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2010 European Tour - Fri 10/01 Oct. 1st, 2010 @ 10:14 pm
 Took enormous ammount of time to get out, then M forgot to leave check for builder.  Mad dash back and then forever to leave envelope.  Can't figure out how to roll down car windows.  Many moms w/brollys hauling kids about in the rain.

Pinged Kate this AM -- she's OK, I wonder if the boys are getting homesick.  M having tuff day w/builders and tenants, the bastards.  

The plan is V & A Museum and Nat'l Gallery

V&A fun, but very tiring, lots of incredible religious stuff.  NAILED my shin on a low sign-- I gotta say that was a VERY sturdy sign.  All sorts of stuff that was taken from old, damaged? churches, and just when, after a 100 years of cluttering up the local church they got tired of it.

Did some Christmas shopping at the V&A gift shop:  hurrah for travel!

TRIED to eat at the V&A, but it was very crowded (and smelled rather British) so we went out into the pouring rain and looked for a place to eat, Morna's blood pressure crashing, and the main road torn to hell.  A mess.   Morna had a bit of a meltdown when the Thai Place we were going to closed early.  I took command, for both our sanities, and we had a nice lunch at a boulangerie with a entire French staff.  (Le Pain Quotidian.)

A little food and M was good as new.  Rather than going back to the V&A we went to the new science museum and it very fun, with a lot of steam engines and such.  I still don't understand what Watts did that made the whole steam engine thingy work better.  Really enjoyed it, but the tannoy system was SO terrible that you couldn't understand one word of what was being said.

I really nerded out, since I recognized SO many things: Walter Grey's cybernetic turtles, the Flying Bedstead,  foucalt's pendulum, the long clock, the grasshopper escapement, The atlas agena rocket, Babbage's Difference Engine, pre-WW2 particle accelerator.  "NERD!!!"

Next up was HARROD'S!!!  Every clerk and customer speaking a different languange.    Bought hostess gift (tea) for Kate, M got something for Helga.  Very quality place, cool stuff, classy, absolutley mad escalator well in Egyptian theme, with Diana/Jodi memorial at the bottom.  It was borderline okay, but the bronze statue of "innocent victims" on the way out was very tacky.

Ate a banana on the plaza outside, and noticed that, even TRYING to eavesdrop on other people I didn't hear ANYthing but non-English speakers.  Amazing.

Tubed home, changed trains to avoid a mess on one line.  Grabbed fish and chips-- okay, but a little chewy, more chewy than the US equivalent.
Current Location: London

Female, redhead, atheist prime minister Jun. 25th, 2010 @ 12:33 pm
And that's not all:

"Australia has had 26 previous prime ministers — mostly middle-class married white men. Gillard breaks that mould emphatically: a foreign-born (she is the Welsh-born daughter of working-class migrants), unmarried, childless woman of 48 whose nominal political home is the far left. She's an atheist, whereas Rudd thanked God in his parting speech."

 
And almost by accident, wasn't really trying for PM.

Overheard, depressing Jun. 24th, 2010 @ 05:58 pm
A couple of tables behind me at Diva's was a chatterbox whose friend didn't get a word in edgewise.  The depressing part was his litany of woe is pretty much the same as mine, but he's faced up to it and is addressing it, no matter how unsuccessfully.  Oy!!!

Unemployment is the big thing here.

Successful fiddle gig Jun. 21st, 2010 @ 07:37 pm
Hurrah!  Played for, apparently, a couple hours (can that really be?  Nahhhh...) at a house part contra dance, and the attendees were very kind with their praises.  One sincere young man came up and blurted "You're AWESOME!!!", but he might have had one too many.

Did a little harp too.  It was great, with Nick the guitarist pushing me to tempos never before attempted, which was a very good thing and excellent practice.

Should note what we played for future reference:  The Banshee, Johnson Girls, Jamie Allen, Voyage of the Murre,   Rocks of Brea, Bonaparte Crossing the Rhine, The Moon and the Seven Stars, Over the Waterfall, The Sailor's Wife.  

Also did some nice waltzes.  FUN!!!

Current books: "The Great Derangment", Matt Taibbi Apr. 20th, 2009 @ 02:48 pm

Current book: "The Great Derangment", Matt Taibbi

Books this week:
"Dreaming in Code" -- some Salon© guy -- it shore ain't no "The Soul of a New Machine"

"The Year of Magical Thinking" -Joan Didion -- reflections on a sudden death.

"The Great Derangement: A Terrifying True Story of War, Politics, & religion at the Twilight of the American Empire" - Matt Taibbi. Anything with a subtitle that long should be suspect, and in addition, all serious works should have a goddamn index, especially when mentioning hundreds of individual politicians.
Other entries
» eBay international -wth?
What the heck?  The people who want my eBay offerings are all in Turkey, France, and most of all, from Australia.

P.I.T.A.
» James Tiptree Jr. = Monumental pain in the ass. +Leguin & Russ
Just read a really outstanding biography by Julie Phillips of "James Tiptree Jr", AKA Alice Sheldon.  I remember when Tiptree burst onto the SF world, although I think I may have bought "10,000 Light Years From Home" on the basis of the cover, which she hated.

Sheldon was a fascinating personality, but for me she DID come under that category of "Very Smart People Who Seem To Make Their Own Problems".  She was a very DIFFICULT person, and for all her sophistication and worldliness didn't seem to see how great her life was.  And I gotta admit I do have a problem with suicides, especially when they are murder/suicides, and the other person wasn't consulted.  A lighter hand on the prescription bottle would have helped her, no doubt.

Still, an amazing life.  Ursula K. Leguin comes off as wonderful as I ever felt about her, and Joanna Russ as the stark raving bitch she always seems to be.  Harlan Ellison and R. Silverberg make good impressions.

Stunning, decade long work of biography.  Recommended.

"James Tiptree Jr.: The Double Life of Alice B. Sheldon"


» The coolest thing I've read in a while
"The same genes build a caterpillar and a butterfly, the difference is in the hormonal environment that selects which genes will be active."

from Pharyngula

» Ballard Celtic slow-jam
Well, I enjoyed this quite a bit, although it was more like "Celtic Sight-Reading Practice" than a "jam" literally: still, good practice and nice people. Oh, and free soup! Huzzah!

At the very least, another list of favorites to practice.

Played fiddle, and a little harp. OKAY, claves too.

(The guy w/the mandolin was hacking me off, it was so out of tune. He actually said "It's the right note: it's just out of tune." Grrrrrrr.  Dude, that makes it the wrong note!)

» Seven Days Without Coffee
It's DAY 7 of the coffee avoidance regimen, and although the very second I started typing this my shoulder (the proximate reason for avoiding the bean) started twinging, I think I'll keep "on the wagon"-- my suspicion is that coffee, at least too much of it, hinders the body's repair mechanisms. 

So, sadly, it will have to go on the list of "occasional treats" instead of "that which makes day-to-day life bearable, nay, POSSIBLE!".

::sigh::


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