Friday, December 19, 2008

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Gorilla says

Original gorilla image taken from

Having a rough time of it. I need to get through it, get my ability to concentrate back and not be beaten. I will be trying to take the motivational gorillas advice.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Glass fish says 'Epic Fail'

Im all attempted endeavors

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The weekend

Datarama was a success, will post more soon (promise).

Took Kids to York railway museum with my inlaws on Sunday, we survived.

So why do I feel so rough (besides the current man flu I am host to)

I need a big boost to get through the rest of December. Ill keep you posted when I figure out what that could be.

monk automata image taken from wikimedia

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Friday, December 05, 2008

Preparing for datarama

A democratic data event hosted by Polytechnic.

Saturday 6th December 2008. 8pm

The Pixel Palace at Tyneside Cinema.

Bring your laptop, gameboy, pda, mini disc, memory stick, etc.,
plug into a PA & projector, have a drink, and show off what you are working on.

Music, sound, still images, moving images, animation, nice design are all welcome.

Past contributions to Datarama have included Mobile phone documentaries, home made audio hardware, flash animation, complex super collider patches, slideshows, hand painted torches, gameboy rock, flickr crowdsourcing and HTML cross stitching.

We welcome data exchange so if you have cool home made stuff you want to share bring it along and spread the joy.

ImageMagick Banner recipe (please hack me) :

convert -size 480x85 xc:transparent -font DemonCubicBlockFontShade -pointsize 72 -draw "text 25,55 'datarama 0.3'" -channel RGBA -gaussian 0x6 -fill darkred -stroke magenta -draw "text 25,60 'datarama 0.3'" datarama.png

Official video alert

Andy the fish commish front man has suddenly revealed an official band video..

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Today I will be mostly hiding in my studio

I call it a studio. It is a small room with floor to ceiling LP's and an assortment of books, audio gear and a computer.

A while back there was a small leak of water into our living room ceiling that made a wee flap of paper loosen. Being the massive idiot I am I pulled it and all of the paper on the ceiling fell off in 5 seconds flat. I laughed, Mrs Electro Dad (or whatever I happen to be calling this blog at your time of perusal) did not laugh. So I have a man in. He is re-papering the ceiling while I hide in my 'studio'.

On a much more Rock n' Roll tip my band where reviewed here:

Just for the record (my record is getting quite long) My Brian Wilson years did not involve a desert island, cocaine or massive amounts of booze. They were much more abstract than that ending with me slowly starting to write music again and taking refuge. Anyhow there is a free track with this review, have a listen and tell me what you think.

Rodger and out.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Watch out I'm a disparate man

Today I want to introduce you to a friend of mine, Ele.

I want you look at her blog

The watch this video:

Then read her blog again

(Just for the record, I'm not saying your an old lady with cherries in you hat Ele)

Monday, December 01, 2008


This weekend I met up with some old friends and went along to catch the Pots and Pangea event at the Boathouse on Newcastle's Quayside. It was ran by the excellent Pangea Sound System. It was a fun night. Most of the people there were so young! I was like the old guy with the beard at the back of the room. But hey that was OK I don't go along with the whole social Logans Run idea that your not allowed to go out once you hit 30. On the plus side being the old codger means I have had more time to collect all those lovely old jamaican 45's ;)

Friday, November 28, 2008

Slow Breath

I think I posted earlier that we have reformed our band, The Fishery Commission. This can only really be taken as a sign of my improved health and motivation (and Andy the singers super hero status).

A few years back we recorded a bunch of songs, this unfortunately coincided with life getting incredibly complicated and the tunes seemed to get scattered to the four winds.

However we have found 2 of them and I have posted one on our Myspace page today.

Hope you are all having a peaceful day, the world needs it.

Image from:

Thursday, November 27, 2008

more auto-completion

Today I will walk with my hands in god?

Wednesday, November 26, 2008


Is it just me or is the popular media on more of a witch hunt than usual? All these sad stories about parents with mental health problems, TV and Radio presenters who step over the line and then being shown zero compassion or forgiveness. Just when it was all getting too much I found this

It made me laugh a little bit and then I could get on with todays work.

Also I had to play with google auto complete to see what I will do today, can you believe how popular some of these searches are?

Tuesday, November 25, 2008


Today I am mostly thinking about snowflakes. (and working on my phd stuff honest Beryl).

Something about watching the snowflakes at the weekend has captured my imagination. I figured that being of a semi nerdal persuasion I would look into algorithms for generating snowflakes. The following if a list of links relating to snowflake generation.

