Month: July 2017

Book challenge….

I set myself a challenge to read 4 books by the end of the month, 2 down and 2 to go, and a little behind, but life is like that.

The latest completed book was Paul O’Grady “Open the Cage, Murphy”. This is the 4th of his biographies and is set in the rise of Lily Savage, his drag act, from Liverpool to London. I found it a really entertaining book full of reference to places I know and have been to. I am looking forward to the next book and the next chapters of his life if he brings another volume out.

If you have never heard of Lily Savage, then I suggest having a look on YouTube for some videos, I am sure you would enjoy his acid tongue.

New iMac?

I keep looking at getting a new iMac. I a 24-inch Early 2009 iMac, it has done me well, and never let me down, but it is getting slow in its old age, and I can only use El Capitan, as my iMac cannot update to Sierra due to the requirements of the new OS. If I am honest, I am still happy with my current iMac, it does the job, just its 8 years old, and I am yearning for a new swanky machine. Last year I bought myself a new MacBook Pro along with a new iPhone 6S Plus, which in all truths cost a bloody fortune as I decided to go for the upper end of the specifications rather than an entry level machine.

Looking at the new iMac’s (2017) editions they are spec rich, and I would probably have the new one for 8 to 10 years, but the expense really does kill me, not in the fact of affording it, that’s not the problem, it is justifying the expense. As I say, my 2009 iMac is great, in fact, I am using it at the moment to write this whilst streaming Corey Taylors latest Beats 1 show (A series of bleeps) on Apple Music. M keeps taunting me with “So when are you going to stop pretending you have not already decided?”. But in all honesty, I have not decided to buy one, I would love one, and maybe last year, I may have gone mad if they new iMac was out and bought it then, but it wasn’t and I really struggled with the purchase of the iPhone at the same time, so maybe I may not have. All in all, I want one but the justification really is stopping me. I think then should I go for a Mini iMac, which is cool, but then I have to get a monitor for it, which is not a problem as I have seen some very sexy ones, but in the end, I wonder if I am sacrificing quality for the cost.

Question: Do I stick with old faithful?

Real Milk

I love milk, it is one staple that I have to have in my life, and under no circumstance would I give it up. I always get full-fat milk but have yearned for proper raw (unpasteurised) milk for many years now. I found places that would send it by DHL, but all in all, for 12-pint pack we were talking about the best part of £30, so I never bought it, and I really wanted to find a dairy farm local that sells it. The problem was that raw milk is sort of shunned by the general public as they have been brought up thinking that pasteurised milk is proper milk and we should only ever drink this. However, having worked in the farming industry I know that is a load of bull (pardon the cow pun).

A few weeks ago a farm not far from here started selling raw milk. M and I decided that we would go out for lunch to one of the pubs on the canals and then pop up to the farm for the milk. The pub we went to does not do food on a Monday or a Tuesday, so we just had a pint there, sat in the sun, looked at the boats then headed over to the farm. I decided to not go mad as I know that I would just drink it all in one go, so bought 2 litres, and what a bargain, only £1 per litre.

Needless to say, I could not wait to get home to drink some. I made M try it, he thought it was just okay, and didn’t like the after taste. He prefers the heat treated watery rubbish from the shops, I, however, am in love with it, it’s creamy, rich, and tastes amazing.

Screw this, I’m outta here….. Update

If you read my previous post “Screw this, I’m outta here” that I was pissed at my Mother and step father for all the pissing about and lack of thanks. We the update is, still no thanks or even an apology for their stupidity.

I turned up at my Mothers unexpectantly on Tuesday, this is something I hate people doing to me, just turning up, but I thought screw this (again) I just turned up. I said one word “hello” and went to the camera system that I had installed and entered the pass code that I had told them it would be and was in the system with no problems. The said that it was not recording, but it was, and never had stopped. She then tells me that one of the lights is off, and there should be a light for each of the cameras. I told her that she was wrong and if that was the case there should be 8 lights on, but there are three, and that it only has 4 lights on the main base and the “out” light, if she cares to look again is an alarm light, and if that is on there is a problem. So the system was running perfectly and on no account was there ever any problem. I even showed her that it was the same pass code into the system that I had told her. Her response was “Oh you know what P is like”. That was like lighting the blue touch paper, so I told her that I was mega pissed off as to the way her husband handled this and that apart from him being incompetent and an idiot, that he needs to change his tone and not blame me for something he obviously isn’t able to do. She quickly defended him saying that he did not mean it that way, but the texts he sent me were full of blame, that she seemed to have a blind spot for.

I plugged in all her Amazon sticks and showed her that they all worked now I had removed the illegal software, apart from one that I proved that the streaming had been blocked, then deleted it. At that she then gave me an Amazon Dot to install which I thought was cheeky since the crap that was thrown my way for helping on other occasions, however, I did it. When all this was done I left and went home as I really did not want to stay longer than I had to.

