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

Steven Hanley hackergotchi picture Steven
Hanley

About

email: sjh@svana.org

web: http://svana.org/sjh
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Other online diaries:

Aaron Broughton,
Andrew Pollock,
Anthony Towns,
Chris Yeoh,
Jeremy Kerr,
Martijn van Oosterhout,
Michael Carden,
Michael Davies,
Michael Still,
Tim Potter,
Tony Breeds,

Links:

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Sun, 10 Jul 2016

Safety Sewing - 14:03

No reflections (fullsize)

None outside either (fullsize)

Better when full/open (fullsize)

Also better when closed, much brightness (fullsize)
For over a year I have been planning to do this, my crumpler bag (the complete seed) which I bought in 2008 has been my primary commuting and daily use bag for stuff since that time and as much as I love the bag there is one major problem. No reflective marking anywhere on the bag.

Some newer crumplers have reflective strips and other such features and if I really wanted to spend big I could get them to do a custom bag with whatever colours and reflective bits I can dream up. There are also a number of other brands that do a courier bag with reflective bits or even entire panels or similar that are reflective. However this is the bag I own and it is still perfectly good for daily use so no need to go buy something new.

So I got a $4 sewing kit I had sitting around in the house, some great 3M reflective tape material and finally spent the time to rectify this feature missing from the bag. After breaking 3 needles and spending a while getting it done I now have a much safer bag especially commuting home on these dark winter nights. The sewing work is a bit messy however it is functional which is all that matters to me.

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Wed, 29 Jun 2016

Vote Greens Maybe - 22:39
I have had the parodies of the Call me maybe song in my head again today (the Orica Green edge one was brilliant and there are some inspired versions out there). This had me thinking of different lyrics, maybe something to suggest people vote Green this Saturday for a better and fairer Australia.

Vote Green Maybe
I threw a wish in the well
For a better Australia today
I looked at our leaders today
And now they're in our way

I'll not trade my freedom for them
All our dollars and cents to the rich
I wasn't looking for this
But now they're in our way

Our democracy is squandered
Broken promises
Lies everywhere
Hot nights
Winds are blowing
Freak weather events, climate change

Hey I get to vote soon
And this isn't crazy
But here's my idea
So vote Greens maybe
It's hard to look at our future 
But here's my idea
So vote Greens maybe

Hey I get to vote soon
And this isn't crazy
But here's my idea
So vote Greens maybe
And all the major parties
Try to shut us up
But here's my idea
So vote Greens maybe

Liberal and Labor think they should rule
I take no time saying they fail
They gave us nothing at all
And now they're in our way

I beg for a fairer Australia
At first sight our policies are real
I didn't know if you read them
But it's the Greens way  

Your vote can fix things
Healthier people
Childrens education
Fairer policies
A change is coming
Where you think you're voting, Greens?

Hey I get to vote soon
And this isn't crazy
But here's my idea
So vote Greens maybe
It's worth a look to a brighter future
But here's my idea
So vote Greens maybe

Before this change in our lives
I see children in detention
I see humans fleeing horrors
I see them locked up and mistreated
Before this change in our lives
I see a way to fix this
And you should know that
Voting Green can help fix this, Green, Green, Green...

It's bright to look at our future 
But here's my idea
So vote Greens maybe

Hey I get to vote soon
And this isn't crazy
But here's my idea
So vote Greens maybe
And all the major parties
Try to shut us up
But here's my idea
So vote Greens maybe

Before this change in our lives
I see children in detention
I see humans fleeing horrors
I see them locked up and mistreated
Before this change in our lives
I see a way to fix this
And you should know that
So vote Green Saturday
Call Me Maybe (Carly Rae Jepsen)
I threw a wish in the well
Don't ask me I'll never tell
I looked at you as it fell
And now you're in my way

I trade my soul for a wish
Pennies and dimes for a kiss
I wasn't looking for this
But now you're in my way

Your stare was holding
Ripped jeans
Skin was showing
Hot night
Wind was blowing
Where you think you're going baby?

Hey I just met you
And this is crazy
But here's my number
So call me maybe
It's hard to look right at you baby
But here's my number
So call me maybe

Hey I just met you
And this is crazy
But here's my number
So call me maybe
And all the other boys
Try to chase me
But here's my number
So call me maybe

You took your time with the call
I took no time with the fall
You gave me nothing at all
But still you're in my way

I beg and borrow and steal
At first sight and it's real
I didn't know I would feel it
But it's in my way

Your stare was holding
Ripped jeans
Skin was showing
Hot night
Wind was blowing
Where you think you're going baby?

Hey I just met you
And this is crazy
But here's my number
So call me maybe
It's hard to look right at you baby
But here's my number
So call me maybe

Before you came into my life
I missed you so bad
I missed you so bad
I missed you so so bad
Before you came into my life
I missed you so bad
And you should know that
I missed you so so bad, bad, bad, bad....

It's hard to look right at you baby
But here's my number
So call me maybe

Hey I just met you
And this is crazy
But here's my number
So call me maybe
And all the other boys
Try to chase me
But here's my number
So call me maybe

Before you came into my life
I missed you so bad
I missed you so bad
I missed you so so bad
Before you came into my life
I missed you so bad
And you should know that
So call me, maybe

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Fri, 31 May 2013

The Annual May Zombie Post - 22:25
So it could be the fact I have been somewhat slow in updating this recently, or it may even have seemed I was infected by the zombie virus, however there has been a distinct lack of Annual May Zombie posts for a while. Time to fix this.

This is an easy one, Joss is kind of awesome, also this ad did not convince people to vote for Romney (which I think we can all be thankful for) however it is another example of how awesome Joss Whedon is.

Here is Joss trying to convince people to support Romney to bring about the Zombie Apocalypse. We all know Obama won, but it could have been close. I wonder if we need be afraid in a similar way with Abbott here?

In other Joss news, he is now on twitter, pretty cool. Joss Whedon Twitter.

