Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Too many topics to count

You know you go to an engineering school when you end a note about a cool vegetable shop with and get a response back saying "tsk tsk, closing tags you didn't open isn't up to standards."

It looks like my passionate pursuit next semester will be Tai Chi. Or at least I'm finally doing it, credit/funding or no. It's taken a lot of consideration to say this; tai chi itself holds a lot of meaning to me (mostly because of my grandfather), and I've been holding back on starting because I know it's not something I will - or can - undertake lightly, or just give up once I've started. And I haven't been reliable or committed enough in the past to allow myself to take it up in good conscience. I'm not sure if I'm adult enough now to do that, still. But I think I'm at the point where I can try.

Interestingly enough, there's an old Chinese saying that the Tai Chi student searches N years for a good teacher, where N = 3. (So they didn't quite phrase it like that.) And it's been - almost exactly three years since I've started seriously looking. So we'll see.

Today at work we got an email asking people to come downstairs and help turn a bowling lane into a conference table.

I'm not kidding. A bowling lane, still with the markings, stains, and scuff marks on top of it, yards of solid wood maybe 4 inches thick - sawed in half to make two of the funkiest conference tables I've ever seen. (Or will make, rather; they need to be sanded and actually attached to the frames and all that.) So my coding break this afternoon was spent with about 30 other people hoisting these slabs of wood on top of good-sized steel frames. Funkiest. Tables. Ever.

White mountain creamery sweet cream ice cream needs to be savored one spoonful at a time. You'll need to share a large bowl with friends, or it'll melt all over you before you're done.

The Wikimedia conference is coming to Boston. I'm excited. I've stopped pretending that I'm not good enough to contribute to open source and open content; yeah, I don't know much, but know something, and I'm learning. Open content saved me, and it's time to give back. Since I can't pick up lectures, the radio, or snippets of conversation, almost everything I know comes from reading. Libraries are glorious, but books are often static repositories of beautifully polished one-way communications, set down as gospel. The internet adds real-time updates, a broader range of in-development information, and most importantly the ability to communicate with others without the terror that I'm lipreading someone wrong.

Instead of debating in classroom discussions, I hash out opinions on the internet, on forums and wikis and IRC (which, in turn, emboldens me to speak up in classroom discussions that I can't fully follow). Instead of my hearing being a liability, it becomes an asset; since I've learned how to assimilate visual and textual information very rapidly to compensate for lack of sound, I can data-surf the web with impunity, mentally collating information as fast as I can scroll through a browser. Interestingly enough, the increasing trend towards podcasting and video is actually making the internet less accessible to me; I haven't figured out a way around those yet, but I'm sure there'll be one soon (if someone else doesn't make it, I will).

My aunt June (Aunt 6 of 8) is visiting Boston for the week. We got a trunkload of vegetables from Russo's last night before stuffing ourselves with sushi at Minado's, and today I made cheese polenta with mango-zucchini shrimp and parmesan-broiled vegetables with red pepper. It's nice when family visits; you get an excuse to indulge under the pretense of being a good host.

I've lost track of how many topics this entry has.

1 comment:

Herbert Chang said...

Hey Mel,

I found this thing on.. i guess roughly translated could be the Philosophy of TaiChi. uh.. It's in Mandarin, but if you'd like to take a look at it, lemme know!