Weight and Stuff Report – 13 July 2014

Weight: 215.2 pounds (15 stone 5.2 pounds, 97.6 kg)
Steps taken: Not a lot

Hmmm, back up this morning after yesterday’s new low, now there’s a surprise…

I’d planned to do various things around the house today, but somehow failed to find any motivation to actually do any of them, which was annoying. And now I feel an early night coming on. Mutter, getting old, or something…

Here are a couple of photos from Leazes Park. First, the lake:

Leazes Park

Leazes Park

Camera: X-T1
Aperture: ƒ/11
Shutter speed: 1/350s
Focal length: 18mm
ISO: 400
Location: 54° 58.6907′ 0″ N 1° 37.4698′ 0″ W
Taken: 12 July, 2014

And now a sculptury thingy. I’m pretty sure it’s art, as it doesn’t look like you’d be able to sit on it very comfortably…

Splash

Splash

Camera: X-T1
Aperture: ƒ/8
Shutter speed: 1/340s
Focal length: 24mm
ISO: 400
Location: 54° 58.7389′ 0″ N 1° 37.4779′ 0″ W
Taken: 12 July, 2014

 

Doctor Who Series 8[1] Trailer

After a few little teasers, the BBC have now released a longer trailer which gives more hints[2] about what’s going on. Daleks!!! A dinosaur[3]!!! And the Doctor talking about going into darkness! Sounds like fun, and it begins on August 23

[1] Or thirty-something. Ot fnargle. Or something
[2] And yes, I know scripts and a rough edit have leaked, and I don’t want to know what’s in them, OK? No spoilers here, thankyouverymuch.
[3] A playmate for Vastra, maybe?

Charles Stross – The Rhesus Chart

It’s back to Bob Howard[1] and the Laundry, that ever-so-slightly secret department of the British government that deals with extra-dimensional entities, the odd bit of demonic possession and abstruse mathematics. Yes, mathematics – do the right kind of calculation and you’ll twist reality in such a way that things of the kind that would give H P Lovecraft bad dreams can make their way into our universe and do Bad Things.

Bob’s been with the Laundry for around a decade now, which is about right, as the Atrocity Archives was first published about that long ago, even if it took me a few years to catch up. He’s moved on from his early days, still married to Mo, a fellow agent with an err, interesting and lethal violin, and still apprenticed to his grim master who goes by the name of Angleton[3], and who is really Something Nasty occupying a human body.

As always, there’s something nasty going on. It all seems to start when a wunch of bankers[4] working in a totally deniable advanced trading unit stumble across some even more abstruse than usual maths and find themselves becoming sensitive to light, much stronger than usual, and developing a taste for human blood. But obviously, they’re not vampires. Don’t be silly, everyone knows vampires don’t exist.

As if that wasn’t enough, the not vampires include Bob’s ever so slightly psycho ex, who having formerly been attached to the Laundry, knows how to get her colleagues signed up just in time to avoid being dealt with quite severely.

And as if that wasn’t enough, there’s a psycho vampire killer[5] chasing down the bankers. And two very old vampires, who may be manipulating events for their own individual purposes.

Bad Things will happen. Bob’s career and personal life will take new turns, which lead to the one problem with this book. It ends. And we’ll have to wait for the next one. I think we need some kind of entity to manipulate time so that Charlie can write more books…

Anyway, it’s another glorious entry in the series, lots of gags, lots of severe danger, lots of death and destruction, and even a cross-reference to another series of Charlie Stross books that I’ll be writing about once I’ve read the last one.[6]

Good stuff, highly recommended.

[1] Not his real name. And I suspect that his claimed middle names of “Oliver” and “Francis” may not be real either. Though to be fair, Bob does pretty much qualify as a BOFH[2]
[2] If there’s one thing Charlie Stross can be relied upon, it’s geek gags
[3] Also not his real name, and carefully chosen to annoy some foreign types or other…
[4] I think Bob has the right collective noun there
[5] Not that vampires exist, of course
[6] But anyone who’s read the Merchant Princes books will have had a giggle at the line “I am your lawful knight-commander… under oath by way of my liege”

Weight and Stuff Report – 12 July 2014

Weight: 213 pounds (15 stone 3 pounds, 96.6 kg)
Steps taken: Quite a lot

What? Down again? To another new low for the year? Whatever next?

Today being Saturday[1], I reverted to my usual routine: breakfast at Frankie & Benny’s, shopping at Tesco, and and afternoon out.

I’d dithered a bit about where to go today, and eventually decided on a walk around some bits of Newcastle I don’t visit often. I’d noticed this new building from a distance, and was curious to see it closer

Shiny

Shiny

Camera: X-T1
Aperture: ƒ/9
Shutter speed: 1/340s
Focal length: 32.9mm
ISO: 200
Location: 54° 58.3428′ 0″ N 1° 37.3219′ 0″ W
Taken: 12 July, 2014

Here’s a closer view:

View with rooms

View with rooms

Camera: X-T1
Aperture: ƒ/5.6
Shutter speed: 1/1600s
Focal length: 18mm
ISO: 400
Location: 54° 58.4379′ 0″ N 1° 37.3169′ 0″ W
Taken: 12 July, 2014

It turns out that The View, as it’s apparently called, will be quite fancy student accommodation.

