Friday, 27 November 2009

insomnia returns

probably caused by Lucille, no contact from the seller and the track and trace site has not updated since the 20th...grrr

nah not too worried, its just taking its time in typical post style. Bina had some tickets sent to her by her mum in the UK and that took 2 weeks..So I can easily see how a large parcel, possibly traveling surface mail could take quite some time

Just not able to get to sleep unfortunately, I had a nap on the couch this evening and its buggered me for getting to sleep proper. will have a bit of a mooch on t'internet and try again in a bit.

A slightly belated happy thanksgiving to any 'merkin readers out there. I'm going to a thanksgiving dinner myself tomorrow. An american friend of mine (from my poker cronies) has been cooking for weeks in preparation. There will of course be poker afterwards so will be a good night. Bina is having a witches coven meeting....I mean a girls night in with work colleagues so I'm well out of that ;)


Thursday, 26 November 2009

not going to mention it

nope, not going to mention that my Lucille is still "in transit" somewhere

But in other news my 1st year students this year have passed their 1st block with and 84% pass rate...Thats awsome, last year I didn't take a note but I think it was around 60% so this is a huge improvement. Our fasttrack program really is paying dividends.


Wednesday, 25 November 2009

keep calm keep calm

5 days now with no word, the track and trace website simply states it was despatched from NJ, it has said the same thing since the Jersey has a port I believe...I wonder if its actually travelling by boat...grrrr

I hope to christ they detuned it before shipping. The AC25 might have bee able to tolerate tight strings but a Lucille is a little more delicate so cold strings could have a much more detrimental impact.

bah...bah bah bah.....this is really putting me off buying things from the US and shipped USPS now, what a slow delivery system... Fed ex every time or no deal in future.

Bina's sax playing is already starting to sound less strangled cat and more honking sealion now, a big improvement, at least Harvey does not want to go running into the bed room to save/attack the cats any more.

Watched the Peter Green Man of the World Documentary last night (you tube), very moving, sad and also in the end uplifting as the Green God appears to have made a significant (but not total)recovery from his mental illness. He was much brighter and more coherent and playing the guitar with a degree of style again. Would be amazing if he were to capture some of his past greatness and make some real blues albums again. There is even talk of a Fleetwood Mac original line up reunion (Danny Kerwin excluded of course..another sad story). I dunno, it could never be as great but still...I'd pay to see that.


Monday, 23 November 2009

Lucille, please come back where you belong

Well, I woke up this morning, Lucille was not in sight
I asked my friends about her but no, all their lips were tight.

ok not quite the right Lucille...but you get the message


Sunday, 22 November 2009

wherefore art thou Lucille?

Well after the hassle of getting the tracking number, it was further frustration to see that there appeared to be no movement by Lucille since she was picked up in Spring Texas. Though this seems to be more a case of the USPS not updating than anything else.
Days went by with no update and I was starting to doubt I had the right tracking number.

However on Saturday I did get a notice that she had arrived in New Jersey for International dispatch and finally she's on her way over the water. Will probably hear on Monday that she's in Customs and then have to wait to see what happens.

Harvey is starting to calm down now that there are less strangled cat sounds coming from the bedroom when Bina is practicing...actually starting to make some recognizable tunes now...Go and tell Aunt Nancy never sounded so good...after 100 attempts. :D


Thursday, 19 November 2009

ebay dilemma

dammit...sometimes ebay really winds me up. I'm still waiting on the Lucille to arrive from the US. Fully expecting to have to pay some customs and fees but am unable to tell until I hear from the seller and get the tracking number.

He was quite chatty before I commited to the sale, but since paying up he's become much less chatty, and the only info I have is that he shipped it last Thursday and he'd send me a tracking number on Monday when he got back to the office....its now Thursday and despite mailing him every day so tracking number. It may be in customs, it may not..I have no idea.

All a bit worrying..Notmally I'm not too stressed, but given the value (both cash and sentiment) of the item, I don't like this lack of comms. I'm fully covered by paypal and visa of course, but it'll be a pain in the backside if I have to go to those extremes to get refunds...not that we're at that stage yet, but the lack of communication gets you thinking the worst. I do have a phone number though so I might give them a call this evening to ask what the fuck is going on. a mail from the sellers wife (he's away apparently). So I now have a tacking number and of course it wasn't shipped on Thursday (boxed maybe but not shipped). It was shipped on Monday, and hasn't left the US yet..ah least I know its on its way now.


Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Bina's new hobby time she complains about my guitar amp being too loud I have a come back.

Poor Harvey, he's very stressed out by the sound of the strangled cats he can hear coming from the bedroom...he hates cats.

Hope its not too long before he can't hear cats any more:)


Monday, 16 November 2009

The Life of a Game Developer



The 6 string Breedlove has arrived...with a bill for €150 for customs but ah well..still saved over €400 on the European cost.

Lovely lovely guitar, I tried to take some pics to show of the lovely purling with Abalone binding but it does not come out on a phone camera. I'll post them later.

Of sounds magnificent too, really a quality bit of kit, low action and fantastic neck..oh it is a work of bloody art.

