Rambling Story, Without Point

Parked in one of the 2-hours-maximum-7AM-to-6PM spaces Monday night. This meant, in all due paranoia, that I needed to be out by 9 AM. I really need to get my Zone 4 permit, which is apparently $27 for a two-year term, and in terms of the number of spaces it'd convert from two-hours into no-limit, well worth it. But in my present permit-less state, this meant an earlier start to the day than I'd have preferred. Hit a coupla patches of traffic on 520; not enough to make me raeach for the cell phone and call East Coasters for some entertainment while I waited, but enough to be mildly annoying. Got to work and discovered that, for my troubles, the building had been hit with a power outage and was still recovering. The lights were back on, but the network connectivity was completely hosed, and the air conditioning was out. Without a netconnection, there was basically squat-all I could do at work, thus kind of mootifying my early start to the day.

My office should have some natural light. In terms of distance from an exterior wall, I'm across a hallway from window offices. But note that I said "should," rather than "does." The wall of my office that faces the window offices is just that, a wall. The door to my office is on the wall opposite that one, facing a dreary interior hallway (dreary because the building's architect didn't understand the concept of light boxes well enough to have the hallways end in them). If you sit in your light-filled window office and look towards where I sit, you see, not me smiling back at you across the hallway and basking in your ambient natural light, but rather, a giant floor-to-celing whiteboard a good twenty or thirty feet long. For this our outside-inside offices were sacrificed, for this, I tell you.

As of this morning, the whiteboard was completely blank, too. Some brilliant person or persons unknown decided to hang whiteboards in the elevators in the building. Since the stairs are really hard to find and the group is scattered across all the floors (which is a whole 'nother story), people take a lot of short elevator trips, generally with just enough time to scrawl something on one of the whiteboards quickly before de-elevatoring. So I guess all the doodling energy has been sunk into the elevator whiteboards, rather than into the big-ass one in the hallway.

Given that I quite literally had nothing better to do, I decided to teach myself a little math. I opened up my copy of Cohen's book, flipped to the section where he lays out forcing and proves that it works, and started methodically working through the proof, filling up the whiteboards with the definitions and lemmata, much as I guess he did, those thirty years ago. I got through about five pages of text, and filled maybe half the horizontal distance of the whiteboards with detailed, if somewhat inscruitable and horribly out-of-context, notes.

The collective opinion of folks in the group seems to be that I've put up some kind of strange and arcane spell, and that if any symbol of it is altered in any way, our code will break. Well, that and also that the math ought to be by pictures of Godzilla and other silly line drawings. The juxtaposition reminds me of the best title of a math book ever: Vertex Operator Algebras and the Monster.