Archive for the 'Diary' Category

Mid November Update

Tuesday, November 17th, 2009

What, two updates in two weeks? What is up with that?

87.5kg

87.5kg

This week I got to deal with coming down with a cold/flu *again*. That’s two this year - not happy. Felt it coming on Monday afternoon. By Wednesday I had to leave work early because I couldn’t concentrate. Spent Thursday and Friday in “the room” sick and by myself. Plane flight back up to Scotland on Friday night was  not happy. On the plus side - glad I didn’t try to reorganise it for earlier - that would have been murder…

Most likely causes? Waiting outside the Bongo Club on Sunday night in the cold Edinburgh air for 45 minutes. Spending 3 hours in a small room in the Bongo Club with 5 dozen or so people. Spending an hour on a plane with how ever many people. Take your pick…

Consequently, didn’t do much over the weekend - we had a weekend at home with warm and comforting food and DVDs.

Found out today Hobbes caught his first mouse!

Mega Update

Monday, November 9th, 2009
85.3kg

85.3kg

Welcome back - to me!

Well, it has been over three months now since my last update. Unfortunately, writing this doesn’t get easier with time (nor does my memory) - so sit down, buckle up for a whirlwind journey through three months. I promise to keep on top of this in future! So - where did I leave off? August 1st…

My first distraction was with a web site called DakkaDakka - where you can check out my progress with Da Ork Angelz.

During September I helped out Friends of the Earth for a couple of days and also caught up with Phil over lunch. But mostly Lou and I were preparing for our move to Scotland. Wednesday the 30th saw the house mostly packed up. Thursday saw the rest gone and on Thursday night we drove up to Pathhead to our new home (arriving Friday morning).

Hobbes started the journey in his cat carrier - but was not amused by the confined space. We let him out later - to be held by Lou - but it wasn’t necessary. Free of his cat carrier he was very content just to sleep on her lap. After another stop, Lou decided there would be more room in the back and moved back there. Hobbes apparently preferred the front, and spent the next leg of the journey curled up on my lap as I drove. Later, when Lou took over driving as I was falling asleep, Hobbes remained content to sleep on my lap - in the front. Kobe was well behaved as usual - of course.

A seemingly minor hiccup (which turned into a major one) left us without broadband for the weekend (and as it happened, the next two weeks!) The car battery decided to give out on Sunday - thankfully not on Monday morning on my way to the airport! As it was, I think we visited Dunbar (Sunny Dunny) and experienced unusually strong winds that weekend. Luckily we spent most of the time unpacking indoors.

The following Monday was my first Edinburgh to London commute (by plane), and also my last day at the Legal Services Commission. My first night in my “room” in New Cross Gate and the following day my first day at my new contract at IG Index. The week was a nightmare, mostly due to the need to finish some last minute things at our previous residence. I rented a car and drove out to Reading and back three of the four nights. My flight back to Edinburgh was then delayed by an hour and a half. I have since come to determine that early morning flights are better than evening flights, as they are less likely to be delayed by previous journeys!

I think that weekend was the one we saw “Zombieland” (excellent 10/10 - my second viewing as I had seen it on Tuesday night with Paul) and got out to Wannaburger. There are two Wannaburgers in Edinburgh. This was the one on the Royal Mile and didn’t quite live up to the atmosphere we remembered from the other one. This must have been the weekend we visited a renowned seafood restaurant in Edinburgh (Lou will have to remind me of the name!) which was nice - but the only thing that exceeded our expectations was the price! (However, this was only one of two places where we have eaten that has been expensive - by Reading standards anyway. Everything else has been cheaper and nicer :). Of course, both expensive places were renowned - perhaps that is the common element?)

The following week commute went smoother, but it wouldn’t be for another couple of weeks before I would overcome all the kinks in the process. Thankfully this was he last week I took checked in luggage. Its amazing the difference it makes to not have to check your luggage in, wait for it on the other side and negotiate peak hour on the tubes with it! That weekend Lou and I had our first ski lesson on the Midlothian dry ski slope.

The following weekend was Paul and Claire’s wedding - so this time it was Lou’s turn to fly down.

