Friday, June 21, 2019

Musical Interlude: Dirty Vegas - I Should Know

 The turn of the millenium saw me travelling frequently for work.  I'd spend weeks at a time in other cities, cross-training new staff and helping to implement their logistics and warehouse operations.  Being away from home was fun at first.  I was in my mid-to-late twenties, living on my own with no responsibilities other than paying my rent, and travelling to different cities on the company dime was an exciting proposition.

Every trip was great... for the first week or so.  Typically, I'd go out after work with members of the local staff and management, sampling the local cuisine and nightlife, and generally getting to know everyone on a personal level.

After that first week or so, the novelty would wear off.  The local staff and management would need to go back to their normal lives, and I would start to get bored.  Not being the most sociable person at the best of times, I'd tend to wander, sightseeing and trying out new restaurants and lounges on my own.  Despite making a few local friendships of a, er, ahem, temporary nature, I'd get bored by the end of the second week, wishing I could go back home, sleep in my own bed, hang out at my own hangouts, and eat my own local food.

During my outings, I'd hear a certain song nearly everywhere I went.  It would be played in the bars, clubs, and lounges... its popularity increased (despite being a couple of years old) by being featured in a Mitsubishi car commercial at the time.  The song was Days Go By by Dirty Vegas.

I'd hated the song at first, but the stupid commercial made me love it.  So, eventually I bought the album.  It was one of the first CDs I uploaded to my (then) new iPod, but only Days Go By ever saw any action.  The album was quickly forgotten.

Fast forward a few years. Feeling nostalgic, I uploaded the album to my (then) new iPhone, but this time actually LISTENED to the whole thing.

The first song, I Should Know, contained a line that summed up that period of my life perfectly:

Playing away from home is fun
This food is cooked, but it isn't done!

Over the course of my many travels, I learned one thing:  There's no place like home.



I'm going to post these musical interludes every Friday.  It's my way of getting back into my music, and also back into blogging.  Can't promise that I won't be wistful or overly sentimental, however :)


Thursday, June 20, 2019

Where Everybody Knows Your Name

 A week ago, I finally got off my ass and built the Ikea Brusali cabinet that's been sitting in our laundry room for four years.  That is to say, I finally had a use for it...

Yes, dear readers, I have finally set up my liquor cabinet!

It's been a long time coming.  Apart from the sole time I waded through boxes of liquor to make myself a Martini, I haven't had the opportunity to practice my mixology skills.  With the cravings increasing and for the sake of regaining my magic, the decision was made...

It took the better part of a Sunday afternoon to build the cabinet, rearrange other furniture, move the cabinet into place, load it up and organize it in a logical manner.  It took another few minutes to rearrange everything in order to cat-proof (and child-proof) it.

Happy with the result, but approaching bedtime, I opted to forego a celebratory drink.  I waited until last Friday to christen the new setup with what was to be the signature drink of the (long-abandoned) Speakeasy: the Vermouth Cassis.


 Grabbing a long glass, I dropped in a couple of rocks, poured in a half-ounce of Creme de Cassis, 2-1/4 ozs of dry Vermouth, filled the rest of the glass with club soda, and stirred.

The first sip was a bit flavourless, probably due to the fact that my Highball glasses were, as I discovered, mislabelled Collins glasses and thus an inch taller.  Still, for a watered-down cocktail made with decade old booze and ice that's been in the deep-freeze forever, it wasn't half bad!

I nursed the first one for an hour, then made a second once dinner arrived.  Adjusting the ratios to account for the taller glass, my second (supersized) Vermouth Cassis was almost perfect.  Fresher ingredients will help in that regard.

Saturday afternoon, I felt a craving for a Negroni.  If you've been following my blogs for any length of time, you'll know I have a fondness for Campari...the chief ingredient of a Negroni.  This time, however, I went with another recipe, the Punt e Mes Negroni, which replaces the Campari with Punt e Mes, an equally bitter herbal aperitif.

I winced from the bitter taste as I took the first sip.  The cocktail also had a slightly leaden taste due to the age of the ingredients, the last bit of sweet vermouth in the bottle being at least fifteen years old!  It wasn't terrible, I sipped on it for an hour while reading through the latest issue of Metropolis.  I am, however, making it a point to restock the cabinet with fresh bottles when possible.

