A ride…. with other people!?!

Turns out I joined this social online motorcycle group almost 3 years ago. While I frequently get emails as they create rides, I’ve not managed to get to a single one. Until today.

A short run across the North of the city from Berowra Ferry across to Sackville Ferry and home. 2 ferries and brunch at a cafe. It was a pretty early start, being 0730 at Berowra. That would mean about a 0630 or so leave my place. It would be dark and probably around 4-6C. So cold. At least to get to the meet. The sun would be up by the time the ride started, but it would still be cold.

I took the opportunity to experiment with some clothes and gear. Under my standard leather jacket I had a merino t-shirt, a merino long sleeve shirt and thin fleece with a long collar. I also wore my fleece neck thing. Pretty warm. Just plane Draggin Jeans on my legs. But for the first time with this bike I put my Bagster handlebar mitts on, with my summer gloves.

Look, they worked fine. But as before, best when doing some simple commuting or long distance highway work. Not so much when getting more involved. I took them off for the actual ride, using my thicker Nembo gloves till the day warmed up and I switched back to my regular gloves.

It was a nice simple ride. The lunch stop was amazing, but I was good and didn’t eat a lot. Tractor 828 is the place. Check out the food!

It was great to chat to people about bikes and also a couple about MotoGP.

Can you feel the but coming.

But I didn’t really enjoy myself except when I couldn’t see the others. I’m worried that I’m quite set in my ways now and would prefer to ride myself and then meet other riders. And eat…. but the actual riding with others not so fun. Though I did not feel the pressure to keep up or go fast, I think part of that was everyone behaving because double demerits.

I’m not sure. Maybe if I went riding with them more? I know some who were slow today are usually much faster. Maybe a smaller group who I know better? But until I ride with a few some more, I won’t know them better…

But then I don’t get to ride out much anyway.

D&D – Saltmarsh: The Emperor

While there have been a couple of missed sessions, I notice its now June and I haven’t updated since March. So…

The Saltmarsh crew were hired by a merchant to salvage a ship. A lost ship of his fleet had been recently spotted adrift. They were tasked with retrieving a strongbox from the ship, and would be paid handsomely. The crew turned down the offer of a ship as they preferred to take their own…

After a few days sail, they found the ship, looking weatherbeaten and with no sign of life on board. They had their crew take a boat over and tie up alongside while the adventurers headed onboard.

The deck was clear but damage, and spiders, were everywhere. Venturing inside, the party was immediately set upon by an ettercap and a couple of giant spiders. Some of the smaller spiders swarmed together to attack as well.

They were bested fairly easily and the crew ventured further in.

They came upon an ominous sight – an alter to Lloth, in her guise as Queen of Spiders. Not a positive sign, though it goes some way to explaining all the spiders.

Opening a cabin door they surprised a rather decrepit man inside. The man tossed aside the bone he had been chewing and attacked. The party overwhelmed him as well. This man was dressed in rags and looked like he’d been eating poorly. The ship just got stranger and stranger.

The hallway opened a little, but they were ambushed by more spiders, this time including a phase spider. It ghosted around as they fought, but again the party was victorious.

They found the opening to the hold, but decided to clear this deck of any threats before heading further in. This decision would prove its worth soon.

Here they found three, well, three cocoons? They were wriggling so the party suspected they might have people inside and started to slice one open.

They were met by a ferocious set of teeth. A maw demon raged out of the webs and two more quickly attacked. The party struggled a little, but put the demons down.

Returning to the hold, Hangs (our tabaxi) leapt down into the gloom.

He discovered, much to his dismay, that the hold was about waist deep in seawater. A rather wet and bedraggled tabaxi began to search the hold.

About halfway along he found their prize. A large crate marked with an A. Just as he was attempting to move the crate, 3 ghouls leapt out of the water.

Hangs took a couple of severe blows, and managed little in return. Some of the party jumped to help while others fired from a distance. During the fight, the ship trembled and shook a couple of times. A noise like splintering wood could also be heard.

