## Thursday, January 31, 2008

### Speechless

I don't know what to write, yet here I am typing. Honestly speaking, normally I have a slight idea about what to type, but today zilch. Maybe that means this is going to be a short post?

I have sprained/twisted my ankle today. I knew it as soon as I landed on my right foot, at an awkward angle. The swelling I couldn't control during the day, but damn this is most annoying. Why? Well even though angling my foot in a certain direction, or unfortunately jumping of the ledge causes me large amounts of pain, I don't stop doing such things. Knowing myself I know that I am going to continue behaving like normal, and ignore my foot.

Today has been an up and down day. Algebraic structures 2 was first thing in the morning and I was only 3 minutes late. It was just a lecture recalling previous information and we defined the characteristic. I need a quick glance over my last semester notes, just to reinforce information about rings. Apart from that, we were warned it's going to be a tough journey. Bring it on I say, rather weakly though! I'm not in the mood for a fight today, so my fight to reach the right level of abstraction remains for another day.

Straight after this it was the geometry example class, which is actually more like a supervision. I was absolutely terrified during this supervision, albeit with a massive grin on my face! Why? Well Dr. K makes people go and write stuff on the board! The solution to this is to sit some place where this is not possible. I could always sit outside, put a glass on the window to "eavesdrop" on the maths, and copy the notes down. Well that is if it isn't raining!

The grin was because Dr. K is great. What do I see? I see enthusiasm. I see passion and I see a love for mathematics which doesn't just consist of calculations! The example class was good and I was only five minutes late. (Damn librarian). Still though, I feel a natural fear when I think about the content of this course. I have had this fear for the whole week, that I won't be able to understand the modules properly. I guess this is because I am now doing a lot of new things, and haven't found a familiar (nice) platform within the modules, upon which I can balance on.

Anyway, straight after geometry I hurried for the calculus lecture and my honzo sword returned. Chip Hazard's inspirational words "There will be no mercy" repeated themselves in my head. Yes, talkers, beware. I didn't follow the whole lecture, especially the last few minutes. My stomach at this point signaled to me that I shouldn't have had a small breakfast. At the end of this lecture, I quickly munched on an apple and headed for the geometry lecture (during which my stomach sadly grumbled throughout!)

The blackboard in the geometry lecture was disgraceful. I was sat near the front and amazingly had difficulty seeing the chalk, especially one sentence which no one could read. This was most upsetting and we debated on whether to switch the lecture to the morning and have the example class at this time. Nothing was decided and Dr. K continued with his lecture. Soon he spotted some board lights and looked for the switch. "Let there be light" was announced and wow-- suddenly we could see everything that we hadn't previously been able to! It was a bizarre moment, and I had to blink a few times in disbelief! Everything was perfectly visible and my eyes were wondering why they were no longer straining. A sigh of relief passed through everyone, as we laughed heartily. I lost the thread of the lecture towards the final third, due to my hunger and a dull pain in my foot.

When you're hurting and not allowing yourself to recover, one tends to sit quietly and mull over things. Why is it assumed that someone found sitting quietly, not wanting to converse, has something wrong with them? I have been in a contemplative mood today, and actually wanted to embrace the silence and my thoughts. After the geometry lecture I was depleted of all energy reserves and all I could think about was having a cup of tea. Today was a really cold day as well, and my tea warmed my hands more than my stomach. Indeed I was in such a state at the time, that I ended up having two cups of tea in row! For some strange I wasn't able to eat all my lunch, which didn't do wonders for me.

I can't ever take it easy. Arthur said to me that I have got too much on my plate. Milo said that if I was to go on a holiday I would never just lounge in the sun. I don't understand why people would go on holiday to lounge in the sun? I mean yes, if it's sunny that's good news- but what about everything else there is to do? I know for a fact that my ankle is not going to like me for the next week or so. I have lost count of the number of times I have messed my ankles up, but hey, it's only after I ran across the AT building to catch up with Dr. E that I realised my stupidity. Yes, the Galois Group brought me out of contemplation and gave me the spring in my step again. It's funny how it can do that to me. I think it's because I end up running up and down the flight of stairs at least five times, so the blood happily keeps me going. Oh and it's always fun bugging lecturers (as I informed Dr. E).

After lunch it was discrete maths and I learnt a trick. If you're running late and see the lecturer heading towards the lecture, then walk with him/her to the lecture. In that way you will not be late but just on time! The discrete lecture was confusing towards the end, but that is because my head, after about 5 hours of proper maths was saturated. Lessons learned: have the worlds biggest breakfast on Thursdays, have an apple or banana on the hour until lunch. One cup of tea should be enough but only AFTER lunch. Sweet, and after the last lecture is over, to get myself alive and kicking, do some running around for the Galois Group. That looks so nice on paper, but in reality lets see how things progress.

I have completed the posters and have had the email sent (and not received no hate mail back)! Now the posters need printing and sticking up. Maybe I will do that by tomorrow instead of Monday. By the way, today it took me 12 minutes, by taking the longer journey as opposed to going on Oxford Road. Don't you just love that burst of adrenaline when you're walking to a destination? It's just great. I still am very far away from the level of fitness that I had maintained last semester, but I am not going to give in this semester. Walking briskly for half an hour is not really enough exercise, but it's a start.

For someone who was speechless I managed to contradict myself! That's why I am known as infinity in some places. I can go on for ever and ever and ever and... you get the point! Truth be told, I said speechless because when I write, it is such that I am in conversation with someone. I haven't done any work this week but my intention is to do so on the weekend, which I am really badly looking forward to. The weather here is horrible. The wind is wild and blowing slates of the roof. I feel like my window is going to fly into the room, on top of me! I feel a certain reluctance towards sleeping on the floor today. Sigh. I have four blankets so hopefully I won't feel the cold. Yes, I'm going to sleep early today (LIAR), well before 1am would be considered an improvement. No 9am start tomorrow means extra time in bed, but I wonder whether it will be safe to travel tomorrow!

## Wednesday, January 30, 2008

### A typical Monday morning

My sleeping pattern is horrendous at the moment and I am need of a consistent pattern. I stupidly didn't sleep till very "early" last night, and suffered this morning. I know a set of traffic lights very well, which I encounter on my way to university. This morning the conversation at breakfast had been about my driving lessons, and frustration had been building up inside me. I am not a natural driver I claimed, amongst other things but still the conversation was relentless. Driving is costing a lot of money it seems (that is an understatement!) but what can one do?

You see, recently I have been pressing the clutch first and then braking when I have to stop. I know I shouldn't do this but that's beside the point I was trying to make. I KNOW what I do wrong. My problem is my stubbornness, which makes me want to correct the mistakes myself, and hence I don't listen to what my instructor tells me! I honestly should listen, but I am determined to do it all myself. My personality shows in my driving (according to my instructor) and I will leave it to your imagination as to what kind of driver that makes me...

Anyway, that was a brief aside, we were at some traffic lights if I recall correctly. I know these traffic lights like I know how to eat i.e. very well. My MS paint skills fail me so I will add a picture later, but after I had crossed one set of lights I proceeded to cross the second set after a quick glance. I thought the cars were stopping and as soon as my foot hit the road I noticed that the Mercedes was going to go through the red lights! I jumped back onto the pavement and confess muttering at the driver and pointing towards the red light, as his car drove past--him shaking his head.

Still muttering at the idiot driver I tried crossing again. Looking left and stepping onto the road, another car refused to stop, causing me to jump onto the pavement again. I was infuriated at this point, as a total of three cars had just gone through the red lights. Were they blind?! Again I waved my hands about a lot, indicating to them that I wasn't happy with them driving through red lights and nearly causing an accident. (It was darn close and I don't know how the heck I survived, especially when the stupid small white van man didn't even slow down! Instead he waved his hands at me.)

Finally the road was clear and I hurried across. Then it hit me. I had just made a fool of myself as other drivers (waiting for other light signals to change) watched, wondering what was wrong with this blind fool. There is a filter system in these lights! So once I have crossed the first set I always have to wait for a few seconds before the second change, due to them still being green. I was astounded at myself. Never in my life have I done such a stupid thing. Indeed I was quite shook up by this, and in my embarrassment I made the following decision:

The first day of the week on which you have a 9am start, is officially (WLOG?) a Monday. End of story. *draws black square* Thinking about the cars which wouldn't have stopped gives me a shudder. All I can say is phew! I mean why would they be expected to stop just because some moron decides to walk on the road?! This is a fantastic decision (in my opinion!) because I can now blame Mondays for things going wrong. The Galois Group lectures happen on Wednesdays (i.e. Mondays!) so if anything goes wrong it's not my fault anymore. HA. Anyone else want to follow suit?

I had to walk down Oxford road today due to being late of course, but I wasn't too late for my lecture. (I'm sure it was only 30 seconds...) Maybe what my mum used to tell me was true? Am I doomed to be late for all my lectures this semester?

