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The semester started on Wednesday. I am not sure how I feel about this.

Classes I'm taking are:
- Real analysis: should be interesting and teach me things--it's full of people who are about at my same math level, which rocks.
- Quantum mechanics: best class ever? Quite possibly. (I have been waiting years to take quantum mechanics. On the first day we got a thermal image of a zebra. As far as I care this class can do no wrong.)
- Second semester of Greek: more maiming! More violence! Always fun.
- Science, revolution, and modernity: a critical social thought class, which seems very interesting and also kind of intense (six books plus supplementary readings? 3-4 page paper nearly every week?), at least to my physics-major brain. But hey, readings and not problem sets, so that's nice.

I auditioned for the five-college early music program and got placed in a group. Singing madrigals! I haven't done that much since freshman year of high school, and I have missed it. (I kept forgetting to check and see when auditions were, the past few semesters.) I will have concerts to go and do, in addition to two hours' weekly practice.

[Edit: And of course working in special collections. Forever.]

In grand college tradition, I would also like to attend at least a few meetings for the Coalition for Gender Awareness this semseter--I've been on their email list since last year--and, oh yeah, try out for a play. I am going to try out for the play anyhow, which might be a bad idea but oh well. CoGA might have to wait. I seem to be cycling through all the things I want to do; I just have to hope that I have enough time to actually do all of them before I graduate.

Not helping with this: I hope to study abroad for a semester next year. I have a shortlist, just need to fill out all the forms. I do have some time on that.

Meanwhile, though, I still have physics research applications to do. I am getting through them, but I have some left--the plan is to do those today. (Also, my homework for tomorrow.) I submitted my application to the U of MN materials science REU program this morning, which I point out especially because their application webform has a box to type in for gender, not just buttons for male and female. Win!
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1. Finally read Gun With Occasional Music. I think I had read it before; in the light of having read The Big Sleep and Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, it read very differently. This completes my Noiry (Cyberpunk) Trifecta.

2. Tipping The Velvet. omg, the cloooothes.

3. Very much anticipating the new Bordertown anthology. (I will like it even more when I get to read it!)

4. Getting nice rejection letters, and finding new markets to send said story out to that I think, well, hope will really like them. It's satisfying in a whole different way than working on novels.

5. Wolfram Alpha, which saved me from integrating by parts at least five times today.

6. Thanksgiving break this week, after just two days of classes!

7. Yesterday.

(Things I do not like include the way my dorm hallway smells right now. Seriously, people? Some of us need to do laundry.)
aamcnamara: (Default)
113 / 350


That is kind of like progress.

Timesinks for today: wandering through TVTropes noticing ones I'm using in this novel; interviewing at the library for my volunteer position. Hooray!

Timesinks for tomorrow - Monday: WisCon and the trials of not bringing my laptop. (The horrors!) It is possible to write, though very slowly, on my iPod touch, which I do plan to bring. Maybe I'll compose some haiku.

The math prize that I won proves to be a book. There is something very soothing about this kind of circular connection. (Now I just need to win a library/book/writing prize that gives me some math or physics, and I will be all set.)
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My friend-prospie has been and departed. I dragged her up to the lake and all around the library (including my rare book room! So much shiny, by which I mean old and falling-apart books). I also dragged her to our room-choosing event, which I was not participating in but went to anyway in a show of moral support and which was probably more a test of endurance than anything else. For all of us, but especially her?

At any rate, I've figured out that my sales pitch for this college basically begins "Mount Holyoke: there are awesome geeky queer women". I have friends who aren't queer, and friends who aren't geeky, but all my friends are awesome; and a rather high number of them are all of the above.

(It continues, and possibly ends, "Also, we have a really nice library." Clearly these are all the important things in life.)

(Out of curiosity: readers of this LJ, do you try to get people to go to your college/the college you attended? What is your sales pitch, if so?)

This evening I finally got back to work on some of the continuous projects I've been ignoring, and figured out something fairly major that was wrong with one of my math papers. So: yay! I would be happier if I'd managed to write it up, too, but progress is progress and I can't complain about that.

