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OCTOBER, 2002 → ← DECEMBER, 2002

25th of November, 2002 ANTE·MERIDIEM 10:33

Gary, Gary, he’s the man, if he can’t do it, no-one can! http://​www.​lyranthe.​org/​diary/​

Seriously, go there. Regularly updated with interesting stuff, as opposed to Francophile poetry.

24th of November, 2002 POST·MERIDIEM 03:21

Backside to the Wind by Paul Durcan

A fourteen-year-old boy is out rambling alone
By the scimitar shores of Killala Bay
And he is dreaming of a French Ireland
Backside to the wind.

What kind of village would I now be living in?
French vocabularies intertwined with Gaelic
And Irish women with French fathers
Backside to the wind.

The Ballina road would become the Rue de Humbert
And wine would be the staple drink of the people;
A staple diet of potatoes and wine
Backsides to the wind.

Monsieur O’Duffy might be the harbour-master
And Madame Duffy the mother of thirteen
Tiny philosophers to overthrow Maynooth
Backsides to the wind.

And Father Molloy might be a worker-priest
Up to his knees in manure at the cattle-mart;
And dancing and loving on the streets at evening
Backsides to the wind.

Jean Arthur Rimbaud might have grown up here
In a hillside terrace under the round tower;
Would he, like me, have dreamed of an Arabian Dublin
Backside to the wind?

And Garda Ned MacHale might now be a gendarme
Having hysterics at the crossroads;
Excommunicating male motorists, ogling females
Backsides to the wind.

I walk on, facing the village ahead of me,
A small concrete oasis in the wild countryside;
Not the embodiment of the dream of a boy
Backside to the wind.

Seagulls and crows, priests and nuns,
Perch on the rooftops and steeples,
And their Anglo-American mores are killing me
Backside to the wind.

Not to mention the Japanese invasion:
Blunt people as serious as ourselves
And as humourless; money is our God
Backsides to the wind.

The ancient Franciscan Friary of Moyne
Stands nobly, roofless, by;
Past it rolls a vast concrete pipe
Backside to the wind.

Carrying out chemical waste to sea
From the Asahi synthetic-fibre plant;
Where once monks sang, wage-earners slave
Backsides to the wind.

Yet somehow, sweet River Moy,
Run on though I end my song;
You are the vestments of the salmon of learning
Backside to the wind.

But I have no choice but to leave, to leave,
And yet there is nowhere I more yearn to live
Than in my own wild countryside
Backside to the wind.

19th of November, 2002 POST·MERIDIEM 08:22

Another long day happening. Good for the soul, I suppose, in a Nietzschean fashion.

17th of November, 2002 POST·MERIDIEM 10:18

What news; was in Fibbers Friday, with Ste[1] & Ciarán, got asked for ID; umm, perhaps I wasn’t dressed for the place. Let me revise (—ize? phonetically yes, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen it before) that; I definitely wasn’t dressed for the place. Anyway, it’s still the same hole, but now with live music.

From http://​ask.​slashdot.​org/​comments.​pl?sid=44997&tid=109&cid=4681514

« Anyway, there are a lot of Windows programmers out there who barely scrape by... my theory is that it is just so damn easy to throw a crap program together to “get by” with VisualBasic and the like compared to the very user-unfriendly Unix and Unix-alikes. PC running Windows = easy, low learning curve. Machine runing Unix = high learning curve. Low learning curves mean more people using it and more average or below programmers who can use Windows and Windows development tools who can’t use Unix/Unix-alike tools. Most of the apps I use (and have used) on Unix/Unix-alike machines look like they were written by engineers. Concepts like workflow, discoverability, and “foo-foo” features like intellisense are all but non-existant. The guts of the app may be the fastest McFlugglefarther algorithms and it can crank out solutions fast - when you get it started on your problem - because very highly skilled engineers wrote them. But much of the app development pretty much ends at that point. The engineers slap together some clunky GUI to handle the 1324213423 parameters (with a button/box for each one on one screen) and put the product out for use. The app may be great for speed and flexibility but the usability flat blows, making it hard to use.

