tinyjo: (sea-mist)
So far, holiday going not quite according to plan. A tale of delays and me being sad )
tinyjo: (tiny kitn)
Have just spent far too long fiddling with a new journal style on Dreamwidth. I'd forgotten how oddly absorbing tinkering with CSS could be. It turned out to be just the level of engagement I was up for this afternoon, given that I am full of cold and feeling lazy.

Tomorrow, I will have to snap out of my lethargy to get things done because we're actually only 6 days away from our exciting adventure holiday! We're going to be spending seven days in Senegal, staying on a wildlife reserve where you can walk with the lions(!) and then flying to Paris where we're sharing an apartment with [livejournal.com profile] elyssa and [livejournal.com profile] stevieg over Christmas! I felt so inspired by the experience of winter sun on our Caribbean trip that we just sort of decided to go for this. It'll be the first time I've ever visited Africa and I think you could reasonably describe me as hella excited :) I have no idea what the net connection is likely to be like, but I'll try to post the odd update while we're away.

So now I just have to get through the last few days of term. Fortunately, I won't have to do too much in terms of teaching as we wind down, but given how coldy I feel at the moment, I probably couldn't cope if I did have to so that's just as well! Roll on next Friday!
tinyjo: (clouds)
1) Tofino has almost no internet! Well, the place we were staying didn't have internet in our room (although I think they did in their main building), and only some of the eateries did and then not very reliably. Thus, I have been absent from the internet for several days. Did you break anything? I found this to be not serene and peaceful, but rather irritating and it tended if anything to make me more antisocial as I tried to get an internet connection while we were eating dinner instead of when I was on my own. Basically, internet is good.

2) On the other hand, what Tofino did have was BEARS!! Yes, I have been out on the BEAR boat and watched BEARS wandering along beaches turning over stones looking for crabs and other morsels. They were very charming creatures and quite happy to just ignore us even though we were very close - I guess being on the water meant that they treated us differently. We also saw a rock on the way back that was just a rock, and just a rock and then suddenly we got close enough to realise it was covered in seals.



3) We also spent a very pleasant afternoon in the Tofino botanical gardens, which were lovely. A short wander through some different plantings and some old growth woodland onto the sea shore to gaze across the mud flats (full of migrating birds at other times of the year, nice and peaceful now). There was a slight tendancy to whimsey in some of the points of interest along the self guided trail but it was a lovely place to spend an afternoon (and had actual working internet in the cafe!).






4) Tofino has no Tim Hortons. I am not sure if this means that it is not really in Canada. Probably. It does have the prettiest cat we have met in BC thought (note careful categorization, [livejournal.com profile] elyssa and [livejournal.com profile] stevieg!).


5) For this drive from and back to Victoria, we hired a convertible because I love driving with the top down. On the way out it was cloudy and fairly cold, and on the way back, it was pouring nearly all the way. Of a total drive time of around 6 hours, we managed to have the top down for a total of about half an hour. Still, I'd rather have it that way around than have the bear trip rained off, so I guess it all worked out ok.
tinyjo: (Default)
1) It's been really lovely seeing [personal profile] coalescent and [personal profile] electricant's 5 things posts over the last couple of weeks and has felt very old school internet. In a way, it's reminded me of the fact that I really got into journalling at a time when I wasn't living near my friends, or most of them, and so it was a sort of relaxed chat that we weren't having in other media and actually, there are still people who I'm friends with that I don't see and it could still be serving that purpose. That came out less pointful than I'd hoped! Anyway, I am reading and enjoying those posts, guys, even though I don't generally comment.

2) I also think that having more going on on my friends page make me more inclined to post things myself, so I'm going to cautiously try to up my frequency of posting again. Who knows whether this will lead to anything as this is precisely the time of year when I think "hey, yeah, I should totally do that, I've got loads of time!". By Christmas, who knows :)

3) I am actually still on holiday at the moment. We went to two firework displays in the last two nights and I'm sorry, Victoria, but Vancouver won that contest. You are currently winning the "sufficiently cool for walking around" one though, so don't feel bad :) I failed to take any photos of fireworks because I find it hard to watch firework displays and get good photos at the same time. We did do some cool things in Vancouver though, including visiting the Museum of Art, where there was an exhibition by Geoffrey Farmer, including this room of paper cutouts from The Readers Digest book of the Last Two Million Years:




4) Despite the above, I have been mostly doing work today because I am an enormous dork. I woke up this morning feeling in the mood and with ideas about stuff and a sense of wanting to start getting things down on paper - this happened last time we went on a long holiday and seems just to be a thing that happens. Sadly, I am missing a key resource available only on paper for one of the things but I have managed to be getting on with other things which is good. It also looks as if my new colleague does pretty detailed plans, so that's good to know for next year.

