The Art of Making Friends where It Matters

Names and situations have been changed to protect the not-so-innocent (me). For clarity purposes, some bits that may have been merely thought at the time, are fully spelt out here.

A bit over a year ago, last class of the semester:

Prof. Travoltus: And I wish you all a successful career and might see you again one day, shall you decide to go for a post-grad in AI.

Dave: Does that mean you are involved in that curriculum too? Oh god, no.

Prof. Travoltus: Indeed I am. And don’t worry, I hate your guts too.

Dave: Why, thanks. You are quite a tool yourself.

Prof. Travoltus: You little arrogant piece of self-sufficient shit. Don’t you think I didn’t notice your constant sneering at every other one of my [very unfunny] jokes and comments, all semester long.

Dave: Same to you sir. By the way, 1970 called and it wants its corduroy bellbottoms back. ‘said you could keep the pungent cologne, though.

A couple months ago:

Prof. Obiwankenobus: How’s your project going?

Dave: Erm, hanging there. We are nearly ready to start work on the agent communication component. I just wanted to run those exhaustive test-case diagrams [that I spent all night putting together] by you first.

Prof. Obiwankenobus: Hmmn.

Dave: “Hmmn”?

Prof. Obiwankenobus: I don’t think you have the right approach here. You are too restrictive.

Dave: Well… we only have 6 months to modelize, implement and test this. We had to put some restrictions on the model.

Prof. Obiwankenobus: You are sticking way too close to the reality-based programming paradigm. You need to think outside the box. Free your mind. The compiler does not exist. It is an illusion created by your senses to fool your mind. The system should have boundless, limitless, free-form interaction. Agents should compete, cooperate, genetically evolve within the system, exchange runtime code…

Dave: Professor, there is something I need to tell you.

Prof. Obiwankenobus: ?

Dave: I know you haven’t left that immaculate elephantine tower of yours for some time. And I do say: the view’s gorgeous from here. But I feel there are some things you must know about the outside world as it has become in 2007.

Prof. Obiwankenobus: Ah, yes, the outside world. How are they doing on those portable time-travel devices, by the way?

Dave: About that… No time-traveling technologies to speak of. No teleportation either. Also, computers aren’t sentient holographic beings yet: they come in clunky metal boxes and very rarely talk to you in a meaningful fashion. Software developers still use text-based programming languages that they compile on non-quantum computers.

Prof. Obiwankenobus: What??? Flying cars, then?

Dave: Nope.

Dave: We do have pictures of sickeningly cute furry animals with badly spelt humorous captions, on the internet.

A couple days ago:

Prof. Autisticus: Do you have these critical experiment results on helicoidally retro-propagated flux convection I asked for?

Dave: Yea, but they are totally inconclusive. Actually they were a complete waste of [my] time. Bah, what do I care.

Prof. Autisticus: I couldn’t help but notice your lack of enthusiasm for work and studies those past few days.

Dave: Did you? Oh well. Meh.

Prof. Autisticus: Personal matters [that I don’t give a flying fuck about], I suppose. Anyway: you are too smart to be wasting your mind on such trivialities. So snap out of it and go back to serious work now.

Dave: Yea. Go fuck yourself.


What do all three of these esteemed members of higher academic and research circles have in common?


They will all be sitting on the jury reviewing the half-baked, unfinished, unimpressively inconclusive end-of-year project that I will be co-defending in a week. Fun times indeed.

I guess it’s time to start working on some really impressive graphs.


  1. You really said that to your professor? You really have balls dude. If I do the above conversation with my professor, he will surely fail me in his class and make sure that the admin will assign me to him again next year. Bummer

  2. cheez
    Not quite yet a P8D (gotta get that Mahstaz first), but thanks.

    You are mistaking balls for foul mood and stupidly bad temper. Luckily those aren’t exactly class professors we are talking about, so there aren’t class to fail me in, only careers to sink me in.

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