Happy Song

Stephen posted about a song that makes him happy. When I’m working from home and need cheered up I listen to Barry White singing “You’re the First, the Last, My Everything”. Not only does it make me happy but it fills me with energy as I can’t hear it without wanting to dance.

Project House - Step 1

My new cleaners have arrived. They responded really quickly to my enquiry on Sunday, had a meeting arranged last night and then arrived in force this morning. I just nipped out to the shop and discovered that the whole world knows about my cleaners! It’s obvious that I couldn’t be too concerned about people knowing or I wouldn’t write about it on my blog. And it isn’t really the whole world just all my neighbours and the people who work in the health centre and library. The cleaners have parked a van across from my house which is covered in adverts regarding their business. They have also put up boards advertising their services around the van! And as three people arrived, and not the one I was expecting, wearing polo shirts advertising the company I don’t see how anyone could have missed them.

Lazy Afternoon

I’m really supposed to be working but just can’t be bothered. Instead I’m converting some CDs so I can listen to them in iTunes. This takes much too long because iTunes doesn’t recognise my CD drive. I have to use Windows Media Player to rip them and iTunes to convert them.

* Alicia Keys – Songs in A Minor
* Billie Holiday – The Essential Recordings
* Dinah Washington – The Collection
* Madonna – The Immaculate Collection
* Prince – The Very Best of Prince
* Various Artists – City of Angels

Why Tidy?

My house isn’t tidy. This morning, while chatting with a group of friends, Marty suggested that I wouldn’t be able to make it tidy. This just isn’t true (or at least I’m not willing to believe that it’s true). I could treat my house like all the other projects I work on. When I got home today I looked around the house and thought “if my goal was to improve this house how would I do it?”.

I’ve already said that I would like the house to be tidy. But what are the reasons behind this? Do I want to make it tidy just because someone says that I can’t? Or do I have other reasons? I want the house to be tidy because I want my home to be comfortable. I would also like my home to be somewhere I can completely relax. It has all the basic things I require for it to be comfortable and relaxing but when you have to fight to make a path between the books lying on the floor just to cross the room something needs to be done.

That gives me the “why” but how do I go about changing it? It’s been like this for the past five years. What makes me think that I can change it now? I don’t have a lot of time to commit to the project. And if I try to do too much in one go I’ll just get overly tired, fed up and nothing will change. Tony occasionally asks “what’s the biggest bang for the buck”? It’s not a phrase that I overly like – too American – but I do agree with the sentiment. There are lots of things I could do to change the house but they all have different costs associated with them. The resource that I most lack is time. All the time I give to the house is used up with cooking and cleaning and it would cost me too much to give more time. I don’t have anyone else here who could do the work for me (Marty is never going to get the house tidy). As a project my house is under staffed – I need to bring in someone else.

I know people who think that is terrible if a woman can’t do everything herself. I should be able to work full time, cook, clean, have a social life – basically be some sort of 21st Century super woman. But I can’t do everything. I don’t want someone else to tidy my house but I would have the time to do this if someone else was cleaning my house. My first task is to find someone to help me clean the house.

YAPC::Europe 2005 - Day 2

I didn’t hear a single talk during the second day of the conference. I had hoped to see the lightning talks but went to bed too late the night before and didn’t get up in time. Instead of going to see talks I spent a very enjoyable day with a friend. The only downside was that I managed to get sunburnt. I wear sunblock when I go out into the sun but really hadn’t expected my back to get burnt through the top I was wearing.

I did attend the conference dinner in the evening. The food was really interesting. I know – interesting doesn’t make it sound good but some of it was. It’s just that the food seemed to be more salted than I’m used to. I also drank too much port – too much being one glass. I hadn’t realised that it was much stronger than red wine and was also surprised by how sweet it was. I really liked the way that the dinner was organised. It was very informal and much more enjoyable than the speakers only dinners I had attended in the past. We had really hoped to have a conference dinner in Belfast last year but were unable to do this within our budget. Hopefully have the budget to do this next year. And maybe in Birmingham I’ll even go to hear some talks on the second day of the conference.

