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Paul Richardson
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I'm VERY arrogant, I'm VERY condescending, I'm VERY intellectually conceited, I'm constantly belittling the mental laziness of others, and I'm ashamed of how often I find myself referring to others as monkeys. But I'm also the most ruthlessly honest adult person I've ever known personally (closely). I never misrepresent my skills, or knowledge. That goes for everything in general, but also of programming. I freely admit, my knowledge and skills in programming are woefully inadequate for a person who has been programming at least 10 years now, to earn his living. This doesn't make me all THAT unique, but there's more to it. There's a horrible irony to my condition. I happen to be a life-time student, having found myself more comfortable in academia than elsewhere. And I've been paying for my decades of useless "book-larnin" by working with computers and software as I mentioned above. So you'd think that I'd be quite proficient in at least one compiled language by now, right? --- wrong! Other than a small handful of ultr-small projects I did WITH HELP FROM OTHERS, I couldn't program my way out of a wet paper bag, in any compiled language (and I'm including .NET here). I'm still stuck googling my way through each and every line of code I ever write, even simple VBscripts and such. I'm like a spineless suck-up whenever I meet a person with "real programming" skills, trying to earn points with them, for the inevitable day I'll need serious help. Sometimes, when I'm feeling less self-destructive than usual, I might blame the constant backlog of senseless basic 'support' stuff I do, which mental midgets lump together in the same barrel as fun 'tough' things, that are more dynamic or interactive, but usually lower priority (and may just get abandoned altogether, as a result). But there is no doubt, a huge part of the problem is that I can't recall the syntactical grammar of languages. I think maybe it's partially genetic -- that I've got crappy memory, despite deep capacity for understanding and analysis. But it's also exaggerated by my life-long insomnia and related susceptibility to distraction. Maybe I'm just prone to multi-tasking mania? I can't even remember my Google Voice number, which is on every single one of my emails (of which I send many, per day). I've stopped at least 3 times now, and repeated it to myself thinking "now, don't forget it again!". Many eons ago, as a young undergrad student, I bought some crazy big memory "systems" (like audio tapes and stuff) to help me improve my memory --- at prob at that time, was 2nd year organic chemistry formulas, and other stuff. Nope. Didn't help one bit. I had to really struggle over the easy memorization stuff, but the complex folding stuff was cake! I taught myself differentials and integrals (calculus) in 3 days by reading a short book on it over the weekend when I found out that my 2nd year physics class required it, and of course, I aced that class as if I actually had that pre-req. But then, that stuff all connects together, in the ONLY way possible, like a puzzle where no other logical piece can fit. It virtually constructs itself, like the flow of a story. So why can't random rules governing glyphs algorithms imprint on my memory? Am I really to be expected to create some crazy story linking together the components, for EVERY SINGLE string of symbols or rules I meet, from here to eternity? What dark angel has planned this for me, to be without employable skills worth a reasonably high rate, in any field other than technology, and yet, at this late hour of my life, I cannot recall those silly patterns that govern arbitrarily the names, numbers, and their order in synthetic taxonomies? And, if you've made it this far through this enormous comment, there's one last cherry on the top. Despite the paradoxical lack of programming skills I find myself trying to scrape a living out of, constantly undermined by a colossal ego, and stupidly honest tongue, I LOVE TO PROGRAM SOFTWARE CODE. Crazy huh? I think if I really desperately needed to (if my kids need surgery or something), I could resort to wearing a suite and tie, go around telling innocent 'white lies', and make lots of cash like the monkeys I poke fun at. But I don't think that would be as fun. It's almost like an addiction, the initial problem, followed by the grudging relentless pursuit to unravel the "how" and the final unveiling of the working code.
Paul Richardson is now following The Typepad Team
Aug 17, 2010