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Thu, 13 Dec 2012

Lots of Likes? - 22:22
What makes *Martin* for popular blogging these days? I may just be stealing ideas from The Seb, maybe I need to drop references to Marty in posts. Though I could get trickier *Worthy* at it. Kind of like subliminal milk carton blogging, Posts from The Seb appear to be kind of popular on Beth's blog. Fortunately Beth does not mind *Marty* so much, unlike the Milly/Freya FB post "like" wars.

I should get off the cycling posts a bit more *Marty* soon, maybe back to music a bit, I adore the new Pink album The Truth About Love, My favourite tracks so far are "Just give me a reason" and "Good Old Days". Lines like "I let you see the parts of me That weren't all that pretty and with every touch you fixed them" really are great, also using a male vocalist to balance the song (Just give me a reason).

Also there has been a new Ani album (Which Side Are You On) since I was regularly writing here last. And lots of other good music stuff to think about. Tomorrow *Marty* maybe.

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Fri, 09 Dec 2011

Oh no I missed another Blorthday - 10:23
Just like last year when I posted about the Blorthday a day late, but you know worse because this time I am 5 days late. So yeah 26th August was the second anniversary of this diary, and what did I do? Nothing, no cake, no party, not even a post. I am pretty sure my diary is going to go sit in a field and eat worms any second now.

Stats this time around are

[18:16:50] 3 oneiros sjh ~/diary/data>find -name '*.text' | wc -l
548
[18:16:54] 4 oneiros sjh ~/diary/data>wc `find -name '*.text'`
...
19384 145996 929924 total

I passed the 500th post without noticing, I will soon have more than 1 MB of my blathering up here (when the third number just next to total says 1048576). 221 posts is down a fair bit from 337 the previous year. One thing I have noticed is I have not been keen to sit around and work on silly category posts much (various/ilmiwac). Not sure why.

On the whole maybe I am just not as worthy of the cool t-shirt Andrew gave me, especially when you consider the fact there are still no photos of my non existent cat on here to provide some blogthenticity.

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Cans of weed killer left next to the garden - 10:23

Cans of weed killer next to the garden (fullsize)
I noticed one of my housemates must have been tending the garden and only used one can of this weed killer, I guess there will be more weeds to kill with the unopened can soon.

This reminds me of DAAS or possibly Flacco in one of the DAAS videos saying some line like "Nah it's beer mate". This time instead the line would more aptly be "Nah it's weed killer mate".

[/various/ilmiwac] link

BOB United Flight - 10:23
The subject of the recent united airlines flight that was directed back to Sydney after taking off there due to a sick bag found on boad with "BOB" written on it came up at the pub talking with Martin Pool and some others. I mentioned another mtb rider I had met at a race recently had been on that flight. Niki Gudex was on that flight and wrote about the experience on her cyclingnews.com diary (with some photos of dumping fuel and such). Bruce Schneier covered this flight and the strangeness of it in a recent cryptogram.

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Why an online diary? - 10:23
Well everyone is doing one and I am a sheep. Or something. In reality in the lca crew we decided to run an agregator to collect all the online diaries from the crew that were for lca. So I guess I need an online diary thing.

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Through the pearly gates in a 200 mph fireball - 10:23
Anyone who recognises the quote probably has already guessed I watched Top Gear last night (the expression about going through the pearly gates in a fireball seems to be a favourite of the presenters). I agree with so many other viewers that this is a funny show. Heck I tend to have an almost negative interest in cars and yet this show has me laughing along throughout most episodes.

I remember watching the old series with Clarkson in it when I was living in the UK in 1993, though at the time I paid some small interest in cars (such as watching Ayrton Senna in F1 races) I do not recall Top Gear being so amusing. I suspect they really ramped up the humour of it when they changed the format and started the new series in 2002. My amusement at the pearly gates expression has me trying to think of a few expressions for how various people may want to go, somewhat macabre maybe but I am trying to think of it in a similar manner to my Fairy Tales in the key of Klingon post. Alas nothing comes to mind yet.

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Fri, 28 Oct 2011

Lessons in sand groping - 19:13
I still did not quite manage to learn the proper technique to effectively grope sand. Though I guess I do begin to see why the term is used, there is quite a lot of sandy ground around Perth. From the ground near Curtin Uni where is is significantly cheaper to trench cables under the ground than you normally expect to the sand on any ground bare of grass in other parts of the city.

Some of the things I would like to do next tine I am across there given a chance are: Ride out to Freemantle for brunch on the north side of the river (down the western highway maybe for a while), visit the maritime museum in Freemantle, maybe lunch at the Little Creatures brewery. Getting away from Freemantle just riding around the river sides for a while looks pleasant. Maybe trying to find some good vegetarian specialty eating places would be good too. Though I really enjoyed the Mexican food at Santa Fe on Hay st last night as it was.

I managed to catch up with Jeremy which was good as his time at lca this year was cut a bit short. Also we caught up with Dave Mac, and though I thought he would be away for 6 months he will now be back in Canberra next weekend so CHOGM no longer needs him and he can return to AV at PH.

CHOGM did not impact us too much, sure a few closures we saw as we skirted the city and a bunch of CHOGM security zone signs around the place but not much else. Due to our bodies being on east coast time we started work this morning around 7am so got that day's work done here (on a public holiday for the locals) pretty early which was handy.

I took a few photos, one I liked has an TLA S.O.Y which probably should not be said aloud with kids in the vicinity, I was amused by the fact it sounded like the Seagulls may get all vegan on people (Soy, etc).

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Wed, 26 Oct 2011

Groping Sand? - 18:34
So I find myself on a flight from Melbourne to Perth right now, heading across to Perth for the first time since linux.conf.au 2003. This time I am heading over there for work for two days. Right in the middle of CHOGM which made finding accommodation and flights a challenge (fortunately I did not have to do that).

