Design, for Life

Recently, I’ve been considering the careers I didn’t try; that is, it didn’t occur to me to try.

Fashion designer
Early music
% musical theater (well, this did occur to me…)
fashion historian

In my freshly discovered life, less constrained by the shadows of fears of what life will ask of me, I begin to wonder more about possibilities.

It began last summer (the previous one), with an exercise in “finding your core values”. The setting was a boot camp designed to turn mathematicians into mathematical-reasoners in fancy industry research jobs. There was a two page list of suggestions for “values”. I came up with:

Peace, Joy, Friendship, Accuracy.

To which I said, “This is supposed to translate into a career of some kind?!”

Currently, I live a semi-dreamy existence as a visiting professor at a small liberal arts college in the foothills of the Appalachians. The setting is idyllic, the students are open and un-jaded, the people are lovely. I am managing not to do a terrible job. But in a year, I have to do something else.

I often had the feeling, in graduate school, that I was only utilizing parts of myself. Though this improved, over time, as I was pushed to be more relational. Here, as I had hoped, it has improved a good deal. There is more room for my soul in a liberal arts world. However, day to day: I teach math, chat with math professors, and come home and recover. I’m still missing something.

Get married, start a family
or at least, get a relationship
Get a dog
Get “a life” (do things with people? for fun?)
Get a job that lets you feel you are changing the world
Get a prayer rule

{I looked into a dog. I kind of lost my heart to this one ->
But it turns out my landlord’s pet policy is more serious than I had understood. Can’t see any way to a dog. :\ }

Spend more time alone, come to know your inner self, and what you really want.


I want to live near my close friends. Or, make that level of excellent friends where I am. Lakes, books, walks, family meals. Peace, Joy, Friendship… Accuracy?

Looking back at my writing from the spring, as I was attempting to separate the wheat from the malignancy in my history of figure skating, a few things kept coming up. Performing. Music. Costumes.

A friend asked me, “Why costumes? Do you feel the need to cover up?” I said, “No, almost the reverse. I would love to dress more flamboyantly (beautifully?) all the time. But I generally have tried to keep a low profile in dress, for fear of bad reactions.” What I loved to do as a child: play dress up. What I love to watch on Youtube: design. Houses, and people who live in them/love them. The clothing that works for individuals, as opposed to the heaps that don’t. The relationship between the space in which you live and your life. People, and their relationship to design. People, and the ability of design to bring them peace, or joy.

As a young teen, I rewatched, endlessly, a video called “Remembering Chicago”. It arrived as a free gift for supporting the local PBS. It was a documentary, in which the Chicago of the 1920’2-40’s was brought to life. Street cars. Neighborhoods. Jobs. Jazz. the Depression. Change. Bathing suits. Dining. Photos, interviews, music, costumes. I can still hear the dance music. The setting of Chicago, and what it made of life for all the thousands of different people who lived there.
I loved it.

I’ve been watching… a certain television show with excellent costumes, set in the 1920’s. In connection with this, I came across a clip of a black and white photo: a sea of hats and backs, crowding around a train compartment. In that brief clip, my heart leapt, with the same joy as for Remembering Chicago.

(These are not it, but have something of the same spirit.)

Hats? Do I love hats?? Well designed hats? In the rush and urgency of life; alongside the means of traveling, news, and the larger world. Dignity, in the cut of a coat. Design, for everyday. The cares and concerns of every individual living that moment.

Is design about accuracy, in service of life? I rather like that. I love accuracy, in many guises. The right word choice. A well thought-out gadget. The minimal solution to a problem, with no unnecessary effort. A well proportioned room. A statement that weights the pros and cons justly, without exaggeration. A Paul-handshake cake. Knowing the puzzle piece will fit, before you try.

Good design, in service of life. I like that, a lot. Accuracy for peace, and (flamboyant?) joy.

So, again, how does this translate into a career??
Is math an effort to teach Design, for the interior of one’s head?


