Via Ms_danson: IPIP-NEO Big Five Personality Test.
Some of the questions were weirdly phrased (When I've had enough sleep, or when I haven't? "Leave my belongings around" - you mean where others can get at them, or in the privacy of my own home? "Love a good fight" - you mean an argument, or you mean a fight? Those are DIFFERENT. And most of all, think of myself as better than other people, or show people that I think of myself as better than other people?) and a lot of the descriptions are quite misleading. But the test is amusing.

Read more... )
Taken from Bettybaker, because it made me think.

The Care and Feeding of Tourmaline Meme

Well, since about four of my LJ friends have posted this meme on theirs, and I was bored with actually gathering the data that, somewhere along the line, another one of those quizzes will be based on, I decided to check as to, "If Tourmaline was born in Moscow Russia, has her mother's accent of Nizhegorodsky Russian, lived in Haifa, learned in Ottawa, studied Quebecois and Paris French, Castilian Spanish, Latin American Spanish, Hebrew, Yiddish, Japanese, Ukrainian and IPA, what part of the U.S is she supposed to be from?"

The same part all of her required reading is from, apparently. I HAVE been told that I sounded a little weird, in places where people do not know that Philly has an accent, and the people didn't have a clue what accent it was that they heard, but...I always blamed it on the mishmash noted above, I never knew it was because, unbeknownst to me I actually come from Philadelphia!

William Labov, brace yourself, because one of those days I should actually check it out, this place I come from.

What American accent do you have?
Your Result: Philadelphia

Your accent is as Philadelphian as a cheesesteak! If you're not from Philadelphia, then you're from someplace near there like south Jersey, Baltimore, or Wilmington. if you've ever journeyed to some far off place where people don't know that Philly has an accent, someone may have thought you talked a little weird even though they didn't have a clue what accent it was they heard.

The Northeast
The Midland
The South
The Inland North
North Central
The West
What American accent do you have?
syncategorematic: (blackvelvet- what do you think ?)
( Oct. 15th, 2006 12:10 pm)
So, motivated to decide what to do after school is done, I went back to that lovely website, which I last filled out in grade 12 - and filled it out again.

Am I in the right place?

Your Career Suggestions

Careers that suit your answers are listed below under Interest Rank. The best matches are at the top of the list. Click on a career to learn more about it and how it suits your answers. Your matching Career Clusters are also listed below.

Interest Rank

1. Foreign Service Officer

2.Foreign Language Instructor

3.Public Policy Analyst



6.Corporate Trainer

7.ESL Teacher

8.Motivational Speaker

9.Business Systems Analyst




13.Set Designer

14.Architectural Tech

15.Communications Specialist


17.Multimedia Developer

18.Graphic Designer



21.Political Aide

22.Economic Development Officer

23.Engineering Tech


25.Technical Writer

26.Computer Animator

27.Website Designer

28.GIS Specialist

29.Desktop Publisher

30.Exhibit Designer


32.Civil Engineer

33.Film Editor

34.Chemical Engineering Tech

35.Interior Designer





40.Civil Engineering Tech

Some of those have been in my top recommended careers for years.

Maybe I should, indeed, go into the International Affairs.

In case anyone is interested in playing around with this, the username is ocdsb and the password is careers.
1. Explain what ended your last relationship?

doesn't call

2. When was the last time you shaved?

won't say

3. What were you doing this morning at 8 a.m.?

BPAL dreams

4. Were you any good at math?

honours major

5. What were you doing 15 minutes ago?

waking up

6. Your prom night?

Virginia reel!

7. Do you have any famous ancestors?

we'll pretend

8. Have you had to take a loan out for school?

no intention

9. Do you know the words to the song on your myspace profile?

No myspace

10. Last thing received in the mail?

swaps package

11. How many different beverages have you had today?

none yet

12. Do you ever leave messages on people's answering machine?

when necessary

13. Who did you lose your CONCERT virginity to?

methinks, Aquarium

14. Do you draw your name in the sand when you go to the beach?

what for?

15. What's the most painful dental procedure you've had?

forgotten, thankfully

16. What is out your back door?

Jerusalem artichokes ;)

17. Any plans for Friday night?

dance rehearsal

18. Do you like what the ocean does to your hair?

gimme ocean!

19. Have you ever received one of those big tins of 3 different popcorns?

no, gimme!

20. Have you ever been to a planetarium?

ooh yes

21. Do you re-use towels after you shower?

usually do

22. Some things you are excited about?

forthcoming packages

23. What is your favorite flavor of JELLO?


24. Describe your keychain(s)?

TVO, tea

25. Where do you keep your change?

What? Change?
syncategorematic: (sophia - curlty and in a good mood)
( Sep. 23rd, 2006 04:00 pm)
Well, I promised claddagh812 to post her meme here, so I will:

Comment on this entry, and...

1. I’ll respond with something random about you.
2. I’ll challenge you to try something.
3. I’ll pick a color that I associate with you.
4. I’ll tell you something I like about you.
5. I’ll tell you my first/clearest memory of you.
6. I’ll tell you what animal you remind me of.
7. I’ll ask you something I’ve always wanted to ask you.
8. If I do this for you, you must post this on yours.

What she said about me, by the way, is:

1. I love your languages. I don't understand any of them besides English, but I love them anyway.
2. I challenge you to...write a BPAL haiku.
3. Rust.
4. I like that you seemed to jump right into the forum. That's the best way to get to know people on there and to get people to know you.
5. When you PM'ed me to buy some imps. I'm glad we were able to work out the payment -- sorry again about not accepting credit cards, but I just don't sell enough to justify the account expenses. :(
6. You remind me of an owl, just like another friend. You're both very owlish in my head but with different coloring.
7. How many languages do you speak?

And I replied:

Oils of sweet perfume
Draw the world's weird and wondrous
To trade thoughts through space.

7. Russian and English fluently, French and Spanish communicably, and at one point or another I studied German, Japanese, Hebrew and Yiddish, and I can sorta figure out Italian, Ukrainian, and occasionally Polish, Serbian and Czech texts using the above.

Following up with a bit of my life,

You know you are sending too many packages when you have enough of a rapport with the postal clerk to greet her with, "Hello, it's Zip code [insert Zip code]." I joked that I will someday send a package to every state. I mentally counted them and I am a tenth of the way there.

I will write more, but first I HAVE to do some work so as to continue respecting myself.
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.
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.
Labdanum does not like me.

For one thing, I have discovered's free charting service, and just for fun and reference I will put my astrological chart here.

The report was generated with the following birth data: female, born on 23 April 1985 at 10:00 pm in Moscow, Russian Federation.

Your sun sign is Taurus. This is the sign in which the Sun is in your birth chart. Your Ascendant is in Scorpio, and your Moon is in Gemini.

Partner references which may occur in the text are set for a relationship with a man. That's fine by me.

Sun in Taurus, Moon in Gemini

You were born with the Sun in Taurus and the Moon in Gemini. Your Taurean individuality is strong-willed and purposeful. You are warm-hearted and amorous, but you lack mental flexibility. I do? I am not imperious, I told you!

The Taurean nature is dedicated to the gratification of your physical and psychological needs.
I take care of my needs, thank you. For one, I have just gone and gotten myself some tea.

Having the Moon in Gemini, however, has determined that your personality role will be oriented more to dealing with intellectual concepts and activities, which you may oppose emotionally. Do I like math?

Others consider you somewhat of an intellectual. Yep. Because your mind and body require activity, you will travel and change your residence frequently. Indeed? I thought that was my parents' fault! Only those who are close to you know you as a stubborn and strong-willed person.
Yes, I tend to hide that from those far from me, so that they don't be scared to be close to me.

Circumstances (Moon in Gemini) have forced you to earn a livelihood through activities that may conflict somewhat with your real nature. So I sold bagels and transcribed child language and it was all the Moon's fault. If you can somehow project your stability, it will carry over to your life work and your relationships with others. I sing. That's a stable and predictable thing, that I will sing to myself. Does that count?

Your shifting mind would benefit infinitely from the stability that lies deep within you. As in: finish that novel, dear. Allowing this to permeate throughout will assure success in all you undertake. On the other hand, if you could somehow lend to your internal nature the versatility of your personality, you would achieve a complete harmony. Are you saying my inner life is boring? Are you saying that?

Ascendant in Scorpio, Mars in the Seventh House

At the time of your birth the zodiacal sign of Scorpio was ascending in the horizon. Its ruler Mars is located in the seventh house.

Your life will be marked by your shrewd, secretive, obstinate, clever, and reserved disposition. Dunno about the shrewd part, but obstinate, clever, secretive, and unpredictably reserved are present and accounted for. On the other hand, I can coil up wires, so I guess that's shrewd. You remain an enigma: with these traits, your life events could be either very tragic or very fortunate. Fortunate, please, fortunate is good! To which category of Scorpio do you belong? There are two types, the extremely emotional, attracted by those pathological aspects of biological relationship, or the highly mystical, concerned with spirituality. Call back later.

You are a person of extremes, very sensitive and desirous of attachment. I thought that was my ego. There is some attraction to the occult or to psychic phenomena. Well, why do you think I am posting you, dear? You are active in the sense that there is a psychological struggle going on inside you between the positive and negative poles-those of affirming and satisfying or rejecting and repressing. You are very intense in your feelings and remain passionately attached to the person you love. Or persons. Which is why the school has a Reach coach, the Dark Lord and Lady Cauchy get my visits and my chocolate, and Irene gets regular emails; that rising Scorpion is to blame. Similarly, when you dislike someone you are very fixed in that feeling. I will never forgive that couple who stood me up at Magda's wedding. However, there is room for optimism in that: whatever type of Scorpio you may happen to be, there exists a desire deep in your inner self for psychic regeneration. But I am not out being mean to them.

At some point in your life, after the occurrence of a major dramatic event that will affect you deeply, the goal and entire expression of your ego may alter entirely. Let me know. The intensity and profundity of your passion, however, will always be constant. Relax, sweet lover. You have a tendency to go into the shadows and secretly plan the course of action you will take, reluctant to let others know the exact nature of your mood or feelings. Not even me blog. In your sexual affairs you are full of passion and strong attachment. Ya hear that? Ya hear that?

Exert more control over your passions; don't be so resentful of others. Only when I'm hungry. Use your strong will and character for favorable and beneficial things.

You have a strong inclination to be involved in medicine, perhaps even surgery.
There's my mother and there's Concolor, and that's enough medicine in the circle, thanks,
but I do tend towards teaching people to stretch.
You are attracted by research and investigation in general. I guess so; I only work there.

The position of your ruler here denotes a life geared to the acquisition of successful business unions and intimate relationships. Trying to acquire them, yes. Although a little aggressive and impulsive at times, your dynamic assertiveness will bring you a good degree of success in your dealings with the non-egotistical environment. You mean, as long as people are not egotists, they and I will get along?

Your partner may be too aggressive for your well being. A great deal of tact and diplomacy will be required in order to maintain the continuity of the relationship. Thanks for the heads-up.

You may feel that your life is one of continuous struggle; fighting with the environment; involvement in wars and conflict. To these situations you will react with impatience and determination. I do, I do: "Ok, executive decision: we're doing things my way!" It may be wise for you not to become too involved in circumstances so that you may see things from an objective viewpoint and act accordingly. I try - but then how do I make sure it's done right?

Try to observe the qualities of others that you lack so that you may better fulfill your spiritual duties. I can't sew. Should I go watch others sew?

Saturn in the First House

Saturn is in the first house. Saturn's placement here gives you a conservative, sometimes gloomy and self-denying outlook on life. Well, I guess so; my politics are more conservative than I admit. It's Saturn's fault.
Because every contact is of great importance, you tend to be rather detached and even aloof so that you can be sure exactly where you stand. Yep, yep, on first contact. You can be self-conscious and may feel awkward and prudish with others who appear to take things more lightly. I don't wear tank tops comfortably, yes. That's Saturn's fault too. I should make a T-shirt: "The reason you aren't seeing my boobs is that Saturn was in the first house!" The depth with which you look at yourself is characteristic of the way you relate to others. I don't understand that. Does that make me shallow? Does it?

You were taught very early in life to be self-reliant, and you were often given more responsibility than usual for your age. Yep, that's why I was the only kid in my grade six class at Camp Cameron to know what a dustpan was for. And my two Robotics Club virtues: using a brick separator and coiling wires.

Your intellect is constant and usually unfettered by momentary feelings and whims. You mean, other people get stupider when they fell like it? I never knew that! That explains a lot! Logic plays an important role in your thinking processes. That's why I am a mathematician, dear, and though I am not fantastic, I am okay at it. Grandiose schemes and theories have little interest for you. So that's why I don't get along famously with my dad. It's Saturn's fault.

Once you accept your own limitations and face up to your challenges and responsibilities with a sense of purpose, you will be able to succeed in whatever field you decide on. I bet you tell that to everyone. Your health is generally good, so long as you exercise sufficiently to relieve tension.Yep

Venus in the Fourth House

Venus was found in the fourth house at the time of your birth. This is usually a very favorable and fruitful position that grants excellent family relationships within peaceful and beautiful environments.I love my family, but peaceful? That's Scorpio and Saturn's fault.

This position indicates many social affairs, feasts, parties, celebrations, and related activities.Love 'em, bring 'em on, just get me home afterwards.

Near the end of your life you should experience financial gain and an overall economic improvement.Whoohoo, I am a rich dowager!

A natural lover of country life and nature, you will find many opportunities to gratify these sentiments.I'm a city gal through and through, but I CAN find raspberries.