Introduction to Geometry is going to be fun. Hard yes, but very fun. I have been talking to Dr. K for some time now due to his lecture on week 3, but his lecture was great. I couldn't but help have a cheesy grin on my face throughout. Why? Well in the knowledge that this semester, although more difficult, will be much more enjoyable. I keep on saying that it's going to be more difficult, for I feel it in my blood that things have stepped up a level. As expected, we have progressed onto a new, more tougher level, which I hope to persevere in playing until I "finish the game".

A lot of different notation was used in todays lecture, and indeed many of the lecturers have different notation. This needs getting used to, for I think it's important to stay consistent with the lecturers notation (well for certain things anyway). In geometry coordinates are written with superscripts not subscripts, so we had (a^1, a^2) instead of (a_1, a_2). On the whole though it was a very energetic lecture and tomorrow should be fun.

After Geometry I had gone to see Dr. K about his lecture, and now all that is required is a picture for the poster and then I'm done. Well I have to do all the sticking everything up, getting emails sent etc. but once the posters are out of the way I can relax. I aim to have everything stuck up by next Monday hopefully. It looks to be an interesting lecture on Tube Formula, and I know for a fact that it is going to be lively. I am conspiring to get something done for that Wednesday 13th February (pencil that in your diaries! Room G205) but we'll soon see how things pan out.

We also had Discrete Maths today and I really enjoyed that lecture too. We talked about the Tower of Hanoi, and now I know an algorithm to solve it. I have to spoken to Dr. M before, so as expected he was cool too. Another cheesy grin was plastered on my face as I thought the same things again. I am not sure about Graph theory you see, but then I think it is unfair of me to base my judgement on the content due a silly report I did last year. We had to do a report on graphs for the workshop module last year, and I hated it very much. I didn't like the way things were proved for graphs using induction. Only recently had I finally conquered induction and then we were told that it's all about taking branches of and putting new ones in. I didn't really pay attention to the theory then, hence why I will turn a new leaf and not dread "graph theory". I am sure that Dr. M will make it nice and enjoyable.

I like one thing he said today (well one of the many things). He said that he deliberately makes the example sheets harder so that we can better understand the material. I somewhat think this is reasonable for it is for our own benefit: struggling with material until it hits home. (Let us see what I say when I can't do the questions for weeks upon weeks!)

It seems that I have returned to my previous posting mode, i.e. write everything and miss nothing. It is my intention, as I mentioned at the end of last semester, to blog more about the maths that I am doing in my lectures. I say this because having blogged about double integrals, I realised how useful it was. If I ever need a recap, all I do is read my post and it comes back to me. Writing about topics like that helps you to understand them better yourself. But maybe I shouldn't be too hasty in my claims? Already I can see a busy semester (what with some silly and other not so silly commitments that I have), so it's going to very tight this year.

As I said yesterday, I managed to speak to PS today. I feel bad, for all I tend to do is whinge about this matter at hand, but I feel that he understands my plight. He's my only "PT" who knows the full situation. Well I think even he is a bit confused by my silliness, but then I have seen them eyes broken once and I don't want to be the one who causes such a thing. My problem in everything (including driving!) is that I end up over thinking (which isn't good when driving). I end up thinking about all the negatives, and then I claim to be a "realistic person who likes dreaming". a I am happy with what I have been given in life, but GAH this indecisiveness is killing me. I apologise before hand but I will be venting about this a lot during the semester, namely because I have to resolve the matter. Patience beans, be patient. (Ha, for some reason that didn't register...)

Before you end up damaging your screen, let me remind you: it's not my fault--it's Monday morning! Tomorrows my first ever Algebra lecture, which should be fun as well as having three other lectures tomorrow. Hurrah. The balls finally started to roll. (I can't spell conscience by the way (another hurrah for spell check), and it has been suggested it may be due to me not having one. What say you? Seems a reasonable claim, but I spell words on "instinct" which happens to be wrong more often than not. However I like the idea of not having one because I can't spell the word! Any excuse will do for me!)

## Tuesday, January 29, 2008

### "That's the difference between a mathematician and...

... and others train of thought."

I had gone downstairs a minute ago to do some printing, only to be asked the question: "How can I keep a file on the computer stored safely, so I don't have to worry about losing it?"

Scratching my head I had replied, "Email the document to yourself," only to be further questioned as to why I would suggest such a thing. I thought it was an obvious thing to do, and on occasions when I can't find a memory stick, I have emailed the information to myself and opened it this way. I shrugged and started walking away only to hear laughter and the comment of the post title being said. Shocked I turned to see Tinky Winky whinging about having said the same thing as me (eventually!), and in amazement wondered what a weird thing to be acknowledged for being a "mathematician".

Taking a quick bow, I silenced the audience before throwing myself into a speech! I made it a point to mention that every comment about me doing maths should be taken back. I doubt that will happen, for once the butt of jokes then always so. Nevertheless, this comment has made me quite happy for various reasons. The main one being that I think everyone has now realised that it's too late for me to change my degree, so instead they now decide to encourage me! (Well I think pops feels that I can actually get a good degree, but regardless of what degree I'm doing he would hate for me to do badly). Now the challenge is in convincing first myself, and then them about what I want to do next.

---

As I am sat, the ache in my legs brings a big smile to my face. It means that I didn't walk down Oxford Road and that I have a lot of walking to do before I get myself into shape again. A ten minute journey is now taking me 15-18minutes, but at least it feels great. No longer am I dodging bullets and trying to survive other pedestrians; but instead I am joyfully enjoying the bitter air biting at my face. Sigh. The thought makes me want to go for a walk!

Today I had a nice 11pm start, but unlike yesterday I was much better prepared. Entering the lecture theatre, I already started hating it. Seated I decided that I would never stop hating it-- there was no room to stretch my legs!! (It's a "two hour" lecture, i.e. two lectures straight after one another). The lighting was a bit dull too, but I am going to see whether there is another light switch somewhere.

Now imagine this scenario. Someone eg. me, has been in a prison of some sort for about 6 weeks. They have been slowly going crazy there, desperate for freedom. This suffocated individual needs some fresh oxygen. So upon being free from this prison, what do you suppose this person would want to do? Take life easy or get back into everything with a renewed passion? I know for a fact that throughout the whole of last semester, I was dying for this semester to start. So why is it that no one else seems to be sharing this train of thought? During my stint in prison, all I could think about was getting into some "proper maths" when term starts. The plague of stats and numerical analysis had me itching to do "proper maths". The plagues final disappearance has increased my desire to do some brain warming, heart pleasing maths. Something to soothe my senses.

But it seems like my lecturers have a different script to myself. I have had three relaxing lectures which although interesting and good, have me asking the question: so, and what? I think I have realised what kind of lectures I don't like very much: slow ones. I like pacy lectures, those with some goal and ambition. Not dry ones, which leave me unsatisfied. Lectures with an agenda to give me some mathematical knowledge are great. Maybe I should stop comparing every lecture that I attend to Dr. C's and Prof. S's but I can't help it. I like interactive lectures. Sigh. I know it's the first week back, but this is the second semester not the first. Our brains do not need to be lightly coaxed into learning again. Heck, our brains are desperate for this type of learning after the torture endured due to exams! Please ease my suffering and stick some maths down my throat. (And no Jake, not the notes online! I meant interactive learning. :D)

I have been restless today-- filled with a comforting energy and feeling fearless. Before you panic, I won't bounce out of the window to see whether I am fully "recovered", but my spider senses are happy. Even now I feel that euphoria flowing through my veins. Maybe the 9am lecture tomorrow will sort me out (yes my first 9am lecture!) I have decided to enjoy Monday-Wednesdays as much as possible, for Thursdays and Fridays will potentially be nasty.

After our lectures today, we sat eating lunch and just relaxing. I feel sorry for Arthur and Fizz, for they didn't complete their registration on time so the courses have become full. I did try to persuade Arthur to do logic, but he didn't seem too keen! (Even more reason to wind him up). I am reminded of the fact that I forgot to bring my Hanzo sword today. Bella ended up sitting next to me in todays lectures, and I must say she tried her hardest not to talk. For someone who can never shut up (i.e. me) I don't understand why it's difficult for people to keep quiet in a lecture. Do you ever talk during a movie?

After this outburst of pent up emotion, I asked the questions that I had been meaning to ask. I am just trying to widen the pool of opinions and using my personal tutors to my advantage! (It feels cool saying that i.e. three PT's.) The discussion was interesting, but it has left me slightly confused. I am in turmoil about what step to take. For too long have I avoided the situation by burying it away, but now I must do something before it's too late. Due to this discussion I forget what I wanted to say about the Galois Group. I stood looking blank for a few minutes hoping that my damn memory would return. It did return, but only when I was walking home! Pfft. Note to self: query about money and adverts.