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Triple Toe-Loop

I’ve been sitting in this coffee shop for 2 hours, and I’ve done 15 minutes of work. But that’s ok. I’m trying to process the history of my life and figure skating.

I was a very serious competitive figure skater until mid-way through my Junior year of high school, when I decided I had other things to do with my life. Did you know that? You may not. I don’t seem to talk about it. At 17 I walked away, stepped into a new life, and left that person behind. Or at least, I thought I did.

Except, every 4 years or so, I had a crisis. After stumbling over the opening ceremonies of the 2004 Summer Olympics, I sat mesmerized and crying while my friends gave up and went on with their evening; I fought for control of the television in the Lowers Commons lounge in 2006. In 2010, I woke up to find Evan Lysacek in second after the men’s short program, and sobbed all the way to Albuquerque and back for a midterm. In 2014, I started to notice the pattern. I bought cable for two weeks in February and tried to imagine reintegrating with the person I had been – the person who cares (cared), passionately, about figure skating. I didn’t even know that person anymore. But it turned out she had dreams, loves, pains… and she’d been sitting around in cold storage, waiting, while I went off to college, fell in love with Plato, then a trinitarian God, and then math.

Last fall, I had a crisis of epic proportions. I thought it was about finishing graduate school, the looming uncertainty of a future career, and a fear of what I could handle. Turns out… it’s become increasingly clear that it’s about figure skating. Or leaving figure skating. Or the demands of figure skating, having to leave figure skating, and loosing it. Or perhaps loosing it, in the very pursuit of it.

I thought at first that I just needed to grieve over figure skating, as something that I had loved, and lost. For there was certainly grief involved. But it was complicated. It was dark. It was grief, fear, jealousy, hurt, despair, more fear. Regret, but not for my choice to leave. Love, but not that brought any vestiges of joy. Loss, but of what? A terrible fear both of loss and of involvement.  I couldn’t seem to let it go – take the positive, leave the negative, and go on into the rest of my life as an integrated person.

Over the last few weeks, I’ve tried to sit with the grief of my younger self, not just sealing it back up again and going about my life (but with only 2/3 of myself?). It’s been good. But the longer I’ve sat, the more gnarled it’s seemed. It hurts, it’s deep, it’s a mess, and I don’t understand. I worried the knot from all the angles I could think of, and just got more angsty.

Yesterday, a friend asked me, “What happened inside you when it got intense?”

I scrabbled around, and came up with, “In order to get to the Olympics, you have to be willing to give up everything and train. And there’s a place for that, if you want to go to the Olympics. But I didn’t really plan to sign up for that.”

I love figure skating, and I believe in excellence. I got on a train labelled “excellence”, and it took me to beautiful places. But eventually, I found that the rules excluded control over your schedule, extracurriculars, ice shows, normal life, control over your diet, and in some cases school, friendship, and health. (I was lucky, in that my parents put their foot down on some things. I also had the sense not to pound on moderate injuries until they became debilitating. )

In a moment of insight, I said to my friend, “What I really liked was to perform. Ice shows were my favorite thing ever.”

She said, “You’ve never mentioned that before.”

Hunh. Perhaps that was my deep, dark secret. Maybe I figured it was obvious: ice shows are more fun. But they’re not the important thing; in a serious figure skating world, who has time to bother with ice shows? It’s not done.

So here’s what I think. Maybe I gave up everything in order to lose what I loved. Or, the more I gave up, the more I pursued someone else’s goals – which looked enough like mine that I couldn’t put a finger on the problem. I skated beautifully. What I am most proud of is that when I skated, people noticed. That when I missed two elements in my technical short program, I found myself in 7th place; to me, that means that the judges said, If you would just land that triple, we would be pleased and happy to send you to sectionals. (I didn’t. I had won my nerves game, but I didn’t have a plan for the event of being in reach of sectionals.)

