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30/05/2003
[10:30] Friday! Good things happen on Friday, or they used to a long time ago. Dunno what is happening this evening, but I'm sure it'll be good whatever it is. Must go shopping for food as, since returning from the US I've been living on sandwiches and takeout.

Went to the filming last night. Was way off to the left this time so you won't see me at any point. It was considerably different to the one two weeks ago. The host, Hugh Dennis was very nervous and Giles Brandreth was overly talkative, which caused Paul Merton's guest to basically clam up for the evening. There were some laughs but the warm-up guy appears to be a one-trick pony of jokes.

Frankly the best part of last night's recording was the retakes at the end with Dennis swearing and cracking jokes like he should have during the first take. I imagine the finished, edited show is going to be markedly different to the one we saw.

Looks like there's the chance of a Thai lunch today, which is always good.

[16:05] Waiting, waiting, waiting, for the end of the day so I can go and do something more fun, interesting, exciting. Like shopping for food.

29/05/2003
[15:45] Damnit! Busy all day dealing with work and getting this sorted. Sorry, have to head off for a recording of Have I Got News For You. If I'm in camera shot watch for someone swaying back and forward tomorrow night. I'll say tomorrow if I actually make it onscreen. Anyway, off now. Great weather, wish I had a kite 'cos it was great at lunch time.

28/05/2003
[12:00] Well, I'm back at work. Happily nothing seems to have gone tits-up in my absence, which is marvellous. Lots of Amazon and Play stuff has arrived, so that's good too. Talking to all those who I've been out of contact with too. A few work-related things to do, a few CDs to rip and a seminar on spamblocking this afternoon. All in all a good day.

[12:28] Hmm, I've noticed something about the artwork on the front of the Bablyon 5 series 2 box set booklet, at least on the Region 2 version. Take a look, see if you can spot the 'error'. I say 'error', in space it doesn't actually matter.

[15:50] Just been to a seminar on spam filtering in the Institution. Damned interesting. Shame I was so knackered. I supplied a 'Tracing Spammers' T-shirt for the speaker and got a name check at the end, which was nice.

[17:10] It feels good to help people again. Like karmic payback, bigtime. All I can hope is that my comments, suggestions and support are working towards a positive solution.

27/05/2003 - America Special
[07:50] Shows how awake I am at the moment. Anyway, try and imagine the early morning entries in yesterday's Journal really come under today's heading. I'm not moving them because I want to show how spaced I am right now.

Still on Tube, oddly. SMSes sent to those who need to know I'm back in the country. Must listen to iPod and read book now.

[23:50] Home, unpacked photos online. Food eaten, visitor had, information imparted to those who need to know things. Pretty much end of the holiday and time for work tomorrow.

26/05/2003 - America Special
[18:50] So I'm sitting on the plane home and one of the rubber feet has come off my Tungsten's fold-away keyboard, which is annoying.

So anyway this morning was another early rise. It's good to keep in contact with those in the UK who feel like chatting. Sitting around for a few hours I decided to pack. I'd been woken by the torrential rain outside and the suggestion of thunder some time around 05:00. I decided to pack around 09:00-10:00 and felt that Andy wouldn't be getting up any time soon given that it's the Memorial Day bank holiday. He called me down to a bacon breakfast some time around 11:00 before we burnt some CDs of MP3s and copied the photos that I'd taken with Meri's camera onto my USB memory sticks.

In the end, packing done we headed out to go and see Philadelphia in the rain anyway. Ironically, for our late start the rain had stopped but the sun hadn't come out. We drove into town after getting caught in a rubbernecking accident aftermath and going over the Franklin Bridge and I took a few photos before we parked up and went for a walk down South Street in suburban Philly. It was kind of like a tame, happier Soho. There wasn't really much to see and time was getting short so we walked back to the car by way of an Irish pub (not really). A quick drive home via a liquor store for two bottles of wine for a friend in the UK we got home and I spent a few minutes clearing down all my jobs from the machine I'd been given for the duration of my stay.

