I had an ibm at at the time with dos and enjoyed typing programs into debug and having them run- it was a lot of fun. the book described a sector reading program and I got into clusters and fats and whatnot. I eventually got into writing TSRs and viruses and the whole hacker community. I ran a BBS in the 612 area code for a few years and taught myself C. I've pretty much stuck with C for most my life so far although I think lisp is pretty cool too. As of recent I've been mostly writing emulators and such things. Writing an emulator is a lot of fun- in my case, you're writing a program in a modern environment using modern tools to run a program written twenty years ago. At the same time you're living in the present you're also living two decades ago in someone else's code watching what it does and how it functions. It's hard to describe but there's a beautiful symbioses that exists there, between an emulator and what it runs.
I really gravitate towards the hacker community and find it to be very welcoming of most women. I'm not exactly sure why but I think it has to do it's emphasis on comradery rather then strickly on =the machine= that alot of other communities have. After all it's all about the people who run the machine now isn't it?