syncategorematic: (singing)
( Apr. 26th, 2007 12:15 pm)
The good news is that I went horseback riding yesterday, for an hour and a half for the price of an hour, on beautiful trails, with an obedient but spirited and energetic four-year-old pinto mare (previously I had been put on horses that were fifteen to twenty years old), and the amusement of watching my little brother yell "Brake! Brake!" when his horse went too fast for his liking. (Hint: yelling at horses generally makes them go faster.) Also good news is that aikido muscle memory works really well on a horse, all things considered. A horse is a really big uke ;-)

The bad news is that while doing it I lost my BPTP ID case with many of my cards in it, so I spent this morning working on Logic exam and cancelling cards. Hmph.

The also-bad news is that exams are keeping me from telling you people all about the great Easter weekend I spent with Prunesquallor and her friends, from polishing Language Universals, which I want feedback on (check most of the eight previous posts), from reading the International Pixel-stained Technopeasant free fiction at , or from, um, having a lovely hot bath, preferably with something smelly in it, and making those muscles that are not used when not horseback riding, and are complaining about it, relax.

But no, alas: I have to go study stats and logic.
syncategorematic: (erythraean)
( Nov. 25th, 2006 04:53 pm)
Alright, I fulfill my promise ([profile] sweeteepea, I will handle your meme in a moment; I already have a good outline for it, but events first!)

So on Saturday we had the 2nd Annual Ottawa High School Quiz Bowl match (co-hosted by the school and the University of Ottawa, held at the school). I was officially staff, while the school has submitted two teams.

In any case, I shall need to wrap up in a few minutes, to proceed to work on our Urban Di presentation due on Monday, so I leave you, my dear friends and passersby, in suspense, awaiting my description of my angst concerning dance, and what ensued thereof; and the Ottawa-Carleton Institute of Graduate Studies in  Mathematics and Statistics Information Session and Luncheon, which took place today.

I wish you joy.
Note that my userpic is Michelangelo's Libyan Sibyl. I know this because a question I wrote for the difficult round asked to name any one of the other Sistine Chapel sibyls other than the Delphic. I am not sure anyone got it (Libyan, Persian, Cumaean and Erythraean; Erythraean is the previous post's userpic.)

Up next: the high school NAQT tournament, and why I intend to go to Chicago again.
Note: this tale is still a work in progress, so I will be coming back to expand and edit it.

Part II - Dinner and Trivia Night proper - forthcoming

Expansion on above tale hopefully forthcoming.
syncategorematic: (erythraean)
( Nov. 16th, 2006 12:29 am)
This isn't a typo in the title. It WAS a typo in the body of an email I sent to myself bearing my Urban Di assignment material (incomplete, and one table of which I had to do all over again because we didn't save it, sheise!) since Gmail throws a hissy fit if emails are sent without text in the body, so for those emails where attachments occur I have a tendency to write brief nonsensical messages for - I figure I do not need to impress myself, because myself already knows that I am an idiot (or at least, play one on the world stage pretty well at times)

Here i am, finally after many false starts and digressions being done my pile of homework, smelling faintly of La Bella Donna Della Mia Mente, and cursing Hogg and Tanis's Probability and Statistical Inference, 7th edtion, for making very little sense in its explanations. I presume few mathematical texts make sense to me close to midnight, with Probability being my slackest course to boot (I always promise myself I will do the homework earlier...Umm...) However, the fact that the Wikipedia's articles make a lot more sense than Hogg and Tanis who were paid to write the darn textbook, angers me greatly. The Wikipedia explained it well enough that i was able to prove why the Cauchy distribution had no mean, only to discover I do not have to.

I have taken care of every round sponsor - due to nefarious calculations, using data from my Bagelshop days, as to how much ten donated pounds of coffee actually retail for - so what I now intend to do is actually insert the last little logos into the PowerPoint, make the answer sheets all sweet and pretty, and...

You gentlefolk all LOVE to follow along the progress of a high school fundraiser, don't you? But I am sure the most loyal of you are muttering, "Last spring's trivia night updates were much more fun. Where is the Dark Lord those days? Tourmaline arguing with the Dark Lord is a lot more fun to read than Tourmaline waxing eloquent over PowerPoint..."

And I am NOT waxing eloquent over PowerPoint; I just have to use the thing. I make it pretty to the best of my ability but, scarred by my experience with a very small video card, I keep it simple. (Oh yeah, and to answer your eager and expectant questions, I do not know where the Dark Lord is and I have not needed to know for the last week or so. Probably, at this hour of quarter to one, either sleeping, which is a wise and beneficial activity, or playing PS2 (3?) or  planning how to teach incompetent grade twelve students probability and statistics, which he does a lot better than Hogg and Tanis do.)

I have vented my frustrations with the work I have to do, and I will now go to bed.

Darn you, florals, why does my skin eat you for a quick snack? Wink, and they are gone, quick as a northern summer (the logician complains that a northern summer and the time florals stay on my skin are measured according to two completely different scales...the metaphor-maker replies that it is cold, and dark.)
In Flanders Fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row
That mark our place, and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunsets glow,
Loved, and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders Fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe.
To ye from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders Fields.
- John McRae

It is Remembrance Day, and I woke up late. I still put in a moment of silence and thought at 11 o'clock, but it felt odd not participating in any celebration, and I regret sincerely being too lazy to get out at once and make it to the War Memorial by 11. All my life in Canada, Remembrance Day was a school day, and we had ceremonies of some kind.

Checking the emails I slept through, though, I read one from the U of O Student Federation, which I shall post a paragraph of:

Due to the importance of Remembrance Day, the Student Federation would like to cancel the gathering at 1848 that was to take place tomorrow morning before the 2006 Yates Cup Final.  ...

Most importantly though, given our country¹s current situation, the Student Federation encourages all students to spend Remembrance Day in their own personal way.

Student Federation of the University of Ottawa

So, I did. Over my newspaper, which was full of stories about Remembrance Day when it was not talking about Canadians' role in Afghanistan (sometimes I am glad that the Citizen is a little right of centre) I paused and thought.

I wore a poppy on my jacket breast pocket all week; it fell off on Friday, but I intend to pull it out and keep it on for as long as i can, until it gets lost irretrievably.

"Why do you wear your poppy?" asked a letter writer in the Globe and Mail.

I wear it for my maternal grandfather, who was a sergeant in the Second World War on the Eastern Front. I wear it for my great aunt, who got a congratulatory card from President Lukashenko, in commemoration of 60 years since the liberation of Belarus, for she was one of those who fought for it. I wear it for my other grandfather, who cleaned uniforms during the war. I wear it for all the memorials I have ever seen, but most of all for the memorial in St. Petersburg, left in honour of the siege of Leningrad:

It was a very simple sign on a city street, and it said:

Уважаемые граждане!
При артобстреле
эта сторона улицы
более опасна.

During artillery bombardment,
this side of the street
is the more dangerous.

Beside it was a plaque explaining how, after the siege was lifted and the war was finished, to remember the sacrifices of the people of Leningrad, this sign was left up.

And to this day remembering it gives me chills down my spine.
"Mommy," said the little polar bear to his mother, "am I one hundred percent pure polar bear?"

