Recent Entries 
Lonely, Tired, Lazy, Sad
Parallax
location [?]:BH10 7HJ
Mood:lonely
Music:Nightwish - Ghost Love Score
Thursday 25th December, 2008
04:06 AM
I really miss my diary. I started it on Tuesday 12th September, 2000. It wasn't the first time I'd tried keeping one. I have paper diaries going back to about 1995, but most of them failed miserably. I'd been given them for Christmas, and the first week or two would have an entry for every day... but that would soon fall into weekly and then cease completely, until next year came around and I was given a new one and felt a fresh drive to keep it regularly, only to fail again. The problem was the fixed nature of them - one page for every day of the year, and all the same length - but some days just aren't worth writing about, and when those that are usually should not be confined to a page. It took until 2000, when I got a computer (an old IBM PS/2) in my room that I decided to keep one that could be more flexible - I would write only when I had something to say, and as much or as little as I wanted. My first few entries were barely more than a paragraph each, and frequent. Then the usual pattern set in, and updates became less frequent... but it didn't die. They got longer, and there was a distinct shift from documenting events to recording thoughts and feelings. They grew and grew, until each entry was easily a 25,000 word essay.

It died in 2005, when Shanna came. After she left, I tried to document her two-week stay, and I failed. There was more to say than I'd ever said before, and indeed things to describe I'd never felt before... and it was a busy time. I didn't have the time for it, and it got left for later. Later never came. That last entry was Monday 28th of August, 2005, was the longest I'd ever attempted and was never finished. It lays abandoned at 30,000 words and is not even a quarter of the way completed. Now, it probably never will be; even if I found the time, with the right mood to write in, too much has been forgotten for it to be continued. Oh I remember what happened, and even if I didn't, I took notes at the time to help me when I came to write, but although they tells me everything we did and everywhere we went, the notes I made on my emotions no longer make sense to me. I could write a full account of that visit, but it would be meaningless because all the parts that matter, my thoughts at the time, are lost.

Since that unfinished entry, my life has changed beyond all recognition. I moved out of my parent's house, Shanna moved in with me, we were married, she left me, I dated Adele, she became pregnant, we moved to Poole together, I got a taste of 'family life', I gave it up and took Shanna back, and then left her again. I suffered two severe depressions, and had my entire view of myself and my life changed. I've made new friends, my siblings have 'grown up', my relationship with old friends and my family has changed, XVII has ceased and Vecsoft founded, my goals and desires are more clearly defined. So much has occurred, but none of it recorded. That upsets me.

What I feel now is a desire for control, to sort everything out and get into a regular routine. It doesn't seem possible, it feels rather hopeless, but that's what I want. Then I want to write once again. The unfinished entry is lost, and I will have to leave it, but I want to start again, from now, the present day.

I'm still in love with ghosts. I miss you, my dæmon.

Lonely, Tired, Lazy, Sad
Tiredness II
location [?]:BH15 1NQ
Mood:tired
Music:Nightwish - The Islander
Friday 19th December, 2008
03:40 AM
Well, I just spent the last couple of hours finishing of my last entry about meeting Adele. I'm sorry if it's not very good. It was hard, very hard.

It took a while before I got a chance to get the sleep I needed. I stopped writing the entry half way through because I began seeing things that didn't exist, but only got a few hours sleep before I got called into work because the hard disk in Ringwood Road's till decided to commit suicide. Luckily we had a spare till to replace it with, so they were up and running again in a few minutes, but then I had to stay at work and fix the other one. It takes the smaller 2½" laptop-sized hard disks, which I didn't have any of, so we had to go to PC world to get one, and then I had to install an operating system on it and get all the drivers and software installed. That wasn't easy either, because I couldn't find any identifying marks on the system, and when I eventually did find out the make and model, it was some obscure manufacturer with barely any information, and a crap site that had 'under construction' written on most of it's pages in place of useful things like, say, driver downloads. Most of the on-board things turned out to be part of an Intel chipset, so that went okay, and luckily the touch-screen software for the other tills happened to work on this one too; I never would have managed to get that working otherwise. I never did find a driver for the sound device.

By the time I'd finished it was about 8pm, so I just decided to stay until the end. I then worked 12pm - 1am the next day as well, for reasons I cannot remember now, so I thought I would take today off to recover, which I did. Got up and went for a wander around the high street in search of a particular gift, but couldn't find what I was looking for. I plan to go to Bournemouth in the morning tomorrow and have a look there. I also took my watch into every jeweller I could find to ask if they could fix the bent link in my strap, but none of them could. Some of them were quite... well not rude, but some of the 'higher class' shops spoke as if I didn't deserve their help because I hadn't spent £500 on my watch, like I wasn't worthy of them. Their attitude was to treat me like some silly little child who knows nothing, and act like of course it's broken, that's what you get for not buying our quality. Well, no, it's broken because I knelt on it. Any watch would be. Anyway, the general consensus of everyone was no, they can't fix a link. The only thing I can do is replace the strap, which I would have to contact Casio for, and which would cost almost as much as buying a new watch. So, guess I won't be doing that. Shame.

I ordered myself a 1TB hard disk a couple of days ago. It was supposed to be delivered today, but I was asleep when they attempted it so now it's at the City Link depot at Bournemouth Airport. Which is a really inconvenient place for it to be. I have no means of getting there at all, I will have to ask Mum if she will take me. I bought it because I seem to have used all of the 511GB that I already have. Unbelievable. I still remember the first time I bought my own hard disk - 40GB - and thinking I'd never fill it. Then I remember having only 100MB or so on my first computer. At least I'm not under any illusions now - I'll fill the terrabyte before long. I've been re-ripping all my CDs to FLAC instead of MP3, acquiring lots of new things, buying lots of games on Steam, and I never delete anything, ever.

Speaking of music, I have a new recent favourite: Nightwish. They're not new to me any more, I discovered them months ago, but I've been playing one album so much that I actually bought the CD: Dark Passion Play. They've quite an extensive catalogue, and I like lots of songs scattered throughout it, but I love this entire album from start to finish, I could say it's a perfect album. The only other album I think I've said that about is Pink Floyd's The Division Bell. I seem to like Finnish bands in general. Quite a few bands I discover and like then turn out to be Finnish, like Poets Of The Fall, The Rasmus, Hammerfall, and several others that don't come to mind right now. Candlebox deserve a mention here too. They're not Finnish, but they are good. I've always liked their music, though it's never been anything exceptional, but their latest album Into The Sun is very good indeed.

