Thursday, 8 December 2005

Blogs in education - linkdump

After attending the blogging in education course last Friday, I wanted to start dropping links and thoughts here as-and-when, so this post may grow and change. I'm really interested in starting to use blogs with my students (and having them blog) and wanted to gather together some useful links, opinions, thoughts, etc.

Five levels of using blogs in education
Blogs in Education - huge link-list
How you SHOULD use blogs in education
How NOT to use blogs in education

Tuesday, 6 December 2005


I've got flu. Real flu; not just man-flu. It started on Saturday. I've been off work for the last two days. I'm mainly shaking, sweating and almost falling over. I haven't shaked since Thursday or Friday; I'm not a pretty sight. I answered the phone at 6 o'clock, then had to lie down for half an hour to recover. Tonight I've eaten for the first time since a sausage sandwich on Saturday; but only 2 weetabix.

Friday, 2 December 2005

Blogging the blogging course

I'm currently on a course, learning about the use of blogging in education. We're currently being told about podcasting. I also discovered that the guy, Steve Thompson, leading the course works alongside my thesis supervisor from my MSc course, who has his own blog, notes in the margin.

Update: We're using B2Enterprise blogging tool, which I think has similar 'DNA' to Wordpress, which is what powers this blog.

Update 2: B2Enterprise has some issues with cookies, when used by loadsa people on a closed network like this; it's a local authority network, so it's very locked down.

Update 3: 2000 Feet - "This haiku collection is inspired by particular places and events along the course of the three main rivers in County Durham – the Tees, the Wear and the Derwent. Each of these has its source high up in the North Pennines, approximately 2000 feet above sea level."

Update 4: We're playing with a media uploader at the moment, to allow uploading and posting or images, sound, video, animations, etc. That's also not working too well in this ICT room...

Update 5: We're now playing with an online quiz called Community Challenge, which allows people to compete against other quiz teams online. Apparently Tony Blair took part in an online pub quiz using this and his team lost. Apparently, he was crap.

Update 6: We came joint first in the quiz. We rock.

Thursday, 1 December 2005


The riverside path was wet today. From one side my bike looks like it was made by ONA, from the other it looks like it was made by KON. Crud Catchers work.

Wednesday, 30 November 2005

à la flahute

Like wild geese.

The old-school guys were tough as hell. There were Flandrian diesels that rode 200km a day, every day on the cobbles, in the wind, to the sea and back, etc. Training was riding... a lot, or à la flahute. Like wild geese. This was the early 1920s, so the roads weren't stellar anyway and two gear selections (usually one fixed cog and one freewheel, sometimes both fixed cogs, always big-ass gears) via a flip-flop hub held fast with wingnuts was the technology of the time.

So writes 'flexiflyer' in this Dirt Rag article, à la flahute.

See also, Matt Chester's blog. He's stopping the blog (in about 5 weeks time) and instead writing in a paper zine, which I'll definately be ordering a copy of; more like the above article, hopefully.

I bought an old road bike (for £20) a week or so ago. I've got some new wheels for it, and am ordering some 'cross' tyres soon. I'm going to ride it for a while, see how it holds up, but it's likely to be the bike I choose to use for the looooong (for me) rides I plan to do over the summer, leading to my first 'century' in September. If I like it, I can see me getting a real cross bike.

Wednesday, 16 November 2005

Back to the grind

First day back at work today. It was potentially a 13 hour day, with an open evening tonight, but I got permission to 'skive' off early, so it was a 6 hour day.

A conversation:

J: How are you feeling with the lack of sleep? Spaced out?
Me: Not too bad
Two minutes further into the conversation
Me: I am totally spaced out, aren't I?
J: Yep!


Wednesday, 9 November 2005



Born at 3:58am, Wednesday 9th November, 2005. 7lb 14oz.

Mother and daughter (and dad) both doing well after a very quick (compared to last time) labour. First impressions: Libby looks more like her mam than Ellie did, but seems to get her temprement from me (which explains why she was 7 days overdue). She's fab.

[Updated: corrected Libby's date of birth, which no-one noticed until Sarah looked. Doh!]

Tuesday, 8 November 2005

Baby, baby

It's on its way...


Quick baby update

Still nothing. Now six days overdue...

Friday, 4 November 2005


A quick update.

  • Still no baby (2 days overdue now...)

  • Got soaked riding to work today; mainly because I aim for muddles though. Bikes are still ace. If I walked to work and deliberatly jumped in puddles, people would think I was mental, but on a bike they just think I'm mad (and most people would think I was mad for riding to work even if I wasn't aiming for the puddles).

  • Should I start podcasting? Blogs are soooo 2002 :)

Saturday, 29 October 2005


I've got really bad at blogging regularly.

