Well, I’m home now, as I have been for a week and a half or so. I suppose it is better to be bored at home than bored in Santa Barbara, but it’s still fairly boring. Actually my main problem now is that unpacking all the boxes I took home is impossible. I first need to get some new bookshelves, but before I can get new bookshelves, I need to have entrance to my closet. Unfortunately, there is a harpsichord blocking entrace to the closet, so we have to find some place to put it. We don’t really have any place in the house for it, so we have to request permission from its owner to lend it to someone else and then find someone else who wants it. Until then, I’m stuck with a bunch of boxes in the corner of my room.
The last two days I was in Santa Barbara, I suddenly felt really sad about Ryavec’s retirement. I certainly wouldn’t have gone to UCSB if it hadn’t been for him, and I’m sure my education would have been far inferior had I gone elsewhere. It is especially frustrating that other math professors don’t seem to want to carry on his legacy even though his attitude is so consistent with the ideals of the college as a whole. I can’t see what sort of service these professors think they’re doing for the students by telling them to take all the classes in some specific order so that they’re all really easy. I also know that some of them won’t be happy with me if I tell students that they should skip classes with reckless abandon. Not that that stops me.
The problem for me is that it is no longer possible to practice what I preach, at least not in mathematics, since I have prerequisites for everything I’m interested in. That makes it all too easy. I need to find something I want to do that might be too difficult for me, but my imagination is so horrible that I don’t have any good ideas. One success is meaningless when surrounded by plenty of others; it takes a failure to make it meaningful again.
Anyway, I went to a conference on free probability last week. I didn’t understand very much, but it was still an interesting experience. And I had never been to the American Institute of Mathematics before. Soon they’ll be moving to a medieval-style castle in Morgan Hill. It’s really great to know that sometimes mathematics can get sponsorship.
I’m also twenty-one now. I suppose that’s a meaningful age for most people. And I guess it’s slightly meaningful for me as well, since now one can hardly argue that my motives for my anti-alcoholism are lawfulness rather than principle, which is not so say that lawfulness isn’t principled.