It was my PT's turn next. (Yes I enjoy disturbing my lecturers turn by turn!) I had bumped into him during lunch and we had arranged for me to come and see him later. I got to the point, albeit in a rather mysterious way and once again he was encouraging. He mentioned ability but I was quick to correct him and say that it's all down to the amount of work you do. I dejectedly informed him that his expectations of me should not be high, for I have let myself down. This post is probably getting long, so I leave mentioning this fear of mine for another day.

My PT answered my questions and I liked his straightforwardness. I also like the way he said things as if my dreams had some solid shape. Like they were actually possible and not a figment of my imagination. I like it when people do that for it gives me a hope of some sort. Something he said made me smile, for it has been on my mind of late as well. The question I ask now is that do I let one demoralising semester decide my future? NO. I shouldn't but I can't forget how horrible the previous semester was.

My aim now is to make this semester great. I have seriously been scarred by the previous semester in ways which I cannot describe. I stopped caring for the first time in my life. This semester will decide a great many things for me, and I have to give myself the best opportunity to make a well informed decision. I lost my motivation in the first semester this year and that is what I kept on asking DC and my PT about. What if I lose my motivation again, would I survive? I can't afford to lose my motivation again, ever. Being a one-tracked person means that if I lose it, then I have no back up plan to fall upon. They both did say that if I kept away from stats and numerical analysis then I should be OK. Even today I am asking myself questions about what went wrong last semester.

I am now looking towards my personal tutors to help me find my motivation again, and hope to talk to PS about this matter again. Only he knows the real situation I face. It probably seems like I'm making a big deal about a trivial matter; but I can assure you that for me, this is no trivial matter. Until I make a decision I cannot rest.

PS: Note how I have only written numerical analysis and stats, and not applied maths. Even today I like applied maths, and so am going to try and attend Mondays mechanic lectures. Well I don't want to go to Tuesdays for they are at 9am, so this is a compromise!
[We should be getting our results sometime at the end of February I am told. :/]

## Monday, January 28, 2008

### Murder in the Back Row

Today was the first day of the second semester, and I am not surprised to report that I have already broken a "new semester resolution"! (Unfortunately I am not ashamed of doing such a thing...) I woke up this morning with a positive spring in my step, which was really just disguising how out of touch I was with the real world. Having had approximately 6 weeks off, I have lost any sense of timing that I had, and knowing when to wake up. Also, not having a 9am start meant that I became too relaxed. Yes, you have hit the nail on the head. I was late on my first day back. Was a big breakfast necessary? Did I have to post the two letters today? Yes and yes again. I only started worrying when before leaving the house, I realised that I didn't know which building my lecture was in! A lot of delays meant that I had to erm... take the bus on Oxford Road.

Actually I am ashamed to report that, considering the amount of complaining I do about the road. It was 11:56am and it would have taken me 10 minutes to walk to the AT building. Having bought my travel pass this morning, I thought I might as well break into it once and then use it sparingly! (Because I hate walking on that evil road, I always feel compelled to take buses; which is the best reason to avoid it for walking is fantastic.) Rushing into the AT building, I quietly entered the class room 5 minutes late. A burst of annoyance rushed through my body as I found somewhere to sit. I had missed the introduction. I was late.... and that for my first ever lecture. This was a big deal. My mum, when I was a child(!), used to tell me that if I whinge/cry/be a pain on new years day, I will do so for the rest of the year. If that holds true, then I guess I will have to get into practise of using my "fashionably late" excuse!

[It doesn't hold true by the way--I'm not a pain in the neck throughout the year because of one day! Pfft, give me some credit at least!]

Sadly I found myself sat next to the window and at the back. This meant two things: firstly I would have great difficulty seeing the board, and secondly the window is the worlds biggest distraction for me. Little did I know that there would be a thirdly. As I sat trying to listen to the lecturer, (whose a nice friendly guy and softly spoken), I looked up to the heavens (i.e out of the window) and screamed WHYYYYY?! WHY ME?! Why did I always end up sitting amongst the annoying pieces of flesh and bones, who could not keep their mouths shut during a lecture? That was meant to be venomous (although the feeling has now passed!)

They started with a discussion on what the lecturer had just said. I let that pass and actually tuned into the conversation for a second, because it was interesting. Then suddenly the tide changed. I found my Hattori Hanzo sword in my hand. All I had to do was raise my hand slightly for a nervous shudder to overcome everyone. And then silence. All conversations but one stopped. My sword founds itself on the floor again, and the lecturers voice could be clearly heard, and panic stricken eyes kept a look out for "the sword". I smiled to myself as the lecture continued. (Note I didn't say smiled evilly.... I'm the good guy in this story!)

Yes, that is what I was (happily) thinking about during the lecture, as the annoying so and sos talked and talked. For those who have watched G103, you might recall the lecturers carrying the sword pictured. Today I thought that to be a fantastic idea. Don't worry, no blood is every going to be spilled, but imagine everyone shutting up as soon as that sword comes out. Indeed I had a very productive lecture!

The lecture was nice and soft, which might have been the reason for people talking. But where are your manners? Why do you talk when the lecturer is talking? I am out of practise of attending lectures, and must confess to looking out of the window, but only when something moved. I can't sit still and if you're sat next to a window, it is hard not to look out when you see something move in the corner of your eye. Apart from the people behind me who were talking, I enjoyed the lecture.

After the lecture Bella and myself met up with our PASS group to arrange an appropriate time to meet in future. This so happens to be straight after my lecture on the Monday! We discussed their calculus lecture in the morning, and I advised them to keep on the lookout for when Prof. Heil offers a quid! Even though I was unsuccessful in my efforts, if one of my PASS person can do what I couldn't, it will be a great day indeed. But hush hush, don't tell any other first years about our not so great plan. (I need to look up my post again and find which "million quid" question is important). Yes, I jest, but it was nice talking to them. I think though, that I upset them:

ME: Oh, you're not having PS for Linear Algebra this semester are you?
PP (pass person): Erm... no? (Having no idea who I was talking about!)
ME: Yep, you're having Dr. D.
PP: Ah yes, we had her last semester for something.
ME: You unlucky so and sos!! You're missing out and I feel for you guys. You're not going to have PS ever unless you do his fourth year module now! He's brilliant!
PP: Thanks for making us feeling good. :(
ME: Erm... Dr. D is probably going to be great too, but PS is another league... but yeah, have fun!

Whoops, my first day seemed to have taken a turn for the worst. I was making first years cry! What kind of second year student have I turned into??! First the Honzo sword, and now these tears. Well what can I say, these exams have transformed me. (Damn, why did I just think of a lame mathematical transformation then... namely a linear transformation!)

After the PASS meeting, Bella and myself sat to discuss our first lectures and for me to jot my timetable down (with rooms!) It's funny how I posted the timetable on my blog, but didn't have a copy of it with me to carry around. Bella is doing a mechanics course, which sounds interesting, but I think propositional logic is infinitely better. (Note this only applies to the first lecture of logic). It was when I stood to get a cup of tea that I saw Professor Stöhr! It was great seeing him again and as I said to the first years, he is one of the greatest lectures at the university. Forgetting my tea I got talking to him, and on this occasion I was happy to see that Bella joined us too! (Normally whenever I discuss personal tutors etc. my friends seem content at not conversing much with theres).

Within the Tweenies we all have our own roles. I am the most gullible (person in the world), so that is taken advantage of sometimes, and we have a rotation system on embarrassing each other. (But Bella we all enjoy teasing! She left her card in the ATM machine once upon a time...) How Bella kept a straight face when claiming she didn't talk in lectures, I don't know, however the funniest thing today was when PS called me a "grass". Ha, I was thinking about that when I got a bus home and a smile had erupted on my face, only to cause people to back away from me as I sniggered to myself! Actually she is partly right in her claim, for she only talks when sat next to Arthur (or Milo) in lectures. (Hence why they sit as far away as possible from me). [For those concerned, we deliberately enjoy teasing Bella in front of her personal tutor, due a remark that was made in a Linear Algebra lecture last year! So the grassing continues. :p] Bella is more of an example class person as opposed to a lecture person, unlike me.

Thinking about today makes me feel happy. It was great being back with an agenda, and I can't wait for tomorrow. Bella and myself had an interview today, but more of that on Thursday after I get told whether or not I made it.

I kept on saying this today, to anyone who would listen, but please never lose the passion and enthusiasm that you have in what you do. If you lose it, then move on and find the passion for something else. A lot about teaching was discussed today, and whether or not the teacher is a lecturer for a 19 year old, he/she is still a teacher. A teachers job has some natural properties associated with it, and the most important being positive influences on the students education. It is important to realise that there will always be students who require such support and others who don't. As I am sat here now, I don't regret being a motivational and inspirational learner. I feel lucky to have had, honestly speaking, three personal tutors at University. They probably won't realise this, but DC and PS have been my second and third personal tutors and they have both helped me a lot along the way. (In different respects). Both have inspired me to continue studying maths, and both know that I have lost a million and one screws (which helps)! Indeed there lectures are the ones that I will probably never forget. They have the passion. If only they did a course in every semester of my degree, which I took!

