Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Oh, The Things I Have Been Doing Lately...

You know you've really neglected a blog when you can't even remember the last time you did a 'miscellany post'...though, I'm sure in my instance that it was not super long ago. Just a couple of months, worst case.

But, as noted previously, it does not help that the Canes have not had a ton of news during this off-season. AND because of that, I've had one of my busier off-seasons project-wise since...hmmm...probably 2003, when I was constantly working on my now defunct (as in I can't provide a link) Canes fandom website...

- Music geek I am, I have been constantly working on improving the audio quality of my computer/Gigabeat music collection. Originally, I was converting my files from 96 KBPS quality WMAs to 96 KBPS* quality MP3s, because I found out the hard way that RockBox, my semi-new firmware for "Stanley", does not like WMA files. Well, I was nearly halfway through that project, when curiosity got the better of me, and I started to explore the world of Ogg Vorbis files after reading so many other music/audio geeks proclaiming the said format to be the best they've ever worked with AND THE overall format they use for their computer/MP3 player music. So, I went and found a freeware Ogg Vorbis converter (
BonkEnc, to be precise), and started playing around with a couple of tracks from my current most beloved concert albums, King Crimson's Absent Lovers and KISS' Symphony-Alive IV...


I used to think that Ogg Vorbis was so freakin' overrated...how could I be so, well, deaf? I cannot describe how ecstatically amazing the tracks I tested ("Discipline" and "Heartbeat" from AL, and "Let Me Go, Rock and Roll" and "Sure Know Something" from S-A4) sounded through Ogg Vorbis. And normally, I would be ticked off about having to repeat what I did last year right before I got the Gigabeat/"Stanley" in going through all of my CDs and files to convert them to the preferred format. But in this instance, it's like having presents to open almost every day.

And for the audio/techno/etc. geeks in my audience, I am converting my files to 65 quality Ogg Vorbis...which I find to be perfect in not only quality, but also the space taken up by the files. Any higher, and way too much space would be taken up...something one has to mind, especially with a 40 GB player.

- My other huge project, which I just started late last week, is finally getting pictures up on
my Ron Francis collection site. Completed the Book section this past weekend, and am now working on the Apparel section. I plan to go down the list, with the exceptions of the Card, Multimedia, and Newspaper sections, which I plan to tackle last, as rather extensive as they are.

All of that said, for those of you interested, be sure to check back every day or two or three...I'm trying my best to update as frequently as I can, given that the pictures of my collection have been a long time in coming.

- Last, but certainly not least for now: I cannot stand it anymore. I have GOT TO GET Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased) on DVD. Especially after happening upon
this site when I was telling a friend about the series (spawned from our discussion of The Saint and similar shows). Even before I came across the site, I had been looking up various things about R&H on and off, because I absolutely adore the series that was shown on BBC America during the summer of 2004. That particular series was not the 60's original, but instead the 2000-01 remake starring the then infamous British comedy team of Vic (Reeves) and Bob (Mortimer), and I thought it was a damn good show...to the point that it was EASILY the show that I looked the most forward to every week that summer. The acting was not bad, especially considering that R&H was Vic and Bob's first (and probably only) "serious" acting deal. Not to mention that the supernatural aspect was pretty darn unique for a detective show. Even as a remake, I found the R&H idea of a ghost of a detective getting back up with his living partner and helping to solve crimes rather outstanding and just downright cool.

And to think that my happening upon the show was somewhat an accident...usually, on the Monday nights I would have BBC America on for my dinnertime viewing (back when they showed Blackadder, Monty Python, and/or Benny Hill from 7-8:00 in the evening), I would immediately turn away before they would start their big "Mystery Monday" deals. Well, it turned out that one night, I didn't turn away quick enough...and the title that was uttered by the host of MM, particularly the "(Deceased)" part, caught my interest. And that interest only further grew with the opening sequence and its rather haunting, no pun intended, theme...and thus began yet another television addiction.

All of that said, as a lover of the Vic and Bob treatment of the series, it kind of broke my heart at first to read a great chunk of the franchise's fanbase say that the 60's original was so much better. But the more time passes, the more such comments, along with the aforementioned fan site, *really* make me want to see the original, which is available on DVDs playable here in the US of A. And easily the one I will get, most likely sometime this week. Unfortunately, the Vic and Bob remake, along with the final thirteen episodes of the original, is only available on European/Australian DVDs...but if the price is right, I may eventually get those to play on my computer, which is certainly better than not having the entire original series AND remake at all.

As the saying goes, you never get over your first love...and best case, I will end up liking both versions of R&H equally. From the descriptions I have read AND what I know of the remake, it is my observation that the original series seems to have focused on actual mysteries and crimes more than the remake, which took the supernatural element and ran with it in the cases presented on that.

Current Music: "Hockey Night In Canada Jam" (Live) by the Jimmy Swift Band

* - I have found that in terms of minimum size AND sound quality preservation, 96 KBPS is what works best...despite now having found a better format.

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