apel: (Default)
Kieron and I revisited the conversation about Star Wars hummingbirds today. He said he had more been thinking about the weapons that they have on fighters and shuttles, so missile weapons for use in atmosphere or outside.

He was making these pew-pew-pew noises, so I think he was mostly thinking about in-atmosphere vessels. Although I would think that even in space, weapons systems would give auditory feedback if none is created by normal means. Just like my digital non-SLR camera has a sampled shutter sound. On that one you can turn it off.

On high-end space weapon systems, I would think that not only can you turn off the auditory feedback. You could also choose which Old Earth weapon sample to use. Probably the sound effect would be different depending on which direction you fire to take into account doppler effects etc. And of course there should be a satisfying boom whenever you actually hit something. At least if you're still within tracking range, even if it's a couple of hours or days after launch.

This is all based on consensus human ergonomics. If it doesn't exist today, it will when we get to that point.

OK, enough geeking for now. :-)
apel: (Default)
In my phone conversation with Kieron we talked about how aggressive hummingbirds are. He compared their aerial fights with Star Wars. I think that if somebody made lightsabers for hummers they'd totally be into those. It's a good thing that doesn't exist. I wouldn't want to be responsible for the hummingbird arms race.
apel: (spring)
Kieron and I went to Las Trampas Regional Wilderness in early March. This is the view south from the trail not far from the car park at the end of Bollinger Canyon Road. Note the flowering trees on the right.
View south from Las Trampas
Wallpaper, feel free to use

three flowers )


scat, possibly mountain lion )
apel: (stonehenge)
I'm having cheese and crackers with Kieron snoozing gently on the couch next to me. He's too cute.

Earlier today I went to the High Street to pick up some last minute items. A shredder, for instance. The weather was foul with rain and very high winds. Both when I left the building, and when I came back, I was looking for my cute little Micra. I hope her new driver treats her well.

When I got home, I started shredding. It's time consuming. Paper can only be pushed through one or two at a time. The manual says that up to seven sheets of paper should be fine, but anything more than 3-4 leads to an instant paper jam. I'd rather not think about how delicate the cheaper shredders are. This one cost £17. In addition, it can only be run for 2-3 minutes at a time. Then it needs to rest for 20 minutes.

The time between my bouts of shredding I've used to start packing. As I knew, I will have to leave behind a lot of things. The beautiful Laura Ashley fabrics I've been hoarding for years, for instance. Some books that mean a lot to me, too. Like two hardcover books of nature poetry with illustrations by Gordon Beningfield and my yoga books.

I've also installed the US map on my TomTom. Unfortunately I couldn't activate it because I couldn't find the product code. I'll have to put more time into finding it. Having discovered just how useful it is to have this little gadget direct me when I'm driving on new roads, there's no way I want to go back to using paper maps. Particularly when they're as expensive or more than the digital one.

The flat looks terrible. There's stuff everywhere. Kieron is going to be home tomorrow, so we'll deal with it together then. Still, I expect that it's hard to pack without creating a mess.
apel: (october)
On Saturday Kieron and I went to Glastonbury. Mostly we indulged in retail therapy. I came home with 5 CDs. On the way home, we stopped to take a photo of the famous Tor. We were too tired to walk up on it, though. Maybe next time.
Glastonbury Tor in the gathering dusk
Wallpaper, feel free to use

Yesterday afternoon we paid a brief visit to Leckhampton Hill. The sun was about to set and the landscape looked magical from up on top of the Cotswold escarpment. That's the Black Mountains on the horizon.
Looking due west from Leckhampton Hill
Wallpaper, feel free to use

Kieron enjoying the beautiful view over Cheltenham and the exhilarating wind. Leckhampton Hill is to the south-east of Cheltenham. I suggested that we go there to watch the sun come up on Yule but I'm not sure Kieron was keen on the idea. At first he agreed, then he realised he'd have to get up early and it would probably be very cold up there.

Wallpaper, feel free to use
apel: (fluffy_paw)
Kieron and I went out walking in the Forest of Dean today. We started at Newnham and walked up to the lookout point in Blaize Bailey. On the way back, we met this ginger tom. He wanted to cuddle, but only if he could look down on us from the fence.

I think Kieron looks as if he's telling the cat how he's going to eat him but in reality he was just telling it that it was cute. He is a veggie, after all.
Kieron and ginger tom
Wallpaper, feel free to use
apel: (goodMorning)
1. Kieron is on his way here. He's been in the US on business so he'll come straight from Heathrow. Tomorrow he and his sister are going to visit relatives here in London, so it was more convenient for him to crash here and meet her at Paddington tomorrow. She's in Cheltenham right now.

2. Sparrow has been to the courthouse in Pleasanton and got my paperwork for me. She's also posted it already. So I should have it in a fortnight or so.
apel: (clouds)
We went to Snowshill Lavender Farm near Broadway in the Cotswolds on Sunday. It was a beautiful, sunny day, despite the forecast of heavy rain. The lavender scent hung heavy on the air. It was intoxicating.

