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Mon, 30 Oct 2006

Interesting lyrics from another pianist. - 10:25
One of my house mates had a cd playing the other day with a really great sounding voice coming out of it. I asked who it was and was given a name I had not heard of, Regina Spektor who apparently is part of the Anti Folk scene (what ever the heck that means).

Regina has a really fascinating voice and ways of using her voice, bouncing around the spectrum a lot and really using it as a central instrument, then to the lyrics in a lot of her songs are fascinating. Full of jokes, literary references or just strange ideas and imagery. I guess I can see where the Anti Folk label may come from with the poking fun at herself and her music and many other targets.

Anyway I have to say I am hooked. I say "from another pianist" above largely due to th fact Missy Higgins is a pianist and good lyricist. As for the fun and interesting lyrics from Regina Spektor this is a good example:

And then i fill the sink to the top with bubbles of soap
And then i set all the bottle caps i own afloat
And it's the greatest voyage in the history of plastic
Music Box - Regina Spektor

[/leisure/music] link

Thu, 26 Oct 2006

50 people listening to someone talk about slugs - 20:29
The title is somewhat arbitrary to the content, but it is true, I am in a room with 50 people listening to a talk about slugs, and this is a Linux related thing not a biology conference or something. Heck Mikal even has us laughing. Though he just ruined the myth about running everything as root by using sudo many times to access root. There is still no firewall at least so all of our world views have not been shattered

Of course talking for an hour or so about slug's is possibly an unusual approach to holding the interest of an audience, I wonder what other unusual ways you could hold he interest of an audience. One that I liked the other day, though it only holds the interest for a few seconds per story were a bunch of 6 word creative works.

The blurb goes "Hemingway once wrote a story in just six words ("For sale: baby shoes, never worn.") and is said to have called it his best work. So we asked sci-fi, fantasy, and horror writers from the realms of books, TV, movies, and games to take a shot themselves." This is at wired, they asked a bunch of famous people, mostly authors for 6 word stories.

As is often the case, Joss rocks with his story "Gown removed carelessly. Head, less so. - Joss Whedon", interestingly as Jane pointed out when I passed the link on to her, you can actually get a good idea of the Author's specific style and preoccupations even from their 6 word stories. Such as Cory Doctrow and Neil Gaiman.

Considering NaNoWriMo is on next month, you could do that, or if you are not up to writing 5000 words of one story a day for a month, maybe try 833 6 word stories a day with 833 different plots.

[/various] link

Julie, Tom and Al Bundy stories - 16:12
The title refers to Julie Quinn, Tom Landon-Smith and Alina McMaster. I was thinking about this the other day, in the vein of the Floyd Stories there are stories around the place of that nature concerning people I know. I am sure others among you who know mad keen fit people have the odd story about them that astounds or confounds others upon the telling of.

What got me thinking of writing something about this was reading some of the reader contributed stories on Fat Cyclist, such as this recent story about a really hard bunch ride. I have not had much in the way of attempts at humour or simply interesting and fun stories on here recently so here are a few.

Julie is good at getting out and doing big endurance efforts, she won the 2006 World Rogaine Championships in the womens Category 2 weeks ago, 12th overall too. Julie has been a world rogaine champion for the 4 years now and will be for 2 more now, having won womens in Czechoslovakia in 2002, then winning the mixed category in Arizona USA in 2004 and now Womens again in NSW Australia in 2006. Also Julie competes in the Triple Tri solo and last year stormed through faster than all but one of the male solos, she even appeared to be catching the male solo winner last year near the end of the race.

So my Julie story for today is about the time she went out for a 30 KM training run in her build up to a solo Triple Tri. Most of us mere mortals look at the 30 KM and Training run in one sentence and are already scared of the effort involved. On this run however Julie just happened to go a different way and accidentally ended up doing a 50 KM training run that Sunday morning. How the do you accidentally do a 50 KM training run I wonder? Do you trip, almost fall, stumble a bit and suddenly realise you did an extra 20KM of running without noticing?

Alina and Tom are the core of the AROC adventure racing team, by far the most successful and capable adventure racing team from Australia. They have won the last two XPD races, finished second and were on the way to a good place the following year in Primal Quest in the US in the past few years, they also take out sprint distance adventure races around the place and have won every Geoquest they have entered as AROC. So tough and fast people both of them.

My Al Bundy store for the day is about her solo win in the Triple Tri 2 years ago, AROC had done a race in south east asia somewhere about a month before the triple tri and Alina had a fall or something and suffered an injury, a crack in a vertebra in her lower back. So with limited leg movement, some pain when using her legs and the suggestion probably being made to rest up and let it heal she entered the Triple Tri anyway, completed it solo in around 14 hours and was unable to even feel her legs at the end of it. Far tougher than the rest of us weak and wussy mortals.