We set off for the airport. Luckily we'd managed to arrive early because we were confronted with a monster security check queue. We bypassed that to check in, which was also queued up massively. Once checked in I went through security after saying goodbye to my wonderful hosts. I bought a couple of hoagies and a bottle of water and settled down to eat and drink with my iPod on. Around 18:15 we began to board and I was tail-ender.

[19:20 DST] Take-off interrupted my previous entry. I'm sitting next to a husky-voiced tanned brown temptress of a girl who's taking a break from a five-year interior design course. Maybe the flight home won't be so boring after all. On a 747-400 going home, it was a 777 on the way out. She needed the loo from sit-down to seat-belt lights off so I engaged her in conversation. Seemed to break the ice rather nicely. As things stand I can't think I'll be typing any more in this entry as sleep would be a good idea. But we'll see.

[07:40 BST] Fun flight. Now I just need to get home before I fall asleep. Note to self: lots of wine blagged from the cabin crew can make seven hours just fly on by. I'm currently on the Tube heading for London and the first train home I can find. What a holiday. And with luck things are only going to get better. Sometimes life really is just bloody weird. My new motto is bearing fruit like you wouldn't believe: "Life Is Short. It's All Good." Live it, accept it, go with it. You won't be disappointed.

Yeah.

I so need to get some sleep. I'm talking so much shit now I need to stop before I start rambling.

[07:50] Now I think about it, it's not the 26th any more.

25/05/2003 - America Special
[26/05/2003 - 01:20] So this one's a little late, it doesn't matter, you don't get to read it until a few days from now anyway.

Woke early again, oddly. Checked email and so forth. It being the weekend there's been no traffic about work for once, which has been helpful. Talked to those around online and eventually headed out with Andy and Meri for a reasonably long drive to another diner for a very very late breakfast. At the place we went to they normally become invisible to the staff but this time we were attended to fairly quickly. Unofrtunately they suffed up Andy's order completely and gave Meri and I five pancakes instead of three. As it turned out I could eat five pancakes with sausages, bacon and syrup with no problems. Which was good. I took some photos of Andy's identical dish when it turned up.

We headed out and didn't leave a tip and drove to a mall where Andy needed to go to get his glasses (which he doesn't actually need) fixed. $200 for a pair of glasses with clear lenses. Go figure. While we were there we wandered into a book store and a clothes shop and I had to get something in either, just 'cause.

After finishing in the mall we began the long, long drive upstate to a friend's house to deliver a bearded dragon (a reptile) to someone who also looks after them. Andy and Meri's house has many cats, turtles, ferrets, iguanas and other reptiles. It's cool in a 'sometimes too hot' kinda way. Anyway, I dozed in the back on the drive as music played and awoke to Madness as we arrived. After a brief chat with Gail during which time I was mollested by ferrets (I forgot my camera but there are shots on Meri's which I'll have by the time you read this, I hope). We drove following her to a nearby friend's house for a barbecue. For a few hours we sat outside (the rain, which has been prevalent every day except the first day I was here, stopped for a while) eating, talking and drinking a little. Meri was designated driver but I think Andy and I were too tired from relaxing to actually drink much. Around 20:00 we decided to head off and arrived back here around 22:30ish. I logged on for a nice chat with a few friends (looking forward to meeting some soon) and then realised this needed doing.

As it is we hope to go to Philadelphia tomorrow morningish and then have me at the airport for about 17:00. My flight's at 19:00, so that should work. Not sure when I'll do the next entry. Probably on the plane as I don't get in until 07:05 Tuesday morning. I should go into work, but I'm not sure if that's going to be feasible. We'll see.

Either way, this has been one damned fine break from life in the UK and I would really like to return some time soon, possibly with company to share the enjoyment with. Right now it's 01:35 and I need sleep.

24/05/2003 - America Special
[23:10] Another semi-lazy day today. After the amount of walking we did yesterday we were expecting to be quite tired this morning. Naturally I woke at 05:00. I got some things done online (simple stuff, saving me time when I get home) as well as talking to those who were about at 10:00 BST in the UK.

So I get a drink of Tropicana at around 10:00 DST and mooch around chatting, fiddling with bits of technology in the house and eventually decide to do my out-of-habit exercise routine and then have a shower. This wakes me up and leaves me feeling quite chipper. Andy emerges and we decide the day's course of action.

