January 12, 2006


I watched a video sent by Stef, Giles's ex-girlfriend, in which she excoriated him while writhing around on a bed dressed like Rosario Dawson in Sin City. Bizarrely, parts of my dream were pixellated.

I dreamed that Cleaner, my HTML-pruning and cleansing module, was inserting <br/> in place of every newline. It was horrible. I just remembered that now because I needed to fix a bug in Cleaner and for a moment wondered if I had time to fix the one I dreamed.

Posted by Oxygenik at 5:40 PM

January 11, 2006

Fixed gear observations

  • It's a lot harder to get through tight spaces in traffic than when I could coast.
  • I go home downhill, but I go to work uphill, yet I seem to get to work faster than I get home.
  • It feels much more like I'm riding and much less like I'm riding a bike.
  • I am a lot more conscious of the road surface than before, especially manholes and potholes. I haven't learned how to pul the bars up while pushing down on the pedals, and I'm not sure if it's possible to hop the back wheel up yet.
  • I can't ride no-handed any more. I've been able to ride no-handed since I was about 10.
  • It's a much, much harder workout now.
    Posted by Oxygenik at 12:04 AM

January 10, 2006

Today's dream

Odd one. I was in Bristol with my brother and we were walking in our old neighbourhood, where we played as kids. It was daytime, I'd say early afternoon. We started to walk up the drive of the Hamilton's house, our next door neighbours. There was a drive all the way up the right hand side of the house leading to a gate to their back garden. In real life, it is a terrace like my parent's house and all the other houses in the street, but I suppose I gentrified the neighbourhood in my dream.

I got a little nervous approaching the back garden's gate, because they were fearsome neighbours, contrary to reality, but Paul urged me on. Then, on the right, where there should have been another semi, there was a low fence behhind which was a mound of muddy rubble leading up to the side of a building (may have been a house, this wasn't fleshed out inthe dream) and on the rubble was standing a boy of about six years old dressed like Oliver or the Artful Dodger. My brother sweetly greeted him and encouraged him to come down. Again I was nervous about this (in my childhood strange adults sweetly greeting children were something to be scared of) but he came down and talked to me. He and his clothes were a washed out bluish monochrome. As he came up to me I figured it out and boldly asked him, "So, when did you die?" "1387" he replied without missing a beat. My dream persona was a bit worried as to whether this was a wise way to start an interaction with a ghost, but it seemed to pay off.

It turned out he died in a mining accident (maybe I wanted to say 1837) as did one of his chums who turned up and also died in 1387. I thought maybe there had been some catastrophe on this land and that's why they haunted it, but another child arrived who died in 1386 from something else which wasn't clear but which wasn't mining. While I was talking to the first child, my brother quietly took out his digital camera and took a photo. When the flash went off, the lighting of the whole area changed to twilight. The ghost told him it wouldn't come out, and it didn't. A little while later I was talking to two young girl ghosts, and I asked them if I could take a photo. They said it would work on one and not the other, and I started to suspect that one wasn't a ghost. I took the photo, but the screen on my digital camera was so tiny (about 1x1.5cm) I couldn't tell if they were in it, and nor could my brother. I said I was going, and that I would be back, and asked if they would. "Maybe," they replied.

Back in the house, I found Noriko, who was ironing. "Would you like to meet a ghost?" I asked, expecting scorn. I was surprised, and she came out to meet them. It was daylight again, and there was no one there. There was, however, a really nasty looking 3D spider-web with a ball of carcass-debris in the middle and many spiders running down the strands bringing in prey. I speculated that they were building a nest with insect shells as defense, but then a vile looking black scorpion - about the size of a lobster and with red eyes where a bird would have them - started to chase me. There was limited room to manoeuvre because the drive had reverted to the alley down the side of the back of the house - about 1.3m across. As the scorpion reached my back foot my leg gave a massive twitch and I woke up.

Posted by Oxygenik at 9:26 AM

January 9, 2006

New Bike

Back in October or something my bike was stolen. This was gutting because

  1. Some fucker took what was mine
  2. I'd had the bike for over a decade
  3. I'd put new tyres and pedals on it
  4. All my very expensive bike tools were attached to it
  5. Now I'd have to buy it all again.

Well, thanks to my brother, I didn't have to buy the bike. For my Christmas and birthday present, he gave me his old road bike, albeit with unravelling bar tape, slashed tyres and a chain that looked like it was composting. Whatever the state of it, underneath it all it's a snappy bike. There's almost no rake to the forks so it's an exciting ride: no sooner than you've thought about turning the bike is leaning over and threatening to spill you all over the road. And that is, in fact, what it did on my first day riding it.

There's something else I should say about this bike: it's got no gears. Well, it's got one gear, which is fixed. This is to say there's no freewheel, which means you can't ever stop pedalling if you want to keep going forwards. You can't freewheel around a corner, up to a stop street, or in a bunny hop to avoid a pothole. No, you've just got to keep your legs going, and if you relax, the pedals don't stop spinning - they give you a nasty bump! This is the classic way that cyclists train during the winter; no gears means less expensive and delicate machinery for the rain and grit on the roads to foul up, and the fact that you have to push down on the same ratio all the time means that you get really strong climbing hills (when you'd usually drop down to a lower gear) and really supple descending them (when you have to spin your legs like crazy to go quickly) - it's a different cycling experience entirely.

So this last wet morning, on my first proper outing, a cut a fast corner the way I usually do and the bike and I leaned nicely. I spotted a double manhole and stopped spinning my legs in order to coast around it. Of course the bike wouldn't let me stop spinning and gave my leg a bump. By the time I had gotten control I was headed straight for the metal plate, and as I hit it leaning over the bike slid right out and I ate tarmac for breakfast. Apart from a graze, a bruide and my nice jeans all scuffed there was no problem, but it was sobering nonetheless. The adrenaline from the fall gave me superb acceleration when I got back on though!

At lunch I went to the cycle shop and bought new tyres, pedals, lights and a can of GT-85 for a cool £110. After everyone had gone home I put a copy of Metro under the bike and around the rear rims and gave the chain a power shower. With the new pedals fitted and the drivetrain clean the bike was even more exciting: I had total confidence in the grip of the pedals and it felt seriously smooth. There's a lot to learn but I'm enjoying it already.

Posted by Oxygenik at 10:31 PM