garran: (Default)
I need to figure out what I plan to do this coming Summer; there are two trips that I might take, both of which would be awesome, so it's sort of an antidilemma*. First, there is Otakon '06, which, it looks like, is intended to play host to another great convergence like 2004's, and at which my attendance has been strongly suggested by some people I'd like to see. Second, there is a program at Langara where I could go to Japan for three weeks and study Buddhism.

(* Since they're also very likely mutually exclusive, it of course also contains the ordinary dilemma of having to give one of them up, but I hope you'll understand why I prefer to think of it this way.)

Let's look at how they compare. Japan is clearly preferable in terms of destination, because, Japan! Baltimore is too hot, and besides, I've been there already. It also wins out on the formal activities of the thing; con panels can be fun, but they clearly don't compare to wandering about Japan, visiting temples and talking about religion. (Have I mentioned Japan?) On the other hand, there is price - the Langara trip would cost me $2350 even before tuition and airfare, whereas all of Otakon could probably be done on less than $1000 - and - the real reason that Otakon isn't ruled out already - company; Marilee is going on the Japan trip, but she would probably be the only person I know, and Otakon is a chance to hang out with several awesome friends of mine I almost never get to see.

Does anyone reading this want to attempt to convince me one way or the other? Especially those who plan attendance at Otakon, since that is, at this point, a little bit the underdog?

The assorted otherwise:

Pictures J Pictures! The wedding pictures are still being sorted through.

Music/Circles I Know The first New Pornographers album began recording at the Gate; the latest one, I've just noticed, contains the musicianship of Todd McDonald, of The Winks and former Windsor House fame (also, Jim is thanked). The album is really good.

Election The Liberal government fell on Monday; yesterday morning, on the way to school, I saw the first few federal election signs already up. I guess that everyone was ready.

I have no idea yet how I intend to vote among the three parties that are not the Conservatives.
garran: (Default)
Classics

Sumana has a post about classics, and moral and immoral depictions in stories, which I find really interesting.

Ages ago, having been asked to, I put together a list of ten books (or chains of books) which had had great impact on me; I couldn't bear to choose favourites, so instead I tried to decide what was formative. I posted about five of them in my weblog (and one day still mean to cover the remaining five). These are books that remain landmarks for me; they provided substantial new metaphors with which to think about things, including, in many cases, ethical decisions. And a lot of that, of course, lies in that they depicted behaviours or difficulties that had never occurred to me, or better than they had ever occurred to me.

(His justification is that the very portrayal of the sin might influence a child who had not previously considered that sin.)

I think it's fair to say that all of those books - and others - are personal classics, though I'm not sure if they're all classics very far outside my sphere. If you asked me at the moment (as, clearly, I'm pretending that you have), I would say that a classic proper was something with that sort of impact on the general consciousness (or a fairly sizable subset, e.g. a classic of science fiction), and on other works thereafter. (At the Allentown gathering this winter, a number of us sat down to watch a portion of the anime series Uchuu no Stellvia. At one point, Nate remarked, "This is reminding me of Ender's Game," and most if not all of those in the room knew exactly what he meant.)

Considering this, Sumana's probably right that The Matrix ought to be counted, much as I might prefer that it be stricken from the canon (and perhaps replaced with Dark City). It didn't offer me anything new and worthwhile when I saw it, but it seems to have a lot of people, and it has had some effect on common vocabulary.

Used Books

There's a used book store near Lonsdale, on fifteenth, which I've been meaning to check out, and today I did. It's slightly more expensive than most, at $4.00 for a good-size paperback, and only moderately well-stocked in the speculative, but even so, I found The Dispossessed, by Ursula K. LeGuin, which might have made my list of ten if I hadn't read it so long ago that I've forgotten all the plot, and The Waterborn, by J. Gregory Keyes, and The Doors Of His Face, The Lamps Of His Mouth, a collection of short stories by Roger Zelazny. I bought them all.

It's interesting; I feel very little attraction to the thought of 'shopping', in general (which means there are a great number of ads on the busses right now which miss me by a large margin), but there is an enormous, grinning, lighthearted satisfaction which is afforded to me by almost nothing but successfully shopping for books (occasionally music can do it). It's wonderfully energizing; it's one of those bizarre and entirely impractical things that I wish I could somehow make a living off of. The characters in the TV series have since devolved into caricature, but one of the things that caught at me when I first saw the first episode of the Read Or Die OAV, long ago, was its recognition of how good this feels. Yomiko is very easy for me to empathise with.

Coda

One of the few downsides of this house, as compared to my previous one, is that there are very few places well-suited to pacing in circles, but I was still able to instinctually seek one out while thinking about this entry.
garran: (Default)
One of the stranger aspects of the propensity for real names I acquired at Allentown is that my brain now uses the same familiar string - "I miss Rachel" - to refer to two quite distinct emotional realities, both of which it's been calling upon pretty regularly this past week or so.
garran: (Default)
The gathering in Allentown passed in a happy succession of camraderie, physical affection, varied games, morbid jokes, and spans between sleep that it would be naive and misleading to call days. I miss it, and those involved; there are quiet but surprisingly sharp spasms of melancholy that periodically accompany the thought that it's over.

(I may well write more about Allentown later - indeed, I'd call it likely. Now, though, I'm going to segue into the present: watch!)

