broken stuff

I don’t like broken stuff.

Currently:

Our main pulpit/lecturn mix suddenly for no apparent reason completely died. No signal, *nothing* any more.

About half the outputs of the audio distributor. Why? I dunno.

The door request form box (as of about a month. The carpenter finally came around yesterday, and said maybe he’ll get a chance to fix it sometime in a few weeks time…)

Two more of the TVs in our “Main Lounge” auditaurium seem to be going on the blink, just a little.

The main desk connector for the camera control unit doesn’t seem to be able to last longer than about a month. It’s broken again.

The door between our main and forward lounges. This time the carpenters don’t seem to know how to fix it or what to do.

The main stage floodlights dimmer knob has become suddenly wobbly and probably the whole unit needs taking off and fixing.

The port side BOSE speaker is making funny noises. It sounds like it’s bust a cone or something. Fluttery. I need to investigate that as well sometime soon.

The main rack preview monitor is (I think) giving out some kind of weird electrical/magnetic/radio/something interference on to every other video signal in the vicinty. As soon as it’s switched off, a whole bunch of problems go away.

The AV room amplifier/speakers are distorted.

Almost all of the mics seem somewhat wobbly on the ends of all the cables, and occasionally drop out.

For some reason I’ve not been able to get our usual wireless bodypack to connect to the violist’s pickup/bodypack, and so have had to use a SM57 for him for about a month. It always worked before, and I can’t see anything that’s changed. We only ever encounter problems like this during a 10 minute line-check and so don’t have time to fully explore what’s not working.

I’ve only got 3 mostly working DI boxes left.

I’ve got 4 VHS tape players in the rack, because they are all only capable of playing some kinds of VHS tapes correctly.

All of the amps have been dropping out occasionally, randomly.

The book shop sound system is falling apart, I fear. The fan in the amp sounds about as loud as a whole fanroom is supposed to.

The main computer VGA->composite video scan converter is distinctly unhappy, and takes about 10 minutes to turn on.

The computer sound input is *very* noisy. I don’t know why.

I have two wireless mics in the UK for repairs right now. Hopefully they’ll make their way back here in a fixed condition at some point.

The video distributor for the Book Ex screens seems to be glitchy.

All of the jackfield/patchpanels are somewhat … odd. I’m working my way through cleaning them all, but some of them just seem sad and tired. the sockets wiggle about and the connections as glitchy as you would expect.

The folding doors between our port and main lounges seems a bit squint and is now very hard to open or close.

The rubber mats on the starboard side one is equally falling apart.

Our chair broke again today.

The beanbag is more like just a bag now.

All of the music stands are slightly broken.

All of the mic stands are slightly broken.

And that’s just off the top of my head right now.

I’m just plain tired of it all.

I have no training or knowledge about anything. I’m just a headless chicken, running around bleeding all over the place.

And I suck so much at delegation and actually getting other people to get things done, that it feels like nothing is getting done.

I know that’s not true.

I’m just tired and complaining. I should shut up, finish the port shedule, and go to bed.

Oh yes. I just remembered the whole point of this post.

Yeah. Anyway. So, we’ve got so much *stuff*. It’s insane. So many things. We’re incredibly blessed, I guess is the good christian way of saying it. We could do without so much. We don’t, honestly, NEED a lecturn mic. Yes, a mic on a stand next the lecturn looks ugly, but hey, looking good isn’t a need, right? Most of what gets actually spoken through it is boring anyway. And we don’t need non-distorting preview speakers in AV. Just enough to hear “oh yes, there’s sound!”, right? Most of the sound we have to play sounds bad in the first place, so what’s the point of telling just exactly how bad it is? And it doesn’t matter if there are wavey interference lines all over all the TVs, becauase as long as the audience can see at all, anything else is just “nice” but not “needed”?

I dunno. I’m frustrated. I don’t know what is actually needed or what is just nice. I could make most shows happen with just a boom-box, laptop, and kareoke mic. It would sound and look a lot worse than currently, but it would still happen.

So much of the musicians themselves are so undertrained and unarranged, getting better speakers in the ceiling would help a little, but somehow persuading them “y’all don’t actually have to strum every single chord in every single bar in every single song!” would help a lot more…

I’ve lost perspective, I think. I’m working out of what I think I can kind of expect, given the current state of things, but it’s hard to know what stuff is my vision for improvement, what stuff is worth replacing, what parts of the work should be continued, what should be scrapped, etc.