Michele and Rob will be over this weekend too for a family gathering, I will be home Friday night, still I was almost tempted to cheekily ask how we should go about groping sand while over there, is there some proper technique?

To practice this Perth thing I was happy to find Little Creatures Pale Ale on tap on Sunday when I was hanging out with COGS (Canberra One Gear Society) at Wilburs in Hackett. Who knows if Morgs and I are lucky we can catch up with Dave Mac tomorrow evening sometime and be able to sample some more of the local product.

Things to remember maybe, Qantas club membership Morgs had was helpful at Canberra, using the wireless to chase up some work and email while waiting for the delayed flight was a good thing. The flight to Melbourne was short, and they had fruit for us of a Vegan persuasion. Tempted to watch The Green Lantern movie (I am a comics geek after all) even though I am sure it will be woeful, maybe so I can at least criticise form a point of having seen it. (unlike The Titanic movie which I still refuse to see and continue to claim it is crap).

I hear from some Martin W that Perth has some very Nomad friendly riding too, maybe worth bringing a bike across on a future trip, you can ride something without much travel in the hills, but it is not recommended. He has contacts for the local club and trail fairies too which helps.

This is a bit of a meandering post I notice, in the end I did watch the Green Lantern movie. Surprisingly not as incredibly bad as I expected. Of course it was not as fantastic as the new Batman movies or anything. The climax was a little easy and short I thought after all the build up, however it was ambitious to show the Corps, and they actually came across in a similar manner to the comics at times. Anyway enough of this, I am writing this on Thursday morning now, time to find some wifi and if I want to actually say something rather than meander around write something new.

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Sun, 02 Oct 2011

Why does Ikea have such a draw on homemakers? - 19:08
So maybe I am not the target market as I do not own my own home or tend to decorate or buy stuff for the place I live, but I now wonder why Ikea is so incredibly crowded and popular?

I went there today with my sister as she has recently bought a place in Sydney and was looking for a few specific items for their new place. The amazing thing I find is I know a large number of people from Canberra who have made a weekend of coming to Sydney to buy some of their furniture and other items at Ikea.

Maybe I am coloured too much by my dislike of shopping, however Jane and Chris also are not big shopping fans, being in an enclosed mall surrounded by thousands of people throwing their money at the church of owning stuff almost made me feel ill. I know I avoid shopping as often as possible and really only rejoice in outdoor equipment shops and bike shops so I do not fit the target audience for a shopping mall, a shrine to consumerism.

Still after the hassle of driving to Rhodes, getting into the car park, getting through the mall crowds and in to Ikea the huge surprise was that seems to be the most crowded area in the mall. I guess it should not be so surprising, as mentioned I know people who travel from Canberra to buy there. Sure some of the stuff may be useful and there were a few examples of interesting furniture and other items to see, however the prices did not seem quite so amazing as I had been led to believe.

The thing I liked the most was the 35 metre square dwelling design they had on show, largely because I thought it was pretty cool to fit a fairly comfortable dwelling into such a small place, and there really should be more such places available to live in our Australian cities, though once more I run into the big problem I have in that there is not enough storage for outdoor equipment, 7 or so bikes, camping gear, backpacks, kayaking gear etc. I store my boats at the lake side, but all the other stuff has to go somewhere. If only 35 metre square dwellings were available in Canberra with a locked double car area for vehicle and gear as part of the deal, I may even be tempted to return to the pain and horror of Ikea to get European friendly small dwelling smart furniture.

I think all three of us were thankful to escape and have no intention of ever venturing inside again at the moment.

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Sat, 25 Jun 2011

Another (less drastic) health scare - 22:47
Fortunately not quite as far out of it or unresponsive as the September 2008 scare however I did have another incident today. Thinking about it in hindsight I can definitely see what I did wrong and some of the things to think more carefully about.

This morning I had the junior mtb skills class I have been instructing, during the class I felt early on my sugar level was a bit high post breakfast and for some reason kept focusing on that for the following hours. However upon finishing the class I did start showing many of the signs of low blood sugar (I think I even commented to one of the parents or to Matt that I thought I had low blood sugar), yet I did not eat anything as I still had in the back of my mind the idea I was high.

I then rode back toward home via Dickson, stopped in at Maladjusted to say hi to Mal if he was there, he was not and the last thing I really remember is sort of making my way out of the shop and thinking maybe I would have a coffee and cake at my rainbow dreams. The next thing I remember is regaining a good level of conscious thought on the grass next to the shell service station with an Ambulance parked next to me and Ambulance officers looking after me making me eat sugary things. They did not have to inject sugar into me so I was obviously responding enough they could make me eat and consume sugary substances.

It seems I rode out of Mals and somehow wobbled through to there, my guess is I fell off and someone kindly rang for an Ambulance when they saw me there. The ambulance station is at Dickson so I imagine the response was fairly fast. This was at about 1pm and I was in at Mals around 12:30pm I think. With enough sugary stuff consumed I quickly got back to a good enough state that I could make my way home. I also went into Mals and asked if they could tell me about my behaviour, they had been trying to convince me to eat and were worried so I was obviously somewhat out of it and vague.

The big lesson here was I remember noticing many of the signs of low blood sugar however I continued to ignore them as I had it stuck in my head my sugar level was high from previous signs close to breakfast. I should remember to pay attention at all times and not ignore current signs. Especially under exercise conditions I am well aware sugar levels can change quickly and I was not paying enough attention to that fact. I am lucky I did not hurt myself or come off the bike in traffic and also lucky someone noticed pretty quickly something was wrong and called for an ambulance.

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Fri, 24 Jun 2011

Making a change - 13:46
Not leaving Canberra or anything quite that drastic, however I am changing jobs. After 10 years of fun in my role as a professional geek (programmer/sys admin) for the School of Computer Science at ANU I am moving on. I have had a great time working at ANU with a lot of good people such as Bob and getting the chance to work with all manner of Linux technology and interesting computing projects. Lots of smart and interesting people to interact with both in my School and elsewhere on campus and the campus itself has been a cool place to be.

