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    Wednesday, June 29, 2005

    Why Isn't My Brain A Computer?!?

    Ok, I was going to write a post much more insightful than the usual drivel I've been putting up since I got a job. Wandering around with headphones on seven hours a day gives me plenty of time to think about things, yet I'm usually too tired to type them.

    Unfortunately, the subject I wanted to talk about came from a book I read as a child - a whole series of books, actually. They were small, flimsy, illustrated paperbacks about the lives of bugs. Anthropomorphic bugs. And each book began with the same introduction, and THAT is the part that's important right now...

    I remember the gist of it, but not the actual wording, and I can't remember the name of the series or the author. My mom is in West Virginia with her cell turned off (or maybe they don't have service in hill country yet...) and no searching on google or amazon has pointed me in the right direction.

    It happens more and more often - I'll think of a book (it's almost always a book) or sometimes a movie or song and I won't be able to come up with who it was by or what it was called. Is this what it feels like to grow old? To feel like your brain has reached carrying capacity - that every new memory stored replaces an old one?

    I used to have an amazing talent for remembering names. At church camp, each cabin would be assigned at least one meal to serve. When it was my cabin's turn, I always stood at the head of the serving line and greeted every camper and counselor by name - over one hundred of them, and we were only there a week. I don't think there was a person I graduated high school with (285 members) that I didn't know their first and last name. But once I began college, I started losing names. Suddenly I couldn't remember the name of my third grade teacher, or the guy I made out with on vacation the year before. It was like my brain said "ok, all full," and then began selectively deleting names every time I met someone new.

    Maybe this is ok. Maybe the human brain isn't designed to records or lists - maybe I should be glad that I can't memorize my Italian vocabulary words but I can solve problems and invent elaborate fantasies and I never get lost. Maybe I'm selling my brain short by wanting it to remember every book I've ever read (or had my mom read to me).

    Or maybe it is all there, and I just can't figure out how to get at it...


    Blogger Paul said...

    same with me - i used to be great at remembering things, names, phone numbers the lot.

    i first noticed things slipping when i couldn't remember the right word for things, i'd know there was a word that described exactly what i wanted to say but it would never come.

    the whole names and faces thing has been more recent, and maybe it's just a coincidence but did start happening at around the time of increased drug usage. and even when i met someone sober i wouldn't remember them later.

    i think the brain does have a limited capacity, but i find that if i need to remember something, if i think about it afterwards then it sticks - like it gets hardwired in. which means i remember really random stuff, but not necessarily important things.

    10:38 AM  
    Blogger Dean said...

    Oh, it gets worse. Much worse. I don't even try to remember people's names any more. It'll just end badly.

    I think your brain does fill up and starts overwriting old stuff with new stuff. But it's more complex than that, because it can also reconstruct old stuff from various clues, which is a good part of the reason that 'repressed memories' proved so dangerous, and I'm pretty sure that when you set it to retrieveing some old memory, it overwrites either some other old stuff or some newer stuff.

    1:05 PM  
    Blogger sxKitten said...

    I've always been hopeless with names, so I don't worry about it. Childhood memories, on the other hand, I really resent losing.

    I think that they're not really lost, though - not permanently. Our brains just lose the index to where they're stored. The right trigger can bring them all flooding back.

    I'm afraid I can't help you with the bug books. You wouldn't happen to remember one about 2 brothers (I think they were princes) who couldn't share, so had one of everything in blue and one of everything in red, would you?

    2:13 PM  

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    Tuesday, June 28, 2005


    I love Love LOVE the score to Batman Begins. The four note, repeated theme builds such tension... I can't believe there was a time I couldn't stand listening to strings. Wow.


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    Friday, June 24, 2005

    Toilets Trouble, Nepalese Style

    I did a brief (three week) study abroad in Nepal during my junior year at OSU. I came back with a new appreciation for indoor plumbing. The thing is, I'm a farm girl, I've gone camping, I'm not opposed to squatting, but the toilets in Nepal tricked me - I'd go to the bathroom INSIDE a house or school, and there would be a white porcelain toilet, just like the ones at home. I'd do my business, but when I'd go to flush, I'd realize that THE TOILET WASN'T HOOKED UP TO ANYTHING! There would be a little bucket and a ladle next to it, so after using the toilet like a westerner, one could scoop out their waste, and dispose of it properly (OUTSIDE).

