Friday, December 08, 2006

the green green freelance machine at the black tie ball

Since going self employed I have to drive a hell of a lot more than I used to. I am starting to become genuinely concerned about the amount of petrol I burn every week. The problem is I need to carry a lot of kit around with me, laptops, cameras, mics, mic stands etc

I wonder if there is a way of driving less?

Also I had to go to a black tie ball last Saturday. It was a charity fund raiser. My God I felt like a pleb. The room was full of multi millionaires. And there was me in a hired tux getting all excited about my free bag of aftershave samples. I cant deny it was fun though, watching them bid incredible amounts of money in the auction.

Also is it just me or is waiting for checks to come in for work done painful. Especially when your bank manager is breathing down your neck yet you know that you are owed plenty.

Ah I think its a two cups of tea morning this morning

Sunday, November 26, 2006

just a quick question about a song

you know that pixies song were he goes something like 'and the devil is 6, and god is 7 etc etc' is that a reference to Daniel Johnstone? Just occured to me this morning while having a cup of tea.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

The man who did too much

I have made a bit of a big decision today. Well its been rumbling on for a while.

I am going to drop out of my MSc course. It has just been way too much extra stress. And to be honest it is not what I expected. I imagined working amongst some very clever people who would be excellent teachers with a passion for their subject. In reality it is a bunch of crusty old men delivering monotone presentations in front of power point presentations. I imagine their only focus was what they were going to have for dinner. I also realised If I am going to be taught my subject by having to write 4000 words on Information Systems in supermarkets or building spare part databases for garages. Then well I ... actually words fail me at that point, needless to say I have no use for that sort of knowledge..

I am busy doing a sort of life audit and trying to jettison all time wasting and non essential activities. SO that I can maybe get on with some interesting and creative work.

Oh I also got mini residency! more to follow on that one, but it is a bit exciting

Sunday, November 19, 2006

writing computer games

That seems to be what I am doing a lot of these days! Not sure how that happened, when I was younger I wanted to be a sculptor.

Hey also I am in two minds over christmas, normally I hate it. Really hate it, I hate the way everyone gets swept up in the stupidity of buying shit for people just as an exercise in good form. BUT this year has been so shitty, possibly the shitty-est yet that I am sorely tempted to give in to it, just for one year. Maybe it will be fun.

Maybe I will get time to write some more music, still feeling frustraited about the lack of time and space to do that.

Friday, November 17, 2006

woke up on the wrong side of the bed today

and wrote a big insulting post about local indie bands, which I then erased and wrote more insults about laptop musicians, which I then erased (yet still feel the urge to add a point in brackets, THEY ARE DULLLLLLLLLLLL).

Then I found this

and it made me laugh

Im off to cry into my supernoodles about hat hair (as a nostalgic exercise)

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

your call is valued.... my arse

I am currently on the phone to bt. I am on hold. I have been on hold for over 20 mins so far. I am trying to get broadband set up for the polytechnic space.

I am also about to go mad.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

long time no write


The funny thing about ending the erl (early riser log) was that I also stopped blogging!

There must be some strange link there.

Anyway summer has also been way too busy for me. After going freelance I have had more work than I expected (which is good) I have been making a film with parents of children with adhd, Making a film with NECCA and teaching (command line rotoscoping (a spanner barkley)! , cinelerra and transcoding).

I I have also been experimenting building LAMP servers on OLD machines (for a project idea I am working on).

Loads more to write about but will save that for later (honest) Wish I had kept a better record of the summer now

Sunday, June 25, 2006

wana fight?

Its true,

I get stressed about birthdays. I'm not sure what it is. I think It might be the pressure to have a good time. I've never been any good with that. In the end I drank fizzy wine with my wife and laughed so hard my legs buckled.

It has been a dramatic week. The fight with the local authority about Isaac's education has stepped up a notch . I quit my job and left. I turned 33. The list goes on.

I made some space in my house, set up a little recording area, miked it up and started messing around. I then tweaked all my real-time privileges on my computer and got it all going super fast for audio (been meaning to do that for ages).

Its odd I have been feeling like I have all this music bottled up. I have been so busy learning, teaching, working and fighting that I forgot to make anything. Well tonight I started recording some tunes and they just sort of wrote themselves. Its a good feeling. I normally have everything connected by patch leads etc, there is never any air in the mix but I miked up a glockenspiel and wrote some pieces for gameboy and glockenspiel tonight.

So I am 33, so what. Bring it on.

During this post my ears have encountered (and enjoyed) the following tunes:-

Mike Milosh - push

sys-x - cruise control

Languis - a simple thought

posthuman - moment of weakness

Saturday, June 24, 2006

birthdays are rubbish

Happy birthday to me.

As is the traddition on my birthday I have locked myself in a room and cancelled the babysitter.


listening to:-
Denzel and Huhn - A 54


Donnacha Costello - And I got left behind

Friday, June 23, 2006

must have GSOH

It was my last day working at Tyne and Wear Museums yesterday. I had a good send off and lots of nice presents.

I cant remember much about going for drinks and food after. A very VERY hot chilli sticks in my mind. I awoke this morning feeling rough with Tina Turner singing 'Simply the best' on the radio. It was then that I realised that God has a good sense of Humour.

So here I go into fully fledged self employment once again. Its a bit scary and a little bit exciting. I just wish I had not had quite so much beer last night. Ug.

I will write more about my plans later as they involve using OSS (zzzz) but right now I'm off to feel sorry for myself and take Ruby to play on the swings.

Oh, and I'm going to be 33 tomorrow (double wammy).

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

more notes on projectile

Pete Hindle wrote:
Hi Dom;

I read your post on your blog about your talk, and I thought I might make a suggestion of doing a short course on presentations. I did one that the Baltic put on, and it was quite useful in thinking about speaking in public - if you want, I'll find out the name of the lady who did that.

