Tuesday, November 17, 2015

I'm Out of the Fruit Loop

My life is endlessly interesting. There's a Chinese proverb, "May you live in interesting times." It's meant as a curse, of course, but I have to take my pleasures as I find them. My life hasn't been boring for so long I forget what boring looks like. Three square meals a day and central heating is what I imagine it looks like, but how would I know?

My older son is off visiting a friend for a few days. My younger son, who is 12, likes to sleep in his room when the large son is away. The room is ten feet away from his own room, but a big brother's room has special magical powers that make it magical and special and tautological. He also likes using big brother's computer. It's a special treat that also makes no sense. His older brother's computer is at least a decade old and runs Vista. The computer in his own room is newer and faster, and at least has Windows 7, but the magic beans extend to his brother's computer, not just the room itself.

Before school and after school we pretty much let the little feller do what he wants. He spends most of his time monkeying around with various computer programming tasks. He's learned a scripting language in order to produce new versions of Doom rooms, likes working on it a lot, and has basically abandoned Minecraft over it. Kid stuff.

Doom is an old "First Person Shooter" that invented a lot of what is take for granted nowadays in computer games. The computer language that runs it looks vaguely like Javascript to my eye. He knows at least a smattering of Javascript, HTML, and several other programming languages. He uses Khan Academy to learn what he wants, and he has a big pile of programming books that a friend of ours gave to him in a fit of generosity.

I looked over his shoulder this morning as he was writing code. He looks really funny in the morning. His hair is going this way and that from his nightly battle with the Laocoon of his pillows. He still has sleep seeds in his eyes, but he can't wait to get at the computer.

On the screen was the usual text editor window used to code Doom levels. Inside the text editor was something that looked entirely like hieroglyphs to my eye. It was like four hundred Led Zeppelin IV album covers strung together. Line after line of something way past gibberish, because regular computer scripts look like gibberish anyway. This looked like a telegram from Alpha Centauri. What the hell are you doing, son?

I'm writing Doom scripts in WingDings, Dad. Duh.


julie said...

There's a use for Wingdings? I thought those only existed because it was too hard to come up with a good text replacement for astrological signs when picking up chicks in chat rooms. Shows what I know.

vanderleun said...

You are a thrice blessed man.

Thud said...

He lost me too.

leelu said...

I for one welcome our new, wing-ding programming overlord!

Sam L. said...

It's always burned my butt to have to eat a square meal off a round plate! Can't nuthin MATCH? SHEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEESH.

You say the Spare has "a big pile of programming books that a friend of ours gave to him in a fit of generosity." Or, it could be with EVILE intent! That young, a boy's mind can be severely warped, even without water on the brain.

Wing Dings! That boy's up to NO GOOD, Mr. Sippi! I'm warnin' you! Somebody's gonna be sorry, someday; don't say you weren't warned.

Mr. Ed said...

At least it wasn't Comic Sans…

leelu said...

I send this post along to y programmer friends/ One of the wants to know, can he translate the WingDings into ASCII?

Enquiring minds, and all that.

John The River said...

I hear babies cry, I watch them grow
They'll learn much more than I'll ever know
And I think to myself
What a wonderful world

Yes, I think to myself
What a wonderful world

My college computer class was in FORTRAN, I used Unix mostly at work, played with Basic at home. Stone Age stuff.