HelmetCam:1 Stupid Drivers: 0

September 1, 2014 · Posted in HelmetCam · Comment 

On my way home from work on Friday last week I saw a car coming towards me along a road with a 20mph speed limit that to my eyes was doing closer to 40 than 20 so I gestured to them, politely to slow down. The car responded by deliberately, to my eyes, swerving towards me. I’ve had some debate with a couple of friends about wether what I did was provocation to the driver…frankly it doesn’t matter if it was, there was no call for that action as a response.

HelmetCam!Luckily, actually deliberately to capture this kind of thing (although more often stupid and careless drivers and fellow cyclists than malicious ones), I have for the last couple of weeks been wearing a camera mounted on my cycle helmet. It’s a dinky little thing but it can capture full 1080p HD, slo-mo at 240 frames per second and can also live stream straight to Ustream 🙂

Anyhoo…before I go on take a look at the incident for yourself. http://youtu.be/SX6YFCGoN2I

After sending the youTube link to the Cambridge Police Twitter account I was asked to go to the Police station today to discuss the incident.

I took the full HD video with me on my iPad to show the officer who I had an appointment booked with. After viewing it a couple of times he asked if he could borrow my iPad to show a colleague because he wasn’t sure what the driver could be charged with!

Upon his return I was informed that unless they could prove who was driving they couldn’t press any charges at all but the car in question was owned by a Woman and he suspected from their age that the other driver named on the same insurance was her Son (I had told him it was a man driving). He told me he intended to speak to the registered owner of the vehicle and let them know what had happened, and if he was told that someone else was driving he’d speak to them as well. He also told me that the police would be informing the insurance company about the incident and would leave it to their discretion as to what happened next.

Overall, I think that’s a pretty fair result 😀

My Naked Lunch moment…

June 3, 2014 · Posted in Triathlon · Comment 

Tonight I went swimming in my new wetsuit for the first time…and for the first time in Cambridge’s rather strange outdoor 100 yard long Lido. As was always going to happen I started off too fast and was slowing up halfway down the second length (second 100yrd remember) but it wasn’t so much that I was running out of energy, more that I felt like my new wetsuit was trying to kill me!

By the end of the second length (and as in the indoor 25M pool I was doing sets of 200m) I really felt like the suit was moving around and really pulling against the front of my neck on my throat. When I brought the suit last Saturday there had been someone in the shop to help and advise me when putting it on and it had felt fine. The shop also had an endless indoor pool so I was able to try swimming in it and did do for around 5 minutes with no problems at all. And yet, with every stroke down that second length I felt like the suit was trying to strangle me.

At the end of that length I stopped the time on my watch and set about tweaking things to see if I could get the suit to fit better. As I was on my own I’d had no help putting the wetsuit on, but I’d had a quick practice at home the night before to see if I could manage it and it seemed fine…the one thing I was worried about was doing the zip up but by arching my back and pushing my shoulder blades together I seemed to manage it fine.

I swam another couple of lengths and things we’re a little better but still not great, certainly not good enough to be able to swim a mile in without stopping. After each pair of lengths I’d try another tweak here or there and by the time I’d finished I think I’d got things pretty well settled down, but it’s safe to say that tonights session was a whole bag of no fun.

Getting changed afterwards I had what David Baddiel described during his and Robert Newman‘s Wembley gig as a Naked Lunch moment. The example, if memory serves, he gave that night was a male ballet dancer. “I’m on stage, in front of loads of strangers, wearing nothing but tights, my packet’s showing…what the fuck am I doing?!? Oh, I’m a ballet dancer,  that’s OK then”.

For me it was more along the lines of, my new ‘gadget’ has just tried to kill me, I’m knackered, I’m stood on a cold, wet, concrete floor, in a small wooden cabin, it’s pissing it down with rainy and I’ve still got to cycle home…and keep doing this for another 4 months. What the fuck am I doing?!?”. I then continued to get changed and put my trousers on…and realised I was wearing an old pair of trousers that by now probably have getting on for a four inch gap between my stomach and the trousers. “Oh yeah”, I thought, “I’m, losing a fuck load of weight…that’s OK then!”

To relax myself after I’d then cycled home in the rain I went for a quick 10 minute run on the treadmill, and if I’ve chosen to go for a run to relax you know things must be bad!

