Thursday, October 27, 2011

10/27/11 Learning

So, I'm almost done with the 4th week at my new job --enough to feel like I should know what I'm doing, but not enough to know what I'm doing!! Fortunately my new boss is a terrific guy who starts off our meetings with, "So, are you getting all the training you're needing?" (instead of, like my last boss, "...I hired remember that, right? I HIRED you.... (implying that I must therefore be loyal...))

Anyway, I've been taking online training classes in wireless networks, to which my surprise, I'm finding really interesting. I don't know the first thing about RF and have no physics background to speak of, but I'm liking this. And incredibly, I'm expected to learn it -- really?? I'm flabbergasted. How on earth did I hit -- let alone deserve (especially given my far worthier colleagues?/?) this jackpot???

Tonight I attempted to lament to my family about how out-of-my-element I am. 'I just realized," I said, "I don't even know what a 'frequency' really is!" I said. Gabriel piped up, "It's a number of pulses per cycle in a second." Then he added, "For instance, one giga-hertz means one billion cycles per second." OMG. I know what a "giga" is, I thought, but couldn't do the math while I was cutting up steak to question him.

Another thing, I announced, I didn't realize I didn't understand, what really is an antenna? Is just one antenna for send and another for receive? Gabriel answered easliy, "An antenna converts electrical energy into electro-magnetic radiation -- sort of like a form of light." UHHHH, OK, that's SO not what I meant, but OK!!!

I know there's a point in a parent's life when you realize your kid is smarter than you (though my own mother has never experienced this), but is it supposed to happen when they're 9? Wasn't I supposed to have just a few more years?

This is a GREAT thing, by the way -- I'm really surprised by how interesting I find wireless networks and all the radio-frequency-spectrum stuff around it (for which I have NO physics background or aptitude, heaven help me) -- but I wasn't ready for my 9yo to rattle off to me the technical definition of an antenna. I must face reality (and a good one) not only is he faster and stronger than I am (almost), but smarter. Or at least, more knowledgeable.

World, take hope. And brace yourself! Here they come!!


Tuesday, October 25, 2011

10/25/11 Science day

Today's headline in the San Jose Mercury News: Schools Flunk Science

With a photo of some 4th-graders dissecting owl pellets.

Gabriel came home with a "special project" from his teacher -- a windmill that would power a small motor. It's for something Gabriel's teacher wants to demonstrate, so he asked Gabriel to take it home and assemble it for him. Gabriel took this very seriously and was VERY proud of it!

Funny that, according to that article, all across the state, schools are pushing out science, but our 4th grade is getting the best dose of it I could imagine. Gabriel's teacher really loves science and nature, so his enthusiasm and energy shows, especially in Gabriel's reaction to it. After all, Gabriel happily went home and immediately tackled an extra project the teacher had given him! It's a shame that some schools can't focus on science, but it's not even clear ours can either. In the end, the quality of teaching matters the most, and that's why Gabriel's getting such a good dose of science, because of his teacher.

Gabriel also spent a lot of time making an electromagnetic with his electronics lab kit and some paper clips. His having a quiet hour and a half at home after school, plus a good refreshing half-hour walk outdoor to get there, is SO good for him!


Monday, October 24, 2011

10/24/2011 The Poet

Look what came in the mail yesterday! A book of poetry. I'd forgotten about this, but Gabriel's 3rd-grade teacher submitted one of his poems (I'm sure that he had to write, under duress), for publication. If I recall, it was a selective process, and his was picked.
Gabriel's is in the lower right.
I don't know if this is brilliant poetry or not, but I take it as a personal accomplishment that he mentions both skiing and camping! Yay!