Bellerophon symbol, variation 7
Wednesday 7th January 2004

One wonders when we will start blaming ourselves.

Don't seem to have been updating this thing much recently. There are reasons for this, of course.

I open Opera and a quick look at the tabs at the top, showing the various web-pages I was last looking at (before I last logged out) reveals:

  4. Some Ananova page
  5. Tom Bearden-related
  6. erm . . . Bingofuel? Anyone?
  7. A Google newsgroup search for 'Grub Redhat boot'

So . . . it is, of course, these last three (5, 6 and 7) that are pertinent here. 'Energy from the Vacuum' finally arrived yesterday. Anyone unfamiliar (where were you?!) - go here. But then who wants to read stuff like that on a monitor? So I ordered the book. And, strangely enough, I can actually follow what the guy's trying to say. In the foreward, the author outlines the 11 distinct groups to whom this book is aimed, but I'm not sure where I fit in there . . . I'm definitely not an electrical engineering professor, nor a 'government leader', nor much of a 'theoretical and experimental physicist' for that matter, so . . . ah well, it's all interesting stuff. I think anyone with an interest (regard for?!) science and environmental issues ought to read this book, laborious as it is. And anyone with too much time on their hands. Too much time and too much brain power going under-used. Definitely those people.

So yes . . . where was I? Well, I think the Bearden stuff led me to, but then there's loads of other stuff going on right now, besides that.

What day was it? Thursday? Friday? Probably Thursday, when I first noticed it . . . the discolouration of the plaster in the ceiling in my front room. A patch where something had leaked/collapsed long ago in the past, before I moved in here. The previous tenants had very badly patched up a hole in the ceiling with a load of plaster, and it was this plaster that was now acquiring a distinctly iron oxide tinged colour. When I first spotted this, I just assumed that my addled brain simply couldn't remember that it was actually always like that, but friends confirmed that it had definitely darkened recently. I hurriedly threw some newspapers on the piano, thinking that if the discolouration went any further, at least the piano would be fairly safe. The rear bass-end of the piano rests directly beneath this dodgy corner of the ceiling. And then today, I checked on these newspapers, not expecting anything, of course. But there was a distinct sense of . . . you know, water had been this way, not long ago. The paper was all wrinkly as if it had been wet and then dried during the day. So . . . move all the stuff of the piano, move the piano, move all the plants, ring a plumber . . . "Sorry, mate, I'm all booked up for the next two weeks," and so ask for a recommendation (yeah, how about you fix that leak?) and ring this guy up called . . . Mr. Finister. Wasn't there someone called that in 'The Usual Suspects'? And the pipes . . . they must travel from the boiler . . . and then . . . across the chimney, towards the back of the house and then . . . well, some go down, perhaps some go up . . . up to the bathroom and down to the cellar . . . but which pipes?

I consider ripping up carpets, ripping up floorboards, turning the water off at the mains and draining the central heating system . . . but, erm . . . there's other more important things to worry about, like the poor TEAC 4-track mixer lying in pieces on the kitchen table, or perhaps on a chair, by the kitchen table . . . whatever. It's in pieces anyway, as the electrical contacts in the various faders and dials are all crackly and dirty and definitely need cleaning, if I'm to do a decent job of mastering the music me and some friends made on Friday, that is. Anyway, it's way past midnight, and the 5/6 hours sleep I had last night was definitely not sufficient.

Thursday 8th January 2004

So I'm just pottering around, about to head off to town to watch 'Touching the Void', but not before getting some food and maybe a pint or two, of course.

Friday 9th January 2004

So 'Touching the Void' was okay . . . I think I was expecting more excitement, edge-of-the-seat stylee, but the film was far more concerned with telling the story, plain and simple, as it happened, you know? But it was good, nonetheless.

Anyway, it's the middle of the afternoon, and I'm at home, having just seen the plumber out. If I was to say his cup of tea was barely one third consumed, that should send alarm bells ringing. Mr. Finister lifted up a patch of carpet, pulled up a few floorboards and (this all took about five minutes), letting a handful of bone-dry saw-dust fall through his fingers, declared that there was nothing wrong with the boiler, nothing wrong with the pipes going in and out, and that the problem must be the bit of roof above the bay window. And, yes, looking at the patch on my front room ceiling, that makes perfect sense. So I was like, "But the pipes, man, don't the pipes go that way? Don't they?" but . . . no, the pipes don't do that, and the plumber patiently explained the path of the three/four pipes (I forget now) going in/out of the boiler. Damnit. So I guess I need a roofer. Anyway, back to work . . .