Seeing as you are dealing with similar issues, it might be worth preparing a small intro to open source/linux/polytechnic which you could recycle again and again for every talk you do. It wouldn't have to be much, just giving a quick five minute grounding on those issues that your dealing with... one of the most engaging points of your talk was when you started talking about your own experiences with linux, back when you started. It was both funny and educational, and it made you seem less of a fearsome hacker-leet dude.


Hi Pete,

To be honest I don't want to do some lame course on how to talk in public. If I had wanted to I could have ran it very differently. Through my work with the Museum service (2 days to go till I leave) I do actually do a fair bit of public speaking. I can stand in front of a power point presentation with the best of them (given, I usually need a mic, even for a room of 5 people). But seeing as how it was an Anarchist film festival and we were given short notice I just thought it would be best to go on gut instinct. The bit on my blog. Yes its true I wish I had mentioned more about some other tools (jah shaka, ktoon etc), spoken more about the politics of open source, but on further reflection more politics might have actually obscured the film making aspect of the talk too much. I do wish I had challenged the notion of anarchists (well people in an anarchistic context (if there is such a thing)) asking if stuff would run on windows, well, no actually (as everyone has to start somewhere) I wish I had 'facilitated' discussion around the fact that some people did not understand why developers would not want to create tools for the windows and even (shock horror) the OSX platform. But again I only had an hour.

Also I do have various bits and pieces on OS/Linux/Poly (do you think we would have ever been given grants without it?) But yes I take your point and Alan was good to ask 'What is Linux', sometimes I go straight for the jugular on these things. Five minutes in I looked up to a row of confused faces and backtracked, I had intended to save the detail until I had shown people the tools, but next time I would do different. Perhaps a quick verbal abstract to set the scene next time.

I am by no means a fearsome hacker dude. I am still at pre-plankton level on the pd list. The thing is, I feel the north east is currently lacking in terms of artists knowledge and skills with OS tools and exploration of the issues surrounding them, there are people out there that know their stuff but they are far from the majority up here. I'm not sure why this is the case, It may be that there is an over emphasis on professional finish (glossy flyers and everyone wanting the latest version of Director but not having a clue how to use it) or the fact that there has not been anyone shouting loud enough for people to take notice, I'm not sure. Hence The Poly. However it is worth mentioning that yes somewhere down the line we made a choice to go with FOSS but it is not all we are about and we are consciously trying not to have a holier than though approach to it . I see it as only right to pass on any skills gained with said tools and the nature of OS dictates that I share them, it can only be beneficial to learn and work as part of a group. Yes we are trying something very new for up here and we still have loads to figure out but 'given enough eyes the bugs will fall out', err or something like that.

If you want to meet fearsome hacker leet dudes join the Tyneside Linux Users Group (actually I think I am going to invite them to meet in our space once we have some wallpaper up etc) they know their onions.

Sunday, June 18, 2006


Did a 1 hour talk for an anarchist film festival

I talked about open source film editing. The talk covered Linux, Kino, cinelerra, DVD styler , emovix, and nomad systems such as dynebolic and also general open source philosophy. It was good. Although I came away thinking AAW and I should have said this and AAg Is should have said that, it was a proper jerkstore moment (seinfeld reference). I hope it was useful and made an impression on people though.

Oh and its fathers day. I was given a Marx brothers box set and some hankies with I heart my dad on them. I watched animal crackers with Isaac this afternoon. Well that was after I got home and realised I had no keys and was locked out (1 pint of Guinness and a read of the paper later people were home to let me in). Anyway back to animal crackers, Isaac loved it, he really got the humor. I'm looking forward watching duck soup with him.

Monday, June 12, 2006

added documentation

added documentation for the cheep_seq

It includes instructions and a to do list

Sunday, June 11, 2006

cheep_seq goes live

Ok I bit the bullet and put that sequencer I mentioned on my site. You can find it here

I posted a link to it at the pd mailing list asking for feedback if possible. Have not got a sausage back yet, but its a nice night, most people will be out at the pub (if they have any sense).

Its been a glorious weekend. Isaacs teacher for the Deaf organised a get together for all the Deaf kids and their parents that her and her colleagues work with. It was at the rising sun country park. The sun was shining, all the kids there were lush. It was good to chat with other parents (although I'm not really the chatty type).

Today I took the kids to dip their toes in the sea, nearly breaking my back trying to keep Isaac upright. Honestly I have a sixpack on my back from carrying him around, and he is getting bigger.

Oh I got a CD sent to me of our last gig, its not too shabby! The first few songs bug me because I messed up with the sub mixer and in the first few tunes one of my gameboys is only coming through on the left channel. But the second half of the set is GOOD. No doubt some of it will be available in some form soon to download. We are playing 3 January upstairs at the Cumberland arms, Newcastle. It will be a good one, I can just sense it.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Despicable people

Big brother,

there is not one decent person on it. I have been watching it tonight and jeez they are awful. Its like watching a pack of baboons pulling the windscreen wipers off your car.

I took Ruby to play in the swings this morning it was lush.

I have written a sequencer program (audio) in puredata. It is just about ready to release. But I am slightly nervous. It is my biggest endeavor in pd and there are bound to be loads of stupid mistakes in it. I was listening to the radio the other day and it was a program about people making things, someone said something like 'what the average person can build for a pound an engineer can build for a penny'. Well my sequencer is a classic example of inefficiency. But it sort of has a life of its own, which is nice.

Im feeling loads more relaxed now that I don't have exams etc. I had to take my library books back the other day. I had a fine, guess how much?.... £17 I know, I am ashamed.

Friday, June 09, 2006

death to the ERL

Its time to kill the ERL.

I am in a good early rising pattern now, getting up at 7am on average getting to bed before 12 (on average) But I did learn that it takes about 2 months to get there.

more later...

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

ERL25 or whatever

Had a bit of time off from writing and ERLing.

