‘REDRUM’ on the door?

MT has a certain drive in her achieve home improvements that I lack, but it often works out for the best.
This solar orbital period has seen a shed get built, a dishwasher become installed, and my music room take a significant step towards useful habitability.

It has sensibly painted walls and the crap boxed up to an extent where some shelving operatives might be able to attain access and build me some spendy but structurally sound shelving to put all the crap on, so it doesn’t need to sit on the floor ruining my creativity with shitty chi.

My drum area looks ostensibly similar to this:
a room for hitting stuff in, 90% percussion, 20% strings

I’ve been drumming for over 15 years, probably nearer 20 now, with hiatus a plenty and not as much time performing as I’d have liked.
Having had the opportunity to study drums full time for a year and get accredited by the Trinity College London, I’m not exactly shit at the old tubs, but by no means any kind of master of the craft.

I used to love the process of going through a workbook. My first teacher at high school had his own programme to work though and it was a solid joy to do a page a week whilst obviously sneaking a look and a bit of an attempt at the next page to get a head start.

I’ve been out of love with drums for a few years; since the dedicated study year, in fact. That was a hothouse environment and although the course content was of stunning value, the emotional baggage that was handed out along with it spoiled it somewhat.

I don’t perform with a group any more, am unsure if I want to again and that’s reset many of my targets. Gone is the frantic, exciting drive to get a set of songs ‘learned’ to a point where they can be performed and get paid, and then gradually improved to personal satisfaction. All that remains is to play for playings sake and for my own amusement.

*Finding* that amusement, the sense of joy from learning for myself, is a challenge. I’ve been working over the last few months to try and rekindle that spark and having this space come together is no small part of that. It’s *incredible* to have a clean environment in which to focus and some structured work to do.

I’ve placed an order for a couple of inspirational books about how to *think* about drumming, or performance in general and another one that I can’t remember the title of but it looked awesome at the time.

I took home a book the day I went to the drum store to chat about books which is Claus Hessler’s book
Daily Drumset Workout

Happily I’m on page *one* and struggling, so there are many gaps in my skills I can fill. Right foot independence is fine, right hand independence is workable, left hand independence is hilariously bad and foot splashing of a hi-hat has given me a bruise on the ball of my foot. Squee; learning is so *fun*

Rotten old cars.

I’ve had, for a little over a year now, owned a shit ‘sports’ car. A ‘JDM’ Eunos Roadster, imported from Japan some time in its history. You lot would probably instinctively call it an MX5 and if it WAS, the insurance would be a lot cheaper.
I drove it around for about 10-15 minutes before realising it was filling up with water, much like everything else that I own. I think that’s my fault for living in Scotland, which as far as I can tell is as far below the water table as much of Holland.

Since then I’ve been upgrading the engine to forced induction with a turbo charger, and wondering if I can get rust out of it faster than rust grows.. obviously not. Dust to Dust etc. You can only ever borrow metals from the earth.

Web forums have been the main staple of information for figuring out which bolt to undo first, and which bits are worth buying and bolting on and I had been hanging around on a forum called, stylishly mx5nutz. That used to be a community run thing (well, one guy with a webserver) but at some point it got sold to some ad spammers who whilst they’re enabled it to keep being a resource for some time, recently ‘upgraded’ it in a ‘there’s no data left in it any more’ kind of way.
As a consequence many rattles^w hair brushes have been ejected from many tiny ladies’ cars and a solid bunch of people have moved themselves over to Mighty Fives which is a forum for MX5s, eunos roadster, general mazda, turbo, naturally aspirated and similar crap.

Anyway, it’s not got a good search engine presence so here’s a link to my build thread: I have a car I’m not allowed to drive \0/

Here’s a picture of it when I had the side window glass out of it…
A jolly eunos http://mighty5s.com


So it looks like it was 2011 when I was living in London that the annoying thing happened.

I had been a regular customer of the shop when it used to actually sell things that were useful.
Having spent an appreciable chunk of my 1999 student loan on an Alesis DM5 and a dirt cheap practice drum kit, the store in question was actually where I got all the parts to hide transducers in the cheap kit and plug it into the dm-5 for my first ever electric drum kit, which oddly enough actually worked!

