Machine Head: music as religion

Interesting new video from US thrash metal band Machine Head on the Official Roadrunner Records YouTube channel about the making of their new album, the follow-up to the highly acclaimed “The Blackening”.

The video opens with a clean-sounding arpeggiated-riff and lead singer/guitarist Rob Flynn summing up the album with the following monologue:

I wasn’t really raised with religion and in a lot of ways that’s what this records seems to be symbolising for me: music as religion; music as the thing that’s carried me through the darkest chapters of my life.

It’s carried me through the brightest… the highest highs of my life, and everything in between.

It’s always been there for me.

Highlights of a sunny day

Reuben and Joshua throwing stones into a rock pool

Today has been a lovely, if exhausting day packed with friends, family and a lot of laughs. A few highlights:

  • Waking up at 06:30 and spending an hour in the cuddly company of a very smiley Isaac.
  • Washing the car with Reuben and Joshua. There I was on my knees washing a wheel when all of a sudden Reuben’s face appeared round the car. “He he he he!” he laughed before soaking me in the face with the hose.
  • Joshua finished washing the gas meter box (a project instigated at his own initiative), stood back and said “Well, that looks lovely!”
  • A walk to the pig farm to the east of Cellardyke with Reuben, Joshua, Isaac, Jane and friends Joy and Dusty, during which Reuben and Joshua spent most of their time throwing stones into a rock pool (see photo above).
  • Dinner and chat with friends.

I love my children, my wife and my friends. I’d better get to bed: I’m on child-minding duties tomorrow morning again.

Mahjong icons

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A couple of months ago I came across a set of the most beautiful mahjong icons created by web developer and icon designer Martin Persson.

I got in touch with Martin because the set was almost complete: it had everything for the Western game apart from flowers and seasons. After a short conversation by email I sent Martin scans of the flowers and seasons from my Gibson’s mahjong set and a few weeks later he made his new icons available for download from his website.

Martin Persson’s set consists of 37 mahjong icons in both 64px and 128px sizes, which are free for both personal and commercial use, provided that you link to his site.

Download mahjong icons

St Andrews prepares for the Royal Wedding celebrations

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St Andrews has been buzzing with activity all week, in preparation for the Royal Wedding 465 miles away in Westminster Abbey, London.

All week the streets have been packed with visitors, and the shop windows have slowly turning red, white and blue.

This morning TV crews started arriving, parking—as they do—outside my office window and raising the giant satellite dishes on the roofs of their vans.

This afternoon, as I returned from lunch, St Salvator’s quadrangle was quite literally a-bit-loud-in-a-white-noisey-kind-of-a-way, as though the entire squadron from Leuchars was passing through the quad, as three stages and a “large outdoor screen” were installed.

The photo above is how things looked at 17:15 this afternoon.

At 07:30 tomorrow morning the quad will begin filling with guests as they prepare for The Royal Wedding Breakfast at St Andrews.

Check out the programme via the University’s press release Romance made in St Andrews.

EXIF Date Changer–for when your digital photos have the wrong date and time

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Have you ever downloaded a batch of digital photos off your camera only to discover that you’d accidentally set the clock wrong and the time on every photo was out by 12 hours, or you hadn’t noticed that the camera had reset itself and all your photos were claiming to have been taken in 2007?

Almost all digital cameras record and store various camera settings, scene information, date/time the photo was taken etc as Exchangeable Image File (EXIF) data within the image file.  This information can be really useful when it comes to sorting or viewing your digital photos, providing you keep your camera date/time settings up to date.

EXIF Date Changer by Rellik Software is an application that can easily edit the EXIF data and correct your mistakes, either by adjusting the time by a certain number of days, hours, minutes and seconds or by setting the date to a specific date and time.

The difference between the free and pro versions is that the free supports only JPG and cannot be used for commercial use.

I find that a combination of EXIF Date Changer and Better File Rename safely gets me out of pretty much every situation.