Saturday, August 23, 2008

Homepages and html Disasters

A five minute rant. I hate (with a fiery passion) making web pages. The outcome is clear to me - I see what I want to achieve however I can't make it blimmin' work. Humbug. Drat and double drat. Wymi? (Can you think of any other cartoon character phrases that I might have missed?)

For those who know my University address (or my name) you can see for yourselves what I mean. The current mess I have created is online.

I had thought that dream weaver would make my life easy. I was mistaken. I then tried to be "clever" and made a blog on Wordpress and "stole" the theme I was using! (Well I just copied the source code with the attribution present.) This theme opens up perfectly in Firefox but it goes all wrong in Internet Explorer. What to do then, I ask? Should I let IE users suffer or do I try to fix it? I spend some time fixing it and my patience has now snapped. To hell with this website I cry. Why the heck can't I just make it simple and cack? Why do I see such big visions? (I have a "Charmed" moment.)

Sigh. Double Sigh. I can't fix the theme in IE and I am close to giving up. Three websites have already been painfully constructed and I am going to have one final go tonight.

My criteria: three fixed columns (centred?) with the left column a link bar, and the right column advertising the latest lecture. That's the main part which I can't do. Actually here's what the theme I knicked appears like (however I have changed the colours). Is that too much to ask for?

I actually quite like the mess that's online now (but not more than my first design which didn't make it!) but it just won't work. :( Times like these I wish I had an expert web designer on my team, and all I had to do was tell them what I wanted and kazam it worked!

Back to the drawing board for me now. I need this website made by the end of September. More joy.

Nuno's question - The four hippos

Nuno is my new best friend. He defended my mathematical honour as others suggested I was an incompetent fool (rightly so on this occasion, but Nuno wasn't to know)! They mocked the fact that I was studying for a Mathematics degree, as I hung my head in shame unable to meet anyone's eye. My mistake had been something unmentionable and will be left to ones imagination.

Nuno though, set me a question to test my Mathematical competence and to give me back my honour.

"If 4 hippos want to go to Africa and the ticket men said £50.00 for each hippo and the hippos only had £10.00 each how many more do they need altogether?"

I haven't corrected anything that he wrote (he's in primary school), but I'm stalling on giving him my solution. It's crunch time you see and if I get the answer wrong I will fall in his eyes. He stood up for me when all laughed. What if the answer isn't £163.60 and it's £203.60? What if I should use a calculator instead of my head? It might even be a trick question! (And you all know how I make a fool out of myself when it comes to them!) Hmmm, well first things first - I need my cup of tea...

National Year of Reading

I was sent a link for The National Year of Reading so I thought I would point this out to anyone who wasn't aware of it. How many books have you completed this year, and how many have you started but not finished? Well the only fiction book I can recall reading is The Good Earth which was a birthday present last year. Apart from that - zilch. I bought a few fiction books and put them on my shelf, but never have I read them. One such book which I need to read is Big Bad Wolf by James Patterson!

Hmm, that's fiction over so lets move onto the Maths books. For the first time in my whole little life, have I started to read another book after starting a different one. The Maths book which I have completed are Fermat's Last Theorem (by Simon Singh) and and... ah yes, Nature's Numbers and Letter's to a Young Mathematician (by Ian Stewart). Well these are general audience maths books, but I'm stuck thinking of any more that I have finished reading! Surely there must me more? Yep, Timothy Gowers book - Mathematics, A Short Introduction. I think that is finally all of them.

Ah well, I won't damage my diminishing brain cells by mulling over this. Now over to general audience Maths book that I have started reading but not finished. Well there's The Code Book by Simon Singh, but I have a very good excuse for this! Have you seen the font size in his book? It's tiny! (There's no such thing as a lame excuse...and this is the reason I can't get started on Music of Primes). I've started the Millennium Problems by Keith Devlin, but the "physicy problems" erm... well were at the end of the book hence that's not been finished.

