Archive for June, 2009

Health update (including feet)

Tuesday, June 30th, 2009

My foot is still bothering me. When I went to the foot clinic the day I returned from the United States, the podiatrist helpfully not only took off my left big toenail (her comment was: “That was the easiest toenail removal I’ve ever done.”—not that the comment made me feel any better) but also cut out a blood blister that was on the ball of my left foot. This was bandaged with a support pad and instructions to return in 2 weeks.

The wound has wept and bled continuously for the past two weeks plus. The podiatrist who saw me last Wednesday said that it was coming along fine, but I wonder. It’s still weeping. There is no pain of course (I no longer have any meaningful feeling in my feet) but it’s very inconvenient and is keeping me from moving around much. I am to see them again in two weeks (and continue taking the antibiotics, of course) but I will have to ask them then whether there is anything further they can do.

The kicker (appropriate for toes, I suppose) is that, strictly speaking, I don’t believe that this needed to be done. I have in the past had blood blisters under my skin on the sole of my foot. What normally happens is that the fluid, after a couple of days, dries out and, a few weeks or months later, the “scab” comes to the surface and is worn away as normal as the skin on my foot renews itself. I wasn’t even aware of this particular problem before they cut it out. So I’m wondering what I should do. In the future I might ask that they either don’t cut such things out (if they find them), or explain to me why the normal course of events is not good enough.

When I got back from the US, there was a letter waiting for me that informed me that I had a meeting with a lipid specialist and a dietician on June 30th. I was puzzled as at my last diabetic clinic appointment no one had mentioned that this was to happen. However, as I am nothing but dutiful, I trotted along this morning.

The lipid guy (who saw me 15 minutes late) was nice, and we had a good conversation, but some things stood out for me:

  • Even though they had measured my height when I first went to the Diabetic Clinic, they insisted on taking it again. I am not convinced that the likelihood of my height changing from then (last August) to now is very high—though non-zero.
  • About three months ago I went to take a fasting blood test for cholesterol. Everything was good to super-good (bad cholesterol is low, good cholesterol is high, total cholesterol is low). My diet hasn’t changed between then and now. He wanted to take another blood test (and this one non-fasting). I said that referring to the previous test in my records would be a good thing instead of sticking me again. Thyroid blood tests have been taken repeatedly in the past and found no problems. So why stick me again? He wanted to fool around with my feet, and I said that I had had enough fooling around with my feet in the past month for my own comfort.
  • The dietician (a man, unusually, but his badge indicated “Head of Dietetics”, so male privilege wins out—also possibly a Friend of Dorothy) discussed various things with me. After looking at my usual intake he was rather glum. He said, “Normally after talking to a patient I can put my finger on an easy win for weight loss—cut out the gallon of ice cream a week, for example. You don’t have any easy wins in your diet. Portion control is the only way forward and, as you have said, sometimes that is very difficult when dealing with the kind of things you eat, such as pasta.”
  • When the question of bariatric surgery came up, it turns out that I am just a bit too thin to qualify for it on the NHS. They require a BMI of 35; mine is 34.2. We discussed some of the new insights into bariatric surgery and diabetes that have surfaced recently, including the duodenal stent and duodenal resection, both of which seem to also lessen the amount of insulin resistance the patient experiences and in the preponderance of cases actually bring the blood sugar down to normal before there is any significant weight loss. He wasn’t too familiar with them (although he did mention the “duodenal stent” which is the technical name for the procedure I described to him) and, like all the other people I see, remains convinced that rather than try something of this nature it’s better to make the gluttons pay for their past sins. Of course, he didn’t put it that way, but there is a reluctance on the part of health professionals concerned with weight and eating to accept the fact that people who have had weight problems all their lives can greatly benefit from something more than a pat on the back and a kitchen scale.
  • There was one piece of good news: my blood pressure, without having taken my diuretic this morning, was 127/73, which is almost totally normal. The doxyzosin that they started me on a month ago seems to have lowered my blood pressure significantly, even without the diuretic. This is good news, although I would prefer to have had it happen through weight loss.

So now I’m back home blogging about it. I’m relatively glum about all this, The fact that the NHS is not only not joined up between hospital trusts themselves and between hospitals and GP is bad enough: even within the same clinic they are not joined up between different health practitioners. This is worrying, because it’s now up to me to “coordinate” all this stuff on my own and pipe up when a doctor or other health practitioner tells me something or asks me to do something or undergo a test. As I get older, doing this effectively will be more and more difficult.

The really infuriating thing about it is that the doctors and health practitioners accept it with a sigh. When you bring it up they are as indignant as you are about it, but do not seem to think there is anything to be done about it. Yes there is: ensure that stuff is online and print out or give access to this information to those who need it and those who are collecting it. The form that the nurse who took my height recorded it on should have been printed out anew with that information on it already. The lipid doctor should have been able to look at my cholesterol tests from a few months ago and note them. If he felt that it was worthwhile to take them again for some reason, he could then have cogently explained to me the reason for retaking them (“We normally feel that such tests should be done every 3 months.” or “We think these tests are not accurate for [reason] and would like to do them again.”). His only reaction was “Oh, if you don’t want these tests that’s OK.” If he felt strongly about it he should have pressed a bit and given reasons. I suspect he always does these tests on people who see him with no regard to whether they had been done before.

The other example of this is the repeated appointments that they make for me to have my retinas photographed in order to ensure that I do not develop diabetic retinopathy. When I call (and get a recording) and explain to the recording that I’m already under the care of St. Thomas’s for diabetic retinopathy and do not need to go for screening, they respond with a new appointment. Only when I get an actual human being, who needs two repetitions to understand that I have it already and do not need to be screened for it, can I get the appointment cancelled.

When I explained this to the doctor at the Diabetic Clinic last year, he told me that it was his fault (at last, someone takes responsibility!). Apparently, when some people go for screening and are cleared, they are dropped from the computer and can later develop it without knowing it. These appointments are sent to everyone on the Diabetic Clinic’s patient list in order to ensure that anyone who was dropped is seen regularly. I think that there is probably also a government target for the number of retinopathy screenings that are done and, for every one they do, they get a certain amount of extra funding. Thus, they want everyone to have it done, whether they need it or not.

Now don’t get me wrong: the NHS is a great institution and has always given me the greatest level of care that was necessary. However, like all institutions it could do better. Being joined up would be a big step toward getting better. Those patients who cannot keep track of their treatment or who do not ask questions may have repeated tests or slip through the cracks. Let’s see how things develop.

My tweets

Monday, June 29th, 2009
  • 06:56 @soveren are your finances not the best then? advice from one who’s been there: sort it out when you’re young–don’t wait! #
  • 07:01 @kevjumba sleeping too much is a waste of time. #
  • 07:07 @nakedboy i always thought that modern Cherry Coke tasted very artificial…can’t drink it. glad u like it tho. to each his own… #
  • 11:21 @rhys_isterix Wanko is a department store in Hong Kong– #
  • 11:22 @shrinik why not? the classification of test results is up to YOU! #
  • 11:23 good morning, tweeters mine. Last Fairer Shares meeting tonight. Hospital tomorrow for checkup. Testing course Weds-Fri. Busy week. #
  • 13:55 @shrinik yes; i’ve used “P/F/A” where “A” is for “ambiguous” with mandatory explanation in “comments”. usu. due 2 prob. with the test, BTW. #
  • 13:56 @jonk i saw it 10 years ago and couldn’t get close for all the Japanese tourists crowding about taking pictures. #
  • 14:31 @devinjay can’t explain because u don’t know or can’t explain because it’s naughty? #
  • 17:37 @jebswebs don’t remove colander; rays from outer space will invade your brain. Line your ceiling with aluminum foil first, then remove it. #
  • 21:13 @urbanbohemian Be careful; remember the lady who got arrested for frosting a decoy cake with Ex-Lax to identify thieves. #
  • 21:19 @JoexEd was wondering: do you know lots of women like that? now THAT would suck. #
  • 21:21 @kalandaka try this one on for . As I’ve bought the book, I assume there won’t be any bodily harm coming my way. #
  • 21:26 @THE_REAL_SHAQ his momma’s so big that when she sits around the house, she SITS AROUND THE HOUSE. #
  • 21:27 @thoburn 200 more what, pray? #

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For <lj user=”spwebdesign”> and any other Web designers who read this…

Monday, June 29th, 2009

I wonder whether you have an opinion on George Leong’s website.

