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.


Wednesday, 6 May 2015

Small faults, I can live with....

The DL1608 arrived and after a bit of phaffing about getting it to downgrade its firmware to work with my Ipad1, its fucking awesome....but....

2 of the channel signal lights light up and stay lit regardless of any input.. This isn't right, they should only light up when there is a signal, so staying lit suggests some kind of noise...sure enough turning it up to 50+ you hear some hiss, but then you hear hiss on any empty channel at that level, however this is slightly higher. does work, since that line input will never have to be gained that high, so the best case scenario is that the light is just faulty and won't go off... given the saving I made, I can live with that,
But if it indicates a possible component might need to go back. Even though the seller isn't admitting to any fault, its there for all to see.

I've contacted Mackie to ask them what they think...we'll have to see.

It is an amazing thing though jut rough tests demonstrate it is something wonderful....can't wait to use it in anger...if its not going to blow up next week.


Tuesday, 5 May 2015

That better be muscle!!!

hmmm despite sticking to the diet (more or less) I seem to be gaining weight, only a fraction of a kilo but its started to go up rather than down since Friday when I did splurge a bit...I find this very strange, as I am being quite harsh on myself, food wise..avoiding snacks, no sugar, small meals and seldom breaking my 1500cal limit but still aiming for the 1000 a day.

But I am noticing that  my stomach is flattening and shoulders and chest are getting a little more defined... trousers also feel a lot looser, and teeshirts a bit tighter.

so.. I am assuming I am gaining a little bit more muscle mass, and since muscle is heavier than  fat...that's a good thing......I hope so... I don't really want to drop the calorie intake any more.

I am doing more pushups, sit ups and walks, so my overall condition is also improving and I even walked past the gym check the opening times.....that's progress!!

But I still need to lose the weight, so I'll slowly start to increase the exercise, and try harder to stick to the core 1000 calories. The gym may soon have to make space for me........
I still have the VL2, got a message from the potential buyer last night that he wasn't able to arrange the funds, so its still on the pedal board, not really too unhappy about that, but I do want to get a VL3X and am determined to sell at least of few of my existing pedals to fund it. The older gear is depreciating terrible now that new stuff is out so I need to get rid soon.

Having splurged on the DL1608 I really don't want to dip into my pocket any more..Its been an expensive month and rice and lentils is not that appetising.


Sunday, 3 May 2015


getting old sucks

bent over to pick up some shopping and tweaked my back big time, my knees are aching and I have an ache in my groin....probably from lack of use.

The back ache is real though, nearly fell to my knees when it snapped or whatever it did...fucking painful

knees have been a problem for 30 years...but all the long walks with the dog, are not good for them..but its still the easiest way to burn calories.

I did a mega shop today at Makro, our so called discount store...its not really very discounted but if you need to buy 32 rolls of bog roll its great.. But I also bought loads of store cupboard goods, since I really don't have a lot of dried and tinned goods in... I do now.. I think I can last a month or more on this, though the point is to have stuff in the house when you don't get fresh..
I was careful to stock up on Lentils and rice.
I also picked up a load of chicken and mince, so curries and mince and tatties for the freezer tomorrow.

Once I clear out the freezer.


Bye bye VL2, hello DL1608 and poverty

Sigh...the Voice Live 2 has a buyer for only 10 euros less than I asked for it,  Its been a good bit of kit, but its time to fund the update, no sense in hanging on to the older units so am selling pretty much all of them.

Still need to sell a lot of kit to afford the new VLX3 which looks amazing...

I get a nice tax rebate in a month or 2, so that and the proceeds of the sale will fund. the new unit

After the embarrassing gig last week, I have isolated the main issue...sadly it was me... The levels on my patches were too high and far too inconsistent...causing me to be screaming loud at the press of a button...
I have learned...every gig is a leaning process, and this was a biggie.

I am resetting all my levels to be equal and going to fit a volume pedal to the board in place of the mixer, which it turns out was a mistake, not being able to easily balance the 4 individual outputs from my GR and GTX was a mistake.. It does mean I need four inputs in the PA, but I have also thought of that, and splashed out on a DL1608 mixer. a huge expense, and it means I'm eating rice and lentils most of this month, but I won't have the same cockup happing again... The DL1608 is this...impressive looking isn't it
This beast of a machine has several benefits...16 inputs being both bands will have plenty of inputs to allow me to steal 4, but most importantly we can preset and store set lists and remove the ipad from the dock unit to let a friend of the band wander around a venue and make small Front of House changes to suit.  Trying to mix a set from the side of the stage is just a total waste of time.
By mixing our live levels on this, all we need to do is plug the stereo output into any PA or in house amp and just adjust the more screaming (though damn good) solo's from me shaking the rafters......Gadget resolution found.
It has a few other benefits such as reverb/echo and compression/gate features but also it can handle 6 aux outs for personal monitoring which each band member can adust themselves on their own iphones...that is a very useful feature, assuming we can get over some peoples reluctance to use tech. Also we can record ourselves as we play.. I'm not sure my old Ipad 1 will manage that, but Asime the Gadgeteers drummer, has an Ipad 2 we can use for performances and recording.
As my Ipad1 is now pretty much useless for even internet browsing, it will find a permanent home seems to run a slightly oler version of the control software ok..though I may have to try to find a cheap Ipad2/3 at some point next year.

Might even use this for Starrcase, though we tend to play gigs with a sound engineer around so its not going to be needed.

And finally, the diet is still going well, I touched 88.0kg on Friday, sadly a few drinks and a curry Friday night pushed it back up on Saturdays weigh-in, but a lean weekend should see it back down and hitting 87 soon.... Still quite happy with the diet, not feeling hungry too much and the pushups/situps are all improving my overall fitness..I have bumps in my arms and shoulders which I think are called muscles.....impressive.