However I have for a while been wondering if I should look into a change to see what other interesting roles are out there for work. Recently a role for a professional geek appeared at the Australian Sports Commission Bruce Campus (AIS) that looked like it could be interesting, so I applied for the position and after interviews was offered it. I am looking forward to being able to use my IT expertise in the betterment of sports for the nation and it looks like there will be some good projects in the area at the new job. I am not sure how I feel about leaving the ANU but I like the idea of a new challenge and seeing how I deal in a new environment with new people once again.

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Thu, 26 May 2011

The Annual May Zombie Post - 12:43
The month of May, must be time for a Zombie post. It is good (or hell funny, you choose) to see large organisations or other institutions getting more prepared and scientific about Zombies. Just this month the US Centers for Disease Control released their Zombie Apocalypse Preparedness Guide, I wonder if other countries have their information for citizens prepared.

The other thing to note is there is it seems increasing research happening in various institutions about Zombies. The Smithsonian has a good round up of some of the recent zombie research appearing in the field. That should do me until May next year, unless the Zombies get me (due to my lack of preparedness).

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Tue, 05 Apr 2011

What is this key for? - 15:21

Draw Bridge Key (fullsize)
Recently we have looked through a bunch of the keys hanging around parts of the house and tried to sort out what they are all for. One of the keys we found is pictured below. I am sure it would be useful if only we could find the moat around the house.

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Wed, 19 Jan 2011

Wetlands development cycle access problems - 17:14
Some new wetlands appeared behind O'Connor shops (near where I live) a few years ago. The ACT Government and various community groups obviously liked them enough that they are spreading. Development near the Banksia St tennis courts in O'Connor blocked and then changed cycle access off the bike path to Banksia st for a while to develop the wetlands there.

The interruption was not too annoying as it left the bike path in place and open for the entire development time of the wetlands, also the access to Banksia st toward Lyneham shops from the bike path there was never really a high traffic cycle destination so did not really interrupt cycle access (and now with the changed paths around the wetlands still has little problems). However the two latest developments in this wetland spread are not so easily ignored.

There is some discussion on abc and riot act about the new Lyneham wetlands near the high school and the Dickson wetlands near the Dickson ovals, The environment ACT site about this is also of some interest to view. So the plans look pretty and cycle access will be fine and dandy in both locations once construction is finished. However my big complaint is that they seem to have completely ignored cycle access and safety during the construction.

Dickson is not the worst, it at least has some crossing points and gravel laid on the ovals to make cycling possible away from roads and traffic, not optimal but it will do I think. However the diversion at Goodwin St in Lyneham during construction is dangerous, adds a lot of time and is serious inconvenient. This is one of the highest use cycle paths in the inner north of Canberra and the diversion suggested during construction is to cross Goodwin st twice and go well out of your way on the path toward Gungahlin before diverting back toward Dickson past Lyneham High. This may not negatively impact too many high school students as they can go along that diversion. However any access between ANU/O'Connor area and Dickson shops via bike path is a mess now.

The quick way to go is simply to stay on Goodwin st, which unfortunately means mixing it up with traffic a lot of the time. I notice construction workers parking along the verge there often on the drain side of Goodwin St, however the best access compromise during construction here would be if they made a separate dedicated cycle lane for two way cycle traffic along that side of the road there. If it had only been a 1 month interruption to cycle access we could deal with it, however the slated finish date is June 2011, 7 months of this dangerous diversion onto Goodwin st, or extra distance and two crossings of Goodwin st is annoying.

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Mon, 17 Jan 2011

Still slow on the diary front - 14:15
I notice it has been a whole month since i last wrote something here, oops. Oh well I guess it shows I am writing it when I get around to it.

I noticed a rather amusing thing at work the other week, there was steam cleaning of the carpets happening and rather than having a van parked out the front of the building a mobile device was being used inside the building, probably slower and covering less area than the normal dry cleaning vans manage.

The cleaner was called "Predator Mk II", which I still find somewhat entertaining, it is strange enough to call a carpet cleaning device a predator, obviously carpets are very similar with gazelles or whatever else various predators may go for, however even stranger is that it was Mk II. Obviously the first model was a little bit ineffective, must have sat around reading Voltaire rather than chasing down "gazelles" on the prairies of office carpets around the place, so back to the design board for another try.

I can sort of see why a machete may be named and marketed as "Predator", or even a pair of running shoes or something, these items share some traits with more well known predators. I am still trying to work out if there are any predators in the wild that are well known for their ability to steam clean the environment or similar.

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Fri, 12 Nov 2010

More cool stuff from xkcd land - 17:17
I do not recall if I read this previously, I recall the comic going on about colour and some stuff online about the colour survey. However Randall at XKCD did a survey to work out what colour names in the RGB space are recognised as what by whom.

He has a blog entry about the colour survey on line which is pretty damn interesting reading. All the data is available if you wish to run your own analysis, however seeing what differences between gender are is entertaining for an intro as it is. Lets hope we do not live in a "baige" world.

Of course if you are bored with this, his collaborator who wrote the front end for the survey has a calcluator online to work out the cost of filling your apartment/house/gogo mobile with plastic playpen balls which will get anyone started on the path to world domination I assume.

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Thu, 26 Aug 2010

Blorthday on time - 14:55
Well what do you know, it is this diary's 6th Blorthday, first post was August 26th 2004. Nothing special really apart from the fact I noticed on the correct day for the first time in years and the fact I still write stuff here from time to time for no one to read. What fun, I wonder if I need Beer or Sparkling wine to celebrate, though as I am at work right now that may be ill advised.

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Wed, 11 Aug 2010

New Bike/Kayak/Gear Transport Mechanism - 19:13

New gear transporter (fullsize)
My old car (pictured with my multi sport boat on the roof) (a 1991 model Toyota Corolla 4wd Wagon) finally packed it in around a month ago. The head gasket blew, the car had done 363,000 on its first engine and was getting on in years. Though I was not happy with the idea of scrapping a huge hunk of metal and other stuff and getting myself a new huge hunk of metal, it was getting to the point where it would cost more to keep going than the price of the car.

