Saturday, 22 November 2014

Quick tips from an old codger

I don't quite know how to get this across - it confuses even me. I'll try to start.

Let's say you're young and horny. Maybe you're unused to people trying it on with you. You meet someone interesting - maybe they're a bit older than you. Maybe they're a lot older than you, if you're someone like me. You have some pretty deep conversations and end up doing some sexual stuff. And even though you don't like them in that way, you might still end up confused as to how the fuck it all happened or disappointed in yourself.

This old codger's advice is that this sort of situation is very common and nothing to be ashamed of. When you put interesting and attractive people in a room together, this happens. A lot. Just please try and be safe. And I hope that you enjoy whatever happens.

Friday, 10 October 2014

Things Come in Time

So maybe some of you are sitting down with a page of maths exercises and feeling close to tears because you're so frustrated that you can't figure out what to do. I mean, it can't just be me, right? And when, like me, you actually like maths to the point of thinking that it's beautiful, it's even more frustrating and upsetting.

I have a couple of things to say about this.

Firstly, unless your teachers or professors are really mean (or just incompetent) those problems are solvable. Maybe not with the tools you have right now, maybe you might need to use old tools in a different way, but they're probably solvable. And getting hysterical usually doesn't help with doing maths - well, it doesn't help me with doing maths at any rate.

Secondly, take your time. I don't know how I can stress this enough, because it's important and most people (including me) forget to do this. Obviously certain things are going to be quite straightforward and you might not need to spend much time on them, but when it comes to complex calculations do not rush. Do them patiently to avoid silly mistakes (although you'll probably still make them) and try and check your work a couple of days afterwards. Work through problems carefully and methodically.

Thirdly, look at lots and lots of different sources. Surround yourself with textbooks. Open 20 tabs on your computer to do exercises. Go to the library and study quietly. It will help you find the best way to approach the material - and give you loads of practice.

Maths is a patient art. It may take you months, it may take you years - but you will develop mathematical intuition through hard work and trying to solve problems calmly. And it will pay off in one of the greatest ways possible - you will be able to appreciate the elegance and beauty of the laws that underpin our universe.