Old Films and Science

TSTWhen I was a boy (shortly after the dinosaurs left the planet for good), my Mom caught me settling in front of the TV, my math book, paper and pencil in hand.  Does anyone else remember math paper?  It was about half the size of a standard sheet and had the texture of newsprint.  I had a teacher that used to punish bad behavior by making a student hold a folded piece of math paper between his teeth.  Gross.   Don’t believe me?  Try it with a piece of the NY Times.  But I digress.  When Mom saw me with my math book in front of the TV, she said, You can’t do homework in front of the TV.  You can’t concentrate.  She said the same thing when she caught me writing a report for American History to the tune of The Theme from Peter Gunn on my stereo.  You can’t concentrate with music on.   Like any good father, I passed on my mother’s wisdom to my kids.   But I’m here to come clean today.  It’s not true.

Once I was a big boy, say, 25 years old, working for a living and taking graduate courses at night, I discovered I worked better to music, particularly if I fit the music to the task.  Heavy thinking, cranking out equations?  Light classical or really cool jazz.  Instrumental only.   Writing computer code?  Something with a beat, maybe The Modern Jazz Quartet or, these days, Peter White.  Or perhaps Vivaldi’s Four Seasons or Beethoven’s Fifth.  Writing a proposal or a final report in the small hours of the morning?  Fleetwood Mac or the Eagles.  Maybe Radar Love by Golden Earring if the deadline was near.

If Mom’s looking down, she knows: I got three college degrees to music.  And if you’ve been coming around Older Eyes – Bud’s Blog for a while, you know that I’ve changed my tune, so to speak.  I like to blog with an old movie on in the background.  The film has to be something I’ve seen a few times, something I like, something of an old friend.  That way, I don’t have to watch as I write but I can pause for a moment … or a line … that I love.   City Slickers works.  Shawshank RedemptionMoonstruck.  I’ve probably written 100,000 words over the past few years to the accompaniment of Old Films.

Last night, I put on The Bucket List, starring Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman, both actors I love.  Freeman has one of the most soothing voices in show business … I think I could listen to him read the phone book (remember those?).  You’d think a film about two old coots dying of cancer would be the last choice of a sixty-nine year old man for blogging, but it’s perfect.  Funny, touching, and life affirming.  But last night, instead of blogging, I was running MATLAB, the scientific programming code we use in my business.  The deadline for the project where Nothing Works is this week and we still didn’t have the results we needed.  So, with Freeman and Nicholson working though their bucket lists in the background, I was running MATLAB simulations of the processor we’re proposing and just as Freeman was explaining to Nicholson how his favorite coffee, Kopi Luwak, was made (Hilarious.  Be sure to watch), I found it … an example that shows what we need for our report.

I didn’t shout, Eureka … that would scare the cats … but you can bet your precious parts I thought it.  Today, my colleagues and I need to be sure what I found holds up in the hot, revealing light of the day.  But I think it will.  Oh, the magic of Old Films and Science.   So, here on Top Sites Tuesday #215, I’m here to tell you … Thought Number OneEverything your mother told you isn’t true.  But you’ve probably figured that out for yourself.  Mom also told me that if I finished everything on my plate, I’d grow up to be a BIG boy.   I took that to heart and … Thought Number Two that is unfortunately true.  Hence, I’m walking six days a week again.  So, what did your mother tell you?  Hopefully, she told you to always push your plate away before it’s empty and to always push Older Eyes’ button … gently … before moving on to the next post.  Thanks for reading.

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4 Comments on “Old Films and Science”

  1. liggybee Says:

    Funny, I tell my kids the same…but yet (I hope they don’t read this) I did the same thing…do my homework in front of the TV, study for an exam while watching basketball, etc.

    By the way, thanks for including some interesting videos to listen to while I read the rest of your post…hehe! I like Golden Earring’s Radar Love. 🙂

    Have a great rest of the week! (Click!)

  2. Trina Says:

    I always am more relaxed and more productive with the radio on. You’re right though, the music has to reflect my work, for an outside job – hard rock, for an nice day indoors painting – blues and jazz.

    Radar Love is a great song, haven’t heard it in a while.

  3. Wolfbernz Says:

    Hi Bud,

    I guess I’m the exception to the rule. When I work I like it to be quiet so I can concentrate. Background noise often interrupts my thought process LOL

    I liked the movie “Bucket List” it is a great movie with 2 great actors and it was so funny!

    Clicks for you!

  4. Cheryl P. Says:

    Sorry, I am so late getting here, Bud. (long story) Anyway….yes, I totally understand the needing/wanting background noise while reading, or doing a chore of anykind. I would be at a loss on getting my housework done without the stereo on.

    As far as things parents said that may or may not of been true. I grew up with just a father for the years I had a parent. I don’t know if it is all men, but I think my dad didn’t offer up too many “clean your plate” kind of comments. He was more about don’t grind the gears, change the oil every 3K and check the fluids.

    Congrats on finding what you needed for your project. I hope that all comes together the way you want it to. My fingers are crossed for you. (that generally works for every instance)



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