Welcome to Alans Diary - this is not a "blog"! :-)

Another big hiatus in the diary, I apologise for that but heres a quick update file

Of course, today is my birthday. Got a couple of gadgets for presents but you know..when you reach 32, a nice teapot is what you're hankering for ;-) (its a SmartCafe dual-walled glass teapot. Nice warm tea for a long time..instead of the cold mug with a bag still floating in it..which I've been perfecting over the past year

Enough, lets rewind a couple of months...my DS usage is now equal to that of the GameCube..and Dreamcast. hmmm. I believe its modern games...they just dont have the same quality as the older titles...with more abstract ideas and quality gameplay dynamics. Dont get me wrong, photo-realistic games with 'open gameplay' can be fun - but not for long..and the replay values and 'come back' attractions are minimal. I see you can get a pair of joypads with Sensible Soccer installed (the Megadrive version, grrrr!)..that speaks volumes. Hoping that this gaming situation resolves itself.

Gaming related...I bought a Zodiac2 back in April. Its a PalmOS5-based PDA with a 'gaming layout' and a nice large screen, 2 SD slots (one of which is SDIO..thus can use eg Wireless!), has bluetooth, gfx acceleration, 256Mb of RAM. all in all a very nice bit of kit. I bought the NAVMAN GPS system to go with it, a friend at work also bought a zod2 and went the tomtom5 route with bluetooth. Both setups work very well and have already made themselves invaluable. I used mine on holiday and for a recent trip..see below

..so, my main holiday is already done. West coast USA baby! yeah, started off in San Francisco for the first part. Walked around (a lot!) saw Haight/Ashbury (via a long walk from Market street near Apple centre) - walked to Coit Tower, Pier 52, Giardello square, Lombard etc too. visited Alcatraz, walked out to Golden Gate...and went halfway across before realising we werent really wanting to walk the parks opposite, went to many great restaurants, Delis, coffee shops...and Wireless everywhere (thanks to the Zodiac2!). we then took a rental car and drove down Highway 1 (and a bit of 101) to Santa Cruz, Monterey (went to aquarium, did 17mile drive, Carmen (Clint Eastwoods place of major...didnt really want visitors), Big Sur parks (lovely walks), San Luis Obispo (great cafes), stopped the night near Huerst Castle the night before and saw the castle in the morning..a great place!)..went down to some hot volcanic springs near Diablo Canyon Nuclear facility...then on to Santa Barbara..and finally the big LA. Did a couple of theme parks in LA (6 flags...wicked Coasters. Bobbie rated it better than Universal Islands of adventure...I gave it a close-call), Universal Studios..better than the Florida copy...and Waterworld show is a great bit of action. Tour was cool too..we was Agraria avenue - home to 'Desperate Housewives'. during these days we also hung around Hollywood and Sunset strip.. the sign for Hollywood isnt really impressive when you're there (difficult to find...and not that big..far from the image portayed on the TV). but still.... then off down to Newport beach for the last few days - and some more shopping hours to clock in for Bobbie (though I also bought stuff). A great holiday, I'm afraid to say that West coast Americans are a whole breed apart - they're friendly and happy :-)

Back in UK...a school reunion loomed large. It was on top of me before I realised...but some quick organisation and I had a hire car for the weekend trip...and my sister was ready too. friday I drove down to Guildford to meet my old work mates...most of them were away..ah well. saturday, picked up my sister and we are on our way..using GPS for the hell of it (though the night before it was worth its weight in Gold as I had to fight really bad traffic - by avoiding it!) we got to St Johns (sidmouth, devon) a bit early..so went to the beach. wow! it wasnt anything like I remembered! sand??? did we only have our geography field trips at high tide? perhaps! we then went to the school...at the beginning there weren't many ex-students around..but then they arrived. It was great to see my old headmaster (retiring) and his wife, the grounds, the facilities...very little had really changed since my last time there 19 years ago! Best of all was seeing my old classmates and fellow ex-sports team mates. Jamie, Simon, Andrew, Roy - shouts out to you! :-) my sister and I had a great time. long drive home..pity, I would have loved to stay in sidmouth for the night with the lads drinking many beers..but I hadnt planned the trip that way. Back to nottingham on the sunday via guildford. I do like Guildford, its a lovely town and I miss the place. One day I can afford to live in Surrey again :-)

Which brings us back to now. we're doing a bit of DIY in the front room..stripping off the woodchip wallpaper before repainting. only one wall to go..and I've got to make some more shelving units for the DVDs, books etc. I still havent upgraded my systems for MythTV to be happy...but Sky+ has put off the requirement somewhat. only a few days until our first wedding anniversary...thats paper if I recall...

thats all for now folks

Older files: March 2005