"Of course you are, honey. We've all been polar bears. I am a polar bear, and so was your daddy and grandma and grandpa. Why do you ask?"

"Because I'm flippin' freezing!!!"

I think of this joke very often. Here I am, with hundreds of generations, as far as I know, of Northern European blood, surviving the winters that stopped Napoleon and Hitler, born and bred "of midnight lands the grace and wonder" - and neither genetics nor training seem to be working (checks horoscope - Jarvenpa mentioned nothing about that, so astrology isn't working either - Juniperus, any ideas?) because I hate cold.

If I could live in a place where I never needed to see the negative scale on the thermometer (Celsius, Celsius; I believe Fahrenheit was under supreme delusions: he set the standard to be the human body temperature, 96 degrees - and got it wrong) that would be the dream of my life. I did live for one winter in a country that had no winter - and I am given to understand that the winter of 1991-92 was pretty cold and snowy for an Israeli winter. So perhaps I am doomed to have cold follow me wherever I go, the Snow Maiden, forever seeking warmth.

Anyhow, me being the tosser and turner and person who goes to bed at one o'clock, it was rather difficult for me to get up this morning. Having the Long March home from the practice interview, since my back tire is flat, in the rain, yesterday, didn't help much. Neither did, as soon as I dragged my bedraggled self into the house, getting a phone call - literally, I didn't even have my boots off - from my Acoustics partner, saying, "You know that assignment you emailed me?" "Yes (the one I stubbornly did in LaTeX, me overqualified mathematician)?" "Well, isn't the decibel scale for sound pressure level calculated using 20 log, not 10 log?"

The "Sheesh!" that was heard round the Urban Dialectology study community. Pull out the trusty calculator (My Precious - yes, both my calculators have names, and you are looking at me stranglely why?) and recode...

The interview, though, went well. I completely forgot my interview schedule, but that doesn't matter, because we managed to get it to last 80 minutes (there goes the D n'D session Mysteryperson#1 wanted to have in half an hour - evil laugh!) and sixty-one of those minutes were spent talking about hockey. kebechet, are you listening? I can picture my CD cover now:
Table of Contents:
Hockey, Ottawa Senators
Hockey, offense in
Hockey, defense in
Hockey, injuries in
Hockey, fatigue in
Hockey, goalkeeping in
Hockey, rookies in
Hockey, Martin Brodeur and
Hockey, Sydney Crosby and...

I wish you joy for now, as no more wastin' work time for me.
So no one other than me cares about speech acoustics on LiveJournal? Sad, sad business. I am sure there are other linguists here - but none in speech acoustics? I was looking through other people's interests - I get weird feelings about mine. I do not list individual movies or books as interests - maybe I should start, but hey, unless they have completely reshaped my life... I do not even list the many dead men I am in love with - Vysotsky, Yeats, T.S. Eliot, Goethe, Karl Briullov (whose painting is my default userpic), Claude Shannon *she blushes*, Evariste Galois...
Tourmaline is merciful to the uninterested )
syncategorematic: (when I am tired)
( Oct. 20th, 2006 09:01 pm)
So, concerning the wants and the needs stated in the previous post:

Probability midterm studied for and written in record time: Oh the luxury of the open book and the multiple choice!

OSAP password gotten right after midterm: the joy of shorter lines earlier in the morning

Interview schedule completed. Equipment signed for. Practice interview subject booked - long live the Bagelshop, 'tis Mysteryperson#1 of long-ago post fame.

Trivia night activity: currently doing: Rounds 1 and 2, Questions and Answers, have been converted from PowerPoint to Keynote, animated, and I am currently wasting time on LJ while Round 2 is being converted to QuickTime. The Dark Lord is in Toronto, but he has gotten a wonderful custodian on my side, who has the authority to order another wonderful custodian to open the lab for me.

Speaking of which, my brother's math teacher met with.

Those are all the achieved needs for now. As for wants:

Bought the boots. Well, it was raining, my old boots were soaked through, I had time, I went to try them on, I found out the display boot was the last pair, and in my size... They are not beautiful, but I have longed for them, and they are (1) very comfortable (2) seriously functional, and waterproof (3) padded so they will probably not be cold in winter (4) synthetic, so the road salt will not eat them, methinks (5) quilted, and I have a weakness for quilted things (6) have a neat little pocket in the side of the calf, that the crazy adventurer in me wishes could fit a knife, but... (7) reasonably inexpensive.

That is the snapshot of my current life. There is a rant, and poetry, I may post later, but for now, I am getting out of the Dark Lord's lab, with a twinkle in my eye.
syncategorematic: (when I am tired)
( Oct. 8th, 2006 09:58 pm)
THERE'S a barrel-organ carolling across a golden street
In the City as the sun sinks low;
And the music's not immortal; but the world has made it sweet
And fulfilled it with the sunset glow;
And it pulses through the pleasures of the City and the pain
That surround the singing organ like a large eternal light;
And they've given it a glory and a part to play again
In the Symphony that rules the day and night.

- Alfred Noyes, "The Barrel-Organ"

I feel alone.

I have no part to play again, nor do I know where to go from here. Yet, given my eternally optimistic nature, I smile, recalling a wish I asked to have twisted in a "twist my wish" game - "I wish my ceiling was a pretty colour."

"Granted!" Erehwesle replied. "Your ceiling is now the exact shade of your first lover's eyes.

Alas, though, life has now lost its savor, and you slip deep into a heady enuii [sic], unable to do anything but contemplate past pleasures never to be recaptured while staring whistfully at your beautiful ceiling and sipping weak tea which tastes of 'naught but ghosts and ashes."

My ceiling has not yet turned black, so all I can do when I feel depressed is remember this and laugh. And my tea tastes rather good, for I was sent it by my new protegee, in a swap arranged after I read her cards.

So what if the fact the lab sent me the Three of Swords left me feeling like the Three of Swords for a couple of days?

As I sing to the tune of Vysotsky's "Song of Disturbance" - "It will work out, it will work out, it will work out."

Даже в дозоре
Можешь не встретить врага.
Это не горе -
Если болит нога.
Петли дверные
Многим скрипят, многим поют:
Кто вы такие?
Здесь вас не ждут!

Парус! Порвали парус!
Каюсь, каюсь, каюсь.

Многие лета -
Тем, кто поет во сне,
Все части света
Могут лежать на дне,
Все континенты
Могут гореть в огне, -
Только все это -
Не по мне!

Парус! Порвали парус!
Каюсь, kаюсь, каюсь.

Even on watch
You may not meet a foe.
If your leg hurts
That is not yet a woe.
The hinges of doors
To some creak, to some, sing clear:
"Who are you?
You're not awaited here!"

But the sail! They tore the sail!
I do penance, I do penance, I do penance.

To those who sing in sleep
Health and long life there be.
All of earth's corners
May lie beneath the sea
All of the continents
May burn eternally
Only all that
Is not for me!

But the sail! They tore the sail!
I do penance, I do penance, I do penance.

Yes, the song makes a very little sense - but it is cathartic, I tell you! Cathartic is the word!

