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Javelinized heart.

I'm reading 'Women' by Charles Bukowski as I'm slowly carried away by the car towards home.

I'm sick.Not road-sick.

A feeling of fullnes,of puffiness of the soul.It's like your soul is a pillow and you try and try to stuff it with more substance,but no matter what you do,nothing will fit inside anymore.

Maybe it's the book.

Maybe...

It's a complete and compact encyclopedia of interhuman relationships.All you ever wanted to know about sex,drugs,alcohol,whores,pimps,hard knocks of life,psychiatric disorders,and the list could go on and on...Basically it's canned life .

I couldn't say it better,but if you ever get curious about life,you should give it a try.

I'm sure that these 3 hours spent reading,have condensed all one's  experience and theoretical knowledge about this funny thing called life.

Maybe.

 

 

MARCH OF THE MONSTERS: MONSTER GROUP

BY SWAP

Right when March of the Monsters started, I talked Swap into writing a mathematical monster story in honor of Pi Day. I told him i had wanted to write a story about a mathematician being driven slowly mad by a number or an equation that was somehow alive, only i didn't have the math background to do it so i was drafting him, and in that inimitable Swappy way that makes it impossible to hate him he pointed out that my premise was way cliched (tell me something i don't know, asshole!) BUT that he would love to do it. To which i said !!! because i'm the dude that always knows what to say.

And in the meantime, he left E2, at least temporarily. But like any good programmer would do, he left me a note with a link to the story he had written, and told me to post it for him. (!!!)

This is what he wrote. He asked me to edit it, said he viewed it as a collaboration, but i haven't. The only thing i've done to it is clean up typos.

--DM


"Don't you think it's weird that the Monster exists?"

I looked up from my computation of a certain group cohomology, and peered impatiently at Brown. The grad lounge where I liked to spend evenings in case that some interested young student would miraculously come by with ideas that I had not yet considered was getting dusky as the sun set upon the city, for which the lounge afforded us a magnificent view. Brown was just talking almost to himself, glancing out the window at the aforementioned spectacle of the city skyline.

"What do you mean?" I indulged him. Brown was a group theorist, getting old, out of ideas, tenured and mostly teaching, so he seemed to just get mystical about the basic stuff. I was younger than him, but not by much, so perhaps a sense of future vicarious sympathy for myself is what makes me listen to his old fogey cogitations.

"Well, I mean, just think about it for a while. I know it's common to us by now. I mean, the damn thing has been known for almost thirty years now, old hat, but just stop to think about it for a while. Here we are, groups, confound it, just groups. The things have even fewer assumptions than numbers. I mean, in a sense, of course it makes sense, numbers satisfy lots more properties than just groups, they're much more restricted, so perhaps it's not so surprising that groups hold deeper magic in a sense than numbers."

There was that aimless rambling of Brown's I was fearing. I decided to listen to him, since I wasn't getting much of anywhere with my computations.

"The building blocks of numbers," he continued, "prime numbers, well, of course there's all of number theory and the Riemann zeta function and the prime number theorem, and so on, but in a sense, primes are much simpler than their cousins, the simple groupsin group theory. And there are an infinite number of primes, and most primes are alike; the only interesting thing is where they happen and how often, but in the end, infinitely many primes, QED. Of course, for these groups, these quantifications of symmetry, there are also infinitely many simple groups, and also but then we have these aberrations that don't fit into any of the three families. And there's nothing quite like that anywhere else. If you believe the proofs spread out over 50 years of group theory in various journals, all of the building blocks of finite groups are in one of three families, and then these 26 aberrations. There are no aberrations in the prime numbers, except if you want to be funny and say that 2 is an odd prime because it's even, but we have 26 or 27 aberrant groups. Crowning these aberrations is the Monster, that group of an unimaginable size, the symmetry group of a 196883-dimensional algebra, an aberration that contains almost all but 6 of the other aberrations, a giant group, a freak of nature, and a giant one at that, indivisible, encompassing, supersymmetric, too large to fit into our most powerful computers."

