Despite today being Saturday, and thus my one day off from work, I was up and awake at 6:45 am. The first item on my agenda was to watch something which I had taped yesterday on the video. During a few idle moments on Friday, I had turned on the tv and was pleasantly rewarded by the sight of Paul Simon; judging by the mustache and the song he sang ("Loves me like a rock"), I had tuned into a repeat of "Saturday Night Live" hosted by PS circa 1975.
After that song, there was a comic interlude with Simon playing one on one basketball with some pro from the NBA who was about two feet taller. Amusing but predictable. Then cut to Simon singing a song which seemed familiar but wasn't one of his ... wait a minute, it's "Marie", by Randy Newman. After one verse of this, Simon says that it is indeed "Marie", written by one of his favourite songwriters, and he so much liked Newman that he (PS) was able to persuade him (RN) to appear. Cue to Randy Newman playing "Sail away"!
Continuing this level of surprise, next on was Art Garfunkel for two duets, "The Boxer" and "Scarborough Fair". Simon put in a few "friendly jabs", like asking whether Garfunkel was done with his film career and whether he would be upto singing a few songs. I've never been too fond of "The Boxer", probably because of its over-dramatic arrangement, but with just the two of them and one acoustic guitar, the song was much better. It was very easy to hear what each was singing, which was a revelation as I've never heard the harmonies before.
The next item on the agenda was to master a live recording of Randy Newman made only a few days ago. RN is currently on tour in North America, featuring some new songs, and someone had uploaded a recording of his appearance in Toronto a week ago (14 Oct). I had downloaded it and intended to check volume levels before burning some audio copies. It's been my experience that such recordings, if not edited, tend to have very loud applause and very quiet music. This was indeed the case: the applause was approximately four times as loud as the music, and overloading the audio.
After a few experiments, I decided to boost the non-applause sections by 100% (ie make them twice as loud) and compress the applause sections to 50%. Whilst there are some small patches with audible volume changes, these are very short and don't distract from the performance.
New songs! One is called "I'll Never Get Over Losing You", which has nice lyrics but not an outstanding tune. The other is called "(A few words) In Defence of My Country", which is very topical and very funny. It accepts that America's current leaders may not be much, but they're nothing compared to some of the kings, dicatators and leaders that have existed over the past thousand years. Supposedly the new album will be released sometime during 2007, although no one knows quite when.
Finishing up an early morning full of activity, I set to work programming, adding a new feature/report to a program which I have developed to aid a clinical psychologist. This new report used some nice SQL features and looks very nifty! I imagine that the general public doesn't appreciate the niceties of programming, but I certainly enjoyed myself, and the results are pleasing.
That's enough for one day. Now I can rest and shore up some energy for the coming week.