dryfter: (me)
Yamaha Pacifica PAC112

That is my new guitar!

I swear I looked at a few hundred new and second hand guitars, but in the end settled upon this one.. I liked the way it looks, and the way it is balanced/fits on me, and I'm told it's a good quality body too. One massive chunk of solid "Alder" wood. (I like the raw un-lacquered look, rather than the shiny finish most electric guitars seem to have.)

After some experimentation, I think it sounds nicest with the bridge pickup and centre pickup linked.. I am using quite "clean" sounding settings while I'm learning, so no doubt I'll figure out what works well for other sounds in due course.

I've been playing with it and reading online tutorials for a couple of days now, and people weren't kidding when they said my fingers would be sore! However I'm happy that I can now just about pluck out the intros to "Hurt" and "Wish you were here" - slow, but recognisable.

Thanks to Tom, Bekki and Sean for their advice so far. Much appreciated!
dryfter: (Default)
Ah, wintertime..
It's cold (10 to 12 degrees), and my usual pastimes of outdoor photography and motorbike rides don't fit with that quite so well.. and Melburnians just don't seem to go out to pubs or clubs or anything so much this time of year. Hmph.

I always seem to fall back to some other time-wasting activity for the colder months.
In past years it's been things like CB/amateur radio, EVE Online, Lord of the Rings Online, roleplaying games, FPS games. Last year I dug up my (very) old MIDI keyboard and bought a "teach yourself piano" book.

I didn't get too far with the piano last year, but this year I'm going to give music another try, and so I intend to purchase a cheap guitar, and attempt to learn it. I'd really *like* to be able to play music.

I have decided to go for an electric guitar, since that'll allow me to mess around with the sound more, and I'm a sucker for electronics. Also, I think I can use headphones, and thus not annoy housemates with dreadful practice notes :)
(It's still ages before I get to move into my house.)

Am now looking for online sites with lessons. So far:
* http://guitar.about.com/library/blguitarlessonarchive.htm
dryfter: (tc_meters)
MP3s encoded in the bad old days usually sound rather bad. Not only were they often encoded at 96, 112 or 128 kbps, but the encoder software wasn't very smart either and didn't use those few kbps as efficiently as later software would.

After being annoyed by listening to one too many mushy, warbling tracks, I decided to write a script to go through my collection and identify all the albums where the average bitrate over the whole album was too low. (initially the script reported every album where at least one track had a low bitrate, however that resulted in false positives, due to the tendency of artists to have long, mostly empty tracks inbetween "hidden tracks", where modern encoders will justifiably encode all that empty space at the minimum bitrate.)

Using the revised script, I still had well over 400 albums with bitrates of 128 or less! There's another 180 or so which are at 160. :(

I've spent an entire night ripping and encoding my CDs, and only managed about 20 albums. It just takes ages to rip them, at least on my DVDROM drive with high levels of cdparanoia enabled to avoid scratches or glitches. I've also taken to looking for albums on thepiratebay and mininova, since it's a lot easier to just queue them for download rather than hang around ripping them!

However I just checked the latest results from the script, and there's still 385 128k-or-worse albums to go, and I haven't even started on the 160k ones.

I guess if I just try to whittle down a dozen or so every week, in slow moments, I'll gradually work through the lot in a year! I guess I'll target the albums I like and want to listen to a lot first.

I also worry that I should be using FLAC rather than MP3s from lame with preset=extreme, except that to be honest, I can't really hear the difference between the two, and MP3s are far more portable.. If I used FLAC, not only would I need to buy a couple of new harddrives to fit them and the backup copy, but I'd then need to maintain an entire other tree of them in MP3 anyway, so I can play them in the car stereo or on my ipod.

Has anyone else solved this problem (of needing to re-rip everything) before? How did you solve it?
dryfter: (Default)
My back/shoulders have been aching quite a bit lately, so I've tried to stay off the computer in the evenings this week.

Tonight I've been sitting on the couch, sipping shiraz and listening to some good CDs to the light of a lava lamp, and watching the stars out of the window through the fluttering Tibetan prayer flags.

It's quite nice to put the laptop away for an hour and just.. relax and listen. Something I should do more often, really. Although the neighbours might not appreciate it :) (I've been on a kind of post-metal / shoegazing-experimental-rock kick this evening, and the volume level has not been subtle.)

