November 2006

Posted from my new Nokia E61

by Suw on November 30, 2006

Currently at home, using my Nokia E61 to post to my blog using the standard Blogware web interface, via my Dad's wifi. Nice!

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So much for a quiet day

by Suw on November 27, 2006

Jeeze, but it's been a mad day. I had thought that today would be a nice quiet day – land at Gatwick at 10am, potter home, repack my bags and then mosey down to Waterloo to catch the train to Bournemouth.
How wrong can you be? The madness started almost as soon as I got off the plane, with a leak about the Gowers Review: they will be recommending that the government not extend the term of copyright protection on sound recordings in the UK. Nice victory, that. If it's true. We couldn't get Gowers or the Treasury to confirm, but had to write a press release anyway.
Then Sky News phoned up wanting to talk about a story that was on the front page of the Times, that the government are thinking of doing a sort of Minority Report pre-crime database, where they would track people who they suspect are the criminal sort. That's wrong on so many levels. So I suddenly had to switch gear, tidy the flat, make myself look presentable and then do a 5 minute interview, which they will undoubtedly cut down (and right so – I rambled a bit. It will have been on already, so sorry if you missed it.
Then I had to finish up packing, ditch the two pieces of toast I never got to eat and get in a taxi to Waterloo. I'm now on a train heading for Bournemouth where I should arrive i I think about an hour.
I haven't had a proper meal for at least 24 hours (plane meals were vile), and only snatches of sleep here and there. I did have two seats to myself on the plane over, but was right underneath an air vent, and that air was cold! It's hard to sleep on planes, and I think the longest nap I managed was 40 mins or so before something woke me up again.
I don't feel too jetlagged now, but I suspect that as soon as I get home I will collapse like a souffl?© in a cupboard, as Eddie Izzard used to say. Or was it flan? Still, the next few days holds few appointment for me, so I will be doing my best to sleep and relax and get over the jetlag.
I think I may have forgotten my phone charger. And I know I didn't have time to water the three croci that are hopefully growing in a box in the loft. I suspect I may have forgotten other things too, but we'll find those out in due course.
Meantime, I've had another idea for a web app which is a lot simpler than the one I was pursuing, so I might try to get that one going first. I have my books with me, and intend to spend some time geeking out with them. Just as soon as my brain has recovered enough to geek at all. Which might take some time.
I also promise to blog more. Honest.

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Sitting. Waiting. Wishing.

by Suw on November 26, 2006

I'm pretty sure that when Jack Johnson wrote his song 'Sitting, Waiting, Wishing', he wasn't sitting at Dallas Fort Worth airport sitting in the departure lounge, waiting to board and wishing that he was home already.
Although, I dunno. Maybe Mr Johnson comes to Dallas all the time and this is exactly where he wrote those lyrics.
Kevin's off to New Mexico to go walking in the mountains. Those of you who know me know I prefer a gentle amble with a pub at the end rather than a hefty hike with… er… no pub at the end, so I'm off home now. Gonna go back to the flat, pick up a few things, then head off down to Dorset to play with my parent's kitties, Castor and Pollux.

Aren't they just so cute? Actually, Kev and I made friends with his brother's cat, Bob, who was a very frisky wee tabby who seemed to like to sit on our lap whenever possible. I miss kitties. I wish we lived somewhere where we could have some kittens. They're good for your blood pressure (so long as you're not too enamoured of un-scratched furniture).
I have to say that the bit of Texas that I saw was very, very different to any other part of America that I've seen, and a completely different world to the UK. But once we dug beneath the sea of identikit houses and shopping malls, and found the historic centre of McKinney, I felt a bit more at home. There were some lovely old buildings in the square around the old court house, and some nice shops.
I could potentially have spent quite a bit of money but I don't have much use for home furnishings at the moment. Besides, for what they were charging for one (rather nice, but still) cushion I could buy a sewing machine and make half a dozen of the things. I mean, I can recognise style when I see it, but $250 for a cushion? I don't think so.
It was lovely to meet Kevin's family and to do Thanksgiving. I've never done a Thanksgiving before, so it was definitely a novelty for me. I guess I'll be doing quite a few more in years to come!
Right… I suppose I better get on with some waiting.

