May. 16th, 2014 05:53 pm
tiger_spot: (sword)
[ profile] mrissa asks: "If you had a museum-scale art budget instead of a person-scale art budget, what kinds of things would you spend your art budget on?"

This is a great question and I have been enjoying thinking about it.

My art purchases are actually limited not so much by budget as by display space. Between the small child and my preference for visually uncluttered views, I just don't have much room for art beyond what we already have. So the first thing I would spend the budget on would be appropriately climate-controlled storage, perhaps some additional display space, and a part-time assistant to come rotate things out every month or so.

If I have additional display space I am effectively running a very small museum already, so I may as well open it up to the public. Hi, public! I will set my imaginary assistant to cataloging the collection and getting high-quality photos online, as time is available. A museum needs a more focused goal than The Museum of Stuff I Like, so I think I will focus on local contemporary artists, meaning I will go around to the various Art and Foodstuff Festivals and browse amongst them, as I am wont to do, and then I will actually buy stuff and bring it home with me, which I am not so much wont to do at this time. So it is maybe a subset of The Museum of Stuff I Like, but I think the focus will improve the collective experience.

My particular tastes in Art tend towards natural materials, organic forms, and things that hover in the fuzzy area between Art and Craft. We the museum will have really nice local-artist chairs and benches, upon which you the public will be encouraged to sit. We will have a lot of art glass, beaten metal sculptures, and smooth carved wood and stone things. We will have a special display area with magnifying glasses for pendants and teeny-tiny little sculptures. Maybe we'll have a little pretend kitchen set up with the really pretty wooden cutting boards and spoons, and the nice ceramic dishes, and like that. There will probably not be a lot of traditional paintings or photographs; my tastes in terms of things that hang on the wall tend a lot more towards mixed-media work. However, I do see some very nice large-format paintings at the Art and Foodstuff Festivals now and then, so if I've got museum-scale walls to work with I would probably wind up spending some of the budget on gloriously intense abstracts, and maybe the occasional landscape or nature close-up if it really fits with the mission. Yeah, maybe some Bay Area landscape photography every now and then, that'd work nicely. And then I would entertain myself coming up with different coherent organizing themes to fill the museum space with, that let the things on display express some kind of unifying concept without being overwhelmingly the same in style or color or mood or material.

Yay imaginary museum. Planning to haul art off to my imaginary museum may be just as much fun as planning to haul furniture and architectural details off to my imaginary castle. Hey -- I can put the imaginary museum in the imaginary castle! This explains what to do with all those extra rooms I needed to make the external scale sufficiently imposing! Huzzah!

For Sale

Nov. 13th, 2012 09:37 pm
tiger_spot: (red river hog)
The House That Eats People is back on the market. I guess that means no more mariachi.

They had an open house this weekend, so we went over to see what they'd done with the place. They've done a lot! And they've done it very quietly; we had no idea there was such an extensive remodel going on. Now it looks like a fairly reasonable, although small, house. All the floors are the same level and everything. You walk into what is effectively a wide hallway leading to the open-plan kitchen. They've got it staged with a couch and a coffee table, but it's really more a hallway than a living room; there's very little public space. The two bedrooms are each reasonably large, and the bathrooms are nice. They've moved some of the fruit trees to the edges of the yard and put in a great big rectangle of grass.

Given the subtlety of the construction, they can't have changed the underlying structure all that much, so although you should always hire an inspector when purchasing a home, in this case what I tell you three times is true and you should hire an inspector, hire an inspector, for the love of god hire an inspector. But if you want a wee house with a lot of outdoor space, and you want to live across the street from us, and you don't mind negotiating the sellers down from their ludicrously hopeful price, come take a look!
tiger_spot: (Default)
I have been up to everything lately. Here we go:

Friday was headlamp climbing at Planet Granite. This is an event where they turn out the lights and have you climb with a headlamp. It is difficult, especially on some of the more challenging routes where to keep your weight pointed in the right direction you need to know where you're going next.

