Sunday, 31 October 2010

Home again.

Back home after a week in the burglaries to report, Attic playroom is almost finished, and house guests have left food and pressies.....can't complain ;)

I picked up a couple of freesat systems complete with dishes to get full UK channels set up on lounge and Jodies room. Need to go get a bundle of cable and a bloody big ladder, but will try to have that up this week.

1st things 1st..its good to be home!

Feet up for a bit then plug in the mighty Dark Fire and see what she can do!!!


Monday, 25 October 2010

Surprising lack of insomnia.

We're back in the UK for a week, staying at Bina's mum's who is fussing around us ;)
Crossing was a bit rough and I had trouble sleeping, though caught up with a long lie in the next day..and an even longer lie in the day after, with an EARLY night. Most unusual, but quite welcome.

Bradford is...Bradford, its all dank and dirty, full of people wearing sweatpants and cheap/fake bling looking stoned or lost.
We were shopping today and it really was quite depressing to see so many closed shops and To-Let/Sale signs up.
The people, all wandering around looking for bargains in the many pound shops that blight Bradfords once impressive shopping centre, all seemed to look the same, depending on race and colour. Chav's abound, shady teens with too much bling and fake designer clothes. I can't believe how many people, mostly asian princesses, have all opted for 1 particular look, long fringe over one eye. Groups of people all wearing the same hanging around in cliques and gangs..its all a bit strange having come from the very cosmopolitain and indivudal styles around Breda.

Stranger even was the number of full face veils on display. I remember when there was some controversy about Jack Straw MP asking a constituent to remove her veil when she spoke to him, it really hit the headlines at the time and made people sit up and take notice of this odd and to my mind sad practice. The consensus was that it was a minority of women who did this...I guess that minority are mostly based in just 3 hours walking around town I counted over 20 women wearing full cover robes and full veil. I really do wonder if and when this crazy non islamic and medievil practice will ever be cast away....religion...funny, dangerous shit!

Driving in a left hand drive car is proving to be odd..I ended up on the wrong side of the road one time when I went to town, fortunatly there was nothing coming the other way, this time :D

Picked up a nice strap for my DF, with a Simpson theme, but other than that shopping was a it dull for me..Bina and Jodie got to pig out in Primark though.


Monday, 18 October 2010

More Insomnia issues

I really am going to have to do something about this...its 2-30am and I have to be up at 8-30....not good.

I have been able to keep myself busy with some work at least which is proving to be great fun, both student related and my own pet projects. My students are getting ready for their final lecture tomorrow and have homework assignments to finish up. A few of them hit a major speed bump when I was trying to explain the use of pointers via linked I've had to help them move forward, which has meant debugging a lot of, sometimes strange, though.

Without that I'd probably be down stairs watching late night TV, avoiding the silly dutch soft porn adverts in the middle of My name is Earl, or drinking..often both.

I find I tend to think too much when I'm awake so late...not always happy or easy thoughts...Life is good, don't get me wrong, but in the quiet times when you're alone with just your own thoughts, doubts and fears come back to you, especially when you try to yawn and the pain of doing so reminds you that things are not 100% normal..I'd kill to be able to yawn again, I really would. I am thinking of taking up jogging....dont you dare laugh! To see if it might help...but I dunno, I hate excersise and even if I did it once or twice I'd get bored pretty quite.

Anyway..I had a bit more of a tidy in the shed today, clearing things away onto more new shelves I got from Ikea today (never...I mean never..go to Ikea on a Koop Zondag, (shopping Sunday). I'll soon be able to have my work station ready to do a bit of scale model building in there.

The upstairs play room is out of bounds at the moment, we have our builder friend Xavier in, boxing off the stairway entrance to it so it can be a closed room. Better soundproofing and better privacy for people staying over. I'm hoping the soundproofing works on 2 levels..I want to play guitars without headphones and not have Bina shouting up the stairs when I'm only on level 2.
But mostly so that when Jodie has her friends over, I don't have to listen to girlish giggling until the wee small hours cos the room has no door or walls before the stairs.

Felt good this weekend too, not having to struggle with that VAL course I was "trying" to do. I will have to see if I can find a few good books on teaching methods and didactic stills in general and try the more traditional approach....called learning.