Birthday Highlights

My grandfather’s party went well today. I had offered to help cook and managed to finish the starters and dessert whilst watching the F1. (I was really disappointed when Sato crashed into Michael Schumacher taking both of them out of the race).

The highlight of the afternoon had to be my 13 year old niece telling my grandfather that she wanted to be a pole dancer when she grew up. My grandfather looked across the table and said “Are you not a bit heavy to pull yourself up a pole?” My niece isn’t heavy at all and was completely outraged by this answer. She had hoped to shock but appeared much more shocked when my grandfather suggested that her mother would make a much better pole dancer.

Orange Madness

I was in Belfast this afternoon with my little sister. We were walking back to the car and she asked me what the noise was. She didn’t recognise the sound of the helicopters. I grew up in North Belfast and during the marching season there were always helicopters in the sky. It’s a sound I associate with trouble. Whilst Sarah was looking at the sky Marty and I were talking about finding a route out of the city as the police had started to stop the buses to certain areas and we could see riot police begin to gather at the back of the city hall. We didn’t have any trouble getting home and we also managed to avoid the traffic that was beginning to build up because of the fighting on the Albert Bridge Road and the Short Strand.

Tonight was the first time in years that we have had to ring the police to find a safe route home. We had been babysitting for my mum. She was supposed to go into Belfast tonight to celebrate her birthday but had to change her plans because of the violence in various sections of the city. I’m glad we did call the police because we had planned to avoid an area called Eden and to take the back roads home. The police told us that everything was calm in Eden but cars were being hi-jacked and burnt on the way to the back road. I suppose the fifteen armoured vehicles we passed on the five mile drive probably helped to keep things calm in Eden.

Tomorrow we are supposed to be meeting at my mums to celebrate my grandfather’s 80th birthday. Hopefully the madness will have stopped by then.

Backwards Crossovers

Today’s lesson: try not to entangle the skates whilst going backwards if I want to be able to walk between classes.

YAPC::Europe 2005 - Day 1

I must have arrived at the conference after most of the other attendees. The room was full and I ended up sitting on the floor against a wall at the back. I didn’t enjoy Larry’s keynote. Mainly because I’d heard most of it before. Larry showed a load of things in Perl 5 and then how they would look in Perl 6. I’ve seen Larry present a talk like this before and also seen both Damian and Allison give similar talks. This happens to me a lot at conferences. Maybe I should limit myself to one a year.

I also think that I had set my expectations too high. I was expecting the keynote to be more like the state of the onion talks that Larry gives at Oscon.

I did register for the conference at some point. This must have been a very smooth process as I don’t really remember much about it at all! I was probably too busy talking. The main reason I go to YAPC is to meet up with other people in the Perl community. And at the first coffee break there were so many different people I wanted to talk to.

I missed the first talk I wanted to see as I ended up in the wrong room. There was a printed schedule in the conference pack but the schedule had continued to change and the most up to date one was on the conference wiki. I don’t carry a laptop to conferences. I write my notes with pen and paper. Someone pointed out that the conferences organisers had printed out an up to date version of the schedule and put this on a notice board which meant I did get to the correct talks for the rest of the day.

I went to hear Scott talk about “The Legacy of Perl”. I managed to miss the start of the talk so I assume the first talk I heard ran over time. Scott’s talk didn’t go well. He was very nervous. I think it was the first time he had spoken at a conference and he had Larry Wall sitting in the front row. Scott was also one of the first people to speak after the keynotes which is never an easy thing to do.

I heard Barbie speak twice in the afternoon. I think I preferred his second talk “Preparing for CPAN“. Probably because this talk contained practical advice with easy to follow examples. Both of Barbie’s talks were well structured. I’ve been to quite a few talks in the past where there doesn’t appear to be any structure at all. I assume this happens because the speakers are so close to the subject that they don’t realise that their audience may not have the same understanding that they do.

The last talk I went to see was “Perl in secure web development”. This was also very clearly presented and I was surprised to learn that Jonathan hadn’t spoken at a conference before. Jonathan also submitted a paper [pdf] on this talk for the proceedings which is the only one I’ve taken the time to read.