Warning: These are old.
On with the diary. If the fonts are
this may explain it.
I caught a pile of the Blue Planet episodes on the television and was entranced. Can I have this as a screensaver?
Inevitable party in the evening. Justin had a most bizarre video involving animated lego pieces replacing the characters in Monty Python's Holy Grail. Tequila events occurred, but we survived and spilled out into the street to watch the fireworks and pounce on passers-by with cries of Happy New Year. I could swear the same taxi has been in the same place at the same time that night for about four years running now.
literatureand poetry; one for sci-fi and fantasy. Didn't go very well. I expect some books to be near other books, and in the end they went in wherever they would fit. One of the shelves has collapsed in one case, so I piled all the books I never read up underneath it to hold it up. Let's hope Alan doesn't try to take one of those out. Tried to stack the ones that wouldn't fit up neatly, without touching the so-precious wallpaper. No-one is going to be allowed even to lean on it. At least not until I have spilled coffee down it or something.
Alan was persuaded to cook Chinese (or some British/Alan version thereof) for the first time in ages. He was very careful about switching rings off this time. No fire ensued. Woo.
More quiz activity late-night. We will finish this if it kills us.
Only three left we're really guessing on now. But now we keep
finding mistakes in the
Oh, that's easy, it's.. answers
we got at the start.
Caught up with mail. Mailed Nat a pile of info, leaving us down to four questions in the quiz. Discoverd Gerald had mailed Nat the same info. Oops.
Messed around with baby-HTML again. Mozilla's Christmas present
to me was 0.9.7 supporting the longdesc attribute on
<img> tags. A friend told me I should be using
this a year or two ago, so tried to add some. All the examples
were for company logos, and all I have is a couple of photos. Had a
go anyway. Got told it looked like the result of English lessons
where you are given a picture and told
Write down what you see.
Still having trouble with Tesco and its online groceries. This company has dominated the market in delivering shopping in Britain. I cannot think how. I suspect it's to do with the fact that some of its competitors' idea of online ordering is to pick items from a list on the web, and then print out the results as your shopping list to take round the shop! In the meantime, Tesco surges ahead, and yet trying to order with Mozilla on Linux is still adventure. I know it shouldn't be like this. I've seen my sister do it with IE :)
With or without Junkbuster, and with a variety of Mozilla versions, on a cablemodem link, I get:
shelvesare truncated. Sometimes mid-item.
I'd love to hear whether other people meet this and what what setups. Then I know whom to pester about it.
Finally got through to Parcelforce on the phone. They had left a
card saying they'd tried to deliver a parcel whilst we were out.
I had then rung and found they were delivering it
Which they didn't. Hadn't been able to get through to find out
where it was until today. Asked could they try again. Discovered they
couldn't. After finding the house whilst we weren't in it, they
couldn't find the house whilst I was waiting in. So the driver
No longer at this address and returned it to sender.
I cannot imagine what house he went to to be informed we didn't
live there. Scaffolding on the outside there may be, but we are
in there underneath it all somewhere. Really.
Lovely. Merry Christmas to you, too, Parcelforce.
Rang Amazon (the sender) and asked for it back. Amazon said
Methinks they're used to this.
Alan pointedly informed me that the vacuum needed emptying as, I suspect, a method of demonstrating he'd done the vacuuming. He has managed to be excused the emptying after once demonstrating that asthma and bagless vacuum-emptying do not mix.
Manoeuvred another bookcase which has been on the wrong floor since we moved in to the newly-decorated room. The dustsheets didn't work. I have cleaned the CDs, the CD player, the CD holders, three bookcases and the contents of two bookcases, and two chairs. I have merely the heap of books in the centre of the room to do now. Unforunately, that's about 400 (or so it seems), and they are all going to need wiping to get rid of dust.
Given all that dusting, perhaps it is as well that the Amazon parcel didn't arrive.
Out in the evening to celebrate Leila's birthday. Caught up with lots of friends, but what a noisy pub. Ouch. Returned home to discover it was Friday, not Thursday, and became vastly confused. How did I get the right night for her birthday and the wrong day of the week for everything else? NTK arrived, and I still didn't notice it was a Friday. And all I had to drink was a half of shandy, so that is not the reason.
infectious diseaseassociated with Rochdale, we have discovered it has been visited by plague, typhus, cholera, gonorrhoea, lung cancer and asbestosis; that it had a meeting on the subject of CJD; and that there has been was a parliamentary report on lunacy on Rochdale. I am inclining to the idea that we put
outbreak of dangerous socialism(which ultimately gave rise to my bank) at the moment... I'm not happy about our Worksop answer either, but Rochdale is proving a national health hazard right now. It's certainly driving me mad.
opposition. Meanies. Perhaps we should swipe their answers for the fish :)
And we are still stuck! Or I think we are. I don't like our current answers for 5.2, 5.9, 5.10, 11.4, 12.3, 12.4, 12.7, 14.2, 14.4, 14.5, 14.7, 18.3 and 18.5. Oh. And there's a typo in 17.10.
