Last week, I made the annual mistake of installing the lastest version of Norton SystemWorks on my main desktop PC. The next day, my automated backups from the PC to my Linux server stopped working. I got a distressing backup report email that showed that two files were actually deleted from the backup server:

/net probably not smb-filesystem
umount: /net: not mounted
timeout connecting to
building file list ... done
My Documents/Private/journal/1992/921216.txt
My Documents/Private/journal/1994/941216.txt

I soon discovered that Norton’s default installation blocks the port that Windows uses for file sharing over TCP/IP (or something like that) so I was able to get my backups up and running. However, I couldn’t get over the random deletion of these two files. Clearly, the backup machine couldn’t contact my desktop PC but I can’t come up with a scenario where these two files out of all of my files, were deleted. The more I thought about it, the more convinced I became that there is something vitally important that happens every December 16th and that I should read these journal entries carefully to find the connection.

Here’s the entry from December 16th, 1992. I was 15 years old:

Wednesday, December 16, 1992 9:37 AM

I forgot to bring my global studies book to study hall, so
I'm really bored, and this is only the first of 5 study halls
today. Of course, fifth period study hall is always a blast, so
that won't be too bad ;-) . I'm really really bored, and I can't
figure out how to do open dialogs on a Macintosh. There's still
15 minutes left in this period. Maybe I'll read some Pascal Plus
Data Structures.

I’m pretty sure that’s all meaningless. The only intriguing part is the mention of 5th period study hall as “always a blast.” I have no recollection of it, or why it was in any way special. Note the use of emoticons in 1992 — I was so ahead of my time.

Surely the 1994 entry will tie it all together. Here’s a summary, since the entry is pretty long:

* If Jen Clark didn’t get in early decision to Dartmouth, I probably won’t get in either because she has better grades.
* Mark Stern is still applying to Stanford even though he got into Dartmouth early. I probably won’t get in there either.
* Adam Gross and I keep throwing things at each other during math class and blaming it on Marni Goldstein. Marni seems to think this is funny. [Note: I married Marni 9 years later]
* If I convince myself that I won’t get into Stanford or Dartmouth, then I will surely get into one because being right about something so specific would be too ironic. I dub this “The Law of Infinite Irony.”
* I ponder the purchase of a 1GB hard drive.

I don’t immediately see a link. Send me email if you do — there’s only 7 months left until the next December 16th!

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