Wednesday, 30 December 2015

New but annoying

My old faithful Samsung 40inc beastie which has served me well since I  arrived in NL has been troubled of late with a nasty splodge in the middle of the screen, which apparently cannot be fixed, don't know exactly what the cause is, but it gives actors a slight ruddy complexion or maybe a breard, depending on the lighting.

It seemed to be worse after my return from the UK, so I decided I better get a new set which the Xmas bonus had not yet been spend on a new Gibson or Fender

A bit of a shop around and I ordered a Phillips PFK557509 a massive beast of a telly 55 or your actual inches in diameter.

It arrived very swiftly and on time with amazing real time on line tracking, and I swiftly unpacked it from its ginormous box, which at first had me worried they'd delivered an 80" one.

A bit of reshuffling of TV boxes later and purchase of a slightly longer than 8" satellite cable, since it has a satellite decoder in it too.
And I sat down to watch, and listen to something quite wonderful

It's big, I think I mentioned before, its full HD also high frequency, compared to my older set which was no HighFreq...

The higher frame rate makes movies seem incredibly realistic, lighting and shade don't seem to work as well as the traditional blurry 24fps you see in the cinema, a bit like when I watched The Hobbit in Hi Freq.

it takes a bit of getting used to but the size and quality of the image is amazing.

The Sound too is awesome but odd, with a wireless subwoofer now sitting under my seat as well, I get something quite amazing in terms of rumble

It has inbuilt wifi so easy to hook up to my network, which  in turn means Netflix is available and no more need for my Chromecast device, though I will probably keep it installed

Installing satellite is really slow and I need to try to work out how to keep them in a nice order, I'm not abandoning my Humax freesat box but this gives me another tuner to work with..and the picture is amazing :D

But I get my freesat channels and probably loads that's cool.

Ambilight is an odd idea, LED's at the back of the set change colour and project to the wall at the back of the set, but somehow it works really might annoy me later but for now, I am loving it,.

Annoying comes from the fact that the menus and set ups are painfully bad, once set up its ok but wow...someone needs to get a course or 2 in GUI design.

anyway, will now continue with my setting up. I can also include my Ziggo cable and if I plug in a USB drive I can also save and record programs...quite amzing. TV tech really has come on a lot in the last few years.


Saturday, 26 December 2015

Me time, can be expensive

Lucky there is Primark to keep the cost down.

I've bought my new winter wardrobe, couple of jackets and jeans, lots of shirts a few jumpers and the new Mission Impossible vid, and didn't break 200quid...amazing :D

Ermm I also managed to take a trip to Ramsbottom to meet Pat at Mad Dog Guitars, what a lovely chap, he's got his own range of really nice guitars, low prices and a wee bit hit and miss on quality from the makers, the good ones are amazing, but there's a few less good ones, but still super value,  but he's doing a fine job setting them up to be a good solid buy. I couldn't resist buying one of his absurdly cheap Jumbo's, it was just so nice to play. Even though for me the strings were a bit light. I think this may be the actual one I bought here..

I need to add a pickup to it at some point though but I think this will be brilliant for my new ToneWoodAmp fx unit when it gets here..hoping it will be there soon after I get back.

MadDogGuitars Jumbo acoustic.
A little vid of the Jumbo filmed last week with Roger Crombie in the MadDogGuitars shop in Ramsbottom. Guitar is solid spruce top, mahogany back and sides, Rosewood fingerboard, bone nut and saddle. £179 inc free postage. Cheers Pat 07715572304
Posted by Maddog Guitars on Monday, 12 October 2015

One odd thing though I've really buggered my shoulder and today my neck, I think it sfrom changing gear with  my left hand again...can't think of anything else.
Really is absurdly painful and can't raise my left arm above shoulder height...hope to fuck it settles down soon, Nicked some of mums Co-codomal to keep it under control...might need to go see the sadist Chinese masseuse when I get home...must be bad to even consider that!


Wednesday, 23 December 2015

Baby puke and sleeping

Harvey 2 is, so cute, got to feed him last night, and even though  I burped him, he promptly threw up all over my trousers and into my big glass of orange juice.

So..damn cute!!

:D :D :D :D


Friday, 18 December 2015

Wonderful week

Well that was a pretty wonderful week. Starting with wonderful baby news, hearing my daughters voice on the phone gushing about the new baby and telling me all about her uncomfortable women's medical problems...she's not shy..booby feeding is now my new favourite medical term.

Then back at home, fantastic rehearsal and even more amazing gig at the NHTV Christmas party, where pretty much everyone was up on the floor, we got so much good feedback, even for the Christmas songs we really hate.....but they went down ok.

New singer Maria has really settled in now and the combinations of the full set of 3 female vocals in harmony is fucking stunning, real hair on end stuff that had me and the other bandmates beaming with came through on the night for sure.. What a band, we really go from strength to strength.

The book is actually starting to take shape, 10,000 words, 4 chapters in I read it back to myself the other night and its bloody good stuff, still need another 30 or so chapters but I think it might be a good working resource when its done.

Lovely quiet birthday with lots of good wishes and even an on time Birthday card from mum...I was invited out by everyone but chose to have a nice quiet and relaxing evening in, just one glass of wine. Bliss.

And now..its Christmas, work is done,  time to have a well earned rest, go see Danni and spend a bit of time in the UK catching up with family and friends.

I have wi-fi in the B&B so will update if there's anything worth posting..for now, time to go make some crappy music videos and pack a bag.

Merry Chrimbo


Thursday, 17 December 2015

so many nice people

One thing I try very hard to maintain is keeping my facebook open only to people I actually know.
There's one or 2 hobby followers, a few mad guitar players but 98% of the people on there are people I actually know, work with, socialise with or have worked with or socialised with.. I don't do the collect a friend, first to 1000 gets to win at Yahtzee (South Park mum, you won't have seen it)

So its especially nice to see over 100 birthday wishes from people I know

I was hoping that there was a 1-1000 chance that someone in particular would try to connect with me today, but the hint wasn't taken....maybe next year.

At least I won't be alone at Christmas, I get to go see Danni and her new addition.. Time to spend that Xmas bonus on someone other than me.


Saturday, 12 December 2015

I'm a grandad, even if I am far too young and cute

Well that was a nail biting 24 hours. After the message that baby Harvey was on the way, I had to endure radio silence for 24 hours. I barely slept hoping to get a phone call, and was on tenter hooks all day at work, but nothing.

Finally after my mum also started to get a bit stressed out with the lack of info from anyone, I called the hospital who eventually put me through to the labour ward.

Who then said they could not tell me anything about what had happened, but that she was no longer in the labour ward.

WHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHAAAAAAAAAAATTTTTTT!!!!!!!!!!!! do you mean "what happened"....."what happened???" I was very stressed, even though of course in the interests of confidentiality they were 100% right to tell me that they could not say anything, but "what happened" is a foreboding term...

Sensing my extreme discomfort at that expression, the person on the line, tried to reassure me that its ok, she's fine...phew...and the baby.... Sorry I can't say anything about that...ok ok ok..slightly less stressed but clearly not the answer I wanted as I held back tears.

Can you get a message to her to call her father, so I can let the other family members know they are all ok.

Of course, I'll get a message to them...phew..

And so began the longest 10 mins of my life as I waited to hear...checking on Danni's whatsapp to make sure that her phone was on again, and suddenly there was a read confirmation of my last 3, please contact me messages.

I tried calling but no joy....
Told mum on messenger that I 'd tried calling
tried whatsapping a hello, no response

Then finally a call, from Kieran, Dannis' fella....Sorry the signal in the hospital is crap, Danni asked to pop outside and let me know that she's ok.
Through a broken connection the words, difficult labour, a breech birth, delivered by forceps...(wow that's unusual), but the key words finally came.

"Both are fine and now resting."

Cue floods of tears..and virtual hugs for all 3 of them.
"Will send pic soon"

The feelings of joy at that moment cannot be captured in words..

I don't have all the usual details, like length, weight, time, those will come, "Both are fine and now resting", was all I wanted to hear.

Happy glorious wonderful words....

I got the picture a few hours later, I was sat in a pub quiz I'd been roped into with my friend Richard from The Gadgeteers and burst into tears....followed by lots of back slapping
She made me promise not to post pics online, so I can't show it here...but trust me, he's beautiful

have to go..need to buy more tissues.


Thursday, 10 December 2015

Baby on way

Danni's in Labour....oh this is exciting, and scary...I'm bursting with pride...can't wait to hear that my little Grandson and my lovely Daughter and her shitting bricks fella are all one big happy family

watch this space...


Still no writing a book

She's still not popped, and she's getting very fed of up me asking if she I'll back off for a bit.

In other news, I've started to document my learning process on the Raspberry Pi, which I am learning to use so that I can give some talks on at uni. quite a few of them want to do assembly coding and cross platform remote development. So the Pi was chosen to make that possible...and your's truly has been the one working it all out.

Since this was my 1st experience with the Pi as an actual target device for programming, it struck me it was a good idea to try to share that experience with others who may be starting out on the machine
After collating a few of my notes I realised I had the basics of a tutorial I've always want to do.

Combining my 1st year starting programming courses with later more advanced, working on consoles.

