tinyjo: (tiny kitn)
Have just spent far too long fiddling with a new journal style on Dreamwidth. I'd forgotten how oddly absorbing tinkering with CSS could be. It turned out to be just the level of engagement I was up for this afternoon, given that I am full of cold and feeling lazy.

Tomorrow, I will have to snap out of my lethargy to get things done because we're actually only 6 days away from our exciting adventure holiday! We're going to be spending seven days in Senegal, staying on a wildlife reserve where you can walk with the lions(!) and then flying to Paris where we're sharing an apartment with [livejournal.com profile] elyssa and [livejournal.com profile] stevieg over Christmas! I felt so inspired by the experience of winter sun on our Caribbean trip that we just sort of decided to go for this. It'll be the first time I've ever visited Africa and I think you could reasonably describe me as hella excited :) I have no idea what the net connection is likely to be like, but I'll try to post the odd update while we're away.

So now I just have to get through the last few days of term. Fortunately, I won't have to do too much in terms of teaching as we wind down, but given how coldy I feel at the moment, I probably couldn't cope if I did have to so that's just as well! Roll on next Friday!
tinyjo: (wine)
Seem to have got rather sucked into busyness at work and having horrible colds in the last quarter of the year! Ah well. Rather than completely paper over that period, let's see if I can manage at least some info about what I got up to.

5 things about October 2015 )

5 things about November 2015 )

5 things about December 2015 )
tinyjo: (Default)
Am trying out Stevies gphone - very nice, although I need to experiment to see how the zooming works. Right now, I'm having to compromise to see the text I'm typing. Like the keyboard very much though. Want one :)

Also, Steve and Amy bought us USB port (18.5% abv) :)

Ouch, tag auto complete doesn't work very well!
tinyjo: (relaxing)
So, I have safely returned home with Christmas one out of the way. This consisted of (in order)

GPS diversion. ... )

Best curry evar. ... )

Heroic driving. ... )

Relaxing en famile. ... )

Christmas dinner 1. ... )

Christmas gift exchange 1. ... )

Boxing day 1. ... )

Visiting. ... )

Most gorgeous sunset evar. ... )

More heroic driving. ... )

After that it was off to Jeremy's for pre Christmas 2 drinks :)
tinyjo: (jasmine)
[livejournal.com profile] shepline has had a fantastic idea for winter - solar powered fairy lights! I want! Seriously, something about this idea just instantly appeals to me. I am often a bit snobbish about outside lights but this is partly because I see so few that I think of as being tastefully done (we have a giant light up Homer Simpson that comes out for Christmas on my road) and partly because I feel annoyed that we should be wasting so much power when we're in the situation environmentally that we are so the prospect for solar powered lights seems like the ideal. Now I just have to decide where to tastefully drape them...
tinyjo: (fritilliary)
Awesome night out last night - lots of drink, chat and fun had (I believe) by all. And I now have 2 pairs of fingerless gloves to wear at work, one of which I am wearing now.

I went over to the post office this lunch time to collect the parcel I noticed that I didn't get delivered yesterday and it was really really full! It was about 25 minutes wait but I got it in the end - a parcel from Janice, my old yorkshire friend. I haven't openned it up yet but I'm sure there is a beautifully wrapped inner parcel :)

Alex got some more wrapping paper last night so I can do the rest of my wrapping up this evening, which will be rather nice. I find wrapping very relaxing. And I got a book delivered which I'd forgotten I ordered; Mum's pile has gone from being meagre to being rather towering over the last week, in fact :) Next on my list is to give my mind to a sekrit bunneh gift as I'm rather slow getting started this year.
tinyjo: (Queen of Cups)
Finally, I have managed to finish my Christmas shopping! I've done everyone, oh yes I have and Mum, your pile is no longer meagre :) Now I just have to wrap it all up. I ended up stashing it at Alex's office because I didn't think I'd be able to bike it home but in the end I could have kept hold of it as I ended up taxi-ing home with Ruth :) We were out celebrating the end of term and talking of Brownie stuff and everything else in the world. We always seem to have quality nights out - it was really good, although probably not fantastic for the diet :) Actually, I'm not going to worry too much about the diet until after Christmas - after all, I wouldn't want to spoil the gourmet feast Dad's preparing for us!

