Hot Dust

My main PC was crashing an hour or so into some CPU intensive tasks (i.e. DivX), so I cracked open the case to check out the cooling. Eurgh, I’ve got a dead hamster in my radiator (water-cooled).
Dustypc Home Svw 3
Dustypc Home Svw 4
Aha, the CPU’s now running 15C cooler. And no hamsters. I can happily encode stuff to DivX overnight now.

My Own Personal Experiment

I’m always using myself as my own personal experiment. It’s hard not to if you’re at all interested in anatomy, physiology or biology in general.
So recently I’ve had a bit of a cold. It’s my second in about 2-3 weeks (like buses you don’t see one for ages and then two come along at once) and both came from Jack. Interestingly, he wasn’t affected much by either of them, other than becoming snotty and a bit tired. I was the same for the first, but this second has been horrible. I had an elevated temperature for about 4 days (which made interviewing prospective medical students rather interesting) and only yesterday started to feel a little more alive. I’d still much rather sit quietly than move around. The other cold quietly came and went in just a few days.
This second time, the cold hit at the end of a tough week, where I probably hadn’t been getting as much sleep as normal, the levels of stress were reasonably high and a fairly large amount of work was required of me. So I was run down. Although this in no way applies the method (n=1) it felt like an interesting observation at the time.
If you take part in endurance exercise or lift weights you do it all the time: you see your physique change, with fat deposition and muscle tone altering in only 6 weeks most of the time, your resting pulse rate drops, and you usually feel different, but that’s much harder to measure. Likewise the effects of stress have been interesting, and although I’m very comfortable with long term high levels of stress my body isn’t and has been irreversibly damaged (that’s a bit melodramatic, but seems to be true). Climbing hard has left me with a few very interesting injuries – not from falls but from either muscles getting stronger in strange places and unbalancing antagonists, or from various bits of connective tissue getting torn trying to hold finger tendons in place. Other sports have also developed funny injuries which physiotherapists have had to explain to me. All in all, I’m a very interesting experiment for myself. Much of the time it’s fun trying to fix these injuries, and follow the progress. Unfortunately my motivation is very low these days – I’ve probably gone too long without endorphins.
So next time you get a cut or a graze in your skin, take time out to watch it heal. If you think about the clotting mechanisms that start the whole process off, and then imagine those cells migrating across the wound to repair the skin and throw out collagen fibres to hold the whole thing together (scar), it all becomes very interesting. Take some digital photos, and make a montage from fresh wound to fresh new skin.

Battlefield 2 patch

Hey, the new Battlefield 2 patch is out! If you’re a player you’d better get it. It fixes the thing that pisses me off the most: people jumping around like tits and shooting me in the head. Now if they’ll just stop people firing anti-tank weapons into my chest from 3 feet away like we’re playing Quake then I might become a happy man. But I doubt it – my gaming PC is well overdue for an upgrade. This is what comes of buying new houses. And that’s also one of my excuses for my poor stats.
358MB download. Ha! Just for a patch!

Valentine’s Day

I hate Valentine’s Day (sorry Kim). Actually, that’s not totally true, I’m just very, very annoyed by Valentine’s Day. It all feels so false, contrived, cheap and tacky.
I guess when you’re single it can be fun (or can drive you to suicide or a killing rampage or both), but I don’t really remember that. (Being single that is, not the killing sprees.) Kim knows I love her, and I occasionally do something that will remind her of that. But a card on Valentine’s Day? What the hell does that mean anymore? Usually it means, “I bought you this card because if I didn’t your feelings would be hurt”, which isn’t really what you meant to say at all, was it? Dinner and flowers? The cost of those two doubles or triples because of the date. Shouldn’t you do things throughout the year to show your partner that they’re special? I doubt any of you disagree with me, so tell me, what is St. Valentine’s day for? Is it just a reminder to blokes, giving them a chance to redeem themselves after the crap Christmas presents they gave to their partners?
And is it correct that we’re really celebrating his death, like most saints? And how on earth did sexual love become linked to a martyred priest or bishop? Answers in the comments, please.
Is it for the ladies? Kim certainly genuinely enjoys the card I give her. But even the ladies seem sceptical these days.

ReadyWhenUR Kettle

Now this is my kind of a pointless gadget. A kettle that you can switch on by texting it “switch on” from your mobile phone. Completely pointless, and I want one.
This kettle was inspired by Wallace and Gromit, and developed by Orange and PG Tips. It would go nicely with my red-nosed-when-hot Gromit mugs.

New photos

I haven’t blogged much this week, mostly because I’ve been busy. When I’m busy, I’m often boring. To make up for this I’ve added a new batch of photos to the photos page.
One geeky thing I did this week was buy a new external Lacie hard disk for my photos and video editing work. I now have about a terabyte of storage in the house 🙂 I can see this increasing over the next 6 months too.
Newlacie Home Svw 09

Climbing Jack

2006-02-05-Climbing Jack-3
At a friend’s party Jack went for several climbs up the gym bars. No fear. Kim’s just there for our reassurance, not his. His down-climbing is good too.


Over the last couple of days the interior of my house has been getting its third paint. You may remember that they rushed the job to get us moved in on time, and then had to repaint the whole house from top to bottom to bring it up to standard, because the previous painters had done such a shoddy job. They had completely forgotten to paint the back of the bathroom door at all, for example. So they re-glossed, re-emulsioned, re-painted all the ceilings, and did a very good job.
Now cracks have started appearing, which are not due to the house settling or drying, but seem to be appearing because the paint is crap. The impressions of tacks are starting to appear in the ceilings, and the tape used in the corners of walls and ceilings is moving to show the seams. So they’ve been re-skimming these areas to smooth out the surfaces, and now they’re painting it all again. I think they’re using a different paint this time. So the house is dusty and smells of paint, and Kim has been cleaning up the dust each day. Annoying. And it’s all magnolia again. We can’t paint the walls in the colours we want until the house has properly dried out in a year or so’s time. I guess I had better get some of my photos printed up so we can frame them and put them up on the walls. Maybe this one? (Click for a larger version.)
New50Mmlens Home Svw 061