It's been ages

I've kind of moved a lot of my social tracking stuff over to facebook.

not because it's a great blog server or anything, because I'm still trying to work out what I do there, but because it's proved to be a great way to keep in touch with or even get in touch with old friends or relatives.

anyway if anybody wants to add me as a friend over at Facebook then you can find me really easily by sticking in

potentially intersting is the fact that I'm coming back to the UK in June and I'll be around London for a few days, kind of about a saturday in the middle.

I know that's vague, but it's late (3:0am) and I've been drinkin.

Old music

A couple of things have happened recently to draw my attention to the music of my youth, the glory days of early '80s heavy rock.

One was the installation and use of Genius playlists on the iPod Touch that I listen to at work and the other was recently getting in touch with one of my best mates from when I was at school (age 13 - 18), who is actually moving to New Zealand in the next couple of months.

Over the years my music tastes have certainly broadened, and I've even been able to totally appreciate the truly heavy end of heavy metal (the Slayers and Panteras of this world for example) now that I have started playing more guitar and can appreciate the skill.

However I'm seriously loving getting back into some of the older bands I used to listen to:

Diamond Head
such a shame they never really broke through

in the Schenker days they turned out some amazing hook ridden stuff

The Scorpions
I prefer their '80s stuff but you can't fault it at all

a recent revival due to the new album but the old stuff is flawless

never gone away for me, but their old albums bear listening to rather than the greatest hits and live stuff I tend to have on circulation

stuff from Exit Stage Left and earlier era is such a personal indulgence it's a little like chocolate.

Status Quo
the older stuff up to about the 12 Gold Bars era, particularly 1976s phenomenal Quo Live

underated french band probably most noted for their song Antisocial that was covered by Anthrax. I'm still annoyed that I haven't got a copy of their "Savage" album on CD and I hardly ever play vinyl these days.

there's loads more but those are enough to get my mind sailing back to when I was much younger and the world seemed to be a much more fun place, and a time when local bands covering Paranoid wasn't simply predictable (especially when they forgot the lyrics due to alcohol and substituted really rude ones instead).
  • Current Music
    Diamond Head - Out Of Phase

Boys Toys

We've finally decided on the things that we are doing to the house and garden so I've been starting to spend some serious money:

Just bought a nice big 19HP Ride on mower to cut the paddock grass in what will be the extended garden. Should take delivery on Saturday.

We've pretty much decided to add a Spa to our house/garden. Pretty much chosen the model and I'm just sorting out the electrics and planning consent issues before making the payments - looks like it's going in the garage till I get the next item completed.

Finally I'm getting a nice new "Man Cave". We're turning my current office back into a spare bedroom which means I need a new studio/office. It's been decided that I'll have a new office built out the back of the house, almost attached to the house (only 1.5m away). It's going to be huge (9mx7.5m) and have a deck outside into the garden and the Spa will be under cover but open to the paddock and the mountain views in a 3m extension. I'll have to do a large amount of the assembly to keep the price down and I may be able to start it over the Christmas holidays if I am lucky with planning permissions.

I'll probably need to get someone in to help with the plastering (Gib Stopping really)

I can't wait the studio will be isolated from the house so I'll be able to be as noisy as I want with my guitars and hi-fi, and I'll have the projector installed for big gaming sessions.
  • Current Music
    AC/DC - Big Jack

It's windy today

I was supposed to be going to Wellington this morning for a work meeting with the Tax Office.

It's only a quick flight, about 30minutes, left Christchurch at about 6:45am, at about 7:15am we're coming into land at Wellington and it's a "bit" bumpy with plenty of breakers on the sea as we come in for final approach. Then at the last minute just as I'm expecting the wheels to hit the tarmac we're back off accelerating and taking off again. The Pilot had aborted the landing due to the wind and gusts (it was gusting over 100kmh apparently).

Circled for a while and then gave up and returned to Christchurch.

I sort of noticed it was bumpy as I had to stop reading my magazine since I couldn't keep it still, but I'm a good traveller and it didn't bother me. My work colleague did comment on the phone a little later

", I was feeling to nauseous to start feeling scared"

Oh well, that's Wellington for you.

Back at home now, going to work from home for the rest of the day since I left my laptop and everything here and I can't be arsed going into the office.
  • Current Music
    David Gilmour - Live In Gdansk

Safe Trip Bog!

Just a quick post to wish Bog a safe flight as he ups sticks and moves to New Hampshire

Safe trip mate!
  • Current Music
    Magnum - Dragons are Real

Happy Fathers Day was had

Just celebrated fathers day here in NZ. It's a different date from the UK, which caught me out this year as I forgot my dad's fathers day earlier in the year - but I made up for it by sending a great card to him for this one (it's ends with "blah blah, yada yada, mushy feelings etc.").

I must be getting a little old as I had a fairly quiet fathers day and actually quite enjoyed it...

Up early to let the kids give me a card and present, nothing extreme just a leather guitar strap. Out of the house at 9ish to take Niamh for her swimming lesson in town followed by a coffee in the Mall.

We finished off with Yum Char (Dim Sum for those that know what that is, chinese dumplings for those that don't) before heading home for a quiet afternoon mooching round the house.

Niamh, Jack and I watched one of the Circue de Soleil DVDs in the afternoon as well which was fun.

Moore's Law strikes again

I've been living nervously ever since I digitised my entire CD collection at full CD quality in case i get anothe hard drive fault and lose a chunk of it since it's spread across four 350G external drives.

Finally today for the very modest sum of NZ$300 I bought a shiny new 1Terra drive (that's 1000G) and an external enclosure, so about 130quid.

So iTunes will over the course of the next few days be making a copy of my library in Apple Lossless format and storing on the backup drive. From this point forward my backup and master copy will simply get smaller as hard drives shrink in size and cost :D

For those that are interested I opted for Apple Lossless format instead of FLAC for the following reaons:

1) Compression ratio is within the same ball park as FLAC at it's best compression
2) iTunes makes it trivial to backup my whole library and store the results in Artist/Album folder structure

I really wanted them all in FLAC or another "Open" format, but I just couldn't find a suitable tool that would take the directory organisation I had and make a backup in a largely automated fashion.
  • Current Music
    Avantasia - The Scarecrow

First Ski of the year

All the family went off up north for a few days and left me alone from Sunday afternoon for a week.

So on the spur of the moment I decided to go skiing, and fabulous it was as well for a couple hours of downhill excitement while listening to Iron Maiden on the iPod.

I was testing out my new boots which seem good so far.

Legs are absolutely killing me though now and I don't think I'll be able to walk tomorrow.

Off to see Hancock this evening