Saturday, March 31, 2007

world superbikes from donington park in england

world superbikes racing tomorrow (sunday) at 3pm on speed channel.

of course, not quite the same as riding in torrential rain on your bike to the race track with your mates on their bikes, spending the day watching the race sitting on tarp, in appalling weather conditions out in the open, and then riding back home completely soaked...

...and then meet up for some beers later on and reckon on what a great day's racing you saw.

nascar fans....

victor's not feeling very well...Liverpool 4-1 Arsenal

the crouch-a-tron scores a hat-trick!

Peter Crouch's first hat-trick at club level saw Liverpool leap-frog Arsenal to go third in the Premiership.

Friday, March 30, 2007

High Adventure: The True Story of the First Ascent of Everest

just finished reading this great account of the first ascent of everest.

what struck me within the first few pages (and this continued until the very end of the book) was that there was not once a single mention of a name of any manufacturer.

today, we live in a world where we don't go out and buy something, instead, we buy (xxxx) - the name of the manufacturer who makes this or that something.

we are constantly bombarded by names, logos, adverts, & images from corporations, desperate to sell us everything they make at every available opportunity. our future will be one of ever-increasing advertising (how fucking great!)

anyone remember sports stadiums? they used to be named after people or places...

how refreshing to read an entire book and not once have the name of any manufacturer mentioned, even once.

imagine that.

great book. worth reading even if just to escape from the world of advertising...

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

thank you!

just wanted to say a very big thank you to all my friends for a truly great 45th birthday. special thanks as always to tanc & tiernan. wouldn't have been an event without you.

i would also like to publicly apologise to mr. tancred dickens for breaking up his set and ruining his flow, and completely taking the piss by jumping on the decks and within two records, i somehow found myself playing some dark, blokey music (which i said i wasn't going to do), which quite understandably left tanc saying something that sounds a lot like "clucking bell"

i don't think it helped that tiernan did the same thing later on, and tanc proclaimed that he'd been "double-shafted" - he is quite correct, but i believe my shafting was more of a complete and utter piss-take.

my humblest apologies mate. even nutty has some below-the-belt moments.

i am of course, quite mystified how any of this could have happened in such a quiet, peaceful, soothing environment, sipping herbal teas, quietly reflecting on the poetic sounds of the zen of nature (played left-foot, ambient-fun style) at very low volume...

it was also very nice of chloe to stop by for some tea & biscuits.

some photos to follow once i get them back in a couple of days.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Rossi storms to victory in Spain

from the bbc:

Five-time world champion Valentino Rossi got his first win of 2007 and disappointed the home fans as he beat Dani Pedrosa at the Spanish MotoGP.

what an absolutely thrilling 250cc race, with the lead changing between a battle between four riders absolutely going at it for 9/10 of the race. one of the best races i've seen in any class.

any nascar fans that think their division of motorsport is interesting should have witnessed this race.

nice win for rossi on the eve of my birthday :)

Spanish MotoGP.

go rossi!

i really hope he wins the title back this year.

he's simply a genius on two wheels.

just watch and believe.

only this season and next before he moves on.

speed channel (271 on comcast) 5pm 250 cc race, 6pm motogp, eastern time.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

friday night at be bar

very good evening with quality music, instead of the usual progressive or eighties crap being force-fed like it is everywhere else.

idiot of the evening had to go to one of the two white guys leaving as we were waiting for a cab, one of whom said to the other as they got into their suv "that place is so lame" - why, just because you couldn't get laid...dude?

they wouldn't know good music if they heard it.

scene people. now there's a definition of lame for you: when the music is secondary to the enjoyment of the evening of going out to a club.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

anyone for tennis?

had a great time supporting our local tennis hero, krissey, this past sunday (she's the pretty one in the middle)

er, some very artistic camera work daisy...

nutty's birthday

borat at kenny & milena's + pizza

can't remember the last time a group of people laughed so hard watching a film.

brilliantly funny.

Starbucks label unveils McCartney

from the bbc:

Sir Paul McCartney has been named as the first signing to the music label of coffee house chain Starbucks.

Sir Paul is one of popular music's biggest names...

sheer breathtaking promotion of underground music...

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

i really hate this little bastard

americans might like the use of the accent

a cultured cockney? - there's no such thing!

it's an actor's fake, america.

Swiss dig world's longest tunnel

from the bbc:

For centuries, the Alps have served as a natural trade barrier between northern and southern Europe.

