The more accurate diary. Really.

If you followed some random link and are looking for ways out:

On with the diary. If the fonts are wrong then this may explain it.

Warning: These are old.

January 2003

January 31st

Scribble scribble. Mostly finished LCA 2003 write-up: online soon for those who care. Only attended two talks. This makes it much easier to write up!

Out in the evening to the theatre's arts wing, which we have not yet seen, to see Steve Knightley from Show of Hands playing with Martyn Joseph. Very small venue, good sound, truly excellent evening. Gotta love musicians who blithely comment that they are all for people copying their CDs and spreading them around. (This was Steve: dunno what Martyn thinks but they both have mp3s up for grabs on their sites.) It doesn't matter how many albums I have, I will always go and see some bands and performers live given half a chance. Heard some new songs (so clearly I don't have quite enough CDs yet) and also became part of the rain sound effects. If you have one part of the audience clicking their fingers, another rubbing their palms together, another slapping their knees and another drumming their feet, the result is really quite uncanny.

Of course, they could always simply have opened the windows. It's been bitterly cold all day, but it turned to rain in the evening. Again.

January 30th

Scribble scribble. Tidy tidy.

Horrors. Realised we had forgotten to book for a gig that is tomorrow night, in a rather small venue locally. Fixed that. Got two of the last three tickets. Phew.

Out in the evening.

January 29th

In town in the morning. Alan owed me a very good breakfast as a result of events on the journey back, so we ate out for lunch. Our fridge-freezer is dying. Investigated new ones. We had hoped to get a chest freezer into the cellar (they're supposed to be more efficient), but the steps down are very narrow and freezers do not come as flat-pack furniture.

Apparently the Culture Minister has banned a peace demo from rallying at Hyde Park (a traditional rallying point for very large demos) because it will damage the grass. Every time the Stop the War coalition say there were half a million, the police estimates are about half that. This must be the first time in history that an official body is actually crediting the organisers' numbers.

Alan is absolutely lost in timezones now. He was up at seven am and in bed by ten pm. I approve of this, but I don't think it's going to last.

January 28th

Woke up shockingly early and remembered how to work the washing machine. Discovered the wine in the fridge which I had put there for our return, and the ready-to-heat soup I made and stuffed in the freezer for the same reason. Clearly we were not totally awake last night, since Alan went out for take-out instead.

Shambled down to the post office to collect our parcel for fifty pence. Parcelforce, eat your heart out.

Apparently my attempts to prettify this page with more CSS twiddles have resulted in all the dates behaving as though they are links to follow. Oops. Sorry about that. Will fix just as soon as I have worked it out.

January 27th

Just a placeholder whilst I recover from jetlag and write it all up. (Although the two simultaneously may be a mistake.)

Went to 2003 in Perth. Brilliantly organised, right down to pizzas on the Saturday to overcome the fact the normal food venues were shut on campus, many talks, a large amount to learn, loads of people to meet, lots of fun, and -- so far -- two mentions of it, both from Australian media, and they're drowned in LinuxWorld Expo non-stories about Where are all the hackers?

A lot of them were in Perth :)

January 15th

Thanks to everyone who emailed me about the King William's College General Knowledge Paper (as I should be calling it). The (spoilers everywhere, obviously) answers are now out and I am feeling very happy.

Next year, though, I make a robots.txt file, so that Google doesn't feed answers to people who want to do it on their own.

January 14th

Alan off to London in the morning. I got lots of things done in the rest of the day. Fed his plants and later discovered he'd already done it. They're probably going to drown now. .

Bin day and so much paper I decided to feed the shredder. Alan will not be impressed to discover that I broke it. One piece at a time, no staples, no games of trying to pull things out as they go in... And still there was an impressive groaning noise and then an alarmingly loud bang. Unplugged it (rapidly!) and went to see whether it was full.

How full it is or was is difficult to tell. I knocked it all over the floor. Ho hum.

January 13th

Because we shall miss the next few Welsh lessons through being in Perth, had a catchup lesson in advance. Eight hours compressed into one hour. My brain has melted.

Got around to packing. Can't find hats. Grumble.

January 12th

Still cold. Bitterly so, for Swansea. The tops of the hills look really close and clear though.

So I stayed in and decided not to see whether they were indeed any closer.

Realised that if Alan is off to London before we depart for Perth, then perhaps we should pack before then. Spent most of the day procrastinating and not packing.

January 11th

Disaster. X crashed today. And I don't know why. At first we thought it was the keyboard dying (and I was worried, because there aren't any more UK keyboards with no silly windows keys to be found these days), and then Alan blamed the KVM switch, and finally he blamed the mouse.

