Dec. 20th, 2016
07:30 pm - mobile tedium
It seems that Virgin Mobile have finally decided to kill off the tariff I'd been happily using for the last decade or more, thus forcing me to consider the confusopoly of mobile phone tariff choices :-(
I don't use my mobile much at all (occasional texts and calls; the logs say I last used it back in August), so the old Virgin PAYG-by-direct-debit was perfect: I just paid for what I used, with no monthly charge, and I never had to worry about having to top up the phone or credit that I'd paid for expiring. I'm not sure any of the operators offer a setup like this, and certainly Virgin's current offerings seem to weigh in at 6 quid a month minimum...
Three's PAYG deal looks about the closest (catches being that you have to use the phone at least every six months, and it's not clear whether it can be set to auto-topup). Moving my number to a new provider is faff I didn't really want to have to deal with, though.
Edit: aargh, can't just switch to Three, because they only work with 3G phones and mine doesn't do that (it's a Nokia 2600 classic).
Dec. 18th, 2016
10:36 pm - Final batch of holiday photos
Last couple of sets weeded through and uploaded:
- Tokyo at night, and Mount Mitake
- A Tokyo park, illuminated at night
- The Odaiba waterfront (in Tokyo)
Dec. 15th, 2016
02:49 pm - More photos (with added monkeys)
Further holiday photo installments:
Dec. 4th, 2016
08:29 pm - Holiday photos, slice two
A few more blocks of photos:
The last of those includes possibly my favourite photo of the trip, bright yellow leaves reflected in a polished wooden floor.
Still to be sorted through: night views of Matsumoto castle, more colourful foliage, several panoramas, a fake statue of liberty and lots of monkeys in hot water.
Nov. 30th, 2016
02:53 pm - Holiday photos...
I just got back from a great three week holiday, in Japan (again ;-)). I didn't take my laptop this time round, which was great from a "forget entirely about work" perspective but has left me with hundreds of photos on the camera to sort through and upload.
Here's a first slice:
A couple of particular favourites:
- Painstakingly spiral-raked gravel at a temple on Mount Hiei
- Sun slicing across autumn foliage, Mount Hiei again
More at the weekend, probably.
Aug. 24th, 2016
09:15 pm - passed the JLPT N1!
I took level N1 (the highest) of the Japanese Language Proficiency Test last month (mostly as part of setting myself a goal to get back into putting more effort into my studying over the last year or so). The results came out today, and I passed!
- Vocabulary/grammar: 45/60
- Reading: 60/60
- Listening: 56/60
- Total: 161/180 (which is a solid pass, given the pass/fail border is at 100; less than 19 in any one section is also a fail)
They also provide what they call "reference information" (ie it doesn't affect whether you pass or not) which says that my vocab is a "B" and the grammar an "A".
I think I was lucky to get a perfect score on the reading section: usually there's one question that I find tricky enough that I have to guess it or get it wrong. Vocab's always been my weakest area. Really happy with this overall, anyway.
Mar. 22nd, 2016
05:30 pm - Now boarding...
I've just had a builder in to partially board my loft and fit a loft ladder so I can get into it. This is something I've been meaning to do for ages, since it's irritating to have a part of my house which I can't access (even if only to check whether the roof is leaking). So now I have boarding on most of the usable part of the loft, and a nice wooden ladder that hinges up into the loft. (The last part of the job is getting the ceilings repainted in the room with the hatch and also in a room which had some lingering water damage visible from a long-since-repaired roof leak; that happens tomorrow.)
A few photos of loft and ladder here.
Nov. 8th, 2015
I decided recently that I ought to start properly studying Japanese again (for some years I've not really made much active effort, though I have continued reading novels). So far I have:
- Set a goal -- I'm going to take level N1 of the Japanese Language Proficiency Test next summer. I think this should be doable with some effort to shore up and de-rust the areas I'm weaker in.
- Ordered some books with mock test papers.
- Set up my Android tablet and chromecast so that I can listen to podcasts via my TV, and found some Japanese podcasts to use as listening practice. (This is handy for instilling humility about how lousy my listening comprehension is.)
- Installed the rikaichan for Android Firefox extension so I can tap on words and get a dictionary-lookup popup. (I've had this for ages on my desktop web browser, but these days I do a lot of tablet-based browsing too.)
- Installed the flashcard app Anki, recovered a few old card decks I had from backups of my old laptop and started reviewing a new JLPT1-vocab deck.
- Worked through the 'warmup problems' in an old JLPT1 listening practice book I've owned for a decade and never yet used...
Jul. 4th, 2015
11:27 pm - yuck
Sigh. This evening I discovered that the bottle of mould spray that had been sat in a carrier bag in a corner of the bathroom had apparently suffered some kind of overpressure event, cracked the lid of the bottle, leaked over that area of the floor and left behind a white crystalline residue of who-knows-what... (photo here) I wonder how much of the liquid needed to evaporate into the air in order to leave that much white stuff behind? (The product in question is this, so basically water, sodium hypochlorite (bleach) and sodium hydroxide (caustic soda).)
May. 24th, 2015
06:02 pm - Shelved
This weekend's project was putting up bookshelves, something I'd been procrastinating on for the last couple of years. These are modular shelving units which you can put together in a variety of heights, depths and widths, though in this case I'm not really using the flexibility except to have them be shallower than usual so as not to take up too much of the room. Cutting notches out of the uprights so they fit over the skirting board and then screwing them to the walls took most of yesterday.
This means I've finally unpacked the last three cardboard boxes from moving house two years ago!
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