Fourier Analysis is a mathematical tool which can do a number of things: separate out signals from noise; help identify patterns or trends in data; filter out all unwanted data and focus on a single signal; use approximations to make generalizations; make approximations of real world signals (think electronic music); combine harmonics to get a stronger signal. That's what I'll be trying to do here!! Won't you join me with your comments?
Tuesday, August 21, 2007
School Days, School Daze...
I remember very clearly the great anticipation the week or two prior to the beginning of the school year. My Mom would try to arrange to take me shopping separately from my brothers to get the dresses, shoes, etc. (We didn't get to wear jeans until I was in high school. Heck, girls did not get to wear pants until I was in junior high! And yes, I know, I am dating myself here!) Then the big shopping trip to the supermarket where the lists were posted for each grade. Traipsing up and down the aisles to buy our packets of construction paper, Elmer's glue, No. 2 pencils, etc.
The big treat we had was to be able to pick out a new ring binder in the color we wanted. In those days, you did not have a picture or motif on the cover, but for an extra cost you could get one with a plastic cover that had an opening at the top. Ostensibly, this was to put your school schedule or calender or something useful in. But of course we all put the favorite pictures of pop stars (David Cassidy and Bobby Sherman were some of the favorites in my day!) or if you had a hobby then pictures of horses, rabbits, cats, ballerinas, etc. would decorate your front cover. As I got older, it was hand-drawn, colored "Peter Max" declarations of "your name + boyfriend's name", accompanied by daisies, stars, hearts, etc. I loved getting a new ring binder!!
When I was in grade school, the other excitement was a new box of Crayola crayons. There was nothing like the smell of a new box of crayons, and then the first time you got to color with them was magical! I was always very careful with mine as I did not want to break them, unlike many of the boys in my class who seemed to break all their crayons the first week of school.
I also remember being asked by one of my classmates in 3rd grade if she could borrow my crayons as her mother had not yet purchased all her supplies. Wanting to make friends, I happily loaned my new box. When it came back, I was horrified to find that she had broken my blue crayon. My favorite, new, bright blue crayon (not dark blue which was only used for drawings of night and storm clouds, etc.) No, the crayon that I used for the sky, for flowers, for the sea, for rivers, for bluebirds, you get the picture. And after only a few days in school, I was going to be forced for the rest of the year to used a broken crayon for almost all the pictures I would be drawing. Needless to say, our friendship was short-lived!
But I digress. What I want to convey is that I miss the excitement that comes with preparing for the first week of school. My kids do not seem to share it. They are dreading the start of school. They don't want to talk about it. They don't want to sort through clothes and determine what "school clothes" they need. They don't need pencils or crayons or scissors, glue, etc. We have never bought a pack of construction paper. Their crayons are dumped unceremoniously in a plastic box and it does not matter that they are broken and not sharpened. Many don't even have the paper wrapper on them that says the name of the color! And the brand "Crayola" has no meaning to them.
I have a confession. Last year, we happened to be visiting in Texas when they had the "Tax-Free" weekend that is used to encourage "back-to-school" shopping. My kids did not need any school clothes or shoes (and besides our luggage was already getting close to the overweight limit). But I could not resist strolling down the "school supplies aisle" at the local supermarket. And I just had to buy a couple of boxes of Crayola crayons. Of course, my kids did not need them last school year, so they remained in my supply cupboard. But this year, when they have started back to school... (Wheeee!!!)