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I've been uncomfortably aware for a while that people who visit my livejournal without being logged in are subjected to garish, obtrusive banner ads all up and down the right side. Recently, even when I am logged in, livejournal is sometimes trying to make me view ads when I try to visit other people's content. I find both of these things unpleasant and embarrassing. I've also been aware, peripherally, of another blogging service using the same engine with no ads and an excellent reputation, so I'm now writing primarily at ; I'm still mirroring on livejournal, but you may want to update links or what-have-you.

Russell Hoban, Riddley Walker
...which was about 200 pages and took me a month and a half to get through. The person who lent it to me swears it was not a deliberate attempt at sabotage.

The main difficulty is that it's written almost completely in a barely penetrable visual dialect, or actually rather an imaginary post-apocalyptic offshoot of English. Here's an example paragraph from early in the book:

"Dad and me we jus come off forage rota and back on jobbing that day. The hoal we ben working we ben on it 24 days. Which Ive never liket 12 its a judgd men number innit and this ben 2 of them. Wed pernear cleart out down to the chalk and hevvy mucking it ben. Nothing lef in the hoal only sortit thru muck and the smel of it and some girt big rottin iron thing some kynd of machine it wer you cudnt tel what it wer."

I've never even finished Huckleberry Finn; this didn't at any point stop being hard work for me to translate, and irritating, like somebody singing deliberately off-key. (Joanne, who is dyslexic, looked over the first page and reported that she hardly noticed the difference.) I would have probably stopped early except that it had been recommended by Karen, whose judgement I respect, and I have a bit of a weakness for stories about post-apocalyptic attempts at community. The story itself was odd but kind of compelling, brutal and thoughtful and wry, and it was interesting the tension between the narrator, who seems to be trying to present himself philosophically but straightforwardly, and the fog of language keeping his story obscure and treacherous.

I've been slacking off a bit teaching my class, because it turns out that I can -- if I come in with not a great deal prepared there will still be a lot of interesting conversation. This is awesome, but I'm trying to prepare more anyway. We weathered Heinlein with a general enthusiastic political horror, received a guest presentation that transformed a lot of our theoretical thinking about genre and gender (I remain vague because I believe the presenter intends to publish), and wrote our first papers, worked out and instituted what seems promising to be a successful marking scheme. My impression is that most of the short papers are about LeGuin; the longer, I suspect, will be dominated by Tiptree and Delany (the former of whom people have been vocally very impressed by, the latter of whose fiction we're just now embarking on), which is an outcome I'd be very pleased with.

It's November. Maybe I'll have a birthday party.
garran: (Default)
At the Cambie B-line stop today there was a man shouting in to the new skytrain station, probably, I thought, at the transit cops checking people's fare there. "There is no law in December!" he shouted. Was it a prophecy? It's not December yet, but I'll post my novels anyway.
CJ Cherryh, Precursor
CJ Cherryh, Defender
Elizabeth Bear, All the Windwracked Stars
CJ Cherryh, Explorer
I like the way that the focal and heroic action of the Foreigner series is diplomatic negotiation rather than violent conflict.

There was a talkative, raspy-voiced homeless woman on another of my buses to whom the other passengers seemed more hostile than is normal in that situation. That character is usually male in my experience, so I wonder if it was a gender thing? (Another hypothesis: the Olympics are exacerbating class tension. (Is it still legal to say that on the internet? TOPICAL HUMOUR.) But that's been going on for a while.) At any rate, I felt bad for her. There were these three teenagers in particular (though it wasn't just them) who started loudly making jokes about her presumed drug habit; they also spent a while imitating a broad Indian accent, which I think was unrelated. Stay classy, male teenagers.

Those Koodo gingerbread person ads progressed really quickly to autocannibalism! It's kind of the obvious place to go, but I wasn't really sure they would.

I got distracted while I was composing this, so then it became December after all.

P.S. I turned 26! A while ago, I mean. Now I must continue writing one million papers.
garran: (Default)
A factual account:
CJ Cherryh, Invader
Steven Brust, The Phoenix Guards (reread)
CJ Cherryh, Inheritor
I'm finding the Foreigner novels really immersive. But there can be only so much time for reading since I had putative swine flu for a week of missed school, and am still struggling to catch up. (My professors have been really generous with extensions.)

Today it is David's birthday, which means that, in a week's time, it will be my birthday. Did you know that I was birthed?

My sister is in town and I got up very early to have breakfast with her.
garran: (Default)
First, Saturday, the day of my birthday party; )

then, Sunday, a day of misadventure. )

Monday was anticlimax and anticipation. )

Now, it's now; still basically Monday. It's still not actively snowing, and everything is kind of holding its breath. I printed off my English essay, did some kanji homework, wrote this entry, and go back to waiting with the rest.
garran: (Default)
I've finally replied to all of last month's book report requests.

Today was my birthday! I had a midterm (for the second year in a row! I guess it's that season), ate Chinese food, went to a Windsor House philosophy meeting, and thought about how it had been a year since J. was here. However did I pay attention to studying for the Sociology midterm I had last year while J. was here? But I must have, at least a little, because I remember that I got an A- in that course. I have received no presents yet (the presents my mother bought me got tangled in Amazon), but a surprising number of people wished me well, and my day as a whole left me with a warm general fondness for humanity such that it would be difficult for me to complain.

I had some other things that I wanted to write about, but I do not remember what they were. Oh, except that cola asked me a while ago to report on the Sufjan Stevens concert that I went to, since apparently a writer for the Straight pronounced it one of the two best Vancouver concerts of the decade (the other having been something in 2003). I didn't personally think it was as good as the September 19th Final Fantasy concert, but it was pretty good.

...I guess he probably wanted more report than that. Okay, a bad thing: we all (who got there ahead of time) had to stand in line in the cold and sometimes raining for long after the doors were supposed to open, and indeed, as it turns out, well after the show had started; by the time I got inside, from somewhere in the middle of the line, My Brightest Diamond's set was halfway through. Also, I had to sit near the back. Good things included My Brightest Diamond themselves (herself?), who were pretty cool, and the way that Sufjan's band/orchestra, which included a guy playing the saw, were all dressed as butterflies, and he was dressed as a bird, with paper wings that flapped. He also gave several-minute-long and totally arresting spoken introductions to some of his songs, including a rambling story-behind-The Predatory Wasp... that I have no idea how much of which to believe. The performances of the songs were also very nice (I knew only about a third of them, which only served to make me pretty happy that I still have so much to discover), though I think that he might have done well to temper, a little, his fondness for ending them all with huge crescendoes.

Man, what else did I want to talk about? I guess I'll remember sometime after sleeping.


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Andy H.

February 2013

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