"Awesome!" A Blog.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Into the Memory Box

In celebration of the centennial of the San Francisco earthquake, my mom apparently spent the day clearing their garage of flammable materials. Chief among them were, of course, my old grade-school papers and "1982-83 2nd Grade Spelling Bee" trophy. I won't show you the trophy, because it is small and depressing, but here are a few choice samples from my early career in academic publishing, which are now in my garage.

Computer Programming in BASIC

Need help programming that computer to create a mad-lib? Then just consult my manual, which was largely written by looking at the manual that came with our Apple //c. I think this dates to 1986, and the motivation to publish it was that I had a shiny sticker I could put on the cover.

Thomas Alva Edison

"Thomas Alva Edison," my senior honors thesis at Stanford, was widely reviled by the department for my argument that most, if not all, of Edison's inventions had been copies of inventions by Francis Bacon.

Actually, I think I wrote this in the fourth grade. There's a juicy bit of reasoning in the detail below the cover:

I suppose one could argue that dependence on massive power grids that draw heavily on nonrenewable natural resources for their energy isn't technically "practical," but then one wouldn't be in the fourth grade, would one? Nope, it's "go with the flow" for this kid. I've got light bulbs, I've heard that candles cause fires, and oil lamps look pretty corny. Light bulbs for me, ten times out of ten, please.

I've got stacks of these things, including a series of illustrated, informational books about Alaska, Colorado, Norway, and the Early Explorers of California. In one, a teacher chides me for hyphenating a one-syllable word in order to make it wrap. If you're lucky, I'll have the patience to scan them before I think better of using my time this way.