This is my favourite photo with the fluffy Simpson's clouds in the background.
Lavender field
Wallpaper, feel free to use

three more lavender photos )

If Snowshill rings a bell, it may be because we've been there before. We visited Snowshill Manor, a National Trust property, in April.

Twitter

Aug. 6th, 2007 02:47 pm
apel: (august)
I was supposed to do a bit of research but got stuck in Twitter. It's rather restrictive, as it only gives you  140 characters. Still, could be fun, particularly when you use locations.

If I keep doing it, I'll add a link to my LJ sidebar. I could see it working for keeping up with Kieron when we're in different time zones.

Update: Must remember not to type code into default window on Deepest Sender.
apel: (cheltenham)
We went for a walk in Ozleworth in south Gloucestershire yesterday. It was a lovely, sunny evening. Ozleworth is very remote and for long stretches the brook we followed at the bottom of a combe was the only thing heard. Well, that and the bleating sheep, of course. It's the Cotswolds after all. What a lovely contrast to my week in London.

This is the easily recognisable hexagonal tower of St. Nicholas church. It's from the 12th century. The Norman detail is very obvious in the windows.
St. Nicholas church in Ozleworth
Wallpaper, feel free to use

We had a picnic in a meadow near Bagpath. There were some imposing thistles, like this one.
Thistle
Wallpaper, feel free to use
apel: (shoes)
Train at Wainhill Crossing
Train at Wainhill Crossing
Originally uploaded by Mjausson
We went for a walk on Saturday. It was one I've done many times before: Chinnor to Bledlow and back with a stop at Lyde Gardens in Bledlow for a picnic. It was the first time for Kieron, though.

Our timing was perfect to see the steam train on the Chinnor to Princes Risborough museum railway.
apel: (garden_inthe)
I went to my favourite local nursery today and bought some plants. Having removed the white foxgloves from the Pink Border, I had a gap. Louise's pots have not performed well, so I also wanted to get some new plants for her.

For the Pink Border I got a pink penstemon and some "red" lobelias that look more reddish purple to me. For Louise I got rudbeckias and some more pinks. I also bought tomato feed.

I've spent the afternoon putting in the plants I bought and fertilising. That was very enjoyable. Everything looks a lot nicer and neater now after all my tidying. I also tidied up a bit in the Blue border. The geraniums and campanulas had stopped flowering so I cut them back. Time well spent.

Now I'm going to watch Midsumer Murders and wait for Kieron to come.
apel: (cheltenham)
Kieron's tap water has run out and the water at his workplace will run out in the next few days, according to Kieron. He'll come and stay with me until he can go back. That may well take over a week.

On the other hand, Severn Trent Water say that they only shut off supply to Kieron's workplace temporarily and will turn it on again, according to BBC Gloucestershire.

Severn Trent Water have finally gained access to the Mythe Water Works and have started pumping out water. They'll be able to assess the damage when the flood water is gone. After that it will take 1-2 weeks for Mythe to start serving customers again.

It seems to me that the situation is still rather confused with contradictory statements flying around. I'd love to have Kieron here but obviously it's better if people have water. I'm wondering if Severn Trent shut off the water supply to the industrial area where Kieron works so that there will be enough for the people who live in the villages nearby. That would explain the difference between what Kieron is saying and what the BBC are saying.
apel: (cheltenham)
I talked to Kieron yesterday evening and he was fine. He had been working from home instead of going into the office but he had both power and water.

During the night the Severn has peaked and more rain is not expected. The National Grid substation at Walham has stayed online. While emergency services say that they're not in the recovery phase yet, things are under control and the prognosis is good.

For those without water, the situation is the same as before. It will take 7-14 days to get the Mythe water works operative again once flood waters have retreated. Most of Cheltenham has water but there are fears that they will lose it, so bowsers have been placed around town.

This story about people coming together to make a wedding happen despite the floods, was heart-warming.
apel: (clouds)
NB: Gloucester is a town in the county of Gloucestershire. "Shire" means county.

Water
"A potential 150,000 customers in Gloucestershire will lose mains water supplies following the flooding of Severn Trent Water's Mythe Water Treatment Works in Tewkesbury. "
say Severn Trent Water. The affected town are Gloucester, Tewkesbury and Cheltenham.

Andy Smith, Severn Trent's director of water services, says "We must wait for the flood water to subside before we can begin to assess the damage done and restart the works at Mythe. And even when we are able to restart the treatment works, it will take some time for the network and water supplies to return to normal while we refill and disinfect." ST Water said late yesterday evening that the impact on water supply will reach beyond the next 72 hours. The statement on the ST Water site will be updated again this morning.

Electricity
RAF personnel from Innsworth have arrived at Walham Substation in Gloucester to help in the efforts to prevent the flooding of a major electricity substation which feeds 500,000 homes.

Traffic
The Highways Agency is having technical problems with its traffic news page as I write this. The RAC has no traffic problems reported in Gloucestershire. It counts Gloucestershire as "Southern England". The AA Roadwatch, on the other hand, reports roads closed for flooding in Gloucestershire, e.g. the A40 between Gloucester and the junction with the A417. For them Gloucestershire is part of the "West Country".

