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Dom Mooney's Website

February 2007

At sixes and sevens...

Struggling with reading at the moment due to a number of things - misplaced books, and time being the main ones. I'm juggling between a CJ Cherryh collection...

...which I managed to lose for a fortnight by leaving it in a bag... Secrets of San Francisco....

...an RPG supplement for Call of Cthulhu.... and two others – The Collected Ghost Stories of MR James, and Eragon....

...which is a book I've had for far too long. The James is excellent, and I'm really looking forward to reading it, especially as I ordered it at Christmas. I'm more nervous about Eragon, because it's been so hyped, and I'm hoping that it isn't going to be as disappointing as Harry Potter was. The Cherryh novel is actually two of her earlier books, and both of them focus on people lost from their own culture. Reading the first one has reminded me just how well she does that style of novel, and the way her stories are always so character driven (unlike a lot of SF).

(No picture here for the MR James as there's none on Amazon).

A Busy Week.

It's been an interesting and busy week, which explains the time since the last post here. I've been travelling with work a fair bit to do some customer audits related to a company we are thinking of taking on in a service role, and Jill has had the usual clinic sessions combined with a check up to see how she is (rather than the baby).

Monday saw an early start across the Pennines to Macclesfield to a pharma company. It was very interesting to see, especially the difference of focus that massive margins mean. My company makes FCMGs and is far more conscious of the cost of waste and efficiencies than the pharma company we visited. It was a totally different culture, but it was also nice to see a British based business that is still doing well.

Wednesday I was on a big trip down South, so I worked from home in the morning. It gave me a far better appreciation of the pressures on Jill during the day, as writing a report played second fiddle to changing nappies, feeding and generally stopping tears. The value of the new baby bouncer was shown, as it was a sure way to thirty minutes quiet (and an excited Nathan!). Typing one handed, I managed to complete the report before I left. For reference, the bouncer is a Fisher Price one with lights, sounds, music and good vibrations! It was certainly giving Nathan good vibrations!

The hire car for the trip was a VW Passat, which was great once I worked out (a) how to start it and (b) where the handbrake was. The wonders of electronic gizmos making every car different. It was a completely different kettle of fish to the Renault Megane I'd had on Monday, and a pleasure to drive, certainly on a par with our Toyota Avensis.

The trip to Oxford was pretty clear, and I arrived at the 'hotel' that I was staying at earlier than I planned, 3 miles from the customer we were to visit. I use the term hotel loosely, as it was a 'Day's Inn' at a service station - clean, basic but with decent wireless internet access. I met up with the rest of the audit team (from another site) in the 'restaurant' and we enjoyed the best fare that Welcome Break could provide. It was all going swimmingly until I went to bed and phoned Jill, when I found out that work was after me.

I called the security office and they told me that a fire alarm incident had happened, and the long and the short of it was that I ended up turning the car around and coming back to support the follow up. I checked out with the bemused receptionist at ten to midnight, then headed back up the M40/A43/M1/M18/A1M... to work. I finally got home to my bed at 7AM the next morning, tired and shattered. I was pretty relieved too, as I think Jill was about to murder me when I came into the house at 6.30AM. She hadn't expected me and I think that I was going to face a fencing foil or something! Winking

Jill has had a hard week – Nathan is in the middle of a growth spurt and as a result very demanding. It's wearing her down, and it's very difficult for me to do a lot practically beyond do the best I can to help look after him in the evening. The GREAT news is the fact that he has put on 8 oz (old money!) over the last week and is finally above his birth weight. This has been a great relief to both of us, and also explains his constant demands for food the last few days. Put in a context like that, it's fantastic. Friday night helped; I ended up as Nathan's chair for the evening while Jill pottered around. It's a good thing that Five US had three episodes of CSI back to back!

This morning saw me in work (playing catch up), but we spent most of the afternoon out in town, pushing the pram down and finding out just how much stuff you can get in a pram with a baby! I start to understand my mum's tales of carrying the collapsed family pet dog in the pram as well as me and the shopping. The Mothercare plastic bag clips are wonderful things! As I type this, Nathan is fast asleep recovering from his exertions (being pushed around town). We've got some good new pictures, but it'll be tomorrow before I post them to Flickr. It's nice having a quiet weekend. I'm glad I didn't have to go to South Africa with work this weekend as was originally planned! Happy

Nathan and Minder...

Nathan's Minder #1

I've uploaded some new pictures of Nathan and others (including some friends like Tom) to Flickr. Click on the picture above to go straight to Flickr, or use this link to look at all the pictures as thumbnails first.

