Monday, 30 December 2013

Finally something I thought I needed and now I know I need it, has become needed.

I like using drum machines to maintain time and dynamics when you play solo, but when playing there's no way with the drum systems I have of being able to transition from a verse to a chorus or to add fills or accents..I kinda do it a bit with my AdrenalinnIII using the SP section of my FCB1010 board but its haphazard and requires tap-dancing I'm not really very good at it.

What I wanted to find was something I remembered from my childhood...Old Bontempi organs or whatever they were used to have drum beats on them to play along to, and they had a fill button where you could play along hit the fill button and the drums would play a fill.. transitions were possible by just changing the beat or whatever.

But I've never seen anything like that on a guitar based drum are basically stuck with the one rhythm track over and over and over again...a few accents might be possible but still the same beat...over and over and over... Which means jamming on your own can eventually just run out of steam no matter how good the other musical parts are, the drums get boring....until now

What a fantastic thing.. I have immediately signed up for an early version of it, if it has half the abilities it says it has I should be able to have control over my drum systems and make much more effective rhythm backing tracks for my songs....well in theory :)

Thing is though this is such a great and frankly obvious idea that I will be amazed if the big makers don't suddenly start offering similar cheaper versions or ROM updates to their current units....but I suspect this one will be worth having.


And another year creaks to its ancient end

Soon be time to watch another Jools Holland Hootenanny, I like those shows.

ah were a good year, as always a few downs, but overall lots of positives. Job has been going well, health seems fine aside from hitting 50 in the same way as hitting a brick wall while riding a bike in the freezing cold at 40kph...I do ache a lot more than I recall in 2012. But, back to plusses,  a record low number of man flus, a new car giving much more mobility, distinct improvements in my guitar playing, some fantastic gigs,  even some improvement in my singing, and of course lovely new relationship going along swimmingly.

Christmas was fun, we had friends over on Christmas eve,  for a full Turkey dinner I made, which was lovely...though I need to practice my carving skills. got to see Brenda gloriously drunk and talking even more funny shit than I do which was funny as hell, though the poor girls Christmas day hangover from hell has sworn her off drinking for ever and we'll see.

yup, been a good year 2013.

I'm tying to top it off with a video but this weekends efforts are not really good enough...getting there and maybe a few more days practice will see something develop, but at the moment I'm not happy with it, so won't be posting anything.

I plan to fit a bit of coding in during this holiday as well, PSM have finally allowed the Netherlands into the program which means I can get my dungeon crawler program on the store and selling...It won't make a lot and I've probably paid out more for the graphics than it will make, but it will be a good test bed to see what the process is like.. A few more weeks of work should see it up and running...

Ah well, coding and playing...a great way to spend an end of year holiday before returning to work on the 6. I am looking forward to 2014...I hope that's not going to be a case of misplaced enthusiasm. ;)


Saturday, 21 December 2013

Great end to the year

The NHTV Christmas party is usually a bit of a chore, a few drinks with people fom all depts. and some buffet..

But this year, it was held over at the Hotel and leisure dept at Sibieliuslaan and someone had the good sense to hire a great band...
STARRCASE were the headline act..

 We had a nice stage
And somewhere for the audience to dance.

So off we went

Of course I forgot to smile.

I did my best Bill Wyman impression even when singing.

But I did play really well.

If the link works you can hear for yourself


Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Old old bones

Got a mini cold, that's being kept under control by my lovely UK cold meds, but I am still feeling a bit on the rough side....oh and its my Birthday....50.

Never thought I 'd get this far.

Going to celebrate by buying sweets for everyone at work (strange Dutch thing, the birthday boy has to supply the treats) and then off to Final rehearsals for Thursdays NHTV Christmas party gig with Starrcase, not sure my voice will manage it though, I had to cancel my last singing lesson yesterday after my voice went during lectures..we will have to see.

I finally got my teeshirt...after a year and a half. :D though technically it was Geoffs :D

The pic was taken at the now legendary Brians Pre Birthday Partaaay last Saturday, which was a great success, mainly due to my awesome curries I supplied but also with performances from Starrcase and The Gadgeteers

It was a great night not too many musical mistakes and cool to see people up and dancing including Brenda, who was such a sweetheart last night she bought me a cake and managed to get loads of candles (as many as would fit) on the case without me even noticing before she switched off the lights and walked from the kitchen to surprised an oblivious me....sweet.
Oh well 50....Officially old....Father Abrahams is me....better get on with it.


Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Looking for Somebody

This weekends messing about was quite nice though I am not yet fully adjusted to using the Voicelive2 in my board settings.  But I'll get the hang of it.

Saturday, 30 November 2013

ouch,...but yeah...but ouch

The new board needs a few more things but it is functional, so I took it to band was BRILLIANT!! up and running in a minute :D Exactly what it was intended to do.. I was delighted with its functionality.


And I am literally aching in my shoulders from trying to pick it up..I mean trying, there was a lot of dragging and sliding but not a lot of actual picking up... I was at least able to put it on to a small trolly 3 inches high.....yeah....

No need for Gyms, just book a couple of rehearsals and load the car.

After an amazing semi controlled slide to get it down the stairs it has now taken up residence in the living room until such times as I have doubled my muscle mass and can bench press 200kg and stand any chance of getting it back up stairs on my own.


Friday, 29 November 2013

Portable....pedal board or gym

I am going to build up some muscles hauling this around..

My new pedal board is an absolute monster.  Its a custom made box, as I could not find anything big enough on the market to hold the RC-300 and GR-55 side by side..also I can now put my Voice Live2 in the system, which was not really possible due to floor space and cable issues.  But thanks to the equally custom made loop switch I can use it and the VLTouch I've been using.
It all looks a bit overkill but really its just due to the size of the 3 main pedals which are fooking huuuge. ;)

If anyone's interested its actually quite simple...My main guitar tones are produced by the Adrenalinn III , the little blue/black box on the left. Which among other tricks is a drum machine and rhythmic arpegiator, but mainly its an Amp/FX sim unit that lets me do everything from nice clean tones to monster metal screams...It is incidentally also hooked up to another slightly large thing, a MIDI FCB 1010 control board, not pictured above, but here below, but I can use it without.

That is supplemented and occasionally replaced when playing by the GR-55 Guitar synth, big blue thing, bottom right, which is ...a it can do mega loads of instruments and fx, like strings and keyboards, and most importantly bass which I play from time to time in one of my bands when we don' t have a bass player.. also oboes', flutes..its a great machine.

It also can do guitar fx and sounds, and I like to use it in combination with the ADIII for contrast and boost..

One other major thing it can do is set up alternate if I want an Eb acoustic guitar for the intro to Nobody's a button and another and I have the Eb overdriven Gibson Les Paul into a Marshal stack for the power chords...
Press another and I have  a standard tuning 12 string acoustic for Like I do's intro (with a hint of strings and a choir behind it). Afterwards, switching back to a telecaster in drop D for a Rolling Stones number...and I never have to change guitars or retune...its amazing!

These 2 pedals are the main tone on the face of it I don't have as many pedals as most people do..and indeed my other guitar board has 6 pedals in it...and does not come close to ths number of variations and abilities. Its just the physical size of these puppies that make them a pain.

I play my Patrick Eggle Berlin (Margaret)into this system, as it has a midi pickup to control/trigger  the synth..

I have added an older FX pedal to the mix, just  because I could, there was space.. The Digitech FX Factory wah pedal  has been added to the mix, with a foot controller pedal, but mainly for 1 particular sound, it does an awesome Rotary speaker fx, which the ADIII does not quite match. I don't know if I will use this much, but for now I'll see if its worth keeping on the board.
Ok so that's guitars;
Vocally, I need a lot of help with my vocals, so I have on this board 2 main toys. both of which need signals from guitars to generate harmonies, tuning or FX, which is why they are on the board.

