Archive for December, 2007

Vinyl vs CD

December 18th, 2007 1 comment

Having spent the past few days moving my room around to accommodate some new furniture and to try and create some separation between the sleeping part of bedroom from the office part one of the bonus side effetcs has been the relocation of my record player.

Previously tucked out the way above my desk, it is now situated in prime position with plenty of room for botht the turntable and the speakers. I have been playing records on it pretty much non-stop since I re-routed the power in my room to accommodate the new changes.

For playing rock music and classical pieces nothing even compares tot he depth and richness of sound produced by a turntable and a 12″ vinyl. Artists such as Brice Springsteen, Eric Clapton and Billy Bragg really come to life and Gustav Holst’s ‘Planet’s Suite’ is transformed from a beautiful work of art to an emotive masterpiece – something that the CD and subsequent MP3-esque digital formats cannot replicate!

I have to admit that some music, like a lot of my metal and dance collection can be just as enjoyable to listen to in digital format as well as on vinyl and a lot easier to find in CD form!

I think next year’s Christmas list will contain a new record player system – ideally a separates system including amplifier, speakers and deck.

The Wizard of Oz

December 16th, 2007 No comments

I was having a really rubbsih day yesterday. Liz and I had had a minor fight, the WoW marathon had taken its toll and my poor diet over the past few days had really made me feel unwell. Coupled with some festive blues, I was having a depression day.

The cure came form the most unliekly of sources, the Wizard of Oz. Michelle and Sarann managed to perusade me to watch the DVD and be sociable. I did. It worked.

The film just has an innocence and naivety that you just don’t come across these days. That type of film just doesn’t exist on modern day life. Even kid’s films are laced with adult humour and context, there is just no innocence left. Dorothey et al showed that glorious trait – the pursuit of fun and happiness devoid of any negativity. No payoff, no compromise. Just plain old, traditional fun.

X-Factor Final: The end of TV?

December 15th, 2007 3 comments

Today is the final of X-Factor, ITV1′s flagship television programme and mainstay of the lowest-common-denominator era of throwaway tv.

Last year saw over 11 million members of the British public tune in to see Leona Lewis win a recording contract worth an estinated £2million. This year’s prize is a guarenteed £1million recording contract and a shot at the Christmas number one single – an honour that will almost certainly be achieved. Three contestants battle it out on prime time Saturday evening television, three contestants that I wouldn’t book for a pub sing along, in front of four of the most ridiculous judges I have come across. An article on the RadioTimes’ website gives a fantastic insight into what is happeneing to television in this era of low creativity, low expectations and low standards of delivery.

I want quality, entertaining, educational and original programming, not these cheap to make, cheap to air, profit chasing, public mocking shows.

I know I am sounding like an old man, but please will someone somewhere fix this. Or I might just switch over for good.

WoW Marathon Day 4

December 15th, 2007 1 comment


The final fourteen hours of game time saw us ready for the final test. The Deadmines.

We managed to get to the start of the first Alliane Instance by 2000 after some general questing, levelling selling on the auction house. The team that took on this monster of a dungeon consisted of:

Lutherinn – A human paladin, level 20 – tank and general dogsbody.
Xmeltrut – A human mage, fire school and level 19 – dps.
Rhayge – Human warlock, level 17 – dps.
Phedre – Human priest, level 18 – healer.
Vern – Gnome rogue, level 16 – dps and sapper.

It was hard.

As of patch 2.3 the game has got easier, so we thought Deadmines would have suffered. It has always been a tough instance – good storyline, excellent quest progression and some simply amazing low level loot but full of level 16-20 elites. Well the miners had had their elite status removed, but had increased in quantity. The number of casting patrols had increased and the reset time was now two hours. It had gotten easier in one respect, but by the time you had taken everything else into account I felt it was much much harder and a lot less forgiving to the new player.

After two hours we had wiped several times and Vern had left us to try something else. We attracted a level 19 twinked night elf hunter to the group but we still struggled, especially with the constant respawns.

In the end we gave up with 30 mins of game time remaining.

We had drinks and skinny dipping in Stormwind to take up the remaining time and Chris officially closed the marathon at 0000.

Final game time for me was: 1 day, 11 hours, 56 mins and 5 seconds (35hrs 56mins) of an available 3 days (66hrs).