This only came to me today, but I can only predict the crossroads I would be stood at now, had it not been for my three personal tutors. Maybe the fact that they don't tell me shut up when I talk continuously contributes to this! Ha, I am hoping to see my PT and DC tomorrow. My PT to have a good old chat, and DC about the Galois Group (and so I can unleash my fury about his exam questions, which I am still depressed about.)

I will probably end up loving Mondays and Tuesdays. Tomorrow I start at 11am, whereas Bella and Milo start at 9am! *cue evil laugh* Well I did try to persuade them to do logic! Nevertheless, I am going to try and get in slightly early so I don't have to walk down Oxford Road. (Wow: a return of my never-ending posts!)

## Sunday, January 27, 2008

### Doing Nothing and "New Beginnings"

It feels quite great to be able to do nothing. I feel at peace, not having to constantly sit at my desk "revising". If only this feeling could last for longer than a day! Alas, tomorrow is my last day of "nothing". By nothing I mean all the things that I couldn't do without tension, for the past few weeks. The embarrassing thing is that when I played Resistance Fall of Man, I did very badly; nevertheless there was no bound on how long I could play for!

Today was the first time in my life that I actually enjoyed cleaning my room--ready for the new semester! After a while I got bored with hole-punching, and instead found some plastic wallets and stuffed papers into them, before filing away. The only thing that sticks out, is the large pile of stats and numerical analysis books, which I hope to return soon.

I did have a little worry about The Galois Group during the day, but having double checked my diary I realise that our first lecture is in week 3, and not in week 2 as I had initially thought. Phew! That gives me more time to relax and do things in my own time.

So onto "new semester resolutions" (I hope I didn't hear you laugh at that!) Haha, I only ever make light resolutions due to my backward nature of not being able to fulfill any. The first thing I hope to do, rather mysteriously, is keep my precious gem polished and shiny. If I am able to do that, then everything else will fall into its own place. That I know for a fact.

If however, I am unable to accomplish the most important thing, I hope to stay on top of my studies from day one. I.e to do that extra, much needed reading around my modules which I didn't last semester. They key to everything it to be disciplined in all respects. I have had a semester experience of The Galois Group and know what is required and expected of me for that. Since I won't be lecturing this semester, I can take it slightly easy, but as always attendance is always an issue!

I hope to come to my lectures and the maths building the long way from now on. This means not walking down Oxford Road. Seriously, I absolutely detest that road with a passion. I didn't come to the University because of "Manchester" the city. That road does not allow one to get lost in thought, and talk to oneself! Maybe on the way home it is a different matter, but because I dislike walking on Oxford Road, I always feel compelled to get on a bus. (My bus pass allows me to shamelessly do such a thing). Walking as much as possible is important for me, and if I walk the long way I will obviously be walking more!

Sleeping on time and having good sleep has always been a problem for me (heck I'm awake at this silly time!) but that should get fixed itself. Generally though, I hope to not use lack of sleep as an excuse for many things.

Connected with making sure I am up to date with everything, is doing the example sheets. I must persevere with them and make sure that I do them during the semester and not after.

Bella remarks that we didn't have much "Tweenie Time" last semester but I think this was due to our location. Last year Paddy's Lounge was a natural home for us, but that is on the lovely campus of the university. Sigh. Green grass and blue skies, what more can someone ask for? Still though they insist on selling my building... The new maths building is brilliant when only 7 or eight students are inside it. It has a certain peace to it then, and you feel that homely feeling present in the mss building. I enjoy my own company at times, and hate the new building because it doesn't allow one to sit on their lonesome. I know that I did run away from company at times, but that is because I had an agenda which no one else understood. People didn't want to share my agenda, so I got help from those who wanted to.

Whoops, I'm blabbing away now. That indicates bed time, but not before I write something sensible. I hope to be a better PASS leader this semester, and hope that it all goes well. Going back to the Tweenie point, I didn't think last semester was "that bad", but we were all very stressed individuals and had a lot on our plate. I think sometimes people create something out of nothing, which might be natural, but causes others to scratch their heads! Or maybe put too much emphasis on something which happened.

I don't want sympathy and if and when it is given, I don't know how I will react. Understanding and support is more important.

Making sure that I date and file my work straight away is important too, and I mean straight away! The main thing is to make sure that I do what I always try to do i.e. continuous work throughout the year, and not everything last minute. If I think of any cool experiments to work on this semester I will keep you updated. In the mean time here is my timetable for the semester, which is nice and not very nice. Thursdays are evil, and Fridays are only slightly better.

Good night now. (This post probably is so disjoint, that you're scratching your chin. So am I so you're not alone.) I should stop shut up now. Yes.

## Friday, January 25, 2008

### Second year, second semester module options

That sounded like a mouthful, but what magnificent fact can be deduced about the image below?
Yes, it's true, I have not selected any probability, statistics or applied courses for next semester! I am still unsure about whether to do an applied module though (either fluid mechanics or waves and mechanics). Everything in my body is telling me to stop being stupid, but a part of me that finds applied maths fascinating, wants to do fluid mechanics. I think, had Professor Abrahams been teaching it then I would have definitely chosen it. However, maybe I am only meant to enjoy learning and being fascinated about applied maths from a distance? There is still time to change my course options, but I can't see it happening. Bella and Milo have chosen to do waves and mechanics, but even then my preference is towards fluid mechanics.

I might even attend the applied maths lectures in the first two weeks, just in case I decide to swap! Metric Spaces is a natural choice, as was Algebraic Structures 2. The thing that worries me is Introduction to Geometry, namely because I heard "div, grad curl" etc mentioned in the same breath as it. I didn't really read course descriptions beforehand and chose by process of elimination. (This ensured no stats and probability modules!) It is natural for geometry to be about div, grad curl etc. but still... (The books recommended have the title "differential geometry" which answers a few questions).

Discrete maths looks interesting and having always been a fan of Dijkstra's algorithm, I hope it doesn't bite my nose off! That leaves me propositional logic and calculus of several variables. I chose the second option because it was the only pure option remaining! However, it has been since last year that I have wanted to do propositional logic, and indeed is one which I am looking forward to the most (possibly). It is natural that before the year starts I worry about whether or not I will understand anything? Although on one hand I am excited, I still feel that I'll be having another difficult semester. I know for a fact that my geometry lecturer is cool, and have also spoken to the metric spaces and algebra 2 one (he lent me a project for my lecture). I really badly hope that my lecturers can once again motivate me to work and enjoy the course. Although it would be nice if the bias towards the lectures I enjoyed was more than 50%! (As opposed to only enjoyed algebra 1 and real analysis in the first semester from 6 modules)!

I know it's about time I "toughened up" and tried to get myself into gear, but I can't help it. I have always been inspired and motivated by my teachers, more than the course content. A brilliant teacher can always make you love something you "dislike". (cf first year, second semester applied maths lecturers and supervisor!) The only reason you ever dislike or hate something is because you are not understanding it. It's like a cycle, and if you've been in it for this long, it's hard to break it. (Actually my discrete maths lecturer is cool too, so it's only two lecturers who I have never met before...) .

So what say you about my course options? Funnily enough, I just skimmed through my post on course options in June, and I must have been barking mad to actually even consider numerical analysis. Barking MAD I tell you. That has got to be worst than stats in my opinion, and is one of the most useless *lots of not nice words* modules to have existed. Here's me being sly sly, but if you have read the above few paragraphs, why might I have not liked this subject?

\aside{Is it that hard for people to be enthusiastic about teaching? If I was not enthusiastic about teaching "something" (can't think of an appropriate subject), then my teaching of this subject would reflect my disinterest. But unfortunately the opposite is not true.}

Apart from that madness, I can't see anything else changing since June. I ask for your view on this matter (about my course units), for then you can decide what you want me to whinge about during the next few months! (Or indeed write happily about I hope...)

I'll post my timetable when I draw it up, but no Monday 9am starts is the best thing ever. (Although I will be having 9am starts on Wednesdays and Thursdays, it doesn't matter as much). Monday morning has to be the most important day for me. No longer do I hope to hear the phrase "It's Monday morning!" leave my mouth on a Monday afternoon, after walking into yet another door! (My experiment about the impact causing one to fly, seems to have been suspended for the time being...) The unfortunate thing in my timetable is the heavy bias of lectures and example classes on Thursdays and Fridays. Potentially I can have up to six hours in a row on a Thursday; and Fridays I can't remember. This sacrifice is insignificant though. If they told me to have a Monday 9am start and only 3 hours on a Thursday, I would loudly decline. Roll on Monday and a 12pm start (for this week at least)!

\second aside{ I'll write about my horrible driving lesson tomorrow; and this is a recommendation to those who do not feel queasy at the site of blood, and have possibly watched Kill Bill 2: Watch Sweeny Todd. Full stop. Is is simply brilliant (in my opinion!)}

## Thursday, January 24, 2008

### Flying Without Wings!

"Pens down", the invigilator declared, as the clock struck four pm. A nervous tremor ran throughout the room, as those who had yet to finish the paper scrambled in panic. "Now please". The assertiveness of the voice, rattled even those who had not heeded the first call.

