September 2006 Archives

Slippery when wet

| | Comments (3) | TrackBacks (0)

Oh, how I detest buying new shoes. A holdover from childhood, when the purchase of new shoes was begat by testiness and invariably followed by days of chaffing and blistering. These days I tend only to buy shoes as a last resort, holding on to my current pair as long as physically possible. Alas, wear and tear finally sundered them in half, leaving me with little other option. I'd examine the long drawn out affair of the actual purchasing process but, truth be told, I more or less walked into the first shoe shop I stumbled across and bought the first pair of shoes that looked like they'd do the job and which didn't seem to fit too badly. Pleasantly, they fitted well, proved perfectly comfortable and I soon gave them little thought

And then the rains came.

It was then, I as was sauntering down the granite paving stones of the Royal Mile that I discovered that my news shows hold absolutely no traction on granite paving stones when wet. Even the cobbles proved no safer. For all the purchase I could find I may as well have been walking on ice. On the one hand this could be seen as a bad thing, since slipping up and cracking ones head on ground would be undignified end to this particular plane of existence. On the other hand... well, suffice it to say that I had a whale of a time skating down the Royal Mile, whizzing past tourists. One nice old lady even gave me a cheer wave as I zipped by her.

Assuming I survive owning them, I'm think I'm going to enjoy these shoes.

Bring on the rain!

My unicycle

Whatever will the neighbours think?

A brief update: I just watched someone trying to fit a bike next to the unicycle, and when that didn't work they tried to place it on top of the unicyle. Eventually they swore, gave up, and moved it somewhere else instead. My evil plan worked. I feel strangely empowered...

Youtube video of Steve Jobs introducing the world to the original iPod.

It really says something about the sort of devotion/fanaticism Apple inspires, that even the packaging of the new range of iPods is subject to intense scrutiny. Personally, what I find interesting about it is the fact that the box appears too small to contain a cd for the installation of iTunes. A tacit acknowledgement that widespread broadband availability is now to be taken for granted?

How times change.

One of my problems with life in my otherwise cosy little basement flat is the lack of light it receives in the winter. I can cope with it, but it's compounded slightly by the bicycles which stick limpet like to the railings outside my window, thus blocking even more of my precious winter light. I'm sure a sensible person would have simply left a note for the owners asking them if they'd mind shifting their bikes along a bit.

I, however, am not that sensible person and instead have come with a nefarious scheme of my own. I'm going to chain a unicycle outside my window instead. It takes up less than 1/2 the space of a conventional push bike after all and, carefully positioned, it should leave one of my two living room windows gloriously bike free. It's slightly petty, I admit, but the other plus side is that it means I have a unicycle chained outside of my window.

How cool is that?

Still here

| | Comments (1) | TrackBacks (0)

Yes, I know I've been quiet here lately. I've no real excuses, other than to say I've gotten slightly out of the habit of posting regularly. I definitely seem to have been suffering from a lack of inspiration recently. I'd like to think it's been because I've been devoting my energies elsewhere, but I don't think that's true.

That said, I had an eventful weekend. Nicky and Kerry decided to head down to Alton Towers at short notice at the weekend and invited me along. Really, how could I say no to that? I've been to Alton Towers once before a few years back and it really is jolly good fun. The park itself is built around the impressive ruins of a stately house/castle and it's gardens which remain beautifully well preserved even now. It certainly makes a fascinating counterpoint for Disney style theme parks and their artificial castles and gardens, although whatever cachet is earned by Alton Towers authenticity is quickly squandered by the themed "Merrie England" area of the park, and it's mentions of "olde world" dining. Still, while the park itself may not be able to match Disney's levels of investment, there's more than enough fun to be had to fill a day and it's roller-coasters in particular are top notch. The latest is Rita: Queen of Speed, a vaguely race track themed coaster with a glorious 80's soundtrack to entertain the queue (which was rather length as the tempestuous Rita seemed to be having a few teething troubles that morning). It's primary selling point is what appeared to be a magnetic launching system which propels the carts from nought to very fast indeed in what feels a very short space of time. Suffice it to say, that if you see my stomach lying around the park, I'd very much appreciate it's return. The other coasters of note are Oblivion, featuring a rather spectacular vertical drop, Air, which dangles you precariously above the ground at high speed, and my favourite, Nemesis, for which it's definitely worth queueing that extra while to get a seat at the very front.

