chrishansenhome: (Default)
It's not been a quiet week here. However, I've not blogged for a while (except for cutesy stuff and whatever meagre Tweets I could scare up) so here goes nothing.

You may recall that my main desktop computer went all funny a while back. And you may also recall that our dear friend BK in Singapore put together a new desktop computer for me, all shiny and new with Windows 7 and all sorts of stuff on it. And, of course, my backup NAS box frying was a joy.

So I had a dilemma. However, Her Majesty somewhat showed the way forward in that by writing me a cheque for a tax refund that is 2 years overdue. I am going to send part of that off to our savings account, but have used about a third of it to get our systems rationalised here.

I bought an HP Home Media Smart Server EX490, and two 2TB disks to go with the 1TB disk already in it. I bought 2x2GB memory sticks and a half-height graphics card for the computer with the rest of that money.

First off, the disks and server came, and what a pain in the rump setting it up. The manual is in .pdf format, which is fine. However, it is not on the media that came with the server; you have to winkle it out of the HP website.

Worse than that, there is no indication that you have to do any more than install the two extra disks in it to get them to format and start working. Their LEDs blink, and I thought that meant they were formatting. Wrong. When I finally could read the manual, I discovered that the blinking meant that the disk wasn't installed at all. I had to do it manually in a menu that had no indication that you could do such a thing.

Third, there is a function on the server which will allow you to "collect" your videos, pictures, and music onto the server, which will then stream it to any device you've got handy. However, the server continuously told me that the software on my computer (not on the server) was incompatible with the server and I had to uninstall it then reinstall it. I did that, and got the same message. After a lot of research, I discovered the following Mongolian clusterfuck:
  • When the server is turned on and the OS is installed on it, the server merrily goes to Windows Update and requests the newest version of its OS.

  • This newest version of the OS does not update the software on your PC.

  • Thus the two versions are incompatible, and to fix it, you have to uninstall the software from the PC and reinstall it not from the DVD that came with the server but from the server itself, using a web interface.
None of this is intuitive.

The good thing is that it automatically backs up your computers if they're on during the night (or any time you set it for).

I then installed the software on the new computer, and got an intermittent connection. I had to install a Belkin WiFi stick to get a reliable connection to the network. Now that's done, I'm hoping that the backup and the Media Collection software will do their work relatively silently.

Once the music and videos are safely ensconced on the server, I shall (I hope) install the software on the munged-up desktop and back it up. Then I can transfer stuff to my heart's content here and finally move this computer downstairs to my study.

I will then wipe the old computer and try to put Vista 64bit on it for HWMBO.

Otherwise, we have had a relatively quiet time. We went to our friends' place for dinner Friday, bringing a bottle of Moet and a very good bottle of red. The food was fantastic and the company even more so. It's great having friends like that.

On Wednesday evening I initiated a man 5 years older than I am into Freemasonry. I enjoyed the ceremony, apart from blanking out several times on my lines. The initiate is a black cab driver, and he had four cab driver friends with him who were already Freemasons. The first time I stopped for a prompt, all four of them loudly tried to prompt me. I looked at them and said, "One prompter, please." and I had no further problem. The dinner was even nice, and I enjoyed the evening immensely. I have been elected to a second consecutive year as Master of the Lodge as my Senior Warden does not want to advance this year. He's getting married in May and has just started his own business, and wants another year to get himself settled.

I continue on IV antibiotics. They seem to have done the trick, but the operation I'm waiting for is apt to be a more permanent and less intrusive solution.

This coming week I will have to go to the foot clinic and get more antibiotics, as well as ask them about going private for the operation. The Masonic charities might stump up some money for that to happen, as it looks like the waiting list is not getting any shorter and I am getting more and more frustrated with the delays. I am visiting a Lodge on Thursday where a friend is being installed as Master, and preaching on Sunday, as well as attending the installation of Bishop Christopher as Bishop of Southwark in the afternoon.
chrishansenhome: (Default)
It's not been a quiet week at the Elephant and Castle, except for Monday.

Tuesday Goliath had our Lodge of Instruction. Something that Freemasons have to do regularly is rehearse the ritual. In most Masonic jurisdictions the ritual must be memorised. One particular ceremony can take up to an hour, and may be conducted by one man. So, rehearsal is serious stuff indeed. My friend Nadeem, whom I nominated for the Lodge, picks me up at Northwick Park station on the Metropolitan line and we go to Harrow Masonic Centre and have a beverage in the bar while waiting for the meeting to start. The meeting was very emo as there was a bit of a dispute about some parts of the ritual. I thus proposed to make a leaflet detailing the differences between our Goliath ritual and the standard Taylor's Working. This I did, and we'll be publishing it in May after I assume the Mastership of the Lodge. Only problem was: Microsoft Publisher. The final leaflet came to 19 pages plus one blank page, and no matter what I did, I couldn't get page 18 to flow onto page 19. Whoever invented Microsoft Publisher needs to be corrected somehow. I suggest the cat o' nine tails, myself.

Wednesday was my swine flu vaccination. The good thing is that it was free. The bad thing was that the nurse was running 1/2 hour behind. I know that I shouldn't complain, but if I were 1/2 hour late for an appointment I'd get hell in a handbasket. My right arm ached for a couple of days afterward, and I had a very deep hypo on Thursday which I can't explain with what I was eating or the amount of insulin I was taking. I wonder whether the inoculation did something.

HWMBO was off Wednesday through Friday so on Wednesday afternoon we went to the Turner and the Masters exhibition at Tate Britain on Millbank. It closed today (Sunday January 31) so we thought we'd better go see it. Well, as it was the afternoon and a weekday we thought we'd have an easy time of it, but the exhibition was stuffed. Lots of people who wait until the end of an exhibition to see it were there, and many were elderly and had canes, just like me (I was using mine as my back was killing me…see Thursday for more informaiton on that). I felt that while it was slightly interesting, the Tate often has Turner exhibitions because it has most of the Turners that are extant, as Turner left most of his paintings that he had at his death to the nation and the nation gave most of them to the Tate. As it was kind of a comparison between Turner and other artists, if you weren't paying attention in Art History class (and I wasn't) much of the exhibition was not very illuminating.

Thursday I went to the Foot Clinic at Kings to be fitted for orthopedic shoes and insoles. I have been waiting for this for years (but didn't get on the official waiting list until December). The assessor (fancy name for the shoe fitter) was very nice, perhaps batting for Our Team, and sharing my first name as well. While he was measuring my feet for the shoes, he asked me how my back was faring because of the pressure boot—I told him that my back was killing me. Every time I got up from sitting on the bed while wearing the boot my back felt like someone had stabbed me in the kidney. He said, "Wait a minute!" and took my shoe (not the boot!) away. A minute later he returned with a device that raised the boot by about an inch. This instantly fixed my back problem and my gait is now normal, as both shoes are on a level. I was as delighted as a young kid on Christmas morning who got all the presents he asked for and no coal in his stocking. While measuring he rolled my trouserleg up and said, "It's like the Masons." and I replied, "Funny you should say that; I'm a Freemason." and we discussed that for a while. I shall bring a brochure when I take delivery of the shoes. They're black wingtips with laces.