John Maeda's Simplicity blog has an interesting piece on the Snowflake-A-Thon at MIT in 2005:

The winners code:

there is the the Koch Snowflake algorithm which seems like and interesting starting poitn for research but produces dull results:

Physics of snowflake formation:

Examples of snowflake code:




Stand alone generators worth a mention:

This list is by no means complete. I seem to get well over a thousand views per day, it cant all be google spiders. I would really welcome your ideas about snowflakes and any interesting links I can add to this post

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Fluffy Snow

This weekend we took our kids on a big group weekend away at Minsteracres. A few times a year a group of us, us being a loosely formed support network of parents and friends of Kids with a range of disabilities get together and go away to celebrate birthdays or just try and get a break and catch up on the news. Its always:
# $emotionList = array("fun", "stressfull", "poiniant", "exhausting", "life_affirming");

I have to admit I usually shy away from it as contrary to what you who know me may think I really don't like large group dynamics. Anyhow this weekend I went and it was all of the array.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Click N Flip - first experiments with Quartz

As some of you know my son has Cerebral Palsy.

He loves books, comics and magazines. However he cannot turn the pages. There are page turners on the market to help people do this but they are enormous contraptions and they cost thousands of pounds.

So, I was thinking about this at the same time as I figured I would play about with Quartz Composer on my MacBook. And I wrote a small slide show patch that moves on to the next slide when the built in microphone detects a volume spike.

Now all I have to do is scan pages from his books and arrange them in a folder, Quartz will display them and move through them when the wee lad makes a noise or taps the table.

You can download the patch: Click-N-Flip

Image of the patch:

So the bad news is you need a mac to use it. But it should be a cinch to build in Pure Data then it is full open source and multi platform. Yes it is such a simple patch and idea that no doubt it already exists in a million forms. But what seems to be the nice thing is it took me 20 - 30 minutes to build and now I can add features as their need becomes apparent.

Here it is in action:

Here is a list of tutorials I looked at to get an understanding of Quartz:

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Winter Bootstrap

Your reality, sir, is lies and balderdash and I'm delighted to say that I have no grasp of it whatsoever” - Baron Von Munchhausen

Some of you might understand the term 'bootstrap'. In simple terms it is a metaphor for a self sustaining process.

I heard once that it comes from Baron Von Munchhausen pulling himself out of the swamp by his own bootstraps (although I seem to remember it was by his ponytail). I love the absurdity of it, yet sometimes it is exactly what you have to do.

Monday, November 17, 2008

better day

making notes for personal record here:

Was very drowsy today although in a better mood. Thinking about the possible benefits of going to one of those stand and tan places for a zap of artificial sunlight.

Deejaying tonight at Kinetic.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Pictures speak almost as loud as the words I used when I saw this

Look what my cat did to my Wii :(

Oh scratch that

Did I say Thursday was uneventful?

Well I tempted fate didn't I. My cat got locked in the sitting room and in retaliation it crapped all over my Wii. It was unbelievably vile. So vile in fact I will upload the pics in the morning..


Thursday, November 13, 2008

Notes form under a bubblewrap sky

I was in the poly most of yesterday. I some how got the idea to do the flyer for our next datarama event purely as an ImageMagick shell script. Oh what fun it will be and how exciting i can then send it some very simple commands according to what size and quality I want it, hmm maybe I could put it server side and make it possible for anyone to manipulate. 4 hours later I have 3 lines of text on a black background.


However I did have a breakthrough in my understanding of it just before I packed up to come home. Also I am going to persist as I do like the idea of the flyer being a piece of Open Source code that can be modified by its user.

Other than that today seems like a relatively unremarkable day so far, had a nice walk to school with Roo who was in a sunny mood and now I am drinking nice coffee and thinking about meditating on cosmic consciousness.

Fishery Commission rehearsal / figuring phase 2 out..

Also here is an exclusive peep at some images from our first datarama..

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Chocolate script whistling

shell script niceness above, adding to my growing passion for imageMagick

What a cold day. I had to drink hot chocolate as several deadlines whistled past my ears.

Monday, November 10, 2008

I made a bed and need cheep transcription

I am currently transcribing all the interviews I did In New York. It is a slow slow process. I figured I would be lazy and look into paying a one of those virtual secretaries to transcribe em all for me. Wrong.. Its soo expensive (£54 for a 45 minute interview).

So today I gave my eyes a rest and my ears (from the constant looping of my own voice) and I made a new bed. Sometimes it is nice to cut wood and hammer nails, I would go as far as say it is good for your soul.