This weekend just gone was pretty special as we celebrated Lou’s birthday. I couldn’t convince her that moving to Scotland was birthday present enough. On Saturday we visited the Edinburgh market (second time), visited a candy store Lou had found online, visited the book shop (bought two books), had lunch at a New York style Italian diner (including an excessive chocolate dessert called “The Godfather”) and watched “The Men Who Stare At Goats” (average 6/10 - great cast, under utilised, all over the place).

Sunday involved a trip out to a farm shop we had previously discovered, lunch at a German bakery/cafe (this one was out on the coast somewhere - there is another by the same name in Edinburgh that we had previously bought cake from. Lunch was scrumptious!) and then our second dry ski slope lesson. To top off a great weekend, in the evening we saw Jonathan Coulton perform live at the Bongo Club in Edinburgh - though Lou wasn’t surprised that I think I actually enjoyed Paul and Storm (the opening band) more… Apart from the givens (”Alive”, “Re: Your Brains”) I also really enjoyed “Better” and “Mr. Fancy Pants” - go figure.

So there you have it - all up to date now - with not too many holes…

Catchya,
Adrian

PS - Other items of note:

  • Further to the car battery issue, in a following week the joint to/on the muffler broke. We now have a new muffler… (or silencer as I think it is called here…)
  • The other expensive place we ate was a well renowned Chinese restaurant in Edinburgh that I also can’t remember the name of (Lou?)
  • The broadband issue basically went as follows:
    • Prior to moving we organised for BT to transfer our phone line and broadband. As they need the line in place before they can do the broadband, this was done in two parts - the phone on Thursday and the broadband on Friday.
    • On Saturday we called up regarding the broadband not working. Someone hadn’t flagged the phone transfer as completed, so the broadband transfer hadn’t gone ahead. A new broadband transfer order was going to take another 5 working days!
    • The following Saturday we called up again regarding the broadband not working. There was a “tag” on the line, so it hadn’t gone ahead. Apparently they were meant to check for this “before” placing the order… The tag would be removed within 5 hours (apparently), but the transfer wouldn’t occur until Monday. It would be “expedited”.
    • On Monday we called up to check everything was progressing as planned. There was no broadband transfer order. “Expedited” orders are not recorded in the system, so there is no way to track them! A new (5 day!) order was raised, and this also “expedited” (by another service representative).
    • I think we finally got our “expedited” transfer on the Thursday - two weeks after we were meant to have broadband…
    • Rant over!
  • I attended the StackOverflow DevDays (London) the week of Paul and Claire’s wedding. I thoroughly enjoyed it - well worth the £89 or whatever it cost. Only let down - the catering (they were not equipped to deal with the amount of people present).
  • I also made my first “The London CMS Pros Group” meet-up that week- which I had been meaning to do for quite sometime…

End of July Update

Saturday, August 1st, 2009
86.1kg

86.1kg

Another month down and not much to show for it. My lack of consistent exercise and diet for the last month and a half is now catching up with me as my weight goes sideways rather than down - obviously some renewed dedication is required.

On a positive note, I am writing this on the train home on my new MacBook Air - yes I finally got those fraudulent credit card charges reversed and Apple eventually shipped the thing to me (after a week!) I am also trialling the Internet tethering with O2 via my iPhone. So far so good - I definately appreciate not having to carry round yet another device (ie USB modem) - and the pricing appeared to be no worse than any other carrier. I expect I’ll be iChatting and Skyping my family and friends this weekend, this time with video. Now all I have to do is work out how to a) keep Lou off of it and b) resist her pressure to buy her one of her own. In a sacrilegious move I have already installed Windows XP on it via VirtualBox. (RedDot will only work through Internet Explorer)

Lou has got the itch for Scotland again, so we have been investigating “commuting” from Edinburgh to London as my job prospects there appear limited and inconsistent. So far it doesn’t seem too bad - though it would be better if I could manage a four rather than five day week. Flights from Edinburgh to London seem to be about £50 each way (less if organised in advance, though I haven’t taken into account seasonal variations yet) which works out to about the same price as my monthly season ticket for the train from Reading to London. The flight is an hour fifteen, so assuming the entire journey takes me three and a half hours it will be no worse than my present commute - only two days a week instead of five. It looks like we will save another £650 per month on parking and rent, which should more than cover three or four nights accommodation per week if I’m not fussy (and willing to share). We might even come out ahead (financially speaking) - assuming all those small costs I haven’t considered yet don’t chew through the surplus. The major downside at the moment appears to be whether Lou can live without me for three or four nights a week.

