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Thu, 30 Jun 2005

Please take the crack pipe away from those parents - 19:49
On p.l.o.a today I saw a mention of this Baby's Named a Bad, Bad Thing site. Some woman takes on the task of providing some critique of the baby names some people on an online baby name forum come up with in their interests of uniqueness or some other half arsed ideas.

I agree wholeheartedly with anyone who says this site is funny, it truly is an amusing read, I am sure Mum and Jane will get a kick out of it, Mum because she so often pointed out these similar sort of crimes against children she had seen in her years as a teacher, and Jane so as to have more ammo to use when trying to get a rise out of mother, oh and because the snarkiness present in the comments on this site is damn good.

Oh and speaking of Babies, is anyone painting their house any time soon? <g>

[/amusing] link

Wed, 29 Jun 2005

Food Intolerance - 17:06
I tend to get my bread from Brumbys bakery every week, when I go and buy 2 loaves once a week I usually buy another small item or two. So I was eating one of these during lunch after my run today and I notice the paper bag had this big claim about all bread from Brumbys containing no preservative 282. Wondering what this was on about I went googling.

The most informative site on this an a lot of other food intolerance issues appears to be Fed Up With Food Additives (though to some extent it could also be seen as a marketing vehicle for Sue Dengate's books). This has opened my eyes to a large extent to the fact I, and many others should give a lot more thought to what is in the food we eat.

So yeah I started writing this post yesterday evening (when it was dated), it is now about 7:30pm on Thursday night, I am still at work, the rain is pouring rather heavily outside, I should be at home building up my road bike again, however I have yet to build up the want to get my clothes soaked so may as well finish writing this.

Searching google for food preservative information or food intolerance can show up a fair amount more information so I will not discount this site out of hand as a marketing vehicle for Sue Dengate's work and can accept it is probably mostly true and accurate. It does become scary to think how many different seemingly minimal things could cause problems with your own health or the health of your children. Though there is another side in that you do not want to jump at shadows, even using the elimination diet I am sure it can take a lot of time and effort to track down any problems simply sue to the variation in diet most of us go through on a regular basis.

I may read a copy of the Fed Up with Asthma book at least and see what it has to say, I have some asthmatic and phlegm problems, mostly related to doing a lot of exercise, however this does become tedious considering I have an exercise induced cough and phlegm, often when not exercising too, that has not gone away for a number of years. Anything I can read and try out to see if it helps is probably worth the effort.

This post was going to be a lot longer last night when I started writing it, however I had to go to a meeting and did not get time to write more until now, ahh well blog apathy can happen any time.

[/leisure/food] link

Tue, 28 Jun 2005

Why the song? - 18:48
I have no real idea why I continually choose a specific song when talking about equipment failures on my bikes, I do not even know if I have ever heard this song, I know nothing more of it except for the title. Heck when actually thinking about the equipment failure I usually sing Queen's "Another one bites the dust" song in my head as I have heard that song, know some lyrics and actually like the song and the artist. All I can really think in relation to the strange title choice in email or blog post I guess is, Oops I did it again.

[/various] link

Nowhere to hide - 13:43
Okay so this post is about running rather than cycling, however I feel I can stick it in this category as it is all with the goal toward riding better. Over the past year I have headed out for a run, about 40 minutes, maybe once a fortnight, or less some months when I got busy. Basically not much running at all, and it always hurt so I did not get keen enough to do more.

For years now Paul Mason and others have been pointing out to me that when they run a fair amount they pretty much find themselves unable to keep much weight on. The point being that running does indeed appear to be a fantastic sport/activity for weight loss. This can probably be easily seen when you look at people like Paul, Dave Baldwin (on the right), and other friends who run a lot.

In my case I have not lost any weight in the last three years, early 2002 I lost about 8-10 kilos when I started cycling more than once a week again (by more I mean 7 to 10 times most weeks now or around 20 hours on the bike most weeks). Sure I could focus on diet and do more targeted training and I may find myself losing weight, however I worry about messing with my diet too much due to my insulin dependant diabetes, and though I may do some more targeted training soon, however a large part of why I ride my bike so much is I love doing it, I worry that if I try doing targeted training more (and thus by myself more) I may not enjoy it as much, I can but try it out though.

The idea with running of course is to lose some weight and increase my pain threshold and ability to handle a hard workout more. So I decided to increase my running from the occasional run to doing three one hour runs every week. Starting last Monday I have been doing this alright, well alright if you count being very sore all last week. Dave said the run I did last Monday and Wednesday, and again yesterday is about 9KM. The route, from work, up between the Botanic Gardens and CSIRO, up to the saddle between Black and Little Black, down around the back of Black Mountain to the lake and back into ANU. Or the reverse of that. On Friday last week I did a flat run, the Commonwealth Ave, Kings Ave two bridges loop from work, this only took me 50 minutes. Anyway the black saddle and lake shore thing took me approx an hour both times last week and again yesterday. I am however happy to report it hurt a lot less yesterday.

After finishing the run yesterday and now today, due to the complete lack of pain in my legs, and due to the fact I was not much particularly faster yesterday than Monday week ago, I can see from this or next week on I have to make myself go faster. If it is not hurting it could be argued I need to make it hurt more, otherwise what is the point of running? I have to admit, running is not a comfortable sport, for me at least. There really is no where to hide, on a bike I can coast, even climbing I can take it fairly easy. On foot there is no coasting, you have to keep running, walking really is a heck of a lot slower. I hope soon I will get to the point that I can do a run at a lower heart rate and breathing level (of course at that point I will indeed push myself more if I want a work out) so I will at least have an option of cruising to some extent. I am sure my current running pace is an easy cruise for Dave.