Sun in the Sixth House

The Sun was found in your sixth house at the time of birth. This position indicates that in all your activities you will be subjected to the impositions of the environment.It'll rain on my wedding day? The overall orientation of your existence is that of accomplishment through fulfillment of professional responsibilities. So that's why I get scholarships but can't get a date: I am too much i' the Sun. In matters of health, this astrological combination is not ideal, as the vital energies of the Sun here have less power, causing you to feel an occasional lack of physical strength. I feel sleepy You are, however, inclined to be careful with your health. I thought that was my parents' neuroses in me. In your dealings with work associates and subordinates you will show dignified, strong, but open- handed attitudes. I suppose so

You work with a well-developed sense of pride in everything you do. Well, mostly.

Moon in the Seventh House

The Moon was found in the seventh house at the time of your birth.

Exciting romance may occur at an early stage in life. We must warn you, however, that unless modified by further interpretations, the partner may have fluctuating affections.Yeah, I had a mad unrequited love. I still have a mad unrequited love.

You're also one of those who throughout the relationship manifests a great variety of personality roles and who seldom shows in intimacy her real nature.I thought my real nature was stubborn and strong-willed, as above. So I am only a dominatrix on the second Thursday of months that begin with J.

Here is the rest of the numbers game:
Planetary positions
planet sign degree house motion
Sun Taurus 03°31'09 06 direct
Moon Gemini 11°59'22 07 direct
Mercury Aries 08°27'33 05 direct
Venus Aries 06°01'58 04 stationary (D)
Mars Taurus 28°09'52 07 direct
Jupiter Aquarius 14°16'48 03 direct
Saturn Scorpio 26°24'38 01 retrograde
Uranus Sagittarius 17°33'52 02 retrograde
Neptune Capricorn 03°31'24 02 retrograde
Pluto Scorpio 03°21'22 12 retrograde
True Node Taurus 18°10'25 07 direct

House positions (Placidus)
Ascendant Scorpio 15°50'10
2nd House Sagittarius 15°22'19
3rd House Capricorn 25°53'36
Imum Coeli Pisces 07°37'05
5th House Aries 08°21'27
6th House Aries 29°52'21
Descendant Taurus 15°50'10
8th House Gemini 15°22'19
9th House Cancer 25°53'36
Medium Coeli Virgo 07°37'05
11th House Libra 08°21'27
12th House Libra 29°52'21

Major aspects
Sun Trine Neptune 0°00
Sun Opposition Pluto 0°10
Moon Sextile Mercury 3°32
Moon Sextile Venus 5°57
Moon Trine Jupiter 2°17
Moon Opposition Uranus 5°35
Mercury Conjunction Venus 2°26
Mercury Sextile Jupiter 5°49
Mercury Square Neptune 4°56
Venus Square Neptune 2°31
Venus Quincunx Pluto 2°41
Mars Opposition Saturn 1°45
Jupiter Sextile Uranus 3°17
Jupiter Square Ascendant 1°33
Neptune Sextile Pluto 0°10
Numbers indicate orb (deviation from the exact aspect angle).

All this fun stuff was happening in the sky at the time I was born. I was hoping for a supernova or something. Instead I get a Scorpio rising.

И когда по вечерам на небосклон
Всходит твой зеленоглазый Скорпион,
Прекращается движение планет
И любви моей горит
Зеленый свет!

Я не верю в судьбу, только знаю одно:
Если б не было этого знака,
Я нашел бы тебя все равно, все равно,
Под любою звездой Зодиака!

And when into the dark of the evening skies
Your yonder green-eyed Scorpio will rise,
The planets cease their circling up above
And a green light is given
To my love!

I do not believe Fate, but know one thing is true:
Even if there ne'er was such a sign,
All the same, all the same, I would still have found you;
Beneath any Zodiac star you'll be mine!

In the horoscope a dozen names you call:
'Twas the Scorpio that turned out best of all,
And I hope that in your love you'll give me new
Little Scorpions that all
Look like you!

I do not believe Fate, but know one thing is true:
Even if there ne'er was such a sign,
All the same, all the same, I would still have found you;
Beneath any Zodiac star you'll be mine!

The vocal-instrumental ensemble Пламя (= Flame) must have had a songwriter who was married to a Scorpio, a sign I never paid much attention to until, of course, I found out it was my ascendant.

Then on the BPAL Forum, the loveliest, loveliest Jarvenpa analysed my chart.

Here is my post on everything she said:
(Begin Post)

Jarvenpa, my mom must have been right (although it could have been late enough for Venus to get to the fifth house) because EVERY SINGLE BLOOMIN' WORD YOU WROTE IS TRUE!

I admit I was skeptical of astrology before, but I repent! I believe! I believe!

She was born on Shakespeare's birthday, April 23, in 1985, in Moscow, Russia. Students of astrology are now thinking slightly unkind thoughts about her dear mama, but trying to trust that "around 10 pm" was accurate (and that, had it been 10:30 or later, mom would have recalled that, and likewise if it were much before 10--like closer to 9:30).

So, she has the reserved and passionate sign of Scorpio rising (and has taken Scorpio into her bosom, if you read her blog--might as well embrace your chart, I always say, makes the planets much happier). Scorpio in fact has two ruling planets--Mars, which is in Taurus in her 7th house (if we are going to trust mom), and Pluto, which is in Scorpio in the 12th house.

Mars is opposite Saturn (which is in her first house in Scorpio). The Mars/Saturn opposition can give a great deal of determination to a person's nature, but it may express itself in a sort of stop and go pattern--rushing forward all determined, falling back, having to retrace steps (metaphorically anyway). Once you understand that your rhythm is not "full speed ahead forever and ever until we crash" but more back and forth, go and pause, you can probably accomplish a lot.

Thanks, indeed, I have figured it out a couple of years ago, and that is the way I operate. And once I started, I found my life was indeed a lot more peaceful and stable.

As the computer has told her already, Saturn in the first house does bestow a certain air of responsibility, conservativeness, discipline. Childhood for the first house Saturn person almost always has more responsibilities in it (and sometimes actual sorrows) than those of other kids her own age. There can also be (especially with Saturn in Scorpio) a kind of reserve to the nature, or even shyness--people must show that they are worthy to know more of her real nature (which, actually, includes some pretty expansive Sagittarian energy as well--it's not all ponderous responsible dark reserve at all. But to get to the jokey side you have to have shown you are a worthy person, in her terms.)

Well, eveyone who reads my blog is worthy, but you are the first person outside my inner circle who has, to my knowledge, read my blog. And I love you, jarvenpa.

The second house (if we are trusting mom) has Sag on the cusp and has two planets having fun inside: Uranus in Sagittarius, and Neptune in Capricorn. Uranus is opposite her natal Gemini moon in the 7th house; Neptune trines her 6th house Taurus Sun). This is the house that tells us something of what is important to the person; what she possesses and cherishes. Old style always said "money house"; we nice new agers have extended the meanings--and we are right to do so, of course. We look to concepts like "what's worth most in your life?" and "how do you define your self worth?" "what would you never let go of?" It can show us innate talents, or areas of life in which the person best develops their own sense that they are worthwhile.
Sagittarius on the cusp would tell us this is a person who values expansion--learning, travel, ideas--and who values inclusiveness.

Ooh yeah, definitely.

Uranus here would say she has some rather advanced ideas, that she is not adverse to shocking people (and may find that change, tumult, and the ability to cause people to sit up and go are really great things).

Gospel truth!

And yet, there's a lot of Capricorn here (the steady sign of which her first house Saturn is the ruler)--and Neptune, full of idealism. So we might say she greatly values imagination, but wants it to be structured somehow; she wants to work with the brilliance of Uranus and the sympathy of Neptune to create/do/possess new concepts/things/whatever.

As in, she writes about a fantasy world and has differential equations governing her magic? And plans out the nervous systems of her dragons? And I couldn't do it any other way; I thought of being free, but I wanted that structure of logic and math to rest on.

With Neptune in the 2nd house, she values Neptunian virtues (Neptune rules Pisces). This may be why she relates so well to the Pisces qualities--the sympathy, fantasy, beauty, etc of Pisces--because these are qualities she finds most worthwhile in life, the ones she'd hold to, given a chance, the ones she'd choose to develop (but always with that Uranian twist--something unexpected, intellectual).

Yep, I thought that was my dad's engineering genes, but I guess my planets took them and ran with them.

The Neptune trine to the Sun also brings in Piscean qualities to the outer sense of self, but more on that later. The Uranus/Moon opposition often comes up in charts in which in childhood the mother was not fully available (usually not because of lack of love or anything, but more because of life issues and complexities).

Always working, she found herself the breadwinner of the family once we moved and my dad still has no job.

Uranus/Moon can give, in some cases, a sense of...well "if I get too attached to someone/something they will leave/vanish/not love me". Gives a fear of giving oneself to love, or a tendency to fall in love with unreachable people.

Yes! Yes!

This is also the "oh, the relationship isn't doing so well--guess I'm out of here!" aspect. (the thought is that pain is less painful if you are responsible for it).

I am so going to tell those lads I dumped that it was the fault of Uranus and the Moon!

There are other factors in this chart, however, that serve to mitigate this.
Remember: freewill! You can use the energies positively if you choose to (one use of Uranus/Moon, given the strong Neptune, might be in using this emotional passion in the creation of works of art, songs, books, whatever. Longing of the heart speaks to everyone, and will heal).

Novels, poetry, singing, drawing - and my breakup poetry I still like. I have that attitude: the lad went, the poem remains.

House of siblings, communication, networking, etc (3rd house) has Capricorn on the cusp and loads of Aquarius, including Jupiter in Aquarius trine the Gemini Moon.
Jupiter in Aquarius loves the big picture, loves seeing how everything fits into a vast theoretical world view, enjoys ideas, loves learning about new concepts, new ideas.

There is a certain veil of "structure your communication, or your relationships with those who are like brothers and sisters in your life, let's not get all giddy" to this house, but it is the Jupiter energy that is paramount here.

As in, when my school friends and I recently met, I found myself the one assigning structure to our reunions because no one else would make decisions fast enough?

There is probably a love of learning and communication (particularly writing)

That's not love. That is what defines every single minute of my life, waking and sleeping - how would I write about this?

and relationships with sibs, if any, were probably mostly positive.

We fought like cats and dogs, but we do care for each other in a deep way. If I am in trouble, I know my brothers will stick by me, and I will stand by them. (They are both Arieses, but my mom is even foggier on their birth times than on mine.)

You might be a bit careful not to tell folks things they don't really need to know, not to reveal too much when you start chattering.

Sigh - yes.

And you may, oddly, love folks better when they are distant from you (close up and you might start to feel a bit crowded).

As in, I have good friends, but there are aspects of my life I share very little with them, and prefer it that way?

Jupiter/Moon gives you a gift of innate hopefulness, no matter what is happening; this can add a lot of resillience to your spirit and your life, and may get you through difficult times.

Very true, thank all the gods.

Pisces is the cusp for the 4th house, where you are at home, your roots, where you thrive and feel that "yes, this is as the world should be" (another reason you might relate to the description of Pisces). Your sense of "where home is" may be fluid, is very emotionally based, very changeable and sympathetic. Pisces 4th house people may in fact believe they are children of the universe, at home wherever they are, because they are in touch with a deeper sort of reality, some spiritual center. "Home" might also be found in poetry, music, healing, or sympathetic contact with others (including critters).

Definitely. I have travelled and moved a lot, as my chart shows, and I kind of defined "home is where my writing drafts are."

With Venus in the 4th house (if it really is...*sighs again about mothers who remember vaguely*) you need a home that is "charming", that is harmonious. Pretty things are nice, but need not be all showy; it's more a desire for a lovely feeling place to be at home within.

I have a hard time resisting pretty knickknacks, and I definitely love the way I have decorated my room. However, it is still a bit of a mess in places. Can I blame that errant Venus?

Venus in Aries is quite directly affectionate (and prone to fall in love quickly--and out again, just as quickly--but your chart has other more steadying factors).

Yeah, fall in love quickly is accounted for, it's getting out again that's the problem.

Venus is conjunct Mercury (which is in the 5th house--it is possible that if your birthtime were, say 10:07, Venus and Mercury would be playing together in the fifth house). You have the ability to communicate exquisitely; you may have a lovely voice,

Good that you tell me that - after an eight-hour shift when I sing whenever I am not talking, my coworkers disagreed. They never said I sang badly; it was just too omnipresent.

you have a flair for writing, and you like it if thought and communication have an attractiveness to them (much as you may enjoy learning things, pure hard cold facts are not really your thing at all).

So writing shows up a lot in my chart eh? And that "cold hard facts" explains perfectly why I was/am good at Quiz Bowl, but never really felt at home there - I learned the facts so I could put them in stories later.

Mercury in Aries has a bright and direct mind, and may be a little blunt of speech--tactless (though maybe Venus will filter this out for you).

Nope, I always grow impatient when people say "How are you?" "You know what?" and other redundant questions. Others may treat those as conversational niceties; I see them as wasting time.

Mercury in the 5th--well, the fifth house is about play, romance, creative work, kids, etc. Mercury here gives lots of talent for self expression through writing, speaking, etc.

Yay, again! Writing all over my chart! I guess I have the astrological right to that Hugo Award, then.

And you probably do not do the strong silent type really well--you fall in love with communicators, with people who stimulate your mind as well as emotions and body.

Oh yes, definitely. And for them I will cast any magic spell / I could do without wand or staff... / You want to be one of those people? Well, / By living, make me laugh.

Uranus trines and Saturn squares this Mercury: mixed messages! Uranus gives a nice jolt of extra creativity, an ability to see things in new ways, express things originally; Saturn gives a bit of diffidence (maybe fear of exposing/changing how people perceive you); could also give ability towards disciplined writing, thought--but watch for the inner critic (don't start judging what you do as you are on the first draft of something--that will hold you back and make you crazy. Just tell Saturn to sit quietly until you need him--which would be in the revision time)

That was so true once I learned that. Next time I start writing and not liking it, I will yell "Saturn, shut up! I'll call back when I need you!"

