Warning: These are old.
Updated the proto-GNOME FAQ and hoped Miguel wouldn't kill me for stupid commit messages. I dunno, I just felt like writing silly rhymes..
Watched the Princess Bride on DVD. When I saw this at the cinema, one of the things I loved was the photography. The scenery seemed to have much more depth in my memory of that than in the showings on television or video. I had begun to think that maybe this was my imagination, but apparently not. I am ascribing this to the DVD because if I admit that the large television was a good thing to buy, I am lost. (When the box was too large to fit through the door and it had to be unpacked in the street, I was not desperately ecstatic; so I cannot possibly admit it was a good thing after all...)
The washing machine had another fit. I really was hoping it
would hold out until we moved, but it's requiring draining
every two or three washes now. Alan's theory is that it is
the new powder. My theory is that it hates me. (It's reciprocated.)
Alan found I had not taken the "shrink-the-bite" tablets so
that I could drink ("It won't itch then anyway!") and found this
I got bitten by lots of horrible insects in Canada, and one of the
bites has swollen up alarmingly. I described it to Canadian friends
and their reaction was to start saying, "Maybe it wasn't a mosquito.
Maybe it was a..." and coming up with all manner of dreadful things:
spiders with nasty bites, blackflies that take chunks of flesh out
of you ("Is skin missing in the centre?"), and so on. They didn't
mention these before I went to Canada! By then it was
naturally too late in the day to visit the doctors so I got some
stuff from the pharmacist and sulked about the "do not mix with
Caught up with lots of stuff like tax and filing (ugh). Alan refiled everything in piles on the floor.
Rang lots of people about lots of house things. No-one wants to deal with my cellar for me: looks increasingly like I get to (somehow) travel out to somewhere that rents pumps out, take it home, mess with water, electricity and slime all at the same time, try to find a nearby drain for all the stuff to go down to, and then it's going to be some days' worth of shovelling any remaining horrible stuff around, up the stairs and out into... well. I dunno. I can't really see the council picking that up, since they have already informed me that no, they won't pick up glass, and it's up to me to transport it to a "civic amenity site". Having no car appears to be more of an issue than I thought. I can't quite work out what (warning, cliche alert) elderly housebound folk are supposed to do if they have to suddenly get rid of stuff. "Have children living locally with a car", I suspect.
Alan kidnapped the Vaio which I appear to have acquired en route to Canada. He wants to "fix sound better". It gets hot when it's compiling kernels, but not as bad as I feared.
Alan is not leaving Linux, changing jobs, or getting burned out. He is just very very busy. This ends up making me busy, too (especially when "need this particular tshirt for a conference" results in "blown-up washing machine" and "lots of hanging around waiting for repair men to tell us it's working, really" and other little domestic details like that. Grumble.) He has lots to do for Linux, and we both have lots to do with non-Linux things, like the new house (grr), the annual tax joy, and a whole bunch of little things like "it would be really really nice to see some friends and family for the first time in ages. Or even to have time to email them instead of replying to questions about Alan".
That's all I'm saying, except that next time I really shall use the <blink> tag; and I should add that it bothers me that I have to. He's had a link on his diary page to OLS for months. He's been listed as a speaker there for months. It was a reasonable guess that he might be away around those dates. I have a "I am not an Alan-substitute" disclaimer everywhere I can reasonably put it. I know about his comment about /dev/null'ing a lot of email if he doesn't know the source, but honestly, emailing me instead is pushing it.
Oh yes. When I went to put the washing in when we got back, I discovered a pile of water in the washing machine. I would swear it wasn't there when we went away. Lovely. How I wish we could move now and I could have the new machine.
Aside from that, it's nice to be back. The weather is much nicer here,
for one! OLS review from my point of view is almost done, but needs tidying
up and spell-checking and all that jazz.
Headed off to airport, stopping only to pick up the Princess Bride DVD (hooray!). Discovered many Charles de Lint books at the airport which hadn't been in either bookshop I had visited. Sulked a lot as I had no more room in hand baggage and we'd checked in the rest so I couldn't buy them.
Went for a meal with various LinuxCare-in-Canada people (and Australian hangers-on :)), which involved the inevitable "how many people have we got? Which restaurants can fit that in? At which of those are we prepared to eat?" questions and a brisk walk around the block to the same starting point before deciding "And which of these have we locations for?" was another pressing question to answer. Eventually simply asked the nearest restaurant to rearrange the tables, and they complied.
