Tuesday, March 15, 2011

before and after

Everything's relative and my plight is pretty insignificant compared to many on the planet. That much is obvious. I watched some footage from the tsunami in Japan and I was beyond stunned. I felt sick and horrified. I'm sure you've all seen it, but have you seen the stuff circulating from those on the streets, unedited? Pretty grim and shocking.

I never thought I'd join Facebook, but I did, and it's been a good newsfeed (since I don't watch TV or listen to the radio). The whole Wisconsin debacle, and rallying forces of the people....etc etc. I'm easily overwhelmed. FB is good to visit for small bites of news and entertainment. It's a one stop shopping center.

So. My maths final was yesterday at noon and I'm pretty sure I passed. I figured that if I only scored 100 out of the 150 points, I would still pull a high C or even a B in the class. On the first exam I scored a 94. On the second, just over a week ago, I scored a 71 (and I was so ecstatic). I am so relieved to not have to do any more precalculus homework. It was a dark cloud hanging around for ten solid weeks. Ye gods.

Today I slept in until 10:30, finally changed out of my jammies at noon. I mucked the dining table last night. Witness the transformation:

Above: you see a box of tissues, which had become necessary not only for the copious quantities of snot I produced for a month, but also the persistent crying jags. Under the tissue box is a 'Precalculus Demystified' book I checked out from our campus library (I am less mystified than I was ten weeks ago, but still remain mystified on many fronts, and I am fine with that). Stacks of papers printed off from our online homework, all 31 chapters. This was the permanent state of the table for the entire term. I stopped trying to clear it off and instead ate my dinners straight from the can over the sink (it bears repeating).

Ahhhh. Such a relief. No more visual clutter.
(by the way, if you aren't familiar with Rick Berry's art, I suggest you check it out, he is really amazing - I treated myself to a small book of his artwork (which you can see clearly now that it's been unearthed), published by Ashley Wood, who is also another amazing artist)

Last night I made a huge bowl of popcorn (curry and nutritional yeast sprinkled on judiciously...delicious, try it and let me know what you think) and watched Ratatouille (for the sixth time). That was my treat, and one I looked forward to all day. I am astonished all over again every time I watch that film. The details and nuances, humor, storytelling...it's all so beautiful. I always feel ridiculously happy while watching it and then for some time afterwards.

I then read Joe Kelley's I Kill Giants before bed, and dreamt of monsters. This graphic novel is pretty intense; the story and art are fantastic.

One last thing. I'd like to know how you respond to this.

Myself: slack-jawed and practically crying.

Friday, March 04, 2011

Precalculus, you can go to BLEEEEEEP

Our second exam was today. I dragged my phlegmy self to school and sat for the test. Just sitting for it was a miracle. Couldn't even answer a couple of the questions (can't remember any test I couldn't at least answer something about). Any failing or near-failing grade from this class is NOT A FUNCTION of not studying. Yes that is a joke, laced with venom. If you've taken pre-calculus then you know it's all about functions, their transformations, inverses, ad nauseum. Am in a very foul mood about it all and wondering, once again, just what the hell I'm doing on the planet.

One thing I should like to take away from all this: if in the future I apply myself as assiduously to art studies as I have to math (an average of twenty hours a week outside of class), I will surely be able to support myself and not need to go flip burgers somewhere, BFA/MFA/MLS degree or degrees notwithstanding.

Also: I really need to learn how to chill out. Hypertension runs in the family, I think. I mean my brother? When he was alive? Hypertension (I look a lot like him here). My sister? (love you sis, not a criticism) She's hyper too. Perfectionism. That sort of thing.

Look who really wants to read all this anyway? Whatever, I need to rant, and I'm doing it here, since we still have the internet in all its (relative) neutrality and free speech.

It's only math. But it's also more than math because we are human beings with our dramas and psychological complexes, insecurities and everything, doing math. Just like, say, a food addiction or disorder isn't about food (I am an authority on this subject, and I don't say that with arrogance) -- math isn't just a linear process, about crunching numbers.

I feel like I'm wasting my time. But I guess I'm only wasting it if I focus on how shitty I feel (even though, I must say once again, I really do feel shitty).....I don't know. How can math lead me to question the existential meaning of life? I thought I put all that behind me, dammit! Maybe meaning is the sort of human construct that.......never mind.