car trouble and cat sick

ok – so the fiat has broken again. this time the problem is of an electrical nature – a fuse (which the manual claims doesn’t exist) keeps blowing every quarter of an hour or so causing the engine to stop running. further diagnosis indicates that this may be the fuse for the fuel pump – why it keeps blowing is a mystery to me though. further investigation is called for this weekend.

today is steves birthday. happy birthday steve ! a number of events have been arranged for the occasion – and I’m sure that steve has already let you know what they are.

I am absolutely knackered – and I’ll tell you why – bloody cats.

on wednesday night I had to go and rescue that kittens from the kitchen (where they sleep). we left the dishwasher on – and they obviously didn’t like it – so decided to mew loudly and pathetically next to the kitchen door till I came and got them. I took them up to our bedroom where they ran around fighting and making lots of noise until I got fed up with them. the dishwasher had stopped by this time so I took them back down stairs and shut them in the kitchen. this was 2:30am.

then last night greebo decided he was going to be ill. not just “throw up once, then feel much better and pretend it never happened” ill – real “I’m at deaths door and I won’t be here tomorrow so you’d better look after me” ill. so we both, a bit worried, stayed up watching him – he would throw up every half an hour and then sit there really subdued looking as though he was slipping in and out of conciousness. we decided to take them up to the spare room and sleep there (we have a futon which is low to the ground). this involved the whole “carry the litter tray, toys, food, water and everything else upstairs” after which I fell asleep ( janie was playing on her computer ) and woke up a bit later to find greebo stretched out at full length on the duvet, purring and looking like the most contented cat in the world. he then got up, started fighting with his sister and making lots of noise until I got fed up with them both. so we shut them back in the kitchen and went to sleep in our own room. this was 2:15am.

bloody cats !

this weekend is the southampton balloon festival – janie, who loves hot air balloons, has arranged 75 different visits to see stuff. tonight there , apparently, is a “night glow” which involves the balloon being tethered and firing their “takey offy things” all at once in the dark. I’ll take photo’s and post them later !.

well – I’m going to do some real work (yeah right!)

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weekends end

it’s now sunday night and I’m just about ready to go to bed.

friday night we ( tom, me, ro, sarah and josh ) sat down to eat pizza and watch the bbc adaptation of gormenghast which had arrived on dvd a few days before – it was pretty good – I double checked ( not having read the books for a while ) it only covers the first two books ( “titus groan” and “gormenghast”) so I guess that leaves the last one ( “titus alone” ) to go. The sets were amazing and some of the characters very funny ( well done bbc ) it did see to go a bit flat at the end though.

saturday was a sort of birthday continuation – a few old friends came to stay on saturday night. we went to the “family house” an excellent chinese restaurant down the road from us in totton. we had another massive and reasonably cheap meal before walking home. janie, justin, anette, roger, maria and I ) all decided that a walk in the new forest was in order so we drove to long down which is fairly close to our house. it was a really nice walk – it was warm and summery – we ran around throwing pine cones at each other – we really ought to do it more often. justin sees to know quite a lot about nature stuff – and wanders around doing david bellamy impersonations. he found carivorous plants a night jar and a butterfly which is apparently quite rare. the new forest is a great place at this this time of year – very green and foals everywhere – I would recomend it to anyone.

I’ve noticed something strange about cats – in the same way that humans get “red eye” during flash photography cats get “blue eye”. whats all that about ?

also, due to tom-pressure there is now an rdf version of the diary here and of the jokes here.

good night all.

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birthday boy

ok – now is thursday

it was my birthday on tuesday – I am now the ripe old age of 32. I woke up in the morning to presents and cards, cds, a book about mclaren, a t shirt, aftershave, a parmesan cheese grating set and a photo of the kittens ( from them ). work was another “fixing msi” day ( I seem to be having a lot of those lately ) – janie bought a birthday cake for work the night before which we duly ate in the afternoon and then the enevitable 4th wave present session. this involves everyone in the building gathering around the central area of the office whilst the victim (me) is presented with the presents. I’m making it sound like an ordeal when it isn’t, it’s nice that eveyone clubs together when it’s someones bithday and gets them a little something – it is actually the first year during my three and a bit years at 4th wave then I’ve actually been at work on my birthday – I was given a collection of south park glasses, 4 mini bottles of gin, a cuddly cartman and a cuddly pig.

in the evening we went to the mill arms for dinks and a meal – thanks craig and anna for treating me, janie for organising everyone and everone else for turning up.

that was the tuesday that was.

yesterday I went for a company curry for the first time in a while. for years we have worked late on wednesday nights and the company have treated us to a curry at the end of the evening. recently I’ve been enjoying it less and less – what did seem like a group of friends from work around a table eating and drinking has turned into an ordeal in a really hot smokey restaurant eating food that I really don’t enjoy anymore. however – as I said – last night I went for a curry and really enjoyed it. despite marks novel suicide attempt which resulted in me and my curry being soaked in lemonade ( I forgive you mark ), I had a most enjoyable curry – the restaurant door being propped open also helped. I think that maybe a curry every two to three weeks is a happy medium.

