Visuals

Jul. 15th, 2009 03:15 pm
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You guys are awesome for answering my question. I was going to post my own answer sooner, but was moderately overwhelmed with schoolwork; sorry to leave you in suspense. At least on my monitor, what I imagine looks about like this:

An orange-yellow......and a pale green...

...both luminescent. To clarify, this isn't what I'd get from that phrase in just any circumstance; it's very particular to Thom Yorke's voice and the context and instrumental background of that song. Nobody else who commented thought of the same colours, which is about what my hypothesis would have been.

Not long ago [livejournal.com profile] marlo participated in something I thought was kind of cool, so I'm going to do it, too. Here are the rules she posted:

"• Post ten of any pictures currently on your hard drive that you think are self-expressive.
• No captions! It must be like we're speaking with images and we have to interpret your visual language just like we have to interpret your words.
• They must already be on your hard drive - no googling or flickr! They have to have been saved to your folders sometime in the past. They must be something you've saved there because it resonated with you for some reason.
• You do not have to answer any questions about any of your pictures if you don't want to. You can make them as mysterious as you like. Or you can explain them away as much as you like."

I decided to exclude images that I'd already posted to this weblog, at least in its livejournal incarnation.

So here follow ten pictures; some of them are kind of big. )
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There's this point in Radiohead's Everything in its Right Place where Thom Yorke sings, "There are two colours in my head." (Twice.) I've been noticing that I've always had a really strong mental image of which two colours he means; in fact, it was only recently that I consciously recognised that the communication of those two specifically was not objectively there in the song. So now I'm curious: if you, reading this, are familiar with the song, or have just heard it via that youtube link, do you feel like you know which colours they are? If so, which ones do you imagine?
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This is where I'd ordinarily do my book reporting, but I actually didn't read any full novels in June this year. I know; pre~tty weird! Today was my mother's birthday and in celebration we went out as a family to watch All's Well That Ends Well at Bard on the Beach, which really is a lot more palatable if you read Helena de Narbon as a mad scientist throughout.

A couple of weeks ago I got Tori Amos' first album, Little Earthquakes, which is amazing and harrowing both in ways suggested but unmatched by her later records I'd heard. (I've been a Tori Amos fan since I was, like, ten; how did I go so long without hearing this? But there is so much important music I haven't sought out even yet.) It's been making me think, among other things, about the ethics and politics of cross-gender musical covers. Tori is known for these, although there aren't any on this album in particular. As a class, I really like them, the curious* tension in hearing somebody sing about a gendered experience which is at odds with the way I'm inclined to interpret their voice, and I've often thought of doing some myself, if I ever become a musician in some more proper sense; Noe Venable's "Prettiness", say, or Ani DiFranco's "Two Little Girls", which I really like to sing. The trouble is that the relationship between genders isn't symmetrical. Men in art historically have done a lot more of being allowed to speak for themselves, and women have done a lot more of being spoken for or otherwise relegated to the third or second person. So while both ways it can do some really interesting work of redefinition, when women sing men there is a natural weight towards that redefinition's being subversive, whereas when men sing women the natural weight is towards its being an appropriative act of erasure. And there are similar issues of sexism it would also be hazardous to ignore. Track two of Little Earthquakes has a refrain that goes, "She's been everybody else's girl; maybe one day she'll be her own." I really can't think of a way for a man's voice to sing this without adding an element of dismissive paternalistic judgement.

(* Or, to use a synonym that also has an appropriate technical meaning, 'queer'.)

I had a related experience a while ago with the Bikini Kill song "Rebel Girl". When I discovered it I really liked it, and fantasized a bunch about performing it and dedicating it to people, because I thought it captured something of how I felt about a lot of my female friends, and how I'd approached befriending them at least in my head. Later, I saw a documentary about the Riot Grrrl movement and how the scene was in part a conscious attempt to create a feminist safe space in response to the misogynistic character of a lot of punk shows the principals had frequented, and looking at the song in this light I realized that it was quite obviously an anthem specifically of female solidarity, which I had managed to completely overlook before because my immediate response to it was to overwrite it with the blithe interpolation of my masculine self.