The Pi isn't a console of course but the process with you work with it using a remote dev machine and VisualGBD to allow you to use Visual Studio, is basically the same so it could be a good introduction to the methods of working I usually use when doing PS4 work without actually having access to a PS4 which of course is the situation for most home coders. A cheap pretend console might be a good way to provide some tips to new coders so that when they come across real consoles the methods are not totally alien to them, even if the software and SDK's are.

Depending on where you look the machine appears to be more powerful than a Nintendo GameCube and on par with a PS2 or original Xbox. There were some amazing games on those machines, so if I can get a working framework together built on OpenGL ES2.0 I'll be a very happy man.

Anyway, no idea if it will end up as anything worth reading, but I have been partially inspired by one of my students who gifted and signed for me a copy of his 2nd edition of a book on Mine craft modding.

If I document my whole journey, from the frustration of getting it working to having that 1st OpenGL ES triangle displayed, to creating a framework to make a few of my 1st year games. It should pad out to a few hundred pages of semi interesting stuff.

I'll have to also break out the dormant 3D skills to write a framework that can cope with models and scenes, but that might be a 2nd book.

Having a book published also takes off a bit of academic pressure I get from time to time over not having a masters degree. so another good reason. Money isn't one of the other reasons, apparently tech books don't really make much cash, or hot the top of the best seller list often, but if I can get it out, I think it will be nice to say I'm an author...even if the plot is a bit dull and the butler probably does it at the end.

Anyway, time to ask if she's popped yet?


Tuesday, 8 December 2015

Stll no baby

that is all


Wednesday, 2 December 2015

Not looking forward to it...

Yup December is here again...the inexorable countdown to Christmas.....I hate it, especially on my own...but it simply holds no real joy for me...


That by the time it comes I should be a granddad to a lovely little bouncing boy....he's due any day now, and I'm going to spend Xmas over in the UK with my new babba and his mum and dad.

So any day now....I have the most wonderful photo of Danni, ready to pop, but she does not want me posting it on line, which is fine, I've shown it to almost every one I know  and will print it out and frame it, along with the soon to come 1st photo of her and Harvey...yup,,,same name as my dog...not going to let that confuse me...I might end up throwing tennis balls for a 2 week old....

She's also asked me not to post pics of Harvey....and I will honor her request until she says otherwise....wont' stop me taking 100's of them though :D

exciting Christmas....who'd have thunk!!


Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Sat in my dressing gown doing coding, waiting till the suns over the yard arm

Been learning Unity5, I've dabbled with Unity on an off over the years, but never full on taken the plunge and "got into it".

Its a very nice package for a lot of great ideas, but as a coder it just does not make me feel very satisfied... I can do some nice things via the scripts but the overall lack of feeling I'm in control of the whole process makes me feel a little underwhelmed

I suppose I should learn how to write plugins for it, that will make it lot easier to actually feel that I'm doing something meaty with it.

Its not that its a bad package, far from it, its an absolute miracle of modern engine development....but I can't help thinking that I want it to do more, than what it does..I feel limited...even though I wholeheartedly agree I'm no where near imaginative enough to even test Unity's limits
And maybe that's it....Its really a package for people who want to write a game...something they've thought up, can explore their world in, and make it happen, really easy...

As a coder I get my satisfaction from taking a problem and getting it working....Unity does that for where are my problems to solve....I'm not and never have been a game designer, so for me I feel I have little to do.

oh well....I have to become much more proficient in it, to aid students who are going to be spending the next block at least using it...the last thing I want is for students to ask, how do I do this...and me not know.....

only 6 hours will wine o'clock and I'll feel a bit happier about it then.


Thursday, 19 November 2015

Sad state of the planet

The Paris attacks are still dominating the news, the media being what they are, are not saying a lot about attacks happening elsewhere in the world, but the fact is the world is a sick and twisted place, people are living in fear and dread of what the lunatics will do next.

Its too easy to blame Muslims,Christians, Jews,Hindus, or even bizarrely  Buddhists who are now deciding its a good idea to harm other people.....its nothing to do with religion!

For the most part this is a socioeconomic issue. The poor are hungry and need food they see others wasting, the ignorant are uneducated and grasp for knowledge they feel is the truth, and the powerful, exploit all they can for their own gain, keeping people diverted while they rob and steal and consolidate their power

Religion is often used as a means to exploit the poor and ignorant, given the extent of the harm people do in religons name its hard to see those who manipulate the masses from the pulpits as men of god, they are just exploiters, themselves often exploited, every bit as bad as the political Tsars and dictators in their offices.

Religion isn't the cause of this madness, it certainly fuels it, and feeds the madness,  and we'd be so much better off without the delusion of sky fairies approving of the brutal acts we commit in their names. But its not the cause

But the cause is, as I said, the fact we have poor and ignorant people. On a planet where we're more than capable of feeding and educating everyone, with the means to do so via global communication and infrastructure that allows mass mobility.. We can educate and feed everyone. We can raise everyone's standard of living, we can demonstrate and in time convince everyone of the oneness of humanity and the simple beauty of knowledge. We can do all a matter of a few years if there is a will.

But instead we focus on our differences, our homelands, our language, our skin colour anything that makes us different.
Our tribalism is deeply ingrained in our dna, that we trust no-one who looks or sounds a bit different, or worst has different delusional views on what happens when we die...

And this is just one more self important opinion on an internet full of self important opinions, none of which are listened to, and soon there will be another atrocity, in the name of a non existent god, planned by a deluded nutter, who will be doing the will of someone who's agenda is for themselves.......

We're seriously a fucked up species...our end must be near..


Sunday, 8 November 2015

Nice weekend...sorta

Been cooking.

I've filled the freezer again with a months worth of food, Curry, Mince and Tatties,, Mac & Cheese. There's still pasta and stew in there, I suppose I should make sure older meals rise to the top so they don't end up getting missed out when I play freezer lottery.
I've also started to take a meal with me to work, I really do enjoy having a nice hot (microwaves are great) meal at lunch, instead of the never ending and rather expensive sandwiches.

It also saves me an absolute fortune on food. One thing I discovered last year was that I waste a freaking fortune on food. Not all of which gets eaten, or it often ends up in the freezer for a year.
If not I was eating far too much takeaway, 2 even 3 times a week, at 15 euro's a pop....nearly 50 quid a week..

But doing this freezer lottery idea has been brilliant, meals work out as only a few euro's each and its all home cooked stuff, ready to nuke as soon as I get home. The only limit is it needs to be a 1 pot style meal, hence curries and stews...but since I like that kind of food, its not a problen

Means I have a lot more money to spend on booze!!!


Friday, 6 November 2015

TFI Friday

What a week, busy as fuck, so much time spent with students, several cock ups and getting home exhausted, but at least no actual school work to do when I get home. V2 is proving to be very intense 9-5 but so much easier during my own time.

Am just heading off to work now, hopefully a quieter sort of day, followed by several beverages of an alcoholic nature after work...


Saturday, 31 October 2015

Still seeking ....something

I had a strange evening last night, I met up with Brenda to give her some  things of hers I'd found, though I stupidly forgot to take the bag of LED lights she'd asked me specifically for. I did get the photos I found on an SD card transferred to more usable USB and CD

Such a strange evening, we went for a meal, and of course it was awkward, I can't deny my feelings for her have not diminished at all in the last 11 months, She looked amazing as always, and her smile still made my heart flutter, though she didn't smile as much as I remember, as much as I've tried to move on this women still occupies all my waking thoughts.....sad innit

As always the problem is that she simply doesn't feel the same way, she's not really moved on per-se but she's also not interested in going back...strange sort of limbo we both seem to be in. I was left feeling incredibly sad at the loss of this relationship that shaped my life and offered so much promise, and that some of the consequences of my bad handling of what was a minor argument could cause so much pain, to both of us.
I'd give anything to try to fix it, but its not up to me, thats also more reasons to be sad.

I don't know why I'm posting this, its not as if she's ever going to read it, or understand, I just felt I should...after  all the whole point of this is to document how I feel about things, good bad or plain sad
Maybe I just need more time, 5 or 6 years might do it.


Thursday, 29 October 2015

Work+Drink = .....

Surprising results

Been doing a lot of very nice coding work, some to help students and some for me

Hope I didn't put any drunk comments in the students work..

I've shown you this a fuckign thousand times and you're still my Bessie mate

or something!


Monday, 26 October 2015


can't sleep, chronic insomnia has made me nocturnal....

very fed up

probably need to stop doing this to myself


Sunday, 18 October 2015

Earworms...and the danger of insufficient skills

I've got 2 songs rattling around in my head. I can't get rid of them 1 old one new.

Time in a Bottle, and V. Bozemans What is love.

Time I can play pretty well though the guitar is a bit tricky, lots of arpeggios and up and down the neck, but its do-able, but can't really sing it well enough, and every attempt to record it has failed..miserably, either the singing is crap which has been the case since the mega cold (or since birth), or I mess up the guitar.. Many attempts, but nothing I want to publish on YouTube yet.

The other has an odd timing that throws me on the simple chords, I would be mad to even attempt to sing....but its soooo cool I really want to..but can't sing like an R&B queen...I wonder if a folk version would work ;) maybe a ska version...oh oh, a heavy death metal version?

