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27/1/13 21:12 - Happy

On Tuesday, [personal profile] hairyears asked me to marry him.

I said yes.

This entry was originally posted at http://ewt.dreamwidth.org/987062.html. Please comment there using OpenID.

4/10/12 13:17 - A rare public post

Just took loads of people off of my "friends" list here, for various reasons. If this was you, and you think I may have made a mistake or you're feeling hurt, do comment. I mostly post at DreamWidth these days.

Comments screened.

31/7/09 01:29 - Results

I have a 2:1.


14/3/09 20:53 - LACC concert

I need some help in the form of spare bodies to help with concert logistics on Friday. I'd need you to be there from about 6.30pm, just to be on the safe side, though the concert doesn't start until 8pm, because I need to warm up the choir and do a bit of rehearsing from 7pm so can't be helping with set-up after that point. I need two people to sit behind a desk and take money and/or tickets from people coming to the concert. I need one person to hand out programmes. Ideally I need one person to act as a general gopher so that if anything goes wrong with those first three, it can be solved. Two of you need to sort out tea and coffee at teh break: this will involve putting teabags in a metal teapot and filling it from the urn, pouring the tea, and general hovering and being useful and making sure nothing spills.

It would be great to have a couple of people willing to stay after the concert and help with the tidying and washing-up, too.

For obvious reasons, this can't really be done by people who are in the choir.

You get to attend the concert for free, and you will have my adoration and thanks. And a pint afterward or at a later date.

2/1/09 10:01 - Silly link.

Top Five Reasons Why Finnish Is Cooler Than English, from burkesworks.

1/1/09 13:04 - Pink salad

Made this yesterday. It is tasty. Recording recipe for later reference.

beetroot (cooked)
sliced apple
dill (could also use fennel or maybe even celery or coriander)
lamb's lettuce (but could use most greens; chickweed would be nice)
white crumbly cheese (used Lancashire; Wensleydale would also work, a good feta would be delightful; some blue cheeses might also be good but I tend not to like them)

Chop appropriately and mix together. Pretty pink and green! You can eat it as it is, really. Or you could add:

olive oil
Greek yoghurt
apple cider vinegar

to get the balance of acidity/wetness/etc that you like.

Nuts or seeds might go quite nicely, too; pumpkin or sunflower seeds, or perhaps walnuts.

31/12/08 19:39

Happy start of another cycle of the Gregorian calendar that many people have adopted as their main tool for marking the passage of time. It's as good as any, I suppose.

I've had an amazing year, tough at times but really wonderful at others. If I can keep improving at this rate in the year to come I'll be quite pleased.

22/12/08 08:02 - GON

Gone to Ireland. Not going to have much net access while I'm there. Back on the 30th. Have a happy Wossname and a shiny Thingyum.

9/12/08 00:05 - a transport of delight

Just got in after a rather amazing Tube journey: it's somewhat normal in the mid to late evening to encounter random drunk people singing, but they aren't usually performing Russian overtone singing with virtuosic skill! I didn't think I'd get a chance to hear something like that live, let alone from three chairs down all the way from East Finchley (where Mr Flammable--seriously I would have been scared to light a match, he smelled that strongly of cheap spirit--got on the train) to Bethnal Green (where I left the train, though if it weren't so late I would have stayed on longer to hear).

Just. Wow.

3/12/08 21:25


But I can not has.

19/11/08 06:50 - Teaching people to fish.

Cut-and-pasted from a Facebook message. The woman doing this is someone I met when I was 12 and remained penfriends with for some time before losing track of her and then finding her again through Faceborg; she is brilliant and wonderful.

Goal: Raise $2,000 and see how money grows on trees!

We created Noonkodin School from scratch five years ago, out of a patch of bush land in the mountains of northern Tanzania. Now our first class of 26 students, most of them from low-income Maasai pastoralist families, has just graduated from Form 4 (the equivalent of GCSE). None of this would have been possible without the sacrifices made by hundreds of individuals all around the world who sponsor students, make donations for buildings or equipment, and support our special appeals. If you're among them, thanks so much for your valued support, and please forgive us for making yet another appeal to you! If you're a newcomer to the school, we hope you'll consider making a contribution, however small.

