kareina: (me)
Early this week my student told me that the uni travel agent was having troubles booking us lodging in Finland--that they were only able to find one room, a double, available anywhere within 60 km of the university in Oulu, where we were going to do some work on the microprobe. Neither my student nor I wanted to share a room, so I let him have the hotel, and I went onto the couch surfing web page to find a better option.

I so win! My host is a delightful woman who was kind enough to drive to work yesterday, so that she could pick me and my luggage up from the uni. She brought me home at 16:00 and then cooked me an amazing pasta with avocado sauce (that also involved garlic, chili, lime, and fresh herbs) for dinner, we had way too much desert (I had baked cookies for her, her friend who also joined us brought ice cream, and she had some really yummy left over cheesecake she had made with Bailey's Irish Cream). Then she, her boyfriend (who had also joined us for dinner), and I went out to The Koitelinkoski rapids, on the river Kiiminki. This was a beautiful adventure, with some nice walks along the trail--she managed (with his help) to find that geocashe that eluded her last time she was out there, and we also relaxed for a bit and sipped tea on the rocks while we watched the river happily rolling over other rocks.

Then we went back to her place where I did my yoga and was in bed soon after 21:00, which meant I actually got 9 hours of sleep (and thus now feel completely over that cold that I had had on Tuesday). This morning she lent me her son's bike and we pedaled our way along lovely tree-lined trails to the uni, not quite 3 km from her door, and I spent the morning using the microprobe with my student, and then, while it analyzed the points we had selected, I met my cousin for lunch and a short walk, then more microprobe time before meeting my host at 16:00 for a return to her place, yummy left overs for dinner (both hers, and some of the lasagna I had brought with me), and then she went off to choir, and I am enjoying a quiet evening at her place with her internet. Tomorrow we do the last of the microprobe analyses and then return to Luleå. With luck I will get home on time to join the rest of Aurora Band and spend the evening making music.

This is so much a better way of traveling than staying in a hotel, and my host here is the sort of person I would like to keep in touch with.
kareina: (stitched)
We had a couple of delightful couch surfers the first part of this week. They arrived Tuesday afternoon and stayed through to Friday morning. She is from California (grew up in Santa Cruz, went to UC Berkeley for undergrad, and is now at UCLA for a PhD studying butterflys), and her boyfriend/traveling companion is from Portugal--they met because he wrote some code to make a camera follow a butterfly in a wind tunnel). We brought them with us to Choir on Tuesday, which turned out to be a very good thing, since she since soprano, and if she hadn't been there we would have had only one soprano, and they both had fun. Wednesday they cooked us dinner and we stayed up too late chatting, and Thursday we took them to the Frostheim arts and science night, which they also enjoyed. (He had never heard of the SCA--she had heard of us, but never been to any SCA activities--if any of you know people in her area that might be a good SCA contact let me know and I can forward details to her.)

They left Friday during the day, and Friday night we finally got around to starting dealing with the one major issue with the house that we have known about since the inspection before we bought the place. One of the rooms downstairs has a raised floor, which had mold growing under it. The rest of the basement has painted concrete floors, and no problems. We are fairly certain that the mold under the raised floor didn't start growing till the previous owners switched out the old wood stove heating system for the down hole heat exchange system (which is what wikipedia says is the English term for "bergvärme")--wood stoves dry out the air much better than the mix of electric and geothermal heating we now have. We have been meaning to take out that floor since moving in, but hadn’t gotten to it till now, since there were plenty of other things higher on the priority list.

Friday [livejournal.com profile] lord_kjar took off the top layer of that floor—a not too bad looking fake wood floor that is actually only a few millimetres thick, and came off with ease. Under that there is a red fake tile layer that looks like it may well date to 1966, when the house was built. It is harder to pull off, and below that is a layer of plywood held up by boards which have layers of insulation between them. That is where the mold is growing. He got the top layer off and did a bit of removing a corner of the rest, to see how tough it is going to be. It will be doable, but not easy, and it was getting late, so we shut the door to that room and went to sleep. Even with the door shut the rest of downstairs was smelling of mold the next morning, so we opened the window in there (on this occasion it may be a good thing that the winter has been so darned mild—with the temps above zero, again, this week, it isn’t a hardship to leave that window open) and covered the under-door crack with cloth from the rag bag. With luck we will get a chance to finish removing the rest of that stuff and clean the underlying concrete with bleach to get rid of the last of the mold before we paint it.

Saturday morning we went into the city center for the Frostheim annual meeting, where I was disappointed to discover that just because I can understand everything in Swedish at my SFI course does not mean that I can follow everything said in a Shire business meeting. Ah well, I did catch more of it than last year, which was more than the year before. Eventually it will all make sense.

After the meeting we met up with some of the folk from our Choir for some random drive-by performances. We went into one of the malls, found a nice spot near the escalators, and sang a song, then quickly left, went into another mall, found a nice spot and sang a song, and then again at a third mall before deciding we were done for the day. While most people passing through the malls paid us no attention, we were pleased to note that at each stop there were at least a couple of people who paused to listen.

After the performance a number of us went back to our house, where we baked home-made pizza and cookies. Yum! The good news is that the six of us were enough to finish all of the cookies straight away, so I am not tempted to eat left over cookies. The better news is that there was left over pizza, so I didn’t need to cook today.

Saturday evening our next set of couch surfers arrived. These two live in Uppsala, where they are PhD students. She comes from Solvania, and he is French. They have a conference in town this week, and wanted to come early to do some sight-seeing and ice skating. They actually flew in Saturday morning, but wanted to have time for adventures, so they walked from the airport to the city, stopping to play on the ice along the way. Sadly for them, spring is seriously early this year, so the ice was kind of went and not so good for skating, but they did find the kick-sleds the city provides, and enjoyed those.

This morning I got up early and walked into uni to do some photocopying. Our couch surfers slept in a bit later, such that they were walking to uni, with the plan to visit Teknikins Hus (the cool science museum on campus) as I was walking home, so we stopped and chatted a bit before heading our separate ways. We met up again in the evening at the Folk Music session in Gammelstad—they enjoyed listening to the music as much as I always do, and they also enjoyed watching a bit of our folk dance class, but they went out and explored Gammelstad for the second half of class and then rode home with us, where they gave us some gifts for hosting them--a photocopy of a book on nålbindning for Uppsala (part of the reason she sent us the request is that she also likes nålbindning) and a wooden needle she had made.

Tomorrow it is back to class and back to work. We don't have any any more couch surfers scheduled--after getting three requests in a row so quickly I have set my status back to "no" so that we can focus on project and work for a bit. But they were all such nice people hopefully I will remember to turn the status back to "maybe" in a few weeks or so.
kareina: (me)
This week was the first week of my Swedish for Immigrants Course. but before I get to how it went, let me re-cap the diagnostic test I took before the course started )

The way this program works is that the school is set up to make it possible for everyone to take the course half time--no matter if the rest of your life gives you mornings or after lunch free. They have five different classes Mentorstid (mentor's time, which meets Mondays starting at 08:15, or Thursdays at noon) Hör (hearing/listening, which meets Tuesdays starting at 08:15, or Fridays at noon), Skriv (writing, which meets Wednesdays starting at 08:15, or Thursdays at 14:00), Läs (reading, which meets Thursdays starting at 08:15, or Wednesdays at 14:00), Gramatik (Grammar, which meets Fridays starting at 8:15, or Mondays at 14:00). In addition to all of that there is Stuga/handledning (home room/tutoring, which meets every morning at 10:00 (save Mondays, which has a double dose of Mentorstid), or at all times in the afternoon that isn't taken by something else.

