Monday, June 24, 2019

JoBook 2

As mentioned at Furry Story Time, I had been experiencing  computer problems and needed borrow another machine temporarily.
In the beginning there was the JoBook tm that arrived around September 16, 2016 which a kind of replacement for a Netbook that was incredibly slow on busy sites such as Tumblr and in any event had died totally.
That chromebook, a Lenovo N22 that had over the years had the ability  to use Google Apps supplemented by Android ones had been performing well being used to check emails with, use on Tumblr, FA, the IK chat and Lil Jennies story time  seemed to develop a fault that left it with static lines flying across the screen.
Thus I really needed to get a replacement organized for it as it used rather a lot.
This is JoBook 2 a Samsung XE303C12-A01UK which like the original is a 11.6 inch screen with a unspectacular but adequate 1366 x 768 resolution which is fine for general usage or watching anything from the BBC iPlayer on.
It has 16gb of memory but that's expandable to whatever you want using a SD card and 2gb of RAM which unless you've got absolutely heaps of tabs open is fine with the Chrome Os which is a kind of Linux in a browser system that doesn't suck processing power unlike Windows.
It comes in nice silver trim and like practically all of the species has a built in video cam should it be needed.
Hopefully it won't be long before it arrives and be quickly set up.

Monday, June 17, 2019


In a world where to be honest I have not been feeling too good apart from listening to a bit of music softly while taking tablets my thoughts were on other things.

I have a bit of an fascination for oldish compilations of short stories usually written by the top authors of the day not least for the quality of the stories with believable characters and rich language that is so much the polar opposite of today's obsession with 'accessible language' that rather than stretching your knowledge of words and means actually holds it back.
They also tend to have a clear idea as to who their audience is, tailoring the topics very much to them so a compilation like this is clearly aimed for and around the interests of girls of that era rather than trying to trying to appeal to boys too which never quite worked when it came to set books for school English Lit as almost inevitably we'd be at odds about which ones we wanted to study and discuss as a group.

Monday, June 10, 2019

Teenbeat XXV - The Carpenters

As most people know I do actually like the Carpenters but usually you have to go whistle for any really high quality compact discs by them so I tend to make do with my cd versions of Greatest Hits 69-73 and 74-78 plus "Collected" that I think I wrote something about several years back on here.
Anyway A&M only ever in North America and Europe issued one super audio cd of theirs and that was a twist on a compilation issued in 2000 that covered recordings made when Karen was with us.
The twist was there are a few different tracks and amazingly were at that point able to find the multi-tracks to remix them all into 5.1 surround sound on a separate portion for multichannel players to critical acclaim.
The stereo portions use the regular stereo mixes apart from two songs that are folded from those multichannel remixes to stereo which the regular cd version doesn't use because they were not around at the time. Those two remixes are better than the originals.
Sadly no more remixes will be possible as those multitrack tapes got burned in a big fire at the Universal Studios tape store around 2008 so this is all we have.

Although compilations are arbitrary and this one misses of Jambalaya from the Horizon album that was a British hit, even in stereo super audio cd, this disc just breathes making it desirable to own.
For me this was the greatest soft rock there ever with intelligent songs, great arrangements and Karen's amazing voice.

Monday, June 3, 2019

Classical Music sacd round up part 13 - Mozart Sonatas

This week we're back to music and looking at Sonata's.
What is a Sonata I hear you ask?
A Sonata a composition for an instrumental soloist, often with a piano accompaniment, typically in several movements with one or more in sonata form.
One composer who wrote an awful lot of them was Mozart, who if you're familiar with this blog (and it's bigger companion) you will know is a composer I've always had affinity with to the point of buying over twenty recordings in 1991, the two-hundredth anniversary of his death which included a few sonatas.
Music of this era is very much in the firing line of the battle between traditionalist and those who believe in 'historically informed performances' with replicas of older instruments and looking for clues to how originally they were performed.
The young lady on the left may be familiar to some blog readers as she's the acclaimed baroque violinist Rachel Podger who started a long running survey of Mozart's sonatas in 2004 with the pianist Gary Cooper.
This disc covers four, KV 6, KV 379, KV 547 and KV 378.
This was followed up with KV 303, KV 7, KV 301, KV 30 and KV 481 in 2005

In 2006 they recorded volume three that covered  KV 454, KV 28, KV 402, KV 404, KV 8 and KV 380.
 Volume four came out in 2007 which took in K 302, K 9,K 304, K 29 and K 526

At which point you are probably saying and what's with this "KV" number?
KV happens to be  an abbreviation in German for Köchel Verzeichnis
 It is indeed a register for all the compositions of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791), not only the symphonies. K stands for Köchel, the last name of Austrian publisher and collector Ludwig Alois Ferdinand Ritter von Knöchel (1800-1877).
All Mozart's  music is catalogued in order using this notation which makes things simpler.
These performances and others in the series I'm slowly picking up, are widely regarded as the finest modern ones and the smooth effortless reproduction  the super audio format allows for sounds most natural, as if you were in a room listening to a recital.
Personally I just love the playing.

