what did the guys who are now pros do a few weeks after their first hello world program?

I got all the time in the world to learn, i would love to make games but im in no rush im happy with any kind of learning curve, i have to keep my brain active all the time and a difficult programming language is *literally* just what the doctor ordered ...but the APIs simply make no sense at least so far...so what is the next logical step? what did good programmers do after learning the basics?
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I found Bucky's C++ tutorials on youtube. They're really easy to follow and understand. Here's a link to the first tutorial: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tvC1WCdV1XU
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I wrote ASCII games.

Then I started writing assembler code to manipulate EGA/VGA and HGC hardware so I could do nicer graphics.

Then my dad said forget that and bought me a copy of TP4, and after that I wrote anything I could think up. Graphics, utilities, numeric expression parsers, programmable menu shells, a small language that "compiled" to command.com batch code (and did stuff that you want in modern languages), screensavers, etc.
yeah i got the hang of buckys stuff just what now

my dad told me to stop programming and start drinking :(
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