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Hwaet!
Sarah Rees Brennan, The Demon's Lexicon
John Scalzi, The Ghost Brigades
CJ Cherryh, Foreigner
Adam-Troy Castro, Emissaries from the Dead
Emma Bull and Will Shetterly (editors), Liavek
Octavia Butler, Fledgling
In a startling break from habit, I was going to review some of these unbidden, but now I'm sick and scattered and late so I'm just going to put up some disorganized points I'd meant to touch on. (Edit: Actually, these ended up looking pretty much like the reviews I write anyway.)

  • The Demon's Lexicon is a YA 'Bothari story', about somebody who is (or might be) constitutionally amoral, but doing their best anyway; I have a soft spot for those. Despite the noiry, bloody-minded aesthetic of the prose, the sensibilities and the outcomes of its magical worldbuilding put me in mind of the best of Diana Wynne Jones.

  • The Liavek books were a late-eighties shared world anthology series with an unusual concentration of authors I make a point of seeking out; I found all of them but the fourth one in a used book store and was tempted into an intemperance. This one was most notable as far as I'm concerned for the new-to-me Pamela Dean story, which surprised me with its quiet viciousness (though like most of Dean's endings, it left ambiguous room for things to be better).

  • Fledgling is the first Octavia Butler book I've read. Like a lot of books I really like (even though I don't particularly care about vampires), it's in that subgenre that assumes the reader's knowledge of conventional vampire myths and plays new and clever riffs on them, but there's really a lot more that it's doing than that, about race and community and the ethics of our relationships to one another and having the plot continually fail to keep the shape you'd expect given what's happened so far. I did, in fact, really like it, and would really like to read more in the same milieu, but since it was published immediately before her death that's sadly unlikely. At least there's still all the books she wrote before.

My body is in open revolt, and appropriately revolting; now that my busy week of pressing schoolwork is done with I have fond hopes to spend the long weekend sitting in my house blowing my nose and doing nothing with any particular urgency.
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Okay, right. So the year between Septembers 1st 2008 and 2009 composed and comprised the third year running of the book-logging initiative that now dominates this weblog. It definitely contained the least reading of any year so far, with my first record of a month containing no novels at all, and a couple of the others showing only one each. In all, I read 48 books this year, of which there were 25 I hadn't read before.

In the spirit of [livejournal.com profile] angrylemur's not-exactly-a-meme of a little while ago, 29 of those books were by women (with 14 unique female authors, as compared to 10 male) but only four were by people of colour. Widening the scope to admit PoC protagonists raises the latter number to 6, which is really fewer than I expected.

Now it's October. September was a good month for reading; I'll post about it hopefully tomorrow.
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It's the space between terms -- three weeks long, in my case, of which two are passed -- and I am celebrating by prioritizing and passionately applying myself to things which are not important in any time-dependent way. I've finally finished Final Fantasy 6, reactivated my City of Heroes account, and read several very good novels, one of which was especially long:
Maxine Hong Kingston, The Woman Warrior
Nnedi Okarafor-Mbachu, Zahrah the Windseeker
Neal Stephenson, Anathem
Josephine Tey, The Daughter of Time
John M. Ford, The Dragon Waiting (reread)
And yes, that's year three done. I'll do stats later.

All the other mammals in the house left today on a trip to Saskatchewan, where my sister lives now; I didn't go in part because my school will be back before they are. Since I've never been here on my own for this long (it will be a fortnight), it will be interesting to see whether the solitude gets weird; it hasn't had time to yet, except that I keep turning around expecting the dog to be there.

We Live In The Future Watch: 'antigravity gardens' (that is, vertical ones). I would also accept this as "We live in a Miyazaki movie."
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Hi, guys. Did you know that it's August? It was incredibly hot for a while, and although it's now more comfortable I'm still finding my way through the leftover custom of lethargy.
J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit, or, There and Back Again (reread)
C.J. Cherryh, Merchanter's Luck
BAM.

