Laaa, la-la-la-la-la-la la laaa

Despite visiting Paris about ten times in the past few years, I have never been to the theatre or opera there. For the former, it's because my French is nowhere near good enough to cope with anything except perhaps mime. But with opera, that doesn't matter. Half the time, they're singing in another language, the plots of many operas could fit on a postage stamp, and it's not difficult to follow the rest.

So I'd quite like to see an opera or two there. What's stopped me before now is a combination of there not being anything on while I'm there and childcare.

Now JA is a bit older (and has seen one*), I looked at the official Opera De Paris site in preparation for a visit in a few months time. Ooh, Don Giovanni.. but not while we're there**. Ooh2, the Barber of Seville, and on the Sunday afternoon we're there. I check with JA and she'd be interested in that. Booking didn't open until today.

I'd gathered that the system for booking was a bit odd – you need to register even to see what tickets are available, for example – so I registered last night in order to save time this morning. It wants your name, address, date of birth(?), phone number, and email address. In exchange, it gives you a number. That, along with your surname, is what you need to log in, instead of anything sensible like your email address or asking you to come up with a username.

This morning, I try booking. The first problem is that the site is busy – there's a CAPTCHA to enter and then you get a waiting page that tells you that you're in a queue and the wait is longer than fifteen minutes. It's still saying that when it's time to take JA to school. By the time I'm back (and it's ten minutes each way) my turn has come and, because I didn't press a button at the time, gone so I need to start again. I do that, and about ten minutes later, the 'more than fifteen minutes' message becomes a countdown – interestingly, they're managing demand by spreading out visitors rather than going 'ah, we have less than x people buying tickets now, let some more in' – then I am allowed to see the site.

OK, log in. Nope, it won't accept the magic number / surname combination. Try again, pasting the number in from the confirmation email, nope.

So I register again, using a different email address. No confirmation email (yet) but it allows me to see what's available… and it's all too expensive. The cheaper seats aren't been offered to me and I'm not about to pay 95 Euro each. It doesn't help that the acoustics of the Opera Bastille are apparently poor and you need to be in the stalls where there are fewer cheap seats. I wonder if it's like that for other dates… no, there are some for the two other performances I look at and – ooh – when I look back on the one day we are there, the 40 Euro seats are in the list. Hmm, it's not the cheapest they do, but ok. Right, I'd like deux seats, dans la parterre*** rather than la 1er ou 2eme balcon****. Although I've told it I'd prefer English, I get a message in French that clearly means 'those aren't available'. Right, in the circles? No. One ticket? No, and then that price level disappears again.

Pressing refresh a few times over the past hour shows the most expensive seats for that performance have gone and come back again, but not the cheaper ones.

Oh well, the time after next… What's the betting I have to register again again?

* In a live broadcast at a cinema rather than 'in person'. It was the Metropolitan Opera's recent Don Giovanni which was very very good – I haven't broken the news that it's downhill from there to her.

** Fortunately for the wallet, it's sold out now or a tiny bit of me would have been tempted to see what it would cost to have a day trip.

*** Or is it le? I am so grateful English dropped the idea of everything having a gender.

**** See above!

OK, it's taken a while

.. but I have finally copied posts from LiveJournal/Dreamwidth to

It turns out that the official LJ importer doesn't do comments (I suspect something's been changed since it was written) which is a bit annoying but does at least avoid the moral dilemma of what to do about comments to locked posts, especially as some of these are public on their new home.

So the plan is to post the public interest stuff on, crossposted to DW (which should then crosspost to LJ), leaving the DW/LJ blogs for more personal things.

Let's see how long that lasts 🙂

Newark in the media

It turns out that it was in the Guardian's Let's move to.. series last month.

Alas comments on that page are closed, otherwise I would be saying, yes, it was a surprise how good it is. We did get somewhere just off London Road (the old A1 – fortunately, the bypass dates back to the 1960s). It would be interesting to know why the schools were listed in the order they chose..

