Calhoun Surf

Recently I’ve been getting into classic vintage surf rock. People like Dick DaleThe Astronauts, and The Ventures. This has come about from getting back into the Dead Kennedys and noticing a very surf/rockabilly sound to the guitar work. I did some reading and indeed the Dead Kennedys guitarist, East Bay Ray, came from a surf/rockabilly background.

While getting into the sound I’ve been also picking up and playing around with the guitar Gabriel was given by a family friend which he’s been slowly learning. Trying to work out the surf rock sound I found an article about Danny Amis from Los Straitjackets which included the tabs for Calhoun Surf which I’d not heard before. The tabs were written by Danny himself so I assume they’re pretty accurate.

So I spent an evening listening to the song and going through the tabs and the next evening spend a couple of hours recording a two-part rendition on my laptop using Audacity as a multi-track recorder. The laptop kept crashing so recording it took a few takes. Then cleaning up the background noise. Finally, I experimented getting the lead guitar to sound surf “wet” with a bit of tremolo and reverb. But clumsy but gets a feel of it in there.

Overall, while the original sounds rocky and pacey, mine ended up sounding kinda wistful and melancholic.  It was a bit from the jaggedness of the laptop keeping crashing and having to re-record, but I kinda like the way it turned out.  Might try again and see if I can get a version more faithful to the original.

If anyone wanted a listen of the rough cut recording it’s shared on Soundcloud.

My TEDx talk is now on YouTube

As I posted last week, I did a talk for TEDxUWA. It’s now been posted up onto YouTube by the lovely people at Taku TV. I’ve put the link for the talk on my talk page or you can get to it directly on this YouTube link.

Thanks to everyone who has watched the video or read the talk.

I delivered a TEDx talk

Last Saturday afternoon, I did a talk for TEDxUWA:Masterpiece the inaugural micro-conference of a new TEDx organisation in WA, TEDxUWA who are in their first year of operation.  This was a fantastic experience if a bit boundary pushing for me.

This was the first time I had planned, written, rehearsed and delivered a full talk, with some help from my lovely best friend (and wife), Annmarie. It was also the first time I had ever really talked about myself personally in front of a crowd of people, laying myself bare so to speak.  This was quite liberating.  Opening up and showing parts of me that are normally hidden from casual observation.

We had seen the call for talks on Facebook and had submitted a suggestion with the expectation that we would probably not hear back about it.  Our initial elevator pitch description was “Creative expression starts with connection and the support to express yourself. Connection and support starts with the family.”

We were a bit surprised to hear back that they wanted an interview and after that went well I was offered a speaking slot. So then we had to write a talk.  Annmarie wrote out an initial idea which I took some of from.  We worked out a goal and after a lot of nervous uncertainty, I finally wrote a finished talk a few days before the event.  Then feverish rehearsing and finally a good talk.

In the end, the talk was mostly about my personal transformation from a goth/punk in the mid-90s, not really sure about who I was and what that meant, to now where I feel more like I am me and dress and act more like me.  The talk also touches on the influence my opening up to myself has had on my kids growing up and their development of confidence in themselves.  I hope it’s a talk that lots of people can find something in.

The volunteer crew that organised the event were great and very helpful and supportive.  The other speakers were also lovely people and the rest of the talks were interesting.  Although it is not something I thought I’d be good at, I really enjoyed it and in the end, felt I accomplished something, and would definitely do it again, if given the chance.

I’ve put up the full original text of my talk here.

HTML safe and escaped text in a rails view

In my skilling up in Rails application I was wanting to add in the feature to allow a user’s comment/post, if it contained a URL, to make that URL clickable. A fairly simple change but one with a bit of a trick on Rails as it turns out. Continue reading “HTML safe and escaped text in a rails view”

VIM and my configuration

As with most vim users above beginner I used to have my customised vimrc file.  Since being off vim for a while and changing machines a couple of times, I now can’t find where I had stored my previously developed vimrc file so I’m building a new one.  Also in common with many other developers I’ve made a github repo to store it so next time I need to find it I’ll know exactly where it is.  So if you are interested to see what’s in it and how it develops,  you can find it there.