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PostPosted: Mon Sep 10, 2012 12:35 am 
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In line with the thread, "How is this for What do zappa fans look like?", here is an opportunity to do a little forum bio stuff. Even though I've been inspired to do this by being misrepresented by certain individuals with claims about me that are just false, it would be good if this thread could be kept flame free. Probably a futile hope along with other remnants of naiveté in my life but I will lead by trying to just talk about myself without any implied attacks at anyone else. This is to put where I'm at in the real world on the record and to provide a place for others to do the same. Please follow suit if you will or want to but try and leave negativity out of it.

I realise that philosophy and political viewpoints are a part of how one moves about in the world, but this thread is meant to be about the nuts and bolts of what you do, who you do it with and so on. Away we go, for better or worse.

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 10, 2012 1:18 am 
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I might mention that many people that I respect on this forum probably already know most of what follows about me already. As an introduction I haven't had a drink for 27 years - this is not because I'm an alcoholic or for any religious reason, there is no god as far as I'm concerned, it's all up to us what happens next, we're on our own while doing this together and this is the only thing I have zero doubt about in life. Giving up alcohol was a temporary measure that I just became used to and long after the benefits were well manifested I just kept on not drinking and being quite happy with that. I am currently reviewing this decision and considering having the odd drink. Watch this space, I'm confident it won't unravel all the hard work I've put into building a life for myself so far.

I've been married for 20 years and have three great children who are all very different. The eldest is well established overseas and I'm very proud of her, the middle one left home recently after cutting his education short and is doing a good job of handling the associated responsibility and I'm very proud of him. The youngest is nearing the end of his secondary education and after some painful ups and downs we seem to have found a way to complete that to the satisfaction of everyone involved and I'm very proud of him.

I have tertiary qualifications and, after trying out a variety of secondary positions while very much involved in my family as a part time stay at home parent, I have now returned to study and work at university as a mathematician. I was born good at maths. It's coming along nicely and I'm now pretty sure this is how I will be living out the rest of my life, primarily though some kind of involvement in tertiary education but also some involvement in research.

I play the guitar to quite a high standard at the drop of a hat and have been a student of composition most of my life. When I up the practice hours on my guitar to two or more a day I can get quite tricky and quite polished at the same time. I play the piano to not quite as high a standard as the guitar, but well enough for it to be a very useful composing tool. Music is the perfect foil to getting tired with my mathematics. I plan to get an ensemble together and play some gigs around Adelaide performing my original compositions.

The situation I now find myself in is based upon me pursuing talents that I was lucky to be born with (momentary insertion of philosophical standpoint) and finding myself in a very friendly part of the world in which I was free and supported to pursue them. Along with having a family to die for I'm a totally lucky son of a bitch. Do I deserve to be this happy? I certainly don't believe I deserve to be unhappy. I've faced some pretty huge pitfalls along the way and consider myself lucky to have had the fortitude to overcome them.

I like where I live - it's generally a peaceful town and there are some lovely nearby countryside spots to visit when you need to get away from the hustle and bustle for a while. The cost of living is remarkable given the current global economic climate. In many ways this truly is "The Lucky Country". (momentary insertion of political standpoint that comes with a well known book by an author whose name I momentarily forget).

I'm a scientist, I don't believe in jinxes, but I often seem to get in trouble right after trumpeting how fortunate I feel. This is not intended to be a bragging session. This is my life and I'm lucky to be having it, it's that simple. Nothing bad happening here with me or mine, but it's not the same for everyone living here. I may tell more anon, I may not.

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 10, 2012 5:59 am 
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I kind of got the impression you were already drinking, poly...


I was born somewhere behind a chemical plant near East St. Louis, Illinois.

It was a dark and stormy night, and no one gives a fuck.


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 10, 2012 8:48 am 
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Interesting to hear about your background, Poly.

