Dearest Humans:

A story by Michael J. Pennington.

To earth: From space.

Dearest humans,

We are the Nern you may not know us but we know you.

It’s probably a little surprising to many of your spices that we know your language. Years in fact. I shall relate the story to you.

Back when our two species were young we never imagined we would discover an alien species so quickly or so easily.

We had learned a great deal about our home solar system, our moon, our host planet, and our sun, but there were gaps in our knowledge. So we looked to the stars for answers.

We chose just a hundred stars of the billions available and of those hundred. Yours was the oddball, the exception, the flaw in the data.

An signal in a fairly mundane range of light that followed a pattern. One we could not easily explain. Try though we did. We ain’t a very romantic people, or we weren’t at the time. (You’ve had something of an influence on us.) We could simply not imagine

Mathematical Methodology.

How I Math!

By Michael J Pennington Disabled Author.

It seems to me that I should take the time to explain exactly how I arrive at some of the crazy mathematical conclusions that I do. I fancy myself a mathematician and I work with some pretty big numbers. My focus is on the behavior of big dynamic systems, and their overall behavior, and how they interact with other dynamic systems. I’m also trying to create a working model of infinity so that I can more efficiently use it in my mind experiments.

Mathematical Background.

Special Education: I began my mathematical life as something of a lost soul. Although I thought I was getting the marital just fine, by third grade my teachers obviously not convinced. So I was taken out of the regular class and spent the next five years of my life relearning and relearning the basics in Special Ed classes.

Extraordinary Clams: It was in eighth grade the first change came and I make perhaps my most unbelievable clam. The lens of memory is a distorted one at best but I remember thinking that I knew steps, and I knew pedicures, but did I understand? So I set out to teach myself the why. I thought myself math from a whole new perspective starting with the number one.

High School: I wasn’t able to advance as much as I wanted in High school, having been ham-stringed, but my time in Special Ed, but I got into algebra and took a basic physics class and those were fun.

College: I have a BS in Animation, and as you could imagine, there were not meany opportunities to take math classes in a algebra program, but I took collage algebra (twice! got a B in one and a A in another.) and Geometry, plus the various programming classes I took. I even got named head programmer, on one class project. (Came really close to removing the teacher from the project, but he was right in the end.)

Aspirations: I hope to go further and take Calculus, theoretical Physics, and any and all math I can get my hands on, but life has not afforded me the opportunity for these, but I have hope and will keep perusing them.

Who am I?

I’m not a genius, but I’m compelled to think I am. I would think I would be diagnosed with borderline Narcissism, but I don’t pretend to be a Psychiatrist. My whole life I’ve thought more of my ideas than I should and get frustrated when the world doesn’t respond by beating a path to my door and declaring the smartest person ever. These thoughts are unproductive. So I counter them with positive but more realistic affirmations. Such as: I consider myself reasonably intelligent, I’m allowed to make mistakes, I love failure, perfection is a illusion.

This also explains my mantra, “My name is Michael J Pennington, I am no more or no less than that.” Although I’m just as likely to use “Keep it Simple Stupid.”

The Compulsion:

Thought I sound like an intellectual I’m more a creature of habit. Boredom is my enemy. I’m seldom bored, mostly because I’m drawn to think about my stories and math. These are more obsessions for me that cut me off from the rest of humanity. I do these things because I am drawn to. It’s not important that I am right or that I am good at what I do. I just love doing it. I can’t see myself stopping.

The Pennington Process.

Okay, getting down to it here is how I work.

No Negatives.

It is my observation that the universe dose not use negatives. I see completing evidence that the universe borrows or part of it is missing. There are opposing forces such as gravity a force compelling matter to be smaller, or fission a force compelling matter to expand (more or less) to infinity, but each of those can be understood as separate forces. Each getting stronger or weaker in their own scale and may have a net effect, neither counts as the negative of the other.

For me negatives are speculative in nature. I’m not worried about what could be only what is there. So I try to construct my mathematical models without using negative numbers.

So I’m a self taught compulsive mad man who dose these kinds of things for fun without concern for being right or wrong. It’s a bit like having your space rocket pilot just decide that he understood the ins and outs of rocket science and felt today was a good day to test it out. But enough about me! Lets light this Candle!

