The Most Interesting Person in the World

Archive for the ‘Word Association’ Category

The birds, the birds,
TheĀ  sky is full of timmy birds
They circle round, that special way
That only timmy birds fly; they say,
“Oh no! Not I! I’m afraid of verse!”
You’ll hear them cry, a little hoarse:
“I’m too ashamed! They’ll see me fail!”
But don’t they realise a snail
Even can move slowly, to show a point –
It’s okay not to be perfect. In fact, it won’t
Slow you in your career or fate
It only shows…

It’s better to do a job less than perfect
Than none at all.
So fear not to perform, whether alone or in front of a thousand.
We all fail here and there
– Hopefully not go “Splat!” on the ground like a fallen timmy bird –
But recover, move on, look around, and think:
“Hm. Now I know how everyone else feels!”

Welcome to Lauren’s blog. Don’t forget to read the Comments on posts that have them (that’s half the fun.) Also, don’t forget to leave a Comment (also half the fun.)

The premise here is that you can give me a word or a phrase and I can write anything – short story, rant, monologue, poem, who knows, maybe sound file – on that theme. I have been opening it to mathematical concepts, but I’m going to have to put a cap on limiting themes to math every day.

And now, let me tell you about PERMUTATIONS: The Breakfast Cereal!

PERMUTATIONS is the :Nutricious: and :Delicious: breakfast product that you can eat all day. Eat it for lunch! Eat it for dinner! Eat it for brunch! Eat it for a mid-afternoon snack! Eat it as a nightcap! Eat it with a fox! Eat it in a box! Eat it with Dr. Seuss! It eat wearing sox! Eat it while reading your favourite blog! Eat it with Michael Jackson.

…Just eat it.

x has a lot of weight on its shoulders.

Just look at that. All those numbers – a whole fraction, even (no oxymoron intended) – just sitting there, waiting for x to tell them who it is, what number it wants to be for its life.

b must feel like nobody wants it to be what it is. The first time we see b, positive or negative, it has to pretend to be what it’s not. And the second time, where even if it is negative nobody will care in two seconds, b is about to be squared off.

Do you think c likes being multiplied by a and -4? Does anybody even care?

Is -4 negative four, or is it just a 4 that’s being subtracted? (You can get back to me on this one after you’ve figured out whether the zebra is white or black with inverse stripes.)

I’m not going to touch the square root here. That’s for you to figure out on your own.

It has always struck me that everything on the right side is over 2a. Couldn’t it just be the square root over 2a? Or would the -b feel left out?

Overall, my favourite character in this equation is the plus or minus sign. It can be both. It has the time. It will sit there and wait for you to calculate each equation, it’s not going to choose for you.

Which brings us back to x. (I should point out that when I befriended this equation, I knew that x as y, and only now because wikipedia imagines it this way have I translated over everything I know about quadratic equations.)

x is meant to feel like it’s the most important thing here. Often x is what we’re all here to find out. But the truth is, x is entirely dependent on all the numbers and signs on the other side. x gets to watch through the bars of that equal sign as the other characters change from one value to another, going from average to extremely high to extremely negative within seconds, then becoming not even a whole number anymore, and x just watches it all change, having no idea what value it’s going to be tomorrow.

Poor x.

p.s. Thanks to Janet for the suggestion. To everyone: what should my next post be about?

Once there was a planet called Sines. It was way out in an atmosphere so far away that you couldn’t throw a rock at it. It was filled with people.

The people of Sines were always sad. They talked *like this* (read that with a droop in your voice.) They were sad because of this one law, this crazy, sad law, that kept their shoulders hanging and their hair falling flat.

This is the law of Sines: When you walk, you must always have your left foot forward. You may not think that this would cause sadness, but oh yes, it does. Those people were dancing around when they walked, trying so hard not to put their right foot ahead that it caused a burning sensation in their ankles. They screamed when they walked sometimes, but a sad, rather than an angry scream. (Is that even possible? I’m going to pause here to let you try that.)

One day, the sun just opened up. There was a self-help author who wrote a book called “Smash the Solid State… And Love Yourself.” It was about anarchy, but in a namby-pamby way. It encouraged people to break the law, but stopped short of encouraging them to bomb factories.

One curious little Sinesian tried walking while keeping his right foot ahead. At first he was scared, but by the time he got to the corner store, he noticed that nobody else had noticed. Eventually he learned to alternate between feet, but this was already a big deal, so let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

The quiet rebellion had started. All across the planet, people were walking any which-way and that. They came up with walks even we couldn’t come up with – nor would Monty Python. They walked upside down. They walked while carrying cakes. They hopped. Their feet sang. They did lots of other things I can’t even think up – but I’m sure you can, if you let your imagination open up.

Today on the planet of Sines, they still have a law about how to walk. But nobody follows it. And you know what? They walk much more creatively than us Earthians, who do not have such a law.

p.s. Thank you Janet for your suggestion. And yes, I know that sines and cosines are a trigonometrical concept, but this is creative writing here. Anyway, I’m sure the law of sines regulates how equations can walk.

p.p.s. I have an interview next week for a position teaching math. Can someone please send me to a good website or source for practicing super-tricky math concepts in a fun way, to help me brush up? Thanks.

p.p.p.s. Next suggestion, please!