Thursday, December 28, 2006

New Quotes

Another late candidate, from my favourite brother this time. When suggesting Jen should have another drink:

"Have a drink you Big Fat Girl"

He's still alive, but Jen did check which knives were sharpest before heading for "bed".

Xmas in Review

Got an Xbox 360. And a lawnmower

May never have time to blog again.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Quote of the year

A late candidate for sure, but I think it might just win the prize.

Nikki, last night, with a steely look of determination in her eyes turned down a couple of empty calories but left no doubt that Christmas was upon us by announcing to Alex, Fi and I:

"The diet stops tomorrow!"

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Merry Christmas

Alex and Fi have fought their way through the fog and should be arriving in Houston today, albeit a couple of hours late. Blogging may be light until they leave, since they usually force Nikki and I to consume more alcohol than we want to, so we'd like to take this opportunity to wish you all a very Merry Christmas. Have fun, be safe, remember that it's better to give than to receive and don't forget the batteries.

The above photo was taken by and is therefore copyright of Bruno and is used without his permission. I'm too young to know better and too old to care. Welcome to the Wild Wild Web. He has a website with more photos from the same party, but some of them are incriminating, (of Nikki obviously, not me) so I'm not linking to it.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Bizarre Sighting

Have I mentioned that camera phones are crap? Well, at night, they're worse. Also, I'm at Lagos airport and the internet connection isn't great, so I shrank the photos even more. Which is all a long winded of way of saying you may have to take my word for it.

Last night me and the lads went, for a couple of beers, to the Eko Hotel in Lagos. It's a nice bar, the girls don't bother you, you're out by the pool and you can relax...except last night, Old School rap legend LL Cool J was in the h-iz-ouse.

That's him, in the white, sitting down, being entertained by some of Nigeria's favourite rap artists. I didn't catch their names as the fella with the mic was a bit excited. At one point I thought he introduced someone as MC Paul Hammers, which is a pretty good rap name, but he was white and in a suit and when I asked around he may well have been, event sponsor, Nigeria Breweries, M(anaging) D(irector) Paul Harmers.

A slightly closer, blurrier view of the man who calls himself Mr. Ladies Love Cool James. But do they?

While James was at the pool watching MC Paul Hammers, someone was off making friends...nice going LL Cool Vijay

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Who You Gonna Call?

Working in IT in Nigeria means that you have to adopt some procedures that perhaps would not be necessary elsewhere. The camp is 150 acres, and PC's are spread all over it. Most of the offices get dusty, especially at this time of year when the Harmattan is dumping half the Sahara in my server rooms. Johnny and his guys don't have the time or resources to clean every machine regularly, but every one that comes to the office gets the deluxe treatment.

A fine coat of dust covers everything inside the PC.

Johnny fires up a contraption he put together after watching Ghostbusters...

...and in a couple of minutes, it's good as new. Posted by Picasa

Monday, December 11, 2006

Farming News

I forgot to tell you that our lettuce finally arrived. Damaged. We will receive a new lettuce in a couple of weeks, which just about settles it. Farmer Brown is never seeing his two extra onions again. Ever. I shall lose no sleep.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

More snaps from Nigeria

I hope the driving school owners have a keen sense of irony and this is here so that they can demonstrate it to the rest of Lagos. I suspect however, that the truth is far scarier.

These giraffes were for sale at the Lekki market. They would look great in our living room, but I'm not sure they would fit in my suitcase. The market was a lot of fun. I enjoy the haggling, the guys at the market are good at it and I'm sure they make a lot of money every time they see someone like us. It took Vijay a little bit to get into the spirit, but once he figured out the exchange rate and realised he could have fun there was no stopping him. When he finally traded a tiny half full sample bottle of Armani cologne for a wooden elephant I knew it was time to get out of there.

That's right. Any questions?

More photos are here:

Posted by Picasa

Friday, December 8, 2006

On The Road Again

It's my turn this time. Dang. Looks like the Christmas shopping is getting done at the airport again.
The M25. Wednesday 8:02AM GMT. An all too brief stop in the UK to change airports. On the bus from Gatwick to Heathrow, the other side of the road zooms on by. On the Clockwise side, we're at a complete stop. Again.