There was also a costume contest, which none of us entered. Most of the costumes were not particularly climbing-appropriate, so we thought of ones that were, which we might use next year if we feel like it: Peter Pan, any superhero, a telephone lineman, James Bond, a spider, a piñata (I thought of that one watching [ profile] andres_s_p_b get lowered from one of the really overhanging routes).

A few of the routes had chalkbags full of candy secured at the tops. I think they should do that all the time.

On Saturday, [ profile] brooksmoses, [ profile] suzanne, and I went to some friends' Gothic wedding, which was great fun and very them. Lots and lots of people had cameras, so I assume pictures will be turning up on the Internet soon, and I can point you to them then. It was a visual spectacular! (The cake was really good, too.)

On Sunday, [ profile] chinders and I joined some friends to watch the San Jose Stage production of Cabaret. It was awesome! It's an intimate little theater, so there are no bad seats, and the entire cast did a wonderful job. Usually I would pick out particular performers to praise, but really everyone was great. Actually, I will single out the actress playing Helga, who also played the piano for the entire show and helped conduct. That was impressive and seamlessly done.

Later, we went to a Halloween party, which was also good fun.

Today [ profile] cobalt_00 and I took Galen up to Pulgas Ridge Open Space Preserve, which has an off-leash area. We spent about an hour meandering around the off-leash loop. Galen had a good time checking out bushes and climbing over rocks and things. We found a random dilapidated staircase up the side of a hill, and he charged straight up it with great enthusiasm once we decided to go see what was at the top (nothing obvious, just some smaller, less official-looking trails). When we started out, he kept quite close to us and stayed on the paths, but by the time we headed out he'd used enough of his brain that he was kind of wandering off and getting more easily distracted by lizards and things.

On the way up to the off-leash part, we passed only two hikers, neither of whom had a dog, so trying it out on a weekday worked perfectly. I suspect it may get too crowded for Galen to be comfortable or safe there on weekends, but I will definitely go back when I have random weekdays off.

On the way back down, we found a car key lying in the middle of the trail. We took it back to the parking lot and tucked it under the windshield wiper of the car with the matching brand name. I hope the owner didn't get too stressed out between realizing it was missing and getting back to the vehicle.

O, Canada

Sep. 4th, 2011 01:57 pm
tiger_spot: (Default)
Last weekend [ profile] andres_s_p_b, [ profile] brooksmoses, [ profile] chinders, and I went up to Calgary to visit my parents.

The parental rental home is very nicely landscaped, much larger than mine, and about half underground (which probably helps keep the temperature more constant but was a bit surprising; there kept being all these extra doors down there!). They have three pianos now. I came home with a nice big pile of music left over from when Mom was teaching, which I will begin properly enjoying any day now, when I have free time. Maybe this evening!

We didn't do as much hiking as had been planned, because of [ profile] chinders's knee, but that is okay because the amount of hiking we actually did was quite sufficient to my energy level at that altitude. The first day, we poked around various scenic places, mostly from the car. We were going to stop at an art gallery, but couldn't go in because a truck had run into a utility pole, knocking out power to the entire town. The next day, we went up to Banff National Park, which is astounding scenic in a very dynamic way. It's all giant blocks of stone leaping into the air like dolphins, frozen at the top of the jump, with crazy angles and recent landslide scars and all kinds of coolness. We have lots and lots of pictures, once [ profile] brooksmoses gets them off of his camera.

At Banff, we first took a gondola up to the top of Sulphur Mountain, admiring the view on the way. [ profile] chinders stayed behind at the coffee shop there while the rest of us went out along the boardwalk / interpretive trail to the old weather station. There was a sign fairly early on informing us that the golden-mantled ground squirrel is "the boldest of the locals," followed shortly by a golden-mantled ground squirrel scampering about on some rocks, followed by several golden-mantled ground squirrels posing photogenically, then informing passers-by via easily-interpretable squirrel body language that there was a very simple fee schedule for photos, and would we hand over the goods now, please, followed by golden-mantled ground squirrels pounding on people's sneakers and attempting to climb their legs. So, yes, rather bold.

After the mountain, we went to Johnston Canyon and hiked up past some very pretty waterfalls, then took a drive past a lake. The drive had been recommended the previous day by my parents' next-door neighbor as good for seeing wildlife, and indeed we saw quite a few bighorn sheep hanging around right near the road. So that was satisfying.

