Monday, 30 April 2012

Day 121: Good Deeds For The Garage

I stopped in at Super Cheap Auto this arvo with two things in mind: I needed some new side cutters and after not having the right tool for yesterday's work on the Daytona I wanted a set of Allen Keys with ball ends. The rest of the stuff in today's photo just kind of jumped into my arms as I was walking the aisles trying to find what I was looking for.

This is why I limit my trips to Super Cheap... but in my defence, it costs about the same to buy the pack with the pliers, side cutters and a small shifter as it would to buy the side cutters on their own. The ratchet spanners on the right were a bit of an impulse buy and the trickle charger is to replace the one that broke a couple of weeks ago. So I really only bought things that I needed, kind of.

In any case they'll all be put to good use in my garage just as they deserve to be. No tool should remain shelf bound, I'm really doing these tools a favour by rescuing them from a life of inaction on the shelves of the Fyshwick Super Cheap Auto.

Sunday, 29 April 2012

Day 120: Slow Quick Action

I didn't quite finish the work I started on the Daytona yesterday so this afternoon I went back out to the garage to complete the job. I'd only planned on being out there for about half an hour as I only needed to oil the filter and reinstall it along with the fuel tank. The thing with oiling the air filter is that you have to wait 20 minutes for the oil to soak into the filter element and then check for an even coating, if there are patches that aren't evenly covered you need to spray those areas with more oil and wait another 20 minutes before repeating the process until an even coating has been achieved.

While I was waiting the first 20 minutes I thought I'd take the opportunity to replace my throttle & cables with the fancy new Accossato quick action throttle that came with the bike. I didn't think it would take too long as I already had half the required disassembly done for the air filter maintenance. What I didn't realise was that you're supposed to remove the whole throttle body assembly when you replace the throttle cables. I tried, and it shouldn't have been too hard but the three small clamps that hold the assembly onto the intake manifold are very hard to get to. After only being able to loosen two of the three and finding that the 3rd was impossible to loosen without a tool I don't have.

Not being one to give up so easily I decided to try swapping the cables over in situ. It took a lot of patience, some bent coat hanger wire, my pointy nose pliers and a magnet on a stick to finally get the two cables attached as they should be. After that it was simply routing the cables back up to the throttle tube and making the correct adjustments so the throttle opened and closed freely and easily.

The end result has me with a throttle will move from the idle position to fully open in about on eighth of a turn of the twist grip. This is a bit less than half the action required to open the throttle fully on the standard setup. So around 3 hours after I started, the bike was all back together with the cleaned air filter and the fancy quick action throttle installed. All in all a successful albeit slow install of some go fast bits... All that's left is to re-fit the hand grip.

Saturday, 28 April 2012

Day 119: Triumph Triple Trumpets

I've been doing more work on the Daytona to get it ready for my next outing on the 11th and while I had the air filter out for a cleaning I saw these for the first time. I love discovering beauty in unexpected places and when removing the filter disclosed these I had to take a few photos. The gold butterflies in each throttle body were what really caught my attention and they came as a bit of a surprise, I think without them the photo would be too monotone.

As well as the air filter maintenance I also changed the gearing to be more suitable for the short and twisty Wakefield track, last time I rode there the gearing was too tall and I'm hoping this change will help me drop my lap times a little further. I guess time will tell.

Friday, 27 April 2012

Day 118: Sunny Canberra

This was the view that greeted me this morning. It was a bit of an early taste of what the coming Winter has to offer us: Cold and foggy mornings. Eventually the cold and fog will give way even colder and frost, it's nice to know you've got something to look forward to.

I used Snapseed on this morning's photo to bring the colours out in our tree. It's leaves are starting to turn and soon will be a naked mess of twiggy branches, but for now it's getting all pretty and Autumn like. It's a nice time of year in Sunny Canberra... if you don't mind the cold starts to the days.

Thursday, 26 April 2012

Day 117: Rungs In The Mail

About a week ago I ordered a new ladder online, it was a spur of the moment thing with the 'deal' only being available for 24 hours. Today it arrived at the post office and I was able to pick it up on my way home from work. It's one of those multi position ladders that can disassemble and become 2 x smaller A frames, I'm sure that will come in handy eventually.

