The more accurate diary. Old Stuff.

Warning: These are old.

October 2004

October 31st

Sits came round and figured out my printing woes. They are, we think, the result of a feature. If I whack the printer resolution right up, and use about four times as much ink, it is clear that the printer is trying. So then I made the grey text much paler, so that it contrasted with the black text. And then Mozilla decided to show it all as black again. It is being helpful, and trying to make sure it shows up.

I would never have guessed that the Print Background option in the page setup options is actually code for don't mess with the text colours, I know what I am doing and I want them like that. But it works.

Hallowe'en tonight. At times it seemed like Guy Fawkes, with fireworks going off all over. But I think there are far fewer of them than last year. Either they are no longer trendy, or the law restricting their sales is having an effect. I like fireworks, but they are much more fun when you get them all on the one night, and not for a month beforehand.

October 30th

So much for a day tidying and doing homework. Spent the entire day eating and playing with new toy. Someone decided he was in need of a fry-up, so a gang of us descended on the local fry-up provider and then staggered down to Joe's ice cream for dessert.

Shopping raid on Tesco in the afternoon, but I spent more time playing with my new phone than buying food. It does pictures! It does video. It does recording. It does bluetooth and goodness knows what else. In fact, it does so many of these things that the instructions for how to ring someone once you have found their name in the address book are entirely obscured by the instructions for everything else. It took me five minutes to work that one out.

The bluetooth was quite funny the night before. I was trying to beam the new phone number to a friend's phone in a crowded place, and got all manner of devices popping up as discovered. Who are these people? Were they the ones sitting behind us, or the ones propping up the bar? Who has called their phone sod off? (Actually, I should have guessed the answer.) Have given my phone a name with UTF-8 characters in, which will doubtless annoy, but I am having fun here.

Then tried to get my pictures from my phone to a computer. Oh dear. Alan had exactly the same set-up and it was working for him, but naturally it took about half an hour of Hmm. Try this, then before the pictures started winging their way through the ether.

Then out to Steve's for food. Dear me, what a sybaritic day. Sorry. I have been looking for an excuse to use that word for ages now. Decadent. Lazy. Self-indulgent. All of them work, but sybaritic is not a word I get to use very often.

October 29th

Conversations on IRC which begin at 5pm on a Friday with I'm bored. What shall we do then? inevitably rearrange the entire weekend. This was a good rearrangement: out for a meal and then back for drinks. Hic.

October 28th

Watched Question Time (the BBC programme, not the House of Commons thing). It was from Florida. What a shouty audience! They sounded like our MPs rumbling and muttering in the background of speeches in the Commons. Chairman had to ask people to wait for the microphone several times.

I cannot believe Richard Littlejohn (the UK representative on the panel: and oh dear, I can't say he represents me very accurately) called Michael Moore the Lord Haw-Haw of the Iraq war. I think perhaps Moore didn't realise quite how insulting that was meant to be.

October 27th

Getting windy around here: it is definitely weather for hats which attach firmly to the head, and not for umbrellas. We often get a lot of wind and rain around this time of year, but this year some high tides coincide (and around this part of Britain, we can reach 12m: yes, 40-foot tides).

The book rearrangement continues, throwing up all manner of stuff to be disposed of. Found a pile of old reenactment stuff we have no use for. Luckily, bumped into a friend who has a home for them and she took them all away, and had the right yarn to sew up my poncho, too, hooray.

October 26th

Aww. John Peel is dead. He might be well-known for the Peel Sessions, but I shall miss Home Truths. Sniff.

Finally we have curtains up in a room bereft of curtains since the incursions of the builders. (Oh dear. The builders were some time ago.) Now we can use that room in the night as well as the day.