Monday's class )

Tuesday's class )

Wednesday's class )

Thursday's class )

Friday's class )

I will have to go into detail about how the tutoring sessions go on another occasion, since I have been reading email/LJ followed by typing for 2.5 hours now, and am tired. Time for yoga and bed! (Remind me to mention last night's couch surfers from Finland on their way to Stockholm for a yoga conference on another occasion, too. Oh, wait, that might count...)
kareina: (Default)
We had a very nice, largely lazy weekend. We did host a couple of couch surfers from the Netherlands. A delightful young couple. Greeted them with a late lunch upon their arrival, took them out to Gammelstad to see the open-air museum and church village, then took them to the summer cabin of our folk dance teacher because they wanted to see the sea, since they are doing a journey around the Baltic, and the summer cabin is on the coast. While we were there I learned about Åkerbär, which they described as the world's most aromatic berry. They had a very small bucket full of them (the berries being very difficult to find and to pick), and let us try one each. Yum! I hope that when we find a house to buy the land has some of those growing on them.

On Monday morning I joined the rest of the full department (SBN, or Samhällsbyggnad och naturresurser, which translates to Civil, Enviromental and Natural Resources Engineering) departing for the town of Arvidsjuar for a "Kick-Off Retreat" to start the new school year by getting to know our colleagues. The retreat was listed as "mandatory", and 173 of us (of around 350) actually showed up. I know that at least some folk had good excuses--the PhD student across the hall from me and his wife are both in the department--she is one week over due with their second child, so they stayed home to keep waiting rather than attend the retreat).

The conference hotel is a full two hour's bus ride from our uni, and by the time we arrived my back, which had been feeling much better, was once again quite unhappy with me. So after the opening ceremony I checked with the front desk of the hotel, and yes, their spa does include massage. So I booked one. The soonest opportunity they had was at 14:00. My talk was scheduled for 15:00, so I booked a 50 minute massage. It helped. When first I lay down on the table my lower back hurt just laying there. By the time she was done it only hurt when she pushed on the sore muscles or I needed to move.

The down side of having trained as a massage therapist myself is that I tend to observe their technique and a running evaluation of their work runs through my mind. I opted not to give her feedback, because after the massage I needed to get dressed and head downstairs to give my talk straight away. But, having thought it out, I will share it with the lot of you. Perhaps someone somewhere, will benefit from it.

Her massage was in general good--she has a confidant touch, and a very reasonable pattern to her work--starting with the back and shoulders, progressing to the legs, and then working on the front of the legs and arms. However, in a normal massage I also like the feet and scalp/face/and neck worked on as well. (I suppose that it is possible that she does these normally, but cut them to give my lower back extra attention, since I had told her that was the problem area.)

But the thing that I found really disconcerting was her tendency to let go and walk away from the table to get more massage oil or another towel to cover my back when she moved to my legs, or to adjust the arm rests on the table before I turned over. (note: I hadn't seen a table with such arm rests before, I think I like it) When I was in massage school one of my teachers cautioned us to never let go of our clients while working. She suggested that we treat them like a horse--maintain a contact as you walk around their body so that they know where you are when they can't see you. If you need to get more oil keep the back of your hand against them while pouring oil into it with the other hand. I so agree with this logic! Every time she let go and walked away I wondered if she was done, already. That moment of confusion adds a bit of tension that takes some time to sooth back out when she returned to work. It would have been better if she kept the contact when she had to do other things. Sigh.

All in all I didn't think she did as good of a job as [livejournal.com profile] lord_kjar does. Her work is clearly mostly a memorized pattern, slightly modified to suit the needs of the body she is working on. His massage is always based on "listening" with his fingers to see how the body is doing, where the knots are, and what needs work. He never gives the same massage twice. However, if the massage wasn't as good as what I could have had at home, still it was quite good, and had me feeling better enough to do my talk in comfort.

My talk seemed to go over fairly well. Since our department has everything from Architects to Scientists I aimed it at a general audience, and simply explained my project title, one small bit at a time, starting with "why 3D modeling", and then explaining every other phrase and ending with "how does one approach such a project,anyway?". My boss said it was well done, which I appreciate (and hope he remembers when it comes time to decide whether or not to renew my contract).

I enjoyed listing to many of the other talks. One which I found particularly interesting talked about using a cone filled with prisms to collect sunlight, then pipe it via fiber optic cables to be stored as heat and later converted to energy. The long term goal of the project is a system that can provide for all of the energy needs of a single home, with one cone and etc. Their test cone full of prisms collected the sunlight and concentrated it enough to burn holes in a bit of wood as soon as it was put into the path of the combined beam.

In the evening the instructed us to combine ourselves into groups based on the regions from which we come. I opted to join the "Asia and Oceania" group, both on the strength of my Australian passport and the fact that I lived in Japan till I was three. This meant that I was the only Australian and the only Japanese person in the group. Which is kind of surprising--our department is 43% foreign born. Our group had a large number of people from China, a bunch from India and from Iran, a few from other Asian locations, and me. After we were in groups we were instructed to come up with something to entertain people at dinner, preferably from our homelands. I decided as the token Australian I would stand on my head, since everything there is upside down compared to up here.

Therefore, when the department head opened the evening's entertainment by calling up the the group from China, who sang a song in Chinese, I followed and gave them my Australian/upside down intro and did a headstand. There was lots of very loud applause when I did it, and our department head gave me a hug and told me that she thought I was joking when I told her I would. From there we had offers of songs, stories and other bits of entertainment at random intervals for the rest of the evening, which made for a very enjoyable dinner. (Not that I was eating, of course. Dinner was scheduled to begin at 19:00, and I rarely, if ever, eat that late. Therefore the lady who organized the event had pre-ordered a plate for me served hours earlier--I had my meal in my room at 16:45, and was quite happy I did, since the food for everyone else didn't hit the table before 23:30.)

My back wasn't overjoyed with me for doing the head-stand, mind you, but between the massage, and the half an hour I spent in the sauna during the "relaxation" time before dinner it was mostly ok with me that night. Sadly, the bed was a bit on the soft side, and the pillows were dreadful polyester filled things that got me to complain on FB about my failure to bring one of my own feather pillows with me. I normally do bring at least one, but given the back issue I opted to keep my pack as light as possible this time, and regretted it. Luckily, I did bring my cloak in progress, so instead of having to use the dreadful polyester filled doona they hotel provided I took out the filling and used the doona cover as a sheet, with my cloak as a blanket, so at least the covers were nice.

Sadly, my back wasn't overly happy in the morning, and the bus ride home didn't help either, but once I was home I once again had access to massages from [livejournal.com profile] lord_kjar and the possibility of hanging from my hips from his upraised feet, which always helps my back feel better. So hopefully now that I am home the recovery will resume and I will soon be back to normal. I hope so, my exercise log is very disappointed with me this month, and it had been looking better than average before I hurt myself.

