1. Ice Swimmer says

    The song of the last thread and this are both fine music.

    Nightjar (from the last thread and I’m a week late), I’m glad to hear nobody died and your water and power are back.

    This week is the last week of the first period. I have no exams, though, all courses will continue on the next period. There are no lectures, just one lab work session tomorrow. However, there are assignments to be done including the lab report on the session tomorrow.

  2. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Voted early today for the 2018 election, and went through a new method of submitting my ballot. Since my first vote in 1972, I’ve done
    1) Paper ballots where X in the box marked the candidate.
    2) Mechanical voting machines, with a security curtain, levers, and big “kachunk” as the main lever was pulled to record the votes.
    3) Punch cards that resulted in the “hanging chad” problem with 2000 election.
    4) Paper ballots with circles to be filled in for optical readers.
    5) A card inserted in touch-screen computer that will print your votes onto the card before the card is read by an optical scanner.
    Progress or not?

  3. voyager says

    Ice Swimmer,
    I hope you can find some time to catch your breath this week.
    How are your courses going? I’m sure there’s lots (and lots!) of work, but I hope you’re enjoying yourself, too.

  4. StevoR says

    An article here that some folks might find of interest :

    Not that I’m a fan of that philosopher personally & apologies if I’ve been beaten to it here.

    Also saw First Man last night :

    & would very highly recommend it. A brilliant thoughtful, questioning, beautiful movie with some odd as well as not so odd omissions and inclusions and questions raised. I don’t want to add spoilers so I won’t* but I’ll note there’s an anti-space exploration / race social justice element /argument made powerfully by a surprising source included that movie too.* The original biography its based on is very different and very much more comprehensive and makes fascinating reading though of course I’m really into this stuff and I know others aren’t so YMMV.

    Oh and an excellent youtube clip here that’s thought-provoking indeed too when it comes to US of American priorities :

    * Okay if I may put some in rot13 code -- use to decode and of course SPOILER WARNING if you do that and, yeah, I know, we do know the general story so a-n-y-w-a-y :

    Nzbat bgure guvatf gurl vapyhqr va vgf ragvergl (be arneyl fb?) “Juvgrl ba gur Zbba” n cbrz nethvat sbe qbvat zber ba Rnegu vafgrnq bs tbvat vagb fcnpr. Nezfgebat’f svefg jvsr Wnarg vf nyfb cbegenlrq vs nalguvat nf zber urebvp guna ur vf; fur pbzrf bire irel flzcngurgvpnyyl naq jryy naq vf nf zhpu n sbphf bs gur zbivr nf uvz sbepvat uvz gb pbasebag uvf puvyqera jvgu gur cbffvovyvgl ur jba’g erghea. Gur cynagvat bs gur HF synt ba Zbba trgf phg nf qbrf gur “jr pnzr va crnpr sbe nyy Znaxvaq” cyndhr, trggvat gur Cerfvqragvny pnyy naq, bqqyl, gur Ncbyyb 11 & Trzvav 8 fcynfuqbjaf gbb. Nccneragyl, sebz fbzr bayvar frnepuvat nsgre gurl irel arneyl phg gung zbfg snzbhf dhbgr bs uvf sebz gur svyz gbb naq gur xrl zbzrag jurer ur qebcf uvf yngr qnhtugre’f oenpryrg vagb gur pengre vf irel yvxryl (ohg abg pregnvayl) gehr. Vgf nyfb yrsg nzovthbhf naq hc gb gur ivrjre gb qrpvqr jung gurl znxr bs vg nyy -- Nezfgebat vapyhqrq naq ur pbzrf npebff nf obeqreyvar, nyzbfg nhgvfgvp-~vfu va guvf zbivr. Vgf ..vagrerfgvat ..gubhtug-cebibxvat, ernyvfgvp naq zbivat & irel zhpu ABG “cngevbgvp” be that ub naq gur fcnpr enpr vf ernyyl qr-rzcunfvfrq bire gur uhzna fgbel.

  5. rq says

    Can we please not rot13 here? It is amazingly annoying and frustrating, a spoiler warning should be enough, and mobile devices aren’t particularly conducive to easy deciphering.
    (If anyone disagrees, we can discuss it.)

  6. Nightjar says

    Ice Swimmer @1,
    I hope you are enjoying the courses! Does that mean you will have a break before the next period starts?

    Nerd of Redhead @3,
    I’ve only done method #1. I feel this country is outdated after reading your list…

  7. jazzlet says

    We still do crosses next to names for most voting here, though we did do numbers next to parties for European elections.

    Back from a week’s holiday in Wales, four days with friends, three on our own, both good, but being on our own with nothing we have to do is best. The ‘on our own’ cottage was in the midst of woodland, including the oldest grove of California coastal redwoods in Europe, a lovely wandering around with the dogs place and we didn’t meet another person. Apart from that we had lots of hot drinks and toasted, buttered things.

  8. Ice Swimmer says

    voyager @ 4

    I think I will have some free days.

    As for the courses, some have gone better, some a bit worse, pretty much depending on how good the exercise sessions have been* and how well my knowledge of the subject has corresponded to the prerequisites of the course.

    Nightjar @ 8

    I’ve enjoyed studying. It’s sometimes frustrating and some things take a lot of time, some not, but I like the intellectual challenges. No actual break, the lectures start on Monday.

    chigau @ 6

    * = In electrical engineering, understanding the technology and being able to carry out various calculations are tightly coupled.

  9. StevoR says

    @7. rq. : Okay. My apologies. I like using it to avoid spoilers and potentially triggering material but understoo and will try to remember and avoid using it here in future.


    Few links hopefully of interest :

    Good discussion (TEDx talk) and some points raised by Lilia Brooker there.

