Adventures in Libraryland/ Last Year at Pratt

September 16, 2011 § Leave a comment

Ok I decided to continue this blog even though I am not in any interesting country and have perfectly reasonable ways to communicate with everyone without it.

If you don’t want to read, FINE, but I’m gonna keep you updated with my (non) adventures anyway.

Lots of things happened this summer that I wont get into really, including an awesome trip to Rehobeth with the family and….. not really too much else I can remember.  Check facebook if you haven’t seen any pics yet!

So lets start with this week.

It was really my first full week of school this week.  The first week that classes started NYC got hit with a major hurricane.  Class on Monday was canceled and my class on Wednesday was also canceled so I didn’t have too much to do.  Luckily for me and my car, we all evacuated Hoboken for Woodbridge that weekend and no one had any flood damage.  I totally would have if we had stayed, the most flooded part of Hoboken were the blocks surrounding my apartment!

So anyway, with last week having Labor Day and all, this was my first full week.

Also my first week interning at The Center For Fiction

It is a membership library that focuses its collection on literary fiction.  It also has a huge collection of mystery/suspense novels.  There is a writers studio people can pay to use and they have a bunch of fun events and classes if anyone is interested.  Also a used book store and some new books for sale that I get discounts for if anyone needs anything!

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Some things I like about working in a library:

BOOKS everywhere.  When my boss told me to look around and become familiar with the collection I thought, awesome! I get to spend my time here looking at books I might want to read!  I’m stalking a few already that I might check out when my school reading calms down and I’ve been there for more than a week.  They have the new George Martin book with no holds on it like every other library so maybe I’ll get that if I can commit to another 1k pages from him.  I’m also thinking about checking out Stealing Mona Lisa by Carson Morton which looks like a cool mystery.  But really, I have about 30 tween lit books to read for class so i doubt I get any time to read anything else.

Did I mention the books?

The programs look pretty awesome, there is a whole series this fall about Ursula LeGuin who I loved, maybe I’ll get to a few.  Charles Yu is also going to be at the center on the 3rd, he wrote a book called How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe that I’ve been meaning to read.  And on the 13th they are having a talk on Before and After Harry Potter which might be pretty cool!

Its pretty quiet and mostly stress free.  So far I have really just shelved a bunch and checked books in and out.

Some things that suck so far:

Getting yelled at by patrons.  On Monday a woman came in and yelled at me because she hadn’t gotten her program guide in the mail yet.  She didn’t even let me explain that the programs had only just arrived the week before.  She also assumed that the reason she hadn’t gotten it was because the center was emailing these updates now rather than mailing them.  Which is not true at all. BUT it sent her off into a rant about how electricity costs more in money AND carbon footprints than paper does and why does everyone assume that its better to email now?  I asked her several times if she wanted to share her comments with my boss but she said no.  Basically she just wanted to yell at me about her anti-environmental ideas.  I have no control over this mailing AT ALL and just started so….why would you yell at me?  And when I told her to ‘have a nice day’ as she was leaving, she turned around and told me that that was a ‘trite comment’ and gave me an ugly look and walked out.  I’m sorry, was I supposed to tell her to fuck off?  I just tried to be nice and polite in the face of her insanity and she then told me that I was being trite.  Whats up with that?  I totally don’t mind dealing with the public but things like that make me nervous! Hopefully I said the right things and didn’t piss her off more.  People are so crazy.

DUST. Everywhere.  Seriously, if I wasn’t in the midst of a cold right now my allergies would be killing me.  Its stale and musty and dusty in there everywhere except the 1st and 2nd floors.  Today I shelved for 3 hours and thought I was going to die.  My fingers were black by the time I was done.  Really makes me want to find a nice clean NEW library to work in.  The basement is another issue altogether, I’m afraid to go down there!

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A lot of people come into the library asking about making copies.  Apparently there is some embassy down the street that sends its citizens down the street to make copies of their documents and they always walk into the library asking about it. Seriously we get about 5 people every time I’m there.  There is a stationary store right down the street that they are really looking for but for some reason they come into the library.

