I went to the optometrist for the first regular checkup in many years. They did the pupil dilation thing, which was sort of annoying and now I remember how much I didn't like it the last time. I probably should have used the cheap sunglasses they gave me, but I didn't. On an overcast day, on the walk back to the office, the white lines on the road were blinding me. Yeesh. My pupils looked, and still look, like an animé character's.

Night fell shortly after I got back to the office, which was convenient. And from then until now, everything is brighter than I expect, and point-source lights have pretty auras around them.

I walked [livejournal.com profile] roverthedog through the big park, which has been decked out in Christmas lights.

Wow. Pretty. Very pretty.

The strings of lights in the trees each looked like thick cables, bright but not quite painfully bright. Again with the pretty auras. If I could have turned off the streetlights, it would have been perfect.

I'm not sure I would recommend this as a way to get into the Christmas spirit, but hey, as long as I've got weird vision, might as well take advantage of the few unexpected benefits.

Wet Dog

Tuesday, 4 November 2008 01:07 pm

Wet DogRover, age 4 months, taken just before Halloween 2002.  In Elora Gorge, if I'm not mistaken.  On a day with weather much like it was earlier today- warm enough, but most definitely Autumn.

- - -
* Stop talking about politics for a moment or two.
* Post a reasonably-sized picture in your LJ, NOT under a cut tag, of something pleasant, such as an adorable kitten, or a fluffy white cloud, or a bottle of booze. Something that has NOTHING TO DO WITH POLITICS.
* Include these instructions, and share the love.

Back home

Monday, 13 October 2008 09:44 am
To those who celebrate this weekend, Happy Thanksgiving. There's a parade happening a few km away from here, which I'm avoiding just like we have for the last seven... But there is certainly a lot to be thankful for, including having good friends. So thanks, y'all.

The trip to Long Island for my cousin's wedding was successful: she's married, the groom's family's met and approved of, and I spent good quality-time with the Grandma, aunt and uncle who are down there. Nobody got murdered, despite multiple predictions, so that's (...nearly a?) raging success as well.

d's safely in DC for his conference, and I lined up a proper Thanksgiving dinner this evening with W&J, two local friends who were feeling like company.

As for right now, I'm going back to bed for a nap. g'night!
The weekend is going to be a bit crazy. My cousin's getting married on Long Island. Dan's got his first concert with the local Philharmonic on Saturday. He convinced me I should go to my cousin's wedding; ideally it only happens the once. So I'm leaving tomorrow early afternoon, by shuttle-bus. Then dan sings his concert, and Sunday afternoon, he drives to the airport, where he catches a plane to DC for a conference.

Two hours later, I'm arriving from New York, and he will have txted me the location of the car so I can get back home again and rescue the pup, who will presumably be confused when I come home alone.

Monday, being a holiday here (Happy Thanksgiving all!) I will be collapsing in a heap. If I'm inspired, I'll be sharing a Thanksgiving dinner with some local Quakers. If not, I think I'll stay in a heap.

In Heathrow

Sunday, 30 December 2007 07:14 am
We're in the SAS Lounge in Heathrow. We were up way too early for a trip to the airport, but at least the coffee has kicked in. I'm amused that a few of the people on my friends list might be just getting to bed now.

On the tv I just saw a neat dominos-with-cars-and-books Guinness ad.

Yesterday was first-rate- we spent the day with [livejournal.com profile] frankie_ecap and [livejournal.com profile] rhythmaning, wandered the South Bank, Fleet Street, St. Paul's, Cheapside, and a bit down Lombard Street. And there was tea, coffee, pastries, much laughter, and some introspective thinking. A wonderful day, and I feel quite lucky for it!

My only regret is that I had to message [livejournal.com profile] publius_ovidius and tell him I was too exhausted to meet him for drinks, which is a shame since I was looking forward to meeting him face-to-face. Next time.

Really, that's mostly my only regret for the trip. I could've done with another day for museums, but I wouldn't have tried packing more museum time into the days we were here. I could've happily wandered for another day, and we agreed we'd like to leave the city on our next trip.

I didn't manage to get to any Science Fiction bookstores- I was going to try and look for some British SF, but I suppose that can be ordered. Also, I didn't come home with a Sonic Screwdriver, though that's really OK.