The asteroid Pallas (see, we get to them finally) is in this house, in Aries. Great ability to think up games and pastimes (wonderful if you ever work with kidlets);

I have indeed. They love me.

good sense of form (good for artists and writers), really good inner sense of strategy (which can't hurt!).

I also have a talent for arranging pictures on walls. As for strategy, in the sense of planning an advertising campaign or something similar, yes, I guess that was Pallas talking.
Pallas here loves to dash in and solve problems, and enjoys competition.

Definitely. There's the mathematician, and the robotics girl, and the quiz player; that's Pallas.

Blackmoon Lilith is also here (this one I am still trying to understand). My guess for now: in the realm of creativity, and play, you are called to an understanding of deep and strong female qualities: the power of the woman who refuses to bow down, who claims her dignity and her creativity. (you might want to read up on Lilith on your own)

I will, but I definitely refuse to bow down (I may be negotiated with, though), and I create a lot of tough strong female characters when I write.

This Lilith (and there are three points for Lilith, this is just one, and sorry not to be able to reveal more--cause I don't know more!) is conjunct your Taurus sun (yes, even though Lilith herself is in independent Aries), so these issues around power, woman (what is it to claim one's womanhood? And remember--Lilith is in the charts of guys too, and these themes are universal, we all have power and sympathy and such that go far beyond current western cultural norms for "man" and "woman"). How do you become whole? Wholly you?

That may be why I am not girly-girl and neither am I power-woman tomboy; and I still kind of have issues as to what I am in that respect - how far to go to be sexy and yet respect myself?

Your Taurus Sun is in the 6th house, and is opposite Pluto in the 12th (Pluto is in Scorpio). When you are at work, or involved in doing things that are of service to others, you really put your heart into this--but you want to be acknowledged, you want praise, you want recognition. Without this you feel that work has become mere drudgery.

Higgledy piggledy
Quiz volunteer coaches
Say their reward is
The joy of the game.
Once I get out of this school
What I deserve for me,
I'll recant and say - No,
It's the glory and fame.

A Taurus Sun is very sensuous, can be stubborn, has a wonderful sense of the glories of the physical world. To be healthy you need to have a lovely and comfortable surrounding (including wherever you may be working to pay the rent or whatever).

I take the comfy chair.

Interestingly, although your Aries Mercury makes your mind quite nimble, usually a Taurus Sun does not particularly enjoy being rushed in any way--it's perhaps partly a control issue, and partly that they need to examine things carefully to feel that they are doing the correct thing.

For both reasons - I want to make sure I am doing it right, and who are you to mess with what I'm working on and rush me?
Once they have decided on something they do tend to dig in their heels and stick with it. (this is in contrast to the Gemini Moon, btw, something I think indicolite's computer generated reading also references).

I stayed with taekwondo almost until my dojang died. I stayed with aikido almost until my dojang died, and now I am still going to stay with it. And I have lost count of the time students at my high school I now volunteer at have said to me "Didn't you graduate?" - "It's harder than it sounds."

Pluto/Sun opposition gives you an inner intensity; people will have strong reactions to you throughout your life (positive and negative); people will usually not have a "oh, yeah, her, she's nice" reaction--nothing all mild and simple.

You love me or hate me - probably envy more than hate. But all the profs will remember me, whether the class had eight people or two hundred in it, whether I got an A+ or a D.

With a strong 12th house Pluto you yourself may not realize how powerful you are, or with what intensity you come across ("Me? I'm just a sense-loving sweet Venus ruled Taurus gal, why are you looking at me like that and backing away??").

Yes, my friends do quote back my line "Imperious? Me?"

Strong Pluto people are innately good at healing, tremendous at uncovering secrets (doubly so with your Pluto in the 12th house).

I did toy with "cryptanalyst" as a career path.

And--maybe--at home with inner tumult.

But that's what makes the best stories.

Taurus is ruled by Venus, this gives some added energy to the fact of your Aries Venus in the 4th (or 5th; I keep thinking she is in the 5th really, and your birthtime is a bit later than 10 sharp). You express your self either through homebased activities (if the 4th house is right) or through creative activities/fun/romance/play, etc (if it's the 5th house),

Actually, some of both - as in, I write at home, realise that the day is done and I am really happy, and tell myself to get out more, and not listen to myself. I guess Venus was right on the cusp.
and with more directness and activity than one would expect from a purely Taurus nature.

Taurus Sun people are often much moved by music, as well as being fond of experiencing deliciousness through all other senses.

That is why I sing. All the time. I'll blame Taurus next time.

Your northnode is in Taurus in the 7th house; southnode in Scorpio in the first house: this is an indication that although you are very good at self reflection and refining your own projection of yourself into the world, what you are challenged to do is to understand the nature of true partnership :romantic, business, political, creative--it doesn't matter which flavor, the theme is learning to do things by understanding and working with the Other.

Yeah, I play well with others, but have a hard time acquiring truly clsoe friends - or boyfriends. But I keep trying, and your chart gave me good advice (see that Jupiter/Moon optimism again?)

And in Taurus, the theme is using the emotional depths of Scorpio and creating something that is enduring and present in the world of the senses and actuality; not being content merely with dreaming of things, but actually working with others to build....something.

"Stop talking and talking about it and do something! Less talk, more whacking!"
And, perhaps, not to be afraid of the delights of the sensate universe?

Mmm, chocolate. Mmm, darling, touch me again right there... Mmm...

Mars is in Taurus as well, giving strong energy, good physical endurance,

Well...I was quite bad at middle-distance running - but I have been shouted at "You're one of those people who swims the English Channel for kicks!" And I am always the first one on the dance floor and the last off, and I do not sweat as much as other people do, I've noticed.

and in the 7th house, a tendency to draw partners who are possibly argumentative, certainly active.

I wouldn't respect them if they were any other way.

(with a 7th house Mars, if you don't want to be fighting with your partners, make certain you are physically active, and that they are as well. With romantic partners sexuality is an important factor in the relationship).

Makes an awful lot of sense.

Chiron is in Gemini in the 7th house. Fears about communication, a sense from childhood of not being heard properly;

My father and I speak completely different languages.

fears that the partner/s may abandon one (and possibly experience of this heartbreak) People with a 7th house Chiron can be very caring in their partnerships; they need to make sure they also are getting cared for.

See Higgledy Piggledy above.

This caring that comes into the partnership situation is reinforced by the presence of the asteroid Ceres here, conjunct Chiron, and conjunct the Gemini moon.
Ideas, exchange of information, learning, talking, writing--these are things that feel to indicolite as "yes, I am being cared for" and are the primary ways she tries to care for others--through the realm of the intellect (very interesting for a Taurus sun person).

And he didn't understand that!

That was what stuck me into my role of advisor-consultant (my Star Trek character I am most like is apparently Deanna Troi). Them asteroids.
This suits the Gemini moon, and her internal sense of herself, absolutely; her conscious sense of self may be out of connection with this though ("so much talk, why don't we cuddle?").

Or "Less talk, more whacking!" As in work.

Ideally both sorts of styles can be combined compatibly in her soul, and within people she choses to do equal and harmonious tasks with.

Gemini Moon--very active, very interested, don't bore me, must move about and have fun and share ideas and--absolutely do not bore me.

Oh my god, yes, you bore me, don't expect to see me again.
Was/is your mom talkative?

I wouldn't say she is TOO chattery, but I can definitely count on her to give good advice a lot of the time.

With this moon sharing communication with partners is essential--and fun.

As above with them asteroids.

Juno tells us what sorts of partners we attract (not always, interestingly, the ones we find attractive). Indicolite draws to her partners from the public realm (10th house) who are precise, service oriented, possibly a little critical, extremely loyal (Juno is in Virgo).

He is all of those things (evidence for loyalty as well). Maybe we still have a future.

The partner may be important in her career, or she may find she is in fact "married to her career"; the partner (with the trine to Mars) may stir her to greater activity and force in pursuit of her career goals.

It is his fault I am what I am today. And I don't regret a minute of it.

The asteroid Vesta is in the 11th house, she is going to need breaks from involvement with associations of people, or from her friends (or from straight on pursuit of her dreams). If it's her friends, they need to understand that from time to time she needs her own space, and this doesn't mean she hates them all of a sudden.

Given the varied circles I circulate in, that is one need taken care of.

Vesta in Libra is great for understanding the social ramifications of a situation; also for focus on artistic things.

I did toy with the idea of a diplomatic career, and I find sociolinguistics fascinating stuff; and as seen above, my chart has enough artistic stuff that if I don't get that Hugo Award eventually, someone please shoot me.

And we've talked a bit about the 12th house Pluto in Scorpio...

What do all the outer planets retrograde mean? Good question. Might be that at the time of your birth a lot of heavy forces were temporarily on hold; that there are things within your spirit that will need a little more focus to release, experience?? These are only speculations--I'm really not certain of this at all.

The excitement and adventure of finding out!

It is interesting that indicolite says she "likes" the outer planets a lot; they are pretty intimately connected to her personal planets--at least Neptune and Pluto are (to moon and sun); Saturn is opposite Mars, Uranus connects to Mercury/Venus. It's as if her chart has invited all the outer planets--those distant aunts and uncles--to come in to the intimate family circle. So the energies they bring are pretty familiar ones to her, and this is probably a blessing. (oh, and Jupiter trines the Moon, definitely a blessing).

It gives me hope. Without hope I am nothing.

Jarvenpa, thank you ever so much! Yay, I have no reason to think that my writing is bad - I have Uranus and Neptune and Mercury and Jupiter and the Moon and Vesta and Ceres and Chiron all ganging up to say I will be good at it!

So should I, like, when I am writjng, send them positive energy? "Uranus, bring down the brilliance, and Neptune, give it beauty, and Capricorn, give it structure, and Saturn, you take care that I see where I went wrong, and Mercury, make sure I can say what I mean, and I love you guys"?

I am definitely sending positive energy to you, jarvenpa.
(End Post)
syncategorematic: (durer - irascible curly-head)
( Jun. 17th, 2006 09:27 pm)
Want to Get Sorted?

a Gryffindor!

Aw, I so thought I would be a Ravenclaw.

Now this is something I did not expect!
I'm Destruction!
Which Member of the Endless Are You?

But, as usual, if I give the other possible answers, depending on my mood, I get
I'm Destiny!
Which Member of the Endless Are You?

I thank the defunct but archived website of the first church of Stewartology (I can't make links right now)
for this hilarious list (and of course I thank Irene for sending it to me); I am just putting it somewhere where it will be more convenient for me to get at it and sway the doubters:

Reasons Why Captain Picard/Patrick Stewart Is Better Than Captain Kirk/William Shatner

We'll add more later when we're not so busy with our lives!

50. Picard would have won the fencing duel with Trelane.
49. Picard's science officer has a detachable head.
48. Picard is aging beautifully, while Kirk... bleh.
47. Picard never bashed Gene Roddenberry.
46. The Borg destroy truly inferior beings, and only assimilate INTELLIGENT life.
45. Not only did the Borg assimilate Picard, but they chose him to be their LEADER.
44. Two words: Tight abs.
43. Picard can speak more languages than Kirk has even had the pleasure of hearing.
42. You won't hear anyone laughing when Picard's doctor says "He's dead, Jean-Luc."
41. When Picard speaks, everyone in the room pays attention.
40. Kirk had to wait for Trelane's parents to come along and save his butt, while Picard outsmarts Q time and time again.
39. Picard is man enough to admit to his mistakes.
38. If Picard was going to sing with his buddies around the camp fire, he'd pick something a lot better than "Row Row Row your boat."
37. Nobody EVER slaps Picard on the back.
36. Picard was responsible for the death of Dr. Crusher's hubby, and berated her son constantly, yet he STILL manged to make her fall for him!
35. Three words: GOOD Special Effects.
34. Kirk fought over women. Picard lets women fight over HIM.
33. Picard has beat down and killed Klingons hand-to-hand.
32. Picard uses that cool gender-free pronoun in his "boldly go" preamble.
31. One word: CLASS.
30. Picard's acting skills have NEVER been mocked on children's cartoons.
29. Picard is BUFF. Lookit that!
28. Picard is actually smarter than his First Officer.
27. Picard doesn't jump in the sack with anything that moves in a lame effort to prove his masculinity.
26. You'll never see Kirk on the cover of TV Guide being praised for his sex appeal.
25. That Shatnerology page is way uglier than ours. ^_-
24. Picard kicked the tar out of the Borg. Many, MANY times.
23. Picard isn't a skanky, womanizing horn-ball.
22. Picard has the respect of big burly Klingons.
21. Picard will actually THINK his way out a problem before beating stuff.
20. Picard has the really cool voice!
19. The Patrick can actually ACT. Shatner can only over-dramatize.
18. Can we really respect a character created in the 60's?
17. British people are way cooler than those weird Canadians. ^_-
16. Picard can quote classic novels. Kirk may not have even read the book.
15. Picard didn't wear an ugly puke-yellowish-green shirt.
14. Picard was never demoted in rank.
13. Kirk has saved the earth a few times... Picard has saved the entire UNIVERSE a few times.
12. Picard had Whoopi Goldberg for a bartender. Kirk didn't even have a bartender.
11. Guys who drink all the time are incredibly repulsive.
10. Picard looks the Baldness God in the eye and laughs.
9. Can we really respect a guy who wears a toupee?
8. What the hell kind of middle name is Tiberius?
7. Picard understands that you can't shoot first and ask questions later.
6. Kirk CHEATED on a Starfleet exam.
5. Picard likes Shakespeare, and isn't afraid to show it.
4. Picard actually treats women with some respect!
3. How much non-Star Trek acting have you seen Kirk do that anyone that wasn't an obsessed Kirk fan actually heard of?
2. Nobody would hire Kirk for his vocal abilities.
1. Kirk's DEAD! Lookit that!

