Rainy Mathematical Days

Lamy Safari fountain pens
Lamy Safari fountain pens²


The rain has finally abated. I love the rain in Canada, but I hate it here. Why? You just get wet all the time. You get wet when you get on the scooter, when you drive around, and when you get off. Rain gear does wonders, but it’s annoying to have to carry it around and wait for it to dry. Also, driving in the rain is a lot more dangerous. I tend to be really careful.

Temperatures have cooled down significantly. It’s no longer 30C, but only 24C³. It’s getting a bit chilly when riding on the scooter. I’ll need to take a scarf.

Lamy Safari
Lamy Safari


I still have a lot of homework to do¹. Thankfully, I managed to see Charlotte and ask about being a research assistant. Since she studies in math education, she doesn’t know which professors are working in analysis, but it’s still good to talk to her. I like that since we talk in French. French has a way of relaxing me. It also focuses my thoughts, using her as a sounding-board. She’s leaving for France in about a month. She’s supposed to stay for about 5 months, but she told me that she might have to cut her visit short. Her husband is in Taiwan.

I’ve come to the conclusion that I’ll work as a research assistant in any mathematical field, even PDEs and algebra. Actually, I’d prefer algebra over PDEs, but since our department has got a few large PDE projects with a lot of funding, I’m guessing that it won’t be too complicated securing that. I’d actually prefer doing paid research than teaching too much. I’ve actually waited to see how this would develop. Hopefully, I’ll make some good progress this week.

My colleagues don’t really seem that concerned about research. As someone who wants to teach math at a university and do research, it’s important for me to get my name on publications. As a research assistant and graduate student, this is going to happen. Charlotte told me that our department is known for turning out math teachers, and that they don’t really care that much about research. Still, it’s early goings and I have some good ideas.

I’ve taken a look at the PhD exams of previous years, particularly those in algebra. They are fine. Some years, they are harder, other years they are easier. It’s one of three exams. I think that there is a real analysis and complex analysis exam as well.

One professor specializes in ring theory ,which is a very interesting subject in abstract algebra, but notorious for its difficulty. As I’ve read Dr. Terence Tao’s career advice, it’s important to work hard and this time around, I’m sure I’ll do very well in algebra. The classes here are what you make of them.


Stephanies Mandala
Stephanie's Mandalas

I’m just amazed at Stephanie’s Biffybean blog. She is an artist that loves Mandalas and works with inks. A lot of inks and fountain pens. She also uses watercolors. I love fountain pens. I believe that fountain pens help people write better. I learned to write cursively with fountain pens. This was back in France.

Back to Stephanie. She’s got an obscene number of notebook, ink, and fountain pen reviews. It’s overwhelming. I’m just surprised that she doesn’t sell these Mandalas. Maybe she does, I didn’t see a link to it, but they look very interesting. I like how she starts out with watercolors and then inks them over with Lamy Safari fountain pens.

* * * * *

[¹]: I’ve got 34 out of 39 exercises left to do in algebra. I want to finish at least half before Thursday. I plan on spending all of Thursday before class on this, as well as Wednesday afternoon and evening.
[²]: For my notes, I use a combination of Staedler triplus fineliners 0.3mm and Pilot Petit 1 fountain pens. I wouldn’t mind adding a few Lamys‡ to my collection and using some of the beautiful inks featured on Biffybean’s blog†.
[³]: Actually, it’s about 20C right now because of the rain.

[†]: I actually went through her whole blog. She also blogs for Rhodia Drive. That’s a nice gig. Rhodia and Clairefontaine are owned by the same company.
[‡]: I’ve actually seen them for sale here. With my student discount, a Lamy Safari shouldn’t be too expensive. They remind me of my Waterman fountain pens that I had when I was first learning to write cursively. I was flabbergasted to learn when I arrived in Quebec that I could write with a pencil. It seemed like sacrilege, since I had learned dutifully with a fountain pen. I could have probably skipped a grade when I arrived. I was at an international school in France. The public school I was at in Quebec wasn’t anything special. When I arrived, I was already advanced compared to my peers. I didn’t do any English classes as I was already fluent.

Author: range

I'm mathematician/IT strategist/blogger from Canada living in Taipei.

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