5) Still very much looking forward to the next stage of our trip, which is a trip up to Tofino, with our lovely Victoria host [personal profile] aveleh, where we will be swimming in hot springs and going on a BEAR WATCHING boat trip! This will be awesome.
tinyjo: (Glastonbury)
Hello world! Well, it's about one third of the way through our trip to Canada and we have finally found a hotel that gives decent wifi access! Both the past two places kept dropping my connection every 2 minutes or so - not ideal for browsing the modern web, as I'm sure you can imagine :) Still, we have been having a great time so far, only slightly hampered by some less than spectacular weather. We managed a couple of lovely days in Banff, during which I climbed an actual mountain! Check out the view from the top!


Unfortunately, this wasn't the Burgess Shale mountain, and we decided that the lack of ability to maintain our own pace meant that wasn't going to work that well for me so we went on the shorter GeoScience walk experience where we got to open up some shale and find actual trilobytes! Yes, I have found my very own trilobyte, which is pretty awesome. After Banff, we went on to Golden, on the Kicking Horse River, which was really nice, and we went to see the wolf sanctuary and the grizzly bear sanctuary! We've also seen elk grazing on the highway and three deer, one while walking and two while on the road, so the wildlife spotting is going pretty well so far. We had been planning to stop next in Kamloops, but the nice waitress we were chatting to in Golden suggested that we might enjoy wine country and so we have diverted down to Kelowna, where we have unfortunately brought the rain with us, but have managed to find a nice place to stay with the aformentioned quality wifi :)





By the way, I can't tell if these images are only showing up in preview because I'm logged into google, so if you can't see them, comment and tell me!
tinyjo: (Cassiecat)
So, here we are in the colonial territories :) Seriously though, part one of the Canadialand holiday is almost complete. We had a ludicrously long Tuesday between getting up early to get the plane and then flying about 6 hours back but we managed enough cat naps on the way to enjoy a lovely evening with [livejournal.com profile] elyssa and [livejournal.com profile] stevieg, where we had steak, or rather STEAK, because much of Canada seems to invite excessive capitalisation, so far. It was seriously good steak though, and just what I needed after the anaemic plane food and enjoyed in excellent and convivial company. We then headed back to their current abode to stroke cats and play Cards Against Humanity. I won, which I think makes me the worst person there, right?

UntitledThe next step was to start out across the Rockies. We had decided not to book rooms in advance for this stage of the trip, so that we could play things by ear a little. This meant that we had the flexibility to take the advice of the very friendly Canadian lady we met in the immigration queue and drive on up to Jaspar, rather than stopping in Banff. This was an extra couple of hours in the car, but boy were they impressive hours. There were MOUNTAINS, and more MOUNTAINS, and BLUE LAKES of ridiculous, unrealistic colour. We stopped for a wander around Bow Lake, which was pretty amazing - you could see the glacier making its way down the side of the mountain opposite. We had intended to take an evening walk but actually, once we were there and had eaten, I was pretty knackered so we just crashed out in our hotel.

UntitledNext came the other half of the Rockies drive, to Hope, a town I had picked purely based on driving distances as a sensible place to stop. We did consider stopping and doing a little trail walking on the way, but the midday sun dissuaded us and so we enjoyed the grandeur of the MOUNTAINS from the car this time. Once in Hope we had thought of walking a little trail there but by now we had arrived in rainy country. The mountain here is under an ominous wreath of misty cloud and when we couldn't figure out a way to safely walk from our motel to the trail head as the grass verge petered out, we decided to substitute a wander around town instead, which proved very enjoyable in its own way. We discovered that Hope has lots of motels in various states of seedy looking, closed down shops, masonic lodges (seriously, there was a whole block of them) and a surprising number of Chinese/Canadian restaurants, a cuisine we decided to pass over on this occasion in favour of a rather nice classy restaurant next door to our motel. There were also lots and lots of chainsaw carvings all over town, as we had just missed the annual chainsaw carving competition. These range from the banal to the frankly bizarre but the drizzle, the roaring river and the whole abandoned small town air definitely made for an interesting exploratory walk around before dinner. Also, I have decided based on this visit that the difference between a motel and a hotel is that you get a slightly bigger room.

