Monday 25 December 2023

Holiday Singalong 2023


The 13th annual Christmath parody is linked here at: "Inequalities".


Speaking of every year getting worse, I have Covid-19. Tested positive on Christmas Eve, fortunately before going to see the in-laws (though I'd been over there the previous day too, so fingers crossed... my wife and daughter are negative for now). This despite still masking with an N95 at work.

Work itself is still part-time as I pick up my daughter at the school bus, but still feels like full-time as the Grade 11 course is being completely revamped to handle the destreamed cohort coming in. A big thanks to past me for all his efforts with the MHF 4U course, as it's occasionally been on auto-pilot because of that.

More bad news, earlier this year, I started a new Epsilon Serial over at my other site. November's post has zero plot votes thus far (after a stellar one vote the previous entry) so I guess I'm putting the pause on that for now. I'd hoped Angel Rusee as a new protagonist would fare better than more reruns.

Some good news, The Accidental Time Travelers Collective, Volume 2 came out earlier this month, and I have another short story in that volume, "Plan V". Which has net me an author page on Amazon.
I also got my other math song parodies online back in September. One was included in The APeriodical Carnival of Mathematics for October, hosted on Infinitely Irrational. Look for the cool graphic they made:

As to this year's parody, I literally finished it earlier this afternoon, after starting it on Saturday December 23rd. The pieces just came together, thankfully, and there wasn't much else to do this morning, being sick in bed. I was supposed to be driving today to see my parents, and had planned on finishing it in a few days. So that's something.
Hope you enjoy "Inequalities" to the tune of "Here Comes Santa Claus".

I have no illusions of 2024 being any improvement, particularly given politics of late. Let's hope for status quo, as horrible as that sounds. But for now, Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and all the best to you and yours. Thanks for reading.

Sunday 25 December 2022

Holiday Singalong 2022


The 12th annual Christmath parody is linked here at: "Plane Geometry".



I'm speaking only in terms of my stress levels and general availability of free time (for anything outside of teaching and parenting). Those two things keep getting worse. My serial site continues to be queued up weeks in advance with old material. I've had to shift to part time work again to stay sane. And given Ontario elected Ford for another 4 years last June (by virtue of 50+% not voting) I'll probably stay that way. Nothing's going to get better without funding, which isn't happening.

On the flip side, some very good things did happen this year, including:
-My daughter starting Kindergarten in the French Public system, and being eligible for a Covid19 vaccine. I was able to put together one single video of her this year, of her gymnastics course in Dec (plus a short clip set for Halloween).
-Another new parody I wrote and sung in class (Gayle's a-b-c-d-e-f(x) ) which I'll get online god knows when.
-Meeting some amazing Time Travel authors on Twitter in the summer (before Musk killed that website last month, by the way I'm now on Mastodon). In fact, we all published The Accidental Time Travelers Collective, a set of 12 short stories, which is currently available on Kindle. Yes, I'm officially published now with my thanks to them!

And then there's our annual math parody. I selected it late this year, Sat Dec 17th, and only finished it before midnight on the 23rd (with tweaks earlier today). "Winter Wonderland" felt like it would work for discussing the three types of "Plane Geometry", namely Euclidean (parabolic), Lobachevsky (hyperbolic) and Riemannian (elliptic). You'd have the option of singing all three, or repeating hyperbolic ("Parson Brown") twice.

Then, after getting a start on it, I discovered there's BRIDGE verses that exist between the traditionally sung ones. Namely because the 1934 original just went "Chorus1 Chorus2 Chorus2". Then in 1947 they created the "circus clown" snowman to avoid "Parson Brown" going twice, meaning "Chorus1 Chorus2a Chorus2b"... and the version by Johnny Mathis put verses in between those.

Obviously I went for maximum coverage, and included those as well, which help to bring in the history and the names of the people involved in the mathematics. The verses can be found in some other later versions (Eurythmics move them to the start, for instance), but you'd be forgiven for not knowing about them because there's some 200 different singers for "Winter Wonderland" out there.

Seriously, that's more than 2 per year, who hasn't covered this? I guess what's key is that I now have. The original lyric origins are a bit of a sad story too... the research part of this continues to be interesting.

As always, hope you enjoy it. Take care, Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and here's to whatever avoids jinxing 2023.

Saturday 25 December 2021

Holiday Singalong 2021


The 11th annual Christmath parody is linked here at: "Walkin' Around Unit Circles".


Holy freaking cats. I thought 2020 was problematic.

We started Teaching 2021 doing remote learning in January, and ended it in June the same way. After an April Break (not March) because the Ontario government just does that stuff now. There was some in-class between, but not in quadmester four at all.

The summer that followed actually wasn't terrible, I DID get my 2018 parodies online at last, and converted all the old Google Sites Personification Entires over into the new format (which took some time, the images were never placed right). I even wrote a new parody with logs.

That last is NOT online yet, because in Sept 2021 I had to teach an entirely new course in a system where we're doing math on one week, then not the next, then back to math. (The province requires two classes, separated by a lunch.) So I'm dealing with making up lessons and doing them in this crazy system.

