I do not and have never used "meth" or any of its variants. It is horrible stuff. Imo, drugs should only be prescribed by a doctor to resolve a health-related need.

One of my very nerdly friends used to say of me when a technical problem grabs me and I can't let go that I was "gacking" [1]. He meant it well, and it is the only term that I know. He meant it about the taking about the VCR to clean it, (and I put them back together and they work) and not the drug use.

He would say things like:

  • EngrStudent you are gacking again. (to me)
  • EngrStudent was gacking, and we came up with this. (and we present awesome thing)

Another example is this (link) in Numb3rs with Charlie Eppes.

Can you describe a word that is okay in very high tech professional use that is a rough synonym of the behavior that is not (remotely) related to drug use? The deep obsession that it grabs me and doesn't let go. It is okay, but not necessarily desirable, if it is a high-function Asperger's related term.

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    Are you implying that "gack" is a slang term for methamphetamine hydrochloride? I've never heard of the term (but then my student days were a long time ago).
    – Andrew Leach
    Jan 21 '16 at 14:28
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    Fixating? Obsessing? consumed by it? Speaking as a coder who hates when a bug gets under my skin - I know exactly what you mean. Fixated is probably the term I most often use. Jan 21 '16 at 15:17
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    @MichaelBroughton - it doesn't feel like I have a choice. I have to expend will to go away from it, and when I engage it, I have increase in will to engage. fun link It might be the cognitive load becomes such that the draw on finite self control required to stop the action is excessively high due to entrenched pattern of engagement and belief in the outcome gives more energy to engage. It is a candidate mechanism, not a good word to use. Jan 21 '16 at 17:31
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    @EngrStudent - if you're like me - it becomes almost a competitive feeling. Who is going to win - Me or the bug? And at that point, it becomes a totally immersive undertaking where anyone who dares distract me is probably going to know that I am not happy with the interruption. It's a temporary obsession. A challenge to my intellect and to myself. And when I win, it's the high point of my week. Maybe that's part of why I do it: I get more satisfaction out of those victories than any other aspect of work. At that moment I have slain the dragon (even if it is a dragon of my own creation). Jan 21 '16 at 18:55
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    I have OCD (my term) about some things ...getting something important right, and checking that it is right and tweaking and retweaking it to make it better. I've had colleagues like this -- sometimes they would drive me mad...but their OCD (we would laugh about it) always paid off. OCD is not the right term; OCD has a precise meaning, and I am using it as slang. As long as it is confined to work and is on average productive at work, it Is a gift, not a burden.
    – ab2
    Jan 23 '16 at 2:04

You mentioned Asperger's, probably because the obsession you point to is characteristic of or associated with that state, so I think you want something with psychological connotations.

Monomaniacal is defined as "pathological obsession with one idea or subject" or "intent concentration on or exaggerated enthusiasm for a single subject or idea" (here).

This word can be applied in a context were you're obsessed with solving a problem or bug too. Unfortunately, it's not a verb.

If you need a verb, you might go with working monomaniacally.

Also, Melville in Moby Dick frequently describes Ahab as monomaniacal. His obsession was the white whale and his problem was killing it. In fact, maybe you could call your act of obsession Ahabbing, especially if it's having adverse effects on you (see here for a similar use).

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    I like the idea of putting "ing" around a character. Ahab was doing it for hates sake. When I get lost in a problem I am doing it for the joy, not the hate. I will look for a better character. Iconic, so Charlie Eppes likely will not do. Jan 22 '16 at 12:23

Could be regional (San José, California) but I am familiar with the colloquialism ride, as in “ride a problem/bug,” “ride a cause,” “ride a conversation,” ....

In using this verb, I picture myself at a rodeo, bronc bustin'

enter image description here

or bull riding,

enter image description here

as if riding that _________ until it's tamed or throws me to the ground.

Note: Context matters, as with all colloquialisms. To “ride a bicycle” still means just that; to “ride a person” usually means to pressure, perhaps hound or even harass, a person.


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