I feel a bit uneasy.

The rest of my trip

Monday, June 29th, 2009

It occurred to me this morning that I have been very remiss about finishing up the blog entry about my US trip.

First, there are a couple of pictures of the Washington DC leg that I didn’t upload. First is a picture of my friend Rebecca, who drove me around Virginia and is a much better photographer than I will ever be! Thanks so much for your driving skills, your time, and your company, .

I’d never been to a vineyard before (despite having lived in Northern California for a year) so this picture of the vines at Chrysalis, the Virginia vineyard we visited is interesting to me:

When I got to New York, the fact that on the day I visited downtown Times Square was pedestrianised was, frankly, amazing. Except for the one year many years ago that I went to Times Square to watch the ball drop on New Year’s Eve, I’d never seen the whole of the square turned over to pedestrians and sunbathers.

The flat where I stayed has great views in several directions. The Hell Gate Bridge is the span over the East River that carries Amtrak trains from New York to Boston. I travelled over it many times when I lived in New York City. Apparently it was the inspiration for the Sydney Harbour Bridge in Australia. You decide!

The angle isn’t the best for that comparison, I’m afraid. The Wikipedia article linked above has better pictures. But, from the flat, the view was great.

The other windows look out over First Avenue. Here’s a picture looking south:

One evening as I was hobbling back to the flat from one engagement or another I saw this little shrine hanging on a lamppost:

The first restaurant named “Elephant and Castle” I encountered was in New York City, when I still lived there. I had no idea that one day I would actually live at the Elephant and Castle, but there you are. The restaurant is still there, on Greenwich Ave. in Greenwich Village.

The menu is kind of brunchy, and it looks like the burgers are good.

We pick up our story on Sunday, June 7th, when I checked out of my room in Carman Hall and rushed back to the flat to drop my bags. I then set off for Katz’s Delicatessen (watch out for the presentation). I was there going to meet some fellow Shepheads for a pastrami on rye and some good conversation.

What I didn’t plan for was the traffic on Second Avenue. The bus from 106th and 2nd crawled. Yummy mummies with large strollers and many children boarded and exited regularly. We finally got down to E. Houston Street (remember, you non-New Yorkers, it’s pronounced “HOUSE-ton”, not “HEW-ston”) and I strolled in, about 1/2 hour late.

When you walk in, you get a little ticket which you must guard with your life, as if you lose it you have to pay some exhorbitant abount like $50 for your sandwich and soda. The waiters and servers mark the ticket with your check (=UK “bill”).

I got into the pastrami line, and heard, “Chris!” from the queue. It was Dick, who had waited as long as he could hold out and then gotten into the queue just before I did. I tipped the server $2 and got a huge sandwich and 4 half-sour pickles. It was fantastic. I will not have another sandwich like that again, or at least until I next visit New York.

We discussed almost everything except Jean Shepherd. Some obliging tourists sitting next to us took our picture (they were, amazingly, Asians from London!):

I enjoyed it immensely except for the trip downtown. We took the subway back uptown, and I rested until dinner, when I met the inimitable David Housel for Italian food at Patsy’s yet again. It was really good to connect again, and the pizza, onion/pepper/extra garlic, was good too. Luckily I wasn’t going to be kissing anyone that evening.

Monday noon I made my way down to Grand Central Station to meet my friend Jerry, my oldest friend, in fact. He came down from the upper reaches of the metropolitan area and we had lunch in an Irish bar on Second Avenue. As usual, we solved all the world’s problems, and I told him about our college reunion, which he missed, as he always does, as he doesn’t do reunions. I think he would have had fun, but he disagrees.

Monday evening was dinner with John again; this time a very boozy one as he has a very large stock of Canadian whisky with which to make Manhattans, and seemingly no need for a jigger.

Tuesday noon I caught up again with my friend Nick and his partner, Barnett. You may remember that I bumped into Nick by chance on the W train at South Ferry. This time we met at Christopher Street subway station and made our way a bit south to the Caliente Cab Company for Mexican food. I snapped a picture of them both—Barnett is on the left.

After lunch, we drove to the Strand Bookshop, where I bought too many books (I failed to recall that they all had to be carried back to London). I put my bag in the trunk/boot of Barnett’s car while we shopped.

Afterwards, they drove me to First Avenue and gaily waved goodbye. Two minutes later I remembered, too late, that my bag was still in their trunk. So, I took a very unscheduled ride to Staten Island on the ferry to retrieve it. It was nice to see them again, but quite annoying under those circumstances.

Back again to the flat, taking the 1st Avenue bus all the way from South Ferry, which was time-consuming but scenic. I packed and booked my Super Shuttle ride to JFK for 2:30 pm Tuesday.

What a mistake! I realise that traffic is bad in Manhattan, but I did leave a phone number with which to reach me in case of mishap. The Super Shuttle was 1 hour late. The great experience I had in Washington was nullified by the piss-poor service I got in New York.

Traffic was so bad that the driver took every short-cut and rat run in Queens to get us there. I did indeed get there in enough time, but it was nail-bitingly close. I think I’ll only take Super Shuttles FROM airports in the future; taking it TO airports is just cutting things much too close.

I struggled with the boarding-pass printout machines at the airport, then got into the “Fast” Drop-Off queue, which was anything but fast. In all this, I had the keys to the flat in a postage-paid envelope, which I wanted to drop in a mailbox before leaving the US.

When I got to the TSA station before security, the agent flipped through my passport. I am used to that, as the expiration date has been changed twice, necessitating a trip to page 23. He continued to flip through it for about a minute (as enraged passengers behind me looked on and imagined that I was a criminal of some sort). He asked me “Why haven’t you traveled overseas on this passport?” and I showed him my British passport and explained that I am a dual citizen and I travel on my British passport everywhere except the United States. That seemed to satisfy him, and he grunted and flipped my passport back to me. He had missed the fact that the passport itself was issued in London.

I got through Security, and then asked someone in the departure area where the nearest mailbox was. “There aren’t any mailboxes up here.” he said smugly, as if by that action the US Postal Service was single-handedly defeating terrorism at JFK. So, besides keeping tourists from posting last-minute postcards, I couldn’t mail the keys back to my (absent) hosts. Argh! I posted them on Thursday from London.

The flight was uneventful. I changed seats to a window seat in front of a bulkhead with an empty seat to my left. Another man travelling with his wife complained loudly to the cabin attendant that the seat didn’t recline and he should have been informed of that fact when he checked in. She apologised, and he complained so loudly that he and his wife were bumped up to Premium Economy. I was sitting next to a rather large gentleman so asked for the window seat once the man and his wife had departed. I had slightly more room and slept well. I think I got the better seat.

