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# Complex Numbers

Rated: 18+ · Book · Personal · #1196512
Not for the faint of art.
 Complex Numbers A complex number is expressed in the standard form a + bi, where a and b are real numbers and i is defined by i^2 = -1 (that is, i is the square root of -1). For example, 3 + 2i is a complex number. The bi term is often referred to as an imaginary number (though this may be misleading, as it is no more "imaginary" than the symbolic abstractions we know as the "real" numbers). Thus, every complex number has a real part, a, and an imaginary part, bi. Complex numbers are often represented on a graph known as the "complex plane," where the horizontal axis represents the infinity of real numbers, and the vertical axis represents the infinity of imaginary numbers. Thus, each complex number has a unique representation on the complex plane: some closer to real; others, more imaginary. If a = b, the number is equal parts real and imaginary. Very simple transformations applied to numbers in the complex plane can lead to fractal structures of enormous intricacy and astonishing beauty.
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December 5, 2023 at 8:14am
December 5, 2023 at 8:14am
#1060561
 Cracked No journey is without its pitfalls, or, in my case, rockfalls. I don't even know when it happened, but somewhere in Wyoming or Utah, something smacked my windshield, cracking it. Not a big deal, usually. These things happen, and it's one reason to have insurance and such. Certainly better than the last time something smacked into me on a road trip. The crack's not even on the driver's side, so not really interfering with my view or anything. But the crack keeps spreading. Slowly. Relentlessly. Like the doom you know is following you everywhere you go; you try to ignore it but every time you glance over, there it is, looming. Looming doom. Gloom. So when I got to Reno, the crack (it's actually a double crack looking a bit like the Tigris and Euphrates) creeping across at its less-than-a-snail's pace, I stopped at the Subaru dealer/service. This, incidentally, is one great benefit of modern technology: On the way in, I simply asked my friendly navigator, Google, to find it for me and direct me there. Let's see a paper map do that, Luddites. Now, to be clear, this is not something I'd worry about too much back home. Make a service appointment, get it taken care of. I don't think it even takes all that long to do. But the thought of driving back across the country with the growing crack didn't fill me with much confidence. Unfortunately, they can't get to it until next week, at the earliest. Not because of a wait time, but because they have to get the glass in. I wasn't planning on being in Reno next week. I was hoping to be in Vegas, with my visit to California over the weekend. But, unexpected change is part of the adventure of travel. The only thing that pisses me off is the cost. It's just enough more than my insurance deductible that it might be worth filing a claim for the difference, but then I don't know if insurance will use it as an excuse to raise my rates, negating the benefit of using it. And if they can't get to it next week, I'm screwed. Either way, it's a gamble but, behold, that is what I'm in Reno for.
December 4, 2023 at 1:19am
December 4, 2023 at 1:19am
#1060511
 Moving On West Quick update today because, after a few days in Utah, I'm getting back on the road. It occurred to me that some people might wonder what the hell I'm doing in Utah, considering how that state's reputation is at odds with my hedonistic, alcohol-positive lifestyle. Well, one, a good friend lives here who I hadn't seen in years, so that was reason enough. Also, that reputation is maybe a bit exaggerated, especially in the SLC area. True, laws surrounding delicious fermented and/or distilled beverages are kinda strange here, but no more so than some other states. Just in a different way. Since the last time I visited, several years ago, a lot more craft breweries have appeared, and I visited a bunch of them. There's not much else to do around here, besides hiking and skiing, both of which are outdoor activities (and often cold ones), which are therefore anathema to me. But if I did do outdoor activities, this would be a good place to do them. Seriously great scenery in Utah, though most of the surrounding states can say the same. Next stop: Reno. Fewer breweries, but I'm certain I can find something else to do there, like, I don't know, maybe follow in the grand tradition of writing depressing song lyrics about the place.
December 3, 2023 at 12:05am
December 3, 2023 at 12:05am
#1060477
 Revisited: "The Attempted Resurrection of Words" As I am not yet ready to let this blog go, I switched to a Premium Plus membership, thus buying more space in here. Well, storage space. The maximum number of entries doesn't change, but I won't hit that cap for over a year at the current rate. Bonus: more email space, so I can continue procrastinating cleaning up that mess. Anyway, just because I'm traveling (Salt Lake City right now) doesn't mean I'm skipping leg day. Er, I mean, archaeology day, where I dig up a past blog entry at random to see if anything's changed. Today's excavation uncovered this one, from early last year: "The Attempted Resurrection of Words"  The linked article   is still there, too. Usually, I can think of something to say, or at least point out where I made an embarrassing typo or other error. Maybe my attitude has changed over time, maybe I've learned new stuff, something. Alas, maybe because I'm damn exhausted, I got nothing. However... this was long enough ago (hell, one month is probably long enough ago) that I'd forgotten about the entry entirely, so I got to learn new words all over again. Still mostly useless, but words. That's right; I still don't see the need for these words, apart from, as I wrote then, "...in some of those writings you see where the author just has to show off his or her enormous vocabulary." I guess that makes me one of those authors.
December 2, 2023 at 9:40am
December 2, 2023 at 9:40am
#1060436
