Saturday, 31 May 2008

Someone asked a question on Harmony Central

They asked who had burned out.

Their experience was that they gigged for 10 years solid, bars etc, just got fed up with the energy, time, drunk-management and general hassle of playing out. There's a lot more stuff in their post, but that's all beside the point.

But it got me thinking.

I posted:

Hmmm. My experience is slightly different, slightly similar.

Started playing when I was 16, put a youth group band together when I was 18 and have played worship in churches ever since with 2 breaks (12 months and 6 months) the last being around 12 or 14 years ago.

It's different, in that the audience are mostly sober and the sets are shorter, while there is a lot of inspiration. But the last 10 years I've been gradually deteriorating, being less inspired, less adventurous, less excited and my playing has slid to a level below mediocrity. I can't even play a decent lead line right now, but I'm still bashing out rhythm stuff (that I'm good at, but don't really enjoy) every week.

Unlike you, it's unusual to have major bust-ups with band mates - more often you go away frustrated with each other, wishing they'd do stuff differently. Much modern worship is bland, tuneless and gutless, often with just a single good chorus hook line plus 4 verses and a middle 8 of bleh. This adds to the frustration, and the modern pop-guitar styles are just lousy - they stink to me.

And I have a demanding full time job, plus run the worship band, plus run a house group, and in this time my children have.... well one is 20 and the other with Jesus.

So I guess, yes, I'm probably burned out right now in a way. Not mental breakdown and thrashing style, so much as swimming through quicksand, getting more tired and less inspired.

Thanks for posting this. I've not stepped back and considered what's going on in this way before. Hopefully I can do something about it.

There's a lot more to my feelings of 'burned-outness' than this, and some has to do with excessive pre-occupation with the computer and internet - something that has a good side and I enjoy, yet has become too much. These are aspects of my life and personality I must control, and I can't just simply cope by avoidance/abstinence as I would have done in times past.

But control is sometimes difficult, requiring energy and the need to deal with the consequences when control fails.

This morning at the mens prayer meeting (7.30am on a Saturday morning!) a bunch of thoughts and insights crawled out of the woodwork, and this covers and builds on some of them. Not sure where things go from here, but I believe I've been round a particular loop because I need to build character in certain areas, and another intersection is approaching where, if they're built, I might step onto a different highway.

Or not.

We'll see.

Film posters - as they should have been.

Courtesy of Charlie over at the Bikemagic formerlies forum, who has discovered

Thursday, 29 May 2008

An interesting evening.

We went along to a little Anglican church plant that is literally just down the road from us this evening.

They have their adult meeting on a Thursday night: had the feel of s slightly overgrown housegroup. People were friendly, participated in worship and were open to the Spirit of God moving. It's triggered some things in both of us, particularly as we want to see something happen locally. This may be not be anything or it may be the start of something new. I don't know yet.

Sunday, 25 May 2008

I'm trying to figure out

why the sidebar takes so long to load.

Leaving out clustrmaps and the link to Haloscan doesn't make any difference. Surely it's not the number of blogs in the blogroll? I only noticed the side bar taking WAY to long when I added a bunch of additional addresses.

Any wisdom oh mighty blogmakers?

We went for a walk yesterday.

South Oxfordshire - almost wiltshire - has a stylised shape of a horse cut in the hillside. It isn't just the grass cut away, but instead people inserted chalk blocks to make the image white. We walked for a couple of hours solid around the white horse, then up to Uffington 'castle' before heading along the ridgeway to Waylands smithy (an ancient barrow).

Naturally I took a camera.

The full collection is available here - link fixed now.

Saturday, 24 May 2008

Just like to say

A really big "Thank You to all those that left flowers on Sarah's grave, sent us cards or remembered us 'on-line'.

We really do appreciate the way so many of you have remembered both her and us.

Something odd is happening.

I'm wanting to sell guitar gear.

Almost unheard of!

So far my POD Pro, Celestion Gold, Dean flying V (almost) and a chorus pedal have gone.

