Rosh Hashanah

Happy Rosh Hashanah (Jewish new year) to all who celebrate it. I was thinking about maybe going to Southampton for the celebrations, but after a weekend away i feel i need a night in.

Also, happy new moon, new month to everybody. I have been particularly fascinated with the moon the last couple of months. It’s one good thing about the days getting shorter; i get more interested in the night sky and love to see what i can observe. I recently obtained a pair of binoculars and i can spend ages looking at the moon through them. I would love to get a telescope! :)

In other news, i hear Tom Felton has an album out. It seems Tom is pretty good on the guitar, but unfortunately does not have a singing voice to match …! Here is a little medley of Tom Felton music.

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LilyPond Love

Tonight i decided to write out “Mamma Mia” for my cousin whom i teach piano. I got out my pad of music lines, but hadn’t even set pen to paper before thinking, “I hate doing this! I wonder if there’s an open-source music notation package …”

One quick search later and i remembered LilyPond! A friend showed me this years ago, and i was really intrigued by it. As a programmer, this is very satisfying to me. You write your music as a kind of code, ‘compile’ it, and it outputs PDF, PS and, if you want it, a MIDI file.

Mamma Mia LilyPond code     Mamma Mia PDF output

We used to do this on Windows, with Cygwin. It is very pleasing to use it on its intended operating system now! :) It was easy to input, and i do love the pure geekiness of the notation! :D

Kate Nash spoof song

I can never quite make up my mind whether i like Kate Nash. I feel as if i shouldn’t but for some reason, the music really appeals to me. However, i found this song very funny too …

If you don’t get it, see this video, of the song that goes: “I use mouthwash. Sometimes i floss. I’ve got a family and i drink cups of tea”. However, the “three chords” and drum beat are taken from Kate Nash’s much more popular song, Foundations.

For what it’s worth, my very favourite Kate Nash song is We Get On. I really like Kate’s voice and the sense of a heart-felt story being told in the song.

Vampire Weekend

After seeing the brilliant ‘Gamer Girl’ Dancemat skit on The Wrong Door last night, i was inspired to look up this song. I’ve heard it on XFM plenty of times and i really like the tune, but i realised i can’t make out a single word!

The only line i thought i could pick up was “you can’t stop the rain from coming” which in fact turns out to be “look outside – the raincoats coming”! Weird and random, but again, the tune and instrumentation are fantastic!

So the song is ‘A-Punk’ by Vampire Weekend, and it has a good video to go with it:

By sermoa Posted in music

Weekend news

Resumo: Mi parolas pri mia semajnfino – agrabla kombinaĵo de plezuro, muziko, programado kaj hejmtaskoj.

I have had quite a productive and enjoyable weekend. On Friday night we went to the Railway Inn, a local pub well-known for live music. We saw The Autons play there, who were very good and we got a nice chat with them afterwards! I guess we are Autons groupies now! :) We also managed to blag a free copy of the single! Actually there was no blagging involved … the CD was eagerly thrust upon us!!

I decided to give Shabbat a miss this week, and spent most of Saturday working on updates to MyChores. I’m really pleased with what i’ve done. I’ve upgraded to Rails 2.0.2 which includes some security improvements, plus i implemented Globalize and enabled a switch to American English, and i made good use of the Google Chart API to get some quite stunning, auto-updating charts.

I am definitely intending to make the whole of MyChores translatable, and give people the option to translate into their language if they wish. I’m going to go first with an Esperanto translation, to make sure that it is possible, and because i fancy the practice, and because i love to tell the world about Esperanto!

The charts make a huge difference. I am always amazed at how the same data can be presented in a different way and convey a lot more meaning. For example, this is my chart of household tasks that i’ve done today:

Household tasks 82%

14 out of 17 tasks = 82% done

We didn’t have the pie chart before, but but i find it so helpful, and also very motivating. I hope other people like it too. Also a simple graph of the tasks i have done in the last 4 weeks:

Tasks completed in the last 28 days

It honestly took me by surprise to feed in the numbers and see the chart come out! Clearly i do most of my tasks on Sundays, but i didn’t realise there was such a consistent pattern to it! :)

Oh yes, here’s one final example of what Google Charts can do:

People by location

Total number of people: 874

Nice, hey? :) I’m very pleased i discovered it.

Britain's Got Talent

In case anyone has not yet seen this little angel by the name of Andrew Johnston … i saw this 13-year-old kid on Sunday Life this morning, and oh my gosh, this purity of voice brought tears to my eyes. Especially when you hear the back-story of bullying and realise all that Andrew has overcome to get to this point.

Grab yourself a packet of tissues and click Play. I promise you, it is well worth it.

I think i will be watching Britain’s Got Talent from now on!

Nice day! :)

I have come a long way with the WordPress 2.5 and i really like it! It’s a much cleaner layout for the admin area. I also found a wonderful template from freewpthemes.net so i like it way more than the current theme i have. I’d put it up tonight except i know if anything goes wrong i won’t be able to sleep until i’ve fixed it, lol! I shall do it tomorrow.

Today i bought a ukelele! :D For £12.95 – bargain!! A colleague at work bought one recently and it seems a fun instrument to learn!

The author of Kittens for Dummies uses MyChores! :) I only found out today when i received this testimonial:

As a writer I live by deadlines. MyChores helps me keep track of the dates that articles and projects are due. I couldn’t operate without it.

Dusty Rainbolt

I followed the link and that’s what i found! :)

Kittens for Dummies

Now i need to get a copy and get Dusty to sign it, heheh! ;)

Oh, one more thing … i have completed my 43 days without chocolate! I am still going for another 3 days though. Whoever said there were 40 days in Lent was wrong!

Youtube catches up! :)

Further to my previous post, there is now a video of The Choir singing Stand By Me on youtube.

Okay, there are plenty of criticisms you can make, particularly with speed, timing, and volume contrast. I could go on. But if you saw the whole program you would know how far they have come, and the myriad of difficulties that were overcome. It really is very impressive.

By sermoa Posted in music

The Choir

Funny TV for a Friday night, but oddly un-tear-away-from-able … The Choir, “Boys Don’t Sing” where Gareth Malone takes Lancaster School in Leicester and forms a choir out of nothing and takes them to perform at the Royal Albert Hall. I watched both episodes, and i was completely in tears by the end of it last night! It is so inspiring … incredibly admirable what Gareth and the kids and staff managed to do!

The buzz at the Royal Albert Hall felt so tangible, and i felt Gareth’s pride at the end of it. Okay, the first song was horribly out of tune, but the second was brilliant, and i loved how Gareth brought together the varying skills of so many different people. (I thought the headmaster could have been a bit more encouraging though!)

Does anyone know where i can get the video for the final performance? My usual friend Youtube has come up short so far.