Just as the ghouls sank beneath the dark water, mighty tentacles burst through the hull, sweeping across the room. It was only chance that saved anyone from damage.

The party attempted to move the crate, but found it much heavier than they had expected and it took two people. They found that with two, they could move it slowly across the deck.

And a race against time as the giant octopus started to take the ship apart. They heaved the crate up to the next floor. The ship settled into the water, the hold filling behind them. They continued to drag the crate along corridors and up to the main deck. Outside they could hear yells and screams.

Finally onto the main deck they discovered another ettercap had leapt onto the parties’ longboat in order to make an escape. Hangs, not being lumbered with the crate leapt over the side to land on the shoulders of the ettercap. Almost his only nice roll of the night saw a mighty blow and he managed to stay on the shoulders.

Back on deck, Reek had the crate ready to lower from the ship. Tentacles continued to lash across the deck and the boat listed over to port. The port side of the deck was now level with the water.

Reek had a great idea and let go of the rope. The heavy crate dropped down towards the longboat and a nicely lucky roll saw it crush the last of the life from the ettercap. Even better, Hang’s finest roll of the night saw him leap aside at the last minute, flip over and land with a flourish on the bow of the longboat.

With the ettercap gone and the crate loaded, the remaining members clambered into the longboat which pushed of with great haste.

Back at the ship, they hurriedly made sail, keen to vacate the area where the giant octopus was busily tearing the other ship apart.

As they sailed back they did investigate the crate and lockbox inside but quickly decided that they didn’t have the skills or magic to open it up.

Finally, the party returned to town, returned the goods and was handsomely paid their 10,000GP. Well, actually a promise note at a nearby bank.

As they settled into their beers and dinner, the party is approached by a member of the Mariner’s guild with a job….

Mouse Troubles – Update

I gave up on the G604… it’s just super flakey on the iMac. I’ve been using the Naga, plugged into the USB. There’s probably no reason I can’t use it BT. I just haven’t got around to it. The 12 keys are mapped to the SHIFT-Number row. Seems to work alright.

The G604 is now on the Surface, though I’ve hardly used it, as I don’t normally pack it in the bag. The Arc Mouse is in the bag all the time and gets used instead.

Even more… the Logitech M555 that I thought was dead, wasn’t. Even though I thought I was resetting the BT to use it, I must have been doing it wrong. Turns out it is paired with the iPad. So I will keep that set up.

My other mice… Well I have my old Magic Mouse. I’ve paired that with my work laptop (a boring, clunky, overly large Dell – doesn’t even have a touch screen). That leaves the Magic Mouse 2 sitting here next to the iMac…. in case of, I dunno, … something??

Mouse Trouble

For a long time I have used the Razer Naga Molten as my mouse. It’s been excellent. Recently though it’s had a little trouble moving about on the desk. It turns out that the slick plastic sliders on the bottom of the mouse have worn right down to the hard plastic shell. It was becoming awkward to use. And I can’t seem to find a way to just replace those parts.

I started investigating replacements and of course the first place to look was Razer. Here, the Naga was now in several versions, with the fanciest being the Naga Pro. This had the three swappable side plates (so normal configuration, 6 buttons and the 12 button like my Naga). It added wireless, including Bluetooth.

But the Razer software no longer supports OSX. Though I’ve never used the Razer software on my existing Naga. With my birthday coming up, I put in my request.

Success! Birthday came along and so did the Naga. It connected fairly simply to the iMac. Obviously the software wasn’t working but I didn’t think much of that until I tried to play WoW.

Here I came across the problem I didn’t face with the older one. The Naga Molten has a switch on the bottom. This manually selects the 12 side buttons as either the top number row on the keyboard or the number pad. Now I had always had it as the number pad. This worked great as I used the number row on the keyboard for my attack rotation, then the Numpad on the Naga as my interrupts and other more situational actions.

Well, that’s what the software does in the newer ones. That software that doesn’t work on OSX. Mapping the keys in WoW didn’t help because the mouse thinks its the number row. I did manage a work around as I made them all bound to SHIFT-number.