Monday, May 27, 2019

Summer Special edition

After all that groan up election stuff on Thursday and the counting bit yesterday let's get back to more agreeable matters shall we?
As we head toward the end of May, we move from Spring into Summer which usually in this country tends to bring warmer weather and lots of Sun, indeed you might remember from last year we kind of over did it with temperatures in the high 20 degrees C range for a long period.
Summer in the UK is marked by the start of school holidays that usually start around the third week of July and run for typically 8 weeks which makes it a highlight of your childhood years and depending on age and in some cases districts marks such milestones as graduating to Juniors or moving on to Secondary schools at 11+ and college/uni at 16 and 18 respectively.
Something else generations of britishers also looked forward to was the publication of unique Summer Specials of their comics that came in full colour on better magazine quality paper with a binding.

They were and are almost like miniature annuals, which are a staple of childhood Christmas's  over here with special cartoon strips, games and things to do in them that you'd pick up before you went off on your summer holidays.
The company D C Thomson are a well known Scottish print media magnet printing magazines, comics and newspapers and two comic titles they are known for is The Beano and The Dandy.
Recently I got my copies of these two Summer Specials.
The Beano is a current comic, read by today's children as well as sizable number of adults who are continuing a enjoyable interest from childhood aimed at both girls and boys  whose cartoon strips have changed by the times with some old ones discontinued for new ones and some changes within the older ones to reflect more the society around today's children.
Thus it features such long established series as Dennis the Menace with his dog, Gnasher, Minnie the Minx, my heroine and the Bash Street Kids set in a working class junior school together with newer ones such as Rubi JJ and Pie Face that feature disabled children and people of colour in an attempt to be more 'inclusive' and all are drawn especially for this years summer special.
It has stickers, games and quizzes too clearly aimed at today's children.
The Dandy's is different because it is no longer published weekly and like the Annual is aimed more at those who remember reading the Dandy as I did as a kid and so has decided to make it a compilation with illustrations of some front covers, of some vintage comic strips featured in past summer annuals.
Reading that does bring back past memories and really childhood nostalgia is where this one is aimed.
Two annuals aimed at different markets all a great summer read.

Monday, May 20, 2019

RIP Grumpy Cat

Internet life is kind of strange with its protocols and manias such as "Rick Rolling" and the intense use of Memes and emoticons that some of us had to get used to in those earlier days before every dog and child had their SmartPhone aka a pocket sized computer that also just makes phone calls.
One famous star from the earlier days of social media where Meme creation was in its infancy was Grumpy Cat aka Tardar Sauce who seemed to have permanent frown who became viral as that word was becoming so too as more and more people got on to the likes of I haz cheezburger and started making Meme's featuring her priceless expression.
To say they were a thing in 2012-13 is an understatement.
The following was on Instagram on Friday.
 There are hundreds of Grumpy Cat memes around some pretty SFW, others maybe not but I thought this one would a good choice to remember her by here on a blog that looks at regression and past childhoods
Many of us can relate to this setting and that thought.
Today an increasing number of schools and colleges are bring in pets to help calm children and students as wll as the opportunity to give and receive unconditional love and affection.
What if yours was like that?

2012-2019 R.I.P. Grumpy Cat.

Monday, May 13, 2019

Classical Music sacd round up part 12

It's a bit of a round up of sorts here with not making  a 'proper' entry around the discs I have recently obtained
 Edward Elgar is an English composer that I first listened to as a young child and started buying recordings of his symphonies cello and violin concertos as they came out in the nineteen eighties on cassette and then in the 90's replacing with the compact disc versions.
I had been looking for a decent modern recording of The Music Makers for a while and this Chandos one on super audio cd from 2016 ticks all the boxes as Andrew Davis really gets into the music in much the same way as the late Vernon Handley whose recording I bought back in the day.

Berlioz was a French composer who again held my attention, this time in my teens that I am slowly building  a collection of beyond the Symphonie Fantastique and this, his musical account of the tale of the Faust with its vocal parts is served will in this recent release in the London Symphony orchestras own recording from the Barbican Hall, London, performed live.

Transcribing works written very much with one instrument in mind for another often causes controversy inviting the question "What is to be gained from it?"  but one thing to bear in mind is a good number of composers did in effect produce other arrangements for other instruments themselves.
Ms Podger herself, a highly regarded Baroque violinist, has carefully done this to get around the restrictions of the violin not having the five strings of the cello and keeping the flow of the pieces.
In the opinion of many of us, she has succeed well here producing transcriptions that hold your attention - indeed she premiered them in concert before recording to much applause - caught in a spacious acoustic well reproduced in super audio cd.

* All the discs are hybrid Super Audio cds that play also on regular cd playing equipment.