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Tuesday, 31 July 2007

Because I'm worth it.

Whilst getting ready for my job interview today, I couldn't find any shaving cream. Not really wanting to bring 5 of Gillette's best anywhere near my face without some form of lubrication, I looked through the bathroom for the slippiest thing I could find.

After much deliberation and experimentation (luckily I was doing this in my sisters bathroom, so the mess wasn't my responsibility), I eventually decided to shave using Loreal Elvive Anti-Aging regenerative formula shampoo.

Although it was a little slimy, and felt like what I can only imagine jizz feels like on your face (I was trying not to think about this), it was by far the smoothest shave I've ever had, and my face had a wierd aromatic stench to it afterwards. I need to do some long term testing with this, as I feel that I've had a fairly spotty day today, and the two events can't just be coincidental. I really want to give my beard a few days growth now just to see if it grows back glowing with healthy age-defying shine.

I wonder if there are shaving creams specially designed to promote that "rugged" stubble effect that seems to hard for me to achieve.

MySpace: The final crushing blow...

I awarded MySpace today with my coveted Tosspot of the Year Award. After spending many hours designing one of the few legible profiles on the site, and bringing more than a few visitors their way, I feel I can no-longer uphold this relationship built on spite, malice, and greed (and all that coming from MySpace's end of the bargain).

It all started when MySpace decreed it was to use a new "spammer blocking system", which did a grand total of fuck all to stop spammers using MySpace. What it did do though, was stop anyone creating links to legitimate sites in their profiles which even vaguely hinted at being in competition with MySpace. Therefore all links to my blog were in one fell swoop rendered completely and utterly useless.

Being the enterprising young chap that I am, within 10 minutes I'd found a way around their blatant censorship of legitimate users, and put the method onto the internet for others to be able to use. It took MySpace about a month, but eventually they found out what was going on, and blocked my workaround. I lost heart in finding another way around their Nazism, and lost interest in their site.

The final blow came today, when, after sending them an email complaining of their censorship I got this response:

Hi there,

Thank you for sharing your comments and suggestions. We consider them
important and will take them under advisement.
Well golly, thanks so much for taking the time out of your day to reply to me personally there, MySpace! I sure do feel swell now, and can't wait to get on with using all those fancy new features you've been installing lately (or err... not), that everyone has been asking you for since... oh... the dawn of time. I'm really happy that you consider my comments so important that you'll do absolutely sod all about them.

I shall henceforth be reducing my myspace profile to a page that does nothing but slag myspace off. You're not the only crap social networking site out there MySpace, but you are the crappest, and therefore I crown thee Tosspot of the year. I shall be taking my social networking needs elsewhere, probably the pub, where I shall delight in chasing many monkeys, punching many boxers, and helping many things (amphibian and otherwise) to cross roads in the hope of winning a free ringtone, all the while laughing manically at your expense.


Monday, 30 July 2007

Knee deep in CSS..

Today I've been helping my good friend Steve (of Podrunner and Groovelectric fame) transfer his email newsletter onto Blogger so that he has a ready-made RSS feed. As always with Blogger, and trying to work an existing design into a new template, there's been a neer-to-do with CSS coding, and getting everything right, but I think the results are starting to look quite pleasing. Take a look yourself at the new site, any design suggestions are appreciated!

Whilst in the process of fiddling with Bloggers innards, I found how to set your own bookmark icon for Blogger sites, which I promptly used for my own site, as you can hopefully see in the URL bar now :)

Eat your drugs, they're good for you.

I saw an advert for Special K cereal today, and it got me thinking about the whole Cocaine energy drink scandal - in a nutshell what happened was that a company tried to release an energy drink in the states called 'Cocaine', it didn't actually contain any cocaine (what did you think you were going to get for $2.00? an 8-ball in a can?), but the Federal Drugs Agency banned the drink for being illegally marketed ("For a cocaine-like burst of energy!", "Speed in a can!"), and for promoting drugs use.

