albadger: (What Badgers Eat)
I didn't post from Scotland but I have an excuse - a tour guide who saw to it that I had NO energy at the end of each day. Thanks to [livejournal.com profile] hantsbear I got a great if exhausting first taste of Edinburgh, and every evening when we got back to the hotel, I collapsed into a stupor unconducive to blogging.

Now I'm in the BLOC hotel at Gatwick, with a window out onto the runways, so I can see planes taking off - still about 5 hours until my flight out. Rainy and gray (grey?), but the hotel is right in the terminal, so I don't have to go outside even for a second. Pretty minimal digs, the "shower" is just the bathroom once you've closed the door, and half the rooms don't have windows at all (ick). This is a repurposed office building; these were cubicles. Still, cheap and convenient.

Lots of adventures I'm still savoring. I got to see "the Tempest" in the new Sam Wanamaker Theatre, which is modeled on the indoor theaters of Shakespeare's day, and (for the performance) is illuminated ONLY by candlelight. Super cool. My train out that evening wasn't until 11:30pm, so the hotel clerk suggested I leave my bags with them and enjoy the city a bit more -- I took the Tube to Picadilly Circus, and on a whim got a cheap ticket for a ventriloquist show (this gal, the monkey was particular fun). London rulez.

As does the Caledonian Sleeper, the night train I took up to Edinburgh, though I was of course sleeping through most of it, it was dark, and the train track seems to run through a trench most of the time. Nonetheless, even my first glimpse of Edinburgh was stunning -- with the ancient buildings on the rugged crags right in the heart of the town, there are few cities with more distinct a skyline. I took the very new (2014) tram out to the airport and collected Steve, and we celebrated with sushi and gyoza, in the traditional Scots manner.

Saturday was the Edinburgh Zoo, which has pandas, penguins, lemurs, meerkats and KOALAS! Only koalas in the UK. I could spend hours there. Kind of want to, since the koalas are at the very back and very top of a very steep hill, so once you're up there you'll want to make it last. Yeah, there were pandas too.

After Zoo, to the heart of the city and Edinburgh Castle. Afterwards, back on Princes Street, I looked up at the height and thought, "I walked up THAT?" but I did, and it was worth it. Then to a fairly posh restaurant in what seems to be the hipster quarter, and Haggis Wellington.

Haggis. Heard of it for years, very curious, in spite of Groundskeeper Willie's description of it... always assumed it would be a bit runny and oily, like that little pellet of white fat that's always in every can of pork and beans, and you TRY to eat it but you excuse yourself and spit it out into the toilet. An acquired taste. But NO. I like haggis. It's dark, for one thing, kind of grainy, and very salty, with a nice tang. "You do realize that was on the breakfast buffet this morning," Steve told me, and I kind of had realized that, but I wanted the first taste to be SERVED, not just grabbed from a counter. Once that line was breached, mind you -- for the next 2 mornings, I piled haggis on my breakfast plate. I'm a fan. Perhaps even a cult member. I may form Haggis Eating Kia Soul Owners and combine my two great loves into one movement. HEKSO!

We had more fun on Sunday -- I'd mentioned my obsession with the Forth Rail Bridge (ever since "the 39 Steps" really), and Steve said, "let's go" -- bought us return tickets to a random down on the north side of the Firth, so we crossed the Bridge twice. I would never have thought of that. My OCD approach to such things would require an actual destination on the other side, even if just a restaurant or bookstore, but Steve's right, and now we've crossed the Forth Rail Bridge! After that we headed back to the town center and rode a hop-on/hop-off tourist bus to see other sides of the city, which filled up an hour until it was time to meet Steve's friend Colin, who is a great fellow, and with whom we gabbed with little regard to time until dinner approached and we had to part ways.

Steve and I hit the Zoo again and visited the koalas on Monday, since his flight & my train were both in the afternoon; got rewarded by rather a lot of activity from the males (the lone female was in the exact same spot she had occupied on Saturday, still glaring down). Then a sad parting, and the Virgin East Coast Train back to London.

I have had a great time on this trip, but my favorite parts were the meetings -- [livejournal.com profile] linuxcub in Copenhagen, [livejournal.com profile] hantsbear and Colin in Edinburgh. My normal travel is rather solitary -- ride a train on my own, go to shows on my own -- but the company of great people will be happiest memories from this jaunt.

In a few hours, off to LAX, and then transfer to Southwest to get home to Oakland. I'm brining my own snacks!
albadger: (What Badgers Eat)

I had lunch at Wendy's yesterday; went in expecting to get a salad, but they have a new "4 for $4" promotion, Jr. Bacon Cheeseburger, fries, 4 chicken balls (they call them nuggets but we all know), and a small drink. So I had that, because I'm class.

