Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Kent Cottage For Sale



Geering & Colyer list a 3 bedroom house for GBP 247,000.
Located on the Dungeness National Nature Reserve is this exceptional 6 detached fishermans cottage set in approx. half and acre. The property offers three bedrooms, two receptions, loft room, conservatory, kitchen and bathroom. There is a garage and off road parking. This is a property not to be missed!

Detached Fisherman Cottage
Three Bedrooms
Detached Garage & Off Road Parking
Set in approx. half an acre.

NB. "This is a property not to be missed!"

Shame about the NUCLEAR power station next door.



via The Sun

Marshmallow Self-Control

The Ultimate Productivity Blog

Brilliant, insightful, well worth reading. via mr

Time to sell?

As they say on Wall Street, a rally ends when the last bear gives up.

I've not given up!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

News from the BBC

The British are feeling the pinch in relation to recent terrorist threats in Islamabad and have raised their security level from "miffed" to "peeved." Soon, though, security levels may be raised yet again to "irritated" or even "a bit cross". Brits have not been "a bit cross" since the blitz in 1940 when tea supplies all but ran out. Terrorists have been re-categorized from "tiresome" to a "bloody nuisance". The last time the British issued a "bloody nuisance" warning level was during the great fire of 1666.

The French government announced yesterday that it has raised its terror alert level from "run" to "hide". The only two higher levels in France are "collaborate" and "surrender". The rise was precipitated by a recent fire that destroyed France's white flag factory, effectively paralysing the country's military capability.

It's not only the French who are on a heightened level of alert. Italy has increased the alert level from "shout loudly and excitedly" to "elaborate military posturing". Two more levels remain: "ineffective combat operations" and "change sides".

The Germans also increased their alert state from "disdainful arrogance" to "dress in uniform and sing marching songs." They also have two higher levels: "invade a neighbour" and "lose".

Belgians, on the other hand, are all on holiday as usual. The only threat they recognise is NATO pulling out of Brussels.

The Spanish are all excited to see their new submarines deployed. These beautifully designed subs have glass bottoms so the new Spanish Navy can get a really good look at the old Spanish Navy.

Americans meanwhile are carrying out pre-emptive strikes on all of their allies, just in case.

New Zealand has also raised its security levels - from "baaa" to "BAAAA!" due to continuing defence cutbacks, New Zealand only has one more level of escalation, which is "Christ, I hope Australia will come and rescue us". In the event of invasion, New Zealanders will be asked to gather together in a strategic defensive position called "Bondi".

Australia, meanwhile, has raised its security level from "no worries" to "she'll be right, mate". Three more escalation levels remain: "crikey!", "I think we'll need to cancel the barbie this weekend" and "the barbie is cancelled".

Reason enough

Monday, September 28, 2009

Surprise Us

In-flight movie

Of the movies watched recently whilst flying between Japan/HK and Japan/Thailand, the following three really stood out. Unequivocally recommended.

RT Consensus: A well-acted, intensely shot, action filled war epic, Kathryn Bigelow's The Hurt Locker is thus far the best of the recent dramatizations of the Iraq War.



RT Consensus: Boosted by Sam Rockwell's intense performance, Moon is a compelling work of science-fiction, and a promising debut from director Duncan Jones.



RT Consensus: With a clever script and hilarious interplay among the cast, The Hangover nails just the right tone of raunchy humor, and the non-stop laughs overshadow any flaw.

If I only had a brain...

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Crash Test Dummies



The two cars (Chevy Malibu versus vintage Chevy Bel Air), one a 1959 model and the other from 2009, illustrate exactly how far vehicle safety has come in 50 years.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Still in Thailand


And it doesn't suck here...

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Home



for the next 2 weeks at least..

Friday, September 11, 2009

Blog Lite

I'm off with the family for some R&R this afternoon. We're taking advantage of the 'Silver Week' holidays in Japan (21/22/23 are bank holidays) and so gone for 2 weeks until the 28th Sept. Blogging will be light to non-existent depending on the availability of wifi etc. in Chiang Mai, Thailand. Looking forward to spending time with Milly, trying yoga every day, losing a little weight and relaxing. Take care.

RB @Deus Ex Malcontent: Quote(s) of the Week (Joe Wilson Edition)

"He's become the new Sarah Palin of the Republican Party, where one's popularity is in inverse proportion to one's stupidity -- the stupider a Republican is these days the more popular he or she becomes."

-- Bruce Bartlett, former Reagan adviser and treasury official under George Bush Sr.