The view from seat 12J. BA075, shortly before takeoff, en route to Lagos with several hundred souls on board. Okay, heading back to Nigeria this close to Christmas isn't going to be fun, but at least I'm in business class. My company has a deal with Lufthansa, where we get cheap business class and that is usually the only time it's allowed. This is a short notice trip, booking the flight the day before I left meant my options were limited and almost everything was full, so I got to go BA. Excellent - "water, orange juice or champagne, sir?"

Vijay is clearly excited by his first visit to Africa. It doesn't matter where you are in the world can call it a man-purse all you want, it's still a purse on this continent too.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

A Multi-Purpose What Now?

We've established by now that Nikki is smart. Smarter than me, for sure, not that that's too hard. But how much smarter than me is she? Well, take this for example:

That is Nikki's patent award for inventing a "Multi-Purpose Coiled Tubing Handling System". How much smarter than me is she? So smart that despite the text telling me what it's for, I have absolutely no idea what it's you?

"A system for reducing the effects of heave movements of a wellhead in an offshore drilling device is provided that includes a frame; a coiled tubing stack supported by the frame; and a heave compensation system for controlling an amount of load transferred from the coiled tubing stack to the wellhead to reduce relative movements between the coiled tubing stack and the wellhead."

Yeah, that's what I thought.

I'm far more excited about this patent than Nikki is. I'm all like, "Wow, that's amazing, I'm so proud of you, well done, that's brilliant, can I come to the award ceremony?" and she's all like "tch, there's a bloke down the hall with 43 of these, it'll be really boring, it's only a buffet anyway."

So, okay, she's smarter than me, but she's wrong about this and I'm right, because it is amazing and I am really proud of her. Well done darling.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Sliding Guide

The best thing about having hardwood floors is the ability to slide across them in your socks. I have, so far, identifed the following 5 runs in the new house:

1) The longest run in the house. A good run up will easily get you from my side of the bed in the master bedroom to the front door. The only hazard is a tight dog leg just outside the spare bedroom. If you get your initial angle wrong you will have to hit the emergency brakes and walk to the shoe rack. It is not recommended to attempt this run in reverse, as you're usually wearing your shoes when you come in the front door and not removing them before sliding will result in Nikki killing you.

2) Easier than run 1, this one stretches from the master bedroom to the kitchen. This run is much better in reverse, and could be useful for ferrying drinks to the pool next summer. Of course, you probably don't want to attempt this bare foot unless you drip a lot of water on the floor on your way in, which will result in Nikki killing you.

3) More dangerous than it first appears. Run 1 and 2 traffic has priority here, so be careful, but this short run from the kitchen to the study can be fun. The kitchen tile gives you plenty of traction for a good run up and once you get on the hardwood there's no stopping you until you hit the pile of boxes. Unlike Hollywood stunt boxes, these are full of books. You need to make sure you can stop in time, because reassembling that pile of boxes will kill you.

4) Simple run for beginners. Come in the front door, leave your shoes at the shoe rack, which is at the very start of this run, and slide to the living room. Conveniently ends near the bar, where you can continue slowly killing your liver.

5) Runs from the kitchen, past the dining table to the living room. Another easy run, but do not attempt this one in reverse. If you get the angle wrong from the living room you could crash into the dining table. My mother will sense the disturbance from 6000 miles away and right around the time Nikki has finished killing you my mother's plane will touch down and she'll bring you back to life to kill you again. Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

What would you do?

A theoretical situation that bears absolutely no relation to anything that may have happened in the past, may currently be happening or may be about to happen in the future...

A woman one day decides that she needs some vegetables, so she and her husband go shopping. The husband knows that his wife is particularly fond of Farmer Brown's vegetables so they drive all the way out to his farm. Farmer Brown's vegetables are rather expensive, but they are some of the tastiest vegetables in the area, so it's worth the drive and extra cost.

