So long, and thanks for all the fish...

The LJ Version

A brief explanation
The idea of "100 words" initially came from the community at basically the aim is to write 100 words every day, about anything. But it has to be exactly 100, no more, and no less. It forces you not only to think of topics but also to express them concisely. It also provides a unique retrospective of one's thoughts over a period of time. Read on...

Inspired by yuriko's post, here's a list of the books that I recently acquired thanks to the generous donation of a friend who was moving apartments and invited people to come take her books. I chose a really random assortment, and I've listed it in increasing order of cover size, since that's the way they're stacked (top to bottom) until I have a chance to file them away.

1. Robert Frost's Poems, new enlarged pocket anthology
- just because I thought I should have it
2. Tigana (Guy Gavriel Kay)
- which yuriko also got, from somewhere completely different, oddly enough.
3. Around the World in Eighty Days (Jules Verne)
- a classic
4. The Unconscious Civilization (John Ralston Saul)
- a politico-philosophical work arising from his 1995 Massey Lectures; it also won the 1996 non-fiction GG award.
5. the curious incident of the dog in the night-time (Mark Haddon)
- been wanting to read this for years
6. God and the New Physics (Paul Davies)
- which will be an interesting experiment, since it's supposed to be cosmology for laypeople, explaining the big questions of the universe based on "new discoveries"... and it was published in 1983
7. The Professor and the Madman (Simon Winchester)
- about the creation of the Oxford English Dictionary, and its chief contributor, an inmate of an insane asylum
8. The Innkeeper's Song, and 9. Giant Bones (Peter S. Beagle)
- again, been wanting to read these since I first discovered Beagle's writing
10. Adverbs, a novel (Daniel Handler)
- the back cover says "This Novel is about Love". I was sold immediately.
11. Pictor's Metamorphosis (Herman Hesse)
- a collection of Hesse's short fiction
12. ages in chaos (Stephen Baxter)
- subtitled "James Hutton and the Discovery of Deep Time"
13. Lord of the Flies (William Golding)
- I don't think I really understood this when we read it in class in Grade 8 ;)

Of course, the big question remains: when the eff am I going to read all of these?? D:
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Into a Time
(text by Rev. Randolph W.B. Becker, set to music by Adolphus Hailstork)

Into a time of turmoil, we bring our sense of peace;
Into a time of doubt, we bring our gift of faith;
Into a time of fear, we bring our light of hope;
Into a time of loss, we bring our treasured memories;
Into a time of silence, we bring our uplifted voices;
Singing a song of wonder, awe, mystery, courage;
singing of life itself.
Into this time, we come singing life itself.
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July 18, 2011

I dreamt vividly last night, which never happens. The first dream involved a tour of a fictional new building on the UWO campus, on a private tour of which my dad, for some reason, had been invited. I don't remember how conflict broke out but we were the only ones (I hope) in the topmost section of the building when an explosive canister containing some kind of poisonous gas was hurled into it. After a very short debate, we decided to flee the building, and I remember stopping my family in a lower passage at a window, instinctively predicting the precise moment when the canister exploded, taking part of the building - visible in the window - with it. We rushed to Taylor library, somehow wanting to avoid being apprehended, even though we weren't actually guilty, and the rest of the dream involves more fictional back passages and elevators in Taylor.

The second dream put me as a singer and composer for an a cappella sextet with members whom I don't recognize, performing in this crazy church space. When we climbed the stairs we found ourselves on an upper level that resembled a druidic stone construction site, and we sang some pieces there before attempting for the first time a piece I had written (in the dream) in memory of my late grandfather. I remember not having a pitch pipe and having to get our pitches from a tuning fork, and some of the group having trouble with it. I remember the piece started with humming and that some people forgot to sing the words when they started.

The last dream may or may not have been related, and all I remember is that there was a party, and apparently two people who went to Cawthra Park S.S. were helping to invite people because they enthusiastically recommended inviting their music teacher, Mr. Anderson, because "he would love to come".

For someone who doesn't often remember dreams, and doesn't often have dreams that aren't directly applicable to the next day's events, this is pretty strange.

P.S. Why would a meteorologist make a bad maid of honour? (You might only get a small chance of showers.)

To the dearly departed
My grandfather was a great man. Though I don't really know fully his story before my time, already by the time I was born he had worked hard enough to be able to send three of his kids from a very small village in India to Canada, land of relative bounty, to forge their lives there. Locked into an arranged marriage from his childhood, family was his only way of life and always his priority. Even into his octogenarian years he continued to maintain family records as far back as his grandfather and all the descendants thereof (by that point three generations had been born after him).

