© 2002 Jamie Zawinski <jwz@jwz.org>

Some people have interpersonal drama issues. No matter what they do, or how much they try, they always seem to be involved in some kind of clusterfuck or another. You've known these people: everything they get near turns into a disaster, and no matter how nice they seem, they are best avoided.

Me? I have computer drama issues.

I have completely dysfunctional relationships with machines. The simplest thing, that normal people do every day, starts a big screaming fight. I only rarely find myself in situations where I'm genuinely angry at a person, and yet, computers leave me in a blind rage on a pretty regular basis. It's been worse in the last few weeks, but there have been a couple times in very recent memory where I had to make a conscious effort to close my eyes, breathe deeply and talk myself out of smashing things.

Today was the second time in two weeks that my firewall/gateway machine at the club just lost its mind, and stopped routing whole classes of packets. Like ssh and http connections -- but only 99% of the time. My existing ssh connections were still working fine, and responsively, but I couldn't make new ones. I spent hours reloading rules, staring at tcpdump, and looking at packet logs, and all kinds of things of which I have only the most remedial understanding. Nothing affected it at all. So I rebooted the machine, and it started working again, just like happened three days ago. Three days ago when I booted it, it had been up for something like 290 days, and the ipf rules haven't changed in months.

This kind of shit happens to me all the time. All the time. It's always like this. I don't even get problems that make sense. Am I highly radioactive or something? Did I piss off a gypsy witch who put a hex (adecimal) on me?

And -- let me emphasize -- I do not enjoy this! Oh sure, you say, why do you keep doing it? I don't know. I think I still enjoy writing software, usually. But what I end up spending almost all of my time doing is sysadmin crap. I hate it. I have always hated it. Always. If you made a Venn diagram, there would be two non-overlapping circles, one of which was labeled, "Times when I am truly happy" and the other of which was labeled, "Times when I am logged in as root, holding a cable, or have the case open."

And like all relationship-drama fuckups, I seem to be incapable of just walking away. I finally got it together to leave that cesspool we call the computer industry and what did I do? I filled my nightclub with computers, and with insufficient budget to make them be someone's problem other than mine.

I'll be standing over here in the column labeled "DON'T".

Speaking of which, the new motherboard and power supply I ordered as a result of last week's disaster arrived today, so that will be my project for the rest of the evening.

I think I'm going to get drunk before I begin, though. It can't possibly make things any worse.

[ up ]