Monday we went to Heritage Park, which turns out to be the second-largest living history park in North America, second only to Colonial Williamsburg. I thought it was neat and wished they didn't close so early, but the rest of the pack was getting a bit tired of old houses. We saw a linotype machine in operation at the press building, which was quite cool. I can see why people are fond of those things.

One of those days we had dinner at a really good Indian restaurant, which I want to pack up and take home with me and install where Sue's used to be. Also we should use our grill more; Dad made some grilled veggies for me to use for hiking sandwiches the whole weekend, and they were quite tasty.

We rented a minivan, which I drove all weekend. I did not break it or crash into anything despite it being ENORMOUS and having the gearshift in entirely the wrong place, so I feel all accomplished.

And at the end of the month, [ profile] brooksmoses and I are going up to Montreal for Farthing Party. Getting there is going to be a tiring and expensive pain in the ass, so it is just the two of us and not everybody. But I fully expect it to be all kinds of fun.
tiger_spot: (magic)
We are back from 4th Street!

It's a very nice place, Minneapolis/St. Paul (I am assured they are different, really, and will glare at me if I confuse them, but darned if I can tell). We arranged for a rather long visit, relative to the convention, arriving around lunchtime on Thursday and leaving Monday evening. [ profile] brooksmoses and [ profile] suzimoses took an extra day at the beginning, even, arriving Wednesday. So they picked us up from the airport when we staggered in Thursday, exhausted (The airport shuttle came to pick us up at 3:45 a.m. I'm told the flight was cheap....), and then went off to an art museum or something worthwhile like that while [ profile] andres_s_p_b, [ profile] chinders, and I lay around like lumps. At some point I revived enough to explore the hotel and take pictures of goslings, and eventually people collected up for dinner and took over a corner of the Chinese restaurant, where we had very tasty food and a funny waitress and startled the heck out of [ profile] mrissa when she turned around and realized just how many people she knew had been sitting behind her.

After dinner was the play-reading. This year we did Stoppard's Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead. We swapped Rosencrantzes and Guildensterns every act, so I wound up reading Rosencrantz in the first act and Guildenstern in the last act, which I'm sure confused no-one. I had a good time, but I think we should try to find more ensemble-cast plays. [ profile] andres_s_p_b did a lovely job with the ending speech, but I think he was a bit bored just being audience until it was time for that.

Friday morning (well... nearly morning), [ profile] andres_s_p_b, [ profile] chinders, and I went to the Amazing Mirror Maze in the Mall of America while [ profile] suzimoses and [ profile] brooksmoses went off to fetch emergency quilting supplies. The maze was pretty neat; it's set up on a triangular grid rather than a rectangular one, so nothing is ever in the direction it looks like it is. They give you plastic gloves to keep from smudging up the mirrors and interfering with the disorientation. We did it three times; the right way, backwards, and then back to the exit again. I'd be curious to look at a map of the place, because I think it basically just has the one path, rather than really having dead ends, but I couldn't keep careful enough track to be sure. Afterwards we poked around at a bead store and [ profile] chinders bought jewelry and makeup stuff.

And then there were panels, which were great! And dinner and socializing, which were great! And not remembered by me in any particular detail. Saturday and Sunday likewise, really. Too much awesome all in one place; it kind of blends together after a while. I met neat new people and talked with fantastic not-new people and went to lunch with Lois McMaster Bujold and went rock climbing[1] with Elizabeth Bear and Emma Bull (this has been your name-dropping for the post). Yay people! Hi people! If I have just friended you, probably it was because we had a fun conversation at some point, and if we had a fun conversation and I didn't just friend you it's because I didn't know your LJ name, so poke me and I'll do that. At various points there were games and chatting and listening to music and admiring interesting T-shirts and stuff and so on and so forth and I USED MY WHOLE BRAIN. Now I know what the dog feels like after an hour of class.

