Archive for the ‘Blogroll’ Category

Maybe I have some time now – hah!

After a break of a smidgen over two years, I’ve reached a point where I may have some more time, and could possibly start putting some thoughts down again. I’ve retired from the “day job” at IBM, and am starting to fill the yawning chasm(!) of time with other things – mostly at this stage spending some more time on what I used to do outside of work anyway. Bassoon playing is top of that list, and I’ve already relaxed into playing during the day more regularly – I’d hesitate to call it practise – and responding to the periodic notes from Tom Hardy’s London bassoon list requesting fillers-in and deps. The last couple of weeks has seen rehearsals for Beethoven 9th Symphony, Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture, Dvorak’s “The Golden Spinning Wheel” and the 7th Symphony of Prokofiev in addition to my regular playing at the Bushey Symphony Orchestra.

I’m also planning the next two or three brews in my re-found brewing hobby, I expect there’ll be more of that to come. I’m using an automated machine to produce the fermentable wort from the base grains and hops – frowned on by some, again I’ll talk about that later too. So far I’m happy to say I haven’t brewed anything I couldn’t drink (that’s 10 batches of “all-grain” beer as well as some kits to get me started), and some have actually been rather good (IMHO, of course).

On the photography side, it looks like I’ll be starting a little project close to home, as part of the Gravestone Photographic Resource, which looks like a worthwhile endeavour. We’re just checking whether our local churchyard has already been documented elsewhere before spending hours poring over the stones and getting images of them for posterity.

Finally, for now, a slightly longer term project as part of my UK Amateur Orchestras website. One of the features of the site is a mapping of the amateur ensembles listed on the site, which is currently built using Google Fusion Tables. Google have announced the “turn down” (i.e. termination) of this feature for later in the year, so I have to work on an alternative. I’ve mostly avoided the more complex mapping API in Google up to now, so I’m looking for alternatives. Since all of the entries have data for location (both UK postcode and lat/long) I’m hoping this won’t be too onerous, but I’m contemplating that a bit of coding might be necessary. Which brings us back to the SOFTWARE! I have no excuses left now to learn a rather more web-facing language than my trusty REXX, which carried me through 35 years of work. Python seems to be the least onerous alternative, so time to get learning…

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Will I ever be as smart and witty as the TED presenters?

I’ve recently attended a local TEDx event. It was a supper meeting, food punctuated with video replays of food-related TED lectures. I’m happy to report that the food we ate (Nepalese*) was excellent, the company enjoyable if a little naively optimistic for this old cynic.

As for the lectures, they were, as is usual for TED sessions, entertaining and thought-provoking. They seem to me to be almost the equivalent of those comedy events at The Apollo theatre, but for the “thinking” middle classes. The audiences on the recordings were as far as I could see contrasted with the supper club audience – mostly older, greyer. But I can’t help seeing the lectures as pure performance, designed to elicit a specific emotional response to the material at hand. Clearly science and innovation for the media-savvy 21st century.

Good or bad? “Interesting”, to use a loaded English word. It’s clear the speakers care about their subjects, probably the main reason they are interesting.

Now all I need is something I can wax lyrical about.

* Rising Green cafe, Corsham Street. Check out the momos on Wednesday lunchtime.

Struggling with neither software nor music

I have some of the key characteristics of a procrastinator, and indeed this blog entry is a prime example. For over a year I’ve failed to make any entries. Now just at the point when I’m under a strong time pressure to finish some legal forms I’m finding ANYTHING to do other than complete it. Even writing blog entries.

So, what can I do about it? Answers on a postcard or blog comment please.