Mar. 18th, 2007

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I own a fair number of books, but not many at all that I value as individual physical objects rather than as particular instances of valued texts. The chief exception has been an edition of The Poems and Plays of Alfred Lord Tennyson which I bought at one of the VPL's book sales. It's bound in a red material whose precise nature I'm not quite sure of -- I think it's some sort of fabric -- but which feels very authoratative, and the title on the spine and the logo on the front cover (which is a running man with a torch) are gold on black. The pages are very thin and black along the top edge. The copyright page says 1938.

Tonight, while we were watching TV, the gate that usually blocks access to the lower two floors of the house was left open, and my dog went down and into my room and chewed on this book. He tore off about the top fifth of both the front and back covers, and about the top third of the spine, and he chewed on the corners of the pages at the end of the book and the exposed cardboard of the back. Nearly all the text is still legible, but the text is in the public domain and would be no irreplacable loss, and so seems no significant salvage. The thing that I valued about this book has bled to death on my floor.

It would have been easily preventable, the knowledge of which somehow doesn't retroactively prevent it. I told the dog 'no' a bunch and shut him up in his kennel, as punishment, and then after a while I let him out again, all of which was the appropriate thing to do but feels similarly hollow. (He ought to be trained out of chewing up books, but if he was only going to ever chew up one, it was certainly arranged so that he did maximum possible damage.) I'll probably have other books as nice, of the sort that when you hold them and read them it feels almost heady, like holding a sword, but I'll probably never find one of the other copies of this lovely edition of Tennyson. This is the same way that I feel when I lose a lot of computer data, so I know that I'll recover emotional equanimity about it, and it will be just a thing that happened; and this will be a lot sooner than it would have been if I'd lost a friend, for instance, or indeed my dog. Right now, I'm still horribly filled up with the waste of it.

Writing about it has helped some, though.
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I heard back from UBC about my application, so far toward the outer edge of the period within which they said they'd get back that I had meanwhile become quite convinced that I'd made some awful and disqualifying error in submitting it. Since I didn't, it seems very likely now that I'll be in and taking at least a couple of their summer courses in May (which is the term I applied for). They've asked me for official transcripts from Langara and Windsor House; I ordered the former sent, but I guess that I'll have to call them up and explain about Windsor House.

(Dr. Russell suggested I think about trying to get into the honours philosophy program -- as though this whole thing weren't complicated enough! But it's tempting, and I am considering it, though I don't know how feasible it will be given the awkward angle at which I'm approaching the university 'years' system.)

Spring is progressing; it's raining a lot, but warmer, and when the sun does appear it is wonderfully moderate and fresh-smelling. The cherry trees have blossomed but not bloomed, or maybe the other way around, but anyway I mean that the flowers are colourfully in evidence but still demurely closed. Formal spring begins with the equinox, the perfectly balanced day, which is Wednesday (on the equator, where all days are so balanced and the seasons understood very differently, the sun will reach zenith). (Can you tell that I'm having fun in Astronomy?) Around here, because of daylight savings, that twelve-hour day's sunrise will be at 7 AM, its sunset at 7 PM, and its noonday sun at 1 PM! As weird as that is, though, when the light is still there in the evening I can never but consider whomever came up with it to be the most marvellous sort of Promethean thief.

Today being the 18th, it is clear not only that Wednesday is the 21st but that Friday was the 16th of March, which is one of my personal anniversaries -- or rather twice-personal, by which I mean that it is celebrated by twice as many people as it were by me alone. Specifically, it is the seventh anniversary of the time that I looked over through the window of the car next to ours in a parking lot off the I-5 in Oregon and unexpectedly met the eyes of a waving red haired 13-year-old, which was the first time Rachel and I had ever seen each other in the moving, present flesh. I'm not sure how we got to be marking and celebrating this, except that I guess the date stuck in both our minds. (Also, I delivered a time-delayed '0th anniversary' joke at the time.) Sometimes one of us will do something especially and premeditatedly affectionate for it, and sometimes, as this year, I'll just go through my day periodically noticing what the date is, and smiling unbidden whenever I do.

My sister is interning at the North Shore News, which is the culmination of her time in the Langara journalism program. So far she has had something like 8 stories in the paper, at least one of which was on the front page, and has conducted a couple of those "man on the street" polls (like The Onion parodies), with names, photographs and encapsulated opinions of people she met walking down Lonsdale. Right now I understand that she's working on a story about the local vandal who has cut holes in certain people's hedges. I've been seeing the North Shore News around all my life, but I've never read it, so for me, opening it and finding Tess there is almost like she was in there all along, if I had thought to look.

At Karen's birthday party at the Elephant House last Sunday, I saw Keely for the first time in ages (and then I saw her again the next night, after B5). She told me about how she is planning to bike from Vancouver down to Mexico with these guys, in May, to help raise money for the implementation of those moneylending systems designed by the fellow who won the Nobel Peace Prize last year. She suggested that it would be cool if people put the word out about the project, so here I am doing that to the best of my ability.

Elise has a gig today, but although I am tempted to go watch I have some homework I really ought to do. Dear Elise: I hope it goes awesome even though I am not there.


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Andy H.

February 2013

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