Friday 31 December 1999

Me in screenshot

Pic of the day: Spending new year's eve in Daggerfall. Welcome to the castle, people!

I remember, therefore I was

Just because it's the last day in 1999 doesn't mean I have to eat moldy cheese. I came home fairly early and decided to make myself a pasta dinner. However, when I came to the cheese, it was covered in white powder and smelled French. Those are the ones who eat moldy cheese, right? Of course, there are different forms of the little fungi, some are antibiotic and some are carcinogens, and most of them smell and taste rather disgusting. So also with this. I cut off the outer layer from all around the cheese, but I could still taste it in the pasta meal. Luckily I wasn't very hungry so I only ate half a plate. This will be the last time I eat over-aged cheese. At least this year.

My job today was to make sure all the PCs were turned off before Y2K. Just to be sure. Of course, all but one were placed down under people's desks, often with the on/off button against the wall. Luckily many users had turned theirs off, but I still had quite a bit of crawling to do. I should have sold advertising space on my backside.

Now there's an idea. I've noticed that several companies give out free T-shirts with company logo and/or blatant advertisement on them. Why have nobody tried to do that with jeans? Or better yet ... jogging suits! Imagine an XXL jogging suit proudly displaying the golden arches of the McDonalds logo ... (I can't imagine I'm the first to get this idea. I bet they have them in California.)


I finished reading the second Harry Potter book today. The chapter about the Deathday Party made a short story form in my brain. In this story, the main character is a ghost in a machine ... more exactly, it is set in the future and the main character is a personality downloaded or reconstructed on a computer network, taken from a living person's brain shortly before the end of his life. The electronic ghost is celebrating an anniversary for the successful migration into cyberspace ... in effect a deathday party. He is confronted by an avatar of a living person who asks him how he can know that he has indeed lived in the fleshworld and are not just a programmed construct. The answer, I found, applies to the two characters alike and to the same degree.

"I think, therefore I am" said the philosopher Descartes. But in truth this must be amplified by one more statement, more important than the first. "I remember, therefore I was."

Without our memories, we would not know what we were thinking, or even that we were thinking. We constantly compare our thoughts to the past, just as we do with impulses from our senses. Very few things would make sense of not for our vast supply of memories. Babies, even though they are very bright, remain disoriented for a long time. Then gradually they get a hang on the world, with the help of their memories. We know that people who lose their memory are in serious trouble. But what if our memories got replaced? If we started to remember another life than the one we actually lived?

Yes, I am still worried about that. I guess we all do this from time to time, though I like to think that I do it less than others: Change my meories of the past to fit the one I want to be now. Of course, this is where the "One year ago" thingie in the journal comes in handy. ;)


I just had a phone call from Superwoman, the wonderful young lady who is my best friend on earth. She inquired into the state of civilization after the Y2K dateline had passed most of the world east of us. So far I could bring her only good news: The common services of modern living seem to work completely undisturbed. I do not expect it to be any different here. She sounded relieved to hear this, and after a short talk she was ready to start some serious partying with her friends. Me, I'm listening to the fireworks and thinking of work tomorrow. I'm glad she was up and about, though. I hope she does not get any "aftershocks" after going straight from sickbed to partying out in some country cabin. Contrary to common superstition, alcohol is not the way to cure a flu.


The fireworks have been going off randomly here since the afternoon, though they are steadily increasing as we get closer to midnight. I am not impressed. Fireworks is an art form. There is likely to be some great fireworks in the larger cities which will be worth seeing. And no doubt the citizens there will have the critical mass of alcohol and stupidity to send up their own howlers at the same time, like they were dragging their guitar with them into a classical concert and hammering the strings randomly. Out here in the suburbs, this is the only kind of fireworks there is: Random lights and noises. As I said, I am not impressed. Then again, I am not drunk either.

My throat is somewhat thick. I fervently hope to be OK so I can go to work tomorrow. Not that I expect any major problems on our computer network, but someone has to check it and it better be me. The other guys know less about computers, but they know how to party. So ideally they should sleep tomorrow and I work. Time will show. At least next year, if I am still alive, I can look back and remember this the way it was, and grin at myself.

Overcast, foggy, mild, smoky.

Yesterday <-- This month --> Tomorrow?
One year ago

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