Monday 28/06/2004

[ from the random-update dept. ]

Photos (from left to right): Critical Mass, The Oxford Thames Path, A Wolvercote Canal Walk, Evening cycling around London.

Time does anything but stand still. It would seem that another few weeks have passed and this blog has lagged again – not that it really matters in the grand scheme of things but I would like to keep it a bit more up to date since it provides a useful account of what is going on. I am attempting to motivate myself to get some much needed work done over the next few days of this week. I have various articles to finish and a trip to Turin planned starting on this coming Sunday (more on that later). Over the next few weeks I am planning to be away in various foreign locations and this means that I should get myself up to date with miscellaneous stuff.

On a recent trip to London I noticed the Paddington Band had been playing or were about to – probably worth listening to at some point. I seem to be listening to a weird variety of music at the moment – from Sixpence none the richer to Vanessa Mae (thanks in part to a sale which happened recently at Borders in Oxford) and even A-Ha (Stay on these roads and other albulms which I have around here – I should return the best of disk to a friend of mine sometime as I have borrowed it for far too long I suppose). I finally got that music from Foyles and will learn Bach’s Concerto for Two Harpsichords which has been arranged for Oboe, Violin and Piano (although the original arrangement was lost so the one we are to use – those of us playing – is only an approximation). My cousins showed me their flute and trumpet – I am quite fascinated by the flute as an instrument although it seems difficult for me to create the right resonance for the lower D – I could only play higher octaves.

I went punting with my family a few weeks ago. I drove to Oxford in my parent’s car (good practice for the next driving test on Wednesday) and Hannah and Joe Wrigley drove in their shiny new Ford KA. I quite like that particular model and would be seriously interested in getting one for myself at some point (aside from the evil American corporation thing that is going on a little there – I need to ascertain how bad they are) – I need to get that bit of paper before any of this can happen however. Punting was enjoyable and both Joe and I took it in turn to propell the others from the Cherwell Boathouse through the University Parks and back again.

I have recently been visiting G&D’s on regular occasions for Ice Cream and Bagel based nurishment. They have the most exquisite home made flavours which go very well with a Salmon and Cream Cheese Bagel – I suppose I am experiencing a Bagel fad, given my trips to the Brick Lane Bagel shop also. Brick Lane is a fascinating place that I need to visit more often – and on a somewhat unrelated note, I should read the book by the same name which is still sitting on my bookshelf beside Bill Bryson’s A Short History Of Nearly Everything (which I should also read at some point). After punting with my family on the occasion I have mentioned above, I frequented George and Davis’s for a light tea before actually being around for OxLUG.

I went punting with OxLUG too – although only Dom turned up. He told me that he was performing at the Sheldonian Theatre with the Oxford Bach Choir and I decided that it would be a most interesting way of spending a Saturday night. I enjoyed their concert very much and will look out for the next concert season which is due in December. After the concert finished, I met some friends in town and managed to miss the last train home – so stayed with a workmate and caught an afternoon train. I bought a new bike from Cycle King on the way in to London and went cycling with Trevor Parsons, Paul Sladen, and of course also Hussein Jodiyawalla. We cycled up to Primrose Hill and I once more saw the fantastic view to be had from there.

I have not been walking so much since the last bike was stolen and have become very conscious of that fact. I have recently been walking along the Thames Path in Oxford, along the Oxford Canal, cyling around Oxford City, and of course meeting people for nighttime cycle experiences in London. Wolvercote still appeals to me as a location and I have been there on several occasions quite recently – on one occasion I inquired about rooms for rent but am yet certain I want to commit to living in Oxford when I might hopefully be able to drive over the next few months.

I went along to my first Critical Mass on Friday and enjoyed meeting lots of other cyclists as we went around London. We had a police escort from policepeople on Smith and Wesson cycles (these things really rule) and they closed off bits of roads for us as we went around. Cycling amongst us were a number of fellow geeks who knew who I am. I am now keen to get a GPS unit because I can hook this up to an iPAQ or Zaurus to offer realtime tracking of the route we are cycling for Critical Mass. Essentially it is trivial to do this with a GPRS enabled mobile phone and a few scripts and this would simplify finding the group when en route.

I have been reading more about various Matrix Mathematics and also some of the various other books that I have mentioned. In addition, I have experimented with various FETs and done some general electronics. I hope that over time I can improve my capability there – and I am increasingly becomming interested in amateur radio as I learn about the true nature of the signals around us. Waves are fascinating things. Talking to my cousin about her flute on Saturday evening, I was able to explain various mathematically defined behaviours but this did not make a bit of difference to my inability to produce the sound that I wanted from it – still I potentially may buy a flute at some point for general interest.

On Sunday I shall be at a friend’s BBQ in Nottingham and then travel to London Heathrow for an evening flight to Milan. I have been asked to give an Embedded Engineering training course by a certain large vendor and am currently updating bits of the material for use on the course. When I travel back to the UK I shall not have long before a weekend trip to Rome with some work friends. The day after we arrive in London once more, I am travelling to Ottawa for the Ottawa Linux Symposium 2004. At the Linux Symposium I hope to meet many people I have encountered at events such as FOSDEM and have chance to discuss various topics, do GPG keysigning stuff, and absorb a large quantity of information from the many experts in various different fields who will be attending. After Ottawa I am travelling to Cornwall for a week with my extended family in celebration of my grandmother’s 80th birthday.

Photos (from left to right): Oxford, The Oxford Sheldonian Theatre, Punting along the Cherwell, Paddington Band.

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