I was also asked to hand write out overdue notices to send to members. Really. Who actually thinks thats a good idea? I bet they get members calling up to complain and say they cant read these notices.  Really, I mean come on.  First of all, who hand writes anything any more? Second of all, I know they don’t know much about me but I’ve mentioned several times I have horrible handwriting and they still asked me to do this!  I know she can’t read my handwriting because the other day she thought I had written Humber instead of Amber so its really her fault for not thinking that assignment through.

Or maybe I should blame the school systems for not teaching me better handwriting skills.  Ive been reading Diane Ravitch’s The Death and Life of the Great American School System and realizing how the political atmosphere of the last 40 years has really affected my education.  Its a pretty amazing book even if it is a little repetitious.  I realize that many of the academic practices that were used on me really had a lot of political implications behind them and that children who have been in school since my time have had an even worse time.  I feel really bad for teachers and hope that despite all the problems and insurmountable challenges that they face today, some of us will still decide to be teachers.  We need great educators who can take back the system and give our children great educations while fending off the attempts to dismantle public education at the same time. Read it, you may be inspired!

Baaaaccckkk in the USA!

July 5, 2011 § Leave a comment

Quickly posting this that I wrote on the plane from Boston before my next flight: (Sorry for the lack of pictures and my boring blog theme)

 

Alright, no wifi on the plane, bummer. I really thought there would be.  And I spent my time at Heathrow before the flight buying candy and other useless souvenirs and getting breakfast.

Eve kindly drove me to the tube station. I took my last tube ride and of course got lost (sort of) and had to get off the first train and wait for a different one.  It wouldn’t be a tube ride without getting a little lost so I’m glad I didn’t miss out on that experience one last time.

I had eggs and bacon and toast and a delicious Kopperberg Apple Cider at 9:30am at the airport pub.  England has really rubbed off on me.  I’ve definitely found my new drink! And a great country where it isn’t odd to go into a pub in the morning and order it.

I also saw Courtney from my program at the pub! So random, I just looked up and there she was. She was catching an 11am flight to Newark.  We chatted for a little before our flights were called up.

I was of course padded down in the security line, I look so suspicious.  And they also confiscated my contact solution which I now remember I got the bigger bottle of since I originally checked it but decided to bring it on the plane this time. Oh well.  It was only 1oz over! Whatever.

Anyway, my flight was actually delayed so I’m hoping I don’t miss my connection in Boston (I’m writing this in word on the plane so I can just post it quickly, hopefully in Boston!).  We’ll see, I have a two-hour lay over in Boston so hopefully I can just make the next plane. (UPDATE: Despite leaving an hour later apparently we are only going to be 15 min late so I’ll be able to post this before my next flight hopefully!)

I’m excited to be going home, I feel like I’ve been away for so long.

But I really will miss London and England. I’ve always loved this country and I am so happy I got to spend as much time here as I did.  I hope I can come back soon! I’m thinking… a job at ProQuest that has me travel back and forth?? Or maybe Sage? Or Bloomsbury? Any of those publishers will do.  Though I don’t really want to go into publishing.  Maybe I can be some sort of liaison to UCL and just get to hang around with Andy and Anthony all the time.  I’m thinking about trying to convince Tula to take me on the trip next summer, and all the summers after.  I can plan all the cultural days and you now I’m a great organizer.  I can find people places to stay and tell them all the best places to eat and try to help plan the course and things.  Sounds like a plan to me!

Alright, so I promised a list of (Some) Things I Learned about England:

1)    Has to be, always remember to hold down the handle when you flush the toilet here.  Despite the deceiving force with which the toilets flush here, if you don’t hold it down until everything has disappeared, you will be forced to stand there for 20 minutes until the toilet re-fills and you can attempt again. Either that or just leave it and hope no one is waiting to go right after you.

