sjh - mountain biking running linux vegan geek spice - mtb / vegan / running / linux / canberra / cycling / etc

Steven Hanley hackergotchi picture Steven
Hanley

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email: sjh@svana.org

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Fri, 28 Dec 2007

Aaron shows - 18:30
I was entertained to see Mikal only recently noticed Aaron Sorkin wrote the four items he mentions. I have been a Sorkin fan for years now, and personally think the West Wing was never as good after he left at the end of season 4.

I strongly suggest to Mikal that he get a hold of the show Sports Night which predates West Wing and was a brilliant show, also a Sorkin brain child, with many of the same actors at times (Joshua Malina for example has had major roles in both, Felicity Huffman has appeared in West Wing, Janel Maloney has appeared in Sports Night, etc etc)

Though I have not yet seen it, and it has not received great reviews in the US, the new post West Wing show from Sorkin, Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip probably still has some classic Sorkinesque banter and writing and is likely to be entertaining also. Ahh Aaron Sorkin and Joss Wheedon, without the two of them no television out of the US would not have been worth watching in the past 10 years I think.

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Tue, 25 Dec 2007

N+1 applied to kayaks once more - 23:47

The Time Bandit at the Carillion (fullsize)
Since I bought the Floozy I have become reasonably confident in keeping tippy boats upright. I think it has been good learning to paddle tippy boats on a surf ski, I did not have to worry much about falling off as I could get right back on. However the ski has two major draw backs I find. The most annoying one is that it is too small for me. It really is suited to someone under 5 foot 10 rather than someone over 6 foot so I always had my knees a bit high. The other problem is in the middle of a Canberra winter paddling a surf ski is not my first choice of water vessel.

This winter I paddled my Mirage most of the time, which meant I had to find someone to paddle with all winter, however I did make it out there a lot which was good. Sure I can get a wet suit or some other attire that would make paddling a surf ski in winter bearable however when taken with the fact the ski is a bit small for me it seems a new boat may be a better idea.

Thus when Matt finally decided to go ahead and sell his Time Bandit (which he bought of Ado who had purchased it new last year) I was keen to buy it from him. This of course is the 6.2 metre long new toy I have been referring to the last few days. I have taken it out paddling twice now, and damn it is a nice boat.

First with Danealle on Sunday arvo down to the governor general's place and back from Yarralumla bay. Then today across to the Carillion in rather windy conditions (waves washing over the cockpit a bit coming from three directions as I came under Commonwealth Ave bridge). So apart from knowing I need to buy a spray skirt for the boat I must say I am happy to say it stays up well and can handle pretty nasty conditions well. Sure I was nervous at times today on the water but I kept it upright and never really felt close to falling in.

I did however wuss out of paddling back and went and got a lift with friends I met at the Carillion back to get my car and pick up the boat (thus I also have photos (medium, fullsize) of the new boat on top of the car). I have yet to choose a name for this boat, and as the first name for my Mirage was a failure and it took a while to find the name Matilda for it I am in no rush.

This purchase does increase my kayak collection, as suggested in the title N+1 being applied to kayaks, however I do wish to sell the Floozy as it really is small for me and the primary positive of owning a surf ski (the ability to use it in the surf and play around there) is not something I go and do much (I hardly seem to get to the coast often) I will be better off selling it.

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Sturdy running shoes? - 23:18
A few months back I bought a pair of Saucony shoes, usually I buy Asics, however trying these on they felt good and seemed a reasonably good shoe. Today I while out for a short run I had to stop briefly to get a grass seed out of my shoe that was hurting. While doing this I noticed parts of the sole were coming off. The shoe is a Saucony ProGrid Hurricane 9.

I have admittedly done a few KM in these shoes since getting them, however I still have some almost ancient Asics that have done a lot more than these with soles in tact, the reason I do not run in them so much now is they seem to be lacking in cushioning and promote blisters more than newer shoes. However I do have to take into consideration these Saucony shoes are a light weight shoe compared to the Trubaco shoes from Asics in question and another pair I have of them that is still going strong.

At least the Canberra Runners Shop club sale is on currently and I can probably get a good deal on a new light weight running shoe, probably revert to using Asics and see if I get better life from their lighter shoes.

Last weekend in Sydney I bought a pair of Lafuma (Active Trail Pro) shoes, though this is to be a race shoe for longer stuff, looks like a great trail shoe, though a little bit sturdy for running around on bitumen (given the option something lighter can be used). I had hoped to avoid buying new shoes for a month or two at least, especially as I blew my toy budget for a little while on the new 6.2 metre black toy I have mentioned a few times in the past few days.

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Mon, 24 Dec 2007

Longer wait than anticipated - 23:00
Well it appears there are hints of the English translation of the 4th Watch series book by Sergei Lukyanenko appearing on Amazon and a few other places. Alas it appears the translation will not be out in January. Instead it looks like we will have to wait until July for the paperback (strangely it seems the hardback will be released later in August).

I guess on the plus side there are also rumours around that he may write another novel in the series after the 4th, though waiting for English translation will extend that out even further.

[/leisure/books] link

Sun, 23 Dec 2007

Still forgetting to record stuff - 20:37
This morning I headed out to sparrow for a cruisy mtb ride with DeathMarch and PaulC, I realised when I got there I had forgotten my Garmin, I obviously still have not learnt to always take it along for exercise. The ride was fun, though sparrow hill is not technically challenging it really is an absolute hoot to ride through.

I then did some lawn mowing this afternoon, though due to the large period of time between mowings it resembled a jungle almost so in one and a half hours of mowing I only got the back of the back yard done. More of that tomorrow, I then was heading over to the lake to paddle with Danealle.

It was a pleasant and calm morning on the water so I had been hoping it would stay calm, however by 4pm the wind had picked up a bit, Danealle and I arrived at the shed to find small waves washing over the launching area and a bit of head on wind. However with my new toy as yet untried I was keen to get out there on it rather than take Matilda out, so I hopped in, found the new boat is pretty stable all things considered and assured Danealle I would be fine to stay upright in the conditions.

So we headed off for a fun 8 KM or so paddling, and once more I did not have my garmin on, though I had taken it to the shed, we were cruising around so I did not feel the need to wear it. I meant to do more mowing when I got home, however did no feel like it so will finish it tomorrow after a lap of Cotter/Uriarra in the morning.

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Sat, 22 Dec 2007

What a fun show - 23:00
I got home from a 17km run and after a shower and dinner actually thought to myself it may be a good idea to watch some tv. Looking at the guide I was pleased to see RocKwiz was on. I really enjoy this show due to the fun atmosphere of it. Sure I love Spicks and Specks too, but this is more fun I reckon.

Paul Kelly performed his Gravy song on it, the thing that I was most surprised to note there is how old he was looking. Clare Bowditch performed a song with Tex Perkins which was pretty good. Another song they had Tim Friedman on piano and some woman singing a cover of Joni Mitchell's song River. I love this song and have heard some mighty fine covers of it as well as a few originals from Joni. However this was not a good cover, Tim's piano was alright, though a bit powerful sounding, I think that may have had something to do with the audio setup in the theatre though, some other performers were drowned out by instruments a bit too. However the song was appalling, the woman had timing and delivery of the lyrics too far off and out of kilter. Sure I know when covering an artist can and should put their own spin on the work, however in this case I was cringing and had to change channels for a while it was too messed up.

Otherwise today has been kind of cruisy, was meant to go for a nice 90KM road ride this morning with friends, however heavy rain all morning meant that was a no go. I went shopping and grabbed some presents for people, then headed to the boat shed to put my new 6.2 metre long black fast toy in the shed. I had been intending to do the Maladjusted single speed race, however they called it off due to saturated forests and high winds. The run was good to at least get some exercise in, and I had not run since Tuesday due to being busy anyway.

I had been hoping to watch a Billy Connolly in New Zealand show I noticed in the program, however when I could not find it on the tv after RocKwiz I looked again at the guide and realised it was only on a digital channel. My mythtv box could record it for me but I can not be bothered really.

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Thu, 13 Dec 2007

These paddling PBs are coming more often - 13:58
So I have not been able to do the paddle time trial for the past two weeks, however with the stitches removed I thought I could give it a go again last night. When I set a new PB a few weeks ago I was paddling a club TK1. Last night I took Mark's Rocket out for the time trial. I forgot to adjust the seat forward so could almost not reach the pedals properly, definitely could not leg drive properly. However I still managed to get a new PB over the course.

53:36 on my watch, rock on.

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Fri, 30 Nov 2007

Maybe the good music can justify watching it - 14:34
As I mention from time to time I do not tend to watch tv much. The Tour de France coverage every July and sometimes a movie or similar if it catches my interest. In the past I have watched a lot of tv shows, I adored The West Wing for example (well until the end of season 4 when Aaron Sorkin stopped writing and producing) among others. Jane was telling me throughout the first season of Heroes that I should watch it as I would love the show, I never got around to even looking at the tv guide to learn when it was on.

This season I paid a bit more attention and programmed my mythtv box to record it every week. I also happened to notice a new version of the Bionic Woman was airing just before, so I decided to watch both shows. With the mythtv box I can of course simply copy the shows to my laptop and watch them wherever and whenever I get the time which makes it more pleasant than trying to be in front of a tv when they air. Anyway I am still watching both, even though arguably Bionic Woman is kind of average, heck it is no longer being written up at TWOP which generally means it is not grabbing much attention anywhere.

I am still sort of enjoying it for now, I wonder if I can claim I am still watching it for the cool music. A few weeks ago I was pleasantly surprised when they closed an episode with a great Ani song, then the episode that aired last night closed with a Dave Matthews Band song. You would almost think I had set the soundtrack for this show.

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BC promotion, or slow news day, you choose - 14:21
In a similar fashion to an article two years ago that was accompanied by a photo, today's news paper (Canberra Times) had an article with a photo of me. This time the article pretty much focused on the fact I am competing in a lot of BC events this weekend even though I have my arm in stitches. I have a scan (low res, however you can read and see it) of the article (with photo) uploaded for anyone who wants a look.

I guess the positive change here is the article does not make CORC look bad as the one two years ago had. Someone on the Bilbys committee already called something called "slab" apparently I should buy a slab for them as they noticed and commented on this first. I wonder if the warning that there would be something in the paper that I gave to 200 or so people yesterday gives me leeway.

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Thu, 29 Nov 2007

Practice with the non dominant hand - 17:16
The past few days I have discovered it may be worth spending some time getting used to using my non dominant (in my case the left) hand to do every day activities. As I am unable to move my right arm around much without pain, especially when it is near my head, I have had to use my left hand more.

Shaving, cleaning my teeth, eating with cutlery every day activities and yet I am pretty average and uncoordinated when doing these things with my left hand (not of course helped by the painful gouges in my left hand from the gravel). I wonder if it is worth working out what activities I really only do well with my right hand and trying to train myself to use my left reasonably well for them.

Interestingly Sam mentioned since having kids she has become far more able to use either hand for most activities, I wonder if this is common for most parents? I asked my mother and she said she never found that, instead she knows she is heavily right hand dominant and that never changed.

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Tue, 27 Nov 2007

Reasons not to road ride, or do not anger the crash gods. - 12:44
So more proof road riding is unsafe and it really is better to stick to mountain biking.

This morning I was riding out to do a Cotter/Uriarra loop on the road. With me were Bruce, Simon and Libby. Sue and Tony among possible others were likely to meet us out there.

We had just chased down Rob Burrell (he must have been going slow, dawdling along or something for me to be able to catch him) as we crossed Scrivner Dam. Simon had not done this ride with us for a year or so and was unsure whether we were turning right onto the bike path or heading up the road behind Rob to Cotter Rd. We always turn onto the bike path, however I had not said so verbally and Simon had not turned in early enough, I stayed out wide edging in until he turned and thought I would still make the corner.

I was turning and noticed I was heading right for the gutter, so instead of doing the sensible thing and stabilising then bunny hopping the gutter up onto the grass I thought, I can still make the turn, so leant into the corner more. This is when the large amount of gravel on the bitumen became a problem, my wheels went out from under me and I went sliding along the bitumen on my right elbow, thigh and fingers for a while until I ran into the gutter.

Overall I felt a bit winded but nothing seemed too bad, my bike has some new scratches and a few other small issues (this is the newish cyclocross bike too). Noticing the lacerations in my fingers (road gloves do not have the protection of full finger mtb gloves) I thought it best to head home when I sat up. I did however notice my right elbow was sore, so rolled a bit in order to get it off the bitumen upon which I was lying. This is when Simon, Libby and Bruce saw how deep the gouges were in my elbow and it was obvious I would need to go to the hospital emergency for them to look at it.

Bruce, living closest rode home to get his car, Libby and Simon waited with me. A security guard (for the Governor General) drove past, pulled up and was good enough to provide sterile dressings an a bandage for Libby to use on my arm (though as a vet, she operates on Animals day in day out Human gore makes her a bit queasy, thanks for the help Lib). After this a few more drivers passing and a cyclist or two were all nice enough to pull up and see if we needed anything, even offering lifts and such. Bruce was on his way so we said thanks and that we were sorted. Also while waiting Julie happened to roll past on her way to a paddle session. Last night at stretching I obviously angered the Crash Gods when I mentioned to Julie I tend not to Crash often, especially not serious crashes. Julie did point out this morning it was obviously a silly thing to say, the Crash gods got their own back today. Though I am most fortunate not to be banged up to the extent Dave is.

Bruce rocked up and drove me to the Canberra Hospital, I sent my mother an text saying I may need a pick up from the hospital later depending how long it took. Then sent Danielle a text as I was a her place of employ, fortunately in no need of visiting her ward though (Intensive Care). When I got to Emergency I provided details and then the nurse (a friendly woman named Kate) took me in immediately to have a look at my injuries in Triage and see what needed to be done. The nurse knows Ben (who was a full time nurse in ICU until recently and is still doing shifts a bit (or coming into Socialise for 12 hours at a time as he explained to Kate recently ). So we talked about adventure racing and riding and stuff a bit while she cleaned me up and did what the doctor said had to be done.

After a while the Doctor ended up scrubbing out the wound and cleaning it well, sent me for Xrays to ensure nothing was stuck in there. At this point while waiting for Xrays Danielle rocked up to work and came to visit to see how I was, she had to run for a meeting and said she would be back later. I had Xrays and then sat to wait being sewn up. The shift changed around now and the new doctor coming along to sew me up happened to be Gwenda (fellow mountain biker and to some extent enjoyer of paddling activities, Dan Smith's partner for those who do not know her), so we were able to chat about mountain biking, paddling, Dan's crazy plans for things he wants to do and such, the Gravity 12 hour which Gwenda had done previously, but missed out on this year (travelling with young kids is a hassle for starters).

Anyway Gwenda did a great job sewing me up, Danielle returned, with a coffee for me (thanks Danielle) and got to watch the last few stitches, commenting my elbow looked like a raw steak. I need to go see my GP on Friday for her to review the injury and then again in 7 to 10 days for the sutures/stitches to be removed.

The good news is I can still race in the AROC night race this Friday (so long as I do not submerse my arm in water and can keep the elbow dry for the race) and can still compete with Danielle in the Urban Polaris on Sunday (Danielle's first question to me was You are still right for Sunday aren't you? )

I have not gone into work today yet (may or may not) and have a fantastic excuse not to do the ARNuts night run (had effort that it can be) tonight. I will see how I feel for the road ride tomorrow morning (Mugga Way loop this week). Next challenge is to work out how to shower without getting my elbow or the bandage wet. Mothing hurts too much currently, though Gwenda assures me the sutures will hurt and I should have my friend paracetamol handy (and maybe Neurofen around too according to my personal pharmacist (Gwenda's choice of words) Danielle)

Thanks to Kate, Gwenda and the rest of the TCH staff for processing me so fast and smoothly. Thanks to Libby and Bruce (and I guess I should thank Simon...) for hanging around and getting me to the hospital. Thanks to Danielle for the coffee and moral support (even though as Gwenda noted it seems she only wants me for my body (and its ability to ride on Sunday )). Thanks to others so far today for the text messages of support.

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Fri, 16 Nov 2007

Scientific test for the day, do bikes or riders float in fountains? - 10:37

Bike/Swim Transition Fountain
Maybe I thought I needed to practice a bike to swim transition, maybe I wanted to perform a scientific experiment as suggested in the subject, or most likely I was just an unco this morning. Of course I was lucky no one in my group of mountain bikers had a camera with them <g>.

Riding through civic on the way to some dirt for the mountain bike ride this morning I was mucking around a bit and thought I would try riding up onto the wall around the fountain in front of the Canberra Centre. My tyre slipped a bit and I tumbled straight into the water, it was actually deep enough that I was fully submerged and so was my bike. The first reaction from most of the riders in my group (apart from laughter) was surprise as no one thought it was quite that deep.

Anyway I discovered that neither bikes or riders float particularly well, I was lucky it was a warm morning as I was soaked for the rest of the ride and breakfast. The capture of the gps data to the left shows I got out and started riding again before realising my sunnies had fallen off into the water so I had to go back and wade through it again to get them back.

