Sunday, 25 December 2011

Merry Christmas Everyone!





 
At last!  Christmas time is here and I thought I'd wish you all a Merry Christmas!  I hope everyone has a great day no matter where you are, whether you're just starting Christmas Day, or Christmas Night like we Aussies are!

I've had a great Christmas Day with my family, watching a Harry Potter movie and The Santa Clause movies - one of my favourite Christmas movies!

Stay tuned!  Sorry I haven't posted my Elton concert review yet (which was great, by the way), but I will hopefully get it posted this week before the New Year!

I hope all the kids have been spoilt by Santa this year, getting what they've wanted!  May everyone find peace and happiness on this glorious day!

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

John Farnham - The Acoustic Chapel Sessions Review

CD cover of The Acoustic Chapel Sessions
Courtesy of JB Hi-Fi

Yes! I bought it on Friday and have been listening to it repeatedly ever since!  The CD is by Australian artist, John Farnham, and I've loved his music ever since 1996 (the year after I discovered Elton John's music), and each successive album is just as good as the last.  The new CD is called "The Acoustic Chapel Sessions" and it is great!  This CD features 11 great hits from John's music career from 1984 to 1996, and is redone with acoustic, not electric, instruments!  This CD has been released in celebration of the 25th Anniversary of "Whispering Jack", John's comeback album of 1986.

I was worried that the acoustic songs would not be up to par but I was wrong. John Farnham and his great band really did pull it off!  Not only that, the CD was released as a combo CD/DVD set with the DVD featuring behind-the-scenes footage and interviews with John and the band, along with 8 video recordings of songs on the CD!  Great stuff!

The first highlight off the CD for me is "Pressure Down", which I think is even better than the original version!  "Playing To Win", which John originally recorded with Little River Band in 1984, sounds strange without its synth and electric guitar sound but it really does sound great as an acoustic song too!  I also love "Two Strong Hearts"...the backing vocals go so well with John's voice!  The acoustic version of "A Simple Life" also sounds terrific!  "Hearts On Fire" was my least favourite song on the CD but then it grew on me the more I listened to it.  "You're The Voice" was also great but I do feel the original version had more power!

Over all, I think the CD/DVD set is fantastic and well worth buying. It gets a 5 out of 5 star rating from me.  For anyone who wants to know more about this great Aussie singer, I've included some links to sites I'd recommend!  Back in his heyday, John Farnham decided against going to the US to seek his fame and fortune and opted to stay in Australia and tour here instead.  That said, he has had Number One hits and Top 10 hits in other countries.  When I listen to John Farnham sing, it makes me proud to be Australian!  His great sense of humour gives his fans many, many laughs during concerts and he is so well loved by us all!

If you've never heard of John Farnham and you have iTunes, I'd recommend you check him out.  If you don't have iTunes, try checking out the John Farnham links in the sidebar!  Hopefully, next time he tours I just might get the chance to see my 2nd favourite singer LIVE in concert!

Saturday, 8 October 2011

Steve Jobs - May Your Legacy Live On

Steve Jobs holding a model of the video playing iPod.
Picture courtesy of Lusakatimes.com.
I felt so sad to hear the news that Steve Jobs had died on October 5th.  It's hard to believe we've now lost one of the greatest minds in the Technology industry.  If it wasn't for Steve Jobs, a lot of things that are easy to use today may have ended up more complex, or not have existed at all.

Steve Jobs was the founder of Apple Inc, the company behind many well-known products such as the Macintosh (Mac), the iMac, MacBook, iPod, iPhone, Apple TV and most recently the iPad!  I, for one, love my iPod Classic and use it daily!  I don't really know much about Steve Jobs, apart from what I've mentioned above, but I've read on the Internet that he invented a lot of things and pretty much gets looked on today as the modern day Thomas Edison....a great honour!

Fans of Apple may be concerned about the future of the company, but only time will tell.  A lot of people looked on Steve Jobs as a genius, and from what I've read, he certainly was.

Steve, you will be sorely missed, not only by your family, but also by those who knew you as a friend or business partner, and the many fans you have accumulated over the years.  You changed the world with what you did and the world is a better place for it.

May your legacy live on through Apple and may Apple keep doing great things even though you're no longer here.

RIP, Steve.

Sunday, 2 October 2011

I HAVE WON...

