by Robert Waltz
Not for the faint of art.
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.
PROMPT January 11th
Write about a recent movie, documentary, or TV show you watched that you did not expect to enjoy, but actually did. Give your readers some recommendations!
Here's the thing, though: I really can't do that.
That is, as much of a pessimist as I am, these days, I only get into shows / movies that I expect to enjoy. Since I'm single and there's a pandemic going on, I'm not subjected to people pestering me to watch something I wouldn't otherwise. On the occasions when that's happened, back when I still had friends, it usually lives down to my low expectations. Now, there have been countless times when the opposite occurred: when I expected to like a piece of entertainment, but ended up disappointed. The last Star Wars movie, for instance.
Around the same time that came out, however, there was a movie I expected to utterly detest, but ended up liking. It was over a year ago, though, so it doesn't count as "recent." This was a movie that pretty much everyone in the universe, and beyond, hated... except for me. To hear the internet talk about it, you'd think it was a massive black hole of suck and was responsible for earthquakes, tidal waves, tornadoes, and the pandemic. (I'm sure the fact that it came out about when the pandemic started was purely a coincidence. Well, mostly sure, anyway. Pretty sure.) I fully expected to hate it, based on the trailers and early reviews; I mostly just went to see it as a joke, but it turned out to be a really enjoyable movie.
I'm talking about Cats.
Look, I eschewed bandwagoning years and years ago. I'm not going to pretend to dislike something just because the internet says it sucks; conversely, I'm not going to pretend to like something just because it's popular.
And I'm not saying the movie was a masterpiece or anything, but it was way more enjoyable than I expected.
You know, after The Empire Strikes Back came out, lo these many years ago, I was in my teens. And I remember hearing from someone at my school that they planned to make it a trilogy, and then do a prequel trilogy, followed by an ending trilogy. I also remember thinking, back then, "Damn, I gotta stay alive to see the end of this trilogy of trilogies, because Star Wars is fucking awesome."
And I know I posted this here before, on my newsfeed, right after Cats and The Rise of Skywalker came out, but again -- it's been over a year. So I'll paraphrase it here as best as I can remember it:
I went to see TRoS and Cats on the same weekend. Afterward, I hopped into my time machine to have a chat with Kid Me, shortly after he saw Empire.
"Greetings! I am Future You."
"Oh yeah? What's with the beard?"
"Shut up. I'm here to reassure you that you will, indeed, live long enough to see the end of the Skywalker saga."
"That same weekend, you will see the film version of an Andrew Lloyd Webber musical."
"Eww! Grody to the max! Gag me with a spoon!"
"Sigh. Stupid eighties. Anyway... you're going to hate the Star Wars movie and love the musical."
"Would I lie to you?"
"NOOOOOOOOOOO! No, it can't be!"
"Search your feelings. You know it to be true."
Point is, if I couldn't convince Kid Me of this, there's no way I could convince anyone else.
Still. I'd totally see Cats again.