Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Exposed?!

Yesterday was indeed a weird day. Not weird in a bad way, but just plain weird.

I was like a balloon, which popped on two occasions. I have decided to label "Mondays" weekly, rather than my previous rash conclusion of Monday being when I have my first 9am start. This Monday was a typical Monday, so here's hoping that Wednesday i.e. tomorrow is less troublesome. Saying that, I have a driving lesson tomorrow so expect fireworks!

One of these days (excluding weekends), I promise you that I will have a good nights sleep. When that day might be, I don't know, but soon one would hope. I have probably jinxed myself, for yesterday when I took the longer route to the AT building, I struggled. The logic lecture answered some of my questions, but the thing you have to be careful about in this module is notation. I naturally draw truth tables with "T's and F's" but now we have to use 1's and 0's. This should soon become natural for me, once I have done the homework, but new notation can be annoying to start with at least.

After this it was my PASS session, during which I came to a horrible conclusion: linear algebra is the most damnedest of subjects. Wait let me narrow that down for you. Row reduction of matrices to row echelon form, is the most damnedest of things that one can do. Namely because it is so easy to make a simple and innocent mistake. The first years looked bemused as Bella and myself first recalled what to do, and then made a million of mistakes. (However thanks to one watchful first year, I did recover during one instance). I didn't want to lecture the first years, but having progressed to my second year I felt it important to inform them to take the courses seriously. Everything you do in the first year WILL come up again in your second or third year. Already I am wishing that linear algebra vanished from the face of the planet (due to my geometry problem sheet!) but I can't stress the importance of making sure that you at least understand most of the course and work at it. It will make things easier for you in the second year at least.

One first year in particular laughed when I said not to aim for 40%, but at least 50! I was reassured by this for I gladly sensed that he was aiming higher than that. Our PASS sessions aren't always about maths, but just a "get together". Hmm, there is one negative about the time we have arranged to have PASS sessions, which has something to do with drinking tea! (Any guesses?!) Hopefully a solution will present itself though.

Yesterday it was my intention to attend a fluid dynamics lecture, but the room was full and I just needed an excuse not to go! In the end I updated the Galois Group's homepage and did some "administrative jobs" and chased people. All the time I was actually impatiently waiting for the posters to be printed. I can't remember when I got my hands on the posters, but with the meager amount of blue tack I had, I got to work. This is when things got interesting! Before I go on to say why, this morning I got some more blue tack from the office to stick the remaining posters, only to find that the cleaners had undone my handy work! They'd binned my posters! I was enraged and marched to see George to ask him to remind the cleaners to keep their hands of my posters! I shudder to think about what site will unfold tomorrow. (We had the same problem in the first semester but George (who's cool) sorted it out). If the colours offend them then I do apologise, but pretty please (with a cherry on top if you like) LEAVE MY POSTERS ALONE!

Now to the interesting part and indeed why the post is named as such. In my mind I know that people at my University read this blog, however I don't really know who. Because of this "not knowing" I ignore the issue and blog as if I am talking to someone. I don't know how often they read it, but anyone reading it will know who I am due to either the Galois Group or other things I mention. I only ever started mentioning the Galois Group, once I overcame my fear of being approached by someone from Manchester about this blog. It is inevitable that people might ask me about this blog, but once again please don't put me on the spot in front of my friends or others. Then you might oblige me to lie(!) through my teeth, whilst growing uncomfortable at the same time! (Actually last time my comeback had been "I know a phd student with a blog, maybe that's who he meant?" but I wasn't particularly honest). Your best bet is to catch me when I'm alone!

Indeed lecturers who I have written about, especially about my encounters with them will click on straight away that I'm beans. I won't name and shame the lecturers who have claimed to read my blog (at least once!) but I have now talked to four of them regarding this blog. It had been three until yesterday...

Whilst I stick the posters up I target individuals. Yes, you wouldn't want to catch me during a poster sticking day for I am relentless. Initially I enquire as to whether the person has heard of the Galois Group. They nod their head in recognition and so I proceed to stage two: "There's a lecture next Wednesday blah blah blah..." All this time I see the excuses formulating in their mind, but I still I don't give them a chance to say anything. Finally when I pause for a breath they say something neutral, and I sigh to myself hoping they will attend. They then walk away without looking back and I get back to the sticking until the next innocent person walks by.... (Why does that remind me of the three billy goats and the troll!! Does that mean I'm the troll?!! Actually that probably makes a lot of sense and explains why people look to escape rather quickly!)