"What are you getting at?" I interrupted, my patience again waning. "Have you been working with the Monster's Griess algebra or something?"

"No. Not really. I've been doing the usual, teaching half-interested undergrads about the easy stuff. You don't think much of it, but it does keep me sharp, in a way, to teach them elementary subjects. Anyways, I'm not getting at anything... just... oh, damn, Nielsen, don't lose your sense of awe for the folklore and the common things either. The Monster exists, there is a largest aberration, and not even that, but the physicists have found it fitting to use it to describe the symmetries of one their string theories. That's all. It's strange that we have sporadic simple groups, and it's strange that we have a largest one, and even if some primes are special in there way, there's no sensible way in which you could say that any prime is generally aberrant. It's strange. You should think so too."

After reiterating his thesis, Brown again became silent and returned to staring out the window that served as the lounge's south wall. A few flakes of snow were already forming, an apt seasonal decoration for our city. I knew better than to believe that Brown wasn't doing anything with his staring. Mathematicians work is to think, and to disturb him now would be to disturb a man at work, even if he had been unable to show much for his work over the past years. There are those rare cases, aberrations, perhaps, like Brown describes them, those rare profs who at age fifty or even sixty and beyond still are creative and productive, but Brown wasn't one of those. As ErdÃ's Pal would have said, Brown was dead, not publishing anymore.

After a 30 second pause that I understood to mean that our conversation was over, I returned to the computation I was undergoing. I cursed my stupidity when I found a simple mistake, flipping a sign, and the error had already propagated for two pages of calculation. I retraced my steps, but I didn't finish computing the cohomology by the time I left the grad lounge and the math department for my comfortable but solitary apartment in the fashionable end of town.


Back home, getting ready to sleep, sipping on a warm mug of herbal tea, no caffeine. Most of my colleagues lived on that drug, a few of them actually went for the amphetamines, believing that this would keep them sharp, anabolic steroids for the mind, but they never worked for me. Dreams are my own stimulation. I often worked out problems in my dreams too, often producing nonsense that worked in dream logic, but the occasional breakthrough did come to me in slumber. For that reason, I was content with staying off all further stimulation. A dream-induced paper now and then was sufficient to satisfy my need.

I looked out my apartment window, to the people strolling by, in their winter clothes, their breath visible. Polychromatic lovers in embrace, youngsters, people my own age, workers, hucksters, artistes, buskers. Tonight I was aloof. I like to watch, but on nights like these, I prefer to stay a safe distance away from society. I didn't have teaching duties tomorrow, so I would be able to do work from the moment I woke up. This kept me content. My work is the only friend I need for now.

Thinking of Brown's ramblings brought the Monster back to mind. It's folklore, like he said. For us, this means that it's part of what every mathematician "knows", a popular bit of trivia, but not something most of us ever work with. I suppose on some days I wear a group theorist hat, and I've never found occasion to work with the Monster either. The giant supersymmetric beast holding 20 other smaller beasts in its belly. Hah. Like Sophie Germain said, every good mathematician is also something of a poet.

I prodded a bit more at the computations I was working on earlier, but I wasn't getting anywhere. I finished my tea, got into bed, and didn't bother setting an alarm. My brain has a mind of its own, and would wake me up when it felt like it had an idea it needed to work out. I turned off the light and welcomed Morpheus' embrace.


Plains. Desolate. Vast. Brown, chiding me again, "Nielsen, don't lose awe for the simple things", simple, simple, finite and simple, finite simple groups. Three families, three happy families, 26 sporadic simple groups, the aberrations, 6 pariahs, 20 simple groups inside another, a huge group, an unimaginable group.

The plains aren't alright. No, wait. These aren't desolate plains. They're desolate planes, nothing in them but the abstractions of my mind. I'm in the centre of them all, at the origin. A set of one hundred ninety-six thousand, eight hundred eighty-three mutually perpendicular lines skewer my stomach, right where my centre of mass would be. I am spinning. I don't feel well. I might lose my lunch. Or dinner. Or anything at all, if I had a body here, if food made any sense. Spinning, gyrating, tossing, turning, in all dimensions, in all at once, in only some at a time. In the distance I see strings, chords, vibrating tiny loops, mimicking my movements. My motion gets restricted to only a subset of the mutually orthogonal lines. I hear a thunderous growl. From everywhere at once, from inside me, echoed at various volumes by twenty other voices.