I then wandered through Leazes Park, through Newcastle University, with a visit to the Hatton Gallery, which for some reason I don’t think I’ve ever been to before, then down to the Haymarket, where I bought a cold drink (melon flavour Lucozade, very nice) and got a Metro to Whitley Bay. I walked along the sea front for a while, which gave me a chance to play with the long end of my 55-200mm lens. It seems the RLNI[2] were having a bit of a practice.

Weeeeeeeeeee!

Weeeeeeeeeee!

Camera: X-T1
Aperture: ƒ/5.6
Shutter speed: 1/900s
Focal length: 200mm
ISO: 200
Location: 55° 2.6976′ 0″ N 1° 26.5358′ 0″ W
Taken: 12 July, 2014

I kept walking, in the hope of getting a closer view, but they moved away before I could get there. Here they are, heading towards St Mary’s island

Off we go...

Off we go…

Camera: X-T1
Aperture: ƒ/9
Shutter speed: 1/400s
Focal length: 200mm
ISO: 200
Location: 55° 3.0411′ 0″ N 1° 26.9171′ 0″ W
Taken: 12 July, 2014

It was more or less at that point that I decided I’d walked far enough and caught a bus back to Newcastle. It was a bit too warm for a long walk, really. Not that I can tell you how much walking I did, because the Fitbit’s battery died this morning. Silly Les forgot to charge it again…

[1] It is, you know. I checked
[2] Hi Geoff  :wave:

Weight and Stuff Report – 11 July 2014

Weight: 214.4 pounds (15 stone 4.4 pounds, 97.3 kg)
Steps taken: 6,398

Up a teeny bit today.

I managed a bit more of a walk at lunchtime, which made a change…

Today’s photos take us back to North Wales. Here’s the view from Rhuddlan Castle, which gives an idea of why it’s there – it gives a commanding view of the landscape for miles around.

Rhuddlan Castle

Rhuddlan Castle

Camera: X-T1
Aperture: ƒ/13
Shutter speed: 1/300s
Focal length: 24mm
ISO: 400
Location: 53° 17.3568′ 0″ N 3° 27.8614′ 0″ W
Taken: 28 June, 2014

And here’s a boat beginning to cross Chirk Aqueduct. Not sure about that strange person loitering at the end, though…

Chirk Aqueduct

Chirk Aqueduct

Camera: X-T1
Aperture: ƒ/9
Shutter speed: 1/80s
Focal length: 55mm
ISO: 400
Location: 52° 55.6487′ 0″ N 3° 3.7094′ 0″ W
Taken: 28 June, 2014

But wait? What’s that? Nobody warned me!!!

Danger!! Danger!!!

Danger!! Danger!!!

Camera: X-T1
Aperture: ƒ/9
Shutter speed: 1/40s
Focal length: 55mm
ISO: 400
Location: 52° 55.6462′ 0″ N 3° 3.7061′ 0″ W
Taken: 28 June, 2014

It’s a border crossing!!!

Weight and Stuff Report – 10 July 2014

Weight: 214.2 pounds (15 stone 4.2 pounds, 97.2 kg)
Steps taken: 4,408

Hmm, back up a pound today. Random thingies, or something…

Back to Cardiff for today’s photos. Here are some dragons. We like our dragons in Wales, you know:

Dragons

Dragons

Camera: X-T1
Aperture: ƒ/4.2
Shutter speed: 1/2500s
Focal length: 104.9mm
ISO: 400
Location: 51° 28.7478′ 0″ N 3° 10.7235′ 0″ W
Taken: 24 June, 2014

And here are some horses:

Archie and Carys

Archie and Carys

Camera: X-T1
Aperture: ƒ/4
Shutter speed: 1/600s
Focal length: 55mm
ISO: 200
Location: 51° 27.8012′ 0″ N 3° 9.8426′ 0″ W
Taken: 24 June, 2014

And the question has to be asked: who ate all the pies?

Who ate them all?

Who ate them all?

Camera: X-T1
Aperture: ƒ/8
Shutter speed: 1/60s
Focal length: 55mm
ISO: 400
Location: 51° 28.6974′ 0″ N 3° 10.685′ 0″ W
Taken: 24 June, 2014

Weight and Stuff Report – 9 July 2014

Weight: 213.2 pounds (15 stone 3.2 pounds, 96.7 kg)
Steps taken: 4,664

Hmmm, down again today to another new low for the year. I managed to get out for a bit of a walk at lunchtime, which made a nice change…

Today’s photos are of Cardiff Castle. Here’s the nicely over the top clock tower:

Clock tower

Clock tower

Camera: X-T1
Aperture: ƒ/4
Shutter speed: 1/2200s
Focal length: 20.9mm
ISO: 200
Location: 51° 28.8612′ 0″ N 3° 10.9004′ 0″ W
Taken: 24 June, 2014

And here’s something that probably escaped from a particularly bonkers Bavarian castle[1]:

Fairy-tale castle!

Fairy-tale castle!