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an uneventful day

today really has been a day when nothing much happened – this morning I investigated an article on slashdot claiming that xmps now supports the DivX 😉 codec. having tried it I have to concede that it actually does work ! ok – the playback was jumpy and had some odd artifacts but hey – this is the first release of xmps with this support in. it actually uses the divx windows dll as a pluging – I presume the idea is that this will be the way that support for other windows codecs will be introduced in the future.

paul came in mid afternoon ( which according to him is late morning ). he is designing the msi site using publicizr and needed to come in to syncronize his ms sql server 7 database with ours. this turned out to be another microsoft disaster. after spending then end of last week reworking parts of publicizr to work with sql server as well as mysql we then tried it on another machine and it totally refuses to work. for some reason merely adding $dbh->{LongReadLen} = [a number]; before an sql select statement works on one server, but the other also requires an additional $dbh->{LongTruncOk} = 1; nothing like consistency.

tom gave me a lift home ( janies had a half day and had already taken my car ). he wanted to see the kittens and decided he would make jane and I tea – so we came back via safeways. he agreed that they were incredibly cute and ickle before cooking and excellent sweet and sour chicken tonight thingy which we ate while watching voyager.

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schumacher sucks


I’ve spent yesterday afternoon and some of today re-installing windows 98 on my home computer *again*. this time I chose the 98 – second edition flavour. my old installation seemed to have taken to spending long periods of time doing nothing – this seemed to be an explorer related thing as applications ran fine – it was only when doing something like starting up windows, browsing drives/folders in “my computer” or, god forbid, opening a file that it sat there doing nothing for about a minute before continuing as if nothing had happened.

what really gets my goat about windows / microsoft / windows software in general is not really its badness ( although some of it *is* bad !! ), I have to say that in general windows is probably no more or less stable that gnu/linux/open source software ( here I am talking about desktop applications not server stuff ). what really really gets my goat is that when it all goes wrong – which in the end it always does – there is absolutely no bloody thing to tell you why it failed. no useful log files, no meaningfull error messages reported to a console it just breaks which means all you can do is re-install. as an example – the other day I tried to open a file in realplayer and it popped up an error message dialog that said “error: a general error has occured” – I mean . . .

the last couple of mornings we have gotten up early and tiptoed downstairs to find out what chaos the kittens have wrought in our kitchen. so far they’ve been pretty good and been as cute and endearing as we could have hoped for. tomorrow is the first day ( being monday ) that we will leave them on their own during the day so we wait to see what they will make of that. I took some more pictures of them today – you can find the best ones here, here, here, here and here

we actually got around to doing some gardening today – we can now actually get along the path around the side of our house without the aid of a machette and there is considerably less ivy growing up around the windows. our lawn is still getting longer – I’m not sure that the electric cylinder mower that steves parents lent/gave us is really up to the job.

the canadian grand prix was most disappointing – by this I mean that bloody michael schumacher won again. I’m really beginning to think that he may win this years championship. what annoys me most about him is that I know he is probably the best driver currently in formula one and he knows it too. it still doesn’t mean I have to like him !! mika – try harder . . .

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new arrivals

well – a hectic day – I spent most of the morning and some of the afternoon capturing and real video encoding an interview for work. it turned out all right in the end for a first attempt. I’ve got the original avi’s in case I need to re-encode it. the msi database was a little bit broken – when moving the contents over from mysql to microsoft sql server I forgot to make my unique id key field either a key or unique – that broke it a bit !!. every time I seem to touch sql server it breaks horribly – I really wish we could just do everything in mysql. anyway I fixed it with lots of help from ro( who has decided not to buy a new car ).

we got to pick up the kittens today – woohoo ! – after work janie and I went on a massive cat shop for kitty bits – and then picked them up. they seem to have settled into their new house reasonably well. we have decided to call the ginger boy “greebo” after nanny oggs cat and the tabby female “tabitha” ( very original ). greebo seems to have diarrhoea which is a bit messy, but apart from that they got a clean bill of health when they visited the vet. you can see tabitha here, here , here and here – grebo here – and both of them together here.

after the cats had arrived and settled down steve, sarah, mark and ro came over to oggle the new arrivals. everyone agreed that they are terribly cute and spent ages playing with them. martin ( my brother in law ) also popped in – he was returning our car that he and my sister had borrowed during their visit from singapore – I dropped him at southampton station – and agreed that we would go back over to singapore again soon.

