Feb. 26th, 2011

shinytoaster: (Default)
In the last two months we have not been up to much. At the start of February we joined [personal profile] wordplay and [personal profile] shewalksonroses for Theatrebinge 2011 and over the course of three nights were variously blown away by Clybourne Park, amused by Season's Greetings, and deeply disappointed in Frankenstein.

C has better thoughts on this theatrical travesty than I have yet managed to articulate so those who care should read her reviews. I feel I got a lovely view of Benedict Cumberbatch's cock and had an idea for a crossover fanfic that I may actually write.

Talking of writing, I started and failed at NaNoWriMo last November, but I do now have about 15,000 words of a comic fantasy in seven parts entitled Vin's Seven, which was conceived a couple of years ago in the Hong Kong Diner over bubble tea with a crowd of recovering Harry Potter fans. It is, incidentally, the furthest I have ever got with a genuinely original book, so we'll see how that goes.

Work continues much as ever, but with some improvements. I've finally got that raise and have been sort-of unofficially bumped up to a web-centric editorial position. I have responsibility for bloggers and am doing some commissioning now, as well as maintaining two different Twitter feeds and doing various forms of social media outreach as needed. I may also be doing podcasts soon.

This is, of course, on top of the writing element, but I long ago figured out I don't have the head to be a proper hard-nosed investigative reporter and with the way journalism is going these days the web skills are more relevant and important than ever. Web is definitely the side I want to be on anyway.

This week we have booked a trip to Amsterdam in July. We've got a canal-view room at a little family-run hotel in one of those big old gabled merchant houses, nicely central and five minutes or so from the Anne Frank house. I've not been to Amsterdam since 1982, and in 1982 I wasn't in any position to appreciate it.

There's also a trip to the Canaries planned in September, but we're putting off the big Australia/New Zealand holiday for a year or so as the schedule is tight. We've worked out there are, what, maybe three or four weeks this year that we can both have off at the same time.

Today I had my first dental check-up since, I think, December 2000 and it wasn't a complete disaster, and we now have BUPA through L's work so it didn't cost anything either, which is a nice bonus.

So all I need doing is a small filling in a back tooth, which is still a milk tooth. I asked if this was normal and got told that my x-rays showed there was nothing behind it waiting to come down, so I'm going to have it forever. I have named it McGillicuddy.

Yes, yes, I know I should be going to the dentist every six months, I just don't have the money to go private and NHS dentists not only charge, but are almost impossible to find, so I just never got round to it.
shinytoaster: (Default)
This year I am trying, as much as possible, to cycle to work every day, which saves me £5.80 ($9.30 or thereabouts) a day on Oyster. It's not just for that reason, I really enjoy cycling, it's the only sport I've ever really been able to do well at, and it's really good exercise for my poor sick legs.

Obviously it's still winter so I've been able to do it maybe two or three days a week if lucky. I'm going to try to build that up in the coming months because just to make it fun (and to allow me to play with maps and stats and stuff) I'm riding to the US this year.

On a heading of 288.55 degrees from our front door, it's exactly 3,664.52 miles to L's parents' house in MD. Currently, since January 1st, I've ridden 442.1 miles exactly, or 12.064% of the total distance.

Assuming I'm riding in a dead straight line I headed out of London through Chiswick, Brentford, Southall and West Drayton, passed between Oxford and Abingdon and then on into Wales. I hit the Irish Sea at a place called Aberaeron and hit Ireland near Tinnacree, Co Wexford. I then crossed Ireland and have hit the ocean again in Co Clare, where I miraculously survived a plunge directly off the 214m high "Cliffs of Moher".

I am currently at 53º04'05" N 10º14'47" W, which puts me in the Atlantic, 17.77 miles off the westernmost tip of Inis Mór, one of the Aran Islands (home of Father Ted).

I will next make landfall after 1,889.35 miles of rather boring ocean cycling (that's 2,331.44 miles or 63.621% of the total distance) on Eastern Indian Island, a small island off the coast of Newfoundland, due south of Fogo Island.

There's a small fishing settlement on the island and some villages on Fogo, but the nearest place of any consequence appears to be Gander Airport, 44 miles SSW. St John's is 153 miles away heading SSE (that's 246km, on account of now being in Canada).

The ride will then take me across the central part of Newfoundland, before crossing the Gulf of St Lawrence and hitting Prince Edward Island at Stanhope. From there, I cross the central part of the island and pass across the strait to New Brunswick, going just south of the new road bridge to PEI.

Passing across the isthmus between New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, there's then another lengthy period of seaborne cycling, heading down the Bay of Fundy and skirting the coast of Maine, always keeping within sight of land.

I will hit the USA proper at Parker River National Wildlife Refuge in Essex County, MA. I then skirt several large towns, passing between Lowell, Boston, Framingham and Worcester before crossing into CT just east of I-84. Through CT I skirt the southern suburbs of Hartford and hit NY in Westchester County, where I pass north of White Plains and Yonkers before crossing the Hudson.

The ride continues through NJ and across PA, passing through King of Prussia and the botanical garden at Longwood before crossing the Susquehanna within sight of the I-95 bridge. From here the final stretch is through central Baltimore, crossing the harbour, then down through MD, over the Beltway, through a large and pleasant tract of suburban housing and Sligo Creek to my final destination.

I then got to thinking, what if I was to take a heading in the exact opposite direction and go 3,664.52 miles that way.

This journey takes me through mainland Europe (fine so far) on a line running from the Pas de Calais from a point midway between Calais and Dunkerque, through Belgium, Germany, Austria, Slovenia, Croatia, Serbia and Bulgaria, hitting the Sea of Marmara, which is the name given to a stretch of sea dividing European Turkey from Asian Turkey, about midway between Gallipolli and Istanbul.

I would then cross Turkey and a small section of the Med just off the northern tip of Cyprus. Unfortunately the ride then becomes a bit less appealing. It's a straight shot across the Syrian Desert, passing across the north eastern corner of Jordan. I then do a bit of border hopping, from Jordan to Iraq, back to Jordan, back to Iraq (I spend 1.5 miles total in Iraq) and then across bloody Saudi Arabia, where I will cross the main runway at King Khalid International and through the north eastern suburbs of Riyadh.

This route ends at a random point in the Omani desert, 111 miles short of the Indian Ocean. The nearest identifiable place on Google Earth is called Kubbat an Nasr. It looks like some kind of walled compound. I don't fancy it much.

And this now concludes your geography nerdgasm.

December 2011

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