Content-type: text/html Ray Manning

Friday, April 23, 1999 7:12 AM

Another Day


After the disappointing results for the Tang car in the Long Beach Grand Prix, I look forward to coming to work this week and to events that I can control. (Rather than, for instance, the results of the Tang car which I cannot control.)

On Tuesday night I chat with a gentleman from Colombia over the Internet. He is finishing up his electrical engineering degree and working on FPGA's. (Field Programmable Gate Arrays, for those non-geeks.) We talk about that field (no pun intended) being very exciting and interesting right now. I tell him about evolvable hardware using genetic algorithms and FPGAs. He is excited. He invites me to visit Bogota where he lives. I accept and tell him that I will be down to visit in June - the start of his winter. (EOS testing can wait.)

On Wednesday night I chat with a gentleman from Sepang, Malaysia over the Internet. We talk about the recent motorcycle grand prix that was held there this past weekend and the inaugural Malaysian Grand Prix for Formula One cars that is to be held there in October. He invites me to Sepang and I accept. I tell him that I will purchase the China Air $999 round trip deal with unlimited travel between 16 asian cities over a 21 day period. I tell him that I will be there in October. He offers to come with me to Thailand and Vietnam, but he wimps out at following me to Cambodia. I tell him that that is okay because my company's security will strongly discourage me from going there anyway.

On Thursday night, having a late dinner with a friend, I am nervous and confused as we get to the Rock Bottom cafe in downtown Long Beach. So nervous, in fact, that when the waiter asks me what I want for dinner, I ask "Do you have water?". The waiter and my friend stare at me with curious looks - wondering what planet I am from. After getting confirmation from the waiter that they do, indeed, have water, I order lemonade and pasta. I try to get over my nervousness by playing footsie with my friend underneath the table, but it doesn't work. I am still confused.

I get home and lay in bed, overcome with emotional confusion and underwhelmed by the accomplishments of the past week (and few hours). Four hours later the alarm has me awake and ready for a Friday morning. Coming to work on the motorcycle, the car pool lane is wide open. I settle into 90-95 mph as a comfortable speed that can make reasonable progress on my way to work, yet not draw too much attention from cruising CHP officers. I know that at 90-95 mph, the CHP officer will probably yell at me a bit to slow the "$&%*@" bike down, but then will push my driver's license back in my hand and say "Get out of here" like has happened so many times before. Coming to work, I only have one close call when a sports utility vehicle threatens to come into the car pool lane. I see him/her coming and ignore him/her - holding my line and speed unwaivering. Knowing that he/she will pull back at the last minute and leave me unscathed. (And if not, who cares?) The strategy, again, works as the SUV driver sees me at the last minute and pulls back. I feel a barely noticeable, yet distinct, breeze of wind on my right knee from the SUV aerodynamics (or lack thereof). The remainder of the trip is uneventful (except for the TRW security motioning for me to slow down as I drive 55 mph down Freeman - or is it Gorman - street, the one between R4 and M1/M2).