You can probably see where I'm going with this, but I'll say it anyway. How, throughout all this scandal has Kelloggs Special K remained completely untouched by all this? Last time I checked the ingredients, it contained no Ketamine whatsoever, yet this product has remained on Supermarket shelves for about 92 million years.

I also notice the FDA have done nothing about Smack Noodles, which are eaten by noodle bag-heads the world over. Notice on the packet they serve them with a spoon.

Friday, 27 July 2007

Podcasting: Beyond the Basics Pt. II - Use HTML in your description.

I know a few people have been waiting for this one, so hopefully Steve will leave me alone after this ;) Anyway, so far I've described to your the bare minimum you have to do in order to set up an XML file for podcasting. Now I'm going to show you how to set your podcast apart from the rest by using HTML in your XML file, so it looks much prettier and is more usable in podcatchers that can understand it, like Google Reader. I'm going to assume you have at least a bare-bones understanding of what HTML is, and how to program a simple web-page using it. If not, there's a half-decent tutorial here, or search for HTML Tutorial on Google.

So why should we do this? Well, ultimately, it's up to you, of course, but putting HTML in your XML file will benefit your subscribers in a few ways:
  • Most importantly, it will allow you to use line-breaks and paragraph breaks in HTML podcatchers. Without using this, your description will just be one large block of text. You can hit the enter key till you're blue in the face, and it might format correctly in iTunes, but nothing will change the way it looks in Google Reader.
  • Instead of offering web addresses to relevant websites for that episode, you can offer them as proper hyperlinks. Your subscribers will thank you for this alone.
  • Use pretty much anything you can do in HTML - tables, lists, images, backgrounds - make your XML mirror the style and layout of your website. About the only thing you can't do is to use JavaScript.
The only downsides are that it will take a bit more effort on your part to make sure everything works as it should, and that it will pretty much double the file size of your XML file. If you don't have many episodes in your podcast though, it's definitely worth doing.

Unfortunately, not all podcatchers understand HTML (including, unfortunately, iTunes - which is weird, as it uses HTML for the iTunes store. Bummer), which means we need to code our XML in such a way that people not using a HTML compatible podcatcher won't notice any difference to any other podcast out there. This took me a good few days of experimentation to work out an acceptable way of coding the XML to work in this way, and I've not seen any other podcast pull this off yet, so you're getting let in on an exclusive here.

First of all, you'll need to change the namespace tag at the top of your XML file. We're going to make it so it downloads definitions for not only the iTunes tags, but also for the HTML enclosure we'll be using. Right now, you're probably using this namespace tag:

<rss xmlns:itunes="" version="2.0">

We're going to replace it with this one:

<rss xmlns:itunes="" xmlns:content="" version="2.0">

If you don't understand what we just did - imagine until this point, we've been writing our XML file in French. Which is fine, because we told the computer where to find a French dictionary so it could understand what we wanted to do. Now we want to write part of the XML in German as well, so we need to tell it where to find a German dictionary also.

Now for each episode of the podcast, we're going to need 2 <description> tags: one containing just plain text, for iTunes compatible podcatchers, and the other containing HTML for the more advanced podcatchers. The reason we can't have everything in one <description> block: plain text podcatchers will just show the raw HTML code to your users, which just looks ugly. Here's what the code is going to look like for the description for one of the episodes:

<description>This week, Jim McJim explores the climes of Glasgow through the ages, from the abhorrent weather in the dark ages, through to today's less tolerable rainstorm.

