Warning: These are old. Very old.
I do know that my mind was floating off on either tiredness or being ill at one stage and cleared lots of discspace by muddling up 'ls' and 'rm'. (Easy to do really.) And that later I couldn't find www.linux.org.uk. But I don't _think_ there's a connection..
Decided to make more windows available in hope that Alan would be inspired again and clean them for me. Found the books in the bathroom have been blocking a lot of light on the windowsill. Wondered at the combination of a life of Feynman, the complete Yes Minister scripts, several Agatha Christies, Ian Botham's diatribe on British cricket, "Time Enough For Love," "Forgotten Beasts of Eld," and Stephen Jay Gould and Richard Dawkins nestling together in civilised peace among an assortment of airport novels and trashy sci-fi. You can fit 40 books onto the windowsill, apparently, since that's what I've retrieved. No wonder everyone spends so long in there.
Co-operative house-supplying meant that both of us thought it was our turn to get the Jolt. So now we have lots. Damn. I'd only just put the Penguin mints somewhere safe, too.
Discovered that Alan hadn't set up rlogin properly here. They said the cobbler's children are left unshod; is there a similar version for hackers? I would have thought it unlikely.
Gardening note: I have been distressed by the lack of earthworms in our garden. Whilst unblocking the outside drain I have discovered some! It must have been the heat of the water draining out nearby, but a whole pile of leaf litter and soil that got blown around (I said we'd had bad weather...) and trapped next to the drain has turned into what looks like rather nice compost. _Not_ planned, but possibly useful now it's on a corner of the garden rather than next to the drain.
I said I'd been throwing stuff out. Alan was inspired to wash the window bay as a result. Good Alan. Nice Alan. Happy Telsa.
I have been a linux trouble-shooter! (ie: I told someone where to find the docs to work it out themselves, since I didn't have a clue :)) I am very happy.
Alan cooked again tonight and it was delicious. He's still not realised that the better his cooking, the more he'll end up doing it.
Removed the final computer detritus from downstairs (where _does_ it all come from? Just when I think it's clear...) to the jun^W computer room. Alan was barricaded in. I assume it's tidied now, since he got out in the end..
Bryce's videos are the first thing to have worked in our video player for ages. They also seem to have started a trend, as the rest work now, too. I am sure Alan has a technical explanation for this. I just call it weird.
Truly horrifying occasion. Alan said within thirty seconds of the beginning of Scooby Doo (_including_ the titles) "Seen this" and settled down to watch because "it was good". Mentioned this to a friend on the net, complained "All he saw was white panelling and snow!" and received the instant reply from the friend, "Oh, the Snow Monster! Yes, it's good." I find this frightening.
Filled another couple of binbags. Alan found my chequebook. Damn!
Creative cooking night. Only Alan could stuff sausages with mustard and chili (different sausages), grill them, and then look perplexed at how he was going to get the undersides done without the gloop spilling all over the grillpan. They tasted good, though.
Tonight was also burnt pizza night.
Lost chequebook. Counted cash, looked at two alternatives, bought ticket for gig that's a month away, got a snack and a French loaf for me (Alan being asleep) and decided food for weekend could wait. Alan later went shopping, returned with his idea of essentials, unpacked, looked at it ...and went out for a meal instead.
We also got around to the final stage of doing the lights. All we needed to do was remove one light fitting and wire another in. Simple, no? No. Showers of plaster, wires, screws (ow) and light fitting cascaded down, and then I was left standing on tip toe, taking the weight while he went for a better screwdriver.. Then a screw wouldn't go into the ceiling. Nor, or course, would it come out. Then the head split. (The screw, not Alan.) And so on. Amazing. I have lost what little interest I had in computer-controlled houses now. This way is much more fun.
This afternoon also featured the amazing freestanding chair. Alan jumped off it, it slowly overbalanced, got halfway through falling over, and -- stopped. Hung there balanced on two legs. Sort of thing you'd have to see to believe. Was fun!
