2004-08-03

Ireland

Ok, here it is: for Tracy and the rest of the Canada gang, the first ever, English-only, entry. Tada! You are not seriously using my ramblings as a source to learn German?! I have to warn you that my slang only remotely resembles the language, ask Anton what the German word for sheep is and you'll know what I mean ;-)

How is your "deckhand in the making" coming along? Boy or girl? I still fully expect you two (+1) to come and pick me up sailing from Capetown when/if I reach it. Tell your husband's mother I'll take a chainsaw to her house to get the two wood she still owes me from our game of settlers if she won't cough up soon! Congrats to Rol and Kathy - too bad I've missed the wedding :-( Well, next time I guess :-)

Anyways, now for actual tour related stuff: I try and make it a point to enter each new country as naiive and ignorant as possible. I want to keep prejudices to a minimum - I carry enough of them around as it is. I will eventually have to change this approach if I want to survive Africa, but for Europe it's ok I guess. Someone once told me that the IRA shoots people in the knees - now cycling through Belfast and Northern Ireland all I see is limping men with stiff legs and walking sticks. And I keep wondering what all the UDA (Ulster Defence Association) graffiti really are about. It's exactly these kind of spoiled observations and thoughts I try so hard to avoid. I'm trying to make up my own mind. Mind on a voyage. Thats a large part of the reason for this trip, finding out about my place in this world by firsthand experience. Or as the military types put it: time spent on reconnaissance is never wasted.

Just after receiving an email yesterday telling me that I lost 130GB of data although (or rather because) they were stored on a RAID system, the haziness of the day turns into a summer thunderstorm. Years of collecting and 100s of hours of work lost. I dont care about the rain blowing horizontally into my face, I dont care abuot traffic showering me sideways. I have my headphones cranked to the max, StaticX and System of a Down blowing my brains out, while I simutaneously maintain my Ohrwurm of Megadeath's "Symphony of Destruction". Cycling full power. That wasn't only therapeutical, no, that was actually fun, too! Now what does that say about me?

There's nothing marking the border to the Republic of Ireland except for tons of currency exchange houses - I'm in metric and Euro land again. Cycling through obscenely rich neighbourhoods 60kms away from Dublin every house is a palace. Not good for me. Wealth means paranoia, means guard dogs, alarm systems, razor blade fences and sealed properties, means no place to camp, rest or ask for water.

All these huge new homes got me thinking again how I'd like to settle down (being practically homeless you think about that a lot!). These houses have an empty, deserted, sterile quality to them and aren't in the least bit inviting. Goes to show that money isn't everything after all. "Cause mister when you come rattling on heavens gate they don't ask for what you've saved, all they wanna know is what you gave." (Ben Harper) "Replace yourself with what you have, your substitute" (Silverchair) I have read a very interesting article once about a "gift culture" that pretty much described my personal utopia. I think it was "homesteading the Noosphere" by Eric S Raymond. Putting forward some very convincing arguments how and why the open source hacker coimmunity works on the net. The key observation was that you do not distinguish yourself online by what you have (because being free and open source everyone has everything) but what you are nevertheless able to give and offer others. Now all we have to do is invent StarTrek like replicators, so every material need is gone, have our spirituality catch up with our technology, and we'll be living in heaven on earth. Simple, no?

I've just finished reading "The notebook", a romantic novel and result of my latest book trade. Passion makes beautiful. It's most obvious with artists playing their instruments with all their heart or dancing or painting or whatever. But I've also seen it in the old library lady talking about Africa, or that woman on the ferry dreaming about travelling. Or that girl in the climbing hall who was attractive in her own way, but unremarkable. As soon as she was in the wall though her motions became liquid, yet strong and precise. Her expression one of pure concentration, almost meditating. She was beautiful. Unfortunately her boyfriend was belaying her so I didn't find out more ;-) Anyways, that's quite some time ago. But everyone ought to be passionate about something in their life.

I somehow manage to find and survive (the traffic is killer) my way towards Dublin airport where I'll have to pick up Volker tomorrow. While scouting around for a place to pitch my tent I stumble across the VIP carpark with lots of expensive Mercedeces. That reminds me of my old job where I had to attend a meeting at a customers. I travelled there together with my boss who is one of the company founders and CEO. We used his new prestige car and I commented on it. We had a similar discussion earlier about clothing (I was wearing something in between a suit and tie and jeans and t-shirt) where I said: customers who cannot tell the difference between the quality of our clothing and the quality of our work are worthless anyways. I still believe I had a point and the computer industry would be in a better place today if respect was paid due to good work instead of good suits. But in todays business reality my boss was right of course to insist on at least some standards and image. We got the contract, so I cannot have been all that bad.

My attitude did backfire at a later time with a different customer though. This time it was about a coopreation, we were to integrate our stuff into their existing software. The other company was a lot bigger than us and sent their top two guys in full intimidating outfit. On the other end of the table was me and another technician in geek's clothing. Needless to say that was not what they expected and the meeting a total disaster. On top of it all my collegue and I didn't think too highly of their software (the one we were to integrate with) anyways. Ah well, I'm not proud of how the meeting went, but I still think the end result (not merging) was best for us.

Where was I? Ah yes, I found a place to camp in some bushes not even 500metres away from the runway fencing. This must be the log entry with the most tangent thoughts ever ;-)

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