Tuesday, February 12, 2008
More Irony or Ironworks
My father is a retired electrical engineer. He's pretty big on science, specifically physics and math. However, it took me a really long time to understand what he did for a living. When I was 5, we went for a drive one day to the site of where a transformer station was being constructed. Big coils, lots of power lines, and a fence with big warning signs to stay out. There was also a moat around the site where they were going to install drainage. And mud. Tons of mud and muck (it was under construction after all). Dad pointed to the site and said, "This is what I do. I help build those things".
To a 5 year old, that means hammer and nails, physically putting something together. So for years I thought my father actually put those things together but couldn't understand how he never brought home any mud or dirt. For weeks after that I would inspect his shoes for signs of dust at least, but there was no evidence that he "built" those things. I never considered that he might be have lied to me so I was even more amazed that he could build those things and not get dirty. It wasn't until I was 14 or 15 I finally understood what my father did for a living.
I was a pretty quick study with most subjects in school but some things seemed to just be beyond my comprehension. They took me longer to get. Fortran! OMG, in 1981 I took Fortran at university and flunked it. Took it a second time and managed to pass it, but God only knows how. It wasn't until a few months ago that I realized Fortran is a language. I thought it was math! If I had known in 1981 I was studying a computer language, I might have passed the darn thing the first time. I just couldn't reconcile Fortran with math.
We all have mental blocks that prevent us from "getting" something, be it Fortran or some other concept. I have a mental block with technology that I sometimes get teased about at work. I am the first to admit it. The fact that I have started and maintain a blog never ceases to amaze me as I can crash a computer faster than you can say "binary code". But I passed a milestone tonight.
I "Skyped" with Charles from msbpodcast. He has recorded our conversation and hopefully we have begun what will be a fun and informative partnership for some of his podcasts. Not that they aren't fun and informative on their own, but the partnership thing is new to the both of us. Keep your eyes and ears peeled for my debut on internet podcasting.
It's hard to believe this technology allows us to talk over the internet. OK, all you techy types who are right now laughing at me...STOP IT. I'm a Luddite. Just like the two little hand painted iron figures I keep in front of me at the computer.