It will be interesting to see how many times I blog about my online shopping habit this year, and whilst I think this is probably one of my least exciting purchases it'll still add to the final count.

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Day 116: Girl Racers

On my way home this morning I stopped back in at Eastern Creek to see Richard & Stacey, a couple of my mates, who were doing what I did yesterday; riding their bikes around the race track. I arrived just before they were heading out for their next session so once they'd geared up and had rolled out to pit lane I headed up onto the roof of the garages to check out their style.

In today's photo the rider at the top of the pic is Stacey and the rider at the bottom is her friend Leanne. I managed to capture Stacey taking turn one at the exact moment that Leanne was leaving pit lane to enter the track, just another flukey photo that has turned out pretty well despite my lack of skill as a photographer.

Stacey has recently started racing her bike and she's been improving very quickly, Leanne has substantially more experience and today she caught up to Stacey and then 'towed' her around the track for a few sessions.

The towing phenomena is an interesting one, essentially the act of following a faster rider can improve the pace of the slower rider in a shorter timeframe than if the slower rider were to just practice on their own. I've experienced this myself and I think it really comes down to seeing someone quicker than you using a different line through a corner, brake a little later or just hold more corner speed and that gives you, as the slower rider, the confidence to push that little bit harder.

It was great to see how Stacey had improved since the last time I'd seen here ride and it's also great to see that she's got the support of her partner as well as the support of many friends encouraging her to keep improving.

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Day 115: A Bit Like Church

I spent today riding my bike around Eastern Creek with my mates Andy & Pete. Now, I'm pretty far from being a religious man but spending a day riding my bike around a race track gives me a feeling of peace and joy that would make any cashed up Hill Song groupie green with envy.

The weather held out pretty well for us during the day too, with the only bit of rain falling at the end of one of our sessions and then stopping in time for the track to be dry before our next session. Today, since the weather was good, we parked in the open carports instead of the garages that open on to Pit lane. The main reason for this is that out in the carports you can hold a conversation between sessions without having to yell over the sounds of the other groups bikes echoing through the garages as they  scream down the main straight, the other advantage today was we could put our chairs in the sun to soak up the remaining heat as it cooled a little in the afternoon.

We all had great day on the track without injury or incident, except for Pete burning his arm on Andy's exhaust when he had to catch the bike as it was falling off its stand. Andy was very appreciative of Pete's sacrifice to save his bike from damage. Despite the burn, Pete enjoyed his first track day on my old bike with the enormous grin on his face at the end of each session being a fair indication of just how joyous Pete was feeling today. I even managed to do a little bit of sneaky lap timing so I could compare the new bike against the old. Turns out I'm close to 3 seconds a lap quicker on the 675 which gave me even more reason to be joyous.

If church was as good as a day like today, I think the three of us would be incredibly devout.

Monday, 23 April 2012

Day 114: Ask And You Shall Receive

I'm house sitting for Belinda's parents tonight and tomorrow, well actually I'm really just bumming free accommodation for the nights before and after a track day at Eastern Creek... but it sounds much more benevolent if I call it house sitting.

When I arrived this afternoon I was greeted with a note, a fresh pack of Earl Grey tea and a Bottle of Chardonnay in the fridge. The bottle was left for me after I butted in on a skype call Belinda was having with her parents when organising the 'house sitting' and asked if they could leave enough leftovers for 2 nights and a bottle of wine in the fridge for me. I'll take this opportunity to add that my request was made in jest and was taken that way, but I'll also add that it was a very nice surprise to be greeted by the small list of instructions accompanied by my favourite tea and wine.

I reckon I've got some pretty good in-laws.

Sunday, 22 April 2012

Day 113: Form And Function

Today we went down to the wharf at Eden so we could buy Jenna the ice cream that had been promised yesterday... there was no way she was going to let that slide.