The grass is always greener, though, hey?

If I could actually spend my whole time teaching music theory, I’d wish I could just do easy stuff like fixing mic cables and not have to worry about how to explain syncopation.

Funny. Being human and all.

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.”

A few days mixing

You know you’re not going to enjoy the evening when you get told before sound-check “make sure I’m very quiet in the mix, because I’m out of practice”.

That was a few days ago. Today:

Our keyboard output stopped working between soundcheck and performance. We didn’t know until there just was no sound as the musician hit her cue *after* the soloist started singing. We couldn’t do anything in time, eventually we managed to get it working for about half the piece, and they carried on very professionally, but it died again. She left the stage in tears. That really makes you feel crap as a sound-guy.

We then got a SM58 microphone and clamped it to the top of the keyboard’s built in speakers. That worked well enough for the rest of the show.

I hate stuff like that.

It’s fun, showing up at venues, and having comments like “Oh yes, well, all the tweeters are blown, that’s why it sounds bad. We haven’t replaced them yet”. (Well. Thanks for telling us the same day we need them!)

I spent about an hour today trying to figure out the wiring for the venue on shore, it was “broken”. everything held together with tape, wires coming out of the wall without labels. I managed to get some working, and watching the little blue sparks flying around was quite amusing when I was trying to find which speakers were attached to which wires, and which amplifers actually worked… I gave up eventually and just used our own speakers.

I screwed up a lot today. It could have been a much better performance. I didn’t manage to get the compressors hooked up into the system in time, even. And the MC and translator were all over the place with their level. Crying out for compression. Painful, even.

If someone feels like randomly donating something expensive to me/Doulos, I really wouldn’t mind about 4 or 5 of these: http://www.amazon.com/DBX-1046-Quad-Compressor-Limiter/dp/B0002H0QHI/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=musical-instruments&qid=1241888411&sr=1-1 …

I really need to start playing worst-case-scenario with my people more. I can generally problem solve and get something working “well enough” fast, but they can’t (yet), and I could do so much more, and better, if I could a few arrange things ahead of time, and think in advance, and not do everything by the seat of my pants.

*sigh* So much to work on. So much to do.

TV stuff

Here’s a conundrum for you.

If you’re not interested in video, then this may be boring as anything for you.

Then again, you might find it facinating.

OK. Here’s the deal. A conference, and it’s Mandarin. The main speaker is American, and speaks no Mandarin whatsoever. So he has a translator. No problem. Now say you have an audience of 300-ish, and are using live video to show the speaker on TVs around the room so people can see. OK, again, no problem. But, since the speaker and the translator decided to stand far apart, if you show a shot wide enough to get them both, they’re so small on screen that it’s totally pointless putting them on screen. Usually, I believe, it’s normal to just go for a close-up of the speaker. So, then, if you have audience who are all old people and probably somewhat hard of hearing, they’ll want to lip-read the translator at least somewhat. So. What to do? Cutting back and forth between two cameras is too much work, and tiring, and probably more annoying to watch than anything else.

I tried to be a bit clever and “TVish” this time, but I still am not totally pleased with it.
If the speaker and translator decide to move around a lot, remote cameras just will not cut it.

Long time no update

Hi Blog.

Long time no update, I blame I.T. and specifically I blame Blip, who works in I.T. I don’t blame her because it’s probably her fault, but because she deserves it. I can’t access blogspot, so have to go back to the old email-mum-with-stuff-to-blog method.

Anyway.

So. Many changes in the last few months.

I went on break for a week last port in Manila. Yes, Manila again. So I’ve been there 3 times now, total of 3 months. Quite cool. Anyway, we only managed to actually get to where we wanted to go for 2 days of the week of shore-leave, but it was so peaceful there. We went up to the mountains, near a place called Taal where there’s a volcano and so on.

Back on the ship, AV wise, I’ve been doing a bit more guerrilla carpentry.


Here’s our laptop/workstation. Things to note: the amazing wall-mount for the screen. Made from 100% recyclable natural products. Also, the big screen is showing mac OS. This is from Ant’s mac mini which is also hidden in the shot. The laptop is the A/V laptop, and running windows. The big screen can also show the A/V second screen quite happily, just by pressing a button on the screen. So. Two computers, but only one mouse and keyboard? Yep! Thanks to the amazing “Synergy” software, you can scroll the mouse off the left of the laptop screen and it jumps onto the mac, and vice versa! Very cool.