I can think of at least one more: Picard drinks tea, Earl Gray, hot!
Picard has The Picard Song!

I am sorry. After twenty-one years of resistance I have finally been assimilated. I watched four Star Trek movies in forty-eight hours; it is NOT good for your brain. This caused Irene (and Concolor, I would believe) great joy and the rest great laughter. And then I spent many happy hours pursuing the Wikipedia ("a dangerous pastime, I have noticed" - Prof. Jensen) in search of the context of the quotes on the Picard Song, which song has a SCARY ability to be stuck in your head.
syncategorematic: (when I am tired)
( May. 5th, 2006 12:58 pm)

Take the Celebrity Deathwish Test!

So why does Tourmaline start a post on April 12, and only continue it in May? Because Tourmaline has, wonder of wonders, been writing. Actually proper writing, not blogging, emailing, putting up forum posts, but working on my Theocracy story and reminding myself why I am in love with at least one of my characters (I love all of them, that's why they are my characters, but this one I especially love. My dream man. Athaira, he is not a white-collar mathematician crimelord, but he is the equivalent in that world... You know who he is, I sent you the draft.)

I got a rush of beautiful creation at the dialogue and the paragraphs - and then I offered to show it to Concolor. I have given up on him now; he has not read it. Concolor is useless. And I find it amusing to note my transition from 11-year-old "I zealously guard my treasured writings" "Touch apply, and I swear that you will die" to the 20-21-year-old who, like Pushkin, seeks out a neighbour and "choke him with a tragedy in a corner." Comment, comment, tell me! Acknowledge, I am a writer of staggering genius. Or at least, offer me the wonderful constructive criticism that I love Shilhak-Inshushinak for, and indicate to me where, despite being a writer of staggering genius, I cannot speak English, or my characters are completely fictitious and bear no resemblance to any person living or dead. I will grit my teeth, exorcise, and laugh afterwards.

To exercise while exorcising is very useful.

Irene has waxed eloquent about the works of Gene Wolfe - the Book of the New Sun - for a long time. I claimed my state of poverty as an excuse to avoid seeking them out, until at the beginning of May, the idea hit me: "You are bilingual, you fool; get thee to and see if Gene Wolfe existeth in translation."

He doth. And now I am working through Sword of the Lictor consumed, even through the veil of a skilled translator's work (at least three skilled translators for the three books so far), with envy and fascination. Let others wax eloquent about the Lord of the Rings: I have read fantasy and science fiction right, left, and centre, and Urth recaptures a desire I have not felt in a while, jaded and cynical twenty-one-year-old I am.

And (I dent my vow), how did he make a torturer so darn sexy?

I began re-hunting Moshkov's library for the free fantasy that I will probably detest once I get into the making of the rent money from my own books, but love now. In a week, I found that Anne McCaffrey's directory had suddenly vanished. I was shocked; let my brother criticise my taste if he will, I read MCCaffrey for the first time in grade four (outreading my "best friend" at the time, the sister of my later occasional stand partner and the daughter of the man who ran the robotics club at a fellow school) and thus they have become the comforting books for me. Dragonquest, somehow, is the book I reread when the world is turning inside out. Don't ask me why, something in the meter, I suppose.

And it's gone?

I frantically saved files of a whole bunch of other works while I can, including, although I have not yet attacked them, the entire Riftwar saga of Raymond E. Feist.

Why Feist?

I take my vow to not talk about love/sex and throw it at the wall and it takes a green-twig fracture. There is a woman I love. Not in the least bit in a sexual way; being bi would double my chances of a date on a Saturday night, but it is not the way I am. But if I have seen you twice, and talked to you once, and well over a year after that I still plan what to talk about when we meet again, that is love in my book; a girl-crush of helpless worship, of "I want this person to be my friend; I want this person to be me! (I still get my writing and aikido and dance and trivia, of course...)" She was the significant other of a man I had a crush on; not knowing that, he introduced me to her at the Bagelshop. I can pull up, right now, the feeling of a horse kicking me in the solar plexus when the two of them walked in; and, a twenty-minute-long girl talk later, while he politely perused the specials, the feeling that we had so much in common that I loved her too.

And she looked like a girl who had come to buy bagels months before, whose face at the time I did not file in my memory, but who had Magician: Apprentice under her arm, and I asked her about it, having myself once picked up A Darkness at Sethanon at a garage sale and never having gotten more than twenty pages in.

"Well," she said, "I love Feist, and so I would recommend him to anyone..."

I do not know if it was the same woman I later loved; she did not have a man with her. But Feist, to me, links together my crazy loves hereafter. My life is woven through with threads of books that are important to me though I did not finish them. Feeling I need to do research before attempting Neal Stephenson's Cryptonomicon led me to The Codebreakers, to Shannon and information theory, to the idea that math and linguistics can go together, and to who and what I am today. The Lord of the Rings: book, movie, French speech, Athaira, Goblin translation, old Gam-Gam, two massive undertakings by the Graphic Arts Club and two respective dinners, a salute for inventing the modern fantasy genre for the rest of us - and unlike everyone else in my known universe, I like The Silmarillion better.

These are stories I felt like recording. Why not now?

Life without love, without love, without love is not worth living,
An hour without love is an hour, is an hour that time forgot.
We feel good, we feel good, when we are loving and giving,
Even if - they love us not.

Let me tell you a few of the events of April, and since I am insane, I will tell at least one of them in rhyme.

One day, in the month of Taurus, under the rule of Ra and Horus,
(And whatever god it is that sends us cold and wind and rain)
My trip to Maryland was ending, when I got an email sending
From Irene: "A trip is pending! I go to Israel again!
Come and hear one last refrain!"

There's a store called Shepherd's, fashion, for which Irene has a passion,
And a piece she had a crush on, by a gal named Rita D.
Bracelet 'twas, of turquoise mainly, but Irene had stated plainly
She had coveted insanely that piece for a year or three.
And although I say that mainly it's a style not for me,
'Twas a lovely piece to see.

But at Shepherd's worketh there a girl of whom I am aware
That a dialect we share from a land of amber snow.
Seeing Irene dither a while, she showed her a piece in similar style
Such that I could not help a smile; 'twas a merry piece to show.
"Which is better?" "I don't know."

Before the mirror pirouetting, with me aiding and abetting,
Irene tried in different settings both the bracelets she desired.
One was class monochromatic; the other whimsical, erratic,
Cheerful, with a bead emphatic... "Which," quoth she, "should I acquire?"
I gave her a look enigmatic: "'Tis you who those beads require."
I'm bad at poker, but no liar.

With one my Irene is toying; in the other she is joying...
Till I said: "I'll toss a coin; we'll see what the coin will say.
If both love and logic fails, we'll decide by heads or tails
Which you'll wear at the Wall of Wails, which in Ottawa will stay.
And if both tell you siren tales, well, there's always layaway,"
I gave my dispassioned say.

Once, twice, thrice I tossed my penny; Irene cried, "Don't tell me any
Of its answers; 'tis too many chances; sibyl, tell me true."
I regarded her, perusing: "Truly, if I'd had the choosing,
I would take the more amusing. It, I feel, is right for you.
And that's what the coin said, too."

So the fun one she was keeping; 'tother stayed in Shepherd's sleeping.
Next day I get a message weeping: "Mother says 'twas the wrong ware!
She said 'tis a crime of passion to buy such a whim of fashion.
In my style I feel it's clashing, and hear not its siren air.
On n'est pas serieuse quand on a dix-sept ans, it doth declare.
Je veux etre serieuse. Quoi faire?"

I wrote (though my French be dirty): "Could you name one gal of thirty
Who thinks she should have been more serious and had less fun at seventeen?
Wear it now; it makes me smile; and if you're not happy in a while,
There's a jeweller with a style, a young lady named Kythryne,
Who is known for many a mile for wirework ne'er before seen.
She'll make precious art of turquoise; darling, fear not, there's Kythryne."

Irene left for the Holy City, feeling happier and pretty.
As for me, fate had no pity: 'twas the month of The Exam.
The syntax of transformation class had no examination,
To my joy and exultation; but the others: oh god d---.
There were essay expectations in His de Maths: what a sham;
For two years I have shunned essays, and no essayist I am.

On April 11, my brother's birthday (yes, our family had the annoying habit of all being born in April except for my father), I went to aikido again. Oakenshield taught, and put me on fourth-kyu review - sankyo, all the way! I, nervous and concerned, misjudged an atemi, and accidentally clipped Oakenshield on the nose hard enough to dislodge his glasses. I apologised immediately; when I have accidentally punched my brother he has a tendency to be very annoyed indeed, so I have learned the value of apologising immediately, frequently, and profusely when punching someone in the nose. Then I walked with Oakenshield after class, putting in yet another apology and discussing comic book characters, if I recall correctly.

We parted near the university. To get home, I took a favourite shortcut, near the school, having to go through the alleyway between the military buildings and the City Hall. Usually, it is quiet and dark there.

Tonight I saw soldiers running around with rifles, shouting at each other. One of the soldiers was sitting down, with something dark next to him. Pool of blood! was my first thought, in the shadowy light of the streetlamps. Then I heard the yells "He is neutralised!" and looked closely to realise that, no, it was an M-16 assault rifle he had put down next to him (I later checked with Society Max to make sure the Canadian army does use M-16s; I knew what I saw was not an AK-47, because even in semidarkness I do recall the flag of Mozambique; and I was under the impression Uzis are a little smaller.)

I dismounted from my bike, uncertain.

"Come through, ma'am, it's all right," someone in authority yelled to me.

I walked my bike through, grinning with self-amusement at my adventure of passing through a war game exercise of the Canadian army, and trotted into the turning circle. It was a little after 9 p.m (my walk with Oakenshield had taken its toll on my usual cycling ETA to that point between aikido and home), and three guesses who I see heading to his car, on this hour of this day of all days?

The Dark Lord, for his walking silhouette I would recognise even in the streetlight shadows, turned his head to figure out what the shouting by the military buildings meant. To see a quick-stepping erstwhile volunteer who rarely crosses paths with him at this hour.

"It's a war game," I said. Excellent introduction, strangers in the night.


"It's a war game over there. Hello," I remembered Canadian formalities. Hey, in my world I would rather know what is the meaning behind running shouting soldiers near my place of work, than know that someone acknowledges greeting me.

"How are you?"

"Quite amused at going through a war game."

"Anyone getting shot?"

"No, but some people were neutralised."

"I guess it is a war game then. Have a good evening. Did you join in the fun?"

"No, I was unarmed. I prefer my fighting on equal terms. Have a good evening."

I rode off, giggling at my own evening of practicing torture methods of wrist controls, punching an instructor in the nose, apologising for it, walking through a war game, and meeting another instructor of very different things. Did you join in the fun, indeed. I love my life.

On Easter Saturday I took the bus to Bayshore shopping centre: just to see what is there, although usually I refuse to go anywhere my bike cannot take me. What I saw there was yet another thing to covet and, on the way back, the Civic Hospital helicopter rising. It took it a long time to get going: first the engines began to whirr, and I stopped to watch, hoping. I was just about to give up when the great propeller blades began to spin, spun, spun, spun, then when I was already getting bored of that, with a light rocking, the helicopter rose from the ground, and I got the same thrill I always get at watching a flying machine, my heart in my mouth, as it described a rising arc to fly away to sick people unknown. I suppose the time saved by taking it compensates for the time lost through getting it going. I rode off singing. I do not know why flying machines - planes, helicopters - drive me wild, no matter what their size. They do. Maybe I was a pilot in a past life. Maybe my father designed helicopter drive shafts.

I spent the rest of my Easter weekend preparing my taxes. Now I want two years' worth of tax refundin', so I gotta learn to do my taxes. It is the most boring job in the world that I have endured; I can see why professional tax preparers get paid their big bucks, to save the rest of us the boredom. And my taxes even lack the potential to be interesting: "Did you hold foreign property worth more than $100,000 in the past year?" "I wish." "Do you receive benefits as a member of the clergy?" "No." "Do you receive benefits as a member of the military?" "No."

Then I went to Magpie Rideau, as I used to do.

"So, did you do anything interesting this weekend?"

"My taxes," I sighed. April is the cruellest month...

"Is it because you are Russian?"

And that was when I decided I will no longer favour Magpie Rideau with my patronage. A few weeks later, I considered doing so, but just giving that girl a piece of my mind as to why, I understand now, you must never ever ever start a conversation about ethnicity. I may buy jewelry from her, but she and I are not that intimate. And besides, what the heck does being Russian have to do with filing income tax by April 30, as all Canadians are supposed to do? Then I changed my mind about that. The girl is an idiot, true; nothing can change her. I just will not buy jewelry there anymore.

My birthday fell on Orthodox Easter, so instead of partying as such, we went to a celebration hosted by the church.

I have told Traci this before, "Judging by the number of older men hitting on me, I am destined to be a second wife."

And I have recently come to put into words what I had known instinctively for a long time: "There exist few worries that cannot be banished by stepping on a dance floor." As is usual, it was mostly women with a few men bouncing to the beat, and me doing cabrioles and pique turns. "Wow! You do dance professionally?" "I hang out at the rehearsals with a semipro troupe, and I am the worst of the lot and have to fight tooth and claw to get a walk-on part..."