2)    No one knows what poison ivy is or what it looks like when you are infected with it. While I never like to rely on internet diagnosis for any illness I have, (especially a rash, who wants to look up rashes and find all the stuff out there that it could possibly be? It’s terrifying!) I should have done that first thing and saved myself about $400.

3)    Driving on the left hand side is madness. MADNESS I say.  I felt like I was taking my life in my hands every time I got into a car.

4)    Indian food is delicious and I can’t wait for more.

5)    Hard cider is definitely my drink.  I knew this before but the variety and amount of choices available here have really convinced me that there is no reason to drink anything else.  Plus, drinking cider really makes me look like a proper drinker who can hold her head up in any bar/pub so no more making fun of my and my non-drinking habits!

6)    The English know as little about America as we know about England.  Things you think are just common knowledge are suddenly weird facts you have to explain.  Like, I always say I’m from D.C. thinking that’s easier for people to grasp than say Maryland or that I live in New Jersey.  But no.  Some people don’t know where D.C. is at all, some people don’t even know what D.C. stand for.  Apparently over here when they are talking about the capital of the United States, they say Washington.

7)    English people love a good joke, especially if it is a dirty one.  They are not the stuffy, stodgy people that television makes them out to be. (Which I knew already since I watch more British TV than can possibly be healthy but I just thought I’d mention it incase you didn’t)

8)    There are people living in England who have never been and never want to go to London.  Which makes me want all the more to have an English countryside vacation where I visit all the other parts of the country.  Though I do LOVE London.  While I am coming to like NYC better than I used to and am also more used to living in a cig city just period, London seems different and special.  Yes, the public transportation is crowded and taxing, yes, the streets are busy and crowded.  Yes there are a billion tourists and avoiding them can be tricky. Yes it is EXPENSIVE. All the more so if I think about the exchange rate but I will try not to look at my bank account for a few days and hopefully I won’t be in shock when I do.  But London has its own character and I felt safe and happy there. People were extremely willing to help though ironically it was all the foreigners I met and asked directions of at the convenience stores or markets that seemed the most annoyed at my many questions.

9)    English cheese is delicious and the other produce I had here tasted so much better for some reason.  Despite what you may have heard, the English take pleasure in eating good, fresh food even if it is simple and pretty much the same everywhere you go.  Their reputation for bad food I think comes mostly from the WW2 era where everyone was forced to go on food shortages anyway.  There is a great revival of home-cooked, homegrown food in England just as there is in the States and if you look, you can find delicious food wherever you go.  Any anyway, people are always pleased when you ask questions and seem interested in what they are serving you.  Like the rest of the world, tourists may annoy them but tourists that seem to want to learn about them are always welcome.

10) People are just people wherever you go.  They are happy to laugh with you and share their stories; you don’t have to worry about stereotypes or messing up at all.

11) Also, sheep are smelly. But you knew that already hopefully.

I’ve had a great trip. I can’t even remember what I was so nervous and upset about when I left in the first place.  I’m sure part of that had to do with the onset of my rash and my feeling under the weather.  I knew I would love the English.  While I haven’t come back with a British accent, I am certainly thinking in one and it will be weird to hear American accents all the time instead.  I winced when I heard an American talking wherever I was and I’m not really looking forward to hearing it everywhere again. I’m sure when I hear a British accent from now on I will turn immediately.  Hopefully I can learn a little more about English geography and history and pop culture in some way and maybe get some kind of job there, or at least visit more often!

Time for a nap I think, hopefully this kid next to me will get up to go to the bathroom so I can too.

(UPDATE: Watched The Eagle hoping for some hot Channing Tatum action but all I got in return was some really boring running around and not even cool fight scenes.  I napped for about an hour but it seems that I can’t seem on planes any more so I started a second movie.  2 minutes into Just Go With It with Adam Sandler and I’m already trying not to laugh and wake the kid next to me.  I knew I should have watched this since the last flight.)

Sorry there aren’t any pictures in this last post, one airport is pretty much the same as the next so I didn’t think I needed to have my camera out.

