Office Click to Run Silent Uninstalls and Detection Methods for Configuration Manager

I have just spent several hours trying to solve an unattended uninstall of Office 365 within Configuration Manager that does not uninstall all Office products installed on the system. To uninstall everything in one hit is well documented. You create an Uninstall.xml file that looks like this:

<Configuration>
  <Remove All="TRUE" />
  <Logging Level="Standard" Path="C:\Windows\Temp" />
  <Display Level="None" AcceptEULA="TRUE" />
  <Property Name="AUTOACTIVATE" Value="1" />
  <Property Name="FORCEAPPSHUTDOWN" Value="TRUE" />
  <Property Name="SharedComputerLicensing" Value="1" />
</Configuration>

You then use the command Line: setup.exe /configure uninstall.xml

But what if you have Visio Click to Run and you only wish to uninstall this product?

Here is the solution that has worked for me.

Create your Uninstall.xml File

<Configuration>
 <Remove All="FALSE" SourcePath="\\SourceFileLocationServer\source\Apps\Microsoft\Office365">
  <Product ID="VisioPro2019Volume" >
    <Language ID="en-us" />
  </Product>
  </Remove>
  <Display Level="None" AcceptEULA="True" />
  <Property Name="AutoActivate" Value="0" />
  <Property Name="FORCEAPPSHUTDOWN" Value="True" />
  <Property Name="SharedComputingLicensing" Value="0" />
  <Property Name="PinIconsToTaskbar" Value="False" />

</Configuration>

You may have noted that I have used Source Path pointing to the SCCM source files Share. This is because I found if the cache was cleared on a client device, the uninstall would fail. As I didn’t wish to make all click to run installs persistant in cache I looked for a method of calling the source files from a remote location.

No that you have created the uninstall.xml, you add the uninstall command setup.exe /configure uninstall.xml, as shown below.

UninstallO365.PNG

Here are the Product IDs that I have found to work

“VisioStdXVolume” = Visio Standard 2016 Volume License

“VisioStd2019Volume” = Visio Standard 2019 Volume License

“VisioProXVolume” = Visio Professional 2016 Volume License

“VisioPro2019Volume” = Visio Professional 2019 Volume License

A complete List of Product IDs can be found on Microsoft Support https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/help/2842297/product-ids-that-are-supported-by-the-office-deployment-tool-for-click

Detection Method

I also struggled with a detection method for the products and finally settled on using a reg key

Computer\HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Uninstall\O365BusinessRetail - en-us

DisplayName “Microsoft Office 365 Business - En-US

This is how it looks in Configuration Manager

DetectionMethod.PNG

Arrival


So the most awaited day has arrived, 20th of May.  After my afternoon nap in the condotel where I had booked in, took my shower and prepared myself, I booked an Uber and head to the airport. Up until this point my phone had been beeping every few minutes, messages from my Mom, sister and Aunties, concerned for my safety and wanting to know where I was and if I was safe.  Was I sure I could trust him?  I responded that I would be okay, but the messages kept coming anyway.  My family was concerned that I was meeting this foreign man, I had met on the internet, alone.

At the airport, as the humid air brushed over skin, my heart kept on pounding, I can’t stop thinking what am I supposed to either do or feel.  I'm nervous, I'm afraid, I'm happy and excited, all mixed up. Minutes turned to hours as the flight delay prolonged my agony. My sweat kept on dripping because of the heat and the nervousness I am feeling at that moment.  The last time I had this feeling was several years ago, when I'm waiting for the results of my board exam. I need to compose myself as I need to give a good impression.

 I receive his messages telling me that the plane has landed, but that only adds to my burden.  I patiently wait in the crowd, then finally I see him at the entrance.  I open my phone cam as I wanted to take some photos of him, as requested by his friend Lucas, but when I finally shoot and checked, he’s gone! After few moments, finally, I see him again with his luggage heading towards me. This is it!

At first I don’t know what to do, should I hug him or kiss him, but eventually end up hugging. I tried to talk to him as we headed toward the taxi lane. It’s awkward, of course! But I'm happy and excited that finally we are together, face to face in person not the usual cam to cam we have been used to, these many months.

We arrived at our room, I gave Phil an opportunity to get refreshed and ask him if he wanted to eat, but of course I'm the one who is really hungry, I haven’t eaten anything good because I've been tired and anxious the entire day! Ha!ha! It makes me laugh now when I think back on it.

We went downstairs and opted for pizza and as we waited for our order.  We chose to wait outside, whilst the pizza was prepared, and had some sweet talks. Humid, yes! but that doesn't bother us because holding each other in our arms, makes us feel comfortable.  We went back to our room holding each other’s hand, sending some shivers through me like a teenager, we called that kilig. I thought I was hungry but when we ate at the hotel’s balcony I found myself full.  The thought that I’m with him makes me full. Its getting late so we decided to take some rest as we have a long trip the next day.

The first meeting after those 5 months of anxiety went well I guess. The man I love is finally with me, about to meet my family and hopefully will end up smoothly as I prayed every day.
 

Morning in Alicia, Isabela

 

Monday, It was a lazy start to the day.  Jo and I made plans to get breakfast and coffee.  We made our way down to the lobby of Nick hotel, then stepped outside into the bustling street.  Motorcycles with side-cars (Trikes) are everywhere, I had never seen so many trikes in my life.  A bit like the Jeepney' in Manila, many of the trikes take on the personality of their owner.

The traffic weaved and beeped in an endless procession, I turned to Jo and asked "how are we supposed to cross the road?" She simply took me by the arm and stepped out into the road.  I was somewhat taken aback by this and feared we would get mowed down by a bright yellow trike.  In stead traffic slowed allowing us space to reach the centre line then await a slight break in traffic before moving forwards, again traffic giving way.  I looked at Jo and then back at the traffic shocked we had made it.  As I looked at the busy street I wondered how I would get on driving in this much traffic?  How will I avoid hitting someone or something?