Friday, 15 October 2010

drummer boy me.

I re-instated the monthly jam sessions yesterday, 4 of us turned up, and my collegue Oliver turned up too for a while, he plays a mean guitar and did some vocals on a very loud verion of was all a bit of a mess but great fun with little spots of musicality from time to time.

Overall a great time was had, I was even given a short lesson in how to play drums and managed to maintain a regular beat on bass and snare after 10 mins or so.

Was an awesome night.


Thursday, 14 October 2010

Nope thats it.

Attended another group meeting day, and it was very instructive, not as far as didacctics are concerned but. I discovered pretty much everyone else hated the system, and that it is really geared towards promoting itself rather than teaching any specific didactic skills....Hearing others feel exactly the same as me has made me stop vacillating, I am drafting an email to explain why I want to quit the course and get on to something more traditional with an actual teacher doing some actual teaching.

so are several fan...go!!!


Wednesday, 13 October 2010


Is a very odd word...but I am vacillating on this didactics course, I'm still coming up against frustration and lack of information, as well as dealing with a limited number of people within the group who seem more intent on showing how clever they are without demonstrating or sharing any actual knowledge of the subject we're supposed to be "learning". Trouble is this limited number seem to be the only ones actually contributing.

There's no doubt my patience levels are still considerably reduced post April27 but my ability to learn and soak up information is as strong as ever, when its directed, which just is not happening here! So I'm getting frustrated and angry at the time and effort that is being wasted. I can't participate on cue in a discussion when I can barely speak the language never mind understand the subject under discussion. That's what this feels like,

Apparently there are alternative learning methods available, so am going to see about those next week. I have one more "meeting" tomorrow with this course, which I will try to sit through but I don't feel postitive at all about this learning method at all so best I quietly leave and find a method I am comfortable with as soon as possible.


Saturday, 9 October 2010

hurumph & Hungover

Had a housewarming party last night..loads of guests and much drink drunk and nibbles nibbled. Went to bed very wobbly after several tequila's....woke up with a belting hangover.

Decided not to quit the didactics course just yet...going to get some coaching help from a colleague and Bina....well see if I'm just stoopid or if it really is impossibly hard.


Tuesday, 5 October 2010


I dunno, maybe I'm just thick, or stuck in an old fashioned rut, but I still can't get a grip on this VAL teaching system, direct questions asking for a pointer to reading material are being met with responses like, search the library, use google, use specialist education libraries and the clincher, its up to me to decide what is and is not relevent, and still missing the point that I am unable by virtue of ignorance of the subject, to make any kind of rational decision on what is and is not relevent materia

I've resigned, its just getting me more and more frustrated which in turn is making me feel very negative about the whole process...which may or may not be justified, I don't know.

I do know the system is confusing when there is no expert in the field who can direct students to useful and relevent information, and the website portal is one of the most unintuitive and clumsy portals I've ever seen.

I'll see if there is another more traditional expert led course availble I can go on to improve my didactic skills. But VAL...not for me.



Well perhaps not totally yet, but certainly the 1st of several death knells ringing in Dr Tim Langdell's IP trolling ears.

Its a big document and I've done an imbed here, but it might be easier to go read it at this location

Just brilliant 23 pages of awseomeness, its a very clearly written and damming legal judgment refusing a request to stop EA selling their Mirrors Edge game and several comments on Langdells clear and obvious fraudulent submissions and lies to the US Tradmark board which he's been using to support his semi-legal blackmail of any small company who happen to use the word Edge in some way in their game.

He's managed to scare a few companies into giving in to him but I've been a staunch supporter of those companies who have stood up to him..eventually resulting in EA stepping up and swatting him away like the shit feeding blowfly he is.

There's still more court action in the works, but there's also a very real chance Dr Langdell will now find himself facing criminal charges for his frauds and lies and spend some quality time with a large hairy man he'll have to call Daddy in a US prison.

We can but hope.


One more thing will do it.

After a bit of a conflab with my fellow VAL students its clear I'm not the only one that is very confused by this training program. So I decided to have a word with the work co-ordinator of the programme and explain my frustration with it. She is going to raise the matter with various people to see if it can be tailored to suit..

