fajrdrako: (Default)

Woke early enough, and with energy enough, to entirely clean the apartment. Well, almost entirely. After I thought I'd finished I found spilled birdseed under one of my tables. How does that happen?

Thomas phoned me with birthday greetings; he was puzzled that he hadn't been able to reach me on my actual birthday. I explained that I'd been in Turkey, and since he'd been there a couple of decades ago, we had a nice chat about it.

Went to Dim Sum with the Saundersons, who gave me a wonderful book for my birthday: Don't Know Much About Literature, which is essentially trivia quizzes about famous books and authors. fun. And, true to form, they managed a wonderful birthday card. The outside says:

    The Birthday Rule of Three

      1. Food
      2. Entertainment
      3. Wrapped gift

There's a picture of s buffet with the words "Food: Check"; of Benedict Cumberbatch and Jonny Lee Miller from Frankenstein with the words "Entertainment: Check", and then: "Only one thing left under the rules. Happy Birthday, Elizabeth. Hugs, Marion and Vicky.

I loved it. And the Dim Sum was delicious, as Mandarin Ogilvie tends to be; this time I had (among many other superb dishes), pig's ears, which was new to me. [livejournal.com profile] maaseru teased me about eating cartilage. Guess I like eating cartilage.

After the Dim Sum, [livejournal.com profile] maaseru and I went to Costco for groceries, though I also bought a sim card for my tablet. and socks.

In the afternoon, Beulah came over with plants for [livejournal.com profile] maaseru and a cup of tea and conversation.

Then I worked on the next issue of Apaplexy, and on scrapbooking my trip.

fajrdrako: (Corto Maltese)

In Turkey, I kept hearing the phrase "boutique hotels", which was not a phrase I knew. For instance, in Cappadocia, there are a lot of cave dwellings where people lived until the 1960s, but the government made them move out because the housing was substandard.

Now, those cave-houses have been renovated as "boutique hotels" like the Giramisu Cave Hotel - which is near Urgup, where I stayed in a regular hotel. That wasn't a cave. Which had a nice pool and a great buffet.

Wikipeadia on Boutique Hotels.

Sounds to upscale for me, but I rather like the idea.

fajrdrako: (Birthday)

Today was the longest birthday I have ever had - a 31 hour day.

It started in Istanbul at the Taksim Gonen Hotel, and continued through the long drive to the Atatürk Havalimanı Airport, and the long flight on Air Transat to the Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport in Montreal, and then the drive from Montreal to Ottawa - hampered by a large traffic jam in Montreal where a light standard had fallen across the freeway to stop traffic entirely for a while.

But. Home now. Safe and sound. And tired.

fajrdrako: (Default)

I'm all packed. I've double-checked everything I need, knowing I'll have forgotten to pack something. I've gone over the schedule for the Dunnett Siege...

And now I'm waiting for my friend to drive me to the aiport to go to Istanbul, Turkey. Turkey! So exciting.

Topkapi Palace, here I come.

fajrdrako: (Default)

  • Went to the gym; got measured. It went well. Some days are easier than others.
  • Met [livejournal.com profile] gamergrrl and Tasia for lunch at Sushi 88. Had their lunch sashimi dish; as nice as one might expect. And wakame salad as appetizer.
  • Went to Ottawa U to return library books, and made notes on Court, household and itinerary of King Henry II (1878).
  • Met up with friends at the Wild Oat to meet their one-month-old daughter, Vivien, who is as adorable as can be. Big, wide, thoughtful eyes; she loved staring at the window - or was it the lights? I held her for a while. She dozed a little, but didn't really want to sleep. She was too busy observing.
  • Worked on getting ready for my trip to Turkey - sorting notes for my talk, planning what to pack, and so on. Copied books onto my eReader, enough to keep me reading for a month even if that was all I was going to. How many hours will I be on that plane, anyway?
  • Had supper with Pim and [livejournal.com profile] maaseru: fish fingers (to steal the phrase from Doctor Who), eggplant and rice. Watched White Collar and Copper.
fajrdrako: (Default)

Today I saw Jesus Christ Superstar at the Avon Theatre in Stratford, Ontario.

It was amazing. Some of the best staging and costuming I've ever seen, not to mention singing, dancing, acrobatics, and acting.

I saw this show in London, England in 1976. I knew the music; I didn't expect to be thrilled by it. But the show was so strong it was unforgettable; and I totally fell in love with that Jesus. For me, Jesus is usually a hard sell.

This show was just as strong, but it was the ensemble, the performances, and the stagecraft that were breathtaking: Jesus as played by Paul Nolan himself was less of a standout. More detached, more inner-directed, more vulnerable, less powerful in his presence.

