the laughing cloud

fear, loathing and coding

Coding under the influence is fun.  Until it’s not.


Fear, Loathing and coding 

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas was great.  But Hunter S. Thompson never coded.  There were times in the early 80’s when I’d summon the junior and say Go out and get me Vodka! and I would code into the night, and perhaps into the following day (or 2).

The real problem with this was when programming in an altered state, I might not be able to understand why I’d written something the way I had (certain combinations were notorious for amazing, beautiful, incomprehensible code).


I solved the problem by writing the comments before writing the code, like a little story, about what I was going to try to do next…WRITE ALL COMMENTS ALWAYS IN CAPITAL LETTERS AND TELL THE STORY OF MY LITTLE FUNCTION.

More than once other programmers have commented on the beauty of these comments and how easy it made the code to understand.  They didn’t realize that I did it so I’d understand my own code the next day.


You might be sicker than you think.

One of the problems with excessive use of mind-altering chemicals is that perception gets a little warped…. that’s a feature which becomes a bug.  Oddly enough, the perception rarely is that this is a bad thing, and is causing real problems.  It’s everything and everyone else.

It’s virtually impossible to self-debug your own mental problems.  If the computer is broken, it’s going to be putting out crap results, no matter how good and sensible the input is.  So that phrase “you might be sicker than you think” is just there to keep the door ajar – that maybe your perceptions of your conditions are just plain wrong, and sometimes you need to let someone else do your thinking for you, for a while.  Then you look back and say holy shit, was I ever sick!


You’re where you want to be.

There was a point in my life where things really and truly sucked.  (See above)  I was drinking a lot, blaming a lot, and generally depressed and miserable.   Then the small light went on… From the age of about 18, nobody was responsible for my actions, decisions, and all that crap but me.  If I’m here in the dumps, I’ve chosen this path; it’s nobody’s fault but mine, and nobody owes me shit.  You can choose to change your path anytime.  Accept help.


The truth is simple, lies are complicated.

I’m not going to go into the etymology of this one, except to say that in my family, honesty is a commoidity.  If something sounds unduly complicated, there’s probably a lie in there somewhere.  Act accordingly.


If you think you have a problem, you probably do.

And if you don’t know what to do about it, or who to talk to, drop me a line at   You don’t know me from a hole in the wall… so it may actually be easier to mention what’s up.

And as my old friend Jean B used to say, “Good luck to you”.

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