Base One.

Inevitably in every prison movie or any story where a person is isolated for a long period of time you will see them using tally marks. The four lines |||| with a fifth slash \ going though them. You’ve probably used them yourself for counting at some point in your life. However this is more than a mere counting system its a mathematical system that can be used like any other.

You’ve heard of Binary Code the fundamental language of computers. This is a mathematical system that has two digits, 1 and 0.

Romans used what is in essence a base five system. I II III IV V

We use a base Ten system. 0123456789

A Base one system only has one digit 1. Or | if you prefer and it benefits from not contains a Zero. Now it can be difficult at times working without such a important concept as Zero, but I find that if a mathematical concept can work in base one it holds up pretty well.

So I’ll use base one as a way of double checking my work.

Top Down, bottom up and inside out.

You may be familiar with the popular indium “Think outside the box.” I find this saying to be a bit annoying because it seems to suggest that only the unconventional approaches to the problom are of value. I prefer to say there is no box. The box is the problom and the problom must be examined from all sides. Sometimes a unconventional solution is warranted, but sometimes the traditional is best. Knowing which approach to apply is the mark of a good thinker.

This applies to math is a very strait forward way the large systems I look at tend to have several aspects that interest me. So I build them from the ground up, and dissect them from the top down, I imagine myself in the system and try to see trends. I sit outside and try to distill information from the changes and current. There is no one approach I use I try to use as meany as I can think of when working on a problom.

Clouds.

Okay, I’m running out of steam. Meaning my brain is truing to mush and my ability to think clearly is computerized. I have so meany half finished thoughts in my blog right now and I’m afraid if I don’t finish now I’ll never finish it. So I’m going to power through.

It’s hard to describe what goes on in my head when I’m running numbers. I take a system and ascribe a behavior. Such as growing, sinking, stagnant. These behaviors are all based on my understanding of how math works. As the system develops I give secondary behaviors such as another system competing for resources. I determinate based on these factors what should be the outcome, and compare it to a real world example. I try determinate the difference’s and make changes accordingly.

It’s a little like understanding how a cloud works. There aren’t numbers in my head when I see this of cores, and sometimes I don’t know how to write the numbers down, but I’ve been working on that.

Okay I got to quit for the night. I wish these moments of lucidity weren’t so fleeting, but at least I got something done.

As always your friendly madman. Michael J Pennington Disabled Author.

Invisible Staircases part 2: The revenge!

Invisible Staircases part 2: The Revenge!

By Michael J. Pennington: Disabled Author.

You may not notice, but I changed my byline. I love my byline it’s a good byline. Michael J. Pennington. It sounds good, rolls off the tongue, but I’ve put a lot of thought into it and I’ve decided its not enough.

I have lots of stuff wrong with me. I have a number of sleep disorders, I got some sciatica in my legs, I’ve been described as morbidly obese, and I’ve tested in the diabetic range. But when I say, “Disabled Writer,” I’m referring to only one thing. An unspecified learning disability I’ve lived with since childhood.

You see I grew up in the ’80s and in the ’80s, they weren’t so big on diagnosing the problem. The just shaped the ol “special Ed” label on you and sent you to special education classes. Where they thought you how to run a cash register and how to count change to prepare you for your future career as a fast food employee.

So I don’t even know the name of my disability. I think it’s dyslexia, but I’m not sure. I can tell you I mix up letters and numbers, but it’s much more than that. I pronounce silent letters, that is to say, if I see them I say them. I know not to say them if we I can say “salmon” just fine but if I’m reading out loud it’s going to be sal-mon” guaranteed. The weirdest thing I’ve experienced was a word breaking. Words just break for me. What that means is ill completely forget how a word is spelled. Simple words I’ve known forever. And it’s not that I forget how to spell them its that I’m mentally blocked from knowing. So if the word cat blocked for me I couldn’t think of the letters c a t, maybe k a t, ch a t, but not c a t. It’s infuriating.

