Math and ambitions

With only three weeks left of the math course, I gave up on it. And five minutes later I thought I’d give it a shot anyway. Shortly after which I threw up my hands in disgust at my indecision and decided to put away the calculator. A minute later I picked it up again with a “fuck it all to fuck, let’s do this thing and take it to the next level” etc. And what do you know, in ten days time I managed to scrape through. This was done with the smallest of margins, and with the pitter-patter of a TI-82 haunting my dreams, but I passed Math C. So with a “yay me” I applied to the introductory course to natural sciences, and ended up way back in the reserve line — apparently because I’d forgotten to send in the grades from high-school. So two steps forward and a stumble backwards. Regardless, I’m glad I got it done, as I now can apply for computer courses and other such things which my mom is hopeful will “perhaps one day land you a job — a real one, I mean”.

Seeing as I need to make more money than I am, and that what little ambition I have is spread very thinly over too many half-assed ideas and projects, I’ve made a resolution not to have more than four things running at the same time. It’s time to reassess if what I’m doing is out of habit or if it’s actually moving a “career” in a “direction.” As so many other “previously ambitious” people, I’m way under-stimulated and seem to lack the drive to do anything specific. It’s people in my position who I imagine are snatched up by cults and set to typeset Glorious Masters Bowel Cleansing Guide to sell at the airport.

I used to say that I was interested in communication, in how meaning is created and in turn creates more communication. Driving that interest is the hope that it’s not all arbitrary – that there’s actually something developing, evolving, in this collective exchange – but my lack of communication, and actually lack of interest in doing art work lately, might stem from me not having anything important to say at the moment and not trusting that the process will generate something. For all the talk of the wonderful things happening online, I haven’t found new homes there to replace those that I’ve lost; old KDX servers and homepages which didn’t tie into a Facebook infrastructure of likes and accessibility. Also, I don’t hang out with as many artists as I used to, so there’s that as well – I’m a wide object with little mass, so the friction of everyday life slows me down tremendously and I come to rest at the shallowest of indentations.

This is a roundabout way of saying that I’m bored and need to get a project of the ground, into the air, and either crash it spectacularly into a mountainside or land it successfully, applauded by relieved passengers.

Math: A tangent, derived. Malmö

I’ve finally signed up for math-class, and am struggling with the “Matematik C” curriculum. I need it to get into any course related to computers or natural sciences, but I’m not putting near enough effort into it. It’s been fifteen years since I last took math, and back then my antipathy to math was so strong I was actively trying to forget what little I learned.

Actually, the course is officially over but I’ve asked for a month extension to allow me to catch up, so we’ll see how that’ll go. I need to do the test the 18th at the latest to be sure that my uni application for fall goes through, but this requires a couple of hours of daily practice. And I’m out of practice.

I might be doing the same mistake I did when studying philosophy, assuming that as long as you put your mind to it you ought to be able to figure things out from first principles. So you start with an intuitive understanding of 1+1 and build on that. But at this level math is mostly about learning by rote, and because I’ve been out to the loop for so long, half the time I don’t even know what problem I’m tasked with answering. “Describe a function” is not an invitation to write an essay, but something with an actual answer, and as always when you’re learning something new, the glossary seems arbitrary and made up by a stupid-poopy-head.

The TI-82 graphing calculator Zenobia lent me has a 150 page manual, and having been spoiled by GUIs for so long it feels as if I’m learning Dwarf Fortress. But it’s fun in a PRESS SHIFT+Ln+min/max way and I’m scouring the second hand market for a calculator of my own. SMBC sums up my findings quite well so far.

On the upside, I designed and printed my own graphing paper, and had it bound. Each page has different colours, and the paper is watermarked and really nice to write on using the extra soft pencil leds I found in the third store I asked. My priorities are not what they ought to be, but at least my notebook is perty.

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As a small vacation, I and Sara took a weekend in Malmö. I haven’t spent much time there, so we had three days walking about, taking pictures of her old haunts and apartments, gorging ourselves on vegan cake and whatnots. Nice city, and it would have been even better if we’d gotten ourselves bikes. Speaking of which, the Malmö initiative Cykelköket has a branch in Göteborg. They seem nice!