Sunday, July 26, 2009

In Transit

Heathrow Terminal 3: never before have I experienced such a bizarre juxtaposition of cattle-market seating and high-bling shopping in the same space. On the one hand, we have seating so close together than you can't get your calf through the gap between the corners of sets of seats at right angles to each other...

...and on the other, we have baubles and trinkets from your favourite pushers of shiny things all the way up to the Cartier level.

The flight over to Toronto was delayed by a couple of hours, so it turned into a very long day, not helped by the fact that half the population of the Western Hemisphere seemed to want to get into Canada with only about a dozen folks checking passports. Still, these things are send to try us, you can't make an omelette etc...

Talking of omelettes, the one I just shared with Alex for breakfast was lovely...

Great apartment we have for our first week here, views out over the University of Toronto and Downtown areas, and from the other window we can see the CN tower.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Two-ish miles per hour...


Age: 22
Wheel size: 23 inches
Number of gears: 15
Speed: 2-and-a-bit miles per hour

Lesson: you can't always tell what's going on on a ride from the raw statistics.

Set off to ride the four whole miles to Ashton Court with 7-year-old Alex on his 6-speeder. More enthusiasm than speed or fitness, but then perhaps I overestimated what such a youngster is capable of. And let us not forget that a typical young-un-bike is relatively speaking a gas-pipe special in comparison with our grown-up steeds.

I usually ride in a 78rpm stylee. There may be lots of breaks for chatter between the records (especially these days) but I tend to go for it when I'm actually pedalling. But once I'd clicked into the 33 1/3 pace of things I had a ball. Despite my recent decision that I would never go there again due to being too out of shape, this ride had 'singlespeed' written all over it. Stopping every hundred yards or so to look at something or have a drink, I was left wondering if I have simply never grown out of my childhood mind's propensity to get distracted easily. Wonderful how time with the little ones teaches you about yourself.

Prosecution Exhibit A: high-altitude doughnut stop.

Doughnut stops and climbing an Avon Gorge beacon tower, under the suspension bridge and over to Lockside for a pooh stop. Accidentally take the long way round to cross over to the far side of the river and back down the gorge before crossing the disused single track railway to meet the main road up to the Court.

Busy, narrow, little in the way of pavement. A somewhat cheeky solution presented itself, even if only 20m at a time was rideable due to steps: much more fun to be had coming down, I'd wager. Alex manages more than I expected, but needs his bike carrying at times. Get to the top, onto pavement. Alex promptly manages to fall off. Bad choice of gear perhaps. We decide to push.

Check in with H at the top of the hill, then over to the Timberland. Decide to ride it the 'right' way round despite this being pas-de-rigeur. Alex must be pooped by now, but does a sterling ride at his own pace. I pick my way slowly through the lines, some easy, some hard, get some variety in, wanting a return trip as soon as possible so I can do my own thing.

Damp and grey now, time for some flapjack before taking a shortcut to head for the warmth of the car and hot beverages. Get there just as the cafe is closing, but H has already got the round in. The young'un admits to having had a great time despite being exhausted. Mind you, he's still going strong after a shower now his Polish cousin has got the games going on the laptop.

I'm off for a bath, out for a curry tonight. Three hours and then some to do all of about seven miles, yet still I have a huge grin inside and out. Things may be different with a little one in tow, but for sure that's no bad thing.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Does the Twitterverse need a new tag symbol?

If one thing has become obvious since the Iranian elections, it's the importance of social networking sites in getting information out of places where restrictions on other forms of communication are put in place. Anyone following #iranelection on Twitter certainly won't need me to tell them that.

Or should I say trying to follow?

The problem at the moment with #iranelection is that the signal-to-noise ratio is abysmal. Anyone in Iran trying to get new information out on Twitter by using this hashtag is just going to get swamped in the noise - unless they already have people following their posts.

This post by @swombat summed it up nicely:

"Interesting to
think that maybe what Twitter needs is some kind of way for users to
indicate their approval *without* polluting the hashtag."

To which I replied:

@swombat We need another symbol: if @ is for ppl and # for tags, how about % for support? #iranelection"

...further polluting the hastag... but how else to get the message out there? My thought was that the % tag looks like a pair of eyes, so is a tag for "this is what I've seen, check it out".

@swombat came back to me:

@DoctorRad The question would be, then, how to make it catch on..."

To which the only answer I can think of is to publicise the idea and see if it catches on.

So, if you're actually posting something new which is directly related to the subject rather than further commentary, use the hashtag, e.g. #iranelection, but if you're re-tweeting or want to show your support, use the eye-tag, e.g. %iranelection.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Everything's Gone Green

Mikey boy rang me to talk turnips. About a dozen of fair size from lotty now in fridge along with two bags full of tops - turnip greens for our US readers - ready to make sag.

An Emotional Time

Medication taken? Check. Eaten recently? Check.

Wondering what's wrong.

Or maybe it's what's right.

It's been a long time coming.

Rode for the first time in years with other people on Sunday. Crappy hire bike with three-year-old on tag-along. But had fun and lots of it.

Wanting to ride more for the first time in years.

Antique FSR out of mothballs. Maintenance needed, spares run to Decathlon this evening.

Very emotional, lots under the surface wanting to come out. Found lots of people I used to know are still around, should be out with some of them on Saturday.

Nine years since I lost my mojo, I think it's coming back.

Oh my God, it's coming back...