Monday there was lunch out, and ice cream, and then this little tea shop [ profile] jonsinger likes, and eventually the airport, which delayed our flight about an hour, grr. Eventually we got home, where the dog was delighted to see us and everything was nice and comfy like we left it. Today I am resting; tomorrow I am also taking the day off work but intend to get up to useful things like cleaning and perhaps getting groceries. I may not need all of today to rest, although the rain is encouraging me to be very thorough about my resting -- I was more careful about my caffeine consumption this weekend than I was at FOGcon, so I don't feel any immediate need to detox. I have already regained enough strength to sit upright and type more-or-less coherently, so that's a good sign.

It was fun! You should go next year!

[1] Vertical Endeavors grades much harder than Planet Granite, and between that and the limited amount of time left between getting belay-certified on different equipment than I'm used to and their early weekend closing time, I did not figure out quite what I ought to be climbing there before it was time to leave. They've got a very different style of route-setting, which is probably more realistic in terms of actual rocks but takes some getting used to. Next year we will plan ahead and probably aim for climbing Friday morning before things really get going, or Monday after fish, or some other time where we can have more real climbing time. Also they will probably have opened the new, closer, location, so that will help.
tiger_spot: (Default)
News in snippets:

Last weekend, [ profile] chinders and I went kayaking with one of her coworkers and a large party of birthday well-wishers. It was fun, although I think I like kayaking more as a way to get somewhere, perhaps somewhere with a picnic lunch, than as just a thing to do paddling around for a while.

We saw lots of sea otters and sea lions. The otters were adorable. Ever so often an otter would pop up with a crab or some other food item, and a seagull would immediately swoop down and sidle up to it, keeping a careful watch for dropped bits. (I didn't know you could sidle while swimming, but seagulls seem fairly good at it.)

If you rent an open kayak, the rental guy will offer you a bunch of waterproof clothing. TAKE THE WATERPROOF CLOTHING, no matter what he says about it not being very breathable and how nice a day it is. You will wind up sitting in a few inches of water, gradually delivered to the interior of the boat via the paddle dripping on your knees, so you will be happier with waterproof pants. I did not take the waterproof pants (I did take the jacket), and while I was not miserably cold out on the water, I was trying-to-remember-symptoms-of-shock shivering and clumsy once we got on shore, while I was changing into my dry clothes.

After the kayaking, we ate at this seafood place that was remarkably busy for three in the afternoon, and had all manner of artichokes. Mmm, artichoke smothered in cheese.

Monday, Tethys had surgery to remove a few lumps. She is recovering very nicely.

Monday and Tuesday I was sick like a sick thing. I am also recovering nicely, although I am ready for my nose to stop running. Any time now, nose.

Thursday, [ profile] brooksmoses and I took the afternoon off to explore the city. The weather was not the sort of weather we'd been envisioning for this, but we figured if we let it change our plans we'd only be encouraging it. So we charged off down Folsom, stopping briefly for Extreme Pizza (the pizza was not particularly extreme, but they did have a chair made out of skis). Then we went to Humphry Slocombe, where we had strange ice cream (mango carrot sorbet and fluffernutter sundae) and planned to come back and have more strange ice cream later. Afterwards, we poked around the Mission looking at murals, stopping in a used bookstore, poking our heads in another interesting store or two, and getting hailed on twice.

Brooks was pretty tired by the time we got back to the train, and our backs were sore from used books and things, so next time we may plan around bus schedules a bit instead of walking the whole time. But there will definitely be a next time; despite the weather's best efforts we had a good time.

Saturday, the weather was also foiled by my going out to the Save the Bay event with [ profile] plymouth. All of the plants of the type we were working on (sticky monkeyflower) had been planted by the time we cleared our last few patches of ground, so we wound up planting some of the other kind (yarrow) instead. It was amazingly muddy, but pretty much all the volunteers who'd signed up showed up despite the rain (hah, take that, rain!) so we finished up early.

Finishing early was good, because it meant [ profile] chinders and I could make it out to the tail end of the rally obedience competition to watch the Novice event, which is what I'll be competing in once I actually sign up for a competition. It was educational, although we should have brought paper to take notes -- by the time they announced the scores, I couldn't remember what the dogs had done exactly so I couldn't tell what they were losing points for.

