I hope this doesn't have anything to to with my career, but the overarching theme this week has been transportational blockage.
Monday after work there was a deluge, and in my efforts to avoid the main streets, I took one that was about eight inches deep in water from sidewalk to sidewalk and flowing like a river. The truck was sputtering and for some reason I thought the clutch plate had gotten wet. No better cure for that than to just keep it spinning till it gets hot enough to boil the water off. Well, that wasn't it. It was, most likely, a drenched ignition system. The truck stalled at a light after I decided to get on a more major, less flooded street. Couldn't do anything but turn on the flashers and sit there. It was really weird because as I looked down to turn the key and try to get it started, out of the corner of my eye I could see the water flowing past me back to front and I felt like I was rolling backward.. I wasn't, but I kept taking my foot off the accelerator and jamming the brake down to keep from rolling into the guy behind me. I finally figured that out and just kept trying to get it started.
Only a couple minutes later a cop came up the street the other way and pulled up on my left side (he wasn't about to get out of his car, either). He asked me what the deal was and I told him that the only cure was to let it sit and dry out. He asked if I wanted a push and I said, "You tell me. Is it more dangerous to sit here stalled at the intersection or to try and push a car through it with all this traffic and rain?" He finally decided that if he turned on his lights and siren that people would be obliged to let us through the intersection and onto a side street unhindered. So he did and I got a police escort over to the propane place on the opposite corner. He wanted to call somebody for me, but I told him all I could do was let it sit and I might as well sit with it. It took about an hour and a half of trying it every fifteen minutes to dry out enough to get it lit reliably and drive home.
That was Monday. Every day this week, though, I've been trying a different way to work to see what works and I have not yet found a route that isn't under construction at some point. I spent twenty minutes at an intersection this morning because it was choked down to two lanes, everybody but me was trying to make a left, and one car was getting through every cycle of the light. Jeez. And the same thing going for lunch the day before. Like I said, I hope this isn't a sign.
Other than that, it's going OK. I think. I had tea with the CEO Tuesday afternoon. You're talking the CEO of a company with less than 40 employees, but it's one of those skip-level things where he invites four different people for afternoon tea (he's a Brit) every Tuesday afternoon and rotates through everyone in the company every two months or so.
He drinks his tea English-style with milk and sugar and expects you to do the same. It wasn't bad, but it was the first time I'd ever put milk in tea in my life. They tell me that once, in his campaign to introduce the crew to English culture, he brought Marmite and crackers and expected everyone to a least taste it. Marmite is English Vegemite. It turns out that Vegemite is an Australian knock-off of Marmite made by Kraft for all those Brits in Australia who were suffering Marmite withdrawal when they moved there. They are both "spreads" made of an extract of brewer's yeast. It's one of those things, like caviar, that you are either ape-shit over or can't stand. In fact, Vegemite's slogan is, "You'll love it or you'll hate it!" Apparently that sells "spread" in Australia.
Anyway, culture shock aside, it was a very enjoyable hour of chit-chat with the main man.
I'm scrambling to come up to speed on all the shit they're doing there. Today they were talking about having to test an ADC (analog-to-digital converter) and I asked if it was SAR based or one of those distributed capacitance thingies. They all stopped and looked at me. "What?" I asked. One of them turned to another and said, "He'll learn." Turns out that by asking the question had just proved that I knew more about ADCs than any of them, so I was spontaneously voted he-most-likely-to-wright-a-good-ADC-test.
I'm actually pleased, for the time being, though, because it's something valuable that I can probably pull off reasonably well. You need a few of those when you're just starting out somewhere.
OK. That's enough. (You think?)