I got a 'new' bike - a knackered black Coventry Eagle Nevada that Andrew had sat in his garage. A little TLC truned it into a shonky singlepeed that'll be fine as a spare (possible main) commuter bike. Possibly, it'll end up fixed and odd-handlebarred. (Older photo below - now it doesn't have any stickers which actually makes it look quite cool.)

Coventry Eagle Nevada 8

New baby is due on Wednesday (4 days)! Ellie was 9 days early, so we've been poised to dash to the hospital for the last week or so. Hopefully it'll arrive before the end of the weekend so I can tag my one week paternity leave onto the end of half term. I doubt I'll manage to blog during labour, like last time, but I'll post as soon as I can...

[Updated: fixed typos and added link to Andrew's website.]

Sunday, 23 October 2005


When the spirits are low, when the day appears dark, when work becomes monotonous, when hope hardly seems worth having, just mount a bicycle and go out for a spin down the road, without thought on anything but the ride you are taking.

—Arthur Conan Doyle

From Ben Saunders' blog

Thursday, 20 October 2005

Fame, I want to live forever...

Today at work I was watching video footage of myself, which has been sent out to all ICT teaching departments. When I got home, there was an answerphone message from the local radio station asking to speak to me about news that Darlington has been awarded a grant as a Cycling Demonstration town. I've just sent a press release (not written by me) to the Northern Echo.

Of course, last year it was The Times and BBC, so I've gone down in the world...

Wednesday, 19 October 2005

Spam, spam, spam, spam

I'm getting too many spam comments here (which you don't usually get to see, because they're held in a moderation section from which I delete them) so I'm ramping up the spam protection; comments which look like spam, smell like spam or taste like spam are spam and will get deleted automagically. Avoid using obvious spam-words in your comments.

Sunday, 16 October 2005

Yet Another Local Ride

Another ride of my local loop yesterday, though I tweaked it a bit to have a look at a new route just to the north of the one to Brafferton that I usually take; the bridleway from East Ketton to Brafferton. The first little bit was just along field edges, but from the stream to Brafferton is a nice little track.

Unfortunately, I noticed my front tyre going flat part way along the 'new' track. When I stopped, I pulled a small stick off the tyre and then all the air rushed out. Before I put the new tube in, I checked round the tyre and ended up pulling out a total of six thorns. I thought I better check the front as well, and found another three thorns. This is why I carry three spare tubes...

I wa running a bit short on time so from Brafferton I crossed the A167 to Coatham Mundeville and rode along Percy Lane to get me back to town. I probably rode it the wrong way, as it would be a really nice long singletrack descent heading north. Last time I rode this, it was really boggy in places, but the track seems to have got better defined along a narrower line and some extra vegetation has grown either side of it, which seems to have helped the drainage. It looked like it there had been very little use by horses and more by bikes, which must help too. I probably won't ride it again until late spring now, as it was getting muddy in places and will get pretty bad soon.

Anyway, a nice ride, but shorter than I'd have liked bacause of the punctures. I'm gonna go have a tube-mending session now.

Tuesday, 11 October 2005

Some links

Some links:

  • I love maps. I'm going to watch last night's Map Man before I go to bed and Andrew is lending me a DVD of the whole series once it's finished and he gets it off Sky+. Anyway, Radical Cartography has some cool maps. I might make maps with The Small One when she's older.

  • I'm an arch-procrastinator. At work, I get one-hour-long free lessons but waste a lot of the time. Merlin Mann's (10+2)*5 hack sounds like just the thing I need!

  • The best way to buy nothing is to have no money!

Sunday, 9 October 2005

Local loop ride

I rode my usual local loop today, minus the little mini-loop at the top, because I was short on time. Went round with my little brother, so took it fairly easy. The trails are all in amazingly good condition still, Darlington bridleways are usually horrible mud fests, but they seem really dry still.

Friday, 7 October 2005

Darkness is here

Today was the first morning that I've had to have light on my bike for the ride to work. Looking outside, it looks like I'll have them on for on the way home too. Winter draws on.

I have a flouro waistcoat for riding to/from work now. Sarah saw me out the window putting the rubbish out on Thursday and thought the bin men had arrived early...

A (short) discussion on bike lights took place on the Bike Darlington blog. Discussion! People posting comments on the blog; a first, I think.

Monday, 3 October 2005

On identity and anonyminity in an interconnected world

When I first started using this domain name it was because I'd decided I wanted a slightly more anonymous blog, because my students had found my old site way too easily and, while there wasn't anything dodgy on my site, it linked to some sites that linked to some dodgier stuff.

