Finals Approach

And I’m at my productive best, ain’t I?

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I mean approaching, formally. Like the absolute value of the difference between my math final and I, is getting really small and fast. And thank goodness for that absolute value, because this distance would’ve been negative without a doubt otherwise.

Also, mathematicians must hate physicists. And computer science first years too, probably.

Gurgling

Gurgle, gurgle; bubble, bubble.

It’s an odd way to be spending my last few uncertain moments before the proverbial gong is struck.

I’m sitting in a mental space that may well be leagues away from the physical space I’m in: a drab, grey old building that’s known as the place where hopes and dreams go to die.

Right, it may be a bit of an overstatement, but it is what it is. I didn’t give it that reputation.

I’m in our uni’s exam centre here for a math midterm. My last midterm of this year. No more midterms after this, nor any reasons to put off my problem set or studying for the finals.

Which just adds to the reasons why I don’t want this hour to end.

I’ve gotten here a whopping hour early, when I’ve been known to challenge uni-wide records of running to the exam centre in a record five minutes– from home.

It is a bit of a sight seeing me run past buildings with an eye on my watch, expertly dodging unsuspecting university goers who don’t happen to also have a midterm in the same hour.

So in a fashion almost dismissive of my lengthy past records, I’m here early, after having spent a while at the bookstore gazing at how far human civilisation has come:

Bendable scales. Never fear a scale snap in half again! Draw your sine graphs in a jiffy! What a phenomenon.
No, I didn’t say sine graphs, you’re dyslexic. I’m not that much of a nerd.

I gaped and gaped and settled on a regular scale. Bourgeois, welcome me home.

And now I’m probably gonna run back to the bookstore tomorrow and buy me that fancy ruler. I’m a sucker for stationery, as you know.

[An edit added a few hours later: I didn’t even use my ruler. What a shame, there must have been a sine graph on that test just waiting to be drawn. What a shame. I spent my entire test flying high on proofs.]

But as of right now, I’m here, and in a good space. Sample this.

I’m sitting next to something of a waterfall. The sound is pretty calming, and I’m feeling weirdly good about this test. That doesn’t normally happen, and that’s either a good sign or a scary one.

But it looks good, and I feel ready. Kind of. Maybe. Here goes!

Mmmmm. Green. Perfect environment for an epsilon-delta proof.

And so I head in. A good picture deserved a good post, and hopefully a good post deserves a good proof.

QED!

[Post midterm edit: It wasn’t bad! Hooray for bubbles and good proofs!]

Philosopher’s Look

12 AM math be like

I have a soundtrack

That keeps track

Of how far I’ve gotten

And a playlist scroll

To tell me how much further I have to go

And its meant to be stimulating

And to pick my mind

Till I can search its depth and find

The answers I need

Visualise my graphs and proceed

Get ahead with calculus homework

All courtesy of the good professor

And it ends up being

A soundtrack of white noise

Sleep’s rejoice

As it conquers this no-resistance city

And so if you see me

Hunching backwards

Eyes skyward

With a deep, blank stare,

Stop admiring my philosopher’s look

And know that I’m not there.

Hi, thanks for stopping by and thanks for reading, and at this hour too! Wish I had a coffee to offer you. How’s a greeting instead?

May the snow melt before it falls on your head.

Or maybe,

Sunnier days are ahead!

Or perhaps something I wish people wished me more often,

May you not dream of math again tonight.

I’m sticking with the last one.

This poem wasn’t so much a poem as me awakening at 2:15 AM to a math video for school playing in my ear. It was more of a ramble that accidentally ended up almost rhyming.

And that’s the story. So I’ll let you have your promised greeting now,

May you not dream of math again tonight.

Chilly Haiku

I may be writing 

Too much snow themed poetry 

Ain’t getting warmer. 

Someone get me a medal already, am I a haiku pro now??

I’ve counted syllables on my fingers. As a math student, this is the most arithmetic I have done in a year. Phew. I’m not even kidding.

Asymptotic Allegories

There’s a white waterfall over me
Not a conspiracy theorist, but I think it’s whitewashing me
Found a spot dead in the middle of the floor
I’ve just begun and I can’t take it anymore
There’s a sign with ten red cautions on the door
Push me open, they silently implore

Grey lines race across grey carpets on the floor
Oddly calming anathema to what’s in store
For me, why can’t I see, it’s looming over me
Was I just never tested for ADHD

Unemployed sociologist undercover
See a girl run up and pounce on her lover
He makes no move, his face is a cloud
Just as I sit here, weaving my own shroud

What you need lies not beyond but on your table
Under your nose, it’s a challenge, are you able
When everyone’s calculated but I can’t do a thing
Writing trashy poetry won’t save my math from a failing grade

 

I’m sitting with my math book in the library. It’s past midday. My midterm’s tomorrow. What am I doing with my life.

Formally Speaking

I’m here to say something, but now I know that to just say, is really never enough.
You must be precise.
You must be rigorous.

And because I’m a full year math student, I will do do just that, and throw in some fancy looking quantifier symbols in all probability too, and then return to crying over my horrible math grades.

So here we are! First up, define all your variables.

Let us define Radiohead to have made an album.
Let a decade have passed.

“This is the worst crap I’ve ever heard”
—Radiohead, probably

“The meaning of life has been found”
— every critic ever, probably

It’s probably not that pretty looking a theorem because everything had a certain amount of uncertainty. Heck, even the uncertainty is really uncertain.

Which leaves me with my math grades, I suppose. Recursion, anyone?

