Telsa's diary: January 1999

Warning: These are old. Very old.

February 1
The penguins were having such a gossip I didn't like to disturb them. Alan must have been bored whilst something was compiling.
January 30
Alan's hours are getting silly again. So I went with home-improving car-owning friends to Homebase: one of those warehouse-sized DIY shops. I now have many plans for when Alan is out of the house (or the country, for safety) next. The way to stop yourself being bored to tears in home improvements shops is to go with friends who have no sense of embarrassment and are prepared to dance to the piped music, attempt to phone each other on the showerhead display (well, they *looked* like phones) and take photos of this and other silliness.

Came back, did shopping, did more shopping, messed about, noticed it was 4pm, wondered if he was actually going to get up. I suppose it is Saturday, but it is rather hard to come up with meals that serve as breakfast for him and tea for me.

Rearranged all the penguins for something to do. Either Alan rearranges them when I'm not looking, or they're alive. They're never in the same place twice or doing the same thing.

January 28
Much real life occurred because I got very bored trying to do things on the net with the modem melting down with hits after everyone tried to read this at once. For those who asked: yes, I shall remove the tables!
January 26
Various post which arrived whilst we were away has now been salvaged from various places: Alan is now a happy bunny (and high on mints). I am admiring a book which is one third Japanese, one third English and one third C. Frequently in the same sentence. The washing machine still ain't fixed (thank goodness for friends with the things). And my terminal is intermittently freezing up because Alan still hasn't soldered something in. For some reason, he's been busy the last two days. Can't think why..

Bumped into an old mate in the bookshop (spending Alan's money again, yes). Why is it that even catching up with old news and gossip degenerates into a "Hey, I want to install Linux, whilst you're here, what do you know about..?" session these days?

Diverted friend with bagatelle board. He beat me.

There have been a lot of bangs, thuds, thumps and crashes from above. I see from Alan's diary (where else do you look to find out what your husband is doing?) that his earlier summary of "I'm just moving a few things" was a bit of a fib. I also see that the new little computer is "not real work". In the interests of Linux development, I shall make the great sacrifice of hiding it from him until the "real work" is done. The fact that I hear it has a crossword solver on it is of course entirely unrelated to this offer.

January 24
"Lots" of good things on TV today. Mmm, right. I don't class "a Scooby-Doo cartoon I have not hitherto seen" as good. But two Time Teams (one inside a mucky cave) and the final part of "Shooting the Past" was definitely fun.

One of the Guardian reviewers has already mentioned the true irony of Shooting the Past. It's all about the battle to prevent a photograph library from being destroyed or broken into smaller collections (sound weird? It was, but it was wonderful). And it's shown by the BBC. Whose archives are notoriously prone to the occasional equivalent of rm -rf on random directories. Ah well.

Other fun of the day: discovering from the BBC website that we shouldn't have worried about water on the tracks, the wrong kind of carriage, and so on (I wait for the 'wrong kind of passenger' in anticipation, that'll be me, then): the signal wiring is so awful that apparently (allegedly, it is so reported, etc) engineers are told not to touch it in case it disintegrates.

January 23
Back. No thanks to the various train services, who appear only able to run successfully if the weather is sunny (tunnel flooded), the train carriages are intact (carriage removed because it wouldn't run), and the station staff have idiot sheets (everyone on platform one ended up running to platform two after an announcement changed the platform, and then _back_ after yours truly ran to the office rather than the platform asking "Where did you mean to send us?", only to provoke a "Apologies to passengers awaiting the 1332 service; this does in fact depart from.." announcement. This from a station with a mere two platforms).

Went to the London conference thing with Alan. Thanks to trains, got there in time for at least the end of it. When we said we'd had some problems with the tube (last in a series of idiocies), the person we spoke to said "Oh. Circle line?" instantly. It was.

Missed the talks I wanted to hear (but got promised an account of one), met lots of fun people, stayed for Eric Raymond's "Which talk would you like me to give? You have a choice of three.." talk (he fitted two topics into the one talk..) in the evening, quailed at the number of people attempting to get food. Feeding of the five hundred. At least. Peeled off from the main group and trustingly followed first Russell King into the underground and then Alec Muffett into Chinatown and Wong Kei's which was a good move. Yum.

