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Happy year! 2010 semiotically speaking has acquired increasingly dystopian associations from a Canadian perspective, but maybe semi-omnipotent aliens will turn Vancouver into a tiny sun. Actually that wouldn't really help.
George R. R. Martin, The Armageddon Rag
CJ Cherryh, Destroyer
Dorothy L. Sayers, Strong Poison (reread)
Dorothy L. Sayers, Have His Carcase (reread)
Dorothy L. Sayers, Gaudy Night (reread)
CJ Cherryh, Pretender
CJ Cherryh, Deliverer
Sara Ryan, Empress of the World
Somewhere in the middle of the month there I was evidently taken over by the urge to read about Harriet Vane for a while. I had forgotten what a lovely and assured prose stylist Sayers was, particularly in Gaudy Night, which in its own quiet way I think might be one of the best novels of the 20th century. I would like to read it together sometime with Pamela Dean's Tam Lin, with which it has a surprising amount in common (so perhaps it's not surprising that I should like it so much).

Speaking of Pamela Dean, I read The Empress of the World on her recommendation. There is something about both of the principals being women that breaks down my detached resistance to romantic tropes in a way that's very pleasant. (But the romance in this was not mindless or uncomplicated, and I've kept thinking about it since.)

When Rachel was here I introduced her to cryptic crosswords, which she got good at much more quickly than I did back when I first started. In the process of some incorrect speculation we came up with our own clue, "Editorializes to the trees. (6)"; later I encountered in a published crossword a very similar clue with the same answer, but I like our wording better. It is possible that we are nerds.

I've got out of the habit of linking things I write from this weblog, in part because I write things to link (or for that matter entries from which to link) so relatively rarely these days. But I did write a song and a poem I'm pretty happy with in 2009, so there's no reason not to get around to mentioning them.
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Few-months-old writings that I'm getting around to posting in my livejournal: poem, song.

On Tuesday (which was the first day of school), sometime during the two hour gap between Ethics and Japanese, the power went partially out. Some halls and classrooms were still lit, and others dark; about half the lights in the library were on, and a third of the computers. I went to Japanese, anyway, but before we were even through the roll call, the Langara security guard with the bushy moustache came in and told us that they were evacuating the building.

I hung around outside long enough to pick up on the general gossip that all the classes had been cancelled because of the power, and to run into Jen, from the Japan group, who was something like the third of the Japan people I'd seen that day, though aside from Marilee I haven't seen any since. It's good to know that they still exist. We talked a little (ruefully) about the tendency of that sort of group trip to develop a close camraderie among people who afterward, for the most part, immediately get about the business of never seeing one another again, and made vague suggestions toward counteracting that; eventually.

Most of the power was back on for Wednesday, but there are lingering aftereffects, the most noticable of which is that all the air-conditioning is down. This does not make it as fun as it might be to take classes on the stifling-even-in-late-autumn third floor of the A building. (Handy guide to Earth's northern hemisphere seasons: it is right now a late, and rallying, summer.) Estimates vary widely as to when this is liable to be corrected; Leduc-sensei, in Japanese, reported direly that she'd been told that it could be as long as six months, whereas Marilee on Thursday told me that she'd heard it would be fixed the next day. There was another power-down today -- that is, Sunday -- this one scheduled, for maintenance, so I suspect that this, if it didn't solve it outright, was at least part of the effort.

I've been kind of exhausted the whole week, stumbling over the sudden need to get up about three hours earlier than I'd been accustomed; this combined with the heat and the starting-school hecticness has often left me feeling in a sort of haze of mental slowness and clumsiness communicating. Because of this in turn I've been responding to my classes in general with slightly more anxiety than I might have otherwise, and feeling out-of-breath already keeping up. They justify this to greater and lesser degrees; Dale, teaching Ethics, is as charming and comfortable as always (he made all the same jokes the first day), while the English teacher has informed me to my horror that he expects handwritten drafts of all the take-home essays.

I do not remember if there are other things I meant to talk about. Wait, yes I do; I've been wanting to say at least a little bit about my impressions of Ursula K. LeGuin's original Earthsea trilogy, which I read for the first time immediately before school began. But I'm pretty tired, so I should probably do that later.
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It doesn't sound like anyone I know but me is going to see Metric today. Tess is like, "I saw them last year!" Conor is like, "If any heavy metal fans saw me there, they would cry betrayal and split me with their axes!" Elise is like, "I am in Victoria!" Marilee is like... Actually, I don't know about Marilee. It's possible I'll see her there.

Since all the regulars save cola seem to like it, here's a new song I wrote.
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My sister's apartment has been flooding, and since this is unlikely to be fixed, and she doesn't really have time to look for a new place, on Saturday my dad and I helped her move back into the house. It remains a little startling to see her around (certainly her presence makes the dog excited), but on an emotional level I'm not sure that I ever really believed we weren't living together; it just felt like our schedules had kept us from seeing one another for a while. I wonder if I'll always feel that way, after decades, or if I outlive her; like she's here, in my home, just around the corner. This was, after all, the first time since she was born that we've been for more than a month apart; maybe her pattern is indelible. Or maybe it wouldn't have been so pronounced if I weren't still living where she's been.

Conor and I have been talking about having him write guitar parts for my music, and the plausibility of something really happening there has me as excited on the subject as I've been for a long time. Many of my older lyrics (which I've been turning to because for some reason I'd like to record things in chronological order of writing) are a little bit embarrassing, but if my songs can be made into things that really and properly exist outside of my head - no matter how amateurish - that will be just about the swellest thing ever.
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That Perpetual Dream Theory show is already this Saturday - that is to say, the day after tomorrow, and barely that! No one responded directly the last time that I asked, but if anyone reading this now that it's more immediate would like to go, and to link their attendance with my own, they should contact me beforehand.