While we were there we looked at the big tugboats and fishing vessels with their huge machines for winding in nets. The photo opportunities were plentiful with all the boats, ropes, nets and even a forklift named 'Pace Maker' that had a weird engine hoist looking contraption attached to its tines (I guess that what they're called since it's a 'fork' lift) that I can only assume is used to reach over the edge of the wharf to lift heavy objects from the boats.

Even though I was surrounded by all this cool nautical stuff that was just begging to be blog fodder, I still managed to find my photo for the day planted firmly on the ground... in the car park.

Today's image is a brilliant example of form and function in the one piece; it's the hood ornament/engine temperature gauge from a Morris Cowley Bull Nose car that from what I can gather would have been built somewhere between 1915 and 1924. The car was tiny, not much bigger than your modern day Smart Car and the body work looked to be made from aluminium that had been polished to a mirror finish. It was beautiful and old and had a few little dings and scuffs around it that just added to its character, but my favourite part was this little instrument mounted at the end of the bonnet. I really like how all the internal workings are framed inside the glass for all to see.

Saturday, 21 April 2012

Day 112: The Green Machine

I love this photo. 

I took it this morning at the Community Markets where mum has a stall selling jams and chutneys that she's made from the produce grown in the Community Garden. Mum's jams & chutneys are amazing, we seem to come home with a collection every time we visit and this time we had instructions to bring a couple back for Belinda's mum too.

But back to the photo: Henry was making himself at home running around the gardens and as Belinda was retrieving him from one of the far corners of the garden a lady commented on Henry's obvious and abundant cuteness and called him the Green Machine.

Henry loves being able to run around outside and today's photo shows the happiness he gets out of being able to do what he loves perfectly. This one's going straight to the pool room.

Friday, 20 April 2012

Day 111: Toe Rings

We arrived in Eden this afternoon and after all the usual excitement that occurs when Henry and Jenna are reunited had died down, Henry created his own game with some Hookey rings.

The foot you see resting elegantly on the coffee table belongs to Jenna and Henry's game involved taking the Hookey rings hanging form Jenna's toe and putting them onto his own. As with most of Henry's games, it was pretty simple and a little repetitive but I think this is just him practicing his motor skills. Henry's games also keep him entertained quietly for longer than you'd believe, I think this one only ended because dinner was ready.

Thursday, 19 April 2012

Day 110: Suspension Setup

Yep, it's bike stuff again and some of the following may not make any sense to you if you don't 'get' bikes.

Today I'd booked the Daytona in for a suspension tuning with Laurie 'Suspension' Smith. He's a bit of a local legend in Motorcycling circles, not only because he's incredibly good at sorting out motorcycle suspension issues, or because he was invited to the Le Man 24 hour Motorcycle race off the back of his reputation nationally, but also because he's built some amazing things in his workshop. His creations range from shoehorning an 1100cc Honda engine into a 600c Yamaha frame to building a dirt bike out of a Kawasaki ZX10R to grafting a Girder front suspension setup that he designed and fabricated in his workshop onto the front of a Yamaha R1 with impressive improvements over the standard telescopic fork design.

Needless to say I have the utmost respect for Laurie's capabilities with suspension and on top of all that, he's a good bloke.

Today, I spent some time with Laurie while he spent some time tuning the Daytona's suspension to my weight. He made quite a few changes to the rear shock and gave the forks a bit of tweaking as well, I don't really understand all the things Laurie did today but I'm sure they'll make a difference to how the bike feels on the track. It's great having such ready and local access to a resource like of international note like Laurie, I feel pretty lucky to have been able to use his talents on all my bikes... except for the R1, but I'll be dropping that one in to him in the near future too.

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Day 109: Alcochocks

We made a start on one of our easter gifts tonight, we still have a long way to go. These were a gift to Belinda and I from Belinda's parents, I think they did a good job killing two birds with one stone so to speak. It's not always easy to meet two individuals interests in one gift, but with Belinda's love of chocolate and my more than passing interest in alcoholic beverages, you'd have to agree that the in-laws really hit the mark with this one.