For years I didn’t talk about my learning disability. I don’t like not being able to do something. I don’t like making excuses. I don’t like giving up. In short, I’m one stubborn bastard, and like too many I saw my disability as a weakness.

Spelling and grammar have always been a struggle for me, but in eighth grade, I did something remarkable. I taught myself math. Everyone assumed because I was “Special ed, ” that it meant I was stupid and in many cases, it meant I was lazy.

See my struggle in math was because I didn’t understand it. What they were busy teaching me repetition and procedure, and I had been taught so many procedures I was confused as what to do. They taught me the ‘what,’ but nobody taught me the ‘why.’ So one day I decide to figure it out. Starting with number one and then every concept after that. (I’m still doing it.)

Soon I couldn’t fail a math class and my parents pushed to get me in mainstream classes. I graduated high school an average student, but I graduated.

Like anyone with a disability. I’ve had challenges. Before computer applications, I couldn’t get a job unless someone filled out my applications. Computers were a great thing for me but I couldn’t get a computer job because of my spelling. I could write four thousand words in a single day but I was able to pass a typing exam.

I’ve spent my working career lifting heavy things because that was the work I could get. The exception to this was when I got my job working security. Which wasn’t really a brain-intensive job.

I told myself it didn’t matter. I had a dream and I was going to pursue it no matter what. See shortly after high school I got me an idea. I’d write a book, sell it and be rich. So I did, but a crazy thing happened when I did. I loved it! So much so I decided this was going to be my life’s ambition. To be a published author.

So I started writing my books and I started taking classes at a local public college. I’d save up and pay out of pocket, I wasn’t thinking of a degree, I just wanted the knowledge. Now I did okay there, my creative writing teacher loved me, and there was one algebra class in particular where my teacher took an interest in me. He saw my potential as a mathematician and pushed me hard. I left his class with a ‘B’ but I knew I had earned it.

Soon I found myself tempted by a private school who was offering a multimedia degree, and I thought that might be useful to me in my persist as a writer, but I quickly switched over to a degree in animation.

I’m going to take an aside here to give you a little insight into the kind of person you are dealing with. My first animation class was 3d modeling. This was just a basic class to teach us the workings of the animation program we were using. On the second day of class, I get an idea and I match into the classroom storyboard in hand and I tell my teacher I want to do this for my final project. We had only made one thing in the class and that was a couch. And he was like “are you sure?”

And I was like “yes!”

And he was like “okay.”

So every day after that I sat at my computer with two windows. One was the lesson, and the other was my final. I completed my final and ended the class with a big fat ‘A,’ In fact, I was riding high on a 4.0-grade average. Me the little special ed boy 4.0 in college I was so proud. That was me if I set my mind to it I went after it with everything I had.

But this created a dilemma, remember that B? I didn’t transfer my credits because it would ruin my GPA, but those English courses were coming and I knew they were going to be hard for me, but I wanted that 4.0 I was determined.

Well, the English 101 class came and I put myself through hell for that course. I would proofread and proofread and proofread. I stared at those words for hours. I stared at them till my eyes hurt and my head was pounding. Commanding myself, willing myself to see to just see the mistakes I knew were there.

Every time my papers came back there was a sea of red ink. I’d make the connection and still more red. It was heartbreaking it was soul-crushing. I never told anyone this but I hated myself for not being able to ace that class. I walked away with a C for my efforts, and I’m quite certain it was pity that got me that. My 4.0 washed down the drain gone forever.

I know what you’re thinking why didn’t you ask for help Mike? I did. I told the school about my disability I told my teacher I asked if there were any resources. Nope. My friends offered to help and friends are great, but at the end of the day being a proofreader for me is a full-time job, and friends they have their own lives. You feel bad constantly asking them to read stuff for you.

Not to mention the comments. The well-meaning, but hurtful stuff they say. Like “have you ever taken a basic English class?” or “have you proofread this?” or even “do you proofread?” I don’t tell them I won’t show any of my work unless I’ve proofread it at least five times.

There was a brief time I was considering a job teaching English in Japan. I decided it wasn’t going to get me closer to my goal. But the words of one friend stuck with me. “Mike, ” they said “you can’t even write basic English! How are you going to teach it?”

