Shoe Money Tonight

Occasional ramblings by an anesthesiologist/mother (and sometimes her husband).

Monday, September 29, 2008

You Know You Have a Bad Migraine...

...when you see someone on television carrying a sticky bun and a glass of milk and it makes you want to vomit.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Misusing Math Terms

I have a bit of a pet peeve about people attempting to sound clever without the intelligence to pull it off. This is most common in politics. There are many who think that if it sounds witty, it counts as an argument. A good rule of thumb is that what you want people to do will fit on a bumper sticker (support this person or proposition, defeat this person or proposition), but no intelligent reasoning for it will.

As a math teacher especially, I get annoyed when I see math terms improperly used in an attempt to sound catchy.

A teacher I once saw, for example, many years ago, had a Christmas themed sweater that said , thinking it would be mathematical shorthand for Santa's Ho Ho Ho!

Anyone with even the most tenuous grasp of the Order of operations would realize that exponents are evaluated prior to multiplication. The exponent, therefore, applies only to the O. The teacher therefore, was saying Hooo.

One possible solution would be to use parentheses: . This, however, would result in HoHoHo, which would only be applicable if Santa spends his off-season as an auctioneer at county fairs.

A more proper rendition would be , or, if you wanted to keep it simple, , with or without parentheses. In any case, the Hos, to properly simulate how they are spoken, should be added, not multiplied.

What most bugs me, however, is the tendency to improperly use exponential notation in songs. I am reminded by it each time I watch the "bicycle" commercial for The commercial is a parody of this song style, so my issue is not with the commercial per se. I shall instead refer to an example which uses this style in earnest.

The song "Fergalicious" is a classic example. During the second half of the song, a backup singer attempts to sing the word "delicious" by saying "d to the e to licious." In exponential notation, however, this would result in , which I am fairly certain is not the intended result.

This may be a little thing, but if you're going to say something you should actually know what you are saying. Otherwise you just come off looking like an idiot, and the rest of us are stuck with people who use "it sounded good" as a substitute for an actual reason.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Quiz time

Your result for The Nerd? Geek? or Dork? Test...

Modern, Cool Nerd

74 % Nerd, 74% Geek, 30% Dork

For The Record:

A Nerd is someone who is passionate about learning/being smart/academia.

A Geek is someone who is passionate about some particular area or subject, often an obscure or difficult one.

A Dork is someone who has difficulty with common social expectations/interactions.

You scored better than half in Nerd and Geek, earning you the title of: Modern, Cool Nerd.

Nerds didn't use to be cool, but in the 90's that all changed. It used to be that, if you were a computer expert, you had to wear plaid or a pocket protector or suspenders or something that announced to the world that you couldn't quite fit in. Not anymore. Now, the intelligent and geeky have eked out for themselves a modicum of respect at the very least, and "geek is chic." The Modern, Cool Nerd is intelligent, knowledgable and always the person to call in a crisis (needing computer advice/an arcane bit of trivia knowledge). They are the one you want as your lifeline in Who Wants to Be a Millionaire (or the one up there, winning the million bucks)!

Your result for The What Kind of Girl are You Test...


You are beautiful, have a great personality, know youre politics, and have a high sex drive. You are the girl of any man's dreams. You know what you are doing in bed, you're fairly conservative, and you know how to treat your loved one. Men have been waiting for a girl like you all their lives. You probably know how to make sure that the ones you love are happy. You will make someone a great wife or girlfriend someday, if you haven't already. You're the kind of girl that everyone wants. You're probably fun in a conversation and I'm sure that you are as loveable as you are beautiful. You have a wonderful life ahead of you, make sure you live it to the fullest, and keep being the person that you seem to be.

Your result for The Classic Dames Test...

Myrna Loy

You are class itself, the calm, confident "perfect woman." Men turn and look at you admiringly as you walk down the street, and even your rivals have a grudging respect for you. You always know the right thing to say, do and, of course, wear. You can take charge of a situation when things get out of hand, and you're a great help to your partner even if they don't immediately see or know it. You are one classy dame. Your screen partners include William Powell and Cary Grant, you little simmerpot, you.

Find out what kind of classic leading man you'd make by taking the
Classic Leading Man Test.

Take The Classic Dames Test at HelloQuizzy


Sunday, September 14, 2008

iTunes lol

So earlier this week I had Peter download the Vivaldi Gloria as conducted by Robert Shaw with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra so I could use it for practicing (we're singing it in November as the finale of Ars Nova musicians Viva Vivaldi series for this year). I added the files to my computer and was selecting them to put them on the iPhone and I saw one of the track titles was listed as follows:

"Gloria in D, R. 589 XII C*m Sancto Spiritu"

I guess the really wanted to make sure they avoided the explicit tag. I'm assuming it's simply a case of Apple's cleanup software not recognizing Latin. I'd hate to think that a living person did this. I did change the track title for my own playlist and Peter did the same. He also submitted the screenshot before the change to the Fail blog.

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Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Remembering Sean Rooney

Note: this post, reposted each year at this time, is here as a part of the 2996 Project, a tribute to all the victims of September 11th. Please visit this link for more stories.

Everyone remembers where they were that fateful morning. I was still living with my parents. ES1, then my fiance, had come over as soon as the news broke, so that we could be together. That afternoon, there was in my parents' house, as in many places, a flurry of telephone calls. Everyone was calling everyone else to make sure they were alright.