If only all people got their highs at social events by dancing! No, people must also get drunk. And when men get drunk, they start thinking that because I danced with them politely once, I will do so again and again. For them there is an aikido move called double tenkan; I developed a whole choreoraphy out of pivoting out of the way, in perfect time to the music, whenever he tried to take my hand, Turn north, turn south; it looked like a jive move from a distance. Remember the dancefloor scene in Shrek 2, when Prince Charming keeps on trying to kiss Fiona, and she pivots out of the way here, takes a rose in her teeth there? Someday, I will put my "Don't Dance With Me Dance" into a screenplay.

My brother put up the text to Yuri Shevchuk's song on his blog, wondering how to translate it.

Jurij Shevchuk, lead singer of rock group DDT, in live solo acoustic concert. (Rest of album is here)

This song actually taxes my Engrish. I am looking at it, and scratching my head, as I have no idea even how to start translating it. I’ve fed this text to Babelfish, but systran choked on it too. I guess it does not only tax me….

Россия (Небо на Земле)
Rossija (Sky on Earth) (mp3)

Then he went to me and said "Hey, can you translate some poetry for me?"

Well, I was trying to study for exams, I was trying to blog, I was trying to write, it was getting late, and I had given up trying to do anything productive. I printed the words he cited, and started sketching the translation. I saw a possible rhyme in the last verse, and worked backwards from there.

Where till dawn stands darkness raven,
Order sheets from prison sent
Are obeyed by minds unshaven
In unfaith, like testament.

Time upon their backs they carry
Pour it for weighing at each pass,
Polish up the marble forehead, [?]
And feed the Spassky hourglass.

Beneath icons they moan by day,
By night they howl at the sky,
Always sit in the wrong sleigh,
And head to the doctors by and by.

How many heads by now ‘ve been offed,
Not a single one sewn back.
They sing of grandparents’ profit,
While they trudge the bottom’s track.

Save themselves for the first dying;
Before the second come the wakes.
All saints the devils are crucifying:
God, it seems, his rest day takes.

All’s wrong-coloured, all’s frustration,
All the light one could see, and no light here.
Ambushed by a grimbeard nation,
And tortured many a year.

They seek with fire by daylight clear
A way to a world where it’s not the same.
There’s many holes out, they all hear,
And yet out no one came.

There, where by light stands darkness,
Where light by dark forever stands,
From Gospel to Councils wander
Minds strange to understand.

With hairy eyes their deeds they sew,
Hammer out children forge-defined.
They hitch sleds for summer’s snow,
And resemble human kind.

Hey you, cough to me, louse living,
Softly sing beneath moon’s rest,
Of how, in happy drunk oblivion,
I slept on a stable’s breast.

And I dreamed of other years:
A world with neither fools nor war,
Where maids nude and slim appear,
Where men sober-minded are,

Where a drunken angel winging
Brought us news of joy and mirth…
All of us, on our beds singing,
Build a heaven upon Earth.

Ha-ha. There was talk between my brother and his website partner of me attending or participating in poetry readings, but nothing has come of it yet. Anyhow, if my novel gets published, I am going to have to contact Shevchuk sooner or later, since I quote my translations of his work there too.

I was reading Black Phoenix Trading Post's Naughty or Nice inquisition's examples of pleas people submitted to prove their naughtiness or niceness. I was amused greatly. One person did haikus. I thought, "Hey, if it was me, I would not just do haikus, I would do a full-fledged poem!" Then I went to my morning shower thinking about it (somehow my poetry usually ends up being composed either on my bike or in the shower or while waiting for the laundry or otherwise...) This resulted, and I sent it to Irene, and she says it made her morning:

Listen, this lady is naughty!
She's proud, conceited and haughty
With lustful and fantastic dreams
(Never you mind that she seems
Gentle and pure,
Shy and unsure,
Caring and kind,
Never you mind:
In her eyes naughtiness gleams!)

She's a mathematician, that's right!
Doesn't that ruin her plight?
She would memorise,
Folks to terrorise,
Awful algebraic statements, that's right!
(Never you mind that two days out of three
She teaches, for free,
High school kids; you will see
It's only to find
Her love; never mind.
She's naughty as naughty can be!)

She's insolent, taunting, and bold!
And don't start on her passion for gold:
Her earnings she'd spend
On jewels without end,
No matter what common sense told.
And now she is crazy for oils
(Never you mind that she toils,
And would always lend
Cash and time to a friend,
Find the perfect gift,
Uncaring for thrift;
Doesn't that prove she's a serpent in coils?
She's naughty, as you have been told!)

She hates washing dishes; 'tis shady!
She can't sew and knit like a lady,
And, rather than learn,
Her money she'll burn
On clothes and shoes...or Mercedes.
She's a lover for chocolate dark:
Don't you see that evil spark?
(And never you care
That she'll always share,
And she would tell lies:
Claim it was free when she buys
It on purpose: she's a liar, so there!
That shows her naughty mark!)

She's a fantasy writer, alas!
She is doomed now, that naughty lass.
On pre-exam night
She's just sit and write,
Trusting to memory to pass.
And she always remembers all naughty affairs
(Never you mind
That a friend in a bind
Would always get time,
A sweet letter or rhyme,
And she'll rarely remind
Of dues; never mind:
When she does, him in debts she ensnares!)

I am certain you can hardly guess
From her looks, that her room is a mess:
Her clothes always look right,
So she's a hypo-crite,
And that's naughty forever, without cess!
Her bookshelves are constantly falling
(But when the BPAL oils come calling
She'll make everything clean
Lovely to be seen
To match the sweet smell
But, you know, well,
Forget it; her favourite oil is Fallen
And that means, as you surely can guess,
That she's fond of one sworn to the ruler of Hell!)

I have still, as of writing this, not received a shipping notification for my re-stock of Fallen. And I find that on every forum post I write, even in reviews of other oils, I always somehow mention Fallen. This girl has a crush. Come to me, o my love.

(More tales of April coming; just getting a post out.)

If I were a Dead Russian Composer, I would be Pyotr Chaikovsky.

I AM the Real Chaikovsky! Considered by most Westerners to be the greatest Russian composer of all, most late 19th Century Russians think I'm actually too Westernized in my musical tendencies. Despite this criticism, as well as the flak I had to take for my preference of Y-chromosomes, my ballets "The Nutcracker" and "Swan Lake" are upheld as among the greatest and most popular pieces of all time.

Who would you be? Dead Russian Composer Personality Test

If I were a Dead Russian Composer, I would be Sergei Rakhmaninov.

I lived in the early Twentieth Century and was well known for my compositional, conducting, and piano skills, yet I am melancholy despite this talent. My famous works include my nearly-impossible piano concerti.

Who would you be? Dead Russian Composer Personality Test

I got Chaikovsky the first time, but there were several questions where I could think of three equally plausible answers, depending on my mood, and the other two answer options both gave me Rakhmaninov.

Thanks, Athaira!

If I were one of Elgar's Enigma Variations, I would be Sir Edward Elgar (E.D.U.).

I am the exalted composer of this magnificent work, surrounded by my adoring circle of friends. I am energetic and somewhat enigmatic myself, a big fan of codes and logic puzzles. As for the abbreviation, it's a paraphrase of my wife's pet name for me, Edoo.

Who would you be? Enigma Variations Personality Test

Ladies and gentlemen, a math problem: If eight people are going to a hotel, and it is four people to a room, how many rooms will be rented?

Two, right? With fifteen years of math training, I thought so too. No, the correct answer is four, as this is not a mathematical, but a sociological problem.

There was a certain emptiness in me that weekend, as I realised I did not have to go anywhere, I did not have to eat out, I did not have to spend more hours of my time before a computer screen. It was a restless weekend; I got some loose ends of my His de Maths presentation tied up, and I learned from Ida the physiotherapist at dance that most people are inflexible enough that making suspects sit cross-legged with their hands resting on their heads is considered a stress position by interrogators. A stress position?

And I had a problem.

Lady Mollweide to parents of trivia team members, cc'd to me, excerpt:.
Revised cost breakdown for Chicago

Trivia Night prizes 450.00
Trivia Night Refreshments, posters, clipboards etc 100.00
Registration for NAQT tournament (discounted) 380.00
Return flight for 5 players plus 2 (female) coaches + male chaperone 4503.92
Air Canada - Tango Plus depart Thursday (?) a.m. return Sunday evening)
Hotel Rooms 4 rooms x 3 nights x 80.00 960.00
Transportation in Chicago $10.00 per person per day 240.00
Insurance (cancellation and health) estimated 800.00

Boat trip(est.) 160.00
Gallery and museum admissions 150.00
Food top-up + money cushion (?) 500.00
Team clothing (?) 250.00
Total 8493.92


3 bake sales (so far) at approx $100.00 300.00
Refreshments at Musical 350.00
Sale of leftover drinks, refreshments 200.00
Trivia Night 50 players x 20.00 1000.00
Sponsorship / Donations 1400.00
Car wash(est) 200.00
Raffle (est) 200.00
Tutoring (est) 200.00
Coffee sales (est) 150.00
Plant sales (est) 200.00

Tourmaline replies:

Sorry, where is the 4 rooms for 3 nights for $80.00 coming from?

I registered two rooms for 3 nights for $80.00 - that was the special price for quadruple occupancy using the discount code provided by the tournament organisers. If we are looking for double occupancy, the discount code will not apply and so I bet they would not be $80.00 per night. So either way, 4 rooms for $80.00 is inexact.

We need to get the rooms issue resolved soon; perhaps a parent poll - "Do you allow your son, Player X, to share a bed with Player Y and a room with Players W and Z, if that means there are less headaches for Tourmaline (Coach T) and Lady Mollweide (Coach C) and less money you have to pay/raise?" Would it be foolproof if the parents sign a waiver saying yes? If the entire United States, or high school trivia teams thereof, are doing it?

Back when our grade 8 band had a trip to Canada's Wonderland, we had quadruple occupancy (lads on one floor, ladies on another) and I never heard on the school grapevine of any problems (well, I can only speak for four 14-year-old girls, and about the worst thing we did was play Truth or Dare...). I think both Lady Mollweide and I would be informally polling teachers who had handled similar trips in past years to see how this had worked out. Other than the Principal, we did not hear of any other concrete objections.

There is also the question of, since we decided it would be fair to bring 5 players, even if we go into quad occupancy, one lucky gentleman will get to sleep in the adults' room, and the issue of the beds in the adults' room is another thorny issue entirely.

In past trips to the Reach provincials, the boys have behaved themselves very well, did not trash rooms etc, and as far as I know neither left anything behind, nor damaged property or each other, nor brought or used any forbidden substances. On the other hand, for the last three or four years at least, Reach has been giving players single rooms.

This is the reason I am cc-ing this letter to the parents: I think you should be fully informed and able to contribute on the issue of accommodation for your sons.


Of course, I went to school to be reminded that I have more things due on Monday April 11 than I can shake a stick at. And then I skipped trivia practice, despite the ICT this weekend, and went instead to keep my promise to the Dark Lord and clear out my desk. This time for sure.

"Do you have a moment?"

He looked up from his laptop in his classroom. "Do you need me to let you into the Mac lab?"

"Yes, and I may also need some advice."

"What about?" As I expected, he was guarded.

"When you took the volleyball team to OFSSA, how many people did you have per room? I asked you about this before, and you hedged your answer."

"Four. Four to a room, I think."

"And there were no objections to this?"

"I gave them the choice, either that or sleep on the sidewalk. There were no objections."

"And that is the way it is usually done? Four to a room?"

"Yes, I think so."

"Really? Because the principal is objecting to us now."

"What about?"

"Well, for our trip to Chicago. Since the whole tournament is taking place at a hotel, the hotel is offering us a low rate for quadruple occupancy. But the Principal objected. She said 'teenagers should not be sleeping four to a room,'" I outlined the situation.

"I do not see why this is so. They stood it. You do have to take a chaperone along, right? Because the coaches are female?"

"Yes, we are. One of the parents, probably." If none of them pull through, you're next on my list, my dear. But I did not say that.

"So you are going to have to put him in a separate room; he'll love you for it."

"Why so?"

"So that no one will disturb you when you are in your undies," he replied, with slight difficulty at my stubborn questioning of this taboo. I was reminded of the Sex and the City episode: "I was not raised in a naked house." "Neither was I. She probably was." While I am young and have the abs of an aikidoist and the legs of a dancer, I like myself in my undies, thank you very much.

He continued, "If there was a female chaperone coming with the volleyball team, I would have put her in a separate room all by herself."

"And she would have loved you for it," I said.

"She would have. Seeing members of the same sex in their undies is ok; seeing members of the opposite sex is taboo. And it can lead to big problems."

I thought of our wonderful dojo, with the washroom-and-corner to change in; spend enough time practicing low-budget aikido, and you forget about any such taboos. Guys all look the same. As do girls.

"So talk it out with Lady Mollweide."

"I will; I am just polling various people. So I will need the iMac."

"So you will need four rooms. You can put 2 guys in one room and 3 in another and rotate so that one of them gets a single bed."

The ridiculous mathematics of this! Even if Lady Mollweide talks Lord Mollweide into going (or I take a lover), I can see that instead of Lady Mollweide and me, The Man, and the team, it will have to be The Couple, The Other Woman, and the team. Come to think of it, I'd like to be the Other Woman. And bounce around on TWO queen beds all by myself.

"Or we can have one of them sleep on chairs," I recalled our grade eight trip to Canada's Wonderland, where Athaira preferred to sleep in two armchairs instead of with me (Athaira, that experience made me feel inadequate ever since; just kidding).

"Or get a bus," he suggested. "It is Chicago, there are buses, get one of them to ride on them back and forth. Once it finishes, make him go on another bus," he paused before an exit.

"Pick a direction, any direction," I called cheerily.

"This way." He let me ahead of him into the drizzling afternoon.

"It's rainy."

