Haunted Radiator

A couple of weeks ago, my wife and I set aside a dedicated ‘Emergency Fund’ for the first time (we’ve started using YNAB). Since then, both our cars have broken down - hers needed a new door mechanism, mine a new clutch and brake calipers. I guess that’s what it was for…?

Line of Duty series 1 finished. Wow. Not sure how I missed this before. Got a lot of catching up to do.

Photoblog Challenge Day 29: light.

For some of these prompts I’ve struggled to find a photo that fits. This one, however, was the opposite problem. I feel like so many of my photos are all about light - which one to choose?

Photoblog Challenge Day 28: up.

Photoblog Challenge Day 27: pompasetting.

Hard to understand the decisions by the ref in that first half, but excellent finishes by Wales for both tries. England need to channel their frustration and make the second half count. ๐Ÿ‰

Photoblog Challenge Day 26. My favourite breakfast view - Uchisar Kaya Hotel in Cappadocia, Turkey.

And now local beer to follow up on the local coffee. Came out the bottle a little fizzy, but given a few minutes itโ€™s turned out very nice.

So happy to find Wooden Hill, a local roastery and cafe. Fairtrade, recyclable packaging, wildflower seeds built into the label… they even plant a tree for every 100kg sold (600+ trees so far). I would say itโ€™s a pretty excellent fit with my consumer ethics. Better hope the coffee tastes nice!

The Grauniad at its finest here…

Photoblog Challenge Day 25.

Not sure what this code means, found on the side of a railway bridge.

Much better start for England today. Root and Leach in the wickets. I just hope it inspires the batsmen into making a few more runs ๐Ÿ

Photoblog Challenge Day 24: baby. Mochi was such a cute kitten - we received this photo before we adopted him and it was love at first sight.

Before last March I hadn’t used Zoom, or the meetings function in Microsoft Teams. Now I’ve done over 250 drum lessons on Teams, and a similar number of Zoom sessions. Both have made improvements to their services in that time, and the music education community have found ways to make the services work better for them.

The ‘Original Sound’ function on Zoom makes a huge difference, as it stops the drums being filtered out as background noise. It’s not ideal for students who don’t wear headphones though, as it also reduces the echo cancellation.

Teams is much less customisable than Zoom - you can select different input and output devices, but otherwise it’s fixed. Fortunately it’s a little more music-friendly than Zoom’s default settings, with the background noise filtering a bit less aggressive. The problem comes with automatic gain control on the input, and for some pupils once they’ve played the drums I can’t hear their speaking voice for 20-30 seconds until Teams readjusts.

Airpods are another interesting variable. Whilst they’re great for flexibility as the student isn’t limited by wires, they seem to do their own audio processing on the mic input that messes with the sound of the drums.

Overall, having started off preferring the extra flexibility of Zoom, I’ve actually come to like the simplicity of Teams. I still wouldn’t choose it for scenarios where sound quality is the top priority (Zoom’s HiFi for Musicians settings win out here), but for getting going quickly, and not wasting time having pupils poke around trying to optimise their audio, Teams actually performs well.

Iโ€™m pretty sure having 4 batsmen at once is cheating… ๐Ÿ

My wife is sharing some beautiful art over on her Instagram. Prints coming soon!

Photoblog Challenge Day 23. Here’s a banana disguised as a tasty Bananenweizen enjoyed in Trier, Germanyโ€™s oldest city (probably).

Photoblog Challenge Day 22: spell.

I just pulled out a piece of 120gsm paper to print a letter to my solicitor, to show I mean business. Thatโ€™s just how I roll.

Photoblog Challenge Day 21. Garden centre trip this afternoon. I love the gradient of colours in this Hebe Pascal ๐ŸŒฑ

Photoblog Challenge Day 20: weather. Amazing rainbow here the other day.

Photoblog Challenge Day 19: alive.

Photoblog Challenge Day 18: at home. Acting as engineer today for some recording at home.

Photoblog Challenge Day 17: still.

Photoblog Challenge Day 16. Not sure this counts as erudite these days, but still proud of myself. Up until now Iโ€™ve only known a very little HTML and CSS. The next question is, can I take this knowledge and use it to make weird sounds for musical purposes…?