charloween: (Default)
Was browsing charity shops this afternoon.

Yup, that's Space Exploration filed between Turkey and Italian Lakes inc Milan.



Well played, Blue Cross. Well played.

(In other news: going to Paris in May with Mum! YAY!)
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This town has the best graffiti:



(I've been trying for months to remember to take a picture of this. Luckily today was sunny enough, the top front seat on the bus was free, and there was time to take the picture while I was on the bus. \o/)
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First: the cat tried to get in again (third day in a row). No, cat-that-isn't-mine, you cannot come in. Especially not now that's it's raining. You'll curl up on my bed, soaking wet, having left muddy footprints everywhere and then you'll start drooling. I do not see my incentive to let you in.

The kitty tries, but the kitty will not succeed. )

Second: finished that shawl.

Still needs blocking. )

Third: the results of my rainy-sweeping of the patio.

I have no idea what colour those back steps are supposed to be, or where that locked door goes. Mysteries for another day. )

Fourth: Bin goes NOM.

Not connected to anything else, just some fun graffiti behind the movie theatre. )

Finally: Jeremy Renner being a goofball.

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Home from Ireland (yay!). My pictures are slowly uploading, but for now I'll offer this:

The Guinness Storehouse (factory + museum) is like a Willy Wonka's Chocolate Factory for adults, and with beer. And it only smells a little like chocolate. Mostly it smells of roasting barley.

Yes, there's even a waterfall (of water, not stout):
charloween: (bookstack)
There are a few museums in Coventry, and we went to the transport one and the history + gallery one. The history + gallery one is like most smaller regional history + gallery museums: a strange, eclectic collection of paintings and sculpture (not lesser works from known names, but works from lesser-known artists working at the time of known names, that kind of thing) plus some local history stuff.

Thing is, most of Coventry's history in the last hundred years has to do with vehicle manufacture (hence the transport museum) but there was a fair amount of older artefacts. Taken together, the two museums give a fairly pathetic picture of Coventry's history.

First, there were lots of churches and monasteries. Then, Henry VIII tore most of them down: economic bust for Coventry. Next, for a few centuries they became the nation's producer of woven ribbons. Then, Parliament jiggered the import duties and the market turned to cheaper French ribbons: economic bust for Coventry. After struggling for a while, they hit on bicycle and then auto manufacture. Then, Hilter noticed and bombed the city to the ground: economic bust and destruction of infrastructure. The auto industry struggled on but in the last decade all but two firms have closed their operations. (Now, I suppose it's the city's two universities which contribute most?)

More interesting: pictures from exhibits! I wasn't expecting to see much so I only had my phone, so apologies for quality.

Bug pictures, George Eliot's writing desk, Ewan McGregor's motorcycle, and a Delorean )
Next: tomorrow we're off to see Much Ado again in London, and then Thursday we're off to Dublin. WOO!
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I've been a bad blogger - I did Something Interesting a few months ago (ie went to Chicago, briefly) and never posted the pictures. This is all the more embarrassing because the lovely [personal profile] talitha78 was kind enough to show us around and I never mentioned it again. D:

So.

Glowing balls:


GIANT BEAN:


And a few more shots )
charloween: (pure style)
I started knitting this shawl just before Easter, as airplane knitting for my trip to Texas.

Earlier this week I finally finished casting off. The hard part was done, it just left... blocking. Duh duh duuun.

Blocking is how you take something that looks like this:


Or, more charitably, like this:


And turn it into this:


So yes, blocking makes a big difference for lace. It's like ironing out wrinkles in a crumpled-up handkerchief and discovering you've got a blanket. The gauge for this project was a little off, which means I've got even more stretch in blocking than I'd expected.

Warning, artistic close-ups )

After I got home from work, after about eight hours' drying time, the shawl was ready to be unpinned. And draped around a convenient arty wire mannequin dress-form thing, of course. (Lacy superhero cape!)