Our friend AM, who once dated my best friend Pat, called me up. She asked if I had heard anything from Pat's family, since his uncle works in the WTC. I said I hadn't, and proceeded to call his family. I spoke with his mother, who told me a harrowing story.

My best friend's uncle, Sean Rooney, was indeed in the second tower of the WTC. When the first plane hit the first tower, he and his coworkers were told to stay put.

When the second plane hit, they were trapped.

He called his wife, Beverly Eckert. They spent some time talking. Finally, he told her that it was time to say goodbye.

A few seconds later, she heard an explosion, followed by a whoosh. Suddenly, the line went dead.

She turned to her television to see her worst fears confirmed.

A few days later, a memorial service was held at Pat's parents' house in East Aurora. Many stories were told. I spoke with some of his family members to get a few more. Here are a handful, which may perhaps shed some light on this man's life.

Sean Rooney was not a man to waste time. Sean Rooney was not shy. He loved people, he was very outgoing, and he always had one question on his mind: "What can I do to help?"

In the winter of 2000, Sean & his wife drove in from Connecticut to visit. Pat's parents noticed a large object on top of their car. It seems that the last time they were in town, Sean had decided that their bathroom needed a new vanity. He secretly took measurements. Upon his return to Connecticut he proceeded to build one. He then installed it, along with some new tiling. It was called a Christmas present.

He was one of the last true Jacks-of-all-trades. He was known on sight at his local Home Depot. At his own home, their dining room holds a gorgeous table which he built. Every cabinet in their kitchen was installed by him.

His talents also extended to cooking as well. He did all the cooking. One Thanksgiving he made a Turkey dinner for 17 people. Nobody ever turned down one of his meals.

His interests also included golf. Golf was, however, apparently about the only thing he wasn't good at. Nonetheless, he enjoyed it immensely. One day, on a trip to Nantucket, he and Pat's father hit the course. No more than 4 or 5 holes were played before a thick fog rolled in. Sean decided that the course diagram on the scorecards should be accurate enough for navigational purposes. As long as they stayed on the green, they could simply follow the path in the dew to find their balls. They used this method to play the next 4 holes before finally giving up.

One couldn't say enough about his generosity. A friend of his, who lived near him in Connecticut, took a job in New York City. His new abode did not have room for any of his furniture, leaving him with nothing. Sean took his outdoor furniture, which was padded for comfort, and one day drove in and said "here."

Above all, he never dismissed anyone. Not even the person who bagged his groceries escaped his attention. Everyone was treated as a person who was worthy of personal contact. No person was overlooked.

One day, Pat's parents were on a visit to Sean & Beverly's home in Connecticut. Outside the local supermarket, a street person was pushing a cart full of cans. He hit the curb, overturning the cart, as well as himself. His cans rolled out into the middle of traffic. Without hesitation, Sean stepped out into traffic. With one hand, he held the traffic back. With the other, he helped the others load the cans back into the man's cart.

Most of all, through the memorial service and speaking with his family, I saw the love. I saw the love that he had for his family, friends, and human beings in general. I felt the love that he inspired in all those who knew him. Most of all, I felt myself to be a lesser person for never having known him.

Today, his name lives on. With the help of the Jesuits, Sean's family established a scholarship at Canisius High School, which was Sean's alma mater, as well as Pat's and my own. This scholarship goes to an incoming freshman who either graduated from the Catholic Academy of West Buffalo, or lives on the West Side of Buffalo.

This scholarship was dedicated at a ceremony in his honor. It turned out that Sean's high school friend, Tom Fontana, who had watched the entire event from his home in New Jersey, wanted to help out. He brought along a movie he had just completed, Judas, and it was screened at the event. Also at the event, the first student was given the scholarship. This student had fled with his family from Rwanda in 1995. His parents were from different warring tribes. He was the ideal first recipient.

Sean Rooney's legacy continues to touch the lives of those who knew him, and many who never knew him. He was a great man, whose life was cut short by blind hatred. His memory and legacy, however, will live on long after those who murdered him are forgotten. Standing in contrast to those who hate, is the memory of a man who knew only love. Decades from now, when the names of the violent are confined to grade school textbooks, his legacy will touch the hearts and lives of many deserving young students in the hallowed halls of Canisius. Even then, those who knew him will remember a man of infinite kindness, infinite generosity, and infinite love. Today, let us all take a moment to remember Sean Rooney. He was what we all aspire to be.

A tribute video of him is posted here.

Updated 8/16/07 to correct image links.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Baby Stuff - one month in

Yesterday, Alyssa was one month old. It's amazing how much she's changed in that little time. She's gained almost 2 pounds, grown out of a ton a clothes, spent more time awake. Yesterday, she actually held her bottle with both hands while drinking from it. We've been transitioning her to formula and it seems to be going well after a week. She had some days of really serious fussiness - hours of crying non-stop, but she seems to be settling down. She seems to be settling into a sleeping pattern at night - for the last three nights she has gone 5-6 hrs between her 9ish feeding and her next one (I know I'm probably jinxing it by saying it out loud). This basically means when we go to bed at 10, she only wakes us up once between then and 6am.

I'm a huge fan of my Moby wrap. It's made it very easy for me to get things done when she's fussy and I'm all alone in the house. In fact I'm wearing her in the Newborn hug hold right now.

I think I'm getting the hang of this mommy thimg.

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