2009 Mix

December 23rd, 2009

Having discovered my already minimal skillz have further atrophied, I present a raggedy mix of some of the year’s bangers. I pretty much slept on everything, as there was a hell of a lot more good tracks released¬† this year than I had really thought about. I have particularly missed the UK stuff though, so there’s only the one local selection, from Foreign Beggars, but it is a monster.

  1. Foreign Beggars – Contact (United Colours of Beggattron)
  2. Wale – Pretty Girls (Attention: Deficit)
  3. DJ Quik & Kurupt – 9x Out Of 10 (BlaQKout)
  4. Clipse – Popular Demand (Till The Casket Drops)
  5. UGK – Still On The Grind (UGK4Life)
  6. 50 Cent – Death To My Enemies (Before I Self Destruct)
  7. Royce Da 5’9 – Dinner Time (Street Hop)
  8. Raekwon – Kiss The Ring (Only Built For Cuban Linx II)
  9. Blaq Poe – Ain’t Nuttin Changed (The Blaqprint)
  10. MF Doom – Gazillion Ear (Born Like This)
  11. Brother Ali – Breakin’ Dawn (Us)
  12. Attitude – Money (Mixtape)

Merry Christmas everyone!

Nothing Freestyle

December 22nd, 2009

Quick little freestyle from K over some scrubby track I had laying around this morning. Mostly posted because of the line ‘she can tie my cravat’. Brrrap! (Ed The Duck style only). Note the robot voice references were due to an effect in the foldback, which is not featured in an attempt to confuse the listener.

An Important Message

December 3rd, 2009

As we approach Christmas again, I thought it wise to reiterate this important message from Half Man Half Biscuit:

Life After Death

November 28th, 2009

I recently watched the Notorious BIG biopic Notorious, which was very good, and it got me thinking about how Biggie’s albums were somewhat backwards – if he had been killed after Ready To Die it would have fit the life he described in that album, but Life After Death sounded (appropriately, given the title) so much more full of life. There’s nothing I would call a “sign-off” record there -¬† sometimes an album does have something that fits the artists’s life perfectly. There are quite a few examples, but I think this decade has had two particularly good ones: Kings Crossing by Elliott Smith and Da Game Been Good To Me by UGK.

Kings Crossing is maybe my favourite Elliott Smith song, and there are a lot of brilliant tracks in his catalogue, which was cut short by his suicide. The swirling, layered intro and the depth of the production are miles from the 4 track grain of Roman Candle, but the depression and drug abuse themes are still there. Lyrically though, it’s like there’s a realisation in the song that being successful and famous hasn’t made it all better – it just pays the bills. The lyrics are superb, but I thought with Christmas approaching this would be the best snippet to quote:

It’s Christmas time, and there’s needles on the tree
A skinny Santa’s bringing something to me
His voice is overwhelming, but his speech is slurred
And I only understand every other word.

UGK are one of my favourite groups of all time, and Pimp C’s death came as a bit of a shock. The group’s final LP, UGK4Life, was released after his death, and while there are some excellent cuts throughout, it’s the final song, Da Game Been Good To Me, that really sums up what UGK, and Pimp C in particularly, were all about.

It’s a wonderfully warm, rolling beat, with a classic sung hook by Pimp C, who also co-produced. There’s no maudlin quality to Bun B’s verse, and that and the Pimp’s two verses have them doing what they do best – putting those that don’t respect the game in their place.

Old Suzuki Swift VINs n’ Things

August 16th, 2009

I was trying to check the year on my all powerful Suzuki Swift (in case it was different from the year of registration), and found that the usual place on in the VIN for working out the year is helpfully 0 (it’s usually a letter).

It proved hard to find any information on what the format indicated for the 1993-2003 swifts, but I did find this (google translated) Hungarian site, appropriately enough as it seems the cars were built over in Hungary, which is packed with useful bits and pieces. The two most useful codes are the VIN and the model number, the VIN can be found at the back of the engine compartment, while both are printed on a sticker on the cover of the spare wheel well.

