Archive for the 'Activities' Category

Sep 26 2006

TowerEmu – Ringing Software

Published by under Bell Ringing

TowerEmu Plain Bob Major I just embarked on a project to create a piece of software to help me with my ringing. I want some software that can be used for both planning call changes and for method ringing. I also want to be able to listen to the results and play around with composing touches and quarter peals.

Further to composing methods and call-changes, I have also writen the software in such a way that it will be possible to create a catalogue of towers around the world and the sounds of the bells, so it will be possible to play back a method and it should sound as if it is being rung in a specific tower…. this, however is a long way off, and right now the software only has details of the St Peter Port church bells in Guernsey (my home tower).

The above screenshot is the initial debug output of the results of running through Plain Bob Major.

One response so far

Aug 21 2006

Ringing Round-up

Published by under Bell Ringing

I realised today that I haven’t posted much about bell ringing recently, which is one thing that II promised myself I would do when I started. So, seeing as I passed another milestone in my progress yesterday I thought I’d but post an update.

My last post was about my first quarter peal of Bob Doubles which was back in January. It seems that I have progessed quite a bit since then. I’m not sure about the dates (I need to check up in the tower records and make a note of it) but I’ve rung a quarter peal of Bob Doubles on the trebble (just plain hunting), I’ve also rung a quarter peal of Plain Bob Major on the trebble (also plain hunting) which was also only the third occasion that I’d tried ringing Plain Bob Major on the treble, which was kind of a shock for me but I managed to make it through somehow.

So yesterday was the first time that I rang a quarter peal of Plain Bob Doubles on the 2 (inside). I have previously been very nervous, and therefore made mistakes, when doing Bobs however yesterday it all seemed to come together. I did have a couple of slight hiccups along the way, and towards the end I was finding it difficult to consentrate on what work I had just done and what I should be doing next. Whilst we were ringing I felt that I could have rung it a little quicker but as it turns out we finished in 42 minutes which, apparently, is quite quick for a 21cwt tenor.

I’ve also had a go at Plain Bob Triples last Friday at St Peters. It wasn’t anywhere near as hard as I thought it was going to be and, appart from missing all the dodges, I managed to keep my place through two courses which most people seemed to be quite impressed with.

I’m also going to taken the opportunity to post a link to Fortran Friends. They have very kindly posted some ringing diagrams on their site which I have found to be very useful. Each ony only takes a side of A4 paper when printed, but contains all the information you need to ring the method such as the order of work, where you pass the treble, blue line diagrams for each start and what you do when a bob/single is called. Unfortunately they’ve only produced them for six methods, luckily they’re the methods I’ll be learning next:

2 responses so far

Apr 10 2006

Pure Pain

Published by under Activities

Saturday night I learn a new meaning to the word pain. I had been planning on cooking something out of my new Wagamama Cookbook but after getting up at 5:30am to help Dave with clean Mystere I crashed out in the afternoon so didn’t get around to getting the ingredients. In the end it was decided we would have fishcakes with vomit sauce (see end of post for recipe).

One of the ingredients for vomit sauce is fresh green chilli. In the absence of fresh green chilli I went and got one of dried red chillies out of the green house. I removed the seeds and chopped it as usual and immediately washed my hands as I’ve had experience of rubbing my nose without washing my hands. Ten minutes later and the food was ready, it was at this point that I got an itch in my eye…. so I rubbed it.

This was when I realised my mistake. It seems that washing my hands just wasn’t enough. Never before have I experienced such acute focused pain. I washed out my eye with cold water, and I tried putting a slice of cucumber on my eye but nothing would reduce the pain. Oddly, going into a dark room did easy the pain slightly but not much. After about 5 minutes the pain subsided slightly but it still felt like someone was pouring boiling water into my eye. In the end it took about 45 minutes for the burning sensation to go.

In future I think I might wash my hands with bleach after chopping up chillies.

Thai Fishcake Sauce (aka vommit sauce):

  • 2 inches cucumber
  • 2 shallots
  • 1 tsp Fresh Grated Ginger
  • 1 Fresh Green Chilli
  • 2 tbsp. roasted peanuts

Mix/chop together in a food processor

  • 110ml Wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp. Light brown sugar

Mix together then add to food processor.

NB. Only looks like vommit, tastes really good!

One response so far

Jan 24 2006

A Quarter-Peal of Plain Bob Doubles

Published by under Bell Ringing

Sunday saw me ringing my first quarter peal of Plain Bob Doubles. I was ringing in sixth place and so I didn’t really that that complicated a job but I still had to stay awake and keep ringing for about 50 minutes.

One piece of advise I was given before starting was to NOT clock watch, which is pretty hard as the six is directly opposite the clock in the ringing chamber. So I spent the first ten minutes clock watching. I soon realised the errors of my ways and so decided to find other ways to focus my attention.

