It's 5am. I got up and came into the living room with Joshua because he was wakeful, and now he has fallen asleep again without being fed, and I'm sitting in a bare, echoing room that has been emptied of all the things we own. Without the pictures and the books and the rugs, my keystrokes sound so loud. The only other sound is the constant rumble of a French gunboat's engine from the river outside. It's been out there for days. French marines in white hats with red bobbles have been showing tourists around their boat, guns hanging casually from their belts where tourist children have been staring at them, tempted to grab, knowing it's a bad idea.

All our stuff is in transit now, and we're in limbo, waiting for Tuesday morning, when we drive out of here and on to the ferry and over the Irish Sea and then from Holyhead to Yorkshire. I worked my last day as a Dublin IT contractor on Friday, and I hadn't realized how much I'd been looking forward to that until the very moment when I was coming down the stairwell at 6pm, and started grinning and singing and wanted to call everyone I knew and tell them how happy I was. It wasn't so bad a job, and it wasn't so bad an office. It's me, I'm the problem. In some fundamental way, I don't suit the regularity and the environs of the normal office job. I can keep up that kind of work for maybe 2 years at the longest, and then I need a break so that I can remember what it's like to be a human being and not part of a machine. I called my boss and best friend and he laughed and said how lucky I was to be leaving the most fucked-up project in the world just before the shit really starts to hit the fan, and I said I know, I know. He's leaving too, in about two months time. He will just about have time to come over to Yorkshire for Joshua's christening, and then he's off to Brazil for four months to work in a kitchen on the coast and learn to surf and try to get rid of the headaches he's been getting. He's a mutant too. He can do the office thing very well, but only for a while. Then it's time to get OUT.

I said it wasn't so bad a job, but it was. I've never worked on any project where so much money has been wasted due to sheer incompetence, and where so much bullshit was exchanged every single day. Some day I'll write about it. Anyone who works in IT might know what I mean when I say that on this project, the project managers were given too much power, and ran riot, losing touch with reality entirely in the end.

E2 has been very important to me lately. I returned to noding after a four-year absence (which was actually longer than my previous noding career) and I think it's been an important part of my figuring out what has been going on in my head lately. I don't instantly know, necessarily, what I need and what I feel, without writing about it and getting it out in paper or on screen where I can look at it. E2 has given me a purpose and a structure lately that I've really needed. Also, it's reminded me that the Internet isn't just a thing on my laptop that I use to look up addresses and definitions and book trips and buy books. It's the greatest means of interpersonal communication that has ever existed. That's how I used to use it, and that's how I'm starting to use it again. I don't know exactly where I've been, but my life went to some odd places. I regret in some ways the strange thoughts about this place that led me to decide to stop writing here for so long. I've missed the stories of most of the events here over the last 4 years. Jack and Katherine are in charge - that was new to me. There are new gods, and old gods whose divinity has been lost. There are lots of new names, and a couple of familiar names, in the catbox. It turns out that now, I'm an old-timer, but only in terms of bare figures. Really, I'm something more like a permanent newbie, I just have more votes and C!s.

I like this place because it stays unpredictable, yet beautiful. I read in Joyce that St. Augustine said that for beauty three things were required: Integritas, Consonantia, Claritas. Wholeness, Harmony, Radiance. Beauty requires structure and integration, and if there's one thing E2 is amazingly good at — one thing it exists in order to do — it's integration. There are other unpredictable places on the Internet, but they tend to descend into a chaos of stupidity. There are other beautiful places, but they tend to be static and predictable. E2 is a steady stream of new things, even if that stream has slowed somewhat since the "old days", and those new things become integrated very quickly into the whole. I need new things in my life, because if I fall too much into patterns I start to get depressed. Hence the empty apartment, the echoing keystrokes, the drive across the water on Tuesday. I need new things, but I need to be part of a whole too.


I can't believe Paul Newman is dead. I know he had greater roles, but I'll always remember him as Sidney Mussberger in The Hudsucker Proxy. "Sure, sure!" I still buy his salad dressing, and now I probably always will.

Every so often, we decide to radically change our life. I did this (again) back in February, when I went back to school in order to get my teaching certification. I'm now down to about six weeks before the classes are done, and then I have to get an internship, and if I survive that, I get my Instruction I certificate.

I am not the type of girl who could imagine herself doing this: getting a career. I know, I know--"those who can't do, teach". Only I can at least help kids with their grammar and hopefully open them to why novels and poetry and plays can be interesting, when done right.

But I'm afraid.

My medication is working; it's been working for... two years? Something like that. Wellbutrin, not being an SSRI, seems to work for me. But--and god, I hate myself for even thinking this--there's a part of me that wishes I was still 24, drunk, with violent mood swings. At least I wasn't boring.