To secure the school's long-term future and reduce the risk that the global credit crunch and a resulting drop in donations will eventually force it to close down, cutting off the only possibility of a high school education for dozens of disadvantaged Tanzanian youth, we now want to take some important steps towards sustainability. Setting up an organic farm will enable the school to grow its own food; rainwater harvesting tanks will help it to become self-sufficient in water, in an area where the nearest potable water source is a 4-hour walk away; and keeping dairy cows will enable us to produce enough methane to run a specially designed biogas cooker, eliminating the need for firewood.

The first step is deceptively simple. Planting the thorny, drought-resistant shrub Jatropha curcas as a living fence around the school compound will keep livestock out of the school grounds, making it feasible for us to start crop trials without the young plants getting munched. But that's not all. The seeds of the Jatropha plant yield a viscous oil that can be used as a substitute for diesel to power generators, machinery and even vehicles. It can be converted, through a very simple process that our chemistry students will be able to perform in their own lab, to a medicinal soap that has anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties. (We still need to equip the lab too - but that's another story!)

We are aiming to raise at least $2,000 to plant enough Jatropha saplings to create a living fence all the way around the school grounds, and to purchase a hand-operated oil press. Please consider donating $20 for two saplings, $40 for five, or whatever you can afford. The saplings would make a great Christmas present for the friend or relative who has everything!

UK-based friends can donate directly to our own registered charity, Serian UK (Reg. No. 1111711): http://www.serianuk.org.uk/Latest News.htm
This also means we can claim an extra 28% in Gift Aid from taxpayers.

We guarantee that ALL money donated to Serian UK is sent out to the projects in Tanzania, and since its establishment in April 2005, the charity has not spent a penny on administration (other than bank charges). We can prove this through audited accounts that have been submitted to the Charity Commission. The Trustees have covered all transport and postage expenses out of their own pockets, and photocopying has been provided for free by a school in Southampton.

If you are in the US or Canada please donate via the Facebook website to ICSEE, a 501(c)3 registered nonprofit, which has been supporting Noonkodin through a formal partnership agreement since 2006.

We also have a partner charity in Australia, St Brigid's Charity, set up by the headmistress of St Brigid's Primary School in Nerang, Queensland to raise funds for Maasai girls at the school who had run away from home to escape from female genital mutilation and forced marriage. Please e-mail me if you would like further information and contact details.

1/11/08 11:09 - SHINY!

midnightmelody posted about this. I have copied and pasted the next section of this post from her.

From 5th-7th December 2008 at the Young Foundation in Bethnal Green, London, we will be bringing together those who have direct experience and knowledge of social need – be that in education, health care or elsewhere - with those who have the technical skills to build web-based technology to address social challenges. Their mission will be to develop six ideas for digital tools that could create social change into working prototypes in under 48 hours. At the end of the weekend, we will be awarding prizes to the projects with most potential.

Anyone can enter our competition to get their idea developed at the Social Innovation Camp. You don't have to be technically-minded: it's all about great ideas addressing real need. We’re inviting those who have knowledge of education, health care, local communities or environmental issues to submit their ideas.

Take a look at the winning projects from the first Social Innovation Camp in April for some inspiration or you can watch the film of the event to see how it works.

Find out how to submit your idea here. You’ve got until Friday 7th November 2008 to enter for a chance to join 80 other participants who can help make your idea a reality at our 5th-7th December 2008 Camp.

Social Innovation Camp is a practical experiment in how technology can create social change, sponsored by NESTA and the Young Foundation. Find our more on our website here.

I probably can't go to some of this because of teaching on Sunday. And I have to think very carefully about my own workload for December and whether I can actually afford to add to it, even for such a shiny cause. But. Shiny!

28/10/08 12:26 - There was an old woman who had a little pig...

Mmmmm hmmmmm.

My grandfather used to sing a song to me, about an old woman who had a little pig. I never heard it anywhere else and had difficulty finding it, and he didn't seem to be able to remember where and when he learned it. I asked family and friends a few times, and wondered about it every once in a while, but never got around to really tracking it down.

