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.

May 2003

May 31st

Trip to a local wine shop. Bought much wine. To Dick's in the evening for a barbecue. Dick has a robot lawnmower. He had to get it out and run it for us to admire. It is bizarre. And it is stronger than me and pushes me out of the way. But if I kick it, it wails and tries another direction.

May 30th

Sweltering day. Naturally it was the day we had to empty the fridge-freezer for the new one to arrive. And remove all those wretched fridge poetry magnets. It's probably a good thing. I was getting fed up with explaining to disbelieving looks that no, I was not responsible for the one about diced puppies. big red sausages, or whatever else. (They were Alan. No. Honestly.)

Committed all the po files queued up and was rewarded by seeing the statistics for one group of modules hover on 49.33%. Curses. So close to halfway there. Not that I am doing any of it. I'm just committing other people's work. Occasionally I add an en_GB update in just for laughs.

May 29th

The bright red stripe down my arm is still there. When I scrape my hair back from my face I see in the mirror that it looks as though I have applied a special mud pack made of boiled red skin to my face. Looks sillier than my arm. Solution: don't look in mirrors.

Three days ago, I was listening to people on the bus (as you do) discussing the appalling weather and how it couldn't possibly nearly be June. Today is a day for opening every window in the house. Hot, sticky, icky. Alan's theory that you can watch the weather improve as the finals start seems to be holding true.

Alan went to the computer shop and came back with nothing. Definitely an event worth recording.

LUG in the evening. Shot in the Dark upstairs room turned into a furnace. Gareth and I didn't finish out evening platter (cool meal there). We did wonder what some of it was: it didn't look like our orders. Then our platter arrived. For six. And the two people whose platter we had eaten didn't look at all pleased. We have decided to lay the responsibility on Chris, who went to the counter with the order for us. Clearly such charity must be seized upon and blamed.

Raucous party in the house next door but one (or two?) from us. All their windows open and wafting strains of what might be singing. I think someone has finished their exams.

May 28th

Second time lucky. Finally caught up with Kevin, creator of Kyfieithu, at the Urdd Eisteddfod in Margam Park.

Lovely place (never actually been before). Very sunny. I have a bright red stripe down my arm now. It looks silly.

May 27th

I am not old after all. Asking for details of particular bus services, I was offered the route to the university with the question Are you a student?

Headed over to Gower to try to catch someone staying there. Didn't find them, but did find Pennard Castle instead. Should have taken the camera.

May 26th

Caught up with email and mucked about. Out to look at exciting things like a new fridge-freezer in the afternoon. We had only had our old one since the summer of 1995, and it is pretty much dead. This is ridiculous. Like the microwave, I had rather expected something like that to last. And all the new models are stupid. They are another foot or so taller, so I can't reach the top shelves. I might be short, but I am normally short, so to speak. I'm far from the only person this height. And I can't reach the top. And they are wider, too. And this seems entirely so that you can store fizzy drinks in the door.

There are also American-style models too, which are just vast. We have a small-to-normal kitchen. There's no way these would fit through the door.

Lacking aesthetic sensibilities, we made our choice based not on colour but on whether I could reach parts of it and the energy rating. And whether it would fit through the door. We hope.

Watched Goodies DVDs in the evening with friends. Realised that most people now will say What's a Goodie? and look blank. Seventies? Oh.... Suddenly all those lists of People leaving school now will not remember.. hit home. I remember Skylab falling onto Australia, the winter of discontent, the Tories getting into power, Carter in power, Brezhnev in power, the fall of the Shah, the Iranian hostages, the miners' strike, the Falklands, and three channels on television. One of which showed the Goodies. I must be getting old. :)

May 25th

Discussion of what to see on the way back. Settled for Castell y Bere, a monument to Mary Jones and her barefoot twenty-mile walk to obtain a bible, and the Centre for Alternative Technology near Machynlleth.

Castell y Bere was magnificent. By some freak of pre-National Curriculum fate, I did the Normans and onset of the middle ages more than once at school (and the Romans and Celts in Britain about four times, come to think of it), so if I think hard, I can still dredge up trivia about castle construction. This one was a bit different: it was built not by the Normans to keep an eye on the resentful locals but by the locals to keep an eye on each other.

