The general root of superstition is that men observe when things hit, and not when they miss, and commit to memory the one, and pass over the other

Euan Ritchie

My personal website

Euan Ritchie

Only highlights left

This is a site for experimenting and keeping references and samples.

My choices configuring Astons…

  • My DB 12 for daily driving.
  • My DBS for zooming around.
  • My DBX for going to golf.

…and Jaguars…

So, I almost died

Some time just before Easter this year (2023) I caught a 'staph' infection.

That is a bacterial infection of Staphylococcus aureus, I know not how.

What began as inflamed joints in my legs (over Easter weekend), which I assummed was just part of my various sport injuries - but still sent me to my GP who prescribed a course of steroids (as a general inflamation treatment) and a tonne of pain killers.

Before the course completed I returned knowing it wasn't working (ran out of pain killers, and gawd it was HURTING) and my GP aspirated my knee (meaning drained it of pus) and sent the results for tests.

A couple of days later I was ordered into hospital for immediate attention (turns out surgery that afternoon) for a staph infection.

In the first week I had four surgeries under general anasthetic while my right foot, knee, elbow, middle finger and shoulder were surgically cleaned of bacteria.

Multiple times because I kept getting re-infected (doctors thought bacteria might have been hiding out in my titanium implant pinning my right tibia together) and were planning on pulling it out to get where they thought bacteria might be.

But they didn't have to, because someone figured out it was colonising my heart and spreading from there - I had a 3.5 cm growth on my tricuspid valve.

So two months of intra-veinous Penicillin (luckily it was an ancestral strain still susceptible), a couple of embolisms into my lungs, a few other distracting complications, a month of recovery at Burwood (plus physiotherapy) to recover from losing 25 kilos of muscle (was quite gaunt) and two months after release I walk with a cane.

A St Bernard was brought around to cheer folks up at Burwood (I forget her name), a great big slobbery treat.

I can walk without the cane, but my foot is still sore with scarred muscles and ligaments from being scraped internally and thoroughly - and is likely to take several months yet to come right.

The surgeon who worked on me says it was touch and go for a bit - with the bug winning the first week they had me.

Weirdly even though it colonised my heart and reinfected my foot the bacteria was never found in my blood stream, go figure that.

My thinking about how I was infected is that it was through a razor burn, as I had recently been trying out some new ways of tidying my short beard. I had no other cuts or bruises (around the time of infection), so otherwise maybe mishandled food I bought somewhere?

Electricity, ouch

So for about the third time in my life I've shocked myself with 240 volts.

This time by not realizing I was touching the metal part of my multimeters probe while checking which wire was which as I was replacing a motion sensor.

And for the first time I've noticed after effects. When I sat down to watch some TV (after succesfully replacing the sensor) the menu of media on my F-off big OLED TV looked like it was fuzzing.

I couldn't quite tell if my TV was glitching but I was sure it wasn't just blurry vision - so I got up close and it was clear the TV was fine.

My eyesight was just buzzing which I presume is an effect of shocking myself.

Aphorisms

I like a good aphorism and enjoy the elegant concise expression of ideas (the quotes randomly appearing above come from a collection of such expression).

I sometimes wonder about the similarity of my mulling this sort of thing compared to reading help and advice columns...

  • We are more often frightened than hurt; and we suffer more from imagination than from reality.
  • It's not what happens to you, it's how you respond or react to what happens to you.
  • This too shall pass.
  • You have to put your oxygen mask on first.
  • 'No' is a complete sentence.
  • Nobody is getting out alive.
  • A common mistake people make when trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools.
  • Good drivers sometimes miss their turn. Bad drivers never do.
  • You don't have a problem or obstacle; you have a Solution Start point.
  • Start with a yes.

Beware of the cat!

She may look relaxed, and you might think you're bigger than her, but she's armed for bear.

Hunter, who came in from the wild and returned to the wild ten years later.

Ferrari 360

Instead of a Aston Martin

Trudy bought me a go around a race track in an Aston Martin, but someone had broken it before I arrived. So I went around in a Ferrari 360 instead.

These cars are definitely different to drive and I wouldn't want one for any kind of daily use, but blatting around a track was fun.

Kittens!

So I befriended a stray last year, and started feeding it when it began bringing me presents (thankfully dead rats, not birds).

It was a bit feral so I was waiting to domesticate it enough to take it to a vet for fixing and chipping, but then I ended up in hospital for a while and my brother took care of my cat for me.

About a week after I got out the cat (I haven't named it, I'm contemplating 'Sandy' as it's colouring reminds me of an African Sand Cat) gave birth to kittens.

Got knocked up while I was in hospital - it had three, with one still born (apparently quite typical for young cats frist litters) in my bed. So now I've got two kittens as well.

I've taken to calling the red one 'Sparky' because it's bright and active, and the other Duster (sometime's 'Floofy Duster') because it has extremely soft fluffed out fur - like a feather duster.

MAME Cabinet MAME Cabinet

Coming Electric Cars

I've been watching reviews of new electric vehicles, and wow there's a lot being built with much innovation on the way.

And I just saw an excellent example of UI design in the Nomi assistant built into Nio vehicles.

It's a little sphere on the dashboard which rotates to face who addresses it and displays very, very simple but elegantly designed iconography on it's small facing screen as it responds.

Youtube has some videos of it in use. I find it an elegant interface, with feed back, for A.I systems.

Although the second video is a bit entertaining with comments about "making a better world" comparing amusingly with "Silicon Valley" parodies of self importanmt tech people.

