The more accurate diary. Really.

Warning: These are old.

May 2004

May 31st

Hooray. I'm Sorry I Haven't A Clue is back on, complete with strip poker. Yes, this is on the radio. (Erm.. five queens, Barry, you're playing with postage stamps, Oh.)

Alan still revising.

May 30th

Holiday day today. In the morning went to the Swansea Show, which has unaccountably resisted inflation and got its prices down to a civilised level. I like shows, and I haven't been to any in a long time. I can still remember some of the ones I went to as a kid in Northumberland. We mooched around with the aid of a highly dubious map and admired everything from the winners of Best Wax Product (from the beekeeping tent) to the winners of the cat show (from the cat tent with a notice of No dogs allowed. Alas, we missed the class of Dog With Waggiest Tail. There was a Rare Breeds tent with various breeds of farm animals I hadn't even realised were now endangered (and one empty stall where someone had failed to arrive with a notice saying Sorry -- so rare we couldn't find one which made me laugh, at least) and a display of falconry, which lived up to all expectations when the first bird was having far too much fun wheeling in the sky to return to the lure. Eventually it came in, right over our heads. I never thought I'd see one so close in real life. (A bit too close: I wasn't the only one who ducked.) All the other things were there: the army had a tank and a bouncy plastic assault course (no really), and apparently we missed someone herding ducks with his sheepdog, although I think I must have misread the programme there.

Restrained selves from buying too much of the various products on sale, and headed back to Justin's for a barbecue. Rang Alan (who was revising, says he) to tell him food was imminent. Lovely afternoon in the sun (hooray for sun block) and catching up with friends.

I headed off early because I had managed to double-book myself and went to the launch night of Tyrfe Tawe, a music festival in Swansea. Someone (who knows who he is) thought playing Monkeyball would be more fun, but he was wrong.

May 29th

Start of the bank holiday weekend, so rain is predicted to destroy the unbroken sun (and heat) we have been having. It didn't arrive. Oh, confusion.

Alan is determined to get my machine back off me, so did half an install on the box he wants me to move to and hinted strongly about it. Did the other half. Alan then wanted to apply all sorts of other things to it, and in the process destroyed my working box's X session. Argh. That had been up for months until he did that, and I had all my windows neatly labelled and organised and in the right places.

May 28th

And again, off to university. This is Alan's final pair of modules before the dissertation or written project or whatever it is. And they keep being rearranged on the timetable. Somehow it seems entirely that these moving targets are sales and project management.

Despite the revision he is supposed to be doing, we decided to head for the Anarkali. This has a large-ish veggie selection, so rang a friend who had lamented missing the last excursion there. He was in the back seat of a car bombing along the motorway at the time, so the entire car-full and more came in the end.

May 27th

Poor Alan. An entire day at university again. This degree this is generating scary amounts of rising in the morning.

May 26th

Alan has had a grand plan. Instead of being on time with the tax returns, as we were last year, we shall be organised and early. Much discussion of financial things and even more of Well, where is that letter/statement/receipt? Very exciting. Found all manner of things (not generally the letter, statement or receipt, though). I am not sure, but this may be related to the fact that every time we sent my fully-completed return in, we received it back, telling us to fill in sections we had already filled in. This (a fully completed form bouncing back between us) went on for so long that in the end they tried to charge me for a late submission.

Put two bank accounts together to make one. It used to be possible to do this by letter, I am sure. These days, to prevent us laundering money (??), we both have to go in and hang about whilst we wait for the computer to come back up (yes, it was down) for it all to go through. I am not sure what you do if you live somewhere isolated and your local branch has been shut down, nor yet if you both work at all the times the bank is open.

Realised subsequently that now I have no cash and the new card is going to take some time to arrive. Time to raid the spare change jars.

Found a splendid place to visit: Trepanning, a putative Cornish village which appears to be a cross between Brigadoon, that place they set Dr Who and the Daemons whose name I forget, and a border crossing into Amber. With bus services.

May 25th

There is an unreachable bit of space between the stairs and the landing which you can see and which, foolishly, perhaps, is painted white so all the dust shows. It turns out that it is not quite unreachable. Discovered how to climb into it. Alan not impressed, since it is a long drop down. But at least it is beautifully clean now.

Delivery arrived. A new case. Did we need a new case? You did. I did? Yes. I want yours back now.. When both RAID discs died, we rescued most of my /home onto a little computer made up of bits and in a smart case. Apparently Alan wants his case back now. I am being evicted from my /home :)

May 24th

And more travels: it takes about as long to get to random points in the Enterprise Zone (the nearby Asda thinks it is Morriston, but the building I was in reckons to be in Swansea Vale) by public transport as it does to get half-way to Aberystwyth. Four buses a day. Allegedly.