Hope you’ve enjoyed my blog; show of hands, should I keep it going? And if so, what should I write about?  Facebook is for complaining and daily updates but blogs are for….

 

See you all soon!!!

Last Day

July 4, 2011 § 1 Comment

So this the couple I stayed with, Wanye and Jan from Autralia:

Aussies NOT Kiwis

I left Hawes on the 10:15 train.  Wayne drove me to the station and even walked me to the platform and saw me on to the train.  I can’t get over how nice these people were! I mean, I know no one else was staying there but still.  REALLY awesome, makes me want to go to Australia next hahaha! I am going to try to stay in touch with them, maybe they will recommend places for me to stay when I go….in about 10 years.  They had a lot of fun talking to me about America too so I think the feeling is mutual.

I got back to London about 2pm and made the stupid mistake of trying to get somewhere to shop that wasn’t near a tube stop without my map and with all the bags and cheese I was carrying.

After realizing I wasn’t going to make it I turned around and went back to Eve’s.

She gave me a beer and we sat around in her garden for awhile chatting, it such lovely weather here! (Everything I write/say in my head now comes out sounding like her now.  “such LOVELY weather! are you QUITE sure you want to do that?”)

Here are some pictures of her awesome garden.  Maybe some of you will be inspired by it? (hint hint MOM)

view from the steps

mmm mm raspberries!

looking at the house

Miss Piggy

I took a few more unnecessary photo that I will post to facebook probably tomorrow.

When her other ‘lodgers’ got home around 7:30 we went for dinner at a pub on Hampstead Heath.  Her other friends are German so most of the conversation was spent in translation but we all still had fun.  I had my last English cider and my last English fish n chips.

I also had my first English Sticky Toffee Pudding:

sticky

It was a little too sticky and sweet for me but still good all the same and I’m glad I got to try it!

Eve has been a wonderful host as well. I am already thinking of things to send her as more thank-yous from the States.  I got us all dinner and drinks tonight but I don’t think I can ever repay her for the amazing hospitality she has shown me.  No one could have been more welcoming or made my stay more wonderful.

Tomorrow morning I am off early to catch my plane back.  Very mixed feeling about leaving.  It’s really lovely here, I can totally see myself living here, maybe I’ll retire to the English countryside or something.  Everyone is friendly and wants to chat with you.  Everyone is helpful and patient when you can’t figure out their stupid coins.

There is so much I am now realizing I didn’t get to do that I can see filling a whole other trip the next time for sure.

Tomorrow’s post: What I Learned About England or How Much Work I Am Avoiding

Schedule for tomorrow if you are interested: Phone will turn on about 1:15 EST when I touch down in Boston.  I dread to think of all the messages that will be waiting for me.  I really hope there are none!

Flight from Boston leaves around 3:55pm and I get into D.C. around 6pm.

More to come!

ps, just got the news, my review of the Terry Pratchett play is going to be put into the Discworld Monthly Newsletter for July!! I am so so cool.

Hawes aka lots of sheep

July 3, 2011 § Leave a comment

For my last weekend in England I chose to take a train up north to the lovely Yorkshiredales.  There is a national park here with sections of the famous Pennine Way which is like the Appalachian Trail for England.  Sort of.  It’s a long distance trail that runs a large part of England.  Around here it seemed mostly to just cut through farm fields with lots of sheep but I will get to that later.

Hawes is also home to the Wensleydale Creamery which is obviously the reason I came here.  I discovered my love of Wensleydale cheese when we were in Ireland a few years ago and while I’ve had it back home in the States, it was never the same.  I think I discovered since being here that the stuff we get back home isn’t the ‘real’ Yorkshiredales Wensleydale cheese as they call it here which is disappointing to say the least.  On the other hand…. I can apparently order it online and get some sent to me! Hint hint…. I know my birthday is over but….

Anyway, lets go in order shall we?

Yesterday I took the train up from London. It is about a 3 hour train ride if you don’t count connections.  I had to change trains in Leeds which I thought seemed like a terrible place.  It was full of crowds of unruly young people talking in some really fast northern England accent which I couldn’t understand.  I felt like a crotchety old lady around them and tried to quickly get some lunch and get on my next train.

