Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Happy VD

Does anyone out there actually like VD? Everyone I know complains about it. So why do we perpetuate this unwanted, unwelcomed, angst and guilt-ridden commercial holiday by buying roses, chocolates, cards and jewelry?

Here's the fundamental problem: happy, loving couples don't need a cheesy, fake, commerical holiday to express their affection and devotion, and lonely people really don't want their noses rubbed in their singlehood. So who is this for???

I'm almost disappointed that the Pirate is coming over tomorrow night. He was going to come over tonight, and I was going to spend VD learning programming in Basic from Flatmate B, with the aim of teaching me how to write software programs that assist my linguistic analysis of medieval texts. I thought learning about computer programming sounded like an awesome way to spend VD. But it turns out that tonight is inconvenient for the Pirate, so he's coming around tomoz instead. That's ok. He knows how I feel about the day, and he won't do anything. Becuase when I told him "I hate VD, I don't celebrate it or mark it in any way (except to complain a bit more than usual), so please don't buy me anything or do anything special," he had the good sense to take me at my word.

When I told him, "don't buy me anything for Christmas becuase you're spending a fortune on a plane ticket and having you there is the best gift you could possibly give me," he believed me. And I LOVED that he believed me. He didn't assume that I was saying one thing while meaning another. He respected me enough to know that I was honest with him and not playing mind games. And you can't imagine what a relief that is. I've finally found someone who doesn't assume I'm playing mind games just becuase 99.9% of women do and think it's acceptable. News flash: it's not. Cut it the fuck out.

So VD will be just like any other evening with the Pirate: relaxed, fun, romantic, and a wee bit silly. Because every day I spend with him is like Christmas, my Birthday, VD, and the Fourth of July all rolled into one. It's wonderful beacuse it's about him and me and our bond, and artificial, arbitrary holidays have nothing to do with it.

19 comments:

Billy said...

"Does anyone out there actually like VD?"

Erm, no of course not... oh you mean that VD!

Tim Footman said...

Bob Swipe likes it. Well, he likes talking about its symptoms.

Loganoc said...

Well I used to think the same until I finally actually had a really nice Valentines Day (after various single years, shit teddies with hearts or being freshly dumped). But I see you disagreed with me then too...

llewtrah said...

That's because Valentine's Day isn't for couples. Valentine's Day is supposedly for secret admirers (men) to send anonymous tokens of affection to the lady they admire.

Card and gift companies have subverted it into just another marketing opportunity and a way to make us feel guilty.

ZB said...

Does anyone out there actually like VD?

Someone beat me to it but no. The bit where they stick a metal spoon down your willy to take a culture sample is incredibly painful.

Sal said...

took me a second to twig the date contextuality of the VD reference...

nah, it's an arbitrary event for female status jockeying/validation. yawn.


re the "Programs That Assist My Linguistic Analysis of Medieval Texts":
unless there are pre-existing VB-only libraries that you MUST HAVE, don't even consider VB unless you're an experienced coder. for FAR greater power AND FAR greater ease-of-learning, use Python.
i've coded in 4 flavours of VB, 1 of C#, 2 of C++, 1 of Java, several basics, SQLs, cobols, fortrans, forths, shell, awk, and more macro/4GLs than you can poke a stick at. and for what you want, i wouldn't touch anything except Python.

put it this way: the usual "intro to a language's First Ever Programme" is "Hello World". ie, the ability to print the words "hello world".
in Python, it's a Sudoku-buster.

seriously, it's functional pseudocode (ie, if you can describe a problem, at that point you've typically solved it), with lowlevel maths & database & stringhandling libraries that run faster than C's. i shit you not.

it's also free, and if you have a mac or linux, is pre-installed.

Sal said...

Why Python?

article written by one of the god hackers, the guy instrumental behind setting up the OSS

Chaucer's Bitch said...

