baratron: (sleepy)
So tired. It's been a long week.
  • Wednesday - Stayed up way too late to run a new dungeon on the public test server of Elder Scrolls Online on Wednesday.

  • Thursday - Meeting with ZOS devs to talk about the new dungeons. So much talking. I still haven't written up my notes from the meeting for my Guild, and I hope I can mostly remember what was said.

  • Friday - Went to see Ginger Wildheart and Hey! Hello at a funny little venue called the Brooklyn Bowl. It's a bowling alley (?) inside the big o2 tent (formerly the Millennium Dome) which also has bands. Kinda weird but it was very accessible, since the entire o2 was built post-Disability Discrimination Act. They were playing along with another band called Ryan Hamilton & The Traitors who were so good we wanted to get their CD, but it was sold-out!

  • Saturday - Work for my mother, and a huge row because she was being unreasonable (at least in part due to a headache).

  • Sunday - The joys of a new washing machine! We bought our washer-dryer, fridge-freezer and dishwasher when we moved into this house in June 2004, and they've lasted well. The fridge and dishwasher have never needed any work, but the washing machine needed to be repaired five times, with issues ranging from worn motor brushes to a broken wire in the motor controller to a sheared bolt holding the drum in place. A couple of months ago, it stopped drying clothes, and Richard determined it needed a new condensing unit. This wasn't a huge problem considering it's summer and we can dry clothes overnight on the rack. However, then the drum stopped spinning altogether. Richard checked the brushes and the motor controller, and determined it would need a whole new motor.

    Thing is, although he could fix it, there reaches a point in an appliance's lifetime where it seems like throwing good money after bad. Putting a new condenser and a new motor into a 12 year old washer-dryer that seems to be gaining a new issue every couple of weeks? Yeeaah. Also, the sheets for our new bed are enormous, and heavier than our machine was supposed to be capable of taking.

    We've been very happy with Bosch, most of all the fact that you can order parts to work on the appliances yourself without needing to be a registered dealer (very useful when you have your own in-house engineer), so we just went out and bought another of the same without any shopping around.

    However, I am currently struggling with the fact that this new washer-dryer is trying to be more intelligent than I am. The old one had three knobs on the front: water temperature, drying time, and programme. This new one has one big knob and a load of buttons. It has fewer temperatures available for washing, and far less control over drying time (with the options being 15 minutes blow around, 60 minutes with heat, 120 minutes with heat, or "auto"). I'm kinda annoyed that we won't be able to wash our socks on 50 degrees C any more, and that we won't be able to dry the clothes for 25 minutes before putting them on the rack. At least, not without some effort.

    Then on Sunday night, I had a huge argument with Shifty, which continued into Monday and only got sorted out on Monday night. We're okay now, but it was really difficult - there was a lot of him not understanding nuances of emotional stuff because of his autism, and me not being able to find a way to explain it better because it's "just obvious" to a neurotypical person. (Maybe even to autistic people with a bit more experience in relationships.)

  • Tuesday - Woke up too early with a sore throat. Hoping it's just from crying too much. More work for my mother. Photoshop. Argh.

  • Today - woke up too early again, still have a sore throat, sincerely hoping it is allergies and not an infection. Wrote a rant about Funding for special education. Now have to email Shifty's crush to tell her some things which he doesn't seem capable of conveying, as well as confirming that yes, we really are poly. Argh.

So yeah, it's just been exhausting all round and I am ready for a break. Which I don't think I'm going to get anytime soon.
baratron: (richard)
Since I was ill with flu in December, I didn't manage to write about the very, very awesome thing that Richard did. We are fans of a musician called Ginger Wildheart - indeed, I have been a fan of his since 1994. Every year he does a gig on his birthday, which is 17th December. It's a very non-standard gig with a rotating cast of musicians, called the Birthday Bash.

This year it was postponed because Ginger was in hospital with depression, which sucks. Fortunately Ginger is getting better and the Belated Birthday Bash and Hey! Hello! tour are back on in April.