I will keep trying, if I get one of them sounding decent I'll be happy, then maybe they will get out of my head and get forgotten.


Friday, 9 October 2015

Must avoid ranting!

I have a tendency to be a bit too passionate about things I care for... that makes me a little vocal when people say things I don't agree with, no, I need to rephrase that...people say lots of things I don't agree with, and I don't bat an eyelid, so its not that.
Its when people extoll an at odds with me, moral view of something, or a blatantly false view...and then make some claim about it being an opinion or a fact when it clearly isnt'..

Something's will always be subjective... Like, music, sports, even religion, the great unmentionables at a party...But ones view on politics, is interesting, it is subjective but also very telling, the morality that takes you towards a particular political view can be quite disturbing.

I've got into a bit of a political rant on Facebook, with some rather well to do, affluent business types, (I mixed with a lot of affluent business types back in the day when I was, for a short time at least, also an affluent business type). Who are banging on and on about the new Labour leader, (Jeremy Corbyn for those of you reading 3 years from now, when he may we have been replaced) being a ...well you name it, the bullshit that comes some people (including Cameron) makes me roll my eyes in wonder at the manipulative nonsense politics has become

These are mainly very intelligent savvy people, who got to be rich and affluent by being intelligent and savvy, but have lost all connection with reality and are jumping on the bandwagon to undermine and bray at Labour and their perceived enemies, "the left" like donkeys..

I tried at one point to highlight the extraordinary hypocrisy and duplicity of their own poster boys, the Conservative party, and of course, just like religion they don't listen, taking more time to continue to bray and run down any who don't agree with them.

They extoll the virtues of the free market, and trickle down economy as the only way to make the world a better place, and find it odd when I suggest business above all has not made the world a better place (materially maybe but something that's been in place in UK and US for some 30 years now, and clearly does not work...for the majority. Those at the top, they clearly do fine, and even laugh at my suggestion that the world we live in now is considerably worse that it was in the early 80's, because ..well, we have a better standard of living now...Do we?

Pointing out that;  the UK has no industry any more, no natural resource harvesting (aside from oil which benefits only the oil companies, I see no cheap petrol in the stations), no steel, no coal, no meaningful lumber, no fishing, no national car/truck manufacturing industry of any note.

NHS in crisis, social services at breaking point, crime of all levels at record levels,  job security is non existent. High streets are full of pound shops and windows are boarded. Prisons are full,  long term unemployment is endemic. That children leave school illiterate and those that aren't can't afford to pay for university education, so end up in debt.

That there are no meaningful council house building programs, whose tenants now must rely on the mercy of landlords who inflate the cost to screw the government/taxpayers.
That the levels of extreme and moderate poverty are higher than ever, causing even more crime, making the population more and more insular and afraid.
That council cutbacks mean streets are no longer clean or well maintained, roads are slow to be repaired.
That personal debt has never been higher, and peoples debts are traded!!
That national infrastructure is crumbling with motorways constantly under repair and only investment funded (and therefore a return required) options remain, years after the privatising of rail, we've seen no benefit to the traveller..

We see a culture no longer based on the rewards of hard work, but on an ever avaricious desire to take money from people, chasing profit above all other concerns and blaming others when we don't get to buy the latest replacement for our 200" wall mounted OLED screens. Consumer hunger being fed constantly with a wave of media hype and lifestyle expectations.
We live in constant fear of terror, due to successive right and right leaning governments determination to distract the population with wars and threats to stability, mismanagement of foreign policy on extraordinary scales and distortions of fact that would make Herr Goebbels proud.
And the worst thing of all....reality TV....well maybe not the worse but its pretty bad.
There's a 100+ more things I could add here but I have work get on with.
Pointing all this we really really live in a better world than we did in the 80's?

Some do, and they've never had it so good....Sadly...the majority don't... Its time we put an end to the madness....
The rise of the right wing nutjobs all over Europe has made 1 phrase popular for all the wrong reasons. Its time we took our country back....a phrase that has an ugly and hate filled meaning when Britain First and other sicko groups use it.

But it is time we took our countries back...from the greed and selfishness that is grinding them down and turning us into fodder to keep them well fed.

By the way, one of the main causes of my ire was due to Cameron and his spin machine quite deliberately twisting something Corbyn said during a's an image to explain

Now what Corbyn said made perfect sense and was a comment on the tragedy of the situation in the middle east, idiotic wars, creating tensions and terror as well as the abandonment of the rule of law...quite right that is a tragedy...its a tragedy that a modern democratic country is behaving this way. A trial and verdict demonstrates the right way to do it, but instead we simply behave like the people we are condemning. Soon we can happily let governments kill people so long as we all know they are bad...hmmmm

What Cameron, or rather his speech writers with his blessing did was highlight a small part of that intelligent well thought out statement out of paint Corbyn as something he clearly isn't'.
Well context is a bitch...the internet has decided it will explain that to Mr Cameron.

Context......removing it really is a tragedy!


Saturday, 3 October 2015

Back to some music, and hating my mac...

No more health updates...I'm sick of reporting that I'm sick...I am..but who cares...I am slowly getting better

Which has brought me back upstairs to the music room, which has fallen into a bit of disrepair after 2 months almost no use...Time to make some new videos, after I clean up..
I also decided to use a bit of surprising spare cash following a drop in my mortgage to invest in a full copy of Abelton live..I get a 40% discount as a teacher so its not too bad.

I have seen lots of people using this, and after buying a Novation launchpad a few months ago its time to make some proper use of the puppy...assuming of course I can get the flaming mac to run fast enough.
Ever since the last OS X upgrade, the thing has been running like treacle, which is upsetting as it was a perfectly fine little machine for music before. I am hoping the music packages themselves are not suffering from slow down..We'll soon find out

I also have logic pro 9 on this mac which is fantastic in partnership with my m_Audo Project Mix interface...I now have  a pair of Novation midi controllers, a fantastic 8 channel interface, two top of the line pieces of recording software used by the best artists in the business to create wonderful music...............I have no idea how to use them...damn they are complex!

and I'm supposed to be a tech person?

Anyway Ableton is basically a live performance piece of software, and Logic is for studio quality work (yeah like thats gonna happen), I want to see if I can make something decent with them.

once I work though the tutorials which are leaving me befuddled on the 1st pages.

I'm screwed....But I'll muddle along and see if I can do anything with them...if at first you don't succeed, try again, then give up, you're just being an arse.... :D

Videos hopefully soon, at least test versions if nothing else


Friday, 25 September 2015

kill me now

I am so damn tired, and looking in the mirror I look it.

The cough has died off quite a bit thankfully, though strangely at night around bedtime it decides to pop back for a visit, keeping me away for a while but I am no longer getting the hacking till 3am stuff again..

Right now main problem is sinus pain...every day I seem to get a mega headache behind my right eyebrow...and its pretty intense. Paracetamol seems to be ok though if I can take it before the pain really kicks in.

oh god look at me...sat here moaning about how sick I!!!! Someone who hates being sick, hates the concept of being sick and refuses to go see docs.

I need to stop posting health updates.. I'm starting to sound like a hypochondriac, the thing I despise more than anything in the world.

In other news.....I'm too sick to care about :D

nah...other things in life are equally depressing right now, still painfully  single, still bored shitless at home, still drinking too much, and not able to make any new music vids till my voice comes back without a cough every time I try to sing.
Made a big batch of chicken curry will have plenty to eat for this month.. Need to blance it up with some Mince and tatties and Spag bol so the freezer lottery can be a bit more interesting.

Bad news though, my boiler needs to be replaced, the annual service reports it is leaking CO and not safe to use...that's a nice new expense to make up for the nice mortgage rate reduction I got the other much of excess disposable income. :(

Life really is pretty shit at the moment isn't money, no woman, no pleasure, no...oh wait..booze... its not that bad.

Work is starting to settle in to a routine, though the new V2 system still needs to settle in. I'm currently working with some new framework software and getting my head around it. Its very good though, and some small improvements from  my colleagues and me have produced a really nice piece of code that the students can make full use off for their projects.

Next week they get to start their main block A project, having done all the prep work for it..they now have to do a bit more learning to learn, and learning by doing...with some gentle pushes from us.

I'm going to make an effort to create a few videos for students on how to use the framework, soon as I don't look like I've just woke up from a 3 week bender... I do not want vids of me looking like crap hovering on any site for years to come.

Oh well coffee break over, back to do I get the new sprite batching system to work with animation.....hmmm


Sunday, 20 September 2015


I am in soooo much pain I can't tell you, 2 ocycontins, 2 Solpadine and an antihistime, are not helping...and what is this sinus's.....yup, finally the cough sorta stops, and now I have about 100pounds of pressure in my sinus cavity, refusing to be released and my head feels like its about to explode. only now with the drugs starting to do something am I actually able to look at a screen, with one eye closed and constantly wiping my eyes, which are weeping without any emotional issues... its just the most astonishing intense pain.

All this from 1 fucking cold nearly 2 months I mean really wtf... I used to shake off colds with ease... I need to start looking for a nice warm country to live in, I can't deal with this shit anymore.

