I’m practically giddy.
First of all, I got my Garnet Herzog clone working. The Herzog people released a couple of schematics which are widely available as a PDF. If I had to guess, I would say the originals were drawn on cocktail napkins, and they were intended to be practical jokes. The one I used was just plain nuts. But I worked hard on it, and I got help from experts, and I prayed over it, and now the amp runs. That’s astoundingly cool.
Second: I just received my Schaum’s Outline of Basic Circuit Analysis. Ohhhhh…this is too much.
You can’t imagine what it’s like to decide, at the age of 31, that you want a degree in physics. This is especially true if you don’t know algebra very well and failed math in high school. Not that I know anyone like that. I feel like I climbed Mount Everest in a greased sleeping bag tied to a junk car. There is no way to describe what I went through, sitting at home with an algebra outline and a calculus outline in front of me while I tried to do my calculus homework. And getting into grad school…that was like parting the Red Sea. Granted, I got brain-fried and quit. But the fact that I was there to begin with…inexplicable. It’s as if the Jamaican bobsled team took a bronze.
Really, if you haven’t been there, you can’t imagine. If you think you know something because you got an A in calculus, you’re like a mule that thinks it can run in the Kentucky Derby. To a physicist, first-year calculus is only a little more impressive than addition and subtraction. It’s the kindergarten of real math.
I made it to a top grad school and then crashed. I have never felt so cursed, before or since. Nothing I did went right. Almost no one helped. People at the University of Texas worked against me, if anything. They were as unrelenting as stones. I believe they were eager to see me quit. And when I tried to pray, I felt as though my prayers bounced off a brass ceiling.
Of course, I was not much of a Christian at that point. I had the baptism with the Holy Spirit, but I rarely prayed in tongues, and I had no real relationship with God or Christians. I believe God blighted what I was doing; too many things went wrong.
I went to law school and graduated cum laude without doing much of anything. I had a great time. I drank a lot. I hung out in the law school courtyard, shooting the breeze with friends. When I got out, I enjoyed practicing, although it wasn’t my dream. It was definitely better than digging ditches, and had I gone on to become a full-blown patent attorney (possible because of my physics background), I could be charging $400 an hour right now. In fact, I could still do that if I had to.
I felt that physics was behind me, and that my opportunities in that direction had been crushed. The time and study had been wasted. The shocking amount of information and skill I had crammed into my brain would dissipate and lose its value.
Now I’m building guitar amps. People are asking me to do it for money. I have all sorts of electronics tools. And it all happened because I went to a church where the guitarists were interested in amp-building.
I have to get up to speed on electronics. I only took one electronics course in college, and it prepared me to build things like integrators. Small, useless circuits. I built current controllers and temperature controllers for diode lasers used in gas cooling research, but I didn’t really know that much about the circuits. I have to take the small, crumbling foundation that remains and build on it. Hence the Schaum outline and the REA Problem Solver that will be here later this week.
Ezekiel tells us of the valley of dry bones. The symbolism applies to just about anything God touches. Living water means prayer in tongues and living in the Spirit. Dry bones are Jews and Christians who lack the Holy Spirit. The nation of Israel was dry bones before the Jews returned. I was a pile of dry bones before I turned back to God. Now the flesh is returning. The lost opportunities are being dusted off. Salvage is underway.
I almost feel smart again. Maybe God will help me to recover to the point where I understand math and physics again. That would be amazing.
I have to go get batteries for my HP 32S calculator, for the first time in 16 years. I hope the drugstore has them. I saved the manual. It’s in the garage. I used to play that thing like a fiddle. I may be able to use Mathcad again.
Continue in your own way, which leads nowhere, or follow the cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night and cross into your own Promised Land. Whether you act or not, you will choose, and you will live with the consequences.Stumble it! Save This Page