David's diary: October 1997
The time has come to face some truths in my life. I hate to admit it - I guess that's a certain amount of pride - but I'm having to come to terms with the fact that I am pretty messed up at the moment. I've been through good and bad phases, even within the last few months, but I've really noticed today just how volatile, bitter and twisted I am at the moment. But I am also so apathetic, that I feel little urge to do anything much about it; I am resigned to being the way I am, and falling still further into the pit of despair that is my life at the moment. Maybe by bringing this into the open, making it public knowledge, I will feel compelled, for my own self-esteem to do something about it, for I can hide it no more.
I'm finding myself incredibly irritable, and almost enjoying being so. I'm taking more pleasure in writing nasty, grumbly e-mails etc than I am in writing nice ones, just for example. I'm finding myself being hypercritical of others. I am generally relishing in the negative, not the positive, and it's getting pogressively worse. What finally rammed home to me the state I am in, was when I found this afternoon that it appears my old company has cancelled the web site I run, without telling me. My reaction should have been one of concern, but instead was one of delight. Delight? Delight at the prospect of really speaking my mind, even though I bear no prior grudges against those involved. I would have lost some of my dearest friends if I had, so I am glad I realised soon enough what was happening to me.
So I keep telling myself that I am not bitter and twisted, but I am living a downright lie. I seem to have lost grip on anything much good in life, so am holding on to evil stuff instead. That simply must stop, but I am at a loss without the positive to aspire to. So I am at somewhat of a loss as to what to do next; I know I must change - that is a huge step - but quite how is a mystery to me. But I must find a way, otherwise it will be too late. If God is truly as real as I believe he is, then I pray he would show himself to me now, before I do something really stupid.
Well, it was good to get away from here for the weekend - the change of scene I think did me some good, though I didn't do much constructive really. The bicycle I'd had here - and used occasionally - was really my mum's and she wanted it back, so I had the fun and games of stuffing that into the back of the car on Friday evening; amazingly it got home in one piece, as was also the case, thankfully, when bringing the replacement one back here this afternoon. The new one's a bit lighter and a bit meaner, though with considerably less gears, but I think I'll be able to hang on to this one for as long as I like.
I also brought back a small 19" rack unit I had stored at home, which will do very nicely for holding my synth and effects modules for the time being, and indeed leaving one space for something yet to come - maybe another effects module, or more likely a dynamics processor. Sadly I decided I ought to leave the Amiga, which had been living in the rack unit, back at home, since I really can't justify bringing any more hi-tech stuff up here yet. Maybe another time, when I've had a chance to dig out all the modulators, power-supplies and everything else it needs to be much use.
Other than that, a pretty uneventful weekend really. I went out for a pleasant walk in the country on Saturday and gave the replacement bike a short test-ride round the village and beyond, and apart from trying - and failing - to troubleshoot my parents' new chest freezer, that was about it really. But as I said, in my current state of mind and everything, that was probably just about ideal, and I certainly now feel a lot more keyed up for the week ahead than I otherwise would have done, and at least I have now replenished my stock of chocolate coffee cake, and got some of our lovely home-grown apples.
Much of today I spent finally setting up my new PC at work - my boss Joel paid a visit in the morning and reminded me that the stand-in secretary was supposed to be getting my old machine, a mere 90MHz Pentium, and that it was about time I moved my stuff on to the machine which had been gracing my desk doing absolutely nothing with its 266 million Hertz for the past month! So I spent the afternoon installing the development software I knew I needed, copying current projects, and making a complete backup of my old hard disk, just in case I'd missed anything vital. Everything seems to be well, and Joel's secretary now has the old machine set up more or less as she wants it, and now I can hurry up and finish all the projects that are due by the month-end...
External momentum is building up for me to get going with George, the code-name for a programming project I have more or less decided to work in my spare time. Fired up by the success of my WinJLRN software which was my first stab at internet-enabled programming, building in my experience of writing music software for Windows, and aggravated in a curiously positive way by my increasing antipathy towards the Res Rocket Surfer project, George is to be a DRaGoN-slayer par excellence if I have anything much to do with it. I'm going to have to be very careful not to breach any confidentiality agreements, though there's enough that is bad about Res Rocket Surfer's software, that frankly I wouldn't want mine to look or operate much like it at all really, though I make no secret that my objectives are similar - minus the money-grabbing capitalism and omnipresent big-brother attitude.
Wow - what a break from diary-writing! Monochrome regulars will realise that this is not because I've been off visiting sunnier climes or anything nice like that, but simply because Mono has been largely out of action for several weeks after a series of serious disk failures. Some people did opt to maintain on-line diaries during that period, but since I like to keep this as a permanent and continuous record, I decided to take the opportunity to give it a break for a bit!
Mono's fully back on-line now, and a campaign to get some cash revenue is well underway, with my own cheque put in the post earlier today. Hopefully this can go some way towards the costs of the new hardware that the system so desperately needs when it is as heavily loaded as it is. Thankfully, I lost none of my diary edits during the outage, just a Figlet heading I had created, and that was easy enough to reporoduce this afternoon.
