Sunday, November 23, 2008

standing still; slow steps; a strange soothsayer [1]

since defending my thesis six months ago, i have gradually become less productive. this weekend i've not made much progress at all, and yesterday i successfully avoided negative progress:

i thought i had proved a lemma some days ago, but yesterday morning i realised that one step was wrong. after an undisclosed amount of time in a mild panic, i realised that the step was unnecessary and the lemma remains true from a weaker observation.

so i gained nothing but also lost nothing: non-negative progress!

i've also been browsing a few papers, trying to learn more about the sob01ev space W1,n(M;N) for M and N manif01ds and n the dimension of M. like learning anything new, it's going slowly.

i repeatedly tell myself to be patient and that intuition and understand will come .. all in good time. i tell myself that my most recent experience has been a singular one: i was writing a thesis and concentrating on the same thing, day in and day out, for a year or more.

that's why the thesis stuff seems easy and this new stuff seems hard;
you've spoiled yourself: you've forgotten how hard it was, before.

these days i look at my thesis and i wonder why it took me so long to prove what i proved. i now think it is all obvious. maybe i'm right, but again: i'm biased and my opinion no longer counts.

i wonder how it looks to someone else.

on a lighter note, i ate at a "pan-asian diner" today for lunch and this was my cookie fortune:

the best angle from which to approach
any problem is the TRYangle.

ye gods, that's an awful pun;
to my discredit, i did chuckle a bit after reading it.

[1] my painful attempt at alliteration.

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