In an attempt to follow your brief and not appear like a total egomaniac, I'll give the following information.
I was born to a German mother and an English father in the university town of Cambridge, GB. He is an architect, so an upper middle-class background. In 60s England it was not "done" to speak German and I only really learned it when I ran away from an English university in the mid eighties to go and live in Berlin. I suppose this background also influenced me in another way in that, even as a child, I would stress my foreign background. For a time living in Germany I did the same instinctively. Basically, I like being a foreigner.
Berlin was an exciting place in the eighties (I was there when the wall came down), the East/West divide meant you had the opportunity to compare two political systems and cultures. Of the two, the East was definitely the less attractive. Uniformity, drabness, and propaganda were its main traits, yet it's example still failed to shake my basically left-wing views. Simply put, I tend to the view that the better a society looks after the weaker members, the better my life in that society will be.
I studied English (an easy option as an English speaker) and History at the Free University in Berlin with the object of becoming a teacher. I financed my own way through university by working in various factories (Philip Morris was one, Osram another) and eventually in the university library. History has always been one of my major interests and my thesis was on the role of Albert Speer in the Holocaust.
It wasn't, however, until I started teaching that I realized what historical theory really should be like i.e. that in both History and Politics differing views are presented. Nearly any theory is valid as long as it is supported by the evidence. However, if the evidence is weak then the theory collapses. Funnily enough, I've rarely found this to be true when reading history books. In day-to-day life it's more common. This may all sound pretty obvious, but I must admit to being an arrogant, aggressive and dogmatic adolescent who stuck to his guns even when the ship was sinking around him. Unfortunately, adolescence for me lasted until about my mid-thirties.
However, these days I'm always interested in other points of view, if they're proffered in an open, honest and reasonably polite manner. I particularly enjoy views that are diametrically opposed to my own, so long as they're presented in a reasoned way.
I'm married, have two boys and my own house in a large village outside of Berlin. Most of the time I'm happy and enjoy my work teaching bilingual history and English very much. The summer holidays when all of my English family meet up at my parents' house in France has to be the best time of the year, though. Leaving the country would seem to be in my family blood...

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 10, 2012 10:24 am 
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Apart from that one year I spent at a strict Catholic school in Beek en Donk, I was born and bred in Eindhoven, the 5th largest city of The Netherlands. I grew up in a small family with just my dad and my sister. The absence (and the reason of it) of my mother was the cause of a lot of bullying and worse at school, to which I had little defense. It caused me to flee inside myself, write stories, draw pictures, compose tunes, soaking up other people's creativity and pushing out my own. By the time I was 13, I realized I wanted to make my music and share it with the world.

Triv: In 1995 I won a mini-bridge championship.

I'm a staunch atheist and Pastafari, with a fond love for animals, art of all kinds and games, puzzles, night, tea, good food, mythology of all plumage, comics. In your Build Your Own BBP Kit, you may find: Lemmings, Tetris, Minesweeper, Gabriel Knight, Leisure Suit Larry, live-action adventure, bridge, card games, Donald Duck, Count Duckula, Duckman, Zappa, Mr Bungle, DAAU, Apocalyptica, Primus, Saint-Saëns, Mozart, Piazzolla, Tim Curry, Gene Kelly, John Inman, Timothy Dalton, John Hurt, Michael York, Peter J. Lucas, Kamagurka, Carl Barks, Henk Kuijpers, Kandinsky, El Lissitzky, Picasso, Gaudí, De Efteling, dragons, vampires, and knitting.

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 10, 2012 4:49 pm 
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A rope leash wrote:
I kind of got the impression you were already drinking, poly...
That's a comment generally intended to imply something negative about one's behaviour. :?
A rope leash wrote:
I was born somewhere behind a chemical plant near East St. Louis, Illinois. It was a dark and stormy night, and no one gives a fuck.
Not that one deserves to get what one asks for, but I did ask to keep negativity out of this. If you don't give a fuck, then stop behaving like you do and fuck off. On the other hand, if you do give a fuck, then who gives a fuck about those who don't give a fuck?

If you want to have a go at me, then do it in another thread. This is not my thread. I may have started it but it's intended for anyone who doesn't mind doing some bio stuff on themselves and that's it. A forum for sharing what we are but not for trying to change anyone. This is who I am, like it or lump it, argue about it somewhere else.

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 10, 2012 5:13 pm 
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Caputh wrote:
I was born to a German mother and an English father ... In 60s England it was not "done" to speak German ...
My mother is French, my father English. In the late fifties the prevailing psychological opinion was that raising children with more than one language would confuse them. This suited my Father's generally tyrannical stand point and we were forbidden to speak French at home. I started learning it at high school but it was too late to take hold. Once the novelty wore off there was no intrinsic motivation remaining. My Mother's English is excellent as she made a very serious study of it as a teenager and then she moved away from provincial Normandy and established herself in London where she met my Father and the rest is history. I've never had trouble communicating with my Mother in English, so learning French wasn't an issue from that stand point any way.

