Also, um. How does one go about updating Ubuntu? I'm not quite sure which edition I'm on but it's definitely a few years old. (When did I take Microbiology? At least that long ago.)
Also, um. How does one go about updating Ubuntu? I'm not quite sure which edition I'm on but it's definitely a few years old. (When did I take Microbiology? At least that long ago.)
D was going to take us to his favourite tea shop, but it had closed down since he was last there in March (9 months earlier) so we had chai from a little stall. Not bad. Chai is never bad though, really.
We stared at the peaks turning pink as the sun began to set.
Back the hotel we had to order dinner about 90 minutes in advance (quite common on these trips) and then, feeling rather chilly I lay in bed for a while, in my thermals.
Dinner wasn't bad, though we had - unusually - over-ordered. While we were eating dinner, we had to order breakfast, and D insisted on trying to order a Spanish omelette for me. I didn't especially want a Spanish omelette, as I was far from sick of standard Indian masala omelettes, but sometimes one has to be gracious and let people be unhelpfully helpful...
It really was cold after dinner, so we huddled in bed and drank the last of our Signature whisky from the teacups provided in the rooms. My sleep was disturbed by the frequent need to pee and by vivid dreams, both of which are the usual effects of altitude for me, even though we had dropped from the heights of Sela to only about 3,000m.
What I read
Finished The Color of Fear: up to usual standard.
PC Hodgell, The Gates of Tagmeth: these have definitely succumbed to a kind of Dunnett syndrome, in which there is some huge mysterious meta-arc going on, occasionally alluded to, but each episode deals with some particular problem that Jame (mostly) has to face (there were a few other viewpoint sections in this one) in the foreground and doesn't seem to be advancing the longer game particularly. On the other hand, kept me reading. On the prehensile tail, so not the place to start. (Are there really only 8 books in the Kencyrath sequence? only I have been reading them for decades, so it seems more.)
JD Robb, Echoes in Death (2017), as the ebook had finally come down to a sum I consider reasonable for an ebook. The mixture as usual, pretty much. Okay, not the most sophisticated of mystery plots, I got this and the twist very early on, but it's the getting there, I guess.
On the go
Discovered I had a charity-shop copy of PD James, The Private Patient (2008), the last of the excursions of Dalgleish, which I had not already read for some reason - possibly because I wasn't at that time sufficiently keen on PDJ and AD to shell out for a trade paperback.
Keiki squats down to look at the fish in the polar bear enclosure at the Vienna Tiergarten.
The Schoenbrunn should definitely make the top ten of every visitor attraction list of Vienna, if not the top three. It’s the gigantic former summer palace of the Hapsburgs, and the grounds alone merit at least a half-day stroll to explore fully. There are gardens, fountains, hidden playgrounds, an enormous glasshouse full of palm trees, and even a zoo.
Despite having visited the Schoenbrunn grounds many times, I’d never been to the zoo, which is allegedly the oldest in the Western world (founded in 1752). Now, with two small children, one of whom is animal-obsessed, I had good reason to go. The children and I set out early one morning to travel via the Viennese underground to the palace.
Humuhumu was keen to learn how to navigate the transport system. She got very good at spotting the way to the correct train lines, and proudly announced when the next train would be arriving after we got to the platforms.
It took us 45 minutes to get from our temporary abode to the Schoenbrunn and, conveniently, it was just about Cake O’clock when we arrived. We detoured around the palace entrance and stopped off at an Aida Konditorei, a chain of inexplicably pink cafés that serve extremely nice cakes, coffees and hot chocolates (apart from the one near the opera house – avoid that one; everyone who works there is sick of tourists and very grumpy).
