Sunday, October 30, 2005


There's nothing like a nonfunctional laptop power cord to make you realize how dependent you are on it (and how much it limits your motion to be plugged in). I'll talk to IT tomorrow morning. In other words, I'm seriously considering getting a PocketPC, a Palm, or something else handheld - my laptop is great, but sometimes I just need... a small computing thing that syncs with Outlook and has wireless. I think the battery would last longer on those, too. (I can just imagine people with handhelds laughing at me now. "The fool! She thinks they have good battery life...")

It was not altogether a terrible day, by which I mean it was actually quite nice. The Wellesley book fair is awfully tempting to be at, especially when stuff is going at $5 a bag. Frell yeah. I hadn't planned on going until Karen and Beth showed up at my door, but now I have a sack of educational psychology books I didn't have before, along with such classics as Hume's "An Inquiry Concerning Human Understanding" and a Bible (New American - the official Catholic translation). I should actually read, with good depth and seriousness, the central book of the religion I was raised in. I also got a translation of the Book of Job, which is one of my favorites because of the way it hits home. It hits home painfully, but it hits.

There's also an old, slim copy of Romeo and Juliet in the bag. I have to finish writing that Rhomeo and Julihat script from freshman year, and this will hopefully provide impetus. I want to have it complete before the seniors graduate. I shudder at sappy things, but I actually love some of the passages in there between Romeo and Juliet; they're beautifully written and not just gratituous sugar. Sometimes that's how I feel about math and other beautiful ideas in math and science. I think Shakespeare captures the reverent awe very well.

But soft! What flux through yonder plane doth break? It is the E, and Julihat is the source!

When I understand a deep idea for the first time, the feeling I get is kind of what I imagine other people feel like when they fall in love with a person. Except this is a more distant and sort of reverent awe, a walking around with your feet floating off because you're seeing that concept everywhere you look. The first time I saw calculus, it happened. When I understood the evolution of the monetary system (when the phrase "time is money" began to truly make sense), it happened too. When I learned about formal visual balance in artistic compositions, I ran around framing the world between my fingers. When I learned there was more than one kind of infinity. When I saw that integrators and differentiators weren't just calculus concepts. I don't need alcohol because I can get drunk on ideas.

The appreciation of that sort of beauty used to be my subsitute for people. It still is my subsitute for people when I don't know what to do in a social situation or when I'm afraid of venting something that'll become a burden to someone else. Books are very safe friends. When you read them, nothing changes between you and them.

End that tangent. Then we had our first Better Bags meeting for Team CHASM (Chris, Herbert, Andrew, Stephen, and Mel; it works out nicely) during which we brainstormed ("Let's have tiny ninjas cart their groceries home!") and then headed to Whole Foods to observe customers. And, er, do some shopping. I brought back rice cakes, jam, and salmon patties.

Revelation of the day: Shopping bags can actually hold up to 60 lbs without breaking at all.

Second revelation: Anything beyond 20 lbs in a grocery bag is really uncomfortable to carry for an appreciably long period of time.

Conclusion: People totally underload grocery bags.

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