Saturday, 29 December 2012

Studio revamp

Feeling a lot better after the festive trotts, it did knock me sideways for a day or 2 but 100% back to normal now.

Next week, even though I'm still on holiday, I plan to do some work related stuff to keep myself on top of shit in the new year so I only really have this weekend for some music fun and games, and I'm probably not going to get much of those since its clear the studio needs a bit of a revamp.

New equipment and recording software has been purchased and I need to jig things around to make it a bit more effective and usable.

I'm sure there are a few people out there with really cool professional music production systems, mine is 100% amateur ebay bought crap but I still want to get the best out if it for the little money I spend on it.

A few big purchases though, the Voice Live units and a new(used..ebay bargain) Mackie Unversal control surface to control my logic pro 9software will take pride of place so must be set up to deliver the best results..The VoiceLive2 will be my "studio" unit on the fixed board (which also needs re-jigging as my Zoom unit has been untouched since getting my adrenalinn III) and the VoiceLive Touch will be used for band practice and performance stuff when I do some backing singing.
I will put the old Digitech Vocal Live 4 unit on or a dutch site in a few weeks

I've finally solved some of my wiring issues with a proper wireless mic I got a few months ago but couldnt' quite get in the right place, and a XLR switch to allow me to switch it between the normal mixer desk and the RC300 looper, much better than having 2 mics with different signal chains.

It does mean the super duper (but of course budger) condenser mic I have can't be used generally, since the XLR switch is not a big fan of 48v Phantom power but as anyone who has heard my recordings can testify its good that I don't try too hard to sing :D But if I do find I need to add some singing to a project it I can plug it in to one of the VL units easy enough.

We are also going to be doing a bit more band rehearsal stuff upstairs with both bands, which I love doing, though it does need wires for various intruments and  mics...fortunately my Jamhub takes care of that and I can keep the wiring mostly hidden for that ...yipeee

The ultimate aim is to keep everything contained, not have wires everywhere but sitll have a nice carpet rug sized area that will be my recording area and still have the playroom aspect with movies and emergency guest room (not that anyone ever visits me now....Mum..Danni....take note!!)

Logic pro 9 is a mega bit of software though, it is supposed to be an easy upgrade from Garage Band but the learning curve is actually pretty steep, especially trying to work though online manuals. So many options its quite painful and my now getting old, Mac Mini, is struggling just wee bit to run it, though so far only the 64track demo's have caused it to have panic fits, my few track experiments are all fine, I doubt I'll get to 64 tracks worth of anything so nothing to worry about for now.

A small Mac may be needed later in the year for some IOS conversion projects in which case I can justify the purchase of a new mac, otherwise the mini does for me just fine.

I'll post pics of the new setup when its all up and running......knowing me, sometime in 2015


Thursday, 27 December 2012

So long 2012

I know, still a few days left but am not in the mood to sit in front of  tempremental computers typing things, but find myself here due to having no energy to do anything else having been hit with a dose of Diarrhea which is not nice...didn't get a lot of sleep last night , running to the bathroom every 30 mins or so and am weak as a kitten.. But I seem to be empty now so will start topping up with more water and some fruit juices. Hopefully it'll only be a day or 2 till I'm back on my feet.

Had a lovely surprise when Brenda got back from her trip to Kenya on Boxing day. I wasn't expecting to see her till Friday but she's nursing me back to health..kinda.  We'll hopefully do something fun for new year together.

So 2012...pretty shit year overall...but you can't really say that can you? While its true, 1 relationship smashed into pieces and my life was turned totally upside down resulting in some dramatic changes in lifestyle there's more to life than that.
 I've picked myself up, fixed most of my finances, and started out on a new relationship , so the positives outweight the negatives or at least balance them up. I end the year on a high..diarrhea notwithstanding.

Work has been hard...bloody hard at times, but I think thats my own doing, I need to try to be better organised and prepare things in advance...Especially I have to work out a way to do marking quicker...I've hopefully secured the aid of one of my collegues which might help next time I get snowed under.

Overall I don't think I can be too upset with 2012 like most years it had ups and downs, and we just have to muddle through them as best we can.

So...byebye was ...interesting..but 2013 better be fun or I will want a refund!


Monday, 24 December 2012

Technology is not my friend

I've noted before that as I get older my once cutting edge tech savvy has been deserting me, so much so that pretty much anything tech based I touch these days is sure to fail, especially when needed.

I've had this recently with my home internet system, which was happily working with a ebay bought powerline router supplying a wireless router upstairs, giving me full coverage in the the house.

That is until the lounge master unit decided to blow up.. I still had internet but the loft has been intermittent and I have had trouble finding a working system to replace the old Sqeenix unit.

Enter Shitecom (yes I did spell it that way) and thier home plug system.

Its crap...utter total shite... complex, and very unreliable and needed the PC to do a troubleshoot on it to get 2 of the 3 units I bought to work...the 3rd unit hooked up to a Mac in the loft couldn't self repair so I had to resort to the Shitecom Homeplug utility....oh my god, what a crap bit of software.

Its taken me weeks, mainly becuase after my 1st attempt to get it to work wasted a day, I boxed it up ready to take it back, but fate and schedules stopped me getting back to Media Markt...

I tried again tonight using so,e new cables which did actually get a connection going a bit at a time....4 hours later. 4 FRUSTRATING FUCKING HOURS, I finally have it where near the promised 200MBS (39 and 29 reporting on the utility in fact) but at lest its exceeding the interet bandwidth so I'm ok for now.

Oh and to add icing to the cake, the PC upstairs is fucked too, it refuses to display an image after completing boot up. I think its missing the 32" mega screen, it worked fine on teh 22" until today...I can't be bothered messing with it.. I'll probably be bringing it down to the office  soon anyway. Since this current PC is not a bit dated and keeps throwing up a warning I'm not using genuine windows...even though I am!!!



Sunday, 23 December 2012

1 take...ok so its crap...

but not really had any chance to play with my new VoiceLive touch unit so this is not that bad.


Thursday, 20 December 2012

Covering ears is now optional

Something a bit different this time, I got myself a new toy for my Birthday, a TC Helicon Voice Live Touch, such a cool gadget...I heard this sung on one of the demo vids for it, and discovered the amazing version by Sinead O'Conner who wrote it. I thought I'd see what the little box could do
I don't have pitch correction on properly so I do wobble a bit but still, this took 5 or 6 takes to get right , not bad with a brand new toy I'm still playing with.

Hope you like it, I hate my voice normally but it sounds quite nice though headphones or decent speakers....
if the widget does not work here's a link.

In This Heart

Now that I am on holiday at last I will be doing a few more recordings, and probably some more singing with my new toy....god help you all. Ahthankyew

Sunday, 16 December 2012

New shoes

Feeling a little flush now that Xmas bonus and invoice payments are in the works...I decided to do something about my aching sore feet...I am not one who generally buys lots of shoes, or expensive ones but the last few months wearing my expensive running shoes every day has apparently given me really really sore achy feet. I mean really sore....hobbling at times sore...not good.

Time to buy some "proper" shoes....none of your bargain bin shit..

Still painful spending more than 20quid, but let see. If it works.

Also had a bit of a splurge on my toys..not guitars but I've updated my vocal processoes, my VL4 is very good but a bit hard to use well I need something simpler, so plumped for a couple of TC-Helicon voicelive units a portable Touch and a fixed Voicelive2 Extreme, a couple of mega ebay bargains. These should help improve my backing singing in the band and home recodings....Will try to sell the VL4 locally, if not I'll put it on ebay, hoping one of my  band singers might want it, though I know Britta (the Gadgets) hates all tech so probably not for her.

Birthday tomorrow, Monday....49... Seems everyone is keen on this, except me...meh...I have a band practice to do tomorrow so no chance for a nice meal with Brenda, my new g/f but we'll do something nice on Tuesday/


Sunday, 9 December 2012

PA is loud and music is fun.

Though not quite as loud as I thought, which is good. I was expecting my ears to bleed at full volume, but no just a bit of a ringing sensation!!!

I have a small Yamaha Stagepas portable PA system I bought for the bands. Between gigs (which are not often) its sits in the spare room...bit of a waste.

So I hooked it up in the studio, Although I have a decent set of studio monitors, they don't do bass well and are not that loud...and when the bands are here, we can't hear ourselves so well..but tbh we tend to use the Jamhub when there's a full set, for the neighbours benefit, but its still nice to blast things out sometimes, within reason.

The PA blows the little monitors away :D lots of volume and no problems at all with buzzy distorted bass and since I can hook up my Ipod/pad to it and play backing tracks...its my new favourite thing for practicing.
But I am going to have to buy a CD player, I find that I have many many more backing CD's than I can store on my 32GB small further investment, assuming you can still buy CD players :D.
Though I am giving some thought to retiring my old Pod, due to a cracked screen, so perhaps loading it up with nothing but the backing tracks is the way to go. Its still working for now though, and damn a new 64G is expensive...not sure I want to invest that much. My Pad is also on the verge of retirement...its a 1st gen, and no longer gets updates for IOS..I suspect it might be time to put it to use as a full time Ampkit setup and buy a new one with a bit more memory...hmmm I think thats probably a better idea...use the old Pod for a while and retire the pad. I have a couple of Sony Android pads I can use for mail and websurfing, with occasional gaming, which is after all the Pad's main use now.