Getting home when we landed in London was fraught. There was a Tube strike going on, and although it didn’t change my plan to take a taxi from Paddington it meant that I had to wait in a very long queue to get one, as I arrived during the morning rush and the stockbrokers who were rolling in from the suburbs were all trying to get cabs too. Got one after an amazingly shortish wait and finally dropped my bags at home around 9 am on 11th June.

All in all, a good holiday, barring the foot troubles.

My tweets

Sunday, June 28th, 2009
  • 07:01 @Wilsurn i would certainly love 100 kg of joy. #
  • 07:06 @chrys glad to hear that you’re having fun. give them all my regards, please. #
  • 07:22 goor morning tweeters. seems as though MJ’s family and retainers are spilling beans about him already. #
  • 23:03 good night, tweeters…haunting music that Brits who watch TV will recognise: #
  • 23:06 @jonk thanks to the Gulf Stream, we can be at the latitude of Labrador and yet enjoy winter without freezing over. Long days in summer too! #

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My tweets

Saturday, June 27th, 2009
  • 00:07 @soveren oh, absolutely. visual records (including sound) are what we need in this case! #
  • 00:09 well, tweeters, off to bed now. see y’all in the morning. maybe the MJ mayhem will have quietened down a bit. #
  • 07:36 good morning all. another quiet day for me to give my foot a chance to recover. #
  • 13:11 @scorpiojerm Can one of your first blog posts in your new home be a step-by-step How I Did It? Your loyal public thanks you in advance. #
  • 13:31 @scorpiojerm i’ve already archived all my LJ posts on my computer. now I have to figure out how to xfer them to my website via WordPress. #
  • 13:31 @soveren did u ask him to drill a large hole in it? #
  • 19:40 @sbrettell yeah, Farrah=CS Lewis, who died the same day that JFK was shot. #
  • 21:28 @stevis can register them and then you could point your home ISP at it. The cost is quite high, tho: USD250 for 1 year. #

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My tweets

Friday, June 26th, 2009
  • 09:22 @jonk Farewell! I hope you return soon. #
  • 09:23 @mhisham i would be shocked if that “McDonald’s” installation were an authorised franchisee. Shocked, I tell you! #
  • 10:22 “Heeeeeerreeeeeeessss Faaaaraaaaaahhhhhh” “Heeeeereeeeessssss Michaaaaaaaaaaaaaaeeelll” God: “Stop it Ed” #
  • 10:23 @jonk eurostar was designed in the late 1980’s and is due for a refresh, i think. #
  • 17:55 @jonk i suppose it depends on what or who is IN the hotel room 😉 #
  • 21:11 @MisterDude it’s quite nice. you planning to go up a gauge or three? #
  • 21:11 RT @jmspool: How many hours of Farrah Fawcett Memorial Trubutes can a single human withstand? I guess we’ll never know now. #
  • 21:13 @sgboy so what are you doing about that situation? #

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My tweets

Thursday, June 25th, 2009
  • 06:51 @besskeloid no you’re not any of those things. #
  • 07:01 @besskeloid nor were you last night… #
  • 07:02 good morning, tweeters mine. bizarre dreams last night which i can’t remember. #
  • 09:23 trying to figure out why all the email i downloaded when i returned from the US has suddenly disappeared. #
  • 14:46 @jonk gosh. you’re so close and yet so far… #
  • 15:32 @MisterDude yes, pretty bubbly. #
  • 15:33 @jonk “The British are coming?” Don’t bother, they’re here. #
  • 15:36 @MisterDude …and the rest of you? Enquiring minds want to see! 😉 #
  • 15:43 @MisterDude i hope to know, in due course #
  • 17:19 @jonk we normally avoid the tourist traps (Piccadilly Circus, Tower of London, Buck’m Palace) if we can. We leave them to YOU! #
  • 17:53 RT @urbanbohemian: R.I.P. Farrah Fawcett. #
  • 22:44 listening to KNX-Los Angeles on internet radio to get latest on Michael Jackson #
  • 22:44 Michael Jackson is dead #
  • 22:45 according to TMZ via KNX #
  • 23:00 @texasnate if u wait long enough everything happens in threes… #
  • 23:29 @jonk unfortunately Picc Circ is near Chinatown, so we’re often through there. #

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Remember Fr. Cuti

Thursday, June 25th, 2009

Yes, the priest who decided to leave the RCs and transit directly to the Episcopal Church, along with his fiance

Today’s Bum Fight URL

Thursday, June 25th, 2009

One hears of shock videos of people egging homeless people to engage in a fight for the cameras. Well, these homeless people were arguing about something a bit more weighty.

Today’s Gaming URL

Thursday, June 25th, 2009

I really stopped gaming with Tetris—modern games are just too complex for my age-numbed brain.

But really, did you ever wonder where the Tetris-blocks that drop into your game come from?

We have answers!

TETRIS CF #1 from WooDUS on Vimeo.

My tweets

Wednesday, June 24th, 2009
  • 07:03 @RobertFischer it’s to keep undocumented aliens from getting a license in NC. Result: drivers with no insurance or license causing accidents #
  • 10:13 @tug vigorish is a yiddish word having to do with either a commission (financial) or a kickback. #
  • 10:20 @tug you’re welcome. my 21 years in New York City were not spent in vain. #
  • 15:34 @fj happened to me too. complain to Ofgen and contact the one you want to be your permanent supplier to reverse the action. #
  • 15:40 @jonk i always sneeze uncontrollably when I’m near a Lush. #
  • 15:44 @scorpiojerm “giving way to anyone who wants to come into my lane”. That quite a neat double entendre… #
  • 15:47 @davidrowell I waited well over 90 minutes for immigration for US citizens at Logan in Dec. 2007. 3rd world touches Boston too. #
  • 17:37 @jonk you forgot! “pants” equals “underwear”. Did you buy Calvins, or trousers? Sorry I won’t be able to make the meet-up later… 🙁 #
  • 17:43 @jonk late september/early october is a good time to be here–weather is cool but not too rainy. we may come to SF next year tho… #
  • 18:26 @kevjumba it would only be weird if your teeth were perfect and you got braces anyway… #
  • 23:33 well, tweeters, off to bed. play nice, and see you tomorrow. #

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My tweets

Tuesday, June 23rd, 2009
  • 06:55 @jonk Britspeak 101: “7up” and “Sprite” are “lemonade” here. “Pants” means “underwear” (use “trousers”). You will be tested. #
  • 06:57 @tug you could always vote Monster Raving Loony Party… #
  • 06:59 @kevjumba hm, a great list of alumni there… #
  • 07:18 good morning all. breakfast time. hope all my DC tweeters and LJ friends are ok… #
  • 08:17 RT @helenroper: I *knew* this story was too suspicious #
  • 11:12 @thatsam that’s why i thot it was a fake, now confirmed. she wanted that number of stars but was afraid of her dad’s reaction. #
  • 11:15 @jonk looks good…reminds me to check the AppStore for updates. #
  • 12:15 @jonk got three. may not be able to make event tomorrow nite so if u have time for lunch or dinner today or lunch tomorrow call… #
  • 12:39 @jonk a meeting came up…raised its ugly head. maybe wasn’t meant to be. #
  • 16:23 @jonk that’s what they say here. #
  • 16:25 person under a train at Moorgate (Circle, Metropolitan, and Hammersmith & City lines) #
  • 16:27 @jallen285 no sh*t, sherlock. train drivers have lost the will to work because of suicides in front of their trains. very sad. #
  • 16:29 was happy to get online in Starbucks just now on my O2 iPhone for free… #
  • 16:30 @jonk cheap irons is what hotels have, I fear. #
  • 16:53 just bought what said it was a recorder/patch cable to transfer tapes to MP3. Well, someone had nicked the recorder. Maplins FAIL. #
  • 19:28 dinner finished, sat outside in the back garden for the first time this year; neighbour’s hot water pipe spattered the table & chair… #

