These two videos were actually recorded yesterday, but rather than stream them live, I recorded them without using Qik at all. (This way I can double the resolution used). However I forgot to then upload them, hence the 24 hour delay in getting them on the blog.
Irina, Anna and I went for a walk through Astana park, to take a look at all the equipment before it was disassembled. The castle walls, yurts, stone carvings (painted expanded polystyrene) and Kazakh warrior statues were put up for Astana Day/the President’s birthday, and are being removed. There were quite a few workmen wandering around without shirts – sorry for the women (and few men) reading this post, but I don’t think we actually see any/many of these workers on video.
I hadn’t realised how windy it would sound through the phone’s microphone at the entrance to the park, sorry.
Small break in recording as I needed to use the phone for other things…
OK, so to clarify the tweets, twitpics and Qik videos from Sunday night, here is what happened… Irina’s friend from work had recommended a summer “café” in Astana park, near the river. (See below for the approximate location thanks to Google Maps.) Originally I had intended to check it out whilst watching a World Cup match or two, but friends and friends of friends already had their heart set on a different venue. So when it came to Independence Day (4th of July), we asked Walton and Assel if they would like to try out La Rivière. We arrived to find that it was less a café (which some would assume meant it was not as expensive as some restaurants), but decided to try it out anyway.
We knew there was the possibility of some live musical entertainment from Irina’s friend’s description, and we weren’t disappointed. When I saw the female singer (see previous posts for the male), my first impression was that she looked very good, and I therefore assumed that her vocal talents might not be as impressive. Although a few songs seemed to be outside of her comfort zone, the recordings below don’t really do her justice for the most part…
The lady singer preparing for her show at Rivière.
Here we have her version of You’ll See by Madonna, as well as a quick glimpse of a hookah/hubbly bubbly/water pipe that we had (water melon and grape was the flavour tobacco we chose I think.)
This time she is singing “Sweet About Me”, and another quick shot of the hookah
This was a cover of the Eurythmics’ Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)
Penultimately we have Rihanna’s “Don’t Stop The Music”
And finally, she sang “Its A Wonderful Life” (Black I think? A group that has a colour as their name at least.)
The food was quite expensive, and there was apparently only a choice of two beers. However the cheeseburger (I know, I’m a classy guy 😉 ) was tasty, and the local Line Brew was relatively cheap and appeared to have alcohol in it 🙂 The samsas that were supposed to be a starter didn’t arrive until after the main course, but were OK. The service was great (especially by local standards), though if your company has given you a discount card for La Rivière, be aware that there has apparently been a management change, so these cards are no longer accepted. The water pipe was nice (we didn’t splash out on the extra money required to have a pineapple used as the charcoal bowl), and when the charcoals had died out, they didn’t try and charge us for more, so we were able to finish off the tobacco. The big screen (well projector and screen) looks like it could be good for the next World Cup match we go out to watch, though we may need to reserve a table in advance. Overall, I’d recommend this place if your budget isn’t tight, or if you only plan to have a couple of drinks and want to chill out outdoors, with the possibility of live entertainment.
I have kept to my promise, and I am in the middle of reorganizing last night’s tweets and Qik-based posts into something a little more readable, manageable, and with the media embedded here on the site, rather than readers having to click over to external sites to look at the pictures and videos. I have learnt that some people don’t seem to want to do this, but are happy to check out the media and comment if it is on this blog already. The twitpics are all done (see below), but I’m still working on the videos. Some had to be deleted (accidental 15 second recordings of chairs and my pockets aren’t interesting, I know), all had to be retitled (Qik still has problems using the text I provide with most recordings to set the title for some reason), and I’m attempting to categorize them into two or three posts at most, rather than have them taking up most of the front page here.
So, as I mentioned in a tweet, Irina and I were invited to the Queen’s Birthday Party (organised by the British Embassy) on the 10th of June at the Radisson Hotel here in Astana. This was the first QBP since the new ambassador here in Kazakhstan took over.
A short summary would be no speeches (apparently the correct tradition for celebrating HRH’s birthday), a good local band that played a wide variety of covers, free good food (fish and chips in cones again, as well as a buffet (curries, beef kebabs, potato wedges 🙂 ) and free drink. I’ll leave the details of my mishap on the way home until another day.
The following videos were supposed to be uploaded on the night, but I was too drunk TBH. They were then supposed to be transferred via Qik, but once again the program got very tempremental. So, I reverted to YouTube.
I’ve not yet had a chance to actually watch all the videos, but I wanted to post these up tonight, as I’m away from the PC tomorrow for half the day, then giving a lesson and running an English Talking club in the afternoon and evening, then hopefully off to watch the England vs. USA football match during the night.
So it was now or at some random point in the future for embedding these clips.
Oh, and Irina took some proper photos with a real camera, so I’ll try ad post those up soon as well.
Although still void of any real content, and a lot more investigation of the theme’s option are needed, I’ve just put a new web site. Is it about 3D TV? No (though a friend is helping with one, so when it is live I’ll try to remember to publish a link).
This new site is an area for me to embed any live streams we create. Whether it be Qik (the system I use for live video feeds from my phone), wCapture (a VERY old webcam broadcasting program which displays on almost all browsers and devices) or WebcamXP (another feature-rich webcam stream program I occasionally use), they will all be available at Merriman Live.
It looks as though the Qik code to display any live streams reverts to the latest archived one if no live feed exists. On a side note, I also discovered that I CAN use higher resolutions that 320×240 for Qik, however they need to be recorded first. As 99.9% of the videos viewed (especially by friends and family) are done so through this blog, and not in real time, this shouldn’t be a problem.
Three videos shot earlier tonight, embedded into one post, instead of the three that were originally taking up too much space. We went over to Astana Park so Anna could have some fresh air, and I realised coming down the stairs that I’d not shown what the walk over to the park looked like. I’m still hoping to find a better quality replacement for semi-living streaming from my phone, but for now, you’ll just have to either put up with it, or not click play 🙂