Fixing the head gasket would be almost $2,000, then keeping a 20 year old engine with that many km going may require replacing it or a rebuild, both expensive and problem prone operations, especially as other things in the car were wearing out over time. So I got the car sent to the scrap people and started looking for a new car. I had owned the Corolla since 1999 or so, and it had been in the family for longer. Now I wonder if I have been marketed at too successfully by Subaru, I did not seriously consider anything apart from Subaru models.

Toyota lost my vote (so to speak) when they killed off the corolla 4wd wagon in the 90s in favour of the thing (that should be used for rocket launcher target practice IMO) called the Rav4. To me a car is a gear (kayak, bicycle, ski, other outdoor gear) transport mechanism. I try to do all my shopping and commuting by bike and generally try to avoid using a car unless I need to go on a trip or move gear around.

Initially I was thinking about the Outback, however talking with many friends about it I decided a Forester was a preferable purchase for what I look for in a vehicle (more room inside for gear and bit lighter so more fuel efficient and the same or a little bit more clearance depending on the year model). I was not looking too seriously, just asking around and looking into options when I saw this one for sale, here in Canberra (less than 1km from my house as it turns out), for a fantastic price. Thinking it was almost too good to be true, I headed over to have a look, got it checked out by a mechanic, agreed to purchase it and here I am with a new car less than a week from seeing it.

Of course I now have the same car (brand) as every other mountain biker and adventure racer (well at least 50% of them if car parks at events are an indication), still I hear there is a good reason they are so common. Reliable, holds gear, keeps going. I am happy it is not silver or white too. This one is a MY04, has 107,000km on the clock and has a good full service history, lets hope it lasts, at least until we have some replacement for fossil fuel powered cars in common use or something.

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Tue, 27 Jul 2010

A horse has won - 10:23
During the Tour de France coverage every year there is a lot of repetition of the ads by the major sponsor of the broadcast for SBS. Generally by the end of the tour we are all sick of the same ads all the time. This year the same definitely applied to various ads, such as the cyclists walking up the hill Rabobank laziness ad and the LG ad with the eat a pie on the couch ad.

There were two other ads from those same brands though I did not get sick of, I wonder if it was because they did not play them much (I can not find copies online anywhere either) or if it was because they really did amuse me. I find some of the other ads may be cute or funny the first few times but get old really fast.

My two favourite ads this year were the Rabobank laziness ad with the horse race caller (I think there may have been more than one version of this with a slightly different call too). Going on about furry things racing, then saying a horse has won. The other was from LG, also advertising the DVR, however this had a surreal seeming lion dancing after jumping out of the letter box. As you can see I can not even remember most of the details from these ads though I laughed at the time so they obviously were not played as often as others. I wonder why they do not show the whole spread of ads for the products more, it would at least lessen the boredom of only seeing the same ad all the time.

In other news I can not decide if I think it is hell cool or scary that you will soon be able to have a tour of Jenolan caves in Klingon.

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Fri, 16 Jul 2010

I never thought I would say awesome and karaoke in the same sentence - 18:25
I saw this link on kottke today, about the funny or die mob getting Jewel to perform her own songs in disguise at a karaoke bar. They put a fake nose on her, a wig make up and dressed her up as a business woman, with hired actors also dressed as office workers she went there as a group.

I thought this was awesome, that the crowd all thought she was incredible and surprised someone that good was not professional. I keep wondering what level of fan you need to be to be sure it is her despite appearances, I keep thinking if Ani did something like this I would recognise as soon as she started singing, however our brain plays all sorts of tricks on us and they really set this up well so who knows. Well worth watching I think even if you are not a fan of Jewel.

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Thu, 01 Jul 2010

The week in politics - 21:17

Another great political cartoon
I do not watch much tv, this includes not watching the tv news. I read two news papers almost daily, however that does cause a lag in my news acquisition. Last Wednesday night I was talking on the phone with my grandmother and she mentioned it looked like a big night in politics with a meeting in t he pm's office between Rudd and Gillard and news of a possible spill.

This news was indeed surprising, a first term prime minister and such a quick move against him. The change probably will not change my voting pattern at all, I think Abbott is a raving lunatic and generally ascribe that world view (being a raving lunatic) to the entire liberal party. There has been a disturbing move further right of the Labour party for years now which I am constantly concerned by. I have for a long while now voted Green federally and in ACT simply because my world views suggests we need to stop thinking about money and more about the planet and various other things that this party tends to come closer on than the rest of the parties.

It has been interesting to see that though he was the most popular prime minister Australia has ever had, many people never seemed to know what Rudd stood for, once they began to believe he is simply another politician and will sacrifice previously claimed beliefs (climate change is the greatest moral challenge of our time) for political reasons many people it seems began to think much of what he said may as well be non core promises (to bring in a Howardism).

I have to say I thought Rudd's being in question time on Thursday last week was one of the bravest things I have seen a politician do, and I think it is upsetting and sad for him and we saw a lot of emotion in his final press conference. However from what I hear he was not a pleasant person to work with and could be quite offensive in high level meetings for various reasons, sure he worked his arse off (hence why I think the cartoon on the left is so good) and did do many good things for Australia it does seem like much of the reasons people did not stick by him in poor polling times was that he had closed himself off from the rest of the clever people available to him at large.

I think it is great to see a female PM and I think Gillard could do a lot of good things, I am happy to have an atheist PM (though it is upsetting that the right wing elements of the Labour party probably have enough influence that the government's God Bothering tendencies will remain, such as no gay marriage and the Internet filter stupidity will remain), however I really do hope that at the upcoming federal election the Greens hold enough power that Labour has to get them fully on side to create a good working government. So far I think the Green arrangement in ACT has been a good thing, the Stanhope government is still ignoring them more than I think it should be, however it has bought advantages to ACT so far I think.

