Angelic Paranoia

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I have a niece now
Saturday 27th March 2021 4:52 pm

I now have a niece. I can't meet her for a while, but that's not a problem because I don't find small babies that interesting. They don't do anything. (Human) just aren't cute.

Not being able to hold her is a bonus - I met my nephew when he was two weeks old and there is photographic proof of me holding him and neither of us looking comfortable. They're much more interesting when they can do something.

I'm more looking forward to being able to go over there to play with my nephew's Lego. He particularly likes directing other people to build things, and I'm all for that.


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My routine
Saturday 13th March 2021 11:52 am

It's hard to know what to write when nothing much changes. Even on Zoom chats the answer to what I've been doing is the same as I was doing last week. But I realised I never talked about it on here.

Most of my time is taken up by work (sadly). Usually I'd leave the house at 8:30, work from 9-5:30 with an hour for lunch and get home at 6pm. Now I work from 8am to 4pm with half an hour for lunch. It's so good to finish at 4pm because it feels so early. Still - even though I've bee doing it since summer. I've got my morning routine down to 45 minutes, so I have 15 minutes for a sit down before I start work.

After I finish I eat and go for a walk. Then I do an hour of coding before dinner. After dinner is for catching up on social media/forums/RSS feeds etc.

Most evenings I have something else I need to do eg wash my hair, clean out Merry's wee, go food shopping. Two nights a week I have choir and dancing. This is all the same as before lockdown, except this time I don't go anywhere (except for food shopping).

Weekends used to be busy, although I can't remember what I was doing with them any more! But now I clean the house every other weekend, clean Merry out when it's looking like he needs it, go for longer walks if I have the energy/the weather's nice. I do end up leaving a lot of jobs for the weekends (like blogging, since I was struggling to find time on Wednesdays). And then I spend a whole load of time coding. I will need to spend some time gardening when it's not raining or blowing a gale (my garden gained a lot of weeds over the winter).

And that's what I do with my time. It always seems to go so quickly...


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Stargazing
Wednesday 24th February 2021 8:02 pm

I had done some stargazing years ago, inspired by Stargazing Live. Last year I finally managed to catch the ISS going over, but generally standing outside in the freezing cold in January learning constellations wasn't as appealing. But then I was inspired by the recent Jupiter an Saturn lining up. I went out to look and could only see one bright dot (Jupiter), but through the binoculars I could see another, less bright dot (Saturn), right beside it.

I got an Amazon gift voucher from work for Christmas and decided to spend it on some decent binoculars for stargazing. The ones I have are cheap and light and good for looking details/people in the player/royal box at tennis matches, but that's about it. That's what I bought them for, so it's not unreasonable.

After loads of research I bought a pair... and then it was cloudy. Every night. Well, I got to the point where I stopped checking and was surprised a couple of times on my way out shopping - and of course it was cloudy when I got back. But late last week we finally got a clear night, and the temperature was above freezing. So I went out and looked at the moon through the binoculars and it was pretty exciting. Handily, the moon was up in the day a couple of times, so I got to see it looking less bright (relative to the rest of the sky).

I assumed at the time that the planets and ISS were the only other things you could see through binculars. The only planet that was up was Mars and it was behind the moon. The other night it had moved away and I discovered that through binoculars that little red dot became... a brighter red dot.

I then wondered if I could see any nebulae, discovered some were in Orion and pointed my binoculars at it... and discovered there were suddenly so many stars in the sky. I have no idea if I saw a nebula or not, I was too distracted! I can't go somewhere away from lights on my own (especially holding a pair of binoculars, that's just asking for them to be stolen) so I've always been happy with whatever stars I can see.

Afterwards I looked up what you can see through binoculars and it's not any details of Mars, it's just too small. But I bookmarked a website that I can check through next time it's a clear night (it's looking good for later this week!). I am really keen to see the ISS through binoculars, but it's hard finding a night when it goes over at a reasonable time, high enough above the horizon and it's a clear night. But it also moves pretty fast, so going to be hard to follow with binoculars.

For anyone interested in Stargazing I recommend the SkyView Lite app. You can hold it up and it'll identify what's in front of it. And you can ask it to find specific objects and it'll direct you to them.


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Cutting my hair
Wednesday 11th November 2020 8:54 pm

I hate going to hairdressers. This is why I have long hair - I only have to get it cut every six months (plus the hairdresser said that in order to get my hair looking good and suiting me while short I'd have to put stuff in it, thus negating the time-saver of having short hair). I hate that I have to sit still for ten minutes and then it costs me the best part of £20 (and I go to the cheap hairdressers where you queue rather than make appointments). And it annoys me that it's cheaper for men, regardless of the length of their hair.

