Ashes to ashes, there’s always next time…

I’ve not posted here about the Ashes yet. The only reasonable thing to do is congratulate England. While we played nowhere near our best, they played way past what we expected theirs to be. They were the better side on the ground, for more days of more matches, and deserved the win. This time. There’s always next time. Come Christmas 2006, Vaughan & co will make the journey down to the hard, bouncy wickets Down Under and we’ll get to have a turn and taking back the urn*. Honestly, not that much of the Test cricket scheduled anywhere in the world seems to hold much interest, when compared to the thought of another Ashes series. Makes you wonder if the ICC’s ten year plan approach is really the best for the game. A return bout would surely be a sellout, if it happened soon-ish.

And on that, it will be June 2009, four years away, before Australia tours England again. I suggest, humbly, that a campaign be started to persuade Shane Warne that losing is not the way to bow out of the game. Stay on for the return tour, play the old enemy at home one more time, and then retire at 40, as a winner (with a thousand test wickets). It’s physically possible. He could do it.

* On the urn, they need a bigger, more macho trophy. Vaughan just looked silly holding it up after they’d won.

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I was down at the post office on Monday, mailing contracts out and such, and was pleased to see the latest issue of British SF magazine Interzone show up. As regular readers know, IZ was taken over by Andy Cox’s Third Alternative a while back, and he and his editorial crew have been steadily rebuilding the old campaigner, turning it into a slicker, more modern beast.

The latest issue, number 200, is easily their best looking yet. The cover is striking, and the color interior art is good. I’ll probably always feel the interiors are a trifle overdesigned, and I don’t like reading fiction on glossy paper, but those are personal quibbles. Basically, it’s just about the only SF magazine that looks like it was designed in the 21st century, and that’s got to be a good thing.

And the fiction? I haven’t had a chance to read any of the fiction in this issue yet, but I’ve noticed that Cox & co are definitely finding their feet this year, and have featured some good stuff. I was particularly impressed with Paul Di Filippo’s “The Emperor of Gondwanaland” from the Jan/Feb issue, and Jason Stoddard’s ‘Mars’ stories have been getting good write-ups. Is it worth subscribing too? I’d say so. Better go do it now, because according to their site, they’re actually selling out of issues!

ipod discoveries

I have had my music collection stolen, in its entirety, on three separate occasions. Each time I’ve started from scratch, replacing some favorites, and buying other new music to extend the collection. I also, in my younger days, used to buy and trade music. I couldn’t begin to tell you how many albums I’ve owned, or how accurately my current music collection actually reflects my taste.

Which is where ipod has entered the picture. So far I’ve put about 500 of my 1000 cds onto the ipod, a total of 5895 tracks, and the thing that strikes me is how much of it I don’t know; how much I’ve bought and never listened to, or not listened to in a long time. It’s interesting listening, trying to work out whether I like that I’m hearing, whether I still want it, and trying to work out what’s missing.