Niall’s virtual diary archives – November 2002

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6th November 2002


28th November 2002


Wednesday 6th November 2002: 5.21pm. These last two days have been like my brain has run out of food or something. It's getting really hard to think about anything at all. I woke up this afternoon, spent the first half hour with my eyes closed and brain very very empty and then proceeded to have a shower and shave and yet during all of it my brain continued to be conspicuously empty. Then I sat and stared out the window for a half hour, before hunger made me go buy some food.

I vaguely recall being like this at times in the past. It was the main strength behind ordering that package of pharmaceuticals because I had an inkling it might get like this. I reckon personally it's something to do with neurotransmitter depletion, because although I'm in mostly excellent health and my diet certainly is second-to-none, it could be argued that ten to twelve hours per day of intense mental activity might begin to take its toll. Especially after months of it.

This project of course isn't like previous projects for work. It's a lot more demanding. Since I entered phase 3, I've gone from rounding things and tidying up obvious loose ends to designing once again and it's definitely the designing which takes it out of me. OTOH, I do now have in my opinion the most flexible data connection points in any software anywhere, but just that little bit sucks the wind from your sails.

Despite being in this laconic state, it occurred to me whilst staring out of the window that oily fish is brain food. Now I can't think of any evidence to prove this other than vague statements issued by grandparents when I was very little, but since fresh salmon is so cheap here it doesn't cost much to do so and so I thought I might as well. If nothing else, it will be very tasty as usual.

My care package of various brain enhancers should arrive next week sometime, so all I need to do is make it until then. Oh, it's just occurred to me I haven't written in here about them yet. Basically, there are these various drugs called nootropics which supposedly enhance brain function. I had thought it was a load of old hat, and so had never given it much thought (much preferring things which have obvious, quantifiable effects). However, a discussion on a mailing list I'm on persuaded me to give it a go - I had five separate people from three continents swear to the efficacy of a combination of Piracetam and Choline and well, that does one hundred times more for me than supposed testimonials provided by the vendor.

Now, it's been quite a story getting the money to pay for these sent. It's all in euros, but despite the supposed unified economic union you will find it virtually impossible to send money from A to B where A and B do not reside within the same country. It can be done, but it will cost you approximately 10% of the value you're sending (as I learned to my cost when my father transferred 1000 euro to me and between us we paid 80 euro in fees). This, in my mind, is extortion when you can stick the money in a jiffy bag and post the bugger for three euro (and I'm including registered post and insurance to 50 euro in that) - so, that's exactly what I did some three weeks ago.

Unfortunately, Royal Mail in recent years tend to lose packages, often for weeks at a time. I was told this when I went to the spanish post office to enquire as to my package's whereabouts, and I must admit to being somewhat peeved because DHL'ing it would have cost me maybe only a fiver and it'd have got there in twenty-four hours. Still, it's a lesson learned.

Right, time for action! I'm going to try and organise a quiet drink tonight, but I'll probably fail so hopefully the oily fish will give me the what-for-all necessary to start data objects tonight. I hope everyone is well, be happy!

Thursday 28th November 2002: 11.03pm. It feels like it's been longer than three weeks somehow, but it's probably about right. Every day waking, more programming, watching a few eps and then bed. But I'm nearing the end, I can feel it now, and it won't be much longer before I'll have done as much as I can do and it'll be time to go find funding or a job. Whatever the case, it means the end of my time here.

I wonder what the future holds for me? It's understandable to have jitters when a time of great change is coming, but for the second time ever I suppose I'm faced with too many options. Like just after uni, the world is literally my oyster and I could decide to go live in deepest Siberia if I felt like it (though why I would is difficult to see). For sure, this won't be the last time in my life I'd almost like some oracle to tell me what to do.

What have I accomplished in the last two years? Well, I think it better to wait till the end of year review for that, which is a little more than a month away. But I think I've done ok, especially this last year. 2001 was a black year, but 2002 is not bad.

Oh those pharmaceuticals arrived. The joint strengthening pills don't seem to have any effect, so I'm now thinking of that wonder drug I heard about for curing arthritis but I could do with getting someone else to pay for it. The yohimbine doesn't seem to have much effect on me though it isn't an unpleasant experience like the hydergine, which blocks up my sinuses like I have a heavy cold (fun!). The piracetam I've been so unsure of I stopped taking it last weekend and restarted today to see what would happen. I think there's a difference, but it's very hard to quantify. All in all interesting, but probably not worth the euros except for the Melatonin, which I think is my dream come true for sending you to sleep. I've been searching for a drug to knock me out for years given my weird circadian rhythms, and all of them have either had side-effects or didn't work. Well, this melatonin stuff is fantastic, within twenty minutes to half an hour you feel so tired it's like you've been awake four days or something. You sleep naturally, and wake the following day usually after some terrific dreams feeling great. It gets my stamp of approval, and it will from now on travel where I go.

And apart from that lot, not a lot. One really doesn't get up to much. I met up with some people off mailing lists I'm on twice (two sets) and that was interesting. And, umm, that's really it.

I expect a christmas email to everyone is coming shortly, and I'm pretty sure I'll get an entry in before christmas. Hope y'all well, and be happy!

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