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It’s been a while since I’ve posted any pics. I’m still struggling to find a way to post private photo’s in wordpress so I’ve been holding off. I expected it would be easy to somehow set photos to ‘private’ but … Continue reading
The Tour de France is hands-down my favourite sporting event of the summer. I love the strategy and I love how the different competitions in the tour – the daily stage wins, the yellow, green, polka-dot and white jerseys and the team competitions – affect the strategies of the individual riders and the teams from day-to-day. The skill, strength, endurance and sheer guts it takes to finish the Tour, let alone win it, is mind boggling.
The 2011 Tour just wrapped up today. I’ve been watching the highlights of every stage and it’s been one of the most exciting and most open tours I can remember. In the past decade Lance Armstrong and Alberto Contador have been so dominant that the competition for the GC (General Classification) hasn’t been very interesting. Even in 2008, when neither Armstrong nor Contador participated, Carlos Sastre’s nearest competitor (Cadel Evans) was almost a minute behind. Last year Andy Schleck at least gave Contador a run for his money. But this year there were 6 guys with a legitimate shot to win right up until the final stages. So as I watch the coverage of the tour wrapping up on the road into Paris, I thought I’d write about some of my thoughts about this years tour.
How I transferred money overseas without paying wire transfer fees
Take that banks!
In the last 10 years my wife and I have moved from the UK to Singapore to Canada and now to Nevis. In each of those countries we’ve left behind bank accounts, and from time-to-time we need to transfer money from wherever we are to one of those other countries. The only really practical way to send money overseas is by wire transfer which can be expensive and a pain-in-the-ass. I hate paying banks exorbitant fees to move my money for me… actually I just hate banks in general (especially Barclays and every Canadian bank but that’s a topic for another rant). Of course there’s Paypal but their 4% fee can be even more expensive than wire fees for larger amounts. And of course there is the well documented fact that Paypal are an even bigger bunch of right-bastards than the banks (also a topic for another rant).
Needless to say, I’m always on the lookout for a better way to transfer money from country-to-country.
You can buy Hot Pockets here. In every supermarket. How awesome is that?
Hot Pockets are one of those American products that every Canadian kid grew up craving after seeing ads on American TV but were never able to eat because they weren’t available in our country. Kinda like Easy Cheese.
By every Canadian kid, I really mean just me.
Nikon Action Zoom XL (10-22X50) Binoculars:
I’m happy! I finally got my birthday present to myself – a pair of Nikon Action Zoom (10-22X50)
binoculars. I thought they would be fun for looking across at St. Kitts, checking out the cruise ships or other boats out in The Narrows or maybe even for some bird-watching. I’ve been playing with them and they’re very good – way better than the piece-of-junk Bushnells I bought a few years back that I never saw a clear image out of (luckily I got my money back for those). They’re very powerful, at the highest zoom I can even read some small signs over at Hurricane Cove Bungalows
across the valley from us. On the downside they’re a bit heavy and I probably won’t be carrying them on any extended hikes – but they’re perfect for sitting out on the verandah and gazing out to sea. Another problem is at full zoom they enhance any shaking in my hands but I was expecting that – it’s an issue with any high magnification binoculars. If I just brace my arms it helps a lot. They do come with a tripod mount so hopefully when my tripod arrives, with all our other junk from Singapore, the shaky-hand problem will be solved.
It figures that my first book review on this blog would be for a novel I didn’t like very much. “Under Orders” is a crime fiction set in and around London, England with a strong horse racing theme pervading the story. Think Magnum PI meets Seabiscuit. Only replace Magnum with a proper English former jockey.
In my efforts to get up-to-date on all my podcasts I had an episode of TWIG playing in the background yesterday as I was doing some work. Sometime near end of the show the guest host, Kevin Marks, made a comment about solving Sudoku that almost caught my attention. I couldn’t be bothered to rewind and listen to it again so I just found his old blog post on the subject.
First there is the totally-geeky joke solution: “Just login as root and type ‘ku’.” My kind of joke but sorry Kevin, it doesn’t work:
A little over a year ago I signed up with goodreads.com, a social networking site for bookworms (their words, not mine). Although I don’t burn through books the way some people do, I do read a fair bit (I usually prefer to take my time and savour each book). It’s something of an addiction really – it’s a rare night that I don’t read a book before going to sleep. And it’s always a fantastic day when I have some free time to spend relaxing with a good book. Those nights that I don’t read are usually the nights that I struggle to get to sleep – withdrawal symptoms perhaps?
As I was lying in bed this morning, before getting up, I thought of a couple of things that make me really happy about living in Nevis. Oh sure, there’s the great weather, being a few minutes walk from a fantastic beach on the Caribbean Sea, lots of reggae and calypso music and actually being able to see the stars at night (to name a few). But here are a couple of things that I didn’t realize would be benefits of living here:
I’ve been an avid podcast listener ever since I bought my first (and so far only) mp3 player back in 2007. To download and manage my podcasts I use Gpodder – it’s the best “podcatcher” software I’ve found for Linux/Gnome and it works on Windows too. Gpodder has a very useful (but seemingly little known) feature that allows you to run a script every time a podcast is downloaded. It’s handy because it allows you to process the downloaded audio or video file automatically before you listen to it.