The woman chooses four onions and a lettuce and Farmer Brown offers to deliver them on Tuesday, which is fine with the woman as she doesn't need them until Wednesday. The woman and her husband leave the farm and take the long drive back to town.

Tuesday finally arrives and the eager anticipation of the tasty vegetables has kept the woman and her husband excited all week. The phone rings early in the morning and the husband answers it, "Hello."

"Ah, hello Husband, it's Farmer Brown here"

"Hello Farmer Brown, how are you today?"

"I'm fine thanks, I'm afraid I have bad news though. When I told you I had lettuce, I made a mistake, I was actually looking at my cabbages at the time. I won't have lettuce for another three weeks."


"Yes, sorry, I didn't realise until today, when the delivery boy came to load your order into the basket on his bike."

The husband explained the problem to his wife, who decided that she liked Farmer Brown's lettuce so much, that it would be worth waiting another three weeks.

"Okay, Farmer Brown," said the husband, "we'll wait for the lettuce, what time are we getting our four onions today."

"Oh," said Farmer Brown, "the delivery boy didn't take them since your lettuce wasn't ready. I can cancel your order and refund your money, or give your four onions to Postman Joe to drop off on Friday."

By this time the husband was very tempted to cancel the order and go and get a lettuce and four onions from Farmer Green instead, but remembering how much his wife loved Farmer Brown's vegetables, sighed and said, "Okay, send them with Postman Joe."

Friday arrived and the husband got home to discover that Postman Joe had delivered not four but six of Farmer Brown's very expensive onions. This was almost certainly a mistake on Farmer Brown's part. He has never been known to give any of his very expensive onions away for free and had not indicated he was going to do so in any of the conversations he had had with the husband.

Whilst the husband and wife wait another two and a half weeks for their lettuce they can certainly use Farmer Brown's two extra onions but the question is, should they?

Thursday, November 9, 2006

Camera Phones

It is possible that you have heard me ranting in the past about the utter uselessness of camera phones. Their quality is rubbish, the lens is always manky and they make your phone bigger than it needs to be. Well, whilst all this is still true, I now have one. My company provides me with a blackberry and the smallest one on the market is the Pearl which happens to have a built in camera. Useful or not? Let's decide. Here is a sampling of the pictures I have taken over the last few days with it.

In Ikea. We needed a cutlery holder thing for the drawer, but only realised they must keep them in the kitchen furniture section when we were in the cutlery section, which was miles past it. I went back and grabbed these, my preferred choice, but took photos of the other options as I knew I would not have final say in this decision.

Verdict: Useful.

Our back garden. A scary looking spider lives on the back of one of the wooden poles that holds the stuff that you burn to keep mosquitoes away. I haven't yet removed it, but I'm posting this picture here in case it bites me when I do and someone at the hospital asks "what kind of spider was it?"

Verdict: Useless.

The Blue Fish House. Nikki and I met Arnaud and Denise for Sushi on Saturday night. We tried this place as our previous favourite sushi restaurant is back in the old 'hood and therefore too far away. The BFH was good, but maybe not as good as Kaneyama. The search continues. This photo is now my home screen on my phone, replacing a different picture of Nikki that previously graced the screen.

Verdict: Gorgeous.

San Felipe, near the 610 loop. Many of Houston's janitors are on strike for higher pay and benefits. Last week they chained themselves in a circle on Westheimer and Post Oak, outside the Galleria, bringing traffic to a halt for hours. Today they protested a block away on San Felipe. They didn't block traffic this time, or at least not when I was driving past, as you can see by the way a car zoomed into view just as I took my picture. I wouldn't have minded if they did, since I would have got better pictures and we were right outside the California Pizza Kitchen after leaving the gym.

Verdict: Fight the power brothers. I'm with you. Well, across the road from you stuffing my face anyway.  Posted by Picasa

Friday, November 3, 2006

The Return of the Queen

Nikki got back on Wednesday just before midnight. By midnight on Thursday:

The living room had been rearranged. The positioning of the sofas was less than optimal and so we swapped them.

