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November 2008
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Friday 28th November 2008
08:23 GMT

 This morning is damp and drizzly. On the positive side it is slightly milder than has been usual this week. I have no idea what will happen later in the day, but I suspect it will be wet all day. Yesterday was mostly dry, but there was a bit of drizzle now and then.

 I didn't go to work yesterday because I am suffering from something very similar to, and probably is, 'flu. I felt really rough at work on Wednesday, and yesterday morning I felt so stiff and aching that I decided I would rather suffer at home rather than at work. I thought I had relieved the symptoms when I had my morning shower. I had the water turned up to hotter than I would usually use, and I spent a lot longer under the shower than usual too. It felt marvellous. All my aches and pains seemed to melt away, and for the next 15 minutes I felt fine. Then those same aches and pains returned.

 I didn't actually do much at all yesterday. I had the heating turned up high, and mostly just sat around watching video, or quietly read in bed. While I was sitting, or lying down, feeling warm and rested, I felt quite good and wondered to myself if I was just shamming my illness, and should really be at work. Then I would do something like go out into the cooler hallway, and go upstairs to the toilet, and remember the stiffness in my limbs all over again.

 Today I do feel different. My body does feel a bit more mobile, but I seem to have a bad headache. Maybe some more sleep might cure that, or maybe it will make it worse - I did wake up with the headache. I am actually finding it hard to concentrate at the moment. I keep finding that I stop typing and just sort of gaze off into the distance.

 What I am worried about now is how this malady will progress. I can cope with the muscular aches, and my current headache, but I am really hoping that I don't develop any secondary problems like a cough and/or chest infection. Unfortunately I already have hints that my nose could start running. It feels a little itchy and stuffy even now. Perhaps, if I am lucky, by taking sick leave before these things start, and staying in the warm, and getting plenty of rest, I may get over this faster than if I had attempted to battle it out at work.

 I feel I have had too many colds/illnesses this year, and I hope that this will be the last. With December just two days away now I should get my wish. So maybe I should be wishing for less colds next year. Meanwhile, I am stuck with this one, and although I'll probably go back to work on Monday, I fear it will take at least a few weeks to fully recover from it.

 I have a sort of plan of action for today, or at least for part of this morning. I am now going to take another very hot shower, and will I am still feeling (hopefully) good, I will go out to Tesco. I need more paracetamol, and more stuff to drink. Some tasty food might go down well, and Smudge would appreciate more catfood too. While I am there I will buy New Scientist, and for the rest of the morning I will be either reading or dozing off.
Wednesday 26th November 2008
10:39 GMT

 Today is dry, slightly milder than yesterday, but very gloomy. As I look out my window I can see nothing but grey clouds in the sky. Apparently this weather will continue for a couple of days and then it will get a lot colder again. Today's temperature was forecast to be around 10 C, and I reckon that is about right. It is cold, but not painfully so at the moment. Although as I made my way to the station at 6.40 am this morning my fingers felt close to turning blue !

 Last night it was not quite so cold indoors when I got home, but it was still pretty nippy. There had been a lot of sunshine during the afternoon, and that tends to warm up my front room. After detouring via Tesco on my way home it was quite a few hours after the last rays of sunshine warmed my living room, and most of that heat was lost before I could use it. What this leads up to is that I was, as seems usual at this time of year, cold, tired and starving hungry when I got home.

 I thought a nice big pasta dish would be nice for last night, and I even went as far as buying in some extra stuff for it in Tesco. However I also bought some other stuff in Tesco, and ate all that instead. Of particular interest, both for how delicious it was and the bad effects it seems to be having on me, was a rhubarb pie. It was a reasonably big pie, and it did form a significant portion of my dinner last night. I enjoyed it immensely, but all that rhubarb does seem to have left me with an upset/acidy stomach this morning. Even now my gut feels a bit tender, but it has been improving as the hours have passed. The other bad thing was that it had a lot of sugar in it. That has left me feeling a bit on the weird side too. I really, really didn't want to come to work today, but I struggled through, and made it to work on time even though I could have easily sat down and rested at any point in the journey (given the chance I would have laid down !).

 I assume I will be feeling OK by the time it comes to going home. I need to feel quite well because I want to lug a computer home with me. It is one of the two I found abandoned by the skip last week. I was pleasantly surprised that both computers were in good working order with a minimal amount of intervention. The first computer booted up the first time I tried it. It was the physically bigger of the two, and I will not be attempting to carry that one home. I think my workmate may attemt to take it home, or we may just leave it here as a spare. The second computer appeared to be faulty, and I only gave it a proper look yesterday. The "fault" was remarkably simple to fix. Someone had attempted to install an extra pair of am sticks. Both sticks were incorrectly inserted in exactly the same way - one end hanging out. Quite why anybody wanted to increase the installed ram from 2 GB to 2.5 GB is anyone's guess. Even Windows Vista will run with only 2 GB of ram (although 86 Petabytes may be closer to what it needs), and 2 GB is fine for anything I'll be doing on it. All  I have to do now is lug the thing through the rush hour, and I will soon have a new general purpose machine in use at home. Maybe I'll do it tonight, or maybe another night when I am feeling more energetic.
Tuesday 25th November 2008
08:28 GMT

 The strong wind from the north is the major feature of the weather recently. It feels like it has really icy teeth, and yet the temperature remains slightly above freezing. However, while out and about the wind really gets into every crevice, and it feels like it chills low enough to free Nitrogen ! If it were not for that wind it could have been a reasonably OK day today. Apart from a lot of dew, and some puddles from previous rain, it is actually dry today. The sky is remarkably clear, and the sun is shining (provided you are on top of a hill, or on a rooftop to catch it's close to the horizon rays).

 It was feezing in my office yesterday (and it's not very warm today either). It was a great relief to get home and get some hot soup down my throat, but even that did little to make me feel all that comfortable. My living room seemed to take an age to warm up, but it did eventually, and after a proper hot meal I began to feel comfortable again. It does feel like I am extra sensitive to cold this winter, and I don't know why. One place where I was warm, and sometimes too warm, was in bed. I woke up at 4 am this morning, and after going for a pee I got back into bed again. It actually felt too warm, but it was also far too cold to leave an arm or leg sticking out from under the duvet. So I suffered the feeling of being too hot and went on to have some very weird dreams before I had to get up some 40 - 50 minutes later.
Monday 24th November 2008
08:27 GMT

 No snow or frost this morning ! Instead it is just damp, gloomy and cold. The forecast, as I recall, is for some rain this morning, with things brightening up a bit during the afternoon. I did not see any rain until I arrived at Earlsfield on my way into work. There were a few spits of rain while I waited for the bus, and some light drizzle as I walked from the bus to work. Fortunately I was not out in that drizzle for long enough to get more than a few slightly damp patches on my shirt, and they have quickly dried out even though it is freezing in my office.