I have recently been finding catharsis in art - watercolour painting, digital, and to a very small extent, Blender. I was working on a tarot card for the BPAL forum tarot, the Ten of Swords. It has not yet been published on the website used for those. Hence, because it may still undergo changes, I will not yet post it here. But I should paint more, I should.

It is better for your soul than doing logic assignments in natural deduction. Though that last is better for your grade.

Yes, all of my posts lately have had something to do with tarot. I curiously wonder what Hawkface and his QB Wiki ilk think of them.

The incident of that previous post made me smile for a long time after I woke to find Anonymous's comment in my Inbox, awaiting moderation. I, being one of the slackest moderators who ever lived, read it, tried to figure out the logic of it, smiled, and let it through.

Yes, the Internet is a strange place. And the overlap between the real person and the person who is on the Internet... Concolor may be right - what you say on the Internet counts for absolutely nothing in terms of knowing people. My brother may be right - "arguing on the Internet is like the Special Olympics: even if you win, you still suck" (and that is completely unfair to Special Olympians - I have met two, and they are awesome athletes and can kick the butt of most able-bodied people.) The Internet may now know me as someone who is satirised on QB Wiki. Or as someone who, to quote myself, "reads tarot cards to angsty little goths." And both are me, in a way. I wrote the stuff on this blog, and I will stand by it.

It was the dialogue between Anonymous and Jarvenpa that was interesting - since each of them knows only one part of me. And Jarvenpa knows a lot about me, and she knows the reflection of trivia playing in my chart is the influence of one teeny little asteroid - and even that one has a part-time job. Which is why, unlike the 400 people who view satires of me on QB Wiki, I do not go there. I am a freelancer - my involvement with the trivia world is done the moment the end-of-game clock buzzes. To judge me by my trivia involvement, though logical, will never give the full picture of me.

And who am I?

Other than a fairly-broke fourth-year math-linguistics student and wannabe writer? On discussing that question with Concolor in the Arts lobby, I unfolded my booted legs and remarked, "I am burned-out at twenty-one, heh."

"No, you're not," he replied.

"Madmen and madwomen wanted for ill-advised expeditions to the ends of the earth. Conditions poor, aims questionable, and death nearly certain. Please apply within," wrote the aforementioned Erehwesle.

He was talking about grad school. I know he was.

The pressure, the pressure to do something more with a math-linguistics degree than a simple undergrad! Yet, I know several things:

1. I definitely do not want to do speech-pathology.

2. I rather do not want to do sociolinguistics.

3. I am afraid of doing math research. The time that NSERC refused my scholarship application and Pestov scorned me for this, has sunk in my soul and left a deeper scar than I suspected.

4. I am missing information meetings and scholarship deadlines - I let them fly past me and I forget about them. I sent myself an email with important links...and upon opening it I felt nausea rising in the back of my throat. Like Carrie Bradshaw did upon trying on a wedding dress. Which means, my intuition tells me, that something is wrong.

5. I toyed for a while with taking a master's in journalism at Carleton. They have a good program there, and I suppose I can, eventually, put together a journalism portfolio. However, I got a message from yellowrose on the forum, advising me:

As someone with both undergraduate and graduate degrees in journalism, may I give you the wisdom of my life experience? Don't bother.

You're a good solid writer as evidenced by your posts and blog. There are always things upon which any of us can improve, but that comes from having experience and a succession of good editors. The field has been laid to waste. You'd do better to concentrate on linguistics and math. Let the writing happen as it well may.
She further advised me to check out the programs at Columbia. I did check out the programs at Columbia. I do not have $50,000. And being in debt only for a small amount oppresses and depresses me enough that I do not want to borrow any money, ever again.

Then my brother sent me a link from Leonid Kagan's essay on advice to writers. It is in Russian, but I will translate the paragraph that I found most interesting:
Where do they teach you how to write literature?
Practical experience shows that writing is best taught in medical schools: those produced such writers as Chekhov, Bulgakov, Lukyanenko [author of Night Watch; I will also add Conan Doyle, and I am sure a bunch of others.] Technical schools prepare writers not too badly. A notable number of writers came from the ranks of the military, sailors, and the police. Some decent writers also turned out from those who did not complete higher education at all. It is difficult, but there is still a slight chance of becoming a writer in the faculties of philology [linguistics], history, and the other humanities - there is a risk that there you will be made a humanities specialist, who clearly knows what is good, what is bad, and what is not allowed for a writer, and therefore will write strictly canonically: gray and boring. And it is completely impossible to become a writer in the Institute of Literature: in all the years of its existence, it has not produced a single good writer. In other words, jokes aside, there are plenty of opportunities to ruin writing talent in oneself, but there is no place where they help you develop it. One must simply work a lot.
I wanna go to med school now - although I am kidding, I have no biology whatsoever that I have not gleaned from Quiz Bowl, and Concolor and my mother are plenty of medical people in my life. But after reading that and yellowrose's post, I changed my mind, and decided to concentrate on carving my own career as a writer.

6. I am toying with the idea of joining Carleton's School of Intelligence and Security Studies, which I did not know existed until I read about it in the Citizen right after I sighed and wondered about grad school. The thing with that, though, is that I will have to take a qualifying year, which means some more undergraduate work, which means some more money.

Oh well.

I still need to prepare my novel for a second shot at publication, after I now am the proud owner of some expensively-heavy beige paper. Yay!

Time to stop slacking off.

Thanks for listening. You have done your part in preventing burnout at twenty-one for someone headed for ruination of writing talent in a humanities graduate degree.

I wish you joy.
I am feeling so frustrated I want to scream.

I was sitting in the Acoustics lab session, listening to the TA (a PhD student, mind you) explain the concept of the sine curve and its relation to the unit circle - what I learned in grade 10. The TA tried to demonstrate the concept of sin 45 and used the wrong values and I corrected her, of course gaining the idea of the rest of the class that I am a tight-arsed little know-it-all bitch - but hey, no matter how you paint it, 9/15 won't give you the sine of 45. Then, explaining simple harmonic motion following the sine curve, she said that at the peak of the wave, the point moves the fastest.

Well, could you be a little more clear, please? If you are describing the pendulum's speed on the curve you drew, yes, it will move the fastest, but you gave us the impression it was about the travels of a point on the curve. In which case, honey, first calculus class of university - the derivative of sine is cosine, and cosine is 0 at 90 degrees. No, she looks at me strangely and refuses to specify what the curve is graphing. And I KNOW this is a course where the rest of the class is barely following, so I cannot prove her wrong without pulling out calculus to do it, and thus proving my point to no one but Polyhymnia, Muse of Geometry, and to the rest of the world I am a tight-arsed know-it-all bitch. "Proof by calculus: this proof requires calculus, so we'll skip it."

I got up and strode out of the lab, my steps growing faster and faster as I went to my office to write this. And I can't even leave the session, because she promised to explain the software we will have to use to us. But here I am, Achilles sulking in my tent, torn over the defence of scorned cosine waves. Of all the geeky things to fight for - but I only stand for causes that I KNOW are true.

I am going to have to talk to Prof. MacKay about this, since what she said in the lab contradicts what HE taught in class - as well as all mathematical knowledge since Newton.

