Telsa's diary: December 1998

Warning: These are old. Very old.

January 1

Having installed it yesterday, I broke the new improved version. And the help files that I am convinced got installed have vanished. I _know_ I downloaded them. Alan, what have you deleted for space reasons today?

Many visitors. Alan got up for the afternoon ones. Went to see Star Trek XI with people. Best line: "Sorry, sir, we're fresh out of warp cores." Much fun, although explaining why something is unethical shouldn't really need doing three times, surely.

December 31

Interesting day. Now I see why people call Linux hard. I've been lucky so far. When something goes wrong I yell Alan and either it gets fixed (if interesting) or I live with it (I'm convinced Alan has made the cribbage program cheat; I have even grepped the source to check for my username and special cases but he's hidden it). For various reasons I decided to download and install a new version of something I use a lot.

It took me an awfully long time! I don't mind compiling things, but oh, finding where Alan has hidden various files that the sample configuration file thinks are elsewhere is a pain. He does it deliberately, I'm sure! And he deletes manual pages that he doesn't need. Bah.

All worked, and I have the new improved version to break now, and promptly abandoned everything to go to a number of new year's eve parties. Alan stayed home to work. (And watched telly, and played, and had a take-out in my absence.)

But what, pray tell, is a 'file tree walk'? A tree walk? Sounds like some kind of Ent. I do hope it's called Treebeard.

December 30

Alan had a fight with the kitchen cupboard and a spaghetti avalanche today.

December 29

"We went shopping again." This sounds like a major expedition. He didn't have to come, and I could have spent another two hours in the bookshop if he hadn't! (Or alternatively, I could have spent much money at Amazon, which was the original plan.) And the old kettle had not started to leak. It has always leaked. It had started to gush instead. More water outside than in. This seemed a bad thing.

I beat Alan at bagatelle later, too, which I see he didn't mention. Once, anyway.

Alan's solution to my plaintive "where's my CD gone?" questions: start downloading tons of Show of Hands mp3s which I can't play at all (no speakers). I think he wins.

Much hacking went on, too, but I think people know about that already.

December 28

Woken by doorbell. Not a parcel but visitors. So Alan got up before midday. Whee! Much hacking ensued in afternoon. Despite a clearup, I discovered various CDs had migrated upstairs _again_. Watched film in early evening, munching pizza, then Alan disappeared. I was talking to old friends on IRC when they started asking me about 2.2.0 being released. I denied all knowledge, then looked at freshmeat. 2.2.0pre1 out? Ahem. Yes, well, I dunno, I'm not the hacker round here. I'm sure the 'pre' means something though.

So it's out, and the buglist is out, and Alan seems to have decided that patches are more fun than watching Wyrd Sisters and now I've finished messing up all my Lynx settings I'm going to bed :)

I have also been having fun in the sales: tomorrow is buy a kettle day. And a video, except that means getting Alan into town in daylight. Whilst there's all those lovely bugs to play with. I think not.

December 27

Went shopping in the sales. Did not take Alan.

Christmas is obviously over now: he's spent most of today and yesterday catching up with email and stealing CDs to take upstairs. At about 1am he stopped, and came downstairs to watch the television. Until 5:30am. I am so glad our walls are solid. If we lived in a more modern house he'd have kept the neighbours awake with shouts of laughter until it was over.

December 26

Sleeping, he says. He was awake at quarter to eight, stumbling around the bedroom complaining the alarm clock was broken because it wouldn't switch off. This is because I had set an extra one to go off and he was hitting the wrong one. He retired back to bed in disdain. Rest of the day spent winning at bagatelle and watching the telly. Then he went upstairs and started hacking again.