So, I created this site, mothballed my old one, didn't give a forwarding address and started again. I even deleted old usernames for various forums, which were linked to the old site and used my full name, to make it less likely a student would stumble across this site.

But, it's been very difficult to decide when to use my "real identity" for things, or my Mactually ID. Some areas have merged and blurred, so a blog I started to talk about cycling in Darlington became a blog for the Darlington Cycling Campaign, which was all done under my real name. I registered with the Hamsterley Trailblazers forum, using my Mactually name and email, but not linking to the site. I registered with the North East Cyclo Cross League forum as 'Mike', using my Mactually email, but not linking here, because some students also went to the races. I felt like I shouldn't link from here to the results, because that used my full name.

I set out to make something completely anonymous, my proxy blog for Alan Milburn MP, and ended up with my real full name printed in The Times! (I still haven't found out how the journalist made the link...)

Being completely anonymous on the internet doesn't work, when there's crossover between the real world and the 'virtual world'. Someone at the cyclo cross asks me if I'm Mike; does he know me from the Trailblazers site, the NECCL site, the On-One forum, the Bike Darlington blog, a friend of a friend? Should I comment on my friend's blogs as Miketually or with my real name?

There's too much crossover between the real world and the internet and Google sees all so I'm no longer going to try to keep everything separate. I was probably being a bit over-paranoid anyway, since there's not really anything here I would discuss with my students anyway.

Google sees all:

After that, there's various blog comments and spam links (including some for penile enlargements worryingly). Perhaps it's best my students find this site first after all...

My name is Mike McTimoney and this is my blog.

Sunday, 2 October 2005

I done it

Well, my second ever cyclo cross race went well, apart from an horendous stitch for a couple of laps. The weather was much nicer than last year; no horrible headwind to contend with this time.

I have no idea how many laps I did, or even if I officially finished. I passed the finish line a minute or so before the bell started being rung for people (I could hear it as I left the first wooded singletrack section). On that lap, I got passed by the leaders, who finished their last lap before I got round to the start/finish line again. When I got there, no-one rang a bell, so I assumed I was done and didn't get another lap because the leaders passed me on theirs. I'll see when the results are published.

I'm also not sure if my first lap got counted, as someone overtook me as I crossed the line, obscuring my number from the officials, and I'm sure I heard them say "44", when I was number 54. Again, I'll find out when the results are published.

Wherever I place, it was a great race, with an excellent course, and seemed really well organised, though I've not really anything to compare it against. I'll be back next year...

[update:] Results are up, and I came 46th out of 50 finishers, with 6 who Did Not Finish (DNF). I did the same number of laps as last year, but think I should have been able to do another; I've asked on the race's forum. The winners only did 8 laps this year, compared to 9 last year; I got 6 both years, so that may be an improvement. Next year: middle third on the table...

[update 2:] I shouldn't have been able to do another. Anyone crossing the line after the winners is finishing the race.

Wednesday, 28 September 2005

National Downshifting Week

National Downshifting Week isn't until April, but they have some great suggestions, Treehugger lists some. If everyone did some of these, the world would be a much better place.

[Update: From the NDW site, I found the CityHippy blog.]


I like this cartoon. It's not a million miles away from all the people who drive their car to the gym.

Blog To Learn

Next Friday I'm going to a course on the use of blogs in education. It's going to cover what blogs are, so I think it'll be very basic, though I hope to come away with some useful information. I'll report back.

Monday, 26 September 2005

Local loop ride

On Sunday afternoon, I went out and rode my usual local loop. It's just a loop around some local bridleways, but it has the odd nice trail and gets out into the countryside (despite crossing the A1(M) and running alongside the East Coast Mainline).

Local Loop Route Map

Along the way, I startled a couple of bunnies and surprised a heron. I'd been to a harvest festival service that morning, so it was nice to ride along the edge of fields that were part way through the ploughing and good-seed-scattering process.

Apart from the odd longer ride, most of my recent riding has been on the road; on my 6 mile-a-day commute. Since adding an extra 8 mile trip in on Tuesday afternoons for the last couple of weeks, my legs have been feeling pretty tired by the end of the week, so I wasn't sure how well I was going to go yesterday. Turns out, pretty well! I think I probably did one of my faster times around the loop (helped by not taking coffee, because Sarah nicked off with my rucksack so I was travelling light) and was climbing most things a sprocket or two higher than normal. I was even taking some smooth off-road climbs in the big chainring, which is not like me at all; I'm more of a spinner than a grinder.

I think it's down to my commute; two 3 mile sprints against the traffic every day, on a 32:15 singlespeed, makes you work hard to accelerate, and there are a few climbs each way too. My four mile each way trip on a Tuesday afternoon is done at a really high cadence (almost all above 100rpm, I reckon) which forces me to spin the pedals in smooth circles, rather than just pushing up-and-down.

