A lazy day.

Most of the morning spent in bed listening to the radio.

Most of the afternoon and evening playing “Colin McRae Rally 04” on my laptop.

Though while waiting for dinner I watched the episode of Earth Story with the amazing, magical hand lens which allows Aubry Manning to view a rock as if it had been cut up, placed onto a slide and put under a polarising microscope. It was also the episode where Simon Lamb is shown lecturing GCSE level plate techtonics to bored postgrades (such a Suman Chowdury and Fiona Reid) who had been roped in during the filming. It also showed the old head of department suite of rooms which are now just admin offices. How things have changed in the 7 years since the programme was made. Of course, in a few years tine, when the department has moved into new premises, all this will be historical record. Or should that be hysterical record?

Air day madness.

I went to the RNAS Culdrose Air Day today. I’ll give a fuller update when I get home, but the edited highlights are:

Even though I wore a hat and other protective clothing I still got caught by the sun on my face and neck.

I took almost 800 photographs!

I told you, madness!

It was Culdrose Air Day…

Before going out, as it was the day that Mullion officiially became available for ADSL, I helped my Dad sign up with Tiscali for their 512K service. The only problem is that Tiscali give a 15 day lead time which means that by the time the system is up and going I’ll be at home and my Dad will have to try to sort out the connection himself. This could prove difficult with the combination of the ethernet modem and router as I can’t remember how I had to set the combination when it was at home.

We left home at about 08:45 and got to the air station at about 9am. I was expecting to have to queue up and wait as officially the gates didn’t open until 09:30. However, we went straight in and got a parking place on the grass on the edge of the air field, a perfect position for watching all the aircraft land and much of the show.

I enjoyed the day, taking nearly 800 photographs. I did find the slow (and eratic) auto focus on the Sigma lens annoying though and I wish I could find a way of cleaning the dust from the camera’s sensor. Maybe if I can find a can of high pressure I can do it without sending the camera body back to Nikon.

Anyway, dispite wearing a full sleeve jacket and baseball cap I’ve managed to get a bit sun burnt. Not only this but because for a while I had to tun the cap around backwards to stop it blowing off in the strong wind (which also made aiming the camera at the planes difficult) I’ve got a burnt in the shape of the gap between the adjustment strap and the body of the cap.

Anyway, at least many of the photos came out well, especially some of the Red Arrows and of the Royal Jordanian Air Force display team.

Time for bed.

It’s see, most of the day was taken up using my camera and tripod as a monocular with about a 3x magnification to watch the preparations for tomorrow’s air day at Culdrose and waiting for the stuff for my Dad’s computer to arrive.

Well, the computer stuff arrived at about 2pm. This allowed us time to pop into Helston and buy the airday tickets for £10 each rather than the £15 each on the door (saving £15 in total).

This evening I installed my Dad’s hard disk, loaded WinXP and various other stuff. The updates took all evening to download… I don’t think anyone thinks about dial-up users anymore. Hopefully we can order ADSL for my Dad tomorrow.

Got up at about 10am, ordered parts for my Dad’s PC (hard disk, Windows XP, IDE cable and ADSL filters), went to Helston and paid in the chaeque he gave me to pay for the bits.

After lunch I tried to remove some dust from my D70’s sensor but just made it worse.

We then popped down to Gunwalloe, Church Cove and took a bit of a walk around the place taking pictures. However, my Mum was starting to wander and possibly get herself into hazardous situations so my Dad ans I decided to curtail our visit. It’s difficult these days to be able to do things with my Mum’s mental state. I’m just wondering how she’ll cope at the air day on Wednesday.

I didn’t do a great deal after we got back other than re-discover why I gave up upon one game (I’d got stuck) and discover that another I’d got in a 3 for 2 deal doesn’t work well on a laptop as it needs all the keyas on an extended AT keyboard for the controls.

Today was spent mostly getting my Dad’s computer kit upgraded with the hand-me-downs from my machines at home (motherboard, Athlon XP 1800+, nVidia GeForce 4 Ti4200 graphics card, memory) and my old ADSL kit (modem & wireless router) ready for when he gets broadband. The Mullion exchange goes live with ADSL on the 20th (Wednesday) but stupidly BT won’t take pre-orders so they can’t install the first batch of lines with the hardware at the same time.

It also looks as though there’s a 2 week wait for Tiscali to get its finger out form the time of ordering as well, so I’ll not be able to help my Dad set things up.

It’s the summer holidays.

The journey wasn’t too bad. The air conditioning made it far more pleasant than it would have otherwise been. The weather’s been sunny and warm.

Just before 9pm I decided that I’d like to walk down to the Marconi memorial to take some sunset pictures. However, because my Mum, who’s facalties are waning greatly, wanted to come we didn’t get out of the house until about a quarter past. I walked quickly ahead and just managed to take some pictures of the setting sun with my new lens.

The photos generated with the new lens are a bit soft focused at the highest zoom, but it is a “cheap” lens and I’d have never have managed the photos I did get without it. It should be ideal for the air day.

Well, I think summer’s here.

Phew, what a scorcha!

It’s a bit too hot for me, and my home server as you can see by these graphs. It’s a good thing I installed the two extra case fans when I rebuilt it on Sunday using the parts displaced from my games machine when I upgraded that a while back. OK, so it makes a huge racket, but at least it should survive the summer.

Now, what else have I been up to?

Well, last night I went out to the MyVue cinema in Reading with Grim and Holly to see “Batman Begins,” which is a really good film. It was a bit of a dash beforehand to get food but we made it by aborting waiting for Nando’d and going to Wagamuma(sp?) instead, where Grim’s meal almost didn’t appear.

One of the trailers (only one?) looked quite naff and very derivative: take Top Gun, Terminator, Jaws and Short Circuit, place in blender, remove all plot, blend for 5 minutes and you have: Stealth. I think I’ll avoid that one.

Other news, I got myself a new lens in preparation for my holiday and especially the RNAS Culdrose Air Day next Wednesday. The lens is one of these Sigma 28mm-300mm zoom lenses. I managed to find it on-line from the Swindon branch of the camera shop I go into in Witney, T4 Cameras for the same price as I could have got it straight from Hong Kong via eBay, ie. about £175 including delivery, which was far less than the SRP. OK, so it’s a “cheap” lens and the focus ring feels like a pepper mill when you turn it but it should do the job and I couldn’t afford the £800+ it would have cost for an equivalent “good” lens.

Anyway, this is my last day at work, I’m not going to do anything to the systems at all in case I break something, so it’s going to be a user support day only.

Of iPods and parties.

My updates here are getting sparser and sparser. never mind.

Well, I’ve had a social life recently. OK, not a busy one but one all the same. There’s been a couple of occasions where I’ve needed to use my cameras for departmental events and a couple of BBQs.

After getting my PC hooked up to my HiFi and loading all my CDs into iTunes I’ve found that I need more CDs. This has been compounded by buying myself a 1GB iPod Shuffle at the same time as buying one for a friend’s birthday present. I got five new CDs in the HMV/Virgin sales on Saturday. I’m going to try to withhold from buying more for a while though.

As for the iPod Shuffle. I’m impressed by the sound quality and the size. It’s a marvel of miniturisation! Sir Clive Sinclair would love it. It reminds me a bit of his first product, the matchbox radio.

Only 1.5 weeks now ;til I’m off on my hols! Yippee.