Observant little ...

I don't understand the answer, but I may have some ideas on the question...


I was feeling a bit bored at work this afternoon. So I was reading through some of the comments on This Fish Needs a Bicycle and found My Urban Kvetch, who talked about a book by Josh Braff called The Unthinkable Thoughts of Jacob Green. Despite the fact that I had never heard of Josh Braff or his book before, the book sounded like something I'd like - enough so that I checked out Josh Braff's blog.

His blog is really interesting. He gives writing exercises/drills and book recommendations. I like his taste in books (quite a few of them I've read) and I like his taste in music. I didn't get far into it (I'm up to On the Road Again), but I think it may become one of my favourite blogs, if for nothing else than the writing drills. I'm not a writer and have no desire to write a book or be published, but these look like fun. The sort of thing I can do sitting at a cafe when I'm on holidays.

But the main reason for blogging about it is that one of his posts talked about Frogger and got me reminiscing.

I loved Frogger. I remember my brother and I wrote our own version of it on our old Commodore 64 when we were kids. I think I was 9, so he would have been 12. He designed the graphics and I wrote the programming to say which one should be where and when. I don't remember that much about it, except that it involved a mouse and cheese. And it was recorded on a tape like an audio tape.

Back then, I was considered a bit of a maths genius. I was in this advanced class when I was 7 and 8 years old. There was only one other kid my age and other kids were all older, mostly much older (11 or 12 years old). We were taught to use scientific calculators and programming on Apple computers. We were entered into the Maths Olympiad (I think this or this is the current version, except I was doing the same paper as the older kids) and I always scored highly enough to get a badge, but never highly enough to get a pin (which was what I really wanted). I can't remember what score you had to achieve on the test to be awarded these prizes now, but roughly 1/3 of those who competed (maybe 30 kids across the school?) got a badge, but only one or two each year got a pin.

Anyway, it was probably because of this training that I was able to program the Commodore 64 game. I remember that the commands were different, but the logic was the same, so once I knew how to do something on the school's Apple, then it didn't take me long to work out how to do it on the Commodore.

Over the years, I seemed to grow both less mathematically intelligent and less keen on computers. By grade 8 (13 years old/first year of high school), I hated maths and found my computing class boring. I was still relatively good at both, but not precocious, genius-level good. I was a bit of a statistical anomoly apparently - the only kid in my various teachers' classes who always got A's on Part C (the applied maths part) of the exam, but only C's on Part A (the memory/write this formula part).

And this continued all the way through to Grade 12 (final year). One of the main reasons I did Law at uni was because I was so crap at Maths. Turns out I'm still pretty good at computers though...

Listening to: Radiohead - Live Warrington UK tent show 9/00 and Mercury Rev - All is Dream (they're on together on random)


Blogger the urban fox said...

I bet your mathematical ability is still lying latent within you, like a virus. If you were good at it in early life, maybe you just got bored rather than less adept. Can't speak from personal experience though, as I'm a numbers idiot. But it seems like a reasonable assumption... to someone who could never do maths. (Yeah, OK, maybe I'm not the best person to judge.)

Just visiting from Swiss Toni's place, where I posted a response to your excellent comment. Hope to see you again, OLS.

12:29 pm  
Blogger OLS said...

Umm... I don't know. I think it was just that I was good at the tangible, logical stuff, which I could "see" but am useless at the abstract stuff. I have a useless memory unless I can relate it to something audio or visual and also can't do maths in my head. I suspect that these things mattered less when I was 7 or 8, but affected my "brilliance" at maths later on in life.

But then, I also think I've got dumber as I've got older. I certainly score lower on IQ tests than I used to and I'm not as quick to grasp a new concept. Maybe it's all the alcohol I drank in uni... ;o)


1:01 pm  

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