Another shiver ran through the fifty people, seated in a lecture room with no blackboard. One person in particular wondered how people managed to stay awake in such a lecture theatre, especially considering the lighting of the room. A powerful feeling of freedom vibrated around the room. The same person was finding it difficult to number the questions properly, and fill in the details on the front of the booklet, due to the tremors coursing through their blood.

As I sat, waiting for my paper to be collected, tears glistened in my eyes(\hyperbole!) and a big grin was plastered on my face. I wanted to exclaim loudly to the girl sat next to me: "I have never cried due to happiness, but today I feel I can!" However she didn't look like someone who was feeling the same sensations that were rippling through my veins. Poor girl--she had chosen to do some stats modules next semester, I concluded.

Even so, I didn't have to wait long to release my urge to run around like crazy with joy. As the final script was collected we were released from this nightmare. Spotting Jake I didn't need to wait long to repeat: "I can cry out of happiness". I was ecstatic. Freedom has never tasted sweeter. Thoughts and conversation returned to the paper though, as expected. I wasn't grinning because of the paper, in case you were wondering! The paper went fifty fifty. After the exam I said that I think I have done enough to pass stats. But after further though I don't like making such a bold statement, so now I hope to have done enough to pass.

My euphoria was due to this assumption that I had got at least 40%. (Well section B\{question that I stupidly didn't complete} was OK. Section A though was evil! I didn't deliberately revise hypothesis testing rigorously, because I had been quietly confident that it would be a section B question! That meant I could choose not to do it, but Sod's law dictated that this year the darn question had to be a section A question! I wrote mumbo jumbo down, but it didn't make sense and I ran out of time. 2 hours I feel, is not enough. Not enough to check your work, especially if you do a question wrong twice and then realise on your third attempt what mistake you were making! Do you think the marker will be light on me because of the note I wrote at the beginning? I just wrote "Sorry for not writing neatly" and the when I had to cross out my working out twice, I made sure to write "sorry".

I never work linearly through an exam paper and didn't this time. I started with B6 then B5, A4, A3, A3 and finally A1. I felt stupid when I hadn't done part (iv) of a question and hadn't left sufficient space. (I managed to squeeze it in though).

That's enough paper dissecting. I haven't successfully been able to fully complete a single exam paper this semester, so maybe I will deserve the marks I get? The quote of the day today is: "The keenest sorrow is to recognize ourselves as the sole cause of all our adversities." That is the sole reason as to why I have been depressed and panicky of late. Panic attacks will plague me for the rest of my life I'm afraid. My Dad had asked me what's the matter and I had nervously replied: "My hearts beating!!" Laughing he had said that's the whole point! I didn't see the funny side of it. Sitting in a darkened room, a pressure in your chest and a loud constant thudding vibration in your head, is hard to recover from. Never mind that, it is next to impossible to sleep. There are two ways I can calm myself down. It has been four years and I have worked these two things out. One I won't mention but this is far by the best thing, and the other is the obvious and embarrassing thing which is to make sure that I understand the material before hand. (There is a big difference between revision and understanding). Only twice have I semi-managed to do the second thing. Never again will I "not" do it though. (As I always say...)

How do I explain this sense of freedom? I had become a prisoner of my own actions, and unfortunately for me I tend to panic. I had been on edge and not been able to relax and do things which I wanted to. Whenever I was on the computer or sat watching TV, my eyes were always on the time, rationing it. I became another person. Someone with a constant fear over their head. Things that I did for enjoyment, brought with them a large amount of guilt. These thoughts and fears, drained hope from me.

But then today I felt like me! I felt that spring in my step return. The smile that was plastered on my face, reached my eyes. The depression associated with all my exams, which I have unfortunately not done as well as I would have liked, remains in that prison cell. Locked away for now. I hated that place.

Today was a fantastic day. Although I didn't eat much due to feeling sick in the morning, I feel alive. I feel, as lame as it sounds, that impossible is nothing again. It's a new semester on Monday, and my resolutions will follow some other day. I could climb the mount everest today--that is how I feel. It's like seeing everything in black and white for four weeks, and then suddenly you see the yellow, effervescent sun. You feel the rays shining on your face, and you bask in the sunlight. This is as close as to flying as I can get. My heart shakes, but not in distress this time. Instead it is doing cartwheels of relief from that horrible prison cell that I had been in. Touch wood beans, I say. Touch wood.

It's just that, honestly, I haven't felt this happy in ages. I have a three day weekend now, and all that is on my mind is to sort the Galois Group lectures for the next few weeks! I can even think about that without any pain. But then, I ask, if I am feeling ecstatic now due to exams being over, why do I put myself through that prison? Why?

I went to a meeting on Wednesday, and in it someone suggested that maybe we should have supervisions in the semester that has just passed by. I had never thought of that before and I must say I fully agree with that, for the modules we did were compulsory, as in my first year. In my first year supervisions gave me the motivation to do the work that I hated. I knew that I had to be on a certain problem sheet by a certain time interval. They gave my learning some structure, which was needed due to my reluctance to study the modules I disliked. Now in the next semester everything is down to my choice. Whatever I do is up to me and so I already have some motivation to work. A lot things went wrong this semester, and I don't know how many lessons were learnt.

I'm just glad that the spring in my step has returned! For too long have I been carrying a dark thunderous cloud on my head. The Recess advert is going through my head. "It's good to have you back beans (TJ)"; "It's good to be back! (Spinelli)" Yes, that is what I watch in my spare time--cartoons. Tom and Jerry is always fun to watch, and I could go on talking about cartoons. My advice to anyone who wants to "stay young at heart" or some similar mumbo jumbo: never stop watching cartoons. I grew up on cartoons and will watch them for the rest of my life. They're the best way to waste your time and have fun.... or so I claim.

OK, I better shut up now! I've been up since 5ish (same old same old), but don't feel like sleeping. My room is a mess, what with all the stats and numerical analysis books still lying around. They're all going to be gone soon though, and what a brilliant thought to end this post on!

Hmm, I wasn't going to link this, but I didn't want my driving lessons diary to overflow here. So if anyones interested, they can find how my lessons are going at driving disasters. I will post here whenever I update it, for I don't have regular lessons. I went over to the darkside but I think Blogistan is better than wordpress. PS: If you do comment please can you not link any maths sites or blogs! Sorry to ask this, but a few people I know have that link, and "maths blog n driving blog = the empty set". (i.e. their intersection hopefully is the empty set!)

## Sunday, January 20, 2008

### Stars in my eyes

I accidentally stared into the lamp, hence I'm seeing stars everywhere. Especially when I close my eyes. On occasions (in my youth!) I used to deliberately do this, because I found the "flashing", when I closed my eyes cool. Well the pictures formed were...

I can't "look" at the sun (not that I try to) because I always start sneezing. Once again, as a kid on journeys in a car during a sunny day, I always used to fall asleep so I wasn't sneezing all the time.

Enough randomness. My exam is tomorrow at 2pm, and unfortunately in the cursed Sugden Centre. Last year I complained (until I turned blue), about the lights in that hall. I always need bright lights when I am revising or for exams, and them lights are depressing. Sigh. It's only 2 hours though unlike the three hours on Thursday!

Hows the revision going beans? Well I am saturated with information (as Po tends to say) but still have the last four lectures to learn. That is all the stuff after Quaternions. It is just a matter of learning everything and my head is banging. I am now going to do my "night before exam ritual" i.e. panic, but after typing this post of course.

I am hoping to finish these lectures tonight though, and tomorrow wake up at 4am and do all the problem sheets and past papers. This seems possible in the same way that everything else is possible for me! (I.e. not very). Will just have to keep believing that it is possible.

Previously I asked the question: Rings or Groups? I can now answer that question with more conviction. I hate Rings. (Does that answer the question?) With rings you have these stupid non-commutative rings and division rings. I keep on seeing the word skew and my mind is not registering it. A field is a commutative ring with one, where all the non-zero elements are invertible.

But groups, they are beautiful and pleasing to see. (I know that I won't be saying this after my exam, but at this moment rings are making my head hurt!) The only thing I hate about algebra at the moment is simplified notation.

I was reading about left cosets of H in G, and they are the set gH={ gh : h \in H} (G group and H subgroup). After an example I realised that I had been computing gh as g times h, not g*h as it means. I keep on doing this. It is annoying but I now write every definition etc as g*h instead of gh (just so that I remember what it means).

That's enough for now. Although I feel like I'm on autopilot at the moment, I am going to continue revising at 10pm. This week, I feel, is going to be horrible. Is this the calm before the storm?

## Friday, January 18, 2008

### One year of blogging!

Would you believe it, it has been a whole year since I started writing this blog! It was at this time last year, when I had finished my Calculus and Vectors exam, that I decided to create a blog. Time seems to have flown.