I went part time. If I hadn't, I'm certain I would have needed medical leave, because the course I hadn't taught in six years (aside from during a quadmester) would have been back too, and I've needed every ounce (minute?) of prep to keep up. My other serial blog had parody posts queued up in August, thank goodness.

This year's December song parody was selected and vaguely begun Sun Dec 12. Went for a shorter one, and it mentions "around" and "pie", so trig from the most recent unit was a fit. Set it aside until Sat Dec 18, when I resumed and managed to finish it. Not one of the best, but not bad, and keeps up the tradition.

Hope you enjoy it. Not much else to say, just here hoping the 3 yr old has a cold and not a deadly disease. Please take care, everyone.

As always, Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, read through the archives and all the best for 2022.

Friday 25 December 2020

Holiday Singalong 2020


The 10th annual Christmath parody, "Solving for Unknowns", can be found at this link.
And this year, WE HAVE VIDEO that you can see at that link.


Well, THAT was a year.

I wasn't hit by 2020 to the same extent as many others, but I did start the year sick, then needed to find new Daycare while dealing with first semester exams in January, and then of course during March to June... I had to teach from home while my not-quite two year old daughter was here too.

I did not get those parodies from 2018 online. That's still on the list.

I DID get a banner done for 2019 (in the summer of 2020) using the tablet. But I've returned to hand-drawn for this year's parody and banner. It's just twenty times faster because it's what I'm used to (and I don't need my computer running to do it). For writing, my other blog has been sputtering along with its serial, and more was done in "Time Untied".

As to the annual math parody, I knew I'd keep the tradition going if at all possible. Given last year's holiday assembly, Frozen II was a natural source, more so once I saw how easy I could repurpose their main tune. 

Incidentally, Frozen II was the only movie I saw this past year (in January), and even then I had to pick up my daughter early owing to a fever, so it's lucky I went to the earliest show. (Wait, correction, saw the Star Wars movie the following week, whatever.)

The form of the verses sort of crystallized through Oct/Nov and as usual I wrote it in the span of about a day, Saturday, December 12th. 
I floated the option of recording it to our tech teacher at school who handles the morning announcements and the 'get to class' music, and he thought it was great. Something familiar in a year when we can't have the usual holiday assembly at school.

I recorded it Monday, December 14th, around midnight. Hence why the backdrop looks as it does, I was in a remote corner of the house so as to not wake anyone up. (And as expected, every subsequent night was busy with quiz feedback and grading I wasn't getting to, so I'm glad I had the energy when I did.)

It seemed to go over well, at least with some staff. I added the usual video conclusion to the final version yesterday, before putting it online today.

I do not know where we're going now. Maybe I'll have time to catch up, but Ontario schools are abruptly shut down in January and we're being told to do things like combine cohorts even though they're in totally different places, so yay for anticipating doing the impossible for the I've-lost-count-time.

But that's for later. For now, Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, feel free to read through the archives, and all the best to you and yours for 2021.

Wednesday 25 December 2019

Holiday Singalong 2019


The 9th annual Christmath parody, "Three Things of Math", can be found at this link.


Well, that was a year.

I've done some very preliminary drawing using my Wacom tablet, but nothing for personified math yet. I have a 2019 banner planned out and, yeah, running out of time to enact that. So no images for the parody yet either.

If you missed it (because you don't follow me on twitter), I did write a personified math guest post for AlphaWordZ called "To Infinity, and Beyond!", back in July/August. I have since written two new math song parodies (before this special), but I haven't put them online yet, mostly due to wanting to have a new image to go with them.

And that's everything. My "Any ~Qs" rerun on Tapas concluded at the end of June with 11 subscribers. Meanwhile, my "Cubic Formula" song on YouTube continues to get random comments that I haven't had time to properly research and respond to.

Most of my writing in 2019 has been focussed on contributions to the Time Travel Nexus, including a complete set of Steins;Gate reviews, on edits to the story on my serial blog site "Balancing Act" (featuring supernatural detective Melissa Virga), and on "Time Untied", the sequel to my first time travel serial on that site. This site has been very low priority.

But, as I implied above, it's not completely forgotten.

With "Frozen II" having come out last month, it made sense to make my holiday assembly song (when asked about it) a rerun of "Polar Plot". Any students who saw it in 2014 would have graduated by now. As such, I thought I would branch into the more religious Christmas music for a non-performance new piece (lest anyone take offence at turning Jesus into Math).

Besides, I realized I didn't have time to write in earnest until Saturday, December 21st. And even then I lacked spare time.

I do not recall why I decided to pair math bar notation with the three kings of the Christmas Carol. I do recall the initial draft focussed on the overline/macron, the vinculum, and absolute value bars... until I learned of the obelus (division symbol), which has a dual meaning as a small dagger symbol and thus pairs nicely with myrrh. Fraction bars aren't exactly vinculums anyway, unless there's operations involved. So there's a look at the creative process.

