rashbre central: March 2006

Friday 31 March 2006

ipod it somewhere safe but it still fell

An unfortunate accident has killed an iPod and forced me to move a lot of music tracks to another one. The old one was firewire and fast, the new one is USB and tempramental on a PC. Although connected to a fast "USB2" socket it keeps giving error messages and is a lot slower to load the songs. So I've just given up on the PC and moved all of the songs to the iMac, plugged in the iPod and everything is now working fine. I think the old iPod had been dropped on the floor. Not advised.

just because we can

Thursday 30 March 2006

Thursday Thirteen (V17)

1. I can hardly believe that this is Version 17 of Thursday Thirteen.
2. Fun and games over the last few days since we loaded a copy of a track to mix onto rashbre central. Applause to Simon at GuitarGAS for really going for it and preparing a megamix. I shall feature it here when it is ready.
3. The new look blog still seems to be working and the clicky folders are good because the blog remembers how it was last configured, via the cookies.
4. Delightful this evening to drive home in the light (well almost) although the rain was rather intense on the last part. Almost April, so I should expect it.
5. This weekend will be guitar time. I am determined to spend some serious time practicing a few tunes.
6. I am still waiting for the opening party for the bubble and squeek web site. I hear it is any time now!
7. I'm back as an adorable rodent on TTLB. Demoted, huh.
8. A work from home day tomorrow, less commuting, but my first meeting is still at 07:00, with Australia.
9. Had a fun lunch yesterday with seven of us together in a nice round table setting swapping stories.
10. Started re-reading a favourite William Gibson novel.
11. Is still my favourite number;
12. Theres a raspberry brulee with my name on it waiting this evening.
13. A large hole has just appeared in the sofa.

Links to other Thursday Thirteens!
Leanne, Chickadee, Judy, Raehan, Janne, Andrea, cq, amanda, venus, elle, mar, tnchick, kimmy
(leave a comment, I'll add you here!)

Get Leanne's Thursday Thirteen code here!

Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! Leave your link as a comment and I will link to you and you can continue the chain!

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Wednesday 29 March 2006


I remember one evening at about 2 am seeing the first episode of series one of the UK version of The Apprentice. I have to say I was hooked and when the second episode followed it, I just stayed watching. And then I found the more civilised time that it was screened and watched the series.

I've been doing the same with the current series and in tonight's episode they were selling cars and ejected Jo Cameron who has been in the 'fireable' group four times. And tonight I even watched the debrief afterwards on BBC3. Here is the "you're fired" moment.

blobo5.jpg Then at the end of the programe I saw the latest of the BBC3 blob animations. The little BBC3 blobs descended in an elevator on the right of the screen. Then the left hand wall of their inset moved right and they were all toppled and swept from the edge of the picture. I know I'm not the only person who spots new BBC3 'blob animation'. This is a good one! And click on the blob to be transported to a fantastic collection of blob games, screensavers and clips.

[open inline trackback enabled]

Tuesday 28 March 2006

sky why?

Starsky & Hutch frt-1.jpg
Sky broadband's brochure shows someone watching movies on an Apple PowerBook with the logo photoshopped out. In reality, you can't use the service with a Mac; it has to be Windows xp. I installed the software and downloaded a random movie (which took about 90 minutes on my 2Mb broadband link). So now I have 28 days to watch Starsky and Hutch on a PC. Or I could just dial it up on the television. Immediately.

I'm sure this will become a great on demand library in due course, but at the moment it feels rather like a test.

Monday 27 March 2006

virtual desktop blues

virtual blues.jpg
Woke up this mornin'
It was Sunday in my head.
Woke up this mornin'
It was Monday in my bed.
Realized that ringin'
wasn't in my head.
That was my alarm clock
Gotta work instead

Got the time change blues? try this. Seriously.
And thanks, diamond geezer, for the link.

Saturday 25 March 2006

musical interlude

I've been helping with some music recording across on Christina's site and we decided it would be quite fun to create a 'mix it yourself' version of one of the songs. Its the tune called 'wind' and to be truthful we havn't really finished it in any case.

