another update

I don't intentionally mean to only update every couple of months, it just keeps ending up that way.

Well, recently I've been trying to balance work and training at the same time... what's new? I've been learning a new version control system called GIT, which I've come to really like, and today I gave a TechBytes talk about it to some of the other devs here. We've been having Perforce issues recently so it was good timing: I pointed out that having a verifiable object store and not requiring a central single point of failure could be pretty handy.

Unfortunately the training for the last couple of weeks has been kind of off-and-on. I did go to some open water swimming session a couple of weeks ago: that's the first time I've been swimming outside a swimming pool in years and years! So I've at least swum in a wetsuit once (it's nice once you're in the water) and I'm feeling somewhat more confident about the race.

Speaking of which, is anyone interested in coming along to watch/cheer on/commiserate? It's at ExCeL (the finish line is actually inside the exhibition hall), and I'll be there on Saturday to check my bike in, and actually racing on Sunday. Fortunately I'm racing at the civilised time of 1pm: Rob at work has got the very uncivilised time of 6am, although he is getting to go on the scenic route up to Westminster, rubbing shoulders with the elites... Anyway, I'd be all done by mid-late afternoon, although I'd have to face up to getting the bike home at some point eventually.

Once that's out of the way, August should be a bit quiet; I'm planning on taking a couple of weeks off (finally!) at the start of September. Might take the bike up to my parents' and have a ride around there. Didn't I say that last time? And then work are muttering about me heading out to the Bangalore office for a week or so in late September, which could be ... interesting. Or just lots of sitting in a hotel room. But hopefully not. And just the other day I got a note reminding me that the half-marathon is in eight weeks: fun and games!

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So, after all the fun with the car, now fun with the bike. Finally changed the brake pads today (I was going to do this quite a few months back, but determined that the pads just needed the mud shaking off rather than replacing), and managed to somehow break the adjuster on the front caliper outer side. And the cover has come off the adjuster on the rear caliper outer side. So not a good showing (although the brakes do still work; although I think the pads need a while to bed in). So add new brakes to the shopping list for some point soon (they've already been on the wishlist, kind of); but probably following getting a new saddle, because the rails seem to be buggered after the fall, and the saddle sags to the right after a couple of rides. While I'm at it, the handlebar grips are coming loose. And the covers come off the bottom of the rear shifter. And the fork's a bit basic. Sorry, what is this "rent" you talk about, Mr. Landlord? Is it like that "food" stuff people bang on about?

In other mixed news: I did manage to get into the wetsuit today (anyone spectating through our upstairs window got their own punishment imho). Typically, despite having cut my nails etc beforehand, I still somehow managed to put a cut into the outer on the thigh. So, neoprene adhesive up the shopping list too. Still, good to know I can get into the thing, although not without an assistant to do the zip up at the moment! Spray-on baby oil helps as a lubricant for this (the spray-on stuff is water-based). Simply putting the suit on is a flexibility workout, not to mention an exercise in patience.
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Almost a grand's worth of repairs needed to get the car through MOT! And even then it would appear to have an oil leak we haven't tracked down yet... argh!

Deep cut in one of the tyres... fair enough. Suspension bushes going... that happens. Handbrake not activating... seems to be endemic to all automatics! (based on my comprehensive sample of owning two) Brake discs pitted... just one of the many ways in which heavy cars get expensive. Fuel filter needs replacing... hmm, should probably have had this done last year anyway.

Exhaust manifold gasket wasn't actually fixed in and was floating around under the bonnet... wtf?!

The garage that last serviced & MOT'd the car has gone out of business. Either the new guys are more thorough, or just better at finding things that are wrong to charge me for :|

So... no expensive last minute trip abroad for me this year! Not that I was planning to anyway. But if I'm going to have a working car, might take the bike up to my parents' and explore some trails around there, maybe try the Mary-Towneley-Loop-in-one-day challenge.
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mounds and bars

It's a bit sunny out there. We went for a walk to Northala Fields yesterday--- a bit of parkland in Northolt next to the A40, featuring four large concial mounds that look like early medieval burial barrows :) I'll take a camera next time I'm up there... although having a decent camera would be useful! Well, my existing camera is OK, just a bit old.... when did a 2MP camera come to seem less than decent?