We walked into the Aida and chorused “Guten Morgen” at the round-faced, unsmiling woman behind the counter. She broke into a beaming grin and showed us to the table next to a tiny play area containing toys and books, which the children pounced upon. (Throughout the trip, I encouraged the children to greet everyone we met in German, to say please and thank you in German, to order their food using the German words and, when I felt confident in my knowledge of the right phrases, I coached them to make requests in German. I was astonished at the abundance of goodwill toward us that this produced.) Humuhumu ordered her hot chocolate and cake in German, and was rewarded with an additional pink meringue, which she received with an unprompted “Danke schoen”. When we left, Keiki crowing “Wiedersehen” over my shoulder with his dimpliest smile, the server came out from round the counter and gave each of the children an extra biscuit, which, to be honest, they didn’t really need after all that sugar!
Full of energy, we bounded into the grounds of the Schoenbrunn and raced around whilst waiting for the grandparents to join us at the entrance to the Tiergarten (Zoo). As vast as the Schoenbrunn grounds are, they are not big enough to house a comprehensive collection of the world’s animals, so cleverly the Tiergarten is focused on a limited number of species and provided them with luxurious accommodation.
Keiki and Humuhumu loved the place, particularly Keiki. Once he spotted the meerkat enclosure, we couldn’t get him to finish his lunch. Neither could we readily tear him away from the penguins. In fact, Granddad had a bit of a job keeping Keiki from clambering into their pond to join them. We communed with the seals. We watched a polar bear chewing meditatively on a traffic cone. And, of course, Humuhumu found a climbing wall and had to try everything.
It was a wonderful place to spend a sunny afternoon, and we will certainly return to the Tiergarten on our next trip to Vienna.
Further photos beneath the cut.
( +++ )
I am not a protest person. I hate it. I don't get energized; I get tired. I don't like shouting slogans, I feel ridiculous. I don't like talking to strangers.
But if not me, who? So, I go.
Next one's Saturday.
And I can't help wanting to say to Boris J that in Ye Bygone Days when people built follies they did so on their own estates and with their own money (though on reflection this was probably ill-gottens from the Triangle Trade and dodgy dealings in India) and didn't ask the nation to pay for them.
(And aren't there already memorials to Princess Di? How many do we need?)
And, you know, it's a pretty idea and in theory I am there with Thomas Heatherwick that 'London needs new bridges and unexpected new public places': except that that is not a part of London that required Yet Another Bridge, there are so many that taking the boat journey along that stretch of river is more like going into a tunnel.
Also, it was not properly a public space:
a link that would be privately run, would be able set its own rules for access, and would close at night and be available to hire for private events.Not dissimilar from those gardens in London squares to which access is by residents' key. I do not think that is a definition of 'public' that would have been assented to by those urban planners and reformers creating parks and spaces for the benefit of the inhabitants of the metropolis.
I am also boggled by the suggestion that the river is not already pretty much 'centre-stage' in our great city.
I think Mad William would have had things to say along the lines of
I wander thro' each charter'd street,and whether if crowds flowed over the bridge, so many, common and routine usage would have meant that
Near where the charter'd Thames does flow.
Sighs, short and infrequent, were exhaled,
And each man fixed his eyes before his feet.
I might go along on the line suggested by this to comment that what good is a garden bridge if the land lies waste?
( home in the mountains )
Eventually we arrived at Tawang town, a very busy place completely festooned with prayer flags. We drove straight through town to the police station, as it was a requirement that we report in. No-one was there. We walked into the station and along the corridor, but it was like the Marie Celeste. I'm sure photography would be prohibited, but there was no-one around to do the prohibiting.
( The view from the police station, including a giant buddha )
One of the things we did was go to an art museum and wander around for a couple of hours. This is not a thing you can do with small children, unless you have imprisoned them in a pram, and then there would (not unreasonably) be screaming.
I’d previously been to both the Rijksmuseum and the Van Gogh Museum. The bloke had never been to the latter, but as it was the height of summer, it was not a good time to go. The place cannot cope with the number of visitors it receives, and unless you book days in advance, you can’t get in. When you do, you still have to queue, and you end up shuffling in a slow-moving crush of people past all of the artwork. It’s not a great experience. We opted, therefore, to go to one we’d never been in: the Stedelijk Museum, which is dedicated to modern art.