When I was at the gig on Sunday, the idea suddenly popped into my head that I would try to do a post every day next year. Could be fun, although it's unlikely I'd actually manage it. Still, I might give it a go. Something about the Pindrop Choir put me in a very aspirational mood - I was making plans to hand on the cello and start playing the violin again and join some kind of choir (again!) and all sorts :)
tinyjo: (sunflower)
Ended up having a really fab weekend. Saturday it was up in the morning (that part not so fab) to head off into London. Managed to make it to the Tate Modern with no mishaps and grab tickets to the slides. These turned out to be great fun, although I was dubious about their artistic merit until I started watching them from the other floors and looking at the whole intertwining set was rather impressive so I give them a provisional stamp of artisticness.

This was followed by Niall taking us to the second hand book stalls under Waterloo Bridge where he proposed to buy us books as Christmas pressies. I ended up spending 30 quid but did come home with a veritable armload :) Mixture of low-brow (Dick Francis) and more high end stuff (Jostien Gaarder, Kate Atkinson) which should keep me going nicely over Christmas. I haven't been reading much new stuff of late - I should really get back into it again. Apart from anything else there'd be less urge to snack with my hands full.

Back to Oxford and I called Alex to find out what next. It was rather too cold to stand around trying to make a decision and I seem to be going through a much less decisive phase anyway which is odd. In the end, we arranged to meet at Archie&Ellens for takeout and celebrating Lorna's birthday. This was rather nice but unfortunately, as the takeout took ages to arrive I rather binged on crisps and breadsticks resulting in a rather large overall intake :( Still, other than that, a good day.

Sunday was officially designated "Gettings Things Done Day". I managed to haul myself out of bed before lunchtime, where I indulged only in a low fat yoghurt, still feeling the benefit of yesterdays late night nosh. I then finished painting the bedroom by doing the last door and the bits of the door frames which still needed it. It does now look rather nice in my opinion, I have to say. I'm sure I'll find another bit I've missed next weekend, and I still have to do the radiator but still. Next phase looms.

After that it was out into the garden to refill my garden waste bag with the fallen leaves from next doors horse chestnut, a tree which tests my commitment to preserving old trees by dumping its load all over the back half of my garden every year and shading it all summer. Having filled the bag I realised I still have about 3 bags full before I can be said to have cleared the patio so I raked it all into a heap so at least it's not rotting around the bottom of the shed now.

Next up, an early dinner (including mashed potatoes, but I've got to use them up somehow) followed by a trip to the Port Mahon where we were promised a band who definitely weren't called Los Diabolos (in fact, they were Bell and Wilden :) ) plus other various acoustic-y folks doing at least one Christmas number one each! This ended up being a really great evening. We caught the very end of Oliver Shaw (Last Christmas, I gave you my heart), a couple of guys whose names escape me (their Xmas number 1 escapes me too), Joe Swarbrick (2 Little Boys), Bell & Wilden (I didn't recognise theirs - it wasn't very Christmassy though!) and the Pindrop Christmas Choir (Winter Wonderland). Joe had his Dad play in his set (which was odd because I feel sure I recognise him, although I'm not sure where from) and they played a fabulous carol called the Cherry Tree Carol which Joe's Dad said was based on a Koranic story. Bell & Wilden gave us a great set of traditional carols (which I had to sing along to) and one or two of their own songs as well. The Pindrop Christmas Choir were a classical quartet of singers in fact who turned out to be really fantastic. You really could have heard a pin drop while they were on. The whole thing put me into a really fantastic mood and I was really glad we made it.

Once home, it was Christmas card writing time plus a little bit more carol singing for me. I wonder if I could make it to the University Church carol service this year...
tinyjo: (Default)
I quite like the new update page now that they've changed the font again - that was the one thing bugging me about the first version. It feels less cluttered to me. I guess it's one of those things where as you add more and more new options there's going to be a regular need to have another look and see if you can present them better. In other happy technology news, I went to the listen live Radio 4 site to discover that finally, at long last, you can listen live to Radio 4 using Media Player! This means that I can uninstall the copy of RealAlternative I'm not really supposed to have on my PC and listen without fear of the IT department. Most satifying. Although I wish that Media Player 11 wasn't so very black!

