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[koh-tuh-ree] noun ~ a small exclusive group of friends or people with common interests; clique

Macross SF Challenge Game LD

SF Challenge Game. The rarest Laserdisc I’ve come (M)across.

Macross. Beloved anime of literally trillions of people the world over. Who would have thought that Shoji Kawamori’s sci-fi epic created in 1982 would go on to spawn 857 jillion film and television sequels, spin-offs, universes, lunchboxes, novelty slippers, earbuds and Hannukah menorahs?

Yet amongst all that tat (most of which I made up), there lies a true oddity. An oddity that is actually quite rare to find today. An oddity I was very lucky to stumble on purely by accident. That oddity, is the Macross SF Challenge Game (超時空要塞マクロス SFチャレンジゲーム).

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Giants vs Tigers Baseball Super Record Game

They Might Be (Yomiuri) Giants. Or Tigers, The Choice Is Yours.

Audio samples i’ve recorded are available at the bottom of the page!

No sooner had I finished discussing the wonders of parallel records and mentioning that there is an extremely rare Baseball Super Record Game vinyl in my recent blog entry, than the inevitable happened. A copy of said extremely rare record shows up for sale. And yes, I bought it.

As it turns out, this rare little ball yard beaut is quite the handsome offering.

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V for Very Blog Awards 2017_Judging Round Button_Finalist

Some awards people think my writing is interesting!

A week ago today, I became a father for the second time. Nothing can top that, naturally. However the last nine months have proven quite trying (from a health perspective) for my wife, son and I. So coming home from the hospital late last Thursday night, cooking up some pasta, sitting down and checking my email to find I’d been selected as a finalist at the Blog Awards Ireland 2017 was a genuinely lovely surprise.

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DNS Command Line

Protect your DNS privacy and more by using dnsmasq

Posted on August 28, 2017

Concerns over protecting our privacy while online are nothing new. Watch what you post online, we are told. Use a VPN, some say. TOR is unbreakable, say others. However, not many people tend to pay so much attention to DNS, a potentially massive and gaping great hole in your network that could easily be used against you.

Now, with the proper age of geo-blocking and streaming media well and truly upon us, more and more plucky punters are signing up for so-called smart DNS  solutions. These services provide a great, hassle-free way to access content restricted to specific global regions by means of a complex web of transparent proxies. Some even provide VPN over DNS solutions for the really stubborn geo-blocked services.

What is not made particularly clear to those not familiar with the technology is that by amending your default DNS IP addresses provided to you by your ISP and adding in those from a smart DNS service, you are essentially directing all of your home network traffic over a bunch of proxy servers at a vast array of locations worldwide. These are servers you have no access to, so you cannot see how they are configured and more importantly if anything is being logged, or worse, intercepted due to the potential for so-called man in the middle attacks.

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Horoscope Super Record Game 1977

Defecating in bookshops, the Daily Mirror and the stone cold parallel grooves betwixt East and West

Posted on August 20, 2017

I like odd stuff. I’ve mentioned that several times. I like to look for odd stuff in strange places too. It’s where the best stuff is. If you are a regular to my little corner of the Internet you’ll know that too. But I never expected to buy a bunch of stuff that would then open up a world of, well, a world of odd.

Parallel records are nothing new. In fact they’ve been around since 1901 apparently. Essentially they are a vinyl record made up concentric grooves. The design and manufacturing process allows a parallel record to hold several different tracks on one side. What’s new about that? Well, depending on where you drop the needle at the lead-in point, the record will then latch on at a random location and begin to play. Thus you’d play a record and never know what track would be played. The design also meant that records were limited in length and thus they were really only used as novelties.

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Jikkyou Powerful Pro Baseball Heroes 3DS

3DS Baseball. Where the beer comes in 72oz tubs.

Posted on August 15, 2017

“I can’t think of a better place to spend a balmy summer’s night than the old ball yard. There’s just the green grass of the outfield, the crushed brick of the infield, and the white chalk lines that divide the men from the little boys”. Lisa Simpson makes a wonderful, and wistful, poetic articulation about America’s favourite pastime.  “Lisa, honey. You’re forgetting the beer. It comes in 72-ounce tubs here”. Homer Simpson makes a blunt, if somewhat equally valid point.

Construe this for when you think of baseball video games, the Nintendo 3DS isn’t exactly the first platform that springs to mind. And, like 72oz beer, they’re not that easy to find. Especially in the west. Especially outside the USA too.

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Toftwood Male Voice Choir 1980

The Toftwood Mystery. A detective story from an impulse buy…

Posted on July 29, 2017

I’ve a bit of a reputation for making impulse buys. Not your typical kind of impulse buys either. By that I mean I don’t walk in to Lidl for bread and a pint of milk and come out with a pair of skis, a ham slicer, 15kg of de-icer salt and a rowing boat. I tend to go for the more obscure stuff. Odd one-off’s that appear in bungled web and auction searches. Rarities that appear on super dodgy looking but actually legit shopping websites that you know will never be that price again if the site admin cops on to it.