There is however the rather (In my opinion) relevant quote from Michael Carden to think about here too. "If god had meant for us to run we would not have been given bicycles", how true.

Anyway, I am going try this running three times/hours a week for the next few months and see if it helps me lose 8 or so kilos. If I can lose that much weight I really will be able to ride up hills a lot faster, assuming of course I can keep my riding power at a similar level.

[/mtb] link

O Cyclists, Where Art Thou? - 12:37
There were not particularly many cyclists out on the roads this morning. Tuesday through winter I do a shorter easier loop than the Cotter/Uriarra we do in Summer on Tuesday mornings. Over to Scrivner dam, up Red Hill, to the end of Mugga Way, across Kings Ave bridge through Russell Offices and up Mt Pleasant. Because this is a fairly easy ride I start a bit earlier than the others and do a climb of Black Mountain on my way over to Scrivner.

Most Tuesday's there will be maybe 4 or 5 of us from Scrivner onwards, I will see maybe 4 other people climbing Black Mountain at 6am or there about. The CCC have a group doing Red Hill repeats with many people joining in, usually we will see another 10 or 15 cyclists doing Red Hill repeats while we do one.

This morning, there was only one other person on the loop I did, there was nary another soul on Black Mountain anywhere, and no one on Red Hill either. Also, apparently the Southside bunch hour of power ride only had about 10 people rather than the normal 20 or 30 they get through winter. I begin to wonder where all the other cyclists were today? It was perfect weather for cycling, rather warm for this time of year, the roads were all dry, good visibility (no fog or similar). Maybe everyone became too attached to their doonas last week in all the rain (though there was only one morning I did not cycle last week due to weather so who knows)

Morgs has a good excuse (a Tuesday regular) as he is in Canadia and then onto Switzerland and France for six weeks of Mountain biking and watching the Tour and stuff (yes everyone else here in Canberra is jealous as heck of the trip), I do not know what Crash's excuse is yet, he seemed ready and raring to go for this morning in email yesterday, as did Allan.

[/mtb] link

Oops I did it again - 11:18

Both seat stays (full size)

Left Stay (full size)

Right Stay (full size)
Maybe I should learn the lyrics to the song from this title, after all I seem to need the term fairly often. As you may notice from the photos to the left, I have broken another road frame. This time the Apollo steel frame I have been using since breaking the Lemond.

Since a wet ride with the Bilbys on Saturday two and half weeks ago my road bike had a creaking noise, I thought it may have been water induced so took out the seatpost and bottom bracket and regreased them both well. No improvement, slowly the noise has been getting worse. Finally today I thought it has to be the frame, lo and behold I was right. With my track record I guess I should have looked at the frame first.

Fortunately I have the Lemond frame back so I will be able to swap the parts onto that frame again and get this one fixed. I will not have time to do the swap over tonight as I have a dinner to attend, I guess I will be riding the steel hard tail with slicks on with the Bilbys road ride tomorrow morning, it will be interesting to see how much harder it is to keep up with the fast group.

[/mtb/gear] link

Mon, 27 Jun 2005

Hell On Wheels - 11:09
I went to a Bilbys club viewing of Hell On Wheels (or Hellentour) last night, around 90 of the club members rocked up to see this movie. For anyone who does not know, the movie is a documentary of the 2003 Tour de France based around the Telekom team (now T-Mobile), in particular the focus was on Eric Zabel and Rolf Aldag.

Many cycling people I know have lauded this movie as brilliant, I do not think I can go that far. It was good to watch, an enjoyable insight into the team and the tour. However I did not find it inspiring. I do not think they showed how hard the tour probably is, sure there were crashes and hard days, but they did not really show how much it must hurt to get through that event. Also as much as I loved some of the scenery they showed of France I do not think they really showed how incredible the tour really is. For me, sure it was a good watch, and I will probably tape it when it airs on SBS next week, but this is not something that inspires me to go out and ride or anything, I will simply have to use my own normal motivation to go do that.

Riding a bike is a heap of fun so I want to go do it because of that.

[/mtb] link

Sat, 25 Jun 2005

Strange breakage - 23:33
I changed the machine I am using as the gateway/firewall at home finally today. The old machine has been problematic for about two years, for some reason it would not cleanly boot up a more recent kernel, nor would it reboot cleanly, also it would sometimes panic when high memory use processes were running such as large rsyncs. It appeared it may have been a memory problem however after testing that it appeared it was something in the motherboard.

Anyway the new machine does not display the problem and is a fresh install of the new debian stable with the 2.6.8 kernel from that. This means I can finally do load balancing and priority for ssh and things like that on the gateway so bulk transfers will not make everything slow. (My flatmates all seem to be bittorrent or kazaa or whatever addicts)

When I first booted the box up and put in place I could ping machines the Big Bad Internet, however I was unable to make a tcp connection, tcpdump would see packets returning but they never seemed to get up to the application. This really had me stumped for a while, eventually I tried swapping the NIC hooked up to the ADSL modem with the NIC hooked up to the house LAN, to my surprise I found I was now unable to make tcp connections with machines in the house.

So it appears this NIC could process some packets such as ICMP, however did not fully process, or caused some other problem with TCP packets at least. I pulled the rather lovely DEC Tulip (one of two I purchased in 1999 because I wanted some real DEC Tulip cards before they ceased to exist) out of the old box and put it in in place of the card with the strange behaviour. Once the machine had booted with the Tulip everything worked perfectly.

The card with the strange behaviour is an older Tulip, a 21041 (10 MBit with a coax connector and cat5) rather than the 21141 now in there, both of them are using the de4x5 driver so it does not sound like a problem with the driver. Anyway, this is a really strange hardware problem.

