Sunday, September 30, 2007

Art Swim Run Ouch

No really, we are quite looking forward to Monday because the weekend has been rather busy ...

Well the Swiss national circus KNIE may be in town but we had a different reason to visit Bellerive this weekend. Namely the Alive Exhibition of Yann Arthus-Bertrand. His work has already seen pride of place on our website's frontpage for some time.

This study has some pointers on biodiversity and reminds us that as we seemingly improve our lifestyles we simultaneously damage the planet that sustains us.

When I have figured out the Javascript links to all the photos will be available

Later it was time for some exercise and we gave the 24 hour swimming event in Lausanne a try.

I had not realised but this is a yearly event of some standing and despite the torrential rain outside we headed over to Mon Repos pool where the event was staged. After a few kilometres of swimming we felt it was best to stop and save our energies for Sunday.

As usual the event was brilliant organised and .. free! How could one resist.

Despite the rain on Sunday it was time for little run outside. Today 35Km. This marathon training of Agata's is killing me! Nevertheless, equipped with a wonderful variety of BBC Radio 4 podcats Agata is adamant that she still runs more slowly than me, just that I dont really believe her. Her Runners world marathon training program and her hard work has transformed her running performance. I conversely have not improved, and I will soon be forced into reading that superb magazine to help put me on the right track. Postscript ... ouch the run has finished and our legs are quite stiff so no running on Monday then only cycling.

Thanks for another wonderful weekend Lausanne

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Another Glorious weekend

Hoorah for another absolutely fabulous weekend. The time was nicely dominated by the Lausanne Walking event and the Night of the Museums.

For Lausane walking we selected the 10Km course since we had a long marathon training run on Sunday to contend with. The walk started out in a nice non competitive manner but we were ever so frequently overtaken by large and quite unfit looking walkers. Fearing that we would actually be swept of the course for going too slowly we decided to put a spurt on and managed to overtake a few doddery old people.

Petros, Marcus and Agata finished in a respectible 1.8 hours whilst still taking the time to stroll the first part, have a great chat and take some touristy photos. Congratulations all round.

That evening the yearly night of the museums was in force. For one night each year all the museums are open until the early hours of the morning so instead of getting blind drunk at Mad or other night clubs you can get equally drunken at the sevaral art galliers througout Lausanne and imbibe a little culture whilst doing so.
Our night was considerably enhanced by the fact that the free bicycle rental service that Lausanne operates was certainly more visible and available than I had previously noticed. We hired (for free) 3 bicycles and this enabled us to cycle between museums.
My new but rather heavy cycle complete with child seat and energy sapping dynamo allowed my 2 companions to several times yell out that they might like me to cycle just a little faster. For once I was able to say that I would cycle at a nice leisurely speed and not try and set a pace tres fort.
So with this and a 30Km plus run on Sunday the weekend was complete and there was just time for a short sleep before that week of working started again. Thanks Lausanne for another marvellous weekend.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Getting Juicy in Jussy

After almost a week of resting it was time to try out the "feels like it is broken" right foot. So a run to work and back on Thursday 23rd September was fully justified. It is quite a long way .. I estimate over 22Km so this was a pretty good warm up for this Sunday in Jussy

So very much against our instincts which were to stay firmly planted in bed we wrenched ourselves into running kit and drove the 80Km or so to Jussy.

To get there drive west into Geneve and when the motorway runs out head for the beautiful lakeside embsasy residences. About 8Km inland lies Jussy, and we converged on the sleepy village with several thousand other runners.

At 10.30 am the race started and Agata and I set off together and slowly as usual! Then a few kilometres later I thought it best to make a break for it. I stumbled forward and iPod pushing me forward had a splendid time. As usual I had not done any race planning and this had 2 dire concequences.

First I could not remember how long a marathon was, and therefore it was not certain to me exactly how long a half marathon was. I decided to plan for 22Km, now it seems it's a bit shorter.

The second suprise was that the course was at least 50 percent off tarmac on gravelly forest roads. I hate them! I am always scared of twisting my ankle or falling over. And the traction is decidely worse.

Anyway I completed the course in about 105 minutes which I was very pleased with and a few minutes later Agata came running along strongly.

Another wonderful time and Jussy gave us something useful for our troubles a nice fullsize towel, so much nicer than those water bottles or T shirts that we have too many of.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

The September 5th 2007 iPod mess

About two months ago my black seemingly indestructible generation 2 aluminium Nano ... destructed itself under extreme water provocation. After surviving about one hour of torrential rain it actually made a fizz bang shorting sound just when I got to within 100 metres of home.

