Fate and ghosts

Just after midnight, sitting in the dark, a book open on the iPad before me, and listening to Beethoven’s piano concerto number one, I believe fate had nothing much in store for me except moments such as these.  Let the moment be, for these moments are ghosts who live here too.  I no longer begrudge them a place to stay.

Published in: on August 13, 2012 at 1:45 am  Leave a Comment  

Flipping back and forth

I finished the latest Mirakami novel this afternoon. (Two thumbs up.). Now, I’m reading In Search of Lost Time and For Whom the Bell Tolls, flipping back and forth between them. And I want to tell you it is a strange experience–like reading and writing on this iPhone right now.

Maybe I’m doing it because I’m bored, and a little melancholy too. It don’t matter.

Published in: on November 3, 2011 at 9:44 pm  Leave a Comment  

Desire or lack thereof

So fucking awesomely bored–maybe, that’s why I spend 10 to 12 hours each day writing a stupid geometry book. (And you’ve to get up early in the morning to do that.)

But I like it. At one point in my dismal life, it was a dream.


You know you are finally healing after the longest spell yet. You laugh, feel crazy, and poetry once again delights you.

Published in: on March 10, 2011 at 5:34 pm  Leave a Comment  

Bible, Euclid, and interpretation

One of my favorite quotations is “Alone at night, I read my Bible more and Euclid less.”  Not that it is true for me.  I tend towards Euclid.  I don’t really know why the quotation has stuck inside my head, for I read it in H. S. M. Coxeter’s splendid and classic Introduction to Geometry.  Why he used it for one of his section heads I do not know.

I like the implication though.  I have a sentence that seems as though it means something, yet have no idea what the meaning is or why an author and mathematician used it in one of his books.

Interpretation is much more mysterious and elusive than we might think if we care to think of it at all.  It’s like a spell–when broken, ruins everything.

Published in: on January 20, 2011 at 1:11 am  Leave a Comment  

Postmodern death

Went to Jane’s funeral this weekend.  Came back to Chicago feeling quite sad.  All five of my parents are gone.  I’m truly an orphan now.

Read Barnes’s A History Of the World In 10 1/2 Chapters this weekend too.

I wonder whether the narrative you have created about a person close to you remains frozen in time when they die.  Do you create new narratives?  Do the current ones just decay and fall apart like a dead body?

Published in: on April 27, 2010 at 2:38 pm  Leave a Comment  

Until smitten again

Sitting alone in the bar. Playing chess on the Internet. He’s addicted to that game again.

What his neuronal system tells him is fuck love, or life for that matter. Leave me alone with my addictions.

He suspects things will go that way until he is smitten again.

Published in: on March 1, 2010 at 9:34 pm  Leave a Comment  


I read Keegan’s The First World War this weekend.  That war has intrigued me since I first learned to read.  Despite all the expert explanations of its origins I have read, madness on a grand scale and an almost inexhaustible ability to bear suffering seem the key ingredients.

If humanity will be the author of its own mass extinction, I hope I die before I am part of it.

Published in: on March 1, 2010 at 3:55 pm  Comments (2)  


I’ve finally come to realize that life is not about equality, but only the same up to isomorphism.

Published in: on January 30, 2010 at 12:27 am  Leave a Comment  


Cheetos for breakfast; Cheetos for lunch. It’s the one thing I can’t burn after my awful football Sunday and with the bats still in my belfry and such. Joe Jackson sings, “what’s the use of getting sober when you have to get drunk again,” a sentiment I’m tending to agree with. I ponder the next bad book I want to write and wonder why I love writing bad books so much?

Published in: on January 22, 2010 at 12:16 pm  Leave a Comment  

On the other side of life

I’m meditating on reality today while drifting and dreaming. Teasing all those activities apart grows tedious at times, turns into dirty work actually, but somebody has to do it, and I did volunteer. See you on down the road. You know–on the other side of life.

Published in: on January 17, 2010 at 1:07 pm  Leave a Comment  

The real New Year

You are drinking coffee and eating apple pies from McDonald’s. You feel you shouldn’t be doing it at 11 at night–the coffee that is. But it is so good, it makes you think, in the words of Elizabeth Bishop, God loves us all.

Published in: on January 2, 2010 at 12:12 am  Leave a Comment  

What to write about?

On a given finite straight line to construct an equilateral triangle.

Proposition I.1, Elements, Euclid

You might naively ask: what are all the interesting propositions you can prove about equilateral triangles?  I suspect enough propositions to create a quirky yet interesting book for the mathematically inclined.  Of course, one can generalize to regular polygons, polyhedrons, and polytopes, but by then you would have Coxeter’s splendid book Regular Polytopes.  Let the first project consist of equilateral triangles.

It’s warm and sunny.  I dream about and drift through a land whose significance lies in its interesting propositions.  Or to paraphrase Wallace Stevens: not dreams of life itself, but dreams of propositions about life.

Published in: on October 21, 2009 at 12:23 pm  Leave a Comment  

Almost at home.

A dark wet chill morning.  A morning made for writing, studying, and reflecting.  I almost feel at home.

Published in: on October 15, 2009 at 8:44 am  Leave a Comment  

Numbers and arithmetic …

Something you can play with while pretending you are doing something meaningful.  Let’s call them toys.

Published in: on September 30, 2009 at 11:41 am  Leave a Comment  

A long long time

During the past two weeks I watched the whole of Battlestar Galactica again.  It aroused deep emotions.  For reasons lacking explanation, each episode reminded me what it is like to spend an eternity without V.

Published in: on September 27, 2009 at 9:33 am  Leave a Comment  

San Bernadino Mountains

She’s at her cabin in Big Bear Lake this week.  I remember those idle afternoons sitting in the sun and reading on her back porch there.  Something seemed so right about the universe back then.  Maybe, it was because I still felt young.