Hm, I should find an electrical outlet. See you back home again!
Here are 11 photos from Friday and Saturday (click on the photo below to see them). They include graffiti, Imperial Storm Troopers, many sonic screwdrivers, a dragon, a very fine cat, and Princess Di.

St. Paul's

We're coming home tomorrow morning early- I will likely wait until then to write up any more of the trip, as my brain's sort of fried. See you then!

Take That

Friday, 28 December 2007 09:06 pm
This afternoon I went to Westminster Abby, which is close by our hotel, for 5pm Evensong services.  They  were OK, but not as transcendent as I remember the last time we visited.  There was a guest choir, as the regular choir is on holidays.  The sermon and hymn were devoted to the Feast of the Innocents (and no we didn't get to taste any ourselves.  Innocents, that is.)  The skies opened up shortly before the service ended, and when I finally left to walk back to the hotel, a tree-branch fell on me. Not a big one, just a stick. But we'll see if I ever go back there again!

England day two

Thursday, 27 December 2007 11:34 pm
I seem to have misplaced my last entry. Here are a few Boxing Day photos. (there are seven that were at the "crop and post" level, though I like a few of the photos I took quite a bit, I'll probably do more with them later). 

Yesterday's high points:

We saw Cabaret, which I think was more affecting live than film. I certainly came out depressed. It was a good show. 3.5/4 stars, we agreed. 

The National Gallery is wonderful.  Van Gogh's 'Sunflowers', a few Caravaggios, Reuben's 'Massacre of the Innocents' and a few other 'wow they have that too' moments. 

In the morning we went to the Tate, which was neat, but we only spent an hour and a bit. We left without seeing the featured exhibit, a retrospective on Turner Prize winners, which looked good but cost 11 pounds.  As d. put it, we have a lot of London to see that costs less than 11 quid. :)  Of things I saw, I was taken by  Shedboatshead which was a large shed, turned into a boat and filled with the rest of the shed, sailed down the Rhine a few miles, and rebuilt into a shed.  In the gift shop, I found a book by Banksy that I like quite a lot. He has a few things to say about surveillance.

And now we're off for the morning!

London Photos: 1

Wednesday, 26 December 2007 09:51 pm

Leicester Square: Operator
Originally uploaded by da_.
click through for 7 photos from Boxing Day evening in London.


Wednesday, 26 December 2007 09:27 pm
I will have a photo post shortly. Brief snapshots of the trip thus far:

Maple Leaf Lounge = awesomeness.  We got to the airport with plenty of time on Christmas Day; dinner was cream of chicken soup, bread, and salad, with fruit juice.  Dinner on the plane, two hours later, was a so-so curry with really awful chutney.   Sleep didn't really happen in very large chunks, but I did close my eyes.  I dreamed of DDR.

Breakfast on the plane was frozen fruit, a frozen juice box, and a bagel and cream cheese. 

Breakfast at the arrival Maple Leaf Lounge was super, and it included a shower, which is the best feature a post-flight breakfast could offer.  I am going to miss [personal profile] melted_snowball's Super Mondo Elite status when it goes away.  To everything turn turn turn.

We turned in at the hotel for a nap, went for coffee near Picadilly Circus, and then we split up. The very first thing I ran into was "Funland", a bowling-alley / movie theatre / video games gallery near Piccadilly Circus. I was quite surprised, on my way in, to see a woman go flying thorough the air past the escalator.  Some sort of bungee-jumping slingshot thing. 

Hm, they're kicking me out of the hotel lounge.  I'll continue later, I suppose. 
We've just finished watching The Lion in Winter. Such a fine movie.  I'd bought it last month (saw it in the $10 bin at GenX!) and we've just gotten around to opening it up now.  Fitting, since it is set in Christmas 1183.

Eleanor: Henry
Henry II: Madam
Eleanor: Did you ever love me?
Henry II: No
Eleanor: Good. That will make this pleasanter.

Henry II: I'm villifying you for God's sake - pay attention!

Eleanor: In a world where carpenters get resurrected, everything is possible.

Merry Christmas, all.

(no subject)

Tuesday, 23 October 2007 01:17 pm
My sweetie is awesome.

Once we'd decided that yes indeed we would go to London for holidays between Christmas and New Years, he found us: plane tickets for $570 r/t from YYZ (Air Canada, leave the 25th, return the 30th), and this hotel (rated 14th of all London hotels by TripAdvisor), for 69 GBP a night.

