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posted by [personal profile] pmsumner at 09:07pm on 04/05/2013 under , , ,
Reading back through the last few updates, there's a few things to update on.

The accident (http://phil99.livejournal.com/821313.html) from April 2012 that I wasn't really involved in, in any serious capacity, came back again to haunt me. I got a letter from Mold county court demanding that I turn up as a witness for the case against the person at the back. Actually it didn't really demand anything, it very subtly implied that I had to turn up, without actually saying it.

Court date was 18th April. I got a phone call on the day before saying I didn't have to turn up. Sigh. Hopefully that's it done with, for good.

Work. Work carries on, I'm still relatively happy with the place though actively keeping my eyes open for work closer to home as I'm really starting to get fed up with the 80 miles/2hrs a day commuting. I've been ITIL foundation trained/qualified through work and am off to London for a week's MySQL Administration training on the 12th, so I'm not giving anything up just yet.

Speaking of which, any London-ites fancy doing food/drinks/coffee after 5-pm Mon/Weds/Thu or Sunday evening, 12th/13th/15th/16th May? It's either that or I go to the theatre :)

Being on-call has settled down significantly, apart from the sodding gambling company who don't seem to be able to keep their processes working. We query their servers at 6am for some data, and I suspect about 1 in 4 or 5 days we make the call, it fails because of something at their end. It's great for my overtime pay, but I really want to be able to sleep in some more days.

Musical Theatre, our last show went OK, took a long time to get going but once we got there we certainly seemed to be there. AGM in a few weeks, I really must prepare a speech. Now got a lot of politics to surrounding the next show. I'm trying to get people to stop playing sodding games but people are people and they seem to like playing politics, so I'm keeping well back and letting them play games. Hopefully the bad things that I think may happen if they don't stop messing around won't happen, but I think it could.

I don't know what else I've been doing. Went to see Chris Addison do a show at Glyndwr Uni a few weeks back, he was hilarious. I hope he tours again, despite him saying he wasn't going to. Jane and I went to an evening in Chester hosted by the Balvenie distillery. It was great fun. i was driving so didn't drunk too much, but Jane was rather drunk by the end of the thing. It was amusing and horrifying in equal measures.

OHOH! The Sci Fi Weekender! Great fun. The caravan was absolutely f-ing freeeeeezing. The events were mostly fun. They overall did a good job, but some of the stuff they put on was a little... I want to say insulting, but that's not quite accurate, to the sci-fi fans who were there. Some guy with a saucepan on his head pretending to be a dalek is not funny. The robot marching up and down the aisle with the sound effects was impressive for the first 5 minutes. Then it just got dull. The guests and talks were brilliant. The screening zone was brilliant. More of both of those would be brilliant.

Rocky Horror at the Liverpool Empire was brilliant. Oliver Thornton as Frank was brilliant. Ben Forster is going in soon as brad, and Dani Harmer as Janet. You should see it.

I bought myself a Nexus 7 a few months back. It's awesome. It's not as slick and smooth as an iDevice, but damn it's good and a lot cheaper.
Music:: The Voice - BBC1
location: LL11
Mood:: 'mellow' mellow
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posted by [personal profile] pmsumner at 11:15pm on 14/04/2011 under
The 30 day meme, well... the less we say about that the better.

New job - started on Monday 4th April and was there for a week, spent the week tidying the mess that had been left by the former occupant and getting to grips with the things that he did that I never even knew about.

Then went off on holiday. It's show week, no sane person works show week. We've had tech rehearsal on Sunday, 3 dress rehearsals (Mon/Tue/Weds - Weds was going to be a show night but we sold 8 tickets for it a week and a half beforehand, so we cancelled it) and tonight was the first show night. It's gone alright. Better than I expected, better than I hoped! I'm still not happy with the quality of the chorus movement and the quality of some of the harmony, but it's "OK".

This week daytime has involved plenty of TV for both Jane and I, we've been catching up on some shows that we've been neglecting.