Argghhh just arghhh I am so fucking tired, physically and mentally from silly illnesses..


Friday, 18 September 2015

Sleep does not heal all

After a week or more of getting by on less than 3 hours sleep per night , I took the chance to use my work at home day to maximise my sleep..went to bed last night at 8, yes 8...but the minute I dozed off I woke up down stairs to have a mug of chocolate and do some student emails, before getting dozed up on cough meds, anti-histamines and pain meds for all my torn muscles(the cough has been so bad, I've torn muscles all over my stomach, and they bloody hurt..)...and boom got to sleep

till 3-30....more meds...back to bed...but this time I managed to get a decent sleep in, with no alarm set I woke up at 10, feeling chesty and congested but not as bone dead tired as I have the last several days.

So am happily now sat here dealing with student questions, finishing up some code on the main framework, and getting on with things...still coughing though....another few nights this weekend's hoping.

In other news...Margaret is poorly, her intonation has gone massively off, almost a semi tone on the E an B stings at 12th fret...that's a massive amount, so she's off to the nice guitar doc at Dijkmans for a service and set up, hope its not a sign of a twisted neck or anything serious.


Saturday, 12 September 2015

Its called Postnasal drip

After having a horrible cold, then another which gave me a chesty cough, then a chest infection which maintained the chesty cough, had a bit of a respite in the French air, due in part to some great French cough meds.  I finally started to feel better a few days ago as my chest was much clearer...only to then get the worst choking cough ever...its caused by mucus dripping into the back on my throat. The chest has past the baton to my sinus's

Something I am more than a little susceptible to because the back of my throat on the right side is numb from my surgery.....result...rather than an irritation...that I swallow, I end up choking as mucus gets down into my windpipe where the not so numb part of my neck, are you doing here and sends me into a mega coughing fit.

Arrghh...fortunately I have a few antihistamine pills in the house, I need to go get more...but they dry up the drip, giving a bit of a relief.. But I now find myself, listless from lack of sleep, sore in the throat, and starting an ear infection....woop do bloody doo.

its nearly 2months since I caught the 1st cold that started all this off, I really am tired of it, some people think its funny that I post the fact I get a cold, but it tends to lead to 2-3 months of being very unwell and it is tiring in the extreme.
I'm not a hypochondriac, in fact I'm whatever the opposite of that is, I detest being sick, but I am at a loss to understand why this keeps hitting me like this 1 or 2 times a year it age?

I'm hoping this final phase will see me back to full health, though having been exposed to 300 germ ridden new students this last week...I'm not taking too many bets on that.


Sunday, 6 September 2015

Refreshed and ready

Must be the nice French air, but I'm feeling so much more relaxed and ready to start the working year than I was at the end of our normal summer hols.

A wonderful week in the middle of nowhere in the company of the masterful Mr Trotter at Creative Vacances, and many friends mostly old, and some new, getting ready for what was probably the worst gig I've ever played, but such fun and pleasure in doing so..

We had 4 days of rehearsal in small groups, 3.5days  of which were spent doing 1 particular persons us precious little time to get the 2 songs I was performing just right...but despite forgotten chords and no idea how to end..we muddled though with smiles of our faces. The audience didn't seem to mind...or were stunned. Not sure which.

There's something deeply calming about being around people whose sole aim is to share your own obsession and to get better at it.

The week of course was a workshop/rehearsal under the tutelage of Mr Eddie Martin, an extremely accomplished blues performer who showed us a lot of useful tips and tricks, which I might be able to get into a performance one day. I'm not really into slide..but I really liked the sound he was making and might put some 16's on my tele one day to see how it sounds.
I look forward to watching his video, which he was hawking with unashamed glee after the event.

Always one to support good music I coughed up my sole 20euros spending cash for the DVD...which I had planned to buy a few drinks with in the pub...which turned out to sell only its own beer, not even coke...leaving me drinkless... a state very kindly resolved by Tony, the only newbie on the course, who shared a few G&T's with me in far more civilised fashion. Thanks Tony, I needed that.

It was lovely though to see Chris again and the old faces from past courses gathered for this performance event, and memories of past holidays with them with Chris and the lovely Jenny were never far away.
Its a shame these things don't always fall into my normal summer holiday window, I am really grateful my bosses allowed me to get away before the actual student teaching weeks. I think it has prepared me much better for the change in our work processes,.

So as I say, feeling calm, relaxed and was a wonderful week, aside from the absolute hell of the mosquitoes who found an inexhaustible buffet in me , and of course the tail end of the cold which became a cough (fortunately they have decent cough meds in France). The drive back was also sat nav decided it wanted to go on a tour of Paris and Waterloo....for no reason I can made the trip back far longer nearly 11hours. And I HATE driving anywhere near Paris.

Probably won't be able to make it for another couple of years, but I will be back.... oh yes...I will...and I'm still the photo shows....and thats after losing 10kg....back on the diet...70kg by Xmas or no turkey for you.


Thursday, 27 August 2015

And neither is this.

Another COLD!!!! aawww c'mon

sneezing and nose running like a water tap on full.....

only 3 weeks after flu and just as I get over the resulting chest infection.



Monday, 24 August 2015

Oh thats not fair

It was quite windy today, lots of branches getting blown off trees and it made me remember that I had planned to weigh down the solar panels with sand bags...They're not light, but there is a large surface area so if a strong enough gust gets under it, it could in theory at least, blow them off the roof... You may mock but I found my old satellite dish in the neighbours garden one day when I neglected to take it off the roof...

Anyway...went to the garden centre for some bags of sand, wasn't able to find any canvas sacks, but I decided the 20kg plastic bags on their own were ok.

I got 3, for 5 euros, no problems loading them into the car from the shopping trolley, got home, took one 3 flights of stairs, put it down, set up the ladder, and climbed the ladder, a little shakily but successfully. And put the back on the edge of the roof.

Climb up...lift the bag to place it under the panels frame..and


The sound you are hearing in your head, is one most middle aged men are familiar with....I didn't bend my knees and result, I pulled a muscle in my back....


more pain

followed by even more pain as I tried to stand up.

But I bravely, soldiered on ( soo sooo brave) dragged the bag to the frame and placed it

But I needed to get at least 1 more in place...

So..still in agony...I got down off the roof...made my way the bedroom where I had a tube of advil ipubrofen gel, and applied a healthy dose to my back...

Still in screaming agony (you'll notice its getting worse)
I made my way downstairs, grabbed another bag, and with courage in the face of excruciating pain, carried the 20kg bag on my shoulder up the 3 flights...took a small breather at the foot of the ladders and made my way up.

Then as the pain almost forced me to black out...I manfully put the bag in place over the other side of the Aframe ensure the panels were now securely locked down with 40Kgs of sandbag.

My job done I got down of the roof, swallowed a couple of paracetamol and rode (manfully) my bike into town for drinks with colleagues....where still in, unimaginable pain, I had several drinks which helped no end to block out the agony.

And now...several hours later when I should be fast asleep in preparation for my 1st early morning in 6 weeks as we return to work, I'm sat here trying to keep my back straight writing this absolute pish....

Good job I have some oxycontin in the med drawer....soon as it kicks in I'm going back to bed.


Monday, 17 August 2015

Sad day..but it had to happen

Last night I made a fairly on the spot decision that has been a long time coming, but today I have felt that it was totally the right one and a huge weight has been lifted. I'm no longer a member of the Gadgeteers. The band I helped form some 5 or more years ago...

I guess its basically the old musical differences reasons. As a band we never really quite knew what we were trying to be, and personality issues with a couple of the band members, myself included meant we never had any way to stamp any kind of authority on that... so we couldn't ever seem to get our own sound/style or consistency in what we did, our set list had over a dozen different styles and genres, with each of us being represented to large or small degrees in our personal rather than group taste...the group just never found its own identity.

When our lead singer proposed this song. I just knew we were done.

Despite the fact we have no keyboards, seldom use acoustic guitars, and its a talk song in a cockney accent...when our lead singer has a German accent.....I had enough...the stupidity of this suggestion just should not need to be pointed out..Clearly we are lost.

So...its over...I will miss it, and hope that we will find some way to play again, whole or in part, but I don't want to do this any more. I'm going to focus on Starrcase for my band work, at least we have focus and direction there and don't get stopped during our gigs... :(


More sad songs.....

Yeah I know I'm singing a lot of sad songs....its true I'm still very down over my break up, but not sure its the reason I'm doing sad songs... I just find them much easier to sing....and given that I have 0.0001% or less talent for singing, picking easy to sing songs is more of a factor than my broken and bleeding heart that just won't heal no mat.......oh best not get into that.

This is still a test recording though, I'm getting much closer to the perfect recording situation, mic is set right, levels are good, just some issues with the mastering settings on the audio..its compressing the vocals too much and putting a dull chorus on the guitar....But its still getting close. a few more test recordings and I'll start making some proper ones maybe with some happier songs.

Anyway this is the Tony Rich Projects song from 96, which I always loved, shame he didn't do more.(edit, apparently he did several albums, but none were as successful as his 1st with this song) It's played a little faster, cos slow solo acoustic guitar gets boring really quick..