Saturday 10th January 2004

Just about to write a bit of Perl to once and for all provide some kind of view of all those IP addresses of all you freaks out there who keep sending requests to my web-server. See, yesterday at 15:14:21 someone popped in and, during the exchange, their computer passed along this field called HTTP_VIA (which I've never heard of before), containing the string '1.0 (squid/2.5.STABLE2)', which is obviously something to do with Sheffield Hallam University, but who do I know there? So, I'm wondering how many unique IP addresses I have visiting my server . . . god, my feet are cold. Didn't help climbing up an aluminium ladder at about 10:15 this morning in order to observe how my 'flashing' has come away from the brickwork . . . well, not quite true . . . the seal between the flashing and the brickwork has kind of dried up and disappeared. And there's me, barefoot, wearing nothing but tracky-dacks and a T-shirt, going, "Oh yeah, all the, erm, stuff's come away, yeah, I can see that now." And god damn pigeons keep mating or giving birth or god knows what on my roof . . . it's flat, you see. They love it up there, those pigeons. Oh . . . and they even clicked on the 'Statistics' link . . . ah . . . just as well then, I guess. Thank you for reminding me. Right. Breakfast.

Sunday 11th January 2004

Slightly hungover from last night. It was Mark and Rachel's leaving . . . erm . . . night? Do? Event? What do you call it? Well, it doesn't matter. They emigrate to Sydney, Australia, in a week's time, the 18th. So, they had booked a room in O'Neils (I'm trying to find a link here, but got distracted by some very dull, tourist-like pictures of Leeds here - they went ice skating, they went to 'Hard Rock Cafe', they went to Freeport, they did a bit of shopping, they went to what looks like a pub . . . but it could be anything, anywhere . . .)

But yes . . . so we were at O'Neils (me, M******, Liz, Annie, Tom, Anna, Rich, Mouse, Simon, Dawn, Kerry (sp.?!), Gav, Dave (Penrith Dave) and a few others, who I either weren't introduced to or else their names have escaped me - sorry), and had a few drinks there and then . . . well, no-one really seemed to know what to do after leaving at about half past midnight. Some people muttered about Walkabout (seemed appropriate) and some people muttered about the Wardrobe. Getting bored of writing this stuff. Can I go now? I think you just make a conscious effort to stop typing. Oh yes.

Sorry about that hideous picture to the left (or maybe above now, depending on your browser and the width of the window), but I thought January looked a bit dull with just text . . . Hmmmm, it's all looking unbalanced now that I've put in that picture of Colin Pillinger. Maybe if I just put a bit more text here. Yes, so anyway . . . still haven't quite got around to cleaning/repairing the mixer, poor thing. It's still waiting for me. And the roofing guy, did I mention that? You briefly mentioned going up the ladder and stuff. Oh yes. Well, he's coming round on Monday to fix the leak, so then I can move the piano back . . . and I'm still wondering how to remove all that varnish. I think it's been French polished. I guess Nitro-mors is not the way forward. And once the wood stain and varnish has gone, then what? Hmmmm? Bare wood . . . open to suggestion. The bare wood's open to suggestion. Am I still typing?

Hurray! I've got some kind of statistics page kind of up and running . . . well, it's a start . . . a few tables (and chairs) to begin with . . . maybe soon some graphs and . . . yeah, yeah, yeah. The link's on the right somewhere. If anyone recognises any of those IP addresses, maybe you could let me know and I can put in an extra column so that you're not just a number . . . or four numbers, depending on how you look at it . . . four 8-bit numbers. Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Tuesday 13th January 2004

Thanks Rob - pidgeons is not a word; pigeons is. It looks weird though. Don't you think?

Anyway, I don't think I have much new to report here. Do I? Today is Tuesday, I think. Although I woke up in the middle of the night and couldn't work out where the hell I was, what day it was or what time it was. Unfortunately, I started believing it was Friday/Saturday night and, you know, thinking it didn't really matter how long I slept . . . god damn pigeon. Another one just landing on my roof. Grrrrrrr. I need a web-cam up there. Pigeon-cam, I'll call it . . . no - not that. No concessions to the pigeons. Perhaps just roof-cam. Hmmmmm. Anyway . . . trying to rebuilt the kernel as we speak, from 2.4 something up to 2.6.1 . . . god knows why . . . Why oh why oh why do I do these things? It'll probably just completely mess the computer up. Sometimes I really do believe the whole open source thing is a lost cause. The computer world seems to be getting more and more proprietary . . . patents and copyrights. Grrrrr.