We had a Jazz recording session last monday, our amazing sax player just left the ship, so before he went we spent a whole afternoon recording with the band, and then had an evening for the ship’s company to come and hang out while the band jammed in a quiet atmosphere. This is the old 4 channel data minidisk recorder that we found in a closet and used for recording each channel individually as well as the main mix on the computer.


And team changes. Here’s one of the mainstays of the AV team, who just left yesterday. She’s finished her commitment on Doulos, and has gone back to Europe. I’ll miss her a lot. She’s American. On the team currently we have a Swedish guy, two German lunatic men, an American videographer dude, or cat, or whatever historical term of endearment he currently is using, one strapping British lad who’s currently in the UK for 2 months cross-training/work with the team there (like I did last year) and me.

Notice anything? Yep. All Westerners, and all guys. In a sense, that’s pretty understandable. Of the kinds of people who join the ship, the western guys tend to be the group who are into tech/arts. But, it’s also quite unbalanced. So in a week’s time, we’ll have a new member of the team, a Korean lady! She’s worked as videographer in a big church in Korea for several years, so that’s quite exciting. Both of the Germans will be leaving at the end of this port, around the 30th, and the Brit will be coming back. So we’ll be somewhat smaller again, hopefully we’ll get someone else soon, but who knows.

Anyway. It’s a time of changes. I’m excited, and hope I can use these changes to bring better changes throughout the whole team and work we do.

And finally.


This is proof that the evil sock monster exists. We put all our underwear into bags before it goes to laundry, to keep it together and not let anything get lost, and yet, somehow, I’ve got here 7 – yes, count them – 7 non-matching socks.

What the heck?!

Part 2

OK. So finally I’m getting around to an explanation of the previous post.

My current – I’d use the word dialemma, but it’s not. It’s more a trilemma or quintalemma or something – is (somewhat) about copyright. The laws are fairly complex as what we’re doing here is basically a live theatre venue, church, theatre company, video, dance and creative arts training and production centre, bible-school, and a few other things too. The people who were supposed to be taking care of the whole copyright thing have been doing a really poor – or at least misled – job for a number of years now, either that or else no-one ever bothered even trying to figure out what taking care of it really meant.

We’re slowly getting there, I think, I hope. But currently I find myself saying more and more “no, sorry, you can’t do that, that’s illegal”, without really having much viable alternative to offer.

And that sucks.

Part of the thing is what is copyright law really saying?

“This is mine, for me, and not for you, or for God. It’s mine. Shove off.”

Which people object to, obviously. Thus an argument often raised is

“Well, the artist who made this is a Christian, and so wants to glorify God, right, and we’re trying to glorify Him too by using it, so we’re fine to copy and edit it…”
Well. If the artist wanted you to just use it for whatever you want without checking with them first, then they wouldn’t have put “Copyright 2003. For personal home use only. All rights Reserved” on it…

It gets worse with the internet.

“Hey, my pastor just sent me this really cool video I want to show in the programme tomorrow!”

“Well. The music backing to it I recognise, it’s a song by Hillsong UK, and there is no copyright notice anywhere in the clip at all, one of those opening still-pictures you can see has part of a copyright label in the corner, but half cropped out, so we can safely assume that many of the images are taken uncredited from the internet, and even the one you can half read it’s web address isn’t being credited properly. That interview clip with the kids outside the theatre is almost certainly just filmed without their parents consent, and you want to show this clip to paying public?”

“But they played it at my church last week!”

“So?”

“So it must be alright!”

“Wrong.”

“What can we do instead?”

Indeed.

So now the whole issue of making our own material. Last week a couple of the programme staff went out with a camera and asked a bunch of random people on the street questions, then asked me how to edit it (for 2 days later). So I kind of pulled stuff together, found an old recording of a couple on-board musicians jamming which kind of fit.

The end result wasn’t great. In any sense. It shouldn’t even have passed my own quality control.

Nevertheless, I’m trying to get the programme staff to come to us, the AV team, when they want multimedia materials, rather than them spending hours and hours making them themselves improperly, and then asking us to either fix it, or show it anyway.

