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I don't eat meat and haven't since I was sick in April of 2010 (link to my LJ on it). A few days ago I read an article on an allergy spread by ticks in South America and that the Lone Star tick, whose habitat just happens to include the District has been spreading it, too. (Couldn't find the original article; this one is from NPR a couple of years ago.)

I'm going to have my doctor check me for it at my next physical. Reading about this was fascinating, every single symptom or experience tallied with mine, and not just in the "I fell into a clickhole on WebMD" kind of way. It's also a little bit of a relief. So many people have commented that I must be faking or it's psychosomatic that I was beginning to wonder myself.
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I haven't been around LJ much lately because I was having trouble getting to it on my home computer. It's doing fine right now, so I don't know what was up or where the fault lay.

I also haven't been around because I saw Kingsman: The Secret Service. Multiple times. I loved the movie on so very many levels, but especially all the shout outs from Michael Caine once again wearing Harry Palmer's glasses to entering through a tailor shop a la Man from UNCLE to referencing individual Bond films and Get Smart.

And I sort of got sucked into the fandom. How sucked in? I've written a fanfic series in under two months (begun on 2/23) which has more words than The Great Gatsby. *shakes head* The last time I wrote something that length -- actually, 20,000 words shorter than I've hit to date -- it took me six months of sweat.

And because I'm writing mental backstories for characters, I've been trying to determine what kinds of music they listen to. One of them is a jazz aficionado, and I've been trying to include some of the jazz he would have heard on British radio in the 1970s which led me to Dudley Moore.

In the early 1980s, I started listening to his music from the 1960s and 70s including pieces he'd written (Sooz Blooz is one of my favorites). My folks told me about seeing him in Play it Again, Sam in the West End when we were living in London and going to hear his trio at a club.

He went to Oxford on an organ scholarship and earned his spending money by playing with Johnny Dankworth's group backing Cleo Laine. I can't imagine being proficient enough at 18 to play with one of the premier jazz men Britain's produced and one of the greatest jazz singers of all time. I do remember hitting a shop in Dupont Circle which carried foreign magazines and vinyl records (before there was anything besides vinyl). As I was buying my Manchester Guardian Weekly and a copy of Marie Claire (which was exclusively a French publication at that juncture), I saw a new album being promoted called Smilin' Through and bought it on the spot. Dudley Moore and Cleo Laine recording together for the first time. It's a lovely album with some real high spots.

At the same time, Jonathan Miller had a series on PBS called The Body in Question. I'd developed a completely separate crush on Dr. Miller when I caught a Canadian series on Cities. People who'd been born and reared in a great city, talked about the changes they'd seen, the social context of their background and how it was reflected in the city, and showed off the gems that most people, especially tourists, don't hear about. The four episodes I managed to see were Dr. Miller on London, Germaine Greer on Sydney, Hildegard Knef on Berlin (still a divided city when it was filmed, and she'd been a teen there during WWII), and R.D. Laing on Glasgow. It got me reading Greer and Laing. Miller's episode introduced me to Sir John Soane's Museum, one of my favorite places in London.

Anyway, in the episode of The Body in Question dealing with the nervous system, Miller used Dudley Moore playing classical music to explain how we are able to memorize things physically. I found it today on YouTube, so I wanted to share.


Also, Dudley Moore playing with his trio on Australian Television in the early 1970s.


PS if anyone ever finds a link to the Cities series (or a way to buy it), please share. I've long wanted to see the other episodes.
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Twenty-five years ago, the Berlin Wall came down. Less than ten years later, I made a remark about not having been back to Berlin since the wall came down and [livejournal.com profile] sunspiral's and [livejournal.com profile] roozle's eldest son, who was 11-ish, asked if the wall were medieval.

I remember both my first and my last times in Berlin (which sounds far more like the beginnigs of a novel than a personal story). The first time was 1985. My father headed a program for Boston University and the professors moved every four months so that they could make certain that the students got all the credits they needed toward their Master's in International Relations. Because the previous head had let things get muddled, we'd spent the previous year in the Brussels apartment for Christmas.

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So. My top books are still city planning and architecture books. I want to know more, help DC grow without losing its character, and generally create a more sustainable future.

In other words, I want to get a degree in Urban Planning (possibly with an "and Public Policy" thrown in). I don't have the foggiest idea how to find funding for a graduate degree. I know that I can't afford it by myself in the near term.

Has anyone ever applied for grants for graduate work? How likely is it to get one for something that isn't a hard science? I'm soliciting advice.
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I have a ticket to see Struck by Lightning at Tribeca on April 29.

I'm also getting ready to go to Las Vegas this weekend.

I'm definitely feeling a little better about life.
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I had an interesting experience with one Craigslist position today. It required no text in the body of the email and specific file name templates for the CV and the cover letter. I think the instructions, which were at the bottom of the announcement, were a filter to see how many applicants actually read the announcements in their entirety.

I have no idea what the salary range is, but I have the experience the position required (and the ability to read and comprehend), so I applied.
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Should I include being an Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner on it? It's a public position, but it's also unpaid.

ETA: Thank you all for weighing in. It looks like I'll be adding Commissioner to my resume...
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I know my childhood was unusual, thanks to the military.

We were living in London when I turned 8. There was a pop song by Sandie Shaw that talked about going to Paris for the day, AND we'd been studying the Mona Lisa in second grade. So when my parents asked me what I wanted for my birthday, I said that I wanted to go to Paris for the day and see the Mona Lisa.

Bless my parents, they looked into it and found that the USO had a day tour of Paris that wasn't too expensive to take a 5 year old, a not-quite-eight year old, and their parents.

It was great. Yes, the Mona Lisa's eyes follow you around the room, but she was smaller than I'd thought she'd be. In some ways, I appreciated the experience of having seen her when I was eight more when I went back to Paris at fourteen. By then, there was bullet proof glass and an enforced distance from the painting. I had seen her up close, and the adults in the group let me have a few minutes to see if she was always looking at me. The experience six years later was completely different.

The Eiffel Tower was orange. I remember being surprised by that. It was probably a primer coat before the next phase of painting, but it was wondrous to an eight year old.

My other two very strong memories from that trip -- other than my sister crawling on Dad's lap to nap on the bus -- were of the Venus de Milo and the Nike of Samothrace (or as I called it then, Winged Victory).

I was slightly shocked at Venus not wearing a bra, but other than that it was the fact that the adults were familiar with her that sticks with me.

The Nike, though...

The old entrance to the Louvre can be seen in the Audrey Hepburn movie Funny Face. Right after we passed the ticketing area with our tour guide, there was a huge stair case with red carpeting and Winged Victory at the top. I know I must have seen sculpture before, but I genuinely remember this as the first sculpture I saw. Walking up those steps, getting closer to her, seeing a couple of fragments of her (nose and a hand), all of those things were just subsumed in the power of that piece of art. It's truly glorious, and I'm very happy to know that it is still possible to enter the Louvre there instead of going through the I.M. Pei pyramids because her being the first piece of art a patron sees is part of the overall glory of the experience.

I knew better than to touch, but, even now, I long to. I love her. I don't know if she'd have the same power whole. I think she'd still be beautiful, but the way she struck me might have been different.

I've had some magnificent gifts, but this was definitely the best ever.

Heat

Jul. 24th, 2010 10:02 pm
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I just came back from seeing Inception.

It hit 103F (39C) with a high enough humidity that the "real feel" was over 110F. The movie theater didn't have air conditioning.

I also had an eye appointment today.

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