I am thinking of starting the ERL again (see 2006 entries)

I am thinking of eating some chocolate (see inside your own head for the taste of chocolate)

I am thinking of switching off this compu...

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Fishy reunions

Saturday morning 10am my phone went peep. It was a Text from Mr Brown from out of the blue. The end result is a planned rehearsal for the fishery commission for Thursday night.

I dunno if you ever heard us but I hope I am not tooting my trumpet too hard when I say we were good.

I have continue writing tunes quietly for myself and they have taken on a harsher more dubby feel. It is going to be interesting to see were this goes.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

I now know were my parents went wrong

They didnt buy me a swing wing

Thursday, November 06, 2008

just a quick recipe

I wrote this a while ago, then lost it and had to re learn it:


convert -size 480x85 xc:transparent -font DemonCubicBlockFontShade -pointsize 72 -draw "text 25,55 'datarama 0.3'" -channel RGBA -gaussian 0x6 -fill darkred -stroke magenta -draw "text 25,60 'datarama 0.3'" datarama.png


It is an ImageMagick recipe. I will add more when I am not so pressed for time..

Image Magick Install notes:

Installing Image Magick using macports was not straight forward, I had to also install ghostscript and add the perl bindings.

# sudo port install ImageMagick +perl
# sudo port install GhostScript

I was still getting a ton of font errors until I found this tutorial

The font I used can be downloaded here,cubes

I prefer apt-get but since I'm on a mac lappy today it had to be done this way. I still love ImageMagick.

Friday, October 31, 2008



Well I suppose it is time to get on with the day to day stuff again. In a recent chat with someone I was very embarrassed to have to admit that I had not seen Alphaville . So I have decided to make sure that you my silent readers (all two of you again) don't ever find yourselves in the same position.

click on the full screen button in the bottom right of the video window and enjoy

Here is a link to the google page were you can download it if you prefer:

It would be fun to hear what you think of this film..

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Central Park and Brooklyn Bridge

This is the last of the footage I think. I will have one last look to see if I missed anything. Ill put photos up on flickr when I get a chance but that is pretty much it. Good bye New York.

Less Than Three

I finally got 5 mins to put my less than three footage together.

See my earlier post for more info.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Sunday and heading off

This weekend the subway has been hectic. They have closed the stops near me and replaced it with a shuttle bus. So I guess I have experienced a rush hour bus In NY, which was particularly great fun during the thunderstorm on Saturday night.

The Panel Discussion for the closing of the Untethered Exhibition was fun, the highlight for me was the talk by Michael J. Sheafe from toaster central.

Today I went for a walk in Central Park I started at the north and zig-zagged my way to the south taking in the sights. It was a glorious day and I feel privileged to have snuck an extra day of summer out of the year.

After central park I tackled the crazy subway chaos and got off at York Street in DUMBO and walked back into Manhattan over the Brooklyn Bridge and had a wander around Chinatown before heading on back.

Ok so today I checked out of my room, phew. I am in Eyebeam for an hour or so them I am heading on over to JFK and I'm going to fly home.

What a week.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Notes from a rainy Saturday

Transcribed from my notebook:

Here is the drill

Normally most mornings I have woken early, washed, dressed and written my first thoughts ready to present them to the troops once I am plugged into the grid. Today is different. I am currently sitting in a cafe called digbys writing this longhand in my notebook whilst holding a monster burrito in my left hand . It is quite a struggle.

Yesterday I interviewed Zach. I was postponed by Ayah then went to see a piece open at Madison Square Park. It was by Rafael Lozano-Hemmer called Less than Three (I will post video when I get the chance). Following that I took the L train to Sarah and Andys studio pad for dinner. Andy makes very good soup. They walked me back to the train pointing out all the grafitti which was surprisingly interesting and inventive (rather than the standard meat head stuff we get in the north east (bar one or 2 writers)). On the way back I noticed a small, transparent and securely fastened bag of urine on the curb.

Today I went to the NY MoMA. I love Nan Goldings work so it was a joy to catch her piece the ballad of sexual dependency there. Also there is a fair sized show of Beuys work on there. I picked up a print from felix gonzalez-torres death by gun. But I fear by the time I get it home it will be called destroyed in transit.

Anyhow burrito over.

Friday, October 24, 2008

I heart the subway

Time adjustment and the return of my soul

I think it was (this is not my academic blog so I can say things like um I think & maybe etc) William Latham that wrote something about jet lag being the length of time it takes your soul to catch up with you. Well I think my soul has followed the silver slug like thread I wove as I jetted across the atlantic and finally arrived back were it belongs. The reason I know this is I slept until 8am today.