Billy: yeah, but as far as i'm concerned they're equally unpleasant and embarassing and to be avoided at all costs.

tim: it's always been fashionable to complain about certain diseases. For the Victorians it was ailments of the spleen, in the 1990s it was migranes. Perhaps the next great fashionalbe disease will be VDs, and Bob is a great trend-setter. what are the odds?

loganoc: at this point i don't think a truckload of diamond-studded roses would undo the years of token gifts from family or no gifts at all. no, VD brings about far more misery than it does joy, spread across the population as a whole.

llewtra: keep spreading that message. maybe some day the rest of the world will catch on. in the meantime...

zb: soak it in a glass of whiskey. kills everything. :-)

sal: i have no idea what any of this means, but i thank you kindly for your expert advice. i'm sure it's very sage, and i will have my technorabbi look at it and translate it into english for me.

B said...

I was to show her Basic only as an introduction to programming and to get easy starting tasks out of the way. Later on I was considering using python (after discussions with herself of course). Fact is I'm not confident enough in Python to introduce someone to programming using it. I do love certain aspects of python though (particularly the way classes work).

I haven't made my mind up on Valentines Day yet but this year will be my first (since 11) without having anyone to send something to. I'm not sure how I feel about that.

hendrix said...

Er… I like Valentines Day. Sorry…but I do. Yes it’s completely commercial and crass and cheesy and yes happy loving couples don’t need a day to express their affection and devotion but sometimes it comes in mightily useful.

F and I live together. We both work from home. We rarely spend time together. Usually I’m at this computer working or writing or whatever, and F is in the computer room musicking and never the twain do meet. Oh we make plans to take off at the weekend and go somewhere but it never quite works – either I’m on a roll with something I’m doing or he is or one or the other or both of us are too knackered to contemplate leaving the house, or some work comes up with a tight deadline…and so it goes on. To be honest, I wouldn’t have it any other way. I'm into what I do, F is into what he does and the fact we can more or less ignore each other and not worry that either of us will feel put out is great.
But you know it’s nice to have a day (Valentines Day) when you can stop and spend time with your partner. Sometimes we don’t always take the time to tell people just how much we love them, to spend real time with them when we aren’t concentrating on the daily grind but on the initial feelings which got us together in the first place. You don’t need the flowers and cards and all that tralala – you just need time. It’s really easy once you’re in a couple to take each other for granted. You never mean to do it, you always swear you won’t and you look at all the other couples who seem to and think they’re really dumb for not taking better care of each other. But real life – keeping the bills paid, getting on with what you have to do – can creep up on you. Valentines Day is a good “time out” of all of that.

Besides which, the Victorian definition of valentines day wasn’t just for couples. You sent cards to family and friends. Maybe instead of getting rid of Valentines we should reintroduce the tradition of sending cards and gifts to all the people we care about.

PS. This is just my opinion though and I have to admit that I love any excuse for a celebration, whether it's Christmas, new year, Beltane, Samhain, Bastille day, name days, saints days, may day, Easter, Halloween, whatever... any excuse to light some candles and make something scrumptious to eat is fine with me.

Michael said...

So VD will be just like any other evening with the Pirate: relaxed, fun, romantic, and a wee bit silly. Because every day I spend with him is like Christmas, my Birthday, VD, and the Fourth of July all rolled into one. It's wonderful beacuse it's about him and me and our bond, and artificial, arbitrary holidays have nothing to do with it.

A thefuck Men.

Chaucer's Bitch said...

B: ah, good, glad you found sal's comment. save's me the trouble of trying to reiterate it later.

hendrix: "Maybe instead of getting rid of Valentines we should reintroduce the tradition of sending cards and gifts to all the people we care about." Ugh! That would just make the card companies even richer and justify their already ott marketing. But if VD gives you an excuse to make time in your life for your sweetie and you like it, then Happy Valentine's Day, hon.

Michael: Alle-fuckin-lujia, man.

First Nations said...

i have nothing whatsoever to add to this. this is the most eclectic damn collection of comments i've seen in weeks. your comment fu is unbeatable! you are my sensei! teach me the mystery of your way!