Around 15:00 we head out and go to a genuine diner called The Silver Diner, all shiny metal on the outside and booths inside. The food (first meal of the day) is filling and surprisingly low in grease, but I still think I'll have put on weight this holiday. Not good for climbing. Anyway, around 16:10 we head out to Target (locally pronounced 'Tar-jay') to have a look around and in the end Andy and Meri end up with a plasma ball.

We drive the 200m to the cinema and buy tickets for Bruce Almighty. While we're milling around we spot someone who's obviously trying to be Neo from The Matrix. It's hard not to laugh while looking at him. Bruce Almighty is a good film in many places although some bits are extremely cringeworthy.

We come out of the first film and buy tickets for The Matrix: Reloaded, again. Two slow walks around the building and we come back in to enter our screen. Unfortunately it's one of the small ones and we end up very close to the screen. The print is in a disgusting state and towards the end the woman in front gets a Nokiatune ring going. Andy leans down and tells her to turn the damned thing off. She leaves. This time we stayed to the end of the credits and saw the brief trailer for The Matrix: Revolutions. Rather good.

Basically after that we drove home. Nothing more, really. Someone I would liked to have talked to is at a party right now and is probably sleeping, but I'm sure I'll get to speak to them later.

23/05/2003 - America Special
[18:20] A full day. Tons of walking, but I'll get to that. Another early morning wake up which I ameliorated by going online and getting a few things sorted with those on a different time. By 08:30 we were in the car and driving north on the I295 and then the New Jersey Turnpike. A fairly long drive we arrived around 10:45ish and parked the car in a lot in Hoboken (birthplace of Frank Sinatra). Just before we took the PATH (similar to the Waterloo & City line London Underground) we bought some British chocolate from a newssand before journeying under the Hudson all the way to 33rd Street where the line ends, and emerged into New York City. A couple of blocks from 34th Street is the Empire State building, which although shrouded in cloud (we were told repeatedly that then money to go up to the top was non-refundable, as I was when I was last in New York and climbed the World Trade Center) we went up anyway. The view was reasonable and I got some fairly good photos. Also started getting some in black and white to provide some variation. Once we were done we headed down and out onto the street. I was fairly sure that the New York Public Library wasn't far from where we were so we headed north until we found it. Both Andy and I were interested in getting photos which weren't boring so we got a couple of reasonable shots before moving on.

Next up was Times Square. We started walking and decided to keep walking all day. Down 42nd Street until we hit it. There we popped into the Virgin Megastore to look for Ben Sherman shirts (nothing good) and DVDs. In the end we got neither but did get some photos.

We walked south and I felt the need to get something to say where I'd been so I went into a shop and bought a few things. Just outside the shop was the Flatiron building which was subjected to both of our cameras. I was really enjoying taking non-standard photos. We moved south again on the lookout for lunch, but ended up continuing through Chelsea until we found a good-looking bagelry which provided food to fill the hole.

We kept on walking south through Greenwich Village, pausing now and again as some bit of architecture too our interest for a photo or two. Eventually though we reached the World Trade Centre area. It had begun to rain steadily but lightly as we stood for a moment and looked on as building work continued on a massive scale to make something of the site. Some of you may have seen a picture of me in 2000 outside a hotel called the "Millenium Hilton", now a few years on I've gotten an updated picture. I'm still wearing an O'Really T-shirt though. Speaking of which, I noticed that The Register are doing my BOFH in a Nutshell design finally. I hope you all go along and get one, or one of the other ones. Buy one for your friends, spread the word!

We carried on, leaving everything behind as we reached the Battery and the area where Will Smith sat in MiB to think about joining. By this time the rain was annoying so brief photos of a cloud-covered Statue of Liberty and a pair of balls which looked like very globular breasts with nipples and we departed for the safety of the Subway.

Our destination was Grand Central Station where we experimented with slow shutter speeds and standing motionless in the milling throngs of people on the main concourse. Some shots were an amazing success, others not so. The presence of soldiers with fully-loaded armalites tended to spoil the mood, though.

