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Tuesday, April 8th, 2014
6:59 pm - Seattle and Pacific Northwest days 6 and 7
It’s about 90 miles from Port Angeles to the Hoh Rain Forest visitors centre and, the Area around Forks aside, the drive alone is worth it.
Driving out of Port Angeles, you’ve always got the perpetually snow capped Olympic mountains to the south (left) and we had the bonus of this being the clearest, sunniest day I had while I was visiting, such that the mountains practically gleamed!
17 miles into the journey you come across Lake crescent, which on a still, bright day is a deep dark turquoise, surrounded on either side by evergreen covered mountains –think a sunny day in Glencoe and make everything but the roads twice as big and beautiful, you’re almost there.
Frankly I would have been content had the day stopped there, but we continued on to Forks, stopping for a disappointing burger and a photo opportunity in the town of the sparkly sham-pires. Small town America at its scruffiest. I’m possibly being unfair, it is also a small town untouched by any of the big franchises. I didn’t see McDonalds or Starbucks or their like on the drive through, and the Twilight souvenir stores were all closed for the season – so maybe Forks does have something going for it – the last bastion of the traditional small town USA.
So we drove on, south then east to the Hoh Rainforest Visitors centre, paid our parking ($15 dollars in a provided envelope and dropped into an honesty box) and walked two of the trails.
The Hall of Mosses Trail takes you up onto a low ridge, with some of the most eerie displays outside of a Swamp Thing comic (Frank Millar’s obviously). I’ll get around to uploading the pictures shortly but here there was trees distended into supernatural shapes, rising out of the ground, covered in thick hides of moss and frozen in a lunge towards the paths – The sun blazed down in beams through the canopy, looking like Lothlórien but I can imagine being there on a damp murky day you’d constantly be on guard for tree monsters and prehensile roots ready to drag you under.
The River trail was flat, winding around spruces, with a lighter covering of moss leading to the bank of the Hoh river. Again the sun coming through the canopy gave the impression of wandering through an overgrown ancient ruin, where’s walls had crumbled away leaving only the trees which had grown over and around them – not a terrible description as many trees had grown up from nurse logs, dead and fallen trees which form beds for saplings to grow in and feed on, some still in decrepit evidence. The Hoh River was clear, fed from glacial melt-water and misted with the dust from granite ground by the glacier and its stones tumbled on the river bed.
The drive back turned up one [more?] positive to Forks – a homely roadside diner with some all-American fresh baked pie. I can really recommend the Bumbleberry pie – rhubarb, strawberries, b - served with Huckleberry ice-cream, pretty damn good pie!
We woke up early enough to get to the early ferry, so we could return the hire car in time to only pay for 3 days rather than 4. With that easily achieved, we picked up the now fixed truck and drove back to skjaere’s house for a bit of a rest before heading out to Northgate to see Ellie and her kids. Now initially, they didn’t take to me, there was mush screaming and crying and running (or crawling) away when I arrived, Ellie admitted that this was probably the worst the kids had been in her memory. It was forgivable, C had been taken to hospital the night before with croup and had difficulty breathing, so she hadn’t had much sleep, and M didn’t get much sleep himself with all of that going on – so one tired 11 month old and a recovering 3 year old were to be expected. M eventually took to me when he discovered that my glasses could be removed – C napped for a bit on the sofa and on waking announced that sometimes she was sad but she wasn’t anymore, I put that down the announcement we were going to the mall for sushi, as much as the rest.

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Monday, March 31st, 2014
7:42 pm - wifi still borked, Facebook account hacked and inaccessible
battery about to run out too.

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Sunday, March 30th, 2014
6:17 am - wifi PHUQed posting from a bus
skjaere's wifi has been PHUQed since we got back from Port Angeles. trying this from a bus. not dead but longer posts restricted.

kaickul hope you're not sober enough to read this
mummymetal Happy Mothers' Day

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Monday, March 24th, 2014
5:40 am - Seattle and Pacific Northwest. Days 3 to 5 - I've been off work so long I've lost track
Thursday Evening
Err, it was so long ago, I need to keep on top of this.
With groceries achieved from the supermarket 'round the corner we came home and settled into pesto and mozzerella tortillas and Carcassonne for a few hours until tea time, where I threw together a chicken shallow pan casserole. Then more board games until bedtime

