Hello… hellooooo… is this thing on? It’s finally time for another Weekly Rewind. You could be forgiven for thinking it should be called the Monthly Rewind, or even the Annual Rewind of late. I’m sorry it’s taken so long to write something substantial. The limited spare time I’ve had off has mostly been spent with the band or on other endeavours, but I intend to fix this ASAP! There’s still been regular episodes of Rathole Radio and Linux Outlaws to keep you company so I’ve hardly been off the radar. Looking at the blog calendar I see I only managed one solitary post in the whole of July, how sad. Rather than try to remember everything that’s happened to me in the time since then (cos frankly I can’t), I’ll resume the story a week ago with the events of Saturday July 24th.
I practised with the band in the afternoon and we had a really long session, it went fairly well but we were all tired and it showed a little. I then hot tailed it home to record an interview with Tom and Doug from the Music Manumit podcast. We talked for ages and it was great fun. I love to talk, as most of you have suffered, but the guys were very accommodating and gracious. The recording has just been released and you can download it here. I spent the whole of Sunday listening to tracks and making selections for Rathole Radio that evening. I left it a bit late but managed to get everything sorted in time for the show. It was a rush job. You wouldn’t think listening to some music and making a set list is that hard would you? I didn’t either before I starting doing it on a regular basis. I never repeat tracks and I try hard to vary the content of the show. It takes time to track down the real hidden gems in the online musical wilderness, I could never play a track I didn’t honestly think was good. I was really happy with the selection in the end and other people seemed to enjoy it too. Lots of folks joined me in the chat room and that makes a massive difference. You can get instant feedback and it’s good to know somebody is actually out there. I got to sing my rendition of American Pie by Don McLean after it won the song vote. It came out well, if a little too shouty in some places, I was overexcited. If you’d like to judge for yourself check out Rathole Radio 31, which I released on Tuesday evening. I’d been told there were some problems with the last release on iTunes and I think I’ve tracked it down now. Somewhere in the maze of connections between Libsyn, Feedburner and my own website, the media enclosures we’re getting messed up. The new release seems to work and I’ve fixed the previous one too. If you’re an iTunes user you may want to download number 30 again manually. Sorry for the mix up.
So, onto Monday and I was knee deep in Drupal code, CSS and other such joys again. This has taken up a lot of my time lately but I’m hoping it’ll calm down again in the coming weeks. I’m gonna have to be more strict about taking days off and not overloading myself. It’s not something that comes naturally to me, despite my laid back appearance. I’m making good progress on some customizations to Drupal 6 sites but I still feel I’ve got a lot left to learn. I guess we all have in a way. I’d like to be more confident in hacking custom functions and modules onto Drupal sites. I’m learning at pace and every week I feel like I’ve picked up a massive amount, so hopefully that will continue. We recorded a slightly different Linux Outlaws with cut down feedback on Monday afternoon because Fab was off to GUADEC the following day. We skipped the live Monday night show and I hope we won’t make a habit of that. Since the World Cup we’re still finding our rhythm again but I think the Monday night slot works well. Lots of people seem to like it and it gives you something to look forward to after the last embers of the weekend have gone cold. The show was about an hour long and wasn’t streamed live, just recorded. I cut it together later in the week and prepared everything for the release. We left space for Fab to cut in any content he got at GUADEC and as of this writing he’s just finishing that off, so you should hear it very soon. Update: Linux Outlaws 160 is now out.
Most of the rest of the week was taken up with bits of hacking and server wrangling. I did find some time to upgrade this blog to WordPress 3.0 and also do some general housekeeping on my server. I needed to clean up some files, unused sub domains and other detritus. It all seems to be working (touch wood), though I did kill the blog for a hour or so while I was working on the server, doh!! On Thursday evening I went out to see the band and catch up with them. We had a really great session and it felt amazing. Some days are just like that I think, things click and you all feel really good about what you’re playing. The sound is evolving as we have Ross’ practice pads going through a program called Addictive Drums and it sounds excellent. I was sceptical at first that it could really sound as good as a real kit but it does, in fact it’s better. It’s all running off a laptop and Gary being the Cubase wizard has taken care of that. I also bought myself a new slightly larger guitar amp a couple of weeks ago and I’m getting used to how it sounds now. It’s louder obviously but that’s not the main reason I wanted a bigger amp (honest!!), it has more body and the bigger speaker gives out more bass. Being mainly a rhythm guitarist and former full time bass player I like some bottom end in my sound. I bought a Vox VT30 if any guitar nuts are interested and I thoroughly recommend it. On Friday I took a little time out to relax and unwind, most of the weekend has been quiet actually. The first in a long time. I believe this is what most people call “a normal Sunday”? I’ve caught up with friends and just tried to recharge a bit really. Hopefully there’ll be more of that before next week encroaches on my consciousness, it inevitably will. That brings us right up to date.
There’ll be another Linux Outlaws tomorrow night and hopefully back on the normal live schedule. Come and join us from 19:00 UK time (18:00 UTC), chat in the chatroom, heckle us and generally get involved. The address you need is linuxoutlaws.com/live to do that. On Wednesday night it’s Liverpool LUG as usual. It’ll be 19:00 (again UK time) at the Liverpool Social Centre in Bold St. If you’re in the area and have any interest in Open Source software or just technology in general really, come along. We’re open to all and I think it’s fair to say it’s an informal atmosphere. We seem to spend most of our time discussing music and films, not just software. On Thursday evening there’s the 3rd Liverpool Ignite event in almost as many months, or so it feels. I spoke at the first one, the last talk of the evening no less and the concept revolves around 5 minute lightening talks. The speaker gets 20 slides which auto advance every 15 seconds. It’s quite a skill to practice a talk and work out the rhythm like that. I found it very challenging but also rewarding. The crowd is friendly and it’s a mixture of geeks, artists, political activists, journalists and all points in between. Come and join us at the Static Gallery in the centre of town from 18:00 on Thursday August 5th. It should be fun. Then on Friday I’m heading to North Wales for a couple of days. Some friends of mine run a music festival out there in a field and I’m heading over with a tent. I don’t think I’ve camped since I was a kid so that’ll be interesting. It’s gonna be a lot of electronic music probably and I don’t believe there any actual bands (in the traditional sense) playing. The other guys in the band are going and there is talk of a guerilla gig in the car park, rocking out with the cows! Perhaps the acoustic guitars will make an appearance you never know. I’ll fill you in on all the details next time, which I sincerely hope will be a week from now. Take care of yourselves till then and I’ll see you soon,