And getting it cut in the summer would have been tricky with a mask on (they can't usually cut my hair with my glasses on). Fortunately, I had mine cut in February, so it didn't get to the point where it was getting too long to deal with until August. At which point I watched a load of videos on YouTube. And then didn't cut it until October.

At first I thought hairdressers were the people to watch, but they're focussed on doing it perfectly, which I'm never going to be able to do (they can always tell I cut my own fringe). And they're less about how to cut your own hair.

But there are people who already cut their own hair and they were the best people to go to for that. And I now understand why you have to have your hair really well combed and why hairdressers do some cutting vertically.

The mistake I made was trying it after I'd washed my hair and showered. By the time I was dressed my hair was too curly to tell if it was straight before I cut it. But on the plus side, I couldn't tell if it wasn't straight after I cut it. The idea is that you cut it, then finesse it. I did the cutting part, it looked just as good as before I cut it, just shorter, so I left it at that.

At least it was easy and free. And definitely something I'm going to do more (I'll need to cut it again before spring, for a start). Maybe I'll have to go to the hairdresser sometime, but I like this cutting it myself lark.


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The washing machine saga
Wednesday 21st October 2020 7:35 pm

A year later, I'm finally writing about my washing machine and why it took three weeks to get it.

Read more...


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A little more normality
Sunday 29th March 2020 6:38 pm

I intended to post something for Reading Wednesday this week, but I've been so busy this week I just didn't have time. In the first 50 days of my 100 days of code I missed one day. This week I missed three. But I had one evening where I was worrying about my smoke alarm going wrong. And if it's one of the mains-powered ones then it can only be fixed with an electrician. But I came up with a plan for that. I just need it to go off again to work out which one is it.

One evening I went food shopping. It takes a while because I'm trying to do two weeks' worth at once, I have to try and think of ideas to get round things you can't, and going round the shop takes longer if you're going to stay two metres from anyone. Also, I managed to open the car door into my face. My face hurting afterwards, because my glasses smashed into it did not help concentration. At least my glasses are bendy so they're fine and I don't need a (closed) optician.

And after a week off dancing, we're back to dancing. Over the internet, of course. There's a dance that no one knows that's danced more like a chorus line, in that we're all doing the same thing individually. Based on one week's session it's going to take a while before we're able to dance it out.

Hopefully now, things are going back to a routine more like I had before. Most of my days are taken up with work. Then straight afterwards is half an hour of choir with Gareth Malone. Then I need to do an hour of coding and an hour of TV watching before bed. And get in some dancing practice, some reading and some things off my to-do list.

And I will post a Reading Wednesday post this Wednesday!


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Updates
Sunday 9th February 2020 5:10 pm

Or things that have (or have not) happened since I had time to blog, months ago...

1. Back in November Sammy had a stroke, struggled for a week and then died. It was a year and seven months old, which made him an old man, but on the young side of old. He couldn't sit up and hold his food and after some experimentation I ended up hitting it with a hammer to break it into bits. Although I found that the sweetcorn pieces still stay in one piece. And it's hard to get into a sunflower seed shell using only your fingernails. I will get another hamster later this year.

2. I still haven't read Yuletide. Or any of the other secret santa ficathons. They went live around the time I was ill and it was a while before I could use a computer and then a while before I could use one much. And before then I hadn't read much, mostly because I was either busy or tired. So it just hasn't happened. None of it is going anywhere, so there's plenty of time to get round to it.

3. I have got back into 100 days of code, starting at the beginning of this month. So far I've created two sites, although one was so simple it only took me two hours.

4. One of the things I need to do before I get a new hamster is to sort the lounge out. When I had Sammy, getting to some of my DVDs was a bit tricky. And some of them had poos on. I first need to sort out the mess/dumping ground of my spare room so I can see what space I have for stuff and what storage I have spare. I've started doing half an hour per free weekend, so I've not done much but I will get through it slowly. I definitely need to sort out the kitchen cupboards too, as I have mugs in one cupboard, glasses in another and tumblers in a third. Mind you, if you want something to drink out of, opening pretty much any cupboard will get you something.

5. Tesco have started reducing the amount of frozen free from they have. But I have found that Asda are pretty good for free from (better than Tesco proportionally) and even Lidl have some. But Sainsburys are now the only shop in this town that sell my milk, since Tesco decided to increase the amount of space they had for alternative milks so couldn't fit in mine. My grocery shopping has ended up being all the shops.


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What I’ve been up to
Sunday 21st July 2019 5:10 pm

I've been doing lots of coding. I have a whole list of projects because it's doing things that help me learn them. There was also tennis, until it finished last weekend 🙁

I signed up for [info]remixrevival. I missed it last year because it was just too hot and now it's about to be too hot again... But only for a few days and it'll have probably improved by the time assignments go out. Otherwise the evenings aren't too bad - this is the one time of year I am glad I live in a cold house.

And then there were the house-based sagas...