Frustration is about the only thing that truly gets me angry. Because I am in this class, and I am not allowed to say that dreadful word derivative, those dreadful words Fourier analysis, - even cosine! Why, why, why?


If my journal were more popular, there would have been people on it by now explaining my mistake to me, but thankfully I can make mistakes in proud and lonely isolation.

The derivative of a position-time graph is the displacement-time graph, the rate of change in position. The derivative of the displacement-time graph is the velocity-time graph.

So speed is actually sine - just negative sine.

So I was wrong.

But I was bored.

Think whacking things with a pendulum - at what point in the arc would you do it?
Arrrr, mateys, it be Talk Like A Pirate Day! And how can I avoid celebrating it, though the rest of the year I be closer to the ninja persuasion?

Sitting alone at work yesterday, I must have been dying of pure complete and utter boredom and enforced silence for lack of venting to anyone, for there were founts of loquacity released in me, in letters that appalled me with their lack of structure upon review. There must be a sub-variety to the Cassandra Curse, less drastic but annoying: you tell the truth - but you can't say it right the first draft.

In between formatting CLAN files, I went to coach the Reach for the Top players. Rustem was holding a junior practice as I entered, and I demanded, "Begone, usurper!" The juniors are showing promise, I do hope. As well, they are getting adjusted to the pace I read, which is, I try but cannot avoid admitting, usually very fast. Hard in the training, easy in the battle, as the Russians say.

At three o'clock, I came back to the school, looking to give the Dark Lord a heads-up; if I were unable to meet him in person, I would have bravely emailed him from my uottawa account, as I have now gotten rid of that hang-up. But, further proof that yesterday was an exceptionally lucky day, I happened to waylay him just as he was heading to the parking lot. When you work with a man with the Dark Lord's experience in aviation, you somehow, by osmosis, eventually learn the tactics of a jet interceptor. Hailing the dark ship, I politely informed him that I am postponing my descent upon the Keynote lab for a couple of weeks, until I have spent my weekends getting the PowerPoint at least minimally up to snuff.

"Sorry, but I happen to currently like my lab beter than I like your lab," I said with a grin. (Что случилось у нас? Вроде все как всегда: То же небо опять голубое; Тот же лес, тот же воэдух, и та же вода...)

"Good, because the paint fumes are still very strong," said he.

"Even after a week?" It had been well over a week since we last spoke, and he had then mentioned that on the Monday (judging by the calendar, it must have been Monday, September 11) they were going to repaint the lab; since my plans had then included working in it, only my promise I will procure a gas mask satisfied him. All the men in my life seek to protect me, each in his oblique way.

"Yes, because they are redoing the Mac lab now..."

"And how are the students doing?" I asked cheerfully.

"Hallucinating," he replied dryly.

"Does it make a difference from the norm?" I joked.

The Dark Lord replied in the affirmative, and we parted. I paid Lady Cauchy a social call, but only a quick one as my social timing was bad - or good, depending on how you view my working on a Probability assignment for much of the rest of the night. I found out that Math Help is occurring on Tuesday mornings and Wednesday afternoons. I said I may drop by to practice my new Probability mad skillz, as the mood strikes me. Somewhere in my mind, the Dark Lord's voice of four years ago muttered, "Tourmaline, you like volunteering for things, right?"

I will continue this post, to explain the second part of the title. But Pirate Day is waning to a close, so I want to get the post out.

Among all the other events of that very eventful Monday, I discovered I was described on the Internet as "prickly." I was intrigued, as I did not think of myself that way. I wished to survey people who actually know me in person as to whether I am prickly. Family is out; they cannot be objective; my father would probably describe me as having a hair-trigger temper, but alas, he fails to realise that it is a temper with one trigger: him. That's the way life works. Classmates? They know me as someone far too smart and questioning for her own good, and except for those who bothered to ask me for help with their math homework, they probably think of me as a cold smartarse bitch - but probably not a hedgehog. So that was out. Until Athaira responds to this, my choice fell on my old friend Concolor.

And coincidentally, I needed to return to him, of all things, Sex and the City: Season 3, Disk 3. Which I borrowed the summer of 2005. My brother discovered it among his things recently. "Concolor, I have something of yours," quoth I prior to Cryptography class. "Something you have not seen in a long time."

Coincidentally, he had someone with him whom I had not seen in a long time - a former classmate of ours from grade 5 to grade 8. The face of this classmate had changed incredibly; so, it seems, has the manner. But the voice has not. They are eerie, our voices, in their outlasting of every other aspect of our external being.

For some strange reason - or was it a tradition - Concolor and I walked together from Cryptography. "Concolor," said I when there was a sudden lull in the conversation, "am I prickly?"

He did not quite understand the concept.

"As in, do I get angry easily at things?"

I could tell that the answer did not come easily to him, which was a good sign. "Well, I suppose if you had things that you would get angry at," he waffled, "you would get angry at them... What made you think you were?"

"The Internet," I shrugged, deliberately vague.

"Someone who only knows you from the Internet thought this of you? Do not believe them. The Internet is so easy to misunderstand. They can't tell your tone of voice, they can't tell when you are only jesting..."

No, no, they do but jest, poison in jest; no offence i' the world.

Concolor, friend reliable, Knight of Pentacles to the core in all my spreads. Indeed, the one flaw of this flawed communication system that was once called the Information Superhighway, is that I cannot use my voice, I cannot sing, and, what I once realised with a jolt the first time I chatted, I cannot use my eyebrows. My eyebrows, my beloved eyebrows that Thalia had wrought so loverly, the very ones with which Athaira and I, and Concolor and I, and even the Dark Lord and I, could communicate for nearly a minute at a time without a single word. "Tourmaline: *raises eyebrows* " just isn't the same.

Concolor and I changed the topic to his Physiology class. "Did you know that belladonna is an antidote for curare?"

Yes, I do generally walk down the university mall holding conversations about acetylcholine and acetylcholinesterase - we worked out that belladonna is actually an antidote for sarin gas - but I still do not like it.

I am writing this the next day, Wednesday, and during aikido Concolor was talking about it again, with me and with Hippolyta. Indeed, Hippolyta and he were still chatting about it during the bow-out ceremony (incidentally, my woeful lacuna was discovered: I do not know how to do sawariwaza backwards. Well, coming from a dojo legendary for bad knees among a martial art of bad knees, I did backwards sawariwaza maybe ten times in my life...)

"There is a seminar coming this Halloween weekend," came the discussion at the ending circle. "Everyone plan your costumes and your recipes (for the potluck dinner and party afterwards). Maybe we should have a prize for best recipe."

"Could the prize," said Concolor, be for the food, neglecting the food's later effects?"

We burst out laughing, Hippolyta and I first of all. "Said the man with the belladonna," I pointed out quickly.

I will never take drugs for recreation. Like Professor Ivanoff said she knows far too much about gambling to ever do it, the idea of what drugs are doing to my loyal, hardworking neurotransmitters would make me cringe.
syncategorematic: (durer - irascible curly-head)
( Sep. 17th, 2006 01:13 pm)
So, I have dropped Geometry, but will keep on going to classes.

I am in negotiation with the Faculty of Science about Cryptography.

