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Friday, 30 May 2008

FireFox 3 is coming!

Click the link on the right to check out the approach to Download Day 2008 for FireFox 3!

Thursday, 29 May 2008

Progress of a sort

The engine for the XT comes back on the weekend so I've been trying to get a few more things done on the bike before then. The new front guard is on and the rear one is partly fitted. I need to make up a few spacers for it and perhaps source a new rear light and indicators. I might just refit the old rear guard and lights in the interim.

Last night I removed the rear wheel, chain and rear sprockets. That's a messy job, especially the chain. Lots of road grime and grease. The plan is to hit the rear wheel with some degreaser tonight and hopefully the frame on Friday. Then I can refit the new sprocket, add the chain and get it ready for the engine to go in Saturday morning. Fingers crossed that it kicks over without thumping the piston into the valves!

I also cleaned the air filter, discovering something in the process - kerosene loves to eat latex gloves.

Sunday, 25 May 2008

Hollywood to Bollywood

Saturday night was the Young Life Dinner, this year with a "Hollywood to Bollywood" theme. One could dress up as an appropriate character from either side of world moving making, or just look like you'd stepped out of the Night of Nights for the respective industries. We were on a "Hollywood" table, so I broke out my bridesmaid's tuxedo (if you are really good I'll tell you the story about that one). There were around 200 people who had come along for what was a very fun night. There was a silent auction, balloon raffle, a skit that required much audience participation and some very fine food.

It was all to raise funds and awareness for Young Life Australia, so if you get the chance check them out. They do a lot of great work with the youth in the community.

Saturday, 24 May 2008

Double Ouch

Ouch #1: Losing (surprise surprise) 8-2 to the UNE team on the weekend.

Ouch #2: Twinging a hamstring 10 minutes before full time in said game.

Hopefully it won't be too bad and I'll still play next weekend. Old bones and muscle doesn't heal as quickly as it used to.

Thursday, 22 May 2008


Check out the new link on the left, called VerveEarth. It attempts to map out blogs across the world. Pretty cool!

Sunday, 18 May 2008

Precious snowflakes

No, not overprotected, over pampered, snotty nosed brats, but the real stuff, falling from the sky. This was last night, somewhere around 9pm or so. We rarely get proper snow here, usually a bit of sleet or flakes that melt as soon as they land, but last night it settled. Unfortunately by morning it was gone. But we had real snow!

Saturday, 17 May 2008


We won our first soccer game this weekend. After being flogged 7-0 and 10-0 we turned it around with a 3-1 win over DK. It was even sweeter as we had gone behind by a goal fairly early, but turned it around to take the points. Very sweet indeed.

Unfortunately our NPL teams were pasted again, and are now our only senior teams without a win.

Friday, 16 May 2008

The worst timing

Picture this, if you dare. I'm in the shower (told you. only if you dare!) and after the obligatory washing of the body, decided that it was time to shave. This doesn't happen every day, so it's always a special event. There's no fanfare or marching bands, but hey, this is my story and I'm sticking to it. Anyway, I grab the shaving cream, spray a liberal amount onto my right hand then reach out of the shower to grab a mirror.

This mirror has been in the house for years. It's about 15cm on each side and double-sided, with one an ordinary mirror and the other a magnifying one. It's an old makeup mirror of Ang's, but doubles very nicely for me as a shower shaving mirror.

So I reach out with my left hand, grab the mirror of the sink, then swing back around to put it under the flow of the water to rinse off the inevitable condensation so I have some view of what I'm about to do. Note that at no time during this maneouvre do I make contact between the mirror and any other hard surface.

So I swing around and stop. Unfortunately, half of one side of the mirror fails to follow suit and instead flies out of the mirror's frame and impacts on the wall of the shower, shattering into many little pieces that litter the base of the shower.

So we have this situation.

1) My right hand is holding shaving cream.
2) My left hand is holding 3/4 of a mirror
3) The base of the shower is now liberally covered with shards of said 1/4 mirror. Razor sharp, wet, slippery shards.

and more importantly

4) I am in the shower, wet, naked and NOT WEARING MY GLASSES.

I am incredibly short sighted. I know there is glass on the floor, I can see bits of it and I know shards are near my feet, but I can't see them. I can't move, I can't see properly, and both hands are full.

Fortunately I hear voices in the bedroom so I send a plaintive SOS for my wife to give me a my glasses so I can get out without lacerating my feet, Die Hard style. A few careful steps later and I'm out, dried, dressed and most importantly am wearing footwear. I clean up the broken glass, toss out the bits, then, rather carefully, shave in front of the bathroom mirror.

So how is *your* Friday night progressing?

Monday, 12 May 2008

Old and new

Most of those who read this would know that for the last 4 years or so I've been running around town on this:

It's a 1988 Yamaha XT250 which has been the subject of previous reposts regarding the engine rebuild. If you want to see pics of the rebuild in progress, click here.

Of course, having the engine in bits and out of town has made it a tad difficult to ride around. So it's a bit lucky that just before the rebuild this appeared in the garage:

It's a 1988/89 Honda VFR 750F. For its age it's in very good condition and had only 32,000km on the clock. For a few more pics, some very cute, have a look at this link.

Of course the new bike needs a name. I'm open to suggestions, though "Patrick" has already been suggested and declined. The winning entry, if there is one, will receive permanent notoriety and publicity in the form of recognition in this blog.