 Yesterday I finished off the second book in the Stainless Steel Rat trilogy I am reading. Just one more book to go. I also watched some more assorted Sci Fi video, but I did spend some time with computer hardware, but not in the way I wanted to. I had a little accident ! My foot caught the power lead to my external 750 GB USB drive and sent it crashing to the floor - while it was still powered ! Since then, and despite several assorted attempts to temporary revive it, it just goes chunka chunka chunka whenever I attempt to mount it. As far as I can recall there was very little on that drive that I have not got alternative backups of, but inevitably some data has been lost.

 I am beginning to doubt the wisdom of external USB connected drives. Their portability is handy in some cases, but they are rather fragile, and the very large drives seem to be exceptionally so. I was quite suprised at how easily that drive broke. It fell onto carpet from less than three feet, and it's fall was slowed further by the drag of the two cables attached to it. I feel sure an older, and obviously smaller, drive would have survived better, and maybe not even suffered a single bad sector, but that certainly was not the case with my 750 GB SATA drive made by Samsung. (I Think it was Samsung, but I obviously can check that now I am at work - I'll edit this tonight if I am wrong). Now I hope the two 750 GB hard drives in my server have a longer life than my poor USB drive.

 Today, at work, I am going to try and get back into learning C programming again. To ease myself into it I am going to sidetrack a bit and do some programming in a language that I am far more familiar with - ASIC. Yes, it's like BASIC, but slightly different. One notable difference is that the ASIC package (which was shareware, and after all these years is probably freeware - anyone know if you can still send email to ancient Compuserve addresses ?) contains a compiler as well, This means you end up with a standalone executable file that should run with no supporting dlls etc - even (hopefully) on Windows XP.

 Tonight I am not doing anything. I think I want to get home, turn the heating up full, down a gallon of hot soup, and watch TV or video until it's time for bed.  Of course what I may want to do now, and what I actually do could be two different things entirely !
Sunday 23rd November 2008
11:06 GMT

snow on top of wheelie bin on November 23rd It may not look much, but the picture on the left shows a thin dusting of snow on my wheelie bin. Sometime between 7 am and 9 am, while I was asleep, it snowed here in Catford. When I first woke up everything was a lot whiter, but in the 30 minutes, or so, that it took me to pull some clothes on and find some fresh batteries for my camera it was already melting away. Half an hour after the picture was taken the top of the wheelie bin was clear of snow again. I expect that to the North of London the snow was probably thicker, and may still be lingering around even now. It is unlikely, although not impossible, that we will see any more snow today. At the moment there is just slow, cold, drizzle.

 Friday saw some sunshine, but the wind was bitterly cold. There were a few times when the wind dropped and the sun did feel warm, but overall it was a cold day. It was fairly bright when I left work to go home, but night fell very quickly once I was on the move. I made a determined effort to catch the early train home, and I was succesful. I was only in long enough to feed Smudge, and to let her out to do her business, before I headed into Lewisham to meet up with Patricia for a couple of pints.

 After spending nearly two very pleasant hours with Patricia I left to join Kevin and Iain in Catford. We had a nice couple of drinks in together, and I finished off with something I haven't had in ages. It was Pernod with soda water. This seemed to confuse Iain who had the job of ordering it at the bar. I am not sure if Iain had never heard of Pernod, or was surprised that I wanted it with soda water. I must admit that plain water is more usual with Pernod (or blackcurrant juice, and other anomolies if you are some sort of weirdo), but I fancied some bubbles in my drink. So the choice just had to be soda water.  Iain managed to get more soda water put in that I might have desired, but it just made for a nice refreshing, aniseed flavour, drink.

 After leaving the pub I managed to resist the temptation of buying any fried chicken, but I was very hungry, starving in fact, so when I got home I oredered a Chinese takeaway. It was very delicious, but, as usual, I did order rather more than I could eat, and probably considerably more than I should eat. Having leftovers was no bad thing though. I made a delicious lunchtime meal by frying up some tomatoes, a red pepper, and some sliced peperami, and then once they were almost cooked I threw in the leftover vegetable fried rice. With the addition of a generous helping of hot pepper sauce it made a very satisfying lunch.

 I had an exceptionally lazy day yesterday. I didn't do hardly anything except consume media. By that I mean I spent quite a long time reading, and another long time watching videos. Of particular interest was some Star Trek video. I discovered that a group of professional enthusiasts are making further episodes of Star Trek (the original series). They go under the title of Star Trek - New Voyages, and there is all sorts of stuff on their website. So far three episodes have been made, and they are all available for free (and legal) download. My early impressions are that they look very authentic, although some of the characters are hard to identify with the originals. For instance the new Captain Kirk looks far too thin. William Shatner, playing the original Captain Kirk, was always a bit portly (rumour has it that on many occasions he had to wear a corset while filming), whereas the new Captain Kirk seems far too thin, and I think that affects the character a bit. Having said that, until the computer power is cheaply, and easily available to "re-animate" the original characters into new settings, as has been done to some deceased actors in specialised settings (like adverts), the new productions, using replacement actors, have been done exceedingly well.

 Today may well be similar to yesterday, or at least from now on it might. I have been out today, to Tesco's, and I have spent a little longer on this PC than yesterday morning, but from now on I am going to have some lunch, and watch some video. It's possible that I might play with some computer hardware later on, but I must avoid the trap of doing that too late in the day and end up getting carried away, and hence late to bed.
Friday 21st November 2008
08:28 GMT

 There are strong, and rather cold, winds this morning. I think the air temperature is quite a few degrees above freezing, but the wind just chills to the bone. There is also the threat of rain this morning. While on the bus between the station and work there was a brief shower that was only noticeable by the rain drops that suddenly appeared on the bus' windscreen. The rain had stopped again by the time I got off the bus - which I was pleased about. The last weather forecast I saw suggested that it would get increasingly cold over the weekend, and there was even a possibility of a light dusting of snow. This probably means it will be a bright sunny day tomorrow !

