Joe Blogs

So this is Christmas


I had a fantastic Christmas this year.

The reasons for this are:
* !/pics/2004_1223204642.thumb.jpg (Hannah)! – we spent Christmas day on our own in our flat, and it was peaceful and relaxed and really good fun and Hannah is lovely.
* !/pics/2004_1225233153.thumb.jpg (Snow)! – it snowed!
* !/pics/2004_1225163425.thumb.jpg (Full plate)! – I had lots of nice food
* !/pics/2004_1225171516.thumb.jpg (Failed)! – that I failed to eat

We had a really nice time, a relaxed breakfast after opening stockings. A late lunch after opening the mountain of presents that had been delivered to us and were waiting under our tree. TV in the afternoon and then discovering it had snowed and going for a late night walk, making snow angels in the road.

Now we’re in Reading, we’ve had another round of present opening (including a bread maker from Hannah’s Nanny, and money to buy some wireless networking stuff, whoop!) and we’re going down to Devon on the 30th for a few days for yet another! All in all, a very successful holiday period and it’s hardly started yet.




Bah. I got hacked. I think it was probably due to a couple of files being world writeable (i.e. index.php and a style file) mainly due to my laziness in editing them in the wordpress editor. I won’t be doing that again. Of course, I may get hacked again, in which case it must be something else.

Fortunately, I’d backed up stuff so I could restore it fairly trivially.



Hannah and I had a rare social engagement at the weekend. We booked a hotel room in Nottingham, shared with JCM and his delightful personal habits and then had an enjoyable evening at Dave Brailsford’s Christmas Bash.

I really enjoyed myself. I ate, drank and was merry. I even discovered a couple of wines that I almost enjoyed. I forget what the red was, if anyone happens to know (Ross?) let me know. The white was, I think, “this one”:

We’ve now done the majority of our christmas shopping and have written our cards. I need to post them this afternoon. We also put up our Christmas tree and a few other decorations last night, and I bought a really tacky little plastic tree with lights that plugs into the car’s cigarette lighter. I have to make up for nearly all my colleagues being humbugs :-)

Bored yet? I am, so I’ll get back to work; of which I have lots.

Lost in music


Another day, another concert. This time at Birmingham’s Symphony Hall. Hannah was performing in the choir which was performing Mozart’s Requiem. Very nice it was too. There was also a Brahms concerto which was good, and Sibelius’s Symphony No. 7 (I think) which I found a little dull.

Carols for Choirs


Had a quite enjoyable evening yesterday at the University of Birmingham carol service. The free mulled wine was surprisingly palatable and the choir was good (Hannah was in it). There was a small group of brass players who were quite good and bolstered my resolve to practise my cornet more.

Such fun


Yesterday we spent the afternoon at the aforementioned “cathedral of materialism”: and then bemusedly observing the behavioural traits of some drivers in the dark in heavy traffic.

We were planning on driving back to Birmingham last night, but got sidetracked by the the excellent “School of Rock”: and decided to come back this morning. Cue rising at 5.15am, amazement at “JCM”: being _almost_ ready at the same time as us and then a drive in the dark.

Christmas is coming…


…and I am getting fat. But hey, what are you gonna do.

We’re down in Reading for the weekend. It was Holly’s birthday yesterday and we went out for a meal and I partook of various meats.

Did a bit of Christmas shopping today and more to follow tomorrow when we go to “a big shopping mall type place”:

New visuals


I’ve been playing around with redesigning my site with a new front page and my blog as only part of it. I haven’t had much time, so I’ve largely only been doing things with CSS and the like to see what I can make it look like. I have been doing odd things with dynamically generated CSS from PHP. Anyway, the upshot is that in a moment of boredom I decided WordPress needed to look prettier, stole a style sheet from “Alex King’s site”: and it was the work of 5 minutes to hack my stuff into it to simply get a header image dynamically changing until I can find time to do something of my own.

That is all.

Hoooooooooow Long?


Well, it’s been a very long time since I last blogged. Every time I look at it, I seem to go blank.

Time for an update, I guess.

I’m enjoying my work. I’ve been doing a lot of work at Landrover’s plant in Gaydon. Finally there is light at the end of the tunnel and I think there will be a lot less involvement there soon. I’m starting to get involved in some other projects, some maintenance of existing software and some new; it will be good to be involved in the planning and design stage of a real project.

We seem to be perpetually busy these days. Most weekends we’re off and about in some part of the country or other. Next weekend we’re back down in Reading, then Nottingham for both the subsequent weekends. We’re spending Christmas together at home for the first time this year. It will be fun, I think, but I think we’re both feeling a bit weird about not being with family on the day. We’ll be going down to Reading for a few days on Boxing Day and then to Devon for New Year.

I’m trying to make better use of my free time. I got rather used to having hours in the day available for “fiddling” with whatever was interesting me at the time. Now, I struggle through the traffic after work and all I really want to do is sleep. We bought an acoustic guitar from the wonderful Mansons in Exeter to replace my SG that I sold when we were short of money. I’m making an effort to play it as much as possible and relearn everything I’ve forgotten. I’m also trying to get back into playing my cornet. It’s shocking just how badly my ability has degraded over the years. I wince at the lack of tone even playing a simple scale and lack the ability to play anything bar “twinkle, twinkle little star”, which only serves to make me more aware of the proximity of the neighours. Ho hum, they clump around and play Abba at irritating times of the day and night so they can live with it. :-)

There, I’ve blogged. It wasn’t interesting but maybe I’ll get back into the habit now.