19 March 2007

Time heals all wounds, I guess

I just got back from the Iron Ring ceremony, and let me say, I was disappointed. My sister-in-law's friends and classmates who I tortured and belittled as their TA two years ago were no longer afraid of me. Nor were they still mad at me. In fact, some of them were pleased to see me. And not even in the "ha ha, you said I'd never pass, I sure showed you" kind of way - they were genuine in their pleasantness.

I don't get it. I thought I had done a better job scarring them for life. They certainly hated me at the time.

I was more scarred than them, for, at the reception afterwards, I ran into one of my superiors at work, which, since I'm not good at sucking up, is not a good thing. His daughter is one of my sister-in-law's friends, and I was left chatting with him while the two girls had a gab-fest.

As for the ceremony itself, which I'll remind you is not to be shared with non-obligated engineers, I'll just say that it's a lot easier to understand the ceremony when you attend as an audience member rather than as a graduating engineer. They give you a book with which to follow along, whereas the candidates are thrown in cold turkey.

My only other observation is that my old department was poorly represented. Only one prof and a couple of grad students I knew attended, and all left before the reception so I couldn't catch up with them. Lazy bastards.

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At March 19, 2007 11:23 p.m., Blogger Carlo said...

I'm embarrassed to admit that I somehow made it all the way to my Ph.D. without ever having heard of the 'Iron Ring'.

When I arrived at Mac, I walked passed the faculty of Engineering where there's a giant Iron Ring statue thing and was like, "What is THAT???" Wherein I was explained the details.

I know it's all supposed to be secret but... what kind of bonuses to your engineering skill does the ring confer? Just kidding...

At March 20, 2007 4:29 p.m., Blogger King Aardvark said...

It's not too surprising that you didn't hear about it earlier. Undergrad engineers don't talk about it much until 4th year, and in general we don't advertise about it much. When non engineers talk about engineers, it's usually about our drunken obnoxiousness rather than our traditions.

The ring actually does not improve your skill, rather just others impression of your skill.

I'd say +1 diplomacy, -2 disguise (if people know it's an engineering ring, they might not believe your attempt to be someone else), maybe even a +1 Wis (due to the oath-ish nature of the ceremony steeling your mind against corruption) or +1 Cha, also a +3 to strength checks for opening bottle caps (you can use the ring to pop the caps if you don't have a bottle opener - they're stainless steel so they don't break).

At March 22, 2007 12:59 a.m., Blogger Carlo said...

And you called me a nerd! Just kidding...

Seriously though, the concept of the iron ring is admirable, but the secrecy makes it very 'stone-cutters'.

At March 22, 2007 9:02 a.m., Blogger King Aardvark said...

Calling someone a nerd is a sign of nerdly respect from a fellow nerd. Nerds are awesome :-)


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