Sending Italian wine to the Netherlands, or German washing machines to Greece, means a long, slow journey along narrow alpine valleys, through tunnels and over passes.

Faster than flying

As long ago as 1994, the Swiss voted in a nationwide referendum to put all freight crossing their country onto the railways. Naturally, such an ambitious plan was not going to happen overnight, but now the project dubbed the engineering feat of the 21st Century is slowly taking shape.

Deep beneath the Alps, the Swiss are building a high-speed rail link between Zurich and Milan. It will include, at 57 kilometres (35 miles), the world's longest tunnel.

A key feature of the project, which is new to alpine transport, is the fact that the entire railway line will stay at the same altitude of 500 metres (1,650ft) above sea level.

This will allow trains using the line to reach speeds of 240km/h (149mph), reducing the travel time between Zurich and Milan from today's four hours to just two-and-a-half. That would make the journey faster than flying.

makes a change from chocolates and watches...

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

he's just so eloquent...

Don’t ‘Pack Up,’ Bush Says After 4 Years of War

"you go find someone to grab the chairs, i'll find somebody else's son to take the table..."

Monday, March 19, 2007

Island leopard deemed new species

from the bbc:

Clouded leopards found on Sumatra and Borneo represent a new species, research by genetic scientists and the conservation group WWF indicates.

Until now it had been thought they belonged to the species that is found on mainland southeast Asia.

Scientists now believe the two species diverged more than one million years ago, and have evolved separately since.

...clearly there is no scientific evidence for the support of evolution (kansas board of education)

Friday, March 16, 2007

americans: only irish on st. patrick's day...

as a little test to see just how ignorant the new york times is, you can go to their web site:, type in a search for st. patrick's day, and you will see a whole load of answers returned.

now do the same for six nations rugby.
nothing. never mind that tomorrow ( on no less day than st. patrick's day itself) the irish could actually win one of europe's most prestigious sporting tournaments. that ireland might lift the championship tomorrow is absolutely huge, since they haven't lifted the title since 1974. that's 33 years...

over here it's a case of everyone dresseing up as idiots (like at my local ymca gym, for instance) who isn't irish, and being completely unaware of what is actually important to anyone who is irish, and do imitations of frat-boy binge drinking.

meanwhile, anyone who is irish will have a chance to celebrate if everything falls their way. a win is not enough. the outcomes of the other two matches decide the championship title.

well done new york times!

six nations rugby ends tomorrow

Three teams (France, Ireland and England) are level at the top of the Six Nations table on six points, with the sides separated by points difference.

The French lead the way on +42, with Ireland not far behind on +38 and England +13.

* France, the bookies' favourites, need to beat Scotland at home on Saturday (15.30 GMT kick off)and maintain their points difference advantage over Ireland.
But if France lose, draw or win narrowly, the championship could well open up for a first Irish success since 1985.

However, crucially France have the advantage of playing after the final whistle will have blown on Ireland in Rome, so no matter what Eddie O'Sullivan's men do, the French will take to the field knowing the size of the task before they kick off.

* Ireland travel to Italy (13.30 kick off) and will hope to beat an Azzurri side weakened by injury and possible suspension by a big enough points difference to pile the pressure on France. Their best chance will lie in forcing the French force the pace in Paris.

* England will also at least know what they need to do to win the championship as they kick off last against Wales in Cardiff (17.30 kick off).

But for instance, if Ireland win by 10 points in Rome, that would mean beating a backs-to-the-wall Welsh side by 36 points. Realistically, they must win and hope both France and Ireland slip up.

italy vs. ireland kicks off at 8:30am over here, and i'm watching all three games.

you don't hear this every day...

daisy came in exhausted from her yoga session last night, and said:

" i haven't been able to jump back into a chaturanga from a crow, but i can hold my crow for five breaths"


Thursday, March 15, 2007

Colossal squid's headache for science

from the bbc:

It is believed to be the first ever intact adult colossal squid to be landed.

And for now, this beast of the deep - all 495kg (1,090lb) of it - is safely frozen in a one-cubic-metre block of ice at New Zealand's national museum, Te Papa Tongarewa, in Wellington.

The squid (Mesonychoteuthis hamiltoni) came into the institution this week after being caught last month by fishermen operating in Antarctic waters.

Eventually, when the curators at Te Papa are ready, this unique specimen will be thawed to allow detailed investigation.

But that could be up to a year away.

The entire storage area for Te Papa's "wet" collection is being renovated, and the squid will not have a permanent home until that work is completed.