Whatever it is, I hope it all combines to give me a better result than last year (last) in next Sunday's annual cyclo cross race.

Sunday, 25 September 2005

Thursday, 22 September 2005

Crap at updating

As usual, I'm going through a crap at updating phase. I occasionally remember to add in interesting link to the sidebar though, if you want to look at those.

I'll probably post more in the winter months. Maybe.

Sunday, 4 September 2005

On-and off-road through Bolam, Bishop Auckland, Middridge and Aycliffe

Ride map - 28/08/2005

It was a mix of on- and off-road, about 47km. Darlington to Burtree Gate on the road; off-road along a field-edge bridleway to the Walworth road; along that road to the A68, briefly on the A68 and the back on a monor road to Bolam; BOAT from Bloam to another road; bridleway (part of the W2W route) to Bishop Auckland; on the road to Eldon, then bridleway and road to middridge; off-road along bridleway to Aycliffe the Church Lane to A167; road through Brafferton to Coatham Mundeville; Patches Lane bridleway back to Whessoe Road, and then home.

  • Distance: 47km

  • Surface: Mixed on- and off-road

  • Time: About 4 hours

  • Weather: Warm and dry, quite windy

  • Bike: Inbred, with 1.75″ semi-slick tyres

[Update:] Having ridden some more local trails with narrow tyres, I'm even more convinced that a cyclocross bike would be the ideal bike for me and my current riding. Then I saw this fixed gear Surly Crosscheck on the MTBR forums and just thought it would be the ideal bike for me. Fixed might be going a bit far (but I'd like to give it a shot), but I only used a few gears on this ride, don't struggle with an ss on my ride to/from work, so I think a bike like this would be great.

A ride

I ride a really nice ride on my bike last Saturday. At some point I'll get around to writing it up properly. It covered part of the new W2W route, was about 45km and made me want a cyclocross bike even more than I already did.

I had an idea for a mass long-distance bike ride along the way, too.

Tuesday, 23 August 2005

Another video

This one a rather bizarre cycling safety film from 1963, One Got Fat.

"Monkeys" riding bikes. Deaths. Odd.

Some way-cool bikes.

[Update:] I'm watching it now and someone's just been run over by a steamroller! You've got to watch at least as far as this just to hear the sound effect!

[Update 2:] Yay for Oliver Slump! He isn't a monkey, right?

A List Apart Redesigns

Web Design magazine A List Apart has just launched a newly redesigned website. Newly rebuilt might be a better way of describing what's been done, since everything from the database software upwards has been changed. And, it's gorgeous. I've only seen it on my 1280x1024 biiiiig monitor at work so far, but it's sure purdy.

Monday, 22 August 2005

Tuesday, 16 August 2005


So, it's been ages since I posted anything here. I'm still alive though. I update the 'delicious bookmarks' over there on the right a bit more frequently at the moment.

It's my summer holiday; I've not worn a watch for a month, we pretty much get up when our daughter wakes up.

I've been riding my bike a bit, but I've had a nagging chesty cough for the last week or so. The doc said it was a viral infection last Thursday but it's still hanging around. It affects my asthma, so I've not been riding too much.

Anyway, just letting everyone (and I use the term loosly, I don't think may people really read this) know I'm still here. Expect more blogging in a week or so.

Wednesday, 27 July 2005

Road loop, through Neasham, Girsby, Eryholme and Dalton, revisited

I just rerode the ride I did with Andrew U a while ago, but on my own, with thinner tyres and no asthma attack. I made it round in a bit more than half the time it took previously, though I did a slightly more direct start/end to the route.

It was nice riding on the roads, and not being beaten up and stung my the bridleways I normally ride around here; maybe I'm a closet roadie? I found that I could ride along at a much higher speed, and for less effort, if I rode with my hands on the brake/gear shifter tops, rather than on the grips, an letting my elbows come more inline with my hands and drop slightly. I see drop handlebars in my future.

Ride stats are brought to you courtesy of the wireless bike computer/heart rate monitor that Sarah got me for my birthday. Not only do I now get to geek out on average speeds and heart rates, but having the computer helped me to keep going at a higher speed than I would have when riding on my own without one.

  • Distance: 25.6 miles

  • Surface: Road (plus a little bridleway, to get out of town)

  • Weather: Warm and dry, no wind

  • Time: Late morning, 1 hour 45 minutes

  • Bike: Inbred, with 1.75″ semi-slick tyres

  • Comments: Felt good.

Thursday, 21 July 2005

Look Ma, no wires!

I'm writing this over my new wireless net connection. Oooh, get me...