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My tweets

Monday, June 22nd, 2009
  • 08:27 RT @willfrancis: Building Collapses in New York: Google Street View Shows a Crack #
  • 08:29 RT @texasnate: LMAO!! RT @plaintruthiness – OMG it’s still #CommandoFriday @ Old Navy! #
  • 08:31 good morning all. no fox cub on my windowsill this morning and weather is a bit overcast. Second day of summer, yay! #
  • 15:07 @jallen285 that’s three apples in one day. you can knock off the apples for two days then, i think. #
  • 16:47 stew bubbling on the stove, i’m pooped just from getting it ready to cook. #
  • 17:11 first ballot for speaker concluded. Bercow and Young at top. #
  • 20:02 @jonk wagamama has become too predictable and is too loud for good conversation. very formulaic too, of course. we avoid it, mostly. #

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My tweets

Sunday, June 21st, 2009
  • 07:25 saw a shadow just now on my curtains. opened them and saw a fox cub sitting on the windowsill. he just jumped over the fence. #
  • 07:57 @thoburn it jumped over the fence too fast for me to get my camera. #
  • 19:11 @MrPandaBehr sounds a bit like the Glasgow Underground. very narrow and cramped: #
  • 19:15 @JOHNGRANT sure, i’d love to find out more about gay philippines. #
  • 19:18 @MisterDude third try: oh gosh, take care of it. hope it heals well. #

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Happy Summer Solstice Night

Sunday, June 21st, 2009

Lovely clouds scudding across the Souf Lunnon sky…

What a beautiful end to the longest day of the year. Sailor’s Delight, indeed.

This week and welcome to it

Sunday, June 21st, 2009

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.

Today’s Father’s Day URL

Sunday, June 21st, 2009

Those automatic programs that serve you recommendations for purchases appropriate for various events sometimes go awry. Spectacularly awry.

My tweets

Saturday, June 20th, 2009
  • 12:55 @soveren i would do rafael nadal in a heartbeat if i were single. murray doesn’t do anything for me. to each his own… #
  • 16:21 hi tweeters…have hit a stone wall in writing tomorrow’s sermon 🙁 #
  • 17:17 have finished my sermon, thank goodness. most of the church will be at walsingham so a rump congregation tomorrow… #
  • 18:22 waiting for water to boil for macaroni (first stage of macaroni and cheese) #
  • 18:35 For @kalandaka : this is what your English relatives are up to: #
  • 23:03 RT @soveren: wow, this took me all day (@chrishansenhome VERY impressive!) #
  • 23:05 @robmarais Macaroni, cheddar cheese, eggs, butter/margarine, and milk–plus salt and pepper. That’s it. #
  • 23:11 @devinjay i managed to finish the sermon, thanks. may not post it as i don’t think it was my best, but may change my mind after tomorrow. #

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My tweets

Friday, June 19th, 2009
  • 07:06 @devinjay i haven’t had breakfast yet, thank goodness, or those hot dogs would have made me lose it. #
  • 07:09 RT @scorpiojerm: Cute recycle bins at Changi Airport. #
  • 07:12 @devinjay how the f*** are you supposed to eat it, for one thing. Being more oral, I’m only interested in that aspect… #
  • 07:18 @kevjumba just read the lyrics to “birthday sex” and while I don’t question your morals, your taste in songs might be questionable. #
  • 07:21 RT @pinoyboy: I was just called out for having a perma-frown… I just have pouty lips #
  • 08:28 breakfast finished, now trying desperately to catch up with life. #
  • 09:24 don’t try this at home, #
  • 09:24 @soveren kneenex: sounds like something you’d give Rafael Nidal today. (knee probs. may force him to forego Wimbledon) #
  • 12:18 off to lunch with my favourite mohel #
  • 15:31 back from a long lunch with my favourite mohel. . Chiang Mai restaurant in Soho rox! #
  • 22:02 good night, tweeters all. i hope that my left foot feels better tomorrow. #

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Happy birthday, <lj user=”cubziz”>

Friday, June 19th, 2009

…and many happy returns of the day.

My tweets

Thursday, June 18th, 2009
  • 00:09 good night, my tweeters. coolish tonight, great sleeping weather. #
  • 09:41 @jonk those Europeans must be French or German. Brits ALWAYS stand to the right and walk to the left. Sez so on every escalator. #
  • 10:06 morning tweeters. need to shower, start the day, borrow the Church’s iron, post a letter, take my capsule, eat an hour later, go to Chapter #

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Had one of my uncle’s books appraised

Thursday, June 18th, 2009

Here’s the description and report

Title: John Updike “Just Looking: Essays on Art” Signed
Date/Era/Period: 13 December 1989
Description: John Updike personalised signed first edition “Just Looking: Essays on Art” Inside front cover inscribed “for Dick Child” Underneath a drawing of a poker hand: 4 aces and a jack in a man’s hand. Underneath the drawing: “his typical poker hand. With envy and affection John 12/13/89”

Condition: Dust cover scuffed but otherwise clean.
Origin: My uncle L. Richard Child was a member of John Updike’s poker club. Updike used to inscribe copies of his books to the poker club members. This is one such.
Provenance: My uncle died last year and left me his books. This item is among about 10 or 12 books similarly inscribed to my uncle.

Appraiser Comments: A very nice book to own, John Updike was a masterful writer. His 1960 breakthrough title, Run, Rabbit, is considered an important 20th century work. Mr. Updike signed quite a few books in his day but not very many in such an intimate way, and with an illustration, too. The doodle adds quite a bit of value and you need to gather and organize any and all documentation of these ‘poker parties’. A package of documentation along with the book should be insured for about $450. At auction, I would expect at least half of that, even on a bad day. Put the jacket in a protective cover so it doesn’t get scuffed any more. The most valuable of Mr. Updike’s books is, of course, Run, Rabbit which can be worth four figures if signed, in good condition, and with original jacket.
* Current Fair Market Value: $225.00
** Replacement Cost: $450.00
All values are in US currency

Hm. I do not have Rabbit, Run in a signed edition, and one wonders how conversant this gentleman is with Updike’s work if he got the name of his most important book wrong, but I digress. I suspect that I have around US$2,000 of Updike-signed books and a framed poem kicking around. I gather from this and other inscriptions to my uncle that he took a goodly amount of money from Updike and the rest of the poker club. One of the inscriptions reads (not precisely, but as far as I remember): “To Dick Child, who buys my books with my money.”

I’m going to friends-lock this as I suppose I don’t have any book-inscription-forgers in my friends list.

Do I?