Oh god. I'm it.

The Twenty move inside me. None of them divide me, for I am indivisible. I divide others. I am Monster, devourer of worlds, constituent of others. I should not exist. I am multiplied, reflected, rotated, into more directions than my mind can actually conceive. The number that describes the number of ways in which I can change is an eight followed by fifty three more digits. I move through the planes, the reflections provide me with motion, too much motion, my mind can't bear the thought of it. The Twenty laugh, laugh at themselves and at the echidna I am myself. They are my children, residing in my belly, a litter that I shall never release, for I am timeless, immaterial, immutable.

Now rotating on a different subplane. And I see Her. My baby. The Baby Monster. My successor, my proudest offspring, part of me, one of the Twenty, her symmetries almost rich enough to rival mine. She kisses me from the inside, another freak of Nature, the one who will understand me the best.

Light shines upon us. Afar, in a different universe altogether, I see the Six, the pariahs, the ones that would not find refuge in my belly. They are in darkness. Light is upon me only, not them. But not any light. Silver light. Moonlight. Moonshine. Monstrous moonshine, on me, part of me, meromorphic modular forms begin swarming around me. I can't understand it yet, but we're somehow the same. Somehow we're related. The nibble playfully at my extremities.

But I cast them away. I am ONE, the largest, the Sporadic, the Unexpected, the Irregular. I have no time for this hogwash.

And then I'm alone again. Back to familiar three dimensions. I'm me. In the distance, in that other universe, I see It now. We've become separate again. I see that almost amorphous mass of endlessly spinning symmetry and the Twenty in it, forming the rest of the universe, all possible universes, describing everything. Suddenly, the Monster doesn't seem so monstrous. What's 196883 compared to infinity? Nothing.


Cold sweat. Only three A.M. I've got to stop listening to Brown before midnight.

Woke around 3:30 AM. Knew it was for the long haul, so I turned on the good speakers and pulled up Hulu on the WinXP machine. Caught up on The Daily Show, Colbert Report, Late Night with Jimmy Fallon (growing pains, but promising), and Leno. All while working crossword puzzles from accumulated daily newspaers, alternating with periods of lights-out eyes-closed drifting and hoping for sleep. It became light outside. Had some coffee, checked weather, news, etc. online while resisting becoming truly active. Turned off lights and monitors around 9 AM for a nap. The room is dark.

Dreamt I was watching T.V. (big surprise) but I was kind of in control of what was on the screen mentally. Bordered on prurient, but only just.
I was aware I was watching T.V. in a rental condo or something in Lake Tahoe but no visuals of the lake or familiar environs, and all took place in the 'condo'. There was a knock at the door. I looked through the small opening in the door, a 3" x 5" mesh-covered opening with a cover panel I rotated out of the way. "What?" I said. Several people outside; a mid-20's girl said "Hey, What's up?" I mumbled some dismissive response to these strangers. She said "Come on Ken, what's going on?" I opened the door for a better look.
Started chatting and I noticed she and the closest similar girl had small letters all over their faces. Matrix-like. I realized they weren't people but programs wanting to breach my firewall. I stood firm. As they all babbled inquiries and nonsense I noticed this non-descript dude kind of floating toward the open doorway (What happened to the screen door?) and I pushed him back. More babble and he started floating past again. I pushed him out and down and stomped on his balls. They all dispersed.

Next I noticed that the room was full of devices - musical, computational, navigational, that all had little antenna stubs like cell-phones and that they were all connected wirelessly to my computer, and everything was humming and in control. I realized that I was on a four-day weekend and the trip up to Tahoe had eaten one day, I'd screwed around for two, was facing another day's travel back home, and I hadn't done any work beyond sketching on some multi-media presentation I was supposed to do when I got back to school on Monday (as in high school, which was decades ago, pre-computers). I thought I might be able to pull something together anyway.

