Martin's Blog

from a Slovenian living in Wales

Category: Uncategorized (page 1 of 5)

First impressions

Writing this at least a couple of days into my stay. The passport control people nearly didn’t let me in the country as they seem to pretend they didn’t know about Carriacou animal hospital and to top it off the donated medical supplies got seized by customs. With the great effort from Penny in Grenada we managed to get them back the following day which meant I missed the morning ferry to Carriacou.

Redwood forests of northern California

So now I am in lala land. OK. A bit mean of me and certainly not fair to generalise a specific entertainment made in a particular part of Los Angeles to the whole state of California.
So far the surroundings are mesmerising. Its like riding in a scene of Jurassic park. Not even sure why they didn’t film the outdoor scenes here. Come to think of it, where did they film those scenes. I certainly don’t think it was done here.

These trees are just awesome. Its funny how I didn’t notice them at first but then I slowly realised that the trees around me were getting bigger and bigger. Then it hit me once I drove close to one of them. They are huge.

The photo was taken at a byway aptly called Avenue of the giants. Awesome. 🙂

Took a walk to a beach called the Hidden beach I was told about by the camp manager. The path is not very obvious and takes you down what looks like a jungle and then you finally emerge on this spectacular sandy beach with tonnes of driftwood on it. I really felt like a creature from the prehistoric past will come crawling on it. Took my first swim in the Pacific ocean and just as I waded in I started to wonder if there are things in these waters that would want to bite me. I am pretty sure there are but my brief swim in what felt like ice-cold waters went without any unpleasant teeth marks.
Just my luck and apparently inherited clumsiness (sorry Dad 🙂 I somehow managed to hurt my left knee and right ankle both at the same exact mistook step. Now I don’t know which leg I should be lame on. Bummer. Hope it gets better soon. Getting about this small Zephyros tent is bad enough as it us without having to endure additional pain when doing so.

Getting into the part of my journey where I am trying to figure out how to best spend these days and also get back to Chicago.

Need to go now. Being domestic tonight – doing my laundry and I thing the drying cycle might be over.

Pre US-trip motorcycle warm-up

As my riding skills might be a little rusty before my US bike trip in June I decided to get a motorcycle for a few days and travel to Pembrokeshire and back. Started off in Manchester on Saturday morning and took the M56 towards northern Wales.

Great journey but very exhausting at took me much longer than it does in the car, I had to do quite a few stops on the way, on one of them even got to help a fellow French biker near Ruthin who was trying to get to Anglesey. As I am not a very experienced biker and I have hardly any experience in the UK I was a little surprised about the courtesy the bikers show to each-other. I am talking about the waves and nods that you see them giving each other. I even got a nod as I was walking down High Street in Haverfordwest and the biker riding his motorcycle recognized my biking jacket. Really makes you feel welcome and part of a group. I didn’t realize I was joining one when I passed my test. I think they might have left that part out or I just didn’t get the memo as usual 😉

The day I travelled back to was even better than the trip down – stunning Bank holiday sunshine, very warm, summer-like temperatures – I mean British summer-like temperatures, of course and loads of other bikers on the road. Had a lunch on one of the picnic tables at the Corris rest site at Tan-y-Coed.

A picnic area near Corris

A picnic area near Corris

I was was nicely surprised when I drove up to the Mersey tunnel as I was dreading having to pay the toll: trying to get the right toll booth that was attended, getting my gloves off, finding my wallet and hoping I would have enough money and that I didn’t pack the wallet in one of the panniers. It turns out the tunnels are free for motorcyclists – all you have to do is to drive on the far left side of the tolls and there is a narrow drive for bikers only. Cool 🙂

 

Server migration

serversMy hosting provider has informed me that the physical server my site is hosted on (together with other websites) will be changed. The system will be migrated early Saturday morning at 1am on February 23rd 2013.

