Archive for May, 2006

Arrogant Worms

Sunday, May 28th, 2006

So I went along to the Arrogant Worms concert in Southampton last night. It was a real blast – fun music, cool crowd. I sat on a table with a bunch of cool cats from the Isle of Wight who are almost as into the band as I am. We knew the lyrics to every track (which I think surprised the band, despite an apparent fantastic reception elsewhere in the UK) and the others had even brought a tub of vaseline with them – there’s a silly song about Celine Dion that has a line about it, was funny when they actually did sing that song. The band took my request to sing the Last Saskatchewan Pirate and finished up with that, after being asked for the usual encore.

I stayed in a Premier Travel Inn. Typical mediocrely-bad British hotel experience – disgustingly bad breakfast (that they charge you 7GBP for – worse than the Westernized breakfasts I had in Mumbai) comprised from stoggy mushrooms, baked beans and almost-reasonable egg, with yesterday’s croissants and finished up with reheated coffee.


A weekend in Amsterdam

Tuesday, May 23rd, 2006

Those who read this blog from time to time will have noticed that I’ve been in Switzerland a couple of times recently, hooking up with Sven and some other Linux friends. Last weekend, in Zurich, we went to a cool concert and hung out – and met up with ajh, and Leslie. Last weekend, we said it’d be cool to do something random in Amsterdam this weekend, so we did. I hooked up with Sven and Leslie on Saturday and we hung out for a couple of days. As you know, I’m a big fan of coffee so the plentiful range of coffeshops was more than a little convenient. I like Amsterdam for a whole load of reasons.

So I got back to Heathrow and had the usual unpleasantries getting to Reading. They love to screw you over as much as they can. The bus I had booked for didn’t turn up, so while I was waiting for another one I got chance to witness a quaintism in action. Bus turns up bound for Woking, driver gets off, people start to get on. This driver has no change, but rather than work around the problem, he whines and goes into verbose mode, telling them how unsurmountable the change situation is and probably causing people more frustration than they’ve had anywhere else on their thousands of miles getting to London. Seriously. Anywhere else, you’d just get on the damn bus and they’d take credit cards, give change, and just keep things running nicely. Oh, and not time all the buses to arrive simultaneously from one central bottleneck. Contrast the experience between Heathrow buses and any US airport bus service and you’ll see what I mean. Cheaper too.

Places featuring on my European TODO for the next month or so:

  • Prague
  • Dublin
  • Belfast

Picked up a copy of Building Embedded Linux Systems to go through with a marker, looking for bits and pieces in the text – need to get onto that. Got a bit of writing done last week – this week I’m going to get the kernel intro chapter finished and mailed off too, with a vengence. I’ve realized that I can get a lot more writing done when I’m in a certain kind of mood – one that the music I’m listening to right now really helps with. Damn I need more time, tea and coffee, and exercise. I need to get a driver’s license, I need a bunch of things.

I finally got a copy of the new Pet Shop Boys album in the mail today, the one with Integral on it (Also in this delivery was a book about Rosa Parks). Integral is a song about ID cards. It features such great lyrics as “If you’ve done nothing wrong you’ve got nothing to fear, if you’ve something to hide you shouldn’t even be here” and “Everyone has their own number in the system that we operate under, we’re moving to a situation where your lives exist as information”. It’s primarily written (and in my case, listened to) in recognition of the completely fucked up UK government. But I hope the US likes it too – man, that NSA scandal is getting to be a TIA farce. At least Condi got the right treatment at Boston College yesterday.

One of the professors at Boston College resigned over Condi getting that honorary degree (what was the degree for anyway? best invasion thesis of the decade?). He was interviewed on Fox last night (I watched it – I find Fox hillarious, it’s so “fair and balanced” they had to build new special Fox scales just to measure it…) and all the interviewer wanted to know was whether the guy voted for the Democrats or not. In the US, being a liberal minded Democrat is commonly used against you, because the media often don’t have anything better to say. The guy being interviewed refused to answer the question and said “you want to brand me a leftie” and other great stuff. He was cool – he told them where to shove it and even managed to get in a few criticisms of Fox before they cut him off.

This weekend, the Arrogant Worms are performing in Southampton. They’re a cool Canadian band that I got introduced to last year. I mailed them to say they should do a UK tour – and I doubt that made them do it, but it’s cool that they are doing one. If anyone is interested in checking out some cool Canadian music in the UK this weekend, drop me a line!



Wednesday, May 17th, 2006

Photo: SWISS plane in Zurich. Their pilots evidently train at the same school of power diving that Air Berlin pilots go to.

I spent the weekend in Switzerland, again. My friend told me he’d be in the country once more and asked if I felt like doing something – of course I said yes. We went to see a concert on Friday night, then crashed with my friend’s cousin in Zurich before heading out to Geneva on Saturday to hook up with Andrew. I crashed in Geneva on Saturday and returned to the UK on Sunday afternoon. A fun weekend filled with travel from one side of the country to the other (twice, by rail) and fun with great friends.

We joked that we’d have to do it again this coming week. So we are. Except, this time we’re meeting up in Amsterdam over the weekend.


Random update

Wednesday, May 10th, 2006

I haven’t posted a blog entry in a while. So here’s a random one because it’s 04:30 in the morning and I feel like a break from sitting in front of the computer, so I’ll sit in front of the computer and write this :-) Seriously though, I’ve just been a little busy with “stuff” lately and planning various things that I’m going to do. Some random points:

  • The book is now available for pre-order. This serves as an excellent impetus for finishing it, and also as a replacement for coffee on those evenings and weekends ahead of me.
  • I’ve been going to the gym 3-4 times for the last couple of weeks and plan to keep it up. I’m obviously in need of losing a few pounds and it’s a great way to watch TV/iPod and get fit!
  • I’ve been asked to get involved with the running of a course at my local University, a course featuring Embedded Linux, FPGAs and the like. I like the idea of lecturing to people for the sake of my vanity. It feels good when people find you and randomly mail you about it.
  • Various forms and stuff got handed in to Uncle Sam, I’m hoping to move in October. Actually, I’m not hoping any more, I’m very keen to leave the country :-)
  • Lots of other private stuff that I might blog about at some point.

I’m planning on being in Zurich again this weekend to hook up with Sven for a concert. I plan to do a short trip to the US in the next couple of months and will probably aim for another crazy weekend in Ontario/Quebec sometime soon too. I’m confirmed at OLS and debating about giving a BOF at LUG Radio Live 2006 – logistics are fun there because I need to be in two places at once. Fortunately (is it really fortunate? I mean, we could run the thing all year long and it’d probably still be interesting…), OLS finishes the day before LRL and I can physically get back to the UK for a Sunday afternoon session. Then there’s the minor issue of getting back to Ottawa for the next day in time to join some friends for a hiking trip.

For those I mailed about Burning Man, I’m now very interested in planning that – it’s not certain that I’m going (yet), but if I can hook up with a cool group then I’m there. On the subject of cool things to do, I’m also planning this year’s second annual crazy pre-OLS adventure. Since I’ve been to the 6 larger provinces, I’m interested in heading out to the maritimes by train and then doing some cycling/random stuff. Also interested in cycling from Toronto to Montreal (or even from one of those locations to OLS) if Eric and others are keen on giving that a whirl. It is going to rule being 4 hours from NYC and only 7 hours from Ottawa by car – weekend craziness can be taken to the next level. Did I mention I’m insane already?