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Toilet trouble in space station with 13 astronauts on board
'Toilet row' lowers space morale
Space station crew repair toilet (with video!)

As the first story says, The $100bn ISS has been blighted by toilet trouble. Somehow, as a fan of Stephen Baxter, this seems a very familiar topic.
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Our plan to grow vegetables this year has had a certain measure of success so far, though we've learned a lot already about what not to do next time. All the seeds we originally planted in our outside plot seem to have perished; all that grew seemed to be weeds. However, in the greenhouse, the tomato seeds we planted all came up, and I potted them out once they got too big for their tray. Last weekend, O and I dug over the plot again, and planted out all thirty tomato plants, which are now quite big, and some of which are starting to flower. Our garlic in the greenhouse initially seemed to do well, with all the cloves putting up green shoots, but have made no further progress; most of the shoots seem to have died now. Perhaps the soil was too rich, or I watered them too much and they rotted in the earth. I'm not sure. We also bought a little chili plant from a stand outside a house on our road for 50p, and it's flourishing. We also got two small red pepper plants, a courgette and an aubergine plant, which are still in the greenhouse; all these have been repotted and have grown a lot. The courgette is growing yellow flowers and small fruits; the aubergine has grown one large flower so far. However, aphids seem to have formed colonies on some of the greenhouse plants. We wondered about spraying them with a dilute washing-up liquid mixture, as recommended online (to suffocate the aphids since they breathe through their skin) but then I saw a large ladybird on one of the plants, which I reckoned must be eating the aphids, since they seemed no more numerous than a few days earlier. So for the moment I'll leave the ladybirds to it, since the aphids don't seem to be harming the plants in any obvious way.
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Well, that was an unhelpful morning. I went first to ARU's Optometry Clinic where I had my last eye test. They said they would have to send the glasses away to repair them, or I could come back if I managed to obtain identical frames and they'd switch the lenses over (unfortunately impossible). They suggested Vision Express, since they have an on-site glazing service. So I went there. They said they couldn't repair them, and could only put them in new frames if I provided them with an up to date prescription for my current lenses. Unfortunately my last prescription was only valid for a year, and I'm a few months over that. Even if I did have an in-date prescription, they explained that they would have to cut down the lenses 2mm on all sides to fit them into the new frames, which would screw up the positioning in front of my pupils. So I would need new lenses anyway. They explained also that with my degree of myopia (about -9D) they would not be able to provide me with new glasses today, even if I had an eye test there and then, because they would have to use ultra high refractive index materials, which they don't keep in stock, and which would cost at least £275 (other lens treatments not included, frames not included, eye test not included). I went back to ARU to see about at least getting a free eye test, but they were all booked up today and tomorrow - and then they close for the summer.

I bought some Quiksteel epoxy stuff from Mackay's and have attempted a temporary repair. Obviously this won't last. Tomorrow I'll go and look through my old pairs of glasses and see if any of them provide a better interim measure. This is all really quite annoying.