I started reading An \sout{Un}*apologetic Mathematician by Hardy, but I unfortunately failed to see his greatness in that book. I actually enjoyed the preface more (!) and I don't know when I stopped reading his book. I do intend to review it when I finish it, and don't get me wrong, he was an amazing mathematician but.... It's like someone telling you that a movie is brilliant and describing it in such a way that you expect to find it equally amazing. How disappointed are you when you find the movie not so great? I think there was a hype around Hardy like that around Fermat. Fermat didn't disappoint though. (Or perhaps I didn't like the way Hardy wrote, for I thought he was cool-ish whilst reading the preface?) The books actually available online now, so feel free to have a read of it.

*I had actually written "unapologetic" first, but when I googled it I got some egg on my face!

Recently I have started and stopped reading An Imaginary Tale of \sqrt{-1} by Paul Nahin. No reason for stopping, for his book also had a brilliant preface but I never got my hand into it. Currently (and fingers crossed that this book is read fully!) I'm reading the book about Erdos. Actually, that book will be completed so I'll keep my comments to myself about it. (One comment will have its own post though!) The Man Who Only Loved Number is an unfortunate tale in some sense, but I will leave that thought there. (I don't want to get myself started on the review prematurely!)

Whoops the paragraph above stalled towards the end as I couldn't make my mind up! Anyway other books which I've worked through (i.e. general text books) are an Ian Stewart and David Tall book, but I'm straining to remember its name. How to Solve it by Polya was pretty good, but I don't recall "finishing it". I've started a book by John Mason and that's all I think. (I'm definitely not going to mention the text books that I have worked through, because for each module I need about five different books! Well a certain chapter from one book, and another chapter from another and so on...).

There you have my badly disciplined reading habits. I read blogs if that counts? Well I read them less than when I first started, because something has to always give way, but I still do read! Don't I? I was given a reading list of non-mathematical books by a supply teacher in my school (five years ago!) which I found the other day. I might post it (in the name of the Year of Reading of course).

However, just because I haven't been reading the books, that doesn't mean I have to stop buying! I haven't even collected the books that I bought from the Springer Sale yet, and I possibly won't ever really need them. Ah well, books make me feel weak at the knees so I buy them due to medical reasons. :p Do you think my mum will believe that though?

On the webpage I linked above, one can design their own cool logo. I designed my logo (on the right) which isn't very cool, but I made it mathematical though! (That should score me some points with the judges.) Any guesses on what on earth I have written? Please don't disappoint me, just read what it says! Have fun designing your own logo and feel free to post them. I can't turn my computer off tonight because I want to make a bookmark with my design and I can't save it. It's late (early) at the moment and the printer makes a racket, so I can't print it just yet.

I hope to complete the books that I have started and I wish that someone out there has a worse track record than myself! (In the nicest possible way of course...) If you don't give a statement my detective skills will inform me that you are too ashamed to admit anything *cue evil laugh*. Or perhaps I should stop being a detective and concentrate on reading my own books! Doh. Ah well it was worth a try.

So in the spirit of this post: Read.

PS: It's late (early) so I've lazily not linked anything today. I'll save that for a rainy day...

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

GCSE Results Day: D-Day

Aaahhhh. Tomorrow everyone will be getting their GCSE results at 10am, but not me. However, silly Po is getting his results tomorrow and the daft duffer has my heart racing too! Pfft. Hopefully Po will have done fine, and best of luck to everyone else who is waiting for their results.

It seems like only yesterday that I got my GCSE results, and them were the days when I used to go to sleep at sunrise because I didn't want to toss and turn, tortured by thoughts of my results. Po's been much better behaved than I was, but it hit him today so he's passing his distress to everyone! (I confess to deliberately not helping him to relax, for when I was nervous about my University exam results he always used to mention them when I was eating something. Pfft.)

GCSE's don't seem like a big deal to me any more. I guess in terms of having progressed through college and getting to University, they seem rather small. However they were very important when I was 16, and hard work for a lazy idiot like myself. The result I cared about the most was my Maths and I was actually the last person to collect my results! I was busy celebrating my friends success as my phone rang with my Dad enquiring about my results. Doh. Yes, I remember it all. My friends tears of joy, faces slim with sadness and the jumps of relief are so vivid in my mind. (Not forgetting my own silliness as well!)