I am really glad tomorrow is a holiday, because I am bone tired.
tiger_spot: (Magritte)
We have entered that unpleasant time of the year in which I both get ready for work and come home from work in the dark. The cold, damp, unforgiving dark. I don't like it.

Must remember to go take my lunch to the park more often when I'm up at the office. Midday sunlight is not everything, but it's helpful. And speaking of sunlight, I have been a total hermit lately and should cut that out, so if you invite me to anything with sunlight in it, I will most likely take you up on it unless I'm working. Possibly things without sunlight, too, if they happen at a time when there is not otherwise sunlight to be had.

Today I am suffering what appears to be a repeat of the same cold I had earlier this month. This time I am resting the first day I feel sick, instead of trying to bull through to meet clumps of deadlines and falling over ded towards the end of the week. Maybe it will go away faster. Maybe not. In either case, I don't have nearly such a severe case of Urgent Deadlines Only I Can Meet this time, which helps with the resting.

In the opposite-of-resting corner, we the humans of the household have taken up indoor rock climbing. [ profile] chinders started going with some of her friends from work, and sort of talked the rest of us into it. The first time I tried it, I got very freaked out about the part where you get lowered from the top of the wall instead of climbing back down, but having done a couple practice falls from much lower down, I don't mind it nearly so much now. (This was a useful lesson from teaching Galen how to freak out less about other dogs -- work under threshold. If you are already having the freaking-out reaction, no learning is taking place, so get comfortable with the troubling thing at a low enough level that you don't freak out, and then gradually you can handle higher levels without freaking out either. On our first recent rock-climbing trip, I did a lot of under-threshold practice at trusting the harness and belay system, and what do you know, it turns out to be pretty trustworthy.)

Speaking of the dog, he has a new adventure too. The two of us signed up for a beginning Rally Obedience class, which should serve many useful functions. I'm getting out of the house (see also, total hermit), the dog is getting an interesting mental activity (he loves classes; he doesn't always have the endurance to pay attention for the whole hour, but he always has a great time for the first forty-five minutes or so), and we will both learn many useful things about heeling. I was also thinking it would be useful for Galen and I to have an individual bonding experience -- this appears to have been wildly more successful than I was hoping, as he is under my desk right now, and has been otherwise lurking about much closer to me than he usually does, after just one class. Very odd. All his previous classes have been attended by all three humans, but [ profile] chinders is taking a computer science class this semester and has No Extra Time, and [ profile] andres_s_p_b is hard to wake up before noon on weekends. Or weekdays, really, but especially weekends. The only other people in the class are a couple and their two Akitas, so we'll be getting lots of personalized attention.

There are some aspects of the class I'm less sure about. It meets outside, in an area at the Humane Society Silicon Valley's new complex that turns out to be directly adjacent to the large dog side of the dog park. During the first class last weekend, it rained on us the entire time, which made poor Galen terribly unhappy but also meant there were no other dogs running around being distracting. If Galen can cope with other dogs over there, it'll be really excellent practice at ignoring them, but assuming the weather is better this weekend (cross fingers, but the prediction doesn't look good right now) the presence of running dogs on the other side of that fence is going to be one heck of a challenge. I was concerned about the new location itself being distracting, but after the first lap around the fence, during which he acted like he'd never heard of heeling, he realized we were Doing Things and treats could well be involved and started paying attention. So that's all right. He refused entirely to lie down, but I wouldn't lie down on wet artificial turf either so I cannot blame him. We did the down exercises with a sit instead, and then tried them at home once we were both dry and warm and happy again.
tiger_spot: (Default)
A friend of mine is looking to move to the Bay Area and could use a little help finding an apartment. If you happen to know of something that fits the following criteria, let me know and I'll pass it on.

* move-in date in October
* studios, 1-bedrooms, MIL-apartments, cottages, sublets, maybe renting part of a house or sharing a house depending on the people
* no or few steps/stairs (1 flight of stairs at the most)
* close to central urban areas
* sunny, even in winter
tiger_spot: (Default)
Today I came this-home from work for the first time. I like it.