October 25th

She'll regret asking this when the server melts, but my sister thinks a few Google-juicy links will help people find her page about the St Mewan Sinfonia. If that doesn't work, it is time to do make-it-pretty-to-Google things, but that involves much frames removal, I suspect. Suggestions on such things welcome, but only after I recover from an entire afternoon of CSS-dinking in an effort to find out why a webpage with text in very dark and very pale grey (well, with paragraphs with lang attributes and a stylesheet assigning greys to the languages) will still not print in anything other than black on my black/white/greys printer. Now responsible for the death of a small tree, I fear. Spent about four hours doing stuff Sits suggested, and still no idea. Konqueror does such weird things with the HTML that I have no idea what to expect with printing. Lynx is a bit irrelevant when it comes to colour of text. Now I suspect my CSS, but both it and the HTML are valid. It's just the things I want aren't happening. I would file a bug, but is it Mozilla, the printer driver, my OS, or my rubbish CSS? Head hurts.

LUG in the evening. The place we go to has a new cook. Feedback was...erm, not entirely favourable.

We're going to try to have a Carmarthen LUG meet too, but I have discovered yet another small hitch in the public transport around here. How the west Wales people make it to Swansea and Cardiff, I begin to wonder. In fairness, getting there is easy. It's getting back which is the problem...

October 24th

Aha. There is a trick to opening that phone, but also, apparently, the card was jammed in. It was nothing to do with me, honest.

October 23rd

The contacts for the battery on my mobile phone are dying, and apparently this is fairly fatal, so I need a new one. I liked my old one. It did phone calls and it did text messages and that was about it. In keeping with technology which comes near me, it did some odd things, too, and even friends in Finland could not understand why I was pressing the same buttons as they were but my phone ate numbers instead of keeping them. But in general, it was pretty good.

In the sweetness of his heart (and because he likes annoying BT, or O2, or whoever it is now, with the fact that this is a tariff or account or special offer so old that there are pauses when you ring them up as the poor people go to a special menu of archives of Offers We Wish We Had Never Made), Alan found me a new phone. After the ritual of looking blankly at it (What is it?) and pressing buttons to see if it will do anything (one of these days I shall end up talking to Lord Lucan or accidentally ordering two thousand frozen haddock from InstaFish Overnight Deliveries, I am sure of it), I put my SIM card in it, and decided I'd have it.

Half an hour later, he returned to say I couldn't have it, because there was no way to get some service he thought I would need on it. Okay, I confess, when I thought he had told me it had GPS I was much more excited than when he explained that no, this was GPRS. (I do know the difference, honestly. He just mumbles.) But apparently I will like it and want it, no really. (Will it tell me where I am? No. Oh.) He had a variety of other solutions to this problem. Note the terminology here. I'd say hastily-conceived alternatives and mistake of his in the first place, but no, solutions and problem it is. And so we would send this one back and .. well, there I am hazy, but it was all going to be much better. So we went to take the SIM card out.

It won't come out.

And we daren't force it because it will doubtless invalidate some warranty.

So now I have a semi-working phone with no SIM card, and a working SIM card in a phone I have to send back. And a friend to ring but she's out, and her mobile phone number is stored in... yes, the SIM card of the phone we have to send back, which Alan is now carrying round all the mobile phone shops in Swansea in the hope of freeing the SIM card from its evil grasp.

October 22nd

On the vexed question of why lots of the world still haven't figured out that there is more to language-writing than just ascii:

<sits> Things are bad when spammers use UTF8 before the rest of the world

What a scary thought.

Another scary thought: the things MPs find to talk about when they are trying to waste time. At least, I am told this was a time-wasting exercise. In a semi-recent debate in the Commons about an amendment to a proposed Bill to do with Christmas Day trading, various MPs found time to point out that Christmas has been observed since 366AD (CE, if you prefer), that parliament had banned it at one stage, that music on car stereos of the vans affected by the proposed amendment might be discordant, but that it might be seasonal music, and that surely this amendment would affect Father Christmas' sleigh, before discussing the lorry-spotting habits of Tory members and goodness knows what else.

I suspect there are more choice quotes (this ghastly internet world is my current favourite), but I am too busy alternately giggling and wincing as I read through the debate that is Christmas Day (Trading) Bill: A New Clause — Prohibition Of Loading And Unloading At Large Shops Before 9 A.M. On Christmas Day. (Wow, can I have a title attribute that long?) Why am I reading it? Well, long story, but poking around at They Work For You in semi-idle curiosity sums it up.