The 1st is the TC Helicon Voice synth, which is there mainly to do Vocoder fx, for Daft Punk numbers and other things.... Most of the time its in simple bypass mode, and the mic goes to either the Voice Live 2 EE seen here, (the big blue box top right) or via the loop switch to a Voice Live Touch on my mic stand. I like the VLT for looping and changing harmonies on the fly, but the VL2 is in fact the more powerful bit of kit, I just need to learn use it better, which now its on the deck I can do.

Anyway..the VL units give tone and auto correction as well as echo, delay chorus, etc  and harmony fx.. which are great.

Then we come to the RC-300 looper, which the guitar, synth and vocal signals are all sent to which I can mix a little, which allows me to loop them at will. the output from the RC's main output goes to the PA or Amp, usually PA... The sub output goes to a small transmitter under the plinth which sends the sound simultaneously to my in ear monitors.. That lets me hear what I play, which is surprisingly hard to do in a band when everyone is playing...

Also under the plinth is a wireless receiver which takes a signal from my wireless bug attached to a non midi guitar, (or if the battery is flat I can just plug in..but I hate cables) so I can use my normal guitars as well without the synth. :D I pick which system with a little A/B switch on the top right to maintain a signal to the vocal units.

At the moment the cabling is mish mash and untidy and I have to put a better power system under the plinth to power it all..but that's will be done next week, and all will be ready for the rehearsals for the run up to Birthday and Christmas Gigs...

I have to sell a guitar to pay for all this though... :( but I think it will be more than worth it in the end, tidy cable free floors are a joy to behold.


Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Off Limits to students

I can't really stop students finding this, after all it is a blog, but really its not going to be that much interest to those I know as students, aside from moaning about work load,  and marking, there's not much work related stuff. Its quite a personal blog I post for a range of different reasons...

I've become more and more concerned about my private blog being available to students who decide to do a bit of a google..moreso since googling my name brings this up as no1 answer...the price of fame.

But I don't really want to close down this blog as it gives me something to look back on and review life events and good and bad times...which we all have...though I find posting them for everyone to read strangely cathartic..
So unless someone actually abuses the info I put on here, I will take it on the chin and keep posoting.

If your looking for some help with coding issues....check the links on the right...

If you want to know why I was grumpy in class....then I might post here ;)

otherwise...get back to work..and research the physics of'll regret it later if  you don't


Monday, 18 November 2013

Margaret is resting and recovering well after her surgery

I did my first ever bit of guitar surgery tonight, mainly to stop myself going mad from Marking..
I permanently fitted my Roland GK-3 Split MIDI pickup to Margaret, my favourite Guitar (Patrick Eggle Berlin).

The previous stick on version was prone to slippage and occasional problems on the 2nd string due to poor adjustment....So I got out the 'gulp' drill and made a couple of scary pilot holes....of course one was ever so slightly off...But I managed to correct it.

So Margaret now has her pick up properly fitted and properly spaced/adjusted and sounding much better.

She still needs a proper set up though, she buzzes a little high up the neck and intonation is a little bit off...Will take her to Dijkmans when I get paid for a bit of love...she's earned it.

Still no vids, too busy marking and getting lectures ready..but I have been messing about with a famous Jacques Brel song everyone knows.. I dunno if I can get the "passion" needed into a torch song but its a  nice song and I think my arrangement is fairly solid apart from 1 key change week hopefully I'll be back to video and recording mode.

Its Zwarte Piet season here in the Netherlands...a bizarre time when the dutch don't quite seem to get why people can be offended by the sight of a white man in matter how I put it, or what I say, it just turns into a brick wall defence of we're not racist...which I never suggested...but the depiction of Zwarte Peit is deeply uncomfortable....for many.

oh well...I'll let the rants on Facebook go for now.....better get to bed... early class tomorrow.


Friday, 15 November 2013

I hate marking and I have guitars to sell.

Still not quite done, but I have gamelab tomorrow so hopefully I can finish it then still a bunch of PR1's and a shed load of AGT5's....oh well.

No guitar playing this week, aside from some normal practice  but a realisation has occurred ...I need to sell some of the guitars... yes folks its time to face up to the fact that my GAS has resulted in far too many guitars, and a collection of bills means its time to sort it out. 

Someone is interested in Sarge, my SG so if he makes me a decent offer I will take it...I will also put a few of the others up for offers.... I don't want to sell, I really don't, I love them all,  but I have settled down to play just 3 or 4 guitars now, and the rest are basically not being used...its time to face up to things....the collection needs thinning. Its fine to have  a few vanity guitars, but I really don't need so many. I will try to thin it down and cash them in over the next year or 2, ebay is too costly but I will try to sell locally.

The massive gas bill, 3800euros has been sorted and reduced to normal but its still adjusted to a 670 euro bill due to excessive use of electricity...I can guess what that is, I tend to leave all my gadgets on all the time, but still a bad practice.. its still a big bill though so time to cash in the assests I have and get into a reasonable cash flow.



Friday, 1 November 2013

I'm a hit

Well here's 2 things I am incredibly proud of today

1st I am now a no.1 recording artist. My version of Tower of Song got to no.1 in the charts blues...cover... fat blokes nearing 50.. section.

I think that's pretty good even if it only needs 5-10 listens to get there...I have a screen shot to prove it and I'm happy as fuck about it.

The other thing I am incredibly proud of is the new music room I set up at work for students (and staff) to play in. It was a fair bit of hassle and I donated some of my own kit to get it going but the result has been amazing. IGAD and IMEM students have been streaming in to try it out and slowly students are forming small groups and jamming intended. It was so cool to watch this grow and the comments back from students have been incredibly uplifting.

Can't wait to hear the 1st performances from them. I'm hoping to arrange a couple of showcase nights each year so they can get up in front of people and perform. Job Done!


Monday, 21 October 2013

Getting a bit better

Tried to make this a bit darker....singing as usual is a bit off at times but overall am pleased with this effort


Saturday, 19 October 2013

Guitar day

Nice thing about holidays, I had time to play guitar, and managed to knock out a passable version of one of my favourite BB King songs, though more in the style of Damon Fowlers version of the song.. Since I can't do key changes on a looper :D

a few mistakes but nice groove. We've been trying to do this in the band for a long time but that groove is hard to hit..


Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Holidays are great

Am on Autumn holiday this week, a chance to sleep in , catch up with work and do nothing....

though I have been in the office both days so far trying to download the SDK for the PS4 which has taken ages...
Finally I have it on my laptop and can install it, but won't be able to use it till I ....yup get back to the office.

oh well I do like the new office and at least no "having" to be there makes if feel less worklike.

in other news, just got a massive bill from the power company for nearly 4K..fuuuuuuuuckkkkk

Its a mistake of course..not quite sure how but it is....will get it sorted tomorrow.


Sunday, 6 October 2013

No longer single

Just a blip




Monday, 30 September 2013

I'm a mess

Fucking hate insomnia....6am and I have an 11am lecture....with almost certainly no hot water to have a decent wake up shower due to the boiler not being especially willing to work.

this just sucks big cheesy balls.

I've prepped my lecture and updated it while I struggle to sleep, and am going to set my alarm to 10 and hope I get to sleep and wake up in time to go deliver it.


Saturday, 28 September 2013

Not quite the musical genius I thought

I was going to work on Abbas SOS this weekend, I've been practicing it for a few weeks and think I've got the right sound and tempo for it, but not quite worked out a decent way to loop was practicing some live playing/singing. It wasn't right but it was coming..

Events this week though have left me identifying too much with the lyrics ...that and the cold cracking my now sexy husky but totally useless for singing voice.. I'll leave it a few weeks.

Will just focus on practicing some band stuff, we were getting close to a cracking version of Man with the child in his eyes last week, I will try to get those chords in my fingers, the timing needs a singer though.