I just hope my housemates don't come home and mind me re-arranging the furniture for optimum listening position :)

In the morning I have to get up early, and make it to seven or eight house inspections. :/
This weekend I'm looking at townhouses around the inner northern suburbs.


In other news, I am a terrible vegetarian, as yesterday I bought a new jacket that is wonderful, but also made of AN ENTIRE COW (probably). My last (leather) m/cycle jacket was relatively cheap new, and it's looking pretty tatty these days.. If I'm not eating meat any more, then it kind of balances out if I buy a new leather jacket once or twice a decade, surely? My only other leather jacket dates back to the nineties, and still gets worn regularly.
Anyway, I LIKE leather.
dryfter: (Default)
Every time I start Rhythmbox, it says that some music could be loaded because I'm missing the codecs for it..
The music required is in VQF format, a codec that was briefly popular then died. The music is now effectively unplayable. Luckily, it's only an album that I don't care about.

So, which album was encoded (by me) in this now-dead format? "Obsolete" by Fear Factory.
dryfter: (Default)
The shuffle function in Rhythmbox has annoyed me for quite a while with it's apparent desire to keep playing me certain artists. It seems I'm not the only one who finds this, as there are bugs open against it.

There is an effective work-around though! Run this:
gconftool-2 -t string -s /apps/rhythmbox/state/play_order random-by-age-and-rating

dryfter: (Default)
I'm not paying $200 to see Opeth in Melbourne (going rate on ebay). I should have bought tickets earlier :/
Also, apparently Victoria's anti-scalping law is aimed at sporting events, not so much general concerts. Damn :(
Meh. if you can sell out a venue months in advance, surely you should consider playing two sets, or getting a larger venue? (eg. like the Ladytron gig.. original tickets sold out in 48 hours).
Oh well. Have two other gigs lined up that haven't sold out yet at least.
dryfter: (gir_muffin)
Just a quick post.. There's a gig I recommend on tonight; Fun electronica, slightly psytrancey angle.
Gourmet Scavanger:
Spoonbill, Lotek, Soup, Alpha Channel, Welcome Dear Friend, Tetrameth, Eden Altman, Bass Bin Laden.
They're all playing live!

Anyone interested? I don't really enjoy going out on my own; given a choice between a gig on my own or just a pub/gathering with friends, I'll take the latter every time. (Well, with a few exceptions; I think I saw Anathema and Opeth on my own because no-one else wanted to go to those but there was no way I was passing them up! :) Hmm and a few more gigs now I think about it.. I guess I shouldn't make such sweeping statements.)
dryfter: (Default)
Ripping this meme from [livejournal.com profile] nervegasattack..

Step 1: Put your music player on shuffle.
Step 2: Post the first line (unless the first line reveals the song title) from the first 20 songs that play, no matter how embarrassing.
Step 3: Strike through the songs when someone guesses both artist and track correctly.
Step 4: Looking them up on Google or any other search engine is CHEATING!
(Additional: Looking at my Last.FM stream is cheating too!)
Step 5: If you like the game, post your own!

cut out the meme )

OK that took ages.. it seems I have a lot of music without audible lyrics :/ (not really a surprise).
Oddly, out of 1655 albums, two of them turn up twice in the above 20 tracks.
dryfter: (tc_meters)
I have four speakers, an amp, and an ipod. And a fairly large room.
Ryan brought some decks, a mixer, and a couple of crates of vinyl.
Not quite optimal listening experience..
I'm sitting at the far end of the room, on the floor, leaning against the wall, listening to Dryft echoing out of the speakers a good 12m away.
We should probably think about getting some furniture soon.. Either that, or a lot of egg cartons and some superglue.

In other news: This house is seriously close to town. The 96 tram gets you into Burke Street in no time, and I reckon I could walk to work easily too (currently that's in Carlton, basically the next suburb over). The house feels big when there's not so much in it. However my bed finally arrived (at ~8:30pm grr), so I'll go and assemble it now.

We don't have a fridge here yet either, so I better drink up before this pilsner warms up.


dryfter: (Default)
Toby "dryfter" Wintermute

December 2010

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