Some time after that I was talking to a friend about this and I said something pretty similar to that last sentence, and she asked me why I didn't try using my feminine self instead, which was interesting because it bespoke a whole paradigm of gender that I'd kind of forgot existed, the whole new-agey thing (not a pejorative) where certain energies and characteristics are coded 'male' or 'female', and everyone has both and although they are generally encouraged to consider the ones aligned with their sex assigned at birth to be predominant, you're sort of incomplete if you haven't accepted and incorporated both. I can see how this is appealing, and why my friend thought that it might help soothe or even solve my difficulty (and I should clarify that I totally think the differences between men and women cultural or otherwise are not enough to prevent us from being allies, in feminism or any other arena! Well, except maybe misogyny. Hopefully that's all obvious). I find it personally dissatisfying for a few reasons, including A) that it's weirdly essentialist, taking genders to be absolute and universal categories that persist in roughly the same way over time to such a degree that even being a characteristic possessed by a woman is not enough to make it a female characteristic, and really I think of gender stuff as being way more constructed and mutable than that and would prefer ways of talking and thinking about it that reflect this; and B) it allows guys who are being called on their privilege to obfuscate by going like, no, you see, I'm in touch with my feminine side, so really to claim that I have male privilege is limiting and denies this whole aspect of myself!

No, actually, even if we accept this paradigm then people who are treated (and primarily conceive themselves) as men still have an ethical obligation to grapple with our privilege, because regardless of what qualities we have on the inside we're still members of the male political category, which is, yeah, kind of raised up relative to people who don't fall into it (though the intersection of other oppressions can complicate things). It's like, recently I've been realizing that my sexuality is, like everyone's, very weird and specific, and that the fact that it can be subsumed into the notion of 'heterosexuality' in its broad shape has actually been pretty limiting to me, because it caused me to assume that it was heterosexuality, this uniform thing that I shared with all the other straight people, which meant that I spent a lot of energy rationalizing some of the things specific to me in ways that didn't actually help me understand them at all. But the fact that I'm starting to identify as straight only in a pretty qualified way, and to recognise how heterosexism has actually harmed me personally, doesn't mean that I don't have straight privilege. Since I'm a cisgendered man whose attractions are mainly to women, I have a whole bunch of it whatever I call myself, and it continues to behoove me to recognise that.

So, yeah, I'm not sure what I'll do if I'm ever actually performing music on a regular basis. In the meantime I have an eye infection and it really itches, so I'm going to post this and then put some drops in it in lieu of just shoving my finger in there, which my willpower assures me I am not supposed to do.
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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.
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Elise is about to head out of town for a couple of months, so if you're a Vancouverite who's been intrigued by my enthusiasm for La La Boom Boom, this Wednesday's show will probably be your last chance for a while to get the full experience for yourself.

Speaking of things I will be at that you might want to go to yourself, though on rather a larger scale, this week is the last week to get the so-called "early bird" rates when registering for this year's IDEC, which the Windsor House-spawned Society for the Advancement of Non-coercive Education is organizing this August at the UBC campus. I went to the IDEC in New York in 2003, so if you (today being apparently my day for addressing hypothetical cross-sections of my readership; you can be a member of both this one and the concert one if you want) are somebody either already embroiled in some aspect of the democratic education movement or else receptive and curious enough to spend a moderately significant amount of money and a week in Vancouver talking to people about it, I can vouch for the experience as basically a marvellous one.
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1: Okay, here's an entry.
A. S. Byatt, Possession
Steven Brust, The Sun, the Moon, and the Stars
Laurie J. Marks, Water Logic
Peter S. Beagle, The Last Unicorn
(Steven Brust actually has two middle initials. He just chooses not to use them.)

So I managed to be kind of responsible, though not as much as this list might imply, because a bunch of that time not spent reading was spent doing stuff like visiting Rachel and watching television. (Surprisingly impressive shows that I am currently in the middle of watching for the first time: Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, Princess Tutu, and Farscape.)

2: I wonder whether word is starting to get around, yet, among people who weren't at either of the shows so far, that La La Boom Boom is good? Because they're really good. I mean, not just by the standards of people one happens to know.

At their show on Friday the band invited me to stand next to them while they played and shake an egg-shaped shaking instrument. I was really nervously ambivalent about this (which probably didn't look at all like a big deal to anybody else in the room), but I'm glad that I did it, because it was a lot of fun.

3: Am I the only Canadian who likes having elections?
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For the curious who have already guessed, or don't intend to. People who still intend to guess are encouraged to do so before looking!