A month later, I had a clear conversation with my coach about goals. She said, we work this year on those triples, and next year we head to sectionals. And inside my head I heard… That’s not my goal in life. Or at least, I don’t want it that hard. Not enough to spend a year falling down, or to make up for all the things I’m missing. To put off thinking about college, to risk doing enough damage to my knees to be unable, as a young woman, to run around with my kids. To live in a world populated with eating disorders, and increasingly empty of the people I had looked up to as a young skater.

That was true. I got up my nerve, I communicated it to my parents, and we to my coach. And it was a good decision.

But where was the thing I had loved? I think it had gone by, like a ship in the night. It was there, but I wasn’t moving towards it. There was perhaps not enough of it left for me to miss it when I left.

And so, my grief is not for the leaving, but for the loss. And for the pain, for a goal that wasn’t mine. That something I loved became an instrument for injuring myself.

(The people I envy most are those who can look back with unsullied fondness, with perhaps a healthy touch of loss, at their time in figure skating – for whom it is still “fun”, “cool”, inspiring, and prized.)


(NAG35)Nagano, Japan Friday February 20, 1998–Women’s Olympic Figure Skating Final-Michelle Kwan goes through her routine during the women’s long program Friday night at the White Ring. Kwan too the silver medal, Tara Lipinski took the gold and Lu Chen took the bronze.















P.S: I actually felt much more optimistic about all this after that conversation yesterday. “Performing” is something one can do in any number of contexts. And the whole thing feels less twisted now.


There are other chapters to follow, I’m sure.

Where now?
What can I perform now, beyond 30, with broken sesamoids, a PhD in mathematics, and a miss-spent? youth. But great costumes; it should have great costumes. (= (And music!)

What about the things in my life that I have chosen not to pursue seriously, because I “knew” that to pursue it seriously was to lose the joy?

When you “retire” at 17, there is a lot of life left to live. I would like to see that as a blessing, rather than the necessity to go back to work to support yourself, in a world from which the joy is missing. (After unaccountably failing to provide for your retirement, by winning the Olympics and acquiring lucrative advertising contracts and a pro career??)


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At a friend’s house this afternoon, I discovered a Pickling book. It is called The Joy of Pickling, and it is stately and plump and a dog has chewed off one corner. I fell for it.

joy of pickling

Pickles are a source of great mystery. One can make quasi-pickles simply by adding vinegar; there are pickles off the shelf in the store, pickles made by enterprising gardeners who have pickled their own vegetables (but how!? in what!?), pickles appearing in Farmer Boy and other historical literature; and increasingly, there are fancy fermented vegetables for $14 a pop at natural foods stores, which are all the rage among gut enthusiasts.

I get the feeling there is an art of pickling, which we knew of old, and which may or may not be represented in the condiment aisle.

After all, what exactly is a pickle!??

This is the question I set out to answer. First I learned that,

The practice of making pickles by fermentation – souring through the action of microorganisms – evolved [in the] east. Laborers constructing the Great Wall of China in the third century B.C. were given mixed fermented pickles as part of their food rations.


Ok, fermentation is in there. Are all pickles fermented? (I doubt this.) Where does the vinegar come in?

Considering the etymology of the word pickle launches you backward through time. … English words related to pickle are beak, the bird’s tool; peck, the bird’s action; prick, a similar action that pierces; peak, the shape of a beak, upside-down; and piquant, sharp or stinging. … Pickles, then, are foods that prick the taste buds.


But I still don’t know what a pickle is.

I proceeded to the recipe for No-Dill Crock Pickles:

  • cucumbers (“blossom ends removed”)
  • assorted spices, herbs, etc
  • vinegar
  • water
  • surprising amount of salt
  • grape or sour cherry leaves

(“Where am I supposed to get grape or sour cherry leaves!?” I exclaim. “Trader Joe’s,” she says. “They have a lot of unusual things now!” Oh. )

Lay the leaves in the crock. Layer the cucumbers in the crock… [mix stuff together] Pour enough brine over the cucumbers to cover them. … Cover with a towel or cloth and store at room temperature.
Within 3 days you should see tiny bubbles in the brine, indicating that fermentation has begun.