Those halcyon days behind me, I had a white macbook which had gone rather slow and grouchy in the cpu temp dept. I cracked the case late one night and pulled out the fluff packed fan and heat pipe arrangement, which included the bit that sucks the heat out of the processor.

When you crack that thermal joint, you obviously need to clean the surfaces and pop a new splodge of thermal paste on before you pop it back together and try to get another 5 years out of your laptop.

No worries, thought I; I’ll grab some paste during lunch tomorrow and have it back together in time to watch telly on it before my cup of tea has gone cold.

Clearly I got the thermal paste from an online marketplace of some kind, as 2mg of thermal paste contains alcohol so you can’t have it, even with a credit card, without photo ID; and I’ve never been back since.

Why am I talking about all this? I weakened. I’ve got a car ECU in its tin which needs programming to run my silly little open top car and I realised I’d need a usb extension cable for the serial adaptor and then I twigged I needed to get the serial port through 90 degrees because the adaptor can’t clear the case and plug into the port.

Needing these parts next day so I can punch the car in the digits tomorrow, I thought… just maybe…

No. They don’t even stock an rs232 that goes round a corner, and they wanted sixteen quid for a usb cable.

Nuff said, I’ve got both bits of plastic coated wire arriving in the post tomorrow for about a tenner delivered. So that toy shop can stay on the binned list

7 years, still counting.

I think I’m learning Japanese I really think I might be not actually

I’m learning Japanese or 日本語 as the cool kids call it…

but when I say that, I’m really doing the cut and paste, drag and drop, recognise the length of the phrase and link that to the English phrase duolingo wants to be happy.
I can ohiyo and konichiwa a little bit, even arigato gojimas sometimes and I know a ねこ from a いぬ but that’s about it.
So good morning Cat San, and thank you very much indeed Mr Dog.

I wish I knew why I’d started doing this.
I had a *mild* aspiration to visit Japan since it’s pretty and you can do a snowboarding there and possibly doing this might make that more of a probability.
I did buy a ridiculous car with labels on it that look like this:

And I have been watching some lovely things like studio Ghibli, Your Name, and complete pish like Initial D.
But there’s certainly be no solid *reason* to do this.

Oh well, I’m 35 days into the process and will see where it leads me. (so it wasn’t even a new years resolution)

Oh, also I’m blogging again, let me know if you’re reading again.

Oops, ignore the last post…

Looks like I need a little more aggressive confidence to get away with that. I crashed twice identically in a slightly spine jarring way, failing to edge change fast enough coming off a roller into a berm, then target fixating myself into a crash outside a gate. Invalidating the run even if I get up and carry on.

Being an older fool with a moderately serious spinal injury it makes sense to step back and work on a few things I learned from this; dropping out of gates and weight positioning along with gung-ho arrogance. Basically to brake is to commit to screwing up.

There will be no times posted on the score sheets for me.

Just seeking to capture some emotion.

I’m lying on a double bed, with all the pillows gathered from around the room propping me up, tippety tappetying on my Macbook. My snowboard bag is unzipped at the foot of the bed with the essentials for tomorrows exertions laid out in it.

My thermals are arranged ready for a rapid deploy in the morning as I stumble bleary eyed from the shower (I’ve checked how to work it so I’m not late)

My hairdryer and straighteners are lined up on the dresser and I’m using the bible to stop the mac burning my legs.

In the morning at 7am I’ll make the 12.7 mile dash around the M60 to get to Trafford Park and the Chill Factore 180m indoor snow dome where I’m entered into the British Champs Boarder Cross competition.

I’m not a competitive rider, in fact I’ve only been down a BX course 4 times in my life. Once in a resort and three times at Hemel; so it’s all going to be new.

I’m pretty excited about finding out how the racing scene looks, how it’s run and whether I can get down a comp course without falling over though.

By some degree of magic, apparently live scoring happens here: https://www.dropbox.com/s/ziekfhikyml2dmd/JudgesTemplateLiveScores.xlsx

…but I don’t really see how that’s going to do any live updating.

Just barely in time…

I’ve got 35 hours signed off on my BASI level one shadowing sheet.
That means I’ve got all the documentation in hand to send to various agencies to get my teaching licence in my hands.

It’s good news because I’m doing my first aid course tomorrow and Sunday and then I’m excited to say that I’m starting my new job. I’m going to be pouring my energies into that whilst I settle in, find my feet and make some progress for the team I’m joining.