[/comp/hardware] link

Fri, 24 Jun 2005

Region free in .au by law? - 11:40
I notice some discussion about purchasing Region free DVD players in .au. Michael and Mikal, AFAIR the reason you should not be surprised at finding DVD players purchased in Australia are region free is due to the Australian law on this.

From my recollection (I can not be bothered googling to see if I am smoking crack or if this is an accurate recollection) Australian law forbade region encoding. Most of the countries in the westernised world also forbade region encoding by law, only the US had (and probably still has) an allowance for this practice.

Originally he manufacturers made the DVD players for the US market and attempted to sell the region encoded players around the rest of the world. Eventually they realised they could not get away with that, for at least 5 or 6 years now almost all players sold in Australia were region encoding free. Now the amusing thing is the manufacturers to some extent got sick of it and now most DVD players being sold in the US are also not encumbered by region encoding.

There is one other unfortunate aspect here though, software, and hardware with that software, still often has region encoding issues, so Apple DVD drives, MacOSX, software on Windows to play DVD's etc, all of this stuff will often still be broken. Probably because it comes out of small minded US centric firms and in the case of software there is no production penalty or an easy legal penalty if produced in this damaged state.

[/leisure/screen] link

Thu, 23 Jun 2005

Hunting for the rose - 21:57
Mikal has from time to time mentioned he has a photo of a rose that people deep link to from all over the world, or have as their blog header image or something. The mikal rose photo is here, just so I can do the link thing to annoy him too. He has warned, just to mess with the minds of the millions of teenage girls linking to the photo, the image may change at some future date to a naked mikal photo, so be warned, just in case you feel the need to click on the link.

I wondered for a minute if other rose photos would be popular if say I put one online, I used to have a photo of a rose as a desktop background on my computer back in about 1996 so I think I have a photo somewhere. Then I decided there was no really good reason for me to put a photo of a rose online, I will simply have to live with the dope or marijuana leaf image from my old website. Of course I did not know when I first used that image that I should name the image file something descriptive (though the photo did predate google so maybe it was not quite so relevant back then). Anyway in order to correct that oversight I have copied the image twice and named it marijuana_leaf.gif, and dope_leaf.gif.

marijuana leaf
/ dope leaf

[/various] link

Wed, 22 Jun 2005

Linkeriffic - 23:10
It appears global housing prices are going to crash (from kottke) and cause one hell of a economic hell everywhere, Britain and Australia are already leading the world in the dip.

Someone on mtb-oz pointed out this word/etymology nazi (at smh) guy that should entertain however briefly.

This is the obvious ways to do teleconferences that don't suck, if we could all have the virtual room thing we really could split up offices more.

Dans Data had a link to this article explaining nuts and bolts, good read, and includes the amusing quote "a nut or bolt with six threads acts very much like an infinitely long nut or bolt (and it's a lot cheaper)". I had better cancel my order for those infinite length bolts, it is no the length that matters, it is the 6 threads... or something.

I do not remember where I first saw this list, but I recently saw it again on Metafilter, who does and who does not look good on HDTV, interesting to see who is on each list and some of the special mentions too. I am not particularly surprised Britney Spears can look far worse than most people suspect.

Strange, watching Wimbledon on tv just now, The Scud playing someone on centre court, the net just fell down, pretty bad place and time for an equipment failure.

I think this one was on kottke. If you ever listened to the Paul Simon song "50 ways to leave your lover" and wondered what the other 46 reasons are (he only mentions 4 in the song), here are some suggestions for the other 46 ways to leave your lover.

As a chocoholic I can understand the sort of euphoria Cory found with this "I have seen God in a cup of chocolate" post, mmmmmm chocolate.

If you ever wondered where best selling authors get their ideas, here is Neil Gaiman's take on his own Muse, as he points out though, anyone can get ideas, the follow through and writing them up into a novel or making some other work of art, there is the really hard part.

Maybe Jared Diamond has it wrong as to what makes a dominant society, at least if this is correct. "Apparently, creating a dominant cultural apparatus is simply a matter of alternately pleasing and punishing one's testicles." <g>

Almost enough links cleared from the to blog file for now, I just feel the need to leave you with this link explaining how light saber's work, amusing and cool all in one link.

[/various] link

Sun, 19 Jun 2005

Brilliant Batman Begins - 23:17
I am, as I have said in the past, a comics geek, thus I was looking forward a great deal to seeing Batman Begins (imdb link). What can I say, the movie was incredibly good, they have indeed rescued the Dark Knight on the big screen.

Even Katie Holmes did not annoy me too much, as for the rest of the cast, it was oh so very good. Lucius Fox actually comes to life in the way you expect Lucius of the comics to be (even if Morgan Freeman is a bit older then the character in the comics). Christian Bale plays a properly psychotic Batman and holds the focus of the movie well enough, though I saw the movie as a whole as a brilliant tribute to the comics in so many ways, more than simply a story about Batman around Christian Bale.

Hopefully Jane will not read this before she sees the movie on Tuesday night as this may give something away now that is not obvious, even on the IMDB cast list. I was impressed with how they did Ra's Al Ghul, the first moment I saw Liam Neeson in the prison room talking with Bruce I thought ahh this looks just like Ra's, thus when they soon suggested that Ra's was someone else and Liam Neeson was Ducard, I wondered why they had done the makeup and look as they had. I am glad to see the first impression was correct, definitely an incredibly good portrayal of Ra's by Liam, and different enough, and yet oh so much the same as the comics to keep me interested. Also they did not give away much of the back story behind Ra's as is available, such as the Immorality, this allows them to use Ra's to great effect in future films. I really hope they bring Tahlia in next time they use Ra's too.