The second train was crowded and hot and I ended up finishing the fourth book I’ve read so far on this trip which was also disappointing.  It ended abruptly with no real conclusion for any of the characters and basically everyone dies (which I guess you have to expect in a book about the plague except none of the die of the plague so whats up with that?) but if you want to read it…. I think I’m leaving it here at the B&B.

Anyway, I arrived in Ribblehead where I was going to be picked up by the owners of the bed and breakfast I am staying at.

train tracks I walked over..

No one was there to get me and since it seemed pretty obvious I hadn’t missed them (there was no one at the station at all) I fell into conversation with a man who worked at the little train station/museum.  Up until November he and his wife lived in the train station and while they have since moved, they still look after the museum and station.  It was really interesting to talk to him and he kept me company until Wayne, owner of the b&b came to get me.

This is where I am staying:

Its owned by a couple originally from Australia.  Jan and Wayne are so amazingly friendly and wonderful hosts.  Seems like Wayne does all the cooking and cleaning and Jan does some accounting work for IBM or something.  They have travelled around a lot but have been here in Hawes for a few years now and I think they will stay for awhile. Anyone wanting an English countryside vacation and thinking about coming here, I highly recommend staying here! It is very reasonably priced and they go out of their way to make sure you are comfortable

Hawes is a cute little town with a few shops and restaurants.  Apparently it is big with bikers and they come here on the weekends to ride around the countryside.  It’s been really entertaining to see tough looking bikers wandering around the country lanes next to little old ladies looking in the antique shops and drinking tea.

I had lunch at a cute place and indulged myself in a slice of Victoria Sponge Cake which is popular where when you have tea.  Think I’ll attempt to make one when I get home for someone’s birthday if anyone is interested. The icing was really delicious!

mmm mmm mmm

After my late lunch I decided to explore a little and wandered towards the fields.  It was my first attempt at the Pennine Way and I got about a third of the way to Hardraw before turing back.  I’ll post some pictures of my funny experiment with the self-timer on my camera on facebook for you all to look through.

 

 

It was a beautiful day and I was happy to just wander through the fields and drink in the sun.

This is my room:

with all my crap on the bed already

 

and the bathroom…

note the view from the bathroom window...

 

and my new little friend who I found on my bed upon arrival…

think il take him home

 

After skyping with my parents for two hours I went downstairs to tell Wayne and Jan when I would like breakfast today and ended up hanging out with them and their two friends for a few hours.  They were so inviting and I had a glass of great wine with them and some delicious homemade creme brulee along with some always yummy cookie dough Ben & Jerry’s.  They said that Ben & Jerry’s isn’t all that common here!

We had a great time laughing and talking and talked a lot about America, all of them had been to different parts and they shared their stories with me.  I’m so happy to be staying here rather than some anonymous hotel where I wouldn’t get to talk to anyone, it feels so much more friendly. I will try to weasel a picture out of them tomorrow morning before I leave.

TODAY I went the rest of the way to Hardraw through a bunch of fields full of sheep.

lots and lots and lots of sheep

 

note the awesome time delay feature

note the awesome time delay feature

 

And finally I got to the Green Dragon pub which has been a pub since the 1700s.  They run the Hardraw waterfall and charge you 2 pounds to see some tiny amount of water coming out.  They haven’t had much rain this year.  It is the highest waterfall in England though and where they filmed part of Robin Hood, Prince of Thieves.  I had a drink at the pub (11:30am) and then went up to the falls.

I'm really enjoying the many varieties of hard cider in this country. This is Bulmer's Red Berry, delicious and refreshing!

 

the fall

 

The walk back was gorgeous if a little hot…

You can see more beautiful views on facebook later.

Along the way I stepped into a hidden pile of mud which was fun….

I came back into town and bumped into the other couple that was staying at my b&b and warned them off the falls.  Then I headed up to the Wensleydale Creamery!