That's not the story, though. Here's the story. While eating my treasure, I toyed with my Nexus 4 smart phone, as one does, until I realized that I was out of iced tea. Back over the to the self-serve iced tea dispenser I went, filled the cup, and got back to find... no phone! Had I carried it with me? No, I'd left it on the table... right there... not under the wrappers or on the floor... panic set in...

What had I done, I thought. What had anybody else done, I thought. I had a vague memory of a woman coming in the side door, walking past my table, and going into the ladies room, this while I was at the drink stand... could SHE? I felt terrible for suspecting a stranger, but suspect I did.

There was a Wendy's employee on his lunch break at the table next to mine, toying with his cell phone, as one does. "My cell phone seems to have gone missing," I told him; "did you see anything?"

He hadn't but was smarter than me. "You want me to call your phone, see if we can hear it?" I gave him my number; it went straight to voice mail, of course. I was getting more and more convinced that this woman had snatched the phone off the table as she walked by. My stomach was turning into knots (not connected to what I was eating I'm sure).

But then -- then -- out from the ladies room bursts a very tall woman, holding my cell phone up in her hand. "Is this somebody's?" she yelled. "Is this somebody's? I was just sitting there and all of a sudden this phone rings from the trash bin, is this somebody's?"

It was -- Nexus 4, black plastic protector, wallpaper the cover of pulp SF paperback "the Gods Hate Kansas." Mine! I was so relieved, I offered to buy her lunch. She took me up on that but then only ordered a side salad and fries. And then hugged me.

So here's what I'm thinking, that there are two possibilities for what actually happened.


  1. Woman A walked in the side door, saw the phone sitting there, idly snapped up the unguarded trifle, went to the ladies room, thought better of the theft, and put the phone in the trash. Then, Woman B went into the ladies room and had her business rudely interrupted.

  2. There was no Woman A. Woman B snapped up the unguarded trifle, and was startled into full consciousness (and conscience) when it rang, so she concocted the fiction that let her return the phone without consequence or blame, a fiction I am quite happy to endorse.

So, what's your bet? If option #2, this would hardly be the only instance of everyone agreeing to a falsehood in order to keep civilization from falling apart. We usually do that with family members, but sometimes it's important with strangers too.

And I checked. I still had my wallet after the hug. Yeah, I feel a little bad about that.

albadger: (What Badgers Eat)
More Peru! You're all really excited about what I ate, right? Read more... )
albadger: (What Badgers Eat)
From Wikipedia's entry on the Hagfish:

However, a particular species, the inshore hagfish, found in the Northwest Pacific, is valued as food in the Korean Peninsula. The hagfish is kept alive and irritated by rattling its container with a stick, prompting it to produce slime in large quantities. This slime is used in a similar manner as egg whites in various forms of cookery in the region.
albadger: (What Badgers Eat)
A fun day, and I feel better about the world and my presence in it than I have for a long time. Beloved Tenant [livejournal.com profile] bestbear_icanbe and I went up to the Dutton & Bancroft recycling drop to get some money for his soda pop cans (10 bucks! Well, almost), after which we were stumped for lunch. "What sounds good to you?" I asked Scott. He hesitated and I nagged.
"I hate to mention it 'cause it won't do any good," he finally admitted, "but I wish there was a Wienerschnitzel anywhere near here..."

But, hey, there is! There's one in Hayward. We went there and arrived just in time to get in line behind a family of Walmartians and ahead of... well, I promised her I'd blog about her, and I will.

We were both studying the menu while we waited our turn to order when I heard the door open behind me and a woman say with a whiskey voice, "Now hold on, honey, stay right by me, we'll get our dinner real soon..." She's got her badly behaved child, another family of Walmartians, I imagined. I wasn't interested enough to turn around... until I heard her say, "No, no, honey, don't sniff her, sniff the hot dog when it comes, we'll share it..."

I looked down to see her child, a tiny rat of a dog, sniffing the ankles of the Walmartian mother. I had to see the dog's "mother," and glanced behind me innocently. About my age, not in nearly as good health, and a pile of bright crimson hair piled up country-music style. She was dressed for the cocktail lounge about 20 years ago. Even a brief glance was enough for me to see that she was quite drunk.

(Did I mention that Wienerschnitzel is my true guilty pleasure of fast food? It's horribly bad nutritionally, but there's something about the collision of the bland chili and the doughy bun that thrills me the way nothing even from Jack-in-the-Box can. There's a hot dog in there too as a bonus.)

