Nicholas Whittaker

Traversing the sources of a song

2021-04-16

I stumbled across an old animation from a few years ago yesterday, set to a rather funky beat. Not the most fascinating thing on its own. Interesting though, how my perspective has changed a bit after looking into the music a little bit more.

By itself, the song is great. There’s more lurking beneath the surface though.

It uses the vocals from Fire Fly by Childish Gambino.

The vocals are mashed up with the instrumental from MF DOOM’s Coffin Nails.

DOOM uses a sample from Dave Matthews' guitar solo in Space Oddity.

Travere the tree, and you’re listening to a mashup with a sample from a cover of a David Bowie song!

Isn’t it funny how deep the roots of a song can reach?

bingo sandbelt for senator by an0nymooose Thumbnail for YouTube video bingo sandbelt for senator

I'm now using Plausible Analytics

2021-04-09 // #site

For now, I’m trying out a self-hosted instance of Plausible Analytics with this website. I was tempted to go with the hosted option for a while, but I prefer having more control with a self-hosted arrangement.

Setup so far has been smooth, since the self-hosted option is run as a set of Docker containers. I ran into some TLS erros when interacting with Mailgun from the main Elixir app, but I’ve found a workaround using the bundled SMTP server that will be fine for now.

Alongside this, I’m adding a page on privacy to this site as well. I don’t really need a privacy policy, but I don’t see any harm in being transparent about how I operate.

For now, goodbye Raspberry Pi

2021-04-01 // #site

For the last year or so, I’ve hosted my website using an old Raspberry Pi on my home network. It’s served me well, but I’m retiring it for now. I’m sure I’ll find a new use for it in the near future though!

I named the machine Cryberry, referencing a brief quip from a streamer I watch. There wasn’t any reasoning behind this name choice – I just through it sounded nice, and so I went with it. Thank you for your work, Cryberry.

A small computer in a plastic case sitting on a windowsill

I’m moving back to the cloud where things are more flexible. I’m still opting for a plain Linux instance, but now it’s provisioned with Terraform and managed with Ansible. I’m hoping this will make upgrades/changes a breeze in future, and avoid accident-prone manual work on my part.

As for the instance itself, I’m just going with a small DigitalOcean droplet for now. The real question is, what hostname do I go with for this machine?

This time around, I figured I’d pick a name that means a bit more to me. I’ve fallen in love with the 2017 reboot of Ducktales in the last year, so I’m naming it after one of the tech-related characters, Gandra Dee.

So now, say hello to gandra-dee!

Screenshot from a web console, showing an Ubuntu 20.04 Linux instance

Abandoning play in lawn bowls during heavy weather

2021-03-17 // #lawn-bowls

As with any sport, competitive lawn bowls has its share of rules and regulations. Bowls Victoria has a specific of rules on abandoning play during disruptive weather, like heat, wind, rain and lightning.

When a match is abandoned, points for the ladder are typically divided evenly between the two sides. However, if most of the game has been completed (at least 60 of the 84 ends in weekend pennant), points will be given out based on the current results.

For matches suspended as the result of heavy rain, procedure points to section 50.3.2, for “Inclement weather other than heat” once “Play has commenced”.

50.3.2.1. If after 1 hour of play being suspended the match cannot commence, the match will be abandoned.

50.3.2.2. Every effort must be made to complete any ends in progress prior to leaving the green.

50.3.2.3. Midweek and Weekend Pennant matches that are interrupted, will be abandoned after five (5) hours from the scheduled start time.

The interesting part of this rule is how it specifies that a suspended match can only be abandoned if play cannot resume after an hour. If play does resume however, only to be later suspended again, both sides must wait a further hour after the latest suspension before abandoning the match.

So long as there is never a continuous hour of suspended play, the match can be interrupted repeatedly throughout the day. This technicality has been critical in several games I’ve played over the last few years.

In the past, our side narrowly won a game to avoid relegation to a lower division by waiting out a long storm. While the storm lasted 90 minutes, we were saved by a brief 10 minute lapse in weather.

Our opposition last weekend faced a similar situation. They needed a confident win to get them the necessary points to avoid relegation, as a tie wouldn’t cut it. The downpour became too much and we had to pause play. After the allotted hour, we abandoned the match halfway through and split our points with the opposition.

Even if it might have been obvious that the rain was never going to leave, it was a matter of respect and sportmanship to wait inside for those 60 minutes with the opposition. Sharing a couple of drinks to pass the time isn’t so bad either though.

Live music has returned to Melbourne

2021-03-12 // #music

I’m excited to report that live music has returned to Melbourne, and I couldn’t be happier. After a year of online performances of mixed quality, it’s amazing that I can go to physical concerts once more.

I cross Princes Bridge and a busking saxaphonist is belting out Vulfpeck lines. I walk past a queue leading into Hamer Hall, and another busker is playing a vibraphone. University students walk past me, instrument cases in hand.

I’m going to the Melbourne Recital Centre to see pianist Luke Howard and trumpeter Nadje Noordhuis give the first live performance of their 2015 album, Ten Sails. I complete the check in form, show my ticket, and head to my designated seat.

A large concert hall bathed in soft purple lights, a grand piano and a couple of small brass horns sit in the middle of the stage

Of course, with the return of concerts comes the return of all the small annoyances of being in the audience. The gentleman beside me clears his throat every thirty seconds. The stage left speaker is rattling. Someone forgot to turn their flash off. Perhaps that’s what gives a setting like this its character?

Music hasn’t just returned in our recital centres and concert halls either. If you were around Federation Square, you may have seen the live opera performance - I only found out when I ran into a friend on my way back to Flinders Street station!

In true Melbourne fashion, it seems like replacement buses are also back in full swing. At least I have music to listen to while I ride public transport.

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