Still, it's better than just three.
Alan is currently browsing Ebay on the television. Help.
has grown but we're still stuck on a few. Apparently the theme of
section 13 really is spies, and Nat is threatening to email
Nigel West for verification. I have learnt more about the lives
and work of Nobel prize-winners than I could imagine. My guess
Lloyd George knew my father got put back in when an
earlier answer had no geographical location associated with it, but,
oh horrors, we are getting dates which aren't 1901 for the event
someone suggested. Now I see why my history teachers were so keen
on primary sources to avoid errors. If
I was there is primary,
the web is definitely not. It's more like
ultimate. In more
ways than one. An American got one of the terribly parochial British
answers. A biking friend is going crackers trying to think of
motorcycle carnivals which turn into decent anagrams.
Despite our morbid natures and knowledge of half the disease locations
without checking (I live in Swansea, of course I know about the Hecla..),
outbreak is defeating us. A Dutch friend thinks he's
read potted biographies of everyone remotely famous who came from
Rochdale, whilst an American friend claims that if you google on the
name of Rochdale and any disease, you find a link. It's got to be more
obvious than this... as have fishes' names meaning a light touch or
dusty digit. Alan helped come up with where we should look for the
answer to the Findlater's dry fly question: there is a book which has
pictures of all the bottle labels. Special interest, clearly.. Where
did he find this? On Ebay, of course. Some extremely blurry pictures
were on the web anyway, and not only did we get the fly, a fishing
friend thinks he's identified the precise variety of fly: the name
itself is so apposite that it must be right -- or if not, the
label should change, because they are missing a good pun!
The problem is, it's too engrossing. Since explanations were
needed for some, we thought we might as well gloss them all.
Nat disappeared for half an hour only to re-emerge with
listen to this, this is such an amazing story! about one (for
which I note there is as yet no gloss); someone else has probably
set off all MI5's alarms by wandering through the Public Records
Office website, which identifies its webserver as -- no, you can
find out --, for most of a day (he's the one who got the spy
link, and he was last heard of buried in PDFs there); and arguments
are raging about the precise details of some of the Nobel-winners'
work. All completely irrelevant to the questions, but much fun.
In other news, it snowed in Swansea. Heavily enough still to be
lying on the ground when Alan eventually surfaced, which was about
2pm. He spent much of the rest of the day playing with the television,
and then disappeared out of the room. Half an hour later, the
television started talking to me. Really. First it said
and then it told me not to forget a particular programme later.
Something tells me that I know who caused that.
I had found Alan an appropriately silly present which had nothing to do with computers. Hah.
Christmas dinner at Justin's, who does not believe guests should be allowed to leave the table able to move, and vegetated in front of his television watching DVDs.
Attacked evil quiz again in the evening. Someone finally got a line on section 13, although it's so incredibly obscure I can't believe it. Nat is being mailbombed by suggestions now, and since we have given up and decided that Google is not really cheating provided we learn something in the process and mark the ones we used the web for, we are finding more and more strange things out.
In the afternoon, got stuck into the nightmare annual quiz from King William's College which was reprinted in the Guardian newspaper. Normally I can get about ten of these before giving up in despair, and then I lose the questions before the answers are printed. Recruited help on IRC and spent hours on it - argh! Answers so far are up on the web courtesy of Nat: we have so far not resorted to Google and confined ourselves to books in our respective houses. We also discovered how little a technical channel can know about Nobel prizes; got into a grand wrangle about the dating of Sherlock Holmes books; discovered many euphonious but unhelpful translations (I love channels with many non-English speakers); squabbled about whether Google was cheating (for now, we think it is); learned much about Poe that didn't help with the answer about Amontillado; and generally forgot the travails of the world in our efforts to reach half-marks (which we are still working on).
With all that, I feel a little better for being completely stuck on the monster crossword of the other day.
I don't see why he wants to, but he can.
