Saturday, October 30, 2004

Hearing The Music Again
It's been a good few days for my music. The nice chaps at, who are using my piece "Ghost" as their intro and credit music asked if I had any more like it - he said "I recently received an email from someone who really enjoyed the show, and the "sweet-ass sounding theme"!. Sadly I don't, but among my projects-for-the-near-future was the task of getting my recording sessions going again. This seemed like a good opportunity to get started, so I went out and bought a keyboard, microphone and little pre-amp doodad for talking to the computer with and will be doing some recording this week. I hope I like what I produce !

I've also made great progress in getting Shadow Cabinet into its new skin. The Mambo CMS I'm using can be hard to set up; they just changed versions and a lot of the old components don't work any more, but with a few nights work I managed to get it all going. It's nice to be able to load up the content and know that I can change the appearance later on without much work at all. I loaded a lot of the old tour photos in this morning and might be able to publish something in a couple of weeks. I feel like I'm into the fine-tuning part now, though I still can't figure out how the menu system works.

Deanne had a long week in Miami and Boston and is catching up on some sleep right now. I'm going to hook up the 200 GB external drive I bought from and start doing regular backups of my whole hard disk - I've put too much time into what's on there to think about starting again !

I've posted my first diary entry over at entitled "Becoming a Shareware King". I'm going to document the trail of woes as I try and get someone to buy Mercury MailRoom, my lovely, excellent and supremely useful email utility. Why am I (and Shannon !) the only one who thinks so ?

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Segway for only $2488 ! Hmmm.....might have to reach for credit card....
I've begun work on the rebuild of Shadow Cabinet, my site about The Church. I'm using Mambo, Apache, PHP and MySQL. It took a couple of attempts to get things configured right, but all the bits are talking to each other and I'm converting all the content into a sleek, modern web site. It'll be nice to have everything in a flexible "skinnable" kind of form, where if I don't like how something looks I can just alter the style template behind the scenes without needing to modify hundreds of pages myself; that's probably why the old site got so glacial - it was just too hard to change anything. I'm going to pop over to and start writing this up.

Buzznet has put in a "buzzwords" feature which will shortly allow you to subscribe to a daily dose of pictures by keyword: I've set up my account to search (another photoblog site) in the same way, looking for pics of Malta, Great Danes and Melbourne.

Y'know, for someone who still thinks of himself as introverted, I'm bloody not.

Thursday, October 21, 2004

My favourite picture of Marty Willson-Piper, taken at a concert in Melbourne...thinking Churchy thoughts again :) Posted by Hello

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Lots to think about doing
Deanne's going to be away for most of the next three weeks, so I'll have plenty of time to make a start on some of those projects I mentioned last time. Thanks to Daniel and Sean for the suggestions about content management systems - I might make a start on a refurb of Shadow Cabinet, my Church web site. Did you know the background on the front page has been there since the first day ? That was in June/July 1995 ! It used to be the only major site with info about the band, but there are many excellent sites out there now, including the band's own official site. But I've still got a good collection of interviews and a lot of photos. I think I'll winnow the site down to just that, and make an "archive" section for the other stuff that was all hand-built that it'd be a shame to lose. I always wanted to make a lyrics page with explanatory notes and discussions about references in the lyrics. A wiki might be just the ticket for that, 'cos I won't have to do any of the work - just make a site available.

I have a box full of Church clippings from Brett Leigh Dicks, who used to be (still is ?) a freelance journalist and gave me his whole collection of Church newspaper clippings. Back when there was literally almost nothing to read about the Church and I was a ravenous fan, this was such a treasure trove. I read most of them, but got lazy and didn't actually type any of them out. A big hello to Brett if he sees this :)

Things are going great at work - I'm almost 100% comfortable with all the stuff I'm in charge of, Patch enjoys going in to the office with me, and I stream the DroneZone all day, which puts him to sleep and me in a working mood ! I've ripped almost all my CDs to this hard disk now, to the extent that it's takes quite a bit of peering at the CD rack to find one I haven't already done. Winamp tells me I have 7201 tracks; about 27 GB of music. It's great to have it all at my fingertips, but it's hard to remember what I wanted to listen to next...I may have to get moodlogic to build some playlists for me.

Oh, and thanks to everyone for the alphagrams (which, it turns, was a bad choice of name for them) - there are several in the comments on the previous postings. I think CAD's is my favourite (Chris, was that you ?), followed by the lawyer one. I'll have to try and write a coherent one myself too !

Saturday, October 16, 2004

I thought this picture of the huskies was really nice - they look almost attentive and obedient, don't they ;) ! Posted by Hello

I've been using a lot this week; they have a lot of ambient/electronic music that I'm interested in and they're even carrying Margot Smith's two albums, which is a good thing. She worked with three members of my favourite band The Church on her "Taste" album but sadly she hasn't put out any more albums since then. They also have several Ashra Tempel albums, who Marty Willson-Piper said are really good. We'll see :) I'm also enjoying Daniel Lanois's "Shine" and Basque's "Falling Forward".

I downloaded the Google desktop, which is such a no-brainer I can't see why Microsoft have not done it. Their file find command in Explorer is *so* slow and inaccurate and there are already so many shareware products that index the content of your hard-drive that it seems very strange for MS not to come out and write their own. Oh well, you snooze you loose.