I also have to look forward to some nice cold showers as my flaming boiler has decided to give and sends an error to the display every time now, where a reset would fix it, now it refuses to reset...I think it just needs a service and bleeding out the air but its apparently no longer covered by the people who used to do it, so time to sort out a contract.


Wednesday, 25 September 2013

dammit cold, bugger off

Aside from the gut wrenching pain of a break up, which is occupying my mind,  my insomnia is being seriously fuelled by the snotty cold from hell, with accompanying raw chest...I am so exhausted from lack of sleep and hacking cough, but here I am at 4.07am trying to keep myself amused and away from endless repeats of Graham Norton on The Comedy Channel.

I've looked at a few student projects who have asked for help, and have a few more I'll do tomorrow but I don't want to do any coding and have my mind racing for no good reason

Lucky I don't have class till the afternoon, and my colleagues will cover for me in game lab if I can't make it in at 9...which at this point seems pretty unlikely.

Beechams are helping though...It'd be full on man flu without them I fear.

oh well lets go see who's on Grahams sofa and try to drop off.


Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Single again...bugger

Well, what can you seems fate or whatever cosmic entity responsible for kicking me squarely in the nuts at the point of extreme happiness has struck again.

After finally realizing there was something to look forward to in the future, I now discover its a lie. Amazingly it really wasn't my fault this time, or the result of growing apart or any of those other things I can pinpoint that caused the end of past relationships.. I had to end it when the basic trust of the relationship was smashed apart.

ho hum, better get used to a life time of utter disappointment and Lord of the Rings marathons.

Oh and I have another cold, which has kept me up all certainly can suck sometimes.

Mum, please don't bother me with this...its done, I am fine, I will get over this but I really don't want to talk about this for some considerable time.


Saturday, 21 September 2013

Oh go on then,

I suppose I should post something, its been quite a while, but that's only due to being quite busy in the 1st few weeks uni with students. Lots of time sucking issues prepping classes and adapting to the new premises.

I am enjoying the new offices though, the space is nice and the programmers office has an air of calm around it which we never really had at Pakhuis.
My new Sony room is taking shape too, though I am short some monitors...but no worries we're expecting great things to happen here soon ;)

This years batch of 1st years are proving to be a lot of fun, as always a few are like rabbits in headlights with no idea what they are doing but they are starting to ask questions and not expecting knowledge to suddenly be poured into their brains.

I have an exciting though a little time sucking project to handle which has proven to be much more interesting than I originally thought.

As regular reader(s) will know I have an interest in string noise makers, and our Dean is aware of that shocking affliction.
She asked me to take charge of a room at the IGAD wing which is our dedicated music room. Its an expansion of our piano and guitar play area at Pakhuis.  Its a fair sized room plenty of space for people to come in, pick up a guitar or twiddle on the keys, on their own.....

But I wanted to make it a bit more, with more students in the building, we are now also in the same building as our sister faculty IMEM, there's a chance for those of a musical bent to get together and play, perhaps forming some cool new groups..

But its pretty hard to play as a band in an office area....unless of course you have a JamHub, like I do :D

It will allow a group to play in the room with only the singers causing any major noise issues...
I plan to put a JamHub in there, with the fantastic help and support of the people at JamHub who are helping us get the kit together.

I also got donations of instruments and other gear from various sources, especially students.
Budgets are stretched though so we need to source kit as cheap as possible, which certainly makes the project a challenge

But it looks like we're going to get there...I will document the progress, and hopefully get the room up and running after our Autumn holidays...stay tuned who knows we might see an IGAD/IMEM band in Hollands Got Talent soon as a result ;)


Wednesday, 21 August 2013

We're at code milky green.

oh man...I am sick, but still functioning...have been having mad cold sweats all night that stopped me sleeping till 5am, and now still have the sweats, I've showered and changed twice already today..and may need to do so again soon.

I got some cheap office furniture from one of my students yesterday who had been sick all week, so I couldn't collect it till he said he was better, but I am guessing I've picked up whatever horrible pathogen he's had and its just starting to get going.

Aside from a mild headache and the sweats though, I'm still functioning so have been working at home today and doing a bit of clearing up in the house.. Brenda now has a little work space with a desk in the spare room. I'll put a small PC in there for her soon.

Since I need to use the office a bit more for freelance and possible educational work I've cleared it up and added some of the aforementioned furniture to better store books and things and use the space better.

Return to work has been fun, aside from the usual meetings...the new office space is taking shape, my new dev lab for PS3/PS4/Vita dev is going to be epic when I've got it all kitted out it will make IGAD look the business.

I've also found a masters I am willing to do...note that...willing, generally I am 10000% against being made to do a masters in order to prove some notion of academic qualification for teaching but as this one only involved me doing what I normally write a game...I am going to see if they will let me do it. I'm waiting to hear back.  I still don't want to do it, but if it means I can prove what I do is enough to get me their silly bit of paper I will try it.


Friday, 16 August 2013

Admin woes

I was supposed to be going to Cologne, next week for a conference but it seems no one bothered to tell the admin people at work so no travel plans or hotels have been booked, much less tickets for the conference...I am very annoyed about that, as its an important conference where much networking will be done and I can try out industry on an idea have to commercialize some of our Gamelab products and make more use of our Sony dev kits...grrr

Work starts again on Monday, hopefully the admin people will recover this, but frankly I doubt it, which is not the most pleasant way to start a new school year...

oh well

I have some prep work to get done I suppose so I can do that rather than make important deals....I really despair sometimes at the lack of recognition for my industry links and abilities.

Never mind...its been a nice holiday, I feel refreshed and recharged and ready to take this year on with a bit less work (I am dropping 1 class) and a bit more coding work that suits me....

onward and upward.


Tuesday, 13 August 2013

I am a car driving man

And I drive most night and day.

My new car
can't seem to upload pic in explorer on this laptop for some silly reason so the link will have to do for now. It does the same with YouTube, probably a dll screwed up

Its only a Kia Picanto, basic eco model, an A to B runabout, though it does have a cool Pioneer AV system on it. but apparently no rear speakers...I must check, since the back doors have holes/grills for them but fading to the rear shows nothing is attached.

I can connect my Ipad, my phone and even surprisingly watch videos on DVD or on the Ipod...though not while driving. all this and a sat nav which was a bit of a pain to get into English but I managed. :D

I'm a movin' yeah baby.


Home and time to prep

ah that was a fun weekend, I've never really done the tourist thing in London before, though I just stopped short of the tourist bus cos they were all bloody expensive, I went around looking at things...pity I didn't take may photos' it was so sunny and bright most of the time I could not see what my camera phone was pointing at so gave up at the Natural History Museum.

 I must say the 30 minute queue was annoying there, especially as I could see some people were being allowed to walk straight past the coiled lines into the main gate with no real explanation of how you achieve that status.

I ended up in Denmark Street a few times of course, I seem to gravitate there, was thrilled to be allowed to play a couple of mega expensive vintage guitars and even a 63 Strat. the year I was was remarkable...and at 9K ....expensive but not as much as I thought. I won't be buying one though...not till the 1st Album sells 200,000

Saw the new Alan Partridge film when there, very very funny, but 15 quid for a cinema ticket...mehhh

Better start prepping for work next week, even though we have a couple of weeks before the students arrive, our move to the new office will mean a lot of disruption, so best to get it done. I am determined to be better prepped this year so I am not caught out with mountains of work...well that's the plan.

I am off in a bit to go get the new car, last weeks annoyances have all been resolved and I have the RWD papers here so can collect everything

Last nights bus trip was interesting since we went on the ferry this time, 1st time 'I've done that. I didn't realise the late busses used the ferry. Our driver though, was an American straight out of boot camp, quite rude and abrupt who seemed to prefer barking orders to politely asking people to do something. I almost blew when after asking him a polite and helpful question while at customs he barked at me to "get back to your seat".....hmmmmmmm he seemed to miss out "could you", "please" and used "get" rather than "go"....I tend to think the "sir" part is optional but nice.