What!?? Something is clearly fermenting, but what? There’s no culture, no starter, no yeast… I guess there’s some bacteria in the air (and possibly on the cucumbers), but who says we want to encourage it and eat it??

Bread & Butter Pickles 030

Finally, we come to the meat of the matter.

There are two basic kinds of pickle: those preserved with vinegar and those preserved with salt. Vinegar pickles, also called fresh pickles because they aren’t fermented, usually contain salt as well. Likewise, fermented pickles, which are always made with salt, sometimes include vinegar.


In general terms, fermentation is a controlled decomposition of food, involving yeasts, molds, or bacteria in an aerobic or anaerobic process. … Brine pickling involves fermentation by bacteria. The bacteria break apart sugars to create acid – mainly lactic acid – which for some weeks or months preserves the food in its partially decomposed form. …

Vegetables pressed together in a crock will ferment with or without salt. Without the proper salt concentration, however, enzymes may soften the vegetables, and the wrong microorganisms may predominate. … The right amount of salt fosters the right progression of bacterial activity that produces firm, delicious pickles.

… Fermented pickle brines often include some vinegar, partially for its flavor and partially to discourage the growth of the wrong microorganisms before fermentation gets under way.

So now you know.

Apparently, millennia before the word “microorganism” carried any meaning, people knew that if you put vegetables in a crock with a lot of salt, you could produce spicy, tangy, delicious edibles that kept well and didn’t make you sick. Remarkable.

Happy (piquant?) New Year!!


Post script:

Home canning reached a peak during World War II, when the U.S. government commandeered 40 percent of commercial pickle output for the armed forces. … “Novice canners using shoddy wartime equipment produced a record number of disasters. Innumerable stoves were ruined, kitchens were spattered, and victims were hospitalized with severe burns, cuts, and botulism.” If U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) guidelines today seem to be based on the assumption that the typical home canner won’t follow half of them, this history should explain the governments’ conservatism.

Post post script: I intended to write a celebration of pickles. With phrases like “partially decomposed” and “severe burns, cuts and botulism,” I fear I risk producing the opposite affect. But never-mind. Hooray for pickles!!

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Part II: (Refuse to go a) student-ing

Today I learned that I now hate homework with a burning fiery passion (that I didn’t know I had inside me).

There comes a point, working on a homework problem, when I judge I’ve little more to gain from continuing to tease out the details of the solution. So I stop.

Then the little rational voice inside me says, “it won’t take much for you to get it all worked out and write it up; why don’t you just put in a little more effort and then you can turn it in and everyone will be happy!”

And then I cringe and quail inside, because essentially what the voice is suggesting is that I sell a little part of me, or my soul, or my time, in exchange for points. POINTS. Meaningless, arbitrary points. With a complete lack of integrity, I can buy points by putting the right sentences on a piece of paper and turning it in.

And by buying points, I can stay in the class. It’s a requirement for the class: turning in some homework. My happy “I learned something” spot isn’t good enough. It feels as if I have to buy my right to be interested in learning the subject. Ugh.


This is the most ridiculously over-dramatic statement ever made about graded homework. (!) And yet, I could make it still more vehement and not exhaust my depth of feeling on the subject. Where is this unexpected passion coming from??

Point 1: Integrity is important. (If you’ve got an argument handy that I could use to elaborate on that, I’d be glad to have it. elaboration… blah blah.)

Point 2: I think this is part of my larger cause, “Can I Please Be An Adult Now!??”

The virtue of awarding points for homework is that it encourages students to put the work in and rewards steady, successful effort towards the class. Like parents of kindergarteners award gold starts for completing tasks or good behavior.

I no longer wish to be a kindergartener. I wish to take full responsibility for my actions – I will cheerfully learn things, not learn things, decide my priorities, apportion my time, and stand or fall by the consequences. I would prefer not to have a beneficent intermediary artificially interspersing goals and rewards along the way.