The Studio is undergoing a bit of a reshuffle as I now do most of my school and coding work downstairs in the boxroom office now. I've got a bit more space on the big desk for music toys which is better. I want to try to keep everything contained and tidy for when friends and band members come to play.

Still have to deal with the ever present curse of cables dreams of a wireless set up, seem to be fraught with technical challenges....and the curse of short battery life.

I'm sure there has to be a solution somewhere.....that or I need to work out some way to place junction boxes at strategic points to plug in..Even quite simple band setups seem to need miles of cables, and my own wireless systems always seem to fail at key points when others are here so out come the cables again, and the inevitable tripping.

I also need to do something in the upcoming holidays...catalogue all my guitars...which is no mean feat. I might even thin the herd a bit..though I'm always reluctant to..Going to photograph and itemise them with as many secific details as I can remember.

I have found myself these last few months, more and more playing just 2 guitars, Marge my vintage Patrick Eggle Berlin and Libby, the Gibson Blueshawk. Maybe it because they are they nicest ones to practice on, easiest to play and always to hand.
I know I get different tones from my Lucille and Strats etc, when I want to do recording, but I'm finding I love the tones of these main two more and more....hmmmm decisions..I'll think on it for a year or 2. Marge does need to go in for a bit of a setup though, her high notes are buzzing ever so slightly. I'll do that after Mondays band practice, the StarrCase crew are quite taken with Marge's tone on certain songs, so don't want to be without her.

I was over in London last week for a meeting at Sony regarding our Academic status, and got a chance to discuss PSM with the chief tech guy...very interesting overall, but I have to say the St Giles 3* hotel in town was a major let down...crap tiny room, transport cafe restaurant for brekkie and overall not very nice. I did sleep well though, despite noisy party people in the streets.

But of course London means Denmark St :D. I dithered about going since I needed to use any spare cash this month to finalise the mortgage transfer, but I went, saw, played and walked away....nothing really took my fancy, apart from a very old and battered 1962 Fender Mustang for around 2K...a bargain, cos someone had painted the back of it.....but no..tempted as I was, as an investment, I'm sure restored properly it would be worth double, but I decided looking was better than buying, no telling what else might be wrong with it, and sourcing vintage parts would be expensive.

Besides if I am going to buy anything that old, it needs to be a 1963..the year of my birth. I'm keeping an eye open for a flying V from that year. Then I can pretend to be Albert King. (yes I know his was a bit earlier..but...)


Done and done.

The game passed Sony approval, despite having 1 major crash bug, though since it only seems to happen at the 40th level before restarting at the 1st, they've let it slide.

strange...but still...yippee..

I can reveal the name of the project now that its done. Cosmic Clean-up. Its an old school arcadey game, hard to describe, but a simple game mechanic taken to an extreme...sometimes too much I think but hey ho.

Ripstone are the UK publisher for it, and it goes on sale any time now on the Sony App if you have a psm certified device, please give it a go..the crash won't worry you. I'm going to fix it and supply a new version in case they get a chance to do an update/patch, but apprently thats another submission process which no one wants to do.

There is going to be an IOS version of it in a few months, I was originally slated to do it, but I really didn't enjoy the Agile Development style of project managment by the Dutch developers and opted out as soon as I was able, I'll help out whoever is doing it but I'm not in a rush to put myself through that again. I won't bitch about it here..but its no secret I had many issues with the way the project was managed.

Its not uncommon though, I spent a lot of time learning project management in an effort to improve the production process, I was pretty good at it, none of my projects were ever late and no one ever crunched. But I didn't like the lack of acknowledgement that being good at it returned.  Its an old PM complaint, no one ever notices the PM when the jobs are going well, so it must be some kind of magic that makes it go so well, but if it goes bad...well the PM's the 1st on the line to get fired.

But equally, trying to explain to other project managers using different methods that their methods are not well suited to small projects is tilting at windmills. Agile makes no real allowance for coder fatigue, slippage, lack of others to pick up slack or re-iterrate after 1 too many iterrations. 

It frankly seems more like a constant state of panic trying to continually add new stuff and rework  old working stuff based on client feedback over and over again with no real regard to risk or planning..
Fine if you have a team of people able to pick up and redo things, but utterly useless when you have 1 coder who occasionally needs some time to figure out wtf is the problem with the code that isn't doing what its supposed to do.

I'll need to add a 3rd Brians Law of self fuckery...

Brians 1st Law of Self Fuckery: If your code is not doing what you expect it to do, you fucked up.
Brian's 2nd Law of Self Fuckery: same as the 1st.
and now.
Brian's 3rd Law of Self Fuckery: If your SDK is buggy and the client keeps changing the code requirements , 1st and 2nd laws don't apply, just try not to kill anyone.

In the end there was a lot of very unpleasent crunch, which I detest. I saw it through and now will move on, a little wiser, and a lot less interested in Agile development. So much so that if anyone ever offers me a job where they use AD, and its just me..I will walk away.

I am going to have a crack at doing a couple of small PSM projects though, I bought a couple of tablets to help me do the project, which I probably won't use for anything else, so might as well get a game or 2 out and see if I can recoup the costs.
PSM market, is currently very undersupported, and though the Vita isn't selling all that well there's still a sizable market of people out there looking for games....might as well...once I've have a chance to recover.

On a related games note.. the Wii U is out...I quite like the idea of this, I've always been a big fan of interactive controllers, and this is of course the ultimate.
Unusually for Nintendo the launch seems to be quite low key, barely any coverage on mainstream media...I suspect a lack of titles is to blame...I decided to buy one though and went shopping. Sure enough there was some available at my local game stores and I picked one off the shelf, then went looking for games.

hmmm I think I found 4....not great...but wait...€60 ...are you fucking kidding me...€60???

I put the unit back on the shelves..

Sorry..but I do know that games are expensive to produce, I do know that there are overheads, etc..
But at what point are we going to get the idea that people have a limit on how much they want to spend of a few days (at most) entertainment on a GAMES console.
I might consider 40...I could even be tempted to spend 50 on a must have title...but 60 ...sorry its too much.

I guess I no longer am that interested in console games.


Friday, 30 November 2012

Hello cruel world

Phew...what an eventful few weeks. I "think" the freelance project is out the door now, at least its gone to submission and hopefully will pass. Its not been a fun final month or so I have to say. I won't be doing that again any time soon.
I don't have an NDA or anything in place, but its normally bad form to discuss a projects title before its released so I'll wait till its on the store before I give details. Its a nice game though...a basic idea taken to an extreme that gives a good playing experience...with cute graphics, was pushing the limits a bit though, I hope it doesn't suffer on any older shitty machines.

But on the plus side I got paid (or at least I'm waiting for my invoices to be paid) to learn a new system. Thats always cool.

Playstation Mobile has just been launched and my title will be one of the 1st mainstream titles on the PSM store.  Sadly no royalties but it'll still be cool to see it there.

I had to work out my project list the other week for a new CV for work...this is my 72nd coding! I wonder if I can get up to 80 or 100 before I kick the bucket? Its harder to do projects now though, in the old days I chucked games out in 6-8 weeks, these days its much more involved, and I find my need to make money is not so great these days so the project needs to interest me in  some way, (like learning something new)... So maybe 1 or 2 PSM's before learning excitment dies.

There's a lot wrong with the development of PSM, but it is a new system so we must make allowances and hope the SDK developers take note of all the issues the beta users of which I was one have raised.

But there is a lot right with it too, were it not for the stress of trying to hit deadlines, theres a lot to explore in the PSM SDK that makes it fun and relatively easy to code on, bugs aside. The excellent simulator include with the development tools is super. The IDE is a custom version of Mono which is quite usable if you don't need to go too deep into it.

C# was not as painful as expected either, though in truth I really avoided most C# coding style in an effort to keep the project moving forward. I hate OOP at the best of times but in this case with a new SDK and new devices it might be been very hard to follow.

Getting things up and running is mostly pretty easy, though like many "cover all" systems the attempt to support multiple different devices is problematic, with both CPU/GPU performances to cope with and the dreaded differences in screen sizes...annoying when you spend an hour formatting a screen of credits only to be told it does not work on machine X which you don't have to test on.

But I liked it, even though I cursed it many times due to stupid and time consuming bugs,  I might have a go at doing a couple of game ideas myself in the new year once I've recovered...this time no deadlines!

Of course someone at Sony cocked it up..and it seems that Dutch developers have been excluded from the needed publisher status to sell their wares on the stores, and by extension to get licenses to run their games on devices...shocking considering so many of them contributed to the beta. I've stayed on the 0.992 release of the SDK to avoid problems, for now..but I do think someone needs to accept that such an excluson is shameful for the very large Dutch indie community who worked hard on the beta. My game thankfully is being published by a UK company, working with Sony so no problems there.