[Update:] I appear to be sitting in my garden, connected to t'interwebnet. I think I like wireless.

Holiday riding

As you'll have noticed, I'm back from my holidays; a week in a caravan at Limefitt Park near Troutbeck in the Lake District. One of the best things about Limefitt, is the bridleway that runs through the site and over towards Kentmere, so I took my bike with us. I was limited in how much/often I could ride, but was on track for one ride every day, until I was ill part-way through the week.

  1. Saturday: Up Garburn Road for half an hour, then back down to the site

  2. Sunday: Up to the top of Garburn Pass (until I could see Kentmere village), then back down again

  3. Monday: Around Robin Lane to Waterhead, then back again

  4. Tuesday: Dubbs Lane/Latrigg Road loop

The riding was all superb, though a bit too rocky to ride in places on Garburn Road, which is actually open to 4x4 use and so very eroded in places. After the first ride, I was thinking the track should be resurfaced, but by the third time I was riding up it I'd got better at making line choices and rode much more of it. My bike was a revelation; for local riding the front end has always seems a bit too high and wide for me, but it was fantastic for the rocky riding in the Lakes, which is probably quite similar to the riding in Todmorden, where the designer of the bike lives. I still feel like I need to lower the front end for my usual riding though. The 2.25" tyres were excellent, providing loads of grip.

Limefitt to Garburn Pass 7 more photos

Unbelievably, people used to ride over Garburn Pass in the 40s, on fixed gear bikes according to Cycling Before Lycra. And I thought I was 'core for riding it with rigid forks!

Wednesday, 20 July 2005

Global Rich List

Every year The Times produce a rich list, showing the richest people in the UK, the richest footballers, the richest actors, how much J.K. Rowling made from this book...

But where would you come on the Global Rich List? I am in the top 4.78% richest people in the world. There are 5,712,613,565 people poorer than me. I am the 287,386,435 richest person in the world.

It's enough to make you Flip Out Like a Ninja!

Saturday, 9 July 2005

A vacation

Mactually is away.

Monday, 4 July 2005

Make Poverty History

30,000 children die per day because of extreme poverty

That statistic in itself should make us want to do something, because it's pretty shocking, but sometimes it's hard to visualise numbers like that. Ann did some calculating:

I wanted to get a scale of how many children that really is... I thought grains of rice might make like a couple of handful sized heaps..... So I counted out 500 which weighed 1/4 an ounce....... multiply that up and if I am not mistaken that is 15 ounces of rice...... that is a LOT of rice. If I knew how to post pictures, I would. That’s a pint glass full of rice….. It’s something like 5 portions of rice, each grain being a child that will die each day.

I'm going to get my digital camera, calculator, scales and some rice out when I get home...

[Update]Didn't get chance to get the camera out last night; will do soon.

Sunday, 3 July 2005

Stage one

Fantastic opening to this year's Tour de France, with Armstrong passing Ullrich, who started a minute ahead of him. Absolutely fantastic to watch.

Friday, 1 July 2005

Tour de France 2005

3,584 km (2,227 miles), 21 stages, three mountaintop finishes, 74 km of individual time trials, a 67.5-km team time trial, and 20 Category 2, Category 1, and Hors Categorie climbs. "The Marathon, chess and NASCAR combined". Le Tour starts tomorrow...

(Update (16/03/2006): Comments closed, bacause it was attracting loads of pr0n link comments. Apparently Tour de France is a slang term in some countries...)

Wednesday, 29 June 2005

Road loop, through Neasham, Girsby, Eryholme and Dalton

Went on a road ride tonight with Andrew U. We met in the town, then went on a road loop, through Neasham, Girsby, Eryholme and Dalton; about 25 miles in around 3 hours. We took it pretty easy, as Andrew's not ridden much recently and I've a chesty cough as a result of all the hayfever recently. I was probably having a bit of an asthma attack too, which slows me down somewhat...

The weather wasn't bad; pleasantly cool, with constant drizzle.

A map of the ride

The road from Neasham round to Girsby is gorgous, dead straight (it's a Roman road) and with trees planed along the edge, like a French boulevard. We were just saying what a fantastic place it must be to live, when a jet plane flew really low overhead, on its way to land at Durham Tees Valley Airport, which is just over the river. We could actually see the plane touch down and hear its engine pitch change.

The diversion we took off the A167 through Eryeholme was well worth it. A fantastic undulating road, with grass growing down the middle.

This could become a regular route; possibility of cutting short (via bridleway over Tees to Sockburn) or extending. Doable in two hours when not ill?

  • Distance: 30 miles (including home-start and end-home)

  • Surface: Road

  • Weather: Cool but damp

  • Time: Early evening, around 3 hours

  • Bike: Inbred, with 2.25" tyres

  • Comments: Felt good.