We stepped inside a small bakery, looking for something for breakfast.  Again Jo took the lead, looking for something I could try.  She ordered a couple rolls of Pandesal, which is a sweet tasting bread made with malunggay, which appears to be some kind of herb or vegetable.  With freshly baked bread purchased it was time to cross back over to Nick hotel.  It was no less scary the second time around.  There is something counter-intuitive about stepping out into traffic. 

We stepped back into the lobby of Nick hotel where they had a coffee shop.  We were the only people besides the staff.  A basketball game was on the t.v. behind the counter and a young man watched the action intently.  Something I had learned before heading over to the Philippines there is a national love for basketball.  The lobby and café area was a pleasant place to sit.  It was obvious that someone had invested a good amount of money in the hotel at some point, though a lack of maintenance had meant that the shower and other bathroom amenities failed to work the previous night, resulting in being moved to a different room at the front of the building where a neon glow filtered through the window and the sound of air brakes hissing from the buses and lorries and horns sounded throughout the early morning.

We ordered coffee and water and took a seat.  Having taken breakfast, Jo and I wandered around Alicia.  Jo showed we the school she attended and we look around the Catholic church, before wandering the Market.  It was a little odd walking the street with so many people looking at us.  I will make the assumption they were looking at Jo.  We walked around Alicia happy to be in each others company.  It felt good to be spending time with Jo, we just clicked and we were comfortable together and able to share our thoughts openly.  There was still a couple more events making me nervous; I was still to  meet Jo's family and figuring out how to drive in the Philippines.  Both would be checked off the list in a few hours.

Starting a New Relationship - The other side of the story

Hi everyone.  Jo has agreed to post her perspective on some of my blogs.  I am pleased to introduce Starting a New Relationship - Jo's Perspective


I was 27 years old, then, single and had had a few heartbreaks. My friends and colleagues find my lifestyle boring as I am a homebody, not fond of bar hopping and alcohol but have some small drinks with friends, though shopping is an exception of course..

One night, I was bored and had no-one to talk too so I ask my friend Valerie, a colleague, what website she is using to communicate or just to find somebody she can talk too, as she often-times does; eventually she introduce me to Christian Dating for Free (CDFF) and taught me how to use the website. At first I was hesitant as I needed to put my email and some information which hackers or scammers could use, but Valerie assured me of the privacy of the website. I received random winks and messages but none caught my attention, as some are too old and just I don’t like. Until 1 man chatted with me.  We had random chats on and off, sometimes I replied, sometimes too lazy, until one day we just lost communication. My account remained stagnant for a few weeks as I became busy at work as a Nurse in KSA.

One night, after my usual run, I was on my bed preparing to sleep when I remembered to check my account in CDFF, but still it remained as boring as before. So I decided to check the list of suggestions or “matches” the site provides.  I read a few profiles, some make me smile and some make me feel upset as they just bragged about themselves. And then I saw Philip, whose age I didn't read, I just read his profile which made me smile. I eventually sent a wink and a message, to which he replied quickly. 

 I just wanted somebody to talk to,  someone who don’t know me personally, a person who didn't have bad motives, as I've experience in the past. We had few exchange of messages until I asked for his Facebook messenger, as I find it too hard to reply fast in CDFF, which again he gave. Again we shared some messages and I became impatient so I called him. Actually I was just checking maybe he is too old like 70’s or above (hahaha) but he wasn't .

He gave me some nosebleeds, an expression we Filipino's use when we talk in a foreign language, because of his slang.  I find him cute though and easy to talk too, as we laughed and started to make the conversation light and smooth, although most of the times I needed to ask him questions so he would talk!  As the hours pass by we enjoyed talking (as I notice) until he said he needed to walk his dogs so we said our goodbyes and wishes goodnight.

I don’t know how to describe what I felt after that conversation with a strange man who is thousands of miles away from me and almost 2 decades older than me.  The only thing I knew that night is that I'm happy and excited and I cant explained the fondness I felt in my heart.  Maybe because I have a new friend or maybe just because I feel there is something about him that makes me more interested,  it's too early for that “magical spark” all women search for, but I knew that night, my life would be different, and I fell asleep thinking about him.

Visiting Jo in the Philippines part 4

Riding the bus for 13 hours the day after a 14.5 hour flight. &nbsp;Jo looks beautiful though. :)

Riding the bus for 13 hours the day after a 14.5 hour flight.  Jo looks beautiful though. :)

The first leg of the bus journey had been tame, straight flat roads and the traffic appeared to be flowing.  We stopped occasionally to take on food, water, stretch our legs and for comfort.  I decided to make use of the restroom during  one of the stops.  The restroom was a dark, sticky place with a pungent odour that you could cut with a knife.  The doors of the bathroom stalls all appear to be barely hanging on to their fixing, the floor was awash with what I hoped was water but there was something else underfoot that I didn't want to investigate.  I took one look at the filthy bowl and bucket of water that had suspicious floating objects in it,  with a dirty handled tabo sitting in it  I quickly thought better of my excursion and exited as quickly as I could gasping for fresh air.  What had I let myself in for?  Is this what to expect the rest of my stay?  I knew better than that, after all public restrooms in the U.K are only to be visited in an emergency in many cases.  Still it played on my thoughts as I wondered if I had bitten off more than I could chew.

