Bellerophon symbol, variation 7
Tuesday 3rd October 2006

Guess that's fixed then. Hmmmmm. New motherboard, hard-drives and CPU finally installed.

Thursday 5th October 2006

Not much news, really. Computer seems to have settled down now. Still can't get the USB keyboard working, but all other USB things do. Indeed, I booted it up yesterday and it was asking which device I wanted to boot from (fair enough), but listing all the hard-drives, the DVD drive and all the slots in the USB card reader. Crazy. Imagine booting up from an SD card? How weird. I thought so anyway. Erm . . . and then I finished off all the Wickes floor varnish last night. So that's coat number . . . four? Is it? Something like that. I'm gonna put a final coat of this Ronseal diamond-hard stuff, but for some reason I have to wait for a month for the nasty, solvent-based Wickes floor varnish to 'settle in' or 'settle down' or something. God knows. M****** said I should try out a sample of Ronseal matt varnish on one of the cut-offs from the kitchen worktops, just to see how it looks. I not so sure though. I kinda like the oiled finish, even though it's a lot more faffy (is that a word?). Anyway, yes . . .

Friday 6th October 2006

I can't remember when it was exactly (er . . . last Thursday?!), but these were our frustrated attempts at creating a passport photo for A******. The requirements for such photos have become decidedly strict of late. Both mine and M******'s passports would never pass, nor would any of these. In the end, M****** had to go to a professional photographer. I think the problem with A******'s photos was stuff like the background being too dark (do you remember photo booths having a choice between a blue OR an orange background?), as it had to be white. Also, bluriness or image resolution was an issue. Grrrrr.

Saturday 7th October 2006

Someone at work was going on about rolling two six-sided die and the probability of a certain total number coming up. I wanted to write this just to clear up my confusion, but also because humans seem to have this huge problem with probability. Hence, is it a good idea to pick the numbers 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 in the National Lottery? The answer is of course: NO. You shouldn't pick these numbers because they aren't particularly random and, therefore, loads of other people will pick these numbers (or will they though? Maybe people do actually think, "Those numbers are never, ever gonna come up. Six numbers in a sequence? Impossible.") and, therefore, any money you win is gonna be split several ways. The sequence 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 is just as likely to happen as is 13, 19, 22, 23, 30, 45 or 4, 5, 7, 13, 19, 25 or whatever. All these sequences should be equally likely in the National Lottery, but the best thing to do is surely to pick a completely random sequence, the kind of sequence that not many people are gonna choose. But hey, I digress. So what about these dice then? I think the problem related to the sum of the two dice being 7. So, if the first die lands on a 1 and the second on a 6, then we got a total of seven. Pretty simple so far. You got two dice, so there's 36 possible outcomes of how these two dice will fall. Of these 36 combinations, 6 of these will yield a total of seven. Therefore, I guess you could say there's a 6 in 36 (or 1 in 6) chance that the total when two dice is thrown will be 1 in 6. But I think my colleague was suggesting that in knowing how the first die has landed, you have a better chance of knowing how the other die will land, knowing that there's a 1 in 6 chance of the total being seven. This didn't make any sense to me, but I don't think the whole 1 in 6 chance of the total being seven was brought up. Like I say, I really didn't understand what the problem was. You throw an unloaded six-sided die and the probability of a certain number coming up is 1 in 6. End of story. Die does not care about what number came up before, what number other die came up with or anything.

Wednesday 11th October 2006

Oh dear. Should I have set the drives up as RAID 1 before copying data onto them? Ooops. Ah well. But mainly recently I have been revising (or trying to) for my maths exam tomorrow . . . Thursday, that is. Strange web-bot type things (or whatever they're called) keep hitting my web-site, completely skewing the figures. I probably only get about three or four genuine hits per day, if I'm lucky, rather than the several hundred that get reported. But yeah . . . the maths exam. Well, that's weird, as I'm allowed to take in the course handbook (but no calculator, damn it) with as many of my own annotations written in as I can manage, but no extra pages (or post-its) added in. Hence, revision really consists of going through assignments and past exams and filling in handbook with examples reflecting gaps in my knowledge. I figure that was how I stumbled through most of the assignments (by looking for a similar-ish example) so that's . . . oh never mind. It's getting late now.