Still it has been an incredible week in politics and there have been many awesome political cartoons to cheer us all up too.

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Sat, 05 Jun 2010

Journalism tomorrow - 16:04
I was interested to read this article about the efforts being made to help ensure the future of high quality journalism by Google. I guess I am biased toward the availability of news papers and reporting as I read two most days. I also admit I have not tried some new way of reading news on an iPad or tablet, however I have never enjoyed the websites for the papers I read (The Canberra Times and The Australian).

I suspect some of the bits this article touches upon pertain to this, newspapers are expert at placing their content in the format that works for the traditional delivery (thus I find it more pleasant and easy to read papers on paper), they have not yet managed to work into the online format perfectly yet. However I like to think Google are correct in pointing out quality journalism will work with better advertising revenue in the future with online delivery than it does now with 70% of the cost of some newspapers going into the production of printed paper news delivery.

The only online broad news site I look at much is the ABC News site, I also will look at links from blogs I read, however the online news sources I do regularly check are very focused such as the cycling web sites I read.

I do not hear as much in Australia about the death of journalism and newspapers struggling as I hear coming from the US (it could well be that the lack of craigslist in Australia is a large influence on this), however it is obvious the traditional revenue models for newspapers will not continue to work around the world. I really hope the media and journalism around the world can cope with this sensibly and find a way to work and flourish on the Internet. If they dig in their heels and fight to hold onto broken business models rather than embracing new models they will simply end up looking stupid just as the music and movie industry has.

Of course it was interesting the point in the article about how new news models have popped up rather suddenly over the last 100 years and changed parts of the industry in some respects (Fox news, Jon Stewart, Time Magazine). It seems at the moment that Murdoch for example is too tied to current business models to embrace the Internet properly, so it will be interesting to see if parts of Newscorp work out how to work on the Internet or if over the coming decade something new springs up employing journalists delivering quality content funded the way Google envisions.

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Wed, 02 Jun 2010

Survival of the fittest in other fields - 14:30
This M&M testing and breeding is the sort of thing I would expect to see Mikal doing on a day when bored with other activities. It does make you think, what other places do we want to see a survival of the fittest style testing regime happen?

With many things we use it already happens, such as bike parts, software, recipes. They go through a process of engineering/development/evolution over time (though guided by us, unlike in nature). Of course the M&M breeding is simply someone choosing to apply their own criterion to their candy that was not the evolutionary criterion applied by the company that made them. So the question is what evolutionary criterion do you want applied to everyday things that so far tend not to be.

Say if you buy a hardback book, you either want it as soon as it is available or you need another device with which to cause injury to others. Try hitting someone with the book if they stay conscious you need to find sturdier books. Of course it really is pretty cool when scientists and engineers redefine their work such that they look for something with different qualities/goals (or get lucky and discover something awesome they were not looking for).

This seems to be an ongoing failure in modern research funding, with a goal/result oriented funding appearing world wide often, if people can not research all manner of things in their field of interest we are less likely to have the accidental discoveries that so often change history. Though funding experts in the field to research their interests works, as is pointed out in this list of 10 accidental discoveries, "That's the genius behind all these accidental inventions - the scientists were prepared. They did their science on the brink and were able to see the magic in a mistake, set-back, or coincidence."

Good to see M&M recognised this, gave the man a bag of M&M's and let him get on with his research.

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Tue, 01 Jun 2010

Bucking the trend - 16:58
Almost all my stuff on the diary recently have been in the mtb or mtb/events category, obviously I should do something different and write about something else. Heck maybe it is time to write the great Canberran novel about squirrel infestation.... though it would be kinda short seeing how we don't have any squirrels here.

I keep thinking of a suggestion made by Matthew Baldwin of Defective Yeti with a footnote along the lines of

P.S.S. My god, is there anything as intrinsically bloggy as a long and tedious
post explaining why you haven't been blogging? Someone should start a blog
that consists solely of daily, long-winded, and humorous entries purporting to
explain why it hasn't been updated. Free idea. Yours for the taking.

Which I thought at the time would be great, however it would require far more ability and dedication to the cause than I have. Also I do from time to time write stuff here rather than simply come along saying geez I have not written much.

I was actually thinking about the fact I do not seem to be trying to write here much these days (definitely not as often as when Andrew gave me a you are blog obsessed sort of t-shirt), and the thing that is not around much at all is my attempts at humour (or at least linking to a large variety of funny things elsewhere... maybe I am not wasting as much time collecting crap from the web now).

Thinking about style of writing and what can be amusing I was reminded that Jeremy Clarkson can be hilarious (and offensive). In the co-op bookshop a while back I found two of his books (collections of columns) remaindered at $5 each. So I bought and read them, highly entertaining indeed (even to this Vegan cycling fanatic). Though he has his own style and years of practice writing often, it was interesting to give some thought to how he uses language and his reputation for loud claims and such to create humour. There are probably things to think about that could be incorporated into writing more often.

Of course as authors say the only way to write is sit down and write, there are no magic shortcuts, everyone can have lots of ideas, however implementing those ideas to turn them into novels is the hard work of writing page after page. I can not say I am really too upset at my low posting count here the past while, not enough to concentrate more on writing here anyway,

Speaking of authors and them writing stuff, I was interested to see the blow up recently in the US about Neil Gaiman's standard appearance fee. His job is to write books, not to do public speaking tours so he has deliberately tried to price himself so high he does not get asked to come and speak everywhere all the time. Makes a lot of sense really, he donated the money to charity and he is still a lot cheaper than really high profile speakers (Bill Clinton is one he mentions as an example).

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Thu, 13 May 2010

The Annual May Zombie Post - 18:03
In an effort to ensure I did not skip another year of this tradition I was having a look around for some interesting zombie related stuff, and what do you know, it seems it may not have been by accident that my annual zombie post happens in May. Some other people have suggested May is Zombie Awareness Month.

