Monday, September 29, 2014
Saturday, September 20, 2014
This week I wrote about bike shops....click here for more.
By the time you read this you will know result of the referendum into Scottish Independence. The "no" vote has won, but not by much. During the week I was rather amazed to read that Scots not resident in the country thought they should still get a vote. I'm not talking about people on holiday, I mean people who have made a choice to live somewhere else. I have noticed also in recent years that a number of countries allow ex-pats to vote in their elections. What a load of nonsense. If you don't live there, you shouldn't rate a vote. Why? Well for one reason you don't have a true view of what life there is like. If ex-pats could claim a vote then I certainly could. I was born in Scotland and I'm a British Citizen (as well as an Australian one). But I haven't lived there since I was about 7. What do I know other than what I've read? Nothing.
Battlefield Band - The Rovin' Dies Hard - http://youtu.be/9qZZ01RFf_Q
In a similar vein I read a whole lot of moaning that the Australian radio and TV network broadcasting throughout SE Asia would cease. The people up in arms were ex-pats who would be unable to get their fix of Aussie news or football. Seriously? You think that the taxpayers here should support that? Unless I'm mistaken, Australian broadcasting into other areas of the world is important for other reasons but not so that people living away from home can watch the footy.
The Members - Radio - http://youtu.be/xvWQenFo9Xo
Wow, I sound grumpy this week. Why stop now? Let's talk about taxation.
I got my tax refund notice this week. A few extra dollars in my hand. That's nice. Along with the notice of assessment was a set of figures and a chart telling me how the Federal Government spent the money they took out of my pay. There was also a figure reflecting Australia's level of debt. This has increased by quite a lot…$63 billion…under the Abbott Government. But I digress, I'm not here to score cheap, easy points at the expense of the PM whilst he's busy committing us to an expensive war…which will help the bottom line so much. Grrrrr! The chart of expenditure reveals how little we spend on aid and law enforcement. Servicing government debt takes a big chunk as does welfare. Anyone reading that graph would think that Australia is tight. Maybe we are.
Jimmy Buffett - Carnival World - http://youtu.be/kNuZ6SQj12M
I've failed to get to the music shop this week. And I'm not keen on buying music as a download. Thankfully Soundcloud, YouTube and other online services have kept me going. I've also be re-watching some episodes of the riotously funny TV show "Bottom" starring Rik Myall and Ade Edmonson.
Opening Montage - Bottom - http://youtu.be/E3-bHYKAerk
Mayall / Edmonson - Chess - http://youtu.be/7yH0Vh3ZBoQ
Bands I've been listening to this week include Sweet Apple, Bob Mould, Springsteen. Throwing some albums onto the old iPod shuffle and letting it roll around in the background has been an excellent way to revisit old tunes and become more familiar with new ones. I'm not too sure how my new colleagues are going with the bagpipe sounds emanating from my office though.
Sweet Apple - Boys In Her Fanclub - http://youtu.be/v5wj0_cD_J0
Finally, I read that The Living End might record another album. I'd buy that for a dollar (or two) - and not on download either. Fingers crossed!
The Living End - Pictures In The Mirror (live) - http://youtu.be/0Kr_Mc4T61c
I'm off to see Witchskull tonight at the ANU Bar. If you're in Canberra and you like heavy music you should be there.
"...it ain't no fun waitin' 'round to be a millionaire..." - AC/DC, 1976.
Tuesday, September 16, 2014
- one place has a reputation for swapping out high quality parts for el cheapo ones prior to selling bikes
- one place had a "mechanic" who told me I needed a new rear cassette. My bike was 5 weeks old.
- another bike shop put my mountain bike back together with the headset spacers removed because it "looked cooler"
- the same bike shop were meant to service my bike, true my rear wheel and throw on a new rear tyre. They washed my bike and not much else. It was oh so shiny but not in a state to be ridden
Friday, September 12, 2014
The Saints - Know Your Product - http://youtu.be/h9M3b9lh-7s
Irish rock legends U2 and their mates at Apple put a copy of their new album, "Songs of Innocence", into every single iTunes library. You get to choose whether or not you download or listen to it. This isn't some unknown garage band folks, this is U2. And just in case you're wondering, yes, the physical version of the album on CD comes out in around a month.
This only happened on Tuesday and the internet furore has been hilarious. It ranges from, "how dare Apple or U2 just give me an album" to "oh my, I can't work out how to delete it" and then there's me. It's free, it's a solid album and that's about it. Are Apple going to suddenly give away hundreds of albums I don't want? I don't think so. The financial arrangement with Mr Vox et. al. must be rather large for a start. Who can afford that?
The Beatles - Can't Buy Me Love - http://youtu.be/tq1RKSTQqfQ
I've been spinning the album non-stop since I got it last night. It sounds like U2 and I like it. I haven't had time to delve into the lyrics and won't have for a while. I'm a bit sick of the whole, "I like their old stuff" commentary. I do too. But bands move on, it's what they do. Go ahead, listen to your well-worn copy of "Boy", "War" or "The Joshua Tree" and remind yourself what U2 were up to before 1988. For me, "Rattle & Hum" was the album I like the most. It combined my love for American music with what at the time was modern day rock. But I've grown as well. I hated "Achtung Baby" but went back fairly recently and rediscovered it. U2 don't have dud albums, they just have a fairly large and diverse back catalogue that all has its merits.