    Of course, many of us either didn't understand the process, or just didn't want to be seen carrying the bucket outside, so sometimes I'd come to one of these toilets and it would be completely full... GOD it was so gross! For MONTHS after I came home I'd have nightmares that I'd go to a huge public bathroom (like at a stadium or movie theater) and as I'd go from stall to stall, each and every one would be filled to the brim, waiting for someone with a bucket to take care of the problem. GROSS!

    I would have been infinitely more comfortable squatting in the woods, or using a traditional Nepalese toilet (an outhouse over a hole in the ground).


    Blogger sxKitten said...

    Ick - give me a good old outhouse (or convenient bush) any day. I remember my sister telling me about the toilets on the trains in parts of Asia - basically a hole in the floor, with the tracks rushing by underneath. I'm guessing walking along the tracks is a lot less popular over there.

    I sometimes have nightmares about wandering into a huge bathroom/changing room where none of the stalls have doors.

    11:55 PM  

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    Sunday, June 19, 2005


    Seriously guys, what's the difference between "Isolated" T-Storms and "Scattered" T-Storms? Which is more severe? Which is more likely?

    The Weather Channel says that there's a 30% chance of precipitation for the next six days, but they interchange "Scattered" and "Isolated". Arbitrary? Possibly.

    Part of me prays for rain to give my feet a rest, but the other part of me won't do a rain dance because I need the money.

    On another note - I come up with all sorts of interesting observations to muse on while at work, but none of them make it to the blog because I'm too tired (last night I went to bed at 8pm, to wake at 8am - it felt necessary).


    Blogger Dean said...

    You need one of those little voice recorders. Then you could make Ryan transcribe your thoughts.

    Then your only problem would be all the people looking at you crossways because you were wandering along the street talking to yourself.

    11:26 AM  
    Blogger sxKitten said...

    Well, the scattered thunderstorms probably feel more isolated than storms that have a close-knit group of friends and family. T-storms need love, too.

    Dean: not a problem - most people will assume you're talking on a cell phone. I'd like one of those recorders to use on my way to work - I get my best ideas in the car, when I can't write them down.

    3:19 PM  

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    Wednesday, June 15, 2005


    It's already past midnight? How did that happen?

    I don't have time for a long post, but let me say this: the phrase, "I'll rape your wife" is NEVER funny. Not a joke guys. Sorry.


    Blogger Chris said...

    hahahahaha that's hilarious

    2:12 AM  
    Blogger Dean said...

    I agree, it's not funny. That makes 'crew' a dork.

    11:57 PM  
    Blogger Diva said...

    Nope. Not funny at all.

    11:42 PM  

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    Tuesday, June 07, 2005

    I Love My Job

    No, seriously. I really do.

    I realized this today. It was about 10am. I had my iPod on with a playlist of upbeat songs. I had on comfortable running shoes and SPF 50 sunblock. I was wandering around an apartment complex, hanging fliers on doors but also admiring peoples gardens, furniture, even their welcome mats. I was working up a sweat but I wasn't fatigued, the sky was a beautiful shade of blue, and I was just HAPPY. Happy to be working. Happy to have a job where no one is directly supervising me. Happy to be able to make my own decisions about where to go, where to park, and to a point, when to quit for the day. When to take a lunch. When to plug through and do an entire neighborhood without stopping. When to stay out even if it's raining. AND when I got my first paycheck, I was making $.50 more an hour than I thought I was. Nice bonus.

    Then, after lunch, I'm driving to the next neighborhood and I realize I can't see anything directly in front of me. It's the "aura" of an oncoming migraine. I was actually having such a good time at work, that I was in denial for fifteen minutes of traffic, trying to convince myself that since my head didn't hurt, it wasn't a migraine and it would go away. Pretty soon I realized that my vision was getting worse, and staying on the road was making me a threat to myself and others. I went straight to the restaurant (two hours before I should have clocked out), but they were so busy that I just replaced the fliers, clocked out and left without saying a word. I white-knuckled the steering wheel the entire way home, staying in one lane for all but the last block. Most of the time I could only see with my left eye.