Frankly, I think this means that I no longer want to be a student.* That would clear a lot of things up. Because surely there’s a time and a place for gold stars, deadlines, and an emphasis on successfully learning something and acheiving a grade. (Ugh, well, I’m not so sure about the grade part, but that question is too complicated for me right now; we’ll leave it.) That’s being a student; it’s all about beneficent intermediaries.

Perhaps this is part of why I have this nagging sense that one can’t be a proper adult as student. … Get me out of here!!*

But! I do so want to write a thesis. I want to learn from the best mathematicians around me how to do better math. I want to re-learn important things I should have learned in classes but there just wasn’t time and/or I had my motivations all mixed up. With a complete absence of arbitrary deadlines or point schemes – oh frabjous day!!

I want to be a person with a job. And that job is to do research and teach math. It happens in an academic setting, with fun perks like libraries, cookie time, and seminars. (Also free bus fare, gym access, cheap concert tickets… I do not underestimate the perks of being a student!) But it stays distinct from student-mode.

That was my goal, going into this semester: stay out of student mode. I found I could not achieve it – the drag of the academic routine is strong. It pulled me in, from that first long, full Monday. I failed to attain that free, clear orbit where the people in charge of their own fate circle above a maelstrom of backpacks, assignments, exams, IDs, viruses, planners, and student activities. Not an adult yet. >=

In part, I failed because of homework. And that is why I want to burn it with the fire of 50 flame throwers till it crumples in an inconsequential pile of ash and slinks away. (!!)(Perhaps?)

The end.

P.S. Does that orbit really exist?? I feel I need to know. If being on the other side of the student-faculty divide only brings its own arbitrary deadlines and a different cast of the inexorable academic routine… I need to know.

Reading this over, I find it may give the impression that I’m genuinely unhappy to be still in grad school. Which is not true! There is an old (usual?) kind of student – the take classes, do homework, follow a curriculum kind – which I no longer want to be, because I’m NOT AT THAT STAGE anymore. But perhaps there’s a PhD candidate, research phase, kind of student, which I really want to figure out how to be. The strength of my rejection of the old mode, I suspect, stems from the strength of my attraction to the new.

It also has a certain flavor of teenage rebellion to it, for which I can only apologize. I should perhaps admit my continued dependence on (and appreciation for) beneficent intermediaries in various aspects of my life. It’s just that I don’t think I need them to teach me how to learn math in a class setting anymore.

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It’s the first week of the new semester.

Today I went to 3 classes, and somehow the effect was painfully oppressive. Now granted, three classes is a lot for one day – especially the extra-long T-Th classes. Last spring I took only one, which hardly counted because I never left the Math building and by the end actually forgot I was in the class. So by contrast, sauntering over to Recitation or University several times in a day amidst all the students trudging to and from class felt unexpectedly bizarre. Like being back in “the good old days” of… a year and a half ago? I didn’t realize I had so thoroughly moved into another mode of graduate school.

But apparently I have. And apparently, I have no interest in going back. No, worse. Today’s foray into class-going mode, complete with little chair desks, discussions of course outlines, and the framework of other people’s expectations for what I would learn in a semester affected my happy little math-ing soul like a fast dehydrator. It’s put me in mind of the description of feeling like “a compacted ball of dust” from the end of my first year. At the end of the day, I needed emergency Bach and lying on the grass.

I mean, what’s so bad about it, after all?!? I’d call it two moderately good lecturers and one moderately bad. Two classes that were mostly review with some good insights and one new but not unapproachable. On the face of it, not unreasonable?

But what kills me is the change from setting my own course to being subjected to someone else’s. The glorious thing about the “new mode” is the ability to pursue, track down and think about the things that I find interesting. To say at the beginning of the day, “Today, I’m going to figure out what’s going on with Divisors. And if I get tired of that, I’ll go back to the First Main Theorem of Nevanlinna theory.” To be free to wrangle out the level of understanding that satisfies me, rather than that which best balances the pressures of professors’ expectations, workload, gpa, and sleep. To be self-directed is fantastic.

