Wednesday, 30 March 2016

Being older isn't all bad.

While there's a side of me that likes to compete, especially with the younger ones, it's really nice to be able to relax with people and just get on with the job at hand. It's also a sign that I have no interest in career progression any longer, and can just be myself, mostly.

Sunday, 27 March 2016

Who said mechanical things are logical?

The clutch on Ben's Guzzi wouldn't release: he'd had it partially apart (flywheel and driven plate out - it's a car type design rather than a typical wet multiplate like most bikes) to check everything, but it still didn't work. Enquiring on a forum, they asked if he'd had it completely apart to check it? So this afternoon we stripped it completely - nothing obvious wrong - reassembled it, and now it works fine.

Great advice, but I wish it was logical.

Friday, 25 March 2016

PB for 5K

Managed a personal best for 5K running tonight despite a twingy knee. Wonder if I'll manage a run on Sunday?

BTW for those who take pictures and process them, Google have released the Nik software collection (a set of plugins designed to work with other software like Lightroom) free of charge to download. If you don't have anything like them then they are very good value for the cost of entry. ;-)  I've installed the suite, and now wonder whether it was a waste of time, since I primarily use On1's Perfect Photo Suite to do many of the same things, although I expect to find the HDR plugin useful.

Thursday, 24 March 2016

Sylvia rides again

Sylvia being the name of the bike I collected on Tuesday night, Ben has sorted insurance and tax and taken her for a spin. Apparently the foot brake, linked between front and rear discs, works well, which is good because the front brake operated from the handlebars doesn't really work at all. She's not a thing of beauty at 35 years old, but still handsome in a slightly cobbled together kind of way.

Hopefully I'll get a ride in some time this weekend.

On a slightly different topic, my keyboard skills have really gone down the pan over the last few years, yet tonight I'm tapping away freely for the first time in ages, as though I've got something to write, and up until then without needing to make many corrections.  :p

Feeling a bit Ursa major

Apparently I growled when I entered the office today. Not ideal. :-(

Wednesday, 23 March 2016

Another of those mornings.....

Where you're in a hurry and leave slightly later than desirable, have to put fuel in the van that was hired the previous night before returning it, bash one's funny bone on the petrol pump, twice, return the van and get it checked in only to discover that you left your own car keys at home, so return home (now late for work) to collect them and the cafetieres that were forgotten in the hurry earlier, and the van will need to be used to drive to the physiotherapy appointment in the afternoon too, so will need more fuel before returning it.

And breathe.

Life will go on. The bike that was collected last night seems OK, and hopefully can be used as transport. Insurance and collection is being sorted for Chris's new car.

Self-inflicted tiredness. :p

Tuesday, 22 March 2016

This is a good time to pray for Europe

That there would be grace, mercy and forgiveness, rather than hate, anger and persecution.

Monday, 21 March 2016

The internet was predicted in 1946.

Well, more or less, anyway. Certainly human behaviour in the face of readily available information was.

A little extra vehicular activity

Sorry to disappoint anyone thinking that we had begun learning how to space-walk.

As of tomorrow night, despite some earlier protestations to the contrary, I shall be the owner of a motorcycle. Wether or not I will be the rider of said bike is another matter entirely, but I've just picked up a high-mileage used Guzzi V50 for Ben to use as an example to work from (hopefully not a donor of parts!) and possibly as transport to ride for work until his own is properly running. However it's also really tempting to acquire a lid, insurance, and give it a spin myself.

We've also probably found the replacement for Chris's beetle, and that may well arrive in a few days too, just in time for the easter weekend.

I'm looking forward to stopping the cash-haemorrhage that we're presently experiencing, even though new toys are fun.

Saturday, 19 March 2016

The hunt continues

Car salesmen - why do they use so many inappropriate superlatives to your responses to their questions? I've just spoken to 'Alex' who is probably a nice guy outside his job, but left me feeling like I wanted a quick barf.

Friday, 18 March 2016

If one were a child

Being made to sit in a cool, dark room with a continuous rattling noise might have been a  punishment, but since this is work I consider it pleasant. There are 5 minute gaps between the times I need to take readings, so can perform some of the stretches prescribed for me by the physio.

And write short blogposts.

My right knee (the main complainer) is definitely better to run, but still hurts at other times. A quick check after a couple of minutes stretching suggests things are less crunchy-clicky than sometimes, though I suspect tomorrow morning will tell a different story. Whatever, young Caitlin at Pea Green has done a remarkable job getting me to run faster. Plus over time with more running I've been aware of becoming less flexible and with decreased mobility in joints, and her (occasionally bruising) efforts to push things back in place seems to be beneficial to that too.

Had a good Skype conversation with our friends in Bos-herz last night about the trip for the run, and rather looking forwards to it now.

Note to self - DO NOT assume that posts from the phone look the same when live. :p

Wednesday, 16 March 2016

Public transport is a failure

I need to be in Oxford for a lunchtime meeting, then back in the afternoon. Apparently there are only 2 trains out of Lower Heyford this morning, at 9.09 and 9.49.

Guess the car is king.

Tuesday, 15 March 2016

Off for my second dose of physio today.

Last time I was warned that I might be stiff or sore next day, but she was quite gentle and all was fine. Wonder if that will be different today?

So last night I ran back from Heyford park to home, taking it easyish and into a headwind. It felt comfy (as much as running ever can) and managed a personal best of 25.04 for 5k. Hope that's a sign of good things to come.

