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Thursday, April 27, 2006

My day

Yesterday started with a bat bouncing around my room at 5 am. Perhaps she was the founding mother of this year's maternal colony.

Bob came over at 9:30 and we practiced till noon. We are trying to make the shift from reading our music off charts to having it all memorized. In the 1980s we had about four hours of music down pat - and, happily, some of it stuck through the intervening decades - but there's a lot to pack back in there and some of it keeps falling out. Kind of like the stuff on my closet shelves.

I went to school earlier than usual so I could show "Duncan y Dolores" to Menticia's teacher. Last week I got Menticia to translate the book into Spanish (she did it fairly casually while eating french fries at MacDonald's). I posted a page from this book earlier, and here's another:

Menticia looked calm as her teacher exclaimed, "This is awesome!!" but I've learned to read that calm face and I know she was pleased as punch.

Then we went to an Italian joint for snack. There was only one other customer, an endomorphic young man sitting in a nearby booth with an entire sausage pizza. Menticia ate two pepperoni slices while she explained the algebra game they've been playing in math class, and then we played and she bounced up and down with excitement and hid her own equations (the ones I had to figure out) by writing them very small on her napkin and hiding them with her hand...

Then the talk swung around to telenovelas. She's enjoying La Fea Más Bella, a comedy about a secretary who's too ugly to get a good job. The pretty bimbo idiot girl in a skintight miniskirt gets the good office, and Lety, the ugly one, works in a closet. (Let's see, do you think in the end Lety will lose the braces and the glasses and the ugly clothes and turn out to be pretty?)

I said, "This isn't entirely invented - I've read that pretty people make more money and have more success - and that ugly and overweight people suffer discrimination at work."

To my surprise, the endomorphic gentleman across the way piped up and said, "I did my research on that topic." So naturally I just took Menticia and we plopped ourselves over in his booth and I started pumping him for info. Menticia is so short she could barely see him around the pedestal which supported his pizza.

He is now a law student, but worked with a researcher at UNC-Chapel Hill as an undergraduate. They interviewed people about their success or lack of success at work - and graded them as ugly or beautiful on that quantified scale developed by countless people voting on random faces.

He said: In fields where brains are most important (according to him, the hard sciences and computing) obesity is not an impediment, but in fields such as marketing and sales, it is very damaging. He said: The richer people are, the more thinness matters to them. He said a lot more but I've forgotten most of it now - he may send me a link to his research and if he does I'll share it with you.

That was a serendipitous meeting! Menticia was quite interested (though she maintained her calm, of course).

We went home and finished the algebra. Negative numbers made their first appearance in our work -- thus it was that I found myself drawing number lines for the first time in a long, long while. That was fun, I like number lines... Menticia can now multiply fractions, though she still can't tell me what half of a third is.

This is the first picture I ever took of Menticia in which I caught her laughing! Success! I snapped it as she worked on her South Carolina report. The way they do it, these days, there's a long list of required data, for instance:

1. State Bird
2. Agricultural Products
3. State Senators

So this is what you do: put "South Carolina Senators" into Google, and out comes the answer. So you cut and paste it into your file, and on to the next question.

I don't want to be a fuddy duddy, and I realize the method used when I was Menticia's age was not so great either. We did our research using ten-year-old encyclopedias and patronizing, dumbed-down books for juveniles. But with the modern method it's pretty easy for information to pass from window to window - via cut-and-paste clipboard procedures - without coming anywhere near the actual brain.

There were a zillion South Carolina questions (far more than we could have been asked to answer in the old days, when we actually had to write the words down ourselves, with pencils, on pieces of paper) so we were at it till pretty late.

Luckily, we had suitable music as we worked: we'd discovered, via Google, that the Sea Islands off the Georgia coast fall notably into the required "other landforms" category. (At least until global warming submerges them.) So I dug up my cd of Georgia Sea Islands Songs and Spirituals and Menticia really liked this rhythmic, mostly a cappella music.

We had some spaghetti and baby carrots, and Menticia read Redwall to me as I drove her home.

Then I watched half of the new 9:00 telenovela, Barrera de Amor. This one stars a laughably unlovely guy I call Unibrow as the love interest, but the real star is the evil mother. Beware of telenovela mothers who dress in black and carry canes! The last one (in Alborada) poisoned her own son; this one is poisoning her daughter-in-law, and just tonight burned two women alive while calling to God, "You are guiding my hand! Your daughters are already standing before you!" She also killed her husband - who had the hots for another woman - by siccing a giant ravening bull on him. If you want to know more, you can of course visit the new telenovela site, Caray! Caray!.

UPDATE: after I finished writing this and turned off the light, the bat started bouncing off the walls again. It was in here all day! Now I'm creeped out. Might as well just get up and start the next day already. Caray!

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At 10:30 PM, Blogger Bull City Booster said...

Thank you SO much for submitting this post to Tar Heel Tavern. It's a great pleasure to share your love of life and music. I hope we get to play sometime in the near future.


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