Anyway....the projects over, I don't really need to worry about publisher status just now, I hope they will fix it by the time I get round to having something worth publishing. In the meantime I can get my evenings and weekends back to myself, my bands and my school work love life!
Amazingly despite the work and other hassles,  my love life is starting to look up...Have to say any new g/f that can tolorate me working all hours and squeezing her in when I can,  is probably a we'll have to see what can be done about that.
Now that there's going to be more time available I'll have to try and practice that squeezing a bit more :D


Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Moon on a stick

I should probably clarify, the moon on a stick comment below was something I've had in my funnies folder for years, one of my ex employees used to say it constantly whenever we asked him for something even remotely hard in a project.  I think he sent it to me one time, it makes me chuckle.. I heard he quit games development and moved into java accouting for the harm game coding can do to your phyche when you resort to java coding is there?

Some recent stress with the freelance project reminded me of it and I dug it out for a bit of levity, not as a direct comment on the freelance project though it is apt in some ways.

I have not really enjoyed the way the project has been running in the last weeks, and indeed moons on sticks were asked for...directly in one humourous exchange, probably as a result of reading this blog. Not sure yet if the joke was fully understood.

Its a pretty little game, nearly done and I look forward to signing off and moving on to something else less stressful, maybe next year I might have a go at porting some old titles to it.

The ups and downs of games relentless charge to get product out in time are hard to cope with, it puts people under pressure and causes stress and division which is not a good thing to work with when you are a creative bod needing to focus on minute details.

Playstation Mobile however has proven to be an interesting challenge, buggy yes, resticted, for sure, stupid memory limits, yup, and diversity of targets (oh god remember j2me??) but it is easier to get things up and running than Android or IOS so if they can fix the bugs, I'll give it another go sometime.
I just wonder if its worth the effort with so few target machines around.....since I'm not on a royalty I'll never know but am certainly curious to see if this is going to be a viable market.

I have a meeting with Sony next Month, to disucss PSM development issues. among other things, I might find out if its something worth continuing with seriously, or just dabbling in for fun


Tuesday, 20 November 2012

MRI Results

I like that they phone you here when they have important results. especially as I'd almost run out of snooze presses on the phone at 8-30am.

Had an MRI last Thursday for the odd Migraines I detailed a few weeks ago which have not returned since.
MRI results show I'm perfectly normal. Clearly something wrong with the machine then eh??

Just another getting old symptom.


Sunday, 18 November 2012

Should be a standard response.

Dear client,
I am sorry to tell you your request for the Moon on a Stick is not possible, I have tried to explain this to you in various different ways, politely, simply, forcefully, aggressively and most recently,  just plain go fuck yourself. viz.That you cannot have what you ask for in the time you need, with the resources we have available.

Regardless of the way I express it, the problem still remains. It can't be done, please stop asking so I can stop refusing and we can prevent further escalation, whereupon you may find your moon stick lodged somewhere painful, but which hopefully will result in you being too distracted to ask for your unreasonable request for some time

Please advise on how you want to move forward rather than suggestions of a different type of stick the result of which has already been described.

Lots of love…

A pissed off coder.


Tuesday, 13 November 2012

2nd Gig

My 2nd ever gig, this time with my NHTV band StarrCase was thrust upon me this week when at very very short notice, we were asked to join in a Battle of the Bands event in Breda.

When I say short, an I mean short, 3 days, and no chance to bascially we did a live rehearsal..

I won't pretend it was any good, we were all over the place, especially when we could not actually hear ourselves play.. We were told amps would be there for us to use but they were not, so we had to use the PA, it worked ok for guitars kinda, but my bass just didn't come through at all and I ended up thinking my bass was not working and doing test scales I could not hear mid song, but the audience

But all things considered with the lack of rehearsal we did pretty well, in a true Rock and roll style :D

Pics to follow soon.

(oh we didn't win, but the competition was brilliant so we don't feel to bad...we had fun and money was raised for charideee so all good)


Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Ah Marking, how I have missed you

The deluge has started, and am expecting an overwhelming flood on Friday but will try to keep on top of it all, though I seldom do :D

Quality levels are variable this year, we've got a very mixed bag of  1st year students, some nice clever things, but also some wtf are are you doing...
Still, we get this every year. The 1st batch of, this is not really for me,  have started to drift off and the, omg this is hard, lot will probably quit soon too.

Leaving lots of lovley nice new coders for us to mess with their minds.

I had the honour yesterday to chair my 1st Graduation presentation for a student who started when I did, It was wonderful to see how much he had progressed, though he was already one of the brighter ones his graduation project was amazing.
I know I can't take much credit, since I only really do the basic stuff and he was well above that when he started but still...I felt immense pride in seeing him pass his graduation presentation and knowing he'll be getting his diploma.

The Drums saga...hmm well I'm a little bummed, my extension pack of extra tom and crash arrived, but he wasn't able to supply a dual zone cymbal as hoped and put a single in the box and refunded the extra cost, so now I have a spare single..since I don't want to use it...

More strange was rather than another 14" tom, they sent an 8" tom..Apparently I'm supposed to move my 10" top tom over and all the others as well so I now have an 8,10,12,14 tom system.

Ermm... why? I was expecting another 14 to go on the end of my current 14 but it seems they only do the 8...on the plus side it is a dual trigger so more rim shots, but I'm not too happy with it...

I don't like that its smaller...

I just got used to hitting the 10 and 12, now I have to be more accurate on the top toms hitting an 8 and 10.

Also...I hate to admit..its not very good, it triggers rim shots randomly when doing any kind of rolls...I mailed them about it but got no reply over what to do about it, ideally I want a replacment 10" and send this thing back.

Turning it the other way on the rack has improved the false triggers but still it happens, I'm not pleased....we'll have to see if Nigel at Traps is willing to deal with my complaint or just ignore it.

The final insult, the pack was missing one bracket to actually mount the now shifted 14" Tom...he did respond to a request to send that out to me at least...I am hoping...probably in vain that he will also have sent a 10" tom...though I am probably hoping for too much.

I'll persevere with the 8" for now, but in future I need to be more careful about what I am asking for. But I do think if they are going to give you an extension kit at least another 10" or a 14" makes sense.

At least the new HiHat switch was in the box and works fine...lets hope it lasts..I bought a Roland hihat pedal as well as a back up but it does not seem to work on the Traps Brain..I'll need to get a friend with a Roland kit to try it for me to make sure its not faulty then sell it on.

Now if I can just get some time to play it..the freelance project is in its final stages and taking up a lot of my spare time, I find I'm now banging drums to relax rather than any concentrated learning but still its progressing, I bought a beginers dumrs course on DVD/Book and will start on it soon.


Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Soon be back to my banging best

Happy to report that the chap at Traps is sending a new switch. Thats nice to hear, in spite of this little lapse in quality I really do love my drums and want them in full working order asap.  I tried setting up my band hi hats to see if I could still pratice with an acoustic what a noise....I can't do that to the will wait for the new switch.

I hope this one is going to last the duration since it seems I may have to change my role in the band
Robbie our drummer has quit the band...lack of time and some of those famous musical differences...he didn't really find it challenging. Thats a shame as he's been there since the very beginning before we even were a band and we'll miss him, but I think we all knew that he was not happy .

So if we don't find a new drummer soon I may have to step in on some numbers...eek I'm months from being even close to doing anything as a real drummer, unless its silly 4/4 and 12/8 beats with fills....which limits my song choices quite a bit.

Have had a bit of a jippy tum today, never eat luke warm sausage have been warned. The tummy may now be empty but the room is somewhat fragrent....I'll let you work out why!


Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Oh c' supposed to be strong!!

I am a bit pissed off...over the last month when things have got a bit stressful, I've discovered a superb way to relax...go bash things. In particular my new drums, A cool Electronic set of Traps e500 with 550 heads, which I got on ebay for a really good price...

I've wanted a cheap but usable set of drums for sometime after catching the bug at our jams...but an acoustic set just isn't an option, and the cheap shitty thing I bought does not help me learn so I wanted to get something with mesh heads that were accurate but quiet representations of a real kit...that sadly meant looking at higher end kits I could not afford, hoping to find a mega bargain on ebay..but nothing came up.
But there is one maker in the UK doing a low cost high spec mesh head kit.

Traps, only very slighly outside my budget price range but far far cheaper than the big boy kits from Roland and Yamaha... So I held out for a Traps kit, waiting for something to come up I could afford....

As luck would have it the prices started to drop as the current range was being cleared out for the next model....And I found a new set from a shop who were offering a pre produciton verison of the new range with a mix of new and old range parts. and boom, ebay was my friend. And I love it

It's really really easy to play, one of my bands drummers thinks its great but didn't like the hihat much, though he managed it...
I guess thats a drummer preference thing. I have had no problems with it, since I don't know better I just got on with learning to deal with the on/off nature of an electronic control system.