The professor who looks to require that I learn something in his class this semester is my enemy. (Ok, maybe “enemy” is a bit strong. But at any rate, I don’t feel like he’s helping me.) I wish to acknowledge only the responsibility to produce some good thought about something in exchange for my time.

I don’t think the “new mode” has to be incompatible with taking a class or so. Classes count as a way to pursue an understanding of something one is interested in, right? I’m hoping that it’s just the three at once that threatened to launch me backwards. Three doesn’t leave enough room for a personal project and campaign of study to take hold. Three is not one part of a larger offensive, it constructs (and enforces) a complete strategy of its own. Which feels so suffocating, I can’t even tell you.

I wasn’t planning to take three, anyway. I’m aiming for one and maybe sitting in on another if it’s interesting. But apparently, I shouldn’t even have tried to go to three for a day. Guess I learned something today. I think maybe this new illumination on the different modes of student-ing will be worth having. But gee-willikers, I just had to spend 2 hours writing this to work my way out of my class-induced funk, and that’s excessive. If I try to show up to all three again on Thursday, somebody please hit me with something.


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Robert Devereux, a review

(Written in April; whatever.)

Robert Deverux is an Italian, “Bel Canto” opera about Queen Elizabeth and a man she once loved who now, naturally, loves someone else. After discovering an opera called Norma on the radio last fall, I had a notion that Bel Canto – which is to say, lyrical, dramatic, and very difficult to sing – might be congenial. So I thought I’d give Donizetti a try.

Here’s the report.

As an instrumental composer, Mozart is far better. For profound dramatization of the lives of historical figures in and around the British court, stick with Shakespeare. But Oh, the man can write a dramatic aria, and heavens, these people can sing them. It was all those things above: lyrical, dramatic, and (I gather), very difficult to sing. It was great fun. It was a little ridiculous.

As far as I can make out, Robert Devereux is a fool. Everyone behaved badly, in the end. And I can’t quite grasp the motivations of any of them. One minute they’d be singing, “Oh, better if I were dead,” and the next, “go, spare my honor!” It was pretty much people in love, with problems, let’s sing a bunch of dramatic arias with poignant refrains. I was relieved to find that at least 80% of it is not historical.*

Perhaps the fundamental issue is the unsuitability of the style to the subject. English monarchs just don’t sing arias like this. It’s an English setting squished into an ornate Italian dramatic opera form, and the result is kind of odd.

That’s not entirely fair. Parts of it were quite evocative, when the drama and the music succeeded in bringing to life the difficult interplay between public duty and private griefs. There’s a beautiful aria of friendship with overtones of tragedy, as the one man has unwittingly married the woman the other loves. (He was my favorite character, until he botched it in Act III.) And there is an inherent drama in a world in which life and death, reputation and disgrace, seem to hang in an unstable balance, which few words or single actions can overturn. [A public figure could conceivably end up in jail after a political/romantic snafu these days, but he is extremely unlikely to be beheaded by noon the next day, to the regret of everyone.] Shakespeare made great work based on similar historical fodder. Robert Devereux is not an unreasonable choice of subject matter for a dramatic opera.

Perhaps Donizetti may not have made the most of his subject, but he does knows how to make great opportunities for opera singers. If I closed my eyes, I remembered why I was enthralled by Bel Canto on the radio. It is glorious. Perhaps it’s better not to have any idea what it’s about. In this case I think the music might actually have been hampered by the storyline.

But don’t despair, next year they’re doing Don Giovanni, and another Mozart I am not familiar with!

*Though, as far as I can tell, Robert Devereux may actually have been a fool in real life.

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the grad school manifesto

I’ve come again to the point of beyond caring.

Fine, Whatever, skip it.

I kind of like being here. Clearly, I am not going to make this work the ordinary way. I can’t catch the bus or legally park my car, I don’t understand holes in rational functions, I choose breakfast over avoiding the risk of being towed, I’m apparently going to be sick for at least 2 months a year, and the idea of participating in high school “community outreach” programs gives me the heebie-jeebies.

Fine. Whatever.

So I’m going to do it my way.