ETA: Quiksteel, whatever its other merits, is crap at mending glasses. Clingfilm turns out to be the way to go: you can wrap it round the nose pieces for extra stability, it's not heavy like quiksteel, and it doesn't coat the frames in stickiness like sticking plasters or sellotape. Also, I have discovered a couple of online places in the UK which claim to do cheap glasses frame repairs, return in a day or two. That sounds promising, and much cheaper than getting an eye test, new frames and new lenses!
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I broke my glasses frames last night, across the bridge, while cleaning them! I hope the temporary fix with sticking plaster holds up now while I go and try to get them repaired, or my lenses transferred into new frames... I am completely disabled without them and wouldn't be safe leaving the house. One could say I ought to have a spare pair, but the lenses cost a fortune and this failure mode has never occurred for me in nearly 30 years of glasses wearing.
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Yesterday O and I got round to putting into action our plan to try to grow vegetables in my and G's garden. We picked a plot which turned out not to have been cleared of weeds for several years, and it took most of the day to dig over. It's about 9 m^2, and the soil seems clay and rich, with lots of stones. In the end we planted a row each of parsnips, leeks, courgettes and cauliflower. We're also going to start off some tomatoes and garlic in the greenhouse, and pot out my two bay plants there, at the end of the week (we meant to do it yesterday, but ran out of time and energy). The work was very tiring, but in a healthy-seeming way (though I seem to have done something to my thumb - it's all pins and needles still). It turns out that planting vegetables is comparable to military activity or academic research: 90% tedious stuff (digging and weeding, in this case) and 10% intense and more interesting stuff (actually planting the seeds). Our activities in the garden seemed to both fascinate and alarm our cats - they kept approaching to see what we were doing, and then one of us would make a noise with a spade or throw a weed into the heap, and the cat would flee in terror.
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FAO anyone else going to Eastercon - a version of the Readme programme is now available from the con website. Looks like there should be some great stuff happening, including [livejournal.com profile] oml404 in the Dragon's Lair on Friday evening!
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Unfortunately, I got extremely drunk last night and compelled O to cut my hair very short with his clippers, for unclear reasons. (It certainly wasn't for my usual hair-cutting-while-drunk reasons i.e. catharsis following emotional upset, since I was cheerful last night - and have been for months, TBH!) It looks a bit less good than I think my previous haircut did, and I rather intimidate myself in the mirror now...
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Back safely from Mallorca now, via far too many non-flying means of transport, despite the best efforts of the Channel Tunnel to derail me. (My 11.13 Eurostar was cancelled, but I was there early enough to get transferred to the 10.13.) Having spent 30 hours continuously travelling, on 5 buses/coaches, 3 trains, a ferry and a taxi, in three different countries, during the last two days, I am utterly sick of all transportation devices more complex than my own legs, and TBH I seem to have buggered my right foot in Barcelona as well, so I'm not planning on walking more than necessary for a while either.

The astronomy course was a lot of fun, and I met many interesting people. (Mallorca is painfully hot, even in the middle of the night up a hill in September. Terrain-wise, it reminds me of Durotar, to [livejournal.com profile] oml404's dismay.) Now for exam revision, and catching up on about eleven days' lj posts...
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[livejournal.com profile] deborah_c, you should be able to see my angband filtered posts now - listed here. In the unlikely event that anyone else on my friends list wants to be able to read a (long!) series of posts about my winning angband game in 2003, and isn't already on the filter, comment here and I will add you. They're filtered for boringness, not secrecy!
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I became suddenly very ill today with an infection, and thanks to [livejournal.com profile] mobbsy was able to get to the out-of-hours medical centre in Chesterton for antibiotics and a prescription for more. No thanks to my body for picking the middle of a bank holiday weekend to make me Really Quite Ill.

However, last night's party at D and J's was excellent and I had a very good time. Just hope I wasn't too drunkenly annoying at anyone.
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W00t! Got 100% on latest physics assignment :-)
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Our kittens have been especially naughty today. They rebooted my linux box and flicked one of the trip switches under the stairs, causing the lights to go out in the computer room.
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After all the tributes here and elsewhere to Gary Gygax recently, I'm amused (and pleased) to note that the latest patch to World of Warcraft (2.4.0) is dedicated to him. Cool - the Gary Gygax Memorial WoW Patch.
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This is totally awesome and I keep listening to it:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rBBCJ68mC4c
(a blind Canadian blues guitarist called Jeff Healey who I never heard of before, who died yesterday, and who plays his guitar in a really unusual way).
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Meme rules:
1. Pick 15 of your favourite movies.
2. Go to IMDb and find a quote from each movie.
3. Post them here for everyone to guess.
4. Fill in the film title once it's guessed. At [livejournal.com profile] sphyg's request I've taken the answers off again, but they're all in the comments if you want to check!
5. NO GOOGLING/using IMDb search functions. Totally cheating, you dirty cheaters.


1 I know I've made some very poor decisions recently, but I can give you my complete assurance that my work will be back to normal. I've still got the greatest enthusiasm and confidence in the mission. And I want to help you.

2 You've been in my life so long, I can't remember anything else.

3 - Sometimes I think there's something wrong with me.
- I've never met anyone born after 1965 who wasn't incomplete somehow.
- Why is that?
- Microwave ovens, I think.

4 - This landing is gonna get pretty interesting.
- Define "interesting".
- Oh God, oh God, we're all going to die?

