The more accurate diary. Really.

Warning: These are old.

August 2002

September 1st

Really must truncate diary, yes.

Dragged Alan out into the sunshine in the afternoon. Lots of people out on the beach. Quite unlike the other night. I think I prefer it when it's just me. There was a queue at Joe's the ice-cream parlour which stretched out of the door, across the pavement, and almost onto the road.

My ice-cream melted. Alan laughed at me.

Trying to get a sed pattern to match, gave up, tried ed to see what happened in that, and then started playing with vim. I have shied away from vi ever since a Nasty Accident about two weeks into my first time with UNIX. I still don't know the reason for what happened. I just remember the horror.

I am consequently hopeless at regexps, a hopelessness not helped by the decision of the O'Reilly book to explain everything by means of NFAs and DFAs and to keep referring to this all the way through the book. I pretty much gave up until a friend asked Why on earth are you asking about those? Are you writing a regexp parser or just trying to learn regexps? (Thanks, Mary, for explaining!) Trouble is, I do remember simple ed commands. Bit the bullet and started vim. Discovered vimtutor. Have not yet broken it.

August 31st

One of the problems with living with a hacker is the work hours. Alan has never quite separated work and fun, and consequently spends most of the weekends on the computer unless he's asleep or I think up something fun to do that is even more fun than staring at oopses and hardware specs. It's harder than it sounds to think up things that are more fun than that.

However, I now know I shall see him downstairs for at least a few hours at weekends (provided, that is, that he doesn't get too attached to the TV card upstairs). The rugby season has started...

August 30th

I can not see why Alan looked so exasperated when he found me juggling toilet rolls. The bathroom needed restocking with the things, after all. And it is hardly my fault that he was on the telephone when he saw me and couldn't respond without confusing the other person.

To Justin's for pizza and games in the evening. They optimised the special offer from the pizza place again. Oh dear.

August 29th

Network fell apart. Alan apparently had some bizarre phone experiences whilst trying to find out what happened.

In the meantime, Alan spent some time clearing up the mess he created in the back yard. He then returned to tell me all about the four different kinds of spiders we have, the slug the length of a house-brick, and the queue of woodlice. Lovely. Now he has gone to find out what the spider he didn't recognise was. Forgot to tell him there are some hundreds of possibilities.

August 28th

I am drowning in Gnome. Argh. Twelve hours of mail, IRC, and phonecalls.

Relieved by a visit from Rhys and a confusing visit from two NTL people, here to install a cablemodem. Um. We've got one.

August 27th

Got lots of goodies to eat. Spent ages messing about with Gnome stuff. Alan wandered in and announced it was time to go out for a meal. At 6pm. Boggled. Normally he finally answers questions about what he wants for tea at about 9.30pm. Emerged that he had a blood test the following day and had to fast from 8pm first. So he had decided to go and stuff himself before that time.

Everyone else has linked already, probably, but I shall join in: Xach has been engaged in a surreal correspondence with someone attempting to get him into the Nigerian 419 scam. The stage at which he fears someone may be eavesdropping and starts using pig-Latin to fool them is surpassed only by Hello from Kuala Lumpur! I am on the way to Togo to do business with you. I am so excited! Can you tell me how I get to Togo from here?

This is far more enterprising that the tales in today's Guardian's diary about people who replied to such emails.

August 26th

Apparently I had more of an effect on Alan about his diary than I thought.

Did all the crossword at lunchtime. Felt smug. Then in evening realised I didn't have a crossword to do. Sulked.

August 25th

Felt groggy all day. Alan has a cold. Wandered out and discovered favourite restaurant is open after the summer break. Suddenly felt well enough to eat.

Gnome bugzilla down. Boo hiss. Alan took over the television to install the RH beta on the computer attached to it. Reminded Alan for the umpteenth time about his diary. Didn't have much effect.

August 24th

Argh. Once I had discovered that Blakes 7 was on twice a week, they changed it to be three times a week. And yet again I have missed the three episodes I actually wanted to watch. This is silly.

Tried to get stuff done and discovered the net had vanished. (No. Clearly I had not vanished from the net. I was still there. So the net had vanished instead.) Apparently the fibre that our nameserver sits on is also part of the university network that was unplugged for rearrangements. Nice one, NTL. Wandered down to the university to help tidy up the comp soc room. Still don't know how to crimp cables. It looks fiddly and with nothing to burn, drop jumpers or screws into, or otherwise mangle. Losing interest in learning that as a consequence.

