Things I discovered this weekend:

* 81GB of mp3s. At a rough calculation, that's eight weeks of continuous listening that's been sitting on a hard disk for months.

* REAPER - a shareware MIDI/audio sequencer that's easier to use, more configurable, faster, better thought out and more stable than it's competitors with three figure price tags.

It also takes up 2GB instead of 500 and is being updated every week instead of every year, the work of one man with an open mind and lots of expertise doing it for love, as opposed to an agglomeration owned by a corporation doing it for cash.

And in case you think that's a fluke, there's another shareware sequencer just as good.

* The fact that it takes ninety minutes to edit together a simple hour long slide show in Adobe Premiere, followed by two days to find a way to make it produce a DVD without crashing.

Short version: make a DivX in Premiere, then use a freeware utility to convert that to DVD format. This is a little like finding that your dream kitchen lets you prepare food exquisitely in every way you can imagine...except for cooking it. Which leaves you heating up your dinner with a candle.

* A library book three months overdue. Oops.

* It's actually quite easy to create a fake credit card, and remarkably difficult to create a fake debit card. Presumably because a debit card is connected to a specific bank account, but a credit card involves borrowing from the bank itself.

Guides and software aren't hard to find - I stumbled on a page of both when looking for info on voice training! There are of course several small catches - the difficulty of purchasing items that can't be downloaded, the fact that you're often limited to "borrowing" from American or German banks...and the distinct possibility of getting caught.

* It is impossible to smile and pucker the lips simultaneously. Actually, i think I sort-of knew that one already, but I'd never thought about it until an ebook on how to sing spent several paragraphs explaining it.

* Ted Chiang is a brilliant (but not prolific) science fiction author of short stories and novellas. His works include "Understand" (exploring human super-intelligence), "Division by Zero" (on the problem of purely abstract mathematics) and "Hell is the Absence of God" (about the social effects of angels routinely appearing).

* The French word "Musette" literally means "Haversack", but also refers to a filter on an accordion which gives it the distinctive reedy sound associated with French accordion music.

"Bal-Musette" is a style of slow dance music popular in the sophisticated nightspots of Paris from the 1880s to around the outbreak of WW1. It was increasingly influenced by waltz, tango and latin music, leading to a division between the purists and the modernisers.

In the last decade, Bal-Musette has come somewhat back into fashion as ambiance in the restraints catering mainly to tourists in Montmartre.

* There have been a total of twelve part-time vacancies posted in my area over the last fourteen days - half of which I've applied for on the grounds that, although I don't know how to do them, I reckon I can look like I do.

* Portsmouth University Language School has, in the words of someone who works there, "a stick up it's arse about paperwork". They seem to have difficulty with the notion that most applicants (like me) are every-so-slightly ovoid pegs who don't quite fit into the round holes.

I'm just gambling their need to have actual students on their courses outweighs their need for neat piles of pointless forms.


  1. "restraints catering mainly to tourists"

    Kinky tourists, that is.


  2. You keep your dirty titters out of my blog.