That's not a scoreline you like to see in a soccer game, particularly when you are on the "0" side of the ledger. Unfortunately that's what happened to us in Glen Innes on the weekend. It wasn't helped that we started the game with only six fresh players (the others having already played in 2nd grade) and we finished the game with seven on the field thanks to injuries. And three of those still on the field could barely move.

Wednesday, 7 May 2008

A new submission

I've submitted my zombie story to Midnight Echo, a new publication from the Australian Horror Writers Association. It seems kinda odd that everything I've had published so far (mind you, that's only two things so far) has been in the horror genre, one that I've never been interested in previously, nor read very much. Bizzare.

Tuesday, 6 May 2008


Hey, we finally won a night of darts! Sweet.

Monday, 5 May 2008

Weekend follies

Last weekend saw the first round of the local soccer competition. This year both Marcus and Heather are playing - Marcus in the under 10s and Heather in the under 7s. It's her first year playing and she looked cute as in her new uniform. This year the youngest division are playing a modified version called small-sided soccer, where there are only five on the field, no goalkeepers and quite small goals. No official scores are kept as they are just being introduced to the game.

I played senior soccer in the afternoon and for the first time in years played as an outfielder. Usually I've been in goals, but the club has gained a few new keepers that they want to give some extra exposure, so I got a run at left back. The only problem with that was we were playing TAS, so I had to chase after a bunch of 15-17 year olds all day. As they won 7-0 you can imagine that I had a pretty busy day.

Sunday, 4 May 2008

Update tp an update

This is something different. Not only a post, not only an update, but an update of a previous post/update! With any luck there will be some original, up-to-date content here some time in the next month or so.

It seems that the dreaded piston-slap may just be a case of the timing being slightly out, in this case by one link on the timing chain. So some time in the next few weeks then engine will make a reappearance in the vicinity of the frame so we can test it again. Fingers crossed for the future.

Thursday, 1 May 2008

Update #5

Saturday we were off to a wedding! Pam and Michael finally decided to tie the knot so it was off to the TAS chapel for a Saturday afternoon service then Lisbeth's for dinner. The minister who married them used to be the minister at my church in Tamworth, before he moved on and then retired to Armidale. Strange coincidences indeed!

The munchkins looked very cute, with Phoebe in a cute pink dress, Heather in a green one that Ellen, Ang's sister, had made and Marcus in a suit jacket and tie. Photos will follow at some point!

Update #4

Friday was Anzac day, so most of the shops were closed. Joerg phoned a friend of his in Brisbane and described our dilemma and his response was "did you check the timing? (Yes) Hmm, sounds like piston slap, you need a rebore and an oversized piston."

So we pulled the engine out yet again, though in considerably less time than the first and loaded it into a recycling tub for the trip to Inverell, where it will get pulled down, rebored, fitted with an oversize piston, reassembled, and hopefully it will fire up without horrible clunking sounds.

Update #3

Wednesday through Saturday morning of last week saw myself and Joerg stripping the engine out of my XT250 in preparation for a top-end rebuild. I doubt that it had been pulled down in the last 20 years of its life so I wasn't sure what to expect when we got the head off. What we did end up with was about 2-3mm of carbon on the head of the piston and a set of valves that were also encrusted with gunk and not sealing properly. No wonder it always seemed a bit gutless. The head was sent of to the engineers late Wednesday to get cleaned up and I got to clean the gunk off the piston head.

By late Thursday we had it all back, new rings installed and ready to bolt back together. I tell you what, they don't miss you in the wallet when it comes to new rings. Seventy odd dollars for a few rings of metal, crikey!

The second minor complication was that while the compliance plate on the frame said the bike is a 1988 model, the engine is a 1989 one. That became painfully obvious when we found that there was no way that the base gasket from a 1988 would fit the 1989 motor. We managed to fix that by buying some gasket paper and making one ourselves.

The third problem surfaced at 4:50pm on Thursday. Note that the bike shop closes at 5:00pm and Friday was a public holiday. We found that the tappet adjusters were completely loose, and we had no feeler gauges or any idea what the gap should be. A panicked trip to Supermoto fixed that one up nicely.

So just on dark we had everything back in, hooked up and ready to fire. And fire she did! Except with a very nasty thump!thump!thump! sound each cycle.


Timing was rechecked and double checked, and it was fine. We gave up for the night and decided to "phone a friend in the morning".

EDIT: Apart from all the gunk inside the engine, there was a LOT of oil/grease/dust/dirt mix on the outside as well. I think I've only about now gotten all of it off my hands.

Update #2

Tuesday the 22nd was the first day of my holidays, so of course on the Monday a hard drive in one of the machines at work decided to suicide, taking some non-backed up SQL database stuff with it. At least the lack of backups wasn't my fault, but it was rather irritating nonetheless. A new drive was ordered and arrived, but I've not had the time, or a whole lot of desire, to spend a couple of hours of my holiday time installing it. It can wait until Friday 2nd when I get back to work.

Update #1

The game against OVA didn't go so well, though I was watching virtually all of it from the sidelines. We've got a few new goalkeepers this year and as I missed most of the preseason training it was decided to give them a run. So I watched all but the last 15 mins of the game from the sideline, at which time I was sent on as sweeper. In the end we lost 5-0 again.