Trying to build up relationships and trust and the kinds of working interaction I believe is vital for where we MUST go.

*sigh*

A big part of me wants to scrap using most video stuff altogether, as most of what we have, or can do, sucks. I want to have a very high standard, and just drop anything that fails to reach the bar.

But I want to do that with other live programme material too. Skits, songs, dramas, sermons, personal stories (yes, most personal “testimonies” suck. It’s not that the people telling it have anything wrong with them. But they suck at telling it.).

So, if we want to “compete” in the world of mass <-> mass media (to coin a phrase), then we have to have some standards. Most of the visible world seems to not care tuppence for copyright, and is happy enough to disregard it on every corner.

Likewise for many issues of video “quality”. Framing (putting peoples faces (and everything else) in the correct size/ratio in the right part of the screen), using tripods, cutting “with” rather than “without” the backing music, colour correction, audio normalising, S/N, compression, codecs, details, details, details.

We (in both terms of the ship, and the world), seem to have become very used to absolute crap video production quality, and to absolute crap copyright and control quality. Many argue that we should join in the mass production of media as publicity from us. I’ve thought about it myself, it would be very cool to have weekly video “podcasts” from the Doulos.

But can we get the video quality (including copyright) sorted out and good enough to actually DO this at a “good” level?

And production of videos for on board? Even showing of videos on board?

Is my refusing to show a video because it (to me) looks shoddy just interlectual snobbery due to some small background in multimedia?

Is my refusing to show a video because it breaks copyright me being pigheaded and daft over laws which (honestly), no-one in the room watching cares about?

So, personal integrity, and God.

Does God care if we break the law?

I think so.

Does God care if we show crap videos?

I think so too.

“But it’s powerful!”

So are many things. I don’t think it’s stretching the truth to say a vast majority of the church and their spirituality would benefit from being more relaxed, but we’re not going to start distributing tranqulisers.

Drydock ’08

The sweat drips from my nose, and splashes, sizzling, onto the soldering iron.

It’s roasting hot, and the cables are all around me, as squashed into a small space behind the audio rack I put the finishing touches to the new audio lines I just ran across from the desk opposite.

It’s dry-dock again.My third, now, and this time, I’m just not enjoying it.

I have quite a lot on my plate at the moment, what with trying to sort out many technical issues in the A/V equipment, and also get as much as possible done to allow us to expand and use what we have better throughout this coming year.


Also, the other members of the A/V team are busy with other projects, and I’m helping out a bit again with the deck ladder-repair and making crew.


Bink!

That’s the sound that the lights make when blackouts happen.

We just had another powercut.

Vrum bzzzzzt! Klunk! Klunk! Klunkklunkklunkduhduhduhduh!

That’s the sound that the fanrooms make when the power comes back on again.

The power just came back on again, by the way.

So, anyway. Right.

Yeah, there’s another fairly huge but unofficial project on which has pretty much sucked all the free time out of one of my team for the last 10 months – even from well before he joined AV – and also has been increasingly impinging upon the time of the rest of us.

They created an(other) unrealistic deadline to finish it before the end of this drydock, and I knew he would push all his time and energy into it.

So I pretty much gave him his work time to get this thing finished.

Which is good, I guess.

I mean, he’s not dead, which if we’d pushed hard at the AV jobs as well, I think he would be.

He just wouldn’t have slept at all.

We barely did anyway.

I was up until 3 one night working on an animation for the project.


Anyway.

Many of the AV tasks I had (I wrote down 58 jobs I’d have liked to either do, or investigate the feasibility of) have not been done, and most of them I didn’t even get a chance to investigate how possible they were.

So.. somewhat frustrating.

The first version is done now, which is good.

Anyway.

Still plenty of logistics and miscommunication issues to sort out.

So.

What else…

I’ve been making sure I keep time for myself, not burning out, and part of that includes focussing more on painting and artwork.. we’ve begun “creative communities” on board – basically an internal art/photography/creative writing club, with picking a theme per month.

The theme last month was “Freedom”.

This month it’s “Love”.

Here’s a painting of mine – “Searching for Love”

I helped out a bit with the ladderwork again this drydock.

Pretty much the same as last year.. this time we stretched the rope slightly more thoroughly.. Check out before and after stretching:

Quite impressive.