I will never use such fine yarn again. I appreciate the effect, but it was tedious and difficult to keep consistent tension with something so fussy.

I'm at the start of making a bigger, heavier version (aran weight, 5.5mm needles; this was 2-ply yarn on 3.75mm) to use as a throw. I've changed the way I knit (an even faster continental style that I was shown a few months ago) and that might help with some of the tension issues.
charloween: (fly)
Warwickshire picspam time!

There was ice fog last weekend, and when the sun came out again I wandered around and took pictures! (This is roughly my walk home after signing my new lease, btw.)

First, the parish church.


Pretty Midlands town is pretty )
charloween: (fly)
On Saturday my parents and I went to the African Lion Safari (bored animals!) and the Halton County Radial Railway (streetcar museum!).

The African Lion Safari was worth it to see the elephants hanging out in their lake, swimming and playing. I guess I'm really not an animals person: watching animals sit around and eat gets old pretty quick. That doesn't mean I wasn't duly impressed by the various kinds of deer (or stop me from wondering if they breed one particular kind of deer as lion food).

But.

Let's be entirely honest: I was more into the streetcar/tramway museum.

Pictures! )

Pictures of elephants! )

Pictures of beautiful old streetcars! )

Picture of my father looking at things! )
charloween: (stop narrating)


*happysigh*

The density of the set design and the props alone is enough to keep me squeeing for a while.

There are so many ways this movie could go horribly wrong* but I find it hard to get too worked up about the maybes. Just as long as I get to watch Robert Downey Jr and Jude Law fight crime in period drag, I'm happy. Because really, what's there not to love about that?

*Remember, Guy Ritchie is directing a screenplay by the guy who gave us X3, xXx:2 and Jumper.
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Once upon a time, four grad students went to DC... clickez for fotos )

It was a phenomenal six days. Two of those days were spent driving, but we had the audiobook of Dreams From My Father for the way down and the audiobook of America: The Book for the ride home. Many thanks to our lovely hostess for the fantastic bed, the warm reception and the chauffeur-to-Metro. Everyone we met was kind and wonderful (except for the waitress from hell, but even she was comically horrible), and it seemed like the entire city was made up of ridiculously happy people. We made new friends, remade old friendships and had a darn good time.

I'll have more pictures when I meet back with the other four and we exchange photo files. But no pictures can really replicate or even hint at what it was like to be there. Pictures can't replicate the feeling of sunlight (finally peeking out from the clouds) warming your face after 6 hours of sub-zero windy weather, knowing it's another two hours before Obama is even supposed to arrive.

Pictures can't tell you what it was like to hear the middle-aged black women behind you in the crowd of millions repeating over and over again, "We did it, I can't believe we did it, praise the Lord we did it," and knowing that you have no way to understand - being too young, and too white, too Canadian, even - the magnitude of what you're witnessing.

Pictures can't describe going to someone else's county to watch their leader take some ceremonial oath of office and being moved to tears by politics. Of all things, tears of joy over politics.

The entire thing was equal parts surreal and fantastic (but more on that later), and I'd never been witness to so much unbridled Americanism. We're so lucky that we had this chance to head down there, and to be a part of it all. I'm going to sleep for 36 straight hours now, and leave my email for the morning...



(a woman and her niece were collecting signatures on a bedsheet to take back home)


Edit: score one for women in academia, 'cause Jill Biden was introduced not as Mrs. Biden, but as Dr. Jill Biden. I looked her up on wiki, and they say she earned her doctorate in Education.
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It didn't melt overnight, so I guess it's officially winter now.

charloween: (Default)
As promised, here are some more pictures from the trip to Wales. I'm home now, and I think I might be on Eastern Time again. Maybe. It sucks that I'm not in Denmark right now as the original plan had it, but you know, maybe next time. (sigh)

Pictures! )

The flight home was entertaining. I was sitting with two guys (both in their mid-30s) who're both travelling because of job interviews. The British guy was moving to Canada to be with his wife, and had a job interview or two lined up for when he arrived. The other guy, a Canadian, had been at an interview in the UK somewhere. The thing was, the British guy totally had his shit together and the Canadian guy was well on his way to being a whiny loser. He wasn't a full-on complainer just yet, but he was getting there.

