First In An Occasional Series

A glimpse at some of the songs currently rotating through my playlist:

The New Pornographers - Your Daddy Don't Know

Completely cheesy, over-the-top piece of power pop, featuring the sublime vocals of Neko Case. Almost guaranteed to put a smile on your face.

Yoz - Ripping Kids of Death

A bootleg mix of Saint Etienne's Cool Kids of Death and Michael Greene's speech from the 2002 Grammy Awards. It works surprisingly well; it's one of my favourite bootleg mixes.

Saturday Looks Good To Me - Meet Me By The Water

One of the standard theories of pop music is that after you turn 21, you no longer fall in love with bands with the same zeal that you did in your teenage years. This is, of course, complete gibberish. Hurrah! Welcome to my latest obsession. It's like Wes Anderson decided to make music. With hilarious consequences. This track is one of the highlights on their latest album, All Your Summer Songs. Swoon as the circuitry of the song disappears, the lyrics melt, and the acoustic guitar coda reaches infinity.

currently playing: The Polyphonic Spree - Hanging Around

A Recipe In Two Parts, Part Two

Chorizo Enchiladas
500g minced pork
500g minced beef
(Vegetarian option? Erm, pass…)
1 tablespoon olive
1 onion (again, optional)
1 tablespoon chili powder
1⁄2 teaspoon ground cumin
2 teaspoons dried oregano
A pinch of salt
50ml vinegar
250ml beef stock
Sauce from Part One
Oil for frying
8-10 corn or wheat tortillas
Lots of grated cheese
Crushed chilies

Put the beef and pork in a frying pan and cook until browned and crumbly, breaking up the meat with a spoon. Add the olive oil and onion, and cook until soft. Stir in the chili powder, cumin, oregano and salt, then add the vinegar and stock. Simmer for 10-15 minutes, then drain off the excess liquid. Remove from the heat and cool.

Spread a little of the chili sauce across the base of a large baking dish. Heat the oil in a frying pan and fry the tortillas quickly on both sides, trying not to crisp them up. Remove them and drain on kitchen towel.

Dip the tortillas into the chili sauce, and put about two tablespoons of the meat in the centre of each tortilla. Fold and arrange in the baking dish.

Pour the remaining chili sauce and meat over the top, and scatter with grated cheese. Sprinkle the crushed chilies over the dish. Bake in a preheated oven at 180˚C/350˚F for 20-30 minutes until bubbling and golden brown.

currently playing: Aimee Mann - Pavlov’s Bell

A Recipe In Two Parts, Part One

Salsa Roja
5 small dried red chilies
425g canned chopped tomatoes
4 tablespoons oil
1 onion (optional)
4 tablespoons boiling water
3 tablespoons tomato paste
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
11⁄2 tablespoons wine vinegar
1 teaspoon sugar

Place the chilies and boiling water in a blender or food processor. Drain the tomatoes, keeping the juice, and add them to the blender. Blend until smooth. Heat the oil in a frying pan and sauté the onion until soft. Stir in the in the blended tomato mixture, the juice, the paste, cumin, coriander, vinegar, and sugar. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes.

currently playing: Neko Case - Set Out Running

Pop Will Eat Itself

The special edition of Hail To The Thief is a wonderful thing. The design is based on the style of McSweeneys, The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, and of course, the venerable and setter of trends that is The Weekly. And it has a fine gatefold poster, plus a Book of Lyrics that Gentlemen (or Ladies, if they so choose) may wise to peruse whilst listening to the audio recording.

Amusingly, however, the CD is not a proper CD. Instead, it is a Copy Controlled disc, that is intended to prevent people from ripping it to MP3 (a rather pointless move, considering that the album has been available on the Internet since March, but anyway). I discovered this after cdparanoia had happily ripped every single track. Back to the drawing board, lads…

Okay, who's with me?

currently playing: The Smiths - How Soon Is Now?

ComputerSelf

Yesterday was a computer day. I’ve upgraded the installation of Movable Type to version 2.64, and I spent the rest of the day working on an AppleScript program that allows me to upload and post pictures simply by selecting them in iPhoto and pressing a button. It started out as a simple idea, but of course took the best part of five hours to get working. Computers. Love them.

And no, I have absolutely no idea what the comments in the previous entry are going on about.

currently playing: Godspeed You Black Emperor! - Moya

Blowing Bubbles

currently playing: Mint Royale - Don’t Falter

Scenes From A Barbeque

currently playing: Saturday Looks Good To Me - Ultimate Stars

Idle Time

Amazon-watching.

currently playing: Ultrasound - Floodlit World

Gregory Peck: 1916-2003

I remember when my daddy gave me that gun. He told me that I should never point it at anything in the house. And that he’d rather I’d shoot at tin cans in the backyard, but he said that sooner or later he supposed the temptation to go after birds would be too much, and that I could shoot all the blue jays I wanted, if I could hit ‘em, but to remember it was a sin to kill a mockingbird. Well, I reckon because mockingbirds don’t do anything but make music for us to enjoy. They don’t eat people’s gardens, don’t nest in the corncrib, they don’t do one thing but just sing their hearts out for us.

Coding Towards Infinity

Three years ago, I wrote an extension to The Gimp, an open source image editing program, allowing users to create text representations of their images. For example, here’s a picture of the Linux mascot, Tux:

And here's the same image after my extension has created an all-text version (you might need to look at the enlarged image to actually see the text):

The script had a few fancy options, like being able to select different fonts and sizes, plus it could read huge amounts of text (say, if you wanted to paint a picture of Hunter S. Thompson with the words from Fear and Loathing In Las Vegas). It only took me an afternoon, and I was fairly pleased with how it worked.

Being one of those no-good Free Software types, I placed it on my old web site under a license known as the GPL, which gives anybody the right to use, distribute and modify the program, providing that they continue to allow access to the source code (and any changes they may have made). I added it to a website which lists various different additions for The Gimp, and promptly forgot about it.

Today, I was searching through Google, and came across a link to my code. Only it was on a different website from my old one. Curious, I started another Google search, looking for references to my program. It seems to have spread far and wide across the world. People have made additions and changes to my original work; updating it to work with the new version of The Gimp, and bundling it with a bunch of other programs and selling the collection on CD.

Scattered across the world, in thousands of different places, my name still resides in the source code. It'll remain there until the CDs biodegrade, roughly a hundred years from now. I'm not quite sure how to deal with that.

currently playing: Mercury Rev - Delta Sun Bottleneck Stamp