But tomorrow is not about me - it's about Po. He's got immense pressure on his shoulders (unfortunately) due to certain factors. He's honest - he wants to get more than me and the rest of us (He's unlucky to have a cousin the same age as him too!). I had felt that the pressure of beating us older ones (!) should not have been there for Po, for I'm about four years older than him. I guess we all have different ways to motivate ourselves, and I'd be lying if I didn't have a similar motivation at school. (Well I hadn't been helped by a relative exclaiming that I will never be able to get the results that Tinky Winky had!)

I didn't do brilliantly (especially in a certain language!) however I am confident that Po will do better. He better not let me down in his Maths, for he's going to be studying A Level Maths. I actually dissuaded Po from studying Further Maths, so he's gone for Physics instead. (AHH) It's not that Po is not capable of further maths, but something warned me to back off and let him make his own decision. (Which can still be changed...)

So once again, good luck to all and I hope y'all do good in your maths. ;)

PS: By the way, the person who I helped with AS Maths got a C!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Will they believe the PS?

"Dear all,

Firstly I would like to thank you all for your support last year, when The Galois Group first started organising lectures. Hopefully you will continue attending lectures next year as well.

As previous emails have mentioned, we are hoping to create a Maths Magazine (Infinite Descent) for the department which will be published YEARLY. However, for this to be a success your contributions are needed. Please consider writing something for us, be it an article, book reviews or some interesting mathematical questions. (You are experts in writing hard exam papers so this should be trivial!)

Here's some information for you to keep in mind:

1) Article guidelines are at most 1500 words, and pictures can be included as well. For book reviews the guideline is at most 500 words.
2) If you use LaTeX (don't kill me for writing that!) please can you send me any style files that you may use, with the .tex file.
3) The deadline for any submissions is Friday 24th October 2008.

I look forward to hearing from you and if you have any further questions, please feel free to email me.

Best wishes, Beans

PS: I didn't write the comments in brackets! "

I don't think that the staff at Manchester will believe the PS, but if they feel so strongly about anything I wrote they can send me an email about it! Or perhaps I should be more cautious, for I haven't graduated yet and don't know when I will.

What have I just gone on done. Doh. I will forward any email they send me to the person who sent that email. Yes, that sounds better. I have three submissions already, and a postgraduate student has guaranteed me a fourth on a topic I was on the look out for.

However I don't seem to have any mathematical problems submitted, so if any readers out there have any interesting problems that they like, please post a comment. (I may edit the comment for I don't want to spoil the magazine for anyone just yet, but I am quite desperate for challenging maths problems!) I want to have a whole page dedicated to maths problems (that I can't answer!) and make a little competition out of it, and the person who has the most correct answers by a certain date gets something. (Our funding covers a prize you see, which I made sure of!)

So Blogistan, here's your chance to get something published! (In the words of Edna from The Incredibles: Don't make me beg!) The problem doesn't have to be something you invented, but it can be a question from a text book that gave you a hard time, or an interesting problem left in the appendix of your lecturer's notes. Be creative. Surprise me. (This means pretty please with a cherry on top, can you help me?) I'll be in my office. :D (I need to stop pretending that I have an office, don't I?)

PS: I hope non of you confused "The PS" for the PS!

Monday, August 18, 2008

It costs to be lazy

Without a doubt Recorded Delivery should only have cost £1.32; well it had to be less than £1.50. I was erm very very tired when I came home today (nothing to do with the Internet!) and asked Po to send a letter for me by recorded delivery. I left two pounds near the letter and as a bribe I said he could keep the change! Sweet.

Well until I was conned into coughing out another 75p! Pfft. The youth of today.

Anyway, do you think that mathematicians should get paid for being lazy? Well paid to fund their lazy antics? (Not that I'm being selfish and thinking about myself here....) Well someone to make me food would be great if you are asking! (I think my Mum is reaching her boiling point. But that's all my fault of course).