On this occasion, let us say a lecturer walked past. (Hi if you're reading!) The obvious process occurred and he walked away, but only to return the next second. My senses were prickled. The lecturer got straight to the point: "I read your blog sometimes". That was it. He had said the B-word loudly. Instinctively I looked around in case anyone had heard, and thoughts of denying such an accusation quickly entered and exited my mind in a flash. I also quickly dismissed asking him how he knew it was me. (Clue: I made a big huhaa about "a quid"!) It felt weird to say the least, and I had an embarrassed grin on my face. Was I going to be in trouble for giving the first years a head up on the quid, or indeed for my constant reference to the injustice done to me due to this?! :D

Nothing like that happened actually. Although initially I felt embarrassed and kept on muttering "you read my blog" (only to be told not regularly and others do too), I soon became OK. I did dare to enquire as to who the others might be, but that was because I'm a nosey so and so! You never think that the two worlds are going to collide or "intersect", and when they do you don't know how to react (grinning like a mad man is one option). After this brief "damn- I'm talking to someone who knows my blog" moment, we talked about the question mentioned in my post yesterday about the uninterested maths undergraduates. It was then that I realised I wasn't in trouble(!), and so I physically relaxed and felt the colour return to my face, as we conversed. It seems that there is no answer to the question being asked (do you think I'll get a quid of I think of a brilliant answer? If so help would be nice! ;)) All this being said, I am still hoping that the lecturer will find time to attend next weeks Galois Group lecture *hint hint*! If any lecturers who I have this term are reading, then please drop me a comment (so I can watch what I say of course!)

After sticking up what I could, I had decided to head home. This is when the balloon popped. I scurried as fast as I could, only to reach a point when I felt the wind knocked out of me. I was dragging my feet and cursed the lactic acid in my body. However thanks to my "popping" a new scenario presented itself to me. There is this visitor who attends Galois Group lectures and is very keen (woohoo!) As I sluggishly walked to my destination, a hint of recognition appeared on both of our faces and we both acknowledged each other. Hopefully he'll turn up next Wednesday too!

As I looked back towards the direction of which he had walked, I spotted another lecturer walking. I am not sure whether this lecturer has come across my blog, but I assumed so even though we didn't say anything. We were both heading towards the same direction and the conversation started with the Galois Group. (What a beautiful thing that group is! Why you ask? Well ever need a conversation starter, look no further than the Galois Group!) My conversation with PH was fresh in my mind and it inevitably creeped into this conversation. It was suggested that maybe a maths competition between universities (friendly competition obviously) could spark something into a mathematics community. (As I believe it once did). I am pondering about a lot of things, and am contemplating researching this. Seriously though, what else can be done?

There is a lot of mumbo jumbo in my head at the moment, and I need to sort my priorities out first. A routine which I currently lack, is begging to be created. Next week I keep on telling myself...

(I don't know how long this post has gone on for, but I felt someone else's pain yesterday. Why is it that although we might experience pain, when we see someone else hurting it effects us more so than our own pain? Especially if we have had that pain ourselves and understand the extent of it. Sigh. I feel helpless if that makes sense. )

Today was so and so: I haven't been attending the example classes (for reasons which I will mention soon)! I have had four cups of tea and no proper food due to a petty reason, which I will also write about one day. Now though I feel starved and a banana will do just fine. (There is something I want to write about the AT building, but I am going to see how my experiement goes before forming conclusions).

I finally confronted the lecturer who interviewed me, and broke down asking him why he gave me a place at this university? "So that you could annoy everyone of course" was his calm reply. I wasn't feeling very calm (although his reply was very thoughtful) and went on to say he wanted me to build a dream and watch it crumble in front of my eyes. I never knew that I would get this attached to university. Never.

Oh, by the way I didn't really ask him that (in case some hopeful person is as gullible as me and believed me!) I always smile at him due to recognising him from my interview, but he looks on blankly. Today I explained to him from where I remember him and from now on I will continue to bug him! He laughed (although I sensed the nervousness!) and said that a lot of students recognise him, but he can't remember all of them. He's cool, although he'll probably regret todays conversation. (As do all the lecturers!)

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