Local News
BBC Radio Gloucestershire is running special programming with regular updates on the flooding. It can be heard countywide on 1413 MW, 104.7 in Cheltenham and Gloucester, 95.0 in Stroud, 95.8 FM in Cirencester, and online at bbc.co.uk/gloucestershire. Click on the button on the right that says "Listen Live".

BBC Gloucestershire also provide updates on their site.

Finally, This IS Gloucestershire provides official news from emergency services, the county council etc on their site.
apel: (cheltenham)
The fresh water supply for Cheltenham, Gloucester and Tewkesbury is expected to run out soon. The weather is going to be wet tomorrow too, so this isn't looking good.

There's also a risk of the electricity being cut off in Cheltenham because a power substation is threatened by water.

In Gloucester, just across the motorway, the Severn is threatening to burst its banks. It's only a foot from the top of the flood defences.

The BBC has a picture of the river Chelt flowing down the street Bath Parade in central Cheltenham and of Cheltenham railway station. There are lots more photos from the area. The quaint village of Winchcombe for instance, doesn't look at all the way I remember it from our last visit.

I'm glad Kieron doesn't live on the ground floor. Might be a good idea to phone to see if he should come in to work tomorrow. There may not be much to do if the power is cut and lots of his coworkers, who live in Gloucester, may very well stay away anyway.
apel: (pillarbox)
Yesterday we had a pick nick by the Topograph, near the Haresfield Beacon. It's on National Trust property. On this map, it's marked as a lookout point. The photo below is taken from our picnic site, just a little below the topograph.

A topograph is a 3D map. Other people have taken photos of it.

In my photo the small, industrial town is Stonehouse. The larger and prettier town of Stroud is just to the east of it, hidden by Standish Wood.
Stonehouse from the Topograph
Wallpaper, feel free to use

click to see four more )
apel: (mellow)
I'm sitting on Kieron's couch, LJ:ing on his PC. My laptop decided to sulk on Friday. Unfortunately that meant I couldn't work, so I'll have to leave at 2 to go home and put in the 3 hours I was supposed to do on Friday. I felt rather guilty about that, not the least because my PM called me on Friday and said that the client had been frantically trying to get in touch with me to arrange a meeting next week. But today when I was finally able to access my work email, there was no email from them there. Besides, I called the client right after getting off the phone with the PM and left a voicemail. The client didn't call back so maybe the house wasn't on fire after all.

In the afternoon I got glasses. Two pairs, one of which has Armani frames, for less than £250. The other pair are shades. I'm very happy with both. Kieron likes them too.

Yesterday morning I got the embarassing rattle from exhaust fixed at a garage here in Cheltenham. They didn't even charge me. A good start to the day.

Then Kieron and I had a picnic at a lookout point near Stroud to test my new glasses. Unfortunately the Met Office was right about the heavy rain, so we went for a drive in the countryside afterwards. Miserden was particularly cute. Nearby Sudgrove looked to have some very nice walks, and easy parking.

Today we've been domestic. I've used my steam cleaner to clean the windows. They were filthy. Now it looks as if somebody dialled up the wattage on the scarlet pelargonium on the balcony. Cleaning the windows is the "low-hanging fruit" of household chores. Kieron has been washing and dusting and stuff. He took some of the things I brought. He particularly liked the candle holders. Being a typical Pagan, I had rather a lot of those. Next week I'm bringing the candles.
apel: (owl)
I've packed two boxes loosely with mostly kitchen stuff. They'll come with me to Cheltenham so that Kieron can cherry pick them. The rest I'll give to Oxfam. I'd better put some bags in those boxes too, because the boxes are sturdy Staples boxes. I'll be wanting them back.

It's not much but it's a start. Maybe I'll pack another box tomorrow. Perhaps with CDs. I've got a ton of those.
apel: (California)
I've just got off the phone with the letting agents for my flat. They say that the notice period is a month from the rent day as stated in the contract. The rent day is 24. So I have a choice between giving notice for 24 August or 24 September.

That's a bit of a bummer because I'd prefer 24 August but I've just extended my contract till the end of August. So in that case, either GT let me go a week early or they let me work from home, i.e. Cheltenham for the last week. It would also mean I'd have to clean out the flat in the 5 weekends between getting back from my holiday and 24 August. With Kieron's help that's not impossible.

On the other hand if I go for 24 September, I'd have a lot more time. I'll have to talk to Kieron and see what he says before I make up my mind. There's a possibility that I could negotiate with the landlord too. He's fairly easy-going.

The letting agent also said that when I send them the notice, they'll respond with a letter that tells me all about what's required of me wrt cleaning the flat, handing over keys etc.

To Do
  • Ask cleaning people how long do the carpets need to dry after the shampooing before they can be walked on?
  • With the 24 as the hand-over date, when would they recommend that they come in?
  • Put outstanding tasks from Moleskin and LJ into Life Balance
  • Make print-out of tasks to be done before holiday and put in Moleskine
apel: (Default)
apel
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