Shanna is completely gone now. She disappeared for days, and I assumed she'd just run away again, but when I came home yesterday I found an envelope with her house key and a note in it. On looking around, I noticed she'd been and taken all her things, so I guess she's moved out. I've no idea where she is, still. The note is full of the usual 'never meant to hurt you' stuff, but I don't want to hear it any more, I just can't believe any of it. I used to believe in her innocence. Even when she hurt me, I could never think she meant to, but with all she's said to me this time... she caused all this knowingly. Maybe not intentionally, but she was fully aware of it all the same, and was happy to carry on, and do nothing to help it, and she thinks she made the right choices. I want nothing to do with it.

Now I think I'm going to have a bath. I haven't shaved for almost a week and look a complete mess. I'm tired again too, and want to get a lot done tomorrow.

Lonely, Tired, Lazy, Sad
Identity
location [?]:BH15 1NQ
Mood:tired
Music:Tabitha's Secret - Dear Joan
Wednesday 17th December, 2008
02:10 AM
Hello, I'm an idiot. I haven't slept for about 38 hours now, but decided that today would be a good day to wash my bedding. Now it still isn't dry yet, so I can't go to bed. My plans for the day have been rearranged constantly, actually. I didn't sleep last night because I ended up watching Star Trek. I didn't get home until half past one. I went to ASDA to buy some food to have a meal with, but ended up eating snacks instead. Whilst snacking, I came across season one of The Next Generation, and started watching. When I stopped watching, it was time to go to work. I went to put in a prescription, and then had breakfast at subway whilst I waited. Then I realised I wasn't going to make it to work by twelve, so I went home and did what I had to do remotely. Picked up some fish food on the way back, because Shanna has decided to leave her fish to die again. Left the house for the second time, put some money in the bank, picked up the prescription which was now ready for collection, and got on the bus. I thought I'd do a short day then head home. Or at least a small amount of work and then just use my office for my own unpaid purposes for a while. Ended up working the entire twelve hours until closing, but it wasn't too bad - I got some good work done, even though I was falling asleep for most of the time.

I would say that I had a good weekend, but that would be stretching it a bit - the good day was Friday, but most of Saturday and Sunday sucked because Saturday was mostly consumed by trying to get home on the trains amidst delays and confusion, and Sunday spent mostly recovering from some kind of cold that I got from Adele. So, the Friday... I liked Friday.

I forget why, but I somehow neglected to sleep again, right up until there was only about an hour to go, at which point I decided to get into bed. Not a great idea, but luckily I woke up just fine, and made it onto the first train. I somehow managed to miss the connection at Southampton, despite arriving five minutes before it came... being stood at the platform whilst it apparently went by (I don't believe a word of it)... and still being stood there five minutes later, at which point I decided to ask a staff member whether it'd been. Apparently, it'd gone right in front of me. I swear it was invisible. I eventually arrived in Bath almost an hour late, but other than feelings guilty about making Adele wait, we didn't have any particular plan so it was okay. We went for a little walk by the river, which was nice, went in a couple of shops along the road, then found somewhere to eat. Up until then, Merlin's presence had been somehow...not very noticeable. Adele was carrying him, and of course I saw him the moment we met, but he was all wrapped up and sleeping. When we sat down to eat though, he woke up to join in the feast, so that was the first time I really saw him.

I don't really have an initial reaction to share. As I'll repeat for much of this, it was all very... normal. I was quite fascinated really - I've not been around such a young baby since my own brother was born fourteen years ago. I was amazed by how... small he is, all his tiny little features. Almost not real. And the aura of incredible innocence that surrounds him, and his changing expressions as he looks around. You can't help but wonder what he's experiencing, what he's thinking... I just wanted to join in and see it too. Holding him was.. again, very natural.

We went for another little wander in bath, where we saw a giant mobile phone walking down the road. Obviously some kind of advertising campaign, but I don't know quite what it's aim was. The abbey was closed for a service, but we went in the museum underneath it, and then came out and had some ice cream and talked some more in a little ice cream shop. It was then about time to start back, so we headed for the train station.

I liked our little visit to Bath. I'd only been there once before, and only for a brief visit to the baths themselves, on the way back from a family holiday in Wales. As I commented to Adele as we were leaving, I actually felt quite comfortable there, very safe. Considering my dislike of travelling and unknown environments, that's quite notable. It was also nice to meet Adele in a more neutral place at first, rather than either of our homes. That was all very natural too, other than a couple of feelings that stood out to me which I will get to later.

Willow was being looked after by Adele's friend to make travelling easier, so we got a taxi at the other end and picked him up on the way back to her house. Seeing him again was a little stranger, as predicted. I couldn't tell if he recognised me or not - he didn't do anything to explicitly indicate that he had, but then he seemed quite happy to be near me and sit on my lap for the journey back. I suppose he felt some familiarity, even if he couldn't remember why.

Adele's new place is nice. We went through to the kitchen (which struck me as disproportionately large compared to the other rooms), and talked some more whilst she made Willow some dinner and I had a cup of tea. To even be writing this is the most peculiar feeling. It feels like none of this is of any relevence (which you may agree with, it's not particularly exciting, I know). Being there felt, again, extremely natural... but at the same time I was definitely in Guest Mode™. This created quite a conflict - Adele, well, did normal things, like making some food, folding some washing, changing Willow, and I wanted to help, but I couldn't because I was a guest and these things did not concern me. This is how I always feel in anyone else's home, but it was unsettling to be feeling that and at the same time having habit and familiarity telling me I should be doing those things too.

Seeing Willow and Merlin together is what... did it. Whatever 'it' is. I'm about to give up trying to write this, I just can't explain anything. That was the... highest point of familiarity I felt during the visit. Standing in the kitchen with Adele doing normal things, Merlin in his little chair-that-rocks (not a rocking chair), and Willow running around playing with his Duplo and other toys, occasionally interacting with Merlin. I could have belonged in that scene, and half of me did, and half of me knew I was a mere visitor.