5 We wanna go somewhere else. We're not threatened by people anymore. All our insecurities have evaporated. We're in the clouds now. We're wide open. We're spacemen orbiting the earth. The world looks beautiful from here, man. We're nympholeptics, desiring for the unobtainable. We risk sanity for moments of temporary enlightenment. So many ideas. So little memory. The last thought killed by anticipation of the next. We embrace an overwhelming feeling of love. We flow in unison. We're together. I wish this was real. We want a universal level of togetherness, where we're comfortable with everyone. We're in rhythm. Part of a movement. A movement to escape. We wave goodbye. Ultimately, we just want to be happy. Heh, yeah, hang on, what the fuck was I just talking about?

6 Dodge this.

7 The enemy can not press a button... if you have disabled his hand. Medic!

8 I'm sorry, the wind caught it...

9 You met me at a very strange time in my life.

10 There's a way out of this game. Kill yourselves together, here, now. If you can't do that, then don't trust anyone... just run.

11 What more do you want of us? We've come all this way, no thanks to you. We did it on our own, no help from you.
[moves closer to steam valve]
We didn't ask you to fight for us but damn it, don't fight against us! Leave us alone! How many more sacrifices? How much more blood?
[jumps to steam valve. Steam burns his hands as he hangs there]
How many more lives?
[Starts turning valve]
Belle wasn't enough. Acres wasn't. Now this girl! You want another life? Then take me!
[Steam stops. Turns on valve to face survivors]
You can make it. Keep going. Rogo! Get them through.
[falls into flaming water below]

12 I can tell you with no ego, this is my finest sword. If on your journey, you should encounter God, God will be cut.

13 Oh, man, I will never forgive your ass for this shit. This is some fucked-up repugnant shit.

14 Relinquishing junk. Stage one, preparation. For this you will need one room which you will not leave. Soothing music. Tomato soup, ten tins of. Mushroom soup, eight tins of, for consumption cold. Ice cream, vanilla, one large tub of. Magnesia, milk of, one bottle. Paracetamol, mouthwash, vitamins. Mineral water, Lucozade, pornography. One mattress. One bucket for urine, one for feces and one for vomitus. One television and one bottle of Valium, which I've already procured from my mother, who is, in her own domestic and socially acceptable way also a drug addict. And now I'm ready. All I need is one final hit to soothe the pain while the Valium takes effect.

15 - It's the same things your whole life. "Clean up your room.", "Stand up straight.", "Pick up your feet.", "Take it like a man.", "Be nice to your sister.", "Don't mix beer and wine, ever.". Oh yeah, "Don't drive on the railroad track."
- Eh, Phil. That's one I happen to agree with.

Update: Congratulations people, you got all of them :-)
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Well, that's another first for this year, I guess. Just got a lift back home (with G) from someone who got stopped and breathalysed on the way. And arrested and taken off by the police. Happily we were nearly home anyway so it wasn't a big problem. Incidentally she was only just over the limit apparently.

I've been in cars on many occasions which got stopped for speeding (mostly driven by my dad when I was a kid) but this was the first time for drink offenses...

Birthday

Nov. 19th, 2007 03:50 am
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I am 33 now - rah! G and I went to Charlie Chan's and shared the vegetarian set menu for two, then we went to [livejournal.com profile] deborah_c and [livejournal.com profile] feanelwa's party, which was excellent. Chatted much; drank much; petted a lovely stripy kitten from next door; totally failed to persuade people to play I Have Never...

I want to thank the many lovely people who got me this as a present ([livejournal.com profile] razornet, [livejournal.com profile] mobbsy, [livejournal.com profile] robinbloke, [livejournal.com profile] mansunite, [livejournal.com profile] luthbeez, [livejournal.com profile] atreic, [livejournal.com profile] emperor, [livejournal.com profile] feanelwa, [livejournal.com profile] karohemd and [livejournal.com profile] fellcat). It looks fantastic. I'm going to watch the entire set in universe-chronological order, as far as possible. So, starting with In the Beginning.

Surreal

Nov. 13th, 2007 09:09 pm
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Man has arranged marriage to dog:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/south_asia/7093422.stm

Personally, I feel sorry for the dog. I bet she didn't get any say about marrying a guy who previously killed two other dogs.
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