Thursday, March 4, 2010

Math Time

You must look at this graph to understand what I am going to say next. MmmmK.

My good friend Kevin once told me that the f(x)=1/x graph is a good example of tragic miscommunication.

Sometimes you feel like you are working in the same direction as someone else, but you just miss it, and end up going in opposite directions. You think that things are going to work out, but it doesn't click the way you expected. There is some sort of barrier, an asymptote, that keeps mutual understanding at bay.

I always see this graph in my head now when I don't understand someone, or if I am frustrated while trying to explain something. Damn asymptotes getting in my way of communication.

I also sometimes think about the fact that Kevin said this bit of brilliance seven hours into our road trip from CA at three in the morning.

Now I am thinking about how my friend Tristan was with us on that same trip years ago and is now engaged to be married.

And now I am kind of missing calculus. And the sunglasses I lost on the trip.

Math is a crazy Bih.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Lay and Lie, I love and hate

I was reading Things That Make Us [sic] by Martha Brockenbrough tonight, you know, because I have other homework to do. She talks about how there really is nothing wrong with breaking grammar rules when you do it knowingly and on purpose, like in writing music or poetry for example. However, it is nice when you can sound good and keep the rules so beautifully. I am now in love with so much:

"Consider the example of the Decemberists, a progressive rock band that crafted an album around "The Crane Wife," a Japanese folktale for children. From an artistic standpoint, that idiosyncratic inspiration wallops even the most perfectly curved backside. Then there's this lyric from their song "We Both Go Down Together," which comes from an earlier album titled Picaresque (a distinctive term that means "relating to rogues"):

I found you, a tattooed tramp
A dirty daughter from the labor camps
I laid you down in the grass of a clearing
You wept, but your soul was willing

So not only are they writing literate songs and performing them on an astonishing variety of instruments, they're also using "laid" correctly. They would have earned themselves a hall pass for their fine imagery even if they'd bungled this conjugation, so the care they took to get it right nearly moves us to tears, and then to the position of the official band of the Society for the Promotion of Good Grammar." (Brockenbrough 235).

Gee wiz I love this so much. I then thought of "Hazards of Love 2" which is also beautiful AND uses "lay" correctly:

I'll lay you down in a clover bed
The stars, a roof above our heads
And we'll lie until the Corn Crake crows
Bereft of the weight of our summer clothes
And I'd wager all
The hazards of love

A set of lyrics that I had already found lovely. I'm just so glad. Please listen to these songs if you haven't, and even if you have.

Anyway, here is the chart I use to help me get it all straight. I never use "lay" and "lie" correctly in speech, but always consult this in writing.

Okay, I'm done with sounding like a pompous ass for now.