Archive for January, 2010

29
Jan
10

Rambling: Relocating

I think there's a road under all the snow.

I think there's a road under all the snow.

Yesterday, I completed my relocation to my parents’ house. I gave the keys of my apartment in Frankfurt back to the landlord and so it’s bye bye big city, hello little village. Which is, of course, only a temporary hello, because I will soon leave to go to Sydney, which has 3.6 million inhabitants. Which I think makes it about six times larger than Frankfurt. My home town, just for the record, has about 2,400 inhabitants altogether, which makes it 15,000 times smaller than Sydney. But that’s just by the way.

So we drove back all the way from Frankfurt, and during the last hour of the drive we were plagued with heavy snowfall and later with snow-covered roads. Actually, it was quite pretty, but it’s not the kind of weather you wish for on your way home late at night.

[Alle reden vom Wetter. Wir nicht. (Poster)]

It snowed constantly during the night and in the morning and so today there is snow everywhere and I’m glad I don’t have to leave the house. It should be noted that according to the radio, the Deutsche Bahn has had some major problems and many trains were late and caused the eco-friendly passengers to have to wait in the cold. I think the Bahn should talk about the weather more often.

I have meanwhile put all of my stuff away and while my room here is still a mess, I think it looks a lot better than it did half a week ago. I couldn’t help myself and I documented the mess, for your enjoyment in stereoscopic 3D. If you don’t know how to look at stereoscopic 3D images, you need to learn it. You’re missing out.

My room in stereoscopic 3D.

My room in stereoscopic 3D. Click for a larger version.

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27
Jan
10

Music Monday #32: When I Lay Beside You

Gert and Sarah Bettens of K's Choice.

Gert and Sarah Bettens of K's Choice. Gert is seen pre-hobo-beard.

I used to be a big K’s Choice fan. Ever since I saw this Belgian band late one night on public television where they performed My Record Company [YouTube], Paradise In Me [last.fm] and Not An Addict [YouTube], I was a fan. I bought all their CDs and I loved them, and for the most part, I still do.

In 2003, K’s Choice split up. Sarah Bettens and her brother Gert Bettens, who were the songwriting talent behind K’s Choice, decided to go separate ways to explore solo careers. Sarah Bettens released three solo albums, Scream, Shine and Never Say Goodbye, and while her husky voice was part of what drew me to K’s Choice in the first place, the lyrics and music on her solo records were somewhat disappointing. The best song to come out of those seven years is (ironically…) I Can Do Better Than You [YouTube].

When I Lay Beside You single

When I Lay Beside You. Very green. I think Gert Bettens once ran for the Green party.

If you’re a regular visitor to this blog, you have read about my thoughts on K’s Choice and I Can Do Better (twice) before, also on Gert’s project Woodface. However, I failed to mention that back when I ordered the Woodface album Good Morning Hope from Mediadis, I also ordered Comet. I forgot all about that because they never delivered it. They waited a month or so until they decided to send my other CDs ahead of time, then Comet never came. Now, about seven months later, I received emails from Mediadis saying they were bankrupt and sorry. It would be rude to say the quality of the Woodface albums has anything to do with them going bankrupt, so I won’t. It would be a good joke, though.

I did get to listen to Comet meanwhile (thanks Mel), and while Good Morning Hope has its highlights, Comet is rather boring altogether. To me, none of the songs stand out and they are average rock songs that work well as white noise.

Apart from their music, it’s also disappointing that Gert and Sarah rarely gave a status update to tell people what they were working on, and usually if you did get one of their newsletters, they only wanted you to join their street team, buy an album or such. I personally think that this is a missed opportunity, as the internet is a cheap and effective way of staying in touch with your fans. I’m not saying they need to be posting videos about their vacation activities, although it certainly wouldn’t hurt.

So, after all this whining and complaining, I can say that I do wonder what their next album, due out 2010, is going to be like. They did contribute a song to Music For Life 2009, for whatever that is. It’s called When I Lay Beside You and the video is online on YouTube. It starts off looking like a rip-off of the great Bright Eyes video to First Day Of My Life [YouTube – watch it, it’s good!], but then ends with a “political” angle (for lack of a better word). It also features Gert’s terrifying facial hair.

