Getting married

In about eighty-four days I’m getting married to the woman I have been in love with for years.

(the video I made for Valentines day this year)

Susan and I have been together for four and a half years, by the grace of God (goodness knows I don’t deserve her) and at the end of june I asked her to marry me. It’s not like I wasn’t expecting to get married to her, because we decided, years ago before we were even dating, that we weren’t going to date without intending to get married. I guess that’s just as big a commitment in itself as getting married is, because you are commiting to making your relationship work as it would in a marriage, but without getting married, and that brings me onto my next point about Susan, her maturity.

Ever since we were kids I always thought Susan had a level of thought and maturity that were beyond her years. At church she would always ask the important questions, and at night she would spend her hours reading the writings of Plato & Socrates (no, really. She did actually do that when she was fifteen!). She was definitely the thinking sort, and spent a lot of time applying her efforts to school work that gained her academic rock star status. The first three pages of Google results are all about her, and she keeps popping up well past page 5. Don’t believe me?
http://www.google.co.nz/search?hl=en&client=firefox-a&rls=org.mozilla…

and here’s a film she was in

She ian’t all brains and no beauty though. She’s absolutely gorgeous! Funny thing is that when I had just hit double figures I had a crash on singer Hayley Westenra. About the same time Susan was told she looked like my celebrity crush from Hayley’s own cousin! Thus continuing the trend of Wardell spoused looking like a celebrity crush. (Dad used to look like William Shatner…well…he still does…but nowhere near as round)…anyway, Susan’s beauty is not overemphasised or flashy. She’s much more understated and elegant and ‘down-home’ Yes, she looks stunning in a ball gown, but she looks equally stunning in her pjs after a sleep-in.

After spending three months without her last summer, and all the time we’ve spent together this year. I really have come to realise that I just can’t be without her. Oh sure I still like to spend time by myself, but we have so much of eachothers heart that we’re inseperable, so on the 23rd of Januray we’re getting married. Still haven’t found a ceremony venue, still haven’t sent out the invites (despite the engagement happening in June) but we’re getting married in Januray, and I wouldn’t want to marry anyone else.

Love you Susan

iThing app updates

Since I started doing the two-sentence iThing app reviews I’ve updated some of the apps I use so I’m going to dedicate this post to covering the new apps from the first 4 pages.

Tweetie 2

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This is a serious update to the original Tweetie, so much so that it was being sold as a different program at the time I bought it. Like SnowLeopard the biggest changes are under the hood. It has been designed to work with a few more for the mass of twitter-centric services like Favstar.fm, TwitLonger, and Birdhouse, has built in URL shortening (which means it might be time to say goodbye to Squeezer ), and integrates more with your iThing as well as cahing tweets so you can read them off line within the app. Like I said, I’m not a masive twitterholic, so I didn’t rush out and buy this right away (yes, it is a seperate applicaiton to the original tweetie), but I’m not regretting it now

Say it & Mail It

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This is another addition to my blogging arsenal, which allows me to email sound clips, with an accompanying picture, video, and/or map location. I’m still trying to work it into my system, so it might be a while before I actually start to use it regularly.

Photobucket

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I has a bucket! There, I said it. I’m glad I found this app (about two months after I needed it, but still I’m glad I found it.) Photobucket allows you to browse your photo album and others, as well as uploading photos direct from the iThing to the site. It’s going to be a much better method for uploading my screenshots!

iScrobble Premium

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Includes a plug for Leo Laporte! but seriously, I am a bit confused about this app. I know what it’s supposed to do, scrobble music to last.fm even when the app isn’t running, but I’m still unsure if it’s actually working. Last time I checked my last.fm profile it said the last songs I had played were scrobbled on Sunday afternoon, and aren’t even on my iThing. This app sounds good on paper, but I think I need to give it a little more testing. If you have had good experiences with it, please let me know .

TVNZ

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Similar to NPR news, but more based around New Zealand news. I still have the NPR app. I’m using them side by side. This is a bit more simple than NPRs app. More centred around print news than audio and video news, but there is a podcast browser built in.

Westpac Locator

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This is only one for the kiwis and aussies out there, and it’s a bit lackluster to be honest. If you’re a westpac bank customer you can use this app to look up the nearest westpac ATM or branch, contact the branches or sign in to your online banking account. What the last option does however is open a link in safari, as opposed to National Bank’s iBank app which handles all the banking within the app, and not in the browser. Looks like I always pick the worst banks from an iThing standpoint. Still ,at least they’re doing something to cater to the iThing crowd, another bank I use doesn’t even want to acknowlege we exist

yourPulse

I probably should have bought Depression journal instead, because it would have been more helpful with my anxiety disorder, but insted I chose to buy this. What it does is measures your heart rate by starting and stopping a timer while you count the number of beats you feel  when you take your pulse over a given ammount of time. yourPulse also has the added advantage of letting you set up your resting heart rate, so that the app can provide you with an ideal target heart rate for exercise and a maximum heart rate for your heart.