It was a nice meal, even if margaritas do not go well with Vietnamese food and they poured extra salt into the bottom of the margarita glasses (not something you want to discover when draining the glass, but I did. Ugh). Delighted to discover the alternative hacker way to paying the bill. Total it up, divide by people, throw money into centre until complete and hope the people who didn't have a starter have the sense to pay less and the people who did have the drinks (hic!) pay more. Much simpler than palmpilots.
Alan spoilt an entire week of being up at relatively sane hours.
Boo, hiss. He partially redeemed himself (or dropped himself in deeper.
I am not sure) by implementing a stupid idea I had for something that
would be fun. Beware of gnome-fridge, if it ever gets to a release.
(No, it has nothing to do with checking the contents or re-ordering
Talked to another kitchen man, who was slightly saner than the last one. The last one suggested, when I said I wanted the radiator to go because I didn't like hot kitchens, that we get some weird other heating instead. This one had helpful comments like "If your husband spatters fat everywhere with a wok, don't go for this: it won't clean off". I took this to heart.
Alan felt the urge to take all the kitchen floor up. I ran away back to tidy the house we're actually living in and contemplate decoration. I had tried to persuade Alan that what we needed was a house that was purple, with big green and orange bubbles painted over it. He looked at me and said, "Then you'd have to paint 'happy house' on it". I was enchanted with this idea, but when I asked him what colour it should be, he went strangely silent.
He is in no position to comment. Toward the end of the night, I was
listening to a version of Saint-Saën's "Danse Macabre". Alan
grabbed the squeaky penguins and made them sing (squeak?) along to it.
Both people arrived at once, of course, as did Alan, carrying the hoover. Made great inroads on parts of the house, then the hoover got worryingly hot. Eep. Alan played with electricity and failed to electrocute himself, much to my relief.
Patrick Moore (well-known British astronomy bod who has been presenting "The Sky At Night" for years and years) was at the Grand Theatre, so we trotted out to hear him. He didn't play the xylophone (he's also well-known for being "astronomy bod who plays the xylophone"...) but it was still worth going to.
Got a lift with friends to out-of-town place which is reputed to have places that do stuff like install things into kitchens. All were shut (so, if you don't have a car, it's a 45-minute bus ride to discover this) except for one. Our favourite. The source of the cooker chaos earlier this year. Oh well.
Discovered that the bin-men do not collect from the back alley.
We now have eight bags of garden refuse sitting there. Oh well.
I am not a happy bunny.
Headed back on one of the two trains which did not involve getting coaches due to Engineering Works On The Line. Sundays are railway repair day, which accounts for a lot of my tales of rail woe. Finished the back-up book (bought in case I finished Harry Potter) and listened to the battle of Helm's Deep and Frodo and Sam progressing through the marshes on the Lord of the Ring tapes. I could get far too fond of taped books and plays, I can tell already.
Alan immediately started a squeaky penguin conversation with the penguins. The mind reels, yes.
Lots of people asked about the house when I got back. As far as we
know, it's still standing. Further updates as the saga falls out. But
not, I hope, down.
Decided to forego Stephen Tweedie on clustering and other delights in favour of hunt-the-bookshop. A trip into central London to find Forbidden Planet seemed unlikely, alas, so we settled for finding a Waterstones to buy the latest Harry Potter book. Yes, yes, I know. Huge amounts of hype. But I like the books. Back to UKUUG, discovering I'd missed Michael's talk. Hans Reiser arrived just in time for the long lunch-break, prompting BOFery with Stephen Tweedie and Rik van Riel. I settled down to more Harry Potter. :)
Admired the O'Reilly bookstand. Offered to review books if I got to pick which they sent to me. It didn't quite work, but oh well. It was worth a try.
Failed to understand more than one slide of the LVM talk, blinked at Wichert's talk about package management (a new tool? Woo) and after some discussion earlier ("What's a capability?" "It's for one thing" "What, like that Tanenbaum book?" "Yes" "Oh. Never understood that.") decided to skip Linda Walsh's talk. Anyway, I had only got up to chapter 7 in the Harry Potter book by then.
Nearly finished, when everyone spilled out of the talk and it was time to go to the pub where Alistair had managed to book the entire downstairs. Alistair was hunting Hans Reiser, hoping he hadn't got lost. We told him that we'd last heard him discussing clubbing plans with Miguel. Alistair didn't look reassured. The Debian people took one drink, "Lager? No beer?" and declared themselves in quest of beer. Ended up at the neighbouring Weatherspoons, baffled the bar staff: "Eight pints of bitter and a chocolate fudge cake, please" and discovered you could get change from a twenty-pound note after buying a round. Decided not to move.