I have a week and a half to get it better before I fly to Stockholm, where I will meet my mother and then board a new plane to Copenhagen, where we will visit cousins who live there for the weekend before returning home for her visit here. She will be here for nearly a month, and I am looking forward to seeing her.
kareina: (BSE garnet)
When I woke up this morning the Alps were visible from my apartment. This is always a good thing, and had me start the day in a good mood, despite waking up kind of early in relation to when I went to sleep. Since it was also early with respect to the sun, which was still hiding below buildings and not causing much heat yet, I celebrated by going for a short walk. The walk came with a reward, as I passed a pile of good condition empty boxes that someone had flattened and left out near their trash; I've been needing more boxes to pack up the last of [livejournal.com profile] clovis_t's books, so I happily took them home with me. After the walk I took a short nap, and then went down to the lab, since today was the day I was scheduled to download the experiment that has been running for about 455 hours.

This involved meeting a co-worker for help, so I checked in with him, and he said that he'd be free in about an hour. Since it generally takes about that long to weld the powder into a new capsule, I set to the task. I had originally hoped to have two new capsules ready by the time this experiment ended so that I'd be ready to start the next one (we run two capsules in every experiment). Alas, my last two attempts at capsule welding ended in failure (which was most disappointing since five in a row before that worked perfectly on the first attempt). Today, though I worked slowly and carefully and was convinced I'd cleaned away all of the powder before pinching the ends of the capsule shut, still it managed to split open during the final weld, and the hour's work was for naught.

Once I'd cleaned up the tools my colleague was ready to help me download, and as we worked he asked "is this your last experiment till September?" I replied that I had hoped to have another ready to go by now, but the capsules have been splitting open on the weld, which is frustrating when they had been working so well a few weeks back. He then commented that it is always harder to weld during the summer, that the increased heat/humidity causes the powder to sick more than usual, meaning that the welds tend to split open. This news was strangely comforting, though I wish someone had mentioned this before! Thinking back on it, I first learned how to weld during last summer, when it was hot and humid, and found it to be very difficult. Then, over winter, I learned the trick of it, and got to the point where it nearly always worked, and then this summer, ever since it has gotten hot, I've been failing at what should be a doable task.

With this new information I promptly agreed that, yes, it is in fact, my last experiment till September, and I happily gave myself permission not to try welding again till it cools off! We finished downloading, and I extracted the capsules from their nest and went looking for the guy who mounts them into epoxy. He wasn't in, but it was close enough to mid-day that he could have been at lunch, so I headed back towards my office intending to look again later. On the way I ran into another couple of colleagues, and stopped to talk to them. Then I asked if they knew if the missing man is meant to be here today, and they let me know that there is a notice posted in the lift detailing the dates each of the support staff are taking their summer holidays. Since I always take the stairs I hadn't seen the notice. We checked, and sure enough, the guy will be gone all month. But my colleagues know where to find the recipe for mixing epoxy, and agree to meet me tomorrow to take care of that step with me, so if all goes well I can have this experiment ready for next week's microprobe session.

Since I was on a roll I then did more research on the funding application I want do submit for a research project and then this evening actually settled in to doing work with my current data. However, I did have to head home twice today for icy showers to make it possible to keep working in the heat. As a result I am pleased to report that I actually managed 8 full hours of work today, though it took from 7 am to 10 pm to manage it.

Now it is getting late and there is still yoga to be done, so I should probably head home and see how my houseguests are doing. Yesterday and the day before I didn't work in the evenings (which is normally my most productive time of day) because I'm hosting two delightful folk, one from Scotland, the other from California.
kareina: (BSE garnet)
When I woke up this morning the Alps were visible from my apartment. This is always a good thing, and had me start the day in a good mood, despite waking up kind of early in relation to when I went to sleep. Since it was also early with respect to the sun, which was still hiding below buildings and not causing much heat yet, I celebrated by going for a short walk. The walk came with a reward, as I passed a pile of good condition empty boxes that someone had flattened and left out near their trash; I've been needing more boxes to pack up the last of [livejournal.com profile] clovis_t's books, so I happily took them home with me. After the walk I took a short nap, and then went down to the lab, since today was the day I was scheduled to download the experiment that has been running for about 455 hours.

This involved meeting a co-worker for help, so I checked in with him, and he said that he'd be free in about an hour. Since it generally takes about that long to weld the powder into a new capsule, I set to the task. I had originally hoped to have two new capsules ready by the time this experiment ended so that I'd be ready to start the next one (we run two capsules in every experiment). Alas, my last two attempts at capsule welding ended in failure (which was most disappointing since five in a row before that worked perfectly on the first attempt). Today, though I worked slowly and carefully and was convinced I'd cleaned away all of the powder before pinching the ends of the capsule shut, still it managed to split open during the final weld, and the hour's work was for naught.

Once I'd cleaned up the tools my colleague was ready to help me download, and as we worked he asked "is this your last experiment till September?" I replied that I had hoped to have another ready to go by now, but the capsules have been splitting open on the weld, which is frustrating when they had been working so well a few weeks back. He then commented that it is always harder to weld during the summer, that the increased heat/humidity causes the powder to sick more than usual, meaning that the welds tend to split open. This news was strangely comforting, though I wish someone had mentioned this before! Thinking back on it, I first learned how to weld during last summer, when it was hot and humid, and found it to be very difficult. Then, over winter, I learned the trick of it, and got to the point where it nearly always worked, and then this summer, ever since it has gotten hot, I've been failing at what should be a doable task.

With this new information I promptly agreed that, yes, it is in fact, my last experiment till September, and I happily gave myself permission not to try welding again till it cools off! We finished downloading, and I extracted the capsules from their nest and went looking for the guy who mounts them into epoxy. He wasn't in, but it was close enough to mid-day that he could have been at lunch, so I headed back towards my office intending to look again later. On the way I ran into another couple of colleagues, and stopped to talk to them. Then I asked if they knew if the missing man is meant to be here today, and they let me know that there is a notice posted in the lift detailing the dates each of the support staff are taking their summer holidays. Since I always take the stairs I hadn't seen the notice. We checked, and sure enough, the guy will be gone all month. But my colleagues know where to find the recipe for mixing epoxy, and agree to meet me tomorrow to take care of that step with me, so if all goes well I can have this experiment ready for next week's microprobe session.

Since I was on a roll I then did more research on the funding application I want do submit for a research project and then this evening actually settled in to doing work with my current data. However, I did have to head home twice today for icy showers to make it possible to keep working in the heat. As a result I am pleased to report that I actually managed 8 full hours of work today, though it took from 7 am to 10 pm to manage it.

Now it is getting late and there is still yoga to be done, so I should probably head home and see how my houseguests are doing. Yesterday and the day before I didn't work in the evenings (which is normally my most productive time of day) because I'm hosting two delightful folk, one from Scotland, the other from California.
kareina: (me)
This weekend I hosted an Italian couch surfer who has been living in Japan for the past five years. Talk about a fabulous guest! Not only was he pleasant company to visit with (which meant I got some progress made on the underdress I started right after returning from Vienna), he also insisted on doing a bit of house-work in thanks for hosting me (which meant that I cleaned the loo whilst he did sweeping in the rest of the apartment), and he also gave me a singing lesson! In addition to the wonderfulness of the time he was at my place, he also had enough other things to do while in Milan that I was able to also spend hours on line in my office without neglecting my visitor. This morning he moved on to stay with another friend, but also invited me to join them at a concert at the Milan Conservatory.

