January 30, 2009
Moving with the times
Today is the first of the two days that most of my life will go into storage. Well, the accumulated junk and trappings anyway. Books, clothes, mostly rubbish, all will be repacked and stored in a secure facility not far from here. About half of my stuff currently lies in a dank basement, again not far from here, underneath my ex-girlfriend's apartment. The other half resides in the rarefied atmosphere of a 6th floor attic. Over the next two days, they will be reunited. Will my tax returns from 1998 clasp the neck of my grandmother's sideboard as they weep and share tales of their joint exile? Maybe.
This is a kind of enforced storage, partly due to my girlfriend becoming 'ex', and partly due to the aforementioned attic space soon becoming apartment space. I will be quite pleased to have it done though - I shall no longer be dependent on the goodwill of ex-girlfriends and friends to store my stuff, and who knows? Maybe I'll even get rid of some of the shite that I've been lugging around on my back for the last eight years. Some of the books and clothes in the dank basement are ruined anyway, after a flood last year. The rest, well, we'll see. I need some summer gear, my most sentimental, valuable and enjoyable photos, books and CDs, the server, laptop and printer, and that's about it. I might give the rest away. It would be such a nice feeling to start from scratch - tabula rasa.
January 22, 2009
Vista ... hiss, boo ... wait, what?
I've been using Vista for nearly a week now, necessitated by the theft of my old (Windows XP) machine. For months I've been railing against Microsoft's hegemony, about the waste of resources that Vista's relentless polling of device drivers represents, about the horror stories that people have told me about problems with software compatibility and so on and so forth. To my surprise, after a week, I'm finding I actually quite like it. Of course, XP would run like the wind on this machine, with its 2.1GHz Turion dual cores and 3Gb of RAM. And, frankly, the UAC is like having a well-meaning but condescending uncle standing at your shoulder: "Are you sure you should be doing that? Do you know who that is? Should you really be talking to them?". It can be irritating running some "legacy" software - Delphi 7 for example (although at six years old, and still perfectly useable, I hate calling it "legacy" as if it's from the 19th century). There's a tendency for some icons to disappear from the system tray - the OpenVPN GUI, for example, hides like a scared rabbit if I close the lid and resume, and press "cancel" instead of reconnecting to my VPN, meaning I have to open task manager, hunt the rabbit down and shoot it in the head before resurrecting it. Sorry, that got a bit Gothic, didn't it? But there are some nice touches - I like the sidebar, and having the Bluetooth modem as standard is a nice touch - I grappled with that for a long time under XP. And I like Aero - the visual task switching is very nice, and something that PowerToys under XP tried to do, but didn't quite work with IE sessions. No, on balance, I can get used to Vista. I'll be sorry to say goodbye to XP. I know it was getting a bit long in the tooth, but every year it got more stable. I have a newer. prettier flame now, even if she thinks 2002 is a long time ago.
January 19, 2009
What a year ...
On the evening of Tuesday 6th, I went for a drink with one of the bartenders from Charlies. It was a cold night, but in the interest of saving a bit of money, I cycled, although it had started to snow. We went to Heidi's bierkeller ...
And I woke up in the accident and emergency ward in the Royal Hospital in the small hours of Wednesday morning, with two stitches in my left eyebrow, a black eye and a very sore left shoulder. I don't know how I got there - I have some paperwork that says I was driven in an ambulance, called out by some anonymous person who will forever have my gratitude. I was found on Frederiksholms Kanal, a street running down the side of the Parliament. My bike has not been seen again - I have no idea where it is. Nothing was taken from me, so I don't think it was a theft. I have no recollection of events from leaving Heidi's - I assumed I had gone straight home, but apparently we went on to Mojo's, a blues bar. Well, so I'm told. It's the amnesia that worries me - was I drunk, or was it the blow to the head that erased a bunch of short-term memories?
Then, on Wednesday 14th, I went to the Moose. With my laptop in its bag. And went to the loo for five minutes, and found the bag still there - but the laptop gone. Fortunately, I built a home server earlier this year one of whose purposes was to act as a Subversion repository, so all the project work for my customers was checked in to that. Still, the hassle and expense was something I could have done without.
So, I'm rather disenamoured of 2009 already. Perhaps it felt insulted by my cynical New Year poem and decided that karmic justice had to be meted out. I'm rather nervous about what the remaining 11-and-a-bit months will bring now ...
January 02, 2009
Happy New Year: An Honest Poem
In the cradle of the day
Squalling, bloody, weak and cold.
Weaned on error and dismay
New Year born of dying old.
People shout and scream with hope.
Pain-bright rockets burst up high.
Am I such a misanthrope
That all this seems a pointless lie?
It's better just to drink and dance,
and dance, and drink, and dance once more
Than it is to stop and think
Knowing you've been here before.
The promises you meant to keep.
Good deeds you said that you would do.
But at year's end you have to weep.
You failed. You failed. You failed. Who knew?
I tell myself it could be real,
that gestures might have meaning when
Used correctly. But here's MY deal:
I promise to do better in 2010.
January 01, 2009
Happy New Year
I went out with some friends to see in the New Year. We started off at Mikkel's boat, a nice Nautor, eating barbecued lamb, red cabbage salad, potato salad and green salad, and drinking some beer and wine while chilling out.
I got there a bit late, having had to collect my bike first, so the lamb was cold - but still tasty and tender. The plan was for the six of us to cycle into Copenhagen around 11:15 pm, but we were slightly late and got to Dronning Louises Bro just before midnight - I think the leap second saved us! Being at Dronning Louises bro, one of the bridges that spans the lakes in Copenhagen, has become a tradition for many young Danes, and many thousands turn out each New Year's Eve to watch the fireworks, drink, laugh and dance. The fireworks were visible all around Copenhagen from the bridge, and we spent about an hour just drinking, watching and wishing people "Godt nytår!" or "Happy new year!".
It was a very cold night, and someone had the brilliant idea of starting a bonfire on the bridge. I think everyone who was there last night at some point re-raised their body temperature to above freezing around that bonfire! It was so nice to feel the cold seeping out of your bones and feet.
There was live music from DJ Whopper and the rapper Lucy Love. Dancing also helped to keep the circulation going, along with beer reasonable priced at 100 kr for 5 50cl glasses. Thus fuelled, we danced and drank until around 3am, whereupon my mate Pete suggested that we go to Tietgens Collegium, a new and impressively architected student dorm out on the island of Amager, near where I live.
When we got there, the party was in full swing, and more drinking and dancing ensued. We left around 7am, and the sky was a beautifully clear blue, tinged with pink from the dawn. It was still damn cold, but fortunately the combination of alcohol and the short distance to get home meant it was not too much of a chore. And then I slept, waking just a few hours ago with a surprisingly clear head and feeling hungry, which I take to be a fairly good sign!