I don't think I touch on politics that much here <message type="subliminal">(everyone should vote; but it would be a good idea to have a grasp of the issues as well; truly, the UKIP are quite... strange; stop debating climate change and do something about it; BBC is taking Question Time to Florida, if you're in the audience, wave; what exactly was wrong with the leaked Plaid manifesto?)<message type="subliminal"> but I do watch the occasional debate on the parliament channel for interest value. No really, I do. When I was little it was radio only, because we plebs had no right to watch pictures. I haven't got used to the novelty of a free channel that shows it yet. And I never see debates like that on there. I have clearly been missing out.

October 21st

Still not with it (bought all the ingredients for a monster chilli except for the small matter of the chillis themselves, for example, and forgot to renew a ton of library books) but paracetamol does wonders for making you feel vaguely with it. Until you try to do anything. Goodness knows what will happen once I try to start cooking.

Alan has self-started and motivated himself to buy some new shoes, without prompting, and without recourse to the net. I am very impressed.

October 20th

Back to Swansea. Clearly I am not with it: managed to lose hat on train, for example. Despite that, feel better, but still can't taste the hot and sour soup from up the road. (Normally, this stuff is way too hot and sour for me to drink. The problem is that I love the flavour. I just can't usually drink it :))

Faced with twenty-four folders of sorted and (allegedly) wanted email, containing email from thirty or so lists. And then an everything else inbox, which is 90% spam.

I cannot imagine for the life of me why I am still on half of those lists. I pruned a lot down recently. No, honestly, I did. But to come off others would be a symbolic I am no longer interested in marker, to me, and it's been a long time, and I am not sure I want to say that. I keep thinking that something might reawaken my interest. But I have been reading several of those lists with D~A in mutt (delete the lot) for so long that I think it might be time to let go.

October 18th

Straight from Welsh classes to Alan's family. I managed to time a stinking cold with visits. I have probably infected everyone now.

October 17th

Yet more music, but in the afternoon, this time. What a busy weekend. Alan didn't go to any of it. He says he's working. I strongly suspect he is playing bzflag, or whatever it's called. For ages, I didn't realise that the bz in that is nothing to do with compression (bzip), and actually thought he was working even when he said he'd got delayed by it. Grr.

October 16th

Took Alan shopping (by cunningly not telling him he was going until we were right outside the shop). Bought some clothes. Alan thinks they were in the sale. I haven't told him he's wrong yet.

More music in the evening.

October 15th

Out in the evening to hear lots of music. Fun fun fun.

October 14th

Ah. A good way to move books. Lend a dozen to a friend. Muahaha.

October 13th

After moving the bookcase comes moving the books. This is much harder, because I keep trying to read them (all of them) as I move them. Have not got very far yet.

LUG in the evening.

October 12th

I am not allowed to open any parcels now in case one of them contains my birthday present (which is months away: what is he up to?) So how come I have to sign for no less than three parcels today, one of which had better not be my birthday present because it is clearly a computer with a gigantic box which Alan will insist on keeping until you break it, because you need something to pack it in when you send it to be fixed?

He left the packaging all over the hall, of course. (And I note that he only had room to do this because I took the box from the last delivery into the other room.)

This complicated things because in the wake of decorating ages and ages ago, I have finally lost track of so many books that I have got around to the big rearrangement and started moving all the furniture around like a gigantic game of Sokoban.

I got halfway downstairs with one of the smaller bookcases, and had to call for help as the thing struggled to bowl me over and bear me downstairs (or rather, it wanted me to bear it down the stairs). Once we had that down, we could disassemble something else and take that upstairs.

At this stage, Alan fell over his cast-aside boxes.

He has moved them now.

October 11th

Alan came downstairs to find me playing with the BBC's idea of interactive telly and professed himself fascinated. Was it my not-bad score in memory or my abysmal score in observation which fascinated him?

It was neither. It was the fact that it was the first use of interactive television he had seen which was not a stupid quiz or the news headlines. I don't know how he's managed to miss it. When I have the telly on, I can't help pressing the red button to see what happens.

