Tuesday, 26 April 2016
Went for a local 8.5miler last night wearing leggings and my long-sleeved winter top, then got rained on and chilled about half way round. The legs got grumpy, knees angry and I ended up walking down the hills to try to prevent damage. Cue hurty legs in bed, though I did manage to sleep OK in the end.
I hope this run will be worth it.
Monday, 25 April 2016
Sunday, 24 April 2016
In less than 2 hours Ben will be in Oxford getting on the bus taking him to Gatwick Airport tonight for a 7am flight to Turkey on Monday. It's been good to see him - I'm going to miss him when he's gone again, even though I love when it's the two of us being together.
Tuesday, 19 April 2016
And to my considerable surprise I don't ache (much) this morning. The head is still a little fuzzy and has the usual occasional pain, but I'm pleasantly surprised at how much better the bod feels than it did yesterday. If this carries on then I'll probably run 10k home tonight.
To be honest I'm not sure this exercise thing is all that great. It wants to become all-consuming, which isn't helpful if you just want to get on with life and the stuff you're called to do. We'll just have to make sure it's kept in proportion - and I'm sure the time to back off will come soon enough too.
Sunday, 17 April 2016
TBH it didn't feel particularly good, not least because I was deliberately holding back a little, knowing I planned to extend the distance further than usual, and I stopped twice to stretch after 7 and 9 miles. The half marathon is just a few weeks away, and I need to make good on my (assumed now OK) knee to increase distance.
The running has changed my physiology. Arms that once seemed muscular now look lean and skinny, to the point where, when pulling socks on this evening, they didn't look like they belonged to me any more. Legs aren't so different really, but I'm carrying less fat on my torso although I can 'pinch an inch' as the phrase once had it. Breathing is certainly better than it has been in a long while, and I managed the first 4-5 miles with one breath cycle per 4 footfalls when on the flat or running up modest inclines: the one disadvantage being that I run more slowly like this, though still faster than 10K/hr. Later I upped the breathing rate to one cycle per 3 footfalls, and that enabled me to keep the pace up despite tiredness.
The one miserable bit was finding that I just couldn't run down the hill into the village to finish the run. It's a relatively steep slope, and the feelings of displeasure from knees and calf muscles were too strong and clear to ignore just for a training run. The course I'll be running looks pleasantly flat, so there'll be no popping knees on that.
My legs ache now, which is no surprise, but hopefully they'll settle down tonight and be OK for work tomorrow. By Tuesday evening perhaps enough recovery will have happened for a 10K home from work, or maybe a 5K if things are still sore.
The sunlight looks lovely out there this evening, but I'm just a bit too tired for a photographic expedition tonight.
Saturday, 16 April 2016
Friday, 15 April 2016
We had a bathtime conversation this morning, wondering if it doesn't really matter which path we go down and if either are just as acceptable, both having advantages and disadvantages, both causing possible hassle for others too. Or maybe this is a chance to see where our heart motivations are, without the fanfares and guidance, to see if we're really the pioneery people we've talked about being in the past, or just consumers who are happy to get a little fatter every week? I see a few good friends who struggle with the "is this it/why am I doing little with my life?" and understand their dissatisfaction.
Wednesday, 13 April 2016
In a workplace populated by an array of different nationalities, someone put up a printed page in a public place comparing what the British say, what they meant and what a non-Brit might think they meant, and example of which may be found here.
The poster, a friend in the workplace who has travelled widely, worked abroad and is of european extraction made the comment that this was unique to the British. I had to point out that in Austria and Germany, if a waiter asks if you would like to order and you reply 'thank you' then they will walk away because that is assumed to mean NO thank you, rather than an affirmative. People are just odd, really.
Tuesday, 12 April 2016
Loaned one of my memory sticks to a Mac user, who then experienced ejection problems (which they also experience with a variety of other memory sticks, just like I did when I used a Mac regularly) and now it needs repair when it's used on a machine running a non-Apple OS.
Grump at the poxy Cupertino implementation of USB.
Sunday, 10 April 2016
Minis are funny things, because they all look 'the same' and they all share driving characteristics (firm, direct ride, direct steering, feel like you're going faster than you really are) but despite that they aren't all the same. This particular convertible is a second generation version, while the countryman is much closer to the 3rd generation launched last year (being a completely new design for 2011) in terms of interior and driver information despite this one being a year younger than mine. With the countryman, Mini did really well creating a fairly tall version of the small car that still retained handling characteristics (which were a big part of the reason I bought it) but it's been fascinating driving the original concept vehicle.
So what's it like to drive?
Every car is a compromise. When I started to answer my question the first words I wrote were small, fun, easy, but that's a very incomplete picture, and sometimes not even true. It IS those things, but we picked the 'S' version - presumably intended to imply sport - which includes bigger wheels and low profile tyres, 2L Diesel engine, better headlights and some pretty trim that makes no practical difference, and those have affected driving characteristics quite a bit.
