The more accurate diary. Really.

Warning: These are old.

September 2004

September 30th

Classic quote from chairman of Question Time tonight at the end. And for further information, you can go to the website, you know it all backwards, BBC slash.. diddly-dom.. questions

I particularly liked the diddly-dom.

September 29th

I can hear fireworks again. Just over a month to go before Bonfire Night. Ho hum.

September 28th

Over to friends in the evening. Not seen them for a while, despite the fact they live in Swansea. Coffee, chat, and DVD-watching. They have been praising Ultraviolet for ages, but I have never succumbed, ever since someone said it was about vampires. (Vampires? How.. thrilling.) Had it inflicted on me. Was gripped. Ahem. This is possibly because no-one ever says the v-word, and I am not expected to sigh with longing for gothic beauties who wander the night in tragic angst. Borrowed the rest of the series to find out how it ends.

It had better not end in gothic beauties wandering the night in tragic angst.

September 27th

Welsh lessons have started up again. By dint of extreme effort, Alan managed to be awake for it, even though it's in the morning.

September 25th

So much for shopping in the morning. Alan not awake until the afternoon. Dragged him shopping regardless. He was not awake, and recalled all the things we needed after we returned home. To make up for it, he cooked. And promptly set the smoke alarm off.

I was on the phone to my sister at the time, and I think she was more peturbed than I was. Only after hitting the silencer did I think to check whether Alan, the kitchen or some other part of the house was on fire.

It is not going to get him out of shopping again. I suspect it was part of his campaign against non-stick woks. He hates them. I love them. It's nothing to do with the cooking. It's the washing-up. (Which Alan regards as a self-doing process when it comes to woks. He puts it to soak, and then leaves it cluttering up the kitchen until I give up and do it. Cheat!)

September 24th

Alan has promised to help do the shopping tomorrow. In the morning. Yes. This is worth a diary entry.

September 23rd

A day to remember: Alan up and awake before me, in order to be out of the house early to attend a business breakfast and give some sort of talk. At 7.30 am. He duly got up at twenty past six. I am in shock.

Rather than falling asleep at a sensible hour, he then continued almost round the clock. When he eventually dragged himself away from the computer, it was with the news that he too has succumbed to wiki-madness and had been fixing things on wikipedia: obscure chips and pieces of computer history. Oh dear. He has a vast store of such trivia. I have been drowning in wikipedia-knowledge for a while now. Invariably I look something up, open half a dozen promising new links in the background, continue on, open some more, and then realise I have thirty or more tabs to read. (Yes, I do this with printed reference books, too. Well. not by opening browser tabs, obviously. But there are always such fascinating side-references.) But I still haven't found anything I am confident enough about to correct. One day, I shall at least fix a typo. One of Alan's, I expect :)

September 22nd

As the wind and rain starts to reappear, and I see from old diary entries (how useful) that we can get quite strong wind in the autumn (and the winter, and the spring..), it is time to Do Something about the wretched buddleia which is taking over the back yard.

Alan must have been thinking hard, because he was in the mood to do something that didn't involve code or bugs or kernels or anything, and house-cleaning and tidying is boring, so he attacked the buddleia. A while back, we bought thirty bin bags from the council for garden rubbish (they will only take garden rubbish if it is in bags they have sold you) in preparation for this adventure (and for anything else in the next few years). I was thinking of just removing the branches which are overhanging, cracked, or generally in my way.

Alan was thinking more in terms of wholesale lopping, it turns out. We can't fit it all into the bin bags we have got. I think someone is going to have to come and take it all away. I am not sure the bin men will be enchanted by thirty garden waste bags ranged neatly along the pavement, for a start.

September 19th

Since Mary, Andrew and Daf are currently trapped in Swansea this morning, ring up to check that Gower bus times are in fact the same on Sunday as on my timetable. Er. No. There are two buses to Pennard. One left before 10am and the other has no returning bus. Hmm. Scratch one castle. How about Rhosilli and the beach? There are three buses left to there today, one of which takes nearly two hours. Erm. Perhaps not.

