Thursday, April 12, 2007

Life as an engineer

Two interesting side effects are that my fingernails are probably getting stiffer, and my fingers are much stronger now.

The kitchen at the office has free flow of instant coffee, tea, sugar, Milo, instant hot chocolate and various varieties of milks (whole, low fat and no fat. No fat tastes revolting). As such, I take full advantage of getting continuous hits of caffeine throughout the day.

I usually make coffee by using just slightly more than enough hot water to dissolve the coffee granules, and top up with milk. Cold and milky is how I’ve been taking my coffee since the mid 90s.

Everyday, I’d have three to four cups of coffee at work. Including the cup I consume immediately after waking up, my daily milk consumption is slightly more than half a litre. Consequently, the finger and toenails have been getting their supply of nourishment.

The door leading to the male toilet is like a typical public toilet where one pushes on the door without needing to turn any knobs. I have taken to pushing on the doors with my fingers curled into a dome shape (not with the finger digit joints locked). Initially, the thumb had to do most of the work; now I can open the door quite rapidly using only the index and middle fingers.

Piss me off and I’ll spear you using my Iron Lance Fingers (铁枪指) technique.

Work has been quite interesting these days. The department has acquired a massive project from the United Arab Emirates, something to make a statement to the rest of the world. Grander than the KLCC project and more magnificent than the Burj-al-Arab (the world’s only 7-star hotel), this thing has been keeping the department busy for the past week and probably for the coming months.

Given a relatively free hand to work on a revolutionary project that requires non-standard solutions, I’ve been exercising some of my mathematical clout in engineering design. Bring on the topology, finite-state machines, invariance and geometric transformations!