It's been an up and down weekend. Some friends from work came around with a takeaway on Friday night, and we cleared the lounge in preparation for Allied Carpets failing to turn up to lay the replacement carpet on Saturday morning. It was a great evening, as it gave Jill some company other than Nathan or me.

Saturday had the carpet failing to arrive (it's being replaced after the iron fell on it in December) and my parents arriving to help put the room back to straights and see Nathan. It was a great day, as Jill & I got a few hours to ourselves, grabbed a meal and nipped out to Harrogate and Wetherby while the doting grandparents looked after Nathan. It was nice to have a little space, and to see my parents. The only downside of their visit was the return on my eBay pile, which means I need to do something with it!

The other big news is that Nathan managed to sleep the night through in his crib last night. Fingers crossed this continues!

Currently feeling: Tired.
Currently listening to: Bombs' playing in my head having written the last entry.
Currently reading: 'At the Edge of Space' by CJ Cherryh. If I could find the book as it's been tidied up!

Bombs (Radio Edit)

Album Cover
I think that this speaks for itself...
We think we're heroes, we think we're kings
We plan all kinds of fabulous things
Oh look how great we have become

Key in the door, the moment I've been longing for
Before my bag hit the floor
My adorable children rush up screaming for a kiss
And a story they're a gift to this world
My only claim to glory
I surely never knew sweeter days
Blows my mind like munitions
I'm amazed

So much heaven, so much hell
So much love, so much pain
So much more than I thought this world could ever contain
So much war, so much soul
One man's loss, another man's gold
So much more than I thought this world can ever hold

We're just children, we're just dust
We are small and we are lost
And we're nothing, nothing at all

One bomb, the whole block gone
Can't find my children and dust covers the sun
Everywhere is noise, panic and confusion
But to some another fun day in Babylon
I'm gonna bury my wife and dig up my gun
My life is done so now I got to kill someone

So much heaven, so much hell
So much love, so much pain
So much more than I thought this world could ever contain
So much war, so much soul
Moments lost, moments go
So much more than I thought this world could ever hold

So much more than I thought this world could ever hold
So much more than I thought this world could ever hold

So much heaven, so much hell
So much love, so much pain
So much more than I thought this world could ever contain
So much war, so much soul
Moments lost, moments go
So much more than I thought this world could ever hold
'Bombs' by Faithless from their recent album 'To All New Arrivals'.

If you want to see the video, it's here on YouTube
If you want to buy the album, it's here on Amazon

'Winning the Peace is harder than Winning the War'

Where in the World?

I was following up some links and ended up on Neil Gaiman's website (famous author if you're into SF and Fantasy) where I came across a cool website that serves no real purpose except to let you realise how big the world is. Basically, the site lets you enter the places you've visited and colours them in on the map.

The World...
So that's the world view for me. Makes me realise how little I've seen.
Europe map...
The second map is a bit more parochial, as it shows the locations in Europe I've visited. I'm going to have to ask Jill to try this too and see if she's more travelled than me.

Where in the world have you been?

A Month Later!

Nathan is a month old now, and getting more and more alert! He's been smiling for a while, recognises voices and is generally great fun. We got some great pictures of him last night (which are on the Flickr page!). He's still not reached his birth weight again, but is starting to pick up a bit now. The effects of the cold seem to have gone and he feeds like a trooper.

He had two expeditions this week; firstly he went out with the ladies who lunch, and then to be registered. The first adventure involved coffee at a friend's house, then a trip to Ask (a local restaurant), and finally a chance to tell scare stories to the next group of ladies who lunch. He took it all in his stride but was a little tired the next day.

It's been a week where we haven't got a lot done as such, but have been really busy. The evenings have disappeared in a blur of cooking, nursing Nathan, changing nappies and other domestic stuff. The one real leisure thing we've been doing has been watching the second series of Carnivale, which is really excellent. We're four episodes from the end now, and I'm hoping that it will be as good as the building tension suggests that it should be.

Currently feeling: Content!
Currently listening to: 'Marbles' by Marillion
Currently reading: 'At the Edge of Space' by CJ Cherryh.

A New Book...

