The more accurate diary. (Old stuff)

Warning: These are old.

April 1

Grrr! Alan switched my alarm clock off so I missed the usual crop of Radio 4 April Fool jokes this morning.

This was more than made up for by the net, however. I -finally- tumbled to the UserFriendly one after seeing it jammed in amidst other Slashdot sillies which were obviously jokes. Ouch. Talk about the delayed drop. Evil people!

Alan has eaten nearly all the sultanas (like raisins, but no seeds) again. I have run out of places to hide them. The only place I could think of - the bedroom - is out. Because yesterday he accidentally mislaid a pile of CDs. He then forgot he'd lost them. They finally surfaced on top of the bed. No, I have no idea why Alan felt it was the place to put them for safekeeping.

March 31

I am seriously confused. Alan got up before 9am again.

March 30

I spoke too soon on the portents. Alan emerged from the bathroom looking pained. And wet. Our water has gone orange.

And I have just now caught him using my best new pan, which was soaking in the kitchen sink, to catch lots of water and "see how orange it went". He is served food out of this.

I am less than ecstatic about this, so I have given him the plunger and told him to make use of all that running water to improve the drainage on the sinks.

March 29

Great and meaningful portents today. Sky fell in, fimbulwinter started, seven seals were opened, and Alan got up at nine am for no apparent reason. Well, no, just that last, but I was expecting any of the first three as a result.

Still raining. Radiators covered with Alan's socks. I do hope no-one comes to visit right now. Mild comments about lack of accessibility of wardrobe (which is in computer room, but can't be opened due to heaps of boxes in the way) resulted in a lot of crashing and banging and plaster-freeing thumps. I haven't dared look.

People keep telling me about Melissa and her appearance in and subsequent virus-spreading. Apparently she's very friendly and goes off to say hello to everyone you know. I haven't actually met her yet, though, since she only uses MS products. There are times I am quite thankful that if strings doesn't work I can't read Word files. I don't think I want to meet her, or any Linux variety, before someone decides to make introductions on my behalf, thank you :)

March 28

Still raining. I should have just shaken powder over the clothes and hung them on the line, perhaps.

March 27

Early? The repairman came at twenty past twelve. By that definition of early I must have been up since the small hours. Paah. Alan fascinated by disassembly of washing machine, but I noticed he didn't watch so closely when it came to putting it back together. This does not auger well.

Did lots of washing. It rained.

Finally got the newest version of Lynx and added the SSL stuff. This is cool. Now I can buy lots of books from Amazon! Actually, I've just realised why Alan wasn't overly helpful. Previously I had to go upstairs and use his computers for that. And he knew what I was spending that way. Now I don't have to. Clearly he thought of this...

March 26

Brilliant drying weather. Shame I can't wash anything. (Well, I can, but it's a whole ten minute's walk to the laudrette and we should be sorted on Saturday.)

March 25

Four people tried to sell me double glazing today. So much for the Telephone Preference Service, then. (System whereby you say 'don't ring me up if you're selling something' and telesellers honour it. Yes, guv.)

A few days ago, Alan expressed a desire for a particular meal. So I made it. He knew I was making it, because he asked what time it would be at. So it's all ready and -- no Alan. Or rather a muffled shout of "I can't come now, I've taken one of the machines to bits."

March 24

Someone kindly threw a tarball of the latest Lynx with the "not allowed outside America because we'll only slag off the NSA with it" secure stuff my way. Since my Lynx isn't quite that up to date, collected all the bits, started patching it, used up all the space on one of Alan's machines. Bad Telsa. Apparently lesson 1, "If you're not sure, do it on someone else's machine" requires lesson 2, "Check df first." (I should have remembered it hovers at about 99% full permanently, and this is a machine with a lot more discspace than mine, sniffle.) So I broke it and now although I have the patches I don't have the stuff they should be applied to. So we start again. Maybe. Yuk.

Washing machine broke again. Was incredulous. Rang the repair people again. Got told "Monday". Was even more incredulous.

Went for a wander down the beach. Couldn't persuade Alan to come and examine evidence that the world continues without the aid of silicon, even with the promise of "Well, there's lots of sand..." but it was very nice. Peaceful. No faxes.