And I was interested to see some zombie related suggestions about why you should get out and exercise like I do a lot, Zombies hate fast food, of course if we are on the subject of t-shirts, there are some others on this theme, such as this ST:TOS Bones unquote, He's Undead Jim.

And just to tie this in to my diet (and maybe disprove the bad zombie joke from May 2005) there is a vegan bakery in LA that has photos of a rather yummy looking Chocolate Zombie Cake and better yet Brain Cupcakes, maybe Vegan Zombie Cupcakes will take over the world. (neat they have a new book Vegan Cookies Will Invade your cookie Jar).

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Tue, 23 Feb 2010

Ski Everest - 17:10
I was interested to see on kottke today something about a documentary about a guy who skied Mt Everest. Yuichiro Miura is the person in question, the documentary The Man Who Skied Down Everest was the first sports film ever to win an Oscar for best documentary. Though he did not ski from the summit he did ski around 2000 metres down one face of it, almost killing himself in the process. The article linked from the first wikipedia link above about the God Father of Extreme skiing is an interesting read.

I was fascinated to see he has since climbed everest another two times at the age of 70 and 75, he hopes to climb to the summit again at 80 in 2013.

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Sat, 09 Jan 2010

Sydney Christmas - 07:09

Looking back toward Coogee, Bronte, Bondi, etc (fullsize)
I spent Christmas in Sydney with Jane and other extended family (Grandma, Nick, Ashlie, Jude, Chris, Stu, Karin) at a place in Coogee. Though I had a bike with me (single speed) that was for a potential boxing day mtb ride (which I piked on due to rain). As I was so close to the coastal walking path I headed out for a run on it on Christmas morning. South from Coogee until I ran out of obvious walking path (around 4 km I think) and then back up to the other end of Bondi and back down to Coogee. No idea how far it was (maybe 16km) as my Garmin stopped working and I had sent it in for a replacement.

One of the nice things about being there over Christmas was I managed to go for a swim in the ocean every day while there. No serious swim training but it was nice to get into the salt water and do some swimming none the less.

Lots of fun was had with the family, thanks for an awesome time to all of them there.

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Bracelet fade - 07:01

Bracelet fade evidence (fullsize)
I commented a while ago that the new NBCF bracelets should last longer as they have a design that is less likely to break. Looks like I was right, the faded almost white bracelet in the photo has been on my wrist for most of 2009, I finally noticed a little before Christmas when I gave a new one to a friend that mine was no longer a good NBCF pink, time to put a new one on, I am not sure I can retire the faded one to my notice board at work as it is not broken.

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Mon, 07 Dec 2009

Cruisy weekend - 11:59

The lovely Taemas Bridge near Yass (fullsize)
Saturday morning I hopped on my road bike and headed out to Yass, a nice 3 hour, 84 KM ride which is always rather enjoyable. The reason to head out there was for Jeff and Pia's combined 30th and housewarming. The bbq/party was a lot of fun and I was able to catch up with many people I have not seen much of in a while. Thanks for having us all over guys, and what a lovely place you have there (especially with the views out toward open land from the yard).

I had been planning to ride back but a friend was keen to go paddling on Saturday afternoon so I got a lift back with Crash and headed out for a paddle, largely so my friend could get some more time in tippy boats.

Sunday morning I helped Bilbys do the timing at the triathlon on at the lake and had been sort of planning to go paddling again however ended up going home and napping for an extended period of time. So all in all a fun but relaxing sort of weekend. The Bridge in the photo on the left is one of the reasons I think everyone should go check out the road from Yass to Wee Jasper, a lovely majestic bridge across the river seemingly in the middle of nowhere.

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Fri, 25 Sep 2009

Gear transport mechanism costs - 16:40
I finally got the car service I have been putting off for a while done. Last time I had it in there they mentioned the radiator will need replacing, so I got that done this time. Also last weekend while my car was locked in secure parking at my sister's place in Sydney with Matilda (double sea kayak) on the roof some retards came along and stuck a screw driver or something in the drivers side lock. Thus I needed a new barrel on the lock, this means to unlock the car on the drivers side I now use a different key to the one I use for ignition and the passenger side. I have had to deal with this on other cars in the past and it is a PITA.

I guess I should be happy whoever it was did not damage Matilda and that was the only damage to the car. Anyway the whole shebang cost AUD $1230, around $200 of that was on the new lock barrel and associated labour so not worth an insurance claim ($500 excess). Now I can go back to putting off the car servicing until I absolutely need to for a while, well apart from the two new front tyres I need that they did not do at the time.

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Wed, 09 Sep 2009

British pollies at elite level to Australian pollies with rorts. - 16:50
So I notice many of the papers today have front page material about the Australian politicians needing to cut perks due to rorts in their use of available allowances.

What amuses me the most here is that the perk in question is the use of allowances to print/photocopy material for their election campaigns at the last federal election. Yes the amount that has allegedly been rorted is huge and election material should not be funded with public money. However I keep wondering if the British pollies may look on and think of the rorting abilities of Australian pollies as somewhat amateur. In May there was a lot of coverage of the British pollies rorting allowances and purchasing things such as moat cleaning or pornography. Though it was interesting to see some unique views on that situation at the time.

Oh and speaking of federal politics, I am happy to see I am not the only one who thinks our federal minister for sport (Ellis) is gorgeous.

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Sun, 23 Aug 2009

Another ouch, Out at the worlds site today and Coraline is awesome - 23:00
On my way out to Stromlo this morning on the CX bike I unfortunately had more data provided to back up my theory that my CX bike is cursed. Riding into the bike path tunnel near Scrivner Dam I thought to myself on the wet bike path, hmm I may be going a bit fast here, as I finished the thought my front wheel slipped and I went sliding along the bitumen on my right hip. This is of course the same hip I went sliding on a month ago.