The only thing I didn't like were the really cheap single trigger cymbals...a 2nd hand Roland Dual zone however was a great add on, and it turns out I can get a dual Zone from Traps so I've been in touch about that.

But overall its been fantastic fun getting behind them and banging heck out of them. With no real time to spend "learning" I've just been repeating over and over the few patterns I know, and adding fills to them and as days go by my 20min frustration bashes have become more rhythmic. Though my left foot refuses to be independant..for now.

And no neighbours have had any reason to complain.
Fantastic until tonight...

The hihat controller just broke..I was able to take it apart and spotted the problem right off, a small lever on a 50p microswitch had snapped off, it wasn't repairable so for the sake of that tiny switch my hihat controller is buggered.

grrr....I mean it takes a bit of a beating being switched on and off 10000's of times but its meant to cope.
1 month after it breaks..not happy.

I have been in touch with the guy who runs Traps, asking about better cymbals and he seems a decent chap,
I've explained the problem and hopefully a new switch is going to be sent out...I hope so..its a shame if such a nice kit its let down by shoddy parts....I want to get the best out of my Traps kit and continue my frustration bashing learning...soon.


Saturday, 27 October 2012

busy busy Rock/code star

Its been a few weeks...did anyone miss me??



well I am sorry I have been mega busy with coding, fighting an apparently never ending battle with PSM memory limits and SDK bugs and the onslaught of milestones always round the when not coding I was playing with the band or..coding again...and getting a taste for life again :D

Still very busy but a recent design change means I'm no longer trying to fit quite so much stuff in the game at once so memory has beome easier to deal with, my productivity has shot up and I'm enjoying myself

The Band did manage to make the gig at Ed's Birthday Bash without Robbie, and though we struggled a bit with timing with no dummer and lack of practice with some songs, we did a pretty fair job and no one really noticed the mistakes at the time...It was really enjoyable to watch people bobbing away to music I was helping to make...I've pasted a widget in below but it looks like Blogger isn't too happy. so its HERE if you can't see the widget

WSS Ed'sParty by Brian Beuken

Also my bass playing is not getting any better despite help from the amzing Eric Wels who's been giving me lessons...I seem to forget everything I learn on bass the minute I pick up a guitar again..quite embarrassing to listen to me rattle off my homework excersises..and nothing even close comes out despite having it totally perfect a few days before..I need to spend a few weeks doing only bass I think.

Not so drumming..I appear to be a least for the simple stuff, only 3 weeks or so playing and I'm gettig quite good at fundimental rhythms and beats..I just bought a new dual zone cymbal to add to the kit and it works great, as a bonus the old cymbal, still hooked up gives me cowbells :D  It may be a cheap kit but the Traps e500/550 is amazingly easy to play.

I spend 20-30 mins a day drumming in the morning to wake me up and shake myself out of sleep mode and maybe a bit more in the evenings before the kids next door go the bed, and it is paying off.I'll be adding drums to future recordings pretty soon.

Other nice things are happening in real life, lack of time due to work prevents me from fully exploring that, yet but lets just say things are looking up ;)


Monday, 15 October 2012

Fame..escapes 1 more time

Looks like the gig is off, Robbie our drummer pulled out....since Britta, our singer is violently opposed to the use of drum machines,...and tbh they dont' work that well for live stuff, it looks like we have to cancel the debut of the worlds greatest unhead of rockband.

If it was a few months on I'd have a go at standing in for Robbie but with only a week or so of drumming skills I'm no where near good well. I'll call the A&R man and tell him not to bother coming.


Holidays without headaches

We're on autumn break ..yeahhhh and no re-occurance of the scary migraines from last week. I'll still be going to the docs though to get checked out.

Its not exactly a relaxing holiday though, as well as a pile of marking to finish I've got my psm project to work on. Its going very well but as it gets bigger I find myself running into memory issues on a daily basis. The 96M limit Sony have imposed is very restrictive.

lol 96M when I started 16K was considered a lot, 48K almost times change.

But the fact is I need to keep finding ways to maximise the memory and its getting harder and harder to do. There's a limit to how many quarts you can squeeze into that pint pot.
I have 1 more brilliant idea though that might save some memory, at the expense of some processer power but I have no choice but to make the trade.
Its also interesting to see what a dog the Vita is on PSM, its by far the slowest machine and I've not managed to get its threading/multi core stuff to funciton correctly..but it will be the main target machine so somehow I have to get the speed up on that....gulp.

Music news now...WSS are going to do a gig...well I say gig, what I mean is a party, well I say party, what I mean is Ed' our Bassist's, Birthday no income and an hopefully appreciative audience no matter how bad we are, but its still a gig. Its quite exciting but also scary as fuck since its only this weekend??? Ahhh considering he knew when his birthday was, we didn't get a lot of notice..but pressure leads to focus and focus leads to a good set of rehearhals, our last one was excellent.

Fortunately the attic studio is now in good shape, and the recent addition of a good set of electronic drums means the whole band can come together and play upstairs with the Jamhub so we're not stressing out the neighbours.
We plan to do 3 sessions this week ready for the gig on Saturday.

We have to locate a PA from somewhere too...may have to buy one...grrr

Maybe we'll not bother with the PA, and let Britta the singer shout at the top of her lungs to be heard on those quieter songs nah we have to find a low cost small PA from somewhere, I tried to borrow one but no joy. ebay has several options and 1 particularly decent option at a good but not pocket money rate...I might invest....but really want to put the spare cash into the clear the credit card fund so I can get it cleared next month...
I'll have to do some thinking on that, try to locate a PA for hire 1st.


Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Oh Goodie more hospital visits

So after being suitably shaken by 2 migraines in a row I managed to get in to see my Doc who prompty made clear he wasn't too keen on a man nearing his 50's suddenly developing migraines especially considering my past history....hmm reassuring or what? But he did say that theres lots of reasons to get migraines and he just wants to be sure.

Immediate referral to constultant...which I had to call and make a "very" prompt appointment.

The nice thing about The Netherlands is they way they deal with shit so promptly, one of the not so nice things however is trying to book appointments with hospital staff, which is one of the very very few areas where English is not so widely spoken..

So after calling the number in the referral letter,  to book an appointment at the Neurology dept, I got a receptionist who spoke a little English. I explained my doctor wanted me to book an appointment for neurology, and was then asked a serioues of odd questions to "register me" in the system and my "daughter" ermm no not daughter, fairness they are pronounced almost the same here...ok took a while but so far so good...Then she transfered me to the poli (clinic)

A few minutes of waiting and being bounced on hold and I get someone who speaks quite good English, I explain I need to make an appointment, and once agian get asked a series of odd questions...ending with questions about my wifes medical history...
"ermm sorry what, I'm not married"
" oh sorry your daughter......"
"ermm she's in the UK"
" oh sorry, your mother then"
" also in the UK, why is this relevent?"
" I'm sorry I thought you were a man, please excuse me".
 "I am  man, why do you think I am a women..."

"Oh but you said you wanted an appointment....this is the Gynocology dept!!"

ah....penny dropped, the daughter/doctor thing started a chain reaction which could have ended up with me in stirrups having my migrine checked out in a very odd way.

Anway, after transferring again I get to the right dept,
"Good afternoon, is it possible we can speak in English"
"No!" Comes that horrible reply.

Fortunatley my collegue Nils was around and I asked him to help me out.

So I now have my appointment to se the Neurology consultant next stirrups I hope!


Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Had and having a migraine

Had my 1st ever migraine yesterday it was a very odd sensation, my vision sort of whited out with ths large flashing white explosion getting bigger... It lasted about 20 mins then went leaving me shaken and feeling a bit confused.. The feeling mutated into a dull headache and general listlessness, a bit like a mega hangover that lasted all day.


But right now I'm having another not quite the same, but growing in intensity, so not sure how much longer I can type..this time instead of a bright white explosion jagged edge graphic, its like space time is warping just to the right of me as though I'm looking through a lens of moving clear liquid.

Its a seriously odd sensation, a mild headache is starting and I feel a little groggy....hmmm not right.

I was going to go to the doctors walk in surgery this morning but overslept, I will call tomorrow to make an appointment and see if I can get a quick check up...2 in 2 days after a lifetime of nothing is not good..

ah its starting to fade....wonder if the hangover thing will happen again..I'll let you know


yeah hangover effect, again not quite so bad, but mild headache and a certain sense of detatchment for the rest of the day..Most certainly going to the docs tomorrow see if we can find whats triggered this.


Sunday, 7 October 2012

Getting back to normal

Been a fun filled few months...well not really, work work and work have been getting in the way of pretty much everything, not just school work, which is all encompassing at certain times but the fun home stuff occasionally has reared its ugly side.

SDK bugs, miscommunication and on occasion sheer inability to figure some things out has made a lot of the "fun" work quite frustrating. Of course its a learning processs and I have learned a lot, but still I have spent a lot of time with furrowed brow trying to understand why the cosmos is so against me.