December 25

Alan still on holiday (and thus asleep for ages), so I opened most things. No slashdot-inspired geek things here: most of the morning spent getting some practice in on a bagatelle board my parents sent. Alan eventually surfaced and has beaten me in every game we've played. (There's loads of games called bagatelle, but this is the one which Alan is insistent on describing as wooden pinball.) The balls plink as they strike the pins so harmoniously that I got the Penguin Cafe Orchestra CD out. New in-house rule, you get bonus points for plinking in time to the beat :)

Alan was sent to peel all the chestnuts as a result of winning continually, although this became a joint effort to get them done in time. Quackers the duck is now disposed of (yum!) and Alan is seeking the perfect flat ground (in _this_ house?) for putting the bagatelle board. He hasn't quite got to the stage of getting the spirit level out, but I see this coming.

December 24

Forced to get up and sign for parcels, Alan elected to have a holiday. So we did :) He also peeled lots of sprouts (small green.. no, I'm not getting into that again) very fast. If he ever gets bored of soundcards, he has a future in vegetable mutilation.

Found out (from BBC News 24, who are getting desperate for stories, it seems) that you can track Santa on the web at NORAD. Tracked Santa for a bit. This is what the US spends its defence budget on?

December 23

This sleep cycle thing is out of hand. Alan is now coming to bed after I get up. About six hours later he shambled down muttering "I was going to stay awake, really I was." Yes, Alan. He got sent shopping to make up for it.

December 22

Much email fun. I now know more than I did before about swedes, turnips, white turnips and rutabagas and who calls which one which. For the sake of mindless bandwidth wastage and to do my bit for pointless information to be found on the net, I have attempted to summarise the naming of swedes, turnips and so on elsewhere.

Alan has found a new effect that the various GUI folks don't seem to have considered yet. He was cooling one of the machines down with an electric fan. All the lines of text on a nearby monitor started stretching and shrinking vertically as if they were underwater. A very mellow monitor.

December 21

Well, according to his diary, Alan did nothing, because it's still empty.

I got up horribly late (for me), and mooched about before finally braving the food shopping. Quackers the duck is now in the fridge. Bought about a ton of sprouts and forgot the chestnuts completely. Alan loves chestnuts. (They go in with the sprouts.) He hates preparing them, but his fingers are stronger than mine. Must be all the typing. He routinely gets called to help as a result. Although he did start to laugh today when I wailed "Help!" and he discovered that I'd got a chopping knife wedged into a swede. (Not sure what these are outside the UK. What we *used* to make Hallowe'en lanterns from before squishy pumpkins arrived. Yellowbrown root veg, very very solid) He even chopped it all up for me then.

He's not yet cottoned on to the fact that every time I get bored of vegetable-chopping, my knife becomes stuck.

Bryce has taken a hysterical photo (which is residing at of his penguin sitting on top of a pile of O'Reilly books and typing on a keyboard. I went "Aww!" and promptly insisted on finding our penguin and showing it the picture, crooning, "Look, look! See there! Your cousin!" "He's seen it," said Alan. Brief pause for readjustment of brain. "He's seen it? Er, you what?" Apparently Alan had already beaten me to this utterly pointless act. I'm just trying to picture Alan gazing at this photo whilst something compiles and then heading off to unearth a cuddly toy to hold it up where it can look at it too. His normal response to the cuddlies is to wait until I'm in the vicinity and threaten them.

I like this Gnome thing, although Alan is already setting his background to utterly revolting combinations. Little windows go "whee!" and swoop around when they arrive. (I'd be spending all day clicking for a new shell and closing it and clicking for a new one..Easily amused, yes.) Got in his way and pestered until I got to look at all the .jpg and .gif URLs I can't normally see. Then he broke it all again. Some things never change.

December 20

Interesting day. Strange appearance of a heap of lost clothes in the bathroom. Explanations from the machine room are not yet forthcoming. Finished the Observer crossword. Joint pizza construction fraught with uncertainty: does the cheese go underneath (him) or on top (me)?

And finally, I succumbed to the dangers of a new 24 hour shop 2 minutes' walk away and did a chocolate run at about 11.30pm. And it was _freezing_. But the skies were cloudless and even through the streetlights, oh, the stars were bright. Told Alan. He said "Oh."