Though we sort of can agree that Radiohead’s awesome.
Let’s make that an axiom.

Anyway, if you really need me, follow the salty blue trail.

(Sorry if you actually were waiting for those symbols. Turns out WordPress’s internal special character tab isn’t made to handle first year university math.

Will pie do for you? Pi?   π?

∴ π.   Thus we end. (More like you run away).)

Eyes ‘Trained’ On The Prize

If you were an amateur high aiming, well intentioned yet pain-in-the-ass photographer-wannabe cinematographer trying to score a movie deal with an indie project to show, you might sit up at 3 in the morning and think it’s a good idea to recreate Trainspotting.

I wholeheartedly support you and encourage you to try. In fact, I have a little something for you.

I’ve just realized that if someone of your caliber came to my room and tried to zoom in on my desk with a grainy zoom, out of focus, my desk would very closely resemble the scenes from the movie.

You’d see messy piles of grainy white among other piles of mess and an absolute disregard for a decent human state of living. From your view at the other end of the screen, I’d be living in shambles. Dilapidation is me. You’d forget where you were and wonder where you’ve been transported to, how you landed yourself in this mess, and whether you should be seriously considering this project, accounting for your own mental wellness.

Until you take the lens away from your eye. Welcome home, my failed Academy receipient. Welcome to my room. Welcome to my desk.

It’d take you a minute to get your bearings back before you come to realise that no, there was no powder and the books weren’t keeping a tab on customers (although, I do believe my roommate is into the finer arts of accounting, if you’re altogether keen,) but were just repeatedly scratched out half-assed math solutions, and those squiggly lines and symbols were not spells and ancient incantations, but were, again, failed math problem attempts (don’t think the original movie covered those) and in fact, all you can see (as far as the eye can see, for that matter) is just. And. Only. Tissue papers. Piles of them, mountains of them, it doesn’t end. I haven’t robbed a bank and got me some crack, I’ve literally robbed the dining hall for not food, but freaking paper napkins for when my nose cracks out another one and I still find the need to get more.

This flu is probably more annoying than your camera work.

And then follows a sneeze of such volumes that you take a step back in alarm. Maybe, you feel, you should be getting out of here soon for your physical health.

Oh no, honey, some of my “powder” must’ve gone in my nose. The volumes of it coming in these days… the orders just don’t stop, you see!

On second thoughts, you’re asking yourself, how soon is now? [Allow me to break character for just a second and ask if there are any Smiths fans reading this who suddenly perked up at that last line?]

You haven’t seen my bin yet! I protest. The stores in there are tremendous!

Except you probably heard ‘trebenduz’ instead. You take a step back.

You pick up your camera. You’ve had enough. You suddenly remember that big budget project you had lined up where you tape 15 hours’ worth of some rich old guy’s pet pig. “It’s for Swina’s birthday, you know. Plus, it pays.”

I want to protest. You don’t know what you’re missing. The potential in this room. There’s a fortress of tissues, a mountain of used tissues, there’s struggle, drama, frustration, torn homework assignments, my unmade bed, the anticipation, a three week old half eaten, uncovered piece of funnel cake–

But you’re already out of the room before I can complete that last line. You really have other places to be right now. You run out in terror and slam the door shut behind you; perhaps the book was a better idea after all.

I’m still behind the shut door. I can only shake my head. Strange fellow you must be, to waste such potential…

Oh well. I’ve still got the original set right here with me. Which reminds me. It’s about time I actually got around to watching Trainspotting.

Situational Existential Poetry

It’s a most curious kind of bother

That for my idle brain is now fodder

It’s existential, and in a timeframe

When my work causes me to forget my name

So I turn up here and you can call me Matt

I’ll stand before you and blurt out scat

About a ghost story and majoring in math[1]

And shameless plugging about joining my lettuce appreciation frat.[2]

That giving me freedom would become a problem

Was a perpetual issue that bugged my mum

At the very bare minimum,

She figured my floormates would hear a midnight strum

Or quite possibly the new tribal drums

That I would read about in the history library,

And enrol as the lead dramatist

In the science fiction drama with a plot twist;

That I’d turn minimalist

And live and die by the ice cream stick

And my vitamins be damned

And the meal plans a scam;

And my professors’d be in for an amusing shock

To see me stumble in asleep at nine o’ clock

If I ever made it on time, of course

An upside down map being my sole source

But so far, I’ve kept myself on form

And while I’m wondering if it’s the calm before the storm, 

I’ve a most curious kind of bother:

I’m turning into my mother.

[1] A long, wonderfully written story. I may explain it someday, or simply allow you to enlighten yourself (albeit partially) with this here: embrace nirvana.
Full reveal: he couldn’t have hidden in the “angle of the tower” without his math degree. And without him, Reznikoff wouldn’t have been a legend.

[2] Another long story about a lettuce appreciation club my friend and I are going to start. Devil’s in the details out shortly. Stay tuned for future updates.

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But I doubt I’ll ever stop being immature enough to enjoy doing this.

Antidote

Midnight math and poetry don’t match.

 

Help me out of here
It’s getting kind of dark
Sights and sound blur themselves
I’m lost, and it’s worse than a theme park

Nowhere to go
Not a face that I know
Taller and more distant they grow
And the earth’s rising up to meet me

I’m down for the count
But I can’t black out
Hanging in between, twilight
I’m blanking but there’s too much on my mind

I can’t find, the right word or notes
All I need, I think is the right antidote
But is it something real or just a picture in my brain
That sounds like a question I ask myself again and again?

 

Sleep required.