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Call me a5thael

Story location: Home / Blog /

At least, that's what my car insurance company called me. Somehow when they renewed my policy, they managed to change my name. I think I should phone them and let them know, otherwise I'm probably not covered to drive my own car (unless I legally change my name to A5thael of course).


Story location: Home / Blog /

My new car insurance starts today, with Emma down as an additional driver so she can get more practice, ready for her driving test in december. She was really excited but I must admit to being a bit nervous at first. My old heap of a car isn't as easy to handle as more modern cars with their power assisted steering, automatic chokes and responsive brakes.

We didn't go anywhere exciting, just to Tesco and back, although we did get stuck on the A45 for a while because the traffic was held up by an accident near the Broad Lane junction.

Storylog v0.20

Story location: Home / computing / blosxom /

Storylog is another Blosxom plugin. It logs the category views (and if storyfilter is installed, optionally logs keyword links).
Download the current version (version 0.20).
Instructions are in the zip file (no perldoc yet). For a demonstration of storylog in action, see the 'Most popular clicks' in the menu bar on the left. This uses the 'combined' log of both categories and keywords.

Storyfilter Plugin v0.31

Story location: Home / computing / blosxom /

I have been steadily working on my two blosxom plugins - this one and storylog. Storyfilter is now up to version 0.31 with the following improvements:

  • Now includes documentation in the file itself, rather than in a seperate readme.
  • Keywords treates as case-insensitive
  • Only matches at the start of a keyword, for example, 'review' will still match 'reviews' but 'work' will no longer match 'network'

Download the current version (version 0.31).
Instructions are found in the file itself.

New job. Same as the old job.

Story location: Home / Blog / work /

Today, I finally received confirmation that I was now Staff rather than Agency Temp. The changeover actually happened on monday but HR didn't inform me until today.
Advantages: More money, paid holidays.
Disadvantage: Need to give 4 weeks notice if I want to leave.

permanent link


Story location: Home / Blog /

Yesterday, we were in Derby for a friends birthday party - Ben (of World Memory Champion 2004 fame). It had nearly everything you need for a birthday party - a huge bowl of punch, silly party games, jelly, and an assortment of alcohol (including lots of Squashed Frogs).

Very little of the jelly seemed to get eaten. Some of it was used as a forfeit in the game of pass the parcel (where a challenge or forfeit was included in each layer). Some evil person (most likely Emma) decided that I should snort some jelly from a teaspoon. It was really unpleasant.

Possibly the highlight of the evening were the indoor fireworks. Thankfully, Ben's smoke alarm doesn't seem to work very well otherwise we might have set it off. The fireworks were accompanied by a ridiculously surreal story involving smugglers/pirates, monkeys, a giant spider and a dragon. At various parts of this hilarious tale, we stopped and lit a particular firework. The sparklers were ok, the spider and dragon were crap, the smoking monkey was worse than crap. It was rescued by the treasure chest, which exploded, firing photocopies pennies into the air!

permanent link

Squashed Frog

Story location: Home / food_and_drink /

We bought the ingredients for this drink, ready to take to Ben's birthday tomorrow:

  • Midori
  • Grenadine
  • Advocaat

Slowly pour equal quantities of midori and advocaat into a shot glass, so they form layers, then add a drizzle of grenadine.


Story location: Home / Blog / work /

I got soaked walking from the office to New St station this evening. The rain had been quite heavy for most of the afternoon. Parts of Navigation Street were flooded, the water was starting to flow onto the pavements. Some of the streets were more like rivers.

Anniversary Dinner

Story location: Home / food_and_drink /

We were going to go to Habibi (on Far Gosford Street) - we'd been there before, for Emma's birthday. It was where we acquired a taste for falafel. Unfortunately, we got there to find that it was closed on mondays. We walked down the road looking for somewhere else, and decided upon the Nawaz (a Balti House upstairs from Gosford Wine).

We'd brought a bottle of champagne with us to celebrate our anniversary. Thankfully, the place was unlicenced so we were allowed (encouraged) to bring our own drink.

We shared starters: Onion Bhaji and chicken tikka. For the main course, I had the Prawn with Dall Balti and Emma had the Chilli Chicken Balti. They came served in the huge metal bowls, and the servings were very generous. For accompaniment, we had the chicken fried rice and one Giant Naan between us. The naan was indeed giant. We ended up taking most of it home.

Verdict: The whole meal came to less than £20 for both of us. The food was great in both taste and value. The staff are friendly. Initially we were disappointed that we couldn't get into Habibi but we still ended up having a good night out and some good food.

Stratford Upon Avon

Story location: Home / Blog /

I've lived in Coventry for over a year now, but still hadn't visited Stratford. We'd decided to wait til after summer so the town wasn't too crowded.

I didn't know what to expect when we got there. Someone in work told me that the town had an awful one-way system (which proved to be true. When the roads are busy, it made finding a car park slightly confusing). I'd read that the town wasn't as historic as people are led to believe and that it had a horrible modern shopping centre. The town actually has a lot of old timber buildings (many more that Warwick) and the concrete shopping centre is small and easy to avoid.

What the town does have of course, is an abundance of Shakespeare. Not just obvious things like his birthplace, but 'ye olde shoppes' with awful names. Within a few minutes of leaving the car park, we passed such delights as:

  • Much Ado about Toys
  • As You Like It (a sandwich bar)
  • The Food of Love (a cafe)

There were a lot of sweet shops in the town, advertising various types of traditional or hand-made produce. We popped into a few of them, the first time to buy some fudge. Then later on to get some ice-cream. I also bought a bar of spiced chocolate, containing cinnamon and chilli. The chilli gives it a slight warmth, rather than firey heat.

Unromantic Language

Story location: Home / Blog / food_and_drink /

I was eating a Baci chocolate (we bought a huge box of them for £1 from Nuneaton Market - they were slightly out of date but taste fine). I read the quote inside:

Mit einem mal denke ich an dich, und Liebe erhellt meine Welt.

It sounds so much more romantic in English.

Suddenly, you are in my thoughts, and love lights up my world.

German is such an unromantic sounding language. No wonder they need so much beer. It must be very difficult to woo someone when you sound like that.