I just came across it in the course of doing some research for a singing-with-children event I'm helping with on Thursday. The tune is rather different and some of the verses are not quite the same as what I remember, but it is most definitely the same song.

Looks like another version is here. ANd it looks like there's a recording, THE GOODBYE BLUES
Joe McDonald (guitar and vocals) Blair Hardman(guitar and vocals) recorded at Custom Fidelity Co. Inc. 7925 Santa Monica Blvd/Hollywood, Calif 900046. recorded in summer of 1965 by Blair Hardman and Joe McDonald 10 copies made. Re-pressed in 1967(?) 200 copies. Commercial pressing in 1970's(?)under title THE EARLY YEARS then recalled and destroyed,
or there was at some point, anyway.

This is not the book that I found it in but that is a very similar tune as is used in the book I found it in.

It's a day late, but it makes an awfully nice birthday gift.

24/9/08 11:14 - From an e-mail:

"Northern line platforms at Waterloo station are closed for improvement work. Northern line trains will not stop in both directions. "

Surely that should be 'either direction'?

Still, at least I'm getting the e-mails: I know that my bit of the Central Line will be out on Sunday and I'll have to cycle to Angel first thing.

14/9/08 06:39 - Thought for the day

"Now there's this about cynicism. It's the universe's most supine moral position. Real comfortable. If nothing can be done, then you're not some kind of shit for not doing it, and you can lie there and stink to yourself in perfect peace." - from Borders of Infinity by Lois McMaster Bujold

From comments on this entry.

How do you respond to bad-news fatigue?

13/9/08 21:48 - Haiti

Haiti has been hit by three hurricanes in two weeks. They desperately need help. Over one million people are homeless.



Save the Children.

Please circulate this.

The new Prime Minister came into office in the middle of the hurricanes. One very real worry is that this will destabilise the government in a country that is always looking over its shoulder for fear of foreign intervention.

(copy&pasted from fjm)

7/9/08 15:50

I've been thinking a lot the last few weeks about community and responsibility and effectiveness and improvement and interconnectedness. I've been thinking about how lucky I am that my two main career activities do actually involve making the world better, in some small way. I have also the privilege of working and playing with so many people who make the world better in a variety of different ways... and I'm not just talking about career stuff there, by a long way: people I know through social and family groups are pretty amazing, too.

I think it's very easy, though, to lose sight of what we do to improve the world, and to lose sight of what we would like to do. I think that in something this important, awareness is a good thing. So, some questions:

What do you currently do as a regular part of your life that improves the world? How does it work? What are you actually contributing?

What would you like to do to improve the world, that you don't currently participate/engage in?

Is there someone in your life, near or far, who inspires you to make improvements? What do they do that is so special? How has it affected you directly, and how has it affected you indirectly?

my answers under the cutCollapse )

Heavy stuff for a Sunday afternoon, but do have a go...

25/8/08 19:25

This made me laugh. Do not read if you do not have a sense of humour about religion. Via a_d_medievalist.

Was going to do a proper link round-up but can't be bothered now.

22/8/08 17:45

-Hot water seemed to work again last night. Still seems to work. I'm hopeful it will continue to do so.
-Too many tabs, not enough time to read them all!
-Today's technology wibble was the library computers at Trinty not letting anyone log in. I had work to do. I was not impressed. So I came home, where I have proceeded to, er, not get any work done.
-Tonight I'll spend a quiet evening in, alternating tidying my entropy pit room with catching up on aforementioned tabs.
-Going to bookshops when hungry is dangerous. When will I learn?
-someone just dropped a cardboard moving box out of a 7th-floor window.
-If you have small jam jars with lids, I want them. Please. Thanks.

22/8/08 07:55 - Dear InspirationWebs:

What is your favourite text with a "new year" theme?

(Am looking for something I can set, so public domain is best, unless you know the author and think I can get written permission to use it.)

21/8/08 08:52 - Making Hot Water: You Are Doing It Wrong.


So, first I figured out that the water in Bethnal Green is what is giving me this stupid rash on my arms and neck and so on. Fine, I thought, I'll look into filters again and see what I can do.

