First post …

… of 2012 anyway.  If the quality of your year to come is inversely proportional to the quality of the first 14 days, we’ve got a stonkingly awesome 2012 to come.  To be fair, as with all things, the ups and downs in life are all relative.

Grete’s glasses broke at the end of 2011, she can’t see much without them.  Although she had a spare pair, they were tinted and not really suitable in the house or driving in Winter!  Thanks to the holiday period it was pretty fraught trying to get to an optician, but we did.  Sadly, they messed up and the glasses she eventually got have the wrong prescription, so now she’s waiting for them to be redone.  The original glasses broke at the joint between the arm and the spring, so I was cello-taping them together every day and Grete was living with nightmarish headaches.  The opticians we went to, to get new glasses, said they couldn’t be fixed – however when she went in to the local one to see why the new glasses were terrible, an older optician there was able to temporarily put a new arm on the broken ones while the correct new ones are being delivered.  All-in-all, a pretty stressful start to the New Year, which you can appreciate if you have vision which absolutely requires glasses.

Grete has a bad back, has had for a long time, which she copes with day to day, but every now and again she’ll get a muscle spasm and be basically unable to stand-up.  She got one on Saturday night, worst one for a few years, so we’re dealing with that!  She managed to get to the doctor today and has some pretty impressive pain killers, and they’re starting to help.

Yesterday, the VPS I host these blogs on was not responding.  It happens sometimes, the server doesn’t have a huge deal of memory and every now and then the Linux OOM Killer will kill something unimportant like apache2 or mysql.  So I recycled it via’s control panel thing and it came back.  A cursory check suggested everything was fine, and I went about my business.  Today I logged on briefly and found a lot of weird mail.  Turns out the server was hacked a few days ago – using an exploit in a PHP module a slightly out of date template on WordPress was using.  Fortunately, they hadn’t done too much damage, and were mostly using this server to attack other servers.  I got a nice abuse report from Gandi (which was polite, but forceful) while I was actually cleaning up the mess, encouraging me to clean up and reminding me of my legal obligations.  Anyway, I think it’s sorted, but I feel kind of bad, somewhat violated, a little paranoid and sorry that something I manage was used to attack other sites.  But it’s the Internet, everyone gets hacked eventually.  My top tip?  If you’re not using a plugin or theme, delete it.  You’ll forget about it otherwise, it won’t get patched, and just because you’re not using it, doesn’t mean the file isn’t there to be presented by the web browser when the right attacker comes along.

There’s some work related stress, which I won’t talk about, because I try not to on my blog, but it’s there, lurking.

Then finally for the first 9 days of 2012, there’s Bubbles.  She went out at around 11am yesterday.  As you know, it’s been Super Mild other than the wind here.  Yesterday was the first fully dry day for ages, and Bubbles has been stuck indoors.  I think she must have decided it was Spring.  By 22:15 there was still no sign of her which is normal in Spring but not Winter.  So we did the concerned cat owner thing where you shout like an idiot at your back door for an hour.  After that didn’t help, I walked the streets for another hour.  I got back, shone my torch down to the bottom of the garden ((I was waiting to get arrested, walking the streets around here, at 11pm, with a torch in my hand, up and down dead end roads, but it never happened)), and I could see her eyes glaring back balefully.  Even then she didn’t come in, and we got to spend the rest of the night wondering if I’d mistakenly seen another cat ((second tip, don’t watch Sherlock’s The Hounds of Baskerville before you walk the streets in the dark looking for animals)).

I was pretty sure it was her, but if you love your pets there’s always doubt.

Anyway, she’s always there in the morning when she does this – ready to come in and eat – except not this morning.  So we’d started thinking the worst.  Grete was in pain, trying to organise a GP appointment, we left the house wondering where she was ((yes, I made Grete drive me to work when she can barely stand)).  When Grete got back from the docs, initially there was still no sign, but as she got to the kitchen door, Bubbles came running up from the garden, her flabby little tummy swinging from side to side.  Grete swears she could hear Ride of the Valkyries playing in the background.  Bubbles then promptly ate half a bowl of dried food, drank half a bowl of water, and has been sleeping all day since.  Little shit.

So, all in all a pretty stressful start to 2012, which is a shame because 2011 finished pretty fucking well to be fair.  Sorry it’s a bit of a whiny start to what I hope is going to be a year blogging more than last year.  Twitter really has sucked the blogging desire from me, just because I end up writing down what I was thinking in a couple of 140 character tweets instead of a 1000 word blog post.  I suppose the world is actually better off as a result.

Anyway, here’s to the rest of 2012, may it improve for us, and be awesome for you.

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