Saturday, April 29, 2006

10 Days left

From my ever witty husband this morning: book title suggestion:

"Chicken Soup for the Soul that Actually Just Wants Beef Soup"

Also- there was a Great and Very Humorous Nate's Black Dress Socks/ Neb's Black Knee-highs ("Knee-hi's"?) Mix-up Incident yesterday in which my husband was heard struggling with his footwear and then exclaiming, "What are these little FLOWERS on my socks!?!?"

From some edition of the New York Times that I won't bother linking to because it's too much effort: New York City schools are actually beginning to enforce the "no cell phones" policy that many have on the books, and parents are outraged. "My daugther calls me when she gets on the subway in the morning, when she gets off the subway, on her lunch hour, when she leaves school, and when she makes it home. Otherwise, how will I know that she's safe throughout the day??" "Sending a child to school in NYC is unimaginable without a cell phone."

I understand these parents' point of view, but it makes me wonder- have schools gotten SO much less safe in the past 10 years? Ten years ago very few kids went to school WITH cell phones because they simply weren't as widespread back then. (Okay, time check- make that 15 years ago...? I don't know exactly when NYC culture was Taken Over, but my point is that sometime in the not too distant past- i.e., when the city's crime rates probably weren't much different- kids were going to school without cell phones, and parents seemed to cope with it.) My Inner Statistician wants to conduct a Study to find out- have rates of child abduction decreased since cells phones became popular? Are they really making a difference, or do parents just FEEL safer...? Again, I can certainly imagine that if I were a parent, those carefully scheduled calls would be rather comforting- but, really, let's think about what would happen if something WERE happening to the kid. To me it seems unlikely that a kid is going to get kidnapped and then be allowed to use the cell phone to call for help. So the only way a parent would know something is wrong would likely be the next scheduled call that was missed. Now, if a child fails to call when exiting the subway on the way to school, does that event occur very long before the child being missed by school officials and having parents notified? (I'm assuming that the school in question actually notifies parents promptly when a student is absent, which is probably somewhat justified for Preppy Rich Kid Schools but probably not a good assumption for Poor Kid Schools.) So really, the parents may not have gained much lead time in notifying the police or doing whatever they need to do to investigate. (Which raises another question- if a frantic parent called NYC police and said "Johnny is supposed to call me a 8:03 am ON THE DOT and it is now 8:10, he's been kidnapped, I know it! I know it!" What would NYC police do? Immediately send a police car to Johnny's last known whereabouts? Somehow I kind of doubt it. They'd probably say "let's wait and see if he shows up at school on time" and then the cell phone really hasn't gained us anything.)

And another good question would be, how have cell phones changed the choices we make about our lives? The article mentioned something about the "necessity" of cell phones in lives that now include more and more extracurricular activities, longer distances to work and school, etc. So, hypothetically, let's say that it's 2006 and no such technology exists. The cell phone has Never Been Born. What kinds of choices are parents making (urban, or otherwise?) Are they choosing schools for their kids with shorter commutes? Are they trying harder to live close to the schools they want their children to attend? Perhaps fewer after-school activities and more time simply at home (where mom and dad know they're "safe"?) Are they giving their kids pepper spray or other personal safety items for the trip to school? Or are they just, to use a phrase long dead after the 80's, "taking a chill pill" and sending their kids out into the world everyday *without* a way to keep in constant contact, trusting that they'll be alright? I really don't know, but I think it's interesting to wonder.

Friday, April 28, 2006

11 Days left

in the semester, and I will be glad to be done. I'm mainly writing this to appease all you loyal readers out there after my recent Long Hiatus, not because any inspirational genius has struck. Right now I'm in the phase of Mathematical Hysteria™ when one closes one's eyes and dreams of all the fantastical adventures that happen in The Complex Plane, the midnight dances of fauns and centaurs and tree sprites... oh wait, I've mixed up The Complex Plane with Narnia once again. Well, I can't take all of you on the trip with me, but I'll show you my vacation pictures:

And, a couple of jokes, which, if you've taken complex analysis you've likely heard a thousand times and will be bored with, and if you haven't taken complex analysis you won't find funny at all:

"Why did the mathematician name his dog Cauchy?"
"He left a residue at every pole!"

"Why is 1/z like the Catholic church?"
"They both have a simple pole in the center!"

Come fly with me around the Riemann sphere! I can almost see the point at infinity ahead. And God will reveal to us His wonders...


Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Where I am! (Or is it, where am I...?)

Hi, people!! Does anyone ever even check this blog for updates anymore??? I'm at the Lehigh library, where I have been for the past several days... yeah, what can I say? The end of the semester is rapidly approaching, and I am pouring on the effort to learn things while I have the chance. I am stressed, I am not sleeping, but overall I am happy because working hard is a good feeling. (Sometimes.) The stress/happiness ratio is oscillating a lot from day to day, but when it's less than 1 we're uniformly Happy. (Yes, that's kind of a joke. It seems that we use 1/(1-z) in practially every problem in complex analysis, which, as you all know, converges absolutely and locally uniformly inside the unit circle [i.e. when the magnitude of z is less than 1.]) (turning off nerd-speak now.)

Anyway, what do y'all want from me? I have a cool(?) Easter post for this year, which I will write... sometime? Remind me later if I forget.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Also: We've found a good option for our first home purchase


Victorian Playhouse

Sorry, I can't figure out how to include a picture, but click on the link; it's definitely worth a look. ;-)

PS Did you notice, you can order it to come with cable and wireless internet? Because, you know, you just can't play tea party in a little house without wireless internet....

the pity post

I feel bad for all of you out there who might check this blog far more frequently than it's updated. So though I really don't have much to write about, here's a little mini post to keep your eyes from falling out of your head with disappointment.

There are four more weeks of school and then finals, and I really can't wait for the end. I feel a bit like a marathon runner hitting "the wall" around mile 23, when you feel that you just can't go on. (Disclaimer: school is much, much easier than running a marathon, at least for me. But it is a bit like running a marathon with your head. My head is about 100x as fit as my body, and that situation will probablly never change.)

Tomorrow morning I am going back to the eye doctor and I have decided I would like soft contacts. My trial pair this week has been quite comfortable, and I like that you don't really have to worry about cleaning them at night (you just take them out and soak them). My one concern is that things still seem blurry sometimes, in an odd way- is my perscription right? Do I have astigmatism? I don't know, but I hope the nice otometrical type person can figure it out.

I'm going to go make tea (French Vanilla, for those of you keeping track at home of The Great Tea Experiment 2006) and study for my test now.

Love, Neb