The more accurate diary. Really.

Warning: These are old.

April 2002

May 1st
Caught up with stuff. The trackball is suffering from the injection of coffee the other day. Caught up with more stuff. Caught up with... well, you get the idea.

LUG in the evening. Finally remembered to lend friends the uncopyable CD. Friend knocked on door five minutes later: I had given them the case but not the CD.

April 30th
Awoke too late for the free breakfast. Pooh. Alan has been travelling too much. The first thing I do when the temperature of a room is wrong is to look for the window. The first thing Alan does now is to look for the air conditioning.

We were up too late to see a gallery and a show, but after Alan had rejected the National Gallery, the Mational Portrait Gallery, Tate Modern, and the Museum of London (where I wanted to see the Roman well machinery that Time Team covered), talked Alan into seeing a show. Three matinees seemed available. I'd already got him to one (Woman in Black, highly recommended). Rang theatre for the next one, Cats, which apparently has about ten performances ever left. Gawped at prices. Rang St Martins and booked for The Mousetrap instead: two people for less than Cats wanted for one. It's a cliche, but it has to be done.

Mousetrap was fun. The same culprit did it as ever, but at least Alan is now free from taxi drivers who shout the murderer after you if you under-tip. (I've seen it before, so was already safe.) Trivia for the day: Paul Darrow of Blakes 7 was in the thing years ago. Annoyance of the day: Alan guessed (I refuse to say deduced) the murderer in the interval. My sister did this too. Apparently I am just dense.

Trundled back to Paddington to find that supersaver tickets (the only ones anyone can afford) are now not valid until 8pm when leaving London (which they did not say when we bought them). Loitered until first available train back. Found a second Paddington Bear at Paddington Station. Very crowded train. Alan showed off and read email on the train. He wouldn't let me play Aisleriot, though. Boo!

April 29th
Within two hours of getting up, managed to wash clothes with coins in the pockets, requiring some frantic thumbing through the manual, and to fling about a pint of coffee over three computers, one trackball, one mouse, one mousemat, one keyboard and (oh dear) the chequebook.

Set off for London shortly after this, confident in expectations that the train would end up discovering Atlantis and holding us for entry without a visa. Surprisingly, this did not occur, and were were merely mundanely late into London. I am beginning to become inured to London. My typical headache no longer comes on as the train approaches Paddington, and I can manage an entire hour of London at a time. Came up for air out of the tube station and... Telsa! Alan! Bumped into someone we'd met at a London expo a year or so ago. Found our way to City University, noting all the police preparations for May Day (Do Not Park Here notices and so forth). We found City University, and Alan talked about possible effects of the EUCD (European Union Copyright Directive) and stole all the best examples from Martin Keegan, who spoke after him.

We followed people to the pub, and winced at the prices. Someone was adamant there was a good pub round the corner, so we followed them. It was shut. Phil Hands was in the vicinity, so we went for Plan B: deprive Debian developers of alcohol and wait for them to locate pub. Part one failed: he was adequately supplied with alcohol already. Part two worked well. I have a hazy memory of food after that,

Then found our way to hotel, and slept, dreaming of free breakfast.

April 28th
That will teach me to comment about Alan's hours. Today, he was up before me. Oops.

At a rather late hour, remembered that we're supposed to be going to London tomorrow. Perhaps we should organise that then.

April 27th
BBC site has some funny ideas about related links sometimes. There's a story about whether Rhodri Morgan (First Minister in the Welsh Assembly) should have commented on the state of the Welsh Rugby Union. For some reason, the related links include North Wales Police and the Youth Justice Board. Um.

Alan is back to his usual habits. Around noon I suggested it was time to go shopping. Around 4pm, he got up. He did help with the shopping though. And then conspicuously didn't sulk when I wanted Blakes 7 instead of the rugby. (Very conspicuously. He might as well have sulked.)

April 26th
Bizarre weather. Rain, sun, wind, cold, warm, all in one day, cycling endlessly through them. Someone bought all the Guardians from the newsagent and the crossword wasn't on the website so I sulked. I was doing really well on the crossword this week and now I have been sabotaged.

Phone call from Alan after he landed, punctuated with announcements and Um, I'm at customs, I'll ring you back. Mobile phones have their uses. I can still remember jumping out of my skin the first time I heard a phone ring on the train and someone answer it. That can't be more than ten years ago. Well, maybe fifteen. Apparently we have rather backward phones compared with Japanese phones, though.