I ran into the flat and immediately set about an intensive emergency drying operation .. from hot air, to gentle heating, from shaking to trying that lock/unlock reboot key sequence.

48 hours later nano was gently laid to rest in the sleeping gadgets drawer never to awaken. And so I reluctantly ordered a new Product Red Nano. Reluctantly because all the signs were that the iPod range was to be revamped.

And so September 5th 2007 has come and gone.

Nano Red is still going strong and enjoys the protection of a ziplock bag when the rain beckons. So currently there is no real need for a new iPod .. or is there? What is the new range like, here is my winge filled summary of why Apple (for once) got it wrong.

  • The new Nano is wider and short. Kind of stubby, but actually slightly volumetrically larger than the old one. That's terrible!

  • Instead of being made from a solid aluminum billet which felt so strong and indestructible, it's back to the silver "cocaine table" shiny back, flimsy and so scratchable

  • Neither the Nano or the Classic have screens that will give your movie viewing habits anything other than a headache. So then your only choice might be an iPod Touch. But at 16GB it is far too small a capacity to be taken seriously.

    I have an 80GB iPod which has about 50GB data and 8GB music on it. I can't fit that on a touch

  • The Shuffle is still the blind iPod in the family. Why couldn't you have replaced the centre button with an LCD and turned it into something truely amazing for sportsmen and sportswomen alike.

  • The iPod Touch can now have a greater memory capacity than the flagship iPhone, so iPhone users must be getting a little mad

  • Then they thought to reduce // slash the iPhone price just to really hack off iPhone early adopters
So not the greatest of product launch day I would presume. Welcome to the new inconsistent, fragmented Apple MP3 player lineup

Being religious

Being spiritual or a sentient being is something that humans do very well. In the course of history these higher feelings and the quest for meaning has usually resulted in ... religion.

Until now I have found it difficult to join one of these clubs. I mean which one do you choose?

Most religions have mutually incompatible belief systems (between each other), there is often a good deal of questionable violence, unacceptible by the moral standards of today. Some religions have emphasised and shamefully continue to emphasise the superiority of men over women, another standard which is totally unacceptible. Finally racial and / or religious superiority is also a component of some faiths.

So after much searching I compiled a list of some of the idealised characteristics I might need to join the religious club:

  • Some bad people, we will call them evil, are not part of our faith
  • The good people, they are definitely in my faith
  • My religion acknowledges that some people not in my faith are also good
  • Lots of magic miracles that we good people perform
  • Equality for men and women
  • Equality for all human races
  • Lots of spirituality
  • The good people (that's us) winning over the bad evil people
  • Accessible for devotees of all ages

After studying many holy texts for over 20 years I have recently been part of a revelation. There is a set of manuscripts that start small but build to great morality tale whose climax is approachable and understandable to all ages, all sexes and all races.

Their sheer clarity and consistency sits high and above those old outdated and inconsistent texts.

The texts are now reliably translated into many languages for all to imbibe. Here they are:

01 The Philosophers Stone

02 The Chamber of Secrets

03 The Prisoner of Azkaban

04 The Goblet of Fire

05 The Order of the Pheonix

06 The Half Blood Prince

07 The Deathly Hallows

I gently encourage all those unbelievers to cast aside their prejudices, read these good books and then dare to compare your current beliefset against them. Who then is more worthy?

Welcome, oh welcome Harry Potter

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Good Morning but not How Are You (How ya Doing)

In Britain I consider the safe morning greeting to my colleages to be a simple

Good Morning

Anything else, especially including the phrase "How are You" or the Americanised "How'R U doing" suffers from the shortcoming that people like me will tell you exaclty how they are doing.

I think people who ask such a question are not prepared for any answer except "Fine" or (when in America) a slightly to totally over the top and enthusiastic "Doing great". The next time somebody greets you in this manner try out the honest, precise answer for a change....

As somebody who tries to fit in the daily 2 hour exercise schedule you might be aware that this level of exercise comes with its fair share of risks. Namely INJURY. Just when I thought I had got past the acute Metatarsalgia it seems my neck has gone into spasm and turning said neck is proving between difficult and impossible. This is making that long cycle to work somewhat more risky as there is just a chance that traffic might sneak up from my blind side (that is currently any direction not directly in front of me).

So if you ask me "How'r you doning" you will in fact get the long reply with explanations. So you nice Americans out there, beware!

Postscript: The only legitimate use of the How you Doing phrase that I can think of is as a chat up line. See here