Steven Seagal is naked. And I am naked too.

I do not keep a diary, and I never have. Nonetheless, I can chart the course of my life by looking at the contents of my hard drive. I have owned a full-blown IBM PC for roughly seven years now, although I have replaced almost all of its components during this time; to such an extent that I do not really consider my PC to be an homogenous object, as one might consider a favourite car or pet to be an object. I have not given it a name or customised it with stickers, or anything like that, because it is a component of my life. I have even replaced both of the hard drives, albeit not at the same time, using Norton Ghost to preserve the data. This raises all kinds of questions about the nature and persistence of human consciousness; none of them are relevant in the case of my computer, because there is something fundamentally different about the state of data on my hard drives, and the information in my head. It is a shame that people are not built like computers, with hot-swappable components.

Nonetheless, amongst the six partitions of my two hard drives, amongst the 50gb worth of data which is periodically updated, archived and erased, there are backwaters and tidal pools. Directories and software for which I was briefly enthusiastic, and then lost touch. In early May of this year, the year of 2005, which is the year this is, I decided to learn about POV-Ray, the modelling and ray-tracing tool; you have to describe all the objects in your scene with text, like a Sinclair BASIC program, i.e. PLOT (10,50), CIRCLE (50), that kind of thing. CHESS BOARD (1), FLOATING BALLS (5), SYNTHESISED MUSIC (1), FRED HARRIS (1). LIGHTS (1), CAMERA (1), RENDER (1). I just didn't have the will to carry on, gave up. I'm not ashamed of this, in fact I am gratified that I saw sense. Down the path of POV-Ray lurks madness. The world of raytracing seems to have moved on from reflective spheres and/or quasi-spiritual images of badly-rendered human figures holding balls of light in their outstretched hands:

Number four, 'Victoria's World', is particularly good. It's better than the other number four. It was apparently inspired by a painting called 'Christina's World' by an American painter called Andrew Wyeth; I can't say I've heard of either.

My oldest partition, C:, has been carefully stripped of everything except the operating system, which is Windows 98. It used to be Windows 95. By a quirk of history, that partition is only 821mb big, because a long time ago the machine had a single hard drive of roughly that size. Consequently, I cannot easily upgrade my operating system, because I only have 104mb free. I could use Partition Magic, I suppose, but I just don't have the will. Don't have the will.

Ah, D:. You used to be the big man, you and G:, until E: came along. You were the big cheeses. F: was what I kept my musical samples on. I still do, to an extent; there are drum loops and electronic percussion pings which I have produced over a period of seven years, in several different tempos, mostly 90, 100 and 110bpm, because I like to make music that has a relentless walking beat. H: has my swap file. But D:. It is moribund now. There is a directory entitled 'Star Wars Presentation' which has a university project of the friend who used to own the PC. I bought it from him. May 1997. Fractint for Windows, v18.21, dated 1993. In fact this is still the latest version of Fractint for Windows; there is a DOS version, which is v20.00. "''Warning! Clicking on this text button will start a 1/2 megabyte filetransfer''", says the website, "''If you are having trouble downloading fractint from any site due to timeouts or for other reasons due to its large file size, Robin Bussell in the UK has a webpage where you can download fractint in small segments''". This is a lie; Robin's website has long gone. Darcey Bussell has a website, but she does not dance to the music of mathematics.

I sometimes toy with the idea of popping open Windows' 'find' tool and searching by date, but it doesn't work very well and in any case I have modified many of my file since I created them. There's no easy way to find the earliest file, because several have spurious dates; 01/01/81, for example. The most recent file is of course this one.


Inspired by this collection of words, I have written a short poem about Nethack, which I include beneath.

Ashley Pomeroy
I never got the hang
of that.