Next week will kind of be hell--I have an essay, possibly two presentations but definitely at least one, a handful of math papers I really ought to turn in, as well as my regular readings et cetera. On the bright side, our physics lab time will be spent talking about relativity! And, of course, after that, there only will be half a week left of classes (during which I will do the other presentation if I don't do it next week, and turn in the rest of the math papers), and I only have two final exams. So probably I will survive that.

And then there is summer.
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1. The math paper is twelve pages long. The conclusion, as it stands, consists of key words followed by exclamation points.

2. Distracted by math, I did not remember to check schedules before I signed up for things. So, a week from Thursday, I will do a presentation in one class and take an exam in another.

3. After an hour and a half of depressing in-class discussion of Kafka's "Metamorphosis", I came up with an optimistic interpretation of the story which now seems blindingly obvious.

4. It's been snowing all day.

5. It's still snowing.
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Write A Math Paper Weekend is a three-day weekend.

Okay, maybe technically two, because yesterday I just did reading for other classes, read The Other Wind, went to [livejournal.com profile] epicrauko's party, et cetera. But my subconscious was working on it, I swear, and after that Saturday I think I deserved it.

But today I only had one class, so it is Time To Finish This Thing. So far I've gone through what I had already, added in a few concrete examples and a couple more graphs, and now I just have the complex numbers section left to write before I can call this a rough draft.

So that'll be this afternoon. For now, though, I think it's time for me to go get my first-year plant repotted. Again.

Maybe by Wednesday I'll have brainspace to think about "As Large As Alone" again. Maybe I'll come up with a new title for it, even.
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I hereby declare this weekend Write A Math Paper Weekend.

I will be celebrating this holiday several times throughout the semester.

It took me most of the day to write four pages, and by the time those were out my brain was tired, tired, tired of math. So I read Kafka's Metamorphoses instead of trying to bang my head on math any longer. (Of which more later, maybe. The reading is for my Critical Social Thought class. I hadn't read it before, and it was interesting. Not quite what I'd expected.)

Observations:
- My brain does in fact work in the right way to synthesize math and make it into a halfway readable paper.
- However, it takes far more work than either writing or math independently. (Unsurprising, especially because I've rarely tried this kind of exercise before.)
- I start making egregious math jokes after approximately two and a half hours.

My current facebook status, for posterity, is "Alena McNamara is chasing lemmas off a cliff."

Time for dinner, maybe a bit of the Odyssey, and then back to the math mines.
aamcnamara: (Default)
Today: maybe half an hour on As Large as Alone again. There are now only nine spots still highlighted. This is working! Most of the spots left are phrases or sentences; there's only one that's most of a paragraph. Soon draft four will be done, and it will be time to see if all this care and thought has in fact made a difference in how people read it.

Complex numbers going swimmingly. Need to redefine how I'm thinking about speed of convergence in all cases, I think, but I can manage that. And then probably I should figure out the last bits, and then start actually writing the paper, since I suspect it'll take me a while.
aamcnamara: (Default)
Yesterday I worked on As Large As Alone for about another half hour. (Time: such a better way to measure revision progress!)

Today there was no writing. My math professor hinted in class yesterday about how we could explore generalizing what we'd been saying about the iteration of linear functions to the complex numbers, and about an hour and a half later I sat up in the middle of physics and went "fractal-like things!" and basically rushed back to my room to start working.

With a short break for lunch and physics lab and going in to see my professor and say "fractals! Complex numbers!" at him, that is. He gave me a few more hints, and since then I have been spending pretty much every spare moment contemplating complex numbers.

In brief, what I have learned over the course of the past day and a half:
- you can treat complex numbers like vectors.
- if you want to get a logarithm of a complex number, stick it in polar coordinates.
- you can treat complex numbers like vectors.
- unlike real-number iterated linear functions, which if they converge just sort of edge up on the value, complex iterated linear functions that converge spiral inward toward their destination.

Math = so cool.

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