Thursday night we went out with our friends Ard, Leslie, Eddie, and Christina to Belgo at Covent Garden. HWMBO tried a couple of Belgian beera, but I stuck to Diet Coke. The wait staff were all dressed in monk's robes, for some odd reason…perhaps because a lot of Belgian beer is brewed by monks. Lots of mussels were consumed (not by me), and I had a steak and frites, which were excellent. Then off for dessert. We walked from Belgo to Old Compton Street and Chinatown, and finally ended up at C&R Café and Restaurant for "dessert. As they have a £6 minimum per person, HWMBO and Leslie ordered some other stuff. The reviews are mixed, but we enjoyed what we had. I had an iced Milo and a sago pudding as dessert. One of the side dishes that Leslie ordered was a kind of meat loaf phyllo pastry spring roll…this was fantastic and I want to go back and have more.

Friday I returned to the Foot Clinic for the last appointment under the study I've been in. Well, I got in there and when the podiatrist came in I showed him the new device on my shoe and said, "Why didn't I get one of these when you gave me the boot?" He looked at the nurse and said, "I didn't know we had any in stock." The ulcer is still there, but much smaller. However, now that I'm out of the study I do not get free supplies from the clinic; I have to have them prescribed by my GP. That's a pain. Oh well, they are cautiously optimistic about it and I go back for a regular appointment in two weeks.

After the appointment I had to wait in the waiting area for a prescription. The usual doctor, Prof. Edmonds, wasn't there on Friday so I waited for 1/2 hour while they scraped up a doctor. Then the nurse came up to me with the prescription and said, "We forgot to do something for your last appointment." and I had to come back, take my boot and shoe off, and have her test the bottoms of my feet for feeling (I don't have any). The podiatrist just laughed and said to her, "I told you that we could just fill it in ourselves." but no dice. I was seriously late for lunch at the Drop-In.

Saturday morning I received something I'd bought from eBay in the US. Coffee connoiseurs among you will sneer at me, but I am now the proud possessor of a 6-cup Pyrex coffee percolator.



Now I realise that perked coffee tastes burnt and isn't the best quality according to coffee mavens. However, I have memories of my childhood, when we had instant coffee most of the time, but when company came my mother hiked out the Pyrex percolator and made REAL coffee, as opposed to instant. Now neither my brother nor my sister drinks coffee nowadays, but I'm seriously addicted. And when I fire up the percolator on Monday afternoon and have a cup of real perked coffee, I guarantee that I will be transported back to my childhood and I'll hear my mother say to me, while she poured me a cup of real perked coffee, "You really shouldn't be drinking this stuff; it'll stunt your growth." Would that it had.

Saturday afternoon we went to the Serpentine gallery via the 360 bus. This is a really great way for us to get to Museum Alley near South Kensington. No muss, no fuss, and a one-seat ride. Very convenient. I enjoy this bus route, which goes by the Imperial War Museum, through a housing estate and up to Albert Embankment, swings by the Vauxhall Bus Station and my gym, then crosses Vauxhall Bridge next to MI6 HQ. Then through Mayfair and along the river to the Royal Chelsea Hospital, the home of the Chelsea Pensioners. then down the road to Sloane Square and past Peter Jones, the quite posh store in the John Lewis family of shops which includes Waitrose. Then past the Conran Shop, with lots of merchandise we can't afford and the Michelin Building toward South Kensington Tube Station and the various museums in the area such as the Natural History Museum, the Science Museum, and the Royal Geographical Society next to Imperial College London, ending up in front of the Royal Albert Hall and the Albert Memorial, certainly one of the most garish and curious memorials to a lost love ever erected.

Pictures behind a cut of some of the sights along the 360 bus route )

On the way to the Serpentine we stopped in the Gents' just beyond the Albert Memorial and interrupted what was probably a bit of the old slap and tickle between two guys at the urinals.

The Serpentine Gallery had an exhibition of modern design that was interesting; it including such things as the OLPC laptop and the bumper of a Lamborghini.



There was an area in the central gallery with Kindles, TV screens, and various displays. All the Kindles were occupied, and we didn't fancy waiting around. So back home to coffee and then dinner with our friend Mark at the Indian restaurant at the Elephant and Castle Shopping Centre. Mark was ogling the waiters, who were all Bangladeshi and very good-looking, especially Aziz.

This morning we had church as usual: it was the observance of Candlemas, and the major attraction of Candlemas is that I can put the candelabra away until Easter. The candles drip on the carpet and are a real nuisance: I refer to them as "the forest fire".

So that was my week.
chrishansenhome: (Default)
I've been remiss in not blogging lately, so will contribute a short entry just to bring myself up to date when I write my memoirs in a few years' time…

My foot continues to heal pretty well. I still have my PICC line in, and every morning a district nurse comes by and shoves another bag of antibiotics in me. I'm also taking metronidazole, which will ruin Christmas as you may not drink alcohol when taking it. But, it seems to be doing the trick and my foot is much more robust now. It's been a real struggle.

On Thursday Alex Au arrived from Texas to stay with us until Tuesday. Alex (if you read his Wikipedia entry linked at the beginning of this paragraph you'll find much more information) is the premier gay activist in Singapore. I've known him for more than ten years, and he and my brother-in-law work together on the Signel Singapore lesbian-and-gay emailing list. It's always delightful to see him, and we have had long discussions about Singapore politics and events. I seem to know a lot more about the subject that HWMBO does—he never reads the Singapore press or websites.

We went to Belgo on Kingsway for dinner tonight—the first time I've been north of the river in a month.

This morning I went to church for the first time in a month but had to leave just after communion as the district nurse usually shows up after 11 am and it was getting late. Indeed, she showed up at around 11:05 am so I was lucky I slipped out.

I go to the Foot Clinic next Friday and we will see what transpires there. I am hoping for orthopedic shoes, but probably won't get them for a few weeks or months yet.
chrishansenhome: (Default)
I've been very remiss about recounting what's going on around here...my bad. So spank me...please!

HWMBO is now in Singapore. He's been there for a couple of days, visiting his parents and our friends. He'll be there for 2-1/2 weeks. So I shall be pretty lonely. Any of my Singaporean lj friends who sees him out and about should say "hi!".

I'm not totally alone, though. [livejournal.com profile] mc4bbs arrived Thursday morning and will be here until Tuesday. We've had some meals out, and may have a few more. He's helped me with my network and my backups, so has more than earned his way. I think I'll keep him! What a sweetheart he is—I'm lucky to know him.

I myself am still struggling through with my foot ulcer and diabetes. The air boot is very bulky and a bit heavy. Yesterday I went out to central London to do some shopping at computer fairs. The main one that used to be at Jury's Hotel has moved up north of Goodge Street. So I turned up at New Oxford Street and missed out on a tricycle taxi ride up to the new site. I walked it. The map they gave was seriously out of scale. Then I walked back down to New Oxford Street, which was mobbed. Because of people who would not walk at a normal pace nor get out of the way, I nearly missed a number 1 bus back home. So I was in a foul mood by the time I got home.

I made a "Hearty Chuck Wagon" soup from a recipe I got via email. I will tell y'all if it's any good—[livejournal.com profile] spwebdesign and I will be having some for lunch today. Assuming we both survive, I may make it again when HWMBO gets back. It's a crock pot recipe, and it does smell pretty good. On Friday I made Boston Baked Beans in the crock pot and [livejournal.com profile] mc4bbs and I had some for lunch. Not bad, except you can't get salt pork here so I had to use British bacon, which isn't as good a substitute.