We have the kitchen entirely put away (we think -- there's a green mug missing, so either one of them broke and nobody remembers it or there's another box with at least some kitchen things in it still lurking), the office in usable shape (though we still need to work out where to put the printers, and one of them and some other fairly important office things are definitely in a lurking box), the bedroom assembled, the big rat cage put back together, and all the furniture in what appears to be the right spots. Today Cathy and I put together the new shelves to go in two of the closets and I replaced the rubber feet on the dining chairs with little felt stickies, because the feet made a horrible noise on the floor. Now Andres and Cathy are going around anchoring shelves to the walls; once they've finished with that we can start putting things back on them, and the boxes will quickly fall.

We still need to figure out good spots for bags and shoes, finish unpacking, and bring some semblance of order to the garage, but it's quite livable. House!


Oct. 21st, 2009 11:54 am
tiger_spot: (Default)




(House a day later than expected, because the bank is stupid. This has thrown off my planned thing-hauling schedule, but never mind. I have a revised thing-hauling schedule which will work just fine, and should still result in most boxes being out of the way by the time we get the truck on Saturday so we can focus on furniture then.)



tiger_spot: (magic)
Part 3: Volcano

On the way up to Volcano, we stopped at a black sands beach. This differs from most other beaches on the Big Island by having some sand; otherwise it looks pretty much like the rest of the lava-rock coastline. (Okay, the historical park had a coarse salt-and-pepper sand beach, but it's mostly rocks.) Lava rocks make great tidepools and, like most of the other times we were on the coast, there were some sea turtles hanging around just offshore.

In the afternoon, we checked out the Volcanoes National Park visitor centers and the view of the main Kilauea caldera from the new overlook. The old overlook, along with most of Crater Rim Drive, has been closed for a while because of the clouds of poisonous gas and steaming ash the volcano has been spewing on it for a year or so. They had some nice big rocks and burnt fenceposts that had come from the old overlook to demonstrate.

Cathy was tired, so she rested in the house[1] while Brooks, Andrés, and I went to Kipuka Puaulu, a little island of forest in the midst of newer lava flows. We saw a great many chickens and pheasants, and a lot of really interesting plants.

The next day we hiked across Kilauea Iki, the small crater that we'd watched spew boiling rock hundreds of feet in the air in a film in the visitor center the previous day (it did this in 1959, so Not That Long Ago Really). It was a little nerve-wracking but also very cool. It rained on us most of the hike, which was dispiriting but probably more pleasant than the grueling-sun alternative. Afterwards, we drove Chain of Craters Road, and got out in a few places to hike across lava flows crossing the old road (1979 -- this gave a much more visceral sense of the recentness than watching video clips, even much more recent video clips), through a huge petroglyph field, and across the lava flow covering the road we were in fact on. Sometimes we could see the steam plume rising from where the current lava flow was reaching the water, some kilometers east. We had no desire whatsoever to get closer to it, given the clouds of hydrochloric acid and tiny bits of flying glass created by lava flows hitting seawater.

The next day we drove up to the Hilo area to see various waterfalls and did some shopping. We bought fantastic jam, some cookies, sarongs, a Christmas present for my mom (hi, Mom!), and a bigger suitcase to fit the art we'd gotten in Kona that turned out to be just this much too big to fit in the big suitcase we had.

Part 4: Maui

This is where they put the nice beaches! After our flight arrived, we checked into the astoundingly wonderful bed-and-breakfast, went out for brunch, and spent the rest of the day at the beach swimming and digging and snorkeling and eating fruit and having a generally lovely time in the pretty, soft sand.

The next day, we went to see Iao Valley, which was the site of a major battle in uniting the Hawaiian islands, and discovered that our legs were really sore from swimming. Mine didn't feel all that tired, but the right one kept trembling. We had planned to go to the aquarium afterwards, but it was more expensive than we'd realized and nobody seemed very enthusiastic, so Cathy picked out a beach with really big waves to try for better boogie-boarding than at the first beach and we went there instead. I thought that the brown churning water at the shoreline indicated quite clearly that swimming at this location was a good way to get covered in sand and probably injured (especially given the trembly leg), so I sat in the shade and read my book while the other three got covered in sand and in some cases injured. Then after we'd all cleaned up we climbed on top of the roof of the main house to watch the sun set.

