Thursday, 31 January 2013

oww this sucks

Wrist is still painful, making typing hard. Though I was able to play guitar ok last night for band practice only to be suffering this morning.

Walk in Doctors appointment booked (how can it be walk in if you have to book...strange system but at least I get seen today), better get it checked out. can't really type well one handed and the nature of my job really needs both hands on the keyboard for testing games.


Monday, 28 January 2013

Industrial Injury

I wonder if I can sue? I bet there's a lawyer out there in daytime advertising land that can.

So many of my students games have been using the traditional WASD key control format in their projects, that my hand has been locked in a permanent claw shape for the last week during marking. I had noticed some discomfort when typing and playing guitar recently but it was not too bad.. The last few days though..owww. And this morning, its really bad.

Seriously it hurts.. Had to strap my wrist up which has restricted my typing and playing of the last few projects...fortunately not many left but its mega sore...going to have to avoid using it for a few days (and before any wags make a comment, its my left wrist...and I have a girlfriend

No more guitar playing and a lot of 1 handed typing..which seems to be considerably less error prone than my usual 2 my left hand is the one always getting it wrong!

Last weeks snow has almost cleared up, we had temps of -9/-10 depending on where you looked, I can say it was damn cold, but some milder weather and a sunny thing in the sky resulted in a load of rain yesterday which has washed all but the thickest clumps of snow away. I bet the canals are brim full though.


Sunday, 27 January 2013

But there has to be some fun?

Marking all week and decided I was going to relax this weekend, even though there are a few left to finish..I need to stop staring at screens.

So aside from doing a bit of cooking I did a bit more recording..I think I'm starting to get some tones out of my TC Helicon VoiceLiveTouch that I like now, but still need to twiddle a bit more, also hitting the floor switch for harmonies with bare feet has turned out to be a bit harder than you might think..ouch

This is also a bit cool since I was playing and singing at the same time, something I have always struggled to do. But this simple song makes it easy (ier) to do.

Still crap vocals and I can't say the guitar playing is perfect as I was concentrating hard on 2 things,  but mehhh I think back to a couple of years ago when I took up guitar seriously and I see a massive improvement.

On the subject of the VoiceLive Touch...which I do like even though I can't quite get the best out of it due to being such a crap singer...they just brought out a new one......nice timing eh!!

oh well.


Friday, 25 January 2013

Your blog post can be read in 30seconds

Still here?
Hmm personally I would clicked off at that point, since there is nothing I detest more than online info systems that insist I sit through a 30 second (or longer) advert before I get to to the content I clicked.

yes thats right the content I wanted to see, that I clicked on to look at and that I clicked away from 3-5 seconds later when I was forced to watch some annoying bloody advert.

Why do they do this? For me MSN, BBC and Youtube are the worst offenders...Especially the BBC, when I want to watch any kind of in depth report on the news site I am forced to watch some idiotic advert for Malay Airwars or Singapore development agency..NOOOO I want to watch the bloody news story.

BBC is worse for another reason, often the links are broken, and after the advert you hit refresh...and guess what...yup same bloody advert.
Also if you do manage to sit through it and get to your content and want to read something else... THE SAME ADVERT on the next click comes up, and again and again...
Time for the back button and missing the orginal point of interest due to can't be arsed syndrome.

I get that advertising is needed but c'mon it needs to be optional especially if its going to take up your precious 30 seconds...At least youtube SOMETIMES offer a click after 5 seconds option so I can just about handle that.. But so may other sites I simply stop using now however interesting the content might have been.

Site managers..take note.


Monday, 21 January 2013

Danger Will Robinsson

Just another of my friendly ebay warnings, somethings are really not what they seem, like this for example

which proports to be a famous 1 off hand made guitar built and sold for Charideee last year by Gordy Bischoff..its quite famous mainly becuase it sold last November to a US based buyer for $9400

Quite impressive, you can see its story here

So I somehow doubt a 0 feedback UK seller has this in his possession and is willing to sell it at under 200quid....16 people so far,  however seem willing to belive it.
Hell I'd have a punt at it if it were even a good copy..but I'll resist.

more fool them.

edit it went for £515...if its genuine, its a mega bargain...but c'mon....really???