[Update] I've just used the cool gMaps Pedometer to map the route and calculate the distance. Seems like AndrewU needs to recalibrate his bike computer....

Monday, 27 June 2005

Internet gems

You have got to go and see Sweet Smelling Sweater Salad @ Make sure you click through for the full effect. Love the bored expression on her face.

Friday, 24 June 2005


Congratulations to my ikkle sister, who just found out she got a first class Honours degree. Way to go sis!

Saturday, 18 June 2005

Here be pollen

here be pollen...

I just had to cut short a mountain bike ride because of an extreme hayfever attack. My legs and arms and now both bright red and blotchy; the back of my throat is burning; my nose alternates between blocked and gushing; and my eyes are red and swollen. Note to self: don't ride offroad in pollen season...

I genuinely think I might have to sell my MTB and become a roadie! I don't drive, which means that I can only ride locally. My local trails are overgrown with nettles in summer, plus have the aforementioned polen, and are virtually impassable for a bit chunk of the winter. There's a very small window of decent riding available.

I see a road bike in my future.

Thursday, 16 June 2005

Quick Links

I've added a links section in the sidebar using and

More later

Wednesday, 15 June 2005

A blogging course

If I were to be running a blogging course, what could I include? The course is 12 hours on one weekend, six hours on Saturday and six on Sunday (i.e. four 3 hour sessions, with lunch breaks).

Wednesday, 8 June 2005

Good ridin'

On my bike ride last Friday I just rode the Teesside to Durham part, but I reckon the whole route I mentioned (Darlington - Teesside - Durham - Bishop Auckland - Darlington) would be doable in a day, especially if I didn't ride the Teesside to Durham part via Hartlepool, but instead took the more direct route.

The narrow tyres on my Inbred made it nice and low-friction, which was great for the Sustrans and road mix of trails that we were riding. I span along in a 32:16 gear for most of the ride, just changing to 42:16 for road downhills. It's made me want a singlespeed cyclocross bike now, though. Some drop or moustache bars on my old Kona with narrower tyres would be similar.

Thursday, 2 June 2005

Long time no post

I really am bad at keeping this thing up-to-date.

I got all the marking I had to do the other weekend out of the way and am currently half way through a week-long holiday. We've been away camping which was great apart from the wind on the first day while we were putting the tent up, which split part of a pole (it split lengthways, so we left it in and it was fine apart from being a bit bendier than the rest of the pole) and tore a fairly insignificant seam near the base of the tent. We'll have to get the tent repaired at some point, but it was in much better shape than some others on the site; Coleman tents are great.

I'm off on a bike ride with some people from work tomorrow. We're riding along Sustrans routes from the Tees Barrage to Durham, via Hartlepool. It'll be their second day of a three day mini-tour, but I'm just joining them for the day. It's only around 35 miles, all on road or old railways, so I'm actually considering riding to the start, or carrying on from Durham (time-permitting) along the old railway line to Bishop Auckland, then getting the train back from there. Or, I might just ride Teesside to Durham, like a sensible person.

I'm going to fit the 1.7" semi-slick tyres from my commuter bike to my Inbred, so it'll be interesting to see how it handles with those; I'm planning on entering a local cyclocross in October using these tyres, though I'm worried they're too slick to cope with mud and grass.

Saturday, 14 May 2005

It's only rock 'n' roll, but I like it

Oh yes, it's non-stop rock 'n' roll, round here. I've spent the morning cutting the front grass (can't really call it a "lawn"), weeding and removing rose bushes. Now, there's wardrobes and drawers to assemble! I'm currently procrastinating by running Windows Update on my aged desktop-rarely-used-except-for-backups-second-PC.

I was going to go out on my bike this morning, but had to be back and showered before 12 to wait for the delivery people coming and I wasn't organised or motivated enough this morning, even after two cups of coffee. Maybe tomorrow afternoon. Next weekend is mucho-marking weekend (80 pieces of A level ICT courswork to mark in two days, fun), so need to make the most of this one.

Tuesday, 10 May 2005

Thursday, 5 May 2005

The democratic process

I'm away home from work now, and then on to play my part in the running of this great democracy. Unfortunately, I live in a safe Labour seat, despite the fact that we have an MP who seems to be a pretty poor constituency MP, and rarely ever votes or speaks in the House of Commons. So, looks like we're stuck with Alan Milburn.

However, I'll be placing my vote in the hope he has a seriously reduced majority, and that the total swing is enough to stop Blair from pushing through whatever legislation using his huge majority.