 Travel Advice, Part 4 Last one of these, for now. Where should I go? Anywhere you want. I often select destinations at random, because it truly is more about the journey than the destination. This may be too much uncertainty and not enough planning for some people, but you can always do a mix, or select the random destination six months in advance if you need to plan your trip down to the microsecond. Most of my travels have been within the contiguous US. This is not because I don't want to visit other places, but doing so doesn't usually work well with my preferred spontaneity. Besides, the only really viable way to leave the continent is by airplane, and they've made air travel so awkward, inconvenient, and uncomfortable that I hate it. I don't, however, fear it. Lots of people conflate hate and fear into a -phobia word, but they don't necessarily have anything to do with each other. For instance, I fear bears because bears are big monsters with sharp, pointy teeth, razorlike claws, and an attitude. But I don't hate bears; they look so cute and cuddly. I hate flying with its unreasonable restrictions, cramped spaces, and crowds, but I don't fear it; it's probably safer than even staying at home. I'd consider a cruise, but that takes even more planning. So, by car, my destination choices are rather limited: mostly the contiguous US, Alaska, Canada, and Mexico. And I don't like crossing borders because the agents there always treat me like I'm trying to contaminate the purity of their countries by smuggling deep-fried mayonnaise out of the US. I'll fly again eventually, despite my utter contempt for the whole process. Meanwhile, I'm fine with being on the road.
December 1, 2023 at 12:43pm
December 1, 2023 at 12:43pm
#1060387
 Travel Advice, Part 3 When traveling, it's important to be aware of local customs. For example, Pronunciation When traveling around the US, you need to be aware that, often, place names aren't pronounced the way you'd think based on the usual rules of English. For example, there's a town near where I live called Staunton. You'd think, looking at it, it's pronounced stawn-ton, right? No, it's pronounced che-vee. Okay, no, just kidding; it's stan-ton, with an a like in hat. Worse, though, are places that are pronounced like you'd expect in English... but they're Spanish or French. Like, if you pronounce Versailles, Indiana, as if you'd just stepped off the plane from Par-ee, the locals will kick your derrière all the way to Illinois (a state whose name is pronounced like the French would). But you just never know, so unless and until you're absolutely, 100% certain of something's pronunciation, usually by hearing a local speak the word, it's best to not mention the name at all. Some folks don't take kindly to strangers, and their best way of identifying a stranger is by their mispronunciation of the local town, street, or dive bar. Like, in my hometown, we have a Rio Road. I can always identify the tourists because they pronounce it like Rio de Janeiro or Rio Grande. But no. It's pronounced like rye-oh. Don't ask me why; I just know we use it as a shibboleth so we know who to send to the more expensive restaurants. As I said, though, you never know. You could have a place in the US named some common, easy-to-pronounce English words like, I don't know, New Haven, and it'll turn out that Haven is pronounced like havin'. As in, don't bother me, I'm havin' lunch. As far as I know, that's not the case with the one in Connecticut, but you know it could happen. Or, like, I can see myself visiting a small town with a common name, and someone asks "How do you like it here so far?" I'll be like "Oh, it's nice. I really like Riverside." And their face will immediately close up and they'll look sideways at me with great suspicion. "It's 'reverse-a-dee.'" Look, I'm just saying I wouldn't be surprised, okay?
November 30, 2023 at 6:58am
November 30, 2023 at 6:58am
#1060321
 Travel Advice, Part 2 (I'm going to recycle these into a Comedy newsletter, because I'm lazy, so consider them rough drafts.) My next bit of sage wisdom (because it's thyme) seems like it should be obvious, but with many obvious things, there's always a twist. Be Prepared. The twist is that whatever you prepare for, something else will go wrong. A few years ago, I spent a week in Seattle. Being aware of the city's climate reputation, I brought an umbrella and a raincoat. Not a cloud in the sky all week. I didn't bring that stuff to Las Vegas, because it's in a desert. Rained the whole time. Pack for cold weather, and you get hot. Plan for heat, and it'll freeze. So you figure, "Better plan for both," which is when you get a tornado. It's good to be prepared, anyway. But it's impossible to always be physically prepared, because the universe has a sick sense of humor. So mental preparation will have to suffice, steeling your mind to accept that when things go wrong, they will do so in the weirdest way possible, and whatever material you brought with you will be useless to the task. This is why I don't go hiking, by the way. Well, one of the reasons. I'd have to bring along too much stuff for every eventuality: a snakebite kit to ensure a snake won't bite me; a splint to prevent me from twisting my ankle; food and a portable stove so I don't get hungry; a sleeping bag so I don't get lost (if I don't get lost, I'm not hiking long enough to need to sleep), and so on. Lots of stuff to lug around, stuff that will never get used, but if I don't bring it, I'll wish I had. And bear spray, of course. Which will keep me from seeing any bears, but I'd fully expect to get bit by a shark.
November 29, 2023 at 6:35am
November 29, 2023 at 6:35am
#1060279
November 28, 2023 at 12:58am
November 28, 2023 at 12:58am
#1060236
November 27, 2023 at 9:16am
November 27, 2023 at 9:16am
#1060199
November 26, 2023 at 10:14am
November 26, 2023 at 10:14am
#1060145
November 25, 2023 at 10:04am
November 25, 2023 at 10:04am
#1060085
November 24, 2023 at 8:37am
November 24, 2023 at 8:37am
#1060029
November 23, 2023 at 10:04am
November 23, 2023 at 10:04am
#1059989
November 22, 2023 at 10:00am
November 22, 2023 at 10:00am
#1059938
Today's entry isn't random, but inspired by "Andre The Blog Monkey's Banana Bar [18+]... today, the day before Thanksgiving in the US, and two days before Black Friday, we celebrate:

What's Blackout Wednesday? Well, you could just click on the link to find out. But for lazy folks:

Blackout Wednesday, sometimes referred to as Drinksgiving, takes place the night before Thanksgiving Day, and in some parts of the United States is one of the biggest drinking and party nights of the year. Many college students come back to their hometown for Thanksgiving, and go to bars the night before...

So, considering all the posts I do in here about fine fermented and/or distilled beverages, one might be forgiven for thinking that this is my kind of holiday.

It is not.

Not that I have any objections, mind. While I'm not above being a hypocrite, just like everyone else, I do make a conscious effort not to be. I remember college drinking culture (which probably means I didn't participate in it enough), and if I say I've never been blackout drunk, a condition I have labeled "danchu," which turned out to be a Mandarin Chinese word for "fade to black," as in a movie, I'd be lying.

I'm not above lying, either—I am, occasionally, a fiction writer—but I take drinking too seriously to deliberately make stuff up about it in nonfiction settings.

All of which is to say that I'm not judging anyone (unless they drive drunk, which I do get judgemental about), but Drinksgiving just isn't my thing.

There are several days on the official calendar—as opposed to the unofficial and mostly promotional calendar that I've linked to a few times this month, including today—that are devoted to drinking. These include such celebrations as St. Patrick's Day or Cinco de Mayo, as well as the more universal New Year's Eve.

I call them "amateur nights," and try to stay off the roads. Not because I'm drinking (necessarily), but because amateurs are.

And Drinksgiving is the ultimate Amateur Night; as the link demonstrates, it's all about college students (most of whom are still too young to drink legally in the US, but that's another issue and one I'm not getting into right now) coming home and drinking together. It's one thing to be a middle-aged occasional binge-drinker; it's quite another to have little to no experience with alcohol's effects.

Like I said, though, I was once one of those college students, so I understand, just like I understand why little kids play pretend or vroom model airplanes around.

Hell, I'm also a gamer, so I might even understand those things better.

It's widely known that with adulthood comes responsibility. While I, personally, avoid that as much as possible, college students are in that liminal space between other people being responsible for them, and them being responsible for themselves and others. Also, taste hasn't been altered by adulthood, yet, so there's less emphasis on what you're drinking than on simply getting danchu.

