What I Did On My Holidays


Prolog

   

A couple of months back, Linda got a paper accepted in a conference in Japan. We had been planning to travel when Linda finished her PhD but here was an opportunity to have someone else pay for some of it. "Carpe diem", they say, except for Rex Hunt who says, "Kiss 'em and throw 'em back". We decided to skip the seafood and see some of the world.

Japan, L.A., S.F., Portland, Vancouver.

This is where things started to fall apart. The first thing was planet Earth. Just as Nostradamus predicted*, the end of the millennium brought earthquakes. Turkey, Greece, Taiwan, California, Taiwan. So where are we going? The Pacific Rim? Most earthquake prone part of the planet. As we say downunder, "No wucking furries". (© The Games)

Next there was work. Work is usually fairly busy, because the other option is unemployment. So a customer, who shall remain nameless, wants a prototype from us by mid-November. By "us" I mean "me" since I'm really the only one with enough background knowledge on this project to have a hope of getting it done in time. And I leave at the _start_ of November. So I have 7 weeks to get a complex PCB right the first time and program two different microprocessors to talk to each other and perform a set of measurements that have never been been done before.

My boss is usually out by at least a factor of 2 when guessing how long things take. We have a term "a Grahame 5 minutes" which takes half an hour. So I figure I'm in trouble when he calls this project "Mission Impossible" (roll theme music).

Now we can get back to the other disasters happening around us. How about a train crash? There was a big one in India and the London Underground fireball - hmmm, guess how we're getting to Portland from San Francisco? Then Quantas start missing the end of the runway (guess who's doing our Melbourne to Sydney leg?) and Egypt Air develop their submarine branch.



*Hey, I don't know, but you could probably interpret some of his vague, Medieval French ramblings that way. (back)


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