"We won't melt," he replied. "Contrary to popular belief, I am not a warlock."

I stopped in my tracks. "Hold on a moment, paradigm shift here. You are not a warlock?"


He let me go on ahead of him (never let a warlock at your back!) while he reprimanded a bunch of lads for playing ball in the traffic circle. "We did get one student hit by a car and get head trauma; we don't want to lose any more students."

When he caught up with me, I asked, "When did this happen?"

"A few years ago."

"Before you came or after?"

"I think it was a little bit before I came."

"Then I must have been there," said the sage elder me, "and I have never heard of this story."

We proceeded down to the Mac lab. "This won't take you long, would it?" he asked. "You just need to erase your files?"

"And iTunes," I reminded him. "Your students don't need to listen to my wonderful comforting German music." Oh, la plage de St. Tropez, we had a dirty love affair and there is music in the air when we're in love...

"Well, it won't take long. Because I have six students waiting for math help upstairs."

"Crying?" I grinned with anticipation of the sight.

"No, just trying."

"You aren't doing your job well, then."

"I told them I do not appreciate crying."

I settled down to the iMac and selected my folder for termination.

"So how did it go?" the Dark Lord asked me .

I gave him a quick summary. "Well," he replied, "I am sure they were all really impressed with your efforts."

"It is not what you are sure," that way of his of being certain of my success has always annoyed me, even though I know he knows no other way to express himself in this context, "it is what they are sure."

"That's true. So, would you do it again?" the Dark Lord asked as he did his own fussing with another iMac. He knew the answer already, probably. In that sense, he knows me not wisely but too well.

"You know, when Lord Bedivere announced 'The School's first annual Trivia Night!' I wanted to say 'You've got to be dreaming in Technicolor!' "

"You mean, you did not mention to Lady Mollweide that this is a one-time contract?" he teased.

"Well, you know, Dark Lord," I said, "you accused me once that I like volunteering for stuff. It is indeed a flaw of mine. A really big flaw."

He laughed, and I deleted the iTunes in one massive clump. We spoke of the future of the Mac lab, and of burning the DVD of the musical.

"Well," I said, having nothing more to do there but to let the Dark Lord consume his dark chocolate, "I shall see you around."

He shut the Mac lab door and turned out the light; we were in darkness in the outer lab as he said, "Well, I hope it all irons out for you."

If it irons out, this blog would not be interesting for my fan club to read. "As soon as something irons out, something else takes its place. It's a fact of life," I said.

"I mean, about your trip and all," he opened the outer lab door and we proceeded upstairs.

"Whether it irons out or not," I said, "I am going ahead with it. Darn those other hotel rooms, though, they're on my credit card."

"They're on your credit card?" he repeated as we crossed the courtyard.

"Well, I reserved them on my credit card."

"And you are sure the school will pay you back?" he looked at me archly.

"If they're not, I would sever all..." I began, and then, in the words of CHAT transcribers everywhere, "triple-slashed." My connections with the school will not pull a single brick of it down if I severed them - except for maybe that of Lady Mollweide and the trivia team. "If not, I would sue them."

And very maybe that of the Dark Lord. "You'll have to make a PowerPoint presentation to the judge about it."

"Keynote, Keynote!" I laughed. "I'll go to you."

And thus went the first real true Dark Lord and Tourmaline conversation in months and months.

And so endeth this part of my saga, but since there are still plenty of loose ends, it would be an insult to my readers to end the story now. More tomorrow.
You scored as Journalism.

You are an aspiring journalist, and you should major in journalism! Like me, you are passionate about writing and expressing yourself, and you want the world to understand your beliefs through writing.

English 100%

Linguistics 100%

Journalism 100%

Dance 83%

Engineering 83%

Theater 83%

Psychology 75%

Mathematics 75%

Sociology 75%

Art 58%

Anthropology 58%

Philosophy 50%

Chemistry 33%

Biology 33%

What is Your Perfect Major? Quiz

So I am only 75% a mathematician, heh? They had me ask a tiebreaker question between Linguistics, English, and Journalism, too. I took the test before, but my computer froze on the results - that time I got English, because I am passionate about writing. Well, honey, creative writing, definitely yes, but writing essays, no thanks, no siree, please. Interestingly enough, history is not an option.

Thank you to Jelibeenz for introducing me to this wonderful check that, yes, linguistics is an appropriate major for me.

Now I will get back to wasting my weekend... I meant to be so productive... Nah.
So, loyal readers who do not know me personally (as of writing this, I do not know of any such, but you may come someday), I owe you the story of the sequences and the associated story of the math homework wars, and the story of the Cult of the Divine Forklift. The sequence story (although long) is easier, as I wrote it up in grade 12; from the third person point of view, true, and from an almost fantasy-world point of view, but here, I will just change the names and paste it right here. The sequences story happens on the third day of grade 11 math with the Dark Lord, but first I will have to put down what happened on the first day:

The little paper announcing her classes Tourmaline now held in her hand, a little wrinkled between her fingers from twirling it back and forth. Chemistry. Literature. East-Calisandor. Spanish. History. Physics. Second-year French. And, first of all on the list, her first class that first day, Mathematics, Gifted, a compulsory course. Taught by the Dark Lord.

“Hey,” Chion greeted her in his usual way, “what’s up, who do you have?”

“Math,” Tourmaline sighed. “You had the Dark Lord last year, didn’t you? You mentioned him. What is he like?”

“The Dark Lord? You have the Dark Lord? You’re lucky. He’s brutal, but he’s good. I have Lady Gaussjordana now. I don’t know what she’s like. Some say she’s nice, some say she’s bad...”

“I’ve heard she’s nice,” Athaira put in, sneaking around Tourmaline’s back as usual. “I have her.” She glanced at the class lists. “Oh good, you and I are in the same class for Lit! And Chion and me have the same math. But I don’t think there is anything else. Hey, look, you have math when I have French and you have French when I have math! I have French third year. With Lady Arne. Such a bad teacher, god!”

Tourmaline had heard. “I have to take second year. With Lord Aglaion.”

“But you’re so good,” said Chion. “Why do you need to take second year? But you’ll like Aglaion. He’s the funniest, and he teaches well. And the Dark Lord for math...”

“I hate math,” Athaira muttered. “Math just tears apart everything.”

“Welcome to the club,” Chion replied cynically. “Well, good luck in math. I have to hop to my Chemistry class. I have Lady Della. I think she’s new.”

Lady Della was the name written on Tourmaline’s own Chemistry class as well. “Wish me luck facing this Dark Lord gentleman.” From his name, he was Thian, but she knew nothing else about him.

Tourmaline had always felt most comfortable sitting in the front row, where she could pester the teacher as much as she could with annoying questions. As the rest of her class trickled in, the first-comers took the back, and everyone else sat as close to the back as they dared, glancing at each other warily. The Dark Lord.

“He’s not as bad as he is to people who skip.”

“He is a damn good math teacher.”

“He’s weird, though.”

Then the object of the discussion entered.

Tourmaline’s peripheral vision had never been very good, especially on her right, so as he approached along the classroom wall on the right to go to the front of the class, all she saw at first was a blue blur. A blur that resolved itself into a Thian man in a pressed blue shirt and blue tie.

Her brain mentally ticked off a description of him as it had done for the dragon. So long ago, when she had gone to the cave to get the answers to all the questions she may ask.

The Dark Lord’s face was a narrow oval rather than the round faces some Thians had, but without angles or hard corners in it. He was rather tall, (though Tourmaline was not one to judge height), built without any excess weight, and something about the way he walked told of an athletic grace, and of a firmness of purpose. He wore glasses, and the eyes behind them were chips of black obsidian as he surveyed his class.

“I am the Dark Lord. This is probably the longest I shall ever speak to you; but I need to take the first class to take down some rules and what I expect of you during the remainder of the year.”

From his pocket he pulled out a small PDA and ticked off on it the points he was going to cover.

“The first rule in my class is RESPECT! And that means respect for yourself, respect for others, and respect for the school!”

For a moment Tourmaline let a query be filed as to whether it had been wise to sit in the front row. Motion overruled. The front row is my home. It is where all the action is.

“Respect for yourself, for others, and for the school means that you come in on time! And that means before the bell! Any students who come in after the bell I mark down as absent, and they have to go and sign themselves in! Well,” his voice slightly dropped its thundering pitch, “if the opening exercises come on and I look outside and see you standing there looking stupid and mouthing ‘sir...’ I might let you in. But anything after that, you go down and sign in, no exceptions!

“Respect for yourself means that you come to class prepared! You bring your textbook, your notebook, your pencil, your number-calculator, your loose leaf paper, and anything else you need.

“Speaking of materials, what do you write with?”

“A pencil?” someone hazarded after a silence.

“A pencil. With an eraser, so you can erase! If I see all those scribbled out numbers, and I look and I think-“ he held up an imaginary paper in front of his face, and scratched his head, squinting at it, “ ‘is that a three? Or is that a six?’ And inside something is going to me-“ he rhythmically tapped his temple - “ ‘Fail the student, fail the student, fail the student...’ And I will go ‘Oh yeah, zero! If I can’t figure out what it is, it’s a zero!

“Zero,” he grinned with a flash of teeth at the word, “is my favourite number. It is so easy to work with it. If you multiply something by zero, the answer is - zero! If you add zero to any number, the answer is - that same number! And it is so easy to figure out averages! Let’s see,” the imaginary paper came out again, “this student’s got zero,” he ticked it off with a pen, “zero, zero for everything, your average is - zero! Easy, isn’t it?

“ ‘But sir,’ you might ask,” he got back to his topic of pencils and erasers, “ ‘what about whiteout? Now let’s think of it. How much does an eraser cost? Four of those big ones at once? A dollar, two dollars? Now how much does a bottle of whiteout cost? Four dollars at least. And how long does it last?”

He leaned sideways on the table, knocking the last imaginary fluid out of a stuck imaginary bottle: “Come on, come on, come out!” Something about him forcibly reminded Tourmaline of Chion, and she thought it was the mimicry talent, as well as the basic face layout of dark hair, dark eyes, and glasses...

“Use an eraser.”
He checked the PDA again. Professor Moriarty, Tourmaline thought. The last time you interfered with me was, [leaf through notebook] hmph, on March 4th... “Respect for yourself means that you come to class with the appropriate materials. And if you do not, if I find that you consistently do not...I will be on your case. I will hunt you down. I will meet you before school, every day. As you tumble out of your parents’ car and they wave to you ‘Bye-bye dear, have a nice day at school!’ I will come towards you and ask ‘Do you have your notebook? Do you have your textbook? Do you have loose leaf paper? Do you have a pencil, a calculator, and an eraser?’ And I will keep on doing it until you do! I am here at seven-thirty every day, you don’t worry.”

Tourmaline noted that.

“Oh yes, and I will ask whether you have your homework done.

“You do your homework!

“Every day I will assign homework - questions out of the textbook. Speaking of that, let’s assign textbooks.”

Thunk! “These are brand new, absolutely new, just fresh from the printer; in fact, I think you might be able to get a very small high if you sniff between the pages - don’t try it. And I expect them covered! You go to the nearest store, and you ask for brown paper, and you cover them. Today!”

The textbooks began to circulate. From behind his desk he pulled out a stack of papers.

“This shall be my only gift to you this year. My entire copying budget was spent on these. These are your table of contents. You put them at the front of your notebook, at the front of each chapter, so I am giving you the first one and you shall copy them for all the succeeding chapters. Up here you put the chapter title and in here you put the date, the lesson, and the homework assigned for that day.”

“So it will be the first chapter title?” Tourmaline spoke up, checking the textbook table of contents. “‘Patterns of Growth: Sequences’?”

“Yes.” She was a desk to his left, not directly beneath him. “And I will check it. I will check your homework at any time, and I will check your notebook - I love picking up notebooks and shaking them,” he demonstrated with a textbook, “if anything falls out, zero!

“‘But sir,’ you will whine, ‘I don’t have time.’ I don’t care. You have to work after school? So what, do it after work. Do it during your spares. Do it before school. But I have a rule - if your homework is not done, and I check it, I give you a zero; but if you show it to me done before the next test, I will cancel the zero and replace it with a mark. But after the test - all zeroes are zeroes!

“And if the homework is ‘half done’, or ‘done except for one question’, or ‘done except for one step’ - guess what? It’s not done!

“Oh, and when I put homework on the board - god help you if you look up and go ‘Is that all, sir?’ ‘Hey,’” he grinned an evil grin, “ ‘do you want more?’ I am always happy when students ask for more homework. I will double it. So... be quiet when I assign homework.”

He pulled a stack of blue portfolios out onto his desk.

“This is my other gift to you. I spent my entire budget on these. This is your quiz notebook. They are blue - in case you haven’t noticed, blue is my favourite colour - every day I will give you a quiz, on last day’s homework, and you keep them in here. By the end of the year it will be this thick. All your tests, you keep in there, and this is what I will mark.

“And by the way, I have already decided when your first test is going to be - write it in your notebooks, it is October 10th, right after the long holiday weekend. So nobody will whine ‘But sir, you didn’t give us any time to study!’ Yeah, I did, what was the weekend for? And my tests are the hardest in the school. You know the math exam is usually out of a hundred marks? Well, my test are out of hundred and twenty, a hundred and fifty. You write the exam and you say ‘That’s nothing in comparison to the Dark Lord's tests!’"

The astute reader having already noticed that Tourmaline was an incurable idiot, she wrote her name on her quiz notebook in dark blue ink.

“I have everything planned out: every lesson, every test. Last year we even finished ahead of time and had a few classes left over at the end of the year. I had them do projects - on the Pythagorean theorem, on the quadratic formula - and show the projects out in front of the class. And then I would ask “Hey, can you prove that?” and have them derive the quadratic formula right in front of the class. All thirteen steps.