The bedroom had gained a full length mirror with some shelves behind it that rotates through 360 degrees and a 5 foot tall 6 drawer dresser.

The kitchen...ah, the kitchen...the kitchen had everything removed from every cupboard it had previously been placed in. These were then either put in the same cupboard in a way that was somehow better than the way it had been before or moved to an entirely new cupboard in a way that made it more accessible. The kitchen table was removed, along with its' four chairs to join the bar stools in the garage. This was replaced with two counter stools.

I don't know whether these changes have had an instant impact or if the mere fact of having my wife home is what has done the trick, but the house I've lived in for the past month now feels like home.

I may even unpack some boxes this weekend.

Monday, October 30, 2006

"Otis, take the gentleman's cape."

Is it a nerd? Is it a lame?
I went to a Halloween party on Saturday night. I'd only been invited on Thursday, so it was a bit late to start making a robot cosutme out of tin-foil or something, however, cheap t-shirt from Target, some nerdy glasses, a bit of black hair colour in a can and a shirt and tie (model's own) did the job. This photo was taken with my camera phone, which is pretty crap in the dark . Other cameras were present, so you may get some better photos later in the week. Posted by Picasa

Friday, October 27, 2006

End of the tour

Tomorrow I leave the barge and start my journey home. I've been on the boat for 3 weeks and seen just a small section of Indonesia, but it has been varied, from open sea to narrow channels in the jungle. I saw one crocodile briefly but still no monkeys. Plenty of bugs though.

On my jouney home I get to take a small boat to Handil, then a bus from Handil to Balikpapan, then a plane to Singapore. After a couple of nights in Singapore, supposedly to do some work but really to stock up on Marks&Sparks chocolate biscuit selections and Ian's favourite noodles, I will take the long 15 hour flight back to the US, to my new house and to my husband.

I'd like to say I'll miss the barge but really I won't. Three weeks without beer and chocolate is a long time.

See the photos here

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

FTSO Update: I know what you're thinking...

You're thinking, 'hey, whatever happened to that whole FTSO thing?' You're saying to yourself "I bet he's stopped going to the gym and ballooned back up to the size of a cow."

Well, you're not exactly right smarty pants, but you're not entirely wrong either. I did take a couple of weeks off from the gym while moving house. There's a list of excuses: I had a lot to do, most of my lunchtimes were filled with running around signing stuff and meeting people and dropping things off and picking things up. Most of my evenings were filled with packing and moving and packing and stacking. But that's nonsense, because, you make the time and figure the rest of the stuff out around that. My diet wasn't exactly great during that time either, mostly from the drive-through, mostly crap. So it was something of a surprise when I unpacked the scales and discovered my weight was lower than it had been. I knew that was misleading though as I was clearly in worse shape than I had been.

So, last week I went back to the gym, twice, this week I've also been twice and will go again tomorrow, so I'm officially back in the routine, I feel better, the moving related flab is gone and I'm back to trying to shift the previous-12-years related flab. This week's score: 218.4, that's 3.2 pounds down from my last update!

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Living Quarters

Jen asked for a picture of the inside of my "pod", so here it is.

Very basic really. One bathroom and 4 bunkbeds. At the moment there's only 2 of us in there so it feels quite luxurious. Note the lack of mirror in the bathroom. I have not had a decent look at myself for 2 weeks now.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Home Improvement

Most of you will know this better than me, but when you buy a house, there's a list of things that need to be repaired. Nikki and I need to do a little repair work on the roof, replace the garage doors, replace the bay window, fix the thermostat on the water heater and tidy up some of the electrical work.

Today the most important repair job on the list was completed. Yes, that's right, as of about 2 o'clock today, the heater for the hot tub is now working! I'm off home to crack a beer and test drive it.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

The Lawn

Houston has a ready supply of cheap labor, so Nikki and I reckon we can get the lawn cut for about $20 every 2 weeks, or roughly $320 per year if the grass grows for 32 weeks.