Saw someone cycling on this morning on an ordinary looking town bike-- rear basket, fenders, rattly as hell-- and then noticed he had aero bars on the front! Kind of like adding a spoiler to your staid old Volvo... He also didn't seem inclined to actually get into aero position or indeed go fast at all, so I assume he got them just so that he could rest his arms in a comfy position.... or maybe he puts them onto a zoomy bike at the weekends? Also some twit was cycling down the path through Hyde Park with no hands on the bars at all: show off somewhere else far from me, kthxbye.

I've been pointed towards a plan for getting my swimming up: Despite the blurb at the top, I'll just interpret all yards measurements as metres, it's close enough :p

I still have bruises on the back of my leg (two weeks on), but they're spreading out and fading, although the ones around my knee still have noticeable lines and I get the occasional twinges... have to be careful with that.

even more ow

Just as I was getting to work this morning, right outside Scotland Yard, someone walks out into the road in front of me, intent on lighting up his fag and not looking for oncoming traffic... gah! I now have the sorest arse imaginable, along with a bent saddle rail and an impressively cracked helmet. Having said that, I could just get up and walk, and I don't think I've got anything more than a bruised glute, and I didn't even knock over the guy I hit, so it wasn't all that bad.

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I think my heart rate monitor's noticed it's got a rival... it's crashed, probably requiring a battery disconnect (it's happened once before too).

Nice ride in this morning... it actually felt a bit warm to be having long sleeves on once in town! Last weekend we had snow, now it's over 15 degrees. Don't know if the weather served as encouragement, but got in 5 minutes or so faster than the last few times. (Average speed just poking over 15mph... not much for someone who's actually fit, but good for me :p)

in motion

Managed to save up enough (amazingly we're getting paid extra for late-night work from time to time) to invest in a new training tool over the weekend: a Garmin Forerunner 305 GPS unit. It's pretty cool, giving a real-time speed/distance read-out, and the web service to upload the tracks to is ... passable. Does have some cool features such as RSS syndication, and allows each activity to be shown on Google Maps (sure as hell beats the massively undetailed map supplied in the PC link app). Unfortunately over the weekend got too enthusiastic while out in the rain and got a bit raw in the, ah, saddle region. Fun, yeah right. Ouch. Also the shop offering wetsuits to hire for August has opened up for this year... FEAR.

Also managed to make a quite successful attempt at rogan josh--- dealing with the yoghurt separating by whacking the heat up and boiling it to buggery :) It's amazing, too, how the cinnamon and cloves can fill the entire house in less than a couple of minutes.

Hopefully I will have a replacement phone soon... I got the impression from the CSR I spoke to last that I can just re-use one of the PAYT sim cards I've been given every time I upgrade, and just get it reassigned to my contract. Still, hopefully avoid losing the damn thing again.

talking about the weather again...

Easter! Two days off work! Of which I spent yesterday vegetating... fast becoming a favourite weekend activity.

And today? Went out for a run at 4pm. Bright sunshine, 5 degrees. Then hail. Then sun. Then snow. Then sun again. And some very confused tourists.

Finally gave in and went to Tesco in the car... had to charge the damn thing to get it started because I so rarely use it now. Had stir-fry, trifle and green ginger wine and now heading for imminent collapse, but in a good way for once :)

still alive

I seem to be incapable of going to the pub and just having one drink, even when it's just down to the pub after work. Or maybe that's especially when it's just after work...

I've managed to clock up 18Km of running (for certain definitions of "running") this week, as 3 6Km sessions. So getting better... gradually. Pace is still rotten, but hey, you've got to build up. I think I might scale down a couple of the sessions (that I do on the same day as going swimming) and lengthen the Friday afternoon one. I've also got a replacement cycle computer--- this seems to have a somewhat more adjustable sensor than the previous one, so hopefully will actually be useful. If not, this is the last wireless cycle computer I'm getting (but I think I said that last time). Will try and fit that tomorrow and get out for a bit, assuming it doesn't piss down. I've already got neoprene booties to go over my shoes when cycling, because usually by the time I get home/to work my toes are numb--- but wearing shorts is fine, presumably because legs do a good job of staying warm when they're being used....

I'm working from home on Monday so may try getting to the Gurnell Leisure Centre in the morning to use the 50m pool. The goal being to avoid drowning halfway across, expecting the end to be there :-O Still have a long way to go on the swmiming front, but I'm gradually (!) getting more comfortable with it.

Tomorrow night is both Vagabonds and Slaughterhaus 5 on the same night. Enjoyed SH5 last time round, but it's all the way out in Stoke Newington... I knew about Vagabonds before and was going to go to that.... ah, decisions decisions....
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