Plan 9…from somewhere

June 3, 2014 · Posted in Triathlon · Comment 

I’ve got a little under 4 months to go until the Triathlon is here and I think I’ve just mentally moved onto what must be the 9th iteration of my training schedule.

The recent Cambridge Beer Festival did put something of a dent in my schedule as expected and also brought 4 more pounds of weight on over the 2 weeks it was running (actually a bit less than I expected) but getting back into train has been tricky at best.

I did my first run since the beerfest on Monday evening and even though it was only the now standard 3 miles it was hard work..I’ve still got to double that distance and I’ve now got less than 4 months to get there.

Plan 8 involved building fitness through swimming and on the bike and limiting myself to runs every couple of weeks thereby reducing the pounding on my somewhat arthritic frame. After last night I’m not sure that’s going to work. I think I just need to get miles under the legs, but just in smaller, more regular doses.

I’m therefore going to try and run just a single mile every day that I have time. Including showers and changing it shouldn’t take me more than 20 minutes so I really have no excuse.

Now that I’ve got a wetsuit I’m also goi got start some open water and long LONG course swimming. Finally I’ll start to put in some longer rides at the weekends when I’ll have the time to spare.

I’m not as yet 100% confident that I can actually finish this thing with the run at the end but I’m going to give it a damn good try!

Help! I appear to have accidentally entered an Olympic Triathlon

May 7, 2014 · Posted in Triathlon · Comment 

At the end of February this year I decided that dieting on its own was far too dull to do for another year and I needed a target, a good reason not to have another pint rather than just to watch a number get lower most weeks when I weigh myself. (Lucky him!! Mine stays the same or rises – theWife)

For some reason entering an Olympic distance Triathlon, taking place at the end of September, seemed like a pretty good idea at the time and a week after pre-registering I entered… see, it’s not as if this was even a spur of the moment drunken decision! (Crazy one yes – theWife)

To let you into the level of the stupidity we’re dealing with here, I’m still 3 stone (20Kg) overweight and have Arthritis. I need to swim one mile down the river Cam, cycle 25 miles and then run a 10K (just over 6 miles). Until I started training I hadn’t run since I was at school, done any swimming more than a holiday potter for about as long, and I only cycle for commuting.

On the plus side my diet regime last year did have me on a cross trainer regularly so fitness wise I’m not heading into this from a complete standstill – clearly there is quite a lot of work to do.

At the time the intention was to just do it with whatever kit I’d got already and simply for the sake of finishing. Since then, and rather unsurprisingly, my competitive instinct has kicked in and so unfortunately has my penchant for buying gadgets. Still, I probably needed a new bike right?!? (mental craziness has kicked in – theWife)

Now, as everything for this event is somewhat spiralling out of control, and because I’m unlikely to do something this stupid again I’ve decided that I should support the official charity of the event, Cancer Research, and try to raise a decent sum of money.

I’m aiming for £1000, and that, dear reader, is obviously where you come in.

I’m not going to talk about the charity, they do a far better job of it than I ever could, but all I will say is that almost everyone I know either knows someone that’s been affected by cancer directly or has had a family member affected, so the cause is clearly a good one. (a very very good one – theWife)

I, and presumably they, would appreciate anything you can give to try to help me reach this target. Donations can be made through the Just Giving website at justgiving.com/jodrell

Please feel free to publicise this page or the Just Giving one directly to other people. I’ll be adding more to the site as my training progresses, with a few pics of just how silly I look wearing Lycra and just how knackered I look after some of the training sessions. (ha ha ha ha they’re worth seeing and spending money for – theWife)

After a pub chat a friend and I decided that 3 hours was a good round number to aim for as a time with a 30 minute swim, a 1.5 hour ride and 1 hour run at the end. We did of course forget to factor in any time for the transitions and changes between events, but I still think it’ll be a good mark to measure myself against, despite it actually being a pretty slow time (according to people who do this kind of thing regularly). (that’s not slow in my opinion – theWife!)  To be honest though, I’ll just be happy to finish the whole thing without having to stop and walk.

So there we have it. A silly event, a silly target and a pretty silly amount of money…come on people, how hard can it be?!?  (OK so it’s mainly crazy but the money’s not silly so get spending you lot – theWife)  (oh and I proofed it, so sorry for any errors or interruptions! – theWife)

Oh crap I’m boned :-/

March 24, 2014 · Posted in Triathlon · Comment 

As I mentioned in my previous post I’ve entered an Olympic distance Triathlon. Training actually hasn’t been going too badly. I’ve had some pretty good advice from a post on Reddit and last Friday i ran 3 miles for that I think was the first time ever.