After Willow had eaten and played for a while, Adele put him to bed, we ordered some Chinese takeaway and went upstairs to watch a film. Merlin fell asleep on me whilst we were waiting for the delivery, but woke up when we got upstairs with it. I managed to get up, go upstairs and lay him gently on the bed next to me all without waking him, but as soon as we started to eat he woke up with the same idea - it's like he knows, lol. The film we started watching, the title of which I forget, wasn't very good so we gave up half way through... and that was when the important discussion started.

Adele asked me a few times during the day how I 'felt about Merlin', but it's such a vague question I couldn't really answer it. Finally though, I tried. The first thing that came, was that he didn't feel... mine, at least not any more than Willow had. In fact, he felt exactly like Willow to me, both in 'the way things are', and 'the way things were', although obviously with Merlin the 'were' is 'could've been'. My feelings are very like the division I felt earlier, simultaneously being on the inside and the outside. I love both of them. I still love Adele. I love the three of them as a family, and I still have vague feelings that I'm a part of that. However, in the present that's being overridden by an acknowledgement that I'm not there, and that strips me of everything I would otherwise think I had a right to feel. They should be my family, and in ways they still are, but I am the outsider.

Adele has a boyfriend, and I accept that he has my role now, and rightfully so. I don't know him and I don't know how he fulfils it, but it's his place.

In the end, it all comes down to how I want to be seen by the children. My greatest fear is being rejected by them, and though I'm sure it won't happen, anything that might influence their opinion scares me. I don't want to visit them for the sake of visiting them. I don't ever want it to seem to me or to them to be something I do because I have to, or feel morally obligated to do so. If I cannot be their 'father', I don't even want to try, because anything other than living with them is failure. My feelings for them are no less, though - I care about them just the same, and I want us to have a good relationship. I want them to think of me as someone they know will always be there for them, will always have time for them, and to know that they're always welcome. In practice, this might be exactly the same as if I'd just 'visited' as their 'father', but it's the distinction of my intentions that is important to me. I'm going to do the best I can do, but I'm never going to pretend it's something it isn't, or try and claim to be more than I can be.

And yes, I think it's inevitable to start wondering why we're in this situation anyway. Why isn't it me who's there with them? It seems we both share a feeling that perhaps we should have done more for their sake, but... eh, we did try, we really did. It's so sad though, especially because it all seems so distant now. Yes, it's been talked about, but we agree it would be the same if we were to 'go back'. Neither of us can go back. The future we don't know, but there is only forward. Both of us are doing alright as we are though - she has a life she is happy with, and I am learning again to build one by myself. There were small moments of sadness the previous day, brief thoughts of something lost... but other than that I really enjoyed her company as a friend. It does seem distant, but I do remember the stress and depression, but now that the pressure and the reasons for it all are gone, all that's left is all the good. I'm happy this way.

I didn't sleep very well that night for some reason. I think it was just the strangeness of knowing where I was. Adele fell asleep with Merlin whilst we were watching Jonathan Creek, and when it finished, I lay down next to them. I was laying on top of the bed, since in it seemed somehow inappropriate, but eventually I got so cold I couldn't stand it and got in anyway. I was laying next to Melin, and the last thing I remember before eventually managing to get a little sleep, was seeing his eyes move, and wondering what he was dreaming.

The journey home was horrible. Train services were delayed, and I made the mistake of thinking that the 'route' part of my ticket was telling me where to change. I chose the Salisbury route, so got off at Salisbury, only to find that the train I wanted to change to was one going to the sane place as the one I'd just been on. So, I had to wait another hour for another one of those, to finally get to Southampton where I should've made my one and only change. Unfortunately, the train from Salisbury was delayed, and even though I ran to catch the connection to Poole, it was running on time and I missed it by seconds. Then I realised that the next one didn't even go to Poole, only as far as Bournemouth, so I waited another half an hour or so for that, only to have to wait and change again at Bournemouth to get to Poole.

To make it more fun, I apparently caught some cold or something from Adele, and felt horrible for the entire journey. The whole visit turned out quite expensive too... quickly adding up with tickets there and back, buying lunch, getting a delivery, taxis to and from the station, and buying food and drink whilst waiting for trains. It was poorly planned on my behalf though, I'm sure next time will be better. It'll have to be, I can't afford to do that too often.

So. For now it's all just a case of becoming used to it. I feel quite comfortable with everything in my own mind, but it's other people that throw me off. When we were out together in Bath, people kept noticing Merlin and obviously assuming that we were 'together', and that he was mine. Well, he is... but... there becomes ambiguity. I know I know, it's not important, they're strangers, I could make up anything, I'll never see them again... but it worries me that one day someone will ask something like "is he yours?" and I will hesitate, then say yes, then feel like I've deceived them by not telling them the whole story. Saying no would be equally dishonest, though.

It'll be a long time before Merlin is really capable of forming a proper opinion of me, but Willow will begin to do so sooner. I suppose when he begins to talk will be the real revelation. I can ponder all I want, but it won't be until I hear their own words that I will really be able to answer the question "who am I?"

Proud, Thoughtful, Annoyed, Normal
Tiredness
location [?]:BH15 1NQ
Music:Ozric Tentacles - Far Dreaming
Friday 12th December, 2008
04:41 AM
Oops. I was supposed to go to sleep. In about two and a half hours I need to be boarding a train to Bath, to meet Adele and Merlin at 10. I didn't leave work until 1 though, and stayed up a bit to have something to eat and wash some clothes... by which time there were about five hours to go and it didn't seem worth going to bed. Now I've gone and got into bed anyway, so I've just got to try and stay awake!

Ozric Tentacles are great for listening to in bed.

Strong, Powerful
Release
location [?]:BH15 1NQ
Mood:productive
Music:Ozric Tentacles - Coily
Thursday 11th December, 2008
04:46 AM
I've been quite enjoying the outside world the last few days - it feels like it's mine again. I forget every year what it feels like, but that's okay, because it means I always have a pleasant surprise when winter comes around again. I've wondered all my life why it's generally accepted that sunny days are good and cold ones are bad, but whatever the reason, it suits me well. Normally busy places become deserted, cold rain washes the chavs away, and everyone else goes home when the daylight fades, which is early. Then it's my turn to come out. Everything feels more open - heat always seems somehow enclosing, you can feel it around you, but in the cold, it seems like there's nothing between you and the sky. The light is beautiful; the lack of direct sunlight makes all the buildings fade into each other, all dull grey... and then you can really see what's behind them. The contrast between the dim surroundings and the bright blue/grey/yellow/red sky beyond is incredible. I haven't even really been anywhere, except work, but just stepping out into the street feels completely different than it did a couple of weeks ago. This is my season.