Not impressed whilst waiting for the bus back. I was at the stop almost half an hour early, and twenty minutes after it was due to stop it sailed past me at great speed, with no hint of stopping. That was the last bus, too.

I shall be presenting the taxi receipt to the bus company. This is not the first time this has happened, and I am getting fed up with it.

May 23rd

The travels continue: this time to Carmarthen by the scenic route (ie, past Kidwelly Castle instead of on the motorway). I should visit that, too. Barbecue with friends, and back home in the evening.

Alan produced some incredibly sweet wine, but still reckoned that he had to go and work on his essay. I can't think how he could. One sniff of that wine was enough for me.

May 22nd

Up to Aberystwyth for the first time in years. The view from the hill over the town and the sea is still as impressive as ever. Got to see one of the posher rooms in the library. I don't remember getting to those as a student. Had to leave to get back to Swansea in time, so couldn't go to see whether the pubs are the same too.

Perhaps I should go back again to try that, some time soon.

Alan didn't come. He is theoretically working on his essay. He has been (claiming to be) working on his essay for the last three days, but clearly he is taking the same approach to essays as he does to hacking, and lying abed thinking about them for most of the morning.

May 19th

The big domestic news today is that a group called Fathers 4 .. erm, something (they want access to their children, but I get stuck at the numeral replacing a perfectly good three-letter word) chucked some condoms filled with purple flour at the Prime Minister in the Commons. And all the MPs filed out blinking into the sunshine before realising Oops, if that had been something spreadable, we should have stayed inside.

Hansard, the official record of parliament, managed in its usual way to summarise the thing as interruption. Bit unfortunate for anyone whose MP was hoping to ask a question for them.

We have figured out how ID cards would have stopped this, though:
<telsa> So how exactly would ID cards have stopped this?
<dwd> telsa: Well, you won't be able to buy condoms full of purple powder without showing your ID card, obviously.

Ah yes. Of course.

Alan answered the door in the evening and nearly sent a canvasser (we have both council and European elections coming up here) packing, but I caught him before he could. We are in an office-y area so although we get lots of political leaflets in canvassing, it is rare that we get a real live canvasser. And I had a few issues to discuss with any who showed up. This one was Labour, so he got Iraq and lack of UN involvement (he'd had a lot of that already); ID cards (he doesn't want one); and software patents (this was new, and I don't think he was delighted to hear that Welsh Labour and Conservative MEPs voted the same way on anything, nor that I had had no response to emails I had sent one of the Labour MEPs.)

Bit unfortunate for him that he was standing for the local council really: I don't think I can actually blame him for any of the above. And they have started recycling around here, which is something I do appreciate about the council. Even if I have a cardboard mountain in the house which they don't collect.

I await yet the Conservatives, the Lib Dems, Plaid Cymru, the Greens, the Uplands independence party (Independence for the Uplands! Yay! Well, no, perhaps that's not their line), the (sigh) BNP (perhaps I should stock up on purple flour myself) and doubtless a few more.

May 18th

Went to grab lunch at a restaurant, because Alan wanted to go out. He has been (voluntarily) tidying up. This consists of picking up the heaps of post which needs sorting in the hall and putting it on my desk. Then he takes anything he thinks important away and leaves the rest to me. This is a lot of effort, so he needed a break.

The place was a Mexican style restaurant (although I dread to think what Federico would think of it, having heard about the time someone tried to take him to a Mexican restaurant in North Carolina). It is very warm at the moment, so clearly I need to replenish any lost salt through margaritas. I swear that I had no idea that you got two for the price of one. Alan picked a different one, and only got one for the price of one. But still, it was enough. I was able to drag him round the shops with nary a murmur shortly after.

Clearly I need merely to give him a drink and he will do the shopping. That's eleven years of ignorance of this fact so far. I have a great deal of catching up to do here...

May 17th

Still hot. I have a nice stripe across my arms from the sun at the weekend. I look like a tomato, despite keeping out of the sun as much as possible.

May 16th

Rescued the proto-lemonade. Wow. Yummy. I can make lemonade, and it's really really easy. Must buy lots more lemons.

Alan and Conrad off to a computer fair. Surprise. Lazed in the garden with Diana. Well, I lazed. She gardened. Train home in the evening delayed. What a surprise.

May 15th

Lazed around in the morning and out in the afternoon to Cheltenham. Pretty town in parts. After eating at a neat veggie/vegan restaurant, the Orange Tree, we hid out of the sun in the museum and art gallery. I like museums, whether they're the giant national sort or the all-in-two-rooms sort. Luckily, so did everyone else, so we spent ages there.

