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Support for the every-life-situation-is-analogous-to-something-in-a-Louis-Sachar-book theory - Lindsey Kuper [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
Lindsey Kuper

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Support for the every-life-situation-is-analogous-to-something-in-a-Louis-Sachar-book theory [Apr. 28th, 2007|06:08 pm]
Lindsey Kuper
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There's a scene in Dogs Don't Tell Jokes in which Gary's trying to polish his comedy routine. He starts running his jokes by Joe in his head, asking himself, "Would Joe think this is funny?" If it doesn't pass the Joe test, he throws it out.

I'm becoming a better programmer because of Jesse jes5199. I start to do something, and then I think, "Jesse won't like this." And I stop, and think, and I do it in a way that sucks less.

What if all the stuff we're supposed to know as adults is stuff that we actually learned before we were twelve?

Or, okay: what if the way to live is to first learn the rules, all of them, and once you know them cold you start to figure out which ones you can throw out, one by one, until finally, eventually, if you've planned it right, the answer works out to be: all of them? I like that thought.

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[User Picture]From: joyquality
2007-04-29 01:45 am (UTC)
The other day I was trying to think of really boring tattoos and I suddenly remembered the kid from Wayside School who got a tattoo of a potato. I hadn't thought about those books in years.
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[User Picture]From: lindseykuper
2007-04-29 01:56 am (UTC)
Oh, yeah, I remember that part! I wonder if anyone went out and got a potato because of that!

If Soup & Story ever happens again, I already know I'm going to read: this one passage from Infinite Jest in which one of the guys who's in rehab does a survey of all the residents' tattoos. It's so, so funny.
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[User Picture]From: joyquality
2007-04-29 01:59 am (UTC)
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[User Picture]From: lindseykuper
2007-04-29 02:05 am (UTC)
That guy is awesome.
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[User Picture]From: pixelherder
2007-04-29 02:05 am (UTC)
I get the feeling that you'd enjoy Geoffrey James' "The Tao of Programming". It's one of those old chestnuts that's been around on the web forever. Though 3.2 is also a bit like what you said, I think you'd especially like 4.4:
Prince Wang's programmer was coding software. His fingers danced upon the keyboard. The program compiled without an error message, and the program ran like a gentle wind.

"Excellent!" the Prince exclaimed, "Your technique is faultless!"

"Technique?" said the programmer turning from his terminal, "What I follow is Tao - beyond all techniques! When I first began to program I would see before me the whole problem in one mass. After three years I no longer saw this mass. Instead, I used subroutines. But now I see nothing. My whole being exists in a formless void. My senses are idle. My spirit, free to work without plan, follows its own instinct. In short, my program writes itself. True, sometimes there are difficult problems. I see them coming, I slow down, I watch silently. Then I change a single line of code and the difficulties vanish like puffs of idle smoke. I then compile the program. I sit still and let the joy of the work fill my being. I close my eyes for a moment and then log off."

Prince Wang said, "Would that all of my programmers were as wise!"
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[User Picture]From: lindseykuper
2007-04-29 02:49 am (UTC)
I see them coming, I slow down, I watch silently.

I think I get that.
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[User Picture]From: underwhelm
2007-04-29 03:19 am (UTC)
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[User Picture]From: lindseykuper
2007-04-29 04:09 am (UTC)
I'm always forgetting what things my friends actually said and what things my friend simulators said. Gets me in trouble.
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[User Picture]From: jes5199
2007-04-29 04:20 am (UTC)
Like I was tying to say, a good portion of the habit you're seeing are things like I learned in a similar fashion from conform

Self-replicating thought patterns! There should be a word for that.
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[User Picture]From: lindseykuper
2007-04-29 05:15 am (UTC)
ba ka na zu ma lay ga no ma la aria ma na po no a ab zu
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[User Picture]From: royhuggins
2007-04-29 08:16 am (UTC)
Or, okay: what if the way to live is to first learn the rules, all of them, and once you know them cold you start to figure out which ones you can throw out, one by one, until finally, eventually, if you've planned it right, the answer works out to be: all of them? I like that thought.

And then you replace them with rules you didn't learn as a kid?

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[User Picture]From: lindseykuper
2007-04-29 06:03 pm (UTC)
I was thinking you don't replace them with anything!
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[User Picture]From: lindseykuper
2007-04-29 06:04 pm (UTC)
What's the Hero's Journey?

Why don't we ever talk on the phone anymore?
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[User Picture]From: pixelherder
2007-04-30 01:32 am (UTC)
It's originally from Joseph Campbell's "The Hero With a Thousand Faces." Campbell's thesis was that there's a common structure underlying most of the world's mythologies, particular those involving some sort of a quest. The gist is that it involves a hero's growth as he is called to put aside his ordinary life and depart from the natural world to face the supernatural world, conquer the challenges of the supernatural world and then the return to the ordinary world as a master of both worlds. Along the way, he typically faces "threshold guardians" at the boundary of each world.

It's not the easiest reading, but it's interesting if you're into mythology.
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[User Picture]From: pixelherder
2007-04-30 07:34 pm (UTC)
Oh, I'll definitely agree with you that the idea is fantastic and pretty universal. I was referring rather to the relatively dry academic style of the book itself -- I found that despite my interest in the subject it still took me a while to push through the book. Of course, it's been nearly a decade since I read it so my recollection could be wrong.
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