I became insane with long intervals of horrible sanity.
Edgar Allen Poe
The trouble with fighting for human freedom is that one spends most of one's time defending scoundrels. For it is against scoundrels that oppressive laws are first aimed, and oppression must be stopped at the beginning if it is to be stopped at all.
- H. L. Mencken
Many people would sooner die than think; In fact, they do so
What I have been telling you, from alpha to omega, what is the one great thing the sigil taught me — that everything in life is miraculous. For the sigil taught me that it rests within the power of each of us to awaken at will from a dragging nightmare of life made up of unimportant tasks and tedious useless little habits, to see life as it really is, and to rejoice in its exquisite wonderfulness. If the sigil were proved to be the top of a tomato-can, it would not alter that big fact, nor my fixed faith. No Harrowby, the common names we call things by do not matter — except to show how very dull we are ...
-James Branch Cabell
November 29, 2012 - 11:04 a.m.
I still haven't gotten into a regular blogging schedule. I can't write in the mornings before class but I'm having trouble finding the time or energy to write before I go to sleep. I get the most readers posting in the morning. At night things are fresher in my mind. At least I don't have to answer to anyone but myself. I write when I write.
There's a lot of negativity bouncing around my head now. Should I just let it all out? I could lead you down an intellectual line of thought I wandered the other day and made a note to write about. I think I'll start by just writing about my day and seeing how I feel when I'm done with that.
I gave my favorite lesson of the year in class, the introduction to complex numbers. I didn't finish the topic but I got all the basics in. The gist of what I want to convey is that the names imaginary and complex numbers are deceptive. Imaginary numbers are not fictional and complex numbers are simple. Just a bit of catch up for those who learned this a long time ago. Imaginary numbers are multiples of the square root of negative one. Human beings use i for the square root of negative one. In my course we follow the practice of electrical engineers and use j. The students loved my jokes making fun of EEs for that. Complex numbers are of the form a +bj. Any of this ringing a bell? The thing is that imaginary and complex numbers are built into the basic structure of the universe. The works of Shakespeare are works of imagination. Life on no other planet will have come up with them. Intelligent beings in any other planet will eventually come up with imaginary numbers. They are natural. Proofs in real analysis tend to be far more difficult than in complex analysis. In important ways complex numbers are simpler than real.
Of course what I really like are the jokes. When I teach about raising j to exponents, like j5 I call it "The Powers of j" and say it sounds like a superhero comic book. When I get to j3 = –j, I add, "negative j is superhero j's evil twin brother."
Oh one good thing. I finally remembered to pack my lunch. I made a peanut butter sandwich and brought it to school. I like to do that every day and this was the first time this semester I managed it.
After school I went to the Columbus Circle holiday market. As I said the other day I love them. My friend at the French chocolate stand wasn't there, someone else was manning it. I wasn't surprised, he's been promoted and now supervises the stands at all the markets. I did buy a great German sausage and tasted the truffle salami. Oh and I bought apple cider donuts. Yes I noshed. I didn't buy anything else. I was very disappointed that the honey stand was gone. Last year I bonded with the guy that ran it. He was a computer professional that got cancer and when he recovered he decided that wasn't what he wanted to do with his life. He moved to Vermont and sells high quality honey. I loved what I bought last year and wanted more for myself and for gifts. Now I wonder if he went out of business or even worse had a relapse. I hope he just set up shop someplace else.
After that I deposited my paycheck, which if you have been following along knows counts as an accomplishment for me. Then I walked the two miles home. That's something else that makes me feel good.
I made dinner at home. I didn't just reheat the leftover Buffalo chicken wings I popped some shredded pepper jack cheese into the container before I put it in the microwave. That made it taste even better. I had fun with the roasted potatoes too, I didn't just coat them with olive oil but I melted some butter and used that too. Yes butter in addition to olive oil, not instead of olive oil, It was wonderful. I had a great chocolate cookie that I got from Trader Joe's for dessert. Later I finally ripped most of the CDs I got at NERFA. I still have a few to go,
So all this sounds great doesn't it? Like I had a happy day. I didn't. I needed to do these things to stop myself from being too unhappy. I like calling myself a cheerful hobbit but I haven't been feeling cheerful. My anxiety is getting to me. I having doubts about how people feel about me. I'm lonely. I find it hard to get the energy to do things.
I'm going to leave the negativity at that. It doesn't help to dwell on it.
I'll go and drown my sorrows in bacon and eggs now.
I AM Not Throwing Away My Shot - November 27, 2017
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