The more accurate diary. Old stuff

Warning: These are old.

February 2005

February 28th

Topic of conversation before Welsh class: the rugby. Topic of conversation in the queue in the shop: the rugby. Topic of conversation at the LUG in the evening: the rugby.

(Although I should point out that this is not entirely unusual: this is Wales, after all. It's just not usually such a cheerful conversation...)

Alan finally back from FOSDEM. It sounds as though it was absolutely brilliant, and I am really sad I missed it now. I had no idea that so many people I knew or wanted to meet would be there. Alan's idea of message-passing, however, turned out to be, Lots of people said hello and wanted to know where you were Ooh! Who? I can't remember. So, um, if you were one, hello :/

Alan professing amazement at New Improved Tidyness and promises to keep it that way. I produced the tie-dye washing accident and asked if I could throw them out. Waah! No! But you don't wear them But you might find a way to fix them.


February 27th

More sorting and throwing out. In Alan's half of the cupboard, discovered a pair of Alan's trousers which I had inadvertently turned a sort of lilac tie-dye in the wash a long time ago and which he refuses to wear. Why do we still have these? I'm sure I got rid of them at least once.

Ireland beat England. This leaves Ireland as the only other unbeaten side in the Six Nations. If both Wales and Ireland win their next games, the Wales/Ireland match will be a nail-biter. The odds on a grand slam decider are being slashed (despite the fact that we both have to win another game first).

February 26th

On with the sorting. Uplands Diner for breakfast (lunch?) with people, and then got a lift to the shops in order to buy ridiculous amounts of boxes and packing stuff. (Storage solutions, probably, but whenever I see solutions used like that, I always want to know what the clue was, and how many letters were in it.)

Brief hiatus in order to head out to watch the rugby on the big screen. I am getting absolutely terrified now. It was alright in one way when Wales were bad. At least there were no expectations. This game started off looking like we'd soon be back to that state. It ended up with Wales desperately defending a slender (as in: beatable) clawed-back lead in endless injury time. I don't think my nerves can stand too many more games like that.

Out in the evening to see lots of bands. Lots of fun.

February 25th

Oh no. A giant spider loose in the bathroom at 6 am and no Alan to beg to remove it for me. Really giant. It spread out all over the bottom of the pint glass (pint glass; not half-pint) and glared at me until I took it outside.

Now that the hall is clear of things to make scenery, I have room to go shopping and buy so many storage boxes and bin bags that I have to get a taxi back. Even if Alan reads this, there is nothing he can do: the boxes and bags are being filled. With tshirts. Muahaha. Plaints of Linux Hardware Solutions? You can't throw that out: it's historical! shall go unheard. I'm going to archive them. If he doesn't find them within the next year, they're going out. And I have put the date on the boxes, too. Next time he goes through my kitchen cupboard trying to throw spices and sugar out because the sell-by date has passed or he can't find it (it's sugar. It doesn't need a date. You use it for preserving things. It will last!), I am going to go through a box and pick a tshirt.

Hmm. Wonder if he reads this.

February 24th

Too cold. Yuk.

Alan departed for foreign climes, in the direction of all that cold weather. He's really hoping for snow. He likes snow.

I have started removing paint pots, polystyrene tiles, and other vital appendages to model railways from the hall. I am building my own model scenery out of it. It is going to look like a solid wall across the door to the computer room when he gets back. It's going to be terribly convincing too.

February 23rd

Poor Alan. He had to get up in time to be on a phone call at 8am, and then the postman brought another damn parcel (curses), so he couldn't go back to bed. Life is hard.

Whilst I have been away, there has been some scare about red polish (or something) getting into food. Looking down the list, it's amazing how many foods are deemed to require red colouring, although not generally the sort used to wax the floor. And what on earth is it doing in Worcester sauce? Why does that need to be red? The fact that they're recalling Worcester sauce flavour crisps also astounds me. I thought all the crisp flavours were done with E numbers, but apparently there is real genuine honest Worcester sauce in it. And floor polish, of course.

We don't have any of the affected products in the cupboard. Clearly we are not eating our expected intake of frozen ready-to-eat meals and crisps.

February 22nd

Alan is going to FOSDEM. I am not. I just organise him into getting there, remind him to renew important forms, and wait for the questions about where the Euros have gone. (In the envelope with the Euro sign on it, o light of my life.)

He needed his NHS number for one of the forms. He couldn't find it. Whilst he crashed around the house throwing pieces of paper on the floor looking for other forms with it in, I rang up the surgery and asked for it. Much simpler.

February 21st

Oh no. Alan is making scenery for his railway.

