The more accurate diary. Really.

Warning: These are old.

March 2003

April 1st

There really should be a rule about April Fool jokes having to be funny. ThinkGeek and NASA's Astronomy Picture of the Day managed it (the APOD one is just bizarre), but that was about it.

They finished the crossword without me. Waah!

LUG in the evening. Someone had booked the upstairs room (the one we were told you can't book in advance) again. Hmm.

March 31st

For some reason, it was slump in front of the television evening tonight. First half an hour of shouting at the television and missing the real answers in University Challenge, and then History Hunters, which is supremely cool. Our cable box doesn't think so, though. For the last two Mondays it has told me something different is on, and I have now missed a quarter of the series. Bad box, bad.

Having exceeded my usual telly-watching dose, turned to IRC and the weekly crossword.

March 30th

Thought I was up at a reasonable time until I realised the clocks had gone forward. Had to wake Alan again for the rugby. England won. No more Six Nations for another year.

Ran around cooking. Various disasters occurred (finding the non-freezable cheesecake in the freezer, for example: Alan is all injured innocence, but I know he did this) but successfully fed people.

March 29th

Had all the shopping done in good time to get back for the rugby, and then discovered that the rugby was at 1pm, not 2pm. Horror. Got back by the skin of my teeth. For the first five minutes it looked like this was a good move. Wales scored first. And then their score stayed at 5 for the rest of the game whilst the French piled on the points. Useful Welsh phrase I did not want to know: that for wooden spoon.

To more shops in the late afternoon and then to Justin's to play games. The game about the dot com boom was fun: aim was to stay afloat just a bit longer than your competitors. And then a balloon race game, where you can apply grapnels to balloons higher than you or spread sleeping gas on balloons lower than you. Much more my level of strategy: thinking is optional. Staggered home at one am, leaving the rest of them still playing.

March 28th

Welsh exam in the morning. Only I could manage to drop something over the top of the tape recorder that was supposed to record the oral part of the exam. We had to play it back and found the examiner came out fine and I was a little ghost mumbling from the back of the room.

March 27th

Spent most of the day feeling wretched and sleeping. I do pick my times to be ill. I was supposed to be revising.

March 25th

Still bright and warm weather here. They say March comes in like a lion, out like a lamb. This year, it may even be true.

The Post Office has found a silly way to generate money. You can ask for stamps with an extra picture by them. They want photos only. I imagine this is to prevent people using logos they shouldn't. I wonder whether I could take a picture of a cuddly Tux to make one of these so-called smilers. Or I could take a picture of Alan in the morning and call it a scowler.

March 24th

Oooh. Our expensive envelope arrived. (We bought an envelope at a gig because the CDs hadn't arrived. It arrived on our doorstep today containing the CD.) I think I must have been the first to send it into FreeDB -- unless of course there are any typos there, in which case I didn't do it.

March 23rd

Trying not to comment on world events for a while. Um. Not much to write about then, really. Alan still patching madly. Or coding, or something. That's about it.

I keep finding woodlice trundling merrily through the anti-woodlouse powder by the door. Perhaps there is a new breed of super-woodlice.

March 22nd

Alan too busy to help with the video until I broke it. Then he disappeared upstairs again whilst I watched rugby on the edge of my seat. I have clearly been reading too much Harry Potter. Every time Ireland got a penalty or something I kept expecting leprachauns to gloat and some Welsh mascot to snarl back at them. And I don't think anyone would dare to write such a hair-raising finale and expect people to find it credible. Needless to say, Wales lost. Sigh. This is getting monotonous. But argh, it was so close!

March 21st

All these early mornings have taken their toll on Alan. He eventually surfaced as I was casting about for lunch. At 1pm. Didn't see much of him for the rest of the day. He has turned into some kind of patch machine, I think.

I am getting huge huge amounts of spam to the feedback address at the bottom of this page. Must plug spamassassin in. In the meantime, if you send mail with references to Great URL!, hello hobbit and the like and it's HTML, then I won't see it. I'm just deleting that sort of thing unread.

March 20th

Woke up to news of war and tales that someone had had to wake Tony Blair up to tell him. Ah, that special relationship...

Revision session in the morning. Apparently there was a demo in Castle Square at lunchtime, but people here must have late lunches: I didn't see anything around 12, although someone had been chalking the undersides of the steps with heddwch and peace. There were many more people between 5 and 6, though. Most came just to show a presence and to listen to speakers. Some came to do a bit more. At least, I assume that the sit-down protest at either end of one of the main roads in and out of Swansea was due to this. My bus went the weirdest route. I didn't know you could get a bus down some of those roads. I'm still not convinced that you should try to.

