March 2013 in the Life of Ben (Blog)

  1. January
  2. February
  3. March
  4. April
  5. May
  6. June
  7. July
  8. August
  9. September
  10. October
  11. November
  12. December

Fiona’s New Bicycle (30th March 2013)

After much deliberation, shopping around and several test rides, Fiona took the plunge and purchased a Globe Live 2 Mixte 2012 (Medium) which cost just £400 from Cycle Surgery.

You can see the full specification from Specialized’s archive.

Her previous bicycle is called Ladybird and has a ladies frame. Looks like it’s from the 1980’s and we found a men’s version from that era which looks almost identical. The branding says Triumph and it has a traditional 3-speed Sturmey Archer hub.

New bicycle has no name, so far. It works so well that we haven’t seen what character it has.

Introducing Blackbird (27th April 2013)

This is the name for Fiona’s new bicycle.

27th Scalextric Club (19th March 2013)

Good attendance meant we could use all 6 lanes at tonight’s London Scalextric Club Sports Car event. We did 2.5 minutes per race.

I borrowed a car from Steve the chairman. Think it was a red open top prototype but not 100% sure.

Green Lane

4th place was on 15 laps, so I was quite far behind.

Fastest Lap 9.53s
Laps: 14.50
Position: 5th
Crashes Not sure

Unknown Lane

Leaders were on 15 and 16 laps, so quite a close race.

Fastest Lap 9.06s
Laps: 15.05
Position: 5th
Crashes 2+

White Lane

Clean race using a smoother controller.

Fastest Lap 8.89s
Laps: 15.90!
Position: 3rd
Crashes Not sure

Blue Lane

Leader got 17 laps with 8.46s as fastest lap. Next driver was on 16 laps and managed 8.57s.

Bob and I were wheel to wheel for the first lap and a half, so I backed off and followed him. In theory this avoids us slowing each other down, as we both drive extra careful to avoid contact.

With 30 seconds to go I made my move, a clean pass spread through the first 3 turns where Steve’s car was particularly strong. Built a little gap and kept my concentration, holding the position to the end!

Bob is a very fair racer, it’s fun driving close to him.

Fastest Lap 8.98s
Laps: 16.15!
Position: 3rd
Crashes 0!

Yellow Lane

Fastest Lap 8.69s
Laps: 15.10
Position: Not sure
Crashes 2+

Red Lane

Consistent laps from me while most other drivers had a lot of crashes.

Great result to end the evening and an important lesson proved: in order to finish first, first you have to fninish!

Fastest Lap 9.05s
Laps: 15.55
Position: 2nd
Crashes 0!

Cloud Atlas – No Spoilers! (16th March 2013)

Fiona had read the book a while back and was keen to see the movie. We finally looked for a cinema with a decent screen to see it.

After much deliberation, we chose the Odeon in Covent Garden. It’s a compact venue but a big, modern screen. A good experience; the audience were quiet once the movie started.

As for the film: wow! It is super complicated if you want to understand all of it at once. A more relaxing option is to simply relish the drama, variety and spectacle through which each entwined story is delivered.

We got near-perfectly central position after negotiating a held seat onto the other side of the person who was holding it. We were in a flat area looking slightly up, so no problems with people’s heads in front.

Each story is in a different era. You can always tell which story you are watching by the exceptional costumes, settings and accents.

The near-future stuff was amazing because it felt so natural. TRON: Legacy is deliberately artificial. Other scenes are of tribes on a sunny island and sailors on a galleon (which always seems to be in a storm) to a old people’s home.

They all blend in due to the humanity of the performances. The sci-fi scenes are perhaps made all the more poignant by the stifled, restrictive culture it portrays.

A spectacular movie, one which I would probably have found boring if it were on TV 10 years ago. But on a big screen and at this time in my life, it’s an instant favourite.

We talked about the film with friends on our skiing trip and found some fascinating new interpretations. It’s a movie you can engage in with as much complexity as you like. Certainly worthy of (and rewarding to) intelligent discussion afterwards.

Gone Skiing (2nd March 2013)

Returning on Saturday 9th March 2013, then visiting family for Mother’s Day, then returning to London.

Reported 3 nearby water leaks to Thames Water at 1:30am, before we set off at 2am. My good deed for today.

Au revoir!