Raided the shop on the way back. Acquired about a million lemons. Barbecue in the evening, and attempted to make lemonade based on a half-remembered recipe in school and various over-involved versions in a selection of recipe books lying around (this is another household of books). Simmered the zest of a couple of lemons in water with some sugar, added the juice of another eight or so and came up with a syrup to add water to. But by then, someone had opened the wine..

May 14th

Getting very very warm now. Yuk :) Alan says it is because the exam season is starting at the university. He claims that for a period of ten years he noticed the weather really did become colder and dreary as soon as the finals stopped. They generally stop around the solstice. I shall watch this year.

Went to Brynmill library for the first time in years. It's tiny, but I used to go a lot when I lived nearer. It is a room about the size of our living room with a really really narrow door to let you into the children's section. I couldn't get into that section because there was someone standing in it, which tells you all you need to know about how big that part is. As ever, found some gems.

Onto the train in the evening to get to Bristol and visit friends. Sat out in the garden until about 11pm.

May 12th

That was quick. Alan is now better. So much better that he has decided to keep a diary (in English) again. Well. Sort of. There was stuff he wanted to put on FedoraPeople, but FedoraPeople, like all the rest of the Planet-aggregated things, uses RSS feeds. And neither I nor Alan have succumbed to this yet (although I know of two people who have created scripts to generate RSS from mine, and one day I shall sort a proper one out). So he has started writing a Fedora-related diary in RSS. And Planet expects to find both the RSS and a location for the original diary (or blog, if you must).

He has also discovered he can't mix languages, which will be a pain for him and a relief for most of the rest of the world, since if the Fedora one is to be of any use, it should probably be in English. So now he gets to keep two.

May 11th

Back up to high oppressive temperatures. Alan feeling ill in the morning, but I put this down to the poor soul having to be in university for (whisper it) 9am. Which means leaving the house even before that. I thought he was leaving just in time to get there walking, but I discovered recently that in fact he's been getting the bus. Hmm.

In the event, he arrived home feeling no better. After about five things I told him were met with blank stares or incoherent (well, more incoherent than normal: I am used to peculiar responses when he's staring at computers) mumblings, callously left him to find his own food and went out. Got back around half past nine to find him in bed, boiling hot, and complaining that he was freezing.

Oh dear. Maybe it wasn't the ice cream.

May 10th

Melting by 9 in the morning. Alan returned from university in the afternoon and announced that it was time to go for an icecream at Joe's. I grabbed some cheques to pay in and said I would go with him. As I scribbled cheques for bills to post at the same time, there was a bleep from the UPS and the video clock started flashing. Grr. Power glitch. Alan went upstairs to see whether it had knocked out the router box (still attached the the UPS with the broken fuse). It had. He fixed it. Seconds later, the working UPS bleeped again, the upstairs one fell over again, there was a rumble in the sky, and he had to restart the router again.

And then the rain started. It absolutely hammered down. Traffic slowed down drastically and started to avoid the gutters at the edges as the water flowed down it. Oh good said Alan. There won't be a queue at the icecream shop now. I wailed. Eventually, we made a dash for the post office which is five (if that) minutes away. Drenched within seconds, largely as the result of a lorry splashing water all over us. I gave up on icecream. Alan returned via the longer route. Yes, in the middle of a long and heavy thunderstorm, he went for icecream.

May 9th

Why does the connection to the net always fail when Alan has gone to sleep and won't be awake for hours? 8am on a Sunday morning is an excellent time to get things done on the net, because no-one else is up then. Well, if they are, they're getting ready for church or for a day at DIY shops, and not filing bugs.

The DSL box needed a kick, apparently, which Alan duly gave it on waking.

Intended to get to the rugby and then yet again got completely sidetracked and realised at about kick-off time. Grr. Grr. To add insult to injury, apparently it was a nail-biter at the end.

May 7th

Welsh exam today. It's only a little bitty one. But I still didn't like it. A friend described last year's as Congratulations, you have reached the level of a four-year-old Welsh speaker. So I think this means I should now be able to converse with five-year-olds. Although after the performance I gave, I fear it would have to be a very patient five-year-old.

Despite this, went along to a bilingual quiz in the evening, in which I failed to locate Brisbane correctly on a map, was overruled in the question of Is wine 1 or 3 more expensive? and learned the Welsh for vomit and fart. (Actually, suddenly level of a five-year-old sounds about right..)

Alan stayed at home. Hacking, I suspect. Returned to find remains of take-out all over the table next to the laptop.