The lawn hasn't needed cutting yet, so hopefully we bought the house after the grass stopped growing for this year. Whilst at the local home improvement place this weekend I did notice an interesting sale going on...

The first one there only had one cup holder, so obviously it's no good to me. The cheapest John Deere looked a bargain at $1300. Now if I did the lawn myself, using one of these babies, it would pay for itself in only 4 that's a bargain. Posted by Picasa

Sunday, October 15, 2006

A bit hot!

So last week I made a contribution towards the world's fossil fuel supply. The unit I have spent the last 4 years of my life on finally did a job and kicked off a well. The proof was this flare. I just wish they hadn't put it quite so close to the barge.
Note the white accommodation "pod" on the top deck of the barge. That's where I sleep. All the stairs keep me fit and the views are great, as you can see in the other picture.

Music Review: Dirty Paper Cup - Hafdis Huld

You're busy people. Protecting the free world from narcoleptic pirates and homicidal psycho jungle cats takes a lot of time, so you can be forgiven for not being as up to date on your Icelandic pop music as you should be.

I suggest you remedy this by immediately downloading Dirty Paper Cup by Hafdis Huld (or, you know, buying the album in a shop if such a thing as record shops still exist in your area). I like it even better than Johnny Cash's American V: A Hundred Highways, and you know how much I like Johnny Cash. It's an excellent light and fluffy pop record with occasional dark lyrics.

If, for some mad reason, you don't want to take my word for it you can go and visit Hafdis Huld's myspace page where you can listen to three of the tracks from the album, including the brilliant Tomoko, which when played on the Mark Radcliffe show instantly hooked me and a cover version of "Who Loves The Sun", with more ukelele than The Velvet Underground ever thought to use. Be warned, like all myspace pages you don't get asked politely if you'd like to play the songs, they're going to start as soon as they load, so if you're at work or something you might want to turn your volume down. Whilst at the site you can also check out the excellent video for Tomoko, which raises a couple of chuckles.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Owning a Pool

Seemed like a good idea at the time.

Today is Friday. Tuesday it rained, a lot. Lots of leaves were blown into the pool. Wednesday I scooped most of these leaves out, because you do not want organic material decaying in your pool, and then shocked the pool with the last bit of chlorine the previous owners left. Thursday I bought two types of chlorine (more shock and some slow release stuff that you leave in a skimmer), a PH balance testing kit and an algae brush. The pool ready for humans I was looking forward to the weekend.

Tonight it's going to be 62° F (16° C). Tomorrow - more thunderstorms. Which means more leaves. Which means more chlorine. I have been in this pool once, for about 5 minutes, compared to a couple of hours cleaning it and now Winter's coming in. I need to get the heater fixed, or else I may just kidnap a penguin from the zoo and build him a little igloo over by the pump house.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006


So as promised here is a picture of me in my full hard hat and coveralls clobber standing next to my unit. There's more of my unit to the right but it wouldn't fit in the shot. In the background the sun is setting over the Mahakam Delta.

Monday, October 9, 2006

Movie Review: The Departed

I love Martin Scorsese films and I love gangster films, so a Martin Scorsese gangster film is always a treat. On Sunday afternoon I went with a few friends to watch The Departed.

Inexplicably the cinema had no sour gummy worms, but having recovered from this huge setback I settled back to enjoy the trailers. The most promising looking film in the trailers was 300, based on the brilliant graphic novel by Frank Miller. It's out in March next year.

The Departed is a remake of a Hong Kong film called Infernal Affairs. The basic setup is that the cops have Leonardo DiCaprio undercover in Jack Nicholson's mob whilst Jack has Matt Damon working for the cops and feeding him information. As each side starts to suspect they've been infiltrated violence and profanity ensues. The Departed is a great film, certainly the best I've seen all year.

Mark Wahlberg's mouthy cop is my favourite character in the film. The whole film has lots of great funny dialogue in it, but most of Mark Wahlberg's lines had me in stitches.