I now have beer, and am happy :)
Mood:: 'pleased' pleased
location: LL11
Music:: Batman Forever
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posted by [personal profile] pmsumner at 09:36pm on 18/05/2010 under , ,
Really, I will. I don't remember when I last did. If it was before we moved house, there's two reasons I haven't updated:
  1. We STILL don't have proper broadband access. We won't do (according to TalkTalk) until the 6th June. That'll be 2 months after we moved in. About 3 months after we informed them that we were moving. We're on a T-Mobile PaYG 3G USB dongle which does the job... kinda. I's heavily restricted between 4pm-midnight though, because we smashed the 1GB fair use policy in about 3 days...
  2. I am SO tired in the evenings. Seriously so. I'm getting up at 0630-0645 in the morning, leaving home at ~0730, getting to work just after 8. Leaving work ~1730 and then getting home about 1815. That feels a long day, I'm not sure it really is though.
So yes, house good, work OK but need new job where I can advance and travel less, and get more money. Mwahahaha.
Music:: Friends on E4
Mood:: 'exhausted' exhausted
location: LL11
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posted by [personal profile] pmsumner at 09:55pm on 21/12/2009 under , , , , , , ,
My life seems to have become very busy all of a sudden. OK not so much now, with everyone stopping over Christmas, but my "normal" weeknights are now all taken. I've got 2 rehearsals a week, singing lessons once a week (though I may try to switch to doing one longer lesson every 2 months), a defined "shopping" night (we're trying to be sensible, though I'm not sure it's working) and then the night reserved exclusively for WINE.

Singing lessons I have been looking at doing for a while and a month or so back I finally made some more phone calls after my initial attempts in summer ended up being fruitless. The lady I'm doing them with (Jo Cleeton) has been good - I kinda just turned up and went "Teach me to sing better", and she's done a good job at finding things I'm good at, and things I'm bad at very quickly. She's helped with some techniques to work on and I am sure that I will see some definite benefits in the not too-distant future.

Related to the singing, we have recently obtained a half-decent (musical) keyboard. We got rid of the organ, at last! I'm starting to play a bit again (I did piano for a few years at school) and am struggling to cope with 2 hands, though definitely improving with practise. My music reading does suck, though it always has.

I've started using Last.FM "properly" today. For months/years I've been scrobbling through iTunes (recording all the tracks I play on my iPod) but never really used the radio/recommendations/artists similar to functionality. Only when I found and tried out the official application for my phone did I see just how cool it is ;) So right now I'm listening to "If I Can't Love Her" from the Beauty and the Beast cast recording. Lovely.

Christmas is coming. I've been concerned lately about my mum, who has been unwell, so Jane and I spent the last weekend down at theirs and I had some time to talk. She seems to be happier than I expected, so am slightly less concerned but still worried. I'd love to get them to commit to saying that they'll be doing something over Christmas - I appreciate that it's difficult when you're starting new drugs that you never know how things will be the next day, but I don't care. I'd be happier to know that they're with people than being miserable and alone.

So my Christmas plans are somewhat meh. I've got some stuff for Jane, I guess at the moment I'm going with the default option which is Jane's parents and friends. Not sure what I want.

I recently flogged a whole load of CDs/DVDs on eBay. Didn't make much money overall, to be honest I only would have made just over what I spent if I hadn't acquired some jiffy bags from work and had someone not vastly overbid on my box set of Cube/Cube 2/Cube Zero. I am happier for having done so, and making money was not the object of the exercise. I got rid of some stuff I have had hanging round for years for no good reason. CDs I haven't looked at for 5yrs, stuff I bought because I thought I'd watch it again or because I thought it would be cool to have. Anything I looked at and decided I wanted to keep, I did, but that still left about 30 CDs and 20 DVDs to sell.

I am loving my mobile phone more and more all the time. Android is a powerhouse, an up-and-coming star in the mobile device world. The app store/market may not yet be as enormous as the iPhone one, but 12,000 apps is still a lot! If I could say that I use my phone for 3 primary things, I think these would be:
  1. Twitter
    I use (at the moment) Swift as my Twitter client. Twitter on the move is one of the most insanely useful/useless things in the world
  2. Google products of ALL descriptions.
    Android being a Google product it's obvious that the integration between Google products and this phone will be tight, and it really is. Calendar, Contacts and Email sync without any effort. Google Reader works really well, Picasa looks good on the small screen, and the newly installed (for me) voice search is remarkably accurate. Google Goggles is not so much "useful" yet, but very clever.
  3. Navigation
    I bought ALK CoPilot 8 for Android, and for under £25 it is an amazing price - turns the phone into a fully featured and actually very good SatNav. Free speed camera updates are a nice bonus. If you don't want that, Google Maps is useful, but turn-by-turn navigation is not yet available in the UK. It's still usable as a navigation aid, but it's not as nifty as fully-fledged navigation software. It also fails spectacularly when you go out of mobile/data coverage, as Google Maps loads everything on the fly and doesn't appear to cache anything.
Speaking of technology, I have an urge to do some proper geekery again but I really need another PC to do it on. I got tired very quickly of breaking my one and only PC, where fixing it became a necessity rather than a thing to do because I wanted to. Heck, I haven't compiled a kernel in a long time, it just seems like too much effort on my day-to-day PC. One day I'll get round to finding a second-hand PC and rolling my own server for DNS, web, MTA, etc. Having a domain completely within my own control and providing all services for it was a real learning experience.