I'm happy with work again. We're not going to run any more trials until after Christmas, because it's getting very busy and Darius is understandably worried - I'm confident it'd work just fine, but if my entire business depended on it, I think I'd stick with the known option for another month too. This is good for me anyway - I've been maintaining two separate branches: a stable one that we've been using, and a new one with a much updated core and server. A few weeks break will give me time to merge them and make sure everything's okay, then we can start using it full time in January. The stable branch has had about fifty hours use now, with four tills and two or three phone operators working simultaneously, and we've not had any issues. The server service has been up since the trials started, and has served about 450,000 requests without any problems. I've closed the 'zero meal total' bug, and everything is looking good.

In fact the only thing that isn't 'right' at the moment is my sleeping pattern. My day appears to have shifted to run from about 3pm to 6am. It's not a major problem, but it would probably be good to sort it out a bit.

I edited my last post, because I read it back and realised how awful it was. I kept alternating between past and present tense for no apparent reason, and there were quite a few other mistakes too. So, I corrected all of that, but just to clarify: the meanings of any sentences have not been changed, only the wording, slightly. The comments have got quite interesting. Shanna made her usual comment about how I've got it all wrong, but also like usual, hasn't responded to invitations to correct me. No, I didn't write everything that was said, partly because I can't remember it all and partly because only a small percentage of it is important. I'm happy to add anything she suggests, though; I don't think anything that was omitted makes any difference to the story.

It's coming up to twenty past five now, so nearing the end of my day. I'll probably work a short day today, so I can try and sleep earlier before I get up to go and meet Adele on Friday morning. Suppose I'll make it up on the weekend. It doesn't matter so much now that we're not running Vantage - the pressure is off and I can work at a more relaxed pace. I think I'm done here for now, though.

Enraged
Betrayal XII
location [?]:BH15 1NQ
Mood:enraged
Music:Live - White Discussion
Tuesday 9th December, 2008
01:32 AM
Well, I finally got what I wanted, got my answer. The story is now complete, and so it can be told.

As you can probably guess, the answer was no. No, she does not care at all about what happened to us. She admitted she feels no emotion towards me whatsoever, and that the reason for this was because she has learned to be able to deliberately ignore it. Yes, she came back here intending to give our relationship a chance by purposefully feeling nothing towards me. I've been lied to again. So how did this happen?

Go back six months. I was unhappy. Adele and I really had been trying to make it work, but it got very bad. No more than a couple of days could go past without one of us talking about leaving. I tried a few times, and failed every time because of Willow, but I knew it wasn't a good environment for him or for the unborn baby. Maybe eventually I would've managed to convince myself of that and carry it through, but it never got to that because I was handed another option. The very thing I'd dreamed of but never thought would happen. I did truly love Adele, and I still do, but I never stopped loving and longing for somebody else. You could say it was wrong of me, but I couldn't help it. I wasn't entirely sure who that person was - the Shanna I'd last known was not somebody I could ever have feelings for, but I still remembered the one I'd met before, the one I'd gladly given my life to. The one who was the reason I'd done everything I had done. I never could properly separate the two, and then one of them reappeared. It acted like the one I loved. It told me it had been wrong, that it needed me, that I was everything. I couldn't say no. I told Adele, and she told me not to come home. So I didn't, and then she left.

I put all my trust in the good Shanna. I knew the other one was there too, but the good one was all I could see. For a while, at least. She told me she wanted to leave properly this time instead of just running away, and I respected that, but told her I would need her support and reassurance until she came back. I would be okay after that, but just for this short period, I needed her to be there for me... but she wasn't. She let me down again and again until it got to the state that I really doubted there was any point in her coming back. She failed to be there for me and I got hurt, but I got through it without her help. Still though, I thought it was just because she was far away. She'd never been very good at keeping agreements but I always put it down to just innocent forgetfulness. It wasn't her fault, it was just who she was. It always upset me a little, but I could live with it. It had never been a problem when she was actually with me in person, she'd been nothing but caring then.

So she arrived. That night after I brought her back from the airport, she started putting her stuff away. I sat and waited for a bit, and eventually gave up and asked 'are you mine now?', but she carried on... doing things. I waited patiently until she'd finished, and hoped that at last we could have some time together... but she was tired and wanted to sleep. I was disappointed, but agreed. The next morning and few subsequent days were a bit uncomfortable, but as I wrote at the time, where do you start with something like that? It was a distinct contrast to what I'd been lead to expect before she came - we talked on the phone and she made it seem like she was completely comfortable with me. She wasn't, she wasn't happy with physical contact at all. Still, I could kind of understand that too. She hadn't realised how she would feel, it was an understandable mistake, I could give it time. I waited, and things seemed to get better. We did things together, enjoyed each other's company. Things got more comfortable, and at Poole Park Fest, she kissed me.

It seemed she was comfortable around me again. We talked more, and this is when the actual problems started. She had issues with past. I thought we'd agreed that this was something new, and what either of us had done wouldn't come into it, but it did. She said she couldn't deal with the fact I'd been with Adele, yet didn't seem to think that what she'd done was of any importance. She still wore the ring she had used to get rid of me in Scotland, the one she showed to me and told me that she and Chris were 'engaged'. She confused me by what I can only describe as teasing. She was still being selective on what was 'okay' physically, and I was again respecting her wishes. But then, she would suddenly do something I thought wasn't allowed, but then just as suddenly stop it from going any further. She did this repeatedly for days and it really messed with my head. I didn't have a clue where the boundaries were any more - it just seemed like she could do whatever she wanted and I could do nothing.

We had sex. It was damn good, but I couldn't help feeling that it hadn't meant anything to her. I wanted it to be a reconnection, being reunited at last with my first. The next time was the same, and the next... and then there wasn't really any more. It wasn't right, it wasn't meaning anything. She would just act like nothing had happened, get dressed again and go to sleep. That was another thing that upset me. It's special to me to sleep naked with my partner, always has been. It's part of a larger feeling of possession - when we're out there with the other people, we act as separate people, but when we say goodnight to everyone else, go into our own private space and close the door behind us, our day in the rest of the world is over. That is our time, and there should be nothing between us. She'd told me before she came to stay in 2005 that she'd always worn clothes to bed, but the very first night she arrived, our very first night together ever, at my grandparents' in Oxford, she slept naked with me willingly, without me asking her, and did so every night for the rest of the time we were together until the day she left me. But suddenly no more. She said she'd always hated it all along and didn't want to any more. It upset me just to sleep like that, though possibly I could have got used to it eventually, but to be given everything in intimacy and then have it all taken away again the second it's over, like it was being rationed to me, I was being fed just enough to keep me happy. It's mine! It has to be mine!