So updates:

Yesterday did 3 interviews first I met Magdalena Sawon and Tamas Banovich at Postmasters the chat I had with them was top, they added a completely different slant to my research, I am really glad I could meet them. secondly I had a quick chat with Michael Mandiberg which was also fantastic as he trew a few tangents into my research. Finally I met Jonah did a quick interview, realised he would be cool to get some collaborations going with (putting my hat on) and then went to a Glowlab opening. I liked the work.

Today I am going to try and catch Ayah and Zach for interviews and then have dinner with Sarah and Andy and catch a few openings

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Yesterday I met Steve Lambert and had a good chat, at the end of the chat he kinda dared me to try and contact Jeff Koons as an example of an artist who has dealt with the sharp end of copyright law and as someone who develops an idea and has a team of people who work on its development.

Anyhow I may phone his studio today, I found the number..

This afternoon I am meeting up with Magda Sawon of the postmasters Gallery then I am meeting up with Jona Brucker-Cohen and going to an opening in Soho.

My room was so cold this morning.

Also I have been thinking, my favorite time of day NY is the morning. I like finding somewhere to get black coffee and a danish, I eat it slowly and watch NY wake up.

Today I ate breakfast at Dunkin doughnuts

Wednesday, October 22, 2008


Well last night seemed to go OK at performing machines
All the other speakers were Eyebeam residents so they got a tough time during the crits. They went easy on me I think as I'm just up for a few days and only brought stuff along that I could safely bring through customs, you know nothing with wires hanging out and looking like a potential bomb. Anyhow I got few laughs out of people talking about my dads computer shop and then TV rental company as being my early introduction to computers and electronics, so that was nice (at my poor old Dads expense... sorry Dad I only mentioned your computer games programming sweat shop and TV repair techniques)

Then I got taxi back to my room, which was another experience as I ended up giving the taxi driver directions after he started driving through some scary looking neighbourhoods.

This morning I woke early and headed on off to get some breakfast (black coffee). I got to eyebeam way too early so went for a walk to about to soak in a bit of atmosphere (its a windy day here). Today I am meeting with Steve Lambert

Oh but the bad news is my email is down! So I cant chase interviews etc bleedin Virgin media, you are causing me stress again..

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Communal Showers and Times Square

I braved the communal showers at the YMCA today it was possibly the quickest shower of my life. Then I went to get some breakfast on 7th Avenue, bought some souvenirs and grabbed some quick vids on my phone on times square

I am currently sitting at Eyebeam thinking about food and going to see GH

The rest of yesterday

I went for pancakes! It was nice, the table opposite had 4 cops laughing and joking whilst eating eggs. I got a small stack of buttermilk pancakes and black coffee, they were delicious.

Then I got the subway to eyebeam.

everyone seems nice so far. I worked on interviews until my laptop battery went flat. Went for lunch with Hans-Christoph recorded a chat with him in a standup and eat place. In the afternoon I worked on some gameboy stuff then came back to the ymca.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Notes from 7:40 am

Im In New York.

Flights were long but thankfully uneventful. I caught a shuttle bus from the airport to were I am staying which was possibly one of the mere dangerous parts of the journey as the driver was bombing through the traffic carving everybody up whilst texting on one phone and talking on another, granted the talking part was via hands free, thank God.

I got to my room in Harlem YMCA by about 3 am UK time. The room is bloody freezing and it looks a bit bleak. I'll ask for some more blankets and try and re assess the situation in daylight.

On thing that has lodged in my memory banks is driving over the bridge into Manhattan and looking at the city lights to my left, suddenly without prompting the music from taxi began playing out in my head.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

October 14th came and went

Oh what a shame, we didn't get a visit from the galactic federation of light after all.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

No one expects....

A better than average day.

Meeting this morning wasn't so bad, in fact it was so OK I'm more worried than I would have been if it hadn't gone OK, if that makes any sort of sense.

Then had a good supervisors meeting at Uni were Beryl played me a very cool Brass ensemble cover of a Barry White tune. I must remember to hunt out my Katzenjammers steel band cover of Gary Numans cars for the next one

On way home I yoinked 2 mini kaoss pads, The nice chap in the shop asked 'Why 2' I said 'for my Gameboys silly'.

And then surprise surprise Steve and Steve were jamming outdoors at the Monument!

Now all I need is Curry for my dinner and it has been an almost too good to be true day.

Tomorrow morning

Im off to a meeting with our sons social worker and members of the team she works with about our sons care package.

Having a disabled son is never seen as a hardship as we love him, I no longer wonder why and how I just accept it and it has helped me become a more understanding and compassionate human being (to a certain extent). However the people you have to deal with to get any sort of support....

