By lex, on September 16th, 2005
Short, I should think, this week. My busy schedule has kept me rather, well… busy. And I haven’t had the time to go and surf the web, looking for the works of others more interesting or able than myself upon which to ladle my pithy observations and wit, thereby basking in reflected glory.
So, I’ve nothing but original thoughts, which, because you are all insightful, inquisitive * readers, you realize are, for me at any rate, a sum that tends (when inverted) towards an infinitely large number. Which spoken plainly (ed: please do) means zero.
Original thoughts, I mean. In case that needlessly articulated preceding sentence, attacking a plain truth from both directions and groaning under the burden of successive subordinate clauses was as unpleasant to read as it was perversely enjoyable to write.
Because if it wasn’t (unpleasant, that is) it’s very likely that you, my special friend, are an engineer. Like those with whom I have spent the last five days in class. But enough about you.
It has been a Very Interesting Experience. The course of instruction is in Systems Engineering and Management, but the other folks in my classroom come from a broad variety of engineering backgrounds. One, as previously related, is an actual rocket scientist – we met more of his ilk yesterday on a field trip to Lockheed-Martin’s Space Systems Division in Sunnyvale.
(Parenthetically, we had intended to also visit Cisco while in the ‘hood, but it was, em… not a good time or something, they were washing their hair and anyways didn’t we already have a date for the prom? Ex. contra: Lock-Mart, who rolled out the red carpet, gave us all nifty little desktop folder thingies (of a value less than $10.00, I’m quite sure) and generally treated us like visiting royalty. Question: Which of these two companies makes its money off the broad market and couldn’t give a fiddler’s fart what the government thinks about anything, and which mostly makes it off government contracts, and therefore cares deeply? Discuss.)
Their rocket scientists all seemed like interesting, articulate people. Not that you’d necessarily want to have a beer with them (I don’t believe many of them drink, but, you know: Not entirely un-cool.) My rocket scientist (well, heh – I call him mine) while clearly brilliant, just as clearly has not had the advantage of a room full of people too polite to interrupt him as relates endless anecdotes which wander and frolic around the fields of irrelevance before running up the hill of incoherence and tumbling down into the valley of ritual self-murder, just to escape THE MADNESS!
Oh, we’ve got the full gamut of the smartest kids you knew in high school in my class, people with 4-point-summat GPAs that never made the cut at kickball, far less the football squad, didn’t date, much and always Got Home On Time.
Oh yeah. And me.
Across from me on the ride home was the (actually, quite fetching) young engineer, who told us on the first day that she practices yoga (hmm… yoga…) with the ridiculous Lon-Gisland accent who only wanted to talk about One Important Issue: Stargate SG-1, or Atlantis? Explain.
Also in attendance as well all become more comfortable less socially awkward with each other were two variations of the World’s Smartest Guy – you know the type, they have to be right and will hound you ceaselessly until you Acknowledge Their Cleverness. These two guys, as is inevitable I suppose, eventually squared off on a topic that no one else was even remotely interested in and are probably still shouting past one another as I write this.
Finally, there was an even more rare, but in practice, much more dangerous archetype: This was they guy who Lies In Wait. Once the class has offered observations and worked their way towards a consensus decision, Mr. LIW will, at the proper moment, shout out, “I CAN’T BELIEVE YOU’RE EVEN SAYING THIS! WHAT ARE YOU THINKING?!?” And so on, etc. Repeat. Lives to kick over the apple cart, and enjoys nothing better than watching the dismay…
Monterey is beautiful of course, and like many small, beautiful, seaside cities in California, is entirely self-absorbed, convinced of its own importance and dismissive of the world outside. Which, in a neighborhood including Carmel-by-the-Sea (to distinguish it from that other Carmel) is quite an intellectual feat to have accomplished. But they’re up to it, never you fret.
Everyone on the campus seems almost painfully young, and I wonder to myself why they’re not off killing bad guys somewhere, like I would have been at their age, the rascals. For my own part, if it weren’t for the fact that two weeks may well be the limit of my endurance for systems engineers (if not systems engineering, which is really quite fascinating) I could wish to spend more time up here. Ah, well.
This weekend is the Monterey Jazz Festival, for which jazz enthusiasts from around the globe come to visit. For my own part, my passion for Jazz resides on a steady-state emotional plateau with my passion for Gospel music, but I may go out into the ville just to see what kind of trouble an old man can get into, when he’s on his own.
Wish me well.
I’d do it for you…
* 07-12-2018 Links Gone; no replacements found – Ed.