Earlier tonight I watched a bevy of fireworks being launched from a barge on the Mississippi. Fireworks from the 23th floor of a building are only marginally more interesting than watching them from the ground.

I have no clue, whatsoever, why fireworks were being launched from the river, though I suspect it had something to due with Episode II's impending release later in the evening. Indeed, the first showing in USA central daylight time is currently in progress; has been for 36 minutes (as of this writing).

After how badly Episode I sucked, why make such a big deal about Episode II? Me, I'm clinging to the philosophy that if I expect no good to come of anything, then I'll be pleasantly surprised when something good does happen.

I do not, however, expect to be pleasantly surprised by Episode II. Nevertheless, a copy of Episode II on VCD is currently getting burned onto a CD-R in the CD-RW drive on my Windows box. So much for anticipation.

It's been a long time since I was on E2. I feel like I've been really busy recently, but when I look back on it my life has settled down somewhat in the past few months. When I first joined E2 I had recently become unemployed, having found no real work since graduation. I'm pleased to say that although I didn't get the technical writer job I mentioned (Dec 6th) I did find another job shortly afterwards.

I now work as a programmer. I'm only supposedly on a short-term contract, but I've been there for nearly six months now and I'm really enjoying it. It's a programming job with a big British high street chemists.

I received a very exciting email this morning. Some time ago, when I was still working on my degree, I signed up for a mailing list with a small research company based in Cambridge. They are into AI and intelligent agents and so on.. subjects quite closely related to my degree project. The mailing list seemed to go pretty much dead around the time I graduated, so I'd forgotten all about it. The email indicated that they had been working on a bot for Quake III, and needed some beta testers. I eagerly replied, expected to be sent a link to a download site. Instead they emailed back asking for my mailing address. They're going to post out a CD! Snail mail! How quaint. I imagine the necessity for the physical media will act as some kind of security measure. There were verbose warnings in the confirmation email about distribution. It's quite a small beta test group and I think they're keen not to spread the bot around too widely just yet. I can't wait for that CD to arrive.

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Two tickets: $15.00

One Large coke, one Large popcorn, one water: $10.50

Understanding why Yoda is a Jedi Master: Priceless

I opened up my mail box, and that ugly flame was staring at me again. It was a message from our previous hosting company's - and local monopoly's - head tech, telling me that all the problems we had with a mass DNS switch were my fault because I hadn't (as our systems guy said) 'written it out in crayon'. I can kind of understand where he's coming from in a way; we knew what we wanted to have happened and he had to rely on second hand info. Thing is, I didn't have time to tell him how to do his job. Granted it was a lot of domains to be moved, 34 in total, but that's still no excuse, in my mind. Another thing is that the way he set them up in the first place was only ok as a quick hack, but I would have assumed that he would have fixed them so they would work in the long term. Especially considering the other company is still being paid by our clients to host the client's domains. Having 34 domains that we don't own c-named to one that we do just seems wrong to me. I kind of expected that when I told them that they could drop our domains from their zones, they wouldn't drop their own client's domains as well.

So, I read through this stupid mail again and it bothers me a lot. The guy was downright nasty. So if figure I might as well get it over with, and I write down what comes to my mind. I was actually rather proud of it. I showed it to my manager to make sure I was cleared to send it (as I wasn't very nice to the guy at all), and she laughed and said that it was great. So, without reading it over again, I hit send.

I immediately regretted it.

It wasn't as if they guy read it and hung himself or anything. He hasn't replied to me yet, so I don't even know if he received it. He could even be blocking my address. The thing is that I realized that I was being as nasty as he was, and that it was a very bad thing. I felt like crap. I stewed over it, tried to work on my project but I couldn't keep my mind on it.

So, I figured that I might as well do something about the situation. I sent him another mail apologizing for being rude, telling him that I was a hot-head and that we were both probably really stressed out what had gone down. I presented my points again, but this time as politely as was possible, and I told him to completely disregard the last e-mail.