Alan returned bearing many tales but no interesting alcohol (I drank it on the train. Hmm). Japan sounds a fascinating place, although a bit overwhelming too: stations with more than six platforms confuse me. And whoever took him to Electric City should be grateful they didn't lose him for days there. Made him empty his pockets into my envelope for yen: having found coins from twelve different countries in his absence and sorted them all out, I am determined to keep them sorted now!

Having resisted coming to see Harry Potter again with me, he has now watched it several times over on the plane, and has decided it's not that good. Sigh. He also managed to see K-PAX, and decided that that one is good. I read that book some years ago, and couldn't persuade him out to see it in the cinema; so he's really not winning points for tact here.

April 25th
Only a day before Alan gets back, so I can't raise too much dust now. Oh dear.

Silly conversations led to my remembering that years ago, we had a borrowed copy of a Unix manual, which I think someone had surreptitiously printed out sometime before BSD additions. (Not sure on that, though.) I am sure that in the introduction or the first few pages, there was a reference to the keyboard buffer and a footnote explaining it in terms of a little gnome which carried the letters to the computer: and the buffer was a certain length because the gnome could only carry so many at once. No-one else I know remembers anything like this. I am trying to find this again, but I am failing miserably.

It is very hard to find this kind of thing on Google: as soon as you mention Unix and gnomes, you start getting that silly desktop environment instead!

April 24th
Found various European banknotes which it is too late to change (without complications at the very least). Nice one, Alan.

Whilst hunting around banks to find out whether I could change them, came across one bank's very nice accessible webpage. Big fonts, no clutter, clear icons. Not five minutes later, stumbled upon a rather different approach on another site (also a bank, oddly enough): use the same stylesheet as the rest of the site, which is pale grey text on a white background, and put your commitment to ensuring accessibility in a paragraph with a class of "smalltext" -- which wants 10px fonts. (Could be worse: there was an even smaller class too!)

Whilst I am quite sure that my pages leave much to be desired, this is a technique I shall try not to employ. (Suggestions for improvement in that area are welcome, yes. Be gentle :))

April 23rd
Raised much dust clearing things out whilst Alan isn't here to complain. His current important letters to reply to technique is to balance them on top of the radiator (yes, this is impossible). Fished all the ones that fell down the back out and dealt with them.

Found that broken thermometer barometer he got from Ebay, which has apparently been evaporating into my room for months. Found a collection of out of date asthma medicine. Found books that were supposed to be at the second-hand shop by now. Found stuff in the first-aid kit with expiry dates of May 1995 (oops, this one is my fault).

Gave up and found the wine instead.

April 22nd
Pah. I can't say I'm impressed that Le Pen did so well in the French elections, but for some of our tabloids to be commenting is just ridiculous. Some of our tabloids have been known to run headlines about the evils of grasping asylum-seekers, the perfidy of everyone except Britain (especially the perfidy of the French) and the evils of European integration. To complain when Le Pen does well strikes me as bizarre, frankly. In theory, they should love him.

I have a plan for the future. After Haider, Pauline Hanson, and now this, why don't people wanting to cast a protest vote cast it for the left for once, or just spoil the paper? Otherwise they keep ending up electing people.

Finished talk write-ups. Now to remember what happened when for the main one.

April 21st
Gorgeous day. Went shopping. Contemplated buying lots of things but restrained myself to three books. I am safe to say this whilst Alan is halfway around the world :)
April 20th
Alan off to Heathrow. I promptly broke my sound driver. I think I know what to do about it, but if I do that, something else will break, and it might be something more important.
April 19th
Um. Soon turns out to be tomorrow. Mad rush to find yen. Luckily, someone returned just the right amount to one of the banks here. Fortunately, I have finished the washing from the last trip.

Went out for a meal and bumped into friends just outside the door. They came to eat too :) Justin keeps threatening a restaurant review site, so we provided him with ammunition for it.

April 18th
Alan might be going to Japan soon. Why, I know not, but had I known that was the topic of the phone call, I might have refrained from mucking about in front of him in attempts to make him aware I was hungry.

Still ploughing through write-ups of talks. ran out of discspace at an inconvenient time. Grumble.