However, we decided to put all of the individual tracks that make up the mix into a zip file as a set of mp3s. These can then be dropped into a program like Sonar, Logic, GarageBand, Protools, Cakewalk and so forth and then remixed.

Someone adventurous may even feel like either re-singing the (rather simple) vocal line or alternatively using the vocals and maybe the rhythm line to add a new instrument, such as a guitar. Its a very short track at around two minutes, but I'm sure there will be someone interested to have a play.

Here's the folder : Its around 20Mb and unzips into mp3s. Most music software can convert these back into WAV files or AIFs to use in the mixing software. If you decide to have a go a) please comment and b) send us the outcome!

The pieces are:
rhythm - the backing track
left clap - some conventional drums
right clap - some very wild drums
christina - the vocals
buzzybee - a bassline from a novation synth
007thenamesbond - a short james bond guitar lick
trippypad - some strings and blips
foodblender - a food blender

We have made them all exactly the same length (2:03), so they can be laid next to one another in the mixing software and when played will already sound okay.

And this is what it sounds like in the current mix by Christina Nott with some rashbre help.

time machine

The clocks in the UK change this weekend, but not until Sunday.

I was at Michele's fabulous site earlier today and left a comment there for Karen. Through some sort of time warp, the comment propelled itself into the future and is stuck on tomorrow's date.

We now need to send a dalek to exterminate the misplaced comment.

Friday 24 March 2006


What happens when you try to make a pop song using a James Bond guitar and a food blender?

Well that's what we tried with the half finished track that Christina Nott has already loaded here. I must admit I've had a certain hand in this.

I thought I'd put a copy on here as well, although it still needs another verse to make it around three minutes.

Sometime soon I'll load a Christina track listing into here referencing across to the tracks we've already made on the other site.

Click below to be amazed (?)

Or if you don't have a Quicktime plug-in click here:

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Thursday 23 March 2006

Thursday Thirteen (V16)

1. I hear that the replacement for Windows 2001 (xp) has been delayed until 2007. My machine running an early release will need to wait a little longer for new vistas to unfold.
2. I gave my blog a makeover during the week to hide some of the creeping buttonage. Now the buttons pop up when we click a folder.
3. I decided I would also implement cookies so that the blog would remember its state the next time it was opened.
4. The open trackbacks I created a week ago now also have a popup (I used a toaster icon), so they can be hidden when not needed. I did this because the main users of trackback seem to be politically driven. This way, reading their posts is optional, but they still count as references.
5. The latest Christina Nott track is a work in progress, but I think it has a good sound.
6. Sent fellow blogger Aginoth some wishes via cq. Aginoth is in hospital but by all accounts improving.
7. NaNoEdMo progress is slow. I have had too many evenings doing other things. I will still finish the revision though.
8. Been listening to Neutral Milk Hotel in the car for several days;
9. Looking forward to the new web site from bubble and squeeek. I have an invitation to the opening!
10. My version of Badge was also remixed and is now on Christina's site. The Hoxtons sunshine of your love is still an interesting comparison.
11. Is still my favourite number;
12. I was showing as a Maurading Marsupial on TTLB today.
13. My car had another glitch this week. It dropped into 'get you home mode' and lost its acceleration power until I switched it off and on again, although I waited until I was home before I tried it.

Links to other Thursday Thirteens!
Leanne, Chickadee, Judy, Raehan, Janne, Andrea, cq, amanda, venus, elle, mar, tnchick, kimmy
(leave a comment, I'll add you here!)

Get Leanne's Thursday Thirteen code here!

Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! Leave your link as a comment and I will link to you and you can continue the chain!

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rain song

And if yesterday's post was horrible, here's a nice one about Christina Nott's new track, called "Rain". The version on Christina's site is still really a work in progress, but it sounds quite good. We've added a guitar at the start and cut it down to a shorter length for the internet. And there's another acoustic version in the making, too.

Wednesday 22 March 2006


I thought I'd do a horrible post today and happened to find the trailer for slither, which appears to be a new movie about ghastly slug like monsters that devour whole towns full of people. The advertisement shows what look like the revenge of the hot chile peppers, so I assume the film is somehing of a comedy, though with a sense of do-gooder righteousness, when we click to take a look a big warning with 'R' and lots of messages about how nasty the film is flood across the screen.

