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At Marilee's nerdy dinner party last week, there was somebody whose fake ID said that she was born in 1987. You and I are old! (Old age hath yet his honour and his toil...) Of course, my father, whom I also ate with that day, would be somewhat unimpressed with this claim. Dad was talking about writing some interesting memoir things in a hypothetical weblog; here is some peer pressure encouraging him to do that.

Speaking of being old, today is Rachel's birthday. I approve strongly of Rachel's continued existence.

Speaking of my friends, it's been a few weeks since I got a package in the mail that I still haven't mentioned where it might be seen so that the person who sent it can know that it got here; whoops. That person was J., and he sent me the first five volumes of the manga 'Planet Ladder', in which I'd expressed interest. Thank you! (It is difficult to say something like 'J. is awesome' here without implying that he is awesome because of this sort of sudden inexplicable fit of daunting largesse, but actually he is pretty neat anyway and stuff like this is totally being-awesome-supererogatory.) So far I've only read the first volume, and I admit that I had a bit of trouble following the action and who was whom; maybe I'm not as manga-literate as I thought.

Now the summer has progressed to the point of almost being over, and for people who are going to school as I am (it starts in less than a week!), the autumn is ready to break over us like a wave. Here is my schedule for the term, containing:
  • ASTR 311, "Stars and Galaxies", which my Langara's Astronomy professor recommended when I asked if there would be a good course to take at UBC as a followup to hers. It contains about two million students, which is why the 'tutorial' class scheduled after it on my Wednesdays, wherein I understand that some smaller number of us at a time will get the professor's attention.
  • PHIL 314A, "History of Philosophy in the 17th Century", or something like that; anyway, that's the actual subject matter. Unfortunately the person teaching this this term is my Philosophy of Religion professor from the first part of the summer, whom I found to be somewhat stressfully unparticipatory and bad at explaining things.
  • PHIL 330A, "Social and Political Philosophy". This is required for my major but presumably I'd take it anyway, because it's probably going to be pretty awesome. I don't know anything extra about the professor or circumstances for this particular class.
  • PHIL 390A, the Honours seminar. For nearly all of the summer the university computer system did not believe that I was enrolled in this course; now at last I can stop worrying about not being enrolled in it and start worrying about being enrolled in it after all.
Today I bought textbooks, and I guess that philosophy textbooks are pretty cheap, because I bought eight of them for about $150 and one astronomy textbook for $100. Maybe I chose the right major?
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Whoops, this is late!
J. K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (reread)
Steven Brust, Dragon
Steven Brust, Issola
Aldous Huxley, Brave New World
Samuel R. Delany, The Ballad of Beta-2
Guy Gavriel Kay, Tigana
When I hit exactly fifty after six months*, I thought perhaps naturally that I might therefore turn out to read exactly a hundred in a year, but it doesn't look like that's going to be the case: this list and last month's together contain fewer books than that for last September, even though the Rowling and the Brusts are each the sort of books I can get through in a single day. This lessening is presumably going to be the new norm, thanks to a certain new school that sort of rhymes with 'QED'; my fall courses won't be as intensive as the summers were, of course, but I'm going to be averaging five (or equivalent) per term, whereas at Langara, since I wasn't aiming for anything in particular, I generally kept to a comfortably conservative three.

(* Insert Stan Lee-esque reminder here, true believers.)

Speaking of UBC (and that should help out anyone who was stumped by the rhyme puzzle), I got my marks back for that summer term and they were gratifyingly up to my usual standard -- well, the Philosophy of Religion grade was the lowest I've ever received for a philosophy class, but still high enough that it would be unseemly to complain. This is nice for soothing my anxiety about whether my ability to handle college at Langara is a fluke that won't hold up at a gigantic and intimidating university. I'm also now properly a third year student and registered in the honours program and confirmed that I don't have to retake the basic symbolic logic course just because Langara's transfers weird, plus registered online for all my winter courses, so I don't really have anything to worry about until the fall.

For the interim, I have acquired one job, which is to pull big stacks of the Georgia Straight around on this cart they gave me and deliver them to businesses along Marine and lower Pemberton, every thursday. I am gradually, by trial and error, figuring out everywhere I need to put on sunscreen. Slotting a term for working between my school terms like this kind of makes me feel like a character from Princess Maker; I'm not sure which stats this is lowering, but it's definitely raising my strength.