Click to see the video on YouTube.

Click to see video

(Alternative Link)

When I Lay Beside You by K’s Choice

I am everything I want to be
With your loving face in front of me
With your eyes that hum the perfect song
To go on long after I am gone

When I lay beside you
When I lay beside you

Like the absence of a roaring sound
And the walls I built came tumbling down
And it almost made me worship god
Cause you’re everything these words are not

When I lay beside you
When I lay beside you
When I lay beside you
I am perfect

In your eyes I see eternity
And a girl that looks a lot like me
Eternity, a little trip
You’re the beat my heart will skip

When I lay beside you
When I lay beside you
When I lay beside you
I am perfect

When I lay beside you
When I lay beside you
When I lay beside you

[lyrics taken from here and adjusted slightly]

So now if anyone could enlighten me why it’s “lay” and not “lie”, that would be great. I’d either say, “When I lay beside you, I was perfect” or “When I lie beside you, I am perfect.” (Adam? :)) As for how eyes hum a song, I’ll let that pass as artistic freedom.

26
Jan
10

Rambling: It’s officially winter

It's awfully cold outside. Thinks the mermaid.

It's awfully cold outside, thinks the mermaid.

After a short, sunny break, Germany has returned to real winter weather. As you can see, it’s cold. The temperatures outside are at -11.9 Celsius (about 11 Fahrenheit), but I keep my room warm (at toasty 73 Fahrenheit) and my little weather station predicts sunshine in the future. Let’s hope it is right. The little smiley face is unhappy today, probably because humidity is at only 22%. In my old apartment, it never fell below 40%, but I can’t say that I actually feel a difference.

Anyway, I am drinking Pickwick tea from Hungary from my Starbucks Anniversary cup. I have moved back in with my parents last week and spent the last four days tidying. It’s quite amazing how much stuff you collect over a year and a half, and it’s tough trying to squeeze the contents of a whole apartment into a single room. Luckily, there’s always the basement. Also, tidying is fun. I’m not really getting rid of much stuff, but my Rolling Stone magazines are now in order (I have a subscription, it’s my favorite magazine) and it’s only a matter of time until they will be neatly organized in my database, along with everything else. I put all my comic books in my MediaMan database today, and when I was done I put in all three of my vinyl records:

My three vinyl records.

My three vinyl records in MediaMan. My database makes me happy.

So, as you might know, in about nine days I will leave Germany and go to Australia with my sister, leaving my parents with all my freshly moved and tidied stuff. I’m actually starting to get slightly nervous about it,  as I don’t know what awaits me there, but let me tell you that the 20 degrees Celsius sound rather appealing right now. We’ll start off in Sydney and hang out there for a while and I suppose we will take a good look at all the impressive sights they have there and possibly also look for work. I’ll try to update my blog regularly with more or less exciting stories and photographs, so watch this space.  Oh, and do feel free to comment.

18
Jan
10

Music Monday #31: Feel It In My Bones

[Feel It In My Bones music video]

Tegan and Sara in the music video to Feel It In My Bones


On this Music Monday I want to bring you another Tegan and Sara song. I know, I know, I talk about them all the time, but bear with me.

Tegan and Sara started out making kinda folksy acoustic music, then they turned rockier, then they had a peculiar rock/pop mix album and a weird dark pop album, only to release their newest record, Sainthood, which I would describe as intelligent pop music with electronica influences. As you can see, I am clueless as to how to describe them, but it’s apparent that their music keeps evolving and changing, and so it’s not entirely out of character for them to collaborate with Tiësto on a track off of his recent album, Kaleidoscope.

The song is very dancey and electronic, and – more importantly – very catchy. It’s called Feel It In My Bones, and started out as an instrumental track that Tiësto sent them, and Tegan and Sara ended up writing the lyrics for it [source]. Later, they ended up recording a video for it – which, as I understand it, gets played in the background on big screens when Tiesto plays the song live.