On sober reflection I realise that he is not making scenery for the railway. He is making a mess on his nice tidy floor. Which he tells me will be scenery.

February 20th

Hard to keep a running commentary on what Alan is up to when you're not there, so we shall skip to returning on Sunday.

Mass of paint pot, paint brushes, polystyrene ceiling tiles and sundry articles from the DIY shop cover the hall. Alan tells me that he has taken most of it upstairs. Oh dear. So he has.

February 18th

Having got as far north (ahem) as Aber, went further up, to Caernarfon. Admired the castle from outside, but met a friend and talked to him until it was time to go, instead.

The drive along those roads, just skirting Snowdonia, is fantastic. Snow on the tops of the hills, very clear light from a low sun, and some rainbows. Also lots and lots of narrow-gauge railways. Suddenly see why Alan wants to visit there.

Out for Chinese in the evening and then to the Ship and Castle, where I swear the only change in fifteen years is that the jukebox now plays CDs. I can't believe the place has been through two revamps since then.

February 17th

After I gave up on books arriving and arranged my weekend to include being away, Amazon have now dispatched everything at once. One packet has reached me already, and the other is imminent. Perhaps I had too little faith. (And perhaps I should not have bought all those other books at the real bookshop in an anti-net pro-bricks'n'mortar move. Don't tell Alan.)

Alan is doing lots of his stuff for his project, so I callously abandoned him and went to Aberystwyth (this was the cunning plan of earlier in the week). Arrived somewhat late, and over to the Black Lion in Llanbadarn for last orders.

February 16th

I don't think I have been able to get Alan to a cinema in the past year. We have vastly different tastes and ideas about films. I can usually drag him to something in the theatre and tell him You'll like this and be right about it, but I can't do that with films at all. Finally, though, friends found a film he had to see.

The Magic Roundabout. I jest not.

I went to Cardiff instead.

February 15th

When short of things to talk about: the weather. It has gone all wet again. Bah.

Gareth round in the evening. Much wine consumed. Hatched a Cunning Plan.

February 14th

Aww. Alan has done a sweet thing just in time for the date. Due to this, did not kill him when I went into the computer room and there was a model train set stretching all the way across the floor. It has obviously fallen off the shelves.

Not impressed with Amazon. I tend to store up my wants on there until I know I shall be in when the parcel arrives. So I deleted or moved to my wishlist everything which was not Usually despatched in 24 hours. And then hit Continue. Even with a 3-5 day wait for shipping (if it's free), I was likely to be in all week.

They are going to despatch them at the weekend. In two lots. The book that I am particularly looking forward to is going to come on its own. Later.

How do Amazon know these things? Out of every order, how do they always know which one is the vital, urgent, birthday or imminently-useful book and save it to send later? is very cool, even if it gets my council ward wrong. All the local political parties get my ward wrong when they deliver stuff, too :) WriteToThem got my MP, my Assembly Members and my Members of the European Parliament right. It's not their fault that my postcode is part of (at least) two wards.

Just remembered. Texting your landline phone number with text messages results in a computer reading it out to you down the phone. This has fantastic results if you send something that is not English. Hours of fun. Well, okay. Minutes of fun, at least. Oh, alright, seconds, then.

February 12th

Out of the house and in Llanelli by 9am in the morning. Alan was supposed to be with me, but he slumbered on. He woke up in time to video the rugby though. Good, good.

Justin's birthday in the evening. (Well, all day, but saw him in the evening.) Out until very late.

February 10th

The adventures with technology continue. Today I have acquired a digital radio. Yes, another one. I have not broken this one yet. Which is pretty good.

And I won it in a raffle, which is even better :)

February 8th

Bleurgh. The lurgy strikes. I am busy. I don't want lurgies.

Cheered up by a combination of two things. First came a friend's competition to figure out what on earth he had fed to an online translation engine to achieve some splendid results (everyone who ever fed Alan's diary to such a thing will know exactly what sort of thing I am talking about), and then there was this fantastic story about the horror of blimps.

In the meantime, continued my trawl through different sorts of blogging software. I am thinking of actually using some. Comments are welcome, but wait until you see the requirements list :(

February 7th

Alan and I both have colds, or possibly something worse. The lurgy has been travelling round Swansea. Alan has become a part-time lecturer whilst I wasn't looking (in addition to being a developer, a post-grad and a model train enthusiast) and has to give the first lecture tomorrow. I hope he still has his voice by then.

My CD arrived. Squeaked ecstatically and rushed off to play it about fifty times, then to rip a backup copy so that never again shall I be lacking a playable copy of the Hunting of the Snark.

