I Have An Origins Fetish

When I was a kid, I read a lot of fantasy novels. Super dorky to be sure, but there was one particular aspect of these fantasy worlds that really captivated me: the backstories.

I loved reading backstories. I loved reading about context. I read Lord of the Rings when I was a kid and was transfixed by the rich history hinted at throughout. And when I found out about The Silmarillion, I devoured it. Twice. I’ve reread all of these books, but I’ve reread the Silmarillion about two or three times for every time I’ve reread LOTR.

I used to read about Mythology and, even though I’m not at all religious, I love reading the Old Testament of the Bible. When I find myself in a Christian church, I immediately look for one. By the way, you’d be surprised how FEW chruches actually have Bibles in them.

Actual, real history is cool, but only the grandiose big-picture parts. As soon as the discussion wanders into pottery and art and cultural minutiae, I quickly fall asleep. Not interested. I only care about things that affect entire societies and shape generations of lives. My favorite history books so far have been Europe Between The Oceans and GG&S. Big big big.

So now I’m learning programming and I’m feeling the itch: what’s going on under the hood? Who made the decisions for how things work and why? When? Python is where it started, but I’m drawn towards the deeper, darker and older aspects of computing. I’m fascinated yet terrified by C, Assembly and the (currently, for me) mystical universe of hardware engineering*.

This big little slideshow was interesting in that it’s JUST accessible enough for me to get through it and candy-coats consumption of the scariness of C. It’s scary because (I think) that you’re speaking to the computer almost directly and computers don’t all take commands in the same way. I would never want to start learning programming by learning C and I’ll leave the expertise to the fat neckbeards.

But I can’t help myself from learning the programming backstory.

*One day I will get this and use the excuse to teach myself how it all really works.

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