Meanwhile, I have managed to start basing the miniatures Paul gave me for my birthday and have some more of my own with there base coats complete. I needed some bike bases - so a Games Workshop order later I have some more tools and bitz to continue building Da Ork Angelz - including the painting station to allow me to work on them down stairs while keeping Lou company. I have also bought a natural light lamp so that my painting is not restricted by the English weather (its supposed to be summer right?)

Lou is continuing her creative energies, having taken up drawing and started her own blog - Easily Amused. Go check it out and leaver her a comment!

Last but not least, I have been making great strides with my French learning. Now that I am on top of my “professional” podcasts, my drives to and from Reading station are dedicated to listening to Coffee Break French. I am up to the fourth series (which actually only puts me coming up to the end of season one!) I tried several French learning programs before settling on Coffee Break French - but I found this one to be the easiest and most helpful  - even if it did feel a little weird learning French from Scots in the beginning. The first series was easy as my five years of French at high school were obviously not completely wasted, though I am now finding it a lot more challenging. I think I am going to need to do a repeat of season one before moving on to season two and I am seriously considering purchasing the bonus materials. Moving to Scotland will probably put our trip to France back to early next year - so I have a little more time to improve my confidence.

Anyway - that’s it for now. Catchya!
Adrian

Orlando 2009 - Part IV

Sunday, July 26th, 2009

Tuesday 26th May 2009

For our third day in Orlando we left the world of Disney and swapped it for the Universal Studios experience. We had bought our tickets back in the UK (14 day, 2 park tickets - though we were only going to use one day) including Universal Express Plus Passes for today only. Having elected to print them out at home, we ended up having to carry the two A4 sheets of paper - each - around with us for the entire day - as we were unable to swap them for the smaller park passes. This minor inconvenience was easily made up for by the decision to buy the Universal Express Plus Passes - which operate in pretty much the same way as the Disney FastPass system, with the following exceptions:

  1. They are only available to those who have bought them, not everyone entering the park.
  2. You can only use them once per ride (not an issue for us - we were attempting two parks in a single day, we weren’t planning on redoing anything…)
  3. There is no getting a FastPass ticket and coming back later to use it - you just go straight through. Hence there is no limit of one FastPass at a time either.
Although Universal Studios was fairly quiet first thing on the Tuesday morning, the Universal Express Plus Pass did get us in to The Simpsons Ride a lot faster. Where it really shone though was in the afternoon at Islands of Adventure - which was a lot busier - and negated an hour wait at Ripsaw Falls as well as between 15 minutes and a half hour on most of the other attractions.

Universal Studios Florida®

We arrived at the park bright and early - so early in fact that most of the attractions hadn’t opened yet - so our first experience was Shrek 4-D™. After an uninspiring lead in by one of the park attendants in the waiting chamber we entered the cinema proper for a wild cinematic experience. Not content with simple 3D effects and gimics (spiders, blown air, water spray) - the chairs actually move! Combined with the on screen antics of Shrek and Donkey, it was very easy to get caught up in the action and feel like you were actually there, galloping along with them as they seek to rescue Princess Fiona, again.

Next up, my favourite for the day - The Simpsons Ride. Probably the longest wait, even with our express passes, but definately worth it. A roller coaster ride with a difference (actually, I am not sure that it actually *is* a roller coaster), the ride sees you on a roller coaster in Krustyland alongside the Simpsons family - with the added twist that Sideshow Bob is destroying the coaster *while you are on it* in another attempt to kill Bart. The ride is enclosed, so all you can see is the projected Simpsons cartoon, as whatever mechanics make up the ride convince you that you are actually living through the mayhem - including drops, turns, missing track and giant robots - not to mention Springfield and all the characters you know and love.

After the fun of the first two rides, I found the Men In Black™ Alien Attack™ ride was a bit of a let down - being more frustrating than fun. Armed with a blaster, you mission is to kill as many invading aliens as possible.  I found spotting and hitting the aliens difficult - and I’m sure my “big red button” didn’t work on the end boss. Lou fared better, comfortably beating my score. All in all the Toy Story Midway Mania of Disney’s Hollywood Studios was a lot more fun.

