Monday, August 28, 2006

Now Entering a Prolonged Period of Adjustment

It always takes me awhile to adapt to schedule changes; in the spring I think it took me a month or 6 weeks or so before I figured out when I had time to blog versus when I was able to blog (these are not the same thing) versus when I wanted to blog--and that's enough use of that repulsive verb for one sentence. Anyway, bear with me.

All I can say for my compilers class is that it is taught by a fellow who is highly enthusiastic about compilers. My first thought was, "This guy is way too excited about compilers." My second thought was, "And thank goodness for that." If you are going to learn about compilers, it helps if the teacher acts like learning about compilers is not just worthwhile but EXCITING! and FUN! I mean, if this were being taught by my stand-at-the-lectern and read-directly-from-the-book C++ professor . . . well, I shudder to think. I am not that interested in compilers myself right now, but at least with this guy it is conceivable that by mid-semester I could be somewhat to very interested in compilers. And wouldn't that be fun for you? If all I did from October on was post about compilers?


The class has already reminded me of something I had forgotten: I like computer science teachers and I like computer science students. I like programmers. My ratio of like to dislike for a room full of these people has so far been and likely always will be much higher than it is for a room full of anyone other sorts of people, including (especially?) people just plucked off the street at random.

I like computer science people because once you get them cloistered off from the normals, they are the most nakedly excited people about their subject. They love this stuff and they make it so obvious that they love this stuff. It is like they have painted hearts on their sleeves: "Me + gcc 4EVER." (Which reminds me, I have forgotten everything I was ever taught about gcc and it looks as though I am going to have to use it again. Ugh.)

I don't mean like, I walked into class and found a bunch of dudes standing around exclaiming how much they enjoy Linux (although you can never rule out that scenario); I mean, they do this faux-bitching thing about the subject and it's faux bitching that wouldn't fool a three-year-old. It's SO fake, SO transparent. It's things like one of the kids (well, to me they ARE kids--I'm not meaning to be dismissive, but come on) saying, "So for almost three years, right, all this time, I'm coasting along, I'm taking, like, 13 credits a semester, maybe 15 at the most, right? Then this year I get a job, so what do I do? I take 17 credits." Like, "Oh, no, what a dumb glutton for punishment I am! Why am I torturing myself with all this computer science? Ugh, computer science! I'm such a nerd. Why do I do it?"

But I knew, and everyone in that classroom knew, exactly why: Because he fucking loves it. And now that he has a job in the field, he can't wait to be done merely studying it. He can't wait to graduate and start doing it for real, for pay. That's why he took 17 credits: Because now it's so close he can taste it.

The duller and more monotone the voice in which complaints about computer science are issued from any given computer science student, the more that student is hopelessly in love with his major. You can take that to the bank. CS majors front, but they don't front worth a damn. This is because they are geeks. They are better with compilers than they are with people. But geeks are my people, and I heart them all. I have no idea whether I will pass this course, but I know that I have missed being around geeks.

By the way, if you were wondering why I keep saying "guys" and "fellows" it is because more women need to go into computer science. Seriously, just put down that Sociology catalog right now. There is one other woman in this class and that is it, and that is not right. Anyway, I'm not saying "these dudes, plus also this one chick," every time, because that is awkward. I'll aim for just saying "students," or maybe "these damn kids."

And now if you will excuse me, it is my night off and there are like all these vegetables in my kitchen that I have to find something tasty to do with.


Darleen said...

ok...I now want to go back to school.

I got my IT degree a few years back, but programming is like a foreign language (or algebra)...ya can remember doing it, but not exactly how.

I thought programming was a lot of fun! Visual basic, Java, Java scripting...and damnation I can't remember all those lines of code!!! (I loved writing stuff that would then DO stuff!)

And yes.... geeks is my people (I married one, too!)

ilyka said...

(I loved writing stuff that would then DO stuff!)

Oh yeah. For a control freak like myself that was the best part: "It did. What I told. It to do. Hot damn!"

Every time that happens I almost forget the 13,000 other times it wouldn't compile, wouldn't link, wouldn't do what the heck I meantit to do (but failed to tell it), etc.

John said...

No matter what the subject - all geeks are like that. It's all fun and games until someone whips out the geek jokes and a psychic injury ensues.

What do you get when you cross an elephant and a grape?

Elephant grape sine theta.

What do you get when you cross an elephant and a mountian climber?

You can't. A mountain climber is a scaler.

Moebius Stripper said...

I'm not a CS geek, but some of my best friends are, and I hung out around the CS club at my alma mater. At one point, I walked past the club's office, and saw half a dozen members falling over themselves laughing. The reason? One of them had just come up with another joke (yes, there was a whole series) that began with "Yo momma's regular expression parser is so bad that...".

(I only remember one, and it ended with, "...when it sees dot star, it crashes!")

(Also, if I may add to John's list: complex analysis - it's all fun and games until someone loses an i...)

Craig R. said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Craig R. said...

For geek humor, there is this from on Baldur's PartiallyClips, which is a truly great webcomic

ilyka said...

Oh Craig, that is awesome. Thanks!