Alan has not been down to watch Scooby Doo in weeks. I think Alan getting a cable telly feed upstairs was a mistake.

March 23

No phone calls from faxes today. Phew. Watched Broken Arrow again on the telly. I'd forgotten some of the lines in it. "Please don't fire on the nuclear warheads" has to be one of the more inspired pieces of dialogue around.

Channel 5 are clearly going for the honest approach to describing their programming. Directly after the film was a programme called Strippers, and the announcer described it as a "searing and searching documentary into an aspect of modern society -- and okay, it might be just a little bit titillating, too."

Discovered anew that Alan can locate, download and install a set of libraries and a program in the time it takes me to read the FAQ and point ftp in the right direction. I just wish he'd tell me when he does things like that; it would save an awful lot of time!

March 22

Fax hell. Our phone number is clearly on a list as being a fax number. Which it isn't. And it's a very popular number. I've been getting the occasional series of calls but complaining to BT with the results of 1471 (note for non-UK folks: you can often get the number of the last caller that way unless they choose to withhold it) generally works. (They won't tell you who did it but they do tell them to stop.) But all morning one caller withheld the number and was most insistent on getting through to the fax that we don't have. "Ring" "Hello?" "BEEEP!!" "(Swearwords)". "Ring" "Hello?" "BEEEP!!" "(Venting)" "Ring" "FOAD! FOAD!"

BT have a solution: I can change my number free of charge. Wooh! (Swearwords.)

Went shopping with Alan, away, out of the house and earshot of endless phone calls. (The difficulty is that unplugging the thing means we might lose calls from people who need to ring, to forestall the suggestion...) Discovered coupons for money off CDs. Bought many loud ones. CDs of electronic rubbish to play down your phone at annoying fax machines, alas, are not on sale in HMV, which is just as well, because I was certainly in a mood to play them. People keep telling me all the things that you can do to stop this stuff, or screen out fax from proper calls, but mostly they rely on Windows, of which we have not a single copy in the house, and fax-modems, which is not a feature of domestic life here either. Swearwords. And forgot to look for a cheap video player again. Well, I was distracted.

Alan has made off with one of the CDs before I've even had a chance to hear it, just to maintain some consistency to life :)

Found out why wtmp exploded. It's Alan's fault. Well, I typed the offending line into inittab, but he told me to.

March 21

Oooh. Alan around and sociable. Just as well: needed someone to explain where all my discspace on my machine had gone. Wasn't in my directory, and no cores lurking. Eventually tracked down to /wtmp which has decided to explode. It's Alan's fault. Failed to go shopping for a video player again because investigating what Alan's improvements had done was much more interesting. For him, at least.

March 20

Up rather late. Can't think why. Alan recovering from late-night post-video hacking (ie: in bed) for most of the day. Pub in evening for friend's birthday and massive gossip collection session. Entertained at a friend's account of being offered a job (programming) but "could he take the earring out, please. Now. It doesn't create a professional appearance." Friend, characteristically enough, demurred. Amazing occurrence: Alan turned down the offer of chocolate cake and coffee after pub. The coffee was inevitable -- I and others have been trying to persuade him that coffee is drinkable for ages now. (When we stayed with Alec Muffett a while ago, Alec assiduously explained all about different coffees to him and made all manner of varieties and had absolutely no luck at all -- although I was bouncing for the rest of the day after drinking what Alan left.) But turning down chocolate cake? Alan? Strange indeed.

March 19

I know what he did. Having promised he'd sort out dates for something so I could book tickets, he forgot. He also went from bed to bathroom to email. omitting the food step, which meant that by the time I realised he was awake and could tell him that if he got ourselves organised we could see Edward II (a folk-reggae band, go see them!) playing that night, he'd arranged over IRC to go and watch Jackie Chan videos with friends. Paah.

I experimented to find the perfect mix of a fruit liqueur and wine (the result would have been kir, but I couldn't get the lid off the cassis and so had to substitute whatever mure sauvage is instead) and watched my typing degenerate badly instead. I'd still have preferred going to see Edward II, but I found the right mix.

March 18

Due to a phone call waking him, Alan got up before 10am today. Yes, this is -major- excitement here.

