PSS Chronicles

I read the PSS Chronicles Ghost Hand and Ghost Hold as a recommendation from my friend Jen.  It is a series of young adult books written by Ripley Patton.  I highly recommend them as well. Ripley Patton grew up in a town near me and has and continues to use Kickstarter to fund  her books.

I had always envisioned the character Marcus with meticulous detail.  I have some ideas of the others though I could always see Marcus clearly.  Tonight I was catching up with television and realized my brain used JD Pardo for Marcus.  It's interesting to see what my brain pulls out the attic.


ASL Calculate

Today I had to look up the ASL (American Sign Language) sign for "calculate".  It spurred mostly from a fleeting thought as I spoke to someone who asked me if I had yet to calculate something.  When she asked me she made a rotational motion with her hands.  Later that day I spoke to someone else and he did the same rotational motion with his hands.  I think I even make that same motion when talking to people.  That fleeting thought turned into a must know; I wondered if ASL's calculate was the same motion we were making with our hands.  It was not...calculate is this:


When thinking about the motion in question I admit that I mostly relate it to a process or perhaps a gear of a machine...so I looked up process as well.  Lo and behold...the motion people have a tendency to make is actually the ASL sign for "process"!



A Study in Jealousy

I admit I am a bit jealous.  You might be able to relate to my plight...

Books take me to worlds and eras I would otherwise be unable to visit.  I sometimes fall in love with the characters and places.  It is the safest form of love because there are no consequences nor expectations, no rejection nor fear.

Many years ago, when I began reading Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's tales of Sherlock Holmes I was entranced in the stories, falling in love with the characters of Holmes and Watson.  

In recent years, television shows and movies have made Holmes and Watson more popular fellows than they were ever before (this is not to say past shows and movies did not do the same, it merely affected me less).  The stories and characters have drawn Sherlock fans and newbies alike.  At first, I was happy to see this happening; I could share this excitement with the world.  I too enjoy the movies and programs, just as so many others.  As time has gone on though, I have grown jealous and possessive.  Sherlock Holmes and John Watson were MY characters to love.  Others could love them too, but behind the quiet barriers of a book.  Now, everyone is privy to them.  Everyone is privy to "Come at once if convenient; if inconvenient come all the same".

I suppose anyone could relate, he who has ever loved a book to then experience it as a very popular movie.  It is not to say this is a first for me either.  For some particular reason, I am bothered more by this than others in the past.  There is little to do about it so I shall digress while all the while remaining quietly jealous.


Christmas 2013

I had anticipated this Christmas to be the best I have ever had.  Think of all those times as a child that you woke up early, ran to the tree to see the most amazing display of gifts splayed before you…that feeling you had at that moment…that is what I expected times ten.  This is the first year my child would really experience this and I felt like I would experience this too through her eyes.  I expected to have the excitement of sitting around the tree and divvying gifts to family and watching each other open gifts to see the happiness, laughter, and full-on merriment that ensues.

That is not what I got.

I do not want it to seem as though I had a terrible Christmas or that something tragic occurred because neither was the case, it simply didn't meet my expectations, and there lies the rub.

To begin I should note that I have not stuck with many of my Christmas traditions this year.  I did not send out Christmas cards.  I did not decorate the house (aside from the tree and stockings).  I did not do as much baking this year.  We did not go see Santa Claus this year.  However, the traditions I did upkeep have been great: a homemade holiday dress for Lil Bit (her favorite one so far); baking cookies (but this year with my mom too); our newest tradition: Domino’s pizza for Christmas dinner (with a big tip to the driver)! 

I have been in a crabby mood this season because of a combination of things but I have managed to hold myself together.  Giving gifts always makes me a happier person so when I've been down, I've gone out and bought some gifts.  Some game playing with relatives on Christmas Eve cheered me up greatly.  I felt like the culmination of the season would be when my child, now old enough to appreciate the season (or the commercial part of it anyway), would run into the living room, see the gifts & turn to me squealing with delight that Santa left her so many delightful (and beautifully wrapped) packages.

Instead of this delightful vision of the day, Lil Bit awoke at 5:30 AM whining.  The whine signals the start of a 30-minute-minimum inconsolable tantrum.  Distractions would not work, not even the temptation of opening gifts.  Because of her behavior, we did not get to open presents right away (in fact, it was several hours later).  I cried because my dream felt ruined. 

It ended up not being ruined.  She was still delighted with her gifts (even though she asked for a new TV and did not get one she did get a LeapPad that plays LeapPad videos).  She was enthralled with all the gifts that were hers to open and each gift was amazing to her.  Her grandparents came to visit and she squealed with delight at those gifts as well.  I was delighted that the dress I made for Lil Bit was the dress she has wanted to wear the most this season.  Every chance she gets to wear it, she does.  In her mind, it is a princess’ dress.

The most redeeming part of the entire day is when my mom opened her gift from Lil Bit, a mug that had her hand prints on it.  It made my mom tear up and it was the sweetest thing I have seen all season.  I spent the rest of my day playing with Lil Bit's new toys and it was amazing how good it felt; as if everything was in its place and while I did not have the Christmas I expected, I am glad I went along with the one I was given.

