Hmm..it’s been a while since my last entry. Happy new year, everybody.

Two nights ago, while out of town on business, I happened to find Contact on TV. I realize that it isn’t a cinematic masterpiece, but it’s one of my favorite movies. There are many things about it that I like — the ongoing debate between religion and science, the struggle of someone who is versed in technical matters but unpracticed in politics, the possibility that someone else is out there vytorin dosage.

What impresses me most, however, is that the film very nicely portrays the spark of discovery — that “click” when everything falls into place and the solution is in plain view. This happens several times in the film, from the first discovery of the prime number sequence through the realization that the plans assemble in three dimensions. It’s the moment when you finally understand the system you’ve been investigating, and when you suddenly jump from following directions to understating the concepts behind them.

I live for that “click.” My engine rebuild has not really saved me much money, and it certainly has taken months longer than if I’d just taken the car to an experienced shop. However, by pulling out the engine myself, taking it apart to the smallest finite elements, and putting it back together, I’ve gained a great amount of knowledge about the way it works. Now I can easily see my engine is complex, but only because it is a system of much simpler systems. It’s very easy to see how the modern engine has evolved from a purely mechanical system into one controlled largely by electronics. I can now look at schematic diagrams for any engine and understand what all of the parts do and how they interact. More importantly, should anything go wrong with my engine in the future, I have a much better chance of diagnosing and resolving the issue by myself. That is far more satisfying to me than relying on a shop, and it is really a priceless education. Taken from that perspective, the significant amounts of money and time I’ve poured into this project are one of the best investments I’ve ever made.

I’ve found that my career also seems to be at its best when I can work in pursuit of a similar goal. Taking on a complex system, understanding why it’s broken, and working to fix it are the activities that I seem to enjoy the most. At some point, though, the system that I work on comes into play. I don’t know that computers hold my interest the way they have in the past. And mechanical systems, while very intriguing, satisfy me more as a hobby than as a profession. At some point, perhaps it will be time to move on…maybe it’s almost time to try something new. Maybe.

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