Saturday, June 20, 2009

I'm definitely going to need some kind of cushion

Cycled about 15 miles today, making sure I knew how to get to the starting point of tomorrow's bike ride and getting horribly lost along the way (don't worry, I know how to get there now) and I'm already sore. I should have invested in a pair of padded shorts like people have been recommending. I'm sure I can improvise something with things I've got around the house...

Anyway, rider number 2741 (you get real, official numbers like in a proper bike race!) is all ready to go. It's going to be a definite change from my usual Sunday of sitting at a desk and memorising cards and numbers.

Friday, June 19, 2009

The Calliope crashed to the ground

I like reading my old blog entries in idle moments. Although it always makes me feel like I was much more eloquent and entertaining in the old days, compared to the hastily-written drivel I always seem to be reduced to lately. But looking back through my writings of years ago leads me to notice that this epic poem of mine, which I still think is rather clever and funny, didn't ever get so much as a single comment! Really, my readers are so ungrateful. Who else in the blogosphere comes up with that kind of thing? I bet the new poet laureate, whoever he/she is (I've forgotten), doesn't even have a blog with such melodious verse in it!

Actually, I was reading old blog posts mainly to see whether I'd previously made light of the early-nineties articles about the Mind Sports Olympiad in old Synapsia magazines - I have, so I won't do it again. I will point out an impressive world record reported in the same magazine, though: "Creighton Carvello memorised one pack of cards at speed with only one error in 2 minutes 59 seconds" on Record Breakers in 1987. This, much more than that old chestnut about scientists' predictions of spoken number memory capacity, is the best example of how the World Memory Championships have stretched people's brains. Right now, 22 years later, I'm seriously worried that any one of two or three top memorisers is going to beat me to being the first to memorise a pack in under 25 seconds in a competition very soon. And 'only one error' is not going to get you a round of applause these days.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Il faut que tu fasses du vélo

For some reason, that's a phrase that has stuck in my head ever since French lessons at school got as far as teaching the subjunctive. French grammar is a very silly thing. Anyway, it's just a couple of days until I go on a longer bike ride than any sensible person would want to do, and I'm a bit worried about the weather. We seem to be getting baking hot sunshine followed seconds later by torrential downpours just lately, and I'd hate to get struck by lightning and then slowly fried like an egg on the tarmac. That'd really knock down my average speed.

It's not too late to sponsor me, by the way. And many, many thanks to everyone who already has!

And even bigger thanks to Jabba, who sent me a really cool book just because she knew I'd like it! That's the kind of charity there should be more of - Entertain A Zoomy.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

A conversation with Microsoft Excel 2007

Excel: This spreadsheet contains macros. Macros can contain viruses. I'm going to disable, delete and destroy them, okay?

Me: No, it's not okay. Open up the file, macros and all, please.

Excel: Macros can contain potentially harmful viruses. You shouldn't open files with macros in unless you're completely sure that they are safe and virus-free.

Me: They are. Shut up about macros and just open the file.

Excel: So, have you run a virus-scan and got some professional to double-check that there are no viruses lurking in these macros of yours?

Me: No, of course I haven't. Nobody does that. Just open the file.

Excel: You mean open it with the macros disabled, right?

Me: Look, I wrote these macros myself, the file has never been anywhere other than my laptop, there's no way anyone could have ever infiltrated my visual basic workbook with viruses. The file doesn't work without the macros, so why in the name of flip would I want to disable them?

Excel: I'm really not sure this is a good idea. Let's just forget about this workbook, and play with something else, shall we?

I mean, seriously. I've been writing and using macros for many, many years, at home and at work (mainly just for the sake of it because very few people can do them, and everyone thinks you're some kind of magician if you know how, but sometimes because they're really useful things) and I've never had a single problem with viruses, nor met or heard of anybody who has. And yet every new version of Excel forces you to select ever more 'non-recommended' macro security options, special file types, hidden toolbars and so on, just to use a tiny little harmless macro! Stupid Microsoft.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Did I fall asleep?

I'd heard pretty uniformly bad things about Dollhouse, so I'd been meaning to check it out ever since it started. I've seen the last two episodes, and it's actually really quite good. Certainly worth watching, although tonight's episode could have been done rather better towards the end - lots of different and less predictable ways the ending could have worked out. I don't expect the really formulaic stuff from Joss Whedon.

But even so, it's something new to add to my things-to-watch list, and that's a very sparse list right now. TV isn't the opium-of-the-masses it used to be...

Monday, June 15, 2009


I've just discovered that TMF, the second-rate music channel, shows cartoons before nine o'clock (when the teenage audience are presumably still in bed). I've got another cartoon channel that I didn't know about! I can watch the first half of Maggie and the Ferocious Beast before I leave for work in the mornings!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Beer good

A Saturday getting horribly drunk with my brother, followed by a Sunday recovering from it, is a great way to spend a weekend every once in a while. And hopefully I'll have stopped feeling quite so dreadfully unwell by tomorrow morning when I need to go to work...