I decided that it was about time I got out and did something cultural, so I opted to head out. He told me that the show started at 9 pm, but I didn’t manage to put the computer down early enough to walk there (about 35 minutes away), so I wound up taking the bus instead. This got me there with about 15 minutes to spare, and there was a queue, so I joined it. Despite this being Italy, it was a very orderly, well mannered queue. Normally when people here wish to be in the same place they funnel themselves in rather like a herd of cattle going through a gate, with much pushing and shoving. It was fascinating to see them line up and chat quietly amongst themselves with no pushing whatsoever. I guess that concerts at the Music Conservatory attract a different sort of crowd than I’ve seen elsewhere.

Since my friend was not visible in the line, I gave him a call, and he said that they were still about 15 minutes away. Therefore, as my place in line got close to the entrance of the building I slipped back one clump of people. The line moved slowly, but it was necessary to repeat the slipping back a few places in line trick a few times. Every so often someone would say "prego" indicating I should precede them, to which I would reply "mi amigo in arrivo" and they'd smile and go past me. Eventually someone replied with something complicated, and I had to say "non parlo italiano", to which he replied in perfect UK-accented English that he could use English if I preferred. We chatted a bit, and then my friends arrived, so the timing was good.

When we got into the entryway of the building we noticed that there was an entrance fee after all (I’d asked my guest that morning if there was a fee, and he said “no”). He looked kind of embarrassed, and quickly told me that since he hadn’t thought there was one, he would cover my entrance, and then proceeded to ask for 3 when we got to the top of the line. I would have been more than willing to pay for my own ticket, but since I thought it
sweet of him, I graciously accepted.

The concert involved his singing teacher, who was doing a spoken performance, and a small band (orchestra?) consisting of a bass, a violin, 4 assorted wind instrument, and a drum set complete with cymbals. The performance alternated between music and story-telling, which consisted of wonderful vocal variety--using different voices for different characters. Even though I couldn’t catch more than a few words of what he said, it was still a pleasure to listen to him. The musical interludes were definitely classical; it would have fit right in to any Warner Brother's cartoon. All in all a good evening: Good music, pleasant listing to the guy speaking Italian in a variety of voices, and good progress made on my current nålbinding project, followed by a pleasant 40 minute walk home.

Alas, summer has arrived in Milan in full force—I got home at 23:00, and it was still 30 C (86 F) out! Needless to say, all of the gelato shops I passed were doing booming business. I didn’t bother stopping though, since I’m not hungry at night, even for cold things. Thank goodness for cold showers; they make the heat bearable.
kareina: (me)
This weekend I hosted an Italian couch surfer who has been living in Japan for the past five years. Talk about a fabulous guest! Not only was he pleasant company to visit with (which meant I got some progress made on the underdress I started right after returning from Vienna), he also insisted on doing a bit of house-work in thanks for hosting me (which meant that I cleaned the loo whilst he did sweeping in the rest of the apartment), and he also gave me a singing lesson! In addition to the wonderfulness of the time he was at my place, he also had enough other things to do while in Milan that I was able to also spend hours on line in my office without neglecting my visitor. This morning he moved on to stay with another friend, but also invited me to join them at a concert at the Milan Conservatory.

I decided that it was about time I got out and did something cultural, so I opted to head out. He told me that the show started at 9 pm, but I didn’t manage to put the computer down early enough to walk there (about 35 minutes away), so I wound up taking the bus instead. This got me there with about 15 minutes to spare, and there was a queue, so I joined it. Despite this being Italy, it was a very orderly, well mannered queue. Normally when people here wish to be in the same place they funnel themselves in rather like a herd of cattle going through a gate, with much pushing and shoving. It was fascinating to see them line up and chat quietly amongst themselves with no pushing whatsoever. I guess that concerts at the Music Conservatory attract a different sort of crowd than I’ve seen elsewhere.

Since my friend was not visible in the line, I gave him a call, and he said that they were still about 15 minutes away. Therefore, as my place in line got close to the entrance of the building I slipped back one clump of people. The line moved slowly, but it was necessary to repeat the slipping back a few places in line trick a few times. Every so often someone would say "prego" indicating I should precede them, to which I would reply "mi amigo in arrivo" and they'd smile and go past me. Eventually someone replied with something complicated, and I had to say "non parlo italiano", to which he replied in perfect UK-accented English that he could use English if I preferred. We chatted a bit, and then my friends arrived, so the timing was good.

When we got into the entryway of the building we noticed that there was an entrance fee after all (I’d asked my guest that morning if there was a fee, and he said “no”). He looked kind of embarrassed, and quickly told me that since he hadn’t thought there was one, he would cover my entrance, and then proceeded to ask for 3 when we got to the top of the line. I would have been more than willing to pay for my own ticket, but since I thought it
sweet of him, I graciously accepted.

The concert involved his singing teacher, who was doing a spoken performance, and a small band (orchestra?) consisting of a bass, a violin, 4 assorted wind instrument, and a drum set complete with cymbals. The performance alternated between music and story-telling, which consisted of wonderful vocal variety--using different voices for different characters. Even though I couldn’t catch more than a few words of what he said, it was still a pleasure to listen to him. The musical interludes were definitely classical; it would have fit right in to any Warner Brother's cartoon. All in all a good evening: Good music, pleasant listing to the guy speaking Italian in a variety of voices, and good progress made on my current nålbinding project, followed by a pleasant 40 minute walk home.

Alas, summer has arrived in Milan in full force—I got home at 23:00, and it was still 30 C (86 F) out! Needless to say, all of the gelato shops I passed were doing booming business. I didn’t bother stopping though, since I’m not hungry at night, even for cold things. Thank goodness for cold showers; they make the heat bearable.
kareina: (me)
Last weekend was largely spent working--I now have the next two capsules filled and welded properly shut and ready to run in my next experiment. I also managed to visit the other SCA house in Milan to spend a few social hours and work on my underdress in progress. This week has been even busier with work--I now have a complete list of which samples need further analytical work, and, more importantly, which experiments I think we may want to re-run. I finally finished that task late last night, and sent my boss a long e-mail detailing which ones I think might need re-doing, and why, and then asking him if we should focus first on doing new experiments, or if we should select one of these for revision next. I want to get my next experiment set up tomorrow, since I fly to Norway way too early the next morning, and it is an efficient use of my time to have experiments running whilst I'm out of town.

In between work I've been sending out couchsurfing requests for the various places we will be in Norway. Unfortunately, the first few days we are in Oslo happens to coincide with something called "Eurovision", and as a result finding a place to stay is difficult since there are so many people who are arriving in Oslo then. Silly popular culture to schedule an event that conflicts with my travel plans without telling me, anyway. However, even if we don't find places to stay, I'm told that in Norway one may legally camp anywhere that is at least 150 meters away from a building, so if all else fails we will pick up a cheap tent and head for the woods. (We do have places to stay every other day we need them, it is only the first few days in the Oslo area that are up in the air).

