Hello, WordPress, hello Logos Hope

I use WordPress at work, it’s the engine behind fr.om.org, transform.om.org and most of the other sites that we run for clients.

I’m in two minds as to whether I like it or not. Some things are great. For users (content authors, the people writing blog posts or static pages), it’s fine. Easy to understand and use. For writing plugins and templates, it’s… Well, kind of messy and ugly, but doable. For instance, rather than have 1 HTML template “base” file, with a block saying, “put posts here, and wrap each one in x,y,z”, you have a header.php which has only the start of all the HTML, and a footer.php which closes it all, and a content.php, a content-post.php, and so on, and you have to keep them all synced up. Also, since it’s designed for running on old PHP, it doesn’t use namespaces or other ways of keeping code clean, so all functions in all plugins and all templates are all global scope, so to avoid bumping in to each other, you have to name all your functions stuff like, “madprofs_teapot_plugin_get_resource() and similar. Then at the same time, WordPress has multiple global functions of its own, some called things like, the_post(), others like wp_get_cached(), (so prefixed with wp_), and others in other styles. Messy.

Still, it gets the job done.

So when I wanted to update and clean up the [email protected] blog, I thought I’d just stick with blogger. It works, it’s what I already had. But then, accidentally, while trying to update it, I lost the entire design, and putting it back together was this awful mess of Google-XML/HTML confusion, I thought, “you know, stuff it, I’ll just use WordPress.” So I span up a site on the server (in about 2 minutes), pointed the blogger importer at brummieatsea.blogspot.com, let it chug away for a few minutes, and here we are.

I’m just using a very simple built in design for now, (with my own background), but it seems to work. I now don’t have to worry about Google turning off blogger like they did with Reader and GoogleCode, and since I use WordPress at work, I understand what’s going on pretty well.

That all said, we’re now on the ship, trying to settle in. We have a really nice cabin. Jet lag wasn’t fun, especially with the baby, but we’ll get through it. Yesterday Becky drank a big milky drink by accident – we thought it wasn’t cows milk but plant based, and last night and tonight David has been awful – screaming for ages and refusing to be comforted or to sleep lying down in his bed. So that does seem to confirm that maybe it is a lactose intolerance at the moment – hopefully he’s back to normal in a day or so.

Work so far is just cleaning the various venues. We’ve not even begun to start installing new equipment or doing anything really technical. We’ve got the lights out of their bags and air-blasted them all, cleaned many surfaces and TVs and vacuumed and dusted. It’s going alright. Still sooo much to do.

For Becky and David things are a bit odd still, it’s quite odd not having a fixed job to do, not knowing what to do most of the day, not having cornerstone to visit, not really knowing many people yet, and so on.

Anyway, we’re here, the flights weren’t bad at all. We couldn’t check in online due to some weird computer bug, but at the terminal while we were checking in we asked about getting a bassinet for David to sleep in, and they said they could get us one, but the lady recommended us instead to not get one, as he is quite big, and had a seat booked, and instead found us a row of four seats with no one else on the row, so we could make a bed for David there, which gave us all a lot more room. So on the second flight, both mother and baby could actually lie down and get some proper sleep, and arrive not looking like zombies.

I now have this weird mental image, after that last sentence, of a zombie “madonna and child” (very un-)orthodox icon…

That aside, we’re here!

Super fast review of the past few months.

Foolishly, perhaps, we thought this year would be a quiet one.
A couple months on the ship at the start, then back in the UK until August, Teenstreet in Germany, and then back home for the rest of the year.

There’s a quote regarding the fallibility of apparently structurally sound plans of humans and rodents which might be appropriate around here.

When we finished our time on Logos Hope, we were in Bangkok.  Our organisation was holding a conference there at that time, so we helped out with the A/V techie arrangements for that.  When that was over, Becky headed home to Carlisle, and I went North for a week or so as cameraman, filming and visiting with one of our teams in the region.

After I got back two weeks later to the UK, We had a couple of weeks ‘normal work’, before I had to go to Ireland to run sound for an Event in Cork, as one of our other Sound Engineers needed to go back to Korea for surgery.

After getting back to Carlisle, we had about two weeks before we’d scheduled a couple of weeks in Cyprus, to take the Christmas break we’d missed on the ship, and take some time off, in lieu.

Two days before we were due to leave Cyprus, my Grandmother in Birmingham passed away, quite suddenly – although not totally unexpectedly – and so we returned to the UK with my parents and brother for her funeral.

We were then in back to Carlisle for a few weeks, before travelling over to Germany for Teenstreet.

While we were at Teenstreet, the arrangments came together for a filming project my Dad has been planning for a while in Cyprus, so instead of coming back to the UK, we headed over to Cyprus again to help with that, myself doing the sound recording and Becky the shoot documenting and general assisting.