I’ve got previous. A penchant for vinyl. And I don’t mean a silly little Beatles 12″ with 14 wrinkles on the left corner and a follicle from Ringo’s ear hair embedded within them. I mean super bizarre, possibly naff yet super wonderful stuff that 99.9% of the global populous wouldn’t give even one nanosecond of thought about snapping up.

I tend to pick up items such as official cameras from the 1980 Olympics. Or an extremely rare Canon Super 8 timer add-on (found on a village classifieds forum in a remote outpost in the French countryside no less). Yes, I am weird. Yes I like weird things. And yes I will write about them all some day.

Yet on March 11, 2017 I made an impulse purchase that proved to have a bit more than a ‘gotta have it’ effect on me. Allow me to explain…

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The Simpsons - Homer At The Bat

Silly boys rounders. It’s the kind of game guys like me and Stephen enjoy…

Posted on June 11, 2017
Stephen: Yeah, same here. I've gotta be up early in the morning, playing baseball.

Del: Oh, baseball! Yeah! No... I love it. I always watch it on Channel Four.

Rodney: You don't like baseball! You've always called it silly boys rounders!

Del: Yeah, that was before that I knew it was 'in'! Nowadays it's the sort of game that guys like uh, me and Stephen enjoy.

Stephen: How d'you mean? Guys like me and Stephen?

Silly Boys Rounders

December 25th 1989. Another traditional Christmas special of Only Fools and Horses has just aired on BBC1. I was literally a couple of days from my 10th birthday and yet now, and with fast approaching nearly 30 years having passed since that day, I still recall that gag being recited on the television screen as I struggled to muster a belly laugh amongst the vast quantities of turkey, vegetables and chocolate scoffed throughout the day. I recall it so vividly because a) the episode in question The Jolly Boys Outing is a timeless classic. Endlessly revered and in many circles touted as one of the greatest episodes of televised comedy ever. Oh and b) I chuckled hard because I knew at the time that American sports such as gridiron and baseball, and to a different extent the short lived airing of kabaddi were popular on British television network Channel 4.

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Golden Wonder Pot TV

Cyberdelia, or, Quantum Holography, or, Ding a dang ding your ding dang.

Posted on April 8, 2017
tip: please visit the referenced links within this post. they’re super interesting.

“What goes better with an intense snack than an intense film? Eat this. Watch this.” uttered the late Phil Hartman to an unsuspecting UK television audience in 1993. What followed was a 40 second visual assault on the senses as Hartman instructs the ‘Golden Wonder Pot TV’ network to “hit the max”.

From within the confines of a neon, multi-coloured television studio, the fictional broadcaster attacks the unsuspecting viewers eyes with a barrage of aggressive, rapid cuts of neon computer graphics, glitches, text, 3D renders and film footage. So expeditious, and bellicose was the strobe effect from the cutting speed that reports of viewers suffering seizures flooded the Advertising Standards Agency. Golden Wonder, the company behind the Pot Noodle snack being advertised, responded by producing a second version of the same advert, only this time with the cut speed of the computer graphics slowed down in the hopes this would smooth over the furore generated at the time. The re-edit proved to be unsatisfactory to the Advertising Standards Agency and sadly the advert was canned and banned.

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Wildchild - Bad Boy (Ultra Records)

Preserving (and remastering) the original Bad Boy

Posted on April 1, 2017

Should you be super old, like me, you may well remember living through those halcyon days that were the late 1980’s and early to mid 1990’s. Days of carefree and misspent youth. Days spent gaming, nights spent raving. Or in my case, nights spent playing records that I’d chosen to play, loudly, to fee-paying customers that wished to shuffle and gyrate in front of me. Awkwardly and inhibited at first, and somewhat more wackily as the evening passed and they became more inebriated.

Yes, I was a DJ, ‘spinning platters’ on the ‘wheels of steel’ of a Friday, Saturday and occasionally a Sunday night circa 1996. This continued throughout the late 1990’s and in to the early part of the 2000’s. I’d play at nightclubs both regional and national and also co-hosted a weekend show on a city pirate radio station (back when pirate radio truly was about taking over real radio waves and not simply hosting a Shoutcast server). I wrote a few tracks, simple stuff as I haven’t a note in my head, which met with reasonable acclaim and distributed on a microscopic scale. At one point, on a train home from London, and having picked up a music magazine to read on the journey, I discovered that on page 69, there I was on the new release reviews, rubbing shoulders between the Beastie Boys and David Morales. I even scored 4 out 5 stars in their review of my work!

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