In an effort to stave off hunger until we got home we went into the lower levels of the station and watched people go by as we ate the goodness that are bagel dogs. Time came to leave so we took the Subway to 42nd Street where an amplified cellist echoed through the underground concourse taking away any stress I might have had. Which I didn't.

We boarded the Subway back to Hoboken where Andy bought more British chocolate (the poor lad is homesick). Right now we're just heading home and are stuck in Friday evening rush hour traffic on the Bayonne Bridge. Plans for Goldmember and Chinese this evening.

22/05/2003 - America Special
[12:00] Took a trip to Washington DC by car this morning. Good drive, good tunes. Got a great shot of American paranoia at work every ten miles or so. Photo taken. Right now we're on the Metro heading for L'enfant Plaza and from there we'll just see what happens.

[19:50] We're on the way home and I'm fairly knackered. We've been all over the place today. We got off the Metro and wandered onto the Mall which is the huge bit of grass which links Capitol Hill and the Lincoln Memorial. I took a few photos as we walked to the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum which is an absolutely stunning place. I've vowed to go back there at some point, maybe take a friend. There was a metal detector and bag check as we went in. Security is at paranoia levels at the moment as the shots taken on the Interstate I295 will attest. Once we decided we wwere hungry we walked across town a ways to The Old Post Office which is in the middle of a whole set of federal buildings. Then again almost all the buildings in DC are federal. Inside the building we passed through another metal detector and got carded before noting the number of take away joints. We had chicken and beef teryki from one place, which was stunning, followed by some Ben and Jerry's.

From The Old Post Office we went back to the Mall and up to Capitol Hill and took pictures before walking the entire length down to, and past, the Washington Monument to the Lincoln Memorial. Nice places, a bit too American Is Great for me. Just to get a bit of perspective we detoured through the Vietnam Memorial which saddened me immensely. Such a quiet place filled with so, so many names. What a shitty waste of life.

We wandered on and back to the Metro which took us back to Wheaton where we'd left the car. Oddly I was dead on my feet and dozed for an hour or two before waking up as we stopped at a services on the Interstate. Right now we're about twenty miles from home and have hoagies to look forward to. The whole day we've been cracking jokes, reliving old kids' television programmes and their theme tunes and frankly relaxing a hell of a lot. I'm so loving this time away from almost everything back in the UK. I should return quite relaxed and ready for new things to happen.

Tomorrow is New York City. It'll be the third time I'll have been there but only the second time I'll have taken a look around. It's going to be very interesting to revisit the World Trade Centre plaza.

21/05/2003 - America Special
[22:25] Having spent a lot of last night awake and talking online I was surprised when I woke at about 07:00 this morning, but I still decided to get up and see what was happening over in the UK. There are one or two important things I'd like to keep an eye on.

So I was up and pottering around for a bit when my host nudged me about breakfast around 11:00. We got home last night and ordered pizzas while we watched television. Wonderful stuff as I had one half white (no tomato) and half red. Toppings were garlic, and every meat they had. I think it was about 14". So we ate half of our pizzas last night and then went to bed. I say bed, I mean I couldn't resist the lure of a broadband connection and talked someone into staying up all night (UK time). It wasn't terribly hard to do. Probably shouldn't have.

So back to 11:00 and cold pizza, Tropicana and coffee in the kitchen and talk about the day's potential. It'd begun to rain, a lot. We decided to go somewhere as a three at around 15:00 when Meri came back. I returned to reading, using the net and generally getting some good relaxation and fun in.

At the required time we headed towards a mall or two and I spent some of my currently uncashed Register commission on a decent webcam for home use. I figure "what the hell, I sold the Axis, but this one is USB and I can use it anywhere." It's pissing a storm down all the while we're in Best Buy and CompUSA but I don't care because I'm on holiday. Once we're done we pick Meri back up from the dentist and start driving around to the mall with the British shop in it. We arrive just as it's closing so we go for a meal at a place called Appleby's in West Chester, Pennsylvania, which is kind of like a really nice TGI Fridays. We're joined for the meal by one of Andy's work-mates. I try not to crack too many bad jokes.

When we arrive home we're all knackered and head to our respective rooms. I spend some time on line, do this entry and now I think I'll go to bed. With luck we'll be off to Washington DC tomorrow morning quite early.