December 19

What does he mean, 'not a lot else happened'?

Yesterday's shopping all went very smoothly (from my point of view, which was basically, get into town before the shops shut, get necessaries, get shopping, get out again). It was just slow. And Alan bought me a hat to replace the one I lost somewhere near the mizmaze (a turf maze) down near Newbury about three years ago, *and* cooked that night!

So we went again today! Alas, no more hats, and no more fajitas for tea. I did have the entertainment of discovering that Alan has been unaware of the existence of a first floor (er.. second in the US? The one upstairs) to a shop we go to regularly for about five years. It has the CDs. So we bought some. It has videos, too. But ours is still broken. (I think I mentioned this back in August...) Or it's being picky. It will play all the stuff that Bryce sends Alan. But it won't play anything for me. It even works for visitors. But only if they're hackers, in which case, if they glare at it, it starts working. This is true.

Alan narrowly failed to bring a 19" rack home today. It was narrower than that. I am relieved.

December 18

2:30pm. Remind me not to take Alan shopping again.

December 17

The sink. Oh, dear me, yes. I had to put the plunger on the keyboard before he remembered (and yes, I can plunge a sink myself, but he has such fun I didn't want to deprive him.)

Fairly quiet day on the chaos front: nothing blew up, collapsed, etc. Only one thing mysteriously stopped working (the downstairs terminal where I play) and the mystery wasn't too deep. Entering the computer room to find only half of Alan visible under a mass of cables, boxes, empty Jolt bottles, detritus and printer apparatus, with the occasional grumble from that direction soon explained it, and the freeze-up halted after the process technically known as replugging the wire back in.

Shopping is _planned_ for tommorow. It is not really dark in Swansea at 9am, but Alan wouldn't know this through experience so I'll forgive him that comment.

December 16

Alan has not returned my CDs and as a result of the news is now looking for another one: the NMA album which contains "51st state of America". (No, it's not about Puerto Rico). So I've hidden it.

Massive parcel attack today. Christmas present from family. I seized the opportunity, yelled "Alan! B-i-g parcel!" and he came scrambling downstairs. Hah. Up before noon. Before he could lose interest, another two things arrived. So now I know how big a disc array is. And it's heavy. Note: do not carry these things halfway up the stairs and then decide to get the giggles. Additional memo to self: next time, stop at the computer room door. Wrestling it *into* the computer room is His Job. Yes.

I sort of lost track of him for a couple of hours then. He was at least persuaded to sign a whole two Christmas cards today, though. And found the postbox first try when on his way to the Jolt-and-baguette shop.

Couldn't understand why my usual daily news-crawl suddenly slumped to a halt until I looked at IRC and put the television on. The combination of Microsoft mail bugs, the impeachment process and the Middle-East seemed to stretch the news services to the limit: whilst CNN were discussing the states of their reporters' sore throats, the BBC were saying "Well we can't see anything from here, but Baghdad's a pretty big city, you know". That was BBC news 24, though. The radio was somewhat saner. Certain IRC channels were most definitely *not*.

Alan's code release: Poor Alan! I was talking to him as he was editing files (I dunno, looking at diffs and taking the broken bits out?) before he put them on the download site, and.. "There!" he said triumphantly, "Nearly done!"

And his editor dumped core. "Oh," he said, and looked pained.


December 15

Not only do they read this page, people email me when I say silly things, too!

Finally got a good photo of Alan. I've had to hide the camera, though. And he's stolen more of my CDs.

December 14

Apparently people do read this. I was rather thinking of packing it in, because I really can't think that endless accounts of the insanity in Swansea are that interesting to read! But apparently someone spotted the Levellers reference. (Warning, that link *still* doesn't work with Lynx. New Model Army's website does, though.) And sulked. Sorry, zab, you should have said earlier when there were still tickets!