His "listen up people, I'm not here to babysit you" speech on the ferry was also extremely annoying....Fortunately for him he didn't have much more to say after that so no need to blow my lid.

But I got home around 5 which was pretty good timing.

Mind you I am currently bikeless. I think I left the keys in the bike by mistake when I left but did put a big lock on it too, I suspect the change in routine stopped me from removing the keys....Anyway when I went to the bike, no keys...gaahhh I'll have to take it to the repair shop to have the lock removed, I also need to repair a slow puncture on the font and replace the rear wheel...hmm expense...but I'm not going to replace the bike with the car totally so it needs to be done.

Off for a shower, to wake up and get ready for the day.

Sunday, 11 August 2013

I'm gonna leave ol London town

Have had a great time in London for the TCE 10th birthday, made loads of new/old contacts and will be following some up when I get home. I'm sure this will pay dividends later.

I have a night and a day left here and need to work out what to do but will probably do a bit of work in my tiny hotel room.

Had a couple of wonderful times in Denmark St, as always, this time came away with a haircut, very mod.not sure I'll keep it quite as it was cut manly since she put wax in which I washed out 1st chance I got...ugg hate products!!

Was privileged to be allowed to play a couple of mega priced guitars, including a 63 strat which I could afford if I can sell a kidney. Ahh I wish I could play well enough to justify such wonderful instruments. Picked up a nice Danelectro '56 Baritone guitar, very cheap..honest guv, it just felt right.

Took Jack with me today where he fell in love with an Ibanez bass, luckily he resisted :D

Going to have a snooze and do a bit of work tonight, been a busy alcohol fuelled weekend and I need to let my liver have a rest.

Long bus trip will try to enjoy my last hours a little more peacefully.


Sunday, 4 August 2013


Yes it is hot, yes I was sweating, yes the aircon was on...and I messed up the ending.


Friday, 2 August 2013

Busy few weeks, heavy, broke and now got wheels

The Guurls had a great time here in The Netherlands, Steph and Danni got on like wildfire which was really nice considering they really have had little contact with each other since they were kids.
We had a brilliant time...some photo's to prove it.

trust me, if she ate one I'd be amazed...nibbled at a couple though

my gurls..and some old woman

Eat eat quick!!
A trip to the museum in Tilburg

Steph not wanting her photo taken

ahh the gurls!!

pretty...just like her dad...who's the geezer in the back though?

some old woman..she hung around a lot

some old woman
Making sure they go at Schipol

The weather was and has stayed pretty much hot and sunny

Of course much eating was done an the diet went out the back up to 88.9kg
But as luck would have it I was sick last night for some inexplicable reason and spent a good hour on the big white phone to Hugh...which lost me a Kilo...I think there must be something in this Bulimia after all.

Aside from feeling crap due to lack of sleep, and hot and sweaty due to the incredible weather.  I have had to run around at the town hall today to get my driving license changed to a Dutch one and get proof of my residency in Breda..

Yes I have finally bought a car, subject to any issues with the finance which I am not expecting I pick it up on the 7th :D And then head off to London on the 8th for some networking, biz meetings and meeting with old friends at the TCE gathering/

Its only a tiny car, a Kia Picanto. A1 ltr 3 cylinder beast!!

Just big enough to go shopping, do the occasional trip somewhere and get to band practice without bothering others for a lift. I still plan to do most of my travels on my bike but it will be a little bit easier to get to gigs now, which was the only thing the bike was not so good on, with bits of kit hanging off panniers and backpacks.
Oh and it has a 7 year warranty, which for someone like me who has no mechanical skills at all is useful.

Brenda's off to Belgium for an intensive Dutch language am on me own for 3 weeks or so....suppose I will have to do some work....or maybe not ;)


Sunday, 21 July 2013

87.7 and 95% perfect

the song that is not the weight..but as I say I have guests...
Still a few errors, especially the little bridge interlude..but this is what I've been working on for a week or so...can't quite get it 100% right yet but everytime it gets a wee bit better.


Wednesday, 17 July 2013

87.6 I know...I know...but I have guests

I can't force mum and the Gurrrls to eat what I've been eating so we've been indulging a little bit...I promise to get back to it when they are gone...mind you I'm so busy running around after mum now that I might just fade away anyway. :)

Nah its nice to have the, both groups had terrible delayed flights to Netherlands which made Mondays trip to Schiphol a bit of a waiting game. Mum is not as mobile as she used to be sadly and walking around the terminal begging for loose change as a means of raising funds probably wasn't my best idea.

But I acquired a wheelchair and pushed her around till Steph arrived, and we all headed home, tired and worn out after our early starts and long waits.

I rented a scootmobile, one of those little shopping trikes you see around, for the week, so she can get around with that when we go into town later..

Since the girls were happy to share a bed I've had the attic to myself so was able to practice a bit more on my recordings, even singing to them at one point, only to have Danni accuse me of miming....when playing life....sigh...Nearly ready for a recording.
Also I cut a mighty hole in the attic balcony door, to fit the vent for the air con....oh its lovely having a cool if slightly noisy room in the house ;)

Am currently sat in front of my PC waiting to do an interview with a documentary maker about my time at the Mighty Ocean software many years ago. I have fond but if I'm honest vague memories of my time at Ocean, but will put down as much as I can remember. I'll post links to the documentary when it is released.


Monday, 15 July 2013

86.8 Getting ready for the invasion

Well I've done all I can, Aircon system in the attic but not properly plumbed in.. I need to do a bit of fancy jigsaw work on the door to fit the exhaust pipes, but I'll try to do that tomorrow.

New bedding bought, new pillows bought, broken bed fixed, new chest of draws in place, borrowed TV arriving tomorrow, and most of the house cleaned up..though could do with a quick vacuum...I'll try to do that tomorrow.

Mum and Danni arrive 1st at 9.30, meaning I need to get an 8.00 train to be there in time..though I can still catch them if I get the 8-30 train.

Steph arrives later at 1pm so I'll take mum up to the cess pits of the dam for a couple of hours or maybe bring them back to Breda for a snooze as they will be up very early to make their trip.

I got sooooo  close to doing my recording, but just not quite there. It sounds brilliant though,  a bit of looping madness extravaganza, even with the fluffs, but want to post a perfect version only...probably will have to wait till the family leave now... oh well. I might try and play it for them....that will be fun :D

Better get to bed.


Wednesday, 10 July 2013

86.8Kg :D Holidays...time to put on some fat :)

Or not....:D pleased to see the BBQ splurge has left and brought me back under 87kg still a ways to go, but every day I see a small drop and am not starving mad...though I'd kill for some chips/

Holidays have started, barring a staff meeting and BBQ tomorrow to send us on our way, its holiday time :)

I have a few interns to mark, but some of the supervisors have not responded yet but I'll get them in my own time over the next week or so.

Mum, sprog and bro's sprog will be here next week, running me ragged most likely, Brenda is off to do a language course in August, and I'm going to get some coding done on a small PSM game idea I am getting some students involved in.

Oh and recording.. I have been working on something really cool, but just can't quite hit it 100% every time in order to make a recording..this weekend perhaps :D Watch this space.


Friday, 5 July 2013

87.5 back on the treadmill

I have now be more active, since uni is winding down, I am not going to be doing my daily cycle to work... the time for the really this time I mean week....honest.


Thursday, 4 July 2013

Off to London next month

Its the TCE 10th anniversary next month, so am heading off to London for a couple of days celebrations and networking with loads of old and new friends, starting on the 9th August and lasting a few days, depending on the strength of our livers.

I don't pop back to the UK often which means I don't really get a chance to meet up with old if your not on TCE (shhh don't ask...if you don't know I can't talk about it) and fancy a few drinks that weekend, get in touch.