My tweets

Wednesday, June 17th, 2009
  • 07:09 @jonk yes, it would be weird. resist! #
  • 07:24 @kevjumba Off! is your friend. However, I’ve heard of people who train their cats to use the toilet and flush it too…get training! #
  • 07:30 morning tweeters all…must start breakfast soon if HWMBO is to get toiling away at the saltmines… #
  • 08:58 @jonk i have an O2 PAYG data dongle for use in the UK. £2/d, £30/mo. Much better than Voda’s ripoff prices. #
  • 09:23 what will phones look like in a decade? #
  • 11:16 @devinjay we want pictures. #
  • 11:18 took third antibiotic capsule of the day just now, yum. must not eat for an hour. #
  • 17:24 RT @jenny8lee: Just passed a man talking on a payphone. Who does that any more? #
  • 17:38 @kristainlondon for a minute there I read your menu as “fried squid testicles” and was momentarily taken aback. #
  • 17:41 @BrianHeys did u survive the tea? #
  • 17:41 @soveren hump day? You going out tonight on the pull? #
  • 17:49 #helpiranelection – show support for democracy in Iran add green overlay to your Twitter avatar with 1-click – #
  • 17:53 @soveren no, green for iran. #
  • 18:07 Hooray! Downloading v3.0 iPhone now. #
  • 18:19 @MrPandaBehr it was odd. one minute iTunes said 2.2.1 was latest ver, next minute it was downloading 3.0. #
  • 18:36 @MrPandaBehr i thought so, but it was a few minutes late according to Big Ben #
  • 18:37 iPhone v.3.0 downloaded and installed. it’s changed my screens so i’ll have to futz around with it after deanery synod. #
  • 18:47 off to Deanery Synod #
  • 22:50 @MrPandaBehr the kb would’ve been nice two mos. ago. Now i don’t need it as I’m used to the screen kb & can type fairly well with it. #
  • 22:52 @MrPandaBehr i really like it and am a convert. The Blackberry seems quite clunky now. Like Twitteriffic & radio apps. #
  • 22:54 @DesignerDepot my download was fine & I started it at 6:01 PM BST. #

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Happy birthday <lj user=”ajaxstamos”> and <lj user=”stealthpup”>

Wednesday, June 17th, 2009

…and many happy returns of the day.

My tweets

Tuesday, June 16th, 2009
  • 05:19 @devinjay you might try shaving your head…does away with the hair question right away. #
  • 05:34 @badrobot68 must have been strange, sleeping in your foyer…did u manage to lock the door first? 😉 #
  • 05:40 @devinjay i thought you did, but time does take its toll and in a few years you too might be looking at caps in the shop… #
  • 13:57 @dirrtysean true in my gym in london too… #
  • 15:45 @devinjay have fun, don’t do anything i wouldn’t do #
  • 23:23 well, tweeters mine, back from lodge of instruction. feet ache. bedtime? yes! #
  • 23:29 @Lileks seems like all that BBC Radio4 news is talking about is Iran. I guess you’ve just been unlucky. #

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My tweets

Monday, June 15th, 2009
  • 08:36 good morning, twitterverse. slept fairly well for the first time since arriving back in the UK. Hurray! #
  • 08:43 @danbjorn is this widget on an iPhone? Hoe did you get it? #
  • 08:46 @devinjay yes, me too. he looks like a very dateable guy. #
  • 09:01 @MrPandaBehr twitterific just made an update available…fixes the problem. #
  • 09:44 @danbjorn thanks, success! #
  • 09:59 iPlayer for iPhone is very good. #
  • 12:22 @Wilsurn awwwwww….sorry. I’d eat dinner with you if I were there. #
  • 12:23 @testobsessed I accept them. Those who then start annoying me with useless emails get trimmed away. #
  • 12:25 @wilsurn anytime, sweetheart. eating alone is no fun…even with the TV on! #
  • 12:29 @devinjay then i suppose a lunch or dinner date for the next time he and I are in the same place is not out of order? #
  • 13:22 @devinjay i am fresh every morning… #
  • 16:42 @MrPandaBehr you’re very welcome. hope the refresh fixes it. #
  • 16:45 RT @nard: How to test if your son is gay #
  • 20:31 @MrPandaBehr it will be my next major purchase when i get a job… #
  • 23:09 well, time to retire, my tweeters. keep smiling while i sleep. #
  • 23:13 RT @sfgamdotcom: Gay Asian Man Kenji Oshima has his own opinion about God. Read his article ‘Is there a God?’ #
  • 23:14 yewah, i know i said i was retiring. now I really AM retiring…nighty-0night. #

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Today’s Masonic URL

Monday, June 15th, 2009

A Freemason from the United States who is stationed in Afghanistan writes an occasional blog entry. Today’s entry is particularly interesting to me, as he talks about some aspects of Afghan life that we don’t often read or hear about here in the West. Do read it.

Happy birthday, <lj user=”disjecta”> and <lj user=”oliverchan”>

Monday, June 15th, 2009

…and many happy returns of the day.

My tweets

Sunday, June 14th, 2009
  • 07:39 @badrobot68 if it smells like socks were poppers on the premises? #
  • 07:44 @MrPandaBehr jeans fit well. i was helping a friend try on a harness last night; wanted to take a picture but he was shy… #
  • 07:47 @scorpiojerm i agree with u on vegemite. Only -mite for me (although Promite is good too, just not as good) #
  • 11:51 @thoburn i think there is more vegemite than marmite in sg. Marmite rules the -mite roost here in the UK. #
  • 18:23 @soveren so who is going to be the virgin tester? #
  • 18:23 @soveren a380 is good; we flew it from Sg to LHR last year. wider seats. #
  • 20:12 Latest blog post on the last part of my Columbia reunion: #
  • 20:14 @soveren so how many OTHER virgins have you done…? #
  • 20:46 @jonk deep fried hot dogs? Is chaddy Scottish?? #
  • 23:23 well, tweeters mine, I’m outta here for the night. sleep tight, don’t do anything i wouldn’t do (not a long list…) #

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End of my reunion

Sunday, June 14th, 2009

The last day of my reunion, Saturday, ended with two activities. First, there was an LGBT Reception over at Barnard. I didn’t go 5 years ago for some reason (I think it was double booked with something else) but as my friend Thom Chu CC’89 from Integrity/New York was going to be there as his only reunion activity, I had to be there too.

I had some trouble finding the venue, as the room where it was held had the same name as a Barnard building. Found it finally, and there was Thom in the corner. Here we are, with Thom looking wonderful.

We connected, and listened to a few LBGT alumni and staff talk about what it was and is like to be lesbian, gay, or transgendered at Columbia and Barnard. When I was there, of course, there was the Gay Lounge in the basement of Furnald Hall, and those of us in the closet (among whom I include myself at that time) never darkened its door. I do remember going to the sauna room in Furnald basement and watching as three guys came into the locker room next to the sauna, took all their clothes off and put them in lockers, and returned to the Gay Lounge. I was too scared at that time to come out. Oh, well, crying over unspilt milk is not useful.

After this I went over to the Library at Casa Italiana, where our class dinner was. There were various class pictures, one of which was with spouses. The photographer, as he could not read my nametag, wanted me to move in a bit so he yelled, “Hey, Moustache!” to get my attention. Various classmates have beards, but I am the only one who showed who actually has only a moustache (I guess they’re out of fashion now). So from then on I was “Hey, Moustache!” to a subset of classmates who felt that was funny. I wanted to opt out of the picture with spouses, but was not allowed to. Next time I think I’ll bring Wai-Liang.