I will return to my grumbling and try to reclaim my lost pennies and honour. It is no longer about the money now, but something much much bigger. (I just hope that I don't lose a few teeth--Po has massive hands!)

Reality, Karma and a Cough.

Are we all ready for another weird post, that will talk about all things but maths? Damn... I shouldn't have said that too loudly! (Well there might be an epsilon amount of maths so don't be too hasty in your exits...)

Today I was watching a very interesting programme on TV, i.e. I was watching a documentary! It was about the human nervous system and how our bodies might react to pain. Pain is actually a good thing, and we would be worse off without such a sensation. It's was a brilliant programme and my nerves are still tingling with excitement because of it. *Lame joke number one connected to documentary*!

The human body fascinates me and I love learning about it. A word of advice though: if you ever come across an inflammation or swelling, it would be in your interest to get it checked. Swelling is our bodies way of telling us that something is wrong. Sigh. I best stop here before I go on forever! I find it great because I can see everything happening inside me. My white blood cells, kicking some bacteria's butt (and unfortunately not doing a good job at the moment, but you get the picture!); the epiglottis being a pain and not closing properly... Everything is just wow!

I would have recommended everyone to visit the Body Worlds display at the Museum of Science and Industry, but sadly it is over now. One thing I do recall from my own visit were the freaky eyes and the fact that everything in our body is actually very tightly packed together! Like pasta salad, with all the ingredients closely joined and mayonnaise being the sticky substance perhaps! I never visualise my digestive system as being tightly packed, but all spread out... But that's because I only ever visualise one system at a time, and never the circulatory system and breathing system together. Gah--wasn't I was meant to stop waffling about how great the human body is?

The point of the above three paragraphs was to introduce my cough! My brother was watching the programme with me and sadly he has the flu and a terrible cough. I, in a resigned tone had said: "I will evict you to the other room if you don't control that cough."

How very hypocritical of me, for we all know what happens when I get the horrible cough and am found running (apologetically) out of lectures for the fits to end. I didn't evict him before you think badly of me! Haha, we evicted my little sister instead for we decided it her was inane chatter which was a bigger distraction! (Once again, it was for five seconds because she is "unevictable"...).

Sod's law dictates, that because I dared say such a thing to my brother, I now have a blimmin cough myself. Brilliant. Tomorrow I will have to evict him from the house... (And then end up homeless myself!) Worry not, I will do no such thing. [I always clarify such things for I live in hope that someone as gullible as me exists!].

Anyway, if you were following the post title, this takes us to Karma. Bella (I think) once brought this up in a discussion we were having, and she believes in Karma. I googled the word for a proper definition and Karma is a connection between your "past, present and future" lives. In a nutshell (from wiki) "if you do good things, good things will happen to you — if you do bad things, bad things will happen to you,". So do you believe this?

I tend to say"what goes around comes around" for bad actions only (erm- some more English phrases!). I mean, your "bad" actions will catch up on you, but that doesn't necessarily mean that if you do good, good will happen to you. All that means is that you may or may not feel positive and happy about doing "good". I use speech marks around the words good and bad, for we all define them differently. I think killing a harmless and poison-less spider (!) is bad, whereas the next person stamps on them or gets the good old hoover out! However, I do think it will all get balanced out in the end for we are all accountable for our actions.

If I was to go all mathematical (!) it's like one of Newton's laws: Every action has an equal and opposite reaction. That was honestly an unintentional link so I will leave it there! *shudders* However, forget about the English phrase (what goes around...) I'm going to use the mathematical phrase from now on, in a mysterious and deep tone of course!

"So do you believe in Karma?"
"Every action has an equal and opposite reaction, my young padawan."

I think I like Newton now. ;) (But not enough to talk about his law - muhahaha)!

So moving on to reality. The reality of another "human bean" that is. We all have our deep secrets, some which are dark and others that aren't. Po wanted to go on my computer and I couldn't remember if I had logged out of my user account. I stalled the situation, for if I hadn't logged out then he would find my browser which is always open. Now one of my secrets is this blog, but I am not really that scared if Po found out. Nevertheless it is something which I hide from everyday people. I have other things which I keep to myself, but that's what we all do.

