The more accurate diary. Old stuff

Warning: These are old.

October 2003

October 31st

Horrified to discover that aurora borealis were visible even from Swansea latitudes last night. And I didn't see them. Curses, curses, curses. They are something I have always wanted to see. We had heard that solar flares or something might trigger them, but rain absolutely poured down through a blanket of cloud, so we assumed nothing would be visible. Wrong...

Last of this batch of exams for Alan. Two modules down (we hope), lots to go. I think normally he would sleep all weekend, but he has some trip to go on for the course. The weather does not look good for it.

After a mere two weeks of working there, Steve has finally got a card-key for the building he works in. Wow.

October 30th

More dark clouds and soaked pavements. The leaves which blew onto our path no longer rustle when I wade through them (well, it seems like wading, even if they're not that deep). They're all wet and slimy and horrible. Got into a silly Our sunsets are better than yours conversation on IRC. I think I win, mostly because I just pointed people at some of the pictures on the Gower information centre (huge page). There's some lovely stuff there. I had the Pigs Lip (large page) in reserve too. On the other hand, the person who started the conversation pointed out that they got that view from their office without even having to move. Perhaps they win then.

Alan had the second of his exams (it's a very modular course: two subjects at breakneck speed, then exams, two more subjects, exams, and so on) today. He has never had to write an essay-style answer since he left school, which is (mumble-numble) years ago. He has been muttering about woolly subjects and no single right answer. I thought all questions were like that. Except perhaps maths, although ever since Alan told me about some guy using maths to prove that you couldn't use maths to prove things, I have regarded it as a slightly loopy subject in its own right.

Alan and Steve (who is still here: he had to wait for his office to be ready for him to move into, and has only just got a phone, but despite all this has still managed to sell some stuff) cooked tonight, whilst I nattered on the phone to a friend. How decadent.

I have been trying to bring some plans to fruition to do with Gnome and events in the UK, but things have conspired against me: I still I have the lurgy (I wonder whether there's an equivalent of that in Welsh) for one thing.

I was waiting for about six Tory MPs to decide they wanted to be leader and to throw their hat into the ring, but it's very strange. One after another, all the likely candidates are lining up to endorse one person. So no election to the position, then.

October 29th

Bucketing down with rain here. Alan's expressions of delight at the end of the heat have moderated now. Perhaps the rain is why I have only heard one firework so far tonight.

In the 1980's whilst the Conservatives were in power, Labour, in opposition, took the opportunity to rip itself into tiny little pieces: rows, leadership elections, disputes, splits in the party, and so on. I have always wondered what on earth the Tories thought of that. I am now beginning to have a pretty good idea. At what seems a rocky time for the Labour government, the Tories have paused from their internal divisions and rows and have decided to have a leadership contest. Masterful timing.

October 28th

Fun with Lynx part 342: typos in filenames. Looking at a well-known UK site with Lynx, I saw that because there are no alt attributes Lynx is showing the filenames of the pictures. They are all called variants of GolbalNav instead of (I presume) global.

October 27th

Alan handed another essay in, after using all the paper in the printer. I wondered why my crossword wasn't printed out.

Put the recycling out. Normally, I stockpile all the bottles and get a lift with friends to a supermarket with a bottle bank. Now the council have finally got around to changing their logos on the bin lorries (garbage trucks, ash carts, whatever) to add Recycling to the department name, and I have a pile of the (different) bags to use for the recycling. Since this started, I am convinced that we have halved the amount of rubbish we put out. Ouch.

October 26th

Forgot all about the clocks going back for the autumn. Thought I was up late but instead I was up early enough to watch half a a rugby game before the England/Samoa one. I wanted Samoa to do well because the better they do, the less I hope people can remind me of what they did to Wales some years back. (Skewed logic, yes, but there we are.)

Best rugby of the cup so far, I think, even if they didn't win.

October 25th

A Saturday, and Alan up early. Not to watch the rugby though: he has Saturday lectures. Apparently the coffee break was extended to watch the end of the match (lecturer is a rugby fan too), baffling some of the overseas students. Wales beat Italy.