The alternative today would be to write about the UK budget, where it would be tempting to use the same headline. However, as Roger Bootle, Economic Analyst for Deloitte's has commented, in macro terms, this was one of the least significant Budgets in living memory. More a political budget and parliamentary theatre, rather than economic management. The Chancellor is playing for favour whilst he tries to position himself to take over from Tony Blair.

And today's post is open inline trackback enabled - so feel free to publish your own trackbacks, which will appear directly in this post, complete with references back to your blog.

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Tuesday 21 March 2006


Out tonight in Ascot, to the Oriental restaurant, where we had a round table for eight of us to enjoy dinner together. This was originally to have been our meeting in Florence, but instead we had Italian, Belgian, Swedish and UK folk together in Ascot. An enjoyable combination including crispy duck, Tsing Tao and a good natter! And tomorrow, an early start from the hotel.

Monday 20 March 2006


BBC Radio 4 starts its broadcasts at 0530 each morning with a medley of tunes from different parts of the British Isles. This composition is known as the UK Theme and has been used for around 30 years. It is to be scrapped in April, although a re-recording is also to be released as a single at around that time.

The tune is a well known station identity for Radio 4, as is the one at around 0100 in the morning called "Sailing By", which is played before the frequency is turned over to the World Service.

The Beeb's rationale is that the time at 0530 is better used to provide a start of day news briefing. Here's the tune.

Or here is a really old BBC TV station ident.

Sunday 19 March 2006

creme theme continues

We've had music by Cream, Krispy Kreem and now its Cadbury Creme Eggs to continue the theme. I had a couple of emails and comments that suggest these are not so well known in some parts of the planet.

Well the attached link won't help a lot, but it is a bit of fun.


Saturday 18 March 2006

movie material

I just saw the classic "Passport to Pimlico" on television and it reminded me of this web site about Frestonia, which in 1977, tried to secede from the United Kingdom and asked the United Nations to send a peacekeeping force to prevent evictions by the Greater London Council. Freston Road was a street of squatters in Notting Hill, West London. The pictures evoke a time and edgy values worthy of a book or movie. Tony Sleep's photo website tells the story.

weird wrtinig

We all know that feeling when typing comments into someone else's blog where we have written one of our 'incredible insights on the world as we know it', hit {enter} and then realise "Oh goodness!" that half the words are spelled incorrectly and an important 'NOT' is missing from one of the sentances.

Well hope is at hand. Unfortunately I have lost the original reference to this but because of the phaonmneal pweor of the hmuan mnid aoccdrnig to rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it deosn't mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoatnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteer be in the rghit pclae. The rset can be a taotl mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit a porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe. I sahll rley on this in future.

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Friday 17 March 2006

free link friday

Today, I thought it would be entertaining to create a 'free' link day. We all like getting a link from somebody else's website. Today, for one day only, you can create your own. Just follow the instructions on the form and you will have a nice link from here back to your own site.


Because we can.

or just have an Irish beer on St Patrick's day...(click)

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Thursday 16 March 2006

Thursday Thirteen (V15.0)

1. My shiny new iMac is now up and running properly. Although it uses an intel chip, everything seems to work;
2. I mentioned creme eggs last week, but several people commented that they didn't know what they were. A weekend photo opportuniy, I suspect;
3. I used my post from yesterday to experiment with trackback reciprocity.This means if someone does a trackback to any of my articles it will publish their trackback directly in my blog. Voila, they get a link;
4. I hid my recent foray into synthesised music 'down' my blog instead of posting it as top entry;
5. My trip next week to Florence has been cancelled. The airport is closed for building work, so we would have had to fly to Pisa. So we moved the venue firstly to Milan, but now to outer London. Fun for some and normal for me;
6. I have to sort out the credit card order from the internet which said my card was rejected but then the goods arrived anyway. I still can't tell whether I have been charged and I had already re-ordered the item from elsewhere. Irritating;
7. Plan to produce a vocally clear version of the Christina Nott dance track at the weekend;
8. Been listening to the Decemberists in the car for several days;
9. Mel played Christina again on Bailrigg, but also played Blur vs Jimi Hendrix "Born Under a Bad Sign"
10. Julie now has a large stack of concert tickets spread around the UK and is starting to talk about the European part of the tour
11. Is still my favourite number;
12. My phone said I had 19 missed calls today; Oh dear.
13. Its wrong to wish on space hardware; though theres a lot more of it when we look up at the stars nowadays.