March 19th

I am beginning to think I live by an accident blackspot. That's the second traffic accident right outside the house in a month. Not serious, fortunately.

Perhaps it's the full moon... In the evening, the moon was full and hanging very low, so looming very large. It was amazingly bright. And I am in a city, so it has to be pretty bright for me to notice a change.

March 18th

Day started early: woken by Alan at 4am asking whether I was coming to bed yet. Discovered I was not in bed but curled up in the little room still, my book not finished. Oops.

Spent a lot of the day listening to parliamentary debates. Because the schedules were juggled to accomodate this, the little information box about what is on now and next unfortunately ended up with something to the effect of Now: Politics Today: Iraq. Next: Escape to the Country. Ouch.

Went out to eat in the evening and then messed around with crosswords with Chris.

March 17th

Alan up by 8.30am. On a Monday! This can't last. Lovely bright sunny day. So of course we were inside for most of it. Spent most of the day collating things for people and catching up.

Off to LUG in the evening. Moon hanging very low and full and absolutely huge in a cloudless sky. LUG fun, but I was very tired and headed off early. Some comedian had put washing-up liquid in the fountains again and the heaps of suds were all over the pavement surrounding it.

Shambled up to my reading corner in the little room with the futon.

March 16th

Alan up by 11am. On a Sunday! I am in shock. Overloaded the poor printer with a pile of po files. Gareth and Chris came round to approve, disapprove, speculate (Who came up with this one?), correct, and generally knock it into shape.

All that effort to find out the Welsh for microwave, and now we don't need it. We need to know festering heap of metal and electrics with a mind of its own instead. I have been complaining for months that it just keeps going when it's supposed to have finished. It's never been quite the same since an unfortunate event involving large amounts of water occurred. Now it has started switching itself on. The only way to stop it microwaving the air within it is to leave the door open. Which means the light comes on. Which means all the paper on the top starts getting unsettlingly warm. I would declare it dead, except clearly it doesn't know it's dead. A zombie microwave oven, perhaps.

Either that, or the breakthrough which has eluded the artificial intelligence community for years has occurred in our kitchen.

We barely use the damn thing anyway, so I think it's time to reclaim the startling amount of surface space it takes up. In the meantime, I just hope Alan doesn't start getting ideas about pioneering experiments into interesting things to do with a microwave oven.

I suspect the fridge is also on its way out, but I don't know of similar stupid things to do with a fridge, so I am less worried that Alan will get bored one day.

March 15th

Alan up by 7.30am! On a Saturday! Spent the day going back to school: a Sadwrn Siarad (Saturday -- well, it's tempting to say Chatter-day, but really it's talking) and more Welsh lessons. All day. And I still can't recognise one pound seventy-five after hearing it three times.

Good day apart from that, though.

March 14th

I think our doorbell is not working. Heard banging and dropping of object noises outside the window and spotted a Parcelforce delivery. I suspect it was going to turn into one of those swoop, drop a note saying we weren't in or the house didn't exist, and disappear with the parcel deliveries until I opened the door on him. Then again, perhaps I just heard him before he rang the bell.

A much more interesting delivery was that of benches for the kitchen table (well, it's in a different room but it's a kitchen table). Now we can have more than two people sitting down to eat at once.

Unfortunately, this also means I now have no excuse not to start on about fifty meals I owe people.

Alan promised me that I would be able to read the other half of my mail which is stacked up somewhere silly by the end of the week. Well, last weekend, he said Monday. On Monday, he said Tuesday. On Tuesday, he said when the new cable arrives. On Thursday the new cable arrived. It has been unpacked, but I don't know whether it has been employed yet. It is now the end of the week, but I daren't ask.

Out in the evening to see Show of Hands. Yes, again. I know I probably mention this band more than any other, but I can't help it. The gigs are never the same twice and there is always something new. I have not seen one of the On The Level shows before. It's really tempting to get out the train timetables and work out where I can see them again later on the tour.

And we bought an envelope. It should have been a CD, but the CDs hadn't arrived, so we all bought envelopes and hoped that they would be dispatched to us containing CDs when the CDs do arrive.

March 13th

Oooh. Sun. In Swansea. And dry, and clear. Could almost see Devon from the beach.

Spent five minutes hunting for timetables in the bus station office. Eventually gave up and asked. Oh, they'll be here at the end of the month. That's a shame. I wanted to travel on the Saturday. She eventually read out the times from the single copy behind the desk. Then I found all the times up on the big board outside anyway.

Sent Alan a text message in what I fondly imagined to be Welsh. He didn't read it. Later, I got him to and he took quarter of an hour to decide none of it made sense. Waah.