This morning I received a copy of uncorrected proofs of a paper for which I'm the co-author, and, having reached a breaking point in what I'd been working on last night, I actually had time to read through them and send the primary author a number of suggested changes.

I have no idea how often I'll be able to access Internet while we are in Norway, so if you don't hear from me after we depart until after 7 June it will be because the answer turned out to be "not often".
kareina: (me)
Last weekend was largely spent working--I now have the next two capsules filled and welded properly shut and ready to run in my next experiment. I also managed to visit the other SCA house in Milan to spend a few social hours and work on my underdress in progress. This week has been even busier with work--I now have a complete list of which samples need further analytical work, and, more importantly, which experiments I think we may want to re-run. I finally finished that task late last night, and sent my boss a long e-mail detailing which ones I think might need re-doing, and why, and then asking him if we should focus first on doing new experiments, or if we should select one of these for revision next. I want to get my next experiment set up tomorrow, since I fly to Norway way too early the next morning, and it is an efficient use of my time to have experiments running whilst I'm out of town.

In between work I've been sending out couchsurfing requests for the various places we will be in Norway. Unfortunately, the first few days we are in Oslo happens to coincide with something called "Eurovision", and as a result finding a place to stay is difficult since there are so many people who are arriving in Oslo then. Silly popular culture to schedule an event that conflicts with my travel plans without telling me, anyway. However, even if we don't find places to stay, I'm told that in Norway one may legally camp anywhere that is at least 150 meters away from a building, so if all else fails we will pick up a cheap tent and head for the woods. (We do have places to stay every other day we need them, it is only the first few days in the Oslo area that are up in the air).

This morning I received a copy of uncorrected proofs of a paper for which I'm the co-author, and, having reached a breaking point in what I'd been working on last night, I actually had time to read through them and send the primary author a number of suggested changes.

I have no idea how often I'll be able to access Internet while we are in Norway, so if you don't hear from me after we depart until after 7 June it will be because the answer turned out to be "not often".
kareina: (me)
I was up way too late last night--went on a driving tour around the city looking at the pretty buildings lit up at night, and didn't get home till after 11pm, and I still needed to do yoga before going to sleep. However, since I had a talk to do at the confrence today, I still got up before 7 and enjoyed a nice bike ride in. Took slightly longer than usual because I stopped along the way to take a couple of photos. I'll try to make time to upload them soonish (though possibly not till next week, since I'm not bringing the computer to the SCA event in Germany this weekend). Got my presentation uploaded onto their computer with no worries, and then relaxed and worked on nalbinding while listening to the morning talks. Mine was the last one before lunch, and I've already posted on my other blog about the best conference conversation ever. I took the scenic route home after the confrence,and got a few more photos along the way.

I finally managed to eat something in France that wasn't dreadful cafeteria food. The conference is being held at de l'Institut Aéronautique et Spatial (IAS), which is far enough from the city center that there aren't any restaurants, caffes or grocery stores within walking distance. Therefore they provided us free meals at the cafeteria. The less said about their overcooked veg and uninspiring offerings the better. So since today got out early I went into town on a quest for a little something better to eat. I didn't want to be bothered with actually going into a restaurant, so instead I hit a crepe stand and had one filled with a rather nice hazelnut spread and a banana. The hazelnut spread is the first one I've seen that doesn't have chocolate in it. I was please to try it, because I rather like hazelnuts, but don't like chocolate at all).

Ok, perhaps my food comments aren't fair--the mini croissants and other pastries they gave us each day for the morning coffee break were really yummy. I think I had four the first day, and six on the second and third days. Only the fact that I prefer to eat only a little at a time, but often over the course of the day kept me from eating more. Perhaps I should have filled my bag with them. Nah, if I'd have done that I'd have eaten them all at one sitting and then my tum would have hurt from over-filling. Probably better the way I did it.

I've just turned down a chance to accompany my host to a puppet show. I had thought to go, but I've got a hint of a headache, so I think I'll take a nice hot shower, do yoga, and get to bed early, so as to be awake on time to head to the airport in the morning.
kareina: (me)
I was up way too late last night--went on a driving tour around the city looking at the pretty buildings lit up at night, and didn't get home till after 11pm, and I still needed to do yoga before going to sleep. However, since I had a talk to do at the confrence today, I still got up before 7 and enjoyed a nice bike ride in. Took slightly longer than usual because I stopped along the way to take a couple of photos. I'll try to make time to upload them soonish (though possibly not till next week, since I'm not bringing the computer to the SCA event in Germany this weekend). Got my presentation uploaded onto their computer with no worries, and then relaxed and worked on nalbinding while listening to the morning talks. Mine was the last one before lunch, and I've already posted on my other blog about the best conference conversation ever. I took the scenic route home after the confrence,and got a few more photos along the way.

I finally managed to eat something in France that wasn't dreadful cafeteria food. The conference is being held at de l'Institut Aéronautique et Spatial (IAS), which is far enough from the city center that there aren't any restaurants, caffes or grocery stores within walking distance. Therefore they provided us free meals at the cafeteria. The less said about their overcooked veg and uninspiring offerings the better. So since today got out early I went into town on a quest for a little something better to eat. I didn't want to be bothered with actually going into a restaurant, so instead I hit a crepe stand and had one filled with a rather nice hazelnut spread and a banana. The hazelnut spread is the first one I've seen that doesn't have chocolate in it. I was please to try it, because I rather like hazelnuts, but don't like chocolate at all).

Ok, perhaps my food comments aren't fair--the mini croissants and other pastries they gave us each day for the morning coffee break were really yummy. I think I had four the first day, and six on the second and third days. Only the fact that I prefer to eat only a little at a time, but often over the course of the day kept me from eating more. Perhaps I should have filled my bag with them. Nah, if I'd have done that I'd have eaten them all at one sitting and then my tum would have hurt from over-filling. Probably better the way I did it.

I've just turned down a chance to accompany my host to a puppet show. I had thought to go, but I've got a hint of a headache, so I think I'll take a nice hot shower, do yoga, and get to bed early, so as to be awake on time to head to the airport in the morning.
kareina: (me)
I finally managed to get back on line today, now to see if I can remember what I've been up to while off line...

Sunday: Got up and went out to the airport. Cleared security and settled down with the computer and worked a bit more preparing slides for my talk at the confrence. Shut down with just enough time to spare to run to the loo before the scheduled boarding time. Got back from that necessary errand, and they weren't boarding. I asked at the desk and was told "they only just landed". Ok. Sit down and wait a bit. After a while decided I may as well do some yoga.

A good half an hour later noticed some people talking with the gate and being handed things, so wandered over and discovered that the airline (Air France) provides passengers with coupons good for a drink at the bar if their flight is delayed. Being a water drinker, and having a full Camelbak with me, I decided not to bother. Asked if she had an idea of timing--should I turn my computer back on? She said she didn't know, it could be five minutes, or could be much longer. So I read for a while, and eventually we boarded the plane. Pity they couldn't announce the delay sooner--I'd have kept working. Oh well. I did sent a text message to my couch surfing host to let him know that the flight was delayed.