The belonging (or lack of it) theme continued. Really petty things that honestly shouldn't have ever been an issue, but they all added up. At the Bournemouth Air Show she wouldn't let me take a photo of her. Why? I could see her, with my eyes. If she didn't think she looked good, I could respect that. I could promise that no other person would ever see it. But me? I should be different. I'm not 'other people'. There should never, ever be a time where she doesn't want to be seen by me. She didn't want to merge any of her things with mine. This particularly bothered me on the computer. I keep things like music in D:\Music, videos in D:\Videos, photos in D:\Photos. She insisted on keeping 'her' things in a folder with her name on. Again, I could kind of accept that, but she did it when it came to things that clearly weren't hers. We could go out for a day and we'd take pictures with my camera, and she'd get back home and file all 'her' pictures in 'her' folder. The fact that we could spend a shared day together, and she could then separate the pictures into 'yours' and 'mine' I found ridiculous. They're ours! It just went on and on, and in the end I challenged her that she didn't really want to belong to me. She just said she didn't know what I meant, and no matter how much I tried to explain, that didn't change.

I put it down to her new 'strength'. She told me she'd changed, and was stronger now, more independent, didn't need anybody else. I told her that I was pleased for her, but that I thought a bit of dependence was good in a relationship. As I got upset by all these things, I felt sure it was just her trying to prove her independence, perhaps to herself or perhaps to me. I tried to talk to her about it, ask her if that was the case, explain how I felt about it all. That got nowhere either. I started to become convinced that she just... didn't care. She never expressed any emotion towards 'us'. Nothing.

I lay awake many nights trying to think of simpler and simpler ways of explaining my feelings. She always said she didn't understand what it was I wanted or was trying to ask for. I talked to her, sent her emails, text messages, wrote her a letter, I tried wording it every way I could. Every time we would talk though, she would just suddenly declare that she was tired and needed to go to sleep, and I would let her, and another day would have gone with no progress. One night, after she went to sleep, I went downstairs and read old entries about us from my diary, and thought 'this isn't who I married'. I took off my ring for the final time and haven't worn it since. Oh and how I miss it. I can't describe how good it makes me feel to wear it. I feel such pride in showing the world that I belong to somebody. But she didn't want to belong any more, she wanted to be herself now, she was 'strong'. I explained to her as best as I could why I'd done it, what I felt was missing, and what I thought would help. Nothing happened.

Then there's the final, and probably terminal thing: she told me she didn't want children with me any more. She's changed her mind on this more times than I can remember. Before she left me, I knew she wanted children. We talked about it a lot, and we were kind of trying, or at least not trying to avoid it. She wrote to me many times about the future she could see for us and our family. The first time that changed was in Scotland, when she was trying to get rid of me. She told me she'd never seen children with me. I ignored that, and indeed after we got talking again about her coming back, she'd reverted to saying she did want them with me. When she actually got here though, that changed yet again, and suddenly it was all off once more. She couldn't leave it at that though, oh no. She then went on to tell me that all the times when we'd talked about it before, and been 'trying', it'd been just because she was lonely. She never really wanted a child, she just thought it would keep her from being lonely when I wasn't home. That was... devastating.

She was also home when I learned Merlin had been born. I told her and she ignored me, literally, like I hadn't spoken. Just carried on playing her game. I could understand she was upset, given that I'd had a child with somebody else, but so was I, so I left and went upstairs. She came up later and said things vaguely along the lines of 'well done, got what you always wanted now', and told me she hated him. Well that made me very angry and upset, but her response to this was 'well I'm not going to let you ruin my evening', and to go back downstairs and play more games.

Skim quickly over the next couple of months: things got gradually worse. I continued to struggle to explain my feelings, and she continued to completely ignore them. She told me I just had to accept who she was now, and that was my problem not hers. I begin to realise that I don't really like who she is now, but I kept trying to help us anyway. I tried and tried to talk to her, but as it repeatedly failed I got more and more distant. I started resisting contact with her, not wanting to be close. She responded to this by, you guessed it, doing absolutely nothing at all, and then she started avoiding me in return. Since I'd stopped being affectionate towards her, she didn't want to spend any time with me anymore so started spending all day and night with her friends from work. I made a few last efforts to beg her to make some time and talk to me. It was ridiculous, I had to make an appointment for the end of the week when she had time for me, but I was desperate and I accepted. Then she let me down.

One night, I went in to her room and told her I thought there was no hope left and it was finished. I left, and she went to sleep. All of this is already documented. When she lied to me and left me, I tracked her down, bought a ticket, booked a hotel and followed her. I stayed day after day just to be given the honour of a few hours to talk to her and try and work things out, only to be rejected time and time again, before finally being abandoned completely and having to come home defeated. When I went into the room next door and told her I couldn't take any more, she rolled over and went to sleep. That is the difference. That is why I am right.

You know what happened after that, I've been whining about it the last week or two, but it all finally came to an end tonight. I came home from work and was surprised to find that she was actually there. She even spoke to me, to ask if I wanted anything from ASDA because she was going. I didn't, and she said she'd 'be back soon' and left. I wanted to talk to her about how she was feeling, so I waited. And waited. About an hour and three quarters later, she returns as if everything is normal. I asked her why it took so long, but let it pass. She acted kind of nice to me, made me a cup of tea and offered me some of her cake. I asked her if she was happy.

She is, apparently. She asked what did I expect, for her to be upset? I said that yes, I did, but she just repeated again that she wasn't. I asked how she could be so emotionless about it, and the answer I got was that she only doesn't show emotion to me, and that she only loves people who love and respect her, and I don't respect her. She told me that she knew right after arriving back here that she couldn't handle being with me. I told her that it was deception to carry on pretending to me that she wanted us if she knew she didn't, but she ignored this. I told her I didn't love the person she'd become, and she said that I hadn't changed at all and she didn't love me any more either. So, that was another lie, that she'd been constantly insisting that she still loved me all this time.