The Centre for Alternative Technology is cool. Given Alan's propensity to spend half an hour on any single exhibit, I think we may have to go back several times.

And I bought a clockwork radio there, too :)

Back to Swansea and the end of the whirlwind tour. Major discovery of the weekend was that all the stories that north and south Wales are different are not true. The rain is exactly the same.

May 24th

Shorn of the I can understand this but can't think how to provide a single response panics (well, honestly, a basic introduction does not provide you with the vocabulary for discussion of the vagaries of the showers or the history of morris dancing in England, so I think I should be excused), this was a day of sight-seeing and practising and resigning ourselves to the weather.

Started at a little church with rushes on the floor and moss and other greenery bedecking the interior, then reconvened at Beddgelert, Betws y Coed, and a castle we then had no time to visit. We also visited Ty Mawr, where William Morgan, the translator of the bible into Welsh, was born. At least, I think that's right: the ticket-seller heard everyone chattering in Welsh, asked whether everyone spoke Welsh, and launched into the tour in Welsh. I understood more than I expected, but I may have to go back to hear the rest one day. It is an absolutely beautiful spot: down in a little valley. Walking from the car park down to it, there was nothing except ourselves and the country (and the rain) to hear. No telephones, no alarms, no distant hum of traffic. Very very peaceful.

May 23rd

Picked up and briefly deposited at local service station to meet the rest of the people going to Nant Gwrtheyrn. This was organised for people at Welsh classes locally, and was to be a chance to improve by doing everything through Welsh. Alan and I were the only ones from our group. The rest were all far far more fluent (all disclaimers on their part to the contrary) and had started learning anything from three to six (and even ten?) years ago. Realised on discovering this that it was going to be a hard weekend.

Meandered through Wales stopping at Tregaron, Machynlleth and Cricieth before reaching the Nant, which is up on the Lleyn Peninsula (the sticking out bit on the left at the top, just under the island). It was a quarry once, and as a result you go up and up and up the outside and then see the road simply disappear and a vista of the sea glittering far beneath you. After the freezing horror of Where's the road gone? you espy it snaking down and round the side of the valley and follow it round and down. One car's width or so wide. Or two very careful drivers if you need to pass someone. Very very careful..

May 22nd

Spent most of the day waiting for clothes to dry and procrastinating about packing. At around 1700, re-read the paper about the trip to Nant Gwrtheyrn and saw one line which had not been included in English. Realised what it said: Bring food for two breakfasts, one evening meal, and two lots of sandwiches. Had just ensured the kitchen was devoid of comestibles over the weekend we were away.


Ran to shops. Returned. Much digging out of bigger rucksack, packing, repacking, and the rest. To bed far too late.

May 21st

Keys on a pipe organ sound good.

Friends on an IRC channel decided the best way to help with Welsh practice was to switch to Welsh for as much as possible in the conversation. Conversation has become rather stilted...

To the cinema in the evening, to see The Matrix Reloaded. This involved some frantic last-minute planning and phoning on someone else's part, and all we had to do was to be ready to be picked up. Despite being provided with a tray bearing his tea at the computer, Alan was still last to be ready and still spent part of the journey to it in a meeting (ircing from his phone).

I didn't like the first Matrix film. Perhaps I will ramble about that when I have nothing better to say. This one was actually better from my point of view, but since I am not gone on Super Mario Ninja Grand Larceny Auto Theft Kung Fu with shades of Atic Atac (c'mon, how many doors?), it still won't make it high onto my list of films to catch again.

May 20th

Discovered Alan is now being rude about me in his diary. He's relating tales about the time the lights in a train would only work when I got out and extrapolating to guess how many machines I could break by walking through the Google server farm. Or I think he is, anyway.. It's empting to start putting comments in here about him in French (I remember enough from school) or German but it defeats the whole point if he can't understand it. Grr.

Remembered to book for GUADEC. Just.

From a friend, and driving me mad: one of those 7 C in the R-style puzzles (seven colours in the rainbow). It is now also driving three IRC channels mad. Save me from death should I meet a frustrated and infuriated IRC-bod! What might be 58 K on a P? (No, it's not keys on a piano...)