The Trial

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Circuit bending and beyond

I have recently been bitten by the circuit bending bug again. It started with wanting to make a dub siren and getting in touch with Alex at getlofi for some boards. The next thing I know I'm getting into trouble for improving my kids toys. But the way I see it its a win win situation ;)

I did do a number of midi hacks years ago, when arduinio was just a dream.

One person who I know from around this time that has kept going and is now producing some amazing work is Gieskes. He is creating a crazy array of visualisation techniques that use physical objects manipulated by motors, alternating light frequencies and em i suppose for want of a better description - magnetic puppetry. An object of great desire he has created can be found here. He also makes damn good noodles and is always a welcome visitor to Ticket acres.

Friday, October 10, 2008


I am sitting in a coffee shop in Durham. About to go to the passport office. Geting nervous about the Calibre of artist I am going to be dealing with in NY. Doug Repetto is MC'ing the event on 21st And some of the performances proposed sound amazing, What am I going to show up with? One slowed down gameboy, one normal one and a few Dub sirens what I made myself. Hmm maybe I will go and pray in the Cathedral for help from above

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Um suddenly im a blogger again

Just wondering what is going on. In the last few days I have had a number of e-mails from various people on various subjects. In each one the format of the mail is a numbered list.

1. Have you remembered to do the dishes
2. Can you contact so and so.

Some are off people I like and respect, so I cant help but wonder if there is some new numbering meme that is laying waste to the art of polite e-mails or and heaven forbid, people are treating me like a simpleton..

Gameboy Underclock

I followed the tutorial on Gieskes's Excellent Web-site for under-clocking a Gameboy, I captured a wee bit of the process on my phone camera and figured I would upload it for posterity. Yes the camera quality is shocking..

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Crazy times coming up

Ok, so much going on I thought I better mention it all in my much neglected blog.

One of the big truths as to why I have not been blogging so much is that I have not been in the best health over the last year and a bit. I don't really want to go into too much detail as I think if I know you well then you will know why and if you are a casual reader (all 2 of you) then I would hope you understand that I prefer to keep the more personal aspects of my life off the net.

So what have I been up to..

Well Im concentrating on my studies a lot (well maybe make that, worrying about)

Im currently looking into bulletin boards (pre internet net) With an arts based one called 'The Thing'

Learning Perl (making myself, kicking and screaming do 1 hour a day)

Building Dub sirens for fun.

Meditating, eating well, still trying (and failing) to be an early riser.

I have taken on a small animation project, you can watch the steady development of it via the rushes which I will be posting here

An update to the Ebay selling: I have sold more stuff. It was exciting at first and everything in my house had Ebay sales potential. But after a while I couldn't be bothered with the hassle, although I do have a midi cartridge for a zx spectrum that I might flog soon.

What are my plans for the near future?

Well I am due to fly out to New York On 19th Oct for a week of research and I think I may possibly be performing as well, which is both exciting and nerve racking.

I have to do a mad dash to the passport office on Friday as I just realised my passport ran out..

I am also regaining interest in working further on that I-ching Project I started a while back. I may do my fortune via the i-ching to see if it is worthwhile. However I may just discover that it has an uncanny aptitude for self preservation..

Tuesday, June 10, 2008


I sold that Anti No-where League single! For 99p yeay. No doubt it was worth more but it was a good exercise in seeing what ebay is like from the sellers perspective.I realised its quite exciting. You get to see how many people are watching the item you sell. That's news to me. The only thing is now I keep looking round my house and everything suddenly has the potential to be sold on ebay!!

I have put up some more 45's (they are easy to package and post) if that goes well I will be selling the shirt off my back :)

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Ok a gentle start back into blogging

So much has happened since I stopped blogging but rather than list it all here I am going to start with current events and as things come to me I will post them. However it is worth mentioning the turn of events since my sons tribunal. After we didn't win the tribunal (still cant use the L word) there was an interesting and amazing turn of events. JZ (my wife) sat down and wrote to a number of charities and we also received a sum from a body who remains anon. And we got the wee lad into Percy Headley for 3 yrs. Since he has been there the difference has been astounding and has given us so much hope for the future. So a big special and thank you to all who have supported us, sincerely and you know who you are.

Also on a totally Different note I have put my first ever item up for sale on ebay! its quite exciting its an old punk single, I'm not bothered how much it goes for its just a test sale :)

Link to item

So here is to catching up and future blogging!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

long time no blog

So much has happened so little time to explain right now. But I will try soon