Though I may have to go and do some Denmark street shop....I mean window shopping ;D

It is a pain to organise though I was going to fly over, but once you factor in trains its to Schipol and then on landing into London, its pricey...

Train is not much better...

So despite not having the best experience last time due to delays I am going to get the bus...the main advantage being simple city to city travel. A few nights in a decent hotel and lots of old TCE chums will make it a perfect weekend....hangovers permitting.


Tuesday, 2 July 2013

88.1kg Marking is over....yeeahh

The sushi and bag of chips and weekend BBQ put back a few pounds as you can tell but I am back on  the diet again hoping to get a  few more Kilo's off before the ladies of my family invade in a couple of weeks.

Its been a few marathon late night sessions of marking this weeke and last, but I have done all the block 4 courses..barring a few errors/appeals...I am free at last. Just some CT2 retakes on Friday and we're done.

Got an uncomfortable meeting on Thursday to deal with a range of student complaints though....hopefully none serious but won't know till then. My grades are are good and feedback usually well above average, just hope my slow grading in previous blocks is not going to come back and bite me.

Looking forward to the break I can tell you.


Friday, 28 June 2013

It seems I am a singer

Another great gig, just brilliant, we made a few mistakes, but he we're not pro's and we managed to pick it up every time, it was awesome, and I had multiple people..even my boss tell me I did a geat job on my number...I am genuinely gobsmacked, I just don't have the words but I am feeling incredibly pleased with its a good time to have a treat of chips...and sushi...Back on the Diet Sunday after the BBQ which hopefully wont' be rained off.

We should be able to get some pics from the 2 gigs as there was an official photographer there taking snaps..I will poste them here and on FB when I get them.


86.7 yes I said 86..Records all round

Yesterdays nerves and squeaky bum, as well as abstaining from lunch while we set up, caused a massive big drop...yeahhhhhhhh a record drop in 1 day.

I have another gig later today, doubt I'll lose another big chunk, but  losing 5 Kg in under a month is pretty good going. I guess I am pleased with myself.

Record marking speeds....I managed to do all my PR4 Marking in 5 working days, and entered in 7....result..

 I need to be evern faster on the CT2 ones though....will be hitting the grades tonight.

Got a BBQ event lined up for tomorrow, with friends from work and poker and music all coming together ...but it looks like summer might be over already if those storm clouds gathering are any indication.


Thursday, 27 June 2013

Great gig, even with the feedback

We had a slightly twitchy start as our PA was set a tad too loud for our 1st number and I had a bit of feedback on my solo which threw me off time a tad....or 2.. but once we settled we had a brilliant gig.
Our sound guy(s) kept track of the levels from then and a great time was had by all.

I'm still genuinely quite flabbergasted that people complimented me....yes I said complimented, me ..ME...on my just don't know how to react to that..
Aside from mum, who is obliged to say nice things about what I do, in our "Mother:Son, what you have to do before I choose your home", agreement. I've never been complimented on my singing....ever..Even I don't much like it.

I do my 1 song pretty well, "Stuck in the Middle",  but it actually was the song that got everyone up on their feet, and then the rest of our gig kept them there. What a great experience.

We have another one tomorrow..hopefully the feedback problem won't reappear and I can nail that 1st solo, looking forward to seeing if I can get a repeat set of compliments. ;)

I'm now a ssstaaaaaahhhhrrr daaarlinks.


87.6k...almost and butterflies, sure to lose some more fom crapping myself

The display wobbled a bit on .6 and .7 before settling on .7.. I had a pee just after but didn't weigh myself again but am sure its gone down to 87.6. Really impressive.

Am sure to lose a bit more today though, since StarrCase have a performance today at the Hotel and Management Graduation ceremony. I've also been roped in to help award diplomas...quite a bit different to the way we do things at IGAD, but we're all one big happy university so am happy to help out. I'm suited and booted for the occasion.

I think this performance will go well though, we've just had a sound check and we sound pretty damn good. Even me.!!! Am sure to lose a few pounds in sweat and fear.
What a difference a proper sound/monitor set up, with an engineer, makes! Though my VoiceLive confused the hell out of them trying to work out where the harmony's were coming from. We play at 5 so am doing a bit of CT2 Marking now.

Marking for PR4 was finally finished last night at 4-30am after 4 marathon sessions since Friday...written tests sound like a good idea but trying to read handwriting worse than mine (I never thought that possible) with often poorly formed English...and get it done as quick as possible so they can get ready for a retake meant I had to finish last night no matter 4-30 I'd pretty much lost the will to live but I got through I'm not only nervous but vey tired, I may drop off in the middle of a slow song.


I'm not recording the concert but I hope someone is, if so I'll post links.


Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Boo yaka shaaaaa 87.9Kg

Course I had to have a pee to get it there, but I finally cracked 88kg :D

To celebrate or perhaps to punish's a set of my "best" recordings....basically the ones I don't feel too ashamed of

I am really pleased that 3 people have Favorited my last effort, the live loop of Set the fire....even though some of the singing was a bit ropey and the harmonic female amplifies any pitch wobbles, it was a cracking session. I made Brenda laugh out loud with my swearing outbursts as I made mistake after mistake before getting it right.
Its been getting a lot of plays too, so it seems to be going down well in the home recording/tone deaf community.


Sunday, 23 June 2013

88.1Kg...could I actually get to see 87?

Finally got a chance to play with my GR-55 hooked up to my RC300 looper...powerful tools...added to that my Voice Live 2 and a harmony setting to give me a female singer to duet with and ..boom
my version of Snow Patrols Set the Fire to the 3rd Bar.

Its not 100% and it was done after 30 takes getting my tap dancing wrong a few times and kicking in the strings at the wrong times. But overall i was pleased.. I need to try and do this as a multi track version to get more dynamics and depth to it, but as an "as Live" performance this is one of the best things I've done.

Love the GR-55 as I now get used to how to use adds so much to things with so little effort..

Anyway...I've never said this before about at track I've done..but hope you like it?


Friday, 21 June 2013

88.2 but it wobbled on 1...

I seem to be losing 100-150g a day, so not bad. Might be able to put off the gym for a while longer as long as the diet itself is working.

Finally starting to setting into a period of peace now that exams and so on are done, still got some retakes to deal with but the never ending appeals from students are drying up and I will get a weekend to myself. I have a lot of marking to do but am fairly sure I can do them in 4 big sessions and still get some time to myself this weekend.

The Weather has turned spectacularly nice with sunshine and only occasional showers. So its looking good for the family visit next month. We're going to have a BBQ next weekend to kick off the summer but I need to find out where I can get gas for the BBQ, I think it must be nearly empty by now after occasional use over the last 2 years.

Also next week I have the Starrcase gigs, and will be doing a spot of practicing so I get my timing and solo's right. Sadly I am having to fill in on some Bass parts as Carlos won't be with us but am sure I won't make to  much of a mess of it since bass on my GR-55 is fairly easy..just play it on the guitar.


Tuesday, 18 June 2013

88.5kg and near the end

Of the academic year I mean...tomorrow my PR students do their exam...on Friday CT students hand in their assignments..I will try to gade the written exam on Thursday and get it done leaving me the weekend to worry about the CT..
There will be retakes though, hence the urgency in marking....but basically its almost done.

We also leave the Pakhuis, our home for 5 years and move into the main NHTV building next block so lots of endings in sight. A big party is planned for July 4th to celebrate our Game release party and the end of the era.

Diet is going well, more due to smaller quantities than the actual low carb/high protien concept but it is working, I am not constantly starving and snacking on roast beef or salami sausages is quite nice ;) I'd kill for a bag of chips though.

