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Tue, 31 May 2005

Maladjusted Bicycle Emporium now online - 17:52
So the shop I tend to frequent most often for all my cycling needs is the Maladjusted Bicycle Emporium, owned and run by a bloke named Mal (yes you can all laugh at the Punne in your own time <g>). Mal himself is not much of a computer person and has been avoiding anything to do with them for years, a few members of his staff and some of the distributors however have finally convinced him they needed a computer, with an Internet connection, in the shop. This means you can contact them via email or via their website.

Unlike some people who put something online, it is good to see some of the staff are putting an effort into the site to have some information up there about things they sell, prices, stuff they are doing, etc. Anyway this is simply a shameless attempt to give some google juice to a bike shop I like.

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Which airline are you? - 17:19
It appears today's blog meme is talking about Qantas and airline baggage handling problems. I may as well get in on the act, considering I have less posts this month than any other since I started the online diary it is not going to hurt or anything.

I personally disagree with Mike on Qantas and quite like them as an airline. Reasonable service, good facilities in their lounges or their partners lounges, when you consider the size of the Australian travel market and the deals that have to be done in order to fly routes in and out of various countries they cover a good number of international routes. Sure they throw their weight around a bit domestically trying to do monopolistic things some times, but all companies will do that.

The other part of the blog meme/discussion thing with Qantas and baggage handling is an interesting one. Sure airlines are involved in the baggage handling on and off their planes to some extent, but each airport does have a lot of influence and man power involved with the baggage handling. So baggage delivery problems can not always be blamed on the airline. I have never had bag delivery issues flying with Qantas, however I have with Air France and Air New Zealand.

Flying into Madrid in 2002, we had been booked on Qantas from Canberra through to Paris and Air France from Paris to Madrid. So Canberra to Sydney on Qantas was fine, Sydney to Singapore on Qantas was fine. Then in Singapore we were paged and asked to go see an Air France representative (our entire flight over was under Air France). They had overbooked the Air France flight from Singapore to Paris (Air France, like many of the US Airlines, still overbooks fairly heavily), so they had arranged to place us back on the Qantas plane (the one we flew from Sydney on) that would be arriving at Paris about 5 minutes later than the Air France flight (though at a different terminal) and they gave us 220 Euro's each for the trouble of arriving a few minutes later. (admittedly, as we were arriving at a different terminal they moved our connecting flight to Madrid from an hour after landing to one later in the day (4 hours later AFAIR)) All of this was good by our reckoning and we headed back toward the Qantas boarding gate. Only to be paged again, so back to the counter and we are told that, on top of the 220 Euros they would be upgrading us to Business Class on the Qantas flight for the inconvenience they caused us (oh the horror of being 5 minutes late). We were definitely pleased, this was to be the longest leg of the flight over, 14 hours in business class is not a bad thing.

So we arrived in Paris, got over to the Air France terminal and hopped on the plane to Madrid, Jane was informed of the delay and would be meeting us there at the later time. Upon arrival in Madrid neither my backpack or our Mother's suitcase were there. Some confusion with the changes of flights in Paris had caused the bags to stay there. Our bags eventually turned up and were delivered about 8 hours later to the place we were staying in Madrid that night. Now sure it was annoying not being able to shower and change clothes for 8 hours after being on the go for 32 hours, but with the bonuses we had already received for "inconveniences" I was not too upset. Also if we had the experience or foresight of Chris to pack a change of clothes in our carry on, none of this would have been particularly bad.

The bag late experience that had me a little more worried was Air New Zealand misplacing my bike bag on the way to New Zealand in June last year, there was a problem with the Qantas baggage handling ground staff in Sydney that day and a lot of flights were affected, mine among them, and my bike bag was not put on the plane I flew across to NZ on, my backpack was there so I had my clothes and all. However Heidi and I were starting a ride the next day on the South Island, and my bike was the almost new $4200 dual suspension mountain bike, definitely something to worry about. Fortunately Heidi and I were getting the morning ferry across to Picton the next day and my bike arrived at the airport on the flight from Sydney that arrived at Midnight so our travel was not messed up (it would have been far worse if we had been getting the Friday evening ferry across).

Now I do not recall what the exact cause of the Air France baggage handling problem was, but it is interesting to note it was a problem with the Sydney airport baggage handling system as a whole that affected flights for many airlines on the day of the Air New Zealand problem I experienced. Thus I suspect to some extent baggage handling problems can not be entirely blamed on the Airline.

