a bit of randomness

Since I enjoy reading other responses to memes, I suppose it’s only fair to participate occasionally.

1. Just for fun, I took the Foreign Services written exam while I was living in California. I didn’t pass. Let’s just say that I did not do well on the part where you had to demonstrate knowledge of U.S. government and history. Isn’t that sad? I went directly to Borders and bought a book on U.S. history. Well, I sold it to Powell’s earlier this year – still unread.

2. I can recite pi to the 55th decimal place. We could memorize it for extra credit in 12th grade Calculus. I’ve forgotten the rest (I memorized more) but those 55 digits are firmly wedged in my long-term memory.

3. Atlas is not named after a book of maps or the body builder. He is named after one of my favorite books, Atlas Shrugged, and after Atlas, the man who held up the sky. The problem with the latter is that I didn’t remember the myth correctly. I thought that Atlas was holding the world on his shoulders. I forgot that he was holding up the sky, and that he was doing so as a punishment – because he angered the gods by trying to be like them. That wasn’t exactly the name association I was looking for. Oh well ..

4. I love talking to people and hearing their stories. Once, I was on a late-night train to Heathrow; I was going to spend the night there because I had an early flight out the next morning. The train was empty except for one other person so we started talking. The guy lived in the States for a number of years, but was kicked out after multiple arrests and time in prison – mostly for robbery, I think. He wanted me to petition the immigration department once I was home so they would let him back in the country.

5. I had the animal communicator ask Atlas what his favorite things to do were. He told her that sometimes I read to him and that he likes it. I do. I like to read, and I like Atlas to feel like he’s included in things. So, if I’m reading a book about dogs and there’s a passage that reminds me of him, I’ll read it to him. Otherwise, I’ll take a break from my reading occasionally to tell him a story – about a girl and her dog and their fun adventures together.

6. Ever since my first visit to Italy, I have wanted to learn Italian. It’s such a beautiful, expressive, melodic language. I was going to learn Spanish instead because it’s much more practical, but I started re-reading Eat, Pray, Love yesterday and really resonated with the author’s description of her desire to speak Italian and the conflict she felt because it wasn’t practical – until she finally said, “Why must everything have a practical application .. Is this lifetime supposed to be only about duty?” Exactly! So I am going to learn Italian!

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22 Responses to “a bit of randomness”

  1. Laura, you should ask Davin about memorizing pi. He was in that same Calc class, though I doubt he needed extra credit. πŸ™‚

  2. learn Italian. i studied Finnish for 3 years. it made me happy. i’m not using it now, it is fading, but it still warms my heart to hear joku puhuu suomea!!!!!

  3. #2 — 55 decimal places! Very impressive.

    #3 — I read Ayn Rand’s The Fountainhead. I meant to read Atlas Shrugged, but somehow I forgot about it. These days I don’t know if I have the attention span for a 1,000+ page book, but I think I should give it a try.

    #4 — I absolutely love it when strangers tell me their life stories.

    #5 — When I first read about the animal communicator I thought, ‘hmmm……” But I love that you found out what Atlas enjoys. It’s so sweet that you read to him. I never read to our cat but I do sing to him. I am completely tone-deaf so I know I sound absolutely awful, but the kitty really seems to like it. Maybe an animal communicator could tell me for sure πŸ™‚

  4. I still think you’re crazy about the animal communicator, but it is very interesting that she knew about you reading to Atlas. Maybe there is something to it after all. Maybe. πŸ™‚
    .
    I so want to learn Italian. Spanish would be much more practical where I live, but I have absolutely no desire to learn it. I want to go to Italy someday and I need to be able to speak the language. So how are you doing it? Rosetta Stone? Some other method?

  5. jen: I will. I’m glad you enjoyed Finnish.

    ofg: I liked The Fountainhead, but I loved Atlas Shrugged. My only issue with it is that a main character gave a many many page speech mid-way through the book that essentially reiterated/spelled out her entire philosophy – which was the whole point of the story itself. She could’ve skipped that part and shortened the book considerably. I’m sure your cat enjoys the singing. I think they enjoy time with us regardless of what we’re doing (though I will say that when I sing in the car, Atlas sometimes starts to howl and bark – either he’s singing along or he’s trying to shut me up πŸ˜‰

  6. toni: yes, I’m going to start with Rosetta Stone. I may look into classes at some point but right now something I can do at home is more realistic and I like their method.

  7. I found #4 very funny, it reminded of me as I generally get stuck talking to people like that.

    I love #5 I think it is beautiful that you read to Atlas and that he likes it. What a bond you 2 share.

    Good luck with the Italian

  8. That was the best list! Two years ago, Cory and I both read American History for Dummies. I LOVED it; it was actually fairly easy to read. I, too, forgot everything I learned in school. Turns out, I also forgot nearly everything I read in that book. My memory retention for facts like that is HORRIBLE.