Eventually the bus reached the mountain pass and I got to witness cars, lorries, buses all overtaking around tight hairpin bends sounding their horns and forcing other road users to swerve or break to avoid a collision.  I watched in fascination as traffic would grind to a halt with both lanes blocked a lorry trying to overtake use confronting another lorry appearing around the blind corner.  Jo pointed out several areas along the road where maniac bus drivers had lost control killing the passengers as they plummeted down to the valley below., the stories did nothing for my confidence in reaching our destination, I just looked on with morbid fascination.  To me I couldn't quite fathom the traffic rules or the sense in the manoeuvring.  To be honest, I never really got comfortable with it, as a driver, but when in Rome.

The bus had been fully booked in Manila, yet somehow the driver kept taking on more passengers, they were handed a piece of cardboard and they sat in the isle.  One man was given a miniature plastic chair that he perched on for the entire trip.  A man collecting fees for the tickets would clamber over the hapless travellers climbing and seats and leapfrogging over heads.

Throughout the journey, Jo kept me entertained, doing her best to keep a one-sided conversion going.  A beautiful smile on her face as she talked.  I looked at her and thanked God for leading her into my life.

It was slow going up the mountain pass, it would be dark by the time we reached Nick hotel in Alicia and I was ready for a shower and bed.

To be continued...

Jo and I reviewing some photos

Jo and I reviewing some photos

Visiting Jo in the Philippines part 3

The 13 hour bus journey to Alicia Isabela. &nbsp;maybe I should have taken the inflatable cushion off before taking selfies!

The 13 hour bus journey to Alicia Isabela.  maybe I should have taken the inflatable cushion off before taking selfies!

 

21st May

It was an early start to the morning.  Jo was concerned about Manila traffic, as we needed to get across the city to the bus station.  We finished packing and stepped out into the Condo corridor. Even though it was early the sun had already been up several hours and the heat was intense.  Jo booked an Uber and shortly after a black Isuzu 4x4 rolled up and we were off.  The traffic was light, lighter than Jo had anticipated, as it was a Sunday.  Even so, the driver swerved around traffic, zipping from lane to lane tooting his horn.  I soon realised that the car horn gets used frequently in the Philippines, for the correct reason, to warn others you are there rather than out of annoyance, though that happened also.

Me made it across the city in good time and to my surprise without hitting another vehicle.  The air at the bus station was thick, humid and carried an odour of fish.  We still had a couple of hours to kill.  Jo thinking on her feet, found the bus driver and explained that her foreign friend would like to see a little of Manila whilst we waited and could we please stow our luggage on the bus.  The plan worked, Filipinos our very friendly and accommodating, especially to foreigners .  With our luggage safely stowed, we could now take a wander through the streets of Manila.

As I looked around I saw Jeepney after Jeepney and I became fascinated by them.  Many of them are colourful and have lavish designs, usually based on what, I must presume, is the owners interests.  There are some with religious symbols and another proudly displaying UFC Ultimate Fighting Championship.  Jo flagged one down and we took a ride for a couple of blocks.  Now I am not a tall person at 5 foot 9 inches but I had to stoop to keep from hitting my head.  Jo secured us seats at the front of the Jeepney, inside was mechanical and functional almost steampunk, with catholic charms on the dashboard.  The cab was thick with the smell of oil and diesel fumes.  I loved it.

As we were a little short on time we chose not to stray too far from the bus station, as we couldn't miss the bus with our belonging inside.  We climbed out of the Jeepney, crossed the street and caught a ride back in the other direction, this time in the back.

The bus that would be our home for the next 13 or so hours was pink and thankfully air-conditioned.  As the bus pulled out of the station I gazed out the window and as my thoughts once again became anxious I grew quiet.  Thoughts whirled around my head as I worried about how would Jo's family take to me?  Am I capable of adjusting to the customs and culture?  I was nervous too about the wedding I would be attending.  Had I packed everything?  Would I say the wrong thing?  Would I offend Jo's parents and family?  Ruin the wedding of Jo's Sister Geline?  Jo could tell I was quiet and happily chatted to me about the different fruit trees as we past them and about the rice fields, her childhood and other topics.  I am so thankful that Jo has the ability to communicate well, something I lack, she had twice the work to do as I struggle to make conversation. 

We were heading for the mountains in the North and I was excited to see the Philippines by land.  We had first considered flying but I didn't want to pass over the Philippines, I wanted to experience it.  During our planning stage, I did not know that I would eventually drive almost the length of the main island.  Another reason for taking the bus, was to give myself and Jo time to adjust to being with each other, before meeting the family.  It is a testament to Jo's personality and communication skills, that we clicked as a couple instantly. 

To be continued...

My favourite vehicle in the Philippines, the Jeepney. &nbsp;I wanted to buy one and ship it home.

My favourite vehicle in the Philippines, the Jeepney.  I wanted to buy one and ship it home.

Visiting Jo in the Philippines part 2

I didn't have the presence of mind to take photo's with Jo on our meeting.

I didn't have the presence of mind to take photo's with Jo on our meeting.

The Manila air was hotter and more humid than I expected, as I pulled my two suitcases behind me, doing everything in my power to look calm and collected, but failing.  I had just exited the air-conditioned airport and was walking along the path headed to meet Jo in person for the first time.

 I still had a nervousness about me, not for meeting Jo, after all we had spent hours on Messenger video chatting to each other.  I was still uneasy about meeting the family and not knowing what life in the Philippines is like and would I live up to expectations?

I walked up to Jo who was standing amongst a crowd of people waiting for friends, family and loved ones.  I gave her a hug, okay that was kinda awkward, maybe I should have kissed her?  Too late now.

I am not a well travelled man, Japan 2015 was my first excursion out of the U.K since my visit to Spain on a school trip in the mid 80's (yes I am old).  As such I expected to be a little overwhelmed on my arrival and I will blame my in ability to recall details on this fact.  I can tell you this, Jo looked beautiful and had everything in hand and I was happy to go with the flow.