I did very little over the weekend. Just enjoyed playing with the kids, visited my Grandparents. My Grandad is in his 80's and still working!

I played around with an Icecast2 server. I was using it on an XBOX and using MuSe as the client. But when I came to use another computer to receive the stream it was very choppy. It is probably a codec issue with a bad build of MuSe to be honest. I was trying to stream at full quality ogg. I also installed wine for the first time ever. Wine can be used to run some windows apps. I needed it to try and install some historical Gameboy cart burner software so that I can burn some copies of LSDj on some new blank carts I have got my hands on.

Loads of freelance work coming in for when I leave the museum, which is a slight relief as I was getting nervous. Not long now, My last day is 22 June, meaning including today I have 8 days left. Also it turns out that being part time I was actually owed lots of bank holidays (well a proportion of them) dating back about 2 years. So I have about 60 hours holiday to take. Therein lies the problem if you do the maths ( I work a 7 1/2 hour day) (If you cant be bothered 60 hours = 8 days). Looks like I am going to have to make a deal with them, hmmmm.

Have a good morining everyone, it looks like a nice day up north

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Words fail and so do I (probably)

Quick catch up.

over the weekend including Monday I got almost zero sleep. Monday night I went to bed 2:30 got up at six and then sat a computer science exam at 9:30. Feeling very rough. Then went to work and tried to finish an SQL assignment that also had to be in for that day. I didn't get it finished, my argument was obviously flawed (even to me) but I handed in what I had done, about three quarters of the work required. I came home and went staight to bed feeling hot & wobbly. I stayed in bed for 24 hrs. It turns out I have tonsillitis! I'm sort of back on my feet now, feeling a bit googley eyed and trying to cram ready for an SQL exam tomorrow.

The way I see it I have to have done blindingly well on my computer science assignment and I will have to do amazingly well in my SQL exam to get a pass at either. Right now I am so exhausted that I no longer care very much.


Monday, May 29, 2006


I hate databases, I really hate hate hate hate ahetgedjegfoqjhdgvfl qhdvpuh them.

hatey hat hate hate hatsyteywgefojqhegbpqhbq




bed 1:30am

Happy bank holiday Monday everyone, sheesh...

Torine, its the bulls B****cks

2 cans of red bull later I now understand basic UML! Yeay

I have built a data dictionary for Oracle! Yeay

I am ready to build an ERD! Yeay

I have at least 5 days worth of database devlopment leaft to cram into half a day! Boo

ever gone for a long walk and when you get home your leggs go put put put, thats how my brain feels right now.

I really dont ever intend to take a career lurch into database development, I wish I could just dump the database module out of my life. It will be useful for building content management systems etc though so I'll stop me whinin. Just wish I didnt have to sit an exam in it.

[Note to self]

braeburns are getting a bit wooly, must scoff them all tomorrow

[note to self over]

Saturday, May 27, 2006

trasitivity=anxiety attack

Ok I am currently having a mild anxiety attack brought on while trying to get my head around transitivity. Heart is pounding

attack over, it is very simple. chap has company car, if we know the chap then we know the car and hey, if we know the car then we know the company. So if we know the chap we know the company (via the car) so the functional dependency of the company on the chap is transitive.

Pull me out of this car crash

My head is buzzing. I have 2 huge exams next week and a large assignment to get in on Tuesday. I am still learning the stuff I need to know in order to write the assignment. I have bitten off more than I can chew here. But damn it I am not going to give up yet. Mostly because it is too late to pull out and I am too proud.

I updated my Linux distro (currently playing with ubuntu) to dapper 6.06. looks more shiny but haven't had time to play with it yet. Oh but I did manage to get cinelerra working on it ok. I just alien'd the rpm from the cinilerra site (I also had all the dependent libraries installed and working (I think)) . Cinelerra is a powerful video editing prog for Linux. I am going to spend a bit of time over summer mastering it, not just how to use it but how to set up render farms etc. I will make a fresh blog for that.

Must crack on with work

ERL24 - for yesterday

for yesterday


bed 12 ish

Thursday, May 25, 2006


Snowed under with work sql assignments, revision etc etc. no time to say much. My last exam is on thursday next week. I doubt I will write much before friday next week. Sorry.

The ERL will still have snippets.



bed 11:30

I have a cold and feel grotty. No way was I getting up before 7:30


(for yesterday)

Bed 12ish

Tuesday, May 23, 2006



bed 11:50

Would have been earlier but Isaac needed stretching!

feeling ever stranger today. Been up writing a set script for a new sql database, oh what fun. Lots to catch up on but I want the time to do it justice. But a quick mention now in the ERL wouldn't hurt.

Sundays gig - we roxored the soxorz off sunderland. Actually starting to think I am wasting my time on everything else apart from the music. I never get such instant results from handing a paper in. It would actually be great to have a crowd of people cheer as I hand an essay in (it would have to be slow motion running towards the desk as if fighting some invisible force).

Anyway there was about 150 people there and they actually cheered as we announced the songs! How odd, Its almost like we have fans. I must remember to put some of them on the Fisherycommission gold list (which includes free copies of CD's (when its ready) and a discount on all merchandise, such as the Fish commish sandwich toaster, sing along with the radio microphone and our top item the fish commish lunchbox and flask combo). Them being the two nice people who came over and said hello before we played, we can do you at least %10 discount.

WOAH a man has just passed my window pushing a child in a buggy and shouting really loud at it, poor kid. Its a bit early for that sort of stupidity. Hmm I need toast (marmite on toast, mmm zingy)

Monday, May 22, 2006



bed 1am

feeling a bit strange today

Saturday, May 20, 2006


Its that time again.

Just switched it on an Moldavia are on, are really cool man is rapping as he wheels around the stage on a kids scooter.

Oh here we go for Israel,old onto your hats. oh sitting on a piano and singing, nice start if only he could sing.