What's also odd is that, although I would like to acquire more gear, I actually turned down a really good deal on something last night because I can't specifically find a place to use it. There was a time I'd have bought it, then MADE a place for it.

Could I be changing?

I'm sure I'll get more stuff at some stage, but vive la difference for now.

Yup, another of those all-encompassing once-a-week type posts.

I'm sat here perspiring after an hour of cutting the grass.

Todays weather was meant to be wet, windy (it is, a little) and cold. The outside thermometer says 20'C, but the sun is strong, and even working with my shirt off in order to build tolerance for Greece (in 4 weeks) I'm hot.

This week has been a mixture. Much less difficult for me than Chris, we had our combined crisis point Tuesday night when I took that photo. That was around 7.00ish, when we wanted to visit Sarah's grave before everyone else left flowers. From there, we went on to church housegroup, and being with our larger family really seemed to produce a change of heart in us both. There's something about being with those you love that love you back that can ease hurts, even when the cause is still present.

Wednesday and Thursday for us have been times of some stress: Chris because of a work meeting in which she appeared to be the only one who knew (financially) what was going on, me because our Quality systems consultant was in and, while I like him very much, he has a manner that makes you think you must have failed somewhere.

But yesterday. Yesterday.

Fine for me, bad, bad day for Chris. It culminated with Ben driving one of our cars into the other, literally just back from being repaired from our 'road rage' incident.

Repeat after me "it's just a car".

So we veg'd last night. I popped out to fix a reclining chair for my mum, only to then discover she's got a water leak from a pipe in the concrete floor in her flat.

Repairs are what bank holidays are for, aren't they?

Wednesday, 21 May 2008

Chris writes

A few months ago I found a piece of paper in Sarah's desk on which she had written the following:
"I want my family to say that I was always loving & caring, always there for them when they needed me & that I was patient."
"I want my husband to say that he loved me because of these things, was always a laugh."
"I want my friends to say that I was aways a devoted follower of God & that I was an encouragement to them when they weren't feeling very holy."
"I want to serve God faithfully 'til I die!" (emphasis Sarah's)

Tuesday, 20 May 2008

Tomorrow I might not post here.

If anyone plans to leave flowers, please pop them in the jars so they'll last longer.


Sunday, 18 May 2008

One thing I will do.

Firefox users - want a faster browsing experience ('course you do).

want to REALLY tweak your browser

In the address bar type about:config


Scroll down to the network settings. Take a screen-grab and file it away in case you need to change things back to default.

network.http.max-connections to 128
network.http.max-connections-per-server to 64
network.http.max-persistent-connections-per-proxy to 24
network.http.max-persistent-connections-per-server to 8
network.http.pipelining to true
network.http.pipelining-requests to 64

Close firefox and restart. Enjoy some new-found speed.

This will not give you extra bandwidth, so if you have a slow connection, nothing will make images come down any quicker. Instead, what this does is grab information from the site you're trying to access more quickly, so where you're not bandwidth limited, stuff will load faster.

I didn't discover this for myself, but come across it while hunting down the about:config command to switch off IPv6 in a new Linux install.


BTW Dan - Fedora 9 Sulphur is buggy. :-(

It's that time of year again.

May used to be a good month - oh well.

We're basically OK. Well mostly anyway.

Lorraine - thank you for your kind comments, prayers and care you expressed this morning. And everyone else too, but I know your life is SO busy.

So it may be a lean posting time (leaner than even before) or I may develop typographical diarrhea and spout the usual sort of useless stuff.

I'm a little busy too, selling of some surplus guitar stuff, plus some of Chris's dad's old stuff.

So I dunno.

Now I think about it, I'm not really alright, but I'm not really bad either.

And worthwhile bloggable thoughts are like eels: as they wriggle away, trying to grip them makes them disappear even quicker.

Friday a week ago we experienced road-rage first hand, and along with everything else, I think that is still having an impact on me. I didn't mention it earlier because I didn't really think about it, and I won't talk much now. However It's had a much deeper effect than I would have ever expected, and I'm still working through the fallout. Curious the effects things like this can have on a person.

