Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Well the neighbours know...

This weekend we went for a long weekend away.  I left on Friday with my brother in law to go to Assen to watch the Dutch MotoGP.  We watched the final practice and qualification and then went to our little house (normally we camp, but this time we decided to rough it in a 6 person bungalow :p).  We sat in the relaxing peaceful garden in the middle of the woods chatting and listening to nature.  That is a huge change from a camp site closer to the track where you spend the night listening to engines being destroyed...

The next morning we left early to get back to the track after a full English breakfast (one of the only times I treat myself to one all year).  At the track we watched the warm up and then went for a walk to get coffee (there was one decent coffee tent and it was about 8km total walk from our seats.  And no that is not an exaggeration.  But the coffee was worth it :)

The racing in 125 and Moto2 was spectacular with the lead changing constantly.  Wonderful to watch.  MotoGP was impressive as always, thought the racing was not spectacular.  We got superb seats this time though, the corner where our stand was seemed to have the most overtakes.

So the races left and after being stuck in the car parks for a couple of hours whilst the traffic people totally failed to direct the traffic in anyway what so ever.  In fact some of the people walking managed to do a better job...  Worst part of he weekend!

Anyway, we left and got back to the flat where Mrs Stace, her sister and my neice and nephew had arrived and were busy sorting food (there is a reason why we had a house this time and were not on a cheap camp site!)  We had a lovely meal and spent the evening chatting and drinking.

On Sunday we went with the kids to a fairytale park where they had a fantastic time and we enjoyed playing with them.  There was also a an amount of working out trying to keep up with my niece whilst she was playing in the climbing thing that they had (about the size of two houses put together like a maze, I have to admit it was fun - but I was shattered and she had barely started and I consider myself fit!)

Swimming when we got back to the camp site and I managed to pull a muscle keeping my niece entertained (twirling her around on a large float and my side suddenly went pop).  And I was stuck in pain for the rest of the evening :)

On Monday we came home and I got changed (I am spending more time as Stacy these days, as per my post yesterday) and we went food shopping for the week.

We got home, and whilst emptying the car our neighbours 14(ish) year old daughter came out to get something from their car.  She stood up very well I think.  We are not really on better terms than 'Hello' anyway (what is it with modern life that means you no longer know your neighbours) and so I wouldn't have expected more than that.  I didn't get that, but I didn't get more than a bit of a confused look from her either.

I think it's safe to say that my neighbours know about Stacy now...   Oh well it had to happen - we'll see what the fall out is.  On the bright side I can now sit in the sun in the garden without worrying about the implications for Mrs Stace (getting caught for a good reason is one thing, but to sit in the garden seemed like asking for trouble in my mind.  Stupid I know, but I thought it was fairer to her).

Of course living with the implications for myself is different...  I had a, er, distinct sunbrun pattern on my upper body this morning - the neckline on Stacy's clothing is a little different to my normal clothes.  Thankfully I always wear shirts with a high neck as him so it wasn't visible :)

And something to leave you with...  My MotoGP hero!  (a quick selection from the 600 I took over the weekend, long live digital SLR's where you can take what you want without worrying about the cost of getting the film developed!)


Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Wow two weeks...

It's been a couple of weeks since I last posted.  I guess I am struggling for words at the moment.  You see  I have enough going on at the moment, and it's difficult to talk about it.

Whilst a lot of you have in the past asked *the* question and I have always said no I'm not.  Well that's changed.  I am.  Probably.  Always add the get out clause.  But I don't want any woohoo's or any bad lucks.  It is.  There is no elation and there is no depression.  What there is though is relief that I have finally made the decision.  Everyone who knows about me had already guessed - I was the one who came to the conclusion last.

So that is why I have been quiet (in between writing mindless drivel ;p).  I didn't want the fuss, but almost everything I've wanted to say either gives the game away or at least makes for questions.  So I have not said anything.  Well I've said it now.

Next week my boss and the HR team lead meet Stacy after work.  They have known about Stacy for a while, and known about the decision for a while as well.  It's about time they meet her.

Anyway, that's enough from me for today.  I'm going to stop before my make up drips onto the backlit keyboard.  Time to watch the fireworks laid on by mother nature.