    By the time I got to the apartment, I could feel it. I took some meds and slept fitfully for about four hours. It still hurts if I cough, but I was actually able to go to the grocery store. Amazing.

    Hopefully I won't show up to work tomorrow just to be fired, because I love my job.


    Blogger Dean said...

    Jeez. I hope they're understanding.

    I suffer from occasional migraines. I don't get much of the visual disturbance, just enormous thudding pain that, at its worst, has me contemplating suicide. I've learned what triggers them though, and I can pretty much always head them off before they really get going now.

    8:09 AM  

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    Sunday, June 05, 2005

    Life Is Hard Without Tools

    Tired of sharing our apartment with insects, Ryan and I went to Lowes yesterday to buy a screen door. We found the cheapest one ($16!), bought the hardware ($5!) and some bug bombs and returned home to start our project.

    Although I had measured the width of the frame beforehand, the thought never crossed my mind to measure the height. The screen was about an inch too tall for the frame.

    Now, if I lived in Ohio with my family, this would not be a problem. Dad has barns full of tools and I'm sure he could have the job done in under five minutes. Unfortunately, I live in Florida with no barn, and no tools more powerful than an electric drill.

    So we went back to Lowes, asked their tool expert to help with our problem, and he recommended a $20 single blade bench plane. In my head, I could see this working. At home, in reality, not so much. I managed to hack a couple of chunks out of the door before Ryan made me stop, and I stormed off in frustration.

    Today, we're heading back, hopefully to return the bench plane and get a saw.


    Blogger Dean said...

    It'd take a while to plane an inch off a door. It'd be a hell of a job with a handsaw, too.

    Places like Lowe's will often cut things like that for you.

    12:42 AM  
    Blogger the Arrogant Fool said...

    Oh no, Lowes denied my cutting request. So did Home Depot.

    I took the plane back and bought a hacksaw, and we used my electric drill to drill holes about two inches apart down the line we wanted to cut. I managed to break two of my drill bits doing this. But eventually we got it to fit. Ryan even sanded the edges with his dremel tool. It's not the prettiest thing in the world but it functions and it makes me happy.

    10:55 PM  
    Blogger Dean said...

    Eh? The bastards. They used to do that sort of thing. That's one thing I've noticed with the big-box stores: more selection, more service on basic things, less on anything that's out of the ordinary.

    8:04 AM  

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    Wednesday, June 01, 2005

    Music Is The Weapon Of The Future

    Stolen from Wheelson:

    The total volume of music files on my computer:
    2313 songs
    13.52 GB
    7 days, 14 hours, 10 minutes and 55 seconds of continuious play

    The last CD I bought was:
    Just Be by Tiesto (for my mom)

    Song playing right now:
    Nightfire by Trus1te (aka Ryan Donnells, a kid from FSU) and this is the first time I've ever listened to it

    Five songs I listen to a lot or mean a lot to me, in no particular order:
    • Do You Know (Infiniti Mix) by Silverblue - Play Count = 29
    • Staring at the Sun by TV on the Radio - Play Count = 26
    • Nara by E.S. Posthumus - Play Count = 17
    • Wonderland (S-Man's Dark Tribe Mix) by Psychedelic Waltons - Play Count = 16
    • and, since I have a couple of songs with a play count of 15, I'll just say that my favorite song is Enjoy the Silence by Sasha and Digweed, though that may not be the name of it OR it may not actually be Sasha and Digweed. But whatever it is, damn it's good.


    Blogger Chris said...

    i don't have a lot of music on my computer compared to most of my friends, but it's 14497 songs, 38.4 days, 63.92 gb and right now i'm loving this group "band of bees"

    7:59 PM  
    Blogger Wheelson said...

    I'm a sucker for dance music as well but was too cowardly to admit to it.

    5:12 PM  

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