a grader’s notes

(first post since the name change.)

things’re going fine all around…
other than some computer-interface
hoo-hah snafu-ing the grade entry…
and it’s about time for the first test.

which the lecturers grade for themselves
according to the usual department practice.
so there’ll be maybe a little better chance
of me actually *posting* something around here.

meanwhile, let me go ahead and report for today
that for quite a while now i’ve actually been
*reading mathbooks* pretty avidly again.

recently it’s been one of my favorite
work-avoidance tricks.

reminding me of nothing so much as myself
in grad school when i’d spend hours in the
math/physics/computo-stuff library (in swain
hall west) avoiding the actual sit-down-and-*try*-
-something work that horrifies almost all beginners.

browsing around in the stacks at IU…
i didn’t neglect the *main* library
or that of the education school…
certainly wasn’t a *waste of time*.
i was one of the best-read amongst
a bunch of *very* smart people and
learned a lot of “math culture” stuff
most grad students never find time for.

because they’re, you know, actually *working*.

certainly it’s a relief to look over well-
-reasoned (& sometimes even well-written!)
work after… or during… a marathon session
of correcting basic-mistakes-stubbornly-
-clung-to created by students who should
have long since known much better. (it all
starts with the “=” sign… but [for now]
i’ve ranted enough on that matter in earlier

and now that i’m mostly working with my *own*
books… almost entirely gotten on the cheap,
i assure you… “free” and “dover” are the
biggest categories here… i feel (more) free
to *write in ’em* (as i should’ve been doing
much more of all along [in *pencil* of course!]).

making my avoidance-technique that much more like
the actual work, you see.

heck, even *crossword puzzles* (usually
a big enough part of any go-to-campus-&-back
day since i almost invariably work ’em on
the bus) have a certain reading-and-writing
… and even *problem-solving*… feel to ’em.

so i’m spending a *lot* of time in some
mathy-or-anyhow-*kind*-of-mathy state.
immersed in the world of symbols-and-syntax
(or of concepts-and-code if you prefer…
i’ve got a million of ’em…).

and i *like* it like that. the trick is
to avoid, not facing-down-unfamiliar-symbols
or even grading, but, you know, those messy
“real world” encounters with other beings.

some math users… famously the great pascal…
have even reported an anesthetic effect
(he used analytic geometry against toothache).

the *dreams* you get from a math OD, though?
usually not so good in my opinion. usually
it’s too much like real life: not “one
damn thing after another” but the *same*
damn thing, over and over.

anyhow. past bedtime now. wish me luck.

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