Wednesday, December 07, 2005

"Parameterized Abstract Data Type"

Hell no, this is not a programming post.

Prof. Paolo Manalo, our teacher in CW 198 (Online Writing) is to blame for this gem of an idea. How many of you are aware of the 'Book of Answers'? A waste of good paper, I say, but still useful for the utterly bored and/or the utterly listless people. You know the drill -- concentrate until you feel you are the nexus of the universe's astral energies, ask a deep question extremely relevant to your life, then flip open the book. What you read first is what you get; question answered.

Prof. Manalo told the class that this 'activity' can actually give birth to a written piece (count the un-literary ones), so I gave it a shot. My Book of Answers: Concepts of Programming Languages, by R. Sebesta. My question (whispered to me by my astral alter ego): What is this blog? More specifically, what are the words which best describe my blog?

With a pompous jerk of my hands, I flipped opened the book. Ta da! The divine answer:

Parameterized Abstract Data Type.

Divine answer all right, straight from the geek gods. If the phrase sounds Greek to you, then take comfort in the knowledge that I, a programmer, was confounded, dumbfounded, and humiliated by the answer. What the hell does that mean?

Life poses many mysteries, and answers can only be found by delving deep into our subconscious and, yes, daydreams. And finally, after much rumination (10 minutes is lengthy prison time for the wandering mind), I have broken down the answer and arrived at the conclusion that this blog, Slip of the Pen, is indeed a parameterized abstract data type.

Parameterized. Everything is bounded, restricted, chained to some rule. Even the free wolf can only roam where there is prey. The corsair can only sail seas where the law doesn't hold; the cutlass can only remain unscratched when sheathed. Same goes for this blog. What I write here has limitations -- you haven't seen the worst of me, nor the best. You have seen the bad and the good, but not all. Knowing me only in person won't work either. I'm a writer, so part of me lives in the pedestrian world and another in the pen-world. Know both, know me all.

Abstract. Writers, insert knowing laugh here. Many artists proclaim their work as abstract, and love to hear others comprehend and imbue mystical meanings to their art. I guess the same goes for me (even though I write in relatively concrete images). This blog is an abstraction of its author -- it presents to you the Corsarius through a mishmash of vignettes which, oddly enough, have something in common.

Data type. What is a data type? According to E.P. Quiwa, it's the kind of data a variable may take on in a programming language. Examples are integers (9 and 23), characters (i and x), Boolean values (true and false). To put it more bluntly -- it's a category. And without trepidation, I can say that this blog is a category of its own. Why, every blog is! Each blog has that x-factor, that intangible something which renders it inimitable. My blog and your blog might have similarities, but they are not the same. Don't be misled by web directories which order you to "kindly place your blog under the most relevant category, e.g. literary, technology, showbiz, etcetera". They're only there to give some semblance of homogeneity amongst blogs. Use them, but don't let them dictate what your blog is all about.

So, there you go, my friends. Parameterized abstract data type. In short, Slip of the Pen.

I gave the Book of Answers a shot. Try it, too. Let me know what profound answer you get, so I can share with your delight (or misery).

(You might be asking: why this blog-centric post? Admittedly, I'm excited about this month. December marks the birth of this blog and my blog-life. 29 is the special day.)


Blogger ia said...

"10 minutes is lengthy prison time for the wandering mind"

I like this one. :) And of course it's totally unrepresentative of what you're trying to say, so...

I never thought you'd manage to give a little CS lecture on your non-tech blog. I also like how geekiness sometimes overflows into the things we don't expect to be in. (I just did that a while ago, when we were doing preparations for our lantern entry.)

That's why the saying "code is poetry" sounds so beautiful to me.

1:29 PM  
Blogger claudzki said...

i LOVE the book of answers...

which makes me an utterly jobless person...

but then that was a good idea...
now i have to find MY OWN book of answers :)

6:46 PM  
Blogger Abaniko said...

i just tried it with the bible and asked a very hopeful question. then, i opened to a page with the verse: "jesus wept."

i'm so encouraged.

7:21 PM  
Blogger Corsarius said...

to ia: CS lecture? Hehe..well, it just skims the surface.

Code is poetry, poetry is code. Ah, the ties that bind writers and programmers together!

to claudzki: my equivalent of a book of answers would be a "Today's Advice" poster hung on my room's wall, haha. i eagerly await the answer you'll get for your blog. :D

to abaniko: LOL! why, what did you do to deserve that? hehe...i tell you -- that is the b-e-s-t! ;)

8:39 PM  
Blogger yayam said...

i can't seem to find the right words while writing this comment. i am totally dumbstruck of what you just wrote. you write so..well. wow. your words really are... i dunno..i cant explain it.

nwei, i tried the book of answers before and ever since, i thought it was a lame book. but maybe for some, it isn't.

forgive me for being geek, but there are 8 kinds of data types. (just read our book in turbo pascal a while ago..:p)

9:12 PM  
Blogger Corsarius said...

to yayam: whoa...thanks. ;) and i mean it.

you don't need to say sorry -- fellow geek here! but watch out, some programming languages have a different number of data types. LISP, for examples, has only one. weird, no? (uh-oh, totally turning geek now, hehe..)