Oh yeah, and somewhere in there we drank, and then ate, fresh coconuts. Not quite the sort of impractical beverage I was thinking, but any foodstuff that requires a machete to properly appreciate is only so sensible.

[1] In Volcano, we rented two rooms in what turned out to be a great big house with a fully-equipped kitchen and nice common areas to hang out in -- the rooms themselves were pretty lousy (and at opposite ends of the house -- one on the top floor and one in the basement) but the common areas were pleasant, and it was nice to have a kitchen. I liked it better the first day, when we were the only people there; the second day it was fully booked and a lot of random people kept wandering through and making me nervous while we were eating dinner.
tiger_spot: (magic)
Part 1: Kona

This area is on the west side of the big island. We visited two historical parks, lounged about the hotel pool (we were going to go snorkeling, but there was a tsunami warning so all the beaches were closed), went snorkeling the next day, poked around a number of interesting art galleries and shops, and saw a palace and the first church established in Hawaii.

Cathy is terribly upset with me for not previously revealing that snorkeling is her favorite thing in the world. Andres is much less pleased with it, and tends to flail. A sea turtle swam under me! I didn't see it until it was right there (you're not supposed to bother them), and I hope my subsequent shrieking and pointing didn't disturb it too much. We've seen a lot of other sea turtles, too, mostly hanging around just offshore as we've been walking along looking at tidepools and things.

Part 2: Macadamia Meadows

Yesterday, we collected Brooks from the airport and headed south to a little bed and breakfast / macadamia nut farm. It's a very pleasant place. It was raining when we got in yesterday, so we mostly lounged about and read. We discovered that the little green geckos that live everywhere bark at sunset.

Today, we had breakfast with the very talkative proprietor and two other guests, then got a brief tour of the macadamia nut orchard. We picked up lots of nuts while we were out, and got to try fresh, unprocessed macadamia nuts, which taste rather different from the dried kind you get everywhere but a macadamia nut farm (a little almondy or coconutty, depending on how moist they are).

Then we headed out to the Green Sands Beach, which was very difficult to get to. We took the car down a horrible pitted one-lane road, then parked it and walked another couple miles over a series of rocky, braided off-road vehicle ruts, then climbed down this giant pile of slightly-fused-together sand to a tiny cove where the waves tried very hard to kill anything living that might have the temerity to approach the waterline. Some idiots went swimming and boogie-boarding. (We know they survived because on the way back they tore past us in their erosion-mobile, kicking up giant clouds of red dust.) Upon return, we all took showers and decided not to do anything else today.

Tomorrow: to Volcano!
tiger_spot: (Default)
We are in contract.


There was quite a bit of excitement this afternoon when, about an hour before our agent presented our offer, she discovered that there was another offer. So we increased our offer at the last minute -- I suspect that we are paying more than we could have gotten away with, but it is a nice house.

I kind of wonder about these offers -- there was apparently one just before we saw the place, which the sellers had counteroffered, and then those offerers didn't follow up, and this concentration of offers seems peculiar to me given that it's been on the market since May.

We are gonna be busy for some time here.
tiger_spot: (Default)
My parents are probably moving to Toronto in March. This is yay, because it means I can go visit.

What should they know about Toronto?

What should I know about Toronto?


Sep. 13th, 2008 03:22 pm
tiger_spot: (Default)
Last weekend [ profile] andres_s_p_b, [ profile] brooksmoses, [ profile] chinders, and I went camping up at Lassen Volcanic National Park. It was a most excellent park.

Pictures ahoy! )
tiger_spot: (Default)
This was the least awful day at sea. I didn't have to go lie down because I was sick even once.

In the afternoon, the magician from earlier did an escape-artist act in the pool on deck. That was kind of neat, although the sides of the pool blocked the view so we couldn't see the actual escaping part.

The evening entertainment was a couple of contortionist/acrobats who have performed with Cirque du Soleil before, Ilya and Valerie. That was an unexpected kind of show. They're very good. I liked the way they arranged things to play up Valerie's strength and not just her gracefulness. They were both incredibly strong and very very graceful indeed.