Published in: on September 1, 2009 at 12:29 pm  Leave a Comment  

The hour of lead

Melancholy pervaded my day.  Not one worthy thought crossed my mind.  Neither pleasant memory nor fancy imagination brought one forth.

This is the Hour of Lead–
Remembered, if outlived,
As Freezing Persons, recollect the Snow–
First–Chill–then Stupor–then the letting go–

E. D.

Published in: on August 16, 2009 at 9:59 pm  Leave a Comment  

Signed Your …

I pick up my copy of If on a winter’s night a traveler.  On the inside of the front cover she wrote, “Remember me when you read these words.  Know that I love you.”  How could I forget?  My tears won’t let me.

Published in: on August 11, 2009 at 11:28 am  Leave a Comment  

The embrace of thunder

Tonight, a warm gentle rain.  Thunder crashes occasionally.  Lightning flashes.  Then more thunder off in the distance.

I recall those summer nights when I was a boy in small Iowa towns back in the days when trains ran by them.  Upon going to bed I would hear their whistles as they approached the town.  After that, the sound of their wheels rolling along the rails disappearing in the distance.  And I would fall asleep to that sound.

I wish I was in the country again listening to the train-song.

The patter of the rain and distant thunder tonight will do though.  And the remembrance of what peace is really like.  And deep sleep, the kind of sleep where forces embrace you rather than threaten you.

Published in: on July 25, 2009 at 1:04 am  Leave a Comment  

holy hush

Morning.  The sky growing brighter.  I’ve slept eight hours.  I don’t know what to make of the world after eight hours of sleep.  I feel as if I have awoken in a different world.  Yet nothing extraordinary admits itself into my thoughts.  A haze shrouds my future, a future different than the past.

It’s Sunday morning though.  I often feel a little of Wallace Stevens’s holy hush on summer Sunday mornings.

Published in: on June 27, 2009 at 8:40 am  Leave a Comment  

Baseball, statistics, the Reimann Hypothesis, and random consciousness

I have baseball fever more than usual this spring. Baseball means statistics, especially if you play a lot of fantasy baseball. Statistics means wondering what statistics are significant and which ones are just random noise.

My mind wondered across all that tonight and led me into thinking about the statistical regularity of the distribution of prime numbers, which continued on to the Reimann Hypothesis, for the holy grail with the prime numbers is to find a function that estimates the distribution well.

But that is not the point. Why have I have been thinking about what I have been thinking about today? The previous two days I thought about lost love–something that seems unrelated to the above. What causes these large shifts in the preoccupation of consciousness? How much is causal and how much due to randomness? What will my mind be occupied with tomorrow?

And why do I continue to suffer from this profound sense of melancholy that will not go away?

Published in: on June 1, 2009 at 10:12 pm  Leave a Comment  

Geometry and Death

The days have grown unseasonably mild. I fill them with my geometry researches as much as possible. My melancholy fades.

I look at geometry in my own unique way. For the uninitiated it would seem that mathematics is something carved in granite, something not alterable. However, basic mathematics arises from our mental system and its experience of the world. After that, it is all imagination–metaphor through and through.  Granite turns to putty.  We shape it for our pleasure.

I tell myself I am writing a geometry book. That adds discipline to the study and research. “I want it to be right, and interesting too, don’t I?”

OK, I’m writing a geometry book. I think I will self publish it. I’ll sell it on Amazon.com. I’ll let Google digitize it. I’ll live beyond my time. Euclid would think of me as one of his own.

Published in: on February 11, 2009 at 1:17 pm  Comments (3)  

Geometry and Melancholy

So, I am sitting in the Starbuck”s a block from where I live. The coffee tastes fine this morning. While I sip, I research material for a geometry book I am contemplating writing. Geometry is where my head has been at lately. It has driven a good share of brutal melancholy away. If for no other reason, spending the time on it has been worth it.

Maybe, some other thoughts will come, but for now, this paltry bit of independent scholarship soothes me.

Published in: on February 7, 2009 at 4:04 pm  Comments (5)  


Last night, I started reading Burton Raffel’s recent translation of Stendahl’s The Red and the Black. It seemed almost an entirely new and better book from the first translation I read of it. I am an imperceptibly different person since I read it the first time. The text tempts me more. Desire takes hold.

My writing in the morning goes better than it has since summer began. It burdens me less and is no longer loathsome. The way I feel about my writing too often mirrors the way feel about myself. Some days, I absolutely need the writing to go well.

My feelings about reading and writing go hand in hand too. Neither work well unless they work well together. I recall reading Stendahl’s Charterhouse of Parma several years ago. I made several attempts to get into it, but always found it silly. Then the love story captured my imagination. I couldn’t put it down until I finished and even then I was tempted to immediately start reading it again. I recollect those days with Stendahl were days of good writing.

I am returning to a place I like: writing in the morning with a sense of peace and tranquility and purpose. Then reading a good book after the writing is done. The construction work on the new building across the street does not disturb me. The pounding almost comforts me as an antidote to a silence I do not want.

For me, writing means writing lots of words I must eventually throw away. I guess that is why I like writing this blog, even though I regret much of what I have written. I move on each day to a destination unknown. Writing intensifies and mutes desires in an almost contradictory manor. I don’t worry much about throwing words away.

At this time, I want to objectify rather than feel much at all. The passions are something to be studied rather than lived.

Anyway, the morning’s been spent. The petty challenges of the afternoon and evening await me. Then tomorrow comes with another couple of challenges. But after that…

Published in: on December 11, 2008 at 1:40 pm  Leave a Comment