Eight Random Things


I’ve been tagged by Steve D at One Dad’s Opinion.

The rules:
1. Let others know who tagged you.
2. Players start with 8 random facts about themselves.
3. Those who are tagged should post these rules and their 8 random facts.
4. Players should tag 8 other people and notify them they have been tagged.

I’m doing this one photographically. The photographs that have larger versions can be clicked on to see them. I’ll do photographs and then the stories behind them. Not sure how random they are, they’re all stuff I found in different areas of the house though.

1) Clock

These are the innards of a particular clock. My parents apparently found it in the attic somewhere and have no clue where it came from. It doesn’t work too well now, but throughout much of my childhood it did. My parents said that its gong was one of the first sounds I responded greatly to, and it was with apparent recognition and great interest (the apparent recognition led to speculation I’d heard it in the womb already, no clue if that’s possible or not). I can remember in older childhood running to watch the workings behind it whenever I heard the first few clicks winding up for it to gong.

2) Beam tree

a slab of plastic with a tree-like design inside, sitting on a wooden stand and lit from the bottom

This is called a beam tree, and we had one in the house because my dad worked at SLAC. It’s another thing I remember staring at a lot. In this case, there was a base a friend of his made, that had a light in it with a rotating colored filter. This meant it would light up in all different colors. I didn’t even realize how rare they used to be until I got older, nor did I understand how they’re made. Basically, they’re made by sticking a slab of plastic at the end of a particle accelerator and bombarding it with electrons. Then a person touches it with a piece of metal in a certain spot, and all the electrons escape. The tree-like shape is the escape path of the electrons.

You can see one being made here:

3) Books

a field guide to birds

That field guide to birds is the first book I ever read, and apparently memorized a good deal of it. I was quite young at the time. I particularly remember my favorite word ORIOLE (which is black and purple), and because the word was black and purple (due to the O and R), confusing it with the black and purple coloring on the next page, which appears now to be attached to a grackle.

the book Momo by Michael Ende

These days, though, my favorite book is a children’s book, Momo by Michael Ende, and my preferred reading is children’s fiction.

4) Scrapbook

scrawled child writing saying, if the air is so full of water vapor that it cannot hold anymore the weather report says the relative humidity is 100 percent if the air has only half as much water vapor as it can hold the report says the relative humidity is 50 percent

This is from a scrapbook my parents made from when I was a kid. For reference, I did not at the time understand the words concepts of humidity, relative anything, water vapor, or percentages. I was copying this almost word for word out of a book.

scrawled child writing saying, sometimes mars and earth are on the same side of the sun then the two planets may be only 35 million miles apart, then a badly drawn diagram, a bunch of hearts, and writing saying, to anna and ron

From the same scrapbook, astronomy stuff that I apparently gave to my parents given it has their name on it. I don’t remember if that was from a book or not. Astronomy was a Big Thing of mine for awhile, I devoured the entire section at the library. Just random kid geekery I guess.

5) Message bracelet

a message bracelet saying 10 GOTO 1 RUN ERROR

Speaking of which… I don’t know about you, but I don’t know a whole lot of little neurotypical girls who, when asked to make a message bracelet, would come out with something like this. My brothers taught me to use a VIC-20 to make patterns on the screen pretty early, things like this are the result.

6) Cats

shiny ceramic figurines of a black mother cat with two kittens

I used to collect these, this is only one of the remnants of that collection (I gave most of it away before moving). I used to have an entire shelf full of cats in ceramic, wood, rubber, and any other form I could find them in. Cats, as you can gather, have been another Big Thing for me. When I was in sixth grade I wrote my autobiography as roughly, “We had cats named Tiger and Mouse and Calico. Then Mouse had kittens twice and there were Smokey and Tangerine, but Tangerine’s name got changed to Frank. They all ran away when we moved but Smokey and Frank came back. Then a black cat showed up in our woodpile and got named Jenny before we figured out he was a boy.” And so forth, going on at great length about the fur length, coloring, and appearance of all the cats.

