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29 · non-binary (they/them) · neurodiverse · spoonie · queer femme · NSO & trainee zebra · polyamorous · burned-out activist · geek.



♥ coffee ♥ roller derby ♥ photography ♥ knitting ♥ exploring ♥ creating ♥

tajasel: Katie, wearing a helmet and bike glasses. (bike bike bike)
Strava's distance challenge this month is 120km; I couldn't decide on a place to go, so at 09:15 this morning, I set off from work just outside Manchester city centre and decided to see where I felt like going.

Opted to turn right at first major junction on reasoning that I'd never turned down that road before; passed through Sale and Altrincham, then Warrington. Began to get rained on. Started thinking about maybe heading for Formby and going to that beach with statues on, but then spotted a signpost for Daresbury, the birthplace of Lewis Caroll, and remembered that one of the British Cycle Quest clues is there, along with a visitor centre which I reckoned would sell me a brew to help me warm up. In actual fact, it was attached to a church, and the brews were provided at a suggested donation of 20p, or 50p with biscuits. They got the handful of spare change from my wallet, and I had lovely stem ginger biscuits and alright (instant) coffee.

Whilst there, I examined the BCQ question book and decided to pick up a second answer in Chester. Arriving there with 65km on my GPS, I stopped for lunch, decided I was cold and wet and would be happier heading in the direction of home instead of somewhere else, so scrapped my "ride 100km, look for a train station, and get a train home" idea, and aimed for the Cheshire Cycleway to get me out of the town centre and vaguely north-east-wards again.

But of course, Chester has a lot of cycle routes, and I picked one with signs saying Connah's Quay in one direction, and Chester Town Centre in the other, thought to myself "well, I've just come from Chester so it must be the other way", and set off.

Sometime after this, I pass a sign welcoming me to Wales. I stopped to consider if I wanted to attempt to navigate Chester town centre again, decided I didn't, took a silly photo of myself at the border, and figured I may as well see how far I could get around the North Wales coast before hitting 120km.

Katie looking quizzically at Welsh border sign


116km landed me on the doorstep of a lovely cycling shop/café called Bike Hub in Rhyl Harbour, with divine blueberry cheesecake.

Cheesecake, a cup of coffee and my helmet, with Rhyl Harbour in the background


They didn't believe me the first time I said I got lost and was aiming for Manchester but took a wrong turning in Chester, only when I showed them the photo of me at the border.

120.0km exactly landed me at the entrance to Rhyl train station, with six minutes until the next Manchester train, and four minutes to a Chester one.

Of course, the Manchester one was a Virgin Trains service, which have mandatory bike reservations even when there are no other bikes on board, and a overzealous guard enforcing the (not-always-enforced) rule, so I ended up on the Chester train, and then changing again in Crewe.

122km later, I arrived home from my slightly-more-Welsh-than-usual commute, and am now in bed with my Kindle. It has been a grey and geographically-challenging but very fun day :)
tajasel: Katie, with a purple wig on. (Default)
Yesterday I rode my first Audax sans-[personal profile] damerell, and have now officially failed to finish more Audaxes than I have successfully completed, which is not quite the achievement I was hoping for.

It was meant to be a very hilly ride - starting in Marple, up into Glossop and Hadfield, past the reservoirs and over Holme Moss (one of the categorised climbs from the Tour de France's Grand Depart in Yorkshire last summer), then down into Langsett and Midhopestones and Strines, and then back into the Peak District through Edale, Chinley, New Mills and finishing again in Marple.

Well, it was a very hilly ride, and I did make it up to the summit of Holme Moss, with a bicycle, using only the power of my legs.

At the summit of Holme Moss


I also enjoyed descending the hills, and spotting road paintings leftover from when the TdF came past last summer.

Ey Up! / Go Yates Go! Allez Allez Jens!
Shut Up Legs Vive Le Tour!


However, I did come undone a little on a hairy descent out of Midhopestones - taking a corner much wider than I should have and probably somewhat faster too - I know that I was going for 66kph on the approach to the corner; I was braking heavily so probably didn't hit the ground at that speed, but still a little too fast. Unfortunately, on a 25% reverse-incline with a tailwind, there's a lot of factors against you...