But these things do eventually get overcome, with help from others or realisation of the solutions.
I submitted a delayed but impressive milestone delivery on Friday after a mega effort of coding and SDK bug hunting, and feedback from the clinets is very positive. Having broken the technical back of this project I can now throttle back a bit and focus on polish and content issues which will still take time but I don't expect them to be anything like as intese or frustrating.

As well as a restful weekend, I've had a few chances to engage in one of those social life things again...its been fun going out with old friends and meeting some new ones. I foresee a lot of nice new things happening in the coming months. 2012 will be a turning point for me I think. Lots of big changes in most aspects of my life.

I am now incidently officially a Dutch company or something like that, I had to register with the local Chamber of Commerce or Kamer ven Koophandel as its called here, to sign up with the tax office and get my dutch VAT (BTW here) number so I could invoice for my work.. Within days I had accountants cold calling me after my bookkeeping business...oh dear!!

Thats now done with help from my long time (since I got here) tax advisor and getting a few of those invoices paid will finally let me sort out my credit card which the bank insisted I clear before they will transfer the mortgage into my sole name. That then finally cuts the last of the "legal" ties with Bina which will allow us both to move forward as finanically seperate entities, somethings considered important here...
For me it'll mean a bigger finanical load, well it has done since she left and I've managaged so far, so not going to be able to indulge my GAS quite as much but clearing the decks now means more that adding to my collection.

I don't plan to do a huge amount of freelance work, it really has been quite tiring getting back into it, but then again, the fact I don't really have a decent pension plan might make it something to consider as a tuck things away plan...and of course it is good relevent experience for the day job which may be needed when the subject of getting a masters comes up next time as it will...but thats a rant for another day.

I still find this policy of insisting on a masters to be short sighted and counter productive.. In time, (hopefully a long time)  when the core group of current people from industry have moved on and all that are left are the academics that are now being hired I wonder if the quality we have managed to achieve with so much hard work will ever be the point dwelling on it..not yet.


Saturday, 29 September 2012 old friend

Work related issues on the freelance proejct have cause a lot of late nights. Serveral bugs in the PSM SDK caused all manner of issues, one in particular turne out to be a major flaw in the Math systems for the PSM, took me days to find it, and indeed it was only my collegue Dino's instance that despite the documentation telling me the math funciton atan2 needed its paramaters x, then y, it should have been y x (this is an odd quirk of standard C libs) he was right...and a swap immediatly fixed my problem allowing me to progress towards a very late milestone.

Ironic really, since I am a proud exponant of programming solutions over maths solutions, but had been using some pretty simple maths to do a rotation translation...only to have it break and force me to seek help from a maths then find when the bug was discoveredf that my maths was working I aways knew it was...its a bit like entering 2+2 into a calulator and it says the answer is -17... you know its wrong but you entered the right vals.

Anyway, I am really relieved to have the hard shit out of the way and the last couple of days coding have been tremendous fun and lots of progress on nice polish details.

But the late nights mean I'm not sleeping so well..I plan to get back on track this weekend, with a days work, then nice evening of poker and friends and much booze...and avoid any more late sessions. Hopefully that will be the case as all the really hard work is done, now its just a case of doing gameplay an some optimisations to improve performance.

Another plus for me is, when this milestone is delivered I can invoice for all the work I've done, for which I had to register with the Dutch Tax office as a company and get a BTW number (same as VAT).

phew...but on the plus side, I will be able to make a massive dent in my credit card this month and clear it next month allowing me to sort out the mortgage transfer and cut the final ties with my ex.
An important step for me in the move forward with my life, so am going to pull out all the stops to make that happen sooner rather than later.

Better get to bed, or that days work will be a bit on the short side requireing a big day tomorrow.


Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Makes me cry

Barring a bit of radation induced girly superpowers I briefly displayed, there's only a few things in life that make me cry on cue

My Daughter being upset at something I've done.
My Daughter being happy at something I've done.

Jonny Cash's Hurt video

The opening sequence to Pixars UP

and now this

I hope the list dosen't get too big.


Now thats just not fair.

A very very very rare Gibson Little Lucille is on ebay, and for the moment at least is at a decent price..

and I'm skint having just bought a drum kit.

not fair.

Though at least I have my I guess I can wait for another.


Sunday, 23 September 2012

Bad Blogger I am

Work has been rather intense the last week, I missed an important deadline after having several major cock up with the SDK and my assets increasing is size dramatically. This meant a major re-work of code that I had 99% working and looking amazing on screen, but then had to strip back to barely seeing anything as I built a dynamic memory manager from scratch.

Its been one of the hardest tasks I've had to do on the PSM so far, not helped as usual by the lack of accurate documentation and several SDK bugs rearing their heads.But shout out to my student Mark, who is also doing PSM coding who pointed me in the direction of a couple of these issues that allowed me to keep my hair on my head when I was tempted to rip it out.

Today at last with 1 final big push I think I will have it working which represents a big hurdle cleared, and means also I can hand most of the work on this project over to the designers who can install maps into it without much input from me..assuming no more massive assets.

I'm looking forward to getting back to tinkering with things to enhance gameplay rather than this mainstream tech stuff.

Diet is on hold, not eating much at the moment as I spend all my time in front of the computer, but what I do eat is takeaway or I know its climbing up again...



the Gym is calling...

I'm not ignoring it for a bit longer.


Sunday, 16 September 2012

There is Life after...

After spending most of last week laid up with manflu it was great to feel well enough to have visitors and get out and about.

Though I went back to work for 2 classes on Friday I'm still a bit under the weather, with the usual post manflu cough and a bit chesty and run down.
But I got out and had some fun in town, catching some of Breda Barst festival and topped up my weakend and emaciated body (whaaat??) with a nice steak dinner at Gouchos. hmmmm rare Ribyeye steak......expensive but worth it.

Damn its good to be out in the world again, and catching some great music, there were a couple of bands playing I really liked but didn't really know who there were. One of the stages closing act was a Belgian band called School is Cool, they were bloody amazing, have bought the album and am going to listen to it soon.

Its great to see live bands, I don't do that rule for upcoming life...see more band!


Saturday, 15 September 2012

Spice Spice baby

With the recent diet, I've not really been cooking anythng fancy the last few months, but decided to cook a nice curry last night, after a quick trip to the Asian store in Haagweg to replace all my missing essential spices.

The shopkeeper was a little taken aback by my insistance on proper spices, when there were perfectly acceptable jars of Pataks on the shelves for his usual pasty skinned dutch customers. I like pataks, but its a bit processed for a home made curry (their madras and vindaloo's though just can't be beat for quickie curry pastes)

Did an improvised medium chicken curry, it was blinding!!! I even got some chapati four and made chapatis.. they were also nice, beautifully soft and tasty, though as usual with my chapatis, not even remotely round, I never did master that skill, but map of Australia chapatis are just as nice when dipped into lovely spicey curry sauce.

I must get back in to my cooking, as much as I do like the occasional takeaway from the Taj in town I do make a great range of curries myself..I will have to batch cook and freeze a load.

Next I will make some nice samosa's, also another fav food I've not had in a long time.


Thursday, 13 September 2012

Normal services resumed

I feel pretty rough today but my head is clear and aside from the rasping chest I've been left with it seems to have been a nice short form of flu...that or OD'ing on cold meds and orange juice and whiskey really does work.

Barring any relapses, I'll get back to work tomorrow and have a stay at home weekend to be sure.

As soon as I can get my aching bones downstairs to make some coffee and wake up a bit more, I'll get on with some coding work on my project,. fixing the damage I seem to do yesterday, and complete some class notes for work, as well as some admin the refuses to die!!


Oh Kaaay what was I thinking?

3.30am and at last the fever seems to have broken, though still feeling a bit chilled and have very very painful joints and I've been hit by a bus.
Chest is still tight and raspy and I have a nice dry cough for my pains which is keeping me awake..and a bit of a headache still ;- But I am functioning again......almost

Also am now very aware of an abolute mass of mossie bites all over my body...they must have been attracted to the heat cos I've never seen so many bites before...I am starting to look forward to the cooler weather when the little buggers die off.

Hoping a good nights sleep and some rest tomorrow will see the end of the illness...I don't want to take too much time of work as it will leave my Teaching Assistant taking 3 of my 4 classes which is hard on him

I was doing a bit of coding work today in between blinding headaches caused by the over bright screens and I have to say..I genuinely and honestly have no idea what the hell I was trying to write.
It was meant to be an additional section to a script loader for a map ediitor I'm doing that could handle object rotations and fix a bug in map size calculations....but what I wrote is fact its an insult to jibberish.

I'll cut it back tomorrow and write it properly. I really should not go near a computer when I am ill, I just hope I didn't introduce too many stupid bugs.


Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Why are you here?

If you've taken the time to come check on my current fight against the deadly male only virus known as man flu, welcome.....I'm really ill, got a serious temp, feel like my lungs have been replaced by an old mans and have the most horrible headache which makes looking at this screen bloody painful.... I had the most fitful nights sleep which even full strengh Nyquil I get from a 'merkin friend didn't manage to tame.
Fortunatly I managed to tone down the brightness of the screen long enough to compose my thoughts and post this. Aside from being ill, and a little OD'd on cold meds (incluidng scotch), I was also very very deeply distubed by something last night. Why are some people checking out this blog, in light of recent events in my life, it seems some people are taking a little too much interest in things?