 Last night was almost the same as the night before, but there was one useful difference. I came to the end of the first part of the Stainless Steel Rat trilogy I am reading. It was most convenient that I finished that first book by 8.45 pm, and I managed to get a little extra sleep because of that. Had the book been a little longer it could have spelt disaster. I knew I was getting near the end of the story, and I would have kept reading until the very end even if it meant that I did not finish it until well past 9 pm, and possibly even later. I could have had to come into work all bleary eyed and yawning, but fortunately I do feel better this morning than any other morning this week. That does not actually mean I feel perfect. Maybe I have just replaced one set of symptoms for another. I do feel a bit snotty this morning, and I have had several rather explosive sneezing sessions. My throat feels like it could get sore, but at the moment I am just getting an occasional mild itch. With luck, as the workplace warms up, these symptoms will go away. However, if they don't then I could be facing spending much of Saturday in bed with a cold. With another two parts of the trilogy to read that could be a most pleasant tragedy.

 My C programming learning is still on the back boiler. yesterday I got involved in far more important work. One of the two PCs I found dumped by the skip here has now been repaired and "souped up" a bit. It now has 512 MB of ram instead of a measly 256 MB, and it also now sports a DVD burner. More importantly it is now running Open Suse Linux 11. Initially I installed Open Suse 10.2, but that was not a version that I was all that happy with (for a desktop machine). I didn't have a copy of Open Suse 11 here so I downloaded the 170 MB network install disk image. Using K3b to burn the image onto a CD I started my very first network installation. Predictably enough it took rather a long time, but it was quicker than trying to download the full installation DVD.

 Today I will be spending more time getting my "new" PC configured how I like it. I am hoping that I will be able to get Microsoft Office to work correctly using Wine (the Windows emulator). Plus there is other stuff that I will probably do to it.
Thursday 20th November 2008
08:31 GMT

 As my train pulled into Earlsfield station the sun was trying to shine over the top of a long streak of cloud lying near the horizon. It never made it. The sky does contain a fair amount of blue, but none of it is where the sun is. So this morning is not gloomy, but it is rather dull. If the clouds stay broken then we could get some sunshine breaking through at any time today.

 Yesterday was rather pleasant. There was a lot of sunshine, and it was fairly bright as I made to work in the morning. The temperature has remained fairly mild-to-cool, and there has been no sign of any frost for the last few mornings. By the way, I did get my wish on Tuesday night, and travelled from work to Earlsfield station in daylight. I don't recall any actual sunshine, but the western sky remained reasonably clear all the while I was travelling. As I reached home there was still some dim light left on the western horizon.

 My evenings over the last few days have been boring to write about, but very satisfactory for me. For the last two (or is it three ?) nights I have been going to bed extra early to read a book. The book in question, which I don't think I have mentioned before, is Harry Harrison's "Stainless Steel Ratprequel trilogy . So far I am over half way through reading "A Stainless Steel Rat Is Born" (synopsis), and very enjoyable it is too !

 My studies of the C programming language falterd a bit yesterday. I needed a breather, and so I did a few repairs. I think I have learned a fair bit since I started, but there is a hell of a lot still to learn, and retaining what I have learned is not that easy - particularly with regard to the rather exacting syntax required.

 At  this stage in my learning I have come to some conclusions about C. It was obviously written/concocted by a pair of hippy Americans, and so is convoluted, twisted, over complex, spelt wrongly, illogical, and other stuff that I can't think of, but probably involves the imbibing of copious amounts of LSD. It was certainly written by a couple of Americans whose names I can't remember, but whose initials I know to be K and R. My other complaints are just personal feeling or conjecture. It is interesting to compare C with ZX Basic (or Sinclair Basic). This was written by a couple of Cambridge mathematicians, probably over a few pints of good English ale, and is a fine example of easy to use stuff. It didn't do everything, although for the machines it was designed for it covered most things, but along with the excellent manual provided with the ZX81, it could be used from day one by anyone capable of reading the correct gender sign on a toilet door !
Tuesday 18th November 2008
08:37 GMT

 There was no frost this morning. Instead, I was greeted by drizzle as I left the house to come to work. I did get a little damp on my way here, but the temperature has gone back to being mild, and it didn't feel too bad. Some forecasts suggest the thick clouds may break up later this afternoon, and we may even see some sunshine.

 It would be a nice treat if the sun did break through, and was feebly shining as it was about to set. At 4 pm, when I leave work, it is now very close to being dark. Last night it was just about fully dark by the time I reached Earlsfield station. If there had not been so much cloud covering the sky I might just have enjoyed a few more minutes of daylight.

 Yesterday my education in the C programming language got off to a start. I have now written my first C program. It was not the typical "Hello world", as is the usual starting point for novice programmers. No, mine said "Written using Vi", but other than that it was just eyeball cut-n-paste from the textbook. I really did use vi to write it, and so earned extra kudos from the programming experts here at work. Now the peculiar thing is, that particular bit of masochism was done on a Windows machine using vi in the Cygwin shell. When I got home I repeated the experiment, but used Kate, the KDE graphical text editor for Linux.

 Those few simple lines of code actually worked better in a genuine Linux environment. As I have learned, code compiled using gcc in Cygwin does not work on a Windows machine without Cygwin being first installed, although my simple program only appeared to need a single dll file from Cygwin when I tried it on another Windows machine. When compiling the same code for Linux it produces a complete stand alone executable - or at least that is what I believe until proved wrong.

 Today I will try and learn some more C stuff, but I do have other distractions, as well as some repairs to do, although they are officially to take second place to my lens controller project. That project being the reason I am more or less forced to learn some C programming. The other distractions are a couple of PCs I fished out of the skip here at work. Both are Pentium 4 based, and I have already found one is in working order (complete with unerased hard disks). The second, and the one I may take home one day, is not working. I think it is suffering from a duff power supply, but even if it is something more serious, and is really only a scrap box, it still has 4 sticks of ram, and two hard disks that may be "recyleable".

 After work I think I have got a pretty good idea what  I shall be doing. It will be a mirror of last night in all probability. While I have my dinner I will watch an old Dr Who episode (or probably two to complete the story). Then I will spend a few minutes practicing any new bits of C I have learned today, and then I will retire to bed with the Sci Fi book I started last night. Last night I was in bed by 7.45 pm, but I didn't turn out the light until gone 9 pm. I had got so immersed in the book that I was lucky it wasn't midnight when I checked the time !
Monday 17th November 2008
08:08 GMT

 When I opened my front door to come to work I was greeted by the sight of frosty cars. Clear skies overnight have let the temperature plummet. Over an hour later, and the clouds are building up again. As I travelled between Catford and Waterloo the sun did it's best to rise, but all it's glory was soon hidden by gathering clouds. It made for a very colourful sunrise, but all the vivid reds and pinks just herald a very unsettled day.