May 19th

How can Alan sleep through the alarm next to the bed and wake to the distant sound of the doorbell when he is expecting a parcel, and yet not hear calls for assistance when he's supposed to be awake?

My book finally arrived back in the library. Got it out half an hour before the library closed, went shopping, cooked, did some work, and only then sat down and opened it. Still finished it the same night. I wish books lasted longer. Ah well. Only a month until Harry Potter arrives, and that's reputed to be very long indeed...

May 18th

Alan surfaced about 3pm to attempt to infect me with whatever he has. Lovely man.

Yet more translations to check in. This isn't humanly possible, I'm sure of it. Of course, they could all just say Stick some stuff with lots of ws and ys in here for all I know.

Settled down in the evening to watch the video I taped the other night (ie, the 13th) and discovered what should have been no surprise: we had not videoed what I thought. Swearwords.

I just love the march of technology. When we first had a video recorder (with a whole one videotape each), you could watch one channel and video the other (which was a good thing, because Dr Who and Robin of Sherwood clashed) and it was possible to set the damn thing with a reasonable expectation that it would perform as instructed.

And now I sound like my grandma complaining about the newfangled radios where you can't twist the dial. On reflection, she was right about those, too...

May 17th

Alan has the lurgy. He is not very happy about it.

Met up with friends in town. First to the Sheep Shop (local arts and crafts, totally eclipsed by the fluffy sheep mats they also stock) and then to Plantasia where we were fascinated by the plants and friends' son by the spiders. (Do you want to see the monkeys? No! Spiders!)

Over to Carl and Leila's in the evening with Heather, Rob and Kelly. The last time I had a taxi ride back from there, it was the scariest journey of my life, with a monosyllabic driver who was clearly determined to deposit me and then return before his tea had gone cold. This time the return was altogether more sedate.

May 16th

There is something wrong with a public transport system where it is cheaper to get a plane than a train. Even if said plane is about as punctual as the railways. No excuses about the wrong kind of air, though.

Alan has returning bearing gifts. A bottle of wine from someone else. And a cold from him. Still managed to go out with friends in the evening.

May 15th

Up to see Alan and Dave off. Morning was beautiful: quiet and bright. So I ignored it and went back to sleep.

May 14th

Alan thinks the air freshener I found smells like teabags.

Dave Cridland visited in the evening. He and Alan are swanning off to London for some meeting at some unsocial hour, so naturally we stayed up chatting until about 1am.

May 13th

Alan got a new parcel in the post today. Leading to the following appalling discovery on our LUG IRC channel:

<telsa> I think Alan just out-geeked Nat.
<nat> what goodies has he got?
<telsa> God help us, it's a roll-up waterproof keyboard made of bouncy plastic.
<nat> i have one of them in the bathroom.

It is apparently not possible to out-geek Nat IRCing from the train again Morris. (In fact, IRCing and taking photos from the train seems to be more accurate.) We didn't take the roll-up keyboard to the LUG meeting, but nearly everyone else brought something. A first occurred too: the kitchen did not run out of anything we tried to order.

Whilst we were out, there was something I wanted to video. Apparently the video is working again. I couldn't get it to record. So Alan came down and dictated which buttons to press in which order. We came to the final button, I pressed it, and... the machine ejected the videotape. Alan does not understand how this can only happen when I press the buttons. He pressed them the next time, and it worked. We think. It didn't spit out the tape, at least. I did not dare try to wind it back and watch it. It would probably have melted down, since it obviously just hates me.

May 12th

Dafydd has turned into a translating machine. Every morning there is a new file to check in.

Alan felt the need for backups strongly enough that he wanted to take my machine apart and fix the tape drive (the one he gave to me so he didn't have to do it). He has now removed the tape drive and put the radio card he took back off me back in another box And I got to loll about watching the telly with a glass of wine instead.

This looking after my own machine game is easy. I just wait for Alan to give up on hopes that I will do something I don't want to do and to decide to do it himself. Sorted...

...except that he took apart two machines and they worked after. He merely moved the third one and now it doesn't work. Ho hum.

