Tuesday, February 27, 2007

35k = new tyres

Well, I think the MINI has done very well. Despite some spirited driving it has managed to reach 35,000 miles without needing new boots. However, as the ammount of aquaplaning this morning showed it was time for a set or replacements. A few searches later showed that there are not as many choices as I would have thought, mainly down to the skinny 175/65 R 15 profile. I took some advice though and have ended up ordering four new Dunlop SP30 - I hope the code is not an indication of what my driving licence will look like with them on! These tyres boast better wet handling than the factory fits and a reduction in tyre noise - having them fitted at 16:00 - will let you know!

Welcome to Knebworth A!!!!

A moved to his new house in the village this weekend. Unfortunately K and I were in Sweden so missed the actual event (and champagne). However, he is settled in and appears to be enjoying the pub already :) I have been put in charge of gadget suggestions for his new pad and have already come up with a way to blow £10k on a 60" plasma install!!!

Friday, February 23, 2007

K is internet-famous!

K is internet-famous! She was contacted out of the blue by MSN saying that she was to be featured as part of a 'kleenex' promotion - and with the chance to win £1,500 of computer equipment! So - vote for her here http://specials.uk.msn.com/kleenex

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Deep Thought 3

After several hours last night my new super-computer is up and running. Seems very nice indeed - dual core is fantastic and image processing is SOOOO much faster than my last machine. Have had a shuttle so long that the mid-tower looks huge though :)

Wednesday, February 21, 2007


So - I made my choice in the current war of HD vs Blueray. HD swung it as Microsoft released a HD-DVD player for the 360. I found one one ebay new for around £100. It plugs straight in and after a small software update is ready to go.

Picture qulaity is stunning - STUNNING! Sound is ok (optical out at the moment). The only dissapoiontment is the sound of the xbox in the background - ok, it isn't much but enough to notice comapred to my silent SONY DVD player.

Side note - the player plugs straight into Vista too!!!

Saturday, February 17, 2007

New Computer

The time has come to upgrade - my current shuttle can no longer cope with the multitude of video and graphic opperations I am throwing its way. So, I moved away from the barebones system and went with the following mid-tower instead:

Motherboard: Asus Commando i965, S775, PCI-E DDR2 SATAII RAID
CPU: Intel Core 2 Duo E6600, Socket 775 2.4GHz 1066MHz FSB, 4MB Cache, Retail
RAM: 2GB (2x1GB) CorsairTwinX XMS2 Dominator PC2-6400 CAS 4-4-4-12
DVD: NEC AD-7170S-0B 18x DVD±RW/RAM SATA internal
Case: Antec Nine Hundred/Ultimate Gamer
PSU: 620W Enermax Liberty Modular Series
GFX: 640MB XFX 8800GTS XT PCI-E (x16), Meem 1700MHz, GPU 530MHz, 96 streams 2xDV

Got it all from scan.co.uk and it should be here Tue or Wed.... :)

We're back

Well, after a long flight we're back and have just about caught up on our sleep. What a fantastic holiday - so much thanks for P&L for having us - we love you guys!

We left San Francisco on the 15th and arrived in London on the 16th. Virgin Atlantic was awesome again - we were even invited to the Upper Class lounge for drinks which was a nice surprise and then got the usual entertainment line-up in the 747 that flew us home.

Now that we are back there is so much to do - work on Monday :( I am also on anti-biotics now to try and shift my chest infection that I caught in New York, bummer!

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Our last day...

Today is our last day in the USA. Technically we arrive home tomorrow though as we are spending the night flying. It's been a fantastic trip and we have seen so much in just a few days...

We spent yesterday travelling. We left the house fairly early and stopped for breakfast burritos first thing (these are like eggs, bacon, cheese and onions wrapped in a burrito). After breakfast we drove over to the Pacific coast and then headed south. We stopped in several places to take in the scenery including Santa Cruz and Carmel (where Clint Eastwood used to be maayor).

In the evening we drank some red 'champagne' and then went out to a restaurant for K's 30th - it was so funny as all the waiters came over to sing her happy birthday with a little ice-cream cake :)

Wednesday, February 14, 2007


K is 30 today! Well, actually, she was 30 half way through yesterday (we're 8 hours behind here). Not entirely sure what we are going to do to celebrate but we got some good sparkling wine from Napa to open :)

BIG trees

Yesterday we took a trip to a Redwood forest (well, we are in Redwood City and all). We were met with a cross section of a trunk that was over 2200 years old. They had the birth of Christ marked on the rings!!! We spent about an hour walking around the forest taking in all the views...amazing! I tried to take some pics to give scale to the trees but it is very hard as they are just sooo tall!

Tuesday, February 13, 2007


We took the train into SF yesterday for a day in the city. We first walked from the CalTrain station up 4th to Market Street and then down to China Town. SF has one of the world's biggest China Towns and there were certainly times when you could have been in China instead of the USA. We stopped for breakfast just above pier 39 before heading for pier 33 to catch a ferry to Alcatraz. The 'Rock' was awesome - so close to the city but absolutely cut off. We both took an audio tour which was very well done before walking the 1/3rd mile back to the boat.