 The remnants of the weekends unexpected warmth meant I had an uncomfortable time in bed last night. It was one of those nights when it seemed too warm under the duvet, and freezing cold outside of it. During the night I had all sorts of weird and wonderful dreams. Some were inspired by trauma of the realisation that I will soon have to be coding in C, but others seems to involve books and a bookshop, and most bizzarely, one dream seemed to be inspired by Red Dwarf. I don't know how that came about. I haven't seen an episode of Red Dwarf for ages.

 I woke up this morning feeling very rough. It was a bit like having a hangover without having had the previous pleasures of all that goes into producing a good hangover. Fortunately, to continue the comparison to a hangover, it would have been one of the milder ones if it had been a real hangover.

 By the time came to walk to the station I began to feel more human again, but the biting cold air seemed to be cutting directly into my lungs. It was a relief to get on the train, sit down, and breath in the mildly warm, mildly smelly, stale air inside the carriage.

 My discomfort continued when I reached Waterloo East station, and had to  the long route march to platform 3 on Waterloo mainline station. I can't recall that long walk ever being easy, but I can recall it being more difficult, and today must have been up in the top five of knackering walks.

 When I got to Earlsfield I somehow found some energy I didn't know I had. On the train towards Earlsfield I started to feel slightly uncomfortable in regard to the desire to maybe have a pee. My original intention was to call into one of the local shops to buy some stuff, and then get the bus the two stops to work where I would have access to a toilet. Howver, my plans went awry when I noticed a small queue of buses heading towards the bus stop. If I missed one of those buses I would probably have a fairly long wait until the next one. Now there is nothing worse than standing in a bus queue, with a freezing wind around the lower body parts while your bladder seems to need emptying ! So I abandoned going to the shops, and somehow found the energy to run to catch one of those buses - which I succeded in doing. That short run stirred things up a bit, and also generated a bit of extra warmth. Getting on the bus took me out of the chilled air, and the knowledge that a toilet was now close relieved the mental pressure on my bladder. So effective was this that I seemed to forget about going for a pee when I arrived at work. I only mention all this now because, 40 minutes later,  I now have to dash.............................bye !
Sunday 16th November 2008
17:24 GMT

 Today seemed to start fairly bright, but it quickly clouded over, and by mid afternoon it had started to drizzle. I assume, although I haven't seen any weather forecast to confirm my theory, that all this cloud is coming in from the Atlantic ocean. It has certainly warmed things up a bit. Yesterday, despite being mostly overcast, it was almost warm out, and it remained dry all day.

 I didn't go to any pub on Friday night. I had had a mentally taxing day at work, and although a few beers might have been a good antidote to that, I decided that an early night would be even better. I was also taking into consideration that I needed to get up reasonably early to try and clear up a weeks worth of assorted debris before Aleemah visited me. I am not sure if I did get to bed as early as I might have, but I did manage to get up in time to go shopping, and to do enough housework to make the place superficially presentable.

 It felt mild enough on Saturday morning that I chanced going to Tesco without a coat on. It was ever so slightly cool going there, but I felt warm as I lugged back several heavy carrier bags of stuff. When I went out nearer midday to meet Aleemah at the station it was actually quite comfortable as I gently strolled to the station without my jacket on.

 We met at the station at a quarter to twelve, and throwing all caution aside we went for some lunch in the Catford Pie and Mash shop. Suitably refreshed, we went back home to watch the DVD Aleemah brought along. What a film that was ! It was called Zombie Strippers. Rather than describe it myself it is easier to quote from the Imdb webpage :-
" Zombie strippers was the best movie experience I've had in years. It's exactly what I expected, but on a better budget. It has zombies. It has strippers. It has zombie strippers. Nearly everything I wanted to happen happened. The female zombies are sentient. They still eat flesh. The male zombies are regular mindless slow zombies. There's biting, eating, nudity galore, nude gore, terribly commentary, bad jokes, bad acting, cheesy plots." I will add that I am not sure it was "the best movie experience I've had in years", but it was fun. The one thing not mentioned was that it also had some biting political satire in it that was aimed directly at the maladministration of world affairs by the New World Order of the G.W. Bush tyranny.

 When it became time for Aleemah to go home again I decided that it would be wise to put a coat on to see her to the station. Night had fallen, and I assumed it had started to get chilly. I was wrong. It was still quite warm, and as I walked back from the station at a fairly fast pace I felt very close to breaking out in a sweat.Once I was home again I had some dinner, and commenced some preparation work for some computer experimentation. I didn't actually achieve much on the night, and soon gave up to watch some TV before going to bed relatively early for a Saturday night.

 Today I have managed to mess up all the user priveleges on my server, and put them back again (correctly, I hope). I have also had a play with an evaluation copy of the forthcoming version of Microsoft Windows - Windows 7. In the little time I spent playing with it I concluded that I didn't like it. One aim of Windows 7 is that it should run well on more modest hardware, and so put paid to one of the most negative things about Windows Vista. On my test machine, an 1800 MHz Athlon with 512 MB of ram, it did run fairly smoothly. In that respect it was good. I liked the intsallation process too. It was almost as easy to install as a good Linux distribution. Microsoft have finally realised that if you select a UK keyboard, then the chances are that you are also in the UK time zone.

 Installing it was one thing, but actually using it was another ! Microsoft have taken the ideas first used in Windows Vista for networking, and made them even more convoluted and undecipherable. No matter what I tried, I could not get it to find the other machines on my network. I did manage to map my server as a network disk, but I had to tell it the ip address, and set a special user name and password. After that malarkey I was able to read and write to my server, but it was almost as involved as writing an entry in fstab (part of the linux filesystem if you didn't know).

 Perhaps the most serious sin is that Microsoft still insist on not showing file extensions in Windows Explorer. This is a gigantic security risk, possibly the most serious shortfall in the whole windows system, and one responsible for more virus infections than any other cause.  Windows 7 compounds this really stupid error by seemingly hiding any way of turning on "show file extentions". If it was possible I couldn't see how, but maybe by then I was getting bored with it and had lost interest. Of course you have to remember that it was only a beta, or maybe even an alpha version of Windows 7. By 2012, after the official release, and after service pack three has been installed, it might turn out to be a usable operating system. Until then I would recommend either one of the Ubuntu variants (Ubuntu, Kubuntu, or Xubuntu), or Open Suse Linux as being the best choice for an operating system (although my hopes are riding high on the 2009 version of PCLinuxOS - available very soon now).

