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MARCH, 2003 → ← MAY, 2003

28th of April, 2003 POST·MERIDIEM 03:26

My Dad’s duffel coat (which I’ve been wearing for most of a month; I don’t know of any places that will do alterations/sewing in Dublin, so I left the yuppie overcoat in Wexford for my mother to leave in to the place she goes for this sort of thing—the buttons had almost all come off. I go home next weekend, and she’s got it dry cleaned, and divil a thought of leaving it in to Sewing Woman. Appreciate the intention, Mum, but ...) smells really bad if it gets caught in the rain, so I’ve Not Been A Pleasant Person To Sit Beside for most of today. Eugh.

Looks like I’m not going to be able to play with Matrix and get its load average up to 88 for more than three minutes; sure that’s only 44 per processor, Ruaidhrí. And we’ve got the RAM for it :-) . (Cf. XFree86’s bug 72; I need to test my patch for portability, and Mr. de Paor suggested a cron job, which is fair enough.) I still think the machine would be usable with a load average of 88; I’ve played MP3s and edited happily on my laptop with one of 60, and that’s a single processor with only 512MB RAM. Okay, it’s a significantly faster processor.

Funkatronic blogs; http://​6thinternational.​blogspot.​com/​ , http://​pedantry.​blogspot.​com/​ , http://​www.​polyglut.​net/​.​ And, again, as almost always, something brilliant from http://​muxway.​org/​ , http://​www.​mindspring.​com/​~blackhart/​ , or the entire archive of the Unix-Haters mailing list. (N.B. I like Unix; I think it’s instructive to see smart people criticize it, though.)

I bought my first DVDs (for me—I got someone a present before) Saturday, a two-for-the-price-of-one deal from Blanchardstown Centre HMV, with the proceeds of my “Love the Customer” award (Kneel Before My Being-Polite-To-French-People 5k1||z)). First one was the film of MASH, far better and darker than its small screen counterpart (he decreed); I watched that yesterday afternoon, and it’s schweet. The other one was The Beatle’s Hard Day’s Night; I haven’t yet seen it, but I’ve already got some slight misgivings about it; I fear I’m not sufficiently (i.e. at all) a 1960s female teenager to appreciate it properly.

Potential areas for self-improvement; watch some more recent films, decrease the incidence of parataxis in that first paragraph, limit the frequency of “sure” as an expletive interjection and the phrase “divil a bit” to one of either per entry. Comments? Mail me, kehoea, arobas[1] parhasard punkt[2] net.

[1] http://​chr.​amet.​chez.​tiscali.​fr/​miods3.​htm , search for “arobas.”

[2] German, and random Slavic languages for “dot.”

23rd of April, 2003 ANTE·MERIDIEM 12:13

Je suis enfin passablement content de mon accent français. J’avais une conversation hier dans l’après-midi, et tout en m’écoutant soigneusement, je ne trouvait rien à critiquer. (Normalement, je m’écoute, et je me dis « bah, ça, c’est une faute » au moins une fois dans le discours, et souvent plus.) Bien sur que j’aurai toute ma vie une tendance à parfois parler avec l’accent de ma naissance—de meme que, en anglais, l’accent wexfordais s’entend peut-être un jour du mois—mais maintenant, pour la plupart du temps, j’ai un accent compréhensible et exact, qui ne va pas être une barrière dans la communication quotidienne.

Myself, Jas, Dave, Mal and Jimmy arranged to go drinking yesterday evening, which was fun. Jimmy is Really Bad at this mobile phone stuff, btw, so try not to rely on it to contact him. And confirmation from Jas that Henry Rollins is that presenter in Full Metal Challenge[1]; “he has never been predictable;” umm, yes, that’s true, but presenting Full Metal Challenge is very far from being a positive aspect of this.

I should drink more, in general, I think. My social skills aren’t what they were last year, and that’s from lack of contact with people that doesn’t involve File —> Preferences —> User Preferences —> Ports —> Trace under Lotus Notes (DIE! DIE! SPAWN OF THE DEVIL PROGRAM DIE! wipes brow).