Well who would have thought such a slender slip of a girl could put so much pressure on a single muscle. So this week I need to do another 5k without tape on the knees, followed by about 13-16k to check whether the quads are better now.

Mobile computing devices AKA

As phones generate curious behaviour.

For example, the standard 'keyboard' generally works well, yet there are dozens of alternatives that look a little different for which one must pay, in cash and in giving access to personal data. Why would anyone give access to their contacts and personal data, just to use something that does the same thing s with a slightly different look?

That was the first example that sprang to mind, but there's plenty of others.

I really don't get the lemming-like rush for more and more apps that do what is already being done with no more than cosmetics as a USP. Blackberry and Windows phones are shunned because they lack a large app store - weird - even though many of the key apps are available for those devices.

Please explain this to me, if you can.

Monday, 14 March 2016

That's sick - put a donk on it.

Apart from wondering whether this phrase will get more hits, it was something that I heard on BBC radio 4 Saturday morning that partly piqued my interest, partly amused me.

The phrase came from a club music form popular around the northern English industrial cities (Mnchester, Leeds, Bradford etc) called donkhouse, with the synth 'donk' sound - played on the back beat (wooden mallet from a Yamaha keyboard) - used to create some "bangin' tunes" (Hello Kevin and Perry). The theory that the radio program presented was that the donk sounded like weaving and other industrial machines at work, and therefore had cultural relevance.

Probably not to be taken too seriously.

Where should I start, after a week away?

In the last week or so I've watched 3 full-length films (on DVD), had physiotherapy for my knee problems, decided it's time to replace Chris's beetle, played guitar in another church celebration, test driven 2 cars with a sniffly wife and possibly found another useful piece in the puzzle for a company for who I'm doing development work. Oh, I also finished reading Eusebius (finally - now I can concentrate a bit more on What's Wrong With Outreach) and have started reaing a criticism/analysis of Origen's refutation of Celsus' The True Word (more interesting than it sounds).

Time flashes past.

I'm tempted to try to review the films (Edge Of Tomorrow was well made with a good story and pleasing characters, The Lady In The Van was a film much better in retrospect that at the time of viewing, Oblivion suffered the 'Hollywood effect' that replaced humanity with CGI) but I won't right now.

As for the cars, we test drove a used new VW Beetle 1.4TSi (great looks, great engine, good ride and handling, high price) and Mini convertible Cooper D (good looks, good engine, good ride and great handling, lower price). The beetle is a more practical car than most convertibles seem to be, with a large boot, folding seats and OK legroom in the rear (I managed an hour in the back without discomfort). The mini is a little less spacious in the back (good headroom still, 2"-3" less legroom) and all-round smaller & more nimble-feeling in other respects. Doing the 'looking back' test, Chris seemed to prefer the Mini, so that's probably where we'll go for her next car.

I'm still digesting Eusebius, with the final chapter not being like the previous text. It has been a very useful read however, and has really helped me understand why the ancient church was so intensely political and inclined to acquire power (protection from brutal persecution initially, though that became self-fulfilling very quickly). Before I began reading, my original impression had been that the church had gone off the rails once it became a state-sponsored, then state-controlling organisation. From this text, it appears the church had quickly become corrupted and fragmented in a way that looks modern long before that, with major heresies and schisms devloping even before the end of the first century. It's also been useful to see that the 'bible as the word of God' that we now have would not have been recognised at all by second and third century Christians, which I had been aware of, but not considered in this way before.

Monday, 7 March 2016

So we're asking the question

Should we get involved with a church plant?

The answer isn't clear yet, but we met together with them for the first time yesterday. There's a side that say "yes, this is the next phase, throw yourself in there, even if it's only for a time" and there's a side that says "Ummm. Not sure this is quite what I expected."

So we're exploring. Of course life is enormously more complicated than that, with all kinds of feelings that muddy the waters and make cooly rational decisions difficult, not least our friendships and the manner in which there appears to be a significant exodus of people from our present church family (all for good reasons, not falling out).

OTOH that might be part of establishing a new pattern of church (yes, seriously) involving multiple communities dispersed across an area instead on one central mass community, but that's another story. When our Austraian friend, Phil Walters came across a couple of years back he was talking about new models of church that were much less congregation-oriented, it it felt like God said "listen to him: you need to hear this".

Of course this tears to bits the traditional church model with significant numbers of paid staff, big building and trying to scrape all the possible attendees together into one place on a Sunday. I had a brief look at the idea of liquid church a few years back and decided that it was just chaos and a route to disorganisation and everyone eventually forgetting what it meant to live as Christian community. This *should* be different, with an emphasis on community as part of something larger too.

Saturday, 5 March 2016

Oh the irony

To run out of heating oil on the first day of snow this 'winter' (yes, I know it's spring now).

Thank goodness for wood buring stoves. :-)

Apparently we have oil out for delvery today, so if it comes this morning then I'll bleed the pipeline when I get home and we'll have heating again tonight. I just want the tank to have enough time to settle first, so we don't end up drawing water and particulates into the burner, even though there's a couple of inline filters.

Wednesday, 2 March 2016

Mis-remembered song lyrics

There's a song we sang on Sunday, where the first line of the chorus is "I'm falling on my knees". My head automatically remembers the next 2 lines as:

I'm begging darling please,
Is it me you're looking for?

Not helpful, and it's been an 'ear-worm' all week. :-p