Mover

The screenshot doesn’t explain what this app does very well. Maybe this video will:

allrecipes.com Dinner Spinner

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a simple app for helping you choose a meal to cook as well as showing you how to cook it. Will be much more useful when I get married

Next installment will be travel related apps, until then…

Another Waste Blog update, and tip number 3

There’s another blog update!
http://ecoscarfie.blogspot.com/2009/10/beginning.html

With that, here is another of the 350 tips to discuss for living a greener lifestyle ‘Grow your own fruit and veg’

I’m not going to come straight out and say ‘impractical, get stuffed’ because I think this is a good idea. As much of a tech guy as I am I realise that I have neglected some of the simple things like learning how to grow a garden, and I’m not proud of that. i think that it’s something that’s very important to learn for many reasons.

Firstly, once you’ve established a garden, it’s going to work out to be a lot cheaper than going to the supermarket to buy fruit and vegetables, which already cost a packet let alone driving to and from the supermaket (if you live out of town like my parents do that’s an unnecessarily long trip) Secondly, you’re much less likely to be eating GE food. If you’re one of those people who is vhermently pro organic food this is a good option for you because you control what goes into your food and what doesn’t. There are arguments that before we had pesticides and herbicides sprayed all over our food we lived longer, but there are arguments to the contrary too, so I personally think you should make that decision yourself.

Thirdly, it teaches an all-important concept; self-sufficiency. Say we get some kind of apocolyptic event (zombies, armageddon, Brian Tamaki taking over the world, etc) and most, if not all of the systems we use for collecting, preparing and eating our food are as good as non-existent. In our present condition as a race, I think a good third of the population would starve to death because none of us know how to properly run a vege garden. The geek community is especially bad at this, and I’m including myself here. Most of our food arrives in a cardboard box in the back of a car, or in plastic packages and warp at the supermarket. My fiance has actually challenged me to start learning to garden with her next year, and that’s exactly what I’m going to do for all the reasons above.

Now some of you might be saying ‘but I live in an apartment, I have no space for a garden’ There’s more than one way to skin this proverbial cat. One alternative is to make a portable garden in something like a toy wagon which you can move around your apartment to get the most sun throughout the day. Another is to get involved with a local community garden. These aren’t very well advertised, but if you fall in with the right crowd you’ll find one for sure.

That’s about it for now, Ciao.

Waste blog update & tip ‘1’ of 350

Right

So earlier I mentioned a friend of mine has started a blog documenting 
her elimination of personal waste for a year at http://ecoscarfie.blogspot.com
  and I said I was going to follow along as well a discussing the 
three-hundred and fifty tips for changing your lifestyle to be more 
environmentally friendly. When I took the photo of the board at the 
Spring Food Festival I managed to miss the first tip, so I’m starting 
on the second one.

Fittingly enough, since most of the blog entry was about food, the 
first tip was to cut down on meat and dairy consumption. It’s probably 
worth noting at this point that the idea behind these tips was to 
apply them to your life *where applicable* because a lot of you will 
pobably flat out refuse o acknowlege that I suggested that cutting 
down on how much meat you eat and how much milk you drink.

I agree that it’s certainly a radical idea, and growing up on a farm 
where we raised our own sheep, and some of them were kulled for a 
roast dinner or for the dogs to eat, I’ve grown to expect meat eating 
as a way of life. But even a red-blooded male like myself has can cut 
down on how much meat they eat, without resorting solely to rabbit 
food and soy milk.

Since I have moved out of home, my meat consumption has dropped 
sharply, mostly due to the lack of time an energy I hav when I get 
back from work at 9 p.m. My meals mostly consist of pasta and various 
sauces, and I’m very happy with that. These days I eat meat on an 
average of once a week, maybe twice If I’m going to dinner with my 
parents or in-laws to be. I’d usually have something with some kind of 
meat in it four days a week at home. Now one of Mum’s legendary roasts 
is a real treat.

Has there been a difference in my health? I can’t see one. I still get 
just as full with pasta as I would with a steak, the blood tests I’ve 
had this year have not shown any iron defficiency. I don’t believe my 
mental health comes into it anywhere, so I don’t think this cut down 
on meat has affected my health.

As for dairy. I still drink a glass of milk every day. I do have my 
suspicions about soy milk, and cows milk is the easiest way to give 
kids calcium, assuming you can afford it (if I ever find that the 
price of milk has been fixed, I’ll make a VERY big stink about it), so 
on that front I think cutting down on dairy is impractical. If the 
companies who bottle milk can use reusable materials (what was the 
problem with glass bottles?) then we might lt least see a reduction in 
waste going to landfill, but I don’t think cutting dairy down is 
realistic, in some cases people need to intake more.

Ok, bye for now.

My friend’s new blog!

I was looking through Facebook tonight, and came accross an announcement that a friend of mine has a new blog, documenting her decsion to go a year without producing waste, and whatever antics will no doubt ensue from that. I’ve decided to follow along, and I’ll share it with you all. The address is

http://ecoscarfie.blogspot.com/

It should be a challenge to us all. I personally don’t think that modern man can go 100% without waste (we were born with an anus, for goodness sake) but I do agree that we waste a lot. I was also at the spring food festival and I also saw the board of 350 suggestions for living more environmentally. There were some suggestions that I found impractical (and only one or two of them were to do with my love of cars), but a lot of them seemed like pure common sense. I took a photo of the boards and I’ll disciscuss these suggestions with each entry that my friend puts up.