“And speaking of tests - respect for the school means that plagiarism is followed by very harsh consequences. You guys are all intellectually elite, gifted, right? - well, they tell me you are. You are competing for universities with students not just from Ontario, but from all over Canada. In my home province of Quebec,” his voice rose, “instead of fourth and fifth year, there is a thing called CEGEP. It is far harsher than this Academy, far harsher. It is like universities; you have to pay for it. And if you fail, so what? They’ll just kick you out, because they already have your money. You are competing against people like this, who have made it through that kind of work.”

“You always talk about CEGEP and failing CEGEP,” someone murmured, not meant to be very audible.

“That’s because he did,” a girl in the second row quipped.

The Dark Lord glared at her, a smile dancing with the corners of his mouth. He reached up to drum fingertips on his temple. “Fail the student, fail the student, fail the student...”

In Tourmaline’s heart rose the fire of righteous indignation at a pretender to her post. She, Tourmaline Variety, had always been her class Queen of the Smartass Remark.

“You are all here because you want to have a bright future, right? University is the key to your bright future. This classroom is the key to university; this classroom is the key to your future! I am the key to your future.”

On the front page of her notebook, Tourmaline wrote down Oct. 10 is test for 1st unit Chapter 1: Patterns of Growth; Sequences. The Dark Lord is the key to our future. She wondered if the Dark Lord had ever read communist propaganda about the ‘bright future of humanity’; despite the Sattalyoran, not Russian, rolling off his tongue, how could it be coincidence arising from the Dark Lord’s dark brain?

“And I know how you guys cheat. I know all the tricks, and I will catch you. I know the standing-up-to-sharpen-a-pencil, and the scratch-your-head-and-look-sideways, and the oops-my-pencil-fell-down-let-me-lean-over-and-get-it...”

That was the minute Tourmaline began to hate him.

“And universities will look at your record,” the quiz notebooks had by now all been signed and returned to his desk; he grabbed one and opened an imaginary student record: “ ‘Hmmm... Excellent marks... Hmmm... Brilliant student... Hmm... Active in the community... Hmmm... Plagiarism.’ ” He tossed the notebook expertly into the wastepaper basket. “There goes your bright future.”

“And when you do your homework, you may ask what if you copy the answer from the back of the book? Well, isn’t that plagiarism? Copying?

“This is the HMS Titanic, right here this classroom, and you know what happened to that one. There are not enough lifeboats! It is going to sink at any time, if you do not give me one hundred percent effort! And ninety-nine point nine-nine-nine-nine-nine-nine percent does not round up; this is not the way you’ve been taught in math class. It rounds down to zero! You know us math majors. Like everything to be precise.”

This is the HMS Titanic, right here this classroom, Tourmaline dutifully copied down the essential points of the day’s lesson.

“Some teachers believe that they should start you with one hundred and let you lose points. I say no; you come in here with zero and I start you with zero! You have to win every mark I give you, and if you do not give me that one hundred percent effort - at zero you stay!”

He scanned the silent class.

“I have said zero is my favourite number. But I do have another favourite number - one hundred. Because,” he grinned, “it has two zeroes! And if you do all your work and you give all your effort and you do all your homework - yes, it is possible to have one hundred in my class.”

Not for me, Tourmaline thought in the far darkness of her mind. One hundred percent in math...

“Any questions?”

“Sir?” One girl raised her hand.


“Are you going to assign Chapter Problems this year?”

Something about this question filled the Dark Lord with joy. “Oh yeah, last year I assigned everyone the Chapter Problems in the textbook and made them hand them in. I remember Euryale handed in like twenty-five pages, because I ask for all the steps and proofs to everything, right?... No, I think this year I’ll make you do the Chapter Challenges. The day before each test I’ll have you do them to hand them in, and they will count for a few marks on the test.”

The clock on the wall was approaching the end of this seventy-five-minute ordeal. “Okay, your homework for today is to cover your textbook and do, let me see, pages 14 and 15 numbers one to eleven. Odd letters. The quizzes will begin next day! Write this down in your table of contents!”

“What is the title?” Tourmaline the goody-two-shoes model-student queried.

“Title?” Among all his notes, this one point seemed to not be covered. “Oh, Introduction.”

This was faithfully inscribed in the table of contents as well as in the front page of the notebook, underneath the inspirational quotations.

Tourmaline hated being scared; it kick-started all her rebellion and revenge programs. But both her natural reaction to being honestly scared and the first step in her rebellion program was Be very, very good, and very, very polite. While studying the situation, collecting information, and looking for the weak points that would allow her to break out of there and get her revenge. And trusting Tourmaline Variety, even Tourmaline the Very, Very Good, to be Very, Very Good was a weak point indeed.

“Oh, and by the way,” the Dark Lord continued, “I don’t want to hear the excuse ‘Oh, I had homework in my other subjects...’ Math is the most important subject, isn’t it?” He grinned broadly at his class.

“And if you have any difficulties - my spares are period 3, 4, and 7; I am usually in the math office or I like to spend time in the teachers’ lounge; you know that little cubicle in the math office just as you go in, to your right? That’s mine. At noon, before school, after school, during my spares, look for me in one or the other place.”

Tourmaline had never been to the math office, or to a math office of any kind - never had any reason to. The Dark Lord’s spares period 3, 4, 7 joined the essential data of today. Period 3 was her spare. Who would want to be tutored by him?

“And another rule of mine,” The Dark Lord added, “ is that you’re not allowed to put anything away until the bell rings. Or I keep you all in. You are getting seventy-five minutes of class, every minute of it.”

The bell agreed. It rang.

“It’s home-room time. Make sure you go. And cover your textbooks; I am checking next day. And do your homework! Have a good one.”

The Dark Lord had the kind of voice that makes even imperative sentences that don’t merit an exclamation mark fall just short of meriting it. An exclamation mark after The Dark Lord is the key to our future was overdoing it, but a period was woefully inadequate.

So that’s the Dark Lord for you. So after that, there was the third day.

A Very Good Sequence

The Dark Lord was greatly distressed over the previous day’s quizzes. Greatly distressed.

“I have to tell you I was disgusted at the quizzes. I have seen very few things in my life as bad as this - crap! “ he resolved on a word that Tourmaline had never thought teachers were allowed to use when students could hear them. “In my home province of Quebec, where the passing mark is sixty percent, you would all flunk!”

Yes, indeed, Tourmaline did badly, though she, she confirmed on her calculator, did not fail. Just barely. But she was going to do well on this one, she vowed mentally to a Dark Lord whose blue shirt had suddenly decided to go blurry for a moment.

She probably did. At least, she thought she did. She needed to rectify that stupid blue ink of her name, but there was no time. The Dark Lord gave no time. She copied down the answers of the quiz in her notebook, already not remembering what kind of delirious ravings she had written for the question.

“We get story time today,” the Dark Lord boasted. “I’ve been reading this kids’ book about math, called The Number Devil, and I want to read some of it to you today.”

“There are books about math to read for fun?” someone commented from the back (another usurper to Tourmaline’s crown; but Tourmaline would not have heckled that one. She knew there were books about math to read for fun. She had read some of them.)

“Yeah, there are some great books about math,” the Dark Lord waxed enthusiastic. “The history of numbers, the history of equations... I am reading this great book right now called Zero: The Dangerous Idea,” he savoured the title, “cool, eh?”

Tourmaline had actually heard of this book, somewhere in the book-review pages of some science periodical or other. Many moons later she was to note that the Dark Lord had quoted the title wrong: the book was actually called Zero: The Biography of a Dangerous Idea.

“The book I’ll read to you,” he flourished a slim hardcover with a colourful front, “is called The Number Devil. It is about,” he began reading the little description of it on the inside cover, “this little boy named Robert...”

“It’s a kids’ book!” another peanut-gallery-ist protested.

“So?” the Dark Lord responded with a brilliant smile. “You’re kids. I’m a kid.”

“So Robert,” he continued, “hates his math teacher - ooh!” He was dazzled at the possibility of such a relationship. ‘And so he hates math as well. So he begins to have dreams and he is visited each night by a little number devil who teaches him about the world of math. Each night is a chapter. I will begin at the sixth night.

“ ‘The Sixth Night,’ “ he began.

“You probably think I’m the only one” said the number devil the next time he turned up, perched on a folding chair in the middle of a vast potato field.

“The only what?” asked Robert.

“The only number devil. But I’m not. Number Heaven, where I come from, is teeming with us. I’m not even one of the bosses.” [That was where the Dark Lord clarified “The bosses are the greatest mathematicians in history. Their chief is Professor Horrors, that’s Gauss.”] “The bosses do nothing but sit and think. Now and the one of the will laugh and say something like Rn = hn factorial times f of n open bracket (a + ) close bracket.” */(Enzensberger, Hans Magnus. The Number Devil. Trans. Michael Henry Heim. Henry Holt & Co., 2000. Aw, I forgot the city.) /*

Tourmaline’s eyes lit up. “Repeat that!” she asked delightedly, starting to write it down.

“It doesn’t matter. */ So he did not repeat it. So I only got the R sub n equals H sub n factorial So I quoted it wrong. It’s all his fault. /*

"So all the great mathematicians go to number heaven and the number devils come from number heaven.”

The girl who had tried to usurp Tourmaline’s crown the first day spoke up again. “Shouldn’t number devils come from number hell?”

“That’s a serious misconception,” the Dark Lord assured her, eyes dancing. “A serious misconception.”

Anyhow, the heavenly denizen takes Robert out to some field or other where they watch a pair of rabbits (one pair) grow a year old (one pair) give birth to another pair of rabbits (two pairs) then another pair of rabbits while the first grow a year old (three pair) then both the younger and the older have kids while the second set of kids are busy growing to maturity (five pair) get it? Oh, never mind, it’s the Fibonacci sequence, and it ended, if Tourmaline understood correctly, by Robert being inundated with roughly 1418 pairs of very cute furry rabbits and him being emotionally scarred for life by such a demonstration of the Fibonacci powers before the spirit of number heaven saves him by making all the rabbits go away.

For those who were too busy contemplating the theology and philosophy of devils still being allowed to inhabit heaven, instead of following Tourmaline’s example and listening very attentively to the text, the Dark Lord had prepared a lovely diagram. It had years along the y-axis and pairs of rabbits along the x, and best of all, it was a pictograph, so along each row for each year, there were clustered gray rather dorky-looking but recognisable rabbits grinning through their whiskers at the artist and wrinkling their rabbit noses.

“Did you draw those, sir, or are they from the book?” Tourmaline inquired impishly.

“They’re from the book of course,” he laughed. “You think I could draw like that?”

So few of Tourmaline’s teachers could draw that she had begun to suspect they teach a “How To Draw Badly” course in teachers’ college, the way they have bad handwriting courses in medical school. But she was feeling facetious; the tale of the number heaven and its happy denizens had made her own devils wake up and dance in her eyes. “I have complete and utter faith in your abilities, sir,” she declared fervently, and began to, very illegally indeed, sketch a number devil in the margin of her notebook.

“So,” the Dark Lord finally closed the book, “that is the Fibonacci sequence. Lesson #3,” he turned to the board. “Sequences and the Recursive Formula.

“Hey,” a thought suddenly struck him, “you guys are all here because you want to be physicists and scientists and engineers, right?”

“No,” there was a general muttered chorus.

“Then why are you in this class? This is preparation for university courses you need advanced math for.”

“We are all just here because this is the gifted class...” someone piped up nervously.

Why was she here? Tourmaline thought. She did not think she had the math skills to be an engineer or physicist, and yet she would never go into an easier, less theoretical, more applied class. Why?

“Definition: A recursive sequence is a sequence where a new term is generated by the previous term or terms. A recursive formula is the general term for a recursive sequence.

“Note: The recursive formula will refer to at least one known term.

“Note: The recursive formula shows how to find each term from the previous term or terms.”

With tears in her heart Tourmaline erased the incredibly cute number devil, and settled down to figure out his examples of sequence after sequence after sequence. Actually no, they only did two examples, but writing out all those terms for each one and checking how each one applied to the formula... She had herself often wanted, in those happy days when she was in a good mood about math, to write a book like that, about someone who hates math and gets a wise counsellor to guide him through it. The author of The Number Devil had beaten her to the punch.

All too soon, it was two minutes until the end of class. The Dark Lord stepped over to a convenient area of the board and began to write out Homework. Slash underline.

“Hmmm,” he opened the textbook, “read example 3 on page 30; it’s a good way to start. Then...”

Questions 1, 2, 3, 6... The little devil that lived behind Tourmaline’s tongue (not a number devil, Best Beloved, a Tourmaline-devil, a trouble-devil, a rebel-with-no-cause-but-the-kicks-of-rebelling devil) decided to pull it.

“Is that a sequence?” she asked, grinning from ear to ear.

The Dark Lord stopped dead in his tracks and stared for a moment at the board. “So you want a sequence?” he grinned his most evil grin to date. He grabbed the rag and wiped the beginnings of a sequence clean. “Here, questions 1 to 20, every one. Like that sequence?”

For an instant the world went dark before Tourmaline’s eyes. ‘That is a very good sequence,” she declared without skipping a beat. I’ll be damned if you make me regret what I say and what I feel like saying!

From behind her, she could hear audible moans, gritting of teeth, and death threats. Tourmaline tried one final plea. “You’ve got blood on your hands, sir.”

“Well,” he grinned, “bring me a note from your parents next class. I’ll be checking notebooks next day,” The Dark Lord was incredibly pleased with himself.

A note from your parents for what? This note confirms that Tourmaline was not killed brutally by an enraged mob of her classmates, and that is not her ghost or doppelganger coming back to haunt the Dark Lord for being responsible for her death... Signed, Tourmaline’s parents.