The plane was the cutest little thing--just wide enough to have one passenger on one side of the isle, and two on the other. I could stand up straight in it, but if I'd have been about three inches taller I'd have had to bend. (One of my colleagues caught that flight the day before and said that he couldn't stand up straight on the plane.) It was a cloudy day, so no Alps view this time, but the flight was nice and smooth, and I even got a nap. (Needed it after shorting myself on sleep working the week before flying.)

Once I was off the plane and on board the bus I sent a new text message to my host letting him know I was on the way, and he replied saying that he was relaxing on the river, and gave me directions on how to find the group. This has to be one of the best things about couchsurfing. If I had opted to stay in a hotel, like most of the other conference attendees, I wouldn't have been able to wander down to the river which wends its way through Toulouse on a lovely Sunday evening and join a group of people (exchanging the ritual kisses on the cheek) and be offered a beer. (No, I didn't actually accept, not being a beer drinker, but it was nice that they offered.)

After a pleasant visit we scattered and my host took me back to the home he shares with several flat-mates. My, it is a beautiful place! The back garden is enchanting, and the "granite" counter top is lovely. He had some errands to run that evening, so I worked more on my speech.

Monday I got up and walked the short way back to the local metro station and attempted to check out one of the city bikes. The machine will speak English, and it did accept my bank card. However, when it claimed to be printing a receipt, which is needed to actually obtain the bike, nothing came out. So I decided to walk to the conference. GoogleMaps claimed it would be 1 hour, 20 minutes to walk, and, as it turned out, that is how long it took me. However, I took a slightly more direct route--I followed the path it suggested up to the point where it wanted me to cross the canal. From there I simply followed the bike path along the canal to the conference site. I was only 15 minutes late, so if I hadn't have spent 30 minutes trying to check out a bike, I'd have been on time.

Monday's talks were on topics which are not very related to my research, so while I felt bad to be spending more attention on my computer screen, where I was finishing up my own talk, I also didn't feel crushed to be missing something relevant to what I'm studying. I managed to get a good solid draft done by mid afternoon, so I was able to give the later talks my undivided attention.

After the conference I tried the nearby bike station, and this time it worked, so I peddled home. Riding an upright again really makes me miss my recumbent trike! I hope that the new wheel (to replace the one damaged in shipping) arrives soon, so that I can ride it again. The canal path is lovely, and it is really a pleasant trip.

Monday evening I joined my host at a local venue. It is an old, pretty, church, which is now host on Monday evenings to a variety of different entertainments. They offer food (only 3 Euros for dinner!) to go with the entertainment. When we arrived there was a man standing on a podium doing a reading of some sort. Since it was in French I have no idea what it was, but it probably wasn't humour, since the audience wasn't laughing, but instead sitting in respectful silence.

We waited in the crowd at the bar by the entrance while he read, and when he finished and the applause started the guys behind the bar finally started taking orders again, and my host was able to purchase the tickets to get his food. (It was too late at night for me to be hungry.) While we waited I saw a few people smoking, but was delighted to note that with the ceiling so very high and the fresh air coming in the door every time people opened it I couldn't actually smell the smoke. Therefore I was willing to stay. We then found a table near the stage and sat down and talked until the next act was introduced. A group of eleven women who sang for us, accompanied by another playing an accordion. They were lovely, and I very much enjoyed it (fortunately, I'm rather used to not understanding the words to songs, after years in the SCA).

Alas, over time the smoke managed to get thick enough to descend all the way down to floor level (the ceiling was at least three times as high as the narrow width of the room), and eventually I had to leave. Fortunately, I was able to shower and wash the smell out of my hair, and I left my clothes outside in the garden overnight, by which time they aired out enough that I was willing to bring them back in again.

My host went back out to another gathering, but I opted to stay in, do my yoga, and get ready for bed. In the process I succeeded in uninstalling my wireless, so that the next time my computer turned on it re-installed it, without whatever issues it had been having, and I could finally see wireless networks again. I couldn't actually access any just then though, since my host was out, and I didn't have a password.

Tuesday (today) I succeeded in checking out a bike on my first try, and had a lovely ride in. Spent the morning attending interesting talks, one of which actually inspired an interest in a possible future research direction. During lunch I obtained the password to log into the internet provided to us conference attendees, and, Since I happen to know one of the co-authors of the above mentioned paper (way down on the list) I sent him an e-mail asking about it. It turns out that the research team there recently lost someone to death, so he advises waiting till they've finished the resultant restructuring before even thinking about projects in that direction.

I'm now back at my host's house and enjoying a bit of relaxation time. This evening the plan is to accompany one of the housemates (the one who doesn't speak English) to see some of the pretty sights of the town--apparently they light them up at night.

I should also practice my talk for tomorrow...I fly back to Milan on Thursday morning (the only flight on Wednesday would have required leaving before the conference ended), and then to Germany for an SCA event in a castle on Friday.
kareina: (me)
I finally managed to get back on line today, now to see if I can remember what I've been up to while off line...

Sunday: Got up and went out to the airport. Cleared security and settled down with the computer and worked a bit more preparing slides for my talk at the confrence. Shut down with just enough time to spare to run to the loo before the scheduled boarding time. Got back from that necessary errand, and they weren't boarding. I asked at the desk and was told "they only just landed". Ok. Sit down and wait a bit. After a while decided I may as well do some yoga.

A good half an hour later noticed some people talking with the gate and being handed things, so wandered over and discovered that the airline (Air France) provides passengers with coupons good for a drink at the bar if their flight is delayed. Being a water drinker, and having a full Camelbak with me, I decided not to bother. Asked if she had an idea of timing--should I turn my computer back on? She said she didn't know, it could be five minutes, or could be much longer. So I read for a while, and eventually we boarded the plane. Pity they couldn't announce the delay sooner--I'd have kept working. Oh well. I did sent a text message to my couch surfing host to let him know that the flight was delayed.

The plane was the cutest little thing--just wide enough to have one passenger on one side of the isle, and two on the other. I could stand up straight in it, but if I'd have been about three inches taller I'd have had to bend. (One of my colleagues caught that flight the day before and said that he couldn't stand up straight on the plane.) It was a cloudy day, so no Alps view this time, but the flight was nice and smooth, and I even got a nap. (Needed it after shorting myself on sleep working the week before flying.)

Once I was off the plane and on board the bus I sent a new text message to my host letting him know I was on the way, and he replied saying that he was relaxing on the river, and gave me directions on how to find the group. This has to be one of the best things about couchsurfing. If I had opted to stay in a hotel, like most of the other conference attendees, I wouldn't have been able to wander down to the river which wends its way through Toulouse on a lovely Sunday evening and join a group of people (exchanging the ritual kisses on the cheek) and be offered a beer. (No, I didn't actually accept, not being a beer drinker, but it was nice that they offered.)

After a pleasant visit we scattered and my host took me back to the home he shares with several flat-mates. My, it is a beautiful place! The back garden is enchanting, and the "granite" counter top is lovely. He had some errands to run that evening, so I worked more on my speech.