It was Judas here, who was the stunning, tragic, memorable personality, mainly with the power of Josh Young's voice and acting.

Chilina Kennedy put across a very sweet and lovely Mary Magdeline.

Both were superb productions; they just had different strengths.

I realized more this time than I did in the 1970s what an amazing achievement this musical is. A show about Jesus that is equally effective for Christians and non-Christians - and which has some rather remarkable music.

~ ~ ~

A few online clips:

And a few other clips of Josh Young:

[livejournal.com profile] maaseru's comment about Josh Young: "If they take this version of Jesus Christ Superstar to Broadway, he's going to be very famous very soon."

fajrdrako: (Default)

There's an annual flash-film festival. Who knew? Anyway, I came across this site: Subway Life, and found it quite fascinating.

I love subway lore. Scenes in movies that take place in subways. People chasing through subways. Scenes like the scenes in the subway in Ghost, with Patrick Swayze moving the penny.

There are no subways in Ottawa - and that's a sore point: something the City promised decades ago, then changed their mind on, as the transit system and the traffic congestion gets worse by the year.

When I was very young, I'd go with my parents to Toronto to visit my grandmother, and loved the Toronto subway system. The Montréal system is terrific. What other subways have I experiences? London, New York, Paris... any others? Not counting the El in Chicago and the Skytrain in Vancouver. Different things altogether.

fajrdrako: ([Doctor Who] - 01)

I haven't found time yet to write about FanExpo in Toronto - and yes, I plan too - but I did make up a scrapbook page from the program book. Geared to the people I saw, the things I did.

I also framed the autographs I got.

Smiling at the memories...

fajrdrako: (Default)

I'll be out of town for a week starting tomorrow, and probably won't have Net access till I get home. Hope everyone here has a good week!


Oct. 25th, 2010 10:58 am
fajrdrako: ([Paris])

When I was in Paris, there was a little grocery store around the corner from us on Ile Saint-Louis that sold fresh figs. I'd never seen fresh figs before - not in Ottawa stores. So I bought them on the theory that since I love dried figs, I'd love the fresh variety. And so I did. Tasia showed me how to eat them. I had them with breakfast just about every day.

On the last day in Paris, I bought and ate a few extra figs, on the theory that I wouldn't be able to have any more for a very long time, if at all. I'd never see them in Ottawa.

Yesterday in Ottawa, I was shopping in Costco and there were fresh figs for sale before my very eyes. I thought I'd died and gone to heaven.

I'm having a couple for breakfast. What delight.

The moral of the story: never say 'never'. Life has a way of pulling surprises.


Oct. 24th, 2010 10:01 pm
fajrdrako: (Default)

Arrived home at 1:43 last night, after having a lovely supper at Le Chalet in Montreal with Lil, Lise and [livejournal.com profile] maaseru.

Slept well, but woke up at 3:13 a.m., feeling as if it were time to get up. Then slept till nine. Thought about how, when I went on holiday, I was exhausted, sick with a bad head cold, suffering from insomnia, and lacked energy to do anything much. Today I felt energized and happy, healthy, and even less troubled by my damaged arm.

Perhaps the moral of this story is that I should go to Europe more often. (I wish!)


Oct. 21st, 2010 04:23 pm
fajrdrako: (Default)

I spent the day in Bath with [livejournal.com profile] maaseru, Sarah, and our friends Neil and Jong from Ottawa, who met us at the Bath Spa train station. We took the bus tour and then I went to the Fashion Museum at the Assembly Rooms, which had an interesting exhibit of the clothed worn by Princess Diana. Found a wonderful place for dinner, called All-Bar-One, which had the best calimari I have ever tasted - followed by the best rice pudding.

At one point, I walked into the square in front of Bath Abbey and had a strong, vivid memory of being in exactly the same place, looking at exactly the same thing, when I was seventeen years old.

Nice thoughts of Georgette Heyer -- !

And my laptop is deteriorating every day.

fajrdrako: (Default)

It's been a wonderful day, but tiring, since I walked all over Bristol - or so it seems. I'll swear every street in Bristol goes uphill. Good exercise, that. I was proud of my map-reading skills, and didn't get lost once, though the streets aren't always well marked.


  • Forbidden Planet. Priority sightseeing, of course. I bought small lead figures of Wolverine and Guardian (from Alpha Flight - this last in a fit of nationalism no doubt brought on by travelling, since I don't think the character in the comics has ever shown much personality. The young man at the cash was very helpful and friendly, and I wish I'd got his name for a commendation.