I’m totally stoked to have got it all done in the time I set aside to do it. I was a bit worried that I’d watched a bit too much Battlestar Galactica (I’m into series 3 :/ ) and not done enough hours, but yeh, 35 hours done and signed off, and just 31 left in the second 35 hour block I need before I start my BASI 2.

Not a very interesting post, I know; but I use this as much as a personal diary as a way to let you guys know what I’m up to.

Zomg zomg zomg.

So, I’ve… oh wait… SPOILIER: utterly boring snowboard content:

Yeh, so I’ve had a weirdly productive Sunday, hung over from last night’s exertions *all* over London; seriously we did Oxford Street, Soho Square, Trafalgar square, China Town, Camden, Southwark, pretty much the lot except Stratford.

I’ve booked onto my First Aid course, so I’ll be learning how to laugh at your broken leg properly on the 13th and 14th. (laughter lowers stress and releases endorphins, right? (oh, YOU want the endorphins? Sorry!))
The paperwork for my CRB still hasn’t shown up so I guess I’d better call those guys tomorrow.
I’ve booked my plane flights to Barcelona in January to meet the bus transfer over to Arinsal and having that done does start to make the trip seem a little more real. WOO; mini season!

So, no work in the morning since I’m unemployed but I can trundle up to Hemel and get some more hours on the shadow train.

Fun times.


I’m a selfish sod most of the time; I like to do things that make me happy.
I’ve been a slightly sad person at times and life’s a lot nicer when I’m happy so I like to do happy things to be happy.

I’ve also kicked around hospitals a bit, and had a couple of life threatening experiences which utterly sucked. They make you sad. Being sad sucks. Doing things to feel happier are epically good.

So, I snowboard. You may have noticed that. I’m going out to Andorra in January for a ten week blowout session to get my riding somewhere close to BASI L2 standard, ending in an attempt to sit the two week Level 2 assessment to get my mountain qualification.

Having long hair pretty much down to your arse when you’re a 6 footer is fun, I love having long hair. It’s all swooshy and people say things like “gosh, you have long hair”. But, as it goes, my long hair happens to be in a plastic bag on top of one of my hifi speakers since I’ve taken the plunge to become a short hair to make my styling time that much shorter when I’m up a mountain for ages.

My good friend Robin suggested that I get enough hair cut off to donate to wig makers for cancer patients when I asked her what she thought I could get away with when doing short hairstyles, so that’s what’s happening to my ponytail. I’m kind of rocking a long bob thing like I’m a surfer or something and that other bit of me is off in the post to *hopefully* make someone *else’s* life just a little bit less shit than it must be seeming to them.

Should add, this is what went:

Yet more (bloody) snowboarding.

Yeh, it’s all I talk about, right? I do plan to get some music on the go at some point but there’s a little too much else going on right now. I’m moving house this month and I have some job interviews to have a go at.

I promised that if I passed my BASI, then I’d get stuck into some other things that will make me a better all round coach and certainly more employable on a mountain, so last wednesday this happened:
Oh help!
Which resulted in a blister on my right shin which still hurts now and a *strong* desire to buy a set of my own ski boots which are only like £250 🙁 gah.

I didn’t suck half as bad as I anticipated. I have skiied before. I’ve been round three valleys sulking my way down red runs with far too many snowplough turns, no clue and having no fun at all. So that means I’ve had a chance to get some terrible habits down.

We started out at “level 3” of the 6 level training course, but had a really quick run through level 2 as well just to make sure. First up, controlling speed and direction with pressure and rotation of the skis on the baby slope. A quick look at edging for traversing and a chat about speed control in turns and we scampered over to the main slope to have a go at parallel turns.

This is where it got a tiny bit sketchy, because I’ve got a nasty little habit of stepping through the last part of my turn if I feel a bit fast or a bit wobbly. So I’ve got that to work on. Happily I remembered how to skate on the skis so I can get around on the flat ok. That’s sort of fun but possibly what lead to the blister.

Long story short, I’ve been signed off as a rec level skier, so I can go on my own and practise. But I’ll be back in for another lesson as soon as I can. If I work really hard, I might be able to have a go at the teaching qualification this season.