Sunday, February 25, 2007

Cycling with Graeme

Doing anything with Graeme tends to generate an inordinate number of peculiar situations and mirth.
We met at 05:30 as normal and it is now quite dark when I leave home at 05:15 so we are going to have to change the time that we ride soon. Really quite enjoying riding with Tim and Graeme at the moment because I can can easily pull away from them which means that riding with them is a doddle. I should enjoy it while I can because fundamentally, they are both about the same strength as I am, they just haven't been riding and I have.
Anyway there we were going west along witkoppen road and since there are building works at this point, a brick has strayed onto the road. As I passed the brick I wondered if I should point it out to graeme but he was quite far back (15-25m) so not much point and I faced the front again. I had no sooner done so that graeme somehow managed to miss the metre of tar on either side of the brick and collide with it. All I hear was a clatter as graeme skidded to a halt injuring his knee, top of the hip and elbow. A little blood but not really enough to get any sympathy from anyone.
The brick had punctured his tube so we spent a while putting his spare tube in which was much better than jason who didn't have a spare tube. After the puncture was fixed we didn't go more than about 2km before he became the victim of yet another puncture and this time, I got to lend him my spare. I feel like I've become a spare tube charity.

All of this made us very late so by the time we got to the stretch between Peter Place and Republic road the traffic was so bad that it was impossible to ride on the left since there was absolutely no space so we had to weave in between the traffic. Had one horrible moment, just as we were about to squeeze between them both drivers veered to the right and left respectively creating a taxi sandwich with us as the ham. A bit of shouting and hard breaking and the danger was averted, the taxi drivers apologetic as we manoevred past them.

I managed something this week which I haven't for quite a while, maybe forever. I managed to get out of bed every morning and either a cycle or a run before work. It doesn't get easier as people would have one believe but it really is great getting out in the early morning when it is fresh.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Carons Birthday

Yesterday was Caron's birthday which gives me my annual headache trying to find something to give her as a birthday present. I think I have clubbed it for another year, bought her a set of motorcycle lesssons since she can't ride at the moment and if we are going to be contemplating doing a tour through europe in 2009 she is going to have to learn. Not exactly the most romantic of presents but I think she will enjoy it.

The day wasn't especially romantic since she went to work for the majority of the day which would have left me kicking my heels at home so I organised a ride with jason out to northern farm which turned into a major expedition and one that jason didn't complete. The woes.

Started riding at 05:30 and met everyone at a low level bridge. All in all there were 4 guys and one girl going for the ride out to Northern Farm and back. Little did I know that it was actually going to be right through Northern Farm, a big loop around the back and then all the way back. We were just about to get to Northern Farm when we realised that no one had brought their tickets to get in, how daft. Fortunately jasons house was quite close so took a detour and appropriated his ticket for everyone. Finally arrived home at 12:30 having done close to 90km on a mountain bike which is a very fair days ride. Jason, the woes, as I mentioned didn't complete the ride because on the way back he got a puncture for which I lent him my one and only spare tube which he then promptly punctured as well and since we happened to be very close to his house, retired in a huff. This left 4 in the group and before we knew it, another one had dropped out taking the short route home leaving only three. Two guys and the girl, andrea who is quite a toughie. She's not particularly fast but she just seems to go and go forever. It was an absolutely fantastic ride and I made an important discovery which the rest confirmed, the more expensive your bike, the more trouble you have with it. Unfortunately the amount of trouble is inversely proportional to the weight of the bike, jason's new (second hand) bike cost just short of 20k and weighs less than my road bike notwithstanding that it is a full suspension bike. Quite amazing.

Got home and recovered in front of the TV where, for a change, the south african teams were actually doing respectably well. Caron got home at 15:30 and promptly scuppered my plans for a dinner out so we stayed at home, glued to the TV and munching woolies sandwiches. Pretty sad but we were both so tired.

Caron got up at 05:00 and left for work while I actually managed to sleep in until 06:30 which means I must have been really tired from yesterdays ride. Spent the morning tidying the house up and reading. Finally finished "Why I am not a Christian" by Bertrand Russel which, while a bit tricky to understand in places, I found to be excellent. I find it remarkable that the majority of the world has not caught up to the views which he expressed almost 100 years ago. He must have been an exceptional person.