I am working in the lab on a PowerPoint presentation, so far three rounds of which are very pretty.

I had lunch with the Almighty Big Cheese of Ottawa Sociolinguistics, Shana Poplack and her lab, and asked more questions than anyone else, and laughed at the grad students taking out a photograph of a sign - of Macy's fourth floor (for the non-sociolinguistics geeks, this refers to a famous experiment by William Labov, THE Almighty Big Cheese of Sociolinguistics, period, who is of course based in Philadelphia, but who famously tested the "r"-lessness of different social classes in New York by asking them for the fourth floor of various department stores, most notably Macy's.)

I have used my probabilistic knowledge to calculate the probabilities of coincidental Tarot spreads for all the spreads I know. I was bored in Probability. I was even more bored in Acoustics.

I am about to begin dancing again.

I am left with the question, "Do I really want to go to grad school?"

I mean, ever since I was maybe four years old, people joked about me getting a doctorate. And Career Studies told me to become a university professor, but that is because I have such a wide range of interests I skewed the program results. But...but do I WANT to listen to tapes and analyse them for the rest of my life, or stare at patterns and analyse them? Heck, what do I want? And am I good enough to get it?

I have a Phoenix scent locket, so now I am going about smelling nice to high heaven and I am very happy about that.

But I am not quite happy, and this time I do not know why. Of course, the Tarot deck I made using Alice Kelley's fractals is a master at answering one question only, "What is keeping the querant from being happy?" which is why my querants, particularly Snowfox, have nicknamed it "the smart deck." But I cannot use it to read for myself. Other readings have pointed out to me that I am stressed and lonely and unhappy, and may perhaps require help. But help from who?

Most people have a tendency to attract people of a certain kind to them. I joked that mine are geeks, but they are not. Mine are the people to whom, at least for a little while, I may serve as golden Sun counterpart to their bitterness, and whose relationship may be summed up in a paraphrase of Robert Byrne's reply to "Have a nice day": I: "I wish you joy." They: "Thank you, but I have other plans."

They need me to see another side, perhaps. Perhaps I need them, to see another side, a side I do not wish to see. And then we pass like ships in the night, and I and all my knowledge and joy am alone again.

Yesterday I thought about this; the thinking, oddly enough, came to me in Russian. After fourteen years, my soul still knows what its native language is, and in the deepest of thoughts, prefers speaking to me in that.

The answer was, "Wait."

The Movie Of Your Life Is An Indie Flick

You do things your own way - and it's made for colorful times.
Your life hasn't turned out how anyone expected, thank goodness!

Your best movie matches: Clerks, Garden State, Napoleon Dynamite
So, what did you learn in school today?

In a few minutes, I will be heading back to the Special Topics in Algebra: Cryptography course. Concolor is in it with me (that is, I am in it with him; as of writing this sentence, I am pulling my "unofficial auditor" act - but this may soon change). He does not like the professor, and thinks the course can be taught in a much more interesting manner.

I disagree. I did not think I could use cryptography, or had any passion for it. I just came out of interest.

And when I saw the list of topics, my blood surged and my heart raced as it did the first time I heard that I was loved.

I am a geek. I concede. But I have learned, somewhat, to listen to what my instincts tell me. And my interests were telling me that this is oh be still my heart - SWEET!

I may not have yet completed the prereq Introduction to Probability. But I HAVE read Burce Schneier's Applied Cryptography (I think I have; I have read most of it, at least) - and Kahn's The Codebreakers. And I have taken the RSA algorithm in Group Theory and coding theory in Applied Algebra. And hey, I wrote an A+-level essay on information theory for His de Maths.

I can talk him into it.

Honey? You are taking five courses this semester already. Logic and Set Theory, which would be useful in your semantics and computational linguistics career. Urban Dialectology I, which you need as a fourth year credit, and because, my dear, who can resist the knowledge that all Required Reading cometh from Philadelphia (when it arranged in order in the copy on reserve, that *grunt* is) and the desire to learn more about the speech of this City of Brotherly Sociolinguistic Love. Speech Science: Acoustics, ditto, and because, hey, it's the Glorious Sine Wave. Introduction to Probability, which, hmm, you kind of need for information theory, for cryptography of course, and because you know, getting a four-year honours mathematics degree without knowing a lick about stats beyond mean, median and not a good idea.

So where do you think you will fit another fourth year course?

There is Introduction to Geometry. But it is taught by Prof. Jessup, star in popularity among the math department students. But it may be bad, it may be bad, it may...

Nope, Jessup had me, and if he had any hints as to who my King of Wands in my personal chart may be I would have fallen in love with him, when the class started talking about clocks and the unit circle, and why in the Northern Hemisphere sundials run clockwise.

"Anyone here been to the Southern Hemisphere?" Dead silence from the class. "Anyone here born in the Southern Hemisphere?" Jessup raises his hand. "You should visit the Southern Hemisphere sometime. It's a neat hemisphere."

And the course is about ISOMETRIES.

"It's all about the networks," said I to my Tarot readees once I, half by accident on the smart deck of Alice Kelley's fractals, learned to see the networks. It is about the networks, the patterns, the continuities, the isomorphisms, the reflections, the things that remain the same despite changes, the things that remain connected...

Thank my lucky stars that I managed to get my own reading on Monday night - and learned, politely, that cryptography is written in my chart (Queen of Pentacles inverted), that I would be feeling a huge burden of work, and the oracle card drawn at the thought of the geometry course was "retreat."

Sure, I will.

I visited the school, and on Monday I began the Reach for the Top season anew. There is talent there, I hope (knock wood). Raw talent. Now disciplining it was always my challenge and concern. And getting it to go find its own sponsors for the second annual (I knew I should have at least stopped Lord Bedivere before saying this) trivia night on November 17, as I am busy.

I did go to resume my prowling hunting down of the Dark Lord. Thanking my lucky stars that the summer I had was such that I can look anyone in the eye at the question "How was your summer?" and reply, savouring the words, "Absolutely fantastic. And how was yours?"

I did not find the Dark Lord on the first day. Instead, Lady Cauchy and I shared reminiscences about whale watching, as she had gone to Nantucket over the summer - and she can now endure Moby Dick past the chapter about Folio, Quarto and Octavo whales, at which point I myself, aged 13, had thrown the book (Octavo edition) across the room.

The next day I did find the Dark Lord, and we arranged that he was fine with me using the lab - it is me finding the time to use it that is the problem. And is still the problem, because that wonderful cryptography course I mentioned? It begins at 4:00.

Well, on the other hand I would not have to bring in a gas mask, as the Dark Lord assured me I would need one to endure the repainting of the lab. I have a perfectly well equipped lab of my own, and I have PowerPoint 2003 there, too, that I can get as much of the work done in as possible, before resuming my friendship with Keynote 3. I did get all the questions entered on the weekend, though neither illustrated nor animated. There is still time.

And for the first time in my life, I emailed the Dark Lord telling him, very briefly, of my scheduling problems / crypographic love life. Incidentally mentioning that I have downloaded Blender, and am currently wrestling with it. Not mentioning that my covert reasons for downloading it were to design Tarot cards with.

