Vienna: Tiergarten Schoenbrunn

Aug. 16th, 2017 01:27 pm
nanila: wrong side of the mirror (me: wrong side of the mirror)
[personal profile] nanila
Fish
Keiki squats down to look at the fish in the polar bear enclosure at the Vienna Tiergarten.

The Schoenbrunn should definitely make the top ten of every visitor attraction list of Vienna, if not the top three. It’s the gigantic former summer palace of the Hapsburgs, and the grounds alone merit at least a half-day stroll to explore fully. There are gardens, fountains, hidden playgrounds, an enormous glasshouse full of palm trees, and even a zoo.

Despite having visited the Schoenbrunn grounds many times, I’d never been to the zoo, which is allegedly the oldest in the Western world (founded in 1752). Now, with two small children, one of whom is animal-obsessed, I had good reason to go. The children and I set out early one morning to travel via the Viennese underground to the palace.

Humuhumu was keen to learn how to navigate the transport system. She got very good at spotting the way to the correct train lines, and proudly announced when the next train would be arriving after we got to the platforms.

It took us 45 minutes to get from our temporary abode to the Schoenbrunn and, conveniently, it was just about Cake O’clock when we arrived. We detoured around the palace entrance and stopped off at an Aida Konditorei, a chain of inexplicably pink cafés that serve extremely nice cakes, coffees and hot chocolates (apart from the one near the opera house – avoid that one; everyone who works there is sick of tourists and very grumpy).

We walked into the Aida and chorused “Guten Morgen” at the round-faced, unsmiling woman behind the counter. She broke into a beaming grin and showed us to the table next to a tiny play area containing toys and books, which the children pounced upon. (Throughout the trip, I encouraged the children to greet everyone we met in German, to say please and thank you in German, to order their food using the German words and, when I felt confident in my knowledge of the right phrases, I coached them to make requests in German. I was astonished at the abundance of goodwill toward us that this produced.) Humuhumu ordered her hot chocolate and cake in German, and was rewarded with an additional pink meringue, which she received with an unprompted “Danke schoen”. When we left, Keiki crowing “Wiedersehen” over my shoulder with his dimpliest smile, the server came out from round the counter and gave each of the children an extra biscuit, which, to be honest, they didn’t really need after all that sugar!

Full of energy, we bounded into the grounds of the Schoenbrunn and raced around whilst waiting for the grandparents to join us at the entrance to the Tiergarten (Zoo). As vast as the Schoenbrunn grounds are, they are not big enough to house a comprehensive collection of the world’s animals, so cleverly the Tiergarten is focused on a limited number of species and provided them with luxurious accommodation.

Keiki and Humuhumu loved the place, particularly Keiki. Once he spotted the meerkat enclosure, we couldn’t get him to finish his lunch. Neither could we readily tear him away from the penguins. In fact, Granddad had a bit of a job keeping Keiki from clambering into their pond to join them. We communed with the seals. We watched a polar bear chewing meditatively on a traffic cone. And, of course, Humuhumu found a climbing wall and had to try everything.

It was a wonderful place to spend a sunny afternoon, and we will certainly return to the Tiergarten on our next trip to Vienna.

Further photos beneath the cut.
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The Blood is the Life for 16-08-2017

Aug. 16th, 2017 11:00 am
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[personal profile] miss_s_b

Amsterdam: Stedelijk Museum

Aug. 15th, 2017 01:26 pm
nanila: (me: art)
[personal profile] nanila
In early July, the bloke & I went to Amsterdam for a couple of days for my (very) belated birthday celebrations. His parents kindly looked after the children so we could have our first holiday alone together since they were born.

One of the things we did was go to an art museum and wander around for a couple of hours. This is not a thing you can do with small children, unless you have imprisoned them in a pram, and then there would (not unreasonably) be screaming.

I’d previously been to both the Rijksmuseum and the Van Gogh Museum. The bloke had never been to the latter, but as it was the height of summer, it was not a good time to go. The place cannot cope with the number of visitors it receives, and unless you book days in advance, you can’t get in. When you do, you still have to queue, and you end up shuffling in a slow-moving crush of people past all of the artwork. It’s not a great experience. We opted, therefore, to go to one we’d never been in: the Stedelijk Museum, which is dedicated to modern art.

I really enjoyed the collection. It was well curated and I now have a little list of new (to me) artists to keep my eyes peeled for in the London exhibitions.

