Sunday, 28 August 2016

Exploring the KPA (1)

Having kept an eye on the Kemper Profiling Amp for a long time, I finally justified buying one - to use for Church worship and recording in early August. It came this week and after very little time to tinker with it, it had its first run this Sunday afternoon.

It was only keyboard and electric guitar today, due to others being away so it was a simple case of finding a tone that worked and setting up a couple of stomps for a couple of useful effects (delay and chorus in this case).

The go-to Morgan AC20 was the profile to use this time. I ended up tweaking it to make if a bit ore trebly as the keyboard sounds (and some loops) were taking up more of the lower frequencies. Because I was then hearing it solely through the same monitors as the vocals were using, it wasn't perfect but the sound was responsive to my playing, really smooth and will have sounded great out of the main speakers.

I used the loop feature for a bit on an intro which went fine - but I really need to get used to the multitasking with this.

At the end, I fiddled with a few other profiles and the toneHAWK profile of a Divided by 13 JRT 9/15 (EL84 mode) sounded a little better to my ears in the room. It's another Voxy amp and feels like a nicer version of the Laney Cub12 I have been using for some time.

So I got home and had some Kemper time. I set up a performance with some common effects in the 5 slots, but with slightly different gain settings and default stomps. I think things will sound even better next week, and I'll have the drums and bass to contend with then.

I also had a quick go at profiling the Laney. Half of my family were sleeping at the time, so I had to do it at a really low volume, and on <1W mode so I know the best of it wasn't captured. But it still was completely usable and recognisably the same amp sound.

The one point I haven't fully resolved is what to do for monitoring at church. I have the power amp but no appropriate cab to go through. I also don't have a great FRFR speaker to use solely for the guitar - and monitoring will be harder next week.

Current plan is to use the direct out from the Kemper into the effects loop return of the Laney, and try to make that work purely for monitoring purposes. But I have to wait until daytime now to hear how that sounds.

Tuesday, 28 June 2016


As a leave voter, without reservation, I say:

  • The murder of Jo Cox was horrific and evil.
  • So is any intimidation towards people, such as in the recent bus video
  • If anyone is out there and reading this post who would remotely consider any kind of behaviour along these lines (I hugely doubt it), PLEASE STOP. It won't help you, or your cause, at all and is absolutely wrong.

I don't know if I've denounced these acts strongly enough to satisfy remainers. I don't know what they expect it will achieve, me being extremely insignificant. I'd be deeply puzzled and perturbed if anyone thinks that I am remotely in favour of these acts. But I will do anything reasonable to make it completely clear that these acts are abhorrent and wrong.

But there's more to say on the topic.

Glen Scrivener tweeted this earlier:
Follow the whole conversation on Twitter - I think it was helpful. Don't blame Glen for anything I say now.

But sign me up for that hashtag. #YouAintNoLeaverBruv to all those who commit, or try to commit such acts. But it's worth pointing out that those marring all leave voters as if they're responsible are unlikely to blame all Muslims for the acts of the violent ISIS-types. Can we at least use the same standards?

(There are differences - leave voters do not necessarily share any views beyond wanting to leave the EU - whereas Muslims, at least theoretically, believe in God, Muhammad as his true prophet, the inspiration of the Quran and much more besides)


  • Imagine it had been 52-48% the other way. Do we really think there would be no such violence had the remainers got their way?
  • Evil is with us all the time. Are there any stats (not just anecdotes) to show an increase in such incidents since Friday? I'm not disputing that, I simply haven't seen anything concrete,
  • Is it possible that these acts are better traced back to the general breakdown of society, objective morality, class divisions and geographical divisions rather than the specific votes of 52% of those who voted on membership of an international club?
Jesus Christ unites those who, by faith, are united to him (Christians). He tears down divisions between jews and gentiles, between working class and middle class, between north and south, between English and Polish, between #Leave and #Remain. This happens in the Church.

You want to fix society? You want to stop racism and violence? Jesus is the way. The time-tested, proven way to bring good to societies and nations. All are welcome. None are turned away. It's a visible reality at my church and many, many others around the country.

To be honest, it's significantly more likely that someone who's not a Christian will get this far, than that any thug will read my denouncements at the top. So if that's you, yes, I really do believe that and I really want you to see this for yourself. Ask me, or another Christian friend about it any time you want.

Monday, 23 May 2016

Calories and kettlebells

Is it not ultimately true that energy taken in minutes energy burned = gain in mass?

For a human body, it's complicated as we burn calories at different rates, process our food differently and have the weight of water to think about. But ultimately, it seems to me that calories are the important factor in weight loss/gain.

What your body's made of (muscle/fat) is another matter but I'm not sure that studies showing tiny differences in weight loss efficiency on specific diets are all that useful.

Anyway, we'll get one data point from how it goes with me in the coming months. I've been around 200lb for a few years and am now properly trying to cut. This is mostly a) to get faster at running and b) to be a good example for my kids.

I have generally been highly active with a very high calorie diet. Too much junk and too big portions. That's changed now - simply tracking my intake and being calorie-aware has improved things.

