A new skill

Encouraged by my Personal Trainer, who says we should learn a new skill every year, I have decided to learn a new skill.  Most probably not what she had in mind, but I decided to learn how to play Guitar Hero.  It’s fun, it promotes concentration and hand-eye coordination.  Best of all my teacher is VWB [1], and we get to share some fun time together.  (I know, Awwww)

So far I’m still on the Easy level, and playing Bass. I think my percentage is averaging in the late 80s early 90s, so not doing too badly so far. I find it easiest when I can play by ear, but that seems to be a bad thing to do because sometimes I can’t always hear the notes that I’m supposed to strum. Best to play by eye, but sometimes I can’t always see very well either. I think that’s a combination of me needing new contact lenses and because I concentrate so hard I don’t blink much and my eyes dry out!

Still, it’s a lot of fun. As someone who is not that much into computer games, I find it relaxing and rewarding. It’s great to get encouragement from VWB and lovely spending the time with him.


1.Very Wonderful Boyfriend



I went to Prahran today to visit the Chapel Street Bazaar.  I wanted an old phone.  One that doesn’t require power, so that I have a land-line phone during a blackout.  I particularly wanted one with a dial on the front, like the one we used to have when I was little.  Having checked local op-shops and coming up empty, the Bazaar was the only place I could think of that was sure to have one.  I found one, and in my favourite colour- green!  In fact it was exactly what I wanted!  Of course it cost way more than I was hoping (but not more than I expected) however it came with a three-month warranty, so I could take it back if it didn’t work.  Happy with that, I purchased it.


No need to take it back, it works!!  Yay!!  And the cats should find it difficult sliding the phone off the hook like they did with my other one.

On my way to the Bazaar, I walked past Swinburne University.  My eye was caught by their sign.  My first thought upon seeing it was ‘Oh my god, I can’t believe they teach design there and they went with that!’  The design itself is not bad, it just reads badly. logoI don’t know how long they’ve had this design, but really ‘SWIN .  .  . BUR . . . NE’?  Swin burnie?  We are the students who say “Ne!” I bet the designer demanded to be paid with a shrubbery.

I do know a little bit about what I’m talking about, as I did study design at . . . eh-hm . . . Swin  bur  ne.  (Oh dear)



Two Highly Recommended Podcasts

Attention Gamers . . . The Black Panel’s podcast can now be subscribed to on iTunes.  Click Here.

If you love games and great conversation with people who know what they’re talking about then this is definitely for you.  I’m not a gamer so listen to Miztres who is:

The Podcast was pretty techie as you know, really above my level, but they kept the conversation to my level so I could follow along well enough.  For example the talk about a rumoured massively big Xbox360.  As soon as I heard that I went “Why?  What for?”  Well they told me what for….not that it’s really useful for most of us and certainly not useful for me. I can now speak confidently that I do not need to upgrade to the new Xbox if it ever turns up.

I liked the conversational style, I felt I was also in the room with them…just not contributing to the conversation.

The segments are cute.  Did you hear the one about screen names:  Metal Finger!  Tumourous Pizza?  I was laughing as I listened to the podcast and then had to explain myself to Catherine who couldn’t hear it.

I love Good Game on ABC and don’t miss an episode.  When the podcast reviewed games I’d seen on Good Game I could follow their review.  Their review brought out different aspects of the game that the Good Game guys hadn’t mentioned for whatever reason.  Pretty cool.

I will be listening in the future.

Now, if you love Star Trek, you love humour and you are a bit of a geek (hey dude, you just admitted to being a Star Trek fan), then you should listen to Wil Wheaton’s Memories of the Future Podcast.

I first started reading Wil’s blog after I thought I caught a glimpse of him in Nemesis (Don’t get me started on that film).  Wondering what Wesley Crusher was doing at the wedding party and in Starfleet uniform, I immediately hit the net.  I found that Wil Wheaton had his own blog.  I figured it sure to have something about the film in it.  I thought it would be just another celebrity blog that the actual celebrity has nothing to do with, but it was worth a shot.  It turns out that he writes it himself.  He turns out to be a really cool guy (for a geek).  I had no illusions he’d be like Wesley Crusher (in fact I never really gave Wesley much thought, not even enough to hate or like the character), but I didn’t expect him to sound just like any one of my friends.

