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Monday 30 June, 2008
#[linkfarm] Dr Horrible's Sing-Along Blog
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#[linkfarm] Post-punk pioneers Devo say they are suing McDonald - "They didn't ask us anything. Plus, we don't like McDonald's, and we don't like American Idol, so we're doubly offended."
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Friday 27 June, 2008
#[linkfarm]Nerd Score
I am nerdier than 96% of all people. Are you a nerd? Click here to find out!

   * John H [e] said Pish. I'm only an 80 but I would have guessed a lot lower. Just goes to prove that some things never change. [added 7th Jul 2008]

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Thursday 26 June, 2008
#[linkfarm] Guerilla Gardening
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#[linkfarm] The end of the road - Sales of SUVs are falling off a cliff, with the greatest monster of all, the Hummer, under threat of extinction. Have oil prices finally cured the world of its gas-guzzler habit? ... The reason, of course - as manufacturers and analysts all agree - is rising fuel prices as opposed to, say, some kind of environmental crisis of conscience among buyers. Critics of the SUV tend to assume that those who drive them would be constitutionally incapable of such selflessness, which would be an annoyingly smug point of view if it weren't for the fact that market research conducted for the automakers themselves backs it up. The average SUV owner, according to studies cited in Bradsher's book, is "apt to be self-centred and self-absorbed, with little interest in their neighbours or communities." In addition, they are "insecure and vain. They are frequently nervous about their marriages and uncomfortable about parenthood. They often lack confidence in their driving skills ... they tend to like fine restaurants a lot more than off-road driving, seldom go to church, and have limited interest in doing volunteer work to help others."

   * smellygit said I felt reassured about my preconceptions until I read 'seldom go to church' [added 26th Jun 2008]

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Wednesday 25 June, 2008
#I always told myself I could handle it ...

Found out what Audax is today. Can feel their event calendar calling already.

In other news, joined the CTC last week. May slip out and get a track pump on Friday. If I don't get stuck on site Tuesday, hope to look at a new bike that afternoon.

smellygit said You need a beard to do an Audax, and probably a bobble hat too. [added 26th Jun 2008]
I'll make a note not to shave for a few days beforehand then. [added 26th Jun 2008]

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#[linkfarm] Sing A Long - Do your testicles feel okay?
(Maybe NSFW if you have a particularly uptight place of work.)

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#[linkfarm] George Carlin on soft language - Thanks to our fear of death in this country, I won't have to die
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Tuesday 24 June, 2008
#[elsewhere] the closures look to be based on geography
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#[linkfarm] Bootstrapper Manifest Generator
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#[linkfarm] Jez's Tuesday Circular - Moseley to Moseley in 11.4 miles and about 44 minutes
Looking at it marked up on the map makes me wonder if I should turn left on to the Pershore Road, then right onto Watford? Would make it easier to turn right onto Bristol Road too, because you'd be at the lights. Or perhaps back along Raddlebarn, and down Tiverton Road to the lights there. Will have to experiment.

   * Ken [e] [w] said Next time out, try nipping over this way for a half-time 'nana - I might even be able to tag along and show you some low-level hill action near Elmdon Park ;) [added 24th Jun 2008]

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Monday 23 June, 2008
#[linkfarm] So, what can you photograph? - It may surprise readers to learn that with a few very specific exceptions, there is no law in the UK against taking photographs. That said, there are a range of quite specific exceptions to this rule.

   * Ken [e] [w] said Today, I printed a creditcard-sized reminder card of "the right to photograph with impunity" to produce when accosted by overzealous community support officers.

A big version is available here

http://www.sirimo.co.uk/ukpr.php [added 23rd Jun 2008]

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Sunday 22 June, 2008

Just back from the Pro-Wrestling NOAH show in (my once home but now largely transformed) Coventry. The crowd and I started out as cool and educated, clapping politely at well executed exchanges. By the end of the evening after a couple of beers, with two of the biggest names in Japanese wrestling exchanging chops and forearms, we all went mental and comprehensively marked out. Ace.

Russ L said Fightinguh spirituh

Who was there, then? And what was the big-head-drop count? [added 22nd Jun 2008]

There were many drops on the head. Many. A goodly number of stiff clotheslines too and, as you might expect, some fierce chops.

Main event was Naomichi Marufuji and Mitsuharu Misawa against Go Shiozaki and Kenta Kobashi. Kobashi hit the half-nelson suplex on both Marufuji and Misawa, and by God it looked like it hurt. Misawa's a big chap and not exactly light on his feet, and he hit the mat like a sack of spuds. He took a hell of lot of chops too. His whole chest was red by the finish.

Also on the card were KENTA, Bryan Danielson, Jay Briscoe, Takeshi Morishima, and Doug Williams tagging with Nigel McGuiness. Big home crowd pop for them.