I took a back way through some fields (the norm here I guess) and thought to myself about how ironic it is that these fields are full of sheep and covered in sheep poo…

just a sampling of the many choices of ewe poo available for your walking pleasure

and yet they have so many signs that say…

No one else seemed to find this weird…

The creamery was great, mostly I just enjoyed standing in the cheese shop for an hour eating samples.

I got to watch them making the cheese as well…

The workers kept looking up at the viewing gallery in an annoyed way which I found really funny.  Especially since there was a recording going on that told us all about how the workers work unsupervised and take great pride and pleasure from their work and don’t mind you watching them at all.

 

Hawes looks like this on a Sunday…

typical English countryside

 

and this is the view from my toilet….

Overall, its been a great weekend!

Tomorrow I head back to London for one night and then its home again Tuesday morning.  This trip has gone by so fast as I knew it would but hoped it wouldn’t.

I’m not ready to go home and face all the work I’ve been avoiding or the heatwave I hear has been happening.  I am looking forward to seeing everyone again but I will really miss England.  It is a home I’ve always known I would love and I can see myself being very happy here, maybe one day I’ll move here!

I’ll probably post again tomorrow and maybe another on Tuesday but I doubt any posts after that will interest anyone once I get home so this blog may end soon!

Hope you’ve enjoyed it as much as I’ve enjoyed….travelling and rubbing in my awesome time over the internet.

 

 

 

 

Last Day of the UCL Conference/Class

July 3, 2011 § Leave a comment

Yesterday was the last day of the 5th Annual Bloomsbury Conference on E-Publishing and E-Publications that I attended.

I think I mentioned before, this year the topic was Social Media and the Academy: Enhancing and enabling scholarly communication 

I thought it was really very interesting actually.  I brought my computer both days which meant I took better notes but didn’t pay as good attention because I was on the internet the whole time.

I thought it was really great how the people attending the conference on social media were tweeting their thoughts throughout the conference.

#ucldis or #epub2010 for those of you on twitter.

Some people had insightful comments or posted helpful links or added links to their own presentation as it went along; other people complained that they’d already seen a certain presentation or talked about how they disagreed.

I tweeted for the first time because I wanted to tell one speaker how much I enjoyed his talk and compliment another on a comment he made.

(I’ll share the comment story because I think other people will enjoy it too.  One speaker was talking about a project he was doing in a mine somewhere in England.  The project was really scientific and over my head but what he really was talking about was how the scientists and researchers were using social media while working on this project down in the mine.  At one point he talked about self-censorship and how they couldn’t tweet or share on facebook everything because it could endanger the project.  Like when one intern posted a picture of himself in the mine and there happened to be a miner in the background not wearing his helmet.  This was an obvious and recorded safety violation and it got the mine and the project shut down for awhile.  The presenter was more focused on the fact that the use of social media in this case wasn’t good for the project, when in other cases it was very good for the project.  This is when someone in the audience said “not to mention the fact that the miner wasn’t wearing his helmet….”  I thought that was so hilarious. Of course the scientist only cares about his project, not the fact that miners are going around without helmets.  He only cared that the intern had caught the moment on film rather than the fact that it was happening. The daughter of Scott Schneider was impressed!)

 

Anyway, there were lots of interesting presentations and I kept wanting to make comments or ask questions but my concerns aren’t really relevant to how scholars use social media and I knew Anthony was trying to keep things moving so I didn’t want to distract.  I thought it was just interesting that scientists and researchers are even using social media period.

Here are some cool crowdsourcing/dorky social science projects you might want to check out:

Planet Hunters

Where communities get together to look at pictures of space and work to identify things like these three planets found in 2007:

or

Transcribe Benthem 

Which is a project through UCL working to transcribe the writings of Jeremey Bentham (1748-1832) who was a great philosopher and of which the University College of London has over 60,000 of his papers.  You can go on and help to read them and translate what his awful handwriting says if you feel like it.  The work you do on this site greatly helps the Bentham research community and helps to make Bentham’s thoughts available to the whole world.

or

Open Dino

 

Which aims to create a a comprehensive database of dinosaur bone measurements through crowdsourcing as well.