Today while I was showering, the hot water suddenly lost almost all pressure. Bugger, thought I, and proceeded to try to finish washing my hair with cold water. This has not happened to me before in that shower. But it wasn't completely cold water, because there was still some supplementary hot water.

Halfway through trying to get the shampoo out of my hair, the hot water came back, but it comes in fits and starts with lots of air, it's rather orange (rust?) and has bits in (rust!). I'd expect that to come out of a radiator, not a tap.

We have some kind of Potterton gas-fired flash boiler. And radiators, none of which (to my knowledge, which is NOT certain) are currently leaking.

Any ideas? Other than 'shower elsewhere until this is fixed'?

16/8/08 16:47

One of the assorted goodies that was in some of the Christmas confectionery packages that pfy and I made up last year (with some help from hairyears, I should add) was a... a sort of invented thing. It was rum-soaked fruit, chopped up and mixed into an almost-paste, rolled into a log with marzipan and sliced into rounds which are spirals. Then we poured chocolate over the spirals to hold them together. Mostly it was a way of using up fruit from the rum pot I'd started in the summer, and we were coating most things in chocolate anyway on account of having no restraint.

They were very tasty and quite popular and rum-soaked-fruit-things-with-marzipan-and-chocolate is a bit of a mouthful, especially when you've got your mouth full already with rum-soaked fruit and marzipan and chocolate...

... yesterday's picnic led to some discussion of this, because if I'm going to do the rum pot again I need to start, like, two months ago (though I can cheat and buy dried fruit for it if necessary, but still need to start pretty soon even if I'm doing it that way).

I'm pleased to announce that these convoluted delicacies now have a name: they are called Maria wheels. I didn't find mention on Google of Maria wheels being anything else, particularly; there is a model of car wheel by Gazario that is called Maria but that hardly counts. So yay for nomenclature.

I really ought to ensure that I make some this year, if nothing else to send some to the person they are named for, who I don't think I've met.

13/8/08 22:32 - Perseid meteor shower

I won't be able to do this because it's London and Not Dark Enough, but the forecast is for clear skies by 4am. If you're somewhere dark, you might still catch some meteors.

Not catch, literally, which would be a bit warm, but catch as in watch.

13/8/08 12:06 - SQUEE.

Going to pick up bicycle today!

Will have to get it from King's Cross to here in weeknight traffic. Slightly nervous, but I know if it comes to it I can walk from King's Cross to Angel and then take the canal. (In actual fact my plan is to ride from King's Cross to Angel and then take the canal.)

Now I will mess about with finding maps and locks and pumps and so on, and try to get some paperwork and planning done too.

5/8/08 19:15 - Dear Answerwebs:

Do you consider yourself part of a subculture? Geek culture? Goth culture? Weird culture?

How would you explain your culture to an extremely intelligent and open-minded but rather sheltered person, of a generation older than you are? What would you say? What would you show them, what music would you play to them, what would you tell them to read, if they wanted to understand your culture better?

Just curious...

2/8/08 22:51 - arrived safely in Somerset

Arrived safely in Somerset. It's quiet here.

Lily, the retriever I first met two summers ago as a puppy, has grown up and had a litter of her own. I expect to be overrun by cuteness sometime after breakfast tomorrow. Cats are still cuter, though.

2/8/08 09:38

Yesterday I saw a perfect picnic basket in a charity shop. I didn't buy it because I didn't want to carry it home; also, knowing I could carry it empty is not the same as knowing I could carry it when full of food and it was rather large. But it was rather lovely.