As for Tom, this is a recent story. Tom and Al have recently moved out of town to a property in an area called Bywong, this is around 30 KM from Kowen Forest where the Australian 24 Hour Mountain Bike Championships were recently held. Tom and Al were both competing in the race, Tom was in a 4 person all male team, so he would be doing 5 or 6 laps in the 24 hour period probably at reasonable pace. Al rocked up to the site with gear for their camp, when someone asked where Tom was she responded, oh he wanted to run here. He had decided to do a 30 KM run to get to the start of a 24 hour race he was competing in. As anyone would do I am sure... and this was from a man who often claims he hates training and loves the fact there are so many races on every weekend, he never has to train and can just race all the time. Obviously the 30 KM run was a warm up for the 24 hour race, quite a different perspective from most of the competitors who complain the 700 metre run they have to do to get to their bikes at the start is too long.

I wonder how many other stores there are around about the people I hang out with all the time, hopefully lots more I can find.

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Fri, 20 Oct 2006

Broke my Rocky Mountain Element 50 Dual Suspension mountain bike frame - 11:14

The whole bike with the break visible below the rear shock (full size)

The break on the left hand side. (full size)

The break from the front. (full size)

The break on the right hand side. (full size)
So the Friday morning ride was in Majura pines this morning, fun and all with around 10 people on the ride, then we returned to the Purple Pickle for breakfast, as we crossed the road into the university (Barry Drive) I bunny hopped up a gutter and heard a crack sound. Odd I thought, the gears on the front shifter went funny at the same time, I looked down and could not see missing gears or bike bits so rolled on the next 200 metres to the cafe and sat down for coffee and breakfast.

When I got back on the bike to ride the 1.5 KM to home I noticed the front shifter was still playing up and I heard an odd grating sound when I stood up out of the saddle. I got off the bike and had a look, this is of course when I notice the seat tube is snapped clean thorough just below the shock mount.

So yeah I have just broken another frame, somewhat inconvenient as I now will be riding an aluminium hardtail until my pink steel HT has been welded up. Lets hope the rocky mountain distributors can get this fixed quickly.

I bought this bike at the beginning of April 2004 so it has lasted around 2.5 years until this break. But yes it is alas true my my rocky mountain element duallie has broken.

[/mtb/gear] link

Mon, 16 Oct 2006

A hard pink life - 11:53

The frame stripped of components, has had a hard life (full size)

The crack on the left hand side. (full size)

The crack on the right hand side (full size)
As I mentioned recently my Bender Bicycles pink steel hard tail mountain bike frame has a few cracks that need fixing. As can be seen on the left here. On the whole the frame marked from a hard year and a half of riding, I guess I have ridden a lot in the past year and a half. I strongly suspect I will need to get the frame sand blasted and resprayed again simply to stop it looking quite so trashed.

I still love the paint job and colour, however the fix will need to be covered with a different colour anyway. And the frame does have chips and scratches and missing paint and the like all over it. Yet another reason to avoid Carbon Fibre mountain bikes I reckon, the majority of this is caused by rocks or other things hitting the frame while riding. Steel (and other metals) fortunately are not known to fail catastrophically after a single impact with a big rock launched at the frame by the front wheel.

[/mtb/gear] link

Wed, 11 Oct 2006

Tear some teeth off - 15:47

Some miche sprockets missing teeth (full size)
So on Saturday Sep 30 during the Bilbys road ride I noticed one of my gears was skipping a bit on the road bike. No idea why I rode on and avoided that gear, the following morning during my ride out to Corin dam I actually had a look at the cluster and noticed I had at some point ripped some teeth off the middle sprocket on the cluster.

I bought this cluster last year, campag fit for use with the new wheels I purchased then. The cassette is a Miche custom sized (11-28 9 speed) which gives me just a little bit of an easier time up hills. One advantage, at least right now, with Miche clusters is each sprocket is separate, thus I was able to pull the above to sprockets off (the totally trashed 17 tooth one and the 19 tooth sprocket missing one tooth).

Obviously I just do not know my own strength <g>

[/mtb/gear] link

Tue, 10 Oct 2006

Laziness as an artform - 19:05
I guess this is kind of like Linus' quote about backups ("Only wimps use tape backup: _real_ men just upload their important stuff on ftp, and let the rest of the world mirror it ;)") but I prefer to refer to it as a form of laziness.

I notice I was being somewhat pathetic writing my last diary post when I wanted the link to my painted pink steel hardtail and could not remember the link off the top off my head, so rather than clicking on my home page and following the links to find it I went to google and typed "bender bicycles" as I knew I was in the top one or two links for that search term. Of course the pathetic part is also that I knew that search term had that ranking.

[/various] link

Getting into a bit of a weight weenie project. - 18:51

My new Rock Shox Reba forks (full size)
For a while I have been thinking my hard tail could use a bit of a diet. The forks on there are bottom of the range Air/Oil Marzocchi MX Comp forks, kind of heavy. The front wheel is definitely heavier than need be, the rear can be made lighter. I have a very heavy rear tyre on currently also. A few other bits could be lightened.

