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Showing posts from September, 2005

Cycling to Bath

Some years ago my dad and I cycled from Newbury to Pewsey, largely along the canal, to visit a friend of his. We promised ourselves that one day we would complete the stint from Pewsey to Bath and I'm proud to say that yesterday we made it.

We caught the train to Pewsey and then cycled to join the tow-path at Devizes and on to Bath. It was a fantastic ride, and the scenery - especially from Bradford Upon Avon - was simply stunning. We cycled almost 50 miles in total, including a final few miles uphill out of Bath to Tog Hill where my mum picked us up.

We were fortunate with the weather and didn't have any reliability issues either, which was good. My dad was riding the same bike he rode from London to Edinburgh when he was 17, which is very cool. I have to admit that after much deliberation I opted not to take my new Giant because I haven't mastered the toe-clips enough to deal with the constant stop-start regime that the tow-path could have demanded if it was narrow and bus…

Sex Change Insurance

I went for a drink in my local (the oh so lively Woodpecker) tonight with my friend Mark which was quality. We chatted about all sorts of things and at one point we ended up talking about car insurance. Exciting stuff I hear you cry, and for the most part it was just the usual whinge about it being so much more expensive for blokes than for girls.

However, I was reminded that recently the powers that be considered making it possible for you to declare yourself as whatever gender you like - whether you are or not. All in the name of political correctness, or human rights or equality or something. It sparked a bit of a debate about public toilet labelling I think.

Anyway, the point is that if this law did come in to force (does anyone know?) then theoretically it is possible for blokes to declare themselves as women on their car insurance and save themselves a packet. Anyone brave enough to give it a go?

Some Light Relief

I don't know about you but I feel that some light relief is in order after my last couple of posts, which were quite heavy by all accounts. (Don't let that stop you from reading them at some point though).

I think I'll start by drawing your attention to the new treats in store for visitors to this part of the Blogosphere. You can now read a bit about me in the profile section. and if you like my posts you can use the new facility to email them to your friends.

Once you've calmed down from all the excitement I would like to share with you my favourite fact of the day, taken from the BBC News Page. The Japanese apparently have a word for a girl who appears pretty from behind but not from the front. Should you ever have need for it, it's "bakku-shan".

More About The Good Book

I have realised that my response to Anthropax's comment on my previous post ('The 100 Minute Bible') could pigeon-hole me as someone who blindly quotes Scripture every time I need to prove a point.

This would not be good, so I have decided to elaborate on my point, and on the Bible as a general topic. Hopefully this will pave the way for some educated debate and interesting comment.

Firstly, the Bible is not just about one thing and making any attempt to sum it up in a few sentences is bound to result in huge omissions and gross misunderstandings. For those of you who don't know, the Bible comprises 66 different books (39 in the Old Testament and 27 in the New). The books range from allegory to history, from poetry and song to law and from eye-witness account to letter, and most of them were written by different people.

But that said, there are some common themes running throughout. It teaches us about God, and His character, His relationship with us and how He intend…

The 100 Minute Bible

I've not talked about my faith much recently - something I perhaps ought to rectify given the interesting comments, opinions and insights that such postings produced.

Anyway, many of you will have doubtless heard about the '100 Minute Bible' which has hit the headlines in the last week. The idea is that it is a shortened version of the Bible which can be read in 100 Minutes apparently. I shall reserve judgement until I've seen a copy for myself, but if it conveys the essence of the Christian Message, encourages more people to read the Bible and improves their Biblical knowledge then it could be a Good Thing.

As the 'Have Your Say' column on the BBC News Page shows, people certainly seem to have a lot of opinions. What angers me however is the sheer ignorance (and often arrogance) displayed by many.

For example, the person who said that 'I have already released the 10-second version and I publish it here for free: "Be good to one another and you will go to…

You Couldn't Make This Up

It's 9.15pm and I'm at a deserted airfield where, having been driven here by a man in a dog collar in a very fast car we've broken in ...to retrieve the aforementioned vicar's glasses.Actually we didn't quite break in; we were supplied with the code for the main gate by the man who found the glasses and left them accessible for us. To tell you that however kind of ruins the drama...

Showtime

Today for the first time in a couple of years I paid a visit to the annual Newbury Show, and I'm pleased to report that I had a quality day. It bought back many happy memories of family days spent there when I was much younger.

Amidst the abundance of budget clothing outlets and greasy fast food trailers there was a lot to see and do. I saw lizards, snakes, owls and waterbuffalo, and enjoyed the parade of cattle. I bought a cactus and enjoyed a free ride around a 4x4 track in a Ford Ranger pickup. I saw a team parachute drop and I enjoyed sampling the delights on offer in the food tent (once I'd realised there was more to sample than organic mueseli). Another good thing I enjoyed about the Newbury Show was the fact that it's a good place to bump in to people you know (if you know people who also attend the show, of course).

Random moment of the day has to be whilst I was visiting one of the car stands. As I was walking past one of the saloon cars, another visitor appea…

It's A Sad Day...

Ladies and Gentlemen, I have some very sad news.

I am (temporarily) no longer a Linux user.

For a good while now, my trusty desktop, Milhouse, has been running Mandrake Linux 10.1. It would do things that Windows could only dream of. DHCP server (automatically passing my laptop network details)? No problem. Stability? Completely. Security? Like Fort Knox. Viruses? What, now?

Unfortunately I had to make some hardware changes, and setting up Mandrake again has proven impossible. My computer is too old to deal with the power management features without some fiddling around under Linux, and for some reason I can't get the NVIDIA graphics drivers to work as they did last time, resulting in an off-centre display. The nail in the coffin has been the bootloader, which refuses to load Linux at all if the configuration file is so much as opened and a complete reinstall is needed.