Latvia! A start to remember, oh shit they have a little robot AAAH ha ha he has microphones for hands. Ah and a little heart shaped balloon.

Oh Norway now. MMmmm floaty, nice wind effect

Spain - skinhead lady dancers with some bints singing, lazy ones that cant even be bothered to get out of their chairs. Oh no hold on one of them is getting abit saucy with one of the lady skinhead dancers.

Its hurting my eyes trying to write this ongoing commentary and watch the telly.

Malta - oh not the first act that has been consulting the Oxford book of cliches. But hey that is a swanky cummerbund. With chains? Sort of a grunge barry manilow thing going on there. Oh hitting the height eight.

Germany. Oh smokers lips is singing German country and western. Why not I say. My wife likes it but she likes dolly parton. ha ha its quite good (comparatively)

Denmark- she is irritating me in the same way as that stok aiken and wartyman 'sonia' bit. Mock enthusiasm, I hate mock enthusiasm. Oh rock and roll breakdancing. If they win I will eat my hat.

Russia - the man has too much wasted crotch room in his pants. AAAh there is a living statue climbing out of a piano. WHY GOD WHY. Its not right

former Yugoslav republic of Macedonia - bore me more.

Romania - nice eyeshadow mate and nice squeaky bit height eight

Bosnia & Herzegovina - he looks a little bit tired, maybe he has been trying to become an early riser. Mock passion in the singing, pah. gets a big cheer.

Lithuania - a little presumptuous - 'we are the winners of eurovision' - what the hell? its nuts. he he I like them.

UK - oh the shame

Greece - A bit negative I think, cool dress though, *ahem*

Finland- GWAR its got my vote! ha ha ha ha yeah its really funny. Hold on what if they really are satanic minions, oh now I'm a bit scared.

Ukraine - huh skipping?

France - sucky music, most French music is (Mc solar aside)

Croatia - canny pins

Ireland - my shaky head ' say hello to my shaky little head' Irish hair rules. Oh hes down on one knee , mmm added pathos, nice.

OH I cant be bothered anymore, they all suck in a watchable sort of way see you later for the results

Friday, May 19, 2006

Oh we have an official site BTW

I forgot to say

Our band has a new site!



bed 11

but couldnt sleep and kept waking up all night, lots going on in my head.

l-casei immunitas

What a full on day yesterday.

I went to work. That was my first mistake. That day started with a meeting about a project working with parents of children with ADHD to help make a series of short films with them (see earlier post about digital storytelling) I discovered that they actually want me to make 12 x 2 minute films. EEk. Anyway I think I managed to get my head around it but by this point my stress levels were at about 40%. Then I was asked to re author a DVD for the nth time as someone had missed a logo.. Only added 10% which on a normal day is nothing.

The afternoon consisted of. Making an inspiration pack for the ADHD parents ( 1 disposable camera, 1 dictaphone, 1 pencil (with rubber on end), 1 notepad and a sheet with loads of images that might help inspire them) because we only have 2 mins each to say a lot I have take loads of stuff from adverts etc to try and get them even a little bit aware of the language that advertising uses to sell you stuff in about 5 seconds. I also continued in my quest to recruit a Deaf photographer. I installed some photo mosaic software on a laptop and built up a database of images it could use. Finally just before I was about to leave to work the skate kids I tried to explain to someone I work with that you cant compress an MPEG format film in audacity (partly my fault that they tried to do that as during a phone converastion I thought they wanted to compress a wav file) tickled me anyway. By this point my stress levels are at %65.

Went to work with kids, that was fun anyway. They have hundreds of photos hence making some photo mosaics with them. And we designed their exhibition opening postcard (the font they chose is doomed never to get passed our dynamic *sic* marketing team). My stress levels may have even reduced if it had not been for a strange youth worker trying to tell me how to do my job (carping from the sidelines about how to do various technical things, getting it wrong each time). Mate you do not have a clue, not even a shred. But being the pro that I am I just smiled and said ' You might think that, I couldn't possibly comment' finished around 7:40 already very aware I was going to be late for a rehearsal that was booked for 8 in whitley bay. Stress levels 75%.

On the metro on the way home some chavers pulled the emergency stop lever and threw something at my head. (goodam their ways, the ways being you are not allowed to dress in head to toe shellsuits with the pants tucked into your socks, have a cap stapled to the top of your head and talk like a geordie Humphrey Bogart unless your parents are brother and sister). Stress levels rocket to 85%

I got home to pick up my kit and eat fast when I discovered Johanna in an equally stressed state having had an even worse day at work and freaking out about getting tax sorted for direct payments. This caused a stress clash, most unpleasant, raising my levels to 95%

I got the studio late with my eyes bulging and unable to speak.

The practice was excellent. And for some reason when I realised that a song Andy had written has content about l-casei immunitas my stress levels began to fall. We are ready to rock moderately hard on Sunday (at the voodoo rooms in sunderland).

I got home at about 10:30 with my ears ringing, my head feeling like a pillow stuffed into an egg cup. And went to bed

Thursday, May 18, 2006



bed 10:40

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

OH by the way I am an idiot

In a previous post I wrote that I could not find a site or any information about Percy Hedley school. It turns out I am such a genius. I did not spell percy hedley correctly. The web site is


Natural joins

Feeling slightly rough today,

not sure if it is a result of the chilly I made last night, something to do with the colour of the tap water this morning (light brown) or maybe I have caught Ruby's cold.

Last night Ruby did not go to sleep until gone 9pm. Then at around 1 ish Isaac decided it was his turn to be awake. Being the lazy git I am I let Johanna sort him out (She woke up first!). He then woke up at 5am, apparently he wanted to go in his standing frame and play on the computer. Thats what I love about kids, total disregard for the rules. The rule in this case being you don't wake up in the middle of the night and demand entertainment. Hmm actually even I don't like that rule.