On a more subdued note, Dave B had a nasty crash at the end of the ride and we had to get a car and drive him off to hospital. When I spoke with Julie a short while ago they had still not gotten in for X-Rays, it sounds like he was in enough pain there could be some fractures or similar around his hips/sternum/pelvis area.

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Wed, 14 Nov 2007

Another paddling pb tonight - 21:24
The BGCC 10 KM time trials have moved back to Wednesday evenings with the advent of daylight saving. I tried to do one the Wednesday following the Hawkesbury Classic, after all I had done 70 KM of road riding the morning before, a 13 KM run the evening before and a 45 KM road ride the morning of the time trial that week, I felt mostly recovered. As soon as I sat in the boat and started paddling my body threw a fit and said enough of this nonsense it hurts stop, so I only made it through 3 KM (most of which I did technique work during).

Last week I had some meetings to attend and the weather was miserable anyway, so I was not too upset to miss out anyway. By today it had been two and a half weeks since I had done any real paddling, so I was happy to get out and do the time trial. As can be seen from the graph I did this in 54:40 (the distance is only actually 9.4KM doing the double bridge to bridge loops) which makes me happy as it is another milestone to crack 55 minutes and it blew my previous pb of 57:19 apart. Still not anywhere near Randall's sub 50 minute times or the times of paddlers faster than him, however I am making progress.

Gee whoda thunk it, training actually does something, or sitting in a boat and paddling lots for 13 hours at least does something even if the frequent paddling sessions before that did not seem to. It is also interesting to see the downward spikes in the heart rate and speed which are obviously the times I stopped to have a drink (from a water bottle), it will definitely be more effective if I can manage to drink without stopping.

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Tue, 13 Nov 2007

Damn weird weather - 16:20
So as a conversational topic this is kinda like dropping a fart at a party. Well at least if you can be crude about it all it is, anyway I headed out for a run yesterday arvo and damn is it hot. You would finally think summer may be approaching. I was unable to hold the speed at 11 KMh and really had to back off and keep the heart rate under 160 most of the time.

However the last few weeks, when it has not been raining it has been freezing, everyone complaining how the weather did not indicate summer or anything like that approaching. I can not complain about the weather in Victoria at least, well while I was there it was good. I was down there on the weekend for the Gravity 12 hour mountain bike race and the course was the best I have ever seen it. Dryer than ever before, so for most of the day a bit skaty with some sandy or otherwise loose corners, then we had half an hour of heavy rain around 6pm so for the last two hours of the race the track was tacky and cornered as if on rails.

I was pleased to keep performance similar to last year with good consistency. Looking at the results my lap times between 35:14 and 37:17 all day, then the two laps in a row I did at night, where I had been told I should take it easy to avoid a second lap in a row, but came back in time for a second so went and did it anyway were 41:18 and 42:11 respectively (in the dark, deliberately going slowly).

As for the weather I wonder if we need to ship some down jackets to Cairns just in case the weird winter weather or strangeness spreads outside Canberra. Of course these are people that tell you to bring lots of blankets with you as it gets really cold at night in winter, down to *gasp* 15 Celsius *gasp* even on the cold nights. Oh no lock up the children how will a Canberran ever handle temperatures that low in winter.

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Tue, 06 Nov 2007

Another song that stops me like a brick wall - 16:57
Though the title references the lyrics of Asking Too Much I commented on a while back I am not talking about that song. Ani recently released a retrospective album containing a collection of her work spanning her career (The album is a double called "Canon"). As I already have all the songs on other albums you would think it may not be worth buying. However two things change this assumption, first I am a bit of an addict (of the 210 or so albums I own, 29 of them are Ani Difranco, more than 10%), however the main reason is there are some new recordings of some of her songs on each of the discs.

This is too much to resist for me, after all, the new version of Not A Pretty Girl on Girls Singing Night redefined that song for me. So when I had to get some stuff from the Righteous Babe store recently (some of the official bootlegs and another 32 Flavors t-shirt as Bruce's never arrived last year) I bought the album Canon.

What do you know, she did it again, not with all of the songs, but the new version of Napoleon is amazing. This however is a bit different to Not A Pretty Girl. I have always loved the song Napoleon, listening to the Dilate album this is a song I have often put on repeat, or while driving along in the car listening put the volume up stupidly loud and sung my voice off to. But oh my god this new version is incredible, it has a much more electronic rock sort of feel to it, it is a bigger feeling song, but whatever combination of things in it to change it has made it another amazing Ani experience.

[/leisure/music] link

Carrying food - 14:34
Interesting to see Crash was a little bit bonked for the finish of the ride this morning. I am lucky to have a bit of general fitness in my body currently. I am still not riding well due to hardly having ridden my bike in the last year or so, however I have been running a bit recently which has helped me lose some weight. Also my general all round high activity level (paddling and other stuff) means I can still assume I will not struggle too much with most efforts.

However none of this will really help anyone when they bonk, I am sure Crash can recall a Cotter/Uriarra loop or two years ago when I went backwards really badly with no food. Also he tells a story about an ANZAC day epic years ago on which part of a power bar seemed to reanimate one of the riders. Partly due to being diabetic and partly because I learnt the hard way while riding I always have at least three muesli bars with me while riding further than basic errands around town (either in a jersey pocket or in a camelback). The camelback I run with has two gels in it, my paddling PFD has a few muesli bars in it.

Admittedly it always comes as a surprise to hit the wall and run out of energy, as Crash suggests we normally do this ride without any food (I know I almost never have any food before going out for anything up to 2 hours in the mornings), however the few times I have needed it I have been most thankful to have it with me.

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Sun, 04 Nov 2007

It almost makes me want to learn Russian - 18:50
Though I have not seen the movies yet, a few of my friends have told me the movies Night Watch and Day Watch are pretty good. So instead of seeing the movies I went out and purchased the three books Night Watch, Day Watch, Twilight Watch and read them. Unfortunately the fourth book in the series is not yet released in English, as I suggest in the post title, it almost makes you want to learn Russian. Though there are no release dates I can find record of, I suspect the translation of Final Watch will be released in January (matching up with the every 6 months schedule of the last three books), I had better wait for that as it will be easier than learning a Language <g>.

These are really good books, fascinating use of magic and mythical creatures in modern society. No idea what makes me like them so much but I did, one thing I find strange is the marketing blurb on them all suggesting it is like JK Rowling in a Russian setting. I have to say, it really isn't. Sure the marketing is probably just trying to convince more people to buy it, however the focus of the books is more adult as are the themes and stuff happening in them. Though they may suit readers of Rowling it is obviously not a direct overlap, as I personally do not find the Harry Potter series hard to put down. Though I have all but the final book in the Harry Potter series in my possession, and have had them all for most of the year, I have still only read the first 4 books (I read these 3 or 4 years ago borrowing them from a friend) and do not feel a strong need or inclination to finish them at the moment.

On the other hand I rushed through the three watch books in less than two weeks. No idea what this says, but I do think they are a great read.

Looking at the wikipedia entries about the films I am a little disturbed by how much they appear to actually differ to the text of Night Watch, however I suspect treating them as related but seperate works would mean they will still be good to see.

[/leisure/books] link

Mixing up the legs a bit - 18:22
The triple triathlon is coming up in 2 weeks. As usual I am entered in a team of three, however this year we thought we may make a change or two. Shanyn is alas busy with something on Sundays this month so is unable to swim, I think we have managed to find another swimmer, however this has meant we have changed the team name (32 Flavours will be back in action next time we are racing in the traditional team).

Another change we made is for Bruce and I to swap 2 of the legs, as I have been doing a bit more running recently, and Bruce bought himself a new road bike so has been out on the bike a lot. We decided to swap the last bike and last run legs (assuming of course the final swim is in Lake Tuggeranong so the second last run has a break before the final bike leg).

So I decided I should head out and see how I went running the 13 KM final leg of the triple tri. I drove over to the YMCA yesterday afternoon and then rode my single speed across to the tunnel under hindmarsh, locked up the bike and a backpack of cycling gear and went running.

I was not fast, and probably never will be, however I managed to hold sub 5 minute KMs for all but the steep up hills which meant I was able to run alright over the 13.4 KM leg (see GPS data here, it is good to see I kept speed and heart rate remarkably consistent here). I completed the run in 1h10m, however from the lady denman drive underpass I was running along with another competitor out training on the leg and chatting to him, so I could probably pick up my pace there a bit. That is unlikely to be a concern though as I will be somewhat worn out and a bit dehydrated form the first two bike legs of the day and thus could be a bit slower running no matter what.

I have the Gravity 12 hour mtb race in Victoria next weekend, I should probably try to head out for a running lap of the course on Sunday morning. I am also seriously contemplating using my cyclocross bike for the second bike leg of the triple tri this year. That leg has less steep climbing than the others and not much single track (though with the Mt Stromlo facility open there should be more single track in play) so it could suit a cyclocross bike well.

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Wed, 31 Oct 2007

Hawkesbury Classic 2007, Danielle and Steve paddling Matilda - 21:13
As mentioned in the recent post about choosing the name Matilda for my Mirage Double Sea Kayak, Danielle and I paddled in the Hawkesbury classic on the weekend. As I often do I combined a bunch of photos taken with a word or two and put it all online. So anyone who wants to can see how our race went.

Here is our 2007 Hawkesbury Classic Race Report. Enjoy.

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Mon, 29 Oct 2007

A new name for my Mirage 730 Double Kayak - 14:20
When I purchased my Pink Mirage 730 Double Sea Kayak back in April/May I had thought it should be named Patrick. The name has never stuck, heck even I did not like the name. Many people told me I needed a female name for a boat, I did not feel I could use the name Patricia (partly because one of the coaches at BGCC is named Patricia, and partly because it had no real meaning or background that could be applied).

I have had a few adventures with the boat now, such as Geoquest 2007 and the 2007 Hawkesbury Canoe Classic (this race report is not there yet, I am still writing it) this past weekend. I think there is a new name for it that will stick, my support crew for the weekend (my friend Prue) suggested the name Matilda during the drive back to Canberra.

The name was out of the blue but I liked it, so did Danielle, the back story that I thought works well for it is the Roald Dahl book Matilda. If my kayak is bored or not given interesting trips and events to do it may develop mysterious powers, also if we do not treat it well (or the other kayaks it is close to) it may punish us or whoever mistreats it.

So if you see the pink Mirage Double Sea Kayak out on the lake here or at some event (even though there were well over 200 Mirage kayaks at Hawkesbury this weekend Matilda was the only one with that colour scheme and was quite recognisable), say hello to her and be nice <g>.

[/mtb/gear] link

Thu, 25 Oct 2007

A wireless scanning tool - 19:26
I just wasted about 15 minutes trying to find online the name of the program I have installed on my laptop that I regularly (though not for a few months now) use for scanning for wireless networks.

Hopefully I can remember this post and look it up, the tool in question is swscanner (a kde wireless scanner applications).

[/comp/software] link

Wed, 24 Oct 2007

Tuesday afternoon milk carton blogging - 17:29

Milk Carton Cafe (fullsize)
Wednesday edition:

Further proof appeared recently that LA really can cater to all needs. As much as I dislike the city I was impressed to see there is a Milk carton cafe (sort of) over there. Just the thing to go visit on a random Tuesday afternoon, it would be perfect apart from two things: Today is Wednesday, and there is a slight geographical displacement

[/various/milkcarton] link

Taking Jake to meet the dirt - 15:26
On Saturday some of the ARNuts and myself headed out for a longish ride on mountain bikes, from inner north Canberra via Kowen forest out to Sparrow Hill for some riding on the rather sweet single track there. After that we headed on out to Bungendore for lunch.

This is a ride I had thought for a while may be good for a cyclo cross bike as there is a lot of bitumen and fire trail riding in there. So I took Jake out for the ride. I tend to agree that yes it was indeed a good bike for this ride, the tyres are still maybe a tad thin for any rocky terrain, with 35c tyres on I got one pinch flat somewhere in Sparrow (possibly with a slow leak which would mean the tyre pressure was lower than originally intended).

The bike itself worked remarkably well in single track considering the skinny high pressure tyres, body position on the bike and average brakes. I discovered it is a lot easier to corner and ride single track if I stay in the drops keeping my centre of gravity low. Now I look forward to trying this bike for a real long dirt road sort of cruise, such as the rather fun ride to the coast via Araluen, I just need to find a free weekend (they are scarce).

[/mtb] link

Thu, 18 Oct 2007

Well I know I can't - 20:19
I was heating up some dinner tonight and a house mate had the show So You Think You can dance on the tv. I have watched this previously at my sister's place from time to time. It seemed entertaining but I simply do not stop to watch tv much. Anyway I got hooked tonight and have watched the rest of this. Lots of fun, my house mate said we are nearer the end so pretty much all the people left can dance well.

The solo dances were interesting as they were all the same dance and you can see how each dancer interprets it. Also you can see how each dancer manages to link things together. In the solo dance tonight I thought Neil (I think that was his name) was possibly the worst I saw. He did not flow from move to move well and nothing seemed to link and flow. Kameron however was incredible in the solo dance and how he did some of the moves, a little differently with an interesting difference. Maybe it is because he followed Neil so the contrast really stood out at the time. Strangely none of the female solos really stood out to me, though one of them was using the assets of her bust more than many others I thought, probably the bloke in me noticing that though.

I wonder what it says about me that the best pair dance I saw tonight was the disco dance. (interestingly the judges seem to agree with me, I typed the bit about liking it before the dance was finished). Anyway it is a fun bit of tv and good to see people moving and enjoying that sort of thing so much, I know I can't dance but it is good to watch I agree for once with something that at first glance may appear to be a bit like some of the crap reality tv stuff so prevalent these days. I also loved the music for the solo performance, that was what really grabbed me back into the living room and got me watching it.

[/leisure/screen] link

Wed, 10 Oct 2007

N+1 happened again, say hello to Jake - 11:28

Jake The Snake Cyclocross Bike (fullsize)
So going with the N+1 theory, it happened again to me yesterday. I picked up my brand new 2008 model Jake the Snake.

I have thought for a number of years a cyclocross bike would be nice to own. Something I can go fast on and yet still take off road or for long rides with significant amounts of dirt (such as the rather fun ride to the coast via Araluen). Recently I found my Lemond Zurich road frame had developed another large crack on the head tube area (photos sometime soon). It is unsafe to continue riding it much, so I was wondering what to do about needing a road bike.

It occurred to me a cyclocross bike makes a great road bike (tougher than most, which is good knowing my tendency to break frames) and can be used off road (which I think bikes in general need to be able to be used there if at all possible). Also I can not justify buying a bling road bike as I do not race on the road. Until I can join ACT Vets club in 7 years or so I probably will not, I just can not raise any interest in having anything at all to do with Canberra Cycling Club (CCC).

So Mal said he could get me a 2008 model Jake the Snake in and build it up, I thought why not, should be fun. The photo was taken in my living room last night, I have since changed the tyres to skinny road tyres and took it out on the Wednesday morning road ride I do every week. Fun was had, oh and yes the pink bottle cages are necessary, it makes it go faster or something, I am sure there is a scientific need for them.

[/mtb/gear] link

Tue, 09 Oct 2007

Must remember to take 305 and use it - 21:08
Tonight I forgot to use my Forerunner 305 (mentioned previously) with me when I went out to do something. This time it was the ARNuts run, we headed up on to Black Mountain from Wilf's place. Susie and Mark and Heather probably all had some form of similar device but alas not my data. Not so bad, so I missed recording a hilly 1.5 hour run.

However on Sunday just past I was out at Googong dam competing in the Sri Chinmoy Googong Multisport race and forgot to take the HRM out with me. This is a great shame as it would have been interesting to see a direct on the day comparison with the different disciplines and what my heart rate was in each. Also the map would have been interesting to have a look at from running, paddling, riding and running again around the Googong area.

The Googong race was a lot of fun, I should get around to writing a quick report if I can, this was the second time I have ever run off the bike as opposed to a leisurely stroll to a sit down at a cafe for coffee off the bike which is more the norm for me. But hey check it out I have been seen running.

[/mtb] link

Fri, 05 Oct 2007

No count-words-region or similar in emacs? - 14:10
I have no idea how I never noticed this before, I was writing something a few minutes ago and wished to know how many words were in a section of it. Plain text in emacs. I tried Meta-X count-<tab> and a few variations and could not find a command that would count the words in a region of text, or a buffer or anywhere else. Strange I thought and decided to search online.

From search engine results I found that somehow emacs does not natively have the few lines of lisp required to do this seemingly simple function anywhere by default. So there are some reasons this may be the case, the first of which is the definition of what constitutes a word may be in question, especially in different modes. However I just want a basic text mode word count capability.

Many online suggestions seemed to launch a sub-shell and run wc on a buffer or section of a buffer, this is obviously overkill. Fortunately one of the first search results is to an elisp intro that has a section detailing a function defined to do count words region, which is exactly what I needed, so it is now in my .emacs file.

The two things I find most surprising with this state of affairs are: 1. emacs does not have the capability somewhere in the huge amount of elisp distributed with it to do this natively and 2. Though I have been using emacs a lot for more than 10 years I never before noticed this was lacking.

[/comp/software] link

Wed, 26 Sep 2007

No more Polaris Challenge - 14:52
In the latest news from Wild Horizons that arrived in the email today Huw announced that they will no longer be running Australian Polaris events after the Urban Polaris in Canberra in December.