End of year also means Starrcase have our gaduation gig to perform, or in this case gigs, as its held over 2 days, and we have to do 2 sets...we're busy rehearsing and accomodating a late line up change but overall its going well. My singing is getting better so I am starting to feel less stressed about my 1st public tonsil exercises.
Wish I could get my Mustang Sally solo as good as my singing though, I seem to keep making mistakes in it...I almsot always improvise it and lose control sometimes...perhaps I should just learn something and stick to it.....but thats not really what soloing is about... :D It'll be all right on the night.
I hope!


Thursday, 13 June 2013

89.1Kg :D GR-55 is still amazing and finances sorted

Weight is dropping but hard to say if its just water, though I am regulating my carb intake quite well. Trousers already starting to slip down without a belt so....

Used the GR-55 for the 1st time in anger at the StarrCase rehearsal, it was brilliant, I was able to add atmosphere and variety to our set, and the abilty to dial in some power by bringing in a Les Paul screamer on the PA while I played Margaret through the amp, made some of my solo's even better.

It was well received by the other band members but I am not so sure the Gadgets who like a more stripped down sound will like it. Cant wait to try Creams White Room with an organ backing the into riff :D

The mortgage is finally transferred, after months of faffing about with the bank, Bina and I signed the papers at the Notaris yesterday to close the old mortgage, remove her liability and transfer it all to me..That finally lets me take stock of the income/outgoing and make a few decisions.

I am sadly going to have to change my power company, I use Greenchoice, even though they are very expensive, at 190euros pm, they are 100% renewable energy, but as the new mortgage is going to cost 100-200euros per month more I need to cut costs .I expect another less green supplier will give me half price which will offset the extra costs somewhat.

Next task is to find a cheap little motor to get to and from band pactices..I am not mad keen on having a car, but given the amount of band work I am doing now I need to be able to transport my gear. I wonder if I will be able to keep my cycling up when a car is in the parking spot!!!


Sunday, 2 June 2013

'kin hell..thats amazing

I am still trying to get my head round the GR-55, it is an AMAZING thing, really amazing, I updated the firmware on it today and got even more sounds which are just amazing. And the amazing thing is that these amazing sounds all sound perfectly like the instruments they say they do, amazing.

Well yeah but wow its complex. This is not a plug and play gadget by any means. I need to take a lot more time to get used to it, before I abandon my normal gear for the bands.
As is normal at the weekend I'm trying to do some school work so can't let it distract me too much.  ;)

I had a bit of a play around with creating my own patches last night using the free GR-55 floorboard software which is ermm amazing. But even so I found it hard to work out what I was doing most of the time, but I did get a cool clean pickup sound with a CTL pedal overdrive boost on it. But trying to do a drums patch worked for a while then not quite sure how that works..

Playing drums on a guitar is freaking strange...and the pickup might need a bit more adjustment as it was triggering too many but even so...with practice this will be amazing. but trying to send the patch to the unit it went into a mad synth mode.

Hooked it up to my PA today to hear it clean and  wow. I thought my Adrenalinn III was an amazing pedal/box, especially when I got a control board for it. But this...its...just amazing!

Its going to be a while before I can post anything..It does work out of the box of course but I want to really get my head around it before I try anything recording wise.


Saturday, 1 June 2013

92.1 yes...another diet

1st of the month so its a start point..Brenda, who has the most amazing dancers bod, has suddenly noticed that she's been eating a lot the last few months...mainly due to yours truly providing food. (She can burn water!!)

And she has therefore decided she has to shed the excess milligrams as soon as possible...meh

In support of her efforts which will probably succeed in about 3 days..I have agreed, to join her in a healthy low carb eating ....attempt :D

I'm going to get these excess kilo's off..about 20 of them...gulp. we go again..

edit I removed the orange background form Sabrina's HTML code....back to  nice white colour


Friday, 31 May 2013

Wow...thats just amazing

My GR-55 arrived today, and I have spent a few hours playing with it. In fact time has flown by and its now 4-30am I was just entranced by it.

wow...just ..just wow.. it took a little while to fix the pickup to Margaret, my Patrick Eggle which is my main giging guitar, but it wasn't a massively difficult task, I was worried I'd positioned the pickup a bit too high but I tried it...and boom it worked fine. I was playing guitar, 12 string guitar, marimaba, grand concert piano and a shed load of effects in no time

Its simple to use, though you do have to be careful to leave the strings cleanly and fret them as you pick, since even a small hammer can be detected but it quicky becomes natural.

I LOVE this gadget...still a lot of things to how to get normal pickups to go through the effects bank making it an all in one unit. But that is just a case of reading the manual.

Yes, this will be an excellent single pedal does everything box. Gimme a bit of time to practice and I'll put something up on Soundcloud this weekend.

Can't wait to use it at the next Gadgets practice, we have a new guitar player on board who is learning our bits and bobs but being able to do keyboard and other fx will make a massive difference.


Thursday, 30 May 2013

See this is what I want to do...

Ignore the slightly dodgy singing, I think it was a rather impromtu session, but I am just incredibly inspired by this. Ever since I discovered loopers (Trace Bundy's Sweet Child of mine 6 or so years ago) I've been wanting to produce things like this. Its just genius.

His straight guitar playing is also pretty amazing. What makes it so full and well produced is his use of the Roland GR-55 synth to provide drums and other fill effects as well as his brilliant guitar


As its been holiday bonus month this month, I bought myself my usual indulgence; one of these GR-55s (ebay bargain, saved 200quid) mainly to add some keyboard sounds to my band the Gadgets.

But though I knew it could do keyboard sounds better than I could with an actual keyboard, I was amazed going through youtube for some videos of the thing in action, to find this guys vids including a useful setup tutorial. It really is an entire band in his hands in real time. I really really wish I could do stuff like this. I can't ..yet!

But its made me realise I need to focus a bit more. I experiment with too many things at once. Drums, keys, software, vocal toys, pedals etc.

My guitar playing has improved a lot in the last year or so, playing with 2 bands, I may not be able to knock out a tune on demand, as I still lack the musical memory and can't sing and play at the same time (working on that though), but there are other things I want to addess in my playing.

I am locked into blues patterns too much but thats no bad thing really.

If  I have the structure of a song in front of me I'm finding I can hold my own with others and do a fair bit of improvisation in solos but I can't play along by ear.

I have also settled into a specific guitar and pedal arrangment for these which I feel is sonically "me" when I am playing in the bands. But band members are not always there when I want to play my own stuff in my own style and if I am honest I don't have my own style yet and I doubt they'd be willing to play it :D

So its time now to specialise and develop my own style. I am going to focus a lot more on looping and song structure with the GR-55 and RC300 and no other pedals or toys, I don't plan to do any solo gigs...ever!!!

 But I am going to pretend I will and see if I can come up with a set of 10 songs that work within this structure and maybe, just maybe I will risk doing a performance. Its time to Master something and be really good with it.

I'm not abandoning my recording efforts, or my bands, but I am going to spend more practice time with me, the looper and the might be fun :D I might even sell off a few gadgets....hmmm maybe not.


Saturday, 25 May 2013

I am still here

The strange colour is a small side effect to the post I put for my friend Peter's daughter who needed somewhere to host her tribute to her mum. It should go at the next monthly update, if not I will make a minor change to fix it but left it for now.

My mum hit 72 this week....she's still ticking, albeit with a few creaks and a lot more groans than I remember her when I was a kid. She and her 3 adult granddaughters (my daughte Danni and my 2 nieces Steph and Kelly) are coming over to stay with me in the Summer which will probably kill her, or me...4 totally different women in the house at one time will be interesting.

Been quite busy recently with work admin, exam prep and coding some work for students to use, which has been a total least next year I won't have so much hassle, but trying to fit in serious coding time with all the other admin stuff at work can be quite challenging.

But work has been good, finally getting on top of the admin has given me a chance to work with students more and the delivery of new Vita dev kits at the office opens up new learning goals for me.