More coverage in Scrapheap Orchestra on BBC (on iPlayer until at least Sunday) with the violin-making school featured. The charity shop someone else got the cutlery from is here too.

Python script oops

Memo to self: when running a Python script, either put in a '#! /usr/bin/python' as the first line or have it as an argument to python. Don't run the script directly or it will be interpreted as a shell script and the results could be nasty. Fortunately, they were just a bit confusing this time…

'Twas on a Monday morning…

Lunchtime, actually, but today one of the lights in the cooker hood died. In the process of doing so, it clearly blew a fuse somewhere.

Ah, the extractor fan isn't working now, so it must be something out of just the lighting circuit.

Is it the switch on the side nearby? Hmm, let's swap the fuse. Nope, it doesn't work with a known good fuse. (It turns out that that switch does the fridge some distance away on the other side of the hob. Yeah, that makes sense…)

Is it something on the main fuse box under the stairs? Nope, they're all good.

Some time later, I look up and go ah ha! There's one up by the hood.

It probably is it, and it's the one which the person who built the hood half covered with one of the sides of the hood… including covering the fuse bit to an extent that you can't open it.

They may have millions, but do they have an atlas?

My Dear friend,

This is confidential and I must not in any way go into full details about what brought us together in the past, but I want to use this opportunity to thank you for your Kind assistance when you participated and assisted me to move and claim funds through a business proposal I sent to you some time ago. I contacted you via the internet about some certain money which I wanted you to assist me claim.

I am so sorry also that after you have endured with me and spent a lot of money to make this deal successful, I misled you in the last minute and then I used someone else to divert the funds..

I am also sorry because I decided to change the account details and I used another account to claim this money without your knowledge. I am also sorry for the difficulties and frustrations you have been facing sending money to different people to assist you get your claims without success. I am sorry I did not give to you your 30% share as agreed even when I concluded the business successfully without your knowledge.

I am now based somewhere in the Pacific’s (sic) enjoying my new found status as a wealthy millionaire and then suddenly I remembered that I may have wrecked your life financially when I fell sick.

Recently I started having spiritual troubles and I wake up at night screaming after some people in my dream attempted to kill me, this has happened many times and now a Psychic told me that someone I cheated some time ago is facing financial difficulties as a result of what I did to him financial and until I compensate you, the end will be near for me.

I FEAR this bad faith befalling me for the miseries I have caused to your life. I have decided to compensate you with the sum of $500,000.00 so that I may have my peace. I have issued a bank draft of $500,000.00 and I have instructed my lawyer in Malaysia wait for your response and then he must pay you this money immediately and PLEASE FORGIVE ME.

Please contact my lawyer based in Malaysia because I have given him instructions to deliver this money to you as soon as possible. I thank you so much for all your help in the past.You can contact [..] on his email [..] and just tell him that you are contacting him under instruction from Code: RCPFCW Please send to him your (1) photo I.D (2) your full address and (2) phone number at once, so that he will arrange to remit the money to you by wire transfer to your account or by personal delivery to your address as quickly as possible.

On behalf of myself and my family I thank you so much for your great help in the past and I visualize a happy life for you too as soon as this compensation is released to you and then you forgive me all my mistakes towards you. I will be eternally grateful!
Cayman Island (sic)

I'm also slightly surprised they commit to a percentage share I have been conned out of, or is 30% the going rate these days? (Or are repeat victims of these too innumerate to remember what it was last time?)


I don't watch much TV, but my ghod the first episode of The Frozen Planet was stunning: the sort of BBC nature documentary where every frame could be made into a poster.

EuroMillions wins

I don't often buy lottery tickets, but I did get one last night. As is my habit1, I set the results checker to look at the past 180 days and the random numbers I had last night would have won on Tuesday and last Friday2… but sadly not yesterday.

1. It's one of the things that stops me wanting to buy them more often.

2. OK, only the lowest level. But that's still better than the usual 'one tiny win in the past six months'.