Came back to discover that Alan had finally acquired his shredder and destroyed it within hours. He insists that all he tried to feed it was a Fedex paper. He had also removed all the useful books from the shelf above my computer where I can reach them and put them where I keep the printer paper: this is as out of harm's way as I can make it and consequently I can't reach them. Found out he had done this after they fell on me for a second time whilst I was putting speakers in your computer for you. Sigh. That computer is nowhere near the shelf.

August 23rd

NTL decided we didn't need an internet connection to the nameserver again. Extremely frustrating. I now have a list of bugzilla IPs in case it happens again.

To Justin's to watch films and eat lots of food. Returned at about 0230. Ow.

August 22nd

Eep. Something I dashed off in a hurry made LWN. If I thought so many people were going to read it, I'd have checked it for typos rather better.

Found Harry Potter DVD and a bunch of CDs in the local second-hand music shop. Realised that this kind of shop is exactly what the DVD manufacturers don't want to prosper. No profits from second-hand sales, after all... It's a lovely shop. I've been going there and to one of its neighbours (which currently has a huge Vinyl is Not Dead sign outside) for about twelve years now. It's also where I got my beloved second hand Star Cops videos. Which are dying and deleted from the catalogue. Waah.

August 21st

Found my old (written) diaries and lost hours reading them. Not journals so much as appointments and what courses in what buildings. Smitten with memories. Gigs I danced away at, events I didn't make. And many exclamation marks after Alan going to America/Germany/wherever because these were hugely new and exciting and (we thought) once in a lifetime trips.

Continued breaking RH beta. Alan is breaking it even more than me, so I don't know why he is laughing at me. The only thing that I really don't understand is that when I installed it on one box, it broke. When Alan installed it on that box, it worked. I feel picked on.

August 20th

The pump in the cellar has stopped working. Already.

Grabbed the new RH beta CDs from Alan. Wow, the install is pretty. Left it installing and went to LUG. Much discussion about Welsh translation, why spinning down discs on machines that had run for months and years used to be a bad idea, and how not to get thrown out of pubs.

Returned and discovered I had broken the RH install. Without even being present. Yay.

August 19th

All the breeze died down in the afternoon and it became so ridiculously still that with all the windows open there was no draught even by 9pm. Yuk. Unpleasant. Kidnapped Alan and wandered down to the beach, since it's less than a mile away. Prom unbelievably quiet for what is supposed to be tourist season. No-one else on the beach at all. Tide was right out. Sea breeze cooled us down. And the moon was reflecting in the bay.

And I got the stage of the tide right before we reach it. Felt smug. Alan thinks I guessed.

August 18th

I was going to whinge about NFS and what happens if your husband decides to take the machine you have nfs-mounted down to run memtest86 on it, leaving you stuck with an ogg123 sitting in uninterruptible sleep. And with no sound at all as a consequence.

Then I learned about soft and intr options to mount, which would have solved the problem. Sigh. I shall remember these in the future.

Something is wrong with the fridge/freezer. We are eating through the contents of the freezer again before defrosting. Thank the gods, no fishfingers have yet been found in it. I haven't quite recovered from the last time, when we had them three days running or something ridiculous like that.

August 17th

Alan is either allergic to the dog, the Rollrights, or Bristol. Sneeze, sneeze, sneeze. He spent the morning in bed and then doing computer things whilst I watched Diana move things around the house and occasionally held a door open for her.

Train back 40 minutes late. This is an hourly service. It could have been worse. Another train was also delayed, and eventually the announcement came that it was cancelled. (And guess which company ran that second one?)

August 16th

Lords and Ladies at the Rollrights, take two. Set off again for Bristol, into the car with Conrad and Diana and the dog, and off for the second attempt to see this play. Stopped off at the nearest pub for food and bumped into friends of Conrad and Diana. Parked the car near the stones, heard someone playing music, and bumped into Ian Foot, whom we keep on meeting everywhere from Linux shows to muddy fields in Oxfordshire. And once on the other side of the world. Stopped to buy a programme and discovered the programme-seller was Alec, another old friend. Things just went on like this all evening.