For the past week we've had whizzes and bangs overhead as people get impatient for Guy Fawkes night. Finally, the time to let all the fireworks off came. Friends came, and discovered that Alan had completely missed the conversation on IRC about how we were going out tonight. So I went out, abandoning him to the appalling fate of staring at the monitor and hacking (and stealing chocolate -- see below), and we set off lots of loud things in Dick's back garden, and he missed a great time. Silly hacker.
Couldn't face that, so stuck the CDs into alphabetical order. Sort of.
I have hidden the mints, because I still haven't had any of them. I am also hiding the chocolate, because the half-pound bar I bought for making chocolate sauce has unaccountably vanished, in small installments, from the fridge. It must be mice, who come out at exactly the same time that Alan decides it's bedtime and goes looking for supper...
Eyed garden. Pulled faces at slugs. I am getting so bored of this. I'd be out there with the slug pellets except that the (excellent) Flora For Fauna database at the Natural History Museum tells me that lots of hedgehogs die due to eating pesticide-infested slugs. And I like hedgehogs. The same database also tells me that 35 species of birds have been recorded in my postcode (zip code) area. So why do I only ever see gulls in my garden? I want songbirds back! I think that the booze-traps are going to come into action.
The light fittings which have languished unfitted were due to get put up today. Dear gods. Removing the old ones was easy enough (anyone want a stupid brass light fitting which takes three bulbs which will never all remain alight simultaneously and requires contortionist ability to replace the bulbs? Alan lost a lightbulb in it once..). Examining the protruding wires resulted in some falling out. Safe, huh? Leaving us with about a millimetre of wire to use to fix the new ones. I was going "So we need an electrician?" in tones of disbelief and Alan just stood there going "Hmm." and the little wheels in his head churring and producing "Bad design" as his comment. A certain amount of experimentation ensued and one of the new lights is up. Next one due tomorrow, after an extorted promise to get up in the hours of daylight. However...
Round about 10-30pm I was sitting on IRC when a whole load of people suddenly said "shit" and started typing very fast. I'm no coder, but words like "ssh", "root exploit", "source" and "need a patch" are intelligible even to me. Watched in fascination for the next couple of hours as people started slamming into action and ftping different accounts of the problem and versions of fixes around the net (despite LINX choosing to sulk at the best moment possible for .uk types) and producing suggestions, answers, patches, work-arounds and so on. Went to bed around 1. Don't know when Alan got to sleep, but it was after 2am. Somehow I doubt the lights will get finished the next morning..
Dragged Alan to Homebase to buy much household decontam^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H improvement material. Too dark to change the light fittings when get back.
Brief forays onto IRC suggest that Alan Did Not Tell All about ALS. Hmm.
Went to newly-discovered restaurant again with various people. Cunningly arranged seating so that I and other hacker-partner sat next to each other and I *still* got to play with someone's palm pilot. Alas, this time he was prepared and showed me what to do before I could add tetris into his shopping list and rearrange his phone numbers to be sorted by release version whilst simply trying to make the bill add up right.
It's raining here and half the Welsh and central English rivers are on flood alert. We had an excellent hail/thunderstorm, too, which I initially attributed to people setting off fireworks for Bonfire Night, but the lightning gave it away.. Alan didn't even notice.
If he doesn't get back soon I shall be forced to tidy up viciously to check he's not under the layers in the computer room. A tidy machine room for his return? What a thought. Won't he be delighted?
Played many games; cards (from patiences to bridge), trading cards (Babylon 5), RPGs, board games (City of Chaos), two live-action ones over three nights - in the fantasy one Alan was the host of a meeting involving representatives of four or five noble houses discussing secession from the empire whilst trying to conclude trade agreements with two strangers from a far culture, and in the scifi one he was a terrorist. No comment.
To my disgust, he actually looked smarter in his costume for that one than he has *ever* looked since I've known him. Yes, I include our wedding.. He also managed to download an appalling variety of special effect noises into his palmtop; thus klaxons, tricorders and.. er.. the muppets were heard augmenting the ambience. It's very hard to imagine that you're on a space station when you're standing by a glowing fire and looking at a heavy oak door with nails driven through it, but I'm not sure the weird bleeps and burbles helped that much. Although the constant yells of 'shut the door; there's a draught' sounded much better when translated to 'get that bulkhead closed; there's a breach in the lower decks!'