I need to update my old website now that I am officially a business here in NL, it should have my company details on there but it does not..I don't like doing websites myself and the host company's builder tool is useless, so am going to get a student to produce it. I can claim the cost back in tax (oh its good to have an accountant).

Not had a chance to work on my recordings either, things have been ticking over in a work/home/work/sleep kinda way. With Brenda working like mad to prepare for end of year exams we've not had much chance to do anything fun for a while. But I have had time to play with the bands and student jams and am really enjoying the release of work stess that provides.

I do need to make some changes to the studio upstairs though, not least get rid of the old broken tymble dryer in the middle of the room But also the mega pedal board needs to be retired, I've settled down to using certain pedals for most of my playing so the others are just gathering dust.. Time to unplug them and put them in a cupboard until I need to use them, which will clear a bit more space.

Logic Pro is still proving hard to master, though since I've not had a lot of time to practice I guess thats the main reason...holidays are coming though, and I may very well escape upstairs to avoid the cackling she devils who will be taking over. :D

But summer has finally arrived, for today at least..and that gives me a chance to go do some important shopping chores, new dryer, some duvets, cups cutlery at the dreaded Saturday Ikea...and shop around for a blow up bed etc for the visitors. Holiday bonus cash makes that all a little less painful too and has allowed me to treat myself to a couple of nice ebay bargains...guitar related :D


Sunday, 12 May 2013

Posting this for Sabrina

'Missing Mom'

'Missing Mom'

Who Is Mum?

  • Fullname : Nor Amanah
  • Age : 44 years old
  • Birthday : 10 December
  • She was born in Malaysia
  • She has lived in Malaysia for her whole life
  • Job : MD in an advertising agency

Note From Aaryan

A note from aaryan to you mama, mothers may a lot and us as children just hate that, because we hate it when they are right, but we learn to live through it and love our mothers till the end of time for they are the ones who brought us to this life and did not abandon us and that is why I will always love my mother. Your son Aaryan!

Note From ME!

I have lived with you all my life with you. You took care of me, watched after me and loved me. You would always be there when I needed you. For 15 years, not only were you my mother but also my father my best friend and my teacher. You were a single parent and had to do everything on your own but you still manage to find time for me and Aaryan. You made sure that we were always taken care of. I remember how worried you would be in the office. You had your own work to do but you still had time to help me with mine. You would come home and make me and aaryan help cook in the kitchen even if you were exhausted from work and we would be complaining. You did all this because you knew one day we would have to leave you and you wanted us to be prepared.
Now, I am here half way around the world from you. Somewhere totally unknown to me and I don't have you here to hold my hand and wipe my tears. I have to use everything you taught me I have to grow up and not depend on you anymore and mama I realise it is a hard thing to do. Sometimes I feel like I still need you, to tell me it will be okay and even if we are halfway across the world you still manage to do that. You are my hero mama and if I could be half a person as you then I know that I have succeeded in life!

The Video

Just before I left you had organise a birthday/going away party. You had invited everyone important in my life. I was glad that they could all make it because they had played a big role in my life. Along with that party you had made an 11 minute short video for me. That video was beautiful and very touching. During the party was the first time I watched that video it had brought tears to my eyes. Everyone at the party was crying during the party and tissues were flying everywhere. I would like to share the video with everyone! VIDEO

Sunday, 5 May 2013

Oh thats nice, but still working on it.

Its been a lovely peaceful week off work, I have chilled, and chilled a bit more. Went to see Iron Man 3 (was brill) and been doing some nice recordings while Brenda has been busy studying like cazy. I don't get why Tilburg University has different holidays from NHTV but it is a pain that we can't seem to get the same days off.

At least this week we have a couple of synced bank holiday days at the end of the week so we'll ty to do something in this wonderful summer weather that has finally arrived.

I have been working on some more recordings, and have been putting together a version of Fleetwood Mac's, Man of the World...but all acoustic. Its shaping up into one of my best efforts so far, but I have a bit more work to do on it...and sadly getting ready to go back to work takes priority.

I am going to do a full multi track version with 3 guitars, bass and drums and some fx. It will be my biggest project yet but it is also surprisingly simple with the parts being quite clear and distinct. It should be a good test of my slowly improving Logic Pro skills..(I still find it madly complex though, but it does have a lot of fantastic features)

I love that Peter Green song, so sad and melancholy but so powerful and yet so damn simple, He really was a genius in his prime, he could do more with the 4 note intro to Need your Love so Bad than most modern guitar heroes do with 100. I might start a muscal project to do all the old Peter Green era FM songs....should only take a decade or 2.

I wish there were a PG tribute band I could join...maybe start, hmm the lack of singing might be a problem...however....I am going to try and take some singing lessons..I got in contact with a local singing teacher who is clearly mad and we're going to have a test lesson...he thinks eveyone can sing to some degree...I might shake that viewpoint somewhat...but if cant hurt to at least find out what my limits are comments about opening my mouth please.


Thursday, 2 May 2013


I am just starting to get the hang of Logic Pro, starting...its really complex have done a couple of tracks now, this is the best so far, though can't really find a foolproof way to do vocals yet. I do really really hate the vocal on this, I did about 20 takes but just didn't get there. I do like the basic arrangment of this though and the solo at the end, is actually the same acoustic guitar doing the ruthm but run through a crunch blues setting to great effect. Ahthankyewe

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

What did I miss?

3 days of feeling poorly, fever, sweats, headache, snotty nose, general crappy ness... Finally broke this morning..and fingers crossed no mega cough, just a bit of phlegm. Hopefully a quiet day in and I should be back to work tomorrow. I don't really understand why colds here seem to be so harsh, a theory some of us on Facebook were suggesting was the lack of decent cold cures to suppress the worst symptoms before they add complications. The standard cure here in Holland is...paracetamol with caffeine and Vit C.. So you'd get the same result from popping some pain killers with coffee and eating an orange. Ie not much, though the paracetamol will keep the headache and fever under control that's about it. At least in the UK we get nice Beechams with all maxxed out goodies plus decongestants to dry you up and that for me is the killer. The runny nose and chesty cough needs to be kept at bay or it results in a motherfucker of a chest infection. The last one had me coughing for 8 weeks.. I'm going to get some UK cold meds to stock up my medicine drawer. And looking forward to getting out of the house again, been cooped up snoozing most of the time. Ahthankyew

Sunday, 21 April 2013

Marking causes Colds...discuss

I am getting on well with the marking, RSI is bad but manageable, but I now have a cold...only a few weeks after recovering from the last one. My friend Soeren pointed out on Facebook that there may be a correlation.

He may have a point...Marking sucks my will to live, leaving me vulnerable to cold attacks.

What other horrors await my weakened immune system!!


Saturday, 6 April 2013

productive weekend

Might as well make the most of it, marking hell next week and am I determined, RSI or not to get my grading done in record time

Anyway after doing a Tom Jones number I thought I'd have a go at a classic. The singing is variable of course but I like my own arangment of this... different and certainly something I might try and do better in future.


Friday, 5 April 2013

E-Bows are great

Give you that haunting harmonic it.


And another EBAY fraud

not quite as vaulable this one, the source for the listing is all over the net, just paste in the 1st line of the description on google and you get a shed load of hits to other souces, in fact this one seems to be a common one, its listed on a lot of sales sites.

Again reported as fraud....but not expecting any response.


Thursday, 4 April 2013

Spot the problem?

its not a genuine ad, shill bidders are ramping up the price and if some mug tried to snipe it they might be 3 or 4K down....its one of 4 I spotted over the last few days. All high value vintage guitars and all the same MO's .

0 feedback seller,
located in the US but offering UK postage charges
very high end vintage guitar, which if you google the text you will find on other sites and the pics are also fairly easy to spot on ebay US or craigslist.

ok so we know this happens...BUT EBAY DONT CARE... I reported each one as fake, even sent an email which they responted with an auto note, and worse still their online fraud reporting system terminates in a 404 page not responding error.


