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Articles about stuff that I've come across and generally find amusing.

(This page shows the last 10 entries. To see all Stuff blogs go to Stuff Blog Archives)


Memorial Day Ride

(Posted 16:49:40 on 27th May 2024 by Rag)
Nothing really special here as the gopro wasn't working, but I've just spent the last few hours messing around with the conversion for the trail so I'm going to keep it and post it. The only thing slightly noteworthy is the bloody big hill William got me to go up. It's a good job that bike's got good brakes as I had to stop several times and then restart. If the brakes had given way I'd have ended up at the bottom of the hill in a heap rather quickly. Now, that would probably be something worth seeing.

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Congratulations Itzu 🎉🎉🎉

(Posted 19:04:08 on 28th January 2024 by Rag)
I love it when someone sets out to do something and they achieve it. I've been watching Itzu for the past month as he's pushed to get the #1 spot on the Clash of Clans leaderboard. There's still two hours to go, but he's got it, so I'm going to officially congratulate him. Like a German taking penalties, he's executed flawlessly this season. I know a lot of it came down to his base building versus the attacks, but still, you've got to maintain that consistency. I think Stars will still remain the person to beat given how dominant he usually is, but it's good to see that someone else can do it too!
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Don't leave the car running

(Posted 17:10:12 on 18th December 2023 by Rag)
This article caught my attention: Armed robbers' car stolen during Colorado heist, police say. I don't want to laugh at armed robbery, but somehow this seems to have some poetic justice. The armed robbers were apparently arrested while fleeing the scene on foot after their getaway car was stolen.
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Yerba Buena

(Posted 20:10:28 on 11th November 2023 by Rag)
Well, since the east span of the Bay Bridge opened, I've wondered what it would be like to walk across it. I'd resigned myself to the fact that I'd never find out, but today I did it on a handcycle. It was quite a slog getting up and over, but not as hard as I thought it was going to be. It was easier than going over the freeway bridge or the incline behind Golden Gate Fields, but it lasted a lot longer. I seemed to manage to find a happy cadence that I could just plod along at and eventually made it over. Coming back! Coming back was a huge amount of fun. I really wish I could have got into a higher gear, but the bike I'm using is old and I can only get onto the two smaller sprockets and not onto the third larger one. It just meant that I was coasting and couldn't really do anything to affect my speed.

The other memorable moment was that I got confused with the road layout and stopped. William didn't. He went into the back of me and flew over his handlebars and ended up in the road. Unfortunately I turned to see him bounce along the road, but my eyes looking back see further than the camera. You can hear him clatter into me, you just don't get to see the carnage.

Video of the bike ride Long and boring video. The route is in the map below.

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Och aye, the brew

(Posted 17:23:50 on 29th October 2023 by Rag)
Had to laugh this week when I read an article on the BBC's website about a pop group, STAYC, that were playing in Texas and decided to wear tops to support the local Texas Rangers baseball team. Somehow there was a complete mix up and they ended up with tops for Rangers Football Club. I think the thing that I find really funny is that US team shirts don't have sponsorship on them and these two had tops with McEwan's lager on the front which would have totally confused everyone at the concert. I don't even know if you can get McEwan's in the US or if anyone would know what it is.

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Link to BBC article
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Marina Bay Park Handcycle

(Posted 23:53:08 on 28th October 2023 by Rag)
I'm getting more and more used to this handcycling malarky. Now getting a reasonable distance and today cycled from the BORP center to Marina Bay Park which is a round trip of just over 12.5 miles. It's a pretty easy ride, but there are two big uphills. The first is immediately to cross the freeway (which then also means it's the last thing on the way back) and then another to go around the back of Golden Gate Fields (the horse racing track). I decided to plop a GoPro on my head this time out. You need to be really bored to watch this given it's an hour and a half long as well as the fact that most of the video is just me grunting. The middle bit of the video is more interesting when you get away from the freeway and have views of San Francisco, but still, it's an hour and a half video of a bike ride. Possibly the most amusing thing is the acknowledgement of seeing a Womble. I would recommend that you download the video rather than playing it direct as I'm sure it's just going to constantly buffer if you try to stream.

Video of the bike ride if you're really sad. The route is in the map below.