If you're here to read about my thoughts on life, expecially mine, well I think you're a little strange but feel free. But mostly this is a series of posts for my mum and close family friends who have often expressed concern for me, and this shuts them up :D

If you're here to pass or make comment on the events, feelings and content of this blog... please do, there's a comment box below, I publish pretty much ever comment even if they are critical of me or what I write.

But if you are here to make sure I'm not saying something you or others might find uncomfortable or feel is giving away too much information about my life and all the things and people in it who affect my life..or if your hunting for a bit of juicy gossip.

Stop reading!
Go away!
Unsubscribe and delete the link from your explorer, Block it even.

Don't ever come back and don't ever try to prevent me from carrying out the main purpose of this blog...which is, if you care to check the intial posts, to document how "I" feel about things, to itemise the things in my life that have an impact on me and to give an honest view of how I feel about my life.

I've documented incredible highs, desperate lows, love, hate, funny and disturbing events and thoughts, always as honestly as I dare, and as personally as I am able I will continue to do so.

It matters not if you know me, it matters not if you know the people I write about, you simply do not have the right to be upset about the fact I write very personally and directly about "me", about "my" life and about the things that happen and shape "my" life

I exercise a great deal of self control normally on here when it comes to how some people or things piss me off, upset, irritate, sadden, confuse or just bloody infuriate me. I rarely burn bridges, unless I feel I really don't want to have any more contact with someone or something.  But thats my right to do so, no one elses.

If you read this blog regularly, and I know you, you may occasionally recognise yourself or others in some of the posts, even if not named or directly mentioned, if it makes you as a reader uncomfortable, ask yourself why, is it because its true?

Does my stating how you or others impact my life make you uncomfortable?
Life is sometimes uncomfortable, we learn to make it less so by reflecting on that.

Now pull up a chair, and hit the subscribe button, or make sure the door does not bang you on the arse on the way out


Tuesday, 11 September 2012


can't quite read the small print...0.1 or 0.2 ish..
yup...feeling shit, nose and eyes streaming, chest dry as a bone and totally sweating buckets
2 giant bottles of orange juice, 2 or was that 3 large whiskeys and 2 doses of beechams did nothing.

Tonight may be my last day on earth...manflu has struck and I'm on my own, my body may never be found.

Nah, some people would care enough to check on me...bring chicken soup and grapes...hmm?

Well I live in hope.

Going to mail in sick and not set the alarm, if I'm very very very lucky my last NyQuil, which I have been saving for months, the strongest cold relief known to man, might let me sleep it off....if I'm lucky.

On the plus side...I bought a footspa at the weekend, what better time to use it!!!

Jokes aside, I hate being sick, so really hope this is a 1 day/night thing and I am back to work asap. Though last time I had a cold it brought on a mother of a chest infection that needed 2 different mega inhalers to clear up....Going to stay in wrap up warm and not push things.


99.6 downs and ups

No thats not todays weight, its my temp...just checked it. Been feeling a bit rough all day but got a lot worse in the last few hours, feeling light headed and having the dryest throat and tightening chest with the most pathetic forced cough ever...and sneezing and and...

#oh shit!

man flu is about to strike..nooooo.

Have come home early to dose up on my fortunately  abundant supply of UK cold meds and some Vit C and whiskey...whiskey being the most useful of the available remedies I suspect, since its going to kick in no matter what.

I have some project and school work to do in the peace and comfort of my office so will crack on with that then have an alcohol fuelled early night and hope it does not kick in as the hours tick by.

Students are doing well but there's a couple who are struggling, I hope they take my advice and put in the work they need to do or they will get lost which would be  a shame, I hate to see students fall away, but there comes a point where I can't do much more for them and have to focus on those doing the work...we're only in week 2 though so still plenty of time before I start to worry about them.

Got some news that a friend has had a lot of their life plans fall through the toilet when an important  job offer didn't materialise, its going to make life very hard, but I hope it won't all be bad news.

It makes any petty problems I have, seem a little irrelevent. Though the pettiness of some of my problems is pretty surprising, I don't intend to let them impact on my life or how I lead my life as it is now.

Had a really great rehearsal with StarrCase last night, I had a better feel for the style and tempo of the band and it sounded pretty good at times. Looking forward to even more improvment..if the man flu does not kill me.

I bagged an ebay bargain too...I documented my gadget sale of some pedals a few months ago, including my RC3 which I felt I didn't need, but ever since I have missed the little fella, especially when the RC300 is a bit of overkill for some backing to play along to...So I bought another, on special offer from the US, fully expecting to pay duty making it only very slightly cheaper than buying here...but no, delivered with no duty to pay, 50quid saved...happy :D

hmmm 99.7 now....this could be a bad sign....

better hope the Beechams kicks in soon or bed may be earlier than expected.


Sunday, 9 September 2012

nice song...ruined

I have to play the solo with the band at some recorded it to practice


Life eh!!

I wrote this several months ago when Bina announced she was leaving...I chose not to post it at the time to avoid hassle.....interesting that I was trying to avoid hassle....The split has been amicable when all said and done but I think point that this blog is to post how I feel about things should be at the time I was pissed off....and venting a bit, but quite co-herent..I dug this up in the draft section of blogger and thought it should be posted.

I'm comfortable with how things are now, the future has new possibilities in it and I'm looking forward them...but back to the original post.....

The one sure thing about life is its uncertainty...more so when you share that life.

Now it seems I'm going to be on my own again.

My "opinion" regarding the madness of CAM is apparently the final straw. There are it seems other straws that broke the camels back, but for the life of me I can't help thinking that in every measurable way I'm not a bad bloke.

I have to say, that camel ain't got much of a backbone.

I really have spent a lot time thinking about that question the last few years, cancer really does make you evalute your life...I had some silly times as a youth, and made some bad mistakes with relationships I was not really equipped for. I've been and still am a little, impulsive, reckless and thoughtless to other people, But as I got older and "wiser" I have made a lot of changes to become the person I am today, I won't say that I've removed my faults, but I've honed them to a point where I'm happy.

There's some things I probably still should change, but thats my choice, I should choose because I want to... I don't need someone telling me I'm fat, or have bad dress sense or that I'm apparently lazy,cos I prefer to wait till there's a big pile of washing to do.. All these things are relative and on the grand scheme of basic male faults I'm pretty low down in the scale.

But I'm kinda tired of putting up with someone elses dissapointment in me...yes I'm a little overweight, but I hate gyms, (I mean I REALLY hate the whole music banging sweaty treadmill concept of them.), nope I don't run to the dishwasher still chewing my last mouthful, sorry I do leave the socks on the floor and the pants and teeshirts and the odd cup or plate on the table.


Also I'm a bit too wrapped up in my hobbies, too much of a nightbird and quite prone to sleeping late when no one wakes me, and several other basic male faults.

And that seems to be enough to end a 12 year relationship, I'm not perfect. I don't intend to try to be perfect, so I'm not.

I am what I am...and frankly I'm genuinely happy with who and what I am, which means basically if you don't want "me" then I'm not going to make promises I can't keep or change to be something else..

If I am indeed such a terrible person, I'm not seeing it?

I was raised in a house where a large obnoxious pig-ignorant dimwitted arsehole with delusions of importance due to his "rich" upbringing, was never wrong and could never be spoken back to, threw his weight around, demanded 100% attention, used violence and fear of violence routinely and had everyone in the house cowering as his intention was made clear that the universe revolved around him and our role was to make sure he was never bothered with the day to day encumbrances of relationships or fatherhood.

If raising my voice in the middle of 1 very rare arguement constitutes comparisons with that....then frankly some people are living on a different fucking planet and have no clue what real agression actually is.

I'm not going to prattle on about my faults, because whatever they are, and I am sure there are more serious personal ones but who knows since I was never consulted, the decision is made, the 3rd time such a decision has been made, without discusion or attempts to fix it. It seems Bina's cosy la la land world has to be maintained at all costs, or she walks into some other cosy lala land world where she can do her own thing and not have to worry about socks or cups or whatever.

That to me means indicates a certain lack of comittment, since in 12 years despite more than a few frustrating occasions I've never once even considered asking her to change, or be something she's not or walking out. Not once.

Seems a few socks, and cups and maybe even some smelly old trainers are enough to kill what I thought was a stable comitted relationship.. Well that's what I thought.

ok..I think thats fair enough.

time to move on.


Worst vocals ever

not even autotune can save this...but its just a work in progress, hoping I can get a proper singer to do it for me.


Friday, 7 September 2012

In a band :D

the Rolling Stones didn't return my call, so I decided to audition for the next best thing. I went to the rehearsal for StarrCase last Monday and they liked me...which was bloody brilliant cause I thought I was shit and out of my depth totally when the other guitarist didn't show and I was left to do a bunch of songs I wasn't that familiar with and people I'd never played with :D

But I did it.