Bought my giant saucepan. Accidentally went past the bookshop on the way and discovered that it has expanded and has a new section on the first floor (or second floor, in some people's terminology). Accidentally bought the odd book or two. Ahem. I managed to remain within single figures however; so I am proud and Alan is impressed.

March 17

Sister has now loaded her new toy with all manner of 'better stuff'. Alan has become nocturnal. I have worked out how you play freecell. Sister has now discovered the geek code, too. Oh gods, what have I done? And her creatures' survival rate on Technosphere is better than mine, too! (One died, but the other is alive still. Whee. And even the dead one outdid Alan's record of three days. Heh.)

Since Alan brings this subject up I suppose I should mention that "half an hour looking at two saucepans" is only one side of the story. Never mind. We were just in time to gt the last of the Welshcakes (before you ask, scones cooked on a griddle. I'll probably find out that scones are different outside the UK too, now, of course) at the bakers and wander back through town munching them.

March 16

On phone to sister, who proceeded to talk me through her getting her new laptop. (Yes, I have the pronouns in the right order.) Now jealous, cos it's lot way more memory than my machine has. Didn't persuade her to click on "No, I do not accept this licence" and to collect a refund, but her "Urr, yuk, I don't like that! -That's- going, for a start! And why is that there?" with pauses to remove the offending item and mutterings about "I'll get something better off Tucows" were quite funny. Apparently she doesn't like some active desktop and would have preferred the internet link to be more active, among other things I wot not of.

Help! I am now surrounded by people who talk computers at me! Or I would be, if Alan was on remotely the same hours as me. Apparently I2O hacking works much better at night. He did surface in time to get me work out which bits of Gnome I needed to run the game where (yes, you guessed it) "it goes whirly-whirly round and you click on them and they all go away!" To forestall the question, it's called SameGnome. Also discovered freecell and spent far too long working out the rules.

March 15

Quiet day for once. Noteworthy in itself.

March 13

Alan didn't manage to get up for 11am. Big surprise. He was lucky though, because the promised programme didn't happen on the TV. I call this unfair. Spent a lot of the day trying the "If I do loads of rushing around, I will kill the germs off before I kill myself off" tactic. It didn't work but I can now see the floor again. Alan is in the doghouse because he didn't notice any difference.

Alan's dad has delightedly informed him that Microsoft Encarta's entry for Swansea runs, "Highlights: see Cardiff." This is not a tactful piece of information. Swansea and Cardiff are the two biggest cities in the area and rivalry can be rather noticeable.

March 12

Penguin sponsorship stuff arrived. Whee!

I have a horrible cold, but life is improved by the prospect of seeing Alan attempt to get up before 11am tomorrow for something on the television. I don't think he'll manage it.

March 11

I cannot believe that yet again the washing machine is playing up. Paaah.

March 10

Felt the urge to inflict culture on Alan and dragged him to the art gallery, from where a touring exhibition of "Venice through Canaletto's eyes" - or Canaletto paintings, basically - will soon be departing. It took some effort to get him into the place and then the first things he saw in the entrance hall were grandfather clocks. Clocks are mechanical and logical and so clearly much more interesting, (I even caught him solemnly inspecting the card which explained the workings of a clock no longer on display) but he was eventually maneouvred into the room with the paintings.

I shall refrain from amateur art criticism, but it was definitely worth seeing.

It almost made up for discovering that Alan has eaten all the sultanas again. Grr!

March 8

Tried to wake Alan at hourly intervals after I got up. It took a long time.

March 7

Alan doesn't mention the cloud on the horizon. Whilst the current Time Team programme slot remains unchanged, the repeats of old series on the cable channel are moving times again. From 3pm on a Sunday, which he can just about make, to 11am on a Saturday. That's only a few hours after he tends to get to bed.

I was delighted. Because he failed to fix (ahem) the video recorder, which broke in August, this means he'll have to get up! Woo-hoo.

Just went up to gloat and had a nasty shock. Alan has decided to make more space in the computer room. This is always a bad sign, but this time was particularly - well - Alan-like. In his logical way, he has decided the optimum method for making space is not to tidy up, stack manuals and references on the shelves or put the heap of clothes variously destined for the second-hand shop or the cloth-recycling bin (mostly the latter, as I doubt that gerbil-gnawed tshirts advertising old bands and software firms are in great demand) into a bag for carrying there. No. It's to collect all the computer detritus together and screw them all together to make two new machines. Ummmm.