Our next stop was the Jaws® ride. Unlike with Shrek, the attendant here (who admittantly is actually part of the experience) was very enthusiastic about his work - which was the highlight of the ride, as, well, its just difficult to spruce up a boat on rails and a mechanical shark.

Continuing around the park landed us at Revenge of the Mummy®, an actual bonafide roller coaster. This was a fun ride, without being exceptional. The effects were different (for a roller coaster) and characterful, though perhaps let down by seeming a bit fake.

We headed back to Disaster! as it hadn’t been open when we passed it on the way to the Mummy, but we had missed the session. Instead we headed over to Mel’s Drive-In for lunch as well as checking out the Delorean and train from the Back to the Future movies.

Last stop for us here was the Terminator 2®: 3-D attraction, which was “Super!”. The mix of live action, special effects and 3-D film was very well done - and like the Jaws ride, the attendant entertaining us before the actual show did a great job of her character.

While there is a lot more to the park than just the rides we did above, the two main attractions we missed were the E.T. Adventure® (part of the Woody Woodpecker’s Kidzone®, which we didn’t feel the need to visit) and the Hollywood Rip, Ride Rockit! (which hasn’t been completed yet).

Universal’s Islands of Adventure®

Having finished with Universal Studios we headed across to Islands of Adventure for the afternoon. Deciding to get the wet rides over with first, we skipped the Marvel Super Hero Island and headed straight to the Toon Lagoon, where our first port of call was Popeye & Bluto’s Bilge-Rat Barges®. And wet we got! My shoes didn’t dry out until the following day. This ride was a lot of fun and reminded me of the Grizzly River Run at Disney’s California Adventure® Park in Anaheim.

Next up was Dudley Do-Right’s Ripsaw Falls®. Bypassing an hour long queue via our express passes, this reminded me of another Disney ride - Splash Mountain from the Disneyland® Park in Anaheim - complete with the same style (yet different) wacky cartoon characters, the same calm and safe atmosphere punctured with occasional drops and rapids and the same death defying drop at the end.

Completing the trifecta of wet, we moved on to the Jurassic Park River Adventure®, which also reminded me of a Disneyland® Park attraction - the Jungle Cruise. Except this time there were some distinct differences. For one, there is no tour guide on the Jurassic Park River Adventure (though there is audio). Secondly, there is no long drop on the Jungle Cruise (or dinosaurs for that matter). The start of this ride was actually quite atmospheric. The lead up to the drop, less so (it felt like they were trying too hard). The drop itself was quite an adrenaline rush - but as per ususal, was over too quickly.

Having done the wet rides, we continued around the park. Next up was the Dueling Dragons® - a roller coaster with a difference in that two coasters go at the same time, and the carriage is connected at the top so your legs dangle. Waiting in the queue, Lou was not too sure about this one - but we eventually made it on, riding the Ice (blue) dragon into battle. Lou survived - no doubt helped by the fact that we were in the middle of our carriage, making it difficult to see what was happening in front of you. Unlike some of the roller coasters we have been on, this one actually felt quite long. Interestingly, the area this ride is in is undergoing a Harry Potter transformation - so it may be themed differently in the future.

Moving on, we walked through the Lost Continent and Seuss Landing without stopping, bringing us back to Marvel Super Hero Island where we enjoyed our last ride for the day - The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man®. This was yet another slightly different experience - merging 3-D and mechanical in a more open environment as we witnessed (and took part in) a battle between Spider-Man and several of his foes. An excellent end to our day at the parks.

Again, there is a lot more at the park than what we did - though possibly the only rides we missed of note was The Eighth Voyage of Sindbad® Stunt Show and The Incredible Hulk Coaster® - which we were simply too coastered out to bring ourselves to do at the end of the day.

Aftermath

It was only coming up 3pm as we left Islands of Adventure, so we headed over to the local AMC to watch Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian. Afterwards we had perhaps the best dining experience of our holiday - quality, quantity and price - at Bubba Gump Shrimp Co Restaurant. We finished up with some souvenir shopping - t-shirt and hoodies for myself and Louisa. All in all a great day!

Catchya,
Adrian

Where does the time go?