Only then can the delicate work of un-freezing this massive mollusc begin.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

first bike ride of 2007

18.5 miles on the capital crescent trail, here in d.c.

(i did from our apartment, picked up the trail at georgetown, then on to bethesda & back)

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

that rocky: he's so clever!

from the bbc:

Stallone charged over growth drug

of what, his brain...?

Hollywood star Sylvester Stallone has been charged with importing a banned human growth hormone into Australia.

The actor, 60, was stopped at Sydney airport last month by customs officials who claim he had 48 vials of a banned substance in his luggage.

The muscle-building hormone product, Jintropin, is classed as a performance enhancing drug in Australia.

Such products cannot be imported into Australia without a special permit.

Prosecution documents handed to a Sydney court on Tuesday said Stallone had marked "no" on a customs declaration form that asked if he was bringing restricted substances into the country.

....At the time, Stallone dismissed the incident as a "misunderstanding", adding that customs officials were "just doing their jobs".

"I just didn't understand some of the rules here," he explained.

..."Yo, Adrianne! you know, er, it's, er, er, er, er....."

it must be very difficult indeed to distinguish between writing a simple 'YES' and 'NO' on a customs declarations form, knowing you have a banned growth hormone in your luggage...

Monday, March 12, 2007

er, not the best career move...

Israel has recalled its ambassador to El Salvador after he was found drunk and naked and in bondage gear.

Reports say he was able to identify himself to police only after a rubber ball had been removed from his mouth.

should make the old family dinner table conversations interesting, along with all his family's social circle interactions...

Saturday, March 10, 2007

happy birthday to:

my sister, tina :)

happy birthday, love!

Friday, March 09, 2007

it's a very big sporting weekend!

Scotland v Ireland (Sat)

Saturday, 10 March (8:30am kick off over here...)
Murrayfield, Edinburgh

Ireland will claim their third Triple Crown in four years if they can defeat Scotland in Edinburgh on Saturday.

The Irish go into the game on the back of their thumping win over England and unsurprisingly coach Eddie O'Sullivan has stuck with the same team.

Scotland have only won one game so far this year and were stunned by Italy at home last time out.

then we have:

Italy v Wales (Sat)

Saturday, 10 March (10:30am kick off over here...)
Stadio Flaminio, Rome

Wales will seek to ease the pressure on coach Gareth Jenkins with a win over a buoyant Italy side in Rome on Saturday.

The Azzurri are looking for an unprecedented second win in a Six Nations campaign, while Wales arrive with three defeats to their name.

then on sunday, we have the big one:

England v France (Sun)

Sunday, 11 March (kick off 11:00am over here)
Twickenham, London

England will aim to bounce back from their humbling at the hands of Ireland when they take on Grand Slam-chasing France at Twickenham on Sunday.

The hosts have not beaten France since the 2003 World Cup semi-final and coach Brian Ashton has made sweeping changes.

Mike Catt, 35, is recalled as captain in place of the injured Phil Vickery, while Jonny Wilkinson is also out.

France are two wins away from a fourth Six Nations title and third Grand Slam in the last six seasons.

so basically, it looks like we're screwed... and france will win the title.

and if that's not bad enough, i can't check the bbc sports site, because of the opening motogp race going on tomorrow. speed channel isn't going to show the race until 6pm on sunday, so i can't look at any internet sites or tv sites that might flash up the result, so that's why i'm having to do all my sports blogging here and now.

go rossi!

go england!

team nutty now in world's top 6,000 BOINC teams

and ranked 929th in the world in climate prediction.

he's just too damned popular...

from the bbc:

Bush greeted by clashes in Brazil

Clashes broke out in Brazil's largest city as US President Bush arrived at the start of a six-day regional tour.

At least 20 people were injured in clashes with riot police in Sao Paulo after thousands turned out to protest against George W Bush's visit.

The US leader is due to meet Brazil's Luis Inacio Lula da Silva to sign an ethanol energy alliance.

He will also go to Uruguay, Colombia, Guatemala and Mexico on a tour aimed at strengthening regional ties.

In Sao Paulo, about 10,000 people spilled out along one of the city's broadest avenues, in the heart of the financial district, banging drums, waving red flags and carrying banners reading "Bush Go Home".

Thursday, March 08, 2007

happy birthday to:


couldn't resist this one:

...a donkey?