No apologies or words of thanks came my way. The only message I got was referring to her having no sound on the new PC, which I pointed out that she would need to buy speakers for it.

Needless to say, I will only hear from them when they next need something, unfortunately, I have found this will a lot of people these days, not just family

 

Latest Musical Muse…

It is known that my musical taste runs the gamut, and my latest musical muse this week is Quantic & Alice Russell. When listening to Lauren Laverne on BBC Radio 6 Music she played “Looking Round The Corner” by them from their 2012 album of the same name.  I felt like I had been transported back in time to the 70’s, wedged between Buenos Aires and San Francisco. The music, although classed as R&B/Soul has such an instinctive aptitude towards Latin lounge music with a touch of Klezmer. I started swaying with the rhythm and instantly became hooked on the style and feel.

Alice has a voice that I can only describe as melted chocolate with an undercurrent of aged oak, in that I mean smooth, velvety and more mature than her tender 42 years.

This is a delicious album that is packed to the gunnels with musicality, a vast arrangement of instruments that just keep going, and sitting here listening to it whilst writing (I had to put down my knitting as I wanted to write about it), there is so much for the ears to take in, and I think, when listening to it again, I will hear other tonal styles and influences. The track “Su Suzy” made me feel that I was listening to the inner thoughts and musings of Gloria Estefan. “Boogaloo 33” pulls me to the swinging 60’s, with Bee Hive hair styles, jazz influences and wild dances that were born in that decade. “Similau” has a dark, of the night, feel to it, as though walking through the dusky streets looking for a lover for the night.

If you have iTunes click here, I heartily recommend a listen to it, if like me, you will immerse yourself in this not so guilty pleasure.

Rome

I love Rome, I feel my heart is there, and dare I say it, could easily think of it as my second home. If we were able, we would happily move there and spend the rest of our days there as our first home. We were there in November, the weather was perfect, we visited as much as we could, but this city is so full of history that it would take years of being there to see everything. We even spent two full days in Vatican City, and still never got to see everything in this micro-country, St Peters was that vast that even the 12 hours we spent there only revealed a small part. History was in abundance. One of my many favourite moments was sitting outside having breakfast in the shadows of the Coliseum on the Piazza del Colosseo thinking about the atmosphere back when it was first built.

This photo I took after climbing the Spanish Steps.

A beautiful city that will always draw me to it.

Screw this, I’m outta here.

I enjoy helping people, but sometimes I just want to tell them to get stuffed. This was very much my tone this week. After installing a new PC for my mother, which she did not need, and took close to four hours, I was half way home and got a call saying that it was not working. Frustrated, I explained that it was working when I left and that it was not something I had done. After a few more now agonising conversations asking her to check her hub with a reply of “what’s that?”  really made me want to tear my eyeballs out. I started my journey back only to get a call that she eventually discovered that the power cable had come out of the router, and I turned round and continued my journey home.

I then get a call a few days later as their camera system HD is full and they it had stopped recording. I told them to change the options but questioned why it was not recording over the old footage as I had set it to this in the first place. Then they went to the shop to find out if they could help (obviously not) and then called me again. I told her husband that if I had changed it (doubtful) it would be something she would remember and would have told her to write it down, but this obviously never happened as the default number did not work. Then the texts started back and forward, and again I wanted to claw my eyes out in frustration as they were relentless. I pointed out that I had set it to record over old footage, and that they had been in the settings the night I had installed the camera system, and I remember them telling me and asking about certain settings. I know that I will have to visit and sort it out and no doubt find that it is set to one of the passcodes that I already told them about.

The next saga was their three Amazon sticks, which they bought from a third party so they had Kodi on them and other crap. None of them was working as all said “No stream available”. I told them that Amazon was working on blocking access to illegal content and they would have to deal just have the sticks as they were supposed to be. This didn’t go down too well, but in the end, they decided to reluctantly accept it. I then reset the sticks to factory settings, tried one last time to sideload Kodi, which worked but would not stream films, thus as per my original point that streaming was blocked.  So, resetting it, and making sure the sticks had the latest Amazon software one and were added to her account, I text to say they were done but without Kodi. The text back was quite dismissive regarding Kodi and a simple thank you, which I felt was not really meant. I told them that one of the remotes was not working and I had sorted that out, but this was not acknowledged, and in the end, I thought what the hell am I doing?

After all that I have decided to say screw this, and I am not going to bother helping out again. After all, I only tend to hear from people when they want or need something, which now is becoming very apparent, and not just from my family, but from so called friends.