"Wilson's outburst is an almost perfect summation of 2009 -- President Obama appears big, Republicans appear small. Democrat show class, Republicans act like children. One side is serious, one side is shrill. The White House says something true, Republicans lash out with falsehoods. To be sure, Wilson is a buffoon, from whom very little is expected... a reflexive, right-wing clown masquerading as a congressman. He embarrassed himself, his party, and his institution last night."

-- Steve Benen of the Washington Monthly's "Political Animal"

"Whoever shouted out that the president was lying is a dumbass."

-- Joe Scarborough

via the ever excellent Deus Ex Malcontent

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Inspiring yet so uninspiring

"So today, I want to ask you, what’s your contribution going to be? What problems are you going to solve? What discoveries will you make? What will a president who comes here in twenty or fifty or one hundred years say about what all of you did for this country?"

Prepared Remarks of President Barack Obama Back to School Event - Whitehouse.gov
Read the speech, then explain to me how not letting you kid listen to the President of the United States was a good idea?

Meanwhile the Obama White House has been remiss with regard to Wall Street. These sentiments from Barry Ritholtz are bang on the money.

"Rahm Emmanuel likes to say, one should “never waste a crisis” — and the White House has done just that.

There was a narrow window to effect a full regulatory reform of Wall Street, the Banking Industry and other causes of the collapse. Instead, the White House tacked in a different direction, pursuing health care reform.

..dithering can be fatal to an administration.

..we have a White House that appears adrift, and the most importantly, may very well have missed the best chance to clean up Wall Street in five generations."

Tactical Error: Health Care vs Finance Regulatory Reform - BP

They're also right on the cusp of losing the way with Health Care reform. Such wasted opportunity. So sad.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Agora



Bet the wife will want to see this...

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Banksy.



Genius.

Lunch under the new regime

Time to lose some weight. When your swim coach pinches an inch and
says losing it would be worth several seconds over 100m, well, when
needs must. Should help the darn climbing too.

Monday, September 07, 2009

School Politics

"There are many in this country who don't trust Barack Obama simply because he's different from them. He's intelligent, analytical, articulate, worldly; he isn't a half-retarded Barco-lounging lummox who robotically chants bumper-sticker slogans to rally the faithful to his cause while giving everyone else the finger. What's more, he's a guy who -- despite the laughable elitist tag his critics have tried to pin on him -- has fought the odds and busted his ass since the very beginning to make something of himself. He's a black man who became president of the United States. In other words, he's the best person to talk to America's children -- someone they'll believe when he says, "You can become anything you want to in this country."

And it's not that he should be able to do this without having those who refuse to accept him turning it into a topic for debate on cable news. It isn't up for debate at all. The man's president. He gets to do it. Deal with it.

And if you're one of those people threatening to keep his or her kid home from school next Tuesday, ask yourself this: Who's really the one forcing a political agenda on their children?"

Deus Ex Malcontent : Schoolyard bullies

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Sunday Ride to Chichibu

Joined David and Jerome on their Chichibu ride after seeing the Positivo blog posting. Given my lack of mileage this summer, I wasn't sure what to expect from my legs. The last few longer rides have been quite tough for me. The Masters Swim program has been very good, I am seeing weekly improvements, it doesn't do much for power on the bike though. So I set out with some trepidation, not really sure how I would cope with the pace, the climbing and the mileage.

Dominic, David, Jerome & I left David's house at 6am. We made very good time by setting a fast pace and were in Ome in about an hour and 45 mins. With the Aurora bakery closed at that hour we headed to a 7-11 (Positivo semi-approved) for breakfast and to fill the water bottles.

We set off up Route 53 and made short work of the rollers on the way to the turn off found by Tom recently. Stephen joined us and we were soon on our first climb of the day to 650m, and then onto the ridge. Which wasn't flat. Tough work, but we were soon descending proper and then beginning our second proper climb of the day. Much to our delight, well, trepidation really, we found the last 300m of the climb to the hill top monastery to be over 22% gradient and even with a triple crank I had to jump off and walk for a few minutes.

We soaked up the scenery at the top, snacked a little then began our descent. Given the gradient, brakes were in use continuously, and it was probably the heat from this that caused Dominic's rear tire to explode. He did a fine job controlling his bike, especially given the rather nasty drop off into the forest at the side of the road. Unfortunately, in stopping the bike he managed to put a hole in both the sidewall and the main part of his tire. We rallied round with suggestions and despite that he soon had it patched up. Unfortunately it was to blow within moments of setting off again. We had to descend very slowly with him - moral support and all that - to the main road, and then to the nearest station.