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Mon, 30 May 2005

Hit a roo - 14:36
While driving to Tumut yesterday morning to compete in the 2005 ACTRA Cyclegaine, with registration opening at 8am and knowing the drive took 2 hours (via Picadilly Circus) I picked Marea up at 6am. On the way through Coppins Crossing, doing about 70KMh, about 1KM before the crossing a Kangaroo jumped out in front of the car, I saw it maybe half a second before it hit.

We stopped, turned around and went to look at the Kangaroo, it was dead, completely motionless and off the side of the road. When we went to get out of the car to look we discovered the impact with the side of the car had broken some stuff. The front passenger side door could not be opened and the left hand blinker is now clicking about twice as fast (apparently that means it is slightly broken).

So Andrew definitely has a point, Kangaroos do not have good road sense. This happened next to a farmers gate at about the only place the road down toward coppins crossing widens enough for a kangaroo to be out of the way of headlights and it hopped across in front of me as I got within 5 metres of it. This is a large part of why we do not do the Cotter/Uriarra roadie ride through winter, in the dark there are too often Kangaroos or Wombats next to the road that we can not see until they hop or Wander in amongst the bunch of bicycles (doing 60 KMh down toward Cotter in the dark).

Now I have to give the insurance company a call and see if I can sort out getting this fixed.

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Thu, 26 May 2005

Back in the game - 16:26
Well I guess I should post a diary entry once more. I returned from NZ on Monday evening so am settled back home and at work. I crashed in Majura Pines this morning and skinned my left knee and hurt my back a bit, my back is hurting a bit still. NZ was a hoot, photos and a detailed write up will probably appear in a while.

Clearing the links a bit, this vi reference mug (found on kottke) would probably be a great gift for Jeremy (who enjoyed pointing out that at lca 2005 vim had just under half of total preferences and vi was second with ~ 1/5th) or any other vi fan, or maybe as a subversive gift to a non vi user in an attempt to make them use it more. I am predominantly an emacs or joe user so who knows what affect it would have on me.

Editor stats from lca2005

    name     | number 
 vim         |    220
 vi          |     99
 emacs       |     93
 nano        |     24
 XEmacs      |     21
 gedit       |     12
 joe         |      6
 kate        |      6
 nvi         |      5
 Notepad.exe |      4
 kedit       |      4
 cat         |      2
 bbedit      |      2
 jed         |      2
 vigor       |      2
 ludwig      |      1
 vile        |      1
 Dde         |      1
 ae          |      1
 SCite       |      1

Clearing some links, this kitten war (found on kottke) site is apparently rather addictive, at least Alli and Chris thought so, I would not be surprised if it uses up an inordinate amount of cat lovers time, Martijn for example may well become hooked. Someone on boingboing has pointed out a longer running site of a similar nature, Rate My Kitten, too.

Back on may 5th this story was linked from kottke, it is good to know that even if stealing underpants may not be profitable, you may be able to make a living from T-shirts in this day and age. Seemingly 1. think up a design 2. sell it on a t-shirt 3. profit! actually works. Definitely a good read about more cool t-shirt stuff, if only cycling jerseys had such creativity applied and were so easily available. (I suspect the price may kind of limit the market, T-shirts can sell for AUD $15 or sometimes less, Cycling jerseys sell for around AUD $80).

I am admittedly a comics geek to some extent, so along with pop culture references and other thighs I admit I thought this Bad. Motha. Fucka. (once again found on kottke on may 3rd) list was rather cool. The author listed 100 people he thought deserved a Bad. Motha. Fucka. wallet as owned by Jules Winnfield in Pulp Fiction. I wholeheartedly agree with many of these, and leant something about some people in there I had never heard of. Also it helped convince me I totally need to see he Joss Wheedon series Firefly soon. The list includes the likes of Inigo Montoya, Spike, Ford Prefect, Herbie, Rod Serling, Chthulhu, Dangermouse, Peter Venkman, Lt Uhura, Jay Garrick, Data, J'Onn, J'Onnz, Zoe Warren, Eric Draven, and Scully plus a bunch more.

Back on April 14th, Dooce had this to say about boy bands

What is not up for discussion, however, is Led Zeppelin and how much she will love them, how she will kneel at the altar of The Who and pray to the God of Radiohead. And lo, I command that she name her first child Pete and her second child Townshend, lest her soul and flesh burn for eternity, her salvation lost to The Demon, Boy Bands.

Oh so true, friends don't let friends raise children who listen to boy bands or Britney or similar market created pop crap music.

Also on April 14th was this on Boing Boing about the automatic academic paper generator (I also saw some comments about this on Planet Debian, and from Brendan at work). The Paper Generator is released under GPL and they authors actually had a paper created by it accepted by an academic conference. I wonder if this sort of thing will become popular with cheaters or similar, GPL'd software that will pass your degree for you.