Speaking of which, I have now happily TeX-ed all the records of my Tarot reads, and, brace yourself, David Knuth - I am going to index them.

I can't help it. I think language, and I think math. I came back to aikido yesterday after taking August off for pecuniary reasons (i.e damnéd poverty). Six sessions of hanmi-handachi later, my bony-callused knee issued an ultimatum and is still seething, but that is not the problem. The problem is that I still "don't believe in ki, I believe in vectors." Vector curves, continuous in C1, - or discrete.

And today, sleepy after an evening of readings, in Probability class on the prof explaining the multiplicative principle, I asked about drawing cards out of a deck. Meanwhile trying to remember, if we did take up that example, how many cards are there in a normal deck, because I am pretty sure it isn't seventy-eight?

Matrices, tarot cards, aikido takedowns, continuous curves, network graphs, probabilities, all swirl together in my brain, to form the lens I see the world through.
Because this blog will probably serve as a record of my life, in a way, I put there the letter, with some modifications, that I wrote to a bunch of my friends after I returned to Russia in 2004.

When it grows dark, unlawfully,
Before its time and its call,
I'll turn off the light and, a homeless cur,
Out of my kennel I'll crawl.
Do not be afraid; this gloomy evening
Say your name to my thought:
I greatly value chance meetings
In the era of Great Loving-Not.

You really don't have to keep on trying
To keep up the unielding eye -
You also are weary of fighting off everyone,
And not a client but a brother am I.
I hope you'll take me up on my invitation,
We'll drink and talk for a spot...
I greatly value the warmth of relations
In the era of Great Loving-Not

You still think that I con you -
But that's your own point of view.
Trust me, I have already grown warmer;
It seems you've come alive too.
And all that has happened will one day count,
Each will get what he wrought,
All seven billion bewildered citizens
Of the era of Great Loving-Not.

And all that has happened will one day count,
Each will get what he wrought,
All seven billion bewildered citizens
Of the era of Great Loving-Not.

I had been trying to translate that song for such a long time that I rediscovered it in my old journal from about 2004 and finally saw how to do it. It is not good; I still haven't gotten the partial and internal rhymes; but it is a great deal better than it had been. And I have been wanting to tell what is said in it for quite a while.

Somebody loves us
Somebody we seek
Fall in and out of love
A dozen times a week...
You sit there by the phone -
What's this love about?
You want to be with him
And it's not working out..,
We know, we've seen it all,
Just like you we've cried.
Just like you're doing now
We sighed and sobbed and died.
We won't cry any more,
We'll throw the phones away -
We're going out tonight,
We're partying today!

You think about him
Until the morning light
And still you walk alone
When you go home at night,
And tears in your eyes
And in your heart such pain
As you understand
He will not call again...
We know, we've seen it all,
Just like you we've cried.
Just like you're doing now
We sighed and sobbed and died.
We won't cry any more,
We'll throw the phones away -
We're going out tonight,
We're partying today!

- Verka Serduchka

I will tell more about this later.
June 27 was an amazing day. Amazing in that my madness did grow great, and I learned to smell, and smell, and then smell more.

Lately previously I had been enjoying others of my newfound madnesses: Star Trek, Concolor's provided Battlestar Galactica, and the teasing and jokes of my new coworker Thalia, who replaced Carrie when the latter departed for greener pastures.

Tourmaline to Concolor, June 25
Thalia has been teasing me about my partiality for Worf ("But he's bumpy!" "On his head, yes." "But how do you know he won't be bumpy elsewhere, too? And he is unstable, with all his talk of honour.." "At least I know what drives him. I don't trust the quiet men, I like knowing what the man likes and dislikes clearly.") On Friday, she started doing an imitation of Schwatzenegger, as well as talking about crushes. I remarked that having a crush on a fictional character is the ultimate safe thing for teasing purposes, as the chances of me actually meeting "the big burly Klingon of my dreams" are nil. Thalia replies (Schwartzenegger voice): "Oh no, you're going to marry him (Worf). You're going to have his Bumpy Babies."

The Bumpy Babies sent me into paroxysms of laughter for about three minutes, with my stomach hurting for the rest of the day. Thalia also coined the word "Blingon" which she interprets as "rapper Klingon" and I interpret as "Klingon who likes jewelry."

My geek quotient is going through the roof, but as I said to Thalia, there is absolutely no one I know who is not geeky in one aspect or another. Let him who has no geekiness upon himself cast the first stone.

Concolor to Tourmaline, June 25

Bumpy Babies..I like that.

...Now go find yourself a nice Blingon who can treat you right!

Tourmaline to Concolor, June 25

Is there a bar where they congregate?

The more I watch Battlestar Galactica (infrequently, for my computer and my DVD player sporadically dislike Concolor's wonderful enabling) the more amazed I am at how good it is for a sci-fi show. Acting, story, writing, concepts...and I am only on episode 3, please keep this up!

And as for the community which made "enabling" enter my vocabulary...

Tourmaline to Irene, June 27, 2006

The order came!!!

Silk Road is in an amber vial! And there was Nephilim, Sheol, Hades, Moscow, AlShairan, Nyarlathotep, and frimpage: Blood Countess, Kyoto, Bewitched, Tum, Cathode and Faustus!

Now which to try first???

Tourmaline to Irene, June 27, 2006

This is the text of my post in the I Got My Order! thread:


Never thought I would use this, but I need to!

I got the order you can see above in my morning mail. It must have come at around 9:00, I went down at 9:30 to pick it up, first thing on getting out of bed (day off, I love ya). I danced around the room, sorted out the imps, posted, made tea...then at quarter to eleven I see a mail truck pull up, I pop out as soon as they finish to check what's there: another order for me!!!

With no CnS
Order: 5/5
Shipped: 6/22 (no CnS)
Arrived: 6/27 - super fast!!!

5 mLs of Ra, Ahathoor, Tum, Khephra (two are in amber vials, I wonder why)
Imp pack of Masabakes, Anubis (X2!), Death on Pale Horse, Scales of Deprivation, Block Buster, and Love Me
Frimps of: Twilight, Thalia, Yerevan (on wish list), Belle Epoque, Golden Priapus, March Hare, Zephyr, and Jezebel!

Now what else can happen on a day when I dream of my love in the night and the day starts like that?!!

Gotta go soap my hands; I am running out of wrists to try the booty!!

No, I did not dream of Worf, why do you ask?
Miracle BPALs that break all the rules: Scents that shouldn't work on you but do


Incense in Kathmandu made me want to be sick; even the hint of incense in Death on a Pale Horse (not listed) made me wary. But Nyarlathotep calls me to him again and again, and his incense is just enough to make him smoky and dangerous and darker, like a bad boy with a feline swagger that makes me feel quivery against all reason...

And what scents absolutely broke your heart when they did not work on you?
Hades showed me his narcissus side and nothing else. I expected a more exciting, mutable scent. I dreamed of exotic words like opoponax and ambergris. I tend to him gently, hoping that this Lord of the Underworld would someday be persuaded to show his exotic and creative side he promised before. Perhaps he fears hurting me, so only shows himself as a delicate flower. Little does he know that I am strong, I can bear a little variability, if only for the sake of CHANGE! A tear stands in my eye, as this reminds me too much of an unrequited love I am trying to persuade myself to drop, and vowed to do so the very day Hades arrived.