With Dominic packed off on the train with a stiff upper lip, Stephen decided it was time to head home. I felt the call of a return at this point very strongly, but given our location I thought it was a shame not to soldier on.

David and Jerome led us up another climb, this time with a more manageable gradient. This was in fact a great climb, although as I suspected my power isn't what it was, but I was able to make a good steady tempo up to the top.

Watanabe-sans Soba restaurant! Positivo approved of course. Although after a short discussion, the Watanabe's have been renamed Sato-san and Saito-san. For future reference. Perhaps one day we might find out their actual names, but where would the fun in that be.

So. How was the soba? Erm, the yakiniku was just great thanks. Genghis Khan special for three hungry cyclists.

Lunch eaten it was time to head home. 650m above sea level and all downhill home. Bloody great riding. The 'rollers' into Ome were quite energy sapping this time round, but we blew through and were soon Tamagawa bound.

Jerome and David made short shrift of the headwind and I hung on to their wheels as best I could whilst we sped along.

Stopped at the Tamagawa 7-11 for sugary drinks and a few other items to see off the 30km home. I was struggling big time at this point and I wasn't looking forward to the last section home. Jerome headed home solo whilst David volunteered to lead and boy, did I need it. Tucked in behind, I stuck to his wheel at 30km/h+ as he soldiered into the not insignificant headwind. I thanked him profusely, bade him farewell and the gritted my teeth for the final 10km.

Home at 4:30pm, 2 hours later than planned, but mechanicals are what they are.

180km, 1750m vertical, with 8 hours of riding. Not too shabby.

Garmin connect details can be had by clicking here.



Friday, September 04, 2009

Dithering

"We had a few complaints that the MP3s of our last record wasn’t encoded at a high enough rate. Some even suggested we should have used FLACs, but if you even know what one of those is, and have strong opinions on them, you’re already lost to the world of high fidelity and have probably spent far too much money on your speaker-stands."

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Organising a Bike Ride

Gents,
Any thoughts for Sunday?
Regards,

===

Keen but cannot do long one - happy to turn around early if some are going on a longer ride

===

Same, midday home if possible.

===

Earlier start lads?

===

Smith* certainly talks a good game

===

...oh, and so speaks the master of spin!!!

===

I assume you mean cadence...

===

a bit revolutionary, don't you think?

===

you seem to be going in circles

===

He's a lawyer - what do you expect? That's how they make their money.

===

Revolving credit?

===

that's what I get from the wife!

===

Really? Good deal. I only get Dissolving Credit from mine



* The names have been changed to protect the innocent.

Life Advice

Life Advice from Old People

Great blog, great idea, would be great if my parents, and Joli's parents could make a few videos we could save for Milly. (HINT HINT) (And I'm not calling you OLD, but you are older than me, so maybe the blog title should be entitled 'Life Advice From Older People'.)

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Time Lapse across China

Clever video. Wonder if his arms ache?

Arbitrage

"Smugglers fill up their tanks with cheap petrol in Venezuela, then drive over the border and siphon it off in Cucuta at huge profit.

Having paid a few cents a litre, they can sell it on for several dollars. An estimated 15,000 to 20,000 people make their living from the practice and there is a constant flow of vehicles, many of them taxi drivers, taking contraband fuel in one direction and contraband goods in the other.

Much of the trade is run by paramilitary and criminal gangs, but many are ordinary Venezuelans and Colombians making a quick dollar on the side."

Smugglers thrive as row hits trade - BBC

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Not so glacial

"Kangerdlugssuaq, another glacier that Hamilton measured, tripled its speed between 1988 and 2005. Its movement – an inch every minute – could be seen with the naked eye."

"If I was, God forbid, the leader of the free world, I would implement some changes to deal with the maximum risk that we might reasonably expect to encounter, rather than always planning for the minimum. We won't know the consequences of not doing that until it's way too late. Even as a politician on a four-year elected cycle, you can't morally leave someone with that problem."

'We all live on the Greenland ice sheet now. Its fate is our fate' - Guardian

'Bacon is good for me'


Lift-Off and live from space



"The STS-128 mission is the 30th International Space Station assembly flight and the 128th space shuttle flight." NASA - Beauty in theNight



"Discovery arcs through a cloud-brushed sky, lighted by the trail of fire after launch on the STS-128 mission." NASA - Lighting up the Night

I was fascinated to discover - via Matthew Baldwin on Twitter - that you can listen to LIVE mission audio from the Space Shuttle backed by ambient music at SomaFM. How cool is that? I listened live on my iPhone this morning in the back of a Tokyo cab on the way to work. Can you keep up with technology?