Thursday, March 19, 2009

Tales of Geekdom from the Unapologetic

This is the post where I come clean about my true identity, and finally say loud and clear that I am, indeed, a geek. Now, you may have already figured it out from my "100 things about Noha" post, where I admitted to being a grammar obsessed comma queen, and loving the parentheses (especially the nested ones), or corny jokes, or run-on sentences (see the sentence you're reading right now for evidence - no, proof!), but maybe you thought all my geek-characteristics were purely linguistic. Well, I'm here to tell you otherwise.
This week, it really dawned on me that I'm a geek on sooooooooooo many other levels than just my linguistic quirks, starting primarily with my academic geekiness. While I constantly tell myself that I could never do grad school (unlike my PhD-pursuing hubby), and while I shuddered one time when he actually asked me if I remembered what the sine of e-squared (or something like that) was, I will admit to loving (LOVING!) my third year logic and discrete mathematics course.
Deductive logic was honestly, truly a thing of beauty, a marvel to me. I would sit there in the front row (yes, by choice), hanging on to the professors every word as he showed us one incredible proof after another, scrawling formulas down the page until at the bottom - bang! - everything just balanced. I remember how he would turn before writing the last line on the board and wink at us, and say "nothing up my sleeve" and some of the students would role their eyes. Not me, I was entranced. To me, that line where everything balanced, where the right side of the equals-sign and the left side of the equals-sign suddenly fell into perfect synergy was like the part in a book with 10 pages left where you suddenly get exactly how it's going to end, and yet you have to read on just to respect the author's genius, or that last scene of the sixth sense when the twist becomes evident and you're shaking your head in shock (and yet delighted!), and you're telling yourself "Oh my God! I didn't see that coming! Did I see that coming?" and then you replay the whole thing in your head trying to figure out exactly when you started to figure it out...
And this is how I feel about deductive logic, ergo, I am a geek.
I did the same thing when I started comparing my programming and design logic to the philosophy notes my sister (a psychology major) took. And-Or constructs in programming where just another way of talking about necessary and sufficient conditions in philosophy. Philosophy and math were the same thing, and to me, this discovery was another little miracle.
I love finding connections. It's hard to describe beyond that, but I think that all disciplines in science and art are very intertwined and it's just for us to delight in finding the links....
Today, I stood in my boss's office for about 5 minutes at mid-morning, staring at her marker-covered whiteboard and shaking my head with a similar level of satisfaction. We were both doing it, looking at the board, happily, and telling each other how beautiful it was... "beautiful" one of us would say. "It's beautiful, just beautiful. It all fits together" the other would respond. We've been working on a problem for a few weeks and it started off as a huge mess of seemingly random information, and now we've found a little box for each piece of the 'random' information and the pieces fit in the boxes, and there are links. It was beautiful, and we couldn't stop repeating it. So the highlight of my day was seeing the pieces click together on the beginnings of a process model that has been hurting my head and running me ragged for the last little while. and after 5 minutes of being pleased, we laughed at ourselves and realized that the process model wasn't going to implement itself, (in fact, was still in the early stages of development), and I walked out to make phone calls and fill out spreadsheets of information... But happily. Maybe the geeks out there will understand?
P.S. My food challenge is still going. I haven't eaten any dairy, wheat, or sugar-products for 5 days (with the exeption of a few drops of milk in my coffee...)

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