Gareth had offered to drive around Gower if we found a car. Try the three car hire places which are walkable distance. One sends weird beeps down line. The other two are closed. Because Swansea is not a big airport according to the staff on one of those. Castle (or big old stones) plan is falling apart.

Clearly Wales is closed on Sundays.

Find that there is one place reachable, at least. New plan: Kidwelly Castle.

Hand out jumpers and coats and head off out to Kidwelly. Not been here before. Why not? It's not hard to get to. Run around admiring murder holes, mediaeval ovens, and situation on a rise by water in order to avoid supplies being cut off when the locals have objections to Norman overlords (tons of the Welsh castles were built to keep the Welsh down) before wandering back past the town gates and a pair of stocks to hope we can stop the train (getting off at request stops is easy, but I always wonder about getting on again).

Manage it and people arrive back in the correct places this time. Phew.

September 18th

Nameserver moving and doing strange things. Whee.

Mary, Andrew and Dafydd came to visit in the afternoon. I know Mary from Linuxchix. I had known she was travelling the world, but I had not put it together with the appearance of Andrew, from Australia, at the local LUG, until he mentioned her. They are staying with Dafydd over in Bridgend.

They had mentioned castles, so I offered one and a half: the half is the remains of Swansea Castle (and a trip to the sheep shop, which has a proper name, but everyone calls it the sheep shop because of the cuddly sheep). After a bus ride, the other castle is Oystermouth. It is locking up as we arrive, but plaintive But I have two friends from Australia who have come all this way to see castles remarks elicit last-minute entrance and a mini-tour from one of the Friends of Oystermouth Castle, a group who do the gates and try to stop more bits falling off.

Repaired to Joe's Ice-cream, which is clearly so important that it has no need of a website, then to a local Indian restaurant (ditto) and thence home for coffee. At 9pm, discover that the last train to leave Swansea for the east left half an hour ago. Oops. (It is much later than that in the week: what is so special about weekends that you can't travel back from Swansea until 3.30am the following morning?) Mary has already started to realise that I don't make this stuff up about the trains. This merely confirms it.

Hasty hunt for clean bed clothes.

September 17th

Sharon's birthday (well, no, but a birthday on Talk Like A Pirate Day can get wearing, so..), so a splendid excuse for a meal out. Then much playing of Fluxx.

September 15th

Network slowly settling down, but now the nameserver is in need of attention, which means more complications in the near future (and a consequent lack of net presence for a bit). It becomes impossible to write documentation about network applications when you have half a network.

Lots of other stuff has happened, but with various other things going on it seems stupid to burble about my excitement about finding an easter egg in my exciting new Blakes 7 DVD and such like.

September 11th

Off in the evening with a large gang of people to the Swansea Prom in the Park, which is one of several outside London which are put on for Last Night of the Proms. Windy and wet, but fun. Well, I thought so. Alan was bored, I think, and spent much time creating a glow-stick hat. He had been buying in bulk off Ebay again, so we had about a hundred to use up, and were all sporting festive hats and necklaces and so on by the end of the evening.

But it was a good excuse for a final picnic before the autumn starts. Or that was the plan: this time last year it was very sunny. Even if the picnic had to be weighted down in case it followed the example of other peoples' bin bags and paper plates and flew off over our heads. And the fireworks were nice.

September 9th

Network at home is behaving again. Hurrah. Scribble scribble scribble. Weather forecast for Saturday is not splendid. Boo. Grumble grumble grumble.

September 8th

Now the internet is broken. As soon as I posted yesterday's diary entry, the router died. Alan spent a merry afternoon pretending to fix it, finishing this morning. Lots of other networking problems have arisen as a consequence, which makes it difficult to test some networking stuff for some docs.