I woke up early and bimbled around the house until skjaere woke up [at about lunchtime]. With the trip to Olympia postponed it became the first of my rest days, i.e. a day where nothing was planned and to be taken at its own pace.
We wonderd down Aurora (Highway 99) from Shoreline down to the Central market to pick up cheese and have lunch; skjaere got a phone call from the garage saying that while fitting the newly acquired wheel bearings, part of the brake block had come away and the subsequent check of the opposite wheel showed that one was dangerously brittle too - parts could be delivered on Monday but the truck couldn't go anywhere. No problem, we've hired a car to come out to the Olympic Peninsula, but the repairs come to almost as much as the truck is worth - time to start thinking about a new one...
After lunch we walked back up to shoreline where I phoned the Apple Store from the day before. iPad was in and I could pay for it over the phone and pick up that evening: We went back to the University Village, picked up the iPad and had dinner at The Ram where the food was great, the beer a little too cold and the service very good..., and where I forgot that the tip should be 15% and believed the change would more than cover it :s It didn't hit me until the following morning.

Early morning rise, 6am to get out of the house to get the bus downtown to meet up with the guide (and a bike) for an 18 mile ride around Bainbridge Island The photos will go up at some point, but apart from my pathetic pace getting over the hills (I'm chronically unfit compared to my heavier Sheffield days) it was an amazing start to any day. We rode down from the Seattle Convention centre, through downtown and Pioneer square (the original settling point) to the Ferry station and caught a ferry to the Island. Bloody cold and crisp, with a strong sea breeze but the views of the city and Mount Ranier were outstanding. I've been saying it a lot over the past couple of days, but this is a view I'll never get tired of.
On the island we (my guide and I) rode over to Linwood, stopping at the highest point (I need to get my hill fitness back), the site of the island's woodmill, (now totally reclaimed by nature) and ending up at Linwood's bakery and cafe for half an hour.
After a pretty damn good cinnamon twist, we carried on to the other side of the island, for more brilliant views and to watch a couple paddle boarding and snorkling while fishing for crabs.
We stayed there for a little while, chatting to this couple, then rode back to the ferry, via a bike shop with a museum of classic cycles including a pedal powered lawnmower.
Back in Seattle I caught the bus back to Shoreline and got ready for the drive over to Port Angeles.
I'll never get tired of the view from the road on the way to Port Angeles. Gorgeous evergreens in every direction, occasionally breaking to reveal the Olympic mountains on one side and the Sound on the other - I'm going to have to make these trips annual.
Port Angeles hasn't changed much, it's still one storey americana bookmarked with the Olympic Mountains to the south and the Sound to the north, with Vancouver Island visible to the far north on a clear day.
skjaere's parents are as welcoming as ever, the beds are comfy and there's a perceptibly infinite supply of cinnamon rolls to eat.


Another late start, we didn't really have a plan for today - it might have been the rainforest but that plan has moved to tomorrow, instead we went to Harbinger winery and Olympic Cellars winery for some wine tasting (and buying), followed by a short wander round Sequim ("skwim") and Port Angeles. We found a vintage clothing store in Sequim where I found a rather nice leather coat for a $28 (yeah, at that price there was no resistance) and Skjaere found what can only be described as the Sixth Doctor's sheepskin lined short jacket.
That gave us the idea to have a look around the Port Angeles Goodwill store as well (I still need a long coat to go with my trilby) but had much less luck there.

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Friday, March 21st, 2014
12:31 am - Seattle Day 1+2 (ish)
Not much sleep the night before flying, went to bed at 2, woke up and 4:45 to get out for the early tfl to Heathrow.
Watched Hobbit 2, Elysium, Wolverine, and most of Pacific Rim on the flight over, missing any sleep I should have got.

Spent the rest of the day with a sore neck, playing board games at skjaere's apartment and generally vegging until a suitable bedtime. All in all, between 6am on Tuesday and going to bed at 10pm PST, I managed ~3 hours sleep in a 48 hour period.


