5x12 pentomino tiling

Birthday - Day 2


I love presents. And this morning I got:

  • Leatherman SkeletoolA Leatherman Skeletool - as if I haven't got any other multi-tools. But I wanted a lighter one which I could carry in my pocket in environments where having a Wave on my belt was probably unwise1. It's a lovely bit of kit.
  • Four CDs:
    • Sal "Dysfunctional" - Sal are a welsh rock band who won the competition for a theme song to go with the new James Bond book "Devil May Care", which is how I came across them. Having listened to some samples on their web site I thought they would be worth hearing more of. Interestingly CDDB didn't have their details when I was ripping their CD onto the file server this morning2.
    • Newton Faulkner "Hand Built by Robots" - for this one you can blame the nice young lady who served at table most evenings on our holiday on Islay. She put this CD on and I asked who it was. So she wrote the details down for me.
    • Suzanne Vega "Nine Objects of Desire" - dirt cheap from Amazon at the moment. I used to be a great Suzanne Vega fan but for some reason I stopped buying her CDs after the fourth one. Can't remember why now. Time to rediscover her.
    • The Carpenters "The Ultimate Collection" - I've never really paid The Carpenters a lot of attention but Mark Kermode occasionally raves about them on the Simon Mayo show so I thought it was time to get a CD. In fact I'm playing it now as I'm typing this. I'd forgotten quite how many hits they'd had which I knew and the tracks I don't know are generally good too in a mellow sort of way.
  • Three film DVDs:
    • "Letters from Iwo Jima" - this is Clint Eastwood's companion piece to "Flags Of Our Fathers" which I've already got (and is very fine, being the story behind the iconic flag raising photo on Iwo Jima). This film looks at the battle for Iwo Jima from the other side. Japanese with sub-titles but nowt wrong with that if it's good, and it should be given the first one.
    • "In the Valley of Elah" - thriller, Amazon recommended it to me, can't remember why now.
    • "Michael Clayton" - ditto
  • The boxed set of "Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip" - this TV series by Aaron Sorkin, creator of "Sports Night" and "The West Wing" (so someone who can do no wrong as far as I'm concerned) was cancelled after one series. I've watched some of the episodes already3 and I can't work out why as it seemed very good.
  • Three books:
    • "Austerity Britain: A World to Build" by David Kynaston - I'd read reviews of this which suggested it might be a good read and it covers the period when my parents were growing up.
    • "Having It So Good: Britain in the Fifties" by Peter Hennessy - so this is essentially a follow up to the last one and Amazon recommended it to me ... and to Beth when she was ordering my presents so she added it to the bundle even though I'd not asked for it.
    • "Wintersmith" by Terry Pratchett - I've not had any of pTerry's for a while so it seemed about time to catch up. This is from the Wee Free Men series, which I've not tried before.

Now that's a good birthday. So I'm off to do some listening, reading and watching.

  1. London main railway terminals for example, as all the recent Leatherman tools have a locking blade they're an offensive weapon unless you've got a good reason to carry it. Sigh.
  2. Yup BPI, I rip CDs. In fact it's the only way I listen to them, be it on the house HiFi, the study speakers, my MP3 player or my phone, but we own every CD in the collection. I buy a CD and immediately rip it, then it goes in a box in the loft as a backup.
  3. Via BitTorrent (yes, two confessions in one posting). This is the first and only time I've ever used it, but I couldn't wait and I knew I'd end up with it on DVD when it got here.

Tags: books, films, music, toys Written 02/07/08

Previous comments about this article:

On 02/07/08 at 9:39pm Ian Stuart wrote:

Don't forget to add "and a wonderful card from Ian Stuart celebrating all the work I do for Angioma Alliance UK: - www.angiomaalliance.org.uk

On 03/07/08 at 11:53am Paul wrote:

Yeah, got lots of cards ... including that one. Sadly you can't print out an e-card. Anyway we watched Michael Clayton last night. I'm not sure Beth enjoyed it that much but I thought it was excellent.

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