Things I learned from this evening: Aerials are off the top rope higher than they look on the telly. Taking a lariat off the ropes must hurt like hell. Even small wrestlers are big and big wrestlers are giants who walk the Earth.

[added 23rd Jun 2008]

Here's a slightly breathless review, although I don't disagree with any of it. Bison Smith over the top rope was breathtaking, and KENTA GTS on Edwards just made your eyes water.

While I'm here and remember, the venue was really pretty good. Nice size, comfortable seats (good when you're there for four hours), not overly excessive beer prices, and pleasingly informal staff. Not at all unpleasant. I even began considering going along for some ice hockey.

[added 23rd Jun 2008]
Russ L said Yeah, I love The Skydome. Great for seeing fighting. I was due to be their Friday just gone, but the boxing was moved to Wolves Civic at the last minute.

I saw Misawa there (and Doug Williams, now I mention it) myself many a-year ago.

(p.s. LAAAAARRRIIIIIOOTTTOOOOO and so forth). [added 23rd Jun 2008]

Gevs said re:Ice Hockey. Do it, it rocks! I've been to see Coventry Blaze a few times, a great night out (especially if you nip over to the Thai restuarant next to the Hen and Chicks afterwards!) [added 23rd Jun 2008]

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Friday 20 June, 2008
#[linkfarm] Nasa's Phoenix lander has unearthed "perfect" evidence of ice on Mars. - Chunks of a bright material found in a trench dug by the craft have disappeared over four Martian days, suggesting they have vapourised.
Mildly dumbed down reporting (the word they're after is sublimated) of a jolly exciting and significant result.

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#[linkfarm] What is it like to write a technical book?
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#[linkfarm] Papercraft TMNT
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Wednesday 18 June, 2008
#[linkfarm] Zombie in my Pocket - In Zombie in my Pocket, you're searching for the secret of the evil temple where you can find the item to destroy the zombies rising from the dead. You can pick up items to bash zombies along the way; a machete, golf club, chain saw, or even your former uncle's grisly femur. Find the zombie totem, then bury it in the backyard graveyard before midnight and you've saved the world. Otherwise, you're zombie food.
Print and play solo game. Fast, fun, portable.

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Tuesday 17 June, 2008
#[linkfarm] Get a bike helmet to get ahead - or maybe not - For 16.99 I was able to coddle my cranium with the latest superlite carbon fibre bonce-protector, raked like the skull of the creature in Alien. As I cycled around, I felt a surge of bonneted righteousness. I was socialised; I was showing a proper sense of community, and that is why I turned around on my doorstep, and within another three seconds I would have gone back to get my helmet, and I would have fastened the chinstrap of social obedience except that for some reason I didn't. After weeks of helmeted conformity, I had a spasm of rebellion - and it is hard to say exactly why.
Boris Johnson explains why he sometimes wears a cycling helmet, and sometimes he doesn't. Presumably he's more likely to put it on when those terrorist snipers are about.

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#Daniel's Voluntary Floor Routine

Daniel's voluntary floor routine from a team competition he took part in at the weekend.

Voluntary routine means you can perform whatever moves you like. There are restrictions, you have to perform a certain number of moves, include certain types of moves, and so on, but precisely what you do and the order you do them in are up to you.

In this competition, the West Midlands Team Championship, a team consists of up to six gymnasts. The gymnasts do a voluntary floor routine and also compete on the vault. You do two vaults, with the best one scoring. Each score is out of 10, and there's some crazy scheme for how scores are decided but don't ask me what it is. You think the offside rule is tricky? That's just peanuts compared to gymnastics. Your floor and vault score are added to give your final individual score. The team score is the sum of the four best floor scores and four best vault scores in your team.

Daniel is a member of Revolution Gymnastics Club and was part of the Under 11 Boys team. They won the bronze medal. Yay! They were all terrific. I'd watched them train the night before, and wasn't convinced they would do especially well, particularly as they were in Under 11s when they were all (bar one) under 9s. At the competition, all six boys performed better than I had ever seen them do before. It was super.

(If I can play the doting Dad for a mo, Daniel had the second highest score on floor with 8.8, and the fourth highest overall score.)

Unfortunately, I missed recording Daniel's opening arabesque which is a pity because it was a cracker. The voice you can hear my Dad amateur coaching mutterings. It was recorded from the balcony at the rather splendid Walsall Sports Centre at the University of Wolverhampton Walsall Campus on Sunday the 15th.

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#[linkfarm] Cycling Mayor Boris 'at risk of terror attack' - MAYOR of London Boris Johnson is at serious risk of a terrorist attack because he refuses to stop cycling to work, experts have warned.
Ken Livingston took the tube to work. So no danger of a terrorist attack there then.
Note to the lazy terrorist: Article on notional security threats to the Mayor of London helpfully includes his address.

