Monday, December 26, 2005

Christmas with the family

Am currently being fed & watered at the parentals for a few days. It makes for a really nice break from work, council and campaigning (although I have bought my laptop with me and made a few plans...)
Also staying with us is Chen, a chinese student studying at Sheffield for a Masters. Parentals have gone all civic minded (apart from all the stuff they do in the local community), and joined the HOST scheme, run by the British Council. I missed out on this experience last year as I was off running around distant parts of Ukraine monitoring their election.
Chen is soaking up the english christmas culture, and taking a deep interest in english cooking (parents cooking is quite amazing in a good, simple and non-showy way, ie no towers of food found in expensive restaurants, but treats like venison, mallard and the previously banned rib of beef on the bone).
My amazon wishlist has done its job again, so no disappointments, and a few surpises, although no-one has bought Creative Suite yet!
Coming home is always a time to catch up with friends, and to spend an evening in the Ship, the pub we congregate, at which many evenings have been spent in the past, celebrating A-levels and driving tests, the return from university for long summers and short winters, and several new years eves.
This year there was essentially only Andy P and myself, with other friends now having settled down, or even gone as far as starting families (Jim & Lucy were able to celebrate xmas with Violet, having been released from the special care unit 2 weeks ahead of schedule). But to my surprise, bumped into a work colleague, Gemma, who I had no idea was from the area. As she's 5 years younger we would only have been in the same school for one year, so not that surprising that I've not met her in the Ship before.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

broadband still dead

Good news: apparently my adsl line is operating at 8000kbs!
Bad news: the netgear modem router can't cope, and despite hard-reboots, firmware updates and magical incantations it still fails to make a connection.
So have ordered a Linksys model via amazon. Should hopefully arrive just after xmas and I can resume my online life...

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Broadband woos

Have had 24hrs of enforced internet isolation. I've just about got over the cold sweats, although they were sypmtoms of my cold, and the need to stay in bed most of yesterday.
It appears that in Wanadoo "testing" my line for 30mins yesterday, they have knocked out my adsl router (a netgear dg834, a model which appears to have a history of flakey connections, but until yesterday it had been running near faultlessly, with no firmware updates applied at all).
The test was apparently to see what speed my phone line could operate at, although it still seems to be 2Mb, so in crashing my router I've not gained any speed...
Still got a few things to try to get it back online this eve, but had to wait until back in work today to be able to get online and do some googling on the problem.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Focus on Ice

I finished off my December Focus/Xmas card delivery this morning.
Should probably have done it later today as it took about twice as long to complete than normal. The worst bit was a jet black tarmac drive that was covered in a thin layer of ice, with a slope. I began to traverse it, then realised that I was sliding down, so managed to turn and slide down onto the road. I then proceeded to walk on the grass... I avoided going down onto my arse at any stage, but with my centre of gravity being so high it was a close thing!

Thursday, December 15, 2005

What are they doing?

Who knows what is going through the minds of the Lib Dem parliamentary party. Quite alot has been blogged about this, so not an awful lot to add.
I can only see greater internal divisions in a post CK world, he actually does quite a good job of keeping us all together. The main contenders from the "left" & "right" would only create greater divisions.

Mark Thomas & Rob Newman

Monday night Adam, Colin & myself popped over to Warwick Arts Centre to catch the acts of Mark Thomas and Rob Newman. Nicola Davies (I was her agent at the GE) had organised, so there was a small group of us, with quality 2nd/3rd row seats (although we did insist on not looking at the seat numbers straight away and found a group of 7 seats, could have got away with it until the pesky kids showed up for their seats...).
Thomas was as much as expected having seen him perform twice before on different tours. This year his angle was on the illegal arms trade (and how incredibly easy it is to become one).

Rob Newman was completely new on me, apart from the occasions I've seen him on TV going back as far as the Mary Whitehouse Experience. But I've not read any of his material or seen him perform in recent years. But he is gobsmakingly funny and intelligent, able to go off onto extravegant tangents, and then draw them back in, while weaving his anti-war/globalisation story. Masterful & brilliant.

Violet Leakey

Congratulations to Lucy and Jim on the arrival of a new addition to the Leakey clan, and a sister to join Olive.

Which sci-fi character are you?

Tipped hat to Niles.
Sheridan is a blast from the past (I've got all 5 series of B5 on vhs, which I should get around to flogging on e-bay).
Which Fantasy/SciFi Character Are You?
An experienced survivor who has maneuvered around many obstacles, you are looked up to by those who rely on your good judgment.
In the last few years, we've stumbled. We stumbled at the death of the president, the war, and on and on. When you stumble a lot you tend to look at your feet. Now we have to make people lift their eyes back to the horizon and see the line of ancestors behind us saying, "Make my life have meaning," and to our inheritors before us saying, "create the world we will live in."