Is a celebration in order? Well I am somewhat surprised that I actually managed to continue writing. I think that is mainly down to those who read and commented, for there were "periods of darkness" *cue eerie music*. Seriously though, I am glad that I continued writing.

This will be a disjoint post (like the 342 I managed in a year!) due to a headache. The process of writing a blog is a weird one. Initially when I first started, it was really a place to download whatever was on my mind here. It was like my home--my private place for my thoughts etc. Very soon though, you realise that the Internet is no such private accommodation. Everything is very much public. I didn't mind people reading and commenting, for whenever I write, I unfortunately(?) write as if I am talking to someone. This has its down side (i.e. too many exclamation marks on my part, which thankfully were corrected) but still I felt this was my house and the people reading it my guests. I didn't mind them reading it, and my conversation was with them.

However it is inevitable that you soon realise that you can't blog about certain things. I tend to write a lot of silly things one could say, and it was my "Dr. Who" post that put things into perspective. I am very impulsive and can write for England. What I am trying to say is that there comes a time when you can't write your proper thoughts without being cryptic. At the end of the day you can't write down what you wouldn't want someone to discover. That is I can't write something "not nice" about someone (I mean if someone pushed me towards my limit, I can't have an angry outburst here). You have to realise that anyone can come across your blog. I don't know how others came across my blog, because I never used to link it when commenting. But yes, I always felt good knowing that people read it, and was even more curious to know who read it. (I'm weird like that).

I think this blogging experience has been that of discovery. I did sometimes rage at certain lectures (which I still would even now!) but then stopped. Instead, what I do now is talk about all the brilliant lectures I have. Those which I don't find too great (because of the course material or any other non-trivial reason) I don't mention as much. Naturally I will have different opinions on different lectures (and lecturers) so I have to take that into consideration. My latest outlook on things has been this: I only write down what I would be comfortable saying to someone. (Well I try to anyway). Indeed on the feedback forms that we received, I only wrote things which I would have said. Sometimes students abuse the anonymity of feedback forms and write "nasty" things down. I make it a point to write my name down because as I said, I only write what I say.

If I feel that I can only think of nasty things to write(!) I refrain from commenting. Or try to say what I want to as nicely as possible. (Note: the only feedback form that was given and I didn't fill in, was for a lecture in my second semester of university! Instead my friend wrote what I felt.)

So yes, thankfully I think, I learnt this important lesson. The second problem I had was that even though this is my house and you me as beans, you would know me as someone else. I think I was only afraid of my fellow students discovering this blog, because to be honest, they are not invited to my house!! Ha. I don't mind anyone else reading this blog, even my lecturers for that matter, but I hate the thought of my course mates reading it. If they do read this, I would rather they not approach me and talk about the blog "in real life". Maybe it is because I feel very different to all of them and their outlook on life. I did think of telling the Tweenies about this once upon a time, but decided against it. This blog and the maths community which exists on the Internet gave me much more mathematical support than that of the university community last year. That was very much appreciated by me and it gave me some motivation.

I drag this post out because I am in a contemplative mood. My posting rate has been steadily decreasing, due to the extra commitments that I have taken on board this year. (Too many to count!) But I don't think that I will stop blogging unless something major happens. I enjoy writing you see (even though it is somewhat suspect), and hey I try to be a good host!

As my weirdness continues, I am trying to think of "high" blogging moments this year. There were plenty (I hope) but alas, there are too many to link (I mean 300 odd posts would take a while to link!) The first that springs to mind is my post on chaos, due to the fact that is was my third of the day. Mirror writing is also another luxury that I picked up through Blogistan, as was learning LaTeX. I mentioned the community feeling of Blogistan, and it was because of this that I got some motivation to do something myself. Having read Fermat's last Theorem my final motivation was in gear. Although no one seemed to enjoy the slimy tale of mine, even today it brings a big grin to my face! Namely because everyone is busy saying "ewww" and pulling funny faces! (I think that's enough for now... the pain in my head is causing me temporary memory loss). Ah yes- the first every Dame Kathleen lecture I went to was a big moment too!

I can't see myself commenting on any posts from this semester, apart from the ones about The Galois Group and my lecture. Well there are one or two others but this semester hasn't been very great, and that is unfortunately the first thing that I connect with it. Why does this post feel like the last of its kind? (Its not by the way!) I have just gotten out of practise of writing really long posts I think!

This blog has also "matured" my English and vocabulary to a very large extent. So if you want one reason to blog, that is as good enough a reason I feel. I don't about what you guys think, but I certainly feel a change to the way I used to blog. More control I think, has come about me. Although I do have outbursts, I think they are not as bad as has been known. Noddy was shocked once upon a time, when he read something I recently wrote. I have had a reputation for doing really badly at English in school, so being able to write a paragraph that makes sense comes as a surprise. There is always room for improvement, and I always find myself putting silly semi-colons in weird places, but please do comment if you notice something amiss. (That's part of the learning process).

So there are a lot of positives to blogging, not forgetting that you get a chance to whinge about anything (which has its own benefits). It also allows you to see how you've progressed and developed; how your aspirations are continuously changing and of course to write about your experiences. Meeting and interacting with people who share similar interests is also another positive, a very important one I feel. There has to be some negatives (in my case) and that is the fact that I tend to get carried away when posting. I can never give myself a time deadline to post something because I always break it. I enjoy writing too much which further influences my lack of control. Like now, I should be revising but... (actually this blog has nothing to do with why I am not caring). So the only negatives are that you my class mates might read this and that I need to be more disciplined about blogging.

Apart from that, drinks all round I say. (Tea of course!)

I will end this post after mentioning something that has been on my mind of late. It is the concept of giving sympathy. Someone might be in a difficult situation but be dealing with life and things. You on the other hand don't know this and feel sorry for said person. You then try to lend a hand to try to ease the other person's suffering and misfortunes, all the time thinking you are doing a good thing. Your intentions might be pure, but it is not your fault that you don't fully understand the situation and possible constraints on this other person. By lending your hand and "alternative solution" you are not being helpful.

DON'T give sympathy. Give support to the person so that they too do not worry that someone else is trying to get them to change their mind. By giving an alternative solution you might be indirectly driving that person away from you. They don't want to hear about alternatives. They want to hear that they can achieve the impossible and live to tell the tale. Please don't offer sympathy to people who don't ask for it. Is it human nature for us to sympathise with that which we do not understand, through no fault of ours? Indeed feel sympathy, but don't let the other party know. End of monologue, but I feel strongly about this, especially when wrong alternatives are offered. My dad said something strong to me the other day. "Rather do something bad then stay in the company of bad people." Every word in that is as you choose to define it. However, it made sense to me in a weird way.

That killed the celebratory mood right? Well I did say I was contemplating matters recently, and to finally end this post (I do like to "lie" it seems!) two quotes that were sent to me:

"Heavy thoughts bring on physical maladies; when the soul is oppressed so is the body."

"No man ever sank under the burden of the day. It is when tomorrow's burden is added to the burden of today that the weight is more than a man can bear."

Here's to more cheerful and 'mathsy' posts! (And me passing my exams hopefully!)

## Thursday, January 17, 2008

### Freedom with a hint of sadness

Never in my life have I stayed up the whole night before an exam to revise. Hence why it will not come as a surprise, that yesterday having made the intention of not sleeping, I slept for disjoint periods from 1-3am. Disjoint because although my heart willed me to revise, my brain couldn't take anything in. However, thoughts of falling asleep and not completing my revision were causing me heart problems! I made sure that the light was on and had ten million reminders on my phone. At 3am I finally shrugged of all fatigue and headed downstairs.

There is a reason why I always sleep first and then wake up to revise--this I noticed today.

I was in a mild panic for the past few days--nothing in numerical analysis was making sense and I just couldn't bring myself to revise Green's Theorems etc. Yesterday a feeling of dread overcame me: "Yes, I don't seem to care anymore, but still I don't want to fail!" It is the not caring business which has me worried.

Today for the first time in my life, I drank something truly disgusting which left an awful taste in my mouth. Any guesses? I do not have the heart to mention it here, and will take this shameful secret to my grave!! Ha, I had no choice. My eyes were drooping! That drink, some say, caused the day to go as it did.

I didn't want to go into university today. At 8am I felt that I should revise triple integrals, but stupidly hadn't printed the notes. I knew for a fact that I would answer all three questions from the first half of the course, so it was imperative that I could manipulate triple integrals.

It was 8:30am and my mobile phone rang. It was Bella asking me where I was. I was still at home, but surprisingly, was very calm about everything and not concerned about being "fashionably late". Well I wasn't intending on going late, but there is no harm in going early.

Why do I insist on beating around the bush? You see I feel sad when I think about the exam. I know I won't be getting at least 70%. I know this because when I sat that paper, I felt like it was an example class and I was just doodling around with some questions. I didn't have the right mental outlook on it, and wasn't disciplined. I also forgot to take my watch with me, which was most distressing. (I don't wear a watch any longer, but tend to carry my favourite (and sadly broken) watch to exams with me, so I can keep a "closer" eye on the time.)

