Entering Nerdshire

A series of recent events caused me to realise that they should create a variation of the term “grupster” that incorporates the word “nerd”. While “negrupster” connotes a black grupster, and “grupsterd” sounds like it belongs in a toilet, I contemplated “grerdrupster” before giving up on trying to pigeonhole my already complex identity any further.

So what events could possibly lead to this assumption? First: a childlike glee that I experienced after learning that the latest title I purchased for my Nintendo DS was really quite enjoyable. And that I was looking forward to playing “Professor Layton and the Curious Village” through to the end.

Next, due to weeks of rainy days and thus a listless, playground-deprived daughter, I decided to try the Centre des sciences de Montreal. I have such fond memories of the Ontario Science Centre in Toronto, what with all the buttons and things to touch, ancient Chinese xylophones and that model train that drove through tunnels between two glass display cases. And the running. There were bridges to jump on and technicolour replicas of my shadow to be made. Anyhow, the Centre des sciences is much newer, smaller and a little less in-depth. There’s still a lot going on in there, but nothing recommended for toddlers. They literally told me to not bother buying an admission. So we went to see the river and a pond in the rain, got a giant lollipop and went home. I love science but I guess not that much.

Finally, and most awesomely, was that I posted a comment on an article on Wired.com’s Listening Post blog and the author (Scott Thill) knew who The Dears were. That blew my mind; it was really rad and made my day. I read Wired.com every day, so it was like we were exchanging a knowing nod: yes, nerds and music can co-exist…as they must…

Then, after all this I met up with my misanthropic pal Michael, who completely de-asserted my nerdness. This was after I admitted to him that I hadn’t read a science fiction novel in years. And that I had never read (nor had I seen) “Dune.” He recommended I read “Valis” by Philip K. Dick and call him in the morning. I felt ashamed and unworthy of my admittedly hasty claim to the “grerdrupster” title — even though he was totally right.

I’m a little bit of a nerd at heart, and at least that I can be proud of.

Reading Aloud

Does having a child make you smarter? Is it possible that caregiving forces caregivers into being mentally svelte? This is my hypothesis for today, and now the ridiculously roundabout way I got to this question:

In yet another sad attempt to fill the void that is my life – while Murray works on other people’s records (see: 1, and 2) and my having finished Zelda – I recently purchased a copy of Brain Age for the Nintendo DS. The whole thing about this “game” is that it’s supposed to train your brain, namely your prefrontal cortex. Or something like that. So by solving a bunch of cute little puzzles as fast as you can, the “age” at which your brain operates is measured. I started out at 58, and depending on how tired or distracted I am, can get down to a 28 (20 being the best brain age possible…though I might debate that my brain was actually optimized at 20…it doesn’t say anything about the effects of career drinking).

ANYHOW, one of the tests asks you to read passages of text aloud, because that activates the certain part of your brain that will make you sharper and keener and other wonderful things. It didn’t occur to me until the next day, when I sat to read Corduroy with Neptune: as a mother I read out loud quite a lot. So assuming most responsible mothers spend at least fifteen minutes a day reading to their children, does that make us smarter?

Does parenting enrich the senses? Murray and I swear we have ninja reflexes now, and understand the concept of having “eyes in the back of the head.” Parents who are in tune with their kids know what their kids are going to do before they even do it. And when they grow up into teenagers, that parental intuition is frustrating as hell. But we do it all in the name of love, and those who’ve never raised a kid will never be able to understand that connection.