Hot and Sandy

Travel writing, pictures and stuff for people I know. Quite a lot of cycling talk, and some semi-controlled ranting. Hiking, outdoor and two-wheeled stuff, perhaps a little computing when it's worth talking about. Meandering thoughts.

Tuesday, October 29


First few stubborn drops of dirty rain today, amid a moody sky that approached from the west.  Softshell and long sleeved top weather.

Sunday, October 27

The Situation

Well I've been working out here for some time now.  The weather has changed from 50°C (not actually too bad as long as the humidity is low and you acclimatise properly) to the mid twenties, with cold nights.  My clattery AC unit has slowly worked its way from the blue end, through a few weeks of basically being switched off into the red bit.  Blustery dust storms have become the norm and visibility is rapidly declining.  We are expecting squally storms delivering a few giant drops of token rain soon. 

Now the dust that baked hard all summer gets up and out, finding it's way into everything.  I left the window of my pickup ajar by maybe an inch the other night, and came back to find the entire car interior dusted, seats filthy and instruments unreadable. 

But it is surprising what you get used to, and how your perceptions change over time. For example, I have settled into a hot-weather food regime involving one cooked meal a day - inevitably joined by a giant pile of delicious refrigerated shredded carrot.  At home I'm not a massive carrot guy, but out here I love it.  All other sustenance includes coffee and a few bottles of water, with the occasional sachet of electrolyte to ease the boredom.  Biscuits and snacks sent from home pack a big morale punch – a bag of wasabi-glazed-but-slightly-sweet gourmet popcorn was a crowd-pleaser yesterday.

Despite the drama and higher-than-usual baseline of stress I am comfortable with my 85-hr week.  Once you calibrate and get used to the oddities and strange expectations (20kph speed limit anyone?) you could live here forever, if you had nothing going on at home.  That's a big if.  For me, there are things at home that are waiting in stasis, things I want to get on with.  I say 'want' in a calculated way – of course some things are more of a 'need', but being here does focus thought.  It makes you consider that you are 24/7 property of your employer, simply a doer of their objectives. 

I find myself increasingly taking odd moments to myself to think about how things will be when I'm back at home.  Some things immediately grab me; I should create quality time.  I should appreciate little things like cooking a meal from good ingredients, morning coffee and toast in the garden, or walking my dog.  Being in a good place.  Some more thoughts on this and other things in due course…

Tuesday, October 8

House Day

Another day of R&R passes; I have spent it eating fine food (albeit
yesterday's leftovers), drinking delicious espresso while watching the
Tour of Lombardy on Eurosport, and messing with my GoPro. The cam is
amazing, shooting 1440p video at 30fps or 1080p at a whopping 50fps.
Awesome stuff but I did discover the reason it was cheap in best buy. No
wifi remote charging cable, so one has been purchased from HK for £7. I
love these things, they really make you want to go and jump off a cliff
or do a crazy MTB ride. Most of my vids are fairly sedate, involving
diving, cycling or motorcycling. I have some more to upload to youtube
actually, so maybe I should do that this afternoon. Broadband working
well with my kit, but the 3 year-old router might get upgraded soon,
depending on what I see well-reviewed / on special offer. Out!

Wednesday, October 2

Might be Getting Somewhere

Dramas of Networking!

Randomly home for a while and tinkering with networks. So we have fibre and the bandwidth is awesome, up to 3mbps upstream and 60mbps downstream. I am therefore mystified as to why the provider has issued us with the worst combination fibre modem / router ever. Using new tech I was achieving 45mbps on a direct ethernet connection and 8-12mbps over wifi. So today's task is to use their junk as a modem (although all the warmth and jazzy blinky lights suggest the other stuff is disabled but still powered on). Then I can use my own Cisco kit to switch and route within the house. Oh, and I also need to sort the subnets and network topology for a couple or three smart TVs and a pretty complicated web of computers. Cue humping and dumping of kit with the eventual aim of elegant simplicity. So much for my day off (he said, secretly enjoying this stuff a little bit)....