 Jo quickly took charge, she lead me to the taxi zone and grabbed an Uber to the Condo where she had book us in for the night.  Much of that ride is now a bit of a blur, the condo was fairly close to the airport.  I had a feeling of helplessness as Jo uttered commands to the driver in Tagalog.  We exchanged a few words as we made our way through the Manila streets, of which I can't recall. 

The condo was a lovely small apartment, we stepped through the door and started to chat and make plans about food for the evening.  There was a pizza place, Yellow Cab, a short walk away, having been dinning on barely edible airplane food, I wasn't particularly hungry but I knew Jo was, little did I know how much Filipinos enjoy their food!  I remember stepping out of the air-conditioned room into the furnace that was the apartment corridor.  I remember joking with one another, little jokes that couples make with each other.  I remember trying to walk in flip-flops for the first time in my life.  Jo had been thoughtful and bought me a pair from Saudi.  What had I brought her?  Nothing!  Oops sorry my love.  I had been so worried about what to buy her family I had forgotten a gift for Jo.  I remember standing outside yellow cab holding each other close, not quite believing that we had finally come together.  It was comfortable feeling, as if we had never been a part.  We talked and joked, whilst we waited for the pizza and then headed back to the condo to eat.  

We sat out on the balcony of the condo that night, making small talk and eating the pizza that was way too big.  Jo had one piece and decided she was full and was trying to insist I finish the rest.  I can assure you I didn't hear the words I am full from her again for the rest of the trip.

We retired to bed, for tomorrow we had the first of several road trips ahead of us and I was about to experience the road conditions in the Philippines, first with Crazy Taxi and the second with the even more crazy bus driver and soon it would be me behind the wheel.  We would be heading up to Alicia, Isabela 13 hours away, to meet the family.

To be continued....

Visiting Jo in the Philippines part 1

Jo and I at Bauan Diver's Sanctuary, following the wedding of Geline and George

Jo and I at Bauan Diver's Sanctuary, following the wedding of Geline and George

Relaxing in Aspire Lounge. &nbsp;As requested, I sent Jo a picture of myself and what I was wearing so she could easily spot me... turns out that wasn't necessary! :) &nbsp;

Relaxing in Aspire Lounge.  As requested, I sent Jo a picture of myself and what I was wearing so she could easily spot me... turns out that wasn't necessary! :)  

Following on from my previous post "Starting a New Relationship" in which I told you how I met Jo and I planned to visit her in the Philippines.  I have since returned, from said visit, and this post is a brief recap of my experience.  I had planned to write this daily whilst out there... it turned out there was plenty of distractions to keep me occupied.

Friday 19th of May, the day of departure had finally arrived, January through to March had seemed to drag, though April and early May had flashed by.

I had booked valet parking at London Heathrow, which meant I didn't need to hassle family or friends to take me to  London, then pick me up on my return.  Whilst Valet parking was a little pricey it made departure and arrival hassle free and I came back to a clean car, to be fair though it was pretty clean when I left it.  The Journey down was long but uneventful and I arrived on time. 

I made a last minute decision to book a Lounge at Heathrow, it cost around £26 and was worth the money.  My flight was slightly delayed, it was due to depart at 22:15 and eventually departed at 23:45.  I had arrived at Heathrow around 6pm so had plenty of time to kill once I checked my luggage.  Club Aspire turned out to be a fantastic place to relax, eat, drink and charge my phone and Laptop, it made the delay a pleasant experience.

I chose Philippines Airlines as they have a direct flight from Heathrow, that is reasonably priced and only 14.5 hours where as some of the 1 stop flights were over 24 hours.  I booked a window seat at the back of the plane as all the other seats were unavailable, despite going through online check-in as soon as the 24 hour window opened.   Philippines Airlines fly their oldest planes on the long haul flight, which didn't concern me as there is something comforting about metal and rivets.  The Boeing A340-300, whilst old, was reasonably comfortable for the duration of the flight.  Seat 57a was about as far back as I could get with just 2 rows behind me.  In the seat next to me was a lovely Filipina lady, by the name of Shirley.  She lived in the UK and was heading out on her vacation.  We chatted a little throughout the flight, to be honest though my mind was racing as to what to expect when I landed in Manila and met Jo in person for the first time.  What was the Philippines going to be like?  Will I like the food?  Will I get accustomed to driving on the other side of the road?  Will Jo like me in person?  Will her family like me?  Would I embarrass myself?  And the most important question of all.. will I cope with the toilet situation over there? ;)  What can I say?  I am a worrier and even though I knew everything was going to be alright, I nervously questioned everything from the time I left the house to the time I met Jo at the Airport.

Despite the delayed departure, we made good time and by 8pm Saturday 20th May I was in the Philippines.  Having located my luggage I step out into the heat of the Manila night, scanning the amassed people ahead of me blocked by barriers, I spot an arm waving in the air, Jo, my love, had spotted me.

Part 2 will be published soon.

 

Starting a New Relationship

First Relationship This Century!

It's been quite a while since I wrote anything for my site, therefore,  I thought I'd start 2017 by saying, I am in a relationship! Finally a real relationship, my first this century.  There is a bit of a catch though... and it wouldn't be me without one.

It is a long distance relationship and before I go further let me roll back a few weeks.

The Search Begins

Over Christmas I had a couple of weeks off work and started trying to figure out how I could get out of this rut of singleness I have been living in, for what must be close to 20 years!  I therefore started installing several apps to assist in this regard.

I looked at Tinder, I liked the concept, but I haven't given up on finding a Christian lady to be my wife and there just wasn't anyone in my area of interest to me.

