Saturday, January 22, 2005

Mum, Dad and Harley the dog
Mum and Dad are fostering Harley for a year. She is being specially trained to work for the Australian Customs service, sniffing out drugs in the airport. They have a list of behaviour to encourage, like being comfortable around people, being able to go down slides because she'll be working on luggage ramps a lot and not being taught to sit on command, because she'll be trained later to sit when she smells food in a piece of luggage.

I had a busy, busy morning today, because Deanne is coming back home tonight and I've left most of the errands till the last day again :) I returned some clothes to a store, took our car in for an oil change, got a refund from the Post Office for getting our Xmas presents delivered late, vacuumed the whole house and put laundry away. Then I had some breakfast :) I also have to write an email to the good folks who run The Church's website because they want to make it better but they're not sure how. I'm going to tell them to make the front page be more functional and less "stylish" - a big brown splat is not the way to welcome fans and new listeners to your band's web page, IMHO.

My own Church site, Shadow Cabinet, is coming along nicely. I finally found out how to put a piece of content *before* the news items on the front page, so I can permanently lead with thumbnails of the most recent three (perhaps four ?) albums. I'm also scanning a lot of collectables from my collection into the Image Gallery - my old scanner died an I bought a new one. Just $50 shipped from Amazon and it's doing very nicely so far.

I signed up for photo printing service Shutterfly this morning after realizing that the Kodak camera dock and printer we bought is, you guessed it, extremely expensive to refill. The colour catridge costs $20 for a 40 photo "roll", and you can't "stretch" the use of the cartridge - it actually advances a spool with each print you make, and stops when it reaches 40 prints. That's fifty cents per photo - I can have prints made online for half that cost, so I'm going to try that out.

Lastly I've had a fairly steady nosebleed situation for the last couple of days. I'm not sure what brought it on but I'd better see a doctor about it. It clots fairly quickly, but when the clot comes out the bleeding starts right up again.

Thursday, January 13, 2005

Lots of interesting things have been happening lately, but for some reason I kept putting off blogging about them. I wonder why that is ? I don't have a good answer, but I think it's because my boss at ScriptRX used this blog to make sure I was in Australia when I said I was. This put me off writing or even thinking about blogging for a few weeks. Pretty nasty, I think. Anyway things didn't work out over there and I'm back at DSS.

There's lots of good stuff happening though ! I'm recording more music for the guy at Frightmares, who is planning to put out a DVD of his work ! So my music will, hopefully, be on a DVD for the second time. The second time ? Yes, Curt Stewart is sending crew copies of the DVD of "The Wedge", which also used one of my pieces called "A Good Beginning". You can find it in the "Brian's Music" link on the right side of this page. And as a result of being included on The Wedge, I'm now in the IMDB !

I bought a Zen Touch 40GB which I really like, except for the touch sensitive "slider" on the front, which is too sensitive even at the lowest settings. Shame really, because the price is good (about $310), sound quality is excellent and the battery lasts 24 hours. Deanne got an iPod and some nice travel speakers and she really loves it too. I'm a consciencous objector to joining the iPod Cult who think $250 for a 5GB mp3 player is a good buy. "Ooh, but its got colours ! And white headphone cords !". Sorry, not for me. But the wheely slider on the iPod is easier to use than the vertical slider on the Touch.

And the iTunes software, though a little braindead in some areas, at least does a proper two-way synch with your player. The Creative Labs program is "additive" only, meaning it won't delete anything from your player. So if you, for example, change a filename, or update your ID3 tags, you'll send down a fresh copy of the song to your player, but it won't delete the old one ! I ended up finding an open source program called NomadSync which does the job properly.

I downloaded a pile of free music from Epitonic (especially enjoying The Clientele (Rose, you might really like these guys)) and LegalTorrents. I bought a Clientele CD too, so there's +1 for the value of giving away unencumbered MP3 files for promotional use.

Deanne is in Cleveland, Chicago and Tucson for the next two weeks, so I'm in charge of house maintainance and all that. I already ran a bunch of errands and will be contacting roofers (to fix hurricane damage), taking cars for their 3000 mile services etc. I still have very little patience for these things; I know, I know, they're important, they have to be done, but at least now I can be accompanied by my favourite music everywhere I go.

And watch for the pictures from Titan tomorrow ! If all goes well you can thank Boris Smeds, a man who single-handedly discovered a fault in the communication system between the Titan probe "Huygens" and the Cassini orbiter. If not for him, we'd have nothing from the Titan landing. Engineers rule !