20/05/2003 - America Special
[07:35] Arrival was standard and quickly dealt with, bag came out quite quickly and I met Andy straight away. We drove from Philadephia Airport across the river and into New Jersey. US flags on every house, yellow ribbons far too much in attendance (my hosts' opinion too). I have to say, the house is absolutely bloody amazing (photos available). Not only is it huge, it's wonderfully laid out, there's broadband everywhere and an additional bonus of a cage of ferrets on the landing and a room full of iguanas next to mine. There's a shed outside with some reptiles in as well, of course.

Once I'd checked my email and been to the loo we went to the cinema. Nice drive over; the weather is currently about 24-28 degrees and we're off to the beach today to make the most of it. So anyway, I won't say much about the film except these three comments. The action was impressive, the plot and exposition was a bit silly and the ending was like something out of Back to the Future Part II.

Having a shower, then I guess we're off out. Will be sure to take my camera.

[18:25] So we went to a K-Mart and bought some towels and then drove for a good while until we reached the sea and the town Cape May. Once we had a frisbee we headed for the huge and almost completely deserted beach where the sun beat down and much relaxing frisbeeness was had. We talked, tanned and watched the girls go by. Absolutely bloody marvellous. By around 15:00 we were ready to go though and walked through the town to find a loo and take some photos of things. Under orders I've tried to appear in some of the photos so I hope those who as appreciate it.

We ran out of CDs on the way home just now and turned on 1210khz radio: "Would you vote for a Muslim?" "No. There's no way I could vote for one." "O.K. then, while we're at it, are there any other people you wouldn't vote for?" "I couldn't vote for anyone who was a member of a hate group." I have nothing to say. Really, I have no words.

Once we're home we're having pizza and watching DVDs until we fall asleep. I think today is going to have been a good day.

19/05/2003 - America Special
[11:40] So I'm at the station waiting for the train when who should I see but Rory McGrath. Nice guy, very quiet off-screen.

The weekend has been very, very full. From Friday until Saturday I was expecting someone. That changed but in a good way. Friends're cool. The rest of the weekend was spent chatting and making more new friends. Say what you like, the net is one of the greatest technological creations ever. Without it I wouldn't have met one quarter of the people I have. And I'd be much the poorer for that. Especially now. Oh, and I should have found Nina Simone's album sooner.

[19:40 BST] Sometimes transatlantic flights can be good. I've just watched The Matrix (admittedly on a 12" LCD screen, but still) so I'm ready for The Matrix: Reloaded in a few hours. Theoretically I could watch it two more times. But I think I'll get some sleep instead. Current flight details as follows: Due south of Greenland, maybe 200 miles off the coast. Altitude of 39000ft, outside air temperature of -58 degrees centigrade, airspeed of 542mph, 3h 32m remaining of flight. So I like statistics, sue me.

Time to try and get some sleep. I may wake up the two people to my right (I'm in a Boeing 777, seat 32A, window) and head to the loo. It feels odd to know that I'm missing work at the moment. I'm also missing a few people, a new friend or two whom I would have chosen to see if I hadn't been booked to see another pair of good friends in Philadelphia. I'd like to know that when I get back we can still meet up.

Hmm, Daredevil's just started. I know I've seen it. But then, I'd seen The Matrix too. I think I'll leave it on and have a kip.

[17:11 DST] As I'm now over the North American continent it's time to switch to Daylight Savings Time, I won't switch back until I'm over UK soil again. I've taken my first ever photo of Canada (on DST) too, which I mention to save on confusion when you look at the photos later.

So I don't think I actually got to sleep, but I closed my eyes and didn't think about much apart from one or two select thoughts. I am really looking forward to this time away from the things that are happening at home, but some things I wish I'd brought with me, or had been resolved before I came away. I really like the ability to tell where I am and what's happening, here's a quick update: Over Fredericton, Canada. Altitude of 40000ft, outside air temperature of -74 degrees centigrade, airspeed of 605mph 1h18m remaning, (577miles to go).

[17:30] Ah, the joys of US Customs and Immigration. I hate forms. One hour to go.