Alas, at a later date, that very lord of the underworld who had been so discreetly narcissus with me, showed me the other side of his nature, and I concluded that the labdanum note in both Sheol and him raises dark spectres of Donna Karan Black Cashmere, and makes me want to be sick. The dark horror of it.

Speaking of which, I am sure some of my readers (possibly even an integer rather than a fraction) are wondering, "So, what happened to the Dark Lord? He was my favourite character all along!"

Yes, all 1/10 of you will get your wish. I will tell of my last interactions with the Dark Lord.

At the beginning of May, the school's quarterly newsletter went out. In it there was a brief article on the trivia night, which included thanks to a bunch of people, including "the Dark Lord, the ideas man." But not to me. Now, as the wise Jarvenpa pointed out, both my Taurus Sun opposite Pluto in the 12th House and my Chiron in the 7th House make me a wonderful at loving and giving - as long as I feel I get something back.

And my Scorpio rising makes me absolutely anal about promises kept and trusts broken. He had told me to keep him out of this! I sought out the Lady Mollweide, and she told me she had indeed written the paragraph, she had been unaware of the Dark Lord's request for privacy, and she had kept herself and me out of this because we would get credit at the end. Oh, and they had already set a date for next year's trivia night, to coincide with a Spaghetti Night scheduled by some other service club.

I sighed and agreed, my smouldering Chiron still not fully appeased, and on the Friday before we left for Reach Provincials, I went to find the Dark Lord at lunch, hunted him, and finally cornered him.

*TOU: [% as usual, bypassing the redundant formalities] I owe you an apology for letting your name
be in the newsletter when you had requested it not be.
*DAR: It's all right.
*TOU: And Lady Mollweide told me that she had scheduled next year's trivia night for November. So I shall see you in August.
*DAR: Sure, that's fine.
%com: Tourmaline marks those words very well indeed
*DAR: Wait, I may not be there then. Well, Tourmaline, I am sorry, but I am running a little behind schedule now, so I shall talk with you later.
*TOU: It is ok. Later whenever. I need to go get some lunch.

And so I went to Toronto, musing to myself. Just before the eventful weekend I had already written poetry about, I went
down to the Mac lab again; the other Lord who taught the combined graphic arts course had left the door open, and I had walked in with my usual silence, and greeted them both, startling the other one. The Dark Lord was robed in white as he, as usual, wrought magic over his laptop.

I recounted to him the tale of my line from the Toronto gala: "Just give me your contact information, sir, and I'll sell you the Robotics Club!"

"Wait a couple of years," said the Dark Lord.

Then the well of our conversation ran suddenly dry. My desperate Ceres conjunct Chiron in the seventh house ("Ideas, exchange of information, learning, talking, writing--these are things that feel to Tourmaline as "yes, I am being cared for" and are the primary ways she tries to care for others") sought for other topics, but it was awkward, it was artificial, it was painful. To this day I will not know why he wore white. And, now that I think of it, why should I care?

"I will go," I said, and turned on my heel.

There came a word that seemed very odd, as its semantics did not match its intonation, which did not match its context, a context where I had never heard it before.

"I beg your pardon?" said I.

"Sorry," the Dark Lord repeated.

"A good long weekend to both of you," I nodded, and walked out. I now forget what song I sang as I headed beneath the blossoming lindens to the university lab, where I, and my Chiron conjunct Ceres in the seventh house ("Fears about communication, a sense from childhood of not being heard properly...") were needed.

I finally realised what I needed from the Dark Lord to carry on a proper conversation; he is not like Concolor, with whom one could talk about anything and feel the communication justified. To communicate with the Dark Lord, a teacher with inarguable talent for his job, you need to ask a question. And right now, I wrote, I lack questions that are (a) those he can answer (b) those he will answer (c) those that I cannot answer myself easily in other ways. The Dark Lord, unlike Tourmaline, is not a trivia machine. I am sorely in need of friends, but it is no use trying to make friends out of oracles.

So I wrote.

After Chicago, one of the first people I wanted to chat with was Lady Cauchy, so on Wednesday, the day after I slept for thirteen hours, I went to the math office after work, and gave on the door my usual double knock that I had not made in a long time. And a tall figure in blue opened the door, whom I did not expect to meet there and was not prepared for.

"Can I help you?" asked the Dark Lord, and I saw him smile for the first time in a long time.

When I am caught off guard, I can say wrong things; and I believe I had explained that the Dark Lord always makes me say the wrong things, for such runs the interaction. I said something to the effect of, "No, what would I talk to you about? I no longer need the lab," and requested to speak to Lady Cauchy.

Of course you all know what happened then: I hardly recall what I spoke to Lady Cauchy about, I was clearly aware of the Dark Lord leaving the math office behind my back, and (we all know you, Tourmaline, you would not be Tourmaline any other way, and we really should make a habit of provoking you to be rude to us, because the aftershocks are so fun) Tourmaline was haunting and hunting the hallways the very next day. To do what? Chorus it, Best Beloved: a-po-lo-gize.

I did manage to find him, and in a classroom, to boot.

"First of all, I need to apologise, I did not mean to be so rude yesterday, and I do need to talk to you," quoth I.

As usual, he said it was all right. As for the proposed discussion (I was a little amused-afraid to contemplate that he might be afraid of my asking him more than he was ready to answer), he suggested the exam period.

"When?" I asked.

"Well," he said, "I have supervision in the gym on the first day..."

An announcement came through the P.A asking teachers to log off the system as they meant to do something about it. The Dark Lord asked me to wait a little as he needed to check his email before he got off the system.

"Sorry," he said. "It is all right," said I, wondering why him apologising me seemed like such a rare thing, and so fine.

I left soon after, with the idea of the exam period clear in my mind. Alas, the Dark Lord, for all of the powers he is renowned for (irony at silk setting) has no clear visions of the future.

On Monday I came and saw him, and he asked me to come on Tuesday or Thursday. On Tuesday I came and could not find him at all. On Thursday, when he wore red (red? Yes, red, and the sad thing is that I did not get my brain completely addled by the sense of wrongness of that; the Dark Lord of kyanite colours that I had know and loved has changed) he asked me to come on Tuesday or Wednesday the next week, after the exams were finished. Now it is a deep sign of something wrong with me that I actually did not give up, for I did need the Mac lab.

On the Tuesday, that eventful Tuesday June 27, I went to the school. I had a sneaking gut feeling that I will not be able to find him again, but I wrote my excuse as talking to Lady Cauchy (and the Choco Leibniz ritual...)

Sneaking gut feelings are often unreliable, and sometimes kablooie.

Lady Cauchy and I had a long and happy conversationl she too had been shocked at the Dark Lord's use of the colour red, apparently more shocked than I was, whatever that means. I introduced her to my blog's "50 Reasons Picard Is Better Than Kirk" post (and, sly imp I am, added the blog, not the post, to her Favourites file) and downloaded The Picard Song for her. Alas, we could not hear it on her laptop, but she said she will get to listen to it at home, where her sons may know what to do about this. Then I went to the Mac lab - on the off chance.

