News on Multiple Fronts

Today started out as the most trying day ever at Staples. I had three blatantly rude and incredibly aggressive customers in a row. I tried to hide from them; they hounded me; they complained to managers; the managers sympathized with me. One note to those people out there who feel that shouting abuse at a minimum wage salesperson with no commission will get you faster/better service: you may want to re-examine your reasoning. Luckily, all the ugliness ended by about one. Today is the first day when many West Vancouver private schools are open, so it was a never ending parade of ties and pleated skirts this afternoon. It was a spectacle that I observed in a purely journalistic context, as your faithful blogging correspondent.

This morning, I also discovered that GMail had cruelly concealed an absolutely vital message at the bottom of a neglected ‘conversation.’ My increasingly desperate plea to know what kind of financial documentation Wadham College wanted was answered on Friday. Today, I duly sent them promises of C$87,600 and a healthy kidney – if required. Anyone who has spoken with me lately will know how much anxiety the outstanding issue of my application status had been causing. Not being able to compile and send the message until I got home at eight was very trying, even though I know they won’t be up and reading emails over there until at least midnight tonight.

The next two pieces of excitement relate to my walk home. Firstly, I walked while speaking with Viktoria – who I’ve been without the conversation of for far too long. Since last we spoke, she has left her old job as a provincial bureaucrat and taken up a new one organizing conferences and things for U of T. Amusingly, Tristan will almost certainly end up going to several of the events she coordinates. Since I spoke with her last, her mother also got married – during the Labour Day weekend. While I’ve never actually met anyone from her family, it was good to hear her happy and excited about the whole matter.

Also during that walk, I noticed that the Capilano Road Staples had a Canon A510 going for $229, due to an old sign still being up. Hearing Tristan praise the device yesterday as the best camera he has owned (and this is a Nikon user talking, mind you) definitely sealed the deal in my mind. Since I was resigned to buying one anyway, getting one for $50 less than I expected was an obvious choice. It is equipped with a 512MB card now, and I will purchase a case for the thing when I see an appropriate one. It’s nothing beside Nick Sayeg‘s uber-fancy new Digital Rebel, but it will allow me to photoblog from Oxford. I am planning to put up a photo or so per day for the first while I am there, to introduce whoever cares to see to the city, even as I am discovering it for myself. A very fine piece of equipment: my EOS Elan 7N will definitely also be coming along, for those film-photography type moments.

During my lunch break today, I made the move official: I shifted my subscription to The Economist to: care of Wadham College, Oxford. Sarah Pemberton tells me that such messages will find their way to a graduate student pigeon hole for me.

PS. No word in a long while for Kate or Linnea. I suppose they are very busy or sans internet right now.

12 thoughts on “News on Multiple Fronts”

  1. Reading through your old blog, there is actually some decent stuff back there. A few things, it’s a shame won’t come up on Google anymore. Couldn’t a sanitized version be re-released?

  2. so i guess my Canon A520 wasn’t such a bad purchase after all, mr. camera man. i am going to be at your going away party, if Fernando goes (although we are not, in fact, quasi engaged or anything)

  3. The A5X0 series are very good cameras – though most people don’t need the 4 megapixel sensor in the A520. I look forward to seeing you at the party, in any event.

  4. A bit of perspective.

    “The earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that in glory and in triumph they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot. Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of the dot on scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner of the dot. How frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds. Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the universe, are challenged by this point of pale light.

    “Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity—in all this vastness—there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves. It is up to us.

    It’s been said that astronomy is a humbling, and I might add, a character-building experience. To my mind, there is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly and compassionately with one another and to preserve and cherish that pale blue dot, the only home we’ve ever known.”

  5. Oh, and Tristan will likely be improperly astronished when he sees the name at the end of that comment. To him: it’s not the Michelle B you’re thinking of.

  6. @Jess

    Expressed less majestically, but with equal accuracy:

    “Space is big. You just won’t believe how vastly, hugely, mind-bogglingly big it is. I mean, you may think it’s a long way down the road to the drug store, but that’s just peanuts to space.”

  7. @Jessica

    Indeed. He is one of few people who I would, in a heartbeat, trade whatever content my life will have for that which his had. Anyone who doesn’t understand that should read “Last Chance to See.”

  8. If the electromagnetic force is a single phenomenon-carried by one boson-how are our thoughts distinct from the light rays your new camera will capture.

  9. Things that can be understood according to the same framework – whether that of fermions or bosons or another – are nonetheless capable of being quite distinct in meaning. Ultimately, our thoughts might be explicable in terms of some theory of everything which will eventually be understood.

    Personally, I feel thrilled by the idea that our thoughts and the images that evoke them might one day be explained within a single framework.

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