Some of the changes to the back story were surprising, but they worked, such as the death of his parents was after leaving the opera rather than after seeing the movie "Zorro", however the reason for leaving the opera helped the back story for the movie well. Rather than choosing to go around the world looking for the best people in all disciplines to train with in order to be better they showed a different origin for Bruce's formidable skill, however once again this works. Though in the future they may still be able to develop more of the back story and show that he did have more training before the stuff in the temple, which would still work, after all he was able to handle himself very well in the prison prior to the temple training.

I could go on and on about this movie and how bloody awesome it is, however many would be more and more bored by my writing, especially those who have no idea what I have been rambling on about above. I strongly suggest you go see this brilliant film. By far the best comic book adaption I have seen in modern times this could become my favourite movie of the year.

[/leisure/screen] link

Fri, 17 Jun 2005

No WWS race this weekend for me - 19:40
So Penny and Rob have both come down with really bad Flu, having trouble getting out of bed, riding bikes through the illness would not be a good plan, thus the trip to Killingworth (Newcastle) for the next Working Week Series race is not going to be happening. I decided against heading up by myself to compete as a solo and will instead dedicate my weekend to riding here and other stuff I should do here. Also the cost becomes more prohibitive, petrol, entry, food, when solo, and my car is still in getting roo repairs so I would have had to pick it up from the smash repairers half way through the work.

Alas I still have not ridden at Killingworth, however I am sure there will be more chances to do this, such as MTB-OZ list rides or simply heading up there for a weekend and hanging out. Rob and Penny have never seen Newcastle so they seem keen on going there at least once.

I wonder what there is to do in Newcastle apart from riding at Killingworth?

[/mtb] link

I no longer have to kill for Moses - 19:05
As previously mentioned I would love to get hold of a copy of the Missy Higgins cover of Moses by Patty Griffin, I have cause to celebrate as I have now got a copy. Last night while googling around for more information on this track I discovered Triple J have recently released an album, Like A Version, that contains this song.

The recording is from the live recording Triple J did, that I heard on the radio a while ago, the album as a whole is pretty good too, a collection of artists and groups performing covers of songs they really like. I still have never actually heard the original version of the song Moses by Patty Griffin, however I have a Melissa Ferrick cover of it on Valentine Heartache, and though Melissa does this well, I adore the Missy cover.

For the first few hours I had the one song on repeat play, eventually I decided I should listen to the rest of the album. On the whole the album is pretty neat. Jebediah singing "Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head" is cool, Little Birdy with "These Boots Are Made For Walking" is fun, The Cat Empire doing "Hotel California" is interesting and definitely engaging. Though I have sort of become bored with listening to John Butler Trio in the last two years, their version of "Message In a Bottle" had me hooked somewhat. Clare Bowditch singing Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah" is incredibly similar to Jeff Buckley covering the song and comes out well.

[/leisure/music] link

Thu, 16 Jun 2005

Join the Smith club. - 13:54
It appears a lot of Linux people in Australia have been along to see the movie Mr & Mrs Smith (imdb link) since it opened here last Thursday. I may as well join the club and own up publicly to having seen it. I saw it at Belconnen last Friday night. On the whole I liked it quite a lot.

I had seen the short for the movie while at the cinema to see HGTTG (imdb link) a few weeks earlier, I thought it looked like it would be a really bad implementation of a mildly amusing premise, however I felt the need to see it possibly for the laugh value. Thus I went along with really low expectations, I think that helped, they actually made it better than the trailer suggested it could be, sure it is a modern Hollywood action thingy, but hey it was fun and not as cheesy as I was expecting (though it was still as completely over the top as I expected).

Sure, in my opinion Arnie (I am unable to think of Arnold Schwarzenegger when I hear someone utter that now days, when I here someone pronounce that I immediately think of Ani Difranco) and Jamie implemented the secret spy sort of life thing a whole lot better in True Lies than Brad and Angelina have here, but I was pleasantly surprised.

On the subject of movies, it has been a strange month for me, I tend to go the movies rarely, maybe two or three times a year. I spend most of my time out of work doing cycling related activities. In the last month I have been to see 3 movies, and I notice that Batman Begins (imdb link) opens today, which for me is another must see. I do not have time until next week, however it seems I can go see it with friends on Monday night so that works out fine.

I never saw the 3rd and 4th Batman movies (Val Kilmer and George Clooney) and I generally deny that they exist, the last Batman movie that was not complete crap had Michael Keaton in the lead role and was directed by Tim Burton (Batman Returns, and of course the first of that series, Batman). I am a DC comics fan, not particularly a Batman fan, but it is good to see any DC title brought to life on the big screen well.

On Friday evening, Prue and I had been planning to make it to the 7pm screening, but we were a few minutes late, and with the theatre being packed we decided to wait for the 8:45pm screening instead, with an hour and a half to kill in the Mall we set off for an adventure. I almost never go inside Malls, or for that matter near large numbers of shops these days, mostly because I have no interest in purchasing products unrelated to cycling or computers most of the time and it is not wise to lock a bike up in Civic or Belconnen or other places like that. I do not like using the car if I can avoid it so do not go near those places often. Prue was shocked to hear I did not know of the existence of many of the stores we walked past.

There was one positive outcome of being near so many shops, in Rebel Sport I found a Netti helmet that fits me and only costs AUD $50. This is a remarkable event alone as the only other helmets I have found that fit in the last two years are the Giro E2 (AUD $275 RRP) (which is my current helmet) and a tight fit but in a squeeze the Met 5th Element (sells for AUD $289), the lower models in the Giro and Met lines do not fit at all (why they only make their most expensive models large enough is beyond me). So to find a Helmet from Netti that fits and does not cost too much was great, however it gets better. They have a model in Lilac (Netti Pangea, Lilac), how cool is this I can get a Purple/Pink helmet, finally, usually helmets in those colours only come in Womens sizes.