7) Tape measure

a retractible tape measure

I found this lying on the road in Boulder Creek, California, which is where I lived when I first moved away from my parents. It had clearly been beat up and run over a bunch of times. It’s become one of those comfortable objects that I take with me places for familiarity purposes — it feels good in my hand. And it also has ties to another kind of object I used to use that way. When I was in school, I carried a lot of bags around with me (people frequently made the pun with my last name because of this). One of the things I did was I’d pick up rulers and put them in the bag. I unfortunately wasn’t grasping the idea that it wasn’t nice to nab other people’s rulers. I amassed quite a collection. Oddly enough, I never got in trouble for it, but I did get a bunch of kids chanting “Thief! Thief! Thief!” when they saw how many of them I had. I suppose they had a point. (Don’t worry, I’ve since grasped the idea of property.)

8) Star

a star-shaped ornament with metallic edges and lots of colored plastic pieces hanging on twisted wires in the middle

This is something my friend Natalia sent me, along with a wooden cat. The wooden cat fits perfectly in my hands and has gotten so familiar so fast (and used as another of those familiarity objects) that people often ask me if I’ve had it for ages, but really these things were only sent last year. The ornament is really cool because it’s got little pieces of colored plastic in the middle that look neat when held close to your eyes, and can also be fiddled with and spun in circles. Natalia is particularly talented at picking out things that really suit me in some way.

So I have to tag a bunch of people. Hmm. I hope I haven’t overlapped with anyone’s tagging, and I’m not even sure all these people participate in things like this, but here goes:

I guess I tag Natalia (same Natalia) at My Spanglish Life (because she’s random by nature anyway), Dave Hingsburger at Chewing the Fat (not sure if he does memes or not, but worth a shot), Moggy at Moggy Mania, Rark at rarkrarkrark, Danni at Danni’s Blog, Neral at kirayoshi, Chris at Simple Gifts, and Danechi at And Stimming with Rainbows at Every Design.

About Mel Baggs

Hufflepuff. Came from the redwoods, which tell me who I am and where I belong in the world. I relate to objects as if they are alive, but as things with identities and properties all of their own, not as something human-like. Culturally I'm from a California Okie background. Crochet or otherwise create constantly, write poetry and paint when I can. Proud member of the developmental disability self-advocacy movement. I care a lot more about being a human being than I care about what categories I fit into.

28 responses »

  1. I’m curious what Momo is about. I loved Neverending Story by Michael Ende (cuz, you know, NEVERENDING story :-) ) when I was a kid, but I don’t think I ever picked up his other books that I recall.

    Hmm, I should go looking for this book …

  2. I had a roommate from Germany who introduced me to it, it’s hard to find in English and I think has a few different translations with different titles. An excerpt:

    Momo listened to everyone and everything, to dogs and cats, crickets and tortoises — even to the rain and the wind in the pine trees — and all of them spoke to her after their own fashion.

    Many were the evenings when, after he friends had gone home, she would sit by herself in the middle of the old stone amphitheater, with the sky’s starry vault overhead, and simply listen to the great silence around her.

    Whenever she did this, she felt she was sitting at the center of a giant ear, listening to the world of the stars, and she seemed to hear soft but majestic music that touched her heart in the strangest way. On nights like these, she always had the most beautiful dreams.

    Those who still think listening isn’t an art should see if they can do half as well.

  3. By far the most entertaining response I’ve seen to this meme, as well as being the one which best works (for me anyway) at fulfilling its purpose. I like the tape measure best. Thanks!

  4. This is really cool. There is evidence that (most) fetuses hear in the womb.

    They know this because babies who are in the womb in an environment where people are speaking a different language than the language people are speaking when they are born have a slower time acquiring the speech sounds. This means that even before birth, (most) fetuses are beginning to learn the phonemes associated with their first language.

  5. The clock innards would be gorgeous if a little more deeper golden, (in my opinion).
    The beam tree looks interesting.
    I liked to read a book about different types of dogs as a young child. Not my favourite though, that was reserved for several books set pre 20th century and of a gruesome nature. I particularly enjoyed ones that looked at historical prolific killers when I was 11.
    My writing was nigh on illegible as a child.
    I don’t remember message bracelets, but I didn’t go in for jewellery much. However, it reminds me of the sweetie necklaces which I still like to buy and eat off my wrist :).
    The cats are nice, they’d remind me of Bast if they were more upright.
    I have a similar tape measure, completely imperial.
    I like the star.

