further widgetry

9:00 – Get up.

9:15 – Sitting.

9:50 – Breakfast.

Somehow I manage to avoid the serious bits I need to do, instead coding a handy widget, that I’ll definitely deploy on one of my sites if not on this one.

I get a call from Walker – I shan’t be needed there this afternoon.

13:30 – Lunch.

Back to the widgetry, and then to the bank where I deposit some cheques, then home where I do some bits of work. And further widgetry.

19:30 – Juan arrives. Long chat.

20:45 – Begin working with guitars. Warm up, then looking at more of the Bach. Extraordinary stuff – each separate bar appears to come from quite a different place from the one previous, but then they slot together in ingenious ways. Circulating these bars, all three permutations.

Tea and scones.

22:45 – Juan leaves. I put the rubbish out.

00:03 – Soon to bed.

It was all I could do to stop myself falling to my knees.

7:30 – Rise, shower. Dither.

8:10 – Sitting.

8:50 – Breakfast.

10:10 – To Walker.

Juan calls – can he borrow my bass amp this evening.

13:00 – Lunch. Kedgeree – actually quite spicy kedgeree, but that doesn’t stop me having seconds.

14:00 – Back to work.

I’m given a cheque by the woman from accounts. Her job involves going round distributing pay slips and occasional cheques. She must feel very popular. People keep saying “Thank you”. It was all I could do to stop myself falling to my knees.

The art director is away today, so we kind of run out of things to do (there are lots of things to do, but we’re not sure how she would like them done) by about 17:30, so I come home.

When I get there, Juan is in the flat attempting to extricate the bass amp. This is achieved, then we have tea and he goes off with the amp.

I fix a problemette with this site, while chatting with Juan.

Dinner: Sausage soup. Mmm!

After dinner, I look at a couple of non-urgent-but-niggling things to do with the site while watching a Czech movie that I know as Tomorrow I’ll Be Scalding Myself With Tea (too complicated to explain, really) and a documentary about Erich Korngold.

23:14 – Posting this.

I’m not sure why I’ve done this

10:30 – Get up. Sit. Breakfast.

As I have some work to do, I spend the day rewriting another old website, but I’m glad I did when I’m done.

I restring my classical guitar. It will probably be weeks before the strings agree to stay in tune. The Godin is very lovely, but in circumstances like last night is more likely to leave me marooned than the acoustic.

I make bacon/sausage/scrambled egg for lunch.

More website stuff, not really messing with the coding, but just neatening up the structure. Still, as nobody actually visits it (or would have any need to) I’m not sure why I’ve done this. Following instructions, again.

Dinner is spicy – saag aloo by Haruko.

After dinner I finally get on to the work – finalising the colouring in I did last week and compressing them into a zip file ready to by uploaded while we sleep tonight.

More tweaking.

which I suggest is counter-intuitive

9:05 – Woken by the telephone.


9:45 – To the supermarket. Why does the supermarket put everyone in a bad mood?

A fairly amorphous day. I eat too much bread. Haruko goes out and returns later. I play the guitar for a bit.

19:30 – To the Stage Door, a pub around the corner, that’s been running an open-mike for a while, but as I’ve been off open-mikes I haven’t checked it out. I sign up and get a slot quite late on in the procedings. Haruko has come with me, but flees after one act.

It’s actually fascinating to watch what people manage to do to genuine musical aspirations – with drunkenness, with their own attitude, and even with the way they hold the guitar. A lot of people seem to be channelling swamp gospel-blues for some reason. More Bible references than one might normally expect from such a group. One performer – already quite intoxicated – has really quite tortured lyrics and a wholly jokey manner, although his delivery is also quite confrontational. He engineers a deliberately ramshackle cover of I Will Survive. He is, I notice, absolutely word-perfect on the lyrics. So, for an hour and a bit I’m able to watch with interest. When my turn is coming up I take the guitar out and tune it up. I’m aware of a blankness with regards to the songs – I can’t remember how they go, but my fingers remember. I’ll just have to trust my fingers.

I begin by insulting the decor – the pictures on the walls are all of sportsmen, which I suggest is counter-intuitive. I think that confuses people.

I play Little Games and Iodine, which is probably the coward’s way out (these are songs that I played hundreds of times when I was on the open-mic circuit), or would be if they didn’t drop me in it, rather – a whole section of Little Games disappears from my fingers both times it emerges in the song and I have to invent a completely new ending on the spot. I can’t really hear the vocals, and can really hear the guitar, which is interesting.

The other punters receive it well, considering that it’s an ongoing train-wreck.

After I’ve played, I notice that I’m less able to pay attention to the other performers and that I’m somehow concerned about winning the night, which is absurd.

A very informative experience, though: Whereas last night I played a couple of songs at a reunion of old friends (and I could feel the support – there was definitely music available, at least during River Rise), tonight was different – not negative, or unsupportive, but very naked. Exactly the sort of environment that one might look down in the middle of the song and realise that one doesn’t recognise the fretboard or one’s own hand at all. It’s not just happening to me, it’s happening to lots of people. I have to go back.

The woman running the night, representing the management, tells me that they used to have pictures of actors, but the actors stopped coming in when they opened the bar under the Old Vic. I try to explain that it was just a something-to-say. I keep saying things ironically, as a joke, that are then taken completely seriously by the person I’m speaking to. I’d have hoped I’d learned better by now.

I don’t stay to the end, but I stay until everyone has played at least once.

Late dinner with Haruko, some emails, then writing this and soon to bed.

Like looking at the world with my glasses off

7:00 – Rise, shower.

7:30 – Sitting.

8:10 – Breakfast.