I feel somewhat drawn out and stretched myself.


I don’t think I’ll snap.. but hopefully I’ll be all the more resilient to whatever life throws at me in the future because of it.

And my current work in progress.

Handover

I’m tired. I’m stressed.

I won’t pretend to hide it.

I’m pissed off at the system, thoroughly fed up of how things currently are – in my work, my life, and in many things around me.

Yet, still, most things are going fairly well…

I’m now the “AV manager”, and discovering more and more how disorganised and messed up it is.

We have small forms in the drawer under the computer which are used during the sunday service on board, we give out the little forms, then people can fill them in if they want to, so that they can give to the weekly offering (usually to help a local ministry, or work in India, or similar) direct from their on board account, rather than having to use cash.

Anyway, this morning, the guy running the service came up and asked for them.. We had 10. Not good enough! So, I told him a few ideas of who he could ask for more, but this was at half an hour before the service, on a Sunday Morning. Not the best time to go looking for people to do random work like that.

We need to have once a week or so someone to check how many we have, say on a Friday, and then to get at least 200 before the Sunday morning.

Not a big deal, right?

Well, no, not a problem at all. Just the problem is that there are *hundreds* of little issues like this. Every day. And *NONE* of them are written down. When I started, there were no current weekly checklists or anything.

I don’t want to become a lists and rules based dictator, but how on earth else do you manage to get everything done that needs to be?

When I took over this job, there was maybe 1 hour of discussion between me and the predecessor about stuff, but none of these little details were noted. Each day day I find mord

And it was the same thing when I became waterman, 2 years ago. There’s no consistancy! As soon as people leave, things get dropped.

It’s why ships tend to have such strict and over the top and detailed procedures – everything gets written down.

Anyway. It’s just intensely frustrating. I’m so bad at admin, so weak at organisation, so forgetful about details, so easily overwhelmed by situations, so inexperienced at leadership, so unknowledgeable about everything technical I should know about, so young!

I guess in one way it’s kind of exciting. I mean, whoopee! So much stuff to learn! So much I can improve!

Yet it’s kind of hard to say that and not at least have some irony and sarcasm in it too.

Yes, it’s good to be stretched and have all this improvement to do, but at the same time, it’s “live”. We’re not playing with blank bullets. Every round is for real.

Every time I start a video playing in a programme, it’s not school, not training. People are in the programme, watching, and notice if things don’t work.

The audience have paid, usually. The programme organiser has spend hours arranging everything, and if I screw up, it’s her work that gets ruined.

Trying to set priorites, and figure out what actually is realistic and achievable…

And then how to make sure it happens. And each day discovering more things which have got dropped and then not only do we need to carry it, but we have to stop, pick it up, clean it, do repairs on it, and then start carrying it again.

I could go on. My list of current frustrations and things we’re doing badly is pretty much endless.

And I know I’m a perfectionist, but this isn’t perfectionism.. This is realism.

  • Wireless Microphone Batteries Dying mid-show
  • Cables going glitchy
  • Videos playing during rehearsal but then refusing to play in performance
  • Audio levels on all videos being different and needing constant riding
  • Audio patch-panels/jackfields acting
  • The trash not getting taken every day
  • The room looking a mess all the time
  • Cables not getting fixed or taken out when they break

Those are all itty bitty technical details. But they effect almost every programme we do.

And why?! Why have they not been fixed? And how can they be fixed easily, or at least dealt with, or worked around?

Well, they can. But we’re lacking any way to report problems, to deal with them, or do anything in a purposeful or directed way.

And it’s not just about technical details. Those are the easiest for me to see – of course – and those are the bits that are our job. From a programme side, this show up as mics dying unexpectedly, feedback, disruption, long pauses, lack of flow and professionalism, etc, etc, etc.

And we’ve all become so accepting of it! And that’s wrong. We cannot accept crap, when we are capable of beauty, and if we’re not capable of exquisite complex beauty, then we must simplfy until what we do is excellent at that level.

There’s so much attitude and team thinking that has to change too, and just as soon if not before the technical bits can get solved. I really am trying to focus on the people, in the team and those we work with/for, and that’s a topic for a whole other post, or possibly whole other blog. So I’ll just stick with the technical day to day bits today.

Everything is so reactive. Like the offering forms this morning. Having problems show up, and then deal with them.