So far I'm liking the Malibu flavoured chockies most, closely followed by the Cointreau and Grand Marnier flavours.

Conratulations in-laws, you chose well.

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Day 108: Bodgy Brake Bracket

At some point during my first race on Saturday (possibly when I had my little off track excursion) the little metal bracket that holds my front brake master cylinder snapped. I zip tied it up for the remaining 3 races and that worked fine for the day but it was hardly a permanent solution.

I also noticed that my front brake pads were getting pretty close to needing replacing, so this afternoon I changed the pads over for new ones and then started to make up a new bracket for the master cylinder using what I could find in the garage.

It took a fair bit of grinding and shaping with the Dremel as well as a number of trial fittings to finish with the weird, almost Ying Yang shaped thing you see in today's photo. It's not exactly pretty, but it seems to be functional. I guess I'll know how successful my fabrication has been after next Tuesday's ride day at Eastern Creek.

Monday, 16 April 2012

Day 107: Home Improvements

Belinda's on holidays and as usual she's written herself a huge list of things she'd like to get done before having to go back to school. Painting over the horrible mustard yellow feature wall in the spare room has been one of those things that has been on one list or another since we moved in here.

Today, Belinda made the most of my Mum visiting and put her to work. Together they started on painting the room and got most of the hard stuff done: 2 coats of undercoat over that horrible yellow wall and cutting in around edges of the rest of the room.

This is the room that Mum would have been sleeping in if it hadn't been getting painted so Mum has the pleasure of bunking down in Jenna's single bed tonight.

The best thing about all this is that it was done while I was at work, does home improvement get any better?

Sunday, 15 April 2012

Day 106: Broken Button

Quite a while ago, near the beginning of what should have been summer last year, the button on my shorts broke. The stitching was still intact and was still holding the button's centre in place but the rest of the button had broken away. I needed a new button.

Fast forward a few months to when I found a suitable replacement when tidying up by bedside. I thought I'd finally be able to wear my shorts again, so I put the new button & the shorts aside so I'd be able to grab them when I had a spare 5 minutes to fix the button to the shorts.

Today, around 6 months after the button actually broke, I got around to sewing the new button on. You can't hurry these things. At least now, my shorts will be ready for the next time we have some warm weather.

Exciting hey? This is almost as good as my ironing post from Day 7...

Saturday, 14 April 2012

Day 105: First Ride

On Australia Day I took delivery of my new race bike, some 80 days later I finally got to ride my new toy. I had intended to try and do a couple of track days before entering a race, somehow I just never got around to it so a couple of weeks ago I bit the bullet and signed up for today's race meet at Wakefield.

I was a little nervous initially and my first qualifying session was really hard work. It seemed to take a long time to get comfortable on the bike but I still managed to qualify 7th outright which had me on the second row of the grid.

As the day progressed my times improved along with my comfort levels on the new bike. I even improved my previous best lap time for Wakefield by 2 seconds, not bad for my first outing on the 675.

So the somewhat delayed verdict: I like my new bike.

Friday, 13 April 2012

Day 104: Big Burger

I like food. A lot. I like a lot of food.

Today I felt extremely hungry and was ready for lunch at about 10am, I held out until around 11:30 before I broke and headed out to get the mother of all burgers. I hadn't had a Brodburger for ages, the last time I did they were still operating out of their little red caravan in a car park on the shores of Lake Burley Griffin. Since then they've moved into a cafe at the back of the Canberra Glassworks and I have to say that it's a big improvement. They have places to sit and eat now as well as a number system for your order, they even deliver your meal to you if you're eating in.

Some things haven't changed though, the burgers still take a long time to come out but they're worth the wait and the Broddelux is still enormous. The photo today doesn't have much to give you any indication of scale... that was poor planning on my behalf, as was the fact that I only remembered to take a photo of it after starting to eat the behemoth of a burger.

The burger consists of 2 x half pound burger patties (a little under half a kilo of yummy minced up cow) 2 x eggs, a heap of bacon, the usual lettuce, tomato, spanish onion and an in house made aioli and tomato relish. With any Brodburger you get to choose either Swiss, Blue, Brie or Cheddar Cheese, I went with the Swiss option.