when I got back we all ( except mark who as always had already had tea – and sarah ) had a chinese take away and watched tv. everyone has now gone home and we have settled the cats down for the night in the kitchen – I’m nervously listening for the pitifull sounds of miaowing from downstairs. so far all has been silent.

good night all ( I hope )

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watch out for snakes !

we watched two more mystery science theatre 3000 dvds last night. the one we watched the day before was the movie so I wasn’t prepared for the extreme tackiness of the sets in the tv series. even so I thought that they (“the brain that wouldn’t die” and “eegah” ) were even funnier ( than the movie ). tom – hurry up and buy some more episodes !!

whilst looking at the dvds in blockbuster tonight I saw that they had a copy of fight club out for rental – I noticed that the dvd had “for rental only” stamped on it – which is interesting as up to now I have only seen dvds for rent that are actually available to buy.

today was reasonably successful. I have finished the documentation for msi. contacted psi domain regarding the extremely cheap rack mount servers they were telling me about at “linux expo 2000” and best of all – I got the FIAT back – hurrah ! we have now dropped the daewoo off at martins ( the owner – well as much as you can be the owner of a company car ) house – and thats that. the FIAT is much better than it was – it’s so nice to drive it without the gearbox drowning out the noise of the engine and road.

ro sounds like he may be getting a new car. it started off as a masda mx5 and now looks like it may be mk 1 toyota mr2 – who knows what it may be tomorrow – still – exciting stuff – another one to add to his collection – I look forward to him giving me a ride in it !

this evening has been pretty quiet – we have eaten our usual thurday night pizza, but we are without our usual thursday night tv. the current seasons of “friends”and “er” have finished on sky one and have not been replaced with anything worth warching. so janie has gone to bed early and I am arsing around on my computer – I may even get some more work done on “stuff I own”.

well – tomorrow is friday – so we’ll finally get to know whether we can pick up the kittens or whether we have to wait another week – I spoke to the lady at the animal rescue center yesterday and she wasn’t sure that they would be ready(?). they went to the vets yesterday and were given a clean bill of health and were wormed, jabbed and various other stuff. apparently the ginger boy “has a sore bottom” so she is bathing it with baby oil.

this weekend is also a grand prix weekend – the canadian in fact. good luck mika (hakkinen) don’t let schumacher (michael) win again and watch out for david coulthard. I wish that they ( itv f1 ) were showing qualifying live rather than at eleven o’clock at night – but no.

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come off it mr dent, you can’t lie in front of that tow truck indefinitely

I felt pretty knackered this morning when I woke up. tom cooked for us ( mark, janie steve and I) and then we tried out the newly aquired muliregion dvd player. we watched being john malkovitch, then mark and steve left and tom forced me to watch mystery science theatre 3000. mst3k was funny – I really enjoyed it. we didn’t get to bed till about 1 am.

this morning we had another comedy car parking situation. at work we have a serious lack of car parking space and so we often have the clamper around trying to imobilise our company cars. well, normally we manage to shuffle our cars around before things get serious – but this time he (the clamper) got one of our directors cars before he (the director) could move it. well – much swearing insued followed by a futile attempt to move a clamped car – followed by more swearing. eventually the police (called by the clamper) turned up. after a long discussion between all parties the fine was payed to have the clamp removed and everyone went home. I’m sure there is a moral to be learned from all this but I’m buggered if I can see it.

I spent some of the afternoon in our bournemouth office giving a talk to three new salesman about servers, the internet and things with molecular structures. they all seemed really nice and I hope they are happy working with us. (it has to be noted that they are still salesmen !!)

well – hopefully the FIAT will be ready tomorrow – hurrah for those valiant men at the FIAT garage in winchester. we have an extention on the loan of the daewoo till tomorrow which is handy – thankyou martin.

tonight I have to ring up to find out whether we get the kittens on friday or wait another week. they were visiting the vet for a checkup today so I hope it went well.

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champagne shenanigans

well, the news hinted at yesterday via candys smile is that janie ( my girlfriend ) and I have gotten engaged. actually we have been for just over a week but it took a while to tell various scattered relatives. we have done the “tell friends/colleagues at work” thing today. this involved two bottles of champagne ( one for upstairs one for down ) I’m feeling a little light headed at this stage ( especially as I’m helping tom out by drinking his ). everyone has been really happy / joyous / congratulatory so thanks everyone we really appreciate it. all I have left to do now is tell a few old friends. I hope they don’t read this !!

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a day in the dark

well – someone didn’t turn the lights on this morning !

I’ve spent most of the day writing documentation on how to install publicizR on NT/IIS/MS SQL Server – it’s taking me longer than it did to write the bloody software ! oh well – I’m sure it’s all really worthwhile and all that.

at last I have some FIAT news – it isn’t fixed yet . . . apparently f just asked me about it ) and I ) are still excited about the arrival of our multiregion dvd player from techtronics

oh well – back to abiword and my documentatingationism

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