[1] http://​www.​fullmetalchallenge.​com/​presenters/​

17th of April, 2003 ANTE·MERIDIEM 12:41

Okay, anyone I ever gave grief to over using “from whence;” ignore me, the use with “from” is valid, if redundant. Cf. the OED’s entry on its etymology;

[13th c. ME. whannes, whennes, f. whanne, WHENNE + -S suffix1. In all senses often preceded by redundant from, {dag}fro (FROM 15a), occas. of (obs. or arch.).]

It seems to imply that that usage dates from the 15th century (am I reading that right?) Which, to my Francocentric mind’s language centre, says that may be a result of people with a French-speaking bent moving to English as their quotidian language, and those people running the country, so their usage legitimized the construction. (There is no direct equivalent to “whence,” in French, which in this area is probably even more analytic then the Sachs Béarla of the British Empire.)

Again, this weather is so disconcerting. So much sun, in one place, and that place being Irish. Wow

16th of April, 2003 ANTE·MERIDIEM 10:43

Michael McDowell seems to have gone on a pretty intensive course of angel dust, to judge by his behaviour as minister for justice recently. Tagging sex offenders (the intention is to use instruments that measure breathing and heart-rate so they can predict when he’s[1] about to reoffend; if he’s married, this has the side-effect of the Gardaí having the voyeuristic pleasure of knowing when the old conjugal obligations are being fulfilled): “getting tough” on drink-fuelled crime—the only proscriptive approach that will do anything about that is the one the Pioneers took, which isn’t really an option in 2003 in the non-Islamic world[2]: revoking work permits (uhh, how exactly will increasing the number of poverty-stricken immigrants on the street instead of earning a living & consuming freely solve anything?). He was also doing something growth-hormone induced about the telecoms/internet infrastructure as well, if my curmudgeonly memory is to be trusted. Someone go give him a good talking-to.[3]

Our house had the first blackout I’ve seen in my five years in Dublin last night. It lasted all of 20 minutes, but my MP3s kept playing and my XPDFs stayed open on all the make documentation I can find—cf http://​bugs.​xfree86.​org//​cgi-bin/​bugzilla/​show_bug.​cgi?id=72 . Muhahah, my computer has a battery.

And my, what lovely weather we’re having. A bit more of this, and I’m going to get really disoriented.

[1] I don’t think, and you don’t think, and Michael McDowell certainly doesn’t think that this will ever be applied to a woman. There are downsides to being the intense sex.

[2] IMHO, a better approach would be to reduce the legal drinking age to 16, reduce the taxes on alcohol, and make the whole ritual so utterly mundane that the kids are well over it at seventeen. Worked examples; Germany, France, other massive chunks of the continent.

[3] “Talking-to”? Never mind McDowell, what am I taking?

14th of April, 2003 ANTE·MERIDIEM 12:14

Nota Bene ; follow my instincts on Lidl alcohol, in the future. Last Thursday I got one bottle of Lidl Chianti, one of Lidl Liebfraumilch, and three Hoegaardens (beer, from the OddBins down the road). The Belgian beers I had on Thursday, with dinner; they were excellent, as is a given with Belgian beer in general.

Friday, again with dinner (lately I’ve been mostly eating pasta + various mad supermarket sauces + soy sauce + pepper to taste + random meat + onions, peppers), started on the Chianti. Firstly, the wine was just on the vinegary side of drinkable—not really living up to the marque’s Silence of the Lambs  expectations. Second—well, this is where it starts getting uncivilized, people—since Janus was leaving and I don’t have one of those mad recorkers for wine bottles, I naturally had to finish the bottle. Which was okay, but not great—it remained the vinegary side of drinkable, remember. Then the real downside; I get to bed around two, and this stuff knocks me out until three PM the next day. What’s with that?

Sunday, I get up pretty early, and since there’s not much non-dinner food in the house, I have a meal around three. I start on the Liebfraumilch there. It tastes pretty okay—I’ve a lot of respect for Liebfraumilch in general, though that may be from a limited experience with the stuff. Nothing spectacular, but I’ve had much worse white wine in the past. Again, no recorker, and unco-operative housemates, so the thing had to be finished :-) . I get up this morning, and it’s not a good sign. When your job is as crap as mine is, you really need to wake up a happy camper to make it to work on time. I did, this morning, but I won’t do it on a regular basis after a bottle of Liebfraumilch.

