Some News

Jun. 4th, 2007 04:13 pm
pteromys: Wishing fluffies (fluffies)

Just so you all know, the following is a spontaneous and noticeably endothermic reaction:

procrastination + ARML + Freshman Essay Eval. → disaster
Oh, well. Here's hoping I somehow manage to get a 5 on the AP English exam.

Now that we have that out of the way... my apologies for not mentioning a single thing about NSB, USAMO, or ARML before those things happened. ARML needed an announcement, since I stayed behind for graduation. That meant I couldn't have been present for Friday's dinner, which seems to be turning into something of a traditional Mathcamp gathering.

Graduation was sort of fun; I find ceremonies to be incredibly boring, but the peer pressure to attend just couldn't be fought. At one point I noticed somebody who seemed to be wearing a Möbius band for a stole, but couldn't be sure because I only saw him from the back. Möbius bands would be so much more appropriate for Mu Alpha Theta people than mere honor cords.

The yearbook arrived a couple of weeks ago. I was disappointed (but not surprised) to discover that their cropping and resizing of pictures had ruined the autostereogram in my photo. Oh, well. At least the text I wrote to go with my entry came through unharmed:

For the record, it's hard to write parting words so early in the year. Let's start with "life's been good". Ugly things sometimes happened, but there's no need to dwell on those. Four years will soon have gone since this began, and many more may pass before some of us meet again. Feel free to wave to me if we do meet. I'll wave back if you get my attention. Even if it isn't me, think of waving. Such trivial gestures can still make people smile.
pteromys: Wishing fluffies (fluffies)

Today, while my dad was outside frying catfish (yum!), he caught a particularly large fluffy. We have no clue what plant created this, but it really looks pretty.

In other news, yesterday was the first session of multivariable calculus at Harvard Extension School. It was a big class, big enough to contain two other current students at my high school, at least one other Mathcamper, and at least two ARML teammates. Yesterday we arrived a bit before 7, so we were about 45 minutes early for class. In case that happens again, does anybody wish to recommend a place nearby to get food... such as, say, ice cream?

Ha... ha?

Sep. 9th, 2006 02:44 pm
pteromys: Wishing fluffies (fluffies)

From my system logs...

  • Sep 9 14:04:42 [sshd] Did not receive identification string from [IP snipped]
  • Sep 9 14:05:45 [sshd] User root from [IP snipped] not allowed because not listed in AllowUsers
  • Sep 9 14:05:54 [sshd] Invalid user fluffy from [IP snipped]

No other usernames were tried. Is this some sort of joke?

pteromys: Wishing fluffies (fluffies)

So Mathcamp has been going on for a while now. I've seen a total of two fluffies on campus so far (yes, I did let that one go after taking the picture), but I haven't seen any thistle plants... unless you count a particular tree that has somewhat similar-looking flowers... but I haven't seen any fluffies coming from this tree.

I did see numerous fluffies when we went berry picking, but somehow I failed to get any pictures of anything remotely related to fluffies except one photo of a bee on a flower that looks like it could belong to a thistle. Oh, well. Maybe next time.

Other notes:

  • The IL is this weekend. Yay!
  • Mad Sly Belt looks like they're really on top of writing next year's Puzzle Hunt.
  • I'm done editing my portion of yearbook photos.
  • The a cappella techno dance party.

More stuff when I think of it...

pteromys: Wishing fluffies (fluffies)

The Unit 14 quiz came back today. The teacher was apparently on a roll, since he managed to go through all of them in one night. I chose to write about fluffies, hiding the word "FLUFFIES" in the text. There's something peculiar about it this time, most easily seen in a photograph of the sheet. The text is copied below for easier reading (with the underlining mistake at "supplicated" corrected):

Friends I had in Indiana might remember that I used to spend quite a bit of time outdoors chasing what I called "wishing fluffies." Like other children in early elementary school, I easily believed that one could have a wish granted upon catching small flyingobjects such as thistle seeds, and I even went so far as to bring home whtat I found. Unsurprisingly, this behavior met with some scolding, and I was berated by my parents for bringing in the seeds and spreading them around the house. Fearing that my parents would confiscate the "fluffies," I supplicated, begging my folks to let me keep the seeds in a box somewhere in my room. Fortunately, they were quite amenable to my suggestion and readily agreed that as long as the "fluffies" did not leave my room, I could do as I pleased. I kept the thistle seeds for quite some time, even opening the box to look at them when I came down with a bad cold a week later, so that I'd be able to stay in a relatively good mood through my temporary infirmity. Eventually, though, it occurred to me that it was unkind, even cruel and sadistic, to keep living things locked up in a box the way I had been doing. So, motivated by this thought, I stepped outside and set all my "fluffies" free.

This peculiar property of the written copy is that the beginning letters of sentences are all at roughly the same horizontal position, so that "FLUFFIES" can be read vertically, making this one of the most obvious ones I've ever done. Second place in obviousness goes to the "CATFISH" response, which did not use any capital letters except the starting letters of sentences.

Please note that much of what I said in the paragraph is fiction; I never brought any fluffies home because I never had a reason to collect them. There is, however, a similarity to real events in the end of the passage, in that when I left Mathcamp 2005, I started experiencing moral qualms about having collected fluffies while there. It doesn't seem to make much sense; one would think that I'd worry first about the lives of the animals whose flesh I ingest every week. Maybe there's something different about the use of living things for what isn't survival-driven.

pteromys: Wishing fluffies (fluffies)

So I've got a new icon. I suppose that means I have to write something about it now.

Back when I was in elementary school, I was still living in the Midwest, in a particular location where thistle seeds didn't appear very often. My friends and I called them "wishing fluffies", and we told people that anyone who caught one would have a wish granted.

After some searches on the internet, I've become pretty certain that not many other people refer to these airborne seeds as "fluffies". Wikipedia makes no mention of the seeds in its entry for "Fluffy", and a search on Google for "wishing fluffies" turns up nothing. It somehow feels wrong that this usage of "fluffies" is largely unknown on the internet, so here's what I'm doing to help remedy that:

I love wishing fluffies!

In other news, my Xanga page is now #1 on Google for "likes fluffies". The Mathcamp Xanga blogring is #2 for "loves fluffies". I'm pretty sure this is all my fault.


Dec. 27th, 2005 05:15 pm
pteromys: Wishing fluffies (Default)

I began working on this piece sometime in the spring of 2005. By the end of the summer, I had developed it enough to write a short piano arrangement and an mp3. Like "Colors of Spring", and quite a few other pieces at their births, there were some (hastily thrown together) words to this one. Sadly, now that I've changed the music, the words and melody don't fit all the way through anymore.

I believe the music is now at a point where further changes, if any, are likely to be small. I do have plans to use this in a larger work, so I'm not going to link it from my website yet. However, as my Xanga readership is small and probably will not grow to a huge number before I'm able to carry out my plans, I've posted a link to the mp3 below for those who wish to listen to it.

Now, as I have neither the money nor the lawyers to pursue a contract with the big record labels, the only way anybody outside of my neighborhood will ever learn about my music is over the Internet, through file and link sharing. Therefore, I have chosen to release this piece under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 License.

MP3 Format (307.1 k), Length 00:02:37
Music completed on December 27, 2005
Copyright © 2005 by Pteromys Fortissimus (pseudonym)
Creative Commons License This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 License.

February 2012



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