[/leisure/screen] link

Wed, 15 Jun 2005

Light and fluffy salt - 16:27
On BoingBoing Sunday June 5th there was a link to some Nina Gordon music and to her website. I had a listen, clicked around and thought this sounds good. Nina was one of the lead singers and song writers of Veruca Salt. I quite like a lot of Veruca Salt music, though found it was a bit inconstant, some brilliant tracks, some I didn't like much at all (Nina is no longer a part of the group, they are however releasing another album soon, who knows how it will sound). Anyway Nina Gordon released an album in 2000 called "Tonight and the rest of my life", there were samples on her website of all the tracks on the album, that along with the sample suggested by BoingBoing interested me enough to get a copy of the album.

Looking around on Amazon I saw the album for sale on the Amazon used retail thing for USD $3.77, so that with a shipping cost of USD $5.49 meant I could get a copy of the album for about AUD $12, rightio then.

So the album arrived around lunch today and I have had it playing in my office since then. Initially (remember it often takes me weeks or a few months to really grow into an album) I like it, more consistent lyrics and sound than Veruca Salt I think, a bit fluffy (lyrically) in places, and definitely soft female vocal rock (Jane often accuses me of being an excessive fan of this style of music (Leonardo's Bride (Abby Dobson), Rebecca's Empire (Rebecca Barnard), Sleeper (Louise Werner), etc). Anyway I like it, lets see how it grows on me.

[/leisure/music] link

Tue, 14 Jun 2005

Leisure, or not enough of it - 22:13
So Michael's cropping of Jon's Hackergotchi reminded me I should write something about Jon's post the other day on Exhaustion. Last Tuesday Kottke had a link to a rather interesting article on why Crunch mode working is really bad in the long term.

All of this does tie in together, I promise. It surprised me to learn that Jon used to work over 100 hours a week pretty much full time. That really is not healthy. The article I linked to above points out that other (not computing related) industries have known for over 100 years how unhealthy it really is. Research by the US armed forces indicates your intellect suffers sooner than your endurance/strength, so work requiring correct answers coming out of your head will be hit first. Fortunately it seems Jon no longer goes about this silly work pattern, his current sleep issues are caused by his young son, a common ailment among new parents.

I have been thinking about the article a bit over the past week, and watching some of the things I am doing at work during the hours I am supposedly most productive compared to other times. I wonder how skewed my behaviour is with the fact I am usually awake from 5:30am every work day to go cycling.

[/leisure] link

My very own Hackergotchi - 15:15
Earlier today MRD mentioned he had added Hackergotchi support to Planet Linux Australia and requested that people email him their Hackergotchi and IRC nickname (similar to Planet Gnome).

I looked through a bunch of photos and eventually chose one taken of me at last year's Mont Australian 24 Hour race. I followed Wouter's instructions and made my own hackergotchi. MRD asked for them in 70x74, which did not quite fit with mine, so I have two, one in 57x74 and one in 70x90.

[/comp/internet] link

Monday 6 Peaks ride. - 11:41
As we tend to, the Bilbys had a peaks ride yesterday. For the first time we also included a Mt Majura option at the start. 07:30am from Dickson pool for Mt Majura, to meet up with everyone else at 08:30am at ANU for the rest of the peaks (Mt Pleasant, Mt Ainslie, Red Hill, Mt Stromlo and Black Mountain in that order).

I was taking the Mt Majura group so rolled up in the 0 degree Celsius temperature at the pool, Ron and Ella also rocked up for this first climb so we headed off. On the climb we came across James and Gary too. Running a few minutes late we met up with the others at 08:40 at ANU and all of us (about 25 riders) headed towards Mt Pleasant.

It was a fun, though tough day out, my form is still a fair bit down due to not having done as much riding as normal in the months leading up to lca, it probably does not help that my road bike at the moment is not as light and sprightly as the Lemond either. The extra weight however may have helped me get the top speed of the day, on the way down Ainslie. Next time I think we should include Mt Majura in the ride for all riders, not just as an option, it really is a nice climb, definitely easier than Ainslie.

I did not go out riding this morning, heavy rain last night, and I had to take my car to Fyshwick for post Kangaroo smash repair work. I rode the steel hardtail back to work from Fyshwick after dropping the car off. I will need to pick the car up before all the work is completed on Friday afternoon in order to drive Rob, Penny, Bec and myself up to Newcastle on Saturday for an 8 Hour mtb race on Sunday.

As some paint work is necessary for the roo repairs I am also finally getting the bonnet of the car painted properly to repair the problems arising due to a bodgy paint and lacquer job sometime in the past prior to our purchase of the car. I also need to get a 300,000KM service done on the car in the next few weeks, so it looks like an expensive few weeks of car ownership coming up. It is however worth it as it allows me to get to events and stuff out of Canberra.

[/mtb] link

Sun, 12 Jun 2005

Junior MTB Camp - 18:17
So I spent today as a coach at the CORC 2005 Junior Skills Camp #2, with a range of boys and girls from ages 8 through to about 15 we had a pretty good group, around 25 riders.

The coaches there were Jamie and Belinda Green, John Graydon, Luke Graydon, John Henderson, Ben Henderson, Nick Webb and myself. Bev Anderson-Tranter (ex world motor bike trials champion and superb bike handler) and Paul Burbidge-Smith also helped John Graydon and I with our group all day today.