Two questions I was able to do nicely. The other two I was only half able to complete. And the final one. Well that was the biggest joke in the planet. I did have a panic in the exam, when my answer wouldn't match the one asked for. I worked it out in a million different ways, and still I kept on getting the wrong answer. This coupled with me not having my watch, made me lose track of time. The sad thing is that during the exam I stopped trying for a brief moment. I gave up. Normally you go out till the end, and sometimes you get lucky and remember something. I gave up with the question on Stokes equation. My answer was barely readable, and didn't make any sense whatsoever.

Sigh. The sadness is also closely related to the fact that had I done "such a such" thing, I could have had a good exam like Bella. Had I revised rigorously and the way it is expected of me, I would have been feeling less sad. Two questions from the numerical analysis side were from one of the example sheet. I was shocked to say the least! I hadn't been able to complete them on the example sheet, and so a few expletives escaped me. I had to do one of the two and neither looked appealing. In the end I did one but didn't complete the last part of it.

We are all just hoping for generous scaling now. I still want to have to done enough, but I know that I am just kidding myself. During the exam all I could think about (during moments of day dreaming!) was: "This is my LAST ever applied maths exam, if all goes well". Well that is the last time I hope to sit a numerical analysis exam, but knowing Sod's law, I best not get too happy. I think I have done enough to not have to resit the module (touch wood), which is why I have been pleasing myself with thoughts of how to properly dispose of my numerical analysis notes! Bella, being the voice of reason as always, told me that I might need them one day. Although that thought makes me shudder, I can only muse about destroying them, and not actually do anything.

Now I have three days to revise Algebra from scratch. I haven't revised anything for algebra, but in my heart, I hope that I am able to present myself better in this exam. It is not only me who is sick of everything. We all were, and it was nice meeting up again in the AT building, talking about random things. (After of course dissecting the paper, me with my head in my hands!) We ended up sitting for quite some time, but the less people in that building, the better (at times). Well I guess I'm saying that because of my reluctance to go in today, even though I had to!

It's also amusing how all of us are already saying what we are going to do differently next semester! I can't explain what is wrong with. Why do I seem to have lost this fear of some sort? Ah well, as I explained to Fizz, it is due to the course material of this semester. That seems to be the only friendly thing that I can blame!

I am in an argumentative mood. I want to have a "heated" discussion with someone. I guess this is because I am tired, and thus either become withdrawn or overly hyper. I will sleep now, but please, I don't want to see any more a_n's and b_n's floating around. (I was asked for the definition of something, and wrote everything BUT what the answer was.)

Exams-- I hate them with a passion. Especially when I don't study properly for them! Monday=algebra and Tuesday=real & complex. Anyone want so swap places?

## Monday, January 14, 2008

### My "xkcd" moment.

I had been having an uninspiring time revising, and started doodling like all beans do. I don't think it's quite like what you find at xkcd, but I had fun scribbling images of things I felt like doing.
And a much more "exciting" one (which might need clicking on):

Caption competition anyone? Or can anyone figure out why that wannabe cowboy is saying what he is? Notice how I didn't write "applied maths" and just "applied"?

Should I just pack my pencils away right now and pretend this post never existed? Please don't tell xkcd... the shame would be unbearable!

I am going to send four emails in a second, but first I need to open my webmail - something which I haven't done in quite a while. My sad senses came across a schedule that needs sorting. I see it whenever I come across my blog, but somehow didn't realise what needs to be done. :(

Sigh. I have an exam in a few days and all I can think about, as I close my eyes, is the open land: majestic and welcoming. I am awake at this time because my internal system has gone haywire. I revise till about 4am in the morning and then wake up past midday. I'm continuously reminded about what will happen on the the exam days, but I am not panicking just yet. By the way-- this is the WORST possible way that I can revise. I am a morning revision person, but I have to make do with this silly thing. (No longer can people jokingly claim that I have lost another screw).

Going back to the second picture (before I send the emails), in two weeks time I will be throwing that match: MUHAHAHA. Yes - I can't wait for that blimmin' moment; but silly me is getting too excited thinking about it now, when I should focus on revising. Nevertheless "only two weeks left, doo daa doo day"! What can I say, I am hoping to rise from my ashes like a Phoenix.

Before I head of to sleep, here's the current track playing in my head, from Shrek 2. (Well the chorus is!)

I need some sleep
You can't go home like this
I try counting sheep
But there's one I always miss

Everyone says I'm getting down to low
Everyone says, "You just gotta let it go"
You just gotta let it go
You just gotta let it go

I need some sleep time to put the old horse down
I'm in too deep and the wheels keep spinning round

Everyone says I'm getting down to low
Everyone says, "You just gotta let it go"
You just gotta let it go
You just gotta let it go

You just gotta let it go
You just gotta let it go
You just gotta let it go

## Friday, January 11, 2008

### Same old, same old

Wow - it has been quite some time since I blogged! Truth be told I was scared of my blog. I still am scared, but found some courage to face it. I am also scared about going on the Manchester maths site to get my notes for modules. I have become scared of a lot of things recently.

I am stood in my shadow, looking for a way out. I didn't blog because I was behaving like a chicken. The blog brings to light the harsh reality which I have been hiding from. I don't know why, but when I am sat here typing, things just "come out". The truth hits home and an earthquake ripples through my body. The after shocks not far behind.

Standing in ones shadow, surrounded by darkness is depressing. I have brought this upon myself and so must suffer the consequences. I seem to have accepted my fate - that of failing. That of not meeting my own expectations. I will be failing myself because I have not dedicated time to my studies, and have not understood the material as the year progressed. One of my biggest strengths (one could say), or biggest things that I relied on, was the fact that I tried to make sure that I at least understood the material as the year progressed. Hence revision was just that--revision. I can't believe how badly I have not done that this semester.

Them thoughts are what cause the darkness of my shadow to grow without a bound. I can't get rid of this feeling of dread. Why am I not scared enough... enough to change the current course of my actions? I care but then I don't.

For the past few days a development about something has been happening. I had a decision to made and I made it. It was my decision to make and although people have been trying to dissuade me, I will not be changing my mind. This decision is one of the biggest I have made in my life. It is scary and at the same time exciting. The stress of this decision was enormous and has been on my head for the whole of the first semester. My ability to keep certain feelings buried doesn't seem to be that good after all. You might have noticed that I am being sly here. I am trying to "pin the blame" on something of course, apart from myself. However this decision has in truth been plaguing my life. If you recall I wished for myself to fail at most module last semester due to it, but then changed my mind.

The phrase "you should be careful what you wish for" springs to mind. Damn. Is that wish going to fulfill itself now? How do we go about canceling such wishes? I'm sure it's not quite like canceling a direct debit payment.. This plague will not go away now for a long time and I will be carrying it to the second semester too. I call it a plague because it has in some sense taken something from me. But I made the decision and will stand by it.

I think a combination of events has brought me to my knees. I can't describe the magnitude of this decision, but my heart, it doesn't know what to do. This confusion in my heart is making my head go AWOL (absent without leave). I am not in the right frame of mind for these exams. But still I refuse to accept failure, even though it has me on my knees.

The worst thing about standing in ones shadow, is that you see who and how you once were. Then you wonder what went wrong. After a while you are still wondering and you keep on wondering "what went wrong"? You can't point to one thing and accuse it for making you derail. Nope--everything came together and derailed you. I don't make new years resolution, but already I have made plenty of "new semester" resolutions.

I feel helpless to my programmed brain which doesn't want to revise. It does everything but revising. Thoughts of running in a large open field, or escaping to the mountains haunt me. Although pleasing, they bring the sad fact to light that there exists something which I want to escape from. Now you know the reason as to why I didn't want to blog. This blog is a bad blog.

On the other hand, something startling came to light as I was making my "new semester resolutions". I should blog more about maths topics that I study and post more maths content. Why, you ask. Well even though it takes longer to create them post, the content that I write about ends up making more sense. This is because when you write maths for others to possibly read, you have to firstly have a proper understanding of it yourself; and secondly writing it down for others to understand, helps you to understand it better. I don't have to write them everyday but it's an idea. (I say this due to my post on the theorem "If f is differentiable at a real number a, then f is continuous at a". Not wanting to jinx myself, but if I dare forget the proof of this theorem in the exam--you will always wonder about what happened to me!)

I wouldn't recommend that anyone consider being an organised mess. Although I happily advertise myself to be in one such mess, it is disastrous. My right hand has died on me and this post I have slowly tried to type with my left hand only. (There were large periods though when I got sick of how long it was taking and reverted to both hands!) I cant write with the pen in my right hand and so revision has become even more painful than normal. I have messed up wrists you see. My right wrist feels all jarred up and uncomfortable. Anyway, I had to continue trying to do some real analysis and let us see what you can deduce from the image below! (Might need clicking on.)

