So you’ve three days to kill in Trang. There’s almost nothing to do here other than drink coffee at the Amazon coffee shop and take photos of weird tuk tuks. You have no energy for riding as you’ve just gotten over a nasty infection and still feeling the effects of two courses of penicillin.
So you put the time to good use and write some music on your OP-1.
Further to my original post where I complained about my Muse meditation headband having a dead battery, my new battery arrived in the post this week and I managed to replace the old one successfully. I even made a video of the whole procedure. Check it out here:
I bought a Muse EEG headband a couple of years ago on an Indiegogo crowdfunder thing. Which means I paid for it about four years ago because it took two years for them to get into production. But they did get it into production and good on them because it actually works. If you’ve never heard of the Muse, it’s an EEG device that tracks brainwaves while you meditate and relays audio feedback via an Android or iOS device to help you regulate your meditation. Various sounds represent your level of calmness so that you can stay focused on the meditation. In my experience it works very well and seems to accurately track your mental state via brainwave activity.
Anyway this isn’t a review of the Muse it’s more of a complaint. The thing has worked very well apart from the odd dodgy iOS app update but recently the battery has turned to shit. I’d get a couple of hours use out of it in the early days but now it can’t even get through a single 20 minute session after a full charge. I wrote to Muse giving them the chance to redeem themselves by offering me a new one for free but they merely offered to sell me another whole device with a bit of a discount. Umm no thanks.
There are a couple of problems with the battery setup in this device. Firstly it’s not easily replaceable as it’s a small lithium polymer battery soldered to a PCB inside one of the pods on the side of the unit. Secondly you can’t even run the device while it’s on charge with a USB cable plugged in. So now that the battery hardly holds a charge I need to do something.
There’s a tear down video on YouTube so after watching that I realised it’s actually pretty easy to open up the thing. And having done that the battery looks reasonably straightforward to replace with a bit of soldering. And after considerable searching on eBay I found a battery that looks like an exact match for the original in Hong Kong (3.7v lithium polymer 552030 20mm x 30mm x 5mm in case you’re wondering).
I’ve ordered a couple since I’ll need to replace it again in two years time. $12 each including postage wasn’t too unreasonable and considerably less than buying a whole new unit. Shame on you Muse!!
Stay tuned for part 2 where I bring the Muse back to life or kill it for good.
There’s an episode of Seinfeld where George Costanza is to get a payout from work at the start of summer. George then realises that he will have a fully funded summer of doing whatever he pleases. The “Summer of George!” Thanks to Tony for pointing out the similarity to my predicament, only my summer of George is planned to be a year, and I didn’t get a payout, so I’ll call it the Year of George.
After two weeks of seaside idleness on the north coast of nsw I’m now back in Sydney. The first day back at work for many, but snorkelling with the blue groper at Clovelly for me.
Last night’s camp site was a rest area at the edge of the village of Villedoux, and the two main advantages of this were the relative luxuries of a picnic table and a bin. You get pretty tired of squatting to cook, squatting to eat, squatting to shit when camping, and I can see why George lugs around the additional weight of a camp chair that allows him to sit in comfort.
After breakfast at our picnic table we headed north toward Nantes. The weather early on was blue skies and clear. I put sun screen on. But then it turned nasty after our morning tea break. We held this break just off the road at a factory that supplies components for graves. There were pallets of gravestones from India strewn all over the forecourt. George was quick to search the deserted premises for a power socket as he is now permanently on the lookout for power to charge his precious ipad to keep it alive. He’s been collecting mentions of tears in books for some time now but I think he may switch his obsession to finding places in France where he can surreptitiously charge his tablet for free in between wild camps. Charge number one today was in the old barn of a warehouse at the grave factory where we sheltered from the rain.
We left the grave factory just before noon, hoping to get to the next village about 10km down the road before the Intermarche closed. This is Sunday in France where most shops are closed all day and only a few supermarkets open in the morning. We rode through half an hour of pissing down rain to make it to the Intermarche before 1230. Unfortunately they shut at 12 so we were too late anyway. Even the dumpster was off limits to George, being locked behind a barrier to keep out the likes of him.
After a morning of being rained on we were keen to get out of the weather for lunch and also seek out free ipad charging for George so we tried a McDonald’s. it indeed had a power point so George was able to charge his ipad while I ate a Big Mac meal, followed by a second Big Mac. Did you know that a Big Mac contains 510 calories? And if you eat two of them and some fries at 2pm you’ll be able to ride a loaded touring bike until about 7pm covering about 60km or so, all while savouring the flavour of that delicacy as it repeats on you over and over?
Our third charging episode was just an examination and not an actual connection to power. George has discovered that all (well, both the ones he has checked) of the cathedrals in France are both always open to the public and have a power socket in there somewhere. George will be taking up prayers from now on in order to keep his fix charged up. But he may have to eat his pork liver pâté outside the church to avoid offending other pilgrims.
And apparently cows can detect the smell of one of their kin being fried up. At least that was what it looked like to me.
After a night of tossing and turning I finally crawled out of my pint sized tent to make breakfast when rain brought a halt to play. So back in the tent to drink coffee while stooped over like the old lady I saw in the supermarche yesterday.
We are making our way north to Brittany where George wants to check out a ville etape north of Nantes. The terrain has flattened out and there isn’t too much wind so progress is good.
The highlight of the afternoon was an afternoon tea stop where I gorged on pastries. All manner of horrible deeds are forgiven when you still have another 40 km to cover.
We were both a bit tired today and the only thing of interest to report was that we found what is supposedly the only grass velodrome in all of Europe. It was bumpy as hell.