I just can't believe this person. Words cannot express the hatred I currently feel. The deception is just... incredible. Some people have problems being honest all the time, but I swear, Shanna and the truth are mortal enemies. Everything she ever says directly contradicts everything else she's ever said to you before, sometimes only minutes ago, and when challenged she'll defend both stances as if they're somehow compatible!

I tried to contain my anger and just told her quietly that she shouldn't have come, and she certainly shouldn't stay. I told her I want her to leave. She asked if I was throwing her out on the street, to which I told her that of course I wasn't, and suggested that she be gone by the end of January. I asked if that was long enough, and she said yes. I replied only with 'good', and went to have a bath. About twenty minutes later, she went downstairs and the front door slammed behind her. I've no idea where she's gone, or why, since I explicitly said that I wasn't forcing her to leave right away, but it's her choice, so whatever. Interestingly, I asked why she didn't go back to Scotland, and she said she didn't want to. So it seems like I was a way out of there for her. After all the bullshit she gave me about how life was so much better up there, and all the justifications she gave me for persisting in wearing that ring (she never did take it off), she doesn't want to be there any more than here.

So we're here once again, but you know what? This time, she separated the good and bad. She held up the good Shanna, the perfect one, the one I would do anything for, and she exposed her as the lie she was. She told me again and again that everything I had ever loved in her had been an act to please me. She had never wanted any of those things, and she had never really wanted a family with me. It wasn't real, and it is gone. Dead. Forever. The beautiful memory I was clutching onto does not exist. As for this person we're left with... she needs to get far away from me, the sooner the better. The only remaining mystery is the big why behind all of it. Why did she leave her home and come to live with me, if she never wanted to be what I thought she was? Why deceive herself and me, for what gain? This, I honestly believe, even she does not know the answer to. Some questions will never be answered, and I think that will bother me for the rest of my life.

For now, I just want to scream OH JESUS THE WASTE, THE FUCKING WASTE AAAARGH! A bit like last time really. Seven years! So much I have put into that relationship, for it to end in this way. You know almost anything would be better. Maybe we tried but just didn't work out, or something happened that meant we couldn't go on, or even a huge disagreement that ends in us walking out on each other. But oh no, instead I get told how everything I ever believed in was a lie.

At least the one 'good thing' that comes of this is that I get to repeat the cycle again, though even faster. I'm too angry to be upset, so stage one was over almost as soon as it began. That should mean that I have a week of ultra-motivation ahead of me. And that I can finally accept that it's better this way. There really is nothing left to love any more. I will mourn the death of my loved one, but she is gone, if she ever existed for more than a fleeting moment anyway. Beautiful dreams I have had, but dreams they were. I am free.

Drunk, Uncertain, Cautious
Loops
location [?]:BH15 1NQ
Mood:anxious
Music:Crowded House - Catherine Wheels
Monday 8th December, 2008
03:46 AM
Ugh. Here, read this. I think I'll just link to that every time I feel this way, it's the best I can do to describe it. Ah 2005, what a great year that was. Best year of my life, probably.

Everything is going pretty much the same as it did last time. There's the first stage where I sit around thinking 'how the hell could this happen to me?', and 'why?' and all that. I lose all motivation to do anything, and everything turns into a big mess as I let it all pile up on top of me. Then comes the second stage, where I 'leap into action' and decide I can get through it, and start making a concious effort to get back on track. I feel a desire to be more social, make friends, meet people. I tidy things, change things, buy new things, anything to get kind of 'fresh' feeling, as if it represents progress in some way. When this effort fails to produce any immediate results, the third stage of disappointment and despair arrives and everything seems hopeless. I start to think it's useless to try, spend every day dreaming of the good days gone by, and feeling sure I'll never see them again. That's where I am now.

What comes after that, I don't know, because last time Adele turned up right after stage three. Although all my efforts to be social and meet people completely failed, she then found me instead. My guess is that the same sequence of events happening again isn't very likely. Progression to this stage has been very fast as well - a couple of weeks instead of several months, although part of the reason it took so long last time was the long drawn out fight with Shanna until she finally came back to take her things. This time... well I haven't a clue where the hell she is at the moment, but she's not here and she's not talking to me.

The fact she's not talking to me is still what's making me so angry. Like I said last time, I know I shouldn't be letting it bother me. I'm still trying so hard not to care about it, but... argh! How can she just... do nothing?! She hasn't even 'confirmed' that it's over, she just started avoiding me. She hasn't said a word about how she feels about what's happened, not expressed the tiniest hint of emotion. Not happy, not upset, not angry, not... anything. How can anyone be like that? It just drives me insane. The lack of emotion was what got us here in the first place, and still nothing has changed. Which all leaves me wondering, what was the point in coming back here? Why did she bother? If the outcome never really mattered to her... it just doesn't make any sense. This is why I can't leave it. I can accept whatever happens, but I have to know the reasoning behind it, I have to understand... but this just confuses the hell out of me.

I suppose I still haven't really explained what happened. Eh, I won't yet - it needs to all make sense in my head first.

Graham is in America with Rachel. Originally, as in many many months ago, I'd intended to go with him. As time went on though, it was quite clear that it wasn't really affordable. Now that Shanna's apparently getting her own visa, I technically could afford it, but I can't really leave work before Christmas. I'm slightly entertaining the idea of joining them just for a week, but it probably won't happen. Having enough money doesn't mean you should spend it, anyway - I'm sure there are much more pressing needs. Nothing new has broken for few weeks, so it must be about time again by now.

I've arranged to spend the day with Adele on Friday... and therefore also Merlin and Willow. I'm a bit worried about that - I don't really know who to be. Assuming this is a one-off thing, I shouldn't worry too much, but it's probably not. Merlin of course is too young to know what's happening, and he'll forget me soon after I'm gone. Willow however, might recognise me. As for me, how do I treat them? I keep saying that the very last thing I want to be is someone who just visits them - it has to be all or nothing. But what about visiting Adele? At least then I'm not somebody making a crap effort at being a father to them, but what do I become instead? They'll grow up knowing me as 'mummy's friend', and what will they be to me? It all seems very vague to me, not clearly defined at all. I don't know how I'm going to feel.

There was more, but I'm tired, so another time. This is all just begging for Mr. Anonymous!

