After a break of a few years, I have been starting cycling more and more recently. And I have realised how fantastic riding my bike actually is. Cycling is just wonderful. I am trying to cycle into work- about 16 kilometres each way- as regularly as I can, and have made it our at the weekend a couple of time. I have discovered some lovely countryside around here.
I still have a while to go before I get back to the stage I was a few years ago when I was doing a couple of 80 kilometre rides each week and even longer in the summer… To be fair, though, that was a part of my life when I had a few fewer commitments than I have now… But I am already planning how my bike can play a bigger part in my life in the future!
Cycling holidays around Europe, Asia and beyond beckon in the future…
More about cycling to follow!!
| 2005-06-28 21:54
I woke up in the middle of crap dream*
, still tired.
I arrived at the office to find I didn’t have my keys.
Inbox full of e-mails after 2 days out of the office.
All sorts of IT problems at work
Unpleasantly hot journey home on the bus
I was at an airport, waiting for a flight to Taiwan or Thailand (can’t remember which, I was asleep. Though I do remember that the plane I was going to get on was a Boeing 777). I was in a bad mood and had an even lower than usual tolerance level for people. I was being fairly obnoxious, I think (but only because people annoy me). Anyway, as I was standing at the top of a flight of stairs, someone attacked me (don’t know why… why would anyone dislike me enough to attack me?) and jumped on me from behind. So I thought that it would be a good idea to fall backwards down the stairs so as to land on my assailant.
I woke up just as I started falling.
What does this dream mean? I reckon it means I am someone who dislikes people and spends too much time on planes.
Tomorrow, 12th June, is the Edinburgh Marathon. I ran the Marathon last year and though you don’t exactly enjoy 42.2 kilometres, it was such a good experience and gave me such a send of achievement that I decided to run this year’s Marathon, too and applied for a place. I have been training with my mind on 12th June since the start of the year. But things didn’t go as well with training as I had hoped, and certainly not as well as last year. But I was still pretty sure that were I have all of May to train I would be ready.
But May became a complete washout. I was so knackered and under the weather after getting back from my trip to Japan and China that I managed to do no training at all. It was going to be pretty much impossible for me to run 42.2 kilometres. Come the end of May I pretty much had to give up on the Marathon.
As much as I thought that was a pity, I comforted myself with the thought that I was pretty much forced into this situation by the combination of illness and constant trips I had been making since the start of the year.
That was a comfort until I saw this article about a 94-year old running the marathon
tomorrow. He is not running the full race, but is on the final leg of the marathon relay, one of a member of 5 people whose combined age is 397. So we have a bunch of old men running in the race, but I am not. Makes me feel really inferior!
| 2005-06-11 21:56
It has been a while since I wrote. Too long. Unforgivably long. But, I am finally back again. Ready once more to write about how interesting my life is and force my opinions on anyone who comes to read this blog. You must have missed me so much.
So what have I been up to for the last few months? The following is a combined overview of what I have been up to and series of pathetic excuses for why I have not updated my blog for a while.
Apart from one random entry in late April, I haven’t really written anything since late March. At that time I was in the middle of a trip to Malaysia and Taiwan. I spent the first two weeks of April working, getting ready for the next trip I was going on, but mostly trying to complete in two weeks a statistics assignment for my Masters which was supposed to take four weeks (as I was away, for the last 2 weeks in May, I had to complete it 2 weeks early). At the end of April I had a 10-day trip to Japan and China. Japan was great China was exhausting (4 cities in 3 days…) and the trip ended with me falling ill! Stomach problems, a heavy cold and generally feeling crappy and under the weather for the 3 weeks after I got back. So that was May pretty much written off. And now here I am in June, feeling well enough to get down to writing my blog.
So, there you go. That was what I have been doing for the last months
Now I have got the dull but explaining the lack of blog writing activity, I can actually write something interesting in my next entry!!
| 2005-06-11 20:49
First Blog in absolutely ages…
What I have been doing since last time:
2-week trip to Malaysia and Taiwan
2 weeks of fun at home doing a 4-week statistics project for my Masters
I am now getting towards the end of an 11-day trip to Japan (Tokyo and Osaka) and China (Beijing and Shanghai so far and Shenzhen and Guangzhou tomorrow). Back home on Thursday.
Knackered knackered knackered knackered knackered.
| 2005-04-26 22:07
A few years ago, I read Captive State
by George Monbiot. It was an interesting- and disturbing- analysis how big corporations in the UK influence every aspect of the governance of the country.
Over the last few days I have been reading a fair few articles on his website
. Read them and you will be incensed at some of the shit that seems to be going on.
The other day I went up to the 88th (or was it 89th) floor of Taipei 101, which is the tallest building in the world. Info
It is blooming huge! What a building! The views from up there were pretty spectacular, but what impressed me as much as anything was the lift-ride up, which took less than 40 seconds. The lifts are the fastest in the world. All in all, pretty amazing stuff. Definitely worth a visit if you are in Taipei. Despite all the precautions that have been taken to make sure that the building is earthquake-proof, I have to admit that I wouldn’t like to be up it if there were a strong quake! It is also just over the road from the hotel I am staying in, so I wouldn’t fancy being here in a strong quake, either, just in case 101 isn’t quite as tough as they think…
I am on my 3rd hotel bedroom in 2 nights. Impressive stuff.
