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DECEMBER, 2003 → ← FEBRUARY, 2004

30th of January, 2004 ANTE·MERIDIEM 12:43

I am really, really bad at smoking weed. Kind of wound-up at the best of times, the ѕhіt pushes me into being an edgy, paranoiac, thick-tongued moron. So, if I’m around of an evening and you’re calculating how much you need, that’s one less person. In case you were wondering.

Alcohol, on the other hand ... I’m a bad drunk, and there’s no shortage of stories to underline that. But, at this stage, I haven’t had a night that ended in drunken blackout in a long  time—I seem to have a better idea of what is too much too fast. When I’m not doing the drunken blackout thing, alcohol kills the feverish internal self-analysis that makes me a conversational invalid when I’m remotely unsure of my ground, whether it’s talking to a chica I’m into or about a subject I’m interested in with someone who knows the area much better than I do. So, I like it.

Coffee ... I’m Irish, from the country, so my exposure to it was late in my teens, and I’ve a low threshold of resistance to it. Two espressos at the end of a long day will keep a conversation going okay, three will push me into the feverish internal self-analysis above. On the other hand, feverish analysis is not per se  a bad thing when coding, but you have to watch that you don’t flick to other apps too much. And you can lose perspective on what you’re doing. Perspective is, in general, good; sometimes when something small needs to be written or fixed losing it is temporarily good, but that’s scant compensation for losing the wider picture.

Tea; Great. Slow release of caffeine, tannins, resistance built up since youth so I don’t have to pay too much attention to how much I drink, warming as a noticeable effect (as opposed to coffee, where the kick seems to drown out the heat). I probably don’t drink enough of it.

And, as http://​douweosinga.​com/​projects/​googletalk puts it, “The lunch lady the plot is the MHz rating of the moisture content of wood in the Shadow of the Vampire.” But, no, never done LSD, here ends how I react to drugs.

(I’ve had diamorphine too, but it was some years ago and it’s not something I’m about to look into getting again.)

22nd of January, 2004 POST·MERIDIEM 08:44

Dilemma. I like my job; I get to stretch what I know, I use Unix all day every day, I’m getting comfortable in Perl. (Let’s say that last being a plus is a reflection that our world is imperfect, and sometimes the best approach to that is imperfection.) However, on the technical side, I get the feeling, with many of the people whose work affects mine, that I could do their jobs better than they are. Which is not a good place to be in.

I also signed up, over the last six months, for German language classes at the Goethe Institute. The constant exposure to something I’m patently bad at is healthy, in that it tempers the frustration above.

But, the term comes to an end this evening. So, I should go and pay for another term, right? But, I’ve just paid for a return trip to Japan (hi Claire) and the fee for the language class would throw me into poverty again.

Think I’ll end up doing it. Maximisation of resources, and all that.

7th of January, 2004 POST·MERIDIEM 02:40

“Riella 40” is the label on the part of our house’s heating system that is attached to the oil-fired central heating, and putting it back into commission after leaving it run out of diesel is surprisingly easy. Uhh, you will  need to get the tank filled back up with diesel. Unscrew the two pipes that come out from the bottom of the until the hiss of air coming out of the system dies off—it’ll be replaced by diesel oil (bear this in mind while dressing for the occasion). Tighten them again. Turn the system on, press the piece of plastic that looks like the cover for a pilot light, and, unless you’ve done something stupid I haven’t mentioned here, you’re all set. NB; I wouldn’t even like to be an amateur at this, let alone someone you should take advice from.

July, July,  Tim O’Brien. I remember pointing I. towards a page[1] that makes the case for the Terminator being a better love story than the English Patient, because it had made a big impression on me when I first read it. She countered that imperfections in the characters of the English Patient render the story more realistic, they make it something that people find easier to identify with. Which is exactly the argument the original page needed. This is probably a corollary to something Helena was talking about the other day, about the way people should miss the bad stuff as well as the good stuff in revenge movies real.

Yes, the above was a roundabout way of saying that this book reads real. People hung up on the stupidest things, people holding flames for each other across three decades and after interminable rejections, people doing stupid things and totally losing perspective on it ... I didn’t think I’d be into the lives of fiftysomething Minnesotans, but I was. Wow.

[1] Bollox, it’s not around any more. It was at http://​www.​concentric.​net/​~Scrubber/​cameron/​love.​htm , once upon a time.