April 8, 2007

Bulk view


Lasagna for breakfast. Lasagna for lunch! Maybe I can even swing lasagna for dinner…

Random Emacs symbol: decrease-left-margin – Command: Make the left margin of the region smaller.


It’s really nice getting out-of-the-blue massages from W and J.
Really, really nice. I could get used to this.

Random Emacs symbol: cd-path – Variable: Value of the CDPATH environment variable, as a list.

Field trip!

We went to the Ontario Science Centre last Friday. It was fun playing
with the different exhibits, particularly the new Mindworks exhibits
they’d added. I saw a new exhibit that I’d never seen before – a test
for eidetic memory involving two random-noise-like images. You were
supposed to cover your right eye and use your left eye to stare at the
image on the left. Then you’d cover your left eye and look at the
image on the right, superimposing your memory of the image on the
left. People with eidetic memories would be able to see a T. Very very
few people would be able to do that. That some people can do it at all
is just amazing.

I also really appreciated the new demonstration of sound-proofing.
Perhaps it was a slightly upset stomach or simply noise fatigue from
the constant din, but I felt a bit overwhelmed. The sound absorption
demonstration took a few decibels off, which felt great. I should
think about how to deaden the sound in my living room.

I love going to science centers. I’ve been to so many that I
automatically compare them, looking for my favorite exhibits, noticing
when people do something that I haven’t seen before. I loved the
animated physical model of a wave – all smooth metal tubes and joints
and strings – that I’d seen in San Francisco. Their wind dunes one was
also wonderful. I laughed at the SMTP marble-drop sculpture in Odaiba,
Tokyo, and enjoyed the demonstration of the Asimo humanoid robot. I
liked looking at the conic section demo – was that in Montreal? I
really should have a science center journal… I *loved* the catenary
arch model of the Science Centrum in Manila. It was simple but
endlessly fascinating, and my dad often took me there just to play
with that. I also loved the echo shell that stretched two floors, the
free-rotating platform and bike wheel that demonstrated gyroscopes…

One day, when I’m rich and famous, I’ll put together a science center
with my favorite exhibits. Maybe I’ll even get to come up with some
new ones.

Random Emacs symbol: mail-extr-disable-voodoo – Variable: *If it is a regexp, names matching it will never be modified.

Falling in love with words

How did I come to love words so much? I remember reading everything I
could get my hands on, and clambering up bookshelves to get to the
books that were placed just out of reach. I read omniverously. After I
read and reread my storybooks and that well-loved set of Childcraft
volumes, I attacked my mother’s business books and parenting books. I
read and read and read, and when I wanted to give myself an extra
challenge, I read upside down.

I don’t know why I loved reading so much. Maybe it has to do with the
way my mom obviously loved reading and how much she learned from
those books. She told me how she used to read to me until her voice
cracked from fatigue and how I’d beg to be read to again and again.
(“But you’ve practically memorized ‘Three Little Pigs!’”)

I don’t know what my mom did to make me fall in love with reading, but
I loved reading even when she told me not to – at the dinner table, in
the car, while walking. I read everything everywhere. Books were
constantly moving through the house. Some errands to run? Not a
problem – leave me in a bookstore and I wouldn’t notice the hours fly
by. One of my favorite ways to soak up time is still heading to a
bookstore, pull interesting books off the shelves, and practically
inhale them.

I wish I could figure out how to help J fall in love with books too.
If she does, then new worlds will be open to her, and no classroom or
teacher can limit her. What was that magical piece? The availability
of tons and tons of books, some of which could be easily read and
understood and others which forced me to stretch? The way my mom
referred to her books, the way she obviously loved learning? Maybe
that’s one of the things I can do whenever I visit – let my love for
learning shine through, so that J can deepen her enjoyment of reading
and experimenting…

Random Emacs symbol: gnus-article-strip-all-blank-lines – Command: Strip all blank lines.