Then we packed up our luggage and set it outside our stateroom to be carried off the ship, retaining only what we needed to get up very early the next morning and be bussed to the airport.

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Bergen seems like a very nice little city. The parents had a geocache to find somewhere in the park up on the bluff, so they and C & C went off to take the funicular up the hill that is the park and hike back down while Andrés and I located the museums.

We were going to start with one of the art museums, but they weren't open yet so we headed to the cultural history museum instead. It was on the university campus, in a pleasantly landscaped area. Most of the exhibits had English text available somewhere, either on the walls or in little printouts you could carry around, so we learned about Russian icons and theatre set design and vikings and Ibsen and Egyptians and so forth like that. Some exhibits didn't have any English text, so we learned a rather different set of things about Neolithic people and indigenous Americans (there was some kind of diagram of a two-chambered... bong, maybe, we couldn't figure it out, in the Amazon area, which I am desperately curious about but have no useful terms to search with) and some kind of church mission trip to Madagascar and weaving and stuff.

Then we went to the natural history museum, which was included in our admission to the cultural history museum. They had an impressive hall full of whale skeletons, along with some preserved organs (seal lungs, orca parts, and a really creepy-looking fetal dolphin) and miscellaneous pickled invertebrates. There was a room of skulls, lots of interesting mineral samples, and a very old display about dinosaurs, including a little diorama constructed of cheap plastic toys. There was also a large collection of tatty late nineteenth century taxidermy, as seems common in European museums, but we only got a brief glimpse of that while we rushed by as the museum was closing.

We still had an hour between the time the museum closed and the time we needed to be back on the ship, so we strolled up the other way along the tourist-oriented dock area, poking at shops and things. A restaurant offered among its specials elk and whale steaks. There were seal skins for sale in the open-air market. That was a little disturbing.

Back on the ship, the evening entertainment was Tango Buenos Aires. The dancers seemed very skilled, and I liked some parts of the dancing (such as the leaping; the peculiar yo-yo interlude was also neat), but Argentinian tango seems to involve an awful lot of waving the legs around at the knees, which just looks silly.
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Our legs were tired out (and it was raining), so we decided to spend today mostly museum-going. C & C went off to the aquarium, and the rest of us bought 3-museum passes at the tourist office. We were in fact the first people to purchase the 3-museum passes, and nobody at the museums quite knew what to do with us.

Our first stop was the Ålesund museum, which includes exhibits about the history of the town (lots of fishing and trading; burnt down in 1904; rebuilt in Art Deco style in, by law, stone this time), models of boats, replicas of old offices (photographer, dentist, barber, and hatmaker's window), a lifeboat that crossed the Atlantic, some stuffed seals, and assorted WWII relics including a great many radios.

Stop 2 was the fishing museum, where you can learn more than you ever wanted to know about cod liver oil extraction, how to make a barrel, all kinds of scary things about fish drying and shipping procedures (they don't throw out the fish that goes bad, they just label it "sour"), and what a lot of salt cod in one small ex-warehouse smells like.

Then we went back to the ship for lunch. Mom was tired and stayed in with her book while Dad, Andrés, and I went to try to work out the buses to get to the third museum, which was about 5 km out of town. We failed. So we tried to walk, only to discover that about halfway there the road becomes a freeway along which foot traffic is not allowed, so, dejected and weary, we staggered back to the ship on our bloody stumps. (Actually, Dad and Andrés went and got postcards. I was pretty much in bloody-stump territory, though.) It may have been for the best, though; looking through the brochures later, it was unclear whether one part of the museum was even open that day, and the other would have closed at 3:00, which is about when we were trying to get out there.

The evening's entertainment was The Wonders of Charles Bach, a decent little magic show.
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Flåm is very picturesque, by which I mean you should look at the pictures and not bother going.

The pictures. And a bunch of text. )
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At least this time the boat was supposed to be at sea. Less miserable than hanging out off Plymouth in a storm, but still not good.

I met a friendly passenger who shared her stock of crystallized ginger, which either helped some or took my mind off it a bit.


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