Very cold in the evening. Discovered the next day Swansea was the coldest place in Wales overnight at -8 degrees Celsius. All right, Canadians and Scandinavians, you can stop laughing at the idea of that as very cold now..
Alan plugged the television back in, since everything bar the tidying is over in that room. It had been off for five weeks and the Sky box was desperately confused.
Visitors in the evening. Now out of wine. Before Christmas!
on its way to you now.
Naturally people have tried to deliver stuff whilst we weren't here. Oh well.
Did you pack this yourself, sir?questioners at airports would be happy to hear
No, they're presents, we can't open them yet!as a reply. Apparently we have a pair of fighting dinosaurs. Alan has been cheating and read the instructions in order to train his before I can. Alas, couldn't fit other presents into suitcases, but we must present a strange image to friends, since someone else also gave us things to fight each other with.
Was finally catching up when the electricity started glitching: not enough to trip the fuses, but entirely enough to knock out the machines not on the UPSes or which draw a lot of power. Discovered the machine which gets my mail not on the UPS. Alan fixed that. Alan discovered he had installed the wrong kernel on his kernel-build machine when it failed to reboot. He thinks he typed in the wrong window. He is now fixing that...
In between, long pre-Christmas
I need so-and-so's address
phone calls from friends sorting out their Christmas card lists
and catching up with lots of news.
It's now approaching 11pm and we have not yet even thought about tea. Fortunately, I see wine and olives and cheese to hand. Supper time. I'm tempted to skip the olives and cheese, too :)
I thought Alan was on holiday. Things are instead madly busy around here.
Google put all its new old news
(um) up. I haven't bothered with deja since deja was practically
impossible to use in Lynx, and too gaudy to use in a graphical
browser, but this is usable. Found Alan bestowing his views on
alt.mud, comp.sys.sinclair and goodness knows what, and an amazingly
accurate prediction of something, which post I have now promptly
lost. Wondered how many people submitted the
Green card lottery
last chance post to Google's list of great net moments. Found
my first venture onto Usenet (
hope this works, first time I've
tried to post to anything beyond local.test). Remembered
believing at the time that no-one would be mad enough to archive
alt.* because it was entire megs of data (ahem) and was reminded
inescapably of Charlie Stross' prescient
on DejaNews. Not only did he get its survival into the next
as a database, if not as a company right, he was
right on about contexts changing.
Builders are still waiting for a magic part to arrive. Decorators are still waiting for half the wallpaper to arrive.
Friends came round briefly on their way to Tescos -- at 11pm! Dropped off some box you attach to a telly. Apparently there is a chip in there that you can run Linux on. Clearly this must be investigated, so off it goes to Russell King to make this happen.
Last night was cold and cloudless. Just before I came to bed, I looked out of the attic window and saw more stars than I'd have thought possible from a city road with the streetlights on. Orion (one of three constellations I can actually recognise, shame on me) was glittering above me. Entirely unexpected, but lovely.
Resurrected some of the machines I seem to have accumulated (I don't have that many, truly) and groaned at the number of updates I need to apply to them. Then I need to get GNOME 2 building in order to brea^Wdocument it. Joy.
Discovered that the chain of docbook, db2html and
not produce docs that pass the W3C
validator until you
remove all the
target="_top" bits and add in a character
encoding. Don't know which to blame for that. It could well be
my fault. It usually is.
Sampled more interesting offerings from the craft fair and bought more mead. Yum. The market seems to have acquired a town crier, but I am confused, because he is advertising the market to people who are already there.
He did some vacuuming later, but that was because he set the kitchen on fire and I told him that it was up to him to tidy it up again. (Tiny fire, but novel, because we don't generally set things on fire here. And really, it was just a piece of paper on top of the hob. Alan used the still-lit gas ring from which I had just removed a pan as a depositing-point for a very large piece of paper. Yay for engineers.)
So I anticipated Alan dolefully removing all the bits of blackened paper and ash, and wiping the surface down, and so on. But no. I came back to find him vacuuming the cooker.
Finally got a chance to put together a set of drawers I bought a month ago. I love the instructions on these flat-packed furniture things. They're mind-boggling. Alan helped, for definitions of help involving hitting things very hard and doing the final turns of the screwdriver. Inevitably we lacked a specific tool required for construction, and got stuck; so we are now left with a frame for the drawers with two of the four wheels attached, two partly-assembled drawers, and an array of Things Left To Attach.
Well, what would you like?
What about...[some thing that looked Alan-like]?
Well, what about that book you were reading in the bookshop?