Eventually, Alan and I headed off back to hotel, and I finished Harry
Potter and fell asleep.
Reached London despite landslips on the line (I swear: _something_ happens for every damn trip), discovered the cunningly-hidden extra tube station at Paddington (did you even know it had sixteen (!) platforms, let alone an extra tube line serving platform 16? I'd forgotten all about that one), found our way to the conference after meeting Martin Baulig and Dennis Daniel at the other station and playing "straight down the road... wait, we're still on the inside of the Hammersmith roundabout, haven't we been past this bit already?", and ran into the talk we were missing. Apparently we weren't sufficiently subtle in our entrance as Miguel stopped to announce, "Oh, there's Telsa.. and Martin... and..". Sorry, Miguel.
Rik van Riel promised me faithfully that if I listened to his talk I would understand "at least the first half", based, I think, on seeing me reply to a bunch of questions via email but not seeing me frantically hunt down answers before replying. I understood the first few slides, but that was about it. Decided I would not understand Raster on X programming, but slipped into Alan's talk. He offered people a choice of four talks, and the sods voted for the 2.4 kernel talk. Again. Argh. I could very nearly give that talk now, although without the silly asides.
Located hotel, which had Alan in fits of nostalgia ("Oh, wow, a really old-fashioned lift". Don't ask), checked in, and attempted to meet miscellaneous people for a meal. Restaurants with space for twenty-four people without booking on a Friday night are thin on the ground even in London, but we managed it. Someone managed to get multiple copies of the bill: the food price total was reasonable, but the drinks were a bit of a shock: did we really buy 17 bottles of the house red?
Miguel was now awake properly, and vanished along with Michael Meeks
and possibly some others to locate clubs. "We must dance!" We headed
back to the hotel for more drinks and discovered the bar was shut.
After sulking, hopped over the road to the Debian enclave, where there
was a bar (what is it with these people?) for a brief while.
Deposited Rik at coach station. More friends visited. So we showed off
the house and its peculiar "no-one lives in me" smell and discussed
(sigh) specs for a computer that's going to be doing a lot of maths.
After, we started on the "how do we get that cellar drained?" quest.
We have been told that all pubs locally have the same problem and
deal with it, but we accidentally bought a drink in the first pub
(as you do) and then sat and watched the rain and thunder and wished
Rik had met this. He'd have thought the weather here was even madder.
The answer from pub number one, incidentally, was "We get a man who
knows about cellars in". Helpful, yes.
It looks like this house is going to take quite a bit of work.
Evening out with the usual crowd (who have acquired a student slave for the summer) for a meal at the place with a French menu and a Chinese menu. Lots of fun. Heather and I escaped the technical stuff and much to our disbelief, they didn't use a palmpilot to work out the bill.
I think it's fair to say that diary entries may be even more appallingly
intermittent than usual. In the meantime, you can read the
Went back armed with... implements.. later that day. Years of real-life Sokoban has a use: we manoeuvred the ladder into the back of a taxi with the help of an amused taxi-driver. We need the ladder to change the lightbulbs in the rooms. Alan chopped down a sycamore growing a foot from the house. I saved some of the sprigs and shoots, but I have doubts about their viability :( I went at the kitchen floor with a wire brush. When I got down to the level where I could see a five pence coin embedded in the gunge I felt I was getting somewhere. (In all truth, the rest wasn't too bad: it looks like the floor got cleaned and then they removed the fridge, exposing the gap between fridge and unit).
I am strongly of the opinion that we pay to get the muck out of the cellar, because I just know that once I get half-way up the stairs with a decaying beanbag I shall see something with too many legs (a woodlouse), scream, drop beanbag, and fall back down the steps onto it. And this will be very bad and no-one will hear the end of it.
I am also of the opinion that we are using the old (backup? :)) vacuum cleaner on the place before my shiny purple and green iMac-lookalike Dyson goes near it. It will probably eat the carpets.
Chinese food tonight. Says Rik, "It's not like this in Holland, Brazil,
or America". We are not sure what to make of this :) Watched DVDs and
opened some appallingly high-alcohol-content Brazilian drink. Hic.
Got large Indian take-out for Rik (well, for us, too).
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.)