[livejournal.com profile] mc4bbs invited me to join him and his mates at Compton's for a pint then Chinese food. I dutifully went out and, halfway to the Tube, just felt that I was too tired to be sociable, so I called him and said, "I just can't drag myself all that way—please go on without me." I then went home, had some leftover chicken and a few slices of bread, and fell asleep in my easy chair.

Went to bed at 11 pm, forgetting my statin pill. So I woke up around 2 am and thought, "Why am I awake?" When I remembered that I hadn't taken the pill, I came downstairs and took it. This morning, however, I woke up at 6 after not having slept very well, and when the day had penetrated the fog, realised that I was having a hypo episode. So I came downstairs and tested my blood—it was 4.4 (normal is 4-6 but 4.4 is low for me). I had a small glass of orange juice then ate breakfast somewhat early.

Today is the church's Patronal Festival. I expect that it'll be dire as usual. There is a barbecue after church in the Rectory garden, but I always skip these as the food is fat-laden. Next week is Back to Church Sunday, but I'll be in Manchester visiting my friend Nicky next weekend, so won't be here.
chrishansenhome: (Default)
...so I'll do it now and bring everyone up to date.

Monday evening I was passed to the degree of a Fellow of the Craft in the Operatives. This is what is referred to as an "appendant body" of Freemasonry, in that a man must be a Freemason to join, but it is not in and of itself part of the Grand Lodge of England or any other grand lodge worldwide. The ceremony was quite interesting (of course, I have already been passed in Craft Freemasonry to the degree of a Fellowcraft, but the Operatives take the symbolism a bit further.

There are in all seven degrees—in order to advance to the top degrees I will have to have been Master of my Craft Lodge (Goliath #5595 UGLE) and also Master of a Mark Masons' Lodge. This will take a while.

One of the Brethren had died since our last meeting. I was told that he had belonged to 77 Masonic Lodges/Chapters/Assemblies/et al. I'm surprised that his wife had ever seen him. He was the man who had gotten me into this particular assemblage (Bentley Priory) so even though I'd only known him for a short time I'll miss him and I'm sure the other 76 Lodges/etc. will miss him also.

A couple of days ago one of the Brethren sent me an application for the Order of the Allied Masonic Degrees, which sounds interesting but is yet again another set of meetings to which to go and, however, wonderful it is, might be the order that tips HWMBO into revolt. So I think I'm going to pass that one up, at least for now. I suppose I should write George to thank him for sending the application along.

Tuesday was a joint meeting of the Southwark Diocesan Board of Finance and the Bishop's Council to discuss financial matters. As it turned out, the prospective budget of the Diocese would not balance unless some lay staff members were made redundant and some clerical posts were not filled once vacated. It was a pretty fraught meeting and the Bishop, yet again, stressed that he has not announced his retirement date yet after several remarks from the floor. The fact of the matter is that he must retire by the beginning of March 2010, when he turns 70 years of age. I expect that he will serve until his 70th birthday, as he likes being in the House of Lords and is unsure whether he'll be appointed a life peer or not. With the General Election only a few months away and the likelihood that the House of Lords will become a wholly-elected body and the 26 bishops and archbishops of the Church by law Established will be booted out, I suspect that he wants to serve as long as he can. The problem is that the Diocese is working through the financial problems brought on by the recession and also through the upheavals that the Church of England and the Anglican Communion are facing—and it is doing so while headed by a very lame duck Bishop who refuses to lie down and be lame. We passed the resolutions paving the way for staff to be made redundant (it should happen by the end of November 2009). But, again, as I mentioned in Diocesan Synod, there is an unwillingness in the Church to think about better ways of stewardship and take a leaf out of the books of other provinces that seem to do it better. Money is vulgar in the extreme to Englishpeople, and the less discussion of it the better.

Wednesday I went back to the Kings Diabetic Foot Clinic for them to take a look at the wound caused by their cutting out a blood blister on the ball of my left foot. The original reason I went in (the blister under my left big toenail) resolved itself within a few days, but this wound is just going on and on.

The podiatrist, Tim, sliced off a little more and asked whether I'd like to enroll in a trial of an ultrasound treatment to help wounds to heal. I said I would (I'm willing to do almost anything at this point) and will be going back a week from Friday to see the Big Cheese once he's back from his holiday.

Thursday I went to St. Thomas's Eye Clinic to have my retinas examined for signs of diabetic retinopathy. This has been a yearly visit for me for many years, and I thought it would be unevenful. However, of course, as hospitals are wont to do, they've moved the clinic yet again (this is its third home since I began going in 1994). The signs directing one to the new clinic are on a door that is to the left of the corridor leading to the old clinic. Of course, making the turn into the corridor means you don't see the sign. So I went to the old receptionist, and was directed to the new one down the hall.

I was pleasantly surprised to have my eyesight checked and pupils dilated within 5 minutes of checking in with the proper receptionist and sitting down. This is not usual practice, but I gather that the former clinic has been split into two (or perhaps three) sections upon the retirement of the former chief eye surgeon, Mr. Shilling. (Note to USans: Mr. Shilling is a doctor, of course, but surgeons here in Britain pride themselves in being called "Mr" or "Mrs" or "Miss" rather than "Dr", which is reserved for pedestrian general practitioners, endocrinologists, cardiologists, and others of That Ilk.) The clinic I sent to is now headed by Mrs. Mann, but she is too lofty to actually look at patients' retinas so I didn't see her. I saw a delightful woman doctor who was with Mr. Shilling and whom I have seen off-and-on around 4 times in the past 15 years. The short story is that there is no change in my retinas and I should be coming back next July.

Friday was the last Community Centre Drop-In lunch for the summer, and I heard sad news about one of the regulars, who is now out of the hospital after a mastectomy but has moved far enough away that we probably won't see her again. Sad, as even though she was infuriating she was a nice person in her way and she'll be missed.

Friday evening we went to the British Museum to their "India Night"—a tie-in with their exhibition Garden and Cosmos—The Royal Paintings of Jodhpur. We were to meet my former boss, Ed Ross, former coworkers Louise, Diane, Pete, Heather, Roger, and Raz and her husband to enjoy the exhibitions and go to dinner at Taz down the street. We attended a lecture (well, part of it) on the paintings, then I just chatted with Roger and Pete while we were waiting for our reservation at Taz. It was a lovely evening and it's always nice to catch up with people.

Saturday evening we went out to Rasa Sayang on Macclesfield St. in Chinatown with Ard and Leslie, who tied the knot a few months ago and whose friends [livejournal.com profile] luv_ktv and Marie we put up for the week. As usual, the food was delicious and of course it was really nice to see Ard and Leslie again. Ard has now been recognised as a "European Person" by the UK government (he's Dutch) and once Leslie is certified as Ard's civil partner, he will be able to return with Ard to Holland and gain the right to live there without going through Dutch lessons and tests.

Sunday I preached—I'll post the sermon separately as this is getting too long. That evening HWMBO made green chicken curry, my favourite. It was delicious.

