Month: October 2012

Home Again, Home Again

The last few days have gone by faster than I ever could have imagined. I can’t believe it was only last Friday that the process of coming home started, and now it’s Wednesday evening and I’m sitting at my kitchen table surrounded by all of my little brother’s college mail. Time really has a way of sneaking up on you! It’s overwhelming to look across from me and see my trunk and drawers and boxes and think about unpacking it all, but I figure I’ve got five months, so I probably don’t need to start unpacking immediately. I do need to get some of that stuff out, though, so that I have things to wear in the next few days. That’s probably important.

The flight today was pretty uneventful. It’s been awhile since the last time I was on a plane – I think it was last spring break. Even though the noise in the back of the plane was slightly ridiculous, it was almost calming enough to be considered white noise, and I had no trouble concentrating on my book. It was one I started reading last June but had to put down because I just got so busy, and the other day after I decided to leave school I picked it up again. Honestly, it’s one of the best books I’ve ever read. It’s non-fiction and it’s all about math, so it probably wouldn’t appeal to the masses, but I really enjoyed it! When I finished it, I looked over at my mom and said, “Everyone needs to read this book.” I then opened the front cover and voila! Some reviewer agreed with me! So, in conclusion, everyone needs to read this book.

Here’s Looking at Euclid was written by Alex Bellos, a British journalist who graduated from Oxford with a double major in mathematics and philosophy. The book is separated into sections and deals with not only concepts and ideas, but personal interviews and background information about people who have influenced the reception of those concepts. For example, there’s a section that deals with φ, the golden ratio, and has a description of Alex’s encounter with the man who uses φ to design dentures. The math is laid out in really simple terms so it’s not too difficult to understand if you don’t know much about math, but it’s also not too tedious if you’re more experienced. It’s just really well-written. I was upset when I finished the book – I wanted there to be so much more!

One of the things I’m looking forward to most about being home is being able to read all the books I want. I have a long list of books that I’ve been adding to for years that I really want to read, and I figured now is a pretty good opportunity to start making a dent in it. Between my parents, the public library, the school library, and my Nook, I can probably get access to all the literature I want! I have to decide where to start, though; that’s going to be the hard part. Maybe it’s just best to start at the beginning. We’ll see what I end up choosing first!

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A Walk in the Park

It’s really amazing, some of the things that little kids know and understand. I seem to think I have things figured out, but nothing is ever quite the way I see it. A little change in perspective; for example, the perspective of a three-year-old; can sometimes be enough to make you think a little differently.

This is my cousin Jillian posing in front of Oz Park.

This kid is a bundle of CRAZY energy. I never see her slow down except when she’s sleeping – and even then, she’s probably having all sorts of adventures in her dreams, so that doesn’t even count. When we went to the park this afternoon, she was running every which way, through play structures and down slides, up stairs, on swings – it was nearly impossible to even follow her with our eyes, much less actually follow her! It was a beautiful day, though, and it was really very nice to be outside. The sun was warm and the leaves were all nice and crunchy, like they should be in the fall. Jillian spent a lot of time kicking the leaves and/or hitting them with a stick. I’m not sure what the appeal of that particular activity is, but I’m also not three so I’m not going to pretend I understand.

Anyway, it was nice to have some time to be outside and have a chat with my mom and my aunt about life direction, which I’ve been struggling a lot with lately. They definitely had different college experiences than each other (and also than me) and it’s always helpful to hear other people’s opinions about the things on which I meditate daily. It seems like everybody has gone through a similar directional crisis at some point, and at least I’ve been able to identify mine at a time when I have a great opportunity to reflect and refocus. Hopefully with the extra few months I’ve acquired before the next time I start classes, I’ll be able to spend some energy sort of figuring out what comes next for me.

Of course, like any good afternoon in the park, it ended with ice cream.

If there’s anything Jillian did NOT need at this point in the afternoon, it was sugar (aka more energy). But she is just so adorable when she gets sprinkles all over her face!

She also seemed so genuinely concerned about the fact that I wasn’t eating ice cream, and proceeded to question me thoroughly about it. “Where’s your ice cream?” she asked. Followed by, “don’t you LIKE ice cream?” And when I answered that yes, of course I liked ice cream, she appeared even more concerned that I wasn’t eating it. That’s why I love seeing her perspective; everything is so black-and-white for her. In her three-year-old brain, me liking ice cream + me being in an ice cream shop should = me eating ice cream, because that’s just the way it is. I wish it really was that simple. It kills me that someday she’s going to grow up and be able to understand why I didn’t eat any ice cream. I wish everybody’s mind worked just like hers, especially mine. Because I really could have gone for a Pumpkin Pie Blizzard.

When I get back to school, the first thing I’m going to do is take Jillian out for ice cream. And I’m going to chase her around the park and push her on the swing and do all the things I didn’t have the energy to do for her today. She’s a smart kid. She deserves it.

Fabulous Films: A Two-Part Party

It is extremely rare that I ever see a movie in theaters.  Mostly because I am both poor and lazy, and the combination makes spending $10 to walk three blocks through the cold rarely worth my time and effort. Exhibit A: the last time I saw a movie in a theater was when I got a free ticket to Finding Nemo in 3-D, and it was really hard for me to force myself to go even though it was free because it was so far away. Also, I fell asleep during it (whoops).

Now: a big thank-you to my mother for trying to make me feel better about the fact that basically my whole life is being ripped away from me by taking me to the movies! Two times in the past two days! Whoa! This is a whole new world.

Our adventure began yesterday afternoon when we hit up the afternoon showing of Pitch Perfect. I found the idea of this movie rather intriguing, especially since I am so invested in the lively world of college a cappella. I was also completely ready to see aspects of my own experiences in the movie, since the screenwriter was actually a graduate of my university who participated in our specific brand of a cappella “scene.” Don’t get me wrong, it was definitely an exaggerated picture of what goes on in our world, but man, were there times when I felt that startling “ping” of accuracy. As a member of an all-female a cappella group, I totally relate to the reception of all-female a cappella as frustrating and difficult. It is really hard for a group of girls to produce a really full sound without all the low notes, and most of the time I feel like groups are judged based on their appearance more than their sound. That’s definitely something we’ve tried to fight within my group by tackling unconventional, un-girly songs – but of course, we haven’t met with movie fairy-tale success. Altogether, though, it was an entertaining movie with some impressive performances (and OMG THE ENDING SO CUTE). Plus, Rebel Wilson. That’s all.

This afternoon, after my parents finished packing up my room (I say “my parents” because I didn’t really help that much unless sitting on my trunk on the curb counts), we decided that we should see Perks of Being a Wallflower. None of us have read the book, but the movie’s gotten awesome reviews and everyone who’s seen it has recommended it, so we thought we’d culture ourselves. It was, in fact, really good. I’ve loved Logan Lerman since his “Jack and Bobby” days (if you don’t know what that is, please look it up) so I knew he’d impress me, but Ezra Miller was absolutely INCREDIBLE. Emma Watson was just okay – her American accent was atrocious, but I’ll give her points for trying. I’m definitely going to sit down and read the book with all my newfound free time, although I’m sure the author did a great job of adapting his own book into a screenplay so there shouldn’t be any terrible discrepancies. Sadly, I’ll probably always like the movie better because I saw it first, but I’m sure the book will also be amazing.

As much as I’ve loved my traipse into cinema in the last two days, I will soon go back to my stubborn, lazy way of refusing to see movies in the theater. Although I will say that our movie today cost $5 a person (gotta love those bargain matinees) and the fact that we drove there made it FAR more bearable. I’m destined to watch movies on Netflix for the rest of my life, and I’m kind of okay with that.