Friday, June 30, 2006

A Successful Brain Transplant

Finally got round to replacing the hard disk in my PVR. I had been meaning to do it for some time. Finally decided to get the same disk that was in there before, just a more recently manufactured one. It is subtly different to the original and hopefully it will last longer and work better.

Everything seems to be working properly, but I haven't recorded anything yet. I'm just glad to have a proper freeview box again, watching analogue TV was so awful.

The Fusion FVRT100 generates a lot of heat and I'm thinking of uprating the cooling (I'm a bit concerned about increasing the load on the puny power supply), but there isn't much room in the case for modification and I don't want it to be too noisy. The current fan is tiny but relatively noisy and I'm not sure that it is really helping to cool the unit.

Thursday, June 29, 2006


I didn't really get to see much of Kaiserslautern. I arrrived a few minutes before kick off, had a beer and then walked to the stadium. However the atmosphere at Kaiserslautern was really good. It was a bit like a carnival with lots of (very drunk) people milling about, singing and dancing. There was a large square that had been turned into a fan area and there was a tremendously loud soundsystem which seemed to be filling all of the surrounding streets with music.

Kaiserslautern Street

There was an huge disparity in the number of people supporting Trinidad & Tobago when compared to the number supporting Paraguay, so the streets were turned into a sea of red flowing towards the stadium.

Kaiserslautern Street

The Fritz-Walter Stadion (named for Fritz Walter, the captain of Germany’s 1954 Cup winning side) is new and has great facilities. It was packed to bursting with people and the atmosphere at the beginning of the match was fantastic.

Fritz-Walter Stadion

The match itself was a bit dissapointing, Trinidad & Tobago played with a lot of spirit but Paraguay was the technically better team, keeping their shape a lot better and sticking to their game plan. Both teams had a lot of opportunities to score. Paraguay scored about half way through the first half and after that made Trinidad & Tobago come to them trying to catch them on the break.

In the second half Trinidad & Tobago started very tentatively but then as the minutes ticked away decided to go for it. They made a lot of attacks but Paraguay's defence more or less had the measure of them.

Towards the end of the game Paraguay scored again and thats how the game finished.

The journey back to Karlsruhe was interesting, the trains stopped at every station and were like the tube during rush hour! Poor dutch guy who was sat opposite to us kept saying "its not normal" or "there shouldn't be this many people on the train" under his breath every few minutes for about an hour.

It took about two and a half hours to get to Karlsruhe because there were not any direct trains and we had to change in a few places. I didn't get back to the hotel untill just after 02:00. Just as I was makng myself ready for a well earned sleep the widlfowl on the lake in the zoo starting their dawn chorus! It was awful, it was very loud and it went on for two hours!

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Wednesday, June 28, 2006

An end to Formalwear Emergencies

© Someone ElseAfter my last little formalwear hiccup I have finally managed to get around to purchacing a suit from the student tailor website.

I must say that the service was disconcertingly good and they delivered it very quickly. It arrived in a very nice black box and I was really nervous that it woudn't fit. However, I tried it on last night and it fits better than most rentals and looks quite good on my increasingly chubby self.

I get a chance to wear it in anger on Friday evening and hopefully there will be no nasty surprises.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Maya Stein's Original Writings

the dog doesn't care about lines.
he prefers the chaos of off-track, untimed explorations,
even if the oaky undergrowth makes him sneeze,
even if he trips on exposed roots and rock-strewn creeks.
in fact, he likes it that way,
likes the obstacles that Mother Nature,
in her infinite wisdom, has thrown him. - Maya Stein
I came across Maya Stein's collection of original writings - "one paragraph at a time" quite by change and I think that they are interesting and quite possibly worth sharing.


Saturday, June 24, 2006


Went to the Fatherland in the middle of last week to watch a football match (I have more or less recovered from Arsenal's crushing defeat) and see a bit of Germany. Due to my tardiness in booking flights and accomodation, I ended up flying from Stansted to Baden-Karlsruhe and spending the night in Karlsruhe. My original plan had been to fly to Frankfurt and stay in Kaiserslautern. As things turned out it was lucky that I was staying in Karlsruhe as it was quite a nice city.

Thank God for Ryan Air's 'web check-in' as Stansted was heaving. It was packed with people and I'm sure sardines have more room in their tins than there was at Stansted. In any case if I would have needed to queue to check-in I would have missed the flight.

Arrived at Baden-Karlsruhe on time at 09:30 local time and after a lengthly wait (in the comfort of the cafe), cought the bus to Karlsruhe. The bus journey was a tad uncomfortable as thh aircon wasn't working and the temperature was already creeping up to 30°C We passed through a few villages on the way and the architecture was destinctively Scandinavian in appearance. Baden seems to be a farming region and I guess the fact that the Rhine flows through it means that it is a flood plain and has good soil and easy irrigation.

The city of Karlsruhe is quite picturesque and I took a fair few photos. It is only a short journey from the airport and as the airport was quite small it was piss easy to get out of and to check in on the return journey. Although it is a small airport with very few flights it is nonetheless brand spanking new and very comfortable.

Arrived at the Am Tiergarten Hotel (Tiergarten = Animal Garden) at around 11:00 and was pleasantly suprised, the building had a lot of character and my room was large with very high ceilings and was full of Wassily Kandinsky prints hanging on the walls. The hotel is also located right at the edge of Karlsruhe zoo, which means that you can sit outside and watch the flamingos while you sip your latte! Very cool.

After a few minutes of faffing around changing clothes and grabbing my camera it was time to explore Karlsruhe. Headed for the castle where there was a museum with an exhibit on the history of the region. Found out that Karlruhe was founded in 1715 and it is the birthplace of Karl Benz inventor of the automobile. The castle was a bit dissapointing, not as grand as I had expected and the museum wasn't very good. I did however make my way up the seemingly never ending sequence of stairs to the top of the tower to take in the view. On arrival at the tower I discovered that it was pissing with rain! Took a few photos anyway.

Ambled back to the hotel for a late lunch, passing through the market and stopping to admire the unusual pyramid shaped tomb of Margrave Karl Wilhelm (who gave the city its name). The food at the hotel was nothing short of excellent and the staff were really nice as well. Although I had been swatting up on my german it was still more than abysmal and the staff decided that it was better to try to communicate in English. I have to say that their English was a lot better than my German.

After a very pleasant meal and a shower it was 17:30 and time to head to Kaiserslautern for the football, which I'll tell you about later.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Impressionist Photograph?

Impressionistic Photograph?

Hmm, is it art, that's the question!

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Gone in 60 seconds.

Michael Owen - Gone in 60 Seconds

Another case of life imitating art - or art imitating life; whatever, it is still funny (Newcastle United supporters exempt from grinning).