We’ve since been back in the UK for just about three weeks, and so wondering what’s going to happen next.

Right now we have our friend Ant, staying with us, and he inspired me to start blogging again.  This may not be the most exciting post in the world, but it at least starts to cover the great gap of the last several months.

You should check Ant’s Thoughts About Job.

Back in the UK – for a while.

Hello Blog.
Hello everyone who reads this blog.
Hello google-bot.
Hello world.

It’s me. Daniel. Back again. Exciting, wot?

So, we’re back in the UK. I arrived back here literally 4 hours before getting on to a bus to go to TeenStreet in Germany, which we (OMNIvision) were doing video and some sound and lights and so on for. After two weeks of running this event, which I will tell you all about – later, which was very cool, we came back to the UK.

10 days later, Adam, Becky and myself went across to the Nederlands for our friends Jurgens and Eleanor’s wedding. Which was lots of fun. We came back after that to the the UK again.

Bridget
(from that biggish place near New Zealand… um, forgottern what it’s called. Aus something? Something with trailers? or something?) also came with us back to the UK, and was here with us for about a month, hanging out, working at OMNIvision, and so on.

Then 10 days ago (or so) Bridget took us over to Malta, so see the Logos Hope for a few days, and also Becky’s dad and church there. I’d never been to Malta before, but Becky grew up there, so that was VERY cool. Malta is beautiful.

I’ll be posting more detailed stuff and photos later.. This is just to catch y’all up to date, you know.

So. We then came back to the UK, last week.

Now for the next scattered layer of events in between those all.

Yesterday we ran the video and lights for the Northern Women’s Convention, which we’ve been doing for the best part of a decade every year now, I believe.

On friday morning, we set up our whole smaller OB unit (the bus – aka “The Tardis”) at the main office for devotions, we filmed a bunch of stories people were telling. We hadn’t set up the unit in a while, so this was good to check everything was working before the Women’s convention… one bad camera cable, one missing focus adaptor, not much else actually wrong.

Two weeks ago, just before going off to Malta I ran sound and we did a spill-over room for the local Baptist church – as they had a new minister arriving (for the first time in decades) and so there were a few hundred people along. I’m in the middle of overhauling our sound equipment / side-racks stuff, so it’s good as well getting these smaller gigs to test things on.

I also went down to the Quinta and ran sound for them for their big 30 years Quinta+OM celebration a few weeks ago.

I do enjoy doing live sound stuff. I still wonder quite frequently if I should somehow go and do some more official training for it…

Oh well.

So, that’s the grand scope of my last few months, I’ll post more details soon.

between a clock and the next place…


Again, it’s that weird time – about a week before leaving. Time to start packing and preparing, yet also not quite late enough that you can pack everything without needing to unpack bits again over the next week.

I’ve just been reading this book, which is quite challenging. I recomend reading it. Basically, it’s the story of a young radical student type, who couldn’t sit back and watch all the injustice and insanity in the world, and couldn’t support ways to end it from his couch or by sending a tenner a month to TearFund, but actually had to get his hands dirty, go live with the homeless in his area, visit Mother Teresa, work with them, and so on. The longish review on Amazon.co.uk is good – it is quite an americo-centric take on things. But suck the juice, spit the pips, you know.

So – yeah. Becky and I will be heading over to Cyprus in about a week, for a few months. It feels quite weird. We should be back here by September, God willing. So many details to organise, and also so much to just trust God about, things we have no control over.

Oh, btw, Bridget, this photo is for you:

OMNIvision’s new mobile book shop opened for the first time yesterday! Since Becky has been running the thing so far, sorting the books and generally making things happen, she was running the cashdesk (the ones from Doulos, strangely enough, which got shipped over to us) and I was able to take her out for a tea and cheesecake break in the afternoon. Cheesecake is good stuff. The bookshop is doing well, we’re all pretty excited to be able to provide this service for the church in Carlisle.

And here’s the last photo for the day:

Playing with my camera, I found some open source firmware which lets me do very fast shutter speeds. A bit of a hack, but hey. Fun to play with.

Travelling again…

This evening we’ll be heading down to catch a ferry to Spain.

Exotic holiday time? Um, no.

Eloping? Um, also no.

Work? Yes. My name’s Daniel, and I’m a workaholic. I know.

So, there’s a conference in Spain, which our team here is covering the audio/visual side of. So we’ll take the Outside Broadcast bus down by ferry, stuffed to the gunwhales (if busses have gunwhales, but anyway. Stuffed…) with equipment, and also a blue van equally stuffed full of equipment. Due to ferry time-tables, we arrive a bit earlier than we need to, so Becky and I can visit her mum for a day or so en route – which is pretty cool! Then we’ll arrive at the hotel, and set up. The reason for the whole bus is that they also want everything videod and recorded, so we’ll be doing a 3 camera shoot, and producing DVDs of it.

Becky will be running a camera, while I’ll be in the bus operating the Camera Control Units, routing, recording, graphics and so on. I’m quite new at this – and while I got to do some last time I was with the team 2 years ago, I’m also quite glad that it’s the usual chief engineer directing, so I can learn from him.

Anyway. Time to go and pack…

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?!

At LAST…

OK. So, due to popular demand, this service will resume shortly.

It’s now then.

I’m back on Doulos, I took the train down to Manchester, from where I flew to Dubai, from Dubai to Bangkok, from Bangkok to Sydney, from Sydney to Auckland, and from Auckland to Wellington where I joined up with Doulos again.

That was an epic adventure, in itself. There was a bombthreat in Dubai, with some English nutcase got himself drunk, and just as we landed got into a fight with a steward, and declared he had a “device” that he would use to blow up the plane. Of course, the crew had to take it seriously, and so we were sitting out on the tarmac for about an hour or so surrounded by police and firetrucks and SWAT teams and so on, before they managed to sort him out and let us off the plane.

Oh well, another day in the life of the brummie-not-yet-at-sea. Well, the trouble then came when about half of us from that flight were now late for our connecting flights, and so had to stay 24 hours in Dubai airport for the next plane.

If you’re going to get stuck in an airport for 24 hours, it might as well be Dubai. I know it quite well, of course, and they did very nicely give me a hotel room overnight, and 3 meal vouchers. It was a bit complex trying to figure out sensible times to eat them, as I needed to leave the next morning at 6am, and was about to fly to Australia, so was trying to get my bodyclock as sorted as I could. So anyway, I slept the whole day, worked the night, and ate my mealtickets-worth at random times when I was awake.

So, right. I eventually got to Wellington, where some of my great friends were there with a ginormous paper origami crane bird thingy they’d made, attached onto a crown of old toilet-roll-cardboard, with dangly bits and all which I had to wear. It was so good to see them again. (In case you wondered). I’ll see if I can find a photo of the amazing crown. It wasn’t really my style, as such, but one does try to fit in, after all.

so. That was like a month ago now, and I’m settling in quite well. AV has been undergoing a few changes, some good, some… well, I have a differing opinion about them to the people who instigated them.

We’re now in Brisbane, Australia. It’s cool. I like it here. It’s good to be back on the ship again. Many people are about to leave, and there are 60 odd new people… But, new in that they joined 6 months ago, just as I left, so they’re already “old hands”, yet I don’t know them!

Anyway. It’s traditional for me to start new paragraphs with “Anyway” for no apparent reason. Here I am, I’ve started writing again, and so new posts will be forthcoming, fear not. I have a few more stories from Carlisle which I’ll be posting soon, but I figured it’s best to get the blog going again up to date, before launching into the past.

Oh! Right, yeah. I moved cabin, so I’m now in a smaller but very nice 2-man cabin, with this funny Brazilian guy. I managed to bring my coffee-maker with me from the UK, and it looks a bit strange of course, so he was wondering what it was. I explained and he nodded and said “oh, that’s nice.”. Then, a few days later, when I started making coffee (using the steamer to steam some ex-vanilla-icecream that had melted, to make vanilla-lattes), he just sat and stared, and said “Dude!” occasionally. He is now, in his own words, very happy to have me as a cabinmate, and has forsworn local cafes in lieu of his own cabin. I still like the local cafes. I still have so much to learn.

So, that’s the basic overview of the last 2 months or so, I’ll fill in the details as and when I get time. Thanks for listening! (Or reading, or whatever)

Last week in Cyprus blues…

Well, we’re back in Cyprus. Egypt was fun,  I like Cairo.  I don’t like the Cairo Curse however.

The Cairo Curse is the euphamism for a local stomach bug which quite a few people seem to get.
I got it.  Woke at 4am on the day we were travelling back, and wished I hadn’t.  Not a very pleasant day, all in all. Anyway, I’m mostly recovered, I guess. Still don’t feel to wonderful, and realised today I leave Cyprus in 7 days.  So that means I have a heck of a lot of stuff to do.
So I started doing the ones I can manage without leaving my room, speaking, or walking too far.  Such as updating my blog to the new blogger template system… Alas, it’s all going a bit pear-shaped right now, and as I have to finish making a slideshow for tonight (I’m doing a Doulos presentation thingy at the Anglican church “upper room”, if anyone sees this and is interested, 7pm, all welcome….), and the template thingy didn’t quite back up all as I wanted it to, it may take a bit longer for me to update to the new template than I hoped.
 So if the site looks a bit of a mess at the moment, I’ll get it fixed and pretty for tomorrow.
I’ll also blog about Egypt as well.