I had a long discussion with the guest speaker, Professor Gareth Williams who (as you might surmise from his name) is Welsh. He also has some experience around the Elephant and Castle, so we discussed the Elephant and London and British politics. We then sat down to dinner, which was beef tenderloin with various veggies and mashed potato, and was very good. Prof. Williams then gave his speech:

During the talk I learned to my delight that Prof. Williams is a classicist, so after dinner we had a good talk about the Classics Department (where I spent four years) and how the number of Latin and Greek majors has increased dramatically from the 5 or 6 who graduated from Columbia College and Barnard combined in 1974. I discovered (and, sadly, just confirmed) that Prof. Helen Bacon, my Greek professor from Barnard, died a couple of years ago at the age of 88. Prof. Bacon was extremely erudite, a great teacher, and a wonderful personality. It was she who told us how we can reconstruct the pronunciation of Ancient Greek (?? representing the call of an ancient lamb was pronounced “beh” by ancient Greeks but is pronounced “vee” by modern Greeks, is one example). I also discovered that Prof. Peter Pouncey, my academic advisor 1970-1972 and Dean of Columbia College for the last two years I was there is still kicking around the College, has taught courses and is quite as gruff as his age and position would merit.

That night I stayed in a room in Carman Hall. Those who were at the College 5 years before me called it “New Hall”, and apparently it was only named after Dean Harry Carman after the latter’s death at the beginning of 1965. When I went there, almost all freshmen who were not residents of the New York metropolitan area lived in that dorm. I liked it so much (en suite bathrooms) that I stayed for three years and only moved to Furnald in my senior year.

In the event, the rooms are somewhat the same as those I lived in, but much better. There is high-speed internet access in all rooms (memo to self: bring a cable in 2014 as there is no WiFi in the dorms), air conditioning (with new insulating windows) in the rooms, lo-flow toilets in the bathrooms (the showers haven’t been touched, though), access keycards rather than keys to the outside door and the inner suite door, and in addition to a TV in the end-of-the-hall lounge there is a refrigerator and a microwave. These students are now living in the lap of luxury.

Here are some pictures of the room:

The beds have been replaced but the new ones are as lumpy and uncomfortable as the old ones. I guess that generations of student rumpy-pumpy does take a toll on the bedding.

The toilets come with instructions for flushing both #1 and #2:

The view from the room window overlooks Broadway going south:

There was a wonderful view over the centre of the campus from the elevator lobby on the 15th floor:

The large domed building in the centre is the university administration building, originally constructed as a library thus named “Low Library”. A corner of the current library, Butler, is in the lower right-hand corner of the photo. There is a smudge on the window at lower-centre of the picture—ignore, please OKTHXBYE.

So, after the class dinner I snuck out of Casa Italiana, walked back to my room, and slept. The next day I checked out and returned to and KK’s place for the rest of my time in New York. I’ll blog about all that tomorrow.

I do want to reflect yet again on reunions and on university education. I graduated from Columbia with a gentleman’s B-. I wasted much of my time there, which at present makes me very sad indeed. I drank too much, ate too much, studied too little, cut classes too often, and generally did not take advantage of the wonderful resource that a university is. The general feeling of our class, discussing what Columbia College now is, was that we would probably not be admitted were we to apply today as teenagers. I’m not so sure of that, of course, but reunions give me that feeling of having had something worth a great deal and squandering it, letting water run off into the dirt rather than drinking it.

I know that I will never again have such an opportunity in my life. It is opportunities like this that make me wistfully hope that the Buddhist belief in reincarnation were true.

What makes me feel a bit better is that the students at Columbia today are hard-working, very talented, able and willing to not only take what the university has to offer but also to offer to the university and their fellow students what they themselves have to offer. In a way, I hope that their industriousness will make up a little bit for my indolence.

In lumine tuo videbimus lumen!

My tweets

Saturday, June 13th, 2009
  • 07:38 @kevjumba looks OK to me. i suppose you could preserve it, turn it upside down, and eat it when you’re 61. #
  • 07:39 good morning, tweeters mine. after a little live journal altercation i’ve banned a follower on twitter. am i bad for that? #
  • 08:22 @BrianHeys i just fed three peanuts to one of the squirrels that comes to our back window… #
  • 14:36 @tug you might be interested in this link in re photography and terrorism: #
  • 15:04 @MrPandaBehr that sounds good. a very big breakfast though. Enjoy! #
  • 17:10 @MrPandaBehr well, it’s important to EAT breakfast–lots of people don’t. Lunch should be bigger than dinner. Big b’fasts only for farmers! #
  • 22:12 RIP The Rev’d Ann Brooke Bushong, CA, deacon of the Diocese of New York. May she rest in peace and rise in glory. #
  • 22:13 just back from dinner with Leslie&Louie from Singapore. Louie bought a leather harness on Old Compton St and I helped him size it. #
  • 22:18 why were there such huge crowds on Old Compton Street tonight? I am at the stage where I hate and fear crowds with a passion. #
  • 23:06 @soveren well, in places where there aren’t any tourists it’s OK. It’s just that all the good stuff is in Touristland (near Piccadilly) #

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RIP The Rev’d Ann Brooke Bushong, CA

Saturday, June 13th, 2009

When I first wandered into Integrity/New York’s eucharist at St. Luke-in-the-Fields on Hudson St. in Manhattan, one of the first people to greet me, after Nick Dowen, the President, was Brooke Bushong. She was a Church Army evangelist who was Vice President of Integrity and a great master of ceremonies. Over the next three years, we all worked together to make Integrity’s weekly Eucharists work, and work well. Everything I know about Anglican liturgy that’s worth knowing I learned from Brooke.

After I left New York, she was ordained a Deacon of the Diocese of New York and worked at St. Clement’s Church in Hell’s Kitchen, where she assisted at liturgy and almost everything else they did. I joined St. Clement’s for the last year of my time in New York and enjoyed it tremendously, in part because of Brooke’s kindness of introducing me into the life of the parish.

A few years later she (having been a smoker for many years) was diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and the last time I saw her, at Pride in 2001 in New York, she assisted at the street liturgy celebrated by Bishop Catherine Roskam accompanied by her oxygen tank and nasal tubes.

Recently she had entered Goldwater Hospital on Roosevelt Island, and when I spoke with Nick Dowen in New York last week he indicated that her prognosis was grave. So it has happened.

May she rest in peace and rise in glory. And the heavenly masters-of-ceremonies had better watch out, as she’ll be after them to perform a perfect liturgy every single time.

Today’s Lucky Moment URL

Saturday, June 13th, 2009

Last week a young man was playing basketball in a gym somewhere in the US when a lightning storm started. He and his friends went outside to look, and he was hit by a bolt of lightning on the side of his face–it exited from his ankle, and he lived to tell the tale on NBC’s Today show.

A similar tale, this time starring a meteorite, happened recently in Germany. The headline screams about a meteorite travelling 30,000 miles per hour. Read the story itself, which explains why the youth survived such a fast meteor. Hint: Size matters. (P.S. I always thought that a rock falling from space was a “meteor” until it hit the ground, at which point it magically transmogrified into a “meteorite”.)

So now it’s censorship, is it?

Saturday, June 13th, 2009

In addition to my last post, the person who complained about my deleting his comment now agrees that he himself can write whatever he wants on his journal, but that my deleting his comment is censorship. Of course, that is illogical. Only a government can censor. If I were a government, I’d be furnishing a second home and then selling it at a profit…

Oh, well, no loss that we have both deleted each other from our “friends” lists. I also took him off my Twitter feed and blocked him.

Why does this make me feel better? This is the first time I’ve felt called to do this, and it’s kind of sad, really. But life is (especially now) too short to worry about it.

My tweets

Friday, June 12th, 2009
  • 15:38 @besskeloid so unsalted crap is better? #
  • 15:42 @besskeloid a helmet that can grow hair? Who knew? #
  • 15:47 Speaking of salted crap, that’s how I feel today. #

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Free speech

Friday, June 12th, 2009

There is an opinion that is going around in these times of blogging, commenting, and twittering. This opinion states that every blog is a venue for free speech. The corollary to that is this: if someone deletes a comment another person made in one’s own blog, one is suppressing free speech.