Method number one was to find ways to improve my striking. I concertrated on getting my standing position correct, finding the right place to hold the end of the rope and the best place to hold the sally, and I listened carefully to the other bells. Finally I decided that I had probably got as good as I was going to get. That took about fifteen minutes. Twenty five down, another twenty five to go!!!

Next up was looking for patterns. From leaning to ring Bob Doubles inside I know what the order of work is that each bell should be doing but could I spot patterns from the six that would make my life that little bit easier when ringing inside. Well, probably the easiest pattern to spot was that after the six does four blows behind a bell doing long fifths, it then does two blows over another bell and then two blows over trebble. This turned out to be quite handy as I kept missing the bell between long fifths and trebble. This brought me to within ten minutes of finishing.

The last ten minutes I spent working out what I would do differently the next time I rang a quarter-peal. Top of my list was wear a t-shirt with baggier sleeves. The t-shirt I chose to wear had fairly tight sleeves and, as I tend to sweat when ringing, I was starting to get chaffing under my arm-pits… not nice!!!

Next was my choice of foot-wear. Motor-cycle boots probably aren’t the best thing to wear if you’re going to be standing still for about an hour. Next time I find something with a little more padding on the soles.

Finally, I must remember not to do anything too strenuous before ringing. On Sunday I thought I would be a good idea to split a load of logs for kindling right before I went to ring my quarter-peal. Althought I was fine during the ringing, that evening and all the next day I could hardly move I was aching so much.

2 responses so far

Jan 16 2006

Ringing Responsibility

Published by under Bell Ringing

Thursday 12th January was the AGM for the St Peter Port parish church tower. I was planning on having a nice relaxing evening and just sit there muttering agreement (or disagreement) as everyone else did. Unfortunately, or fortunately as the case may be, things rarely turn out as expected, and so my relaxing evening was not to be.

Everything was going quite smoothly until the time of the election of officers. To be honest, I had thought that all the positions would remain the same. However, due to unknown circumstances (I could speculate but I’m not going to) our Tower Captain decided that it was time to step away from ringing for a while. As a result we had to elect a new Tower captain. The first choice, and in my view logical choice, was the Paul who had previously been both Steeple keeper and Treasurer. Whilst he graciously accepted the position, he also stepped down from position as steeple keeper. He then proposed that, as I had been working with him in the tower on the previous Tuesday, maybe I would like to take up the position of steeple keeper.

This took me rather by supprise. I’ve only been up in the ringing chamber once so far. I have no idea what exactly steeple keeping entails (although I have got a pretty good idea). But I have got the support of everyone in the tower and probably the other steeple keepers around the island. With this in mind I accepted the position and, follow a vote by the tower members, was elected steeple keeper.

Now to try and figure out what exactly I’m supposed to be doing for the next 12+ months!!!

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Oct 28 2005

How wrong can making soup go?

Published by under Activities

Last Saturday night I was planning on having a nice quite evening in on my own. My girlfriend had gone on holiday that morning, my sister was out camping and my mum and dad were going out to the cinema to watch Walace and Grommit: Curse of the Were-Rabbit – it’s a great film so go watch it if you haven’t already!

Any way, as I was staying at home my mum suggested that I cook dinner for when they returned from the cinema. As I quite enjoy cooking this seemed like a good and I settled upon the chickpea, coriander and chilli soup from the Delia Smith Soup book. I decided to make a double lot of the soup as there were supposed to be several “extras” coming back after the film for food.

I had already been out shopping to get all the ingredients, all that remained was the actual cooking. Having previously read through the recipe I worked out that it should take about 1.5 – 2 hours to make the soup so I planned to start cooking at about 8pm – I even set an alarm on my phone so that I didn’t forget whilst watching TV.

So I started cooking at 8pm. The 500gs of chickpeas needed boiling for a hour, so they were the first to go on in 6 pints of water. I wasn’t sure why I needed such a big pan as they really didn’t take up that much room. Whilst they were boiling I prepared the rest of the ingredients. When the chickpeas were finally cooked I strained off the water, added the rest of the ingredients and buzzed them in the food processor. I don’t why but for some reason, although I had followed the recipe to the letter, there just didn’t seem to be enough for six people.

Lastly I had to return the mix from the food processor to the pan and add the six pints of water that had been used for boiling the chickpeas. It was just as I was adding the last of the water that it finally stuck me why there didn’t seem to be enough ingredients and why now, after added the six pints of water, the soup seemed incredibly running. The recipe said to use 500g of dried chickpeas soaked over night. Where as in my haste I had simply used 500g of tinned chickpeas. If you soak 500g of dried chickpeas overnight their resulting mass is more like 1kg!!!

At this point I was rather… err… irritated! It was also at this time that my parents returned home from the cinema. After explain what had happened (they thought it was rather amusing) I promptly did a disappearing act to the pub with Dave as I couldn’t stand to be in the same room as that damn soup any longer than I had to.

The moral of the story? When following a recipe don’t just follow what it says, understand what it implies. There may be somethings you need to think about that aren’t explicitly laid out on the page.

