Sunday, July 21, 2013

peak to trough - part iii

[... continued]

i've just returned home from an hour and a half of non-stop chatter with vfmp.
1. my suspicion that he's gay was confirmed.
2. my worries that he'd see this as a date were allayed (i've been through that awkwardness enough).
3. i was pleasantly surprised to discover he's into shadowrun.
4. i was completely surprised to discover that he's studied literature, is an aspiring author and is into shakespeare.

meeting a vegan like-minded geek the same age as me at tristar? what the hell are the chances?! so i'll be joining him and his crew at a midsummer night's dream at la fontaine tomorrow evening ^_^

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friday:

it was a stormy day, and blessedly cooler. the workday was sensible and relatively relaxed! what a pleasure. megaman came by at some point to inform me that we'd acquired a few more cubicles, and i moved to one of the new window cubicles (!) to make room for one of the core developers who'd been left on the other side of the building.

scrapper's coming to visit on the 6th! i'm really looking forward to seeing him and introducing him to montreal. heavymtl: two two-day passes acquired ^_^

my new cubicle was the perfect place to see the weather suddenly flip from pleasantly cloudy to crazy storm replete with tornado warnings. after megaman sent an email warning of potential sharknados, the office atmosphere immediately switched to weekend mode. we would have gone out to happy hour, only the rain and the wind made that idea seem rather unattractive.

while debating venturing outside, i discovered that jock hadn't completed a task i'd assigned him and so i informed him that he would be finishing it before going out for drinks. it was only then that he made it clear that the instructions i'd given him had gone way over his head; i'm always surprised when an engineer(ing student) whose primary (academic) focus is logic and problem solving doesn't *get* something fundamental to software development. and this is jock, who has been teaching our qa manager the basics of software development.

huh.

i went into mentor mode and started at the very beginning. i taught him the principles of comment-driven coding and i introduced him to the art of deconstructing problems into their simplest component parts. knowing a programming language is not enough, one needs to know how to use it effectively.

i'm not sure if i've mentioned this before but jock's attitude towards the world is nothing short of inspirational. in particular his dedication to figuring things out under the gun. on a number of occasions i offered him the chance to go home and continue on monday - i knew that he was going to be driving a lot last night and i didn't want to mess up his plans. he refused, he was going to finish this. i was happy to oblige, and a couple of hours later we were done. he was done, i should say. and i was satisfied.

so was he. he was very grateful, filled with praise and insistent that i do what i did with him with every intern as they arrive. in addition to being flattered, two things really hit home during that talk before we left the building:

1. the interns, regardless of their academic tracks or their previous experience, will not be prepared for the level of work that i consider to be absolutely basic.

2. my academic qualifications aside, i have a lot more valuable experience than i give myself credit for. not in terms of what's on my resume - my resume is a vague summary that's too high level to really appreciate. what really counts is the generic methodology i've developed through the years, and what has become natural to me is actually counter-intuitive to most people in the industry and almost every new graduate.

jock's words combined with my mother and the cto both praising me on my patience and teaching ability this week have inspired me to create a blog (not anonymous, so i won't link here) to share my methodology.

it was a cooler evening and i walked into a cooler apartment, i spent the next couple of hours working on the blog (and the first post, but i need good examples before i actually put it up) and then i watched an episode of tng to see wil wheaton in action before going to bed.

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saturday:

a long wake from a mad epic dream involving a driver's license exam in an ontario swamp at 3am and being offered career assistance by a teacher with worse connections than i already had.

after posting the first part of this sequence i did some shopping, watched another episode of tng and some ufc before resuming with the second part. then i went to godmother's for dinner.

---
godmother went for a run today with yin (who's healing well, she can now walk a block / run a block). it's the first time godmother's ever run in her life, and she was complaining about her muscles being sore.
"just stretch a little whenever it hurts, " i said, "it's your body adjusting to new demands."
"nah, if it keeps hurting i'll just take two advil."
that totally cracked me up.

---
it was a perfect summer evening, punctuated with occasional unpleasantness that peaked with my uncle proudly expressing his bigotry and unable to understand why we were all upset. just before i left, he goaded me into button-pushing: i told him i'm an ordained pastafarian minister. i think godmother and yin thought i was talking shit, but either way their attempts to change the subject were so synchronized that they couldn't have been planned better.
"hey! look at the moon! it's so beautiful!"

godmother and yin had made me rather self-conscious about wearing my sunglasses at night. not that i needed their help, but i left feeling so stupid that instead of wearing them i tried just keeping my eye closed. i hope i didn't squeeze to hard, because i was specifically warned about that and squeezing becomes automatic when you're holding only one eye. after getting off the bus i discovered that my eye's not quite as good as it's been the past week. i'm a bit disappointed. or perhaps my eye's just tired or something.

speaking of which, i've spent far too much time in front of a screen today and i've got a big day planned for tomorrow. it's time to crash.

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meytal cohen's slipknot - duality cover is a lot of fun to watch.

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