Sunday 27 February 2005

Life Since Christmas

So what's been going on since Christmas? A lot and a little all at the same time.

Me: Still temping, though in a little bit different capacity. The work itself isn't really all that interesting--mostly just data entry work in Excel, which I am learning to loathe. There must be an easier interface for all of this, but the team I'm helping like it despite the flaws. This week I'll find out if they have a permenant place for me and what that might be like. To be honest, the longer I stay in the company the more I realize that it's not the path that I want to travel. I've still been filling out other applications, but no other serious bites since the International Development Agency debacle. Oh well, I can always go back to temping.

 On the upside, I did finally manage to get a bank account!! At last! It's with Lloyd's who has been very helpful up to now. It's going to be very nice to be a full fledged memeber of the adult universe again.

 Stephen: Classes seem to be moving right along. They seem harder than last term, but he also seems to have things well under control. He's in the running for an internship that may turn into a summer job with a brand new (as in started last week) hedge fund. He's very excited and it should be a great opportunity for him to see how one would work from the ground up.

 Socially: We've met with some of Stephen's classmates for dinner a few times, and they're a great bunch of guys and many of them are fabulous cooks.

Travel: In January, two of the groomsmen from our wedding, the best man (Pyrex) and the one with blue hair (Branson) came to visit for a bit over a week, and we had a fabulous time. One Saturday we headed out to Salisbury to see the tallest masonry structure in England, the local Cathedral, which also happened to have one of four remaining originals of the Magna Carta. The rest of the time was spent in museums and generally bumbling about the city. So refreshing!

London: February was slower month, though we had a lovely Valentine's Day with dinner in Cafe in the Crypt and then followed by a strings' concert in St. Martin in the Fields itself. They played some old favorites (Eine Kleine Nachtmusik, Boccherini's Minuet in A, a Chopin Nocturne) and some new things of interest (Puccini's Chrysanthemums, Borodin's Nocturne from String Quartet No 2 in D) sprinkled with classic love poetry in between. Very nice evening indeed. Relaxed with beautiful music. . .and in London. Doesn't get a whole lot better than that.

We also got to see the parade for the Chinese New Year! We got a great vantage point from the steps of St. Martins. We could see everything as it came round the bend in the road from Chinatown towards Trafalger Square. That was a lot of fun to see.

 The next weekend we went to see the The British Library and were very surprised at what we found! First of all, it's in a brand new beautiful building with lots of room for exhibitions. They had three going: Writer in the Garden, A History of the Printed Word, and Treasures. We spent most of the time in the Treasures exhibit. They had some incredible volumes on display on all kinds of topics, though the coolest bit by far was the Turning the Pages section. From their website: Turning the Pages is the award-winning interactive program that allows museums and libraries to give members of the public access to precious books while keeping the originals safely under glass. Initially developed by and for the British Library, it is now available as a service for institutions and private collectors around the world. Turning the Pages allows visitors to virtually 'turn' the pages of manuscripts in a realistic way, using touch-screen technology and interactive animation. They can zoom in on the high- quality digitised images and read or listen to notes explaining the beauty and significance of each page. There are other features specific to the individual manuscripts. In a Leonardo da Vinci notebook, for example, a button turns the text round so visitors can read his famous 'mirror' handwriting. At one point, I sat down at one of the terminals and the next thing I knew, they were ringing the bell announcing the close of the museum. . .two hours later!! Definitely something that I'm wanting to go back and play with some more. They have it on the website as well, but it's not nearly as satisfying on a tangible level. The way they have it set up on the touch screens at the library it actually feels like you're turning the pages. Very, very awesome. I'm curious if they've done a similar thing with the more precious items in the British Library. We haven't spent much time in the reading room there, and now I'm thinking we should.

To come: In two weeks, our friends Adrianne and Andy from Austin will both be coming to visit and that will be fabulous. Also by then I should have more job news to report. We're also planning to resume our twice monthly rambles in March, so lots of good stuff to come.