Wednesday, July 15th, 2009
85.8kg

85.8kg

Weigh in time again already - it seems like I was doing this only yesterday. This fortnight has not been as consistent as I had planned, but luckily I still seem to be moving in the correct direction - albeit a little slower than I would like.

The first week of July could have been mistaken for a Perth spring - it got warm enough for me to take off my jacket which I pretty much wear everywhere (and am well known for wherever I work.) The second week was more like Perth winter. The weather here in the UK just can’t make up its mind it seems.

This fortnight seems to have been one of catching up with old friends from Perth - Iain via Skype (and now on Twitter) and Simon in person over lunch at Wagamama in Victoria, London. Finally started putting some more of my Da Ork Angelz together and have been working on my new personal web site - but otherwise not much to report.

Should get my birthday present, a MacBook Air, next week. Would have been this week except for the fraudulent credit card charges not having been reversed yet. Good thing Lou and I aren’t living from week to week anymore!

Still to finish up my RedDot Usergroup conference review and the rest of our recent holiday to Orlando, as well as all my other myriad of projects…

Until next time,
Adrian

Split Personality

Saturday, July 11th, 2009

One of my goals for this year is to revamp the www.mateljan.com and www.webdjinn.com web sites. In particular, I am looking to make a better split between my professional blogging and industry contribution and my personal blogging and keeping friends and family up to date. So far I have mixed the two here simply in an effort to get into the habit of writing regularly. However, I think the audiences are, for the most part, unrelated. By targeting them individually I think I can serve each of them better, as well as present each in a more consistent matter. Plus it will be less confusing for me.

With that in mind, my personal web site design seems to be coming along faster than my professional one. Not that I am a designer - more a developer / programmer - so don’t expect too much. Below is my first attempt:

Personal web site design - attempt 1

Personal web site design - attempt 1

The overall effect is supposed to represent me. If you know me personally, it should say to you “Yep, that’s Adrian”. As I am not a designer, I am cheating a little by using real life objects as design elements - I am just not going to be able to come up with something like this that Lou likes - certainly not with any form of consistency. The objects are supposed to be arranged in a desk top like arrangement. Lou thinks it looks too cluttered, unbalanced and hence a little unnatural. I tend to agree - at least on the cluttered point.

What I am realising is that I haven’t done enough preparation on the content side. While the main elements are covered (travel, Da Ork Angelz, entertainment, journal, latest post, recent posts, welcome and about, tag cloud, what I am reading, watching, playing etc) some of the minor elements have sort of been relegated to the pad at the bottom without much thought to the layout or presentation (latest comments, textual navigation, calendar, blog rolls etc). The inconsistent navigation may pose more frustration than discovery - and I haven’t planned out the sub pages or how they may fit in with any semblance of consistency.

Still, as I said, developer not designer - I’m used to taking over from here, not getting to here… Any thoughts or comments are most welcome. In the meantime, attempt two is going to include more white space and probably lose the desk top metaphor (and feature more objects side on than top down) That is, after I have revisited the content requirements…

Orlando 2009 - Part III

Sunday, July 5th, 2009

Monday 25th May 2009 - Disney’s Hollywood Studios

Day two was Memorial Day in the US, so we were expecting the parks to be busier (and they were). Once again we headed off early for “Magic Hour” - this time at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. I had planned out the day this time (with the help of a guide lent to me by one of my colleagues at work - thanks Alison!) - so there would be no missing anything of interest!

First up - the “Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster(R) Starring Aerosmith”. This was our first proper roller coaster for the week, and having seen the upside down car on the guitar strings outside - it wasn’t without a little bit of trepidation. The queue was already long enough for us to experience the mechanisms in place to keep us entertained while waiting, but being our first stop, we didn’t have to wait long. Lou became a little unsettled when she saw one of the cars before us literally take off - but then it was too late and we were buckled in for the ride. And what a ride it was! The launch at the start was probably the scariest part, as you are very quickly brought from a standing start up to full roller coaster speed (it reminded my of the coaster at Disney’s California Adventure in this respect) - but the ride is pretty much in almost complete darkness - so I can only say it felt like we were twisting and turning in on ourself, but who really knows? We came out exhilarated. It was awesome fun. The only negative? It felt very short!