The Australian Polaris Challenge was the first mass participation endurance mountain biking event in Australia, pre dating the Canberra based Australian 24 Hour Mountain Bike Race by two years. By first I am not ignoring events such as the Simpson Desert cycle classic, simply saying mass participation in that the logistics of competing in earlier events such as the Simpson were often as daunting, as the riding component of the event.

I can understand why the Paddle Polaris did not make sense to run, it never had a huge number of entrants and yet would still have had a lot of logistic issues behind putting it on. The Urban Polaris though fun is not an overly challenging event and is only on one day. Also now it has been held in the same city for so long it is no longer as interesting as it may have been the first time or two in one location.

The original event was still the best. The Polaris Challenge, 2 days out there with a friend navigating around the place on your mountain bike. Carrying all your camping gear for an overnight camp somewhere on a 25km by 25km map of some new and interesting location in the Australian bush. The event is modelled on the UK Polaris Challenge (now there are a few other events in other countries also), this started back in 1991 and has run over in the UK since. Huw, being from the UK had competed in the event there and when he arrived in Australia found the lack of a Polaris style event something that needed fixing, thus he started running one here.

There is no other event on the Australia mtb calendar quite like it, cyclegaines (rogaines on bikes) only tend to be one day events, Adventure races have other disciplines than just mountain biking. Mountain bike races do not have much in the way of mental challenges, without the route planning and navigation while out there you can simply head out and push your body with out any thoughts of where you are or how to get around entering your head. The added challenge of packing gear and being able to handle the extra weight and the consequent slow down in your route choices just adds to the fun and challenge.

I had heard for a few years now Huw had been attempting to interest some event organiser in purchasing the rights of all the Polaris events, it appears no one has bitten. I am unsure of what branding issues there are between the UK Polaris and any of the others (they all use the same logo), however I do hope there is another event that comes along in the coming years (and soon) to fill the hole left by this. The effort involved in running an event like this is considerable though as you have to spend a great deal of time in the area the event will run in, get the community on side, get permissions from all land owners involved. Create the maps and arrange all the other logistics. The fact that there has been a drop in numbers attending the event in the past few years probably did not help. It may not need to be branded "Polaris" but the format of camping, teams, navigation, all in one discipline, new and interesting location each year are necessary I think.

Anyway thanks to Huw and the rest of Wild Horizons for all your efforts over the years, I know I had fun (2003 Burraga, 2004 Murramarang, 2005 Comboyne, 2006 Delegate, 2007 Black Springs (have not yet written my report or uploaded the photos)). The fun of the event will be missed.

[/mtb/events] link

Tue, 25 Sep 2007

Stardust, the wow post - 00:18
So I just got back a few minutes ago from seeing the movie Stardust movie at Dendy (Canberra). I am a long time Neil Gaiman fan so suspected I would like the movie, and after waiting for over a year an a half, for a movie that was originally to be released here in March (though having heard about it much earlier I was already keen) I have to say it did not disappoint at all.

This I can already see will be one of my favourite movies, after one screening I already adore it. What an absolutely brilliant movie. Go and see it.

[/leisure/screen] link

Mon, 24 Sep 2007

Fun courses - 10:51
The Scott Australian 24 Hour Mountain Bike Race (this is the race run by CORC that used to be The Mont Australian 24 Hour Mountain Bike Race) is on soon, the 13th and 14th of October. We moved the race back to the Mt Stromlo area for the first time since 2002, this is because we have the amazing new Stromlo Forest Park recreational facility with a huge amount of single track built for riding and racing.

It probably comes as little surprise to hear that I have raced and ridden a lot of different tracks all over the place, and I have to say the course we have put together for this up coming race is one of the most fun and interesting to ride I have seen in a long time. Back in April 2005 I had a bit of a comment on mountain bike race course design, though the Kowen course did improve, last year it was a really interesting course for a lot of people. I still do not think it lived up to enough of the need for an incredible mountain bike course that a race like our large 24 hour needs.

I am happy to say this has completely changed with the move back to Stromlo. We have two loops in the course this year which you or you team alternate laps around. One loop (the red loop) has some climbing and is not technically very challenging at low speeds. The other loop (blue loop) has less climbing, however it has more rock sections and twisty technical bits though out the single track of that loop.

Friday morning I rode the red loop and I must say it still has me grinning a lot 3 days later. Sure there is some bumpy flatter track early in the lap (bumpy because it is only a month or two old and not ridden in solidly yet) and then we have a climb up the trunk trail to the summit of Mt Stromlo. However all that can be forgiven, it is a fairly easy climb after all, and at this point we get the pay back for all that climbing effort. Descending non stop to transition for between 5 and 20 minutes (depends how fast you can ride down) on some of the most amazing sections of single track I have seen in a long time. Wheeeeeeeeee.

Yesterday afternoon I headed out with some friends and we rode a lap of the blue loop, I can definitely see that it is a bit harder technically, however I loved it, the extra challenge by some of the twisty or rocky sections. The grin worthy section on the back side of the mountain below Slick Rock, the flowing and swoopy tracks coming back toward the event centre. Sure it is not 10 minutes of non stop descending but it definitely gets a grin. I almost wish I was racing in the event rather than helping to run it. At least I can go ride these trails any time. Bring it on. :)

[/mtb/events] link

Tue, 18 Sep 2007

Keyboard training - 15:04
I have noticed my wrists getting sore when typing on my computer at work for long periods form time to time. I decided I should put more of an effort into trying out a Natural shape keyboard for a while. When Mikal was here for a month recently he recommended the Microsoft Natural Keyboard 4000 model. This is a mostly black keyboard with a usb cable to the computer (none of this silly wireless stuff) and appears to be the most recommended keyboard on most RSI and similar topic websites and blogs.

I finally convinced Bob to purchase three of these (one for me, one for the head of department and another in case Mikal^Wanyone requests one). Of course I am writing this diary entry on my laptop which sort of defeats the purpose, however I will be making an effort to get used to the new keyboard. It is quite a change as I had previously been using an old ps2 keyboard that I liked the feel of. One of 5 or so I found a cache of at work and had snarfed up and connected to my home computer, work computer and any other deskbound computer I had to type much on.

My typing is a little slower on the new keyboard, only having used it for an hour two now, however it feels nice and the shape is not strange or keys in the wrong places it seems. I had wondered about using the non standard keys and the strange zoom switch (though as a scroll wheel) however most of the extra keys do not show up as having an event in X (using xev). Searching for information on this I find a few Microsoft Natural Keyboard 4000 howtos or forum discussions, however the methods to get the extra keys all seem to require a kernel patch, one which is not integrated into the distribution kernels. Thus unless anyone can suggest some other mechanism to get the events to user space I guess I will leave it be for now, after all I need it to type, not to press weird buttons on.

I also have to train my fingers to hit q rather than tab in mutt to get out of an email all the time.

[/comp/hardware] link

Mon, 17 Sep 2007

Wading into a room full of angry possums - 11:07
Looking at my shins today it seems possible I spent the weekend wading around in a room full of angry possums or cats. Instead I was participating in the ACTRA navigation workshop, the reason for the scratches is I did not bother wearing my gaiters at all this weekend. Of course it is still fortunate I do not wear a skirt.

The workshop was fun, especially the stuff yesterday out in some bush on the edge of Lake George, including a 3 hour rogaine to finish of the weekend. Though Judi and I went a bit big in our course plan for that and were late back (not collecting controls on the way back), it was good to get more practice and be able to utilise the experience of the coaches out on real terrain to practice our skills.

[/mtb] link

Wed, 12 Sep 2007

Google maps API is kind of neat. - 11:31
I purchased a Garmin Forerunner 305 a few weeks ago, this is a combined HRM and GPS device. Pretty much aimed at sports people as a training tool. Mikey and Tony from ozlabs have been working on some code (gpsruns) that easily grabs the data and uploads it to your website to interface with the Google Maps API.

For example here is the API and Maps link from an 18 KM run I did last night. I wear it cycling, paddling and running and it is interesting to see the data. However I have been thinking there are ways to represent some of the data in the graphs in more interesting ways over time. I had a look at the Google Maps API documentation yesterday and am impressed with how much you can actually do.

I was thinking it would be cool to be able to display information such as distance, HR, speed, direction and other things in the line plotted on the map. Looking at the PolyLine documentation I am happy to see it can be done. I will need to divide the plot into sections over whatever range of change I want to display. However I can for example put a key for what colour is what heart rate on the page then display the map changing colour for different heart rates over time during the exercise. I can also put up more plot points for displaying distance covered or speed or gradient changes in different colours. I guess it is time I got hacking on this code along with Mikey and Tony.

[/comp/software] link

Mon, 03 Sep 2007

Those freaky couriers - 16:06
Yesterday I moseyed around the Angry Doctor 100 KM mountain bike race that Tom and Alina of AROC put on. Fun was had, my lack of riding in the last year made itself evident once more, and I definitely want to go back next year.

Of course on of the most amazing things to see out there was a cycle courier who passed me at the aid station point at 70 KM who was riding a fixed wheel (ie could not stop peddling) cyclocross (narrow tyres on 700c road wheels) bike with flat bars. I never saw him again until after the finish, thus I was beaten by a guy riding this rather awkward seeming bike, damn incredible effort on his part considering the course was not gentle, there were a lot of undulations out there. Apparently this guy lit up a ciggie at the finish too, freaky.

Sure cycle couriers are a kind of professional rider (in that their job is being paid to ride bikes fast 8 hours a day every day) and they have a rather full on single speed and fixed wheel culture going, it was however still amazing to see this out there on the course. And here I was thinking the nutters on single speed bikes were doing it hard up until that point.

[/mtb] link

Mon, 27 Aug 2007

Keeping with tradition, I missed my Blorthday once more. - 17:55
Yesterday was once more my Blorthday. Though only a day late this year in mentioning it, I am obviously getting with my trend of not posting on the date of the anniversary of this diary.

This year the stats are:

[17:57:26] 173 oneiros sjh ~/diary/data>find -name '*.text' | wc -l
696
[17:57:28] 174 oneiros sjh ~/diary/data>wc `find -name '*.text'`
...
24060  181077 1143131 total

I have been following another prevalent trend out in diary space (yeah I still hate the term blogsphere) and that is the trend of posting frequency to approach zero over time. I have been posting a lot less this year than either of the previous two years. 148 posts is significantly lower than either 221 or 337. Ahh well no matter, I am sure I will keep doing this for my own reasons, as much as I feel like.

[/various] link

What changed to make year round sports so much better - 17:36
Last Wednesday, Craig (who I did Geoquest with) and I headed up to Perisher Blue for a day of downhill skiing. This is the first time I had been skiing since 2002, which for me was a really long break from the sport. Until 2002 I had been skiing for between 2 and 3 weeks most years (except 1993 when we lived in England) from the age of 5 or there abouts.

To say I used to be snow obsessed is not overstating things. Although I have been an avid mountain biker since 1991/1992 I had been skiing avidly for longer and had spent a lot of time (and effort, money, etc) in being a competent skier. I tended to have a week of lessons every year to help improve more, then spend the rest of my time up there skiing a lot.

The interesting thing is that though I had a lot of fun last Wednesday, I do not feel the need to go back and ski more this year, or at least I do not feel the need strongly. So I have been wondering why I am not as snow obsessed as I once was.

I think a large part of the problem is that I am somewhat bored with Perisher Blue, sure I could go to Thredbo some more, or to Victorian resorts. However it would all be somewhat similar. I think a much more interesting thing to do would be more cross country skiing again, after all that opens up new places and adventures much more than lifted alpine skiing can. I suspect if I headed over to Europe or "Canadia" for an alpine skiing trip I would enjoy it a lot more due to the completely different environment and style of terrain and snow there.

However another aspect of this boredom with skiing I think is heavily related to the fact it is not easy to ski year round from where I live. See if I want to go mountain bike riding, paddling, running, hiking, etc. I can do that at any time of the year and have fun in the outdoors. I can concentrate on improving my ability and related fitness with each activity whenever I want to. Skiing on the other hand I can only do for a few short months eery year and it costs a lot of money. (I almost said a lot more money, then I thought of my tendency to break bike components and decided it may not be so incredibly different... though it is likely more expensive on a per hour of participation basis to go Alpine skiing)

My Alpine skis are "old skool" straight skis rather than parabolics, up on the slopes I was almost alone in skiing straight skis last Wednesday. Thus it was surprising, when I consider what a gear freak I can be that while looking at some shiny new skis in the shops in Jindabyne I was not even remotely tempted to buy new equipment. Probably because I realised I would not use it, looking at the price of some of the good ski and binding pairs I thought to myself, gee I could buy another boat for that (AUD $1400 or so), after all I can paddle year round (and I did not think I could buy a bike for that, being the bike snob that I am I would be wary of riding a bike that only cost AUD $1400 new.... <g>)

[/mtb] link

Thu, 23 Aug 2007

Yaaaaaarrrr, them Sydney siders beware - 11:57
I hear there is a atlassian treasure hunt going on around Sydney today, or maybe cutlassian pirate thing. A warning from the dirty long johns team. If you see them beware or you may walk the plank.

[/various] link

Mon, 06 Aug 2007

Fix the bugs in my food - 16:03
I was amused to see a reference to a burger king product in Canadia containing a buildid http://www.burgerking.ca/en/1158/index.php?buildid=25. Do they build their food like we do software, so maybe you can check a specific revision of the food out of version control and build it. Can you ask for a newer revision of some food with less bugs in it? I am sure they will claim their good does not contain bugs, we know that claim tends to be wrong in software so can they really be telling the truth with their food?

[/various/ilmiwac] link

Fri, 03 Aug 2007

Spoke too soon - 09:02
Oops, maybe I should not have preemptively mentioned the planned future exercise yesterday. During the mountain bike ride in Majura yesterday morning I had a low speed over the bars crash. Landing on the back of my left shoulder and rolling from there on to my lower back. During the day yesterday I could feel bruising around my left glutes and general lower back area. During Yoga I definitely felt the stretches through that area. However I thought that was the extent of the damage. Paddling was alright, nothing seemed to painful.

However at home last night and over night trying to sleep I found my back bruised around the ribs and breathing was a little bit difficult, also I was unable to lie on my left hand side. Thus I guess I should not be too surprised that this morning when I went out mountain biking I found it hard to breathe. As we started climbing the trails at the base of Black Mountain I was dropping off the back (at a low speed already) and unable to take deep breaths. So I had to tell the others to go on and I went home for some Neurofen and a lie down. I will not be able to run this arvo, though the agenda changed slightly already with a paddle session planned for this afternoon, I will wait and see how I feel come 4pm to decide if I can paddle or not today.

[/mtb] link

Thu, 02 Aug 2007

This week in exercise - 15:25
When Mikal was here at work last week he requested that I stop exercising. His reasoning is that I am making him and so many other geeks appear fatter simply due to the amount of exercise I do. I guess my problem is I do not tend to think I really do that much exercise, this is because I compare myself Dave and Julie, who set new standards for doing lots of stuff.

This week I have done a bit, probably more than any week while Mikal was here. I did suggest to Mikal he could skip the country to get away from seeing me exercise all the time, and heck it looks like that is what he is doing. However because I am not a nice friendly person I feel the need to write down my week in exercise as it will stand by Sunday.

  • Sunday last weekend I did a 24 KM paddle in my Mirage double kayak, including a 10 KM time trial at BGCC.
  • Monday I did a 13 KM run from ANU through Haig park up onto Mt Ainslie Reserve, over to the back of Campbell, down to the lake shore and back to ANU. Then that evening I did a Posture and Flex class for an hour and a bit.
  • Tuesday I was lazy and did bugger all exercise.
  • Wednesday (yesterday) I did the Bilbys road ride in the faster bunch before work (40 KM or so at a reasonable pace), during work I did a 11 KM run to Yarralumla bay and back from ANU.
  • Thursday (this morning) I went mountain biking in Majura for a bit over and hour (30 KM on the mtb by the time I got to work), had a 1.5 hour yoga class at lunch and will be heading out paddling on the lake this evening for an hour and a bit.
  • Friday, tomorrow, as always the Friday morning mountain bike ride will be happening (anyone who can not tell what song I am referencing in the email for the ride has never heard the song). Then I hope to get a run in to make it three reasonable runs this week
  • Saturday will be an easy day, hoping for a paddle in the morning, though it may end up being an easyish road ride for a few hours, then I will be volunteering for CORC doing pre race registration for the 8 Hour WWS mtb race this weekend
  • Sunday I will be racing in mens pairs on at the 8 hour mtb race on my single speed mountain bike. Wheeeeee

What can I say, fun will be (or was) had.

[/mtb] link

Wed, 01 Aug 2007

And the k bone is connected to the - 17:47
So after checking with dell today to ensure we would not mess up the warranty to play with my laptop and reseat the keyboard I had a look at fixing the problem. I must say this is a remarkably easy fix, there are 4 screws on the bottom marked k, these hold the keyboard in. Unscrew them, seat the keyboard how you need to, screw them back ensuring they are tight. Job done.