I was going to do some VoiceLive harmonies on it as well, but somehow it sounded ikky so its just a solo voice, auto-tuned to fuck of course... And done in 1 take, no joins, but I might do a small acoustic guitar solo when I do a proper take over it....
This was the 5th take, I am still a bit croaky from the cold/flu and it does crack up at one point but I managed to clear my throat and carry on without coughing up a lung.. Also I nearly lost my plectrum and had to do a dummy stroke to re-grip...think I covered that up well too.

Overall, even though as I say its still just a test, I think this is good, and when I look back at some of my very 1st recordings, I think my playing/singing is getting better. I am still not a natural play while singing kinda person though, I really don't multitask well without a lot of practice, but here it seems to fit well....excuse me while I bask in a bit of self praise...don't worry though I know I'm still shit, just slightly less shit than a few years ago.. I'm chuffed with that.


Thursday, 13 August 2015

Cant get no...satisifaction..

or videos vocal work just isn't up to it since the flu/cold/cough I've been crackling and croaking... Doing some lovely guitar work for sure but no way to finish a vid till my already bad voice comes back to the normal shit level it tends to have..

Holidays are slowly coming to an end too, which is pissing me of, its been such a nice quiet time, but very unproductive on many fronts. The illness sent me nocturnal for about a week, which I've only just managed to fix...

The z80 project should now be done..a couple of minor bugs to fix, and a visit to the client on Saturday and we should be able to sign it off, then start looking for something commercial.

I did have a couple of projects lined up but both fell through..very upsetting.

In other news..I'm pretty fed up generally, life is dragging on a bit, not much happening in my personal life at all, I can only clean and polish the house so many times...I really want to get those videos made and do some fun coding.

Had an hour to kill in town yesterday when I took my watch in to get a new battery. So I went to the music store to try some outrageously expensive guitars

The high end PRS was wonderful, but had a distinctive electrical snap every time I changed the pickup with the selector, not nice... and for 3500, I expect more.

But the killer was a Gibson Les Paul Custom Silverburst.

Customs are supposed to represent the pinnacle of Gibson guitars, and yet this..felt a bit naff, it sounded ok, but it didn't exude the quality my Lucille, herself a Custom model has. Worse,  fretting the F on the high E, the note was totally choked hitting on a fret somewhere down the neck....ffs..that's shocking. 4600 for that guitar and Gibson, despite their much touted Plek setup system can't even spot a massive flaw on the 1st fret.. Several other frets produced dead sounding tones, but an actual choke is unforgivable...4600Euros, Gibson???

I do not for a second doubt that the shop will fix that now I pointed it out, and that it will leave there perfectly set up by them..but Gibson really need to get their quality control under..ahem control.

anyway...better use my newfound getting up in the morning skills to get started on some work...Z80 ahoy!!!


Thursday, 6 August 2015

Fever, in the morning fever all through the night

Not been at all well the last few days. Had that cough I mentioned I didn't go to the docs cos it didn't seem as bad as before. But on Tuesday evening  I started to feel quite unwell, with sweats and a steady rising fever...
It sorta crept up on me, between coughing and sweating keeping me awake my temp started to rise really high and then before I knew it I was in bed for 2 days, letting my sheets soak up far too much bodily excretions. I had a full blown fever and some very very odd dreams as I tried to sleep through it.

Talking cats was funny...telling me all about my war record and insisting I get ready for my work as a pool attendant where I could jump in an cool off.

Poor Harvey didn't quite know what to do, I left the back door ajar but locked so he could nip out to have a pee when needed, and I topped up his food in some of my more lucid moments, but basically I just lost 2 days and have no idea where they went.

very odd...

Anyway the fever seems to have passed, sweaty sheets are in the machine, and I've had some food and water to try to get myself back together again...feeling pretty wiped out though, the trip to the shop was more exhausting than 30 pushups....not much chance of doing 2 today.

better get back to the land of the living, the talking cat insisted.


Tuesday, 28 July 2015


Not a final version, just needed to make a 1st attempt to try out the software...even this took 20 takes cos I have a cold and kept cracking up or coughing mid take. This is the 1st and only one I managed to get all the way through...

Anyway, there's some awful banging noises I need to isolate, and I accidently wiped the sync clap off the master so it may not be 100% synced up...but this is my own, my very own version of SOS...kinda based on the James Arthur Xfactor version.



Monday, 27 July 2015

Here comes the cough

The last few years, every single time I get a cold, I end up with a nasty cough that refuses to go away, its crazy. Even this extremely mild cold I am just finishing now, which didn't cause me more than a bit of a chest tightness and croaky voice has ended with the cough.

Its stopped me doing my recordings...and its also stopping me sleeping again. I don't understand what the change in my aging body is that has resulted in every single damn cold ending up with a 2-3 month chest infection.

I'm not going to stand for it... its Monday now, if its not gone by Wednesday, I'm off to the docs for some AB's and not listening to any excuses about virus infections. I'm not having my entire summer holiday ruined by a fixable condition.


Thursday, 23 July 2015

Turned nocturnal again

As always when I feel the world isn't worth living in...well that's a slight exaggeration, I am retreating into the things I love doing, Music by day, programming by night....can't afford booze till payday so this is the best use of my resources.

Been playing and trying out some new recording techniques that are starting to produce some very nice results, I'll have a few videos for you really soon I promise...singing is still crap of course, though the cold induced slight huskiness is quite nice when I'm not coughing up a lung between takes.
I have found though that putting a capo on fret 1, is making my singing a lot easier,it could be I'm starting to understand this concept of key and changing songs to suit my limited range rather than trying to force 2 untalented vocal chords to exceed their design limits.

I'm planning on doing 5 song at the moment, but unusually for me, all acoustic. Though I will try looping a few
They are;

SOS...a moody version of the Abba classic, which is starting to sound really nice after 18months of fiddling around
Creep...everyone knows this
Mad World ...looping for a nice solo
The Man who stole the world ...looping for a nice solo
Tracks of my Tears

Also working on but sure they are quite right yet
Paint it Black looping
I don't want to talk about it..Rod Stewarts old money maker but originally Crazy Horse's song

And I might do a proper video and not so rushed take of The Book of Love, such a nice song... I posted a quick take before, but my cold was in full flow as was my inability to hold the long notes....will see if I can do a video.

Dunno why I'm doing acoustic...its killing my fingers but I find I really enjoy the sound and the new recording ideas I'm doing. I don't really know how to do multi track videos, though I am going to try it soon, so all my work so far is focused on a live take. So everything you hear in the video is what I recorded when I did it, of course lots of processing and fx, but done live... I find that to be a fun way

So now I'm doing this...the VL Touch is providing my vocals, but only the smallest amount of pitch correction (no really), I'm using my wonderful No Hype RB1 mic, with a FetHead booster because the tone is wonderful
The guitar (my Breedlove AC25 SR+) is of course fed into that, but I then take the throughput and feed it via an iRig unit into my old Ipod Touch4 and use Ampkit...sometimes Amplitube as the guitar fx, mainly chorus and reveb.'s the cool bit, the vocal stereo wet feed and the guitar stereo wet feed go into 4 channels of my Zoom R24 recorder,  which is using a master Patch to compress some sounds... and voila..I get my audio track.crisp and clean, including every bang and breath not intended.
All the time I've got a Video camera pointed at me, and I just do a clapperboard sound/motion so that when I feed the video and audio into the computer they match.

I did try hooking the video mic up to the R24's signal, but it buzzed like mad, and wasn't able to get rid of it, there's no way to earth them since the R25 and camera are using 2 pin ac/dc adapters, but the R24 recorded sound is clean so I just match up the video and sound... This will also allow me to do the multi track videos when I figure them out in a few weeks. a 1st test sounded fine, time to push on and keep practicing for a proper take and then post my acoustic sessions.


Monday, 20 July 2015

Bit Lost

Seriously not sure what to do with myself at the moment, spending a lot of time just playing games, getting though a few bottles of wine and trying to do some z80 in my odd sober moments.

Just did the stupidest thing ever emotionally and got doors sometimes need to be closed properly, otherwise you end up finding that hope is just a very cruel emotion.

am out of red..time for a trip to the late shop.


Sunday, 19 July 2015

About bloody time

Finally making some music...even though I have a nasty croaky cold, but wanted to do this for my friends Andy and Tracey who are getting wed today, and also leaving and sad..


Saturday, 11 July 2015

I'd forgotton how to relax

No really, all day Friday, I felt I should be at work, it was a nagging feeling that would not go away and I just could not settle.

Weekends are usually mine to do as I please but the realisation that I don't have to prep anything or catch up with woooooooooo so nice

I'm trying to work out how to fill my days. Certainly the next couple are going to be devoted to finishing the Colecovision game, its all there it just needs a final polish and push out the door, so to clear the decks I'm, doing that now, then a nice poker game and drinks later today, hoping I can maintain my no losing streak.

I also have a couple of freelance gigs in the air, not quite sure whats happening with those, but we'll see, one is technically difficult but would be a fun way to get myself back into the mainstream games again, one is pretty straightforward but no real credit in it for game dev....we'll see which one comes up 1st and go with it.. I don't want to spend the whole summer working but I do need to make a bit of money, if only to keep my VAT/Tax status, since they want to know why I keep posting no income.