Autoconf ... Emacs ... VI ... makefiles... stuff that you have to know something about to use very well. Windows you “mash” buttons and have an editor that requires no sacrifices to pagan gods to use. »

I’m losing interest in Albert Speer[2]’s autobiography, even though it’s now the interesting bit, where he was managing the economy and doubling (arms) productivity from 1942-44, and the depressing politicking seems over. Maybe it’s that he’s making bad decisions, which he admits to, like pushing the V2 as an offensive weapon instead of putting more work into its defensive counterpart, and acceding to ill-thought-out demands that the Me 262 be tasked with bombing, and not shooting down Fortresses and Lancasters.

[1] http://​netsoc.​tcd.​ie/​~ste/​index3.​html

[2] http://​www.​amazon.​de/​exec/​obidos/​ASIN/​3550076169/​ (I’m reading a French translation.)

12th of November, 2002 POST·MERIDIEM 02:20

“Darling: Four verses! Four verses! I meant four verses! Look, I’m as British as Queen Victoria.

Edmund: So your father’s German, you’re half German, and you married a German?”

Blackadder quote, taken from Metafilter[1]. One  of the things that appeals to me about metafilter is that it’s that tiny bit less overtly American than other huge, international web sites, with the possible exception of http://​www.​kuro5hin.​org/​ .

So, back to work in one minute. Take care, all.

[1] http://​www.​metafilter.​com/​comments.​mefi/​21561

9th of November, 2002 POST·MERIDIEM 04:25

So, the Graduation and the post graduation “do” went pretty well, the Mint Bar at the Westin not being as stunningly expensive as predicted—normal prices for normal pints, and “only” €5.95 for an Erdinger, among other good beers. I don’t think I was at my most professional ever in work on Friday for the first call, but it got a lot better pretty quickly. I did welsh on the after-work drinks, though, as Cher was leaving, I said I’d come, I went home for a siesta, and when the alarm went off to get up and go into town, I didn’t have the stamina. Oh well.

What else—if you’re not Michael, and therefore probably haven’t seen Richard Stallman’s “Pleasure card”[1], it’s worth a look, if only for the pure creepiness of it. Via http://​www.​muxway.​org/​ .

[1] http://​digilander.​libero.​it/​robang/​varie/​RMSleisure.​jpg

5th of November, 2002 ANTE·MERIDIEM 10:56

Oooh, right, trying out the Xemacs based add-to-log functionality, and it seems to be working well[1]. Anyway. Mr Whyte[2] exaggerates, most of what was written in C consisted of http://​netsoc.​tcd.​ie/​~hcksplat/​ctimenum.​c.​txt , and the rest was boring (if incomprehensible) old php[3].

Right, I suddenly have a pretty strong motivation to learn German pretty fast. Anyone want to send textbook recommendations (a; a comprehensive grammar; b; introductory textbook; c; hard college-level text book), fire them in this direction.

What else ... if and when the motivation for learning German (above) comes through, je vais m’acheter un Macintosh. w00t! At the moment, it’s not quite surfing the breadline, but it’s damn close.

[1] Until the RANDOM FUCKING NAT TIMEOUT hit. Urgh. And I’m on a break, too, so I’m allowed, even though it’s a really busy day.

[2] http://​www.​lesinge.​org/​index.​php?body=entry.​inc&date=2002-11-04

[3] http://​netsoc.​tcd.​ie/​~hcksplat/​source.​phtml?/​home/​hcksplat/​www/​plan/​archive/​index.​phtml

1st of November, 2002 POST·MERIDIEM 03:54

I seem to be settling in here okay, which is good. The French team is crazy. I spent about an hour yesterday afternoon carving the outline of a spider into a pumpkin. Woohoo! Yesterday evening, some of it spent messing with Cliph’s Sparcbook, and the rather shaky implementations of FFS (when it comes to Solaris file systems) of Linux and NetBSD. Later, Whelan’s for one, Temple Bar Music Centre for more, got home three-ish, got up six-ish, it’s all go.

News, news, news; the call-centre life actually seems quite attractive. When it’s not too busy. Sit there waiting for a call, do what you want, catch up on your mails ... I don’t want to spend all my life on this salary, though.