Dinner, life and long lunchbreaks.

OK, so, I have nothing to say about long lunchbreaks other than I’ve not had one recently, but it made a good title. 😉

My first dinner party at my house (actually, ever) went well other than I made twice the amount of sauce I needed and 4 times the pasta.. next time I will know better.

The pasta sauce, made of 1Kg lean pork mince, two bottles of passata(I dunno what it’s called.. italian liquified tomatoes) with basil, lots of oragano, salami, mushrooms and salt to taste was a success despite it being a recipe I made up on the fly. The warmed focaccia bread as a side dish worked well too.

Pudding, sorry, desert course was made up of a Vienetta which my guests kindly brought with them and the Carte-D’Or strawberry ice-cream I’d bought for the occasion. This was followed by tea/coffee in the lounge.

I was amazed that I managed to squeeze 4 people around a table in my kitchen.. though the term squeezed is very descriptive.

I couldn’t be bothered to wash up after the guests left at 10:30pm, so I left it for yesterday. There was a lot of it.. it took nearly an hour to do, including cleaning the hob where all the tomato had splashed all over the place.

I’ll I’ve got to do now is work out how to store the rest of the pasta sauce which is filling up my fridge in its saucepan. I have a freezer but no containers to currently put the stuff in so as to store it in the freezer. Oh well. 🙂

Tonight, I’ve the final push of getting the house back the way it was ready for my parents to arrive tomorrow for the Jubilee holiday weekend. (Not that I’m doing any Jubilee celebrating.)

Talking of which, I saw on the BBC teletext news pages this morning that a poll said that they had found that 75% of people are going to be celebrating the golden Jubilee.. how come then, no-one I know is taking a blind bit on notice of the whole event and any that are are actively avoiding it? It seems the 1006 people polled are a very unrepresentative sample.

Weekend events.

Well, I seem to have a social life again!

Friday night I was asked if I wanted to tag along to a pub.

Saturday was spent in Reading with Tom, Shona and little Tanaqui, firstly having a very nice pizza and then watching the latest Star Wars film. (Whoever it is who played Anakin should give up acting as he can’t do it.) That took a little over 6 hours to do, so it cost me £8 in car park fees!

Sunday, I watched the Grand Prix and lazed around.

Tonight I’ve got some cleaning to do and some shopping to get stuff I forgot on Saturday in preparation for my first dinner party, involving the same people who asked if I wanted to tag along to a pub on Friday night. It should, hopefully, be fun.


What a lovely, sunny morning it was this morning.

I got up at 10am and quickly put the bed clothes in the washing machine. After a nice, relaxing bit of free newspaper browsing it was time for lunch and also the washing had finished. Following lunch I put some stuff in the loft and then washed the car, so as to get rid of the bird mess. Those birdies must die! 🙂

A bit of a snooze during the afternoon was nice, but afterwards I needed to get out, so I went for a nice little drive around south Oxfordshire and a bit of Berkshire. It’s a pitty that the weather had clouded over by then, but still, it was nice to get out and about. It can be so clostrophobic staying in Oxford all the time, especially if you don’t see anyone other than people from work for weeks on end.

Sometimes I feel so isolated here as all my friends outside work live at least 25 miles away, the closest being in Reading and I get to see them so rarely these days.

It’s a fortnight since the nice visit from Jerry and Em, it’s 4 weeks since I visited Rachel, Graham and Christopher and it must be at least 6 weeks since I visited Alec. Maybe I should try to find friends who live in Oxford, but they’d just move away in time anyway, so what’s the point?

Hopefully, I can persuade people this week that a trip out to the cinema (and a meal) sometime this week. It’s been a great many months since the last cinema trip I was able to make. I think it must have been “Lord of the Rings” before Christmas.

More work.

Yesterday was yet another very busy day, it being the day that the 4th years had to hand their projects in (at 2pm).

The day before I’d e-mailed them all telling them if they needed any assistance out of hours that they should phone me up on my mobile. None of them did so dispite a couple of them having problems with printers and software during the night.

