liv: cartoon of me with long plait, teapot and purple outfit (Default)
I have barely had time for LJ at all in the last couple of weeks, but part of the reason it's taken me a while to get round to this post is that I'm finding it fairly difficult to write. Particularly if I don't want to offend people. The thing is, visiting Germany freaked me out a lot more than I expected. Or to be more precise, Berlin did my head in. Let me try to write down a factual account of what I got up to, and try to include as much of my response as I can put into words.

four days in Germany )

I want to go back to Germany for a more extended visit, preferably when I'm in a better headspace.
liv: A woman with a long plait drinks a cup of tea (teapot)
I travelled from Stockholm to Rostock in north-east Germany by a ridiculous route, via Helsinki and Tallinn. This is not in fact because I am bad at geography (though I am) but because it worked out both cheaper and more interesting than simply taking a train from Stockholm to Berlin.

travel notes )
liv: ribbon diagram of a p53 monomer (p53)
I've spent this week learning how to be a better microscopist. microphotography )

Not a particularly major event, but something to note: Making Light posted a link to kd lang singing Hallelujah. If you haven't heard this already, you really should; it's the first time I've been motivated to find software for saving YouTube videos (though really I only want the soundtrack, the video is just of a concert at Sidney Opera House). I am a purist about that song; I care too much about Leonard Cohen's original to like most covers. And I don't generally like kd lang all that much. But this performance is seriously awesome. And then there was some discussion about Cohen covers and I found out that the Jennifer Warnes cover album Famous blue raincoat has been rereleased. And it's even on eMusic, so now I have a copy of Warnes' duet with Cohen himself, Joan of Arc, where she sings Joan and he sings the fire. [livejournal.com profile] rysmiel played it to me when I was in Montréal in 2005, and it is just about the most emotionally powerful song I have ever heard.

On the planning front, well. I tend to stress about travel more than is really required, and in this case I'm not nearly as pre-organized as I would like to be. However, I have booked all the travel from here to London via Finland, Estonia, Germany, Holland and briefly Belgium, and all the accommmodation I need at the stopover points. That's the important thing. I reckon once I'm in England I can be flexible and if some of my planned meetups don't work out, well, it's a pain that I don't get to see people I'd hoped to see, but at least I won't be stranded. And I haven't planned what I'm going to do in any of the cities on my whistle-stop tour of northern Europe. But if I'm only going to be in each city for between a few hours and a day and half, I think I can get away with just wandering around and soaking up the atmosphere, rather than going to specific Tourist Sites. (I have to do it all on a 64Mb camera memory, which should be an interesting discipline, as apparently they no longer make the cards that fit my camera.)

Not connected to anything else at all, but while I'm posting, have a link to the writer Catherynne M Valente's thoughtful and personal essay on porn.
liv: cartoon of me with long plait, teapot and purple outfit (Default)
I've had two fun weekends and not got round to posting them because I got snap-happy and had piles of photos to deal with.

Last weekend was a trip organized by the foreign researchers' group. We went to the old town of Sigtuna, travelling via a castle called Skokloster (the name means "the cloisters on the shoe-shaped peninsula").

trip report with many pics )

Hm, this is long, I should put the Midsummer stuff in a separate post!
liv: cartoon of me with long plait, teapot and purple outfit (Default)
There was an unexpected (to me, not to everyone else!) holiday on Thursday, for Ascension Day. I didn't know about it until late Wednesday, but I suppose it's lucky I knew about it at all, due to my kind colleagues thinking to remind me. In Sweden, if holidays fall on Tuesday or Thursday, the extra day is more or less a holiday as well, which is sensible because frankly, if it weren't officially the case then half the work-force would call in "sick" that intervening day.

The weather has been very mixed, alternating brilliant sunshine with torrential rain with a period of tens of minutes. But I have managed to spend some of the bonus free time outdoors, in spite of this obstacle.

diary summary )
liv: cartoon of me with long plait, teapot and purple outfit (Default)
So I was in Stockholm over the weekend, mainly for a job interview, which I've talked about in friends locked posts. But apart from the interview, I had a bit of time for wandering around on Saturday morning. travel diary )

So, my flight map looks impressively arachnid, doesn't it? The thing is that almost all those lines represent trips in the last twelve months, which is a bit scary!

Also, I read and have put up reviews of: Vernor Vinge's A deepness in the sky, and Anne Tyler's A patchwork planet. Annoyingly I managed to run out of book before I got home, so the journey back was even more boring than it needed to be. I think it's because A deepness in the sky looks like a big thick doorstep that I expected to keep me going for ages, and in fact it's such a quick read that I finished it much sooner than I expected.
liv: A woman with a long plait drinks a cup of tea (teapot)
I'm updating from a computer that doesn't want to display a cursor, which is making using LJ a bit tricky. Anyway, very brief summary of the last few days:

I spent most of Wednesday being cultural by looking at the paintings in the MoMA. Temporary exhibit about the collaboration between Cézanne and Pissaro, lots of absurdly famous early 20th century art, brain overload from too much Picasso, couple of very cute pieces that were not quite so ridiculously famous. I shall write this up properly when I can more easily include links.