-- Check if we have source files, get them if we do not. --
---- Kernel does not exist here. We will go get it. Opening anonymous
---- connection to . Attempting to download
---- linux-2.6.1.tar.bz2 from pub/linux/kernel/v2.6
XXXXXXXXXX Download attempt took 4 seconds.
XXXXXXXXXX /usr/src/source/kernel/linux-2.6.1.tar.bz2 was not
XXXXXXXXXX successfully downloaded.
---- We will try to download the .gz version.

What does it all mean?

-- Remove old source, open new source, apply patches, rename tree --
---- No existing linux-2.6.1, no files to delete, no problem.
---- Installing new version of kernel source tree. linux directory is
---- created by tar.
---- Opening up source tar, may take a minute...
---- Wouldn't a cup of coffee be nice right about now?
---- Opening /usr/src/source/kernel/linux-2.6.1.tar.gz

Sounds a bit more encouraging. Right. Off to work.

Wednesday 14th January 2004

Oh, I don't know. Just wrote something for November 2nd 2003. Dunno why. I think it was frustration at no being able to use the mouse. No, that doesn't make sense. I can't use my mouse though. It's very annoying. And now I've run out of receipts . . . surely that can't be it. Save and reboot.

That or try plugging the mouse into one of the motherboard's built in USB (2.0?) ports. Yeah, there is that. Hmmm. Weird, eh? The same USB ports that never previously worked, and I've no idea what specifically it was that I did to get 'em working. I remember doing, as root:

apt-get upgrade rpm

which mades loads of weird stuff happen. Loads of rpm's were updated from the Redhat FTP server. Maybe that was it. Anyway, who cares?

And some odd dreams last night. Those familar with Lancaster may know of Palatine Avenue. It was this street I was walking down, with two people I don't think I recognised, not in real life anyway. They were muttering about how it was about to rain, and I was like, "Do you think? I could always check," and off I went, flying off skywards. It was one of those flying dreams, you see. I dodged a few telephone cables (running star-like from telegraph pole to several houses) and kept flying upwards, towards the clouds. It didn't take long, and soon it was as if I was flying through a cold, damp fog, but I was amongst the clouds. Shivering and wet, I quickly fly back to ground level and told the other two that, yes, maybe it was about to rain. And that was that.

The other dream seemed to be this re-enactment of 'Analyse This' (you know, with Robert De Niro and Billy Crystal), where the character played by Robert De Niro had been travelling by motorbike, in this unfamilar city, to try to find the house of his new analyst. There was someone on the back of this motorbike, giving directions. Maybe that was me . . . maybe I was just observing, I don't know. When we reached the house of the analyst, he was like, "Erm, yeah, but I'm actually moving house for the next session, so you wanna go . . . hey, show me that map, I can point it out," and the rest of the dream was the Robert De Niro character and the analyst guy pouring over this map . . . very dull. So I left it.

Friday 16th January 2004

Ah yes, Rob came round in the evening. When we had last spoken, I think the arrangement was that he would turn up 'sometime after 8pm', so I went to M******'s in the evening, had some chilli-con-carne and sent Rob a text message to the effect, 'Give us a ring when you get here,' which almost happened. Rob came straight to my place and was let in by Tania. A coffee and a couple glasses of wine later (an hour? an hour and a half?), Rob rang to say they were ready now, and so I could come round. Blah blah blah. What was that card game?

Saturday 17th January 2004

And so a trip to Ikea . . . I only bought a few items (the usual - candles, replacement wine glasses and a few things for the kitchen . . . oh, and the not so usual - coat hangers . . . sick of the awful, plastic ones I have), but as I still owe Rob several hundred, I agreed to pay for the lot . . . and I think managed to remain calm when the total was announced. Hmmmmm. Yes. Stayed in in the evening, watching Solaris (again). Love that film. And, erm . . . M****** and a few others went out (Anna, Liz and Dom), but it wasn't a big night. They were home for about 12:30 . . .

Sunday 18th January 2004

. . . and I turned up at M******'s . . . Dom seemed to be writing all over Liz . . . Liz, when not being written upon was dancing all over the place . . . Anna was drinking her gin and tonic, M****** was getting drinks and whatever. And some god awful music was playing, but soon learned that this was the CD recently advertised by the Hamiltons, Neil and Christine . . . something involving cheese and party, you know?