The VIN looks something like TSMMAA35S00860000 and doesn’t really seem to follow the normal VIN rules. The first three characters represent the manufacturer, in this case Magyar Suzuki. The fourth letter always seems to be M as well, but the fifth and sixth give you the body style, AA for 3 door, AB for 5 door and AH for 4 door. The next two characters related to the engine, 35 for 1.3, 44 for 1.0 and 14 for 1.6 (the engine codes themselves might identify variations, e.g. G13BA for the 8v G13BB for the 16v). This is followed by S00, then the unique identifier. This can be used to determine the year (from the same site):

1992 – 100000+
1993 – 100922+
1994 – 114286+
1995 – 133811+
1996 – 250000+
1997 – 269289+
1998 – 333054+
1999 – 399172+
2000 – 530016+
2001 – 818529+
2002 – 876161+
2003 – 920516-933375

The model code identified a few more bits and pieces. It should be nine characters long and look something like HEJ534B02. The first character is the body, H for hatchback, S for sedan. The second character gives the type, E for Swift. The third gives the numbers of doors, A – 3 door/2 seat, L – 4 door, F – 5 door, J – 3 door/five seat. The next two give the engine combination, 33 – 1.0 manual, 35 – 1.0 automatic, 53 1.3 manual, 55 1.3 automatic, 63 1.6 manual, 65, 1.6 automatic. The sixth character gives the edition, e.g GLS, GLX etc, represented by a character from 2 to Z. The seventh indicates the series, A – 1st, B – 2nd, C – 3rd, E or F – 4th. The 8th and 9th give the market it was made for, eg 02 for the UK. There’s a complete list on the hungarian site – all credit to the author for putting the work in to list all this out!

How To Use Your Business Cards

July 30th, 2009

I got some new business cards from work the other day, and they came in the box direct from the printer, which along with the usual ad for themselves included an instruction manual for the cards. Admittedly much of the advice involves giving out as many business cards as possible, something they might be expected to encourage, but there were a couple I wouldn’t have guessed. Some choice examples:

Insert A Business Card When Paying Bills. Bills contain advertisements. Why can’t you advertise your skills or services the same way? Insert a business card with you payment. You may not think anyone who opens your credit card bill payment can help you – NEVER underestimate the power of networking. As the movies 6 degrees of separation points out we are six people away from knowing someone of influence. You could be six people away from knowing the Prime Minister or The Queen.

Ask For Referrals. When giving a business card people will feel more comfortable if you say “If you know anyone that could use my services, give them my card” [...] This always places you in a better position – they will feel better about helping you and you should give them at least two cards.

Use Proper Business Card Etiquette. When you give a business card, ask for a business card. When given a business card don’t just take it and put it in your wallet. Make the person feel important by looking at their card for a few seconds – you may see something that could be a topic of discussion. Write comments on the card such as date, location and common points of interest. These comments will prove valuable when following-up with that person. This also demonstrates a sincere interest in the other person. Only then should you place the card in your wallet.

id get got

June 24th, 2009

Quake Live logoDevelop report that id software has been bought by ZeniMax, the owners of Bethesda Softworks. Id were one of the last real independent developers, but they were privately owned so I guess the deal made sense for them (maybe John needs more money for spaceships).

Bar existing deals, Bethesda will now publish all of id’s titles going forward, and allegedly the management of id will remain as is.

Still, it does feel a bit like the end of an era, the absorption of what is, to me at least, the most iconic game developer out there.

Never knew how to be scared

May 23rd, 2009

Just how to handle my infrared.

Reviews

Corrupt (1999)

Finally, a Pyun movie review. Though, if the rest are like this, it might be the last…

Read the review - December 27th, 2008

Cyber-Tracker 2 (1995)

Don “The Dragon” Wilson dabbles in the Van Damme-y waters by facing a cyborg version of himself. Whoever wins, we lose.

Read the review - February 27th, 2008

The Secret Craft (2001)

A movie about four thirty something high school outcasts who gain incredible powers – and there’s not a copy of Activating Evolution in site!

Read the review - November 11th, 2007

Space Marines (1996)

A by the numbers grunts-in-space movie with a flamboyant baddie? I have just the thing…

Read the review - July 19th, 2007

The Shivah

The Rabbi/Detective point and click is clearly an over-crowded genre, so how does The Shivah stand out?

Read the review - February 23rd, 2007

Novation Xiosynth

Obviously musical hardware reviews are the main reason you are even on this site.

Read the review - February 21st, 2007

Project Shadowchaser 3 (1994)

Who would honestly have thought that a giant spaceship called “Siberia” would end up a deserted wasteland, spotted with the occasional frozen russian?

Read the review - November 20th, 2006

Magic Kid (1994)

Hey Mr Big Time Movie reviewer, how many Billy Huffsey and Shonda Whipple films have you done? That’s what I thought.

Read the review - November 13th, 2006

Coffee Tycoon

Grab a double shot, low fat, no foam latte and sit down with Coffee Tycoon, probably the closest most of us will get to the glitzy life of a caf? owner.

Read the review - November 8th, 2006

Shootout: Flo vs Betty

This town just isn’t big enough for two female fronted serve-em-ups, so it’s head to head between Betty’s Beer Bar and Diner Dash. Holler at your girl.

Read the review - November 8th, 2006