Visuals

Jul. 15th, 2009 03:15 pm
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You guys are awesome for answering my question. I was going to post my own answer sooner, but was moderately overwhelmed with schoolwork; sorry to leave you in suspense. At least on my monitor, what I imagine looks about like this:

An orange-yellow......and a pale green...

...both luminescent. To clarify, this isn't what I'd get from that phrase in just any circumstance; it's very particular to Thom Yorke's voice and the context and instrumental background of that song. Nobody else who commented thought of the same colours, which is about what my hypothesis would have been.

Not long ago [livejournal.com profile] marlo participated in something I thought was kind of cool, so I'm going to do it, too. Here are the rules she posted:

"• Post ten of any pictures currently on your hard drive that you think are self-expressive.
• No captions! It must be like we're speaking with images and we have to interpret your visual language just like we have to interpret your words.
• They must already be on your hard drive - no googling or flickr! They have to have been saved to your folders sometime in the past. They must be something you've saved there because it resonated with you for some reason.
• You do not have to answer any questions about any of your pictures if you don't want to. You can make them as mysterious as you like. Or you can explain them away as much as you like."

I decided to exclude images that I'd already posted to this weblog, at least in its livejournal incarnation.

So here follow ten pictures; some of them are kind of big. )
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There's this point in Radiohead's Everything in its Right Place where Thom Yorke sings, "There are two colours in my head." (Twice.) I've been noticing that I've always had a really strong mental image of which two colours he means; in fact, it was only recently that I consciously recognised that the communication of those two specifically was not objectively there in the song. So now I'm curious: if you, reading this, are familiar with the song, or have just heard it via that youtube link, do you feel like you know which colours they are? If so, which ones do you imagine?
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This is where I'd ordinarily do my book reporting, but I actually didn't read any full novels in June this year. I know; pre~tty weird! Today was my mother's birthday and in celebration we went out as a family to watch All's Well That Ends Well at Bard on the Beach, which really is a lot more palatable if you read Helena de Narbon as a mad scientist throughout.

A couple of weeks ago I got Tori Amos' first album, Little Earthquakes, which is amazing and harrowing both in ways suggested but unmatched by her later records I'd heard. (I've been a Tori Amos fan since I was, like, ten; how did I go so long without hearing this? But there is so much important music I haven't sought out even yet.) It's been making me think, among other things, about the ethics and politics of cross-gender musical covers. Tori is known for these, although there aren't any on this album in particular. As a class, I really like them, the curious* tension in hearing somebody sing about a gendered experience which is at odds with the way I'm inclined to interpret their voice, and I've often thought of doing some myself, if I ever become a musician in some more proper sense; Noe Venable's "Prettiness", say, or Ani DiFranco's "Two Little Girls", which I really like to sing. The trouble is that the relationship between genders isn't symmetrical. Men in art historically have done a lot more of being allowed to speak for themselves, and women have done a lot more of being spoken for or otherwise relegated to the third or second person. So while both ways it can do some really interesting work of redefinition, when women sing men there is a natural weight towards that redefinition's being subversive, whereas when men sing women the natural weight is towards its being an appropriative act of erasure. And there are similar issues of sexism it would also be hazardous to ignore. Track two of Little Earthquakes has a refrain that goes, "She's been everybody else's girl; maybe one day she'll be her own." I really can't think of a way for a man's voice to sing this without adding an element of dismissive paternalistic judgement.

(* Or, to use a synonym that also has an appropriate technical meaning, 'queer'.)

I had a related experience a while ago with the Bikini Kill song "Rebel Girl". When I discovered it I really liked it, and fantasized a bunch about performing it and dedicating it to people, because I thought it captured something of how I felt about a lot of my female friends, and how I'd approached befriending them at least in my head. Later, I saw a documentary about the Riot Grrrl movement and how the scene was in part a conscious attempt to create a feminist safe space in response to the misogynistic character of a lot of punk shows the principals had frequented, and looking at the song in this light I realized that it was quite obviously an anthem specifically of female solidarity, which I had managed to completely overlook before because my immediate response to it was to overwrite it with the blithe interpolation of my masculine self.