Photographer Zanele Muholi takes photos of LGBTQ+ community members in Africa. I definitely want a book of her work. It was a little irritating to find, at the end of our visit, that of all the special exhibitions on display, hers was the only one without a corresponding product available in the shop. No books, no postcards, nothing. Hmph.

20170711_123055
From her “Brave Beauties” series.

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sqbr: pretty purple pi (Default)
[personal profile] sqbr
(this started out as a reply to this tumblr post)

When I first started posting about social justice online, on my fannish livejournal, I posted about racism a LOT, with lots of self righteous LET ME EXPLAIN A THING. And then two of my non-white(*) friends said it was ruining my blog for them: one because she felt like I was speaking over her experiences, which didn’t match the monolithic How POC Feel Narrative I was ‘explaining’, the other because it was causing my clueless white friends to say racist crap in the comments. I had to fight back a defensive “But DON’T YOU WANT ME TO FIGHT RACISM??” reaction.

Ten years later and I’m still trying to figure out how to discuss racism in ways that actually help fight racism, and make the spaces I control supportive of POC/non-white people, rather than simply making the loudest possible noise about how it’s REALLY BAD YOU GUYS.
Read more... )

And then there were 8

Aug. 14th, 2017 10:32 pm
contrarywise: Glowing green trees along a road (Default)
[personal profile] contrarywise
...years of togetherness, joy, shared pain and challenges, and many adventures. Here's to many more!

Fair fringe?

Aug. 14th, 2017 07:47 pm
swaldman: A sparkly bauble. (bauble)
[personal profile] swaldman
It seems that there's a campaign going in Edinburgh this year, which has popped up on social media for me a few times, called Fair Fringe - calling for everybody who works on the Fringe to be "treated with respect and paid a decent, living wage". Well, I can't argue with the first part of that - respect is good all round - and usually I'm all for fair wages. But in this case, I find I'm not so sure.

Now, I should note that my experience is only my own, that it's out of date, and that it's concerned only with the theatrical, not comedic, side of the Fringe. I should also note that I'm thinking here of people involved with and invested in the art of what's going on; bartenders, for example, who could be doing the same job somewhere else, may well feel differently. But in general, there isn't a lot of money in theatre. Outside of a few investors and producers in the West End, and a tiny minoriry of performers, AFAIK nobody is getting rich. I haven't had sight of the balance sheets, but I've never seen anything to suggest that any but the largest and most prestigious of fringe venues and productions aren't run on a shoestring. Fair Fringe alledge that "events companies make massive profits from the creativity, enjoyment and hard work of people from all over the world". If this is true, I agree that it should change, but they don't present any evidence to back it up.

So yes, it's true that conditions for people working on the Fringe are poor; in my own days as a technician I remember 12-hour shifts, 12 people sleeping in a 3-bedroom flat, and so forth, for a symbolic rate of pay that didn't come close to matching the cost of living. Really, it'd be better to think of us as volunteers than employees - some probably are - and that doesn't even start to touch on the countless performers in profit-shares who make a loss. But, we're not doing it for the money.

People know before they come that it doesn't pay. People do it because they love theatre, and because they want to be a part of the world's biggest festival. Yes, young workers and performers are exploited, but I always worked on the assumption that we were willingly exploited not to make somebody wealthy, but to produce a vast number of shows; shows that are sometimes amazing, sometimes awful, but nearly always totally unviable, financially, to put on in a conventional setting with professional staff[1]. A significant proportion of these shows, perhaps even a majority, still lose money in Edinburgh.

I'm all for the Living Wage, but I don't think the public would put up with a massive increase in ticket prices to pay for it. I can't help thinking that insisting on it on the Fringe would just kill off most of the small venues and the risky, innovative productions, turning the supposedly grass-roots alternative to the International Festival into a slick, corporate operation[2] that only presents big names who are guarenteed to drive the box office.


PS - obviously there are some Fringe employers / organisers who are worse than this, who miss out not only the "fair pay" part but the "respect" part. I worked for one of them for a few days once and quit, due to conditions that were needlessly poor. That's a different matter, because there are also those that aren't like that.