So the wheel & tyre combination makes a firm ride much more sensitive to a bad road surface, and compared to the softly sprung beetle, the poorly repaired country lanes round here make for a bumpy ride at times. When we test drove various cars, the standard 16" wheel and taller tyre combination made for a surprisingly compliant ride. Chris's answer about how she liked it after her first drive around here were "it's bumpy". To me, this is just about a worthwhile trade off, with the improvement in handling and feedback making the car feel confident and capable of handling much more than a couple in their 50s are likely to throw at it most of the time. All the cliches apply: goes round corners on rails, go-kart handling etc, but it also makes for a car that's entirely within it's limits at the motorway speed limit, and not feeling at all marginal like some I've driven over the years.
The bigger engine is nice too, because it makes for relatively effortless power in a small, slippery bodyshell, and economy is as good or better than my Countryman despite that having a smaller engine. Last weekend I followed a Honda Civic Type R briefly, and although that car would pull away from the mini (as it should) the difference wasn't enormous, and it was speed limits that made me let him go, more than the performance difference. It's also nice to have a car that's completely unfussy about power delivery, and provided it's doing more than tickover engine speeds, it just gets on with the job of going faster when you ask it to. Of course the downside of this in combination with the good handling is that one could easily end up travelling at speed limit + 50% without even being aware of how fast you were going from the lack of effort to get to and drive at that speed. Brakes seem better than my car (though the discs appear the same size) so it looks like they've got that sorted too.
And so to lights.
The S models come with a xenon HID headlight system instead of the conventional halogen bulbs fitted to every other car we've owned. I've long had mixed feelings about conventional headlights: they were good in the Peugeot 406 we had and OK in the 307, but in the beetle they were very weak: poorly focussed and lacking brightness. Chris had an occasion recently where she was badly dazzled by oncoming traffic, and it caused her to lose her sense of where the road was. On Wednesday last week I followed her back from Bicester after dark, and not once on the country lanes did she use main beam, not because she forgot, but because it wasn't needed. This is a really good upgrade.
I mentioned small. Advice I'd read online suggested that if you wanted to take passengers in the back seats then it would be best if they didn't have legs. There is a little less space behind the front seats - maybe an inch or so - than the beetle had, and few inches less than the new beetle (which is a bigger car generally) but I've had several 20-30min sessions in both this and the beetle, and it's no worse. Getting out of the back feels just a little harder, but that's probably because the car is also lower, by at least a couple of inches. It's curious how that plays out, because with the top down, the mini is almost EXACTLY the same height to the top of the doors as the beetle was, but apparently with seats lower in the cockpit. The plus side is that with the roof off there is far less buffeting for the driver, to the point that we've not bothered to buy a wind deflector - an absolute essential for top-down driving with the beetle at speed. Inside, the roof doesn't feel low at all (Randall - you might feel different ;-) but one is aware of other vehicles feeling taller than usual.
In other respects the car isn't functionally much smaller than the beetle. The boot has a similarly impractical size opening, and the space available is useful but a little lower than before. The cabin has storage space arranged differently, but is no less practical again - swings and roundabouts, as the phrase goes - although it is narrower than the beetle too.
So overall I think it was a good purchase, all compromises and trade-offs considered. Hopefully it will serve well for another 8 or so years like the beetle did.
p.s. There's a 'sport' button slightly to the left of the gearshift. I have pressed it once, briefly, then reset it. My understanding is that it makes the engine more responsive and the steering heavier, but that was still on day 1, and I was working my way back from Worcester on country roads and didn't really feel much like playing then. I may report more later.
Saturday, 9 April 2016
Time to go find the Les Paul.
Wednesday, 6 April 2016
Monday this week we re-interviewed for another assistant for me. 6 individuals, 1 hour apart, no lunch break, then review after the last one has left. I could feel the dripping on my shoulders as my brain oozed from my ears.
I could go on.
3 separate social occasions involving food over the weekend, which again was great, but tiring. I've also been trying to find gaps of a couple of hours in which to run & maintain fitness, and that's happened, but it's been tricky. 2 weeks ago the little (size, not attitude) lass doing physio found a painful spot and then repeatedly worked it - cue knee aching for next 3 days and no running happening. :p
Mostly it's self-inflicted - can't blame anyone else really. :-) I've also hurt my neck/back, and can't sit upright easily. :-(
Tonight I finally did the April church news sheet, so that's one monkey less. :D
While I'm wittering, social media is an odd thing. LinkedIn makes me want to punch people for all their smug, shiny executiveness. It's poo, really.
Quite enjoyed reading Celsus criticism of Christianity. Considering it was written in AD150ish the criticisms often come across as very modern, aside from his understanding of the Greek gods and demons and a stated desire that all Christians should be put to death. Interesting too is the way his religious leanings are interpreted through his sense of politics, rather than the other way round. No wonder Christians were anathema to him.