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England Summer 2023

(Posted 17:47:07 on 27th August 2023 by Rag)
Nothing really to this story, just some pictures and a video from the summer trip back to England. There was supposed to be two other videos, but William really didn't put any effort into taking them and, not surprisingly, they turned out terrible, so I haven't bothered keeping them.
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A quick picture of Foxton Locks from a day trip. I believe it's still the most consecutive locks in the world. Unlikely to get beaten really as I don't think they're building that many canals and locks these days.
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Quite pleased with this image as it was taken from a distance and through a window on my phone. None of which are recipes for a good photo. This is a green woodpecker that's very skittish. It's really hard to get close to this bird before it flies away and I managed to capture it. I did get one a few years ago, but only as it flew off.

The last is video of a shunt at Stibbington. I'd stopped by to look at the river Nene where I used to fish and they were moving some carriages about. The only amusing thing about the video is when the train driver sounded his horn, William jumped and I thought we were going to be one iPhone less than we started the trip with. Thankfully he held onto it and it didn't plunge into the murky depths of the river.
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Handcycling Aftermath

(Posted 14:33:25 on 9th July 2023 by Rag)
I decided to have a cup of coffee when I got home. All was good until I got up to put the cup back on the side and I kind of expected more resistance when I put the cup down and the handle came off in my hand. I think it's probably time I got a new set of cups, but I really like these as they've big.

I'll give Owen credit for the best response which is - good job you didn't have a wank instead of a cup of coffee. Sound advice!
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Handcycle

(Posted 18:33:27 on 8th July 2023 by Rag)
Alright, so I've decided I'm too fat and it doesn't seem to be going away so I need to do something about it. I've been looking at handcycles as I want to do something outside so I can get some fresh air at the same time. I'm going to get one, but in the meantime, I found an amazing organization, the Bay Area Outreach and Recreation Program (BORP), that has a lot of bicycles, handcycles and many other contraptions that you can use. I took William along with me to film this amazing shot. I wanted him to use one of the recumbent cycles, but he wasn't allowed to try one as he doesn't have a disability. I wanted him to try a regular pedaling one versus the handcycle I was using. Anyway, this is going to take some getting used to. My arms might be strong, but I'm completely knackered after a relatively short ride of a couple of miles.

Track and short video are below. I did have to swap handcycles mid way through as the first one got a puncture and I didn't want to finish the journey on the rim.




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Let there be light

(Posted 17:14:48 on 8th July 2023 by Rag)
They say it's the terrible twos, but it appears William has pushed it to the teenage years before he's deciding to argue everything with me. So, I sent the truck in for a service and they came up with some things that needed doing to it, one of which was worded something like fix the rear stop light. I called them to ask what that meant and if it was just that they were going to change the bulb and they said yes. They wanted $90 to change the bulb, so I told them I was good and I'd do it myself. When William woke, I told him the good news - that he was going to get a lesson in vehicle maintenance and that he needed to change the bulb and clean the battery (corroded terminals). I told him to watch a YouTube video on how to change the bulb so he would know what tools to take and how to do it. He said he'd figure it out. I told him he wouldn't be able to figure it out and that he needed to watch a video. There was back and forth and then he asked what bulb it was. I told him it was the brake light and he then asked whether it was the front or the rear.

So yeah! I also told him it would take about an hour as it was the center brake light and it was more awkward to get to. He said it wouldn't take longer than 30 minutes. Two hours into it, he gave up.

I told Paul about this and let him know I'd sent him to the auto parts store to buy a front brake light bulb. He suggested I send him out for some spirit level bubbles and tartan paint at the same time. I think that's awful - I'd never make him out to be stupid. After giving up, he complained the tools were wrong. I agreed and sent him to the store to get a left handed screwdriver instead.

In fairness, it was a pain to do. There are stupid long bolts that you need to take a nut off through a hole. The first thing I had to do was to buy a long socket to fit the nut. Then you need to work as if you're some kind of keyhole surgeon. It's like trying to take a nut off through a letterbox for some unknown reason. When you finally locate the nut and get it off, it shoots into the hole and is lost forever. So I had to buy replacement nuts which we lost as well (they weren't the right ones anyway), then had to go back to the dealership to get the actual nuts which we did successfully replace by using Vaseline in the socket to get the nut to stick in there so it didn't ping out and get lost again.

If we take my bill rate into account and the time I spent on it, let alone the time William spent, I think it cost somewhere in the region of $5,000 to change this bulb, but on the bright side, I saved $90 +tax.
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