Next we're off to Victoria where we have what looks like a very nice hotel room booked - each room has a name in this place and ours is the Reading Room! I'm trying to upload each day's photos to flickr as I go (otherwise I'll never get around to it) so if you like that sort of thing, check out http://www.flickr.com/photos/tinyjo. Otherwise, I'm sure I'll post again once we're settled in Victoria.
tinyjo: (Default)
Well, I have finally made it safely back from France. We had a somewhat ghastly journey home - we couldn't get onto the M40 because the exit from the M25 was closed and then when we diverted around the M4 to pick up the A404, we couldn't get on that because that exit was closed! We ended up not getting home until about 1am, which was an hour later than that on my internal clock. Still, the kitties were there to greet us when we did finally arrive, so it was all OK after all. House still looks like a bomb has hit it - must tidy up before parents arrive bearing wine.

I've read some of my friends page and looked at my email for the first time in 2 weeks, but if I've missed anything important, or not replied to something you think I should have, give me a poke.
tinyjo: (Default)
Finally, we have found some internet in darkest France! Holiday is lovely. Am v brown and feeling laid back and relaxed sitting in Eymet market. Have bought several lovely bottles of wine, been canoing down the river and spoken a reasonable amount of French. Pyrennes were v beautiful and hire car coped with v steep roads. Have sucessully changed gear and driven on wrong side of road with no deaths. all in all, v.g. holiday! Am missing cats though - have only seen one in a resturant here.
tinyjo: (charlie)
We have made it back to these fair shores in remarkably good order. In fact, we've had good transport mojo all the way through the trip, culminating in our flight arriving 20 minutes early and still being met on time by the taxi driver picking us up. Very pleasing all around. We have read and giggled at the reports of the cat sitters - thanks guys! Charlie has already forgiven us our absence, Cassie is still cross but I'm sure she'll come around.

Second round of photos to follow along with a round-up of the second half of the holiday experience when I have brought a bit of order to the bag strewn chaos that is the current state of the living room :)
tinyjo: (Default)



Rich folded this out of a straw wrapper!
tinyjo: (Default)
So, the natural law of Vegas has reasserted itself and I am now down on video poker again. Still, not too much and having fun, so that seems to be working out. Lots and lots of people here right now - not a lot of room for sleeping! Still, all is good. Dinner at the Melting Pot last night was great again - they really should open one of those in the UK.

We had a fabulous time for the rest of our time in Chicago - we went to dinner at this fantastic place just under the hotel called Bin 36, where they had a whole wine and cheese thing going on. There was an enourmous choice of cheeses, including whole sections of goats and sheeps cheeses and instead of buying a bottle of wine, they sold loads of stuff by the glass and the idea was to order a "flight" - i.e. 5 glasses of about 2.5ox of wine each and taste them to compare against eachother. You could pick your own selection or go for one of the selections they'd put together or just order what you liked by the glass. They also had an amazing chef and it was basically so totally my kind of place that I felt we'd really really lucked out by finding it.

The next day was spend wandering around the city (lots of outdoor art, particularly water sculptures) and then a quick jaunt around the Art Institute, which was also very nice indeed. I loved the look of the city - it felt very city of the future-ish for reasons I can't quite define and I took lots of pictures of sky-scrapers. Must upload my pictures, actually. It was quite scary to drive in, especially as the sky-scrapers got poor robot lady rather confused when she was trying to direct us, but that just made it feel more like a proper city somehow.

Vegas is much as I remember it but actually cool enough to move around comfortably, which must be some kind of miracle. It even rained yesterday! We plan to head out to the strip when the holiday weekend is over and prices have therefore gone down again and actually walk around outside and take pictures, something we rather failed to do last year.
tinyjo: (summer dress)
So, most important news, WE AINT DED. In fact, I type this while comfortably ensconced in the beautiful Baltimore apartment of [livejournal.com profile] rahaeli and [livejournal.com profile] sarahq. And it really is an awesome apartment. It's a converted factory building (Baltimore does old industrial building conversion really really well - there's a steam-punk Barnes and Noble too) with incredibly high ceilings and loads of books.

wot I did on my hols, part 1 )
tinyjo: (Default)
Well, I've printed out everything I need to have and it's still not time for online check-in! Fortunately, I've done all my handover stuff at work bar one thing so I plan to just sit here today and stare and my systems willing them to behave themselves while I'm away :)
tinyjo: (Default)
So, how close to Boston would we need to get to meet up with Boston folks? It's looking like we have NYC layover on our flight - if we were to fly to NYC could people meet us there? Or if we diverted on our way to Canada, how big a diversion would we need to make?
tinyjo: (:p kittie)
So, now that I can post long rambling posts again, I want to put up something about the rest of the holiday before I forget about it. You may or may not find this interesting )
tinyjo: (kitn wishes)
OK, so, an update with a better words to exclaimation marks ratio seems called for at this point :) We had a spookily good travel experience on the way here, marred only by the fact that it's a really long way and we were still ill (although recovering). We made it to the house at about 7pm local time to find loads of people here already and drinking happening on the patio and so on. We decided to stay up and chat and get to know people and ended up staying up til about 2am, making it around 26 hours up time all together. Fortunatly, we managed to bag a bed so we crashed.