I don't know if that was the best solution overall. I know that I really did feel sorry, and I probably wouldn't have been able to concentrate if I hadn't done something. I just don't like flame wars, and from the first mail I got, I know I would have been starting one if I hadn't withdrawn at least a little bit.

Now I guess I just have to wait and see what happens.

I hate this part.

I'm in school right now. But I can't think about school. I can't think about anything. All I can think about is Star Wars II: Attack of the Clones. I saw it last night, and let me tell you, it is the best one yet. It is even better than Return of the Jedi. When did I see it? I saw it yesterday. How did I see it? Well, you see, my friend works at AMC Theater, so he can see movies before they come out. So he invited me and a few friends over, and we saw it.

Well, I will probably go see it again after school.

I just don't know how I am going to study for my AP Test tomorrow. Oh well. I guess Star Wars is more important.

I am so fucking frustrated at my job it makes me want to hit things. There's nothing inherently wrong with software, I used to find my work interesting, but doing this shit eight hours a day, five days a week is making me insane. I feel more and more like I'd kill for a job with any kind of human interaction - a bookshop clerk, cafe waiter, therapist, whatever - but staring at a screen with the only moving body parts being my mouse hand and my fingers is really starting to suck.

All I can hear in the room most of the time:

I am still at this job because of money, which is partially a factor of lifestyle. In other words, I need the salary because I'm living in Dublin, which is an expensive place to live. I could go get another job, but then I would lose my investment in the company, which might be worth a few thousand euro in a few years time. So I need to wait another few months. If I leave in October 2002 then I get to keep 50% of what I invested as shares. That's 5 months or so. I can last 5 months, surely?

Clacking of keys, droning of traffic. I don't care about this work. It was interesting, once, when I was eager to learn new things and being challenged every day. Now I'm doing the same thing every day, mindless reproduction of code in VB.Net and C# for a seemingly endless production line of user interfaces, for a company that is never going to do any good for anyone except already-wealthy businesspeople. I am a code monkey. I have no pleasure in my job any more, and I don't see how anyone could have. This work fucking sucks.

I have my illicit pleasures. I surf, I node, I chat, sometimes I write. But I can't distract myself from the growing feeling of frustration - this isn't what I'm supposed to be spending my time doing. Surely I can wait 5 months?

Not so long ago, my friends and I used to think that we should be paid by the government just for being as damned intelligent and cool and artistic and good-hearted as we were. In the few years since then, I've been watching friend after friend trade in their energy and their intelligence for security and routine. They're slowly losing their creativity, probably not even realizing what's happening them, as their lives stagnate and become totally familiar. I know that's never going to happen to me, but the same internal restlessness that keeps me creative also makes it almost impossible for me to keep a steady, unchanging job. All my energy dams up during the day and I start to feel incredibly frustrated, and I know I can either just give up and shut down my energy, or leave and go do something new.

Just 5 more months. 5 months is nothing, isn't it?

On a lighter note, I got very nicely stoned last night - my flatmate's brother brought around some skunk that someone posted him from England, and e v e r y t h i n g j u s t s p a c e d o u t for a while. Maybe that's why I'm so wired today. I can see the sun on the trees in the park, and I had lunch with Lindsay and we talked about Japanese and Chinese and African literature, and I felt really peaceful, and I would rather be anywhere than in my shitty little office. Something doesn't fit.

Ya-hey! The set of exams which I have supposedly been preparing for for my entire life so far, started today! Ah, the magic of GCSEs! Yes indeed, my first two papers were the quite wonderful Latin prose set text and also Roman background information. Both exams were thankfully quite straight-forward and not worth the amount of worry that I had built up over them.

Node your revision? I might, but I'm not sure I can bring myself to look at those notes every again. Not unless I'm burning them at the time, that is.

I'm now too tired to talk about them any more. But the feeling is one of overwhelming relief. I'll savour it.

A week to myself, now.

Time enough to take a moment and step back from everything, to try and see what exactly it is that's happened over the last month/year(s).

Perspective may do me some good.


Just under a week until my birthday. I'll be twenty-three, this time around.

Despite myself, I find I'm actually looking forward to it, this year.

I can only hope for the best.