The video fits the song nicely and is pretty much exactly the kind of video you’d expect for a song like that. I think it’s very well done, except maybe for a little bit too much make-up. But do judge for yourself:

[Feel It In My Bones](Alternative Link)

You can download the video with Keepvid. And you can look on YouTube for some acoustic live performances of the song.

Lyrics:

Feel It In My Bones by Tegan & Sara and Tiesto

Blow by blow, I didn’t see it coming
Blow by blow, sucker punch
Rushes in
Here to stay
Rushes in
You are here to stay

What rushes into my heart and my skull I can’t control
Think about it, feel it in my bones
What rushes into my heart and my skull I can’t control

I feel you in my bones
You’re knocking on my windows
You’re slow to letting me go
And I know this feeling oh-so
This feeling in my bones

Left hook, I didn’t see it coming
Left hook, you’ve got dead aim
Rushes out
Run away
Rushes out
You always run away

What rushes into my heart and my skull I can’t control
Think about it, feel it in my bones
What rushes into my heart and my skull I can’t control

I feel you in my bones
You’re knocking on my windows
You’re slow to letting me go
And I know this feel oh-so
This feeling in my bones

I feel you in my bones
You’re knocking on my windows
You’re slow to letting me go
And I know this feeling oh-so
This feeling in my bones

I feel it in my bones
At night my skull feels pressure
I feel it in my bones
I feel it in my bones
I feel you in my bones

You’re knocking at my windows
You’re slow to letting me go
And I know this feeling oh-so
This feeling in my bones

I take a breath, take a breath with me blow by blow
I take a break, take a break from you, you are here to stay
I take my heart out of my chest, I just don’t need it anymore
Take my head out of the game, I just don’t need it anymore

Take a breath, take a breath with me blow by blow
Take a break, take a break from you, you are here to stay
I take my heart out of my chest, I just don’t need it anymore
Take my head out of the game, I just don’t need it anymore

I feel you in my bones
You’re knocking at my windows
You’re slow to letting me go
And I know this feeling oh-so
This feeling in my bones

Lyrics from SongMeanings.net (with minor adjustments).

15
Jan
10

Dude, where’s my Lunna?

[Wordpress Searches]

This is how some people found my blog.

My blog comes up on Google with the strangest searches. I know this, because I can see some of the search words used to find my site. I’m popular with the “chupacabra” crowd and the “sony vegas black video” crowd and the “tegan and sara sheets” crowd. But I found out today, that I can also be found by the “have ikea stopped lunna chair” crowd.

Ah yes, the Lunna chair. You certainly remember my How the Pello…? blog entry in which I talked about the Pello chair I bought from Ikea and at the same time betrayed said Pello by drooling over the even cooler Lunna. (Coincidentally, my Pello is in bits and pieces over this. But I shall reassemble it soon.)

So let me refresh your memory (I can tell you are too lazy to click on the link above). I bought the Pello for exactly 19,- EUR at the Ikea in Frankfurt in July 2008. Pello is sturdy, comfortable, you can take it apart and reassemble it and 19,- EUR really is a bargain.

[The Pello chair]

Pello. Comfortable. 19,95 EUR now.

It is very similar to the Pöang, but the Pöang is 69,- EUR.

[Pöang]

The Pöang. Like the Pello, but more expensive.

But then, there is Lunna. [Insert the imaginary angels choir here.] One of the possible textile designs was a black and white floral pattern, it was incredibly comfortable, beautiful and, well, expensive. At 129,- EUR it was 110,- EUR more expensive than the Pello, so the choice was not hard.

[The beautiful Lunna]

Lunna. 'Nuf said.

So yeah, while I was still thinking about going back to Ikea one day to get me a Lunna, they ended up taking it out of their stock. Why, oh, why? We may never know.