Looked in the freezer for a can of coffee, and found there were a bunch of them, but they were all full of ice. Dad likes to make a bunch of ice to keep the leftover food cold on the drive home.

At this point I woke up, 10:30 AM, recognizing the 'trip home' and 'need coffee' tropes as signs it was time to wake up. Haven't had the 'wake up' thing happen in dream-state in a long time. It used to be quite common for me to have a dream become about walking, loping, driving, or even flying 'across town' to one of the several places I've called home over the years, when it was time to wake up.

Nice to see that motif return, actually. Probably haven't seen it for years because I've long since simply gotten up (and had coffee) on first coming to lucidity in the morning. I don't have a lot to do or places to be lately, so sleeping-in is a comfortable option.

But I really ought to get up.

I write to you now from my living room, staring out a crystalline lake reflecting an orange sky almost perfectly. Miami's sleepless glow looms in the background. It's quite beautiful actually. The fan above me is creaky, and the radio is on. The occasional mosquito is drawn to the bright whiteness of E2's scratch pads page illuminated quite well on this laptop. That'll get annoying.

I write to you now because I feel the need to talk to someone; someone who will listen and not interrupt, someone who isn't analyzing every sentence I speak to figure out what I "really mean", someone on the same page as myself when it comes to writing, someone intelligent. Be proud I thought of you.

I write to you now to tell of the day I've had, and the night I'm having. There's a girl involved. Go figure, I rarely find the need to write when there isn't. I woke up to the sound of a good friend saying bye as he left my house. He slept on my mattress, next to the girl who decided to spend the weekend at my house. I slept on the couch. This is the result of an awful large amount of Captain Morgan, with the occasional shot of vodka, and a good amount of beer. Needless to say, last night was pretty good. I remember being angry, a good friend shouldn't be hitting on a girl staying at my house, let alone sleeping with her in my bed. I couldn't stop it from happening, she isn't my "girlfriend" and I was too drunk to kick them out of my room. In honesty I passed out on the couch of my own accord; I simply didn't want to think about who was in my bed. Regardless, my "friend" left and woke me on his way out. This house was a mess. She cleaned up for me at least.

I write to you now to tell of betrayal, or at least the feeling of betrayal. The anger, the frustration, the helplessness. I pour it all into this keyboard, and the keyboard doesn't judge me. It doesn't scold me for being stupid, and it doesn't remind me how "she's not YOUR girl" and "you would do the same thing". It doesn't laugh at me for being such a tool, and it doesn't pretend to sympathize just so I'll shut up. It doesn't flirt with me and say "It was nothing" or rest it's head on my shoulder to make me feel better. It doesn't dismiss me. It just sits here. Waiting for me to continue.

I write to you now to tell you about the gargantuan hangover I suffered from this morning. Nothing a coffee and a pack of smokes couldn't cure, but it was still bad. I don't drink as much as I used to, I get very angry at people around me when I do. There have been several occasions that involved a lot of screaming, a lot of telling it how it is, and a lot of subsequent crying. I don't lie, but the truth hurts. The day progressed. She decided to stay the remainder of the weekend, but we didn't go out tonight. She's doing her own thing, and I'm doing mine. This is it. A night of disappointment, following a day of pain, physical and emotional. I know guys aren't supposed to feel emotional pain, but we do. I try not to show it, so I write. I don't know how others get it all out.

I write to you now to bitch and moan. I should be out with a beautiful girl and her friends. I should be drunk, or at least high. I should be happy and she should want me by now. We should be driving back from a club, with her in the passenger seat, telling me how fucked up she is. This should be easy. It's all wrong though. It's not that bad, but I hate being alone right now. So I write to you. And the radio goes on, and the fan continues to creak, and Miami still looms beyond the tree line and I still sit here. Betrayed, disappointed and very lonely.

Thank you.

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