## Thursday, August 24, 2006

### Numbers

I love numbers. It's geeky and silly, but I love to think about numbers and patterns and do math in my head.

When my car reached mileage of 123456, I stopped on the side of the road and admired it. If I'd had a camera I'd've taken a picture. I notice odometer readings of 141414 and 112358 and ... you get the picture.

I had long decided that 27 was the best birthday, it being the most recent cubic birthday. It'll be a while till I get to the next one (64), and virtually impossible to get to the one after that (125). Of course, 30 is 3 cubed plus 3.

I stand in my bathroom and multiply lengths and widths to figure out how many tiles there are. I estimate my grocery bill as I put things in the basket, calculating the appropriate tax as I go along. When I go on a road trip, I figure out my MPG in my head and my average speed. I also like to calculate how many minutes to the next town based on my estimated speed, and see how close I get.

It started in highschool, when I was on the Texaco Challenge team, and had to learn lots of number sense types of tricks in order to do math in my head quickly. Things like 23 x 27 = 621 because 25 squared is 625 (tens digit (2) times one bigger (3) with 25 stuck on the end) minus 2 squared, since each the multiplier and the multiplicand are 2 away from 25. I like multiplying things by 11, too. As an extra measurement of my mathematical geekiness, I lettered in UIL calculator (I lettered in band, too, but we digress into other kinds of geekiness), but rather than get a letter jacket, I convinced my school to purchase my first HP calculator: a 32SII with reverse polish notation which I still have and use.

As school starts back into session this fall, I wonder what student out there is just starting into a love of numbers or words or something else that will stick with them for the rest of their lives. Good luck to all those students and their teachers this year!