Today I started the arduous task of scrubbing the kitchen floor. It's well soiled and very difficult to wash with a mop, so I got down on my knees and scrubbed with a brush and some Cillit Bang in water. I got the first layer off half the floor. More tomorrow, I fear. Then I went to Boots to buy some toiletries and some gauze for the foot dressing. After that I went to Starbucks and put some money on my Starbucks card so I can use it and fill it up online. Cooked stuffed peppers and they came out not bad.

I guess the real reason I blog about my week is mostly to ensure that in a few years I'll know what I did this week. I hope I haven't bored you.
chrishansenhome: (Default)
Well, the week's almost over. It's been a bit annoying as my foot is still weeping. I'm off to Kings on Wednesday for another look at it. I really need to get them focused on getting it to heal up. I'm tired of changing dressings, having wet socks from the fluid that's leaking out of it, and so on and so forth.

Monday I did basically nothing...always delightful these days.

Tuesday I had lunch with Brian, one of the organisers of the Singaporean lesbian and gay film showing last Friday. He works around Goodge Street, and his building is really neat. It's two buildings, one behind the other, and they have closed off the alley between the buildings and made it into a kind of atrium. As you might expect, it's a design/architecture place. We discussed London, Singapore, and film over chicken Caesar salad in their canteen. It's always lovely to make new friends and I hope that HWMBO and I will see more of Brian and his bf in the future. Brian is off to Singapore today.

Tuesday night was Diocesan Synod, the last meeting of this term. We discussed a report on childhood from the Children's Society—it was presented by a Lord Someone-or-other who is or had been a professor. However, even with a microphone he was inaudible to most of us because he mumbles. Waste of our time. We also discussed the financial situation of the diocese. It looks like layoffs are imminent (of lay staff) and parishes will be consolidated as they become vacant. I spoke on the fact that people here in England are very loath to talk about money or giving; that is one of the reasons why giving levels are so pathetic in the Church of England. Lots of people think that since the Church is established, the government funds it. Of course, it doesn't. The bishop was kind of dismissive of my plea to study how other provinces (especially the US) do stewardship. Typical Brit.

Wednesday we had the Diocesan Audit Committee meeting. Lots of discussion about our investments and investment policy. You might think "ho hum" but the only reason we can survive is that the investments bring in much-needed income—not as much of the much-needed income as before, but some.

Thursdy and Friday were mostly free. I decided that I wanted to connect the old iMac upstairs to the router down here by means of my Ethernet Bridge. I will discuss that in a separate post.

Today was very restful. I made sausages and muchroom risotto which HWMBO really likes. Always nice to cook something that your husband loves, as June Cleaver might have said.
chrishansenhome: (Default)
This has been a really tiring week.

First, the foot. It is still weeping. Not much blood, but quite a bit of clear fluid. The podiatrist said that the edges are having a hard time closing for healing. Well, my (internal) response was: Why did you people cut this thing out? It wasn't giving me any trouble and similar ones have solidified and then dissipated. So it's an iatrogenic problem. I really don't know what to do. It's frustrating, scary (will I have to take antibiotics for 6 weeks only? 9 weeks? 12 weeks? Until the cows come home? Will it heal eventually? When is "eventually"?), and annoying. Today is Pride Day here in London, and we're staying home because I couldn't march or stand for a long time. This is the fourth or fifth year I have missed London Pride. And, in this year where great strides have been made in LGBT rights (gay marriage in Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Connecticut, and Iowa; same-sex sexual activity legalised in India, and many that I have missed) and some steps backward (California), I want to be out there marching, demonstrating, and showing that gay men aren't all twinks and gym bunnies and that we don't automatically self-destruct when we reach age 30. I can't. My feet and body are not cooperating.

Monday we had the last of the Fairer Shares meetings for the deanery. These meetings set the rates at which parishes pay money to the diocese to keep everything (mostly clergy salaries) going. The deanery made out OK this time around, I think, with some parishes taking a hit because their collective income was higher and some benefiting because their collective income was lower. Raises in quota are capped at 10%. The Fairer Shares system works because it is not only fair, it's perceived as fair. Long may it continue.

Tuesday I went to the Diabetic Clinic for two appointments I hadn't been aware of before I left for the United States: one with a lipid doctor and one with a dietician. I dutifully turned up, had my height and weight measured (weight down 2 kg, height the same) and my blood pressure checked: 127/78 (I think). I was amazed. My blood pressure hasn't been that low in years when taken by a health professional.

I saw the lipid doctor and he wanted to redo tests that had been recently taken, and the dietician conceded that my problem was portion control and not necessarily what I eat. The dietician made me wait for an hour before he saw me. See my previous long blog entry for the rant.

Wednesday through Friday I attended an Electromind course called "Rapid Software Testing", conducted by Michael Bolton, one of the gurus in the neglected art of software testing. I found the course helpful but a bit chaotic (I think Michael might say that as I'm a Meyers/Briggs J, as opposed to his P, that's exactly what I would say.) There are lots of handouts (on a USB key), and slides (boy, has he got slides). There were lots of valuable ideas and methods introduced during the course. I would say that the people who need to take this course should be carefully selected. Test managers don't necessarily need to take this course, but would perhaps benefit from a course in managing rapid testers and the rapid testing methods. But, that's just my own personal opinion. The other 9 attendees seemed to enjoy it (as did I, I hasten to add) and got a lot out of it (as did I).

I suppose I have two reservations about it, having to do with the venue. The conference room was almost the furthest away from the front desk as you can get in this hotel (Crowne Plaza, near St. James Park). You needed a twenty-mule team and a 3-day supply of rations to get there—and my tongue is only partly in my cheek. Second, the lunch. When taking courses like this, the idea of lunch is to get it into you as quickly as possible so that those who have to keep an ear out for problems at their workplace can call in or take calls. On Wednesday, once we found the lunch restaurant (they hid it) we sat down, ordered as if we were dining out, and then took 1-1/2 hours to get served and finish up. When we got there on Thursday, they had the same menu as Wednesday. As lots of it was fish, this was particularly sad for me. The chef whipped up gnocchi and tagliatelle for those who didn't want the same old choices from Wednesday. Friday's menu was promised to be different and, lo! it was. Smaller. However, it took 1-1/2 hours to eat on Thursday and Friday. This put a crimp in our day, as Michael went on to 5:30 pm rather than ending at 5 pm as promised. On Friday this created a difficulty for me, as I had to get somewhere at 6 and Michael continued on until 5:40 pm. I just barely made it.

The place I had to get to at 6 pm was Piccadilly Circus, where HWMBO was waiting for me. We did dinner at Hamburger + on Dean Street, which has changed its sign to "Hamburger +" but, apparently, not its website. We have had some sad experiences there but we were trying to eat quickly in SoHo to get to the next event. The burger wasn't bad, and the onion rings were very good indeed. Full marks, Master Hamburger.

While HWMBO was ordering I was sitting at the window idly watching the street scene and who should come walking down the pavement toward me but Ian Hislop, who looked rather cross. I don't know whether that's his public face (look fierce to keep the adoring public away) or he was really cross about something. On Have I Got News for You he almost always looks cherubic. Anyway, I winked at him from inside the restaurant and that was it. The reason he was walking down that particular street is that Private Eye's office is a bit further up. And, oddly enough, as I was sitting there before he came along I wondered (again, idly) whether Hislop would walk by and there he was! I shall now wonder whether we'll win the lottery tonight.

