Christine Dodrill - Blog - Contact - Resume

That Which Is For Kings

My recent post was quite a thing. It is a highly abstract and very very intentionally vague that I feel needs a bit of context to help break apart.

Ultimately, this post is the result of a lot of the internal problems and struggles that I’ve been going through as a result of the experiences I’ve had in life. I’ve been terrified about the idea that nothing truly has any meaning, and now I’ve found peace in knowing that it doesn’t matter if it does or not in the moment. I’ve been having trouble expressing things with language, failures at this have lead to issues getting the message out due to fear of rejection and the fear of separation. I’m working through this. It’s a slow process. You have to unwind so much. There are many feelings to forgive.

So, back to this post. This post is meta-linguistic satire aimed at pointing out the wrongthink behind choosing tools I’ve seen out there. This post pokes fun at articles of many archetypes (and this is not the only kind of article this article satirizes, but this is the most recent one I can find because “egoic as heck programming article” is a bad google term), but the one that set me off the most was this one advertising “ObjectBox” (AKA: flatbuffers in Go as an application level library, but forcing you to keep track of a magic folder with all your data in it). The graph at the bottom of that article inspired a lot of the satire of the graph.

I’m not picking on you here Steve, but you prove my point so spectacularly that I feel I need to break it down here in this post to help give context.

It’s a real production use case, though. Every README on npm’s website is rendered via a service written in Rust, dedicated to that.

Performance for web applications is nice, but what about long-term maintainability? Why does this matter? Can you replace the tools and get similar results? Different ones? If you can replace the tools and get the same enough result, does the difference between the tools truly matter?

It’s all just tools. We can do things with tools. Every tool has its set of properties. You can do things with a tool that has properties that make it easy to do it. You can do things with a tool that has properties that make it hard to do it. What is it? It is thing. Thing is whatever you need to do. What do you need to do you ask? How am I supposed to know? What DO you actually need to do?

They made that call due to performance, stability and low memory usage

This tells me about as much as the graph I made in that post does. Performance compared to what? Stability compared to what? Low memory usage compared to what? What kernel? What architecture? What micro-architecture? What manufacturer of dram? What phase of the moon? What was the relative alignment of the planets? What was the poison arrow that hit you made out of? More importantly, how does this help you to live your life as a better person?

Here’s a better question to ask: what systems are there to support the tools? The systems to support the tools are more important than the tools themselves. These patterns of support and meta-design philosophy are a lot more important than any individual implementation of anything in any tool, framework, moon phase, language or encoding format.

Nobody cares about a service that renders results in microseconds if nobody can understand how it works reliably. Introduction of new tools, methods of problem solving and thinking into a volatile space should be done carefully and on a yearly cadence at the least. Not on a per-project level. Not for production code.

I used the words flopnax, ropnar and rilkef (for the latter two, I based them off of nonsense output that matched lojban gismu rules) so that everyone would be equally unable to understand what they are, so people would develop their own meaning for them. That internal meaning for those terms is going to develop anyways, so I might as well take advantage of this for the purposes of satire. Sometimes you really do need to just accept that fact that you have to flopnax the ropnar and get on with life. Even if the experimental rilkef is that much fundamentally better.

If you do have to introduce things, be humble about it. Don’t force things down peoples’ throats. Don’t make enemies out of the people you are trying to work or be friends with. Don’t make it hard on people if you want it to be easy. Don’t make it harder for people to live their lives just to make some number go down if it doesn’t truly matter.

Then again, I’m just speaking to you in some words someone is saying on the Internet via a webpage. What the hell do I know? I’ve been basically talking out of my ass this entire post. Meaning is arbitrary and we give it away so freely that it’s astounding we end up holding consistent opinions at all.


“So, let me get this”, the booming authoritative voice spoke out: “You had the chance to do whatever you wanted, to create whatever kind of reality and local universe you could, and you…spent it all hydrating horses?”

It hit you like a ton of bricks, but each brick was made out of its own component ton of bricks, each made out of more bricks. There was no more reality. There was only bricks extending endlessly in spiral patterns of fractal beauty. You reached up a hand to gesture at the wild greater unknown, but you realized that it had been done 5 minutes from now.

You knew the truth. Everything was truly an illusion. It was all bricks. It was always bricks. It will always be bricks. It has always been bricks. There was never anything but bricks arranged in such fine arrangements that their interactions created the quantum fields that defined what you ended up interpreting as the grand experiment of reality in your frame of existence. The utter meaninglessness of it all was the most comforting thought that hit you.

You would say everything turned into a brilliant white light, but that wouldn’t begin to describe the color, texture, taste, sight, sound, thought, aether, and other senses you couldn’t even begin to describe unfold as you started to experience All as it truly is.

It was/is/will be the kind of thing the Buddha would stay silent for. You never really understood why until now.