[17:50] I don't know what "moral turpitude" is, but I like the sound of it. I know someone I'd like to be accused of that with, if you know what I'm sayin', uh-huh! Jeez, American paranoia cracks me up. It's going to be hard keeping a straight face over here. I've already decided not to bring my Practical Unix Terrorism T-shirt on account of a) it being a one-off original design with Ted K. on it and b) the word "terrorism" just can't be used over here without you getting banged up.

[18:02] Oh yes, the Propellerheads' "Decksanddrumsandrockandroll" is one of the greatest albums in the world ever.

16/05/2003
[10:00] Well that was rather excellent, I can't wait for the other recording I go to on the 29th. It didn't seem to be scripted at all to be honest. The presenter and guests were entertaining, there was a decent warm-up from the guy who was the compere for 'Mob Rule' the show I was in the audience for a few months ago. We filmed for about an hour or so, did some continuity reshoots and then just left. Very entertaining. If you're watching it this evening on BBC1 then look for me in the closing credits. I'm just left of middle in a white T-shirt and swaying slightly as we applaud at the end. If you look really closely you can see the "O'REALLY" on the back of my T-shirt.

How exciting.

Currently I'm hoping that illness doesn't get in the way of my weekend and next week.

[18:30] Enjoyable evening at work getting things done. Loud music, people to chat to online, but I really think it's time to go home. Remember kids, I'm off to that funny old place across the Atlantic on Monday afternoon. Worry not! This time I'll be keeping the Journal and taking pictures. When I come back I'll let you into the secret of where I've been updating my gallery for the past few months. Someone remind me to link it into bofhcam.org at some point, please. Just needs a CNAME adding. (Note to self: Must contact Erin when I get back.)

Anyway, time to go home for the weekend and hope that it's as marvellous as it could be. We'll see. Back in a week and a bit!

15/05/2003
[10:55] Still have a strange stomach ache. My energy bubble seemed to pop around 22:30 last night and I had to leave friends' house before the end of the film so I got home before I fell asleep on the bike.

Didn't get a huge amount of stuff done yesterday, but did sort some things out and made some headway on getting information exchanged. Which has been helpful. Tonight I'm off to see a recording of Have I Got News For You? in London. That should be fairly good. And then it's just a few hours until Friday.

[14:15] Friend ill. Not good. Hope they're feeling better very soon.

[15:40] Off to the recording. See you tomorrow.

14/05/2003
[09:00] O.K. that was just weird. I had breakfast yesterday morning. Didn't eat anything at all the rest of the day. My energy levels just kept going up and up. By the time I left work I was almost vibrating with the need to do something. Headed home on the bike and set a new record, stood around reading a book and wearing holes in the floor. Once picked up we drove to places to do things and then to the climbing wall. It was my first time with my new, improved and extremely comfortable climbing shoes and I couldn't wait. Once we arrived and said hello to the usual suspects already there I changed and was warming up straight away. Over the course of the night I did about fourteen climbs including a couple of tough ones I've had real problems with before. The more I climbed the more buzzed and full of energy I felt. Very weird. By about 21:30 everyone else was leaving and I noticed I was a little hungry. We headed home with me chattering ninteen-to-the-dozen about stuff. I bought us all a chinese take away and we watched some Family Guy DVDs while I attempted to tie myself down.

By 23:30 everyone'd gone and I went to bed. Oddly I don't remember lying awake at all. I did wake at 06:00 this morning though and lay in bed thinking and staring at the ceiling for an hour or so. Looks like my energy levels are all over the place at the moment. I think I need to channel my energies into something constructive today.

[12:26] *FLASH*... *BOOM*. That's the storm outside generating something that a) turned the room white and b) made my windows (and body) rattle. Good job I have something else to concentrate on.

13/05/2003
[13:50] So I'm not at lunch today because I'm far too caught up in stuff here on the old computer. Looking forward to a fun-packed weekend already.

Something's really going wrong with our W2K setup as ADS things are taking a lot longer to propagate at the moment and making users members of different groups doesn't seem to be taking much of an effect.