Spoilers for my previous entry. )
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In the 'things on the internet' portion of last post, I forgot to mention Kate Beaton's comics. She's getting kind of famous now, at least if Shaenon Garrity and Ryan North linking to her is any indication, but maybe you haven't seen them yet, and you really should. (I think I found them through [livejournal.com profile] angrylemur.)

Speaking of [livejournal.com profile] angrylemur and stuff inspired in this entry by same, a while ago she posted that song lyric guessing game I like, and it made me notice that it's been almost two years since the last time I did it myself, which naturally awakened a resolve to do it again. I was going to wait until after I'd posted more of the things of actual substance I've been intending to write for this journal, but it's occurred to me that this actually takes way less time than those things, so it's not like it's delaying them significantly to do it now. I am going for it.

Here follows the list. It's 20 first lines again (even though Ms. Lemur did 16), and I'm not going to make it zero-sum, so I encourage people to guess before looking at anyone else's answers.
Songs for uncertainty. )
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First, last minute book report: Ancestral Hamster ([livejournal.com profile] vegetius) asked me about my mystery-reading habits in the context of the Sayers books, and I only just remembered to answer him.

Short books help me be prolific:
Dorothy L. Sayers, Five Red Herrings
Jo Walton, Ha'penny
Dorothy L. Sayers, Have His Carcase
Dorothy L. Sayers, Murder Must Advertise
Susan Palwick, Shelter
Dorothy L. Sayers, The Nine Tailors
Dorothy L. Sayers, Gaudy Night
Robin McKinley, Dragonhaven
Diana Wynne Jones, Witch Week (reread)
Dorothy L. Sayers, Busman's Honeymoon
Plus I did some of the other kind of short fiction reading. Can anybody point me to a good analytical discussion of Kelly Link by people who like her? (Especially "The Girl Detective", or to a lesser extent "Magic For Beginners".)

Anyway, I have a job, now (working in the warehouse for a clothing store, and the weirdest thing about it is that I'm spending all these hours each week doing something with no connection whatsoever to the rest of my life. I suppose I'm supposed to have got more used to that by this stage), so presumably this month I'm going to have to either cut down on the reading for pleasure or be tremendously irresponsible. I'll let you know which one. It does mean that I can afford to go down to Oregon during my spring break, though, so I am doing that!

Things on the internet:

Is anybody else following Shadow Unit? Here's the on-site explanation, in case you, like me, are likely to be overwhelmed by an in media res website unless you get some out-of-character grounding. Some of the peripheral aspects, like the fictional livejournals, are a little too (simultaneously) twee and disorienting for me, but I have high hopes for this combination of authors.

Rachel found this striking picture, and this one:
...the widow of René de Chalon, prince of Orange, who died in battle in 1544, aged 25, has asked the sculptor Ligier Richier to represent him offering his heart to God, in the condition he now is in, a few years after his death, set against the painted splendour of his former worldly estate.
Also, from a while ago, here is the amazing Bob Dylan interview that made me get his music.

P.S. Sometimes I put in the 'music' field the song that happens to be playing when I'm just about to post, and sometimes I put the song that I've been listening to over and over, more often than every other song combined over the past couple of days. Today is one of the latter cases.
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The precipitation was snow today for a while before dissolving into rain. The resulting slush has partially frozen again, and is very slippery. I had never actually been to the Cafe deux Soleil, though I've seen it from outside several times, and could not quite remember where on the Drive it was, so I rode the bus down the street and back up again before I spotted it and was able to turn my attention to not quite falling over on the way to the door.

Elise's new band (called 'La La Boom Boom') is good; 'joyous' is the right description. They do a complex, many-voiced pop that makes me think of the New Pornographers -- it's a little less scattered and sugary, but there's that same sense of adroit playfulness. I liked the way the violin came in high and shining over the other instruments.

They were preceded by some people doing spoken word poetry that I thought was rather silly -- one of them would have been better without the awkward rhyme scheme, though I think that generally my poetic sensibilities run sufficiently textual that I'm out of sympathy with the goals of the genre when it's not being performed by Ani DiFranco -- and followed by another band, all male and wearing dresses, who sang a surprisingly fun rendition of 'Amazing Grace' including the later verses I feel geeky for knowing, and a swing tune with what sounded like an interruption by an enraged Tom Waits. I sat in a booth with several people known to Elise. There was a brief conversation about which of the existentialists we could tolerate, which made me happy and simultaneously (perhaps because we were in a coffee shop) uneasy that I was becoming a caricature. A large bearded fellow with a thoughtful demeanor said that the atmosphere here made him feel like he was in Montreal; Vancouver, he said, is generally a more conservative city, containing fewer hippies and being more self-conscious about the ones it has. Having never really lived anywhere else, it's difficult for me to judge.