Richard knew that a lot of fans were flying over from elsewhere in the world and wouldn't have anything to go to. So he pulled together a pub meet. He spoke to a couple of venues and the guy who runs the Boston Arms in Tufnell Park said it would be no problem at all to host us. Even more impressively, Richard got Hollis and Davey from Love Zombies to play an acoustic set. (Hollis is also the new singer of Hey! Hello!). There were something like 50 people present over the course of the evening, including Ginger's legendary roadie Dunc.

I am just very, very proud of Richard for putting this event together, especially considering the short notice. Even more so considering that he is an introvert who finds dealing with people difficult. I doubt he'll ever organise anything this big again - it was a lot of stress for him - but I'm really pleased to know that he can.
baratron: (cn tower)
After having done not very much in months, we had a colossally busy weekend.

On Friday night we pretended to be young again and went to a nightclub for the first time in... I can't actually remember how long, but most likely about a decade, and possibly longer. Read more... )

We then slept all of Saturday and went out with Tim & Peter in the evening to celebrate Tim's birthday. I believe he was 25* this year. I suppose by the same logic I will also be 25 in June and can simply carry on clubbing like I used to, if I can find the energy. What I really need is to be able to persuade/pay one or more of my friends who like vaguely similar music as me to come and do the bouncer-ing so that Richard can enjoy himself without having to Be My Carer, since he does enough of that already.

* = hexadecimal

On Sunday I mostly played Skyrim, and then on Monday we went to Poole to see Richard's dad, stepmum, sister, brother-in-law, and nephew. This necessitated far longer on trains than should reasonably be required considering the distance, but all of the Special Assistance actually happened!! I am thinking of writing to South West Trains to congratulate them, because it's the first time in bloody ages that I've booked assistance and all of it has materialised as expected. Possibly because I emphasised really hard that I was concerned about whether the lifts at Surbiton would be working, and the fact I'd be changing at Woking around 11 pm when the staff tend to change shift.

Yesterday all I did was go to the doctor to get my vitamin B12 injection. Today^ I am on a train up to Glasgow. Tomorrow we are going to see the Wildhearts supported by Eureka Machines. It's the 20th anniversary of Earth Vs the Wildhearts, if anyone else wants to feel positively antique. They're only doing four dates, none of them in London, which is why we're going to Glasgow to see them.

^ = written on the train on 2013-04-03

Ginger!

Dec. 18th, 2012 06:41 am
baratron: (richard)
So today it was 17th December, and as is traditional and typical we went to the annual Ginger Birthday Gig. Slightly more organised than in previous years, this time round it was The Wildhearts supported by Ginger Wildheart (i.e. the frontman's current solo project). There were basically 3 sets: the Ginger Wildheart band, then The Wildhearts, then the usual loose melee of guests which at one point led to there being 5 guitarists on stage all playing at once. That's five guitarists plus a bassist, in case you were wondering, and something like 6 people who were just singing. It was the sort of gig that's pretty much indescribable to someone who isn't already a fan.

And it had Jef! Jef Streatfield is the poor sod who replaced the very popular guitarist CJ when Ginger sacked him in 1995 in a drug-fuelled rage. (To this day neither CJ nor Ginger can tell you what their argument was about). Jef is a very good singer & guitarist, who could provide the melodic backing vocals that The Wildhearts depend on, but he is Not CJ. When the band got back together, it was always going to be CJ that the fans wanted, because the combination of Ginger & CJ's vocals is divine - and I've always felt a bit sorry for Jef, because he went from being in a really quite famous rock band to being nobody through absolutely no fault of his own. Simply because he was The Replacement. The Wildhearts have had three official drummers plus three official bassists & a couple of temporary ones, but the classic lineup has always included CJ. It was really good to see Jef back for a couple of songs - and it turns out that Ginger, CJ & Jef all singing together is even more divine!

Set list to follow when I'm not on my phone.