You can get further information on Jim's travels at or email him at</description>
<p><img src="" align="left">This week, Jim McJim explores the climes of Glasgow through the ages, from the abhorrent weather in the dark ages, through to today's less tolerable rainstorm.</p>

<p>You can get further information on Jim's travels at the <a href="">Jim McJim website</a> or email him at <a href=""></a></p>

You'll see that the two description blocks are essentially the same (you'd be a fool not to copy and paste ;) but the second one is instantly more accessible to your users - it includes a small thumbnail which sets the scene for the content of the podcast, and also the links to the website and email will actually go to those places when the user clicks them. Make sure you keep these surrounding tags exactly as you see them here:

HTML description goes here

The extra ![CDATA[ bit just makes sure that iTunes will not try and display this information.

And that's pretty much it! As I said before, you can pretty much use any of the tags you'd use to build a webpage, giving you an infinite number of possibilities for presenting your information to people subscribing to your podcast. If you put this to good use in your own podcast, drop me an email and maybe I'll feature it on the site! Don't forget to put a little link here if you get this up and running!

Thursday, 26 July 2007

Ruforia: Chronic Fatigue

Finally the latest installment of the only feel-good force to be reckoned with is here! I'm sorry it's taken so long, but I hope it's worth it! Personally I feel this mix has got some absolute gems in there, but then I would say that, because I chose them all. I suppose the only way we'll truly find out is for you to have a listen and tell me yourself!

This mix is dedicated to Timo, for being a true leg end, and for having his birthday. It's important. Once upon a time, Timo didn't like House Music, and denounced it as being faggy and gay. After listening to a few Ruforia mixes, it was all a different story. How strange. Anyway, Happy Birthday Timo, and I hope you like the mix :)


  1. Beach Boys - Surfin' USA
    I don't need to say anything. Widely acclaimed as performing the best album ever ever.
  2. Laurent Wolf Feat. Soni Dee - Sunshine Paradise (12" Vocal Mix)
    I've been wanting to put this track on a Ruforia mix for a while - some of the most beautiful interplay of vocal harmonies around going on in this track (maybe even better than the Beach Boys?). Plus it's one of those tracks you can't help but feel good when you listen to it.
  3. Cosmic Love Feat. Gramma Funk - This is the Way We Funk It (Original Mix)
    I picked this up on a tiny whitelabel at Delta Discos last year in Ibiza, and never looked back - I never heard anyone else play it, but that doesn't stop me wanting to dance like a lunatic to it.
  4. Francesco Diaz Feat. Karl Frierson - Say a Little Prayer (Raul Rincon Mix)
    If I had a remix of Aretha Franklin's original, I'd be playing it here, but it seems it was never to be. That doesn't stop this one kicking ass though, and it's got that classic smooth Funky House bassline a.k.a 2004. More please.
    With: Bhernandez Vs. DJ Tyo - Let You Down (Power Dub)
    A pretty bland track, in my opinion, but this sample leads us nicely onto...
  5. Dennis Ferrer Feat. K. Brooks - Change the World (Main Mix)
    A great message in this one, and for this reason alone it deserves to be on a mix dedicated to Timo.
    With: Sugar Caine - White Lines (Vox 29)
    A bit of a teaser for later...
  6. Switch - A Bit Patchy (Kenny Dope Mix)
    I'm sure you've heard this one around, I've heard it everywhere, Digweed even played it at the Giant NYE party, LA, and for sentimental reasons, it's included here. I never get tired of those 60's sounding horns!
  7. Bob Sinclar - Ultimate Funk (Tocadisco Mix)
    A little-known Bob Sinclar one, this, but definitely still worthy. Bob Sinclar is credited with producing one of my favorite songs of all time: Love Generation, and he's one of those artists that seems to be able to do no wrong at the moment. I might even forgive him for being French.
  8. Bionik Phunk Feat. D. Mac - White Lines (Playmaker's Oldskool Mix)
    The original is of course, seminal, you can't argue with that, and I've been waiting for a while for someone to give it a House remake. You'll find a couple of dirtier mixes on Beatport, but this is my personal favorite.
    With: Afroman - Because I Got High (Acapella)
    This being a mix for Timo, there needs to be at least one reference to some nasty California weed in there somewhere, otherwise I wouldn't be doing my job.
  9. Joe T. Vannelli Feat. Rochelle Fleming - Get It On (Summer Love) (Tom Novy Remix)
    Mr. Vannelli's Sweetest Day of May is quite a few people's favorite moment of any Ruforia mixes, and I can see why, although I'm a little unhappy with a lot of the 2007 remixes - they lost a lot of that Soul feeling that was so strong in the original track. Get It On on the other hand seems to sum up everything Subliminal in one track though, those big build-ups that seem to fade away to nothing, and a track so deep you could drown in it. I love it.
    With: Roland Clark - Resist (Acapella)
    It does exactly what it says on the tin.
  10. Skee Lo - I Wish (Aqua Sky Remix)
    A great hip-hop song in it's own right (which is high praise indeed, coming from me), this remix is just plain dirt. Do the robot. Rinse. Repeat.
    With: Erick Morillo - House Music is a Feeling (Acapella)
    One of my favorite acapellas, this one should be in every house DJ's collection.
  11. Micha Moor - Space (Klass Club Remix)
    You'll recognize the hook in this one instantly as from Prodigy's Outer Space, and I've been hanging on for a true House re-make for a long time. Try keeping your arse still during this track. It's not physically possible, I assure you. I love the reggae breakdown, and the way the beat comes slamming back in with more nasty dirt than Courtney Cox in a mudbath.
  12. Muttonheads & Mattieu Bouthier - Make Your Own Kind of Music (original Mix)
    None other than Mama Cass did the original vocal for this track, and I can't stop listening to it right now. A proper sing-along monster, and I'm glad the producers had the sense to keep the original Motown feel to this track. It puts a great big smile on my face every time I hear it :)
  13. Rufus White - Mind Games (Reprise Mix)
    A track I've been working on - the piano is from Five For Fighting's Superman (Which I'm told is the theme tune to Dawson's Creek, but please don't let that stop you from listening to it!). I wanted to make a track which I could use at the end of the set, and I think the result is pretty nice - it needs a little bit more work, but it's definitely getting there. If you want to get your hands on this track, all I ask is a small donation to the Ruforia cause. You can donate securely via PayPal here.
    With: Red Carpet - Alright (Acapella)
    A staple of any good Subliminal Sessions night, I was so happy when I managed to find the Acapella to this track. It's been 3 years since I first heard it, and I still get goosebumps when I hear it now.
Enjoy, Rufx

