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The life and times of james Hart: his family, his music, life in Luton and his occasional escapes onto the internet.

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Tuesday, 31 October 2006

back, music and mac browser

So it's back to the grind after another week off, which took us to the Leicestershire/Lincolnshire border, where we spent much of the time sheltering indoors away avoiding the rain.

Unfortunately, the geocaching.com website was down when I attempted to check out the local opportunities to go and play hide-and-seek, and we were entirely internet-free during our stay. That said, though, we did have the Playstation, on which we spent rather a lot of time flailing our arms in front of the EyeToy; combining that with copious amounts of swimming, I think we all did ourselves quite a lot of good, despite staying indoors.

On our return, Beth decided to paint the lounge - we had cleared a large space on the middle floor so that Rob and Claire could use it temporarily to store their personal effects during their move last weekend. Despite being on holiday, we were still on tenterhooks, since the chain was long, and their buyer had a 100% mortgage, so only faced a loss of £200 if he'd pulled out at the last minute! Fortunately, it all went well (eventually) and they're settling into their new house now.

There are some downsides to working where I do (putting aside the usual stresses and strains of office life!); I would love, for example, to enter this competition - as part of Children In Need, a member of the public could be the next voice of The Speaking Clock.

I really want to spend some time making music, though. One of the objectives I set myself while I was away was to work on three songs, and I have completed the lyrics of one, and made copious notes on another. The third has still eluded me (which puts me in mind of a song by They Might Be Giants []!), but I'm hoping to have some studio time on the two off-shift days tomorrow and on Thursday.

On the subject of music, spoof songs (such as those by Weird Al Yankovich) have always appealed to me, and I would love to be as prolific and accomplished as Mitch Benn - you can see the video for his song "Everything Sounds Like Coldplay Now" here.

Mac bits:
I had a great chat with Ed the other day, who really helped me with the dilemma of my Mac's slowness - apparently Firefox puts a hefty load on the memory, and he recommended the rather quicker-loading Camino as an alternative. From my limited experience (I only installed it yesterday) I would recommend it, too - especially considering the things I've heard about Firefox 2...

Posted by james at 9:30 PM

Friday, 20 October 2006

jingles and holidays..

This is probably the last entry I'll make before we trundle off on holiday tomorrow; I'm on my homeward journey after the last day of work for a week, and we'll hopefully be on the road sometime after lunch.

The house isn't going to be empty during the week, though (sorry, burglars!) because Rob (Beth's brother) and Claire are moving house, and using ours as a temporary storage place for their stuff.. I imagine it might get a bit full!

Despite work being busy and quite stressful, we supervisors have taken some enjoyment from using Radio 1 jingles http://www.radiorewind.co.uk/jingles_menu_page.htm, terrible radio adverts () and klaxon noises as our email notifications, depending on who's sent us a message. Childish, I know, but it makes for a more entertaining (for us at least!) day.

podcasts
I've not really listened to many new podcasts lately. However, one that turned up on my Britcaster http://www.britcaster.com RSS feed was CoolSmartPhoneCast, which just goes to show that all you need to make a podcast is a recorder and a car radio.

The presenter carried out a review of the new Virgin Lobster 700TV - one of the first mobile phones I've heard about that includes a DAB tuner; not just that, but it includes the technology to decode television broadcsts that are included on some multiplexes. It seemed to be quite good, although I'd like to see one in action. I daresay it's quite expensive, though.

Well, I ought to get ready to pack.. the usual collection of electrical equipment, although once again, I'm going to resist taking my laptop. My aim is to complete the lyrics and melody of three songs (hopefully with acoustic MP3s on my return) during the course of the week, along with a little geocaching (if the opportunity presents itself and the weather stays clement!) and swimming.

See you in a week, then!

Links of the day:

Posted by james at 10:34 PM

Tuesday, 17 October 2006

Road works, videos and Lee Valley

This is the second blog entry I've written today - something of an irony, considering how long it's been since last I posted! The first is (hopefully) sitting on a site affiliated with the British Library; today is "One Day In History" - a day when everyone is invited to write an account of their day, so that it can be kept for eternity (of course, if archive.org keeps going, there'll be two copies of my life's chronicles - such that they are!)

In my earlier musings, I mentioned the delays caused by the work being carried out on the M1, and researched a link to back it up. I was interested to find that there are newsletter at highways.gov.uk to which one can subscribe, and receive news on local developments.

So.. what's been going on? I have to confess that I've been allowing my perfectionism and tenacity to take the fore, in an attempt to create a reasonable quality DVD of the last service of our local vicar before he retired. Considering we're leaving for deepest Leicestershire (I think) on Saturday, and between now and then I only have tomorrow off work. Beth's out in the evening, so hopefully I'll be able to do something then.

A Canal boat at Lee ValleyWe've attended quite a few family events, too - my nephew, Max, had a third birthday party on Sunday, and it doesn't seem any time since Luke's (it's that time of year!) - and on Saturday, Beth and I went to the really rather picturesque Lee Valley, to attend the Surrogacy UK AGM. During the downtime, I took a walk around the country park, covering the couple of miles between Cheshunt and Waltham Abbey. I daresay the weathermen will be announcing this month as the 'warmest in years' - it's been lovely, with just enough rain to help my geraniums survive!

Well, I'd better leave it there - hopefully some more thoughts will occur to me and I'll make one more entry before we depart for the midlands.

Links of the day:

Posted by james at 7:58 PM

Tuesday, 3 October 2006

gettin' around...

A briefest of blogs, I'm afraid, since it's been two busy days at work since the weekend came to a close; not much else to report, save that the video shoot went well (although I have a mountain to climb with editing - I need a DV to firewire cable, of which there appear to be a number of different combinations, before I start!) and we bought a couple of goldfish for the children on Sunday.

Christopher has a little silvery one, called "Laser Fish" and he's doing very nicely. Unfortunately, Lenni's "Princess Petals" has been a little unwell since her arrival, so we may have to replace her. Our endeavours with goldfish haven't actually been that successful in the past, but the nice chap at Chiltern Aquatics (caution: horrific website) gave us more of an induction into freshwater fish ownership than any I have had before, so I feel confident at least about the survival of at least one of the fish!

Links of the day:

  • www.walkit.com : now this is a site I've been looking for! I can't stand the tube, and I'm not very sure about London buses, so this provides the ideal way to plan a route through London by foot. It's the most ecological way to go... except cycling (which is a lot more dangerous). (thanks for the link, Beth!)

  • www.isoma.net/games/goggles.html : This demonstrates a slightly less conventional means of navigating. If you've ever wanted to fly a cartoon fighter plane around, say, Luton town centre, now is your chance. (thanks, Rob!)
  • www.107.peugeot.co.uk/peugeot.swf : after all that excitement(!) why not pretend to park a Peugeot? As long as the electrics don't go wrong... (thanks, Annie!)

Posted by james at 10:21 PM


 
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