At the start of the day we headed out for a short ride to a piece of single track upon which Jamie could grade the kids and put them into a group of similar ability and age. With three groups, John and I ended up with the group of mostly younger kids. After this we rotated through a series of skills sessions, Bunny Hop and Cornering practice on the open ground at Innabaanya and a Climbing & Descending session and Hops and Drops out in the forest all before lunch. Then after lunch we headed out for a trail ride for an hour and a half so the kids could practice the skills they had been working on all morning with the coaches around.

On the whole I would say the day was a great success, all the kids seemed to get a lot out of it and confidence levels in the group I was with were continually increasing all day. Belinda did another splendid job organising this and getting everything prepared. It would definitely be good to do more of these as getting kids into mountain biking and helping them have fun doing it is a really important aspect of the sport, both for the future of the sport and for getting kids out having fun and staying fit on bikes.

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Thu, 09 Jun 2005

I had better watch out, I had better not... - 22:46
Woah, 3 posts to the diary a day for the two days prior to this. If I don't watch it I will turn into Mikal, sending updates to my diary 16 trillion times a week... oh bugger another one just got ou...NO CARRIER

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Wed, 08 Jun 2005

Uncyclopedia - 22:14
So I found out about this Uncyclopedia from a BoingBoing post mentioning what Cory thought was a great Zork parody some user had put into the Uncyclopedia. The Uncyclopedia is (wait for it) a Wikipedia parody (geez I bet you never saw that coming), and I have to say there is some incredibly funny content on there already. Whoever said the Internet does not have a sense of humour needs to read this.

From the front page news item right now suggesting "Canada and California have announced plans to merge. The new country will be called Caca." to the pages on such topics as Australia and New Z'land (hey where is lca2006 again?), or other fun such as Linux or Star Trek. This has had me giggling for hours.

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Using exercise to reduce stress - 21:43
After reading Mikal's post about being stressed I wandered into his office and suggested he take up cycling as that is what I use to reduce stress. I was not kidding, it really works. He has since updated the post asking if anyone has suggestions on how to reduce stress.

Cycling may not be the solution for Mikal, however I would very strongly recommend taking up a regular exercise program in order to reduce stress, increase happiness and a whole bunch of other positive things. There is a fairly large amount of evidence around the place to support the notion of exercise as being one of the best methods with which to reduce stress.

Both the documents I link to above make many good points. You actually have to make time to exercise in your life, there is no way to find time for it in our increasingly busy lives, you actually have to restructure and fit regular exercise in, a form of lifestyle adjustment. From the second of those links

Regular exercise not only strengthens physical health; it can help you handle stress by...
  • relaxing tense muscles
  • helping you sleep better
  • releasing endorphins, adrenaline, serotonin and dopamines -- chemicals that give you a sense of well-being
What activities best treat stress?

The main thing is to find things you like and commit to doing them regularly.

  • For many, repeating the same motion for a period of time has a relaxing effect similar to meditation. Rhythmic exercises that can provide this effect include swimming laps, walking, running and cycling.
  • Some people enjoy exercises that focus on breathing and fluid movement, such as yoga and tai chi.
  • Others prefer exercising in pairs, for instance, by playing tennis or dancing the tango.

All of this is definitely true, the endorphin release or whatever from regular intensive exercise really is like some sort of feel good drug, I openly admit I am a cycling addict, and to some extent an outdoor exercise addict. The point of finding something you enjoy is also important, if you do not marginally enjoy it you will be less likely to do it. I for example abhor exercising indoors and can not think of much worse than doing exercise in a gym. This is fine as I can exercise outdoors so easily year round in Canberra.

If you do not have a huge amount of spare time and can handle the activity I would suggest running is an excellent form of regular exercise. For the amount of time spent on the activity you get a huge fitness benefit (definitely superior to cycling in fitness per unit time) and it falls into the whole intensive exercise with repetitive/meditative qualities class of activities. Again it doe snot quite suit me when compared to cycling, and running is a far more injury prone activity also, but as the above, and I also, suggests finding exercise you really enjoy doing is the important thing here.

Another good thing about exercise in the case of families is, if your kids see you out there exercising as a regular part of daily life, it will be more heavily a part of their psyche as they grow up that it is perfectly normal to exercise a lot, and thus they are more likely to do so also, and thus be healthier happier adults, less stressed and less a part of the disturbing child obesity statistics.

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Freeride crossing t-shirt - 21:26
Okay, so I know I have a habit of salivating over cool t-shirts from time to time (such as some of those pointed out by preshrunk), also I often lament the fact there is no similar readily available source of cool/unusual/cute/amusing cycling jerseys. So although this is not quite filling the need, it is combining the t-shirt and cycling ethos remarkably well.

This t-shirt I call freeride crossing from the UK company Puzle is truly one of the coolest t-shirts I have ever seen. I originally saw it linked on Singletrackworld last year and it stuck in my mind. Of course a few things stop me buying one, a) I have too many t-shirts to go around spending money on them and b) UKP 17 is kind of an excessive amount of money to spend on a t-shirt.

The last few times I half heartedly tried to track this t-shirt down by looking around the Singletrackworld web site I was unsuccessful, this time I used the magic of google and found it on the second hit with a search for " t-shirt".

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Tue, 07 Jun 2005

Lack of transparency in Government opens up big problems. - 18:26
There was mention this morning on BoingBoing about judges in Florida tossing out DUI cases when defendants ask to see the source code of the breathalysers that read the amount of Alcohol present in their system. I find this fascinating.

The companies that manufacture the breathalysers do not want to release their internal implementation details to anyone, and thus because there is absolutely no proof or independent audit here of how these things really work the case has to be thrown out of court.

