good golly miss dolly

I remembered a bit of my previous night's dreams again this morning, my memory triggered by a radio spot for the Huntington Theater. I and a few others...I think Ksenia might've been one of the others, were watching this terrible local theater production of "Hello, Dolly!"

Rudolph, Headwaiter
of the Harmonia
Gardens Restaurant
(more photos)
(I was Rudolph the Head Waiter of the Harmonia Gardens in that musical in high school and got to slick my hair back and use my best fakey-German accent..."Undt therefore it iz my ordaire as headvaiter of ze Harmonia Gardens Rest-au-rant--undt your surprrrrreme commander!--that, tonight of all nights our usual lightning-qvick service vill be tvice as lightning as ever....OR ELSE!")

In the dream I didn't see the usual showstopper scenes, just the early scenes set in the general store interior (which looked suspiciously like a living room) and then some very strange interprative dancing, with, oddly, a lot of women in this pink frilly underwear. I vaguely remember moving around to different seats as more and more people left, though we got yelled at for sitting right in front of the piano and soundboard, which were kind of perched over the left side of the first few rows of seats.

Metagripe of the Moment
Now, the meaning of "unique" is my very biggest meta-gripe. Nothing in the world is "the only one of its kind", everything can be categorized in some way or the other. So nothing is unique in a technical sense. Or, everything is unique, in at least a trivial way, no two things can be quite the same. So it makes logical and intuitive sense to speak of "degrees of unqiueness"...only pedantically does it fail.

So, all things are "things",
but no two things quite the same;
unique: a spectrum.

--from an e-mail I wrote in response to this Tuesday Morning Quarterback article. Actually, I hate cutesy haikus as well, but I thought it gave me a better chance of getting noticed.

Thoughts about Programming of the Moment
Way, way back in the day, I read something in one of those 80s home computer magazines -- it might have been "Family Computing" (man I loved that magazine, though Compute! and Compute's Gazette for the C=64 had better type-in programs) about how odd it was that people were so scared of programming, that it wasn't really harder than, say, learning a new foreign language and unlike, say, conjugating french verbs, you would generally get feedback when you did something wrong that would point you in the right direction.

I quoted that a bit when I was a precocious little kid and the thought still lingers in my head. But I don't believe it as much as I've used to. I've heard enough horror stories and banged my head against enough unhelpful stupid code that I don't have the confidence I used to in working with computers. Systems and Programs fail, and sometimes they fail silently or give misleading explanations.

This confidence thing is a big detriment; I think the biggest part of my urge to slack isn't laziness, it's fear: fear that I'm up against one of the those problems that's going to totally kick my ass and I won't know what to do. (And be taught, once again, that I'm not as smart as I assume I am, I'm sure that enters into it.) And sometimes those avoidance techniques get me to ignore what potentially helpful feedback the system is providing. Google can be a great help, both in its web-crawling and Usenet-archive incarnations, sometimes just an error message can be the link to someone whose posted a solution or workaround. Or at the very worst, tell me that it's a problem someone has faced before.