What's going on otherwise? Work's still the same as ever, getting to the point of dotting the t's and crossing the i's on this chemical equilibrium project - whilst of course still suffering the curse of the continually-varying specification, inconsistent graphic design and so on. Time's getting on, and I must soon wrap this one up for good and blitz the next project I have lined up, which is all about electron energy levels, and is supposed to be essentially complete within a month or so.
The flat's OK, though the urgent work I requested earlier in the year is still outstanding, and it's not looking too hopeful that it will get done, so I am having to keep my options open about moving elsewhere. The sticking point seems to be with the owner, rather than the property management company - though they've not been too efficient, it has to be said - so I'll probably get a fair bit of support if I need to find somewhere else in a hurry.
Musically, not a lot's going on, really. I splashed out a modest amount of money on a second effects processor unit, a cheap and very cheerful Zoom one, filling the last gap in my small rack. This means I can have nice tight ambience on drum sounds, for example, whilst keeping the Microverb's dreamy washes on the strings and so on, and it will become even more versatile when I finally get around to buying a proper desk with auxiliary sends. Of course, with my current quirky mixing desk, I had to spend the next few hours shopping for connectors and inhaling solder fumes in order to hook everything up, but it seems well worth the bother.
I finally quit Res Rocket Surfer altogether a couple of weeks back. I left on as good terms as could really have been hoped, but given the project ideas I have in mind - the momentum for which is building still further - I was left with no choice if I was going to behave with decency and honesty. I might lose a couple of friends in the process, but most of those I truly value are behind me in what I am doing, so this move didn't hurt too much from that point of view.
If I proceed as planned with this proposed programming project - I will almost certainly have to buy a new PC, which will set me back a fair packet if I am to get something that still has a hope of being much use in a couple of years time. It is so depressing when my Spectrum lasted for five years without looking dated, and my Amiga similarly, yet the average PC looks dated a month after you buy it. For this reason, I feel you really have to go for the best you can afford, and then some, but it's quite a painful process really, and you have to believe there will be some benefit in the longer term.
The Future internet talker I helped out on sadly ceased to exist earlier this month, for a number of reasons; it has since been reincarnated as a Citadel BBS, though to be honest that is not something that interests me a lot with Monochrome so readily to hand. One of the old Future admin has set up another talker using the cursed EW-Too code, and I have opened an account on it, but I have to say I don't like EW-Too, and will probably not get over-involved. The Orchard will hopefully be fully back on-line very soon; we have it running on a server in Japan, but our registered domain name does not yet point to it, and we won't declare it re-opened until that happens, which will hopefully be very soon.
Anyway, there's probably a whole lot more that happened over the last few weeks, but this is almost certainly quite enough to be going on with for the moment. Maybe I'll make a edit with all the things I've forgotten, later tonight or tomorrow sometime, or at least soon enough to get included in the October archiving!
I will attempt to fill in a few gaps from the last couple of weeks. Church life has been interesting lately, with some better-than-average teaching, and a rather wonderful singing and prayer session in the city centre, with visitors from loads of churches around the city; it really does seem that revival is hitting Milton Keynes big-time now, reflecting on similar things happening elsewhere in the country and around the world, and we have high expectations of what is yet to come. I've now been with the MKCF for about a year, and I'm still meeting new people who have been there all the time, but never got a chance to talk to properly - that is the extent of how this church has grown from its very modest early roots, and has continued to do so even while I have been there.
My headaches over the flat seem to have come to an end, with a verbal assurance from the letting agents that the electrical and plumbing problems that have been outstanding for approximately the last six months or more will now shortly be fixed, and I have duly agreed to renew my tenancy agreement for a further six months. I could have gone onto a monthly-renewable agreement, but this is less hassle and more protective, and even if I did decide to change jobs or move, it is very unlikely that much that is truly worthwhile would come around that quickly, and I'm certainly not going to do anything silly in that respect during the run-up to Christmas.
The car's playing up again, needless to say, this time apparently triggered by the cold weather. I blew a headlight bulb the other day - I think whilst flashing my colleague! - but now the battery seems to be very tired and sometimes barely wanting to start the engine, though - as when it did similarly earlier in the year - it always ultimately has a sudden surge and starts quite enthusiastically after a couple of tries, though seconds before it will seem almost dead. Maybe I really will replace it next year, though that'll be yet more expenditure to add along with my proposed new PC, mixing desk and so on. It would be OK, except that even my Halifax shares have slumped to an all-time low, so something will have to get neglected ... again.
Well I've just got back from a rather congenial evening out. I met with a load of my colleagues at Pizza Express in the city centre, where we had a most pleasant meal to the accompaniment of one of the best blues guitarist-singers I had ever had the privilege of hearing. As Peter there said, he would have paid what he did for the pizza and tiramisu just to hear the guy do his stuff - mainly reasonably well-known covers, but impeccably executed with his own style. Then a couple of us went on for a beer at the local Wetherspoons, and now I'm back home. And what's more, I managed to more or less entirely avoid any Hallowe'en type stuff, for which I was very grateful given my feelings on that...