I can't bring myself to vote Conservative, however, especially since they'd happily push through the same legislation Tony has. My feeling is that, even if my vote for the Lib Dems doesn't get them this constituency, increasing their share of the national vote strengthens their position for the next election, and shows a the strength of anti-Labour feelings in the country.


If you haven't yet, vote! If you were thinking of voting Labour, read this first.

New group blog

The blogosphere (for want of a better word) contains some genuinely top-notch writers - and we've collected them all in one place. OK, so maybe not ALL, but some at least...

- The Sharpener

Tuesday, 3 May 2005


I wanted to link to this Recipe for Simplicity, as it just took a bit of searching to refind whilst looking for the URL to link to in reply to a forum post from a guy who was working huge numbers of hours, limiting his time to ride a bike, whilst spending huge sums of money on shiny bike bits as a placebo activity.

I reckon lots of people could do with simplifying their lives. Do you really need all those DVDs, iPods, laptops and cars?

Monday, 2 May 2005

Baby, baby

Matt Haughy (of MetaFilter, PVRBlog, and AWholeLottaNothing) is moblogging the birth of his daughter live! I thought I was good getting photos online within 7 hours.

UPDATE: Meet Fiona Haughey, 7lbs 2oz.

Wednesday, 27 April 2005


I think I might have to start a freewriting category for this blog, and then give it a go here. Just spewing any old thing down... [via 43 folders]

Monday, 25 April 2005

A healthy weekend

Blogging rule #1: Write something, even if you've nothing to say...

I had a pretty healthy and energetic weekend, an easy 16 mile (27km) off road bike ride round some local bridleways (which were surprisingly dry) on Saturday and a 7 mile walk in upper Swaledale on Sunday as part of the Walk the Way in a Day celebrations. Seven miles over scree in trail running shoes carrying a 2 stone toddler is hard on the ankles...

Blogging rule #2: Bloggers do it in public.

I'm riding my bike more than I have for ages, with 5 miles worth of pretty much flat-out singlespeed (32:15) sprinting every week day on my ride to work, and longer rides on the last few Saturdays, and I'm planning on building in some lonnger rides home from work through the week later in the summer, and lots of riding during my summer holidays. I'd already decided to ride the Darlington round of the North East Cyclocross champs again this year, to try to improve on my last place finish of last October (on a heavy jump-bike, running 2.1" knobbly tyres, at least that's my excuse), but I think I'm going try aim for a really long ride towards the middle of August. A 100km loop of mixed on- and off-road, starting and finishing from my front door?

Any ideas for a route? I was thinking of tarmac to Gilling West, then linking in with the bridleways towards Richmond and Marske, then on up into Swaledale for an x km loop. And back.

Friday, 15 April 2005

Instructions for starting your very own Ricin Conspiracy

  1. Link to the 'recipe', like so.

  2. Convince another blogger to do the same.

  3. Include this and this, and you also have clear links to Al Qaeda.

  4. You're done. See how easy it is?

Why not start your very own Ricin Conspiracy?

Thursday, 7 April 2005

Ch ch ch ch changes

I just upgraded the site to Word Press 1.5 (from 1.2.2). I'm using the default theme, so things look a little different, but the content (what there is anyway) is the same. Updates will be as sproadic as ever.

Wednesday, 30 March 2005


In light of events at Chris' site while he was away, all comments will be held in a queue for the next week or so, until I get chance to review them.

Not that anyone comments here anyway.

Saturday, 26 March 2005

Uni Blogs - " Had a hectic start to the year? Not had time to experiment with Warwick Blogs yet? Anyone can blog, you don't have to be into IT, and it's more than just a soap box; you can reflect on what you are learning, cultivate your skills, and make notes about your seminars as well as keeping in touch with family and friends. So, sign in with your IT Services username and password and join the Warwick Blogs community."

Wednesday, 23 March 2005

White Death, by Clive Cussler

White Death, by Clive Cussler.

Because a bit of trash is good sometimes.

Getting Things Done, by David Allen

Getting Things Done, by David Allen.

(More on GTD, later.)

Norwegian Wood, by Haruki Murakami

Norwegian Wood, by Haruki Murakami

Status Anxiety, by Alain de Botton

Status Anxiety, by Alain de Botton

Wednesday, 9 March 2005

Business Done right

Jason Kottke, who has recently become a business of one, links to some great sounding companies. They remind me of Howies. Great stuff. I love the 'make enough to be comfortable, and make a difference' philosophy. If I were setting up a business, or joining one, these are the sort I'd want to create or join.

Friday, 18 February 2005

Be My Enemy, by Chritopher Brookmyre

Be My Enemy, by Chritopher Brookmyre is everything you'd expect from the master of comedy action. Includes canibalism, the best use of entrails and comic beheadings. What more could you want?