I kind of envision one of the -tans themselves (perhaps Lyn) drawing the bar avatars as actual people.

Where are we going in 2020? Well, assuming I manage to do some drawing, I'll get those prior parodies up. I do not see much more than that happening, with family life keeping me busy, but rest assured: I'm still keeping an eye on things. Feel free to read the archives. :)

As I said last year, Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and hope you have a wonderful New Year.

2018 drawing of ParaB skating, by Elliebot.

Tuesday 25 December 2018

Holiday Singalong 2018


The 8th annual Christmath parody, "Sequenced", can be found at this link.


Before this past weekend, I hadn't done any drawing for over 6 months. There's been a few reasons for that.

(1) The most recent post here (the one ending Series 9) went up the same day my daughter was born. (Obviously I had it queued up in advance; the little one was induced and arrived in the wee hours of the morning.) So the new family dynamic's been taking up a lot of my time.

(2) My serial site also finished its reruns late that June, and thus what time I've had for writing has been focussed there, cranking out a new part every two weeks based on audience votes. (Four votes is about average, if you want to feel like your vote matters somewhere.) Another priority has been putting effort into "Time Untied", the sequel time travel story for that site, in particular this past November. Oh, and I contribute monthly to The Time Travel Nexus.

(3) I got a Wacom tablet as a gift last May (along with "Painter Essentials 6"), and thought I might start going digital. But my Mac OS hadn't been updated, to the point where even trying to download the current version wouldn't install, and of course it was incompatible with said tablet. Which was another thing to deal with.

I got that last sorted out in mid-September... which incidentally broke "Final Cut Express", so doing videos is going to be problematic going forwards. Also, September was when I was back at work, and so I had no time to play around. I FINALLY started tooling about with it only two days ago, Dec 23rd. I think I have a sense, but obviously ended up hand-drawing and scanning for this update (on the 23rd/24th), as per my usual.

So that's me and my comic, how're things with you?

It's worth mentioning that I'd actually had a couple of students involved with the school holiday assembly ask if I'd be performing again this year, and a few other students make similar inquiries later on. I said I would, and FWIW this year's song parody was mostly completed on Sunday, December 16. I got positive feedback after the fact too. I guess the parody is entrenched in tradition now.

Will there be any updates in 2019? I honestly don't know. I might try doing a few one-shot panel updates. A lot of this stuff does depend on whether there's actual interest out there for it (you'll notice I stopped doing videos even before my new OS broke "Final Cut Express"). So let me know. 

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and hope you have a wonderful New Year.

Here's a rundown of the past 8 years, with the newest song as the last link:

(2011) "Decimal" (tune of "Deck the Hall")
One of my earlier math parodies. Not much to say about it.

(2012) "A Squared Song" (tune of "Jingle Bells")
The year of my most prolific songwriting, and the first one I performed at a school assembly.

(2013) "O Factor Tree" (tune of "O Christmas Tree")
Also one performed at an assembly. Again, not much to say.

(2014) "Polar Plot" (tune of "Let It Go")
My web serial had folded by this point, but I went all out for the performance. Created a video to go along with both versions of the tune. As of today, four years later, the Idina Menzel version (played at the assembly) has managed 94 views on YouTube.

(2015) "Like a Bell" (tune of Pachelbel's Canon)
My web comic had stared up by then. The assembly was scaling back though, I would have been the only video performance, so I tried without a video. It didn't go that great; bad year to experiment. Someone (a teacher?) prompted people to wave phones back and forth though, so that made it into the video when I did finish it. It presently has 53 views.

(2016) "Do We Have a Square Here?" (tune of "Do You Hear What I Hear?")
I'd largely shied away from religious themed music, but I was on leave from teaching, so gave it a try. No performance (I did go back to the school to watch the assembly) but there was a video, which presently has 36 views.

(2017) "Triangles Rock" (tune of "Jingle Bell Rock")
I was coming off a comic hiatus in part due to medical leave. A colleague asked me if I was doing a performance, and I tentatively put my name forward. I printed out a bunch of lyric sheets this time (no video made at all), and it went well enough to get a mention in the Yearbook.

*(2018)* "Sequenced" (tune of "Sleigh Ride")
I talked about this one above. Hard to believe it's been eight years. Hope you enjoy.

Monday 18 June 2018

S9.340 - Light Switch

This is the end of Series 9... and the last strip for an undetermined amount of time. That's been the plan since mid-April, because my wife is about to/has given birth, so my priorities are 'switching'. Plus, I got a wacom tablet for my birthday, so maybe if/when I return I'll have gone digital.
Very tentative plan might be a plot in Fractal City. Let me know if there's any interest in that. Or any at all.

Thanks for reading! Peace out.


QELLY: I think we’ve reached a turning point.
QEXPONA: I have none of those.
QSINE: We need processing time.
GAMMA: I could give CS a call.
ROOT: Where are we all headed?
PARA: I’m not sure even TBTP know.
CANTOR: I suspect there will be puns.
SLOPE: Are you trying to get a rise out of me?