Rossi scorches to new Jerez mark

Italy's Valentino Rossi threw down the gauntlet to his MotoGP rivals by setting the fastest-ever lap at the Jerez circuit in pre-season testing.

the first race of the MotoGP season kicks off tomorrow (er, i mean saturday - who races on a friday, idiot...) from Qatar.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Supermodel Naomi 'to mop floors'

NEW YORK (Reuters) - British beauty Naomi Campbell will swap her catwalk outfits for a broom, gloves and safety vest when she begins mopping floors at New York's Sanitation Department on March 19, a court official confirmed on Tuesday.

when she's finished, she can come and do my fridge.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

let's hear it for a big pharmaceutical comapny

(i have adapted this from an editorial in yesterday's new york times:)

it's hard to feel a pang of sincere enthusiasm for any big pharmaceutical company, for they are rightly criticized for concentrating on the development and marketing of drugs that sell for high prices in the industrialized world while neglecting to produce medications that could save millions of lives in the poorest countries.

poor countries? ask anyone without health insurance who needs specialist medication, just how much that medication can cost in the united states of america.

and then comes along paris-based Sanofi-Aventis, the world’s fourth-largest drug company, working in collaboration with a nonprofit drug-development organization pioneered by Doctors Without Borders, will soon introduce a cheap and easy-to-use pill to combat malaria in sub-Saharan Africa.

The pill combines two drugs that are already in use into a single medication that can be taken once a day for three days by young children and twice a day for three days by adults to cure the infection.

The course of treatment is notably cheap — less than 50 cents for children and less than $1 for adults. Sanofi will make no profit on sales to public health agencies and international institutions that typically serve poor people. But it will also produce a branded version to be sold in the private markets of developing countries at three or four times the public price.

To its additional credit, the company has agreed not to seek a patent on the one-pill formulation so that generic companies, like those in India, can produce the pills cheaply and add to the quantities of medicine needed to treat many millions of malaria victims around the world.

Now that Sanofi has shown, in the words of one executive, that “we are not nasty people working against poor countries and seeking only profits,” let us hope that many other big drug companies feel the same humanitarian impulse.

i'd go one further. i'd ask. "what exactly are the worlds' three biggest pharmaceutical companies doing for the world's most disadvantaged...?"

collectively not as much as the fourth, it would appear...

Malaria is most common in tropical and subtropical lands, particularly sub- Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia. It is both a cause of poverty and a result of poverty. Each year, between 300 million and 500 million acute cases are diagnosed and 1.5 million to 2.7 million people die of the disease.

that's a conservative estimate of 3 people dying of this disease every single minute...

Sunday, March 04, 2007

yesterday's total lunar eclipse

Sky watchers across the world have been enjoying the first total lunar eclipse in more than three years.

..that is, unless you happened to be living in washington, d.c. where you did get to see a lot of grey clouds. such is amateur astronomy.

i actually managed to grab a 20-second dim, partial view through the clouds with binoculars from our roof deck, but that was it.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

amateur astronomy - just buy a telescope. that's all there is to it...

letter to scopestuff:


I recently purchased a William Optics ZenithStar 66mm Petzval ED OTA, and I want to be able to use this instead of the crappy, neck-breaking anywhere near the zenith, 9x50 finderscope that comes standard with the Meade.

I use a Rigel Quickfinder on the Meade to locate objects, but really want to be able to compare views using both the William Optics 66mm refractor and the 8" SCT at the same time.

Looking at your website, I wasn't too sure (meaning I hadn't got a clue...) of exactly what I would need in the way of what mounting rails, and rings, etc. I would need to order for me to accomplish this.

I contacted the William Optics forum, and somebody who is essentially using the same set-up, but with the 10" LX200 kindly responded with the following information:

"Get the regular rings, not those with the three screws (not the "Guide Scope" Rings). The rings that grasp the OTA without the three centering screws are more stable.

Mounting hardware to connect all this (you can buy the rings with or without the mounting hardware, get them "with".

I'm including a photo (see photo) that he sent me of his rig that is basically exactly how I want my set-up to look like (minus the camera gear)

I'm aware that I might well have to purchase additional counter balance weights, but I won't know that for sure until I actually mount the William Optics to the Meade 8". I currently use the Meade counter balance weight set as I use 2" Televue eyepieces.

Many, many thanks if you can help advise me on the full list of the correct and necessary parts that I would need to buy.

We have bought from you a few times in the past and have always had great service from you.

Many thanks if you can help me out, because it will probably take me forever to work out exactly what i'll need if you don't :)

Plus, I've already told my girlfriend this shouldn't be too hard to do...



from good old light-polluted, washington, d.c.