Congratulations to Lisa, Robert and Piper for having Talia join the family on February 8th. That makes four nieces for me now : ).
In alphabetical order, here are ten albums from 2011 that I enjoyed.
Adele - 21
Powerful vocals and a soul that sounds older than her actual age.
Key Tracks: rolling in the deep, turning tables, someone like you
Beirut - The Riptide
Old European sound.
Key Tracks: a candle's fire, east harlem, goshen
Black Keys - El Camino
Catchy blues songs.
Key Tracks: lonely boy, gold on the ceiling, little black submarines, money maker, sister
Bon Iver- Bon Iver
Key Tracks: Calgary, Holocene
Fleet Foxes - Helplessness Blues
Complex sophomore effort from the Fleet Foxes
Key Tracks: The Shrine/An Argument, Helplessness Blues, The Plains/Bitter Dancer
Handsome Furs - Sound Kapital
Pop rock electronica
Key Tracks: What about us?, Cheap music, Memories of the future
Kurt Vile - Smoke Ring for My Halo
Key Tracks: puppet for the man, runner ups, my baby's arms, smoke ring for my halo, in my time
Peter, Bjorn and John - Gimme Some
Key Tracks: Second Chance, May Seem Macabre, Eyes, (Don't Let Them) Cool Off
Radiohead - the king of limbs
Radiohead more experimental than ever
Key Tracks: codex, lotus flower, bloom
Ryan Adams - Ashes and Fire
Soft and sweet new Adams album
Key Tracks: lucky now, ashes & fire, chains of love, dirty rain
Previous Favourite Albums Lists:
Here are two images of my desktop computer setup. It took me a few months to get all of the components, but since a large portion of my time is spent here, it was definitely worthwhile. My vision when buying the components was to focus on ergonomics (no cheaping out on this cost) and not buying a cutting edge system (saving some money here). A good chair is very important and lasts years. In comparision, a very powerful computer system is obtainable for around $600 and will be near obsolete soon enough.
The desk setup specs:
- Laminate corner desk with three drawers
- Slide out/adjustable pneumatic keyboard drawer
- Completely adjustable dual monitor stand
- An AllSteel Acuity desk chair
And some of the computer hardware:
- HP p7-1038 desktop (six-core CPU, 8GB ram)
- Two 22' ASUS LED monitors
- Microsoft ergo 4000 keyboard
The setup is great. One thing needs to be done still - a modification of the desk to accomodate the monitor stand pole. I assumed it would fit in the natural desk hole. But it does not. Hence the current makeshift board mounting seen in the first image.
As a programmer, I use my laptop when on the road or when I need a change of scenery and want to work in a different room for awhile. One issue with this is it produces a problem of knowing which machine development files are on and creates work in manually copying/moving files. I have found a nice solution to this, involving git and windows live mesh.
A lot has/is happening in the past month. We found out that our good friend Vince is moving to Calgary which is sad but exciting for him. He shall be missed : (
I went to Orange County for a few days to meet with a client, networx online. It was good to meet the people I have been remotely working with for a couple of months now.
Tressa and I started and finished all of our Christmas shopping in two evenings last week. Glad to not have to fight the crowds anymore this year. I am looking forward to spending some time with family this holiday season.
This is also the time of year when music magazines all publish their top album of the year lists. I enjoy creating my own favorite lists of the year and have done so since 2007. So anticipate another one soon. 2011 was an abundant year for good music and so this year was much easier to fill ten slots then last year was.
Now that I am a freelance worker, I have much more control over my working environment. This can mean many things such as noise level, distraction, human interaction, daily routine, equipment and clients. The proper atmosphere can make a huge difference. This is something that I know all too well.
I have worked for one company which had a very cheerful environment. Music always played, people were friendly and very sociable. That was great, but it was also very hard to get work done. The constant carnival environment provided distractions and led to unnecessary pressure when crunch time came.
I have also worked for a company that had the opposite problem. There was a quiet environment provided, but it was too much quiet. The place felt eerie, sterile, inhumane. It lacked personality.
Naturally, I am striving for something in between. No one knows your ideal work environment and preferences better than yourself. Some people can not work with any distraction, others thrive. Still others like a bit of background music. This is just one metric of office satisfaction. The more people sharing the same office space, the less likely that everyone is or could be satisfied.
The philospher Sartre said "Hell is other people", while it has been said that "No man is an island". Working by yourself is not for everyone. Though developers are generally fairly intrinsic and introverted, we are people nonetheless. To compensate for the removal of office banter, I plan to attend a few large conferences this year - I went to OSCON in July and it was a very positive experience. I also plan on going to more local events - professional related and non-professional ie) music events, joining a club, going to the gym, maybe try my luck at standup comedy, etc.
It has also been my fortunate experience in the last year to find that remote communication can actually be much more open and cordial than a local office environment.
I just turned thirty, and have had back issues for a few years. I know that one of the main reasons for this is that I spend many, many hours hunched over a computer. At past jobs I did not always have great office equipment. Sometimes I had downright awful equipment. An ergonomic desk setup is essential to the profession I am in, or any profession that involves sitting at one.
I have dual monitors with an adjustable stand and am getting a good office chair soon (something that I am excited about). Picture to follow in another post.
Some Homebased Work Advantages
I am finding new advantages of working for myself all the time, such as:
- It is very easy to make a fresh, simple meal at home while working. I have a fridge and oven right by the office. No more wasting 20 minutes in traffic to pickup something to eat.
- Speaking of lunch time traffic, no more daily commute : )
- At the same time that I am freed from monotonous local travel, I am free to do more long distance travel. I could ssh in from anywhere and get my job done.
- No uber-micromanagement.
I firmly believe that I have made a great choice in trying a home based business and am very happy with it so far : )
Words of Wisdom
Let no man fear to die we love to sleep all, And death is but the sounder sleepBeaumont
More Quotes & Lyrics
Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds - Dig!!! Lazarus Dig!!! (2008)
This album has been a staple of my music collection since it's release in 2008. I think it is one of Nick Cave's best albums. The album is moody and full of lyrical imagery. Dark, trancy at times such as on the track "Night of the Lotus eaters". The lyrics of this album are very strong and is what draws me back to it time and again. The track "Midnight Man" is an absolute gem:
Hold that chrysalis in your palm See it split and change It won't do you any harm It's just trying to rearrange
It was born to live a day Now it flies up from your hand It's beautiful It's the one they call your ever loving man
Wolves have carried your babies away Oh, your kids drip from their teeth The nights are long and the day Is bitter cold beyond belief...
...Close your eyes, sleep in him Dream of your lost sons and daughters Me, I'll raise up my dorsal fin And glide up and down the waters
The closing track "More news from nowhere" though just under eight minutes could go sixteen and I would be quite happy to listen to it all.
nick cave-midnight man
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