Remembering December 2003

For the first time in over seven years, I’ve recovered a handful more of my “lost” blog posts: articles that were written prior to the great server fuck-up of July 2004.

scatmania.org in August 2003, showing off the simplistic look it had before it was deleted.

Since then, I’ve kept regular backups. A lot of the old stuff is sometimes cringeworthy (in a “did I really used to be such a dick?” way), and I’m sure that someday I’ll look back at my blog posts from today, too, and find them shockingly un-representative of me in the future. That’s the nature of getting older.

Nostalgia's awesome, which I choose to represent with this photo of me and my parents on a hilltop somewhere. You have permission to "aww".

But it’s still important to me to keep all of this stuff. My blog is an extension to my diary: the public-facing side of what’s going on in my life. I back-link furiously, especially in the nostalgia-ridden “On This Day” series of blog posts I throw out once in a while.

If you remember my blog when it used to look like this, back in the late 1990s, then you've been following me than longer than most folks have been on the Web at all.

The blog posts I’ve newly recovered are:

Andy & Sian, the adorable couple who I declared "most surprising" of the new relationships to get underway late in 2003. The pair married in 2010.

So there you go: especially for you stalkers or those of you looking for a trip down memory lane – some links to what I was up to in December 2003.

For those of you who are really on a roll, here’s some further reading from the period: Kit, on the last Troma Night of the year; a religious argument that Alec kicked off (thanks, archive.org); Liz starting her first blog; Paul applies for a hardship loan;

Nostalgia Isn’t What It Used To Be

It’s been a bit of a day for nostalgia. It started even before I woke up, when I was dreaming about an argument that could have marked the end of Claire and I’s relationship, if it weren’t for the fact that it didn’t even slighly represent the actual circumstances of our seperation (I’ll spare you all the details). I was woken by a phone call from a company with whom I used to deal. Later, I caught up with an old friend via instant messanger, in what was probably my only delibrate act of nostalgia of the day. Finally, while working this evening on a techy project that’s been part of my life for about the last eight years, the random number generator in my MP3 playing software decided all of its own accord that what I’d really like to listen to is the same music I was listening to when I first started on the project.

Did I not get the memo that this is National Nostalgia Day, or something? Is everything conspiring around me, or is this all a coincidence?

The thing I’ve learned about nostalgia is that it’s generally best left as it is: a collection of figments in your mind. Some are accurate, some mis-remembered, and all are seen through glasses tinted with the colour of hindsight. And that’s great: that’s exactly how your brain is supposed to experience times past. If you’re an optimist, like me, it’s easy to pick out your favourite memories and pretend that your life gone by was all as great as your happiest moments. If you’re a pessimist, well: you probably do the same thing, but compare those great memories to how awful things are right now (and you’re wrong, but I can’t just tell you that and give you a more rational worldview, just as your cynicism won’t “fix” me, either).

That’s inevitable, of course: think back to the moment in your life at which you felt the most content that you ever have – at least that comes right to your mind. Unless your time on the planet has been a continuous curve of improvement, with no ups-and-downs, then there’s something remarkable about that moment: it’s not right now. Well duh, of course it isn’t. The most elementary mathematics would indicate that of all of the experiences in your life, there has to be some kind of regression toward the mean going on: what you’re experiencing now should, on average, be representative of your life so far even before you factor in the Von Restoroff effect and other cognitive biases.

But I digress. My point was this: I would love to be able to finish what I’m working on and go play a game of Chez Geek in the Ship & Castle with folks like Bryn and Kit and Liz and Strokey Adam, just like I did over six and a half years ago. But that’s not my life nowadays. And while I can get all doe-eyed about how awesome the Ship & Castle used to be before they gutted it and made it look like a trendy wine bar (apologies to those of you for whom this is the news being broken of its demise), or I can pine for the days that those friends – now long-gone – used to all live a stone’s throw away from me, but that’s not the full story. I don’t miss being even poorer than I am now, I don’t miss having to juggle my academic life with holding down a job, and a certainly don’t miss being quite so arrogant as I was back then (for those of you who’ve only recently met me; think of me now, only more so).

Nostalgia is like alcohol: it’s great in moderation, but if you get too much of it, or you become dependent upon it, then you’re liable to get stuck and not be able to move on. And I think that’s the message I should be taking away from this morning’s dream.

(and now, in a somewhat ironic and roundabout way, I’d better stop writing so I can go and play board games with the current Aber crew, as part of a tradition that started with Chez Geek in the Ship & Castle, all those years ago…)

Long Deadline

[this post has been partially damaged during a server failure on Sunday 11th July 2004, and it has been possible to recover only a part of it]

[on 13 October 2018, I was able to confirm that only the image is now missing]

[chez geek card]

The problem with long deadlines is they creep up ever so quickly.

This weekend, I’ll be learning JBoss, Ant, and JUnit, and then writing an an online bank program. Eep.

 

More Celebrations

[this post has been partially damaged during a server failure on Sunday 11th July 2004, and it has been possible to recover only a part of it]

[chez geek card]

Yay. Now I’m in a fab bouncey mood and ready to crack on with the next 10,000 words of my dissertation.

People have kindly been offering to proof-read it for me on Sunday night – this is most welcome: if anybody else wants to, you can too: just drop me a comment or a message or something, and I’ll e-mail you it. I presume you’ll all prefer Acrobat .PDFs than PostScript .PS files, yeh?

On which note; everybody’s being really considerate of my need to get this thing done – leaving me to do it where they’re likely to be a distraction; not suggesting really cool things we could be doing right now (except for the above card, ahem), etc. Thank you all, guys!

In other news…

Lots Of Work To Do; Lots Of Dissertation To Do

[this post has been partially damaged during a server failure on Sunday 11th July 2004, and it has been possible to recover only a part of it]

[chez geek cards]

I have heaps of work to do today. Then I’ve got to go home and get heaps of dissertation done.

There’s good news, however: our favourite among the folks who’ve been viewing the cafe under our flat has put a bid in. If everything goes well, he’ll buy it and we’ll still be able…

Parcel Of Goodies

[this post was lost during a server failure on Sunday 11th July 2004; it was recovered on 21st March 2012]

Woo and indeed hoo. Just when I was about to wander down to Richley’s and take advantage of their sale on jeans (having had a nasty shredding-related accident with one-too-many of my existing pairs of trousers a couple of weeks back), my Auntie Anne sends me a parcel of goodies, including several pairs of trousers (including one with a million pockets, or thereabouts).

I think I’ve put on weight since the last time she sent me any clothes. [measures waist size]. Yup; I’m two inches fatter than this time last year. Well; there’s an incentive to lose it again.

In other news; I’ve almost completed an exciting little project that will provide some amusement to those of you who attend Chez Geek Night (BTW: it’s on Tuesday this week, so we don’t end up in a fight with the Irish Band again). No; it’s not a computer game version (although I’m hoping that the author will allow me to write one, one day)… but I think you’ll like it, anyway. Details tonight or tomorrow.

Yay! No more lectures today!