Well, this opinion is false. I would not try to suppress someone else’s blog from the blogosphere. Not only is it impossible, but it’s their blog. They have the right to say whatever they want to say, and I have no right to try to suppress that in their blog. If I don’t like what that person says there, then I have the option to use the “Page Down” key to scroll it by.

However, when I am writing in my blog, I do have the right (and privilege) of suppressing comments to my blog posts that I don’t wish to appear in my blog. This is not suppressing free speech. The analogy is the “Letters to the Editor” in a newspaper. The newspaper is not required by law or custom to print every letter sent to it, no matter how inaccurate, hateful, or even libellous it is. That is because the newspaper owns the printing press. When the letter’s author buys his or her own printing press and prints a newspaper (analogy: starts his or her own blog and writes in it) then s/he is perfectly privileged to write whatever s/he pleases.

If it were suppressing free speech to delete a comment (and if that were illegal/immoral/fattening) Live Journal wouldn’t allow an author to delete comments.

I won’t go into the other situation where people mistake “Live Journal friends” for “real life friends”. This is often not the case. I haven’t met most of my “LJ friends” and probably won’t. But, of course, I said that I won’t go into this so I guess I won’t.

For various reasons, I am screening replies to this post. And if I suppress your reply, remember, just post something in your own blog.

Today’s Transitioning URL

Friday, June 12th, 2009

Three cheers for Chaz Bono, who is transitioning F-to-M and who has come out with this information publicly. Very good luck to him.

Today’s URL of Fate

Friday, June 12th, 2009

Imaging turning up too late to board your aircraft and then hearing that it had crashed into the Atlantic. You might be convinced that your time had not yet come. However, for one woman from Austria, her time had just been postponed for a week or so.

My tweets

Wednesday, June 10th, 2009
  • 02:23 @MrPandaBehr well, the trip was nice, but having my feet act up again means i may not travel much in the future…:-( need ortho shoes #
  • 02:23 @soveren that IS bad…i would spank u if u were here. after we ate it all. #
  • 02:52 @jonk you coming to london?? #
  • 11:55 @MrPandaBehr they don’t prevent this kind of stuff, only orthopedic shoes will help significantly. will see what the clinic does. #
  • 11:56 @Keith_london let’s see whether Brown does a Major then… #
  • 12:30 @Keith_london i meant the second Major election, where he waited until the last minute to call the election in 1997 and lost heavily… #
  • 13:29 @devinjay didn’t do anything dirty to make ur thighs hurt? Sorry about that… 🙂 #
  • 13:31 @kevjumba good luck! Hope u end up enjoying good wine once u turn 21. #
  • 13:36 @Keith_london former US trust terr. Uighurs are Muslim Chinese minority. China could execute them if sent back. #
  • 13:39 @Keith_london I think he’ll lose too. As a LibDem I’m not fussed about that. I hope Cameron is up to the job. We need a good leader. #
  • 13:54 @Keith_london they are really a US dependancy and thus get lots of money anyway. You could go there on holiday. #
  • 15:23 @Keith_london i meant the second Major election, where he waited until the last minute to call the election in 1997 and lost heavily… #
  • 15:25 perhaps you should put Sad back to bed and wake up Cheerful. hope things improve… #
  • 15:52 about to start packing. loads of laundry going, i am ready to get going. #
  • 17:25 mostly packed, last load of towels/sheets is drying. I’ve lunched, washed the dishes, and put them away. almost ready to go… #
  • 17:30 @Keith_london u could always convert to Islam and call urself a Uighur… 😉 #
  • 18:52 @Keith_london these people conspire out of China to liberate their homeland. I doubt they were with Al Qaids. #

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My tweets

Tuesday, June 9th, 2009
  • 12:42 @jonk maybe they are pale, but people would pay good money for those calves… #
  • 14:29 @soveren so what did u do that was so bad? #
  • 14:31 @Keith_london oh f*ck, another thing for me to worry about. #
  • 15:40 Will go to foot clinic as soon as I drop my bags at home Thursday AM. Yay foot clinic and NHS. #

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My tweets

Monday, June 8th, 2009
  • 04:33 good night tweeters. sleep tight (if you’re sleeping) #
  • 13:41 good morning, my tweeters. lunch with my oldest friend, then dinner with another old friend. #
  • 14:46 @danbjorn i went from BT to O2 and am very satisfied so far… #
  • 14:47 @thoburn not to say “log in” as u have to have a lj account to do that. however, anyone can look at public blog posts. #

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My tweets

Sunday, June 7th, 2009
  • 14:31 back at first and 106th, washing clothes, eating breakfast, and talking to friends on msn. #

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My tweets

Saturday, June 6th, 2009
  • 03:44 day 2 of college reunion ends. will blog later. nighty-night, tweeters mine. #
  • 03:56 @jenny8lee you at a reunion too? I’m at my Columbia reunion this weekend. #
  • 12:25 @Keith_london it’s quite a common death among adolescent boys who hang themselves for the orgasmic rush and do it wrong. #
  • 12:25 good morning tweeters. i’m about to leave for columbia to stay one night on campus and finish my reunion. see y’all later. #
  • 15:24 Waiting in 309 Havemeyer (chemistry building) to hear James Schamus discuss “My wife is a terrorist”. Should be imteresting. Not HIS wife. #
  • 15:28 @Keith_london remember that Tory MP under Major who did the same thing except he was in suspenders with an orange in his mouth? #
  • 15:42 Schamus: it WAS his wife. #
  • 15:48 Narratology — study of his wife’s police dossier. #
  • 19:15 ARC meeting begins. Good feed. #
  • 19:31 9.82% of applicants admitted to Columbia this year. #
  • 20:01 Columbia applicants very often list the Harry Potter books as their most read books. #
  • 21:02 @Keith_london it was a clementine and i have no idea why he did it. Name was stephen milligan: #

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The reunion so far

Saturday, June 6th, 2009

I may have blogged about this 5 years ago, at my first college reunion (our 30th), but I suppose it bears repeating: I feel very nostalgic, of course, but I also have the distinct feeling that I wasted my time at Columbia. I have no evidence for this other than my dismal (though passing) academic record and my remembrance of many classes cut or just ignored. The people who have been speaking with us today are all very insistent that the core curriculum is the jewel of Columbia and something that really brings out the best in students. I remember it as a very dreary set of assigned books that I should have read anyway. I have especially dismal memories of Kant. Still have the book at home, of course.

Nostalgia is not a bad thing, of course. Remembrances of things past, tinged with pride, happiness, as well as sadness and regret, inform the rest of our lives and make us even more human than we would be otherwise. Apes, as far as I know, do not become nostalgic (although one never really knows).

Two nights ago we had our first event: a cocktail party at a Barnard 1974 classmate’s digs in the 80’s off Fifth Avenue. Of course, my classmate Richard was there. He is Italian with an afro, and my main memory of him during our time at Columbia was of him taking swimming class with me, not wearing a swimsuit, and having an enormous uncut dick. I do not mention this in polite (or even impolite) company today, but it will always remain in my memory so I record it here (under a Friends-only filter in case he takes a look at my blog). Richard is very outspoken, somewhat salival in speaking, and likes me, thus he sits near me at every event we attend together. Oh well, such is my fate.