Art Projects

These are three cropped photographs I took of sunset on the Masaii Mara in Kenya, printed on canvas it's a devil of a job to get them all hanging level and aligned.

I've long wanted a painting by a class mate from high school who's work I occassionally see referenced and promoted online and in stores.

I bought one of her smaller pictures as a wedding gift for friends because (if I remember correctly) it happened to be in a store I browsed at present buying time.

So I found her website online and ended up commissioning a work (as I couldn't quite find one they were selling that I wanted) that I'm now waiting on.

I liked the idea so much I decided I'd like to commision a work from a friend who, though now retired, also sold artwork in the past.

In that instance I need to prepare elements of a still life, which I'm calling my little art project.

I already have a water colour by another one of my once art class mates (I happened to see her and the painting on a local tv stations show one day).

Botaira Beach

Holiday of 2009

This years holidays were in Fiji, and I'm creating a page with photo's and videos here about it. Currently I'm editing the material and haven't presented it. Watch this space.

Comet McNaught

The Great Comet of 2007

Great Comet of 2007

Finally the weather cleared up enough for me to get out and have a look at McNaught. About four days after it's peak appearance it's still mighty impressive. Supposedly the second brightest comet ever measured for brightness it covered about 20 degrees of sky. Much more impressive than Halley's or Hyakutake

Took my camera out and made my first astronomical pictures. At first I left it's battery in the charger. And after getting it I took the wrong lens. Oh well, they didn't turn out too badly.

My New Toy

Samsun Tab 7+

I've bought a Samsung Tab 7 to use as a digital drawing pad. An iPad Pro has better commercial software, but I don't require that.

My plan is to resurrect some stagnant drawing skills, in a modern fashion.

I've since inherited an even larger Samsung Tab 9

Grog

The traditional british navy grog is;

  • One part sour (lime juice)
  • Two parts sweet (sugar/molasses)
  • Three parts strong (pussers rum)
  • Four parts weak (water)
Using liquid honey for the sweet totally rocks.

This is the best liquor I've ever drunk, yummy as hell. I took a litre to a New Years party and was quite sozzled before I finished it - didn't get a hangover but my legs felt funny the next day.

Tonga

Swimming with humpbacks in 2012

While my house was being repaired of it's earthquake damage we went to the Sandy Beach Resort in Haʻapai, Tonga and swam with humpbacks.

Although the whales in this video are juveniles, they're still bigger than they look (without objects to compare to). We didn't know they were under our boat until we jumped in the water intending to swim towards others.

Bora bora

Swimming with sharks and rays in 2006

I was chasing stingrays across the Bora Bora lagoon the same day one killed Steve Irwin.

Moray eel

While snorkelling in Bora Bora I found this moray. He was gorgeously coloured (underwater photography without lights washes colours out a lot).

He was something like six to eight feet long and I remember his eyes as being richly coloured and beautiful flecked with gold.

Thunderbird 2

Parked on roadside

Model of Thunderbird 2

While driving to work today I saw a ~four meter long fibreglass model of Thunderbird 2 parked on the roadside. Très cool!

MAME Cabinet

Scratching the nostalgia itch

MAME Cabinet

I bought this MAME cabinet this year - even though I've had the parts to build one for years I was never going to get around to making it. It's lots of fun but surprisingly irritating because all the different games really require different control layouts.

I'm contemplating building interchangeable boards with different control layouts - putting a door in the cabinet front and storing them there.

But that's a big job - it's a surprisingly complex issue when you consider the software .

Auld Lang Syne

For predictable reasons (in my life and these times) the history of Robert Burns poem has become interesting to me.

Digital Graphic Design

A graphic designer who's work speaks to my youth

SkyDiver

Guess why I love Rafe Dominguez? If you recognize that design of his you'll know why straight away.

Africa

Bumping into a gorilla in Rwanda

While visiting the Agasha family of gorillas I was bumped by a Black Back on his way to some sweet bamboo.

I ate some of that bamboo - down at it's roots it's heavy with moisture, a bit like a fibrous carrot.

Thermopylae

I stood with Leonidas (in 2004)

Me and Leonidas

No, really, I really did. And here's the picture to prove it. That's me up on the monument at Thermopylae a few years ago on a trip from England to Istanbul (and most of the way back).

I saw 300 last week and, eh, it was okay. The best bits were stylish stagings of the comics panels - but comics transcribed as movies don't have good scripts or dialogue (Sin City also demonstrates this).

The most interesting thing I noticed, given the debates and anger the movie aroused, is the addition of some dialogue: when Leonidas meets Xerxes emissary early in the story he warns the emissary he'll be held responsible for his words as if they were his own - a clear warning that this messenger may be blamed for the message he is about to deliver. This is not in the comic.

So the producers demonstrate they know there's something unseemly about Leonidas in this story and attempted to defuse it by inserting language to moderate his character. If they now reply to accusations of producing propaganda with claims to only have been reproducing another work of art in a different medium, without responsibility for the story, they will be lying.

New Zealand's Flag

An actual flag, not a logo

This should be our new flag. It's design is solid, makes good sense and combines a lot of New Zealand in a clear distinctive flag.

Bokissa Private Resort

Holiday of 2014

2014 holidays were in a small island south of Espiritu Santos in Vanuatu which the locals lease to a resort. Good food (for once I didn't lose weight on holiday) and decent snorkelling.

I was stung by a jellyfish and stalked by a shark. Good times. Picked this resort because you can get there in a day from Auckland and avoid the usual two nights wasted time travelling.

I used my Go Pro underwater. They really work well with a red filter.