I've got one more level of licensing to get through in my amateur radio hobby - the Extra. Now, you don't get a whole lot out of it as far as additional frequencies or privileges. There're a few perqs for the DX crowd, the guys and gals that are always pushing the limits. And the contesters gain a bit, too. And maybe someday I'll find these advantages useful.
But for now I just enjoy learning all the skills needed to be a competent ham. Since most of those skills involve the electrical arts math is a HUGE part of the game. So as I started the study with my brand new book it became really obvious that I better get a calculator. And not just a simple one, either.
I remembered that this little gem was sitting up in one of our kitchen drawers. It was my son's, probably when he was in grade school or something. You see, he was, and is, a geek. He works for Microsoft up in Seattle doing...well, I know he does something, and I'm sure I wouldn't completely understand it even if he deigned to described it to me.
So, I got it out and replaced all the old batteries. So far - so good. Then I saw a button labeled "on" and, whether through bravery, brashness or just plain ignorance, I'll probably never really know the reason, I pushed it. Why not give it a try? No guts - no glory. Right? The beast stirred, opening it's yellow tinged eye and flashing a baleful stare in my direction. There was something on the screen, something that looked familiar, numbers letters and symbols, but they were arranged in a way that made no sense to me at all.
Fearing that I may have gone too far, that I could be messing with forces I hadn't prepared myself to face, I immediately moved to shut it down, to put the genie back in it's bottle. My finger flew to the "off" button, clearly labeled and promising sweet redemption from my folly.
I know that I'm not the sharpest pencil in the box and I've now had that simple truth thrown in my face yet again. But, I am smart enough to know that the answer to damn near any question can be found on the internet. So off I went. A quick search for the manual, ten minutes of downloading and I had the answer in my hand, or at least on my hard drive. All 247 pages of it!!!
So know, before I can start studying to learn the answers to all 702 questions that are in the pool for the Extra examine I'm going to have to study 247 pages of instructions to figure out how to use the freakin' calculator!
I should have paid more attention in school.
By the way, I did get the thing turned off last night.
I took out the batteries.