Came in a gig bag though, was hoping for a case, but no matter.

I was rather shocked to find it came tuned and because it was cold the strings were over tuned by at least a tone!!. Its normal practice when shipping guitars to detune them so that when they chill the don't tighten so much that they put strain on the neck. I once had a guitar headstock snap off cos it was shipped in tune.

Never mind fortunately there was no harm this time

Still suffering a bit from the Friday lurgy which came back with a vengeance yesterday..Not really in the mood for much but eating and sleeping, will have a good play with the 6 later


Saturday, 14 November 2009

My last purchase here it is, my last guitar purchase (no really thats it) I now have all the guitars I could ever hope for.

She's currently on her way from the US, and yes this is a she, a very special lady, A '98 mint condition Gibson ES345 Lucille. Thats the BB King signature model if you are interested.

I won't tell you what I paid for her but it was a fair bit, but waaaay cheaper than I could ever hope to get one in Europe due to the crashing $ price against the pound. If you want to buy anything expensive at the moment look into buying on rather than I wish I had more money to spend with so many cool things I've never been able to afford becoming affordable.

Every year NHTV give us a Christmas I spend it on this (before I got it..but basically this is my Xmas bonus for myself)

And that really is it..I have no interest in Jazz style guitar (though I could use Lucille for that) so don't need a widebody hollow electric so I have what I want

1 Gibson ES-345 Lucille
1 Fender Strat Custom
1 Breedlove AC250/SM-12
1 Breedlove AC25/SR+
1 Rodriguez Model B

Course I still have the Roberts which I will keep for pedal effect stuff and quiet night practice. The Sigma GC4 though will have to go, I'll keep it for now while I'm taking my lessons as I can carry it around without fear of breaking something that will cost a fortune to repair or replace, but once I feel I've moved on far enough with my lessons, I'll sell it off, it will give someone a lot of fun.

So...I bet Bina's looking at this now and going why so many (mum too)? Just remember I had 9 before, now I've cut right back to 5 main guitars and 1 silly one (The Roberts Skel)

Each has a different use, sound and tone, the Lucille is a blues guitar, pure and simple, the Strat is for Rock and heavy metal/grunge etc. The Breedlove 12 is for big ringing acoustic chords and the Breedlove 6 is for all other kinds of acoustic. The Rodriguez is for classical.

Also..these are not as you may have noticed cheap shit novelty guitars, these are genuine quality instruments who's value will grow with time, I'm investing in my guitars and making a commitment to learn to play properly to justify the expense.

See, sensible when you think about it....Though ask any can never have enough guitars...and who kmows I might develop an interest in Jazz guitar (George Benson is AM AZ ING!! ):D


12 days and its ......


well actually it was released yesterday to the delivery service. According to the tracking details they already attempted delivery this morning..this is possible but they've left no note to say they tried to deliver like they usually do. So I'm more inclined to think its been released to the local parcel service who may not deliver on Saturday...Though it may well have been an attempted delivery.. We had a poker night here last night (which was a great success...yes I won!!) and much alcohol was consumed resulting in a bit of lie in and a hangover, so we might not have heard the buzzer.....We can probably expect teh re-delivery on Monday...or at least a note saying when to arrange delivery.


Friday, 13 November 2009

11 days

starting to get silly now.

In other not very well, Bina was quite poorly a few days ago and took to her bed with girly flu like symptoms and looks like I've got a dose of the lurgy too. I will not succumb though..I wont...guughh

Anway, here's a few images of my Granada classic which I am selling and uploading here so I can link to the pics.


Thursday, 12 November 2009

10 days

and counting

In other news though my 3rd year students are working on porting a PC project porting to the PSP. Originally I was going to do a no deadline DS version (still am I hope) but in the process of evaluating the project I realized it was an excellent chance to let my students work on something meaningful in their AGT console classes which I teach. No more dry fussy tech demos, lets make an actual commercial game.

The details are under NDA of course so I can't say too much at this point, but basically its a fun arcade puzzle game that was written a few years ago as a personal project between an artist and a coder. The coder did pretty much all the work and then left to start a new job, leaving the artist (and project owner) high and dry to complete it.

I had offered my help a year or so back, but lack of time on both parts meant we couldn't get together on it. But this year our schedules were free at the same time and we agreed to complete it.

But having taken delivery of our new Sony Edu program PSP dev kits, this was just too good a chance to turn down, especially with it turned out a major (as in huge) publisher had expressed an interest in it..So...I gave the 3rd years an assignment to port the code and produce graphic systems to display the assets supplied and they've done an amazing job in the time available (more so since we're a bit short on PSP dev kits).

Next block we'll work on enhancements and speed improvements but its clear the game is well underway and looking awesome. It's entirely possible I won't need to do more than a bit of polishing up on it to get it up to scratch. We've even managed to find a way to include our design students so they can contribute levels to it making it a project almost every student will be involved in.

I'm very very proud of them, they RTFM as I told them to do.


Wednesday, 11 November 2009

9 days and counting

9 Days my guitar has been in Customs...very annoying.

I did however receive my Moondog Electric Violin today which I also bought on good old ebay, for a silly price.