Links to other Thursday Thirteens!
Leanne, Chickadee, Judy, Raehan, Janne, Andrea, cq, amanda, venus, elle, mar, tnchick, kimmy
(leave a comment, I'll add you here!)

Get Leanne's Thursday Thirteen code here!

Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! Leave your link as a comment and I will link to you and you can continue the chain!

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Wednesday 15 March 2006


Wandering back to my car this evening, I noticed the moon looking almost full and very, very orange. By the time I had driven home, it was back to its cheesy yellow colour again.

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Tuesday 14 March 2006


I started up my pristine iMac yesterday and it figured out there was wi-fi in the area, logged itself onto the internet, downloaded my identity, configured the email and updated all the software without me doing anything. Almost magical.

And although it has an Intel processor, it works just like my PowerBook (including Photoshop Elements and Office 2004) with the added capability of a bigger screen and extra speed. Great.

However, a little later, a facility I've never needed before popped up - The Console - a really technical thing. It turns out that someone was trying to hack past my firewalls and have a look around. The system had repelled everything but wanted to tell me anyway. So, as a service to "Dave" and any other hackers, here is part of my old password and, yes, I have changed it.

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Monday 13 March 2006

handful of dust

Annoyingly, a graphics card on a PC suddenly stopped working during the weekend in the middle of a music session. I won't explain here how we knew it was the card, suffice it to say the computer was still working, but somewhat in the dark. So we shut it down and pulled out the card from the back.

Yeuk. It was covered in a thick layer of dust.

Now the unconventional repair technique, which I don't recommend to the faint hearted. We held the card under running hot water. The dust was washed away. We dried it on a kitchen towel and briefly spun the little fan by hand. Put it back and ta-da! it was working again. Remember water and electricity don't mix. Don't try this at home.

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The lads at GuitarGAS were recording Badge by Cream during the weekend. By way of amusement, here's my quick synth-based bosh of the same tune done Sunday afternoon.

Yes, its fake drums and guitars, liberties with the tune and an extra swirly keyboard but call it artistic licence. l look forward to their upcoming version!

For proper music visit Christina's site and browse.

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Sunday 12 March 2006

tough act

I've been watching the tiny snowdrops pushing their way through the soil and then becoming small pretty flowers. I've also been meaning to take a photo of them, but rather than showing them as small and delicate, I thought this would show them as tough flowers that can break through cold wintry soil and survive through some of the roughest parts of the UK weather. So here they are, the early signs of spring, even on a still grey day in March.

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British doughnuts come in two main types - with a hole in the middle and with jam in the middle. The ones with jam always explode unmercifully onto clothes. Main places to buy them are cake shops, seaside stalls and supermarkets. They always taste best when they are fresh and warm. Oh yes and have about a zillion calories.
Recently, there has been a new visitor to the UK shores in the form of Krispy Kreme. From a quiet beginning tucked quietly into a few shadowy parts of mainline train stations, they are now marching across the country. I noticed the large square boxes containing a dozen beginning to show up in more locations. Now will this be another McDonald, Starbucks style takeover, or will they stay quietly augmenting the traditional British doughnuts?

krispyweddingWhoa! Stop the Press!
Kenju just told me about the Krispy Kreme Wedding Cakes in Southern State USA!! I've checked it out and its all true. I shall need to readjust my sense of reality again!

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Friday 10 March 2006

trashy story

Sometimes the UK becomes famous for little excuses give by officials when something goes wrong. Two memorable ones from the railways for delays have been "leaves on the rails" and "wrong kind of snow".

Now we have "wrong kind of rubbish".