    Good luck learning Italian. I want to learn to speak Spanish, primarily because – like you said – it’s practical. However, my reasons also include one from my waitressing days. All the Spanish-speaking friends in the kitchen would always say things to me and about me that I didn’t understand. I told them that one day I was going to learn Spanish and then they were going to be sorry. They just laughed at me, but when I learn I’m going to seek each of them out and tell them how much their compliments meant to me ;).

  9. Thanks for sharing- you are very interesting! πŸ™‚
    #2- A few years ago at Christmastime Davin taught my niece (then in 2nd grade), about fractions and pi. He had her memorizing at least 7 digits. He is a true math geek- it was so cute how they spent literally hours doing math for fun! Still, I highly doubt he knows 55 digits.
    #4- I love hearing peoples life stories. I think it would be fun to travel around on a train for that soul purpose.
    #5- I’m with Toni, you nut. πŸ˜€

  10. Elizabeth, that was a fun list. So, why don’t you ask the animal communicator if Atlas likes your singing in the car or not?! And I’m curious if you did petition the immigration dept. on behalf of that poor soul? πŸ™‚

    Totally learn Italian. Clearly the Italians see the value in keeping their language alive, it’s not completely impractical. Now if you decided to resurrect a dead language, that would be highly impractical.

    And it just cracks me up about the History facts, and then that you know pi to the 55th digit! Priorities! πŸ™‚ -Now, which one of these is more practical?! πŸ˜‰

    Thanks for sharing!!!!

  11. e. you are a very interesting lady …i mean that in a good way!
    what is the photo?

  12. Good list. I find strangers fascinating. Mostly because their lives are so unlike mine. I sometimes feel as though I am staring at them wide-eyed in wonder, because I am thinking, “Is this for real? These things actually do happen to real people? My life is so ordinary. Well, maybe it isn’t anymore.”

  13. I was on a flight from Vegas to Portland and sat next to a fellow who had just got been let out of prison after 15 years. He was in for armed robbery. He used his finger for a gun in his pocket. He said that the strangest thing about being out was seeing everyone walk around with cell phones.
    He was a nice guy. I wonder if he stayed out. I hope so.

    I always enjoy talking with Atlas. He is very sweet.

  14. bridget: I hope so too. Heh – I can’t help thinking that the term armed robbery really was true then since his finger was part of his arm, LOL.

    mindijo: I wonder if there is such a thing as “ordinary”?

    elk: graffiti on a park bench

    angela: I’d rather not know, just in case he doesn’t. πŸ˜‰ Hey – I can’t help it that I know pi! It’s not like there’s not other things I’d rather remember (like my voicemail password, for example, LOL)! It’s my own fault, though. I should’ve put history and gov’t facts to a tune when I memorized them. πŸ™‚

  15. laura: that is cute. πŸ™‚

    leanne: that is a great reason, LOL! I will have to look for the Dummies book; that might be just my style.

    liss: I like hearing them, happily. πŸ™‚

  16. Those were fun to read. I just learned about Ayn Rand & Atlas Shrugged… haven’t read it yet & don’t quite understand ‘Objectivism’ – but who knows, might give it a read.

  17. I really enjoyed Howard Zinn’s a People’s History of the United States, but the cynical side of me suspects that’s not the version of events they were testing you on.. If you want a (long-distance) partner to learn Italian with, let me know- I’ve tried a few times to learn it, but maybe I’d stick with it, with someone to talk to.

  18. amy: coincidentally, that was the book I bought and sold. πŸ™‚ I knew the perspective was different, but thought it might be a good read regardless. Except then I never got to it. Re. the Italian – awesome! I’ll let you know when I get started – likely sometime in the New Year.

    MaryAnn: I must confess that I don’t agree with Objectivism completely – it’s sort of along the lines of — man is his own god, happiness is his moral compass, achievement is the noblest good .. but I agree with the her idea that doing the best work you can is noble (though my take is that all our abilities are a gift from God and we are doing him a disservice to give less than our best). And based on my premise, I really did enjoy the book. It made me want to give my best to fully honor the gifts I’ve been given. πŸ™‚

  19. Libby – your last comment made me think of something one of my friends dad’s said that really impacted me not too long ago. He said that our good works won’t likely get us to heaven, but if we’re not supposed to help each other, then why are we even here?

  20. I love that, and I do agree. Thank you for sharing that. I’ve always thought that it’s all just part of “Love thy neighbor” and “Do unto others ..”. Maybe if we stopped thinking of things as “good works” and started thinking of them as “doing the right thing” or “loving your neighbor”. Hmmm .. actually, that’s not such a bad idea. πŸ™‚

  21. i loved reading your list.
    #1 my memory fails me in this area too. i read up and watch the History channel, but like Leanne my memory retention is horrible like that too. i might read American History for Dummies.

    #4 i also love hearing other peoples stories. i used to sit and listen to my grandmother tell her life stories and now i wish i had recorded her saying them. (you know, because of the whole memory retention thing)

    #6 i want to visit Italy some day so i’ve thought about Rosetta Stone. let me know how you like it.
    Sandra

  22. sandra: I will! I’ve heard very good things about them.

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