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Friday, May 5

A Day In The Life

Maybe I do no more in any given day than anyone else, or maybe I am "full of busy". I suspect that I do about the same as most other people in total, but that I spend less time with important things like washing, cooking, tidying etc etc. Given the various professionals I've seen over the years, I can definitely veer towards this latter explanation. I don't do any of the following:
  • Spend 5 minutes moisturising my feet every night
  • Use a bizarre bottle-cleaner-style between-the-teeth cleaning device every other day
  • Brush my teeth for 5 minutes twice a day
  • Walk up stairs at every opportunity (not sure that saves time)
  • Do 30 minutes' exercise every day
  • Wash my car every few weeks
  • Check my car oil every week
the list goes on. Perhaps my day could be filled with busy if I did more of these things. However, I have done quite a few things of my own devising in the last 24 hours or so. These come into the following categories:
  • Getting a tooth filled
  • Upgrading my MP3 player (finally)
  • Ripping CDs and listening to Beethoven
  • Paying a surprise visit to my girlfriend
  • Watching Friends
Not quite as healthy a series of things to do, but I'll still write a few words on each. Well, ok, the dentist bit was probably quite healthy.

Dental Care
Perhaps if I spent more time poking my gums with things I'd have better teeth. As it is, my first dental check-up for some years revealed the need for two fillings. At £50 each, these are not a cheap commodity. I went to the dentist at lunchtime yesterday, with a meeting scheduled for an hour or so after lunch. I didn't really want injections to make my mouth go all numb and cause me to spit throughout the meeting.

Two good things happened within the dentist's chair. Firstly, he decided only to do one of the fillings. This was a less painful and less costly. Good start. Secondly, he agreed with me that injections are for wusses and are probably more trouble than tolerating a few moments of drilling. Thirdly... okay, THREE good things happened... he didn't hurt me at all. The sensation of being drilled will never be pleasant and I did feel some sense of threat from it. Discomfort is about as bad as it got. This has been my experience with dentistry since being an adult. This either means that my tolerance for pain has improved, or that dentists have become much more skilled at painless procedures. Alternatively, it could be that the dentist I had as a child was a hamfisted maniac.

The meeting after the dental treatment went pretty well too.

MP3 Success
Upgrading my MP3 player has been a massive undertaking. I started looking for a new hard drive for it back in November. I ordered the new drive in early March. Now, a good 6 months or so later, I now have it working. Upgrading an MP3 player isn't an end in itself. The point to consider is that I have a large music collection, one which was bigger than the internal storage space of the MP3 player I bought in September to replace the one that was stolen from my car in August. At the time that I bought the new MP3 player, I should have thought it through and bought one that was bigger than the 20Gb I'd first bought (Dec 2004). However, I didn't. Once the unit started filling up, I started to have to choose which songs to keep on there. This somewhat goes against the idea of having a fairly large hard disk in the first place. To give you an idea, I once got a 0.4Gb hard disk for my computer and thought it was the largest drive I'd seen. My music collection was weighing in at 25Gb before I left Newcastle and I had to prune it.

I use the MP3 player to record gigs too. If it's low on space, the recording gets jitters as it tries to find the next wee bit of space on there. In today's technological landscape (did I really write that?) there's no need to be short on storage space, especially not now that I have a 60Gb (count 'em, that's sixty) drive in there. This means that I can now have all my CDs on the player.

Ripper!
In anticipation of the upgrade to the MP3 player (which was done in the evening, finally possible after various false starts because I had a part which would help me undestroy something I'd destroyed), I continued my task of downloading the contents of my CD collection into the computer, which converts from CD to the MP3 format that the player uses.

I only have a fraction (maybe 25%) of my CD collection with me here in Farnborough. A lot of the CDs I don't have present are already ripped, or are in the B-list category of "not likely to be listened to at the moment". Why is this important? Well, I spend most of my day with headphones on, and I drive long distances. If I can have a music collection which follows my chain of thought and requires nothing more than a button press (rather than going digging through a shelves, or box, or whatever) then I'm a happy Ashley. I'm prepared to pay for that privilege.

As part of my ripping yesterday, I put all 9 of Beethoven's symphonies through the computer. Herbert von Karajan's conducting is now digitised on my hard disk. Given that music is for listening to, and given that I hadn't listened to my Beethoven Symphonies collection (all 5 and a half hours of it) in a long time, and maybe not that many times through in total anyway, I set about listening to it all. With it on the hard disk, it's possible to arrange the symphonies in ascending order, rather than the order they appear on CD, which was determined by the people who made the CDs by working out how to make the best use of the space on CD. So, a 40 minute symphony goes on the same disc as a 20 minute one, rather than the symphony which numerically follows it, which might cause the symphonies to cross discs. It makes sense, but it's not particularly logical from the point of view of listening. On my computer, each symphony is now in its own folder. Simple.

I couldn't get to sleep last night because Beethoven was going round my head. Mainly his 5th.

Surprise Visit
The theory is that I spend a couple of nights a week in Farnborough and the rest at my girlfriend's house. This theory does not stand up to any physical evidence. I'm rarely at my Farnborough place overnight. Last night, I planned to be there. I did the MP3 player upgrading with Lee Evans playing on the DVD player. Once I'd completed it, I felt lonely, so I decided to pay a surprise visit to my girlfriend. This was a surprise, despite the fact that she'd only seen me a few hours previously, since I turned up unannounced and unexpectedly. She'd even been suggesting that she should make the effort to come and see me, but I got in there first.

It made her smile, which is worth the effort of driving 20 miles or so.

Friends
Every so often my girlfriend says "Friends?", which might, in some relationships be a sign of making peace after an argument, or maybe a way of being let down gently - i.e. relegated from partner to just a friend, to just a nobody. However, in our relationship, it means "Shall we continue to watch the collection of every episode of Friends ever recorded.". We did. It was, quite simply, a pleasure. Not a huge pleasure, but a pleasure nonetheless. Each episode is 22 minutes of tightly written amusement. It gets self indulgent from time to time, but it's still good.

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