Next I looked at CrossPaths, basically Tinder for Christians.  Again the concept was ok, its a simple swipe left or right and a match will allow the conversation to start.  Well if Tinder didn't have people in my area then CrossPaths certainly wouldn't.  I expanded my search world-wide but soon got tired of endlessly swiping with no real hope of a match from a world-wide selection.

Then I remembered Christian Dating for Free (CDFF), I had been a member previously.  I filled out my profile half-heartedly, as I had wasted far too many hours on Christian dating sites in the past and I wasn't really expecting much.  Once through the sign-up process I was off searching for my significant other, my soul mate or any other cliché you wish to insert.  

I also rejoined Christian Connection and paid for a months subscription, then remembered why I left.  Firstly no app that I could find, then the ladies looked all too familiar.  Surely there must be some new Christian women since I was last a member? 

CDFF started to produce winks and messages from the ladies.  Great., Fantastic...  Oh.  Kenya, Philippines, Kenya, Philippines, Uganda, Mexico,Indonesia, Malaysia.  Well you get the picture.  This got me thinking though.  I was prepared to search world-wide on CrossPaths, why not CDFF?

I also started thinking, I am 43, I want to start a family of my own, I need to find someone of child bearing age who is willing to date me, without considering me a dirty old man.  Well that rules out pretty much all Western women!  Even when I tried to stay within, what I consider to be the reasonable 32 - 40 bracket.  The lack of responses was disheartening.

Now, these Asian ladies all seem very attractive and they are approaching me, but what could we possibly have in common and how could it possibly work?

At around the same time a friend of mine asked me if I would consider looking into meeting a Filipina girl?  He then rattled off some of the benefits and this gave me that final confidence to at least start talking and see where things would lead.

  1. Women from the Philippines are extremely attractive
  2. They speak English
  3. There are a lot of Christians
  4. They don't tend to care so much about age gaps
  5. They are family oriented

Step of Faith

I did a bit of research into the Philippines and discovered they all seem to speak excellent English and Christianity is the predominant religion.  That's a good start we will be able to communicate and we have our faith as a base on which to develop a friendship.

My friend also sent through a blog posting talking about what to watch out for when talking to Filipina girls, the common scams, the cultural differences etc.

My search criteria was quickly narrowed to exclusively search for ladies from the Philippines.  No harm in looking right? Age range?  Let me think... 26 - 36, seems reasonable, to me at least.

Good grief, there's so many how do I choose and where do I start?

27th December

I started talking with a lovely pastor lady - 34 years old.  We talked a little about her situation  and life in the Philippines and we were having a pleasant conversation, but a spark was missing.  

At the same time I received a Wink and a Message from Jo - 27 years old.  I replied, as I try to do for all messages, and instantly I spotted a sense of humour from this lady.  She asked me if I was on Facebook, which I am, though my age at the time was set to 78 and my location info was wrong.  Well as you can imagine this was a source of much ribbing from Jo.  Was I 43 or 78? Anyway we connected on Facebook and I installed the app on my Phone to chat more easily.  Minutes later, messenger starts ringing.  Woah keen!  I'll answer, rude not to after all.  Moments later "Jo is requesting video"... err ok.

Well needless to say we hit it off.  Jo has a great sense of humour similar to mine and being a nurse she can hold her own very well.  From their our conversations became regular.  More and more I found myself thinking of her.  Catching myself smiling each time the white light began to blink on my phone, indicating a new Facebook message.  

By the time New Years came around the conversation seemed to be none stop.  My thumb was aching, where I had previously severed a tendon in a motorcycle accident in 2007, due to all the messaging.  I was enjoying myself and I could tell Jo was too.  I could also tell she was holding back, nervous to step out too far, who could blame her?  It is easy to have fun and chat, when there really isn't anything stopping me from simply blocking and leaving as soon as I get bored or the relationship has a slight hiccup.  

I needed to do something to show I was serious about a relationship and getting to know Jo more.  We started talking about a vacation and within a couple of weeks my flight was booked and I will be off to meet Jo and her family.  Not only that, it looks like I will be attending the Wedding of Jo's sister!  Well if you are going to jump in, you might as well go all in after all!

Moving fast and I like it!

I am extremely excited to meet Jo and her family.  Modern technology has made communicating over long distance affordable and intimate to a degree.  You can't beat that face to face time together though. I get very frustrated when an anticipated voice or video call becomes choppy and I spend the conversion repeating myself or asking Jo to repeat herself, it really takes the shine off the conversation.  Thanks to modern internet speeds this is less frequent than it might have been 5 years ago, but no less frustrating when it happens.  

Things are going well between us and we both feel a sense of excitement for our impending meeting and a sense of impatience for the wait in between.  The time will be here soon though and I will be jetting off on a new adventure, venturing out of the U.K for the first time by myself and with God's blessing into a lasting relationship.

We are both praying the visit goes well and you never know... my relationship status could be changing very soon!  It's fast but it feels right and it feels good. 

Jo Savillo

Jo Savillo

VFR 750 Shake Down Test

Finally the weather has been nice enough to take the Honda VFR 750 on a shake down test, since replacing the chain and sprockets, plus the tyres.  

After getting back from a quick 14 mile test, I got off the bike and walked around it  fro a visual check.  The rear wheel and tyre looked okay and were still secure, the chain tension and the link pin looked good.  I then got to the front and looking at the front wheel I noticed the tread pattern on the tyre did not look right.  The tyre fitter at North Shropshire Tyres has placed the directional tyre on back to front!  50/50 chance of getting it right and he got it wrong.   The front wheel spoke has a directional arrow embossed onto it and the tyre also has a directional arrow, they both point in opposite directions!  I will have to give them a call in the week to see if they will refit and balance for me.