We then walked to Wardour Street for a showing of some of Creative SINergy's short films in honour of Pride. They all had a LGBT focus (even if that was only because the director is gay or lesbian). They were all very good. The evening was titled "Short Circuit" and we enjoyed all the films immensely. The first one, "Summer" was especially good.

We had a drink beforehand in the screening room lobby and, of course, there were goodie bags included. Thanks to Brian Tan for getting everything together and straightening out our convoluted payment methods.

Today is the Fourth of July. My father used to ask "Do they have a Fourth of July in England?" and a few times I fell into the trap and started to explain that Independence Day wasn't celebrated here as we were on the other side. The answer, of course, is "Yes, one every year."

I have in the past talked about renouncing my US citizenship as I intend to remain here in the United Kingdom for the foreseeable future, and I see myself as British now rather than American. However, there is a part of me that won't ever leave the United States, really. For all the hassle that US taxes, getting my vote counted, and trying to get into the country without being cross-examined by the Rottweilers who staff the immigration counters, I guess that I really can't give up US citizenship now without feeling very sad and unsettled. I belong here AND there. While this is not unique, for me it's important to separate the hassles put in my way by silly US laws and ignorant immigration officials from the very great experiment that is the United States, one that is still going on 233 years later. It's fallible, it breaks every once in a while, and it's not always the best place to live, especially if you are not Caucasian, not straight or not US-born. It's not always a beacon to the world—heck, sometimes it's not even a beacon to itself. But, I can't escape it. When I hear The Stars and Stripes Forever, expecially when played at Trinity Church Wall Street by Cameron Carpenter something wells up that I can't explain here.

Today is also Pride Day here in London. I guess I'm proud of being HWMBO's husband (legally), being gay, being American, and being British AND American. Being all of these are the greatest blessings one can have, and I'm grateful for every one of them.
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Monday was resting and recuperating. Our friends Leslie and Louie were in town and we had dinner with them Monday night at a restaurants in Soho, Chiang Mai. It's (obviously) a Thai restaurant (Chiang Mai is a city in northern Thailand) and it was just first-rate. I had vegetable tempura and then mee of sort sort (I forget what it was) which was extremely good. More of Chiang Mai later.

Tuesday I again rested, and in the evening attended our Lodge of Instruction, where we tried to rehearse a Passing, but did not really have enough people to do it. We tried our best, though. I must crack the book and memorise the Senior Warden's part in the ceremony, which is quite extensive.

Wednesday was our Deanery Synod meeting. Usually these are quite teejus, and tonight I was a bit apprehensive as I had understood that four people (including me) were running for three seats on Diocesan Synod. Fortunately, one dropped out, and there were no nominations from the floor, so I've been returned again to Diocesan Synod, which allows me to stand again for Bishop's Council and the business committee of Bishop's Council. So that was good. I was also returned as representative to the Diocesan Board of Finance, which is one of my favourite jobs—oddly enough. I attended the meeting not having eaten, however, because of the antibiotic pill I need to take.

We heard from the NHS Bereavement Officer for Guy's and St. Thomas's Hospital Trust. He was quite interesting, and their program for helping people whose relatives or friends have died in the hospital is quite good. They become a one-stop shop for notifying those who need to know about a death. They also serve as conduits for organ donations, and expedite things for people whose religious beliefs require a swift burial. However, he went overtime.

We then had a presentation from one of the Diocesan Child and Vulnerable Adult Protection people, who spoke of the new guidelines on that subject. She didn't have enough time to do the subject justice, I'm afraid. It's a really important set of guidelines to help incumbents, churchwardens, and church members deal with the complex rules and laws now cocooning child/vulnerable adult protection. Luckily, there are diocesan training days for the incumbents and Protection Officers for each parish.

Got back late and we decided to go to Nando's for a chicken dinner. They were just about to close the kitchen, but we got in just in time.

Thursday was Goliath Chapter in Southgate. I actually got there ahead of time, and the place was packed. For some reason, lots of members and guests decided to attend. One of my Lodge brothers was being exalted, so I felt I should attend to support him. The ceremony went well, and, oddly enough, the food was very good. Our new Assistant Secretary (who is responsible for food) did a super bang-up job and I am grateful that he did. I'm glad he is doing it rather than me.

The Metropolitan Grand Inspector attended, and in conversation in the bar after the ceremony I discovered that he is also a dual citizen (born in New York of a British and a something-else parent) but he travels regularly to the US on his British passport (which lists New York as his birthplace) and does not file tax returns (many US expats don't). I was surprised, and kind of made a fool of myself telling him that (1) as he doesn't have a US passport he is in violation of US law, and (2) while he doesn't consider himself a US citizen, he actually is as he hasn't formally renounced it. Oh, well. I'm not ambitious in Masonry.

Friday noon I had lunch at Chiang Mai (see first paragraph) with Dr. David, my favourite mohel. He is a urologist with a large circumcision practice in Atlanta, GA. He comes to London two or three times a year and we now get together for lunch or dinner when he gets here. I had Green Chicken Curry and it was lovely--no pea aubergines but slices of adult aubergine, spicy as I like it, really good. We will have to go there again soon.

Friday evening we had dinner at Nando's in Soho with our friends Leslie and Louie, who have now returned to Singapore but had been here for a couple of weeks. Louie is a shopaholic and brought home a leather harness (he modelled it in the shop for us but I wasn't fast enough to take a picture) as well as lots of other stuff unavailable in Singapore. He's a teacher, and his school informed him that as he had been to a place where there is swine flu, he would have to stay away from the school building for a week. Two other friends of L&L ate with us—they were here to attend a friend's civil partnership. I noticed that the one sitting directly opposite me had his fly undone during the whole dinner. How do you tell a perfect stranger that his fly is undone?

I wrote my sermon yesterday for this morning, and delivered it today. Wasn't one of my best so I don't think I'll reprint it here. However, I was sitting at my computer this morning looking at email before breakfast and saw a shadow on the curtain from outside. I opened the curtain, and there was a fox cub standing on the windowsill! Before I could get my camera he was gone, jumped to the ground and then jumped over the fence.
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...and welcome to it.

Saturday I received my ISEB Practitioner's Certificate in Software Test Management. This virtually completes my certification with ISEB--I could take the Practitioner's Certificate in Software Test Analysis but probably won't as it does cost a bit of money. I will now try to get contract work as a tutor for the three certifications I now have. There is some money in it and I enjoy teaching. We shall see about this.

There are few jobs out there; I have had a few nibbles via email but most are in out-of-the-way places for very small salaries. That's not very attractive for me, as my net would be pretty small.

Nothing to say about Sunday; church, then home. [livejournal.com profile] kingbitch went out to lunch with us to a Pizza Express in Soho. Then HWMBO and I walked to Fopp and I bought some books, CDs, and a DVD of Le Diner de Cons, which I saw in the theatre but would like to see again. Oddly enough, as I was browsing the shelves I thought, "I'd like to see Le Diner de Cons again," and looking down at the bottom shelf, which I hadn't looked at before, there it was! Obviously someone wanted me to buy it, so I did. Will watch soon.

Monday I did virtually nothing. This is depressing, but I think that a goodly amount of time away from work will help me sort out my brain. In addition, being out of work means that it's probably good not to go out and buy anything including lunch, coffee, or what have you.