Yet another rather cool (or should that be 1337) thing from google. 600673, or google in leet speak. All the results come back in leet too. As for jokes (which I of course was not talking about) I agree that this joke is good.

What do vegan zombies eat?

More humour from The Onion, a story titled "Pope Killing Virus Claims Another Victim" which had me giggling for a while. I found mention of it in a story linked from kottke about how the Onion staff go about creating the Onion.

Anyway I have a bunch more stuff in my to blog file but have run out of time, maybe I will get around to more later tonight.

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Thu, 12 May 2005

Moonride and other stuff - 13:54
My posts to this diary may be even more sporadic next week (or possibly non existent) as I will be out of town. I am flying over to New Zealand tomorrow and will return on Monday 23rd May.

The plan is to do some mountain biking for a week and then head down to Dunedin for the Ghosts gathering on the 21st and 22nd of May. (Ghosts of lca Past is what I mean by this, similar to what happened here in August last year.)

Heidi mentioned she was competing in a team of 4 or 5 at the Moonride 12 Hour race (yeah I did suggest to her that a team of 4 is a bit soft, but this event only allows Solo or Teams of 4 or 5). There is a 24 hour Race on at the same time, starting tomorrow night at 10pm, The 12 Hour race starts at 10am Saturday morning. Anyway I got in contact with the organisers and managed to get a place riding as a Solo in the 12 Hour race which is cool.

All this means my schedule tomorrow is for a long day. Fly out of Canberra at 6:50am, Arrive in Wellington at 14:30, hop in a rental car and drive north to Rotorua, hopefully arrive in Rotorua before 10pm and register for the race and go to sleep at a backpackers I booked into. At 10am the next morning I get to start riding for a little while, see how much I can get through until 10pm. Should be fun.

After that I am currently planning to hang around Rotorua at least until Monday for some more riding, then probably head to Turangi at the bottom of Lake Taupo for some riding there, or maybe to National Park not far from there for some other riding. Should be a fun week, I will attempt to fight with Internet terminals or cafes from time to time, getting ssh access if possible.

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Tue, 10 May 2005

Bring on the Rustyisms - 19:36
As Mikal mentions we had a post lca organisers dinner at Rocksalt last night. Very good food and wine, though it appears I am a Scallop slut.

The idea of dining out to me, to a large extent, is to consume dishes you could not cook (either due to skill or not wishing to put in the effort) at home. So recently dining at a rather fancy restaurant in Sydney (April 8th, the night of my sister Jane's honours graduation and birthday this year) one of the dishes I had was some form of scallop (I mean the sea food, not the fried potato things). Last night I once again ordered a scallop dish as an entree, this may eventually be as bad as my eggplant while eating out habit, who knows.

One thing of note, after a few glasses of wine, Rusty started sprouting the odd entertaining quote, or "Rustyism". Not necessarily incorrect, mostly amusing, though one somewhat strange. Mikal wrote some of these down with pen and paper technology and claims he will share them with the world at large soon. Bring on the Rustyisms.

And more of my weird Mikal blog stalking, I did not bother reading his brother's post, but I wonder what Mikal is on about here with the uniqueness thing. I have no idea who Dan Brown is, I refused to see the Titanic, Jane and I both decided it was going to be asinine crap and the 1953 movie is good anyway. (and more accurate) Fortunately my girlfriend at the time (1997) saw the movie and agreed with me that it was crap so I was spared the pain of sitting through the movie. OF the recent LoTR and Star Wars movies, I saw the first of each, but have not had the time (well inclination and thus made the time) to see any more since. I have however read the first 4 Harry Potter books, largely because I am a book junkie and my friend Rebecca was going on about how great they all were. They were IMO reasonably entertaining, but not as many seem to think the second coming or anything.

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Mon, 09 May 2005

Steel MTB Dairy Farmers Hill Meme - 12:20

The steel hardtail not long after getting it (full size)

The resurrected Steel Hardtail this morning (full size)

View from Dairy Farmers down the lake (full size)

So I thought I would start a meme, sure this is one that a) not many people can easily participate in and b) probably would not interest many others. Not long after purchasing the KHS Steel Hardtail fame two years ago I took it for a cruisy loop of Canberra fire trails sort of ride. (photos here)

On that ride at one point, while at the top of Dairy Farmers hill I took a photo of the bike leaning against one of the few surviving trees in that area. No that I have the steel hardtail back again, and it does look somewhat different, I thought I would continue the theme. So to the right are two photos of the steel hardtail, one about two years ago and one this morning, pretty much the same view otherwise.