Out in the evening to Rendezvous, a restaurant that does Chinese and French food. Picked up tickets for Proms in the Park: there are nine of us going, it seems.

September 7th

I would post a link to a picture, only that would involve having a working camera or scanner (honestly, things go from broken to more broken in this place). The yearly Please confirm you're still at this address if you want to vote reminder came round. On the envelope are boxes for the postman to tick if the reminder was undeliverable for one of several reasons. Reasons like Demolished, Refused, Cannot gain entry and... Borded up.

Yes. On a carefully laid-out business reply envelope, they have misspelt boarded up.

And I think they have misspelt the Welsh for electoral register too. In big capital letters.

September 6th

A while ago, Alan got himself a blowtorch lighter: a lighter which produces a flame powerful enough to cut through tin cans. (Yes, he tried it.) He wouldn't let me try: he seems to think I shall inevitably create a brief but uncontrollable blast furnace if I do. Late last week, he lent the thing to me. Today, I broke it.

Alan is cross with me now. He says I break things. Well, duh.

He keeps telling the story of how all the lights went off on the train when I got on, and went on again when I got off. He reminds me that the television never crashes except when I am in the room. He was there when the toaster did the very strange thing, but maintains it happened because I was watching. Of all the glowy pens he handed out, mine was the one which went mad. And now he affects surprise that I broke his lighter.

I didn't mean to. I hadn't cut up a single tin yet.

September 5th

Alan cooked again. Coo. Well, okay, he reheated the remains of yesterday's meal (chilli) and served it on toast. But it was still yum.

Having waded through Apache docs for a day, I am still baffled by references to stanzas and modules and directives. So is Alan, but his try it and see approach has resulted in some sort of working .htaccess. I am messing with the pictures and images. Expect some broken links.

Putting Apache and analog together is confusing, too. If I have a picture, and I want people who are including the link on their pages to have a different picture (one saying, for example, Use your own bandwidth..), can I make analog tell me how many hits there were to the original picture, and how many of those then got the different picture?

Bit tired of seeing people link to mine so that I provide the bandwidth and they provide the commentary on my appearance. (Have these people nothing better to do?) If anyone has dealt with this sort of thing before (links to pictures inline on other sites which eat their bandwidth) and has clear and simple suggestions which I can follow without needing root access, I'd love to know. I don't want to get rid of all the pictures: some are there to illustrate bug reports which are still open, for example. So far, I gather that I should move the things into specific directories, and then set .htaccess files for those directories, which then cover the whole lot.

September 4th

Alan cooked. Coo. I should make him do this more often. He got out of this a lot whilst he was doing his course, but now he has less excuse. The taught part has finished and he has only the dissertation to do now.

Found two things to watch on the telly. Wow. First was the recording of part of the Faenol festival from last weekend: lots of music. I need to buy some more CDs. The second was The War Game, a documentary-style drama from the 60s which the BBC made and them promptly decided not to show for 20 years. I have heard so much about it that it was good finally to see (most of) it.

September 3rd

Oh dear. Got together for films and take-out. The only film we could almost agree on in the shop was Scooby-Doo II. (One person doesn't like horror, some others don't like romance, we all have different ideas about comedy, and so on.) This registered as I suppose I might be able to survive it for most people. We were all wrong. It is absolutely dreadful.

The accessibility layer in Gnome is playing me up: it seems to think I want to do something with or about sticky keys. I don't. I just want to use the shift key a lot, for DocBook and HTML and making < and > signs. Grr.

September 2nd

Alan is back on Alan-hours.

September 1st

LUG in the evening. This is the wrong way round: I go to it, and Alan stays behind. Who is the hacker here? Why am I going, and he staying?

Bumped into Yon, whom I haven't seen for about ten years, in the place where the LUG meetings are held. Cool.

Discover that library has been holding a book for me for three weeks. Oops. Collect it. Read on train on way to Cardiff and then on return home. Finish it by midnight. That can go back, 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.)