Got Alan to admit (reluctantly) that parts of Dog Soldiers are worth watching. Only taken me six months to persuade him to finish watching it.

October 24th

Dear me. Alan is reverting to type. Apparently during a group presentation, one of his group produced a toilet seat as a prop. I am not entirely sure how they worked this into something I thought was about accounting.

Out for pizza in the evening. Pizza Express is very ill-named. Gaps of half an hour between courses.

Managed to completely destroy Gnome and X in the morning. Lost all ability to focus with the mouse -- thank goodness for keyboard shortcuts. Load average of 8. Eventually killed X and tried to restart. Discovered it wouldn't because half of Gnome was still apparently running although X wasn't. I think I know where to pin the blame, but I am not sure how to reproduce it. The proximate cause of it all turned out to be Alan's fault though: nautilus, df and many other things were hanging because the mounted NFS filesystem had gone away when Alan reinstalled that box from scratch. He is continually rebooting boxes I am using over NFS, but that is the first time he has ever taken it away completely. Grr. Didn't think of NFS at all, because it didn't occur to me that Alan would just blithely reinstall that box. Should have known better.

October 22nd

I do not think Steve believes my protestations that I rarely watch television. Whenever he returns, he finds me watching Dr Who.

October 21st

Starting to get cold now. Leaves shed from the trees in the road are heaped up on the path. Need to get the brooms out, or we shall be wading in them.

Canada so nearly beat Italy in the rugby. Well done Canada. This is important because in all honesty Wales are, um, unlikely to beat the All-Blacks and come top of their pool: so we have to come second. Unfortunately, the same applies to Italy. So the Wales/Italy game is going to be interesting. I shall hide behind a pillow for half of it.

The friend staying with us is still here: Steve is moving back to Swansea to run his consulting and the Linux Emporium. There is a big posh new building on the university campus called the Technium or some such name which is for businesses. It has had several official openings already, and there are probably more to come.

October 20th

Alan keeps going upstairs to work on his essay and I keep finding him doing anything except working on his essay.

Lovely lovely weather: cold, bright and clear. In October. Should have taken the opportunity to go for a mooch around Gower or something. There's at least two local sites which focus on rambling around Gower (often with camera in hand).

October 19th

Up early to watch the rugby. What a silly time zone to have it in. Wales still in the game, but uh-oh.

Alan has another cold. It's all this going outside and mixing with other people, clearly.

October 18th

It is supposed to be autumn now. Rain, gloomy, all that sort of thing. Instead, it is bright and sunny.

Finally got my hands on the Fedora beta. Have not broken it yet.

October 17th

More feeling out of my depth and groping at straws. I am occasionally asked whether I have an RSS feed of this diary. The answer is no. But I see some odd hits in referrer logs, so I wonder if anyone has made one. I will cheerfully make such a feed if it is possible not to change anything else I do, and just to add something. Currently the sequence goes: vim diary.html; lynx diary.html; rsync --various --options diary.html otherbox:~/public_html/Diary/ ;, then hit the Validate this page button I have in Mozilla, and start all over again :)

So if anyone has some kind of rss thing for this page, I'd love to know.

A friend is moving down here and can't yet move into his house, so he is staying with us for a bit. Arrived tonight. Hmmm. Better get some more food in the house.

October 16th

Messing around with style sheets and colours. This would be a lot easier if I didn't have the nasty feeling there are accessibility problems lurking here: and that people who have set their own preferred text, background, and so on colours and fonts will see something very strange indeed.

I have now created a stylesheet which the W3C validator likes, but which the validator claims is strewn with warnings and even errors. My brain hurts.

October 15th

Email is all very well, but it doesn't beat bumping into an old friend in town and repairing to a cafe to catch up on all the news.

October 13th

Seems we're not the only ones. It was raining this morning. Bumped into a friend on the street. Lovely!, he said, and I don't think he was being funny.