We drove down (well, I say we drove - it's rather more accurate to say I was driven) there Friday evening, staying overnight in what I would rate as the worlds hottest hotel (literally hot. Even with the window open it was sweltering), and driving back the following evening. The start of both journeys was signalled by the rise over the horizon of a truly spectacular orange moon. I believe it had just started to wane, but it really was rather gorgeous. I claimed control of Kerrys iPod for the latter part of the return journey. Kerry and I don't see always eye-to-eye when it comes to music, but there's enough overlap in our tastes that I managed to program a couple of hours of mutually acceptable music, including "The Elephant Love Medley" from Moulin Rouge, which has become something of a family favourite. As much fun as I had in the park, I think I'll cherish the memory of the three of us driving back singing along to the "The Elephant Love Medley" even more.

'twas a good day.

Human sized hamster ball!

| | Comments (0) | TrackBacks (0)

If you're not read xkcd everyday you should be


| | Comments (0) | TrackBacks (0)

And so ends the Edinburgh festival. The banners are down, the performers have left, and the city is back to its normal self once more, though feeling emptier than it did before. It reminds me much as home feels after the Christmas decorations have been taken down - a brief sense of melancholy soon to fade. For all that people complain about the influx of tourists come festival season (and apparently Edinburgh is host to no less that 13 distinct festivals during that time), I have to confess that I love the vibrancy of the city when the festivals are in full swing, and my heart has even been know to swell with civic pride.

Fortunately the festival always goes out with a bang rather a whimper, and tonight was no exception. As usual the castle was host to a spectacular fireworks display. Sadly circumstances beyond our control that we arrived later than we'd originally intended - a bit of a nuisance since Kerry had planned to arrive early enough to secure a decent spot for taking photographs of the display. We didn't end up in too poor a spot in the end, finding ourselves above the car park on Castle Terrace. It afforded us a fine view of the rockets, but it was off to one side, which meant we missed many of the smaller fireworks that go off in front of the castle, including the now famous waterfall effect. Still what we could see was rather pretty indeed and included several unusual effects I hadn't seen before, notably rockets whose corona changed colour after exploding and more rockets whose trails veered off in numerous different directions after spreading out in a near perfect circle. All very difficult to describe, all rather beautiful to behold.

One interesting effect of being so close to a car park was the effect the larger rockets had on the numerous parked cars. Rather impressively they managed to trigger a number of car alarms. The best was saved for the very last however, as the final rocket, rather than producing a visual display, seemed designed to produce an impressive concussive blast instead. Suffice it to say that it was felt rather than seen. Not only did it set off an impressive number of car alarms, but also managed to trigger some of burgler alarms as well.

Top stuff!

Juggling was back on tonight - hurrah. Apparently its absence last week was a blip due to the festival. Rather strangely though it appeared to be an almost entirely new crowd of people there tonight, which, coupled with the remains of some decorations for a cabaret last Saturday, gave me cause for a bit of a double take as I walked in - for a moment I wasn't sure I was in the right place. Attendance always fluctuates a bit and there are only a small number of regulars, but it was still unusual to see so many new faces. Thankfully there were a couple of excellent contact jugglers in attendance which gave me opportunity to sit back and gawp for a bit. Watching others others that good makes me question my own skills a bit - it's really extremely hard to be objective when trying to gauge your own performance, even with a mirror to work with. Seeing other practice does make me appreciate just what drew me to this particular discipline in the first place, though, as well as giving me pause to wonder just how I compare.

Not as unfavourably as would have been the case 6 months ago, I think I can say with some confidence. And a couple of the new bodies I gave a brief lesson to seemed impressed with my talents which, secretly, I was rather please by.