Monthly Archives: February 2007


Hmmm. A nice little drop in my weight today, which is a Good Thing. My knees seem to be calming down a bit, too. They’re not actually happy, but they’ve settled down to moderate grumbling rather than more aggressive complaints.

I might even try to walk to work tomorrow… :???:


Let’s see now..

Had an early start today, to catch a train to Leeds. Had a busy day there, doing things I wasn’t actually expecting to do, but someone had to…

The weather has turned a bit nasty – wet, windy and colder than it’s been for weeks.

Today’s weight was nicely down on yesterday.

And I’m too tired to write anything else tonight. More stuff later in the week. Probably.

Slight change of plan

Mutter, mutter, :rant:

Well, I started as I intended. Walked to work, which was OK. But by lunchtime, my knees, especially the right one, were not at all happy, and were doing their best to put me in a similar mood.

At which point, I remembered that it’s been a very long time since I stopped taking Glucosamine, which seemed to help my knees in the past[1]. I didn’t exactly deliberately stop taking it, you understand. I just ran out and sort of forgot to get some more. A year or two ago. I do that sort of thing a lot, and lose track of time…

Anyway, I popped into Holland and Barrett, who had a nicely timed offer on. A selection of products were reduced to £5.99, including 60 1000mg Glucosamine, which is normally £19.99. Bargain.

I’ll take two of those a day and see how things go. But for the moment, I think the exercise programme will have to wait.

Oh, and today’s weight was up a bit. Mutter mutter.

[1] I’m aware that there is apparently conflicting medical evidence on this, but I’m reasonably sure I’ve had beneficial results.

Action needed

Yes, well. These few weeks of shunning exercise haven’t helped with my plan to lose weight. Today’s figure shows another upward fluctuation thingy, though not as alarmingly upward as last week’s.

So tomorrow, I plan to make a start on getting a bit more exercise. But I’ll have to go easy on the old knees, mutter. :rant:

Primeval – Episode 3

OK, anyone who was freaked out by last week‘s slightly overgrown creepy-crawlies can look back at the screen now. The third episode of the “let’s recycle everything we did for Walking With Monsters” drama didn’t contain any nasty little crawly things. Just a quite big swimming thing, so you might want to stay out of the water.

After a man is eaten in a swimming pool, and his remains turn up in a reservoir, Cutter realises that the strange sparkly things anomalies can move around a bit. Oh fun. While the team are investigating the reservoir, they encounter a Mosasaur and one of the special forces divers is lost in the strange sparkly thing anomaly before it disappears. Cutter predicts that it will reappear in another body of water along what he calls a “temporal fault line”. Now this is where scepticism kicks in. Is there any particular reason why the anomaly should open in a body of water just because it’s under water at the other end?

As it turns out, there’s no reason at all. The next appearance is in the basement of a house, where a slight water leak develops into a major flood. When a plumber is eaten by what the Primeval website claims is called a Hesperonis, but other sources suggest was actually a Hesperornis, but in either case is a big flightless bird with sharp teeth, the team are called in. The body of the missing diver turns up, with a message for Cutter that he knows has to come from his missing-presumed-dead wife Helen.

After the usual arguments with the slightly creepy government representative, Cutter agrees to go into the anomaly to bring Helen out. He goes in and finds her, but she doesn’t want to come out – in fact she wants Cutter to join her and explore time. Apparently she knows how to find the anomalies, and she’s not really all that bothered about how many people are eaten. Cutter declines to join her, and swims back to the anomaly. After a brief altercation with a Mosasaur, he’s brought to the surface, only to be held at gunpoint by the security goons, while divers go in and capture Helen.

Helen doesn’t look very happy about that…

Next week, apparently we have a Dodo to look forward to, as well as something nice for the creepy crawly fans. :grin:

All good fun.

More of Friday’s Pictures

When I uploaded a selection of pictures yesterday, I somehow managed to miss a few. I’ve added those missing ones to the gallery in that post, so if you looked earlier, you might want to pop back and see a few more pictures.

But I thought I’d put these on show here. It’s another one of those depth of field experimental thingies, which once I’d cropped it down, appealed to me. I liked it so much that I did a black and white version with a bit of a sepia tint. I quite like the effect, and I’ll probably print these out…



Sepia Railings

Sepia Railings


Mutter. Dreamhost had some planned downtime today. Not planned by them, but by their building. Architecture must be getting very advanced over in California, is all I can say to that. Actually, a closer reading of the blog post suggests that it might not have been the building itself so much as the people who manage it, which does make a bit more sense. Apparently a high voltage thingy was wearing out its wossname and could have vaporised the meter reader, or something. Details on their site.

