all the colors

April 15, 2008

The Electronic Brain Machine

Filed under: books,my world — Kathy @ 4:19 pm
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My recovery hasn’t been as smooth as I would have liked due to what the doctor calls “residual pain” in my right arm. I like to call it “THAT @#*&)#! PAIN IN MY ARM” but really and truly I gave up all swearing a few days before Andy came home and I’m not sure if writing it out in silly symbols violates my goal. But I digress. Yesterday I visited with the good Doctor Berry who put me on a few new meds to see if the “nerve root,” will calm down, even though the surgery has already given the thing plenty of room to function normally. I liken this to a crying child who wants an ice cream cone and gets so worked up that when you hand her the desired treat she can’t stop crying. That’s my nerve root. Just throwing a tantrum. I should send it to bed without supper.

One thing that has made life more tolerable during recovery is my trusty macbook which provides the wonderful diversion of the interwebosphere. And also books. Always books. When I came across this explanation of what a computer is, published in 1963 in a set of children’s books which my sisters and I used to love when we were wee ones ourselves, I got a big kick out of it. So here is a little crazy nostalgia, including the first part of the article, which was written by an anonymous guy who liked to use italics and quote marks a lot and who was clearly afraid computers would someday take over the world.

The Electronic Brain Machine

“One of the strangest things we hear about in science these days (and probably for many days to come) is the electric brain. Electric brains are also called electronic computers. They are electronic. They use electronic tubes just as your radio or television does. They are computers too. A computer is something that can figure out a problem in arithmetic.

Now we know what electric brains are. What they aren’t is very surprising. To begin with, they are not ‘brains.’ They can’t ‘think.’ They are, really, giant adding machines. They do all their work by simple arithmetic. But they do it at such amazing speed that they can solve many of our toughest scientific problems in just a few minutes or sometimes seconds.


In telling the story of these ‘brains’ that aren’t really brains, we will also be telling the wonderful story of why it is that your brain–even if you are still in school–is really a better brain than the very biggest of the machines that we have come to call electric brains.

In the very first place, an electric brain has only two thoughts in all the thousands of miles of wire and thousands of tubes that may go to make up its ‘head.’ Many people, when they hear that, don’t believe it. They say that such remarkable machines must have more than two simple thoughts. But the fact is that they haven’t. The only two thoughts that an electric brain has are ‘Off’ and ‘On.’ In other words, either there is or there isn’t electricity flowing through one of its tubes or wires. In its basic form an electric brain is nothing more than thousands of switches that go either ‘On’ or ‘Off.’ “

So kudos to The Bookshelf for Boys and Girls. Indeed, the prediction was right that we would be hearing about computers “for many days to come.” I’m just glad somewhere along the line we dropped the name “electronic brain machine.” And that they got sized down just a tiny bit. And that they actually do more than arithmetic problems. Like provide great diversions for me during nerve tantrums.


February 21, 2008

You’ve Got a Friend

Filed under: books,friends,websites — Kathy @ 12:04 am
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I like to make lists. I’m patently unorganized, and making lists gives me the illusion that I really AM organized. I recently discovered which helps satisfy my urge to list all the books I read. The site also is meant to help it’s members network with book loving friends, so I thought it sounded fun. I signed up (it’s free) and immediately had exactly 0 friends. So I told Jo about it, and then she joined and I then had 1 friend. Of course Jo immediately garnered 9 or 10 friends. She invited my sister, Stephanie, to join, who did and pretty quickly was up to 7 friends, so then I jumped up to 2 friends.

As I write this, Stephanie has her 7 friends, Jo has 13 friends, and I still have 2. I love my two friends. I would do anything in the world for them, after all, there are only 2 of them. I would make something by hand for them. Or bake something yummy for them. Or chat on the phone in a pleasant manner with them. Or take a trip with them and let them have the window seat. I’m nice like that. To my friends. My 2 friends.

I’d love to have more friends, of course. Who wouldn’t? For instance, I’d love for Stacie, Marianne, Sheldon, Connie, Holly, Lynnette, Rosie, Matt, Jennie, Myrna, Scott, Ross and Leone (even audio books count!), and you too, if you like to read, to be my friends in the goodreads network. Chances are, I’ll still have 2 friends a month from now. But a girl can dream, can’t she?