I really enjoyed the collection. It was well curated and I now have a little list of new (to me) artists to keep my eyes peeled for in the London exhibitions.
Photographer Zanele Muholi takes photos of LGBTQ+ community members in Africa. I definitely want a book of her work. It was a little irritating to find, at the end of our visit, that of all the special exhibitions on display, hers was the only one without a corresponding product available in the shop. No books, no postcards, nothing. Hmph.
From her “Brave Beauties” series.
( +++ )
The most interesting thing about the concert was trying to run a robotic followspot. Instead of having a very bright, very hot light to wrestle around and point at the performer onstage, I had a funny flat thing on a tripod, with a screen at the end.
We actually ran the show with our backs to the stage. Sadly the colour screen smeared the view so we had to run it in black and white. There were the usual controls for intensity and iris, but instead of levers they were sliders under your thumb. There was a zoom in and out control. There was a brightness control that we used all the time as the stage, and the huge LED screen at the back of the stage, brightened and dimmed. We could pan and tilt, and there was supposed to be a control for making the motor(s) in the light respond faster or slower. My knob didn't for that sensitivity didn't really work and at the end of the concert the light got really hard to pan side to side. Up and down was fine.
The light that this beast controlled was a brand new GC Longthrow followspot made by PRG. Weighs 200#. I think there have only been 138 of them built to date. Here is the specs for those nerds out there. https://www.prg.com/~/media/Files/US/
I made it back to M's house to rescue him from the dog who had diarrhea at 2 am.
Left for Ukiah at 6:30 Thursday morning, arriving in time to help Tom put about 1/3 of the new shelter roof on. We had to do some lining up of the metal frame of the shelter before starting. It got hot, ~100F with a lot of humidity. I was really drooping by 2pm.
Got trash barrels pulled out and sorted through for recycling, ready to load on the truck before dissolving into a puddle and going to sleep.
Friday morning I finished screwing down the middle of the roofing sheets before my saddle fitting at 10:30.
The saddle fitting was really, really interesting. Susan, the woman who does the fittings talked to me about Lace’s back, showed me some techniques for checking to see if she was sore. Run open palm across the area that the saddle sits on and feel for the texture of the underlying muscle. Soft is good, fiberous means an injury or scar, tense is pain. Run fingernails up the muscle at the side of the spine, hip to withers. Then a second pass below the first. Any slight flinch is pain. The harder you can do this the better condition the back. She also showed me how to find a “trough” halfway between the point of the hip and the top of the rump. Massaging this with a vigorous up and down scratch helps relax tense muscles and the horses LOVE it. Your fingers will need to gain strength in order to do this for any length of time. Cut for length, though I think it is really interesting!
( Read more... )
2) HT to Paula for these book related words, mostly because I think Angsticipation and Readgret could be used more widely.
3) The legal brief defending John Oliver has a wonderfully fun table of contents!
4) Of all the (many) stories of women being discriminated against, I think this one has to take the cake when it comes to the entertainment industry. And it was simply straight up misogyny, not even cloaked.
5) Some things seem like they ought to be connected to a fandom, even when they aren't. Case in point: "Apocalypse Dreams" by Tame Impala.
So, farewell then, printer which has been with me some dozen or so years, also previous computer.
Take it away Bessie Smith:
The usual sturm und drang over setting up the new All In One Computer and the printer which purports to be wireless, but refuses to connect thusly: however it will connect by cable.
Though alas, all the USB ports are on one side of the computer, the one away from where the printer has to go (unless I do some major rearranging), but I think I have contrived.
And of course, various other things still to get sorted.
But, getting there, sorta.
( war stories and homage )
Jaswant Singh has a spectacular view from his resting place.