Oh, the play? Brilliant. You have about one day left to catch it at the Rollrights (which is the stone circle where the Dr Who serial Stones of Blood was filmed: what an incentive), or you'll have to head to near Ripon for the final performances. Well worth seeing, and the Stick and Bucket dance brought the house down.

August 15th

Alan not spotted all day. Strange.

August 14th

Gnome 2 release team meeting phone conference calls have been on Friday evening (for me) for what seems like forever. Since this is silly o'clock in the morning for Jeff in Sydney, we have finally moved both day and time. Typically, after we finish the call, I go out with friends. Today, we were going out on a Wednesday almost immediately following the meeting. I am now completely disoriented with respect to time, place and possibly person.

To Oystermouth Castle with Justin, Sharon, Dick and Alan in the evening for an outdoor performance of Taming of the Shrew, carrying hampers and rugs with us. Someone had had the bright idea of renting out deckchairs. We stuck to the ground. Less chance of the wine falling over.

Felt sadly outclassed by the preparations of the others. I messed up my international time zones with the meeting in the afternoon today and didn't have time to be creative. Just grabbed the wine and the corkscrew. Had a most impressive meal with potato salad, chicken, beef and vegetables, cheese and home-made bread from the others. I am sure ten years ago I'd have taken cider and crisps. Bumped into another LUG member there, too, and other friends at the off-licence two minutes down the road.

One of the cast (well, so he said) showed up and begged some chicken for one of the scenes involving food. Now we know why the posters said to bring a picnic.

Weather held, and seeing Shakespeare in front of a ruined castle with the moon shining in the sky is definitely to be recommended. (They've done both Macbeth and Midsummer Night's Dream there too, which must each have been appropriate in their own ways.) Alan managed not to fall asleep despite the fact we all got completely lost with the various disguised characters: the small cast meant that it seemed that sometimes one part was played by different people.

But with about twenty huge bins so that no-one was more than ten yards (metres, whatever) from them, why must some people leave their rubbish on the ground afterwards?

August 13th

Alan has come up with a Terrible Plan to do with the bathroom. I am just glad that so far he has found nowhere that sells industrial flatscreen touchscreen monitors. This means it is still firmly in the theoretical stage.

August 12th

The mailing lists use spamassassin. It drops stuff with too high a threshold, but there were still twenty-six posts to (not) approve for gnome-list today. All spam.

My favourites are the Klez attempts which purport to be from another mailing list: or the automatic responses to gnome-list from mail admins telling gnome-list it has a virus. I think those are probably down to Klez too. What a complete waste of time and money and bandwidth.

Someone from NTL came to check the line or something today. Alan had to get up at 9am just in case. (He didn't, but he was up in time as it turned out.)

August 11th

Every time I go to Alan's parents I end up shamed at my crossword inabilities. They always complete the Guardian crossword, and they had both crosswords in the Independent on Sunday done by half past eleven (am) today. One of those is baffling even with the answers in front of you.

Returned to Swansea in the evening on a train that arrived on time (it wasn't Virgin). Alan disappeared to the cellar to see how the automatic pump which works when the water rises was working. He was down there some time and eventually water started being pumped. Something tells me it's not as automatic as all that.

August 10th

Train from Bristol to Exeter. Arrived to find train was 40 minutes late reaching Bristol. Guess which company? Yup, Virgin. Excuses on train and at each end of the journey varied wildly and inconsistently: a missing member of the crew at York (this is always the excuse on the tannoys), problems on the line at Rugby, and something else I forget.

The train arrived being towed by another train, so I think I can guess the real reason it was late.

To Alan's parents for the evening.

August 9th

Off on the train to Bristol to see friends. Into their car, and then off across the Cotswolds to reach an outdoor performance of Terry Pratchett's Lords and Ladies.

Rain. Rain. Rain. It cleared up as we paused in Stow on the Wold (I include this name largely for the people who think British placenames are cute: we also passed through Bourton on the Water which thankfully refrained from being Bourton Under Water but sadly were unable to visit Upper and Lower Slaughter), and we attempted to walk the dog despite the attempts of someone else to make friends with it. Oh, what a cute dog! Come here, you little doggie, you! Er, careful, he's very muddy and that's a very pale skirt you hav--oh dear. (Tyler the dog can be described as many things, but cute doggie are not words that spring immediately to mind.) Eventually reached the Rollrights and discovered the performance had been called off an hour beforehand.

