Thursday, February 23, 2006

Wie spät ist es?

Firstly, happy birthday to Jim and Joan!

I'm at Kuala Lumpur International Airport and it's sometime after 2:30am, Sydney time, which answers the question that I posed in my best Austrian just now. So far it has been a fun flight with much entertainment. After watching Skeleton Key (ordinary, but the end was at least different), the end of The Island (seen it already), and 40 Year-Old Virgin (strangely amusing), I decided to play chess against the inflight entertainment.

I started off on the "easy" level, and thrashed the computer. So I moved to "medium" and also thrashed the computer, although the computer took longer to think about it. With great trepidation, I tried the "hard" level, and noticed that it took much longer to think about its moves. But it can't have been thinking very hard, because after four moves it had lost its queen in exchange for my pawn. After that, I ended up with a fairly hefty advantage, taking all of its pieces save for one rook, one bishop, four pawns and the king, with the loss of a couple of pawns and a knight at my end. The end was nigh, and after putting it into "check" for the nth time, the computer decided that it had enough and froze, denying me the chance to seal a glorious victory.

So much for the inflight entertainment. Deep Blue it ain't. Deep Brown, maybe. I hope I didn't take too much CPU power away from the onboard navigation.

The other thing of interest that happened was a woman two rows in front chundered all over the seat, and the flight steward said: "That's the second time today." I'm glad I didn't have the chicken.

Dinner at Angelo's

So this week, being my last in Sydney, me, maaa and dad decided to go out to Angelo's restauraaaaa, which is located at the edge of the water in Cabarita Bay, or Cape Cabarita, as it is called. The architecture around that area resembles the Sydney equivalent of Cape Cod. It lacks verisimilitude, but there are worse places you could live. Angelo's is a rather nice spot, and it's not crowded with tables, so we could enjoy a post-Valentine's Day dinner (Feb. 15 for the unbelievers) in peace and quiet.

Of interest was the seafood platter, which served two and cost $120. We watched several other couples getting stuck into them, and most of them struggled by the time they reached the chip mountain underneath the prawns. Some couples were straight out of Gormenghast, others were out of Monty Python's Meaning of Life. The waiter was nice and took our photo. We had a noice dinner and view, and several bottles of wine.
Me, ma, pa at Angelo's
© The waiter at Angelo's

Party at Brent's

One of my former riding colleagues, Brent McParland, turned 40 on Saturday, so he had a partay at the Bundeena Bowls Club, which went off. Brent is working in the pharmacology department at Sinney Yooney, and is now the father of two kiddies, Finn and Mathilda, to his long-suffering-time partner Kristin. It was tops to see them all again, and I indulged in a veggie burger and some bits of cake, along with a discussion about Sydney's water supply.
Brent and Kristin at his 40th
© Jeff Jones

Brent and Finn and large veggie burgers
© Jeff Jones

Heffa

The last race at Heffron was nothing out of the ordinary, in that once again, we didn't catch C grade, despite averaging 44 km/h. We didn't have any real drivers there on Tuesday, and although I felt good enough to do turns for most of it (finally), we needed a Chris Sutton or a Stuart Dangerfield or a Fleming Bros to go that extra 5 seconds quicker per lap. Oh well, I didn't fall off, so that was a plus.
Last race at Heffa
© Stuart Baker

The Giant, which I've now given back, was good, except I would have preferred the bottom bracket to be a little higher off the ground. 267mm is not quite high enough to pedal around the corners, so I scraped a few times. But its 7.1kg weight helped me to get up Garie in 10'00 and Audley in 4'30, which are pretty decent times in my book.

I actually saw a bike identical to mine in the ride on Saturday morning, which I mistakenly thought was Coluzzi when I hopped on it at 6:30 on South Dowling St.. Turns out it wasn't, but we expected to be caught. We weren't by Waterfall, so I went back through the Park, only going hard up the aforementioned hills. Then I waited five minutes at the top of Audley, but only saw the guys who I'd turned off at Waterfall with. Maybe the Coluzzi bunch vanished into the Royal National Park Bermuda TriangleTM. One of these years, I might actually do it.