And I'm in!!!/StarrCase

Expect the pictures to update soon, with me in it? Unless they latch on to the fact I was just following the keyboard player and what was written on the board....mind you, what else do I need to do? :D

Not giving up on We're Still Shit at all though, just that StarrCase have a nice set up, steady line up (though I am replacing the lead guitarist/bassist) practice regularly and gig from time to time which is something WSS may find hard to do for a while yet even with our new improved focus.

Lets hope its not to long before I get screaming groupies chasing me around and can order my rodies to turn it up to 11 for me.



Sunday, 2 September 2012


Oh there is a 3rd hell..The other night I left the bedroom window open as it was hot and sticky inside following another warm but occaionally rainy day.

I must never ever do that again.

I have a dozen weaping mosquito  lumps all over my body...itching like mad, which prompted me to buy one of those probably useless Vapona plugins to get rid of the mossies...

I don't understand why mozzies find me so appealling, surely they prefer a fat free diet but leaving the window open just screams out buffet time in mozzie speak.



90.4 Hell begins x2

Monday 3rd Sept....students start school and its time for the 1st week of lessons :D

Always a stressful time with 60 or so new 1st year student names to remember. It usually takes me a couple of weeks and several silly nicknames before I start to remember their names but I think its good to make the effort.

This years didactics course has taught me a lot of cool stuff, which I hope will become apparent as the weeks go by..I had planned to have more of my course work done in advance but I find I still can only really do an outline since I don't really know what rate they will "learn"

We're hoping this year, due to having a better selection process, that we won't have to have the more expereinced students slow themselves down a bit, waiting for the less experienced ones to catch up. Though I suspect we'll have the usual mix of geniuii and what the fuck are you doing here, students.

Also I have to get re-aquainted with my new 3rd years who will be doing console coding with me.. I don't have much to do with 2nd year students so I lose touch with them for a year..Which often means they leave me as developing novices at the end of 1st year, but come back as keen and eager in the 3rd year to show off how smart they are, often making me worry about my own skill levels.

But Console coding is different enough that they will have to stop and take stock of things...perhaps even listen to a few warnings from a crusty old veteran.

Hell 2 starts on Tuesday....I don't have an early start on its...gulp Gym you can see the weight is stopping around 90kg so need to push the weights around a bit to drop that 10kg I want to lose before the end of the year.

Better get on with my prep...also got to finish some work on my project, the map editor of which has been a nightmare to get working.....I hope the solution I came up with is solid should but we'll have to see.


Monday, 27 August 2012

90.5 Lapsed badly

Damn its amazing how quickly it creeps back up.

Though I have lapsed badly the last few weeks, especially while at the Unite2012 conference in Amsterdam where good food was available at the 4 star Movenpick hotel. (I even got an upgrade to a suite when I complained about being too close to the elevators).
I got a chance to have a delicious 2008 Ch√Ęteauneuf-du-Pape at 70euros a bottle...yes I know, but how often do I get the chance??  Of course I won't be claming that on the expenses sheet :) It was delicous though.

I also took a bit of time on the final morning to rent a bike and cycle around Amsterdam, something I have wanted to do for a while since walking never seems to take you past the seedy areas.  The bike lets you go much further and see a much nicer and upbeat side to Amsterdam which I want to explore a bit more in future. I found an especially cool blues bar called Bourbon Street (aren't they all called that?) in an area I can't recall the name of just now but where we all had an excellent sushi meal the night before.

Cycling however has proven to me that pedestrians in Amsterdam, most likely tourists are batshit crazy mofo's who have lost the ability to look left and right when stepping onto the lanes...I lost count of the number of times I had to break hard or ding the bell to get people to notice me...I mean in a city famous for its cycles you'd think the peds would be a bit more careful.

I know I keep saying it...but its Gym time...perhaps when I get that 1st visit over I'll be able to get over my distaste for the place. But I have been paying for it for 8 months now I suppose I should make use of it.

Work wise I am very busy this week, my freelance program is being re-worked to be more flexible ready to plug in maps from the client, and to aid in that I'm busy doing a map editor for it, but thats just evenings, daytime we're back to work, teaching next week so am prepping all my lessons wayyyy in advance so that I don't have to stress out too much on work days and can fit in a good amount of freelance work.

So busy busy week, having to learn lots of new things too, Unity in particular is starting to make sense to me, our students are going to be using it for GameLab and I need to be able to help them.

I'm also going to try to get out more, so I'm not at home drinking wine every night (not good for the weight)...I'll go out and drink with freinds...oh wait...something wrong with that plan, can't quite figure it out.

Music also is changing, I am hoping to join another band, a group of collegues from another dept in NHTV are after a bass/guitar player...I doubt my bass playing is up to it but hope my guitaring is.  I might be able to contribute a bit of bass sometimes. Its a more formal structured band than We're Still Shit. They gig from time to time which is what I want to get some experience of, so I hope to get in there and be more focused on my playing. The music is ok, not quite my style, but nothing I hate, it'll be a great learning process.

We're Still Shit will continue of course, and I'm hoping we can formalise our practice and style a bit more too, which will allow us to gig. We're having a formal band meeting this week to lay down some ground rules which I'm going to try to manage. I'll mean splitting time with two bands...but what else do I  have to do eh?

Right...back to course plotting, map editor, and unity.

what an exciting life I lead!!


Sunday, 19 August 2012 damn hot

Flaming typical, after a pretty awful summer holiday weather wise and my summer holiday and only real chance to top up on Vit D,  effectively lost after the split I have been avoiding rain and miserable weather for the whole 5 weeks or so.

But now, here we are at my last weekend and the sun is belting down, the whole county is basking in it, and I am sat here semi naked to keep cool in front of a compter screen hoping I can finish a delivery today so I can spend 10 mins to turn lobster read.

There is no justice.


Friday, 17 August 2012

Last Weekend

keep forgetting to weigh myself, but I know I'm not losing any more, nor gaining, so Gym has to be started.....

Its now our last holiday weekend, I'm back to "work" on Monday, I say "work" cause I will be checking into a 4 start Amsterdam hotel for 4 or 5 days as I attend the Unite Conference to get better aquainted with Unity Engine which we will be teaching next block...Fun fun fun.

The Crazy in Love recording session has been was biting off too much more than I can chew...coupled with lack of time for something so intense as I do my coding job. I need to stick to simpler things and will try to do something this weekend.

The PSM project is going very well now, I have most of the main game mechanics done and working well, though we have to get the actual mechanics of the gameplay fixed this weekend. I delivered almost everything I had to today except for some menus which try as I might the Sony Supplied font code kept throwing errors...I couldn't find out why. I'll try again over the weekend since I need to have a bit of a break and enjoy my last free Friday night.


Tuesday, 14 August 2012

3 o'clock in the morning

well strictly speaking its 4 in the morning but BB didn't sing it that way.

Spent a fun productive slgihtly frustrating day tracking down some odd bugs, as always RTFM applies, the coord system of the PSM is different to what I am used to and a reversed y direction caused lots of odd problems.

in the end 1 line needed to be changed....1 line!! 1 fucking stupid line had to be reversed.

Ah well..I am delighted with the result now, the main gameplay feature of this game now works and can be expanded on to produce the final game.

I have a demo to produce on Thursday, so getting this fixed was a major thing...theres some issues with the way PSM does particles I have to fix but RTFM will probably sort that...trouble is the M is absolute pants...I need to work out a lot of it myself.

But now its time for bed...I can even close my eyes! To quote the great one!


Saturday, 11 August 2012


Still working on the Crazy in love thing...not a lot of time for that one right now, but here's something i did when reminded earlier today its just over a year since Amy Winehouse died.

Loved this song when I first heard it, and managed to work out a way I could play it.


Thursday, 9 August 2012

Mossies consider me a feast

This summer has been a right roayl feast time for the Mossies...which wouild be so bad if it didn't itch like mad and then swell up. I've got a tiny bite between my 2 small knuckles which has caused half my hand to swell up...really annoying.

work progresses a little slowly but it does progress...I'm making less mistakes but finding some things a pain to do....such is life I suppose.


Wednesday, 8 August 2012

89.5 Display problems cracked

oh boy.....I got stuck for a while, trying to do what seemed to be a very simple thing...mixing small 3D models with 2D banner sprites...but try as I might the sprites didn't show.

I re-wrote, re-read the instructions, re-wrote, re-wrote, re-read again...but nothing! Tried another approach...still nothing, tried another.....still nothing...shouted at the screen...strangly didn't work...tried another approach.

doh..then it dawned on me...I made a simple error, 1 single missing line..which escaped me.

The sprite demo I based my sprite code on set up a vertice buffer on init, it was a 1 time set up in the demo so that works becuase it never prints anythng else, but since I was constantly updating the graphic types and putting in new buffers I needed to reset that buffer when it came time to render sprites.

add the line...boom..Sprites!


oh gave me something to do at 4am when I couldn't sleep after having a few too many drinks with Martin and getting my pre sleep hangover...I hate that, why can't I have normal pass out when drunk and wake up with hangover, like everyone else.