After cycling around a lot on Sat then pooling around Cambridge doing some shopping on Sunday morning I decided my legs needed a break and thought I’d pop swimming on Sunday afternoon. There was a land session from 5-6 which meant I could swim, then get back to cook dinner.

As I said previously I used to do A LOT of swimming so was banking on this being an easy start for me, even if it were to take place tomorrow. After that swim yesterday I’ve probably got more confidence in me being able to complete the Run that the Swim!

After just 100m (4 lengths) I was wondering why I couldn’t feel my arms! Back in the day 1500m would have been a warm-up before the main session and now I’m blown up after 100m :-/

I switched to Breaststroke for 100m and then alternated 100m swims between Freestyle and Breaststroke until I’d managed to clock up 1000m and then skulked out of the pool…the half mile ride back home wasn’t particularly pleasant either.

What the hell have I let myself in for!

Current mood: terrified
Chance of completion: 50%

Douglas Adams was right…

August 21, 2013 · Posted in Rants . . ., Uncategorized · Comment 

Having just wasted almost an hour and a half of my life banging my head against a corrupt data dictionary in the INNODB database engine, a system that’s designed not to crash but in the unlikely event that it does it’ll automagically recover itself, I am very much reminded of this quote from Douglas Adams…

“The major difference between a thing that might go wrong and a thing that cannot possibly go wrong is that when a thing that cannot possibly go wrong goes wrong it usually turns out to be impossible to get at or repair.”
Douglas Adams (1952 – 2001)

Thai Pink Eggs!

April 25, 2013 · Posted in Cooking · 1 Comment 

20130425-154351.jpgWell, I’ve always said I’ll try anything once and I do like a bit of cooking so how could I resist buying these Pink eggs when I saw them on sale in a supermarket in Thailand.

The pack simply says that they’re preserved eggs but gives no indication as to how. There’s also nothing mentioned about if any preparation is required so off to the Internet I went.

It turns out they’re a variation of Chinese Century Eggs and are prepared over a number of weeks by being sealed in a mix of clay, ash, salt and quicklime. The pics on that page also made me even more nervous about trying them…they may be Pink on the outside but they’re Black once opened!

20130425-153356.jpgIt turns out my fears were groundless. The preservation process turns the white of the egg into a very dark brown or black and somewhat translucent set jelly that’s actually pretty flavourless. The yolk however is another matter. The colour is an opaque very dark green to black with a somewhat lighter colour on the edges and the texture appears to be that of oil paint.

The taste of the Yolk is slightly salty, rich, creamy and intensely eggy. Really very tasty indeed!

20130425-153402.jpgThe one thing missing from the ones I had, and I can’t say I was disappointed by this omission, was the smell. Perhaps it’s the more modern preservation process or some variation in these Thai Pink versions of the Century Egg but the commonly described smell of sulphur/ammonia was absent.

All in all I think these will make a nice change for the office from bringing biscuits back 🙂

There’s no such things as a free lunch…

February 3, 2013 · Posted in Reviews... · Comment 

I’ve just got home from the new Cambridge Brew House after a free lunch I won this morning on Twitter…they aren’t actually open until Feb 6th but today they wanted a few people in to act as a pre opening dry run, just to check everything is going OK, and from what I saw the answer is an emphatic yes.

The building has gone through several refers over the past few years and this incarnation is a shabby chic distressed mix ‘n’ match Grandmas house style. Don’t let my poor description put you off though, I think it works really well together, from the old fashioned bone handled style knives to the 50s style lampshades to the desserts served in patterned saucers.

Of the 4 of use who went 3 were vegetarian (at least temporarily in one case). Two went for the Sunday Nut Roast and the third for the stuffed roast Butternut Squash and I had the Sea Bream (or was it sea bass, my memory isn’t what it was after a couple of pints). Everyone agreed the food was very nice indeed with the only complaint, if you can call it that, being that with the roast squash there was perhaps too much food!

The beer on tap was worth of some of the other Cambridge real ale pubs, and whilst its not ready yet they will be brewing some of their own beer on site, hopefully as soon as March. One of the beers was a bit cold and did have something of a haze to it and they admitted that they’re still getting this right cellar wise but from the talk we had with them after dinner I have no doubt this minor issue will be rectified quickly.