Monday I got up and walked the short way back to the local metro station and attempted to check out one of the city bikes. The machine will speak English, and it did accept my bank card. However, when it claimed to be printing a receipt, which is needed to actually obtain the bike, nothing came out. So I decided to walk to the conference. GoogleMaps claimed it would be 1 hour, 20 minutes to walk, and, as it turned out, that is how long it took me. However, I took a slightly more direct route--I followed the path it suggested up to the point where it wanted me to cross the canal. From there I simply followed the bike path along the canal to the conference site. I was only 15 minutes late, so if I hadn't have spent 30 minutes trying to check out a bike, I'd have been on time.

Monday's talks were on topics which are not very related to my research, so while I felt bad to be spending more attention on my computer screen, where I was finishing up my own talk, I also didn't feel crushed to be missing something relevant to what I'm studying. I managed to get a good solid draft done by mid afternoon, so I was able to give the later talks my undivided attention.

After the conference I tried the nearby bike station, and this time it worked, so I peddled home. Riding an upright again really makes me miss my recumbent trike! I hope that the new wheel (to replace the one damaged in shipping) arrives soon, so that I can ride it again. The canal path is lovely, and it is really a pleasant trip.

Monday evening I joined my host at a local venue. It is an old, pretty, church, which is now host on Monday evenings to a variety of different entertainments. They offer food (only 3 Euros for dinner!) to go with the entertainment. When we arrived there was a man standing on a podium doing a reading of some sort. Since it was in French I have no idea what it was, but it probably wasn't humour, since the audience wasn't laughing, but instead sitting in respectful silence.

We waited in the crowd at the bar by the entrance while he read, and when he finished and the applause started the guys behind the bar finally started taking orders again, and my host was able to purchase the tickets to get his food. (It was too late at night for me to be hungry.) While we waited I saw a few people smoking, but was delighted to note that with the ceiling so very high and the fresh air coming in the door every time people opened it I couldn't actually smell the smoke. Therefore I was willing to stay. We then found a table near the stage and sat down and talked until the next act was introduced. A group of eleven women who sang for us, accompanied by another playing an accordion. They were lovely, and I very much enjoyed it (fortunately, I'm rather used to not understanding the words to songs, after years in the SCA).

Alas, over time the smoke managed to get thick enough to descend all the way down to floor level (the ceiling was at least three times as high as the narrow width of the room), and eventually I had to leave. Fortunately, I was able to shower and wash the smell out of my hair, and I left my clothes outside in the garden overnight, by which time they aired out enough that I was willing to bring them back in again.

My host went back out to another gathering, but I opted to stay in, do my yoga, and get ready for bed. In the process I succeeded in uninstalling my wireless, so that the next time my computer turned on it re-installed it, without whatever issues it had been having, and I could finally see wireless networks again. I couldn't actually access any just then though, since my host was out, and I didn't have a password.

Tuesday (today) I succeeded in checking out a bike on my first try, and had a lovely ride in. Spent the morning attending interesting talks, one of which actually inspired an interest in a possible future research direction. During lunch I obtained the password to log into the internet provided to us conference attendees, and, Since I happen to know one of the co-authors of the above mentioned paper (way down on the list) I sent him an e-mail asking about it. It turns out that the research team there recently lost someone to death, so he advises waiting till they've finished the resultant restructuring before even thinking about projects in that direction.

I'm now back at my host's house and enjoying a bit of relaxation time. This evening the plan is to accompany one of the housemates (the one who doesn't speak English) to see some of the pretty sights of the town--apparently they light them up at night.

I should also practice my talk for tomorrow...I fly back to Milan on Thursday morning (the only flight on Wednesday would have required leaving before the conference ended), and then to Germany for an SCA event in a castle on Friday.
kareina: (BSE garnet)
Since I've had a few days recently where my hours doing uni work were a bit lower than I'd like, I was pleased to have hit a pocket of inspriation today, resulting in a total of nine hours of work and only just over 2 of e-mail. Today's progress consisted of re-staring the experiment we started yesterday (it got shut down early yesterday evening due to a problem with the sensor that detects the external (room) temperature). The rest of the day has been spent playing with data and looking at graphs and making pretty pictures. But I'm done now. It is after midnight, and I want to go do yoga and go to sleep (never mind that I've already had nearly nine hours of sleep since Midnight...).

Yesterday, in addition to starting an experiment, was the regularly scheduled SCA meeting. We haven't met for the past couple of weeks, as I was out of town for one of them and [livejournal.com profile] clovis_t was out of town for the other. This week it was just the two of us, and the family who hosts the meeting, and a couchsurfer who is staying with us for two nights (he is from way out east in Russia, but is currently an exchange student based in Turku, Finland). So part of the evening was spent explaining to the visitor what we do, and the rest was just hanging out and talking. We haven't heard from any of the Italians who had been keen to help get a shire going here since before I took off for a month of travel. We really ought to poke them, and see if they are still interested, but we've all been busy enough it hasn't happened. Without them there is no point in forming an official shire, as my contract is done in 8 months, and the other family will be done with their contract another 1.5 years thereafter. No point in starting a shire to have it vanish when the Americans leave. If the Italians come back out of the woodwork and want a shire, we are all keen to help, but without them we will just play with other branches, whenever we can afford the travel time and cash.
kareina: (BSE garnet)
Since I've had a few days recently where my hours doing uni work were a bit lower than I'd like, I was pleased to have hit a pocket of inspriation today, resulting in a total of nine hours of work and only just over 2 of e-mail. Today's progress consisted of re-staring the experiment we started yesterday (it got shut down early yesterday evening due to a problem with the sensor that detects the external (room) temperature). The rest of the day has been spent playing with data and looking at graphs and making pretty pictures. But I'm done now. It is after midnight, and I want to go do yoga and go to sleep (never mind that I've already had nearly nine hours of sleep since Midnight...).

Yesterday, in addition to starting an experiment, was the regularly scheduled SCA meeting. We haven't met for the past couple of weeks, as I was out of town for one of them and [livejournal.com profile] clovis_t was out of town for the other. This week it was just the two of us, and the family who hosts the meeting, and a couchsurfer who is staying with us for two nights (he is from way out east in Russia, but is currently an exchange student based in Turku, Finland). So part of the evening was spent explaining to the visitor what we do, and the rest was just hanging out and talking. We haven't heard from any of the Italians who had been keen to help get a shire going here since before I took off for a month of travel. We really ought to poke them, and see if they are still interested, but we've all been busy enough it hasn't happened. Without them there is no point in forming an official shire, as my contract is done in 8 months, and the other family will be done with their contract another 1.5 years thereafter. No point in starting a shire to have it vanish when the Americans leave. If the Italians come back out of the woodwork and want a shire, we are all keen to help, but without them we will just play with other branches, whenever we can afford the travel time and cash.
kareina: (me)
Friday's progress consisted of getting an e-mail from my boss suggesting some changes to the settings for those calculations I've been trying to get to work. Much to my delight, they worked well enough that I enjoyed several hours of time compression--you know, where you do this and that and the other and it all seems to take no time at all, but suddenly you realize hours have elapsed. The results still aren't a perfect match to the results obtained for these analysis before, but they are close enough to make it possible to play with them and look at graphs.