One of the problems was caused by LyX, the LaTeX based word processor deciding to send SIGHUP to the whole process group instead of just ghostscript after a picture was added to the document. Even after upgrade to the latest patchlevel it still did the same thing. So I hacked out all the kill() calls and got a version which worked well enough. Even though the 4th-year basically lost 8 hours of time she managed to get the project report in 3 hours late. As far as we are all aware, this was actually ok in the end, thankfully, seeing as the project is a third of the overall degree.

On top of this fun was more fun with Word and coaxing the colour printer to keep working. Sometime in the night the printer lost a spring on a door so it no-longer keeps closed, but it’s not an important one. Over the last week it’s been well overworked!

As for myself, I’m bored. At least the weather’s getting better this afternoon.

Work, work, work

It’s been a busy week at work. Lots of things cropping up, lots of things needed to help the 4th year undergrads get their projects finished and printed dispite Microsoft Word’s best efforts to destroy files and generate unprintable crud. Thank goodness OpenOffice.org.1.0 was able to open and print the files Word itself couldn’t, that’s all I can say.

Thankfully, the Tektronix Phaser 740 printer hasn’t been playing up so much recently. It’s only jamming about once every 20 pages at the moment. I’m still going to have to buy a new feeder unit after the Antalis paper soured the stainless steel rollers.

On a lighter note, I managed to finish “Thief of Time” the night before last. Not bad at all. One of the better volumes in the Discworld series. Then again, I do have a soft spot for Susan Sto Helit.

As for life outside work.. currently there isn’t any. The social life *is* likely to pick up in about 3-4 weeks time for a little while but that’s all on the horizon, really. Love life doesn’t exist. I’m not sure what other lives I’m supposed to have, but they seem in deficit too. At least I’m pretty comfortably mediocre unlike many people I know who are going through very hard times and I hope and wish will feel better soon, though I know that the sort of pain they are having to endure only eases with time. I can but offer my sympathy and help if they want it.

That’s Life. (they say.. whoever they are.. Esther Ranson maybe?)


I meant to talk about the latest Pratchett novel I’ve been reading in my previous posting but didn’t get around to it.

I’m half way through “The Thief of Time” and so far it seems pretty decent. At least he’s not made the mistake of using numeric dates so far, unlike in “The Truth.”

I can see he’s been influenced by “The Matrix” quite a bit, and all the silliness historians churn out using the little facts they have or the absence of facts to generate an elaborate model of history.

On the whole, so far it’s quite fun.. how it ends, we’ll have to see. At least Pratchett doesn’t go for the quick round up of the story at the end like Neil Stephenson seems to, which is a good thing.

What fun!

This morning’s been “interesting” at work with lots of stupid people breaking various computer systems, most of the mice in the undergrad lab committing suicide (they’re all the same age, so it looks like the beggers have a timebomb in their hardware somewhere) and various other things.

Still, having fixed those things I can and put the others on hold until I can actually fix them, I’ve got through the morning. If there are thigns which I can’t change, I don’t worry about them.

Anyway, the weekend was nice and restful. Saturday afternoon was spent (mostly) window shopping. I picked up Terry Pratchett’s “Thief of Time” for £4.99 at WH.Smith’s along with DVD’s of “The Dish” and “Highlander” under their “2 for £20” deal. £10 per DVD is about the right sort of pricing level in my opinion, as I’ve said many times before.

(Coo.. as I type, the heavens have opened outside and it’s torrential rain.. I do like to be able to see outside from my office, unlike my previous office where I could only see a corridor.)

Sunday was spent a lot of the time reading (funnily enough) with time off for watching the Grand Prix (Ferrari need a good kicking for what they did at the end) and getting some food. I also caught “Titan AE” on Sky Premier. Some of the graphics were nice, though they reminded me a lot of “Freespace,” the PC game. The story would have been better without the cutesy characters which just got in the way. Either make a good SciFi film or a cutesy kiddie pic, the combination doesn’t work!

Hmm.. should I go outside and buy my baguette for lunch or do I merely raid the snack machine and stay dry? Tough question.. I think the snack machine and the prospect of staying dry is getting more and more appealing. 😉