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Archive for the category “Thoughts”

Illness and Self-sufficiency

While I was ill last week, it occurred to me – I had a fair amount of time to contemplate things, after all – that really it’s one of the few times where I’m less good at being self-reliant.

Being unwell and alone is, frankly, No Fun at all. I think the only times in the last four-or-more years that I’ve wished I weren’t single, when I’ve thought “It would be nice to have someone” have been when I’ve been ill. Not even to be nursed, or anything pathetic like that, but just someone to be there and vaguely sympathetic.

Hell, I’m not even good at being ill, or being cared for when I am ill. It’s just a shitty time for being on one’s own.

And really, that’s no good reason for a relationship, or for stopping being single, is it?

Climbing The Gherkin (Not)

Today was the day I was supposed to be doing the NSPCC’s Gherkin Climb – walking up the 1,000+ steps of the Gherkin building.

For a number of reasons – not least that period of food poisoning over the week – I ended up not doing it.

I had reservations anyway, as I wrote about before, and had pretty much chickened out of doing it already, but the food poisoning sealed the deal.

The event was well attended though, I’m pleased to say – and some of the times achieved for climbing the Gherkin are pretty impressive – the quickest ascent being a gobsmacking 4minutes 31 seconds.  That really is going some.

Squelchy

It’s been another quiet week round here – mainly because of a truly vicious dose of self-inflicted food-poisoning. Admittedly, some of that is also because I’ve pretty much given up on daily updates/posts these days – but for purposes of this post, it’s the food-poisoning.

It’s my own fault – the chicken I’d cooked for the proper time etc. turned out to be slightly less done than it should’ve been, and I tempted the gods of shit and puke by thinking “Oh well, I’ve eaten some of it already, I’m sure I’ll be fine”. Oh how wrong I was.

Wednesday evening I was at a tech event, and felt rotten. I left early, went home, and was in bed by half-eight. It wasn’t a great night, with the combination of regular wake-ups due to sharp belly-ache, and ended up puking what felt like half my body weight at about 4am.

Thursday was pretty much a write-off, and found me hugely sleepy. And, safe to say, squelchy.

That situation hung around through Friday, although I was doing better until the evening when we had a real resurgence through into Saturday morning.

Since then, it’s been improving – I was out on Saturday anyway, and Immodiummed myself to the eyeballs, and got through that event, came home, and squelched again.

Thankfully, today has been better, with no incidents to report – we may actually be through it now. I certainly hope so – this week’s a busy one, and I can do without being incapacitated for any of it!

Non-Stereotypical

This time of year, the run-up to Father’s Day, is an odd one for me. (The same applies for Mother’s Day, but in different ways)

Basically, every time it comes around, I find myself looking for a card or a gift, and realising that my family don’t fall into any of the standard stereotypes that manufacturers and retails think they should.

It’s odd – although I don’t mind it in general – and it explains a lot about my mindset in general, but it’s just interesting to see how little any of my family fit into these themes and typical behaviours.

Another Culture Weekend

The weekend just gone turned out to be another of my more “Culture”-based ones, and was thoroughly enjoyable.

Saturday involved a drive down to Bray in Berkshire, for a meal at the Waterside Inn. Having been quite disappointed earlier in the year by the three-Michelin-starred Alain Ducasse restaurant at the Dorchester in London, I’d decided I should try another one for comparison purposes, and opted for the Waterside, as it’s had those three stars for thirty years now.

Safe to say, I’m very glad I did – I had a fab time (including getting to meet and have a quick chat with Michel Roux) and really enjoyed the entire meal. Sadly – although understandably – they don’t allow phones/cameras or photos in the dining room, so I couldn’t do my usual of taking a pic of each course, so you’ve been spared that ordeal, but it was definitely still brilliant.

Then on Sunday I went down to London, and saw Midsummer Night’s Dream at the Globe – and thoroughly enjoyed that, too. I’m still very much a newcomer to Shakespeare in general, so can’t comment on how it’s been done this time in comparison to other staging etc., all I can do is say that I found it great, and a brilliant production. The weather wasn’t the best, so I was glad to be in the galleries rather than the standing area – although the seats were still bloody uncomfortable due to other people spreading themselves wide, and I ended up standing instead for the second half.

I’d done some other food/burger-based bits either side of the main play, so ended up walking about 17km during the day, but that’s just me and my own idiocies and preferences.