Up and breakfasted by 9:30 then took skjaere's truck to a garage for a service, then took a bus to the University village to find an Apple store: I've been charged by a flatmate to buy him an iPad while I'm out here. The assumption was that the 72 and 372 went to the same place by the same route (the 3 just indicates that it's an express). It turns out that the 72 takes a route around the other side of the University district, missing out the village completely, so we had a short excursion into downtown Seattle and caught another bus back to the University district and walked down to the village, hitting loads of dead ends and taking a long, zig-zag route because there's no direct road downhill. It all looks quite pretty, but given most of the route we walked along was Frat and Sorority houses, I dread to think what it looks like at night.
Apple store was all out of the right sort of iPad, so we'll probably pod back tomorrow after we've picked the truck up.
Yeah, the truck needs a lot of repairs, so the plan we had for tomorrow, i.e. going to Olympia, has been shifted to Thursday.
Then on to the Wayward Coffee house with it's Firefly themed food and general sci-fi poster theme, to play card games.
Just stopped moving long enough to email ewigweibliche about the change to the Olympia plan.
Now we're off to find groceries.

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Thursday, June 7th, 2012
10:20 pm
I thought the first season of MCoG wrapped things up pretty well and didn't leave too many dangling threads
But someone felt, 25 years on, it needed a sequel. I'm at least grudgingly relieved they've stuck with the original, albeit somewhat refined, art.
Here's the new trailer:

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Tuesday, March 6th, 2012
6:46 pm - Next Payday's Impulse Buy
The very model of a Scientist Salarian

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Saturday, March 3rd, 2012
11:07 pm - Taking A Stand On The Fence, For The Fence
This post has a very real chance of not being completed, it will most likely end up as a victim of CTRL+A, Delete or 'Close Window' as many, if not all of the posts I write where I make a stand about an important an emotionally charged political or social discussion.

Mainly because by the time I've got to the point where I feel I know enough about the subject of the discussion, said discussion has descended into emotional mayhem, a battlefield of subjective rubbish that has long since abandoned the point of the discussion and descended into slander, name calling and all out point scoring - or the discussion's over and I come away feeling that I have at least learned something.

I'm here to make a stand.

Right here, on the fence.

I'm taking a stand for objective, logical, un-emotional discussion with the support for all sides of the discussion and research conducted for the discussion undertaken with an nefficient and academic attitude.

The first case is one of local politics - It has been proposed that an extension is made to one of the out of town shopping parks, along with a new stadium and sports facilities.
As it stands, the NO campaign has been very loud about the loss of trade, jobs and individuality the town centre would suffer - quoting 'facts' such as "this would mean a devastating impact of around £90 million on city centre businesses" - not a fact but a forecast of a possible outcome. The YES campaign is just as bad - their leaflet entitled Community Stadium Monks Cross: The Facts states "...will create a boost of at least £12m per annum for the York economy (gross value added)" - a forecast, not a fact.
I apologise for the this emotional outburst but I strongly dislike like one sided arguments, especially those which present exaggerated scaremongering.

Now I was prepared to quietly seethe about that, but then I read Jenny McCartney's article in the Telegraph, responding to Minerva and Giubilini's paper After-birth abortion: why should the baby live? in the Journal of Medical Ethics*.
From the outset McCartney thoroughly misunderstands the context in which the article is being written, wondering "I at first assumed that the authors’ upholding of the principle of “post-birth abortion” was some kind of acutely pitched satire" as if the authors were themselves spending their tuppence in the pro-choice/pro-life 'discussion (let's acknowledge now that the discussion has long since been an objective discussion).
She writes:

"I don’t know whether, at any point while the authors refined this somewhat tortuous argument, they were actually viscerally repelled by the notion of killing newborn babies. Perhaps they told themselves that repulsion was a lowly sensation which they must suppress, and that they were honour-bound to follow the higher path of logic all the way to infanticide"

Half way through the paragraph I was willing her on; yes, yes Jenny, you've found the nail, now just align your hammer and swing - yes you're nearly there, their paper is grounded in objective reasoning, they're not getting bogged down in emotional, sentimental hyperbole, you've got it right, following a path of logic is exactly what they're doing... no, now you've just gone and hit your thumb!

The paper, whatever it says, whatever it makes you think is one that has been written with no more purpose than "what would this discussion look like if we took out emotional and social subjectivity; what would an object ethical analysis produce?"