But what happens when someone accidentally reveals a secret? Suppose it is an evil and horrible secret which changes the way you see someone? Are such secrets worth having? Is it worth doing something that you shouldn't? (Eg. steal.) Today I believe Harrison Ford's quote on Air Force One (!): If you give someone a cookie they'll want the glass of milk too. (Well it's something like that!) And before anyone disagrees, I thought that movie was fantastic. I watched it when I was into my computer fighter plane games, and I still watch it when it comes on TV!

I think I'm going to end this weird post here. I deliberately went backwards, but as I was told, in an article or report, if you mention an order of some sort then you have to continue with the same order throughout. I wrote a introductory paragraph with an order (lectures, magazine, forum), but I then went and shuffled things around in the rest of the piece. Editors will do this weird symbol on your work when they correct it, if they find that happening (as I was told). You have to be consistent. \end{aside}

The questions I have been left asking are: would you rather not know someone's reality, for then do you have a responsibility to do something? Are you just meant to sit back and watch things fall apart and hope for the best, or should you try to intervene? For example, if you discovered that your best friend was taking serious drugs--what would you do? Then again, is it right for someone to interfere in a decision which someone has made? But then how can one close their eyes to the drugs (eg) which are obviously being consumed?

Hopefully I will know of what to do, and I would say that the reality I discovered is much worse than the drugs example above. (Perhaps I have found my first victim to quote Newton's law!) :p

Friday, August 15, 2008

Mathmo

According to the site mathmo.org, the word mathmo is an "offensive-ish" term! I always used it as a short hand for a mathematician, but the site states the following:

"The term mathmo came into being during the last century. It signifies a certain kind of living entity which can most easily be met in its refuges at universities and libraries. As they are known to be extremely shy, it is recommended to bring with you some tea or coffee and something to eat, if you want to call attention. Mathmos got their name by art students in Cambridge who had observed some students to have significant properties such as being smelly, shy and horrendously brainy, going along with mathematical ability. Therefore mathmo is misused as a four letter word up to today, which is obviously wrong."

The site even has a mathmo test, which I found quite amusing! What's your mathmo score? (Be honest now!!) I got 26, and before anyone disagrees, the joke "Why did the chicken cross the Moebius strip? - To get to the same side." is amusing! (I didn't tick the boxes for things that I once knew eg. prime numbers less than 100, otherwise I get more...) I think I am also guilty when it came to "Do you make excruciatingly bad puns?"... People are too kind to say this to me you see... or I am deeply skilled in turning a deaf ear at the right time! (I think the latter is more true). Why would that quiz cause any offence?

Anyway, to reuse my favourite quote of humpty dumpty -- 'When I use a word, it means just what I choose it to mean, neither more nor less.' I use Mathmo in a positive sense!

The other day an old friend of my Dad visited us after quite some time, and I remember him from when I was an ickle kid. I supposedly erm... was quite exuberant when I first met him as a child, and everyone can't stop reminding me about how I first greeted him. (I would rather not mention this!) Anyway, I was quite amused to find my Dad say "Bean's is a mathematician so you two should get on well now!" (We didn't get of to a good start when I was five-ish). Well that's the first time I have been introduced as a mathematician in a positive way. I think I like my Dad's old friend now.

Student Loans

This post was really meant to comment on the cost of education in England, namely because it is the time of the year when one wonders about student loans.

I'll try though, to keep to the post title, but before doing that I would just like to congratulate everyone who received their A Level results today. I would also like to congratulate the teachers for their efforts too. If any future Manchester Maths students are lurking about do say hi!

On to business then. To my relief I received my payment schedule letter this morning, which basically assures me that my tuition loan will be given and that I will get the maintenance money too. I was mightily relieved because I erm... once again applied for the loan after the deadline had passed! I have been slaving away this summer because of a necessity, but if the tuition fee loan wasn't granted I wouldn't really have the means to attend University next year! (And I don't really agree with working during term time....)