Life, it is good.

The Weekend

Tuesday, 9 October 2007 10:17 am
Working backwards through the weekend:

Yesterday was our Thanksgiving holiday dinner, and lo, it was good. This is the third year [livejournal.com profile] melted_snowball has hosted Thanksgiving at our house- it feels like a good tradition, y'know? And after six years living in Canada: putting a harvest festival at the end of the harvest feels more sensable than giving thanks at the end of November!

d. made two ducks, cornbread stuffing, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, and kale.

[livejournal.com profile] chezmax and [livejournal.com profile] the_infamous_j brought j's sweet potatoes and an apple pie.

[livejournal.com profile] persephoneplace and [livejournal.com profile] bodhranman brought [livejournal.com profile] browntobydog, a side of turkey, and a nice bottle of wine.

I made a pumpkin cheesecake tart.

Among other conversation:

I'm happy to report that definitive answer has been given to the question, "What should I say when a telemarketer asks for the lady/missus of the house?" (In the past I've sometimes said, "I'm she," or "He's busy.") But [livejournal.com profile] the_infamous_j came up with, "She's busy humping my boyfriend's leg." Win!

Sunday: a low-key Quaker Meeting, then errands and lunch at City Cafe. I did some housework, what seems now like a huge amount of dishes, and made the tart. I also mucked around with an email database problem whose proper solution finally came to me this morning.


[livejournal.com profile] melted_snowball, [livejournal.com profile] the_infamous_j, and [livejournal.com profile] chezmax and I saw Man of La Mancha in Drayton. It was wonderful. I didn't know what to expect- I wasn't familiar with the musical. And all I knew about Drayton's stage was that it's a popular theatre in the middle of nowhere. There were many places for this train to fall off the tracks. And lo it turned out the train wasn't even slightly wobbly.

The theatre had a bit of small-town unfortunateness (raffle-tickets stapled into the program, not terribly well-informed ushers who were well less than half my age...) but the players put on a fine show. I suppose if I were more a musical snob I could find more fault, but really, I'm quite happy to be happy with it. I'm particularly pleased with how they balanced the mad world of Don Quixote with "reality" (the play-within-the-play) and abruptly cut back to the prison.

Our seats, I'd like to note, were in the third (or fourth) row, centre. And lots of the guys on stage were attractive. :)

And that's the weekend, more or less. The weather monkeyed with some of our plans, and it felt odd to have the A/C running- but when the air's this humid, and it's this close to 30c, there wasn't really a debate between [livejournal.com profile] melted_snowball and me about it. Hopefully, today it'll actually drop to normal temperatures as they've been predicting.

As [livejournal.com profile] melted_snowball is fond of saying, it's a good life.
da: (duck)
May I be the first to wish a Happy New Year in August to [livejournal.com profile] nobodyhere & [livejournal.com profile] psychedelicbike and their families.

Holiday's end

Monday, 1 January 2007 09:07 pm
I suppose there are worse times to come down with a cold, than the tail end of a long holiday. But just when your sweetie's gotten the same ailment, and it's going to be a really good idea if I can show up for work tomorrow... Bleh.

On the bright side, we had a great weekend with [livejournal.com profile] lee_ellen and Gus the Dog [With No LJ]. We sat in front of the fire; played Fluxx, Carcassonne, and Scrabble. Walks were taken with both dogs; good food was made and eaten.

Happy 2007, everyone. May it give you what you need.

Boxing Day wrapup

Tuesday, 26 December 2006 10:20 pm
Can we switch Christmas to July, or perhaps abolish it altogether?

I much prefer giving gifts on the occasion of finding something someone would like, and giving it then. All throughout the year. Having a gift mean you were actually thinking of them, not the date.

Rather than this Mutual Assured Distributation, this "sir, we detect incoming presents." "Arm the credit-cards! Head for the malls!"

Today d. and I walked uptown with [livejournal.com profile] roverthedog to see what was open on Boxing Day. Answer: only Starbucks. No Boxing Day sales for us; which is really OK for me.

Lunch today was the yummy crab-cakes d. made for dinner on Christmas Eve; dinner was a stir-fry based on the duck he made for Christmas dinner. Oh, and breakfast was the blueberry muffins he made on Friday. Damn, but I'm a lucky guy...

