I like it steep

December 18, 2011

650c front end on my new Cannondale. It rides nice. Might ditch the double stem set up, or run some risers too?

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I’m glad our cops here in New Zealand aren’t like this.

On bicycles

April 1, 2011

Man on a bicycle can go three or four times faster than the pedestrian, but uses five times less energy in the process. He carries one gram of his weight over a kilometer of flat road at an expense of only 0.15 calories. The bicycle is the perfect transducer to match man’s metabolic energy to the impedance of locomotion. Equipped with this tool, man outstrips the efficiency of not only all machines but all other animals as well.

– Ivan Illich

Used and abused

March 23, 2011

I think it’s time to get myself a new pair of riding shoes. I’ve got my money’s worth from these.

Just watched Britain’s Missing Top Model on TVNZ’s new youth-orientated channel called U.

I stumbled across the show while channel surfing and left it on for a few moments expecting to be at the worst disgusted and at best disappointed. Turns out I watched the whole show without feeling either. I was surprised at how well the show was edited and how effectively it opens a window into a world seldom seen, particularly in the able-bodied mainstream world.

It indirectly tells the girls’ stories with just the right amount of sensitivity so as to not come across as condescending. This said, since I have no real firsthand experience of disability is my judgement fair or even valid, and how different is it from someone who has experience with disability or is disabled? Coming to think of it, I suspect this is a major theme throughout the show itself, transcending the contestants to include the judges, guests and photographers.

It’s refreshing to watch a show like this tackle complex issues like identity, normality and femininity. I’m not a particular fan of the original franchise (though I’m not the target market) but have seen enough to compare them with Britain’s Missing Top Model. It’s interesting that a spinoff is better than the original, something quite unusual, internet memes excluded. If subsequent episodes follow the same tack as the first episode it’s sure to be worth watching.

Complexity within the show aside, it has an added dimension of making the viewer (well myself at least) question and evaluate my existing beliefs and prejudices, if even for a moment. I found myself grappling with similar issues raised in the show. Should the winner be visibly disabled? Does it matter? Why does it matter? Should it matter? The judges deal with these very questions. It’s refreshing, though demanding, to watch television that engages with you in a more dynamic and active way.

All this said, I am left with a nagging question: how telling is it that there is not a single visibly disabled person in any other reality competition show, and would it even be possible for a show’s producers to include a disabled person in a ‘normal’ show without stoking the accusatory fire of being branded with exploiting shock value and tokenism? I have many questions, but fewer answers.

The show’s Friday evening slot means many of the channel’s target market are out doing their thing. I believe it repeats around midday on Saturdays which is a suitable slot for hangover viewing, though the content might be a bit amiss because of this. Google tells me the show’s almost three years old already so I’m way behind in this commentary. Well it’s new to me, at least.

Side note: Melenie Parkes’ review makes some great points that differ from mine. She’s more scathing of the show. Perhaps I’m being far too charitable to a show that’s just as exploitative and voyeuristic as any other reality TV show, if not more so.

Time as colour

January 23, 2011

Time as a  hexadecimal colour value, very cool.  Click here to check it out.

My new San Marco Rolls and Thomson Elite seatpost and X4 stem arrived this week from Chain Reaction Cycles.

I bought a used Rolls off Trade Me earlier this year and find the saddle suits me the best, it’s very comfy. At only NZ$80, it’s crazy to think this saddle would set me back up to $250 if I purchased it from an bike store here.

Thomson’s craftsmanship is superb, the stem and seatpost are amazingly light, too. It’s really no wonder they call it the ‘standard’ to which others are measured. Money well spent, and oh do they look sharp.

Coltello

October 25, 2010

I’ve yet to post up any shots of my Masi Coltello, so here’s a few shots I snapped earlier in race livery. I’m getting psyched for Taupo, it’s only a month away now.

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Bicycle Swap Meet

October 24, 2010

This looks like fun. Cool poster, too. If it’s your thing you should come down to T White’s Bikes and check out the Second Hand Bike Shop’s opening event this Saturday.

 

Nice to know you, Vodafone

September 29, 2010

Friday last week arrived and Vodafone had still not managed to deliver my broadband hardware. Having notified them on Tuesday that they were sending it to the wrong address, the least I expected was it to be sent off on Wednesday to arrive before the weekend.  I obviously expected too much. So on Friday morning I phoned Vodafone to tell them get stuffed and cancel my pending contract.  I then phoned Orcon who were great. They expect to connect me this Friday and couriered my hardware promptly; it arrived yesterday at work.

But the real point of this post is to highlight the draconian details buried in Vodafone’s terms and conditions.  Vodafone is a bit of a fan of hiding such specifics behind fluffy feel-good wording such as as this:

“It’s perfectly legal. Our lawyers tell us this is important stuff. And we’re not about to argue,” says Vodafone on their “legal stuff” page.

In reality, when you become a customer of Vodafone you agree to a bunch of quite unreasonable stuff.

A look through the “Terms and Conditions for Vodafone fixed line and internet customers” brings me across article 21 which states:

.
21. Notices and Variations of
Charges, Terms and Pricing Plans
(a) We may change this Agreement and any
free Services at any time. Changes will be
posted on our Website. Please check this
regularly for updates.
(b) We may vary the charges set out in our
Pricing Plan(s) at any time. We will give you at
least 10 business days’ prior notice, and where
possible 1 month’s notice of these changes.
We will notify you of these changes by posting
them on our Website. Please check our Website
regularly for updates. For the avoidance of
doubt, we may not notify you of price decreases
or of promotional offers.
(c) If we materially increase a Pricing Plan, or
materially reduce elements of a Service you
are using, or change the terms and conditions
of this Agreement so that it has a materially
detrimental effect on you we will give you
at least 10 business days’ prior notice, and
where possible one months notice of these
changes. We will notify you of any changes by
Bill message and/or leaving a message on your
voicemail and/or by email. Any such changes
will also be posted on our Website.
.

Whoa! So you’re saying Vodafone can charge me more per a month on that 24-month contract I signed up to even though I agreed to pay that amount for two years and get charged a termination fee if I pull out early? And they just need to give me 10 days’ notice if they change their end of the bargain and I don’t get the option to opt out for free? Yup, they can do precisely that, because that’s what you signed up for, sorry.

Screw Vodafone and other telcos with unreasonable long-term contracts.

Bring on Orcon and 2degrees and their lack of contracts. All these two companies ask for is that you give them one months’ notice if you decide to cancel the services they are providing you. It’s about time someone rattled the Telecom-Vodafone duopoly.