27 May 2006

So, I’ve clearly hit a phase when everything just goes wrong. In addition to my bike woes, my iMac died a few weeks ago. I was holding off calling Apple Care until I’d had time to back up the hard disk, as I feared sending it back to Apple and not seeing any of my lovely personal data again. In my past two experiences with Apple Care they’d sent me a nice box in which to insert the object of brokenness, which was then collected by DHL, all of which adds wonderfully to the fixing latency.

Anyway, I figured I’d phone them today now I have an external HD on which to drop the data (this involves putting the HD from the iMac into another iMac, incase you were wondering…). After 26 minutes of explaining to them that I’d checked everything they were about to suggest, they got to the bit about the box, but low and behold they said they’d send out an engineer. I’m not sure if this is because this time I’m on the full 3 year Apple Care plan or because basically the recongnised my greatness or some mystery other option, but either way it’s a welcome improvement, assuming the engineer turns up :)

Hopefully I’ll soon my iMac restored and I’ll be able to rejoin clan playpen. Perhaps it’ll even be fixed in time that I can use it whilst waiting for the man to come and fix the washing machine which broke a while back…

The saga continues… I did a bit of prodding the bike with a multimeter this morning, and the battery appears not to be getting a charge, which means something somewhere is either not connected (if I’m lucky) or burnt out (if I’m unlucky). Either way, means the bike is out of action until i can get someone to look at it, and that appears to be next Friday. Oh well, perhaps I can get them to look at the non-working fuel guage whilst they’re at it. Only ever so slightly frustrated here…

27 May 2006

A few years ago I went through a phase of trying to make folded omlettes and never succeeded, so gave up, as I always ended up with scrambled egg, and there are less frustrating ways to make that. Clearly, however, the problem was that I was awake. Yesterday I managed to accdently make a perfect folded omlette whilst still struggling to open my eyes before 7am. Today I managed to repeat the process. Clearly there’s some art to it that means you shouldn’t think too much :) Today’s contained gruyere and sun blushed tomatos, and was very nice.

When in France recently I did pay 26 euros for a very good omlette made with truffle – perhaps I can get into that market now :)

So, the battery charged over night okay, the bike started up the firs t time fine, but on the second start I could hear the starter struggling again and the red battery warning light returned once more. I took the bike for a 20 mile run (and thus missed the gym – no bacon roll for me today then…) to see if that would help remove the red light of doom, but alas not. So my best guess would be that the battery is a bit dodgy, perhaps due to the large number of small runs I do on it (Cambridge not being that big). Now I have the charger that I can leave on over night I have some protection, but I suspect my weekend drive to Ireland is looking unlikely at the moment.

And, perhaps sympathetically, I feel a bit under the weather today too. Though I suspect mine is more due to a hectic week rather than anything actually wrong with me. Either that or stressing about the bike is getting to me!

Went to start the bike this morning and alas it failed to start up :( I’d noticed that the battery light was on last night as I headed home, but I didn’t have time to take it for a longer run to see if that would charge the battery up more and remove the red light (another example of a warning system that causes the problem to get worse, albeit very slightly). Anyway, I got all dolled up in my bike gear, wheeled it out, and although all the dash lights came up and the fuel injection system sounded happy, pressing the starter button resulted in a feeble sounding attempt to start the motor, rather than the roar of life I was expecting.

Got a trickle charger unit for the bike on the way to work, and nipped home at lunch to install it (which also required I needed to get some spanners – clearly I’ll get all tooled up now that I’ve got the bike). The charger seemed to start working happily enough, so now I’ll just wait and see if either tonight or tomorrow morning it’s finished charging and starts up.

On the topic of tooling up, I’ve also got some Oxford soft pannier bags for the bike, which should hopefully carry enough t-shirts and stuff to let me last 5 nights in Ireland. I suspect not exactly, but I think between that and hotel laundry services it should be enough :)

25 May 2006

I discovered the joy of audio described film today. Audio Description is spoken subtitles for the visually impared, which basically turns the film almost into a radio play. In addition to being generally a good thing by making film more accessible, they do wonderfully show up the madness of certain film types. The trailer here for Mission Impossible 3 is particularly entertaining.

