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What do you geek? Share your own story!


Kay Geeks Golden Retrievers

Everyone is passionate about something—everyone geeks something. Dr. Kay Palan, dean of the Haworth College of Business at Western Michigan University, shares her passion for Golden Retrievers.

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Esther Geeks Taiko

Everyone is passionate about something—everyone geeks something. Esther Vandecar shares her passion for Taiko (太鼓), the art of Japanese drumming.

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Alex Geeks Fractals

"The Fractalist: Memoir of a Scientific Maverick” just arrived at KPL. It is by Benoit B. Mandelbrot, the holocaust survivor and genuis who coined the term "fractal" and opened our eyes to the math behind so many beautiful events of nature, such as trees, clouds, and mountains.

 World Book Online defines a fractal as "a complex geometric figure made up of patterns that repeat themselves at smaller and smaller scales," where "any of its smallest structures is similar in shape to a large structure, which, in turn, is similar to an even larger one, and so on." I'm sorry, what? To be honest, defining fractals is easier with real world examples, like the Romanesco broccoli. But I think the heart of why I geek fractals is that they encourage exploration and discovery. Computer-generated fractal images, such as the Mandelbrot Set, can be "zoomed" in forever, and essentially, the more you look, the more you find.

While basic patterns of the image are repeated at different scales, self-similar fractal patterns are always unique, never exactly the same, and “roughly” similar at different scales of space or time (yes there are temporal fractals, too). Because mapping fractals requires extensive calculation, only since the 1980s have computers allowed us to gain a more comprehensive understanding of their presence and dynamics. I hope that our continued exploration of fractals will create better understandings of human ecology, while potentially solving aspects of our energy production and energy storage issues.

Also, they just look really cool, and since the brain itself is fractal, my hunch is that observing fractals kind of tickles the perception - like letting one’s neural networks glance into a mirror reflecting their own fractal nature. 

AlexM

Sarah Geeks Cookbooks

I can sit and read a cookbook cover to cover just like a novel. I love finding new recipes and learning new styles of cooking. I have a collection of unusual cookbooks I take out from time to time just to read them.  Some people express their creativity thru drawing or painting, I express my thru cooking!

—Sarah

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Brandon Geeks Computers

I was born in 1990 and we got our first computer around 1995. I remember it came in a ginormous box and it was a top of the line Compaq computer. My parents had no idea how to use it, how to set it up, or what to even do with it once they turned it on. My friends all had computers so I knew exactly what to do, and what went where, and why it went there. I remember my parents were confused when I had a better idea of what was going on than they did.

Around 1999 we finally replaced our slow dial up connection with high speed internet. It worked perfect on every computer in the house except for my sister’s. The guy who set up our internet couldn’t figure out how to make it work on my sister’s computer. My parents were too busy/afraid of technology to call up our service provider to figure it out, so I called up our service provider and asked if there was anything I could do to fix the problem. After about an hour of holding and going through a list of questions they determined they didn’t know what was causing the problem. I decided to take matters into my own hands, and started digging through the box my sisters computer came in. Remember these were the days before everyone posted everything on the internet and it was before “Google” was popular. I came across a CD that resets the computer back to factory settings. I put it in the computer and reset it, installed all the correct drivers, and then plugged the ethernet cable into the back of the computer. I crossed my fingers as I opened Internet Explorer. Microsoft’s webpage opened up and my sister now had internet on her computer. I later learned that the process of resetting a computer is called reformatting it.

Around 2000 I was in sixth grade, and my CD drive stopped reading CDs. I called Dell and told them my disc drive was dead. My computer was still under warranty and they sent me a new CD drive. I had never opened my computer case until then, I had no idea what I was doing. When I opened it I could see how the disc drive connected to the motherboard and I disconnected the old CD drive. I took out the old CD drive and sent it back to Dell. I continued to install the new one that Dell had sent me, and it worked perfect! I remember thinking this is what I want to do with my life.

 I took all the computer classes I could possibly take during the rest of middle school and high school. In tenth grade the Kalamazoo Valley Community College counselors came in and showed us all the programs and degrees they offered, and soon as I saw “Computer Support Technician” I jumped all over it. As of today I am 5 classes away from completing that degree, and I still love it now as much as I did back in 1995 when we setup our first computer.

BrandonK

Esther Geeks TAIKO (Japanese Drumming)

I moved to Japan 27 years ago to teach English with a B.S. in Int'l Mkg, discovered Taiko, turned 180 degrees from my path, and have never looked back. I teach the first taiko group in MI at Kalamazoo College, MI Hiryu Daiko (the 3rd MI group) in Kalamazoo, workshops all over the Midwest, after leaving my legacy of 19 years, Fushicho Daiko, in Phoenix, AZ. I study and perform in Japan almost every year. I love to share.

—Esther Vandecar

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September is Library Card Sign-up Month!

Library Card Sign-up Month is a celebration held at the beginning of the new school year during which librarians across the country remind parents and caregivers that a library card is the most important school supply of all.

This year, Troy Polamalu, safety for the Pittsburgh Steelers, joins us as Honorary Chair of Library Card Sign-up Month.

Visit your nearest library location with your children and teens today and sign up for a library card!

Not sure how to get a library card? Check out: How to get a library card.

A library card is a key resource in achieving academic success, and the library is the perfect place to spend quality family time together.

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Library Card Sign-Up Month
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Jill Geeks Competitive Cheer

I look forward to winter! Not for the snow, but because I know it is Competitive Cheer season. This year will be my tenth season as an MHSAA Competitive Cheer Official. I "geeked" cheerleading long before that though! My mom also geeks the sport and coached my team in middle school! I cheered in high school and college and coached for four years prior to becoming an official. Not only do I have the best seat in the gymnasium to watch competitions, but I also get to be a part of educational athletics.

Competitive cheer has one of the highest participation rates for female sports in the state. The enthusiasm, dedication and athleticism we see each year are amazing. I have been selected as a State Finals Panel Judge three years in a row!! I also serve on the Michigan Cheer Judges Association board where I manage our mentoring program for new officials and facilitate trainings in the state. Check out the MHSAA website to learn more about giving back as a registered official to the high school sport you once loved!

Jill L

Elysha Geeks Sewing

I know, it's super girly, but I geek sewing. It is so neat to be able to take a simple piece of fabric and make it into a dress or shirt that is totally unique, and fits you perfectly in size and style. I love to turn on an audiobook or CD from the library and sit down to sew as a way to unwind from a long day at work. And then when you finish something and put it on for the first time it is so exciting! (At this point I usually have a little fashion show for my lazy cat Buster who likes to sit by me and beg to have his belly rubbed while I sew.) I have found that the more I sew, the better become at it. The better I become, the more successful my projects are. The more successful my projects are, the more I geek it! It's a vicious (but wonderful) circle!!

 

Elysha Cloyd