The thin snow on the sidewalk near my house showed at least as many animal tracks as human; at least one raccoon, I think, though I couldn't identify the rest. I made my own contribution and arrived back home, feeling embarrassed and internally dishevelled in a way that tells me I have overloaded on extroversion. But I am glad that I went.
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Do any fictional apocalypses take place in 2008? I have lost track.

Look, books:
Elizabeth Bear, Carnival
Dorothy L. Sayers, Whose Body?
Laurie J. Marks, Earth Logic
Dorothy L. Sayers, Clouds of Witness
Dorothy L. Sayers, Unnatural Death
Sarah Monette, The Bone Key
Dorothy L. Sayers, The Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club (reread)
Dorothy L. Sayers, Strong Poison
Sarah Monette and Elizabeth Bear, A Companion to Wolves
Emma Bull, War for the Oaks
I did actually finish all my papers in time, by the way; sorry I forgot to provide you with closure, livejournal. Assuming that my professors are not each embroiled in a darkly-intentioned conspiracy toward my academic complacency, a possibility which I assure you that I have considered, apparently they (the papers) were all better than it felt like they were at the time. All of the books you see here were completed after I turned the last in on the 14th, in a kind of a delirious state, as I picked up every piece of entertainment that tempted me and cackled at not feeling guilty about it.

Now, or on Monday, school comes back; I'll post an exegesis of my new class schedule shortly. Meanwhile, I have two days to reorient my sleeping schedule so that I can catch that 9 AM bus. Um.

Neko Case has a song called 'Andy', which I think is actually a cover. I like it (musically, I mean), but -- maybe because she says my name separately and with emphasis -- it triggers a false positive in my sense of being addressed in a way that other songs that include it, like the one by the Killers or the one by REM, don't; it is a very peculiar feeling. I wonder if this is how people named Michelle or Cecilia feel all the time? (I dare not contemplate too long the complications of being a Roxanne.)
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Rain has been everywhere, rain, rain! but today it is sunny again -- and not just sunny but clear, and golden, and cool but not cold. After a September and early October that were chill, grey and remote, and poignant as winter, and the past few weeks of deluge, the year has resolved after all at least for a moment into the kind of Autumn I like best.

Just because it has been cold doesn't mean that I have had a cold, as Harvey Keitel probably wouldn't say, but in fact both are the case. It's now almost gone (lingering only enough to interfere with my ability to sing high notes at parties), but it's been around for about as long as the rain has, the persistent descendant of the vague fever that incapacitated me over Thanksgiving weekend. (NB: I am Canadian.) My personal myth about that sickness is that it happened because I'd been under the stress of being so relentlessly anxious about school, which weakened my immune system; this may not actually be true, but it was a useful thing to think because it made me look at why I was anxious and realize that it was almost entirely about the enormous (by my own standards so far) term paper I need to write for the Honours seminar. Even when I was apparently reacting to some other, more immediate reason for stress, I was really going, "I have this homework to do now, and I have this 5000-word paper sitting on my future like a brick". Having had cause to look directly at my worry and sort it out into discrete concerns, instead of adding that major one to everything like that, has made the time since rather easier.

It's strange the degree to which part of what I have to worry about for school now is my grades, because there are scholarships etc.; I feel almost betrayed that these things, in their capacity as collectable tokens rather than as feedback, didn't remain irrelevant epiphenomena, even though I thought before that their irrelevance was one of the marks against them. It doesn't help that at least some of the courses at UBC undertake practises that totally undermine the usefulness of good marks except as somewhat arbitrary collectables, e.g. grading on a curve.

Music stuff that I have been meaning to mention:

There is a new Noe Venable album. Unsurprisingly, I think the free downloads are pretty great.

There is also a new Radiohead album. I haven't heard a thing off of it yet, but check out that distribution method!

Non-music stuff:

We're getting the libraries back! I wonder how the pay equity stuff worked out?