My main issue stems from the lack of base knowledge many of the participants have and with no expert to guide us to relevent information we're scrabbling around.

Asking for help just seems to be an impossible task. Even today it seems I put some feedback on a project, but didn't put it in the right place. The online co-ordinators response was...does anyone know where it should go?

Now this approach works well in a real class, (especially with primary school children...yes I do consider it a bit patronising) but now I have to wait till people log in and wait till someone can be bothered to tell me the answer..until then it is clear I've made a mistake of some kind but won't know how to correct it until someone in the group tells me.

Why can't the co-ordinator just tell me, even a simple private email while still leaving the question open.

I am getting very fed up now. I think its only going to take one more frustration to tip me over the edge and walk away.

EDIT...the on-line coordinator sent me a message telling me to post my comments in another section..I looked at that section...and the comments were posted there automatically....rolls eyes.


Sunday, 3 October 2010

lovely day to study

It's a lovey day outside, warm sunshine and dry. Which is just as well for those poor buggers doing the Breda half marathon thing today, which has closed the town centre.

Bina went to the UK to do one of her exams for her Masters, as expected she feels she did ok, she always frets over these things but she is actually brilliant at any kind of self learning.

I on the other hand am not! I'm doing a course on didactical skills for work, and frankly I am totally flummoxed. The course is based on a concept called Virtual Action Learning. A training concept being pushed by one particular company which my work seems to have bought into.

While I am totally familiar with the concept of action learning (peer based share learning to raise the standard basically), it seems to me that this Virtual Action Learning is an utter nonsense, few of us know exactly what is needed and without an expert to direct us we're all scrabbling around trying to figure out what we're supposed to study...The search for the information being deemed as important as the absorbtion of the information.
Peer based share learning relies on having people know what they are talking about and explaining gaps in others knowledge, but when you have no basic foundation skills/knowledge available to you it seems prety much impossible to relate to what the others are talking about or what te assignments are asking you to do.

One assignment in particular was find and report on relevent the hell do you find "relevent" documentaion on a subject you know nothing about, I can certainly find documents but "relevent", how the hell would I know? Bit like asking a blind man to describe colour.

...I am not getting it, and I'm a hairs breadth from speaking to the work organizer and jacking it in. I have tried very hard to understand it, but when the answer to what am I supposed to do, comes back as, thats for you to find out, it totally leaves me cold.

I'll give it another week or so, but if I don't start to get a handle on this I am just going to end up as a disruptive influence on the group, which isn't what I want.


Friday, 1 October 2010

uggg and re-arrangments

Roti Express are a kind of surinamese curry delivery place, 1st one I had there I loved, 2nd one was ok...I just ordered a 3rd and it really didn't appeal, I couldn't finish it, going to leave it for later in case I get peckish.

I'm going to do a bit of rearranging of my amps and stuff upstairs. We had friends over at the weekend, and Martin who plays some mean guitar pointed out some issues with the way I have my pedals hooked up, and he's quite right of course. I am trying to feed them all in line to keep them hooked but it causes problems and you can hear vaious electronic hums from different pedals, I need to have 3 set ups..
1) clean right into the Marshall, with the Wah on the effects loop, miked to the mixer, I have a 2 channel Marshall, so can set my own overdrive on the amps own pedal. This gives me a range of sounds depending on the guitar going in.
2) via the multi fx pedal then into the clean tranny amp/mixer to get special effects and other amp modelling features.
3) acoustics in via the VL4 then into the mixer/tranny amp

The tranny amp is a small 30w cheetah, aside from an echo effect its extremely clean and does not distort the sound you feed it, so it can take a modified sound from the multi pedals and do its thing.

The Acoustics can also go through the tranny via an acoustic multi pedal, but I'll also have the VL4 which likes to keep its sound fx for itself..but will have a play.
That'll stop some of the bleed and signal clip we noticed and keep the electrics well squeely/grungy or whatever, and the acoustics nice and clean.

Need to get a few more cables though and another mic or 2 to feed the output into the mixer.

I think that's it now, I should be able to start making some recordings, not expecting much of course but being able to use the kit I have will be a big deal ;)