Suddenly the authors are receiving death threats because the irrational and subjectively charged, cannot grasp the concept of objective, rational analysis - Each side in the 'discussion' accuses the authors of providing a satirical statement on the double standards of the pro-choice, or the pro-life side who consider the paper (and the authors) to be justifying infanticide.
That two perfectly polarised sides have managed to interppret the article as propaganda for their opponents illustrates the lack of any agend the authors had.

Please, I know this post goes directly against the instruction I am about to dictate, but if you feel the need to rant/moan/ argue/launch into a debilitating tirade - think. How much of your argument actually has some rational foundation? How much functional evidence is there to support your case? Is this just subjective hyperbole based on regurgitated hearsay or social paradigms, or has there actually been some objective and reasoned research?
A lot of time, anguish and money into Murdoch's pocket could be saved by simply plugging your brain in, rather than reacting to every perceived harsh word or plucked heart-string you think you have felt.

I'll be on the fence. thinking about what I've just said.

*(half marks to the Telegraph for at least trying to link directly to the article where most other media outlets wouldn't bother, but failing to notice that the pdf version is corrupt - detention for the bmj for uploading a corrupt pdf. Fortunately the full text, online version is accessible.

huh, look, I didn't delete it.

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Monday, October 10th, 2011
5:41 pm - Facebook spasm
Hello?! Can anybody hear me?

It's just a bunch of contacts have disappeared from my profile page. While I can understand why one of them disappeared (for a brash and badly thought out reply to a post last week), it seems that a number of other contacts were also 'un-friended' and from both ends.
While a few were from people and communities who have drifted away from Facebook (and wouldn't be surprised if LJ wanted to clear some space and delete the journals), a few others were noticeable absences.

Has anyone else had similar problems with their account over the weekend? I'd put it down to something offensive I said over the weekend, but none of the deletions were at the party (and I can't for the life of me remember saying anything disgustingly obscene, unless people really don't like to hear about archiving, data management and Doctor Who :s)

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Wednesday, September 28th, 2011
5:14 pm - Stormageddon/Rory update

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Saturday, September 24th, 2011
11:34 pm - Whovian Musings:- Stormageddon
Disappointed I didn't pick this up earlierCollapse )

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Wednesday, August 17th, 2011
10:57 pm - Doctor Who theme with Tesla Coils... now without the cage!

I have got to do that!

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Tuesday, May 24th, 2011
12:04 am - Doctor Who Theme on Tesla Coils

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Sunday, May 1st, 2011
12:08 pm - Whovian Musing (Spoilers!)
Musings on the Silence and the girlCollapse )

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Monday, February 21st, 2011
4:36 pm - Bahrain GP cancelled
Bahrain GP cancelled
It comes as no surprise really. With the teams stating, with varying degrees of commitment, that they wouldn't be turning up even if it was going ahead.

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Saturday, February 12th, 2011
6:05 pm - A cautionary note on Egypt, celebrating too soon and not having a plan

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Monday, January 3rd, 2011
1:13 pm - In Memorium - The man who might have been Vimes
Pete Postlethwaite has died at 64 :(

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Sunday, November 7th, 2010
6:01 pm - Dr. Who goes international (along with a few other shows)
There's been a lot of grumbling from a few people on my friends lists and other forums complaining that they have to wait for either local networks to pick up recent series or for some kind person to bung a ripped compy onto Megaupload and the like.

The good news is that BBC is going to open up the iPlayer boarder from next year, the downside is that each episode may cost $10 per episode.
More here.

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Wednesday, September 15th, 2010
6:41 am
Dear Durham Pikeys,

get the fuck off the tracks.



- - - - - - - - -

Dear East Coast drivers,

Run the fuckers over if they get in your way.



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Saturday, September 4th, 2010
10:08 am - Ten days meme:
I'm running behind a bit on this
Day One: Ten things you want to say to ten different people right now.Collapse )

Day Two: Nine things about yourself.
Day Three: Eight ways to win your heart.
Day Four: Seven things that cross your mind a lot.
Day Five: Six things you wish you’d never done.
Day Six: Five people who mean a lot (in no order whatsoever)
Day Seven: Four turn offs.
Day Eight: Three turn ons.
Day Nine: Two smileys that describe your life right now.
Day Ten: One confession

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