Posts by Gareth Davidson

  • Access: The long road to real space,


    Oh wow, all of this resonates. I too have a child (11 YO) with ASD and modelling and drawing (anime is her thing at present, the one here is a quick one she whipped up for the school's "superheroes" disco). My parents in Wellington were also relief caregivers for an autistic boy, and someone once gave him some modelling clay. Nekk minnut he'd produced Ali Baba and each and everyone one of the 40 thieves (all different) as intricate miniatures. Then it was the full Loony Tunes cast. He'd only ever seen them in "2D" on TV, and no one had ever taught or shown him how to sculpt. One thing lead to another, and he got some work experience at... Weta.

    Sydney • Since Mar 2007 • 59 posts Report

  • Hard News: Friday Music: The Shopping News,

    Every Friday, ABC Sydney radio have a section called "vinyl democracy" before the 7:45am news. Three record tracks (often along a theme - this morning's was "fruit") are put out to a public vote. This morning of course, much was made of tomorrow being RSD.

    R.E.M's "orange crush" won and the DJ went to take it out of the sleeve to play it - only to realise he'd left it on the turntable at home.

    However it was played, only from the digital catalogue....

    Sydney • Since Mar 2007 • 59 posts Report

  • Hard News: Fear of Cycling,

    PS: 32% of trips in central London are now by bike. They built it and people came.

    Not only that, but I saw a study a while that concluded of London commutes up to 15km have the same average speed by bike or car. And that's pretty much my n=1 experience here in Sydney. 12km commute by car = 35-40mins 15km by bike = 35min, pending traffic. But equally, I can understand why a lot of non-cyclists would be hesitant to ride my commute: it has no dedicated cycling infrastructure, unless you include the 3km of breakdown lane on a 100km/hr motorway...

    Sydney • Since Mar 2007 • 59 posts Report

  • Up Front: For Your Own Safety,

    I remember once a woman complaining that she had to walk past the male toilets to get to the female toilets in a public building (i.e. turning down the corridor, the male toilets were first, the female a few steps further on). If - and I'm not saying it is - her opinion is representative of the wider female population, then I'm not sure most females would be interested in sharing a toilet with men, let alone wiping the seat after them...

    Personally I'm all for it and your argument makes perfect sense to me. How many people have two unisex toilets in their home? We don't have them on planes.

    Perhaps in your 15-toilet hypothetical, you do this:
    1 male-only toilet (for men who don't want to / can't share)
    1 female-only toilet (for women who don't want to / can't share)
    13 unisex toilets (for people who don't care and want optimal access and minimise the time away from the cricket).

    Sydney • Since Mar 2007 • 59 posts Report

  • Hard News: Up with the Pacer: embracing…, in reply to BenWilson,

    Indeed it is, I own A LOT more than $3,600 of bike, so am particularly careful with their security. Which is why I invested in a $200 lock. I did look at insuring them for all use, and it equated to about 6% of the bike's value p.a. The question I asked myself was is there a "100/6 = 1 in 16 years" chance that I will lose/have stolen/break/crash/drive in to the garage with my bike on the roof? I'd say probably. That was the rationale answer, I still didn't take out the policy...

    But the hypothetical point I was making was akin to travel insurance; I can budget for $200 and probably spend it and not get any return (other than peace of mind on it. What I can't do is budget for a $200k US hospital bill (the biggest declined travel insurance claim in NZ was USD2.1M - don't jump out of your 6th floor hotel room aiming for the pool below)...

    More to the point, a $200 lock provides a lot more security and peace of mind than a $20 one. Most people usually only invest in one after having their bike stolen...

    Sydney • Since Mar 2007 • 59 posts Report

  • Hard News: Up with the Pacer: embracing…,

    Re: the lock, people have no (general) issue spending ~10% of their car's value on an annual insurance policy (he says, having just reinsured his $9k car's comprehensive policy for $800), why treat your "expensive" bike any differently? Buy an expensive lock and you do two things: 1) make it hard for a thief who really wants it. 2) Make them not even bother and move on to the bike with a not-so-good lock. A top-end lock can be had for $100-200, and is worth every dollar if you're going to be leaving it in public.

    And of course, don't forget you can insure your bike. Some household policies will provide cover off the property either while in use (i.e. if you crash, the damage is covered) or not (i.e. stolen if locked up) either included in your policy as an extra. Well worth considering; I can budget $360/year for insurance, I can't budget $3600/year for a new bike.

    Finally, my last security tip is consider taking your seat (& seatpost) with you if you can, when you leave your bike. Firstly it makes it harder for a thief to ride it away; secondly a bike is less appealing if they've got to buy (or steal) another seat to make it hockable. And of course, photograph the thing and write down the serial number before you take it out for the first time.

    Sydney • Since Mar 2007 • 59 posts Report

  • Access: Help a kid have a heavy blanket,


    Our 9 year old ASD daughter loves making a “nest” with her duvet when she goes to bed. It’s not heavy, but she has a unique way of cocooning herself in it, which obviously gives her comfort, and she gathers it up around her rather than having it spread evenly across the bed. Maybe it’s related to her love of birds (her favourite toy is a stuffed kiwi, and between her and her brother she pretty much owns the complete catalogue of the “Antics” NZ birds), such as in the picture above which she created at Totaranui Beach earlier this year from beach litter she found, without even having to think about it (definitely a visual kid).

    We’ve recently purchased her a swing (it’s in the mail, hasn’t arrived yet) which is like a big cocoon, and apparently achieves the same kind of thing (can’t remember what they’re called or where we got it from to post the link). When she saw it she loved the idea, so we’re looking forward to seeing if it helps.

    Sydney • Since Mar 2007 • 59 posts Report

  • Hard News: There in half the time:…,

    Unlike some other so-called "proper" cyclists (whatever they are) I have no problem at all with e-bikes, in fact I'm for them even though I have no need or desire for one myself. If they get more people out of their cars and on to a bike then this is a good thing. I have a couple of examples:
    - My now 80-year-old father-in-law still coaches tennis. He lost his licence a few years ago and as he doesn't work from home his livelihood was at risk. A $1200 retrofit electric motor to my wife's mountain bike with my panniers full of rackets and balls meant he was able to keep up his work.
    - There's a guy I see occasionally on my commute to work, he rides an old MTB with his two kids in a trailer to & from work/day care. There is one short-but-steep-with-a-capital-F hill on our shared route, which the first time I met him I struggled to catch him on. Because he had the e-assist he needed, which otherwise would have meant he'd be driving.

    $2500 for a decent e-bike - isn't that about 1,500 litres of petrol? At 50l a week the bike's paid for itself in a little over half a year...

    Sydney • Since Mar 2007 • 59 posts Report

  • Hard News: There in half the time:…, in reply to Nick Russell,

    Heh. Wonder how it would cope with a Wellington hill…

    Like everything in Wellington, it depends which direction you're riding - if in to the southerly, not a chance; from the south, well then...

    Reminds me of the first rule of cycling: if you've got a tailwind, turn around; you're obviously going in the wrong direction.

    Sydney • Since Mar 2007 • 59 posts Report

  • Hard News: There in half the time:…, in reply to Russell Brown,

    I believe the correct phrase is: "Just a tight turn, Officer".

    Sydney • Since Mar 2007 • 59 posts Report

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