Isaac had a hearing test yesterday. I had to work and it was Johannas day to do the kids so she took him. Apparently he did really well in what is called the distraction test hearing lots of frequencies at around 30 dB. That is with his digital hearing aids on. With them off it was another story.

Starting to really cack myself about going freelance in under six weeks. The promises of work are coming in but as I know from experience most promises of work don't come good.

Oh and why oh why have they put a toy motorbike arcade machine in public view near my office at work? It is calling my name and asking me to play on it. But I know it would be bad form, aaaah.

A friend is having a eurovision song contest party on Saturday. I love eurovison, it is the classic really bad = good thing. But I am snowed under with course work. What a dilemma.



bed 11 (well bed 10 read untill 11)

it seems that 1 hr pm = 10 mins am. I dont like the way that is panning out.

Late for work

Tuesday, May 16, 2006



bed 11:40

back into the 6 oclock range, just

Monday, May 15, 2006

Toddler trauma + Underclass revolt


Had some friends visit. That was nice. We went to the cafe at tynemouth beach for lunch. And Ruby my 20 month old daughter cried for the following reasons:

  • she has a cold so everything is traumatic
  • she wanted to go and play on the beach before we ate
  • she was told to wait so she cried even more
  • she was tired
But oh my god did she wail. We were one of those families with the screaming kids that ruins everyones middle England middle class frapuchinos. Can't wait to do it again now I come to look at it in that light. Who would have thought it, my kids are turning me into to a coffee shop class warrior.

anyway the trip to the beach was nice and seeing the sea is always a good thing + Isaac loved it. Unfortunately on returning home Ruby did not realise that her coffee shop pusch was over and had to sit on the naughty step a whole 5 times before bed.

After she went to bed I stayed up watching a Paul Newman (excellent actor but why the salad dressings?) film and reading about generalised joins and Cartesian Product in SQL. The following formula floated my boat R Gen [A >E And B<>D] S

Then I went to bed and dreamt the following:

' I was a spin doctor that had been given some important documents that were politicaly sensitive. I was due to hand them over to another member of the government at a kids Bach recital. But I accidentaly mixed them up with the score and words for the singers. You can imagine my embarrassment when they started to sing'



bed 12:30

grrr, how rubbish is that!

Saturday, May 13, 2006

yeay I am a real nerd now

Ok tonight I have installed a streaming server on my xbox and I am using it like a jukebox on my home network. I find this very exciting. No doubt anyone reading this will either go 'coool' or 'get a life'. Hmm still cant get it to stream at high quality yet, mmm must be something simple I have missed.

Oh and I am slightly worried that I am too old to be a genius. Most geniuses do their best and defining work in their early twenties. So I suppose the phrase ' bollock's I'm not a genius' would be be quite fitting right now. But I do know that the speed of light is constant that travels at 186000 miles per second so I cant be that far off... can I?

today I have also been listening to pyjamarama by roxy music and some remark drum and base. nice

Tonight I ate a hot curry and drank some beer. No doubt I will regret both of these activities tomorrow

Friday, May 12, 2006

ERL14 - conductive education


bed 11 - sleep 12:30 ish

Once I can get myself into solid early rising pattern (I am aiming for bed by 10 rise at 5) I am going to stop the Early Riser Log. No doubt it will be replaced by something equally inane.

My son has been having an evaluation week at Percy Headley school. In the absence of any online info about Percy Headley I will put a link here about conductive education for anyone who is interested. Isaac has loved going and has visibly benefited, we have been amazed by the skill and conviction of the staff. We live in North Tyneside and have been told that North Tyneside point blank refuse to fund childrens places at the school... So rather than get into a lot of detail here we are going to take time to think about what is best for Isaac. Then if we do decide he should go I will start a separate blog on the subject as I am sure there will be a lot to write. If we do decide it is in his best interests to go to a conductive education centre then we will no doubt have to take it to court.

It stinks.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Sunglasses and my big ears

Other things I have noticed about wearing sunglasses.

  • I don't know how to use my eyes when I have them on, behind that mirrored glass they are going all over the place
  • My wife reckons they make me look like one of the guards in cool hand Luke.
  • Some of the rougher 'Chaver ' element get a bit freaked. Its like if they cant see your eyes then they see you as a threat. Today I was getting out of the car (wearing my shades) and this lad walking past turns to me and says 'what the F*** are you looking at. Being the meek person I am I thought he was talking to someone else and walked past him. Then I looked around and there was no one else there..
Yesterday I was walking through town and I accidenly over heard a snipped of a conversation behind me. It went something like.

'..I totally sick of him me like, you know what he's been doing? He's been selling his wifes diarrhea medicine as drugs..'


I need to get a moment at the end of this week to write about my sons assessment week at Percy Headley School.



bed 11:45

And I still feel wrecked

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

My eyes, what have you done to my eyes

Ok I got the assignment in. Yeay.

But I am now soo tired, so very very tired. The thing had to be in at 3 and at 2:15 I deleted it. EEK I swear I stopped breathing for about a minute. Then I found a pdf I had made of it. Phew.

Anyway I have to go and listen to a man with a big big beard try to teach me how to program in assembly language. Yawn.

Then I am going to go home and have a beer and then start shitting myself about my database assignment.

Its a lovely day though and I bought some sunglasses. The problem with wearing sunglasses is that for some reason I feel like I am invisible. It could be dangerous.



bed 3am

Still not finished report. It has to be in today. I am too much of a a perfectionist. Feeling tired, up late working on it. My eyes are all bloodshot and stingy. Have to go to work today and really I could do without it, now remember why I am leaving. Cant stop.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006



bed 12:30

Up working on report. Still have about 700 words to write and then the whole thing needs cleaning up, collected articles need organising. Whole thing needs to be made into html do that links articles etc etc. Have work then uni untill 9pm tonight. Going to phone in and try and get day off.

That means I cant take Andy his space hoppers in (more on that when I have time)

Monday, May 08, 2006

quick stuff + ERL10


bed 1:30

Burning the candle at both ends trying to get a report written for Wednesday. Lots to write no time to write it.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

ERL9 - time for a re-think


bed 12 ish (cant remember)

I have been starting to tire of the ERC (Early Riser Campaign). I dont seem to be able to get my arse up the stairs to bedfordshire at a reasonable hour, This means I feel like am about an hour or 2 short of sleep each night, leaving me 1 whole night short of sleep by the end of the week. Sometimes I can go for months on about 4 hours a night then suddenly I hit the bonk. So I am going to do a re-think. I am not giving up on it but I am going to get a bit more cunning. As of this day I will allow myself 8:30 starts at weekends to catch up a bit (kids allowing, which they never do). The main thing I am going to do is figure out why I dont get to bed. The main things that keeps me from making the sensible choice of an early night are:

-Bad TV (usually films I secretly like but would never admit to any high brow friends)

-Isaac needs medication at around 12 so one of use always has to stay up untill then.

-I actually get too tired to be bothered to get out of my seat and go up stairs

-I am nerding away on a computer trying to compile some software or build a sequencer (I will put a sequencer I have built online soon BTW) etc

So I need to think about this and figure out a solution.

Last night I stayed up way too late stuffing penguins into an old XBOX So I can put my music collection onto it and use it as a streaming audio server in my house. I can already see that it will take up way too much of my time.

Friday, May 05, 2006

todays morning walk to the beach

ERL9 - step with I man


bed 12:30

Really tired this morning. Must get to bed early tonight. Ended up watching tv too tired to get up and got to bed last night.

Yesterday (all my troubles conspired to turn me grey)

really stressed about Databases and how I need to become an SQL expert in about 3 days. Ouch. I really think I am going to have to drop the SQL module at uni and pick it up later. Damn it. how fed up will I be knowing it is still hanging like an albatross around my neck. I will also be gutted to know I failed so soon into the year.

We did a bit of recording in Daves studio last night. It was a top session. I even did a bit of singing. Although we did end up fiddling with auto tuner for ages after to try and make it sound like I can sing. But as we left it even auto tuner hit the bonk on my voice.

So I will add singer and database expert to my list of careers I should potentialy avoid. I couldnt give a monkeys about the singing BUT damn it I do want to crack SQL, it is just so usefull to have it in my brain.

Got Isaac off to school in record time this morning and as I write this (yup its a charles in charge day again) Ruby is scoffing a banana (she really wants chocolate) and pretending to be a clock. SO I had better get on with the mornings activities. Tick tock tick tock tick ......

Thursday, May 04, 2006



bed 12

Yup a shameful 7:15, Got no reading done this morning, boo.

[note to self]

must take notes to self more seriously

[end of note to self]

Today I went to have a look at the new polytechnic office. But we couldn't get in. Either the security guard who was there to let us in was completely confused (he was new) or both the front and back doors were bolted from the inside (sounds impossible but stranger things have happened).

Then I dropped a recycled Linux box of with an artist. He has asked to borrow it to try and develop some Ideas he is working on using puredata. He has the box on condition he keeps a blog of his progress as an artist new to Linux.

I am currently eating noodles (I added a jalapeno pepper to them and they are too hot, making my nose run) and putting off burying my head in a book about SQL.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Digital story telling

I was talking to someone about Digital story telling today. It looks like an interesting thing. I am starting to really enjoy hearing people's stories and in a collecting sort of context. But the thing that concerns me is the technologies that are used. Looking into it and visiting sites made by a few people who call themselves experts I observed the same old thing. They all recommend getting access to lovely new laptops (usually Mac) DV cams and high end proprietary software (the sort that is 'must have' i.e. with every must have update you must have newer and more costly hardware. This seems to be counter productive to the actual goals of digital story telling, most groups I am likely to work with will have no money and limited access to the right technologies.

Not only is the constant drive for new hardware harmful to the environment but consider this.

-You will be crash landing into a community centre or similar with a bank of shiny new technology.

-Tell people that they matter and you really want their stories

-Dont invest the time to teach them the skills to be in control of the development and production own stories

-Then leave when you have what you need.

What's that you say to the group as you are loading up the gear to leave. You say you want to make more? Oh ok then if we get time we can come back, but you could get your own equipment and do it yourself. All you need to shell out is £500 perPCc or at least double that for ausablee laptop, £500 per DV cam, a couple of hundred for photoshop, an couple of hundred for dv editing software etc etc etc... I will leave the shopping list at that but you are looking at about £11000 for 10 computers and all the needed software and kit (only costed at 1 DV cam) .

So I propose a solution. A Free Open Source Storytelling Kit.

This could start life as a simple knoppix live Linux disc that has all the tools to get people started on it. You could put a range of audio recording and editing tools (Audacity, rosegarden (for soundracks) ) Gimp for image manipulation & animation. Ktoon and basic stopmotion tools for animation. Inkscape of graphics , Cinelerra and Kino for video editing. Yes there are alreadistributionsons out there that have exactly these tools on. But I think also focus could be placed on how these softwares are chained together to guide people through the process of story telling.

The list stretches on and on.

The Disc could be installable and tweaked to run on older machines using uClibc and lightweight desktop such as fluxbox. Have a look at the RULE project. Have a look at A/uDemudi, someone is working on a version of demudi that will work quite well on recycled machines. These days you can pick up a recycled PIII with monitor for well under £100. So say a network of 10 computers with all the software needed and 1 weeks training you are looking at a cost of £1500. This resource and the skills to use it then belongs to the group.

Anyway that is my rant over for tonight. Today I also take back what I said about inkscape, I quite like it now.



bed 11:20

Would have been earlier but I got sucked into watching the car chase at the start of martix 2.

It might be my age or a lack of ass kicking excitement in other areas of my life, but I seem to be developing a liking for action films! a couple of weeks ago I watched Blade 2 when it was on telly. Kung Fu ass kicking vampires rule.

