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February 27, 2006

A new season

I know it's not spring yet but it's boiling hot in my room and I got tired of the dark and stark old style of my blog. So here in all its girly colourfulness you can admire the new scheme for my blog. Nothing else interesting to say, but please consider coming to our Revelation concert Raise the Roof! in Methodist Central Hall on Saturday! It should be amazingly good - possibly better than last year's amazing goodness!

November 03, 2005

And I don't even like cars

Title:
Rating:
4 out of 5 stars

So much to talk about - maths conferences, blog style updates, almost early mornings - but I thought I'd pick something you might actually care about.

[Warning: this is the anecdote. Feel free to skip this paragraph and start reading the review from the next.] A long long time ago, I bought a CD at Morisson's [I shall never use consistent spelling for that store's name on this blog. Yes, that's a declaration.] long before they had a special CD issue desk and once I got home, to my shock there was no CD in the case. Due to a sudden change in daily regime I didn't end up in Morrison's [OK, that one's on purpose] for a whole month and only decided to take my chances last weekend. Lo and behold I say, I got my money back and as a true materialist, I traded the shiney metal for a new record, and now I am the proud owner of a masterpiece. I think.

[Warning: this paragraph doesn't say anything about the music. You might want to skip just one more paragraph.] Main reason for giving this album only 4 stars, is because I can't believe it's brilliant. After a week of listening, I haven't recognized a gem like Twentysomething or All At Sea, but then again those songs wouldn't fit on this album. For some reason, I like buying CDs [I know that was a jump, but trust me, I'm getting somewhere] for usually, someone has put effort in the artwork, and I'd like to think that the artwork tells you something about the CD (**). In Jamie Cullum's case, Twentysomething's blue and relaxed cover, gave the album a very 'blue' feeling, not as in 'feeling blue', but rather chilled and distant, not really sure of a direction (think of the title track). Catching Tales is more of a statement. Jamie Cullum stands bang in the middle almost looking at you. The red, jazzy font stands out and predicts a more certain direction and warmer feeling. Extra natural patterns give the sense of richer material, in song and lyrics. Those great chilled hits from Twentysomething would not fit in with the warm feelings this album produces.

[Actually, skip this one as well. No music talking here.] So is warm good or bad? Doesn't a great album need great songs? See, that's where I got stuck, and why I don't dare giving it that 5th star [unlike every other reviewer on the blogs - but I'll leave a rant about reviews for later.] - I've been listening to the album while typing this entry, and haven't had the slightest temptation to skip a track. Maybe because they're equally class tracks, or maybe because they're all just mediocre but form something wonderful when played together. Maybe I'm just waiting for the speedy bit in 7 Days to Change Your Life or the word 'grandmother' in Fascinating Rhythm – the word doesn't fit there, but does it make the song better or worse? It hasn't annoyed me yet, and the fact that it stands out and makes me think about it is something good, I guess.

The big change is that his voice is now actually part of the music. Unfortunately, there is no brilliant scatting on Catching Tales, but instead, Jamie's voice has gotten more tuneful and playful, and can you don't have to listen to the lyrics to get the song, as there is more music to help you understand. I don't know any music theory, but I can count, and I'm pretty sure there are more different tones and more 'fascinating rhythms' to be found on this album than any of his previous work. Despite the lack of scatting. Listen to Our Day Will Come and you'll hear everything this album has to offer in one song.

No great recognizable piano fiddling from All At Sea, hardly any scatting [while listening to Fascinating Rhythm, which is all about scatting and rhythm, but it's the penultimate track. Bear with me!] and no great covers you'd love to hear him sing ala High and Dry. Why on earth should you buy this album? It's jazz for the masses. Ali can't stand jazz and she managed to stay in the room and actually listen to the album [granted, her bf Rich had just cooked another amazing meal, but hey, there are more rooms and still she chose to sit with us keep listening!] The last song has just come up and I'm actually sad it's almost over. It's got the joy Maroon 5 songs or Scrubs bring to some of you. It's got the loveliness of Norah Jones but is too cool for the O.C. [seriously!]. Jamie's still Twentysomething but has found his direction and it's a good direction. Music for the masses is not necessarily a bad thing.


September 24, 2005

Busy

Well, they're keeping us busy here at Warwick! Just spent the longest time again updating my CSS to whatever changes made stuff look odd. [Blog titles suddenly changing color, for one] It's all good fun though! If there's anything you like, I'll take all the credit. If there's anything you don't like, blame Andy as that's whom I've copied it all from this time

EDIT: Seems to be working slightly worse than before, though I think in Firefox it looks better than the old version. If only IE would learn…


September 03, 2005

I do like it

Regarding the recent negative vibes surrounding my entry titles, I thought I'd use a more cheerful one.