The rest of the afternoon was spent walking back up Market Street looking in shops. We passed the Coit Tower, sampled and American McDonalds (same as the UK in every way), went to the Apple Store and even found a Vans store (although they had very few shoes in). We finally made it back to the train station just before the rain set in properly. Great day with the only downside being that I realised I have lost my phone :(

Napa Valley Wine Tasting

We spent an excellent weekend in Napa and Sunoma tasting wine. P&L are members of several clubs and as such we got tasting sessions for free. I cannot believe the scale of things here - we spent an hour driving and saw nothing but vineyards - and that was just the tip! Highlights of the trip were the chanpagne houses and the hot tub at the hotel :)

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Fisherman's Wharf

We went into SF yestreday despite the overcast (and sometimes wet) weather. We parked near Pear 39 and walked around Fisherman's Wharf. For lunch we went to Scoma's where we had clam chouder and various other seafood delicicies (K had lobster of course). After lunch we headed down the 49 mile scenic route. We stopped at the Golden Gate Bridge (see pic) and saw the Pacific coast. Eventually we made it back home, drank martinis and ate ribs - fantastic!

Friday, February 09, 2007

San Francisco

We made it - the flight was aweful, bad seats, over an hour longer due to weather and hardly any entertainment. The worst thing was the air-con - it was pumped up so high that I kept waking up with my tongue stuck to the roof of my mouth - not great when you have a cold. Anyway - we made it back to L&P's and had a beer before bed - magic! The weather here is overcast and rainy but SOOOO much warmer than NYC.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Better now

Well, yesterday was pretty bad - I had a proper cold with flu like symptons. Dragged myself around for a couple of hours at a time but spent most of the day in bed or a hot bath - poor K :( Anyway - we did manage to get some shopping done, take a bus tour of downtown and see a bit of Central Park. I also made it to the Apple store :) I feel a lot better today through - fever has gone so we have a few hours left to catch up on yesterday!

Wednesday, February 07, 2007


Didn't sleep too well last night - combination of far too much walking yesterday (very stiff), some wind chill burn from the ferry and a few good cocktails yesterday. Good news is that it doesn't feel any worse than that so hopefully a few lemsips will get me back in order again :) Not sure what we are doing today - I fear it will be mostly shopping but at least it is warmer and a little less windy today!

Busy Day...

Today has been busy - BUSY! We started (after breakfast) by taking the subway downtown to catch the ferry to the Statue of Liberty. We climbed to the observation deck and had some great views back over Manhatan. We then sailed past Elis Island before returning to the city proper. We walked up past Wall Street to Ground Zero - freaky. From there we went east to City Hall and then took the long walk over Brookland bridge (with a Starbucks).

We lunched at Grimaldi's were they served some of the nicest pizza ever (a good tip from a friend in Grimsby). We then took the subway back to Broadway where we walked through Grenwich Village to Pen Station. Here I went to B&H photo and bought some lenses for my camera (70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM and a 50mm f/1.8) along with a new strap. We then hit Macey's and bought K a DKNY watch.

Nest stop was the Empire States Building where we got some of the most amazing night city views ever (example below). FInally we headed back to the hotel for a bath and warm up - ready to hit town for some beer, dinner and a few cocktails :)

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

I'm awake...

Jet lag??? This is the best thing that has happened to me for ages - my usual heavily nocturnal rythm fits right in here - I was awake - PROPERLY AWAKE - at 08:30 this morning. my body was ready for breakfast and coffe was, for once, a luxury rather than a necessity. This -5hr time lag seems to suit me perfectly. K on the other hand is finding it a little more taxing and wants to sleep every time we stop and sit somewhere warm :)

We took a strole last night down to Central Station and visisted the Campbell Apartment (a very nice cocktail bar). I had a brilliant gin martini and K a 'prohibition punch'. This morning we went to the 'MidTown Diner' where I had some fantastic eggs benedict and k had banana pancakes.

We are now just getting ready (many layers of clothes - still around minus 9C here this morning) to go an take the subway downtown to do the whole Statue of Liberty thing. More later...

New York, New York!

We're here - the flight left on time and landed 40 mins early. Virgin Atlantic definately get my vote - we were in economy but still got free drinks, great food, individual screens, two-seats each and the best selection of in-fight entertainment I have ever seen. The 7 hour flight just sailed away and we were here in no time.

Customs and baggage took all of 30 mins to clear with no hassle whatsoever - even the customs officers were friendly - SUCH a change from any of the London airports I have used. I have spent 5 times as long at Stansted waiting for my bags from Sweden!

New York is cold - I mean VERY cold - currently it is -11C not including wind chill. I have to buy a hat and scarf tomorrow. The car was waiting for us and drove us to Manhattan - took 25 mins. Our first view of the city was as we crested over a bridge and got the full Manhattan skyline in front of us - I have never seen anything like it. Night time is certainly THE time to first see New York :)

Anyway - as you can guess the hotel has broadband ;) So - the blog will be updated probably daily - maybe even some pics.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Canon Pro Day

J, A and I went to a Canon Pro Day today at the Digital Warehouse (link above). This is basically a couple of Canon reps, a Manfrotto rep and a couple of others showing off all the latest kit and answering any questions you might have. We got to sample all of the EOS range and a fair selection of L lenses. All in all about £15k of kit to play with. There was also an A2 printer (see post below) and some lighting and tripod demos. I spent some time quizing one of the reps over the 40D or baby-5D rumours but with no luck ;)

HUGE pictures :)

J, A and I went to a Canon Pro day today (see blog above) and were given a free A2 print each. With nothing better to print we took a photo of a couple of our neighbours from New Year. Great prints - and huge too! Needless to say they made great door pictures on their houses :) :) :)