Anyway, that thankfully hasn't happened, but if I am to do four years I have to tell the loans company as soon as possible you see. (Yes, I am still debating over this fiasco, as I am over the project fiasco). I have a habit of making a fiasco out of everything and that is because I am not erm... very organised. The excuse I am currently using is my genes! (*cough my Dad*) Ha, he actually said I've gone like him today (even if it was for something totally unrelated!)

In the news, as the A Level results got an obvious mention, one man said he was surprised that not many students were commenting on the tuition fee loans. Truth be told, the loan system has been set up quite nicely. We borrow some money and then they take it out of our salary, once we are earning at least £25,000. But they only take about 6% a month so you never feel a dent in your income. Well so they say.

At the end of my third year I will have a loan of about £20,000 to repay. The tuition fees in my first year were £3000, but last year they increased and again this year too. (If I recall correctly this year they are £3150). The amount of money we are paying doesn't really became apparent until you see it down on paper. This is an interest loan as well, but I don't know at what rate.

So why this discussion on money then? Well somebody informed me that the loan will be written off once I die, which comes as a relief. That means I won't have to worry about the loan hanging around forever. If I can pay it back in bulk it will ultimately be better, and I wouldn't mind borrowing money of someone to do that (that's called a no-interest loan!) Well the teletubbies have already decided that I will be borrowing from Tinky Winky forever and ever, but that doesn't fill me with delight.

I sound like an airhead in this discussion, because I don't know the proper facts. But is that what most students do? Accept the conditions without knowing the details? There was no option but the student loans for me, and they really don't affect me as much as they affect say Milo or Tinky Winky. However today as the man spoke on TV, Tinky Winky got started again: "You could buy a car with that much money..." etc Anyway, some people are lucky and only pay £1500 a year for their tuition fees!! Once upon a time I had thought that to be such a huge amount, when my cousin had gone to university.

It's when they mention it on TV like it's an actual thing, do I ever seriously think about this loan! What a way to put a damper on things... Anyway, I don't really think there's an alternative to student loans hence why I'm not complaining. Universities are blimmin' expensive, but students don't realise this for we have paid them virtual money after all!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Top 10 Mathematicians of all time

From Ars Mathematica I have found the following link which has nominated the top 10 Mathematicians of all time. I'll quote the first paragraph of that site:


"Being the nerds that we are, it was only a matter of time before Old-Wizard released a Top 10 Mathematicians of all time list. The only question would be what criteria we would use when determining the order of the list. Would it be based on the volume of the mathematician’s contributions to the mathematical community? If so, Euler would be the obvious choice for the number one mathematician of all time. Or, would we base the list on the significance of the mathematicians’ “discoveries”? If so, Newton would dominate our list. Or, what if we based our list on the originality of the mathematician’s ideas? Well, if we did that, It would be hard to argue against making Cantor our number one mathematician of all time. In the end, we decided not to use any one of these criteria exclusively, instead, we choose a combination of all three of these to decide our list. All three were considered equally, and the results may or not surprise you, depending on your mathematical disposition. So, without any further adieu, we present the Old-Wizard.com Top Ten Mathematicians of All Time List:"


10. Augustin Cauchy
9. Kurt Godel
8. Srinivasa Ramanujan
7. Henri Poincare
6. George Cantor
5. Gottfried Wilhelm Riemann
4. Leonhard Euler
3. Sir Isaac Newton
2. Archimedes of Syracuse
1. Carl Fredrich Gauss

Do you agree, or is someone not on the list who you believe should be? (And vice-versa). What would your top 10 be? Personally I wouldn't have Newton on that list. I mean, you all can't have forgotten my personal vendetta against him for his silly apple antics right? *hides from Mechanista and refrains from linking said post* Erm... Newton's just... just fine actually!

Well I think I would have Germain, Galois and Fermat in my top ten. And if this list is not bounded by any time constraint, my three PTs would make it there too. (And some people you might know from Blogistan!) I think Cauchy would also have to be there due to his persistence in being mentioned in every single module that I tend to study. Hmph. Ooh, and Hilbert would probably be there as well, which makes ten according to my calculations.