A quick search on the internet seems to suggest that there won't be any wear or performance issues, accept the tyre will not disperse water correctly.  Given that this is Wales in the winter, I ought to get that resolved!

I met up with Lucas (aka Lancer) on his Honda Deauville and we took a quick blast up to Artisans Cafe, Lake Vyrnwy, for a coffee and a chat.  As we headed out into the hills we noticed that the mountains were covered in snow, the first sight of snow this year.  As we sat in the cafe I noticed some snow flakes coming down, nothing to trouble the motorcycles though.  

I didn't manage to get any photographs today as I discovered a bit of an issue with the GoPro Hero 4 Black, poor battery life!  I am shooting at 1080p fps and the battery ran out at Llansantffriad, which means the battery lasted, at best, 45 minutes and I believe I am being generous there.  I have a battery eliminator cable for it, which plugs into the accessory port on the back.  the issue is that every case I have cover that port over!  I also need to use the USB port for the microphone, as they removed the jack port after for hero 3 and onwards, which means I can't use the USB port to power the camera.  Looks like I might need to do a case mod to run the GoPro from an external battery pack.

The 4 Black image is definitely of a higher quality over the Hero 2, however, I do seem to be getting audio clipping issues.  My original microphone sounds distorted, this may be down to the built in noise cancellation, I switched out to a cheaper microphone I bought for the usb to jack converter cable, this sounds less distorted but still has the clipping sound.  I am not sure what to do about that.  Should I try another microphone?

All in all, today's shake down test did exactly what it was supposed to.  Reveal any issues.  I am hoping to produce another motovlog out of the shake down footage as I have been out of material for a couple of weeks now.

Today has been a good day.  Nice to see the staff at Artisans Cafe again, I gather they had a brisk trade today.  Must be a combination of the sunny weather and the snow on the hills.

 

 

You Are Better Off Single. Trust me.

The sun sets behind the lonely old tree

It is a phrase I hear too often "You are better off single.  Trust me."  Usually coming from a male friend or colleague, married in their mid - late twenties, now in their 30's or 40's.  If I am to ask them -  if they could go back, would they give up their wife and kids and live a single life?  The answer is No.

 Oh!  So I am better off alone then?  Not you?  Is that what you are telling me?

No that isn't it either.  These men, I have yet to recall hearing it from a woman,  seem to be harking back to their carefree days as older teens and young twenties and transposing those memories across decades, as if nothing changes.

Loneliness has an accumulative affect over time.  Being alone in your twenties is not the same as still being alone in your thirties.  Likewise being alone in your thirties is not the same as still being alone in your forties.  I can not speak to the following decades as I have not made it there yet and I pray constantly that I will meet someone before then.  

 Growing up in church, as I did, my life was surrounded with like minded single friends.  The churches I attended had excellent youth groups and after church events for the teens and early twenties, which I am very grateful for.

As I moved deeper into my thirties, my social circle of single friends dwindled fast.  The young married couples, with whom I socialised, started families and their priorities changed, as they should.  The opportunities to meet new single people dwindled also.

As I move deeper into my forties, the burden of singleness weighs heavy, I must start facing the fact that this could very well be it for me.  Where others have a spouse to care for them when they are sick, I may have no-one.  Others  will see their children grow and  establish their own lives, I may never get to start the family I so deeply desired.

Then there is sex.  Yes, time for everyone to get uncomfortable and embarrassed.   As a Christian, albeit by my own admission a bad one, I believe Christian men and women should remain celibate until marriage.  Which means that as my life of singleness continues, with no end in sight and no reason to ever believe the situation will change, I am faced with the very real possibility that I will never experience sex.  That sucks!

I know marriage is hard.  I know a large proportion of marriages end in divorce.  But don't pretend a life of singleness is a walk in the park either.  Don't patronise my singleness. with your memories of youthful freedom.  I am alone.  After a bad day at work I have no-one.  After a good day at work, I have no-one.  As I look across at the beautiful scenery that surrounds me, there is no-one there beside me with whom to share the experience.  I am alone.

Does singleness always equate to loneliness?  No.  I don't spend every waking hour feeling alone.  The majority of the time I am at peace with my singleness.  Those periods of peace, though, are becoming shorter and the burden of loneliness heavier.

Do me a favour.  Don't be callous about my singleness.

As for me.  I won't be giving up.  I will continue to pray that God will see fit to provide.  I will continue to make a fool of myself.  Maybe, just maybe it will pay off some day.

15 The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. 16 And the Lord God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; 17 but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.”

18 The Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.”

19 Now the Lord God had formed out of the ground all the wild animals and all the birds in the sky. He brought them to the man to see what he would name them; and whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name. 20 So the man gave names to all the livestock, the birds in the sky and all the wild animals.

But for Adam[f] no suitable helper was found. 21 So the Lord God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man’s ribs[g] and then closed up the place with flesh. 22 Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib[h] he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man.

23 The man said,

“This is now bone of my bones
and flesh of my flesh;
she shall be called ‘woman,’
for she was taken out of man.”
24 That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.

25 Adam and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame.
— Genesis Chapter 2 Verses 15 - 25

BibleGateway.com

 

Highs and Lows

Warning: This blog contains a curse word.  