Today was a gym day for me, and I expect tomorrow morning will be, also. I enjoy the exercise, and I like the idea of seeing what happens after a few months of gym. Maybe, by spring, I'll weigh less instead of 5 pounds more?

In January, I'm going to start taking advantage of a University perk and try 6 weeks of a (semi-)personal trainer; in the Lab/Gym just down the hall from my office in Health Sciences.

Tomorrow, we're off for a few days in an Inn down in Cambridge; we'll be away until Thursday evening. On Saturday, we have [livejournal.com profile] lee_ellen as a house-guest through Monday morning. Yay!
A minor rant.

On Tuesday morning at 9am, I dropped two theatre tickets in the mail for friends here in town. The tickets didn't arrive in Friday's mail, which meant it won't arrive until Monday- two days after the theatre show.

We drove to Ithaca on Friday. Friday afternoon at 4pm, I dropped sixty holiday cards at the post office. On Sunday, we saw some of the people who were sent cards. Every single one of them had already arrived.

*makes eye-daggers at Canada Post*

I still haven't gotten totally used to no Saturday mail; I guess I'm OK with it. But: 4 business-days vs. less than one? Both systems are overloaded with Christmas mail. Both systems are running a 2.5% profit.
In fact, the per-capita profits of both institutions are surprisingly similar, roughly $4 (US and CAD respectively).
Back home from [livejournal.com profile] lee_ellen & [livejournal.com profile] flydi's house. Opening my laptop I had a moment of severe disorientation- the browser was showing this page, which happened to be the last thing [livejournal.com profile] flydi pointed me at last night. I didn't quite think I had taken her mac laptop home, but almost. (Shades of the Far Side cartoon with Santa and some random person swapping big bags at the laundromat).

We might've stayed later in Ithaca but dan's giving a guest lecture at 9am tomorrow. Overall the trip was great, if a little short. The Quaker meeting had its Christmas Pageant this morning, and I have to say it was well done even if I don't go for the schmaltz. The kids did a competent job at Bible readings, there were requisite cute toddlers in animal outfits, and dan started snickering when a shepherd's stick almost took out someone's eye when the kid forgot to keep it vertical.

On the road at 12:45, home at 5:45. Not bad time, considering there was rain around Buffalo.

Car thoughts (partly credited to Dan, partly due to me, partly just... yeah):

"Tina Peel" would make a great porn-name. Instead, she's a Buffalo radio DJ.

Christmas displays often include Santa, Frosty the Snowman, and Rudolph, right next to Mary, Joseph, and Jesus. Was Santa one of the three wise men? Rudolph one of the barn animals?

Dan came up with a real zinger, but I'll let him post it.

I'm quite hopeful that [livejournal.com profile] lee_ellen can come visit for New Years. She's home alone with the dog (while [livejournal.com profile] flydi is still visiting family).

Mom and Apple Pie

Thursday, 23 November 2006 09:48 pm
Well, that was the very model of a modern traditional Thanksgiving dinner. The turkey was glazed with a really nice pomegranate and sage sauce, and my cousin brought bourbon sweet potatoes. We went through ten pounds of mashed potatoes, two heads of broccoli, half the cranberry mold, and 1.5 of three pies.

Conversation was lively. Grandma had some great zingers. She's pretty sharp for 98 years old. They think she can come home from rehab in three weeks, when she's a bit stronger than she was when she had the fall. I was impressed when she first came in the door, and seemed so energetic, even if she's not walking. Physio's done good things for her.

My cousin's gotten a black chow, who is really sweet, even if his face has a distinctly scary ursine appearance.

It's pouring down rain, and I'm happy to have a warm place to sleep tonight.

Yes, I wish I were going home tomorrow.

Kickin' back

Wednesday, 22 November 2006 11:05 pm
This evening, we prepped part of the Thanksgiving meal; I was responsible for the traditional cranberry relish mold. Since Grandma isn't doing any of the cooking, none of us had made this before, though my Uncle was adamant it wouldn't be Thanksgiving without it. Knock wood, I think it turned out OK. We'll see tomorrow. Now, I get to relax.

The Discovery Channel is so cool. Right now I'm watching Mega Builders: Bangkok Mega Bridge. Pretty cool stuff: a double-span cable-stayed bridge built in a record time, four months.

Plus, a couple episodes of mythbusters. I love Jamie's moustache.

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