Computer related facts that I did not previously know but learned from this film: The Massachussets State Police Department have what looks like a pretty high tech network. There are a couple of improvements I would make though. First of all, password complexity rules have to be put in place, it's crazy in this day and age to allow users to set any old thing as their password. They'll inevitably get lazy and use their cat's name or their wife's name or their own name or something. These are some of the first things anyone's going to try. Secondly, they really need a backup system, maybe even just once a week and then send the tapes offsite or something, because right now, brother, when you delete a record from their database, it is gone. Posted by Picasa

I Hate To Move It, Move It

As Nikki hinted at in her previous entry we have bought a house. We closed on it on Monday and then Nikki had to leave for almost 4 weeks in Indonesia on Tuesday. It would have been great to move into our first house together, but it's not going to pay for itself so off she went, leaving me to decide where all the furniture and pictures go all by myself. There was also a huge tactical mistake on her part as we have less closet space in the master bedroom than we did at Old Farm. Having unpacked my clothes already I am in situ and will be harder to budge.

Saturday was moving day. I hate moving. I especially hated moving out of Old Farm. There are 3 stories and the bottom set of stairs has a really tight turn in it. Manouvering the groceries around it is difficult enough, so getting a sofa or a bed frame round there is a real pain. This is reason enough to bring in professionals and they made fairly short work of the whole thing. Having picked up all the furniture from Old Farm and the remaining stuff in storage we were all moved into Redstart Street just as Scotland were beating the team that just beat the team that just won the World Cup, making us, once again, the greatest football team in world.

I couldn't find any of our real cameras, so I snapped off a few shots with my camera phone. Despite what the pictures look like I was not drunk when I took them, I simply forgot that you have to keep your hand completely steady for about 6 hours per picture.

This is the kitchen area. The dark glass on the left is a wine cooler, currently well stocked, but I can always make room for more.

The fridge. We had to buy this on Monday night as no-one told us, and being fools, we didn't know, that when a listing says "Complete with all major appliances" the fridge isn't included. The water pressure to the fridge is not what it could be. I got it unblocked enough to make ice, but it will not share the water it uses to do so with the water dispenser.

This is the living room. There is a large glass sliding door to the left that leads into the back garden. The TV is playing BBC Radio 1 from 5 hours ago (so you get the breakfast show at breakfast time) through the wonders of Sirius Satellite Radio.

The tea making station is set up to the left of the sink for ease of kettle filling. Tea bags, tea pot and mugs are all within easy reach. Nearby is the collection point for bottles to be recycled. L-R are a nice bottle of Syrah I shared with Mustafa and Salimah on Saturday night, a bottle of champagne I shared with Nikki on Monday night, a bottle of Belhaven Twisted Thistle IPA I had on Saturday afternoon whilst listening to Arnaud rant about how lucky Scotland were and a bottle of Belhaven Wee Heavy that Arnaud had whilst putting up with my chuckling. All Belhaven was provided by Nikki's boss as compensation for making me do the move on my own. Even though he gave me 12 bottles I still don't think it's a fair trade. And if that's not the most romantic declaration of love you've ever read I'll be very surprised. Posted by Picasa

Sunday, October 8, 2006


So after 3 flights and across the international date line I finally arrived in Indonesia. Balikpapan in East Kalimantan on the island of Borneo to be exact. After one night in "the first and only 5 star" hotel (view from room above) I got on a very bumpy bus and travelled 2 hours along the coast to the town of Handil to meet the barge. The barge has fairly limited amount of accommodation for all the crew and workers so they decided to add on an extra couple of beds, so my accommodation for the next few weeks will be this white pod. It has hot running water and that's all that matters really. Plus they've put it on the top deck so we get a pretty good view.

And while I'm doing all this executive travel my wonderful husband has packed up our belongings and moved it into our new house. He now has a few weeks by himself to figure out all the satellite channels and make the house wireless.

Wednesday, October 4, 2006

Jibba Jabba

Saw this whilst shopping the other day:

He may not be willing to get on a plane, but if I was looking for a trimmer to shave a mohican into my head with I would certainly look for the one that Mr T used.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

A picture for Jen

I realise this is not exactly showing you the results of my hard work in the gym, but I'd need really long arms to take a full length picture of myself with a camera phone.