Yesterday I made a pamphlet for a project using scribus (open source desktop publishing software). While the end results were OK I really did not like the look and feel of the software. However I hate all DTP software so I am not the best judge. Actually I even hate the term DTP...

Then I had lectures until 9pm and came home with my head feeling much heavier then it had in the morning. I think it was because someone spent 20 mins explaining Bertrand Russells 'principa mathematica'.

Today looks like it is going to be a glorious sunny day, So sunny in fact that I may actually eat my sandwiches outside at lunchtime. Hows that for raw power? Iggy would be proud.

[Note to self]

Get an earlier night tonight

[Note to self]

Tuesday, May 02, 2006



Bed 11:40

Campaign faltered a bit over the weekend with disappointing start times of between 8:30 and 9:30.

Mostly did work for Uni (still writing a report on Distributed information systems), entertained visiting parents and stayed up way too late one night playing GTA San Andreas, stupid game. It has a good soundtrack though.

We have a gig on 21 May @ voodoo rooms in Sunderland. SO I really need to pull my socks up and get at least 2 more tunes in the bag. Problem is most of my kit is scattered to the 4 corners of my messy messy house. It will be Wed before I get the chance to get it together on that front now. Stupid not having enough time and wasting what I have.

I seem to be having a stupid stupid morning

Saturday, April 29, 2006



bed 11:20

Forgot to switch the alarm on!

Had a dream that i was in a race but I couldn't get started because my number kept falling off

Friday, April 28, 2006

inna babyon

Livin in a babylon

Cheers berny. Today I was giving Ruby some grapes and contemplating taking her into town so I could buy a naff shirt in one of whitley bays many charity shops. I was still feeling a bit sleepy and confused about today when I spotted the postman walking towards my front door. When I was a kid this was always good news as it always meant that I had potentially had an article accepted for submission in the beano, or dandy. These days it is usually bills and tax demands. ANYWAY today he brought me 2 cd's that were sent to me by a good pal Bernard. They are King Tubby Meets Rockers Uptown and super ape what a star. I will come good on my promises in return berny.

Since today is a charles in charge day I will be adding to this post as the day progresses

Ok the latest. The phone has been ringing off the hook today with various healthcare professionals and work related stuff so I decided to take the kids for a walk to the beach. We got there and the second I let Ruby out out the buggy she ran into the sea and got soaked Isaac thought it was very funny and I have to admit I did as well, Ruby on the other hand didn't. We had to come straight home.



bed 1:10 - stupid watching sleepers then the sopranos.

worked with a group of 'skaters' last night. These are a group of teenagers in who have come together through their youthclub. From a museum perspective it is really interesting to make a record of their 'culture' for future reference. I am helping them make a film.

Zzz too tired to type this morning. I have to get Isaac ready for school, this is not the standard routine, he wears a second skin suit that helps him sit etc, it is a nightmare to get him into it.

Must steam my eyes open a bit more and get cracking

Thursday, April 27, 2006



bed 11:40

Hmm could there actually be a link between the time you go to bed and the time you wake up... The phone rang at 1:10 am, it was a withheld number. I hope everything is OK in the world today. I hate missing phone calls and I always worry that something bad has happened when it rings in the middle of the night.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006


I am making a jukebox at work for an exhibition about '50 years of punk' I needed to make some cheesy jukebox style artwork for it. So I figured I would have a look at inkscape and see if it is actually anygood. I was suprised to find that it actually is quite good. I made the picture above. It's cheesy and vectory but not bad for 30 mins.

E R L - 2


bed 12

Isaac awake 4 times through night. Had to hold my cup of tea under my nose to try and steam my eyes open this morning.

Today we will be experiencing the standard routine of:

metro, work, lunch, work, metro, kids in bed, eat tea, read, go to bed. There will be some slight alterations in the form of a meeting to discuss premises straight after work, but barring that today promises to be mild.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

The venerable me

Today I had a meeting with some people from the sensory support team at a high school in Newcastle. We are putting together a photography project for Deaf young people at the museum...

[warning, long winded and emotional explanation below, please skip if you are one of my more cynical friends]

Perhaps I need to elaborate a little bit to make this make sense. I am currently working as an outreach worker for the museum service. Part of my job is to help groups of people gain access to museums and galleries. I usually do this by devising projects that will engage people and improve their lives by exploring who they are, where they are and why they are here, using all the resources at hand ( which happens to be about 11 museums and galleries folks). Because my background is in the arts, projects usually take on a creative slant with film making, photography, multimedia stuff etc etc. I have always had respect for the amount of time people put into their projects (I just help them get started really), it is an amazingly humbling experience to make a breakthrough with a group. For example in the past I have done a lot of work with a groups of young people as part of youth offending teams, at times it is exhausting and frustrating then you realise that you have managed to find common ground and actually feel like you are gaining their respect by not being loud and in their faces but by listening to what they want to do and helping them to do it (I only get loud after a few shandy's and that is generally an enthusiastic sort of loudness) . Then it feels worthwhile. Anyway the thing is, I have handed my notice in at work. I was reaching breaking point. Not with the job but I am getting pretty exhausted trying to fit my sons care into the day along with work,, better paid freelance work when it comes along, MSc, and various other things. But mostly I quit so I can be more flexible with my time to look after Isaac. I also hate to do a half arsed job of anything, I could have probably tried to keep it all together and coast a bit at work but that is just not me, I could feel this was beginning to happen and that helped me make the decision. Finally to round things back to the point and a bit away from this slightly over public expression, There is one final project that I want to complete and that is the fore mentioned photography project. I have a personal investment in this. Isaac is also Deaf and I want to contribute in some way to making the service better for Deaf and Disabled people before I go. There are other top people who work there who want the same thing, but it is going to be a good way of clearing my desk so to speak.

[its OK, its over..]