October 10th

Rudely awoken by a sound I do not like to be awoken by: the burglar alarm at quarter past six in the morning. I do not think Alan has ever awoken so fast: from snoring to half-way out of bed within a flash.

It was a false alarm (well, either that, or we have the world's quietest burglar slinking around the house still, but that is not a good thought to have when writing at the end of the day..) and he had just got back to sleep when the alarm clock went off. Poor Alan.

I headed out to visit friends, but Alan was still trying to catch up on sleep uninterrupted by alarms, my singing in the bathroom, or my repeated visits to demand Are you coming over to visit too? and stayed home.

On return, discovered that the oven thermometer isn't working (at least, I hope it isn't, or I have just poisoned us), making a very long slow low-heat meal rather difficult to judge, but it seems to have worked.

October 9th

My excuse for not cleaning the windows is that even with the ladder there is always one part I can't reach. Alan has spent the day cleaning windows and I am very impressed.

October 7th

A while ago, I found a phone recharger that isn't ours and invited Gareth, as the presumed owner, to come and collect his litter from the house. He was delighted to hear it had been found, whizzed round,'s not his.

Nor does it belong to Chris, whom I remember charging his phone here recently. I am running out of phone owners. If you think it's yours, let me know. To make it more of a challenge, you get to guess which manufacturer it is :)

October 6th

I forgot another lost land. The Guardian leader-writers have concluded that clearly Wales is Atlantis, except for the slight lack of elephants.

(I have a better theory about Atlantis. A life of peace and happiness and then chaos and screaming and rushing water and sorrow ever after sounds like a memory of being born to me, and when I have added a few more silly details and some pop psychology, I shall publish a book and make millions.)

October 5th

Well, I knew it had been wet at the weekend, but we have obviously had more rain than anyone realised. Wales has drowned. All of it. It has mysteriously disappeared from the map on the cover of a European book of statistics to be replaced by the Irish Sea.

There are plenty of stories about this happening before: there is a legend of the Drowned Hundred, where someone drank too much and forgot to look after the sea defences, and in came the water; there is a beach at Borth where petrified trees lie under the sand; and I suppose this map is just anticipating the next one :)

October 4th

Although Swansea often seems to be all hills, there are some flat bits. And after a night like last night (wind howling and rain battering the windows), we have lakes, too. One appeared near us this morning, because water runs down and collects there from all directions and the drain just can't cope. Lots of it was still there at midday.

Haven't dared look in the cellar. I'm still convinced that if I go there in the dark after rain, there will be a river running through it. Complete with a hooded ferryman poling a boat across or something.

Checking the monthly logs, realised that the cunning plan to stop people leeching bandwidth had not entirely worked. The awful thing is that the people who are probably doing it to hurt or who genuinely don't give a toss are responsible for a lot less of the bandwidth than someone who has linked to a massive picture (which was there for a bug report) and probably didn't realise what he was doing. (Almost half a gig in a month and showing no sign of slackening off.)

The solution is all over the web, but I may add yet another saying the same thing, but with more comments page to the caveat lector pages. Thank you to Peter Cooper, Matthew Collins, Glyn Wintle, Devin Carraway and Charles Cazabon. I think it is working now that I have remembered that rewrite rules for jpg|gif will have lesser effects on files which are called png...

October 3rd

There is supposed to be a charity run this Sunday along the prom to the Mumbles and back. I have sponsored someone and meant to go down and watch in the morning, but the weather was absolutely vile. Stayed indoors until the last minute and then off up to Justin's for food and drink and chat. Justin makes very good roast potatoes. And cake.

Tried to sort out the videos in the evening. All the ones I recorded are all going fuzzy or have awful sound or something. All the ones Alan did still seem intact. I feel picked upon.

October 2nd

Autumn is here with a vengeance: wind and rain and wondering whether to put the heating on for an hour. I think Alan would like just to stay in bed for the entire winter, with occasional forays to the kitchen for food, but it's not going to happen.

October 1st

It is very difficult to keep the other side of the story going when the original side is not there to snipe at.

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.)