mtbc: maze L (green-white)
I am not at all good with accents: I cannot mimic any and I am bad at recognizing them. Indeed, if they are accents that I am used to hearing then I am even bad at recognizing if they are incongruous for where I am: for example in Dundee I can talk to Americans without realizing that they are not Scottish. I have noticed that I find many foreign accents attractive in women, I suspect because I am somewhat novelty-seeking and like the idea of learning of many new things through them. Still, I wonder if this perception of attractiveness is somewhat random and irrational, especially as I rather like some American accents from the South, not something I can easily explain.

Since returning to Britain one surprise for me has been Irish accents. I notice that some Irish women have an accent that is attractive to me and some do not. The surprise is that when I discover exactly where they are from, it is always that the attractive-sounding ones are from the Republic of Ireland and the remainder are from Northern Ireland. I appear to be able to tell from which side of the border women hail but only by how attracted I am by their voice as I cannot directly perceive the difference consciously.

I suppose that these observations come with obligatory caveats that I invite people to take as read. For instance, I do not suggest that there is any rational value judgement here; after all, the Republic of Ireland has no special place in my heart and I wish I could see more of those people from Northern Ireland whom I know best.
mtbc: maze G (black-magenta)
I was using a BBC Radio upbeat playlist for today's workout and Abba's Gimme Gimme Gimme came on. I do not usually pay much attention to lyrics but now I wonder if they explain why a man before midnight would not be satisfactory. Perhaps he would just have to wait around. Anyhow, what surprised me was noticing that these soundtracks, full of disco classics and whatnot, have not included more ABBA songs. Though, some have appeared more indirectly: for instance one playlist included Steps' Story of a Heart which surprised me enough in not being at all bad that I investigated and discovered that it was written by Benny and Björn.
mtbc: maze M (white-blue)
I often pay some attention to church services, not least the brief Daily Service that has been broadcast on BBC Radio for many decades. I am occasionally amused by a surprise perhaps arising from not always paying full attention. A recent example was the minister's sermon apparently slipping into song lyrics until a moment's thought told me that the song that had come to mind had itself been quoting from the Bible.
mtbc: maze E (black-cyan)
We spent the evening at a local concert hall to attend the high school's annual prizegiving. The school's orchestra and choir performed. The orchestra was quite entertaining in that they were a little on the ropey side of being good but I suppose that in education one should push gently at one's boundaries. I realized that it has been years since I was close to any kind of orchestra.

The parade of children across the stage receiving their certificates and trophies and whatnot certainly underlined the variety of shapes and sizes in which humans come. Further, there was clothing variation. In my school prefects had a distinct tie but I don't recall much more differentiation. One of our children already has a different school tie than when they first started. The jacket sleeve cuffs appear to come with a variety of colored stripes: many children had none, but some had up to two gold stripes and I think I saw some with as many as a gold stripe and two purple. With my own children I inquired after the command structure; in responding they were somewhat vague. I think that the two-gold are the highest level of prefect and the purple is more about other kinds of helping out.

A further variation was shirt sleeve length. Boys simply had short sleeves or long. One girl appeared to have nothing worthy of being called a sleeve. Some girls had cap sleeves and some had a fifth length, extending only just beyond their elbow. The girl with the intimidating double bass had such half-length sleeves.
mtbc: maze B (white-black)
I noticed that in household conversations we give odd names to some of our foods. For instance, today I bought butter. Our butter dish has the outward appearance of a ceramic hedgehog. So, to refer to butter from the block in the dish we speak of hedgehog butter. Or, the connection may be looser: for example, we eat Star Wars cheese: comparevisual styles. ) In their attempts at specificity I wonder what names other families come up with. In that latter case, perhaps the same as we have.
mtbc: maze J (red-white)
We are commonly told to spend a half-minute on brushing the teeth of each quarter of our mouth. I imagine that this idea entails having one central incisor in each quarter. Do people really divide their mouth into these even quarters for cleaning their teeth? Personally I divide mine into twenty unequal regions (2 × 2 + 2 × 4 × 2):
Central (incisors and canines),

  • upper jaw, lower jaw (2)

  • faces: front, back (2)

Side (premolars and molars),

  • upper jaw, lower jaw (2)

  • faces: front, back, top, far-end (4)

  • left, right (2)

