Well, that was the weekend that was – nearly all of it spent on my first major written assignment for Engineering Mechanics (Solids). I’m doing OK with the maths, but it’s a huge annoyance to have to return to working on pen and paper, with a basic school-approved pocket calculator. My handwriting has atrophied in the 16 years since I left school, to the point of illegibility. I remembered getting better handwriting from a fountain pen, so I bought one, a Parker. It was incredibly cheap (€12), I thought, when back in my school days in South Africa I would have had to save for months for an equivalent pen. Scientific Calculators have come a long way too – about the same price, and that was only because the €8 schools-endorsed model was sold out.
Of course, the first time I mentioned my “back to basics” gripes to someone else, the response was “well, in my day we had to use a slide rule”. I learned a bit of slide rule myself, for fun, but I did most of my school work with log tables. Try searching for those on the ‘Net today, and you’re more likely to find heavy furniture. Calculators were only approved for use in my last year or two of school (1984-5), and only for those who could afford them.
Received a package of 4 DVDs from Amazon last Friday, but only got to watch one: Stop Making Sense (Talking Heads in Concert). I jumped at the chance to pick this up, and it’s well worth it. I hadn’t seen the whole thing before, so I was unaware of the whole concept behind the staging and filming, and the commentary adds a whole new level of interest – for example, the numerous references to Noh and Kabuki theatre styles, such as the Big Suit. Favourite track so far: Cross-eyed and Painless. The music sounds great, even though the band admit that there are some remedial overdubs.