Turned out I knew a good quarter of the people milling about through the net. Decamped to pub for coffee and then back a different way. Oh well. Despite the rain-stopped-play, it was a good night. The Rollrights under a heavy mist at twilight are well worth seeing, play or no play. Alan tried to take photos, but I suspect has come up with more pictures of And here is a picture of nothing, with the flash on. Ah well. The tickets are valid for a different night, so...

August 8th

There is a distressingly dodgy section of floor in the bathroom. The taps fall off if we're not careful. The bath has seen better days. And the lino was probably put down when the house was first built.

Explaining all these facts to visitors is becoming embarrassing. And it's been weeks since we had builders in the house anyway.

All this explains why we were in a scary kitchens and bathrooms place earlier today pondering the merits of different designs of taps. Amazingly, it is harder to get two separate taps, one hot and one cold (the trend is apparently not only to mix together the two water streams but to integrate both taps into one lump of metal which turns every way but the way you need) than it is to agree on a colour they should be.

On the way up Alan announced we will have no network over the weekend. Joy.

On the way down, I discovered another item for my list of Things You Do Not Want To See Again In A Hurry: your taxi driver taking both hands off the wheel because he is cleaning his glasses in his lap.

August 7th

Beat Alan to the alarm clock. Yay.

Discovered (well, remembered) I had a bunch of docs bugs I had accepted over the months still sitting in Gnome bugzilla. Sorted one out; hit submit, and bugzilla promptly told me Your next bug is... Very efficient, but not very encouraging. One down, umpteen to go.

August 6th

Alan switched the alarm clock off again. And then he got up and left me wasting the morning asleep, which I consider adding insult to injury.

Alan has tidied his room (I can tread safely in bare feet, yay) but it emerges that he used the simple expedient of removing things from it to elsewhere. Elsewhere here does not always mean the bin. Had to resort to Well, I'll assume it's rubbish and throw it out then to get some things removed from the hall.

August 5th

The achievement of the day is that I got the same game number (1711807896) to complete in eight different Aisleriot layouts: Odessa, Eagle Wing, Maze, Klondyke, Fourteen, Doublets, Freecell and Osmosis.

I did some other stuff, but that was the most noteworthy event other than Alan arriving for tea when he was called and not an hour later, leaving me all aflounder: It's not ready yet: I didn't expect you to come down first time.

August 4th

Apparently all the world but me knows that cvs doesn't like .. in pathnames when you're trying to commit. Oh, and that it dislikes a trailing slash when checking things out. Grumble.

Spent much of the day running upstairs and down again trying to air out the house whilst keeping the rain out as the weather kept changing its mind about what it was doing. Why didn't we buy a bungalow?

August 3rd

Aha. I have discovered why I am only seeing every other Dr Who and Blakes 7 episode on Sundays. They show them on Saturdays too. Of course, I discovered this after they'd been on..

Alan nearly got himself killed today. My parents, who have an acute grasp of his character, sent him a birthday card some time ago which says things -- loudly -- when you open it. He loves it. He sneaked up and startled me with it for the umpteenth time today, and I nearly had to kill him.

CVS produces even sillier error messages than the rest of UNIX. Protocol error, my foot.

August 2nd

Crossword answers incomprehensible. Grumble. Alan appears to be acquiring more mysterious articles in the post. Double grumble.

Alan took the horn thing my sister gave him apart because it was rattling. It now doesn't rattle. Alas, it still works, to my chagrin. I know this because he keeps wandering down to make loud noises behind me.

Out in the evening. Melting weather.

August 1st

Failed to get even half-way through the crossword today. I suppose it's a good sign that this is unusual.

Lots of phone calls and visits from people. Clearly it's social day. Also, I can blame crossword failure on all this.

Things you don't want to see when logging into the box that hosts these pages:

Important: Over the next few weeks we plan to transfer normal shell users...
Then a long explanation. Then
If you don't like it, diddums :) The Evil Administrators

Went upstairs to remonstrate with one of said evil administrators, since I bet his account doesn't move. No fair. Did not win. Expect to have to update bookmarks some time.

Cheered myself up by ordering stuff off the web.

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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