This blog is now protected by MT-Blacklist. I had hoped to wait until Movable Type 3 before implementing an anti-spam solution for the comments sections here, but the spammers went a bit nuts over the weekend. MT’s basic options for deleting comments are, shall we say, limited, so a more serious solution was needed. MT-Blacklist has caught 16 junk comments since I installed it yesterday evening. It rocks. Yay Jay!

New music

I splurged on music a bit at the weekend, branching out into some stuff that would normally be a little off my radar. I picked up Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots by The Flaming Lips, Agaetis Byrjun by Sigur Ros, Dear Catastrophe Waitress by Belle and Sebastian, and Afterglow by Sarah McLachlan. Okay, so the Sarah Mclachlan isn’t much of a branching-out for me, but I bought the CD as much for a challenge as anything else. It’s not a CD, see.

At first glance, iTunes didn’t have any problem recognising the disc as a music CD and ripping it to MP3. Upon listening to it all the way through, though, there are a couple of tracks that have a very short (a fraction of a second) burst of static at the start. I’ll try re-ripping to see if this was just a coincidence, and if that doesn’t work, it’ll be a job for the low-tech line out/line in analog solution. Ho hum.

First impressions of the albums: Afterglow sounds like standard Sarah McLachlan at her most mellow. No immediate stand-out tracks. Yoshimi seems to vary from the experimental to the meanderingly inane. Some good melodies, and a lovely drum-driven squelchy electronic cacophony in “Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots, Part 2”. Agaetis Byrjun is too slow and laid back for it to have fully registered on me yet. It may be a sleeper, but so far it’s just sleepy. Dead Catastrophe Waitress makes me wonder why I’ve never sampled Belle and Sebastian before. They’ve got some delicious lightweight indy-pop going on here.

House hunting

At the end of last week, the possibility arose for me to go and work in Belgium for a short while. We discussed and investigated this opportunity over the weekend. With Abi still on maternity leave, it would have been (just) possible for all of us to move there for six months, and come back in time for Abi to return to work in November. However, we came to the conclusion that it would be too much stress in too short a time, for not enough tangible benefit.

But because we are still interested in moving to a different country so that Alex and Fiona can be exposed to another language at an early age, we came up with a different plan: move to a bigger house here in Edinburgh this summer, spend the next three years getting Fiona up and running, getting Alex launched into school, getting myself more experience as a technical contractor, and getting Abi cross-trained on something other than mainframes, and then move to the Netherlands in the summer of 2007.

Note that this is still a provisional plan, and is subject to change.

What it does mean is that we’ve started the search for a new house. It’s a daunting prospect because the Edinburgh property market is insane, and finding the space we want at a price we can afford is not going to be easy. We have identified a couple of target properties already, though, and we plan to take a look at the first one tomorrow evening. More details when we have them ourselves…