March 12th

Well, Alan may be on half a million Welsh-learners mailing lists whilst I am not, but I have found a resource he didn't know about. The Tellytubbies in Welsh. Hah. (Telutybis? Telytybis? :))

Eto eto!

March 11th

When in doubt, quote from children's classics:

Forgot what did.

March 10th

Well, mail has sort of returned. I think. If you don't get a reply though, perhaps it didn't.

March 9th

Rescued the diary file via a forgotten NFS mount. There is something very strange going on here.

Dinner at Justin's. Again. I am going to owe him an awful lot of dinners soon.

March 8th

Watched the rugby. Ireland-France great fun. Scotland-Wales... um. The only consolation is that I can figure out more of the S4C commentary than I could when we started Welsh lessons. Alas, I fear the next phrase I glean will be wooden spoon.

Alan disappeared before the end and thus missed not one but two consolation tries. Later he emerged to swap phones (the real one, not the mobile ones) and tell me I had been promoted to Guardian Of The AnswerPhone. I am so flattered. Then he went back to rearranging.

In the middle of the night (or so it seemed), he informed me that the networking was mostly done. We are going to have ADSL, apparently. And then he serenely noted that none of my mail was getting through. Nor did the machine on which I write this stuff exist anymore.

A triumph of systems administration, that. Don't expect rapid replies to email: it's all spooling up somewhere I can't get at it.

March 7th

Alan sent a very long list of ingredients for the weekend to my phone when I was shopping. Rather than send two intelligible messages at a whole twice the price, he compressed it in the form beloved of If u cn rd ths.. adverts (and the follow-up thn u mst knw unix..)

Not content with turning a tin of button mushrooms into tn but shrooms he came up with one only a programmer could possibly think logical. For black bean sauce, he suggested blk bn src.

March 6th

Aha. So once you know the right tags, it is easier to write a letter in LaTeX than in OpenOffice. Went looking for LaTeX books on Amazon and received the remarkable offer of Our Price: £30.99. -- Used from £59.95. To be twice the price of the new one, I can only assume the used one has marginalia from both Knuth and Lamport.

On a search of latex lamport, I was also offered related DVDs: Highlander and Mortal Kombat. The type-setting world must be a bloody one.

March 5th

Horror. There is another group that meets in the same place as the LUG does sometimes. And they got the upstairs first. Time to tweak the algorithm for when and where we meet again: or beat them to the upstairs.

March 4th

It survived, it survived. Well, pretty much. I have been warped into the future though:

$ uptime
9:50am  up  8:04, 59 users,  load average: 0.26, 0.39, 0.28
$ ps ux
telsa    23883  0.0  0.3  2680 1492 pts/46   S     2004   0:00 -bash
telsa    12963  0.0  0.3  2664 1472 pts/0    S     2004   0:00 -bash
telsa     6900  0.0  0.1  2672  756 pts/46   R    09:51   0:00 ps ux

Alan thinks this is all old hat. At one of his previous jobs they had a box which was finally rebooted on 100 days -- after two wraps. (Linux 1.2.something, before you ask.) Also, his ADSL bits arrived today and he is having fun playing.

March 3rd

Oh dear. Alan has a cold. He has been wearing my jumper all day (and infecting it, doubtless) and has only just noticed that I have been forced to wear his in consequence.

$ uptime
10:57pm up 496 days, 23:39, 86 users, load average: 1.62, 2.09, 2.73
I wait with bated breath.

March 2nd

Off to Justin's for a meal. If whoever called something to Alan about operating systems as we were headed up reads this: sorry for not stopping. We were late :)

$ uptime
8:33pm up 495 days, 21:15, 70 users, load average: 0.28, 0.22, 0.14

Waiting with interesting for the wrap-around date. I imagine that ps will be interesting after that.

Chris and I don't seem to have won the crossword, so we're trying again this week. Only three clues to go. Given the example of Alan's parents, who have won it twice, I should be confident. However, I keep remembering the tale of someone who sent in a completed crossword every week to the Observer and after forty years or so won: only to die before he found out. We are not doing the Observer one, though, so perhaps we have a chance.

March 1st

Began with brilliant sunshine, but by the time I thought about wandering out to see the events in town (St David's Day: it's not a public holiday, but it's still the day everyone wears a leek or a daffodil) it was chucking down with rain.

Even worse in the evening, but we still wandered out to the pub to see a band in the evening. Really good night, but clearly I need to know the words to more songs now. Understood occasional snatches of conversation. In Welsh. Felt proud until I worked out it was probably one word in about fifty or something.

Alan has not come sauntering in to show off some new feature or program on his phone all day. I am impressed.

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.)