I never spell the word “alcohol” right. Ever. It’s a shame that word never came up in spelling competitions at school. There were chocolate bars at stake then… Will spell for chocolate.
Today was a Christmas Day my family won’t forget for a long time! We had a great time today, heard some amazing news, and then had a bit of an adventure on the way home. The weather has been pretty cold for the last while, the county was covered in a sheet of ice but this afternoon temperatures rose slightly which was great because we were due to visit family for Christmas dinner.
My brother Donal and his wife had ice problems this morning when their car slid out of his estate. Two hours later they got underway when the roads thawed out a bit. That had worried me because there’s a hill into our estate too.
After a great day with family, a delicious dinner made by my brother-in-law Chris and a visit to my own family we returned home, sharing the road with nervous drivers and reckless drivers. The journey home was uneventful but the hill into our estate proved to be troublesome. The road was covered in ice and slush and as we rounded the bend a car slid down backwards and eventually braked and turned back down. I tried to drive us up there too but the car only got so far before wheels started to spin, the car shuddered and we weren’t going forward any more. Kinda scary!
I had to turn back of course, we parked further up the road where I spotted a break in the ditch. In the freezing dark I managed to get up there, and to make what is turning into a long story shorter enlisted the help of our neighbours who were in the same boat. Between us we managed to get the essential bags out of the car, I carried Adam up the road, and we took a short cut through Rosy and Con’s house knocking a good 100m off our journey.
I used the light of my Nokia 5800 in video mode to light the way so I have a record of all that happened, even if it’s more audio than anything else! Must have a listen tomorrow.
Anyway, I’m glad to be home, safe and sound. We’ll get the car tomorrow. Thanks neighbours for your help. Nollaig Shona dhaoibh go leir!
Happy new year! May 2009 be even better than 2008!
PS. I shot this with my Canon 50mm 1.8 and it kicks the ass of the same image I shot with my Sigma 18-200 zoom (not surprisingly). Donations for “Donncha’s fund to buy L series lenses” should be sent to ..
I’ll always remember Christmas Day 1998. Ten years ago on the night of Christmas Eve we returned from the Regional Hospital without our mother and my father without his wife.
I was in Kerry 2 weeks before when my father rang with the news my mother had collapsed. A massive aneurysm in her brain had burst. She spent the next 15 days in hospital, sometimes awake and able to talk, but most of the time drowsy or asleep. The day before Christmas Eve she suffered another hemorrhage. An emergency operation was carried out to insert a stint in the blood vessel and stop the bleeding but unfortunately the operation was not a success and the stint failed. Machines whirred and beeped by her bedside. She had aged so much overnight. We all said our final goodbyes.
The last conversation I remember having with her was telling her that we had decided on the Christmas gift we were going to get her. Despite her drowsy questioning I didn’t tell her, because it would be a surprise for when she came home. I hold on to that memory of sitting by her bedside. I don’t want to forget it.
We’ll visit her grave later today. Today is a sad day for my family and I but it’s also a celebration and a chance for my family to get together. We have so much to be thankful for. I know my mother would have adored Adam. Have a great day today!
The world is in recession, and it’s even affected Cork. The city was busy but it’s been much busier in previous years. Every second shop had a “Closing Down sale” or “50% off sale” sign. Usually you have to wait until the January sales. It’s great that prices are down, but depressing what it means for the economy. I heard that many stores on North Main Street have already closed their doors.
Construction work still continues in the center of the city though. I bet the developers of those sites are not looking forward to the job of selling floor space to retailers. The Elysian, tallest building in the country, is practically empty since it was opened officially a few months ago.
Besides the maddening crowds, collectors for Share and other charities were out in force. At least that’s one thing that hasn’t changed. The streets were packed with people, but the queues in the shops weren’t that long.
Bully’s on Paul Street was excellent as usual. Their ground floor tables were all taken but they have a first floor restaurant I never knew existed! We got a nice table away from everyone, it was a nice reprieve from the crowds and sounds outside. Their Bully Burger is well worth sampling too. Yum!
So, I enter my 33rd year on this planet. Highlight of the day was our lunch in the Castle Hotel in Blarney where Adam was on his best behaviour and I was surprised with an apple pie and a rendition of “Happy Birthday” sung by my wife and 2 of the staff!
The burger I had for lunch was delicious too. Yum.
Looking around the shopping center this afternoon I remembered how I used to wonder why parents had a dull lifeless haggard look about them. This was when I was single. Now I’m a parent and I know why.
I used to think that people who had their credit cards stolen probably used them on a dodgy site or entered their details on a non secure server. Then my credit card details were skimmed somehow.
I used to spell Windows Windoze, but then I graduated from college.
I used to think I was invincible, I’d climb trees, climb the local quarry, go caving, do slightly mad stuff. Life experience taught me otherwise.
I used to look for gratification in material things but then I got married and my son was born. Wow.
I’ve never been happier. What about you?