I got to thinking about what is required for a picnic and which things it would be possible to keep on hand in a sort of picnic kit. I already have a miniature version of this in my backpack much of the time: spork, perhaps my travel mug (I am going to start using this when I get tea at Trinty instead of the paper mugs they provide), some sort of cloth to sit on, multi-tool for opening things and slicing cheese... but at home I could do a bit better than that, really. I have various picnic-friendly dishes scattered throughout my things and it wouldn't be too hard to pack them all in one place, and when the picnic blanket stops living in the laundry pile it really ought to go to the same place. Bottles of elderflower champagne really need to be kept refrigerated until ready to drink and I don't have the space for that, but I could keep some home-made squash and a couple of bottles of sparkling water, or a bottle of sloe gin and some tonic water, at room temperature quite happily for some time. Cheese and bread and veg would have to be bought or made on the day but there are plenty of non-perishable crackers I could pack, and some olives and perhaps things like salsa-in-a-jar or preserved artichoke hearts would be easy to tuck away; some nuts and seeds would work well too and maybe some dried fruit (though fresh is always nicer); when I next make jam or jelly I could make some rather small jars and keep one or two of those in an instant-picnic box. This is starting to sound like a rather posh picnic but what's the point of sitting in beautiful surroundings and then eating crap?

What goes in your picnic basket? What would you take on the perfect picnic?

22/7/08 11:35 - I Aten't Ded

On my way now. Not taking the computer with me after all, too much stuff already and I don't think I'll have time to use it.

If I have no internet access at Charterhouse then I will next be online sometime on 31st July or 1st August.


18/7/08 21:09

Leonard Cohen is playing in London on 13th November (a Thursday).

I so want to go.

Tickets are £50 and up.

... and with any luck I'll have to do something for the bloody Performance Department at Trinity that night. No way of knowing at the moment.


1/7/08 07:41 - IMSLP

IMSLP is back!


Sadly it hasn't got the Jenner trio in it, so I'll have to revert to plan "Get hold of the manuscript or a copy of it somehow," which probably involves me or someone else traveling to Marburg. Or somewhere. Details are hazy in my brain right now.

Also, today is Canada Day. Happy Canada Day!

Also, today I am going to the optician. Hopefully by Saturday's concert I will have specs that do not use gaffer tape as a major structural component.

7/6/08 08:42


pfy is going for a walk to raise money for a good cause". Twenty miles is a long way and he's had to get up unnaturally early for a geek in order to even get to the start of the walk.

The donation page is here. Or you can give him or me (if he isn't there yet) some cash tomorrow at the pub.

3/6/08 14:50 - WANTED: ironing board

I need an ironing board.

I need it to be tall enough for me to iron comfortably. The tallest I've been able to find goes to 98cm, which is just not tall enough. The measuring tape tells me that I need my ironing board to extend to the height of 120cm.

It does need to fold flat like normal ironing boards do, because I'm very short of space (as you would be too, if you tried to fit a household into one room). Being relatively lightweight is also an advantage, though not nearly as important as the height.

I am willing to pay £60 for such an ironing board. Any takers?

3/6/08 10:05 - Opticians

Any Londoners have recommendations for a good optician?

For actually getting new glasses I will go to the place I went to last time, in Enfield, because they are competent and pleasant. I may go to them for the exam as well but if anyone knows of anyone particularly good elsewhere, do let me know.

I dislike playing lottery with any aspect of my health, and I do actually get to choose which optician to go to, so I may as well have a good look.

I refuse to enter any branch of Vision Express due to what happened last time (they left me with no glasses and no sales adviser for an hour, then tried to sell me expensive designer frames that I had already said were way out of my price range).

31/5/08 19:33 - Non-Stick

I have a Le Creuset frying pan. It is small-ish (20cm diameter) and completely made of cast-iron; I got it in a charity shop for about a fiver, which is pretty good for something that costs considerably more in shops.

It has non-stick coating on it, and the coating was starting to come off which I assume is why it was in the charity shop.

I have been trying to remove the rest of the non-stick, using a variety of scouring brushes and so on. Being Le Creuset, it's not been giving up easily; I don't know what they must have done to it to get it to the state it was in when I bought it.

Today I tried sandpaper, and that seems to work best so far, but it's going to take a very long time and an awful lot of sandpaper to get anywhere with this.

I've considered some sort of electric sander, but this would be no good for the curved edges of the pan, and these make up more area than the flat bottom.

Is there a chemical thing that can do this? Should I buy a can of Brasso and give it a try, or will it not work on iron? Now I've got through some of it, is it worth leaving it wet somewhere to see if I can rust the surface a little, or will that just wreck it entirely? Is there possibly some sort of tool that can just, I don't know, blast sand at a surface until all the non-stick comes off, and does anyone have one I can borrow?

