June 2012 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

27th Birthday! (27th June 2012)

Had a fantastic rib-eye steak at our local steak-house pub, North Nineteen. All the family drove down to eat with Fiona and I. We started off with a tour of Fiona’s flat, pointing out the various landmarks we can see out both sides of the building.

Zoe spotted a tall but distance wheel-like thing. I’ve since tracked this down as the 115 metre high Orbit, a huge sculptural structure in the Olympic Park.

Lots of great cards and presents, including an entire box of chocolate broken biscuits. Yum!

3rd London Scalextric Club (26th June 2012)

It was quite a late start tonight, so I got lots of practice with the spare NASCAR. As we were all using club cars it was pretty similar machinery.

I could have avoided coming last in two of the races! My fastest laps were barely 0.5 seconds away from the fastest laps of the evening with those cars. In practice I was really consistent, doing 10 laps under 11.5 at a time.

But in the races I started to tense up at the prospect of a good result and crashed. Still, really pleased that I’m in contention and got complimented on my driving style by a couple of the old-timers there.

Underground Holiday Camp Event (22nd June 2012)

Fiona and I went with a friend to a quirky underground interpretation of a holiday camp in the tunnels beneath Waterloo Station. It was very active and loud!

Good fun.

2nd London Scalextric Club (19th June 2012)

The race calendar was set for sports cars (LMPs) and this week I got to race them properly! We used the middle 4 lanes and raced 4 minutes at a time. After my introduction last week I was looking forward to this.

Cycled in and arrived while the track being set up. My bicycle is parked in the background to some of the photos, taken with my Lumia 800.

My best result was 24 laps (2 laps behind the leader) with no crashes and fastest lap of 9.8 seconds on my last lap. Fastest lap I did that evening was 9.48 seconds in my next race. Fastest lap of the evening was under 8 seconds, I think.

But more importantly was how the other members gave advice and words of encouragement. To me and to each other, in fact. It was a sporting atmosphere amongst friends.

1st London Scalextric Club (12th June 2012)

Slotforum’s interactive map of slot car clubs (or use the big map of clubs) is how I found The London Scalextric Club. Their website is well-focussed and written in a gentle, informal style.

It was within cycling distance. Then I saw the calendar of races had a touring car event for this evening and that they run without magnets, it was the perfect fit for me.

Kilburn Slot Car Club is about the same distance away, so I might try that one as well.

Event Summary

Welcoming people, plenty of marshalls, a spacious venue and a totally sorted track made this a delightful re-introduction to slot car racing.

The chairman is easy-going and super helpful. He lent me a car and controller during the coffee break. I must’ve got about 15 minutes of running, split into 2.5-minute segments. My fastest lap was eventually 10.83 seconds and felt properly hooked up. Fastest lap that evening was around 9.3 seconds.

The technique is surprisingly like the Gran Turismo games, especially with the track’s braking system. Also regained my throttle feel from 10 years ago at Calthorpe Park School, where we raced Ninco DTM cars.

The grip from the tyres really surprised me. It felt like the magnet Ninco cars from 10 years ago. They do slide. It happens fast but there’s a zone where you can get a slight drift, maintained with half throttle through the turns and gently increasing at the very end of the corner.

Will definitely be attending next week!

Accidentally Cycled 30 Miles (10th June 2012)

Two of Fiona’s friends got married today. We attended the ceremony and I helped with food logistics. After I got back I rode to Alexandra Palace. Was only a few miles and the view was even more panoramic than Hampstead Heath.

Was using the previously spotted gMaps Pro app for my Lumia 800 to navigate and got there fine. But on the way back I misread the first junction. Ended up riding ~25 miles to get back home!

Automattic use Haiku Marketing (6th June 2012)

While creating my Gravatar account I clicked through to the site of the agency who made it, Automattic. Their homepage uses neat grids with a very short product name followed by a 5:7:5 Haiku to describe the product.

In the same spirit, here’s my review of it:

Naff idea, and yet:
Neat typographic design.
Somehow it works?