I was kind of disappointed, so I handed the Naga over to the Surface to work with. I do like that I can actually use it for multiple computers. I have the USB cable connected to the iMac, which works. And when I switch the BT on, the Surface connects to it.

Anyway, after some more research, I picked up a Logitech G604 for the iMac.

This is also a Bluetooth mouse (that was one of the criteria for my choice) and it has 6 side buttons. The Logitech software also works on OSX.

So this arrived and connected. It was really slow to move across my desktop (I have the 27” iMac and another 27” screen slaved to it). Then I got into the software and messed about with the settings. This helped.

I’ve also set up the keys when outside WoW as a bunch of short cuts.. cut, copy, paste, screenshot. Works well for that.

I have struggled a little with it in WoW, but I’ve also not played much so I reserve judgement on that side of things. I can’t quite seem to get the Logitech software to automatically switch profile as I thought it did. Again, I haven’t played with it much to be sure.

However, I have been having trouble with it even working. It will often lose the BT connection and simply stop. I’ve had to go through the reconnection steps several times. Switching it off, clearing it from the iMac’s BT list etc have eventually got it up and running.

The other trouble is that, well as I said, without the G-Suite application running, it’s really slow across the screen. At the OSX login screen (there are profiles for each family member on my iMac) its slow. And it remains slow even after login (or wake up from sleep) until the G-Suite kicks in. This can be several seconds. Or it isn’t until I actually open it. Or it just doesn’t.

This has all been quite frustrating. Sometimes it all gets back together, or I have to switch on the Apple Magic Mouse that I have, or I’ve resorted to plugging the Naga in (via its USB) cable. On one recent afternoon I had to dig out an old Apple Trackpad to get some response from the cursor on screen.

So in summary. Naga Pro isn’t great for OSX (well it’s not supposed to be). G604 seems really flakey. Apple Magic Mouse is good for general stuff, but not games, make sure you keep a trackpad around…

Anyone got an older working Naga they want to let go?

Oh and my old reliable Logitech M555 that I kept for travel seems to have died.

MotoGP Planning – Update

I was poking about on Google Maps and it looks like the route from Corryong direct to Omeo is dirt. I found a local council YouTube video talking about tree felling along that way after last year’s fires. It was clearly dirt and that was only 6 months ago, I’m fairly confident that they wouldn’t have sealed the whole road in that time.

I’m not having any of that gravel/dirt if I can avoid it, so I worked through some options. I changed my route down to head over towards Tallangatta after I cross the Snowies. Stay here I think, before heading up over the Alps. This might even shorten that day slightly, which is good as it was one of the longer ones..

I’ll probably stay in Tallangatta rather than Corryong/Colac Colac both ways then. That means the day out of Melbourne is not quite so long and the next day isn’t too much longer, and it was one of the shorter ones anyway. More even across the days now.

What else?

I’ve booked my Melbourne accommodation. Something with a washing machine. I booked to arrive on Friday, which gives me Saturday to rest or head to the track, or get my gear sorted or whatever. I have free cancellation too, in case it all gets turned off due COVID or work.

I’ve picked up a sleeping mat (R3 self inflating) and a couple of extra dry bags (to keep my sleeping bag dry if I put my tent away wet). I think I still need to get a small mallet. Think that’s about it. Any further purchases will be bike maintenance related.

Marvel’s Agents of well not zzz

I have an apology to make. Way back in 2013 I posted my thoughts on the (at the time) new Marvel series. I wasn’t too impressed.

However, I’m deep into the third series, and while it’s not the best show ever (The Expanse is one of my picks for that), it is worth watching. So I don’t fully retract my comments at the time, but I’m enjoying it.

I didn’t like the lead hero, who turned out to be a bad guy (maybe I knew). And I kind of still don’t. It is still awesome to see Ming-Na (to the best of my knowledge the only Star Wars character, Marvel hero and Disney Princess – though technically the wife of a General doesn’t make her a princess).