And the moral of the story is; life’s too short to drink ѕhіtty alcohol; Lidl alcohol is for the moment ѕhіtty; ergo, life’s too short to drink Lidl alcohol. Looks like that OddBins down the road will be seeing a bit more of me.

11th of April, 2003 POST·MERIDIEM 02:29

“It is a profoundly erroneous truism, repeated by all copy-books and by eminent people when they are making speeches, that we should cultivate the habit of thinking of what we are doing. The precise opposite is the case. Civilization advances by extending the number of important operations which we can perform without thinking about them. Operations of thought are like cavalry charges in a battle—they are strictly limited in number, they require fresh horses, and must only be made at decisive moments.”

(Alfred North Whitehead) Cf. it’s easier to be really successful in business in the US, where you can get by with English, than Europe, where to do it properly you need at least English, German, French and preferably a few more.

Henry Rollins was excellent in Vicar Street last night. If you get the chance to see him, do.

9th of April, 2003 POST·MERIDIEM 03:38

“Roll out of bed, Mr. Coffee’s dead; The morning’s looking bright;”

I’m feeling less like killing everyone I see today, which is good, I suppose. Plus, I’m getting a mild good vibe from being here, and working, and being not especially bad at it after a night before where that was not a given. I’d begun to think lately that maybe I couldn’t handle 20 waking hours a day any more :-)

4th of April, 2003 ANTE·MERIDIEM 07:46

I’ve just followed some links off the comments at http://​www.​baraita.​net/​blog/​ (whither Helena’s bookmark page pointed me) and came across some funkatronic linguistics-oriented weblogs. Which is good, because there’s a dearth of useful linguistcs-oriented stuff on the web. (Aside; I just spoke with someone who commented “we have the same accent” and he was right; there are indications that he’s Flemish or American, or possibly both, but ... is there that much ambiguity in the way I speak?) Anyway, one of these had an entry soundly taking apart what Stephen Pinker says, ... which I can’t find today (this is Friday morning, the entry was started yesterday evening.) Bugger.

I got my sister Eileen a Creative Muvo — http://​www.​nomadworld.​com/​products/​muvo/​ — for her 21st, and it seems to have gone down well. Maura ended up with a couple of books and a Simon & Garfunkel CD (the latter wasn’t really ideally chosen, but fuсkit, two books isn’t a 21st birthday present). In general, the Muvo rocks, although in the tradition of these MP3 and/or USB gadgets, the name is idiotic.

It’s Friday, whee! Sleep, glorious sleep ...

1st of April, 2003 ANTE·MERIDIEM 07:13

And in an interruption to our normally scheduled mind-numbing computer crap, I’m going to join Helena in declared fandom for ER. I mostly end up watching it because it’s on at a time when I’m watching television—i.e. 9.30 PM on a Sunday evening, when I can’t go out, because I’m working tomorrow—but I’m starting to make the extra effort. That’s something to say, because I never care enough about a TV programme, even a good TV programme, to organize my life around it. (That said, I missed most of it last night :-).

Why? Because goodly pieces of it are well-observed, they seem to have been written in (if they were written in at all, and aren’t aspects of the respective actors’ characters) by someone who noticed these aspects of people’s behaviour, who went “Oh, that's why they do that, and I bet anyone else in their place would do the same thing.” So, last week’s episode, Weaver wipes Kovač’ name from the board at the start—it’s spelled “Kovach;” at the end, he goes back in, and writes his name with the caron.

Abby, too, seems to have a low tolerance for bullѕhіt, and to me that rings true as something people acquire when they drink too much and still keep a decent semblance of a life together—you can see it in Anne Robinson too, and I had it at one point. I’m not remotely an alcoholic personality any more—more’s the pity, it makes life more interesting—so I don’t know if you can say I still have it.

Those are the bits that resonated with me; obviously, wide swathes of the plot I have no opportunity to criticize thoughtfully, so I have to take them on trust. Maybe they are winging it with them—for example, I don’t know of any personal acquaintance in a lesbian relationship, so I have no yardstick to measure Weaver’s behaviour by—but what I can judge is excellent :-) .

What else ... I spent the long weekend—I was owed paid leave, so I took a long weekend :-)—shopping, playing truth or dare, and being grumpy at my brother Robert, in Wexford. Sorry I missed the party, Conall. (This was written on my laptop on the bus journey up from Wexford. Life is good :-)