[17:10] So someone comes in with a cable in their hand and tells me that it doesn't work. The reason for this is that most of the pins have been bent double or snapped off. This isn't a cheap cable. I'm not pleased. The person needed it (and may have caused the damage) comes in and demands help. I explain that I'm not pleased. Things escalate. Luckily I'm a sensible kinda guy and manage to keep calm and polite. Thank goodness I'm going climbing this evening.

In other news things continue to get more interesting and confusing at the same time. It's like watching Twin Peaks and missing an episode. A lot of fun and vaguely cool in places.

12/05/2003
[09:50] Up far too late last night talking to someone. Still bounced up full of beans this morning around 06:00 so I tidied the house a bit. Had a shower, paid in some cheques and came to work.

The weekend was good as I was at my parents in Yorkshire. Went by train and basically meditated on some rather good tunes all the way there. Spent the weekend out on the moors and over near Malham Cove flying kites and foils. Got some interesting photos for my Fotopic account. Incidently, that's going to replace the link to the BOFHcam Gallery at some point, as soon as I get round to it. Came back on the train and got talking to a rather attractive girl called Himjne (pronounced "Him-knee") who was from South Africa right on the Cape. Nice, doing a Law degree but taking two months off to study Dressage (that's horse dancing to the uneducated among you) in the UK. Great tan.

Spent most of the evening catching up with people online. Had a good time making new connections and chatting to one or two people I may get to see some time soon. I hope.

[16:15] Afternoon spent in conversation. Some work done. Knowledge gained. TV and friends this evening.

09/05/2003
[14:15] It's being an unexciting day today. Even though I was playing computer games with a friend last night util well gone 01:00 I was up at 07:00 this morning and at work for 08:30. Really, stop reading now, nothing's happened today.

If you're actually interested then I've done a lot of ID3 retagging, some user creation and ghosted a few machines. I've also been looking at new jobs. This weekend I'm out of town and hoping to get some photos. I've lent my tent to some friends who're going climbing. Had I not had an important prior engagement I'd so be there. Still, the summer is yet to start fully...

[15:15] I'm playing around at the moment, with all kinds of things. It's tremendous fun and does me a power of good. It'll be good if something comes of it too. Have printed out some information for perusal over the weekend. Hoping to see someone on Sunday afternoon who may give me some pointers on a few things.

08/05/2003
[12:10] Been a fairly frenetic morning what with one thing and another. Lots of email to catch up on. Loads of conversations needing to be had and arrangements for the day, tomorrow, etc. Still rushed, feel a little behind on stuff. Also thinking about last night. Drank a little too much but had a great time. Hope it happens again some time soon.

[12:55] I think it's time for lunch. Tonight is Thursday: as normal. Won't be having then for a few weeks due to other things being on. Will get back to them soon.

[16:25] Lunch went on longer than I thought. Ended up walking through deserted corridors hunting for lost, abandoned whiteboards. And found one. Now I just have to get it home.

[16:40] Setting up user accounts for the move. It should save time if people are already set up in terms of how the desktop looks, etc. Just shifting a whole load of email using Pine's aggregate-command-set option and hoping it all does as I want it to, rather than doing MIME digests.

[17:30] I now know what I want to do with my next holiday (or next but one). I want to go Storm Chasing. Having a friend in the States will help a lot. Home time.

07/05/2003
[08/05/2003 10:30] Sorry about yesterday, decided to go on a Stress Management course to a) get out of the office and, b) find out if I have any stress or not. It was most illuminating. I ended up taking the lead rather a lot but it helped people open up, I think. I felt quite good for helping people overcome the 'unknown group' stuff. So after the course (09:30-16:30) I went for a coffee and then a nice Italian meal, which rounded the day off nicely.

06/05/2003
[10:00] So not being in yesterday meant that there were some minor emergencies. I seem to have solved most of them in the first hour here at work but some issues are insoluble except through time. Those are the ones which really cause you the most woe.

Yesterday was good again. Got picked up from work and we stuck the bike in the back of the van. More lifting, carrying, removing large piles of pine trees from a friend's back garden and a Tip trip with some old beds, chests of drawers and wardrobes. Then it was back to packing, loading and the like. It's been so great to help someone and do something so constructive. Not only that but I get free food.