The English Tapas menu that I was somewhat derisive about earlier in the week on Twitter (Pork Scratchings & chips maybe) looks really rather nice, the highlight of which may turn out to be the braised pigs cheeks…I suspect we’ll find out next Sunday when its fully open to watch the England vs Ireland 6 Nations rugby.

This free lunch was most enjoyable and I look forward to going back for more, even if I have to pay for it next time 🙂

My Top 5 iPad Apps…

January 23, 2013 · Posted in tehInterweb · Comment 

Following on from a post by @whatleydude (http://wp.me/pm4dS-1zM), here are my top 5 iPad apps…

1. Tweetbot (£1.99)
iPadYeah, I’m kinda one of those oversharey types on Twitter and Tweetbot is the first thing I launch every morning so it has to be my No.1.

Tweetbot allow me to manage lists and hashtags and to follow conversations easily. Whenever someone says, “why won’t Twitter let me X”, or “my Twitter client won’t let me Y”, I usually think, well Tweetbot can do that. The fact that there’s also a really nice OSX app out that syncs across iOS and OSX devices is also a cracking feature.

2. Newsify (69p)
Get up, read Twitter, cycle to the station, sit on a train for just under an hour, read stuff collected on Google Reader using Newsify.

Newsify can sync up to 5000 articles, download posts and their images, share posts just about everywhere and has a really nice looking newspaper layout that allows you to skim over lots of articles very quickly. I’ve tried several other apps but I keep coming back to Newsify.

3. Evernote (free, Premium subscription £4/month or £35/year)
Work time now! I probably couldn’t live without Evernote now. It’s often referred to as a spare brain and that’s certainly how I treat it. Meeting notes go into it, records of phone conversations go into it, clippings of web pages, restaurant menus, ideas, booking references, pretty much everything including starting recently all of my letters and bills scanned in as PDFs.

It’s all tagable and because the Evernote servers run OCR through the PDFs the entire library is searchable. I’ve got Evernote installed on 2 laptops, 1 desktop and 2 mobile devices so that wherever I am I’ve got it all with me.

4. OmniFocus (£13.99)
Another work app and another one that syncs across multiple devices so I probably use this one as much on my laptop as I do on my iPad (or phone). OmniFocus is task management and project organisation. To be honest it can do way more than I use it for and my workflow would probably benefit from learning how to use it better but for the moment it’s great at keeping everything me and my team need to do all together to allow me to sort and reorganise them easily.

5. TV Anywhere (Free)
OK, so the Virginmedia iPad app doesn’t allow you to watch TV on the go but it does allow you to fully manage your TiVo box from anywhere, including adding new recordings and series links, as well as deleting existing recordings and seeing what the box is going to record in the future.

If you’re at home and have your TiVo connected to the same network your iPad is on you can even use it as a remote. To be honest, using the iPad app for the TiVo is better than using the remote and on-screen guide!

6. Honourable mentions
iThoughtsHD (£6.99) – a cracking Mindmapping app that can export to almost anything
Outliner (£2.99) – an outliner app that can take in the output from iThoughts HD to allow you to do some reorganisation before exporting the whole thing as text ready to deliver as a project/email/presentation??
Textastic (£5.99) – brilliant editor, multiple language syntax highlighting and what a brilliant addition the the keyboard…Apple, tale note!
Netflix (free, subscription required) – you really need me to explain this one? OK, so the film content may not be great but the TV series they’ve got loaded up on here certainly is.
Letterpress (free, paid upgrade) – I’m rubbish at Scrabble and most other word games but I will gladly hand you your ass on this, I’m jodrell2000 on Game Center is you need a lesson 😉
Enscripted (69p) – a simple game where film quotes and titles are scrambled by transposing letters…all you have to do is unscramble them. You only get 1 film a day and damn is it addictive!
MyFitnessPal (free) – I’m currently on a diet, and I mean it this time, and this app is helping hugely! Simply a calorie and exercise logging app but one that’s very nicely put together.

Apparently I pay for a lot more Apps than I thought I did! I’m pretty sure that a lot of these Apps are available for free in some cut down form, I guess I found them to be good enough to pay for in the end 🙂

SOPA…wtf America, seriously?

December 16, 2011 · Posted in Rants . . . · Comment 

Damn fixed width columns…click to view the image so you can see it full size and read the txt, k? Source here btw…

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