10:20 – To Walker.

As it’s not only a Friday, but a Friday before a Bank Holiday Weekend, there are very few of us in the building.

Maisying, although neither of us in that department really know what we can do. Slightly frustrating.

13:00 – Lunch.

Send birthday greetings.

While working I listen to some Spanish podcasts. The effect is much the same as yesterday I broadly understand what they’re talking about but with frustratingly few details, and no sense of time or tense, whatsoever. Like looking at the world with my glasses off.

14:00 – Back to it.

18:20 – Leave Walker and go home.

19:00 – Dinner – Japanese food, hooray!

Evening on the couch. I break and then attempt to reassemble an old diary site of mine. It looks like I was trying to be cleverer than absolutely necessary in the code, which doesn’t surprise me. As it turns out I wasn’t very clever, after all.

00:31 – Having managed to un-break the site, soon to bed.

a lens that is out of focus

7:40 – Get up. The original idea had been 7:00, then 7:04, then 7:40. Hum. Last night was full of strange dreams.

8:00 – Sitting.

8:40 – Breakfast.

The colouring in job is back. I send an email to the designer apologising for the non-appearance. It’s OK – she wasn’t expecting it so quickly anyway, certainly wasn’t planning on it – but still, I shouldn’t have said.

I also listen to the BBC World Service in Spanish. It’s the same programme over and over, but that gives me a chance catch some of the meanings. I instantly know what the story is about, but find it very difficult to catch the individual words. On the whole the effect is like looking at something through a lens that is out of focus.

13:00 – Lunch.

More colouring in.

19:00 – Dinner.

Colouring in – I’m on the final picture now, and then the first wave of corrections.

I do one corrected page (the most complicated, I think, which requires a new bed to be comped together from other parts of the picture) and then call it a day. I’d hoped to avoid working over the weekend, but then I’d imagined that the whole thing could be wrapped up by this morning, so what do I know?

Sounds a bit unhappy, that – not unhappy, just slightly confused. I genuinely don’t understand where the time goes. I’m paid by the hour, it’s not a problem.

23:24 – Posting this, some emails, then Bed.

all middle

7:30 – Get up.

7:50 – Sitting.

8:30 – Breakfast.

More colouring in. I confidently tell the designer that it will all be done today. However, as the day drags on and I’m still working on the same picture…

12:00 – Haru goes out.

13:00 – I have lunch.

More colouring in.

H returns with groceries.

19:00 – Dinner.

Back to the colouring in. I’m shocked at how long this is taking, though in retrospect not surprised. A problem I have is that because it’s hours of the same stuff with very little variation it doesn’t seem like it’s taken a lot of time – I seem to measure out time in beginnings and endings and jobs like this are all middle.

Looks good, though.

And at about 21:30 (when I’m finally past the very complicated spread) I begin getting unpredictable crashes, which slow me down even more. I imagine the explanation to the designer will involve an emphasis on the crashes.

While I’m waiting for the machine to restart again I take out the rubbish.

23:34 – Posting this. Soon to bed.

a much simpler technique gets an easier result

8:07 – Get up. Sitting. Breakfast.

To the colouring in, which carries me through to lunch.

Lunch is Haru’s bread rolls with a tomato stew.

Back to the colouring in. It’s actually quite an interesting job – I’m attempting to emulate the feel of those old limited-colour picture books of the fifties, thus fighting the temptation to use all of the colours. In particular, there’s one strategy for doing something that I’m finding it difficult to drop, despite the fact that a much simpler technique gets an easier result more like what the designer’s looking for.

18:00 – Shower.

19:00 – Dinner.

Back to the colouring in.

23:00 – I begin to upload the files I did today and download the rest of the files to do.

the still-quite-chaotic post-bed-bedroom

8:30 – Get up, sitting, breakfast.

I’d intended to get on with the new colouring-in job early, but there are two problems. Firstly it’s no longer early and secondly the username and password I’ve been given to download the files isn’t working. I email for help.

Help arrives – the username was given to me slightly wrong – and I begin the download.


Begin work. It’s very different working in here since the bed was dismantled. I’m not surprised by how much it used to dominate the room (in its dismantled form it’s dominating the corridor now), but the still-quite-chaotic post-bed-bedroom is a very different place with a different feeling to it. At one point I reach out to lean against the bed, which isn’t there, and catch myself before I fall. I must have done this many many times for it to have become such an engrained habit, but I never noticed it before.

Haruko is making bread.

Udon noodles for lunch: mmm!

Back to the colouring-in. It’s very slightly trickier than I thought it would be, but that’s OK.

16:30 – Juan arrives and we chat, then move on to playing the guitar: warming up, then circulating Bach. Then fresh bread and more chatting. Material to work with is everywhere.

20:30 – Juan leaves and we settle down to a quiet evening on the internet.

23:55 – Posting this, soon to bed.


9:30 – Get up. Still feeling very tired. Sitting, breakfast.

After breakfast I go through the cupboard in the bedroom (it hasn’t really been a wardrobe for a long time) and sort things out. A lot of clothes that I’d presumed beyond reclamation are not only saveable but approved of by Haruko, which surprises me. After this I clean and polish some equally retrievable shoes I find in there. To my surprise (and as someone who at one point only had one pair of shoes that made my feet hurt terribly) I appear to be turning into Imelda Marcos. Shoe-wise.

Left-over kedgeree for lunch.

Then I crash rather heavily for the afternoon.

Nothing at all constructive until Dinner, which is ramen by Haru. Hurrah!

After dinner I look at the issue of gallery menus again. I find that the best way to make it work uses Javascript in the oddest places.

23:37 – Posting this and soon to bed.