Enraged
Unwelcome Awakening II
location [?]:BH15 1NQ
Mood:annoyed
Music:Candlebox - Consider Us
Sunday 30th November, 2008
04:13 AM
Ugh. I got up at 10:30pm today, and so far I'm sorry I got up at all. Yesterday (Friday) was a very long day. Darius wanted to install the second till at Lansdowne, so we went over there to do that. Like the Ashley Road shop on Wednesday, it didn't go smoothly. First, I'd been told that there was a network connection in place already, for the existing till that we were replacing. Indeed, there was a cable there, but nobody had checked to see what it was actually connected to. It turned out to be connected to another till, in the bar area. That till in turn had another cable that ran downstairs. Apparently that second till wasn't needed any more, and since rewiring wasn't practical, it made sense just to join the two cables together. However, we didn't have anything to join them with, so we ended up temporarily installing a switch there. I then found that I still couldn't reach the router downstairs, and enquired where exactly the other cable led to (since I'd just be told 'downstairs', and assumed it was the router). Nobody knew, so we traced it down, and found it plugged straight into a computer in the office downstairs. Why all three tills and the computer were set up in a chain like that, I don't know, but again it was no use for me, so we had to move the end of the cable downstairs to go to the router instead. Finally then, I had a working connection from the new till to the router.

The fun didn't stop there. The next step was to install the receipt printer, which worked fine, and then the cash drawer... except that it had the wrong connection. All the other drawers I've worked with before have an RJ11 connector which can usually be connected to the printer, which can send a kick signal. This one had a three-pin connector that I'd never seen before. Problems like that don't deter Darius though, who suggested we just cut the plug off and wire it manually. So, we found another device which had an RJ11 and cut it off, cut the end off the drawer's connector, and tried to join them. This was a lot harder than it should've been. I did manage to find a wiring diagram for the RJ11 side, which said that wires #2 and #4 should be the ones we need. However, the electrician decided he couldn't take my word for it, and wanted to test every possible combination of the six wires with his multimeter whilst I caused the printer to send the kick signal. After doing this three times, he concluded that there was no signal and it was hopeless. I insisted that he just connect the second and fourth wires to let me see, and unsurprisingly, it worked.

This whole process took hours and hours, several fruitless trips to the warehouse and other stores to look for alternative equipment, and by the time we'd finished it was 2:30am. By the time I got home it was at least 3:30, and I then stayed up to eat and play games with Graham for a while, eventually sleeping at about 8am.

I was woken up two hours later by Shanna, who apparently just wanted to tell me that she would be late home, and try to hug me again. I don't remember what else was said, I was barely concious, but it was something about her visa and why she hadn't done anything about it yet. She said she was going to fill out the application tomorrow, but I've told her already there's no point in doing that until she's contacted them to ask if there will be any problems. Not only is it now overdue, but she is missing her old visa, because her passport was lost ages ago, and although we replaced the passport we never replaced the visa. They still have it on record of course, but I want to hear from there whether it's going to matter before we pay £750 in administration fees only to be refused because of something like that. She left and I went back to sleep.

Got up again about twelve hours later, and decided to have another go at rewriting my website. Every time I stumble across it I get the desire to redevelop it, but always give up either before or barely after starting. I've always used PHP in the past though, which I am really not a fan of. Now I have the opportunity to use C# with ASP.net, I feel like giving it another go. So, I got IIS set up, and created a new project in Visual Studio. Everything was going fine up until the point I needed a database, when I downloaded SQL Server 2008 Express. That was before midnight, and the install is still not finished. In fact, it hasn't even begun. The experience reminds me of Linux - the endless trail of prerequisites. First it complained I didn't have .net 3.5 SP1, so I installed that (which required a restart). Then it wanted Windows Installer 4.5, which I also had to get myself, and which also required a restart. Then at last the installer would load. However it still wasn't happy. It complained that I had SQL Server 2005 Express installed, but again rather than resolving it itself, it wanted me to uninstall manually. It then proceeded to demand Windows PowerShell and Visual Studio 2008 SP1, both of which I had to locate and install myself, and the latter of which is still installing after over an hour. In all, almost five hours have passed and I haven't even begun the actual installation of SQL Server.

Whilst all this was happening, Shanna came home at about half past one, and went to bed without saying a word to me (as is usual these days). Then I decided to make myself some food, at which I failed miserably. I ate about a third of it and threw the rest away - it was awful. Both of these things then conspired to make me feel worse, when I remembered not being able to eat after Shanna left the first time. I would always feel hungry and make myself dinner, then eat a couple of bites and feel disgusted at the thought of eating any more, and have to waste it, night after night.

I'm trying so hard not to care about her and what she's doing, but I really can't. I should be free of that now, it's not my concern any more, but even though we're not together any more, it still bothers me that she's not trying to talk to me. I feel like she should be upset, should be wanting and trying to talk to me and convince me we should try again, but she's none of these things, and it really bothers me. And after not seeing her for days, I actually feel like I miss her. This is stupid. She's not even gone, and I miss her. Even though I shouldn't, because we're not together. No matter how hard I try I can't detach myself, I can't stop caring, and that is really frustrating me. I can't win.

Long day ahead. I'm going out for lunch with Graham and his parents about midday, but then I have one more shop to install a till at, during which more things will probably go wrong, and then I have to be available at closing time to update the menu for the December launch. Then be ready for running Vantage again on Monday morning. I'm not having great time right now.

Confined, Solitary
Division
location [?]:BH15 1NQ
Mood:tired
Music:Counting Crows - A Long December
Friday 28th November, 2008
02:55 AM
Well what happened the next day was... more of the same. Shanna sent me a text about 6:40 saying that she was going to her friends house to watch a film, but she would be home as soon as she could be, that we would talk tonight, and asking what time I would be back. She also mentioned that she left her house key at home. I replied saying I had no specific time in mind, and that I could come back whenever she was finished at her friend's. She said she wasn't sure when that would be, but she would let me know as soon as she was there. Two and a half hours later, I'd heard nothing so asked her if she knew what she was doing yet. I got the reply 'Almost. We aren't even there yet'. About an hour after that, I'd still heard nothing, so I send another message, but this time got no answer. So I called, and there was no answer. I called repeatedly up until about 11pm, by which time I was getting worried that I couldn't get hold of her. I assumed she must have finished watching the film by then, and that maybe she had gone home, couldn't get in because she left her key at home, and her phone was dead so we couldn't contact each other. I decided to go home, in case that was what had happened. It wasn't, there was no sign of her at home and I still couldn't get hold of her.