I guess my list is more of a personal top ten, decided according to the impact said mathematicians might have had on me. (Apart from Hilbert who I don't really know that much, but he seems cool...)

Anyway, from Ars Mathematica I also found the link to The Thirty Greatest Mathematicians, which is slightly more forgiving but I still want to hear your top 10 (in no particular order if you insist!)

Saturday, August 09, 2008

The Mathmo

Ladies and gentlemen, children of all ages... hi. A simple greeting escaped my mouth, as the long barrage of sentences wanting to escape my mouth remain deadlocked in a fierce battle. Well long being "Hiya" and "Good evening".

So what brings me to my blog today? To this haven of some sort, which has been lost for quite a while in my ickle mind. Today is the weekend you see and after five weeks I had a driving lesson. It was a near death experience, and everyone's jokes about not hitting anything very nearly came alive. I guess the adrenaline rush is what is keeping me going, but boy was it scary. And before anyone asks or suggests something ridiculous like it was my fault, I must halt your thoughts. I was innocent on this occasion, but how I managed to stop the car and get moving again, I don't know.

I seem to have a very high "sense of flight" (the hormone too). When I am in a situation where I feel threatened, I try to get out as soon as possible. However, in a car I need to be more mindful and composed when I'm "legging it".

During the semester when a lecturer had mentioned my blog during an example class, I had panicked for my friends had been around and other students too. This was stupid of me and I should have gone to the lecturer before I left, and clarified what my "helpless grunting" had meant. Instead, I disappeared thinking that the wave would pass. It didn't and the story led me to another lecturer who sometimes flicks through my blog, who helped calm me down before I did anything rash, such as remove this thing! That was a very nervy period for me and I think if I hadn't been told that other students reading my blog wasn't such a big issue, I would have done something stupid. (I didn't comment much about this at the time for I wasn't really thinking straight!) So a big cheer to the lecturer who gave this blog a lifeline. (I still don't want the Tweenies to know about this though!)

Hmm, I was talking about driving right? I was very rusty and had three major incidents (including the near accident). The accident was due to this silly woman who hadn't seen me and turned right, right in front of me. She only noticed me when my instructor honked at her, and her mouth had flew open! After that I sort of came out of the junction to quickly, but I'm alive (I'll pretend to have not heard the sighs). What can I say, I'm a survivor! {\lame}

I think that my euphoric high is no longer present, so you can all relax now an embrace yourselves for more possible "lameness":The word you read at number one is "Mathmo". You see Mathemagician was too long and on the spot I couldn't think of anything else related to Maths. It wasn't the wisest of decisions, so if anyone has any better suggestions I'm all ears. My name was meant to either meant to induce fear in the hearts of the other players, or they were meant to scoff and put me down as an easy opponent (and then hopefully be surprised!). I got the definite weird look as I loudly exclaimed "mathmo--that's me, a mathematician", but I think I also detected anger in the hearts of some players. They are young though, I thought, and will soon learn that their naive anger will win them no games!

The games were good fun and as you can see, I actually won on this occasion! The brilliant thing about lazer quest is that it takes me into the gaming world (or so I feel). The adrenaline rush is also great, but there are some players who play unfairly. I am talking about the ginger **** (in the nicest way possible) who grabbed my gun as his mate shot me. I did get my revenge, but we lost that round.

Oh and finally, I got the book that I paid the library £10 in fines for. Indeed a late birthday present, but it's my own copy though: What is Mathematics by "Courant, Robbins and Stewart". Perhaps this will give me the mathematical kick that I have needed, but erm... yeah... let us not go down that alleyway today. Great. I think that's all (apart from some news which I shall not mention...) My four week nightmare really put me off, but I should now pull myself together and get moving again (preferably in first gear, so I don't stall again!)

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

"You're a natural."

It has been a while since I last blogged, but that is not because I haven't wanted to (if you follow me).

