Sorry I ain’t about much at the moment. As I mentioned before, I’m working away from home and have rubbish Wi-Fi. And when I’m home at the weekends, I have plenty of other things to keep me amused/employed, but just not enough time.
Anyway, Mrs Masher has taken the kids to a birthday party this afternoon and I have a little bit of free time to fill, so I thought I’d give you a quick update on what’s been going on.
Training for the London to Brighton Bike Ride – Well, thanks to the inclement weather, my arse has only once sat on the saddle of my new steed since I bought it. That’s probably not a good thing.
Radio – This has been taking up much of my free time, I’m afraid. Since ‘rediscovering’ this old hobby of mine, I’ve been pretty much immersing myself in it. Hours are spent up in the loft, installing stealthy half-wave and trap dipoles for various different bands – with some degree of success – and yesterday, I spent a happy six-hours with a soldering iron, applying various modifications to my aged HF receiver. I’m pleased that all the hard work seems to have paid off and radio-wise I am not as deaf as I was just a few weeks ago. This weekend I have pulled in stations in Italy, Bulgaria, Poland, Russia and the Ukraine on Morse Code and RTTY.
In the photo above you can see the sorry state of my study/shack, as I have been so busy that I just haven’t had a chance to even tidy it up. Mrs Masher just shuts the door on it all. Of the two radios on the desk, the one on the right is the HF receiver that I’ve been working on and the mods have improved it no end. The left hand radio is a scanner which I use for monitoring the VHF bands.
Geocaching – This is what has been taking up much of the remaining free time that I have. Not me actually going out caching, but building the next one that I am putting out there. I’ve struggled with some of the C++ coding, but I think I’m finally there and it all seems to be working now. There’s still a lot of work to do on it (build the electronics, finish building the enclosure, find somewhere to stick it, come up with a suitable puzzle, etc), but I’m glad to have got another milestone out of the way. I’m keen to finish this sooner rather than later as I want to get it out into the public domain as soon as the decent weather comes. My last one has received fantastic reviews from those that have played it, but it has suffered from poor attendance because I stupidly put it out there far too late in the year. I’m hopeful that the numbers will pick up significantly when the good weather comes.
Computers – Again, looking at the photo, the monitor on the right is connected to my old back-up PC which I have finally managed to get working properly on Ubuntu. Now, that’s something that should have been a piece of cake, but took bloody ages, thanks to a dodgy video card – oh why didn’t I just change it right at the start, instead of faffing about trying different drivers! But now it’s working OK and doing a fine job of decoding the data signals from the radio, so I’m pretty chuffed.
Teeth – I went to the dentist on Friday to have two fillings done. Bummer. On the plus side though, she says she now doesn’t need to see me for another nine months, instead of the usual six. Whether that is an indication that my teeth are getting better ( in other words, getting worse more slowly), or that the dentist can’t do any more with them, I don’t know. Either way, we did a high-five, and that’s a first for me: I’ve never high-fived a dentist before.
Telly – I watched the F1 this morning, on my El Cheapo satellite setup. I was pleased that despite it still being in its ‘temporary’ position and having been hit by a football several times recently, the dish was still working OK and locked on nicely, allowing me to watch the race for free. I wasn’t so pleased about McLaren making a hash of it all. Again.
Food – Whilst doing the food shopping yesterday, I spied some tins of corned beef on the shelves, and suddenly had a pang for a corned beef sandwich. Ahh, I used to love corned beef sandwiches, especially with a bit of mustard or tomato, but I can’t remember the last time I had one, it was so long ago. And so I bought a tin. As Mrs M is out with the kids, I decided – just half an hour ago – that I would make myself a sandwich. I cut two thick slices of fresh, crusty bread and lavished them with butter (I still can’t believe that it’s not). I opened the tin using the twisty key thing on the side. Worryingly, it looked more like dog food than the corned beef that I remember, but I cut a few thick slices and laid them on the bread with some salad and wholegrain mustard.
And then I ate it.
It was this: fucking awful.