Segue

I can't wait to get to Gent. Reinhard tells me it's been as hot as 6 degrees and raining, or -2 to 2 when it's dry. But first I have to get to...ahhhh Vienna. It's now 3:20am.

Epilogue

I'm now in Vienna airport, with four and a half hours to kill until my final connection to Brussels. I think it might kill me first, as breathing in stale smoke at 6:00am, Vienna time, is not exactly my cup of tea. I moved downstairs to get away from it, but it's worse because now there's burned kerosine smell mixed in with the smoke. Vienna airport is for laying down and avoiding.
Ahh, Vienna airport
© Jeff Jones


My two travelling companions were amusing though. There was one older woman from Riga who had been visiting her son in Sydney for three months. He's got a nice looking flat in Redfern, according to the photos. Dunno where that could be though. Maybe Redfern Chase.

The other was a slightly mad German girl from Munich (where do these stereotypes come from?), who had been in Perth for 10 months. Maybe that's what cracked her. Seriously, I thought I was mad in the clothes department, but no, I clearly have some vestiges of sanity left. As it was 39 degrees when she left Perth, she was wearing shorts, fully aware of how cold it would be when she got out at the other end: "I have an extra t-shirt on," she said confidently. I had to put on my brand new Etxeondo winter training jacket because it was so damn cold in the fliegzug. I hope she didn't miss her connection.

Better get back to reading Brideshead Revisited and breathing in fumes. Oh yeah, I beat Deep Brown properly on the flight from KL to Vienna, while I wasn't sleeping.

Coma

I made it to Belgium and it's cold and grey. Apparently, it's on track to be the gloomiest February on record. I'm safely ensconced in Reinhard's flat.

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hi Jeff ,

Welcome back in our freezer. Looking forward to see you along the Schelde again. To my surprise last Sunday the bunch choosed the Trap Op parcours and obviously this was not the first time this year.
I noticed some guys do have found " the good legs" already, that soon in the season!

See you,

Regards,

jo vandenheulen

lucy (power, not sister) said...

laying down and avoiding... Again, kudos for appropriate usage, but surely you know some other skits Jeff!

Jeff Jones said...

Hi Jo and Lucy,

Yeah, freezer is the appropriate word. I'm getting used to it, but you won't see me on the bike until sometime next week, and definitely not at the front for a while!

Lucy, you have no idea how many times that phrase gets repeated in our household. We love our Australian table wines.

I also plead insanity from a 30 hour trip.

Rosa said...

Doc,

The bike 7,1 kg, but what’s your weight? Seems you catch some grammekes, kilograms??? What did you take doc, can you also give me some…

See you soon,

The black lightning from de Schelde

Jeff Jones said...

Mijnheer (de) Rosa,

That photo was taken in bad light - I'm still 70kg, same as normal. Probably a bit more now I haven't ridden this week and have been existing on a diet of chocolate, mainly.

See ya next week, if it's not snowing.

Rosa said...

Doc,

Can’t ride during these week: work, work…Jesus, bah; and no alternative. Only Monday evening in the new Centrum Eddy Merckx (Blaarmeersen), Kuipke is gedaan, pitty, I go’n miss it.
Perhaps the home trainer in then evening, but I hope it will snow, I like the snow and the rain especially when I can’t ride…(I’m not selfish, I think that from myself)!
Today, it was already koers (and I surprised myself: ik was in de kopgroep, very hard with the wind and cold).


See you op de welkomsdrink on Saturday!!!!!

Mijnheer (de) Rosa

Jeff Jones said...

Het vlokt buiten dus ik denk dat de Home Trainer de slimme optie is.

But I did ride on Monday!

Jeff