Honestly, we – the ship – has been doing programmes for so long now that ALL of these things should have become non-issues. And once we can get out of this constanct scrambling to pick up the pieces of something that’s just exploded, or running around like headless chickens to stop something from exploding, then we can actually start enjoying it, and being creative and actually going somewhere positive and improving.

But man, it’s tiring right now.

From Carlisle…

Wind tore across the darkened misty moors of the Lake District, pounding along the side of the tent like a tidal wave breaking upon the highcliffed shoreline of a forgotten arctic land. Outside of the tent, tiny rabbits huddled together in their burrows shivering due to the icy drafts, while inside and close by rain-drenched men struggled through the mud to complete their epic task.

Less then 3 hours previously 6000 people had been standing while the melodious hymn of Amazing Grace washed around them, many, even 200 of them touched to the heart made their way forward to pray and be prayed for, to receive the greatest gift in the history of the world.

3 hours later, the knowledge of this gift was the warmth that glowed inside the men labouring to bring their flight cases, amplifiers and speakers into a truck and depart from the now empty canvas cathedral.

Finally the dismissal was given, and as the last few items were loaded in the the crew slowly dispersed. The 4 OMNIvision men removed their mud covered shoes, and climbed into their small car, and drove out through the dark unlit pathway to the main road, and off into the night.

Soaking wet, muddy and weary in mind and body, their spirits were none the less high as they left the town and none of them were expecting the sudden sliding skid towards the roundabout and the ominous crunch into the other car which told them the journey home would be longer than they had anticipated.

The driver — a Scot — immediately turned their car towards the side of the road and drove up onto the curve to inspect the damage. They climbed from the vehicle shocked but glad that none had been injured. The other car was significantly dented, but the driver was unhurt. After the routine exchange of sarcasm, licence and telephone numbers and insurance policy contact details, the other driver perked up and laughed. Quoth he “At least it wasn’t my car, it’s a company one, I’d have been really pissed off if it were mine!”, whereupon he grinned, hopped in to his, or rather his company’s car and drove away.

The four traveling companions were not so fortunate in their predicament. The bumper was only attached by one nut and dragging along the ground. Inside, the plastic wheel frame was twisted into the wheel, and the headlights were no longer attached and pointing in various directions. With still more than 100 miles of motorway to cover before reaching their destination, it was decided that to attempt to complete it in that mangled condition would be folly.

A phone call for help from the Automobile Association was made, and they settled back to wait for the assistance to arrive.

It was not long until it arrived, and their disfigured ride was lifted on to the tow. The driver, a friendly Newcastle man was quick and efficient, and as he climbed into the cab a few minutes later, he turned and said “No hado sinye fine sell bacun ahl droye temsix unwil mitwethe rileh tuhye hom. Shubetheh intwenni mints.”

Our Scottish companion seemingly spoke this language and so replied, sitting in the passenger seat next to the driver, they passed the time chatting about the evening.

The two Germans turned to the fourth member of their party, a native of the land, although one who had spent most of his life abroad, and asked for interpretation. His eyes were as confused and uncomprehending as theirs, and much merriment was made by the continentals for his lack of understanding.

After about half an hour, they reached a certain motorway service station and they stopped there and moved the car across to a longer distance relay truck, and after buying coffee, bade farewell to the first driver, and climbed into the new cab and made acquaintance of the second.

The next 2 and a half hours passed fairly quickly, and they arrived at Carlisle before dawn had touched the skies with her pink streaked palette. The derelict car was left inside the shed, and the four weary travelers collected their belongings and went their separate ways.

I myself am one of these bold companions, and survived this ordeal with the a moral which I will now pass on to you: If you must drive around at midnight on wet and slippy roads in cars which have seen better days after yourself having worked for about 15 hours hauling heavy cases all over the place and are tired as anything, then drive slowly. Especially when approaching roundabouts.


In case you hadn’t guessed, the above is from when I was in Carlisle, I wrote it as an email, but was informed that it needed to be posted as a blog article. So. Now it is.

Here’s some food.
And some coffee.
I like coffee.

So, it’s currently a voyage on the way to Sydney, we just finished our first port in Australia, Brisbane, hanging out in AV, blogging and emailing and listening to Flanders and Swann.

More up to date blog posts to follow, of course.