There was a Russian saying If you like sliding, like pulling the sled uphill. Well, if she liked heckling, Tourmaline resolved, she will like the math homework. She will enjoy the math homework. She will find all the delight she could in the math homework, all the relaxing and the quiet artistry she had come so close to discovering before in the Dark Lord’s math homework.

Once upon a time there was a masochists’ revolt in hell.

The bell rang. “Have a good one.”

With a smile you could see a mile, Tourmaline rose, ignoring the daggers her classmates threw at her with their eyes, and stopped by the desk where the book The Number Devil lay.

“May I take a look at this?”

The Dark Lord gave permission.

* * *

“So I think my class is out to lynch me,” Tourmaline finished the very condensed version of the tale to Athaira at lunch.

“I would too, if I were them. That is so like you to do this.”

A classmate of Tourmaline’s had approached her in home-room and pointed out again that you never should say anything when the Dark Lord is assigning homework, I did that last year. His tone was of humour but not much sympathy, and it did not help Tourmaline very much at the present moment. She resigned herself to doing some very relaxing and fun sequences, and did not think of writing all the terms out, one by one, to get to the needed term.

Tourmaline wasn’t lazy. Many have called her lazy, and she herself had called herself lazy, but what she was truly was impatient. If it was tedious, she did not want to do it. If it was interesting, she could do it for an hour, (then do something else for a little while to get her brain in higher gear, then do it again, but she will get it done if she had to stay up all night and work other temporal miracles). She did not divide the world into Play and Work; she divided it into Fun and Boring. And the Dark Lord has just moved math into Fun; in a roundabout way of course.

How To Give Time-Delayed Death Threats

Tourmaline joined the cluster of her math classmates in her spare, working steadily on math - her math. Hey, by carefully eating lunch with only her intimate friends (as in, not members of her math class, Yaleth notwithstanding) the previous day, she had avoided any quiet arranged murders, and now she was only a fellow math student united in the arduous task of getting those twenty questions done before the quiz and the checking.

Until the Dark Lord came by.

The Dark Lord, Tourmaline noted, had some definite habits, if habits they can be called. Well, giving students homework as a punishment for making his work harder was one of them. Wearing a blue shirt, black pants and tie every day was another (the shade of blue of the shirt varied, and the ties varied, Tourmaline had begun to notice). Another was his goodbye: always “Have a good one.” And another was his way of always sometime (usually near the beginning) in period 3, going down to the dining hall.

He strolled by their table where Tourmaline and Yaleth and another Thian boy, Thuarno, were steadily solving the recursive sequences (the word “recursive” does contain another word in it, a common word in Tourmaline’s vocabulary and not too complimentary to the sequences, but she was not using it; though some others might).

“Working on math homework?” he inquired, with that current of amusement running just beneath the dry drill-sergeant tone that was so particular to the Dark Lord. “Good, good. Especially since... I looked at them and I really thought they were going to murder you then, they were looking at you that way...” He grinned.

“It’s not that bad,” Thuarno spoke up. “It’s just, writing out those first five terms of a sequence is a little...tedious.”

Thuarno, Tourmaline had already noted and she was to note many times more, was one of those scientific minds who care about the truth so much they do not realize that it is sometimes better to not speak all the truth in order to be a little...tactful.

The Dark Lord lit up. “You find the first five terms tedious? I could have made you do ten. Or a hundred. Or a million...”

Some fact Tourmaline had once read in a book of weird facts poked its little head up in the front of her brain. If you wanted to count one thousand million pound notes, one by one, it will take you seventy years to do so - without losing count of course!

“It will take seventy years, sir,” she countered firmly without stopping to look at the fact too closely. Looking at it would have told her she was off by a factor of one thousand, but she, unlike Thuarno, was not concerned about the truth, she was playing a game.

“Seventy years?” The golden triangles on his tie. “Let’s try it. And if it takes any less than seventy years, if I check in sixty-nine years and you’re done...”

Tourmaline dared.

“You’ll be dead by then, Lord,” she countered with laughter in her voice. No, she did not bother to check if that was actually a prophecy, she was playing.

The Dark Lord blinked. Then moved his own piece. “Oh dear,” he mimed grabbing at his heart, “how upsetting! What if I call your parents and ask ‘Dear sir and madam, your daughter has foretold that I will die in seventy years. Does she do that often? And is she ever right? If so, we can go to the casino and try to win something...”

To the question “Does she do that often?” Tourmaline’s parents would have said “Yes.” But not up to casino standards.

“Yaleth,” she asked when he left, “can I borrow your Chem assignment?”

Naturally, she had not done her own.

And people think I am a genius and have a ninety-nine average and am the smartest person ever...

So then I got moved to grade 11 ("third year") French, which took me from the Dark Lord's class to Lady Gaussjordana's.
I made a claim, based on Nursing Made Incredibly Easy!'s description of bipolar disorder, that bipolar disorder - episodes of feeling very good indeed mixed with episodes of feeling very bad indeed - matches being in love symptom for symptom. On looking into the Wikipedia, where there is a very good article on bipolar disorder, I may have been a little generous. Or maybe, which is more likely, I have bipolar disorder. I like Bipolar I: it sounds more fun*. All a diagnosis requires is one manic episode, and I can recall at least three.

*This may seem like a very crass statement to those people who may read this and may suffer from debilitating mania, requiring medication. By the description of mania as very high euphoria, accompanied by a flight of ideas, I have felt that quite a few times. As for distractability, ignorance of danger...well, I am typing this now instead of studying for two math exams because I simply cannot look at math anymore for at least an hour.

One episode I had in grade ten, triggered by talking to my crush, I was so intrigued by I wrote the symptoms down, and later put them in my novel almost verbatim:

"She was singing and weeping without real sound or real tears. Agony and ecstasy, good and evil, went to their extremes and met each other on the other side of the circle. She wanted to (get on her bike) and ride, ride as fast as she could and faster still, but ... she knew that it would not cure the feelings that were bursting her and tearing her heart apart. Riding was not what she wanted, and neither was weeping --- what was there to weep for? --- nor laughing, nor flying. There was just one thing she knew would cure her, and that was to tear her bursting heart out of herself, through the ribs and out, and hold it high, a trembling ball of glowing golden astral matter." [Unpublished.]

This is not something you can just make up. And this was not the only time. I often associated those episodes with talking to the men I loved (I promised I will not talk more about them) but I once had one come on in the topology lecture of Calculus III, and very often I get them by dancing to a song I like. In the Wikipedia description of hypomania, it mentions that some people have hypomania as their baseline. I think that's me:
"Insanely so." Are other people any other way, and do not have cheerful as their default state? [ibid.]

Ok, so the Nursing Made Incredibly Easy! article also says that it is very hard to diagnose bipolar in teenagers because the hormonal flux is similar to many of the symptoms. And I never had the symptom of being "overtly and inappropriately sexual" (if anyone disagrees, stand up now and state your case). Indeed, I may be playing Jerome K. Jerome, whose narrator in the book Three Men in a Boat, (To Say Nothing of the Dog), reads a medical manual and diagnoses himself with every single illness in there except housemaid's knee (or, in the Russian translation which I find even more fun, morning sickness.) Which supports my point that love and bipolar are very closely related. Or maybe my aspirations towards Bipolar I are thwarted and I may just have mild Bipolar II after all. Because I have definitely been depressed.

Just thinking of my trip to Russia the summer of 2004 still makes me shudder and want a hug, if not cry. It had begun when visiting my mother's aging stepmother and her brother. Seeing the dirt in which those people lived, their talk of pensions and laying hens and goats and local murders juxtaposed with my father's endless talk of parasites... When we were biking back to the place we were staying at, I burst into tears on the dark unpaved road: "Oh why did you bring me there! There is no hope in this place!" And the nearest people who could offer me emotional support in that dark place were a third of a world away, and no one I met had any music, or any dancing, to say nothing of email to write to the people I needed. In Moscow, I, in desperation for music, turned to Russian MTV, and the first thing I saw there was...Avril Lavigne. I was never a fan, but perhaps I owe Avril Lavigne a chunk of my sanity. Moscow was better, but during the whole of that trip I never fully recovered, and rarely had even a glimpse of hope until I saw Italy. My stability, it seems, rests on the several delicate posts of music and dance, writing, the pursuit of knowledge (currently in math and linguistics) and my relationships with the people I love, and I had only a little writing there to support me. I wrote in my journal afterwards:
"I had gone into a dark place
And forgotten how to dance."

I have had occasional episodes of feeling down and depressed before, and after, and even recently after the Friday before last's dance rehearsal. There is a poem I wrote in grade 12, when I was already acquainted with the feelings (that poem was spurred by a secret crush misunderstanding me). It has been published in Teen Angst Poetry, but the copyright remains with me, so I will put it here. Paradoxically, repeating it several times helps me a lot when I am feeling depressed, despite it exactly putting my feelings into words; maybe putting feelings into words makes them less real.

The story of pain no one can tell
Though men have told of the circles of hell,
They can’t tell of when there never was joy under the sky
And fear blocks the way to the freedom to die.
They can’t tell of when strength does not match desire;
You cannot go any higher.
Don’t even try,
You were living a lie,
All gifts that the gilded days past gave
Were to mock a weakling and a slave.
No one else can tell,
No one knows at all
Of the shards’ sharp edges when stars fall,
Of the darkness that comes when you awake,
Of the eternal scourge of one mistake,
Of the unshed tears,
Of the tangling fears,
Of calls and calls knowing no one hears,
Of cold grey rain,
Of the unwashable stain,
Of the endless refrain
Again and again,
Again, again,
All life was in vain.
Of pain.

Maybe this poem works as a reciting mantra because it basically says "Nobody knows how you feel, you are all alone, so deal with it." If anyone else reads this and has episodes of depression, you are welcome to the poem if it helps you any.

Another post I may tell of other people who have saved my sanity, besides Avril Lavigne, who just happened to be on MTV when a really indescribably lonely homesick Canadian turned it on.

Why do I tell of all this? Because if I do turn out to have bipolar disorder... for the people who love me, remember the knife edge I walk and - catch me if I fall.
I am reading my algebra notes today, and nothing much is happening. I missed the meeting at work, but got an update from Concolor (thanks, Concolor, I love you => you have to buy me tea, that is...) Checking for other possible math nerds on the Internet, I found a test to see which math object I am. I must admit I had hoped to be a unitary matrix, but this is neater:

You scored 65% abstraction, 48% shape, 48% quantity, and 47% structure!
You are a variety (something like a more abstract version of a graph of a function). What's really interesting about you is the way you combine shape and structure in a very general way. However, you are sometimes so abstract people have a hard time understanding you... you don't care much about sizes which makes you strange to some people.

My test tracked 4 variables How you compared to other people your age and gender:

You scored higher than 81% on abstraction
You scored higher than 55% on shape
You scored higher than 52% on quantity
You scored higher than 23% on structure

If you liked my test, send it to your friends!

The which math object are you? Test

I wonder whether they mean an algebraic variety or a variety itself?

"An algebraic variety is a generalization to n dimensions of algebraic curves. More technically, an algebraic variety is a reduced scheme of finite type over a field K. An algebraic variety V in R^n (or C^n) is defined as the set of points satisfying a system of polynomial equations f_i(x_1,...,x_n)==0 for i==1, 2, .... According to the Hilbert basis theorem, a finite number of equations suffices.

A variety is the set of common zeros to a collection of polynomials. In classical algebraic geometry, the polynomials have complex numbers for coefficients. Because of the fundamental theorem of algebra, such polynomials always have zeros." - 'Algebraic Variety.'

"A variety is a class of algebras that is closed under homomorphisms, subalgebras, and direct products. Examples include the variety of groups, the variety of rings, the variety of lattices. The class of fields (viewed as a subclass of the class of rings) is not a variety, because it is not closed under direct products." 'Variety.'

I must admit I don't yet have a good grasp on what a general variety is. From the description of me as a more abstract version of a graph or a function, I think I am the algebraic kind.

Speaking of me being so abstract people have trouble understanding me, a few posts ago Jelibeenz left a comment puzzling over my inclusion of part of the lyrics to Voulez-Vous in my post. This is such an interesting question I will address the abstract issue here as well as commenting on it there (although, Jelibeenz, I hate deconstructing beautiful tropes! That's why I am in math and linguistics, not English!)

Every title of my posts I pick for a reason, as a sort of extended metaphor of my adventures there. "If They Light The Stars" used the poem of someone's need for the stars to be to point out how the circumstances of my life turned out to be the most appropriate to what I needed, although I did not realise it at the time. Although "Monstrous Moonshine" talks about moonshine theory, it also expresses the doubts, both Roland and mine, whether what we believe of ourselves is true or just...moonshine. "Keep a Friendly Crocodile in Every Swamp" told of the ways people I meet help me, whether with achieving my goals or just with interesting information. Although "Over Monsters on a Tractor" features the completely insane lyrics of that song, it also tells of people riding roughshod towards their dreams, ignoring obstacles - I with my financial difficulties yet desire for beautiful jewelry, the p-adically challenged gentleman with his allegedly own desire to be an accountant. The only post whose title is not thought out carefully to reflect the greater moiety of the post is "A Digression on Robots," and I do not care about that. I was young and did not think.

This is the most linked post yet.

They (my work) still haven't paid me, and they owe me for at least editing. I must go and scream a little at them. Hell hath no fury like a little math linguist who wants beautiful gifts for the people she loves, and has a pathological phobia of compound interest. Grade eleven math may have opened to me the Banach spaces and varieties of rings I currently play in, but its second chapter, 'Series and Financial Applications,' scarred me for life.

Me abstract, me no like applications. But me gotta study Applied Linear Algebra.