Which is what? Well, apparently I’m going to ask questions like “I don’t understand that diagram” in the department Colloquium. I’m going to swaddle myself with a shawl over my head to ride the bus, and ya’ll in the back seats can just laugh if you want to. I’m going to sit at home, swilling my nice hot diluted apple juice, and sing along to the radio.

If D.N. wants to fire me, excellent. Teaching is taking too much time anyway. I’m going to pick “History” as “what makes my teaching statement stand out,” and skip all this “I assisted in fancy summer mini-courses for high school students” nonsense. I’m gonna make me a web page, and it’s going to include a quiz: match the major math development to its historical context. I can do that. I can spew relevant sounding stuff about the history of math anytime you like, and moreover I would really enjoy actually knowing something about it.

I don’t know how I’m going to get a PhD in math. Guess I’d better put in a darn good 10 months worth, if I’m going to spend the two lying on the couch. Heck, and I’m going to put in some of that 10 lying on the couch too, to ward off illness. You know what, scrap it. I’m going to learn some stuff, and it’s going to be cool, and all these other idiots people who know so much more than me still know statistically nothing relative to what there is to know. And you know what, it’s going to work out. Why? Because I like it, and it’s what I want to do, and I’m not half bad at it, when I’m not sick. And somewhere out there there’s an organization who wants a half sick, half good, historically minded mathematician who may or may not ever learn to teach accurate useless information and would on the whole rather speak up than not.



And now it’s time to go fight with slant asymptotes, holes, and polynomial long division again. Ugh.


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summer apartment

Sitting here this evening, life suddenly seems simple, manageable. How can this have happened?
Is there really something to the idea of a smaller, more modern, more manageable apartment?? The kitchen is clean, we get very little mail, and we have yet to need the air conditioning. (Go north-facing summer apartment!) Perhaps there is also something freeing about not having bothered to unpack a fair bit of one’s stuff.
Or is this just the magic of summer ­- no classes, no deadlines, no windchill?

Or possibly everything, everything depends on eating solid meals.
Or, possibly, I feel like I am getting even closer in to what I want to be doing with my life. I have a prayer corner and a darling little research problem, and it occurs to me that a bachelors degree in essentially how to ask good questions could turn out to be really, really useful.

Or, possibly, it’s Friday evening, and over there in Santa Fe they’re praying for me.

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not math

“Exploring Music” strikes again!!
(read in a deep, melodious radio voice)

Now Emperor Joseph (?? or somebody) was getting a bit down in the polls, so he though he’d start a little war: he was going to take on the Ottoman Empire. Now, the Viennese had these neat uniforms, but the Ottomans had a very good army, and the war was a disaster. The Viennese economy tanked, and all the opera houses in Vienna closed.
This was a real drag for Mozart. The year before, in 1987, he’d had great successes, first with Le Nozze de Figaro and then with Don Giovanni. And now he was out of a job.
Mozart was rather a nervous sort; the kind of person who walks around the kitchen jingling his keys. Eventually, Constanza got fed up and she said to him, “Wolfie, you’re driving me nuts! Go compose something!” And so he went to work, and composed his last symphony.


Vague corroboration from Wikipedia:–91)  Can’t find nothing about uniforms.


Anyway… Hello!
I’m thinking of taking this down. Maybe it’s served its purpose, whatever that was.

In case you haven’t heard (haha), what I’m doing over here is math. And occasionally worrying that all this specialization may destroy my beloved generalization, rendering me a *narrow minded*, *boring person*, who can’t be bothered to think seriously about other subjects, is incapable of varied conversation, and generally of whom Shakespeare would be ashamed. Quelle horreur!

But whatever… Onward we go! Shakespeare forever! What is it about pseudoconvex domains?!

Someone recently suggested that I need a hobby. A hobby. I was at a loss. I’m thinking that the ongoing quest to produce 3-4 meals a day with a minimum of dishes probably doesn’t count. Similarly folding socks, mind-resting tv shows, Lent, and watching eagerly for my tulips. Hunh.

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