31/5/08 11:16 - Copyright question

I own the Schott edition of the Jenner trio for Piano, Clarinet and Horn. This edition is edited by Horst Heussner and is copyright B. Schott's Sohne, Mainz, 1990.

Jenner died in 1920: his work is no longer in copyright. That whole 70-years-after-the-death-of-the-composer thing suggests that Schott weren't able to publish until 1990, but how did they get hold of it?

Am I legally allowed to re-typeset this music? The big problem I can see is that there is no way to tell which markings are Heussner and which are original.

I very much doubt I can get hold of an earlier edition: this one was difficult enough to find. If Schott own it they certainly aren't going to let me have a peek. The Preface says that an early copy passed from the ownership of Mandyczewski to the library of the Gesellschaft der Musikfreude in Wien, but doesn't say where they got their later edition from (presumably Jenner himself sent it to Brietkopf & Hartel at some point, as he'd sent them an earlier version as well).

This is very sad: a lovely piece of music which is difficult to get hold of by traditional means is virtually unheard of (neither my current horn teacher nor my old teacher, Julian Baker, had any idea of the existence of the piece before I told them), the composer certainly doesn't stand to benefit and the work should be out of copyright, but I see no straightforward way to make a public domain edition available. It isn't that I don't think the editor should be paid for editing, or the typesetter for typesetting: doing these things well does take skill. I do wonder, though, how much of the editing was simply a matter of copying down exactly what was in the manuscript to begin with. If Jenner was anything like Brahms (who wrote down every meticulous detail) then there wasn't much to be done there. And while doing a better job myself on the typesetting is a tall order that I won't be able to fill anytime soon, I'd like to be able to have a crack at it, particularly given that there are some badly-crowded passages in the piano part I have.

There are practical considerations, as well. Foolishly I only ordered one copy of the music (at 57.15 EUR each there is good reason), but in the past I've played in chamber groups and had people not return parts to me. That gets expensive, and extremely annoying. At the moment there are two different groups I want to play this with, but me keeping control of all parts between rehearsals is completely unrealistic: they need to take them away and learn them. But I can't photocopy what I've got because it isn't legal to do so, even if there is no profit involved. In theory I should be getting four more people to buy their own copies, but that takes time and is rather silly. And no, it isn't in the Trinity library, or the Alan Cave chamber music collection, or anywhere else in London that I've been able to look.

I sort of hope that when IMSLP comes back in July I find that the Jenner is already in there. There is nothing by Jenner in MusOpen, or in the Werner Icking Music Archive, or in the Mutopia Project, but they're all smaller than IMSLP was.

31/5/08 00:15 - *splat*

Exam had good bits and not-so-good bits; head of Brass and Julian Baker (my old teacher, and the external examiner) were both positive about it, so I don't think I failed or anything drastic like that.

I'll do a proper taking-apart analysis at some later date.

Now I am taking a break from practising until at least Wednesday afternoon (have a rehearsal Wednesday evening and it would be good to be warmed up when I get there). Instead I shall be mostly tidying my room.

17/5/08 15:49 - diaries

Dear Interwebs,

I currently use a Quo Vadis diary with the SEPTANOTE layout.

The vertical layout for days works extremely well for me, and week-on-two-pages with notes for each day and also off to the right is good. However, they only have six full days there, Sunday has a tiny little slot near the end, and I find this difficult for scheduling teaching.

Do any of you lot know where I could find a week-on-two-pages diary with vertical day layout and a notes section that has ALL SEVEN DAYS?

8/5/08 19:20 - Public Service Announcement

I have a practical exam on 30th May.

Any event, social or otherwise, that I say I'll come to between now and then is subject to whether my brain says it is better to use the time or the energy for practising. I have only so much reliability and must use it for the academic things.

That is all.

3/5/08 08:40 - Well, bugger.

I didn't vote for the idiot. I specifically voted for Ken because he was the only one who had a chance of beating Boris.


I would have voted for Vetinari but there wasn't a tickybox for him. Damnit.

