Tuesday, 22 March 2005

A weekly roundup

I've been meaning to write up what's being going on for a couple of days now. No single major thing has happened but I've enjoyed the past couple of days more than most.

Vlad has moved back to his parents' house for the Easter break, which means that it's fairly quiet around here. Xiaoxiao is busy attempting to do her essay and reading ``rubbish news'' while I've spent my time doing... well, not much. We had a short 'net outage over the weekend with me mostly blaming the wireless router (a Linksys WRT54G) and cheapy ADSL modem (more this than the router :) but having now spoken with the tech support guys at Pipex it seems it might have been BT's fault. Regardless, it all seems to be working well now.

In a little while I'm going to switch the firmware on my WRT54G -- I've had it running OpenWRT for a while but switched it back to the Linksys firmware (and later a hacked Sveasoft firmware -- DD-WRT) thinking this might be the problem. Since none of the standard firmware really suit me OpenWRT is going back on. It's a great little toy -- it gives me a full (as full as you can get in about 6MB :) Linux environment to configure as I wish. I don't do much with it but I like to know why it works the way it does (which I never really know with these standard ones).

Last night Xiaoxiao and I spent most of the day in the city centre doing a little bit of shopping before we had to get to the Manchester Computing Centre for Xiaoxiao to finish off her group exercise. I've refused to download and install Microsoft Office (specifically Excel) on her laptop -- doing so is probably a bit silly because she has an illegal copy of Windows XP Professional installed. However, she's now running Ubuntu (as are all three of us in our flat -- even if Vlad only uses it on his laptop from time to time) as her main OS. This is all set up with OpenOffice.org's development 2.0 release. It works very well but it's not 100% compatible with Microsoft Office. But anyway, back to the point: as we were leaving MCC we had just crossed the road at the traffic lights past the bridge over the road and were about to make our way on to the bus stop to wait for the next bus when I quickly decided that I wanted a curry for dinner. It didn't take much to convince Xiaoxiao so we crossed back over and caught the next bus to Rusholme.

Lal Haweli (or whatever it's called) was where we had dinner. This is the place I visisted last time with Vlad, Paul and some other CompSoc/UA people. Xiaoxiao hadn't come so I figured I'd let her see what it was like. Somewhere along the way I made a really big mistake -- I ordered a chicken tikka vindaloo. This is what I normally order (it's really nice too, I might add) and last time it was as good as ever. But. This evening it arrived and I remember looking at the tiny brown/black flecks and wondering what they were -- it quickly occurred to me they must be spices. Pissing hot spices too! Holy crap! That was one hot curry, almost as hot as the one I half-ate at that Naz place about a year ago. If I ever go there again I'll take a madras, thankyouverymuch!

The night before last (see? I've actually done something) we headed out to Pizza Express and then caught the last showing of ``Hitch'' at AMC. There were two good things about this -- it was (I think) the first time we've travelled back home on the ``night bus'' and Hitch was a really great film. I almost forgot what Manchester City centre is like on a Friday night and while I'm not keen on it, I quite miss walking among the great undressed while on my way to/from the cinema or some eatery. I've forgotten altogether what it's like to head out for a Chinese at Tai Wu at around two o'clock in the morning. There are plenty of things that you can forget easily but they sure come back fast :)

As for Hitch -- not what I expected at all. Or was it? I didn't really have any expectations but I certainly didn't think much to the reviews on IMDb. Well, I'm glad I saw it -- it was good fun and very funny. If you get the chance I'd recommend you see it, well worth a couple of quid!

Tomorrow is Wednesday. Wednesday means half price cinema tickets if I stick a fiver on my mobile. Seems silly as tomorrow night will cost more than paying the full fare but I figure that with text messages costing 12p each... well, that's extra free cinema tickets, or £123 if I'm the person that doesn't pay! Anyway, tomorrow we'll nip down and watch ``Hotel Rwanda''. This is one film I'm really looking forward to -- the IMDb rating is outstanding (8.5/10 where the all-time number one is 9.0/10!) so it should be good.

Well, it's time for me to think about flashing this firmware. I've also got to start looking up weather and other details as Xiaoxiao and I are probably going to take a break in the Lake District later on this week/holiday. It will be nice to spend some time together -- it's very surprising that while we live together we don't actually do that many things together. It should be a nice change.

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