Lunch time noodle

Finished my morning session of the mighty marking marathon and had a bit of a noodle.
Normally I play this on my Blueshawk with a fairly straight amp setting but this time I just picked up a strat which I was trying to practice MJ's Beat it on (and failed) and pumped in a random Adrenalinn III setting (22) and really loved the sound so...hit record and here it is..sight mistake in the bridge but still a nice improvement in my tone if not my speed compared to the version I put up a year or so back.

right..back to marking.


oh it wasn't Dance

Silly me, last nights concert was not a dance event though dance was part of it in a sense, it was a really cool show by a Canadian performance percussion band called Scrap Arts Music

It was genuinely aweseome they got a standing ovation at the end, thought he theatre was only about 3/4 full which is a shame

Quite brilliant and ingenious music making. Highly's a vid of them in action


Sunday, 20 January 2013

Busy busy and new most painful thing ever

Between catching up on very late grades and dealing with students getting ready for exams its been a busy couple of weeks, hence the silence.

Also getting the studio altered...which I've not quite managed to do since Starrcase had a gig to do last Friday 10th, which mean ripping out bits of my studio to take to the gig.. We need to make sure the venue has gear in future. All my carefully placed and calibrated stuff is now lying around the floor waiting to  be repositioned.
It wasn't really up to the job either, my PA is for large rooms or small quiet halls, not great big halls with several hundred people chit chatting as well...we need more power..but its not up to me to supply it.

Oh well at least once back here I got my PA hooked up the Mac output with the R24 and standard Mixer routing all my guitar stuff out.. The result is I can play live mixes to backing tracks better than ever before...So far no neighbours have complained but it has been loud a few times (for testing purposes)
We almost had another gig next month but it didn't pan time to rehearse our new set for the spring street party season. My studio gear is staying put though.

Brenda got me a foot massage gift token for my Birthday last month, and we went to the Chinese massage place in town to use it...only to discover annoyingly that the price had gone up since it was bought...hmmmm so only got 45mins instead of an hour..bit of a con but still...

It was interesting and quite refreshing but my god it was painful..I have a lump/knot/something on my foot she worked away at for a few minutes...oh my....I've never felt such pain, especially when she dragged the handle of some tool over it to "break it down" a week later it still hurts....Though overall my feet are far less painful, also not using my fancy trainers every day seems to be helping.

I'm off for a bit of culture tonight, Brenda is taking me to a dance show in Tilburg tonight....since Dance is very much her thing I hope I like it...or at least I hope she will forgive me if I don't ;)


Sunday, 6 January 2013

I've seen things, you people would'nt belive

Ah well everything ends.

Holidays are over, am sat here planning this week's classes for the last week of Block B and thinking back on a most enjoyable and lazy holiday, most of it at home.
I really needed that. No stress, no hassle and no end in sight to my sore feet...I really need to wear my new shoes more to see if they work.

I plan to do a recap week for students so that no one is caught out by the break so exams should be pretty straightfoward and then spend the 3 weeks before the next block revamping all my coursework in a nice easy and organised way...My new year "resolution" to get more organised is on, though I still have some backlog stuff to clear up.

Also had some great band sessions with both bands, including an all day Friday practice  for a gig next week, we have 1 more run through on Monday. Only problem is my teaching schedule clashes so I'm hoping that our fantastic scheduler Caroline can move things around so I can play with Starrcase at the Sebeliuslaan New Year Party.

Rehearsals have been going well aside from me just not being able to get my head around Adele's Rolling in the Deep..its not the chords, its the timing of the changes it totally throws me..lets hope I get it right and that the schedule accomodates me. 
I dont' normally play the rhythm guitar parts in Starrcase but Eric the main rhythm guitarist can't make it so I'm having to do more work...its good for my development of course but frustrating that I can't get what is really quite a simple number...more practice!!

I never got round to cataloguing my guitars as I intended, too many other things to do including messing with my new vocal toys...I've said before these things don't make a bad singer into a good singer but they do make me focus a bit more on my singing and it is very very slowly starting to get a bit better without too much pitch correction help...
Just have to worry about enunciation, mic technique, breathing, control, tone and all those other bits the machines cant fix.
Here's a tiny test project I am working on, partly to experiment with settings and partly to get used to Logic pro which is pretty will take me weeks to get the hang of it..but small steps give big rewards later...I hope.

