January 30th, 2007

eliphas, napping


Still not sleeping well. Last night I dreamt that I had to copy a hard disk with a Xerox machine. I felt that something was wrong there, but it didn't quite make it into conscious thought, or what passes for it, in a dream.

Work is driving my crazy. I'm doing a lot of scripting again, which I like, but testing the scripts is like shovelling water. With a pitchfork. (Or copying data on a Xerox machine.) For two days now I came in in the morning, ran the version of the script I had gotten to some satisfactory status the night before to get back into the flow, only to have it produce a runtime error. Same shell, same script, same computer: Runtime error. Sometimes renaming helps. Or using an older version. Or copying to another machine, renaming, and copying back. Sometimes it doesn't. Sometimes two identical scripts produce different results. Sometimes something runs -- once -- and returns the error on the next run, never to run again. The error? Always the same one: it's missing a directory. Only, the directory is right there before its very ... whatever a silicon-based life form uses as eyes. I can read data from it. I can start programs in it. It's in the path. It's in the friggin' system variables. Rarely it happens that something that didn't work on first try will on second. And tracing whatever might be the problem through a jungle of interlocking, interdependent scripts written over ten years or more by at least a hundred different developers is something I have neither the inclination nor the time for. Getting one of those ancient scripts to output its usage line without producing a syntax error has taken me five days in October.

In the meantime, when I'm not trying not to yell too loudly at the machine, I have to do the work manually which the script is supposed to do. As we need the script because the task at hand is boring, repetitive, longish and easy to mess up with far-reaching consequences, that doesn't help my sanity a whole lot, either.

Oh, and the book I've just read was boring, and I can't seem to write a single useful sentence. I've been fighting for a whole Sunday with a simple scene, and it's not the scene that eludes me, it's the words, the cadence of sentences. Language problems. Can you believe it? Can you recommend some really good writing in German which is available on the Internet? I do not mean respectable fan fiction or some fantasy with a reasonable good grasp on the German language. I mean something so far above my own skill with words that I want to be able to do something like that when I grow up. (If ever.)

As the words "a whole Sunday" might tell you, I didn't go out on Sunday. It was raining, and I wanted to write something. Hrmpf. Yesterday (Monday) I didn't even try. The Highlander DVD boxes I had ordered had arrived, I had managed to convince my laptop to play them, and spend the evening fangirling Methos. So there.

My teeth still hurt more-or-less, and I had a good panic (does wonders for my blood pressure) when I was checking my health insurance paperwork and found that the foreign insurance seemed to have run out in November. Fortunately (as I found out around midnight with a no-I'm-not-frantic-why-do-you-ask overseas phone call) it turned out that only the paper had gone missing, not the insurance. (Did I mention that I lose at paperwork?) Little wonder that my hair's getting white.

Well, Tiassa has written a letter (in sky-blue ink with glittering silver specks – Tiassa, are you sure you're OK?), and so has my mother. I ought to send them at least an e-mail, if not some postcards in reply, but I'd better wait with that until I'm in a better mood.