By the time I'd finished my burger I was no longer hungry, in fact the 'full' feeling remained with me all the way until dinner time. My delicious Brodburger had done it's job very well.

Thursday, 12 April 2012

Day 103: The "Arty Farty, Had Nothing Else To Blog" Post MkIII

Today was the same old story: I didn't take any photos during the day and nothing exciting happened this evening so just before bed I'm scratching my head wondering what on earth I'm going to take a photo of.

Luckily, Belinda had used some capsicum in tonight's dinner and I spied an opportunity for a little more arty fartiness. I chose to use Belinda's point & shoot Sony camera over her big Nikon or my little Canon for 2 reasons: First, the Macro capabilities of the Sony are much better than the Canon and second, the camera lens is right in the very corner of the Sony which meant I could stick it right into the opening of the capsicum which is something I would not have been able to do with either the Canon or the Nikon.

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Day 102: Jenna's Showcase

Jenna's class has been learning about Australian explorers, they've been working on a showcase to share with their parents and today was the culmination of all their efforts. They set up a tent at the entrance to their classroom which all the kids & parents had to crouch and waddle through. In the classroom on each of the kids desks were their projects, Jenna's was on Ludwig Leichhardt. She showed Sue and I through her project that had information on the Leichhardt's 3 expeditions, the places that he'd named during his expeditions, an impressive list of things and places that had been named after him and a page that contained Jenna's argument for having Leichhardt's image on her newly designed Australian $200 note.

Today's photo is of Jenna sitting in front of the tent with her project flipped to the page with the $200 note argument, she did a very impressive job of designing the note and her argument had some nice elements of humour among the reasons that she felt Ludwig Leichhardt deserved to be on the new note.

The class had obviously put a lot of effort into their showcase and it was an enjoyable way to break up the day easing my way back into work after a 5 day weekend.

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Day 101: Post Dinner Snack

Belinda cooked some delicious pork chops for dinner tonight with fried sage leaves and an abundance of her home made apple chutney. Normally two decent sized pork chops would be enough for dinner, but today Belinda had put me to work in the front garden and I'd worked up a bit of an appetite.

The gardening involved shoveling 3 cubic meters of pine chip onto the front garden where Belinda had carefully laid layers of newspaper to keep the weeds at bay. It took most of the day but left enough time for me to load the new Daytona into the freshly swept out trailer and start getting things organised for the racing this Saturday at Wakefield. It will be my first ride of the bike and I'm feeling a little nervous about jumping straight into a race situation on a bike I've never ridden before, but I digress.

Back to the explanation of today's photo: After dinner I was still feeling peckish so I opted for my favourite old snack of curried chicken 2-minute noodles. It's pretty simple really, I just cook up the 2 minute noodles without adding the flavour sachet then drain all the water. I add half of the sachet, about half a teaspoon of Keen's Curry powder and enough milk to mix it all in and make a bit of a curry/chicken sauce. For the photo today I tried to dress it up a little with some parsley... after the photo I removed the parsley and scoffed the noodles.

My little recipe is certainly not going to get me on to Master Chef... and it would probably have me kicked off My Kitchen Rules faster than you can say "Manu's accent is as bad as George's technique with cutlery". Still, despite the lack of culinary skill and knowledge required to put this little dish together, it remains one of my favourite quick & easy snacks.

Monday, 9 April 2012

Day 100: Did You Miss Us?

We spent another morning looking at display homes today, this time at Liverpool on our way out of Sydney. We looked at a different company's homes with a bit of a Japanese influence, they all had Cloak Rooms near the front door and I really liked the idea. The rest of the houses didn't really compare to our favourites made by Rawson though. After cruising our way through six display homes we decided to grab some lunch and head back to Sunny Canberra. It was quite cold when we arrived.

After our few nights away from home we were greeted with much higher than usual levels of affection from our little feline, I think she missed us. It's not really surprising though, she only had the grumpy old cat for company in our absence and I'd sooner stab myself with plastic cutlery than be stuck in isolation with that cranky old cat.

