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

web: http://svana.org/sjh

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Aaron Broughton,
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Anthony Towns,
Chris Yeoh,
Jeremy Kerr,
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Michael Carden,
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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.

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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.

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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.

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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)

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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 (PrÍte-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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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