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Off to Dallas

by Suw on November 18, 2006

This week is Thanksgiving, so Kevin and I are off to Dallas tomorrow to spend the holidays with his family. His brother lives in McKinney, and his parents are driving over from Yuma where they normally overwinter.
Last year, Thanksgiving was a completely different kettle of fish, with Kev rolling around in a muddy field in Berkshire, on his hostile environments refresher course. Of course, no matter how honed your skills are at spotting land mines or recognising different types of gunfire, nothing really prepares you for the viper pit of TVC, but still, he tried.
When I get back, I'm going straight down to Dorset to go and spend a few days with my parents and their new kittens whilst Kevin stays in the US an extra week to go hiking somewhere in the wilderness. Hiking's not really my thing, to be honest. A nice walk in the countryside with a pub at the end is more my style. Better yet, a nice walk in the countryside with a pub at the beginning and in the middle too.
Anyway, things here are starting to calm down, and it'll be nice to get away and decompress. Maybe then I can resume blogging as usual.
Right, on with the packing.

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iFixing my iBook in 15 iSeconds

by Suw on November 12, 2006

Back in August I had a few problems with my trusty ol' iBook falling asleep on me unexpectedly. After a few false starts, I figured out that it must be the DC-in board – the socket that you plug the charger into had become a little loose and would occasionally short out.
I went to the Apple Store and then to an authorised dealer, and they both said that the motherboard would need to be replaced, and that it wouldn't be cheap, and that it would probably take 10 days… or longer.
Well, bugger that for a game of soldiers. Kev got a DC-in board for $30, we did it ourselves, thanks in large part to the fantabulously brilliant iFixit Guides. You even get a little screw guide to print out so you can keep your screws organised.
Anyway, following in the footsteps of the legendary Tom Coates, we used the lovely Gawker to make a time lapse movie of it.

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Exploding bums

by Suw on November 10, 2006

Try not to giggle. (via Stuart.)

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The Cake Project: End of week one

by Suw on November 10, 2006

So, I made it. I've got to the end of the first week without soft drinks. My subconscious has been particularly mean to me, however, as I've had a few dreams wherein I've drunk a can of Coke or a glass of orange juice, and then woke up feeling dreadfully guilty, but I can honestly say that nary a drop of soft drink has passed my lips.
I can also honestly say that I could kill for a Coke right now. Really, really kill for a Coke. I could just pop down to the corner shop and be back with a nice ice-cold can of Coke within five minutes. I could drink it in less, and dispose of the evidence and no one would ever know. Apart from me, of course. But 24 people have now signed the pledge, and I wouldn't want to let them down.
Besides, there's the honour thing too. I can be stubborn when I want to.
So instead, I may consider a cup of tea. Green, decaf green or white. Or hot water with a squeeze of fresh lemon, which is far more refreshing than it sounds. I might start buying bottled water as, even filtered, the stuff that comes out of the tap here tends to taste a little stale, and I'm noticing it a lot more now that I'm drinking so much of it.
But oh gods and little fishes, I could do with a Coke.

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The Cake Project: Pledge successful!

by Suw on November 2, 2006

Much to my surprise, the Cake Project pledge has been successful, with 22 people pledging to give up sugary drinks along with me. Yay! In fact, the pledge deadline is not til 22nd November, so there's plenty of time for you to sign up if you still want to.
I decided that I would to give up sugary drinks from this morning, so I've not had a Coke or anything else all day. I'm going to keep this going until February 22nd, three months after the end of the pledge. I'm leaving it up to the other signatories to decide when they want to give up, so long as they've given up by 22nd November.
I'll give updated every now and again, just so you all know how I'm doing, and so that I know you know that I'm doing it.
Unfortunately, I had thought that I had found a replacement for the Coke and fruit juices that I normally drink, in the form of green tea. Now I never used to like green tea apart from in Chinese and Japanese restaurants. When I used to make it myself, it always turned out bitter, but I discovered when I went to Ching Ching Cha in Georgetown, Washington DC, that it tasted bad because I was scolding the tea. You have to put a bit of cold water in with the tea first, then add the hot-but-not-boiling water, and it tastes much better.
Sadly, though, a few cups of green tea later, I discovered that it actually has a fair bit more caffeine in than I am used to, and I spent most of yesterday quite significantly over-caffeinated. You might even say 'manic'. In fact, Kevin had to scrape me off the ceiling in order to get me to go to bed.
So, if I need a perk-me-up, instead of Coke I have green tea. But that's really not going to replace all the other crap I used to drink. Not sure what that's going to be, but I have to find something that's slightly more interesting to drink that filtered tap water.
Ah well, we'll get there. I'm just happy that the pledge was met and that I'm now going into my period of abstinence with a bit of moral support.

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