Some time after that I was talking to a friend about this and I said something pretty similar to that last sentence, and she asked me why I didn't try using my feminine self instead, which was interesting because it bespoke a whole paradigm of gender that I'd kind of forgot existed, the whole new-agey thing (not a pejorative) where certain energies and characteristics are coded 'male' or 'female', and everyone has both and although they are generally encouraged to consider the ones aligned with their sex assigned at birth to be predominant, you're sort of incomplete if you haven't accepted and incorporated both. I can see how this is appealing, and why my friend thought that it might help soothe or even solve my difficulty (and I should clarify that I totally think the differences between men and women cultural or otherwise are not enough to prevent us from being allies, in feminism or any other arena! Well, except maybe misogyny. Hopefully that's all obvious). I find it personally dissatisfying for a few reasons, including A) that it's weirdly essentialist, taking genders to be absolute and universal categories that persist in roughly the same way over time to such a degree that even being a characteristic possessed by a woman is not enough to make it a female characteristic, and really I think of gender stuff as being way more constructed and mutable than that and would prefer ways of talking and thinking about it that reflect this; and B) it allows guys who are being called on their privilege to obfuscate by going like, no, you see, I'm in touch with my feminine side, so really to claim that I have male privilege is limiting and denies this whole aspect of myself!

No, actually, even if we accept this paradigm then people who are treated (and primarily conceive themselves) as men still have an ethical obligation to grapple with our privilege, because regardless of what qualities we have on the inside we're still members of the male political category, which is, yeah, kind of raised up relative to people who don't fall into it (though the intersection of other oppressions can complicate things). It's like, recently I've been realizing that my sexuality is, like everyone's, very weird and specific, and that the fact that it can be subsumed into the notion of 'heterosexuality' in its broad shape has actually been pretty limiting to me, because it caused me to assume that it was heterosexuality, this uniform thing that I shared with all the other straight people, which meant that I spent a lot of energy rationalizing some of the things specific to me in ways that didn't actually help me understand them at all. But the fact that I'm starting to identify as straight only in a pretty qualified way, and to recognise how heterosexism has actually harmed me personally, doesn't mean that I don't have straight privilege. Since I'm a cisgendered man whose attractions are mainly to women, I have a whole bunch of it whatever I call myself, and it continues to behoove me to recognise that.

So, yeah, I'm not sure what I'll do if I'm ever actually performing music on a regular basis. In the meantime I have an eye infection and it really itches, so I'm going to post this and then put some drops in it in lieu of just shoving my finger in there, which my willpower assures me I am not supposed to do.
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Reborn, with fresh determination!
Nella Larsen, Passing
Lois McMaster Bujold, Komarr (reread)
Lois McMaster Bujold, A Civil Campaign (reread)
Lois McMaster Bujold, Diplomatic Immunity (reread)
Sarah Monette, Corambis
Ursula K. LeGuin, Gifts
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This is what happens when I slip about being prompt with these posts; eventually my embarrassment over being late becomes a reason for further procrastination, and then it's the end of the month and it's still not up. I'll fight entropy with the next one, which means you should expect it, uh, tomorrow.
M.T. Anderson, The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation, Volume 2: The Kingdom on the Waves
Lois McMaster Bujold, The Sharing Knife: Horizon
Lois McMaster Bujold, The Warrior's Apprentice (reread)
Lois McMaster Bujold, The Vor Game (reread)
Lois McMaster Bujold, Cetaganda (reread)
Lois McMaster Bujold, Brothers In Arms (reread)
Lois McMaster Bujold, Mirror Dance (reread)
Lois McMaster Bujold, Memory (reread)
Perhaps because I've spent less time treating them as comfort books, I was more impressed with the early Miles books relative to the later ones than I expected this time through. Memory and A Civil Campaign, traditionally my favourites, were too familiar to have as much of an impact, but Mirror Dance, which I've historically paid less attention to, knocked me right over.