Onward an upward. With the display code issues resovled the rest of the coding is fairly easy maths and masking....should be very effective when I've finished it.


Monday, 6 August 2012


Ah finally, after a lot of stopping and starting and some very odd and unhelpful error messages, I am starting to get chunks of my own code functioning as I wanted it to..excellent

Lost a couple of days at least with strange errors, misunderstoof folder requirments, lack of documentation on addition of libs and plane old, this does not work as it should, type of errors but today I finally worked out how to get things to do what I wanted.

I had to mod an exisiting demo to do it but neverthe less ite bones of the old code have been removed and new code doing what I want is in place...thats a good good day

Should have most of teh hard techy bits done by tonight and ready to deliver to the client tomorrow

Ermm if I figure out how to actually deliver. I solved the coding issues, not the delivery issues...they can wait till I have things working as I want them

I was going to go out for a drink with Martin tonight but he cried off, for work reasons..oh well..just as well since we just had a MONSTER of a hail storm pass over looks like a cold winters day outside...very bizzare.


89.9 meh!!! Oh hang on wtf?

Weight seems to have levelled out at ther 90Kg region...not good enough, diet alone does not seem to be working so time to do the horrible bit and hit the gym....groan. I really really hate gyms

C# has also hit a bit of a plateau, messing with demos is all fine, but trying to start a new project and build up to use the libs has proven to be confusing and in the process wasting much time...In the sense that I struggle to get things to actually work. I'm sure there's a simple thing I am missing, but none of the tuts seem to explain things at a step by step level well enough.

There's a big jump from the simple putting an image on screen starter I was building on to including the 2D engine did you include that never said.

Like I say probably something very simple, but at the moment I'm missing that step, so having to resort to using a demo which has the lib I want to use and modifying it to suit.

But no probs, its all a learning process. I'm making notes of things that I find confusing, since these are exactly the things that will throw students.

Back to it, have a deliverable to try to hit today....should get it if I can just work out how to make my linked list update and get rid of the very odd and unfamiliar errors that throw up randomly sometimes


Saturday, 4 August 2012

89.0 C# is cool

Even though I still find myself going...hmmmm I am finding C# to be quite a cool way to do things. I miss direct pointer access of course and some of the referencing is a bit befuddling but after a while it all starts to make sense, basically its about making sure you know what you are passing.

Still no joy on the Tablet, I will try that again after I've completed work on my demos. Get the code working 1st then try the mad hardware.

I've been told the Vita is the weak link in the PSM hardware family despite is awesome graphic and cpu power it lacks certain hyperthreading functions the android devices have so it might struggle a bit..I will probably have to buy one or get one bought for me to test this since the game is heavily depending on memory shifting around which is best doen with hyper threading (you can shift a bunch of memory while doing update code)

Off to Ikea in a bit with Jacks big bike with the rack ont eh front to buy a computer/printer unit since the work PC is proving to be a bit noisy, and I do want to get the printer down there.

Will see if they have a nice roastbeef potatoes salad dinner while I am there.


Friday, 3 August 2012

89.5 Trials and Tribulations of a Sony Tablet S

Barring any major issues of finance and timescales it seems the coding job is mine. Needless to say I can't say too much about it but I will outline a few things to form part of a doc that I will present to students as a guide on how (not) to do a project

Its a nice little game which I won't give details about so will limit myself to the fun getting used to a new bit of kit. In this case PlayStation Mobile (PSM). Essentially Android OS on specific Sony approved machines with graphic accelerators and written in C#.

Android is something I am just getting my teeth into at work, but C# is relatively new for me, though I have tinkered with it I've never done a full project

PSM SDK and IDE are freely available so I spent the last few days setting them up and working through the docs and tutorials, no real issues, aside from lack of familiaity with C#. But I've picked it up pretty quick in the last 2 days.

I do have a Playstaion Mobile certifed device, a Sony Tablet S, which I wanted to use as a dev target so I had an idea of hardware speed. Sadly hooking this up is not a simple case of plug and go, indeed plug, go, install, uninstall, plug, go, re-install, find udpates, uninstall, find different updates and so on has been a major waste of several hours research time, which still has not resulted in getting the machine accessable....oh well...The SDK comes with a perfectly usable simulator

The game reequires a few basic featires and 1 major feature which is a bit tricky to do, so I've spent a few days testng if the basics work..yup, no real issues there... But the major feature which involves accessing and modifying graphic data in game...proved a bit hard. There's many ways to do this in c++ but c# wasn't having it..It does not like its memory to be directly accessed...this requires a few work rounds.

The core API does allow for some ability to transfer buffers to VRAM, so using a sledgehammer approach I can impliment what I want...the question is how fast is it will I have enough memory to contain this heavy handed method....will it impact on gameplay?

At this point, hard to say, especially not being able to run on hardware at the moment, but I am setting up some tests to find out.

So far all so good...the weekend will tell if the game can be done then I can dump the tests and start the project proper.

I will need to have a bit of a break from the Sony Tablet though.....why is hardware always a pain!!!


Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Back in the saddle..yeahhawww

Well after a few years out of the commercial side of things, due to exhaustion, disillusion, family commitments, teaching  and plain old being seriously ill. I seem to have finally landed a commercial project.

I've been fishing about for a few weeks now, given my new single status I have time to spend on some smaller jobs. I had a couple of nibbles, but this week a perfect new project that will also help my "research" side of my school work has cropped up.

We've not signed anything yet but it seems to be on, given there's a tight deadline (as always) I need to make a start on it will we haggle over times/fees in the next few days but even so, I'm excited.

The new work only office is up nand running, though discovered last night I need to replace a memory module on the work Pc, but not a big issue.

A few days of research to get used to a new system then make a start on the proejct next week, hopefully contracts signed and kick off.

Money will be nice to have too, given the financial hit due to the seperation, this will even out the big dip I've had to take and get back to a nice level guitar buying normality.

Of course the nature of these things means I can't say a work about the project or platform for a while, but I will be keeping a record of the progress and publishing it when its possible. It'll provide some course material for teaching next year, and of course means I can put a more uptodate project on the CV.




Tuesday, 31 July 2012

89.9 Sprog gone !! boo

I ate "normally" while sprog was weight climbed again, it was really good to see her though, am missing her already...I got her to say Daaaaad several times, and even made her cry a couple of times, not always on purpose :D

But back to normality now. I've been chasing a few freelance projects recently and it looks like some might come up, one in Holland is especially interesting so I'll see if I can nail that one and get back into programming again, its android stuff, but I guess I have to go with the flow.

I lost my coding mojo after the cancer, but slowly have regained it and am working on a nice project at work that I would like to be more involved in but as a part timer on it, I get quickly overtaken by some of the full timers. I need a more focused project where I can start and finish something without worrying about it being changed or completed by someone else...even if they do do a better job sometimes  :D

So the office is now the next target for my re-arranging and updating eye. I've put my "old" computer down there to get set up as a man work machine. I say old its really quite a good system and more than capable of being a coding machine its just not an I7 like my monster upstairs which will now be a mainly recreational machine with occasional coding.

I want to make a point of seperating work and play even at home, so no guitars in the office, no games on the Pc and no recording software. :D

On of my SSD's which don't work too well on the monster has windows installed on it, so hopefully it will slot back into its old home and fire up without too much messing about...1st attempt showed windows in place but it insisted on trying to update stuff without being on the web...grrr, running a startup repair on it now, so hopefully it will bypass the drivers that are no longer well as some of the big old drive stuff it used to have.

Only thing missing is an office chair, a bit of a store space for the PC itself, I saw one in IKEA I will pick up, and somewhere to stick the printer...


Friday, 27 July 2012

Sprog day :D

Now that the weather has finally changed for the better, I did finally get to IKEA, and bought my sideboard and a couple of small chest of drawers for the spare room and office. But typical luck I couldn't get them delivered till Saturday..ooooh bugger. Still, quilts and pillows are now available in the usable spare room. Today is the big day, Danni and Kieren arrive for the UK, only a long weekend but I'm still looking forward to it. It will be the highlight of my summer. House is a little full though since new collegue Jack is crashing upstairs while he does a rapid hunt in Breda for an apartment, stopping me getting to my guitars at 3am..but hey ho, can't do that when Danni is here anyway. Recording is on hold till the visitors have all gone but probably just as well as I seem to have a couple of really sore fingers on left fretting hand, hope thats not going to stay. I'd hate the idea of getting arthritis or something that restricted my playing just as I was starting to get good....hmmmm lets not worry for now. Another step on the road to full seperation, Bina has cleared the joint flexible credit account which means it can now be closed. The normal joint account is still in use to pay for most of the main house bills but I'll start swapping those to my single account and get ready for that account to be closed. Still got a cracking big credit card bill to clear ASAP so I can get the mortgage sorted but progress is being made. I was late with my tax return but it was done last week and it looks like a nice 600 euro rebate will be heading my w...I mean the credit cards way. Ahthankyew