Noise and shouting

I’ve been reading through the November issue of Metal Hammer magazine and came across a less than favourable review of Glasgow thrash band Mendeed‘s debut album “From Shadows Came”:

While there is no doubt that they can play, their songs are a bit generic – not to mention totally devoid of any creative spark… a collection of totally unspectacular straight up thrash metal tracks – with the added bonus of a bit of fret board wankery thrown in now and again for good measure.

I have to say that I was quite glad that the review wasn’t exactly glowing. I saw Mendeed supporting Anthrax (who were amazing) last year and, at the risk of sounding like my Mum, to me it was just a lot of noise and shouting! And it would appear I’m not the only one. And remember I like a good bit of noise and shouting at the best of times: Slayer, StoneSour, Lamb of God, Godflesh, Testament, Exodus, Mastodon, et al.

I just hope there are no Wegie Metal Neds reading this…!

Queen on Fire

Queen on Fire - Live at the Bowl
Queen on Fire – Live at the Bowl

I never saw Queen live in concert with Freddie Mercury. I scraped together the cash to travel down to London in 1991 to attend the Freddie Mercury Tribute concert at Wembley stadium, and stayed over at my Mum’s cousin’s flat in Streatham, and that was a pretty special concert. But I would have loved to have seen Freddie strut his stuff live.

Queen on Fire is a new live in concert album (available on CD and DVD) from their 1982 tour promoting Hot Space and their Flash Gordon soundtrack album, recorded at the Milton Keynes Bowl. I’ve been listening to it for the last couple of days, and it is something special.

While the DVD contains extras from the Japanese and German legs of the tour, there is nothing really new on this two CD set. No new, previously unreleased tracks or covers. Even the CD booklet contains the most sparce details about the show or the tour, instead filling each page with photographs of the band in concert. But that aside it does show just what an incredible band Queen were, and what a fabulous frontman Freddie was.

This is fun, intimate and wonderfully exciting album. For this Queen fan anyway!

Movie Ministry

After diocesan synod last night my priestly friend David asked if I’d heard about a website called Movie Ministry dot com. He’d been talking about it on BBC Radio Scotland last week, apparently. I’m a Radio 1 / Radio 4 kinda guy so had missed him.

The site draws out positive Chrisitan messages and illustrations from a huge range of mainstream films, from A Beautiful Mind to X-Men 2. Great for sermons, I would imagine.

Some days I hate computers!

How difficult should it be to take a couple of quick photographs with my JVC digital camera and transfer those picture files to my PC? You’d think it would be quite an easy task!

Essentially I have two ways of doing it: either remove the MultiMedia Card (MMC) and pop it into my iAPP CR-i500 Digital Memory Card Reader/Writer, or I could simply connect a USB cable to the camera and plug the other end into a free USB port on my PC.

You would think!

Over an hour later and I’m still no further forward. The easiest method is of course to slip the MMC card into my card reader. PC hangs. Reboot. Does it again. Reboot. I remove the card reader from Device Manager, reboot, ‘Unknown Device’ is recognised. CD-ROM of drivers emerges — serious stuff now — only to discover there are no compatible drivers for XP on it, these should be built into XP itself.

Plan B. I’ve installed the USB driver for the JVC camera, and my scanner has now disappeared. Not literally! It’s still on the desk to my right, but as far as My Computer is concerned it is nowhere to be seen. I unplug the scanner, plug it back in, and bing-bong! XP recognises a new device which happens to be my scanner. Card reader is still nowhere in sight.

Right, JVC camera drivers are installed, USB cable is plugged in. Still no camera in My Computer. I install the JVC photo application. And now my blood begins to boil. The application appears to have been made from jelly beans. It looks pretty, but its user-interface is utterly, utterly appalling! The screen is littered with shiny, Mac-like, jelly-bean-like buttons each sporting a symbol that does not intuitively tell me what they do. And there appears neither to be any wizard to step me through the process. After five minutes of poking around, and even reading the online manual, I decide to give up. Reboot.

I reach for Add/Remove Programs in Control Panel, and begin to remove everything I’ve installed this morning. Down the list and back up again. When I arrive back at ATi I decide to repair the HydraVision application, which hasn’t worked for months. Reboot. Oddly, my scanner is back, and so is my card reader. No longer ‘Unknown Device’. I insert the MMC card. PC hangs. Reboot. Card reader has now disappeared, scanner is still there.

And that’s where I currently am. I’m cross, I’m upset and I’ve given up. I suspect that the problem has something to do with conflicting drivers. I also suspect that I may have to move which USB port the card reader is plugged into inside the PC. But I don’t have time for this any more. A full system restore will have to wait. Grrrrr!