I hope the transition will be smooth but just in case it isn’t … poo happens, I guess

Eksplozija v rafineriji Chevron

Pic courtesy of @owenwarrell (Twitter)

V lokalni rafineriji Chevron je okoli 18.20 prišlo do eksplozije. Poročajo o dveh mrtvih. Iz rafinerije, ki je od mene oddaljena 8 km (po zraku), se vali gost črn dim. Baje smrdi po žveplu.

Problem je tem, da so v bližini še elektrarna na zemeljski plin (še v izgradnji), dva plinska terminala in še ena naftna rafinerija, vse v rangu nekaj km, pa da o številnih tankerjih polnih nafte ali plina ne govorim. Kolegica iz službe živi precej blizu rafinerije in pravi, da je vse tiho, tako da upamo, da je vse pod kontrolo.

Sinoči so poročali o dveh mrtvih, danes zjutraj (3. junija) pa že o štirih. Veliko informacij poročajo na spletni strani lokalnega časopisa Western Telegraph. Do eksplozije naj bi prišlo pri vzdrževanju nekega 730m³ velikega rezervoarja ob 18.22 četrtek zvečer.

Chevron je spomladi 2011 naznanil prodajo te rafinerije podjetju Valero Energy Corporation za 730 milijonov USD. Prodaja naj bi bila zaključena v drugi polovici 2011.

Avdicija za Robina Hooda v Pembroke Docku

Drugo soboto v maju so imeli v neki dvorani v Pembroke Dock-u (od tu kakšnih 15 min stran) avdicijo za statiste, ki naj bi igrali v junijskemu snemanju filma na lokaciji, kjer prav zdaj poteka snemanje za nekaj prizorov Harrya Potterja.

Mest je bilo samo za nekaj sto, pred dvorano pa se jih je zbralo čez tisoč. Nekateri so bili doma nekaj hiš stran, drugi spet pa so se peljali več ur na avdicijo.

Za kako sekundo ali dve je tudi mene zamikalo, bolj kot ne iz firbca, samo bi si težko vzel dopust v tako kratkem času. Si bom pač moral ogledat film v kinu, tako kot mnogi drugi.

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Adijo svoboda

Danes (14. marca 2009) se je po TV in časopisju v Veliki Britaniji na dolgo in široko pisalo o najnovejšem načinu, kako bo država opazovala (beri: kontrolirala) še dodaten del našega življenja in sicer potovanje v tujino. Tu seveda Britanci ne bi bili Britanci, če bi se v to smatralo tudi potovanje v druge EU države. Naj spomnim, da Britanija ni nikoli bila in verjetno tudi ne bo nikoli v Šengenu. Nekateri bodo glede slednjega kar zadovoljni.

Sistem se imenuje e-borders in, kot sami opisujejo na svoji spletni strani, bo to zelo Orwellovsko pripomoglo k »greater security, effectiveness, and efficiency«.

Dejansko gre za podoben monitorski sistem, ki so ga uvedli Američani ESTA. Britanci pa seveda kot pridni kužki morajo sledit bivši koloniji in izdelat podoben sistem.

Zbirati nameravajo osebne podatke, kam ste namenjeni (itinerar) in tudi plačilno sredstvo, ki ste ga uporabili za karto ali hotel. Vsaj toliko so vljudni, da sami ne bodo zahtevali teh podatkov od vas temveč so elegantno preložili odgovornost na turistične in letalske družbe, ki morajo pridobiti vse te potrebne informacije.

Aja, informacije pa naj ne bi hranili več kot 10 let. Kako zelo lepo od njih. Tako lahko pričakujem, da mi bodo v roku leta ali dveh let sunili identiteto in ukradli denar iz Matercarda – vsaj sodeč po popolni nesposobnosti britanskih državnih organov o varovanju osebnih podatkov. Za podrobnejše informacije uporabite Google.

Trinajst-letni fotr

Danes zjutraj so na Britanskih TV postajah predvajali video, ki ga je časopisna hiša The Sun posnela z novopečenima otroškima staršema.

Britanija je že sicer znana kot prva v številu mladoletnih nosečnic samo ta primer te pa kar malo zmrazi. Oče je sicer star trenutno 13 let, bil pa je 12, ko je spočel otroka s svojo petnajst-letno punco.