I am sure Bob is laughing at me right now as he tends to pull anything he buys apart the minute it is in his hands, ignoring any other issues.

[/comp/hardware] link

Tue, 31 Jul 2007

Please go away clicky key - 22:58
I am sure the old ibm keyboards that had a positive key click and made a noise on each key press are all well and good. If that is what you wish to use and are used to it. On my laptop it is getting on my nerves.

I have had a problem with the screen on my laptop (dell x300) for a year or so. There has been a brighter circle in the middle of the screen, also the screen hinge has been a bit loose and wobbly. The machine was still usable and functional so I did not give it much thought and got on with things. However as the warranty runs out in August sometime I decided I had better do something about the problem.

Thus we had a dell technician in the other day (Monday morning) to replace the screen. All good the replacement screen is fine, no bright circle and it has stopped wobbling all over the place.

Well all is fine with the screen now, however the technician had the keyboard out while making the screen change and somehow it seems has not reseated the bottom right hand side of the keyboard. The outcome of this is there is a noisy click sound when ever I press right arrow, page up or page down, or enter.

I could open it up and fix it at work tomorrow I guess, however it is still under warranty so maybe I should get dell back to look at it. Having only a few keys on the keyboard behave as if they were on an old ibm keyboard is not really a desirable behaviour.

[/comp/hardware] link

Clean bike - 22:47
After almost a month of not cleaning my geared mountain bike, leaving it in the shed and doing all my mountain biking on my single speed, I finally got off my arse this evening, overcame my dislike for working in the shed in the cold and cleaned the thing. Kind of funny when I will be using my single speed in the 8 hour race this weekend. Ahh well I can finally ride it again and take the Friday morning ride up some steep hills. Wheeeeeee.

[/mtb/gear] link

Mon, 30 Jul 2007

Why is Tuesday the running day around here? - 16:03
As I have said from time to time I find running a hard sport, it makes you work, there is no where to hide and I still do not find much love for the activity. However I do do some running for a variety of reasons. Today I headed out for a 13 KM run (from ANU up through Haig park to Mt Ainslie reserve, along the front there to Mt Ainslie Drive then down to the lake vie the back of Campbell and Russell park then along the lake shore back to ANU) but it is a Monday so I must be some sort of anomaly.

I say this as I am somewhat surprised to see a lot of running happening on Tuesday evenings. The Bilbys main run session for each week is Tuesday nights at Dickson oval year round (in winter between 30 and 50 people tend to be there, in summer upwards of 100 are there often). ARNuts, a group of Adventure Racing people in Canberra (most of whom are far faster than me) do a weekly long run every Tuesday night. Today I saw the ANU Mountaineering Club is also doing a regular Tuesday evening run. So I wonder what is it about Tuesday that makes it attractive to run groups in Canberra.

Sure good runners such as the ARnuts all do many other runs a week (something I need to emulate to improve, ie run more) but it is a bit weird this Tuesday evening running obsession around here.

[/mtb] link

Thu, 26 Jul 2007

Ways to make staying fit easier - 20:07
I am not particularly flexible, this becomes a problem when you consider cycling is a sport that promotes lack of flexibility. I know full well that if I stretch regularly I am less prone to injuries and tend not to tighten up and lose power in some muscle groups due to poor positioning. One of the problems I encounter trying to sit down and stretch every day or at least fairly often is that stretching is boring. (also I hardly ever watch tv so can not even stretch in front of that)

The obvious solution is to join some classes for stretching and body balance sort of disciplines. Thus I have enrolled in a P&F, which alas I had to miss the first instance of this week (Mum's birthday dinner on Monday night) so look forward to participating in next Monday and a yoga class, both at the ANU Sports Union (handy being 50 metres from work).

The first yoga class was today, I have never done any before so had no real idea what to expect. Some of my friends go to yoga regularly and love it, others have said they tried it and did not like it. One of my friends who did not mesh with yoga said she found herself unable to blank her mind and simply concentrate on what is going on with her body during the exercises. I was hopeful I would be able to deal with this and not spend the time thinking of other things, when I am exercising I generally blank my mind a fair bit and simply concentrate on the exercise in question. This is a fantastic way to relax and escape from the rest of the world and give your brain some down time.

I am happy to say I liked the first class, it seems to have helped with flexibility a bit already and I was able to let my mind simply concentrate only on the exercises in question throughout the class, even when we were simply relaxing into and out of the session. Now to see how much this and the P&F class help me during the rest of the semester.

[/mtb] link

Gannets - 19:13
concrete dude This gannet is probably not about to attack a piece of pizza, maybe for the dual reasons that this is a Northern Gannet rather than an Australasian Gannet and that Pizza eating gannets from ANU in Australia seem to have become extinct a few years ago.

So what is this gannet thinking as it swoops down, and what is it swooping down upon. I guess it is in a bit of a Batman pose, maybe it after some criminal scum of the (remarkably sunny) night time streets of Gotham. I kind of doubt it though, this is a bird not a bat, and it really does not look much like Dick, Jason or Tim. This is a bird so I am really not sure we need to go far looking for the motivations and deep thought patterns behind what is going on. There is probably a reason for the term Bird Brain being in common usage.

Looking closely at the shape of its wings in this photo the gannet looks a lot like what I remember Darth Vader's ship looks like, this Gannet is probably about to say "Luke I am your father... squawk".

(original image source)

[/various/ilmiwac] link

Wed, 25 Jul 2007

Concrete Dude - 17:01
concrete dude Say hello to the Concrete Dude children. Okay so it may not be concrete, it could instead be marble, or a tasty slab of granite chiseled out to look like some dead bloke. The real question we need to ask though is what to call him and what is he thinking. Really it is a bit of a wonder what a half man half inscribed concrete slab creature could be called. Mermaid/Merman creatures are half fish, A centaur is half horse. There is no word for concrete slab in Latin such as Mare, nor is there a creature in Greek mythology, half man half concrete slab. Really I am at a loss as to what to call him. Thus we will have to stick with Concrete Dude (with thanks to Bill and Ted for the inspiration).

Next we are on to the thorny issue of what he is thinking, if anything apart from what is this Serbian spruce and how did it end up in my hand? Maybe he is hoping he does not fall over, with no legs it will be somewhat difficult to get back up, I wonder what the weight limits on most wheel chairs are, would they be able to support our friendly concrete dude or would they crumple like a crumply thing? The other problem is the severe lack of colour in his outfit, no pink granite or any real variety simply dark grey clothes perfectly matching skin tone.

(original image source)

[/various/ilmiwac] link

Tue, 24 Jul 2007

I Do - 23:44
After making an attempt to see this 3 weeks ago, I finally got to see the movie I Do tonight. I liked it.

Luis was, obviously I guess, a bit of a pig at first and not the nicest of people, also the movie sounds like it could be one of those dodgy premises that consistently cause Adam Sandler to be putting his name forward as an individual who should never have become famous. However this was done by the French rather than the Americans, maybe that is what saved it, even with the dodgy sounding premise the movie was really good.

You can easily see why Luis' family would drive anyone mad, as the movie goes on you begin to see why there are reasons Emma decided to go in for the deal initially (though that is still a bit of a mystery really) however by the end of the movie the characters have generally all grown on you to the same extent they have on each other. At least that is what I got out of it, a charming and entertaining movie opening the eyes and changing the outlook of the protagonist in a major way. This is a movie I will probably be happy to watch a time or two more when it hits dvd.

[/leisure/screen] link

A man needs a canoe - 23:22
Until Jane told me about this ad while visiting this weekend for our Mother's birthday I had never seen it. Carlton made a few ads that were very funny, I had of course seen the Big Ad, it was a bit of an Internet sensation for a while. I had also, I think it was possibly even on tv seen the highly amusing Made From Beer which I also thought was rather brilliant and far more amusing.

Now this is where I am more interested, though the Big ad is clever and inspired marketing (notably viral marketing) I did not think it was particularly funny. With the made from beer ad I found the dry presentation of the various parts of the ad in the supposedly impressive but really piss taking way of talking about the imagery still has me laughing every time I see it.

Thus I was keen to see what they had pulled off with another ad and when Jane mentioned the Canoe Ad to me I was hoping it was good. I personally was definitely not disappointed, sure I may be a little biased recently but this is another hilarious ad. I know I am generally amused more by surreal humour and similar sort of strangeness so this is likely to appeal to me.

I was a little surprised when I showed a friend who loves the big ad the other two tonight and she was not amused at all, somehow she must be missing the surreal humour funny bone or something. I will say however I never found the flash dance ad for Carlton beer particularly interesting, somebody out there obviously does.

[/amusing] link

Mon, 23 Jul 2007

Security concerns? - 16:53
So I was wondering what to write about today, thinking I should attempt to be creative and write something for the ilmiwac category. Maybe if I could event attempt something in the style of Fafnir as I have sometimes tried to in the past. So I went looking for some current issue to think about on the ABC News website. However I came across a story I want to comment on, though a little bit lacking in details, it paints a worrying picture.

The story, in brief, says a class about WMD technologies at ADFA has been postponed due to security concerns. Huh? run that by me again. At the Australian Defence Force Academy, a class that instructs people taking it in ways to recognise and better understand weapons of mass destruction is a security concern? Okay so I understand this is an independent unit at masters level and is open to more than just enlisted personnel and can be taken as a correspondence course. However I find it a little worrying that the prospect that national security personnel and emergency medical and response people who need to know about this stuff as they may actually have to have an informed opinion or ability to deal with it are being told that it is a bigger risk to let the information out to them than to keep it locked up.

This is markedly strange when you take note of the fact that all the information in the course is available to the public in some way already, simply I guess not packaged up in a neat course. Less well informed or informed through unusual sources such as the Internet on subjects such as this when they need to deal with it in their line of work just sounds like yet more anti security for all involved. Just dandy to see any potential Australian Hans Blix style people will need to have been enlisted to get any sort of information out of the people who can pass on the real details about this stuff.

[/various] link

Wed, 18 Jul 2007

Far less painful than expected - 16:47
I asked Mikal if he had any experience in burning copies of DVD's, notably where there is more than 4.7 GB of stuff to fit onto a a dvdrw disc. He said no and asked me to report on the details of all the pain and suffering I went through to make it happen.

I feel almost cheated, and I am sure Mikal will be sad to hear how easy it all was, however because he asked, here are the details.

The only caveat with this method is it appears many (possibly all) of the extra features on the dvd will not work from menus (and looking at the mounted iso image may have been removed). However it has copied the primary documentary that is the reason for owning the dvd across, the resolution is reduced in parts, but that will probably not be particularly noticeable on a tv screen.

The simple process used for this is "apt-get install dvd95 vamps ; dvd95 &"

The dvd95 program will even burn the iso image it creates for you, or you can ask it not to and burn it yourself with growisofs or similar. I think the next step if I am feeling keen is to read up on ways to split the dvd up into two, retaining the menus but having the movie on one and the extras on another dvd or some other way to retain all the extra features. Right now however I do not feel that need.

[/comp/software] link

Mon, 16 Jul 2007

Bad day for the Aussies at the tour - 15:24
Anyone watching the tour coverage last night will have seen some of the bad news if not all, however as of yesterday three more of the Australians riding in the tour are out of the race. Michael Rogers was in the break away group and riding well, he was the T-Mobile leader and it was a little surprising to see no one was chasing him down. Rasmussen attacked ad bridged across to the break away group. Michael appeared to be climbing as well as Rasmussen and was looking comfortable. On the next descent Rogers crashed on a corner and hit the bitumen hard dislocating a shoulder (plus some scratches around the place).

Rogers tried to keep riding and caught the group on the descent and following flat section. As soon as the road pointed back up the next climb however the fact he could not pull on the bars made climbing too difficult so he had to pull the pin on his tour ride this year. Seeing all this happen was really depressing as Michael is one of the potential GC contenders and he really did look comfortable in the break away group. (also he is from Canberra)

The reason the tour doctor took so long to get up to have a look at Rogers was soon revealed also, he had been back with Stuart O'Grady who had also crashed, badly and was carted off in an ambulance. O'Grady has fractured 5 ribs at the front, 3 at the back, punctured a lung, fractured his shoulder and was damn lucky to escape with no spinal injuries.

The final blow for the Australians in the race came when Robbie McEwan, who has been suffering from the wrist injury due to the crash he had in stage 1 (which he won) was unable to make it to the finish line of the stage before the time cut off so is also out of the race. Of the 6 Australians who started the tour this year only two remain, Simon Gerrans on the AG2R team of Christophe Moreau and Cadel Evans, the other Australian GC contender who appeared to be riding well and within his ability yesterday to stay in contention. (More news on the crashes is available on ABC News)

[/various] link

Fri, 13 Jul 2007

Taking the easy way out - 11:19
Last night I was trying to come up with something to write here, I have been making more of an effort than most recent months to write here daily. With nothing coming to mind I decided to do this the easy way and look to see what was on the ABC News website with the offbeat tag. I can almost always find something I feel like commenting on if I look around here. Of course my grand plan fell apart when I ended up watching that idiotic show on ABC last night with one of my house mates. I had to leave the room a few times as I just could not handle the blind seeming single sided attitudes of some of the items presented in the "documentary" or some views in the subsequent panel. Then the tour coverage came on and I pretended to watch that (when in actuality I fell asleep on the couch until midnight then went to bed), so I never got around to writing anything here last night.

However I did find a few items of note and I for one welcome our new fungi overlords. I begin to wonder why these events are not more common outside northern Europe? Is that the only part of the world they want to celebrate the ability to carry heavy sacks of grain, or in the modern version see how fast they can escape over an obstacle course with their spouse? Though I do wonder if the couples are really couples or is it open to any mixed team. The races are a bit short though so I doubt these competitors would be able to go the distance in AR or similar carrying a team member around.

Then of course there was this item about a large famous estate being sold in the US for a lot of money. The bit that got me wondering is the mention of the night club in the house, huh what? See I have to admit to only ever having been inside a night club maybe 3 times in my life, however I was under the impression they were kind of boozy dance gatherings for people out on the town. How would a night club work inside a private property belonging to a really rich person? Maybe it is a revenue raiser.... could we all try it, remodel a few rooms in our house, get a liqueur licence and hope the police do not get called out due to the noise of excessively loud techno and screaming customers in the neighbourhood too much.

[/various] link

Wed, 11 Jul 2007

Far too verbose - 21:58
As I mentioned at the end of June, my Geoquest report was on the way. I finally finished writing it tonight and after a quick spell check sent it along to the team and support crew to have a look at and approve or modify. I am currently almost hoping they tell me it needs to be cut down.

Last year my Geoquest report was around 4,000 words. This year I somehow kept writing until I had almost 10,000 words. What the heck did I blather on about for so long? The other day someone rather amusingly suggested they never bothered reading reports a common friend wrote as they went into too much detail. I had better reread my report and check I have not suffered from the same problem. Anyway once the team and support crew have glanced over the report and assuming I am satisfied I am not boring everyone to tears (I am sure you will all just look at the photos and video and ignore the words anyway...) I can finally upload it soon.

[/mtb/events] link

Tue, 10 Jul 2007

Tuesday afternoon milk carton blogging - 16:38

milk car ton

The above image obviously fits here, if the facts are to be believed. One Holstein cow can weigh between 1100 and 1500 lbs generally. Taking the lower limit in case we have small cows, 1100 lbs is around 498 KG. So to have a Ton of cows we need two of them. These are also the traditionally imagined milk producing cows, thus milk and ton are both in there. All we really needed was a car.

This also opens us up to the idea of needing proof of having Two Cows, of course many other thought exercises are available here. For example these cows are obviously clones, cows are one fantastic example of data storage, they map out a lot of information about Cowness in general, so we have some massive raid array (two cows) of redundant cow information. As Tanenbaum almost said, "Never underestimate the bandwidth of a station wagon with two cows hurtling down the highway".

[/various/milkcarton] link

Mon, 09 Jul 2007

Tour time - 22:32
One thing I have noticed fairly often recently is that there is an obvious piece of sporting equipment that smells worse than smelly cycling gear. Smelly neoprene paddling gear. In winter cycling gear can often smell worse than ever, the damp from amounts of sweat not escaping through the more wind/water proof fabrics getting in the clothing and smelling things up. Sweaty soaking wet neoprene I think however is even worse, maybe because it holds the smell so much more. My paddling booties and paddling gloves both leave my feet and hands with a most unpleasant odour, maybe it is because even when I rinse them they do not dry fully between uses. Maybe that is yet another reason to use pogies rather than gloves.

Tonight a housemate and I were watching Enough Rope with the Elton John interview and some car pulled up at the club across the road, the car must have been some silly hotted up muscle car. We could hear some of the youths outside the club cheering on the engine noise as it revved up far too high (seemingly without a muffler to us listening inside). We could no longer hear the tv. If it had stayed any longer I was seriously considering putting in a complaint. Can't these people stay away from suburban houses for their dick swinging contests. The Braddon Friday night booner patrol at least is not particularly close to people trying to relax at home.

Due to seeing a few minutes of some submarine show on SBS waiting for the start of the tour coverage just now, I have been suffering from the xkcd wikipedia complaint during the start of this stage.