30/4/08 20:06 - Link RoundUp

Gin, Television, and Social Surplus. I like this article very much.

c-jump is a computer programming board game. BUT! Does it provide hours of enjoyment for anyone aged 3 to 103? Perhaps we should get a copy for the Pembury. I'll lose of course.

International Sunflower Guerrilla Day. Why yes, I do have some sunflower seeds, and a gap in my schedule tomorrow afternoon. I may be hard-pressed to find neglected ground in either Greenwich or Blackheath, though. Hmm.

22/4/08 06:28 - Losing my Edge

I'm not sure how my sewing scissors got nicks in them as I've been very careful not to use them for anything other than fabric. I may have to replace them; I'll try sharpening first but it may be a lost cause. Argh. Those things are expensive, and having ones that are in good order is pretty much essential to doing any sewing without going insane.

Also, I have wanted to get pinking shears for ages and ahve been putting it off and this just puts it off further. Bah.

Unrelatedly, if anyone knows the whereabouts of my toenail clippers, please inform me at your earliest possible convenience.

20/4/08 11:35 - Bring what you can, take what you need...

This is an experiment.

What stories, true or mythological, personal or public, inspire you to live better? What narratives make you glad to be alive or reinforce your beliefs about the way the world works?

In your dark hours, what do you turn to for comfort, for reassurance, for the courage you need to keep going or the wisdom to change your path?

In your joyful hours, what do you do to celebrate being alive, being part of the universe/creation?

9/4/08 18:43 - Bigger, Better Bathtub

The shower here has something that almost resembles actual water pressure.

The bath is not longer than I am, but it is long enough that I can sit in it with my legs fully extended and neither end of me touching the ends of it.

And I'm wondering if there's a water softener, or if I itch less for psychosomatic reasons, or because I put a tonne of aloe vera gel on earlier today and then used amla oil for shaving. Can't tell. Don't much care.

Of course, I'm now going to travel across London, which will mean getting filthy again. Such is life...

9/4/08 16:45 - Arsethorns

I have a voucher for free hairdressing at a hairdressing school.

But, I didn't phone soon enough, and they are all full tomorrow, so I will not be having my wash and blow-dry before going out.


This is not the end of the world, it just means I need to FIND MY HAIRDRYER so I can do it myself. If I still have a hairdryer. I know I used to, but I may have decided to get rid of it on the grounds that it was only used once or maybe twice a year. Bah.

7/4/08 08:33 - Ow.

I have a cold, I think. My everything hurts. But I have Olbas and somewehre I even have painkillers, so there's hope for hte day yet.

Going to see if the greasy spoon will give me some brekky, then get my sorry arse into Trinty and try to get some practising done. I have a lesson later.

Schedule this week looks something like thisCollapse ).

If you're available I could use help on Tuesday afternoon to evening and Wednesday mid-morning to evening. This will consist mostly of putting together IKEA furniture, so if that stresses you out or if you're going to get argue-y about it, don't bother. (I am fine with furniture construction; if I get argue-y about it, it's because of general stress levels. But I am physically not very strong and so putting furniture together takes me a very long time on my own, longer than I've really got. I still want to try to complete the move by Wednesday night, because then it will be well over with before classes start on the 14th. Maybe this is unrealistic but aiming high never hurt me yet.) If you like problem-solving and making fun of IKEA instructions then you are most welcome.

Someone to accompany me to IKEA and make sure I don't a) buy all the shiny (just some of it) and b) kill myself trying to lug stuff up the stairs at this end would also be good. Though I think I want to find building manager and wring their neck, because NOW there is a sign on the door that says "Lift broken, use other entrance", and this implies that a) there is another entrance I could use to get here and b) it has a lift. Um. One that works. Arse thorns. Sincere and profuse apologies to everyone who helped lug stuff up stairs on Saturday...

Also, pplfichi, can I borrow your drill again? Would be good. I don't know yet if I actually need it this time but you know how it was with the bed last time? It might be like that with the shelves this time, or the wardrobe.

Right, this is turning into longer than it should. I gotta go. Brekky and at least a good solid warm-up before my lesson later...

5/4/08 10:37 - Expertise... because I'll want something to read later after moving house all day.

What do you consider yourself an expert at? Why?