Anyway check out the blog! I’ll post another entry about it soon!

http://ecoscarfie.blogspot.com/

Albums Of The Year: Autumn-Winter 2009

As if The first three months of the year didn’t provide me with enough listening pleasure, Winter 2009 turned out some very interesting surprises…

Fever Ray: Self-titled
(video thanks to Trancewour)

After hearing for a second time the vocal presence of Karin Dreijer Andersson on the latest Röyksopp album (covered in this post: http://lifebackwards.posterous.com/my-albums-of-the-year-summer-autumn-2009 )I decided to dig into her other works, wherein I discovered this new release. The music is very meloncholic electronica. Imagine if Bjork had gone without anti-depressants for a month and this is what you get, which was an interesting parallel to my anxiety disorder. The video I linked to above as a fan-made mashup accompanying the song Concrete Walls, the track I liked the most on the album. Incidentally this is the moodiest track of all of them, and the vocals (throuch clever use of a Boss effects pedal, I’m told) don’t even sound human, let alone those of a woman. I guess this goes to show that Moby’s music really isn’t all that depressing in comparison.

Moby: Wait For Me
(video thanks to MobyStuff)

On the subject of the most bullied bald man in the world, he caught me very much off-guard releasing his new album Wait For Me. I thought that for sure We’d have to wait another three years after he released Last Night was released, as we had to after Hotel came out, but no, I picked up the two-disc version of this album on a trip to Melboure in the inter-semester break. This album felt like an almalgamation of every Moby album before Last Night. There was a lot of that classic Moby string sound, as well as samples from gospel records. A sprinkling of acoustic and electric guitars, and lo-fi druming as well as Moby himself singing in his…Mobyesque voice. The second disc came with several remixes of the single Pale Horses, which contained a remix by Apparat. Good to see that name getting a bit more traction on this side of the globe . Long story short, if Last Night left you unsatisfied, pick up this album. I did and I don’t regret it in the least!

Minuit: FindMeBeforeIDieALonelyDeath.com
(video thanks to SuperProletar)

Another of the ‘I’ve been waiting bloody ages for this…’ releases this year came from another local band. Minuit have been around since the late 1990s, but gained a lot of traction in 2003-4 with th release of 88, which I still listen to regularly. Ruth Carr’s vocals still have that kind-of femme fatale ‘I might sound sexy, but I’d shoot you in the head if I felt like it’ tone of voice, and the presenge of that broken-sounding squaretooth wave synth sound is still there, but the Minuit sound as a whole feels like it’s been updated to 2009, and not for the worse either. I don’t know what it says about me that my favourite tracks on the album are actually the two shortest (Maserati, and I’m Still Dancing), but nevertheless they were my two faves. The rest of the album is just as infectious though, Run Run has become a favourite of my Fiance.

This was a top notch release that I very much enjoyed for hearing the Minuit sound rock my headphones and my car once again. I’m looking forward to the release of their next singe, as there’s a picture of Me in it

When I was searching for the 25 Bucks vid I found this wee gem (thanks to tothelights)

Various Artists: Sick Music
(video thanks to VibrationMusicality)

Another album much hyped by Hospital Records’ London Elektricity was the compilation Sick Music. The music was, indeed sick (in the skateboarding sense) The track above was one of my favourites, and I’m definitely going to use some variation of London Elek’s Just One Second at my wedding next year. There are enough songs on this album that I like to offset the one or two I didn’t.  There isn’t much you can say about a compilation compared to a release by just one artist, which is a pity because this compilation is definitely worth getting 🙂

Bop: Clear Your Mind
(video thanks to MedSchoolMusic)

Another of the highly anticipated debeut releases from Hospital (or morespecifically their sister label MedSchool) this year was all the way from St. Petersburg, Russia. Bop found fame when he sent this song into the Hospital Demo inbox last year. It was a hit with everyone I know who’s heard it, and I was stoked to get a full-length album! Musically It’s not too dissimilar from Lusine’s brand of IDM, but with more traditional jungle tempos. It’s very laid back, introspective music. The kind you listen to at te end of a big night out, or when you’re home by yourself. I also found most of the songs very wintery, except for Enjoy The Moment, and Nothing Makes Any Sense. Sonically this album has some serious serious low end. It’s all sine waves, but it’ll rattle your foundations. The pops and clicks at the opposite end of the frequency spectrum make for intriguing listening, and are what makes Bop’s sound more IDM-ish. I think this album has the potnetial to be the drum & bass equivalent of Röyksopp’s debeut Melody A.M. A striking difference in a well-established genre, but also possibly a benckmark that future releases will have to live up to. Even if Bop never releases any more music, though, I’m glad to have heard this much. Alexander, if you ever read this, Thank you.