I've given up reinstalling Linux and have had to resort to Windows XP until I can get a more suitable…

Strange English Phrases

As I came downstairs this morning, I heard my dad on the telephone. He used the phrase "it's like elephants and mating", evidently as an analogy for something. Have any of you heard the phrase before, and if so would you please care to enlighten me on it's use.The second bizarre phrase of the day goes to the old packing box I came across in our garage. According to the print on the side it was designed to contain "Mansize Banded Packs". Of what, exactly?

Once Upon a Time...

...in a castle not too far away, 'singer' Peter Andre decided to wed his plastic 'princess'.

If you believe the media, you'll think that the wedding of Peter Andre and Jordan at Highclere Castle was *the* event of the weekend (unless you're like my aunt, who thought it was the wedding of two gay men, or Big Brother's Eugene who apparently turned down his invite and went to an amateur radio club meeting).

Obviously it wasn't - that accolade goes to the annual family BBQ, which once again lived up to expectations. People, you just can't beat the combination of good company, quality barbecued meat, premium lager and nice wine in abundance; though before you cast aspertions none of us was excessively intoxicated and a good time was had by all.

Given the amount of media hype however I feel that it'd be rude not to comment about the aforementioned wedding, even though I expect that you, like me, had far better things to do.

Jordan assured the BBC News p…

Monopoly & Things

Hey Dudes.

I hope that you've had a good week, and are enjoying the weekend. I've had a varied week, culminating in a quality game of Monopoly last night. Really, it was great. There were six of us congregated at Marshall's (thanks guys for the hospitality) and we snacked, drunk Dr Pepper (or similar sugary drinks) and made property deals in to the early hours of the morning.

I procured Mayfair early on, but rushed my property deals and never had the cash to fully develop anything, even though I held the green set as well. Still, more by luck than judgement I came in third place which isn't bad. Roll on the next game...

Other highlights of my week include cycling on Greenham Common. It was awesome - the weather was beautiful and the scenery quite something. Sometimes there's nothing like bombing down a gravel track enjoying the fresh air. I used my old Falcon mountain bike in this instance, but I've also been making good use of my new Giant road bike - thi…

You couldn't do it again if you tried...

I went food shopping with my mum and the bill, for 32 items, was £32.32. Maybe it's just me who's fascinated by such numerical co-incidences but I thought I'd share it with you anyway.

The world is full of criminals

As some of you are probably aware, there was some controversy recently about some new speed cameras on the M4. At the height of the debate, Roger from Newbury left a comment on the BBC News page explaining that we should have nothing to worry about because "only criminals break the speed limit".

By that logic then the world is indeed full of criminals. Sam and I were driving back from Castle Combe this afternoon, beetling along at 50mph - the "temporary" speed limit on that section of the M4, seemingly due to the presence of some pointless cones on the Hard Shoulder in recent months. Everyone else on the road however was taking advantage of the wide, three lane expanse and even an HGV cruised past us in the terrible dry conditions with poor visibility of at least a couple of miles.

Doubtless the cops will penalise some of these criminals for their unsafe driving, putting more money in the coffers in the process.

Well really. The idea that speed cameras are more about …

Live from Castle Combe

This posting comes to you live from Castle Combe racetrack, where my cousin and uncle are hosting one of their trackdays. They both have Caterham 7s and they've very kindly taken me out for some fast laps. Caterhams are quite something anyway, but my cousin's is devoid of windscreen, doors and a passenger seat. Fortunately, patio chair cushions and a 5point racing harness kept me secure and comfortable, seat or not.Thanks must also go to the dude who's just taken me out in his Honda S2000. Despite not being as stripped down as a Caterham it was still really exhilerating-it revs to 9000rpm! And tailing an original M3, also pushing it hard was quite something.
Aside from some Caterhams, an original M3 and a couple of S2000s there are a few more sets of tasty wheels around, including a tuned Datsun 240Z and an original Audi RS Estate. Someone has also turned up in a Ferarri, but evidently doesn't plan to put in on the track. What's the point in spending all that money …

Checking in briefly

Evening All.

Aware that I've been a bit poor at blogging recently I thought I would stick my head above the water again this evening, albeit briefly.

It's been a quality week, containing everything from Careers meetings in Oxford (in an attempt to solve my latest course choice headache) to lunch on the Isle of Wight in hot sunshine.

Regular readers will be pleased to know that after what seems like an age of deliberating and test riding bikes my 21st birthday present arrived on Wednesday. I am now the proud owner of a Giant CRS, kitted out with mudguards, handlebar ends and toe clips. She looks beauitiful in black, and - more importantly - goes like a dream.

Time now for some sleep methinks, but I'll try and get in to a routine of posting a bit more regularly as the summer draws to an end and the academic world wakes up.

More Controversy

Today I have decided to air some of my views on the NHS. If you are a regular visitor to this part of cyberspace it won't surprise you to know that I think that the government is making a bit of a hash of it.

Following my recent political post about the honesty (or lack thereof) of our current government I would like to reiterate that I am under no illusion that any government recently has been completely honest - yes Anthropax, I have heard of 'Tory Sleaze'.

However I maintain that our current government is particularly dishonest and the NHS is another area in which this shows itself. I will now attempt to convey why in my experience and in my opinion I think that all this talk of improvement is yet more lies and spin. Let the debate commence...

I happen to know several people who work in the NHS in various different roles, and all of them feel that morale is low and that the governmental targets and pressures are all about statistics and not the health of the patient. I…

Word Verification

I have decided to try out the new word verification feature for leaving comments in this corner of the Blogosphere. It may be more hassle than it's worth, but it should at least ensure that things stay spam free.

Do try it out, and let me know what you think - by leaving comments of course.