Thought Stew cooked up in the Mind of an Insomniac

Well, here I sit. It’s 6:00 a.m. and I’ve been up since 2. Yea great joys. So I thought I’d babble about some things that have been on my mind. Sorry for not being around lately, life has been keeping me very busy. Not uninspired, just tired.

First of all, not being able to sleep means you’re likely to see some really annoying infomercials if you have the TV on, which I did. This one commercial came on that was trying to sell something that would help you lose weight. Nothing new there. But this thing was just wacked, and makes me think if we continue on this path, we’ll all de-evolve into slabs of stone from inactivity. They call it a sauna belt. It’s a belt that you strap to the area of your body that you’d like to be less, well, roly-poly. It heats up, making you sweat and apparently lose weight. It actually makes a point of saying that you can lose weight, an inch per hour, while making no effort. Ok, how lazy are we getting that someone can shamelessly sit there and say that? Then again, it is late night TV. But it sure makes me wonder if this is just one big scam. If you’re sweating, aren’t you going to get thirsty? And if you’re thirsty, aren’t you going to drink water, and then….put the weight back on? And if you’re not drinking water, aren’t you dehydrating? And if you’re losing all that sweat, enough to lose an inch an hour, where is it going to go? I don’t think I want to hang out with anyone wearing one of these things. I also noticed they never mention how much it is. Wonder how much these people would try and soak people for who want to buy this thing?

On the topic of useless things, I got thinking about something I had to use as a kid. Does anyone else remember the abacus? Probably not. I think there are only a few of us around who were actually subjected to that thing because our teachers thought it was a good idea. Well, maybe some teachers could actually teach it so it was, but mine sure couldn’t.

Ok I think everybody knows what an abacus is, right? Apparently some chinese math wizzes started using them before they had calculators and loved them to death. The thing consisted of a huge number of columns of beads, each containing four beads. The beads could be pushed up from the bottom to represent numbers. Above the columns was a row of beads. These could be pushed down and each of them represented 5. The far right column and the far right bead in the row represented 1’s, the next column over represented 10’s, the next column over represented 100’s, etc. So if you pushed up beads from the bottom you could make 1, 2, 3, 4, or 10, 20, 30, 40, or 100, 200, 300, 400, yada yada yada yada bla bla bla. Now, the beads on the top could make 5, 50, etc. and if you added beads from the bottom, you could get 6 to 9 of whatever you wanted.

Bored yet? Well hopefully I will make my way to a point soon. It was an ok concept when they were teaching students how to count. I could understand that. You count how many beads and you can sort of physically see numbers to a point. But where it became a curse of doom is when they started making me multiply and divide. Ok, Say I was multiplying 34×10, or whatever random cursed numbers the teacher threw at me. You’d put 34 on the left and 10 on the right and have a pre-set number of columns free between them..and put the answer there. Anybody see a problem? You basically had to do the math in your head. The abacus just became a place to display the answer. Maybe my teacher was just a dope, but I swear to god that’s the way I was taught. At this point, I just wanted to hurl the abacus across the room because it was serving no purpose whatsoever. At least when people multiply and divide using pencil and paper, they’re doing it in smaller chunks and the numbers on the paper actually help. I just want a calculator at this point.

And here’s a weird phrase. “Catchment area.” I’m starting to volunteer at an organization and that’s the phrase they use to describe the area that their organization covers. But doesn’t catchment area make you think of a rain gutter or some kind of drip-catching tray? Maybe I’m just weird, but wouldn’t district or region be simpler?

And that’s about all I could come up with, isn’t that sad? Hopefully Steve can come up with something better later.

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