Friday, August 28, 2009

Strange Invention

This morning's myriad-distractions-in-a-single-click was the show at the Oxford Science Museum devoted to Steampunk.

There's a great range: elegant Jules Verne-esque watches and futuristic Wallace & Gromit-style characters, all kinds of lenses and shiny measuring contraptions, and the kind of machines and devices that you reckon must whirl around in the head of Terry Gilliam or Guillermo del Toro.

But for those of us who sit before a computer all day, do keyboards get more atmospheric than this one by Datamancer, which started life as an IBM Model M-15 split ergonomic keyboard.

I guess really it should be in the shop of a mad inventor, or an occult pharmacist...

Aaaah, shiny...

Anyhoo, tomorrow brings a friend to Baltimore, and so shall begin a few days of hanging out with no particular intent... love those kinda days.

Have a lovely weekend :-)

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Something fishy going on...

It occurred to me that the arrival of a new goldfish in the house had gone unmentioned. So let me say this: Guildenstern is alive.

Considering the murder of Guildenstern by Rosencrantz, I was dubious about introducing another victim/offering/fish into the tank. I consulted the Pet Shop Lady, who good-naturedly suggested that the fish's rapid decline might have been down to the water or food... eventually she concluded that since Rosencrantz had been unaffected, she was a murderer; no denying it.

"So then I shouldn't get another one?"
She pondered: "Well, if you've got an aggressive fish like Rosie, I reckon you should get..."
"...a teeny tiny fish?"
"...the biggest fish we have."

I see. The tactic was to take the fight to Rosie.

So, a relatively mammoth Guildenstern II was bought. It wasn't the easiest of settling-in periods. Both fish sank to the bottom, immobile unless they were braining themselves against the tank (which has whole Tamburlaine-Zenocrate resonances...) - so I separated them into bowls, where they seemed happy...

...until Guildy flung himself out of the bowl onto the floor.

By the time I found him, he'd gone past the flapping and panting stage. He was quiet and still. I scooped him up, and he flumped to the bottom of the tank, processing the trauma. Meanwhile Rosie was all happy in her bowl, making no attempts to shuffle off any coils at all.

And then, some hours later, while I explained about quarantine and restful solitary environments, my brother offered some expert advice. "Just chuck 'em in together. If they're gonna die they're gonna die."

It was with some trepidation that I peered into the kitchen the following morning. Two fish. And not just alive, but swimming, hanging out, co-habiting.

I haven't really been able to find any moral in all this.

Anyhoo, on the subject of fishies, I've memorized my first few swimming drills for the oh-so-relaxing Total Immersion method. Off I go for a little swim&sauna :-)

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Times Tables

So, TIME magazine's Best 50 Websites 2009 makes for interesting reading. Included are several foundation sites of popular web-usage; the kind that have already grown into verbs (twitter, skype, google, facebook). It's good to see Fora TV getting a well-deserved mention ("Whoever said television makes you stupid never saw Fora TV"), along with the darling etsy ("the long-haired, Birkenstocked love child of Amazon and eBay") and the fab microlending kiva. And from the ever-hypnotic BabyName Voyager to the new kid on the block - Wolfram Alpha - this year's list offers a decade's worth of fun and exploration.

However, here's one from last year's list: does exactly what is says on the tin - it's a place for pretty colours, shapes, patterns.

It's pretty addictive.

Time to disconnect and get back to work :-)

Monday, August 24, 2009

What angel wakes me from my flowery bed

This morning in Downtown Baltimore, the voices of some locals were still thee-ing and thou-ing. Queen Titania is back in her office, making sense of accounts, and Bottom the Weaver is transformed, once again. Shakespeare will take a little time to fade, I think.

And oh, the village was quiet. Apart from next weekend (which will be regatta-rific), I think the bulk of the tourists have been and gone. And while the trimmed-down locality is pretty blissful, the Great Exodus also took away friends, which isn't so much... you know, fun. Little sigh.

Anyhoo, high time for me to get back to work.

Just as soon as I've nipped out for pizza :-)

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Shakespeare Galore

Yikes that was a hiatus.

Okay, so the Sheep's Head was filled with family and friends, and much catching up was done. Then back for (a rainy) dress rehearsal, and since then it's been Shakespeare a-go-go.

Thursday and Friday went great, then tonight we did a half-show in the cafe, while apocalyptic weather moved in.

But when it was bright, it was very very lovely :-)

And when we had finished our scene, all the ladies in our scene joined the audience and watched the rest of the play...

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

All is calm...