Means I played more than 50% of the available game time. Which I’m slightly impressed with – although I thought, and it felt like, I had played more.

Now that most of the group are up around level 20, the next marathon should see us play most of the mid-level instances seeing as level 20-60 has been made faster and easier to obtain.

Roll on the next one.

WoW Marathon Day 3

December 14th, 2007 No comments

1000 – 0230

I managed nearly twelve hours of game time today. rushing through to level 17, doing all the pre-deadmines quests and farming for gold.

The pace is still relatively slow but most people are ready for DM now with the exception of George who had his CHristmas party today. I am sure we will all manage level 20 by end of play tomorrow.

I was wondering whether I will continue this protection specced paladin after the marathon, bearing in mind I have a level 41 paladin on another server (although a different specification). I am getting used to the character now and I am loathed to give up on him, but as I mentioned I have a similar character and I have played most of the quests to death.

Anyway, I am starting to feel the pain of the marathon now. I have slept for less than 10 hours in total since we started and barely eaten – except for the A-Soc dinner this evening.

WoW Marathon Day 2

December 13th, 2007 No comments

1000 – 0500

The first 24 hours are over and we are now well into the second full day. Players dropped like flies during the first few hours. We lost Phil to family commitments and MC to work. Liz was still having connection issues so we didn’t see her much online.

Chris, Michelle, George and I finished off Elwynn Forest and moved across to Westfall. The pace picked up slightly for a while as we hit levels 12 and 13. Things started getting a bit patchy after Michelle had to leave for a Chinese lesson and then other people heading off for other commitments around 6pm.

2300 saw the four of us pretty much back online to carry on where we left off and now we are hotting levles 15 and 16 in Loch Modan where we are kitting up for Deadmines, the lowest level instance for the Alliance.

I ams till surprised by how we are going, but then we seem to have farm more items and quest drops per quest than is relative to our group size (ie we are having to kill more than just four times a solo level). In good news, however, Liz managed to maintain a steady connection for an hour or so and has managed to progress through most of the Elwynn Forest quests and with careful play could probably catch up in a few days. Unfortunately, there are less than 36 hours remaining.

WoW Marathon Day 1

December 12th, 2007 No comments

0000 – 0400

Day 1 of the Chrismukka WoW marathon has officially ended. The marathon started at mignight and will last for 72 hours, stopping only for sleep and server maintenance.

This first session saw myself, Chris, MC, Phil, Michelle and George power through to level 8 or so. We probably would have managed more had we not had some connection issues early on – meaning we lost a player :(

This is a relatively short post as we are still fairly close to where we started – lets hope we can pick the pace up tomorrow at 10am when the servers restart.

We have covered the human starting area and most of the first zone. For those in the know we have just taken out Princess and explored Jasperlode mine.

Ally McBeal

December 4th, 2007 1 comment

I am now half way through season 2 of Ally McBeal.

I used to watch it when it was on television in the mid to late nineties, then re-watched it all back to back a couple of years ago and am now in the process of re-watching them all again. I am not sure whether it is a case of me getting old and cynical, or whether I am just not invested enough into this marathon (I am tending to watch the episodes whilst coding) but I don’t seem to be getting as involved in the programme as I used to. I used to have a real affinity with the show. he first time I sat and watched them back to back I couldn’t stop watching, now it’s a case of an hour here and an hour there.

Ah well. It is still good telly!

No keys and coding

December 4th, 2007 No comments

I lent Liz my house keys on Friday as I was travelling back to Kirkham that evening to attend a Christening on the Saturday and Liz wanted to stay and play at George’s birthday Otley Run. I forgot to ask for them back on Sunday when I took her home and, Liz being Liz, she forgot she had them. So, I am pretty much stuck in the house because I can’t lock up or get back in!

This is very much a double edged sword. It is boring being stuck in, especially as we have a joiner in replacing our doors which means I can’t do too much wandering or watch tv as it is too loud. I also miss a lecture or two, though that isn’t too important as it is last week of term so there isn’t much exciting happeneing in them. The upside is that I have achieved an awful lot of coding in the time I have been in. I am now totally up-to-date in all my coding and even managed to forge ahead slighlty with next term’s coursework. At this rate I will have nothing top do over the holidays!