 Tomorrow, at work, I face a taxing time. I have this little project to do that seems to be growing exponentially every time I think about it. In theory it is a simple sort of thing. It is a controller for a camera lens system. The thing is, it all needs to be controlled by a microcontroller. Initially I thought I might be able to programme the microcontroller using assembler, but by last Friday, with my head already beginning to spin, it seemed that it might actually be simpler to try and learn to program in C. There are plenty of pros and cons to this idea. For a start; any programming language that uses curly brackets is very suspect ! ZX basic never used curly brackets, and I don't see why any other language should use them ! Of course the main disadvantage of using C is that I don't know how to program in C. I used to be pretty proficient at various dialects of Basic, and that included the OPL variant used on my old Psion Organizer II. In times past I did get as far as the infamous "Hello world" program using C, but from then on my mind was totally boggled. One difference between then and now is that I actually have a valid use for writing some code. That may make a useful difference. The other good thing is that there are several people at work who I can bombard with stupid questions about what I am trying to learn to do. They code in C all the time, and may unwittingly serve as useful mentors. Sometime tomorrow, or maybe Tuesday I am expecting a delivery from Amazon of my very own "Programming In C for absolute beginners". If this is the last thing I write in this blog it is because my head has exploded !
Friday 14th November 2008
08:43 GMT

 Some overnight cloud has kept this morning's temperature up above the recent average. Yesterday morning, by comparison, came very close to being frosty. Yesterday was dry until the evening, but it was cloudy all day, and I can't recall seeing any sunshine. This morning, on a day that the weather forecast suggsts will be dull and gloomy, appears to be starting with some high, rather broken, cloud. There are sufficient breaks in the clouds for it to be sunny right now (although the sun is still not high enough in the sky to be able to shine on anything I can see here except rooftops).

 I am very glad it is Friday. Not only is it one day closer to pay day, but the weekend now seems to be in sight. I felt pretty rotten when I came to work this morning. I reckon I must have slept awkwardly or something. Now, after sitting in the warm at work, all the aches and pains are fading away except for a rather "gurgly" stomach/gut. Last night, after eating more heartily earlier in the day, I only had a couple of cans of soup. I do feel a bit empty this morning, but I am not sure that eating some hot (as in spicy) Peperami sticks was really the best idea when your stomach feels agitated. On reflection, I think I might prefer the sensation I can feel now to the empty sensation before.

 Tonight I have a few choices, and I cannot predict what I shall do. I know that I will be seeing Aleemah tomorrow, and that will limit any excess entertainment tonight. Aside from the option of a healthy(ish) dinner, and an early night, I could have a couple of boozing choices that need not be mutually exclusive. Last Friday night I met Patricia for a drink, and then went on to the Wetherspoons in Catford for more drinking. That was very pleasant and agreeable, but it did leave me not really fit to do the neccesary housework to receive visitors the next day. In fact I had a bad hangover (made worse by the over indulgence of fried chicken after the pub). I think I may try for an early drink in Catford if anyone's around, and then hopefully see Patricia on Sunday. No matter what I do I must resist the temptation to binge drink.............bugger, that's now officially, by government edict (on pain of torture, or something) only between 2 and 3 pints. No I think I will binge drink - I am really going to go for it - 3 pints and maybe a short too. The Government Kommandant for universal misery can go and drown in a thimble full of ale !!!!
Wednesday 12th November 2008
06:47 GMT

 Thankfully, it is another dry morning. It's too early to tell what the sky is like. Hopefully, when the sun has risen, the day will brighten up to reveal a lot of blue sky. The weather forecasters have promised that there will be some sunshine today, but I can't recall what they may have said about the temperature. On the assumption that today will be like yesterday, it will stay cool all day, but there appears to be less wind this morning, and with no strong wind to blow any heat away it could feel a bit warmer in the sunshine.

 I had a nice dinner when I got home from work last night. With sufficient looseness of definitions it could have been said to be an almost healthy meal. Apart from some extra herbs and spices it was no more than some diced, fairly lean, beef, and a bag of mixed vegatables. Those vegatables being carrots, cauliflower, and broccoli. The cauliflower and broccoli was overcooked to the point where they just became mush, but the carrots still had some texture. It was all cooked in beef stock that probably contained too much salt. It was a very big dinner, but the majority of it was just liquid and vegetables. What realy stopped it being a so called healthy meal was the excess quantity of pecan nuts I ate before and after it !

 In the last 5 minutes or so, the sky has brightened enough to see that there are a few clouds, but also a lot of blue showing.  It will be nice, or as nice as it gets, to go to work in bright sunshine. Although given the choice I think I would prefer to go back to bed instead of going to work. I do feel a bit rough again this morning. It's nothing specific, but enough to not really want the hassle of commuting for over an hour. However, I intend to be on the next train at 07:29.

 I didn't do that much last night, but I did find out how to start off a remote desktop from my server by tunnelling over an ssh connection. I expect it will be painfully slow, but I intend to experiment with getting the Xfce desktop up at work and see what I can do with it. This will be the full desktop rather than an individual application that I have been able to run for some time now (thanks to tuition from Steve).
Tuesday 11th November 2008
08:42 GMT

 Just when it seemed it might be useful to learn some sailing techniques the rain dried up, and this morning it looks as if it may be sunny. The  sun is still a little too low in the sky to penetrate down to ground level, but I can see the tops of some buildings are looking very bright with sunshine. Not only that, but the sky only has one cloud in it as viewed from my window at work. That cloud does look a bit threatening, but 75% of the sky is still blue.

 I had a slow journey to work this morning. I caught my early train at 06:31, but from then on a lot of short delays added up to losing any advantage of getting that early train. One delay was caused by me having a bit of a stomach ache. So I visited the toilets at Waterloo station. After that I decided I might as well do the almost 5 minute walk from the toilets to the far end of platform 1 outside the station so I could have a fag.

 The next delay was slightly unfortunate. I had spent so much time and concentration on trying to relieve my stomach ache (at home as well as at Waterloo) that I totally forgot that I might need a pee too. As my train from Waterloo approached Clapham Junction station I decided that taking a leak would be a very good idea ! That delayed me by maybe 10 minutes. The next delay was when I went into the newsagents by Earlsfield station. It appeared that they were having trouble with their credit/debit card authorisations, and a large queue built up as people tried to pay for things like Oyster card top ups.  The final delay was in waiting for a bus. The first bus that came along was packed to double plus extra crush capacity. If one more person had somehow added to that mass of people I am sure it would have collapsed into a black hole. Fortunately the next bus came along quite quickly, and was only packed to mild unpleasantness levels. I arrived at work more or less on time, but my advantage of getting the early train in Catford had totally evaporated.
Monday 10th November 2008
20:13 GMT

 There is only one word to describe today's weather : - RAIN or more precisely rain, rain, rain, and more flaming rain !!! If I were to be generous I would admit that my morning journey to work was actually dry, but for every fag break, and on my way home it rained - some times copiously, and at other times, drenchingly !