...TWO FRONT ROW tickets to go and see my favourite singer, Elton John, live in concert on November 30th!!!  I'M SO EXCITED!!!!


Elton John introduces 2Cellos and snippet of "Saturday Night's Alright For Fighting"
.
I won the tickets on my favourite radio station, Classic Hits 4KQ, during May in a competition titled "Eltonology"!  I entered my name and details on their website to enter.  The whole competition ran for a week, and on the Friday, the winner would win 2 front row tickets to the concert at the Brisbane Entertainment Centre and the other 4 days would be the standard tickets!

I actually thought I'd have to wait until the Friday morning to win, but as it turned out, the station called me up on the Thursday morning.  It was all pre-recorded for Friday morning, so you wouldn't believe how surprised I was when I got the call and was asked a question regarding Elton's music.  The question - "On Elton's Captain Fantastic and The Brown Dirt Cowboy album.....WHO is the Brown Dirt Cowboy?"  I answered without hesitation - "Bernie Taupin!"

As of now, it will be nine weeks until the big night!  It was decided that my brother Reece, who went with me to see Elton solo in 2007, will come with me again on November 30!  Reece did say after the last concert that he would like to see Elton with the band, so he's getting the chance!  I'm still deciding what CD cover to take to hopefully get Elton to sign, maybe my spare copy of "The Captain And The Kid".


2Cellos playing "Smooth Criminal".

This time around, I think Elton will have extra backing vocalists, and from what I've read, Elton had asked two cello players from Croatia, also known as 2Cellos, to join him, not just for his Australian tour, but for other concerts as well!  They won't only be the support acts but perform with the band as well!  If you want to know who 2Cellos are, I recommend you watch the video from YouTube of 2Cellos doing their rendition of Michael Jackson's "Smooth Criminal" above!  That is, apparently, how Elton found out about them!

I'm hoping to be notified by 4KQ very soon to let me know my free tickets are there and ready for collection.

Sorry I've been so lax with posts on my blog this year. I'm hoping to post more regularly from now on.

Have a great weekend!

Friday, 4 March 2011

Elton John single review

CD cover of the single
Picture courtesy of Eltonography: The Illustrated Elton John Discography

A few weeks ago, my brother Beau went out for the day and came home with a CD for me which he'd spotted in a secondhand shop.  Thanks, Beau! It was the single of Elton John's "Something About The Way You Look Tonight" and this single was released without "Candle In The Wind 1997" as one of the tracks.  "Candle In The Wind 1997" had been released prior which was due to the tragic death of Diana, Princess of Wales.  I feel they coupled "Something About The Way You Look Tonight" and "Candle In The Wind 1997" on a single together hoping it would give "Something About The Way You Look Tonight" some attention.  I guess after all the sadness of Princess Diana's death had died down, it was time to re-release "Something About The Way You Look Tonight" as a single in its own right and I now have it!

My new-to-me CD (released in Australia) has 4 songs:
  1. Something About The Way You Look Tonight (Single Edit)
  2. I Know Why I'm In Love
  3. No Valentines
  4. Something About The Way You Look Tonight (Album Version)
I've always loved "Something About The Way You Look Tonight" when I heard it on the radio for the first time.  Radio stations always play the shorter version of the song for obvious reasons of time restrictions, but if I was a radio station, I'd say ditch the time restraints and play the full version, but then again, that is my own feelings!

I've never heard "I Know Why I'm In Love" until I got this single and I really like it!  One thing I've always loved about Elton when he released singles is you always got those rare treats that aren't on the album and, when you don't get a studio recorded song not on the album, you get a song or two (or even more) recorded live at a recent concert.  You rarely find an Elton John single that contains a remix of the song, which is what I like!  I'm not a fan of remixes of songs.

I like the fact that "No Valentines" is on the CD as I don't think it was available in Australia until this single came out.  It's a great song and I liked it the moment I heard it on "Love Songs".  "No Valentines" doesn't appear on the UK/World version of "Love Songs" because that version of the CD was already released, therefore "No Valentines" and "You Can Make History (Young Again)" don't appear on it, even though they are on the US version.  Unless Australians have this single, they'll have to order the US version of "Love Songs".