But the stories have evolved from what I felt was like a bad guy/alien of the week to a series of engaging story arcs. It does and it doesn’t link in parts of the movie series. I’m not sure yet if it relates to the Inhuman series as well (I’ve had the same with that… it was watchable, but I didn’t really get into the show).

So worth a watch if you’ve been watching other parts of the Marvel universe. And probably engaging even if you haven’t.

WoW – To the Bastion

Dasal had the first option at getting through this strange new city, that Mab and her have found themselves in – Oribos.

The story quests lead us along a path to find out some basic background as well as a quick tour of the city itself. We opened a portal to Origammer, which meant Dasal was happy to set her Hearthstone to Oribos. The story then led us to open another portal, this time to a place called Bastion. And that’s where Dasal left off.

Dasal meets (or is shown) The Arbiter

Clearly, something has gone wrong in this place and I’m going to assume it is up to us from Azeroth to fix it.

Then it was Mabaho’s turn, I found the second go through was a little more tedious, but not overly. I knew where the couple of locations I needed to move to were, but with several cut scenes and some fixed dialogue, you can only hurry it up so much.

Mabaho met The Arbiter, opened the Org portal (and set his Hearthstone) and also headed to bastion.

Apparently, it has been some time since anyone visited The Bastion, and things have been running down, or been in sleep mode. Kleia, who we first meet, mistakes Mabaho as an applicant so starts to show me around. Mab follows, though he keeps his tru mission to himself. Again, meeting several people and having a little tour around, what appeared to be another floating city seems to actually be a bigger floating land. I don’t think the size of the entire Outlands, but floating like that nonetheless.

Mab has ventured from the arrival area of The Bastion and is off in the “countryside”.

Short Ride – Watch Drama!

After messing about most of the Easter weekend with chores and other unexpected things, I headed out Sunday morning. I planned to head up to Colo and have a look through Windsor and other areas affected by the floods.

As I headed west, it was clear that there was fog about. Having spent a couple of hours on Good Friday giving the bike a thorough clean and polish, I just didn’t want it to get wet and dirty straight away. So I turned around and headed for the coast and the Old Pac.

It turned into my first chance in the new tunnel that links the M7/M2 with the freeway going north. For the first time, travellers can cut around Sydney and stay on freeway the whole way. Can’t believe it has taken so long.

The tunnel was nothing special, though long at about 7:30mins (at 80kmph). So soon I was up to the Berowa exit and the Old Pac.

I’m not sure when I last headed up this way during what might be a busy period. And it was busy (well I thought so, regulars might not). Dozens of cyclists were the main thing I hadn’t dealt with.

So I cruised down, took some photos across the Mooney Mooney bridge and dawdled up the hill. Busy, cyclists and double demerits, it wasn’t the weekend for time attacks!

I had a pie at the top, coming finally to the conclusion that their pies aren’t actually that great. Robinson Pie shop is a lot better, and I suspect there are other better ones nearby as well. But its handy and bike friendly.

I headed home, but as I rode through the tunnel I was surprised when a voice spoke over my Scala headset….

“Police, Fire or Ambulance?”

Wait, what…..? I was very confused and stammered out “Sorry, my phone has dialled this by accident, I’m fine.” They thanked me and hung up.

Shortly after my wife rang.

“Are you ok?”

“Yes, why?” I was getting more confused. My phone seemed to have launched into I’m in an emergency mode for some reason.

“Because I just got a message saying you had called emergency and your location.”

Again… “I’m fine, my phone is doing something weird. I’ll be home in about 20 minutes anyway.”

Once I was home I took a look at my devices. My watch had an alert that I had initiated Call Emergency mode. It was providing updates to my wife at about 15 minute intervals with my location, as she was my Emergency Contact. I cancelled the alert mode.

I poked about in the settings for the iPhone and the Apple Watch. Seems the watch had the option “Call Emergnecy Services if the crown (the rotating button) is held down”. So that explained why the watch had called emergency, but not what started it….

