What’s New?

So what’s been happening? Speedway is running again in the Conference League (the lower league), the Elite team has disbanded. At least we survived this crisis for now. I have a Flickr account, I’m just working out how to join it with EE. I have a Facebook account (don’t ask) and I did the wedding photography for my sister-in-law last week, more about that later.

Time to post regularly here again…

Benchmarking

What the hell is benchmarking I hear you cry! It’s one of my sad little hobbies I reply. What is a bench mark I hear you cry! I’ll let Wikipedia explain…

“In surveying a bench mark is specifically any permanent marker placed by a surveyor with a precisely known vertical elevation (but not necessarily a precisely known horizontal location). These reference points may be chiselled into a wall, or more typically, marked by small brass or aluminium disks, iron pins or bolts that are permanently attached to a stable foundation, such as concrete posts, bridge abutments, buildings, or a specifically constructed concrete block. These markers are then used as starting (control) points by subsequent surveyors and other users to establish the elevation of nearby points.”

Where is this leading? Well, it leads to my latest little toy, the Google Maps API. As a useful exercise in learning the API I have created a Google Map of my benchmark images, you can find it at the URL below.

http://www.jochta.com/maps/benchmarks.php

It’s a bit basic at the moment style-wise as it was really the API I was interested in, I will embellish as I learn and add some more information.

Oxford Speedway RIP?

The news all Oxford Speedway fans have been dreading broke this afternoon, the immediate closure of the club mid-season. When it came it was a bolt out of the blue as the promotion had held a fan’s forum on Friday and painted a rosy picture of the future. It was all lies. A whole part of my life from when I was a boy appears to be over, another outlet for the local children taken away.

I shed a few tears this afternoon for all the memories, good and bad, Oxford Speedway has given me over the past 30-odd years. But the loyal supporters will fight hard to keep speedway in my once fabulous city and we shall see what transpires over the coming days and weeks. I truly hope that this isn’t the final bitter end.

Gutted

Oxford 1-2 Exeter (Agg: 2-2)
Exeter win 4-3 on penalties

So disappointed not to get a trip to Wembley. Not so much for myself but for my son who had been so looking forward to it. How many other chances will he get to see Oxford United play at Wembley? But to be honest Oxford played awful tonight and we missed three penalties when we had the advantage.

What a Picture

Well I’ve eventually taken the plunge and bought myself a Digital SLR camera. I plumped for the Nikon D40 which has a 6.1 megapixel sensor as it produces sharp images at a very reasonable price. The kit lens supplied is very good, an 18-55mm zoom. I also bought a 55-200mm zoom to go with it plus a few filters. It takes fantastically sharp images, puts all the compact digital cameras I’ve owned to shame. The nice thing is its portraits, no sign of any red-eye and super crisp images.

I’ve also been trying out some astrophotography with it, hit a snag trying to do prime focus photography on my driven telescope as I cannot achieve focus, but I have a plan. Had some success with afocal projection and you can see some results in the photo section here.

Next Day Delivery

If I order something on Monday morning for next day delivery I understand that to mean I will receive the order on Tuesday. Not the day after you decide to dispatch it. Let me get this straight, I order on Monday morning for next day delivery but you won’t dispatch it until Wednesday for next day delivery on Thursday? Eh? How does that work then?

Winner: Animated Feature

Just watched Happy Feet on HD-DVD winner of this year’s animated feature Oscar. Hmm, don’t get me wrong this looks absolutely amazing, especially in HiDef, totally gorgeous. Did they forget to put a story in here though? It’s a bit like Finding Nemo without the charm. A bit like Cars without the emotion. I couldn’t empathise with the main character called Mumble (eh?) especially as he refused to lose his baby plumage for the entire film, yet he till gets the girl and mates (eh?). And let’s crowbar an environmental message in there in the last ten minutes of the film (eh?). I’m just surprised they didn’t utter the dreaded GW words, gah.

Oscar? What? Eh?

The Buttons of My Mind

I think I have a name for the site. I’ve wanted to call it something other than jochta.com for a while and wasn’t sure what to use. In the end the answer was staring me in the face. I’ve always quoted the lyrics from The Scaffold’s song Buttons Of Your Mind as my all time favourite (this song was on the B-Side to the single Lily the Pink which was #1 in the charts on the day I was born).

The buttons of your mind were difficult to find and my fingers far too clumsy.

And this site is about my buttons.

A Year Ago

One year ago today was the worst day of my life. The day my Dad died. Suddenly and without warning in the early hours of 11th December 2005 he passed away, he was 71 years old. No one expected it, his mother was in her 80s when she died and his father only died a few years ago aged 94. But in one awful year his brother, his cousin (who lived with them as a brother when he was younger) and he all passed away. A whole generation wiped out with no one left to tell the tales.

Not a single day has passed since then that I have not thought of him, and I have shed tears on several occasions. I was very close to my Dad, we went to Oxford Speedway together during the summer, to every home match and to some away matches. We played table tennis together. We played golf together. We went on holidays together. We went to watch football together. Barely a day passed that I didn’t speak to him either in person or on the phone, he would ring me with the latest snippet of speedway news hopeful that I hadn’t ‘heard’ it first from the internet. I miss him terribly as do the rest of the family.

Rest in peace Dad.