Caitlin, Calculass

The Calculass Zone

Caitlin Decter's Worldview

Same Old Same Old
Caitlin, Calculass
calculass
Well, the Mom and I are still here in Tokyo.  I have a bandage over my left eye, and we're waiting for the swelling -- the edema, I should say -- to go down, so that there's no unnatural pressure on my optic nerve.  Tomorrow, the bandage will come off, and I should be able to see! :DTokyo

I've been trying to keep my spirits up, but the suspense is killing me.  And my best material is bombing here!  I referred to the retina, which gathers light, as "the catcher in the eye," and nobody laughed; apparently they don't have to read Salinger in Japan.

Anyway, check it:  I've got this transceiver attached to my optic nerve, just behind my left eye.  When it's turned on, it'll grab the signals my retina is putting out and transmit them to this little external computer pack I'm supposed to carry around, like, forever; I called it my eyePod, and at least that made Dr. Kuroda laugh.  Anyway, the eyePod will reprocess the signals, correcting the errors in encoding, and then beam the corrected version to the implant, which will pass the information back to the optic nerve so it can continue on into that mysterious realm called -- cue scary music -- The Brain of Calculass!

Speaking of brains, I'm really enjoying the book I mentioned before:  The Origin of Consciousness Yadda Yadda.  And from it comes our Word of the Day(tm):  Commissurotomy.  No, that's not the wise but ancient leader of the Jellicle tribe from Cats (still my fave musical!).  Rather, it's what they call it when they sever the corpus callosum, the bundle of nerve fibers that connects the left and right hemispheres of the brain -- which, of course, are the two chambers of Jaynes's bicameral mind ...

Anyway, tomorrow we'll find out if my own operation worked.  Please post some encouraging comments here, folks -- give me something to read while I wait for the moment of truth ...

[And seekrit message to BG4:  check your email, babe!] 

Being of two minds ...
Caitlin, Calculass
calculass
Back in the summer, the school gave me a list of all the books we're doing this year in English class.  I got them then either as ebooks or as Talking Books from the CNIB, and have now read them all.  Coming attractions include The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood -- Canadian, yes, but thankfully wheat-free.  In fact, I've already had an argument with Mrs. Zed, my English teacher, about that one, because I called it science fiction.  She refused to believe it was, finally exclaiming "It can't be science fiction, young lady -- if it were, we wouldn't be studying it!" 

Anyway, having gotten all those books out of the way, I get to choose something interesting to read on the trip to Japan.  Although my comfort book for years was Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret, I'm too old for that now.  Besides, I want to try something challenging, and BG4's dad suggested The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind by Julian Jaynes, which is the coolest-sounding title ever.  He said it came out the year he turned sixteen himself, and my sixteenth is coming up next month.  He read it then and still remembers it.  Says it covers so many different topics -- language, ancient history, psychology -- it's like six books in one.  There's no legitimate ebook edition, damn it all, but of course everything is on the Web, if you know where to look for it ...

So, I've got my reading lined up, I'm all packed, and fortunately I got a passport earlier this year for the move to Canada.  Next time you hear from me, I'll be in Japan!  Until then -- sayonara!


First day at the new school
Caitlin, Calculass
calculass
Okay, ask me if my new school is noisy and crowded.  Go ahead, ask.  Why, thank you:  yes, it is noisy and crowded.  Eighteen hundred students!  And the building is three stories tall.  Actually, it's three storeys tall, this being Canada and all.  Hey, how do you find a Canadian in a crowded room?  Start stepping on people's feet and wait for someone to apologize to you.  :)

First day in tenth grade began with the Mom dropping me off and BrownGirl4 (luv ya, babe!) meeting me at the entrance.  I'd walked the empty corridors of the school several times last week, getting my bearings, but it's completely different now that the school is full of kids, so my folks are slipping BG4 a hundred bucks a week to escort me to our classes.  The school managed to work it so we're in all but one together.  No way I could be in the same French class as her -- je suis une beginneur, after all!

BG4 and I got desks beside each other in home room, and she said this guy in the next row was totally checking me out.  Go me!  Let's give him a code name, cuz I think he just might figure in future blog entries.  Hmmm, how 'bout ... the Hoser!  That's Canadian slang, folks -- google it!  Anyway, BG4 says the Hoser is famous for hitting on new girls in town, and I am, of course, tres exotique, although I'm not the only American in that class.  There's this chick from Boston named -- friends, I kid you not! -- poor thing's name is Sunshine!  It is to puke.  :P

Anyway, first period rocked because I am made out of awesome.  Can you guess which subject it was?  No points if you didn't answer "math."  And, after only one day, I totally own that class.  The teacher -- let's call him Mr. H, shall we? -- was amazed that I could do things in my head the other kids need a calculator for.

After math, it was English.  We're doing a boring book about this angsty guy growing up on the plains of Manitoba.  It's got wheat in every scene.  I asked the teacher -- Mrs. Z, she is, and you could not have picked a more Canadian name, cuz she's Mrs. Zed, not Mrs. Zee, see? -- if all Canadian literature was like this, and she laughed and said, "Not all of it."  Oh what a joy English class is going to be!

Lunch was okay, but I swear to God I'll never get used to Canadians.  They put vinegar on French fries!  And BG4 told me about this thing called poontang.  Kidding, friends, kidding!  It's poutine:  French fries with cheese curds and gravy thrown on top -- it's like they use fries as a freakin' science lab up here.  Guess they don't have much money for real science, 'cept here in Waterloo, of course.  And that's mostly private moolah.  Yup, the all-important green stuff.  Well, except it's not green up here, I'm told; apparently it's all different colors.

Anyway, a lot of the money to fund the Perimeter Institute, where my dad works on quantum gravity and other shiny stuff like that, comes from Mike Lazaridis, cofounder of Research in Motion -- RIM, for you crackberry addicts.  Mike L's a great guy (they always call him that cuz there's another Mike, Mike B), and I think my dad is happy here, although it's so blerking hard to tell with him.

After lunch it was chemistry class, and that looks like it's going to be awesome.  I can't wait until we start doing experiments -- but if the teacher brings in a plate of fries, I'm outta there!
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