In addition to my groundbreaking research on closet zombies and whatever sustainability is, my Ph. D. program has also provided the opportunity to learn computer programming–something I’ve wanted to do for years but never had the time or resources.
This has had to happen fairly quickly, as on the first day of the semester, one of my professors had my classmates and me each introduce ourselves along with our programming experience, since it would be a foundational element of the class. Having been awake since 3:15 am with my sick son, I’d just chugged two Venti coffees in order to be a functional human being, so as you can probably imagine I was already feeling incredibly chipper and eager to learn.
I grimaced as I listened to my colleagues’ alien technobabble:
“Most of my experience is in Java Frappuccino Monty Python Venom Script with Pirate Eyepatch Death Star Optimization Support.”
“I’ve dabbled in C-Minus-Plus-Ampersand Continuum Transfunctioners, but I’m most comfortable with Skynet Flux Capacitors.”
“I created the Allspark.”
Eventually, it was my turn. Taking a deep breath, I chose my words carefully. “Well, I don’t really have any programming experience per se, but I’m excellent at writing about my year-old twins’ poop and drawing bow-wearing stick figures.”
Dead silence. My professor eyed me like I was psychotic, and seemed to contemplate calling security.
Hmm. I’d better clarify. “I have done some HTML coding before, so I’m sure if I just spend some time looking at examples of the language and commands and whatnot, I can figure it out. Actually, one of the reasons I chose this degree was so I could learn programming.”
“All right. Fair enough,” my professor shrugged. “Who’s next?”
I could have taken the easy route and dropped the class right then and there. As it was, I was just barely keeping up with school, stay-at-home-dadding, and writing this fine publication. When the hell would I have time to dedicate the hours necessary to catch up with my classmates? My “free time”?
Yes, I could have wussed out and walked away. But there’s something inside me, something that’s served as both a strength and obstacle. I’m not sure if there’s such a thing as an “unhealthy” thirst for life, but I always have trouble turning down what esteemed philosopher Lloyd Dobler calls “Dare-to-Be-Great Situations” no matter how much I’m already operating at full capacity. Besides, I’m in school to learn, right? If I’m not going to capitalize on opportunities like this, why even do it in the first place?
So I stuck it out.
And guess what?
I did it.
What follows is my most recent project, which asked us to create a visual representation of an existing piece of audio. I’ve become an astute paparazzi since the birth of the Twins and thus have ridiculous amounts of footage of them, so I used sound from a video of my son and me, in which he is playing with toy balls and trying to say the word “ball.” All movement in this animation is programmed to be automatically generated from our voices in the sound file. And yes, O Loyal Reader, this means that for the first time EVER, you’ll hear my actual voice. I hope it doesn’t disappoint you.
Without further ado, Twinfamy is proud to present Keep Your Eye on the Beh, a John Pseudonymous Film.
I hope you’ve thoroughly enjoyed watching my balls bounce around. They may not be the best balls in the world, but they’re mine. I worked hard to make them look nice, and I take pride in them.
By no means do I now consider myself a programming expert, but it’s definitely a start, especially considering I was a novice a few short months ago.
As my son might say, this just goes to show what can happen when you keep your eye on the beh.
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