So that goes some way to explaining why my front wheel was the wrong shape when I dropped the bike off at my local bike shop this morning, and also why I've got a small-ish rugby-ball shaped lump on my elbow, and why I had the help of Northern Rail to avoid the final big climb of the day (Mam Nick) - which is why I officially didn't finish the ride.

On arrival at the ride rendezvous point, the ride organiser (an old family friend) offered to take me and my bike home and deliver me to the A&E department up the road, where I hung about for three hours or so, had a number of X-rays, and eventually got sent home with painkillers and the good news that nothing was chipped, fractured or otherwise broken.

I have acute neck/shoulder pain today, leaving me wondering if I did bang my head after all (I knew that I hadn't lost consciousness, but didn't know if I'd hit my head or not) - but I'm at work until Saturday morning so unless it gets any worse I'm just going to assume whiplash.

Incidentally, how to make a hospital receptionist really struggle not to laugh at you:
"What's the problem?"
"I came off my bike and my elbow is the wrong shape."
"Was it an RTC?"
"No, just stupidity."


Think I'll stay away from hills for a little while.
tajasel: Katie, with a purple wig on. (Default)
I am visiting a friend in Cambridge, who is doing a super stressful course and needed some cheering up. I got started before I even arrived;

Kieran: (Texting me around the time that my delayed train is due.) Are you here?
Me: No, I'm here.
Kieran: Where? I'm outside.
Me: On a train.


(I've wanted to use that line for years.)

Once my train finally arrived, we had to cycle to his flat around 2 miles south-west of the train station. This was made somewhat more difficult by the fact that Cambridge has been experiencing north-easterly gale force winds for the last two weeks or so (which we, of course, had to cycle directly into).

Upon seeing the lovely smooth and flat cycle path however, I breathed a sigh of relief, thinking it would make life a lot easier. And that was probably my mistake.

Around 1.5 miles into the journey, in something resembling a comedy sketch, an extremely strong sidewind joined forces with the headwind we were fighting, and took my bike right out from under me. Fortunately, the wind buffeted my fall, but did mean that I had one of those "I'm going to fall off my bike now" sense of doom moments before actually hitting the ground.

I decided I was fine, dusted myself off, pushed the bike upright, and began to use it to help me stand up.

But of course, the gale that we've been riding into is still smashing into us, and no sooner had I raised my centre of gravity even a foot from the ground, I was back on my arse again, this time with the bike on top of me.

Meanwhile, Kieran (who had been merrily cycling off into the distance) suddenly realises that I've stopped talking/yelling, and turns round to see me lying on the floor under my bike, flailing like an upside-down insect, and starts laughing at me.

(We followed all of this up with going to see the Lego Movie, by car because it seemed rather more sensible, and that has had us spontaneously cracking up ever since leaving the SPACESHIP! cinema.

I wonder what hijinks tomorrow and Monday morning will bring.
tajasel: Katie, with a purple wig on. (Default)
I've just arrived home to find a parcel from Glasses Direct on our kitchen table, containing the two new pairs of glasses I ordered last week. So excited was I by this, that before even removing my hat, coat and scarf, I opened the parcel and tried on the new eyewear.

I then sat down grabbed my laptop, opened it up, and... squinted at the screen. I reorientated the laptop so that it wasn't reflecting sunlight from the window behind me... and still could not see.

I tapped the brightness increase button on my keyboard, only to find that the screen was already at maximum brightness.

And then I remembered that I was still wearing my new sunglasses.

Error 404: Coffee not found.
tajasel: Katie, with a purple wig on. (Default)
Good bit of having a seen exam: I get to see questions in advance.
Bad bit of having a seen exam: the questions.

(Well, not the questions, because I know what I want my answers to be - it's just remembering those answers...)

The questions were released at 10am on Friday, I got to see them at 11am. By 11:35, I was on a train to the library to acquire books.

At 12:10, as I walked up to the library, I realised that because I am a total ADHD-brained spoon, my wallet, containing the student card that gains me access to the library, and permission to remove books from the building, was at home on the kitchen table.
By 12:30, my distinctive rainbow coloured hat had gained me access to the building, and agreement that I could leave any books I wanted in a locker for a few hours, whilst I went home again to get my card.