Me? I was an advisor to one of the houses in the first one, or at least I was supposed to be. Rumours of any connection with any form of assassins' guild, cult, or deranged gods are just that, since my unfortunate demise meant that they couldn't actually *prove* it. Alas that my attempt to fake the suicide as a murder attempt (yes, that way round) by the priest of an annoyingly upright god failed! And in the second one I was a navigator for hire desperately trying to get the engines repaired and my partner out of trouble whilst completely failing to spot the activities of the secret police types, the fact that there was *three* ambassadors and not two, and the alien wanting to get his tentacles on my DNA. Hmm.
What other games? Oh, the really nasty horse racing game, and a rather sweet one called Pile the Penguins or some such. Yet another Ravenburger game. You get lots of little penguins and have to stack them on.. er, a rocking ice floe. Even in a country manor with no phone, no radio and no television, let alone computers, I can't escape penguins! There was also a reading evening, with everything from poetry to excerpts from Bill Bryson's encounter with a bear on the Appalachian Trail (is this man mad? First he decides to hike 2000 miles, then he throws stones at a bear, and then he publishes a book which spends half the time slagging off his walking companion) to Cornish superstitions to short stories about angels.
Spent much time marvelling at the panelled walls, the spiral staircases, found the secret drawer, didn't find the ghost. Went to lots of Cornwall and Devon tourist traps, didn't fall in the sea at St Michael's Mount (alas), saw lots of rocks and standing stones ("Ooh, another rock in a field. Gosh."), visited all sorts, ate far too many clotted cream teas, (in Alan's case, *one* is too many, and yes, Alan, I saw exactly how much clotted cream you ate) and saw a large catlike creature in Bodmin. Really!
For non-UK readers: there is much speculation that at least one 'big cat' lives around the Bodmin Moor area, and is responsible for some of the more peculiar deaths of animals there. The best guesses are a black panther which has somehow ended up wild there. (The UK clamped down on 'exotic pets' laws a good while ago, and it's said that some animals were released by owners unable or unwilling to comply with the new regulations.) The Beast of Bodmin and its suspected cousins in other rural areas of Britain have rather more evidence than the Loch Ness Monster in their favour, but alas, this cat we saw was just a big housecat. We think. Ah well.
Alan transferred back to UK time for the week. I was very impressed, even if he was only up before 10am twice. This is probably because he was plagued by asthma for the entire week, poor man. Much sneezing. He's going right off old houses. Too much sniffing and sniffling, quite apart from the lack of modem ports or convenient power points to overload with wires.
I like old stones - and houses built of them, too! I have to admit, though, wooden floors weren't so good. On the ground floor, looking up to the ceiling produced glimpses of light -- through the floorboards! And they creak. On the plus side, though, a dining table that seats 14 is definitely enhanced by a fire, even if the chimney was dodgy and our bedroom looked as though a real pea-soup fog had somehow manifested inside it the first time the fire was lit. Whoops! Low door lintels were mostly fun, however, since those of us who are a sensible height got to laugh at all those annoyingly tall people ducking their heads all the time. Although I shouldn't laugh, cos Alan nearly laid himself out cold once. And the other residents of the house are extremely possessive. Resident spiders as big as the daddy-long-legses, for a start. But, thank the gods, no woodlice! I suspect the ghost may have eaten them.
Dinner conversation varied from how to dispose of slugs (there's a surprise, eh? A perennial pastime, that one) to sound over IP (I think) - ugh! - to how to top this holiday. I like the 'taking over a small island' idea. I think Alan likes the 'somewhere where I don't sneeze and I can eat maple syrup all day' idea, unfortunately.
Played musical trains on the way back. *Not* impressed. I am travelling to Edinburgh on the cheap this month, and my train seats (which are not negotiable on this trip, because they're the cheap seats) are crazy. I'm convinced I won't make it past the first change without disaster striking. Ah well.
Got back, boggled at email, read it all, and haven't seen Alan since he headed off to check his. That was about five hours ago. I have the feeling that he's going to revert to Marianas Trench time and only come to bed when he's read all of his. Uurgh.