Next day, to Alan's parents for the massively delayed "Christmas visit". (This isn't too delayed, come to think of it. The company he used to work for is having its Christmas meal next month.) Back now, to face 250 emails from 3 days. Daren't think what's awaiting Alan.

January 19
Lots of hacker activity, both with patches and.. er.. washing machines. (It broke, needed draining). Never has the theory-practice gap been so evident. "It shouldn't do that.Why is it doing that?" is not what I want to hear as he watches the hose dribble water over the floor. I want him to pick it up and prevent it leaking. But it's far more interesting to watch, apparently.
January 17
Alan without caffeine is indeed impossible to wake. Grumble.
January 16
I think some of the recent dates are wrong. I've been looking at Alan's and he dates them according to the day he writes them. I date them according to the date they're about. But even with that I'm still missing one. Whoops.

Having given the world far too many (sez me, missing the point of quick turnaround completely) kernel revisions the previous night, Alan not up until 4pm. Lots of tidying went on before that. We seem to have the packing materials from the weeks' parcels downstairs (grr!), but they'll be handy for something, I'm sure.

Discovered to my delight that Babelfish translates _everything_ on a page. Wondered what Alan was talking about in Austria, fed the relevant German page through Babelfish and whilst looking at it, was enchanted to discover that someone else there is from the "University of Complaining ford" or some such. Little things please little minds, yes...

Went shopping with Alan. Turned out we both got things under the impression it was our turn to cook. Alan won (er?) and cooked. Major disaster in Swansea: no more Jolt left in the sandwich shop. Went looking for another drink that's sort of similar in its effects (although the day I looked up all the ingredients on the web I discovered I was alleviating any possible chance I had of prostate trouble, which, being female, will doubtless be a great help in later life..) and none of that, either! Argh. Alan without Jolt will be impossible to wake.

Alan spent twenty minutes checking someone's address over IRC, which then crashed mid-check, without even realising that I've had it on paper since they moved house. Silly man. He then hied off to drink whisky and watch Jackie Chan films at Dick's house whilst I settled down with a bottle of booze, a beanbag and a book. At about 11pm. Just beginning to wake up properly.

On the sleep front, I can see that Alan without caffeine is going to be worse than Alan with the stuff. I am going to enjoy waking him for all those train rides. Those giant speakers and the 'at' command have possibilities.

January 14
I missed a trick today. Phone went at 10am and I answered it instead of telling Alan to get up and answer it, since it was probably for him. Sadly, it was a wrong number, so he didn't have to get up. He eventually emerged when a parcel showed up some hours later.

Justin came round, and once he was prised off the bagatelle board, he and Alan happily discussed all manner of appalling "Well, if you drill this part of a chip and solder that part" ideas. I quite liked some of the results they thought they might achieve, but all the same, I'm seriously tempted to hide the soldering iron. That, or insist that as it's my soldering iron, I get to do it. (Alan's is wrecked as the result of a previous escapade, the details of which elude me still, as I muddle them up with the reasons why one of his screwdrivers has a melted tip.)

Just discovered (off his website, of all places...) Alan's thinking of heading Londonwards. I haven't been to London for a year or more. Mmm.

January 13
Haven't changed the layout yet, I know...

Alan doing the late-night thing again: to bed at 6.30am last night (this morning). Dragged him to cinema to see Zorro. I should have remembered he'd done some fencing and found something different. He also claimed he'd spotted a really obscure error. I checked afterward on IMDB, and was amazed. How did he see this? (Search for Mask of Zorro and goofs to find it.) I loved the film, so I don't care.

Last April, Alan received a rather large monitor. It took the two of us a lot of effort to manoeuvre it through the door (with a millimetre to spare either side) and then through the inner door (which is significantly narrower) and then up the stairs and into him room. I am only just recovering. Now I have found out that it's going to go back. Through all those doors again. This should be good for a laugh. I hope it hasn't expanded in the heat or anything.

I see Alan's still not quite up to grips with the north/south divide. Ferrets down your trousers indeed. This is purely because he went to Gateshead once and couldn't follow the accent.

By the way, there's no entry for the previous day because I hardly saw him.