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Rode out on the Birmingham City Cycles run again on Saturday morning. It was a beautiful morning for a ride, although there were not so many as when I first went out with them. Perhaps because the group was smaller and despite the wind the pace was definitely higher, around 20mph according to my little computer thingy.

I was doing alright for most of it. I didn't check time or distance travelled, and I kept the pedals turning. Turning, that is, until we reached the spot where I began to flag before. Four of us had to stop at a roundabout and so got separated from the main group. I made an effort to close the gap, but I just couldn't seem to do it. I kept on working, but they didn't get closer. I looked back to find I'd ridden away the other three and was all on my own. So I thought stuff it, I'll slacken off and ride back with these guys. The group ahead disappeared, and I waited for to be caught. I stopped. Nobody arrived. I waited. Nobody arrived.

By now, it was clear I'd not only fallen off the back of the group, I'd fallen off the route as well. I knew I was near Sutton Coldfield, so I just followed the signs back to Birmingham. Checking the map later, I'd managed to make the wrong choice at every junction that would have put me back on course, meaning I enjoyed a healthy detour through Sutton, Kingstanding, Perry Barr, and Aston. Did have the pleasure, though, of being flashed at by one of those "Slow Down, Your Speed is" signs doing 30mph past Sutton Coldfield Cottage Hospital, and apparently hit 38.5mph at some point. If I'd known, I'd have probably been a bit scared. Caught the rest of the group in the end though, drinking coffee at a cafe in the Bullring.

Note to self: Take a banana next time so you don't get hungry.

smellygit said I'm surprised they let you come along if you didn't have a banana. I recommend Clif bars if you need something more. [added 17th Jun 2008]
They take a rather sink-or-swim approach I think (or should that be ride-or-be-left-behind), so there is no banana barrier. [added 17th Jun 2008]
smellygit said Ahh, not like my group, we 'never leave anyone behind', at least we don't mean too... [added 17th Jun 2008]
Well, I've only been twice so far so maybe they'll wait for me when they know me a bit better :) [added 17th Jun 2008]
smellygit said They might ride even faster once they know you a bit better :p [added 18th Jun 2008]

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Collected two new Pendolinos on my trip to London yesterday, to bring me up to twenty of the fifty two in service.

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Wednesday 11 June, 2008
#[linkfarm] Ubuntu Eee - Ubuntu Eee is Ubuntu optimized for the small Asus Eee.
Must try this.

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Friday 06 June, 2008
#[linkfarm] Birmingham City Cycles Saturday North Run
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Thursday 05 June, 2008
#[linkfarm] Last week's ride
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#[linkfarm] Ride out this morning
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Wednesday 04 June, 2008

Last Sunday pedalled over to UK Games Expo with the Bean. When I'd booked the tickets I had, on a whim, entered myself in a competition game. The game was Carcassonne, and the winner got to go to the world championship competition held in Germany in October. It was only two quid, I'm not new to the game, so why not? I must be in with a shout.

Except I was really rubbish. In the first round I came last with 45 points in pretty low scoring game. In the second round I did worse, coming last again with 44 points when the winner scored 91. In the final round, I let the Bean play instead of me. He came second, scoring 52 points.

Later on we had a demo game of Heroclix, which is a little skirmish war game. His team of The Joker, Two Face, and Killer Croc flattened my Batman, Robin, and Alfred without me laying a glove on him. We played a game of Camper Tour. He won that too.

The little git.

The Games Expo is now in its second year, and seemed bigger and better laid out than last year. It was held again at the Clarendon Suites, aka The Warwickshire Masonic Temple, which means the walls are decorated with paintings of whiskery old fellows wearing fancy aprons. I looked around for a game of Illuminati, but didn't find one. Maybe I should take one next year. Fnord. The biggest single improvement was the expo programme which was better both by dint of being A4 rather than A5 and printed so that it was actually legible rather than simply a collection of strange pointillist abstracts. I bought four new games, and another arrived in the post later. I would certainly have spent more money if a) I'd more money and b) I'd brought a bigger bag to carry everything home in. Well done, chaps. See you next year.

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#[linkfarm] Gum-size camera recorder with Built-in memory.
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Monday 02 June, 2008
#[linkfarm] Sky-high hockey plan to ease parking - The idea is to create a multi-storey car park on Institute Road ... Neighbouring Bishop Challoner School [has] aspirations to add to that by creating a hockey pitch on the roof of a new car park.
I can see the kids lining up to try and lift the hockey balls over the fence and down on the street. And why not? We're often told children today lack goals and opportunities :)

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#[linkfarm] Guerrilla gardener movement takes root in L.A. area
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#[linkfarm] A behind-the-scenes look at the development of Apple's Lisa
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