AC/DC: Black Ice; vintage AC/DC with an edge

The Black Ice CD finally arrived! Yep, the CD. In the day and age of downloadable and streamable media, I prefer to buy the CD for a few select artists; if for nothing else but to convert it to a better format with some control of the output quality 🙂

AC/DC has seen ups and downs, but they’re still here; in fact, I’d go so far as saying they’re back with a big bang! The release of their new Black Ice album is their first album in eight years, and it’s a welcome “gift” to us less worthy 🙂

“Recent” albums have varied in quality and sound. I personally think the Razor’s Edge from 1990 is one of their best studio albums since Back in Black. Ballbreaker was a bit of a disappointment, while Stiff Upper Lip was a beginning to the return of what has now appeared as Black Ice. Of course, AC/DC’s LIVE album from 1992 is right up there as far as live albums are concerned. 100% pure rock.

I would describe Black Ice as part Razor’s Edge and Stiff Upper Lip, part Back in Black, and part Flick of the Switch. It has sounds from all of these “eras” or “albums”. As with many promotional things with AC/DC, the album booklet is minimalistic; it lists the band and the songs, and it shows a few pictures of the band members. For the rest, you’ll just have to “Press Play” 🙂

As with anything related to music, my opinions are my own. I’m sure some AC/DC fans will hate Black Ice. I’m sure many will love it.

You want some good, solid rock? You want Black Ice!

The SonyEricsson W980 Walkman Phone

My wife recently got a new cellphone. After having spent hours reading specifications to her, she finally decided on a W980 from SonyEricsson. As far as a “plain” mobile phone goes, this one hits very close to perfect. My first thought when I opened the box (yes, I need to inspect *all* toys 🙂 was “Helllloooo Mr Gadget!”. The W980 is the latest in SonyEricsson’s Walkman-series. It’s a flip-up type construction, which means it’s very nice and small when folded. It features two screens; one is used when the the phone is folded, to notify of new messages, show which song is playing and so on. The larger screen is used when you flip the phone open to actually “use” it.

Unlike some other non-smartphones, the SonyEricsson W980 features some intelligent connectivity in the form of SyncML (allows you to synchronize contacts, calendars, and so on with a remote server), RSS-feeds, and Java. This makes it harder to dismiss the product as a toy or “just a phone”. It does have some “fun” features as well; PictBridge, Camera (3.2mpx) w/support for video, Photoblogging, Radio; obviously, the W980 being a “walkman phone”, it features a great music player. The phone comes with 8GB of internal memory, with no support for an external memory card. Sure, I’d like to have seen 16GB or 32GB of internal memory, or support for an external memory card. But to be fair, 8GB is fairly sufficient for a good mix of tunes.

What makes the SonyEricsson W980 such a nice product can be summarized with one word: BALANCE

It’s small, but not too small. It’s lightweight (100g/3.5oz). It’s flip-up design protects the phone and makes it fit nicely in your pocket. The buttons are just right for people with normal hands. The headphones/handsfree that comes with the phone delivers good-enough sound for a music player. It’s 3G (UMTS and HSDPA), it’s quad-band GSM (use it in most places on the globe).

I think the only “bad” thing about it that I’ve found is the camera. Not that it doesn’t do nice photos, but it’s not 100%.

Go check it our for yourself on SonyEricsson.com

What’s your choice?

I have tried for so long
To find the reason I keep
coming back

I don’t believe in spells
or supernatural phenomena

But the only explanation
I can find is that either
I’m blind
Or these things really
exist

A smile, a look, or one
long kiss is all I need
to turn into suckered
meat

Are you doing it because
you can, or are you
doing it because you
want to?

Perhaps I should turn the
tables on you? Perhaps I
should tell you to put up,
or shut up?

With nothing to lose,
and everything to
gain,

what’s your choice?

Your move.

JoHo, 2008-10-18

What a wicked two weeks it has been

Considering this was to be my first and only 40th birthday, I had no expectations; and I really didn’t plan for it to turn out this good 🙂 But I guess a good indication may have been the wonderful trip to Belfast in Northern Ireland earlier this year where I, amongst other things, made the acquaintance of Tom Kerr – a wonderful person, and much talented writer/painter.

The two weeks in question began with a visit to the Yasuragi (“inner peace and harmony”) centre, just outside Stockholm. The two-day stay did wonders for my peace of mind. Following that, I had an awesome Aikido session at the Dojo, with the gruesome CORE session at the end. My sensei (Mats), Lasse, Lena and Peter then took me out for a bite to eat, some drinks, and a wonderful gift in the shape of a bottle of “The Balvenie” Single Malt DoubleWood. We ended up at Mats’ place where we discussed.. uh.. something of utmost importance I’m sure 🙂

The following two days I was off from work (thank goodness for that), and on the Thursday, Mark arrived from Belfast. Knowing that I like good Irish whiskey, he brought me a bottle of Jameson Distillery Reserve, as well as a bottle of Bushmill’s Distillery Reserve (not to mention the GPS)! After having gotten Mark settled at the hotel, we rounded off the evening at Akkurat for some whiskey (and whisky) sampling.

On Friday, I played tourist guide as Mark and I walked around most of Stockholm. We had a nice lunch at Blå Porten (“the Blue Gate”) on Djurgården, followed by some more walking through the Old Town and the Royal Castle. Being a tourist guide in your home city is quite fun, and you get to see things you had since long forgotten about. We settled for a quiet evening and some more whiskey, this time at home 🙂

On Saturday, Alexander had a S:t Eriks Cup football match, which everyone went to watch. I had to do the coach thing, and Mark did the photographer thing. After the game we chilled for a few hours. In the meantime, Tobias arrived from Germany. In the evening, we had a little gathering and a nice meal at the La Famiglia restaurant. Jon/Josefin/Freya/Zelda turned up, as did Tobias and Mark, Christian * 2, Mats, and all of my family. Wonderful food, nice wine, and a great atmosphere in general was the perfect start of the evening. J/J/F/Z gave me an unusual but very cool gift, a guided roof walking tour in Stockholm (!). Tobias had brought another cool bottle of Bushmill’s! 🙂 Mats brought a book about Cigars and two nice cigars.

After La Famiglia, Christian (*1), Mark, Tobias, Mats, and myself headed to Akkurat for some drinks (gotta get that Guinness y’know). Katja turned up, which was way cool. We ended up partying all night after having moved ourselves to another fine establishment once Akkurat closed.

Sunday was.. ehr.. chill time 🙂 Mark and Tobias headed home, and I prepared for my one day work week. Monday came and went. On Tuesday, I was set to go to work, but Filip had a cold, so I took him to the doctor. Nothing major, just a cough, etc. But we were concerned that we weren’t going to be able to go to Rhodes. My family had given me a one week trip to Rhodes in Greece; sweet!

On Wednesday, we left for Rhodes! A bit of a snag on the outbound journey gave us a delay of five hours. But apart from wanting to strangle my children after six hours at the airport, everything went well. We had a wonderful time with great weather, excellent food and drinks.

Phew! I should turn 40 every four weeks or so 🙂