Now that I can afford to visit my relatives in France and particularly now that recently my Mother is 85 and getting weaker and needing much more support, I really need to be able to speak French to deal with some aspects of her business. My work is cut out for me on top of everything else on my plate at the moment (and I don't mean that in a negative way, just more in a "my cup runneth over" way, but not so poetic).
Caputh wrote:
... and I only really learned it when I ran away from an English university in the mid eighties to go and live in Berlin ... Basically, I like being a foreigner ... Leaving the country would seem to be in my family blood...
That wandering spirit. Yes, I've got that too. There is a lot to love about living in Adelaide, but it's also very claustrophobic. I've moved away before and I'm fairly confident that I won't be spending the rest of my life here.

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 11, 2012 1:00 am 
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I would love to spend my old age in France in the country as my parents are doing. The only problem is that my French is pretty basic. I can understand it fine if I'm reading a French newspaper or Tintin, it's when they start speaking I run into problems, basically because the French speak too quickly for me. In the village where my parents live their next door neighbor is a farmer - a great guy who always wants to engage in you in conversation. One evening, we were out for a stroll and he and his wife were driving the cattle home on the one road of the village. We walked past the cattle. He greeted us and said something. We smiled and said, "Oui, oui, bonsoir!"
A half an hour later we pieced together that what he had actually said was: "What? Aren't you frightened of the bull?"

I agree with you though - it's nice to wander and sometimes I get real thrill out of not completely understanding what is being said or what is written on the menu. It makes for more interesting meals!

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 11, 2012 2:30 am 
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I grew up in a village in the middle of England (geographically speaking) and had a very happy childhood with my parents and elder sister. We generally went to the South of France for most of our holidays but also went to Italy and Portugal among other places. Dad had his own business and worked very hard so he always took 2 weeks off in May / June and we had very nice and privileged holidays.

Always very cheeky at school and grew up quite late resulting in me failing my exams and having to re-sit them. During this time I began playing the drums on a friend's drum machine (yeah, I know....). This led to the formation of a band by myself and two mates that played bass and guitar. I clearly had natural rhythm and purchased a really old basic drum kit. Well to be honest I could play it straight away and clearly had natural co-ordination.

I quickly became very good on the drums and was totally self taught. The band grew and grew and we played lots of local gigs and throughout my late teens I brought in plenty of money through part time jobs like dish washing at a local restaurant and collecting insurance money. During this time I messed up my A Levels due to the lifestyle and I "dropped out" of education. My friend and I joined another band who were once a pretty famous band here in the UK and my talent on the drums grew even further but this band didn't go anywhere due to lack of enthusiasm from the key player that had the contacts.

I had been renting during this time and having a good time dossing about but I decided to go into further education and moved home in order to do it. Met a few other musicians and joined their band and played some gigs in London and again grew and grew on the drums. Passed the course that I was doing (Business & Information Systems) to a fairly high standard and we all moved away to turn it into a degree course and establish the band down in the south of the UK. This is where it fell apart for me and I began losing interest in the playing and grew tired of this expectation of "making it" as a musician. I decided that at 24 years old I wanted to be totally in charge of my own life and not waiting for some prick from Virgin records at a cafe in London to see whether he liked our demo or not and I moved home after graduating and got a graduate job with a leading Italian tyre Manufacturer (ooh, I wonder who that could be!).

Bought my own flat and settled into a nice life for myself. Began getting really interested in food and wine (French wine) and carried on with my genealogical research into my French Huguenot / protestant roots.
Traveled down to the once family home in Languedoc and met the family that currently own it establishing a nice relationship with them.

Met my now wife whilst visiting my friend and after going out for a couple of years moved up to where she lives and got married. We honeymooned in the South of France and I showed her all round. It was the happiest time of my life. So special.
I've got a good job as an analyst now and life is fucking great.
I'm also a very good cook and have great taste in music!

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 11, 2012 6:55 am 
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O gee whiz, Polydigm! I assumed you were already drinking because of the way you have been making a go at this forum.

It's something I do when I'm drunk.

O, this is not your thread, but you don't want negativity? I've posted much about my life on this messageboard, and trust me, nobody gives a fuck. It isn't negativity, it's realism.

I see that those who have posted here have fairly squared-out lives. My life isn't like that. Read my "cable guy confessions" post, or my "for a Limited Time Only" post, or the first part of my novel that I think I posted here, if you want to know about me. Telling everyone that I've had six serious sexual relationships that have resulted in no children, that I've lived in probably forty or more residences across the USA, and that I'm over fifty and still going through jobs and addresses like I'm sorting through some cosmic recycling bin, is not what I'm about.

So, I made a little joke on your thread, poly. Did you get the "dark and stromy night" reference"?