Monday, 13 June 2011

New drives, dead drives and lost drives...

Tech post again!

Recently I got totally fed up with my ultra portable machine refusing to do what I wanted it to do, when I wanted it to do it.  I had noticed that the HDD light was on for a long time whenever I tried to open an application - or after logon before the desktop was actually available to use.

So seeing as I knew the machine had a 1.8" iPod drive fitted to it (for power and size reasons) I thought that it needed changing for something with a little more kick.  I thought I'd take the SSD route.

After a few months of research (the fact that it is so small makes it really difficult to find the right one) and ordered it from Amazon.

Last week it arrived and I spent an evening imaging up the old drive, removing the countless screws, hatches and covers that hold it together - why can't they make small computers like big ones!  Fitting a new HDD to the DTR's that we have for home use is three screws and 10 minutes work.  This was about an hour to do start to finish.

Then I restored the image to the new drive. That took an age!  100GB in about 3 hours!  So I didn't really have a chance to test it beyond a quick reboot to see how it worked.

Or so I thought.  Quick was not the phrase that jumped to mind.  Mind numbingly slow...  Booting to the login screen was quick - 30 seconds or so.  Then there was a 10 minute wait to reach the point of a usable machine.  Oh dear...

Contacted the seller via Amazon, looked for tips online and asked my colleagues for help.  A bit of tuning got something reasonable - but still far to slow for the cost of the SSD drive.  And so today I decided to bite the bullet and do a full restore of the drive.

SUCCESS!!!  Installing Windows 7 from a bootable USB drive took only 15 minutes or so.  Another 30 mins for the updates needed and...  Viola!  From power button to surfing in less than 60 seconds!  That is what I was hoping for from an SSD!

Now I just have to install SQL Server, TFS 2010, Visual Studio 2010 and Office.  And that is where the lost and dead drives come in.  When I replaced my DTR I got a USB 3 drive for back-ups.  That seems to be dead now.  Nothing, followed by more nothing.  Then a little wait.  Then the wonderful 'This drive needs to be formatted before it can be used'.  Damn.  That contains my backups and install media.  I have searched my other back up drives and found other backups of the media.  What I don't have is all of the product keys.

They must be on some other backup drive that I have lost.  So I now have a super fast machine that has nothing except browser software installed.  I guess I know what I am doing this weekend!

Saturday, 11 June 2011

Less is more

Well actually that's not quite what I wanted to write - but that is the closest that's the phrase so I am stuck :)

Actually what I wanted to write is 'More is less', or 'More means less' or 'Less means more means less...'  Yes, that last one will do...

Just before my parents arrived I had my 6th, and possibly last session of laser (certainly the last before the autumn).  For the next week it was a bit of a nightmare (as I wrote about with picking up my parents).  But the day before they went home they spent the day with Stacy again and it was *much* better.  To the point where I had little foundation on - little enough that I could leave the lipstick alone.

And the key is confidence.  I felt I didn't need to be caked in order to be me.  So less thick, dark, visible hair equals more confidence about myself equals less make up...  And what's more looking in the mirror in less make up and being happy gives another confidence boost.  In that way it's been a very good week :)

Something weird has happened this week though...  For some reason the visits to this blog have sky rocketed - from 10 or 20 visits per day to 200.  Now whilst I am flattered - I am also assuming that something has gone very wrong with the way that the visits are calculated :)

Monday, 6 June 2011

And breath!!!

This morning I got up for work, rushed around the house and got ready for work.

I dropped Mrs Stace off at the train station on the way.  And then dropped my parents at the airport.

They went back after a weeks visit and I was just about in tears as I carried on to work.  There are definitely times when living 1600km's from your close family is too much.  And when leaving them each time it becomes very difficult.  I imagine that my parents were in the same place after I dropped them off.

We had a great week, didn't do everything that we wanted to - but we did spend a lot of time talking and laughing.

But it was very tiring - I love them dearly and really don't want to have to wait until September before I see them again - but 7 days living with them again can get quite overwhelming at times.  I think I may go to bed early tonight and may just sleep well  :)