It's nice to be home after a few days away and even nicer to know I don't have to go to work tomorrow either. I do like these short weeks, taking the extra day off tomorrow means I've only got a 3 day week to contend with before my next weekend.

Sunday, 8 April 2012

Day 99: A Successful Meet

This weekend was Round 1 of the St George Race Series for 2012 and it was also the first time I'd been to Eastern Creek to spectate instead of riding. I only had a half day spare this weekend to go out and watch my friend Mark racing his Yamaha FZ-1.

The race meet was a two day event and I'd been keeping an eye on Natsoft for Mark's results. He'd done exceptionally well yesterday and had won both races in the class he'd been concentrating on and was consistently in the top 3rd of the field in the second class he'd been running. Today he chose to only race in the one class because competing in both classes involved back to back races which really takes a toll both mentally and physically.

In this race Mark finished second and I found out later (through the live updates on Natsoft) that Mark had finished second in his second race and first in his last race which was enough for him to win this class outright for the weekend.

I was only able to watch one of his 3 races today so I made the most of it with Belinda's Nikon and her longest zoom lens. Of the 200+ photos I took today this is one of the handful that was actually in focus and captured the subject that I'd been aiming for. I've developed a new appreciation for the guys who do this for a living or even as a hobby, there is a lot of skill involved in taking photos of subjects moving upward of 200km/h.

I also dropped in on some other riders in the pit area, I'd done a few races last year with the BEARS and it was good to catch up with a few of the guys I shared garages with and hear some encouragement  to come back and race with them again.

Saturday, 7 April 2012

Day 98: Fancy Water Features

We spent the afternoon looking at display homes and discovered that they almost all use water features in their landscaping. This is all well and good for prospective buyers without toddlers but for us it was a constant distraction. Henry has developed a fascination with water features and at times we had to physically remove him so we could go to the next house.

Henry was also surprisingly comfortable in the new surroundings of each house, he would run with Jenna from one room to the next, hide in enormous walk in wardrobes and shut us out of the bedrooms he fancied to be his.

It was a fun afternoon and we've now got our heads full of ideas about what we like and what we don't... all we need now is a massive lotto windfall and we'll be set.

Friday, 6 April 2012

Day 97: Micro Escargot

I found this little fellow in the washing this morning. It's not a great photo but the arc you can just make out below this little snail is my thumb nail. He was a little shy to begin and was reluctant to come out of his shell, but after a minute or so he began to emerge.

It was interesting watching his body unfurl from within his miniscule shell and then watching each eye extending one at a time. It was almost as if he was afraid and was only game to peep through one eye until he felt safe enough to open both and explore his unusual surroundings... namely the tip of my thumb.

I did try to take a better picture, I even used Belinda's little Sony camera which usually takes a great Macro photo but this one was the best I could get in the time I had available. We were in the middle of packing up ready for Easter in Sydney at the time and as usual we were running late, we ended up leaving about an hour after we intended.

Thursday, 5 April 2012

Day 96: Peristent Postal Patronage

On Monday the 26th I sent my old iPod Nano off to be replaced under a safety recall scheme. Today the replacement arrived and I think I got a pretty good deal: I sent off my old poverty pack 2GB Nano and a little over a week later I received a new 8GB Nano that's about a 3rd the size of the old one and has 4 times the memory, plus it's got a fancy little touch screen.

Belinda picked it up from the post office for me this afternoon, she'd had a parcel notification yesterday and had no idea I had one waiting for me as well (either did I for that matter). Funnily enough when Belinda arrived at the post office and said she was picking up a parcel for Moss, the counter staff asked "Is that for Dale?". I think Belinda was a little put out that they were all very aware that my mail had arrived but seemed to be completely unaware that she gets mail too. This may have been compounded when Belinda mentioned it was a little embarrassing that they knew me so well and their response was along the lines of "We know all of our best customers by name...".

