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It's been the winter solstice again. I live on a planet with an axial tilt; it is much larger than I but my days are intimately bound up with it.

Rachel and her gentlehusband came to visit and it was lovely and lower-key than usual. She is pregnant, which makes me feel strangely protective. We played board games and watched several movies all of which I enjoyed more than I expected to and ate dinner with old friends of mine who have naturally over time become hers. Once I guessed her Balderdash entry verbatim before it had been read out (the word was 'millimole'; Rachel scribbled for five seconds and slapped it down with a "done", and I said, "I'm just going to assume that Rachel wrote, 'A mole with a thousand legs'." It was basically amazing).

Now she's gone home, though, and others of my people have likewise fled the city; Joanne's gone to Ontario and the new women's studies buddies I know best are off to various American ports of call, some indefinitely. So I am left more of a hermit than I might be, my beard growing relatively long and itchy, checking every day to see if my grades have come in yet (nope). It's nice not to be furiously treading water, though. Also my narrative about this is slightly disrupted by the people still around who invite me to solstice parties I don't quite make it out to.

I have a lot of windows open with short stories I've seen recommended or otherwise becomes interested in, but haven't got around to reading yet. Some of them have been there for months. I still intend to read them all (that's why the windows are still open) but in the meantime, I thought it might be interesting to link to them in the order they appear. Do you feel like reading an arbitrary but not indiscriminate short story? Try one of these: 1 2 3 4 5.
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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.


Jul. 31st, 2006 12:59 am
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"So, Sufjan is totally sold out, huh?"
"Oh yeah."

That is at least as dispiriting as not getting to see Hamlet last year, but this time I could have got tickets in time; I just put off the buying, even though of the three notables who are coming, he is the one who excites me the most.

Anyway, I bought an Andrew Bird ticket and the newer Final Fantasy album. Among my other means of coping I have been reading and rereading a lot of Yokohama Kaidashi Kikou.

My beard needs trimming. I don't know if this happens faster than it used to because the hair is grown more resilient or because I've just got less tolerant of length.
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Today my beard is at just the length to make me look like I am the villain in a movie adaptation of a Dumas book. Cola agrees, so it must be true.

Elise and my dad combined to form a mighty robot*, and then that robot gave me a lot of awesome music to listen to.

(*This is a metaphor.)

I am hairy

Jan. 9th, 2006 11:03 am
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In the past week, at least three people have commented that they prefer the way I look with a beard (with one even going so far as to say that it "completes my face"); this led me to imagine that there'd been a recent shift in public opinion, but thinking about it, I realize that I've had various folks compliment the beard in a fairly consistent fashion since first it grew. My persistent impression that my facial hair is somehow swimming against the common aesthetic seems to stem, mostly outdated, from A) that back before its first appearance, a number of pretty girls had mentioned that, in the abstract, they found it less attractive, and B) the fact that Rachel still prefers me without it.


Oct. 24th, 2005 07:53 pm
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Among the election signs beginning to crop up in my neighbourhood is one that says,

So I guess he got elected the first time around.

(Tess says that the upcoming municipal election may include another STV referendum, but I'm not sure that I believe that; it doesn't seem to make much sense.)

When I first grew a beard, I felt quite as though I'd been quietly inducted into the universal fraternity of bearded men. Even when I'm clean-shaven, nowadays, when I see a guy with a beard on the bus my first thought is, "Ah! There is one of my fellows," before I remember that I'm incognito, and he won't see the same.
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A little while ago it occurred to me that those random houses one sees with a Canadian or provincial flag attached might be very useful to someone who was wandering the nearby landscape with little idea where in the world they were. This is probably the best reason I have ever thought of to fly a flag from your house.

Today, as I was walking home, a guy on a bike apparently mistook me for a (fellow) homeless person. This is probably a sign that it's time to trim my beard.

Does anyone I haven't already asked want to come see Hamlet and/or Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead with me this weekend? Let me know!

Oh yeah

Aug. 16th, 2005 02:18 pm
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I keep forgetting to mention this, but in two days I'll be leaving with my family to spend two weeks gallivanting around the Maritimes (and Newfoundland, which Wikipedia says is not a Maritime). I am just about prepared for it, although I still need to trim my beard and get some money and some batteries for my digital camera (and maybe tape the battery-aperture shut, since, as Allentowners may remember, it pops open at the slightest opportunity) and do a wash and finish making this entry; what I mean is, I have all the books I need. It is to be expected that for that period I shall be uncharacteristically silent.

I don't think that I know anyone who lives near any of the places I'll be visiting, which is vexing, because I know so many neat people who live far away that to go somewhere far away and not see any of them seems somehow very clumsy of me - so if I'm wrong about that, and especially if you yourself are the proof, by all means let me know (I'll attempt to periodically find computers and check livejournal (or at least my comments) and my g-mail e-mail). I will, however, by the end of this trip, have visited most of not only the provinces, but indeed the provinces-and-territories, so ha.

I seem to write a lot of entries when I'm hungry, don't I? Weird.

What? Oh, right. So, I'll be back in early September. Everybody have fun without me!
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Today, Summer suddenly remembered that it's supposed to be stiflingly hot; I'll need to dig out the fan that is somewhere at the bottom of my room. It's cooled down to something bearable now, though I'm still wearing naught but my swimshorts and uncomfortably warm. Probably my laptop isn't helping.

(Or, come to think of it, the significant quantity of hair on my face. Well, I've been meaning to cut some of that off, anyway.)

I had a very nice conversation with Rachel - like, a significant improvement to my life conversation - and then I ate some cereal. The cereal was also nice.
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Beard is gone! We'll see how long that lasts (I rarely leave myself time to shave in the morning).

There is a fellow who has an ad on one of the bus stops, down on Marine. Along with his smiling photo, it displays the slogan, "Your realtor for life!" - only, this is written in blood red, in a scratchy, horror movie font. My latest theory is that his graphic designer was mad at him for some reason.


Jan. 25th, 2005 02:34 pm
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Last night, I shaved. Today, I fondly hope that at least one of my classmates will think, "Hey! It's Beard Guy, without the beard!"

(I wanted to write this when it actualy predated my first class, but I didn't have the time. Seraa V C'est la vie.)
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Yesterday I went to take the Langara English Test - because, as some of you may not know, I'm planning to take some courses at Langara come the Spring term, which begins in January - and I will get a '0', because, although I finished the essay, I wasn't able to transcribe it in pen onto the 'good copy' side of the page before time ran out. I was pretty grumpy about this at first (if the intent is to test my English comprehension and usage, why is there a time trial aspect at all?), but David's pre-Birthday-party party did a lot to cheer me up, and Cody and Marilee volunteered a bunch of useful advice which essentially boils down to, "Don't be afraid to do your initial composition in pen, even though you're paranoid about media in which there is no backspace equivalent" (Cody also suggests I might buy one of those newfangled white-out sticks). If all else fails, I can always just take some things for which the LET is not a prerequisite; there are certainly enough that I am interested in.

As probably promised, I have some pictures of my Hallowe'en Dread piracy, which wasn't a mighty feat of cosplay, but served me pretty well regardless. There are also some I took the next day, to give a better idea of what I looked like with the moustache (which is no longer extant, though I kind of liked it).

Oh, and one note from this thing that's been going around -
You can tell the difference between Japanese, Chinese, Vietnamese, Korean and Thai food.
Not only is this true, but I have never thought to consider it unusual. Just how benighted is the rest of the world?


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Andy H.

February 2013

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