January 11
Several people have emailed suggestions on how to make these pages load faster, how to prevent coffee-makers boiling dry, and other such things. I am very happy.

Alan has packed up the horrible giant monitor that got stuck in the doorway and it's going back soon. This means getting it through the doorway again. After I attached things to the wall in that area. I am less happy.

Alan has filled the soon-to-be-space on the desk with the contents of another giant package. Speakers. Three of them. (That makes lots). They're.. effective, certainly. Wince.

January 10
I have no clue what Alan has been doing today, either, but it involved a great deal of something going "BEEP!" repeatedly. Most disconcerting.

Alan is reluctant to get involved with any attempt to make a coffee-maker switch on via the computer now because he seems to think I will eventually switch it on with no water in and start a fire. I'm not the one who welded tinned spaghetti to the non-stick saucepan. Or set the wok on fire. More than once. Once with fifteen guests in the house. But there we are.

I live in interesting times, yes.

January 8
I don't see how Alan's quiet day reading could possibly translate into the various bangs and crashes I heard at stages in the day. Ah well.
January 7
I didn't break anything today. Alan didn't break anything (that I know of) today either. Everything fixed (in a house sort of sense, you understand, not the computer sort) stayed fixed. One for the books.

Alan cooked. The spice got stuck in the jar. He shook it. Half of the jar fell into the pan. He told me this after he fed it to me. Alan has also confiscated all the penguins in the house after discovering them _all_ in the bedroom at about four am when he finally finished hacking.

January 6
Massive lag on the net resulted in an instructive morning spent learning about httpd logs. I knew it couldn't be Alan this time: he was still in bed. No long ftps running on ps, I don't use _that_ much, load average normal: the only thing I could think of that was new was those pictures I put up.

Found (eventually) the httpd logs and realised in horror where all the bandwidth had gone. _How_ many hits? To add a note of true geek style, Alan's diagram of which computers are which also showed up in the logs: it was getting six times as much interest as the picture of Alan sitting at them. I am very amused about that.

For the last couple of months there has been a running battle over where the cuddly penguin wants to be. Today it was being held onto by another two penguins sitting proprietorially on my beanbag. I can only assume that Alan ran out of his usual compile-time amusements.

January 5
Alan again up in morning - so early that by 10:30 he was wandering around looking bemused at the idea that he'd already read much of his email. And for once, the parcel was for me. Books from Amazon. I spent the morning discovering that all my pages have manky HTML. Ah well. But Alan did discover that getting up six hours early meant he could fit at least one extra meal in.

I have failed to break the camera so far, and some of the pictures even came out. So - natch - I decided to brave the scanner hardware. The software was broken instead (cries of "Alan! Fiiiiix!") and the attempt to render a colour picture on the screen initially produced three black and white ones instead. Some of the results escaped the censor.

Alan has got a truly stupid new vanity domain name which I propose to ignore utterly.

January 4
Alan forced out of bed by phone. Twas a wrong number. I shot in and took the duvet for washing whilst he was out of bed so he had to get up. I must remember the phone trick for another time: we have a spare phone line, after all.

Rearranged bedroom. To Alan's disgust, we now have space for another bookcase. Went shopping, and discovered that even though we have identical debit cards, the supermarket says I can't have cashback but doesn't argue with Alan when he wants it.

Found the Coffee mini-HOWTO. This looks promising! Bugger 2.2; I want a coffee-maker working, and when I asked Alan to write a driver he promised to find me one that's been done. This only leaves the wiring to do...It can't be that hard, surely?

January 3
More visitors. Alan went on a fish and chips expedition with them (they're Canadian and like the meal. No accounting for taste). Alan did the hacking thing again, so no clue on the rest of the day. I got several emails asking advice on kernel stuff. Again. It's flattering, but it's unlikely to produce useful answers, I must say.
January 2
Patch for what I (and others, I imagine) broke is out already. Wow.

More visitors. Alan was up for the evening ones and was almost up for afternoon. Almost. Out for meal with the usual "hackers and palmpilots at one end of the table, wine at the other" arrangement. Hic. Since it's 3am, I'm off to bed. He, however, is still going strong, but what he's doing, I have no clue...

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 awful 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.

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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