The image isn't clear due to the phone, but does that look like the writing of a seven year old, or does it?! I hope my hand feels better in the morning.

One thing that worried me is how everyone seems to think I will do OK in the end. Especially the folks. By disappointing myself, I will be disappointing many others too. I don't know which feels worse.

Anyway, the voice of doom will now return to the chair of doom. To all those who are currently having exams, or those whose exams will start on Monday, best of luck. I hope you are better prepared than I will be, and please don't mention any mountains or hills to me! I might want to start my donkey farm now you see... (You probably don't get what the heck I mean by that, but one day I will enlighten you. Pray that day never comes, for if it does then that means that I will actually be with donkeys in a farm!) Ha. It is so easy to amuse oneself at times, especially when they should be sleeping. If it snows really really really .... (i.e. (really)^n where n=1, 2, 3...) badly, do you think they might cancel the exams? I mean if the snow becomes waist high and you can't leave the house? Come on there must be something that we can do?!! (You are with me on this right?)

## Monday, January 07, 2008

### Top Reasons to Become a Statistican

9. Deviation is considered normal.
8. We feel complete and sufficient.
7. We are mean lovers.
6. We are right 95% of the time.
5. We can safely comment on someone's posterior distribution.
4. We may not be normal but we are transformable.
3. We never have to say we are certain.
2. We are honestly significantly different.
1. No one wants our jobs.

I will leave commenting on this for another moment. Too many things can be said about the above, but I just want to let any probability and stats people out there know, that they can be dead sure of number one! That list did have me laughing, especially number four about not being normal. I hope that doesn't interest anyone to become a statistician, for then number one will no longer we valid!! (This though, might explain why stats people are completely unfazed when annoying beings like me say: "Stats - aaahhhhhh!!!" *vomits*! )

## Saturday, January 05, 2008

### Still under the weather

Today I feel infinitely worse than yesterday. Anyone have any tricks up their sleeves to get this bean back up an running? I have had some Beechams, but they don't seem to have had any effect. Unfortunately I can become one of the biggest babies alive on this planet at times, and now is one of them times! Alas my neck is stiff and my head is throbbing. Worry not though, I am now going to rest my eyes repeating the following definition:

Definition
Let $f: A \to \mathbb{R}$ be a function whose domain A contains a deleted neighbourhood of $a \in \mathbb{R}$.

The limit of f at $a \in \mathbb{R}$ is L if, and only if for all $\varepsilon \text{\textgreater } 0$, there exists a $\delta \, \text{\textgreater }\, 0$ such that if, $0 \, \text{\textless }\, |x-a| \, \text{\textless }\, \delta$ then $|f(x)-L| \, \text{\textless }\, \varepsilon$.

That is: $\forall \varepsilon \, \text{\textgreater }\, 0, \exists \,\delta \, \text{\textgreater }\, 0: 0 \, \text{\textless }\, |x-a| \, \text{\textless }\, \delta \Rightarrow |f(x)-L| \, \text{\textless }\, \varepsilon$. (Which is sometimes written as f(x) -> L as x-> a.)

It is my hope that when my eyes open, I will be miraculously better and then attack real analysis with some energy. I wouldn't mind a dash of adrenaline though. Did I mention that I hate coughing? Sneezing is much more... elegant shall we say! (Well it doesn't sound as harsh as coughing does it?) Oh and for the record, one can become sick of Weetabix.

Anyway, let us hope that I feel better soon so that today goes to waste as well. (As did yesterday). Do you think sitting in one place, wrapped up in a blanket, makes it worse? I mean delay recovery. It feels so much better though, than running around like a lunatic (as per usual). Yes, I will shut up now. I have something remarkable which I would like to post, but my battery is not going to last long enough for me to do so! (OK, that was my lame attempt at using Fermat's cheeky comment in the margin). Truth be told it isn't that remarkable a thing, but it made my mum wonder "what are we going to do with you beans"!

Good night...

## Friday, January 04, 2008

### My punishment

My post about maths text books didn't go down to well with the authors. I will still stand by what I said, which is what caused all the authors to unite and conspire against me! Don't pretend you don't know what I am talking about! You were waiting for a chance for revenge and I guess my comments were the final trigger.

For those who don't know what has happened, then sit yourselves down.

Today was going to be one of my most brilliant days of the 300 odd left in the year. Namely because I was going to be revising Real Analysis today - FINALLY. Yes, I have given up with complex analysis and the fundamental theorem of algebra's proof. (Note to self: Louiville's theorem says that if f is differentiable everywhere in the complex plane and bounded, then f is constant). My excitement for doing some interesting maths, was found out. They don't want me to enjoy revision and enjoy my suffering. Hmph

In my previous post I said I wasn't going to be posting for a week. I wouldn't have posted had I not been in bed all day! Well for most of day. Last night was officially the coldest night of the year. I had been wrapped up in a billion blankets (thanks to my mum, who still insists upon a bed), but nevertheless I woke up on three separate occasions yesterday. My nose wanted me to chop it off! The second time I woke up, I had checked the clock. It was 5am. Annoyed at myself I turned over and tried to sleep again. What did I see when I had my eyes closed? SERIES AND INTEGRALS. AHHHHHH.

It was another one of them weird moments. I felt, at 5am, that I couldn't sleep until the series and integrals disappeared. The only way that could happen was it I could solve them, which I couldn't. I don't know when I eventually nodded off, but surprisingly didn't wake up when I was meant to. It was 11am when life reentered my body, but I couldn't get out of bed. I was freezing cold; my nose wanted chopping off again, and my throat was swollen. It was due to the throat that I knew I was in for it. I didn't get out of bed till past lunch time, and that only because I had a driving lesson today.

My mum told me to rearrange it for another day, because I had started behaving like a four year old (as opposed to my normal seven year old self!) I insisted that at 3pm I would be feeling better, and it had already been rearranged from last time. Getting out of bed at 1ish meant that my whole morning had been wasted for revision. I was more upset that I couldn't revise real analysis than I was about being ill. I have been feeling cold and clammy all day, and looking at food makes me want to vomit, which isn't a good thing. Hence why I have been eating weetabix everything I have been hungry. (It's not very filling though).

Unfortunately, the sad fact is that I haven't been able to revise all day. This has greatly pained me, hence why I have wanted to thank the authors for wishing this upon me! (Don't even think about denying it... I have my sources!) Sigh. I think I now must take one day at a time and not think about when I must complete a certain module by. Today was meant to be one of the best days of the year (as I previously said), but it has been one of the most rubbish days ever. I am trying hard to be positive now, about actually passing any exams, but that is indeed a difficult task. Contradicting what I have said just now, I am hoping to only spend four days on real analysis. Namely because I have hopefully worked throughout the year on this course and it should just be revision, and not learning (apart from a few topics that weren't understood, like the composition of limits and parts of integration).

It makes me sad to even think about the intermediate value theorem or Rolle's Theorem. I am itching to get into them! Today I actually did have paracetamol and didn't let myself do what I normally do when I fall ill. (Well I did all this after 2pm when I realised I had to drive in an hour!)

The lesson in case you are wondering was not very good. Understandably for I haven't had one in three weeks! However I think apart from the "turning in the road" I did OK. I had warned my instructor before hand that I wasn't going to be with it today. So it was understood when I drifted into the middle of the road, or forgot that I was driving and zoned out for a second. (Only to be brought back with the comment: You've gone mad haven't you!) My instructor said something along the lines that I am normal. I laughed and then said that the image that popped into my head was being normal to a curve at a point (which I demonstrated using the wheel). This made the ADI sharply withdraw the comment and say: normal in the weirdest way possible! I did say thank you for that comment too. Normal pfft! I wonder what they will be saying next?

My turning in the road is messed up because I "rush things" i.e. the story of my life. As you have probably gathered I am an everywhere bean. Here one second and then bouncing out of the window the next. (Well that is a speculation which I encourage, but if you have your eye brows raised, then read the sentence as: here one second and there the other). I did a lot of coasting today, but that because normally I turn in first gear. This time I was trying my bestest to change gears whilst turning. So clutch down, second gear...... and the clutch stays down whilst I turned! I always bring the clutch up too fast when after changing to second, so I thought it was best to bring it up after I had straightened the car. Not the best of ideas I have had, but it was a good plan whilst it lasted. My observations were slightly on the down side today, and I was going to turn right after only one glance. However (thankfully) someone else slammed the brakes on.

I did warn you that I have been heavy headed! Any other major points before I mentioned how I nearly died? Oh yeah, I seem to want to turn right or left in third gear! I don't brake enough, but that is once again due to me rushing things, and not being calm. Oh and I was trying to find bite before moving off and I couldn't. I kept on asking my instructor whether I had found it and I was continuously told no. I gave my instructor a quizzical look, only to be told to check what gear I was in. Looking at the gear box I saw that I was in neutral! Dang. Most embarrassing, but I had my excuse!