Tuesday I went to the Diabetic Clinic at St. Thomas's. When I got there my friend Helen from the Friday Drop-In at St. Matthew's was there also, raising cain as usual. She is in her late 60's and is very firm about her wants and needs, so waiting in a waiting room is not a happy time for her. We chatted for a while and I told her that I was apt to have to inject a drug for type II diabetes. She said, "You should ask them about the pill I'm taking--sitaglyptin. You don't want to inject, do you?" I told her, "No, I don't want to inject, but it seems there is little alternative and I have to trust the doctor." She wasn't having it, but then she got called in for her blood test and we ended it there.

My blood test was OK, I think, and my blood pressure seems to have been a bit lower--the result of the increased dosage of blood pressure drug I got last time I was there, I suppose. The practice nurse called me in, and we discussed the drug: exenatide. It is injected, but not with a syringe, with a pen. You have to put the needle on the pen, dial up the dose, take a chunk of your tum between thumb and fingers, and insert the needle and press the plunger, counting to 10. Then remove the needle, take it off the pen and dispose of it in the sharps box, and recap the pen. We practiced on a squeezy pig, and then with a pen full of saline on myself. No sweat. So we started on it yesterday evening. I have to take it about 1 hour before breakfast and dinner. The needle is amazingly small and you can hardly feel it, if at all. So I got the prescription, waited at the pharmacy, and walked home. The diabetes practice nurse is very good, very helpful, and really took away all fear of being stuck with a needle.

This is almost it, I think. If this medication doesn't work, then it's insulin for me. The good part about it is that now that I am used to giving myself injections (he says, after having done four in two days) insulin doesn't hold as many terrors for me. The problem with insulin is that it tends to get you to put on weight. This is bad for a diabetic. I want to keep away from it as long as I can. Once I do have to go on it, I shall have to cut down what I eat to the bare minimum to keep me alive.

Today, Wednesday, I got the guest room ready for [livejournal.com profile] mc4bbs and did some shopping. The rod that serves as the hinge in back of the toilet seat was about to break, so I needed to replace it. What a pain in the arse that is! I had to take the hinges and brackets off, clean underneath, try to put the new brackets on, find that they didn't fit, put the old brackets back on, thread the rod through the two parts of the seat, sweat like a horse, and swear like a trooper. I wish they'd make these things easy.

Tomorrow is a meeting of the New Lammas Lands Defence Committee, where I'll have to apologise for not keeping the website up to date, and figure out where we go from here.

Friday I have lunch with one of the other delegates to the ISEB Practitioner's course to talk about testing stuff. Then I have to get my new glasses from Otto Opticians and rest from my labours.
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It's been kind of a roller-coaster week, with the highlight being finally catching and dispatching one of the bolder mice which inhabit our humble home.

Here it is, cut so that you won't have to read it if you're wretchedly pressed for time... )

A very busy week indeed. I apologise for this being so long.
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I'm in the home stretch of my visit. I must confess that I've had a "senior moment"--I thought I was leaving Thursday night and arriving home Friday morning. Well, I got my dates wrong. I'm leaving on Friday night and arriving home on Saturday morning.

Normally this would just embarrass me. However, I had actually made a dinner engagement in London for Friday night with a LiveJournal friend, and I'm hoping that he'll be able to reschedule for Saturday.

Tuesday evening I attended Philanthropic Lodge here in Marblehead; the work was initiating four men, who joined five men who were initiated Monday night. I had never seen an initiation here and found it very close to what we do in Goliath Lodge in London. Much closer, in fact, than the second and third degrees.

Wednesday was a lovely day. In the morning I finally met [livejournal.com profile] momshapedbox, the mother of [livejournal.com profile] boyshapedbox. We spent a wonderful day wandering around Marblehead, having lunch on the waterfront, and generally enjoying the day. Marblehead is, of course, a very old town with a lot of history behind it. We visited Abbot Hall, where the famour painting "The Spirit of 76" hangs, as well as Fort Sewall, where the town defenses against the French and the English were concentrated. Unfortunately, there was a lot of mist on the harbour, which meant that fantastic views of the Neck and the lighthouse over there were impossible.

We did take pictures ([livejournal.com profile] momshapedbox insisted that [livejournal.com profile] boyshapedbox wouldn't believe that we had met unless there was at least one picture of us together, so we took one. I will put them up when I get back.

Last night I met a friend who is the other owner of the Luti list for dinner--we went to the Outback Steakhouse (#2 for me this trip) and I ate much more sparingly than I did last week.

Today I will be dropping downtown to connect up with the Intarwebs and file this blog entry, and finishing packing up. I mostly got packed yesterday and felt very accomplished.
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Well, sorry I haven't been keeping up with life except with twitter compendia, which have turned off at least two of you. Sorry about that. I shall make up for that.

First, it looks like my assignment in Hinckley (via Nuneaton) is over. The trains are not running correctly for the next two weeks, so I shall complete my deliverables this week. It's been a real roller-coaster. My life felt like Groundhog Day (the movie).

Up at 6 am (as usual), out of the house at 7:15, to Euston Station, get on train for 8:17 departure, work on train with my data card until I get to Nuneaton, Warwickshire, at 9:21. Sandeep's Taxi to Hinckley, where I worked until 4 pm. Reverse everything: taxi to Nuneaton, train at 4:35 pm to arrive at Euston around 5:47pm. Then crash most days, unless I went to the gym with M or we went out to dinner.

It does take a lot out of you.

The work, on the other hand, was interesting. I can't talk about it, but I learned a lot about the UK gas network.

Sandeep was pretty talkative, which was a bit off-putting, but I managed to get some solitude in the back of the cab. Hinkley itself is a real deadspot. There is little or no traffic through the centre, the only decent restaurant is a Subway (although there is a KFC and various other delightful places to dine), and the local constabulary advertises itself as the Last Chance Inn where miscreants are housed for the night.

We had a lovely day on Saturday. It proved to be the only really decent day on the Bank Holiday weekend. So, it was a day for a picnic. We gathered up our friends Mark, M, [livejournal.com profile] spwebdesign, and his friend Anna and went to Hampstead Heath on the 168 bus. The food was rather eclectic (I think that [livejournal.com profile] spwebdesign and Anna brought a much snazzier class of food than we did) but nice, and I noticed for the first time that Dr. Pepper Zero is available here. It was quite nice.

We had trouble with children running around screaming, being breastfed, and the like, but tried to ignore the noise. Here are a few pictures from the event:





And Mark drew our attention to a cloud that was sailing past (one among many). He thought it was "penis-shaped". I think it has more to do with his mind...



A good time was had by all, I think. We arrived home and slept the sleep of the just.

Sunday after church we took a walk across Southwark Bridge and along the Embankment to Villiers Street, where we had a Starbucks moment.

Monday we did bugger-all. Just relaxed at home. This is a very good thing when you've been commuting 110 miles morning and evening for a month.

The rest of this week I've been working at home, finishing up bits and bobs for work.

Tuesday night we went out to dinner with [livejournal.com profile] sinnerz, who has been doing some exchange work here in the UK. He is in customer service for public exhibitions, and did a month in Cornwall at the Eden Project and seems to have loved it. We went to Balans Soho, which is probably the trendiest eatery on Old Compton Street. They did make a good Manhattan, but my burger, which I had ordered "medium", was well past medium by the time I got it: grey and dry and unappetising.