We went to see Pans Labyrinth last night. I quite enjoyed it (despite having to hide my eyes several times) but wasn't anywhere near as enraptured as the Kermode, who waxed very lyrical about it recently. Some parts didn't quite seem to make sense but overall, it was pretty good and I'm glad I saw it. The Prestige remains my film of the year by quite a way though. Pan's Labryinth also ended up influencing some very odd dreams, although (fortunatly for you) I can't remember the details now.

Unfortunatly, while I did get a bit of Christmas shopping done beforehand, I didn't get very far for some reason. I'm finding Mum very difficult this year for some reason - I just lack inspiration. An extra present for Dad just fell into my arms via work today so he's more than sorted but Mum's pile is looking a bit sparse so far. (Hi, Mum :) ). We're getting Alex's coat from Camden in the New Year so I just have to sort out his stocking which is also going slowly. It is kind of putting me off the stocking concept actually as I keep seeing thing that I think "oh, that will be fun" but I know that it will be fun for Christmas day and then become clutter that rarely if ever gets seen. I have managed to find a good few things though that were either too much fun to resist or have actual uses so it'll get there in the end.

We were going to eat at the Radcliffe Arms between shopping and cinema but their Christmas CD was so unbearable that I had to leave which is quite impressive as my tolerance is much higher than Alex's. Still, tinkly piano Christmas was just awful so we went to the Hardcourt Arms instead - not many food choices but at least we could read Private Eye while we were eating, although that got me all worked up on how unfair it is that newspapers just make stuff up after reading about the Sun claiming that Romania and Bulgaria have the highest HIV rate in Europe and they're all going to come here and spread Aids when they join the EU. In fact, according to the UN they have the lowest rates in Europe but this doesn't seem to matter to the institutionally xenophobic and presumably as no specific person has motivation to sue they'll just get away with it. Maybe the Bulgarian embassy can complain or something.

Tonight we're out again at the 2nd gig of the Space Heros of the People. Can they top their fab first, we wonder? Come to the Exeter and check it out! I'm looking forward to being able to say I liked them before they were popular :) Then next week I've three nights out before we head over to the folks on Saturday - I shall really need a Christmas break by then!
tinyjo: (Queen of Cups)
Dear [livejournal.com profile] concourse and Brother James: Thank you so much for my Xmas CD. Even on recording Joan of Arc makes me tearful it's so gorgeous. Of course, all of it is great, actually, but as you know, that's my favourite. Next gig you sing it I'll be waving my lighter and mouthing the words :)

Dear [livejournal.com profile] angrychicken: Just got your parcel! Thanks so much! We're going to watch them while we have dinner (much better than Life in the Undergrowth at that time, believe me!). It really cheered up my morning to get that parcel.
tinyjo: (sunflower)
So, Christmas is past for another year. And a very nice time was had by all, I do believe. Gifts were given and received to (apparently) everyone's satisfaction. Wrapping paper was played with by kittens and burned on the fire to make pretty colours. All was as it should have been.

I have to admit to slight Xmas fatigue at this point though, having been celebrating it for nearly a week and a half., which is all very well but a little tiring, not least on the digestive system. Having spent 3 hours on the M25 yesterday (I kid you not!) on the way back from the final stretch with Alex's folks I feel all partied out. I'm really looking forward to doing not much of anything on New Years Eve followed by chilling out for lunch with [livejournal.com profile] white_hart, which will, I'm determined, be my final gastronomic excess until my birthday - after all, I've got to get in shape for Dad's christmas/birthday pressie (a visit to the Manoir).

Everything had been so manic in the run up that I had in fact failed to visit the church designated for midnight mass this year beforehand which resulted in red faces when I realised that unlike our previous venue they finish their service at midnight, not start it at midnight. We got the last couple of carols and that was it. It did seem a very nice church though and I got a leaflet telling me that there is sung Eucharist on New Years day so I might go along then - I still haven't given up on my plan for choiring at some point in the future. It does depend on my facility for getting up on a Sunday (10am start) but given that Saturday will be a lie in, it should be do-able...

I'm not feeling ready for a review of the year yet. There still seems to be too much on-going. A quick glance at last year's resolutions suggests that I'm not doing that great but it's all about aiming high, I tend to think.
tinyjo: (Default)
Now that I've finally had my credit card bill and got back to my computer again I have been able to do something that I've been meaning to do for a while - I've paid for this account :) I actually probably won't use most of the extra features for paid users but I just think that I use it so much and get so much pleasure out of it, especially when I'm bored at work that I want to support it.