  • The Bristol Museum and Art Gallery. I skipped the dinosaur - we have plenty back home, and dinosaurs bore me - and went to the paintings, and the gorgeous display of Chinese dragon art. Among the paintings I was excited to find anothert painting by Sir Edward Burne-Jones. The info said it was inferior because he reworked the faces thirty years after initially painting it. My thought was: Burne-Jones is so good, even his inferior work is magnificent.

  • The Planetarium. Surrounded by English and French school-kids, I learned about the constellations of Cassiopoeia, Andromeda, and Perseus, and much besides.

  • I looked into the Bristol Central Library, which is so much nicer than Ottawa's main branch library that I wanted to weep.

  • For dinner, I went to Planet Pizza with [livejournal.com profile] kelticbanshee and her partner - their suggestion, and I was glad of it, because the place is terrific. My delicious pizza was called a Planet Earth. Vanilla creme brulee for dessert, and it was perfectly made.

  • We went to see the Clifton Suspension Bridge all lit up under a bright moon, and it was as beautiful as it was big. Very impressive.

  • We went to see the house used in Being Human. It looked just as it ought, and raised my anticipation for season two, which I haven't seen yet.

fajrdrako: ([Paris])

It was a day full of adventures and misadventures - we went to Chantilly to see an equestrian show that was amazing. I will have much to say about it. Unfortunately, going there involved dealing with the striking French railway system, waiting for trains that didn't come, and finding ourselves on a cold and windy road at the gates of a castle waiting for a taxi that got lost.

We survived with aplomb. And now I have to pack and get ready for an early start on the Eurostar tomorrow.

fajrdrako: (Default)

Today was an amazing art day, but I'm too tired to even talk about it now, and my legs are exhausted to uselessness. Must remember for future posting. Oh, what a delicious day.

fajrdrako: ([Paris])

Eating clafouti aux cerises and drinking Lady Grey Tea as I sort my photos today. A busy, delightful day of sightseeing in Paris. I took one of the tour buses with Tasia and [livejournal.com profile] rosiespark, then left them at the Opera and went to see an exposition of arte des bandes desinees. Then walked around the Bois de Vincennes, and watched another episode of The Man from U.N.C.L.E. with [profile] cerulean_cat and [personal profile] baronjanus. Ducks on the pond, sunlight on the trees...

Photos of the day:

1. Cleaning Notre-Dame. Someone... )

2. A kiosk... )

3. The Arche de Triomphe... )

4. The Eiffel Tower. )

5. A beggar in the street. )

6. Tasia and rosiespark... )

7. You can see... )

8. The pyramid at the Louvre. )

9. Booksellers along the Seine. )

10. A gorgeous half-naked man sunning himself... )

11. Biblioteque Forney. )

12. A bicycle. )

13. At the Place de La Bastille... )

14. Duck pond... )

fajrdrako: ([Paris])

Thanksgiving dinner is not something I usually associate with Paris, but one of my eagle-eyed Canadian friends here noticed that the Canadian pub near the corner of rue St-Michel and the Quai des Augustins was having a Thanksgiving dinner special today. And since I'd been feeling sorry for myself for missing my Thanksgiving dinner back home, it seemed just the thing.

Not that one can really feel sorry for oneself for eating Parisian food - !

The adventure of the day was going to the Musee Cluny, the town house of the medieval abbot of Cluny, transformed into a museum, famous for the tapestry series La Dame a la Licorne (The Lady and the Unicorn) from the late 15th century.

You'd think that, being devoted to medieval art, the Musee Cluny would be one of my favourite places on earth, and of course I love it. But I like the Cloisters in New York more. The think about the Musee Cluny is that it's mostly full of very late medieval art, especially 15th century art, and Northern European art, that I don't love nearly as much as the early medieval period, or the Mediterranean art. I wondered if it were that so much art was destroyed in the Hundred Years War.

Still. Wonderful.

Photos of the day:

1. On the bridge we have to cross to get off the island, there are small locks in the mesh... )

2. The Musee Cluny. Highlander fans... )

3. Inside the Musee Cluny: Judgement. )

4. Heads of kings from Notre-Dame Cathedral. )

5. Musee Cluny. )

6. Baby Saint John, with a cool toy... )

7. The Unicorn Tapestry. )

8. The Unicorn looks at its reflection. )

9. The Unicorn and the Monkey. )

10. Wood carving. )

11. A Book of Hours. )

12. Four partridges. )

13. The courtyard of the Musee Cluny... )

14. Four Canadians having a Parisian Thanksgiving dinner... )

fajrdrako: ([Paris])

A wonderful, wonderful day in Paris. We (me, Tasia and [livejournal.com profile] rosiespark) went to the Musee D'Orsay. Regardless of the art inside that building, the building itself is worth going to France to see: a huge old railway station transformed into an art gallery, surmounted by the most resplendent clock ever seen.