When I was talking to Mikal about this I suggested that due to the fact I do not drink often or much I personally would not be exploiting this specific style of loophole, however I thought it opened up a whole lot of things to wonder about the legal process, Police implementation of technology and the transparency of such. Think about speed cameras and speed radars, I imagine the Police have some testing framework for Radars and some other devices, but how extensive is it? How much can it be trusted? Mikal mentioned a case in Victoria where lots of speeding fines had to be ignored due to a problem with a speed camera.

Some googling found this The Age article about this case, they found a number of cameras were faulty and withheld infringement notices from those cameras for a while. Mikal mentioned it took an ACA story about some Datsun 180B unable to to get over 80KMh on a race track with a race driver that had been booked by the cameras at 120KMh to get some sort of response on the issue.

Now I would suggest against going out and trying to get a speeding ticket from a speed camera simply to test the "show me the source" argument in court, but it does make you wonder what processes of government really should be more open and transparent. I do not hold out much hope in the short term that the general public will understand the need for this though, the ACT Voting system, which had been released as a completely open system has since been placed under a more closed form of source distribution with the source code no longer under a fully public licence and less transparent to the public. Sure the actual release of evacs used in any given election undergoes a full audit process and that audited release is frozen for that election, however the whole process is far more hidden and there was not much public outcry in ACT or Australia about this change.

It also makes you wonder, in what ways can you possibly convince the general public to push for a more open and transparent government, one is to convince them it would be in their benefit, if under Australian law a DUI or speeding fine could be avoided without full transparency it may for example push the process toward that goal along if people exploited that.

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Moonride 12 Hour in Rotorua - 12:22
Okay so this is somewhat delayed, I posted before heading to New Zealand about competing in the Moonride 12 Hour Mountain Bike race in Rotorua and my trip to NZ. I still have not put my photos online, however I did write up some experiences from the race a few days later in Taupo and send them out in an email. So with the idea of easy cut and paste diary entries, here is most of the text from my race report on the Moonride 12 Hour race I competed in on May 14th.

Sitting in an internet cafe in Taupo right now so no photos or online report, just something quick.

As a bunch of you know I competed in the Moonride 12 hour as a solo entrant on Saturday. Heidi was there in a team of 5 too. A friend of Heidi's, Lisa Morgan, also rode solo and kicked my heiney.

The course was 9.1 KM (if you include the loop through the 12 hour camp area all 12 hour racers had to do), mostly rather sweet flowing single track, a bit of flat fire road you could really open up (35KMh or so) if you were so inclined. Around 2000 people were there for the weekend (there was a 24 hour race and a 12 hour race on at the same time), like the Mont in .au this is the oldest 24 hour and 12 hour mtb race in NZ I think.

10am start and 10pm finish. I got my entry from the organisers as the bell sounded for the start, I ran back to the tent, grabbed my camel back and waited for the entire field to go past before hopping on the back.

First time through the course was slow as was expected, but I subsequently did another 2 laps in a row after that and it opened up a lot. They had an automatic timer sensor thing and a tag we all wore on our ankles that made it register as we rode over the mats. The wife of the event organiser Murray had told me to attach it to my frame and I do not think it registered for the second two laps, and maybe not the first (was in a big crowd at the time), I eventually attached it to my ankle and kept that ankle down every time I rode over the mats and it worked from then. Teams only had one tag so they did not have individual lap times recorded.

I met up with the guy who handles the timing for this and the NZ national series and he worlds stuff next year and rode with him yesterday and today so I was able to talk to him about all the timing stuff and Russ and I will probably converse with him on some of the timing stuff a bit.

The course was fun, but I have to say it was not brilliant, it got more fun as the day wore on, my last few laps, in the dark, were the best.

One of the fun laps was about lap 12, Heidi headed out on the track at the same time, so I told my body not to cramp and upped the pace from solo pace to race pace. We did a sub 30 minute lap together, which was my fastest lap of the day by a few minutes. All in the dark. I complained Heidi was making me ride fast and that it hurt, she said I should not whine as I was the one in front of her for the entire lap setting the silly fast pace.

Anyway I completed 14 laps in the end, 135 KM or so, Lisa completed 16 laps (she did not stop all day, I (because I am soft) stopped a fair bit) (2005-06-07, interestingly, I have looked at the results since returning to Australia, the timing systems have us both on 15 and 17 laps respectively, I suspect this is because it recorded our crossing the timing mats on the first mini loop through and included this in the lap count, also this means it obviously did record all my laps even though I did not hear the buzzer on two occasions)

The winner of the 24 hour solo, Andy Rhodes (the guy who did the Naked lap at the World Solos in Whistler) did 43 laps. I forget the other details but photos (I was race number 76 AFAIR) and results will probably appear in the next few days on

We stayed in Rotorua for another day and a half, and rode more on Sunday and today. The trails we got to ride out of the race were incredible, they blew the ones in the race away. Although there were some sweet sections (long sections with lots of berms you can do in the big ring) in the race, there was nothing as cool as "Be Rude Not To" or "A Trail" in the race. Heidi mentioned a 24 hour race she did with Lisa up here last year (N-Duro or something) included those tracks and a bunch of other fun stuff. I would highly recommend competing in that 24 hour and am somewhat tempted myself.

I am now in Taupo for the night, planning to ride the Craters of the Moon pack tomorrow morning and try for Tree Trunk Gorge tomorrow arvo.

More fun to be had the rest of the week.

Update: Posting this today on 2005-06-07, of note, the results are available online now, as are some photos. Looking at the 2005 Cateye Moonride at Marathon Photos will allow you to search for them, or currently the Moonride website has a page with the Moonride Photos embedded. You can find my photos searching for "Hanley" or 76. Lisa's photos are "Morgan" or 96. Heidi's team is team 420 (Tumeke Tribe) on 24 laps.