After a few hours of revision, at 15:30, I went to put the books in a locker and discovered I needed a £1 coin to do so. I had a £1 coin... in my wallet. On the kitchen table at home.

I managed to persuade a friendly librarian to leave the books behind the counter for me to pick up:
Librarian: "But you're asking to hide books from other students so that they can't borrow them. I can't let you do that."
Me:"If I had my library card with me, I'd be hiding them IN MY HOUSE and they wouldn't be able to borrow them then."
Librarian:"Oh, I suppose you're right..."


I returned home, with books, at 18:00, had dinner, and revised for another couple of hours before going to bed. At 05:30, I was up again, so that I could be on the 06:35 train to uni and get into the library. Strangely enough, a university campus is like the zombie apocalypse at 7am on Saturday morning. I had the entire three floors of the library to myself, except for the snoozing security guard.

Got home again at 08:45, did another couple of hours revision at home, had brunch at 11, went to work at 12, got home at 20:50, reheated Friday night's leftovers for dinner, did more revision.

...woke up drooling into a textbook at 09:30 this morning, because the cat was trying to eat my foot.

No, really.

Fed the cat actual cat food, did more revision. Still feel like I'm remembering nothing.

I should probably take a break sometime soon. Lunch might be a good idea.
Sep. 23rd, 2013 10:05 am

Books

tajasel: Katie, with a purple wig on. (Default)
You know that thing where you get off a bus and there's 55 minutes until your train and there's a bookshop right there? And the train station's only about a 10 minute walk, so having a look can't do any harm, right?

So you wander in and kneel in front of the shelves holding the books on the reading list for your next module and...

OH HELP WHERE DID THE LAST 40 MINUTES GO?!

I am on my train, thank expletive. Not awake enough for this, this morning.
tajasel: Katie, with a purple wig on. (Default)
It is August 11th 1999.

You're in Cornwall to see the solar eclipse, and as the time of totality approaches, people around you begin to notice that the sun itself won't be visible from the beach that you're on because of a tall rocky outcrop.

Unfortunately, you broke your ankle during a trampolining lesson two weeks beforehand, and whilst every other person on the beach wades out to sea for a better vantage point, you are left sitting on your beach chair, alone, with a black binbag tied around your left leg to protect the cast from sea water. It's frustrating, but it does make for an amusing story to tell for the rest of your life - that day you sat alone on a beach watching the world walk out to sea.

In fact, 13½ years later, you are sitting in a teashop in Manchester, relating this story to the best friend of one of your closest friends but whom you've never met before. Halfway through your story, she puts down her teacup and listens intently, and then exclaims: "Oh my god, you're Bag Girl!"

[twitter.com profile] thatbloodywoman was on that beach that day, and remembers me clear as if it were yesterday. As you would, of course, if you saw somebody sat alone on a beach wearing a binbag around one leg, but seriously, what are the chances?
tajasel: Katie, with a purple wig on. (Default)
About 20 minutes ago, I get a phonecall off my manager, asking me to reset the boss' password, text it to him and ask him to please not forget his password when the main administrator is on a train without Internet access.

So, I booted up my Windows laptop, started VMware, went to the required server... and realised my own password is long and complicated enough to be nicely secure, but also flipping annoying to type in manually. Go to webmail, change my own password, log in to the server and reset the boss' password. Send the new password to the boss, and return to my other laptop at my desk.

And then I thought, "what did I just change my password to?"

Fortunately, I didn't log out of the Windows laptop when I was done, so I was able to return to VMware to reset my own password again. I am feeling a bit daft now, anyway.
Feb. 8th, 2012 03:36 pm

Hipsters

tajasel: Katie, with a purple wig on. (Default)
So, hipsters in coffee shops with MacBooks. This is a thing, and it has been for years.

I'm wearing jeans and a blazer, and sitting in a quirky little teashop working on my laptop. Dangerously close to hipster territory.

Except for the laptop; a stone age Dell Latitude D520, a monolithic object that doesn't even feature a widescreen.