I am really through with restaurants that, for our own protection, cook beef to the point where it is unappetising. The danger from BSE has pretty much ended and the need (if there ever was one) to cook burgers until they are dead, dead, DEAD! is over.

After that we walked off our food in a circle, walking to Charing Cross Road, Oxford Street, and Dean Street, ending up back on Old Compton Street and having coffee in Caffé Nero. We walked to Piccadilly Circus and posed in front of the police trailer:



We will be seeing [livejournal.com profile] sinnerz again in Singapore in October, we hope. It's always lovely to meet nice people.

Tonight we are going to dinner at Jom Makan with [livejournal.com profile] iejw, whom we always seem to be missing out on when we are in the same place. We have a 25% off voucher for the place, and I like Malaysian food, so I'm going to be off to Cambridge Circus for cocktails at 5:15 pm.

Will post the pictures of HWMBO's triumph in the 10K Pride Run shortly. And if you see [livejournal.com profile] iejw in the background of a picture, that's where we missed him.

Here we are, posing in front of the
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I've been commuting to Nuneaton, where my current job assignment is. It's kind of a pain, but it's a bearable pain.

What it does do, unfortunately, is put me far far behind on my LiveJournal reading, so apologies to all my friends if I miss a post or three, or just skip over one or two.

Other than that, went to the gym with M this evening and he is doing much better than I am...I am having a hard time bouncing back from the month and a half hiatus caused by my foot infection and my uncle's death.

Faugh!

He's coming over to stay Friday night and then a whole passel of us are going to Brighton for Pride. I have gotten my kilt out. Be afraid.
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The Archdeaconry Service on Thursday night was good; the Archdeacon preached a very good sermon and the Cathedral was packed. There was a bit of confusion over who had been elected Churchwarden at St. Matthew's which perhaps has not yet been settled. I may say more about this later.

Friday HWMBO woke up in more pain than he had been experiencing previously from his tooth extraction, so we called Kings at 9 am and they advised him to come in. We returned there and the verdict was that the extraction site was infected, so they gave him amoxicillin. He's still mostly eating soup and soft stuff, but I think the pain has abated and he's speaking normally. So that's good. However, it pretty much has made the weekend a drab affair.

Yesterday was the Mayesta (church fair) at St. John's Larcom Street, where I often preach on Sundays. It never actually poured, but it was stubbornly sodden all day, with mist one minute, small droplets the next, and no rain the next, repeat all afternoon. I was on the door and I think about 200 people attended, which was good. As to how much money they made, I'm sure it was respectable but perhaps not as much as last year. We all had fun, though.

Today we had a confusing day at church, of which perhaps more later. It's cool, but sunny. Now it's rest and relax, gym later on this afternoon, and perhaps I'll mow the lawn again. *sigh* The life of a country bumpkin.
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It's been pretty quiet around here, so no personal blogs. Last Sunday was back at St. Matthew's after a four-week absence. Nothing changed, really. Not that I expected it to.

I am trying to revamp my website, but don't have the technical know-how so to do. [livejournal.com profile] spwebdesign has promised to help out. Perhaps over the Easter holiday.

I am still between assignments at work. This is seriously beginning to annoy me--I don't know what to do, but will step up contacts with recruiters and my network after the Easter holiday.

St. Matthew's is having a Passover Seder tonight before the Maundy Thursday service. I refuse to participate in Christian Seders, as I don't wish to participate in simulations of the liturgies of other religions. The Rector says that as Judaism is the precursor of Christianity, he's entitled to put on a Seder. I think that's triumphalistic. He is very annoyed about the whole thing. I shall be preparing the church for Maundy Thursday, going away, then returning to strip the altar after services.

Tomorrow I preach at St. John's: a two-pager this time. Very short and sweet. I hope it's effective and memorable.

I have bought an internet wi-fi radio; will probably be delivered next week. I don't think I can get it on my Reliablehosting VPN so that I can listen to KKSF or WNUA over it, but we will see. Anything is possible these days. I got £33 pounds off by using coupons and Amazon.co.uk.

I have heard of the LJ boycott. While I am in broad sympathy with the aims, I have a permanent account and thus don't see ads, provide ads, or anything of the sort. I read other blogs in my Friends page, so I don't see any ads there either. I hope that nothing interesting happens tomorrow so that I don't have to blog or comment, but I'm afraid it will and I will.

Speaking of ads, there has been a bit of a controversy over here about Phorm, a company that purports to serve targeted ads to you (assuming you're viewing one of the websites that subscribe to their ad feed) through analysing the content of the sites you visit. All the details are here, and it's a real doozy. BT and Virgin are planning to assume that we "opt-in", while Carphone Warehouse will require explicit opt-in from users. Privacy issues abound here; although the Home Office has given it the OK from a privacy perspective, the Information Commissioner needs to rule on this and I suspect that serious issues will arise. I plan to opt out, and additionally ensure that Phorm's ad server is in my hosts file so that I'll never see any of their ads.

The yoga instructor at Paris Gym has been sacked for not showing up. He told us that he was going on a yoga trip to South Africa, but the owners of the gym have said that he didn't inform them of it. They also say that he's often very late (not unusually so) and that he hasn't helped them by promoting the yoga class in the gym. They're looking for someone else, but I'm going to try to get in touch and see if I can go to another yoga class that he teaches. I'm a bit bummed out by this; I like Kym and he is a very good teacher and leader.
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Hasn't been a very busy week overall. I had no meetings at all this week, which is, I think, some sort of record for a time when I am not on holiday.

HWMBO's first week at his new job seemed to go well. I made spaghetti and meatballs (with Mother Hansen's Spaghetti and Meatballs recipe) and we had that for a couple of days. I thought that I didn't like wholewheat spaghetti, but as long as you cook it enough it's tasty when used with something like a tomato sauce. I don't think I'd like it with butter and cheese.

Continuing on the culinary topic, I then made a stew on Thursday evening. It was a beef stew, and I decided to use one of the cans of Guinness that have been languishing in the fridge for a while as part of the liquid for the stew. It did turn out quite tasty, if I do say so myself.

I am still on the bench at work, so I am going in two days a week and working at home the rest of the time. I went into the office on Thursday to have lunch with Sadé, one of my co-workers who is just a delightful person. She is the kind of person that you want to be a co-worker in every office you work in. We had a lovely lunch, and I hope she gets off the bench before I do. She's recently back from maternity leave, and would love to get her teeth into a good project.

Saturday we went to Tate Britain to see the Peter Doig exhibition. HWMBO thought it was good; I was not very impressed, I fear. Only one or two of the pictures were worth hanging in our home, which is my method of judging art. HWMBO was so impressed that he bought the exhibition catalogue, which he almost never does ("Too expensive!" he usually exclaims.) I was going to go to the gym afterwards, but my knee was acting up, so we did something really silly and walked from the Tate to the Photographer's Gallery by way of Old Compton Street. I noticed that Metal Morphosis seems to have moved from its little hole-in-the-wall basement shop at the end of the street to...somewhere? A Google reveals that they now have a studio in Selfridges. How posh! (pronounced "poe-sh")

The Photographer's Gallery had a prize exhibition on; one of the photographers had a very sad exhibition about women's lot in India. The sad horrible stories were written besides the photographs.