    Another good talk also here on geothermal potential and more by Khaled Al Sabawi :

    In case folks haven’t seen those before.

    Oh and from this very different place this :

    latest worrying sign that may have been missed regarding Global Overheating. (“Warming” is too misleadingly mild a word for it I reckon.)

  10. says

    I know, having a piece of paper with names and circles where you make a cross next to the party/person you’d like to vote for isn’t fancy, but it’s pretty easy.

  11. Nightjar says

    So we’re supposed to go from the current 25ºC (12ºC at night) to 13ºC (3ºC at night) on Sunday. That’s quite abrupt. Polar air mass from Iceland, they say. *shiver*

  12. Ice Swimmer says

    Nightjar @ 13

    Your nighttime temperature is pretty much my daytime temperature. Still, I get that the quick cooling feels colder.

  13. Ice Swimmer says

    Giliell @ 12

    I agree. Did you such thing?

    Next year I have an opportunity or a few to write some numbers in a circle printed on a thick piece of paper that I’ll then fold, have it rubber stamped and drop it into a sealed box.

  14. says

    Ice Swimmer
    While some states in Germany have more complicated systems, general elections and our local elections are pretty straight forward: parties are listed according to the number of votes they got the last time, so most billboards and such will already tell you to vote for “list 4!”. You vote for a party who put together a list of candidates by making a cross in the respective circle. That’s your first vote and leads to proportional representation.
    Then there’s the second vote, which votes for a person (who usually is nominated by a party) in a first past the post system.
    BUT you actually only need to make your vote clear. I could also write: I vote for XXX or cross out all parties except the XYZ.
    And yes, I always vote. I have actually voted invalid in a couple of local elections because I couldn’t in good conscience vote for any of the candidates and it was very clear that nothing major would happen. I also voted for the “lesser evil” when something was at stake.

  15. voyager says

    Canada has been trying to put proportional representation in place with no success. Our current Prime Minister, Trudeau the Junior, campaigned in favour of it, but once he was in power his government voted it down despite doing a study that said most Canadians were in favour of it. Now we’re still stuck with first past the post. And this is a Liberal government.

  16. Ice Swimmer says

    Giliell @ 16

    The system here is simple for the voter: It’s proportional representation in all elections except for the Presidential Election and you vote for one candidate by their candidate number and the results are calculated using the d’Hondt method.

    Next year, there will be the Parliamentary Election, EU Parliament Election and possibly the first Provincial Election.

  17. jazzlet says

    Nightjar it looks like that cold front is heading our way too. Although it’s been perceptibly colder here the last few evenings that may simply be the contrast with the very cosy cottage we were staying in, that stayed warm despite us leaving doors open for the dogs.

  18. Ice Swimmer says

    I had a culture day on Thursday and no, I’m not talking about yoghurt.

    I attended two violin recitals/Master’s degree concerts by students graduating from Sibelius Academy. The programme in the concerts featured Bach, Brahms, Chausson, Paganini, Saint-Saëns, Schumann and Widmann. Both young ladies did well in my opinion.

    From Helsinki Music Centre I walked to the nearby Villa Hakasalmi and checked their Carefree Capital exhibition, about life in Helsinki in 1920s.

    After that, I went to the Ateneum to check their new exhibition, Urban Encounters about 20th century Finnish art that is connected to the urbanization and modernization of the country (20th century in Finland was a time of very rapid urbanization). Private life and (gender and sexual) identity issues were also subjects which the works explored.

    Both exhibitions were interesting. Urban Encounters showed some artists that have been forgotten but would deserve more attention such as Elga Sesemann, who already as a young painter developed her own technique, using a palette knife for painting. She had some exhibitions in 1940s, but she was pretty much forgotten after that.

    One part of the exhibition was devoted to nudes, both paintings and sculpture and explored how the male and female gaze have developed in art.

  19. rq says

    England in November sounds charming.

    Despite his pretty face, Trudeau Jr. has been a disappointment to me. I honestly thought he’d have a little more backbone.


    re: voting
    For us, for the federal elections (this past October 6!), each party submits a candidate list, and then the order of lists is chosen by random lottery (there’s no way to do this according to votes in previous election because the number and name of parties changes from election to election -- you never know who or what will be on the list!). Then, when voting, you can drop in a ‘blank’ ballot for your party of choice, or you can select or cross out candidates to your heart’s content. Any party with >5% of the vote will get into parliament, and the actual representatives are calculated from the checks and crosses each person has received (if any). The political situation being what it is, I think every vote I have cast has been a ‘lesser evil’ vote. The current electees are still trying to come together to form an actual government -- seven parties made it past the line, and generally speaking, the outlook is good… if only they all could get past their petty differences. And stop bringing in the differences that aren’t so petty.

  20. jazzlet says

    If you’ll be in the Manchester/Stockport area, and fancy a walk with a couple of German Shepherds and me do say.

    I’ve just been to the green grocer, I am so lucky there are still proper local shops like this around here, in this case a wonderful selection of the freshest seasonal vegetables, mostly much cheaper than you pay in a supermarket. Among other things I bought the first stick of sprouts of the year which will make Mr Jazz very happy, he loves sprouts.

  21. chigau (違う) says

    Thanks for the offer, a doggy stroll sounds like fun.
    My knowledge of the geography of England is pretty much non-existent.
    I’ll get out my atlas and get back to you.

  22. says

    Sorry folks, but its that time of year when my nose blocks, I can’t breathe again, everything tastes of mud and I feel like at lest two-decades older. I have no fever, but I am weak as a baby and lame as a duckling.

  23. Ice Swimmer says

    Charly @ 26

    I can believe that it sucks big time (I also have asthma). Hoping for the quickest possible recovery for you.

  24. StevoR says

    @ Charly : That sucks. :-(

    I don’t suppose you want to try having something with a strong mustard or horseradish sauce or wasabi or suchlike which may help -- albeit also may hurt, sinuses Wise I find that helps. Also milder and perhaps better lemon (grass or actual fruit) or pine? Plus pepper. (My local bakery does a triple pepper pie which I find enjoyable & handy when feeling coldy and stuffy.) Or maybe strong curries if those are your thing?

  25. says

    Sorry for kind of vanishing. It was the little one’s birthday on Monday so the party was yesterday. Since we don’t run a household where you can spontaneously throw a party that involved lots of cleaning (and cake making).
    But I promise a tasty Tummy Thursday.

    I feel with you. Since I usually then have a choice between using nose spray and quickly getting an addiction or having clogged sinuses and getting really sick I just hate it.

  26. lumipuna says

    Here’s a story of a recent Finnish modern jewelry art exhibition. I just love the item in the third photo down from top.

    It really seems to be fan art on Hayao Miyazaki’s Castle in the Sky. The text says it’s a music box in the style of late Imperial Russia, with a revolving decoration (ie. the Tree of Laputa) on top.

  27. says

    @lumipuna, those jewels are gorgeous, I would love to go to an exhibition like that.

    I stayed in bed all day today and I feel better now. Probably just some rhinovirus trying to eat me from the inside.

    We got first snow today. Yay.

  28. voyager says

    I hope you stay feeling better, not being able to breathe properly is awful. I’ll be getting my flu shot this week. One of my friends has already been stricken by flu. She’s had vomiting and diarrhea for days with cold symptoms thrown in for good measure.

    What beautiful jewels. My favourite is the ring with the birds. Everything looks so finely crafted. Thanks for the share.

  29. voyager says

    I hope it was a good party and I hope we get to see the cake on Thursday. Your cakes are always beautiful and they sound so delicious. My house is usually in some state of near chaos so I understand the cleaning before company part. Sometimes I think if no one visited me things would descend into total chaos.

  30. says

    I finished a thing. I make journals to give to family for Xmas, usually Japanese stab-bound, but this year I decided to use all the supplies I have for accordion-fold journals.

    Anther accomplishment, of a sort -- today is our 35th anniversary. Yikes.

    lumipuna, those jewels are lovely and I covet them, especially the collar/necklace.

    Giliell, I look forward to seeing your cake masterpiece.

    Charly, I’m sorry you’re sick and glad to see you’re feeling better.

  31. says


    Sometimes I think if no one visited me things would descend into total chaos.

    You’re me?
    The party was nice apart for the 30 minutes when we were searching for #1 who had stormed off in a temper tantrum. We were about to call the police when she returned.
    Very good: One of the guests is the daughter of our local Döner Kebap take away and they called and said they’d bring us two family pizzas. No cooking and fresh pizza.

  32. voyager says

    Happy Anniversary! 35 years is a long walk together.
    Your journals are fabulous and I’d like to put them on the front page of the blog. Would that be alright with you?

  33. rq says

    Congratulations, Anne!


    I haven’t managed to post everything I wanted from Macedonia, and I’m already in Austria.
    The world has wrinkles, and crossing them feels like the old dirt road back home, just an awful lot scarier.

  34. StevoR says

    Well this is alarming and tragic and has gone largely unnoticed by the media (at least here in Oz.)

    Half of all vertebrates lost. Half .. you’d think that’d be headline news wouldn’t you but no.

    Meanwhile, in case folks may have missed it – this is square, well rectangular anyhow :

    Another Antarctican item. (What’s “perfect” here?)

    Oh and there’s also this strange sea cucumber seen :

    complete with video gif.

  35. says

    Blast it, feeling better did not hold long. I had to call it quits two hours early at work today, I simply could not cope. Nothing hurts (much), I run no fever and appart occasional fits of sneezing and runy nose I have no ill symptoms. But nothing tastes right, I cannot concentrate and think straight and I feel weakly. It is almost, but not entirely, worse than being really sick, because I feel like I should manage just fine, but I can’t.

  36. jazzlet says

    Oh I’d rather be properly ill than just poorly anytime. Hope you feel properly better soon Charly.

  37. says

    voyager, I’d be honored to have my work on the blog! Thank you!

    Thanks to the rest of you too!

    Today is my Aged Mum’s 92nd birthday. Paul and I drove up there with cake and presents and a balloon and a load of groceries. Mum’s sleeping most of the time, and not eating much. Reminds me far too much of Shadow’s sister Patches in her last months, but what can I do?

    I wish my siblings would do more to visit her before it’s too late, but it’s up to them. I can’t force them to do the right thing.

  38. voyager says

    Uhg! It’s awful when your taste changes and it feels like you have a head stuffed full of wool. Try to get plenty of rest and drink lots of fluids and feel better soon.

  39. says

    Get well soon.

    Happy Birthday Anne’s Aged Mum

    Urgh, what a day. I accidentally almost knocked a kid out. They had a fight, and we had split them up, and we thought that we had almost calmed the one boy down, when he jumped up, ran up the stairs, into the classroom where he thought the other kid was to beat him up. The kid was not there, so he tried to run off again and I tried to stop him by putting my foot behind the door. He tried to open it and hit it hard against his head. And then I spent the next hour still trying to stop him from going after that kid.
    I’m sorry he got hurt and apologised, though sometimes you have only bad choices left.
    Also my knee hurts from trying to run up the stairs to outrun a fit 11 years old on adrenaline.

  40. jazzlet says

    Happy Birthday Anne’s Aged Mum

    Giliell I suppose it’s right that knocking out kids to stop them fighting is frowned on, though it would certainly work … I hope your knee stops hurting soon.

    As we are coming up to 5th November and Guy Fawkes Night people can buy fireworks, which they are, and setting them off too. Thorn gets nervous and needs reassurance (it’s progress that she asks though) while Jake barks at them :-( Our solution is to play music with bass and drums up in the mix to drown out the bangs, though nothing drowns out the whistles which they both hate. I wish they would make fireworks that did the pretty sparkling with out the bangs.

  41. StevoR says

  42. StevoR says

    @ ^ Those degrees in Celsius so that’s 95 and 96.8 Fahrenheit respectively.

    Global Overheating already making lives miserable incl. mine working outside .

    Oh and welcome to Leonids* month as astronomers call it otherwise known as November everyone. Already ..

    PS. Of course dinosaurs are birds and vice versa but I hope y’know what I meant above.


  43. jazzlet says

    Or welcome to cloudy sky month as I know it. Moving to the west side of the Pennines has really made a difference to how many astronomical things we see, we get far more cloud cover over here than we did in Sheffield

  44. says

    We did have some rain, finally. Not enough, but still some.

    Last night we had the first annual family dinner. Grandma died a year ago and we proposed that we meet once a year around November so we don’t lose touch.
    Turned out that grandma had a little bit of money left and the three remaining kids decided to split it among us grandkids. Which is nice. We also split the jewellery, which is only of sentimental value.

  45. lumipuna says

    Giliell -- funny how this time of the year the weather can be damp for months on end without much actual rainfall.

  46. jazzlet says

    Norfolk? Ok, well that’s not near us, although I do have a lot of memories of driving through Norfolk to get to Suffolk, Lowestoft specifically just over the border, where my MiL lived. The north coast is probably the best part, though rather bleak at this time of year.

    When we were looking for a house over this side of the Pennines one of theroutes we used went down a valley that had three reservoirs and watching how much they did or didn’t fill up from week to week in relation to how much I felt it had rained was revealing. If we got to Christmas and they were still mostly empty you knew thing were bad.

  47. voyager says

    Hooray! We got the news this morning that Jack’s biopsy came back normal.
    Sharing time as a family is a wonderful way to honour your grandmother and how nice to distribute her jewellery when you’re all together like that. I wear my Oma’s wedding ring below my own.

  48. jazzlet says

    voyager that is wonderful news! Jazz from whom I take my nym had to be put down because of lyphoma, so I was worried for Jack.

  49. Ice Swimmer says

    Giliell @ 52

    Wishing the best for your knee.

    voyager @ 55

    Glad to hear that Jack’s results were normal. I was also thinking the thing that was unsaid, but probably in everyone’s mind.

  50. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Applause to Jack and Voyager for the good news. Nothing like “benign” to calm anxieties.

  51. voyager says

    Thanks everyone for your kind words. I took a long deep breath after the Vet phoned today. First one in a few days.

  52. Nightjar says

    What a relief, voyager! I am so glad our dear Jack has nothing serious, I was very worried.

  53. says

    Hooray for good Jack news.

    The weather is gloomy and murky, so I prepared my camera near the feeder. Unfortunately not many birds have shown up so war, only tits. Sure, tits are great, and I get to see some even up close when in the garden, but….

    That aside, I am sorry for being so much offline as of late, but the murky weaher has brought with it cold and looming depression and it took me an hour to get up to speed to literally get out of bed and eat my breakfast. I feel better today than I did for two weeks and I hope it stays that way at least for me to get some serious work done.

  54. rq says

    Take care of yourself, take care of your priorities, we’ll take care of the blog.

    That is some super news about Jack, I’m so glad to hear it! I hope he’s overjoyed, too -- nothing like a good healthy dog.

    It’s on my bucket list, I keep hearing good things about it.

  55. says

    I could have sworn I posted a comment here…

    Yay for Jack
    I’m happy there’s good news for a good boy.

    Hope your health remains stable, Charly

  56. says

    Yay, Jack! Charly, take care and feel better soon.

    I’m the only human awake currently. All I can hear is birds and the occasional complaint from the old cat. Right now she’s sitting on me, so she’s quiet, but that will change shortly.

  57. jazzlet says

    Charly sorry that you get that way, it’s all too familiar to me, but for me medication helps a lot. I hope we get some sunny days to help keep you out of the slough (slough of depression, like the town of the name pronounce sluff).

  58. jazzlet says

    Damn it we have fireworks again we try to drown them out with loud music, but there is a limit to how loud we can go without pissing our neighbours off. And tonight it’s not loud enough so scaredy Thorn is distressed and Jake is barking. I’ll be glad when 5th November is passed, we’ve had three nights noise in a row now. I hate the dogs being upset.

  59. StevoR says

    So USA mid terms : Vote if you can. Choose wisely pls. Vote like lives depend on it -- because they do.

    From across the world’s largest ocean away in Oz and unable to do so myself yet knowing so much here is still so powerfully swayed and driven & shifted by what happens in the States. I’m really hoping for a ” Blue wave” big enough to check & reign in the worst excesses of the worst POTUS in my lifetime. Not something I thought I’d be saying after the second lesser Bush. I wish US politics didn’t matter so much but fact it does. Vote with thought and kindness and looking to the very best of what the USA exemplifies and has as its ideals.

    The world truly seriously needs a metaphorical “Blue Wave” right now. One big enough to overcome all the gerrymandering and voter suppression and dirty Republican racist tricks that make it so hard for the best of people and best of the United States to prevail.

    Vote with thought and kindness and hope for change for better.

    (If these words can help please use them as best suits. If they cannot or do worse then my apologies.)

  60. StevoR says

    @49. jazzlet : My sympathies and yeah, we call it Murphy’s law. Sure the local climate sometime really doesn’t help astronomy viewing~wise. Can be so frustrating. (Been there, even here in my local area.)

  61. says

    As I mentioned, I inherited a little bit of money from my gran and decided to invest in a wide angle lens, which is the one that was really missing in my collection. The lens was due to arrive today. At work at noon I got an update that delivery is expected today. And when I got home sure there was a note that the parcel had been delivered to my neighbour.
    And I went to my neighbour, but the parcel only contained my new scales. I checked online and found the status that yes, they wanted to deliver it today but then it got sorted wrongly and it’s probably not going to arrive today…

  62. jazzlet says

    Oh Giliell how disappointing! I hope it comes tomorrow.

    I am hoping for a firework free night tonight, when I have to stay in the room with the loud music, so Thorn can lie close by and be comforted by my presence, I realise how much I do other things even when I think I’ve spent all evening on the computer. I suppose that is good to know as it means I am not usually spending hours glued to my chair even when I think that is all I’ve done.

  63. says

    I got new drill press. Lets hope it will work well and keep working at least a few years -- I am usually not at all impressed with new technology, older machines were keepers, but new ones are often deliberately built to break some time not too long after warranty runs out (that is not a conspiracy theory, that is a fact).

  64. Ice Swimmer says


    I’ve busy and tired. Also, I’ve been getting involved in a student club for students that do the same major as I do. Here, technology students tend to be organised in guilds that do the student activities more geared towards freshmen and people early in their studies and there’s one guild per (bachelor’s) degree programme (people in Finnish academical universities will almost always go all the way to Master’s). Members of various guilds are recognizable by the design of the overalls (colour and guild logo) they wear in student parties.

    The clubs for different majors are more geared towards master’s level students, who will also be members of the guilds, mostly. The club I’m in has a mixture of career-related stuff and fun in the activities.

  65. chigau (違う) says

    It is 8:50PM on November 10 and people are setting off fireworks in their back yards.
    Why are they doing that?

  66. Jazzlet says

    chigau probably it’s someones birthday although it might be Diwali, I haven’t checked the dates for this year. You can only buy fireworks at certain times of the year in the UK so people can go a bit mad, someones been letting fireworks off round here too.

  67. says

    we more or less finished the sink and cupboard in the cellar.
    During this my dad and I had the following conversation:
    Dad: sand it down with fine paper.
    Me: How fine?
    Dad: The finest you’ve got.
    Me: That’s 3k.
    Dad: I didn’t know that existed.
    Me: I repeat: How fine?

  68. Nightjar says

    I feel for British dogs and cats. There is only one moment in the entire year when people will set off fireworks in their backyards here, and that’s January 1st at midnight. It’s enough as far as I’m concerned.

    Giliell, @73

    I hope your lens has arrived by now. May I ask what lens it is? I’m considering getting something of a shorter focal length than what I have, but I’m still undecided.

  69. says

    It has!
    I took a first stroll with it, but sadly the day was cloudy and the light faded too early. But I got some fun shots with it.
    I got the Canon 10-18mm, standard variety. At 10mm you basically get everything. My kids love to just jump in front of the camera, basically putting their nose to the lens because they know that I cannot get a pic then. Well, now I can…

  70. Jazzlet says

    Firework sales are limited to before 5th November and before New Year. There are also limits on how late they can be used, except for on New Year’s Eve, so it isn’t the free for all it used to be when the public could buy fireworks all year round. I just wish manufacturers would make more that were quiet, you can have beautiful fireworks that don’t make a noise, sadly too many people want that bang.

  71. chigau (違う) says

    Went to the Tower of London.
    Saw the Crown Jewels.
    Bought a hot water bottle at the gift store.
    (’cause why not?)

  72. says

    I do have a feeling that chigau has a bucket list…

    Well, today the thing that was bound to happen happened.
    In a “playfight” one kid pushed another one who fell and hit his head against the metal gate and passed out. So we had the regular paramedics, the rescue doc and because somehow the information that it was a known cause got lost somewhere, the police at school. But when we tell them that shit is dangerous they never listen because what do the adults know? Thankfully there seems to be only a minor concussion.
    We have a new concept for recess that is getting started and it’s high time.

  73. Jazzlet says

    I love Kew Gardens, the best bit is not really in evidence at this time of year, but they have beds and beds and beds each full of closely related species to help you learn the differences. The specimen trees are just fabulous too, again with closely related trees near to each other to make comparison easy, learning the winter sillouettes and bud shapes is fun to try.

    Uff Giliell, I hope the new concept works.

    I hate it when you ring somewhere and a message tells you “This office is open between 8am and 6.30 pm, in case of emergency hold the line to be transferred to our out of hours service” at 5.00pm. Grrrrrrr.

  74. chigau (違う) says

    I am in England mostly on someone else’s shout.
    The first bit was business and the last bit is touristing.
    There is soooo much to see just in the London area, that’s all we’ve been doing.

  75. Oggie. My Favourite Colour is MediOchre says

    So my son got married on July 1st.

    Over the past three or so weeks, his wife has been feeling nauseous and has, occasionally, been vomiting.

    Any one care to guess where this is heading?

    The good news, though, is that Boy’s new job has paid healthcare, including dependents, beginning in a couple of weeks.

  76. Oggie. My Favourite Colour is MediOchre says

    So my son got married on July 1st.

    Over the past three or so weeks, his wife has been feeling nauseous and has, occasionally, been vomiting.

    Any one care to guess where this is heading?

    The good news, though, is that Boy’s new job has paid healthcare, including dependents, beginning in a couple of weeks.

  77. StevoR says

    @93. Oggie : Congratulations and best wishes. To your son and his wife and hope all goes well for them -- and you.

    So astronomers found a world around the second nearest star system to ours -- Barnard’s Star. Thrice Earth’s mass or so, in the equivalent of mercury;s orbit but chilly becoz faint red dwarf star meaning this is maybe a super-Mars or super-Titan or maybe something else entirely -- and there’s hints of a second exoplanet in the data :

    Oh and the PRC has made significant process in fusion reactors which may be a good thing :

    Plus its late -- only just stumbled on this song tonight -- but its fun, spot on and still well worth listen in my view :

    The start there is enough in itself but still.

  78. Jazzlet says

    Chigau I have a pretty good idea of what your feet will be feeling like, I’ve done bits of the British Museum, there is far too much to claim more than that. The Natural History Museum isn’t quite as big, but I can spend hours in there too. You definitely need to wear your comfiest shoes for either!

    I picked some raspberries today, and there are more to come. Autumn Gold is, as the name suggests, an autumn variety, but we have always been pleased to get enough for Mr Jazz’s birthday breakfast on 15th October.

  79. Nightjar says

    Oggie, wherever it is heading, I somehow feel congratulations are appropriate. For some reason. ;)
    Hoping for the best!

  80. Ice Swimmer says

    Congratulations, Oggie!

    chigau @ 97

    I’d guess they feel like my feet used to feel after the second day at work back from summer holidays when I delivered newspapers.

    This is a song about how autumn feels, in Swedish*. I have wanted to link to it for a while. The song is called Höstvisa (Autumn Song). This version is by the band Cumulus. There are other versions including many in Finnish and at least one in Norwegian. AFAIK, no version in English.

    The “me” character starts the song by telling how the way home was long and she saw nobody, asking her beloved to comfort her and in the refrain to hurry to love her as the darkness increases. There are lines about the shortness of summer and the cold dark and the barren time coming and storms blowing on the long coast of the autumn.

    The character states that she may love her beloved less than before but more than she** can ever imagine and she should have said and done so much more than she did, but in the end she finds that love and being together are the most important things.
    * = The lyricist, artist Tove Jansson as well as the singer Anki Lindqvist were Swedish-speaking Finns.
    ** = Jansson was lesbian, so I while the song is gender-neutral I just imagine her and her lover Tuulikki Pietilä as the characters.

  81. voyager says

    The British Museum must be incredible. How bad are your feet?
    That will cheer me up. I’m craving light.
    I gave Jack some schmoosing from you and he says thanks.

  82. voyager says

    Ice Swimmer,
    Your link won’t work for me, but this does, Hostvisa by Cumulus
    Also, I’m pleased to hear about the club you’ve joined. You mentioned there are a variety of activities. Some of that is probably about making contacts, but I hope there’s a bit of fun and nonsense.

  83. says

    I actually made it home in daylight and went for my walk.
    There are some dog owners I just hate. Today, as I was walking, a dog came up from behind me, barking, growling, barring his teeth, not heeding his owner’s calls, in short being fuck aggressive. I simply stood still and the dog stopped and calmed down. The owner kept telling that “he doesn’t do anything” and “he’s a good dog” and “he’s more scared than you are”. I told him to put his dog on a leash, but he insisted that no, the dog was not aggressive at all!

  84. Nightjar says

    voyager, I thought of you just moments ago! Today is a lovely warm and sunny autumn day, and there are plenty of fallen dried leaves all around. As I was walking back to the lab after going out for lunch with some friends I got to a point of the sidewalk that was so full of leaves I… just couldn’t resist a bit of leaf swooshing! And I may have gotten a bit too excited about it, because the person walking in front of me looked back awkwardly as if wondering why the leaves were making more noise under my feet than strictly necessary. Poor person, doesn’t understand. :)

  85. Jazzlet says

    Yay for a walk in day light, but boo to that dog owner. He was wrong about his dog, sure the dog probably was frightened of you, but if he’d been on the lead he’d have known his owner would protect him, off the lead it’s his job to protect himself. Idiot owner. I always work on the principle that any person we encounter might be terrified of dogs, because it’s better to be safe than sorry. I’ve always taken that approach because it might be true, we have mostly had German Shepherds which many people are firghtened of, and I don’t want to frighten people. The UK now has a law about using your dog as a weapon and it’s pretty broadly drawn, so if the person the dog approaches feels threatened it would apply, so it could have applied to that dog which approached you today. It was brought in because criminals do use dogs as weapons, particularly breeds with a reputation for being aggressive, to threaten people and it was difficult to get a conviction “I was doing my best to stop him” being the usual excuse. I really don’t want my dogs falling foul of that law.

    Glad you enjoyed some swooshing, the leaves are too wet round here to swoosh.

    Safe journey!

    Our bitch Thorn is off colour, she didn’t eat anything at all yesterday, but she has just eaten so I’m hoping she is feeling better. There is nothing obvious wrong, but you never know what you might be missing. She is so nervous at the vet that it can be difficult for them to exmine her, she tenses up so palpating her stomach doesn’t work and trying to move her legs to feel the play in her joints is impossible, it means I need a pretty good idea of where and what the problem is before I take her, and I had nothing this time. Hopefully it was nothing important and she’ll be fine now.

  86. says

    @ Jazzlet, fingers crossed for your doggie.

    Two months old car and I already had to go to service for repairs. A marten got into the engine area and bit through some cables.

  87. Jazzlet says

    Thank you both. she’s still very quiet, not wanting Jake near her, not wanting to go round the field, but she did eat most of another meal so that’s good. She’s drinking fine, and everything is coming out the other end fine too, so I really don’t know what it could be. In a human I’d say she was a bit flu-ish, but dogs just don’t get that sort of respiratory disease. We’ll see how she is tomorrow.

    That’s not a problem I’ve come across, how on earth do you protect against a marten chewing your cable? It does beat me the odd things animals do sometimes when you can’t see what they get out of it. We were having a problem with our climbing beans one year, the strings kept breaking at the top and the bean stem would mostly snap off at the bottom. I looked out of the window one day and there was a squirrel sat on the top of the bean frame chewing at a bean string, then when it had got through moving on to another string. Why?!? What on earth was the squirrel getting out of chweing a bit of string?I know they need to gnaw like most rodents, but a bit of string wasn’t going to help. Was it flossing? Do squirrels floss? Anyway we solved that problem by wiring the string for 15 cm or so from the top, but we’d lost a good half of the initial growth and the beans never really recovered. The squirrels and the wood pigeons are the only reason I’ve ever wanted a gun, then at least there would be the possibility I could eat the damn things.

  88. says

    Thumbs held for Thorn.

    It does beat me the odd things animals do sometimes when you can’t see what they get out of it.

    With martens I think it’s usually the second marten that is the problem. A marten might get into the engine compartment because it’s warm, or because something smells nice. Then you park somewhere in the territory of another marten which then smells an “intruder” and viciously attacks the cables.

    I always work on the principle that any person we encounter might be terrified of dogs, because it’s better to be safe than sorry.

    That’s a good approach. I mean, I’ve made friends with a couple of dogs on my walks, but in theory none of those dogs should have been able to approach me. I really like dogs, so I’m more than happy to make friends and pet them, but other people don’t and they shouldn’t have to put up with it. We have neighbours who haven’t been to the woods here for 20 years because she is terrified of dogs.
    My usual walk is “There and Back Again”, taking one side of the path along the creek and wetlands There and the other side Back. The distance is not big (100m? probably less) and it does not fill me with confidence when I hear somebody call their dog on the other side 10 times in a row.

    The UK now has a law about using your dog as a weapon and it’s pretty broadly drawn, so if the person the dog approaches feels threatened it would apply, so it could have applied to that dog which approached you today.

    In Germany we have Strict Liability for dogs, which means that responsible dog owners have insurance for their dogs. The others are sometime surprised to hear that when their dog runs into traffic and causes an accident, they are liable for the damage and won’t get their vet bills paid by the car insurance. Happened to my BIL. A dog ran in front of his car and he hit it, thankfully not too bad, but the lady was very upset that she was supposed to pay her own bills and his damages.

  89. Jazzlet says

    Ah, if that is the problem with martens then a good clean of the area with a biological washing powder or liquid should do the trick as the enzymes will break down all the biologicals. Same principal if your dog or cat wees indoors.

    My usual walk is “There and Back Again”, taking one side of the path along the creek and wetlands There and the other side Back. The distance is not big (100m? probably less) and it does not fill me with confidence when I hear somebody call their dog on the other side 10 times in a row.

    Urgh that’s just appalling trainng. You never know for sure, you may encounter something that is just too much to resist, but you should be 99.9% sure your dog will come back on one call of “come” before you let it off for anything other than training, and you need to do that without distractions at first, then with escalating distractions. I knew we’d cracked it with Jake when we came round a corner about three metres away from two Westies, he really does not like small dogs, especially small white dogs and he was off running towards them! I had no idea if he’d respond, but he turned on a sixpence (old British coin, about cm diameter) as soon as I called, I was so relieved and so proud of him, he didn’t even bark at them. Meanwhile the owners had scooped the Westies up as they didn’t trust their recall. Result -- one very smug me. Though another time might be different, so only smug for that incident.

    You woudn’t automatically be liable if your dog ran out on to the road in the UK, but you could be prosecuted for not having it under proper control. I always think of that when I see people with those extendable leads letting their dog pull metres ahead on the pavement, no way to stop the dog if it saw a cat on the opposite pavement. Quite apart from anything else the dog could easily be killed. We have got third party liability insurance as part of our membership of The Dogs Trust, one of the largest dog rehoming charities in the UK, so we get that benefit while helping with their costs.

  90. Jazzlet says

    I think Thorn is better again, not all the way well yet, but a definite improvement. She is enjoying cuddles -- which aren’t actually cuddles, they are the strokings and scritchings of all the right places on her head and tummy -- again, and looking reproachful if you are only using one hand or if you stop. She was avoiding cuddles when she was at her worst, then tolerating them only yesterday, today she is back to insisting on her due :-)

    It is colder than it was here, but certainly not as cold as it ‘should’ be, although it is a glorious sunny day.

  91. says

    Yay for Thorn.
    Here the temperatures are more or less nearing normal. Still not enough rain to make up for the dry summer and autumn.

  92. lumipuna says

    It was already pointed out days ago that California suffers largely from shrubland/grassland/orchard/urban area fires rather than forest fires -- and obviously it’s not likely that California state and federal land management is just overall incompetent (rather than, say, facing extreme practical challenges and resource shortage). But Trump doesn’t easily let go of a soundbite he likes.

    The last time California fires were in the news (ie. earlier in this same season), Trump blamed environmentalists wasting state water resources on natural aquatic habitats. I bet that idea came from either a lobbyist or some political strategist. And now we know where the forest management thing came from.

  93. says

    @jazzlet, glad to hear Thorn is feeling better. Maybe she just ate something she should not have.

    As far as my marten problem goes -- maybe the problem is territory marking and only the second visitoir is the problem, but if that is so, I am screwed. I cannot wash the motor with detergent every morning before I go to work and every evening before I drive home. These are the two places where the car spends most time standing still -- parking lot at work, the street in front of the house.

    Many smelly things allegedly repell them, but those buggers get used to them over time, so I will probably try and mix it up a little. I will try to springle some tea tree oil in the motor area for starters.

    Martens biting throgh cables and pipes are a huge problem in Germany and CZ, causing each year millions in damages. They used to be hunted for furs and therefore relatively rare, but these last few decades they are not hunted at all and they are getting slightly out of hand, because they can thrive in urbane environment where I work as well as out in the wild where I live.

    Maybe I did not have any troulble until now because we used to have cats and a dog, but since our last cat and dog have passed away my parents were adamant against getting new ones.

  94. Jazzlet says

    No, it wouldn’t be practical to wash the engine compartment every day. If your parents are adament about not getting a new cat or dog I suppose the various deterants are your only hope. I hope they work!
    I do remember being told, in a course on biodeterioration at university, that rodents chewing through electical cables were responsible for 90% of fires of unknown origin. It was one of those staements that sticks with you, because while it’s true that rodents chewing electrical cable can cause fires, how would you show that they caused fires of unknown origin, let alone a specific percentage of such? I don’t recall that we were told how that estimate was reached.

  95. Ice Swimmer says

    I’m waiting for some spousal candidate to make a rake for me as I don’t own one. Nobody’s volunteered. It used to be that young men made hay rakes for women they would like to court, so I’m expecting that in today’s society we could mix tradtions with modern gender thinking.

  96. says

    Yeahb Ice Swimmer, so when Finland burns down, you’re going to conveniently blame it on the women who failed to make you a rake…

    Charly, one thing our neighbour’s partner does is ti put a frame with wire mesh underneath the car when he’s here. Allegedly the martens don’t like to walk on it.
    The car repairs wanted to sell us some ultrasound repellent and I said “no way”. The allegedly unhearable mole repellent the people three houses up the road had drove me up the wall already.

  97. Ice Swimmer says

    Giliell @ 121

    Not just women but also gay men. Of course, I have taken no personal initiative in the matter. Who should I blame for that?

  98. lumipuna says

    Ice Swimmer -- Blame the Finnish forest department for continuing outdated courtship standards.

    (Recently, there’s been much debate on what would be the most sustainable and climate-friendly plan for Finnish forest management. For example, there’s a (possibly ill-informed) petition to completely stop old-school clear-cutting on state-owned lands.)

  99. says

    @lumipuna, I do not know how clear-cutting is done in Finland, but since most of your forrests are birch and spruce, I do not think you can be too creative.

    You only have two options for spruce -- clear-cut and renew or leave it alone. Young spruces need a lot of light and grown spruces rely on numbers to withstand winds, so only thinning the forest does not work -- either a gale breaks the rest, or the small ones do not grow efficently. That is what happens in untreated spruce forests -- they grow and break in waves on large areas..

    For birch there is third option, and one that is very environment friendly -- coppicing. It allows for great biodiversity, protects the soil against erosion, is very efficient at carbon sequestration, since the trees grow the fastest first 5-10 years after cutting and produces lumber of the exact right size for use for heating -- which we all will need if we should ever echew fossil fuels.

    I certainly hope that in following years Czech forests, artificially converted to nerly pure spruce two hunderd years ago, will go back to growing hardwood in coppices.

  100. lumipuna says

    That is what happens in untreated spruce forests — they grow and break in waves on large areas.

    I’ve sometimes seen these stands being referred to as “suicide spruce stand” (itsemurhakuusikko). Another classic 20th century saying half jokingly lists the Finnish tree species comprehensively as “pine, spruce, plank and batten”.

    Nowadays it’s certainly common to grow mixed generation stands of pine, birch and maybe also spruce -- I don’t know the details on this but there’s constant debate on how much it’d make sense to phase out most/all clear-cutting. Coppicing has never been a thing here, and I’ve only seen one environmentalist writer propose it for future energy hardwood production.

  101. Nightjar says

    Sidewalk update: it rained and today it was no longer possible to do leaf swooshing. When I arrived in the morning the leaves were still there but all wet and one had to be careful not to slip. When I left in the evening I noticed the leaves had been raked, which I now see is a misuse of resources since there is so much forest out there to rake instead…

  102. Jazzlet says

    There are large areas of what was originally birch coppice outside Sheffield, because bundles of birch were used to burn the scale off steel in the big rolling mills, the kind that could produce plating for battleships. Some is now coppiced again and the rotation is wonderful for providing a variety of habitats, including for bilberries.

    Thorn is definitely back to normal, insisting on cuddles, eating properly and wanting to go on walks.

  103. chigau (違う) says

    Trees burn.
    Left to themselves, forests burn in patches. This bit one year, that bit next year, t’other bit another year. Depending on season, soil moisture, snow-cover, number of moose and rabbits, and a bunch of etc’s.
    Total fire suppression is a recipe for disaster.

  104. says

    Also grrrrrrrrr
    How can a person be totally reliable in her job and absolutely unreliable in her private life. My sister asked if she could come over for coffee today, around 3 pm. It’s 20 minutes to 4 now and no sister, no sign, no call. If I’d known I could have gone for my walk…

  105. says

    On Sunday I was working in my shop, no problem. Then I went indoors and whilst walking (no sudden moves, nothing special) I had suddenly a sharp pain in my lower back. Lumbago 4 the win. Yay.

    I have been getting slowly better, but it still hurts like buggery. Sitting or standing is fine, as well as walking (slowly) but standing up or moving faster is a no-no.

  106. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Watched the first two episodes (out of four) of a PBS series entitled Native America. I used Cultural Anthropology for distribution credits as an undergraduate fifty year ago. So far, this series is told by the indigenous peoples themselves, not academics. Very interesting. Caine had indigenous peoples in her past. Worth a look.

  107. Jazzlet says

    I am in a state of despair about the stupidity of the Tories, especially the Brexiteers. I can not believe that people who know so little about the world and the relationships between countries can be allowed to lead the UK to ruin. But they are doing it. I\t will take decades to recover from their folly.

  108. rq says

    I’m constantly surprised by the Brexiteer surprise that the rest of Europe is not giving them what they want. I think what you said here is correct: leave the EU and get Ye Olde Empyre back…