May 6th

Alan has been playing with travel prices on the net, and has subsequently become intrigued by the madness that is aeroplane ticket pricing. If we go to Paris and get on a flight there, and then change in London onto the London flight we looked at, it is cheaper than getting the London flight straight from London. Or we could go to Amsterdam or Brussels and it is similarly cheaper to fly from those. Which is odd, because someone on IRC whose nearest airport is Amsterdam has found it would be cheaper for him to go to London than to fly from Amsterdam.

Armed with this information, Alan went back into town (voluntarily: amazing) to upset travel agents. He returned very happy, and armed with the information that we are probably the last people in Britain to know: travel agents are just that: agents. They can only sell certain tickets. They can see these cheaper flights on their computers now that Alan told them the flight details, but they can't book them. Fortunately, one company in Swansea (Why didn't you come here first?) can apparently book just about anything.

He spent the rest of the day hacking. I thought he was not going to be doing so much hacking this year, whilst doing his course. Over the last few days, he has reverted to form. I don't think you can stop him doing this. Over Christmas, he was messing around with X internals and drivers. And I already know that if there isn't a computer to hand, he hacks in his head, so to speak, composing the code that he will just churn out the next time he finds himself a keyboard.

May 5th

Alan very unhappy to discover that his morning lectures will start not at 10am but at 9am. However will he get to them? Toured the travel agents trying to price flights to Canada. Flights which leave from Cardiff (our nearest airport) are twice the price of flights which leave from London. Amazing.

May 4th

There was an eclipse tonight. I was hopeful. As the moon was about to rise, I looked out again. And the sky was cloudy. Looked out again later. Now I could see stars right above me, but where I expected the moon to be there was a long low cloud. Sneaky :)

May 3rd

Bank holiday today. Sunny. This is not considered normal for a bank holiday. We get about eight of them a year, and only three of them are any time when you'd expect sun and warmth.

I got over three hundred junk mails in 24 hours to one address today: the address at the bottom of this page. And one legit email. Grr.

May 2nd

Did lots of cooking stuff in the morning. Alan awoke (not in the morning, but that goes without saying) and didn't want any of it. Still, I discovered the garlic butter I made the other day and had promptly forgotten about. Was halfway through toasting the bread, so put the marmalade away and had beans on toast buttered with garlic butter. Alan less than ecstatic at this. He doesn't like the smell of garlic, whereas I think that if you can't smell it, there isn't nearly enough of it. His day was further spoiled when I decided I hadn't seen any of Edge of Darkness for..ooh, days (okay, a little more than that) and went looking for the thing. He thinks I have seen it too often. This from the man who can see the first three seconds of a Scooby Doo cartoon and identify the episode, the monster, and whether it's any good within that time. (Good here means No Scrappy or other Scooby relatives as far as I can tell.)

Decided to install the beta on my laptop (of the recent upgrade to the previous beta). Won't. Something has broken. Already in bugzilla. Damn. All my bugs are already in bugzilla. I shall find something yet.

Caught up with sister (she of the recent marriage). How's married life, then? Exactly the same as before. Oh, okay. What did you do today? I was hitting him and then he hit me back, and then we fired arrows at him. Short pause. Re-enactment season has started, then? How did you guess?

May 1st

Up and getting stuff done early, hanging around waiting for Mr Genius' bright ideas on how to wreck my computer some more. This had to wait for him to wake up. Discussed possible plans. I pointed out that somehow I always got the cast-offs he had bought originally because something on them was not supported. And asked if trying to fit the bits (which are a plumbers nightmare) into a slightly larger case was a plan. You can have the dual athlon case if you want. In fact, you can have the dual athlon. Oooh.

I have no idea what I can run on a dual athlon (nor whether I can stand the heat in summer: I am sure this is the box I dry the washing on), but since the computer of yesterday is still not working, this seemed a plan.

Alan brought it downstairs, removed all the goodies out of it (You won't want that, you won't want that, you won't want that..) to my muffled squeaks, and then plugged it in. It couldn't see the hard discs. Oh dear, here we go again. Many many rejiggings later, we had a machine booting. Whizzed through the Fedora beta text install (in Welsh, so we are not quite sure what we put on it..) and hit the button for install. Machine crashed. Monitor died. Everything died. So much died that we had to check whether we had had a power cut.

Eventually, an idea occurred to the wizard of computers. The consistent feature all through this has been those hardware encryption things, which Alan has never used before and which, he admits now, after four hours of this, are at full stretch on the cables.

Removed them. Machine woke up. Machine installed. Whoosh.

Oh well, that was easy, then.

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.)