Thursday, 10 February 2005

Backing Blair

Will you be Backing Blair?

(Images, comment and more, to follow.)

Thursday, 27 January 2005

Mountains of the Mind, by Robert Macfarlane

Mountains of the Mind, by Robert Macfarlane attempts to answer the question "why do we climb mountains?" by looking at the history of mountaineering, from initial fear to today. A fantastic read, which touches on history, literature, philosophy, geology and psychology.

Abhorsen by Garth Nix

I finished reading Abhoron, by Garth Nix, a week or so ago, but haven't got around to writing it up until now.

This is the third part of a trilogy, along with Sabriel and Lirael, set in a land where necromancers can bring the dead to life, and only the Abhoron can return them. This trilogy is up there with Phillip Pullman's "His Dark Materials".

Saturday, 22 January 2005

Bunny Suicides

Thanks to The Soronator for pointing me in the direction of Bunny Suicides.

Thursday, 20 January 2005

The War in Iraq

Daily life in Iraq carries on. US soldiers kill the driver and front seat passenger of a car that doesn't stop at a road block. The husband and wife's five children in the back seat are not killed. The BBC photo gallery of the incident will break your heart. Especially image 3. [via Bloggerheads]

Tuesday, 18 January 2005

Ubuntu Linux

I'd never heard of Ubuntu Linux, until today. Anyone?

Monday, 17 January 2005

Blog to watch

Decisive Moments

Party Politics

With a general election looming, this BBC guide to the policies of the main parties may be of use.

Gadling travel blog

Gadling is a blog — an online magazine — about “engaged� travel. What is engaged travel? Engaged travelers throw themselves (sometimes literally) into action when they travel. Whether sea kayaking in Micronesia or learning how to cook risotto in Italy, Gadling travelers are adventurers.

[update: comments closed (11/09/2006) due to comment spam.]

Friday, 14 January 2005

Beatles Anomalies

A list of anomalies in Beatles tracks (sounds, voices, clicks, cut-off drum beats) [via Scott Andrew].

I've not looked through the list (it's linked here manly for Androo to read), but I remember hearing somewhere that Shakespeare can be heard being read in the background of one track. Something to do with thin walls, or a an echo chamber they used, or something.

Thursday, 13 January 2005

The Sound of Data

What happens when you send a data file to a music player? Kinda cool - Acts of Volition: The Sound of Data.

Wednesday, 12 January 2005

Between A Rock and A Hard Place by Aron Ralston

Tales of survival don't come much better documented than Between A Rock and A Hard Place by Aron Ralston; after all, how many people remember to photograph their hand and wrist trapped between a rock and a canyon wall after they've cut it off using a pocket knife?

In "Between A Rock and A Hard Place", Aron Ralston writes candidly about the week he spent with his arm trapped by a boulder, with only minimal equipment. Initially dismissing the idea of cutting off his own arm, he finally has to as the only way to survive. The story is interwoven with memoirs of his previous adventures. Like all good adventure/survival tales, Aron also drinks his own urine.

A must for any outdoor fans, or anyone who enjoyed reading Joe Simpson's "Touching the Void". Not for the squeamish (Sarah won't let me show her the photographs).

For more about Aron, visit the book's official site, Aron Ralston: Between A Rock And A Hard Place, or his Geocities page, Aron's Optimal Experiences On-Line, which predates the canyoning incident.

Tuesday, 11 January 2005

That's next Christmas sorted then...

A Mac mini and iPod shuffle please Santa. (Or Sarah, if you're reading this...)

(My birthday is even sooner.)

Update: Prices are only £340 for the Mac mini and £69 for the iPod Shuffle. Gizmodo point you to some photos.

Boris Johnson makes blogging resolution

Boris Johnson has made a pledge to write on his blog at least once a week. You should read it.

Monday, 10 January 2005

Obligatory second post - who I am and what the site's about

Where to start?

I'm a 27 year old, father of one, teacher. I like mountain biking and reading, so that's what the blog is mainly going to be about. I'll also post other bits and pieces, links to stuff I find on teh interweb, ramblings about what's in the news, whatever.

This isn't my first website, but my old site, where I'd been writing for a couple of years, got discovered by some students I teach and, while there was nothing too dodgy there, it only took two clicks to get from my site to some dodgy stuff, and I wasn't happy with them being able to read whatever I posted. So, I left my old site to gather dust and stopped using my very obvious login names on some websites and forums I used, and created a new, semi-anonymous web identify.

(Obviously, if you know me, you'll know who I really am. So, if you link to the site, can I ask you to do it in such a way as to not use my surname. Ta.)

Saturday, 8 January 2005