Pargolo said...

CB: Does Hendrix's idea make more sense if I actually always hand make my valentines' cards that i send to friends and family? the only people i think i'm enriching is my local art supply store, glitter manufacturers, and the us postal service. Perhaps it's a way to show people you care about that you are thinking of them. Oh jesus. that sounded so hallmark. sorry.

Chaucer's Bitch said...

FN: what? no! I'm a but your padawan, your grasshopper. THINE is the blogosphere, the keystroke, and the glory, for infinity etc, ramen.

pargolo: handmade gifts and tokens of affection are great, but you've just made my point, really. why do we need VD to do these things? we don't! A handmade card given on Any Other Day of the Year would carry twice as much sentiment because it was unexpected. Although glitter IS really really really cool.

What does "pargolo" mean? I have a vague notion there was a character in a Victorian novel whose middle name was Pargolo, but I can't for the life of me pin down the thought.

Sal said...

B&CB: if you're using mostly the BASIC rather than the Visual, i guess that's an ok approach. however, if you're using any of the standard Microsoft-Only tools (eg the Visual Studio frontend), what typically happens is that the student spends a lot of time befuddled with extraneous rubbish, which creates trouble with real coding later. (the instantiation distracts from the object ;). if you're using only the command line, though, i say go for it. total time, perhaps an afternoon. more than this, and you'll just be digging into counterproductive MS-only VB-only red herrings that will hurt her learning.

then zip down the library and get one or more "learn python" books and work thru them side by side. i used this one: Python 2.1 Bible. you should both be solid elementary python coders by the next day. it really is that easy. it really is startling.

as raymond said in that article: "My second [surprise] came a couple of hours into the project, when I noticed (allowing for pauses needed to look up new features in Programming Python) I was generating working code nearly as fast as I could type. When I realized this, I was quite startled. An important measure of effort in coding is the frequency with which you write something that doesn't actually match your mental representation of the problem, and have to backtrack on realizing that what you just typed won't actually tell the language to do what you're thinking. An important measure of good language design is how rapidly the percentage of missteps of this kind falls as you gain experience with the language.

When you're writing working code nearly as fast as you can type and your misstep rate is near zero, it generally means you've achieved mastery of the language. But that didn't make sense, because it was still day one and I was regularly pausing to look up new language and library features!

This was my first clue that, in Python, I was actually dealing with an exceptionally good design. Most languages have so much friction and awkwardness built into their design that you learn most of their feature set long before your misstep rate drops anywhere near zero. Python was the first general-purpose language I'd ever used that reversed this process."


news://comp.lang.python is brilliant for any tricky oddities of particular libraries' syntaxes/intended methods of use. or even the blindingly obvious. very newby friendly!

oh and a suggestion: ignore Classes (a bodge for Objects): pay more attention to the awesome power of python's design for array/list objects. when you grok them, things like SoundEx algorithm programs (good for text searching) become 1 or 2 line functions.

Sal said...

ps. iirc "Idle" (as in Eric of monty python) is a free cross-platform IDE.
& if you're using a mac, SubEthaEdit is a free editor which includes python syntax-colouring.

B said...

I use a good old fashioned basic version of BASIC (ah the pun). I use it for programs that are so simple that the setup up time for any other language I use would overcome their various advantages. As I commented earlier I know and love Python already although I haven't programmed in it much as yet (two projects or so). I used idle for these projects.

Emily Post said...

"he had the good sense to take me at my word. "

The fact that you had the need to write about it, just to say it out loud: I don't mind that he didn't do anything for me on V-Day, sort of shows how you did mind, and deep down, you wish he did something.

Regardless of the occasion, love is present. Therefore, to pay special attention to a particular day (however cheesy or overrated it is) to celebrate love just for the heck of it, means something.

Everyone wants fireworks. Even married couples who go out of their way to revive the fires that have somewhat been watered down over time.

You should be more upfront about your feelings. And he should stop treating you like one of the guys.