Category Archives: Personal

Saturday Sun

A photograph of a girl lying diagonally across a bed.

Saturday Sun

Saturday sun came early one morning
In a sky so clear and blue
Saturday sun came without warning
So no-one knew what to do

Saturday sun brought people and faces
That didn’t seem much in their day
But when I remembered those people and places
They were really too good in their way

In their way
In their way
Saturday sun won’t come and see me today

Think about stories with reason and rhyme
Circling through your brain
And think about people in their season and time
Returning again and again

And again
And again

But Saturday’s sun has turned to Sunday’s rain
So Sunday sat in the Saturday sun

and wept for a day gone by

Lyrics by Nick Drake

Catching up

Well, what happened here? I haven’t posted anything in over a month. No excuses, really — although the Movabletype publishing system did stop working on my server for a while (no idea why, but it was my hosting company’s fault). I was just busy and uninspired.

Anyway, here’s what’s new.

A photograph of blossom on a tree.
Spring has sprung!
  • Lest that previous photo confuses you, be aware that it’s now spring in the UK.
  • We’re also in the middle of an election campaign. If you’re interested in the story so far, the two best articles that I’ve read on the subject are What is Labour for? by John Lanchester published in the London Review of Books (actually a book review) and Britain’s battlelines redrawn by fear by Philip Stephens in the Financial Times.
  • The election takes place on May 5, which is also when a friend of mine will make her Wigmore Hall debut. Carol Isaac and I used to work together at Roy Thomson Hall in Toronto, and she’ll be accompanying American soprano, Twyla Robinson, in a recital of songs by Janácek, Brahms, Berg and Dvorák. I may be mistaken, but I don’t think either of them has performed at Wigmore Hall before.
  • I’m experimenting with a new family history web site. It may not be a permanent fixture, so explore at your own risk. The main advantage is that the database is online, so the pages always display the latest information. In other words, I don’t have to update the site manually!
  • People who embrace a technology early on in its development are known as “early adopters”, but it’s increasingly evident that the term can be applied to organisations as well. This is certainly the case with RSS (Rich Site Syndication or Really Simple Syndication), a technology that allows information to be easily syndicated across the web. It was incorporated into weblogs, so that people could stay up to date with a weblog’s content without having to visit the weblog’s home page, and it has improved accessibility to such an extent that you can digest much, much more information than normal using a RSS “newsreader“. After the blogging community adopted RSS, progressive news organisations such as the International Herald Tribune and Christian Science Monitor started to implement it. Last month the Financial Times and the Economist, both industrial Luddites in their own ways, finally jumped on the bandwagon. So it’s now clear that RSS has arrived.
  • And last, but not least Canada is apparently in an e-Government league of its own.

Music in the Kitchen

Music in the Kitchen? Sure, I can play that game; despite not being much of a chef.

A photograph of a BT Voyager Internet radio.
The BT Voyager

In fact, music has recently been rejuvenated in our kitchen with the arrival of a BT Voyager Digital Music Player. Sitting simply in the corner, it allows us to listen to anything our computer can play on CD, MP3, or stream via the Internet. Consequently, I’ve been listening to NPR and the CBC a lot recently.

  1. What is the total number of music files on your computer?
    • No idea. Does it matter? It’s quality that counts.
  2. The last CD you bought?
    • Shortly after Christmas I heard a discussion on CBC Radio about the best Canadian albums of 2004. One of those mentioned was My Favorite Distraction by Coral Egan. Think Sarah McLachlan crossed with Joni Mitchell.
  3. What is the song you last listened to before reading this message?
    • Trouble from the album of the same name by Ray LaMontagne.
  4. Write down 5 songs you often listen to or that mean a lot to you.
    1. Jack Reardon and Sacha Distel’s The Good Life as performed by Betty Carter on Look What I Got!
    2. Al Jarreau’s interpretation of Lennon and McCartney’s She’s Leaving Home is a marvel, as I’ve said before.
    3. Corcovado as performed by Astrud Gilberto, João Gilberto, Antonio Carlos Jobim, Tommy Williams, Milton Banana and Stan Getz. It’s the epitome of cool.
    4. Once in a Lifetime by Aretha Franklin from the album Yeah! Aretha Franklin in Person — a great preformance recorded live at a nightclub in 1965. The crowd obviously doesn’t realize that the young Aretha will become the undisputed Queen of Soul. At one point you can clearly hear a young woman let out an indignant “ouch!” as if she’s just been pinched, and during the next song a man whistles the theme music to the Twilight Zone. Philistines!
    5. Softly, William, Softly from the album Concord on a Summer Night by the Dave Brubeck Quartet. A magical song-without-words on an atmospheric live recording.
  5. Who are you going to pass this stick to and why?
    • Anyone who reads this post and cares enough to reciprocate; because they obviously care.

Blue Jean Chef

My sister, aka the Blue Jean Chef, has a new web site designed by yours truly.

It’s the first time I’ve used the new-ish open source blogging tool (aka Content Management System) called WordPress, and I have to admit that I was impressed. I found it easy to setup, and there are lots of plugins freely available to customise it to your needs.

It’s so good in fact that I’m seriously tempted to switch from MovableType to WordPress myself.

With bells on

Feet wearing different multi-coloured socks.
Little Miss Matched

My five-month old daughter has just been given a great pair of Lamaze Foot Finder socks. As well as being very colourful, the two insects on the tips of the toes contain rattles. They’re supposed to stimulate development, and they were an immediate success with our little girl.

Colourful socks with insects on the toes.
Lamaze Foot Finder socks

I wonder if this is a sign of things to come, however? Little Miss Matched is apparently a big hit with 8 to 12 year olds in the US!