Yeah, been wanting to have a crack at violin for a while, but not right away, I know these particular violins are very good value for money.

Moondog used to sell some really awesome low cost, high quality guitars, as well as violins (a husband and wife company, he played guitar, she played violin) but sadly the company went bust last year (probably should have been charging more) so they are now hard to get. I was saving up to buy one of their guitars before I moved to Holland then forgot about it. Shame really.

Anyway when I saw the violin on ebay and noted it was being used by a pro in a band I bid for it, got it for 50quid...which is about half price if memory serves.

I'll have a bit of a tinker with it, but its not something I'm going to take serious for a while, got my guitar lessons to focus on 1st


Tuesday, 10 November 2009


Still no guitar...still in Dutch Customs...still waiting...grrr

In other news, got myself some new glasses....went to specsavers and took advantage of their 2 for 1 deal..

Quite pleased with the result. Though could barely contain my amusement when the pretty young shop assistant was ever so delecately adjusting the nose pieces on them to make them sit...I mean...they'll be bent to buggery inside 20seconds of shoving them on my nose, but she was ever so careful to make sure it was correct to the most minute detail and that the legs were just the right shape behind my ears...

Silly really.

ah well I suppose it keeps her busy in what must be a very very boring job.


Monday, 9 November 2009


During todays guitar lesson, I lost my place in the sheet music and started to improvise....properly. :D

wooo hooo

thats actually a big step, I'm well chuffed...


Friday, 6 November 2009


Still waiting for my Breedlove 6 string, its been in Dutch Customs since the 2nd.
I wish I'd known about this FedEx shipping that the 12 string came via. I suspect I'll get hit with a wedge of duty/vat as well as the delay..Dammit.

Mum got home safe and sound, she even managed to wangle a ciggie on the taxi home. So no one had to put up with her being grumpy due to lack of nicotine.

She had a nice time though and we miss her already. Jodie said it was nice having her here and she thinks she should come live in Holland. aahhh


Thursday, 5 November 2009

Bye mummsie

Finally getting rid of the auld bag today, I have to take her up to Schipol and dump her at the departure gate to make sure she goes though ;)

Been nice having her here though and she's enjoyed her time in Breda. Shame the weather has been pretty rubbish the whole time. We'll try and get her back here in the summer when there's more to do.

In other news, we had our office "study day" yesterday, which is designed to reflect on what works and what needs changing for our course. Considering we recently achieved a #1 rating as the best program of its type in Holland for the 2nd year running it's easy to rest on our laurels, but we did spot a few things and had a great days meeting working out new proposals to make it stronger still. Holland this year, Europe next ;)

Its actually a shame our program does not get more coverage outside of Holland, I suspect we are quite possibly the only course of this nature which is set up with experienced game developers teaching students and geared to producing fully fledged game developers able to walk straight into the industry with little or no further training.

My experience of other courses has been quite disappointing with graduates often lacking even basic understanding of the game dev process. I have my 3rd years working on a potentially commercial project for the PSP and already they have the skills needed to produce a working game on a hardware platform they've only just been exposed to. Really does make me incredibly proud to see them tackle something like that with such gusto.


Tuesday, 3 November 2009


Having to shout a bit as mum's getting a bit deaf...aren't you mum?

She's been staying with us this week and seems to be really enjoying our little bit of Dutch paradise, despite an unfortunate attack of vertigo the day after she arrived she's recovered well enough to participate in some Olympic standard girly shopping with Bina.

At least I'm not drinking alone now eh mum ;)

Got my new 12string Breedlove yesterday, I ordered it from a US company as they are a bit hard to source in the Europe and also quite expensive. I was very worried about shipping a guitar that far, but I really needn't have. It arrived well packed and in perfect condition. The falling dollar rate made it an absolute bargain.

I wasn't going to get another 12 string but after deciding to get rid of mine and playing it a lot to try it out I realised I really do like the sound it makes and its an excellent practice guitar since you have to be more precise with the fingering.

So I couldn't escape the fact there was a Breedlove AC250/12 for sale on ebay at a silly price, Its a factory reconditioned one so even cheaper than a shop bought so long as I'm willing to put up with a small "used" stamp on the back of the headstock.

So long as it plays I don't mind little blems like that. And now it's here it is just wonderful, the action as almost as low as my Fender and once I tuned it up it had the most amazing warm woody sound to it. Definitly goes to show that you do indeed have to pay for quality. Amped up it sounds amazing..though I don't play gigs I am sure it would be perfect for a live performance.

I'm expecting my other Breedlove, a new (not refurb) AC25/SR+ 6 string any day now. Also from the states (the dollar rate is too good to ignore I'm getting these things almost half price compared to a few months ago) and I'm itching to try it out, if its half as good as the 12 string its going to be wonderful.

My old 12 string has a buyer and that just leaves a spare classical to sell off to make space, after more (well I do still want a Gibson 355...but that's currently way beyond my means so we'll have to wait for that....hmmm but the exchange rate no..wait)