The army also maintains an exceptionally clean toilet facility. It looks rather unpromising as you stumble down the steep mountainside towards a metal shack, but it's great inside. Trust me, a roadside public toilet in India that is spotlessly clean, has plenty of water, soap and even a mirror, is deserving of a whole paragraph in my travel journal.
Lately it's calming for me to describe things on Tumblr:
I try to keep it positive. (There is some NSFW stuff but it's tagged.)
I enjoyed this Dorian/Iron Bull fanfic
Come Forth into the Storm by zythepsary
The movie was fun, could have used some vicious editing. It was nice to see Vision, was a *huge* fan back in the old days, loved that character. I was an angst hoor even in my distant youth, and Vision fit the bill for me. Not as much in the movies, not yet, but here's hoping. :)
Anyhoo, it was fun, and I'm tempted to read some Bucky fics, besides what my beloved writes. Maybe. I still can't see Chris whatisname without thinking that they cast him because they couldn't get Jensen, ha! I've watched a few of those flicks now, and honestly, I think Jensen's the better actor. The better physical actor as well. There must have been something Chris wazizname had that led them to consider him over everyone else, (I'm pretty sure that Ackles was never really in the running, no matter what fandom thinks) but I'm not getting it. He's pleasant enough, just...not quite there for me. Then again, Cap was never a fav of mine to begin with. Whatevs, I like the idea of intense UST between him and Bucky. :D
Bread during the week: a Standen loaf, v tasty.
Saturday breakfast rolls: brown grated apple with molasses and ginger: using up two bags of flour probably a) rather more wholemeal than strong white b) probably quantities a bit more than usual; also using up ginger so these were quite gingery.
Today's lunch: small whole sea-bream baked in foil with ginger and lime; served with purple crinkle-cut sweet potato fries, garlic roasted sweet-stem cauliflower and bellaverde broccoli, steamed samphire tossed in butter, and padron peppters.
I just finished the biggest book in the world. “The Fellowship: The Literary Lives of the Inklings, J.R. R. Tolkien, C. S. Lewis, Owen Barfield, Charles Williams” by Philip Zaleski & Carol Zaleski
A group of Oxford based literary men (no girls allowed! Sorry Dorothy Sayers), pre and post WWII, met once or twice a week to discuss philology, literature, their own wips, etc. And drink and laugh and be amused.
The book talks a lot about their work and Old Norse philology has limited interest for me. I read it more for info about their lives. I didn’t not know for example that Tolkien was a devout Roman Catholic. All the Inklings were Christian and that was something that bound them together.
Everything written about C.S. Lewis’ work disinclines me to read any of it. A convert to Christianity, he became a warrior against its “enemies”, atheists and such like. I was more interested in problematic relationship with his father and the long association Lewis had with a sharp-tongued woman old enough to be his mother.
I learned some things so I guess it was worth reading.
Not a movie but I watched one dvd of an old British spy series Callan (1967). Netflix says it’s the first dvd but from reading around it seems to be the third. When we meet the impossibly young Edward Woodward he’s already had some sort of trauma that had him conditioned by the enemy to kill his handler. But now he’s back and he’s bad.
It’s more like LeCarre than James Bond with a you-never-know-who-to-trust motif. And not much budget for sets. The rest of the dvds will come up eventually on the queue. I’m guessing Callan doesn’t walk away happy at the end.
I had some very old plant seeds for flowers and veggies I decided to plant, just to see. I have some basil reluctantly coming up but the lettuce has given up the ghost, It is ex-lettuce. The onion seeds and radishes are next in.
There was some interest in the recipe for the cake that got me a prize the county fair. It’s not online so I had to type it out.
Book is Tea Breads and Coffeecakes by Elizabeth Alston. I bought it probably for the cute cover.
The judge at the fair suggested there was a bit too much flour and I, too, thought the bread was a bit dry on its own, but perfect with coffee. ( Read more... )
So: life bits, in passing.