Next we went past “Toy Story Midway Mania!” to pick up our fast pass tickets (and did we need them!) and then headed over to “Star Tours”. It all seemed very familiar - and it was - it was the same ride that we had done in Disneyland. After Lou was finished being distracted by a real life squirrel, we made our way through the Streets of America and ended up outside of the “Studio Backlot Tour”, waiting for it to open (first photo below).

The “Studio Backlot Tour” was fun and interesting and was broken up into two parts. The first part was a demonstration of special effects similiar to those used in the “Pearl Harbor” movie. The second photo below shows someone about to be drenched as if on a ship, while the third shows incoming torpedoes and explosions. They eventually ended up reordering the filmed scenes, splicing in additional footage and showing us the finished product!

The second part of the “Studio Backlot Tour” involves being driven around the backlot itself - checking out old props, hearing about the history of Disney, the parks, viewing the costume and engineering workshops etc and ends up with another special effects demonstration. This time it involved a semi trailer which you can see on fire in photo four and drenched in photo five. Unfortunately, still photos (especially from my iPhone) do not really do the effects justice. Photo six and seven are the Streets of America and the Monsters Inc photo opportunity respectively, as seen from the tour. Apparently they use the Streets of America for filming (it is life size) - remodelling it as necessary. The skyscrapers in the background is just a painted wall.

Next we used our fast passes to get into “Toy Story Midway Mania!”. This ended up being the longest fast pass queue we were in for the entire week. It is basically a target practice game with the Toy Story crew - but that description does not do it any justice at all. The target practice is all in 3D and you have a set time at each station before being whisked away to the next. All the while you can see your score - and compare it to your partner’s. Lou got an early lead, but in the end I prevailed quite comfortably. This was immense fun and I can fully understand the wait times. Unfortunately, this was one of the most boring queues.

From “Toy Story Midway Mania!” we raced across to see the “Indiana Jones(TM) Epic Stunt Spectactular!” where more special effects were the order of the day as they demonstrated scenes similiar to those in the various Indiana Jones movies. You can see Indiana making his entrance in photo eight (complete with falling styrofoam “rocks”), being chased by a styrofoam “boulder” in photo nine and re-enacting the plane scene from Raiders of the Lost Ark in photo ten. The bit where the Nazi boxer gets hit by the spinning propeller was particularly memorable (he disappeared *very* quickly down a trap door). Again, the photos do not do the event justice - nor do they capture the fight scenes, explosions or audience participation.

We had lunch at the “Hollywood Brown Derby” as the “50’s Prime Time Cafe” which was Lou’s original choice was booked out. Note to self - grapefruit cake tastes, surprise surprise, like grapefruit - which I don’t like!

We then rushed over to see the “Lights, Motors, Action! Extreme Stunt Show” (photo eleven.) Sitting in a huge stadium, we got to see the action unfold, complete with information about the vehicles, drivers, stunts and various special effects tricks used. Photo twelve shows the “ballet chase” - the red car is the “good guy” being chased. Photo thirteen shows the chase going across the ramp - the red car is already across and went over backwards, or did he? Turns out they had two red cars and this one literally drives facing out of the rear of the car! If you take a close look at photo fourteen, you can see a guy falling from the top of the building.

Photo fifteen shows the jetski getting involved (why not?) while photo sixteen shows one of the chasing motorcyclists on fire - after having slid through the fire across the tarmac - all planned of course. Its quite comical really - the guy involved dresses up in all kinds of cooling and flame retardant gear before being doused in something flammable so that he lights up instantly. It is all very controlled though - do not try this as home!

Photo seventeen shows the final explosion while photo eighteen shows the cast at the end. Note there are three red cars - the one on the right has a driver strapped on to the side so that the car can appear to drive without a driver. This was used to great effect when they asked a twelve year old from the audience to remote control drive their shiny red car (obviously, he wasn’t really driving it at all - but not before a couple of close shaves and some panicking.)

On our way out of the stadium I caught a glimpse of the old Mickey Mouse One plane (photo nineteen). We started to get down to the less popular attractions - “The Great Movie Ride” was interesting, but nothing special and the “Journey Into Narnia: Prince Caspian” added nothing if you have seen the film. With that, we called it a day and made our way to the exit. We caught a brief glimpse of the Block Party Bash parade (photo twenty) on our way out.