I used to go by the handle, “Xeer”. It’s under that name that I coded Commodore 64 demos many years ago. There’s even an entry for me on the C64 Scene Database! Exciting times then, but I’ve often been asked where the name Xeer came from. Now I can reveal it’s very obscure origins.
You may have heard of a space trading game called Elite that was released in 1985. If you haven’t, then don’t worry. You’re a youngster aren’t you? It made serious waves in the games scene for many years and even spawned an awful sequel on the PC a couple of years ago.
Anyway, I came across the game a few years after, probably in 1988 or ’89 and was hooked! I have to be honest, I preferred the shoot-em-up parts to the dry and boring trading bits. Games never lasted very long but it made a lasting impression on me.
One thing led to another, and I became interested in the C64 demo scene, but I needed a handle. Luckily I came across a few cheats for Elite that gave me infinite fuel or some such other nonsense and went looking around the galaxy. Here’s what the galaxy looked like back in the late 80’s.
While exploring, I came across the little planet under the cursor above. Can you guess what it’s called? Yup, Xeer. Here’s the info sheet on it.
I haven’t seen any large yellow bug-eyed frogs about anywhere but I expect they’ll show up sooner or later.
More Xeer trivia: The traditional Somali Constitution is called Xeer, although the linked page on combackalive.com makes little sense to me. Anyone from that region know more?
For the Elite fans: The Zzap64! review.
I’ve been writing online for 10 years. Well, strictly speaking it’s longer than that because my Geocities site was last modified in 1997 and it’s still alive. I might yet import that site into this blog at some stage. Thankfully I had enough of HTML frames after that. I created a simple site on indigo.ie in late 1997 but then moved everything to http://members.xoom.com/xeer/ which later became members.nbci.com and is now long gone. xoom.com is now quite a different site!
I called the site DemoNix. It never had permalinks, but I did update it with a Perl script that built static html pages with a basic theme and then FTPed them to xoom.com. That script and the build files are long gone but thanks to the Wayback Machine I recovered a fair portion of it. All the original content I could scrape together is now in the Demonix category on this blog. I generally wrote about Linux demoscene news, code tutorials, gossip and my first 2 GPLed projects: “Time Sheets for Networks” and “Install Sendmail”. TSN as I fondly called it doesn’t exist any more but it was my 4th year college project. It was terrible. Buy me a pint some day and I’ll reveal just how bad it was. I wrote Install Sendmail because Sendmail was such a bitch to configure in those days. It was wildly popular, even being linked from the Fetchmail homepage. It still exists although the download link is now broken. It’s a sign of the times that nobody has complained about that.
Dave Polaschek recently reminded me that the web was a much smaller place back then. It was much easier to be noticed and get to the top of the pile if you posted consistently and well. My DemoNix site was read by many and even linked from a Slashdot story about Bladeenc in 1998. I’m sure it’s a simple coincidence that members.xoom.com went offline around the same time for a day or so ..
I could write more, but it’s all contained in the archives of this site. Everything from enthusiastic exclamations about the latest demos or code snippets to the short announcement of my mother’s death in December 1998. I still remember the email Mark sent me after I made that post. There were no comments in those days.
As this is a self indulgent look into the past, grab a Commodore 64 emulator and download donnchac64.zip. It’s a collection of demos and bits and bobs I wrote (or co-wrote) on that machine from early 1992 to late 1993.
Emulating a Commodore 64 is not without it’s problems. “Awareness of Reality” doesn’t seem to load properly in Vice. The speed loader I used doesn’t like the emulator and I have yet to figure out what the “left arrow key” is on a PC keyboard. That key is used in AOR and “Ionsai on Gealach”, my award winning Galaxians mod! It’s great to hear those old tunes again though.
10 years down, many more to come I hope. I’m now a dad, married to my beautiful Jacinta and work at the cutting edge of blogging with the WordPress folks. Great times.
Hi, my name is Donncha and I used to have text-link-ads on my blog. They’re gone now but only after Google slapped me into submission and reduced my page rank to 4. Initially I felt angry and shocked that this happened but I have no excuse, I heard it from the horses mouth, I knew it was coming. I was one of those evil unscrupulous demons who manipulated the pagerank of other sites for money. My guilty conscience is somewhat alleviated by the fact that I refused to show a text link ad for a Viagra spammer yesterday morning. Oh well.
Google’s own advertising, Adsense, is still running here, as is Kontera, (leave a comment and you’ll never see them, isn’t that nice?) and the competitive ad filter advice I gave out a few days ago really makes a difference to your bottom line. Just ask Justin!
What’s in store for the future? Keep an eye on this blog. WordPress MU 1.3 is coming real soon now. There are going to be lots more free and GPLed WordPress plugins, including a pretty cool digg proof cache that also works in WordPress MU. Think of it as WP-Cache on afterburner! A couple of sites are already testing it with positive results. I’m watching the access_log roll by on a server as a digg is happening now. Load average is hovering around 1 and the page loads quickly. Sweet.