 Yesterday was quite a good day. During the morning, while there was a bit of weak sunshine, I did a little more to my iMac. I installed the aquarium screensaver. It looks pretty good. In fact, not only does it look good, but it does indeed look pretty ! I also ascertained that the Palm connection software does work with my older Palm PDA (although it did crash half way through hotsyncing !).

 At 2 pm I went to the pub to meet Jodie, Mark and Iain. That was pretty good, and I had four pints of beer ( 3 full pints, and two halves) from the Wetherspoons "International Beer Festival" range. Strangely enough, it was the beer I was highly doubtful about, Smoky Pete's, that turned out to be one of the best I have tried.  I suppose it was inevitable, but after 4 pints for lunch I left the pub feeling quite "good" :-) When I got home I ate all sorts of things, and the majority of them I really should have eaten in more moderation, or even not at all. I went to bed wwith a mild hangover ,and feeling very stuffed.

 I woke up this morning feeling horrible. It was as if I still had a hangover. It may have been around an hour after I arrived at work that I began to feel much better.

 I had a pleasant surprise this evening. Soon after I turned my aquarium on (my iMac) it announced that I had a software update to version 9.2.2. I had no idea that Apple were still providing updates to this old system.

 Everything written for today until the start of this paragraph was written on the iMac using the inbuilt Xserver shell and a ssh connection to my server. I am now using a remote X session on my Linux box.  Unfortunately the iMac is still doing it's very weird thing of the keyboard input rate getting slower and slower the more you type. The very last sentence I wrote on it took a few seconds to type, and something like thirty seconds to finish appearing on the screen. I don't know if it's just a problem with some of the open sourse/freeware programmes I use on it, but I think not. While I was using Document made with KompoZer ( the application I use to write these web pages) all the computing, so to speak, was being done on my server, and the iMac was just a sort of dumb terminal. I think it is something very weird with the keyboard buffer, but exactly what is anyone's guess.  Another annoyance is that there is no # key on the Mac keyboard. Heaven knows why Apple choose to exclude it, but they did. A quick Google suggested alt+3 would give me the hash symbol. Maybe that works on, say, an American keyboard, but it doesn't work on mine. When adding the link on my calendar to today I had to cut and paste from a previous day, and then edit that to get the link in as #10.

 There are other strange things about Macs that are probably sort of understandable, but alos annoying. My iMac only has a CD reader fitted in it. I could fit something different, but it uses a laptop type drive, and they are not so easy to come by, and are not that cheap either. Fortunately I can plug in a USB connected drive, and not so long ago I found a dumped Iomega USB CD writer. OS 9 recognises it as just a CD reader, but OSX recognises it as a CD writer as well. At the moment I only have CD burning software installed for the OS 9 classic environment, and as that does not recognise it as a CD writer. However I can also run OS 9 applications in a sort of virual environment in OSX. So I can write CD's after all. It's all very peculiar, but I guess it works. That iMac can be frustratingly slow, but apart from that it is now almost offering the facilities of a moderate general purpose PC running Linux. If I had the patience I could almost use it to be productive. The screensave aquarium is pretty good though !
Sunday 9th November 2008
09:14 GMT

 This morning is like Friday morning, but most definitely not like Saturday morning. The sun is shining, and a fair amount of the sky is blue. I think it is almost mild too, at least in comparison to the frosty morning that I think I was expecting, but there is a bit of wind, and that will make it feel cooler than it really is when I go shopping soon. It would be most pleasant if the sunshine continues, but that seems optimistic recently.

 Saturday was a most unpleasant day when just considering the weather. Although the day started off dry, there were copious amounts of rain, particularly in the evening. I can't seem to recall one single ray of sunshine through the whole day, but there might have been one that was so brief that it didn't register on my conciousness.

 In other respects, Saturday was not a bad day. I didn't see anyone because I wanted to chill out a bit by myself. I was tired after some earlier late nights, and I wanted to spend some extra time in bed, and I also wanted to be able to take a nap whenever I felt like it. Of course things didn't quite work out like that. I woke up earlier in the morning than I wanted because I had a hangover after a most pleasant evening in the pub on Friday night.

 After waking up I did some of the normal early morning things such as going to the toilet and feeding Smudge. Then I went back to bed, but I found dozing off difficult with my headache and nauseous feeling. Pretty soon I was up again, and having some breakfast. It is what I had for breakfast that was probably the reason why why I felt so horrible. On the way back home, after my relatively long boozing session, I had a great desire to get some food in me. I had not eaten anything more than fruit all day, and some solid food seemed imperative. There were many things I could have chosen to eat, and many of them might have been better than a pile of Kentucky Fried Chicken !

 When I got home I put the TV on and pigged out on fried chicken while watching a recording of the most recent episode of The Simpsons. I had to watch that recording again in the moring because I couldn't really remember too much about it. I didn't eat all the chicken on Friday night. So I ate the last of it for breakfast while watching the same episode of The Simpsons again.

 After my breakfast, and now probably feeling even worse, I set about doing something. That something was to keep me on my toes for quite a lot of the day. It was having my battle royale with the Apple G3 iMac. By late afternoon, or maybe early eveing, I won that battel and was able to succesfully dual boot, in Apple's own peculiar way, between either Mac OS 9.2 and Mac OSX 10.3 (Panther). That rather peculiar, and some might say, primitive way of dual booting is to boot into whatever you used last, and then select the start up volume for what you want to boot to next time. Having got it all working, and mostly configured the way I want to use it, I think my earlier predictions about OS 9 being more suited to that hardware were right. OS 9.2 does seem to work quite smoothly, but things are never that simple. There are two things that I know of that are reasonably important that OS 9.2 does not have, and that OSX does have. The first is that there appears to be no USB drivers for connecting my Palm PDA, and there is no clock screensaver. The first problem should be solved by using a serial connector instead of a USB connector, but there are no legacy serial ports on the iMac, and I there is no serial connector on my Palm T|X. In reality this is no problem because connecting the Palm to the iMac is only an exercise in curiosity. The second problem really is a major problem when you consider that most of the time that the iMac is running it is just showing, or rather should be showing, an analogue clock. That may sound like a waste of technology, but there is nothing I can't do quicker, and better on one of my other PCs.

 As I wrote that I suddenly had a flash of inspiration. Although I didn't install it, there is one screensaver for OS 9 that might make an interesting alternative to a clock, and one that might be better suited to a living room environment. I am pretty sure I have the software to install a simulated fish tank screensaver. That could look nice sitting in the corner of my living room.