Rhys round in the evening. Everyone's coming round now we have furniture to sit them on; or possibly it's that train thing which is the attraction :)

February 6th

Up bright and early (how?) in time to introduce Bryn and Dan to all-you-can-eat buffet lunches along St Helen's Road and then Joe's ice-cream. Well, when you're in Swansea you might as well. I am not sure comparing Joe's to Cadwalader's in front of Bryn was a tactful move, mind you.

More rugby in the afternoon: Italy, traditional under-dogs (well, they used to be, although admittedly Wales and Scotland have been competing for that position recently) made Ireland look rather ordinary for most of the game. Wales travel to Rome next week. Scared now. Already. :)

Google search on Wales rugby got me a sponsored link from someone making 11-9 tshirts. Quick off the mark, that one.

February 5th

Piled onto the train to Cardiff with everyone, spilled out into the big big city (which I still can't find my way around), and set off in search of pubs showing rugby. This is actually quite tricky in Swansea, but not in Cardiff, apparently. Just as well, given the number of people in red rugby shirts wandering around looking for such things. In case we needed sidetracking, there were also available: hats, scarves, tshirts, badges, and people who will hold a template over your cheek, slap a paintbrush over you, and leave you with a little dragon on your cheek. Acquired dragon, therefore.

I think it's fair to say that the France-Scotland game was expected to be a foregone conclusion. Um. No. Much screaming at the television later, France had won, but it was a lot closer than the score would suggest.

And finally, after far too long standing in the pub (oh, the suffering, having to wait in a pub :)), Wales/England. Which I saw very little of, it must be said, because I am short, and lots of tall people were between me and the televisions. But that's what husbands at home with instructions to set the video are for, surely.

Thank god he videoed it. It must instantly have the little slot that disables further taping pulled. Because Wales won. 11-9. Those numbers are going to be all round Wales for a while to come, I can tell.

Erm. So Cardiff on match-day is one thing. Cardiff after Wales have beaten England at home for the first time in twelve years is.. erm. Quite an experience.

February 4th

Bryn and Dan drove down from Aber to stay with Gareth. We all went out for food and plotted tomorrow. Alan thinks we are silly and is having nothing to do with it (Cardiff? Match day?), but we are going to Cardiff for the rugby. Alan is probably right in that we won't see much, compared with sitting in front of a big telly. But that's what videos are for.

February 3rd

Must chop diary page up soon, yes.

Discovered GEMM. Asked it about a CD I have been trying to get hold of for years. I had the tape as a student (the proper bought sort, even), and it died through over-playing. And it had vanished from the shops by then. Periodically I ask Ebay or Amazon or the webpage of the musician in question, and it has still not resurfaced.

And GEMM found a copy in the UK in a second. Screamed, rushed in to disturb Alan and demanded he stop everything to buy it. Then we also found a couple of other things we are interested in, and discovered that the shop which had listed them is in fact in Cardiff. I see a visit there imminently. I would say Saturday, only that will not be a good day for shopping: the rugby starts, with a big game (for Wales) in Cardiff. A friend has a ticket. I am jealous.

Over to Carmarthen for LUG. Alan too busy to come. He says he's doing his project. I think it may in fact be to do with trains.

February 2nd

Apparently the latest component required for the railways is a pound of granite dust. Granite dust? Granite dust. You need this for decoration and making little loads for the trucks and making something else for the scenery.

The penny finally dropped. If he's making decorations and scenery, this is not a temporary train set which will some day go back onto Ebay in constituent pieces at all. It's here to stay.

Oh, the unutterable... [beep].

February 1st

For the shopping list: oil. (I have been trying to remember this to oil the door hinges for ages, but now it has become important for the railway.) New kitchen cleaning cloths, because the current ones are cleaning the railway.

The thing has grown, too. It was a loop and a.. well, a siding, last time I looked. On one Ikea shelf. Now it is spread over three shelves and a fourth shelf has been cleared. Hmm.

Retreated into trying to write up an explanation of how to do something on Linux. If ever I could write, I can't now. Got sidetracked by taking a photograph of my keyboard and trying to highlight a particular key. This involved using the Gimp. Oh god. Two hours later, friend on IRC took pity, said Where's the picture? and did exactly what I wanted within about three minutes. The Gimp hates me. And yes, I have read docs and books and webpages and tutorials and all sorts. Or tried to. If you don't know what a layer is, then it's amazing how much of that lot is not very much help.

LUG in the evening. Turned into Linux-using model railways enthusiasts group.

The only thing which remains to be answered is: why? Despite Alan's claims that it is a splendid way of testing something (I am not quite sure what), I think I know. It's this or the dissertation. His room is already beautifully tidy, so he's obviously run out of distraction techniques.

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.)