Ocean travel without a boat

Journal of Peter Greenwell

Month: December 2014

Coroner – No More Color

This is the first truly heavy album I’ve reviewed here. I was introduced to this record and its successor, Mental Vortex, back in the early 90s, and of the two I favoured No More Color. The eight songs on this short, sharp and raging album are direct yet convoluted, if that makes sense. There’s space and restraint, but also technical mastery and precision. Not to mention it goes off. Tracks like No Need to be Human and D.O.A are amongst the finest songs of any kind I’ve heard.

This record is a weak-track free zone. Pared down to eight surging tacks, there’s neither room nor time for filler and padding. This Swiss trio simply storm through their music. Lyrically, it’s your typical dark/apocalyptic stuff though they lay off the “everyone is dead muhahaha” trope a lot of their peers engaged in.

I can’t say much more about this record or the band behind it, but I listened to Mental Vortex and found it blander than this offering. I don’t know, maybe they hit their high water mark here.

no more color

Can write off the holidays

operation 47

Well, I’ve tried to maintain calorie counting and watching what I eat and I’ve been largely successful, but no, I guarantee I’ve put on weight this last week. When I weigh myself tomorrow, that suspicion will be vindicated. No big deal – silly season is coming to an end, 2015 is nearly upon us then it’ll be full steam ahead. I’ve lost 15 Kg since I started Operation 47 and there’s no stopping me now.

Edit: surprise, surprise – I actually managed to lose 500 grams. I’m at 120.1 Kg.

New music in December

New music as far as my ears are concerned. Of everything mini-reviewed here, only The Church‘s Further/Deeper is new.

First off the rank: In Rolling Waves by The Naked and Famous. My only previous exposure to this New Zealand band was through a TV commercial for Strongbow Cider, which used their song Young Blood.

It’s a curious album, reminding me of nothing really. It’s enjoyable with its strange hooks and rhythms but it’s not something I’d be in a rush to listen to again.

Next was Them Crooked Vultures‘ self-titled effort. As you’d expect from a group that features Led Zeppelin’s bassist John Paul Jones, it’s bluesy hard rock, and not particularly distinguished hard rock at that. You’re better off just listening to Zep themselves. Competent record in the main, but it’s not my cup of java.

Then I came to My Chemical Romance‘s Three Cheers For Sweet Revenge. Pretty much what I expected. Thirteen songs of fairly full-tilt melodic pop/punk. It’s all good fun, but it’s nothing different from dozens of things that have come before, and this band doesn’t do it in any way special or noteworthy.

Next up is Metric‘s Synthetica. I like it – it’s synthpop/neo-new wave updated to 2010s sensibilities and production techniques. Half Blondie, half The Cars with a few barbs along the way. Even the now late Lou Reed turns up on one track. The lead singer occasionally sounds like Chrissie Amphlett, same kind of nasal voice.

metric synthetica

Quite amazing really…

operation 47

It was my birthday yesterday, and we spent some of the day over a friend’s house out in the country. A Christmas party. I’ve been keeping track of what I eat and drink for just over two months now on myfitnesspal and I’ve lost fourteen kgs in about eight weeks, mainly by sticking to (or staying under) my daily kilojoule allowance, which is currently at 7800 kJ. But yesterday, I relaxed things a little and ate stuff I ordinarily don’t touch any more like chips (crisps), marshmallows, gummy lollies, cake, crackers, dip and so on.

You know, I felt blah afterward. I’m so accustomed to eating healthier food that reverting to processed sugary stuff even for a day did my body no good. It was like being poisoned. In return for my splurging on garbage yesterday, I’m having a light one today, aiming for about 5000 kilojoule maximum.

The moral of this story? If you train yourself to eat and drink healthier, your mind and body will readily tell you what isn’t so crash hot for you.

Dropbox will not start? Elementary OS

And you’re not getting the system tray icon?

Sometimes when you install Dropbox, it won’t auto-start at boot. I don’t know why this happens but here’s what worked for me to fix it. Be mindful that this is specifically for Elementary OS. If you use Arch or openSUSE or some non-Debian derivative, your mileage will probably vary significantly.

To get it to auto-start do this: Applications --> System Settings --> Startup Applications. Click on Add. Follow this:

dialogue box

Under Command, it’s ~/$HOME/dropbox-dist/dropboxd where $HOME is your home directory.

Now, to get the system tray icon for it working, create a file called .xsessionrc in your home directory. In that file add, the following:

export DROPBOX_USE_LIBAPPINDICATOR=1

Log out or reboot and all should be well!

process window

And there it is, happily running in the middle of the process list.
I hope this little guide has helped someone.

Growing green things

My first post for (officially) summer is about growing plants. Fitting, no? We have only a limited space where to grow things so the object here is to get the most out of it. So nothing big. I’m not going to write much about how it all works – there’s plenty of advice out there superior to any I could give, so this is mainly pictorial.

Potted plants
Here we have a couple of decorative chili plants (Capsicum annuum). I’m not sure what the flowering species are, but that feathery thing at the top left is Holy Flax (Santolina rosmarinifolia).

garden 2

All sorts of things growing here – basil (Ocimum basilicum), rosella (Hibiscus sabdariffa), tomato (Solanum lycopersicon), capsicum (or bell pepper) (Capsicum annuum), celosia (Celosia spicata), stevia (Stevia rebaudiana), radish (Raphanus sativus), mint (Mentha edulis), luffa or loofah (Luffa aegyptiaca) and the very tiny plants growing in the far right planter is thyme (Thymus vulgaris). The feathery thing below it is Mexican tarragon (Tagetes lucida).

main planter

This is our main planter box. The feathery plants are marigolds (Tagetes erecta). That’s a passionfruit at the back (Passiflora edulis), with rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis), catnip (Nepeta cataria) and dill (Anethum graveolens). Yes, our cat goes gaga over the catnip. Over on the right, we have strawberries (Fragaria x ananassa), peanuts (Arachis hypogaea), sage (Salvia officinalis) and parsley behind it (obscured) (Petroselinum crispum). So yes, we do have parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme.

Since those photos were taken, I’ve planted some chives (Allium schoenoprasum) in the planter.

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