March 6

The delights of graphical web browsers seem to lead inexorably to seeing a whole load of rubbish that Lynx has the good taste to ignore. Installed Junkbuster. I could get to like it. But Lynx is still quicker!

Alan up late enough that I was at first worried that he might not make it to the theatre tonight. This is a legitimate concern: he once got up with about an hour to spare for an evening performance. He managed it somehow, with added time for shopping and for making things go "Beep!" upstairs. He also did a swap of computer stuff with someone. I stayed well out of the way (I am *not* carrying it *into* the house! No!) but I'm not sure whether his comments of "I'm winning on the amount of junk" mean that he's succeeding in getting rid of it or that he's managing to sneak more in.

Met up with a dozen friends, one wielding a crazy amount of tickets, and went to see "Guards, Guards!" based on the Discworld story. Fun. Blakes' Seven fans presumably already know that Paul Darrow is in it. Retired to the pub afterwards. Hic.

March 5

Lots of busy boring things.

Oooh. A letter from a rail company which is prepared to admit that our trip to London for the netproject conference was not representative of its "normal high standard". And if I send the tickets they will be able to "consider" compensation. Hmm.

Friends came round in the evening and Alan was sociable for almost two hours. I was impressed! He's now catching up with things. I'm not sure what he's up to. But things are going beep a lot.

March 4


March 2

Alan got up late, but was up until about 5am last night, so no surprise there. I asked why and got the informative reply, "Well, I had an idea.." Apparently this explains it all! Anyway: amazingly busy day for me. Discovered TechnoSphere early on it in and and have *still* not had time to make a little animal. All my friends are sending me excited accounts of "My baby animal is sleeping, it's so cuuute," so I have to make one now. It's not peer pressure, btw, it's the fact that I found out that the reason that Alan's not so keen is that his animal died of starvation after only three days. So I have to beat that, since I now owe him about three thousand penguins after the last round of bagatelle.

Banked the cheques that came in whilst I was away, paid the zoo for the penguin. Hooray! (I sent Alan the revised page and information so it should show up there RSN. Yeah, right.) Thanks to everyone who chipped in. Next year, someone who can take cash in different currencies can do it...

Cunning planning on my part got Alan out of the house for a whole five hours earlier: we heard on the grapevine that Fairport Convention were playing through the ever-reliable "Alan used to work with a fella who is married to a lady who used to attend folk clubs and festivals with a friend who happened to ring up and mention that a third folk club person was now supporting Fairport on a tour with a date near us and..." chain. (There may be a link or two missing. That looks far too simple.) We completely missed any adverts, though we bumped into other friends there. The lack of adverts might explain the empty seats although not the half-dead response of some of the audience.

Fairport were storming, and I am appalled to realise that Anna Ryder (who played support and I have *never* seen anyone play trumpet and accordian simultaneously, let alone sing, too!) remembers Alan. You see, one of her songs refers to men with huge deep pockets containing all manner of detritus. And at Cropredy (a folk festival I've mentioned before) she was introducing this song when Alan shambled across the front of the field. "There!" she pointed triumphantly, "Like him!" This festival, I should note, has about 15,000 attenders. And I really hope they didn't all see this. Anyway, she and the Fairport folk were in the bar after, and she stills remembers Alan as the walking example of the man with the horrible pockets at the opportune moment.


She is apparently also producing daily cartoons of the tour which are somewhere on the net. I don't know where, but I've just found another (newish) Fairport site which might well have them. So I'm off to look. Alan loitered for a whole five minutes to make food before heading back upstairs to check his email. What a surprise.

March 1

Blitzed kitchen. Discovered that now I have bought extra sultanas for Alan, he seems to have stopped eating them. Alan up horribly late again but this is becoming so normal I think I'll only mention it when he gets to bed before 2am, as that will be more of a momentous occasion.

February 28

Came back. On time! Woo-hoo! Swansea raining. Alan proudly pointed to washing up (done, mostly) and enjoined me not to look at empty state of washing machine, nor to comment on rest of house.

Then caught Alan attempting to dispose of double chocolate fudge cake before I noticed. It's good to be back.

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.)