Your Real Age is Older Than You Think

Sometimes the internet is evil. An advert caught my eye today (this is a rare event in itself), offering to tell you your “real” age. I’ve heard this biological age thing mentioned a lot over the last couple of years and haven’t really paid any attention to it, other than thinking I have nothing to worry about – mainly because no one has ever guessed my age correctly, and I still (still!) get asked for ID occassionally in the UK when buying alcohol (it’s true – I was recently ID’d in the co-op buying a bottle of wine, and before that in Tesco’s buying some champagne – result!).

Anyway, I see this link and think, ha ha – I’m gonna do this test and prove how young I really am, I don’t feel thirty, no way mister. So I end up taking this enormous test, and at the end it tells me my diet is too low in fruit and veg, I drive too fast, my stress levels are too high, and I don’t take enough exercise, in fact I am actually 36, but I can be 24 in three months if I follow their advice (*Update 2018: This test was totally right 🙁 ).

What?!!! This is really bad news, so I do a search on google and find another test. This one seems much better and is asking what I think are much more sensible questions, for example:

Fat stomach (paunch)?
a) Cannot see genitals when standing
b) Cannot see genitals when standing straight
c) Stomach extends well beyond belt
d) Stomach extends slightly beyond belt
e) Stomach almost flat

In fact I really love this site – surely this will tell me i am really years younger than I am.

Wrong! This site tells me I am in fact 37 (even though I can still see my bits when standing up).

Suddenly the MacDonalds I was going to have for lunch doesn’t seem quite as appetising.

Changing Man

I was thinking in the car on the way to work today how disjointed a lot of the phases of my life seem. When I think of what I was doing at 18 compared to at 23, and then again at 28, it hardly seems like it’s all been done by the same person. Today I’m a programmer, living and working in Silicon Valley, California. Five years ago I was an editor in a publishing company in London. Three years ago I was backpacking around the world. Ten years ago I was a trainee chartered accountant. It’s not just my location and job that have changed – I’ve moved through phases of friendships, mostly dictated by my job and location, and sadly many of them have been transient. It’s like I’ve lived through lots of little mini-ages of time, looking for the right niche to settle into.

I was wondering about whether or not I’m still the same person inside, and whether people do change, or whether you actually stay the same deep-down all your life. I have many, many different opinions and ideas about the world now compared to even a couple of years ago, let alone over the last decade or longer. So I think my conclusion is that you do change inside, even if it’s not apparent to those who have known you all your life. But then, on the other hand, I also think there are some ‘core’ parts of you which will never alter, no matter what happens.

I’ve had opinions which I thought were solid in-built definitions of the kind of person I was. And yet they’ve sneakily, and unnoticeably, changed completely, until suddenly I find that I genuinely believe the exact opposite of something I once said or thought. I’m sure this is not unusual, so what’s changing here – is it personality, or is it just a refinement of belief? I can’t decide. Surely over time, if this happens enough, you could morph into a completely different person without being aware of it? Or is there something else that makes you who you are, and it doesn’t matter what you believe or feel, you are still the same underneath in the way that you believe or feel it?

I could speculate over this for ages, illustrating it with lots of boring examples from my own experience, but since I want you to come back and visit again, I’ll stop now and go and do something less philosohpical. :-)

PS I got my computer back today. I lost everything on it, (which luckily wasn’t a lot), and now it’s all fresh as a daisy and I get to spend half a day customising Windows and reinstalling software. Beware of thunderstorms in the US. Of course, my Linux box is just fine, but I’m not going to comment further on that today.


We’ve just had four massively loud claps of thunder. The roof vibrated so much I thought someone on the next floor up had dropped a printer or something (even though we’re in a single storey office). After the second conference-room-vibrating event we all went outside to see what was happening. Giant raindrops started falling out of the sky and lightning preceded more car-alarm-generating, near-miss-bombing, the-world-is-ending, I-think-my-ears-have-burst, thunder.

And then it all stopped. And when I came back into the office one of my computers was dead. :-( Poor thing.


Despite having spent the best part of this year in California so far, I have never felt even the tiniest hint of an earthquake.


On Saturday night, just after midnight, the earth actually moved. We were at home playing Half Life in a darkened flat and we’d been killing dodgy looking monsters of science gone wrong for a while when all of a sudden everything just seemed to… move!

At first I thought I’d been playing Half Life too long, but then another tremor happened – and this time there was no mistaking it. The flat actually wobbled. For what can have lasted no more than a second, the apartment we live in felt like it was made of balsa wood. We went straight to the internet to check the earthquake monitor: (update: data for old quakes has been removed, and the site restructured).

It was real mini-quake – about 10 miles from where we live and 3.1 on the scale, yay!

Long time no post

Pinnacles National Park

Haven’t posted in over six weeks – shameful! So here’s the lowdown on what’s kept me so busy…

The Yosemite trip has been temporarily postponed – work pressures at the time (specifically, the day we were due to drive there) meant we couldn’t get away for the whole weekend, so it’s back on the list of things to do. Instead we wandered down to see the Pinnacles National Monument, which is a lot closer to where we’re living, and did a couple of walks around the park. It was a mere 104° in the shade that day, so walking around felt a bit surreal and left us with comically red faces. There are lots of pics (as usual), including one of what looks like not a lot… but bear with me, if you look closely you might actually be able to see the Striped Racer (Whipsnake) that we stumbled across, dangling in a bush:

California whipsnake

The following day we ended up going to the annual Salinas Rodeo, just because it happened to be on that weekend and we were passing through the town. It’s not the kind of thing I think either of us would ever have made a point of going to, but we spent most of the day there and it was like being transported to another world – excellent fun and no fatalities or gored cowboys either.

Salinas Rodeo

Since then we have spent just under four weeks in lovely England, living out of various parents houses, including two weeks off work (woo hoo!), most of which was spent in a tent in Cornwall and Devon. Cornwall included a long-awaited visit to the Eden Project, a wind farm (I just love turbines), Goonhilly Earth Station and an amazing Owl Sanctuary, all in weather that varied from thunder and lightening with downpours, to scorching, sunburning heat. Ah, how I’ve missed England.

Eden Project Faye at Eden Project

After months of consideration, deliberation and procrastination, I’ve finally taken the plunge and properly upgraded my camera to a wonderful, wonderful Panasonic Lumix FZ5 (highly recommended on the web, by Andy at work, and my Dad, huzzah! – read an in-depth review here. I’ve taken lots and lots of pics, mostly experimenting with all the settings, so won’t bore you with all of them, but instead have added the better ones from our hols to the site.

We arrived back in California yesterday, and it’s back to work tomorrow, so normal service should now be resumed. Phew!

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