[1] Yes, there are some shows on the Fringe that could play happily in theatres all round the country any time of the year. Yes, there are some shows that do. But it's a tiny fraction.
[2] Many would argue that it already is. Parts of it have certainly headed that way. But there's plenty else still going on.

sfred: (faun)
[personal profile] sfred
If there's anything you want to say to me after BiCon, feel free to do so here. Comments are screened and will remain so.
sqbr: pretty purple pi (I like pi!)
[personal profile] sqbr
I feel weird making a post about this as a super pale white person, but I keep seeing other artists draw dark characters really badly in the sort of flat colouring used in animation and comics etc, and don't know of any better guides. So here's what I've figured out. If people know of better techniques or guides, or if I've inadvertently said something wrong or offensive, please let me know.
Read more... )

(no subject)

Aug. 12th, 2017 10:18 pm
[personal profile] swaldman
I have no wish to wade into the stuff around recent events in Charlotteville in general, but seeing some of the reporting has left me wondering,

How the hell does a police force safely and fairly provide a public order and potential riot-control presence while they are watched over by a load of citizens with automatic weapons, who have a clear alliegence with one side but are not themselves breaking the law?


It R Caturday

Aug. 12th, 2017 09:04 pm
nanila: me (Default)
[personal profile] nanila
Telstar
Handsome tuxie sticks his tongue out at you from his sunny perch atop the wood shed.

The Blood is the Life for 12-08-2017

Aug. 12th, 2017 11:00 am
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[personal profile] miss_s_b

Friday Five

Aug. 11th, 2017 03:35 pm
miss_s_b: (Self: Profile)
[personal profile] miss_s_b
(questions via [community profile] thefridayfive)

1) What is the most outrageous style you've ever rocked?

When I was a young 'un, there was that brief period when shell suits were incredibly fashionable, but before they had been discovered to be ridiculously dangerously flammable, and we had a non-uniform day at school. Every single other person in my class came in a shell suit. Some of them had those colour change t-shirts that showed your armpit sweat even worse than grey marl does. I wore cut-off denim hot pants, fishnet tights, an Alice Cooper t-shirt and a leather biker jacket.

I think that tells you everything you need to know about my attitude to fashion.


2) As a teen, were you an emo, goth, punk, grunger, or prep?

Um. I never could be bothered with the make-up requirements for goth, but I suspect I tended more that way in other respects, with bits of punk and grunger too. I mean, I never did do the blue stonewash jeans classic rocker look, I always wore black and purple.


3) Have you ever had a crazy hairstyle/colour?

Ever since I was 18 right up until the present. I'm normally one or more of blue, purple, or pink, but I've been other colours too. Went jet black once; didn't like it.


4) Do you think we ever really grow out of our teen selves?

I certainly haven't. But then I was quite elderly in outlook from about the age of 18 months, so... (this is possibly down to the autism, which obvs was undiagnosed when I was a young 'un.


5) Is there any fashion style you wish you could wear but maybe don't have the confidence?

It's not the confidence, it's the tolerance for pain. I wish I could wear halter neck tops, but my boobs are so heavy that they give me horrific neck ache within seconds of putting them on.

Friday Five: Fashionista

Aug. 11th, 2017 12:08 pm
nanila: me (Default)
[personal profile] nanila
  1. What is the most outrageous style you've ever rocked?
    Probably this one:

    (That's me in 2003, wearing a green vest, black trousers & boots, sunglasses and very long dreadlocks. I'm carrying the tiny metal box that functioned as my handbag in those days.)

  2. As a teen, were you an emo, goth, punk, grunger, or prep?
    As a young teen, I was trending toward goth, but I didn't go full rivethead until I was at university.

  3. Have you ever had a crazy hairstyle/colour?
    I have worn unnatural shades of hair colour: green, blue and purple. I don't really think of dreadlocks as "crazy".

  4. Do you think we ever really grow out of our teen selves?
    Um, yes, definitely. Thank GOODNESS.

  5. Is there any fashion style you wish you could wear but maybe don't have the confidence?
    I would definitely love to be a bit more goth/rivet still. It's not that I lack the confidence, it's that I don't have the time, the money or the energy to maintain the look. I spend what resources I do have on my kids' wardrobes, not my own. Also, it would be pretty incongruous at my work, which is small-c conservative.


Questions are from the [community profile] thefridayfive community.

The Blood is the Life for 11-08-2017

Aug. 11th, 2017 11:00 am
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[personal profile] miss_s_b

Profile

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Excited Terror

What's it about?

Entrepreneurial Kathleen is where I write loads & loads about my experiences with freelancing.

I left my full-time, permanent job to pursue my dreams of freelance web design & entrepreneurship. Here's where you can find out how I'm getting on. Please do comment and/or email; I love feedback.

I'll be writing a (shorter!) monthly digest at Inspire With Hope.

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