Sunday, 29 April 2007

A busy weekend

The view from our new office in the Law School.
Lots happened this weekend. Our friends Kristine and Eddie came up from Wanaka on Thursday night, so Kris could go to a course for secondary teachers on Friday and Saturday.

Kris also got to try out the second hand MTB I'd bought for her on Trademe - it's really hard to arrange delivery to Wanaka so it made sense to buy one here. We met up with more friends for dinner on Friday at our local cheap-but-excellent Italian BYO restaurant, only a few blocks away. In between visits to the Mediterranean Food Warehouse, which Eddie has decided is his natural home. And autumn is in full glow. (See more at Flickr.)

Sunday, 22 April 2007

Rearranging the toys


The ski season is approaching, and this year I hope to get back into some basic ski touring, probably starting by going for side trips to areas like Crystal Valley at Porter Heights, or skiing below the double chair base at Mt Hutt, just to make sure that the gear works and the body isn't too dreadful. There has been pub talk of a trip to ski the Tasman Glacier in September-October, but this remains an open ended discussion.

To prepare for that eventuality, over the weekend I removed the heavy ESS-VAR bindings off a pair of Volkl Vectris 184cm all-mountain skis that I bought on Trademe a year ago. (Well, actually, Owen and Tane Cambridge removed them, while I made lunch...) I replaced the bindings with a pair of Silvretta 404 alpine touring bindings that I've used on several pairs of skis over the years. The bindings have had little use, so even though they are over 10 years old, they are in excellent order. Mounting them was a painstaking job, but everything seems to work fine, as these pictures show. The whole rig is pretty light, too.

In case you are wondering about why I have the old Salomon SX91 boots, they are excellent for touring, with their quick-release walking position and clean design which takes crampons easily, so I have saved them just for this purpose. I think I'd find them a bit vague for ski-area cruising, but for use around huts and extended walking, they are great. They are still in excellent order and they fit me well. I don't think I'll trust my 1980-vintage Pieps 2 avalanche beepers though; that's an area where technology really has made a quantum leap, and new rental units will be hundreds of times better.

Thursday, 19 April 2007

The week that went

Spotted at Edge.org
First it was Monday, then it was Friday. Just like that, as Tommy Cooper would say. Really.

We move offices any day now - probably next Tuesday. We'll spend most of Monday packing and just leave our computers running with little else remaining on shelves etc, then set up on Tuesday. Our phones will have to be switched over on Tuesday as well. Exciting!

Sunday, 15 April 2007

The global poisoning conspiracy


Forget global warming, that's going to take hundreds of years. We'll all be dead soon, because "They" are poisoning the entire planet - from commercial airliners. It's being done by "chemtrails" - and there's a whole subculture of chemtrail experts out there.

YouTube has lots of clips if you search for chemtrail, and some of the clips have truly strange comments added - like these.

NEWS FLASH! I have classified data that demonstrates, proof positive, that the Democratic Party and Bill Clinton signed off on the CHEMTRAIL poisoning of Earth. I have proof.

and...

We've been writing and calling city officials for 10 years now. It's not ever going to end. They plan to wipe out the majority of Earth's population. Hey, it was all here for the reaping, we sure did capitalize...

These folk will also helpfully provide tutorials on "the chemtrail spraying operations which began in earnest in late 1997".

Monday, 9 April 2007

Rail Trail

We set off, in spite of a threatening drizzle which soon disappeared, to bike the open portion of the Christchurch to Little River Rail Trail, from Motukarara to Little River. The latest 7km section, from Birdlings Flat to Little River, was opened last year. It was only 21 km or so total, but it was quite physical. The rough surface gave the shoulders and back a workout that road cycling doesn't provide, especially if you have an elderly MTB like mine, with no front suspension. I also had my tyre pressures a bit high for the surface, but if I lower them much more I get snake-eye punctures. There were heaps of families, middle aged groups like us, and occasional bunches of hot-shot MTB types, who must have felt like a good skier who finds himself on the beginner slope - do I show off or just sidle past? Anyhow, pictures are on Flickr.

Tomorrow is a bonus day off, and I plan to celebrate with a bit of hedge trimming - so I don't back into little kids on the footpath, as they walk to the primary school round the corner. That will be followed by changing library books, a catchup drink with Schroeder after his return from Easter in Melbourne, and a farewell dinner for Heather before she takes off to Auckland & Whangarei on Wednesday morning. Then I'll be on my own for a week - apart from two suddenly motherless cats, of course. This should have been when I selected a four day weather window and went on my Reefton bike tour, but that was not to be.

Easter

We've had a quiet Easter weekend, as we hadn't planned anything significant, expecting to have visitors. Alice spent Good Friday sorting out stuff to shift to her new flat, while Heather and I had a really nice bike ride to Sumner and back. Saturday was wet and drizzly all day, so the shift was postponed to Sunday, and by the end of the day Alice was in her tiny room in the flat at Middlepark Rd, Yaldhurst.

It appears to be a well set up and organised flat, only 3km from University. All she has to do is work out how to stack all her stuff in the tiny bedroom.

Thursday, 5 April 2007

The week that wasn't

A short week, with Monday taken up with an all-day planning meeting, and Friday is Easter. The weekend was to have been spent entertaining visitors from Wanaka, but Kristine has the typical end-of-term blahs that teachers get, feeling run down and definitely not keen on a five hour drive to Christchurch. So apart from helping Alice shift to a flat (we don't say much about this, in case we jinx it...) I think I'll be biking and relaxing.

I've biked each day, and also experimented with different combinations of bike luggage - although a pannier is practical for carrying wet weather gear, it sits up above the level of the carrier, and any bag I put on the carrier slides to one side. So I'm back to a handlebar bag for a jacket and gloves, my day bag on the carrier, and no repair kit or spares - if I hit any mechanical trouble I'll lock it up and take a taxi. My handlebar bag is pretty bedraggled, so I'll buy a better one, with mounting brackets rather than straps, one of these days.

Tuesday, 3 April 2007

Biking again

I had a nice ride to work, with a stop for police roadblocks at Puriri St in Riccarton. There were police, fire, and TV crews along the block, and I wondered if it was filming for a movie. However, today's news tells us that a suspicious house fire had killed four members of a Japanese family.

On the way home, I broke a front gear cable, and had to carry on in my lowest gear range. Fitting a new cable was a very fiddly business, but it seems OK - today's ride will tell.

Monday, 2 April 2007

Back on the bike

I'm back on my bike this morning, but taking a changed route through the city centre. Instead of Peterborough St, I'm going to follow the river round to the Stanmore Rd bridge, then take the Avonside Drive cycle lane and Kilmore St through to the park. It's a little further, but it means I'll be on well marked cycle lanes and avoiding parked buses. And motorists who can't see the way clearly, but drive out anyway - you can predict some situations, but not random acts of stupidity.

My finger is still in the brace so I can't wear gloves, but after I visit Occupational Therapy again on Thursday I hope I'll be pronounced brace-free. It's going to be a slow process to get the finger to bend properly again, but at least I can flex and stretch it while doing something else.

Sunday, 1 April 2007

Clever but simple


Courtesy of the always-excellent Public Address comes a link to this YouTube gem - Human Space Invaders. What a triumph of organisation it was to assemble all these people and choreograph their changes of seating!