Scare the Children

As well as working on a new Ruforia mix over the last couple of days, I've been working on a new track called "Scare the Children". I started out with an idea that I wanted to create a "main room at Space" (Ibiza) track: ugly, nasty, and dark - in short, just a little bit eeevil. The only problem is, it's getting to the point where it's actually starting to scare me! The breakdown consists of a load of hellish sounds and evil chanting. It's actually sounding more like a techno track than a house track, but I'm not going to get in the way of how it's sounding right now lol!

Wednesday, 25 July 2007

Addicted to Bass

I've been experimenting over the last couple of days with sounds for my next track, in particular, how to go about getting that nasty dirty bass sound, and until now I've not really been happy with anything that I've been able to produce in Ableton Live. Until I found a couple of free plugins that seem to really complement each other:

  • The first is Lanstarr's StarrSynth2.2 Bass Edition, which with only a few knob tweaks, seems to be able to create some amazing monstrous bass sounds.
  • The second is de la Mancha's Dirtbox2, which is a bit like the saturator included with Ableton, but is much better at making anything that passes through it nice and gritty. You should also check out some of the other de la Mancha plugins, as they're all pretty high quality, in particular check out the SubHuman and SubFreak plugins which are useful for layering under other bass sounds for a much fuller feel.
By playing about with these 2 plugins in combo (with a limiter tacked on the end of the chain to stop things getting a bit too heavy handed on my poor monitor speakers, as the results can be pretty big) I managed to achieve some really nasty bass patches. I've put a few in this zip file for anyone else struggling to make bass sounds in Ableton Live 6. Download them here and put them into your library. (You'll need both the aforementioned plugins installed, of course).