The online store Torpedo7 has for a while been selling Rock Shox Reba SL forks for either AUD $419 or AUD $499 (depending on the week, phase of the moon, etc) either price is damn low compared to the AUST RRP of $749, so I bought a pair which arrived today. The same shop has been selling the top of the line SRAM PG 991 cluster for about half the RRP and the cluster is seriously about half the weight of most other clusters (including the next model down from SRAM) so I bought one of them the other week also.

Soon I should have some hubs arriving which are almost as light as DT Swiss 240's though no where near as expensive so I can build up a pair of light wheels and not spend too much money doing so. I plan to run Stans No Tubes on the wheels to keep weight down (and add a lack of many flats).

Somewhat unfortunately my pink hard tail frame has developed some cracks, one each side of the seat tube/top tube junction. I will need to strip the frame and return it to Wayne Kotzur for a fix (and alas I will thus have some other colour around the fix at that point on the frame). I am planning to throw all the bits back on my Giant Team XtC alloy frame, which though I do not like riding it if I have steel available it is a seriously light frame. It may be a novelty to have a really light mountain bike for once, I plan to use that bike in the triple tri this year, the lack of weight will really help in the hike a bike sections.

[/mtb/gear] link

Mon, 09 Oct 2006

The Scott Australian 24 Hour race is done and dusted - 20:42
What used to be the Mont 24 Hour Race was this year known as the Scott Australian 24 Hour Mountain Bike Race, though I have competed in this event previously, last year, and now this year also I was CORC's Site Manager for the event. (largely because as the CORC vice president I feel somewhat guilty if I do not help out a lot with the club's premier event).

Anyway as I mention in the title the event is done and dusted. The term dusted applies rather literally this year as it was the dustiest 24 hour race we have had yet, there were many people wearing dust masks, all people, tents, bikes, everything else out there was coated liberally with dust even at the beginning, by the end of the race there was a lot more dust everywhere. We had the biggest 24 hour mountain bike race in the world again, with 3031 riders entered, around 180 solo entrants, by the end of the race over 11,000 laps had been ridden which is about 241,000 KM (6 times around the circumference of the earth).

Russ had the preliminary results up yesterday afternoon before he and I had even finished packing up the stuff we had to get packed last night. A big thanks to all the volunteers out there who helped us run the race, and to all the riders I hope you all had a fantastic time and are already thinking up plans to come back. Next year we return to Stromlo on a brand new course almost in the centre of town.

[/mtb/events] link

Tue, 03 Oct 2006

Blog blog blog? Blog blog Blog Blog blog! - 19:31
Okay so the title is some load of trash, however it appears there are similarly strange sentences which may in fact parse.

Buffalo Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo. is the example I saw today on Metafilter.

Though English is a silly language, I am glad to see other languages are similarly strange, for example the colloquial Swedish "Nallar nallar nallars nallar?" which translates to "Do teddy bears steal (other) teddy bears' teddy bears?"

Of note is that this is indeed a wikipedia page and not the Uncyclopedia Buffalo page.

[/various] link

A weekend with some silly rides. - 09:42
Unlike most years leading up to the 24 hour race, I had this long weekend free to do other stuff, such as ride bikes. So I decided to go ahead and ride a bike or two.

Saturday morning I headed out with the Bilbys road bunch for the long ride, a gentle undulating 100 KM out to Cotter, Pierces Creek, Tharwa, back through Point Hut and home through Tuggeranong. A few of the people on the ride turned off at Corin for some more climbing, however I had to get home in time for a mountain bike ride that afternoon, and I had some other Corin plans afoot.

Saturday afternoon JJJim, Crash, PaulC, lliB, Jaymz, Liam, Rosie, Alex, Terry and I met up at sparrow hill for a lap around the wonderful single track that as JJJim said, flows like oil (the viscosity of which was left as a question for the reader). Much fun was had even if I was feeling a little toasted, which did not really bode well for Sunday.

Sunday morning Liam wanted a road ride, as he had to be back by around 12:30am and I wanted to do Corin we had to leave early, thus no one else was at all interested in joining us for a 7am start on a Sunday. However we headed out to ride up Corin and down to the Dam (the road down is now open after being closed for 3 years). Thus another 125 KM with some climbing on the road bike, then instead of collapsing in a heap once I got home there was more.

After fighting off some cramps and drinking a 1.25 litre bottle of mineral water I was ready enough to head out for a lap of the new single track at Mt Stromlo with Liam, Rosie, Crash (tour guide barbie today), Dan and Tom. The single track there keeps getting better and better. After all of that however I ended up giving the 5/6 peaks ride on Monday morning a miss and had a day off. This morning doing Cotter/Uriarra I was not at all interested in riding fast and cruised round the 65KM loop at a nice relaxed pace.

[/mtb] link

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