Over all, the "Something About The Way You Look Tonight" single is very good! I'd never tire the songs on it as I never get sick of listening to Elton, simple as that!  This single was released 14 years ago but, regardless, the CD is still in excellent condition despite the card sleeve showing some signs of wear.  I love it all the same. Usually I'm very picky about getting second hand things but, when it comes to singles, CDs, records and cassettes, and you can't get them anymore, so they're definitely worth holding on to!

Have you found some great secondhand CDs of late?

Friday, 11 February 2011

The Beginning Of A New Year!

First of all, I just wanted to wish everyone who comes to this blog a Happy New Year...I can't believe it's been so long since I last posted!!  The New Year did not started well for Australia due to floods and North Queensland being hit by the biggest cyclone in Australian history, Cyclone Yasi.  I won't go into details here but Mum has some details on what happened on her blog, along with links to other informative sites about the floods and cyclone.

Secondly, I want to announce that my sister Michelle gave birth to a beautiful baby girl called Mikayla Rose in December 2010. You can read all about her and see pictures on Michelle's blog and also on Mum's blog!  That makes me an Uncle to Mikayla and, while I know I'm already an Uncle, Mikayla will be the first niece I'll have a lot more involvement with!  I'm so happy!   Michelle came over to visit on Monday and I didn't want to stop admiring Mikayla. She is so beautiful!  It's going to be weird but feel great at the same time, hearing little Mikayla say "Uncle Bradley" or "Uncle Brad" when she starts talking!  Below is a picture of me holding Mikayla 2 days after birth!  I love her so much!

Me holding Mikayla 2 days after birth!

Since July last year, I'd been having a lot of computer problems, where my computer would either restart on me without warning, show a Blue Screen of Death (what we Windows users call the dreaded blue screen error message that renders your computer useless until a restart is done), even a complete computer freeze, sometimes with nothing showing on the screen.  Mum and I kept trying to solve the problem, but to no avail.  We also noticed that my computer seemed to be getting very hot after being on for a while.  My computer was a Windows XP desktop (not a tower case) PC, probably built between 2002 - 2004, and given to me second hand by a friend of the family who also gave Mum the exact same type of computer.  We were given them around 2007 - 2008 and have had a lot of use out of them upgrading the RAM once to help them run faster.

The funny thing is that while my computer was playing up for a while, Mum had absolutely no problems with her computer at all until, one day out of the blue, it went out with a bang while she was using it.  Luckily Mum was able to get a brand new HP Pavillion computer with Windows 7 that very same day.  It took Mum a little while to get used to but she seems to love it now.  A week and a half later, I went to turn my computer on at the wall, heard a bang, and then realised my computer had finally given up too.  Thankfully, I was able to get a new computer as well, exactly like Mum's new one so, she and I have twin computers again.  The only difference is that Mum's one came with a 20 inch wide screen LED LCD screen as part of a bundle deal from Harvey Norman, our local computer store. I only needed to buy the PC tower as I was able to use Mum's SONY 19 inch LCD (not wide-screen) from her blown computer.

So far, I'm loving my new Windows 7 PC and, thankfully, all my data was on my external hard drive so I didn't lose anything when my computer died!  I know I've said in a past post that I'd be getting a new computer and putting some form of GNU/Linux on it after what I've read about Microsoft and the bad things they've been doing (look for the Windows 7 Sins banner in my sidebar and click it to go to the website to see what I mean) however, given the circumstances, my plans changed for now.  The only way I'd feel safe enough putting Ubuntu (my choice of GNU/Linux operating system) on my new computer without voiding the warranty is by installing VirtualBox and running Ubuntu as a Virtual Machine, which I did in Windows XP for a short time.  The only way I'd feel safe enough putting Ubuntu fully on the computer is by waiting for the warranty to end. I eventually plan to buy a custom built computer and I'll definitely be putting Ubuntu on that alongside whatever version of Windows is out at the time.  With Ubuntu being released every 6 months, who knows what it'll be like when that happens which is why I'll continue to buy both the monthly Linux Magazine and quarterly Ubuntu User (both published by Linux New Media AG). I totally recommend these magazines to people wanting to know more about Ubuntu and Linux in general.

I'm really sorry about the wait between my last post and this one (nearly a year) but I can assure you I'm back with plans to post more regularly so watch this space for new posts. There will be CD reviews, games reviews and whatever else I'm into at the time!  So stay tuned.....
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