5:35 a.m. Oh, this is…

5:35 a.m. Oh, this is dreary. Almost three hours sleep this time, instead of none; a vast improvement in that I am not weepy, but I certainly couldn't claim to be rested. It's impossible not to get at least somewhat on his schedule when I visit, which means staying up 'til 3 or 4, which means sleeping 'til at least 11, which means it's quite difficult to fall asleep at a reasonable hour on the last night. Scheduling! Bah!

Planning to sleep on the plane and maybe take a nap at lunchtime. That will hopefully hold me. I don't think I have to do anything tonight, so early to bed, though I may check back in with y'all.


2:20. Well, I made it in to work eventually (after delayed flights, missed trains, etc. and so on not worth detailing), and worked for a while, and am now taking a short break to babble at y'all and fill you in on the weekend.

It was really nice. There's not so much more to say; just hanging with Kevin, talking and watching tv and reading and doing programming homework. I got somewhat wobbly and weepy at a couple of points (such as when I was trying to figure out how the hell to do a conversion program from numbers to words; I got blocked and just felt really stupid for a while, and Kevin was very kind). My weepiness wasn't for any good reason. He thinks that I just really need a real vacation. He's probably right, but it's going to be a few months before I get one.

On the plus side, the programming is proceeding apace. I'm still way behind my class, but I knew I would be, since I didn't come to the course with as much C knowledge as I should have had. I allowed myself two months to catch up without panicking, and since catching up means getting through ch 1-12 and 15m and I'm currently done with 1-8 and it's been five weeks since I started really working, I'm pretty content (especially since I lost at least a week of work time when Karina was visiting).

This weekend I got through if, else, while, break, continue, for, and switch. I wrote little programs that checked whether a year was a leap year (a little fancier than I expected, since it's not just checking whether it's divisible by four, but also whether it's divisible by 100 and 400), that printed a checkerboard (without my typing out every single line in the program), and that converted numbers to words. I banged my head against the desk a lot, but otherwise had fun.

It's interesting to me what my process is for programming. I look at the assignment. I get panicky. I avoid working on it for a while. I eventually realize that there's only so long I can avoid it. I look at it again. I copy over an earlier file so I have some sort of template. I start writing in comments (lines the computer doesn't pay any attention to) about what I *want* the thingie to do. I realize I don't have any idea how to do some of them and smother more panic. I do the bits I do know. I bang my head against the desk. I try something weird for the bit I don't know. It doesn't work. I try to figure out why it doesn't work -- did I try something ridiculous, or did I just do something dense, like = instead of == (I'm not even going to try explaining the difference between the two), or forgetting to put a semicolon at the end? It's generally something dense. I fix that, compile the program, run it, and find out that it does something, but not quite what I wanted it to do. I stare at it some more, until I finally realize what the missing parts are. This may take quite a while. Then I get it. In a sudden rush, I race through fixing the program and making it do the right thing. I feel vindicated, as I get little bits to work. I get annoyed when I test it, it doesn't work, I look at it again, and realize that I've forgotten another damned semicolon. I finally fix that, and it runs, and I'm giddy.

All this to print out a checkerboard made of ****'s and |'s. Sheesh.

It *is* fun. And it's oddly fun in some of the same ways writing is fun. Maybe this is why Kevin thought I'd like programming. Now I'm reading through variable scope and functions. Interesting. Very very interesting...

Okay, not to most of you, I know. I'll try not to inflict too much programming gunk on you. I know you'd much rather listen to me talk about writing smut. :-)

One completely unrelated note, my dears. Some of you have sent me very sympathetic notes about those last two poems I posted here. And they're appreciated, but please be aware that I take *great* liberties even when I *am* using material from my own life. For minor example, the protagonist in my last poem studied dance for seven years. I only studied it for about two. There are a lot of other variations from reality. I appreciate the sympathy, but it's not entirely necessary, and I feel a bit uncomfortable with it, as if I'm getting 'survivor credit' that I don't really deserve.

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