Drawing compasses in the air

Ever noticed how only the very strangest of the learning mnemonics you used as a child are the ones that stay with you to adulthood?

Yesterday afternoon I actually started laughing out loud at myself as I tried to orient myself to the four directions of the compass. In doing so, I mentally drew a compass in the air—east on the right, west on the left—and finally placed myself facing north.When learning directions, I was never entirely certain if, when looking north, east was on my right or on my left. For some reason, I just had trouble making it stick. But, it turned out, I wasn't the only one, and a fellow student piped up with his "easy way to remember the directions on a compass."

He said, "You can remember to go clockwise, right? Start with north, and move around the compass like a clock, and say the phrase 'Never eat soggy worms!' and there you are—all four directions!"

Damn him.

The talisman arpeggio

"I'd noticed that when you were working with numbers you often wiggled your fingers."

A very simple motion, that. Look away momentarily and it is easily missed: an arpeggio played from left pinky to left thumb, and occasionally even crossing over to the right hand. What am I doing?

I'm multiplying.