 

Anyway, some pretty dorky stuff, but pretty cool also. Amazing what a group of people can do if they work together and have the same goal in mind.

 

OK so now on to the more important stuff, the farewell dinner at the Spagetti House after the conference.

We spent three hours there laughing and talking and just having a great time.  They gave us laminated certificates and UCL teddy bears as gifts.  We got them (and by them I mean Andy Dawson and Anthony Watkinson, best hosting professors ever) really nice bottles of scotch to show our appreciation.

Anthony really gave me a great big hug and a great big smile in the end.  Though I would be really surprised if he remembered my name, we’ll see what happens when I ask him for a recommendation for a job at ProQuest. At least I have photographic proof we once knew each other.

 

 

 

Some people left but we stayed around and had desert and coffee and all told really bad dirty jokes that were hilarious.  I told my go-to paraplegic jokes which are the only ones I know.

It was a great evening that no one wanted to end I think.  Very funny and fun, you know you are going to get a good grade in a class when you can laugh and drink with your professor.

I really enjoyed the whole thing even if it was exhausting and I often had a hard time staying awake in class.  Anthony is such a trip, I hope I can keep in touch with him!

 

Now I am in Hawes!  A tiny village at the more northern part of the Yorkshiredales National Park.

I am staying at the best bed and breakfast I have ever stayed at with the most amazing hosts.  But I will tell you all about that tomorrow! Right now, I need to go to sleep asap!

But here’s a taste of the English countryside for ya:

 

 

 

 

 

Review of the Purple Theater’s production of Terry Pratchett’s The Truth

June 30, 2011 § Leave a comment

(I will be sending this to the great newsletter, the Discworld Monthly, in the hope that they might add it to next months letter! So pretend you don’t know who I am while reading this if you can)

 

On my trip to London from America I was able to see a Terry Pratchett play performed in the extremely friendly town of Ickenham.

The opening night performance of a four show run of Terry Pratchett’s The Truth was performed by the Purple Theater group at the Compass Theater in Ickenham.  In fact, the first play ever performed by The Purple Theater was a Terry Pratchett play in 1997 (Mort) so they have a long standing tradition of TP performances.

The Purple Theater has brought together a wonderful cast to bring the world of Ankh Morpork to life.

Craig Cameron-Fisher does a wonderful job as Lord Vetinari as well as Charlie (Vetinari’s doppelganger) beign at once ominous and authoritative as well as oblivious and drunk.

Andi Tuder does a superb job portraying Commander Vimes while Manveer Saleot and Tim Williams bring Mr. Pin and Mr. Tulip to life beautifully.  I loved Mr. Tulip who wasn’t my favorite character in the book but while watching the play I learned to love him the best.  The play is of course full of humor and hilarious one liners, so much so that some of the cast (Dominic Parford as Otto) couldn’t seem to keep a straight face.

Gaspod was so great.  Using a puppet to portray the (non) taking dog, the puppeteer provided great comic relief as well as moving the plot along smoothly and quickly.  The use of puppets throughout the show was charming and entertaining.

Now, this was community theater so elaborate scenery and costumes couldn’t really be expected but the cast did such a great job with their parts that it almost didnt matter.  The dark light effect was really quite good though I don’t know if you hadn’t read the book if you would understand what was going on.

There were some stumbling and awkward or rushed transitions but that is to be expected with the first performance. Sometimes they went so quickly through the story it was like watching the high school cliffs notes performance of your favorite book.  Part of me understand that because it is a long book and was a very long play but I missed many key parts I love from the book.

On a side note, the theater put together an amazing program (available for two pounds but totally worth it) that was made to look like a newspaper complete with want ads and character profiles.  It was full of great Terry Pratchett jokes that made me smile.

I was so glad to be able to get a Terry Pratchett related activity into my London trip since we get so little of them in the States.  Now I just need to find somewhere to rent Going Postal before I leave!

