Emma and Mark

Congratulations, Emma and Mark on your wonderful wedding last Sunday.

It was an honour to be able to share in the ceremony by playing some songs
for you.

Here are recordings of some of those songs.


A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square.


I Love You Just The Way You Are


Unforgettable


Until The Real Thing Comes Along


Till There Was You


Petite Fleur


As Time Goes By


Georgia


Stardust


Can’t Help Lovin’ Dat Man


At Last


Prelude – Don’t Believe


Entry – Don’t Believe


When I Fall In Love


Have I Told You Lately That I Love You


What A Wonderful World


Beyond The Sea

Just The Way You Look Tonight

You must remember this…

I love the song “As time goes by” by Herman Hupfeld.

Here’s my rendition of it on the Wx5.

A couple of months ago I upgraded my synthesizer to a VL-70m so I could get some more realistic voices, and this is the result.

The backing track is a lovely arrangement from Ameritz in the UK.

No pun intended, but as time goes by I find myself increasingly enjoying the slow, sensual, simple, beautiful melodies of previous eras.

They’re timeless.

This is just so much fun!

I wanted to share this with you, not because I think I’m great, but because I had so much fun making it.

Friends and family will know I’ve bought myself a Yamaha WX5 Wind Midi Controller for my 44th birthday. It looks like a clarinet, but it is more like a synthesizer keyboard that you play like a wind instrument. You can see a picture of it here.

I thought you might like an idea of what it sounds like, so I’ve uploaded some of my own recordings to give you an idea.

Some of them I just played from memory by ear because they’re tunes I love (Like the Dark Isle, The Parting Glass, and Basin Street Blues). Some of them are from a “Play along” music book I recently bought which has the backing tracks that you can play along to. For one of them (Beauty and the Beast) I took a midi of the the tune, removed the melody line, and dubbed my own melody line over the top. (I’ll promise to explain how to do this in my technical blog soon).

“Beauty and the Beast” is a very pretty melody. If you only listen to one of these tunes, I hope you listen to this one.

Anyway – here they are – the sounds of me having fun.

Piccolo voice:

The Dark Isle


The Parting Glass


Sway


Beauty and the Beast

Trombone voice:

I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel To Be Free

Trumpet voice:

Basin Street Blues

Clarinet voice:

God Bless The Child

Tenor Saxophone voice:

Hit The Road Jack

The Singing Ship

The Singing Ship


The Singing Ship

Emu Park is a small town south of Yeppoon on the Central Queensland coast.

In May 1770, Captain James Cook sailed into the bay off the coast of this area, and named it Keppel Bay. It’s a stunning area dotted with coral reefs, idyllic tropical islands, and long wide beaches to the south.

“The Singing Ship” was erected in 1970 to honour the bicentenary of Cook’s voyage.

It is a magnificent sculpture which captures the essence of a sailing ship, with a small difference.

It sings.

Cleverly constructed tubes descend from “sail” to the “deck” of the structure. The prevailing winds pass through strategically placed holes in those tubes, causing them to resonate like a huge pipe organ. Or perhaps like the wind in the shrouds of a sailing ship.

The result is a gentle pleasant musical chord that rings out over the water.

I think this is wonderful work of art which aptly honours the memory of the great navigator, James Cook. It’s large and bright, with huge sweeping sail shape that gives an impression of motion. The musical tones add to that feeling. As you stand at its base, its not difficult to imagine that you’re on the deck of fantastic sailing ship, ploughing the waters of Keppel Bay.

This is public art as it should be – creatively capturing people’s imagination, engaging the senses, and reminding us of the great lives that have preceded us.

Save a man’s life

I think drug trafficking is a terrible crime. Offenders should be dealt with severely.

But I strongly oppose the death penalty, and especially “Mandatory Execution” where a government stipulates that someone found guilty of a crime MUST be executed, without reference to any mitigating circumstances.

This is the case in Singapore today.

Van Nguyen is a convicted drug trafficker who will be hanged on 2 December 2005 unless by some miracle, the Singapore government changes its mind.

So far they have been unmoved by legal appeals, or by appeals for Clemency on moral or ethical grounds. So I fully support the efforts of Rights Australia to urge companies and people that hold significant investments with the Singapore government to lobby them.

Do you have an Optus phone, or internet account? Optus is 63% owned by the Singapore government. Other large Singapore concerns include SP Ausnet (Victorian Power Company) and Singapore Airlines. Click here for information about how you can ask these companies to support the campaign for clemency for Van Nguyen.

In Dublin's Fair City

In Dublin’s Fair City

Each of these pictures offers a live view of a different part of Dublin – Ireland’s wonderful capital city. To get a more up to date view, just press the REFRESH button on your browser. The pictures update every 60 seconds.