October 12th

Rugby world cup started, so there is much television to watch. Wales not out yet. Hooray.

Had a tidying fit in the room where things get dumped to sort out later. Found Alan's cache of old envelopes and jiffy bags. There are dozens and dozens. Made Alan fit them all inside one another. I think he found that much more fun than writing an essay.

October 11th

Alan up at 3pm. Asking about breakfast. Ho hum.

Havoc has posted a fascinating article link in his diary about encodings and Unicode. I feel all warm and fuzzy about changing the encoding on this page to UTF-8 now. I bet this means that I didn't understand the article properly.

To Justin's to watch DVDs.

October 10th

Got the parcel. Also found out what the noise of fireworks over the last few nights has been about. Not about using up the last fireworks now that the Fireworks Bill has become the Fireworks Act (ie, it's now law.) No. It's a new game: firing fireworks at police helicopters. What fun.

October 9th

It seems we are going to be playing musical parcels with the postman again. Alan might have stopped reading his email but it doesn't look like he's stopped browsing Ebay. Missed the postman, so have to hang about waiting in now until it arrives again.

October 8th

Alan has discovered that it is possible to get up and into university in the morning for several days in a row. I am hoping that this will last for more than a year.

October 7th

I have probably broken everyone's fonts again.

Whilst trying to get one single page to show non-ascii characters, I discovered the magic of the .htaccess file and AddDefaultCharset UTF-8. This seemed such a good idea that I put it at the top of the directory so it affects everything. I expect it will break something soon.

October 6th

The house is now too hot. :)

October 5th

Good heavens. It is not a month since I was complaining about the heat and Alan has put the heating on. After all his Ah, this is proper weather once it started raining, too. Perhaps walking into the university and back daily has tamed his enthusiasm for the rain.

October 4th

Off to Borders with Justin for, um, cheesecake. Borders stock their history books not by period but by author. I am not sure this is the best way to organise books. Easy to shelve, yes. Easy to find things in, though, no. I think Alan will approve, though. I can quite merrily attempt to buy five or six books at once. Not being able to find anything, I only bought one.

Dick's turn to cook tonight. Yum.

October 3rd

Alan caught the mouse by laying down a little trail of Coco-pops (a breakfast cereal for children which he still eats) in a line into the trap. It sounded like something out of a cartoon. It is now out of the house.

Over to Cardiff in the evening to see friends and experience the joys of slightly inebriated passengers attempting conversation on the way back.

In a fit of boredom, went through the house looking for stuff I could get rid of. Those curbside recycling people are going to have a fit when I put the bags out for the first time. All the stuff lying about waiting for the next time friends with a car do their run is now going into the bags. I think I am going to need new bags already.

First week of back to college must have tired Alan out. He went to bed before I did.

October 2nd

Discovered that a band from Canada I like are playing semi-locally (miles away, but somewhere I know people with a spare bed) soon. Went checking up on other bands just in case. One band claim to be playing in Edinburgh, England, which will doubtless impress the locals, and another are splitting up (waah) soon. Must buy remaining CDs, quick!

This year's Welsh course has two times: daytime and evening. I can't think in the evening, so I am sticking with the morning one. Alan is in classes then, though, so has to go to the evening one. He came back very very late after it. Discovered to my horror that after the evening one, they open up the bar. Without me! Oh, the inhumanity of it.. Also: Someone wanted to know where you were and said hello Who? Dunno.. Further What do you mean, you don't know? When did I meet them? How can you not know that? expostulations omitted for space. Note: don't ever expect Alan to pass on a message for me. He does this all the time...

October 1st

Downloaded a new Dasher and got side-tracked with another bug instead of finding the Dasher one. Oops.

LUG in the evening. Absolute chaos. It's very busy down Wind Street at the moment: all the students have returned. They are also eating all the food. There were more dishes off the menu than on, and the poor bar guy had to make about six returns to the table to say Sorry, we've run out of that now, too as we changed order after order. It got gloriously silly.

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.)