tatjna (tatjna) wrote,

Expandin' mah brainz

Yesterday I started doing flashcards. Why? Because all the cool kids Dr Wheel is doing it. He's been doing it for a while - he does it in the mornings in bed over coffee, and I occasionally join in and 'help'. I especially like the geography one, so that's where I started. Also, I feel quite geographically challenged.

I didn't feel geographically challenged right up until I did. And I can pinpoint that day too. You see, we have this friend, let's call him Grumpy. Grumpy is a normally-functioning human being until you put him into certain warm ambient temperatures, with certain other conditions, not all of which have been fully determined. Then it seems he loses the ability to regulate his own body temperature, and instead just gets hotter and hotter until it reaches dangerous levels.

The day this first happened, Grumpy's friends knew something wasn't quite right, and started asking if he was ok. But Grumpy is English, you see, so instead of saying "Actually I feel a bit peaky and weird", Grumpy insisted he was fine through his beet-red face and complete lack of cooling sweat. Eventually he got somewhat incoherent and wobbly and we shoved him in a fountain and that sort of helped, but really we don't want to kill our friends so we needed to devise a way of working out whether Grumpy is actually ok or just being English, preferably before his temperature reaches boiling point.

So we decided that instead of asking him if he's ok, we'd start asking him questions about the capitals of European countries - the idea being that if he couldn't tell us, he was hot enough that his brain wasn't working right and therefore we needed shade and cold liquids, stat.

And it was at this point that I realised how crap my knowledge of geography is. Granted, the people I was with at the time have PhDs from a variety of reputable universities, but I was still shocked that my knowledge of geography was so limited. I know the very basics, but I am afraid once you get east of about France (from England) things start to get very messy. And I realised why - geography isn't a set subject in New Zealand schools. We do Social Studies, which focuses on individual countries in detail. I remember doing Rarotonga, India, Spain.. but none of the countries around them. We learned capitals, populations, religions, main food crops - for a carefully selected and narrow range of the countries that actually exist.

And then when it came time to choose elective subjects for external exams and stuff, I was the only one who wanted to do geography, and in a small country school the resources weren't available for one student to do a subject so I did tech drawing which had a class of 6 instead.

So, um, yeah. When Dr Wheel started telling me interesting things like how the Mozambique flag has an AK47 on it..


.. I decided it's time to fix that.

I am still at the point where the Bulgarian flag has white on top because of how Great Uncle Bulgaria is so old, and the Hungarian flag has a red sky so they are all hungry.. *cough*

But hey, everyone has to start somewhere, right? And it seems I am starting with Flatvia which is the opposite of Austria. Or something.

Meanwhile, yesterday I brought home the other kayak. It's a Feelfree Cosmic, and is about 1.5m shorter and 10kg lighter than the Turtle. This means I can lift it easily onto the roof of the car - at least, when it's clean I can. Yesterday I grabbed it from my brother's place where it's been slowly becoming one with nature on his deck for the last *mumble* years. I scraped off the worst of the webs and detritus (including one terrifyingly large hairy spider) but couldn't clean it properly till I got home, after which I discovered it was still housing more hairy spiders and some cockroaches. Awesome.

Eventually I filled it with water, which caused the wildlife to bail. Then I scrubbed the moss off the outside, left it in the sun to dry, and put it in the place where the Turtle wouldn't fit. Over the weekend we'll adjust the seat and footpegs and see if Dr Wheel will find it comfy. It's got the spray skirt but my other paddle has gone west and I have no idea what happened to my other bouyancy aid. Maybe the spiders ate it.

But yeah, now we have two boats. We have the tiniest fishing fleet ever! ;-D Although, Dr Wheel's boat doesn't have a rod holder so he might have to paddle around and round the fish up for me. Yep.
Tags: do you have a flag?
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