I wonder how others do it. In interviewing my children I found that they too have their own systems that do not comfortably divide into these mouth-quarters.
mtbc: maze L (green-white)
I have been feeling better over this week. I developed the theory that I perhaps had some low-grade infection that was dragging me down for a while. In recent days I may have had more mild headaches but I have generally been back to usual levels of alertness and enthusiasm.
mtbc: maze J (red-white)
Early last week when I reached forward on the cross-trainer a sharp pain came high on my side making me wonder if some shoulder-related muscle attaches to my rib there. Not wanting to aggravate it, I took some days off exercising and still felt that pain, albeit infrequently. Today I tried working out again and after a few minutes the pain returned. I relaxed that arm a little and continued on the cross-trainer and after a few more minutes I felt okay again. So, that worked out nicely: there does seem to be a strange issue there but perhaps not one that prevents my workout.
mtbc: maze M (white-blue)
I am feeling a bit better today. I didn't awaken too early: it was probably 7h30 before I got out of bed. I dropped the children off in Dundee this morning and [personal profile] mst3kmoxie is kindly staying there this afternoon and bringing them home. I indulged in a long bath after I worked out. I don't plan to push myself: I think today I'll just catch up on my filing, trim my fingernails, run some laundry, whatever. If the weather outdoors doesn't seem lovely tomorrow then I may then be a bit more ambitious and do some wiping and cleaning around the house but also take time to relax.
mtbc: maze B (white-black)
I mentioned craving chips (in the British sense) with sliced melted Cheddar (again, in the British sense) atop them, perhaps with some beef gravy in which to dip them. I made some today and the children and I found them to be a pleasant experience. We happened to have some good local steak and pork sausages that went with the instant onion gravy. Of course, for calorie counting I had to separate my oven chips and my own cheese for grilling so that I could measure the weight of each. For taking the cheese from the block I used my Rollschnitt hand-held slicer which works nicely.
mtbc: maze B (white-black)
I occasionally mention simple food that I enjoy. This evening I had crispy bacon with mashed avocado and a slice of tomato on brown buns and they were most pleasing. On the side I had a chunk of Double Gloucester cheese.

Today I have an easier time eating a high fraction of my permitted calories: I ate some girl scout cookies after lunch and this evening I eat some macarons made by [personal profile] mst3kmoxie who also this morning bought us fudge donuts from Fisher & Donaldson, a local baker.

Update: In the end I needed plenty of time and a couple of cups of tea before I could make it through the second half of the donut.
mtbc: maze B (white-black)
I have mentioned being rather partial to hot buttered toast; I sometimes more specifically desire a couple of fried eggs or somesuch on toast. On my walk through Dundee yesterday I noted that a butcher near work sells duck eggs and it occurs to me that just one of those would agreeably suffice on a slice of toast. Recently I grilled myself some sliced Cheddar cheese atop sliced tomato on toast, which worked well. Lately I have craved chips (in the British sense) with sliced melted Cheddar (again, in the British sense) atop them, perhaps with some beef gravy in which to dip them. Also, appropriately for life in Scotland, I have desired oat porridge: tonight I made myself some, for the first time in perhaps years. It turned out well considering that I guessed rather about proportions and cooking time. We have some light syrup to hand so I added a hearty drop of that as a pleasant flavoring.
mtbc: maze M (white-blue)
I was shepherding a child to Dundee's Central Library so, while there anyway, I asked an librarian about a book. I was amused to find that she checked Amazon before their own catalog but I guess it makes sense if she was not sure that the library's system would even know of the book at all. I also made the mistake of glancing at the science fiction: I came away with Baxter & Reynolds' The Medusa Chronicles and Bester's The Demolished Man before noticing that if I'd gotten barely past the B's and already grabbed two novels then I had better stop there.

On wandering along Murraygate there were predating I-think-Mormons. When I am taking things easy I may stop to chat with them a little, not sure if that is a rare relief for them, but it also seems a bit of a waste of their time if I am unlikely to be converted. Still, I got to wondering about some of my friends who have directly experienced God and become Christians. One thing I noted is that it has been a while since I prayed and invited God to change my mind too. Another is that I wondered if these revelations to friends have generally been a vaguer inspiration, perhaps involving Jesus' love and using the power of God to have the strength to help others and whatnot, or if there has been any detail specific enough, doctrinally or otherwise, in these divine communications to assist choice of church or denomination.

As I walked in the pedestrianized retail area I found a selection of socialists and communists and whatnot under the banner of Dundee's Trades Union Congress. They seemed to be wrapping up so I did not get to hear what they had been feeling exercised about lately. I have doubted that it makes much sense for me to join a union given that I am salaried and not interacting with students: my contract is that I am to work whatever it takes to get the job done so if I go on strike then I am just inconveniencing myself. However, today it occurred to me that I suppose I would be indirectly supporting other strikers if my union subscriptions were somehow making it more possible for them to strike, e.g., with hardship payments.