We Live In The Future Watch: Marilee's friend Palle, who gave me a ride downtown from her party yesterday, has a car whose windshield fluid (if I understand correctly) leaves a special residue so that you don't have to use your wipers when it's raining; the rain just slides off. He says that there are other, more expensive cars which don't even have wipers, and accomplish something similar with an electromagnetic field. I didn't get to see it working, but my suspicion is that this looks really cool.
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Rachel and Heath came and stayed for (at least parts each of) five days (this is the power of trains -- in reverse!), during which we got what for us is not much sleep at all. We saw lots of people, including _Quinn, and all sans-David of the erstwhile B5 group, and Elise and Marilee, and Rachel's livejournalfriend Nicole; we ate at three different restaurants I am fond of, and omelets at my dad's house, and fish and chips my mother made, and my apple crisp; we climbed the VPL and looked down; we played video games and board games and Rachel and I stayed up late talking nearly every night. It was the first time she's properly visited me, though she's been through the city briefly a couple of times and of course I've often stayed down there, and it was a different sort of wonderful than I expected; I thought it would seem special and exciting, but instead it felt very natural, looking at Rachel together with the things and places I know, like it made perfect unremarkable sense that she would be here instead of a nine-hour journey away.

I did, in fact, finish all my essays on time, and on Monday we went out and, after some confusion, dropped the last two off at UBC. As such, I'm done with school until September; I guess I'd better figure out what I'm doing with the rest of the summer.

The other day I noticed that each of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles corresponds in personality (though not in bandana colour) with one of the four houses at Hogwarts. Leonardo is a brave and forthright leader; Donatello is scholarly and creative; Michelangelo is laid-back, humble and friendly; and Raphael is cunning and cynical. I wonder if anybody has written this fanfic yet?
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Scanty, scanty:
N. K. Sandars (translator), The Epic of Gilgamesh
C. J. Cherryh, Rider at the Gate
Steven Brust, Orca
The reason the list is so scanty, of course, is that most of my reading time has been taken up by the smaller and more numerous readings I've had for homework. This is also why I've been seen being social and, say, posting to livejournal even less than is my wont; these courses, as I was warned they would be, are intensive enough that two of them are enough to push me way over my usual being-busy threshold, and I've been alternating a lot between periods of swelling panic and brief, breathless periods of feeling after all in control, as long as I don't take my eyes off of anything.

A lot of the panic heretofore has been preemptively aimed at this final part of the (rather short) term, so I'm rather relieved that now I'm here it's looking a lot more feasible than it might have. Of the three important essays I need to at least mostly finish in the next twelve days, one is maybe a third done, and another more than half; it's the third one, which I can't yet begin, that's liable to cause me problems, but getting everything else done in a timely fashion can probably only help. See, that last paper for the literature class is due to be formally assigned on the evening of the 14th, and handed in on the afternoon of the 19th; which would be tight but fine, except that Rachel is coming (!) on the evening of the 15th and departing the late morning of the 19th, so actually it's totally untenable. However! So far, this professor has tended to send us the essay topics the Monday before the Thursday we are formally charged with them, and if that holds true this time than I should just have time to frantically write most of it in the half-week thus afforded. Meanwhile I am trying to be as well-prepared as possible.

(I am very excited that Rachel is coming. So is _Quinn! Coming, I mean, though he might also be excited. I get to show off my city like mad. I'm mostly going to be hogging Rachel, especially given how briefly she's here, but if you want to see us while she is then possibly something can be arranged.)

We Live In The Future Watch: the controversy over whether it's fair (to the other athletes) to let that guy with cybernetic legs compete in the next Olympics. We Have Always Lived In The Future Watch: The last person with an artificial limb to win an Olympic gold medal was in 1904. (I should probably cite the livejournal where I first saw those two facts juxtaposed, but alas, I've forgotten which it was.)

Livejournal's preview function isn't working. I guess I'll have to live dangerously. Edit: Livejournal's post function also isn't working, so if you're seeing this, I've saved the text and tried again later. Edit edit: This is Rachel. I have hijacked Andy's account. Do not try to have me followed. Come alone.