I need to redo the vocals as I messed up a couple of times and also do the drum machine and guitar as separate tracks and add bass and "cup" drums...(if you see the triggerfinger version you will understand)
It was just something to test basic editing in Pro...actually had me mystified how to make an MP3 for a while...(bounce is the method?? Yeah I know I didn't get that either)
The mic settings are not yet to my liking I have 250 or so presets but I want to find something I like for my voice this was close but not quite.


Tuesday, 1 January 2013

And so it begins

As with 99% of the population of Europe, its time to make fresh starts in the new year.
I don't hold much with resolutions as such, but the start of a new year does indeed mark a point where you can start to record changes in your life and follow the progress

For me...that has to be;
  • Losing some weight...
  • Getting better organised.
  • Making more effort to enjoy the time that getting better organised will give me.
  • Improve my coding skills
  • Improve my guitar playing

The weight thing 1st though, its time I dealt with this properly, my half hearted attempts to lose weight last year only dropped a few kilo's which has come back easy enough. 

In this. my 50th year I have to be more aware of my upcoming and inevitable mind is already on the way out so better start making an effort to save the bod. I'm currently around 92Kilos....maybe 94...ermm I 'll check later. But I need to drop down to at least 70 which is about right for my frame and build.. Thats a pretty massive  drop and frankly not I'm going to aim for 75Kilos as a target weight, I'll give myself 6 months.. So June 1st! I will put  not in my calander that I have to report on my progress.

Of course how I do this is the issue? Diet? Hmm probably. I can cook, so of course I can eat better so I'll have to do that but it needs to be combined with.....
Excercise...gaahh I hate gyms, but I am still paying for the membership of my local place and not using it, and annoyingly paying for it does not actually make me thinner...who knew???
So I suppose once a week is not going to kill me...2 times a week might be better..But jogging isn't going to happn till I lose at least 10k my knees will never take it.
More cycling I think, so I will invest in  better bike.

Getting better organised....this is kinda a no brainer..I have all my work courses laid out from previous years, but not in any great order, and I tend to update them as I use them, partly to alter the flow as I determine the speed of the students. But that has to stop..
I am going to pull them all into 1 collected folder, update them and add more links to research material.
From now on I plan to make use of our study/exam/retake weeks to get these properly in order, so that every single class is laid out and ready, with a Friday re-working to make sure I am up todate and flexible.

Enjoying the time....I have to cut out the need to exclude popping to the pub more often, But I am going to socialise a bit more..Do some cultural stuff and see more movies... A Pathe monthly card will have to be arranged this month so I can see more pics more often. (btw..watched 3d and HF, liked it was different...don't like having to wait for the next one)

A few more trips to the theatre and some culture might be on the cards too. Brenda is a dancer and wants me to experience some dance theatre so lets see how that goes...She also wants me to take up Ballroom dancing.....hmmm well I'll give it a go, but no promises there..

Improving my coding..ok this might seem an odd one, after all I'm a highly experienced programmer,but there are things I need to improve. I've never been much of a 3D coder, it's always been a bit of a black art for me.. I know the maths involved and have used it in several project, but its never come naturually to me to think in 3D terms, I just use libs and let the magic happen...So I'm going to make an effort to do at least 1 build from the ground 3D project this year, on PSM, so that if it comes out halfway decent I can sell it.
I also need to be a better OOP coder, if systems like IOS and PSM are to be embraced I have to be better at it, even though I really don't like it, there's no point trying to hold back the tide.

I also need to make more effort to be more formal in my coding style...I generally am not very strict with my students coding methods, since to me its more important that thay try to do something clever rather than they way they do it. But my 3rd year students don't seem to be seeing the best of me when it comes to more advanced coding on consoles...So as well as my PSM project I'm going to see about starting up a PS3 project.

Improving the guitar playing...we'll it is getting better there's no doubt that I am considerably better than I was last year.. playing with the bands helps, I'm starting to feel confident in my overall ability to express myself..but I need to focus my practice more...So henceforce...I must try to do some proper regimented practice, scales, chords and riffs.....hmmm this might be harder than anything else....have to focus.

And thats it...2013 here we go.