Today has been an strange one for me.  The weather has been great, which meant I could spend the day working on the bike.  High

I discover the final drive front sprocket cover has two gaskets that I have not bought and therefore can not complete the bike.  Low

Found a very friendly and helpful tyre fitters in Oswestry willing to fit my motorcycle tyres.  North Shropshire Tyres were able to fit my new tyres.  High

North Shropshire Tyres were unable to balance the rear wheel due the to the unusual fitting of the VFR750 Single Sided Swing Arm.  Low

Fitted the new X-ring chain.  Things appear to have gone well on that front... I will check everything over tomorrow to be certain.  High

Took a drive out to Artisans Cafe and had a lovely coffee and chat with "L".  She is a real firecracker!  No I am not hitting on her.  High

Realise things are not meant to be with "H". I feel like a jerk. Low

"H" apologises to me!  Now I feel like a total ass - Very Low.

"H" says some very kind words, that are not lost on me.  I'm still a jerk.

Driving home I stop on the Dam and look out over Lake Vyrnwy to see the awesome sight below.  High

A Light mist settles over Lake Vyrnwy

Why didn't I bring my DSLR?  

"H" thank you for your kind words.  I don't know why you felt the need to apologise, you haven't done anything that requires an apology.  Your sentiments were not lost on me, thank you and I am truly sorry. 

 If I may, I'd like to offer a small piece of advise, for what little it is worth.  Don't settle for just anyone.  Make sure that the man you give your heart to, is man enough to respect you.  Be certain he is willing to take care of you and desires to please you.  Any guy who lusts after you, kick to the curb real quick, don't put up with it.  Any guy who only wants to take from you, walk away he isn't worth it.  Your smile is amazing.

As for me, the last remnants of hope have faded and the darkness draws in once more.  Loneliness... Hello friend, time to embrace you once more.

The singleness counter keeps on ticking.  Fuck!

New tyres! Will the Bike Be Back?

The new tyres have arrive for my VFR750, along with a new chain and sprocket set.  Tomorrow morning I hope to get everything fitted and the bike back out on the road.  I am just about out of material for my MotoVlog, though I currently don't have a  GoPro either as I have lent mine out.

I will attempt to either use my Samsung S5 or the Nikon Camera to record my misadventures in changing the chain.   I will also add some pics to this blog, in the morning, just to make it look pretty.

I have chosen to go with the Michelin Pilot Road 3's front and rear, though I read the the Pilot Power front and pilot road 2 rear make for a good combination, I couldn't bring myself to mismatch the tyres though.  The chain is a Black and Gold D.I.D. X-Ring that I hope will look good, once fitted.  

Talking of fitting the chain and sprocket set.  I have watched a YouTube video on the best methods for removing the old chain and fitting the new.. Am I now qualified?  What could possibly go wrong?

Depending on how long this will take to fit, I might not make it over to Artisans Cafe ::Sad Face:: which would mean I won't get a chance to make a fool of myself in front of "H".  Hmmm!  Nope I think I will drop what I am doing if I am not complete by 3pm and head over for a quick coffee and a chat (up) hmm?  what?   

With luck I will be taking the bike on a shake down test, no Camera though.  I am still considering an upgrade to GoPro 4 or 3+ silver... wonder if anywhere in Oswestry will have one in stock?  Argos?

I am also hoping a Tyre fitters will have time to pop the new tyres on and balance the wheels.  It will be nice to have a balanced front wheel, the vibration through the bars was starting to bother me.

Rossi Vs Lorenzo

If the Malaysian GP didn't have enough controversy over Marc Marquez deliberately slowing.  Race Direction have decided to take no action after Jorge Lorenzo passed Valentino Rossi under waved yellow flags.

 I get the feeling some very influential people put very large bets on Lorenzo winning the world championship when the odds were very favourable and would stand to lose big if he doesn't or win massive if he does.  Conspiracy Theory?  May be.  Seems very odd that nothing is being done to penalise either Marc for interfering with the championship or Jorge who passed under waved yellow flags in clear violation of the same rule book Race Direction have charged Rossi under.  Funny that!

For now I have elected not to auto-renew my MotoGP VideoPass.  Perhaps all Rossi fans should pull their money from the championship in protest.

MotoGP Valentino Rossi Vs Marc Marquez

I would like to state for the record I believe Rossi and Iannone when they state Marquez, whom no longer has any standing in this years championship, is deliberately interfering with Rossi' race by getting in front and then slowing the pace.  - not that anyone cares what I think about the situation.

Should Rossi allowed himself to get into a brawl on track at Malaysia?  Probably not, but when he is in reach of a tenth world championship and he is being deliberately interfered with Marquez cannot claim innocence and claim it was an unprovoked incident.  The press and commentators keep forgetting that the claims against Marquez are not Rossi' alone.  Iannone has also stated that Marc was deliberately slowing the pace at Phillip Island.  He is harrying Rossi in an attempt to cause Rossi to make a mistake and come off, ruining any chance to clinch the title.

I hope that race direction will closely analyse throttle response, braking and lap times from both Phillip Island and Malaysia  as it will clearly show that Marc is interfering with the championship.  Remember Honda has lost the Constructors  Championship already this season.  HRC has also lost the team championship.  Marquez has no standing and as such has decided to play dirty.  With nothing in the balance what has he got to lose?

Update:  It appears that MotoGP race direction are blind to the fact that Marquez is deliberately interfering with Rossi during the race.  It is unbelievable that Marc is being allowed to get away with such obvious and low shenanigans during a race without repercussion.  Rossi should not have slowed in the corner, however, his chance to stay with Lorenzo was being hampered by a Slowing Marquez.  Marquez should be suspended for a full season for his behaviour.  Instead he will continue, his bad behaviour unpunished - in fact rewarded.   

Melodramatic Self-Indulgence

Now my emotional outburst is out of my system, where do things stand?

Samsung Galaxy S5

I have decided not to let darkness overtake or allow the walls, one erects when struggling with loneliness, to build up.  I am going to fight the urge to isolate myself once more.