As for the food, well... Air Transat's "hot meal" is a President's Choice tv dinner. If you're into that, cool, but if you're expecting food, then you'll be disappointed. It wasn't totally inedible, but I've had better meals in my life. The movies (that I didn't watch because the earphone jack was broken) were: Get Smart and something I slept through on the way over, with Hancock and The Incredible Hulk on the way back. The Incredible Hulk is hilarious on mute, or rather, when the soundtrack is the folk-rock, indie cool and classic metal on your unPod. Some of the green screen looked really bad even on the crappy tiny airplane televisions. Hancock I might go back and watch properly, instead of sleeping through it and watching the rest without sound - but I still can't look at Jason Bateman without thinking "Michael Bluth", which could be a problem.

The flight was good, though. The worst I've ever been on was a terrifying trip from Atlanta to Asheville where even the scary tattooed biker guys thought we were going to crash and die. Air Transat's not spectacular, but they get you where you're going with a minimum of fuss. The strangest thing was that it totally feels natural now. This year I've taken more flights than in the past ten years, combined. It's all rather old hat. I feel so grown-up. :D

Also, back in July and with this trip both, the customs guys at Pearson were super-interested in what I was studying, where I was studying it, making me prove I was a real student, etc. Nothing major, and nothing to complain about, but it's still funny. The complainer from the plane found me again at the baggage return, and complained about the last time he flew into Pearson the baggage handlers dented his luggage. I probably could have cared less. Then he went on about how the customs folk figured that he's dealing drugs and so he always gets hassled. By this time I really don't want to hear him say anything more. So imagine my glee when he gets pulled off for a full search just before we make it out of the customs maze. Karma for being tedious, I tell you.

I bought the Long Way Round book at the Cardiff train station, which means I had to start downloading the series (and the sequel) as soon as I got home. It's quite adorable, and far better than I thought it would be. I also bought-and-read Pratchett's Nation on the way back. Such a good book. No words to describe. Just: good book.

Edit: swapped in the proper photo for a repeat.
charloween: (Ianto has a plan)
After months of anticipation, my first academic conference has come and gone. I'm still in the UK (at Gatwick), but the crazy Japanese-style capsule hotel I'm staying at has free wifi, so I can update! And be cowed by the state of my inbox. The important thing is that my paper was well-received by most of the people there. I don't feel like I wasted my time or money, I met some fun people, learned stuff and got to spend nearly two whole days alone at the end of it all (a needed people-buffer).

I'll say one thing for a Doctor Who conference... it's probably the only place where you'll hear a paper on the Lacanian construction of the self, go on a tea break, and then trade fic recs with one of the writers on Doctor Who. The entire week has been surreal but mostly awesome. One highlight was the paper that more-or-less mathematically proved that Torchwood was fandom crack... there was a picture of a half-naked Methos involved. [livejournal.com profile] thucyken, you should have been there. There were charts!

One revelation was that audience studies is a lot further along than I'd been led to believe. It's very exciting.

The horrible part, though, is that after four straight days of talking about Torchwood means that now I want to go back and watch it again. Even after everyone there agreed that it's a bad, bad show.

I'm off to another conference again in a few weeks, though not presenting this time. And it looks like I'll be getting some cash up fron tfor that, which will be a nice change. What with this conference, that conference and house-sitting for my sister, I don't think I'm going to be home much before January.

Pictures! )
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The running joke of the vacation was how civilized things were. But then, there was a book vending machine at Heathrow - obviously they know something about capitalism that North America has yet to pick up on. And no, we didn't get to see Hamlet, but it would have cost $500 to get tickets off of eBay and I have my limits.