If you want to know what you’re looking at, hold your mouse over the picture, or click on the picture to go to the webcam site and get a larger picture, or more information.

Dublin is on the same time-zone as London. the times are on the top right of each photo, but you’ll need to click on the photo and get the larger version of the picture to see the time.

O'Connell Street Bridge, DublinLower Gardner Street, Dublin
Lower Gardiner Street, DublinTalbot Street, Dublin
Corner of Talbot & Gardner Street, Dublin

Camera in a Tree Stump

Camera in a Tree Stump

A year ago I hid a disposable camera in screw-top container in a tree stump in a local park, and left instructions on the internet for people to find the camera, take a picture of themselves, and put the camera back.

Yesterday I retrieved the camera and had the pictures developed. You can see the result here.

What an enjoyable experiment! A montage of people (and dogs) – most of whom I have never met, all having fun.

If you’ve never tried it, I’d heartily recommend geocaching (http://www.geocaching.com) – probably the most fun you can have with a GPS receiver. There are thousands of hidden “caches” like this all over the world – probably just down the road from where you live.

I’ve put another disposable camera at the same location, so if you feel like getting outdoors and having some fun, try finding my geocache called “Only the Lawnleis”. You’ll need to discover a little bit about the local history of the area before you can track down the final location. It’s all on the site here.

Untitled-Scanned-20Untitled-Scanned-12
Untitled-Scanned-06Untitled-Scanned-21
Untitled-Scanned-08Untitled-Scanned-15

Utopia

Utopia

Utopia

Farewell to Utopia… for now.

I’ve spent the last six months in a strange place called Utopia.

People will tell you it’s an online game where almost 1,500 teams (kingdoms) of up to 25 members (provinces) pit their warring skills against each other.

But it’s much, much more than that.

There are plenty of articles already available on the internet about Utopia ( http://games.swirve.com/utopia), so I won’t duplicate that here.

I found Utopia very addicitive because I was commited to a group of people who were also commited to me. I spent hours researching, planning, watching, fighting, because I didn’t want to let my team down. I know they probably did the same as well.

I created a character called “The Wise Lady Sohpie” – an attacking woman who rose through the ranks to become a first a Baroness, then a Viscountess in July this year. I came to love Sophie (whose name means “Wisdom”) because she reminded me of my wife Liz. Smart, strong and commited to friends. It felt a bit weird playing the part of a woman when I was a man, but I figured that this was a fantasy world, and my team mates didn’t really care what I looked like in real life. I told any of them who asked. Apart from that, I just let Sophie do her thing.

The luckiest thing was that Sophie ended up in a kingdom called “Haven’t Decided Yet”. Don’t let the name fool you – these guys are tough. Led by Wise King Roger, we won three wars this age, and three wars last age. Legend has it that in ancient days King Roger led his kingdom through a golden age where they never lost a war, and had other kingdoms fleeing in terror.

Our kingdom was blessed with some strange but fearsome creatures. I can’t mention all of them here, and I know they’ll forgive me for mentioning just a few of them. These are real people who I interacted with on an almost daily basis.

Baroness Tekeelya is a magical elf who has specialized in a life of crime. If you annoy her she can call down a storm of meteors from the sky to wreak havoc on your lands. But she can also kidnap your peasants, or rob you blind. She often gazes into her crystal ball to see things that many of her friends can not. On our Island of Mortov, there is none more honorable than she is. Honor in utopia is something that is fought hard for, and prized more highly than power or expansive lands.

The Great General Belgarion is an awesome attacking Orc who can capture land from armies much bigger than his. Many the time I’ve seen him return from battle having captured hundreds of acres. I’ve never seen him fail in an attack. Ever.

Lord Icron is a Halfling who recently decided to be a rogue. Don’t let his size fool you. Icron’s thieves are terrible. Many times they have snuck into an enemies lands at night to wipe out thousands of troops. In times of war, he spreads propaganda throughout an opposing army, demoralizing them and bringing them to their knees. He told me of his life in a previous age as an attacking Avian, and how he missed his “birdies”, but I think he made an excellent Halfling.

And Wise King Roger… Of all the people in our land, his libraries are the biggest. His armies were busy most of the age, pillaging, looting, taking land, even stealing books for his libraries. He doesn’t say much, but he knows how and when to pick a fight. Sophie was a sage like Roger, and I learned a lot from watching how Roger did things.

As a rule, I never play computer games. I spend enough time online doing my job. So this has been quite an experience for me.

But it has taken up so much of my time that I need a break from it for now.

I can’t just spend less time on it per day, because Sophie’s province wouldn’t be as strong as it deserves to be. So the Wise Noble Lady Sophie is taking a vaction for a few months.

To the wonderful people of “Haven’t Died Yet”, I love you all. Thank you for letting me be part of your kingdom. You’ve taught me a lot, and I hope that I can join you again in future.