(I can't post, but Rachel can post after logging in as me! The rest of livejournal works fine. What the heck.)
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Oh, right, so I got accepted into UBC! (I keep telling people individually, so I should really get around to mentioning it here.) They still require my high school stuff but apparently they didn't need it to make the decision. The news came in a big envelope displaying a picture of a woman jumping for joy on a grassy hillside and the legend, 'Yes!', so naturally my mother and I immediately on seeing it began talking about the possibility that it was a rejection. "This is what it would have been like if we'd decided to accept you..." "Right. If I had actually got in, I would have received the envelope that says, 'Yes, really.'"

(I also got into the honours program.)

I haven't done everything I need to to finalize the admission yet, but I have been able to register for classes, as illustrated here. PHIL 349A is a 'Philosophy of Religion' course, and PHIL 375 is 'Philosophy of Literature'; I dithered between the latter and a second-year English course for a bit, but A) this one is worth both philosophy and literature credits, and B) the other one conflicted with B5 night. On Friday I went and wandered around the campus a little, which I've done before but without ever ranging very far. It is large and architectually varied, dissected variously by roads and paths, an exciting and daunting thing for someone used to the provincally close-huddled buildings at Langara; if SFU is a fantasy castle, then UBC is a fantasy city. It gives the fractal and I'm sure quite genuine impression that every small corner of it, once investigated, will prove to be industriously engaged in something arcane, busy and marvellous. I'm glad I'll get to be involved in that, and I'm glad I'll have at least two years to explore.

Meanwhile, here are two neat recent things of the type that I can link to:

Rachel (and Brendan) are finalists in the latest Lyttle Lytton contest! ConBDAsalsations.

I found this website (through [ profile] jemale, who is the author and artist of Dicebox). I have never read or heard of this writer before, but the website is surely among the most wonderful things on the internet.
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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.


Oct. 13th, 2006 08:11 pm
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I was able to get a Sufjan Stevens ticket, after all. The show is tomorrow. Financially it probably wasn't a good idea, but how could I not? Emotionally (you may recall, faithful reader, how disappointed I was not to be going to this show) I can't really process it yet; I'm just kind of bewildered.

At Zulu, they were playing the new Decemberists album, and I asked, "Is this the new Decemberists?" and I was right, so I got to sound hip. Everything I've heard off of that album -- this was, to be precise, the second thing -- has been really good.

Meanwhile, homework! I've been sort of furiously treading water where school is concerned; my taking four classes has not at any point actually overwhelmed me, but having it continue not to do so takes a lot of my attention. I often feel like it takes much less to get my life filled up and busy than it does the lives of many of my friends or acquaintances and the people I read about, which maybe has to do with my constitutional tendency to want to potter around and breathe a lot between the things I'm doing, but anyway I feel quite busy right now and that's pretty much just my Langara classes and the homework therefrom. (On the other hand, a couple of people including a professor have responded to my description of my courseload by remarking that it's a heavy one, so maybe it really is. It's kind of worrying that, having nearly completed two calendar years in college, I still have only the vaguest ideas of a lot of things that other students seem to know instinctively.)

I think that my research essay for English class, which is currently in the preparatory stages, is probably going to be the most unpleasant part of this term. Since I was pretty much bound to be stressed about it, thinking about it that way feels a lot more hopeful than it sounds.

While I'm talking about school, I should probably mention in public that it looks like I'm going to be transferring into UBC's philosophy department as a second year student this coming summer. And then I guess I'll get a philosophy degree. This has by slow degrees come to seem the obvious course of action, though my answer to the question that everybody asks next ("What does one do with a philosophy degree?") is still very vague. But hey, UBC! Where I've been telling my weblog I'd like to go for years before even Langara. It has kindly waited for me to be ready.

Autumn is remembering how to be my favourite season again. The sun is leaving, but -- after a sadly overheated September -- has relented its way back to a temperature that I find basically perfect, kind and warm and windy. I feel filled up and inarticulate in the usual way, in love with the whole atmosphere, skin on out, and crunching wherever I step.


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Andy H.

February 2013

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