May 11th

Marmite is not so good for you that I shall be adding it to the shopping list.

May 10th

Gareth is trying to persuade me that marmite is good for you.

Checked more po files into CVS. There are thousands and thousands of strings in Gnome. It's scary. But apparently we (using we in its loosest possible sense) are up to 20% of the developer-libs and 16% of the desktop. And there's tons of teams who have hit 100% in those and the other three or four loose categories too, so there is hope.

Oooh. New book arrived. At bookshop, not library. Started reading in the evening, and at two in the morning realised I should have gone to bed hours ago. Oops.

May 9th

Yup, I have the lurgy. Boring. Chatting on IRC about curry, someone lamented that they were not eating curry that evening. Why don't you come visit here then? said we, in folly, We could go to the Anarkali (which is one of about twenty all in the same road). What a good idea said Gareth, and drove goodness how far for a curry.

May 8th

Bleurgh. Hope I am not getting the lurgy. Spent most of the afternoon asleep.

May 7th

7.30am: cold. 9am: cloudy, looking like rain. 11.45am: big white fluffy clouds and sun all over the screen. Waited for snow all through the afternoon, but alas, it was not to be.

May 6th

Played Hunt The Chequebook. Alan found it. He is trying to claim I am the one who put it in the silly place. He is probably right. But inspection of the stubs reveals he had it last, so I expect I merely tidied it away after he left it out. Ahem.

May 5th

The last time I edited my .procmailrc on the box that catches mail to the address at the bottom of this page was the ninth of April. That must be when I started using spamassassin. It's now nearly a month since then. And spamassassin has caught two megs of spam. This is without really using harsh settings. In that time, I've had about one legitimate message a day to that account.

The people over on the gnome-cy list have been doing wonders. Started checking some of the results back into Gnome CVS. Only HEAD for now. Messing with branches (oh dear) comes later.

Over to Justin's to, ahem, test more cheesecake recipes.

May 4th

Wow. Up ridiculously late. Alan was still up later, but only barely.

Alan had fun chiselling at bits of the wall for reasons I don't quite follow. Generally I have found it better just to let him get on with it.

May 3rd

Some time ago, I thought it would be fun to have Greenpeace vacuum the house. The idea was to find out what chemicals are lurking in our living environments. Their final report arrived today. Phthalates, brominated biphenyls, permethrin (which doesn't seem to stop the woodlice anyway. At least, I assume that's from the insect powder...) and tetrabromobisphenol-A: you name it, we've got it. I wonder whether I should worry.

To Justin's in the evening. We need to steal all his recipes.

May 2nd

The local library won an award for its use of IT a while ago. If that's the case, how come can they lend out a book I had reserved and not even notice?

Turnout at the polls yesterday was indeed appalling. In my local constituency, my vote effectively counted triple. Alan stayed up until 6am watching the results, but I only found this out when I attempted to wake him at half-ten.

In an attempt to fall in with my house-tidying effort, Alan has learned to move the junk I put at the bottom of the stairs into his room (or somewhere) before I tell him it's about to go into the bin. He is getting quite adept at responding to this, but it is possible that he has gone a little too far. I brought a laundry basket down, put it there whilst I did something else, went into the kitchen without it, came back out for it, and, as my grandpa would say, there it was, gone! Alan had spotted Stuff On The Stairs and dutifully removed it. Within minutes.

He is now going to use this occurrence as an excuse never to move anything again. I can tell.

May 1st

I appear to have hooked half of an irc channel on the crossword. For a few months now, I and Chris have been trying to do it, and yesterday we had half a dozen. We're getting better, but now we need to figure out how to get the answers before the deadline rather than five minutes after it. This is going to be harder.

Elections today. England is doing its local council seats, Scotland is doing its Parliament, and Wales is doing the Assembly. We got a whole two votes to play with. Coo. Expected turnout is so appalling that I expect my votes to count double.

Found a video (in the library) that Alan will actually watch. The complete set of Bagpuss episodes. Alan, on seeing the mice declare a strike, decided that the mice must have read Marx. I had to tell him he was a bit late there: the sociopolitical analysis of Bagpuss had already been drawn...

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.)