Friday, May 27, 2005

Shameless plug for James Blunt

Music isn't bad, either.

Your powers are weak, old man

There has been a lot of interest in climbing at the club recently - we have this climbing wall there and had a go at traversing the three meter length of it using only the blue, or only the green holds. Needless to say, I wasn't all that good and went off and downloaded a whole bunch of stuff from Eric Hörst's site. I'd come across his book in Elias' car when we were going to Propantes and it had got me thinking. Then I bump into his site after looking for how info on training for climbing.

So one of the hints he talks about for getting started is weighted (gravity+) pull ups. He then writes, like, don't do this unless you can do five sets of fifteen pull-ups with three minute rests in between… Hmm. And then he says if you cannot do five consecutive pull-ups at all, there's something else you got to start with to build up strength.

And so, gentle reader, this is where today's title comes from. I went home, sat myself under the chin-up bar determined to do the pre-requisite five consecutive pull ups so as to be able to proceed with the training plan for building to five sets of fifteen. Up went the hands, gripping the bar and up went the legs, suspending me below the bar.

OK - so I didn't really try that hard, but it was clear that I was not going to be doing five consecutive pull-ups.

This time back in 1992, when I was just getting my release papers from the Greek Army I could probably have done the five sets of fifteen without a problem. Wouldn't it be grand to be like that again? OK, so I like have some thirteen years extra wear and tear on me and of course the whole chronic illness bollocks to deal with, but wouldn't it be just great to be 60 instead of 74 Kg, and to be able to do pull ups and to wear that favourite pair of shorts again? OK, who's with me on this? Let's set targets: by the end of the year (six month target), back to 60 Kg (lowest ever since the highest was 56 Kg, but that just ain't natural) and I want to be lithe and supple again.

In April last year I would have said, "yeah, dream on, fat-boy" but now things are different.

PS - title slightly influenced by the fact that I am going tonight to see Episode III.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Rant about my bastard foot

Not sure if this is a rant about my bastard foot or about my cow-orkers. Summer is coming again, oh yes. Summer is as good as being here. It's hot out, but the cow-orkers don't acknowledge this and so I have to sit and sweat in my office while they complain whenever the airconditioning is put into operation. Hey - I'm fucking sweating here, can't you see???

I got a vest to wear from the states - paid a shedload in customs charges for the honour of having it shipped over. Remind me to rant about customs at some point soon. It's too early in the year and in the day to need to wear it on the way to work - I usually come before the temperatures get too high. Once here though, there is a fine line between annoying the cow-orkers and suffering too much and it gets crossed at exactly this time of year and we've crossed it.

I don't mind the sweating. I don't mind the feeling exhausted so much. Both these happen anyway, from time to time. What I do mind is when my right foot goes numb because of the heat doing what it does. The numb right foot acts as a reminder. "Hello!", it says, "you're going to die. I am your memento mori, sucker!"

It's no hassle to have the foot freak out when other parts are also arsing me around too - it's expected. It's when it's the only thing wrong I get annoyed. No L'Hermittes, no other numbness or tingling - just the numb foot. Grrr.

It's the bloody heat which set it all off. All winter I was fine as a fine thing - now the summer is coming I am not looking forward to it - and it seems to be about to be a very hot one. Must go caving then, I guess.

Friday, May 20, 2005


So I popped over to Romania for a little bit of courier work, not unlike the trip described here.

I haven't been in Romania for a bout three years and feel rather more rusty on the language front than I dare admit.

Anyway, I had a few chances to walk around a bit in the evening and have three little panoramas for you all. The first is the "It" building just after sundown. The House of the People as it was so grandly named by old Nic is, according to lonely planet called just "it" by the locals…

We walked through the park to the right to go eat and walked back past where Nic gave his last public appearance in December 1989:

The final pic is from the morning before setting off for the airplane again:

The town seemed cleaner and fresher, with more vitality and optimism than back in 2002 when I was here last. Things are looking up for 2007!

Clicking "View image" on the panoramas will open a slightly larger version.

Monday, May 09, 2005

and while we're at it...

Three little panoramas I photographed with my trusty Nokia phone and stitched together with autostitch, this really quite clever little programme.

Clicking on the little thumbnails will take you to a slightly larger image for each one.

There was the most amazing sky on Saturday evening - we had set out for a meal with friends of Korinna from Uni and then the Masters in London. Meeting, as usual at the cathedral, I snapped the above skyline and the rather distorted view of the entrance to the cathedral itself, which is below.

I don't like the way it totally blows the edge out of the stuff which is closer, but there is not too much that can be done. I guess I'd have to go into photoshop and spend time on the straightening of curved edges.

This one I am very pleased with, and it seems that this is the sort of shot which autostich excells in. It is a view up the street which borders the Library of Hadrian (qv) and you can make out from left to right the old mosque which is now the folklore museum, the Library of Hadrian in the centre of the frame and the Acropolis over in the distance and to the right of the image. You get a nice idea of how the Erecthion sits on the edge of the rock and sticks out.

I rather like this one - taken as it is with dusk firmly in the air and with the street sellers busying about trying to get business all along the railings.

I will try to expand on the extremely long, rather than high panoramas.

Δος ημίν σήμερον

Kneading and then waiting for the little yeast kritters to do their stuff and bloat my little loaves out of all shape and proportion is something I used to do frequently before I met Korinna. I have not done the whole making bread thing for almost two years - the last loaf I had made back then was a little after we had started going out.

Yesterday I made bread, and it was good. I managed to break the INGO workbench in the kitchen, which was obviously not designed with kneading in mind.

So here are some before and after photos, of the bread in the just kneaded, just risen and just cooked stages of life.

More coming soon...