Although, it is kind of retro, and hipsters like retro. Oh god. What is becoming of me?
tajasel: Katie, wearing a helmet and bike glasses. (bike bike bike)
Whilst I'd like to congratulate the drivers on the Manchester Airport Eastern Link Road for their valiant efforts to knock me off my bike this morning, I'm afraid I won't be inviting them to try harder next time.
tajasel: Katie, with a purple wig on. (Default)
I don't like it when hard drives make noises they're not supposed to. Especially hard drives that have only been used three times in just under six months.

I do like warranties.

Tonight I introduced [twitter.com profile] maznu to my mum as "the man who keeps me in hard drives". (This is the third time in 2 years.)
tajasel: Katie, with a purple wig on. (Default)
tajasel: Katie, with a purple wig on. (Default)
You know when you're fighting computers to do what you want?

You're staring at the admin interface of your website in your browser, trying to work out why what you're putting into your terminal window isn't having any effect at all.

And then you look at your terminal window again, and realise that the path isn't what you're expecting, and it turns out you've spent half an hour editing one website, whilst expecting the changes to appear on a different one.

And you know that feeling of complete, utter stupidity that comes right after that moment of realisation?

Yeah, that.
tajasel: Katie, with a purple wig on. (Default)
In 2013, there is going to be a giant blue cock on the Fourth Plinth in Trafalgar Square.

Well, I suppose Boris had to end up somewhere.
tajasel: Katie, with a purple wig on. (Default)
So, about three hours ago, I stuck my coffee in the fridge since I didn't want to drink it and was curious what Starbucks' toffee nut latte would taste like cold. (Hey, if it sucked, I could always stick it in a microwave again.)

I got [livejournal.com profile] mirkwood's partner, Dan, to fetch it from the fridge for me, unscrewed the cap and took a sip of my nice, cold coffee.

Me: "What the fuck?! It's still hot! The cup's cold, but it's still hot!"
Dan: "Well, it is a Thermos cup."

I'll just shuffle off back to primary school science again, then.
tajasel: Katie, with a purple wig on. (Default)
The truth will come to you at last
When all are one and one is all
To be a rock and not to roll
And he's buying a Segway to heaven.
tajasel: Katie, with a purple wig on. (Default)
A few minutes ago, I finished writing a reply to an email, stood up, went into the bathroom and had a shower. I grabbed my towel to dry off... and found that it was wet.

I then realised that I had had a shower already - about half an hour beforehand, I think - and totally forgotten about it.

It's better than forgetting to have a shower at all, I suppose, but I feel a bit silly now.
tajasel: Katie, with a purple wig on. (Default)
I went out to the Royal Mail sorting office about 40 minutes ago to collect some parcels which the postman couldn't be bothered to deliver on Friday and after doing my usual check of things I needed with me - wallet, keys, missed delivery card, bag to carry stuff home - I headed out the door and got about halfway down the street before some young lads hanging around on the grass between the house and the railway fencing started laughing at me, and one of them called out "I think you've forgotten something!"

They laughed even harder at the confused expression on my face, and then one of them helpfully pointed out that I was wearing my helmet.

It was at this point I realised I'd forgotten to pick up my bike.
tajasel: Katie, with a purple wig on. (Default)
I ended up in Primark today, trying to find a purple item of clothing to wear for Fairer Votes things, and after an hour or so wandering around, I finally found this one jumper hanging on a rail alongside some skirts and things. It was purple, ribbed, and long, like a sort of mini-dress, with a V neck and little pockets around the waist. I couldn't see any others like it, but it fitted me, and I loved it, so I bought it.

When I got to the cash desk, it turned out to have no price tag, so the cashier put in the item code off the label and rang it up that way. I didn't think anything of it - until I got home and found a receipt and a rolled up tissue in the pocket, and it was at this point that I realised I had just bought someone else's jumper.

Presumably they'd hung it up whilst they tried something else on, and I spotted it and decided I had to have it. I want to feel bad about this, but it is a very nice jumper, and you have to be kinda silly to not only hang your jumper up in a clothes store, but to fail to notice when someone else picks it up, tries it on and walks away with it..!
Apr. 15th, 2010 04:58 pm

Hours

tajasel: Katie, with a purple wig on. (Default)
Today, I told my boss that my gtimelog records show that I've worked more unpaid overtime than actual paid hours, and he told me he'd be filing it in the "evidence that Katie's pretty crazy" folder. Hrm.

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