Camera: X-T1
Aperture: ƒ/8
Shutter speed: 1/600s
Focal length: 24mm
ISO: 400
Location: 51° 28.86′ 0″ N 3° 10.9941′ 0″ W
Taken: 24 June, 2014

[1] Cardiff Castle was owned by the insanely rich Marquis of Bute. He decided to have it remodelled a bit, in the way that nobody would be allowed to do with old buildings these days. If you think that tower’s a bit fancy, you should see the interior….

Weight and Stuff Report – 8 July 2014

Weight: 214 pounds (15 stone 4 pounds, 97.1 kg)
Steps taken: 2,329

Down again today, good stuff. Today’s low step count was caused by me not having time to go out at lunchtime (other than to the sarnie shop over the road) because of a misbehaving server, grrrr.

Today’s photo is a detail of the clock on Cardiff’s St Mary’s Street. Taken through glass, in case you’re wondering about the reflecty bits:

Clock monkey

Clock monkey

Camera: X-T1
Aperture: ƒ/8
Shutter speed: 1/300s
Focal length: 55mm
ISO: 200
Location: 51° 28.6755′ 0″ N 3° 10.6639′ 0″ W
Taken: 24 June, 2014

And today’s bonus photo was taken just around the corner from the clock. It’s an extreme window cleaner. Well, I think that’s what he was doing. Unless he was just hanging around…

Serious window cleaning

Serious window cleaning

Camera: X-T1
Aperture: ƒ/8
Shutter speed: 1/480s
Focal length: 156.1mm
ISO: 200
Location: 51° 28.6519′ 0″ N 3° 10.6995′ 0″ W
Taken: 24 June, 2014

Weight and Stuff Report – 7 July 2014

Weight: 214.6 pounds (15 stone 4.6 pounds, 97.3 kg)
Steps taken: 2,000

Back down again today after yesterday’s rise. Today’s very low step count was caused by an excess of rain at lunchtime, which led to me getting a sarnie from the shop over the road rather than walking up Grey Street. It turned out to be a perfectly lovely brie and grape thingy, so I may be going back for more…

Back to York for some more photos now. This guy was juggling axes[1]. On an elevated unicycle. Blindfolded.

Quite mad...

Quite mad…

Camera: X-T1
Aperture: ƒ/5.6
Shutter speed: 1/850s
Focal length: 55mm
ISO: 400
Location: 53° 57.6021′ 0″ N 1° 4.8096′ 0″ W
Taken: 5 July, 2014

And going back to the cycling theme, here’s another slightly unusual bike:

Tour de... naaaaah

Tour de… naaaaah

Camera: X-T1
Aperture: ƒ/7.1
Shutter speed: 1/640s
Focal length: 28.9mm
ISO: 400
Location: 53° 57.3443′ 0″ N 1° 4.7306′ 0″ W
Taken: 5 July, 2014

[1] Possibly not actually sharp ones – I missed the beginning of his talk…

Weight and Stuff Report – 6 July 2014

Weight: 216 pounds (15 stone 6 pounds, 98 kg)
Steps taken: 7,867

Hmmm, back up by a big bit today. I think yesterday’s weight may have been the result of me being a bit dehydrated, as I did find it necessary to drink several pints of water[1] last night…

There was more rain forecast for today, but I wanted to get out and do something with my last day of freedom[2], so I decided on a wander around Newcastle and the MetroCentre, which may have involved buying something, which I may get round to talking about later. As it happens, the rain didn’t arrive until this evening, and then it was a light shower, so I could have done something else, but never mind.

York, as I may have mentioned yesterday, seems to have gone cycling mad[3]. People have been leaving their bikes all over the place for some reason:

You can't park that there

You can’t park that there

Camera: X-T1
Aperture: ƒ/5.6
Shutter speed: 1/75s
Focal length: 110.3mm
ISO: 200
Location: 53° 57.7114′ 0″ N 1° 4.9845′ 0″ W
Taken: 5 July, 2014

Well, I suppose it won’t get stolen from up there. Even the artificial flower shop[4] is getting into the act:

Bad, err, dog?

Bad, err, dog?

Camera: X-T1
Aperture: ƒ/5.6
Shutter speed: 1/100s
Focal length: 55mm
ISO: 200
Location: 53° 57.6442′ 0″ N 1° 4.8617′ 0″ W
Taken: 5 July, 2014

So it was nice to see the Minster looking normal. Though I’m a bit worried about this statue on the front. He’s holding the building. But he’s on the building. Is there a smaller him holding a smaller Minster, and so on to subatomic level? I’ll obviously need a longer lens to find out…

Self-referential

Self-referential

Camera: X-T1
Aperture: ƒ/6.4
Shutter speed: 1/200s
Focal length: 141.3mm
ISO: 200
Location: 53° 57.7268′ 0″ N 1° 4.9934′ 0″ W
Taken: 5 July, 2014

[1] Yes, water, not wine!
[2] Back to work tomorrow  :wah:
[3] My visit was well-timed. Today would not have been a good day to be in York if you were planning to do anything other than fight your way through crowds of people who wanted to watch other people riding bikes  :crazy:
[4] Err, I think that’s what it is