I noticed a couple of what seemed like Mexican fast food places: there was somebody advertising a local Mexican Grill and on Nethergate I noticed a new-to-me Wee Mexico. As Nisa is now closed I stopped in at Tesco Extra to buy some whole milk and in interacting with the self-checkout machine I repeatedly failed to properly place the milk. If anybody becomes aware of a store whose machines do not care one jot what items are placed where around the bagging area, or that at least give me an extra shelf on which to put my hat and whatnot, then I would gladly preferentially shop there even more strongly than I avoid those who routinely give discounts to loyalty card holders so for privacy I have to keep swapping the cards with others.

Then, my mother telephoned, so after putting the milk in the trunk of the car I continued to chat to her for a while, sitting on a bench at the university. I have a campus parking permit so on visits to Dundee it makes sense to use it. My mother mentioned that The Red Flag, which I suppose we now associate with Jeremy Corbyn's wing of the Labour Party, is sung to the tune of O Tannenbaum.
mtbc: maze B (white-black)
I am most partial to the Simnel cake manufactured by The Cake Academy; it is their product I had in hand when mentioning it last Easter. Alack, though they do still make and supply it, it has failed to turn up on local grocery store shelves. Ah well, perhaps next year or, if not, I could always switch tradition and make some charoset.
mtbc: maze B (white-black)
Tonight's cheese was Dragon-brand mature Welsh Cheddar (if that's not an oxymoron*) which I found to be very pleasant. I picked it up in a Tesco Express when in South Wales; not much else is open late on a Sunday afternoon there. I rather liked it: not only was it creamy but it pleasantly surprised me with a hint of spice in the flavor.

I also read that Lancashire cheese melts well so I plan to try it on toast when I can next get some. Unfortunately, the regular grocery store version is significantly inferior to buying it at a proper cheese counter in that part of England so I shall have to wait.

*Cheddar is in Somerset, not Wales, though it's not as if this week's Shropshire Blue is likely to have had any connection with Shropshire.
mtbc: maze M (white-blue)
Today I was reviewing a notebook of my father's dated 1962 whose cover is marked with the intriguing LON 2178. At the time he would have been living in Manchester, England. Surmising that this code may be a telephone number, I discovered from Roger Haworth's website that in the Manchester Director Area the LON (dialed as 506) would have connected to the Longford exchange. As the present-day Longford exchange is little more than a mile from a street on which my parents lived long ago I surmise that the marking on the notebook is indeed most likely to have been their telephone number back then. The Internet and its denizens make it agreeably easy to research such matters.
mtbc: maze M (white-blue)
Continuing my topic of vaguely familiar places, driving near Glasgow today I saw a sign to Larkhall and have now figured out what it reminds me of: Larkhill from the background to V for Vendetta, a site far from Glasgow, in the English county of Wiltshire. So, not Larkhall at all, I had confused the names.
mtbc: photograph of me (Default)
I was looking at a box of laser printer toner that describes its content in various languages. The English cartridge reminds me a little of French in that they like to end words with a soft-g-ish sound as in vendage. That is not really much of a similarity but it drew my attention to how the German kassette looks decidedly French once you forgive the initial k. So, I wondered about the French and it turns out to be cartouche which I think of as being foremost a source of stargate addresses.


Mar. 25th, 2017 07:00 pm
mtbc: photograph of me (Default)
The Spring weather appears to have really perked up our village avians. We have the windows cracked open, though I have yet to do my annual frame-spraying of pyrethroid insecticide. I can thus hear the various birdsong.

I try to mindfully appreciate my present experiences: time with my children, the taste of my tea, even the aching of my legs. The birds however sound like we live alongside a junkyard of deranged droids. Perhaps it takes them a while to get back into practice.
mtbc: maze F (cyan-black)
Despite recent Spring-like weather it was below freezing when I left the house this morning; I let the car warm up for a few minutes blowing air to clear its windows. The frost may have surprised the daffodils at least as much as it surprised me.

In Douglas Adams' Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency mention is made of the possibility of a car with heated side mirrors. To me such a thing seems achievable and desirable for days when those mirrors are obscured by frost: it would save on spraying deicer.


mtbc: photograph of me (Default)
Mark T. B. Carroll

September 2017

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