So here’s to lists, and books, and friends. I hope to have lots of all three someday.

January 17, 2008

Guild Rat

Filed under: books,friends,my world,quilt guilds — Kathy @ 11:11 pm
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I belong to two different quilt guilds in my area. They are different in format and have different members and I enjoy them both a ton. I had to miss the first one this month because I woke up with a migraine on that day, and that’s the only thing that can keep me from going is if I’m so ill I can’t move. Today was the other guild’s meeting. Every month in this guild someone gets up and tells about themselves using a gift basket they have put together with things that represent themselves. Last month Annette Rose, who works at Stylish Fabrics-Bernina in Logan, Utah put together the greatest basket full of fun things, which she graciously gave to me. Check out this pillow that Annette made, with the crocheted decoration on the pocket. Amazing!

Reminder pocket pillow
The pockets hold reminders, of course, and the cutest notepad in the shape of a dress.

So this month it was my turn to assemble some stuff. This is what I put in the basket, and what it represents about me:

Spotlight basket
  • The children’s book, Mama, Do You Love Me–I was born in Alaska and I love children’s books
  • A magnet about sisters–I have 6 sisters and no brothers
  • A green vintage wall pocket, so cute!–I’ve had a bit of an obsession with the color green on and off throughout my life. I must have been an annoying child when I insisted on using the green bath towell and the green dinner plate!
  • Four fat quarters, two pink and two blue–I have two daughters and two sons
  • A book, “What Dogs Teach Us” –I love dogs and currently have a golden retriever
  • A cat book marker–I also have a cat
  • A package of bookplates–I love to read and love books
  • A little vintage framed embroidery piece–I love antiques, especially quilts and needlework
  • Some perfume and lotion samples–I always wear perfume
  • A CD, All the Roadrunning by Mark Knoepfler and Emmy Lou Harris–I love music and this is a current favorite
  • A package of quilt tape for marking rulers–I love everything about quilting and am a notions junkie
  • A home magazine–my life right now is building my home
  • A car air freshener in the fragrance of “sun and sand”–I lived in Southern California for 20 years
  • A small can of Almond Roca–I could eat this for breakfast, lunch and dinner
  • Two small bottles of juice, Martinelli’s sparkling cider and cranberry–two of my favorite drinks
  • A quilt book–I bought this book for myself and then a few months later I bought this book for myself again. I’m absent minded!
  • A book on the history of the Utah Quilt Guild–I’m an area rep for this organization
  • Two movie passes–I love to go to movies and love to watch my Netflix movies too
  • An Apple sticker and the url of this blog–I’m crazy about my new Macbook and this here is my blog

Here are the nice ladies in the guild. I enjoy them so much!

November 27, 2007

A-wimoweh, A-wimoweh

Filed under: books,Christmas,my world — Kathy @ 11:06 am

The next category of Christmas decorating is peaceful villages. Because it takes a village to make a good Christmas.

Tin Christmas village

This little tin village sits on the glass end table in the living room. It is a Hallmark ornament series I collected a few years ago, but I’ve never hung them on the tree. There are only nine little buildings in this village, and I use some miniature Hallmark ornaments like some reindeer and some cars, planes, and fire trucks in the village too.

David Winter village

Here are the David Winter cottages that sit in the dining room. They are cast of a solid stone-like material and are quite heavy. Don’t they make a charming English village?

David Winter village

The toymaker’s shop and the clocktower.

Sadly, neither of my villages are in current production. The tin village mayor enacted a building moratorium, and so the town is as big as it is going to get. The David Winter village sometimes gets a “new” house thanks to the “Interweb Real Estate Co.”

Christmas storybooks

The Christmas books, most of them children’s storybooks, sit underneath the David Winter village.

I buy a few new books every year, and we read them too. I guess if I still had little children we might get through them all at bedtimes during December, but now that we are all big and busy, we are lucky to read through a few of them together during the season.

Oh well.

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