1. Fractals (Because of your default icon, I originally thought your
LJ handle was short for Mandelbrot Bear.)
My handle is (partly) short for Mandelbrot Bear; it was shortened
both to make it fit in less than 8 characters and to make it ambiguously
mean "middle-sized bear" as well. You can find more about the set and the
program I wrote to generate the icon here. I came up with my original description when I came in to
alt.callahans feeling "infinitely fuzzy"; someone else
described me as a Mandelbear and the name inevitably stuck.
I love fractals. I bought Benoit Mandelbrot's books, and explored the
fractint on the PC and some other program on the
Mac 2. I think it was
fractint that let you play around with
different formulas; I discovered the Mandelbear set by replacing
zi2 with zi3
in the usual Mandelbrot set definition (the set of points
z0 such that the series
The Mandelbear and Mandelbrot sets are actually cross-sections of
four-dimensional objects; the cross-sections in the other direction are
the corresponding Julia sets.
I first encountered fractals in grad school, before the name had even been
coined, when I was introduced to the Dragon Curve. This is the shape you
get when you fold a strip of paper back on itself repeatedly, then open
each of the folds out half-way. Four of them fit together to make a
square with fractal edges that can interlock to tile the plane.
Fractals are perversely beautiful: they take difficult mathematical
concepts such as limits, self-similarity, complexity, and infinity; and
wrap them up in an image of such breathtaking gorgeousness that you forget
just how weird they really are.
Let's see. I think filk first came to my attention in bardic circles at
the SCA tourneys that Colleen took me to in lieu of dating. It was
sometime in the late 1970s that we started going to SF conventions. My
real intro to filk was through Amy Falkowitz, who had learned most of the
songs on Leslie Fish's "Solar Sailors" album. I wrote the first song that
I actually identified as a filksong, The Shores of the
Night, in 1981 shortly before Bayfilk 1, if I remember correctly.
Ask three filkers to define "filk" and you'll get between four and six
definitions. Mine is "the indigenous folk music of science fiction
fandom." Your mileage may vary.
I love writing songs, and I've even gained enough self-confidence to love
performing them. I love hearing other people cover my songs. I
think the best things, though, is the filk community; just being able to
hang around with a bunch of amazing, talented people, swapping songs and
talking about everything in the universe.
Let's face it: I'm addicted. For better or worse, one of the best coffee
roasters on the West Coast, Barefoot, is only a
short drive from our house (and on the way to the hospital, for what
that's worth). Not surprisingly, I have song about it.
I usually drink two or three 12-oz mugs worth in the morning. I have
learned not to drink coffee after noon unless I need it to stay
awake driving at night.
River (It's something you already write about on LJ, I know, but
it is nonetheless one of the first things I think of.)
I'm glad The River is one of the first things you associate with me --
it's been an amazing ride, and I'm still more than a little bemused to
find myself a respected authority on getting along with geeks. It
surprises and delights me that some people are finding it helpful.
It started with the
song a little over a year ago, turned into a major theme in my
livejournal, and is now threatening to spawn at least two books.
5. Cross-talk (I remember you mentioning it in a post about
geekboy care and maintenance or flow or something, and it made me more
aware of my own sensitivity to cross-talk.)
I ganked that usage from cflute, who's even more sensitive to
it than I am. Some of us don't multitask very well, so if there's
another conversation going on, or more than one person talking to us at
once, or a major distraction like a TV in the room, our train of thought
gets totally derailed.
My main post on the subject was this one.