We did about three trips yesterday with stuff. I don't think there's anything left apart from one mother of a steel desk that requires two people to lift. Moving the fridge freezer was fun because we wrapped the whole thing in bubble wrap first.

[10:10] I was going to put something here, but I ran out of words.

[13:00] So I'll go to lunch, instead.

[16:30] The afternoon consists of typing at high speed and trying to keep things together. Off climbing on my own again this evening. Hopefully run into someone when I get there.

05/05/2003
[08:55] Hoping I can get out of here as soon as possible. Come in to do the backups, a bit of system maintenance and make sure the place is still here. This last weekend I've spent every day helping a good friend move his and his partner's lives from a number of different houses to a new one just outside of town. The place is stunning and I hope to take a few photos today if they'll let me. It's been a lot of box-moving, loft-clearing, Coke-drinking and van-sitting (he drove). The weather's been wonderful, I've been fed a number of sandwiches and am feeling really rather pleased about the whole thing. It's great to help other people and get exercise at the same time. Not only that but this is someone I feel I owe something to for events in the past and it feels like a great way to pay him back for some of what he's done for me. Now, all I have to do is make sure every plate is spinning here and I can get away...

02/05/2003
[10:05] Last of the difficult machines moved over to Windows 2000 this morning. Which is nice. There are, of course, other difficult ones, but in different ways. We have two to do in the Library which do the cataloging and stuff and then some of the remaining secretaries have some esoteric setups, but I think the back's been broken. Once all the clients are in place we then have to work what goes on what server. We have enough that I can split the tasks among a few of them and then keep one for some serious messing. Which is nice.

Planning on helping someone move house this weekend, go running, see X-Men 2 and hopefully climb at some point. I doubt it'll all go to plan.

[11:00] Just went to tell the new user how to use Windows 2000 and had to spend Too Much Time showing them the minor differences in working practice they need to think about. I sometimes get really depressed by this.

[15:10] Friday. I'd like to get out of here.

[16:35] Yet here I sit, still. Doesn't really matter, I've got a few things to do. This evening I'm person-sitting someone who just had two wisdom teeth out under general anaesthetic. This involves lots of food, a Playstation and making sure they're still breathing now and again.

01/05/2003
[10:00] So last night there was some fun and strife and I couldn't be arsed to tell you about it. I've got some more time now so I may as well.

[10:15] So I get back from the security seminar and we have two machines which we do backups on to DDS-3 drives. Standard GFS rotation and last night was the G generation as it's the end of the month. So they both want blank tapes as the machines have been reinstalled since last April. I stick in last year's tapes and prepare to blank them. Machine A performs as expected and displays last year's 30/04/02 date, the other machine (B) (which has had a flakey DAT drive for a while now) just sits there like a dumbshit. Eventually it complains of a SCSI bus reset and stuff like that. I bite the bullet and reboot during the working day but it doesn't seem to have any effect.

I begin to hate SCSI with a passion.

We have a spare drive in the server next to it that's never been used. Feeling daring for an afternoon I down both servers and swap the tape drives over and reboot without problems. I stick the tape back in and the same thing happens. Stopping and attempting to restart the DB engines causes further problems. I reboot the box again. I also get angry and decided to erase it in the working Machine A. This causes the same problems. Only more so.

I have a Voodoo Tape. It's now safely stored in the same drawer as the etherkillers, the floppy-that-shall-not-be-named and the CD that causes eject commands to be ignored.

In the end I reboot Machine A, get it up and running (I believe) just get the hell out of the office. Ended up in a pub happily celebrating a good friend's birthday before heading to their house for more alcohol and a curry. They have a monster mastiff called Luggage who drools for England. But he didn't get in the way of a pretty stunning evening that I really, really needed.

[11:00] All quiet on the Western Front this morning. I've signed up for a few development courses through the Institution as I think it's time I did something other than sit in here all day. Couple this month coming.

[11:50] Oh, for those of you wondering where my T-shirts have gone on The Register, they'll be back soon, they're just restocking.

[16:00] Another machine switched to the dark side. All good. Reasonable day at the moment. Looking forward to some games playing this evening.