There's a dispute going on at the moment where someone threw some rubbish into a bin in the street and is now in dispute with the local council because it was 'the wrong kind of rubbish'. He had thrown away a carrier bag containing some household food items as well as two items of junkmail. The officials traced the man from the junkmail and claim that it was inappropriate use of the bin and had taken up too much space. It was in an area where, apparently, there is often litter on the ground. The council was being interviewed on mainstream radio this morning and they were explaining that the bin was meant to take smaller items than the carrier bag and its content.

I wonder if this is the first case of someone being challenged for USING a rubbish bin in the street to dispose of rubbish? Or is it the wrong kind of rubbish?

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Thursday 9 March 2006

Thursday Thirteen (V14.0)

1. I thought I'd change the Thursday Thirteen icon this week.
2. My car is finally fixed. Today was its third visit to the service bay and now even the locks work properly.
3. I'm helping make a Christina Nott dance track at the moment. All synths and beeps;
4. Have had my first chocolate creme egg of the season;
5. Amazed today to see the company that was robbed recently of £53m have just had another robbery. This time only one million - the van was rammed by a farm tractor. But last year 800 cash vans were attacked in the UK.
6. Still editing my novel. Its harder than writing it the first time. Something about whether one is a 'completer/finisher'.
7. Have driven from home to work in daylight for the first time his year.
8. Found some doritos dated November 2005. Wondering if they are still edible. They look all right.
9. Heard Christina's track on Bailrigg fm. First radio play and its only a demo!
10. Amused to see Julie in ticket frenzy for some concerts later in the year.
11. Is still my favourite number;
12. Realised I have not updated my voicemail message since Monday. I normally change it every day.
13. Bought a great Billy Bragg music collection 'Volume 1' bit havn't had time to listen to it yet. Strange things happen.

Links to other Thursday Thirteens!
Leanne, Chickadee, Judy, Raehan, Janne, Andrea, cq, amanda, venus, elle, mar
(leave a comment, I'll add you here!)

Get Leanne's Thursday Thirteen code here!

Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! Leave your link as a comment and I will link to you and you can continue the chain!


Wednesday 8 March 2006

Guitar Practice with a Fender GDEC Amp and Midi files

I'm gradually learning a few chords on the guitar and steal shamelessly from the ideas on GuitarGAS. The amplifier I use is a Fender GDEC, which allows rhythms to be generated automatically, and this makes the practice experience more interesting and more fun.

The amp has three main ways to generate the rhythms : by pressing some buttons on it, by connecting an external unit to play through it (like a CD player), or by sending it MIDI sequences. I thought it would be useful to collect some common guitar track practice Midi files and I've stored them across in my iDisk file on .mac. These tracks play the tunes indicated, but without the main guitar part.

Being midi format, the files are very small and can be reconstructed to use different instruments and sound types if you have a sequencer such as Garageband, Logic, Sonar or similar. They mainly play directly on a PC or Mac, but the sound will be limited by the quality of the sound card. Quite a few of them have guitar tablature describing the chords too.

Here's a list.

If you are learning guitar, feel free to click here to download a few and have a play.

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a lesson in branding

Thank you netchick, for this entertaining video.

Tuesday 7 March 2006

Tom Waits for no man

bullhorn waits
You say you want a revolution? weh-hell - the Tom Waits group on last.fm is having one! I'm a member of that group (Mr Waits is a favourite singer/songwriter of mine) and the fans are revolting.

The group is very quiet, there's no group picture and the current leader of the group, DarklyDoug, seems to no longer by an active Last.FM user, in that his profile say "last played a track in May 2004.

Yes, there are other groups specialising in Tom Waits. However, wouldn't it be sad if the group named after the man himself is a ghost-ship! In an attempt to prevent this from happening, there has been a call to revolution.

The aim of the revolution is to force elections for a new leader and, lets face it, almost any leader would be better than one who does not participate for over eighteen months. So, you now have the opportunity to join a revolution (before 15 Mar 06)!