Today was our last day as Companions in Mission; we had a Eucharist at St. Anne's that was relatively Liberal Catholic and (for St. Anne's) well planned. I think it might have been a bit too High Church for them, but they hung in there and we enjoyed it. The Associate Vicar (who is on maternity leave) dropped by and that was quite nice; I saw her new son for the first time (cute, like all babies).

Gym this afternoon, and then decompression this evening. Tomorrow, back to the rat race.

The rats are winning.

Update

Feb. 22nd, 2008 08:36 am
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I realise I haven't updated in a while...boo on me.

Monday through Wednesday at work were pretty forgettable. I cleaned up my email and basically waited to be released. Everyone was polite and some were very complimentary. Tuesday evening we went to Tate Britain to the private showing of the Camden Town Group exhibition. (Walter Sickert is probably the best known of the bunch). I enjoyed it--my criteria for an exhibitions I like is whether I find paintings I'd like to hang in our house. We had dinner beforehand at the local Witherspoon's pub--before the smoking ban we would not have even considered it. I had a steak (kind of tough) and HWMBO had salmon (which he liked). He had coffee and I had Diet Pepsi. So a very wholesome day indeed.

Wednesday night I had a disagreeable meeting at the Diocese--not because of the participants, because of the occasion. I was a panel member of an appeal tribunal against dismissal of an employee. I can't say anything about it, but I do hope that it doesn't happen very often or ever.

Yesterday and today I'm working at home. Last night we went to dinner with my former boss from the Big Investment Bank and his partner; they are also a mixed-race gay couple, Caucasian/Chinese. His partner is from Taiwan, and has been here a few years longer than I have. He is a musician and teacher, and all four of us had a rousing conversation that went on from about 7:30 until 10:30 at a Chinese restaurant on Gerrard Street in Chinatown. The food was good (I ordered stuffed tofu which was fabulous, along with hot and sour soup which was very good). We got through two bottles of Chateauneuf de Pape, which was surprising. We walked to Tottenham Court Road afterwards, us for the number 1 bus, they for the Central Line. We will be meeting again, and I think that out of the wreckage of our involvement with the BIB project, we have salvaged a new friendship, which is always a good thing.

Tonight we're going out with [livejournal.com profile] trawnapanda and [livejournal.com profile] dangtri, thus forming what soc.motsseurs will refer to as a "three Chris .con". Pictures will ensue. [livejournal.com profile] trawnapanda is visiting from Toronto; he participated in a meeting around detailing successful engagement between the Church and lesbian and gay organisations and people. He was accompanied by an archdeacon and an archbishop (retired). Such august company.
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It's been a busy week in Lake Southwark. Monday and Tuesday evenings were pretty quiet, but Wednesday, of course, was yoga, and Thursday night was the Business Committee of Bishop's Council.

I'm finding it difficult to remember what went on all week, I'm afraid. This is a consequence of commuting daily to Canary Wharf, the huge financial services area in the formerly derelict dock area of East London. You squeeze into an Underground car with hundred of people dressed in suits, go four stops and then kind of burst out of the car in a bunch, ready to face the day, such as it is. Then, at night, reverse the procedure. I've started to walk to Waterloo in the morning and walk home from London Bridge at night. This, at least, will help my weight a bit. Later on I might try walking to Westminster, which is a bit further away.

At the Business Committee meeting, I was asked to say the prayer before the Bishop's Council meeting next Saturday. I will try to resist making an overt statement with the prayer, although I would like to make a point about the laity being coequal with the clergy in the governance of the Church. We always have a laugh at the Business Committee meetings, and this one was no exception. There was quite a cheesy video from the C of E's "Vatican" (Church House) about marriage in the C of E, which managed to get away with showing no one other than lower middle class white people being married in church. That is so far from the reality in this Diocese that it's risible. We hooted all through the whole thing, and then decided to show it to the entire membership of Bishop's Council so they could hoot a bit too.

The bishop leaned back in his chair to display a set of deep red braces, emblazoned with the Parliamentary symbol of the portcullis on it--House of Lords braces, in fact. I didn't know such a thing existed, and I'll have to ask my MP when next I see him whether he has or can get a pair of House of Commons braces, with portcullis but in green.

We went to The Well yesterday and the waitress asked us whether we'd like some Korean Dumpling soup, a special reserved for their regular customers. We agreed, and it was quite delicious: dumplings filled with some kind of vegetable puree floating in a clear broth along with various bamboo shoot and other vegetable bits and garlic. Wonderful.

Today we're off to see the Louise Bourgeois exhibit at Tate Modern, and then God only knows where...tomorrow, it's St. Anne's for me and a meeting, and the week will close.
chrishansenhome: (Default)
I realise I haven't blogged all week, so here comes a brain spew.

Monday I had an appointment with the quack. She gave me the name of a bariatric surgeon to speak to about a duodenal resection. This not only will help you lose weight but also seems to nearly cure diabetes. I've had it with being fat and diabetic, so later on this month I'm going to make an appointment, go private, and see what can be done.

Monday night we had a Woolwich Area Forum, where we discussed as a group of mixed laity and clergy the recent Woolwich Area Clergy Conference. I tried to hold up the laity's end of things...it's difficult sometimes.

Tuesday I went to meet the cochair of the Lammas Lands Defense Committee, and we talked about the website.

Wednesday was yoga night. The class is getting a bit more adventurous, but I enjoyed it nonetheless. I've decided not to eat as much, so I'm having a salad with cottage cheese and a hardboiled egg for lunch at the Big Investment Bank and a salad for dinner, usually.

Tonight we went to The Well for dinner, and I had soup and roast pork with rice. I didn't feel like finishing the rice.

My glamourous life, such as it is.

One strange thing has happened this week. I got a notice of a comment in a very old LiveJournal post. I took a look, and it purported to be from one Olly Comyn, the publisher of the Economist, who noted that I had mentioned in my blog that I wasn't receiving my Economist because of the postal strike. He couldn't find me in their database somehow, and was wondering why I hadn't availed myself of their offer to reimburse me (by adding issues to the end of my subscription) if I bought my copy in the newsagent. He asked me for my phone number so that he could apologise in person.

I thought it was a joke, or spam, or phishing. I responded that I preferred not to give out my phone number, and that an email apology was sufficient. He wrote back, apologising profusely, said that they were still trying to track me down in their database, and offered to send me the issues (by then it was four issues) that I had missed.

Now I've been reading the Economist for about 20 years, but I was absolutely gobsmacked. The publisher of a major international newspaper took the time to email me personally (not once, not twice, but four times) to ensure that I was happy with my subscription and didn't feel upset at the strike-lost magazines. Now I had no intention of blaming them for something that wasn't their fault, of course, but I've got to say, this man knows not only how to publish a first-rate magazine, but knows about how to keep customers happy. I'll not let my subscription lapse until I'm so old, blind, deaf, and gaga that it won't mean anything to me any more.

Of course, today is Friday, Economist and Church Times day, and I didn't get either...but I've been assured that if the Economist arrives on Monday or later I can inform the publisher and he'll extend my subscription and take it up with Royal Mail.

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