They also reported it on their status page, which quite sensibly is kept somewhere quite separate from their own network, together with a name server, so customers’ domains don’t cease to exist[1]. Now this was essential work, and they did try to do it at a quiet time, except of course that not all their customers are in the same time zone they are, so for me it happened when I might actually have wanted to get some email or work on my site. But never mind, and all that. It seems to be working normally now.

So if you tried to visit Losing it[1] earlier and saw a blank screen, now you know why. Circumstances beyond our control, and all that.

[1] Been there, done that, no t-shirt available

Randomly up

Saturday’s weight is a bit higher, mutter.

I’m having a fairly relaxed day, and I’ll probably do much the same tomorrow. And then on Monday, I’m going to attempt a gentle, knee-friendly bit of exercise.

Pictures, 23 February

And here, in record time, are the pictures from yesterday’s little walk. I went past the Westgate House site, then past the station and into the Centre for Life before returning past the station. There are some moderately interesting pictures, including a few that demonstrate what I was talking about earlier in relation to that depth of field thinginess. More soon. Or soon-ish, at least.

Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 ll Lens

Well, I’ve had the Canon 30D for seven months now, and in that time I’ve taken a few pictures. Well, a couple of thousand, some of which I’ve shared with the Losing it[1] audience[1]. And I’ve been very happy with it, too.

Of the two lenses I bought, I mostly walk around with the actually rather nice Canon EF-S 17-85mm f4-5.6 IS USM[2] rather than the Sigma zoom, which only comes out of the bag occasionally. It’s a very nice general purpose lens, whose only significant limitation is that its maximum aperture of f/4 isn’t quite as wide as one might like. But good wide aperture lenses don’t come cheap…

However, Canon do make this little beastie. It’s the cheapest lens they make for their SLRs, and the cost is reflected in the build quality. Compared to the big and really quite heavy 17-85mm, it’s very small and light, and has a very plastic feel to it. Even the lens mount is made of plastic rather than metal as on the more expensive lens. And the focus ring is a very small thing indeed.

But, and it’s a big but, what we have here is a 50mm prime lens with a maximum aperture of f/1.8 for around £65. I read a lot of reviews before buying it, and the consensus seemed to be that it’s optically pretty damn good, and that so long as you’re not rough with your toys, the build quality isn’t really an issue. Canon do make more substantial wide aperture lenses at significantly higher prices, so if you need something more robust, you can ignore this lens.

Now I can see I’ve lost some of my readers already, so I’ll explain a few things in distinctly non-technical terms[3].


What’s that then? A prime lens is quite simply one with a fixed focal length, in this case 50mm. Unlike a zoom lens, if you want to get closer to something, you’re going to have to move yourself and your camera rather than turning the zoom ring. This might sound like it’s not a Good Thing, but optics are funny. To get a lens to perform well throughout its zoom range turns out to be tricky, and in general, a lens made for a fixed focal length will produce a better image.

f what?

OK, I’ll keep this simple[5]. Those f numbers are a measure of how wide the hole is that lets light onto the camera’s sensor. The lower the number, the wider the hole. The wider the hole, the more light gets in, which means that you need to open the shutter for less time in the same lighting conditions. Also, a wider aperture, as the hole is more usually known, means you get a shallower depth of field.

Depth? What’s this about fields?

Depth of field is the proper name for describing how much of the image is in focus. A deep depth of field means that pretty much everything from very close to as far as you can see is sharp. A shallow depth of field means that the actual subject should be sharp, but closer and more distant objects will be blurry. This is often just what you want – it’s a common style for portraits, and can produce some really interesting images.

Anyway, understanding all that, I decided that my camera had been very good, and it was time I bought it a present. I shopped around a bit, and at the time, Amazon had the best price I could find, especially with the free delivery option. So I ordered it on Tuesday, and it was delivered to the office on Thursday while I was in London. I took it out for a walk on Friday, and had some fun, the results of which will appear once I’ve sorted through them.

So far, though, I’m quite impressed. It’ll never replace the 17-85mm as my main walking around lens, but I do plan to make more use of it. It was interesting to have to take a different approach to my photography – having to move closer to something (or further away) to frame the image I wanted was quite different from my usual approach. OK, I usually move around, but not that much. Not a bad thing at all, and it definitely encourages me to think more about what I’m trying to do, which might just improve my photography. Which would be a Good Thing. It was also fun playing with that wide aperture, stopping it down a bit from time to time, but mostly leaving it wide open.

[1] Hint: click on Gallery in the heading
[2] Prehistoric link removed
[3] More photographical readers[4] may wish to look away, or laugh…
[4] Hi Sam :wave:
[5] Only way I’ll understand it :lol: