From Frankfurt to Paris

Jun. 25th, 2017 07:57 am
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Last day in Frankfurt caught up with Nia A., from the Barcelona Supercomputing Centre to discuss the developments of HPC training in Europe and possible collaboration between Australia and PRACE. Afterwards we had some time to spare so took the opportunity to visit the Museum für Kommunikation which had a exhibition on the Golden Ratio and an amusing installation art piece of sheep made from 1980s telephones. This was followed by a lengthy visit to the massive Städel Museum which holds a mighty collection of late gothic, renaissance, baroque, modern, and contemporary artworks, including greats such as Hieronymus Bosch, Rembrandt, Eugène Delacroix, Monet, Degas, Picasso, etc.

The following day was the journey from Frankfurt to Paris with what was meant to be an easy four-hour trip, turned into an eight-hour epic with various delays due to severe storms in Germany. To their great credit the rail staff did a remarkable job at re-routing everyone to arrive at their destinations with a minimum of delay. Eventually arriving at the quite charming Hôtel De La Paix, we had sufficient time before the late sunset to catch a meal and make a visit to Champ de Mars and a certain awful tower (as French artists and intellectuals called it at the time). Actually, it's not that awful at all (except for inspiring a rush of phallic envy, and does accord some fine views apparently. It reminds me a lot of the Sydney Harbour Bridge which, in the scheme of things, is of a similiar time and period.

Yesterday visited Versailles, home of the palace and gardens, the stuff that generates revolutions. The former had excessive queues, so spent the day meandering around the latter and city itself, including a visit to the Royal Stables (still with a fine collection of horses) and Musée Lambinet, which included a fine collection of revolutionary-era objects and paintings. As an oddity for the day at the old antiques market found an extremely good condition of United States Live by Laurie Anderson, something I've wanted to add to my collection for some time.

Weekly Update 24 JUN 2017

Jun. 24th, 2017 09:07 am
megpie71: Kerr Avon quote: Don't philosophise at me you electronic moron; answer the question (don't philosophise)
[personal profile] megpie71
I made a bit of a change to my routine this week - instead of staying in bed until I was ready to wake up on my own (which was about 8am, if not later) I set an alarm to get me out of bed at 6am. Why? Mainly because I was finding the 8am wake-up time meant I felt as though I was getting nothing accomplished in the day - I was having trouble getting dressed before 10am, having trouble getting the housework completed before my spoons ran out at about 2pm, and overall just feeling as though I wasn't getting anywhere. Since the switch to a 6am wake-up, I've been feeling much more positive about the amount of stuff I'm getting accomplished in the day (same amount as previously, it has to be said - I just feel more positive about it), particularly since I'm managing to get a certain amount of it done before 10am, and most of the housework completed prior to noon. My spoons still largely run out around 2pm, but I feel better able to manage things before then.

In the wake of the (much-delayed) delivery of an actual Perth Winter this week (cold, wet, grey, windy) I got all enthused and bought a new tarpaulin to cover our clothesline. The previous one had deteriorated to a set of holes, loosely held together by blue raffia, over the course of the past twelve months (well, a bit less than that, actually - maybe about ten months all up?), and it wasn't doing the necessary job of keeping the clothesline dry during rainy days. Given we don't have decent facilities for drying clothes inside the house on rainy days (we don't own a clothes dryer, and we can't afford to have a heater running all day in order to dry things off) we need the cover provided by a tarp over the clothesline. There are other reasons for the tarp as well - our clothesline is situated under the overhang of a neighbour's jacaranda tree, and jacarandas, while being lovely trees for the most part, drop leaves in late winter, purple blossoms in late spring, and are favourites of the local bird life all year round (who drop things I don't want on my nice clean laundry at all). So we pulled off the old one yesterday and lashed down the new one, and since I bought a good quality one which is UV-stable and has a 4-year warranty, it should hopefully work to keep things dry and clean for at least the next year or two.

What else happened this week? Oh, we got the renewal on the lease, which I have to print out so we can sign it and initial all the pages, before returning it to the real-estate people. So I'll probably do the printing out today, and we can get all the signing and initialling done over the course of the next couple of days and hand the wretched thing in on Monday.

Happy Solstice!

Jun. 21st, 2017 06:02 am
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[personal profile] acelightning
The actual moment was almost six hours ago, but that makes this the "First Day Of [Summer/Winter]". Whichever season you're entering, may you all be blessed in whatever ways you need the most!

Cake for a coffee lover!

Jun. 21st, 2017 05:21 am
acelightning: dramatically lit place setting awaiting serving of fancy food (eats01)
[personal profile] acelightning
This is a cake just slightly larger than a life-size mug of coffee. It made four servings - it's rich and rather dense!

Coffee Mug Cake
Cake in the shape of a full coffee mug
Cake with a slice removed
Coffee-mug cake with a slice removed


I started by making a dark chocolate ganache, to which I added powdered instant espresso, to give it a deep mocha flavor. As the ganache was cooling to a spreadable consistency, I made a plain vanilla genoise cake batter, and baked it in a jelly-roll pan. Because of my lack of mathematical ability, I had the wrong amount of batter for the size of the pan, and the layer came out much thinner than I had planned, but my idea was still workable.

Genoise is usually brushed with syrup while it's still hot. The syrup I made was a "simple syrup", but I used turbinado sugar instead of plain white sugar to give it just a hint of a flavor edge. (I didn't have any coffee liqueur, and also I felt that might have made the flavor too one-dimensional.)

I used my largest round cookie cutter, which just happens to be the same diameter as the coffee mug I was using as a prototype, to cut out circles of syrup-moistened cake. I stacked them with ganache between each layer, until the stack was tall enough, then stuck a skewer down through the middle (so it wouldn't tip over or slide apart) and put it in the refrigerator until it was firm. At this point I noticed that the stacked layers closely resembled Dobos torte or "seven-layer cake". I had used up all the ganache, so while the cake was chilling, I whipped up a small batch of plain confectioners'-sugar-and-butter frosting to coat the sides.

When the cake could stand firm without the skewer, I covered the sides with the frosting, and began to shape the marzipan. My idea was that the marzipan would resemble a ceramic cup, so I rolled it out and cut a strip that was just taller than the cake (to look like the rim of the cup). The icing held the marzipan to the cake. I had just enough marzipan left to shape into a handle - and a tiny nubbin left after that, which I rolled into a "snake", coiled up, and sprinkled with cinnamon sugar, like a little cookie that might be served alongside the coffee in a fancy coffee place.

I brushed a little of the syrup onto the top of the cake, to make it shiny and liquid-looking. And, as a final touch, I added some clusters of different-sized silver dragees, like the clusters of little bubbles that often appear around the edges of a cup of coffee.

As you can see, it really did look like a mug full of black coffee! It smelled wonderful, and it tasted absolutely delicious! You can also see, from the sliced picture, the multi-layered texture, which was a surprise to the person who cut into it :-)
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Final day in Stuttgart included a long walk through Rotwildpark, a thoroughly beautiful location, and a visit to Schloss Solitude which by good fortune had its rooftop open to visitors commanding some superb views. The journey back to Frankfurt was quick and uneventful and once again checked into the Hotel Colombus where, alas, a top floor has been allocated. In the rather warm conditions that is being currently experienced in western Europe it is a little unpleasant.

The main purpose of this European visit is, of course, the International Supercomputing Conference. The event is just the right size, and with a good combination of medium to some very low level presentations ("low level", as in dealing with the technical details). Of some note was the announcement at the conference that the United States has been edged out the top three supercomputer systems, with the delicate suggestion that the current administration may wish to revisit their committment to advanced research. Among the vendors the can be little doubt that NVIDIA's Volta architecture attracted much deserved attention especially with its performance, energy efficiency, and capability for artificial intelligence - the latter being an interesting focus among a number of presentations.

There has been some more social activities as well; I was subject to a film interview by Dell on the sort of HPC work conducted at the University, and had dinner with a number of their staff at the well-reviewed Immer Satt. I have also had the opportunity to catch up with several individuals from my last visit to this part of the world, including colleagues from Stuttgart and Freiburg Universities as well as establish contacts with well people from Auckland University of Technology (quite a trip) and GENCI (Grand Equipment National de Calcul Intensif) who I will be visiting in Paris this Friday.
17catherines: Amor Vincit Omnia (Default)
[personal profile] 17catherines
I've moved temporarily to a four day week - basically for as long as my workload and budget can sustain it.  I've been wanting to do this for some time - I'm so tired all the time, and with wanting to visit my little niece on weekends when we can, there just isn't enough downtime at the end of the week for me to catch up.  This weekend was the first proper long weekend of its kind, and while it wasn't exactly restful, it was what I wanted it to be.

On Saturday, we had been planning to visit my niece, but the whole family is sick and I'm singing in a concert next weekend, so it did not seem like a good time to get a throat infection, so we wound up going to see Wonder Woman instead, which was fun.  I actually don't have very many thoughts about the film at all, I'm afraid.  Most of my reading and media is pretty woman-centred, and I don't see a lot of films or read comics or follow superhero stuff, so I didn't have the whole feeling of it being groundbreaking that other people have talked about.  But I did enjoy it, especially the whole training montage and that first fight sequence on the island.  The bit where Diana walks across No Man's Land was also rather special.  So yes, a fun movie, and I liked it, and I'm glad it makes people happy, but that's about it.

We got home from seeing the film, and I basically sat down and started to write my next Paris story, which had been haunting my brain all week, but which I hadn't actually had any time to work on.  It's called Still Waking, and is for Ternes station, and it's a Sleeping Beauty story.  Since 'terne' means dull in French, and is also a word for an alloy coating of lead and tin that was historically used to cover steel and keep it from tarnishing, I gave Sleeping Beauty a sister who was her opposite - plain to the point that people would forget her features even when she was standing in front of them, strong and stubborn where Sleeping Beauty is charming and yielding, and of course awake while Sleeping Beauty is sleeping.  Which is a good thing, because someone has to keep an eye on all of those princes.  Some of them are not pleasant people at all. 

I'm quite pleased with this one, and I think it's rather sweet, despite some dark moments.  I was not expecting it to have the ending it did, so that was fun.  It does have a lot of adult themes, but then, so does the original story.

(And it's kind of amusing to me, because I can see where the story was influenced by my visit to Darwin and by watching Wonder Woman, and by reading and disliking a bunch of Hugo nominated stories, but I don't think anyone else can...)

The other writing project this weekend was a lot less fun.  A friend of mine is about to go through a very difficult court case, and asked me to write a character reference.  I'm not going to go into any details here, except to say that it is deeply uncomfortable to write such a reference, even when you are saying positive things, particularly when it is for someone who has quite a different value system from your own.  In many ways, you passing judgment on someone's character in a way that you would never do normally in the context of the friendship, and you have to step back from the friendship a bit to do so, which is disconcerting.  I think she's OK with what I wrote.  The one thing I do know for sure – since I was largely bearing witness to my friend's integrity and respect for the truth – is that she would never want me to compromise my own honesty in writing about her!  And she does know that I am on her side, which is important.

Still weird, though. 

On Sunday I had choir practice in the afternoon for the concert that we are doing next Saturday, and then went from there to an Iftar dinner organised by the Australian Greens and hosted by the local Muslim community.  The goal of the event was  to make an opportunity for non-Muslims to talk to Muslims, and generally to promote a sense of community, and I think it was definitely a good starting point.  Though I did feel a bit weird at all the people who came and thanked us for being there – because really, all we did was show up, eat lots of lovely food and try to make conversation.  As shows of solidarity go, this was a pretty easy one, really.  And it worries me a little that this is considered a significant enough effort to be worth thanking people for.

But anyway, it was really lovely, and there was a good turnout, and of course the food was amazing (and ridiculously plentiful)!  They asked us to get there a bit before sunset, and we sat at our long tables with our bottles of water and jugs of lemon drink and plates of dates in front of us, and they brought a split pea soup around, and then we sat there and waited for sunset, feeling thirsty but of course not drinking yet.  A local imam did the call to prayer, and we ate, and then there were evening prayers, and then we ate even more, and then there were speeches by several local politicians and several leaders of the local Muslim community.  I noticed that we had some excellent diversity - half the speakers were women, and most of the women were women of colour.  And there was an opportunity to ask questions, and also just to talk to the people around us. 

So that was a very pleasant way to spend an evening, and I'm very glad I got to do so (especially as I then woke up the next day to the news about the attack on worshippers near the mosque in Finley Park in London).  My Muslim friend at work who let me know about this event has promised to let me know about any similar events that are on, and I think that's something I want to really work at being involved in.

And yesterday was my first, lovely, day at home!  I had very grandiose plans, which were not achieved, largely because Mayhem decided at around 7am that she really wanted to sleep on my face, which was not restful.  But I got a couple of loads of washing done, and went for a long walk, and had a massage, and did two hours of singing practice and spent two hours starting to clean out my pantry and reorganising my spice rack, and planned the weeks menus, and made dinner, and started planning my Europe trip... and actually when I list it all like that, I did get a fair bit done yesterday, didn't I?  Just not any of the writing/research that I had hoped to start on, so apparently, the rest doesn't count.  Hmm...

Also a random recommendation.  We've recently discovered Sammy J's Playground Politics, which is a cross between Play School (an Australian children's TV classic) and political satire, and it is hilarious and horrifying and brilliant.  We've basically watched all the episodes (most of which go for five minutes) over the last few days.  I think my favourite is Musical Pollies, which serves as an excellent introduction to Australian politics, if you recognise any of the names...

He has a new show now, called Sammy J's Democratic Party, which is a full-length show, but which always includes some of the Playground Politics stuff.  Which in my view is the best bit by far...

I'll get back to the Hugo reading soon, I promise.  I took a break from it last week, because I had cramps and felt terrible, and because I kept on running into short stories which had really horrible things happening in them and I just didn't want any more of that in my head.  But one must be brave in the service of democracy, so hopefully I'll finish the Campbells sometime this week...

wneleh: by Mirnell (Default)
[personal profile] wneleh posting in [community profile] as_others_see_us
Instinct Magazine carried Sam Claflin On Finding The Right Gay Role & 'Hunger Games' Gay Fan Fiction.

There was plenty of fanfic talk in Kaitlyn Tiffany’s THE FOUNDER OF PINBOARD ON WHY UNDERSTANDING FANDOM IS GOOD FOR BUSINESS for The Verge.

GQ’s Jay Willis wrote that, following James Comey’s recent testimony, The left began writing its impeachment fanfiction at a more furious rate than ever.

Theater in Ferndale, American Horror Story, Harry Potter, Jane Austen, more Harry Potter, Markov Chains, Wentworth, British politics, The Mummy, Arms, Marie Antoinette )

A Margaret Smith piece in Wicked Local Chelmsford about encounters with Adam West mentioned Batman fanfic.

Andy Greene described Nirvana’s “Floyd the Barber” as essentially an ultra-violent piece of Andy Griffith fan fiction for Rolling Stone.

In ‘The Refreshing Queer Sensibility of American Gods’ for The Atlantic, Manuel Betancourt wrote [showrunner Bryan] Fuller’s trademark style enwrapped NBC’s horror-thriller drama Hannibal, where he turned a notorious cannibal and his FBI profiler into a homoerotic pairing that inspired a fan-fiction genre called Hannigram.

For America Magazine, Rob Weinert-Kendt wrote that Lucas Hnath’s "A Doll’s House, Part 2,” may come off a bit like fan fiction as written by Tom Stoppard.

You won’t believe what kids are writing about celebs, book characters and other pop culture stars (Caroline Knorr, republished on Salon).

Finally, in ‘How Women Are Changing Geek Culture,’ republished on Forbes, Cecilia Tan, in answering ‘What kinds of roles do women play, in nerd culture in 2017?,’ wrote: People put their energies where they get the best encouragement and positive feedback. Perhaps this is one of the reasons why the fandom and nerd culture arenas where women don't just participate but dominate tend to be non-commercial: fan fiction, fan art, cosplay, book blogging and book-tubing. But there are also women making video games, creating comics, hitting the bestseller lists, and winning Hugo and Nebula Awards. There's no space or role that I see in nerd culture that is exclusively a male domain.

From Frankfurt to Stuttgart

Jun. 17th, 2017 09:39 pm
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After the necessary recovery day from the flight (along with some weird sleeping hours as my body-clock adjusted), the next day was a visit to Frankfurt University. The technical and scientific research groups are located in an outer suburb which nevertheless is only 15 minutes by train from the city centre. The day was spent in conversation with their Center for Scientific Computing Team team then attending their introductory class in cluster computing conducted by Anja G., which is an especially comprehensive overview, albeit without a hands-on component. I have spent considerable time going through their lesson plan and slidedeck providing feedback, as well as updating my own standard content from their insights.

After this was the trip to Stuttgart to stay with relatives, about an hour's journey on the fast IC trains. The following day was a holiday, so we we took a tour of the city and especially around the Schollplatz. Visits to (and from) the Stuttgardians are always a pleasure; they're switched-on, savvy, and highly considerate of the needs of others. The children are polite, funny, and absolutely fascinated by Australian animals, which makes buying gifts a breeze. Additional time with them was quite accidental as the person I was supposed to visit at the local university had fallen ill, so we instead took a visit to the Trippsdrill Theme Park, which apart from the usual fare also integrates local history of Swabian life especially from the 19th and early 20th centuries.

Following day started with a visit to downtown Stuttgart where I teased a person in a kangaroo suit (complete with joey) by chatting to them and putting on a very broad Australian accent with colloquialisms. It was a conclusion of some animal events from the past day which included a small finch that stunned itself after flying into a window and a visit by a red squirrel. Further down the road a woman was offering "Free Hugs" in the middle of the mall, so obliged this pan-handler. Afterwards we visited the Ritter Sports chocolate museum, which of course the kids loved. They had an absolutely appalling abstract expressionist art exhibition. When will people learn that such art (loosely defined), the enemy of realism and surrealism, was actually a CIA plot? The day has ended with dinner at for all at Das Pilum, an Italian-Swabian restaurant in former military barracks (the grounds date to Roman times).

Weekly Update 17 JUN 2017

Jun. 17th, 2017 11:03 am
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[personal profile] megpie71
This week the weather has been playing merry hob with my temperature sense at night. Early in the week I was throwing off the quilt in the middle of the night because I was overheating, and I wound up pulling the crocheted rug off the bed because it was just making the overheating worse. Then from Thursday onwards, I've been cold enough at night that I suspect I'm sleeping in the one position all night rather than lose heat (and consequently winding up with a strained shoulder and neck) - the crocheted rug is back on the bed, and I'm starting to consider whether bringing out the summer-weight quilt as well would be a useful move. Or I can give this a week and see whether our weather decides to flip back to comparatively warm nights.

A quick look at the weather forecast says it's possible we might get double-digit night time temperatures around Wednesday and Thursday next week, but single digits for the rest of the week (7 - 10C range for minima). Which, I think, means pretty much more of the same.

The house is cleaner than it was, and probably cleaner than it has been since about mid-March, really. I have free time, and lots of it, and I can now schedule things like cleaning the house as part of my daily routine without running out of spoons for other things. The dust doesn't know what hit it!

Aside from that, most of what I've been doing this week is noodling around on the internet reading things. I haven't even been playing games all that much, which is generally an indicator for me that I'm going through a bit of a depressive slump (which, yes, I am - reaction to not having the week full of uni stuff to deal with). I'm starting to get a bit better at dealing with things. I'm pulling out some old self-care habits, like alternating internet activity for thirty minutes with getting up and doing chores; something which made me more productive yesterday than I had been for most of the week. But it's all a work in progress.

The Ballad of Lucy Jordan

Jun. 16th, 2017 11:43 am
megpie71: Simplified bishie Edward Elric is Scarred For Life (scarred for life)
[personal profile] megpie71
I've been having this run through my head lately as a bit of an earworm - I blame an article from the Guardian which linked me to a video clip for it (a very early seventies video clip, it must be said - be warned). But in a way, this song has been haunting me on and off since I first heard it when I was about five or six, on the radio. It's such a frightening song.

Why is it frightening? Well, go have a look at the lyrics. Think about the sort of life they're describing - when a person's daily options are limited to "cleaning the house for hours, or rearrange the flowers, or run naked through the shady streets screaming all the way" there's not much in there. It almost makes remaining in bed dreaming about fantasy lovers and singing nursery-rhymes sound like a reasonable alternative. And then of course, there's the final verse and chorus.

You know, I'm not quite sure what becomes of Lucy Jordan, but I don't really feel the options are particularly positive either way. I mean, as far as I can tell, the options are she either walks off the roof and dies; or she escapes completely into psychosis and hallucination, and gets carted off by the nice men with the hug-me jackets.

(I love that the lyrics were written by Shel Silverstein - the man behind things like "Cover of the Rolling Stone" and "A Boy Named Sue". A prolific lyricist and a man with a very sharp and satirical pen).

I suspect part of the reason it's been haunting me lately is because I'm feeling in a sort of "Lucy Jordan" situation at present - it's the inter-semester break for me, so there's no real reason to visit campus. Instead, I'm sort of trapped in the pseudo-agoraphobia I wind up in sometimes, where I want to leave the house and Do Things, but I can't think of an adequate justification for doing so. This is part of why I'm always an on-campus student at universities - having the routine of lectures and tutorials means I have a reason to get out of the house, and something to kick me out the door on a regular basis. But without a Good Reason, I tend to remain in the house, in front of the computer, noodling around the internet. So, if there's anyone in my reading list living in Perth, Western Australia, who would like to meet up for coffee/tea or similar, just let me know and we'll set a date. (Semester 2 starts on 31 July. Any time before then is my own - and I'd really appreciate any help people can give in filling it up with at least a few reasons to leave the house around once a week!)

(For those who have already been in touch, don't worry, I'm keeping you in mind!)

New on AO3

Jun. 15th, 2017 10:23 pm
megpie71: Simplified Bishie Sephiroth says "Neat!" (Enthuse)
[personal profile] megpie71
I've just put up a consolidated post of various bits of Final Fantasy VII meta-fic and so on.

Available here: Various FFVII Meta Pieces

Oh, hell no.

Jun. 14th, 2017 03:11 pm
17catherines: Amor Vincit Omnia (Default)
[personal profile] 17catherines
Dear Purchasing,

I'm sorry that it's a pain in the neck to return the battery charger that you ordered for me, especially as you ordered it from a different store from usual and you don't really want store credit from them. 

The thing is, I have sent you multiple emails over the last few years about my current battery charger and how it doesn't charge the batteries you insist are the best ones to purchase.  And how this is causing problems for my whole floor, because you have also decided that we like cordless keyboards and mice.  And I have spent hours arguing with Engineering, who refused to believe that this was even possible, even though it really, really was.

And when I never got a reply from you, I asked my fellow DivCos for recommendations, and tested a battery charger that one of them had obtained by direct purchase, to make sure it worked.  I wrote on the requisition form that I wanted this specific charger, because I have spent three years with an unreliable battery charger.

So no, I am not willing to give the battery charger you ordered for me, which is completely different to the one I specified, a try.  Yes, I get that you thought this one was a better one than the one I chose.  But the one I chose WORKED.  And I don't know if the one you chose will, and I really don't want to find out that it doesn't, because I'm pretty sure I won't be able to return it at that point.

And yes, I get that this is inconvenient.  But I was SUPER clear in the comments that it had to be THIS battery charger and not a different battery charger, and I have been emailing you for YEARS about this.

No love,

Catherine

PS - Also, you know how you don't like people just going off and purchasing stuff directly on their Institute credit cards?  Well, if you don't want people to do that IT MIGHT HELP IF YOU ORDERED THE BLOODY THING THEY ASKED FOR.

From Siam to the Rhine

Jun. 14th, 2017 10:03 am
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[personal profile] tcpip
Have just completed the first part of the latest European venture with [livejournal.com profile] caseopaya. It began with a several hour flight on Royal Thai airlnes to Bangkok arriving there in the late evening, followed by a two hour stop-over, and then around eleven hours or so with the same airline to Frankfurt which meant arriving in said destination just before seven AM local time. I took the opportunity to catch up with several SF and action films that had hitherto escpaed my vieweing; Mad Max: Fury Road (a rather silly giant car chase), Assassin's Creed (assassins versus templars, past and present, rather well done), Dead Pool (super hero comedy) and John Wick 2 (thoroughly tolerable action film with some good locations). On a late-night whim watched the original Planet of the Apes for the first time in decades, and was thoroughly impressed with the range of themes it deftly discussed (humanity in the universe, vivisection, religious vs scientific conflicts, nuclear war, youthful rebelliousness, etc) within the main characters.

After a day on a plane, what does one do? Take a day-trip river cruise through the Rhine gorge of course. The modern Hotel Colombus was kind enough to let us check-in ridiculously early to freshen up before taking a bus tour of the main sights of Frankfurt that was part of the package, and then another bus to Assmannshausen. A chairlift provides some great views of this reisling varietal valley region which of course was sampled with lunch in a restaurant that rather overdoes the nautical theme. The cruise itself was, of course, a rather picturesque location with its vineyards, historic villages, looming cliffs (including the location of the Loreli legend), and a rather impressive collection of medieval castles many of which were used for what was effectively a protection racket. Of particular personal note was the Bacharach castle (which is now a youth hostel and recently held a gaming convention) and the Mouse Tower, site of where, according to legend Bishop Hatto faced a much deserved demise. Exhausted from what is effectively two days of relentless activity, rest has come easily.

November 2016

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