At this point, I'm satisfied with my cabinet setup.  I have room to move, room to work, and most of my ingredients are close at hand.  I'm confident it'll work until we decide we need a wet bar downstairs... but we'll cross that bridge when we come to it!

Join us next time, where we discuss your neighbour's lawn obsession.  Until then, stay lubricated and stay sane!


Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Links Updated

 It took the better part of yesterday, but I've gone through eighteen years worth of posts and fixed any broken links contained therein.

It was an arduous process, and I made heavy use of the Internet Archive.  Sadly, some links (mostly to my own stuff) were not archived and are sadly lost to time.

I have also deleted a few posts that were placeholders for something I was planning to post, others that were drafts or unfinished posts I'd mistakenly published, and a few more I wasn't happy with.  In the interest of full disclosure, however, I left up a few posts where I was in the wrong, and a few more I was ashamed to have written.  I'll leave it to any interested parties to find them.

(I also updated the FAQ again)

Monday, June 17, 2019

Never Let Your Magazine Run Dry (Conclusion)

 Previous installment here.

The deadline came and went, and digital magazine app Texture is no more.  I wasn't too upset, as things change and the lifecycle of apps like this is relatively short.  Besides, I still had all the backissues I'd downloaded from the Texture app saved on my tablet.  I'm free to peruse them at my leisure.

Or so I thought...


There is no Texture, only Zuul


Imagine my disappointment when, as I fired up Texture, I was greeted with the above screen.  I couldn't access the issues I'd previously downloaded via the app, and the files were no longer on my tablet.  Every trick I tried showed an empty folder.  The magazines are gone.

I was pretty upset, to say the least.  When I finally calmed down (spoiler alert: I haven't), I looked at things logically.  Ultimately, Texture wasn't a retail app, it was more like a rental:  you paid the monthly fee, and in exchange you had free access to all their magazines and back issues for as long as the service was offered.  Now that the service is no longer offered, the free access is gone.

So, I'm still a bit bummed.  This brought to mind something I'd written in the third installment of this series:

"What I don't like about digital magazines is you can't leave one out on the coffee table.  You can't lend it to someone.  You can't draw mustaches and beards on the female athletes, or Hitler mustaches on all the politicians and businesspeople.  There's no sense of wonderment when you find one in a box in your closet.  There's no scent.  You don't get free rub-on samples of cologne in them.  Worst of all, you have no physical artifact to leave to posterity."

The last line is the kicker, and is the big problem I have with digital media distribution in general: there's no physical artifact when all is said and done.  What happens to the hole when the cheese is gone?

What do you have once the battery runs out?  What's left when your hard drive or device is dead?  What's your recourse if media is deleted and the vendor is no longer in business?


Some people might like that: no piles of old magazines cluttering the house, basement, attic or shed.  No non-recyclable glossy pages blowing around the landfill (lol, like dead electronics are much better!), no cleanup once the media is no longer of interest.  There's nothing to throw away in a digital throw-away culture.  Once it's gone, it's forgotten.  Progress!  Hooray Capitalism!

Not me though.  I'll keep my physical media and enjoy my ever-growing library of magazines, books, DVDs and CDs, sitting in my rocking chair in front of my mammoth tube TV and reading by candlelight.

Thus ends a multi-year journey into the consumer side of digital publishing.  I began the journey with pre-conceived notions and ended having validated them in my own mind.  I gave it a shot, saw the benefits and convenience, but also the many downsides.  Thanks for tagging along.

Thanks to Bubbermiley (of New Winnipeg fame?) for letting me know about the Winnipeg Public Library's online mag subscription service!

Friday, June 14, 2019

Musical Interlude: Lamb - Sugar 5

 While I work on my next couple of posts, here's a tune I first heard over a decade ago on Frequence Banane.  It's one of my favourites, and regularily makes it onto my martini-drinking playlists.

I present for your listening pleasure:  Sugar 5, by Lamb.


I'll be back in a couple of days with the final (?) installment of Never Let Your Magazine Run Dry, a related project, and quite possibly something alcohol-related.

I'm also going through my old posts from start to end, looking for broken links and replacing them when possible with archived versions from  Hoping to have that done by next week.

Have a good weekend, and stay sane!