Brookland “The Double Twelve”

I had a great day out with Arnie yesterday at Brooklands for the “Double Twelve” classic car event.

There was the usual mix of cars, including plenty of Aston Martin DB4s to celebrate their 50th anniversary.

As soon as we had parked a pretty young lady offered us free tickets to the Merc Off-Road experience which we happily accepted. Our mode of transport was a diesel 430 GL which was huge but easily coped with all the usual steep inclines, two wheels off the ground, deep water type of environments. Arnie asked the driver what sort of mpg it was doing, to which he replied “currently 7mpg and the overall average is 5mpg”.

All classes of cars had to complete various trials, including a hill climb, reverse parking, the Wiggle Woggle, etc.

The secret to the hill climb is to try and snatch 2nd gear as quickly as possible and stay there. Many smaller engined cars could only manage it in 1st gear. We were standing half way up the hill when an Invicta tried to change up but got it all wrong and bits of the engine were deposited on the track in front of us, as oil started to trickle back down the hill. An expensive mistake for the owner.

Lewis Hamilton made a guest appearance and after an interview with Tiff Needell he took last year’s McLaren F1 car around the small circuit for a few laps. The noise was amazing, you just don’t get the sound levels at all on TV.

You can see some photos and videos here.

Drupal to you too

The eagle-eyed amongst you (and I know there is at least one) will have noticed that I made a change to this web site a few days ago as a prelude to moving over to the Drupal CMS.

Well I decided to revert back to my native WordPress for the time being as Drupal is a bit mind boggling and it’s easier if I just muck about with it on my PC rather than install it on my web site.

Something will change somewhere, eventually. Maybe.

It’s nearly May already!

As you’ve noticed, there have not been too many updates lately. This is generally down to not much happening.

Having said that, we have done some travelling this year, New York, Helsinki, Beijing. The latter two were business related, so not very note worthy. There were also some birthdays.

I have moved the TomTom article over to the Travel section (I thought that this seemed appropriate). You can see it here.

I will add some more photos soon.

Sophie is in full swing in the garden so perhaps I’ll start a gardening section, or maybe not.

As I write this I am being prompted to upgrade the version of WordPress that I use. I am on 2.3.1 and it is now at 2.5.1, so I better do something about that. There must be a few new features that are worth having.

Happy 2008

We’ve had a busy end and then start to the years. Christmas was nice and peaceful, spent with my parents. New Year was spent at home watching the London fireworks on TV.

We did go out for a lovely lunch with Chris & Pauline, Pat and Margaret, on Dec 28th at The Chop House which is in a great location. We walked back from here to Waterloo along the Thames, stopping off at Tate Modern en-route.

Next on the agenda was a long weekend in New York as part of Sophie’s birthday event, but really it was so that Emily could go shopping. We stayed at The Wellington Hotel, on the corner of 7th Ave and 55th St. It is where we stayed about 15 years ago with P&M and it hasn’t really changed. It’s fairly basic but great as a base for exploring the city. As well as shopping we made sure that Emily saw all the sights, and even went to a show on Broadway.

The day after we returned to England I took Emily, Holly, Clarissa, and Hannah to see The Spice Girls at the O2 Arena. It was a great show with a wildly enthusiastic crowd.

Finally there was a big party for Sophie’s birthday and the whole Bluhm family came from far and wide to help celebrate.

Photos of all of the above can be seen here and here.

Freewheel in London

On Sunday 23rd September I’ll be taking part in the London Freewheel cycling event.

It’s a nine mile ride through the streets of central London which will be closed to traffic, so it’ll be a unique opportunity!

For more details click here.

I’ll be going with my mate Pat and I think we’ll start from one of the Hubs in Ravenscourt Park. If you fancy coming along then visit the web site and we’ll see you there!

New Video Page

I have added an exciting new Video page (see the Video tab above) where you can see anything that I happen to upload to YouTube.

The first entry is a video created by Louis using my camera. This resulted in a 300Mb AVI file which I then loaded in to Windows Movie Maker and saved as an 18Mb WMV file which was then uploaded to my YouTube account.


XBox Media Centre

The ways we can watch TV programmes when we want and how we want is becoming more and more complicated as time goes on.

When I were a lad, the only option was to sit down in front of the TV at the time a programme was due to start and watch it there and then. When it was finished you could never watch it again, it was gone. If you missed it then it was just tough.

Then came VCRs and all that changed. You could record something, watch it when you wanted to and then watch it again and again.

Several years later the digital, multi-channel, revolution happened and the ancient VCR couldn’t cope. There was just too much stuff to watch and record.

At some point the Tivo was invented. This is arguably the greatest Video Recorder ever invented. It’s strength is the fact that is does away with the concept of the Channel. You can set it to record a programme like ‘Desperate Housewives’, which is repeated continuously on several channels, and it sorts out what to record and when, eliminating clashes with other recordings, and so all you have to do is sit down and watch it. You have no idea what channel a particular episode was recorded on, and when. The Tivo gets it’s power by having an excellent Programme Guide that has all the information it needs to make it’s decisions.

Even so, at least here in the UK, the Tivo has it’s limitations. It records an analogue signal so the picture quality is reduced, and it can’t cope with HDTV.
I now get my Digital TV on a cable feed from Richard Branson’s Virgin Media, aka NTL/Telewest. Virgin has recently had a fight with Murdoch’s Sky Satellite company which means that they no longer show Sky One and therefore shows like Lost, 24 and Battlestar Galactica are no longer available to me.

In order to watch the shows that I am now being barred from receiving I have decided to go down the BitTorrent route, like thousands of people before me. Downloading the progs is easy, the problem is how to watch them on my normal TV.

After a minimal amount of research I have decided to try an interesting, and cheap, solution which is to purchase an old Xbox from eBay running the XBox Media Centre software. This will allow me to download any sort of media, and even stream stuff from youtube on to the TV in appalling quality!

This is going to be an interesting excercise so I’m going to keep a separate diary, similar to my MythTV diary, here.

April Stuff

Last night we went with Emily and Sylvie to see the Billy Elliot stage musical in Victoria. It was excellent and is highly recommended by this theatre critic.

The whole cast looked like they were really enjoying it, especially Billy.

At the weekend we said a sad farewell to my cousin Annette who is emigrating to New Zealand with her ‘boyfriend’ Kevin. There are some photos on Flickr. Good luck to them both.