In the end, we missed a few popular items for various reasons. The “Twilight Zone(TM) Tower of Terror” and “Jim Henson’s Muppet*Vision 3-D” as we had done them previously at Disney’s California Adventure. “Voyage of the Little Mermaid” and “Beauty and the Beast - Live on Stage” because Lou simply wasn’t interested in seeing them. The only real disappointment was missing “Fantasmic!” - which wasn’t on that night, presumably because it was Memorial Day.

We headed into Downtown Disney for the afternoon/evening. Photos twenty one and twenty two show various Lego monstrosities outside of the LEGO(R) Imagination Centre, while photos twenty three and twenty four show some of Downtown Disney itself. We ended up going to see Terminator Salvation at the AMC Theatres (review to follow) and finished the day with a meal at Fulton’s Crab House. Unfortunately this was our worst value for money meal on our stay - being one of the more expensive places we dined at and lacking in both quality and quantity. As a comparison, we got better quality and quantity at the Hollywood Brown Derby - the most expensive restaurant at Disney’s Holywood Studios - for slightly less cost.

After a successful day, Lou let me plan out the next day’s adventure at Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure. But you will have to wait for the next installment for that! Until then, bye!

Adrian

Happy Birthday

Wednesday, July 1st, 2009
86.5kg

86.5kg

Last fortnight I was surprised at the significant drop in weight due to lack of exercise, less than stellar diet and a week in Orlando. This fortnight the flatline appears to have caught up with me - but it could just have been my lovely birthday dinner at Strada in Reading. More likely I did more exercise (walking) than I expected in Orlando - or my weight is a lagging indicator of how well I am doing diet and exercise wise. Still, I am keeping within cooee of the target line and I expect to do better this coming fortnight - having got back into my routine. My birthday present, a MacBook Air, is awaiting budget allocation and won’t be with me until mid to late July (just in time for Vin’s birthday?)

I finally got around to switching the mateljan.com e-mail over to Gmail - even the mail.mateljan.com link now works. I also finally got around to installing Google Analytics on this site - so now I can see what you are doing bwahahahaha… It will be more interesting once I have more data - and when I split this blog into two new sites (which I have also been working on) - one for my personal life aimed at family and friends (which will be on the mateljan.com domain) and one for my professional work (which will remain here) - both with complete redesigns. Stay tuned! Also Internet related, I finally joined Facebook. Now I just need some time on the weekend to explore. Now that’s a lot of finallys!

This week saw my first encounter with credit card fraud. On Monday, whilst checking my credit card account online, I noticed that the pending transactions value was a lot higher than I expected. After confirming with Louisa that we hadn’t made any large purchases recently that I was unaware of, a refresh showed that it had gone up another £300! Talking to the fraud squad at my bank, someone had helped themselves to two transactions for jewellery online during the last half hour. Suffice to say the cards have been cancelled, but it is a bit of an inconvenience waiting for new cards to be issued. Not sure how my card details got out, but we have used a new pizza joint’s online ordering system in the last week - so I think, rightly or wrongly, we probably won’t be using them again “just in case”.

To wrap up, I am now back to my regular 5 x 7hr work week which I must confess is a lot more relaxing than 4 x 8.75hrs (especially when the day off isn’t)

Catchya,
Adrian

mateljan.com

Friday, June 19th, 2009

Ok, the mateljan.com email addresses have been converted from doteasy to Google, and appear to be working well - including the spam filter. You will eventually be able to access your email via http://mail.mateljan.com, but this is currently still “in progress”. It should be accessible by Monday, however, in the meantime, you can go to https://mail.google.com/a/mateljan.com instead.

The first time you access your email you will be prompted to change your password. Passwords were sent out earlier this week and will still be in your doteasy mail (which is still accessible).

Any questions - just email, phone or leave a comment here.

Catchya,
Adrian

Colour Me Surprised

Tuesday, June 16th, 2009
86.7kg

86.7kg

After a week in Orlando and three weeks of dubious diet and neglible exercise I was expecting to see my weight head back up, or best case, flatline. I don’t feel any thinner - perhaps I have just lost muscle mass? Still, quality aside, I have still been making sure to drink plenty of water and not to overeat. It could just simply be that I will lose my weight in stages - I was not keeping track so closely the last time I pulled this off. Go me!