I ended up sitting with a cardiologist who is a Barnard grad, and we talked about health for quite a while. Another cardiologist came by to put in her tuppence, and a nephrologist was also holding forth. I do wish I hadn’t gotten into the middle of that. Off home to bed.

On Friday was the tours and Caf

My tweets

Friday, June 5th, 2009
  • 02:54 @chienleng no, i find the icons annoying and opaque too. mouse-over messages are too much to ask, it seems. #
  • 03:51 RT @slashweb : 25 Best Programmer WebComic Strips #
  • 13:40 morning tweeters. day 2 of the reunion starts rainy and bleak. i miss london and HWMBO 🙁 #

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My tweets

Thursday, June 4th, 2009
  • 03:48 good night, tweeters mine. reunion begins tomorrow. hope to get my foot seen to as well. #
  • 12:43 good morning tweeters. i voted by postal ballot last week, but hope that all you Europeans will vote for MSPs today. Foot doctor later 🙁 #
  • 14:54 @Keith_london that’s really sad. seems to have hanged himself. maybe autoerotic?? #

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My tweets

Wednesday, June 3rd, 2009
  • 13:36 Good morning ye tweeters! Woke up in NYC for the 1st time in 1-1/2 yrs. Watching centenarians on Today-US “Queen’s Telegram”! #
  • 13:36 @fj they take “holidays” in England. #
  • 13:38 @thoburn awww…I hope u get someone better than drunk… #
  • 13:40 @kalandaka i am in New York and bring greetings from our London backyard squirrels Daring, Shy, and Baby Squirrel. #
  • 13:45 @thoburn well, u counter with difficulty in finding bffs. #
  • 21:34 @kalandaka no, not really. but i did go to south ferry to see the new subway station, ate lunch in battery park. didn’t see u…sorry. #
  • 21:35 @kalandaka …but i did bump into an old friend quite by accident in the Whitehall St subway a little later. Kismet does exist. #
  • 21:36 going out to dinner at a pizza place on 118th and 1st with an old friend. foot acting up. concerned. Rats! #
  • 22:04 @besskeloid if they were cute consider it an invitation…sorry for the bad experience. #
  • 22:06 @chrys thanx. Will return to london early if necessary. Good thoughts welcome. #

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DC and NYC

Wednesday, June 3rd, 2009

Last week I flew from Boston to Washington DC. I hadn’t been in DC for more than 20 years, so it was a real treat. I stayed with our former flatmate Brett, who is a superb chef and the kind of person you just like, automatically. He lives on M Street NW, and when I landed at Dulles I had no idea how far away everything is there. We had to take a strange bus to another building, then walk for miles (it seemed) to get luggage. I found Super Shuttle, boarded that, and then sat back for a 3/4 hour drive into DC proper. I was flabbergasted. I understand that the Metro will be extended out there in the middle future. It will be much easier to get into the city when it is.

Brett is, as you would expect, the superb host and we chatted and ate most of the time he was there. He had to duck out for a food gig in New York over a long weekend but otherwise we enjoy each other’s company and have much to talk about.On Thursday night we had dinner at a lovely Mexican restaurant across from the Verizon Center.

During the week I had a lovely visit to the National Portrait Gallery with , which was just wonderful and very educational for me. The pictures of Richard Nixon were quite amusing. That evening I had dinner with at Annie’s Restaurant near Dupont Circle, where I had a lovely burger. Afterwards we walked around a bit, saw the White House at night, and took pictures.

I nearly forgot! When I was checking in for the flight, the clerk told me that my suitcase was 5 lbs. overweight, so I shifted some stuff into my carryon. When I got to Washington, I discovered that my camera’s LCD screen was cracked. I presume that pressure from stuffing that material into my carryon is what did it. It took me a few days to find the Best Buy, but I bought a new camera, 12.5 megapixels, and it seems to work well. I hate airlines.

On Saturday I spent the day in Virginia with , who is a friend from soc.motss. She was kind enough to drive me far into the horse country in Virginia, where we lunched on (in my case) a burger (surprise!) We then went on to Chrysalis Winery and had a tasting, with some pretty good wines and a couple real stinkers. We were herded out in advance of a wedding party. We ended our day at a Chinese restaurant where I got attention because of my man bag (bought in Shanghai with “To serve the people” written on it in Chinese). Had Ma Po tofu which was a bit too white-peppered for me. Spent the evening at home.

Sunday I did laundry, then met my friend Randy, who owns Integrity Lightspeed, an email list for LBGT Anglicans and their friends, for lunch at a Thai restaurant at Dupont Circle–I thought it was called “Thaifoon” but can’t find a clear URL for it, so maybe not. Green chicken curry (natch) was very good, as was the conversation with Randy, whom I haven”t seen for many years. Lovely to see him again and hang out in the park watching the world go by.

That evening I had dinner with Brett’s and my friend Bev at the Sofitel hotel at McPherson Square, near the White House. The dinner and conversation were superb, and Bev being the head pastry chef there knew everything on the menu. The waiter was hot, too.

Monday I took a ride on the Red Line to its end in Maryland and back. Somewhat scenic. Then Brett returned from his (very successful) New York gig, and we had dinner at a Belgian brasserie close to downtown. Then I had to pack for travel on Tuesday.

A very sad goodbye to Brett, then a taxi to Union Station. I took the 1 pm Acela Express first class to New York. It was a lovely trip–the food (beef tenderloin) was excellent, much better than anything I’ve ever gotten on a plane. Taxi up to East Harlem where and KK live and where I am now staying. Their friend Susan gave me the keys and explained the key system, then left me alone to enjoy my stay here, as and KK are elsewhere at the moment.

Today I discovered that my left big toenail has separated from the bed yet again and a bit of fluid and blood squirted from underneath when I wiggled it. I cleaned it out with alcohol and put a plaster on it while I debated what to do. In walking to the subway I discovered that there is a foot doctor around the corner. I will call them tomorrow morning and perhaps get seen. I don’t think it’s infected. I bought some gauze, Bactine, and adhesive tape this afternoon and have disinfected and taped it up. I will keep tabs on it. However, I will need to go to the foot clinic at Kings next week and demand that they refer me urgently for orthopedic shoes, as they have promised three times. I need to protect my feet when I travel, as that seems to be the situation where things happen to my feet.

I went down to South Ferry to see the new subway station there. It was quite interesting how they have shoehorned it into the small spaces available down there. Now there is no reason to sit in the first 5 cars when going down there. I got a sandwich and Diet Coke for lunch and ate it in Battery Park.

Then I decided to get to 14th Street to buy an additional bag to travel back to London next week, and then get to 1st Avenue to take the bus up to 106th Street. So I got on the W train. Who should then walk into the same car and sit down but Nick Dowen, my good friend from Integrity/New York who lives on Staten Island! Such coincidences happen in New York! We will probably have lunch next Tuesday before I go.

This evening I went to dinner on 118th and First at Patsy’s Restaurant. Had 1/2 a pizza and a Caesar salad with my friend The Rev’d John Halborg, who lived on the floor below me in the Bronx and is now a retired New York priest. We discussed sad events such as the death of a good friend and laughed over memories of days past.

Tomorrow the reunion begins with a cocktail party in the evening. I hope that my foot cooperates.

My tweets

Tuesday, June 2nd, 2009
  • 14:09 good morning, tweeters mine. have been connectionless for a while but off to NYC from DC this afternoon on Acela 1st class, w00t! #
  • 14:11 @soveren brits only burn when they go around topless. #
  • 22:35 @chrys. My provider is very good 1&1 internet. We can discuss on or after 10/6 when I am back in London. #

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