Wednesday, 30 March 2016
Sunday, 27 March 2016
Great advice, but I wish it was logical.
Friday, 25 March 2016
BTW for those who take pictures and process them, Google have released the Nik software collection (a set of plugins designed to work with other software like Lightroom) free of charge to download. If you don't have anything like them then they are very good value for the cost of entry. ;-) I've installed the suite, and now wonder whether it was a waste of time, since I primarily use On1's Perfect Photo Suite to do many of the same things, although I expect to find the HDR plugin useful.
Thursday, 24 March 2016
Hopefully I'll get a ride in some time this weekend.
On a slightly different topic, my keyboard skills have really gone down the pan over the last few years, yet tonight I'm tapping away freely for the first time in ages, as though I've got something to write, and up until then without needing to make many corrections. :p
Wednesday, 23 March 2016
Life will go on. The bike that was collected last night seems OK, and hopefully can be used as transport. Insurance and collection is being sorted for Chris's new car.
Self-inflicted tiredness. :p
Tuesday, 22 March 2016
Monday, 21 March 2016
As of tomorrow night, despite some earlier protestations to the contrary, I shall be the owner of a motorcycle. Wether or not I will be the rider of said bike is another matter entirely, but I've just picked up a high-mileage used Guzzi V50 for Ben to use as an example to work from (hopefully not a donor of parts!) and possibly as transport to ride for work until his own is properly running. However it's also really tempting to acquire a lid, insurance, and give it a spin myself.
We've also probably found the replacement for Chris's beetle, and that may well arrive in a few days too, just in time for the easter weekend.
I'm looking forward to stopping the cash-haemorrhage that we're presently experiencing, even though new toys are fun.
Saturday, 19 March 2016
Friday, 18 March 2016
Wednesday, 16 March 2016
Tuesday, 15 March 2016
Last time I was warned that I might be stiff or sore next day, but she was quite gentle and all was fine. Wonder if that will be different today?
So last night I ran back from Heyford park to home, taking it easyish and into a headwind. It felt comfy (as much as running ever can) and managed a personal best of 25.04 for 5k. Hope that's a sign of good things to come.
Well who would have thought such a slender slip of a girl could put so much pressure on a single muscle. So this week I need to do another 5k without tape on the knees, followed by about 13-16k to check whether the quads are better now.
As phones generate curious behaviour.
For example, the standard 'keyboard' generally works well, yet there are dozens of alternatives that look a little different for which one must pay, in cash and in giving access to personal data. Why would anyone give access to their contacts and personal data, just to use something that does the same thing s with a slightly different look?
That was the first example that sprang to mind, but there's plenty of others.
I really don't get the lemming-like rush for more and more apps that do what is already being done with no more than cosmetics as a USP. Blackberry and Windows phones are shunned because they lack a large app store - weird - even though many of the key apps are available for those devices.
Please explain this to me, if you can.
Monday, 14 March 2016
The phrase came from a club music form popular around the northern English industrial cities (Mnchester, Leeds, Bradford etc) called donkhouse, with the synth 'donk' sound - played on the back beat (wooden mallet from a Yamaha keyboard) - used to create some "bangin' tunes" (Hello Kevin and Perry). The theory that the radio program presented was that the donk sounded like weaving and other industrial machines at work, and therefore had cultural relevance.
Probably not to be taken too seriously.
Time flashes past.
I'm tempted to try to review the films (Edge Of Tomorrow was well made with a good story and pleasing characters, The Lady In The Van was a film much better in retrospect that at the time of viewing, Oblivion suffered the 'Hollywood effect' that replaced humanity with CGI) but I won't right now.
As for the cars, we test drove a used new VW Beetle 1.4TSi (great looks, great engine, good ride and handling, high price) and Mini convertible Cooper D (good looks, good engine, good ride and great handling, lower price). The beetle is a more practical car than most convertibles seem to be, with a large boot, folding seats and OK legroom in the rear (I managed an hour in the back without discomfort). The mini is a little less spacious in the back (good headroom still, 2"-3" less legroom) and all-round smaller & more nimble-feeling in other respects. Doing the 'looking back' test, Chris seemed to prefer the Mini, so that's probably where we'll go for her next car.
I'm still digesting Eusebius, with the final chapter not being like the previous text. It has been a very useful read however, and has really helped me understand why the ancient church was so intensely political and inclined to acquire power (protection from brutal persecution initially, though that became self-fulfilling very quickly). Before I began reading, my original impression had been that the church had gone off the rails once it became a state-sponsored, then state-controlling organisation. From this text, it appears the church had quickly become corrupted and fragmented in a way that looks modern long before that, with major heresies and schisms devloping even before the end of the first century. It's also been useful to see that the 'bible as the word of God' that we now have would not have been recognised at all by second and third century Christians, which I had been aware of, but not considered in this way before.