Another teacher coincidentally let me in, and so, for the last time this year, I did finally ask the Dark Lord about plans for next year.

He inquired further into the logistics of having Trivia Night and Spaghetti Night, since he had already discussed the disadvantages of the cafeteria at great length. I said that I will email Lady Mollweide that very day to inquire about those details (I did; as of the time of this writing, she has not replied to me).

So about the use of the Mac lab, he said he was amenable to the very first day of school; I repeated the question several times, so he better have been sane when he said that, because I am taking him at his word.

As I moved to go, I offered to share with him too the boundless glory of the Picard Song. He politely declined; "Not in the mood." I was a little startled at this being the same man who once upon a time quoted Star Trek left, right and centre, but whatever.

"So on the very first day of school I shall be back to haunt and bother you," I said by the door.

"You never bother me."

Now I have evidence to contradict that, but who am I to dispel illusions that work to my advantage? "I will find a way. Have a good summer."

And thus, closure achieved, and no more Dark Lord Saga for the summer, you readers may skip to this point.

Last night, on the full moon of July 10, I applied Khephra as usual, and I had a dream:

Ra is stronger than ka (Egyptian soul) or Kali.

I lie, tossing and restless, on a bed when this idea comes to me, and afterwards I go to a school, where they perform dramas in the bathroom - Ra is stronger than Kali - and I have to collect gems of lapis lazuli and turquoise and chrysocolla, but a skinny urchin steals a ball of turquoise from me, and I make him give it back or else I will throw him by his wrist over my shoulder. I make the acquaintance of Professor Kingsley, a blue-eyed, curly-headed man, who saws down birches for me, large ones near the school, because Ra is stronger than Kali. I go up with A. Rosenbaum, who is inviting us to a choir concert, and I see in the library twenty volumes on astrology, bound in soft green leather. I cannot take out even Volume I, but I help the women with me fold glossy paper over the library selections they had chosen. Ra is stronger than Kali.

That Ra, the god of the rising sun, may be stronger than Kali, Hindu goddess of war, is a fairly obvious moral. Is it worth disturbing my dreams to tell me that peace triumphs over war?
I guess I am forced to write blog posts if I make them rhyme. Forgive me. This is about the events of May 26-28.

Hip hop rhythms fit the steps of Ukraine ---
At least, for practice in Mac labs humming.
Perhaps you have loved, in a moment insane,
Rainbow ribbons and red heels drumming.
The non-steering hand on a pounding heart
As I tried, and tried, and tried...
How could you have called my dancing Art?
Couldn't you tell I lied?

Dress rehearsal for the dances I've actually passed;
Stayed to watch one that I could tell.
Suddenly the littlest of the cast
Twisted her ankle and fell.
A physiotherapist, dancing the lead,
Carried her off as she cried.
They should make a movie of the life-script I read:
I am born for Hollywood's lie.

On Saturday again I happened to see
The injured girl in church on crutches now:
For Magda and Jeff invited her and me
To watch them exchange wedding vows.
So, my first wedding won't be my own ;-)
I was happy for them; I knew
That amid the ensemble, I was alone.
But their joy in each other was true.

The priest called Communion; my vision swam.
I knelt in the pew right there.
Pressure point, awake! Agnostic I am
But "Don't let me faint!" was my prayer.
A nurse angel asked me "Are you ok?"
She led me out and I wanly smile:
"It's not an auspicious wedding day
If a guest swoons dead in the aisle."

I came back, after Communion's end
More alert, but of troubled mind.
And one of our dancers and her friend
Sang as the register was being signed.
And she sang a Ukrainian song so true
I sang along and forgot to be lonely:
Don't go in the evenings to pick red rue:
Believe me, you're my one and only.

Ти признайся мені,
Звідки в тебе ті чари,—
Я без тебе всі дні
У полоні печалі.
Може, десь у лісах
Ти чар-зілля шукала,
Сонце-руту знайшла
І мене зчарувала!

Червону руту не шукай вечорами —
Ти у мене єдина, тільки ти, повір.
Бо твоя врода то є чистая вода,
То є бистрая вода синіх гір.

Бачу я тебе в снах,
у дібровах зелених,
По забутих стежках
Ти приходиш до мене.
І не треба нести
Мені квітку надії,
Бо давно уже ти
Увійшла в мої мрії.

Червону руту не шукай вечорами —
Ти у мене єдина, тільки ти, повір.
Бо твоя врода то є чистая вода,
То є бистрая вода синіх гір.

/*Ukrainian is far from my best language, but I will try for a singable translation:
Do not go in the evenings for red rue for a love spell:
You're my one and my only, trust me, only you.
Your beauty dear is my water clear
It's my swift stream from mountains blue.

Oh confess to me, pray,
Where your magic you borrowed,
For without you each day
Is for me full of sorrow.
Maybe herbs for a spell
You had sought in the wood.
You found sorcerous rue
And thus charmed me for good!

Do not go in the evenings for red rue for a love spell:
You're my one and my only, trust me, only you.
Your beauty dear is my water clear
It's my swift waterfall from mountains blue.

My sleep sends me your face:
Under the greenwood tree
Along forgotten ways
You again come to me.
And you need bring me not
Any hope-token flower
For since long ago you have
Trod my dreams every hour.

At 8:30 is reception; I need to head home
From the church: none were "going my way"
So again I had to call my dear mother to roam
With the gas-guzzling car this hot day.
I would fetch Gabrielle's gift to Magda, for she
Was busy; I owed Gabrielle at least.
At 8:30 Mother drove me to the reception hall.
I was curious about dance and feast.

Around the tables the guests merry and gay
Enjoyed their dessert and wine...
No wonder none of them were going my way!
They were all coming here to dine!
Why won't people tell me this straight before?
Did they fear the truth makes me cry?
...Few troubles endure by a dance floor;
I learned joyfully "Hips don't lie."

At 1 a.m: "Will you give me a lift from this room?"
The singer nodded; he was aware.
I stopped to congratulate the groom...
And turned to find my ride not there.
I hate raising my kin for post-midnight dust
As the singers knew not how they hurt me.
Never again will I fully trust
Anyone under thirty.

Sunday concert; no sign of the hurt girl's story...
Could it be I'll go on instead?
For minutes my dreams of dancer's glory
Spun in my heart and head.
No one told me how to do a turn
By whirling higher and higher.
I had memorised, practiced, and loved and yearned.
But I was still a liar.

Then the director found me and told me true
But heartbreaking news for me:
"If Liz isn't in Privit, neither are you:
It'll be two and two, not three and three."
Finally, a sigh, for there she sat.
So I was IN the ensemble's youth.
So, clad in sunlight, three and three, I carried out the welcome mat.
I walked, not danced - and I told the truth.

They told us the concert went incredibly well,
I cared not for the rest; I got my chance.
I know I am better at words to tell
The truth...but I won't not dance.
Never. Never. Though I may lie.
Smell the hyacinths at evening's end...
Idle dreams of tomorrow's flirting...
There's an LA writer I'd like to call friend
And I think she is over thirty.