It has been quite a while since I’ve done one of these rambling post. It has been almost exactly six weeks (less one day).
Well, that’s just too long! I used to always be able to count on a good ramble to cure me of writer’s block. Let’s hope this time is no different.
Putting the Blah in Blase
It has been a busy week here in Biffville (population: teaming).
And by busy, I mean “ordinary”. I went to work, I came home, I did a few chore-type activities in the evening, though mostly I sat around and stared at my computer wondering if I’d ever be able to write anything of quality ever again.
And I know some of you are wondering the same thing.
I can’t blame you. My output has been quite low lately. I blame it on the high pollen counts. They make me sneezy, dopey, grumpy, and Lethargic (the uncredited and largely forgotten 8th dwarf).
How to Live With a Calculating Engineer
I did have one moment of excitement this week at work.
Today I wrote what might possibly be the world’s longest equation in an Excel spreadsheet. A team from Guinness are looking it over now and if I end up winning, I will let you know.
The equation uses values in a two-dimensional matrix to index into a 3-dimensional matrix on another worksheet to determine the factors necessary for yet another calculation. It is dynamic, so as the matrices update, the calculation adjusts itself accordingly.
It took me over two hours to write and debug it. It was mind-bogglingly complex.
Out of curiosity, I copied the equation into a word processor and did a character count on it, and it clocks in at an impressive 381 characters!
Now, you might be saying, “Biff, wouldn’t it have been easier to write a quick script in VBA to look up the value?”
And the answer would be “Yes, but …“.
The thought did cross my mind briefly, but my stubbornness kicked in and it became a personal challenge to get the equation to return the value.
And which is more personally satisfying?
[A] Twelve lines of simple, straightforward, easy to comprehend VBA code?
[B] a mind-bogglingly complex Rube Goldberg equation that no one will ever be able to unwind and decipher?
If you chose [A], you don’t know engineers very well.
It has been a very strange late-May here in north Texas. Normally by this time all of the pretty wildflowers are dead, the landscape is parched, the colors washed out, and we are already flirting with the 100 degree mark. (37 C)
However, we have had a ton of rain over the past two weeks. The wildflowers are still blooming. Everything is green and lush. The temperatures have been quite pleasant, with the highest daytime temperature peaking out at less than 90 degrees (31 C). There are birds everywhere. People are riding around with the windows down on their cars. People are actually sitting in the outdoor seating areas at restaurants (something normally unthinkable this time of year).
Many people have begun repenting of their sins, thinking that the end times are near.
Others have been busily stocking their bunkers with canned goods and ammunition, believing that the apocalypse cannot be too far away.
But whatever it is, I plan on enjoying it as long as possible. Which will probably be for another day or two.
Well, that’s about all I can think of to ramble on about for now. I’m still recovering from a severe bout of writer’s block, so you’ll have to forgive this coughing, anemic little post.
I shall get stronger and stronger every day until, finally, I will be able to stare at the blank screen blankly and not write anything, but with much more vigor.