Thursday the weather stopped being vile and revolting so I did outdoors-y stuff. The zoo in Central Park, a bit of wandering around the park itself, then walking from there to the southern part of Manhattan just looking at the city. And acquiring many many second hand books. 12, in fact, for an average of $3 each, some I really wanted, some earmarked to give various people, and some random but cheap enough that I might as well.

Friday was the Museum of Natural History, lots of cool dinosaurs and the biodiversity display and some really old displays about North American ecology, almost a museum of a museum but interesting too. I spent Friday evening with some excellent cousins, my dad's cousin B and her husband and nephew and his wife. They are the loveliest people ever! Got back late and therefore spent most of Saturday morning asleep. Lunch with [livejournal.com profile] blackherring's friend MJNH and a bunch of her friends, who are aimiable in a rather grown-up way.

Then more lying around reading, napping, eating minimal effort and rather delicious food... And [livejournal.com profile] blackherring taught me some very cool Gemara about conditional statements. *bounce bounce bounce*
liv: cartoon of me with long plait, teapot and purple outfit (Default)
Cliche though it is, I am decidely having a lovely time here.

[livejournal.com profile] blackherring had the day off Monday, so she was able to join me for touristy stuff. Sadly, pretty much everything is closed on Mondays, but hey. The American Indian museum helpfully wasn't, and seemed interesting anyway. Gorgeous building, (the former customs house), but the exhibits weren't so great; the museum has decided that actually telling visitors anything about Native American culture is politically incorrect. Then some wandering around the area just exploring the city.

Yesterday I went to the Yeshiva University museum exhibition about the history of publishing the Talmud. Specialist, but fun. Took the ferry to Staten Island, which apparently is the tourist thing to do. I hadn't planned well enough to get much out of the trip. In the evening [livejournal.com profile] blackherring and her friend MJNH were doing a singthrough of Carmina Burana and the Chichester Psalms, so I hid in the corner and listened to people making lovely sounds. Also getting to hang out with MJNH was cool.

Other cultural stuff: the in-flight movies were IQ (just about the stupidest film I've ever seen) and In good company, which was frothy but well done, I may talk about it if I get round to it. And I should write reviews of Kate Atkinson: Emotionally weird and Rosemary Sutcliff: The witch's brat. Right now I'm going to tear myself away from air conditioning and internet and venture out into the city to do more touristy stuff though.
liv: A woman with a long plait drinks a cup of tea (teapot)
When I got back from Dundee my aunt R and cousin S were at home. They decided more or less on a whim to come and visit from Australia. They're both fun people and I haven't seen them in years (due to an excess of geography) so it's good to catch up.

At the weekend, we made a trip to Brighton to see my brothers. adventures )

Oh, and gradually catching up with book reviews:
- Poul Anderson: The broken sword
- Iris Murdoch: The sandcastle
- Mary Doria Russell: The sparrow
liv: A woman with a long plait drinks a cup of tea (teapot)
Yay! I actually took a break from my thesis, and spoke to some Real People, and left not only flat but Dundee itself. I'm still scared by how much I need to get done in a very short time, but I have to say I feel a lot better for it.

in which livredor actually has a social life )

It was tiring in the way that staying up too late catching up with a friend and then doing a lot of walking through city streets at slow tourist pace interspersed with museuming are tiring. And tiring the way that relaxing after being really really wound up is tiring. But that's ok, it's a good sort of tired. And I love [livejournal.com profile] pseudomonas very much.
liv: In English: My fandom is text obsessed / In Hebrew: These are the words (words)

Sociable shabbat, part b


Shabbat morning, I went with J to a rather interesting synagogue, Darchei Noam. change? Impossible! )

In the afternoon, [livejournal.com profile] darcydodo joined us from Long Island for a rather exciting picnic, followed by a very pleasant afternoon enjoying the sunshine by the waterfront. It was fortunate that my cousin B had pointed out to me the previous evening that New York has a waterfront; in my ignorance of geography, this had come as a surprise to me! It was lovely to sit and gossip and just be quietly together for the first time in ages; [livejournal.com profile] pseudomonas was very much missed.

As soon as shabbat went out we had to rush around manically getting everything ready for the wedding; J went to a mikveh (ritual bath) while [livejournal.com profile] darcydodo and I did things like ironing and checking with the groom that all the last minute stuff was sorted out.
liv: cartoon of me with long plait, teapot and purple outfit (Default)
I've just had a very pleasant weekend in London seeing several friends and taking something resembling a break, which I rather needed.

Lovely people )
liv: cartoon of me with long plait, teapot and purple outfit (Default)

Sociable shabbat, part a

Friday evening, I was invited to dinner with a cousin. relatives )

Yay for excellent cousins!
liv: cartoon of me with long plait, teapot and purple outfit (Default)
I've just spent a few days travelling round the Scottish Highlands with M. The most brilliant fun.

the full story )

Then we came back and got thoroughly soaked wandering around Edinburgh. It wouldn't have felt like a proper Scottish holiday if we hadn't been rained on at least once though!

Actually, coming home after three days of gorgeous scenery, I think there's nothing that went to my heart quite so much as the view over the Tay approaching Dundee (I can't find any kind of decent picture of what I mean; I will keep looking and add one if I do find it). I know, I sound like Dorothy now, but even so.

Soundbite

Miscellaneous. Eclectic. Random. Perhaps markedly literate, or at least suffering from the compulsion to read any text that presents itself, including cereal boxes.

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