Memories of the future is a book he is about to put out about The Next Generation.  He says it’s not a tell all book.  It’s more like going through a high school year book.  But if you listen to the first episode, he’ll describe it much better than I can.  Go on, go listen. Go!  Trust me, I’m a geek.

Here’s a link to the first three episodes (because that’s all there is at the time of writing) after that you’re on your own.

Episode 1

Episode 2

Episode 3

Oh, and just by the way.  I was walking through the park on my way to work (by myself) listening to episode 3.  He made me laugh out loud!  So not only was I the crazy laughing lady in the park, but snot came out of my nose!


iTunes trick


If you are reading this anywhere other than the conundrum then this post has been stolen.

I’ve discovered the joys of the smart play list.   I’m sure the function has been there for some time, but it is only recently I’ve discovered a use for it.

When I listen to music, I tend to put iTunes on shuffle and let it go.  I don’t know about anyone else, but I found my Mac seems to have it’s favourite songs which are played over and over, and there have been songs that hadn’t been played in so long I forgot I had them.

That’s where the smart list came in.  I made one that has the top 200 of the least recently played songs, and have been listening to stuff that hasn’t caressed my ears in ages.

Here’s  how to do it.

In the File menu, choose ‘New Smart Playlist‘.

Check ‘Match the following rule:’

On the pull down menu choose ‘podcast‘.  Then in the menu next to it choose ‘is false‘.  (This is so your podcasts don’t randomly pop up in your list.  If you don’t have podcasts, don’t worry about this rule.)

Check Limit to, then type in how ever long you want your playlist to be (I don’t think it really matters, because it continuously updates, so the list stays fresh). In the pull down menu select ‘Least recently played‘.

Leave ‘Match only items‘ unchecked.

Check ‘Live updating‘.

Click Ok, then give your new Smart Playlist a name.

As an alternative you could also try ‘Least often played’ instead of ‘least recently’.

Happy listening.


New Phone- a review

z750i_catalog_mediaspaceYou know, it’s really hard to take a picture of your phone with your phone.

My old phone leapt out of my bag, while I was trying to extract my jacket, did a nose dive and landed right in the dog’s water bowl.  It still worked, but it wasn’t happy.  The battery life was reduced to almost nothing.  I had to buy a new phone.

Not wanting to spend a fortune, I decided to get a cheap pre-paid one that I could put my old sim card in.  I decided on the Sony Ericsson Z750i.  It had all the features I was after.  Calendar, blue tooth, memory card slot, mp3.  I don’t ask for much really.

It’s a cool little phone, but if I had a do-over I wouldn’t pick a Sony Ericsson.  Their calendar is terrible!  It does make recurring appointments, which is what I wanted, but if you want to delete, edit or reschedule just one of them you can’t!  If you change one of them, you change all of them.  The alert is next to useless too.  It makes a short noise, once, to remind you and that’s it.  You can’t change the alert tone, you can’t ask it to repeat the alert tone, in case  you miss it the first time.  It’s just bad luck if you don’t hear it.

One of the great features of the phone, however, is it has 5 Alarms.  Each one can be set to different times, and can be set to recur either every day or you can choose your days of the week.  You can even choose the tone for the alarm, so it will play anything you want.  Mine currently plays the ‘Soup’ song from ‘The Mighty Boosh’.

So, I’ve worked around the calendar’s deficiencies by using the alarm.  I check the day before if there’s any appointments, etc. I need reminding about, then set an alarm.  I would like more than 5 alarms given the calendar’s deficiencies.  However, if the calendar worked the way I wanted it to, 5 alarms would be more than enough.

Other features on the phone are great.  The SMS remembers who you’ve sent to recently so you don’t have to go look them up every time.  It does email rather easily, but I doubt I’ll be using that feature much.  Nice to know it’s there though.  If I send an mp3 to it via bluetooth it asks me if I want to use it now, and do I want it to be a ringtone or message alert.

In the picture, see the top two round buttons?  On the main screen they’re foxtel and bigpond.  It tries to connect every time I accidentally hit the buttons.  I don’t really want foxtel or bigpond, and you can’t take these off.  I guess I’ll get used to the new phone and stop hitting the wrong buttons soon anyway.