I'm also being more active, and may be able to make some strength gains while cutting fat. I'm on 3 runs a week (approx. 18km total) and have begun kettlebell work. 16kg bell, simply doing swings at the moment. I'm working towards 500 swings per workout, broken up into clusters of 100, considering of 10/15/25/50 reps.

3 workouts in and I'm up to 350 reps. I could probably have done 400 this morning but had to get to work. Grip strength is the big limiting factor at the moment though - and not helped by getting the bell wet from dew.

I'm not expecting anyone to read this rubbish, this is more to mark a point - and hopefully I'll be able to look back in a few months and see some major improvement. All a bit dependent on how things go with baby no. 2, due soon.

Thursday, 25 February 2016

Huxley's Sportiness Scoring System

Sorry, campanologists, Bell ringing is not a sport.

As you might expect, from a title like that, this is going to be one of my arrogant, opinionated posts where I explain why everyone else is wrong. In other words, this is a blog post.

For some time, it seems as if people have been getting confused about what is and isn't a sport. I would like to take this opportunity to clear things up.

There's no point in calling everything that is a game a sport. Nor is there any point in calling any physical activity a sport. We have different words for these things to help us distinguish between them.

The difference between a game and a sport is that a sport is dependent on physical activity of the participants in the game. Chess, bridge and poker can all be played over the internet, with mice and keyboards, in remote locations, with no fundamental change to what's going on. The same cannot be said for cricket, table tennis or rugby.

E-sports can be considered a category of their own, where physical skill is required but physical presence is not. Whether these count as sports or not can be dealt with some other time.

The difference between physical activity and a sport is the lack of a game element. A game involves two or more players, in a situation where what one player does affects the other(s).

So a sport requires two things:

  • Physical activity with two or more players
  • Interaction between the players in that what one player does affects what the others do.
Those two requirements are inclusive of virtually all, if not all recognised current Olympic sports, as well as every other generally recognised sport I am aware of.

I say virtually all because I don't know enough about one or two disciplines. The 100m sprint has very little game element to it and you could argue that everyone's going to run as fast as they can, no matter what anyone else does. However, noticing that you're a step behind the leader early on can put you off, as can being ahead. A particularly fast sprinter can ease her way through early rounds and conserve energy for the final, knowing that the other contenders in a heat aren't going to challenge her.

I'm not sure if the same holds true in the artistically judged sports like figure skating and synchronised swimming. A very high scoring dive could cause another competitor to go for a riskier dive but I'm not sure the same is true of some other disciplines. This confuses the issue slightly as one could argue for juggling, ballet or air guitar being a sport on these grounds. These seem to be judged artistic performances rather than sports.

But I don't simply want to talk about whether something is or isn't a sport. I want to know how sporty something is. And to that effect, I have created Huxley's Sportiness Scoring System (HuxSSS).

For this system, I have split the physical aspect of a sport into two separate areas: athleticism and technical skill. Some sports (e.g. darts) can be performed at the top level with virtually no athleticism (although you still need an arm). But more obviously sporty sports, like tennis, require high levels of athleticism. Similarly, some sports require very precise and wide-ranging technique (e.g. cricket) and others need far less technique and a more reliant on athleticism (e.g. powerlifting).

So to find out how sporty something is, judge it from 0 (not at all) to 4 (incredibly demanding) in the following areas:

1) Athleticism (A)
2) Skill (S)
3) Game (G)

and multiply the numbers together.

Anything which lacks any element will get a 0 and be excluded. But you will also see that, as a rule, the most exciting, obviously sporty sports get high scores (heading towards 64, the perfect score) and the less interesting ones score lower. Your scores may differ from mine, and you may prefer one sport to another for other reasons (aesthetic, TV presentation, culture, etc.).

So without further ado, here are some sports scored with HuxSSS:

Football (Soccer): A3S4G3 = 36
Football (NFL): A4S4G4 = 64 (across the team as a whole, I think this stands, although you could deduct something because not everyone involved has to have all of this. Perhaps you take an average for all the positions (including coaches and GMs), take the mean and multiply them up)
Rugby: A4S3G3
Cricket: A3S4G4 = 48 (sadly one of my highest scores in competitive cricket)
Tennis: A3S4G4 = 48
100m sprint: A4S2G1 = 8. Obviously this is far more exciting than that but Tongans may be just as excited about powerlifting. It's not a very sporty sport it just requires incredible natural physique and conditioning.
Road cycling (e.g. Tour de France): A4S3G3 = 36
Gymnastics (multidiscipline): A4S4G1 = 16
Snooker: A1S4G4 = 16
Sailing: A2S3G3 = 12 (don't know this well enough but it's somewhere around there. Any one category could go up by 1 but not all three).
Equestrian: A2S4G2 = 16

And so on.

So next time you're wondering if something's a sport or not, use HuxSSS and you should get a good idea how obviously it is or isn't a sport.

Feel free to add your own scores for sports in the comments or tell me how wrong I am.