  6. One of the first ways I did really… emotional, personal communication, was through showing objects and songs and such to people and hoping they’d see how they all connected. Only one person really put it all together though (one of the ones mentioned in my last post). So… this sort of showing pictures of objects is similar.

  7. I tend to like books written for children and teens despite the fact that my (apparent) age should have caused me to dismiss them a long time ago.

    Two of my favorite authors are Lois Lowry and Jerry Spinelli, with favorite books being _The Giver_ and _Star Girl_, respectively.

  8. Awesome response to this meme, Amanda. I don’t know how many folks particpate in something like this, but here’s a guess that your post is among the most unique and original. Nice work. And to think the best I could do was talk about ferrets :)

  9. So, your Dad’s, like, a quantum mechanic?

    (Yeah, I know, accelerators are high-energy and quantum is tiny changes, sorry, couldn’t resist temptation to make a physics remark.)

  10. There’s an indoor market in Belfast that we visit sometimes. Duncan likes to eat an ice-cream and stand for ages watching the mechanism of a huge clock there, visible through a clear plastic case.
    I like the ‘electron tree’ too. There was a linac in the lab next to the one I used to work in. I’ve seen them made.

  11. Regarding liking things aimed more at children, I love reading “The Chalet School” by Elinor M Brent Dyer, the classic episodes of Doctor Who (for which jellybabies are an essential accompaniment for some :D),and I got The Flumps dvd more for myself than my lads.

  12. Jim S.: I like The Giver too. It was assigned to us in special ed by one of the better teachers there. She asked questions until she got us to make comparisons between being in the system and living in a dystopian society. ;-)

  13. I have to admit, I nabbed other people’s pencils and had a big pile of them in my desk when I was about eight years old.

    I’d forgotten about that until you posted about your ruler collection.

    My parents ended my short career as a pencil thief by buying me a box of 50 pencils with my name imprinted on them and explaining that if a pencil didn’t have my name on it, then it wasn’t mine.

  14. I used to borrow other children’s pencils and return them. With the tops chewed to pieces. At the age of 6 my fellow classmates held an impromptu meeting and decided I could borrow their pens (felt tips) but not the tops. I graduated towards chewing the ends instead. It was several years before I was deemed able to borrow other felt tips again.

  15. I think I had that same bird book as a kid–I had a few, but that cover looks familiar. Who wouldn’t love words like Oriole and Grackle? My grandmother took us on a lot of birdwatching expeditions with her Audubon friends–so the names of birds were worth learning in our house.

  16. That’s fun, I have (almost) the same tape measure-thing like you have and indeed, it feels good when I have it in my hand. I have posted a picture of it at my blog. (It has ‘3 meter’ written on it instead of 12″, but for the rest it’s the same)

  17. Very cool stuff (and arrangement of stuff)! Someone at work showed me one of those beam tree things a while back (they had it from when they went to a test site) and I had a lot of fun playing with it with my laser pointer. :)

    Is the second drawing from your scrapbook (the astronomy one) on old stripey printer-feed paper?

  18. Hey, I didn’t know that I’d been tagged here … thanks for letting me know … what is a meme? I got tagged twice and didn’t feel a think. Loved the photo and that tree thing is awesome … where does one get one?

    Dave Hingsburger

  19. Hi Amanda, You found my tape measure ! I’m kidding, but I ~did~ live in Boulder Creek from about 1995 to 2005. Sorry I didn’t have the opportunity to meet you there. But then I was kind of a hermit. I am “high functioning” autistic. I have been an admirer of your way of Autism advocacy for several months now. I enjoy the subjects and opinions you express. Thanks, I enjoyed your photographic 8 random facts !

  20. I was kind of a hermit too, I wasn’t out running around much. And my apartment blended pretty seamlessly into the house it was attached to, a lot of people didn’t know it was a house.

    If you know that big hippie garden thing on Camp Joy Road, I was living down the hill from that a bit in a couple rooms off the side of someone’s house. From late 1999 to early 2001. Unfortunately while the area was beautiful most of my memories of the place aren’t great due mostly to the circumstances I was in.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s