Title maybe goes here

[ from the may-or-may-not dept. ]

Driving Update

I passed my driving theory test having done entirely too little preparation. This makes me wonder if a complete monkey could pass the theory exam – of course I absolutely expect to fail my first practical test at the end of April because driving and I are weird bedfellows but still, that was quite interesting. I am now learning various manoeuvres such as turning in the road and parallel parking while my stalling rate has fallen again to the point that I could drive around normally without having that embarassment last lesson. I still do suck but apparently not as much as I could do.

I think on the car front that I will probably end up buying something cheapish – if I spend a couple of grand on a used car for the first couple of years then it will help me to get used to driving without spending a lot on a new car that I will then smash up and break in variously intruiging ways. The main benefit is that I will be able to drive to places like work, G2K4, and when seeing certain friends although I still like travelling by train because someone else worries about how we get where we are going. On the plus side, on the Friday before last I went to Birmingham and Nottingham as I had mentioned – and on the way through Birmingham I happened upon a Meet The Management session with Virgin. I had altogether too much fun ranting for 20 minutes to senior Virgin Trains management about their appauling service, and on the fly generating a list of the major problems I have encountered with them over the past few months of bitter experience. Yes that was fun. You would have too.

Linux In The UK

I am writing a piece on Linux In The UK (yes Sex Pistols indeed) and will be talking to people who work in Linux Services and support for quotes as was a general assistance in introducing newcomers to this fantastic Free Software Linux world in which we live.

I finished reading the book I mentioned previously – Linux Kernel Development by Robert Love. I will tidy up my list of corrections and points of note. My number one criticism was the lack of Network coverage and the general lightweight nature of some parts of the book – but a good introduction. I would like to understand the block layer in 2.6. Well at least properly. Also need to fix my understanding of some other bits since 2.4.

Travelling Man

I went to Manchester on Friday in order to visit Tom in hospital. I enjoyed my trip and once again was very impressed with the City. They have a little reminder of London in bits of the City centre as well as great communications and a reasonable set des entertainments. I went to The Rice Bowl (which is located off King Street) on the recommendation of the brother of a guy at work and I enjoyed the food and atmosphere – they do allow smoking however so the experience could vary. I do not like smoking, but I hate it when eating. Fortunately on this occasion there were only two death sticks within range of my seat and both were used briefly and the smoke extracted I believe.

Hope hospital is near a Metro station but interestingly not right at a Metro station and so one has to figure out where the big obvious hospital might be without the aid of any signs to assist visitors – cunningly we are supposed to just know where the hospital is without such frivelous signage. I was impressed with the hygiene provision in the form of hand washing stations and the only dissappointment was being greated with a giant collections of pamphlets covering many conceivably bad things which might happen rather than a welcome sign at the ward entrance point.

Manchester is a nice place indeed. I know where the Wagamama is roughly, but we did not go this time because sometimes it is good to vary life a little. I also enjoyed popping in to Nottingham on Friday evening and having (yes indeed) coffee and Wagamama on Saturday at lunchtime. I went through Birmingham and had a quick coffee with Dan last night, before stopping off in Oxford for a late Christmas party and missing the last train home to Reading. Fortunately there were several of us to share a Taxi to Didcot and then a train to Tilehurst. Shared a Taxi from Tilehurst too.


I went to London last Thursday and after attending to other matters, had some coffee in Leicester Square and then met up with, and had some chinese with agk. I know where the Leicester Square Wagamama is now too so that can go on the todo.

I saw The Mousetrap at St. Martins Theatre (no website found quickly in google but their booking office is at – 020 7836144 according to funkyuk.com.). This was an ING promotion which meant Alasdair had two free tickets, so we endured a little marketting and PR rubbish while pondering whether the ING slogan “It’s your money we’re saving” is really what it is when they have fortune cookies made with that printed on the paper inside, or bottled water with that printed on the label. Anyway the play was indeed interesting and very reminiscent of an old Miss Marpel episode for those who remember watching those on TV.

Thawte Notory

I am now a Web Of Trust Notary and can notorise other people if this is deemed useful for signing x509 certificates and so on. There was a signing session in Oxford last Monday evening in The Lamb and Flag and afterward I discovered Wok23 thanks to the recommendation Ganesh offered for somewhere worth a try. Good food and reasonable.

Playing Go

I decided to take Go a little bit more seriously than I was, because it really is an interesting game and there is plenty of opportunity around for me to learn from interesting players. Take Harry from the Oxford Go club as an example of someone who has been playing for 45 years and is very amenable towards the likes of a newcomer to the game such as myself. I went to London last week to get Tom a board so that jok and I could give it to him in hospital when we went up on Friday. I found The London Chess Centre to be a useful resource for acquiring boards, bits, and books as well as having friendly staff.


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