I hope everyone had a lovely holiday season!


15 Years Ago

15 years ago today, my then only remaining grandmother lost her battle with breast cancer.  I never got to see her before she died.  I sadly don't even remember the last time I saw her.  My last memory of her was sitting at her dining room table having a conversation.  All of my cousins were out swiming and I just sat in the house.  She sat with me and asked why I wasn't out swimming. I didn't have the nerve to tell her I was afraid of water so I shrugged, as teenagers are prone to do.  I don't think she knew what to say maybe, so we sat in silence for a bit.  It would have been my first or second summer after my father died.  I was full of angst.  I didn't have anything to say to anyone, nor did I care to listen.  To kill the silence she asked if I was dating anyone.  I'm sure I just shook my head no and said nothing.  I remeber thinking though "are you kidding, I'm not the kind of girl boys like". Silently she reached out and held my hand and brushed some hair off my face & tucked it behind my ear. She said, "you really are such a pretty girl, such a loss for them".  I felt transparent.  I looked up at my grandma, for the first time in a long time I just looked at her.  I saw for the first time the age in her face. To this day, that is the face I want to always remeber.  The world is a less amazing place without her & that beautiful wise face.


Sea Monsters

If ever I have a day that I find difficult to survive [most days lately] or when I want to yell and scream about the absurdity of a situation, I close my eyes and say to myself, "sea monsters, that's bullshit".  (I sometimes follow up with banging my head on the desk, literally or figuratively, but that's not part of this story).

"Sea monsters" has a back story that I'll cherish forever.  At the time of the sea monster story, my daughter was 2 1/2 years old.  She was watching a cartoon she enjoys called Team Umizoomi.  It's a smart preschool+ cartoon that focuses on mathematics, essentially.  How fitting a show for my daughter who already has a keen sense for the logic of things and uses her measuring tape to measure everything.  In a particular episode the characters are running across what appears to be a bridge.  It turns out though, that the bridge is a sea monster's back!  My daughter, with a tone certainty and seriousness, says, "A sea monster?  That's bullshit"!

In so many ways I can only agree.  Sea monsters are absurd.  Bridges don't become sea monsters.  It IS bullshit.  Nice use of the term bullshit by the way kiddo, let's refocus on a different word...

So, now, when I need a moment to put things into perspective, I just remember, sea monsters, that's bullshit.

This week is one giant sea monster.

Nick Jr, Team Umizoomi, Sunshine Fairy episode


Math and Breath Noise Music

Preface:  There is a lot of text in this post and not a lot of pictures which will turn away 98% of readers.  Don't be one of those readers.  You want to make it to "breath noise".

I love math, so naturally when I found the Numberphile videos via a Twitter friend (@somechum), I simply couldn't get enough.  I spent a substantial amount of time watching each one, sometimes more than once!  I love the videos, I love the people in the videos (perhaps a small crush on a few of the guys in them), and I love all the things I've found from the videos which happens to include a book by Alex Bellos titled Here's Looking at Euclid (US).

I have found Here's Looking at Euclid immensely fascinating.  If you enjoy math, history, or both, I highly recommend the book.  Even though I already knew a lot of information in the book there was a lot of information I didn't know (Oh Pythagoras!).  Aside from that, it's a well written book that flows from subject to subject with a Henry Rollinsesqe ease. But I'm not writing today to tell you to read a book. 

I'm continuing on with my journey.  From the book I found an interesting website (this book has led me to some interesting web searches) titled The On-Line Encyclopedia of Integer Sequences (OEIS).

I have no doubt that if you were following what I was saying, you are gone now.  That's okay, for the one person that stumbles here and isn't completely annoyed/confused/pondering my sanity I have more to tell.

I did not go to the website to look up any sequences (though admittedly, it's right up my alley, lists of numbers!).  I went to the website because of an excerpt of Bellos' book that tells of music that can be found on the website.  The basic idea is that you take an 88 key piano and you define each key from lowest note to highest with the value of 1-88 respectively and when you reach 89 you simply start back at the beginning.  So take a sequence, play the keys, and you have music.  If you wanted to listen to what the Fibonacci numbers might sound like, there you have it!

The sequence I wanted to listen to in particular was noted in Euclid, the Recam├ín sequence.  As noted by Bellos, it is an interesting piece of music.

One of the other things I found interesting and fun is that not only can you listen to these sequences, you can even choose different instruments ("Breath Noise" for fuck's sake!!!).  You can guess what I've been listening to while working today!

Anyway, from OEIS I went to Music Algorithms which is fun to play with even when you have no idea what "pitch" is really about.  Music Algorithms took me to NWACC and there I stopped because I was like, "whoa, Northwest Academic Computing Consortium, you look way too official for me to be here".

So anyway, go to those sites, play around and see where the journey takes you.  It's what web surfing is all about and you might learn some cool shit along the way (Oh Pythagoras!).

Post Script: You could go NumberphileBrady Haran→Variety of Channels  (Very cool stuff...)

Post Post Script: Breath Noises wasn't as cool as I hoped it would be, but it was still a fun discovery.  If you find a good sequence with breath noises, please share with me!