Also in April I went to visit Rachel, which was awesome; I've meant to write more about that but right now I'm too tired. Time in Rachel's physical company always reminds me how important time in Rachel's physical company is, and what an absence it is in my usual daily life. Why hasn't living in the future solved this yet?
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Raymond Chandler, Farewell, My Lovely
Ursula K. LeGuin, A Wizard of Earthsea (reread)
Term is over! I thought at the beginning of September that this year would be my last one in school, but I'd underestimated the language requirement, so I'll be coming back next year to take two more courses in Japanese and (since I'm here anyway) the majority of a minor in Women's Studies. I kept putting it off a year when it was time to leave Windsor House, too; at least this time it has more of a plan about it than just cleaving to inertia, an excitement about where I'm at more operative than the fear of where I'm going next.

Term is not over! I still have finals and papers, and I'm going to go visit Rachel for a week starting the 18th -- that's nothing to do with the term but there's a huge gap between my finals so it's going in there. I'll leave an hour after the end of my Japanese final and come back a couple of days before writing my Metaphysics (which fortunately I'm not at all worried about).
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Today on the bus I was sitting between two people who, on noticing one another, started a conversation over my head. The topic of discussion made its way around to a mutual friend who had recently had a wild birthday party, and the difficulties she'd had functioning the next day, and one of them was reminded of a thing that had troubled him. He said something like, "Yeah, I was thinking about that the other day. Like, the day after [our friend's] birthday is really the first day she's 22... And there's the day after New Year's... Every time you start a new year, you're hung over. It almost doesn't make sense!"

It was that 'almost' that made me want to write it down. He was trying so hard to question his paradigm, but he just couldn't quite get removed enough to manage it! So it is so often with us all.

In February I read:
Cory Doctorow, Little Brother
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Whoooops. Okay, hi.
Peter S. Beagle, A Fine and Private Place
Elizabeth Bear, Ink and Steel
Elizabeth Bear, Hell and Earth

My starting this particular Elizabeth Bear series last month is just an embarrassing coincidence.
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A couple of days ago I was eating Chinese food, and I became aware that I like the taste of onions. I used to find it unpleasant, and for some years now I've considered it inoffensive-but-boring, but now I am to the point where eating a bite with an onion in it was an unexpected pleasure; the sort of thing I might seek out, rather than just tolerating. The strangest thing about this is that I remember and recognise this taste I now enjoy from back when I didn't like it, and it's exactly the same taste. I always subconsciously assumed that there was something inherent that determined whether something tasted good or not -- I mean, not that the quality of 'tasting bad' was an integral part of any given food (despising cheese, which everybody else in the world is delighted by, made it impossible ever to make this mistake), but that the subjective sensory experience of it included a sense of its being either pleasant or not-so, so that 'badness' was part of the taste I experienced. I guess I kind of supposed that other people eating cheese were tasting something different. But no; there is nothing changed about the taste of onions now, except how I react to it. So the thing that caused me to find onions objectionable wasn't in my sensory perception of them at all, even though that's the thing I clearly didn't like.

It strikes me how much of the work of interpreting inherently neutral stimuli my brain is doing outside of (or rather, presumably underlying) my conscious mind. I've been thinking for a long time about the role of completely chemical-contingent (even by human standards) involuntary affective reactions in my experience of the features of people that I find physically attractive (that's what this poem is about), but clearly I still have some adjusting to do toward applying this sort of understanding more generally.