Went to sleep at about half three in the morning. Popped home after waking up, for breakfast and to do a spot of DIY - boring a hole into Tania's door in order to insert this, erm . . . a catch for the door, basically, so that it would shut and remain shut. A metal sphere, a spring and a metal case to go around it all, the case being screwed into the door, you see? This was done within 15/20 minutes and then I went back to M******'s for 14:00. And then off to Ilkley we went, just me, M****** and Anna. Walked and ran around Ilkley Moor a bit, but as we started the walk back to the car (having gone along Millenium Way until time got against us), the rain started, so a sense of urgency . . . erm . . . you know . . . sense of urgency . . . was needed. Yes. Made it back to the car, gave directions to a couple of cyclists who were seeking the 'Cow and Calf' (the rocks or the pub?), and then drove there ourselves, passing them along the way. So, yeah . . . I gotta go, anyway . . . gotta get to work.

Monday 19th January 2004

oooops, busy again. Anyway, according to Belief-o-Matic, my faith is Unitarian Universalism (100%). What does this mean? Click here. Well, that was exciting. Can I go now?

Tuesday 20th January 2004

Right. Have to be very quick here, as I've got loads of stuff to do right now. So, the front wheel on my bicycle has had this horrible kink in it ever since I came down a bit wrong on a kerb somewhere in town, on my way out of Leeds. P'raps the tyre wasn't pumped up sufficiently. I don't know. I've got an idea: a list! Yes, of course:

This assumes I can remember how to do lists . . . quick net search needed here . . .

Right, I get it now. So, here is my lists of things to do:

  • Attach new rear dereilleur cable (sp.?!) to bicycle (this snapped on Monday morning)
  • Attach new front wheel (the kink apparently cannot be fixed)
  • Fit new brake blocks to . . . yeah, yeah, yeah, you get the idea
  • Remove old RVPT (RVPG?!) site from internet. Sorry, Dad, this will get done eventually.
  • Web-forwarding for the above, to their new site
  • Work out how much I owe Rob (or maybe vice versa . . . hmmmm)
  • and how much Tania owes me . . . perhaps one day
  • Read through all the OU stuff . . . two 15 point courses will soon be starting
  • Try to disentangle the old 20GB from my main computer so that this can be used in my web-server. GRUB? LILO? Eh?
  • Web-forwarding for Rob . . . dynamic IP addresses and all that . . . same that I've done for this
  • Oh, I think that's it
  • No it's not. You need a new audio mixer, something like Sam's, but p'raps without so many goddamn channels
  • Yeah, there is that. I ought to contact all those involved in the music making, so that I can let them know this
  • Yeah, true, and maybe continue this conversation outside of an unordered list
  • Conversation? But I'm just typing.
  • You may think so, but to an observer . . .
  • Okay, fair enough.
  • . . . and these things aren't exactly valid items on a list now, are they?
  • Depends what kinda list it is
  • Shh. Someone's coming

And anyone interesting in moon-landing conspiracy stuff, I haven't had a chance to read through any of this yet (it's not on the list):

Oh, and I nearly forgot to say . . . the statistics page has been changed lots, with colours and everything. Check it out. It is, after all, the only part of this web-site you can directly affect.

Wednesday 21st January 2004

Oh well, I got three of the things done from yesterday's list.

Noticed on Sam's web-site something about the recent music we recorded. So here's my position (?!) on this:

I think some of the tracks recorded on that night need some sympathetic attention. This will get done. However, I have destroyed my old mixer (with the help of Tania - she cut the wires) and am currently on the prowl for a new one - something that can mix down 4 (or more) tracks to 2 (left and right). Second-hand, first-hand, whatever. So . . . whilst mixes already exist (the more the merrier), I think the way forward is definitely to have alternate mixes, many mixes. The Jonath mix. Yep. So . . . as soon as I get the new mixer. The mixer had to be destroyed as it simply was not practical to clean all those sliders and faders (whatever . . . variable resistors, basically). Things needed unsoldering from the main circuit board but then everything was sealed, so I would have had to bend back bits of metal in order to get inside these things. I think, in the end, it would have gone the way of the Korg . . . and we know how that story ends. Yes. Breakfast time.

Thursday 22nd January 2004

Need a break now . . . just made my first recursive working bit of Perl. Just some script to set up an FTP session to the computer in the cellar (web-server) and then recursively find files in a certain location in order to create a backup on my main PC. This will eventually run as a cronjob, thereby backing up the unstable Pentium I in the cellar perhaps twice a week . . . depends how long it takes . . .

Saturday 24th January 2004

God knows . . . been wandering around town. Bought a new shower curtain (the old one was very nasty and mouldy), a ten channel mixer (that should be enough) and, erm . . . some socks . . . very thick . . . hopefully I won't get blisters when ice skating in Millenium Square, you know? Maybe I bought something else . . . I can't think.