All told though, a decent weekend – and quite quiet/easy by my standards, with less driving and so on. An all-round win, in my opinion. 🙂

Slack Data

In the car I hired last weekend, it had a load of built-in tech – Ford’s Sync system – that was quite interesting, not least for the fact that it worked really nicely and easily. Connecting my phone to the car was a doddle, the satnav worked well (and better than my usual stand-alone device in several ways) and it all just seemed pretty easy.

However. It’s obvious that it was designed for a standard “family car” scenario, rather than a vehicle that would be hired to many different users. Which makes sense, but leads to an interesting longer-term problem…

Basically, people are lazy – and don’t think about their data. So the convenience of connecting one’s phone to the car system for hands-free calls etc is great, as is the simple download of the phone’s address book to the system. But if you then don’t delete it when you take the car back to the hire place, it’s all available to the next user. The same applies to the satnav system – ‘recent destinations’ is a goldmine of activity, right down to house number and location. (And I suspect, with a bit of work, one could connect the destination to a phone number in that downloaded phonebook)

It just interests me, how little people care (or understand) about their information. I cleared down the whole car system before I returned it, which took less than five minutes all told. So it’s not much work, but it’s still work, which most people don’t seem willing to undertake.

I’ve suggested to the hire company that it should perhaps be part of the car sanitising process when it’s returned (or before it’s hired back out, whichever) although I realise that makes it more hassle for them, and there’s a lot of different setups in the various cars.

Of course, it’d be better if people cleaned up after themselves – or the car tech had a “forget everything” button/process (although that would still be too much effort for most people) that did the job. But that won’t happen until people realise how important this shit can be, and sadly that tends to only happen by negative paths/occurrences/events, and will always be learned too late.

Automagic – Thoughts

Over the weekend, I hired a car – I was doing a drive to Middlesbrough, Newcastle, and back – and chose to have an automatic (as written about here) The main reason was just to see how I got on with it, as autos aren’t something I usually drive.

It was actually pretty interesting. Enterprise gave me a Ford C-Max, which is a proper boat of a thing – but all went really well. It drives a whole lot better than it looks, and it’s the most spookily quiet thing I’ve driven. There’s dark magic at work, when you’re travelling at *cough* 75 in a diesel-engined car, and can’t hear a jot of engine noise. Well, it’s either that or I’m going completely deaf. (Hint : It’s not the latter)  Interestingly, that makes it quite hard (for me) to hold to a speed – it turns out that I drive far more by the noise of the engine than looking at the speedo/revs (which also explains why I speed up when I turn the radio volume up)  Thankfully, it also comes with cruise control, and a speed limiter.

The journey up was pretty easy – and very lazy, with not having to change gear at all – but didn’t give me a great ability to test my preferences between auto and manual.

However, the journey back really showed the benefits. There’d been an accident on the M1 up in Leicestershire (nothing major, a two-vehicle thing that spread across the two outside lanes) and the queues were insane – mainly because there were so many fuckknuckle cunts who belt along, ignoring the ‘lanes closed’ signs, and wait ’til the last possible minute before pulling in to the only open lane, thus jamming things up for everyone else.

As an aside, I strongly believe that the speed cameras should be activated on every gantry where the “lane closed” signs are operative, and should catch every single driver who ignores the warnings and stays in those lanes. Simple driving without due care and attention, £60 fine in the post. Not (necessarily) even points on the licence – the cunts would soon learn when it started being expensive.

Anyway, those tailbacks were, if not a joy, at least a lot easier. No need for endless gearchanges, clutch etc., just plod and stop, plod and stop. I’m still not a fan of the auto-stop/start technology on modern cars, but even that worked fine all the way through, so I confess that I’m less unconvinced than I was. (And yes, I know, double negative etc. etc.)

Once past that, it was an easy ride again. I was impressed by the satnav in the car, picking up a further closure on the M1 and automatically rerouting. I know it’s pretty standard (or should be) but it hasn’t happened in any of the other hire cars I’ve played in this year, so it was a nice touch.

I think if I were to end up doing a lot of city/motorway driving again for commuting etc., I’d seriously consider getting a car with an automatic gearbox now. It doesn’t completely match my driving style at present – I still had a couple of moments of acceleration (particularly when pulling away from a junction, and when coming out into traffic) where I wasn’t happy with how the auto ‘box handled things, as it either over-revved and/or bogged down, until I let up the accelerator and re-pressed it. But I acknowledge that’s my driving style, rather than the ‘box itself.  I’m pretty sure that I’d quickly change my style to be a more gradual acceleration if I were to have an auto vehicle as my everyday drive.

Will I consider hiring an auto again when the travel dictates it? Yes.

So all told, pretty successful all round.

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