Thursday 12th October 2006

Blimey. CPU running at 48 degrees. What's up with him? In fact, what's up with the computer? I do a reboot and the monitor doesn't even register . . . no image, no nothing. BIOS won't even send a flicker to the LCD. Weird. So I keep doing hard re-boots, over and over again. Couple of hours later, I figure, "Ah well, might as well leave the power on anyway, leave it alone." And, lo and behold, it was just mulling things over, and did eventually boot-up . . . god knows how long it took, though. Don't ask about the exam, though. I probably got about 70% of it complete, but only answered that 70% about 65% satisfactorily. So what percentage will that end up being? Well, it will be a pass, certainly, but I really wanted over 70% to ensure a grade 2 pass (recommended for next years modules). But, hey, what can you do? Three hours just wasn't long enough. The knowledge, the ability, the aptitude (dare I say it) were there, but there wasn't enough time to apply these, damn it. So yeah . . . once again there didn't seem to do a single beer-selling bar anywhere on Lancaster University campus. Fine. I'll celebrate/commiserate at home.

Sunday 15th October 2006

So the previous day would have started at a reasonable hour, the flight not leaving Manchester until some time in the early afternoon. I think we reached our apartment in the early part of the evening, but stayed in for dinner that night. Then today we did a bit of wandering around. Oh - I haven't said where we are. Puerto de Polenca, Mallorca. My first visit to Mallorca, but M******'s third. A******'s first time out of the country.

Monday 16th October 2006

. . . and the rest of the days went a bit like this: get up when the A****** alarm clock got to waking up volume, have breakfast, buy some provisions, get lunch from somewhere (I think we ate somewhere different every day), go for a walk, let A****** have a sleep, read books . . . go out for dinner. Some or all of those.

Tuesday 17th October 2006

I guess today we headed north for a change, away from the town centre, just for a laugh. A****** saw the sun loungers and got a bit exciting, stumbling towards them as fast as he could manage in the sand and then laughing once he had managed to climb onto one of them. Whilst he may be all smiles in these pictures, he would get into a frightful rage whenever we would try to prevent him from walking into someone's house, off a pier, into a busy road or whatever.
We seemed a bit surrounded by these mountains.

Wednesday 18th October 2006

Looks like we went for a walk along the huge marina thingy. During this walk A****** discovered the joys of walking over metal man-hole covers, as you do. Hence, for about five minutes we kept having to go back and forth over the same stretch of walkway. Great. Then, of course, you try to encourage him to go in a different direction and the rage would start up again. But yeah . . . I liked the strange, blue boat carrying machine (first couple of pictures here, obviously).
So yeah . . . lots of boats and stuff. Later on in the evening, we found this cute little square with loads of restaurants around the perimeter (plus lots of A****** space to play around in), and so had dinner there. Food was good here, if a bit expensive.

Thursday 19th October 2006

I guess we bought A****** this blue, inflatable raft thingy (fortunately bought in its inflated state) today. That would make sense. For some reason we had lunch at this 'tex-mex' place. I can't quite remember the reasoning. Perhaps M****** had the urge for just a basic burger. I dunno. Anyway, they gave A****** an orange balloon, which he loved, so he was happy. That last shot's a view from our balcony. There wasn't much of a view there.

Friday 20th October 2006

yeah, so . . . you've probably got the idea now.

Saturday 21st October 2006

Today was our last day of holiday, although Friday would have been the last full day. Whatever. We had to check out of the hotel at midday, but our coach to the airport wasn't due until 15:15. We did more wandering around, had lunch somewhere, and the time soon went by. It was an uneventful journey back, A****** not quite loving the plane journey as he did on the way out (he had his own seat on the way out, but not on the way back).

Monday 23rd October 2006

Well, that must be the first time that's happened: some weird web-bot thingy decided to leave 35 comments for the 12th August 2006, advertising various viagra like pills, potions and what-not. Of course, I've deleted them all now, but it's something I'll have to keep an eye out for. How odd. I've also been updating last week with pictures from our recent Balearic holiday.

Tuesday 24th October 2006

Well, that's odd - that spam web-bot thing left loads of comments on 12th August 2006 again. So I've changed the script so that the URL to add comments has changed. In fact, come to think of it, I could make the URL to add comments change every time. That would confuse them. Hmmmm. Anyway.

So, anyway . . . over the course of our holiday, A****** was always eating with us. We initially bought a couple of jars of baby food with us (which, stupidly enough, they insisted one of us (Mel volunteered) try before passing through security at Manchester airport). God, I forgot about that, and how much it all annoys me. Consider this (or maybe this or some craziness here), the pertinent bit being the following:

Now for the fun part. Take your hydrogen peroxide, acetone, and sulfuric acid, measure them very carefully, and put them into drinks bottles for convenient smuggling onto a plane. It's all right to mix the peroxide and acetone in one container, so long as it remains cool. Don't forget to bring several frozen gel-packs (preferably in a Styrofoam chiller deceptively marked "perishable foods"), a thermometer, a large beaker, a stirring rod, and a medicine dropper. You're going to need them.