Before my parents had us, Bapuji and Ba - that was what we called them - made the decision to brave the Canadian winters and live with our family so that they could be involved in the raising of their eldest son's children (their younger son's children were also nearby). I have fond memories of laughing and playing with and learning from both of them as I was growing up. Though he was fully 60 by the time I was born, Bapuji was an active man, being the master gardener of the household, growing tomatoes, long squash, mint, and a decently-sized garden. He learned to play frisbee and always played with us on our lawn. I even remember him attempting to shoot hoops and play hockey once or twice.

As active as he was physically, it was his mind that was a real wonder. My dad had a penchant for puns and cheap humour which was endearing, but there was nothing cheap about Bapuji's jokes. They were clever, exhibiting a powerful imagination that sometimes verged on the absurd. He wrote letters prolifically, and - from what I remember - quite thoughtfully. His family tree remains his legacy, and he had at least two editions of it published.

A series of strokes slowly disabled one whole side of Bapuji's body, and yet he insisted on gardening, sewing, cooking, reading, and doing everything he always did with as little help from others as he could manage. Eventually, nearly four years ago, he and Ba made the decision to make a final trip to India and to live there in the house they had had built for our family to use after they left us. Ba passed away in February of 2009, and we all assumed that Bapuji would go soon after. But, mysteriously, he found the will to persevere, despite by that point needing assistance with almost every task. By 2011 it was clear to everyone that it was just a matter of time, and he decided to take matters into his own hands.

My parents were sort of bound to India while Bapuji remained; it was difficult even with the help of an aide to leave him alone for very long. Knowing that my parents would love to be in Canada for my cousin's upcoming marriage, Bapuji left our family with one last gift of his limitless generosity, and a little less than a month ago he decided to stop eating. He passed away last weekend, a few weeks short of his 89th birthday, and my parents just booked their flight to Canada.

Requiescat in pace, Chunilal Vallabhbhai Gandhi (July 28, 1922? - July 4, 2011)

A body's intuition
May 21, 2011

The theory goes that after a long period of stress, when your defenses have been down but your adrenaline has been bolstering your immune system, you’ve probably caught something, but your body won’t relax and let it take hold until after the stress has gone and you can afford to be sick. That all makes sense, and I don’t need to take a leap of faith to believe it. But this week, not after but before my most stressful week of the month, my body has chosen to give into a cold… pre-emptively? Could my body really be thinking ahead?

A creature of connotation
May 18, 2011

A couple of days ago in conversation, S--- referred to herself as a “creature” (as in, “I’m a strange creature”, or similar). And immediately I was struck by the realization that the word carried with it a mighty strong connotation. Even though people might not use it in this sense anymore, the word comes from the same root as “creation”, and implies that one has been created (!) by a creator (!), which in turn implies a ton about your belief system*. It made me wonder how many other words we use without realizing what they are saying.

* I know that being created doesn't necessarily imply any particular kind of creator, and that people who don't believe in a creator still sometimes talk like they do, but I'm drawing out the most striking possibility here on purpose.

Restricting Artistry
May 17, 2011

Yesterday’s post sparked a couple of interesting debates about hiring artists as service providers, and to what extent that restricts their artistry. To a certain extent, of course, if I’m hiring an artist it’s usually because I respect their artistry and it gives them a certain mandate to create their art however they want. But on the other hand, depending on the context (yesterday, DJs at events), the gig might come with some particular needs which the artist then has to try and satisfy, thereby limiting their artistry to some finite extent. Or does it? Maybe it just shapes it?
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It's just that I could do it better
May 16, 2011

When my cousin, an accomplished and experienced DJ, goes to a function, it’s impossible for him to ignore a less-than-competent DJ; sometimes he will be compelled even to help out. I was asked on Saturday if I get the same feeling watching conductors, and I made the distinction at the time between DJs as service providers (in this context) and conductors as artists. Then yesterday, of course, I end up seeing a performance by a truly awful conductor and I did, indeed, start to get thoughts of jumping up and saying, “You know what? Why don’t you just let me?”
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Party pooper
May 15, 2011

I am so not a party person. I would always rather go for a beer with a friend than get dressed up and be in the same place as a couple of hundred other people. I prefer talking over the backdrop of some light music or other quiet conversation to making my voice hoarse competing with over-amplified beats. I don’t really love dancing, I’m not one for cake, and my wardrobe is limited. More than anything, though, I don’t agree with the concept of occasion-based gift-giving, and this has made for some rather awkward situations in the past.

May 14, 2011

I am not one to whine much, but today [officially yesterday - Friday, May 13] was frustrating. Not in a long time has a day felt so inexorably like a struggle. And yet it was frustrating in that there were also no catastrophes to scapegoat. Everything that absolutely needed to get done got done, though that, too, not without struggle. From the frustration of driving in heavy traffic all day, to having to attempt tasks multiple times, to missed opportunities and close calls, nothing came easily today. And many things I had hoped to accomplish were left by the wayside. And believe it or not, I only just made the connection to Friday the 13th.


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