Of course, I’m probably one of the few people really looking forward to MI3 :) I know it’s trash, really I do, but MI2 was such amazingly slick trash (as John Woo is an expert at) I thought it was fantastic (I do own in on DVD :). MI1 on the other hand had what passes for a plot in an action film, so deserves seeing for that. I can see I’m not convincing anyone here…

On Saturday I was taken to the national theatre for the first time to see The Royal Hunt For The Sun , which was really good. I’ve never realy seen that much theatre, but I really love it when I do. I guess there’s something about seeing real people act out a drama that makes it much more immediately engaging than say film. Not that I wish to diss film of course – each medium has its advantages. Anyway, this was a particularly vibrant production telling the tale of a Spanish General who leads a group of men to Peru in search of gold, where they meet the Incas. The General captures their leader who claims to be a God on earth, and they bond together, but the Spanish troops and their palace representative aren’t going to let things end amicably. I really enjoyed the piece, which was well staged and had some quite good bits of dialog, particularly with the different views on religon between the Spanish and Incas, which was quite funny (and I imagine a lot more cutting back in 1964 when the play was first staged).

Whilst in London also met up with Jonathan for lunch, in a nice place called Giraffe (warning, that link annoyingly resizes your browser), and took in some of the South Bank, including going on the London Eye and briefly visiting the bar in Tate Modern (alas there was nothing in the main hall, as they were between exhibits). It was quite a fun day out, as I’ve never really done chilling in London, as typically I just go there for a specific purpose and leave. Was nice to chill.

Just a note that this week the Cambridge Beer Festival is running on Jesus Green (for those of you that might have missed it living in Outeer Cherry Hinton ;). The weather has been mixed, so I’d pick your moment wisely…

22 May 2006

So, I guess for a while I’ll be playing random catch up with events in my life now I’ve got this blog up. First up is the fact that weekend before last I got a motorbike. not just any motorbike, but I have the most red bike one could possibly imagine (no, it’s not a commie bike… perhaps I shouldn’t read so much La Carre ;). I’ve got my Dad’s old Ducati 907 IE. Don’t fret too much about Dad though, he still has the Ducati 996 :) You can see the pair of us out at new year briefly here .

Anyway, I learned to ride last year as a bit of fun. Partly because it seemed exciting, and partly as I was getting itchy feet and knew I wanted to travel a bit at some point, and doing it by bike seemed a good way to go. Then my Dad lent me The Long Way Round, and that was it – clearly a bike was the way to see the world! Amusingly, unlike most parents I suspect, my parents were very encouraging and in fact gave me my leather jacket to get me started.

So, having passed, I needed a bike. Whilst I lust after various bikes, I was fairly focussed on getting one that would be comfortable for going long distances on. I knew my Dad had been trying to sell the 907 due to running two bikes at once being a pain, and the 907 is a sports tourer bike, which means it looks sporty (which I can take or leave – I’m quite into the BMW GSs) but is set up to be a very comfortable ride. I suspect, as nice as the 996 is, you’d not want to pull a few hundred miles on it in a day, let alone do it again the next day.

Thus last weekend I flew up to Glasgow to collect the bike and drive it down. I split the journey to break me in gently, first driving over from Glasgow to Edinburgh on the Saturday, and then from Edinburgh to Cambridge on the Sunday. On the way down from Edinburgh I took the scenic start to the trip, going through the Scottich Borders down via Jedburgh rather than take the direct route down the A1. You can see the bike parked up at the borders here:

Bike at Borders

So, if you spot a Ducati 907 in Cambridge, it’s probably me. The next trip is hopefully to Ireland next weekend. I need to head to Dublin for work on the 29th till 30th, so I’ll get the ferry to the southern tip of Ireland and drive up to Dublin (which isn’t that far – it’s longer to get to the ferry terminal at Fishgaurd, Wales, than to get from Rosslare to Dublin). After that I’d like to take some time later in the year just to head into Europe for a couple of weeks and drive around seeing places randomly.

22 May 2006

Hmmm. New blogging tool. Gave up on the old set of hacked up python I used to run, in favour of something more polished (i.e., something polished by someone else…). I guess the old blog will remain for now here

The old blog kinda died a death due to things happening in my personal life, and for a while I didn’t particularly have much to say. Then meta events slowed down things (no broadband for a while, iMac died, yada yada). Anyway, this is an attempt to do things again.

The dyndns name is both a song title (my default naming policy for things like email subjects when I can’t think of anything else is to pick random (unrandom if I’m awake and can think of one to match) song titles), and a reference to the fact that the computer hosting this occasionally locks up.

You can also comment, but I need to hit the software more as currently it’ll link your email address in the comment, which I don’t like. I’ll get around to fixing that at some point, but for now you have been warned!