It had been up for months and months before that (literally: had I thought, I'd have looked more carefully at ps and top before sending a frantic SIGHUP to the editor I was writing my talk in, hoping to rescue it, and then leaving Alan alone with the computer, at which stage he killed X off too). I have no idea what caused it. I have no idea how to make it happen again. I have no idea how to reproduce it.

And the talk I am supposed to be writing and giving? Bug-reporting.

Based on this, LCA attenders may wish to consider whether they actually want to hear me on this subject. Ahem. Speaking of which, finally remembered to get our electronic visas sorted out for that. People may laugh at Australian laws about the internet, but at least you can organise an ETA online. From some countries, at least. I don't think you can actually submit or complete anything on our online UK government site beyond a fishing rod licence and nominating people for honours.

Watched lots of rugby, but in the only decent game, the wrong people won (Biarritz, although it was well-deserved), and I managed to miss the Llanelli game. Boo hiss.

Went round to Justin's to see the longer version of Fellowship of the Ring. Not that I'm petty or anything (no, really) but I could have sworn that in the end credits, there was a person with a job or function of liason. So I think I should be a Lord of the Rings proofreader and they should send me everything from the third film now. Just in case. (Of course, now I shall find that it was a company name and deliberately misspelled or something.)

January 10th

Alan thinks it is hilarious that I have finished all my library books. This is because of the coffee at the LUG and the fact I couldn't sleep for half the night. I dread the thought of the flight to Australia: I was rather relying on both the next Harry Potter book and the next in George R. R. Martin's Ice and Fire series coming out in time for that so I had something to read on the plane.

Alan is now apparently so busy that he cannot collect his own prescriptions from the doctor. He can, however, go out and buy lunch for himself but not for me. For extra points, he set the alarm when he left, forgetting my existence and presence within the house. As the final indignity, he thought this was funny.

Out for pizza in the evening. Justin and Sharon entertained us with a rundown of what they claim is the PizzaHut algorithm, and how to break it. We didn't need to know that, because it broke of its own accord.

January 9th

Apparently Alan has broken my Cyrix MediaGX. This was very nearly my first computer. It was the first one I installed all on my own, rather than with Alan reading over my shoulder and commenting, and was the one I was using when I started actually doing stuff rather than messing about.


He has replaced it with a machine which has no single part I have ever heard of, which he says I can have until he needs it back. Put the RH beta on it, and failed to break the installer. This is no good. I want my Cyrix back. It breaks every installer.

January 8th

Last night's LUG venue was brilliant. Only one small flaq: constant refills of coffee when you haven't had any for ages are a bad idea if you hope to sleep before about 3am.

Down at the library hunting Harkaways today. Made an interesting discovery. I needed to get a new library card. Mine lapsed years ago but because I had a university card it didn't matter. Now my university one has lapsed. And I cannot live without having library cards. The more the better. In the library, there was a big notice saying proof of ID was needed. I had my passport.

A passport is not sufficient ID to get a library card here.

What they actually want is something proving that you live where you say you live (no idea what this means if you're homeless). To avoid people faking this, it, um, has to be printed. I pointed out I could print one easily. Nope. They have thought of that. It has to have a stamp on it too. I can see that this will narrow down forgery considerably.

Had to go home and find a real live letter from a bank or something (when you bank with an online bank, this is hard :)) first.

Still no Harkaway. Lots of other books though. Libraries are cool.

January 7th

So very nearly finished that quiz now. So close! Must... complete... quiz. (Well, actually, I'm supposed to be writing a talk, but I keep thinking of just one more thing to check out. Bad Telsa.) And in the course of it, I got a Googlewhack completely by accident. Not a helpful one, I note. Wordlists are evil.

We are down to two missing (and another group has got one of them, but we can't just lift it), and a number of It's right, but why is it right? answers. Last year, we spent days discovering that Rochdale had been afflicted with every disease known to mankind. This year, we cannot find out why presbyters and piddlers should pray for me, nor who me is. Guesses are getting wild here.

Time to abandon finding quiz answers and go and find Linux answers. LUG time.

January 6th

Alan up before it has entirely become dark. Whee. Neighbour came round with a parcel that was delivered some time last month: apparently she's missed us every time she tries to deliver it since them.

Out in the morning and discovered we had missed another parcel by about five minutes. To make matters sillier, from the chat overheard on the phone when ringing about it, the delivery man was now delivering to a place we had just been at and left.

Still not finished quiz. Google, bless its little spider socks, has indexed our old answers, but not, seemingly, our newer ones. Now I keep finding my pages when I google for clues to those remaining.

