Saturday, November 13, 2010

Father-Daughter Bonding, Star Trek Style!

My father is quite an...odd man. Oh, I mean odd in a good way, the interesting kind of odd.

Today he realised that I had two science experiment planning papers to go next week, so he asked me and my sister in the car, "How would you get rid of birds in an area so that they won't poop on the cars parked under the trees? And don't kill them."

Well it was after dinner and my brain wasn't functioning, so I was practically just going "Uhmmmm..."

And this, my friends, is the problem.

Then my dad went into this impassioned speech about how this was just like an experiment.

"Point 1, you observe. When do the birds come? Do they nest? What do they do? What is the volume of excreta they pump out? What effect does this have on the urban people?"

"Point 2, you analyse. Look up some literature. Do the birds like only one type of tree? What do they eat? What drives them away?"

"Point 3, you do what you have to do. See, crows don't like ultrasonic sounds, so just build an ultrasonic device and play it during the evenings when they come. Easy, dude, easy."

I didn't know what to say, so I just nodded enthusiastically and said, "Yeah!" My dad picked a very strange point to illustrate a concept...

Then after that he went into another speech of why science is so important, and how it's based on Logic! and how Logic! underpins the mechanics of science and how you must always think Logically!

"Science is the mecahnics of this world, and art is its colour!" Ah, he was really on a roll now.

Well since he was in full Logic! mode I couldn't resist saying, "Quite Vulcan of you, eh, dad."

And he said, "Yes! I'm going all Mr. Spock on you now. You see, why did they put a Vulcan on the Enterprise? Human beings have all the science and technology and yet there are still problems. The Vulcan on the ship was laughing at them, damnit."

I remembered Spock and Bones used to insult each other all the time and I was like "OMG YES."

"And who created the Vulcan?"

"The producer of the show, Gene Rodenderry?"

"Yes, that's why Star Trek's interesting! It's like a human looking at human behaviour from a different perspective."


And because I was pretty much hyped from then on, I mentioned casually, "Oh, and doesn't Bones hate the transporter?"

"Yeah, he doesn't want to disintegrate and then reintegrate into something else."

That really brought out the geek/nerd in me. I remembered reading something about teleporting stuff. You had to take the properties of all the atoms, and then transfer it to an intermediate series of particles before transferring it to atoms at your desired location again. Something like that. Apparently scientists at Vienna have successfully transferred photons in this way under a river from one side to the other, pretty cool stuff.  <<--Here's the link to the Vienna article.

So the only thing I could do was think, "OMG I CAN'T BELIEVE I'M DISCUSSING STAR TREK PHYSICS WITH DAD."

And then my dad recommended this horror sci-fi movie called "The Fly" about a guy who tries to teleport himself this way, but a fly got into the machine and their DNA mixed so the guy became a fly-mutant thing. I'm going to watch it, just for the sake of old sci-fi.

My father concluded with this sentence, "And that's why you should always remember Mr. Spock. It's Logic! It helps you get by." I swear my dad is a secret Spock fan, he just makes it look like I'm the only one in the family who likes that pointy-eared hobgoblin.

...But now that's not a secret any more. O_o

I think if my dad and I were in Star Trek he'd be some wiseass Romulan (they're like Vulcans, but only more emotional) and I'd be some weird little Vulcan kid who tags along and asks him stuff all the time.

Tonight was a major geeky-nerdy moment. Seriously. So to balance things out, I'm going to say "Grey's Anatomy was good! Aww Christina and Owen got married!"

You see, I'm making a reference to a popular TV show here, so I am maintaining what little street cred I have. =D

Have a pleasant journey in your part of the space-time continuum! (aka, your Life.)

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Old People.

Today's post is going to be a little...sentimental? Yes, perhaps that's the word. well, my dad invited some of his friends and a real special guest over to our house for dinner today. That guest was his ex-headmaster, when he was at primary school. So yeah, he's quite old now, in his 80's.

He's a Christian brother so we call him Brother Harold. He's Australian but doesn't reside there. He came to Malaysia to meet up with his students, and so...that's how he wound up at our house.

For an old dude, he's sure cheery. I had this snippet of a conversation with him:

Me: Well, at least Australia isn't as cold as the UK.
Brother H: Ohh, but English people are nice. Walk into a shop and they say, "Hi, how may I help you, love?" Well, no one calls me 'love' in Australia!

He's very alert. Apparently he still insists on planting his own vegetables for consumption. And when he got a bit breathless, he asked my dad "Why is this happening to me? It's never happened before."

My dad said the polite equivalent of "Dude, you're 80-something..." and the Brother just laughed. I had a chance to talk to him and I found myself laughing so much because he kept cracking little jokes. At first I was apprehensive because I don't really have elderly people as friends (well it was more because I'm just nervous making conversation with unknown people) but it was real nice talking to him.

You could tell that he had led one of those full, satisfying lives, because he was so genial overall, and also because practically all his ex-students asked him over for dinner as well. =)

*Sigh* I don't know, I think old people are quite interesting, mainly because they have so much life experience. Perhaps it's because they know that they are nearing the end of life, but they seem to live more in the present instead of worrying about the past or future. They're generally more relaxed and have a better senese of humour I think. Brother Harold is just the kind of old person I want to be when I'm old. =P

Ohh a Famous Old Person I want to meet is   

Leonard Nimoy! The original Mr. Spock.

I'm not really sure of his personality and stuff, but from the snippets of actual things he's said and what he's said in interviews, I think that conversation with him would be really interesting. Fascinating, as Spock would put it.

Oh, he's had stomach surgery recently! And this is what he had to say:

I'm telling you, old people have a sense of humour.

And in case you don't know what LLAP is, it's "Live Long And Prosper". Lol it sounds kinda like what Chinese grandparents would say. Longevity and wealth...two things essential to Chinese well-wishing.

So go out and appreciate an old person today!