I do have to apologies to "H" as she has done nothing to deserve the drama of my insecurities.  I will not be pulling down my last blog though, as it does represent the darkness that constantly ebbs at the edges of my consciousness.  It doesn't show me in a particularly good light but it is what it is.  

So where do I go from here?  

I would like to respectfully pursue "H" as I would like to get to know her.  I will have to see where things stand on that front.  If she wants nothing to do with me, then I will respect her wishes.  

Autumn Colours - Samsung Galaxy S5

Hello Darkness My Old Friend

Hope is a cruel and fickle friend... or is it my foolishness?  Did I really believe "H" would be interested in me or did I let my over-active imagination play games with my, all too willing heart?

The rejection I can take, I have had enough experience of that.  It is the realisation that loneliness still surrounds me, covering me thick and heavy like an all too familiar blanket, that is hard to take.

 I allowed myself to entertaining the notion that a relationship with another human being might be possible.  That my 15+ years of singleness could soon come to an end... In a beat, the fantasy is over, the weight of which is heavy and hard to carry. 

Darkness begins to close in.  Winter is coming...

Am I being over dramatic?  Sure I am.  No-one likes rejection, few people want to live alone in this word.  Do I give up hope?  The answer was vague, but was that "H" trying to be gentle?  

Do I keep hope alive knowing the crushing blow that awaits?

For now loneliness whispers in my ear... Hello my old friend....

"H" if you read this blog, I would like to say, you have the most incredible smile, you are beautiful and I a mere fool.  I hope I did not cause you too much embarrassment today and I am sorry if I did.

 

Life continues... I suppose.

Vocal Few

As a Bad Christian "All in" member I am lucky enough to have early access to Vocal Few' up-coming EP "The Dream Alive".  I can tell you I'm not disappointed with the new tracks, having listened through just a couple of times.  I get a warm, calm feeling when I listen to their voices.  The husband and wife team of Matt and Kristie MacDonald complement each other perfectly.  I won't waffle on, as I'm certainly no music critic, instead take a listen to the tracks posted below and decide for yourself.

I was introduced to Vocal Few when Bad Christian released their free music sampler "The Lineup: Vol 1"  and since then I grabbed a copy of both "She'll Be Right" and "Tall Trees" EP, from Amazon.  As they have a YouTube channel, I thought I'd link to a couple of their tracks.

First up is "The Road" probably my favourite Vocal Few track.

And here is the title track from their upcoming EP "The Dream Alive"

You can check out the website at www.vocalfew.com.  The EP drops 30/10/2015.   

Check them out and enjoy!

Stress Relief

It's been a stressful week at work due to things I won't go into here.  I therefore decided, there is no better way to relax than to head on out to Lake Vyrnwy with my dogs and camera... well on the motorcycle could arguably have been better, I haven't replaced my tyres and chain though, therefore, not an option.

Struggling to steady the hefty Sigma 500mm lense on a monopod

First stop, as always, is Artisans Cafe for a spot of food and coffee, black no sugar.  Thank you very much.

 Once again the staff were awesome, friendly and a pleasure to talk with.  I managed to apologise to "L" for not asking her name when I enquired after "H" last weekend, see my previous blog "In the Pursuit of Happiness"::Correction "Social Jack-Hammer"::.  I then failed at the last hurdle when, once again, "H" provided the perfect opportunity for me to speak with her and I bottled it.  What the heck is wrong with me?  Man up for goodness sake!  Next time... maybe?

Following the yellow trail provides some beautiful views of the dam, lake and pump station

  I decided to follow the river only to find the route a little short.  The yellow trail it is then.  The yellow trail is around 2.5 miles and is fairly accessible for most people.  It has a steady climb up to a vantage point of the lake and dam.  I followed the route clockwise (because anticlockwise would be weird!), along the river, then a short climb up some steps, an easy ascent along a lane and then a slight climb along a farm track to the first vantage point.

The weir as seen from the short river walk

First vantage point along yellow trail.

The yellow trail is dog friendly, with just one gated area that opened into a field of sheep.  Always keep your dogs under control around sheep, they have a habit of bolting which encourages otherwise well behaved dogs to give chase and you don't want that!

  -Public Announcement over-

After the gated, section the yellow trail remains on an easy gradient along a farm track, beginning a descent not much further along the route.

A view of the boathouse.  It is well worth taking the canoes out on the lake and the prices are very reasonable. There's sailing too!

The yellow route eventually descends back down to the picnic area.  Providing some lovely views of the dam and lake.

Autumn colours.  Winter is coming

With the walk completed, cake and coffee is in order.  Sitting outside Artisans, I open my Kindle and continue reading Jupiter's Travels by Ted Simon, sip my coffee and relax before heading home.  It is at this point where I fail to converse with "H" like a Muppet! 

Still it has been a good day and the stress of the week has melted away as hoped...

 

Caffeine Purge

After yesterdays over indulgence of coffee, I decided to get some exercise today.  I packed the dogs in the back of the car and headed on over to Rhiwargor Waterfalls.  It is a steep climb up the side of the falls and I decided that my dogs were better at finding the most practical way than I, well Katie my German Shepherd was, Gyp the Collie wanted to go paddling at every opportunity.  

Due to the lack of rainfall recently the falls were not at their best, however, if it had rained I probably would not have made it up!

The exercise certainly helped clear my head of some of the caffeine overdose though I can't say I have completely balanced out.  Though some of the effects may now be down to last nights restless sleep.

Should anyone stumble upon this post, Rhiwargor Falls is a nice added extra to consider when visiting Lake Vyrnwy.  If you decide that you may want to climb up the side of the falls, then come prepared to get muddy and to scramble up so steep areas of the slope.