It "sold" for 4100 in the end, after being shilled up over 3500 to last minute snipers thinking they were getting a 20K guitar for a faction of the price put in big final bids.. This of course is the con.

Also to add insult to injury....ebay suspended me from their forums for pointing out the fraud on line.
Sadly I have to conclude that ebay are as corrupt and dishonest as the scammers who are doing this, by igoring faudulent activity and preventing people from reporting it they are complicit in the crime.

I can only hope the "winners" take precautions and use a cedit card if they make payment...I suspect the sellers will try some ruse to get them to use cash tansfer methods, for me that would be a warning but others do fall for this. I will keep an eye on the sellers 0 feedback to see if it drops ot -1 over the comming weeks. I'll be happy to eat my words if it goes +1

I'd love to back up my indignation by boycotting ebay but I still buy a lot of goods via them, so for now I will try to do my best to warn people by posting dodgy listings when I find them


Friday, 29 March 2013

90.4 fading away

weight loss is slow but it is hey for me..

Been a busy couple of weeks and am now happily looking forward to a nice long easter weekend followed soon by a week off....even more hey for me. So lots to catch up on..

I am having major hassles with the bank though, getting the mortgage  transferred into my name has proven to be a nightmare of a job, after 1st forcing me to clear up my credit cards which took several months, the supposedly easy process has become harder and harder each step with documents I need, then don't need then need again and legal people who want to charge for translations then don't and then do and then don't and now papers I need but don't know anything about as well as insurance I don't have but need to get, all topped off with shockingly poor response from the ban advisor who is supposed to be implementing this simple process.


Its all becoming a total pain and my patience with the advisor at the bank is running out, one more idiotic delay is going to result in a serious complaint to her managers.

The weather here has been shocking as it has back in the UK, very unseasonal, even yesterday as we went out for an end of week drink it was snowing...this hasn't helped my cough much, though am hoping it will be gone soon...just in time for the next cold!!

Not had much chance to record or practice, finishing off the block has taken all my time and making myself available to students usually means everything gets done at the last chance....even on Thursday I had students who were warned to book my time 2 weeks ago, asking to book my time...which was all used up....crazy

But time to get the guitar and bass strapped on and do some work. Both bands are now gearing up for the summer. We have 2 Starrcase graduation performances to get ready for in June, and the Gadgets with our new drummer, Asime, well in place, are now focusing on a proper set list in the hope of doing some pub gigs this proper practice schedules are being worked out. Some of them at my new fav rehearsal place in Rijsbergen

I have to do a little bass playing again with Starrcase since our bass player has taken a short absence...we hope not for too long my bass playing is still quite poor.

Both set lists are shaping up well and we will be practicing the new songs over the coming weeks, I even sing in one of the Starrcase numbers....poor graduates!!

On the home front things are breaking down...the washer and dryer both died last week, I was lucky and managed to revive the washer but the dryer is kaput...The heating and vent system also need looking at, the boiler keeps reporting an A16 error...whatever that means and needs resetting...uncomfortable if you are in the shower at the time. The vent is stuck on number 2 setting even if set to 1, so it looks like a short somewhere in the control cables.. for now I have just unplugged it. I just have to be careful not to let Brenda's burnt cooking set off the alarms :D (I never understand people who eat well done steaks...let along charred to the colour of coal!!!)

All this means expense...added to the normal expenses this month of rates and taxes its proving to be a bit of a strain on the old guitar buying for me...and of course a bunch of wonderful bargains are showing up everywhere..

summer is nearly here though, with the warm weather and the nice summer bonus....just in time to bail me out.


Sunday, 17 March 2013

Getting harder and harder to post these widgets in here..

heard this today and thought the chord progression was amazing so had a go at it, once I had the main loop in my RC300 I had to play and sing over it....its not bad for 1 take.


Monday, 11 March 2013

92.1 the countdown seems to be stuck

hmmm weight loss not really working yet. I suppose I have to do that gym thing....god I hate the idea....

I've had the most horrible chest infection for 3 weeks and am still coughing a bit, that and my wrist has stopped me doing the gym thing....
But the infection has started to pass and the coughing has reduced I can breath a bit better now...but the wrist is still a problem....drugs are not working :(

Oh and I have a new laptop for work...oodles of power but the mousepad is just too damn close to the keys and I keep tapping it...its worse than the old laptop....I'll be using a new ergo keyboard at work soon so hopefully I can avoid using the keys or try to change my typing angle and prevent the tapping problem

I hate changing laptops, its never a simple process there's always something not working right and we need to have all our work software up to speed. ICT normally ask you to hand over your old laptop when you pick up, but I held my ground and asked for a transition period. But still not quite ready to hand back.

The washing machine appears to have a problem, I think there may be a blockage in the pumping system, so am going to strip it down sometime this week, if that does not machine time...I suspect a reapir will cost more than a new machine and since its 5 years old now maybe its time for a new one.


Saturday, 2 March 2013

92.1 the countdown restarts

I am taking the 1st of March as a new start to the diet....I've been having a lot of photo's taken of me recently and simply don't recognise the fat bastard I see in them, also during band practice I caught sight of myself playing reflected in a large guitar actually was at a 30 deg angle resting on my fat tub....enough...the fightback must continue...low cal meals from now on, and as soon as this niggly left over from the cold chest infection has cleared up back to "gulp" gym.

target weight is 70Kg, I am not going to set dates, when it hits it hits, but I am quite determined to get in decent shape for our big graduation gig in June.........So no more snacks...well except when I am at the movies, as I was tonight...but thats it, for sure.


Friday, 1 March 2013

More drugs....

Doc wants to try some anti immflamatory painkillers for a while and I have to change my typing style...this makes sense, since its typing/playing games on keys that is causing the problem.

I will go buy a wired ergo keyboard from MediaMarkt or someplace that I can take to work with me since I have ergo key boards on my home comptuers and its really the work laptop thats the problem.


Thursday, 28 February 2013

Now that kind of pain is not funny.

Its surprising how much more accurate my typing is one handed and one fingered....wait for the inevitable mistakes to start dropping in .....

My wrist is now officially fucked, another session of delayed marking which I could not put off any longer hoping it would get better, has left me crying with pain as any upward movement of my fingers is attempted..this genuinely is not funny.

I did a bit of guitar practice last night and it didn't hurt at I dare not even look at a guitar, or a door handle or a fridge door, or a gig bag, or indeed any damn thing that requires movement of my wrist.

This is now most certainly a case of an RSI related problem and I really don't know where it will lead.

Doctors appointment booked for the morning, time to get something done.


Friday, 15 February 2013

More Man flu

Had a nice sunday roast dinner last weekend, though our portuguese friends didn't entierly understand the concept of a 3 oclock dinner and turned up nearer 4 having already eaten lunch...hmmm Lamb was ruined as it went cold waiting.....oh well.

But the point really was to have my friends who had recently become parents round to show off thier babies, and get the lastest news on the new methods of raising babies which raised some eyebrows, but hey ho, everyone does it their own way.  No more sterilising however seems a bit strange to me but seems thats the way it is now. Brenda got quite broody, I didn't :D But its nice to see babies Martins little girl is so like her dad its scary, quite unearving holding a miniture of a 6 foot+ bald scouser. I'm sure she'll turn out to be a beauty like her mum though.

Unfortunately one of them (Martin) brought a nice cold for me to incubate for a few days and have hit mid week, with the result that half my holiday has been spent wrapped up on the couch sniffing and coughing...I have a few more days to go, lets hope the dreaded chest infections I've had the last few colds don't take root.

My wrist has not improved, in fact its got quite a bit worse, due to being ill I've not picked up a guitar for a few days, when I did today, I just couldn't play it without pain....back to the docs I fear and some tests to see if this can be fixed.

Going to get drunk now, since I've run out of Lemsips....every little helps.