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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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Monday, 29 March 2010

An audio recording from AudioBoo

syzygy: audioBoo: Homebrew and miscellaneous projects boo

An audio recording from audioboo.fm

Posted by james at 2:20 PM

Saturday, 27 March 2010

Music 2010...

Picture of a microphoneIt's been a while since I've updated my 'main' website - www.mus-ic.co.uk. This is in no small part due to the fact that last year and the year before was a little lean for musical creativity, but I'm trying to get back into composition and production in 2010, now things are (hopefully!) a little calmer.

In fact, in the past three months, I've done a few bits and bobs - since we bought our first family video camera (although, since the snow, there haven't been too many opportunities to use it), I've composed the odd piece of backing music for some edited videos (you can see our endeavours at www.youtube.com/cacophonyx) and finally finished a song that I started in October!

I have also recorded some jingles for a competition featured on the hilarious (but not necessarily family-friendly) AnswerMeThis podcast. I didn't win, since it was judged on which video had the most views on YouTube, but Eleanor made one of them, and we had great fun doing it.

Furthermore, my younger brother Dave's been over to visit a couple of times, and we're working on a track that may yet see the light of day - we certainly enjoy the few hours on a Monday evening we get to collaborate and catch up.

I'm feeling rather up-beat (if you'll excuse the pun) about my musical efforts, but was rather frustrated a couple of weeks ago, when I wanted to upload some of the tracks to my main site, since I would update a page, and it would refuse to save! This really troubled me, because upgrading a content management system to a later version can cause all sorts of things to stop working, not least the little modules I'd written to help automate my song list.

After a little research, though, it turns out that there is a major compatibilty issue between the version of Joomla! I'm using (1.0.12) and the way Javascript works on Safari and Chrome, both on the mac and the PC. When running the Chrome Developer Tools, it reported "Error: INDEX_SIZE_ERR: DOM Exception 1" when I clicked the save button - it seems this arises from an incompatibility with the editor and the version of Javascript that the browser uses.

Fortunately, then, I have been able to add some new content to the site using Firefox, and will be able to do more later in the year - assuming I actually get round to making some music!

Here's one of the highlights of the site - a song I've just completed called "no advice":

jamelopoeia - no advice [2:32]

jamelopoeia - no advice-v2.mp3 (4 MB MP3 @256 kbps)

I finally reached a point with 'no advice' where it seemed appropriate to submit it to The Home Made Hit Show; I tidied up some of the playing (one of the finer aspects of digital non-linear recording!) and added a cello line from the excellent Edirol Orchestra VST plug-in - oh, and re-recorded the vocals, since I think I've finally got the hang of the settings on my mic pre-amp. This, therefore, is the final version.

...and here's Lenni's jingle from YouTube (I put the video together in about ten minutes, so it doesn't do the song justice!):

YouTube video - needs Flash to play!

Posted by james at 3:01 PM

Sunday, 7 March 2010

Bird table version 2 (and 'stick soup')

Stick Soup - as made by the childrenThere are few better ways to spend a sunny springtime Sunday afternoon than in outdoors; while Beth was out visiting her sadly ailing grandfather, the children kept themselves occupied in the space left on the drive and I worked on the final part of my bird feeder project, bringing all the bits to the front of the house (where, to be honest, the majority of the sunshine was).

After scooting and skating around for a while, the children discovered a bucket of water that had been left out since (I think!) we last cleaned the car - it was three-quarters full of just thawed water, and they enjoyed acting out a TV cookery show, adding ingredients from the hedge and ground to their 'stick soup' - it was most entertaining.

My main objective was to replace the copper pipe - which had been previously used to support the two bird feeding elements - with something more substantial that could at least take the weight of a new bird feeder that I built on a quiet Monday afternoon last week (after an engineer had been and finally fixed our errant dishwasher!)

The bird feeder itself (there's a photo below) was constructed almost entirely out of bits of left-over wood (including the right-angle brackets of an inexpensive shelf that was never put up, but which made a good roof guide) and a frying pan 'spatter guard' that we never used. I had, however, run out of any substantial lengths of two-inch thick wooden battens to use as a sturdier stand, so I was on the lookout for something a little more natural. It wasn't perfect, but the thick branch I'd removed from the leylandii trees last year seemed like a good enough candidate, so that's what I've used.

Unfortunately, it's not very straight, so I've had to modify the stand a little(!) but if it all collapses, I can always rework it using something a bit more sensible.

That said, I've so far seen a robin and a blackbird enjoying a nibble from the seeds on show, so I'm hopeful that this will continue to encourage birds back to the garden - especially the somewhat troubled house sparrow, and despite the regular presence of cats nearby. I'll certainly be keeping an eye on it from work using the Ustream video link I set up last week!

our home-made bird table

Posted by james at 9:16 PM

Monday, 1 March 2010

AudioBoo: Transition Luton Hustings, 25th February 2010

I was fortunate to be able to attend some Hustings run by Transition Luton last Thursday, where all eight of the prospective parliamentary candidates for Luton South (the seat that will soon be - thankfully - vacated by Margaret Moran in May) gave their account of a vision for Luton, in terms of improving the environmental and, well, the mood, really.

Here's my account of the event, and a photo of almost all the speakers (Mark Scheimann hadn't quite got to his seat by that point).

An audio recording from audioboo.fm

Posted by james at 9:20 PM

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