Alan has apparently been causing some chaos by mentioning his opinions again. Whoops. People, he's human. You're allowed to disagree with him. Or ignore him. I do. Lots of the time. It's allowed. Really.

December 13

I have discovered that the Christmas rush has a good side. The one shop in Swansea which sells Alan's Jolt supply is now open on a Sunday. Handy.

December 12

Ten patches in ten days? No wonder he missed Scooby Doo today.

Tested camera some more. I now expect pictures of my thumb over the shutter in three different sizes.

December 11

Went looking for something Alan wrote ages ago on slashdot. Got lost. (I don't use it a lot, feel free to laugh at my paltry efforts.) Ended up reading all the comments for stuff he'd submitted. Fell about at the discussion spawned by one post which attempted to match various Linux types to Star Wars. Apparently I'm married to Han Solo or Chewbacca. Alan hadn't seen this and is now making Chewbacca noises at me with glee. Oh dear.

Slashdot want suggestions for 'geek gifts'. As Christmas approaches, so do I.

December 10

Levellers gig. Alan opted out. (So of course, if he doesn't like them he won't be stealing my CDs, huh?) He probably wouldn't have liked it, (no laptops in evidence for a start) but I did. Never been to an indoor gig with more police in attendance than I see at outdoor festivals before. Much fun. Navigating by map in the dark for a driver who doesn't know the area is also fun.

December 9th

This is the day Alan cooked, not the 10th. Never mind, it was still cool.

December 8th

Love the log.

Question: "loan array?" What is this, and how big is it going to be? I don't want another "will it get through the door?" experience.

December 7

"Finally got posted," indeed. Guess who by. Hint: it wasn't Alan.

December 6

Birthday. Got a camera. It bit me. Ran around taking photos of

things, but the world is denied Alan hiding under the bedclothes due to an unfortunate misunderstanding to do with shutters and flashbulbs. So far. I'm trying to prove to myself that Alan does exist in the mornings. Photographic evidence is proving less achievable than that of the offspring of Bigfoot and the Loch Ness Monster.

I'm not kidding about the biting: I pressed the catch to open it for batteries and part of it flew off and smacked me on the nose. I quite like it - a camera with built-in defence capability. With luck, it will avoid forcible linux installation on it for a few months.

Today's useful tip. Mulled cider works really well with decent cassis added at with the fruit at the end. Even Alan liked it.

December 5

Up extremely late. For me. And my sister. Alan thought it was early. Went for meal. Yum. Alan ate two desserts. Debs got a tribble from the bookshop. Alan hit it with a hammer to produce two simultaneous and stereoscopic squeaks of outrage from Debs and tribble.

December 4

The MUSH I wrote a command on broke. Speculation centres on a runaway object. I don't think I'll do that anymore! My sister (she of the tech support) arrived, we were all tired, we had food to eat, about 11pm we all woke up - so Debs, Alan and I went to see the Exorcist at midnight. (This is big-time entertainment in these parts.) Good film; well worth seeing on big screen. (It's banned on video here anyway, but still.)

Oh yes. Debs rang up to book the tickets, chatted up the guy on the line, and discovered that the Exorcist is so popular in Wales that her informant is concerned enough about its population never to visit Wales again.

December 3

It may not be hacking, but I'm very proud. I made a command work on a MUSH :) All the code (all two lines of it) are now sitting

on an object. And I've had ideas about what would be fun to add.

December 1

Alan back. Arrives at 7.15am, then sleeps til midday, then does email until 7pm. Can he be on too many mailing lists?

November 27 to December 1st

Mad tidying and throwing out. Fun.

I've been asked for a more obvious feedback route. So there you are! But please note: This should be clear from the above, but: I am not a kernel hacker. I am not an anything hacker. Is this diary true? will get answered. (It is.) I have a problem compiling the brainsplat module under the pre-sliced option terminator; I am using the mutability framewedger on the standard infernalisation build will not. (Well, it might be answered in a similar vein, but for a real answer, look elsewhere. It's much safer.)

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