Now, whenever people talk about the Musee d'Orsay, they talk about Impressionists. Confession: I'm not too fond of the Impressionists. I heard a lot in my youth about how they did magnificent things with light, and how they were a breath of fresh air after the boring and stodgy art of the 19th century, but you know what? I prefer the 'boring and stodgy' romanticism, neo-classicism, and pre-Raphaelistes that were being produced at that time.

So I wasn't there for the Impressionists. Nor for the Gaughin, which was (almost) the first thing we saw. I've always been skeptical about Gaughin - wanted to like his art, never really did. Looked at a whole bunch of it together here, thought, "Eyeu, I hate this!" and decided I was allergic to Gaughin.

Not Van Gogh, who was the good friend of the Doctor and Amy and thereore worthy of admiration and love. I particularly liked the Church at Auvers (with or without the alien monster in the window) and the sequence about the doctor's garden and his daughter. Okay, I still don't really get Van Gogh in terms of thinking he's the best artist ever - give me Moebius, give me Caravaggio, give me Burne-Jones and Fra Filippo Lippi - but he had spirit. I love the painting of the couple asleep on a haystack.

I desperately wanted Bill Nighy to be there in a bow tie telling me how wonderful Van Gogh is.

We wandered, and found some magnificent stuff that I may find time to talk about later, and then... we found two works by Sir Edward Burne-Jones. I hadn't done my homework; didn't know they were there. The first was La roue de la fortune, (The Wheel of Fortune), and the second was a magnificent tapestry made for a banker, done through the William Morris Co., Adoration of the Magi.

I was in art heaven.

We then meant to have lunch elsewhere, but we saw the splendour of the restaurant at the Musee Orsay and decided to have their plat du jour, mostly because it included a dessert of Ile flottant such as Captain Jack Aubrey once had. Must find recipe.

Then we walked to the Rodin Museum, and browsed, and wandered the lovely gardens.

Then I went and visited [personal profile] baronjanus and [personal profile] ceruleancat and had a wonderful time. We wandered around the Chateau de Vincennes, and they were as delightful as I always imagined they would be.

Photos of the day:

1. After having breakfast and saying good-bye to Jo, we crossed the bridge to visit [livejournal.com profile] rosiespark. On the bridge, a piano. )

2. The restaurant at the Musee d'Orsay, where we had lunch. It is not permitted to take photos in the Musee d'Orsay, but the restaurant is fair game. )

3. Outside the Musee d'Orsay: Three Amazons and a Moose )

4. The Rodin Museum. )

5. A Rodin statue. )

6. Rodin's roses. )

7. A Rodin head. )

8. The Kiss. )

9. The Paris Metro. )

10. The Chateau de Vincennes: A Wedding and the X-Men. )

fajrdrako: ([Paris])

...And loving it. Today:

  • visited Anne de Montmorency's lovely palace at Ecouen
  • Heavy traffic and construction on the way back, so I slept on the bus
  • Walked on the streets Lymond followed when he samed Mme le Marechale from the soldiers in Checkmate
  • Saw the site of the Hotel d'Hercule
  • visited the Saint-Chapelle with [livejournal.com profile] rosiespark and then visited her for a cup of coffee at her wonderful appartement on Ile de la Cite
  • Has a rather sumptuous duck dinner at L'Escramouche with a bunch of Dunnetophiles: two Germans, a Scot, two Brits, three Americans (one a New Yorker), one Australian, and two Canadians from Toronto.
  • Had a lovely walk back to Ile Saint-Louis with Heike, Tom, Karen and Ann.

In Paris...

Oct. 4th, 2010 09:15 pm
fajrdrako: ([Paris])

It's been a long and continuous day since yesterday morning... Went with [livejournal.com profile] maaseru to Montreal, where we visited Lil, and had supper with her and her friend Lise at Le Chalet.

Then we went to the airport, met up with Tasia, and flew to Paris. The Air France seats were somewhat cramped and uncomfortable, and none of us slept much, though the teen sitting next to me put his blanket over his head and slept soundly.

We got off the plane about noon, and then spent two and a half hours in a hot, noisy room crowded with hundreds or thousands of people to get through customs. Ugh.

We took a taxi to our apartment, which turns out to be lovely. Here's the exterior, and the view. It's directly across from Notre-Dame Cathedral, and a short walk from the lovely place rented by [livejournal.com profile] rosiespark, where there are original watercolours of designs for theatrical costumes on the wall - Shakespeare, I think.

Then we met up with about a dozen of the Dunnett crowd for drinks and talk, in a little cafe arund the corner from our street. Will I get used to the cost of a Coca-Cola here?


fajrdrako: (Default)

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