Foto: The Sun

Foto: The Sun

Med intervjujem je voditeljica vprašala, kaj bo delal v s smislu finančne podpore in fant ni vedel, kaj pomeni beseda “finančno” – seveda ne razume, saj je star 13 let!!!

Ob takih trenutkih se spomniš, kaj si ti počel v tej starosti in po pravici povem, da se ne spomnim. Vem, da sem hodil v osnovno šolo, mogoče 6 ali 7 razred in se mi je ravno počasi šajnalo, kaj so punce in da mogoče niso samo objekt mojega nagajanja (sorri punce 🙂

Ko v Britaniji sneži

Puncheston (courtesy of Lisa Phillips)

Puncheston (slikala Lisa Phillips)

Veliko hecov se je že razvilo na ta račun in ka nekaj sem jih verjetno začel sam. V večini so kar upravičeni in ravno te dni imam to srečo opazovat v praksi, ko v tej državi, v kateri trenutno živim, popadajo v stanje absolutne panike, ko jim pade bela snov iz nebes.

(slikala Lisa Phillips)

(slikala Lisa Phillips)

Kot prvo ne znajo vozit v snegu. Speljevanje iz druge jim je španska vas. Zimskih gum tu seveda nimajo, ker zimske sezone praktično ni. Največji problem pa je pluženje in soljenje. Nisem mogel verjeti, ko so v ponedeljek zvečer kazali cesto, novinarka pa se je čudila, kako to, da je cesta neprevozna, če pa so prek kratkim solili. Očitno še niso slišali, da je treba sneg najprej splužit in šele potem solit. Halo!!! Soljenje jim namreč še kar gre, samo plugov imajo pa bolj malo. To so kolegi iz službe izkusili na lastni koži. Splužene (in soljene) so bile le res glavne ceste in če nimaš te sreče, da živiš ob njej, si ga malodane najebal. Ostalih cest niti ne povohajo.

Pa jih ne bi stalo preveč, da bi se nekaj vasi zbralo skupaj in našlo kmeta, ki bi bil pripravljen, v primeru snega, na svoj traktor (ki jih je tu okoli res veliko saj živim v precej ruralnem delu Walesa) prišraufati plug in malo počistiti lokalne ceste. Na ta način se to dela po mnogih vaseh v Sloveniji. Če pa jih je škoda denarja, kot jim ga očitno je, naj pa ne tečnarijo, ko izgubljajo miljarde svojih funtov zaradi izostankov iz služb.

Prilagam fotografije, ki jih je posnela kolegica 3. februarja malo pred 12. uro. Vse kar je uspelo voziti po cesti so bili traktorji.

Puncheston (slikala Lisa Phillips)

Puncheston (slikala Lisa Phillips)

Jamming with a Line6 foot pedal

p1120002_smallerI had the opportunity to sample a great studio-grade professional foot pedal from a company called Line6. The machine is called a POD XT Live and was lent to me for a few days by a friend. On the website the POD XT Live is described as an »uncomplicated, gig-ready tone machine that’s portable and adaptable to different real world stage and recording environments«.

Well, it is truly impressive and quite complicated to a novice like myself. My first task given to me was to read through the manual which, I must say, is not exactly a pocket edition. OK, it’s not War and peace but it DOES have about 190 pages!! Luckily there is a Quick start guide for those who »don’t need no stinking manual« 🙂

It has loads of different connections which I won’t even try to describe in fear of sounding stupid – you pros will know them anyway and if you don’t, see the Line 6 website. It does have standard output/input sockets, Variax socket and even a USB socket to connect the whole thing to a PC. Sorry all Linux users as the software is for Windows and Mac users only. Shame on Line 6, I just hope the Wine will be able to run it successfuly.

Confirming the pro-esness of this machine are the artists that use it. There are: Garbage, U2’s The Edge, Radiohead, Nine inch nails, Keane, Green day, Jamiroquai, Muse, Slipknot, Kaiser chiefs and many more.

pod_xt_live

Image courtesy of Line6.com

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