[/various] link

Sun, 08 Jul 2007

Reminded once more I should look at a tv guide once in a while - 18:04
Those bastards, so I stood around in the kitchen for the last 40 minutes or so having an enjoyable conversation with a house mate before the tour highlights package started at 6pm. We both then went to watch the tour show on SBS only to discover for some strange reason it screened at 5:30pm rather than 6pm tonight. We missed it, this is after I was mostly nodding off until 3:30am in front of the tv last night so missed seeing any of the faster or more interesting (to me) rides (Cadel Evans, Michael Rogers, Fabian Cancellara, etc). I had been looking forward to seeing the highlights package. The tv program did have it at 5:30pm so I guess once in a while I should actually look at that.

The same sort of problem happened to me last week, there was a 25 years of Australians in the tour show on tv one night last week. I did not even know it had been on until some friends mentioned it to me the following day. Damn this occasional wish to see interesting programs needing additional awareness. I guess I should upgrade my mythtv system to a release that does not drop shows off the schedule for no apparent reason and get the guide data importing properly so this will stop happening to me.

[/mtb] link

Fri, 06 Jul 2007

Sold out movie and some damn impressive abs. - 11:12
A friend and I went into Dendy in Civic to see the movie I Do (Prête-moi ta main) tonight. However upon arriving we found it had sold out, I guess we will have to see it next week sometime. Anyway with no movie to watch we wandered around and looked in shops and bought some stuff. (some of my purchases include long handled tea spoons and crockery, see fascinating need to know stuff isn't it....).

Anyway one of the things I bought was a P!nk dvd from a concert she performed in 2004 in Europe (Try This Tour). I am once again fascinated to listen to some of her lyrics and realise how good they are. Also to hear the influences she mentions and covers (such as Janis Joplin). Rock on.

One other point I feel the need to mention, damn does she have some impressive Abdominal muscles. That is some serious working out going on.

[/various] link

Thu, 05 Jul 2007

SDVO cards are an answer - 11:34
After my question yesterday regarding DVI outputs on motherboards with Intel Graphics, JK and others have pointed out that SDVO cards will do the job. The Xorg wiki even has a page detailing which SDVO cards work which is good to see.

I had a look around and found HT sell one of the HP cards and it should work (if it is the DY674A) and there is another mob in Queensland selling a HP SDVO card that definitely the correct chipset. Next time I am in Fyshwick I should check out HT and see if they have one.

[/comp/hardware] link

Wed, 04 Jul 2007

Any boards with onboard Intel graphics with a dvi output? - 17:10
So I have been wondering if there are any motherboards available in Australia with onboard Intel Graphics and a DVI output plug on the board. From searching the web it appears the Intel G33 Chipset includes the GMA 3100 graphics which can have DVI output and some of the boards with this chipset sold in the US appear to have a DVI output. The Intel DG33FB board for example should be available with a DVI output.

However I can not from a few searches find a board with the chipset above or some other Intel graphics chipset which has DVI output being sold in Australia. The reason I ask for the Intel graphics is that it means having a supported graphics chipset with open specs under Linux and full capabilities available.

I do not have my heart set on that model specifically, DVI output capable board that works with Socket 775 and allows me to run a computer with the Intel open video driver under Linux would be good. Anyone know of one being sold in Australia?

[/comp/hardware] link

Tue, 03 Jul 2007

lca2008 have a fantastic first keynote - 16:28
So the lca2008 crew just made their first keynote announcement and man does this make me happy. Bruce Schneier will be presenting a keynote at lca2008, rock on.

When we ran lca2005 the speaker I wanted to get there most of all as a keynote invite was Bruce Schneier, we sent of an invite and also had a colleague in the crypto field ask him to attend as a keynote invite. Alas he had other commitments and was not available. Sure we had some great keynotes, Eben's for example was incredible and the standing ovation he received was well deserved, however I was always upset we had not managed to get Schneier out to linux.conf.au. Way to go Melbourne crew you make me happy.

[/lca] link

Must go ride bikes - 15:51
I did two climbs of black mountain just now and damn was that a wake up call. Of course by wake up call I do not mean I was asleep, heard a ringing noise and awoke to find myself climbing black mountain. Apart from the fact it is the middle of the day and I am fairly sure I have been at work most of the day, I have yet to perfect the sleep riding technique needed to do that sort of thing.

Anyway my times were indeed indicative of the fact I have no speed on the bike currently and am depending on my base bike fitness to get me through. First climb, entirely seated was 13:30 then the second climb was 13:12, both were at a perceived effort I used to do repeats in 12 minutes at. Of course perceived effort is not a perfect regulator, however I do not have a HRM or power meter and really if I did succumb to owning such devices I would be even less able to claim I never train than I currently can.

Anyway I do need to get a lot more bike riding back into my activities in order to get back some semblance of form, I should be able to do 4 climbs of that hill in a row at 12 minutes each (including a seated climb and a standing climb). Time to get back out there and regain some bike fitness. Of course I intend to go to a run session tonight, however that should help with weight loss I can hope.

[/mtb] link

Mon, 02 Jul 2007

Beware of hidden freezers - 17:31
I do not know what it is, but I am getting cold for periods at the moment. Saturday afternoon around 5:30pm I felt I could not get warm. The house was heated (to around 18 Celsius, a temperature in which I am normally wearing t-shirt and shorts in the house (though my house mates are rugged up in trackies)). This Saturday afternoon I was wearing a jumper, tracksuit pants and rolled up in my doona yet was almost shivering.

Today it has just happened again, I am at work, a rather well heated environment, wearing jeans and I have put on my jacket (which I rarely do indoors at work) and am still cold. This is so very strange for me as I normally have no problem with cold conditions. On Saturday I had done an easy 80km road ride and an easy 1 hour paddle. Today I rode around stromlo before work, then at lunch out to Latham and back. Admittedly the ride to Latham and back was a bit chilly, however I have been back at work for a few hours an should not be feeling cold.

On Saturday evening within an hour I was once again warm and comfortable in a t-shirt and tracksuit pants.

It also does not feel as if I am getting sick, no sore throat, lack of energy, unusual tiredness or weakness so I really do not have any idea why I am having cold spells. It must be due to all the freezers hiding out of sight under my desk or something.

[/various] link

Sun, 01 Jul 2007

Gone Soft - 15:54
I had been intending to go out for a road ride with a friend this afternoon, after paddling this morning and realising it is kind of cold outside but still looked alright if you rug up I told my friend of the conditions. We called off riding until 6am tomorrow morning rather than today, the weather was too discouraging. Thus I am sitting at home and thinking I really should do some more exercise today, yet I look out the window and see a huge amount of grey cloud. It is not actually raining and probably will not in this area, however as the exercise I am thinking I should do is running I have been talking myself out of going out.

I must have gone soft some time, ahh well there is some stuff I need to do on the computer, unrelated to work, and I need to finish writing my Geo report, so I promise I have good reasons, really.

[/mtb] link

Fri, 29 Jun 2007

Geoquest was fun, my report is on its way. - 17:30
So I had a good time up at Geoquest, thanks to Craig, Danealle, Bruce and Brendan for racing and to James, Zoe and Jane for supporting. Also to Aunt Jude and Grandma for moral support, additional help, all the food, etc.

My report is on its way, I know no one wants to hear excuses so I wont provide any... I thought I had only written a few words but wc claims I have 5500 or so in there already and I am only half finished.

[17:15:59] 126 oneiros sjh /tmp/digicam/geoquest07>wc index.html 
 1139  5501 41252 index.html

I have 99 photos and 5 videos with the report this year too. Anyway when I finish writing the text, hopefully this weekend sometime, I will let my team and support crew have a geeze and then if they like it share it with everyone.

[/mtb/events] link

I wonder what we can dream up for xkcd - 17:16
A while back I wondered if xkcd should do a strip about the reaction of a hard core geek when they first learn of the existence of xkcd, how the person in question disappears for a number of hours not to surface until they have read the entire archive. I think it is a bit self referential to ever actually be in a strip though.

The rather interesting post the other day I read critiquing the art in various online comic strips pointed out how xkcd is not at all worth commenting on re art as it is not about that, also it pointed out that UserFriendly also is not about art, both are simply geek cliques or something. He may have a point, though I have to say in the case of xkcd especially it really does not matter as the content is so brilliantly funny to geeks it rally appeals. A counter to that is the point that it goes completely over the heads of most people. I tried showing xkcd to my sister a while back and she simply did not see the humour.

Anyway my latest idea for an xkcd, with thanks to DanielS for providing the source material (his apartment in Helsinki flooded) that lead to the idea. Wouldn't it be fantastic to have the floors in your house freeze over with ice and you could ice skate around your apartment.

[/various/ilmiwac] link

Sun, 24 Jun 2007

So many axes so little time - 17:15
I stumbled across this Buffy quote the other day "Buffy: I now have my weapons categorised from A to Z, from axe to... zee other axe"., definitely got me smiling. Thus I am wondering, can I think of an axe for every letter in the alphabet just to complete her weapons categorisation that may just be entirely made of axes.

A: Axe
B: Broadaxe, Battle Axe
C: Climbing Axe, Copper Axe
D: Dareg Axe
E: Ettin Axe
F: Firefighter's Axe, Frankish Axe
G: Gothic Axe
H: Hatchet, Halberd, Huribat
I: Ice Axe, Irregular Axe (yeah so I made this one up to accompany Regular Axe)
J: jey'naS (double sided klingon battle axe)
K: Klingon Battle Axe ('alngegh (single sided with a spike) or jey'naS (double sided))
L: Lumberjack Axe, Light Axe, Labrys
M: Maul
N: Nail Axe, Nzappa zap
O: Ono (japanese)
P: Pollaxe
Q: Quality Axe (thanks Brad)
R: Regular Axe
S: Spike Axe (this could almost be a specialist weapon in Buffy <g>), Star Axe, Stone Axe
T: Two Handed Axe, Throwing Axe, Tomohawk
U: Undead Killing Axe (again thanks to Brad, this is Buffy after all, I am sure she has such a weapon)
V: Valaska (Slovak), Viking Axe
W: Wood Axe
X: X (which is indeed an Axes, thanks Bill)
Y: Ye Olde Axe (another one from Bill)
Z: Zee other Axe

Thanks to Bill for X and Y, thanks to Brad for Q and U.

[/various] link

Thu, 14 Jun 2007

Office at the airport - 11:38
I was interested in Jon's post today detailing his experience of flying into Brisbane for work and that he liked not having to leave the airport at that end.

It does indeed add a lot of time (and cost) to get into a given city from the airport, in the case of Sydney it is often far easier to simply drive there from Canberra for work rather than fly and then commute to some location from the airport.

So the above reasoning is to some extent the thinking behind the Brindabella Business park offices spread out around the Canberra Airport. Companies and government departments can maintain a Canberra presence and yet make it a lot easier to do business with people from out of Canberra. Also the airport owners here want to make money and having offices pay rent on their land helps with the making money side of things.

The one negative I find with these offices is the location, to get there by bike you have to traverse a rather unfriendly road for a while and on busy mornings it can be difficult to cope with the traffic. This is obviously the Canberran in me speaking as compared to other cities it is nothing of note, most of the ride there is on lovely bike paths or through quiet leafy suburbs. (and it is only a 20 minute ride from the ANU area).

[/various] link

Mon, 04 Jun 2007

A Google mail complaint - 20:46
So like all the other sheep in the world I do have a Gmail account, though I do not use it for anything much or tell people what it is. However a while ago I set it up such that it will forward all email received to my main email address. Then I subscribed the account to a mailing list I found was not delivering to my normal address correctly for some reason.

So far all of this sounds fine, however I noticed over the past week there were a fair few email on the list I seem to have missed. I logged into Gmail and found it had rather nicely stopped a bunch of spam. However it had also stopped 42 list email in the past month or three. So I went through all the spam it had stopped and marked the list mail as not spam and thus they were moved into the inbox.

Now I thought to myself I simply have to forward (or bounce) all these 42 email to myself (there is no option to reprocess them with the default forwarding rule). Unfortunately this can not be done, there is no way to mass forward or bounce email to another location. Sure I could open every individual email and forward them, but that would take forever, and I admittedly would prefer to bounce them to me so the headers remain as they should be (bounce being a feature Thunderbird also does not have even though there have been open bugs against Mozilla mail since Mozilla was open sourced, but that is another rant for another time (I am aware there have been thunderbird plugins to do this sometimes but they tend not to be up to date)).

So looking through the help files for Gmail I find they are serious that there is no way to get more than one email at a time sent on. They suggest enabling pop3 and downloading the mail. Okay so I can do this, however upon trying it is about to download all the email that has ever come through to Gmail, not just the stuff in the inbox. I only want a local copy of these 42 email, if only it were not so hard. I guess I have heard of API's for Gmail that may be the next place to look.

Admittedly I use mutt as my primary email client and am not at all familiar with Gmail so I may be missing something but so far my rather specific needs are hard to come by. I guess at least I do have access to all my email data there rather than it be closed off and locked away somehow.

[/comp/software] link

Sun, 03 Jun 2007

Telstra Whitepages has a different idea of NSW than some - 17:28
I noticed today when looking for a friend's address on whitepages that Telstra seems to think Jerrabomberra is in ACT rather than NSW. All searches I do for anyone I know out there with NSW selected as the state come back empty. However when I change the state to ACT they all come back with matches. I wonder why Telstra seems to be unaware that all the people living out there have to register their cars in NSW and vote in Eden/Monaro for state and federal elections.

Of course I found it got even stranger when, on a whim to see if they knew about Queanbeyan being in NSW, I searched for some friends in Queanbeyan. If I select state as NSW I get some matches with some names. When I change the state to ACT I get completely different matches on the same names. I guess it is nothing new to see Telstra confused and not quite accurate or useful but still it is kind of weird.

[/various] link

Wed, 30 May 2007

Catholic Explosion - 16:45
So what would happen if you got a Pope and an Antipope together?

[/various/ilmiwac] link

Fri, 25 May 2007

Patrick the Pink Boat - 18:34
Last week I happened to drop a hint that I would be getting a new toy that our team would use at Geoquest this year. So here it is, a brand new Mirage 730 Double Sea Kayak. Yay.

Took it out paddling today and it was indeed good fun. I will have to wait until I can paddle with someone I am used to paddling with to gauge if there is much difference in speed compared to the Mirage's I am used to paddling. However I was happy Amanda was able to join in the paddle at lunch today as it meant I got to try out the brand new boat.

As I mentioned, I decided to name it Patrick, fun will be had.

[/mtb/gear] link

Tue, 22 May 2007

Almost the same to where this category came from - 15:28
I had not thought of this last time I read this xkcd strip, however the concept there is almost the same as the one I got the category name for silliness from ilmiwac (with update) though with Knuth rather than Frank the vet.

[/various/ilmiwac] link

Mon, 21 May 2007

Unix command scheduler graffiti - 11:52

Unix Command Scheduler Graffiti: CRON! (fullsize)
I was interested to see this on the Braddon Telstra building yesterday. Graffiti artists are getting into unix in a big way when they feel the need to pledge their support for the unix command scheduler on the side of buildings.

Of course I guess, as it was on the side of the Telstra building, it may be some statement about how telstra is run, all from a series of cron jobs. That may actually explain a lot about the organisation if you give it some thought.

[/comp] link

Sun, 20 May 2007

New paddling PB at 10 KM - 13:26
Took a TK1 out for the 10 KM time trial today and got 57:19, 11 seconds faster than my previous PB. Rock on.

[/mtb] link

Wed, 16 May 2007

There is an obvious reason for the naming - 22:21
I got to wondering why the pope is always called something like Benedict, John Paul, Innocent, Clement, etc. It seems so obvious they should at least once choose a name that rhymes nicely with Rope, however I had a quick look for names that may infact rhyme and it does become more obvious, the majority of names are from some heathen (Greek mythology) source, those that are not (Lope for example) are too obvious a rhyme, you could not in all seriousness call him Pope Lope after all. It is a shame really this lack of appropriate names for the Papal person, I guess they may have to stick with established tradition after all, just for a change.

[/various/ilmiwac] link

Fri, 11 May 2007

Predictive text in hopeful mode? - 18:56
I was just typing something into an sms and had to hit the button for a W to appear on the screen at the start of a word, this key also has X, Y and Z on it. Of the four letters there I wonder which letter is the least often used to begin words with. I strongly suspect it is X. This is why I was mildly interested to see X appear as the first letter suggestion for this word. Is this some form of predictive text in hopeful mode, wanting to be able to use this little used letter only realising as the second letter of the word is requested that, no we are not speaking about Xylophones, at least not in this message.

[/various] link

Thu, 10 May 2007

Recovering data from a dbx file - 17:10
Maybe this should have a Dear Lazyweb heading?

So I have been trying to extract some email from a Microsoft Outlook Express 6.0 DBX file for a friend. She has deleted a lot of email in a mailbox by accident. However the email is all still in the file, however there is no way I can find to get it out cleanly.

Running strings over the dbx file it finds all the old email, though in a corrupted sort of output. There are some dbx libraries for linux and they have programs to readdbx or similar (perl libraries based on them). However running these it extracts the email that still shows up in the mailbox in outlook, but not all the deleted content. The DBX file is over 5 MB, however the available linux dbx libraries extract about 120 KB of data. Strings output is close to the 5 MB (the attachments, due to being base64 encoded of course are recognised as strings)

I wonder if anyone knows of linux software that can extract all the email from a dbx file even those with the leading few bytes or whatever outlook changes to indicated they do not exist any longer?

