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Reflections

There’s something real particular about 2 am that makes a fellow such as myself particularly reflective. I’m not sure what it is, but at times like these, you don’t question such things.

Also, I know some readers are particularly keen on gleaning my personal status, and I don’t mind at all obliging them to a little view into how things are going every once in a while.

This past weekend is a paragon of the kinds of times I’ll look back on and wish for more of. A little bit of class on Friday, then to work for a few hours, then some take-out pizza and an evening (until 1am) with my closest of friends, playing D&D Fourth Edition with pre-release materials. We are so eager to learn the secrets of this new system that in a year’s time will be utterly pedestrian and second nature to us that we are taking to scraping together every bit we can of public games to re-create them in our own lives.

But there’s also the larger issue of spending hours with people you’ve known for time periods longer than high school. The bonds will certainly be tested, and often in unexpected ways, but even though you might disagree as to who benefits from NAFTA, you’ll still be able to come to a consensus that Israel is one bad ass country.

And if it had ended there, I might even be content. But that evening, during a dessert run to Goodberry’s, I became wholly consumed in a discussion of computers and their programming. I can remember a time when I was unsure of my career path, and I understand those days. But somewhere during my four last years of public school, I came to the realization that programs would be my living.

It’s certainly easy to posture on such a subject, but I think the most defining moment that tells me I’m on the right path was when I spent a full five minutes gesturing to my good friend and fellow computer scientist while rambling on about recursion. All the while, I was holding a Goodberry’s Carolina Concrete in my hand, even gesticulating with the spoon full of vanilla ice cream and chocolate chips. And I was more interested in base cases and infinite loops than such a delicious treat. That’s certainly a statement.

In short, the future is looking good. But the present, as it so often is, is somewhat disappointing. Unfortunately, I’m finding my programming classes to be rather boring in straightforward, which I chalk up to a combination of previous knowledge of the subject matter and an intuitive learning of the new material.

Take linked lists for example: I distinctly remember some years ago, during high school, at some shindig or another, asking Greg what this “linked list” that he was talking about was. He explained it to me, and at the time it seemed silly to me, but at the time I hadn’t had to write any data structures of my own, so it doubtlessly would. Then consider the idea of operating on them recursively: recursion was a topic I covered in my high school computer science classes and in my recreational programming. While using it to iterate through the list would not be immediately obvious to me, once it was proposed, it was a straightforward acceptance of the utility of such an approach. The additional half hour of justification for it in class was just unneeded.

Holy crap, that was a tangent. So anyways, Goodberry’s, and Friday evening. Well, that night, after the get together adjourned for 12 hours, to reconvene and carry on at 1pm on Saturday, I went directly home and set to coding, staying up hours longer until a rather unwise hour to be well rested for the following day. And then all of that day, in parallel with the gaming and debauchery, I kept on coding.

What I’m left with is a product which I didn’t know how create when the weekend started, but by pushing into the online documentation and puzzling things out, I produced a useful product that I’m actually quite proud of. Coupled with the satisfaction I gain from such projects at my place of employment, I know that I’m headed in the right direction.

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