I have been invited to a Hallowe'en party. Maybe I ought to come up with a costume this year, after all.
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Brendan asked me about Gene Wolfe's Book of the New Sun books and Sean Stewart's Resurrection Man, so becoming the first person to ask about all the books I read in a single month individually. Eventually I answered him.

(It turns out that Sean Stewart is also one of the major people behind I Love Bees. Dude!)

Last night I caught the opening segment of CBC's semi-news show The Hour, which began as is its wont with a skit featuring the special guests -- in this case, the Foo Fighters. The skit concerned the backstage tension between Dave Grohl and one of the stagehands or something; eventually it came out that they had been in a band together in high school, and the other guy felt betrayed because Grohl had left that band to start the Foo Fighters, and they had a tearful reconciliation. There was something about this that I thought was very strange, and maybe you've spotted it, too: can it really be the case that the skit-writers, or for that matter the fans who they expect to be watching, aren't aware that Grohl's pre-Foo project was somewhat higher profile than that?

I had other things I was going to write about, but I forget them.
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A lot of rhetorical time seems to be spent emphasizing the insufficiency of language -- that there aren't words for the most important things, that actions speak louder, et cetera. Every once in a while, though, usually in some way to do with my dog, I'm reminded of the obvious fact that language is way better at communication than anything else we have; it's either necessary or a huge timesaver in getting across emotional subtleties, complex abstracts, and organized plans requiring the cooperation of other individuals than the speaker, and without it we'd be a lot more alone. Hooray for language!

Today, a fortune cookie told me, "Your reputation for honesty will bring rewards," and the first thing I thought was, "Oh, good, I have a reputation for honesty." Then I remembered that I had read this in a fortune cookie rather than had it said by someone who actually knew who I was. That's how fortune-telling gets you, I guess, ricocheting off your hopes and expectations.

I have been listening to Leonard Richardson's new album a lot. (Long-time readers, of whom there are very few, may remember that Leonard's example is a large part of the reason I first started having a weblog.) It's like a more focussed version of what first drew me to his older stuff: extremely low-fi, nerdily esoteric, and surprisingly affecting.

Phew

Apr. 18th, 2007 01:30 pm
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I did something unexpectedly and potentially quite catastrophically stupid, but have been rescued from the consequences by an act of grace of the sort that one probably shouldn't talk about explicitly where other students might see it. Cryptic weblog time!

Meanwhile, I am going to see Ted Leo tonight. Prophecy tells us that it will be good.

Edit: It was good indeed! That man is way more fit than I am.
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I put "Run For Your Life" at the end of one of my mixes, and of course I own "Rubber Soul", so I've got to hear the reactions both visceral and considered that a bunch of people I know have had to this song. The tendency is to be bemused and kind of nervous; at least one person has gone so far as to evince real distaste for it. I think these reactions totally make sense, though I personally really like the song.

Visceral music pleasure aside, there are a couple of reasons why I do. The first, the one that got me when I first heard the song (on my first Teen Trip, which was seven freaking years ago and what the heck), is just the joke: that it's this enormously antisocial and alarming song sung catchily with nice harmonies by the Beatles. The fact that it's actually the Beatles makes a pretty big difference; it wouldn't be nearly as amazing if it were just sung by some other band in the style of the Beatles -- for one thing, that would be a much more obviously intentional incongruity. The second reason (which has grown as I've become more of a fan) is that I really appreciate the way that it's kind of the logical extreme of one of the major trends in John Lennon's early songwriting.

Then I elaborate. )
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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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Tam Lin (filk) )

So

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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Having now been twice to shows at the Media Club, I feel like I'm in a position to say that I do not like the venue. Tonight it was stiflingly hot and there wasn't really anywhere to sit and one couldn't see the stage for the crowd, and the place I eventually found that rectified the latter two problems was pretty uncomfortable. For some peculiar and heretofore unexamined reason, when I imagined this show in the time leading up to it, I always pictured it taking place at the Cultch; as a setting, that may have really felt a bit too domesticated for a concert like this one, but I would have been a lot more comfortable.

The performance itself was good. He varied his singing from the recorded versions a lot more than I'm used to, altering the whole rhythm of song-segments or rephrasing lyrics in apparently improvised ways. This was interesting but difficult to sing along to.

There seemed to be a really disproportionate number of rowdy drunk people on the buses tonight. They certainly weren't all at the concert; I wonder if something else was going on?

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Andy H.

February 2013

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