All the while there is this sense that you aren’t trying hard enough that you don’t care. That you want others to do it for you. Whether it’s really there or not its what you feel.

Moreover, I just don’t want to ask for help every goddam time I want to write. It’s annoying, it’s like asking permission. Please daddy, can I write something today?

What I’m saying is that just expecting someone with a learning disability to just get help from their friends is unrealistic.

You might think all this stuff would put me off writing, but no, I still love it and I want you to know I’m quite happy for what I achieved.

I have been writing for twenty years. I have written six books in my spare time and published two! I have written ten thousand words in a single night and all while being a husband and a father and living my life.

I clawed my way to the plate picked up the bat and took a swing. I failed spectacularly! Yes, I did, but I took my shot and that’s all I really wanted.

If I were alone I’d be quite content to drift off into obscurity to write my books that nobody buys and publish my blog that nobody reads.

There is one thing that bugs me. Did I fail because I suck or did I fail because of my disability? I don’t mind sucking if at the end of the day I suck, oh well but if people just dismiss me because of my spelling… That makes me angry.

See I’m not alone and my experiences are far from unique. Publishers have no guidelines for disabled writers. I can find no resources for adults with disability and it pisses me off. We have to do better.

There was a story about Einstein, perhaps you heard it? How he struggled at math when he was young. Of course, any two-bit history buff will tell you it’s not true.

That story was a great inspiration to me growing up, and it saddens me it’s not true, but it does make me wonder could I be that story?

Me the special ed kid who never got better than a c in English class a best. selling author? That would be a story.

So maybe I shouldn’t accept my fate quite so easily. Maybe there is a little girl out there who’s being told she can’t be an astronaut because she has dyslexia, maybe there’s a boy out there being told not to think about being president because he has autism.

Even my daughter who has ADD and has struggled in school because of it.

Maybe they need me to keep fighting.

So I’ve decided t stop hiding my disability, and put it in peoples face.

I’m going to fight for disabled access to the publishing community.

I’m going to fight for disabled access in our schools because I didn’t fail those classes, those classes failed me.

I am Michael J. Pennington: Disabled Author and I’m dammed proud of that fact.

Re: Flux

Re: Flux

By Michael J Pennington.

You are sleeping, maybe you are dreaming maybe you are just in blackness. Either way, your attention gets drawn to something a burning sensation you can’t ignore. You don’t know what it is but its there and it quickly becomes the only thing you can think about. What is it? You know what it is but you can’t quite place it like a name on the tip of your tongue. A painful name.

Then you realize. You’re choking. You sit up in bed coughing and sputtering as your air pipes try to clear away the hot vomit that was seeping into them. Now, conscious you are fully aware of what’s happening. Your throat is on fire your eyes are watering and your nose has become a font of mucus. Every gasp of air burns as you do your best to get out of the room quietly as possible.

You stumble through the house like some kind of mutant thing as you try to appease the first thought: relief. You make it to the kitchen and grab yourself a glass. It’s better now being upright has made the acid go back down. You can breathe a little better but you are still in agony. Most of the acid is gone but you can still feel some clinging to your esophagus burning its way through the walls. You turn on the hot water and let it run. You fumble through the cabinets for the one thing that can stop this. That is the one thing you have. Backing soda. Its simple science backing soda is a base and it will neutralize the acid.

You pore a bit into the cup, just enough to cover the bottom. You test water still cold. You can’t wait for you want relief now. The bathroom heats up faster, or maybe that’s just your perception, but you go there anyway. Its got to be hot water, you don’t know why but it only works if it’s hot. Once the water is good and hot you fill it and swirl around to mix in the baking soda. Then you quickly down the bitter liquid, as its heat coats your throat you finally feel relief, the fire goes out. It still burns, but it’s like a wound a dull burning it’ll go away soon.

Is this good for you? Is it bad for you? You don’t know, but it’s cheap and effective. You clean yourself up and sit down for a bit, it’ll be a bit before your stomach settles enough to going back to sleep. You belch a lot, a side effect of combining an acid and a base is a lot of excess gas. You watch an episode of your favorite show to pass the time. It’s all you can do. Part of you is grateful everyone is asleep, you would hate if they saw you like this. You have the medicine of course and it works, for the most part, this is mild compared to the acid reflux attacks you use to have, but there are those rare incidents where you are reminded of just how bad, bad can be.

