Wednesday, March 02, 2005

albert's vision is blooming uncontrolled

The teeniacs are wearing me out. They rolled into my apartment last night at midnight and were chattering away in that high-pitched, bouncy, sing-songy voice that only teeniacs can get away with (and even then, only for so long). Luckily, the teeniacs are wearing themselves out as well. Today, they shopped until they literally dropped. I just got a phone call from them. They're so exhausted that they decided to do their homework.

I should point out that the teeniacs are not completely mindless either. On Monday night they educated me about mitochondrial diseases on the way home on BART. Ah, there is hope!

Random observations regarding Spanish class:
  • I forgot that we had homework to complete, so I rushed home last night before class and threw the class cd in. The cd reenacts classroom scenarios in Spanish. After listening to a teacher leading her students through calisthenics, I come upon a chapter where the teacher is asking the students to sing. They burst into Cielito Lindo- you can hear a clip of it here, in case you aren't familiar with the ay, ay, ay, canta y no llores chorus. This caused me to burst into a fit of laughter, since I have heard mariachis belt this tune out raucously every damn time I try to sit down to a meal in my neighborhood. Oh yeah, it's cute the first time. Then, it's really not.
  • I take Spanish classes at a Jewish Community Center. As if that's not bizarre enough in and of itself, I walked into class last night, sat down, and the first thing that catches my eye- a book entitled, no joke, GI JEW.
  • El profesor goes through a list of adjectives to describe people. He gets to tonto, and says in his meek Spanish accent, "Is not nice, no? You know... the Lone Ranger, si? Su compadre, si? Why they call him Tonto? Is mean, no?" And then he shakes his head sadly. That one goes under funny because it's true.
Since I'm on the topic of Spanish-speakers, this morning, NPR had a piece on the passing of Guillermo Cabrera-Infante, delivered by none other than Andy Garcia. His voice could inject melancholy into Willy Wonka. I have to admit that I had no idea who Cabrera-Infante was, but was completely depressed by the end of his remembrance. Have you ever heard Garcia recite Neruda? It's driven me to drink on occasion.

Also, Dennis Overbye is quickly becoming my favorite scientific reporter, though I've only read two of his stories. The last one was about the farewell, cruel world star. This one is about annoying jackasses who keep asking "Who's the next Einstein?" Physicists are really an amazing lot. It seems to me that the really accomplished and astounding physicists are also philosophers. And there's something poetic about their approach to the universe. I don't know. Even the idea that some physicist may come along in the next century or so and turn everything that Einstein proved/theorized on its head- the equal parts arrogance, intelligence, and vision that takes just blows me away. In an acid trip sort of way. Physicists seem like the ultimate seekers of truth. I had a professor that used to ask us in class if light was a particle or a wave, and then would gleefully respond "Yes!" to his own question. When I sat down with him to really talk to him about it, he held forth on how it's not that light is somehow schizophrenic; it's that we lack the ability to define it. It's nearly semantic. I don't know why, but all these years later, there's something about that I love. This idea that answers are not black or white at first pass, that it takes many iterations to get from grey to the absolute end of the spectrum.

Note to the east coast: Stop snowing. Please. Don't make me regret visiting you.

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