I have decided to get on with all the things I have been putting off "til next year" - I've done LJ so this is what I have got left

Finish MCSE. I'm nearly there with this - I only need to do 2 more exams now. I'm hoping to have this done by the end of the month.

Get cats. As soon as I've finished this entry I'm ringing up the Cats Protection League to start the adoption process :)

Get NTL. As soon as I've done the above I'll be surfing over to the NTL website to decide what exactly I want.

Lose weight. I know I can do this - I just have to train myself to maintain my willpower through stressful situations cos that's when I put it all back on. Actually, also when drunk (witness my crisp demolition at [livejournal.com profile] cleanskies Saturday night) So, from now on, I'm on a diet. Stop me from eating crisps in the pub, OK.

My other good thing that I'm doing today is of course my fast. Not going too badly so far although I am starting to get a bit peckish. Alex has promised to try to pick up some kind of frozen pizza to take to the party to break my fast with as I doubt even Cowley Road will have takeouts still open at midnight on NYE.

And finally, the rest of Christmas - I did mean to make entries on my palm but utterly forgot so you'll have to have it in one big chunk )
tinyjo: (Default)
Well, here I am at home at last. The open fire is burning, I've had lots of tea and I'm going out to see friends this afternoon. Lovely.

For more detail see below... )
tinyjo: (Default)
Those of you who don't have to get up at god-awful hours of the morning may not be aware that the 6 and 6:30 buses to London are expresses - after Thornhill park and ride they don't stop til Marble Arch. This is good because it actually shaves a lot more than you might think off the journey time. The fact that it's the express is clearly marked on the front of the bus and is also mentioned on the timetable (albeit in quite small print). In addition to this, the bus driver announced it to the queue on arrival at the stops this morning (which they don't always do). Despite this, there's always some who get on and expect to get off at Shepherds Bush. Normally they take this in good grace and wait for Marble Arch but todays was a Frenchman. Complete with faux french accent he went absolutely ballistic, going on and on at the bus driver about how he 'wasn't doing his duty' and how he was going to do 'really bad things' and claiming that he hadn't heard the announcement. It was really funny - we were all sitting upstairs giggling quietly. An interesting start to the day, definitely :)

Who would have thought I could have bought so many Christmas pressies? I was doing my packing last night and I can only just close my case! Unfortunately I still have a few things (like clean pairs of socks) which need to go in so I might end up having to wear my rucksack as well! I'll have to see this evening. Am going to see Amelie tonight with Alex after I've done some pressie wrapping for him which should be cool. I wanted us to get together for something as I won't see him for 3 whole days after that, until he comes down to Norfolk - poor minou :(
tinyjo: (Default)
:( My ex-flatmate has had to cancel for lunch - due to plane shenanigans she didn't get home til 5am this morning! - and now we aren't going to get a chance to see each other til after Xmas. Definitely a bummer as I was really looking forward to a bit of a goss with her - always good for a laugh. Oh well. It's a shame I'm out of London for the whole of the time between Xmas and New Year except for the day of my fast really as that would have been the perfect time - no one expects you to do any work on those days :)

Still, it did give me the opportunity to get the last of my Xmas shopping done :) All I need now are a couple of stocking fillers for Alex and I'm done. I'm really looking forward to going home. That reminds me - must send card to next door neighbor letting her know I'm away - she seems quite nice and I'm sure she'll keep an eye on things for me.

Who would have thought it - doing quotescrape really woke me up :)
tinyjo: (Default)
Well, I am happy to report that I have passed my Network Infrastructure exam! Got 800 this time which was more than enough (need 620 out of 1000 to pass). Go on - ask me a question about DNS and watch me ignore it :)

So - to summarize my weekend for you...
Fri night: Alex's work party - cold but nice.
Sat night: Alistairs dinner - lovely food, drink, company. Me appointed Mikes surrogate girlfriend.
Sun: nothing :)

If you want a bit more detail, click here... )
tinyjo: (Default)
Well, its been an uncharacteristically long time since I updated my journal but when you've read all this you'll see why :(

my weekend. Strong language herin )

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tinyjo: (Default)
Emptied of expectation. Relax.

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