19 Feb 2005, Yorkshire
I remember an optimistic era (around the time of the Sinclair ZX 81) when technology was being hailed as the global panacea. More leisure time! The paperless office! Freedom from the drudgery of repetitive chores!
But instead of making us free, technology seems to have made slaves of us. A huge industry has evolved to service its every need. Far from having the paperless society, we seem to be drowning in mountains of computer-generated mailshots, and most instruction manuals are bulkier than the gadget they're instructing us about.
And have computers made our lives any less stressful? Techno-rage, techno-envy, techno-hassles - go figure.
And what has prompted this techo-rant? You've probably figured out that I've just been getting to grips with some new gadgets. I'm sure that once I've got them broken in, they'll be great. But over the course of the last week the urge to throw them in the bin / out of the window / at Bill Gates's smug smiling face has at times been almost overwhelming, as has the desire to return to a simpler age when humans were still smarter than their inventions.
18 Feb 2005, Yorkshire
This morning I got a copy of the showreel from OR TV - this is the 3-minute pilot video that they've sent to the BBC and ITV to try and get a commission for a documentary about my preparations for the row, and the race itself. Filmed by, directed by, and starring me, but thankfully edited by an expert. Not a big fan of seeing myself on TV, but they've done an amazingly good job of making me look presentable. Now we just have to be patient, and hope for the best. Patience not my strong point, though!
17 Feb 2005, Yorkshire
I wish I could say that I enter a Zen-like trance and elevate my mind to a higher plane, contemplating matters of great magnitude and cosmic significance while my body gets on with the job at hand.
But I'd be lying.
Music is the only thing that gets me through the brain-crushing tedium of a four-hour ergo. Cheesy seventies and eighties hits are favourite. Wa-wa-wa-wa-Waterloo...
10 Feb 2005, Yorkshire
Boils on the bum, and how to avoid them: lesson I.
Many an ocean rower has been brought low by salt water boils on the backside. It may not affect boat speed but it can certainly affect morale. Determined to avoid getting a raw bum deal, I asked for help from Fourth Element, who specialise in chafe-free garments for divers, surfers, and anyone spending a lot of time around salt water.
After driving all the way to their offices on Lizard Point for our meeting, I was relieved when they agreed to support me by donating some of their cool kit. Here I am, wearing their Hydroskin top, which will also protect me from UV rays - very important out on the water for a fair-skinned person like me.
Must go - time to put the shorts through the chafe test on a 3-hour ergo...