That'll do for now.

Thursday, 15 May 2008

Calling Randall Friesen

Here's some preaching for you to live up to.

You'll need the sound up - it's a youtube clip (I won't embed them anymore as it slows the page too much).

Wednesday, 14 May 2008

Want to meet in meatspace?

I'm going bowling at the Banbury Superbowl for a bloke's night out on Friday night - 8pm start.

Just to remind you what I look like:

If you miss me - that's your fault!

Remember my earlier post about 'freetards' and Radiohead?

Well I received this in my inbox about 5 min ago:

Dear Musician,

The online world is becoming more and more relevant—not just as a center of communications and commerce, but as a place to try out new ideas and get instant feedback. Case in point: Trent Reznor has released his new album online, and you can download the whole thing—free—at What's more, it's available in multiple formats, including MP3, FLAC, and high-res 96kHz/24-bit. Still want more? You can download some multitrack files as well, and mix them yourself. Seriously.

Does this devalue music? We'll find out, but according to the site, Reznor simply wants to give something back to the people who have supported him all these years. And, the album will be made available as a physical product you can buy. I don't think music will be "all free, all the time" any time soon, but I do think what Reznor has done will get him publicity and notoriety that no amount of money could buy. It's just one more example of someone taking full advantage of what the online world has to offer.

There are so many ways to get your music heard online, whether it's putting a link to your website in your sig on the forums, using an outstanding service like TuneCore (, or taking advantage of social networking sites.

Yes, it's an exciting time to be online. . . which could be why HC's traffic has jumped by about 200,000 unique visitors in the first quarter of this year alone. Thank you so much for being a part of it!

- Your Harmony Central Team

One more thing that makes this worthy of consideration *to me* is that I know zip about NIN, but I'm tempted to actually download and listen. Would I buy the album? Who knows?

Darth Vader is alive and well and living in Wales

Well, if you're going to have Jedis, why not?

Sunday, 11 May 2008

And a week goes by.

This last week has been a time of business and recovery.

Work has been getting back on track, as I'm recovering from the chest infection and have mostly regained my strength, ability to think and plan.

Church, friendship and family activities have occupied every evening for the past 7 days - we've not had a single evening free - although it's all been good. Tonight we had a spontaneous barbecue (thanks Penny - my tummy is still bulging) and we've literally just got home. Our first night off is Thursday evening.

So nothing of any real substance to say, report or comment on. Right now anyway.

Sunday, 4 May 2008

Does anyone here hate by association?

There's one particular hatred I have that's staring me in the 'face' - well, nostrils actually.


They produce a sickly, sweet and almost choking perfume. Worse is that they are always bought for funerals, and will forever have an association with Sarah's death and particularly that time of pain.

If you plan to ever buy us flowers, DO NOT buy lillies.

If we get bought any more they are going straight in the bin.

Friday, 2 May 2008

Evolution of desktops

Just found this page.

The thing I find most interesting is just how ropey some of those Mac screengrabs look compared to some versions of windows. System 4 or 5 (I forget now, 1990 is a long time ago) was what introduced me to useful computing (PCs mostly seemed to run DOS which, frankly, stunk. And SMART really wasn't). I had a love affair with Macs right up until Windows 95 had been out and refined for a couple of years, at which point I realised Apple had failed to keep up with user interface development. Fortunately no-one told them.

The writer must be a Linux fanboy - those KDE screengrabs look far in advance of either Windows or Macintosh. Reality as I remember it was somewhat less refined from my experience with mandrake 9.0.

Thursday, 1 May 2008

One more linux install later

I've RMA'd the Samsung drive, requesting a like-for-like swap. It seems I have to call Ebuyers technical people first before it can go back. Sensible, I guess, as if the drive is truly dead there's no point posting, plus they might have ideas to make it go again if I were a hardware numbskull.

Less joy for Radiohead fans?

Apparently all the freetards that helped restore Radioheads fortunes are out of luck this time.