The best option I can find so far that may possibly work, though I have no idea what it can do is a utility called DBXtract that runs on windows for USD $7. It would be nice to extract this to mbox format on linux though.

[/comp/software] link

Wed, 09 May 2007

Silent G - 15:41
I commented to jdub and a few others it is sort of a shame Ubuntu releases are named with the same first letter of both words, with the next release named "Gusty Gibbon". As they are bringing in the Gibbon it would be so much better to call it Funky Gibbon in reference to The Goodies.

However when I mentioned this problem to Bob he had a rather brilliant suggestion, they should have used a silent G as is used in most open source recursive acronyms derived from the letters GNU. (GNU itself, Gnome, etc)

Just think Ubuntu GFunky Gibbon.

And for the bad pun lovers out there, I bet you can't wait until your UGG Boots.

[/comp/linux] link

Tue, 08 May 2007

A concert I have been waiting 12 years for - 12:19
On Saturday night my sister and I went and saw the Dave Matthews Band live at the Hordern pavilion in Sydney. I was hell keen as I have been an avid fan of them since I first heard Ants Marching way back in 1995. I guess you could say this is one gig I have been hanging out to go to ever since, strangely I did not hear that they were touring Australia in 2005, though they did. Thus my first chance was this year, I had not heard about this gig either until I was driving to a mountain bike race with a friend and she told me the gig was on and she was heading up to Sydney for it.

It was a fantastic performance, with classic DMB style, lots of solos from all the performers: Boyd Tinsley on Violin, reminiscent of a dreadlocked muppet in his on stage antics, look and style, but man can he jam on a violin, LeRoi, Stefan, Carter and the rest. (7 all up). The crowd was really enthusiastic and danced a lot which was fun. Interestingly the tour was not really very heavily promoted in Sydney and yet it still sold out, a lot of Americans were there to see the performance. This makes some fair amount of sense as DMB are huge in the US and have consistently been in the top 5 selling groups there for over 10 years now. It almost makes me wonder why they are not more popular here (the lack of Australian tours could have something to do with it).

Anyway it was one hell of a good performance and I would like to see them again sometime. It has also crossed one of my must see acts of the list of those I had not yet seen. I still really want to see the Counting Crows live one day though. I hope they can tour Australia sometime.

[/leisure/music] link

Thu, 03 May 2007

Careful how you bend me - 14:14
The battery on my bicycle is flat, the light will not work, oh no I may not be able to start the bike now. What will I do, maybe I had better ride it home an charge the battery. I guess this could have been viewed as a problem riding back from somewhere else (as opposed to riding in circles in the dark in one place) last night when I kept flashing people with what little power was left.

Heck that almost brings us into the realms of more silly super powers, what is your super power? Well see I can flash people. That is not a power, simply the behaviour of drunk uni students... or is it? Of course this may bring us to something along the lines of a recent post with the song quote "Funny girls on the T.V Shows, Close your eyes and they turn to snow." that I heard a few minutes ago. Oh my god, watching comedy on tv, if we close our eyes the funny women turn to flakes of frozen water. What ever will we do to avoid our "comediennes" coming over all frosty?

Of course if the funny girls happen to have the above mentioned super power and put it to use while making the males in the audience laugh there will be far less chance of them turning to snow, they always said sex sells but in this instance it may also ensure we are not lining the pockets of the snow making industry through the sacrifice of female comedians. Wondering as we were about not much power being left, or running out of power, what is it that you do to recharge this super power, this ability to flash people. Unlike the battery on which the green lantern recharges, there must be some other way in which to recharge this super power. My suspicion is it involves copious amounts of beer.

[/various/ilmiwac] link

Wed, 02 May 2007

Careful with your fact checking when tim tams are at stake - 15:34
For some reason I placed a bet about some capability of a new piece of hardware at work with a colleague. His terms were a packet of my preferred biscuits (dark chocolate tim tams) to the winner. So I sat own and tested the fact we were discussing in this hardware. At first look it appeared I had been wrong. So I told him and gave him a packet of tim tams from my office supply.

For some reason I still was surprised by this so I did some deeper checking and realised I had been correct all along, I simply had done my testing wrong and thus I had in actuality won the bet. Though this was about 15 minutes later the tim tams were almost entirely gone by then, wow, you really need to be careful with your fact checking when chocolate is on the line.

[/various] link

18 films in one sitting - 14:57
Last night I wandered into the new Dendy cinema (I think this was my first visit to the new centre) with some of my house mates to watch Paris, je t'aime (imdb) (or wikipedia).

On the whole I liked it a lot, some of the short films were a little bit off the mood of the whole, though they still were good. An example is the vampire film, a little quirky and dark compared to the rest, but still interesting. The humour in some was fantastic (such as the mime couple situated in the Eiffel Tower area by the creator of Les Triplettes de Belleville) or the incredibly strange but humorous hair salon film.

I really did not like a few of the short films (the first one with the woman pulled into the car and the later film with the couple starting out in the strip club), however one of the great advantages is any film you did not like was over soon and something new was coming along.

I think the concept worked remarkably well, a collection of short films telling a single theme/story by different people with different styles. Unlike most short film festivals, such as Tropfest, with different films (even though they include a common element) on different subjects. What came out was a good night out with some very interesting and quirky ideas and scenes from time to time. I recommend seeing it.

[/leisure/screen] link

Tue, 01 May 2007

ADE 2007, ride around Canberra seeing what tracks we can find - 15:58
It may seem not to be so epic, simply riding around the bush land between suburbs, however anyone who did the ride would disagree, even those doing less than half the ride found it a bit of an effort, anyone completing the entire 85 KM of riding last Wednesday said they had indeed been Epicced.

The Anzac Day Epic stayed in Canberra this year, and though I had to go to work that afternoon and thus miss out on finishing the ride I was there for the first half and had fun. Some photos from the 2007 Anzac Day Epic can be found in the normal sort of place.

[/mtb] link

Oh no the meme really is taking over my common sense - 14:00
Eric Bana (Hulk) has a Gamma
Eric Bana has a Gamma.
Thinking some more about this silly meme (yes I am wasting thoughts on something like this, how did I get this low), it occurred to me that another amusing one was the image to the left here. An alternate (to bring in the rhyming more) is wording such as "I am a Bana" here.

I really need to go an do something productive I think, Argh.

[/amusing] link

Ride and Run around Mt Clear/Horse Gully hut loop - 13:07

Five of us about to head off for a run in the middle of the ride (fullsize)
I should have put this up when I uploaded the photos, ahh well laziness is an artform. Saturday April 21st Celia, Chris (with Toby in tow), Libby, Kevin, Nathan, Bruce and I headed up to the Mt Clear area for a ride and a run. Fun was had, just as it has been on previous visits to the area.

Photos and a few words are online in the normal sort of place.

Mt Clear / Horse Gully Hut loop ride and run.

[/mtb] link

Caught by yet another meme, or lol cats applied to computing celebrities - 12:50
Donald Knuth has a grammar
Donald Knuth has a Grammar.
I was trying to refrain from finding the lolcats thing amusing, heck I was not about to wreck my record, and in an attempt to get some Blogthenticity put a photo of a cat here. However when Jdub linked to the lolgeeks variation on the meme I felt the need to play along.

Of course this will be most amusing to computer science people (those who actually know who Knuth is and what he does).

[/amusing] link

Mon, 23 Apr 2007

One bad, one good, make a pattern for a show? - 13:05
So most of my house mates and I were sitting around watching the new ABC show "The Sideshow" with Paul McDermott on Saturday evening. I admit I was watching it largely because I am a huge Doug Anthony All Stars fan and still will make an effort to watch (at least once) anything the three of them appear in. I also really liked Good News Week, though Paul can be cloying and down right annoying at times, he also can be rather funny and holds and audience well (in my opinion).

So I thought Paul was mostly amusing in this show, and Flacco when he did his own segment (as opposed to the scripted silly moustache waving segment) was funny. However my large problem with the show is it appeared as if the had a pattern of one funny/amusing/good act followed by one piece of crap act and simply repeated the pattern through the show.

The three Adams familyesque sisters, the three women trying to get a drink at the bar, the one man band and the Claire Hooper stand up act were all rubbish I thought and not even remotely amusing or interesting. Yet the rest of the acts were largely really good. My house mates and I kept saying, couldn't they maybe just have all good acts rather than the pattern of one stupid/annoying/bad act and one good act throughout. Maybe it was just us but everyone in the house tended to agree on what was and was not good.

I guess I will give the show one more week and see if it improves at all.

[/leisure/screen] link

Fri, 20 Apr 2007

Not so puny humans and a surprising business closure. - 17:15
It was with some interest (I guess because I am somewhat enamoured of doing long endurance fitness efforts) that I read this link from Kottke suggesting Humans are better conditioned than any other species for endurance running. It is interesting to see the suggestion made with respect to hunting down animals in the heat of the day and that our cooling system and the way our bodies operate while running help us win out over other species.

Once again it sort of reminds us how unfortunate it is to some extent that our diets and lifestyles do not generally involve the same things they have for the past million years of evolution and thus most people today are likely not living with their bodies within the bounds our current evolution has placed on us. Though I also agree with everyone who thinks running hurts and wants to go ride bikes instead.

On a completely separate topic it was sad (well not personally, more from a perspective of something so long lasting being over) to see the news mentioned on Kottke and other places that the world's longest running company ended their reign and were taken over last year after 1400 years of business under the same name.

Of course their title is safe for a while, it is another 138 years or so until the next company in the list will have been running for longer.

[/various] link

Thu, 19 Apr 2007

Arm the bears. - 15:51
Here we go again, US and the gun control thing.

I always like the Robin Williams quote from a video I have at home, "You have the right to bear arms, you have the right to arm bears, what ever the hell you want to do!". It amazes me the way so many in the US seem to think they need to be armed. Heck these same people suggesting the recent shooting tragedy in VA would have been negated had the arms laws been relaxed. Their theory being more students with fire arms could have started shooting and stopped the loony.

What genius, lets arm everyone and try and convince them to be proactive in using deadly weapons with intent to harm in every day situations. Who needs police or anyone else trained in using such equipment and discretion, ethics, etc attached to the equipment.

Though that is an extreme view point I was admittedly somewhat surprised to see the suggestion on boing boing yesterday (this same article has some of the above mentioned lets arm everyone suggestions linked)

No matter which side of the gun debate you're on, one thing is obvious: anyone who is capable of and intent on killing 32 innocent fellow human beings will do so regardless of law. Homicidal maniacs can always be counted on to violate the boundaries set forth by others who want to promote a civil, peaceful society.

My huge issue with this quote from Xeni is that it is far too easy for any homicidal maniac to get hold of firearms in the US. When it is hard/impossible to get hold of weapons, a maniac may decide to drive into a crowd of people, or use sharp objects, or some other thing. Or they would show up more obviously in attempts to get hold of firearms. (I am sure there is an issue of illegal arms trade, however police do actually monitor and work against that sort of thing happening)

There is also an interesting disconnect between education about firearms, their use and ethics attached to them. In the US all manner of people can and do get guns. However interestingly most houses in Switzerland tend to have a gun of some sort in the house. However everyone in Switzerland has done compulsory military service (okay a bit of a generalisation) and thus the majority of the population has training in the use of, safety issues of (including storage) and ethics related to fire arm use and ownership. Although Switzerland has a large gun ownership per head of population it has one of the lower gun death rates around.

I know I am not really properly finishing any of these thoughts, but I still feel the need to say I am constantly amazed at the US avoiding better gun control.

An interesting side thought here is to note Mikal's spare time gun hobbies since he moved to the US, this in itself is not a bad thing, and it is interesting to note he could likely have done something similar here in Canberra. There are at least two firing ranges near the centre of Canberra that have controlled gun club activities such as he has involved himself in over in the US.

I personally do not see the fascination he seems to have with firearms recently, however there is a vast difference between going to a firing range and engaging in controlled activities there and the suggestions of arming everyone in the country and encouraging them to actively look for "suspicious" behaviour to eradicate lethally.

[/various] link

Tue, 17 Apr 2007

There are things I can't explain, things that run in my veins, they are centuries old... - 17:06
People signing up on the day of the race to compete in a 24 hour solo mountain bike race (was there nothing good on tv maybe?), blood (I hope), lots of buildings in England.

Heck that was almost fun (the title are some song lyrics, the text of the post above is my initial what do I write to that), maybe I should do it more often, and put it in the pointless diary entries category.

[/various] link

Wed, 11 Apr 2007

Assumed knowledge I missed out on - 21:45
So looking at the front page of my copy of the Sydney Morning Herald today there is a whole lot of news about some bloke named Andrew Johns retiring from his sport. However, and here is where I was caught out, there is no mention of what sport he plays. None of the articles on the front page or on the next few pages that talk about him retiring mention what sport he plays.

Eventually, somewhere deep in one of the articles it mentions he plays for a team called the Knights and that he and they are Newcastle based. However I have not paid much attention to any football codes since around 1992. Thus I have no idea if it is AFL, Rugby Union, Rugby League or heck even Soccer (though that is unlikely given it is front page news in Australia and the world cup is not on).

Going from some of the descriptions of his playing in the articles I am beginning to suspect it is not AFL, however not much more can be gleaned there. I guess I should own up at this point to the fact I went and asked some of my housemates if they knew who Andrew Johns was. They looked at me strangely and said things along the lines of "the football player?" (not helpful) until I admitted I had no idea who he was or what he played.

Fortunately there was in fact a side note on an article alluding to the knights playing the raiders. Fortunately for the purposes of solving this mystery I do know who the Raiders are (Canberra Rugby League team, they won a premier ship around 1991 I think (coincidentally the last time I paid any real attention to football of any sort, aged 12 or so I think)). So due to knowing what the Raiders play I had guessed that Andrew Johns was a Rugby League player.

I suppose this is one of those pieces of assumed knowledge we, as readers of a newspaper in Australia, are just supposed to have. I wonder how long it will now take me to forget.

[/various] link

Thu, 05 Apr 2007

Strange analogy at lunch - 16:42
While having lunch earlier I overheard someone who almost sounds like a born whiner complain about a form that need to be filled out at the uni for something, his complaint was accompanied by a rather strange analogy.

I say he sounds like a born whiner as I later heard him wining about his phone saying it is the worst he has ever had, and than whining about something else. Anyway the initial loud complaint was about the fact you have to fill in and sign a form claiming competency to ride a bike in order to use one of the university wide departmental bikes.

He was whining that the university was obviously a bureaucratic mess as no other place on earth would make you sign a form claiming self competency in order to ride a bicycle owned by the organisation/company in question. His friends did try to point out from time to time he may be overstating the matter but he ignored them rather successfully in order to continue whining.

Though the self signed competency claim is a little thin, I imagine it gets lawyers off the backs of the uni somehow, I tend to agree with his friends there are places outside the university that would follow a similar practice if they were forward thinking enough to provide bicycles for short trips.

Anyway the analogy this guy came up with was that you need not sign something in this manner in order to use a university car. Why I find this strange is it appears this guy completely forgot the need for a drivers licence that has to be seen before you ever approach the drivers seat of a work car. Gee a drivers licence hey? somewhat more difficult to get than simply signing a form claiming you are capable of driving. (which is a good thing, that it is a little harder to get than that)

[/various] link

Not A Pretty Girl racing the AROC Urban 12 Hour Adventure Race - 12:25
Bruce, Ben and I had fun out there with the 42 other teams on Saturday racing in the AROC 12 Hour Urban Adventure Race. This year there was no 24 hour option as AROC had held a 24 hour race down the coast on the Australia Day weekend in January.

Our photos and a few words are up in the normal sort of location.

[/mtb] link

Thu, 29 Mar 2007

Year 2007 problem. - 12:41
My watch is a fancy looking sailing watch, however I acquired because my grandmother found it on the pavement at Dickson when the Australian Junior Mirror championships were on in Canberra around 1992. I have used the watch for the last 10 years or so when I needed a waterproof watch, and since my other watch went missing in New Zealand a few years ago I have used this as my primary watch.

However I just encountered a problem when I went to change the time on the watch for daylight saving on Saturday night. The watch was I suspect constructed in 1991 and only uses 4 bits to store the year offset information for the date displayed. This occurs to me because I noticed the year on the watch is 1991 rather than 2007, the watch can not be set later than 2006 accurately. No real biggie as all it means is I should ignore the day information (today is not Friday).

Of course maybe I should buy a new watch one of these years.

[/various] link

Mon, 26 Mar 2007

Jindabyne Multisport Classic 2007 - 12:10
Bruce, Shanyn, Randall and I competed again in the Sri Chinmoy Jindabyne Multisport Classic this year. Just as we did last year we had a fantastic time out there. Gorgeous surrounds, some fun legs, great feeling among the teams racing, etc.