The toilet handle was loose. I looked in the cistern and found that the screwy bit on the inside that keeps the handle tight was loose. My toilet is the wrong shape and I couldn't tighten it, so decided I needed to take it off and start screwing it on again. So I unsecrewed the screw holding the handle in place, went to take the screwy bit off and then discovered I didn't need to undo the screw.

So I tightened up the handle, went to put the screw back on and dropped it into the cistern. I didn't fancy putting my hand in that water so I decided I'd flush it and pick it out when it was empty. After the flush I discovered two things:

  1. The cistern doesn't fully empty when it flushes
  2. I am an idiot

Handily, I had some random screws, so I used one of them to screw it down.

The other saga was with the smoke detector. I have two in each location (due to previous 3am smoke detector saga). One plugs into the mains (which came with the house), the other has a non-replaceable battery (which came from the fire brigade at 3am). One of them started chirping when I was frying stuff. Chirping means it was a loud beep, but not as deafening as the smoke alarm going off.

That was annoying, but then it started chirping when I was boiling pasta. It turned out to be the battery one and the way to silence it is to press the test button. Which deafens you with six beeps. Given that you can only do it ten times, and in total it probably only chirped six times, I only tried that once.

Looking at the manual, for chirping it said to check it's definitely the smoke alarm making the noise and check the location. Well, the location had been fine up until then and my hall is not that big and there's no a great deal of places to put the smoke alarm(s).

I thought maybe it was the cooker, so gave it a thorough clean. Not only did it not help but then it did some chirping when I wasn't even cooking. I looked online to find that it wasn't the battery, because then it would chirp every 30 seconds (it was more than a minute between chirps) and it was probably faulty.

So I got rid of it. It spent some time in my garage (where no one would hear it chirping, if it still did it when not attached to the base plate) and then got taken away with the electrical recycling.

I now only have the one smoke alarm downstairs, which is sufficient. And a look on Amazon tells me these fire brigade smoke alarms are terrible and often have a crazy short battery life (even though it's supposed to be ten years). So I'm looking forward to the other one dying...


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What I’ve been doing
Sunday 9th June 2019 9:13 pm

A lot of programming stuff. I have found that learning things that I'm already using at work has been such a help - there are some things I never knew existed and now I could change them to make them so much simpler. So it's useful and interesting and fun, but also time-consuming.

Tennis. The French Open just finished, so I've been listening to that, when it's been on the radio/online. I watched it, on mute, for five minutes and that was enough - the camera work just does not do me any good. It was exciting and now we are on to grass, which mostly happens not on the radio during the day when I'm at work. Until we get to Wimbledon, then there's eight hours a day of it to listen to.

Singing and dancing. Choir goes in terms, so our end of term concert is during Wimbledon, then we have the summer off. Dancing is most weeks and some weekends until the end of July, when it becomes some weeks and some weekends. It was really cold at the start of the season (end of April/start of May), warmed up enough that I didn't need so many layers, now it's got chilly again.

Writing. None of this leaves much time for writing, but I have started a few things, but not got any further than a completed first draft. I am trying to put some effort into finishing something, if slowly, because it's been so long I've forgotten how to write.

Decluttering is also going slowly because I fit it round everything else. At the moment getting rid of things mostly involves moving them to the spare room, but in the summer when I have some more time, and when I have some days off, I will work on getting it out of the house. I did remember to take a bag of stuff to the charity shop this weekend, so that's a start.

For LJ Book Bingo I finally decided that I needed to assign my list of books I've read to squares. I've found I've filled most of them, but in a way that means I have no lines. It's a skill.


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Not posting much
Sunday 14th April 2019 7:31 pm

I'm struggling to find the time to post much. The three evenings a week I am in look like this:
6pm get home
6-7pm dinner
7-9pm 1 hour coding plus 1 hour doing things I need/want to do (not necessarily consecutive or in that order
9-10pm feed Sammy and watch TV
10pm go to bed to read

Two nights a week that 1 hour free I have includes half an hour of doing things I need to do (eg food shopping). I end up leaving most things for the weekend and then don't have time to fit everything in.

But I am doing better at the coding thing, now my rules are to do 10 minutes to an hour and no more than that, except on weekends when I can go up to two hours.

And I am watching more TV. This is partly because I have Netflix for a month to watch Discovery, and it turned out to be another free month, no idea why, but I'm not complaining. I have got through it quicker than I thought I would, partly because I have had some time with no energy to do anything other than watch TV that doesn't require a brain. And partly because it's not as bad as the first series (which is not hard).

I have two problems with Discovery this series:

  1. They're obsessed with spinning the camera round and can barely keep it still for two seconds, so it becomes more something I'm listening to than watching
  2. Last series there was one character I liked, one I hated and the rest I was meh about (well, by the end of the series - there was another I hated at the start). This series has one character I love, who I suspect is not going to be in series 3 (if there is one) and two I hate. They keep teasing that the characters I hate are going to die/leave the series and then they don't.