But long lie ins, and late nights are my natural state of being, so looking forward to the next 6 weeks.

if I can remember how to do that relaxing thing....

oh there will be videos again soon too, just let me get the ColecoVision game out the way


Thursday, 9 July 2015

I stood up

I stood up, I got listened to, its being resolved, I feel 10000% better now..

of course you have no idea what I'm talking about, and for now at least I cannot say, but it was just a situation at work that has troubled me, and various people insisted that it was not changeable and I had to go along with it. Its nothing to do with students or the education itself, just a quirk of employment....which as an Ex pat I found very worrying....

I may discuss in more detail later...for now though, I feel so utterly relieved and happy that I can focus on my continued career in a job I truly love.

Just as soon as my 6 weeks holiday are over :D


Wednesday, 8 July 2015

Do I quietly suffer or take a stand?

There's been an issue at work that has troubled me deeply for a couple of years, and I have genuinely had so many sleepless nights over tonight.

I love my job and everything about it and hate the idea that taking a stand against something might result in me losing it, or having it changed, but I really feel that I have to speak up...

I won't discuss it here, except for this post to push me into doing what I need to do...talking to the right people and making my feelings very clear, either they will accept it, or they wont in which case,.....I don't know what will happen.. And that simple fact alone makes me more determined to confront this issue, no one should ever be stressing out about making important decisions that affect their career.

I'll hopefully manage to get a meeting sorted tomorrow....then we'll see if a follow up post is warranted...I may be stressing about nothing, or I may be making a horrible bad wonder I can't sleep.


Tuesday, 7 July 2015

another small hurdle 85.8kg

I haven't been keeping a regular note of my weight, since it seemed a bit dull, but I have been keeping to my, not very strict, diet the last few months and the weight has been dropping slow and steady but the last month I've been totally stuck on 86-87kg.. Partly because I am actually putting on a bit of muscle as my small exercise regime has been toning me up putting on muscle, and because I do lapse somedays.

But finally today, I broke through 86 and saw 85 for the 1st time....happy, still got at least 10kg to go though, but not in a rush, my trousers don't fit, my shirts feel baggy and my paunch is noticeably  reduced, no more folds..I can't afford a new wardrobe just now so will keep using belts.
Pics of me at last weeks Starrcase gig still show me as podgy though, but compared with pics from last year, there's a marked difference.

Keep on slimming.


Sunday, 5 July 2015

of course not, but it is today

The final flood of retakes all came in last week.. along with the usual cries of, please can I have my grade I need it for my P....get in the queue.

I hate this, every single year, this happens, people fail their main exam, or worse choose not to take it.
Then they have to do a retake, in Block D I have 5 days...maybe 7 if I count weekends, which I always have to.. To get the grading done...some 50-60 assignments  each taking 30-40 mins to grade.
Somehow I have to fit this into the 50 or so hours of free time I have...but wait.. I dont' really have 50 hours...I do have some semblance of a life....though not at this time of year.
Its hell.. and that does not even take into account the other work things I have to deal with regarding admin, new course work,  intern visits, gamelab presentations , eating,sleeping.

But today as I sit down for my final push on the last 15 or so, I have an in box full of mails asking where' s my grade....

it seriously drives me nuts... I don't have the time or patience to respond to them. I work flat out using up all my spare time when I'm near dead on my feet, and get hassled for it.

At least next year we don't get this, our new V2 programme will have a grading committee process which hopefully means all grading is done in work time in fixed points with no take home and ruin your life grading going on..

I can't wait..

now...where was I ......oh yes...that's a fail.


Wednesday, 1 July 2015

Last day of marking???

Hope so.. I've got a tiny issue to deal with on one set of grades, which hopefully will get resolved soon as an email gets answered, then 8-10 retakes, then some stragglers......with a fair wind and my office aircon, it should all be done today.

Then I can relax a bit, look at some of the project work I need to get ready for next block and wind down for a gloriously hot summer...

Oh and I have 2 Starrcase gigs tomorrow and Friday :D That's going to be fun too, last rehearsal was brilliant


Sunday, 28 June 2015


Time to be a bit creative, even though last month was a bumper month with the bonus and tax rebate, there was also a couple of very big bills that needed paying, and I seem to have gone a bit mad with gadgets and toys...damn you paypal and your delayed payment system which still need paying.

I'm broke, before we even start the month off., might even go into the red in a few days...fortunately I have plenty of food in the freezer, and some spending cash in my wallet, but I've got to tread carefully this month and not waste a single cent on anything I don't need.

Its also about time I sold off some old things like my old projector and other odds and ends lying raise a bit of cash.

With the summer holidays round the corner I can relax a bit, no need to be spending 5euros a day on bad canteen food. (I really really must get into a habit of taking lunch with me)
Its at times like this I really appreciate the mid month tax rebate from the mortgage that provides a bit of extra spending money but its still 2 weeks away, so the freezer, which is full of nice frozen curry, mince and tatties and a few other nice things will be emptied by then.

I will pop out and use the last of my cash to buy some mince and chicken to make a few more 1 pot dishes to freeze, so I won't be starving.

I've been trying to get hold of a bit of freelance work again, last year I had several gigs all lined up but couldn't get them to commit, and Sony's killing of their really nice PSM system has put paid to one especially nice gig that I had in progress.

The Z80 project has now been dragging on far too long too, its time to put in a full time push and finish it... I have let it slide far too much, due to pressures of work, and serious miscalculation of how bloody awkward it is to do anything significant in any kind of timescale.
Its been a very educational process for me as a coder, to step back 20-30 years and realise how hard it all was then, I genuinely had forgotten...yes we did a lot of games then but we had libs and tools to make it easier. We've lost all those.
I dunno if I want to do any more, I think my enthusiasm has been damaged by the constant stop start progress, but perhaps it might be a better idea to write some proper tools for it to make development easier....its a tiny market when all said and done, but an apparently loyal I should consider it if I can churn them out fast enough.


Thursday, 25 June 2015

3.13 and still awake, so marking

I have pretty much got all but a couple of awkward things marked now...just in time for another influx of assignments tomorrow...fortunately its not going to be more than a days work.

I'd rather be in bed asleep, but the satisfaction of finally getting on top of my grades is keeping me going...maybe that's the cause of the insomnia?

This academic year has been a busy one for me, not quite sure why, normally I get at least 1 reasonably quite block, but its been 4 blocks of madness, doing 1st and 2nd year beginner programmers as well as some advanced stuff...

We change to a new system next year, with a cumulative marking system, so these long sessions should be a thing of the past... Even if the whole thing goes pear shaped and needs fixing that 1 single feature is something to preserve..

It wont of course, a lot of smart people are planning all these changes, there' will be a few hiccups, but we'll get it sorted, and I can look forward to being more productive as a coder, and enjoying working with projects from my students.

Next year will be a good one, I'm sure of it.


Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Redemption maybe?

I worked out how to open the fuse cover on the monitor has indeed blown..That may be a good sign, if the fuse blew before anything else, which of course it is designed to do,  it may still be serviceable...
Even better news the fuse box contained a SPARE.....brilliant..

I'll just pop it in, plug it in and....oh no....won't get caught with that again..

I've ordered a cheap step down transformer from ebay, no point buying an expensive one if it turns out that I did fry the inside. Hopefully this will work...and I won't have to go spending another 130 euros on a monitor......

In other news...oh god I'm knackered, 3 days of constant marking, and helping students when in the office, plus a long meeting...and I still have at least 1 days marking to do...then ...more to come....I hate marking. I had a few hours break for band practice, but just done another couple of hours..and off to bed, hopefully the insomnia that has bothered me the last few weels won't get in the way of a good 7 hours..



Friday, 19 June 2015

How can you be soooo Stupid.

I can't believe what I did actually started a few weeks ago, when I ordered a small and very portable personal monitor as part of our new audio set up for the band.
I had tried to order it vie Thomann in Germany, my favourite on line supplier of all things music...but they ran out just as I was ordering and the order was refused.grrr

So I scanned around and found another supplier, in the US..but shipped to EU with prices in Euro's...only 12 euros more, so I thought ok....and ordered it.

It arrived yesterday, and indeed it is exactly as ordered, the same as bandmate Richard got (he must have got the last one from Thomann).

It had a US power cable to a 3 pin kettle lead, but no worries have loads of kettle leads with EU plugs...(why didn't the bell ring at this point)

So I get hold of one, plug it in, and the blue light comes on...and immediately goes off....with a pop sound.
Arrhhh,,,,why didn't I check the voltage..this isn't identical to the Thomann one ...IT'S A US ONE...its 110v...

Despite almost every single EU device being dual voltage and auto or sometimes manual switching, US gear is nearly always fixed to 110v... I blew it up feeding it good old EU 220v.

I can't send it grrrrrrrrrr.... It might be fixable, but even if it is I'd need to buy a step down transformer to get it to work...not worth the effort....sooooooo stupid.
I checked the website to see if it stated that it was US voltage, and yes there was a little banner (which I missed somehow) that stated they were all US config....... I somehow missed it.
The moral.....don't be a dickhead...