I'm pretty pleased because the latest RPG book I wrote was released at Conception 2007 last week. The picture above shows the initial print run which was for sale at the convention. I'm waiting here excitedly for my copy to arrive in the post. Nick Bradbeer did an excellent cover for the new book. Happy


When I went for DSL and dropped my 56k connection, I was pretty careful about who I selected. I wanted reliability and decent customer service, something that my previous ISP had provided for most of the eight or more years that I used them. Pipex have a lot of the backbone in the UK, and a good reputation. I've only really had two issues with them since I signed up, but both are pretty annoying. Sad

Firstly, they changed the FTP servers they used from UNIX boxes to some kind of Windows box (it says NT on the connection) that demanded active FTP rather than passive FTP. No big thing, as the apps I generally FTP (to upload the website) – Cyberduck, Rapidweaver's Publisher module and Fetch – can all handle this if necessary. However, the first pain of this is that I have to compromise the security of my system or reorganise my network to upload. I've gone for the simpler security compromise route, based on the fact I'm running OS X with anti-virus software. However, the need to do this annoys me a lot. The second pain from this change is the fact that they have yet to update their technical documentation to reflect this over a year later. The third pain was the fact their tech support couldn't explain what the changes were, and didn't bother noting the entry on their customer database or the info in email that I sent (describing the problem) that confirmed I was using OS X and sent me an XP solution.

Frustrating. Sad

On an ongoing basis, I've worked around this, but the FTP side is getting increasingly flaky. I'm regularly loosing the connection to the server, which I know isn't an issue at this end because the two commercial servers which I use don't suffer the same problem. At some point I'm going to get a separate server package, or change ISP, or both.

The second big issue is the fact that every now and again I loose the service completely. It's just happened tonight, which has scuppered some work that I was planning to do tonight. I've checked the connection via the router, and it's the login to Pipex which is failing.

Doubly frustrating. Sad Sad

Overall, I like Pipex, but their customer service is starting to slide. It's getting tempting to jump ship.

As an aside, I'm enjoying typing this on the PowerBook now that it has 1.25 Gb RAM. It certainly makes are real speed difference. Hurrah! Happy The old RAM will go on eBay in a week or two when the rest of my 'for eBay' pile comes home from storage at my parents.

As you may have guessed from the fact this is posted, normal service has been restored!

The Kane Files...

I've uploaded a new set of photos onto Flickr, (ignore this link, use the pictures) most of which came from my sister Alix's visit with her family when they got back in the UK last week. There's a sample below with Matt pulling a scary face!
Scary Matt!
I've also added some shots of Wetherby I took this morning when I walked in, and some more pics of Nathan looking cute. Of course, looking cute is something he wasn't doing tonight. He was very grizzly, but seems to have finally got to sleep!
Space Baby
The shot here is of him asleep, escaped from his 'Space Baby' sleep-suit.

Today's been a bit of a quiet day, with the main things being my walk into Wetherby this morning, and our expedition to 'The Baby Room' to look at some more furniture for the Nursery. While we were there I couldn't but help notice (yet again) how obsessive people are about 'designer' goods, even if they are more poorly manufactured and less practicable. Anyway, we managed to find what we wanted, and a new wardrobe has now been ordered.

I got quite angry today when I was in Wetherby. I was walking along the High Street when I noticed that a young mum – looking very harassed with three kids in the car squabbling – carrying out a perfect parallel parking maneuver on the roadside. The thing she hadn't noticed was that the 'space' was in fact on double yellow no parking lines as it was an access way.However, the lines were near invisible from wear, and they wouldn't have been obvious because she was in a big car (a Freelander) and the space was tight.

What made me mad was the Traffic Warden. he was on the opposite side of the road and instantly clocked that she was parking in the wrong place. He took her number down and was preparing the ticket before she'd stopped the engine. There was a time when the traffic warden would have just come and asked her to move on, but this guy was just planning to ticket her. So I told her what he was doing and she drove off, leaving a really annoyed looking traffic warden. I hate behaviour like this, especially when the department doing it has been clocked breaking the rules on parking itself!

The Real World Always Wins

I bought a gigabyte of RAM off Crucial for the PowerBook, mainly driven by the slowdown in RapidWeaver now that I've been throwing the bigger photo files into the blog. You don't see these when the site is uploaded, as RW scales them to something far more reasonable, but the master files are held in the binding file which means that RW is handling them. As the recent photos I've been taking with the Lumix FZ-50 are around 4-5 Mb, that rapidly adds up.

Anyway, the real world has won, as I'm still stuck with 512 Mb rather than 1.25 Gb until tomorrow, because I've been defeated by the memory bay door as the screws are a size 00 Philips fitting that I don't have. It's a trip to the hardware store tomorrow to get a driver to solve this slight mechanical problem. Defeated by the real world! It'll be interesting to compare the speed of the laptop with the desktop (iMac). It'll have 256Mb more RAM and 250 MHz more speed on the processor, so how will the architectures play out.

As an aside, I actually got 6 hours sleep last night, as Nathan is seeming to be recovered from his cold. Amazing how much better I feel for it. Jill only got four hours sleep (but got several blocks of this!), as he woke, but he seems to be getting more regular in his sleep patterns so perhaps there is hope! Happy