Smoke a joint or something, good gosh...


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 11, 2012 7:20 am 
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An introverted idealist loaner with pastel convictions and tendacies towards misanthropy. Myers-Briggs tests me as an INTJ, suits me fine. I am an obsessive learner with slightly above average intelligence, in some subjects. I don't use dope but enjoy the occasional beer. Music gets me high. Anything from Beethoven to Zappa, but not country-western twangy guitar crap. I've been listening to Zappa's music for 44 years and will do so until they pry my turntable from my cold,dead hands. Franks observations and philosophies are a cornerstone of how I conduct my life. Other sources of influence are, not in any particular order, Harry Houdini, W C Fileds, Groucho Marx, Richard Feynman, John Lennon, and Thomas Jefferson. I am stingy with compassion and empathy and usually feign concern for other people. Not that I wish others harm but beyond my immediate family, I couldn't care less about the rest of the world. Aside from that I am as honest as is practical in todays world. I intend to get through life making as few waves as possible.

Any more and it gets too personal for this forum.

( Did I mention that my spelling is atrocious? )


Last edited by F.Natural on Wed Sep 12, 2012 6:32 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 11, 2012 7:29 am 
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F. Natural - I read several of Feynman's books about 20 years ago. I've been thinking they deserve a reread. I've read QED, but right now I'm thinking more of the semi-biographical stuff. He was brilliant.

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 11, 2012 10:10 am 
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I hate people who think it's OK to get drunk and post and as such hurt people, then saying they "have full right to do so". When did chivalry go out of fashion? It's what's great about your own forum. Only nice people there.

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 11, 2012 5:14 pm 
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BBP wrote:
I hate people who think it's OK to get drunk and post and as such hurt people, then saying they "have full right to do so". When did chivalry go out of fashion? It's what's great about your own forum. Only nice people there.


Just like the person this forum is named after. Nice all the time, that's what's needed!

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 11, 2012 6:53 pm 
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BBP wrote:
I hate people who think it's OK to get drunk and post and as such hurt people, then saying they "have full right to do so". When did chivalry go out of fashion? It's what's great about your own forum. Only nice people there.


Hey. What about the forum members that get drunk and say really nice things?


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 11, 2012 8:07 pm 
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Rahdley wrote:
BBP wrote:
I hate people who think it's OK to get drunk and post and as such hurt people, then saying they "have full right to do so". When did chivalry go out of fashion? It's what's great about your own forum. Only nice people there.


Hey. What about the forum members that get drunk and say really nice things?

Not to mention the sober people who say hurtful things.

BBP - this site might be more to your liking. www.missmanners.com


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 11, 2012 8:42 pm 
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Caputh wrote:
History has always been one of my major interests and my thesis was on the role of Albert Speer in the Holocaust.

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 11, 2012 9:35 pm 
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A rope leash wrote:
O gee whiz, Polydigm! I assumed you were already drinking because of the way you have been making a go at this forum.
Where am I having a go at this forum? Recently, before starting this thread I had a go at you. Then I was stupid enough to get involved in a pointless argument with one other person here. How does that extrapolate to me having a go at the forum? I'm critical of the totally ridiculous and painful joining up process we have at the moment but that's about it.
A rope leash wrote:
It's something I do when I'm drunk.
Speak for yourself, period.
A rope leash wrote:
O, this is not your thread, but you don't want negativity? I've posted much about my life on this messageboard, and trust me, nobody gives a fuck. It isn't negativity, it's realism.
One can try. We've had an interesting conversation so far. There's no implicit message that only fair tales are required. No fairy tales in my life that's for sure.
A rope leash wrote:
I see that those who have posted here have fairly squared-out lives.
My entire life has not been "squared out". I had to climb some pretty terrible mountains to get where I am today and I'm fully aware like the scholars of the middle ages, that had skulls on their desks to remind them of their mortality, that it could all poof away at any instant. It's not intended to be a squared out person's thread. It's anybody's. Go ahead and take the piss - that's you telling your story indirectly - the story of a misanthrope.
A rope leash wrote:
My life isn't like that. Read my "cable guy confessions" post, or my "for a Limited Time Only" post, or the first part of my novel that I think I posted here, if you want to know about me. Telling everyone that I've had six serious sexual relationships that have resulted in no children, that I've lived in probably forty or more residences across the USA, and that I'm over fifty and still going through jobs and addresses like I'm sorting through some cosmic recycling bin, is not what I'm about.
I'm not giving out all my gory details either.
A rope leash wrote:
So, I made a little joke on your thread, poly. Did you get the "dark and stromy night" reference"?
Whacko, you're a real card.
A rope leash wrote:
Smoke a joint or something, good gosh...
You really are a sociopath if you believe the only way people can be honest or loosen up, or just accept themselves, is to chemically modify/damage their body/brain.