I keep feeling like I read a book that I forgot to write down, but if so I've since forgotten more than that, since I can't call it to mind. I might be getting a false positive from the Iain M. Banks book that some of you saw me with, which I put down not far in because I didn't feel like I was in a space to want to read about the protagonist's making stupidly self-destructive decisions. I'm sure I'll get into the Culture books eventually.
Madeleine Robins, Point of Honour
Steven Brust, Jhegaala
Patrick Rothfuss, The Name of the Wind
Madeleine Robins, Petty Treason
Ekaterina Sedia, Alchemy of Stone
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A while ago I was attending to some errand on the sales floor of the store in whose bowels (until the start of next term) I work, and they were playing a version of "Santa Baby" sung by a man. I listened with a certain amount of curiosity, but was disappointed to hear that he was singing, "Think of all the girls that I could've kissed." Why do people covering songs across genders think that this sort of alteration is a good idea? This is a song about using one's feminine wiles to titillate Santa Claus into giving more presents, and the listener is presumably aware of that by the time they hear this rendition; if you're singing it in a male voice, then, you're already pretty in tension with our unconscious gender expectations. Why not just embrace that tension?

New paragraph, new topic. Do you remember the X-Files episode "Jose Chung's From Outer Space"? It concluded with the suggestion that, regardless of whether there were aliens visiting, we are each of us alone in the universe. That's not among the science fiction touchstones that John Hodgman, er, touches upon here, but he nonetheless produces something that reminds me strongly of it tonally while functioning as an elegant rebuttal -- an argument that, regardless, we are not.

Wednesday dumped several feet of snow on the gradually-less-incredulous city. Then, yesterday, suddenly, it was above zero again. It's been raining on and off since, and the snowbanks are slowly sloughing apart, though they remain still mostly intact, like in the morning when you know you've been dreaming, but the ludicrous events you remember still feel like something that could reasonably happen in the real world.
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You know, most nights, the sky is pretty bright for a while before the sun comes up. But it is true, at least interpreted a certain way, that it's always darkest just at the winter solstice.
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It's been either snowing or below-freezing cold since Saturday. It's not a lot of snow; I mean, it's deeper than my ankles sometimes, but there hasn't been a blizzard or anything. But we live in Vancouver, so everyone is bewildered by it, and everything mundane that happens has an extra twist of surreality from the context. Who knows what other unwontedness might be waiting in familiar places so transformed? I understand that there have been significant power outages in some of the weirder suburbs. The buses lurch about late and overcrowded; on Saturday night, taken by surprise, many of them weren't running at all, and Isabel and I, who were out by UBC for movie night at Joanne's house, ended up after some struggle and confusion stranded and sleeping over on the floor of a friendly religion major with a passion for wine. The inane news radio station that provides background noise at my work has talked of very little else but the weather, possessed by what sounds to be a sort of panicked fascination.

Most people I know are pretty grumpy about the snow and the chaos both, but I am weirdly delighted by them. I guess that this is good for me, because my mother heard a long-term forecast suggesting we'll be snowing again on Sunday and on through the new year. If that holds true, then I think it will be the first white Christmas in my memory.

Speaking of my work, I intend to give my notice tomorrow; I will work through the Christmas break and then stop for the next term, because I am taking five courses and there really isn't room. This was my first traditionally menial job experience, and that was interesting albeit often irritating. What will you miss, Andy? I will miss the weathered, handwritten sign taped to the wall of the main bathroom, which reads,

HI, EVERYONE
     I AM JUST A TOILET, AND CANNOT DIGEST ANY HAND TOWEL.
THANKS FOR YOUR ATTENTION,
TOILET
MARCH 2001
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Yeah, my book metabolism is weird.
Lois McMaster Bujold, The Sharing Knife: Passage
C.J. Cherryh, Downbelow Station
Steven Brust, Jhereg (reread)
Steven Brust, Yendi (reread)
Steven Brust, Teckla (reread)
Steven Brust, Taltos (reread)
Steven Brust, Phoenix (reread)
Steven Brust, Athyra (reread)
Steven Brust, Orca (reread)
Steven Brust, Dragon (reread)
Steven Brust, Issola (reread)
Steven Brust, Dzur (reread)
Diana Wynne Jones, House of Many Ways
Maureen F. McHugh, China Mountain Zhang
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I think I'm willing to say that Hoko's is the weirdest venue in Vancouver, but that might be naive of me.