Went off to Clare's (Tim and Emers daughter) second birthday to see just how bad life with children can get. Imagine 20 children between the ages of 2 and 5 and you get the picture. Caron went back to work before reappearing just before my entire family descended on us. My mother cousin, William, is out from Holland with his wife Nita. I thoroughly enjoyed having them over, we clearly think the same way with regards to some topics like religion but differ markedly on others like copyright and patents which led to a very interesting discussion and the whole topic is slowly starting to crystalise in my mind. More on that another time. William complimented me on my choice of books to lend my father (The God Delusion) much to the chagrin of pretty much the entire rest of the family. Anyway, it was a great evening and one which I thoroughly enjoyed.

Had my first bike whoopsy, forgot to put my reading glasses in the pannier and drove off with them on the back seat. About a kilometre down the road there was this taxi which kept on hooting at someone, me it turned out. Eventually he got out of his taxi, picked up my now flattened glasses and handed them back to me before driving off. An expensive little forget this turned out to be at R3500 for a new set of lenses and frames. Ouch!

Sex in the Cloisters

The fact that the Catholic church is opposed to the use of contraceptives has always struck me as a bit wierd. Why would they be so vehemently opposed to it? Is contraception outlawed in the bible? I can't find any specific passage which deals with this but "... be fruitful, and increase in number and fill the earth ..." deals with filling the earth with progeny which contraception could definitely prevent or at least limit. If one accepts the logic that "... be fruitful, and increase in number and fill the earth ..." speaks against contraception, surely it would speak against all forms of contraception including abstinence.

Another topic which the church tends to rail against with more or less ferocity is that of the M word. M is for Masturbation and the church is pretty quiet about it while at the same time letting you know that it is a definately not to be indulged in. Since this, once again, doesn't seem to be mentioned anywhere in the bible I don't know why the church would be against it but I think I have finally figured it out. Maybe!

If one was to condone the use of contraception, one would in effect be condoning the fact that sex is indulged in purely for the pleasure of it because it clearly isn't for procreation. Since sex would now be for one's and one's partners mutual pleasure, it is only a small jump to describe sex as being a form of mutual masturbation. And then it is only a small jump to self masturbation while fantasising about one's partner and voila, you have just justified masturbation all within the confines of church doctrine. This can't be allowed to happen, there would be far too many people having far too much pleasure and not enough guilt with which to work.


Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Back from Banishment

At last, I'm back online. My ISP has been giving me the runaround for almost 3 weeks and being offline for that long made if feel even longer. In the end I can't even point to a definitive issue that needed to be resolved. I have to phone my ISP quite regularly to get them to terminate what they call "hanging connections" which to my mind, ought to be automatically terminated as soon as there hasn't been any data for a set amount of time. They don't and they definitely don't let you log in twice so I periodically (about once a month or two) have to phone the support desk and get them to reset the connection which takes about 30 minutes of arguing on the phone before they believe me and trot off to do it.
This time there were no hanging connections so then we had the windows vs linux argument, they wanted the diagnostic messages from their windows dialer but of course I don't have it and there is one long silence on the other end of the phone (along with an 'eish!!!') when I tell them I'm using linux. They make it sound like I'm the only user of linux in the world and why don't I just go and buy windows so that their life can be easier. They generally give this direction up when I tell them I'd happily use windows but they need to pay for it as well as all the applications which I am going to need in order to do what I do for nothing on linux. Another silence when I ask them where their software for linux is. Eventually they ask me to take the modem into one of their shops which I do and they upgraded the firmware and showed it working on one of their laptops. The shop, can you believe it, doesn't have a decent signal. The attendant has to stick the modem into his display cabinet in order to get any kind of signal, a bit ludicrous but that is what happened. Came back home but still nothing, next possibility was the network card so I took the firewall to work and reconfigured the ip settings and eventually proved that the network card was in fact working. While I was there I took the opportunity to clean the dust out of the casing with a blower. A day later I still couldn't walk into the room without my feeling the effects of the dust in the air. Came home, reconfigured the the IP setting to what they were and voila, it worketh.
I've been reading up on patents and such like and it is decidely the most confusing topic. I've just finished a book called "A Patented World" which started out on patents and copyright but by the end of the book it was discussing gender politics. How does one get from patents to gender politics one might ask, well read the book and you will see. Some of the chapter are a bit difficult to digest but mostly it is quite well written and understandable.