I am feeling inarticulate today. On Tuesday, though, I went over to see Conor, and we talked about music, mine and otherwise, and ate carrots and bread, and had a time both grand and old.
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I should mention that I did, in fact, put in my $500, and so will almost certainly be going to Japan this May.

"Chutes Too Narrow", which is the Shins CD my sister bought for me, is about 34 minutes long; this puts it considerably less than half the length of "Illinois" (which I finally found used a week ago, and which I continue to think is delicious). The peculiar thing about this is that I'm pretty sure they're sold for the same price. It's tempting to say that the Sufjan Stevens is a much better value, except that, of course, minutes of music aren't all equivalent to one another; "Chutes" is good, and doesn't feel truncated as an album, and I'm sure that there are any number of longer albums around which would be giving me less enjoyment, if right now I had them instead. Still, something doesn't seem right about the situation.

One of the things I'll need to deal with in figuring out how I feel about this is that, if I'm ever responsible for an album, it's probably going to be on the briefer side (I write short songs). On the other hand, it's pretty unlikely that my method of distribution will be to sell it next to Sufjan in the record stores.
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Interesting how this seems to make some people more cheerful to contemplate, and some people less. I fell mostly into the former camp.

Not because you have to, but because you WANT to! Things you enjoy, even when no one around you wants to go out and play. What lowers your stress/blood pressure/anxiety level? Make a list, post it to your journal... and then tag 5 friends and ask them to post it to theirs.

(The strangest and most interesting piece of those instructions is the second sentence, which seems to forbid the mention of phone conversation, or physical affection, or my AD&D game, or silly and joyful late-night contact with Rachel, or anything else that requires a willing participant besides myself. I haven't seen anyone else try to comply with this, but I think that I will.)

It starts with 'reading' )

I don't really care enough about the 'tagging' aspect of this particular game to bother, not to mention that my supply of candidates has been fairly comprehensively tapped. On the off-chance that someone reading this has been yearning to get tagged and hasn't yet, well, I know it's not the same, but you certainly have my permission to take the thing.

Music Post

Apr. 4th, 2005 01:21 am
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A few of my song lyrics new and old have been put into songlist, the first new additions for over a year.


I sang my (still tentatively-titled after all these years) song Grasping At, which sounds nothing like _Quinn originally imagined it. It's not my best singing form (I'm shaky, and, I think, the slightest bit congested), but I'm pretty sure it's a significant improvement over the last time I recorded it.

Back when I posted the last two, I thought that I might make it a regular weekly ritual to record and post one of my songs, but immediately upon thinking that I got a cold.

Other People's

The new Iron and Wine song excites me.


Feb. 5th, 2005 02:57 pm
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Okay! Emboldened some by the overwhelmingly supportive response last time, I won't lock this one.

Missed is a rather older song than the last; I wrote it over three days in early 2002*, and I actually even recorded it once before, sometime that year, for Rachel. I no longer even have that file (though I'll bet she does), but I trust that this one shows at least some small improvement. (I'm pretty happy with it; the only really prominent flaw is a hesitation in the last verse, and the few bars thereafter stained with the resulting nervousness. Oh, and I manage at the end to sing 'thit's' instead of 'that's', but that's a pretty minor thing.)

For those who aren't familiar with the song, my explanation of the (perhaps over-) simplicity of the lyric is that I was going for early Beatles. The deepish guitar solo will, of course, probably sound very little like what stands in for it here.

* March, I guess, because I began it in the shower in New York, and I remember that I left on that trip right as Miho fell. This is, of course, a coincidence; the song is not about Miho (sorry, J.).
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I sang my song Aeroplane (I'm Sorry) into a microphone, and although I never sing as well into microphones as I do just randomly (and also my microphone sucks) it came out mostly non-terrible*, so here it is on the web. This is a friends-locked post on livejournal (my first!), but (obviously) freely accessible on wifl, because I'm shy, and I feel rather more exposed in one place than the other.

(*Though I may come to reconsider this assessment if I dare to listen to it a few more times. Since the point of this sort of recording is mostly to showcase the tune, it will probably stay up anyway.)

My feeling is that this will eventually be accompanied by a soft but mildly intricate guitar. Discerning fans (that is, Rachel) may notice that I've experimented with a lyric change; I always thought that the meta-singing fit in a little awkwardly in this one.
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So, wifl is back!, though not in such a way that an old fan who were looking for it would be able to find it without my help, since for some reason Telus isn't letting Andrew use port 80 (this also means that a bunch of the internal links don't work). Still, this regains my ability to point people to the majority of my songs and poems (I think I'll mirror those directories on spiny, in case this ever happens again), as well as to speak of my wiflsite as the primary incarnation of my weblog, which feels important for some reason. And the front page looks very natural in my browser.

I haven't been feeling very articulate for the past month or so, and I've been aware of semi-consciously shying away from conversation (a process aided rather by a sudden renewed interest in video games). So, in response to the general occasional wondering where I've been (which is nice, though it does make me feel sheepish), I'm afraid that I've been hiding. I think I'm starting to come out of it, though.

Suddenly, it is almost both Hallowe'en and my birthday. I wonder if I can put together a good Dread Pirate Roberts costume in three days? If so, I shall shave down to my moustache, and wear it; if not... Well, I don't really have a backup plan. Perhaps I'll just try to sport a very unsettling smile.


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Andy H.

February 2013

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