 During the evening, while the rain lashed down behind the closed curtains, and the wind howled through the almost bare trees, I moved away from Apple technology, and tested my new Pentium 4 processor and matching motherboard. Having fitted the new processor in the new motherboard along with the brand new RAM, I turned on the power and nothing happened ! After trying lots of combinations of things I concluded that there was something wrong with the two new sticks of RAM.  I don't think they are faulty, but for some reason they will not work in my new motherboard. One of the things I hope I will the time and patience to do is to try them in one of my existing PCs. Meanwhile, I have two sticks of old RAM working OK along with the new processor in the new motherboard. Unfortunately they only add up to 512 MB rather than the 2 GB I was hoping for, but that is enough to get the ball rolling as I build up a new system. One unfortunate thing in this whole story is that it is still possible that the processor I thought was dead may in fact still be alive. When I tested it in the new motherboard I rashly assumed that was the only variable, but I was wrong. Before I install the motherboard in a case I must re-check that old processor.

 It seem that I have a fair things I could do today, but I am going for a lunchtime pint today, and after that I may just want to veg out in front of the TV, or something.
Friday 7th November 2008
08:16 GMT

 At last, a morning that is like a morning ! It is traditional that it gets light in the morning. That rule has been broken many times recently, but this morning things are back on track. Instead of the sky just being covered with one grey blanket there is some variety in the cloud cover this morning. I can even see a small chunk of blue looking lost and lonely amongst the clouds. The weather forecasters have promised us some sunshine for later today, and this time I am inclined to believe them. I hope that they have got it wrong for tomorrow when they say we will be plunged back into dark days and interminable rainfall again.

 I had another late night, last night. It was the third one in a row, and I am feeling like I need some extra sleep. Yesterday I briefly fell asleep, maybe just for a few seconds, while sitting at my desk here at work. I dread to think what might happen today, although I do have secret weapon. It seemed fairly mild this morning so I did not wear a jumper. However it is rather cool here at work, and by later on in the day I think I will be feeling rather chilled like I was earlier in the week. I am wearing a t-shirt so I don't even have any sleeves to roll down.

 The reason for my late night, last night was because I was playing with my ancient G3 iMac computer. Actually I am not sure if I was playing with it, or at war with it ! As I wrote yesterday, I was hoping that installing Mac OS 9.2.4 would improve on the rather bad , you might even say crap performance. Much to my surprise, it did ! It became quite a usable machine, but I decided that I still wanted to have Mac OSX installed on it. The answer should be to dual boot it with both operating systems on it. It is far too complex to attempt to explain here, in the limited time I have available, everything I did last night, but in brief, I had to install everything about three times, and still it didn't work before I was almost asleep on my feet. The simple explanation is that Apples disk partitioning software is absolutely useless, and the OSX (10.3, Panther) installer seems to be following rules that do not seem to be correct. Anyone who ever suggests that partitioning a hard disk to install Linux is hard doesn't even know their born yet !!!!

 Tonight, if I have the time, and the willpower, I hope to finally get the partitions set up correctly - in the right place, and of the right size - to finally allow me to install both OS9 and OSX (OS 10 !) on that pesky iMac. Once that is done, and a few applications loaded, I can leave the thing sitting like an ornament in the corner of the living room, and totally ignore it for another 6 months. Before I do that I am hoping for a beer or three. If my plans come to fruition I will be meeting Patricia for a couple of pints in Lewisham, and then stick my head in the Catford Wetherspoons to see if anything else is going on. I estimate that will be between 6.30 and 7 pm. With luck I'll have another couple of pints in there before going home for some much needed (or desired) dinner.
Thursday 6th November 2008
09:14 GMT

 There have been a few brief sprinkles of light rain this morning. Happily, I have made it into work without getting wet. If the weather forecasters are to be believed, the rather thick cloud cover will break up, and we could see some sunshine this afternoon. Looking out the windows I find that hard to believe, but I live in hope.

 I felt very cold at work yesterday. There is no heating in my workshop, and I rely on heat coming through from the main production area. It was not a shivery sort of coldness, but just a "slightly less than comfortable" coldness that gradually chills you down deep inside. It came as some relief when I was able to pour a couple of cans of hot soup down my throat when I got home. Today I have remembered to wear a jumper to work. It made sitting on a warm train a bit uncomfortable, but not unbearably so. It should make popping outside for a fag a bit more pleasant despite it being almost mild out.

 Last night I tried my "dumpster diving" processor in my brand new motherboard. I sadly have to report that my diagnosis was in error. It looks like that 2.8 GHZ, Pentium 4 processor has gone to join the choir invisible. It's pushing up the daisies. It's a stiff..........and other Monty Python sayings for dead things !

 I had another disappointment last night. Fortunately this one did not cost me any money. I tried installing Mac OS 9 on my ancient G3 iMac. I thought that OS 9 would be more in keeping with the age of that machine, and it would run rather well. In fact it was a bit crappy - to say the least. It is possible that upgrading to version 9.2 may bring an improvement, but I am not optimistic about it. What I plan to do now is to try and make that machine dual boot between OS9 and OSX. Ideally I would like to install the ppc version of Kubuntu on it, but my machine, being one of the first ever iMacs uses some sort of hardware configuration that seem alien to several versions of Linux for ppc that I have tried. Of course none of this matters. My iMacs most used, and most useful feature is to display the clock screensaver ! Nearly all my work, these days, is done using Linux, but I occasionally use Windows for things like my flat bed scanner, which is not supported by Linux. The iMac is just a curio that sits in the corner of the living room.
Tuesday 4th November 2008
20:24 GMT

 Today's weather has been semi-bad. It has been fairly mild, but it has been overcast all day. I never actually saw any rain fall, but a few puddles in the road suggest that at some point there must have been some rain. Maybe it was only in the early hours of the morning, before I left the house to go to work. It is still dry now, but I get the impression that there is a very light mist developing.

 Yesterday I did some more work on my laptop. The installation of Open Suse 11 linux is now working well (apart from one niggling problem). I have installed all the applications that I can think of, and everything works OK. Tonight I tried recording some TV from my USB DVB-T stick. That worked pleasingly well. The only problem I have now is that sometimes it will not shut down properly. It is difficult to find out exactly what it happening, although a look at the logs may reveal something. What I see is the shutdown sequence start, and then the screen goes black, and the keyboard goes dead. All I am left with is the whirr from the fan, and the power and WiFi "on" lights glowing. Fortunately the power button, when held down for a few seconds does shut the machine down, but there is a good chance that doing that too often will cause some hard disk corruption.