Jaunary 5th

Okay. I give up. I am drowning in trivia about archbishops of Canterbury. I have waded through Noel Coward lyrics. I have been reminded how much I dislike Hemingway and how effortlessly lyrically Laurie Lee can write. I have caught up with the career of Black Beauty and failed again to appreciate that of Huckleberry Finn. I have realised I remember more of the parody of "How they brought the good news from..." than I do of the original. I have discovered I need a new atlas. I have learned a lot about how many names the same wind can have. I need to see la mezquita in Cordoba. I have looked up every potential misspelling of tsaudiere there is. I have examined the spine of every book in the biography section of the bookshop...

...and we still can't finish this quiz. Who sets this thing? We are getting stuck, and we have very few answers to go. And it is getting profoundly irritating. Grr!

What's even worse is that when the roofer came round to tell us where the leaks were coming from (did I mention it's raining a lot? Or the flood in the cellar -- again? Or the leaks from the roof?) I was too busy hunting an archbishop who had been struck by a bereaved monarch at a funeral to go out on the roof and see for myself. Alan got that honour and enjoyed it thoroughly. This is a man who does not like heights. Hmm.

He also doesn't seem to like updating his diary. I think I shall rearrange all my accounts of what we did and see whether he falls into the trap. I'm sure he just looks at mine to see what he did.

January 4th

Ooh. Another to add to the pile of prettied-up answers to That Quiz arrived in email: as did someone who got a lot of the hardest ones last year and promptly started nailing some really obscure ones.

Spent way too much of the day with google and a pile of books. (At least they're here: I have also been skim-reading in the bookshop to find some of these!) Down to between twelve (if all the rest are right, which I doubt) and twenty (or more, potentially) left. Ten days to get them before the answers are published. Argh.

And Alan is beginning to feel neglected, I fear.

January 3rd

A friend googled all of section eight of that wretched quiz. All the other people I was doing it with seem to have gone quiet, so in hope of people knowledgeable about bequests benefitting German education, the lyrics of Noel Coward, funereal quarrels between clergymen and monarchs, cheese manufacture, and fountains, I am sticking our answers so far up. I'm at the stage now where if I google for some of the questions, I get other people's question and answer lists, so I might as well join in.

Cinema in evening to see the latest Star Trek effort. Fun, but not outstanding. There seemed to be a lot of little references to other non-Star Trek sci-fi films in it too. I could swear I've seen someone escape a blaster fight by diving from a corridor through a hatch before...

January 2nd

Took advantage of people visiting with cars to take 42 bottles for recycling. Cleared a great deal of space. No, they were not all from the party. Ahem.

Everyone departed, leaving us with an empty house and still with food to eat up. You know your life is peculiar when you can say See you in Perth in three weeks. Perth is the other side of the world. (And hosting LCA 2003, which is why we're going.) I see the annual travel less resolution is gone for a burton already.

Caught up with where a group of us are on the King Williams Christmas Quiz: not good. 60% done. Another 70 questions to go. Spent some time invesigating Glencoe geography and Ibrox (football) stadium disasters. 68 questions to go...

January 1st

Alan is threatening to write his diary in Welsh as his new year's resolution. Since he has been burbling about it, I will admit that we have been going to Welsh lessons for a few months now. I am not very good at it, but the lessons are great. Our idea of getting more practice is to try to decipher the rugby commentary on S4C. I hope that by the time a Welsh-language film based on the Mabinogion (Mabinogi, yes, I know) hits the television (which I expect will be a few years yet), I shall understand at least parts. I have bought the graphic novel and got about six pages in. Oh dear. At the moment, I am staring at the Otherworld page: the same, but in English...

I wasn't going to mention this because I didn't want everyone asking how it was going in case we got lost and gave up. That would be embarrassing. But Alan keeps mentioning it and people keep asking anyway.

Took Tyler for a walk on the beach. He found a stick which was nearly bigger than him. I like other people's dogs: they take them away with them and we don't have to get up and walk them every day. Lovely.

December 31st

Matthew and Danielle arrived early and found themselves co-opted into cooking and the World's Worst Bread. which I gave up on at the proving stage. Dunno what happened. I left it in a sane place to rise. I had intended to put it by the Athlon (heat source par extraordinnaire) until I began to fear that it would be hot enough to kill the yeast. I (of course) blame the recipe. First time I used that one. Panicked that there would be not enough food.

Justin, Sharon and Dick arrived. Conrad and Diana (with Tyler the dog) arrived too. Much eating and drinking but lots of food left over.

Radio 4 has failed me. We turned it on for the chimes of Big Ben and there was silence and then a very apologetic announcer. Bad radio 4, bad! They're obviously having problems with silences: the two minutes' silence on Remembrance Day had a party of chattering schoolkids, and now when they want to broadcast noise they get nothing.

Piled out for the fireworks anyway. To bed very very late.

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.)