Photos from the expedition of a lifetime

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Earlier this year I went on a 5 week journey to Antarctica, via South Georgia and the Falkland Islands (and Ascension Island, sort of). It’s taken nearly 2 months, but I’ve finally finished processing my photos and managed to upload a very small selection of them for all to see. In all I took over 11,000 photos and about 60GB of video which I’ve yet to start editing.

There’s lots to tell about the adventure, and who knows – I might even write some posts about  it.

Selling Up

Back when I lived with my parents, I had a great time building various projects, which even won me a car. I put a lot of hard work and money into building a rack from scratch, creating a whole-house-audio system from various parts along with the software, and wiring up the house for networking.

Well, the time has come to dismantle many of my projects. My parents are itching to put my old room back to use, and I need to gather as much cash as I can for an exciting excursion to the other side of the world next year. I have felt some tears forming, but I just remind myself what it is in aid of and all of the unknown projects that are yet to come.

I have started listing much of the equipment on eBay. If you’re interested in home automation, want to build your own rack, or you have a professional need for some of the AV equipment then please take a look and bid on things that take your fancy.

More equipment will be added tomorrow – mostly the PCs that I no longer use. This includes 2 rackmounts and an old gaming rig.

2011 Goals

So, yet another year over and another year older. As I have done last year, and the year before, this post outlines my goals for next year and assesses how well I did with those set for 2010.

Here’s last year’s list:

  • Become a Microsoft Certified Professional – this was delayed due to illness, but the next exam is scheduled for early Feb 🙂
  • Complete a software project I’m working on, and sell it – I’m tantalisingly close to achieving this
  • Have another great holiday somewhere with friends from uni – done!
  • Post more to this blog – possibly the least-achieved goal
  • Learn to cook more than just pasta – an ongoing one

And this one is for 2011:

  • Become a Microsoft Certified Professional
  • Complete Foresight, sell it, and get a business going in the form of Idea Cog
  • Have another great holiday somewhere with friends, money allowing
  • Get some non-computer-based hobbies going
  • Make some more local friends, and pull myself away from working on Foresight all of the time
  • Get more exercise
  • Learn to cook more than just pasta

Like a lot of people, money is quite tight at the moment, but most of the things above don’t need it. Hopefully I’ll be able to put the financial worries to the back of my mind and focus on the positives of the year to come!

First Attempt at Interior Design

My completed bedroom
After
Back in April I decided to take a well-earned break from work. During that week, I got a lot accomplished. Mostly I worked on my software project (details to be revealed fairly soon, probably) but towards the end I started my first decorating project in my flat.

Continue reading “First Attempt at Interior Design”

2010 Goals

It’s a little late, I know, but it’s still relatively early in the year – early enough to set some targets.

Last year I set the following goals:

  • Become a Microsoft Certified Professional – exam 1 of 3 complete (with flying colours 😀 ), half way through studying for the second now
  • Complete a software project Im working on, and sell it – about 80% of the way there for the first version
  • Buy a house/flat – done!
  • Get more exercise – I’ve got a Wii now, with Wii Fit, which sorta counts … doesn’t it?
  • Push for a revival of socialising at work (its died off over the last year) – didn’t happen
  • Have another great holiday somewhere with friends from uni – didn’t happen
  • Do more non-C# coding, to revive the broadness of my programming skills base specifically PHP – lost interest, continued focussing on .Net

In addition to the above, I did achieve something I hadn’t planned to do last year – my sky dive.

Now, these are the goals for this year:

  • Become a Microsoft Certified Professional
  • Complete a software project Im working on, and sell it
  • Have another great holiday somewhere with friends from uni
  • Post more to this blog
  • Learn to cook more than just pasta

Yeah, it’s shorter than last year, and certainly not original but I should be able to achieve them all if I put my mind to it. I’ve also got a few more personal and some secret goals to meet, so this isn’t the complete list.

Here’s to the new year!

I fell out of a plane at 12,000ft and survived

After 4 attempts, the weather has finally allowed my sister and I to complete our first ever sky dives in aid of our chosen charities.

We arrived at the centre in the east of England at 7.15 am and got in line to make sure we’d be near the front of the queue when it came to jump orders. Less than 2 hours later we were called into the hangar to suit-up and slide into our harnesses. After a plane ride of maybe 10 mins or so, and allowing one guy to jump out at 5,000ft, we were at 12,000ft and I was first in line to accelerate to terminal velocity in the direction of our host planet.

When the door is slid open, the first thing that hit me was the view. The second was the cold air. The third was the realisation that I was about to go out that door and entrust myself to the friendly Chris and his complex arrangement of fabric and string.

The pictures below pretty much explain the rest!

Finally, a massive thanks to all who sponsored my sister and I. Your donations are greatly appreciated.

Another sky diving update

The first jump was supposed to happen on 7th April, but was cancelled due to high winds. We went along to the airfield today to re-attempt the jump, but once again the weather was not entirely in our favour. Therefore we will be trying again at an unknown date – booking will be left until the last minute so that we can at least have some idea of what the weather will be like.

Sponsorship update

There’s just over a week to go before my planned sky dive in aid of Alzheimer’s Society. So far sponsorships are at a pretty impressive 200, thanks in part to some very generous individuals. The target I set is just 50 away, so if you haven’t done so already please, please sponsor me for whatever you can afford through Just Giving! I’m paying for the full cost of the jump, so every penny donated goes to the charity (plus a bit more if you opt to give Gift Aid).

My big jump – Phase 1: Sponsorship

A mock-up of me skydiving

My sister and I are going to be jumping out of a plane at circa 13,000 ft (weather permitting) to raise money for charity on 7th April.

I’m raising money for Alzheimer’s Society, and she’s collecting sponsorships for Cancer Resarch UK.

If you would like to sponsor me, I’ve set up a Just Giving page at http://www.justgiving.com/simonsbigjump

The image above is just for illustration. Since this will be my first jump, I have no photography of me falling out of the sky, so I used the GIMP to make something.