The Imitation Game

Tonight I celebrated Valentine’s Day in a somewhat unorthodox manner by going to see “The Imitation Game.” Strangely, it’s actually the first of the Academy Award Best Picture nominees that I’ve seen in the theater. I realize I’m way behind where I was this time last year, but I’ve got plans to see a few more of the Oscar nominated movies before next weekend. But anyway, I figured “The Imitation Game” was one of the most anti-Valentine’s Day film offerings, and therefore perfect for the evening’s entertainment. And it was amazing. It excited my mind. I’m going to say something a little crass, but for an engineer like me “The Imitation Game” was like porn. It lit up parts of my brain that are dormant a majority of the time. Those neural pathways usually only kick in to gear when major problems present themselves at work. I have a little bit of experience tackling crazy problems, sometimes even under very restrictive time constraints. Nothing like the elaborate encryptions that Alan Turing’s team was struggling with, but I think I have some idea of their work process. And I’m in awe of it. Based on my admittedly short career in the aerospace industry, I know what it’s like to work with a limited set of tools to try and solve a complex puzzle. It’s like trying to perform surgery with a spoon. You learn to be creative in ways your college courses didn’t even begin to teach you. You invent new paradigms when you have to. Learning on the job becomes trial by fire sometimes. It’s a humbling experience and it makes me realize just how amazing an achievement it was to break the WWII codes. While watching the movie I started thinking about how I might start attacking something like Enigma. My brain doesn’t work on anywhere near the level of the folks depicted in “The Imitation Game,” but I probably could come up with a rough framework for where to start. I’m no mathematician, but that didn’t keep me from comprehending the remarkable work of Alan Turing and his colleagues. I just hope my scientific brain helped me appreciate it a little more than the average viewer.

Valentine’s Day

Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone. I’ve been trying to compose something that will accurately describe how I feel today, but I haven’t been successful. Let’s just say I’m not very happy. Valentine’s Day isn’t too kind to us single girls. I will be very glad when this miserable day is over. Is it too much to ask for something good to happen to me for once? Times like this are exactly the reason I post photos or recipes rather than writing about my day. But I’ll be in a better mood tomorrow so come back and read what I have to say then.

Holiday magnet art

A while back I wrote about art that my co-workers and I create with a bunch of magnets. It’s a fun, creative activity that we enjoy when we have a little time and energy to spare. Well, another holiday is almost upon us so I thought I’d revisit that topic because holidays are usually what inspire us to create new magnet art. In October I rearranged the magnets into a jack-o-lantern. Not the most unique shape, granted, but I didn’t think I could make a decent looking witch’s hat or anything else using just little black circles. Maybe I’ll try candy corn next year. Then for Thanksgiving in November one of my other co-workers amazed us with a depiction of the Mayflower, complete with Plymouth Rock! I didn’t think that was possible with such limited resources, but I work with some pretty talented people. After a couple of days our Thanksgiving decoration was supplemented with a stick figure (drawn on a Post-It) in the bird’s nest of the Mayflower and a couple of stick figures in the bow of the ship reenacting the famous scene from “Titanic.” I told you the magnet art was a collaboration! The Mayflower and its additions were so impressive that they stayed up on the metal breaker switch access panel until about two weeks ago. No Christmas-y magnet art this year! Around the beginning of February I realized that Valentine’s Day was approaching so I decided to rearrange the magnets into a heart with an arrow through it. It turned out pretty well, if I do say so myself. But it won’t last since Valentine’s Day is Thursday and will be over soon and then it will be time for St. Patrick’s Day! Last year I completely failed at making a shamrock out of magnets, but maybe I’ll give it another try this year. Holiday magnet art is an evolution! I’ll keep you posted on our future installments.

P.S. I went back to the gym today for another spinning class and I feel great! Four workouts in four days and I’m on a roll!

Happy Valentine’s Day

Happy Valentine’s Day everyone! Dan and I are enjoying a meal of surprisingly tasty homemade kalua pork (made in the slow cooker over the weekend) and pineapple rice for dinner tonight while watching the Laker game that we recorded earlier. Very relaxing…unless the Lakers lose, of course. Dan’s birthday was yesterday and we went to our annual dinner at Ruth’s Chris to celebrate. It was delicious. Unfortunately Dan had to work quite a bit this weekend so the birthday festivities were minimal, but I’ve planned a trip for him and some of his friends to go snowboarding in Big Bear in a couple of weeks. This weekend we also got to have dinner with our friends Jim, Melissa, Mike, and Lisa at the Yardhouse. That was fun way to spend Saturday night. We don’t get together with them nearly often enough. I intended to write something more substantial about Valentine’s Day today, but I’ll save that for another time because it’s getting late and have to go to bed early. Good night!