After Auschwitz – Eva Schloss

On my book list, the first of my challenge was to read Eva Schloss’s After Auschwitz.

I have been interested in WWII since 1970’s when as a kid, I started to watch “The World At War” at my Nan’s house on a Sunday. I found that I was fascinated about what happened, and moreover why. Like everyone, I could not understand why people would do such things to others. As an adult, I have read and watched so much about the genocide and will never understand the hate that the German authorities had towards other human beings.

Eva and her mother survived being sent to Auschwitz-Birkenau on her 15th Birthday. Her book talks a little about the camps and how she ended up there, but more importantly, what happened after she and her mother were liberated.

Eva is mainly known for being the co-founder of the Anne Frank Trust UK, and of course also as the Stepsister of Anne Frank.

This is an incredible book focusing on her life after liberation, how she moved forward, helped others to move on with their life, and above all remember the people who lost their lives through the Anne Frank Trust UK.

I have just bought another of her books entitled Eva’s Story: A survivor’s tale by the step-sister of Anne Frank which covers her time in the death camps and the detailed ordeals her and her family endured.

Music and me

I love music, I really do. When I was young I learned to play several instruments, and my father’s family are quite musical too, with quite a few pianists, especially my cousin A, who is incredibly talented. Whilst growing up I learned to play the piano by ear. I also did the Royal School of Music exams. My problem, like my talented cousin A, I cannot read music, well, not at a speed that would allow me to play from sheet music. I have a very mathematical brain, and I think this is the problem. The notes, quavers, semiquavers, crochets and all the other symbols do not compute. A dot (note) being placed randomly on a set of lines really does not trigger anything. Put a load of mathematical symbols on a load of lines and I can make sense of that.

For as long as I remember I have had music playing constantly in my life. As a kid, my father always played his records, and when he was not there my mum did the same. I played their records, and one day had my own stereo. When I was in my early 20’s I bought myself a huge Kenwood Tri sound system that I still have today and it works like a dream, it cost me at the time £1,500.00. I guess the price proved a point as 25 years later it is still in perfect condition. Over the years too, I have had every type of personal music player too, and I never skimped on paying out for good quality products. Today, I still have the sound system, but I tend to use my iMac and a set of Harmon Kardon speakers, £160 but worth every penny, the sound is exquisite, and I also subscribe to Apple Music.  My car has Kenwood speakers that have great bass. When out walking the dogs on my own I will have a pair of Bose Bluetooth ones feeding my ears with music too.

My musical taste really does run the gamut. My music collection consists of thousands of CDs and Vinyl albums. I love digital as it is easy to get, click a button to pay, and there it is on my iMac, but you cannot beat the feel or sound of vinyl, however, here in the UK it is usually three or four times the price of a CD. My vinyl collection is extensive and includes rare items from picture discs to limited pressings, white label, and signed. I started as a kid listening to my father’s rock albums, mostly Queen, ELO, and others of the time, and his classical music albums. But then I discovered Goth, and it just blew me away. My first love of Goth was Fields of the Nephilim (The Nephilim in the USA), and I have seen them in concert many many times, traveling up and down the country to see them. Of course, I loved nearly all Goth music, especially the obscure. The I added Rock and Metal to my collection, them some punk. Then I found the heavier the better, my taste over the years included Napalm Death, Pantera, Slipknot, Rammstein, and others.

The latest CD to add to my collection is Stone Sour’s “Hydrograd”. What a pleasure this is to the ears. I listened to Corey Taylor and Josh Rand talk about the making of the album and what a blast they had, and it shows in the music. Needless to say, I have had it on repeat since its release on Friday. I had pre-ordered it through Amazon, so received the physical item later on Friday, but had the digital download delivered in the early hours of that day, so it was there for me when I woke up. I guess I am a fan of Corey as I have all of Slipknot’s albums too, and I have read all of Corey’s books too, which, I heartily recommend to everyone. He looks at life they way we all do but manages to bring a bit of sense about the chaos that we see. If you are offended by explicit language, then this really is not for you. I also listen to his Beats One show entitled “A series of bleeps”, and I am sure you understand the reason for the title.

Throughout my adulthood, I have been to about 400 gigs, and about 100 classical music concerts. The most memorable classical concert would be Brahms “A German Requiem”, Goth would be a toss up between Fields of the Nephilim and The Sisters of Mercy, punk would be a Stiff Little Fingers, Gothic Punk has to be Creaming Jesus (incredible gig in Liverpool). Rock would be Pantera (Castle Donnington), Alternative Metal Henry Rollins. Pop (?) would be Alison Moyet. Electronica has to be Jean Michel Jarre. Every gig has a small place in my heart and I guess I will reminisce about them till the day I leave this earth.

My list could go on and on, as will my collection, my memories, and the music.

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