But I'm boring now. I'm getting close to 30, I'm married, I own a house (well, paying a mortgage), and I'm becoming a teacher. I'm dull and rarely get depressed; but I rarely feel exhilarated, either. And I guess that's the trade-off. I'm not likely to alienate my husband, not likely to be fired, not likely to attempt suicide. These are all good things--so why don't I feel good about them?

Today, we go live. That's what 'they' (whoever they are, I have a sneaking suspicion that 'they' are evil corporate overlords) call it when the company switches data compiling/data organizing/traceability insuring/keeping track of this, that, and blah blah blah software. Today is the day when the shit hits the steel blades of the 10,000,000 revolutions per minute fan.

Today, my files die. The funeral procession is an endless string of once useful lines of programming. There will be a redundant right-click-and-delete session. 'Are you sure you want to delete (no longer useable file name here_________).' Yes, I'm sure. Caps Lock. It's no longer any consolation of having remapped my Caps Lock key to function as an Enter key. I no longer feel like I need an Enter key on that side. It serves now only as an ax, hacking away at the throat of my files.

Today is the day when 'we' (subjects of the corporate overlords) are given training on how the new system works. It's a funeral for all the applications I've developed. The I.T. department sent out an email. 'They' will be recreating our profiles. The server will unsurprisingly be down. And there will be confusion, hysteria, and riots.

The programs I have developed will all have to be reprogrammed. Or deleted and recreated from the ground up. Coffee, lots of coffee, will keep my fingers eagerly using the tapping at the keyboard to input commands that are sorely needed on the leaderless program.

The two twenty-inch monitors that were once filled with color and vibrant user interfaces that I created are now an arid wasteland, projecting only blank empty looks of pity.

The revival starts now. I tell myself, "I think I'll start here". I begin. Someone calls and sets a higher priority on the particular application that they use which is now a wandering ghost of a program. More people will call, all with a suggestion on the skeleton they feel should be resurrected.

They will ask, "Why can't you just use that one application that automatically..." No. Because it's dead. They're all dead.

I'll spend my days inspecting random corpses.

Well, I don't usually daylog (of course as someone with 4 writeups under his belt, I'm not sure 'usual' is really meaningful here) but I have had the most unbelievably weird day today.

Got up this morning around 10am, slightly hungover from a late night. I had expected a pretty normal, boring kind of day - bit of work, messing around on the internet, just see how things turn out. Got an early morning tomorrow, don't want to do anything intensive. So, I turn on my laptop, spend a couple of pretty nondescript hours reading stuff on paper and online. I'm just starting to think about lunch, maybe get some pasta together or something. Just a quick check of my emails...

Oh shit, there's one from my dad and it looks serious. The first few words in the preview are about something he should have told me a long time ago. My first, horrified thought is that someone's died - a friend or relative I wasn't in frequent contact with - and my dad heard the news before me and didn't tell me for some reason. I'd just sent someone an email about a family friend who'd been in a serious car accident, so the fear of someone dying was very fresh in my mind. The news wasn't bad, though, just unsettling.

I grew up in a relatively ordinary nuclear-type family with two younger siblings. I think I'm a classic oldest son in most ways - a strong record of academic achievement, good at working out solutions and taking the lead if I have to, and not bad at talking to total strangers in social situations. I suppose the flipside of all that is I'm not really very good with all that emotional stuff. People see me as someone who's excessively rational and scientifically minded, while I myself often feel pretty depressed without really knowing why, and find it hard to be uninhibited. Guess it's a pretty cliched situation, but that doesn't make it any less true.

So I didn't really know how to react when I learned that I had three half-brothers I previously knew nothing of.

I did swear a lot ("fucking THREE?!") which can't have earned me great popularity in this thin-walled student flat.

I remembered seeing a distant aunt or cousin a few months back, and my confusion as she asked after siblings I didn't know. It's a big family, I had thought at the time, she probably just confused me with someone else, but I was slightly suspicious for a while nonetheless - I knew I was the product of an affair and that my dad had left his first wife for my mother. None of my tentative enquiries to other relatives had yielded anything, though, so I'd forgotten about it. I mean, it's not exactly something you'd assume, is it? Well, that's that little mystery solved.

It was only after I'd told my flatmate of this strange bolt from the blue that it all hit me. I remember shaking uncontrollably, the coffee mug in my hand rattling against the desk, as I tried to compose an email in response. They sure don't cover this shit in the etiquette handbooks...

I wasn't angry in the slightest about him not telling me before, and without going too deeply into the personal details, I don't think his conduct was especially bad given certain mitigating circumstances. I'm 20. I have no idea of the sort of decisions involved, so it's hardly my place to judge. At any rate, what would be the point? I am still shaken up though - feels really surreal, like I'm in an Iain Banks novel. (Still, at least it's something like The Crow Road rather than, say, Complicity...) I've been shivering all afternoon, trying to distract myself with TV and the internet. The reason for all this coming out now is that I'll be meeting said half-brothers soon, at a memorial service. So, awkwardness will be very much the order of the day.

I need to get to bed, really, but I feel so very awake.

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