I gathered that an "August post" was needed, and I seem to be finally sat uninterrupted which is a bonus. Last week has been a weird week. I was under the weather for a couple of days which was unpleasant, however this gave me a chance to do some catching up with something. Well this something is black. It has an on and off button at the back. It needs a controller. Have you guessed yet?

Last year Resistance Fall of Man happened to be the game I had to complete, and this year it has been Metal Gear Solid 4. I must confess (ashamedly) that I hadn't ever played that game before! (You didn't hear that from me!) Being even the slightest bit ill gave me the impetuous to become a bigger and more annoying lazy git. I am actually quite appalled at how I behaved in my quest to complete that game. Nevertheless, it was one heck of a game--I could even equip myself with a digital camera!

So whilst I recuperated and played that game, other misfortunes occured around me. I couldn't avoid one problem in particular, and once again I questioned why a person sometimes ends up depending on someone else to such an extent that they are no longer living for themselves. I guess part of this boils down to confidence, and some people always need someone telling them something "nice". Sigh. What made me slightly angry though, was that my practical suggestion was completely ignored and then I was expected to "be reasonable" when more problems arose. (I was reasonable, but I keep my suggestions to myself now). This problem was somewhat draining, but I don't know what the latest is!

Moving on, I have been teaching my brother Maths (when I remember!) and it has been quite fun actually. He does make me want to pull his hair out sometimes, but he really enjoys investigating things for himself. The last thing he did in year 8 was Pythagoras's Theorem, and it came up in one of the circle theorems we studied. Anyway, I have been an "evil git" and talking to him about proofs etc. I'm sad enough to admit that I jotted down a would be post on paper, whilst we studied this theorem and I will find it and post it! (He did ask me what I was writing as he did a problem, but I waved his questions away).

I have been slightly "bad" too because I have been cheating when I write notation, and he does the same now. Yes, the first thing I have tried to get him to do is write his solutions properly, and he seems to be warming to that idea now. Teachers have to be really careful in everything they say or write, for they don't really know what students might take with them. I try not to do that much "heavy" learning, but instead we explore things (eg. how to prove a theorem on circles).

We've also been doing logic puzzles, and I learnt a thing about my brother by doing these. One day I told him to work through a puzzle on his own, and to write everything down too. He declined and said that I would laugh at him if he got the wrong answer. He doesn't agree with me when I say that maths isn't about the right answer for at school all that matters is the answer. I know that he's mathematically more able than me so I'm going to work on his attitude too!

Once again, any suggestions on any activities that I could explore with him are most welcome. They could be anything he can investigate to interesting questions. He will be liking maths by the end of summer!

I haven't really done any maths myself, and with the holidays rapidly diminishing, I begin to worry. Instead I seem to have once again taken up my interest in photography! I now have a 2GB memory card, and am always looking to snap away. (This annoys the life out of my mum, as she once again wonders where I went wrong in life. :D) I don't think any of my to do list will be accomplished! (Do you detect a hint of happiness in that?! I hope not...)

The other day I went fishing with a group of people, and it was great fun! Hence the title of this post, but I think John was being kind as I narrated how useless I was at ice-skating. It was a pleasant experience as the weather held out for us, and time flew. We went for a two hours introductory lesson and I caught three chub! I didn't catch any small fish because having caught three "big" ones, I wasn't delicate enough when it came to the smaller ones. I will definitely be going again sometime, but a word of advice: don't squeeze the darn maggots.

John was supposed to tell us a poem about fishing, but he forgot and was saved as our session ended. He was pretty cool and the conversation flowed as we sat staring, waiting for the float to disappear. I pretended to be a school kid because most of the group happened to be school leavers, and I think I pulled it off rather nicely! (Well I had to bite my tongue on a few occasions as I was going to mention University, but I think James Bond should eat his heart out...) The people working there were really friendly which was nice. I can't remember some of the jargon, but that's what next times for.

Now to finish: Sometimes I wish I was busy in the way I want to be, but other times I believe you sometimes have to ride the wave and see where it carries you. However, that might not always be the wise thing to do, for it might carry you to jagged grounds.