I took some photos and wrote a few words at the top for anyone to see our day out 32 Flavours at the 2007 Jindabyne Multisport Classic

[/mtb/events] link

Thu, 22 Mar 2007

New PB at 10 KM paddle - 14:15
After cracking 60 minutes for the first time two weeks ago in the 10 KM paddling TT, I went slower last week. Paddling the Floozy for the first time last week I was a little unstable at times and not keeping up a good cadence the whole paddle.

Last night at the final Wednesday afternoon time trial until October (day light saving change) I managed to get a new PB. This time I had a new paddle also, a small blade solution paddle from AROC. I was able to keep a higher cadence and am becoming more confident on the ski so not as unstable and wasting energy as much staying upright. The new time last night was 57:30, a whole 2 minutes faster, yay.

[/mtb] link

Fri, 16 Mar 2007

Yet another fun few days coming up - 17:28
So Aaron mentioned a training camp at Jindabyne this weekend he is piking from this year. I will also be up that way for the Jindabyne multi sport classic, with Shanyn, Randall and Bruce on the team it will be another fun day out. Tomorrow I am driving up to Jindabyne, giving a skills clinic to interested people on the technical first bike leg of the course. Register for the race and then if I have time have a bit of a paddle on the lake.

Sunday I am doing the three bike legs for the team, the last of them will be fairly tough this year too (43 KM with some huge hills). We should be finished in around 9 hours I hope, then on Monday a few of us will probably be doing the Jindabyne, Charlotte's Pass, Jindabyne ride which is rather pleasant.

I then swing back through Canberra, grab some more clothes and drive up to Sydney to return the boat we borrowed for the race and to help my Grandma celebrate her 86th birthday for a day in Sydney (she is travelling down from near Coffs Harbour to spend some time with the grand children and some friends of hers from down this way).

[/mtb] link

Tue, 13 Mar 2007

Signs of the decision made - 12:35
So I was lucky enough to be able to borrow a Grafton Paddle Sports Time Bandit from a friend for a week. The primary reason is so we have a rather fast boat Randall is comfortable in for him to paddle in the Jindabyne multi sport race this weekend.

Anyway I took my surf ski out this morning to paddle with Andrew, Andrew was giving the time bandit a go to see how much he liked it. Having recently sold his Horizon Rocket Andrew has been thinking about another boat for a while. As the Time Bandit did so well in the recent Rapid Ascent Kayak Testing he was keen to try one out and see how it went.

I was entertained to hear Andrew, half way through the paddle, say it shows he is well past thinking about it at the point he was starting to wonder what colour he should get for his new Time Bandit....

Update: so a short while after posting this I got an email from Andrew, he has ordered himself a Time Bandit, of course he is a little impatient with having to wait until August (long waiting list) to take delivery of the new toy, ahh well at least he gets a lot of time to choose the colours.

[/mtb/gear] link

Wed, 07 Mar 2007

Yay I cracked 60 minutes - 22:21
I am happy with my time in the BGCC 10 KM paddling time trial tonight. For the first time I finally managed to get under 60 minutes today, doing the time trial in 59m 30s, this is 2 minutes 5 seconds faster than last week.

I actually attribute most of my speed improvement to two things. Having spent some time on my new boat, the TK I was paddling tonight felt so stable I could almost dance in the thing, thus I was more confident moving my legs and torso around a lot with good rotation. Also due to really needing to increase my rotation and hamstring flexibility I have been stretching my hamstrings and doing rotation exercises while reading in my office the last few days a lot.

Of course Randall still kicked my hiney, getting 49m 30s in a pretty much identical boat (possibly a heavier boat even). I guess it is just as well he is paddling for the team in Jindabyne next weekend and I am mountain biking.

[/mtb] link

Tue, 06 Mar 2007

Get a Floozy - 19:10

Get a Floozy (full size)

Rear name (full size)

Front name (full size)
So as I mentioned I got myself a surf ski, I now have the photos of it with the new name transfers on. The name is "Floozy", in honour of Sam jokingly suggesting I need to get a new Floozy while speaking to her on the phone the other day.

Still having fun with it, still room for lots of improvement, I have to make sure I can stay upright before winter at least.

[/mtb/gear] link

Mon, 05 Mar 2007

New tippy floating toy - 15:54
So I went and bought a second hand racing surf ski (6.1 metres long) on the weekend. I have taken it out on the lake a few times and tend to be tipping into the water about twice every time I paddle it. Definitely have to work on my balance and skill more. Should be good I will build up my core strength and balance well trying to keep it up right.

Having fun so far with it, though no photos yet as I am waiting until I have the transfers with the name I want to give it on the boat before taking photos to put up here.

[/mtb/gear] link

Thu, 01 Mar 2007

Water Damage - 21:38
So many will have heard that the ANU has been closed due to water and hail damage from the storm the other night. Around 70 buildings on campus were damaged. In the case of DCS the skylights collapsed under the weight of the ice and hence water got in on the top floor.

Thanks to the efforts of a few staff who went in and shoveled ice and water for hours that night the damage was not worse. I was in there today and had a look around, some offices are fairly bad with the ceilings caved in (water ran through the roof space a fair bit) and a lot of obvious water damage. It is amazing how centralised the serious part of the storm was, sure we got some big hail at our place 1.5 KM from ANU but it is nothing compared to what hit ANU and civic.

[/work] link

Tue, 27 Feb 2007

Times when you wish etch were stable - 11:21
I really can not whine about this as I do not do work to fix it myself, however I tried to install sarge (3.1r5) on a recent dell machine (Dimension C521) for something I was working on yesterday. First the cd would not see the cd drive or the hard disk. So I found a sarge install cd someone had created with a 2.6.20 kernel and that worked. However the next hurdle, once packages were installed was that X did not just work with the nvidia card (nv free driver in 4.3.0) in the machine.

At this point I could either try testing/etch or install from a dapper cd I had sitting in the office. As it would save burning an etch/testing cd (which we may need rc2 for a clean install anyway?) I ended up installing dapper. At least I can still use the debian packages if need be, however I am definitely looking forward to etch being stable so it will work on more recent hardware for a while.

I guess the argument could be made I should have simply used etch, and if I am going to complain at all I should get off my arse and do work on debian to help get it out the door. Ahh well, machine is up and running now and I can get the work I need done on it.

[/comp/linux] link

Sun, 25 Feb 2007

AROC Sprint in Canberra - 21:45
I took my camera with my while doing an AROC Adventure Race on Saturday. This was just a short one, what used to be called a Sprint adventure race. I still like to call them Sprints, it is all a matter of perspective after all. When people frown at you and say "but a sprint is a fast anaerobic effort, maybe 30 seconds max" you can just say you are simply looking at it from a point of view of duration and comparing it with the 48 hour or 5 to 10 day races.

Anyway Bruce and Ron raced with me, I made some Nav errors and we lost a bit of time, but who cares we had a great time and I learnt a few lessons to make note of for next time. Bring on the 12 hour at the end of March.

Oh and the photos from the race are all on my AROC Adventure Race - Canberra, 2007-02-24 photos page.

[/mtb/events] link

Fri, 23 Feb 2007

The Polaris Challenge encouraging mental scars - 23:00
Oooh the location for the 2007 Polaris Challenge was announced today, In Black Springs just near Oberon, however this is not the interesting part. Marea and I have had no idea what to do costume wise this year. One other thing that was announced with the final details today is the theme.

The Rocky Horror Picture show is the theme of the Polaris Challenge this year. I see soooo much potential to inflict even more mental scarring on people than I have in past years. Ahh this theme could be oh so wrong.

[/mtb/events] link

Fri, 16 Feb 2007

Who says junk mail is all bad? - 19:53
A few months ago I saw mention somewhere of a new Motorola phone platform that would be coming out sometime, it had some new display technology called e-paper, apparently it only requires power for changes in display, not to maintain any of the image. In black and white (or it seems blue and white) only rather than colour as most phones have now days. The battery life should allow for something like 2 or 3 weeks between charges on standby (due to no colour lcd screen draining power and some other advances).

I saw mention of the fact that it had debuted in India already, however apart from knowing the phone was based on what Motorola called the SCPL (Scalpel) platform and that it should come out sometime in Australia I had no idea when it would be released and searching the web for "motorola scpl" in Australia had no results really. It should be a really thin (9mm thick) light phone with basics and no fancy useless crap.

Upon my arrival home today I grabbed some junk mail from the letter box and was leafing through it when I happened to notice a phone for sale called the "Motorola F3" which was obviously a SCPL phone. Woohoo, I may finally be able to get one, now if only I can find someone in Canberra who sells them rather them so I can use with my existing plan (Optus locked is not my idea of buying a new phone which appears to be what the stores an ebay Australia that I have found via google have available).

[/various] link

Mon, 12 Feb 2007

Triple Triathlon 2006, 32 Flavours report finally online. - 16:15
After waiting for a few months for the final shirt to arrive I finally decided it was not likely to happen in a reasonable time frame so I wrote my 2006 Triple Triathlon report. Shanyn, Randall and Bruce have all read it and liked it well enough so I spread the word last night.

So if anyone wants to know, this is the 2006 Triple Triathlon for the 32 Flavours team. Fun was had, thanks again to Shanyn and Bruce for racing with me.

[/mtb/events] link

Mon, 05 Feb 2007

Working Week Series 2007 - Lithgow - Round 1 - 16:45
Well I have to say I enjoy racing in Stu's Working Week series races, 8 hours is a god length of time to race. Either solo if you want to do a bit of endurance, or my preference in Pairs for a good hit out. Sarah and I decided to head on up and compete in round 1 of the 2007 Working Week Series at Lithgow.

We camped at the course and met up with a few other friends, some form Canberra, some from Sydney when we got there on Saturday arvo. Then come Sunday we rode around for 8 hours and drove home. Much fun was had. I wrote a few words to put with a few photos an have them up on a Working Week Series - Lithgow Round 1 page.

[/mtb/events] link

Thu, 01 Feb 2007

Molly Ivins, Shrub, Letting the Dogs Out, etc. - 14:29
I was saddened today when I saw a post on Metafilter saying Molly Ivins has passed away. She has for years been an amusing and insightful outstanding voice in US politics. Regularly taking the mickey of the incumbent idiots there. I tend to attribute to her the nickname Shrub that is often applied to the current US president. Largely due to her book "Shrub: The Short But Happy Political Life of George W. Bush" (which alas turned out to be a much longer political life than guessed at the time).

The wikipedia article and the metafilter post both link to a short tribute to Molly Ivins by her editor for the last few years. I guess all I can hope is her messages of getting involved in government (especially to the youth) and not simply sitting by the sidelines will influence people even posthumously by the next US election.

Another writeup remembering how much she rocked.

[/various] link

Tue, 30 Jan 2007

Swans of different nations - 14:25
Over the past few weeks I have been having an ongoing discussion with some friends about what Swans are probably saying about us as we kayak past them. Fairly often while Kayaking on the lake in Canberra we go within a metre or two of a swan or a group of Swans.

The Swans here probably yell out something along the lines of "Look out mates there is another bloody kayaker about to barge through". I suggest that due to being Australians swans they are indeed quite likely to use swearing in every day conversation even though they are not too upset and tend to stay right where they are not even moving too far as we come through a group of them.

I then extended the idea further suggesting British swans are probably far more civilised and proper saying to each other something along the lines of "Look out there chaps I see another kayaker is on their way through" as we paddle near them. One of my friends I was having this discussion with pointed out it really would depend where the swans are from in the UK as to their level of politeness. After all inner city London street tough swans (say from a small lake in Hyde Park) may be less polite and proper than some from some idyllic country English setting.

Heck for all we know the swans in Stratford Upon Avon get all Shakespearean on us and speak with thee, and yonder, and sit around composing sonnets in between being interrupted by Kayakers. Of course this is just in the English speaking areas where swans congregate. There are probably similar differences with swans in other places such as Germany. It has been suggested the swans in Hamburg are far more polite than those in Munich.

The Hamburg swans may be heard saying something along the lines of "Moin moin freunde! Seid ihr alle da? Viel spaß und einen schönen Tag noch." whereas the less friendly more abrupt swans in Munich may say "Gruß Gott und HImmel Arsch!"

[/various/ilmiwac] link

Mon, 29 Jan 2007

2007 Audax Alpine Classic - Bright, Victoria, Australia - 15:58
As I did last year, I went down to Bright this weekend just gone to participate in the Audax Alpine Classic for 2007. Gorgeous scenery, fun riding, big climbs, big descents and to top it off this year we even had perfect conditions. Sunny, not too hot, not too cold. Heck we could call it the Mama Bear's Porridge edition of the Alpine Classic.

Anyway I took a bunch of photos and made comments on them, they are online in the normal location where I would put 2007 Audax Alpine Classic photos.

[/mtb/events] link

Tue, 23 Jan 2007

Does the fridge light stay on? - 21:40
Hah I solved it, see cameras now days often have timers. So what you do is disable the flash, set the timer on the camera and place it in the fridge. Then close the fridge door.

Sometime later come back and remove the camera from the fridge. Then look at the photo, we will finally have proof of whether the fridge light stays on or not when the door is closed, this works well for small fridges, for larger fridges you can still climb in and see for your self I guess (though it may be easier to remove all the food and shelving first, thus the camera experiment should be easier).

Who needs all that engineering and circuit diagrams for fridges claiming anything about the state of the fridge light at certain times when you can do simple experiments like this. Well done to modern cameras and timers I say. I leave the experiment as an exercise to the reader. I wonder if the camera fingerprint will still be in evidence in such a shot?

Of course there is another issue that could be looked into here, what are the Schroedinger effects here, what is the state of the fridge light, the camera, the photo, the digital finger print, etc if you never open the fridge. I postulate the photo will be of live unicorns.

[/various/ilmiwac] link

Mon, 22 Jan 2007

Testing the 1 Million Monkey theory it applies to mutant grass - 13:48

Starting the Genetic Grass Monkey tests (fullsize)
I was out riding in Canberra yesterday for a while and I noticed it is good to see the government is obviously testing some scientific theories for Australia Day. On regatta point is this example of the question regarding the length of time it would take 1 Million Monkeys planting 1 Million strains of genetically modified grass to grow an Australian flag and appropriate Australia day message in the ground.

My only real problem is I do not know when they started the testing so I really do not know how long it took or how many strains of GM grass the monkeys had to use before this came out. I had better write to the government and ask them when they started their Genetic Grass Monkey test program.

[/various/ilmiwac] link

Fri, 19 Jan 2007

Google Underwear - 12:04
So Kristy suggests Google should indeed hand out underwear, and we have noticed a tendency with Mikal the past year or so. It appears he has only worn Google T-Shirts in that time, sure he always had the tendency to only ever wear vendor/free T-Shirts. Anyway we have suggested from time to time he is probably wearing Google Underpants (if nothing else Google selling Underpants may explain them turning a profit...)

Now although I really do not want to know more about Mikal's underwear it is interesting to note he lives in the US and has admitted to owning and wearing Google Thongs.

[/various] link

The kernel hacker culling plan - 11:13

Linus riding along on Geoffrey's Segway (fullsize)
Back in 1994 when Linus visited Andrew Tridgell and Canberra, Tridge took him out to the National Aquarium and tried to kill him off with a bunch of rabid penguins biting him. Then a few years later after an lca Alan Cox came to Canberra for a visit also and Tridge took him horse riding, he fell off a horse, more proof that Tridge is trying to kill off the kernel hackers. I suspect this is a large part of why Linus did not want to come back to Canberra in 2005, apart form having been there before he was wary of being near Tridge on his home turf.

Anyway at lca this year Linus and various other Kernel hackers are in attendance. However because all Kernel hackers are trained to be wary of Tridge at Kernel hacker school Tridge had to get someone else to do the culling effort this time. In this instance it is Geoffrey Bennett with his Open Source/Hardware hand built Segway vehicle.

Geoffrey has mentioned to a few people that if you go too fast on his it can cause a face plant or other problems as it does not yet back off correctly when it hits top motor speed. He will I am sure have that fixed soon, however he left that feature off here so the experienced kernel hacker Segway riders may be tempted to take it for a fast spin and possibly have an incident furthering Tridge's Kernel hacker cull.

[/comp/linux] link

5 Small Cats - 09:21

5 Small Cats (fullsize)
Apparently their names, from left to right are Pecker, Cowboy Western, Dulcimer, Cornbread, Crockpot. (maybe I should take a photo in sunlight to get them in focus)

[/various] link

The new camera - 08:04

Old camera front (fullsize)

Old camera back (fullsize)

New camera front (fullsize)

New camera back (fullsize)

As I mentioned last week I purchased a new digital camera. A Panasonic DMC LZ5, I have used it a fair bit so far, on the Friday morning mountain bike ride last week, riding up to Sydney and for various other photos in the last week.

I like the camera, and I took the above photos of both cameras last week just to show them off, the new one is a bit smaller and definitely lighter. It was just as well I had two cameras last week or I would have had a chicken and egg problem, how do you take a photo of a camera if you only have the one camera. (okay so a mirror is one solution, but I am ignoring that for the purposes of this lame chicken and egg reference).