April 15th
Started writing stuff up. Started catching up with the washing. Started catching up with Parcelforce, who of course had been visiting regularly in our absence and failing to deliver things.
April 14th
Four thousand emails in two weeks. Gone, all gone! Thank goodness for delete-thread. Come to think of it, delete-all was pretty handy for some folders.
April 13th
On the way back home. Fortunately we had better ideas of what constituted valid photo-ID for the airport than two people featured in one of the Irish papers: a couple who had got over to Dublin and now the Dublin people weren't happy with their ID to get on the return flight. They didn't have passports. They didn't have national ID cards (there aren't any here, where they came from). They didn't have driving licences. They didn't have whatever the fourth is. What they did have was... bus passes.

I find the thought they actually got onto the outward plane with them worrying :)

April 12th
Everyone else got the plane back, but Alan was holding out for el cheapo air tickets and so we had an extra day. We finally saw the Book of Kells, so I don't have to go back to Dublin now. But I might :)
April 11th
I was bad and skipped the third day of the Expo; and apparently missed friends at it as a result. Bah. On the other hand, we did go on the Viking Splash, a converted amphibious vehicle originally used in the Normandy landings which now conveys tourists around Dublin like a bus -- and then slides into the canal to convey them around a different view. Interesting stuff.
April 10th
More of the same only without the meal. Went to the Porterhouse for food (and possibly for drink). Rusty, faced with the prospect of all those beers to try and two hours before he had to leave for the airport, went for the sample tray. Dear me.

April 9th
Failed totally to remember the right bus and got the taxi to the Expo place. Were heartily laughed at for this. Tried to write stuff up whilst everyone fielded questions about Linux. Alan and everyone else gave a talk.

The talk got us another meal out at an amazing restaurant the name of which I lamentably have forgotten. Liam brought us leaflets of things to do in Dublin and recommended the Viking Splash.

April 8th
Collected Alan at the airport, along with Dave Jones and Russell King. Russell had tried to organise us into meeting somewhere but it failed. RyanAir to Dublin, and then collected by Niall, who has a huge car (luckily). Collected Dave Woodhouse and Rusty Russell from the hotel and Spent the afternoon moving computers to the Expo place and setting them up. Well, they did. I watched and carried a wheel that fell off.

Meal with a lot of ILUG people in the evening. I found margaritas on the menu. Yum. Or something that came in jugs, anyway.

April 7th
Got the taxi out of Sevilla in the pouring rain and spent the day travelling back to Britain, or at least as far as Heathrow. Since Alan was travelling to Ireland on the Monday and I missed him, the plan was to go with him. Hied myself to Gatwick and slept on the chairs until he arrived in the morning.

Discovered on the phone to Alan that it wasn't just a quick visit. We're away for a week. Argh. Hoped he'd packed me lots of clean socks, because I hadn't realised that.

April 1st
Overslept badly. This does not augur well for catching the coach tomorrow. Made lots of remember to do this lists for remembering too late tomorrow. Went to pub instead (combined LUG meet), where we overwhelmed the staff with food requests.

I won't be able to check email on my usual address from Guadec (damn firewall...), but I might catch stuff sent to telsa at (www|ftp) If I look :) Don't expect fast replies.

March 31st
Packed for Guadec. Played the usual please print this all on the same page games with various applications, feeding them maps until they (and I) were sick. Nat frightened the life out of me by being under the impression that it started tomorrow. I am not that ready. But all that is left is the laptop and printing out the timetable and getting the phone tariff changed to allow me to send text messages to international numbers and... Oh. Not at all ready, then.

BBC News 24 had a rolling interactive bulletin of headlines with five times as much about the death of the Queen Mother as any single other stoey. Clearly, absolutely nothing of any urgency or importance has happened anywhere across the globe today.

Eating-up-scraps-day. Alan has discovered how to combine old mashed potatoes with beetroot and cheese. I'm not sure he should be praised for this.

Learned the Spanish for Where are the (women's) toilets?, I am allergic to shellfish and I want to go to.... Feel somewhat under-prepared for Spain.

Just after midnight, watched my Gnome fish get ill and die. This is possibly my stupidest contribution to Gnome: persuading someone that he should write the code for the fish to float upside down on April Fool's Day. Better (worse?) yet, it has been localised! Apparently Spain has its own special day for this. I am so penitent. Think of the hours that could have been saved if this has not happened. We might have had a flight simulator hidden in Gnumeric by now.

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.)