What I do like, and what has kept me busy the past few hours, is customization. As you might notice, I've changed the appearance of my blog, to what I think looks funky. With loads of help from PaintShopPro, and even more help from the creator in other words me not understanding what CSS is but looking at the buildup of his site and whatever hints there are in the FAQ and asking Ali for help when stuck I came up with whatever this design reminds you of. Personally, I realized the resemblance to a T-shirt we designed for WIM (Rev event) this year, with the maroon and black and white.

Anyway, customization, upgrading, usually the most enjoyable part of any computer game I've played. I like it when you can see progress, and when you can see incomprehensible text turn into pretty colored lines and pictures.

EDIT:
P.S. Also thanks to Wikipedia for an amazing entry on web colors and their silly codes. And Firefox for a great color picking tool!


September 02, 2005

I don't like it

Just single-handedly decided the Little Britain craze is over. I think it's clear when you're more amused by Max and Paddy's Road to Nowhere that a program's prime has passed.

Had an overly pre-productive day today. Almost got up to catch a ride to campus, but got bored with my alarm and decided sleeping in was the way forward. No one really expected me to get up anyway, so nothing lost. Did make it to my old house before noon though, where I finally handed over money for a long lost gas bill. Received the bill once I'd already moved out, but it was 120something for only three months. Turns out they miscalculated multiplying by 3 instead of 1,4 or something ridiculous like that. Called in new meter readings and got a new bill. 90something which was still too high, as suddenly they dropped the previous meter reading to something we'd paid a long time ago. Gave 'em a ring and after 10 minutes explaining and 10 minutes waiting for them to call back, they finally realized what was going on and agreed we should receive a bill for around 50. Now that was 3 weeks after the first bill. Ah well - the joys of living in non-Uni-regulated accomodation! And left my keys. Called the agency and thank goodness they promised to send my deposit next week. Little did I know that this month's rent had already been sucked out of my account, leaving me to deal with them once more...

Ooh before that I'd already been productive returning Dan's glasses using the lovely Royal Mail service. Seems like everything I want to arrange takes at least 3 steps of communication. Bills session above took 6 steps. Went to PO in town on Tuesday to pick up package but they couldn't help me with the glasses. Went to the PO in Cannon Park today and they had no small safe parcel to mail it in. Went to Haward's across the mall and got a case for the glasses. And a small box. And they offered bubble wrap, which I stupidly declined. Back to PO and got a bubble wrap envelope. Oh my goodness how rubbish is the Wedding Planner?! Even got first class service, but the guy couldn't promise it would arrive in London tomorrow. Then what good is first class service!? Desperation all around.

More productivity at the maths institute. I marked the pleasant occasion of my return to campus by borrowing a book. A real book. To read. To answer your question Nikki, no, all our tables are stable and don't need books to level them. To study. And to help me build the most amazing models in MATLAB. Also emptied my pigeonhole but all that was there was a letter I'd already seen. Later came back to have my fees arranged, but first…

I went to the bank. After an hour 5 minutes in the queue I finally had them sort out my address details which story started early July when they only changed half my details and told me to check with the creditcard company myself. Then decided I wanted to use online banking but they sent my stuff to the Netherlands (home address). Great. Went to NatWest in Cov and they said no everything is fine we know where you live now. Called online banking people (you'd think online banking people are contactable by email but no) yet they said they'd still send stuff to the Netherlands with the current state of my details. Got tired and let it simmer for 2 weeks. Asked NatWest lady to change my details again and after being slightly too rude (sorry NatWest lady) had her phone all the other people and declare to the world I have moved house. Thank you and had them transfer money from one place to another, as you do. Back home I tried online banking but no. I'm not allowed a cheque book. I'm not allowed to pay bills online. I'm not allowed to make third party payments. All I can do with online banking is see how money slowly drips out as I use my debit card. Might be my next hobby once I'm sick of sudoku.

Small victories of the day include me clearing out the Rev pigeonhole in the Union, which [the pigeonhole] was actually quite full, mainly because of a rogue sweater that has been haunting execs for ages. The other victory was gained at Uni House where I was told to sit down and relax while my department and the University arrange my financial stuff. Minor defeat was suffered when Lord of the Rings beat me and Rich already after the first disk. 1,5 hours of the Fellowship of the Ring and they haven't even left Rivendell!? Great to see all the extended scenes though! While even the soppy music in the Wedding Planner is rubbish. Sad point in movie history. Oh and the start of a Rev blog was celebrated by me an Ali (and probably Rich, though he would never admit it).

What I don't like is that I still have a sore throat after having left Edinburgh 6 days ago.


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