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 12, 2012 2:18 am 
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I'm loving this thread, cheers Poly


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 12, 2012 2:25 am 
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calvin2hikers wrote:
BBP wrote:
I hate people who think it's OK to get drunk and post and as such hurt people, then saying they "have full right to do so". When did chivalry go out of fashion? It's what's great about your own forum. Only nice people there.


Just like the person this forum is named after. Nice all the time, that's what's needed!


Whatever Frank said: he was never really stupid, he always had well-founded reasons even for his more doubtful comments. It's not like he got drunk and just called everybody an asshole.
{think} What did Dweezil say his dad told him about drunk people again, "they just get drunk so it gives them an excuse to act like an asshole"?

Of course one of my personal heroes is Tim Curry: in most interviews, which can get painful, he stays so polite that the joke is on the interviewer. Politeness can hurt too! {vows to translate White Cowboy episodes so the world can see it's true}.

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 12, 2012 4:47 am 
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MentalTossFlycoon wrote:
Caputh wrote:
History has always been one of my major interests and my thesis was on the role of Albert Speer in the Holocaust.

Image


Ah! A rib-tickling cartoon from "Southpark"! But it does open up quite a few avenues for interpretation.
I suppose it could mean...
a) You've read my thesis, disagree with my conclusions and it made you want to vomit.

b) One of the characters in the "Southpark" read my thesis and it made him want to vomit.
(Both pretty unlikely as I believe I have the sole remaining copy and, unless you speak German, it's rather a confusing read.)

c) You hate history and the idea of someone studying it makes you/one of the characters in "Southpark" want to vomit.
(I'm sorry if this is the case and I'm sure your interests are far more worthy.)

d) You find the subject of the Holocaust/Albert Speer distasteful and the idea of someone writing a
a thesis on this subject makes you/one of the characters in "Southpark" want to vomit.
(Possibly true; however, my thesis dealt with Albert Speer's knowledge and the question of his direct/indirect involvement, rather than the actual operation of factories of death. At the time I wrote it, there wasn't as much literature on this specific aspect of the Holocaust.)

e) You don't believe that the Holocaust happened and the idea of someone writing a thesis on Albert Speer's role makes you/one of the characters in "Southpark" want to vomit.
(I hope it's not this one.)

f) You dislike Albert Speer intensely and the idea of him alone makes you/one of the characters in "Southpark" want to vomit.
(I dislike him too, but historical figures don't affect my stomach or I'd puking all the time.)


g) You think I'm an arrogant, pompous git for mentioning the fact that I've written a thesis and the idea of me makes you/one of the characters in "Southpark" want to vomit.
(If so, I apologize for defiling your eyes with my garbage).

h) Having read my previous posts, you have come to the conclusion that I would be incapable of writing a thesis and the fact that I made a claim to have written one fills you with such disbelief and loathing that it makes you/one of the characters in "Southpark" want to vomit.
(See g.)

i) You are one of the characters from "Southpark", have gastric 'flu and just happened to vomit while you were reading my post.
(I'm afraid to say I hate "Southpark" and never watch it.)

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 12, 2012 6:03 am 
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My mouth is full of worms!


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 12, 2012 6:08 am 
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O well...it's not libel if it's true!


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 12, 2012 6:27 am 
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@Arkay

The Forum Killed Arkay wrote:
F. Natural - I read several of Feynman's books about 20 years ago. I've been thinking they deserve a reread. I've read QED, but right now I'm thinking more of the semi-biographical stuff. He was brilliant.


I don't pesume to understand much of what his technical writings offer but what I get out of them and his biography is how he worked "magic" with a combination of empirical knowledge and some special insight that he had. Pretty much a common sense approach to theoretical physics. It amazes me. If you haven't read the biography 'GENIUS' by Gleick I recommend it.


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 12, 2012 7:02 am 
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Yeah, I don't claim to understand all of QED. But, the average person still doesn't understand that it is a proof that light does not necessarily travel in a straight line or even in a common sense way. Most people think of light as only being linear.

These are the other 2 I've read and fully recommend. They are semi-autobiographical and his way of thinking about everyday things has had a huge affect on me. He taught himself to play polyrhythms on drums among the many ways he has applied himself throughout his life.
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