Blood, Sweat, and Questionably Valuable Financial Instruments

There's 3 distinct regions in regards to the operation of theory. The first is one of convenience, where it makes simplifying assumptions for the sake of generating approximate answers and laying foundational understanding of a field. The second is of inconvenience, where the attempt to model ever smaller intricacies of the real world leads theory to become more complicated than it's worth. The third is a mysterious realm, where even the great depths of theory could not have predicted that I should have bought some angle cutters so that I wouldn't have to deal with all of those leads poking everywhere.

As much as I hate it being true, theory can't account for everything. Not just because it will be foiled by practicalities every time, but because unpredictable circumstances are inherent in every process. I don't think this really struck me as a fundamental constant of design until, as part of some auxiliary studying for M E 123 (Introduction to Visualization and Computer-Aided Design), I learned that it would not be unheard for every single part off of an assembly line to be hand-finished to tolerance specifications, just to control for variances that even the best of numerical control systems couldn't account for.

I've long stayed away from the areas where theory yields to practice. On one hand, I believed that, if I could master the convenient theory, and break into the inconvenient theory, that because my understanding would then be constantly increasing, the limit of this process must be complete understanding. The fallacy here is perhaps self-evident. The other factor influencing this was cost. Not in time or attention -- I've shown I'm quite willing to spend that on just about anything -- but actual financial cost. While I can't say that electrical engineering wasn't available to study at my high school, it didn't fit into my schedule, and so I was among the have-nots.

This circuit is hardly more than a reclamation of that opportunity missed. I learned nothing in theory here. I, ever defiant of the institutions of education, would not let something like scheduling woes stop me from learning the theory of electronics to a level far beyond what a high school class would have to offer. Despite this, I'm quite certain I remember a high school friend of mine who (to my surprise) decided to take electronics talking about circuits built in the class that are basically the same as this one. No, this is a product of something special I now have at my disposal: student loans.

Okay, so, maybe the money I spent on this circuit was supposed to go towards buying soap or something instead. Look, the point is that finally having some semblance of financial independence, even if the meager amount provided by financial aid, gives me another level of agency in my learning beyond what I ever had by absorbing theory like a sponge. I'm no longer gated off from gaining practical experience, and I can invest in answering my own questions. Previously I could study, theorize, and design. Now I can build, test, and, dare I say, engineer.  There are of course practical limitations, budgets having to be a thing, but I'm only limited by what I decide to invest in. Just because this has started as an analog to a high school lab exercise doesn't mean it couldn't be part of a bigger plan to build an entire computer. Not saying it is. Just saying it could be. In any case, I can strike out on my own and learn the lessons that only experience knows:

Like that maybe somewhere in the budget, you should write in some angle cutters.