That was 'fine' until 1am or so, then I started to get worried. She'd told me hours ago that she was just going to watch a film, and she'd promised we'd talk tonight, but it was very late. When 2am came around, I was scared something had happened to her, but I had nothing to go on. She hadn't told me where she was going and I had no names or numbers to chase up. Then, at about half past two, she comes in as if nothing has happened, and doesn't understand why I am upset. She did say that she had sent more messages after the last one that I received, and I just didn't get them, but after I got over the relief that nothing had happened to her, I was upset that she'd let me down again with regard to taking time to talk to me. The only reason I'd waited another day was that she promised me we would talk tomorrow, but the very next thing she did was to go to bed.

That was too much for me. I went up and stood outside her bedroom door, noticing that the light was on, and that she might be coming back out again... but no, she turned it off and went to sleep. I went and sat on my own bed and thought about it until I couldn't take it any more. I went into her room, woke her up and told her I thought it was over. I left, and she did nothing. I sat on my bed again, thinking about what I'd just said and done, and cried. I couldn't understand why she wasn't doing anything. I was praying that any moment she would come in... but she never did. She'd gone back to sleep. I went back in, and pretty much collapsed on the floor beside her bed and cried. She woke up again, but still... nothing. No emotion. No sign that it meant anything at all, and to me, the final proof that I was right. Eventually, I got up and left, and went to bed myself.

I got a couple of hours sleep, before I was woken up by Shanna just before she was leaving for work, trying to hug me. She was acting as if nothing had happened last night. I didn't want it any more though; it wasn't an attempt to 'make up' or anything like it, it was an attempt to pretend everything was still fine. Nothing would be any different.

So, our current status is... separated. I won't say forever, I don't know that, but I give up trying. I've done everything I can possibly do to explain how I feel, and why, and how to change it, why it matters, and nothing has come of any of it. She keeps saying that I can't accept her for who she is, but that couldn't be further from the truth - I accept who she is, it's just not who she was, and she's no longer the person I fell in love with. If she ever decides to come and talk to me, I'm open to that, but it's definitely her move now, I've given up hope. Strangely, I don't feel that bad about it now; most of the sadness has been replaced by a kind of reluctant acceptance. This is nothing like when she left before, not at all.

I actually haven't seen her for about three days now. She's been coming home very late and I've been in bed, except for today when I came home late and she was in bed. Not that it would be any different if we had been around at the same time - she would just go up to 'her room' and close the door.

Vaguely related, I talked to Adele online yesterday, which is the first time we've really talked since she left - we've exchanged a few emails but they've been mostly for discussing a particular point - t'was nice to just 'chat' again. I actually got a kind of 'yay, we're friends again' feeling, a kind of relief. Sounds like she's doing well, which I'm happy to hear. We talked briefly about meeting up some time, but I don't know how I feel about it at the moment. I've no objection to seeing Adele again, but it's Willow and Merlin that concern me. I don't know quite how I would feel if they were there... it could be rather awkward.

Vantage is now up to thirty hours of trouble-free testing. We've also started deploying it on the tills, as well as the phone office computers. I was a bit cautious about doing that as the till interface plugin has received a lot less testing than the phone order one, but they both use the same core, so there shouldn't be much difference. Darius wanted to go ahead, so we're doing it anyway.

Finally, Graham and I went to see the Max Payne film today. If I look at it as just a film, and pretend I know nothing about it's origins, it's pretty good. Of course, since the original Max Payne game is one of my favourites, that can't happen, and the film really doesn't meet the standards of the story in the game. I was undecided earlier, but I now think they made the right choice by changing the storyline - being different is better than trying to adapt the original and failing. However, one thing I did expect to be the same was the characters, and they just weren't. The game has so much more character development and depth, and a lot more emphasis on the characters' reasons and motivations for doing what they do, all of which the film was lacking, and Payne in particular was just... not right. I mean, in both of them there's a lot of going round and shooting people, you're not supposed to like him for that, but he's not a bad person. In the game, you really know why this is all happening, you can understand, empathise. In the film, he just seems... a bit of a bastard. Despite all that though, I'll say again, it was pretty good.

Now I need to get a bit of sleep, probably about six hours - there's much to be done at work today.

Lonely, Tired, Lazy, Sad
Desynchronisation
location [?]:BH15 1NQ
Mood:disappointed
Music:Switchfoot - On Fire
Saturday 22nd November, 2008
08:05 AM
Oops, I've really gone and messed up my routine now. It's 8am and I'm just thinking about getting a little sleep, but I've only been up for juts over twelve hours. I was up late Wednesday night playing Half Life 2, which I completed on Thursday, then spent all night reading until about 7am yesterday morning. Then I fell asleep, and had a very long and incredibly boring dream about trying to get to sleep whilst laying on a bench in some bar, and failing because of all the loud music and people talking. I woke up about twelve hours later, at about 7pm yesterday, and now I've just spent all morning playing the original Half Life instead. I've still got two days of work left to do, so I definitely need to go in today, but I think I will get a couple of hours sleep at least first.

Things with Shanna went to the very worst they've been, and then pretty much back to where they started again. I guess that means I lose. I tried to talk to her, but she seemed completely disinterested, and then went to sleep. I got upset that it didn't seem important to her, and woke her up pretty much to ask if she cared about resolving our problems or not. We argued for a bit, got nowhere, and I came to the conclusion that it never would, and that it was finished. As I tried to leave the room though, she called me back, and eventually persuaded me that whilst she needed to sleep now, she would try to talk to me tomorrow, although she still kept repeating that she wasn't 'ready' to talk about it. Eh, we'll see what happens today I suppose.

Just before I leave, I should say I've somewhat changed my mind about Half Life, but not completely. I've persisted in playing through it, and it's become a lot better than it seemed, but yet... it's still not Unreal, or even that close. It just has a much less polished feel, the engine is not as good, and the level design gets tedious because even though there's a good few different environments, there's only so much crawling through ventilation shafts and riding around on trams that you can take. I guess the storyline is on par, and overall it's a decent game, but I wouldn't recommend it - I'd recommend Unreal instead.

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