I realised that just before the Emergency people had started speaking I had felt a couple of alerts from my wrist. I had assumed that they were messages, and had tapped my phone (on its QuadLock holder) to see. But there was nothing there.

I think that my watch, my jacket cuff combined with a very still position (cruising through the tunnel) had held the crown down long enough to kick it into panic mode. I disabled that option.

I did enable fall detection though….

But a little gotcha for Apple Watch riders..

WoW – Into the Shadowlands

Feeling somewhat like I’ve jumped back in time 3 or 4 years, I’ve rally gotten back into WoW again. So here I am, at Shadowlands.

With 3 boosts (2 to 48, 1 to 50) on my account, and Mabaho almost at 48 I had plenty of options. Mabaho had earlier spent some time finishing story quests in Stormheim, then started the story in Suramar before hitting 48. Most of this time was spent trying to figure out how my key binds were going to work, getting some idea of a rotation, getting my head around WoW again. It seemed to take ages.

But he hit 48, and the Shadowlands quest opened up for him. I spent some time cleaning out the quest log. Amazingly, I seem to have an Alliance pet training quest, that I can’t abandon and I have to go to Teldrassil to complete. Very weird. Cleaned out some of his bags too. Didn’t open the bank though, at the moment the bank is like that one closet or drawer you have at home that you shove things in and never look at too closely.

And then into the story. It was still a little more time before I remembered to look up the key bind for screenshots.

Mabaho has entered the Maw, and spent some time working to save the world’s leaders, including his own Baine. There was a terrible moment when he thought Baine was about to die though.

The Jailer holds Baine high above.

Then it was the battle at the Keystone to find a way out.

Apparently only I have the “specialness” to be able to activate this

Before appearing, alone, in a strange place.

I’ve just appeared in this place… not Kansas anymore…. reminds me a little of Shattrath City

The story has been engaging so far, but with the Highlord Mogaine and Lady Proudmore at my side the whole way, I’ve not really felt threatened, at least in the set pieces.

With Mabaho there, I boosted Mabango to 48. I spent the required time training and then in a similar way, some time getting a rough rotation set up on my key binds. I also cleaned out quests, mail and bags. Mabango disenchanted everything she could (all my sentimental gear is with Mabaho really). And then she entered the Maw.

Mabango arrives in The Maw

I’ve not moved her from the very beginning yet.

Then it was Dasal (officially Magdasal from the server change so long ago) turn to step up. Same process, the training side piece (actually, didn’t mind it this time) and then the clean up. Then Dasal was into The Maw. And

And I didn’t take any screenshots 😦

Dasal has pushed off from the start, but not far. Dasal is feeling a lot safer as she has Mogaine and Proudmore as her companions. She isn’t really one to be up close and personal with her opponents.

I still have a single boost left. I feel I should pump Pumatay up. Because he deserves it. But I’m also thinking about maybe a different character? I have a druid and a death knight that I’ve dabbled in a little….

But really it should be Pumatay shouldn’t it..

Power – but where?

One of the next modifications I am considering is to have a way to charge via USB installed on the bike somewhere. But the problem is where?

Option one – Up front. This would serve to charge anything on the phone mount. I could also run a cord into, say, a jacket pocket, to charge something else. Or, and it’s a big or, run a cord, if needed, all the way back to the top box to charge something there. Don’t know what that would be like while riding?

Option two – Down the back, maybe even into the top box. This gives me a weather proof place to charge things. Its nice and tidy, keeps any cables away from all over the bike.

Both could access a spare connection on the loom for heated hand grips. Obviously, this would be much simpler for the front mount idea, than rerouting that power down the back. There might be a more convenient connection towards the back I could use instead?

I don’t need to see my phone most of the time. It could happily live in the back charging away for most of a leg, or most of a day. Or I could charge a power bank down the back while riding, and use the charge of that overnight.

Isn’t it funny when you write down ideas, the choice becomes much clearer?