Work - I'm liking my job at the moment. I have almost pushed myself out of direct customer contact. There's still the occasional period where I have to do the calls but I guess it's a necessary evil for now, and there's nothing to keep you on your toes like having to figure out what a customer means versus what they are actually saying. I am almost exclusively "3rd line" now. I spent nearly 3 weeks exclusively looking into one problem that affected one customer - or at least at that time we thought it affected one customer. Seems to be many more. Anyhow, it turns out that we were breaking a message up and sending "\r\n" and "HELO" in two separate TCP packets for some reason. This was causing chaos between our kit and some mail servers. Tracking that down from the original "The email stops working after a while" report took several iterations and many dead ends.

I am quite pleased though, however also slightly disappointed. The job I went for a while back, that they went external for in the end? The manager for them told me the other day that based on the work he'd seen me doing in the past few months, he'd take me on without bothering to do the interview if he had the budget. I'm pleased because it's SO nice to know someone is noticing that I do try hard, but also miffed because I either didn't sell myself strongly enough at the previous opportunity, or he's admitting he was short sighted :)

Oh, tonight's tea:
  • Parsnips roast with crab-apple jelly
  • Sweet potato roast with chorizo and paprika
  • Boiled Anya potatoes
  • Steamed carrots with caraway
Nom

I think that'll do.
Music:: Stephen Schwartz – Recurring Dream from Uncharted Territory
location: CH3
Mood:: 'pleased' pleased
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posted by [personal profile] pmsumner at 11:44pm on 10/11/2009 under , , , ,
No idea when I last posted. Since then, I think I have:

Been to my parents. Jane and I spent the last weekend with my parents in Chippenham. It was nice. We went to Bath and revisited some old haunts, and remembered why I was actually fit then - I walked/cycled into town almost daily and believe me when I say we lived near the top of a very steep hill :) We went to Swindon, oooooo. Exciting stuff. Just nice to spend some time with the parents.

Uhhhm... relaxed. Since the last show finished I have been enjoying the time off. It's committee tomorrow but other than that, I've nothing to do, nowhere to be other than at home in the evenings. It's nice, yet feels oddly foreign.

Bought wine. Jane and I took full advantage of Sainsburys "Buy 6 bottles and get 25% off" offer, nom. Must drink it now.

Scanned a load of old photos that my parents got together from my granddad's. I would post a link but there's far too many pictures of naked children on there, you can guarantee someone would get the wrong idea :) Many of these photos are very old and the colours have faded terribly, leaving them red. Picasa's done an all-right job of fixing them up quickly, but I'm sure I could do better if I put some effort into it. Don't know how, though!

Ripped a whole pile of CDs. I've gone through my CDs and have decided to sell/give away a huge number of them. I've ripped these first, of course! Now need to make a decision on whether it's actually worthwhile selling them.
location: CH3
Mood:: 'productive' productive
Music:: The Mark Steel Solution - Transport
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posted by [personal profile] pmsumner at 11:10pm on 20/02/2009 under , ,
I've been busy in bursts this week at work, with things being piled on top of me one minute, then seemingly hours with nothing. I'm keeping happy though, being left to pretty much potter and do as I want as long as I'm being productive, and that I am. This makes me happy on a number of levels. For example, because I was able to spend time thinking and pottering - today I have been able to dig and thoroughly investigate several problems which have been bugging.

I used Sysinternals' Process Monitor in anger for the second time in my geeky career. I've played with it every now and then and thought it would prove useful, but never managed to find a use for it! We had a weird problem where multiple clients sharing "ini" files occasionally seemed to be overwriting changes made by another client, when as far as we could tell there was no reason for the clients to do so unless specifically asked to. As Process Monitor shows every file write, read (and also every registry read and write) I was able to show that despite all rational thought, our software does write when it shouldn't be. That changes a ticket from vague suspicion which may get looked at once and overlooked to a ticket with a definite cause, and an easy fix.

(With some help, I must admit) I've been able to find the dodgy data in a database (Derby database) which was preventing reports (OpenReports/Jasper Reports) from running. A table with over 700,000 records in it had 4 rows with slightly dodgy data (a spurious character in front of what should be there), all from the same source. However this source had another ~20,000 rows which were fine. Don't know where to start there looking for the root cause without asking the customer to do some seriously long term network traces. Though the amount of data collected would be manageable, so maybe it's the answer.