However, you do get a sneak preview of the haircut I received this very lunchtime. My own wife hasn't even seen it yet.

You also get a nice shot of the beautiful day the world is taunting me with as I'm stuck in my office.That's the very posh St. Regis hotel across the road and downtown Houston in the distance. The sky is clear, the temperature is about 85 degrees Fahrenheit (29 degrees Celcius). In fact, I'm going home.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

New FTSO Low

221.6! That was my low for the week, measured this morning. If past form holds then I'll probably hang around there for a couple of weeks but I'm pretty chuffed.

I can thank a quiet weekend, which probably undid any damage caused in Tulsa, although I didn't go too crazy there either and even managed a run on the hotel's treadmill.

The really good news came during Monday's run, which was at a higher level of intensity than usual. My heart rate monitor didn't get out of the 160's, so hopefully that little old muscle is getting stronger too. I usually mix in some sprints on Thursday's which makes the monitor go nuts, but the recovery time is quick, which is what I'm looking for, so we'll see what happens this week.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

FTSO Update

This is the perfect time to put a FTSO update over here as there is no update. I was exactly 224 this morning, which is pretty much where I've been all week, barring a slight dip to 223.6 and a slightly larger beer and cheesecake bump on Saturday. So, I'm claiming it as my new starting weight and aiming for 210.

Concern has been expressed by both my wife and my mother that I'll be too scrawny at 15 stone, so I may eventually settle for something a bit higher but that's the goal for now.

It's going to be hard to budge off 224 as I worked pretty hard last week and didn't achieve it and I'm off to Tulsa tomorrow where I don't think I'll get much exercise in, but I know I'll eat heavy and probably have a couple of beers.

Monday, September 18, 2006

My first blog

I quite like that I can add to this blog too, although I'm never going to have anything as witty and funny as Ian to say. But it might be useful for posting entries from the far flung places that I travel too, including pictures of me dressed in hard hat and coveralls.

I'm Not Convinced

I'm quite impressed so far, but I'm not ready to switch just yet. I don't want to test drive any more sites until I've decided that this one is not for me and there are a couple of things that bother me:
  • Nikki misses the ability to create lists of what books we're reading, although I think I can do that with a bit of HTML since I can edit the template code directly. That's a cool feature that allows me to do anything I have the skills to code, or nick from someone else who has done all the hard work for me.
  • I switched AdSense on when I was playing around and now I can't figure out how to switch it off. I suppose it's better than the huge ad on the MSN page, plus, in theory I get paid for everyone who clicks on it, but I'd still rather be rid of it. I'm supposed to be able to move it to the sidebar, but I can't see the code in my HTML.
  • I have noticed that the page doesn't refresh very well. I have to hit F5 every time I make a change before I can see it, but maybe that's just me.
I'm still undecided, so I've added a poll to the sidebar, and you can help me out with my decision.

Friday, September 15, 2006

A Nice Picture

I can see why you'd think this was a random picture to be posting now. I can't say I blame you. After all, it was taken more than 2 years ago, but this is a test drive remember. This may or may not be the blog I choose to continue with, if I do, I'm keen to try out the integration with Picasa of course, but until then, I need a picture for my profile and this seems like the easiest way to do it.

I'm quite impressed with the way that you can position pictures in posts and have the text to the right like this, or I could have it the left or even underneath with the picture in the center. I really didn't like the MSN thing where you had to stick the picture on at the bottom and the order was seemingly random so this is a nice feature. I have to say I like Blogger a lot so far.

Test Drive

I was already frustrated with the limitations of MSN Spaces before they changed everything to Live(TM). Since that has slowed everything to a halt and they show no sign of sending someone down to the engine room to shovel in more coal any time soon I'm trying out new places. I may linger once I get the hang of this place, or it may not do anything for me and I'll be gone before you get a chance to get used to me.