My friend Daniel Bowen has asked me to start writing a regular diary about my efforts to sell my utterly cool and wonderful program Mercury MailRoom, which so far have yielded zero sales. Doesn't seem like there'd be much to write about, but I have plans...why do all geeks have plans ? My List of Plans is currently as follows:

  • Try and promote MMR to small businesses that get too much email
  • Promote MMR to overworked tech support bods in small firms
  • Following my friend Paul Qualls's advice, promote customized versions of MMR to firms that want it to do something special with their database or whatever. Big bucks
  • Resurrect my Reptile screensaver and do "something" with it in OpenGL.
  • Get my home studio working again. Erm...step one should be get a home studio. Need a microphone and good sound card, so I can record more little tunelets.
  • Learn how to set up a web site that gets its content out of a database. Using all Open Source tools, of course.
  • Learn how the hell CSS style sheets work.
  • Learn to use Blender, the free 3d animation and rendering package.
  • Scan all my old photos into digital loveliness.
  • Record all my good videos into DVD format. I'll do this when some software comes along that makes it easy to add chapter points on a DVD.
  • Print out some of the 10 000 digital pictures I have and put them in frames - I love my family, why don't I have more pictures of them ?
  • Learn to draw - my doodling started to look almost interesting a while ago.
  • Various home maintenance things too boring to think about :)
So that's all my cunning plans. Not quite Rimmer's "Daily Goal List" (Number 37...learn Portugese) but a nice group of interesting projects.

Hey, here's a new blog meme I'm declaring: write a paragraph where each word begins with the next letter of the alphabet. Lets call it an alphagraph for easy googling/memetracking later.Here's my alphagraph:

And begin counting down, even following grey housewives into junk-kindled lines made noisy, or perhaps quit. Raise security though under violence we x-ray your zipper.

Tell your friends :)

The "album cover" pose by Jacob, Brandi and Patch. This was Patch's first trip to the park with other dogs since his spine problem seems to have come under control, and he had a great time :) He's down to one Prednisone pill every three days. Posted by Hello

Thursday, October 14, 2004

Venice Window Light
Venice Window Light
photo by: sirenbrian

I found this while trawling through my photo collection. I took it in 1999 and its in the cathedral in Saint Marco's square in Venice. I remember the floor being really uneven and sort of damaged - it's amazing how much history is left exposed to the elements, but I guess in Venice they don't have much choice.

Monday, October 11, 2004

I'm a Jingle Writer
Another one of my little tunes is going to be used in someone else's work :) I'm proud to pass on the news that Frightmares will be using my short piece "Ghost" as their intro music and on their credits. I'm very pleased that two people have now found a use for my music, which I was always a bit embarassed at never having fleshed out into longer pieces or perhaps into songs. But maybe I'm good at writing short, punchy pieces :)

You can listen to some of my music by following the "Brian's Music" link on the right.

Sunday, October 10, 2004

Team America
I managed to get tickets to this much-anticipated movie's preview showing last night. It was hilarious ! "I'm Ronery", the musical lament by North Korean dictator Kim Jong Il was a classic, as was the dicks, pussies and assholes speech. Its structured exactly like a Hollywood blockbuster with the reluctant hero stepping into a role that holds great fear for him, bonding with the team, facing a setback and reaching eventual triumph etc. It strips bare the formula and shows that most of those films would be comedies if they didn't take themselves so seriously.

It was interesting to see this interview with Trey Parker and Matt Stone in which they said they edited the film while they were filming it, which enabled them to alter the script as they went. This makes a lot of sense to me and leads me to wonder why more films aren't made this way. It'd be like me, a programmer, trying to write a whole program without compiling it in small increments as I went. I'd almost certainly miss the mark like Michael Bay did when he made Pearl Harbor :)

So go see this film; you'll laugh, I promise.

Thursday, October 07, 2004

A multi-storey boat shed in Stuart got opened up by the wind. Posted by Hello

This is very close to where Hurricane Jeanne came ashore, and lots of power poles were blown over like this one. Posted by Hello

Patch is feeling much better ! This is an older picture of him, but he could certainly do this if he wanted to :) His pinched nerve in his spine seems to be under control thanks to the Prednisone that he's taking. His dosage is down to one pill every two days and he hasn't had an attack since the one I last wrote about a couple of weeks ago. We're hopeful that the condition won't deteriorate any further and that he'll live many more years without that sort of pain again, though as all big dog owners know, the poor things are just not bred to live a long life.

Life outside of Patch-watching continues unabated. We bought another carpet for the other big room in the house and it really feels warmer and more homely in there. If only the big tv in that room worked, I might actually have something to do in that room ! I called a TV repair place and they said to call back tomorrow to talk to someone who might be able to work on a German television with no repair manual. I also contacted the hurricane insurance people and they'll be sending someone out next week to take a look at the kitchen cabinets, which are smelling a bit moldy now. Hopefully we'll get a new kitchen out of this, which we'd been planning to do anyway. We met a fellow who had put in a new kitchen before the hurricane hit and now had to rip it all out and start again, what terrible luck for him.

I've been reading a few political blogs lately, with the election just around the corner, and find Andrew Sullivan a very interesting read, and the most interesting conspiracy theory I've seen so far is at IsBushWired which asks if President Bush wore an earpiece in some speeches he's given (not such a big deal) and also during the first debate with John Kerry, which would be absolutely shocking if it were true.