That was the second-to-last La La Boom Boom show. At the one this past Friday, at the much less surreal Cafe Deux Soleils, they were preceded by a pretty good band in a similar genre, all five of whom were men with full beards. As we were joking about this, I realized that all of the males at my table had prominent facial hair as well. Then I looked over at the next table, and the one past that... When I first let grow my beard, I had the impression that I was bucking convention slightly, doing something quaint and out of fashion. It may be that the fashion has changed, or that my view was skewed then by the fact that most of the people I knew were teenagers, or that my view is skewed now from going among mad people bohemians and philosophy students. But I do seem to encounter a lot more of us than I subconsciously expect to, culminating here with turning out to be hugely in the majority (I think there may have been more people with beards than without at that concert).

Months go quickly, don't they? I'll be twenty five in a couple of days. I am cautiously failing to have any sort of quarter-life crisis, though other sorts of crises might be lurking. But what I'm getting at is that we're nearly halfway through November, so here are my October books.
Peter Watts, Blindsight
Jo Walton, Half a Crown
I'm rereading Vlad Taltos, so next month's accounting will be at least five times as long.

A little while ago I was reminded of that article about the mythology of Miami street kids, so I went and found it again. I remembered it being fascinating, and it is, but I hadn't remembered how patronizing it was. The stories would make a wonderful background for a fantasy novel (and probably have, by now), but it's clear that those telling them take them seriously -- or at least with the quasi-serious willingness to entertain possibility that I remember feeling when friends told me elaborate ghost stories. There is a real and solemn religious potency here, which the narrative voice, earnestly pitying and blithely psychoanalytical, tries, and fails uneasily, to confine to the cutely make-believe. And the writer is clearly revealing Mysteries, granted her in confidence; one girl is described as happy and relieved to have shared what she knows, but it seems unlikely that another, who is quoted as saying, "Every girl in the shelters knows if you tell this story to a boy, your best friend will die!", understood at the time that her words were going to be transcribed and put out where thousands of boys, including this one, might encounter them. Did they get her permission for that at any point? It seems like they maybe didn't think they had to; elsewhere, we're told that, "The first names of ... children in this article have been used with the consent of their parents or guardians."

(This is all assuming that the reporter didn't make the whole thing up, of course; I haven't done much research outside the article itself.)

Since I suspect that this article constitutes a desecration, I'm kind of conflicted about whether I ought to be linking to it. But I wanted to complain about it, and my academic scruples rebel at criticizing something without letting people go see what I'm talking about. As well, I'm actually glad that I got to read it -- that the information was gathered and put where I could access and learn it, for all that I'm uncomfortable with the manner in which that was done and presented -- so it would feel a little hypocritical to decide to keep it out of the epistemic reach of others.
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Kate Beaton's Steven Harper looks somehow much more Prime Ministerial than he does in the real world; I think it's the Diefenbaker jowls.

So, it's election time! I am going to assume the reader's general familiarity with Canadian politics, because I am more interested in complaining than in educating, and it's kind of late. A day in first-past-the-post is a day for thinking about strategic voting; with less than eight hours to go before I'll be riding down to our polling station, most of which I'll presumably spend sleeping rather than deliberating, I'm still not sure which way to go. As faithful readers may recall, my MP was kicked out of the Liberal caucus about a year ago over allegations about campaign finance irregularities (for which I understand that he was later acquitted). After a while as an Independent, he recently joined the Green Party, as a result of which you may recall that Elizabeth May was able to participate in the televised leaders' debate. (Yes, I live in that riding.) Since this is the only riding with an incumbent Green MP, it seems like it's likely one of those ridings in which the Greens stand the best chance of getting someone voted in, so it's not a useless vote; plus, I am more persuaded by their platform than I am by anybody else's; and really, I have this slightly ignoble interest in keeping Blair Wilson around just so that I can see what he does next.