The woman with the dog sat at a table behind me, so I didn't get to see if she put the tiny dog on the table, or if she cut up the hot dog & portioned it out between her & the animal. Scott did get to see, but didn't tell me. That's okay. I did promise the woman that I would blog about her, and here it is. I didn't tell her to her face, of course, but a promise is a promise.
albadger: (What Badgers Eat)
A fun day, and I feel better about the world and my presence in it than I have for a long time. Beloved Tenant [livejournal.com profile] bestbear_icanbe and I went up to the Dutton & Bancroft recycling drop to get some money for his soda pop cans (10 bucks! Well, almost), after which we were stumped for lunch. "What sounds good to you?" I asked Scott. He hesitated and I nagged.
"I hate to mention it 'cause it won't do any good," he finally admitted, "but I wish there was a Wienerschnitzel anywhere near here..."

But, hey, there is! There's one in Hayward. We went there and arrived just in time to get in line behind a family of Walmartians and ahead of... well, I promised her I'd blog about her, and I will.

We were both studying the menu while we waited our turn to order when I heard the door open behind me and a woman say with a whiskey voice, "Now hold on, honey, stay right by me, we'll get our dinner real soon..." She's got her badly behaved child, another family of Walmartians, I imagined. I wasn't interested enough to turn around... until I heard her say, "No, no, honey, don't sniff her, sniff the hot dog when it comes, we'll share it..."

I looked down to see her child, a tiny rat of a dog, sniffing the ankles of the Walmartian mother. I had to see the dog's "mother," and glanced behind me innocently. About my age, not in nearly as good health, and a pile of bright crimson hair piled up country-music style. She was dressed for the cocktail lounge about 20 years ago. Even a brief glance was enough for me to see that she was quite drunk.

(Did I mention that Wienerschnitzel is my true guilty pleasure of fast food? It's horribly bad nutritionally, but there's something about the collision of the bland chili and the doughy bun that thrills me the way nothing even from Jack-in-the-Box can. There's a hot dog in there too as a bonus.)

The woman with the dog sat at a table behind me, so I didn't get to see if she put the tiny dog on the table, or if she cut up the hot dog & portioned it out between her & the animal. Scott did get to see, but didn't tell me. That's okay. I did promise the woman that I would blog about her, and here it is. I didn't tell her to her face, of course, but a promise is a promise.
albadger: (What Badgers Eat)


Anyway, I took this picture earlier today because it combines two of my favorite things in the entire world:

  1. Microwave entrees that after you eat them you still have a neat resuable dish, and
  2. Sorting small multi-colored candies by color and then eating them according to specific rules.
My other favorite things include the real killer breaking down and confessing on the witness stand, but this does not come into play here.

Posted via LiveJournal.app.

albadger: (What Badgers Eat)


Anyway, I took this picture earlier today because it combines two of my favorite things in the entire world:

  1. Microwave entrees that after you eat them you still have a neat resuable dish, and
  2. Sorting small multi-colored candies by color and then eating them according to specific rules.
My other favorite things include the real killer breaking down and confessing on the witness stand, but this does not come into play here.

Posted via LiveJournal.app.

albadger: (What Badgers Eat)
Tonight was the semi-staged reading of Titus Andronicus I wrote about here. They read, I ate. Soup for Act I, a nice salad for Act II, buffalo wings and potato salad for Act III, then some nice cheese and grapes, and finally for Act V, I got... pie! Yes, the Empress and I shared a nice pie. You'll only "get" that if you know the play.
Best part of all, like getting free food isn't great enough, afterwards the director asked me if I'd be interested in doing it again. She's developing some ideas re: Titus as part of her residency at an esteemed Bay Area theatre. "Hell yes!" said I. Who knows what this may lead to?

I hope she doesn't ask me to do this on Tuesday night. Tuesday is Lost night.
albadger: (What Badgers Eat)
Tonight was the semi-staged reading of Titus Andronicus I wrote about here. They read, I ate. Soup for Act I, a nice salad for Act II, buffalo wings and potato salad for Act III, then some nice cheese and grapes, and finally for Act V, I got... pie! Yes, the Empress and I shared a nice pie. You'll only "get" that if you know the play.
Best part of all, like getting free food isn't great enough, afterwards the director asked me if I'd be interested in doing it again. She's developing some ideas re: Titus as part of her residency at an esteemed Bay Area theatre. "Hell yes!" said I. Who knows what this may lead to?

I hope she doesn't ask me to do this on Tuesday night. Tuesday is Lost night.
albadger: (What Badgers Eat)
What sort of person gets a sandwich at Quizno's, eats it in his car, and pulls into In'n'Out and orders a Number 2 Animal Style? I don't understand it at all.
albadger: (What Badgers Eat)
What sort of person gets a sandwich at Quizno's, eats it in his car, and pulls into In'n'Out and orders a Number 2 Animal Style? I don't understand it at all.

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