Wednesday, February 02, 2005


I love numbers.

Did you know that there are approximately 250 cranberries in a bag? I didn't know that until I counted them all the other night, as I split them in half to make cranberry bread.

And there are fourteen steps per half-flight of stairs in my office building. I know that because I count them every day as I ascend to my office. Fortunately, this number remains constant, no matter how many times I count it. Eighty-four stair treads to get to the fourth floor. Usually I take them in twos, so I only take 42 steps up, plus a couple of steps on each landing.

I got a pedometer, and I am anxious to use it, just to see how many steps I take per day. That will be very interesting.

If you use a quadrature routine on a 3-D function rather than a 2-D function, the accuracy is substantially lower. If you need N points for a 1-D function, then you would need N^2 points for a 2-D function, and N^3 points for a 3-D function, to attain the same level of accuracy.

I need to lose one more pound. This morning I weighed 180.0 lbs, and I need to get to 179 to be at the very top of the weight range for a person of height 5'11". My driver's license says I weigh 180, so it's nice that for once it's accurate.

I love pistachios. I bought a huge bag of them because they were on sale for $1.99/lb. I have probably eaten over two hundred pistachios. (I lost count a while ago.) They are delicious because they are salty and crunchy, two of my favorite things.

The other day, we bought two boxes of the store brand equivalent of Rice Krispies, because the tag on the shelf said they were on sale for 3 boxes for $5. But when they were rung up, the price was $2.99 each. Luckily, because I am incredibly anal retentive, I checked the receipt before leaving the store, and immediately went and complained at the customer service counter. As it turned out, the sale on the cereal had expired, but they had forgotten to take down the tags. But they still let me have the sale price. Actually, they gave me one box for free, and charged me $1.67 for the other, and counting tax and everything, I got a refund of $4.35.

I felt pretty good about it, although I think Jeff was impatient about having to wait an extra five minutes while I got my refund. But I told him, you know, I basically saved us $4.35 in five minutes. Suppose you earned $4.35 every five minutes. That's over fifty bucks an hour! If you worked 40 hours a week, 50 weeks out of the year, that's over $100K per year! If I could earn that for this level of exertion, I would be pretty excited. He had to admit that I had a point.

I find that I count everything. I count my steps as I walk, until I get distracted by something more interesting. I count my breaths as I fall asleep. I'm also very aware of the rhythm of sounds, and I count stuff like the number of cars that drive past, just by hearing them, not by actively counting.


Anonymous said...

You know, i think you and your nephew are going to get along just great. He counts all the time too, although he can only go up to two with any accuracy. After that, it's kind of a free-for-all. He'll say "Many", or sometimes "six" or "ten".


Anonymous said...

Oh, and....

Why did you COUNT the cranberries? I woulda just measured how many cups there were, and divided THAT in half!

I bet you're gonna tell me it was more fun your way...


Rebecca said...

I wasn't counting them to measure them. The truth of the matter is, it was an older package of cranberries, so I had to pick through them and make sure that they were okay. Since I wasn't in a big rush, I just picked through and counted them as I filed them in one of two places -- the mixer bowl or the compost -- depending on their quality.

Laura said...

Wow, Becca. You are really, really cool. I don't think like that at all. But it's awesome that you do! :-)

Laura said...

Wow, Becca. You are really, really cool. I don't think like that at all. But it's awesome that you do! :-) The only thing I count these days is how many pages are left in my homework reading... (answer: a lot.)