My trip isn't, though; I'm now staying with J. in Detroit, where, after the extraordinarily temperate Allentown weather tempted me to feel a little blasè about the supposed climatic fierceness of the eastern continent (we were wandering around outside in the middle of the night in hardly much more than shirt sleeves), it snowed all day yesterday, and probably some of today. It wasn't the gentle, straight-down snow I'm used to getting in Vancouver, either; there was this whole trick to figuring out how to stand so that it didn't attack your eyes (and to knocking it off your foot before getting in cars, and for remembering that maybe those gloves you brought are going to be useful after all, etc). The amount of snow I can see out J.'s window right now isn't unprecedented back home, but I don't think we've had anything like it in a few years, at least, and even when it happens it doesn't tend to last very long. Here, I get the impression that it's somewhere near the status quo.

Hardly ones to waste such an opportunity, J., J.'s sister and I will proceed to go sledding. ^_^
garran: (Default)
It seems a long time since I've done one of these, and I do so enjoy them. A livejournal exclusive; something in the history and context of my weblog proper makes it seem ill-suited.

Within, natch. )

Disjoint!

Nov. 30th, 2004 03:32 am
garran: (Default)
You know... None of the people who ever send me PGP-signed messages do so consistantly (or else, someone is mimicking all of them really well). This seems to defeat most of the point.

Keri, as I've been noticing anew, is a natural blogger, in a way that I have never been. I wanted to link specifically to her 'Diary of a Weekend' entry, but her archives, and therefore her direct linking, are terribly broken. It should be obvious that with 'natural blogger' I mean to claim that she is amusing and engaging and prolific, rather than technically impeccable by any means.

I've just given Tanetris a useless answer about whether I mean to attend the Megatokyan gathering at the end of December, because, although I do mean to, I have no idea whether I actually will. I really need to figure that out. Alpicola, do you check your e-mail? (I could say that I will try and come on and talk to you, but my promising such things seems to have an eery tendency to make them not happen, so let's try it the other way.)

I may take something other than Introduction to Government Politics, because it turns out that Marilee won't be in that class after all. I still have a week to figure that out; perhaps the class which is particularly about Canadian Politics? (Which I find to be peculiarly relaxing.) Marilee came to my terribly haphazard belated birthday party this Saturday, which was a great deal of fun for me even though everyone kept lynching me in Werewolf. I hope that she also had fun; she's seemed a little down, since.

(My actual birthday was roughly two weeks ago, the fifteenth. I got several novels and graphic novels (the latter all by JMS), the Daily Show's 'America: The Book', the Neverwinter Nights 'Hordes of the Underdark' expansion set, three CDs by the Beatles and one by Metric. There is some bittersweetness to the Beatles albums, which contained most of the stuff they did which I'd never heard - I'm not there yet, but it can't be long before I never hear a Beatles track for the first time again - so I approached them with a strange reluctance, waiting several days before finally opening Magical Mystery Tour. When I have finished seeking these out, an era will end.

They were very good, of course.)

I think it's a good thing that I'm this tired.
garran: (Default)
Okay! I originally wanted to post this, complete, as one piece, but that's getting ridiculous, so since I finally have a fair section done, I figure I may as well post that much. With luck, more shall follow.

o/~ Here comes part one, doo doo doo doo... )

I'll leave the footnotes outside the cut, to tantalize you:

[1]: Alpicola, Rachan, Shannon and codepoetica.

[2]: Though not nearly as black-hearted and cantankerous as the one we encountered going out, who among his scowling at us and probably putting special marks on our customs declarations so that we'd get pulled aside and our bags searched later, asked in a tone of genuine incredulity, "Why would you want to go to Detroit?" The people who did the actual bag-searching were very pleasant, though, and one let me borrow his stapler.

[3]: These would be important later.

[4]: The actual construction of these, though, would be accomplished by J. alone over the long car rides to come. Well, alone if you don't count the scissors, gluestick, and eyeglasses, with which, there is a compelling argument, he is actually a sort of cyborg.

[5]: Which were interesting - I'd had very little experience with the medium before - but none of which were magnificent. I suspect that I'd have enjoyed the event rather more if I hadn't been seated next to strangers.

[6]: Has anyone not yet heard the statistic that J. is 6'5", and weighs the same amount that I do? I am absurdly proud of this, as though he were my own work.

[7]: It turns out that not only will I answer easily to Garran, but hearing it come up in conversation is enough to wake me from a minor doze.

[8]: For some reason, I saw something like five people from Florida.

[9]: After cola and I, ten minutes later, had realized that the reason we couldn't find _Quinn and J. was because they'd been ushered efficiently outside by staffpeople who somehow missed us, and _Quinn had given us a baffled look. Oh, and there was a brief interlude before that while the registration lady stared at my shiny BC driver's license in something like awe.
garran: (Default)
(Continuing my new habit of copy-and-pasting an entry to each weblog in turn. Maybe I'll have a more elegant and automated way to do this soon.)

Long ago, it must be; I have some photographs...

After going to get travel insurance on Sunday, cola and I wandered about town for the rest of the day, because as soon as my mother took pity and bought me a fan, the city decided that it didn't need to be so crushingly hot after all, so the weather was just beautiful and very well-suited to happy meandering. We stumbled upon and explored briefly the grounds of St. George's School for Young Dragonslayers, a building so marvellously ornate and medieval, and so unexpected, sitting back from its peaceful suburban street, that I sha'n't be surprised if it isn't there when we go back, even given the website. After that, we went to bubble tea, and then to see Marilee, who has a debilitating headache (poor Marilee!) but was nice to talk to anyway.

Yesterday, I fell over and scraped my fingers (and got dust all over me), which will teach me not to hurry down that path; imagine if I'd fallen earlier, on the long, steep stairs! I also got some American money. Today I'll pack, and tomorrow I end my tenure as someone who has never been to Detroit. I'll be back next Tuesday; have fun without me, those of you whom I'm not going there to meet.

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Andy H.

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