I have to say I was so impressed by the people I met in the school today, they were so enthusiastic, positive and helpful, a real credit. I left feeling like I can pull one more great big rabbit out of my top hat before I go.

What else did I do today, hmm. I bought a bag of MSG, that's right MSG for that authentic takeaway taste. I cooked a Chinese takeaway style curry, added 1/4 of a teaspoon of glorious MSG and BINGO it was like I had lost a tenner and accidentally eaten my granny's laxative chocolate (again). I am sure the headache and dizziness will pass. Oh I also did not realise that I have no lectures tonight, so as you can imagine I looked quite the fool standing outside an empty room, on my own for at least 15 minutes (how long would you have waited?) Right now I should be doing lots of other things rather than writing this, but boo sucks to that.

Good night. I think I need to hit the venerable bede (go to bed) if I am going to maintain the early riser campaign

early riser log

6:30 am

but spent most of the morning trying to find out how to get the 308 bus from whitley bay to heaton, gaaa. (it leaves from park avenue every 15 mins BTW)

Monday, April 24, 2006

marathons etc

Just watching a TV programme about people who decide to run marathons. It is something I have always fancied having a go at. Go knows where I will get the time to train. But I do get the feeling that the extra energy would be good.

I have been trying to become 'AN EARLY RISER' getting up at 6am every morning to fit a bit of extra reading in. I seem to be able to take in and retain information better at this time of day. However I am also not naturally a morning person and I usually wake up feeling like I have just been born most mornings. Anyhow it started well for about 2 weeks but the last few mornings I have hit the bonk. Perhaps I need a teas made. Remember them? can you still get them? what do you do about keeping the milk fresh, surely you can't just leave it in the cup overnight.

[don't read the following paragraph if you are not a nerd]

Note to self don't fear SQL (the link is for mysql, I'm learning oracle but fully intend to go over to open source at the first opportunity)databases are our friends (I seem to remember someone I trust saying that anyway) I'm doing an Oracle module at Uni at the moment and today I finally had that 'penny drops' moment I had been looking for, I had been finding it really hard to understand. Usually I need to find a way of linking something I am learning with something I already know. When I used to do a lot of live music sets using lsdj on my gameboys i used to memorise huge rows of hexadecimal data by attaching each pattern to a journey i regularly take, i.e. roads and roundabouts, metro routes train journeys, walks and landmarks etc. Anyway I have finally managed to get SQL to stick in my brain by linking it with DUB REGGAE in my head, strange but it works. SO say a relation (table) is black ark studios, lee perry is the primary key etc etc.

[non nerds can start reading again]

actually not much more to say. I took the kids to the beach this morning, it was lush, they loved it.

Well my tea is ready better stop the current stream of nothingness.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Hung up and hanging out to dry

Hungover, confused and emotional today.

Today I really think that I dont like:

Pubs; more than one conversation at a time; tribute bands (just thought I would throw that one in, but they are lame aren't they); feeling like I am having less and less patience with everthing ever.

Spleen vented, I think I'll put the kettle on.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

the fast few days

Thursday nights recording session was a good one. We recorded fear not the fax. Dave who's studio we used was a star as always. We go the game boys (more about that in later entrys) synced up to the midi clock and and got a good live recording (more energy that way). Then Andy went into the vocal booth and flawlessly sang the first vocal track, first time. I can't wait to get the next track recorded.

On Friday I took my kids swimming at Concordia in Cramlington. My son has cerebral palsy so we needed to use the disabled changing room. It was disgusting, there was a toilet in it which I am sure is probably against the law for reasons of hygiene (people pissing on the floor where people are getting changed). Also the lock on the door was bust. Shame on you. I wont be letting that one slide... Anyhow the swimming part was fun.

Today the I dropped the family unit off at toy library and went to pick up some remaining computers up that we ( had left after Matt Gray's supercollider workshop that we organised as part of the recent AV festival.

My remaining plans for the day are to eat some chocolate, try and wake up a bit (I will write about my early riser project later) read a bit about logic gates and then I AM GOING FOR A PINT. Looking forward to it, it is a very rare occurrence these days, I am meeting up with some good old friends that I don't see enough of.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

beta post

I am feeling quite drowsy today. I was awake for too long yesterday.

So yesterday I went to work and finished authoring a DVD for a project that is being exhibited where I currently work (The Discovery Museum, Newcastle)
I came home and fed the kids, Isaac wanted cake instead of the pasta my wife had made him. Ruby ate her grub; she has never turned food down yet. Post tea time I spent about 20 mins pretending to be a gymnast by jumping around on the sofa (while my wife was out of the room) and twirling my scarf above my head. Then we read stories and the wee people went to bed.

Then I set about ripping the horrible iDVD menu off the DVD I made earlier by using dvdauthor in Linux (I don’t have a good Linux box at work) and making an ISO of the disk. At the same time I worked on some music as I am due to go into a recording studio tonight to record another song for my wee bands demo. Have a look at it's quite amazing but there is a studio in Whitley Bay, not many people know that. It is very convenient.

I was also working on an assignment for Uni (using alternatives to Microsoft for distributed computing Zzzz). I'm on the first year of an MSc in computing. I have a degree in fine art and I am a practicing artist. I came to a point where I had to make a choice about what I wanted to learn next. I figured that critically I could continue on the path I have chosen as an artist but technically I am becoming more and more reliant upon network technology. So I figured that I need to become a master of science before I can come close to being a master of my own art.

Finally I worked on a some letters that I have to send out for an organisation I have set up. Have a look at I will be writing a lot more about this in future blogs

Anyway that was my night, I also discovered that orangina (spell check wants me to correct this to ‘or angina’ which I quite like)and white rum tastes nicer than you would expect. So there is my first blog entry, hope its not too dull. It is really not intended for anyone other than myself, friends and family but if you want to read it then feel free!

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Absent control

this is alpha post