I arrived in Taipei on Monday night, and got a good night’s sleep in the hotel. But last night, as I turned the light off, I noticed that there was some classical music coming from somewhere. It was very quiet: I could hardly hear it normally, but when I lay down and tried to go to sleep (i.e. it was quiet) I could here music. And it was crappy Strauss. Not Richard Strauss, whose music I could quite happily listen to, but the peddlar of crappy waltzes and polkas, Johann Strauss.
I hate Johann Strauss- writer of a whole series of the most dull and repetitive crap that you could ever hear. There is an orchestra that bears his name and specialises in his music. Presumably playing in this orchestra is the musical equivalent of hell, or some sort of purgatory where musicians have to serve time until their musical crimes have been absolved. As they are playing the Radetzky March at the Vienna New Year Concert, the musicians must be weeping inside 'What have I done to deserve this...'
I dislike the music so much that I was unable to block it out… It got into my head and was taunting me and driving me mad. At 12:45am I just couldn't take it. I got up, and got the assistant manager to come to the room and listen to the music. It turns out that it is the music that they play on the welcome screen when you turn on the TV in the bedrooms. So someone had had their TV on the welcome screen for 3 or 4 hours… sad beast. The assistant manager and her cronies searched for the room with the TV on, but were unable to work out where it was, so at about 1:30 am, they offered to move me to another room. It was 2:00 before I had packed and moved all my stuff, and by this time I was fully awake, so I couldn’t get back to sleep until 3:30… I spend the intervening time trying to banish memories of the Tritsch-Tratsch-Polka, The Blue Danube and all the other crap I had been forced to listen to for 2 hours by listening to some Chopin piano concertos. Bit of quality.
Anyway, I had to get up at 7:00, so I obviously have felt great all day. The day got off to a poor start when in my tired and not-quite-functioning-yet state, I managed to get the wrong bottle of solution when I put my lenses in, and instead of wetting the lenses with saline, I managed to put hydrogen peroxide in my eye. Stings like a *****
I flew to Tainan today. I spent the whole day with a small education company I have been in touch with. It been a long day…
Back up to Taipei tomorrow morning! It looks like I should get a good night’s sleep- I am tired and there is not boggy music to disturb me!!
| 2005-03-23 22:41
I am now in Kuala Lumpur. Here on yet another trip. Came here last year, and so far it has been pretty much as interesting a place as I remember. But for now I am going to write about the first things that pop into my head. An in depth of Kuala Lumpur will have to wait.
The woman next to me on the plane was a bit of an arse.
First question to the flight attendant when she got sat down:
‘Is business class full?’
‘Yes, madam, we are all full up’
‘There were 9 seats left on Saturday. My son’s nephew’s friend checked and he works for a travel agents’
Well, why didn’t you buy one then, you stupid woman. General piece of advice: If you want to travel Business Class, then buying a Business Class ticket is a good idea. Don’t expect to be upgraded just because you ask. Even if they have got seats free, why would they upgrade you?
Think about it: let’s imagine a conversation in a London airport:
‘Are there any seats on the flight to Sydney?’
‘Oh, I only have a ticket to Paris, but would you like to let me on the flight to Sydney’
It is not going to happen is it? Think about it.
If you are tall or fat (or tall and fat) and find economy seats a bit of a squeeze, don’t think you will get upgraded just because you are tall or eat too much. If you don’t want to be in economy class, buy a business class ticket.
5 minutes later the woman asks me:
‘Can you pass me the menu, please?’ (we were in an emergency exit row, so there were not seats in front of us, and so all the magazines were in a pocket on the wall, next to which I was sitting)
Menu?? Menu? What the hell are you on about? KLM produce a menu in economy class？Get real.
‘There isn’t a menu’
‘Oh, yes, there should be. They normally print a menu for you’
Who the hell is ‘they’. KLM certainly don’t. Listen to me, dear. THERE IS NO MENU. THIS IS ECONOMY CLASS. YOU WILL HAVE A CHOICE OF CHICKEN OR PASTA.
Next we have the question about individual TV screens. Pretty much as the conversation about menus. ‘They’ usually have them. Er, no they don’t.
Then the woman travelling with annoying woman next to me, got her meal, got a drink, got a bread roll when they were brought round, and then didn’t eat any of it. Why take it in the first place if you knew you wouldn’t eat it?
It was a great flight.
There are loads of F1 tourists here for the race on Sunday. One small question: Why??? I mean, spending the weekend outside in this weather can’t be fun. You would end up dehydrated, sun-burnt… and then you have to get to and from the circuit which is quite far from the city. Far better to watch it on TV, I think. I have had enough of being outside after about 2 minutes. It almost makes me laugh to think of all these people cooking themselves on a hill side whilst watching some cars zoom round a track. I went to see F1 once in Japan (well, I saw the qualifying session). It was a warm October day and that was quite enough for me, thank you. But not this weather, no. Watch it on TV, my friends.
There was an F1 geek in the hotel bar last night. Plucking facts out of the air to the guy sitting next to him:
‘Do you know how much g-force these guys feel in a corner? 4Gs. 4Gs. When you going through a chicane, that is like being hit on one side of the head with a suitcase and then immediately being hit on the other side of the head with a suitcase’
What? It is nothing like being hit with a suitcase.
‘Do you know the max Gs these guys face in a crash. 200Gs. 200Gs.’
Sorry, mate, don’t really even know what that means. And I don’t really think you do either.
‘Do you know how much fluid these guys lose in the race? The average is 2 litres of water. But in the Kuala Lumpur Grand Prix last year, Jacques Villeneuve lost 4 litres of fluid cos his drink tube blocked’
Oh shut up. Please. I don’t care. No, SHUT UP. NOW.