Sunday, 27 December 2009

End of year edition

Here we go again, eh?
Another 12 months in my life and the history of this blog, we've travelled through the highs and lows.

For instance music lovers have been treated to some great limited edition re-issues from MoFi and Audio Fidelity taking in artists such as The Cars, The Band, Rod Stewart and Joe Walsh etc.
On the other hand the AF issue of the Pretenders first album was a mess and that was even admitted by the Mastering Engineer responsible!!!
Apple/Capitol-EMI came up trumps in September with their stereo AND mono re-mastered Beatles albums exceeding all expectations for sound quality and packaging. Full review in September's 2009 entries here.
Also EMI made a great start on the Duran Duran deluxe re-masters starting with Rio - reviewed on the blog - and are scheduled to issue S/T and Seven and the Ragged Tiger on March 15 restoring never before available on cd material to the catalogue even adding valuable DVD's too.
'Bones' loved them all. (shh!)
Some great anime sets were issued last year such as Pretear, Spiral, Moon Phase and Clannad.
We were cordially invited to indulge at the Ouran High School Host Club where all 26 episodes were issued in two sets at a discounted price in a move that helped to keep piracy under control.
Crunchyroll having gotten legit on the internet streaming side got better with exciting titles like K-On! and Skip Beat and expanded the Asian Drama collection. They even made a start on J-Rock! Princess Nisa kept us entertained at the 'Weird Person" CR group too.
I got many otherwise unavailable in the West anime titles from these guys dvdanime Home Page who had all 51 episodes of series 1 & 2 of Shuga Chara as well as series 1&2 of Vampire Knight.
Amazon helped too with getting a DVD player that could be made to play 'all regions' and it was easy to order stuff from the States where the local distributor here hadn't gotten a license.
NEO never had a less than essential issue with loads of well written features on anime/manga and J Life.
UK television became multichannel as default as more areas include mine went digital only but the amount of anime shown dropped . We even lost the Anime Network on satellite so we are dependent on online streaming that brings issues of regional licensing/lock outs very much to the fore.
Personally Dani entered my life (Hello dear!) of whom it should be said is one the very few who really understand me from the inside out.
I'll stick a thank you at this point to the 'angelic place' for your support over the year, Linda at Imwan for the shoulder to cry on, the 'Skeleton crew' at CK Forum, The Crunchyroll folk and an other place for being around where a group of people tried to shut me down earlier in the year.
They didn't count on my strength with YOUR support to come back stronger than ever with this blog radically improved or stop me posting on site either!

Wishing everyone all the best for 2010

Friday, 18 December 2009

Decade Countdown

Wow! 10 more years have passed
As promised to a few friends at a certain forum here's a list of favourite albums from the naughties

Duffy - Rockferry
Corrine Bailey-Rae S/T
Supergrass - Life on other planets
Rush - Snakes and arrows
Duran Duran - Astronaut
Joss Stone - The soul sessions
Norah Jones - Never too late
Sandi Thom - Smile it confuses people
Lisa Stansfield - The moment
Beverley Knight - Affirmation

Single most significant political event:
Destruction of the Twin Towers, New York 9/11/01.
Everything changed after then.

Lonely This Christmas

This is a favourite of mine from the mid 1970's when we used to gather around the tv looking at what would be the seasonal hit of the year.

Merry Christmas everyone.

Friday, 11 December 2009

Office Dinner

I went out with colleagues this week of our Christmas lunch at the Fox and Barrel Mid Cheshire.
It is what we call a gastropub - a Public House that specializes in food.
It's quite a old building the sort you can imagine from the days of the stagecoach and so were greeted to a roaring log fire as we got our rounds in before it was time to take our places in the main eating area.
The menu had been pre-circulated with orders placed although any minor alterations like "No gravy" would be dealt with on the day.
There were options of two or three courses followed by complementary coffee served with Mince Pies. The options covered Vegan/Vegetarian food.
I opted for two courses as I tend to get a bit full otherwise.
I had roast Cheshire Turkey, served with Roast Potatoes, Parsnips and Carrots. I added cranberry sauce something I have recently grown to like and gravy.
For the dessert I had a Chocolate Orange pudding served with Ice Cream.
It was really enjoyable - everything was served on time at the right temperature plus I was also presented with a certificate for my five years with the organization.

Sunday, 6 December 2009

Hitch-Hikers Guide To The Galaxy (DVD)

Now this sure brings back memories at back in the Winter of 1981 this tv adaptation of the Douglas Adams novels that had become an acclaimed radio series was put out by the BBC.
Back the we only had three tv channels!!!!
It was at the cutting edge the of robotics with Zaphod Beeblebrox's heads.
To summarize Arthur Dent (an ape-descendant whose anger at the apparently inexplicable destruction of his home planet Earth, situated in an obscure corner of the outer spiral arm of the galaxy, is expressed in frequent irritation at friendly automatic doors and vending machines) is joined by travelling companions, Ford Prefect (an itinerant towel-carrying hitch-hiker originally from a small planet somewhere in the vicinity of Betelgeuse), Zaphod Beeblebrox (the notorious ex-Galactic President and patron of Eccentrica Galumbits, the triple-breasted whore of Eroticon Six) and Marvin the Paranoid Android (who's still suffering from that terrible pain in all the diodes down his left side).
While some aspects may not work quite as well as the radio series it has a certain charm about it and the comparatively low budget effects help to keep your attention on the story allowing some classic one liners to hit you.

This is the 2002 BBC DVD PAL R2/4 box set with a extras disc.

Tuesday, 1 December 2009

Tsubasa Reservior Chronicles

I bought this 6 dvd set that includes all twenty-six episodes of the first season the `Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle' anime a while back but - as ever - have only just gotten around to opening it!

The series follows Sakura and Syaoran as they search for Sakura's memories which have been scattered across numerous parallel worlds in the form of feathers. Joining them on their journey are the warrior Kurogane, the mage Fai, or Fye, together with magical ball of fluff Mokona.
Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle's is highly enjoyable anime series that has some nice characters and an interesting plot. Regarding the English dub it is relatively good and the soundtrack is beautiful. The series does have a brief crossover with `xxxHolic', which was nice, and it is just a sad that the `xxxHolic' anime didn't follow suit.

Clamp fans will recognize Syaoran and Sakura from Cardcaptors (Disc three has the story of their childhood past) and indeed some might suggest this is a more shonen take on that story but whilst there is some truth in it this goes deeper into the characters.

Highly recommended

Here's a nice picture with Fai, Kurogane, Syaroan and Sakura from this CLAMP series