‘Cultural Day’ aka nothing planned

June 30, 2011 § Leave a comment

Today was ‘cultural day’ on our schedule.

I think basically that meant that Tula, our Dean, had some other things she had to do today and couldn’t think of anything for us to do.  Instead she sent us to the Tate Britain, a museum of British artists, in the charge of Quin, one of our graduate administrators who has I think this whole time been hanging in France.  I’m not really sure what the point of her coming on the trip was but hey, if she got a free trip or at least a vacation out of it, more power to her.

We showed up there around 10 with only some of our group, apparently it was an optional day and I wasn’t aware. Then Quin told us we would just meet back in the front in 2 and a half hours, which was way too long for a museum.  The disappointing part was it is mostly filled with more modern art than I usually like (despite there also being a Tate Modern) but there were some cool things and at least Leslie and John and I got to clown around a little.

upside down and backwards mirror shot

art imitating life

Leslie's so naughty

I won’t bore you with the art but you can check facebook for more pictures if you are really interested.  The best was probably a piece of art that was all of the movie Top Gun written out by hand (see facebook for that one for sure).

After, Leslie and John and I decided we didn’t want to wait another hour for the rest of the group to finish up and were going to go on to the Tate Modernt on our own.  Thinking it was right across the river we walked across the Vauxhall Bridge to the (eastbank?) other side.  There we discovered the Tate Modern is actually about a 35 min walk down the river.  So we started walking.  Its a pretty far walk so we had to rest a bunch:

chillen by the banks

Eventually we came upon the area that the London Eye is located.  It is a hugely touristy area.  Think the star walk in LA or the parks in France with performers on every square they can fit.

For example:

Mickey Mouse takes a smoke break

Then we decided it was too far to walk to the Tate Modern and crossed the first bridge we came to back to the other side of London.

We ended up in Trfalgar Square while we attempted to find a Wagamma’s to eat lunch at. While John ran around asking people, Leslie and I decided to climb the monuments.

Made it!

Parkur Parkur! Go Leslie! Go! (She has the same skirt as me!!!)

Parkur John! Parkur!

Eventually, after much wandering around and asking 20 different people we finally made it to our goal:

best place on earth

NO, I did NOT want to WAIT!

But they were so delicious in the end, I really won’t ever mind waiting at a Wagamma’s!

Amai Udon Noodles and Edamame. what could be better?

too delicious to have just one dish, gotta try everyone else's as well

Tired morning. They're so cute together

After our delicious delicious lunch, me and the Dynamic Duo parted ways.  They went off to try and mail a suitcase home while I decided to go to the Freud Museum finally

I took a ton of pictures only to be told off at the end that pictures we’ren’t allowed. Oh well! I still got some good ones I think, including the famous couch:

THE couch

Others will be one facebook. Some pretty interesting stuff I learned about him and the family today!

After that I decided to head to Ickenham since it was on the same like as the Finchley Road station.  I took thins train about 20 minutes and got out looking for the theater  The box office wasn’t open yet so I went to a pub at got the usual Kopperberg pear and some fish n chips.

After that I headed over to the theater and presented myself as the American who had so much trouble with her card the other day.  They all knew about me by then but it ended up that I had to pay with cash anyway.

I wrote a review of the play which I will send to the Discworld Monthly and post here as well, probably tomorrow! Dont want to spoil it for you so you’ll just have to wait to hear how it was.

Got home, my feet are killing me! I’m ready for bed.  Conference starts tomorrow and I have a lot of bank things to sort out but other than that, I don’t have much else to do. Any suggestions for the my last two days here?

Hope you all are doing well and enjoying the pictures and blog posts. Not every exciting I know but at least you know im still alive right? Right.

oh, ps.  UPDATE on the Poison Ivy: it is doing much better. I do think that the drugs I was given helped speed up the healing progress at least. but mostly it just looks red like a sunburn and doesn’t really itch too much. MUCH better now!