I've been raising tickets left, right and centre on our new pre-production units. We really do have some silly problems... things which we've fixed time and time before, things which we've left out intentionally that customers have shouted about loudly until we changed them. AND WE'RE DOING IT AGAIN! I sometimes want to go to the people in development and bang their heads together until they get a clue, alternatively we should get them on the phones for a few hours, see how they cope with the real world situations.

I've been preparing some kit for sales peoples' demonstrations, which isn't exactly thrilling but it does move me firmly in their direction :)
Mood:: 'full' full
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posted by [personal profile] pmsumner at 11:39pm on 04/02/2009 under
This weekend Jane and I achieved an awful lot of stuff round the house. If we're planning on having a load of people around the house we need to make sure that the place is at the very least presentable and definitely relatively well organised. I'm really happy with the outcome, tbh! Everything looks so much better clean and tidy!

We're expecting at the very least 10 guests - probably more like 13-15, which should make life interesting. I'm trying to plan some things out but I think things will end up as normal - i.e. planned at the last minute :) Well, I'm thinking food's fairly easy, there's very little that can't be planned and prepared in advance. Drink, we'll provide as much as we can be arsed to and Sainsbury's is over the road ;) I think everyone either has somewhere to sleep or is going somewhere afterwards, so that's one less thing to worry about.

I've been investigating rover train tickets recently - most notably the North-Wales rover which allows travel throughout North Wales (oddly enough) for £11, including the Ffestiniog Railway. Thinking of planning a trip round Wales for the hell of it - it's a bargain as far as I'm concerned. Besides - how romantic is the train when you've got all day and don't have to be anywhere?

Work is proving intriguing at the moment - my attempted sideways move is progressing, albeit slowly. I essentially take no phone calls any more and have installed myself as a font of all knowledge and semi-unofficial-not-really-but-kinda tester. It's working for me, but I do need to get some feedback from the bosses as to whether they think it's working. I think I chose a weird time to start this process :)

I'm proceeding pretty well at Guitar Hero III :) Half-way through the medium level, had a quick shot at the hard level and nearly died from the hard :)

mm, that about covers it......
Mood:: 'thoughtful' thoughtful
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posted by [personal profile] pmsumner at 11:14pm on 12/10/2008 under , ,
location: Home
Mood:: 'curious' curious
pmsumner: (Matilda)
posted by [personal profile] pmsumner at 08:25pm on 09/10/2008 under
I've been going out for walkettes this past week - it's only a short-ish route but it's a start, again. I was going to go out again tonight but then I drank wine. Wine.... mmmmmm. I don't think that drinking wine and walking alongside the canal in the pitch black is the best idea I've ever had.
location: CH3
Mood:: 'thoughtful' thoughtful
Music:: Friends - The One Where Joey Dates Rachel
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posted by [personal profile] pmsumner at 10:05pm on 21/09/2008 under , ,
We've not done a huge amount, though I achieved lots this morning while Jane was in bed feeling icky and gross. I watched Finding Nemo first - you gotta have your priorities right! Then sorted out the mass of paperwork that was threatening to overtake the dining room table, washed up and cleaned the kitchen. Threw out some things which should have been thrown out ages back and put things in places they really shouldn't be but you know how it goes :)

This evening I have sorted out some money things, and made the decision to call Lloyds TSB (who are my current credit card provider) at some point during the week and ask them very nicely to reduce the interest rate on my card or I will switch the balance to another provider. The balance is high enough to be a significant loss of income for them (*cough*).

Yesterday was the bed shop encounter of course. Personally I'd like to go for either one of the Silentnight ones we saw in Bensons which were quite expensive or the divan+posturepedic mattress+posh headboard from "Discount Bed Warehouse" round the corner, but then again the frame in the other cheapybedwarehouse round the corner from both of those was nice but the salesman was a bit disinterested. Mmmm the Silentnight one was nice! I never realised how much of a variety there was in buying beds - it's mindboggling. The first decision (which nobody seems to understand why we don't know what we want) is divan or frame+mattress. I dunno? We're guessing at divans. Then the type of mattress - pocketsprings, foams, memoryfoams, non-pocketsprings, combinations of the above. Eh? I dunno!

I made Jane squee earlier by finding the interview with Milo Ventimiglio on the BBC Radio 1 Chris Moyles show :)

Oh, and I love the Nokia N73 + CoPilot. I'm not convinced the software is as good as the knockoff TomTom stuff I got but it's actually a lot more convenient. I was getting really miffed at not being able to text on the go - you got any idea how difficult it is to type using a tiny touchscreen keyboard while walking? Also - a phone I can use as a phone is like wow! Whoohoo!
location: CH3
Mood:: 'relaxed' relaxed
Music:: Milo Ventimiglia Interview with Chris Moyles - April 2008

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