 It's too late to do any more to the laptop tonight, and tomorrow night I have other things to do. Those other things could include a visit to the pub, but more definitely will involve having a quick try of the 2.8GHz processor that came from a dumped computer, and that I hope works. My diagnosis was that the motherboard was faulty. So I have ordered a new, fairly cheap, motherboard. That should be delivered tomorrow and I am keen to find out if my hypothesis is correct, or if I have just wasted my money on a motherboard with no processor to use in it.
Monday 3rd November 2008
07:12 GMT

 There is a lot of high thin cloud this morning. Once the sun has risen enough there could be the possibility of some sunshine breaking through. A bit of sunshine would be nice today. We did have some sunshine yesterday, but it was sporadic and short lived, but even that was better than Saturday.

 Saturday was an awful day. It was cold, dark, and wet from mid morning until the end of the day. I managed to get my shopping done in the dry, but the first fine rain appeared just as I reached home. From then onwards it just rained, and rained, and rained !

 It was so gloomy and depressing that I did very little all day Saturday. I probably spent much of the day just watching either live TV or recorded stuff, and, unfortunately, eating far too much.

 Yesterday, Sunday, was a lot better. There was still a few rain showers, but the sun did come out a few times. All that cloud, or maybe it was the wind direction, did help to keep the temperature a lot higher than it has been recently. I have no idea what the highest temperature was, but it must have been well into double figures.

 In the morning I tried on one of the new shirts I had bought from Tesco's. Although the collar size was half an inch smaller than I would prefer, I found that it was quite comfortable to wear provided I didn't attempt to do up the top button. I think I could have done up that top button, but it would have felt uncomfortably tight. I wore the shirt while I went out shopping to buy my stuff for work. While in Tesco's I had another look at their shirts to see if I had overlooked any of the right size.  There were none in the style/colours I wanted, but I did notice one short sleeve shirt in the right size, and I bought it there and then. The reason ? It was discounted to just 1 !

 During the afternoon I did get a little more productive. I decided to try and get my DVB-T (Freeview) USB stick working on my laptop when using Linux. I had heard some good things about the latest release of Kubuntu Linux, and decided to try installing that instead of PCLinuxOS that I had working so well on it before. Far from being good, Kubuntu seemed to be a complete disaster. After half an hour of trying to get what should have been a very simple installation going, I gave up. I could have put PCLinuxOS back on the laptop, but decided to give Open Suse 11 a go. Initially, that too gave me some problems. It installed the wrong driver for the laptop touchpad. Once that was sorted out things became much easier, and I was soon downloading countless packages to get the installation up to date.

 After a lot of floundering around attempting to get the DVB-T stick working I discovered the web site http://packman.links2linux.org/  From then on, things were pretty easy. That website has a very simple one click installation of many things left out of the official Suse distribution. Of particular interest was, of course, the complete set of DVB tools, and my old favourite XMMS, the Winamp-like mp3 player.

 I still have some peripheral issues with Open Suse 11 on my laptop, but the core is working well now, and I am confident that I will soon be able to complete my preferred customisations to iron out the last few problems.
Saturday 1st November 2008
08:13 GMT

This morning is cold and grey. It can't be long until it starts raining. Maybe even snowing, but perhaps it is not quite cold enough for that. The forecast, as I recall, is that it will rain today. Although possibly not until this afternoon.

 The weather was a little brighter yesterday, with plenty of sunny intervals. It still remained quite chilly though. The best part was that it stayed dry. It was a relief to get out of work moderately early, in the dry, and have an untroubled commute home on the early train.

 I didn't actually check, but my wages should have been paid yesterday. On the assumption that they had been paid I did a little retail therapy on the way home by calling into Tesco's. Perhaps the most useful thing I bought was a one litre bottle of dark rum. It's pleasant on it's own to provide relief against the chills of winter, and with some cola it's good enough for some extended boozing. I also bought a couple of shirts, and an extra pair of trousers. The shirts were a half inch smaller than I would prefer, and I hope they will fit OK. Tesco's did have the size I wanted, but not in the colours I wanted. So I have made this dangerous comprimise. The trousers definitely fit OK. I tried them on briefly just before I went to bed, and when my gut was at it's most expansive. For new trousers they seemed to fit very nicely.

 Once I had done a few chores here, like feeding Smudge, I decided to go to the Wetherspoons pub and try a few of their "International Beer Festival" beers. I sort of assumed I would probably bump into Kevin and/or Iain in there, but in the time I was in there drinking I saw neither of them, nor could I raise them by phone.  I stayed for a little over and hour and had 2.5 pints of beer. The first was an average strength beer that was a little too hoppy for my personal taste, but was quite pleasant. The second was a very dark mild called ????????? Black. At 3% alcohol it was possibly one of the weakest beers available, but it was really delicious. It was the sort of beer you could drink gallons of, and the only casualty would be a worn out trouser zip (unless you had a superhuman strength bladder). The last beer I had was only served in half pint measures. It was a Belgium beer called Carolous. The rather poor reason why it was only served by the half pint was that it was 8% alcohol. It had a marvelous warming effect on a cold night - far better than Youngs so called Winter Warmer. I very nearly went back for a second half, but decided to call it a day because I was feeling very hungry.

 It was sometime after 7 pm when I got home, and I had not had any dinner. After the booze, and also because I had been feeling so miserable during the day (and the day before that), I was extremely tempted to order a huge takeaway, but I resisted. Not only did I not want to undo some of the good work I have done recently in modifying my diet, but I also wanted to save my cash for something more important that I am tempted to buy. In the end I did save some cash, but I am not so sure that I didn't undo some of the good work by cooking two Tesco Ready Meal cottage pies. They weren't particularly filling, but they were probably stuffed full of all sorts of stuff that I have been trying to avoid. However, they were piping hot and they filled the echoing cavity of my stomach. It was soon after this, with my gut full of cottage pie and beer, that I tried on my new trousers and found that they went on easily.

 My finances have been quite bad recently. I ended October by coming within 10 of drawing on my overdraft, and all the expense that would entail. Now I have just been paid it is tempting to splash out on something I really desire, and yet can hardly justify getting. It is an Acer Aspire One 110L. Tesco's currently stock it for 179, and you can see the details here. It is either a shame, or it is fortunate, that it is not available on the shelves on my local Tesco. If it was available on the shelves I would probably just buy one in a fit of lust. Instead I have to continue to agonise over whether I really can justify buying one. One little problem is that it may be available in the Catford branch of Comet where their web site shows it to cost just 99p more than Tesco sells it for. Even more worrying is that PC World, who are next door to Comet in Catford, show it at the same price as Tesco. If I was stupid enough to jump on a bus for three or four stops I would probably find one in one of those two stores. Somehow I must resist the temptation......................