Studies show that most world-class experts in any field have spent at least 10000 hours working on the related skills. No, I don't have a citation to hand... What have you spent 10000 hours or more learning or practising? That's 3 hours a day for 10 years.

How much overlap is there between these categories?

Do you consider yourself a specialist or a generalist? Why?

Is expertise absolute or relative?

22/3/08 18:42 - Snowed Out.: ARSE THORNS

It's snowing in London. I imagine that it isn't very MUCH snow, because it generally isn't in Britain, but I'm not there so I can't really say; the Met Office website is somewhat helpful but not quite specific enough about how much snow has actually fallen. Anyway, the English can't deal wiht more than about 1cm of snow sensibly, so anything more than that is Lots Of Snow for all practical purposes.

This means our flight to Heathrow has been cancelled, and we will fly out tomorrow morning at 9am local time, arriving in London 11am-ish GMT.

This is interesting as I am meant to be teaching in Finchley at 08.30GMT... and, well, I don't have my phone.

Thankfully there is internets here and BA have arranged to pay for my use of long-distance phone from the hotel room to re-schedule tomorrow's teaching...

Hopefully most of my students will be able to re-schedule for Monday. That would be simplest all 'round and gives me a chance tomorrow to try and find a cheep PAYG sim and borrow or buy a handset from someone.

Further updates as events warrant, and whoever says "What else could possibly go wrong?" will be hung, drawn and quartered. Twice.

22/3/08 14:11 - Um. Oops.

So, yesterday I couldn't find 90 kroner, which was a bit odd but not a huge problem. Today I realised I didn't have the return coach ticket back to the airport, which is annoying but not the end of the world, we can get another.

Then I realised I also do not have my phone. This is still not the end of the world, but it is a rather major inconvenience.

As hairyears has lost his camera we figure pickpocket in a coffee shop is the culprit, which is unfortunate but these things do happen.

To this end:

A) Please e-mail me all your phone numbers. I have a backup from ages ago... somewhere... but, um, yeah. Don't do it by replying to this post as I'm leaving it public. I'll make a contact details poll at some point later.

B) Does anyone have a spare handset I can borrow for a bit? NOT having a phone is seriously inconvenient. My PLN for now is to get a cheep PAYG sim while I decide what tariff to switch to, but I do need an actual handset to do this. As I have NO landline, and NO home internet right now, it is rather crucial that I sort something out quickly.

The Bright Side:
I still have keys, oystercard, wallet and passport, and I wasn't paying the phone bill by direct debit so no money will leave my bank account as a result of any thief calling all their friends in far-away places. I'm not totally screwed, just inconvenienced.

21/3/08 08:44 - Squeeden.

I'm here with hairyears for a very brief time to visit livredor.

It's been quite some time since I went away for a weekend (or indeed any period of time) just to visit people, (or at least, just to visit people who are not my family), and the opportunity was there.

Back in Lodnon on Saturday night, for I teach all day on Jesus On A Stick Day Easter Sunday.

It isn't dark here any more, and I found that I DID put my gloves in my backpack after all. :)

Saw an ASUS Eee PC in the Dixon's at Heathrow, WANT. Did not get, because don't have £213 (which is the cost in airports). Having seen the thing, I'm still seriously tempted. It would be no good for composition stuff but as a general keeping-in-touch and life-organisation tool it has great potential.

More useful in the shorter term would be a USB stick that is actually small enough that I will put it on my keys and leave it there. All the ones I have had previously have been cheap-ass ones that end up getting lost, with the result that I ended up using a CD-R to transfer my assignment from laptop to Trinty computer yesterday morning... waste of a CD for an assignment less than 100K. Ordinarily I would just e-mail it, but with no internet access at home that isn't going to work, and the free wireless I used to be able to get in the Trinty caff seems to have evaporated (it wasn't provided by Trinty, so can't really complain at them about it).

Breakfast now. Starving!

21/3/08 00:55

Arrived safely in Stockholm.

It is dark here. Also there is snow. I expect one of these to change by morning.

THe internet in the hotel Just Works. Yay. Squeeden!

(Also, I got my assignment in on time.)
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