Anyway. Cardiff was hilarious, London was fantastic and the museums were all a little creepy.

Highlights:
1. Me and [livejournal.com profile] piratefanatic outside the Millennium Centre in Cardiff. The picture is wacky-underexposed because Teagan was taking the picture and didn't know how to use my camera.


2. An inappropriate suggestion from an interactive display at the Doctor Who exhibition.


3. Cardiff: A Fine Place to Raise a Family.


4. Look! A room full of bits from the Parthenon! (On Teagan's camera there's a shot of me doing a thumbs-up move in front of the Rosetta Stone. Good times...)


5. Oxford! Just under that bridge and to the left is a fantastic hidden pub.


Gone 10 days and there're lots of stories to tell (and pictures!) but for now this'll have to do. I got back yesterday afternoon and was at work today, so I'll probably stumble around the next few days in a wee haze while I get those residence handbooks completed and printed.

The weather was gorgeous, the food was fantastic, the tea was excellent (they do tea better over there, I don't know what that's all about) and I've got plenty of ideas about what to do next time and how to document it. (MOAR PICTURES and not dropping and breaking my camera would help with that last one...) It drizzled a little on our first day there, but the rest of the time it was lovely blue skies. I got a tan and everything. I also only bought two pairs of shoes, which I feel showed remarkable restraint.

On the bus home from work today, a friend was reading Neverwhere. Amusing, since I'd just spent the last week quietly geeking at the names of the Tube stations.
charloween: (Default)
Pictures! )

Polaris is very different con to the FanExpo. It's smaller, less commercial, and tends to have an older crowd. More Klingons and fewer teen anime fans, that kind of thing. Being smaller and friendlier than some other cons, and staged in a hotel rather than a convention center, the big-name guests tend to wander the same halls as the peons who pay to be there.

It can get quite surreal, quite fast.

Sure, I was planning to get Jason Dohring's autograph, but then later when we passed each other in the hall the little voice in the back of my head is trying to process that Logan Echolls just nodded at me in the hall. And yeah, you see an actor doing a Q&A and autograph sessions, and they're live-and-in-person, but there's still a performer/audience split going on. It breaks down when you see Gareth David-Lloyd wandering past the Harvey's window on his way (you notice, because the line is long and not moving fast) to buy smokes at the Shell station across the street.

Didn't mean to get all philosophical. Yay! Con! Screenings! Attending three of Jim Butcher's appearances! Panels! There was one neat panel called "How To Get Fired From Torchwood", where every fireable offense was met with, "Yes, but they didn't fire the guy that kept a WMD in the basement". It was an interesting combination of being totally silly and mocking the lack of personal responsibility held by any of the characters. Oh, fandom.

The best part (for me) was running into old friends (sorry we missed each other, [livejournal.com profile] hoskie), people I haven't seen in a long time that I used to work with at the renfaire here. Teagan got the whole con experience, from the hanging out in someone's hotel room, to the meeting actors and authors, to the people who take their nerdery far more seriously that I ever could/would be willing to show off in public... good times.

Four days until we leave for London! And Cardiff!
charloween: (Default)
moderate Turn Left spoiler )

same image, after watching an entire season of BSG )

...And then not a macro, but some pre-ep mumbling for DW 4x13: Read more... )
charloween: (Default)
Now that I'm all caught up on the Doctor Who, I can share two silly screencaps:


Or a DJ! Or a poster-boy for 1993 hair! There's nothing like a little wide-eyed optimism to get you going in the morning.



"Weeeell, you know how it is. You're just walking though a cemetery, wearing all white and minding your own business while you contemplate the vagaries of life, when you meet Johnny Depp there on a bench. I know, it happens to me all the time. ...What I'll never understand is why he always has that odd smell."
charloween: (Default)


Dalek-in-progress photos after the cut: Knit, purl, exterminate )

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