Sometimes you just get lucky, even with the little things. As I’ve mentioned several times I’m taking Calculus this semester. I can’t really wrap my head around the subject yet, even though Professor Frightful and his voices in the blackboard urge me to do so. I never took the subject in high school; my experience with “Course III” (trigonometry) was harrowing enough that it made me lose interest in “Course IV” (calculus). Looking back I find that surprising because the Course IV teacher was Mr. Kotschevar who was a little bundle of über woofy. He probably still is.

I digress.

We had our first full-blown exam in Calculus on Friday and yesterday we found out the results. I didn’t do as badly as I thought. It wasn’t an A by any stretch of the imagination, but it was a B when curved the right way and that I could deal with. When I took the test on Friday there was one question that completely confounded me. I had no idea how to approach the problem: “find all the roots of the number (cube root of 8i).” Or something like that; I don’t pay attention to the petty details when the numbers get imaginary. I know that it has something to do with adding 360 degrees three times and some sines and cosines but other than that I was lost. So I grabbed a number out of the sky and wrote down “-2”.

I was right! Well, at least for one of the roots. There were two more that I completely missed but I got me some partial credit on a problem I had no idea how to do. 1

Sometimes it’s the little things.

1I’ve since restudied the problem and I know how to do it now.

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Back in the early and mid 1980s I used to trade music videos on videotape with my friend Scott. I’d record them off of “Friday Night Videos” while he recorded them off of MTV (the cable TV didn’t come up the road until 1988, Scott lived closer to town). The big chore was the actual trading; my father had bought us a VHS recorder when they first came out, Scott had a Betamax machine. Of course the two tapes would never mingle so you had to jimmy up wiring to record between the two. We’d have an occasional discussion about VHS vs Betamax. VHS eventually won. It’s still winning up in my Dad’s neck of the woods.

In this round of another Betamax versus VHS fight, Sony won out today with their Blu-ray format of high definition DVDs. So Earl and I are on the Betamax side of the line this time with the HD-DVD player sitting in our living room. Anyone want to buy an HD-DVD drive for cheap? Hell, you can buy the whole tricked out Xbox 360, just drop me a line for details. We want a Wii.

Toshiba Drops HD DVD Format, Ending Sony Fight