Sunday 25th January 2004

Well, it's not really 10 channel . . . more like six . . . but anyway, it's a Behringer MXB1002.

Oh yes, forgot to mention - saw 'Lost in Translation' on Friday, I think it was. I'm afraid I tend to agree with Sam here and (afraid? Well, you see, I wanted to like this film, I really did), like Sam, saw this film on a, erm, 'preview disc', yes. Couldn't really see what all the fuss was about. But, I'd like to say something good about the film, so . . . very good soundtrack. Good to see 'My Bloody Valentine' creeping up there. Oh, and I quite enjoyed Bill Murray singing along to 'More Than This' (originally by Roxy Music, but covered excellently by Robyn Hitchcock), during one of those karaoke moments. For those wanting to see this film, I recommend waiting for the DVD/video/TV release but, hey, that's just me.

So what have I been doing today? Not much . . . sleeping, mainly. Woke up at about . . . I don't know . . . 11? 12? M****** made me eat some toast with blackcurrant jam on (urrgghh), and some orange juice, and then I went back to sleep until 3pm. Great. We started ripping some of that god-awful wood chip wallpaper of the walls at the top of the house, outside the bathroom. It comes off very easily, but underneath is a bit of a nightmare of layers and layers of paint and ancient plaster, some of which comes off with the wallpaper. Hmmmm.

Yes . . . and more changes to this web-site. The image at the top has shrunk slightly. This was necessary as I noticed the web-page was being a bit too wide for some screens. And, erm . . . I've scripted things so that all links send the URL of the web-page back to this script and then, erm, you know . . . the script generates a new web-page that refers your browser to the link you were asking for in the first place. You may see a flash of random colour when you click on links. This is deliberate.

Tuesday 27th January 2004

New toy arrived today. The image to the right should give you a clue. So . . . yes, I've been running around, taking pictures with scant (?!) regard for composition, light levels and all the other things one usually has to thing about when using conventional film, as I guess most people do when they first obtain a digital camera.

The only other two vaguely decent pictures were this one and this.

Otherwise, done countless changes to the script building this web-site, but I've kind of lost track of what I've done . . . I think I made a link page, and then changed the forwarding script and then changed the statistics page slightly . . . but, er . . . no, nothing major. Next thing may be some graphs and maybe the web-cam, but trying to get Linux to recognise any kind of modern USB device is just a complete nightmare. And, of course, been following the whole SCO/IBM thing and the appearance of some kind of virus that is set to bombard with countless GET commands for the first week and a bit of February. Anyone no idea what I'm on about here . . . well, hard to say where to begin, really . . . I guess it all started when SCO thought it would be a good idea to demand money for licenses for all those businesses using, they claimed, copyrighted chunks on their code. Only, of course, the origin and licensing of the code in question has very little to do with SCO, but that's for you to read about, if you're bothered . . .

I love hearing about new virii. We have fairly robust virus guards at work and, well, I use Linux at home. Smug grin.

Wednesday 28th January 2004

Hello? Nothing much to report today . . . Slightly inconvenienced by all the snow and ice today. I had to deflate the front tyre on my bike slightly but, yeah . . . nowhere near as much arctic conditions as I had been led to believe by the forecasts. Currently downloading Perl modules onto the web-server in order that I can generate graphs and stuff. It's the kinda stuff I do at work all the time (dynamically generating graphs, that is), but I don't quite have all the same tools here that I have there, so . . . yeah, some new modules needed. Found the modules I wanted at CPAN but it took me a while to work out how to install these, until I stumbled upon the FAQ. Very odd seeing the name Tim Bunce mentioned here. This was the guy who wrote (I believe) the DBI and DBD modules that we use at work and yet here he is croping up again . . .

Saturday 31st January 2004

Me again. I think that picture was taken on Wednesday. I like the rainbow colours.

So, yes . . . which is kind of ironic, as it's been raining throughout most of today . . . So, I went to town, met M****** outside work, bought a present for my nephew (one of them) . . . there's loads of birthdays in February. And, erm . . . went to the market and bought some habanero peppers and a knife, bought a knife, from Peter Maturi, just a little one . . . wrapping paper and a Jiffy bag and that was that. My exciting life . . .

And lord only knows what my web-server's up to. I told it to install something with a

perl -MCPAN -e 'install something'

but I can't remember what the something was now. And, erm . . . for the last few hours, it's like it's having this little conversation, between the installation program and the machine itself. It keeps checking for things and going, 'Ok' but I've no idea what it's all about. It seems happy doing that though. Strange things these machines. Anyway . . .