U2 - Van Diemen's Land - http://youtu.be/HXxefgAlrag
Just finally, track one on "Songs of Innocence" is (I think) about the first time Bono heard The Ramones and what it meant to him. That's pretty cool. It'd be rather neat for some kid to hear U2 for the first time as a result of their link with Apple and then for them to discover the rest of their body of work. What'd be even nicer would be if kids, or anyone for that matter, could afford a U2 concert ticket. But that's a topic for another day.
U2 - The Miracle (of Joey Ramone) - http://youtu.be/jyyyyzEgXpg
I wrote something about Smartwatches this week. You can read it here if you are interested in. I'm also wondering if there is anyone else getting fed up with the move for mobile phones to keep getting bigger? I found my old Nokia N95 recently whilst cleaning up to move house. It was a seriously cool phone and I can't believe how small it is!
It would be remiss of me not to mention the wonderful achievement of my former triathlon coach Ben Gathercole. He's been appointed as Team Director for the Brumbies Super Rugby Team. Congratulations! Of course, Ben is a former Olympic and Commonwealth Games Coach as well. Coaching me is hardly a claim to fame!
You may remember that one of my all-time favourite bands are Canberra's "Armoured Angel". Whilst they are no more, I maintain that they remain one of the best heavy bands ever...in the world. DJ DJ and I travelled far and wide to see them play. To that end we'll be heading to the ANU Bar on September 20th to see former Armoured Angel drummer and vocalist, Joel, play in a new band. There's one track I can find on YouTube and it sounds excellent. More like a mix of Kyuss, Ghost and Black Sabbath than the full on grinding aural assault that was Armoured Angel but that's OK. Come along if you're in Canberra.
Witchskull - Spyres - http://youtu.be/819FaJxMCTk
Scotland goes to the polls in less than a week to decide on whether or not independence from the rest of the UK is a good thing. Whilst the result will be rather interesting, for Scots as well as the rest of the UK, one statistic made me sit up and take notice. 97% of eligible Scots have registered to vote. Wow! In a country where voting is voluntary that is massive. Of course, that doesn't mean that they'll all show up on the day but the signs are good. In comparison, the 2011 Scottish Parliament election had a voter turnout of just over 50%.
The Proclaimers - What Do You Do? - http://youtu.be/dXs7JYw4BP4
I suppose it's big news, we sold our house, but for the four of us it's the end of a bit of a nightmare. I won't bore you with details but it was a very long and drawn out period of time leading up to exchange. But, the money has been paid now and we're almost ready to move. The only downside about moving, other than the actual physical act, is that our new place (about 750m from our current abode) is in a part of the suburb that does not have access to the NBN. That's fast internet for you foreigners. We'll be going back to the dark ages of ADSL but I'm sure we'll cope ha, ha!
Joe Jackson - Got The Time - http://youtu.be/XTIPCc1nKYQ
Angus thinks we're getting pay TV as well. Fortunately the price has just been halved so he might get his way sometime. Probably not in time to watch Jens Voigt go for the hour cycling distance world record on Eurosport but in time to be bored by far too much cricket. I'm sure that Angus thinks he'll be in 24/7 sports heaven.
Madness - Our House - http://youtu.be/mDt4sPkxZ2U
Usually I wouldn't recommend that you avoid a movie, album or TV show. That's because I am firmly of the belief that it's different strokes for different folks. Personally I can't stand the X-Factor but I know some people love all that nonsense. But I'm going to make an exception. The movie "Hotel Grand Budapest". It's truly one of the worst things I've ever had the misfortune to watch. It's not funny, not clever and not at all engaging. I did last about 30 minutes before I choofed off to do the ironing because that was a better option. What a waste of time. Actually, you know what? You should watch it. Maybe someone out there can explain its appeal. I can't stand Adam Sandler films but I understand why some people do. I love Star Wars but I accept that, foolishly, not everyone does. I can even accept that DJ Hopper enjoyed my former worst rated movie ever, "Tulpan". But I'm stumped with "Hotel Grand Budapest".
That'll do. Have a great weekend.
"Don't you remember what it's like to lose control
Put on my jacket before you get too old
Let's rock and roll..." - Judas Priest - Parental Guidance, 1986
Thursday, September 11, 2014
- notifications for email / text messages / social networking (customisable of course)
- it should be waterproof - duh!
- it shouldn't look like you've strapped a matchbox to your wrist
- its own GPS so that you can track your run / ride / swim / walk if that's your thing
- bluetooth connection
- cordless charging
- a battery that lasts at least a whole day - you need to be able to wear it as a normal watch
- ability to control basic phone functions (answer/reject calls if your'e wearing a headset or going hands free, volume up and down, next music track)