Thursday, 18 June 2015

Free power

I very much doubt it, but according to my monitoring meter, during the day when there is decent sunshine, and I'm just sat watching tv...I'm using no energy... or at least not enough to register.
Making a brew or turning on  the PC (now with triple monitors) does bump up the usage to measurable levels but its pretty clear my panels are paying their way so far.. 4 -5 years from now I'll be loaded ;)

Am almost on my last legs now, crawling to the end of the year, one more marking splurge then I can drown myself in a bottle or 50 and stay unshowered and soiled for 6 weeks holiday...can't wait.

I won't though, not for more than a week at least.  I plan to get some videos made using some new gear I've acquired over the last several months, but not had the time to really get into. I'm especially loving a new ribbon Mic I bought (actually I bought 2, a cheap one and a not so cheap one but still budget) These things actually make me sound quite nice when singing....well... we'll see when I do the recordings.

My last couple of recording efforts as well as our disaster gig in Breda, seriously knocked my confidence for singing...its only the application of toys and effects that is bringing me back into it..I just hope the results are worth posting.

 I also have to get some time to play and learn how to use my Launchpads with Ableton Live. In fact lots of little toys I have bought this year have so far been on the shelf waiting for time to play. I'll have to remedy that.

2 more weeks of "teaching", and 4 of marking....then free....freeeeeee.....freeeeeeee


Monday, 8 June 2015

Start counting the cash

Well the pennies at least. My panels are up on the roof and clamped down to their frames, pointing south.

They are quite heavy but I still think I need to weigh them down with some sandbags/concrete... I'll do that in a day or 2.

There's room for a couple more up there but I'll stick to these 2x250w jobs and see how it goes.

I really have no idea if this is going to generate much income but I like the idea that I am cutting some of my power usage and putting a bit back into the grid...if it works. There's no way to actually tell..My meter seems to be showing a slight drop in power usage but sub 100w's if the figures are to be believed, but its so variable its impossible to tell.

I have to have a new meter fitted on Thursday and maybe that will give me some idea of the feedback into the grid..


Saturday, 6 June 2015

Why do we post things on blogs an twitter?

I'm very active on Facebook, mainly as a source of amusement, information and occasional rants.....I kinda like Facebook, I probably post too often but its rare that I have full blown blow outs on there...unless very very drunk. or someone is just outright mad or wrong....its the OCD in me that has trouble letting go I think.
I make a point of only including people I actually know on FB, with a few exceptions that relate to work or special interests, its only my actual friends who are on there. The ones who know when I'm being a dick and don't mind telling me.

Here I post blogs as a form of therapy, originally to monitor my moods in case of depression, but more  now just to keep a record of things for friends and family that I am not in regular touch with.. .I look back on many of the posts myself sometimes wincing, sometimes with sadness and often with joy.
I have such a bad memory that many times I read things back and its all new to me maybe a sign of senility....but its still nice to know the last 7 years of so of ups and downs as well as level flying have been noted for the future.

But twitter leaves me cold, I simply do not get seems to  me that the vast majority of tweets, are made by people pontificating,  or boasting about their current activity....  There's an endless race to collect followers by being more and more interesting or more and more controversial, and in someway that number of followers makes you important.
 Its basically just a massive ego wank fest....listen to me..I'm saying something important, re-tweet for the world to get the pleasure of it all too...

I have to use it, some work colleagues release info on it and I have to keep in touch with things...but man....its a pile of wank.
Nothing your average person posts or says is even remotely important to anyone except themselves and those around them...kidding yourself that your truncated utterances have any relevance to the "twitterverse" is just delusional nonsense.... I hope I never get that deluded.

Today I tweeted that I have got my panels ready to mount.... WHY THE FUCK would anyone care??

I suspect I will quickly be removing myself from my 56 followers pretty soon for another prolong period of twitter indifference.


Friday, 5 June 2015

Panel delays and new sounds

I cricked my back trying to lift a panel to fit the converters to it...nothing major, but enough to make me think twice about fitting them till its healed. Also the weather until today has been wet and windy, so not ideal roof weather... this weekend though we'll be up
 and plugging it all in.It seems I do need to have my meter changed to get full advantage of the possible rebates and that's being organised now.

Its rather galling that as we approach what is going to be the hottest brightest weekend of the year I still have no panels up...but soon...soon.

In other news, I bought a new mic, I wanted to get hold of a proper tube mic on ebay but my efforts to get one at my kind of budget failed (came very close but got sniped so often) so I opted for something else, a budget ribbon mic, these are old style mics which are not ideal for performance but great in I'm told....and I wanted to see what they sounded like without breaking the bank, since high end versions can cost many hundreds (as can high end tubes)
I have to say I am mega impressed with this, 60euros , less than the cost of my budget condenser mic but the sound from this thing seems so much softer and rounder.. I've only listened to it through headphones so far but I'll do some recordings soon and maybe get some confidence back into my singing.
It does indeed give a warmer and thicker sound, but for me more importantly I don't need to force my voice or sing loud, it pics up even the quietest vocals in its pickup zone...really sweet.

I do hope when I record something and listen back I don't get as upset as I did last time I tried to do some singing tests....I never claim to be a singer, but I hate when I sing something thinking its nice and listen back to a drowning cat.


Friday, 22 May 2015

Still no panels but interesting meter reading

I made a bit of a mistake with the meter, it is designed for measuring the house total input it can't actually isolate the energy from the panels....when they arrive.

But very interestingly, the meter gives a reading of 0.10 kw usage more or less when I am sat watching the telly...that's 100watts...that's bugger all... it goes up to 500-600watts when the cooker and things are on of course but just idle usage is actually pretty low.

If the Panels do indeed produce 250 or so watts (50% of their capacity) that means that during the day I'm earning and in the evening while there is some sun. I'm not burning as much as I thought...of course I will use far more than I make but its very interesting..

Naturally this is all total speculation, I may have the figures totally wrong, but if I see a neg or 0 value on that power usage while I am sat watching telly, I'm gonna be a happy little bunny.

I had to register the panels with the government energy people, not sure if this gets me a tax rebate or what but it does ensure that the power company have to pay me for an excess that goes in, not much chance of that of course but more helpfully if I need to get a new meter they will supply one free. Pretty sure though that my modern meter is up to the job..

So..just waiting for the panels... The frames are bigger than I was expecting, and in fact I honestly have no idea how big the panels, are so the initial idea of mounting on the shed might not work, in which case I 'll put them straight on the roof


A flatulence post

there just havn't been enough of them in recent years, I may have most of my flatulence issues under control but this is a 3 way blog....and theres far too much life, no games and no where near enough flatulence


Thursday, 21 May 2015

Phew it works.

For about 4 minutes I was pissed off beyond measure when the DL1608 seemed to be faulty, and had a massive latency when using it in band practice...... I was crestfallen that under live conditions it seemed to be no use at all

Fortunately it turned out there was a delay option I had set up.. I dunno exactly what it was meant to do, but removing it produced the perfect result

It was brilliant, less volume from the band, and feeding Britta's voice to a monitor so she could adjust her so so much better

No ringing ears when done...and everyone playing at controlled levels...

The gadget is a success.

Just need to get an Ipad2 that works to get full use of the software.


Tuesday, 19 May 2015

drunk again

Am drunk again...its becoming a regular thing....I know why, I just can't say here

so many sad songs to sing

not sure I can call this depression, just a sense of loss that won't go away.
have to stop now....this isn't helping me

more drink might


Monday, 18 May 2015

Saving energy is expensive!!!

The new panels have not arrived yet, and I'm having trouble sourcing a suitable frame for them, but that's small potatoes... But then again is it?  A  4 piece frame is going to cost around  80quid....whaaaaaat...maybe a trip to Hornbach the DIY place , will find a cheaper solution.

I've also made the decision to change all the current low wattage 7-11W bulbs in the house, with even lower wattage 3-5w LED's...yes I know its only a few watts but if you don't make the effort to do it nothing happens....but its an expense. 15 LED corn row bulbs for the overhead lights in the house...nearly 30 quid...
I quite like them though, they are very bright, like old style bulbs with a serious white light...which at 1st seems odd, but you get used to them. I have them in the Bathroom and office and about to swap out the playroom and kitchen spots for 5w LEDS instead of 22w Halogens.
So this fricking solar panel better be operating at full capacity for 9 months of the bleeding year just to pay for the damn bulbs and Aframe it sits on. Switching to lower wattage bulbs will help increase the kWhr return.

Of course the big power use isn't the bulbs, that's a drop in the ocean compared to the power usage of the TV's, Fridge, Freezer, Ovens and heating system...Not to mention the 2 or 3 computers I have on, though only 1 functional at any 1 time. And the Guitar gear is pulling a lot of ampage when its all fired up....dunno how to calculate Amps into watts...there's a formula... .

I just have to be sure to turn things off more..
However, anyone who invests in solar for the savings is rather missing the point, it'll be 5-8 years before I make any kind of profit on it.. Its simply a way to use clean energy and  invest some spare (lol as if I have any spare) cash in something that makes more than it would if it were sat in the bank for that same 5-8 years....

If only I could find a way to turn flatulence into energy....they collect cow methane in some farms in the uk as fuel... maybe I should investigate.