I have scoped out what alternatives there are to the Lunna (a public service, if you will), and this is what Ikea in Germany has to offer. First, we have the Smedsta. It looks very comfortable and sells at 169,00 EUR if you want the version in chrome, or 149,00 EUR if you prefer Epoxy/polyester powder coating. But black and chrome is really the way to go, I’d say. It has a long backrest and the part you sit on goes up slightly where your thighs would be, which I believe is part of what made Lunna so comfortable.

[Smedsta]

This would be the Smedsta.

Then there’s also the Tirup, which sells at a steep 299,- EUR. It doesn’t even look that comfortable to me and I really don’t know about that color. They either sell it in black/yellow (it looks green to me) or in black/white (which looks grey to me). Also, the way the fabric folds over the chair doesn’t look particularly nice and/or comfortable.

[Tirup]

The Tirup. What color is that?

There are others – the Karlstad (349,- EUR), the Skruvsta (99,- EUR) – but they don’t look nearly as pretty or as comfortable as the Lunna. They simply can’t match up to the lovely image of the Lunna that I have created in my head. Please make up your own morale to this story.

[Karlstad and Skruvka]

Two more armchairs by Ikea.


Comments, anyone?

14
Jan
10

Linkage: Printers from Hell

[This should be an image of my printer.]

The type of printer I have. I know you were dying to know.

Do you like printers? Really? Why?

Actually, I do have a nice laser printer that I bought for something like 99,- EUR a year ago. It’s a laser printer/scanner/photocopying machine all in one, and I’m rather pleased with it so far. It ate some paper a while ago and I haven’t had to buy a new (and likely rather expensive) new toner for it yet, so that might be part of why I like it so much.

However, before I had a nice fancy laser printer, I had a typical inkjet printer. It was a good one, actually, and I remember the first few pictures that I printed out in color. They looked really good. But then I didn’t print much in color anymore, and the ink dried up. It also started printing out stripes in normal text, and at some point it refused to print at all half of the time. And anyway, I could go on, but why should I if someone else so nicely put what all is wrong with the printers of the world. Click on the image to see the whole text!

[Printers were sent from hell to make us miserable.]

Click the image to see the whole, very accurate text.

11
Jan
10

Holidays and Organizing

Oh, it’s been so long since I’ve last written. The holidays are over, for now, and I have spent them the best possible way: at home with my family, eating good food and plenty of cookies. Also, I did some serious core gaming and finally finished Oblivion. I’m sure you’re all very proud of me.

Barcode scanning with the webcam

Other than that, I have dedicated several hours to organizing via this lovely database software I have found called Mediaman. While it certainly has some design flaws, it lets you scan in your books/DVDs/CDs/games via your webcam. It’s so much fun! The webcam recognizes the barcode and looks for the item on Amazon websites and then imports the data with a picture into a virtual bookshelf. You can also export the list of your stuff into various formats. Right now the only problem I have with it is that it lists my Massive Attack CD as Attack, Massive. As in Amos, Tori. But I might find a fix for this eventually.

Other than that I watched a lot of movies lately that I might review further in the coming days (if I can be bothered). My favorites were Sunshine Cleaning, Jennifer’s Body and Avatar 3D. Jennifer’s Body received some rather bad ratings, but I imagine that might be because it wasn’t marketed correctly. If you expect to find a creepy horror movie like, say, Halloween, you’ll be disappointed. It’s basically Juno with a higher body count. As for Avatar – while I agree that the plot was not very spectacular, somewhat predictable and some exposition scenes were slightly cringe-worthy, I do think the 3D effect was one of the best I’ve seen in a while (and I have watched quite a number of 3D movies already), and more importantly, the world they created for that movie is a real treat. It looks great, it’s got some great concepts and it was a real pleasure becoming immersed in it. That’s what I thought, anyway.

Last but not least I’ll have you know that I’m slowly getting ready to move apartments, which is definitely something I dread. Not because of the uprooting, really, or because I will miss the place I’m leaving (although I certainly might), but because of all the heavy lifting that needs to be done. Moving is a hassle. Maybe in my next apartment, I should limit my stuff to a bed and a computer? This and a mattress is really all I need! (And a water boiler. And a fridge. And… nevermind.)