It's 6.30am, we've been home nearly 5 hours, and have only just calmed down enough to attempt sleep. Woo! And also Hoo!
baratron: (black)
Don't expect any sense out of me for the next couple of hours:


Woo! We're living in the future! I just downloaded an album an hour after it was released! And it's so fucking catchy that I'm singing along despite never having heard it before :D
baratron: (Skyrim)
Hey! Hello! - How I Survived The Punk Wars (Official Video)
The first video from Ginger Wildheart's new Hey! Hello! "pop" music project. Very sweary and quite hilarious:


You can tell it's a Ginger song because I was singing along to the chorus halfway through the first listen :) And it amuses me greatly since the chorus could, very easily, be adopted by campaigners for Real Science against Psuedoscientific Bollocks.
baratron: (black)
Just back from seeing "Ginger and Friends" play at Ginger (of the Wildhearts) birthday party. Way back in 2001 Ginger played a solo show 2 days after his birthday, and members of The Wildhearts Mailing List (email) clubbed together to buy him presents and sign a big card. Ginger had so much fun that the same thing happened in 2002, and since then there's been an annual birthday show. Sometimes it's been The Wildhearts, sometimes it's been Ginger solo with a backing band. Today it was Ginger "and Friends".

There was no support band - Ginger played two sets. During the sets, Ginger had something like 20 "friends" from various bands on stage with him, rotating the lineup after each song and sometimes changing the lineup completely. As he got other people to sing the songs he'd normally sing, it was kinda like seeing karaoke or a cover band - only with some of the actual band members there. Confusing, but cool. In particular there were three female singers who were all really good solo vocalists.

And wow - he's so much nicer now that he's given up (most) drugs. He actually stayed on stage the whole time and played host, introducing the various "friends" who came on and making witty banter. He was even coherent and comprehensible! (not always a given considering he's a Geordie).

During the first set they played 2 Super$hit 666 songs, 3 Clam Abuse songs (I *love* Clam Abuse, even though it's a joke band. The Clam Abuse show we saw years ago during one of the most acrimonious Wildhearts splits renewed my faith in music), 4 solo Ginger songs and 4 covers. In the second set they played 14 Wildhearts songs, including some that are *never* played live. And the encore was 2 Silver Ginger 5 songs. Richard is talking about "needing" to form a Silver Ginger 5 cover band again (I don't know with what spare time, but I am totally in favour of seeing Richard dressed like Silver Ginger).

Here's a set list... )

We really need to go and see more bands. We like basically all rock music (hard rock, metal, modern punk. Not Oasis-type "rock"), and also geeky/nerdy artists (like Lemon Demon and Jonathan Coulton). It would help if people told me whenever bands were playing in London, because I don't ever seem to hear about gigs (and Richard never seems to notice adverts even if he does see them)!
baratron: (goggles)
Being a fan of the Wildhearts for so long has messed something up inside my head. I mean, you have a band with four people in it, all of whom are on various drugs and so fall out with each other all the time. So the band either ejects a band member or splits up completely every couple of weeks/months. After a few months/years detoxing the band get back together and record the best album ever, then go on tour to support it - and all the old personality problems aggravated by drugs or alcohol come back. So the last and best night of the tour turns out to be the last gig ever, as they split up again. The fans sit around online posting in shock "wtf happened this time?". After a few more months/years some solo stuff happens, various people do embarrassing things, then there is some of the happy drunkenness and crashing each other's solo gigs, people end up randomly playing onstage together, realising it works and getting back together. Repeat ad infinitum for the next 16 years.

No one knows how many times the Wildhearts have split up and got back together again. Ginger doesn't know how many times the Wildhearts have split up and got back together again, and he's the one that's been doing most of the hiring and firing! It's alleged that they managed to split up and get back together three times in the space of one night, but no one there at the time was sober enough to be sure.

So, as a result, even though Freezepop are about the most wholesome band in existence (and the most horrifyingly rock'n'roll thing they've ever done was getting arrested at Customs for not declaring that they had band merchandise to sell with them), whenever I get a Freezepop update mail, part of me fills with nameless horror and panic until I read the contents. It's like a Pavlovian response.

And now I discover that "we are psyched to introduce a great new feature: Freezepop Premium Updates! Every day, we'll be posting fun stuff like behind-the-scenes videos, songs, photos, random musings, stuff from the archives, and who knows what all else." So while I'm sitting here bitching about them selling out because the feature will cost US $2.99 a month (i.e. less than I spend a day on hot chocolate), what I really mean is that I'm not sure my nerves will take it.

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