Overtime is a lie!

Time makes liars of us all. Whether it be a broken promise, a prediction that didn’t come true, or by repeating a fact that later turned out untrue. We’ve all been there we started out with the best of intentions but time weaved its mysterious magic and here we are, our breath taste of falsehood and our pants are smoking.

This is the story of overtime, a rosy-cheeked child led astray by a wicked world.

It started out innocently enough. The forty-hour work week was instituted. If the company wanted its employees to work more it had to fairly compensate them.

Let’s for the purposes of demonstration think of ourselves as two people. As a wage employee and an overtime employee.

The wage employee would work 40 hours a week and his compensation would afford them the necessities plus a small surplus discretionary income.

The overtime employee was a go-getter who was working for an opportunity. A big purchase, saving money, a business venture. They weren’t just surviving, they were living.

Fast forward almost a hundred years. Overtime has become an institution and like all institutions its a tool for the wealthy to exploit the poor.

The creation of overtime was brilliant. Genius if I may say so, but there was one thing the creators of overtime could not foresee. Inflation!

Inflation is a poorly understood phenomenon like a black hole we see its effects but not what causes it or what drives it.

Inflation is a mathematical necessity, not a constant because that implies it doesn’t change. It is in constant flux but its presence will always be there.

That is because money is tied to resources and resources have two values. Perceived value and actual value.

Perceived value is the devil we know from supply and demand. The less there is of a resource the more its worth.

The actual value is the opposite of perceived value. As a resource gets spent the less good it is at doing its job. The less oil we have the fewer cars can run. The actual value is in a state of decline %99.99r of the time. There are slight upticks of course and for those living in those upticks happy day. For the rest of us, we are living in a state if perpetual doom, but it’s a slow doom… So. Yay?

Anyway, inflation is derived from the difference in perceived value and actual value. I don’t have an equation yet because I lack practical data, but it’s there.

So we know the cause of inflation, but what drives it? While there are many factors, including wages, but I find the most dominant factor is the greed of the wealthy. Their desire for perceived value drives prices hire faster than anything.

Now it should be noted I’m not against the wealthy. (It should also be noted that while all wealthy possess some level of greed they are not all ”greedy.’) Their greed is a feature, and I’m speaking of it as more accumulative group greed than an individual trait. Simply put the wealthy are that way because they are very good at collecting and keeping money. Used properly this is a fantastic resource, but I digress.

Back from the aside. What does this have to do with pore innocent overtime? A lot actually. As inflation increases and wages stagnant every day a worker makes a little less money. If current estimations are correct that means almost every worker is getting played half of what they are worth. So when you double a half salary you only get a whole salary. This is the best case scenario most are only making three-quarters of what they are worth at the best of times.

Let’s look back at our two workers. Our wage worker isn’t doing so well. They are in dept and the bills are pilling up. The daily struggle of making ends meet is a losing battle.

The overtime worker is a drowning wretch clinging to a piece of flotsam. They no longer elect to work overtime they do it to survive.

This is because of wage workers aren’t being paid what they are worth for the forty hours they work, and overtime workers are only working part-time most of the time. And nobody is making the extra money that overtime promises.

This is how companies use overtime to keep the workforce small and the compensation low. They have a stock of full-time, underpaid workers, and a stock of part-time fully compensated workers. The fact that they are the same people doesn’t matter to the company. It never pays full price for labor.

This is not to say I’m against overtime if the wage disparity is corrected even moderately it starts to do its job again.

What can be done to fix it? Nothing. Or rather don’t change what you are already doing. It should be sufficient.

The theoretical answer is, of course, break up monopolies to keep inflation low and keep baseline wages in step with inflation. These aren’t liberal solutions they are common sense economics.

It is as I said if you believe in the solution you are already working towards it. If not you are working against it. The math will out. (Common sense will win in the long run, for a time at least.)