Oh weight...another blip in the diet, and another rise back into 88Kg ..though a much more distinctive amount of shoulder and chest muscle coming in. Also I am sure I can see, slightly hidden under layers of flab, the merest shadow of an ab or 2 coming into view on my ever so slightly flattening stomach, so there is some increasing muscle mass....or at least whats there is toning up..
Exercise regime is increasing to twice a day now, morning and night....push ups, sit ups and planking...increasing slightly every few days....I might walk past the gym again tonight....just to see if they are open


Friday, 15 May 2015

BB King is dead at 89

Not unexpected since he was taken ill a few weeks ago and announced he was in home hospice care. The end was close.
I never got to see him live, I had my chances, even here in NL a few years ago at the North Sea Jazz festival, I could have gone...but for some daft reason I put it off.

I wish I hadn't... Its hard to explain to people who don't know me, or who don't play guitar, but this man along with Peter Green inspired me so much when I first started to play guitar 35 years ago. I couldn't do the fast flashy stuff, but those 3 or 4 note licks from King and Green made me sit up and listen and I tried so hard to copy them, but never did.. Even now in my later phase of guitar playing frenzy, that wonderful tone is something I aspire to every time I shake a note.. I get close..but never there.

I shouldn't need to detail his career, or his eccentric naming of all his guitars as Lucille, his genre crossing style, his deep pure blues, his inability to sing and play at the same time, his reaching to white audiences, and his influence of the rock gods of the 60's and after... He was the greatest guitarist ever, who made 2 or 3 notes more meaningful than any shredders 100.. It was all down to tone and vibrato, it gave Lucille a voice no one could quite replicate.

I've never lost that love of hearing his vibrato. When, When Love To Comes town was first on the radio, I immediately recognised BB's playing and wondered what the hell was he doing playing with U2..his sound, his tone, his touch was unmistakable. He renewed his career with that one and became accessible to new generations, kicking off more tours... I still put off seeing time I thought

I'm a fucking idiot for not taking the chances I had to go watch and enjoy... I won't make those kind of mistakes again.

Today though. I am sad, genuinely depressingly sad, that a great great guitar legend, the one who inspired all the others has gone.

I'm going to take my own Lucille down off the wall, give her a dust and play here along with a few BB backing tracks in his honour.

RIP Riley B King. You will most certainly be missed.


Thursday, 14 May 2015

Solar is saving is good...

Well I did it, I pulled the trigger on a couple of high output Sharp Solar 2 for 386UKP...
I am still investigating the best micro grid tie, invertor to buy, ideally the external ones you fit to the panel itself, since the more wire that goes from the panels to the invertor, the more power is lost...and with these things every inch of cable/power lost matters. There are some cracking ones in the US but not as simple to fit, and I need it to be very simple..

But there are some options, I just want to keep the total budget for the project under 600ukp... 500 would be even better.

Once everything arrives I will set them up on the Shed roof. as that has all day sun on it.. If the figures work out as expected to be better than interest from the bank after a year. I'll set up a couple of Kw's on the main roof.

In the meantime, I've become considerably greener than I realized.. I am switching all my halogen 22w lights to 5w LED's and a few other lights with led based systems....all picked up from ebay. The less kw's used in the house, the better my chances of getting a good return from the solar units.

The ideal thing would be to have 0 power bills, that's of course unlikely, but the closer I can get to it, the better.

Weight loss is also progressing, I did very briefly hit 76.999999 kgs on Friday, but Sundays BBQ and a bit of a "must eat the left overs" few days, has brought it back up to 77.5.. but I am continuing with the exercising and all is heading in the right downward direction

And after an especially hectic 2 days back at work, after my week off, catching up on work,  I am having a nice 4 day weekend...thanks to the Catholic south Netherlands' desire to celebrate Ascension Day. I am almost caught up on all my marking and can look forward to a chance to do a bit more Z80 coding...


Wednesday, 13 May 2015

Solar ...hmmm

I've been giving very serious thought to the idea of getting a few large solar panels and fitting them on the roof to provide some additional income/reduction on bills.

As I've become more aware of my power usage due to the size of 1 power bill a few years ago, which was in error, I've started to replace all my lights with very low wattage systems and put timers into things that are not needed to be on all the time. This did result in a reduction of my overall electricity bills,. I expect some more of a rebate this year when the annual statement arrives.

Also turning the heating down a degree in the winter made no difference to me personally and produced more savings.

I'm especially interested in micro grid tie systems, which push the energy they generate back into the mains and allow you to use it, or have if fed back to the grid. The good point being that what you don't use effectively reverses the meter and you can, in theory get the power company to pay you if you put in more than you use...but that's unlikely. However it certainly reduces your bills.

Now some very rough calculations show that a 500euro system, of a set of 500w panels and converter, can generate about 80c a day income at half efficiency...considered a good guideline. ......assuming it does that all summer and gives even a few cents in the would still take some time to pay for itself....that makes it sound like a bad idead...'s the thing.. I currently have about 4.5K sat in a savings account, its some grant from the government I have to give back as I've not started my Masters as planned. But till they request it, its sitting there...earning the massive rate of 13c a day......

so...500 euros can generate a daily average over the year  of around 40c's and 4.5K can generate 13c.......

Clearly its a better investment than putting any spare cash I have in the bank...though the bank lets me take it I won't put all my cash into solar.
But I think this is the time to use my upcoming tax rebate for this(or rather whats left after my Dl1608 splurge)... I have space on my shed roof which gets sun all day long. If it works out as expected, and continues to outperform the banks interest rate.. I'll invest one of my 2 yearly bonus's in a couple of Kw system for the roof which has plenty of non-obscured space


Friday, 8 May 2015

over the hill after all

Well I decided to get back into the dating game.....dunno why, I seem to be perfectly happy getting piss drunk and crying into my pillows at night, but might be time for a change.

As usual I joined a dating site, lexa its called, its the Dutch version of Match. Its just a lot easier for a non Dutch speaking computer geek.

What a depressing experience that is though......scammers mostly Russian sending impossibly beautiful pics and clearly trying to hook you into sending them money. And then there's the "matches" who have not been on the site for months so clearly have moved on....great matching algorithms there.

But worse than that,  are so many people who simply ignore you...probably because they are not real, just shoved in there by the website to keep suckers like me pumping in money.

Its hard enough trying to sound interesting, windswept and witty in 200 words, picking your 5 best photo's that don't have you looking like a shaved sasquatch in a teeshirt but to get nothing when you say hello is demoralising.
.I think I was doing it right, sending nice emails with long explanations of why I'm not into one night stands, but like long walks on the beach, pina colada's and getting caught in to rain with someone who ticks all your boxes only to receive......  Nothing...not even a piss off you old fucker.
I actually quite like getting a no thank you, its some kind of contact after all.

Its not entirely bad, a few people have made contact, but nothing really clicking, I don't fit their set of tick boxes. Its very apparent that us over 50's are basically screwed (or not as the case may be). The meat market isn't really the place to find true love.

To top it all, both my ex's are on there too...sheez the whole world is single and yet no one seems willing to talk to nice honest blokes with flatulence issues....I knew Bina moved on a long time ago and have no interest in anything she does, but Brenda making a clear decision to find someone else...leaves me with a final bit of closure I needed....maybe time to stop getting drunk.

can't imagine why.


Thursday, 7 May 2015

87.5Kg :D Nice to break barriers and sound fixes implimented

phew the 4 days in a row gain was just a blip, last 3 days have seen the weight drop and yesterday dipped just below 88kg and today 87.5. Really pleased to see that 88 barrier broken, it seemed to stick there for ages.  Longer walks, and more pushups seem to have shifted it though. As well as making my own sushi. I find my 2-3pm sushi meal really fills me up nicely so I don't need to eat till much later. Now I am a bit more confident about how to make sushi I will whip up a batch every couple of days for lunch.

Now to break the 87 barrier... ideally before the weekend, when I'm having a bit of a party/BBQ with work, poker and band mates. I suspect there may be some grazing of food as I prepare most of it on Saturday.

My trousers are also falling off...not that that's entirely a good thing, I don't want to be out buying new clothes just yet... Belts for now. Oh and folds are gone...yup, no more folds... I am very pleased about that, stomach is flattening, moobs are not swinging as much and overall I am starting to see a noticeable improvement 6Kg is not a huge amount but the toning up as well helps it all come together... I might walk past the gym again today.

The DL1608 is really wonderful, still not 100% happy with channel 13's little bit of noise, but when something is plugged in it is working fine...I mailed Mackie to get an opinion, if they don't warm me of an error I'll let it go.

Had a band meeting to autopsy the bad gig and watch some video of us, and yes the sound at times was fucking  terrible, especially my singing parts, the vocals were well as horribly distorted, it puts me off singing...but I know it was just too much signal to the PA causing massive clipping which we could not hear behind the PA speakers. But even so...I have so little confidence in my singing normally and to hear such horrible noises....uggg....

All the band members have agreed to invest in their own mics and/or personal monitors so we can make full use of the DL1608. We will use the gig money to help with that.
None of this will make us sing/play better but if we can hear each other better and eliminate sound swamping issues we often have in rehearsals and most noticeably at the Happy Days gig we will create an atmosphere for improvement.
Onward an upward.