I've chosen to view my "best customer" status at the local post office as a good thing and ignore the possibility that some may see this as a sign that I shop online too much. It seems that persistence pays when it comes to being known by your Postie.

As a side note: the Abundant Application of Alliteration in Today's Tale Title was for my Beautiful Belinda's Benefit.

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Day 95: First Driving Lesson

Is 20 months old too early to start with driving lessons? I say not. When I got home from picking Henry up I left the car in the driveway because I had a few things to get out of the car and it's also easier to get Henry out before putting the car in the garage.

Once I had all the bits & pieces organised I enlisted Henry's help in putting Belinda's car away. You can see the intense look of concentration on his face as I was explaining the finer points of clutch control to him. I think much of that conversation was lost on him, mostly because his feet can't touch the pedals.

He did a great job helping me steer the car through the narrow garage entry, even though he couldn't see over the steering wheel. I think I'll continue to enlist Henry's help as often as I can, he's quite the natural.

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Day 94: Flying High

On my way to pick Jenna up this afternoon I received a message letting me know that Jenna was flying her kite. It had directions to where she and her mum were so I could come and see how high the kite was, which was so high that I saw it from the car before I had even turned into their suburb.

Jenna was very impressed with her kite, it's one that she bought from a $2 Shop for some school thing and she never expected it to fly so well. After watching Jenna fly the kite for a while longer we decided it was time to go so she should start winding it back in. Jenna kind of lost her focus when she was winding the kite in and wasn't watching what she was doing, the kite ended up on the other side of a tree with the string running straight over the top. We ended up breaking the string so we could just pull it through the tree without the kite attached.

Today's photo was taken with the hand me down Canon at full zoom and has been cropped to about a 3rd of the original size.

Monday, 2 April 2012

Day 93: Apple TV

Belinda has been talking about this Apple TV thing for a while now and I didn't really know what it was all about. Actually, I still don't know what it's all about but I've been assured it's very cool. Apparently you can stream the photos from your MacBook to the TV as a slide show, you can hire movies from the good folk at Apple and watch stuff on Vimeo or YouTube. All these things and more are controlled by the funky little remote that comes with the little black box.

Belinda set it up and had a little play tonight and it was all very exciting except that the cool little remote seems to control pretty much anything Apple that happens to be in range. My internet surfing kept getting interrupted every time Belinda used the remote to try out another Apple TV feature... my volume would go up & down and then some weird Apple options page would open on the screen wiping out the web page I was looking at. Apparently if we pair the remote with the little black box this kind of remote control behaviour can be avoided.

Maybe I'll read the instructions one day and once I know all about it I'll feel young and cool and like one of the 'in' crowd, just as Mr Jobs intended.

Sunday, 1 April 2012

Day 92: Minor Mechanical Issues

For weeks I'd been looking forward to riding with Andy, Pete & Lachlan today and as usual, I ended up having a great time with some great mates out in wilds of Tallaganda. The day wasn't without its hitches, first Lachlan had a gentle stack before we made it to the single trail which resulted in a sticky throttle. We were able to ease the stickiness a little but it still wasn't as it should be, Lachlan soldiered on with it as it was.

A short ride later I discovered I could only change into higher gears and not shift down to lower gears, this was because my gear lever had slipped on its spline so that when I tried to push it down to shift into a lower gear the lever would hit the bikes frame and stop it from engaging the lower gear.

Today's photo is of Andy loosening the bolt that secures the lever to its spline so we could remove it and refit it so it wouldn't foul on the frame. The teeth on the lever were pretty chewed up so the repair only lasted a short time and had to be repeated about 10 minutes later. After the second repair I shifted into second and left it there for the rest of the single trail. I had to be very gentle with it for the rest of the day because there were sections of road between the different trails that required higher gears.

A few of the highlights of the day for me were being able to complete the ride with minimal gear shifts, the enormous 'puddle' that made us all very wet (it must have been close to a meter deep) and the multiple laughs we all had at the expense of each other when falling off, getting pinned under out bikes or just being generally unco.

Now I need to go and buy a replacement gear lever so I'll be ready for the next ride.