It's best to fly first class and order Champagne. The bucket full of ice water, which the airline ought to supply, might possibly be adequate - especially if you have those cold gel-packs handy to supplement the ice, and the Styrofoam chiller handy for insulation - to get you through the cookery without starting a fire in the lavvie.
of course, you can't believe anything you read on the internet these days, but could someone verify the feasibility of making explosives on-board an aeroplane out of liquid components? Seems like a stupid, knee-jerk reaction once again. I think we're meant to be afraid, not necessarily of anything specific, but just afraid . . . the unseen terror. Glorious. Where was I? Erm . . . airports, baby food, A******! YES! That was it! So, erm . . . we brought along the baby food, thinking we could buy more there if necessary but, as it turned out, he took to eating normal food (albeit in small, A******-sized portions) very, very easily. And we were left kinda thinking, "Maybe he was just bored of that baby food stuff in jars, and who can blame him?" and who can blame him? Hardly any salt in prepared baby food anyway.

So, erm . . . previously, we tried him with real food, and he wasn't really interested for long, except at lunch time and breakfast, when we would have Ready Brek (and various other breakfast cereals), toast, sandwiches, yoghurts, fruit and stuff. But dinner . . . well, we had problems there. He just got in these rages and wouldn't accept any help with his cutlery (or his hands) in getting dinner to his mouth. But yeah . . . that's all behind us now. No more baby food and no more food rage (we hope). Continuing the A****** update . . . we're still not getting much in the way of words out of him, and sometimes the situation seems as frustrating to him as it is to us. He'll frown, point at things, shout jibberish and we've no idea what he's on about. Ah well. But hey, comparisons are odious. They talk when they wanna talk. Walk when they wanna walk. Et cetera.

Wednesday 25th October 2006

Blimey - that was easy. The spamming web-bot things have stopped leaving stupid viagra adverts in the comments section of my web-site (curiously only targeting 12th August 2006, as previously mentioned). Well, I say stopped . . . viagra adverts were dumped here on Monday and Tuesday at approximately 16:30, so I figure it was some sort of cronjob running. Nothing happened at 16:30 today following changes made to the script concerned with leaving comments. If it happens again, I figure I insert one of those random images containing a sequence of numbers/letters and you have to type them in to a text box. That should really fox them. I know such images can be interpreted and decoded by clever software, but who can really be bothered? I mean, what is the point of it all? Stupid, stupid, stupid. Anyway, time to write to my local MP. BYE!

Saturday 28th October 2006

Maybe this is something he's been taught at nursery: spinning around on the spot, banging on a drum, getting himself dizzy, laughing. Hence, some of these might be slightly blurry (it wasn't working out with the flash), due to all his movement. That last picture was his dinner that night. Maybe some people would look at this and call it junk food but I see potato, beans, tomato and fish. Mmmmmmm. He ate most of it: one just needs to ensure each fork-full has a bit of ketchup on it. M****** was saying how when she was young fish fingers were a bit minging: loads of silvery stuff, like you were getting the dog-ends of fish, and it was all nasty, re-constituted stuff. But these fish fingers were really nice: I ate what little A****** left behind.

Sunday 29th October 2006

The hangover from yesterday seemed to dissipate rapidly once I got up and started doing stuff. This 'stuff' involved going over to Halton to meet M******'s mum and Stu and then off to Heysham. We went to a pub there for lunch and then a walk up to the old church thingy. Ruins of an old church. Maybe it was has name . . .
erm . . . yeah. More pictures from Heysham. I know a lot of these pictures look the same but they're all slightly different, and I couldn't decide which one(s) I preferred, so I left most of them in. I think web-site was down yesterday from about 7pm onwards (judging by the logs). I had managed to fix it this morning at about 1am, but I've no idea how. I managed to narrow it down to some problem with the database, so must have run some kind of 'fix database' function . . . I guess. Perhaps what happened is that computer crashed (or I did a re-boot) right in the middle of a database transaction. Attempts to create a new record resulted in database kind of saying, "Cannot create record - it already exists," but that wasn't true, so it was obviously a bit confused somewhere. So yeah . . . all fixed now.