[/comp/hardware] link

Tue, 16 Jan 2007

Squirrels not allowed to ski uphill - 10:27

Please to be stopping the squirrel on skis (fullsize)
Last night on a train coming back to my sister's place from Bondi I noticed a sign among the banned signs on the wall that I would swear suggests squirrels are not allowed to ski uphill here, or it says squirrels are not allowed to smoke through their feet. The banned sign to the left of the no smoking sign. Good to see city rail's graphic designers seem more interested in fancy stylised designs than making their warnings clear.

Of course I may just be showing off how blind I am, combining this with the ANU moose sign the other day.

[/various/ilmiwac] link

Mon, 15 Jan 2007

Ride from Canberra to Sydney for linux.conf.au 2007 - 12:28
Michael "Crash" Carden and I rode from Canberra to Sydney to get to linux.conf.au 2007. Last year it was in New Zealand and we had our mountain bikes with us, this year we have the road bikes with us in Sydney, and I have a ride report and photos detailing the ride up to Sydney.

[/mtb] link

Fri, 12 Jan 2007

A lovely morning for a ride - 16:07

A bunch of mountain bikers on a fun trail (fullsize)
Although the weather has now become somewhat horrendously hot, heck the BoM had this to say about today a few minutes ago on the forecast page for Canberra.
The maximum temperature to 3.30 pm was 40.5 C, which is the hottest day in Canberra since the highest ever maximum temperature for Canberra of 42.2 C recorded on 1st February 1968 and is the 3rd hottest day recorded since records commenced in 1939.

It was however rather nice out riding mountain bikes this morning, as I got a new camera the other day I decided to test it out a bit, so took a bunch of photos with it that can be found at the normal sort of place here.

[/mtb] link

Thu, 11 Jan 2007

More links to throw out - 21:31
BoingBoing had a link the other day to a rather impressive delivery effort by the UK Royal Mail, this reminds me of a letter I sent to a cousin while I was living in Cornwall in 1993. My cousin told me when he received the letter all that I had written on it was

Firstname Lastname
Kundle Kundle Rd

Apparently someone at the Royal Mail had written on it "Try Australia" and it got to him. Good to see that impressive sort of effort, also both the UK and Australian postal services. I like the look of the book that is mentioned in the BB post where someone wrote a book about their attempts to mess with the Royal Mail people and see how good they were at working things out and solving puzzles to deliver post. In the same vein is the post a few days later, a repeat of a BB post I recall reading a few years ago. Improbable Mail Experiments, another attempt to send all manner of objects through the post to see if they would be delivered.

Another interesting link on BB the other week was to a series of photos of different food stuffs totalling 200 calories, Bacon of course is rather dense, but who cares, Bacon is an essential foodstuff.

So recently the EU voted that Gaelic, the language of Ireland, would be recognised as an official language in the union. The statistic was trotted out that at the last Irish census 1/3rd of the citizens claimed they could speak Gaelic. One journalist thought the numbers sounded a bit high so went out to test that claim travelling around the country. An interesting read and it is good to see there is a revival happening and that there are good outcomes from younger people learning the language (better education coming out of the Gaelic language schools). (found the link on MetaFilter)

And on a closing note, this is a good set of photographs that may have changed the world (a little US centric I think but they are valid claims)

[/various] link

I found some kernel hacker wheels - 14:45

Kernel hacker wheels (fullsize)
This post is probably in the wrong category. My friend Lina is Swedish, her road bike has some wheels on it I always thought to myself I should get a photo of. When the wheels that came with the bike died or something she got some new wheels from a small wheel making company back home run by some friends.

Of course all the Linux geeks reading this realise a certain kernel hacker should have this brand of wheel on his bike if he rides one.

[/mtb/gear] link

Wed, 10 Jan 2007

Rocky watch me pull a moose out of my university - 20:40

The Moose Sign at ANU (fullsize)
From I distance I could have sworn this was a sign with a moose head and a cross through it. It was somewhat disappointing when I got closer and I realised it was some sign saying no busses or trucks past this point. It really would be far more interesting if the ANU had no Moose signs up around this Australian educational institution.

[/various/ilmiwac] link

Neato, new and shinier photos to come. - 14:33
So after much deliberation I finally decided to get a new digital camera yesterday. Most of what I use a camera for is photos while doing events or outdoors doing something, thus a small easily pocketed model is a good thing. I notice often I have a lot of blue induced by shaking in my photos so getting good image stabilisation in a compact camera was the plan. Also a really short auto focus time and shutter release time was a good target. I was pretty much settled on getting a Panasonic camera for a bunch of reasons. In the end I decided on the Panasonic DMC LZ5 to replace my 3.5 year old Canon PowerShot A60.

The camera was ordered yesterday from a mob in Adelaide, Camerastore.com.au and arrived at work in Canberra around an hour ago. More details and photos and stuff to come once some playing has happened. I am sure my sister will be happy as I intend to give her the old camera (she does not have a digital camera) and it is still a nice sturdy camera.

[/comp/hardware] link

Tue, 09 Jan 2007

The sync option to mount does not mix well with vfat and memory cards - 16:41
So I was wondering why the performance of USB memory sticks appeared to be so pathetic on my laptop and my desktop at work the other day. Read performance was fine with 10 or 1 MB per second, however depending on which memory stick I used I got between 70 KB/s and 600 KB/s.

After banging my head against this for a while I googled for details about bad usb memory performance on Linux. I came across a lkml thread from may 2005 that seems to have helped enough. Apparently the performance of USB memory with the sync option and vfat filesystems is really pathetic, this is largely due to the repeated hammering of 2 blocks with every sync.

Alan Cox has some good and salient points in the discussion (to be expected from such a guru I guess), notably he points out most quality flash memory is very unlikely to be too adversely affected in a short time by using sync and he has a link to some details of life time guarantees from some companies for their flash products.

Anyway I disabled sync on the desktop image and my own desktop and disabled it on my laptop, all of a sudden I get 2MB/s or better depending on the memory stick I am using. Neato.

Interestingly Alan suggests the documentation for mount is generated form the kernel docs somehow and should be up to date and thus not continue to suggest that vfat filesystems ignore the sync flag. It is interesting to see that my Debian unstable copy of that man page on my laptop today still suggests that vfat ignores the sync option. At a glance I can not see any mention of this on the Debian bugs page for mount.

[/comp/hardware] link

Pink frame back and nicely fixed. - 15:51

The repaired area of the pink frame (fullsize)
Back in October I put up photos of some cracks developing in my primary steel mtb frame, the pink Bender Bicycles hard tail mtb. Anyway as is the case when I break a steel frame I got Wayne Kotzur to fix it up, however Wayne has been busy as a volunteer firey for a bit and thus it took a bit longer than his last few lightning fast repairs. I got a call yesterday that it was fixed and ready so went and picked it up.

To ensure the frame will not fail similarly again Wayne put a sleeve around with better welds onto it than before on that part of the seat tube. Lovely work as always and all it cost was AUD $60.50.

I think I may indeed go ahead and get this frame repainted though, apart from the black where the fix is looking a bit strange the frame has had some hard use and would look oh so pretty with a new coat of paint and brand new stickers applied.

[/mtb/gear] link

Oh no the meme got me - 15:00
Well I think I have so far resisted participating in most memes (exceptions are those memes of my own creation such as Tuesday Afternoon Milk Carton Blogging and Steel bike on Dairy Farmers Lookout and the occasional interesting looking meme, such as the Which Dr Who quiz and the where have I been world map. So not many, and definitely I try to avid memes as some way to fill in blog space. The one meme I really would love to participate in is the draw batgirl meme from early last year, however my artistic skills when it comes to drawing or similar art are a little too limited, especially when compared to some of the beautiful drawings that appeared in that meme.

Anyway all that was by way of introducing that I am once more participating in a meme, this time the 5 Things You Did Not Know About Me Meme, largely because Tony pinged me on it and I give him enough crap about not blogging that I may as well live up to him actually having posted for once.

5 things probably not known by too many people about me.

  • Growing up we had a cat, she was named Mother Cat (due to the large number of litters of kittens she had that we knew of by the time we adopted her)
  • Occasionally I waste huge amounts of time reading fanfic.
  • My sister and I are of the firm belief that Toyota Rav 4's are evil and whenever we see one we pretend to aim and fire a rocket launcher to destroy it.
  • Tomorrow Wendy by Andy Prieboy is one of my all time favourite songs.
  • My mother has told me that the name she and dad had chosen for me if I turned out to be a girl was Adele, after Dad's grandmother on his mother's side.

If I am to be so mean as to pass this on I guess it would be pelted towards Crash, Allan, Martijn (as if he will ever blog again, ahh well), MRD (because he is cool) and my sister Jane if she ever happens to start blogging.

[/various] link

Specialized brand cleats and associated hardware are like cheese - 14:26

Specialized cleats top, new Shimano cleats below (fullsize)
So I know I tend to be tough on bike equipment, and shoes do not seem to stand up to much of my use. When I bought my new Specialized Comp MTB Shoes in September last year I simply left the screw plates that came with them in the shoe and used the cleats and screws that came with them also. I now discover I probably should have simply used one of my many spare pair of Shimano cleats as they last longer.

In the first few weeks of having the shoes I had problems keeping the cleats tight, eventually I swapped the bolts that came with them for some Shimano bolts, though one of them snapped off in the screw plates when I was trying to tighten them. The last few weeks I have had my feet pull out of pedals on my single speed, my road bike and my mountain bike (sometimes causing painful bike meet body moments, sometimes coming close to crashing (starting a sprint)). I was surprised at the possibility of cleats being worn out as I have seen cleats last for more than a year, even with the sort of use I give them.

However when I looked at the cleats the damage visible in the photo was there. They had worn out rather badly around the bottom retention lip and that was the cause of the problems. I have asked a few people about this since and it was pointed out by a few of them (one of whom uses Specialized shoes and sells them in a shop they work in) that the cleats are made of some form of metallic butter or cheese it seems and are not recommended for use. Ahh well.

Of note also is that when I was changing the cleats over last night I noticed the screw holes in the plate in the shoe had split in two places so I had to throw away the Specialized screw plate and use a Shimano plate I had sitting in the shed.

[/mtb/gear] link

My almost hackergotchi business card - 13:31

My CORC business card
So Jdub asked if others had business cards with hackergotchis, my response to that would be sort of. My business card for work is the bog standard ANU business card, I did not even try to slip something neat such as Big Cool Guy onto it (after all I really am not as Cool as BCG). However as one of the CORC committee members who regularly has meetings or interactions with others on CORC business I have a card to hand out in those situations.

When Russ created the cards he requested a photo for the card, it seemed only natural to use the photo from which I created my hackergotchi, not quite a hackergotchi in that my head is not floating in a void, but close.

[/various] link

Mon, 08 Jan 2007

A list of 2007 predictions to schonfinkel favour with... uh, people like me. - 18:39
January: The governator (Arnold of California) puts out a press release to encourage the use of the nickname "The Governator" in the hopes the nickname "Arnie" will no longer be used and thus decrease confusion for Ani Difranco fans.

February: After the success of the 2007 Australian Mountain Bike Nationals in January the federal government announces all government backing and funding for the Rugby Codes, AFL, Cricket, Golf and Motor Sports would be cut to enable further funding and attention for mountain bike trails and access nation wide.

March: More weekends are discovered in the edges of March to enable people who already have events to compete in every weekend a bit of a break... or more time to do events alloted on the newly discovered weekends.

April: Fafblog returns after the huge break and puts out a huge back log of posts and resumes daily posting.

May: Arnotts announce the release of the Tofurkey flavoured Tim Tam, much use of the term Tofurkey all over the place ensues. (so sue me the name still makes me giggle)

June: Underwear Pirates Ltd announce they have turned a profit.

July: Freak snow storms in Canberra enable us to use Cross Country Skiing as our major form of transport around the city, the novelty of this much snow is definitely there for Australians, though some of the Sweedes or other northerners living in Canberra tell us it gets old fast.

August: Anti Counting Crows protesters attempt to blow up the planet to put a lie to the album title August and Everything After. Fortunately they fail, everything will still be there after August.

September: Jude Law and Ewan McGregor move back into the same residence and strangely are joined by Peter Wingfield, the trio announce the forming of a Boy Band, largely to mess with people's heads.

October: Cadel Evans rocks up to the Australian 24 Hour Mountain Bike Race in Canberra at Mt Stromlo to compete after winning the Tour de France in July he convinced his sponsors to let him do some fun mountain bike races too.

November: The portmanteau Movember is combined with another November observance NaNoWriMo with the aim of finding which writers would have been the most competitive entrants in the World Beard and Moustache Championships 2007 a few months earlier had they entered.

December: I continually fail to have any blogthenticity going another full year with no photos of my (non existent) cats on this diary.

For anyone who wonders what the heck the title is about there may be some hints in Combinatory Logic but it is a pretty lame joke (and could only ever appeal to a math or computer languages geek).

[/various/ilmiwac] link

Thu, 04 Jan 2007

Technique and equipment adjustment - 20:28
So I went out paddling on Lake Burley Griffin tonight as I do most Thursday nights, however no one else joined me for the paddle today. I decided to take Alex's boat, a Time Machine Multi Sport Kayak, out by myself. Though not supposedly suited for a paddler as heavy as I, it is a reasonably good boat to paddle even taking that into consideration.

Anyway when I unlocked the boat and uncovered the cockpit I found Alex had left some paddles in there, as I am seriously thinking about buying a paddle soon and his was a brand I had not tried out I decided to give it a shot. Kayaking is very technique intensive, by this I mean good technique helps you go faster with less effort. This is why I have been doing a course with the Burley Griffin Canoe Club, to learn proper technique and how to paddle faster boats.

What I had not realised fully until today is how important it is to have the paddle adjusted correctly for you, I initially had the paddle too wide and got sore arms using it, sorer than I should have for the distance I had paddled. So it all plays in together technique and equipment (and better technique allows you to use your equipment more effectively), when I came back to shore I adjusted the paddle length a bit and got back in, all of a sudden my arms did not seem so sore and I could get a better stroke and rotation.

[/mtb] link

Rotten Eggs? - 11:42
We had a plumber in this morning to clear some drains and fix some taps and stuff. I discovered the period of time when the plummer is stinking up half the house with some sulfur smelling thing that is redolent of rotten eggs may not in fact be the best time to be cooking or eating eggs in the kitchen. Just passing on the hint in case anyone else needs that information.

[/various] link

Tue, 02 Jan 2007

Briefly Back Baconing - 13:11

A Bunch of Baconers (fullsize)
On the Saturday before Christmas the grand ol bacon ride tradition was rekindled for the morning. Ride mountain bikes with friends then eat bacon. Simple really. By the time I took the photo I had already had to return home and swap bikes due to stripping a pedal thread in my drive side crank on the single speed. Also some people had left the ride and headed off before the Bacon Imbibement happened. Lots of fun was had, we must do it all again sometime.

Oh and a note, the cafe we went to afterwards in Chifley was damn good, they have Bees Knees on tap for $5.50 a pint (or $4.50 on Sundays possibly according to Morgs) and some damn fine menu items apart front that too. This cafe is called "A Bite To Eat A Drink As Well".

[/mtb] link

Mon, 01 Jan 2007

A real bunny hop and a new description for those locks, "Unbicable". - 16:06
Out on a ride around Cotter/Uriarra with an extension up to the end of the bitumen past Condor Creek this morning (lovely ride, highly recommend it) and we were seeing a few hares and rabbits around at times as is often the case. However when you see these from a bike they are generally not too close too you and are running away as the bike scares them, thus there is no real chance to get some practice in at doing real Bunny Hops (as opposed to a bunny hop over a gutter, small dog or a snake (such as we came close to hopping on Saturday when a small brown snake was on a bike path) as is often the case) in which you hop over rabbits (commonly known as Bunnies of course).

However while riding down from Mt McDonald toward Uriarra Rd I saw an excellent chance, a dead rabbit in the middle of the road, sure maybe not as challenging as a moving target but hey I was going to finally be able to practice my bunny hopping skills for real. So I did a bunny hop on the road bike and all was well. Neil (an mtb friend) caught us up at about that point too and congratulated me on a good bunny hop. He ended up riding with us up to the end of the bitumen and on down to Uriarra too so it was all good.

Now on a different note, many people will recall the Kryptonite bike locks that could be broken into with a Bic pen lid. Chris and I had a discussion about it a while back too. Last night at the dinner I was at we got to talking about these locks at one point and Andrew made one of the funnier comments on this I have heard. I suppose it amused me a lot also due to the Oracle Unbreakable Linux hoopla that has been going on.

Andrew said with the revised locks kryptonite released that were impervious to the bic biro lids, they were now "Unbicable" as well as being "Unbreakable". :)

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Yay the attempt to fix this worked - 09:18
I still have 2006 hard coded into my fingers, it took me more than one attempt to write the dates for this post correctly. Happy New Year and all that stuff.

I was glad to notice this morning that the attempt I made in June to fix my google images ego surfing result has worked. Looking at the result now the full sized and small sized photos are the first and second hits for my name.

Makes me happy as a photos of some flies on my back while riding up a hill near Tumbarumba was not I thought a good way to recognise me. Of course it is possibly a little unfortunate this photo I chose has me standing next to my now broken rocky mountain largely due to my still being unhappy about the situation with getting it replaced, but hey it is still a pretty good photo.

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