person.

For example, my current motorbike is a Kawasaki ZX10R, and my previous motorbike was a Kawasaki ZX9R.

The motorbike before that was a Triumph Daytona 955i, and the motorbike before that was a Triumph Daytona 955i.

So I think you can see the pattern here and possibly get an insight into my brand loyalty.

I loved the Daytonas. Their 1,000cc triple engines made a delicious sound. They were fast, responsive (and never, ever sluggish or brutish), and very nimble machines.

And oh, so comfortable. So comfortable in fact that I rode one from the UK, around Spain, and home again.

But Triumph, in their not very infinite wisdom, dropped out of the 1,000cc Sportsbike market. Idiots.

With the 955i getting long in the tooth, and falling behind in the world of biketech, my only choice was between dropping down to a 675cc Daytona or switching brands.

Although not really underpowered, the 675cc Daytona isn’t the same high-performance workhorse that its 1,000cc cousins were. The switch to another brand was the only real option.

I loved the ZX9R so much I put 18,000 miles on it in 18 months; that’s a lot of miles for a motorbike.

And when she too started showing signs of ageing, the upgrade to the shiny and brand new ZX10R was another easy decision.

I love(d) the ZX10R.

Part hoodlum, part thug, part perfect dinner-party host, packed with all of the latest computing, and a wonderfully responsive bike. She knows/knew what I want to do (and reacts to that impulse) before I even know what I want to do!

I’ve had her from brand-spanking new, I’ve looked after her meticulously and in the coming Spring she will be exactly three years old.

I wouldn’t change her for the world.

So why is it, in this quite weeks (when the weather is so bad that getting out on any kind of a motorbike is next to impossible) that I’ve been considering unfaithful thoughts?

Why have I been looking at the 2019 Yamaha YZF-R1 and thinking about trying one out?

2019 Yamaha YZF-R1

Update: I took the ZX10R out for a little run around the village this afternoon. I think I’m keeping her

Top of the forum

My experiment with forum tech continues.

I had to burn the TLD where I was running the prototype; it was a target for every Russian spambot that has ever been invented.

Clever tech, those Russian spambots; self-registering as users, even though I had switched that functionality off.

I can’t figure out how the ‘bots achieved that level of ability. It’s obviously down to some kind of a database hack, but how did they keep overriding an administrative permission base?

But the experiment lives on. Just not there.

Nerdiaudiophile

It is a word, I checked.

In the possibly never-ending quest to find me even more imaginative gifts, I was recently given this to wear around my neck:

Bose Bluetooth Earbuds

Bose Bluetooth Earbuds

They are a pair of Bose noise-cancelling in-ear Bluetooth earbud listening thingys (as they are called by the technical community).

And they are dangerously fantastic.

They are fantastic because the audio quality is quite possibly the best in-ear and over-ear experience I have ever had.

They are dangerously so because the noise-cancelling function (I’m still not sure how that works) actually blanked out the sound of the 1,000cc motorbike that I was standing next to, the first time I tried them.

Actually blanked out the sound of the engine.

Entirely.

An adjustment to the noise-cancelling switch-thingy soon sorted that out.

I was also given a cunning little plug-in thingy that turned my iPod Classic into a Bluetooth-enabled thingy, so I could pair it with the Bose noise-cancelling in-ear Bluetooth earbud listening thingys.

Yay!

Very unfortunately, and less than a week later, my iPod Classic stopped working.

Not due, I must add quickly, to anything to do with the Bose noise-cancelling in-ear Bluetooth earbud listening thingys.

And also not due to the cunning little plug-in thingy in my iPod.

I’m fairly sure (but awaiting for a detailed investigator’s report) that the iPod stopped working due to the rapid attempt at interacting with some concrete in the filling station.

Boo!

Anyway, this means that I have to dig out an old iPod Classic that is lurking at the back of the electric cupboard (it’s like a normal cupboard, but made of actual electric) and use that instead.

Mind you, they are all ‘old’ iPod Classics now that Apple have stopped making the best device they ever made, in favour of a bunch of much less-good devices.

But I am unbelievably grateful for the Bluetoothiness (and therefore cable-free) listening experience that the Bose noise-cancelling in-ear Bluetooth earbud listening thingys have brought into my life.

And equally unbelievably grateful to Sam for providing them.

I luffs her.

Star light

Star light, star bright,
First star I see tonight,
I wish I may, I wish I might,
Have this wish I wish tonight.

There is, this very evening, a meteor shower.

As of 7 seconds ago (a little after 18.27) the Leonid shower began its path across the orbit of this little globe of ours.

Tonight is the peak night, but the Leonids will be visible for approximately ten more nights.

So when I’ve finished watching The Mummy (Brendan Fraser, not Tom Cruise), I’m going outside, in my PJs, to see what I can see.

I’ll try and get a member or two of the family to join me.

PJs are optional.

And if I’m a zombie tomorrow morning, it’s because I didn’t take heed of the lesson in Night of the Comet.