Sunday, 22 July 2007

Myspace: the online Nazi party.

Well, it looks like MySpace are up to their old tricks again. They're now blocking links to just about everywhere on the internet that's not within the area code, which means even my redirect script will no-longer work. Fear not. I have another idea but it's ugly. There's no way that mySpace can block links in Flash movies, so you can always make a tiny flash movie, store it somewhere else (even on your googlepages site) that just links to where you need it to.

I have emailed mySpace about this blatant disregard of the ethics and neutrality of the net, and I'm awaiting a reply.

Saturday, 21 July 2007

Hen Parties. Cluck Cluck, Bang Bang

I've decided that if I never see another hen party in Leeds, it will still be too soon. Here are the requirements for a Leeds hen party:

  • 6-9 fat, ugly, mostly middle aged women, all with loud bitch syndrome and a cleft palate.
  • t-shirts with things like "cheeky mare" and "bride babe" printed on them. The more fat wrinkled cleavage they show, the better, apparently.
  • Pink plastic magic wands, to be used as an offensive weapon if anybody dares challenge the bride to be's all night slurrings of "aaa yooooou gonna gerr meya drink loorrve, it's meyen party!!"
  • Penis shaped drinking straws and drinks holders. How racy.
  • Tacky one-piece costumes. These may consist of: devil horns, pink veils with pink fluff around them, a school tie, a nun thing, or glittery hearts on springy headbands.
  • Tight jeans and leggings. Why they can't dress according to their weight, I don't know. The only thing worse than a fat ugly middle aged woman is a fat, ugly, middle aged woman who feels She has to tell the world about it by dressing like a skinny 16 year old.
Leeds hen parties feel that none of the rules that apply to everyone else in the world have anything to do with them. Suddenly, everyone who's not part of their closely-knit group of wanton destruction becomes someone to be treated like a piece of dirt, or a piece of meat.

It's pretty much universally believed that grabbing a girls bum is socially unacceptable conduct these days, if men were to do it in this country, chances are they'd have a sexual harassment lawsuit slapped on them faster than you can say "It was only a joke, love!". Hen parties, however, have no problem grabbing anything they can find below the belt-line. If a bloke was to turn round and object to this blatant disregard of personal space, he would first be met with a barrage of "Liiiiiten up loorrrrve, it's anen partiiiiiiii!", before being knocked senseless by wrinkled tits the size of Jupiter.

Which leads me to the question: Do no good looking girls get married in Leeds? There's no shortage of babes in Leeds - are they too classy to have hen parties? I have a feeling they'd much rather just get a truck-load of Jacob's Creek in and watch Love, Actually.

The thing is, I wouldn't be complaining, but a hen party for the fat, middle-aged women is pretty much the same as any other night out for them, apart from the penis drinking straws. It's like a rite of passage thing: before you get married you must go out and get fucked on absynthe drunk through a penis-shaped straw. Surely they're going to end up with much the same memories (ie. none) as any other night out on the town. If I was a fat, middle-aged loudmouth bitch, I'd want to do something a little bit different so that it'd be memorable. I would suggest something like bungee-jumping or sky diving at this point but that's putting an awful lot of trust in equipment only designed for the weight of a normal human being. Instead, if you're a fat, middle aged bitch planning a hen party, why not try this: take a bunch of ecstasy (£2 per pill at current rates, which makes for a much cheaper night right off the bat compared to £100 per behemoth on drinks you people complain so much about on these hen parties - hey, nobody is forcing you to get drunk), and stick Radio 1 on in your living room and keep flicking the lights on and off. You'll have no desire to sexually harass anything with a penis, and you'll remember it as the best night of your life.