The rest of the day was spent helping [livejournal.com profile] clovis_t update his resume. He found a couple of jobs advertised for positions in Milan where the single most important criteria is "native English speaker". I hope that he gets one, for his sake. I don't mind supporting him, it isn't a burden to feed him, and the apartment would cost the same were he not here, but I can't afford to provide him with extras that he might enjoy. Besides, he'd like to have an income.

In the evening my latest CouchSurfing houseguests from Poland arrived. This is a nice young couple who live in the Krakow area for university, but come from some 150 km from there. We visited for an hour or so after they arrived, then I accompanied them into the city center and showed them the Duomo (Cathedral), which they say is prettier than Notre Dame. I love showing that building to new visitors--it really is a stunning example of architecture, with some amazing detail work in its establishments. After a brief stroll in that area I sent them off to find a restaurant (I couldn't recommend one--the fact that I'm not interested in food at night means that I haven't tried any restaurants in Milan, since they don't open till 7pm, which is later than I care to be eating). I walked home and went back to Uni, where [livejournal.com profile] clovis_t and I spent time on line (he's in Scotland this week for his Granny's funeral) polishing up his resume and fixing the layout and design.

Today there isn't yet any progress to report. I spent the morning enjoying breakfast with my guests, then walked with them part way to the city center, where I went to my favourite store to stock up on more supplies for making museli, (and pointed them on their way so they could go sight-seeing), then went home, put some food into the ricecooker to start for lunch and took a nap. 1.5 hours later (boy did that feel good!) I got up and came in to uni, where I saw a note on LJ explaining that it is possible to access facebook chat from other programs. So rather than doing whatever it was I might have done, I set up Pidgin to communicate with Facebook as well as MSN and Yahoo. I then sent a quick test-message to a friend in Alaska, and we talked for an hour and a half! These things happen. Besides, I enjoyed the conversation.

I'm now hungry again, and it is getting close to the earliest that my guests might come home from their adventures, so I shall take my computer home, have some food, read my 1000 words of geologic literature, and see if I can get some work done before I play host again.
kareina: (me)
Friday's progress consisted of getting an e-mail from my boss suggesting some changes to the settings for those calculations I've been trying to get to work. Much to my delight, they worked well enough that I enjoyed several hours of time compression--you know, where you do this and that and the other and it all seems to take no time at all, but suddenly you realize hours have elapsed. The results still aren't a perfect match to the results obtained for these analysis before, but they are close enough to make it possible to play with them and look at graphs.

The rest of the day was spent helping [livejournal.com profile] clovis_t update his resume. He found a couple of jobs advertised for positions in Milan where the single most important criteria is "native English speaker". I hope that he gets one, for his sake. I don't mind supporting him, it isn't a burden to feed him, and the apartment would cost the same were he not here, but I can't afford to provide him with extras that he might enjoy. Besides, he'd like to have an income.

In the evening my latest CouchSurfing houseguests from Poland arrived. This is a nice young couple who live in the Krakow area for university, but come from some 150 km from there. We visited for an hour or so after they arrived, then I accompanied them into the city center and showed them the Duomo (Cathedral), which they say is prettier than Notre Dame. I love showing that building to new visitors--it really is a stunning example of architecture, with some amazing detail work in its establishments. After a brief stroll in that area I sent them off to find a restaurant (I couldn't recommend one--the fact that I'm not interested in food at night means that I haven't tried any restaurants in Milan, since they don't open till 7pm, which is later than I care to be eating). I walked home and went back to Uni, where [livejournal.com profile] clovis_t and I spent time on line (he's in Scotland this week for his Granny's funeral) polishing up his resume and fixing the layout and design.

Today there isn't yet any progress to report. I spent the morning enjoying breakfast with my guests, then walked with them part way to the city center, where I went to my favourite store to stock up on more supplies for making museli, (and pointed them on their way so they could go sight-seeing), then went home, put some food into the ricecooker to start for lunch and took a nap. 1.5 hours later (boy did that feel good!) I got up and came in to uni, where I saw a note on LJ explaining that it is possible to access facebook chat from other programs. So rather than doing whatever it was I might have done, I set up Pidgin to communicate with Facebook as well as MSN and Yahoo. I then sent a quick test-message to a friend in Alaska, and we talked for an hour and a half! These things happen. Besides, I enjoyed the conversation.

I'm now hungry again, and it is getting close to the earliest that my guests might come home from their adventures, so I shall take my computer home, have some food, read my 1000 words of geologic literature, and see if I can get some work done before I play host again.
kareina: (BSE garnet)
Today’s only real progress was to determine one of the sources for the processed data not matching the expected results yesterday. Alas, that is only part of the problem. Sent new files and attached questions off to my boss for his feedback. Also determined that I don’t have to turn in a rather complicated looking form I’d been e-mailed by the university—apparently it is only for full time uni employees who are paid by the uni, and not by separate grant money. This is a relief. The day is still young (it is only 17:30), but [livejournal.com profile] clovis_t flies to Scotland for his Granny’s funeral tomorrow, so I may wind up spending the evening with him, rather than doing more work.

On the other hand, in my work avoidance moments today I have renewed my SCA membership (for three years this time), sent off my credit card number to pay for the replacement wheel on my trike since the shipping company promised to reimburse me for it, and finally filled in what should be the rest of the list of “places I’ve lived” on couchsuring. This is harder than I expected it to be because their database sorts it alphabetically by country, then by state, then by city. I tend to think of the places I’ve lived in chronological order. I eventually had to copy-paste the data into Word and adjust the information layout so I could sort by date before I could work out which places I’d not yet entered. My list now shows 18 different locations (I didn’t bother to differentiate different locations within the same region unless I moved somewhere else in-between). Is that an excessive number? Someday I will add the list of places I’ve visited and places I’d like to visit, but it took quite long enough just doing this much data entry (but I’ve now got a copy in Word on my computer, too—that one sorted by time, as it should be).
kareina: (BSE garnet)
Today’s only real progress was to determine one of the sources for the processed data not matching the expected results yesterday. Alas, that is only part of the problem. Sent new files and attached questions off to my boss for his feedback. Also determined that I don’t have to turn in a rather complicated looking form I’d been e-mailed by the university—apparently it is only for full time uni employees who are paid by the uni, and not by separate grant money. This is a relief. The day is still young (it is only 17:30), but [livejournal.com profile] clovis_t flies to Scotland for his Granny’s funeral tomorrow, so I may wind up spending the evening with him, rather than doing more work.

On the other hand, in my work avoidance moments today I have renewed my SCA membership (for three years this time), sent off my credit card number to pay for the replacement wheel on my trike since the shipping company promised to reimburse me for it, and finally filled in what should be the rest of the list of “places I’ve lived” on couchsuring. This is harder than I expected it to be because their database sorts it alphabetically by country, then by state, then by city. I tend to think of the places I’ve lived in chronological order. I eventually had to copy-paste the data into Word and adjust the information layout so I could sort by date before I could work out which places I’d not yet entered. My list now shows 18 different locations (I didn’t bother to differentiate different locations within the same region unless I moved somewhere else in-between). Is that an excessive number? Someday I will add the list of places I’ve visited and places I’d like to visit, but it took quite long enough just doing this much data entry (but I’ve now got a copy in Word on my computer, too—that one sorted by time, as it should be).

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