The other cool news, in relation to the N-Duro races, I had a look at the website and discovered the 24 Hour race is actually on in February, on the 4th and 5th next year. I will be over at 2006 next year from Jan 23rd to Jan 28th, so I will hang around for a week or two in New Zealand and will be able to compete in the N-Duro 24 Hour on some of the incredibly cool tracks there. Lets just hope I can convince a few friends to do the race in a team too, should be a hoot to get an Australian team over there for it. Mikey will hopefully also be at, and may be interested in the N-Duro race the next weekend.

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Broken Seat Post Bolt - 07:52

An imaginative solution someone else thought up.
Out on the road bike this morning, I did a Black Mountain climb at 6am, caught up with Rob and Penny at the top and had a chat with them for a bit. From the bottom I headed off toward Scrivner to meet others for the Tuesday morning loop we do during winter. James caught up with me on the way, Crash and Terry were at the dam when we arrived. All morning, and yesterday, while riding the road bike I had the feeling the saddle was a little bit low.

This may have been due to having the saddle height reasonably high on the steel mtb. Anyway I thought I would try putting it up half a centimetre when I got to the dam. I did this and as I was tightening the bolt again when I herd a snap, I had snapped the seat clamp bolt. Alas I did not have my Topeak chain breaker with me so I was unable to try the rather imaginative bodge job as pictured in the photo on the left. Anyway I am at the pickle having coffee with the others who got to finish the ride now, I rode home,swapped bikes and will take the road bike into the shop later today to get a new bolt for the road bike so it will be ready to go out tomorrow morning.

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Mon, 06 Jun 2005

Say bye bye Krispy Kreme? - 16:14
Now this is interesting (found on kottke). The article talks about how abysmally enronesque the management of Krispy Kreme was after going public in 2000 or so. A company that has been around for 75 or so years looks like it may go bankrupt. Personally I could care less, I have never eaten a Krispy Kreme product and have no intention of doing so, however Michael seems to be quite a fan of their product, as are a few other people I know. So I thought I would comment on this.

I recently noticed Krispy Kremes for sale from the back of a rent-a-ute trailer at the Belconnen mall carpark here in Canberra (completely ignoring the EULA on the Krispy Kreme boxes saying you are not allowed to resell them), also the outlet Michael noticed at the Domestic airport in Sydney does not cook them on site as it was simply a stall. The point of all this is the article above suggests the best way to save themselves is for Krispy Kreme to revert to their original product of hot donuts made in front of you at the franchise.

I can actually understand the lure of fresh hot donuts, one of the best sources of donuts in my experience is the mini donuts shop on the train platform at the Perisher Valley ski tube station. Even when I am staying in my lodge in Perisher I often make the effort to go to the ski tube centre and down to the platform and buy myself some of the fresh hot donuts there. Cold clammy glazed or coated donuts from some supermarket or similar however are a dime a dozen and hold no real fascination.

Whether Krispy Kreme will go bankrupt or not, I do not know, or particularly care, it is however interesting to see yet another possible victim of going public and dotcom style expansion problems even though they have a product that is not directly tied to computers or dotcom at all.

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Thu, 02 Jun 2005

Kernel upgrade time - 14:15
So I tested the new toy yesterday with an older 20 GB drive lying around at work and all seemed fine. I went and ordered a 200GB WD 8MB Buffer IDE drive to use as storage for backups and other not particularly frequently accessed data at home, I thought 200 GB because, heck this stiff is cheap now days, the drive was about AUD $160, with AUD $12 shipping, comparing this to spending over AUD $500 on a 12 GB drive just 6 years ago it really begins to freak you out a bit.

Anyway I went to plug the drive into my laptop and found it did not work with my 2.6.7 based kernel. Tony was around, and as he recently upgraded his laptop kernel (his permalinks are currently broken though) we plugged the device in there to see if it would work with the new larger drive. It did, thus it appears the usb-storage upgrade that happened around 2.6.9 is indeed better, or at least better for this specific hardware combination. I guess I should finally put the time in and upgrade my laptop kernel, what fun I have to look forward to</tic>, ACPI DSDT patches, a few other patches, SWSUSP, etc.

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Wed, 01 Jun 2005

IDE to USB2 bare adapter. - 16:37

R-Driver II USB 2.0 to IDE Adapter (full size)
I saw this item reviewed on dansdata a while ago and it appealed to me as a rather neat toy. Thinking about external drives a bit recently and I thought what the heck I want to have one of these. They ship from the US for USD $38 ($3 shipping worldwide for anything sold on that site), I ordered it on Friday afternoon and it arrived on my doorstep at home (though I put work as the delivery address) this morning.

Unlike Dan I have not done any transfer speed tests or anything, I have plugged a 20 GB drive lying around at work in to test and it worked fine. The Power adapter is only needed for 3.5" drives, laptop drives are powered by the USB connection itself. Due to the US source the power plug (not pictured) was available with vertical flat, round, or the square British plugs, Dan suggests bending the US flat plugs to the Australian angle, however the thing works fine with any standard computer/kettle/etc power cable so there is no need for that.

Something I like about this is it is very compact, geeky and bear metal. If you happen to have a bunch of drives around you need to check out, or put stuff on you need not mount them in anything, simply plug it in and away you go. This has interesting implications for JBOD solutions (possibly slow of course) too as you can put a bunch of disks in some case with a few fans, and usb leads coming out of the case to another computer. Anyway I think it is a rather neat geek toy.

Update: Mikal complained I had not linked to either USBGEEK.COM or more specifically to the R-Driver II Product page (which was on the cables page (which has a few variations of this product and some other cool stuff, though the version 1 of this device is possibly dodgy, and is not double sided anyway)). I am sure Mikal is far more interested in some of the other products sold here, such as the Cafe Pad or Vacuum.

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