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Busy, busy
Sunday 24th March 2019 7:21 pm

I have mean to post (and comment and do all the other things) recently, it's just all been a bit crappy.

The week before last I got over-excited by the 100 days of code thing and got some coding done every free moment. And overdid it. I spent last Sunday doing nothing to recover. I decided last week that I would redefine a 'day' from being an hour, to somewhere between 10 minutes and 2 hours, and I wasn't allowed to do more than 2 hours in a day.

And then it all completely went tits-up by work being crazy, so there was no way I had the energy to do any coding, even when I wasn't working in the evening/morning before work.

And because bad things come in threes, my stove died. By sparking a lot, which was scary. And didn't do much for my stress levels. It is the least bad it can be though because the only thing not working is the ignition, and you can light the gas without that. And it's under warranty, so at least it won't cost me anything (extra) to get it fixed.

So I have spent this weekend catching up on TV and reading. Last weekend I finally got round to watching Game of Thrones series 7 (only two years later...) and then decided to catch up on the books. I was watching a series, reading the relevant book six months later to get the background, then watching the next series. But I got really behind and after spending some time trying to work out which I read last, I'm now partway through the fourth book.

The one bright spot in the week was dancing, which I didn't have the energy for but is de-stressing. I learnt a new dance, after having watched it before, dancing a position at the back of the hall, and then dancing it for real. All those years of ballet were good for remembering sequences (well, better than I was, if not perfectly). We'll see how well I remember it next week. It was a simple dance, but it was a self-esteem boost.

This week shouldn't be as crappy as I'm only doing my job, not my boss's as well (they got rid of him and shared his duties out between three of us, so we do his job on top of ours once every three weeks and I find it so stressful).


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Clocks
Sunday 17th February 2019 9:22 pm

It's all been going on with clocks recently. Well, two of them. Well, my alarm clock and my watch.

One morning I went to turn my alarm off and the button disappeared into the clock. Fortunately I could still turn it off by unsetting the alarm. But the button that no longer existed was necessary to change the alarm time. The clock is over twenty years old and a piece of it fell off years ago. I thought I'd glued it back on but found that was not the case when I turned it over to take the battery out.

I did consider for a while whether I needed a new alarm clock. There is an alarm clock on my iPod and my phone and my travel alarm clock. And I have one of those clocks that gets light before it goes off. Which I've found good for being able to wake up in the light in the winter, but frightens the life out of me when it goes off (it has 16 volumes, they are all loud). It also doesn't do the waking me up gradually thing, so is useless in that aspect. It also doesn't have a battery back up if the power goes. It does take a battery, it just doesn't do anything useful.

I also don't use it as a clock. It's just too far away and too big, so if I need to know the time I pick up my small bedside clock and put it up to my nose. It also has an alarm, but it's a very unreliable clock and a more unreliable alarm.

My alarm clock is a radio alarm clock, but I don't listen to the radio either. I've had it for so long that I associate the slightly tinny radio noise with annoyance and it makes me want to turn it off the second it's come on.

But I ended up buying a new radio alarm clock for £7. You can spend ridiculous amounts, mainly for the ability to charge your phone with your clock. Even though it would be cheaper to buy a plug. Since the new clock is smaller I've moved it further away from the bed so I now have to get up to turn it off, rather than just sitting up. This is because the traffic on the way to work got hideous so it would take 10-15 minutes extra to get to work. Considering my journey is generally only 20 minutes, that's quite an increase. Since I tend to spend about 10 minutes after my alarm goes off trying to get out of bed, putting my alarm clock further away means I have to get out of bed and am not going back again afterwards. Of course, once I'd shaved 10 minutes off my morning routine the traffic went away and I was 10 minutes early. I've started leaving a bit later and it's all fine now.

On Friday I looked at my watch and realised it wasn't vaguely telling me the right time. Or ticking. After thinking about what a pain it would be to take it somewhere to get the battery changed and how it would cost nearly as much as I paid for it and it didn't look that hard, I thought I'd have a go at changing it myself. I did manage to prise the back off, but broke off a plastic piece that held the strap. I have now bought a tool so I can get the strap off and not do that again. And glued the piece back on - I've been trying Gorilla glue and it is really good. I glued the hoover back together and after it set I couldn't get it apart again when I pulled.

The battery was the tiniest thing in the world and needed a magnifying glass to see what type it was. At which point I realised I don't have a magnifying glass. I found an app for it, which unhelpfully turned the torch on, which reflected off the battery so I couldn't see a thing. I eventually managed to find the battery type, established it's not one you can buy in the shops and ordered one for about £1. So on balance it's probably cost me more than I would have paid if I'd gone somewhere, but it will at least be cheaper next time.


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