2007 — 26 Mar: ...to he who waits

Or, to put it another way, yesterday (in HMV) I finally completed my Loudon Wainwright III collection by buying his 1970 début album. I also picked up a copy of the "album now playing" having heard enough to know that I would enjoy hearing the whole of The best of Paolo Conte. These things come in threes, of course. For my third CD I chose a Naxos recording of "Hymnes and Songs of the Church" by Orlando Gibbons, as published in 1623. A fair mixture, I think.

I also, by happy accident, managed to record the South Bank Show examination of Humphrey Lyttelton. I'd pressed the "Stop" button on the Pioneer PVR at the end of the Jane Austen1 Northanger Abbey (which we'd enjoyed) only to discover (half an hour later) that it was still busily recording because (it turns out) there's a separate "Stop recording" button. Deep joy. (This is the second Sunday in a row that I've needed three video recorders at the same time. Extraordinary.)

And I'm now listening to a free nine-minute podcast of an interview between Humph and our Melvyn thanks to iTunes on the Mac even as I type this on the XP machine. Cool! I find I have to agree with the gist of young Brack's most recent note: "...is so utterly easy to use and free of geekiness that what experience (with the WinTel world) tells us must be extremely difficult is accomplished with effortless ease..." The podcast has just ended with the Louis Armstrong quote: "When you're dead, pretty well everything is wrong with you!"

And so to bed, as it were.


Well, that's a first for me: two simultaneous dubbing operations from HDD to DVD downstairs mediated by two infuriatingly similar but tantalizingly different user interfaces and sets of menus. There are some ways in which tape, bless it, wins over disk. But at least the two remote controls don't (seem to) interfere with one another. Recording one is all three episodes of "The Trap" (Adam Curtis) and recording two (if it's actually working, the new Pioneer PVR is being used for the first time in this mode) should be last night's Jane Austen. Mind you, all this is in real-time because both sets of data are being squeezed from their original data rate to fit single layer blank DVD-R disks. It's fair to say there's more computing going on downstairs (and next door, where She is busily working on the latest patent translation or whatever it is She does) than here right now.

Next trick: use Audacity to slice up that Tom Waits concert (545MB .wav file) into its individual tracks and try to make a "better" CD before its intended recipient calls in for it after work tonight. Plus plonk the Mark Lawson play (an up-to-the-minute tragedy of new technology — ie sex and the Internet) at 2:15 from BBC Radio 4 onto the newly-rediscovered minidisc. (It was at the opposite end to the skylight.) Plus at least one trot2 out into this glorious sunshine and fresh air, probably to pay the paper bill. Speaking of which, here's a nice mini-rant about (his, and others') ignorance by the "Screen Wipe" guy:

Now I'm 36, and if there is one thing I do know, it's that I still don't know that much. No one does. Everybody's winging it. Everything is improvised. And the world never "slides into chaos" — it's perpetually chaotic because all of us, from beggars to emperors, are crashing around trying to make the best of an unpredictable universe. We are little more than walking mistake generators. Dumb animals, essentially. Things would be just as messy if hens ruled the world.

Charlie Brooker in the Guardian

Double(t) and hose(d) department

At the start of February I got two identical letters from the tax man. Now the IBM Retired3 Employee's Club is getting into the same double act. Do you suppose they'll pay me two pensions?

Day 143  


1  Or "Austin" if you go with the version preferred by HMV.
2  To the A&L where I find the new cheque-eating machine can read my handwriting and correctly direct a pittance from cyberspace A to cyberspace B. (Another new technology tragedy if it goes pear-shaped, of course.)
3  That Retirement Briefing File is not all piffle, by the way: "it is rarely a good idea to return to your workplace after you have retired." In fact, Alan Bennett's wonderful play A Visit from Miss Prothero springs to mind.