Sitting room looks like several bales of material exploded... but the costumes are all packed up, ready for dress rehearsal tomorrow.

And this evening shall be spent out on the Sheep's Head peninsula. Almost no mobile reception, no broadband, just family & friends... heaven :-)

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Not so lazy Sunday

Barely got to glance up at this afternoon's Columbo, I was so focused on sewing flowers and hair bands for the play.

So, Friday was The Great Shakespeare Costume Search (part the second). And it was declared a success by all; phew. Yesterday was the Great Granola Bake-Off, and today's all flowers and ribbon. Time for a pre-rehearsal snack, then it's off to the Garden to play...

And in true topical naming fashion, the fishies were christened Rosencrantz and Guildenstern. And it is with a heavy heart that I declare, 'Guildenstern is dead'.

Tom Stoppard would do something clever with this situation. But me - I'm hungry, and off to crank up the Food Machine :-)

Thursday, August 13, 2009



The day unfolded nicely: the Great Shakespeare Costume Search (Part the First) merged seamlessly into some treaty wooden boat sailing, and from there to Castletownshend for a concert (flute, viola and massive black glossy kick-ass harp - if Batman played the harp, this would be it). I was looking forward to hearing the Ravel & Faure, but my fave turned out to be a piece for harp composed by... (actually too tired to look up his name - but he was the harpist in Tchaikovshy's orchestra, so all those Nutcracker/ Swan Lake harpey pieces were composed specifically for him) - anyhoo, it was delightful.

And late night coffee (and/or dessert, including a basil sorbet) finished the evening beautifully.

Nighty night x

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Wednesday Delights

The garden centre voucher I won in the raffle has been transformed into two little goldfishies (no names yet) and a fine tarragon plant.

The afternoon's been all holier-than-thou: house plants transplanted and pampered; chickpeas and alfafa seeds are a-sprouting; fresh carrot & ginger juice made; pasta dish (predictably wholewheat) hotting up in the background. I even practiced my lines for Shakespeare.

And if there should happen to be a bottle of (TG special) red wine a'breathing, well, what of it?


Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Coffee morning

So, today the Tidy Towns folk had their great big coffee morning in the Sailing Club, at which the results of the 'Reflections of Baltimore' photography competition were announced. I had helped with the judging, and went along, figuring that they might need someone to stone afterwards.

There was great coffee and a smorgasbord of treaty things, and lots of lovely, quite irresistible plants (I'm going through another agave phase...) When it was raffle time, I had one of the winning tickets! I bounced up, deliberated over the table of prizes, and chose some champagne (okay, not a huge amount of deliberation; perhaps more of an instinctual lunge). As I went back through the crowd someone said 'You have Blue 19!' I explained that I had Blue 16, that I'd picked the champagne. But it turned out that the next ticket had been drawn, and was also mine :-)

So, I chose a little basket of house plants, which turned out to be secretly stuffed with other treaty things: gift voucher for a garden centre, bird feeder, doggie treats (coming soon to a Benny near me), and little plant accessories. Fantastic.

Well, that was more than enough excitement for one day. You'd almost need a little tipple of something fizzy to calm the nerves...

Monday, August 10, 2009

When you know the notes to sing...

Ah, catching up on e-life this morning, which ranged from saints' relics and medieval representations of murder to this... one of those snippets that's perfect for a back-to-work Monday.

I've seen a few of these this year, and my favourite common strand is how the look of initial shock on the commuters' faces turns to delight. Lovely to see an everyday, taken-for-granted setting transformed into a site of wonder. You can imagine the onlookers on their commute the following day, smiling at the memory.

Something about it reminded me of the Grand Central/Ballroom scene in 'The Fisher King', when commuters briefly dance in shafts of golden sunlight...

Anyhoo, happy Monday :-)

Friday, August 7, 2009

One week on...

And another week disappears into the ether... as with previous weeks, this one was a smorgasbord: volunteering for the West Cork Arts Festival, great recital (in Castletownshend), great concert (Hothouse Flowers), dvds at breakfast time (oh so decadent), pony trekking, judging a photography competition, scrumptious food (including pink meringues with purple cream, and almost-right pancakes), fairy wings, crosswords, emergency trip to the vet's with a friend and puddy cat, almost-swimming, Shakespearey things, and a couple of afternoon naps.

And a late night limoncello :-)


And so, this weekend will feature a hefty dose of Shakespeare - with less* than two weeks to go, we're shifting up a gear now...

So, I'm off to learn lines. Have a fabulous weekend folks :-)

*I know I know, shoulda said 'fewer'... feeling reckless!!