For some reason I managed to wake up the next morning at around 7am so, obeying the weird dictates of jetlag, I got up and chatted to more people (I'm not going to namecheck in this post because my memories are hazy and I will leave people out if I do that. Suffice it to say there are people here and they are cool). Saturday evening was Erin & Ferrells wedding which turned out really really pretty but then I was too tired to stay up or go gambling.

This morning, I got Carrie to do me a henna tattoo! It's a version of this userpic and it's really cute :) Pictures later, when it's developed :) This afternoon we're going to the gambling as well - I don't know what we're going to play yet but you gotta get that Vegas experience, right.

I'm leaving out a lot of geeking around here - right now we're gathered in the living room and there's about 75% laptop penetration. We're not having a convo in IRC at the same time but it's close :)
tinyjo: (kitn ninja)
w00t! I found it! I had packed it in an unusually steathly compartment :) OK, now all is set for an awesome holiday.
tinyjo: (Default)
I fail! I have not managed to bring the correct equipment to actually connect my laptop to outlet power :( I am reliant on the kindness of my lovely internet friends for access. Fortunatly, they're very kind :)
tinyjo: (candle trail)
So, I thought it might be as well to do an "I haven't vanished from the face of the earth" update. No, I'm in Norfolk. Similar, but not the same :) I decided to distract myself from lack of boyfriend by a visit to my parents which has so far proved all that could have been hoped for in relaxation and good conversation.

I have also, for reasons somewhat unknown to me, decided to make assay of the other novels of Jane Austen in the house which I had not yet had the chance to read on finishing my latest re-read of Pride and Prejudice. I have so far completed Mansfield Park and am at present enjoying Persuasion. As you can see, it has had a little effect on my prose style, although I hope it may be of short duration.

I'm finding it rather strange having no Alex around. I am just so used to it, even on days where we only see each other at the start and end. I sleep oddly, with more dreams and more movement (although I am also in a single bed again for the first time in awhile, which is another source of strangeness). Apart from that though, I'm having really a lovely time. My doings are many and varied... ) Today was a trip to Blickling Hall, and although photos inside were forbidden I have some rather nice ones of the garden to add to one of my photo albums.

I'm currently rather wavering between photo hosting services. Scrapbook is OK in most respects but I find the gallery management awkward now that I have a rather large number of them. Flickr does have the benefit that not everything has to be organised into a collection and the Uploadr makes it much easier to add images than I found it last time I tried but I don't really like not being able to display my photos in the same style as the rest of my web pages. My own gallery software, written a while back, is not bad on either of those points but only currently has facilities to load up photos one at a time. Perhaps I should try to extend that with a windows client at some point.

Anyway, I digress. Tomorrow is the last full day of my visit here and we are going out to dinner with my brother and ... his fiance! Yes, Steve phoned home on Monday night to tell Mum that he had proposed to Amy while they were on holiday and she said yes! So there'll be a third wedding for me to go to at some point! The dinner we were planning to have anyway is therefore now an opportunity to toast them both, as well as an opportunity to beg my chance to be a bridesmaid - I've always wanted to since I was little and now could be my chance!
tinyjo: (me - b&w)
Spent a very pleasent long weekend. Off to London on Friday to rendezvous with Mum for her birthday\Christmas present - a trip to the Globe, a go on the London Eye, an overnight stay and then to top it off, a day at the National Portrait Gallery. All these things turned out to be fantastic fun, marred only by the complete lack of free wireless networks :( Even the hotel, which I had simply assumed would have one didn't.

Friday - the Globe, the Eye and the hotel )

Saturday - National Portrait Gallery and Alex's birthday )

Sunday - Rocket vs airship and A Scanner Darkly )

So, a busy weekend. Next weekend I'm off to my folks place for a week, while Alex is away with the hippies which should be very relaxing, I hope. In the meantime, based on a check with HR about what the policy covers, I have decided to go ahead and get a doctors appointment to get my thyroid checked on the NHS so I'm heading over for that on Wednesday. We'll see what they say.

I really need to either figure out a way to bluetooth photos to my computer in bulk or get round to transferring everything over the wire - I'm getting quite backed up with images on the camera now. Still discovering nifty features and so on - it's even got a built in photo editor where you can adjust the brightness, contrast, etc before sending the pics to your friends.

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tinyjo: (Default)
Emptied of expectation. Relax.

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