July 31, 2009

A ticket bought

Today I purchased my first Decemberists ticket in about 2 1/2 years. I should be more thrilled about this, but I haven't been able to muster the excitement yet. The reason is that after 2 years of not visiting Europe, the band is only coming over to do 3 shows in 2 cities. Now, I am lucky in that one of those two cities is very near me, but they aren't playing a proper show of their own, they're playing as part of the Crossing Border festival in the Hague. They've played the festival before and I decided to see them in Germany rather than see their show at Crossing Border. To me, it's just not the same experience as being the headliners. Plus it's already been announced that they will be playing Hazards of Love, so I worry that in the setting of a festival, that is all they will have time to play, unlike the shows they've done in the US, and will be doing in London, where after the Hazards of Love set they do a set of older songs.

Anyway, I will be happy to see the band again and by the time the show rolls around, I'll probably be front and center grinning like a fool.

July 26, 2009

Tour of Tasmania

This is my second-to-last chunk of photos to post from my Australia trip. I've promised myself to finish it off within a month. Way to extend a trip I wish I was still on, I suppose.

You can read about the 6-day tour I took of Tasmania, or if your eyes start to glaze over, maybe some photos will wake them up.

July 19, 2009

Old photos

While I was in Paris, I went to a wonderful shop called A chacun son image which is filled with found, vintage photos. The photos came from nearly every age of photography, some from as far back as the late 1800's, and up to as recent as the 60's or 70's. Many were just family snapshots or photos of friends, people at the beach, on holiday, at family dinners. It was easy to lose yourself while browsing, getting glimpses into strangers' lives from many decades ago. Adding to the magic was the old jazz being played in the shop and the French being spoken.

Before visiting the shop, I imagined walking out of it with a handful of photos which I liked, but the prices were too steep for that. I ended up buying only two very small photos and they were pricey enough. Here are the ones I chose:



I recommend the shop to anyone visiting Paris. It also is on the Marché des Enfants Rouge, a lovely, small market filled mostly with stalls with prepared food to eat there from a range of cuisines, such as Moroccan, Chinese, and Carribean, as well as traditional French food.

July 14, 2009

Dredging and whinging

I happened to catch a dredging boat in action today in Leiden. It was just a little thing that listed well to the side when its claw grabbed at stuff on the bottom of the canal. The boat was already carrying a fairly large pile of bikes that had been pulled up, all the same black-brown sludgy color. One bike stood out as looking fairly normal, it was still a definite silver color. Either it had not been in the canal long, or the boat operator had decided to pluck a bike from the side of canal just to spite someone. The boat attracted a lot of attention, especially since he was working right under a bridge, so most passers-by stopped to have a look. It's what drew my attention, all these people stopped on the bridge looking at something. So I hung around watching as well, though I'm not sure the boat operator liked everyone watching him, but he must be used to it by now. He dug around in the water, kicking up a cloud of black silt, and came up with a couple of claw-fulls of bike tires, and then he nabbed another bike as well. We watched him completely mangle the front wheel of the bike and quite a bit of the frame to get it off the claw after the bike's fender got caught on it. I wonder what they do with all of the stuff they pull out of the canals. Perhaps recycle the metal of the bikes? I also thought of my camera bag lying in the gunk at the bottom of a canal in Delft and wondered if it will ever be dredged up.

Leiden has entirely too few pharmacies in the center, something I've learned when my lovely little pharmacy closed at the end of June. It was not far on the other side of the station, so it was easy to go to before heading to work. Now the clients from my pharmacy have been combined with the only other main pharmacy in the center, which is probably total overload. My doctor tried to warn me to go elsewhere, saying the waiting times were long, but I ignored her, thinking that this one was handily open on Saturdays. I went for the first time last week, in the middle of the afternoon on a weekday, and waited for over an hour. I got to practice my Dutch, and integrate myself, by having a mutual complaint fest with the older lady sitting next to me (though I was inwardly cringing at myself for not using the formal "you" with her when it was what would have been appropriate). Anyway, I have now registered at a pharmacy in the next town because it will be better than watching my life dwindle away every time I go to pick up something.

July 8, 2009

New apartment look

I rearranged my apartment a few weeks ago and I have completely forgotten to post photos of what it looks like now. Here's the new layout:

So there's this little living room area now where the bed used to be. I'm pretty happy with it, I was trying to think of how to rearrange everything and nothing was going to work, and then I thought of not putting the couch against the wall. And it's even easier now to watch TV while cooking!

July 1, 2009

My favorite songs of late

Two quite different artists... First, a lovely acoustic sort of number by the band Blind Pilot from Portland. The song is called 3 Rounds and a Sound.

Second, a band from Sacramento that plays music described as Victorian punk. This song, That's Not Edgar's Heart, was on a mix by a friend.