10:32 PM  
Blogger vaN said...

cWhat I write here has limitations -- you haven't seen the worst of me, nor the best. You have seen the bad and the good, but not all. Knowing me only in person won't work either. I'm a writer, so part of me lives in the pedestrian world and another in the pen-world. Know both, know me all.

I want to quote that, would you mind? I just love how you write! :D

Haha.. "geek gods" funny. ;)

Btw, data types remind me so much of turbo pascal. :P

11:48 PM  
Blogger Senor Enrique said...

Carl Jung once theorized it as Synhronicity. My friends and I used to dabble with Brian Eno's Oblique Strategies Cards. I Ching and the Kabbalh provide similar hope.

Neverthless, I call it "whispers of the angels."

Good piece!

11:16 AM  
Blogger Corsarius said...

to vaninski: no problem, go ahead! it would be my honor.

btw, there are now two people who've commented here who programs in turbo pascal. come to think of it, it's been a long time since i've used that language. ;)

to senor enrique: That's a gem -- "whispers of the angels." Though sometimes you'd have to thinking if it were really angels giving us the answers, hehe..

Salamat po!

2:12 PM  
Blogger viruswitch said...

:)) This was really funny. Firstly because your professor actually suggested an esoteric technique for getting in touch with your subconsciousness. And secondly, your subconsciousness did respond in a way that made sense, even if it was in a technical language. Very nice. Should we be waiting for more similar experiments from you? By the way, how old does your blog get on the 29th?


10:46 PM  
Blogger Corsarius said...

to viruswitch: Thanks. Hehe, more experiments? Maybe. Depends when I'm stricken again with the need to write 'un-literary' pieces. ;)

My blog (and me as a blogger) turns one this December 29. I guess that makes me a blog-infant, haha!

12:59 AM  
Blogger viruswitch said...

Does this mean we can call you "baby" and no misunderstandings will arise? :)) ;)

1:41 AM  
Anonymous hera said...

i wish most of the answers to our questions can be found within the pages a book. sadly life is not that easy. but how you put brilliantly put meaning to a mumble jumble of words-- very admirable. that says a lot to how you view things beyond words. :)

9:46 AM  
Blogger cosmochiq0011 said...

sometimes it takes a lot of pondering first before the reality of the answer sets in.. hehe. tried the book of answers too and dko ngets ung cnabi nya. but after thinkng about it, it actually made sense. hehe

3:40 PM  
Blogger Corsarius said...

to viruswitch: Nyah! Oh well. Go ahead. This is world isn't perfect, after all.

Just kiddin :P

to hera: thanks. you can call it a consequence of us humans having big brains. senseless things don't remain simply senseless at the hands of men. they become even more senseless! :)

to cosmochiq0011: "reality of the answer"...hehe, sometimes, it's the surreality of the answer that sets in.

5:28 PM  
Blogger Rizalist said...

Maybe it works the way astrology does: by the authors' cataloguing of the 20 or so questions everyone within plus or minus one standard dev of the herd's norm are concerned about. Speaking of 20 questions, have you ever run into The Sith Sense? It's a flash thingy, but it's uncanny. Darth Vader has read my mind the last 10 times I've played the game with him. Btw Corsarius, You have a strange site, as in, attractor. Regards.

9:17 PM  
Blogger bing said...

additions to the list of the book of answers pile up as one matures..

great post. you did it again.

12:38 PM  
Blogger Corsarius said...

to rizalist of earth: thanks for the link. i thoroughly enjoyed it. darth vader read my mind the first time i played ;)

i like that description -- strange site. thanks!

to bing: true. i just hope the list doesn't get wackier through the years :) thanks, tita.

2:43 PM  
Blogger >|' ; '| said...

i took a book and did the same just now...the qn in mah mind was 'who am i?" and the answer was 'Henry III'

12:48 PM  
Anonymous kita said...

hmmm...i must try this sometime...

well now ai think i'm back on the net, not sure - depends on the availability of the net - gah!

hmm...parameterize abstract data type ey?! love the analysis - brill!

11:32 AM  
Blogger drakulita said...

kadiri ka! hahahahah gawd. magawa nga mamaya.... LOL.

9:32 PM  
Blogger Corsarius said...

to poison: hm, royalty! i just tried that same question out a jiffy ago, and i got: Napoleon. Reference: A History of the World. (Who got Julius Caesar? Anyone?)

to kita: try it out. the results might be surprising. not to mention challenging (to rationalize), haha..

to drakulita: hehe! sige nga..lagay mo sa blog mo ah ;)

8:16 PM  

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