Monday, 5 December 2011

Backward

A kind of existential week; not entirely successful and culminating with the suspect use of “existential” - a dodgy definition formed as a teenager when required by my English teacher to read Sartre. He was always good for a laugh - the teacher that is - some vague notion that it wasn’t so much what you were doing - or even why - more that you were doing something. Thirty years later and with the knowledge that English wasn’t my strongest subject, it allows for last week; something was getting done, but it’s best not to concentrate on direction.

I spent an appalling amount of time working on an application I knew nothing about, tracking down an error, trying out various theories and somewhat bemused to find the developer of some of the underlying database procedures was yours truly. I switched to some unit testing, which I hadn’t forgotten, and in an act of solidarity managed to break that too. The COM+ elements weren’t working so I thought I’d check the application upon which they were based - to find it failing in a different way. A re-install required uninstalling first, uninstalling produced an error; and the windows installer and clean-up utility had been retired by Microsoft to be replaced by something with a much nicer interface that didn’t do the job. On finding the old utility, the install that followed failed with complaints about the registry. Something was getting done...

Bobby Fischer
Genius and Madman was the sub-heading to a Bobby Fischer biography on the BBC. I confess I did feel sorry for Fischer; in particular at a press conference where, having been granted Icelandic citizenship, he was silent for a moment as if aware of what he’d become. I’m not sure what heading I could apply to the woman on the tram whose racist ranting was captured and duly posted to YouTube. On reflection, I wondered if genius was all that separated the two. Fischer came across as an unpleasant individual even before the descent that followed his victory in 1972. Was his anti-Semitism a symptom of his madness, or his madness a vent for his anti-Semitism? The documentary suggested the former, further reading suggests the latter.

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