So I was one of the hordes of millions who rushed out to watch Episode II: Attack of the Clones. In fact, I saw it at 12:31, so I could see it first before anyone else had. Or maybe because I don't have anything better to do right now.

So what did I think of it? I noded about it under the Episode II: Attack of the Clones Node, but I guess my review didn't meat the standards of the great and mighty editors and it was nuked before it got of the list of New Writeups. I'd post it again here, but one can only take so many nukes in one day.

On another issue, its a crappy day outside. Weather in Michigan sucks. I don't understand why it can be so good one day and so crappy the next. The marvels of weather I guess.

I think the day matches my mood. Yesterday was beautiful and I was in a good mood. Today is a crappy day and that is how my mood feels.

Prosecution finished up on Tuesday, but won't make their closing argument until tomorrow. Yesterday defense started their case, beginning with defense attorney #3. She drops the ball. She has dropped the ball so much that I'm not sure she was ever holding it. She tried to call a number of the protesters as witnesses, and most of them had more sense than she did, refusing to testify because they weren't credible witnesses. She calls the boy her client had a crush on, the boy who invited her to the demonstration. He talks about how they met at an animal rights meeting, how they flirted, how he asked her to come with him, both of them dressed as medics. He shows up neat and clean and looking respectable, something he couldn't do at our arraignment. Prosecution hates him, of course. He plead guilty to a minor charge to avoid a probation violation and six months in prison. The prosecutor screams at him and gets sarcastic, to the point where one of the defense sides objects and is sustained on the grounds of sarcasm. He does okay, better than we'd thought. He's articulate, personable.

My codefendant herself is an actress, and she is little and cute and kind of flaky-sweet. She has seven counts against her, and if she walks, it's likely that we all will. The jury eats up her testimony, empathizing with her crush on the wrong boy and her desire to help out a stranger who got hurt. The stranger was my other codefendant, as they discovered after the fact, but not in time for his testimony.

His testimony is about the same as last time. The judge is almost deferential to her, and mostly repeats his testimony back to him. Simple. I am nervous. The last defendant to testify, the second to last witness, and the one with the attorney the prosecutor hates.

We start my testimony late yesterday. I'm not prepared. I've forgotten a lot, blocked other things. I thought I wouldn't have to remember anymore, not until the civil suit starts. Not so. I qualify my answers, to the best of my recollection, I think. Direct examination is fine, but I end up crying again when I see myself get shot. I am not as accessible to the jury as my codefendant, who just gets upset when she cries and manages to look cute. I was shot and I'm upset about it and I'm pissed off. The prosecutor takes advantage of this, and asks me about the civil suit, which shouldn't even come into this. He asks me if I know someone I may have been arraigned with, conspiracy evidence that shouldn't come in at all. He asks me if my memory is failing. He asks me why I can't remember the order to disperse if it was such an important event in my life. He makes a lot of my linguistics background, conflating it with apparent inability to understand the dispersal order. He refuses to believe that I couldn't hear it, that I didn't choose to get shot. We had a doctor testify about how it was physically possible not to hear things in a stressful situation. Apparently my prosecutor was too stressed out to hear him.

He goes on at the last witness, too, a man who walked out of work and got shot, saying he got shot on purpose so he could sue the city. There was more screaming and the jury got even more bored than they already were, with one or two looking like they're trying not to fall asleep, which is always a little scary for me - they're going to decide whether I have a criminal record or not, and they can't stay awake through the evidence. At the same time, I know the case is boring. Too bad I'm not accused of a flashier crime, or rather that the prosecutor is going on and on about nothing, and has been for two weeks, longer than my last trial took.

Tomorrow we hear closing arguments, the jurors are instructed as to the law, and I can go stress out at home.

Previous: May 13, 2002.
Next: May 22, 2002.

My daughter is 4 today.

I cannot believe it in some ways. I am finding it harder to remember her as a baby. She has grown so big, and with it my heart grows bigger. This is being a mom. Looking at her with pridehappinesslove.

Dear Celeste, happy birthday my darling. Thank you for bringing me joy. Love, mom.

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