And update cos this old post gets a few hits checkout this about Tom Waits from May 2008

Monday 6 March 2006

Something to get your teeth into

Someone in the UK has just done some calculations about the average value of a tooth fairy tooth. Its around £1.24 or just over two US dollars. Apparently it has been quietly creeping up, along with the average income of a ten year old which is now around £800 per annum (thats around $1,400). The thing with the tooth fairy money is its now worth around £20 million per year, which is quite a lot of bars of chocolate.

Some people see the tooth fairy as a sweet little creature like the one above, yet I envisage someone who is a bit of a bruiser. Must be something to do with the pain. Or something about when darkness falls.

Want to email the tooth fairy, or play some toothsome games? bite here. And to hear how Horrid Henry got on, see here.

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Sunday 5 March 2006

snow mo

I've been in Regents Street, London today having all the excitement of buying a replacement battery for Julie's Powerbook. The Apple store has an almost pornographic amount of new stuff now, with the new Mac Book Pros, intel iMacs and even the rather strange new iSpeakers.

London was bright and sunny, but the phone call from Mel in the snows of Cumbria asked if I could 'pretty please' add a copy of a Video Blog entry onto my German web host so that it work well with Christina's site.

Its a great Vlog of Mel & John & Co in the snow of the Lake District and so I agreed, as long as I could also post it here (click to view). A fun video and nice tune too!

If you enjoy it, a spin across to Adam at the Common People to drop a comment would be nice.

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Saturday 4 March 2006

on a bed made of linens and sequins and silk

An indelible bond had been soldered in that moment of recognition between the first two and later, in a Turkish bath, they revealed their stories to one another between sips of a strange, tangerine liqueur.
Two further young people appropriately lathered, overheard their stories and then these four met a fifth whilst turning in their towels. After adopting the moniker The Decemberists, these wan vagabonds began playing their peculiarly styled music in various concert-halls and brothels all across the globe.Joe Anderson Joe Anderson
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with one leap

papers So today, in amongst the things already planned for the weekend, I will be editing "The Triangle", which is the fledgling novel from NaNoWriMo last November. I thought I would be at this point sooner, but once writing finished, the rest of my life quickly washed back in.

I need to find a way to keep the balance of interest in the story, rather than having the reader skimming lines and thinking of how much laundry they need to do. I'm justifying the time gap as distancing myself from what I wrote and now want to find the point where my own interest in the story begins to wane.

The style of writing in NaNo encouraged verbiage, so pruning will be essential. Usually when I blog, I re-read and chop and I suspect with this bigger work the same will be needed. The forward and backward references in a novel are a particular challenge. If I can't remember who a character is, then what chance have any readers got!

I expect I will be staring at a sleeker book by the end but, hey, Annie Proulk's book about cowboys was only about 60 pages and she had it made into a film as well!

So the rules for my editing include:

• Never write a 100,000 word story someone else could write in 10,000.
• Never let friends be the first readers, unless you know they can be impartial. Use someone who will be harsh, but honest.
• Never discard the removed sections.
• Save often, with revision numbers.
• Use time to get distance from the story.
• Don't be afraid to cut. Everything can be rewritten. That's the beauty of drafts.
• Listen to editors. They've been trained to spot things.

Where's my scissors?

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Friday 3 March 2006

drum beats

mixing desk
I'm sitting watching some television this evening but have a small piece of 'homework' to do related to explaining something about drums.

I recently edited a small music track for Christina Nott, and my main contribution was to add some drum sounds and balance the sound. I was asked how I made the drum sounds. Well, to confess, not a single drumstick was harmed in the production of the piece. In fact I used a virtual drum kit connected to a keyboard. So how does this work?
I took a set of drum samples from a CD and copied them into Ableton Live, which is a special kind of sequencer software. What this means is that you can hook a music keyboard up to a computer and then use the keys on the keyboard to trigger the samples of drum sound. With Ableton, you can set up different sounds 'columns' (like a spreadsheet) and the select a 'row' of sounds which will all trigger together and can optionally loop (repeat).

So, it is quite easy to set up a sequence A, then B, then C, then D and trigger them in order or randomly as required. The program also allows the sound characteristics of the drums to be modified (like tone controls, but many other specialised functions too). This also means it is possible to place the sounds around the mix in stereo, so different drums can appear to come from different parts of the soundstage.