On the other hand, this is traditionally a riding closely split between the Liberals and Conservatives; I think that Wilson won it by less than a thousand votes, out of about fifty thousand cast in 2006. So although it's possible for those who dare to vote Green to get a Green candidate, it seems rather more likely that we'll split the vote just enough to get a Conservative. Back on the first hand, though, I hate choosing for that reason. I'd like to resist the tendency toward two-party systems as much as possible. Although Stephane Dion is definitely my preference of the two likely candidates for Prime Minister (and I think that he'd be not just relatively but objectively a good one), a while ago he was widely quoted as having said that "a vote for the NDP is a vote for the Conservatives"; and while I don't know the precise context in which he said that, it seems pretty clear that he didn't follow up with, "and therefore our voting system is obviously defective and as Prime Minister I'll make it a priority to fix it". (Ms. May, by contrast, mentioned during the debates that one of her first acts, were she to become Prime Minister, would be to implement some form of proportional representation. Yes, this is in her self-interest as a third party leader, but it's also in the interest of voters, so don't the other leaders feel at least a little embarrassed?) It is a traditional Liberal tactic to try to scare me into a compromise vote this way; even if that didn't irritate me, I do try to make a general rule of taking the more dangerous but more potentially rewarding way out of prisoner's dilemmas, which in this case means voting for candidates, rather than against them.

But the Georgia Straight thinks that I ought to vote Liberal, and Elizabeth May herself arguably agrees. I do think that a Conservative majority would be rather terrifying, and another minority still pretty deletirious. My conscience remains divided.
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All I read in September was
Ursula K. LeGuin, The Dispossessed (reread)
I've been kind of embarrassed at how little I've been reading lately, but I think I probably gave myself unrealistic expectations by first starting to keep track during the peak of an unusually heavy period. (It was also a much more innocent time in terms of academic stress.) That tends to happen in waves, so it will be back eventually, and really it only bothers me when I'm considering my reading habits in isolation; when I consider what I've been spending my attention on instead, I don't regret it at all.

Anyway, here's the bookkeeping bookkeeping for my second year of noting these things in my weblog: I read 58 novels, 11 of them rereads. (Also, two of them at different times were Pamela Dean's Tam Lin, so maybe that should count as 57 and 10.) This is a little under thirty fewer new books than I read in my first year, which actually isn't as bad as I thought it might be.

Leaves are starting to change en masse, and it's noticably chilly even when the sun is out; before either of these signs of autumn, before even the equinox formalized it, the days were already getting radically shorter. This feels heavy with narrative significance, because, like a proper existentialist, I am casting out portentious meaning onto everything around me. (You should see my recent relationship with fortune cookies.) I had an excellent summer, charmed and optimistic in a way that was thematically in keeping with and maybe enabled by the daylight still lingering when I got out of my classes at 9 PM. It's not that the sky's recent indifference has me pessimistic instead; it does seem an important difference of tone, though, to be moving into the seasons during which humans really need to work to make their own light.

(One place where I was not actually so good at projecting meaning onto things was in my Japanese course, where on the third day of class or so I had the literally nightmarish experience of having a piece of paper put in front of me and having no idea what to do with it. So I dropped that course and replaced the course I was going to take next term with the equivalent of the last course I took at Langara, which will hopefully catch me back up but which means that I won't be graduating from UBC in April. The need to make up the credits I've thus abandoned did give me an excuse to sign up for the awesome-looking "Feminist Pedagogies in the Classroom and Community" course that Isabel is going to be in, though, which I hadn't thought that I was going to be able to justify.)

Later: something about the election, probably.

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Andy H.

February 2013

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