Saturday 25 June 2011

Grow Your Own

I've only ever grown 2 things in my life.
1. A Beard - it was decidedly patchy with flecks of grey nestled in the dark stubble.  It looked bloody stupid, yet every holiday I am intent on growing my 'Holiday Beard'
2.  A Beer Gut - this is an ongoing project, and is tended to with care each and every weekend

So why have I got an Allotment?
Answer: I haven't.  The Allotment is the property of my wife - which means I have to assist with the care and horticultural activity.
So for nigh on a year I have been digging weeds, raking stones and erecting a fence for what?
I don't even eat vegetables, but I continue to assist for a couple of reasons.
Firstly, she's my wife and helping is part of the marriage deal, and secondly for the gift of Amazon vouchers & chinese food (not that I'm in any way mercenary).

Thing is, I'm always reminded of The Young Ones when they went all 'Good Life':
"We sow the seed, Nature grows the seed, and then we eat the seed"

To paraphrase (is that the right word?) Rick in this clip: What about CDs? What about Beer?  What about Takeaway Curry?  Can we grow any of that?
Sadly not, we don't have the correct seeds apparently

However - in answer to the Beer question, once the Allotment is all clear and established, I'm going to get some Hop plants and grow my own hops.  I will be brewing using my own hops, so it might not all be bad.

The bit I don't get about Allotments, or indeed gardening in general, is why would you want a weekend hobby that leaves you sitting on your sofa on a Sunday night nursing a bad back and feeling more shattered than you were when you finished work on Friday?

In Other News:
40 Pints of IPA have been bottled, and a 40 pint batch of Cider has been prepared.  Should now ferment for 7 days (or so) before bottling.

The musical accompaniment to this task: Sham 69
(I'm not going to write a long, drawn out missive about "Why 'The Adventures Of The Hersham Boys' is the great lost classic album of 1979".  (It is good though))

Friday 24 June 2011

Shuffle - Good or Bad?

The Shuffle function on iPod, iTunes, iwhateverapplehasbroughtoutnow, or the Random function on Media Player or any jukebox/player, is the easy way to play music without having to select or plan what you're going to play.
The Library is already there, it contains stuff you know, so you're unlikely to be disappointeed by its output.

Shuffle effectively replaces the time and effort needed to create a mix-tape/mix CD.  But is that a good thing?

Guidance for creation of the perfect mix-tape is widely available, not least in 'High Fidelity'.

Mix-tapes (I still call them that, even though they are obviously on CD) tend to be produced either:
1. to show off new music & old favourites to friends
2. to catalogue the tunes that are currently "floating your boat"

In the case of item 1, I would go out of my way to find a host of relatively unheard tracks with the prime intention of introducing friends to great bands and songs they may not have heard (also know as 'showing off')

Item 2 is a real "this was where my head was at then" affair.  I recently found a box full of old tapes I'd made, and on listening to them re-discovered a series of lost/forgotten songs, and every so often hitting a "what the f**k was I thinking" moment.

I'm still making mix-tapes, usually every couple of months.  Its a whole lot easier know - you just drag the required files into iTunes or Media Player and the system tells you how long each song is and how much space there is left on the disk.

Years ago, making a mix-tape was a virtual science.  The process was:
  • identify the songs you want
  • find out the time of each track
  • sequence logoically
  • calculate the time used on each side of the tape (ie max 45 minutes) - remember: there is nothing worse than a song ending halfway through because you've run out of tape
  • re-sequence if necessary
  • record
  • listen back
  • re-sequence & re-record if required
The Shuffle function negates this process, but it also loses the flow/sequence of what you are listening to.
When making a mix-tape, you're unlikely to order it so that as a Motorhead track ends, it is immediately followed by Steeleye Spans 'All Around My Hat'.  No, you have to build the bridge between the songs, gradually slowing down and changing style.  With Shuffle, it will happen, and then be followed by Ram Jams 'Black Betty'.

Shuffle - it has a purpose, it does the job - but it can never replace the greatness of a perfectly sequenced mix-tape

Sunday 5 June 2011

Cultural Metrication

Imperial measurements can no longer be used.

All imperial measurements must now be expressed as the metric equivalent.

The following must now be re-titled

Manic Street Preachers - 4st 7lbs => 28.6 kilograms
Tyrannosaurus Rex - One Inch Rock => 25.4mm Rock
Splodgenessabounds - 2 Pints of Lager and a Packet of Crisps Please => 1.136 litres of Lager and a Packet of Crisps Please
Proclaimers - 500 Miles => 804.7 kilometres
Free - Tons Of Sobs => 1,016 kg of Sobs
De La Soul - 3 Feet High & Rising => 0.914 metres High & Rising

Thousand Yard Stare => 914.4 Metre Stare
Gallon Drunk => 4.54 litre Drunk

One Foot in The Grave => Approximately 30cm in the Grave
The Green Mile => the Green 1.6km
44 Inch Chest => 111.7cm Chest
The Whole Nine Yards => The Whole 8.33 metres

Gregory Peck => Gregory 9.09 litres
Garry Bushell => Garry 36.4 litres