Right now I am seriously annoyed as it makes walking around and a lot of movements painful, I was almost back to being able to sleep on my right side, now I wont for a while. I once more will be unable to run for a few weeks, and can not put full power into the pedals for another few weeks now too. I also have this theory that the cyclocross bike is cursed. This is the only bike I have ever owned on which I have had crashes serious enough to stop me riding or doing other things.

Sure I have had other crashes, such as those involving the breaking of frames however I was still able to go out and do long hard riders or other stuff the next day without much pain. So far on the CX bike I have crashed badly 4 times, each time with the front wheel losing traction and ending up pretty badly hurt. Stitches at the hospital required from one such incident in November 2007, then last year I came off and broke my collar bone when the front wheel lost traction. The recent crash in the CX race meant a month of no running, missing some events and some serious pain. Now a repeat (though it does not feel quite so severe) today. I guess it is possible that something about my position on the bike combined with the geometry and handling of it simply does not suit my riding style and thus I just lose the front wheel badly form time to time. Or I could be blaming the tool.

I made it out to Stromlo of course and we got to work, getting closer to having all the pipes up to hold the bunting around the XC course. We put in some new rocks in a line on one section to make A and B lines, later while working near hammer head the Australian team came past. I took some photos of them practising sections (not posting online until I get faster Internet at home again). So we asked them to check out the new section later on and tell us if it worked and if the B line needed to be slowed or the A line changed. In the end we went down and fixed both up to the extent it should work well while the practised in front of us as we changed it around to ensure it was correct. As Dave said it was kind of fun to have the elites there as we built this to see how it worked at pace.

Upon getting home I showered and headed out to see a movie, Coraline in 3d. This (being a Neil Gaiman based movie) was something I had been looking forward to for a long while, everyone had said seeing it in 3d was worth it too. What can I say, it did not disappoint, scary and cool and fantastic and fun and incredible and sweet and fun and oh so worth seeing. The 3d was a cool experience too.

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Thu, 20 Aug 2009

Still not allowed to give blood - 17:35
So I have been hearing rumours from friends recently that the rule that means I am not allowed to give blood has recently been relaxed. Not due to my diabetes, reading the FAQ on the donate blood site mentions that insulin controlled diabetics should speak with them, however hints they probably will be able to.

The reason I (and also my Sister and Mother) are not allowed to give blood is that we lived in England for all of 1993, which is between the 1980 to 1996 period they rule out due to the lack of a vCJD test. (details here). Which it appears is definitely still a restriction. Unfortunate really.

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Thu, 06 Aug 2009

Some standard sort of news from tests - 22:19
I had to have some blood tests done on Monday morning to have results ready for an Endocronology appointment today. I was interested to see how my iron levels and B12 levels were also. My cholesterol is at 3.1 (HDL 1.0, LDL 1.7 Trigs 0.93) so below the normal range of 3.5-5.5. HbA1C was a bit higher than last year but still in adequate control region (as it has been for two years now). Good to see my iron and B12 levels are healthy and not showing a current problem.

I was a little worried about my iron levels a few months ago, I have not been eating as much green leafy stuff with meals as I probably should and I felt a bit flat, I started having iron tablets, though not with tests at the time so not a good control, however they have B12 in them also I may as well keep having them regularly. With over 10 hours of fairly intensive exercise every week I tend to think I should be careful to have lots of iron and protein from dietary sources I choose to use.

Anyway I thought I would put this data on here, last time I could not find it the printouts I had again and wanted to know some of the numbers.

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Tue, 04 Aug 2009

Internet down... due to phone company going bust - 22:27
Well that is kind of unusual. I was out at a function tonight, upon my return home a housemate mentions the Internet connection is down. I look into it and find the ADSL link is acting as if there is no phone line there. Then my housemates happen to mention that the land line has been unable to make outgoing calls for the past few days.

I try to make a call and hear a message from Telstra talking about contacting them, strange as the landline is not through Telstra. I hope online with the wireless broadband built into my laptop and have a look. The phone company the land line was with has gone into voluntary administration, Telstra took control of all the landlines and other things and has now disconnected them all.

I quite like the phone number for this landline, very easy to remember (something like 6363 8222, repetitive and not hard to grasp) so it would be nice to keep it if we can. However it would also be nice to be able to switch to a service such as Internode naked adsl and use a phone through that. However Internode do not yet do number porting from pstn from what I can find out. I wonder if a potential option would be to port the number to one of the VoIP providers in Australia that do do number porting and then use Internode naked to that.

Anyway I will get to have a bunch of time wasted tomorrow trying to sort this out and I am almost sure I will have to deal with Telstra somewhere in there, I wonder if I can book in for a dentist appointment as that would be a whole lot more fun.

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Mon, 06 Jul 2009

Riding, Tour and hanging out in Sydney - 16:07
A good weekend was had in Sydney, got there around 9:30pm on Friday night after passing through Tahmoor to pick up a new bike (details later). Saturday morning I headed out to John and Lel's place where we were going riding, having a bbq, lots of great coffee, watching the tour and saying good bye to JJ and Lel as they are heading off to England.

Getting back to Jane's place around 4am I slept in until 10am when we went for breakfast at Naked Espresso in Newtown. Great food and I am intrigued to try their Vegan friendly pizzas sometime too. Then in the afternoon we made out way out to Bondi and hung around with the cousins (Nick, Jack, Ash and Jack's son Tom) which was good.

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Wed, 01 Jul 2009

Sydney again this weekend - 16:49
So this weekend I will head up to Sydney again. This time for a send off for a friend moving back to England and then hanging out with Jane on Sunday. Last time we found some pretty yummy Vegan friendly food, I hope we find some more new and interesting food this time round. Hope to have Sunday breakfast at Naked Espresso in Newtown as I forgot the name of the place last time and we ended up elsewhere.

Some mountain biking on Saturday at the send off, probably no exercise Sunday (unless we go swimming) (unlike last time), still it should be nice even if I have to deal with Sydney.

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