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Archived entry | Matt Wilcox .net

A quick catch-up

It’s been a very busy few weeks recently, and I’ve had no chance to write about what I’ve been up to until now. I hope you forgive me, and will make do with this brief mis-mash of an update!


Right, I’ll see what I can remember - starting off with karting! A few weekends back about thirty people from a few of the companies on our business park went out on a saturday afternoon with the intention of having a calm drive mercilessly beating everyone else in a contest of skill, speed, and drifting. I was originally intending only to photograph the ensuing carnage, but Pete convinced me to partake in the madness instead. Excellent persuading Pete, and I’m very grateful! It was awesome (to steal one of Phil’s favourite words). Not having been karting since I was about 12 it took me quite a while to get used to it - I did abysmally on the first race (i came last), driving like a granny at the wheel of a porcalene car. That is, until I got lapped, at which point I had someone to follow so I knew how fast I could take corners. I then managed to stick with whoever it was for…ooooh, lets say half a lap. At which point I went a tad too close to one of the corners and ended up pointing the wrong way. The feat of pointing the wrong way (and even ditching into the grass verge) was an event which I managed to emulate four times in the first race of eight laps. It was also one that I managed to emulate just as many times in the second race, though at higher speeds. At least I overtook Pete in the second race, to finish second-to-last (sorry Pete). At long last I found my groove, it took 16 laps, but I’d got that thing nailed. In the third and final race, I started in pole, and I did not lose that position once. I tore around that track like the very demons of hell were on my tail, and managed to lap three people in the process of drifting around every available corner. My best lap time was a respectable half second slower than the best of our veteran karting guru, Paul. Had I raced like that from the start, I’d have likely been in the final. After a long afternoon a few of us wandered off to the pub for a beer. Myself and Pete stayed for a meal. Unfortunately, as I was driving, I have no photo’s, so you will have to make do with Paul’s only shot which was from the pub, and not the karting.

After Pete and myself had finished eating we took a drive into the mountains and ended up walking around Snowdon as dusk set in. We took the wrong path, got lost briefly, and made our way back to the car in pitch-blackness, which is only to be found at the bottom of very deep holes and the top of large mountains.

New laptops!

I’ve already written about our getting new laptops at work, but I’ve not documented what happened next. After amusing ourselves with a ‘pop the bubbles’ webcam game (see attached photo) we settled down to days of work, as employees sometimes do. It was in the following days that we discovered something. Those ASUS laptops are not good. In fact, the four we had ended up with so many problems that we have arranged to ship all of them back in order to get a completely different make. Which has made us a little bit sad, because we’d been looking forward to those laptops for ages. At least my monitor continues to live up to expectations smiley icon: smile

Heather’s 21st

Not so long ago it was Heather’s turn to become another year older, and to celebrate this a group of us went to a Chinese. Heather came along too, which was exceptionally nice, and even appropriate given the circumstances. smiley icon: laugh Those of you who know me can rest easy by my revieling that I actually enjoyed my duck and vegetable dish. I’m not entirely sure whether the shine was what made it taste OK, but if so then that’s just another score for the concept of shinyness, which i already felt was one of the best things in the world, without ever having understood it to also taste nice. I digress.
The evening was most plesent, and we got to spin food around the table legitamatly. Yay for Chinese food! Following the meal we went to Ben’s place and proceeded to chat, drink, and play with balloons. Happy Birthday Heath!

Out and about with the camera

I’ve recently been able to get out a little bit with my camera, and even picked up a shiny new 50mm f/1.8 prime lens, which I have proceeded to fall in love with. Its lack of zoomability is turning out to be an advantage rather than a hinderance, forcing me to think about each shot, where I am in relation to the subject, and all that jazz. It’s also a much sharper lens than the two kit ones I have, and produces some very nice images, especially at low light levels.

Got a new car

My Cavalier has served me very well for the past four years, but it was starting to show signs of age. It’s 12yrs old and has done over 155k miles. While I’m sure the engine was fine (it still sounds smooth and quiet) there were a number of niggling issues that were appearing, indicating the looming possibility of spending unknown volumes of cash in the not too distant future. So very kindly my grandparents stepped in and offered me their car, as they had been thinking of getting a new one for a while and wanted to help me out. I am very grateful, so thanks Gran and Poppa!

I sold the Cav to Jay at work at mates-rates, making sure he knew exactly what the niggles were - I hope it serves him as well as it’s served me. Owing to timing I had no car to drive home with and pick up my new one, so my Granddad came over to give me a lift back, which was really cool (thanks Granddad!). We had a nice drive back and it was nice to have a long chat about loads of different things. One day perhaps Granddad will write in his blog, because it’s good to hear what he has to say. We tend to think fairly similar thoughts about most things I think.

Lunar eclipse

Not too many days ago there was a total Lunar eclipse, and for the first time ever I actually got to see it! The clouds rolled back, and a clear night meant I could roll-up my living room window, position myself on my bean-bag, and observe through my binoculars. I even managed to get a couple of shots, but unfortunately my 200mm lens is simply too small to get anything decent.

Teaching Web Standards

A week ago I found myself for the first time ever teaching other people about Web Standards. Paul had arranged for me to spend a morning with the company down the corridor, who were curious about these things. I was a little nervous about it, but the morning went well and I think I covered everything I needed to, from the general principals of modern web development through to explaining code examples and recommending further things to help them learn more. I quite enjoyed it, and liked the approach of sitting and talking as opposed to ‘presenting’. We went for a nice meal at the pub afterward too, and got to chat with some cool people, which was great.

Please forgive any spelling errors in this post, I’ve re-formatted windows and don’t have any spell checking capability just yet!

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