On this page:
  • “Geek Love”
  • Valentine
  • Encryption/decryption code for Dominique’s letters
  • Letters

“Geek Love”

Dominique Cimafranca‘s submitting
this entry to an Inquirer contest. Awww, melt melt melt…

Geek Love

One of the hallmarks of the stereotypical male computer nerd is his
ineptitude with members of the opposite sex. Especially those of the
attractive kind. Most especially those of the attractive and intelligent
kind. Just read one of the many strips of Dilbert which deals with the
subject.

Cliched as the image may be, there’s some truth to it nonetheless. I
should know. I am a stereotypical male computer nerd.

At one point, I wished out loud to my friends that I could meet a girl
that came with an instruction manual. I meant it in jest, what with women
being so complex and all. But apparently, there was such a girl—and no,
she was not of the inflatable kind.

In doing advocacy work for Linux, I wrote a series of articles on
prominent Linux personalities in the Philippines. One of the people I
featured was Sacha Chua, a programming wunderkind who was very much in
touch with the pulse of geekdom. Sacha was into Linux, Emacs, and
wearable computing. Certainly she made good copy, and several people
posted links to that article on my web site.

I conducted the interview via email so we didn’t really get to meet.
Nevertheless, she came across as very intelligent, very articulate, and
very personable in our email exchanges.

Sacha also maintained a wiki — a sort of a blog — where she placed all
her code and her essays. One of her entries was entitled “On Love”, a
tongue-in-cheek how-to to on courting geek girls, particularly, Sacha
Chua. Finally, a girl with an instruction manual. Was this the answer to
my wish, I wondered.

Humorous as the tone was, the instruction manual was in earnest about what
Sacha was looking for. At the top of the list was intelligent
conversation that would increase her stock of knowledge. Getting to know
her family was also important to her. Flowers, stuffed animals, and other
girly-girly stuff were a no-no. The bar was set high, but it also gave a
clear indication as to what kind of person Sacha was. Was I interested?
Absolutely!

Of course, I didn’t start courting Sacha on the basis of that manual.
Distance was a problem as I was based in the South and was travelling all
over. But we did strike up a friendship facilitated by email. Through
that I learned of her other interests in books, quirky movies, and
puzzles.

We finally met when I moved to Manila. We would see each other from time
to time. It helped greatly that we were both speakers at Linux seminars.
Sacha introduced me to her wonderful family. She also brought me into her
circle of friends, something I deeply appreciated because finally I met
people of like minds.

I realized that we had something special when we reached that most
intimate moment in a geek’s life: after a dinner date, I asked her to set
up computer for a demo that I was running the following day. She threw
herself at the task, completing in half an hour what I knew would have
taken me two hours. For a geek guy, well, that’s nirvana.

Even though I know Sacha far better than before, the how-to guide still
serves as a handy reference. On occasion, I take a peek at it to gauge if
I’m doing things right. Not too shabby, I must say.

Then again, you know you love someone when you know when to break her
rules. She was positively giddy about the Tux stuffed toy I gave her.

E-Mail from Dominique Cimafranca

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Valentine

Sappy overblown commercialized greeting-card holiday that it is, who
cares? It’s still fun.

Dominique sent me a cryptogram. =) That was cool.

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Encryption/decryption code for Dominique’s letters

Emacs Lisp code GPG-encrypted to self so that I can decrypt it just in
case I need the encryption/decryption code back.

First cipher: polyalphabetic simple offset based on distance from start of word; 88 as word separator

-----BEGIN PGP MESSAGE-----
Version: GnuPG v1.4.0 (GNU/Linux)
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=KQgN
-----END PGP MESSAGE-----

Second cipher: double-offset cipher, no word separators

-----BEGIN PGP MESSAGE-----
Version: GnuPG v1.4.0 (GNU/Linux)

hQEOAzQ6c9jHW5SMEAP+JD1Dfl7V0g6Rpg7a+w+9oUN6NQLEmxZSoX/PubO0BIcK
ZSqmJ2Y5zESBPTfQQai2bV1IHuBmpsGuC4+Lba+6/kfSu7svIyd1NChxT4tZGOla
yMaxtXS8mFRpepU0Q3QVtok4Eh+1MIsm0AjAxqSUgZg+3w4USag9y+FrBpHiyncD
/0tFrOwIMrMx1yRuosMB6jovq8GZfymf6RR50ITGGWmpiyUwyvWd0S9xH8K4Te0P
al645FNnSGkMOuRK2nXxm8su4e4AyR8hmZVW2sHvLuCQOt9PkJKSROC2Xd6ZnQlf
GFRIBLZ2OF2+qduTAd4AEA95uTue6V/s56RapuYdOjto0sCgATgQhXFNjwdgD9nt
O0FDjq1PSTeB3zeY7enZ3+Jspka9UxEQSMiaiLa7LcO+MhasthAqUnovbAquJvUv
ZN6U/pRZwETlUomPjpuNovEOa07L7ZMRVM+r6l4lfXbabM3WTU8m/XvtIHh1LzK8
NMW+uJtjWTF3QAEI7DXzlA+WRek03Y4NQ6/KIfWhiq20as0zPsoZBGF4Qp10QwYH
cbWb6n/IqA63oha5+uBeFerQMhFr+xaN/V6aCi4SCNvtdxEy12Lv79fN/uMpbc7P
iA5ltIHUTL0lN6hzjVLBezNEGyarwePc/FaLYrchT7u21QLr7wBG2uQYiSM850+m
acfheWMBHFnHIq1SaY5hea298gF5HbhAnJhzvXPTrFNPsTTXSmv+NrqIgioEVrte
OJGe4eUWtXRBvDK93rbqehITxQnNP4b/KYSPovc2e8qke/zZtqQ6uNyMrnL573fB
2dQN5w==
=GSeA
-----END PGP MESSAGE-----

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Letters

1 88 22 2 14 8 18 25 15 21 13 88 8 2 11 14 25
20 9 20 18 25 12 14 88 13 16 16 23 12 24 88 15 7 88 23 2 11 23 13 19 13
20 9 7 88 15 15 7 88 20 9 17 24 11 13 26 88 20 9 3 23 88 19 22 21 23 5 14 20 26 88 13 6
19 17 20 12 18 12 88 23 10 14 15 88 19 16 17 17 88 18 6 22 24 22 19
9 88 12 16 24 8 88 25 16 23 88 4 6 3 21 9 24 26

19 15 17 26 88 2 13 3 17 15 10 26 12 12 88 5 2 20 23 12
23 10 22 11 88 2 2 22 8 8 88 2 19 7 4 24 13 88 9 20 88 23 2 11 23 13 19 13
6 16 20 88 19 17 20 12 18 12 88 19 88 5 25 18 15 19 24 15 22 22

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