Another piece of software I use for music editing (on a PC) is called SONAR. Here is someone describing the way to do equivalent drum effects in that program.
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Thursday 2 March 2006

Thursday Thirteen (V13.0)

1. My Powerbook seems to remember the last Thursday Thirteen I did, it is easy to remember the next number (ie this is number 13);
2. The tin can logo on my blog illustrates that I am editing my novel now, in NaNoEdMo. No counters for this one, but 50 hours during March is all it takes.
3. I sent Elizabeth her birthday present on Monday, to arrive Tuesday - it did.
4. I posted a card to Elizabeth on Saturday, but it had not arrived by Wednesday.
5. This weekend I will write something about drums for the folk at GuitarGAS.
6. I tried to buy something on the internet today but it said that my credit card would not work; then I got an email confirming the order. So now what do?
7. National Book day today, but I have not read anything.
8. Today was the first time I have had to run my car to defrost it in the morning for at least a couple of months.
9. There are some excellent snowdrops in the garden. I shall take a photo in daylight. Its like a sign of spring;
10. The daffodils indoors have all popped out now and look great;
11. Is still my favourite number;
12. Bailrigg FM have said they will play the Christina Nott record next Wednesday; I would like to add some keyboard before then to compare for the best version.
13. I will need to map out the next few weeks in my calendar - I havn't a clue where I am supposed to visit;

Links to other Thursday Thirteens!
1. Leanne's Thirteen!
2. Ivory Frog's Thirteen!
3. Uisce's Thirteen
4. Chickadee's Thirteen!
5. Judy's Thirteen!
6. Raehan's Thirteen!
7. Lunchtruck's Thirteen!
8. Janne's Thirteen!
9. Andrea's Thirteen!
10. cq's Thirteen!
X. (leave your link in comments, I'll add you here!)

Get Leanne's Thursday Thirteen code here!
Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! Leave your link as a comment and I will link to you and you can continue the chain!


Wednesday 1 March 2006

da Pinchi?

By chance I have read both of the books in the current London trial about the Da Vinci Code, as well as Foucault's Pendulum by Umberto Eco.

The authors of Holy Blood, Holy Grail named Baigent, Leigh and Lincoln contest Dan Brown's Da Vinci Code as having many similarities with their work. They describe a secret society identified by Sauniere known as Priory of Sion dating back to the first crusade and creation of the Knights Templar. The assertion in the Leigh Teabing (sic) book was that the Merovingian dynasty were descendants of Jesus and his wife, Mary Magdalene. They used a cliffhanger episodic ending to chapters and say their style has also been pinched.
Rennes-le-Ch√Ęteau, France is a key location in these conspiracy theories and secrets about the foundations of Catholicism. Rennes-le-Chateau involves claims about the Knights Templar, Rosicrucians, Priory of Sion, the Rex Deus, the Holy Grail, the treasures of the Temple of Solomon, the Ark of the Covenant, ley lines, geometric alignments and is even site of the Gabriel Knight computer game.

Elements of the Jesus/Magdelane ideas were also incorporated into Umberto Eco's 1989 novel Foucault's Pendulum.

So, did Dan Brown like the ideas in the other books (some of which have been popular 2am coffee conversations, in any case), did he invent it all, drive his own separate investigation? or what?
When I read Da Vinci Code, I enjoyed it as an adventure yarn and enjoyed some of the references, such as the Louvre pyramid (where I have stood and passed my hand into the mystic point of pyramid focus, well before I read da Vinci) and I've also reflected briefly on the correlation between the various stories - not as 'theft' more as parallel musings on a related topic.

In my opinion, Dan Brown's earlier book Angels and Demons, may be his best defence. It was written years earlier and has some elementary plot similarities with the later novel. I read it and considered it as a test bed for the da Vinci novel. I read the demons book after da Vinci Code (like most people) and I'm sure I can't be the only one to spot thematic and plotline similarities.

And then, still in 2am coffee mode, there's the origin of Tarot cards, maybe as a catechism to pass on the secret messages?

Another one to watch for the next few days.

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