Warning signs for social suicide

So the old computer obsession that’s been lurking my entire life has come to the fore. I expanded my business to cover a second school, and it’s impressive what I’ve learned in just a few months about hardware, software and servers. This course really was worth doing.

It helps that the school staff are clueless, and don’t give a shit about the 25+ XP shitboxes with 512MB RAM and between 1.50 and 2 GHz CPUs. These computers are 13 years old, and I’ve advised them to start getting money to replace them, as they will not last forever. I am practicing the technique of simple, non-technical explanations. I junked three desktops, and put the DIMM RAM chips in the most used shitboxes. I threw some leftover 256MB DIMM RAM into the others. As in my last job, they are booting much faster, and are more responsive. Management are against using Linux on the shitboxes, as the educational software is all written for Windows. Lubuntu would be good on these.

I also cleaned up 16 laptops that were 6 years old, and had been sitting unused for 2 years. Four are junk – backlights or inverters are gone in the laptop monitors. I might take these myself to fix, then use them as servers or seedboxes for dank 80s anime. I’ve put them on trollies, so that they can be wheeled to a class and used.

It’s a shame that all this has been left unused. The teacher who maintained the PCs left years ago. So all these resources have been left to rot since 2011. They have a new principal in, who wanted to sort out the room. I did a big clean out, and found some crazy old shit:

  • hundreds of floppy disks and documentation for software older than I am
  • an Acorn cartridge for LOGO, from 1984
  • a 5-pin DIN to PS/2 adaptor
  • old modems, wireless network cards and cabling

I did discover one “weird old trick” to double my download and upload speed. I’d been getting a weak signal from my shitty router since I built my desktop. I eventually tracked it down to the crap wireless network card which I skimped on, and not interference or software issues. It was dropping packets, causing all kinds of lag, and forced me to actually learn some shit about computers.  I salvaged a larger aerial off an old modem – and it instantly solved my problem.

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On the modelling front, I bought an MG Ball, a HG Hygogg and an HG Acguy from 1999.jp. With shipping, and the weak Yen, it worked out at only €41. Which is for nothing. I will take Celica’s advice and buy some old 1/100 kits next time.

I also picked up a pyrography set dirt cheap, and customised a French folding knife for a friend’s birthday by burning a message into the wood handle. I also ground the blade to have a drop point. I got a bottle rack in a charity shop for a euro, and burned some stupid injokes for him so he can use it to store his homebrew.

I’ve also (somehow) managed to save money while living on government handouts and casual work. So life is pretty good. I realised my childhood dream of making a videogame too at a game jam event. Expect a mopeilitywod game in the future.

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A Modest Gainz

It came to me last month that I want to eat a lot of potatoes. So, eating lots of potatoes will be my resolution this year.

We went hiking at the end of December with some Americans and South Africans, and went for a meal afterwards. Most of us had sheperd’s pie, which came with a side of fried potato or chips. The noodle dishes also came with a potato option. Everything came with a potato option. The Americans laughed at this. They did not finish the potatoes served with the main.  I finished their potatoes.

This is not unusual in Ireland. It’s not unusual to to have multiple potato dishes at any meal, including breakfast.  Restaurants, apart from high-falutin’ ones,  will commonly serve multiple potato dishes. Boiled potatoes. Mashed. Fried. Chipped. Baked. Skins. Potato bread. Potato pancake (boxty). A type of mash with scallions (champ). A type of mash with kale (colcannon). Gratin potato.

Thing is, I’ve never really like potatoes growing up. Too many times I had waxy white potatoes, boiled, with no seasoning but sunflower margarine and pepper. Not even butter. And this is from a country that is famous for cheap grass-fed  butter.

I went for rice and beans when I cook, and avoided potato. But now, fluffy rice has lost its appeal. So I am returning to potatoes. Potatoes are like crack to Irish people. I’ve eaten 4kg of potatoes in the last two days. I go to sleep craving potatoes.

“I’d better start living like a poor person”

First semester of computer science down. Definitely glad I quit to do it now.  Studying for Winter exams now. After that, I get to do more IT stuff on 10 year old computers. Which should be fun. They finish in 10 days. I’m finding studying code and computer stuff much easier than CPA. Though I’m not sure if it’s the fact that my health is better, or that the subject is marginally more interesting.  It’s likely both. I’d like to keep going and get work. Living on government money and savings can’t last forever. It’s trailer trash money. I’m officially even poorer than I was while working.

Went for counseling last month about chronic pain and quitting the job. Proved pretty good.  Seems a lot of it stemmed from my mam being nuts, getting abused and how that made everything downstream bad. True mopeility. Mobilising your childhood to get into a nice stable position. It’s made daily life a lot more bearable.  No more ideas about killing myself in traffic while cycling. More optimistic about the future. Less desire to overwork and overtrain to not deal with feelings. I understand a lot about how I went from drinking and drugs, to working hard, then back to being a pillhead this year. All that hard work wasn’t ‘virtuous’ – as I thought. I think it put people off me, and made me miserable and sick. I guess I have a little more slack and emotional ROM after that.

And the woman is going through her finances today with me and realises she overspent during the Christmas sales and is broke. And she realises she overspends every month and is still dependent on her parents and me for money. So now, before she finishes working in March, she still has about €4000 to pay back, and no chance to save. Because she did not save the year she was working full time in jobs that paid more than I’ve ever made, and while she lived at home rent free. So it seems I will be funding us moving in together if she returns to the South of Ireland. Which is another €1000 I have to not spend to fund us. Which puts an engagement back. Which increases the pressure. Which makes her spend more. Which puts us back where we started.

Thing is, we were already relatively poor and insecure. It’s just a matter of extent and timing.

There has to be a way or a point at which things get easier financially. Are we just surviving here on low wage jobs? Are we going to be a lost generation like the one Japan had in the 90s and 00s? Ireland isn’t as bad as Greece or Spain for young people, and there hasn’t been major unrest like some of Europe. But it’s only because we have so much emigration that nothing has kicked off. A good 40% of my friends left the country after graduation. And it seems that Ireland’s governments have had little choice in fiscal policy, so I can’t see any radical changes happening.

Things should be better in light industry at least. Maybe I can stop being poor.