The freezer (the thinner, left, door of the two-doored refrigerator) has had ice on the bottom -- at first just a little bit, and a few cubes that had fallen out of the ice maker -- for a while. We've had "de-glacier the freezer" on the to-do list for a while.
This morning (I think?) it hit critical, while I was -- ah, yes, it was this morning, because I was retrieving the frozen vegetables that I'd use in lunch -- searching around for something that turned out to be in the bottom drawer.
The drawers in this freezer are wire baskets with snap-on (and fall-off) plastic fronts. The bottom drawer was blocked from pulling out because the ice on the bottom was too high.
I grumbled, laid down the kitchen utility towel (one of the old ones with fraying and maybe a hole or two) and grabbed a knife for ice-pick duty. (My partner was unavailable for help, on some other unspecifiable but definitely important mission of internet mercy. Godspeed, friend.) Anyway, it would probably not have benefitted from two people. So I whacked at the ice for a while, and got it mostly on the towel. I tugged at the drawer.
The drawer shot out with surprising ease, given the big chunk of ice still attached to the bottom. I had words. I went for the cooler-bag.
It turned out that the ice sheet was attached to the basket by only a few wires, and once I figured out how to get it in the sink at the right angle, I was able to use hot water to get the ice off those wires. I left the larger sheet in the sink to thaw and drop its inclusions all over the sink, like boulders on a cleanly carved valley.
The ice had come out in one piece. There was still a little coming down the slanted surface of the bottom back, and a little more below the vent that disperses cold air or something. I swiped it out with a different kitchen towel that was due to be washed soon anyway, and reported back to my partner (after they emerged from their task).
The stuff went back in, a little more organized than it had come out, with a few things put in the fridge to thaw.
A generous double handful of the frozen mixed vegetables went in the frying pan, along with some bacon and potato. It would be slowly cooked into glorious lunch with cheese. A proper weekend brunch sort of item.
I found the strawberries I'd put aside when I got the big thing of them, frozen into a sullen frisbee sort of shape in the bottom of the round container. I pondered, tried chopping into it with a not-big-enough knife, then the brainstorm hit. I retrieved the largest of the melamine bowls (the ones with the lids) and popped the disc in.
Then I shook it.
A whole bunch of frozen strawberries make some gawdawful noise, being rattled like rocks against a hard surface, but it does tend to break them apart quite handily. I liberated a few to chuck in the food processor (an attachment for my stick blender, which I finally found at some late point in the packing, so it went in my Bachelor Kitchen Box) to turn into dust to grace the top of the lemon jelly. (Lemon jello plus shreds of frozen strawberry? RECOMMENDED.)
I also got some mending done this morning. There are some shirts that need their necks re-hemmed, plus under-layer shorts that had started blowing out at the crotch but were still otherwise in good shape. I had found one of the dismangled (a typo, but I'm keeping it) pairs of shorts, and sacrificed it for patches.
I will need to either repair my sewing machine (I dropped it while trying to get it set up) or locate the Sidewinder. The sewing machine still lights up and stitches, but something is awry in the bobbin winder. This is the second sewing machine that I've jacked up such that it won't wind bobbins anymore. Additionally, something else is wrong with the actual bobbin nest -- I believe some plate fell out. So it's harder to load, but at least it does still sew.
Kitten has decided that I am an acceptable surface to sleep on/against, and has started doing just that. It's cute, until I need to move, at which point she meows accusingly. Sometimes she settles back against me, and sometimes she stalks off and sits in her accustomed place on Partner. (Partner sleeps on their back, face up, sometimes guarding their bladder area with their hands against kitten massage even as they sleep.)
Fandoms below the cut include Avengers, Hawkeye (Matt Fraction run), Spider-Man, Avatar: the Last Airbender, Harry Potter, Yuri on Ice, Leverage, The Martian, the Tumblr phenomenon of Wacky Human Shenanigans in Space, and an short but adorable original fic.
( Recs! )