I got up at around 10am. We went off to Penzance and did some shopping.

In the late afternoon started playing Doom 3 seriously for the first time after getting it last Saturday. It’s OK but isn’t a patch om Half-Life 2 in terms of play or complexity of the control system. It also seems to have a memory leak as the system begins to page to death after a short while. Saving the game, quitting the program and then going back in solves the problem. It still takes ages to load levels though.

It’s the start of the Christmas holiday again.

It was a five hour journey mostly due to lots of roadworks. There was a crash just south of the Taunton Dean services which caused about a 10 minute hold up. A land rover hauling a ground awger had hit the central reservation barrier on the other side of the road and had turned over.

Other than that it was an OK drive. There were lots of police doing speed checks though, including one between the A30 junction and Truro. They were aiming their radar gun at traffic decending a hill were it’s hard to keep your speed down. I think that it’s a little unfair to do it at that point, especially as it’s a straight, wide bit of road with no junctions and good visibility and hence isn’t a hazardous location.

A lot of the evening was spent with my Dad. I was showing him all the new imagary on Google Earth of the places we’ve lived etc. Having seen a lot of cases of hairs showing up on the pictures, it’s obvious that the new 6″ resolution imagary is from aircraft rather than satellite.

It’s so nice having wireless and net connectivity from here. It’s amazing how much you miss it when you don’t have it.

I was rudely awoken.

It was 6:02am this morning. I was awoken by the rattling of my house’s roof tiles and the creaking of the roof timbers.

My immediate reaction was “That was a shock wave!” I knew that it had to be quite some way off because the shockwave lasted for at least a couple of seconds and hence had had time to disperse. I knew something big had happened but hadn’t deduced what.

Guessed that it probably wasn’t nuclear seeing as there wasn’t a lot of light outside. It could have been a meteorite impact, I supposed, not knowing of anything nearby which could produce such a high energy shockwave.

Anyway, so as to see if the news organisations had anything on it I turned on the telly. Well, the TV stations were still on the air, so that confirmed that it wasn’t nuclear as the EMP would have taken them out. At first there was nothing. on BBC News 24 Bill Turnbull did look a little confused as he was presenting other items, as if his director was shouting things down his earpiece. It wasn’t until about 6:15 that Sky News started getting any reports and they were of flames near St.Albans. It took BBC News 24 a further quarter of an hour before they started doing the same.

Now, the way that the 24 news channels handled this shows the best and the worst of the format. The best was that you didn’t have to wait for the next bulletin to get information about a bit event. However, it showed the very worst, the interminable rehashing of confused reports and over speculation, the twisting of the eye witness reports by the news readers to fit the more sensational story, probably partly to do with not listening to the eye witness well enough because of the director shouting in the earpiece.

One example of the latter was a caller from Luton who had been woken by the blast, he could see flames on the horizon, he told the presenter, and then turned on his radio to listen to the air traffic controllers, who had then said that there had been an explosion at the fuel depot. This was mangled by the newsreader who asked “So you did hear a plane go over just before the explosion?” at which point the eye witness tried to correct the false impression that the news reader was putting forward.

Sky News, as you would expect, was father more interested in the sensational side than the BBC with the presenters continuously prompting their numerous eye witnesses to tell them about the fictitious plane which they were sure had crashed.

Well, that was “interesting”…

and rather painful.

Cycling into the teeth of a gale in torrential rain. The heavy drops feeling like peas being shot at my face. Lovely.

My waterproofs did a decent job. The kept me completely dry for about three quarters of the journey and mostly dry the rest of the way. They are now gently dripping on the carpet. My sodden gloves are roasting on the radiator.

Please tell me why I cycle to work.

Polar wandering and pink panthers.

Last night was the Oxford Polar Society Christmas dinner thingy. Nowhere near as big an occasion as the previous GeolSoc one on Tuesday but the food was better. T’was fun.

Anyway, as I drove home I saw the Pink Panther car on a trailer going through Oxford. I’m sure you know the car.. it was used in the credits on the animated “The Pink Panther Show” from the late ’60s. Wierd. I wonder where it was going to.

Image of Pink Panther limosine from web site http://perso.wanadoo.fr/marc.seriau/Kinema.htm and found with Google Images.