It's lovely outside this morning, fog slipped in among the trees and rooftops, softening outlines, hazing and hiding distance, gentle silvery morning light.
Went to an engineering conference yesterday and was treated to a quick course on the Smith Chart, a tool that is easy and friendly if you use it often and like a Chinese translation of ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs if you don't. The PE who gave the talk is the best sort of a "throwback:" an old-fashioned, hands-on engineer with a thorough education and years of field experience, who enjoys RF work and wants to share the joy. Professionals of that sort are gems; his mentor (now gone) was that way, too. He's years younger than, me, too, which is a relief: I'm not gonna run out of really clever PEs to brainpick before retirement.
"Stakhanovite" is a term I have been toying with idly for a couple of years, trying to fit it into the complicated, funky culture of the independent, sunless trading hub/semi-secret society, "Smitty's World." There has to be a fair amount of Russian, ex-Soviet culture there, or nobody would get it when some joker stencils "sto pervyy kilometer" ("101-й километ") in the airlocks that separate the first "hidden" sections from the public ones, and I think I've got it -- the guy that works extra-hard (and is a bit or more of an apple-polisher) is said to "work like Stanky Vic," or even "like stank," which manages to snarl up both old Soviet and American slang in a neat little knot.
I was in the basement folding laundry and Tam was off doing something* when I thought I heard someone groan at the back door. Kept folding, only to hear, "Ooooh! Aah!" So I went upstairs. Tam's cat Random Numbers Wu was sitting in the hall doorway, as close to the center of the house as you can get, wailing about The Unfairness Of It All, Especially No Second Breakfast. I got her plate out, which Rannie-of-two-hours-ago had thoughtfully left unfinished, and set it down in front of her, with Huck locked out so he wouldn't take it. She seemed happy with that. But oh, my, the sadness before!
* Possibly arranging Tammerdammerung, which is a version of the dreadful dark end of the Norse gods and all the world in which, just as things are at their very bleakest of bleak, all is lost and it's all headed ineluctably downhill to rack, ruin and oblivion, The Tamara shows up, scolds the whole lot of 'em for "grabastic faffing about," kicks every combatant's backside, tames the Fenris wolf with a pat on the head and nice collar and leash, tempts and soothes the world-girdling serpent with a fat mouse, grabs Loki by the ear and adjusts his attitude permanently, does the same squared to the Frost Giants and puts 'em all back to work, straightening up the mess and puttin' the world to rights. There's a lot of grumbling by bigawd it gets done and in jig time. Then she hauls them out to the range so's they can start to learn instead of being whining posers. Which is exactly as things should turn out. It's a lovely story and it otta be a warnin' to us all.
T. R. MCELROY'S STREAMLINED TELEGRAPH KEYS
11 months ago