3 responses so far

Sep 20 2005

Money For Me

Published by under Bell Ringing

Last Saturday I had the oppertunity to ring at two weddings. I wouldn’t normally have rung for weddings as I am still a bit unsure of my abilities, however there was a Channel Islands District meeting in Alderney on Saturday so they were very short of ringers… enter yours truely :)

First up was a wedding at the Town Church. For this one I was only worried about crashing with other bells and making it sound bad but if I had none of the congregation would have known it was me as the ringers are hidden away in the ringing chamber up in the bell tower, well out of view of the church goers. Luckily everything seemed to go off without a hitch. We were ringing rounds into queens and back, and some simple call changes.

After the ringing I went for lunch with Ingrid (not my mum) at Christies. I felt very under-dressed as I was wearing scruff-stuff as I had been working on my Bandit before ringing. Apart from that fun was had by all I think… I’ll find out Thursday.

Saturday afternoon saw me ringing at the Vale church. This time I had to make a bit of an effort to smarten myself up as the ringers are in full view of the congregation. This time it was all call-changes from rounds to queens (I think) and back. Again, I think that my ringing was quite acceptable.

The good thing about ringing for weddings is that you get paid for it. So that’s netted me a couple of quid for an hour of ringing. I also found out, last night, that there is a wedding at the Vale church this Saturday so naturally I’ve offered my services…. £££!

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Sep 05 2005

The Pen Is Mightier

Published by under Activities,Bookmarks,Holiday

Everyone knows the old saying “The Pen Is Mightier Than The Sword” but I think that might be taking the phrase a little too literally.

This morning I received my monthly newsletter from them to find that the top news item from them is about $1000 grants that they are giving to people planning a trip. However, it seems that you need to be a literary killer in order to qualify for the grant:

Travel Grants: Earn $1000 for your trip
At the Wikimedia Conference, held in Frankfurt at the beginning of August, we presented our new programme:Travel Grants
The idea is that if you are planning this cool trip and you think it would be interesting to write about the places you go to on, you can receive a travel grant. We will be giving away $10,000 in total to the people with the best plans, best writings kills or most enthusiasm!

Assuming they meant writing skills I guess the person that wrote the email wont be qualifying for a grant!

One response so far

Aug 04 2005

Half Baked XML-RPC Implementation

Published by under Programming,Second Life

I’ve recently started playing around with Second Life the MMOVW. I don’t normally like playing games but this one is different… its programmable, from within the game itself!

One of the really neat features that first caught my eye was the ability to make XML-RPC calls. XML-RPC is a standardised to interact with objects and classes on the other side of the internet. Now some of you non-programming sorts may be wondering why this is such a wonderfull thing, well, its hard to explain whats so good about it but trust me when I say its great… especially in an environment such as Second Life.

Immediately I started thinking about some of the possibilities XML-RPC offered… RSS feeds, email checking, stock quotes, weather reports – all in game. You could take it further and start using Amazon and eBay to purchase real world goods, all without leaving the game.

So first things first I hit the Second Life scripting documentation. One of the first things that struck me about the XML-RPC documentation is that several of the function calls are marked as (Doesn’t actually work). This rather anoyed me as one of those functions was llSendRemoteData. So it seems that XML-RPC is a one way communication channel in Second Life… in-bound requests only.

The second thing that took my notice was the complete lack of any immediate high level explanation of how XML-RPC is implemented in Second Life. After digging around I finally discovered that in order to make a call into Second Life, you call needs to pass in a channel key. This channel key, however, can only be generated from within Second Life when an XML-RPC channel is created… so if you can’t initiate calls XML-RPC calls from within Second Life, how do you get the key out to your external objects????

I finally discovered that you are able to send emails from within Second Life, so this is the process for XML-RPC communication with Second Life:

  1. Create email account for transferring channel keys
  2. create XML-RPC channel within the game to obtain a channel key
  3. send email from inside game to above email account
  4. external object checks above email account to obtain channel key
  5. external object sedns XML-RPC call to in-game object

If you ask me this seems a bit of a farcical way of doing things and could be made a whole lot easier… if only they allowed in game objects to make external requests. Of course it has already been noted in the discussion wiki that allowing in game objects to make external XML-RPC calls opens up the possibility of using Second Life as a DoS engine but it should be possible to come up with some permissions structure to limit the chances of that happening.

5 responses so far

Aug 04 2005

Learning the Ropes

Published by under Bell Ringing

My bell-ringing experience is continuing. I’m still ringing twice a week,, when sailing permits, and I feel that once again I am beginning to make progress. To date I am quite capable of ringing rounds, call changes and just recently I have also started ringing tennor behind or some doubles methods and I’ve also had a go at ringing Plain Hunt(ing?) on the trebble.

Several weeks ago I was getting rather annoyed because I didn’t seem to be making any progress, I was ringing call changes quite well but that was it. Now I seem to have come off that plateau and my skills are improving again… I wonder how long it will be until I hit that groove again and my improvement starts leveling off?

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