For instance, I had not yet developed my snobbery about drinking quality beverages; for my 21st birthday, I did 21 shots of Jose Cuervo, which is technically tequila in a way analogous to how Coors Light is technically beer—that is to say, it meets the arbitrary requirements, but still sucks.

As an aside, when I was in college, fermented beverages were legal for those 19 and older; they passed the law raising it to 21 on the day I turned 19 (and it didn't take effect until that July), so I was grandfathered in on beer and wine. Hence my 21st birthday hard liquor celebration.

I'm rambling, though, and I haven't even started drinking yet. My real point, here, is to dispel any misunderstandings about why I drink. Creating a really good beverage—that is, beer, wine, tequila, gin, or cocktail, e.g., is an art form, and I appreciate the art. Getting danchu is a bit like running a race through an art museum: you miss out on what is, to me, the best part of the experience, maybe glancing at the paintings and sculptures but without the time or inclination to really appreciate them, in favor of crossing that finish line.

I've noted before that many people, especially Americans (the only nationality I have great familiarity with, being one myself), don't have a middle ground. Either something is awesome, or it sucks. You either refrain from smoking weed, or you're a stoner. Either you're a teetotaler, or you're an alcoholic.

I reject that binary and live in the middle.

That is what I refer to as an alcohol-positive lifestyle: to acknowledge the downsides, while still enjoying the benefits. I guess that's part of the whole "responsibility" thing.

So, in brief, no, I won't be celebrating Drinksgiving or Blackout Wednesday or whatever you want to call it. But I'm also not going to rail against it. And I do have some fine craft beer to drink this afternoon... in moderation.

Not going to stop me from polishing off that entire bottle of Beaujolais Nouveau tomorrow, though. So in celebration of Thanksgiving, allow me to trot out my now-five-year-old Thanksgiving-themed poem:

 Alcohol, Hookers, and Blow  (18+)A Thanksgiving thanks giving#2175291 by Robert Waltz
November 21, 2023 at 9:35am
November 21, 2023 at 9:35am
#1059874
November 20, 2023 at 9:11am
November 20, 2023 at 9:11am
#1059817
November 19, 2023 at 8:56am
November 19, 2023 at 8:56am
#1059766
November 18, 2023 at 8:49am
November 18, 2023 at 8:49am
#1059681
November 17, 2023 at 6:42am
November 17, 2023 at 6:42am
#1059626
 The Way It Gose After a bunch of wine celebrations, finally, a day about a beer.     International Happy Gose Day   Gose, pronounced GOZE-uh, is a tart wheat beer of German provenance. It disappeared for a while, from what I've heard. Died out, ceased production, joined the choir invisible. Didn't get resurrected until people started drinking real beer again. This German sour beer is customarily made with coriander, which gives it notes of flowers and citrus, and with salt, so it is usually quite salty. "But what about the well-known German beer purity laws?" Gose was an exception, and besides, one needs to be very, very careful when promoting anything that has the words "German" and "purity" in it. Lactic acid is often added, which makes it even sourer. This is not nearly as disgusting as it sounds. Gose may not be my favorite style, by far, but it's not like it's fermented goat's milk or anything. But the popularity of gose and International Happy Gose Day is not limited to Leipzig or even to Germany. The beer has been gaining in popularity in the United States in recent years. Sour beers in general (there are other styles besides gose) have taken off. I suspect it's at least partly a backlash to years of bitter, overhopped IPAs, which themselves became popular in a backlash to mass-produced, flavorless, rice-adjunct lagers. Americans, it seems, don't seem to believe in middle ground. Gotta take everything to an extreme. I remember the first time I went to a brewery that specialized in sours. They offered a sampling of their entire tap list, 12 beers arranged in 3-ounce tasters on a platter, like a clock face. When I was done, the tap lady asked me what I thought. I was just drunk enough to tell the truth: "Sorry, I like my beer to taste different going down than it does coming back up." Harsh? Sure. But that's how I felt about sour beers at the time. Since then, I've found some that I actually like, including a gose here and there. My favorite local brewery, for example, makes a good fruited one. I don't know why they call today International Happy Gose Day. It's not even a pun. If it were Happy Gose Lucky Day, sure, I could get behind that. Or Day Gose By. Or Gose Fishing. Okay, I'll stop now. And the article speaks of toasting with "Goseanna!" which I've never heard of before, and so I'm going to assume they're trolling until I get confirmation of that.
November 16, 2023 at 9:51am
November 16, 2023 at 9:51am
#1059568