Oh, I was just reading that whilst I was waiting for you.
Computer stuff, then? What about that fancy card you were after?
Oh, didn't I say? [shifty look] I found that on Ebay last week.
On the bright side, Return to the Forbidden Planet is touring again next year. This is a brilliant play (musical/forgotten-rock-and-roll-masterpiece/piss-take/etc) and so I am very happy.
Meal out for birthday in the evening. Alan coughed and sneezed
loud enough for people on other tables to tell him,
We got a choice of liqueur at the end (clearly there are benefits
to accidentally admitting to increasing age), and I picked on grappa,
because I had never had it. Later, Alan ruminated on his sobriety
Reading email, fine. Replying to email, probably. Hacking
is now right out. Later I found him hacking. Let's hope it
wasn't something I use.
LUG in the evening. Sat in the quiet (no walkmans, no mobile phones) carriage of the train listening to other people's mobile phone conversations. Ho hum.
More decorating complications. More cellar complications. I no longer want to know.
The Junior Culture Minister managed to slag off folk music today,
with a surreal remark about the idea of
listening to three folk
singers from Somerset sounding like hell to him. Since
Show of Hands come from
the neighbouring county, I think he is being very silly. Then
again, Show of Hands do have some anti-privatisation songs, and
this is a New Labour government, not a Labour one, so perhaps he
wouldn't like them after all.
Alan is not allowed to laugh because he walked into the room after they'd just finished painting all the back of the door. Apparently it took some time for them to work out a way for him to leave safely.
Alan did his diary, just to make me be quiet about it. He can't remember what happened in Dublin. I can, so now I mention that my account (which is distressingly boring) is now up I feel sure he will suddenly remember what happened when and attempt to backfill his diary. It wasn't done when I wrote this though :)
As a consequence, he felt the urge to eat very hot food in the evening. (Standard cold cure in this house is either a curry or a chili.) I went for a shatkora dish, because it has the most amazing bitter fruit or vegetable in it. Periodically I search through the local Bangladeshi shop for it, but I don't know why, because I have no idea how I might prepare or cook it. Google is failing me on this. Bad google.
Decorators keep switching the electricity off. I have given up running around resetting all the clocks. They set the fire alarm off with the dust, but they know how to stop it now :)
Sent a pile of parcels off in the naive hope that they would arrive in the right countries before the Christmas parcel madness starts. Packed as carefully as I could, but I think they still fall short of Anal-Retentive Packer paranoia. I bet they arrive in pieces anyway.
Idle Harry Potter thought: why is Hagrid a Gryffindor? Given his loyalty to Dumbledore, shouldn't be have been a Hufflepuff?
Apparently this will all be finished by the end of the week, but I take leave to doubt this. There was a time when it was all going to be finished by December.
Alan has been very busy and has now left his diary so long that I think he's forgotten what actually happened when.
Friends came round and we discovered we had not a single room where visitors can sit down.
Persuaded Alan into town and promptly dragged him round the
bookshop. Heh. Then discovered the
which Swansea puts on every year: lots of little booths in the
centre of the pedestrianised pavements. That was the end of
serious shopping for the day. Time to browse and hunt down the
fudge stall Alan remembered from last year. Even more stalls
this year, some of dubious authenticity: Real Welsh Mead (yum,
bought that, sampled half the stall, am going back to sample
the rest), Traditional Welsh Craft Stalls, Authentic Welsh
I was extremely restrained and merely bought a purse. (Note for Americans: purses here are what you put coins in. They are not the bags we call handbags. And I am going to make a glossary one day.) But then I ran out of money to put in it. Scarily enough, half these Ye Olde Market stalls accept plastic.
Around Castle Square there was also a French market, whatever that means. It seemed to mean a lot of completely unvisited bread stalls, a perfume stall (I have never seen perfume on sale at markets in France) and about five charcuterie stalls. I was a bit confused on how this had suddenly arrived in Swansea (my grandparents remember visiting onion-sellers, but entire markets?) then ended up behind the stalls (as you do) staring at a bunch of lorries with logos all about a French market. Hmm. Alan loves poking around at things like these and examining the contents of every stall very carefully, so the rest of the day was lost.
There were also several buskers (one lot were great) and a very loud American evangelist with -- alas -- a microphone and amplifier. It somehow seems unfair when only one group or person making noise has the amp.
The water in the cellar is now going down again. This is beyond frustrating.
Bumped into a friend in the supermarket. As you do.
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.)