I had a most enjoyable ride too, and the third photo is from the same place but looking back up Lake Burley Griffin. This is one of the best views of Canberra available IMO. Many people never get to see this view as they do not go up to the top of Dairy Farmers. This does of course make you miss things such as the Bacon Christmas party some of my mtb friends used to do. Thursday morning near Christmas, ride up to the summit of Dairy Farmers with chicken and champagne and other goodies. Have a glorious breakfast up there and then descend through the winding single track to finish off the morning. (Champagne makes the single track far more challenging than one is used to also :)

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Sat, 07 May 2005

The Sheepman cometh - 23:33

Sheepman? (full size)
Sure I know people use the large amount of space available on their cars to advertise sometimes, I do however wonder if this man really wants to advertise his super hero name so blatantly....

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The fun of being back on the steel hardtail - 17:29
So I stayed up fairly late last night building up the steel hardtail. I had taken the frame and the alloy hardtail to the bike shop to have new headset cups fitted and the fork swapped over. I then did the rest of the build last night.

This morning I drove out to sparrow hill to ride the single track loop there with Paul C, Ben M, Angus H, Nigel H, Adair F, and a friend of Adair's. The steel hard tail was a joy to ride again. I absolutely loved it. The smooth (muted I suppose) feel over bumps compared to the alloy hardtail. The handling of the bike over all. Damn I love this bike.

Anyway I have added some photos of the fully assembled bike (in the shed, before the ride this morning at home, post ride with dust, and with the new Bendy Bender figure mounted). The photos were added to the set I posted on Wednesday of the painted frame.

I am really looking forward to putting the KM in on this bike again now.

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Wed, 04 May 2005

Bender Bicycles - 12:56
So I got the steel mtb frame back from the painting place yesterday. With the colour I chose and the stickers I wanted. I reckon it looks damn good. I am definitely happy with how this all turned out. Also fairly cheap, as previously mentioned, the frame repair was AUD $280. The sand blasting cost AUD $25, the paint job was remarkably cheap at AUD $100. I found a guy here in Canberra who has been doing Bike frames a fair bit in the last three or our years and has gotten somewhat adept at doing them well.

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Tue, 03 May 2005

Random Ani sig thing - 15:13
I previously mentioned a plan to have random signatures in my email using quotes I selected from all Ani Difranco songs. As lca is now over and I do not feel the need to advertise the conference in my signature I thought it was time to finish implementing this. (after all only about one hour was required to finish it)

The perl code may be found here and the source data is this files of quotes. It is not particularly difficult to change the code to use a different data source and different thing to print. As for the code, it would be pretty easy to implement a random selection of a quote every time the program runs. My ideal implementation however uses each quote from the file once until it runs out then starts over again, the same quote can not appear twice in a row.

To do the easy only random implementation I would only need the read_quote_file, serialise_quotes and remove_random_quote functions (it could in fact be simplified far more than this too). So I added command line options (give it an alternate data source, and alternate cache file, an alternate static sig content file, a unique option and a help option). Run as is it uses the default filenames that I set in the code and sits out a random quote.

For my usage the unique option maintains a cache of quotes that diminishes every time the program is run with the -u option. I used Data::Dumper to store the cache, messy and hackish but really easy to do. Anyway pretty basic code, did not take long to implement, and sure it can be simplified a lot (lets hope it does not get out of hand (on the recursive mkdir case, Tony removed a few more characters from Jeremy's example, maybe he should blog about it)) but it works and passes the test case I created for it (small files, missing files, running a thousand times, using various options, etc) though I did not bother making it handle bad input data correctly, oh well no matter.

Getting back into geeky things lightly.

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Mon, 02 May 2005

Welcome Tony Breeds - 13:08
After many months of having a diary Tony Breeds has finally said to us we are aloud to publicly link to it. There is however only one entry there, he removed the two somewhat amusing entries from last year to b replaced by some "obligatory" post lca message.

Tony claims his life is too boring and he has nothing interesting he can say on a diary, geez that has never stopped any of the rest of us. If we are not making our readers cry out in boredom on a regular basis we really are trying too hard or something. Tony said he may start to update as often as Rusty or Alli do, who knows, maybe we can guilt him into it if we all link to him lots.

Speaking of not making readers cry out in boredom, Fafblog detailed another great historical moment yesterday, it definitely had me giggling.

Speaking still about making people bored, I notice I have not been posting here much last month, not working hard enough at raising the level of your boredom, I will probably be able to get back to more regular posting now, though I still wont be doing 10 posts a day such as Mikal has been known to.

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