Friday, August 04, 2006

Data Structures and other Such Rubbish

So today was our first exam opportunity for the Greatly Dreaded Data Structures Module. All in all I have to say it was quite an interesting experience. Watching all your friends stress (try to rebuild the wall of hope of any kind of success which is rapidly crumbling around their ears) while you simply embrace the failure gracefully (throwitcatchitgobbledeegook) definitely makes it for the books… or at least a blog then. After several conversations which involved the remaining Cartoon Hero (who will henceforth be referred to as “The Remaining Cartoon Hero Whose Name Shan’t Be Mentioned”) describing the GDDSM (inter alia) a “void”, “black abyss of nothingness” and “the ultimate vacuum,” I think I’ll be glad to call failing such a failable thing a fine art form. I mean, I could marvel for hours about the fact that we spend more money printing pages we will never look at twice (because of course the GDDSM exam is open-book by the great grace of the GDDSM Powers that Be, sometimes called the course coordinators) and a text book we can’t understand than I ever spent on anything I actually wanted. It must be said that this was highlighted in the clearest possible light (as is usually done when such situations come to be and I try my hardest to suppress the thought) by Her Respected Legendary Cynic of Noteness.

What is that? That frighteningly sharp clarity that comes with the promise of impending doom? Here it is. My life can go one of two ways from here. Surrender to the black abyss of nothingness or change my degree to BCom human resources. Surely it is the answer to every question that sounds like, “What now?” and I’ll simply die before even thinking about contemplating considering Informatics. Rehab for CS students much? No thanks.

So here we are. The GDDSM PtB are out to get us and there’s nowhere to run to. So I’ll sit right here, carry on telling myself its art and brace myself for another 3 years or so doing this module. Who ever thought art could you make you feel so cold eh?

Aah yes, the cold. It’s cold.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

The Utter Lack of Profound Things

A friend of mine, a legendary cynic of note, recently used the expression, "perambulating along the outskirts of verbosity," in connection to a particularly embarrassing magazine article we read together. (This of course had nothing to do with the fact that our feelings toward the writer are decidedly negative...) Anyway, it made me wonder about using big fancy words and whether being truly articulate means conveying exactly what you feel in the simplest possible way. I'm reminded briefly of Kevin Spacey's voice in American Beauty:

"I guess I could be pretty pissed off about what happened to me ... but it's hard to stay mad when there's so much beauty in the world. Sometimes I feel like I'm seeing it all at once, and it's too much. My heart fills up like a balloon that's about to burst ...And then I remember ... to relax, and not try to hold on to it. And then it flows through me like rain. And I can't feel anything but gratitude for every single moment of my stupid little life. You have no idea what I'm talking about, I'm sure. Don't worry ... you will someday."

The thoughts are sometimes too much to conceive of all at once. Writing them down helps but I remember JK Rowling once describing the sensation as trying to contain flowing water in your cupped hands.

My elder sister, a wise, sage-like nobility of our Time, calls it stream of consciousness. I, of course, don't understand the concept the way it probably should be understood, but being a self-proclaimed /*presumptuous*/ programmer whose mind has been mercilessly addled by violent and disturbing pc games and TV shows can probably be stated as the reason I have made my own ridiculous interpretation of it. I'm writing and writing /*or typing and typing*/ and the gaarrbage that appears on the page /*or the screen*/ is just as it was in my head, only with a clear kind of structure (meant only for me, of course). So contrary to popular belief, I'm not being intoxicated by the exuberance of my own verbosity, even though I may be rambling on incoherently. I'm just getting high on my own consciousness. Does that make any sense? I'm a bad writer. But it's enjoyable for me because when I read the gaarrbage later, I'm all high on it and feeling richly dramatic and maybe even substantial. Whatever…I suppose I could be wrong, but I believe it's healthy to write. No matter how bad you are at it. That way, when someone asks you a question, for the most part, at least you'll be able to maggaj {maggaj - a word formulated by delirious people to describe what a 2nd year computer science student writes in an exam which dares contemplating asking her to write out two pages of C++ code without a compiler /*but a pen, instead; WHAT IS THAT?!?*/}

So you see, even if it is in a morbid, melancholic kind of way, as long as you can express yourself, be it verbosely, or so that you are the only person that will ever understand it, there’ll always be beauty in the world. At least we’ll be feeding our own egos.

I think this post was just a warning in case you wanted to read more later on.